5th Annual Chili Contest: Entry #1 – Texas-Style Chili

Texas-Style Chili 1

It’s only appropriate to post the first of this year’s annual chili contest on the day Mr. Prevention and I (I look puffy and pregnant!) had the pleasuring of attending a football game at our beloved alma mater, the University of Illinois.

Not only did we attend, but we won (!!) — something the Illini tend to do verrrrry inconsistently.

And not only a win, but a beautiful day on campus….even if it did require a 2 mile round-trip waddle to and from the car — no small feat for a woman closing in on 30 days from go time.

Texas-Style Chili 2

When a song would come on between plays, Mr. Prevention and I would reminisce. Some of the songs were game day classics. Some were played on rotation at our favorite campus bar hangouts. And Get Low was a song that I vividly remember being way too popular my freshmen year of college…

Mr. Prevention then lovingly referenced for me that that was 11 years ago and I was suddenly very thankful that we weren’t sitting in the drunken student section of the stadium.

Texas-Style Chili 3

With the perfect weather and the win, there were plenty of tailgates to walk through on our way back to the car. There were smells of fireworks, beer, charcoal, and chili in the air. I mean, what’s more football Saturday perfect than that? I’m sure loyal tailgaters are just like me in that they can enjoy chili each and every weekend (beer, too…duh). There’s so many ways to make chili and this first entry was unique…and spicy!

Meat lovers and heat lovers, this one is for you! The 3/4 CUP of chili powder is not a typo and if you dare, go for the entire 2 teaspoons of cayenne…I double dog dare you ;) Kidding. It will be spicy, very spicy, but good. Very good. This thick, hearty chili was great and I enjoyed it most over a blank canvas baked potato. This year’s contest is off to a great start!

Texas-Style Chili 4

Texas-Style Chili
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 (1 heaping cup per serving)
 
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs ground sirloin
  • 2 lbs stew beef cut into ½ inch cubes
  • ¾ cup chili powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp dehydrated onions
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper (I used 1½)
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cans (15 oz) tomato sauce
  • 3 cups water
  • ⅛ cup masa
Instructions
  1. Brown ground beef and stew meat in a large skillet; drain any drippings. Transfer beef to a large pot and stir in all ingredients except the masa. Bring to a boil and simmer, uncovered, for 1½ to 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  2. Combine masa and ¼ cup water and stir into chili. Simmer for an additional 30 minutes. Serve with your favorite chili toppings.
Notes
Recipe submitted by Kristie B.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: heaping cup Calories: 467 Fat: 23.8 Carbohydrates: 14.5 Sugar: 4.9 Sodium: 860 Fiber: 6.9 Protein: 48.1 Cholesterol: 135

No weekly menu because my good friend and replacement for my maternity leave, Donna, will be with me all week at home and work, learning the ropes. It’s exciting stuff and making it sure seem real that I’m going to be off work for 12 weeks as a new mama coming up very quickly here!

Be well,

sig4

Blueberry Pizza with Honeyed Goat Cheese and Prosciutto

Blueberry Pizza with Honeyed Goat Cheese and Prosciutto 1

Don’t think for a second that this is some bizarre pregnancy craving. This is legit, amazing food. And why people will turn up their noses to goat cheese…well, I’ll never understand. Goat cheese is just…dreamy.

Also dreamy is the thought of days I could sleep without 8 bathroom breaks each night (if you think I’m exaggerating, well, you’re wrong. Sadly.) Or the nights when we didn’t have to have so much white noise to mask my snoring. Or what about eating Tums like they’re magic jelly beans at 3am? Yeah, dreamy. As miraculous and beautiful as creating life truly is…it comes with unpleasantness, too.

Blueberry Pizza with Honeyed Goat Cheese and Prosciutto 2

I sit at my desk and by 3pm I could fall asleep right then and there. Shoot, I think I could fall asleep standing at times.

Most days I try to hit the gym or do SOMETHING to break a sweat, but I’ll be honest…that’s getting harder and harder to do. I’ve come to rely on my personal trainer, our appointments, and his encouragement to get me through a few workouts each week. This poor 25-year-old stud muffin had no idea what he was getting himself into when we started our training months ago. Trainers probably aren’t accustomed to having their clients get rounder and heavier and less fit by the week, but he gives me lots of words of encouragement…which is just what I need.

Blueberry Pizza with Honeyed Goat Cheese and Prosciutto 3

By dinner time, it’s time for whatever will come together in 15 minutes or less. I used to think 30 minutes was a quick meal, but these days, that number is cut in half. And sadly, dishes still won’t wash themselves or magically relocate to the dishwasher. But I stay hopeful.

By 8pm, I’m generally perched on my yoga ball with my baby belly hanging out, rocking from side-to-side and front-to-back trying to find some relief from all the baby PRESSURE. Mr. Prevention generally laughs at my pathetic state and rarely fulfills my requests for a back rub while I grumble about wanting to eat something more…but not get indigestion.

That said, these Blueberry Pizzas with Honeyed Goat Cheese and Prosciutto are worth suffering the worst indigestion in the world (not that they would cause any unless you’re super duper pregnant). Just…yum. So very yum (and ready in 15 minutes with very little hands-on time!).

Blueberry Pizza with Honeyed Goat Cheese and Prosciutto 4

Blueberry Pizza with Honeyed Goat Cheese and Prosciutto
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3
 
Ingredients
  • 4 ounces goat cheese, softened
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 3 pieces naan or flatbread
  • ¾ cup fresh blueberries
  • 3 oz prosciutto, thinly shaved
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine goat cheese and honey until well blended. Spread the goat cheese mixture over the surface of the naan, evenly dividing between the 3 pieces. Top each pizza with ¼ cup blueberries and bake for 10-12 minutes or until naan becomes just golden.
  3. Remove from the oven and add prosciutto and thyme to each pizza. Sprinkle with a pinch of black pepper, if desired. Slice and serve.
Notes
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 "pizza" Calories: 373 Fat: 13.7 Carbohydrates: 48.7 Sugar: 12.7 Sodium: 757 Fiber: 2.0 Protein: 14.7 Cholesterol: 37

 Heeey, Thursday! Glad you’re here already :-D Four day work week – lovin’ it.

 Be well,

sig4

Baked Crunchy Tacos

Baked Crunchy Tacos 1

Our dog, Lily, is really smart. And cute…and lazy, but that’s a given.

We knew when choosing a breed that bulldogs are high-maintenance and suffer from a lot of chronic health conditions. But their positive traits more than make up for their poor health and stubborn attitudes.

Looking at Lily, you’d think she was a huge beggar and just stood by my side every second I spend in the kitchen and/or eating, but that’s really not the case. She’s actually not motivated by food like many dogs and even follows the recommendation to eat when hungry. As in, she may go a day without eating, or simply reduce her two meals a day down to one.

Baked Crunchy Tacos 2

I like to say she’s like her mama (me, that is). She wasn’t blessed with a metabolism to speak of and has lots of cuteness (chubbiness!) that makes her…her.

She’s also fairly athletic…kind of like her mama. Her physique is not one that’s aerodynamic, but girlfriend can leap into the air to catch a tennis ball like none other. She’s also quite the competition when it comes to tug of war. When we both end up getting in a workout from playing, it’s generally a win-win. And don’t get me started on swimming. The dog is a BEACH BUM. Mr. Prevention has several pairs of swim trunks, but whenever he’s got a pair on, she goes into psycho beach mode and throws a complete tantrum until she, too, gets to go to the beach. We think she also knows the scent of the beach, sun block, and generally speaking recognizes that sunny weekend days are meant to be spent at the beach.

Half smart, half crazy stubborn.

Baked Crunchy Tacos 3

She also expresses her deep desire by way of tantrums on the rare occasions I cook with beef. Chicken, peanut butter, and cheese all top the charts of her preferred flavor palate, but beef is in a league of its own. The smell of these tacos nearly sent this dog into complete and total MELTDOWN mode. And I didn’t share because they were seasoned with spicy taco seasoning and I’ve ready plenty that dogs are more sensitive to spicy foods than us humans.

Regardless, it was a wise decision on my part as there was more food for us. This was undoubtedly one of the best (and simplest!) meals we’ve had in some time. I figured we’d like the dish, but it was loved by us both. Simple can sometimes be best and sharing is not always advised ;)

Baked Crunchy Tacos 4

Baked Crunchy Tacos
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 (2 tacos each)
 
Ingredients
  • 12 crunchy taco shells
  • 1 lb ground sirloin
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 cup 2% cheddar cheese, shredded and divided
  • 2 cups lettuce, shredded
  • 1 tomato, diced
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Arrange taco shells in a 9x13-inch casserole dish, openings facing upwards.
  2. Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat; add ground sirloin and cook 8-10 minutes, or until cooked through, breaking up with a wooden spoon throughout cooking. Drain any grease. Add the petite diced tomatoes and taco seasoning; mix well and cook an additional 1-2 minutes.
  3. Fill each taco shell with the meat mixture, dividing equally until all the meat is used. Sprinkle shredded cheese over the tops of the filled tacos and bake for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Top with shredded lettuce and diced tomatoes before serving.
Notes
Recipe from Heather Likes Food
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 2 tacos Calories: 299 Fat: 11.0 Carbohydrates: 23.8 Sugar: 3.0 Sodium: 468 Fiber: 2.7 Protein: 23.8 Cholesterol: 57

 Why is a 4 day work week a daunting thought after 3 full days off? Hate that!

Be well,

sig4

Chicken Caesar Burger + Weekly Menu

Chicken Caesar Burger 1

The vibe at home is weird. It’s a 3 day weekend and we have…nothing to do (no internet, either…x2 days already!). Yesterday wasn’t beach weather so it was this odd day of nothingness. I am experiencing a lot of swelling and my OB’s orders were “to do less”…so I’m trying to oblige. But I find that when I’m in a complete and total relaxation mode, all I want to do is doze off. And even a pregnant woman can only sleep so much!

On the floor cuddling with Lily. After a shower as I just happen to fall into bed. On the couch. On the porch. In the hammock as I try to plow though a great but REALLY long book. Sleep, sleep, sleep. Not even the U.S. Open is holding my attention and that’s saying something. I love watching tennis!

Chicken Caesar Burger 2

We have continued to chip away at all of the baby STUFF assembly. We’ve never purchased so many D batteries before. Everything that moves or soothes a baby requires batteries, it seems. And neither of us quite have the knack for assembly – swings, pack-n-plays, strollers…why doesn’t anything come assembled!? I’d sure pay an up-charge for that luxury!

And let me just say how grateful I am to have the nursery complete. With an 8 month belly in front of me (hopefully this link to one of my maternity photos works!), any type of movement is…a chore. I huff and puff from just living. And while no woman would change creating life…creating life is not easy!

Chicken Caesar Burger 3

I digress.

What have we been eating? Simple stuff. Stuff that requires minimal effort and even less dishes.

For such requests, Pinterest is a saving grace. Finding quick meals is not only great for I-need-off-my-feet times of desperation, but also times of oh-my-gosh-I-have-a-newborn, as well. I mean, I’m assuming…rather safely assuming, I’m sure. Plus, Labor Day weekend is a time to cram in all of the grilling and to continue doing so until the elements demand otherwise. Less dishes, remember!

Chicken Caesar Burger 4

Chicken Caesar Burger
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
  • 2 (4 oz) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • ¼ tsp salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 2 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium tomato, thinly sliced
  • 4 lettuce leaves
  • 2 whole wheat hamburger buns
  • 3 Tbsp light prepared Caesar dressing
Instructions
  1. Preheat grill to 400 F.
  2. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Grill chicken 4-5 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Top each piece of grilled chicken with 1 ounce of sliced mozzarella and 1½ tablespoons Caesar dressing.
  3. Assemble sandwiches with the prepared chicken, lettuce, and tomato. Serve immediately.
Notes
Recipe adapted from Food, Faith, Fitness
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 prepared sandwich/burger Calories: 382 Fat: 12.0 Carbohydrates: 29.0 Sugar: 3.5 Sodium: 677 Fiber: 6.5 Protein: 39.5 Cholesterol: 75

Weekly Menu: August 31st – September 4th

Time to get ready for the beach :-D

Be well,

sig4

Fruit, Chicken, and Quinoa Salad with Citrus Poppy Seed Dressing

Fruit, Chicken, and Quinoa Salad 1

It’s weird to be thinking about upcoming events…and needing a babysitter. It’s bizarre to think that in a few weeks, I’m going to be a MOM. Pinch me!!

It’s beyond my comprehension as to why Mr. Prevention agreed to go to Babies R Us with me last weekend to return a few things and finish gathering must-have items off our registry. I know the rainy weather was the only reason he was agreeable, but he was quickly regretting his decision when the shopping trip turned into a Babies R Us excursion that absorbed the ENTIRE afternoon. Hey, at least we saved over $200 with my amazing couponing skills!

Fruit, Chicken, and Quinoa Salad 2

I knew I had lost him by the first aisle. Go figure, breast milk storage bags and slow flow vs. medium flow bottle nipples didn’t hold his attention…not even for a second. I figured the experience would improve when we got around to the strollers, but he just plopped down on the display shelving and price compared on Amazon and other online retailers, inquiring over and over again, “Well, why do you want this one instead of this one?”

Duuuuuuuuuuude. I listen to other women and have done exhausting amounts of research on…all things baby.

He should really learn to pick his battles.

Fruit, Chicken, and Quinoa Salad 3

When I whipped up this Fruit, Chicken, and Quinoa Salad with Citrus Poppy Seed Dressing on Tuesday night, I informed him that “it would probably be a good pizza night” for him. I know he’s not a quinoa lover and would give the side-eye to this meal. It’s his loss if he’d rather have a frozen pizza, and I wasn’t going to try to convince him otherwise.

When he helped himself to a serving, he said it was almost sweet enough to be dessert (thank you, summer produce!) and he piled away a huge helping of the dish…never resorting to pizza for dinner. I didn’t hear a peep about pizza – just that he enjoyed this recipe. It was also enjoyed by my diabetes cooking club and last week, in the cafeteria at work. Yeeep, it’s a winner!

Fruit, Chicken, and Quinoa Salad 4

5.0 from 1 reviews
Fruit, Chicken, and Quinoa Salad with Citrus Poppy Seed Dressing
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 (about 1⅔ cups each)
 
Ingredients
Salad:
  • 1 cup quinoa (uncooked), rinsed and drained + 1⅓ cups water
  • 1 quart strawberries, quartered
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 1 mango, diced
  • 1 pint raspberries
  • 1½ lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked and sliced
  • 1 cup walnut halves
  • ½ cup (2 oz) feta, crumbled
Dressing:
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp poppy seeds
Instructions
  1. In a small saucepan, add quinoa and water and cook on high. Once it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low and cover. Let cook for 15 minutes; remove from heat and keep covered for 5+ minutes. Fluff with a fork and allow to cool completely. Note: you can do this step 1-2 days in advance.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk together dressing ingredients in a small bowl.
  3. Once the quinoa is cooled, toss it with the citrus poppy seed dressing in a large bowl. Add the fruit, cooked chicken, and walnuts; toss well. Serve chilled or at room temperature with about 1 tablespoon of feta crumbled over the top of each serving.
Notes
Recipe adapted from Krafted Koch
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1⅔ cups Calories: 474 Fat: 21.8 Carbohydrates: 44.4 Sugar: 23.1 Sodium: 284 Fiber: 6.0 Protein: 26.8 Cholesterol: 41

 We’re having maternity photos taken tonight – I’m excited! I have just a few photos of myself pregnant, and I’m glad I’ll have something more to remember my pregnancy by :)

Be well,

sig4