Trader Joe’s to the Rescue

On Wednesday night, I came home to quite a surprise. Cooper decided to destroy his dog bed! There was stuffing everywhere. It took me forever to clean up the mess because Cooper kept stealing the stuffing and running around the house with it in his mouth.  I think he thought we were playing a game, but I was definitely not amused. This morning I was still finding stuffing from his bed in random places around the house.

dog bed destroyed

Ray came home late on Tuesday night and wasn’t even home for 24 hours before he had to leave for his next trip. I think Cooper was pretty sad that Ray left again and took it out on his bed.

With Ray being out-of-town so much lately, I have been struggling to think of things to make for dinner and have been opting to eat out instead of cooking at home. Truth be told out of the two of us Ray is more of the cook and I am more of the helper. When we first started dating my cooking skills consisted of being able to make breakfast sandwiches, pasta, and burritos. Over the years, my cooking skills have improved (thanks to Ray and an array of cookbooks) and I can happily say that I more confident in the kitchen and have expanded my cooking abilities beyond knowing how to make 3 things.

This week I decided that I was going to make more of an effort to cook dinner, make lunches for work, and limit the amount I was eating out. Earlier this week I went to Trader Joe’s hoping that I would get some inspiration since I was still struggling to think of anything that sounded appetizing to make on my own. Of course I got the Mandarin Orange Chicken and chocolate Mochi Ice Cream Balls because no trip to Trader Joe’s is complete without those items. I also picked up a box of macaroni and cheese, bag of Brussels sprouts, and a bag of broccoli slaw. I didn’t have any plans with what to make with those items, but they all seemed good to me.

On Wednesday night, I decided to cook the macaroni and cheese, a chicken sausage and some Brussels sprouts. At first my plan was to eat everything separately, but after everything was cooked I decided to just mix them all together. Pretty random meal, but it ended up being surprisingly tasty and is a combination I would make again.

I made the  macaroni and cheese per the box instructions, cooked the chicken sausage in a skillet on medium heat on the stove, and then using the same skillet sautéed some Brussels sprouts with a little salt, pepper and extra virgin olive oil. I cooked the Brussels sprouts on medium to low heat until they reached the desired tenderness, which for me is tender with a little crunch.

mac and cheese with chicken sausage and brussels sprouts

For my lunch today I decided to make a salad using the broccoli slaw from Trader Joe’s. I combined raisins, cashews, and avocado with the broccoli slaw and tossed the mix in a seasme ginger dressing .  It was delicious and totally hit the spot, but next time I would put more avocado in. I also polished off the leftover macaroni and cheese!

lunch salad

Trader Joe’s  came to my rescue this week! I might not have cooked everything from scratch, but with the few things I bought I was able to come up with some new meals that were easy to make, tasty and pretty healthy.  I was also able to create enough dinners and lunches to only eat out once for dinner and once for lunch, which is a big improvement from the previous weeks Ray has traveled.

Happy Friday!

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Getting Back into the Swing of Things

Last weekend Ray and I were in Northern California for a family event and to celebrate our friend’s 30th birthday. It was great to be able to hang out and catch up with our family and friends, especially over lots of great food and drinks!  The weekend was over in a blink of an eye (time really does fly when you are having fun) and before I knew it we were heading back to San Diego. Ray and I got back late Sunday night and on Monday I woke up feeling stiff, sore and bloated (not a great way to start the week). I wasn’t surprised though. Travel can sometimes take a lot out of me – lugging luggage around, sitting in the plane, driving long distances, and not getting enough sleep. Not to mention that my diet over the weekend had consisted of bagels, hamburgers, pizza, and seafood (did I mention Moscow Mules and beer). 

When lunchtime rolled around on Monday, I decided to run to Whole Foods and make myself a salad. I am not sure I consumed one vegetable over the previous few days and I was in need of a healthy lunch full of veggies. My salad included sunflower seeds, carrots, red cabbage, almonds, sesame sticks, cucumbers, broccoli, zucchini, red quinoa, cheese, kale and romaine lettuce.

photo salad

It totally hit the spot!

Sometimes I find that salads don’t always satisfy my appetite and my stomach is grumbling a few hours later. I have found that  by adding a mixture of nuts and quinoa the added protein and fiber makes my salad heartier and keeps me fuller longer. If you have never tried adding quinoa to your salads, I would definitely recommend it.  Quinoa has a lot of great nutritional value and is low in fat and high in protein. According to About.Com, 1 cup of quinoa has about 222 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, 8 grams of protein, and 15% of your recommended fiber.

After work, I came home to find Ray working on his computer and Cooper sleeping next to him.  The exhaustion from traveling, lack of sleep, and a full day of work had finally caught up to us and neither Ray nor I felt like doing much. However, I knew we would both feel better if we went for a run and got outside for a little bit.  Plus I had downloaded a bunch of new music to my iPod shuffle that I wanted to listen to. New tunes always makes me excited for a run.

IMG_1195

Ray, Cooper and I went for a thirty-minute run by the ocean and when we were done we were both glad we had gone.  The run worked up a great sweat and helped loosen up my stiff and sore muscles.  The run also did a number on Cooper because he barely made it inside the house before plopping down for a nap.

cooper after run 2

After a weekend full of indulgences and fun, it can be difficult to get back into the swing of your normal routine. Fitting in a workout early in the week helps motivate and inspire me to get back into my healthy eating habits and normal workout schedule. Sometimes the days you don’t want to exercise the most are the days you end up having the best workouts.  I think it is because you feel extra good about yourself for working out instead of giving into the laziness and skipping it.