Never Too Hot for the Crock Pot

Who says it’s too hot out to use the crock pot?

As someone who works full-time, the crock pot is something I depend on year-round.

I have a hard time relegating the slow cooker to the winter months when it allows me to come home to a no-fuss, already cooked dinner.

This evening dinner came together in a flash since I covered some chicken breasts in chicken broth and let them cook in the crock pot all day.

After forking the breast meat apart, Ryan and I covered the chicken in BBQ sauce and assembled our BBQ pulled chicken sandwiches to enjoy alongside roasted zucchini.

BBQ Pulled Chicken

Dinner is Served

Yum, Yum

Yet another slow cooker success!

I think an evening walk with the pup is in order tonight. Off to take Sadie for a stroll around the neighborhood.

See ya in the mornin’!

Reader’s Recipes

I arrived home today to one of my favorite things in the entire world: packages!

One of my packages was a big ol’ box from POM Wonderful.

Me 'n' Pom

I’m a lucky lil’ blogger! Though I am excited to enjoy several bottles of this 100% pure pomegranate juice, I think Ryan was even more excited. He’s been quite the POM fan for several years.

Juicy Julie

The bottle shape is quite funky and inspired Ryan to do some POM presses and POM curls.

POM Workout

Clearly our entire family had a little extra energy today, so we leashed Sadie up for a romp at the dog park.

Funky Sadie

 I took what may be one of my top five favorite pictures of Sadie as she was spitting out leaves and dirt. Her jowls got all caught up in her mouth and she looked like such a goof.

My Lil' Goofball

We could not stop laughing at this picture! She looks ridiculous! 😀


Tonight’s dinner was another simply delicious simple meal!

Chicken prepared in the ol’ crocker with BBQ sauce and roasted veggies on the side. Mmm, mmm good!

My Plate

BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwich

 I also had a small bowl of artichokes on the side.


Reader’s Recipes!!!

I think one day you guys are gonna find me and throw all the meals I make week after week in my face. I hope you’re not too sick of them(!!!)… Buuut, just in case you are…

I’d like to reach out to all of you for your help! I’m going to try out a new READER’S RECIPE each week in March.

I’ll make a recipe based on a recipe submitted by one of you, or I’ll create a new recipe using key ingredients you guys suggest. Fun, huh?

Please comment on this post with a recipe (or a link to a recipe) you think I should try. If you don’t have a specific recipe in mind, simply comment with a key ingredient you think I should incorporate into a meal.

Feel free to submit recipes for any meal (breakfast, lunch or dinner) and baked goods as well! I don’t discriminate.

(Please do not suggest catfish or any catfish-based recipe because I can 100 percent guarantee your suggestion will not be selected… I have my reasons. 🙂 )

Woohoo! I’m already excited to try out some new delicious dishes!!!

I’ll select a recipe to try tomorrow and then after I make the recipe and post about it, you can comment with more recipes for me to select from for the next round. Sound good?

Let’s get cookin’!!!

Loaf Lovers

Remember the healthy BBQ meatloaf from last Monday?

Well it was so darn tasty that Ryan and I decided to make it again. We’re celebrating the one week anniversary of this amazing meatloaf recipe. 😉

BBQ Meatloaf Recipe

 While I added all the spices to the lean groud beef, Ryan chopped the onion since onions make me cry.

Choppin' Onions

Pre-Mixed Meatloaf

As the meatloaf was a-cookin’, we leashed up Sadie for a walk around the lake near our apartment. The city of Orlando put white Christmas lights up in the trees around the lake! It was one festive walk.

When we arrived back home, the smell of BBQ in the air was mouthwatering.

I quickly prepared broccoli for roasting using a recipe I found on Tina’s blog. I was intrigued by this recipe since it called for tossing the broccoli in  sugar before roasting. Who doesn’t need a little more sweetness in their life?

After tossin’ the broc in sugar and olive oil, I broiled the florets for approximately seven minutes, until they were slightly brown and a bit crispy.

Steaming Sweet Roasted Broccoli

Tina wasn’t lying, this really is the best roasted broccoli recipe! I am obsessed. Please note the obnoxious amount of broccoli on my plate as proof of my love of this recipe.

My Plate

The Best Roasted Broccoli Recipe (from


  • 2 large heads of broccoli
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil


  • Cut broccoli into florets
  • Toss florets in olive oil and sugar
  • Cover baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray or tin foil
  • Spread broccoli florets on baking sheet
  • Broil for 5-7 minutes until edges of florets turn brown and crispy

Giveaways to Come

One of my favorite things in the world awaited me when I got home from work today: a package! Oh how I love big cardboard boxes full of goodies!

I was really delighted to receive this box of Pop Secret popcorn and 100 calorie packs of Emerald nuts to use for giveaways on this blog.

The Goods

Yay for Packages!

Ann, who sent me the box, also said I could keep a few to sample myself. Yippee! 😀  

Stay tuned for several fun giveaways featuring these goodies.

Popcorn and Nuts

Good Deal Corner:

$5 Hallmark Coupon

Wanna save $5 off your next purchase at Hallmark? Click here for a $5 off coupon to use when you purchase anything at the store including holiday cards, yummy smelling candles, ornaments and more. Love Hallmark!

Bath and Body Works Free $13 Item with $10 Purchase

Click here to receive a free item (valued at up to $13) with your $10 purchase at Bath and Body Works.

Guy Gift: Men’s Health Subscription

By using the code SD201 here, you can receive a subscription to Men’s Health for one year for a special guy in your life (or yourself!) for only $8.

Dinner, Elf, Hot Cocoa, Breakfast

Who knew a night of no blogging could make me feel so behind! Let’s get caught up, shall we?

Yesterday I left work early for my Invisalign appointment at my orthodontist’s office. She told me my teeth are coming along smoothly and slowly but surely I’ll have the smile I’m hoping for. All in good time, my friends. 🙂

My orthodontist just got married last week so I enjoyed hearing about her wedding. My visits there always fly by! As I was about to leave, she gave me her latest promo material. Normally promotional stuff is useless, but I was super excited about this one!

Awesome Promo Cup!

Cool huh? I filled it up with my gym’s free Barnie’s coffee this morning, so I’m reppin’ College Park Orthodontics like it’s hot! 😉


After my Invisalign appointment, I hurried home to scoop up the pup and take her to the dog park with Ryan. It was gorgeous outside and Sadie had a ball.

Once park playtime was over we came home to cook dinner.

Pre-Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Carrots

I chopped up Brussels sprouts and carrots and tossed them with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted them at 400 degrees for 12 minutes on one side before flipping them and roasting the veggies for another eight minutes.

While I was preparing the veggies, Ryan grilled up some BBQ chicken. I marinated the chicken breasts all day while we were at work, so they were infused with BBQ goodness. Ryan cooked them perfectly, as always.

My Plate

Sadie really wanted some of that chicken.

"Gimme Da Chicken and No One Gets Hurt."

With that cute face, she got more than a few bites. 😉

Once my belly was full I was ready to set up for girl’s holiday movie night.

Hot Chocolate and Apple Cider Spread

The spread included two different flavors of hot chocolate, apple cider and the movie of choice: ELF!

My friends arrived around 7 p.m. and left at 10:30 p.m. I don’t think we watched even one minute of the movie, but I enjoyed talking and laughing with mah girlies.


On to today! My neck is slowly on the up-and-up. It felt okay enough to go to BodyPump this morning which made me quite happy. I’ve missed that class! The workout was tough. I felt weaker after only a week off of this total-body weights class. I see soreness in my future.

Following two days of cold Greek yogurt-based breakfasts, I was cravin’ something h-o-t. Oatmeal… oh yes.

Wednesday's Breakfast

I stirred in one scoop of All the Whey cupcake batter protein to make my oats extra creamy. So darn delicious.

Feed Your Fingers

You guys all know how much I love peanut butter and basically all nuts in general. I was excited to receive an email from Ann with Diamond Foods informing me about, a Web site featuring recipes created with various nuts (and popcorn, too!).

Emerald Deluxe Mixed Nuts and Pop Secret Homestyle Popcorn Brittle

I love using nuts as a standard mix-in with my morning Greek yogurt, oatmeal and my protein brownie. The Feed Your Fingers site also offers coupons, including this $1 off any Diamond nuts product (8 oz. or larger) coupon.

According to Ann:

Diamond Foods supports healthy eating for an active lifestyle. Some of their most recent product introductions have been 100 calorie packs of a variety of Emerald nuts and Pop Secret microwave popcorn as well as two new indulgent Emerald Trail Mixes. The company sponsors the last five miles of the 2009 ING New York marathon and the Emerald Nuts Midnight Run in Central Park in NYC on December 31, along with the LA marathon and the Emerald Across the Bay 12K in San Francisco.

Gotta love companies that support healthy living! 🙂

Meatloaf Monday

I think we all get random cravings for certain meals sometimes. Yesterday Ryan had a hankerin’ for meatloaf, so that made tonight’s dinner decision an easy one.

I turned to Cooking Light, my favorite recipe resource, for a yummy yet healthy meatloaf recipe.

We started with lean ground beef, bread crumbs, chopped onion, BBQ sauce, spices and egg whites and mixed everything together before placing it in a loaf pan and letting it cook for an hour at 350 degrees.

Raw Meatloaf Mixture

While the meatloaf was cooking, we took Sadie on a quick 30 minute walk. She’s loving the cool Florida weather and was quite the energetic puppers.

"Walk Me!"


When we arrived home from our walk the apartment smelled fantastic! The meatloaf was ready for eatin’.


I fixed myself a plate and included lots of green veggies to make up for the several days I severely neglected their existence.

My Dinner Plate

Tree Time

After dinner it was tree decorating time! Since tomorrow is officially December 1, I needed to have our tree up for the kickoff of Christmas month.

Ryan got the tree out of storage while I set up festive holiday music and did the dishes with Sadie’s help.

Dish Licker

Our tree is pretty teeny since our apartment isn’t too big, so it was up in a flash.

Our Little Tree

Last year Ryan and I were nervous to leave Sadie alone with our sparkly little tree, but she made it through the season without breaking any ornaments (though you may be able to see the blinds she attacked when she was a puppy last year in the above picture… grrrr).

I hope we have a successful repeat of no broken ornaments this year. I may have to bribe her to steer clear of all the holiday decor with some Snausages.

BBQ Meatloaf Recipe


  • 1 1/2  pounds  ground beef, extra lean (raw)
  • 1/2  cup  dry breadcrumbs
  • 1/2  cup  chopped onion
  • 1/3  cup  barbecue sauce, divided
  • 1  tablespoon  prepared mustard
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons  chili powder
  • 1  teaspoon  garlic powder
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 2  large egg whites
  • Cooking spray


Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine the beef, breadcrumbs, and onion, 1 tablespoon barbecue sauce, and remaining ingredients except cooking spray in a large bowl.

Shape meat mixture into a 9 x 5-inch loaf or a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Spread remaining barbecue sauce over top of meat loaf. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a thermometer registers 160°. Let stand 10 minutes. Cut loaf into 12 slices.

Nutritional Information:

(Recipe yields 12 slices, two slices per serving)

Calories: 203 (24% from fat)
Fat: 5.4g (sat 2.2g,mono 2.2g,poly 0.5g)
Protein: 27.3g
Carbohydrate: 10.5g
Fiber: 1.1g
Cholesterol: 61mg
Iron: 3.2mg
Sodium: 517mg
Calcium: 26mg

Don’t Forget

Tonight is your last chance to enter the Pumpkorn giveaway. The winners will be selected bright and early tomorrow morning. 🙂