Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Dinner Time Tuesday

Hi everyone!

Thank you to those who responded to my post on Monday.  Your heartfelt thoughts, suggestions, and advice mean so much to me.  I know that I have loyal readers out there.  I'm just in a bit of a funk in the blogging world.

Because of this, Dinner Time Tuesday will be back next week.  I would love it if you could join me!  Sometimes I share a recipe, but I often just snap a picture of what I had for dinner and share it with everyone. 

I started Dinner Time Tuesday because the main focus of my blog is about recipes I try.  I wasn't making/trying a lot of interesting things, and I thought I would share what I was having for dinner once a week.  This way, if it wasn't "interesting" I was still sharing food.  :)

I hope to "see" you next week, and I will be here tomorrow for My Harry Potter Fix with Kim and Tarole!

I also did a button swap with my friend Kristin from Kristin's kNook.  It's on the left side bar.  If you haven't read her blog, you totally should.  She makes amazing desserts and she's super sarcastic, which means she's totally awesome! :)

post signature

Monday, April 29, 2013

Monday, Monday....

So I've been kinda of MIA since Wednesday's My Harry Potter Fix.  I've been reading and commenting on others' blogs, though!

Now it's Monday.

I'll be honest.  I'm feeling "blogscouraged."  (Yes, I just made up that word.  It's an adjective.  It means "a feeling of discouragement about one's blog.")

I don't want this to come off as whiny, and please know that is not my intention.  I just want to be open and honest, and so here it goes.

I'm feeling blogscouraged because I feel like things have come to a screeching halt.  In February, Tarole invited her sponsors to participate in a giveaway.  That giveaway really grew my blog in a hurry, and I'm SO glad that I participated.  I know, though, that some people just followed me to gain an entry.  I totally understand that.  I've done it.  I've also unfollowed blogs after the giveaway has ended.  So when the giveaway ended, so did the growth. 

I decided to turn my own weekly "Dinner Time Tuesdays" post into a link-up.  It's often just me.  Kinda defeats the purpose of the link-up, doesn't it?  Even though My Harry Potter Fix doesn't always have a ton of people linking up, at least I'm not alone.  I know that Kim and Tarole will be there, too, and I love reading their answers and interacting with them. 

I'm also not sure that my number of followers to comments ratio is good.  Let me explain.  I know that I don't have time to follow and actively read tons and tons of blogs.  When I follow you, it's because I found something I really liked about you, your blog, your story, or something I learned about you from your blog.  That means I want to get to "know" you.  I'm able to do this through reading your blog.  That also means that I try to comment often....on each post I read, if I can.  What I like most about blogging is the interaction with other bloggers.  I understand that getting comments isn't what blogging is about.  But as I just said, for me it's about interaction.  That happens through the comments.

I started my blog to share the recipes I've tried in my kitchen.  I want to share the good, the bad, and the delicious.  I want to share how I did it, if I made tweaks based on things I had at home, etc.  I want to hear people's thoughts.  I am looking for your feedback and suggestions.  I haven't been doing very well at recipe sharing because I haven't been very good at making things lately.  So that part of my blog has been a vicious cycle of insanity...which I can pretty much blame on Insanity, the workout.

I've also been blogscouraged by the lack of people willing to sponsor my blog.  It can make a person feel a little "blogconscious."  (I'm on a roll with made up words today.)  I definitely know that is not what blogging is all about, but you do question why people aren't sponsoring.  (Am I not funny?  Do people find me boring?  What else can I do?)  Silly, I know, but true.  (By the way, thank you to my two awesome sponsors Ashley & Elizabeth.)

I know that some of you have gone through this before, and I know that many of you understand.  I just wanted to share why I've been missing since Wednesday. 

I also wanted to let you know that if I'm a follower of your blog, I am a devoted reader.  It also means I think you're pretty awesome.  :)

post signature

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

My Harry Potter Fix: Week 28

It's Wednesday, and that means it's time for another edition of:
  1. Please remember to follow Kim, Tarole, and me.
  2. Share the URL to your Harry Potter post.
  3. Visit others in the link up, and let them know what you thought of their post!
  4. Give us your ideas!  Use this form.
This week, Kim had a great and challenging idea! 

If you had to plan a 7 day Potter-themed vacation to anywhere in the world (maybe multiple somewheres!) where would you go? What would you do? And most importantly...who would you bring with you?

I'll answer the most important question first.  I would CERTAINLY be taking Scott with me.  (Not that he's as obsessed as I am, but we need a vacation.)  If I could, I would also bring my fellow hosts, and their significant others, too!  :)
I have always wanted to go to England, and so, I'd have to say that my Potter-Themed vacation would need to start there.  I mean, that IS where the stories take place, after all.  First, I would travel to Northumberland to see Alnwick Castle.  While this place is awesome enough just because of history (it's been recorded on the site for 1,000 years!!), it was also the castle used for some Hogwarts scenes in the first two Harry Potter films.
I also happened to catch a show on the Travel Channel once that talked about places that mostly locals know about in England.  One such place is the inspiration for Diagon Alley.  I would TOTALLY research where this was so I could visit it! 
I would be sure to visit King's Cross Station in London.  Just to see Platform 9 3/4.  :)
Then there's the obvious.  The first thing I thought of, actually.  The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. 
Because seeing locations where Harry Potter was filmed would be amazing.  But actually being able to experience Harry Potter in "reality"?  That's even better!
So where would your Potter-Themed vacation take you?
Next week, we discuss Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.  Feel free to share anything you like about the book and/or film. 

AND don't forget to link up below!

post signature

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Dinner Time Tuesday 4/23

Let me tell you about this deliciousness.
It's chili. 
That's nothing out of the ordinary.  I love chili. 
This is also not ground-breaking news, but to make it healthier, I just took my usual chili recipe and used ground turkey instead of ground beef.
I had a 1 cup serving, and 1 slice of cheesy garlic bread.
Bowl: Celebrating Home, Simply Summer Collection: Medium Bowls, set of 4

So good.

Do you having anything yummy for your dinner this week?

post signature

Monday, April 22, 2013

Menu Planning Monday 4/22

I wish I could say that I was doing better with Menu Planning. 

I'm not.

I don't even think I have any excuses or reasons why.  The meals we have been eating are small simple enough, that they can be put together pretty quickly without a lot of thought.  BUT Elizabeth and Jane said that it doesn't always have to be a weekly meal plan!  We can share recipes.  So here's a healthy take on a chicken salad sandwich that I tried last week, courtesy of Dorothy at Crazy For Crust!

Avacado Chicken Salad Sandwiches
Original Recipe from Crazyforcrust.com

  • 2 cups of cooked chicken (We buy canned chicken from Sam's Club that I always use for chicken salad.  I used 1 can.)
  • 1 medium avacado
  • 1/2 c. plain, non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 c. salsa
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • Pita bread
1. Peel the flesh off of the avacado and mash.  (Dorothy said to use a potato masher.  We don't have one.  I'm not sure why....anyway, I used a fork.)

2. Add the yogurt, salsa, salt, & pepper, and stir.

3. Then add the chicken and stir to combine.

4. Serve on a whole wheat pita or whatever bread you choose.  :)  I had mine with a little salsa and tortilla chips.

Dinner Plate: Celebrating Home, Simply Summer Collection
Also sharing at Mostly Homemade Mondays.

post signature

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Chocolate Peanut Butter Shake

I'm pretty sure I've mentioned before that I have a deep love for the delightful combination of chocolate and peanut butter.

I've been doing well with cutting back on unhealthy foods and eating smaller portions.  One of the things I have enjoyed is having a shake for breakfast.  We were given a couple of variations with our Insanity diet plan, but I wanted something new.  Therefore, I once again turned to Google.  I don't remember the exact search terms, but basically, I found a couple of ideas and put them together for my own shake.

And it's really so easy, you may have already figured it out for yourself.

But here it is anyway.  :)

Rebeckann's Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Shake
  • 1 c. skim (low fat) milk
  • 1 scoop chocolate whey protein powder
  • 1 spoonful of peanut butter
  • 1/2 a banana
  • ice (I use 4-5 cubes)
Toss all of the ingredients into a blender.  I set mine to the smoothie setting and let it go for a couple of minutes until I'm convinced that there are no banana chunks and the peanut pieces from my extra crunchy peanut butter are gone.

I also allow my shakes to sit for a minute to let any foam settle.

I was surprised at how long this shake sustained me.  The other shakes I tried did well, too, but this one lasted a little longer.  I think it's the addition of the peanut butter. 

This is so yummy, and I had it a couple of times this week.  Just don't pull a card from my book and forget to put the dispensing spout on your blender.  I forgot this yesterday, and....well...when I poured the milk in, I ended up with milk all over the counter and floor.  :-p  lol

ALSO, Jane at Pursuit of Poppiness is having a great giveaway!   You could win a $25 Erin Condren Gift Card, a custom blog signature, and large ad space on her blog!  It's a great giveaway that you totally want to enter!

post signature

Friday, April 19, 2013

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins

I've been scouring the internet lately looking for healthier alternatives to things that I really love.  I prefer to think of our new lifestyle changes as getting healthy rather than dieting.  With that being said, life is short, and food is good.  I don't want to give up all of the good things (that might also be bad for me), and I certainly don't like the idea of denying myself something that I really want or crave!

I don't do well with breakfasts like eggs.  I'd rather eat an omlet or scrambled eggs for lunch or dinner.  It takes me FOREVER to eat cereal in the morning for some reason, and it can also be time consuming to drink breakfast in the form of a shake.  Muffins sounded like a good idea, and so I Googled "healthy muffin recipes" and found this one.  I thought this would be a good breakfast option for me.  I share how it went for me below. 

And now, I bring you......

Chocolate, Chocolate Chip Muffins

  • 1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. warm water
  • 1/4 olive oil
  • 1 T red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 c. semi-sweet mini chocolate chips, divided
1. Preheat the oven to 400* F.
2.Spoon flour into measuring cups and level with a knife. 
3. Using a whisk, combine flour, brown sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

4. In another bowl, combine water, olive oil, red wine vinegar, vanilla extract, & egg. 
5. Pour liquid mixture into dry ingredients and add 1/4 c. of the mini chocolate chips.  Stir until just moist.

6. Place cup liners in muffin pan, and spray with cooking spray.  Divide batter evenly among cups.  Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 c. of mini chocolate chips on top of the batter.
Turns out I only had 9 liners left... :)  They all came out just fine.
7. Bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
 I was glad to discover that these were pretty good.  According to the website, the serving size is 1 muffin, and each muffin has 191 calories.  They aren't as sweet as you might expect with all of that chocolate, but do keep in mind that brown sugar is the only sugar used, and the cocoa is unsweetened.

Overall, I'm pretty happy to have these as an option for breakfast or a snack for a bit.  :)

post signature

Thursday, April 18, 2013

It's Ok Thursdays 4/18

This week's edition of "It's Ok Thursdays" is about my current obession with country music.

It's ok...to be obsessed with country music.

It's ok...to think Blake Shelton & Miranda Lambert are the best married couple ever.

It's ok...to be totally over Taylor Swift and her fake "surprised" face but still like some of her songs anyway.  (Honestly, Taylor, we've all had break ups before.  We don't have to publicly criticize them all in song.)

It's ok...to LOVE this song by The Band Perry:

It's ok...to not like how Kimberly Perry sounds in a live performance, though.
It's ok...to be obsessed with country music.  (Oh, I said that already.  Didn't I? ;) )
post signature

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

My Harry Potter Fix: Week 27

 photo ScreenShot2013-03-23at80904AM_zps089cb951.png

It's time for My Harry Potter Fix.  This week, we're talking all things "Sorcerer's Stone."  The topic is totally up to you.  So before I share my thoughts, here are a few reminders:
  1. Follow your hosts: Kim, Tarole, & me.
  2. Link up below with the URL to your Harry Potter-themed post.
  3. Visit other blogs to read their answers!  :)  I love seeing what everyone has to say.
  4. If you have question or topic suggestions, fill out this form.  You could be a guest co-host!
We decided to take time every couple of weeks or so to talk specifically about each story.  I've decided (for this week, at least), to share my favorite and least favorite parts of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. 


I LOVE when Harry finds out that he is a wizard.  The chapter with Hagrid arriving to deliver Harry's letter is what really allows the series to take off!  You can just feel how exciting and overwhelming it all is for Harry.


One of my other favorite parts of the book is when the students are given their first flying lesson.  Of course, we start to really learn what a jerk Malfoy is, but it's so exciting when we discover (along with Harry) that Harry has a natural ability to fly on a broomstick.  Harry's acts to stop Malfoy from harassing Neville ultimately lead him to the Quidditch team and not expulsion.  It's a great turn of events!
Least Favorites:
Nothing is perfect, right?  lol
While it's obviously important to the whole plot of the story, it makes me so mad when we first learn how horribly Harry's family treats him: living in the cupboard under the stairs, not giving Harry his letter (despite Dumbledore's persistence), and the fact that they never told him about his parents.  Ugh.  It makes me angry every time.
This one is about the book to movie adaptation.  Does it drive anyone else crazy that it's July and Hagrid takes Harry shopping for his school supplies and sends him to Platform 9 & 3/4...and it's JULY??  They don't start until September.  Infuriates me every time.

I could probably go on and on about my likes and dislikes, but I don't have all day, and neither do you!  lol  :)

Next Week:
Kim came up with a fun little challenge...if you had to plan a 7 day Potter-themed vacation to anywhere in the world (maybe multiple somewheres!) where would you go? What would you do? And most importantly...who would you bring with you?

Link up below!!

post signature

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Dinner Time Tuesday 4/16: Healthy Fries

I was so excited last week.  There were people besides me who linked up for Dinner Time Tuesday!  :)  Thanks Kristin & Kristin.  (P.S. I love that they both have the same name AND it's spelled the same AND they're people I've met IRL.)

All excitement aside, please feel free to grab the Dinner Time Tuesday button.  Follow me, and link back to the post!  Most importantly, post your link to the link up at the bottom!

Here's what I had for dinner:

Scott and I have decided to try making healthier choices overall, and trying to stick to using foods suggested in the Insanity meal plan.  This incorporated both ideas.  This is a "Lean Burger" as insanity calls it.  It's 80/20 lean ground beef.  I seasoned it with salt, pepper, onion powder, and a dash of Worcestershire sauce.  (Yes, I had to look up how to spell that...)  It is on a whole wheat English Muffin.

I made my own fries thanks to inspiration from my friend, Suzanne at Not Enough Chocolate.  She's doing a series of posts called "Small Changes."  One of those posts mentioned the weird ingredients in frozen fries.  She started making her own, and not just with potatoes!  I decided to take this healthier approach, as well.  I just cut up some fries, drizzled them with olive oil, and baked them at 400* F for about 45 minutes.  Then I lightly salted them.  SOOOOO yummy! 

So there you have it!  A perfectly normal American meal done in a much healthier way!

post signature

Monday, April 15, 2013

Menu Planning Monday: Spinach, Mushroom, & Onion Scramble

I'm gonna get right down to it people.  Scott & I are having a hard time with this diet.  And I don't mean in the "we're-not-eating-what-we-should" way.  We're actually not really eating as much as we should be.  We hardly ever have anything prepared....

I AM proud of the fact that we haven't been over eating, and we do try to stick to foods that we're supposed to have.  (I haven't had chocolate since Easter.  Insane.)  With that being said, I am now trying to focus on making healthier choices: leaner meats, more veggies, whole wheat grains, etc.  I have been feeling totally uninspired in the kitchen since we started this diet.  It seems like we can't have anything good fun any more.  We did agree that it's ok for us to take a day now and then to indulge.  So I've been looking for some inspiration, and thankfully, my new bloggy-friend Julie, posted this recipe on Friday, and I decided I HAD to try it.  (I had it for lunch yesterday.)

I did make a few tweaks for what we had on hand and to incorporate some of the ways we cook things for our Insanity diet.  I also made it for two instead of one.  ALL credit goes to her, though!  Thanks, Julie!

Spinach, Mushroom, & Onion Scramble
Original Recipe by Jule from Love, JulieBug.com

  • 1 small can of mushroom pieces
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 3 handfuls of spinach
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 T olive oil
1. Put olive oil in the pan and add onion to soften it.
2. When onion is softened, add the canned mushrooms to heat them.
3.  Add spinach, and let it cook until wilted.
4.  Add salt & pepper to the vegetables.
5.  Meanwhile, scramble whole eggs and egg whites together.  (Julie suggested with a little water or coconut milk.  I just added a dash of skim milk.)
6.  When the veggies are done, pour in the egg mixture.
7.  Serve with with one slice of wheat toast with a teaspoon of butter.

This is Scott's half.  I've been so hungry lately by the time I eat, that I totally devour my food before I can snap a pic.

Also sharing at: Mostly Homemade Mondays

post signature


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Chicken Pot Pie Casserole

Since I actually do consider this to be a "food blog," I figured it was about time I actually shared a recipe.  It's been a little while.  This is one of my posts from my WordPress blog.  I've really been slacking on moving those over lately.  So please, enjoy.  :)
I was trolling my "I Love Food" board on Pinterest to see if I could make anything with ingredients I already had in the house since I haven't put on "real" pants since Christmas didn't want to go to the store. While my recipe isn't exactly the one from the pin, I was able to tweak it and use things I had here in the house!

Chicken Pot Pie with Biscuits

  • 1/3 c. butter
  • 1/3 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 c. chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 c. milk
  • salt & pepper (to taste)
  • 2 T butter
  • 3 small cooking onions, diced
  • 8 oz. canned mushroom pieces
  • 4 cups shredded, cooked chicken*
  • 1 heaping c. frozen mixed vegetables**
  • 1 heaping c. frozen peas **
  • 1 can biscuit dough
*Confession: I love chicken, but I HATE cooking it. Chicken I cook myself never comes out with the flavor I'd like, and it's usually dry. Fortunately, Scott & I had gotten a rotisserie chicken when we went grocery shopping last Friday. I thought this recipe would be PERFECT to use the rest of it!

**These were the frozen veggies I had sitting in my freezer. I had about 1/2 of each 10-12 oz. bag left. I just used it all because I didn't have any potatoes like the original recipe.
  1. Preheat the oven to 425* F, and begin to prepare the filling.
  2. Melt 1/3 c. butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the 1/3 c. flour and whisk constantly for 1 minute.
 cpp 1
3. Gradually add chicken broth and milk whisking constantly 6-7 minutes (I went 7.) or until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat and add salt and pepper to taste. (I didn't add salt & pepper here. I added it to eat my meal. So I would recommend adding it to the recipe.)
    cpp 2
4. Melt 2 T. butter in a frying pan and add onions and mushrooms. Saute for 10 minutes or until tender.
 cpp 3
5. If you haven't done it already, while they are cooking, shred the chicken.
cpp 4
6. In a large bowl or pan, add onion & mushrooms, chicken, vegetables, and sauce. Stir to combine.

cpp 5
7. Pour mixture into a lightly greased 9" x 13" casserole dish.
8. Bake filling for 15 minutes.
9. Meanwhile, open biscuits. (I used the can of Pillsbury Grands Biscuits that I had here. There were only 5 in the can, which required a little pulling apart and/or stretching. If you would like to completely cover the top of your casserole you will need more. See picture in next step to see what I mean.) And while we're on this subject, keep this in mind:

10. After 15 minutes, take the casserole out, and place the biscuits on top.
 cpp 6
11. Bake for another 25-30 minutes. (The baking time here will depend on the biscuits you use. Mine got a little dark and I took the casserole out at 20 minutes.)
 cpp 7
I was really worried for some reason that this wouldn't be very good. PROBABLY because I freak out a bit when I don't follow a recipe exactly. I definitely needed a guide, and I've seen recipes like this that use biscuits before. It turns out that I was worried for nothing. Other than needing to add salt and pepper to the meal because I didn't add it during cooking, this was quite good. Scott didn't like the biscuits on it. I thought that was the best part! haha. To each his (or her!) own.  :)


post signature

Friday, April 12, 2013

Friday Fashion: Julep Nail Polish Review

In March, I became a Julep Maven.  I shared my first Maven Box, and reviewed their foot & hand scrub that I received.

I have finally gotten around to trying out the nail polish from that box.  (And since, I've received my second box.  If I ever have time, I'll share that with you.  Maybe next week.) 

As you may have read yesterday in my "It's Ok Thursdays" post, it's been warm in Pennsylvania, and I was able to wear flip flops this week.  I really don't like wearing open toed shoes without my toenails painted.  So on Monday night, I grabbed my Juelp nailpolish, and quickly painted my nails.  To refresh your memory, this was the first Maven box I received.

I chose to use the color on your left.  I believe it's called Eva.  I honestly had a hard time telling whether it was red or dark pink.  I'll be honest, I still can't completely tell!  haha  I quickly put a drop on a piece of paper, and it looked pink to me.  I'm still going with pink, but I even questioned it myself yesterday.
Either way, I like it.
I love having my nails painted...toenails AND fingernails.  I just hardly ever paint my fingernails because I feel like I have to take so much more time with them, and my right hand always looks like it was painted by a two-year-old because I am just not that coordinated with my left hand!  haha PLUS, I also don't like having to take it off, and chipped fingernail polish (especially in dark colors) doesn't look so nice.  But, toenail polish always seems to last forever on me. 
So anyway, here's what I liked about this nail polish:
1. I only used one coat.  (It says to use two, but it was late, and I felt that one was sufficient.)
2. It dried pretty quickly.  (I played a round of Candy Crush Saga, and they were pretty much dry after that.)
I did use a base coat.  I don't always do this with my toenails, but I do when I'm using darker colors.  I used Sally Hansen's Double Duty Base & Top Coat.  After that dried, I applied one coat of Eva.  I didn't use a top coat.
I'm looking forward to trying my other Julep colors soon!

post signature
Content Rebeckann's Random Thoughts | Design Poppiness Designs