October 24, 2014

A $6.50 Birthday Card and a Goal


On the days that I go into the office, I try to indulge in them.  Not the actual work part, but the walking around the city part.  The window shopping part. The treating myself to a latte in a real coffee shop part. And sometimes there's the actual walking into the store and buying something part.  Sadly, I rarely do that.





But while I was walking home to the train the other night, I decided to hit up a stationery store AND a cooking supply store RIGHT. NEXT. DOOR. TO. EACH. OTHER. Pretty nifty, right? I mean, did I want to also stop in Steve Madden and browse their overpriced shoes that had a sale happening?  Of course I did!  Did I want to spend hours in H&M? Totally!  But that's not realistic, a little selfish, and no one has time for that.  Anyhoo, I remained practical and bought two things{ one thing at each store}, got what I needed and booked it walked to the train.


At the card store, I picked up a pretty card. A special card that will be given to my husband's grandmother who is turning 84 this weekend! { Her birthday is two days before mine!  it's safe to say she rocks!} The message inside the card simply states, "happy, happy birthday"!  Groundbreaking.  It has a cute cupcake on the front with a candle inside.  I mean, grand mom is worth that card and more!  But $6.50 for a single card?  hot damn!!  Gary's aunt is actually holding a small "girls" lunch on Saturday.  It should be nice and I'll be sure to take lots of photos!


Her 80th birthday party four years ago!  This cake was AMAZING. Take a look!


That jam filled center...drool.


Speaking of cake, I love cake. Who doesn't? But surprisingly enough, I'm much more of a pie girl than a cake girl.  Any day of the week!  I dream about pie. And donuts. And I have a goal this year.  An intimidating goal that I've wanted to accomplish for years  but either never had time to get to it, or I was simply too terrified.  My goal this year is to make an APPLE PIE from SCRATCH.  

...I'll wait a few seconds to let you roll your eyes at that.

I know, I know.  I can totally do this right!?  Why is making something from scratch so scary?  I was once completely afraid to make this but I did it!  And that's cake compared to a pie. Or cinnamon buns from scratch, which I also want to make one day soon!  I'm going to make a test-run pie within the next two weeks.  If all works out, I'm making one for Thanksgiving and one for Christmas!  I'm sticking with apple because it's one of my favorites.  Pumpkin would be next in line!

When I went directly next door into Kitchen Kapers, I got sucked in by their delicious coffee scents, adorable mugs, and overpriced aprons and place mats.  But then it dawned on me!  I want to make a pie soon and I really need a shortening cutter.  I've never owned this item. Clearly.  So I found it on my own, spent $11.95, and left the store with a slight smile.  I can't wait to get my hands dirty!


Wish me luck!

Cake or Pie?

October 23, 2014

Cauliflower and Spicy Chicken Sausage Casserole


Hello!



Lately, I've been cooking up some slammin' meals in my crock pot! They're fast, easy and might I add delicious! When we cook at home, or I should say when I cook, I strive for the meal to be 80% healthy!  Gary is the grill master.  Oh how I miss summer already...


And sometimes I make other healthy dishes, but that could be a meal or a side dish or lunch the next day.


All of my recipes either come from a few food blogs that I read { but usually I make desserts from those because they are all so droolicious} or from Kraft or Allrecipes.

However, a site I've never visited before! This amazing casserole came from  This gem

I'll be using this website more often now as some of their recipes look way too good to not give a whirl.



This meal had just the right amount of spice from the chicken sausage and was so flavorful, healthy and satisfying! I decided to go with a spicy Italian-flavored chicken sausage to liven it up a bit.  Let's face it, cauliflower can be a bit bland most of the time.  You can also try this with andouille sausage for even more of a kick.

If you were wondering, I ate this for dinner and lunch last week.  I didn't even tell Gary that I made this. He wouldn't touch cauliflower with a ten foot pole and only likes breakfast-style sausage. More for me. :)



Enjoy!

October 3, 2014

A Day in the Life with Claire


Hi there.  I'm Claire and I'm not aware that what I just said rhymes. 



I thought it'd be fun to give you a glimpse into what a typical day is like for me.  

I have a lot on my plate lately; so,  here we go!

6am-8am: Most mornings, I wake up in a chipper mood anywhere in that time frame. My mommy changes me, sings to me, picks out a cute outfit { I can't wait for the day when I can pick out my own outfits }! and then I'm usually feeling famished and mommy hands me a freshly made bottle.



Mommy likes to drink this dark colored beverage.  I think it smells really gross , but don't tell her that.  Apparently she LOVES the stuff and it "wakes her up" or something like that.

 


9am-11am: I usually only enjoy about 2-3 ounces before I feel full or content and then it's time for my morning workout! This is where I really try to work on my core!

 


I love to kick a lot , too!




12pm-2pm: This is the time where mommy either likes to give me a snack of apples or peaches, or I take a nap if I'm too fussy.  I like snack time, but I know that taking a little snooze is probably the better option.





This is where mommy wishes she could sleep when I'm sleeping.  Sorry, mom.



Sometimes mom even takes her lunch break with me and we go for a fun stroller ride which I looooove!




3pm-7pm: This time gap is wide open for me unless I don't feel too well, am still napping, or mommy and daddy take me to dinner somewhere to tire me out. { I'm on to them }. Or if I'm in chill mode, I just play more. Which is my favorite thing!




I apparently think hard, plastic shapes are tasty too. 

What do you mean these aren't edible?



  
 I love my brother, Sammy. He's always licking my face and is always by my side.  Whenever I feel upset and I'm crying in their arms, he follows mommy and daddy around.  He's such a great protector and cares a lot!



He also thinks some of my belongings are his. Silly Sammy.




8pm-9pm: This is where I get ready for bedtime.  If I'm in a happy mood and pretty dirty from the day, mommy will give me a bath.  Sometimes I don't always show it well, but I really do enjoy bath time, mom!


 Sometimes I read a book before bed.  That's what mommy does to help her fall asleep, too.




Or I'll do a few stretches.


But soon after I am pretty spent from my day.




I'm liking the crib more and more each day.  I wasn't too fond of it for a really long time.  But I know I'll be safest in it. I think mommy has this 'training' thing down pat now.

The next day brings on new and exciting things for me and I look forward to the mornings!  I know mommy does too so she can have her coffee!

Thanks for stopping by and allowing me to share my day with you!


You can see more of me here


Love,

Claire 

P.S.  I'm 7 months old today!  :)





October 1, 2014

Eats Lately


Hi Guys.  Happy Hump Day!

So, since I ate my weight in fall flavored Oreo cookies yesterday, I'm pretty spent. And bloated.  But I thought I would share a few glorious photos of my eats lately.  I think they show a nice balance.

...other than the Oreossss.


I've also started getting into running a little bit more and trying to use up this perfect fall weather we've been having.  For me, I do so much better when I run outside and it's such an awesome full body workout.





With that being said, I feel ravenous hours later if I run.  I'm assuming that's normal?  Help me out here marathoners!  But I notice something similar after doing squats and hand weights, too.




One thing is for sure, I get HANGRY people.








I'm loving just really balancing it all right now. Life, food, workouts. It keeps me sane even though it's nothing but a hot mess! :)


What have you been eating lately?

September 29, 2014

Spicy Veggie Taco Pasta



I had two packages of lean ground turkey in my fridge that were a week old.  I never froze them because I thought I'd use them before a full week came to be.


I had planned on making a spicy and creamy pasta dish with the ground turkey.  Needless to say, they stunk like bad egg salad and were tossed immediately. #fail  Oh well.  That shit happens from time to time.  But I think I made something even better and even more healthy.  A spicy, dreamy bowl of veggie goodness. With cheese and avocado on top, course.

This was delicious, hearty, filling, and hit the spot! 


I love one pot dishes.  And this is that.  So easy and dinner will be ready in no time!


And tip of the day: always freeze meat unless you are certain you'll cook with it within two days.

Spicy Veggie Taco Pasta

Ingredients:

-1 lb. whole wheat or grain pasta 
{penne or shells would work best}
-1 red bell pepper, cut in slices
-1 green bell pepper, cut in slices
-2 medium yellow onions, cut in slices
-2 garlic cloves, minced and diced
-1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
-1 large can crushed tomatoes { 28 oz}
-1 package reduced-sodium taco seasoning mix
-1/2 cup Greek yogurt, plain { optional}
-1 tsp. cayenne pepper
-1tbsp. olive oil or canola oil
-salt and pepper to taste


Method:

Cook pasta in salted water . Drain  at al dente and set aside.

Get the oil in the pan really hot. Once all chopped, cook the peppers, onions and garlic in a large skillet over medium-high heat until softened. Once veggies are tender, add the taco seasoning, crushed tomatoes and black beans. Cover and cook down about ten minutes. { throughout the entire cooking process, add salt and pepper to flavor each layer}. I added the cayenne pepper after the tomatoes and beans cooked down for a few minutes.  Stir here and there. 

Finally, add the Greek yogurt.  Stir well and let everything bubble and thicken one more time. Pour the veggie mixture into the pasta and combine well.  Top with shredded Mexican cheese, sour cream, more Greek yogurt, avocado and a garnish of fresh cilantro. A squeeze of fresh lime juice would give great added flavor as well!

Add this to your list of healthy Fall dishes!