Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Making the Switch

Snack of the day:
Pico De Gallo- delicious & fresh!
Red onions
Lime juice
With whole grain tortilla chips!

For dinner:
We grilled turkey burgers! Burgers are my favorite food. So when we were advised by some of our friends to try switching to turkey meat instead of red meat, I was a little apprehensive. But I was pleasantly surprised. They are definitely lighter on your stomach and taste amazing!! I have begun switching the ground beef in my recipes with ground turkey too. You literally cannot taste the difference.

No buns at home but improvised with some whole wheat bread. 

Don't get me wrong I love a good juicy steak or cheeseburger but too much red meat in your diet can be harmful. Red meat usually is higher in fat and cholesterol. You want to make sure you are choosing lean sources of meat.
For beef you want to choose 'select' or 'choice' grades trimmed of fat and 'round' or 'loin' cut of meat. Make sure you look at the percentages too... Aim for 90% lean and 10% fat. The less fat % and the higher the % lean is better. When I purchase ground round, I try to get 95% lean, 5% fat.

My Food Weaknesses

Last night after house hunting for about 4 hours, it was 9 pm and we hadn't eaten dinner. So we resourced to fast food on the way home. Keith wanted Chick-fil-a and I so cannot resist their fries. It got me thinking about my other bad-food weaknesses. Foods that once you start thinking about them, you have to fulfill the craving.

Chick-fil-a fries- The soft yummy waffle fries!

Ice cream- It used to be my favorite food. I worked at a ice cream drive in for 6 years, needless to say it was heaven but it also burnt me out. But if anyone ever offers me the chance to go, I will never say no!!

My sister and I at Archie's Too Drive In.

Oreos- I blame this obsession on husband. He always has to have Oreos in the house and now I can't get enough. Double Stuf Oreos and milk to be exact. I was craving them so bad the other night (hadn't had any since before we got married in May) but the last few were stale.. dipped them in milk and couldn't even tell. HA, yikes.
Even though I don't have kids, this cracks me up.

Nutella- Um no explanation here. The worst part is that they advertise it as a 'healthy' breakfast condiment when in fact it is high in sugar and fat. I do not recommend eating it for breakfast!

Pizza- Again, I will never turn down pizza. The problem is I can never just have one piece. It's one of Keith and I's favorite food, so any sign of suggesting it means were getting it! My ultimate choice is stuffed crust pizza with pepperoni. My health conscious mind chooses pizza loaded with veggies and thin crust.

A must have in Chicago.. Gino's East of Chicago Pizza!! 

Question of the day:
What are your food weaknesses?

Monday, July 29, 2013

Big Moves as Newlyweds

Keith and I started house hunting! We are very excited to start this journey. We are still very new to Charlotte, but have a general area of where we would like to move. We looked at a few houses tonight. We don't plan on moving until March but wanted to start early and see some of the neighborhoods so we can get familiar with the area. Which was our main focus for this first hunt. This is also a big move for us because we have been contemplating moving home and our commitment to Charlotte- if we buy a house we are making a commitment to stay in North Carolina for at least a few years. Ahhh big stuff! We had a great night and are giddy with excitement.

Our checklist for a house includes:
  • Safe, nice neighborhood
  • Fenced in backyard, or one that could eventually be fenced in.. (in my mind, house = puppy!!)
  • Nice, roomy kitchen- preferably updated
  • 3 bedrooms and a bonus room
  • Back porch
Today I also finished a book!! It was recommended by one of my best friends Anna, check her out here Striding Out Blog. She is a book worm like me. She suggested I read Mirror Image by Sandra Brown. It was SO good! Suspenseful and gives you a little Fifty Shades of Grey taste. I will definitely be picking up some more Sandra Brown books at the library this week.

Question of the day:
What are/were your checklists for a house?

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Rain Rain Go Away... It worked!

How's everyone's weekend?! Friday we went to dinner with some good Charlotte friends. We wanted to sit outside, grab a few drinks and appetizers. So we went to this restaurant called, Brazwells. It was beautiful outside and we enjoyed the company. I got to enjoy my favorite North Carolina Beer, Shotgun Betty. It's so delicious. It's similar to a Blue Moon. My husband and I shared zucchini fries and buffalo shrimp.. Yes more buffalo, I know I know but it was really good! We will definitely be back. The atmosphere is really laid back and good eats, my kind of place!!

We got a lot of rain here on Saturday. What a bummer! I had big plans for this weekend, since it was my first weekend in Charlotte in two weeks- I wanted to take a bike ride, a trip to the park, get some natural sun and vitamin D.. I was so sad Saturday when I woke up to the rain gushing down.We tried to make the best of it- we went to target and Trader Joe's. I have a new obsession with Trader Joe's!! Since I just went grocery shopping we didn't get much but we wanted to compare some prices with the local grocery we go to now. To see what changes would could make to our cooking ingredients or other things we eat! We thought it was very similar priced, so I will definitely be going back in the next few weeks. They had some samples to try and I got some good dinner ideas, keep your eye out!!

I've heard so many wonderful things about this, so we had to try it! And...well it definitely lived up to all the hype!! YUM!

Saturday night we went to dinner- we had a gift card to use and we went to Red Lobster! I love shrimp and of course their rolls are sinfully delightful. We came home, watched a movie and snugged on the couch.

Sunday I woke up and yes the sun was shining!! Woohoo. We went to church, ate a quick lunch and went to the pool. It was a hot one here but it was so much better than the rain.

Quick lunch- Whole wheat toast, one egg and one egg white with some cheddar cheese.

To top off the great weekend we walked on the Sugar Creek green way!! We can get to the green way it from our street. It is only a mile and half from our apartment and it leads into Freedom Park. I love it!! You get a great view of the city without feeling like you are uptown. In the spring we would go at least every weekend, one week we went 3 times! My favorite part of it is seeing all the dogs out! I want a puppy so bad, so I like to stop and swoon over all the puppies!!

AND we got ice cream!! We went to a local place called Elizabeth's Creamery. We got a two dip and eat picked a flavor- I picked oreo (one of my weaknesses) and he choose cookie dough. It was a perfect way to cool off after our hot walk.

Question of the day:
What is your favorite way to cool down in the summer?
Water, watermelon, and ice cream are my picks!! Or how about a jump in the pool?

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Summer Whirlwind

Our summer has been completely jam-packed! Including our wedding, we will have been to a total of EIGHT weddings this year! Not one of them would we miss for the world. I am either in them, related to them or they are our close college friends! All of them are totally worth the travel. 

Here is a picture of my bridal party- All of us are either married, engaged or in a serious relationship! How rare is that.. Our boys must realize what good catches we are, hehe. 

When you are in a wedding not only do you have to attend the wedding but you have many bridal showers and bachelorette parties to attend. Unfortunately being hours away from home has caused me to miss some of these (i'm actually missing one this weekend, wah!). However, I always try to make up for my absence by going to the next event!

Two weekends ago I traveled to Louisville for one of my best friend's bachelorette party! I have never been to Fourth Street live and it was a blast! Nothing beats live music, beer and friends.

The bride, Ashlie & I.

Ashlie's bridal party!

This past weekend my cousin got married! We traveled home and stayed with my husband, Keith's, parents Friday night. We got to visit his sister, her husband and his adorable niece Saturday morning. The wedding was only an hour from his parents house, so it was nice to break up the trip and see more family! It was a great wedding, a little rain but that didn't stop the party! Needless to say the drive home was a little rough.

My sister and I with my Dad.

Keith holding up my cousin, Sutherlin, trying to catch the bouquet!

While the traveling and visiting with families and friends is something that is very important to me and my husband, we have really missed being able to enjoy all we can here in Charlotte. Our first summer here. So we will be taking full advantage of having this weekend free!!

Question of the Day:
What is your favorite wedding song?
Mine is Shout by Isley Brothers. Nothing screams ‘wedding’ like that song!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Tacos

I pride myself on being pretty nutritionally knowledgeable and think my cooking skills are decent. But I have yet to master taking your favorite recipes and making them healthy. I'm still in the stage of following every recipe exactly or it might not turn out right! So, I have been choosing my battles. Like tonight- Keith LOVES anything with chicken, buffalo sauce and ranch, I know everyone has had some cheesy buffalo chicken dip! Well he requested and he shall receive. I found this recipe and instead of trying to make this more healthy (cutting out the flour and cornstarch), I'm making some changes to my overall meal- I made a yummy avocado salsa to top and choosing whole wheat tortilla shells.

Buffalo Chicken Tacos
1 lb chicken, skinless, boneless, cut into 1 in pieces (I used canned chicken because I had it on hand!)
1/3 cup flour
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/3 cup buffalo wing sauce (my husband likes it spicy, so added a few more dashes!)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Tortillas (or you can make them into lettuce wraps!)

In a large bowl, combine cornstarch, flour, and garlic powder. Season the chicken pieces with pepper, then toss in the flour mix.

Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet and once it gets hot, add chicken and cook on both sides- about 3 to 4 minutes per side (since I used can chicken I cooked until golden brown). Once the chicken is done, set it aside in a bowl and toss with 1/3 cup buffalo wing sauce.

To top:
Sour Cream
(Keith likes ranch- Yogurt Ranch! Half the calories, no compromise on taste. I highly suggest it!)

I made avocado salsa to top my tacos with! AMAZEBALLS

Avocado Salsa
2 medium or large avocados, diced into small pieces
3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup fresh-squeezed lime juice

Dinner is served!! Overall the meal was very delicious (and husband approved!). The chicken, even though slightly breaded was light and didn't leave me feeling over full or guilty.

The Overnight Craze

Overnight Oats- has anyone else heard the these? Or tried them? Well I needed to figure out what all the fuss was about! I tried one of my favorite bloggers recipes, Peanut Butter Fingers. I looked up different recipes and I thought this recipe looked the best- it had only a few ingredients (some of them I already had, bonus!) and she likes her oats thick too.

Here are some other Overnight Oat Recipes:

Whole Foods Overnight Oats
Kath Eats Real Food Overnight Oats
Fitting it all in Overnight Oats

Here is her recipe Overnight Oats :

  • 1 6 oz. Greek Yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons of Chia Seeds
  • 2/3 cup Quick Oats
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used skim milk)

Mix them all together.

Cover and refrigerate overnight. 

I tried them this morning and I have to say they were delicious!! I had to add a little bit of milk until the consistency looked good. I topped it off with my homemade granola & strawberries. The granola has cinnamon in it and it really adds some taste. So I think next time I make it I will add some cinnamon!

What it looked like right out of the fridge. I added a little milk so it wasn't so thick.

Breakfast is served! 

While I was looking at different Overnight Oat recipes I noticed most recipes included Chia Seeds. While you would think that as a dietetic student I learned all about super foods and dieting fads in our classes. But we really don't. So I wanted to find out what was so 'super' about chia seeds! You probably first heard about them as the chia sprouts growing from Chia Pets!! But they also have nutritional value. Chia seeds are a rich source of Omega 3, protein and antioxidants. They are easy to digest, have a long shelf-life and don't need any preparation before eating. When they are added to water and allowed it sit, for at least 30 minutes, chia forms a gel- which helps the thickening of overnight oats.

Homemade Granola Recipe:

3 cups of oats
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp of canola oil 
1/2 cup of lite maple syrup
(optional- add 1 cup of raisins, cranberries or nuts)
 Combing the oats, cinnamon, salt, (optional raisins, cranberries, nuts)
Then combine they syrup, canola oil. Pour on top of dry ingredients and mix together. Mix until all the dry ingredients are covered.
Place parchment paper over a cookie sheet and spread the granola evenly 
Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown 
Delicious with some yogurt in fruit as a parfait! 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

After College Funk

My most recent pickle.. Where do I go from here?
God bless him, my husband works really hard and takes very good care of me! To become a RD, I had to complete a year-long internship and then had to study for my boards. Therefore I have not worked in a while and am currently on the grueling job hunt for my 'big girl job'! Resulting, my recent weeks have consumed of a lot of Netflix and reading by the pool.

This is my current read. Usually I go for something a little more enjoyable and light. However I have read all of my books and am waiting on my library card to come in the mail! Nerd alert! Through my RD internship I never had that epiphany moment where I was like 'yes this is exactly what I want to do'. So I have really been struggling with where I see my career down the road. After reading through some of the chapters I know that I am not ready to go off on my own yet but it is definitely something my husband and I would like to venture out and do someday.

While reading by the pool is enjoyable.. I do get very bored. My poor husband has his phone blown up by texts, emails, pictures, and snap chats all day long. And I pounce on him as soon as he gets home, dying for some attention. Throughout college I always had at least two jobs, then my internship was daily from 9am-5pm, and when I studied for my exam I tried to do 5-7 hours a day!! When I wasn't at my internship I was planning my wedding, so I rarely had down time. Now that all of those are over and have yet to find a job.. I get restless.
Here are my pros and cons of that slum in-between school and applying for jobs-
  • Started my blog
  • I love having time to read
  • I have a nice tan 
  • Our apartment is really clean
  • Finances.. I'm very familiar with the word 'budget'
  • Bored
  • Lonely
  • Would love to meet more people- find some co-worker friends
  • When I don't have a working routine I become lazy
Luckily it is another beautiful day here in Charlotte! The pool is screaming my name and hopefully a nice bike ride with Keith tonight.

Question(s) of the Day:
What are some great books you have read recently?
Have you ever struggled with where you wanted to take your career?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

More Grocery Tips

To continue on the grocery tips- Whenever I get home from the grocery store I like to prep my fresh foods. It's a little time consuming but definitely worth it... Every time I want to snack on a carrot- I don't want to spend the time peeling and cutting! (I like to buy the whole carrots, not the pre-packaged baby carrots.. way more bang for your buck!) I also like to keep my husband on the right track while he's munching at work, so I like to prep vegetables for him to eat at work.

Question of the Day:

What is your grocery game plan?

First of Many Pickles

Hello Y'all!! I have been wanting to start a blog for sometime now. I just never knew where to start and what I wanted my focus to be. I have many enjoyments- shopping, food, physical activity, marriage, friends, family, music. Where should I start? Well why not a small dose of everything?! I have just passed my registration exam for Registered Dietitians. It has been a huge relief and now I have plenty of spare time to start a blog!! I will try to post health-ful information and recipes that i'll be whipping up.

I will also be keeping you up-to-date with my personal life. I am a newlywed, as of May 18, 2013! We have lived together since November so that has not been an adjustment. However, we are still trying out figuring out the husband and wife roles- and to be the best we can be for each other. We also have a lot of traveling to do this summer-fall that we will love to share!

Like I promised I will be sharing many pickles that come with changing your lifestyle and efforts to live a healthy life. For my first pickle.. Today I went grocery shopping. For many people this is the first point of disaster. Here are my tips to be a successful grocery shopper!

1. Make a list!! 
Research recipes that you would like to try or look through your fridge and cabinets and see what you already have. Make a list of the things you still need to make a meal. Or search the Sunday ads at your favorite grocery store and see what's on sale. Then think of ways you can use those awesome deals. Try to plan your meals- that will minimize the chances of you ordering take out.
2. Find a grocery store that fits you and your families needs.
When I lived in Cincinnati I always went to Kroger. Kroger plus cards were great to save money without cutting those coupons and they had other perks, like saving on gas! I always try to find a grocery that has good, fresh produce too, so I don't have to shop at two different places. In Charlotte, we go to Harris Teeter. A little pricier than other stores. But they have a great savings card and deals every week. Whenever they tell me how much I saved each trip I feel like such a winner! They also have a great produce section.
3. Don't go grocery shopping hungry.
When you grocery shop hungry you will want to buy everything in sight! Make sure to have a snack before you leave the house.
4. Perimeter shop.
The perimeter of the grocery store has all your essentials. Dairy, meat, fruits, vegetables and sometimes the grains. If you spend too much time in the isles you'll feel tempted to buy those cookies, soda, chips and cereals.

Deal of the day-- 4 lbs of strawberries for $7.00, what am I going to do with all of these!! Yum! And I saved $22.03. Not my record highest but I'll take it!