Friday, August 26, 2011

Quick Lunch: Sweet Potato Tacos

By Natalie

This is one of my go to lunches, when I've reached the bottom of the fridge. Or if I have left over rice from the night before. You can get pretty creative with this recipe. I use what I have one hand. This recipe is based on the Whole Life Nutrition's Black Bean and Yam wraps. Whole Life Nutrition is a great resource for gluten free and vegan recipes.

Sweet Potato Tacos
1 sweet potato
1 can of black beans
1 avocado
lettuce or spinach
sour cream
shredded cheese
Cook sweet potato at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes depending on size. Meanwhile cook black beans. Heat tortilla in microwave for 10 minutes. Once potato is ready, spread on tortilla. Then add black beans, and top with salsa, spinach, shredded cheese, avocado, and sour cream.

*If you have time, Spanish rice is a nice addition. I prefer Rice a Roni's Spanish rice with Rotel.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Black and White Angel Food Cake

By Natalie

On Friday night Micah made chocolate ice cream.  This recipe is awesome, and a lot of work. That's why I make Micah in charge of the ice cream making. The recipe calls for EIGHT egg yolks, then you end up with all of these egg whites. I started searching for something to make besides a giant omelet, and stumbled across a Black and White Angel Food Cake recipe. 

I've never made Angel Food Cake before. This isn't a dessert I usually crave. I thought this recipe was perfect because it had cocoa in it. I was missing a few of the ingredients cream of tartar (it's at school so we can make play dough) and cake flour. I subbed the cream of tartar for white vinegar. I used regular flour instead of cake flour, and it worked out! I decided not to make the vanilla bean whipped cream, because I was going to serve the cake with ice cream. I was so happy to have my Kitchen Aid stand mixer. Otherwise my arm would've fallen off beating 12 egg whites into stiff peaks. This recipe is fat free!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Stir Fry

By Natalie

Some of the quickest meals I've made are either pasta or stir fry. You can find the recipe for Ginger-Scented Corn and Asparagus Stir Fry here. I used boil a bag rice and frozen corn to cut down the prep time. I omitted the tofu and green onions, I wasn't feeling that adventurous. I like using fresh veggies, it makes me feel healthier. I also added some frozen green beans that I had lying around. That's the great thing about stir fry, it's very versatile. You can add any veggies you have on hand. This stir fry was unique in that it used asparagus and corn. It was very tasty!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

My Favorite Summer Drink: Basil Lemonade

By Natalie

While perusing my google reader I came across Basil Lemonade from Love and Olive Oil. This sounded very refreshing, and I have unlimited supply of basil. The drought is pretty bad here, and our grass is fried. But, the basil plant and rosemary are trucking along. I was happy to find another way to use basil!

I changed the recipe a little bit. I felt it was a little bit too sweet, and added more water.

Basil Lemonade
1/8 c of sugar
2 lemons
handful of basil

Make simple syrup by combining an 1/8 of cup of sugar and 1 cup of water in the microwave, and heat until the sugar is dissolved. About 1 minute. Meanwhile, squeeze 2 lemons in a pitcher and add the basil. Then muddle the basil and lemon juice. Once the simple syrup has cooled add to the lemon juice basil mixture. Add another cup or 2 of water and refrigerate.  Serve over ice.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Black Bean Burgers

By Natalie
This was my first time to make Spicy Mango Black Bean burgers. I just dipped my toe in a little by making them half black bean and half turkey burgers. They were a lot of work. First, I had to make the mango salsa. Then blend up the black beans and salsa.
 Next, add all this to the ground turkey. They were so sticky! I think this is my fault because I omitted half of the black beans. I already had half a can of black beans in the fridge, and didn't want to open another can!  I shaped the patties and then froze them for 10 minutes.

Then Micah and I had a cook off. I didn't think they would stay together on the grill. Micah managed all right. He sprayed down the grill with cooking spray. I cooked mine on the stove! They both turned out well. They were not Micah's favorite.
 For lunch the next day I had a patty in a tortilla. The tortilla went well with the avocado sauce.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Spotlight Ingredient: Spinach

By Natalie

I bought this giant box of spinach. It was only a $1 more for the GIANT box, and you get double the spinach. Problem is there is only two of us. How are we going to eat it all?!
For breakfast I made spinach and mozzarella cheese omelets.  (photo credit:

For dinner I made spinach and tomato pasta with a spinach side salad. I garnished the salad with strawberries and almonds.  Just call me Popeye today!
 What are your favorite spinach recipes?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Baked Ziti with Summer Veggies

By Natalie

I'm back to school! This week is full of training, which is not so fun. I'm ready for the kids, which is the fun part. Not sitting in a chair for 8 hours listening to people drone on and on. That's one of the reasons I work with kids, it's always changing and I'm always moving!

After training I hit up Central Market. I usually make a grocery store run on Mondays, but I'm just now getting to the grocery store trip. Monday we went out for restaurant week to Parigi on Oak Lawn. It was okay, I'm not sure I'll be returning. The dinner took forever (3 hours!). There was only 1 cook for the entire restaurant. On Tuesday, we celebrated Katy's birthday at Carinos. Poor dear made her own Hello Kitty cupcakes. She sent some home with us. SCORE!

Tonight I made Baked Ziti with Summer Veggies. It was pretty easy, and delicious. Go ahead and be liberal with the Chachere's and S & P.  Micah wanted a little more red pepper flakes.  I also didn't measure the mozzarella, I just put enough until it looks good!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


By Natalie

Like the crazy person that I am, I went to 2 grocery stores today. I stopped at Central Market to get my produce and fish/meats. Then stopped off at Target to get the other stuff that is very overpriced at Central Market. I also found some dishes on clearance. The plates were only 88 cents. Cute, huh? I really can't be trusted at Target.

I saw Jonna's recipe  for beans and tomatoes this morning and decided to make it straight away. It's really delicious, although I might have gone too heavy on the garlic. I was happy to use basil from my garden. Surprisingly my basil plant is growing leaps and bounds despite the drought.

At Central Market they had lobster tails on sale for $6.99. I've never made this before, and they are a little tricky to get into. I used these links found here and here for advice. They were pretty delicious but that's mostly due to the butter. I made mashers as a side and a fresh salad with strawberries and almonds.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Easy Like Sunday Morning

By Natalie

Sometimes you just feel like a traditional breakfast. Like the best wife that I am, I made bacon, eggs, and pancakes. The pancakes were a little dicey, because I ran out of milk, and then noticed that I didn't have enough Bisquik. Oops, I should have just halved the recipe in the first place. What's your favorite breakfast food? 

Later that night we went to the Ranger game with my parents. My parents were on the smile cam at the ball park. So exciting! It wasn't too hot at the game, just 100 degrees. It cooled down to about 99, and there was a breeze going.  Michael Young had 2000 hits at the game. The Rangers ended up winning but only after we left the game. I guess we were bad luck!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Who Are You?

By Natalie
Micah was on the trail by sunrise, and his plan was to ride 80 miles today. I thought he was crazy. I didn't even hear him leave this morning.  If you know Micah, you know this is a miracle in itself that he was awake. He LOVES to sleep. The plan was for me to ride 20-30 miles with him today. I woke up a  little bit before 8, quickly got ready and met him on the trail. The timing worked out perfectly, we couldn't have planned it better. As soon as I pulled into the parking lot, Micah and Erik were riding in. Micah's plan was to ride 35 miles, then come back in for a water stop to refill. Erik headed home and then I started riding with Micah.

My knee felt sore the minute I got on the bike.  It didn't end up hurting me too much during the ride (thankfully!). I couldn't catch a breath during the ride. This is how I felt on the run yesterday. I'm not used to feeling this way. It was a tough 25 miles, I just wanted to pull over and die under a tree. I wish November would hurry up and get here.

After we finished 25 miles, I left Micah to refuel, and then he headed out for another lap. All in all he completed 83.3 MILES! Can you believe it? I'm so incredibly proud of the progress he's made this year. He's lost 40 pounds and waking up at dawn to ride. Who is this man and what have you done with my husband? I'm overjoyed with the transformation!

He's going to do awesome on Hotter N' Hell on the 27th!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Running through the Summer

By Natalie

I'll be captain obvious here, but it's hot. It's miserable. No one wants to go outside. I'm sitting inside with the curtains drawn and the fan going at high speed.

I went running at 8:15 this is the earliest I could make it happen. Every step felt like murder. It felt like I was sucking in fire. And it was only 85 degrees out. I'm not conditioned to this heat. I haven't spent many days this summer pounding the pavement. I ran/walked 3 miles at a pathetic pace of 11 min/mile.

What do you do to get through this heat? How do you motivate yourself to take another step?

Carrots N' Cake showed me this awesome site. tracks all of the races you've ever done. It's really cool! You can even  check out your friends' races. It's there that I saw that I've had a pace of 8:37/mile for a 5K back in 2006. I need to get back there. I need to kick that 10 min/mile pace to the curb.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Stuffed Cheddar Bacon Burgers

By Natalie

Last night I made hamburgers, and these were not your average burgers. No ma'am. They were stuffed with cheddar AND BACON. Yummy! We cooked them on the green egg and they were full of charcoal flavor. As sides we had zucchini and new potatoes. I sprinkled the veggies with Chachere's  and a little bit of butter. I wrapped the veggies in separate foil packets. The potatoes stayed on the grill for about 20 minutes, turn them after 10 minutes. The zucchini was on for about 7-10 minutes.
For dessert, I had TWO iced coffees. Micah had left over coffee from the morning. He stores his coffee in a super special thermos, and the coffee is still hot 8 hours later. I poured the coffee over ice and added hazel nut creamer and Kahlua. So, delicious.
Go figure, I couldn't go to sleep. Micah and I stayed up and watched Sons of Anarchy.  I like this show, but Jax's character annoys me a bit. He's either aggressively hugging his "brothers" or aggressively kissing women. If he's not doing those things, then he's swaggering around the hospital. I really dislike his swagger.

Work Out
Nada. I made an executive decision and took the day off.