Thursday, July 29, 2010

Whatever Wednesday!

*Note: I wrote this yesterday, but forgot to post it. Forgive me.

I haven't checked my Google Analytics in a few weeks, so I logged on today, knowing it was Wednesday.

Blog Stats
I have 205 hits this week, and 40 of them were from googling the TV shows or actors mentioned in my DVR post! I also had one person land here after googling "telephone ben naslund". Um...What? Who is Ben Naslund? Is he related to the infamous Chloe Naslund (who still gets me a hit or two a month)?  Out of curiosity, I googled Ben Naslund. I found nothing. I do not think he exists.

"Recipe" of the Week
Last week I got an email and two Facebook messages asking me to post a quick, easy and tasty dinner idea. So, here is one of our "go to" dinners that fit all the criteria AND is budget friendly.
Chicken & Avocado Quesadillas

Low-Carb Tortillas
Avocados (1/2 an avocado per Quesadilla)
Low-Fat Mexican Blend Cheese
Whatever seasonings you like on your chicken

I marinate the chicken for at least 30 minutes in the mix we've "perfected" to our liking. For me, that's Fajita marinade, garlic powder, a little lime juice, a splash of tequila and adobe seasoning. Ryan is probably going to kill me for giving away our secret, but I didn't share how much of each we use. You'll have to decide what you like. ;)  Then, I grill the chicken, and chop it. 

To assemble my quesadilla, I like to do cheese first, then avocado, then chicken with a little more cheese to bind it all together. I "fan out" my avocado so I get a little in every bite. If you ask my close friends, they will tell you, I am slightly obsessed with avocado.

Here is the finished product! I want one. Anyway, I feel super cheesy for typing this out in "recipe" form...but the people asked! Enjoy!

Random Ramblings from Rachel
This is dedicated to Ryan's Grammie. (His Maternal Grandma in AZ.) She emailed me recently about Ryan's current "look". She prefers a clean cut Ryan. And while I prefer the rugged Ryan, he wanted a change so I gave him a hair cut, and he saved off his facial hair. The rest of the night I couldn't stop looking at him cause he looked SO different to me! He did need a hair was getting pretty shaggy, but I miss the goatee. ;)
Here you go Grammie! Ryan's before and after:

What do YOU think?!


Friday, July 23, 2010

10 TV Shows You Will Find on my DVR - The Summer Edition

So, Holly recently blogged about 5 shows you would find on her Tivo. Sometimes I have to steal Holly's ideas because she is a blogging genius. (Or a genius in general.) Now, Holly only listed 5. Good for her. That means she isn't a TV addict like I am.  My DVR is always full. Ask my husband.

Because I am a self-confessed TV addict, I have to do a Summer Edition for now...and will do a Fall Edition in the Fall. I also have to list 10, because, well, I watch a lot of TV. That's not to say I only watch these 10 shows. Quite the contrary. But, these are the 10 you will most often find in my DVR during the summer:

Friday Night Lights - I came to the FNL party a few seasons in. My Mom had been bugging me to watch but I had it in my head that it was a stupid show about stupid Texas high school football. Then, one fateful day, she had me over for lunch and turned it on, telling me I wouldn't be fed until I watched. She may have also baited me with Taylor Kitsch. So, I watched it...and I fell in love.

The Closer - Holly picked this one too. Seriously, this show is everything that's great about TV. Great acting, smart story lines, and a great southern belle in Kyra Sedgwick's Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson. I have to thank my Mom for getting me hooked on this one, too.

Deadliest Catch - I've never missed an episode of this show. I've been watching it since day one. Of course, this has been a tough season because my favorite fishing family, The Harris', are rocked by Captain Phil's death.

Hell's Kitchen - This show is a guilty pleasure. I don't watch much reality TV, but I love Gordon Ramsey. This season hasn't captured me like the previous season's have, but I still watch it every week.

Burn Notice - I think this is such a fun show. It's kind of a spy meets vigilante storyline and it hooked me from the first episode. This is one I'd say you kind of have to watch from the pilot though.

White Collar - There a million great things about this show...but none better than Matt Bomer. Also catch this one from the pilot, otherwise you might be lost.

Lie To Me - I learn important life lessons watching this show. No seriously. This one also has really smart writing. Plus I love every single actor in the cast.

Rookie Blue - This is a newbie. It's in it's first season, and I won't lie, I originally DVR'ed it because Gregory Smith is on it and I still miss Everwood. Plus, its actually pretty good.

Leverage - This is also a vigilante show. (I have a thing for vigilantes.) Great writing, great cast, fun show. Oh, and Timothy Hutton, who is brilliant.

The Glades - I should mention only one episode of this new show has aired, but I loved every minute of it. I love one-liners that deliver and I chuckled through this whole show. I don't think this show would have worked without Matt Passmore as the main character. He has perfect timing and makes this dramedy (that's a drama that also makes you laugh, FYI) really work.

What do YOU watch in the Summer?


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Whatever Wednesday - The Birthday Edition!

My birthday was Monday and I got spoiled ROTTEN, so today's Whatever Wednesday post is going to be 100% about my birthday!

The celebrations started Thursday night - one of my best friends, Kim, also has a July birthday so we had a little joint b-day dinner since we have so many mutual friends. We went to On The Border and just gabbed and grubbed for a few hours! I am so lucky to have such awesome friends!! Here is a shot of the whole group:

L-R: Heather - Our friend from work, Lauren - my BFF from high school, Bridget - one of my closest friends, Me, Brittany - one of our BFFs, Kim - the other b-day girl and Elizabeth - a friend of Kim's from HS who I am now happy to also call a friend :) I love all of these girls SO MUCH!

We had a laid back weekend, though Ryan worked A LOT, then Sunday, my Dad came over for a few hours to hang out and wish me a happy birthday since he was going to be out of town all week. After, we met Ryan's parents for a delicious lunch to celebrate with them.

Richard, Susan, Me & Ryan at Asahi in Flower Mound. It was SO good!

A cute one of just me & Ryan

Monday was my actual birthday. The big 2-7. (Yes, I know. 27 isn't that big, but somehow it feels WAY older than 26!) When I got to work, I opened the door to my office to find this:

THANK YOU Heather & Kim for the decorations :)

Then they treated me to a delicious Tin Star lunch and cupcakes after...

There was an icing incident that sent us all into a fit of giggles.

BUT, we pulled ourselves together long enough to snap a quick pic! THANK YOU girls for making such a big deal out of my birthday!! I love you both!!

After work, I headed home to meet up with Frankie; when I walked in the door he presented me with my gift. He prefaced it by saying he wished it was for him, so I knew it would be good. And it was...
Firefly, the complete series, on BluRay!!!!!

Then we headed to dinner with my Mom. She treated me to dinner at one of my favorite places, BJ's. And even though I told her NOT to get me a gift, she gave me the cutest Winnie the Pooh & Eeyore ornament for my collection! (I LOVE Pooh & Friends. Yes, I am 27 years old.) Ryan had to work late and sadly, he didn't get to join us for dinner :( but when I got home, he had some wonderful gifts waiting for me, even though I had also told Ryan not to get me anything!

Dublin Dr Pepper (DP from the plant in Dublin, TX so it's made with pure cane sugar, not high fructose corn syrup and is so, so good), This Is It and my favorite movie EVER The Princess Bride on BluRay, and the most beautiful purple phalaenopsis orchid!

In other words, it was an amazing birthday. I am so very blessed to have such wonderful friends & family. You all made me feel so very special. :)


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Whatever Wednesday!

Happy Wednesday! This week is creeping by and I feel like its been Wednesday for days now, haha. In fact, I actually started writing this yesterday until I realized it wasn't Wednesday yet! Awesome.

Let's jump right in to the Recipe of the Week! I really don't have much else to talk about it is!

Barbacoa Beef
Servings: 9 • Serving Size: 4 oz
Calories: 161.4 • Fat: 5.0g • Protein: 24.9 g • Carb: 2.8 g • Fiber: 0.7 g

3 lbs beef eye of round or bottom round roast, all fat trimmed
5 cloves garlic
1/2 medium onion
1/2 lime, juice
2-4 chipotles in adobo sauce (I used 4)
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground oregano
salt and pepper
3 bay leaves
1 cup water

Place garlic, onion, lime juice, cumin, oregano and chipotles in a blender. Mix in 1 cup water.

Trim all fat off meat, cut into 4 inch chunks. Place meat in crock-pot, and cover the meat with the blended mixture. If it does not cover the meat completely, add more water and mix well. Add the bay leaves. I cooked it on the lowest setting all day long while I was at work. Like, 7:30-5:30. Just make sure there is plenty of water so it wont boil dry.

Once cooked and the meat is tender, remove the meat and place in a dish. Shred it with two forks, and reserve the liquid for later (discard the bay leaf). Return the shredded meat to the pot and add some of the reserved liquid back.

This was SO flavorful and tender. I served this with low-carb tortillas, reduced-fat cheese, and salsa. I had my brother over for dinner when I made it and we all loved it! Definitely a winner and we will definitely make it again. Enjoy!


Friday, July 9, 2010

Locks of Love Update

Because I promised to, here is a quick picture of my hair straightened to show the progress!

I also want to dedicate a little bloggy love to my friend Kinzie Roundy. She made "the big cut" herself recently and donated 12 inches!!! Way to go girl!! 


Thursday, July 8, 2010

What I Eat

This post is by request. I've had a handful of Facebook & Twitter direct messages asking me what sorts of things I eat during the day while counting calories. So here you go...

Let me preface this with a little background info. I am hypoglycemic. If you don't know what hypoglycemia is, it's essentially low blood-sugar. This is caused by the over production of insulin which sends my blood-sugar plummeting. When my blood sugar drops, I experience an array of symptoms. It starts with the shakes, then morphs into a headache and nausea. If I let it go on too long (which rarely happens) my symptom progress into fatigue, faintness, dizziness, tingling in my hands & face and in rare cases I experience heart palpitations. Oh, and mood swings. Ryan & my parents wouldn't let me forget those. ;) All that being said - every single one of the food groups is important in my diet. In order to regulate and stabilize my blood-sugar, I need protein, carbs, fruits & veggies, good fats and, yes, sugar. (The one I probably don't always get enough of is dairy, but I'm working on it.)

I have a few "go to" foods that quickly and safely get my blood-sugar back to a normal level. For example, I eat a banana everyday. Another is a "trail mix" granola bar. My favorite is Nature Valley's. It's whole grain oats with almonds, raisins, peanuts and cranberries. This is an "all-in-one" snack; I get protein, carbs, fruit/natural sugar and good fat.

Lately, my food intake has been like this:
Breakfast: (Around 7am) Thomas Whole Wheat Bagel Thins
                 2 tbps Whipped cream cheese
                 6oz Simply Orange juice

Morning Snack: One banana around 9am
                          Trail Mix bar around 10:30-11am

Lunch: (Around noon) This changes. Usually it's a SmartOnes meal (my favorites are: Rigatoni in Vodka Cream sauce, Three Cheese Ziti, Pasta with Ricotta & Spinach and Fettuccine with Broccoli.)
                                  Sometimes, I do wraps with Spinach Herb or Low Carb Mission tortillas, one 100 cal Wholly Guacamole pack, a couple slices of turkey and a sprinkle of cheese. (Hey! There's some dairy in this meal!)

Afternoon Snack: Grapes & a good handful of almonds OR an Apple w/ 1 tbsp peanut butter usually around 3pm. (See what I do there? I get one fruit/natural sugar with one protein/good fat.)
                            If I'm having a "hungry" day (I have days when I feel like a bottomless pit) I eat a mini bag of Smart Pop popcorn (100 calories for the whole bag).

Then, of course, dinner changes everyday. Many may read this and wonder, if I know "how" to eat, why did I end up over-weight? Well, knowing "how" and doing it are two very different things. Ryan & I love to eat and we tended to cook heavy meals, and I won't lie - I LOVE SWEETS. For years, we just honestly didn't think about what we were putting into our bodies.

So, for the few of you who wanted to know...there you have it. Also, as a little update, I've lost 3lbs since June 24th. That's an average of 1.5lbs a week. Considering I didn't count calories for two days over the 4th of July holiday, I am happy with a 3lb loss. Well, that is, until Ryan told me he's lost 9. Jerk. ;)


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Whatever Wednesday!

Happy Wednesday! I hope everyone had a safe, fun holiday weekend.

Blog Stats
I had visitors from 31 states this week & an all time high at 272 unique hits! I must attribute many of these to Andrew Tinker & Blues Traveler re-tweeting the link to the post about them. So - THANKS GUYS! :D

 I had a good laugh when I checked my google analytics this week. Someone got to my blog by googling "I married a younger man"! Nothing to be ashamed of, random googler! ;)   I also had someone land here by googling "Chloe Naslund'. My apologies if you were trying to track this person down...and found my cat. 

Recipe of the Week
Ryan & I have really been trying to trim our waistlines, so we've been trying recipes that are lower fat/calories. It can be a struggle to find low-cal recipes that are still tasty. I've been looking at several blogs and sites with "healthified" versions of stuff we love. So far, the clear winner this week is this one, which I've tweaked a little to my liking. Ryan & I both loved this, and will definitely make it again.

Chicken and White Bean Enchiladas with Creamy Green Chile Sauce
adapted from Gina's recipe

Servings: 8 • Serving Size: 1 enchilada
Calories: 230 • Fat: 7.3 g • Protein: 20.4 g • Carb: 28.7 g • Fiber: 12.2 g

Chicken and White Bean Filling:
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup minced white onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
15.5 oz can Navy beans (or Cannellini beans)
3 cooked shredded chicken breasts
1/3 can water
1 chicken bullion
1 tsp cumin

Green Chile Enchilada Sauce:
1 tsp butter
1/2 cup chopped white onion
2 tbsp flour
1 cup fat free chicken broth
7 oz can chopped green chile, drained
1 jalapeƱos, chopped, seaded
1/2 cup light sour cream

3/4 cup reduced fat Mexican cheese
8 medium low carb tortillas
chopped fresh cilantro or scallions (or both!)

For the Filling:
In a medium pan, heat olive oil on low. Add onions, garlic and saute until soft, about 2-3 minutes. Add beans, water, bullion, and cumin. Mix well and cover. Simmer on low 15 minutes. Remove cover, add chicken and cook an additional 5 minutes, or until it thickens and liquid boils down. Set aside.

Green Chile Enchilada Sauce:
In a large nonstick pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens and starts to turn translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add flour and stir well. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth. Whisk until the sauce becomes smooth. Cook over medium heat until the sauce boils and thickens, about 4-5 minutes. Add green chiles and jalepeƱos. Cook another minute then remove from the heat. Stir in the sour cream.

Spread about 1/4 cup of the enchilada sauce on the bottom of a 9x13" baking dish. Fill each tortilla with a few good spoonfuls of the chicken/white bean filling. Roll the tortillas and place seam side down in the prepared baking dish. Continue filling remainder of the tortillas.

Pour the enchilada sauce over the top of the enchiladas and spread to cover. Top with cheese. Cover with aluminum and bake 20-30 minutes, until the enchiladas are hot and the cheese is melted. Remove from oven and top with fresh cilantro or scallions.

*My Notes: We seasoned and grilled the chicken then mixed it into the filling mixture because we love the flavor of grilled chicken. This also cut down on cook time, because while I was make the filling and sauce, Ryan was grilling the chicken, instead of waiting for it to bake in the oven. Also, I smushed the beans up, because Ryan isn't a huge "bean fan". It only needed about 20 minutes in the oven before the cheese was melted. Enjoy!


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Andrew Tinker & Blues Traveler

I feel really lucky. I live in an area rich with musical prowess and an abundance of great venues. Last night, I got to take advantage of both. Jack FM, a local radio station, turned 6 this week, and so they threw a giant bash at Gilley's in Dallas. Blues Traveler was headlining, and my friend Andrew Tinker was one of the openers. When Andrew first announced he was playing Gilley's, we immediately started looking into tickets. A day or so later, I got a tweet (that's Twitter, if you didn't know) about getting FREE tickets. I took the chance, and thanks to Andy Chandler of Jack FM/CBS Radio, I secured FREE tickets for 6! So, Ryan & I, Brittany & Jacob, Kim, Frankie and Richard (who already had a ticket) piled into cars and headed to Dallas.

Andrew was up first. [Disclaimer: I've already admitted that Andrew is my friend. His brother, George, is my brother's BFF & roommate, and we've known the Tinker family for 10+ years. Many will think what I'm going to say next is biased. Maybe it is, but I would like to point out that I have friends who are in bands that I would never post about because I like to lead people to good music. Plus, I consider myself one who knows a thing or two about music, seeing as I studied it for many years.] Moving on...there is just something about Andrew Tinker. For as long as I've known him, music is what he lives for, and it shows. If you've heard his album, It Takes the World, then you know he's good. But that's only the tip of the iceberg with Andrew. To see him live is a whole other realm. The whole band melds together perfectly to accentuate his amazing songwriting abilities, and his presence on stage is truly unmatched by any other I've seen that hasn't already "made it". Which leads me to this...he is |thisclose| to blowing up. I can just feel it. It won't be long before he's all over the radio, selling out venues. My point? Go see him NOW. Get in on the ground level. You will not regret it. Speaking of only regret? That Andrew played before the second opener, Shurman, who is touring with Blues Traveler. I don't generally "bash" bands, but, they couldn't hold a candle to Andrew Tinker.

Andrew Tinker (click on any of these to see them larger)

By the time Blues Traveler the stage, I was really excited. I've loved them for a long time. I know pretty much every word to every song on their album 'Four'. And, since my dear brother plays a mean harmonica, I was excited to watch him watch them...because let's face it - No one does it like John Popper. Within minutes of them taking the stage, everyone was blown away. To hear his vocal and harp skills on an album is all well and good...but to be standing 10 feet away is something entirely different. Un-freaking-real. Watching this little boy grin on Frankie's face was awesome. At one point he looked at me and said "Can you believe we are seeing this?!" John Popper even tossed a few harmonicas out into the crowd between songs, and I so wished Frankie could have gotten one! I don't want to sell his band short...they were fabulous, too. You have to be, to stand next to Popper. Besides the harmonica legend himself, I really enjoyed the pianist. He was outstanding. And I think I counted at least 4 different keyboards around him. I also really liked the crazy bass the bass player was jammin' on. It was unlike anything I'd ever seen before. I am so glad I can now say I've seen Blues Traveler live.

The Man, The Myth, The Legend

Me, Brittany & Kim, with a few creepers in the back ground ::coughWilliamTinkercough::

The Husband & I (he loves to make that goofy face...)
The whole group, minus Ryan. L-R: Frankie, Jacob, Brittany, Richard, Kim & me
I hate the look on my face...I was focusing so hard on getting everyone in the shot, I forgot to smile ;)
It was quite a night, and though I am crazy tired today, I am so, so glad we were there.