Food Porn – Tuesday Lunch Edition

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Grilled Italian Chicken with shaved fresh Parmesan & fresh basil on 100% Whole Wheat Toast (420 Calories)

Chicken with Balsamic Tomatoes & Artichokes

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2013-12-30 19.54.01Alright. First off I’d like to thank the Academy.  Ok. Not really, but I would like to thank my mother for always making things from scratch.  After years of peering over the counter watching her chop veggies and try new recipes, I can officially say that I’ve inherited the kitchen bug.

I found a recipe similar to this one last night on Pinterest and totally forgot to actually pin it…what does this mean?  Well it means I’ll never find it again. It’s now lost in an abyss of recipes and handicrafts.  Thankfully, I read the recipe well a couple of times and had already done the shopping for it.  Now, it’s time to put my own twist on it.

The original recipe only called for around 5 ingredients:  Roma Tomatoes, Jarred Artichokes, Flour, Sugar and Chicken.  That’s it. yup.  It was a Clean Eating Recipe and well, I guess they didn’t realize that white flour and white granulated sugar are both no-no’s in the Clean Eating world.

I also am a HUGE fan of Fresh Herbs and food with a bit of a tang to it:  Insert Balsamic Vinegar.  Oh B-Vin you ol’ dog you!  You always know how to make a girl feel sophisticated.

I also forgot the temp on the oven and how long to cook it…so we winged it…and well..it worked!

My husband gladly ate his over angel hair pasta and said he liked it enough for me to make it again, but not enough to eat leftovers.  I still consider this a victory since my husbands idea of pantry staples are Manwich, Suddenly Salad, Frozen Pizza and Pierogies.

You can use any 9×13 cake pan or roaster…I have a Le Creuset 3qt Au Gratin that I used for this recipe.

If you are super new to cooking..don’t be afraid this is NOT a difficult recipe 🙂

Materials I used:

So I started out by cutting each Roma Tomato into 4, then coring them, then chopping them up from there.  I drained a small jar of Artichoke hearts and added them to the bowl.  This is where I start to get creative because the original recipe only called for two more ingredients, white flour and sugar. Nope Not using those.  So instead I add Balsamic Vinegar, Honey, Chopped Fresh Italian Flat Leaf Parsley, Chopped Fresh Basil, minced garlic, salt & pepper, grated Parmesan and whole wheat flour.  I generously Salted & Peppered my Chicken breasts and then popped it in the oven! BOOM that easy!

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I baked it, covered in tin foil, at 350 degrees until the chicken was almost done, then took off the foil, stirred it up a bit, basted the chicken, sprinkled on some Parm/Asiago mix and fresh parsley and popped it back into the oven until bubbly and the chicken/cheese mix was slightly browned.

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Served it over Quinoa for me and Angel hair pasta for my husband. it was delish 🙂

2013-12-30 20.12.06Chicken with Balsamic Tomatoes & Artichokes

Easy / Serves 4-6 depending on portions

      • 2.5 lb pack of boneless skinless chicken breasts (thawed/fresh)
      • 6-8 Ripe Roma Tomatoes
      • 1 small jar of Artichoke Hearts
      • 1 heaping TBL of Whole Wheat Flour
      • 1 clove garlic minced
      • 2 Tbl grated Parmesan Cheese
      • 2 Tbl to 1/4 c Shredded Parmesan, Asiago or blend Cheese
      • 1 tsp honey
      • 1-2 Tbl Balsamic Vinegar
      • 1/2 cup chopped fresh Flat Leaf Parsley (reserve 1/4c for end of baking & garnish)
      • 2-3 large Basil Leaves Chopped
      • Kosher Salt
      • Pepper
    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
    2. Wash then Quarter, core and chop up Roma Tomatoes and put them in a large mixing bowl
    3. Drain and add Artichoke hearts to the bowl
    4. Add Garlic, 1/4 cup of the Parsley, Basil, Honey, Balsamic Vinegar, Grated parmesan cheese, Whole Wheat Flour and mix together.
    5. Pour into a greased baking dish
    6. wash and pat dry the Chicken breasts, then generously salt and pepper them.
    7. Arrange the chicken pieces on top of the tomato mixtures
    8. Cover with Foil and back until chicken is almost finished, approx 50 mins.
    9. Take the foil off, stir it up, baste the chicken and sprinkle shredded cheese onto chicken.
    10. Place back in oven and bake until bubbly and the chicken/cheese turns a golden brown.

Ritz Sandwich Crackers, Tow Trucks and 50 Shades of Menards.

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I don’t really know why certain things happen to me, they just do.  Maybe it’s because my quirky sense of humor can handle it so God sends these situations my way, and maybe it’s because I’m just as whacked as everyone else, who knows.

My weekend consisted of a little bit of work, lots of family time (aka drill sargeant husband and his list of cleaning duties will had to get done) and a good amount of shopping.

First off, Saturday I end up getting the bill for my unpaid parking tickets.  Yeah Bout that.  Not a good starter to 48 hours straight in the house with your husband.

Next came the task of dinner.  I had been planning this dinner for 3 days at this point.  Rosemary Citrus Roast Chicken with Parmesan Roasted Potatoes.  Oh the joy of the smell of potatoes and Chicken roasting.  They looked amazing.  So, after approx an hour, I checked and the juices were clear.  Took the bird from the oven, covered it and let it rest while the potatoes finished.

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Rosemary Citrus Roast Chicken

Now at this point, the baby was in bed.  We were having a late dinner and a movie at the house.  I’m all excited to get this Beautiful and CLEAN meal out to us and it happens.  Once slice near the thigh and BAM there is was. Uncooked Chicken.  Lord Save the Queen.  Of course, like any normal human being we panic like we’ve just poisoned the waterhole and start scrambling to save any and all livestock.  I start looking around the kitchen.  Right then left.  Left then Right. Then it dawns on me.  The oven is STILL on.  The Bird is STILL hot.  Just put it back in.  Ok.  The birds in the oven (disaster averted…kinda)

This is the point where the potatoes need to come out of the oven.  They look amazing. Then I realize that it will be quite awhile for the chicken still.  ugh.  so they go back in the oven as well.  We did finally eat.  45 mins later.  It still tasted good, nothing was burnt, but my pride was a bit bruised.

So the next morning, as I’m watching the final minutes of “Pitch Perfect” on HBO, we start making the list of things to do.  I get the kitchen organized and clean, then we take to the laundry and the Christmas Decorations.  So of course, I’m scanning Pinterest for ideas for the outdoor decorations for the house.  I am also in the process of slowly re-fabbing (aka Re-FABULOUS’ing) my downstairs bathroom and master bedroom.  So I take off for a night of shopping and crafting! yay!

BLOG_HOME_Jute LampOne of my stops is at Menards.  You know, the Midwests version of a Lowe’s Meets Home Depot meets Fleet Farm!  I need Jute Rope.  Thick Stuff so I can Wrap a pair of lamps I have so they look similar to this lamp I found on Pinterest.

I hop in the “6 Items or Less” line with my Jute Rope and Diet Coke and here comes this man and his cart with 6 Coleman Camp Stoves Propane Tanks, two large bags of ice melt and a gallon jug of Tampico.  He looks at me and straight faced says, “So ya gonna tie your man up tonight?”

Out of sheer shock, I blurt out the only thing that will come out of my mouth, “It’s for a lamp”.  I didn’t just say this, I shouted this.  The Cashier Jumped. Lord.

Fast forward to this morning.  My car is a pit.  Between carseat in, carseat out, trips here, trips there, you can find remnants of each trip.  It’s so bad.  So as I’m driving on this -7 degree day, I realise that my car is no longer accelerating.  OMG.  I push the gas and nothing. I can’t even hear a rev.  I’m Freaking out.  It looks as though my car is shut off.  ah!  I have a push start Altima and so I step on the brake and restart it…nothing.  So as I’m dialing a tow truck, since my husband at the time was on a plane to Houston, I come to a startling realization.  Hanging up  the phone as fast as I can to avoid a pickup followed by me faking a wrong number, I look down and there is a box of Ritz Cheese Sandwich Crackers jamming my gearshift into Neutral.

So if you ask how my weekend was, It was interesting.  I had a 70 year old man get all 50 shades of Jute rope on me at Menards and a box of Ritz almost cost me a $100 Tow Truck call and a ton of embarassment.

And…it’s only 2pm.

Bracing for Impact.

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blog_SELFIE_BRACING FOR IMPACTThis is me.  Bracing for Impact.

Just got a lovely call from my husband that the bill for my parking tickets arrived. The parking tickets that I didn’t pay on time so they are 1.5 times more expensive.

Granted it’s only $30 total, but “That’s a 1/2 tank of gas”, as you can imagine, I was eloquently told just now.

Standard Husband cooldown time is like 30mins to an hour right?

This is where I pray the way to a man’s heart really is through his stomach, this parking ticket mama is making Citrus Rosemary Chicken tonight for dinner. It’s been marinating since last night. I’m pretty excited for it!

Now everyone join hands and pray for a Christmas Miracle known as, Brook never gets another parking ticket for the rest of her life and that she doesn’t self-sabotage by carb loading the rest of the day…..If you know me, this is one of those Unanswered Prayers even Garth sings about.

I Forgot My Lunchbox. (Insert Foot Stomping & Tantrum Here)

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So my lunchbox. Yeah, about that.  Totally forgot it today.  Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not the end of the world.  When you’ve been on point all week with your eats, however, it seems devastating.  You’ve told yourself all week that you’re making the right decisions and you’re excited about it.  Then you forget your lunchbox filled with Brown Rice, Steak, Homemade Beef Noodle Soup, Clementines, a Cliff bar, Mio and other essentials.  A nice Clean Lunchbox. Now what?

Jimmy Johns, Erbert & Gerberts, Subway, Green Mill, Chinese Takeout, Cupcakes in the breakroom, vending machines, soda, a granola bar smothered in chocolate someone left in the studio: that is what.

This is the part of the day when your stomach starts to talk back to everything you do, you start to feel light headed and all these food temptations that are NOT part of plan start to hover around you like a bad after school special on drugs and peer pressure.  C’mon Brookie, everyone’s doing it.

It’s almost infuriating.  Studies show that “habits” take days if not weeks to become the ‘norm’, but let’s be honest with ourselves here, once a Carb Fiend, ALWAYS a Carb Fiend.  Having been through the weight loss journey once already, I can affirm that although we lose taste for much of the ‘bad’ in the food world, are we really going to turn down a caramel roll fresh out of the oven with our coffee the next time we visit mom’s house?  The answer isn’t YES, it’s MAYBE.

Life is too short to deprive ourselves 100% of the time of the things we’ve grown to love.  It’s not about NEVER eating things we love, it’s about moderation and timing.  Eating a fast food lunch only 4 days into my new weight loss journey is much more detrimental to my emotional and physical success than it would be 3 months down the line.  I know for a fact that I will beat myself up over it and then battle the “give up and start again tomorrow” mentality.

I don’t know why I do it, but I procrastinate the success.  “Well, that wasn’t on plan.  I’ll start again tomorrow.”  Why tomorrow? Why not immediately following.  I know why.  I try to make it perfect.  After many conversations with Ben and my other support systems, I’ve come to the glaring conclusion:

IT’S NOT GOING TO BE PERFECT.  THAT’S PERFECTLY OK.

Now, don’t get me wrong, this new mantra doesn’t mean I’m going to eat a doughnut with my coffee every morning, but it does mean that I’m going to try and mentally prepare myself for slip ups and when they do happen focus on the moving on part, rather than dwelling.

Now, back to the matter at hand: lunch.  I’m about to pass out or break something if I don’t get this blood sugar up, so I’m contemplating taking my cookies out into the -7 F temp / -24 F wind chill of MinneSNOWta to go to the Pacific Wok just down the street.  I can at least get steamed veggies, chicken and brown rice…AND it’s on plan.  I guess I’ll be asking Santa for “Pacific Wok Delivery without the $50 minimum”.

***UPDATE***

yeah. I got Erbert & Gerberts.  Spartan on Wheat with Tomato Basil Soup…and are you sitting down?  A Diet Coke.  I may start a Diet Shaming Website that will rival that of every dog that ever ate the trash.

On a positive note, I didn’t harm anyone or passout.