Hello again!

So I have been neglecting this blog for the past month and I have really missed it!  I started a new job at the beginning of May and started at my new store in June and I am happy to report that things are going GREAT AND I TRULY LOVE IT!!

This week is my last week of having 2 days off in a row so I am trying to savor it.  We will be switching to optimized hours at the beginning of August, which means my schedule will be changing some.  Even though my schedule will be changing, I am looking forward to working 10 hour days during the week, because I think 2 extra hours in the evening will really make a difference.

There are a few things I would like to get done before working all weekend:

  • Finish my grocery list and head to the grocery store
  • Do some research on crockpot meals and quick fix dinners and compile a list to use when I get off work at 7
  • Work out today and tomorrow (Zumba today at 4:30 and Zumba toning tomorrow at 4:30) NO EXCUSES
  • I got a new DSLR camera so I plan on spending some time playing with it and doing more research because it is a lot to learn!
  • Sign up for Flickr for photo sharing (general photography)

Have a wonderful day!!!

Foodie Penpals May 2014

I had previously participated in the foodie penpal program from The Lean Green Bean last summer and I didn’t have an amazing experience, but decided to try it again!  Boy–I am sure glad I did!!  I was matched with Ariel and after several emails back and forth I received an awesome package in the mail :)

I loved everything in my package:

  • Dang toasted coconut chips: I cannot wait to try these!
  • Luna peanut honey pretzel bar: so good…I’ve already bought more to take to work :)
  • Earnest eats superfood trail mix bar: I am looking forward to taking this to work for my morning snack
  • Peter Cottontail Marshmallow Poles: yummm marshmallows
  • Java City Vanilla Dream K-Cups: delicious! vanilla toffee flavored coffee is where it is at!
  • Swish Miss Hot Chocolate Packs: always good (not to keep them away from Chase)
  • Jelly Belly Jelly Beans: already eaten :)
  • Green and Black’s organic dark chocolate: saving this for a day that needs a pick me up
  • and some other associated teas, coffees, and drink mixes that I can’t wait to try


If you are interested in joining the monthly foodie penpals exchange read some more about it below or check out the Lean Green Bean for more information!

Here is a brief explanation of the program:

-On the 5th of the month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.

-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treatsThe spending limit is $15The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you can choose to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.
- Foodie Penpals is open to US, Canadian residents & European residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. So, I’m going to keep two separate lists and match US w/ US and Canada w/ Canada!


Taco Soup

I am so happy the weather is finally starting to warm up (although today hasn’t been such a good example)!!  It is hard to believe that 2 weeks ago it was cold, rainy, and SNOWING!  I was off Tuesday (2 weeks ago) and I knew that I would want something warm and hearty for dinner to go with the cold, damp day.  Thankfully one of my technicians, Ashley, had just given me a recipe for taco soup and I knew it would be perfect!


Taco Soup
1 can corn (don’t drain)
1 can kidney beans (don’t drain)
1 can rotel (I used the hot variety)
1 small can diced green chiles
1 can diced tomatoes
1 lb ground beef, browned
1 packet taco seasoning
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp minced onion

Add all the ingredients to the crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

I simmered mine on the stove stop for a little over an hour and it was delicious!  Serve with sour cream, shredded cheese, and tortilla chips to complete the meal!

I plugged all the ingredients into MyFitnessPal (see a tutorial on how to do this here) and while I think I under estimated the servings at 6 it still came out to be a good calorie bargin at 249 calories/serving.

Working it out

So this past month has been a whirlwind of work, bad weather, and lots of errands and  to-do list activities.  After an incredibly fun weekend celebrating St Patrick’s Day I decided it was time to get back on track.

I went by WalMart yesterday and got the ingredients to make some super simple chicken in the crockpot to take to work this week.

Crockpot Salsa Chicken:

  • 1 package boneless/skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 jar salsa
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 can lower sodium black beans

Place all ingredients into the crockpot and cook on low for 8 hours (or if you wait until the last minute like me cook on high for 4 hours).

I plan on taking a serving to work tonight for dinner and also as one of my meals tomorrow.  It is so good by itself, with brown rice, with tortilla chips, or I have even used it as a filling for enchiladas!  I also love this simple recipe because it freezes well.

I have kind of fallen off the wagon with my FitBit Flex, so I am currently charging it so I can wear it to work this week.  I definitely like seeing how much I am walking and also find that it is a great motivator to get those extra steps in.  I did just hit up the gym in my apartment for a short workout and I know that is something that I definitely need to make time for.  I feel so much better when I am working out and eating better.

I feel the need to get back on my goals and have been thinking about how I will incorporate them this week as I face one of my long weeks at work.

Daily Goals–Starting March 17, 2014:

  • Get in at least 10,000 steps daily using my FitBit Flex (the hardest day for me will be Wednesday because I am off work, so I will definitely focus on this)
  • Track my meals using MyFitnessPal every day
  • Do some meal planning/prep Wednesday to help me stay on track as I work through the weekend
  • Look at my Pinterest and pick some new recipes to try out
  • Think of ways to mix up my snacks/meals so I won’t get burnt out of the same ‘ol same ‘ol :)

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! Don’t forget to wear green!

Baked Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal

I have an extremely busy week coming up at work and I knew that I needed to take some time yesterday to write out my meal plan and also decide when and what I would need from the grocery store.


One thing I decided to make this week to take to work was baked pumping chocolate chip oatmeal that I originally found a couple of years ago from Slender Kitchen.  The recipe is for a single serving so I went ahead and tripled the recipe so I would have 3 servings for work.

Baked Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal (From Slender Kitchen)

  • 1&1/2 c old fashioned oatmeal
  • 3/4 c milk
  • 3/4 c pure pumpkin (like Libby’s)
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 tsp mini chocolate chips
  • 3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • dash of salt
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Mix all ingredients together
  3. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and add the ingredients
  4. Bake for 20 minutes and allow to cool

**store leftovers in the fridge

Using  MyFitnessPal I calculated each serving to have 240 calories

Shepard’s Pie

I originally got the idea for this dinner from the Skinnytaste Website (Sheperd’s Pie, Lightened Up) and I adapted it based on what I had on hand and my preferences.  Chase and I went to a great Irish Pub, MacDuffs, in Lake Tahoe while we were on vacation.  Chase got the Shepard’s Pie and raved about how good it was!  I decided I would make some when we got home and see if I could live up to his expectations.  I used ground beef instead of ground lamb, which is what is typically used in the traditional Irish dish.

Shepard’s Pie (adapted from SkinnyTaste)

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 large package of frozen mixed vegetables
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 4 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 c fat free beef broth
  • 3 tbsp ketchup
  • 1-2 packages instant mashed potatoes
  • salt/pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Brown ground beef, drain, and remove from pan
  3. Using the same pan, sauté garlic until browned
  4. Add beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup and whisk in the flour
  5. Bring to a simmer then add the vegetables and ground beef
  6. Stir well and continue to simmer until the sauce has thickened
  7. While the sauce is thickening, I made the mashed potatoes in the microwave
  8. Pour the veggie and beef mixture into a baking dish and top with the prepared mashed potatoes
  9. Bake in the oven 20-25 minutes until the potatoes have browned
  10. Let sit for about 10 minutes before service

This made enough for a large baking dish and the leftovers were wonderful!  This isn’t exactly the healthiest or cleanest meal I could have made, but it was so good.  Next time I make this I plan to experiment to make it a little healthier without losing the delicious flavor.  Perhaps a sweet potato topping?!?

Black Bean and Rice Bowl

I am a huge fan of Moe’s and I love their burrito bowls!  When I was thinking about what I could take to work for lunch or dinner I wanted to do a play on the burrito bowl.  It turned out great and is good right out of the fridge, which makes it even more work friendly.

Black Bean and Rice Bowl:

Nutritional Information: 1 bowl (entire recipe) 243 calories

Quick, easy, & make ahead….what could be better to grab and go for work?