Tuesday, June 29, 2010


My cravings turned toward wintery foods the past few days because all I have wanted is some broccoli cheese soup! I fixed that today when I made some!

Recipe courtesy of mom (Beth) and Grandma Marilyn! Mine didn't taste nearly as good as Beth's, but I think I can get better with a little practice! :) Either way, it was creamy and delicious and most definitely hit the spot!

Now I'm off to make cookies!

I think the nesting has kicked in full force because I cannot seem to pull myself out of the kitchen, or I'm online searching for new recipes!

Broccoli Cheese Soup!

Broccoli cheese soup is a new found love of mine. I discovered it's greatness while working at Subway, and have been obsessed ever since. The only downfall is I cannot find a good brand that I actually care for. Most canned soups are too salty for my taste, or the cheese tastes fake, or they are just too runny. I would try various restaurant versions, but I usually ran into the same problems... or the soup was overpowered by ginormous chunks of vegetables with hardly any cheesy broth.

The solution: make my own!

However, I cannot take complete credit for this, the recipe is from my soon to be mom-in-law (which was passed down from her mom). Family recipe = delicious!

Also, I fully believe that soup is a perfectly acceptable summertime food. :)

The ingredients:

1 bunch broccoli
1 head cauliflower
4 large carrots
5 medium potatoes (diced)
1 medium onion (optional) - (I left this out since I am allergic to onions)
4 chicken bouillon cubes
2 cups milk
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 lb. velveeta cheese

1. Cut veggies and put them all in a pot, barely covered with water. Add the chicken bouillon cubes and let boil.
2. Once boiling, add the milk and cornstarch. Continue to stir until thickened.
3. Once thickened, turn down the heat and add the cheese - cut up into small cubes for faster melting.
4. Let cheese melt.
5. Serve hot!

The final product:

I halved the recipe and still ended up with this enormous pot! So, definitely good if you are making for a lot of people. :) It is extremely creamy and loaded with vegetables and flavor! I could seriously eat it all day if it wasn't so filling.

I served some to myself for lunch with a half pita filled with shredded, steamed turkey and roast beef, spinach, cucumbers, 1/2 slice provolone, and mustard. yum!

Everything tastes better in a mug! :) and the whole meal totally hit the spot!

Next on my list of things to do today: oatmeal m&m cookies!


So, I haven't really posted about this because I wanted to be sure about what I was feeling, but I have been feeling kicks!!! I felt the first real one on June 24... I had felt little movements and flutters before that, but this was the first time I felt an actual kick! She even did a little dance when I layed down last night... I think she was nestled a little too close to the side and she must have felt pressure when I laid down because it felt like she was fighting me to get up :)

Doctor appointment tomorrow! Hopefully they schedule the ultrasound for tomorrow as well!!! We are so excited (and I really want to start shopping!) :)

HALFWAY THERE! Except I have been having really strange feelings and dreams that she is going to surprise us early and make her appearance in October. Who knows how certain that is, but it's a feeling.

Oats and Pizza

Yesterday was a marvelous day! Brent and I did our weekly grocery shopping and came home with lots of new goodies! The weather was beautiful and everything was just... perfect :)

First of all, the BEST part of waking up is definitely a clean kitchen!!

Well worth it for me to clean it the night before, it made going in and making breakfast so much better! :) And then I had a great helper assisting me in putting my groceries away!

Since his lovely face appears in here often, this is Kenji. Brent and I rescued him from our local shelter a year and a half ago. He is very loving, playful, and enjoys turkey! He spends most of his days taking naps unless I'm in the kitchen, then he is right there at my feet (or on the counter, or in the fridge...). Perfect cat, in my opinion :)

I feel like I can finally be initiated as an official food blogger - I tried overnight oats! I have read about overnight oats on almost every food blog I follow (and that's a lot of blogs!) so I finally decided to try it for myself. For my mix I used a nearly empty jar of peanut butter (not nearly as exciting as a flavorful nut butter, but it's all I had).

1/3 cup old fashioned oats
1/3 cup vanilla soy milk
blob of almond butter

Honestly, I did not care for it. I just couldn't get over eating cold oatmeal, and it tasted extremely mushy. Oh well, I'll stick with my hot oats. :) Or cereal!

We really like cereal in this house. :D

Since we were out all morning running errands we had Mancino's for lunch. I had an 8" club and only about 3/4 of it, but it was delicious! Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of it.

For dinner I decided to be boring (and very unhealthy) and do pizzas. Kind of a make your own style - I used a pita for the crust, added pizza sauce, mozzarella, and pepperoni. I am just not adventurous when it comes to pizza, I have tried veggies and I just don't like them. These were delicious! :)

For dessert I decided to get crafty and try a recipe for a fruit/veggie dip I had found.

1 package (8 oz.) fat free cream cheese
1 tbsp milk (I used vanilla Silk soy milk)
3 tbsp dark brown sugar (I used light brown sugar)
1/4 tbsp pumpkin pie spice

1. Bled the cream cheese and the milk in a food processor (or blender) until creamy, do not overmix.
2. Add in the brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice and blend until it is all mixed.
3. Serve with your favorite fruits and veggies!

The dip itself was delicious! and it paired really well with the apple. I plan on trying it with some broccoli today, I will be sure to post the results. :) For a treat to myself I bought one of these to try:

I tried the orange mango motion flavor. It's mix was: 1 3/4 oranges, 1/2 mango, 1 3/4 apple, and a hint of banana. Overall, it is pretty good. Really thick like a smoothie, but it was still really sweet to me (again, I think my aversion to sweet beverages is brought on by my pregnancy).. and other than the price tag (this was ON SALE for $3!!) I would definitely recommend it to others.

Today will be a fun day spent in the kitchen! I have a lot of recipes I am dying to try, and I am feeling great! :)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

change of plans

Yesterday I had big plans to be in the kitchen making glorious new recipes and trying new things. Unfortunately, pregnancy hormones and sickness took over my body and I spent most of the day crashed on my couch.

Lunch was a wonderful plate of leftover pork chop and baked potato, once again done up with butter, sour cream, and cheese. I am in love with potatoes, I swear. So good! I didn't take a picture of this, but it looked similar to my plate last night minus the corn, salad, and fruit (you know, everything that made it healthy). :)

Dinner time eventually rolled around and I had no ambition to whip up something delicious and new so I resorted to my box of Morningstar Farms chik'n patties and some left over mac & cheese from lunch yesterday (not mentioned on blog). I also finished off the remainder of the fruit bowl and killed about three glasses of water!

I only ate about half of the chik'n patty and 3/4 of the mac & cheese, but I just was not feeling good.

I also must confess that around 10, I had to have some ice cream so I ran out and got my favorite Ben & Jerry's. I took about three bites to realize that really wasn't going to cut it either so it is sitting in the freezer waiting for me today!

Here's hoping for better cooking and healthier eating today! I would definitely say that is the hardest obstacle that comes with being pregnant, you just really cannot pick out what you want to eat. :( That's okay... I'm halfway done! :D

Saturday, June 26, 2010

potato love

I have been on a giant "I have to be in the kitchen" kick recently. I'm not sure if it's a nesting thing caused by pregnancy or because I just want to cook and try new things? or it could be I'm just trying to occupy my time since Brent got promoted to full time and I have nothing else to do to while he is away. Maybe all of the above? Either way, I am loving it and so is Brent, obviously. :)

Yesterday he ended up opening the store (which was wonderful because he almost always closes and making a nice meal for myself isn't always super fun) AND because Megan was coming up for the weekend so I could make a really nice meal for everyone to enjoy.

I started cooking, and then got a text from Megan apologizing that she wouldn't be up this weekend. Totally understandable, seeing as how life seems to be in a slump for most of my friends now-a-days, especially sad because everything was looking so up and happy for a change. Le sigh. Nonetheless, dinner must go on!

We had BBQ pork chops (crock pot style), baked potatoes, corn, salad, and a fruit mix.

I ended up eating my potato loaded with butter, sour cream, and cheese. YUM. I am such a potato nut. In my salad was a mix of romaine and spinach with cucumber, cherry tomatoes (buried), and a hard boiled egg topped with catalina dressing. Fruit was peaches and grapes... I had a plum too but my tummy could not wait for the picture so it was consumed before this shot ;)

For dessert I made funfetti cupcakes.. not extremely adventurous but the box and icing some how found its way into my cart at the store.. sneaky sneaky.

They were delicious nonetheless. :)

Overall great meal... unfortunately the storm or ridiculous drama that followed it kind of ruined the evening, so maybe it was better that Megan wasn't here. Such is life, I suppose. Brent is once again slaving away at work so I may go try a new recipe.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Quick and Easy

It has been forever and a day since I last posted here, I apologize! I swear I haven't stopped cooking, but I've been having more really weird cravings and lots of aversions. I've also been feeling nauseous almost all the time and haven't felt up to photographing food or getting big into preparation.

However, here are a few things that I've put together that are quick and easy!

Fruit Kabobs
Simply take a skewer and put on any fruit that you like. Mine were for Brent's step-sister's, Haily, graduation party. They included a colby jack cheese cube, strawberries, grapes, and cantaloupe. They were a huge success!

Oreo Toads
Another favorite at the graduation party. This was Beth's (soon to be mom-in-law) idea, that she found on the interwebs! Start with an oreo cookie, smear some vanilla frosting on the back and attach two pretzels for the feet, then put a dab of frosting on the front and place two M&M's for the eyes. Definitely a hit with the kids!

Panini? Wrap?
I really wanted a turkey sandwich for lunch, but since I am not allowed to eat cold lunch meat at the time I had to get creative. I used a small flour tortilla, half a slice of provolone and a couple slices of turkey. Fold. Grill (I used the George Foreman).. I added a little mustard for dipping, a few chips and some natural cinnamon applesauce. Delicious!

This dinner screams summertime to me because I love the taste of barbeque. However, this one was made in the crockpot. I marinated a few chicken breasts in BBQ sauce for a few hours, then steamed some corn and green beans... and the staple, mashed potatoes! Seriously my favorite meal, ever!
Confession... those are Bob Evans instant mashed potatoes, which I am absolutely addicted to at the moment (and have been for quite some time), they are just soooo good. :)

aaaaaand, it could never be summertime without... WATERMELON! so delicious! :)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

It's official!!!!

This came in the mail today:

This wonderful piece of paper that I have been working for the last five years, makes it official! I am a college graduate (as if sitting through three hours of rain, heavy winds, and sleet did not solidify it enough...)! I have it proudly displayed on the table in our living room so everyone can see it when they walk in... and by everyone, I mean Brent when he gets home from work :)

It's been awhile since my last update, but nothing has really happened.

It was wonderful to spend some time with Brent's family without Brent. This is the first relationship where I have felt comfortable enough to be with the family when the boyfriend wasn't around - I think this is a great thing :) Haily's party was also a success... as was ALL of the food that Beth, Haily, and I prepared. It was all also extremely delicious.

The week has been pretty slow since coming back to Mount Pleasant. I think my nesting has kicked in, because I have spent the past two days cleaning and organizing and baking. I just can't stop... and I LOVE it! :)

I have been feeling a little better. I think I just have some late coming morning sickness, only it happens throughout the day. I have noticed that it is worse if I go for periods of time without eating or drinking some water or milk. Because of this, I have started having a snack right before I go to bed... this has made the mornings a LOT easier and a LOT less nauseous!

Based on a comment, I figured I would throw out there that I have been using the Preggy Pops! I bought a package of the sucker version at Babies-R-Us a few months ago, and went through them pretty quickly. They did just what they are meant to do - ease the morning sickness feelings. They are made with all natural ingredients so they are also good for me! Then, while in Missouri Brent and I discovered a maternity store where they were selling this version - basically the same thing, but in small hard candy form. I LOVE them! They come in sour flavors which has been making my taste buds do a happy dance whenever I eat one, and they calm the nausea quite well! Overall, great find and I really like them!

Also, everyone... meet Ashley!

I have been getting questions regarding the "Ashley" that makes comments here, and would like to set it straight... this is a completely different Ashley (Ashley is also the name of the boys' mother...). Ashley is a friend I met through an online weight loss community that Megan and I started three years ago! She was one of our original members, and since then we keep in contact through the interwebs, facebook & blogs. :) Trust me, she is awesome! :)

Another new addition to our family is Neckles!

Brent and I also discovered a Build A Bear Workshop in Missouri, and at the time they happened to be doing a themed special - SAFARI! Of course, Brent could not resist in making me a giraffe since they are my absolute favorite!!! He even got him an argyle sweater vest to make him even more Brent-ish. He's so good to me! :) His name is Neckles, because he has freckles on his neck. Brent's idea.. I think it's totally cute!

In other news.. I am now over 18 weeks along. :) That means...
-Only 2 more weeks til we are halfway done!
-22 weeks to go! (it's going by so fast!)
-Exactly 5 months from today is my due date (yikes!)

Lots of planning and organizing and buying to do before then... better get on the ball :)


I decided to get creative and go out of my realm of comfort. I made strawberry rhubarb muffins! I have never eaten or cooked with rhubarb, so this was a new experience for me. Strawberry rhubarb pie is Brent's absolute favorite, so I found this recipe and knew it would be a great treat for him for Father's Day!

I have yet to try one myself, but Brent says they are delicious! Success! :) I even had a great little helper...

I think he really just wanted some turkey. :)

Recipe! (courtesy of Michelle!)
2 cups white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup chopped fresh strawberries
3/4 cup chopped fresh rhubarb

Optional topping:
6 small strawberries, halved
2 teaspoons sugar

Preheat oven to 350*
1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
2. In a smaller bowl, beat together the egg, milk and oil.
3. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients just until moistened, do not over mix.
4. Fold in rhubarb and strawberries.
5. Fill greased or lined muffin cups ¾’s full.
6. Place a strawberry half, (cut side down unless they will be eaten very quickly) on each, sprinkle with sugar.
7. Bake for 22-25 minutes or until muffins are golden brown on top.
8. Cool for 5 minutes, then move to wire rack.
9. Serve warm with a little optional butter, or rhubarb jam, and enjoy!

Be careful though, baking can take a toll on you..

Enjoy! :)

Catching Up

My trip up north was great... although, I can't say the same about my diet. :) It wasn't all bad, there were two trips to Subway and lots of fruit!

However, now I'm back in my normal routine and things are almost back to the same.

Lunch yesterday was a twist on a favorite:

Morningstar Farms Chik'n Nuggets
Mac & Cheese - Toy Story style, not the healthiest... but the movie does come out tomorrow so we had to get it.
Watermelon - YUM

For dinner, we had a few friends over and decided a taco bar would be an excellent and easy idea. We served turkey meat, and they also loved it! I don't have any pictures from the night, but it was similar to the tacos we had last week. :)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sunny Days

Today was absolutely gorgeous!

I was feeling adventurous so I made french toast for breakfast! (no pic, sorry!) Brent thought it was delicious, but I thought it was a bit too sweet - I added powdered sugar and syrup to my pieces, so I only had about half of one piece.

After breakfast we ventured to Island Park to check out the Farmer's Market. We were both extremely impressed! LOTS of fresh, locally grown fruits and veggies to choose from and one farmer even offered beef from his own farm!!! YAY! We will definitely be going back next week (they are only open on Thursdays in Mount Pleasant) to pick up some delicious goodies!

Then we decided to take a nice long walk (I would guess about 1.5 miles) around Island Park.

We finished our walk around noon and decided we were both kind of hungry. Out of laziness and the want to not spend money on groceries right now (we FINALLY got approved for our bridge card [food stamps, for the non-Michigan readers] and we should get the card in the mail tomorrow!) So we decided to treat ourselves to a lunch out (again... normally we don't eat out often, I promise). We settled on the Grand Traverse Pie Company, a restaurant similar to Panera Bread. Plus, we got discounts for being students (good thing a student ID doesn't have an expiration date ;))

I settled on the GT Club - turkey, swiss, romaine lettuce, tomato, and pesto with a side of pickle and chips.

I only ate about 1/2 the bag of chips. And, of course, dessert. Oatmeal cherry cookie!

DELICIOUS. I will make these homemade one of these days. :)

Shortly after returning home, Brent had to go to work. I took a nap :-).

For dinner I had huge craving for rice. Luckily, after digging in the pantry I found a package of Rice Sides - Broccoli Cheddar sitting in the back. While they aren't the greatest nutrition wise, I am very excited to eat them right now!

I will be leaving in the morning for the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to visit some of Brent's family and to join the celebrations at his step-sisters graduation party on Sunday! Brent will be left here to fend for himself (work is unfortunately more important than traveling) and I am excited to see how well I can stick to healthy eating when I'm not in my own environment! :-)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

New Adventures

Yesterday Brent and I ventured downstate and checked out some awesome grocery stores - Trader Joe's and Whole Foods Market... neither of which have locations anywhere near us. However, we were quite impressed with what they offered so we are going to try and go down once a month (with a cooler) and stock up on some goodies!

Since we weren't prepared yesterday, we just picked up a few nonperishable items to try!

Almond Butter! I have been hearing about this stuff everywhere on the blogs that I follow, and I finally decided I needed to try it for myself. I picked up some Trader Joe's creamy almond butter - the only ingredient is raw almonds!

Mochi Green Tea ice cream balls - a delicious dessert served in Japan (this was obviously Brent's idea to buy).

Since these were ice cream, we cracked them open when we got back to the truck. They were ice cream balls coated with a pastry shell type thing. I was not a fan, but Megan and Brent ate theirs.

Vintage Orange Creme Soda - made with all natural ingredients (no high fructose corn syrup!) and also caffiene free!

These were delicious, but tasted a little too sweet to me. Unfortunately I am noticing that I cannot stomach sweet beverages right now (must be a pregnancy thing?) because I can eat chocolate, but I can't stand chocolate milk, juice, or other sweet beverage. hmph.

Since we were out all day, our options were to eat out. For lunch we had Panera (YUM!!!), a definite favorite of both of us, but the closest ones are at least two hours away.

For dinner, we stopped at Sonic. Terrible, I know, but I was craving chili cheese tator tots! and theirs are the best. I ended up eating all of my tots and only about half of my grilled chicken sandwich so maybe it wasn't too awful? :-) Besides, it's good to splurge every once in awhile.

Today has been full of cleaning, organizing, and rearranging the house (we got new couches!!!) so lunch was delivered in the form of Pizza Hut (it was just easier that way... ;)). Then Brent was off to work, so I treated myself to left over tacos for dinner, still just as delicious as they were the other day!

For dessert I made some oatmeal (yes, as a dessert!) :-)

The mix:
1/2 cup whole wheat instant oats
1/2 cup vanilla Silk soy milk
pinch of cinnamon
glob of TJ's almond butter

It was DELICIOUS! it tasted just like an oatmeal cookie. I think oatmeal is going to be my new favorite fun food... so easy to mix stuff with depending on my mood, plus a great ingredient to cook with!

And, the ALMOND BUTTER! soooo good! It is very creamy, and has a good drizzle consistency so I will definitely be using it as a new waffle/pancake topper to replace my usual peanut butter!


Out with the old...

In with the new!

Brent and I got new couches (courtesy of Whitney, mom, and Kevin!) yesterday and we LOVE them! Our old ones were good, but definitely showing their use and age so the change was very welcome. However, the new ones are much larger than our old ones so we had to rearrange the entire living room. We both agree that the new set up is much better (and it comes with a rug!!!) Also, special thanks to our friend Andrew for helping us move the new couches in and helping scoot the furniture around.

Yesterday was very adventurous for us. We went to Troy and met up with Megan. We looked around at Trader Joe's and Whole Foods Market. We were very impressed with both and even bought a few things to try... definitely wish they had stores like that around us. After we were done, we had a treat at TCBY (YUM!) then Brent and I went to pick up the couches from my parents hosue. Chatted for a bit, then hit the road for a long, rainy drive. Today has been rather lazy... for me, Brent is at work :-)

And, if you haven't already, you should check out my Food Blog!. It has recipe ideas and food tips, along with things that we are eating and experimenting with in our venture for a healthier lifestyle! (Yes, I have become addicted to blogging...)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

South of the Border

We were feelin' tacos tonight, but since we have started our healthy eating adventure we had to spice it up a little and change what we normally do. As it turns out, we liked the new, healthy version MUCH MUCH better!

-whole wheat tortillas
-fresh chopped romaine lettuce
-Jennie-O ground turkey breast
-shredded colby jack cheese
-homemade seasoning: paprika, ground red pepper, chili powder
-mild ortega taco sauce

Finished product.

The turkey was delicious! In my opinion, it tasted much better than beef and it sits much lighter in your stomach after you are done eating. I would highly recommend it! :-)

I also went on a shopping spree in the cooking isle today and stocked up on lots of new spices... and yeast! One of my next ventures is to make my own bread!! I'm really excited about all the recipes I am finding and very excited that Brent wants to try them as well.. his eating habits sure have changed since we started dating :-)

Tomorrow will be another fun filled day because we are checking out Trader Joe's with Megan! I am hoping to make lots of great finds.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Vegetarian Stir Fry

The boys are gone for the week, so I can be a bit more adventurous with my cooking and not have to worry about also throwing together some PB&J sandwiches for the little picky eaters... well, picky eater - Lyric will eat ANYTHING. :-)

I used:
-fresh pineapple
-red pepper
-corn (frozen)
-jasmine rice
-Morningstar Farms chik'n strips
-teriyaki sauce

Sizzle sizzle.

Finished product.

Unfortunately, one of my least favorite pregnancy side effects that I am experiencing is a complete intolerance to vegetables. I have not been able to stomach any vegetable except for lettuce since about 10 weeks. Quite frankly, this makes me very upset because I used to be quite the veggie lover. Needless to say, I ate some rice and that was about it... after about 3 bites of my stir fry I was on the verge of sickness. :( However, Brent enjoyed it - his first ever experience with meatless meats! and he ate it, so YAY!

Fun with Fruit

I've been trying to incorporate more fruit into our diet, but in fun ways.

So far I've come up with fruit pizza:

sugar cookie dough

fat free cream cheese
fat free whipped topping

Fruit of your choice, I used: strawberries, kiwi, blueberries, and banana.

It was absolutely delicious, and the boys LOVED it... so it will definitely be making a reappearance. Next time I will be making a homemade crust. :)

Then I tried some parfaits. I figured these would be a great hit because everyone here likes yogurt and fruit.

Dannon All Natural light vanilla yogurt
fruit and nut granola

A definite success!!

I also made Brent and I fruit smoothies the other night with the rest of the fruit since it was going bad, and lets be honest.. fruit smoothies are always amazing!!