Weekend Update with Mac ‘n Cheese

Turns out Saturday we didn’t go to Bally’s, but we did get important stuff accomplished.  BUT, Sunday we went!  I was there mostly to get some running in while Brett pumped massive iron, but since we were at a gym, I had to try out some machines.  I did a few machines for my chest, back, triceps and biceps.  And I definitely felt it the next day…and the next day (today). Ouch!  As soon as I started running on the treadmill, a pain shot up my left leg.  I knew I wasn’t going very far and ended up having to stop after .5 miles.  I was so upset.  I should probably rename my blog “Banana CAN’T Run.”  Le sigh.  I did move on to the elliptical and did almost 2 miles – Brett was ret to go.  Still burned 142 calories in 1.7 miles, plus probably the 50 or so on the treadmill, so not a bad day.  Still bummed about the running thing though.  At some point, maybe I’ll have someone analyze my gait, but for now…elliptical and Jillian’s Shred are where it’s at.

On to some delicious eats!  While we were out getting important things done on Saturday, we stopped at Guadalajara to eat.  We started with an El Presidente margarita, which is a margarita mixed with brandy.  Oh, it was YUM! Recommended!

I decided to go out on a limb and get fish tacos – fried in a Dos Equis batter, with a side of fiesta rice.

The rice was a little plain to me.  I prefer cilantro rice or Spanish rice.  And the fish tacos were…not great to me.  Everything on the tacos was good, but the fish itself tasted a little fishy – and I don’t like that, so I didn’t eat all of mine.

Brett got carne asada (I think) with a cheese enchilada and Spanish rice.  I’m not a big steak-y eater, but his meal was pretty delish.  I wouldn’t order it for myself, but it tasted better than mine.  And I enjoyed his rice for sure.  Notice his margarita has been sucked dry.

On Sunday, we made some juicy steaks on the grill with a side of mac ‘n cheese.  I never make mac ‘n cheese and I don’t know why…because I love it so much.  When I stumbled upon this EASY recipe, I was sold!  I got this from Pinterest, but didn’t repin, so I googled the original blog post.

One Pot Mac ‘n Cheese (click for recipe and blog post)

I didn’t take pictures of the prep because it was dark and rainy outside and Brett was fiddling with the grill and steaks, and I just wanted to hurry this dish along.  We did everything as the recipe states, but it didn’t take 15 to 20 minutes to cook; it was more like 5 minutes.  When the milk reduced and the mixture was creamy, we chose to add Gruyere cheese (omg, nom!) and a little parmigiano-reggiano cheese for good measure. Then topped with 7 or 8 slices of crumbled bacon (that I baked).  And this side dish was fast, easy and one of the most delicious mac ‘n cheeses I have ever tasted.  Definitely recommend! (which is why I named this post “with Mac ‘n Cheese”).

Just look at that steak!! Again, not a big steak eater, but this steak was cooked to perfection – thanks, Brett!  A most delicious meal on a rainy Sunday  night.

Monday night was a repeat – Ground Beef Stroganoff. Brett is out of town tonight and tomorrow night, so I’m making tofu fried rice tonight because Brett likes meat, so I’m excited for a meal I love!  Will post that recipe tomorrow.

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Weekend and a Monday

Let me begin with saying that I wish I updated my blog more often than every few days, so I didn’t have to recap all the delicious meals over the last few (or 5) days.  But, it’s how I roll, at least sometimes, so here are the things we ate this weekend (and Monday).  Hope to be back with Tuesday and Wednesday later today, so I’m all caught up.

I no longer want running to be my only form of exercise (especially now that my left leg bothers me so, thus causing me to run only 2 miles when I do run).  So, Saturday I gave into the 30 Day Shred.  I read about other bloggers doing it, and I wanted to join in!  Oh Jillian, be gentle. Right!  Brett did his prison work out as he calls it.  He does push-ups and pull-ups and then uses an old tall laundry basket full of heavy clothes to do shrugs. I think he also sometimes uses his giant amp.  So creative.  Meanwhile I did Level 1 of the Shred, which lasted 20 minutes.  I could tell I got a good workout in, but I’ve done lots of different DVDs in the past, Zumba, and now running, so I felt a little hungry for more at the end, but I’m glad I didn’t do anything else because for the next 2 days, I could barely sit down without falling into my chair – and yes, onto the toilet.  I loved it though!! And I’m ready to get pumped with Jillian!

After that, I cooked something I saw on Pinterest.  We hardly ever have a good hearty breakfast.  Well, this ended up taking until mid-afternoon because it takes a while to bake – didn’t really think that through.

Potato Bacon Casserole (click for recipe)

Ingredients:

We baked our bacon  – not the whole pack, we saved about 4 pieces.

Here’s what it looked like before baking . . .

Meanwhile, we tried beermosas for the first time.  I see some people on the web adding vodka, but we just used a light beer and added orange juice.  Pour in the entire can of beer and drink a few sips off the top, then pour in OJ and fill the glass to the top.

These were quite refreshing.  I thought it would be nasty, but nope!

Finally, the baking was finished – final dish & my plate . . .

Delicious! But I never want to wait that long for food again, not even when beer is involved.

Sunday we made chicken tacos again.  Mmm, delicious corn tortillas (heated on the grill in foil)!

No workout Sunday because of the Shred soreness.

And that brings us to Monday’s delicious meal. Oh, it was a good one!

Ground Beef Stroganoff (click for recipe).  Another from Pinterest, of course.

Ingredients . . .

First, brown your ground beef and drain and set aside.  Also, get a pot of boiling water going for your noodles.  Then saute your onions in the butter, and then add the garlic.  After that, toss in the flour and stir.

Then add your beef broth and whisk vigorously to get any lumps out.  Then toss in the sour cream and cream of mushroom soup.

That looks a little blech, but check it out after it’s stirred – creamy!! I added a good amount of pepper, but just a little Kosher salt and it was perfect.   Then add in your beef and you’re done!

Pour over noodles and enjoy! Mmm…

I made this because I know Brett loves Beef Stroganoff, but I never want to deal with the beef part of it.  Ground beef made this really easy.  Brett said it was the best he ever had!  Monday was another rest day because I was still getting over Jillian’s shredding.  Whew!

Weekend update and (non) running

Saturday morning we had nothing substantial to eat in the house, which is normal for the weekend.  Need to work on that.  So, we had some cereal, then went out for a run.  Will update on running at the bottom of this post.  After that, midday we went to redeem our Groupon at Berryhill’s.  I love their fish tacos – and fish tacos aren’t normally something I would go for, but the sauce, the red cabbage, the fish, mmm!  I got a combo meal since we needed to spend more than usual because of the groupon.  I ended up with a corn enchilada (another thing I wouldn’t normally order), fish taco, rice and refried beans.  Brett ordered a combo as well and got 2 chimichangas, rice and charro beans.  I didn’t eat all of my corn enchilada, too creamy! but our meals were excellent.

 

Afterward we swung by Spec’s on the way home to pick up some ginger beer to go with our bourbon, as well as a couple different cheeses and some prosciutto.  Figured that would be supper since we had a heavy lunch.   Well, we couldn’t get to our usual ginger beer because Ice-T and Coco were in town promoting Original Gangster brandy!  Well, I never!  Brett said maybe he could reach through the aisle from the other side.  Luckily, while on that aisle we noticed more ginger beer.  It was a different kind and ginger was settled on the bottom of the bottles – looked good to me.  This is one of the 2 pictures Brett got of Ice-T and Coco over the tops of bottles.  “Why am I doing this?” he asked.  No idea besides “everyone else is doing it!”

Saturday evening we enjoyed our Spec’s purchases and also carved another pumpkin.  It had a ton of seeds, which we roasted of course, but we didn’t eat very many of them after hogging down our weight in cheese.

We tried to model our pumpkin after the one from the opening credits of “Halloween.” Best.Scary.Movie.Ever.

Spooooky!

Ok, running update.  The reason I put “non” in the title is because Saturday we ran and it is now Wednesday and we haven’t run since.  We did do some strength training on Monday, so we haven’t been completely idle, but I just wanted a little break – and Brett was up for that, too.  My left leg has really bothered me the last few runs.  By the time I reach mile 2, a pain is throbbing from my ankle to my hip bone.  I ice my ankle and my knee when I get home, but I just haven’t wanted to run over 2 miles the past couple of runs because I don’t want to injure myself.  I enjoy running for the cardio and need to stop treating it as a race to the finish line.  Speaking of the finish line, I don’t know that I’ll be crossing it at the 5K I registered for on October 29th.  It is a week and a half away and running 2 miles is not going to cut it.  I would want to finish in 35 minutes or under and right now it would be more like 40, which is still good for a beginner, but not this beginner.  I just don’t feel ready and I’m accepting that – it’s hard for me to quit things or not follow through.  I’m really hard on myself when it comes to that.  BUT it’s my life and if I’m not ready for a race yet, I’m not ready.  There.  I won’t run a 5K competitively until I’ve run (no walking involved) a 5K around my neighborhood.

My Thursday run went well, too.  Here are my times for Thursday and Saturday.

10/13/11: 2 miles in 25:28; Mile 1 = 12:23, Mile 2 = 13:02.

10/15/11: 2 miles in 24:52; Mile 1 – 11:50, Mile 2 = 13:00.

Sunday was pretty relaxing.  We watched football, after Brett did some yard work, and grilled a whole chicken and made tacos out of that again.  Forgot to take pictures this time around, whoops.  It is an easy Sunday meal and we like that it takes a while for the chicken to grill, so there is beer chillin’ time while waiting.  I also made the cilantro-lime rice again.  I didn’t plan to, but then I remembered how good it was and I happened to have all the ingredients.  I like that feeling – having all the ingredients for an  unplanned dish – makes me feel like an adult.

Back for Monday & Tuesday night meal updates later!

Serious recap time!

Ok, since I’m so far behind (and I have to catch up or I will obsess about this blog in an unhealthy way), I’m doing a recap post with final dishes pictures only with links to any recipes.  And, I need to add 3 runs.

Monday we made scallops for the first time.  I have read so many great things about scallops.  The store always has scallops (previously frozen) out for purchase EXCEPT for the day we wanted to buy them, so we bought frozen ones.  After defrosting them overnight, I sauteed them and they started leaking out some freaky galactic looking juice.  I had to keep pouring the juice out of the pan. Needless to say, the scallops never browned because of the amount of juice.  Meanwhile, I cooked 13.25 oz of whole wheat spaghetti.  I removed the scallops from the skillet and added a few cloves of chopped garlic and 2 packs of cherry tomatoes to the skillet and put the lid on so they would burst.  Then tossed in the spaghetti with the sauce and a little reserved pasta liquid.  Add the scallops on top and top with however much fresh basil you want.  DID NOT LIKE THIS DISH. Very disappointing.  I would like to give scallops another try, but would prefer at a restaurant, cooked to perfection.

Not even a heaping of parm-regg could save this dish.

Tuesday night we had baked chicken – marinated in Zesty Lite Italian dressing and baked on 400F for 15 minutes and turned, then baked another 15 to 20 minutes.  Roasted Brussels sprouts (yum!) on the side, as well as some instant (shh!) potatoes.

Love this simple dish!

Wednesday we had a Weight Watchers dish – Whole Wheat Chili Macaroni.  We LOVE this dish.  Brett says he could eat it once a week.  In fact, I think we did used to eat it once a week.  It’s THAT good.

This dish is also the easiest dish in the world to make.  Perfect!

Thursday night we had barbecue chicken on the grill with classic macaroni salad.  These are both Weight Watchers recipes.  Delicious!!  We only have a charcoal grill, so sometimes our chicken sticks, but not if you prepare it this way.  Put 8 cups of warm water into a big bowl and drop in 1/2 cups of kosher salt.  Let it sit about 30 minutes or until the water comes down to room temperature.   Then add in some chicken breast pieces and let them brine in the salt water in the refrigerator for an hour.  Coat the chicken in your favorite bbq sauce and grill – about 8 to 10 minutes on each side (on our grill anyway).  Check this link – Classic Macaroni Salad – to make the side dish.  So so very good!

Friday night we didn’t make tacos – GASP!! We decided to go for some pizza at Luigi’s.  Yes, we gave them another chance, and they did not disappoint!! Very, very friendly staff and the pizza was yums!!

Running recap . . .

EDIT:  I forgot to put in Monday’s run.  2.87 miles in 37:52.  Mile 1 = 12:10, Mile 2 = 13:51 and Mile 3 = 13:39.

Wednesday I ran and just wanted to see how well I would do, minus the Couch25K app.  I used the Runkeeper app on my phone to keep up with my pace the whole time.  I ran my first mile tonight!  In 11:43 minutes.  It was 97 degrees out – ugh!  I ran 2.31 miles in 29:55.  Mile 1 = 11:53 (holla!), Mile 2 = 13:56 (boo).

We skipped Friday’s run because it was 97 degrees and we heard a “cold front” was headed our way.  Saturday morning it was in the 60s but by the time we got outside, around 9am, it was 70 degrees – still blissful compared to near 100F.   Saturday I ran 20 minutes straight (so I finally completed Week 5, Day 3 of C25K – woooooo!! I smiled so big when I crossed this point).  I took a little 30 second walk then ran more.  I ran a lot more today and walked less, mostly because the Race for the Cure was going on in the park down the street and runners were parked in our neighborhood and were coming back to their cars – I didn’t want them to see me walking! ;0)  I did 2.83 miles in 37:23.  Mile 1 = 12:29, Mile 2 = 13:35 and Mile 3 = 13:40.  I don’t think the app kept accurate time for me because I was maintaining between 11:30 and 12 mins/mile pace and one time I looked down while running and it said I was at a 18:50 pace.  That is my WALKING pace, not my RUNNING pace, so it thinks I was going slower than I was.  Boo!!  I also compared it to Monday’s run when I walked a lot more than I did today and I didn’t really shave off any time, so that confirms it for me that I didn’t get an accurate reading today.

Will update with weekend foods later.  PHEW!

Thai Fried Rice

Wow, I have a lot of catching up to do!  So, let’s get to it! First up, Wednesday (9/21).

Wednesday we made Thai Fried Rice, courtesy of Gina’s Skinnytaste recipe.  Click the recipe name to get the recipe!

Ingredients…

First, cook your rice, or get it started before you start with the main dish.  Brown the chicken in a wok or large skillet…

Remove the chicken, then add your eggs and cook until scrambled, then remove from wok.  Then, add remaining oil and onions, scallions and garlic.  Let simmer 1 to 2 minutes.

Add chili peppers, tomatoes and rice, soy sauce and fish sauce.

Then add back in your chicken & eggs, toss.

I love this dish! We’ve made it several times now and can’t get enough. We also enjoyed a Pumpkin Ale…again.  We obviously can’t get enough of that either!

Next up will be Thursday’s meal and the weekend of glutton, plus a Saturday run.

Grilled Chicken Thighs, Greens & Beans

Monday was a rest day, so we grilled.  Another Rachael Ray recipe.  I used to never cook her stuff, but now I flip through her magazines and so many things look good, plus I get an email from her everyday, so there are so many to choose from!!  We made Grilled Chicken Thighs on a Bed of Beans and Greens.

Ingredients posing:

First time cooking with escarole!

We got all this ready, then went out to grill the chicken thighs first.  Not a big fan of chicken on the charcoal grill, but these turned out nicely.

While the chicken was grilling, we each enjoyed one of these – out of our new Steelers glasses.

Brett has been waiting on Blue Moon’s Harvest Moon to come out this year.  Pretty yummy!

I didn’t get step-by-step pictures of this.  We couldn’t find fresh spices (darn you, Kroger!), so we just used our spice cabinet.

Here’s  a picture after everything was mixed in and the escarole was wilting away.

And here’s a shot of my bowl of chicken, beans & greens before I added some parm-reg.

The cheese was needed but it didn’t make the dish too pretty.

I would not make this dish again.  I liked it, but it was a little bland.  Brett didn’t really like it all too much.  The escarole was good and I liked it with the beans, but everything just didn’t go together well. I need more substance.

I shall return later today (or tomorrow) with Tuesday’s update of running and…another Rachael Ray recipe (this time a most delish one!) – I know it’s madness!

San Antonio – Part 1

On Friday evening we headed to San Antonio, TX.  We arrived around 10pm.  On the way there, we ran into a traffic jam – we went 40 miles in 1 hour.  The only thing that we can think caused the jam was the lanes went from 3 down to 2 at a particular spot.  Annoying!  This was our third stay at the Emily Morgan hotel, which is adjacent to the Alamo.  The other 2 times we got a room overlooking the pool, which was under construction  (both times) – worst view ever.  This time I asked if we could overlook something else and the guy behind the counter told me they only had one King room left, but if we had gotten there a few hours earlier, we would have had choices – of course.  The room was on the 2nd floor and a corner room, so we had 2 views.  When we went to eat later, I stopped to tell him the room was fine and we were happy that it was a corner room, to which he replied, “yeah I put you in the corner. I thought you would like it.”  Huh?  How could you put us in a corner room if it was the LAST King available.  We put ourselves there, no?  Anyway, moving on.  The hotel is supposedly haunted because it used to be a hospital.  Nothing scary happened to us except for the head of the bed being across from the door, so there was light blaring in my face all night from under and around the door.  I finally woke up and put a towel on the floor to at least cover the light underneath.  Also, it was hot in the room when we arrived, so Brett turned the air conditioner fan to “on” instead of auto.  It made a horrible humming sound until I finally changed it to auto.  Also, the bed was awesome at first, but I kept rolling to one side, so I had to surround myself with 2 big pillows.  I tossed and turned.  These are a view pix of the room.

The first night, almost everything was closed.  We had had no supper and were very hungry – it was 11pm.  So, the only place to go was the dreaded Riverwalk.  I hate that tourist trap.  We had a mediocre supper of chicken quesadilla (me) and chalupas (Brett).  No pictures – I forgot, plus it just wasn’t worth it.  Brett made the comment that plain chicken with no seasoning has a taste, beef with no seasoning has a taste, cheese has a taste – but this food on the Riverwalk has no taste at all – it’s as if they suck the taste out the food before serving it.  I agree.

The next morning we went downstairs to our hotel restaurant, Oro, for breakfast.  I ordered the All-American, which is Buffalo sausage, 2 eggs and black beans, plus a local tortilla – I thought it being local was cool (not really).  I received this plate – it’s a little dirty because I almost started eating without snapping a pic. Whoops!

That is definitely not Buffalo sausage – those are Texas links.  The waiter said they must have been out of the Buffalo – really? So you assumed I wanted links? No.  He asked if I wanted bacon instead – yes, please!  I put the eggs, beans & bacon in those tortillas and ate it all up. This dish was pretty yum, especially after the supper we had.

Brett ordered Eggs Benedict.  He enjoyed.  He also had taken a bite of his before I snapped the pic.

We also each ordered a Bloody Mary – we were on vacation after all!  These were pretty delish.

After breakfast, we went up to the room and watched some TV.  We were mostly here to relax and eat; we’ve done the sightseeing thing in San Antone.  Later, we decided to head out to Big Lou’s Pizza.  Big Lou’s has been featured on Man v. Food on the Food Network and boasts huge pizzas – the biggest being a 42″.  Whoa! After a few rounds of the packed parking lot, we finally got a spot and then went to get in line – it wasn’t too, too long because we arrived around 3pm.  We heard the lady behind the counter tell the couple in front of us they could wait 30 minutes for a table or go to the bar.  The bar sounded like a good idea to us, so we asked.  She said there were 2 bars, so we followed the other couple who got the last seat at the bar – yes, one seat, the guy ended up standing.  Darn!  So we turned around and headed the other way where we found the other bar, which had no one seated at it – score!  The bartenders were super nice.  We asked the girl if a 20″ pizza could be served at the bar, and she said yes, “but that’s a lot” – silly girl!  So that’s what we ordered – a 20″ pepperoni ‘za. Mmm!  I also ordered a Murphy’s Stout and Brett ordered a Shock Top.

We ordered another beer and the bartender asked us what size, so I asked for the prices and he said a pitcher of Shock Top was $10.  Really?  We’ll take one!

Check out our ‘za!!

This is what was left of it. Killed it!

After that, we were done for the day.  Time for more TV and relaxation.  Part 2 is comin’ up later.