I am the 90% (on New Years Eve)

I’m  one of the 90% of Americans who claim they are staying in for New Years.  I think that says more about the people who actually respond to those polls than what people actually do on New Years.  They way I see it, I’m going to get a good night’s sleep tonight, and I’m definitely not going to be disappointed!

I’m also going home tomorrow.

Which I think is what I said when I headed this direction a week and a half ago.  I guess my home is both places.

Since it was my last day in Anderson (and I busted my tail at the gym today), I ordered something at Panera that I’ve been hankering for lately–the grilled cheese.  My mom, brother, and I enjoyed a nice lunch together.

Lunch at Panera

Of course, I thought about ways that I could make a slightly healthier version myself.  It will happen soon.

I finished off my stay in Anderson with a bike ride with my mom and dinner with the family.  I’ve had a wonderfully restful break here.  My other home hosts both new and old exciting things to tackle in 2014.

Happy New Year!

A Few Ideas for the New Year

There is a lot of good information in paper magazines.  The kind you can’t pin or tweet.  Just paper.  So how does one share this valuable information?  Pictures.

In light of this resolution season (I don’t make resolutions–I make to-do lists), I found a few tidbits in the January issue of SELF Magazine that might guide you toward a good plan for the new year.

peppermint oil

The tip is this: put a few drops of peppermint oil in your water bottle before you head to the gym.  I’ve read before that peppermint oil gives a natural energy boost, and I bought some to put on my wrists before workouts.  I did it a few times…then forgot about it.  I hadn’t thought to drop it in my water.  Now I can put that little bottle of oil to use!

Next is a tip from the great Jillian Michaels.

jillian doesn't like working out

I admit I genuinely enjoy working out and eating healthy.  That’s not to say that I don’t have a hard time resisting foods when I know I’ve already eaten enough.  I’m not chomping at the bit to work out after work everyday.  When you’re really trying to rein it in, it’s important to resist a little more.  Or, on a stressful Wednesday evening when I want to eat everything in my refrigerator, I need to remember ice cream or french fries aren’t as exciting as still fitting in my favorite pants.

I’ve said several times that I don’t make resolutions, I just make lists.  I found some help for one of the first items on my list.

homemade sushi

I really want to make my own sushi.  Any kind.  I just want to be able to say I did it.

Also on my list is to add weight training to my workout routine.  I already do some body weight training, but I want to reduce my cardio and add more weights.  Today, my brother took me to his gym and showed me a few things.  The weights section at the gym is not familiar territory for me.  I believe I told him I felt like a fish out of water.  Nevertheless, I manned up.

lifting weightslifting weights

I will be posting some new weight routines as I get my feet wet.  Keep checking the “workouts to try” tab on the main menu.

The next item on my list?  Yoga.  Namaste until then.

Those Little Pizza Balls

dad wil pizza balls

Well, that’s what we called them. Apparently, the enchiladas I made last night weren’t a crowd favorite.  My brother and I liked them, but others seemed to think they were “eh.”  I had to redeem myself. My mom made a … Continue reading

Turkey Enchiladas

Remember those turkey burgers I made the other night?  Well, there was a lot of uncooked meat mixture left over, so I browned what was left to make the enchiladas.

leftover ground turkeyI recommend using the same ingredients in the ground turkey that I used when I made the turkey burgers.  There was a lot of flavor in these enchiladas.  I used:

  • 1 package of corn tortillas (just because they have fewer calories than flour ones)
  • 1 package of taco seasoning
  • 2 jars of salsa
  • 1.5 pounds of leftover ground turkey with the ranch, onion, and spinach mixed in
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (I mean, you can use whatever kind of cheese you like!)
  • sour cream
  • 1 can black beans
  • lettuce (optional)

Brown the ground turkey. Drain the turkey.  Put in the taco seasoning and about 1/2 cup of water.  Let it sit for about five minutes.

ground turkey taco meat

Put the hot ground turkey in a bowl with one cup of shredded cheddar cheese and 1 cup of salsa.  Spoon the mixture into a double layer of corn tortillas and roll them up the best you can.  The tortillas will tear, but when the enchiladas cook, you won’t be able to tell they are ripped.  Cover the enchiladas with the extra cup of salsa.

turkey enchiladas

I got about twelve rolled up enchiladas in the 9×13 pan.  You will want to have a few extra because these taste even better as leftovers!

Put the pan in the a 375 degree oven for twenty minutes.  After twenty minutes, cover the top with the other cup of cheese.  Cook for ten more minutes.

turkey enchiladas20131229-192011.jpg

Pretty good.

Rolling the Final Credits on Christmas

Colorful Post-Christmas Mess

This will make you feel better about whether or not your “house is a mess.”  When I am at home, everything has to be where it belongs or I can’t function.  On vacation, all bets are off.  The only plus is that a lot of my stuff is in bright colors so the mess becomes its own decoration. Bleh, bleh, bleh…it’s a wreck and starting to drive me nuts.christmas mess

Fun with (ridiculous and grammatically disastrous) Signs

I have a few fun photos from Anderson adventures today.  First, I’ve been working out at Gold’s Gym since I’ve been here.  During my first visit, I walked quickly out of the women’s locker room and thought I saw something odd on a sign, but then I thought there was no way it really said that.  Today, I saw it again.  I was right.  I really says that.

no boys in the girls bathroom

…and that’s not to mention lack of apostrophe! Also, just noticed the creation of the gigantic word “lockerroom.”  I guess that extra space would have just taken too much out of them.

Next, this little sign caught my eye at the mall.  Lynna stole the apostrophe from the bathroom sign, I guess.

luxuries' by lynna

One Last Christmas Dinner

On a serious note, I finished up my Christmas festivities tonight with a trip to my Aunt Johnnye’s house.  She’s a phenomenal cook.  As she was making final preparations, she pulled out a recipe handwritten by my great grandmother who was known around town for her fantastic cooking.  This is the recipe for her dressing which I will try to post soon.  There are no fruits or vegetables in this one!

dressing recipeMy great grandmother passed away when I was in the second grade, but I remember her cooking.  Actually, the thing I remember most about staying at her house was that she would let me use the microwave all by myself.  I thought I was a big thing for that.  Apparently, she had a cooking problem that I share–she didn’t like following recipes.  She cooked with a lot of “ish” measurements and “hmmm, I think I’ll throw in this.”  Love.

Once again, my family sat around the table to share stories, laugh, and eat.  I wish I could say I cooked this goodness, but I didn’t.

prime rib

The food was fantastic and made me a little sad at the thought of the little awkward time period after Christmas when the glitter and ho-ho-ho is still on the mind.  Eventually things return to normal, but Christmas is nearly over.  I’m starting to work on my list of things I want/need to do as the new year begins.  I don’t typically do resolutions; I just make a list of things I’d like to be able to say I tried by the end of the next year.  It helps with the post-Christmas transition period.  So, what do you do as Christmas ends avoid to that cheer hangover?  Please leave a comment!

(Tasty) Turkey Burger and Sweet Potato Family Dinner

My grandfather told a story tonight.

First, you must know that he cleaned–I mean seriously cleaned–my car for me yesterday.  By the visor on the passenger side was a large, brownish reddish splotch.  It was pretty gross.  On the way to work one day, I attempted to chuck my apple core out the window.  I missed.  It hit the inside of my car.  Pretty much exploded.  Rough morning.

After cleaning the car, my grandfather asked me if it was “blood or ketchup.”  Laughing, I told him the tale of the rouge apple.  He told the tale of the rouge firecracker.  Long story short, the firecracker was like the apple.  The explosion occurred between the man and the seat.  Ouch.

We all have a great time when we sit to eat and tell stories.

family dinner20131227-204955.jpg

Spinach Turkey Burgers and Sweet Potatoes

Dinner was pretty easy, but I think everyone enjoyed it.  Here’s what I used:

  • 2 pounds of ground turkey
  • 2 cups of spinach
  • 1 packet of zesty ranch
  • 1 red onion chopped finely
  • sliced reduced fat provolone cheese
  • whole wheat buns
  • Hamburger toppings (sliced onion, dijon mustard, light mayo, etc.)
  • 6 sweet potatoes (one for each person)

Cook the sweet potatoes at 425 degrees for about 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Click here for some helpful tips on cooking sweet potatoes.

Finely chop the onion.  I used my food processor and pushed pulse until it was the consistency I wanted.  Mix the chopped onion, the ranch packet, and the two cups of spinach into the ground turkey.  It is ok that the spinach leaves are big.  They will be smaller when you cook the turkey.

Use a 1/3 cup scoop to get just the right amount of meat for the burger.  Scoop it out of the bowl and onto a separate plate to prepare to cook.

turkey burger pattiesNow, there are two ways to cook these things.  If you have access to a grill, GRILL THEM.  It makes the burger leaner and won’t smoke up your house.  Tonight, it was cold outside, and my dad wasn’t here to do the whole gas grill thing.  I decided to cook these in a skillet on the stove top.  Not my best decision, but it worked.

Turn the heat to medium/high and cook the burgers on each side for about five minutes.  Make sure they are cooked throughout.  Before you take them off the skillet, melt a piece of reduced fat provolone cheese on top.

turkey burger

They couldn’t even wait for me to take my picture before they started digging in!

Serve the sweet potatoes with whatever you like on top of a sweet potato.  I like salt and sour cream.  My brother ate greek yogurt on top of his, and my grandparents were happy with some butter.  Everyone got what they wanted.

turkey burgers and sweet potato

Finally, there was a little dessert, but that recipe will have to wait for tomorrow.  It’s been a busy day! UPDATE: See the recipe here!

holiday chickpea cookies