A Story in Three Parts

March 23, 2009

First off, major love to whomever can tell me what book the title today comes from.  Because I have three major points today, and I’m too short on time to do a full recap, I’ve decided to divide this post into three parts.

Workin’ It Out

Today’s workout was abso-frickin-lutly fabulous!  I am so glad I tookthe time for myself to go to the gym.  I know this week will be gym light (I am going back to the doctor’s yet again tomorrow to deal with the stupid wart on my foot) but my goal for the rest of the year is to make it as much as possible.  I am such a happier (healthier!!) person when I am in shape.

Today I started with a 30minute Abs and Stretching Class at Crunch.  When class was over I hit up the treadmill for a 35minute interval session – I do 2minutes jogging/1minute walking.  For 35minutes I did 3.5miles and burned est. 300calories. I’m trying to build back into running while being cognisantof my bad joints, so you will be seeing a lot of intervals.  The 35minutes flew by with my fabulous gym mix:

  1. “I Will Follow You into the Dark” – Death Cab for Cutie
  2. “Rock Lobster” – The B52’s
  3. “O… Saya” – AR Rahman and MIA (Slumdog soundtrack)
  4. “Vitamen S” – Cham
  5. “Loose Lips” – Kimya Dawson
  6. “Crank That” – Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em
  7. “Get Loose” – The Salads
  8. “Heartless” – Kanye West
  9. “Stolen” – Dashboard Confessional
  10. “Paper Planes” – MIA

Eats

Today started normal but ended with Insane hunger.  I’m not sure why my hunger has been so wonky this year (starving or nauseous and hardly ever just normal) but in honor of upcoming bikini season (19days until vacation!) I think I will just be ignoring any craziness for a bit.

Breakfast

For train breakfast I ate a new bar that Melissa brought to brunch yesterday.

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It was good.  I liked the taste and the chia seeds gave it a great chew texture.  My only complaint is that it was pretty sticky and I like to read while I eat on the train.

Lunch

Lunch was a plethora of fruitiness.

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Dannon Light & Fit Pineapple Coconut Yogurt.

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I hate this brand of yogurt usually (I don’t tolerate fake sugar outside of my diet cokes) but the seasonal flavor looked intriguing.  It actually wasn’t bad, the chunks were downright delicious.

A minneola.

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I brought and extra and gave it to kids working in my room at lunch, upon which I learned that about 1/2 of them did not know how to peel an orange!

And finally 1/4C unsweetened dried pineapple from TJ’s.

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Snacks

{Unphotographed = 1fun sized chocolate from a student + a disgustingly large handful of nuts}

A caramelapple bar spread with a bit of pb.

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Dinner

I did a dinner in three parts to0.  We did three salads, three courses.

Course 1

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A small salad of lettuce and shredded red cabbage topped with 15spritzs of Balsalmic Breeze dressing and a few banana chips.

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Course 2

A serving of pasta salad.

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A made this from a kit from Target.  It was only ok, we have two more varieties of kits in our pantry and we are not sure what to expect.

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Course 3

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Juicy Chicken Salad, serves 4

Places the following ingredients in a bowl and stir together gently.  You can eat right away or make a day in advance to allow flavors to combine.

*4 cooked chicken breasts, shredded
*6oz plain nonfat Greek yogurt
*1/2C pickle relish
*3/4C halved green grapes
*1t paprika

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Vegan Challenge Reflections

(Sorry this is a day late)  I hope you all enjoyed the 2week vegan challenge.  I know that I did!  While I have decided NOT to be vegan for life I enjoyed the two weeks and definitely learned a few things.  I outlined a few off my final ideas below.

What I’m Keeping

  1. Variety!  During the challenge I really pushed myself to shake up my lunch rut and I’m glad I did.  Our dinners were fun too.  Even though there were a few flops (tofu scramble), some recipes have become new favorites (strawberry tofu club).
  2. Fake meat.  I knew I was a tofu fan, but I had no idea how enjoyable some of the other forms of vegan protein could be.  Fakin’ bacon rocked my socks, and the soy chorizo dish I made was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten.

What I’m Losing

  1. No ovo.  I like eggs, they are a healthy source of protein.  Plus they are in all of my favorite Thai dishes, life without authentic Pad Thai just isn’t worth it! 🙂
  2. The dairy to soy conversions.  There are many soy products (tofu, soy pudding, edamame) that I greatly enjoy and plan on consuming for life.  However, withthe research still at a stall about the point at which soy becomes a cancer risk rather than help I don’t want to over-indulge.  I have a high risk of cancer anyway, my genes and I grew up in an intense sun area, which is part of why I am concerned with a healthy diet.  Since I enjoy regular dairy I do not want to consume an excess of soy simply to keep animal product off my cereal.
  3. …..more specifically, soy yogurt.  Besides the fact that it lacks the tangy flavor and high protein of Greek yogurt, soy yogurts were impossible for me to find without added sugar.  Consuming extra sugar to get a taste I find second rate seems silly.

What I’m Changing

As you guys know I am mostly vegetarian.  I don’t consume a ton of fish/foul and I haven’t eaten mammals since the summer before 8th grade.  Part of the reason for this (in addition to tastes and health) is that I am unable to make peacewith the idea of eating a mammal.  Pigs are officially smarter than human babies.  While I don’t judge what anyone else eats, I am just not cool with that.  Besides a long long conversation about the treatment of animals breed for food.  I realize you could question why chickens/turkeys/fish are not worthy, honestly I’m not sure.  I feel ok about eating them though and it adds convenience to my life.

As far as animal products go, I do not have a moral issue with consuming them.  My issue lies in the treatment of the source of these foods – cows and chickens raised for eggs and milk.  On a related note, I do not usually consume organic products (my budget will not allow it), although I try to when I can.  A and I discussed this during our challenge, and I realized I see a pretty big difference between pesticides on the outside of a peach and antibiotics that are fed to a cow before she produces milk.  Therefore, A and I have decided to consume dairy/meat less often so that we will be able to afford organic in these products.  We are also going to make a more conserted effort to buy only from companies that provide humane conditions for their farm animals.  I realize that many of my points of view are rationalizations that work only for me.  I am not here to tell anyone what to do, I just wanted to share my own reflections from the 2week challenge.

What are your thoughts on consuming animals/animal products?

What are your thoughts on organic products?

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Sunday

March 1, 2009

I didn’t quite cross off my to do list – I have grading to finish in the morning and I never made it to yoga – but it’s been a busy day!

Post breakfast I worked on school work and worked and worked and worked.  I ate lunch over a couple stages – dried mangosteen and a cherry starburst,

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the last of the Kashi cheddar crackers (about a serving),

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and a sliced Sonya apple.

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Finally I packed up my stuff and headed out to my errands.

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I spent forever making copies!  Plus, a teacher at school gave me her extra overhead (YAY!) so I had to get copies onto transparencies as well!  Using some gift certificates and coupons I saved $40 at Staples today – I spend so much money there I’m up to a Platinum rewards card!

On the way home we stopped into the pizza place for a late lunch, I got a cheesy broccoli calzone.

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Which I paired with a handful of baby carrots.

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Amid work, I also watched “The Great Mouse Detectives,” which put a smile on my face.  (fyi: we watched “Stardust” yesterday and A and I love-love-loved it!  Highly recommend it if you haven’t seen it yet).  During the movie I ate an oooold Dr. Pepper ice pop from the back of the freezer.

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After more, more, more work it was time to start dinner.  I made salad as a first course while we cooked.

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This was an iceberg blend base with dried craisins, wasabi peas, and homemade dressing.  For the dressing I shook the remains of a mustard bottle with evoo, apple cider vinegar, and a pinch of sugar.

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A’s was the same, but bigger, and with nuts (geez that sounds dirty!).  His and hers –

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For dinner we made Marinara Chicken.  I cooked four breasts (always skinless and boneless btw), seasoned with salt, pepper, oregano, and paprika, at 375* for 45minutes.  Later they were mixed with this stuff.

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I cooked 1/2 the box of ww pasta according to the directions on the box.  In the last few minutes of cookie I stirred the chopped broccoli into the water.  After straining and putting the pasta-broc. mixture back into the pot I stirred in the tomato sauce.

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Finally I topped my serving with 1/2 of a sliced chicken breast and some part skim mozzarella.

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Delish!

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I drank a virgin mojito with my dinner.

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Made out of club soda and a stirrings mix.

It’s far too late, so I’ve got to split like a banana, have a good night!

P.S. In the am,

  • fight bpa’s by winning this contest.
  • look like a KERF supporter (you know I am!) by winning this contest.
  • fight peanut butter boredom by winning Barney Butter here.
  • and break away from your Lara bar rut by winning here.

You CAN Win Friends with Salad

February 9, 2009

The title is a nod to A’s appreciation of tonight’s dinner, but more on that later.

In spite of last night’s late ending, I managed to drag myself out of bed, into the shower, and out the door in time to get to school and get set up.  I ate a apple pie Larabar on the train for breakfast.

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Randomly, my crazy mixed class was perfect today; it was a very much appreciated change of pace.  The rest of the day wasn’t as hot, but I feel like I’m all whined out so I’ll just leave it at that 🙂

It was a busy school day so I ended up eating lunch in courses spread out throughout the day.  A bag of green seedless grapes during my 11am prep, and a Vita Coco, pina colada flavored unsweetened coconut milk during lunch time.

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And the leftovers from last night’s dinner as I left school around 4.

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Instead of coming straight home I went to Starbucks so I could get my grading for the day all finished up.  I ate a chocolate cream cheese muffin and my signature coffee order (grande with room iced Americano; with skim milk I add in) while I worked.

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At 330calories this muffin was the healthiest choice in the display case, isn’t that sort of sad Starbucks?

When I got home I kept with the productivity theme and made the rest of my supplies for the week and bubbled in my official 2nd quarter grades.  It took me longer to fill out the stupid grading forms than it did to actually grade my students!!!

Dinner tonight, actually started last night,

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yogurt spiced chicken.

Put desired amount of skinless (bone-in would be better but I just can’t do bones) chicken breasts in a large baggie with enough fat-free plain yogurt to coat.  Shake in salt, pepper, curry, and paprika.  Smoosh bag around and refrigerate overnight.  Cook for 45minutes at 375*.

I ate 1/2 a chicken breast sliced over salad that A decided to rave about.

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  • a Romaine base
  • 3 chopped figs
  • 10 walnuts
  • 1oz chopped smoked Gouda
  • 15squirts Balsalmic Breeze dressing

All together.

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It was super-yummy and satisfying.

Somehow, it is 10:30, so I’ve got to scoot!  What are your top three favorite salad toppers?


I’m Too Tired to be Clever

February 9, 2009

It’s been a busy, busy, busy day!  This will be a quick post because I am still not quite ready for bed!  After my Larabar ode it was time for breakfast.  A cup of eggnog’n tea.

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1/3C of oats, topped with 1t butterscotch chips, a heaping tspoon PBCo chunky pb, and Kefir lowfat cappuccino.

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I did not like Kefir on oats, this will not be an addition you will see again!

For lunch I made a savory pb&j.

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A mini ww bagel with PBCo spicy pb, homemade strawberry jam, and 3slices of chicken.

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Alongside my last clementine.

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All together.

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Later on for a snack I ate 3T of paperbag popcorn (also my favorite Fiona Apple song).

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I also nibbled on 3 of these throughout the day.

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We did not realize that they were 70calories per cookie, excuse me Oreo, size matters.  You are not big enough to pack such a caloric punch, even if you are yummy!

Dinner:

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We made 2.5servings of ww pasta, cooked with 1 big head of chopped broccoli.  After draining, toss with sauce – 2T tahini, 1T lemon juice, 1T apple cider vinegar.  Top with a block of tofu that has been sliced and sauteed.  This makes 2.5 yummy servings.

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Today has been pretty much all schoolwork, the only time I left the house was to sprint to Staples to get copies 😦  I’ll be blogging more tomorrow about why today was so ridiculous!  On my list of accomplishments, however, was making 10research folders stocked for an upcoming project,

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and making a prize bag for the student in each class with the highest average (my new thing this quarter will be annoncing the top and bottom of the class every Monday).

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I’m plum tuckered, sweet dreams all!


Take Me Out to the Ball Game….

February 3, 2009

….take me out to the crowd; buy me some peanuts and crackerjacks, I don’t care if I ever come back!  Fun fact– my grandpa was a popular baseball coach and when I was a kid one of his friends wrote a book that mentioned him.  While writing, I was visiting my grandparents in Ohio and met their friend.  My grandma had me sing “my ballgame song” to him.  Apparently I was so cute (spastic?) singing it in one long breathe that he actually included the episode in the book.  Woot!

I woke up this morning and cracked into my Peanut Butter Company stash for a train breakfast.  I smeared the bees’ knees on a whole wheat mini bagel.

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It was a tasty change of pace from my usual granola/protein bar.

When I came in this morning a student offered me a piece of chocolate (she had a box of caramels for some reason) and I totally ate it.  In retrospect I felt like I wasn’t setting the best nutritional example.  My students all eat chips/candy for breakfast and I talk about how that isn’t brain food in the morning, and there I am eating a piece of candy.  However – after seeing me eat healthy (normal for people who know better) food all the time – my kids think I’m on a diet, and also think I’m too skinny, so it’s good to show them that you can eat healthy and not be uptight about it.

Fun fact#2 – I screamed so loudly (pretty much the only way anyone is teaching at this point is over the din) this morning that it felt like I was straining my hip muscles.  Frustrating, but we did get through the entire lesson in every class, with 95% of kids getting the notes, and having intelligent discussions.  An embarrassing amount of kids failed my class 2nd quarter (grades don’t go out for another 2 weeks) so I’m working my butt off to “set the tone” for 3rd quarter.

For lunch I packed my usual diet soda, 2clementines, and a yogurt.

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This yogurt was one of my new finds – YoCrunch 100Calorie Nonfat Cheesecake Yogurt with Graham Topping.

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I often shy away from “100calorie” items, but this seemed exciting so I bought a pack last week.  Not even close to Greek yogurt, but pretty good as a cheaper buy.

We had a faculty meeting after school and I drank this juice from Ralph and Charlie’s.

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It was 200calories per bottle (my lunch was pretty low-calorie, which is why I packed this juice) and packed with fruits.

I had to stay after the meeting for a meeting about a meeting tomorrow!!! and then I went to a coffee shop in the Slope to work with two coworkers.  I drank a small skim latte while I worked.  I didn’t get home until after 8! (On the lines of unphotographed items, I scarfed a mini cupcake the second I got in the door!)

After working on revamping my resume (since we have no idea where we’ll be living next year – and I have no idea if I will go back to school or not – I have lots of applying to do) it was finally time for dinner.

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This recipe was modified from a pretzel chicken recipe in an old SelfBall Park Tofu.  For 4servings we used –

  • 12oz of pre-pressed extra firm tofu, cut into 7 slices; and 2 medium chicken breasts (I made A chicken because he’s not too keen on the tofu but you could easily do this all meat or all veggie)
  • 3T yellow mustard
  • 2shakes paprika
  • 1/4C skim milk
  • 2big handfuls, eyeball it, crushed pretzels
  1. Preheat oven to 400*.
  2. Pour pretzle crumbs into a low, wide bowl.  Mix wet ingredients into a bowl and create a dipping assembly line.
  3. Dredge tofu/chicken pieces through the mustard mixture and then the pretzles, turning to coat.
  4. Cook for 45minutes.

This was the first time I tried tofu instead of chicken and I was very pleased with the results.  I ate 4 of the smaller slices.

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While the main dish was cooking I pulled out my new frozen veggie find.

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I steamed the collard greens and then topped my serving with 3sliced figs and a sprinkle of blue cheese.

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All together –

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I have another busy day tomorrow (a school project I’m still working on and a doctor’s apt at 7pm) so I’ve got to scurry to bed.  Hope everyone had a great day!  What recipes have you modified for tofu?  Have you been sucessful?

P.S. As you know, I submitted my Strawberry Gobbler to the V-Day contest over at OhSheGlows.  But did you know about these other fun contests?  MissyMaintains is giving away some popchips.  And HangryPants is giving away almond butter.  The generosity is alive and well in the blogosphere!  Do you ever participate in bsi’s, contests, etc online?


Super Bowl Super Bowls

February 2, 2009

In honor of the football game (YaY Steelers!) I ate my dinner, and dessert, from a bowl.  I actually didn’t really watch the game, it was more background noise to my school work.  I have absolutely no team alliances.  A enjoyed it though, and I am officially up to speed.  It’s going to be a busy week, so I wanted to be sure I was ready.

After I trecked out to Staples, I made yummy bowl #1

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This SuperBowl was a healthy nod to a few gametime favorites.

  • 1/2C frozen Tj’s white corn, microwaved
  • 1/2C butter beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 Tysons chicken nuggets, cooked and chopped
  • 1oz smoked Gouda, chopped
  • 1 sprinkle of paprika

Prepare all of the ingredients separately and combine in one bowl.  Stir to combine, and microwave for 1minute to get the cheese nice and gooey.  It was the perfect meal to eat while I worked.

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Later on it was time for dessert.  I’ve had this idea in my head for a while, and tonight I finally put it to action – Strawberry Gobbler (like cobbler, but healthy, so you can gobble it up!).

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First you combine 1C of strawberries and 1/2C of skim milk, and microwave until warm (2-3minutes, depending on your microwave).

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Next you top your mush with 4 crunched graham cracker squares,

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1T ground flax seed,

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and a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar.

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Strawberry Gobbler!

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This was the perfect way to end my day.  I thought it was so good I am submitting it to OSG’s fun new contest!  I think this is a great example of a healthy, festive, Valentine’s treat.

I’m headed to bed, Sweet Dreams Cardinals fans, and Sweeter Dreams Pitt fans! 🙂


Hungry Hungry Hippos

January 9, 2009

It’s been another ravenous day, lots of snacking has taken place.  Before we went on our walk I rediscovered this fancy-shmancy box of chocolate covered figs my parents bought me for Christmas.

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We all had one on vacation and decided I’m the only family member who likes figs!

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It was a chilly-willy night outside so we hurried to the store and back as quickly as possible.  As soon as we got home I got cracking on dinner.  Here are some of the ingredients in the line-up.

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I’m not telling you what I made yet though, you’ll have to keep scrolling!  I did some nibbling while I cooked, then I tried a new dark chocolate coconut Kashi bar while the food was cooking.

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This was yummy, it was a little smaller than other bars though, I’ll probably eat these as desserts.

Finally I attacked this unsuspecting clementine couple while the baking finished.

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I think part of the hunger issue was that the house smelled so good!  For dinner I made baked chicken topped with this,

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and Butternut Squash Baked Mac-n-Cheese.  I’ve seen similar dishes on the Food Network but this recipe was all my own.

  • 4servings of whole wheat elbow pasta
  • 4oz 50% reduced cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 15oz canned butternut squash
  • 1/2C skim milk
  • 3/4t ground mustard
  • 1/2C shredded parmesean
  • 1/4C Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 3t SmartBalance Light, melted
  1. Preheat oven to 375*.  Spray a small, square baking dish with Pam.
  2. Prepared the pasta, al dente, according to the directions of the box.  Drain.  Pour hot pasta back into the pot and stir in milk, cheddar, squash, mustard, and a sprinkle of salt.
  3. Pour pasta mixture into the baking dish.  Top with breadcrumbs, butter, and parmesean.  Bake for 30minutes and allow to rest before serving.

This was the final product.

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And here is my portion alongside my chicken.

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I had a half piece of chicken because I knew I’d eat this after dinner;

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It’s been a long day, and I’m feeling off, so I’m heading to bed.  Sweet dreams kids!