Caprese Avocado Salad

Caprese Avocado Salad 1

This baby has gone from sedentary and sleeping (I thought her and Mr. P had so much in common already ;) ) to a gymnast overnight. I was sure I felt these “flutters” people speak of around 19 weeks. I was sitting in a meeting, just typing away and BAM. I felt flutters. It had to be the baby moving. A week and then two…and then three pass by and I felt no additional movement. Of course my next OB appointment was still nearly a week away yet, and my mind started to run through all the possibilities of what’s going on in there.

None of which are good, naturally.

Caprese Avocado Salad 2

And then this week came along. Week 24 as of today (60% baked!).

This baby girl is sooo active all of a sudden. Or she’s had one huge growth spurt in the past week, who knows. But I’m enjoying it. Except we’ve gone from the “flutters” I once felt weeks ago to a battle ground in my uterus. I laugh sometimes at how hard the little kicks or punches really are. Even the midwife on Wednesday couldn’t believe how hard the jab was when she had the doppler on my belly.

“Whoa,” she said. “You felt that, right?”

“Yeah,” I replied. “It feels like gas or just straight up violence!” She laughed and agreed.

Caprese Avocado Salad 3

I was also given the green light for some light run/walk action this past week. Her only stipulation was that my HR not go over 150 bpm and I stay very well hydrated. As someone who has never consistently worn a heart rate monitor (and now pants after walking up a flight of stairs, especially after no intense exercise for the past 5 1/2 months), I wanted to test out my HR with running ASAP.

Of course, I couldn’t “jog” more than 60 seconds at a 5.0 mph pace without my HR exceeding 150, soooo…I’m stuck with more of a walk, as it ends up. Such a tease…such a tease.

It’s kind of like serving a tomato without mozzarella, or worse yet, a salad with no cheese whatsoever. Cheese lovers understand…cholesterol levels do not. Regardless, caprese is not caprese without fresh mozzarella. And let’s add to that list basil. The balsamic vinegar and avocado (baby brain food!) are just perks. No tease in this salad, it has it all…including the chicken to consider this salad a meal, in the words of Mr. P.

Caprese Avocado Salad 4

Caprese Avocado Salad
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 12 oz boneless,skinless chicken breasts
  • ¼ tsp Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 2 small hearts of romaine, chopped
  • 6 oz fresh mozzarella, diced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • ¼ cup basil leaves, chiffonade
Instructions
  1. To make the balsamic reduction, whisk together the vinegar and brown sugar in a small sauce pan and set over medium heat until simmering. Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes or until reduced and thickened. Set aside to cool completely.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper and add to the pan, cooking 3-4 minutes per side, cooking through. Remove chicken from heat and transfer to a cutting board. Allow chicken to sit for 5-10 minutes before slicing.
  3. To assemble the salad, place romaine lettuce in a large bowl; top with chicken, mozzarella, tomatoes, avocado and basil. Pour balsamic reduction on top of the salad and gently toss to combine. Serve immediately.
Notes
Recipe from Damn Delicious and originally, Iowa Girl Eats
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ⅓ recipe Calories: 495 Fat: 27.0 Carbohydrates: 22.3 Sugar: 15.0 Sodium: 332 Fiber: 6.0 Protein: 38.7 Cholesterol: 95

 TGIF!! :-D

Be well,

sig4

Cherry Almond Muffin Waffles + Weekly Menu

Cherry Almond Muffin Waffles 1

My family was visiting again this weekend. My dad was going to come over during the week sometime soon to begin painting baby Shea’s nursery and assembling furniture, but we quickly decided chandelier assembly and such was a two person job. So the next thing I knew, my brother was the chosen one to tag along.

My mom was debating on whether or not to join along, but we can’t have family fun without mom, so she came too.

We started the weekend off with dinner at my dad’s “favorite” restaurant – Big Boy. We live close to one and my dad rarely gets to enjoy his most favorite burger, “the Brawny Lad”, a burger coated in butter and onion on a rye bun. Mmmm…noooot.

Cherry Almond Muffin Waffles 2

But, Big Boy was lots of good laughs and not-so-great food. As usual. But on Father’s Day weekend, we humor him. When we must.

Saturday was filled with hard work in the baby’s room (by the boys), and followed up with a dog event at a local winery. Dogs, live music, and wine and beer for everyone other than me…it was great. Lily made some friends and enjoyed the change of scenery. Last night, we took my family to dinner at a restaurant with a patio overlooking Lake Michigan. The weather was absolutely, positively perfect and the company wasn’t so bad either. The food, as well. ;) It was pure Michigan goodness.

We indulged in soft serve afterwards — my recent favorite :-D

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I think my brother and my dad were mighty impressed when for breakfast I produced several waffles from the freezer. When they asked what kind of waffles and I reported Cherry Almond Muffin Waffles, they were sold. In fact, I think they felt like they were fine dining. I need not tell them that these waffles are actually very simple and can thank the almond extract and my extensive you-picking for the cherries, creating the breakfast masterpiece that is Cherry Almond Muffin Waffles.

Now I just need to pick more fruit. That’s on the agenda for next weekend :-D

Cherry Almond Muffin Waffles 4

Cherry Almond Muffin Waffles
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 7
 
Ingredients
  • 3 cups whole wheat pastry flour or white wheat flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • 1½ cups lowfat buttermilk
  • 2 tsp almond extract
  • 2 cups frozen cherries, halved
Instructions
  1. Preheat a waffle iron.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk to combine flour, salt, and baking powder; set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the canola oil, egg, and sugar. Whisk in the buttermilk and almond extract.
  4. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry and combine with a rubber spatula. Fold in the cherries.
  5. Scoop about ⅔ cup batter into the waffle iron and cook according to manufacturer's directions. Serve warm with desired toppings.
Notes
Slightly adapted from Eats Well with Others and originally, Taste and Tell
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 waffle Calories: 463 Fat: 18.9 Carbohydrates: 66.7 Sugar: 26.0 Sodium: 657 Fiber: 7.7 Protein: 9.0 Cholesterol: 55

 Weekly Menu: June 15th – June 19th

 The weekend went too fast…as always. :(

Be well,

sig4

Loaded Baked Potato and Buffalo Chicken Casserole + Weekly Menu

Loaded Baked Potato and Buffalo Chicken Casserole 1

I spent the weekend in Chicago with my family since Mr. Prevention was doing some traveling himself. I never turn down a weekend back home where I can see family and friends, relax some, and break from the daily grind (it’s a great excuse to take off Friday and make it a long weekend ;) ). Plus, my mom gives great back rubs, does the dishes, and if I bring a to-do list, my dad happily completes each and every task — everything from sewing to headlight repair on my car to necklace repair to cleaning my wedding rings. And that was just this trip.

I know, I’m totally spoiled :-D

Loaded Baked Potato and Buffalo Chicken Casserole 2

Before I left on Friday, Mr. P’s shower and getting ready awoke me a few hours earlier than I was hoping (up at 6:30am on my day off? Grumble). But to have him rub my belly and say goodbye to me and baby was…well, that’ll just melt a girl’s heart, let me tell ya. P.S. the anatomy scan is THIS FRIDAY and we should be finding out the baby’s gender at that appointment. Squeeeeeeee!

The weekend was a perfect mix of exercise, napping in the lay-z boy, and friends and family. We did lots of laughing. LOTS of laughing always.

Loaded Baked Potato and Buffalo Chicken Casserole 3

One of my favorite laughs was when I was scouring the fridge for a snack and my mom handed me some leftover Jello salad. I quickly recognized it as the Jello salad she served 2 weekends prior when I was home. Two week-old leftovers? C’mon, maaaa. While I wasn’t willing to take the risk, my brother happily did so. He’s still with us and apparently unaffected. Go figure.

This week, I was planning a week of cleaning out the freezer and fridge…but then my latest issue of Cooking Light arrived. As I thumbed through that this weekend, leftovers were losing their appeal rather quickly. Last week, however, we enjoyed leftovers of this recipe. It was delicious…and the perfect balance of good and good for you. Slightly sinful, but still pretty balanced and FULL of flavor. Enjoy!

Loaded Baked Potato and Buffalo Chicken Casserole 4

Loaded Baked Potato and Buffalo Chicken Casserole
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 7
 
Ingredients
  • 4 large potatoes (3 lb), cut into cubes
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ Tbsp fresh ground pepper
  • 2 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • ⅓ cup hot sauce
  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1½ cups (6 oz) 2% shredded cheddar cheese
  • 5 strips nitrate-free bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • ½ cup green onion, diced
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. Spray a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika and hot sauce; add the potatoes and toss to coat. Using a slotted spoon, remove the potatoes (reserve leftover sauce!!) to the prepared 9x13 and bake for 40-50 minutes, stirring every 10 to 15 minutes, until cooked through, crispy and browned.
  3. While the potatoes are cooking, add the diced chicken to the left over sauce mix and toss to coat. Allow the chicken to marinate in the fridge while the potatoes bake.
  4. Once the potatoes are fully cooked, remove from the oven and lower the temperature to 400 degrees F.
  5. Top the potatoes with the raw marinated chicken, then top the chicken, followed by the shredded cheese and crumbled bacon.
  6. Return the casserole to the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Sprinkle green onions over casserole and serve hot.
Notes
Recipe adapted from Healthy Dinner Recipes
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1/7 casserole (about 1½ cups) Calories: 454 Fat: 16.7 Carbohydrates: 40.3 Sugar: 0.8 Sodium: 879 Fiber: 5.4 Protein: 35.1 Cholesterol: 29

 Weekly Menu: May 18th – May 22nd

BUSY week ahead and it is late. G’night :)

Be well,

sig4

Lightened Up Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese {Mac & Cheese MANIA!} + Weekly Menu

Buffalo Mac and Cheese 1

I could never be vegan. More power to those who have it in them, but life without cheese is not a life worth living. I don’t mean to be melodramatic, but if my LDL-cholesterol is going up, it will be in the name of cheese!

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When Rachel and Brandy invited me to participate in Mac and Cheese Mania, there was no decision to be made. It was a recipe blog extravaganza made for me. Me and my cheese-loving soul.

Buffalo Mac and Cheese 2

Mac and Cheese Mania is being sponsored by Door to Door Organics and OXO.

Be sure to link up YOUR favorite mac and cheese recipes for a chance to win prices (chosen randomly). Please note you do NOT need to be a blogger to participate…just head on over to Nutmeg Nanny or Rachel Cooks to enter!

Prizes up for grabs include Door to Door Organics Gift Cards, OXO Gift Baskets, Zak Designs Prize Pack, a year’s supply of Cabot cheese, a Vermont Creamery gift basket, a risotto kit from Marx Foods, Barilla pasta, Anolon Advanced Bronze 4.5 Qt. Tapered Stockpot, Rachael Ray Stoneware Casseroval, Wusthof CLASSIC Studio Block Set, Microplane Graters and Kitchen Tools, a SavorX Starter Block with spices and Le Cordon Bleu by Swissmar oven to table roasters. All giveaways open to US residents over the age of 18 only.

Buffalo Mac and Cheese 3

And what is Mac and Cheese Mania without tons of tempting mac & cheese recipes?

Jalapeno Popper Mac & Cheese by Heather’s Dish
Buffalo Cheddar Mac and Cheese by Eats Well With Others
Creamy Spinach Artichoke Macaroni and Cheese with Gouda by Sarah’s Cucina Bella
Light Sweet Potato Mac ‘n Cheese Recipe by Cookin’ Canuck
Macaroni and Cheese Fritters by Amuse Your Bouche
Skinny Chicken Mac and Cheese Casserole by A Zesty Bite
Creamy Pancetta + Leek Macaroni and Cheese by Simply Scratch
Smoked Bacon Mac and Cheese by Cravings of a Lunatic
Pizza Mac and Cheese by Very Culinary
Crab Mac and Cheese by Dine & Dish
Bacon & Eggs Breakfast Mac & Cheese by Sweet Remedy
Fried Mac & Cheese Balls by The Little Kitchen
Sweet Pork Macaroni and Cheese by Oh, Sweet Basil
Butternut Squash Quinoa Mac n’ Cheese Bake by Queen of Quinoa
Butternut Mac and Cheese with Pretzel Crust by Healthy. Delicious.
Skinny Greek Mac and Cheese with Crunchy Pita Chip Topping by The Law Student’s Wife
Potato Skin Mac and Cheese by Eat Your Heart Out
Homestyle Baked Mac & Cheese by Pocket Change Gourmet
Bacon Mac and Cheese Egg Rolls by Miss in the Kitchen
Pepper Jack Mac and Cheese by Crunchy Creamy Sweet
Blue Cheese Bechamel Mac and Cheese by Sweetphi
Korean Mac & Cheese by Cooking with Books
Black and Blue Mac and Cheese by Fabtastic Eats
Tomato and Leek Mac and Cheese by Susie Freaking Homemaker
Healthier Mac & Cheese with Chipotle Peppers by Go Gingham
Mac and Cheese Ice Cream by Fat Girl Trapped in a Skinny Body
Blue Cheese & Bacon Macaroni & Cheese by Gimme Some Oven
Poutine Mac and Cheese with Andouille Gravy by Climbing Grier Mountain
Double Smoked Chicken Mac and Cheese by Girl Carnivore
Creamy Greek Yogurt Mac and Cheese with Peas and Bacon by Running to the Kitchen
Nudel Gratin by Crumbs and Chaos
Mushroom and Truffle Sea Salt White Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese by Big Bear’s Wife
Roasted Poblano and Goat Cheese Mac by Daisy at Home
Creamy Cauliflower ‘n Cheese with Bacon by Barefeet in the Kitchen
Wisconsin Cheese, Brats, and Onion Macaroni and Cheese by a farmgirl’s dabbles
Spinach Queso Mac & Cheese by Bake Your Day
Roasted Garlic Mac and Cheese with a Pancetta Parmesan Crust by Mountain Mama Cooks
French Onion Mac & Cheese by Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts
Healthier Macaroni and Cheese by Texanerin Baking
Pulled Pork Mac and Cheese by CafeTerraBlog
Macaroni and Cheese Stuffed Peppers by Cook the Story
Jack Daniels Mac and Cheese by The Slow Roasted Italian
Lobster Mac and Cheese by FoodieCrush
Green Chili 5-cheese Baked Mac and Cheese by A Southern Fairytale
Homemade Elbow Noodle Tutorial + a Recipe for Roasted Veggie Mac by Bakeaholic Mama
Salsa Verde Mac-n-Cheese (two ways) by Eat2Gather
Cauliflower Mac and Cheese with Crispy Panko Topping by The Lemon Bowl

My contribution to Mac and Cheese Mania was this Lightened Up Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese…and it. was. faaaantastic.

Duh.

Buffalo Mac and Cheese 4

5.0 from 1 reviews
Lightened Up Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 7
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups dry whole wheat elbow macaroni (about 7.25 oz)
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup nonfat milk
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • ¾ cup Frank’s Buffalo Wing Sauce
  • pinch dry mustard
  • 8 oz Cabot 50% less fat extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 8 oz part-skim (2%) Colby cheese, shredded
  • ⅔ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 lb cooked chicken, shredded (I used rotisserie)
  • ¼ cup panko
  • 2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a large baking dish with cooking spray and set aside. Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain and keep warm.
  2. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the celery and carrots, cooking until soft, about 5 minutes. Add flour and stir to coat; cook 1-2 minutes. Add milk and half and half and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Once simmering, stir in wing sauce, dry mustard, and shredded cheeses. Mix until cheese melts; remove from heat and stir in the yogurt, mixing well. Mix in cooked pasta and shredded chicken.
  3. Transfer pasta to the baking dish and top with panko. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until bubbly. Serve hot, sprinkled with parsley.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: heaping 1½ cups Calories: 461 Fat: 18.9 Carbohydrates: 30.6 Sugar: 6.0 Sodium: 1,069 Fiber: 4.0 Protein: 40.9 Cholesterol: 94

 Weekly Menu: February 23rd – 27th

P.S. The winner of the Delicious Probiotics Giveaway is Cynthia! Check your email! :-D

Be well,

sig4

Recipe Repeat: Buffalo Chicken Tacos

buffalochictacos1

Working in a department of all women is often times challenging, but mostly a riot. Some of my staff treat me like the daughter they hold with great regard and some treat me like their big sister they’d never cross — there’s that perfect balance of work and play with there always being respect and hard work. Work hard, play hard!

Outside of the normal tiffs within a department, everyone gets along great, people trade favors, and I only hope they enjoy their jobs as much as I. Judging by the amount of laughing going on, I have to assume they enjoy their jobs at least somewhat ;)

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If they’re not busy laughing with one another, the girls are probably laughing at me. I embarrass myself at least once daily. It’s actually rather impressive the consistency with which I manage to get myself into the predicaments and situations that I do. Sometimes I sit in something dirty, dribble something down my chest (this is probably the most common occurrence), say something in a way that it comes out completely and totally wrong, forget something (fairly) important, or any number of other ways.

Yesterday, we had fajitas for lunch. Of course, I added salsa which…ended up dribbled down my light grey shirt about 2 minutes before I needed to be in a meeting…at the opposite end of the hospital. I could either go dirty or go wet from removing the stain. I chose the latter. I’m not sure which was worse because SEVERAL people pointed out my mess despite my best efforts to pull my cardigan over the unsightly accident. Of course, the girls found this terribly funny…mostly because I called myself out on the high probability of my messiness before it even happened.

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But there’s some foods worth the risk of being a slob. Tacos, fajitas, chili dogs….mmm.

I haven’t met a taco I didn’t love. Everything from Lentil Tacos to Kung Pao Tacos to Zucchini and Black Bean Tacos to Crock Pot Chicken Tacos. I love them all. Mr. Prevention? Of course he favors all things “buffalo” and so it should come as no surprise that these are making another appearance.

I must admit, these are epic.

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Recipe Repeat: Buffalo Chicken Tacos
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 5
 
A fun favorite!
Ingredients
Tacos:
  • 1½ lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
  • 3 Tbsp cornstarch
  • ⅓ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • large pinch of cayenne pepper
  • ground black pepper, to taste
  • ⅓ cup buffalo wing sauce (I used Frank’s Buffalo Wing) + 4 Tbsp, for drizzling
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 10 (6-inch) corn tortillas
Toppings:
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 4 oz gorgonzola
  • ½ cabbage, shredded
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 4 scallions, sliced
Instructions
  1. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. In a large bowl, combine cornstarch, flour, cayenne, and garlic powder. Season the chicken pieces with pepper, then dredge in the flour mixture, shaking off excess coating.
  3. Add olive oil to the skillet and once it is hot, add chicken and brown on all sides – about 3-4 minutes per side. Once the chicken is done, set it aside in a bowl and toss with ⅓ cup buffalo wing sauce.
  4. Assemble 10 tacos, dividing the toppings evenly among each taco.
Notes
Recipe slightly adapted from How Sweet Eats
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 2 tacos Calories: 474 Fat: 18.0 Carbohydrates: 38.0 Sodium: 1112 Fiber: 6.6 Protein: 41.2 Cholesterol: 86

 Thursday. The weekend is in sight! :-D

Be well,

sig4