Thursday, September 27, 2012


I can't believe another Wednesday has come and gone.  Fall is officially here and I'm so excited for it! (Except for the fact I already need a spray tan and it's not even October yet.)  I was thinking of doing a challenge during the month of October and try to eat/drink something pumpkin every day.  I'll keep you posted...

Breakfast was cream of wheat...perfect for a stormy, rainy morning.  If only I could have enjoyed it at home and not at my computer at work.

Snack was 2 no bake energy bites.  I wasn't joking when I said I love these things.  I make them almost every week.  I also drank an Emergen-C.

Lunch was leftover grilled eggplant bruschetta from dinner last night.  I also had 1 C. of Trader Joe's Red Pepper Soup.

Afternoon snack was a pita and Trader Joe's Edamame Hummus.

We had tickets to The Lion King so to start out date night we went to Bonefish Grill.  I'm not usually a huge fan of Bonefish for some reason, but I do like to go there this time of year.  Their pumpkin ravioli is back and I had it several times last year.  It's a special that comes with swordfish and some other stuff, but I always just ask for the ravioli and then take advantage of $5 Bang Bang shrimp!  I ate 1/2 an order of shrimp and then all of my ravioli. It's topped with goat cheese (my fav!) and sage and stuffed with just the right amount of pumpkin.  Mmmm!Mmmmm!  I also had one glass of cabernet and I only had one bite of bread since I ate a pita that afternoon.

Some of you may wonder if Josh was excited for The Lion King.  Well.... he does this with every newborn he's ever held.

All we were trying to do was get a family pic and Josh "presents" his nephew like he's Simba.  I'm next to him frantically telling him to be's a HUMAN, not a lion.  Exhibit A as to why we are still a family of 2. :)

He may have been excited for the show, but he was not so excited to take a pic to document it.  I know he just does this because he knows it frustrates me.  Oh, true love!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Whole Wheat Mini Banana Muffins

I don’t bake much, but I hate throwing food away.  So, several weeks ago when some of our bananas browned before we ate them I decided to test a new recipe out.  It came from one of my favorite bloggers, Sugar Free Mom. (  I receive her daily e-mails, but I wasn’t sure how these would turn out because some things I try of hers are really tasty, but some of it has been not so tasty.  However, I ate all these up already and need to make a new batch.   I hope you like them as much as I did!


3 very ripe bananas, mashed
2 eggs
4 oz cream cheese, light, softened (I used neufchatel cheese)
2 c. white whole wheat flour
1 tbsp. flaxseed meal
1/2 c. applesauce, unsweetened
1/2 c. milk of choice (I used almond milk)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
6 packets stevia (Aldi carries this now!)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray mini muffin pans with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl or stand mixer, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, flaxseed, stevia, and salt and mix well.

In another bowl, whisk the eggs, vanilla extract, applesauce, and milk. Add them to the mixer and combine well.

Add cream cheese and banana’s and mix until combined.

Stir in chocolate choips.

Using an ice cream scoop or spoon, pour the mixture into each cup. If you want more mini muffins, fill them 3/4 of the way. If you want larger ones, fill them level to the top of the cup.

Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick in center comes out pretty clean. Let them cool for a few minutes then finish cooling them on a wire rack.

Nutrition Info
Servings: 36* Calories: 61* Fat: 3g* Fiber: 1g* Carbs: 9g* Protein: 2g* Points+: 2*

I placed these in the freezer and then each night put a couple in the refrigerator and I was set for breakfast the next morning.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


                  My Wednesday was filled with delicious food yesterday:

I started out with two whole wheat banana mini muffins.

For a snack, I had 20 plantain chips.  I got it right this week and bought plantain chips.  So much better than banana chips!

I was home over the weekend and snagged another jar of my mom's beets she canned.  I love these things.  I added some goat cheese.  The picture looks kind of gross, but it was delicious!  (Fun fact, the beet juice turns the goat cheese pink.  I'm totally pouring juice all over it next time and making my goat cheese pink for my salad.)

Lunch was leftover dinner from Tuesday night.  I went a little crazy at Trader Joe's on Monday.  I didn't have a list and I bought everything that sounded good.  I had spaghetti squash, butternut squash, and eggplant.  I had a squash kind of night (and leftover lunch).  I made spaghetti squash with basil pesto and tomatoes and roasted butternut squash with panko.

Afternoon snack was kind of large, but I wasn't kidding when I said I bought a lot at Trader Joe's.  I also had spinach and broccoli slaw to use up so I made a wrap with those two items and added pineapple and I made a sauce with Greek yogurt, poppy seed, chili powder and onion powder.

Around 4:30 I drank a glass of lemongrass tea.

While I made dinner I had some hummus and a pita.  Dinner was a glass of Cabernet and I made sweet potato gnocchi and a tomato vodka sauce to go on top.  One of our favorite meals! 

Probably a few too many carbs for the day (story of my life), but overall it was healthy.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Revocup Coffee Shop

A few weeks ago, while having dinner with friends, one of the people at my mom’s table ordered a cup of coffee after dinner.  Their server told them about the best coffee in town at a coffee shop called Revocup.  Coincidentally, the next week Tyler (my brother) had a friend tell him she had an amazing cup of coffee while she was home visiting over the weekend and it was from Revocup. 

Several years ago my parents bought a latte machine and they had fresh coffee beans delivered each week from a company to their house.  At that time, I happened to work with my parents and my office was in their basement.  Each day, a latte was waiting in front of my computer when I arrived to work.  Oh, those were the days. J  Anyway, my parents are big timers now and have switched to regular coffee and ditched the latte machine.  Sadly, that small, locally owned coffee bean company went out of business and my parents started buying their coffee beans from Trader Joe’s.  However, after two people recommended it within a week, my mom visited Revocup.  She found a new place to buy her freshly roasted coffee beans and support locally!

We had a wedding Sunday night in Kansas City so Josh and I both took Monday off and I got to spend all day with my mom.  It was fabulous!  My mom and I started our Monday Funday at Revocup.  I am not a coffee expert, but oh my goodness.  This is what I wanted to do…

I could have shouted, “Congratulations!  You did it!  You made the world’s best cup of coffee!”  But, I refrained from unleashing my inner Buddy the Elf and calmly enjoyed my cafĂ© au lait.  They roasted a bourbon pecan bean that was OUT OF THIS WORLD.  Again, I know pretty much nothing about coffee, but I know that was the best of cup of coffee I have ever had.  Ever.  Trust me.

The owners are a husband and wife (love it!) and they are from Ethiopia.  They receive their green coffee beans from overseas and roast them right there at the coffee shop.  The store is located at College and Quivira.  It is not new and I must have driven by it a hundred times and never noticed it, but you can tell they have some dedicated customers.  We sat and enjoyed our coffee and almost everyone who walked in the barista waved at and new who they were.  I failed to get a picture of the inside; it’s nothing fancy, but it has some tables and couches.  It was cozy and would be a nice place to meet someone for coffee.  On a Monday at 8:45 a.m. it looked like business was good.  There were several people sitting around the room as well as a few to go orders that came in.  Their hours are 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. M-F, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays.  If you live in Kansas City you need to give this place a try.  I can’t wait to go back…I might make them a sign to hang in the window to let everyone know it’s the greatest cup of coffee...maybe not in the world, but for sure, in Kansas City!

Thursday, September 13, 2012


It’s already Wednesday again.  Well, Thursday morning actually.  This posting on Wednesday night may have been a lofty goal; Thursday a.m. seems more feasible. 

Breakfast started with a pumpkin bagel from Panera.  That’s right, pumpkin is here!  I’ll try to be humble about it, but you’re welcome.  What are you thanking me for?  Well, I feel I had a small part in Panera deciding to FINALLY make pumpkin bagels.  Wichita doesn’t have an Einstein Brothers so last year, I called Panera once a week asking if they had pumpkin bagels yet.  Finally, on week 5, someone who actually knew what they were talking about said, “We’ve never had pumpkin bagels before-we don’t make that kind.”  I boycotted Panera for a bit after that.  How could you not make pumpkin bagels?  Anyway, as of yesterday they make them now!  I am sure my 5 phone calls had something to do with that so as I mentioned, you are welcome.  Small thing: Einstein Brothers are way better…I’ll give Panera another chance in a couple weeks since I did attack them on Day 1 at 7 a.m for their first batch.  I hope it improves a bit though because you know these bad boys are horrible for you and I usually scoop out the inside of the bagel to save calories, but I can’t bring myself to do that to the pumpkin one.  It wouldn’t be right.  Here’s to hoping Panera’s get better.

            For my snack I ate two no bake energy bites around 11 a.m.

I decided to try some figs for the first time ever around 12:30.  I saw them in the Trader Joe’s newsletter and thought I’d give them a try.  I am not exaggerating when I say I found them horrible.  So horrible in fact I could only choke 3 down.  So, I’ll have to get creative and find a way to use them in something because I hate wasting food.  I’ll probably just start tossing few in my smoothies and I’ll never know they’re there. 

Lunch was a salad with romaine, spinach, mini peppers, and my favorite topping-Sugar Snap Pea Crisps.  These are the bomb.  I topped it with a homemade olive oil/vinegar dressing.


With my salad I also ate some leftover Shepherd's Pie.

I drank an Emergen-C with my lunch for two reasons.  First reason, I sweat a ton Wednesday morning at hot yoga and I like to replace all the nutrients I lost.  Most would just drink a protein shake, but I can’t bring myself to do it.  You see, in good ‘ol Big Red Town I would bet money they put protein powder in every stinkin’ food item they prepared for the athletes to get them to that Husker Power level they wanted.  (Don’t get me wrong, I’m super thankful for the opportunity and I LOVED my time at Nebraska.  I just didn’t like my thunderous thighs) Anyway, I avoided extra protein like I avoid germs while I was there and I still do.  It freaks me out.  Speaking of germs-that brings me to reason number two I drank this.  Josh was sick last week and just in case it wasn’t West Nile I need to load up on extra vitamins.  Also, my family who I spent time with last weekend and who I will be seeing this weekend is passing around a cold.  You can never be too careful or prepared.  At least if I get sick I will know I did all I could to prevent it.  Please don’t quit reading my blog now…I know I’m a germ freak.  I blame my father.  We’ve had way too many discussions.


I thought I bought plantain chips the other day so you can imagine my surprise when I opened the package and I ate a banana chip.  Yuck.  You wouldn’t think two things coming from the same family of food could taste so different, but boy do they ever.  Once again, I hate to waste food I spent my money on so I resorted to more calories to choke this down.  I may not like bananas much, but mixed with other stuff they are okay.  You know, like peanut butter or chocolate.  I made some chocolate peanut butter fruit dip for the KState tailgate on Saturday and had some leftover.  It made my banana chips taste much better.  Serving size is 14 so I ate 14 of them…with a big scoop of fruit dip.  (Fruit dip had pureed carrots in it though so I got SOME good in this snack) J

My friend Emilee was in town for work so we went to a new place I’ve wanted to try called Metro Grill III.  It. Was. Amazing.  I will definitely be back and I’ll blog all about it later.  We got there early and there wasn’t anyone else there yet so the poor chef could hear me talking and I sounded so annoying probably…you know, like Tamra from Housewives and how she can’t bring herself to eat a piece of bread.  Oh, the horror.  I had planned to get the veggie sandwich, but Tuesday night I went to my friends for a grilled cheese bar party and I seriously ate 10 pieces of bread.  I’m not kidding.  They were small baguette size, but I made FIVE sandwiches.  That’s at least ¾ of a loaf of bread.  Not good.  Then, I woke up at got a bagel.  I mean, really?!  So, I was telling Emilee how normally I don’t worry about ordering a sandwich, but tonight I really need to stay away from bread.  Chef to the rescue!  He suggested the Mahi Mahi Sandwich and he could leave the bread off.  Done and done.  It was an excellent choice and I can’t wait to eat there again!

My dinner was amazeballs, but I ate it early and I get hungry every couple hours.  Around 8:15 I was a little hungry so I ate some cheesy potatoes that I had made Josh for dinner.  As I microwaved them Josh was studying at the kitchen table and says, “No carbs after 8.”  That’s his rule...not mine.  I enjoyed every bite.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie

My friend Brittany hosts a Book Club every few months and we met last week.  We read a charming short book called 84, Charing Cross Road.  It takes place in London for part of it so Brittany wanted British themed food.  (This girl might get into party planning/themes more than I do.  If you want to see one of the many reasons we are friends check out her son’s first birthday party here on her blog.  Sherlock Holmes themed for baby Landon!)  When I offered to bring something to Book Club she told me she was making Shepherd’s Pie and asked if I could bring a veggie version of one.  Then she asked if that even existed.  I had no idea if it did, but a quick Google search showed it definitely existed-in many forms!  I told her I’d be happy to bring it, but I warned her I had never made a Shepherd’s Pie before so no promises.

My Dad is the KING of searching online for new recipes and then combining a bunch of different ones to make it his way.  I decided to try his methods and guess what?  It worked!  I was not sure how it was going to taste, but everyone at book club agreed it was delicious!  The best part was, I combined a lot of recipes and I also used a lot of vegetables I already had in my refrigerator.  This is a great way to use up your produce and you can make it with whatever your family likes.  I had a couple requests to put the recipe on my blog so I made it again last night for Meatless Monday and took pictures this time.  By the way, let’s just come to a mutual understanding that until further notice, Josh does not like the Meatless Monday meal unless I comment otherwise.  I thought FOR SURE this would be a winner because he loves sweet potatoes and he likes all the vegetables in this.  I was wrong, very wrong.  However, don’t let that keep you from making this!  As I mentioned, Book Club girls liked it and one of them even made the recipe already and her husband loved it…mine’s just super picky!

I don't know if my dad combined a bunch of recipes for this one or not, but I thought I'd give him a shout out for his delicious sliders he made last weekend for our tailgate!

Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

1 T. oil
1 ½ cups minced onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 t. salt
Fresh black pepper to taste
1 stalk celery, minced
1 lb zucchini, diced
1 bell pepper, minced
4-6 carrots
1 C. vegetable or chicken broth
2 t. dried basil
½ t. dried oregano
Cayenne to taste (I used 1/8 t.)
1 cup lentils
1 cup fresh spinach
½ cup cheddar cheese

Mashed Sweet Potatoes:
4 large sweet potatoes
½ cup milk
3 garlic gloves, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup fresh parsley, minced

Most recipes say to peel and dice your potatoes and then boil them.  I was lazy so I just microwaved them and then scooped out the insides and placed them in a bowl.  However you want to cook your potatoes is fine.  Mix potatoes with the mixer for a few seconds and then add milk and garlic and mix until fluffy.  (You may need more milk depending on your potatoes) Stir in salt, pepper, and parsley.  Other recipes used regular potatoes, but I always have sweet potatoes on hand so I went with those and I think that’s what makes this so good.  Other recipes also said to add 1 T. of butter, but I didn’t think that was necessary so I left it out.

Preheat oven to 350. 

Cook lentils according to package directions.  Most recipes called for peas, but I can’t stand peas so I subbed lentils because I had those already.  I made these the night before so they were ready to toss in. 

Heat the oil (I used coconut oil) in a large skillet.  Add the onion and saute over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until it begins to soften.

Add all your vegetables except the lentils and spinach along with your broth and saute for 7-10 minutes.  Add the herbs, cooking another 3-5 minutes until vegetables are tender and most of the broth is absorbed.  Stir in the lentils and spinach.  Remove from heat and stir until spinach wilts.  Stir in cheese.

Transfer the mixture to a 9 x 13 pan and spread evenly.  Top with mashed sweet potatoes and sprinkle with paprika.  Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes, until bubbly around the edges.

All the vegetables in the pan.

Lentils getting stirred in.

Spinach stirred in.

Spinach is wilted!

With the cheese and all ready to go in the pan.  I made a half batch so I have it in a smaller pan.

Sweet potatoes mashed and parsley stirred in.

Sprinkled with paprika.  Enjoy!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Lemongrass Tea

My grandma has been keeping this little gem to herself and I don't know why she didn't share it sooner!  (It's okay grandma, just don't let it happen again) J She learned to make lemongrass tea from her friends in Hawaii.  Her and my grandpa learned of the health benefits and started drinking it and could tell a difference in my grandpa’s blood pressure while drinking just one glass a day.  After trying it one day recently at my grandparent's house and then reading about the many health benefits my mom made some a couple weeks ago and her and my dad love it as well.  I am in agreement-it’s tasty!  It’s much different than lemon water and has a very mild flavor, but yet is so refreshing.  I have made this tea hot and cold and while both are delightful, I think drinking it cold wins by a small margin.  Ask me again this winter and it may be different!  If you're expecting a strong iced tea flavor you will be disappointed; it doesn't have that at all-it's more like flavored water.

The benefits of lemongrass are numerous.  It’s full of antioxidants, caffeine-free, has a calming effect and can help with insomnia, detoxifies the body, has natural vitamins and minerals that can lower blood pressure, and has even been shown to cause cancer cells to die off.  On top of all that, it helps clear your skin.  I’m sold.  Since it is a natural diuretic you should not drink this all day long; moderation is the key.  I keep it to one glass per day.  After doing some research the only people that need to stay clear of lemongrass are those who are pregnant or breastfeeding.  One of the benefits of the tea is that it helps stimulate the uterus so if you’re pregnant there is fear that it could cause uterine contractions.  I just used the word uterus in a food blog…didn’t see that one coming did you?!

Last week, my mom was so sweet and bought me some lemongrass at the Farmer’s Market.  She got me about 10 stems and it was $3.  I call them the “big” Dillon’s in Wichita because there are Dillon’s stores that carry regular groceries and then there are the “big” ones that have TONS of groceries.  At the “big” Dillon’s last week I saw lemongrass in the produce section and it was $1.99 for two stems.  Much more expensive than the Farmer’s Market, but still available at the grocery store which is good to know.  When my mom gave me the lemongrass last week, my brother Tyler knew exactly what it was and wanted me to leave him some so he could make his own.  Then, just Saturday his friend was at the football game with us and she makes it all the time.  Clearly-I have been out of the loop…so, apologies if I am sharing something that everyone already knows all about, but I just learned to make it.

To start, cut off the top "grassy" dried out portion of two pieces of lemongrass and chop off the bottom ends.  Peel off the outermost layer and then slice the lemongrass all the way down the middle, hot dog style if you will. :)  Then, chop it in to small pieces.

Place approximately 3 cups of water in a saucepan and add lemongrass. Bring to a boil and let boil/simmer for about 20 minutes.  You will lose some of the water, but it should not run out. 

Strain your liquid into a pitcher.  You want a small strainer, so I used my tea pot and strained it through that mesh.  You could also use a flour sifter if you don't have a tiny strainer.

Add cold water to your pitcher to dilute.  You really can't mess this up; you can make it as strong or mild as you want.  (And, hopefully you have a more mature husband than mine who asked why there was urine in the refrigerator.  He is yet to try this...and he was sick last week and I wasn't.  I'll just leave it at that.) 

Pour over ice and enjoy!  Trust me, it's totally worth the effort and my pitcher lasts me all week.  Your healthy body will thank you!

*To make this hot, simply use one stalk and chop up the same way.  Only put enough water in the saucepan for one cup/mug of tea.  Allow to boil and simmer for several minutes and then strain.  Enjoy it hot right away.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

What I Ate Wednesday #2

 My goal was to post my WIAW on Wednesdays by the end of the day, but yesterday was one of those days.  Not a bad day, just a busy one where a few small things didn’t go quite as planned and it threw me all off.  Thursday morning isn’t too far behind and since I know you’re just dying to know what I ate yesterday J here you go:

On my drive to work I ate two of these mini whole wheat banana chip muffins.  They are a new recipe I tried last week and I love them.  They are sweetened with no added sugar applesauce and a little bit of Stevia.  I will share recipe soon!

I had one cup of decaf coffee with 2 tablespoons of Trader Joe's Soy Creamer.

I ate some Plantain Chips for a snack.

I actually ate the risotto for another mid morning snack.  I started my day at 5 am so I'm usually ready for lunch at 10:30, but I try to eat a couple snacks and eat lunch at a normal time so I get back on schedule.  My leftover dinner from Tuesday night of roasted cauliflower with Tahini dressing and the Grilled Eggplant Bruschetta made for a great lunch.
Afternoon snack was a green apple.

Then, my so-called easy dinner went a little weird.  I was using up some salsa and peppers we had and making quesadillas for the Cowboys/Giants game.  I was also in the process of chopping vegetables and cooking lentils for my dinner this evening.  I wasn't using the oven, just the stovetop when out of nowhere my oven displayed this F2EO and proceeded to BEEP very loudly for about 10 minutes.  Not. Kidding.  I pushed every button and nothing would stop it.  It was making me crazy!  I dug out the owner's manual and called the toll free number.  Of course, at 7:00 p.m they are closed.  I googled it (what did we do without the Internet?!) and it appears my key pad is going out maybe...suggestion was to unplug it and restart the power to reset it.  So, with lentils on the stove, vegetables scattered all over the counter, not to mention my sleeping sick husband who may or may not have West Nile I was trying to get this BEEPING to stop.  All I wanted was my quesadilla in my belly and to go sit down and watch the first NFL game of the season.  I got on the floor and pulled the stove out away from the wall only to find there is no plug.  The huge tube or plug in or whatever it is goes into a hole in the wall and is just connected to the oven. I saw not reset button or power button either. Spectacular.  I got up and started making quesadillas when a miracle happened: it quit the beeping!  Ahhh...quiet at last.  A few minutes later I pushed the stove back to it's place and decided I'd try to push some buttons now that it quit beeping.  Once touch on "clear" and the time came back on and I tested it by pushing "bake" and that seemed to work as well.  I cleaned up my mess, grabbed my food, only missed three plays of the game, and Josh slept through it all.  Now, you know my oven will mess up again when I'm having company over!

I lost count to how many of these I ate since my dinner was finished later than expected thanks to the oven distraction.  I think I lost about 5 pounds of water weight in yoga that afternoon and I was really hungry!! I kept reaching in the bag...they are just so good.  I ate way too many, let's just leave it at that.

I was so focused on cleaning up and getting downstairs to watch football I forgot to take a picture of my quesadilla, but it was just a bell pepper, onion and salsa one with guac on top.  I enjoyed a glass of my newest obsession my mom and grandma introduced me to.  Homemade Lemongrass Tea.  Recipe coming soon...full of health benefits and refreshing!