Things I like Thursday: good time Saturday night

We had a few people over last weekend.  party 5

Ok like 16.

Dan and I hosted our very first party and first house concert, featuring Drew Kennedy.  The concert was also used as a kick-start for his new album, which he played in it’s entirety.  No, it’s not cheap, but it’s really a neat experience to go to.  Small number of people and very intimate.  This was the 3rd or 4th i’ve been to, but our first time hosting.  It was hard, because we couldn’t invite everyone, in fact, I didn’t have anything to do with the logistics other than being there and getting the massive amount of groceries and helping food prep.

concert 2

The food was awesome, or at least I thought so.  I finally got to use my new Auburn serving platter!  That’s homemade jalapeno summer sausage that my dad made.

part 1

Dan smoked a bunch of meat (bacon wrapped pork tenderloins, Canecuh sausages from Alabama, and a brisket), made his mom’s potato salad, beans, I made my mom’s famous 7 layer dip.  We also had people bring oriental slaw, 7 layer greek dip, brownies, an awesome fruit bowl, and lots of drinks (our whole kitchen table was a bar).concert 1

party 4

During the first break at the concert, we sang Dan happy birthdayconcert 4

and they dug into his cookie cake (writing in Auburn orange of course!)

concert 3

I think it’s safe to say, a good time was had by all.  The evening ended with a 18 person slumber party!  It’s a good thing we have room.

The next morning the yummy bbq was converted into breakfast tacos.  I cropped this so you can’t see the disaster my house was on Sunday morning!concert 5

It got cleaned up for the most part, but then we all went to the softball benefit and I never finished the job.  Not spotless, but it’ll do until the weekend.

Forced rest for the weary

I had the perfect plan this week.  Slow.  Take it easy at work.  Get extra sleep.  Recover from my surgery.  Go home to see baby Evan and my parents Friday afternoon after work.

NONE of that happened.

Although I was off all medication except surgery vitamins and antibiotic, I was a zombie on Monday at work.  I told everyone I was just going to chill in my office and do my thing.  I am glad i’d lowered my standing desk, because standing wasn’t in my best interest.  Neither were the jeans I wore to work.  Word to the wise, I don’t care what kind of surgery you have, the water retention all goes to your middle.  I wore leggings the rest of the week.  Also not flattering, but at least I wasn’t uncomfortable.

Monday was a long day.  So long, that at the 2nd to last stop light of my ride home, I fell asleep sitting at the light.  I was that jerk who didn’t move and got honked at.  Not good.  I had to go back to Austin for a LUNA photo that evening and I had Dan drive me back after I attempted a 30 minute nap.

The rest of the week was slightly better, but with this week being the last week of legislative filing for bills, work was FLOODING in.  I worked long and non-stop all week.  I was a bad girl and moved my desk back to standing.  #1 I am not supposed to lift anything for 3 weeks and #2 standing probably not the best idea.  But I honestly concentrate so  much better standing, I had to.

I got home from work last night at 9 pm.  By 9 pm last night i’d planned to be watching tv with my parents at their house and visiting with them.  My dad had cataract surgery on Wednesday and i’d wanted to visit him.  Plus baby Evan is over a month old now and I haven’t seen him in exactly a month 😦  It was only supposed to be a day trip, but that’s better than nothing. Talked to my mom when I got off of work and she begged me to just stay home this weekend and rest (she doesn’t know about the surgery, she just knows I’ve been working alot and she knows i’m supposed to be reducing stress).

Instead Friday night was a very late dinner (luckily I had leftovers from Duck Dynasty night at our house).  Yes, I make cajun food every Wednesday for Duck Dynasty, I should start featuring what we have each week.  I tried to make Dan wear camo, maybe next week 😉  I had made cajun rubbed pork roast that i’d pinned  (got great reviews), but neither of us really liked it much, I think we like spice way too much and it needed way more.  I ended up repurposing the leftovers into a salad one night and for cajun spiced spuds last night.  Dan loved the spuds idea (I doctored the pork with extra cajun spice, put his in a baked potato with cheese and onions).

I crashed out around 11 pm which is late for me.  Dan tried to move me upstairs, but since I have to sleep in a certain position, I asked him to leave me down in the chair, where i’d passed out.  Would have been fine, if Missy wasn’t being a brat and jumping all over me.  Kind of hard to anticipate an aerial assault in your sleep.  He wanted to lock her in the bathroom, but I wouldn’t let him.

So my Saturday now consists of:  Dan leaving to go to FW to have fun without me, me running errands, getting a haircut, and watching Redbox.  Dan ordered me to stay at home, minus the haircut I booked before he woke up.  Hey, I am in DIRE need.  Too bad my color lady lives where my parents live.  I only like her to touch my hair, but the color is trashy looking right now.  I may cave and hit Walgreen’s before I let someone else touch my hair!  At least it’ll be cut in a few hours, that’s half the battle.

Getting home from work so late last night and working so much when I shouldn’t have been working much at all is a reminder to me to SLOW DOWN.  I am supposed to be healing my adrenal fatigue and i’m now healing from the unrelated surgery.  So that’s just what I am going to do 🙂

Things I like Thursday: Simple Eats

Life has been really busy lately.  Thank goodness for simple eats!

Here are some i’ve been enjoying lately in my hectic schedule:

Steak salad.  Spinach, veggie mix, homemade pickled okra, grilled mini peppers, and thin grilled sirloin beef (with Penzey’s Mural of flavor spice rubbed on meat).  Gluten Free Ranch Dressing (I rarely eat dressing, nice change)

Turkey salad.  Spinach, strawberries, roasted sweet potatoes, EVOO to dress.

Egg stacks.  Brown rice cakes, guacamole, egg white souffles.  Penzey’s chili powder to top.  GREAT breakfast!

BBQ chicken pizza.  Glutino’s GF English muffins (pan fried/browned in EVOO first), Stubb’s BBQ sauce, leftover BBQ chicken thighs, pinch of cheese, jalapenos.  Side of broccoli (and another BBQ’d chicken thigh)

Quinoa Italiano.  Quinoa, broccoli, mushrooms, onions, chicken sausage, all sauteed in EVOO and tossed with pasta sauce.  

Quinoa toss.  Normandy veggies, zucchini, quinoa and chicken sausage all sauteed in EVOO.

Can’t beat the easy and fast!  I had cooked quinoa frozen in serving size containers at the time, so it was really fast and easy to throw together.

Verdict is still out on the Glutino English Muffins, they aren’t really anything like one, but rather cornbreadish instead.  Not bad and not something i’d buy or eat regularly, but good enough to make into part of a meal like a pizza, garlic bread, etc.

Another reason my dad rocks

After Father’s Day dinner, my dad gave me all of this from his garden…..

Peaches.  I cut and froze 4 quarts, left the rest for snacks and desserts.  Ate 2 of them yesterday for breakfast in a dessert omelet.

Spaghetti and butternut squashes, with a few acorn.

Tons of different types of tomatoes

A huge bag of jalapenos and some onions aren’t pictured, but will be enjoyed.

I am certainly going to miss this free summer produce if they sell their house 😦

I cooked 2 spaghetti squashes on Sunday and froze them.  Cooked another for for Sunday dinner and Monday lunch for me.  Regular pasta for Dan, because he won’t eat spaghetti squash.  It turned out great!  Chicken breast, artichokes, sundried tomato seasoning kit mixed with EVOO, (the tomatoes, onions and squash) are from his garden.  It was delish!  Not the prettiest dish, but very tasty with so much flavor!

Mediterranean salmon warm salad.  Salmon, spinach, EVOO, (tomatoes and onions from the garden), feta crumbles, and quinoa (cooked in chicken broth).  

I haven’t cooked any of the butternut squash yet, I may put that on the agenda for Wednesday.  There is too much to eat, so i’ll  have to cook and freeze some of that too.

Looks like some kitchen adventures are in store for me on Wednesday evening!

Recipe Review: Herbed Artichoke Chicken

1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken breasts
14 ounces canned tomatoes, drained and diced
14 ounces artichoke hearts, canned in water, drained
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
1 cup nonfat chicken broth
1/4 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon sweet basil, dried
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions
Combine all ingredients in the Crock-Pot. Mix thoroughly.
Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or on High for 3 ½ to 4 hours or until done.

Source:  Crock-pot.  Serves 4.  5 WW P+

I mad this a while back, served mine over broccoli, Dan had his with garlic bread.  With the leftovers we had it over pasta.  I may try mine over another vegetable or quinoa in the future, although pasta was good.  I picked out all of the olives and let him have them 😉

World Gratitude Day

Happy World Gratitude Day!  

Gratitude is definitely something I need to work on. 

To remind myself, I bought myself this cute little coin in Georgetown a few weekends ago.  Keep it in my wallet.

Today I am grateful for the little things.    Like Missy loving me no matter what my mood is. 

WORKOUT

There was one.  Ok, actually there was two.  I had to break it into two sessions, because my legs couldn’t handle it this morning 😦 

I am grateful though, that I am still able to be active, even if it’s not what i’m used to.

LIFE

I decided after doing more and more reading of medical journals for the last week, that I want to get a 2nd opinion on the treatment of my Hashimoto’s.  Maybe that’s not the root of my problems, but I want to know for sure.  Found someone who only does work in that area, waiting on a referral to see them.

This idea was reinforced today when I tried to go from the ground floor to the third floor to check my mail.  I only made it to the second floor landing before I had to take a break because of my legs.  It’s that kind of thing that really eats away at me.

Honestly, I should be grateful I have the option to take the stairs, there are so many who can’t.

FOOD

Nothing beats a simple, yet filling and inexpensive tasty meal.  1 carton organic fresh herb salad which was on clearance (and 100% still fresh).  99 cents as opposed to $5.

Add grilled chicken, strawberries, sunflower seeds, EVOO, cucumbers.  Dressing if you so desire

TA-DA!

Big salad for little points.  6 WW P+! 

Dinner was leftovers repurposed.  Took that Italian Zucchini Quinoa Casserole and made it into an italian bowl.

Broccoli, cauliflower, the zucchini quinoa casserole, and cooked shrimp.  Side of Udi’s gluten free bread with some dairy free cheese.  Another easy and simple quickie meal.

Yes, as you can tell by what I’m eating, Dan is still out of town 😉  I am grateful he’s coming back at least for a few days.  Seems like i’ve seen him very little in the last month.

Things I like Thursday: bowls

I’ve been on a kick for things in bowls lately….Or maybe because I really love the shape and openness of my new bowls. 

Like chicken-berry salad bowl (spinach, leftover chicken breast, red onions, feta, sunflower seeds, EVOO, cranberries, strawberries, and cucumbers).

And my dinner shrimp taco bowl.  (mexican shrimp cocktail over Alton Brown’s Baked Rice and salad greens)

For the mexican shrimp cocktail I combined: juice of 1 lime, 1 diced avocado, 1 can of drained extra spicy Rotel, diced onion, diced jalapenos, 1 lb of diced cooked shrimp. 

I HATE cleaning shrimp.  I used up the last of my “fresh off of the boat” Port Aransas shrimp for this.  No more warm-fuzzies from buying off the boat, i’d rather pay extra for them to be cleaned for me.

Spicy Oriental Bowl.  GF Noodles, ton of veggies, and egg  that I stir fried in canola oil with soy sauce alternative and sirracha.

Easy Pinto Beans

Found this recipe on Allrecipes a few years ago.  It’s easy, cheap, and versatile.   Recipe is easily halved, as I did this week.  In the past i’ve used these for:  side for BBQ, potluck dish, nachos, taco salad, smushed into refried beans, breakfast tacos, “Chipotle style taco bowls”, etc.

Taco salad for Tuesday night’s dinner…I decided on spinach for something different.  Tomato, sauteed onions and peppers, mushrooms, beans, tortilla chips, and Nacho Mom’s fire roasted queso.

Terry’s Texas Pinto Beans

1 pound dry pinto beans
1 (29 ounce) can reduced sodium broth
1 large onion chopped
1 fresh jalapeno pepper chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
1/2 cup green salsa (red works fine too)
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
water, if needed

Place the pinto beans in a large pot, and pour in the  broth. Stir in onion, jalapeno, garlic, salsa, cumin, and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and continue cooking 2 hours, stirring often, until beans are tender. Add water as needed to keep the beans moist.

Makes 8 servings for a full batch.  3 WW P+ per 1/2 cup serving.

Things I like Thursday: Farm Fresh

One of the reasons I was MIA since last week, is that I went home to see my parents Friday-Saturday afternoon.  Mom was having a garage sale and needed help.  And then we were busy with a Ryan Bingham show Saturday night, then Dan’s work had the suite at the RR Express game Sunday.  Good times, but exhausting. 

Oh and I may have put all of our dishes in mom’s garage sale….and never found ones I wanted to replace them.  Paper plates until I can find dishes I like, haha!

While I was home, apparently mom and dad also needed help picking their AWESOME garden.  I brought home 3 different kinds of tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans, black-eyed peas, zucchini, jalapeno, red and yellow onions.   There was much more, but because I knew I was going out Saturday and Sunday and then leaving town Monday-Tuesday, I didn’t want to take too much.

I roasted the zucchini for lunch on Saturday during mom’s garage sale.  Paired it with turkey, hummus, and swiss on FRESH pumpernickel bread from Haby’s Bakery in Castroville.  SO good.

I didn’t know what to do with the peas.  So I made Cowboy Caviar, although I’d never tasted it before.  Everything in the dish came from their garden (minus the spices and dressing).

Cowboy Caviar

All produce was fresh from the garden.  Combined cooked black-eyed peas (I steamed mine), about 6 diced tomatoes, diced onion, diced jalapeno.  Then added some cayenne, coriander, pepper, and italian dressing.  Let sit for at least 2 hours.  I didn’t really measure anything except the dressing, I used a half cup.

It was great and I was shocked that Dan liked it too.  It was also good as a leftover.  Once I had it over salad.  Another lunch I had it with diced turkey, cheese, and avocado added. 

Simple and YUM!  Very P+ friendly too.  My servings were 2P+ each.

To use more of the fresh produce, I made Shrimp Fra Diavlo with steamed green beans.

Also put all fresh ingredients from the garden in this one.  The shrimp wasn’t fresh, it was from the boat I bought off of in Port Aransas.

Shrimp Fra Diavlo

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups fresh tomato (or canned)
1/2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 teaspoon salt
Italian spices and crushed red pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4-1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Heat the oil in an oven proof skillet over a medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and Italian spices and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer for about 5 minutes, until the tomato juices thicken.
Remove from the heat. Stir in shrimp and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the feta over the top. Bake until the shrimp are cooked through and cheese melts, about 12 minutes.

Fun new food

This one is new to me, anyhow.  It’s  been marked with a star in my reader forever.  It’s a recipe that  Megan posted that is one of her mom’s specialties.

I honestly hadn’t tried it yet because tomatoes have looked/tasted crummy and been pricey.  This week Sprouts had big gorgeous tomatoes on sale.  Best part was, they tasted as awesome as they looked 🙂   I don’t usually use butter, but it’s a small amount and I figured it was much needed since it is “scampi” afterall.

Chicken Scampi

6-8 servings

Ingredients:
1/8-1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1 T minced garlic
the juice from one lemon
2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup fresh minced parsley
3-6 fresh chopped tomatoes
Pasta of choice boiled and drained (bowtie or penne)

In a skillet heat together butter, olive oil, green onions and garlic. Add lemon juice, chicken, salt, pepper and parsley. Continue cooking and stirring until chicken is done. Add tomatoes, cook and heat through.
Serve over pasta.

*Halved the recipe because there are only 2 of us (just the chicken, butter, and EVOO). I marinated my chicken first in italian dressing.  First night served it over pasta (wheat for Dan, GF for me).  2nd night served it over baked potatoes (Alton Brown method).

I think it would be great with shrimp, tofu, or no meat at all.  The sauce really is fresh and tasty.

My re-purposed leftovers..

KEEPER 🙂

And then there was the discovery of gluten free tuna burgers at Super Target.  Can’t say i’ve ever had a tuna burger, but I love tuna steaks, tuna sushi, and canned tuna.   I snatched them up for a try.

I dreamed of an awesome piece of tuna on a grilled/roasted salad…

Yeah, that’s pretty much how I dreamt it.  Field greens, tomatoes, mushrooms. Then roasted zucchini, onions, and eggplant.  Dressed with balsamic vinaigrette and some swiss cheese.  I even made croutons out of GF bread that I pan toasted which were great until the dressing touched them 😦

The taste and look were great…except for the tuna.  I didn’t like it.  It wasn’t anything special, could have made my own that would have probably tasted better.  Oh well, the salad part was good and I made enough roasted veggies for later on.  I’m thinking roasted veggie pasta 😉