Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Being a coffee addict, this little blip made me really happy!  I typically drink a cup of coffee before going to the gym, I'm just glad that different studies back me up now! 

If you’re a java junkie we have happy news for you. Downing 12 ounces of coffee an hour before you hit the gym or track can help you workout longer and boost your endurance. It can also ease exercise-related aches and pains. A 2009 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign study found that men who received a jolt of caffeine an hour before bicycling intensely reported less muscle pain during their workout than a similar group of cyclists who went caffeine free. Worried that cup of Joe will dehydrate you? Don’t be. The American College of Sports Medicine states that caffeine isn’t an issue when it comes to hydration.

I typically drink instant coffee before the gym because it is so easy for me to do quickly and stay in my department. Instant coffee has become somewhat of a new fad with Starbucks putting out their individual serving packs.  I get the Taster's Choice sticks.  They are significantly less expensive then the Starbuck's brand and they come in a bunch of different flavors.  They are extremely portable and they couldn't be simpler to prepare.  You mix the coffee with 6 oz of hot water and what ever fixings you typically like with your coffee.  So, even at the end of a busy day at work, I can still sneak in a quick cup of Joe before the gym. 
If you like bold coffee, Colombian would probably be the best.  I like the vanilla flavor though, it is really sweet.  Mike thinks that the vanilla has a very artificial taste to it.  I didn't care for the Original, it was too weak for my taste buds.  It is all a taste preference if you want to give these little guys a try.  It isn't the best cup of coffee in the world but, it gives a nice boost! 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Chicken with Mushroom and Onion Sauce

This chicken dish ended up being really easy and really good!  I had extra mushrooms in the fridge and I wanted to try to make something a little different then Mike and I have had before.  It doesn't require many ingredients (which I always like).  This is a good week-night meal.

What you need:
  • chicken
  • 1 carton of cremini mushrooms
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 3/4 chicken stock
  • 2 tsp flour
  • 1 tbs margarine or butter
  • parsley (optional)
  • salt and pepper
The best thing to do is to pound the chicken to make it thinner.  Season with salt and pepper and cook for about 8-10 minutes per side or until the chicken is cooked all the way through.

The easiest thing to do is to buy the  pre-sliced mushrooms but, if you are like me and did not, it is easy to cut them into slices.

Slice the onion or make someone else do it so you don't cry (thanks Mike)

Cook the mushrooms, onions and garlic in a pan over medium high heat for about 5 minutes or until the onions and mushrooms are soft.

Add in the white wine and let simmer for about 2 minutes.  Then add the chicken stock.

Sprinkle in the flour and butter.   The best way to prevent clumping of the flour is to cream the butter and flour together before adding it into the mushroom mix (I should have done this).  Allow mix to thicken, if it isn't think enough for your taste add more flour and if it is too think, add more chicken broth.

Place the cooked chicken into the mushroom mix

Allow to let the chicken mingle with the mushrooms and onions for a few more minutes.

Add some fresh parsley if desired (I like the bit of freshness it adds).

And enjoy with your favorite side!

The onions become sweet and really soft.  It is a great accompaniment to the chicken.  I liked that it was something different than our normal, plain chicken.  I really like this one, Mike wasn't as big of a fan of it.  He ate it but, I don't think it was in the top 100 things I have ever made for him :)
If you make it let me know what you think!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Garlic and Cheese Tilapia

I have never tried cooking tilapia before but Mike and I had a coupon for the seafood department at Wegman's and decided to try to cook something besides salmon.  I am so glad that we did!  This recipe turned out really well and was super simple. 

What you need:
  • 2 tilapia fillets
  • 2 tbs margarine or butter
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • 2 tbs parmasean
  • gruyere cheese
  • lemon (optional)
  • salt and pepper 

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.  While the oven heats, place tilapia fillets on a cookie sheet sprayed with non-stick spray.  Salt and pepper both sides.

Cook for 10-12 minutes.  While the fish cooks, mix garlic, parm and butter and set aside until fish is done.  When the fish is done, flip very gently; the fish will break easily.  Spread 1/4 of the mixture on each fish fillet and top with gruyere cheese.  Place back in the oven for an additional 10-12 minutes.

When the cheese is completely melted and slightly brown, top with the remaining parm mixture.  I also squeezed a little bit of lemon on each fillet.

I served it with a side of roasted asparagus and it was absolutely delicious!

Mike and I were big fans of the garlic and cheese combo on the tilapia.  It was a great first attempt at making tilapia and I am definitely going to try to make it again.  The best thing about tilapia is that it is typically on sale or if not on sale, it is pretty cheap.  I hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Cookie Dough Dip

This is a must make!!  This will knock your socks, pants, shirt, under-roos off!!!  I found this on one of my favorite food blogs ( ).  This gal makes some amazing things!  Unfortunately, they are typically not on my diet plan but when Mike and I found out that we were going to be going over to a friend's for a super bowl party, I knew exactly what I wanted to make!  Not only is it delish, it's also really easy to make!  Next time you have to make something or if you want to splurge some calories on a tasty treat, make this dip!

What you need:
  • 1/2 c butter
  • 1/3 c brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 8oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 c powdered sugar
  • 3/4 c mini chocolate chips
  • pretzels, vanilla wafers, animal crackers, fresh fruit (optional sides)

Melt butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat. When just melted, stir in brown sugar.  Stir constantly until the sugar is dissolved.  Make sure not to over cook or you will get caramel and that is no bueno!

Set aside and let cool slightly; when cooled, add in vanilla

In a separate bowl mix together cream cheese and powdered sugar

Mix the butter/sugar mix into the cream cheese/powdered sugar mix with the blender on slow

(btw, the godiva coffee in the background is sooo good!)

Once everything is mixed together, stir in the mini chocolate chips

Place mixture in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.  It allows the mixture to stiffen and the flavors to mingle.

We served it with vanilla wafers and pretzels.  Pretzels were Mike's idea and it was a stroke of genius!  It combines this girl's dream snack of sweet and salty.  I think that fresh fruit like apples and strawberries will be tasty, too.  I cannot wait to make this recipe again!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Not Potato, Mashed Potatoes

I am obsessed with mashed potatoes and I miss them dearly.  I'm not going to lie, I miss carbs in the worst way.  I knew I was going to be making a chicken dish for dinner and when I was thinking of what to make as a side, I thought of a mashed cauliflower dish I had made a long time ago.  One snag, Mike hates cauliflower...big problem!  But, I figured if I found a recipe that would deceive him appeal to him, he would give it a shot.  To my delight, I found a recipe that was a good starting point on the food network's website.  After a few tweaks that would direct it more to what Mike and I like, this is what I got...

What you need:
  • medium head of cauliflower
  • 1/4 tsp chicken bullion
  • 2oz mascarpone cheese or cream cheese
  • 1/3 c parmesan
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbs margarine (or butter)
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

Cut the cauliflower into small pieces and boil or steam until the cauliflower is extremely tender (on the mushy, over cooked side, which I normally hate).  When done, strain and dry the cauliflower the best you can.  Place the cauliflower and the rest of the ingredients into the food processor or use an immersion blender to puree all the ingredients together. 

Doesn't it kinda look like mashed potatoes?!

Serve as a perfect side dish!

The verdict:  Mike liked them (even though it is a veggie he hates)!  He said that they were not as good as mashed potatoes (obviously) but, it was a good substitute.  The texture is different, they aren't as thick as good, homemade, mashed potatoes but, when you add in enough yummy things you can over look the texture.  I would recommend this side dish to anyone who is watching their carbs.  Now if I could only find a good replacement for bread...any ideas?!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Honey Mustard Salmon

I love, love, love salmon!  It tends to be really easy and perfect for a weeknight meal.  This salmon definitely falls into both of those categories.  I got this recipe from cooking light and I'm so glad that we gave it a try!  It doesn't require to many ingredients and they tend to be common items you already have.

What you need:

  • 4 6oz salmon fillets 
  • 1 tbs of whole-grain mustard
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper

In a bowl, combine mustard, honey, garlic powder, turmeric and crushed red pepper.

Place the salmon fillets on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray and spread the mustard mixture evenly over each fillet.

Smooth over the entire top and the sides so, there is a thin coating on each fillet.

Place salmon in the oven and broil for about 10 minutes.  To check to see if your salmon is done, use a fork and pull at the salmon, if it flakes easily then it is done.  Check at the thickest part of the fillet.

Serve with your favorite sides.  We went with broccoli because that is what Mike thought looked best at ACME (they don't have a great produce section).

I hope you enjoy this!  Mike and I really like it.  It is packed with flavor and the ease of it cannot be beat.
*note:  If you have sensitive smoke detectors, like ours, they will go off non-stop while the salmon is in the oven!  It is incredibly annoying!!!!  Thankfully, I have a professional towel swatter that I position under the smoke detector for when it starts going off.