Sweet Potato Nachos Recipe

Hey friends Happy Hump Day! Tuesday was a long one for me, that started with hitting the snooze button instead of heading out for a morning run. I was a little disappointed in myself with the lack of discipline I had, but it ended up being for the best as I was able to run after work and attend a CXWorx class. My typical runs lately have been even paced and long, but since I was crunched for time yesterday, I completed an interval run that looked a bit like this:

Work out May 25

My plan was to complete the entire run, but I cut it short after the 30 minute mark because I was pressed for time!

Other than that, the day was all work and no play, and I know I will be worn out by the time the weekend rolls around!

I didn’t have time to cook on Tuesday and so we all had leftovers for dinner, as well as a giant salad filled with apples, grapes, almonds, and goat cheese. Not very fall-ish of us, but still delicious….

 

salad but I have a tasty recipe to share with you from Monday evening. We made ours with chicken, but the meat can easily be left out for a vegetarian friendly meal!  It goes a little bit like this:

Sweet Potato Nachos

Ingredients

4 sweet potatoes

2 chicken baked or grilled chicken breasts, cut into cubes

1/2 orange, red or yellow onion, sliced

1/2 cup reduced fat crumbled feta cheese

1/3 cup reduced fat spicy pepper jack cheese, shredded (I used Cabot Jalapeno Light)

1 cup diced tomatoes

1/2 cup diced scallions,

1/2 tbsp garlic powder

1/2 tbsp pepper

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tbsp vegetable oil

cooking spray

Directions

Preheat oven to 425°. Cut sweet potatoes in half length-wise, and place cut side down on cutting board. Cut sweet potatoes into wedges – about 6 wedges per 1/2 sweet potato.

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Combine sweet potato wedges, vegetable oil, garlic powder, pepper and red pepper in a large bowl, and toss to coat sweet potatoes. Spray a baking sheet/baking dish (or 2) with cooking spray, and bake wedges in a single layer for 15-18 minutes.

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Remove trays from oven, and top sweet potatoes with scallions, tomatoes, pepper strips, and cubed chicken breasts, if using, and return to oven for 5 minutes. Remove from oven once more, and top with cheeses. Continue baking for 2 minutes, remove from oven, and serve immediately.

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If y’all try it out, let me know what you think!

Today I’m excited to get together with several friends for dinner – nothing like a mid-week wine, girlfriends, and food treat!

Halloween Treat!

Hey there ghouls and goblins! I just wanted to take a quick minute to share a little treat with you guys. This is just a spinoff of a previous post about a 4th of July treat, modified for the spooky holiday that is right around the corner: Halloween!

Ingredients

1 large bag of pretzel rods

1 bag of white chocolate morsels

1 bag of dark chocolate morsels

Orange Sprinkles

Parchment paper

Directions

Melt chocolate in the microwave (I had some trouble with the white chocolate because it has a lower burning point. These tips helped me get it right). Pour sprinkles onto a plate or dish large enough to roll pretzels around. Dip half of pretzel rod in the chocolate, and then roll pretzel in sprinkles. Lay on parchment paper and let dry until sprinkles and chocolate are set.

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Easy enough, right? This snack always gets me in the mood for whatever holiday is currently being celebrated, and is one of the most simple treats to bring to any party or gathering! Enjoy 🙂

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In addition to snacking on some of these pretzel treats yesterday, I also enjoyed making a new vegetarian-friendly dish (I added chicken for Derek’s inner carnivore, but meat is definitely optional). I’m excited to share the recipe (which was inspired by SkinnyTaste) for my sweet potato nachos with you later this week!

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I picked up the ingredients for the dish at the Farmer’s Market following a spin class after work. This trip to the farmer’s market was one for the record books, as I spotted the largest pumpkins I’ve ever seen.

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Pretty impressive, huh?

While I missed my morning run, I knew my work week was flexible, so spinning was on my workout agenda for the day. I plan to take most of my workouts to the gym this week while I still can, and hopefully that means I get to take a CXWorx class tonight!

Anyone have any fun fall or Halloween related plans this week? Do share! Happy Tuesday, everyone, keep smiling!

Photo Share 10/28

Hey there party people, Happy Monday! While I’d love to lie and pretend that I love Mondays sooo much, it really is a wee bit sad turning off my TV Sunday night after watching Homeland, and saying farewell to my lovely weekend. I’ve never treasured two days so much as I do Saturdays and Sundays, and my adoration for said days has grown exponentially since I’ve begun working. But, after Monday is over, we will have just 4 days left until our next weekend, and that is certainly something to smile about.

I do want to address the fact that my posts have been few and far between lately, and unfortunately, I think they may remain this way. In trying to find balance between my work and personal life, I’ve found that if I’m able to make time to cook, it’s hard for me to find time to blog about my recipes, and the same goes for my workouts. But I love sharing my culinary experiments and daily happenings with you all, so my plan is to post 2-3 times every week and keep up a routine with it. I’ll try my best to make all of those posts interesting, and hopefully filled with yummy recipes or fun new workouts!

That being said, I’m going to segue into my normal Monday morning post, a photo re-cap of my weekend!

This weekend was the most fun I’ve had in so so long, and it began with a Thursday evening Bucs game with Derek and his dad.

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It’s hard being a Bucs fan –  we are the opposite of undefeated.

Friday morning kicked off with a  barre conditioning class before I went to work. Aren’t I cute at 6am? Had to snap this beauty real quick so no one saw my weirdness!

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I’d never attended a barre class at my gym before, and went into the class with somewhat low expectations, as I’m more accustomed to the formal and structured Pure Barre setting for barre classes. I’m happy to report my expectations were surpassed, and although I miss my cardio/heart rate fill when attending any barre class, I did feel like I got a great toning workout from the session.

After barre and an exciting morning participating in recruiting events with my firm, I attended a delicious lunch atop one of Tampa’s tallest buildings. This week has been FILLED with delicious food at some of my favorite local steakhouses – I only wish I could have taken pics to show you all, but it didn’t seem too appropriate at business dinners. Let’s just say I am filet mignon’ed out for a while.

The best part of the weekend began after work on Friday, when Derek and I made the drive to Tallahassee for our first football weekend since we graduated. We stayed with one of our best friends, Alissa, and of course Megan and Ben (we don’t go many places without those 2). Alissa is in her second year of law school at FSU and was sweet enough to open her adorable home to us for the weekend.

We had a blast listening to bands and celebrating the noles at Downtown Getdown on Friday night, and it felt so good being back at FSU. I couldn’t have asked for a better college experience, and returning to my roots made me super nostalgic.

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Derek and I woke up early on Saturday morning/Gameday to make sure we were able to get in our long run.  I immediately checked the weather on my phone and realized my ears would freeze off of my head if I didn’t cover them on the run – off to Target we went for a super thick headband that covered my ears. It seems this always happens to me when I’m running out of town in cold weather – this wasn’t our first emergency ear-muff trip. I got this headband and it kept my ears perfectly warm!

On the training agenda this week was 7 miles, and my feelings going into the run were completely different than most pre-long run feelings. Instead of a little nervous-ness about getting through the run and maintain pace, I was thrilled to be running around campus and the stadium, and that thrill stayed with me the entire 7 miles. I swear I even teared up a bit when we ran around the stadium – I was covered in goosebumps, and not just because it was 40 degrees outside.

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When we got back to Alissa’s after our run, we were all ready to get our breakfast on, and grabbed some bagels/sandwiches from Megan and Ben’s favorite college breakfast spot – Bagelheads. I’d never had Bagelheads while at FSU, but I was impressed.

We spent the day meeting up and tailgating with some great friends and family, watching Bobby Bowden’s first return to FSU, and crying when Bobby took over the tradition of planting Chief Osceola’s spear into midfield during the pre-game festivities. Did I mention I was nostalgic about this weekend?

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The rest of the weekend included dinner at my absolute favorite pizza place on earth, Momo’s

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Yes, that sign says Momo’s and yes I have mad photography skills.

Also included in my weekend was one last 3 mile run around campus, brunch at my sorority house, and an evening of making some halloween treats, which I will share more about later!

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I hope you all have a fabulous week ahead of you, and enjoy some serious treats this Halloween!

What I’ve Been Up To + Easiest Butternut Squash Soup

The excitement, along with my new found love with pre-sunrise running, is getting me through this week.
Derek and I laced up around 6am on Monday and Wednesday mornings and headed out for a 3.5 mile runs. I really wish we could make these morning runs longer but the thought of getting out the door in the 5 o clock hour doesn’t sit well with me. We will see where this morning run takes us , but for now I think I’m maxing out at 4 miles or less!

On Tuesday’s workout front, I headed to the gym after work for a quick upper body workout. I completed the following workout I found on Pinterestphoto 3

Source

The workout took about 15 minutes, so I added on the following to round out my time to 30 minutes:

  • Front Raises – 5 lb weights – 3 sets of 15 reps
  • 1 minute planks x 4 sets
  • 100 crunches on stability ball
  • Overhead press with free weights – 10 lb weights – 3 sets of 15 reps
  • Side raises – 5 lb weights – 3 sets of 15 reps

After the strength portion, I stretched for 10 more minutes and called it a night!

On the eats fronts, I’ve been taking whatever I can get whenever I could get it. Which has turned out to be a great tactic, as I went with my parents to Acropolis on Monday evening after work

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And a tasty bowl of chili at Derek’s parents’ house on Tuesday night

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 This chili was amazing, and since it was a rainy night out, it really hit the spot!

The work days have been long for me, filled with plenty a pumpkin spice flavored coffee. Who can complain about anything when there is pumpkin spice flavored coffee offered endlessly?

Anyways, as to not bore you with my daily tribulations, I will not present to you a deliciously warm fall recipe!

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A couple of weeks ago, as I was browsing through the aisles of Publix Greenwise, I found some canned organic butternut squash and knew something good could come of it. But there it sat in my pantry, untouched and unloved for far too long. I brainstormed my head off but just couldn’t come up with what to make with it. But all it took was a little turn of the can to discover a recipe for Butternut Squash soup printed on the back label. Since the recipe looked fairly simple (it proved to be true), I decided to give it a go! I changed it up a little, by using almond milk instead of cream, and it was deliciously thick! This is how it went:

Ingredients

1 15 oz. can butternut squash purée
1 cup chopped carrots
1 large white onion , quartered
2 cups vegetable broth
2 cups original almond milk
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 pinch cinnamon

1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese

bs ingredients

Directions

Add vegetable broth, onion, carrots, salt, pepper and cinnamon to a large pot and simmer over medium heat for 15-20 minutes.

Add in butternut squash puree, as well as almond milk, and simmer for another 10-15 minutes.

Ladle into bowls and top with crumbled goat cheese. Serve immediately.

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Hope y’all have a happy hump day and are enjoying your week! Let me know what you think if you try out the soup recipe 🙂

Photo Share 10/21

So you guys. I’m pretty sure that I liked this weekend (Derek’s birthday) more than my own birthday. He/I received the best birthday gift imaginable. What was this gift, I hear you asking? The best football weekend of our lives. Okay maybe just my life, since it’s probably safe to say that his was winning the national championship with Auburn. But I don’t know it seems like it could be a close second. We’ll have to further consult with him.

 Seeing this image on Sunday night gave me serious anxiety in the best way imaginable.

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I haven’t yet talked any football on the blog, mostly because I didn’t want to scare anyone off or lose any friends with my intensity. But the truth of the matter is, it’s time for me to come clean. I’m a pretty aggressive FSU fan, and have been since the day I was born. When Derek played for Auburn, I obviously became a passionate Tiger as well, and I’ve watched Peyton Manning play football since I was 12, which naturally makes me a Denver Broncos fan. My allegiances are everywhere, and it takes up a good portion of my weekends.

And as college football goes, this weekend took the cake. And it was a Wright’s cake.

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See, this is why I didn’t want to start talking about football, because it’s so hard for me to stop. But other great things happened this weekend besides football. Like the following:

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Delicious birthday dinner for Derek and his mom at Palma Ceia on Friday evening. I swear I’ve never been disappointed here.

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Although we were stuffed to the brim, how could we say no to birthday dessert? We shared the chocolate lava cake a la mode, as well as a pumpkin brulee cheesecake. Heaven in my mouth.photo 5

Saturday morning started by checking a long run off of our training list. We ran 7 miles at 8:15 in the morning, and I was surprised that it didn’t get too unbearably hot during the hour we were out.  We started with a slow jog for our warm up, and ended our cool down the same way, and spent a total of 1:05 running. We were both surprised that 7 miles didn’t feel any harder or worse than 5 or 6, and it makes me so excited to take on 8 and 9 in the next couple of weeks.

After our run, we headed to Derek’s favorite coffee spot, Buddy Brew. Buddy Brew has delicious artisan coffee, and Derek will go every chance he gets!

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After coffee comes breakfast. Obviously. I whipped up some eggs scrambled with monterey jack cheese, tomatoes, peppers, and onions, and we enjoyed it along side Derek’s left over NY Strip steak. Talk about a breakfast of champions.
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Aside from watching football all day on Saturday, we worked on a little re-furb project:

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And enjoyed watching the Noles win at The Lodge with the rest of Tampa! I wish my birthday was in the fall so the Noles could give me good birthday gifts every year.

Derek’s birthday morning began with his favorite smoothie, a new lawn mower, and brunch with his family at Palma Ceia. photo 1

And after some time hanging with friends, watching football, and a quick work out, we enjoyed arguably the best meal of the weekend at his parents’ home. photo 4If you haven’t tried a steak from The Fresh Market, you don’t know what you’re missing. Sunday night was my first experience, and I will never be the same again. All in all, I hope Derek had as great of a birthday weekend as I had celebrating his birthday!

Happy Monday, everyone!

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Banana Walnut Loaf + Happy Birthday Weekend to D Man!

Hey there party people! THE WEEKEND IS UPON US! In a few short hours, the work week will end, and I am thrilled because it is Derek’s birthday weekend, so plenty of celebrations will ensue. For good measure and some funny faces, please refer to the birthday pictures below from the past 4 years.

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Anywho. My week this week has been insanely busy, and I’m grateful that I was able to run 3 out of the last 4 days, as well as take a yoga and bodypump class.

yogaGranted, I’ve been waking up before 6am or getting home after 830pm to do these things, but it’s made my work week a bit more enjoyable. I do have some sad news to report, however, and maybe some of you have experienced this same awful thing before. But I wouldn’t wish this upon my worst enemy. Wednesday night I got into bed around 10 p.m., with my alarm set for a 6 a.m. morning run. I did not sleep one ounce (yes I understand ounce is not the correct measurement, it’s obviously minutes, but humor me) all night long. Around 3 in the morning, after tossing and turning 5 hours, I resolved to stop trying to sleep, and instead read a book. And between 5 and 6 am I was just praying for time to pass by because I was bored out of my mind. Has this ever happened to any of you? An entire sleepless night? I’ve never struggled with insomnia before, so I’m not sure if this is just a typical case of that. Who knows. But I do hope it NEVER happens again.

Now, enough dwelling on the negative! Boy do I have a recipe to share with you, and just in time for the weekend! I made this banana walnut bread (an adaptation of a Food Network Recipe) the same weekend as I made the easiest Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins. While the aforementioned muffins were received very well by my pumpkin-loving friends and relatives, it is a sad truth that pumpkin isn’t everyone’s favorite flavor. Bananas, on the other hand, typically are an all around favorite, and this recipe was the winner of the weekend!

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Ingredients

1 1/4 cup flour

1 tsp baking soda

2 egg whites (I use Egg Beaters – 1/2 cup)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup sugar (I used part stevia – conversion here)

3 very ripe bananas

1/2 cup chopped or broken up walnuts

1 stick butter (I use Smart Balance – 1/2 cup)

1 teaspoon baking powder

Directions

Preheat oven to 350° and spray a loaf pan with non-stick spray.  In a large bowl, mash bananas with fork.

Pour flour into  a large bowl, and add in baking soda and set aside. In a small bowl bowl, mix together egg whites and vanilla extract. In the bowl of a stand up mixer (or a large bowl and a hand mixer) mix the butter and sugar together. After the butter and sugar are mixed, first add in the egg mixture and then the mashed bananas and mix until wet ingredients are incorporated. Finally, fold in the flour mixture and walnuts and mix by hand.

Pour batter into loaf pan, and bake for 1 hour. To make sure the baking is complete, stick a tooth pick in loaf to check the loaf is baked through.

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If you know what’s good for you, you’ll give this recipe some serious thought! Have a happy weekend, y’all!