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Monday Got Lost…

September 29, 2010

…and stuck around for an extra day.

This morning started off by me sleeping through my alarm…for forty minutes…apparently I needed the sleep! Work was crazy, but my employees did present me with a beautiful stone bracelet (pictures to come later – camera battery died). When I finally got home at 7:15 I threw on my running clothes and shot out the door. I have not been exercising recently due to a flair up, but not exercising makes me feel worse (double-edged sword – insert sad face). I could barely make it through two “Town Loops” (approximately 2 miles) before I had massive cramps. Of course, this could also be due to the fact that I did not hydrate well today. Since Dear Husband PT’s in the morning, it would make more sense that I start working out in the morning also.

By the time I got home, Dear Husband had broken out the leftovers from last night. This is a great, easy dish:

MUSHROOM PASTA SKILLET
All measurements are approximate. Adapted from BHG.
In a skillet, brown 1 pound of hamburger. Drain. Add minced garlic (1 tsp), chili powder (1 tsp), Italian seasoning (1 TBS), salt & pepper. Stir to incorporate. Add one can each tomato soup and cream of mushroom soup. Stir to combine. Put heat to low and cover while pasta cooks (I used whole wheat pasta). Once pasta is cooked, drain and serve. Top with Parmesan cheese if desired.

Dear Husband always enjoys this dish. Maybe next time I can get a picture of it!!

Birthday Weekend

September 26, 2010

Yesterday I turned the big 2-4 (exactly 3 weeks after Dear Husband). I woke up to coffee and breakfast:

Mushroom, Organic Bacon, and Cheese Omelet

We spent the day in Charlotte due to the fact that dinner reservations were at The Melting Pot. Before dinner, my sister-in-law and I got a mani/pedi and she took me to Trader Joe’s!! Yes, it was my first time, and no, I didn’t tell them (remember the whole bell ringing thing…). But it was lovely! I was only sad that I couldn’t get any cold items (they would not have lasted the two hour drive home).

I did rack up on some goodies, though:

  • Dried Mango
  • Orange Flavored Dried Cranberries
  • Israeli Couscous
  • Harvest Grains Blend
  • Caramel Popcorn
  • Sunflower Seed Butter
  • Pumpkin Butter
  • Pumpkin Bread & Muffin Mix
  • Cinnamon Crumb Coffee Cake Mix
  • Reduced Guilt Brownies (2)

I am most excited about this:

PUMPKIN BUTTER

“We suggest using Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Butter as a pastry filling, poultry glaze, ice cream topping, on toast or mixed with fat free cream cheese for a unique spread.”

I already have some ideas about some awesome Pumpkin Pancakes…

Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures at The Melting Pot (I was too focused on the meal and spending time with Dear Husband). I will let you know that we enjoyed the Big Night Out four course menu, which included:

  • CHEESE: Fondue à la France. A rich, smooth combination of baby Brie, Fontina, Gruyère and Raclette cheeses accented with Nueske’s bacon, onions, white-truffle cream and fresh chives. Dippers included granny smith apples, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, and assorted breads.
  • SALAD: 
    The Melting Pot House Salad. Crisp romaine and iceberg lettuce, cheddar cheese, fresh tomatoes, crispy croutons and sliced egg with Peppercorn Ranch Dressing.

  • ENTREE: Fondue Feast. Filet Mignon, Peppercorn-Crusted NY Strip, Chicken Provencal, Roasted-Garlic Shrimp, Maple Leaf Farms Duck a l’Orange, Ratatouille & Goat Cheese Ravioli and Fresh Vegetables (Mushrooms – YUMMM, Broccoli, and Red Potatoes).

  • CHOCOLATE: Cookies ‘n Cream Marshmallow Dream. Dark chocolate topped with marshmallow cream, flambéed, swirled together and garnished with Oreo cookie crumbs. Dippers included fresh strawberries, bananas, rice crispy treats, brownies, cheesecake, pound cake, and marshmallows.

It was an amazing experience and our waitress, Kristin, was phenomenal! A classy combination of service and a sense of humor. Too bad she didn’t inform me of the chocolate down the front of my shirt, she would have hit a home run if she had! Despite that, we signed up for the Club Fondue and entered a sweepstakes to win free fondue for a year (cross your fingers for us)!!

Now, let me get my hands on some pumpkin pancakes!! :)

BHG and Brownies

September 25, 2010

When I moved into my first apartment after living on campus for two years, my Mom gave me this. That was in 2006. It took me until 2009 to actually use it, but this is the cookbook I used to learn to cook. Notice the yellow stain on the bottom left corner…that would be the first time I didn’t have the lid all the way on the blender…


For the record, Dear Husband is a history major, which translates into many nights of him reading and me entertaining myself. This is fine, especially when tomorrow is my birthday and Cheesecake Brownies are on the menu!

The first thing I would advise is that you start with a clean kitchen, because it takes two mixers (I use my trusty KitchenAid and a hand mixer) and at the end the whole kitchen is splotched with chocolate. FYI, this is one of the recipes that I haven’t tried to make healthy, too many people enjoy it just the way it is; BUT if anyone tries any variations let me know!! :)

CHEESECAKE BROWNIES
Interpreted from BHG

Preheat 350 degrees

  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (I use dark dark chocolate)
  • 3 TBS butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (I have to add a smidge extra for altitude)
  • 3/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts, toasted (I leave these out)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 TBS all-purpose flour
  • 1 TBS lemon juice

Line a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with foil, extending foil over edges of pan. Grease foil; set pan aside. In a large heavy saucepan cook and stir the chocolate and butter over low heat until chocolate melts. Remove from heat; cool.

In a large mixing bowl beat 2 of the eggs with an electric mixer on medium speed until foamy (about 3-4 minutes). Add the 1 1/4 cup sugar, the water, and 1 tsp vanilla; beat about 5 minutes or until mixture is thick and lemon colored. This starts the “brownies”.

This is the time I let the KitchenAid go and mix up the “cheesecake” portion. In a medium bowl, beat the remaining 2 eggs, 1 tsp vanilla, cream cheese, the 2/3 cup sugar, 2 TBS flour, and the lemon juice until smooth. I add them one ingredient at a time to keep it as smooth as possible. Set aside.

In the brownie mixture (KitchenAid), beat in cooled chocolate mixture. Stir in the 1 cup (plus smidge) flour, nuts (if you wish), baking powder, and salt.

Spread half of the prepared brownie batter in pan. Pour entire bowl of cheesecake batter on top; these two layers will be easy. The third layer is the other half of the brownie batter, and I always seem to over-mix with a knife in an attempt to make the swirls look pretty.


I think I get a little “swirl happy”, but it makes an interesting third layer.

Bake for 45 minutes, then take the pan out of the oven and put it directly on a cooling rack. Let sit for 2 hours, do not pass go, do not collect $200. They’ll taste good, but they’ll be crumbly!! Use this time to clean up your mess in the kitchen:

But when they’ve cooled (Dear Husband must have said that they smelled amazing at least 10 times through this process), they are so worth it!

Look at those layers!!

This one lasted about 5 seconds. Yum!

We’re heading down the mountain to go to a restaurant named “The Melting Pot” for my birthday dinner and I am excited! Chocolate fondue, here I come!

Fabulous Friday

September 24, 2010

Usually, Friday’s are my days off (I work four 10-hour days) and I enjoy sleeping in and enjoying a day to myself while Dear Husband is on campus. Today, however, I will be going into work; the thrills of being a salaried employee.

The lucky thing about this is that I’ll get to go to Harris Teeter to get this:

Philly Cream Cheese 4/$5

With this:

$5 off 5 Kraft Products

To make, you guessed it, Cheesecake Brownies from my guest post on Lisa’s Blog.

Stay tuned!!

Welcome!

September 22, 2010

This is my attempt at balancing healthy eating on a budget, fitness, managing two wayward physicians at a hospital-owned practice, and being an army wife.

Much like herding cats:

Welcome to my journey!!

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