Category Archives: Lunch

Cooking Scrapbook – Mom & Lauren’s Tostada

Based on my past history of delayed flights, I was all worried about being delayed again last night.  Turns out, we completed our audit earlier than expected and I was able to switch to an earlier flight for free and I was able to get home nearly 3 hours early.  Score! 🙂

Having been gone for several days, I knew I didn’t have too much in the fridge for dinner so I resorted to an all-time favorite.

tostada

The easiest tostada ever!  My mom and I used to make these for lunch quite often when I lived at home.

tostada 2

We are convinced there is a touch of Mexican blood in us somewhere.  Both of us love Mexican! A longgggg time ago, I remember Taco Bell being ‘our spot’ when my brother and dad weren’t around for dinner.

tostada 3

I know, Taco Bell isn’t exactly the best Mexican food out there, but there was something about those little dates together eating our shared love for tostadas and bean burritos… definitely a cherished memory! 🙂

So when we weren’t at Taco Bell, we often assembled these tasty little tostadas and so, for obvious reasons, they made the cut in the Family Secrets section of the cooking scrapbook.

mom and lauren's easy microwave mexican tostada

mom & lauren's tostada recipe

Ingredients:

tortilla

ingredients

Directions:

Spread salsa, black beans, corn and shredded cheese over a tortilla.

tostada layers

Microwave until cheese is melted and top with lettuce, tomatoes, and hot sauce (optional for you, not optional for me! 😉 )

tostada 5

Easy as 1-2-3!

Note:  since the tostada is heated in the microwave, the tortilla does not get crispy, so it is a knife-and-fork kinda meal.  I would not recommend trying to pick it up!

WIAW #19: Addicted

Halfway through the week!

I’m definitely looking forward to going home tonight.  The forecast seems promising so far in both Louisville and Chicago.  I’ve had between 2-5 hour delays in my last 4 audits sooo I’m really hoping things stay on schedule!

What I Ate Wednesday

Since it’s Wednesday, it’s time for another WIAW post.  If you’re not familiar, you can read about it here.

Breakfast

After a nice and sweaty Crossfit session, I grabbed something to eat from the little coffee shop at the hotel while I got ready for the day.

iced coffee banana barney butter

Iced latte and a banana, plus a packet of Barney Butter almond butter I brought along in my suitcase.  I normally drink my coffee sans cream or sugar so the latte was a nice change!  Creamy and delicious 🙂

hotel breakfast

Once I was showered and ready, I headed down to the hotel restaurant for a real breakfast.  Omelet with mushrooms, green peppers, and onions, homestyle potatoes, and biscuits.

Lunch

After working for a few hours, my coworkers and I broke for lunch.

panera thai chicken salad

And I was happy the group decided on my favorite, Panera!  Same as usual – thai chopped chicken salad and whole wheat baguette on the side.  Plus that delicious new Hibuscus iced tea I had last time on my audit.

Afternoon Snack

By the time we got back to the hotel, each of us went back to our rooms to regroup for about an hour or so before meeting back up for dinner.

yogurt apple nut mix

I played some games on my iPad while snacking on this yogurt apple nut mix

handful of yogurt mix

Butter toffee peanuts, yogurt raisins, honey roast sesame sticks, honey peanuts, almonds, and dried apples.

fairway solitaire

Sooo lets get back to the games I was playing on my iPad… my friends, Darcy and Lauren, recommended this game, Fairway Solitaire.  They warned me it was addicting and were they ever serious!?  I’ve been playing it every spare minute on this trip!

photo (1)

It’s also maddening!  This little gopher laughs at you when you play poorly! But I still can’t stop!

Dinner

Finally, I took a break and met up with the other two for dinner.  We headed to the Fourth Street area of downtown Louisville and settled on another brewery called Gordon Biersch.

mediterranean chicken gordon biersch

I ordered the Mediterranean Chicken entree, consisting of grilled chicken breast with a bruschetta topping, a side of sauteed veggies and jasmine rice.  It was quite tasty!

Bedtime Snack

planters heart healthy mix

Back at the hotel, I continued playing Fairway Solitare and sometime in the midst of my games, I was hungry again so I snacked on some mixed nuts.  I played this maddening game until I physically couldn’t keep my eyes open and called it a night!  Can we say addicted??

***

Have a great rest of the day!

Grocery Shopping When Hungry

Hope you’re staying dry this week (depending on where you live).  The storms just won’t give up the past few days around here.  Looking on the bright side, I’m thankful for the warmer weather at least.

pb and red velvet cake coffeeAnd besides, I started out the morning with spoonfuls of peanut butter and red velvet cupcake coffee.  Today has to be a great day, right?

Normally I would present the usual WIAW (What I Ate Wednesday) post today, but a) I failed at photographing all my meals and snacks yesterday and b) my food wasn’t all that exciting for the most part…

turkey cheese pretzel sandwich 3a

…that is, with the exception of dinner!

turkey cheese pretzel sandwich 4

Take a look at this bad boy…. words cannot express how fantastic this sandwich was!

DSC_1623

I got out of work a little early yesterday afternoon and swung by good old Trader Joe’s real quick before I had to pick up Mac.  I confess the primary reason was to purchase more Espresso Pillows because I’m addicted, but of course, I found my slightly-hungry self wandering through the aisles.  Before I knew it, I had both arms full.

DSC_1624I initially passed up the pretzel buns but after I walked by the turkey and cheese, I started dreaming of a sandwich I had from Birchwood Kitchen with Lauren and Cassie a couple weekends ago before the half marathon.

turkey cheese pretzel sandwich

It looked (and tasted) an awful lot like this guy.  I’m not sure where or when I became obsessed with pretzel buns but they make me happy.  Plain and simple.

turkey cheese pretzel sandwich 5

Pretzel bun, roasted turkey breast, extra sharp white cheddar, and spicy mustard.

turkey cheese pretzel sandwich bite

Besides the pretzel bun, of course, the extra sharp white cheddar cheese absolutely makes the sandwich, in my opinion.

turkey cheese pretzel sandwich 2

Who ever said grocery shopping while hungry was a bad thing?  😉

Cooking Scrapbook – Curried Chicken Salad

TGIF!  Hope everyone’s week went by smoothly and quickly.  I’m definitely ready for a 3 day weekend!

I planned on posting yesterday while I was in St. Louis for an audit but technology wouldn’t allow it.  We are in transition at work for new laptops and I was selected to test out one of the new models to ensure there aren’t any problems.  I brought it with me and sure enough, major glitch #1: neither the wireless network on the laptop, nor my AT&T wireless card gave me internet access.

But I’m back in town and all good in the (internet) hood!

Cooking Scrapbook

Just a little reminder, a few years ago I put together a cooking scrapbook for my mom.  It includes various recipes from my childhood through current (or since I moved out a couple years ago).  I thought it would be a neat idea to cook my way through those recipes and remember all the memorable times I spent growing up and being in the kitchen with my mom.

Here’s a little recap of ones I’ve done so far:

Curried Chicken Salad

cooking scrapbook curried chicken salad

Since I thought summer was finally here last week, I was in the mood for a crisp, refreshing, light salad so I dusted off the old scrapbook and decided to make this chicken salad.

curried chicken salad 4

I even enjoyed a big bowl of it outside… when it was still nice out!

curried chicken salad 5

Note the sarcasm?  I’m a little bitter than I had to dig out a coat this morning since it’s in the 40s around here.  Ridiculous!

curried chicken salad 1

Anyways, this salad is light and refreshing. It would be perfect for a summer picnic!

curried chicken salad 3

It does contain curry (which can be strong in some dishes) but the flavor here is subtle and gives it a nice touch.

Curried Chicken Salad

Ingredients:

3/4 cup plain 2% Greek yogurt

3/4 tsp curry powder

1/4 tsp salt

3 cups diced cooked chicken

1 1/2 cups red seedless grapes, halved

3/4 cup celery, sliced

1/3 cup green onions with tops, thinly sliced

2 Granny Smith apples, diced

1/3 cup pecans, chopped (I ended up using half pecans, half walnuts since I ran out)

Butter lettuce leaves, optional

Directions:

1.  Mix together yogurt, curry, and salt in a small bowl and set aside.

yogurt mix for chicken salad

2.  Combine all chopped ingredients in a large bowl (chicken through pecans).

curried chicken salad ingredients

3.  Add yogurt mixture to large bowl and stir until evenly coated.

curried chicken salad mixed up

4.  Serve over large butter leaves, if desired.

curried chicken salad 2

 

Enjoy your weekend and Happy Memorial Day!

WIAW #18: Bowls of Goodness

Gooood morning!  Hope you’re having a fantastic week so far!  Only a couple more days before the long Memorial Day weekend. 🙂

Before I head off to St Louis for an audit this week, here is another What I Ate Wednesday post.

Breakfast

I’m pretty much obsessed with this scrambled egg combination and I’ve been eating it up like crazy lately.  Since I’m taking a few days off to recover, I have extra time in the morning to prepare a hot bowl of eggs.

scrambled eggs avocado feta cholula

Three eggs scrambled with a splash of milk and dash of salt and pepper, topped with half a diced avocado, lots of crumbled feta cheese, and few shakes of Cholula hot sauce.

mcdonalds coffee

When I arrived up at my desk, I had a piping hot cup of coffee from Mickey D’s waiting for me, courtesy of one of my coworkers. 🙂

Mid Morning Snack

I dove straight into work and was able to accomplish a lot without checking the clock every 20 minutes which definitely made the first half of the day go by in a flash!  Love days like those.

roasted red pepper hummus snap peas baby carrots - Copy

My bowl of eggs fueled me nicely throughout the morning and my only indication that it was past 10 am were the growls escaping my stomach.  I munched on baby carrots and snap peas dipped in roasted red pepper hummus while I continued working away at my desk.

Lunch

I finally broke for lunch and went downstairs to eat with a few coworkers.

blackened chicken salad 3 - Copy

Holy cow.  This salad was DE-licious!

blackened chicken salad - Copy

Spring mix, cucumbers, tomatoes, green onions, craisins, macadamia nuts, goat cheese, and blackened chicken (leftovers from Monday night’s dinner).

newman's own lite sun dried tomato - Copy

I poured this Lite Sun Dried Tomato dressing into the bottom of the container along with the cucumbers so the rest of the salad remained fresh.  When I was ready to eat, I shook everything up so the dressing could evenly distribute.  Very tasty!

Afternoon Snack

The other day Jewel was offering two 1 lb containers of strawberries for $4.  Although I intended on purchasing blackberries instead, the decision was a no-brainer – a tiny clamshell of blackberries for $3.98 vs 2 lbs of strawberries for basically the same price.

And now I’m stuck eating 2 lbs of strawberries! 😉

white chocolate macadamia butter strawberries yogurt bowl 2 - Copy

I snacked on a bowl of Greek yogurt topped with cut-up strawberries and Reginald’s White Chocolate Macadamia Peanut Butter.

reginalds white chocolate macadamia peanut butter - Copy

A perfect afternoon pick-me-up!

Dinner

The positive side to skipping a morning workout is getting out of work a bit earlier.  I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening relaxing and enjoying some leisurely cooking in my kitchen.

pretzels and pepperjack cheese snack

I snacked on a few Italian Bistro Pretzels from my Nature Box this month and pepperjack cheese slices while I worked in the kitchen.

veggie garlic pasta bowl 2

I finally sat down to a big bowl of pasta.  I layered baby spinach on the bottom, which wilted down nicely from the hot fettuccine, along with steamed broccoli and cauliflower, roasted garlic dressing, red pepper flakes, and parmesan cheese.

veggie garlic pasta bowl

I had a real craving for marinara sauce which is what inspired me to cook up the pasta, but I failed to realize that I had no sauce in the pantry until the very last second.  Instead, I tossed the pasta lightly in roasted garlic dressing and it tasted great!

trader joe's dark chocolate almonds

I cuddled up with blankets and my furry friend to watch TV and munch on a few dark chocolate almonds.

trader joe's dark chocolate almonds 2

These things are dangerously good!

Enjoy the rest of your day!

Warm Shredded Brussel Sprouts Salad

Have you ever had a no-chip manicure before?

I had one done about a year ago when I was living in the city and after only two days, the nail polish already chipped.  And by chipped, I mean it was coming off in sheets!  After spending twice the amount of a normal manicure, this girl was not happy.  Nor was I convinced that this “no-chip” business was true.

Since then, I continued to hear wonderful things from so many people about the no-chip and how it lasts at least 2 weeks and blah blah blah….. so I decided to give it another try.

nail chip2

Well, you see that chip on my middle finger?  It happened yesterday, sadly.

But that was after 5 solid weeks!  Granted, my nails have grown out a lot and they look terrible in this picture but I was determined to see how long the polish lasted.  And now I’m a believer in the wonders of no-chip manicures!  Totally worth the extra $$, in my opinion.

Warm Brussel Sprouts Salad

Okay so now moving on to a delicious meal!

warm brussel sprouts salad with chicken

Similar to the concept of a warm spinach salad, I subbed in Trader Joe’s shredded brussel sprouts for the spinach and added plump dried cranberries, toasted pecans, and creamy goat cheese.

warm brussel sprouts salad with chicken 2

And to round out the salad and become a complete meal, I topped with grilled chicken breast.  Delish!

warm shredded brussel sprouts salad with cranberries pecans and goat cheese

Serves 2-3

Ingredients:

10 oz. bag of TJ’s shredded brussel sprouts*

1/2 cup chicken broth

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup pecans

2 oz. crumbled goat cheese

2 grilled chicken breasts (optional)

Directions:

1.  On medium heat in a large skillet, add pecans and stir constantly for 3-4 minutes or until fragrant and toasted.

toasted pecans

2.  Once toasted, pour pecans onto a cutting board and coarsely chop.  Set aside.

chopped pecans

3.  Coat skillet with cooking spray and pour in shredded brussel sprouts.  Saute for a few minutes.

TJs shredded brussel sprouts saute

4.  Add chicken broth, salt, pepper and cranberries.  Stir and let simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed, the brussel sprouts are tender and the dried cranberries plump up a bit.

brussel sprouts with cranberries

5.  Dish up onto plates or in bowls and top with toasted pecans, goat cheese, and grilled chicken, if desired.

warm brussel sprouts salad and chicken

Have a wonderful Thursday!

WIAW #17: Akron, OH Audit

Halfway through the week already!  Since I was traveling for work on Monday and Tuesday, the last two days flew by for me…. well, kinda.  I’ll get to that in a minute!

What I Ate WednTuesday

I wasn’t originally going to do one of these posts this week because I figured it would be more of the same old hotel breakfast, sandwich, protein bar, etc. stuff I normally eat on audits.  And although there was some of that, I also enjoyed some REALLY good stuff and wanted to share!

Breakfast

Welp, here’s my standard hotel breakfast as of late.

hotel breakfast

Scrambled eggs with hot sauce, banana and peanut butter, and a coffee.

Lunch

We started our audit at 8 am and were finished in less than 2 hours.  Normally, that’s great but our flight didn’t leave until 7 pm and there were no available flights to switch.  😦  Soo, two options: wait around until 7 pm, or drive from Akron, OH and be home by 5 pm.  Neither option was ideal but we chose the latter and hopped on the road right away.

A couple hours and lots of excruciatingly painful construction traffic later, we pulled off into a ‘service center’ aka truck stop.

panera lunch

Nicest truck stop ever!  Along with a Starbucks and a few other fast-er food places, they had a really nice Panera, offering their entire normal menu.

I ordered the Thai Chopped Chicken Salad (of course!) with a whole grain baguette on the side and their new hibiscus iced tea.  I normally get their acai berry tea but this new flavor definitely trumps it!

panera chocolate chip cookie

While ordering my lunch, they pulled out two sheets of freshly baked ginormous chocolate chip cookies.  As if the smell wasn’t tempting enough, the lady taking my order offered me one for 99 cents.  Sold!

cookie gone

I fully intended on saving it for a snack during our next 4-5 hour stretch of driving but when I got in the car, I couldn’t resist letting a warm chocolate chip cookie just stare at me and so I devoured it.

Little did I know Panera offers one of the best chocolate chip cookies EVER.  Seriously, so so so good!  Slightly crispy edges and soft gooey chocolately middle… a little slice of heaven if you ask me! 🙂

Afternoon Snack

banana nut quest bar

The rest of the afternoon seemed like an eternity, but we finally made it back.  I still had another 45 minute leg of my trip to get home so I snacked on a Banana Nut Muffin Quest Bar.  This is the 3rd or 4th flavor I’ve tried, and I absolutely LOVE these things.  Perfect for on the go!

Dinner

Since I got home much earlier than originally planned, Dave and I went out for dinner to Even Flow in downtown Geneva.

autumn salad

I started out with the Autumn Salad, made of mixed greens, fresh pairs, candied walnuts, feta cheese and maple vinaigrette.

beef short rib minis

Followed by the Stout Braised Short Rib Minis and a couple glasses of sauvignon blanc.

Both items were tasty but Dave’s meal was the best.  Unfortunately, I didn’t snap a pic but he got the Crispy Beer Braised Pork Belly BBQ Sandwich with house made fries.  UNBELIEVABLY good.  He shared a few bites with me, and I was jealous! 😉

dave and mac 2

Back at home, we relaxed outside on the porch since the weather was incredible.

dave and mac

Mac was infatuated with all the animal noises going on at dusk – birds, crickets, frogs, you name it.  Truly the sound of summer!

frog

Right before heading in to call it a night, Dave spotted a frog hanging around near us!  I swear we discover a new animal, insect, bird, etc. every week.  Guess that’s what happens when you move to the burbs!