Monday, July 22, 2013

Pizza of dreamsss!

Hi there!  Welcome back.  I hope your week is going well - my weekend was relaxing and filled with catching up with friends and family, along with a hot yoga session and a 2.5 mile run.  Now, it's back to the work week - I'm anxiously counting the amount of "wake-ups" until Friday.  Three more to go! Today's post isn't about my life, instead it's about pizza... oh and buffalo chicken.  Combined.

A few years ago, before going gluten-free, I somehow became acquainted with buffalo chicken wraps. They were my absolute favorite - there was a restaurant near my old apartment, although the name of it has escaped my mind and it has since closed - that served the most incredible buffalo chicken wraps in the entire world.  I used to try to recreate them at home using wing sauce and tortillas.  When I went gluten-free, the wraps went away as did most things buffalo chicken flavored, except for salads.

I'd had wings a handful of times in my life and only trended towards boneless being the picky eater that I am was, so naturally I never realized that the majority of the time, wings are gluten-free.... flash forward a couple of years.  I was in a new relationship and we made dinner plans at a trendy restaurant downtown - that has also since closed? I'm sensing a pattern here - and inquired about gluten-free items for yours truly.  Wings were one of the options...I can't remember if we decided to share them or if Paul ordered them and I ate one but from that day I was HOOKED.  From that moment on or maybe it was that autumn, anyway, somewhere along the line, wings became our thing.  You don't feel like cooking?  Let's get wings.  We got in a fight?  Let's get wings. I know what you're thinking... let's get wings!

Now, wings obviously are not an *always* choice, but it's fine for them to be a sometimes choice - especially after you've pushed yourselves through P90X and Insanity in the basement.  My personal culinary efforts have been buffalo chicken pasta, buffalo chicken fingers, twice baked buffalo chicken potatoes.... but buffalo chicken pizza?  It eluded me.  

So tonight, I set out to make it.  After burning the crust on one pizza and making an emergency trip to Kroger dinner was ready... and it definitely did not disappoint.

Individual Buffalo Chicken Pizzas 

Inspired by How Sweet It Is

2 Udi's Gluten-Free Pizza Crusts
2 tbsp ranch dressing
2 tbsp + 1/3 cup Frank's wing sauce
1/8-1/4 cup diced green onions
2/3 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
8oz boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
1 tbsp trans-fat free, oil based margarine

1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees farenheight.  Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil, spray with non-stick spray or drizzle with olive oil.
2. Place pizza crust on baking sheet - spread or drizzle 1 tbsp of ranch and 1 tbsp of wing sauce over crust - repeat with remaining crust. Set aside.
3. Melt margarine in a saucepan over medium heat.  Meanwhile, cut chicken into bite size pieces.  Add to pan, saute until golden brown ~8-10 minutes.
4. Place chicken in bowl, top with 1/3 cup wing sauce.  Divide chicken evenly between crusts, spooning any remaining sauce over chicken.
5. Top each crust with 1/3 mozzarella and green onions. Bake for 10 minutes.

What's your favorite pizza topping? 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Friday Favorites

Hi there, happy Friday to you!  This week seemed to go by rather quickly, but I couldn't be more ready for the weekend.  I've been alone at work for the past few days - luckily, our census has been low - but today I completed the annual clinical audit ::stressful::.  I haven't done too well on the workout front this week and feel like I could benefit from giving myself some TLC - I typically find when I don't take enough time to take care of myself, stressful situations that normally wouldn't be so stressful are just so much more wearing.  Needless to say, I'm ready to relax for a couple of days - I've got my first hot yoga class planned for Saturday and plan on curling up on the couch Atlas Shrugged.  So, here are my Friday favorites - complete with a little fashion, a thought provoking article, an artistic piece, tips for optimism and a recipe!

1. This lace shift dress from Target.  I tried this on in the store last week and fell in love with it.  I ended up ordering the black dress and the cream dress... they were buy one get one 50% off!  I'm a little nervous about how it might wash, so based on my past experiences it will just be making a trip to the dry cleaner when it needs to be freshened up.  I've been looking for ways to update and clean out my wardrobe, so this little number was perfect.

2. My Mom, Borderline Personality Disorder and Me - My mom might not have a personality disorder, but she is an alcoholic....she can be very loving and in the same breath extremely hateful.  I would say that having her as my mother has made me a stronger person - it has also made me incredibly patient and has reiterated the importance of treating other people kindly even when I don't always feel like it - in short it has gifted me with some of my best qualities. However, being her daughter can be challenging and sometimes it does affect my self esteem.  Late last year, I found this article and now whenever I feel particularly wounded, I reach for it.  Almost of the feelings and scenarios experienced by the author are similar to those that I've experienced - almost as if I penned some of the situations myself.

3. Reflections: Portraits of the Elderly - if you haven't already seen this, make sure to click this link.  I love the concept of how Tom Hussey has captured how we all age but may see ourselves differently when we look in the mirror.  Have you ever thought of your age and through that you internally feel much younger?  I suspect that feeling never goes away and love how it is portrayed through this artwork.  In each piece, he seems to capture the individual at one of their most confident times. Breathtaking.

4. 12 Tips for Staying Optimistic - We can all use more positivity in our lives, so why not share?

5. This BBQ chopped chicken salad from Iowa Girl Eats.  I love the version from Panera Bread, so why not make my own at home?!  This would be perfect with avocado added!

What's your Friday favorite?

Have a great weekend!  See you soon.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Two Months to Go

My 28th birthday is only 2 months away...yikes.  27 has been wonderful - in fact, it's probably my favorite year so far and I would be lying if I said I might not freak out and cry when it's really over.  Last year, I made a list of 27 things I wanted to do before 28... lets review the list and see how I've done so that I can get cracking on what's left!

1. Take a cooking class - Complete!  I took a sushi class in March and it was SO much fun :)

2. Go to yoga once a month - This didn't happen, yoga is one of those things that I adore, but can't seem to figure out how to fit it into my life.  Any suggestions?

3. Run a 5k - Complete!!!  I'll scream it from the rooftops.

4. Keep a journal for 21 days - I think this goal should change to keep a journal for 7 days and blog for 21 days... this may or may not happen, but I would love if it could!

5. Get a passport - Yep, still no passport.  Paul and I have discussed this, so maybe we can knock this off my list together!

6. Meditate 3 times a week and work up to daily - So close.  I've started meditating recently because it helps me feel grounded - which isn't anything I didn't already know - so why I haven't gotten around to making it a daily priority, like brushing my teeth, is beyond me.  My ego must be getting in the way.

7. Continue crafting - Complete!  I've decorated wine glasses for all of my friends, made glitter glasses for my family at Christmas and still have a few tricks up my sleeve before my birthday even rolls around.

8. Carve a pumpkin - Complete!  Paul and I did this in October and it was so much fun.  I'm pretty sure he thought that I was going to lose a finger, but I didn't.  Our pumpkin proudly sat outside the entire month of October... and part of November.

9. Go to a football game - Complete! Well, kind of.  The setting was late November....were only there for a half an hour - I had been pretty sick that week but decided to tough it out.  That is, until my doctor's office called during the game and said "Congratulations, your chest x-ray shows you have pneumonia."  Nailed it.

10. Make a chocolate chip tofu cheesecake - Complete!  Paul and I made this together for a Thanksgiving friendsgiving party that I didn't get to go to.... because of the illness described in #9.  He brought me home the leftovers and potato skins, as I had barely moved from my location on our couch.  Keeper.

11. Go on a bike ride - FAILED IT!  And found out that apparently that old adage "it's like riding a bike" is NOT true in my case.... after a failed attempt to go bike riding with Paul and his family.  Most embarrassing moment ever.  Poor Paul, I'm surprised I didn't give him a heart attack.

12. Go on a picnic - Hasn't happened yet but there is still time!

13. Waste less time on my laptop - Better!  I barely ever use my laptop except for at night :)

14. Don't always multitask - Failed.  Jeez.  I should have looked at what I wrote next to this.  Something to work on for the next two months that's for sure.

15. Continue to follow my budget - Nailed it.  I have an excel spreadsheet now and track like a badass, I've cut spending in some areas and tripled my contribution to my retirement account. BOOM.

16. Become a better friend - A work in progress that I hope continues :)

17. Perfect a signature cookie recipe - Errr. Nope, still gotta work on this... especially since I can't remember the last time I made cookies.

18. Spend more time with my grandma - Trying and not succeeding that well.  I moved in January and now I live about 10 minutes away from her.  It makes it easier to make little trips in and easier to get there on the weekends, but it's still difficult with working full time.

19. Blog at least one time per week - Clearly, this didn't go according to plan... working on it!

20. Plan a trip - Complete!  Paul and I went to Louisville in December and we're heading to San Francisco in August :)

21. Be more grateful - A work in progress too :)

22. Take a class - I haven't done this yet... but it's not too late to look into calligraphy, cake decorating or photography.

23. Read one book per month - Complete, kind of!  I wouldn't say it's averaging to one per month, more like one per three months - still better than none.

24. Volunteer - Complete!  I've volunteered at a few different events since my bday and applied for the Junior League of Cincinnati - I should be finding out soon if I was accepted!

25. Discover the area of dietetics I'm passionate about - I love maternal/child health and wellness, oncology outpatients... actually all outpatients and preventative health and wellness.

26. Complete one month of the Physique 57 challenge - Incomplete!  This has to be a winter goal... I love running too much :)

27. Try a book on tape & stay more current with the news - I recently listened to a book on tape thanks to Audible!  I've been working on staying more current with the news but it's hard when I don't waste as much time on my laptop looking at websites anymore - I do listen to NPR occasionally which helps me stay semi-up-to-date and I love the CNN app on my phone.

How many do you think I can reach by my birthday?!  Two more months go to!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Healthy Snacking 101

Hi there friends :)  As an RD, I'm always asked about food and for good reason.  After all, I do have a MS degree in nutrition science.  "What should I be eating?" "How much?"  "Healthy foods are so boring - can't I just snack on chips - I mean it's only 150 calories for a little bag right?" "All I snack on are carrots - that's good for me, right"  Ehhhh.  Pick up a magazine or look on the internet and you'll find a multitude of sources telling you to eat this or eat that, but is that really the best choice for you?  

Snacking has many benefits, that is, if you reach for the right thing.  Picking a snack that's higher in fiber with healthy fat and lean protein can help keep cravings at bay by helping your blood sugar stay stable throughout the day.  Skipping meals can lead to overeating... which often results in feeling sluggish and bloated throughout the day.

You might know the benefits, but what about the choices.  I fall into the rut of grabbing the same old thing.  However, I have a few "rules" for my snack habits.

1. It has to be "clean" - that means no processed foods allowed.
2. It has to have some source of lean protein and/or healthy fat

Even as an RD, I struggle with snacks and grabbing the same old thing everyday.  I've compiled a list of some of my favorite healthy snacks to share with you - feel free to add your own in the comments. 

Smart Snacks

  • Air-popped popcorn topped with nutritional yeast
  • 0% greek yogurt topped with 1/2 c fresh raspberries and 1-2 tsp of honey 
  • Low-fat string cheese with a small lunchbox sized apple
  • Pecan nut thins topped with nut butter and raisins
  • Chopped veggies with 1/4 c salsa or homemade ranch (use greek yogurt)
  • Homemade larabar balls
  • Dried fruit leather with 1/4 cup nuts
  • Guacamole and blue corn chips
  • 1/2 c fruit salad with a low-fat string cheese
  • Chocolate smoothie (blend 1-2tbsp ground flaxseed, frozen banana, chocolate almond milk)
  • Rice cakes with 1 tbsp nut butter & choice of preserves
  • Hard boiled eggs with crackers
  • Pear with a small dark chocolate square
  • 1% chocolate milk or chocolate soy milk
  • Edamame with sea salt
  • Homemade trail mix - gluten free pretzels, nuts/seeds, dried fruit & dark chocolate chips

Feast away!  What's your favorite snack idea?

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Saturday Bachelorette Fun

Good morning friends!  It's finally Saturday AND my friend Carrie's bachelorette party.  Her wedding is only less than two weeks away!  Tonight's festivities include taking a painting class, dinner at Crave and a night out - I couldn't be more excited to celebrate the bachelorette party of one of my truest friends :)  I plan on indulging in plenty of wine, girl talk and sushi!

That being said, I knew I needed to start the day off on a good foot eats wise.  I slept until 9:30am this morning - which is insanely late for a person that normal gets up at 5:30 am - and when I finally rolled out of bed, I was in the mood for a pancake.  I used to make single serve protein pancakes all the time back in my single days, so I decided to see if I still had my old tricks up my sleeve.  Sure enough, it turned out well :)  If you don't have PB2 - a powdered form of peanut butter - feel free to use regular peanut butter.  Remember, choose the one with the least amount of ingredients, ideally peanuts and salt.

Peanut Butter Protein Pancakes


2 tbsp gluten free all purpose flour
1 tbsp vanilla protein powder
1 tbsp ground flaxseed 
1 tbsp PB2
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp canola oil
1 tsp of vanilla
1/4 cup milk

1. Combine dry ingredients in a small cup, set aside.
2. Add milk and vanilla, stir to combine. 
3. Cook over low heat in a small saucepan until the edges begin to brown and bubbles form.
4. Flip, cooking remaining side about another 1-2 minutes.

I threw in a few chocolate chips for good measure, then topped it with peanut butter and flaxseed.  Served with my favorite metabolism boosting drink - more on that later.

See you soon!  What's your favorite kind of pancake? 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!  TGIF, after the longest work week ever, I'm totally ready for the weekend :)  That being said, here are my friday favorites!!

1. This quote... word, Lauren Conrad.

2. This interview with Edie Windsor brought tears to my eyes.  "The fact is, marriage is this magic thing. I mean forget all the financial stuff - marriage symbolizes commitment and love like nothing else in the world."  I couldn't agree more - love is love and we should all have the right to love and commit ourselves to whoever the one is, regardless of their gender or your own.

3. Pic Stitch - I'm obsessed with this app!  Can you tell?

4.  Easy chicken tacos from Iowa Girl Eats - these look divine!  If only I had a crockpot...hopefully someday soon!  I've heard great things about them.

5. The new music room in our home -  it's fantastic.  There's nothing I love more than watching my other half play guitar - seriously, there are so many things hooked up to different things and I don't even know what they do, but what I do know is that it's AMAZING.  We painted the ceiling, walls, moved in all the equipment and furniture - I'm so happy this room came together :) 

What's your friday favorite?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Let's Play Catch Up

Hi again!  I can't believe that I haven't blogged since March... MARCH... can you believe it?  4 months with no blogging.  I've gone MIA before in the past and I've always stated that for me, blogging tends to stop when life happens.  I always come back to it because I love blogging and expressing my thoughts and feelings through text.  Sometimes, I tend to have trouble with speaking what's in my mind and having it be expressed the way I mean it to - does anyone else have that happen?  The past few months have been hectic and happy.... and the next few months I'm sure will be as well... so what better way to document them than on my blog.

Now, to explain what I've been up to over the past few months, here are some of the highlights courtesy of Instagram :)

I completed my first 5K in the beginning of May!!!!  I've run other 5K's before but they've usually been a combination of walking/running due to my IT band syndrome (read more on that here).  I focused on foam rolling and stretching in the weeks before this race and gradually increased my runs over the course of a few months.  Crossing the finish line after running the whole race was huge for me - all of the months of doubt of whether or not I would ever be able to run 3.1 miles vanished and I literally felt unstoppable.  It took hard work, doubt and the constant threat of failure but I did it... not only that, but I ran the race in under 30:50.... the fastest that I've ever run.

In June, I celebrated the wedding of two of my college friends, Katie and Chandler, in Toledo.  The wedding was beautiful and I had so much fun catching up with my college friends and their parents :)  Weddings are so full of love and joy that I always enjoy them.

For the 4th of July weekend, I spent most of it relaxing at home with my other half.  It was rainy here in Cincinnati... we spent the 4th of July watching Despicable Me 2, playing video games at Gameworks and concluded the night with dinner at PF Changs.  On Saturday, we went to the mausoleum where my grandpa is buried - he passed away a little over 4.5 years ago and I've never been brave enough to go alone.  It was so precious to me to share in that moment together and I'm so very lucky to have someone that is so supportive in my life.  Sometimes, I can't think about the fact that they will never meet one another in this life and it simply breaks my heart.  I'm grateful that God brought both of them into my life, even if they had to be at different times.  I'm so grateful for the relationship that I had with my grandpa and I've come to understand that when someone passes into the next life, the love you feel for them never does go away.  

Tonight, I'm relaxing on the couch with iced green tea, sushi and The Bachelorette.  As crazy as it may seem, sometimes you just need to relax and watch something mindless.  I realize that not everyone is wired that way, but I've come to realize that if I don't force my brain to take a break, I'm not as well equipped to handle the stresses of everyday life.  My top pick at this point for Des is Chris - he's so open with his feelings with her and that's refreshing!

Now, it's July and hopefully if all goes according to plan, you'll be seeing a lot more of me! The rest of the summer should also be filled with adventure.  My other half and I are making a trip to San Francisco in early August.... neither one of us have ever been to California!  I'm looking forward to quality time together away from the stresses of everyday life... and to exploring a completely new city together.

What have you been up to this summer?