Taco Pasta

I told you a pasta craving was sparked after lunch today! 😀

Tonight’s dinner included fettuccine noodles, but *shockingly* marinara sauce did not make an appearance.

Before I left for work, I prepared taco-seasoned chicken in the crock pot which made our apartment smell amazing when I walked through the door this afternoon.

I used the chicken to create taco pasta!

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I made the pasta by combining the following:

I added the cheese to the noodles right when they were done cooking, so the cheese melted and coated all of the noodles perfectly.

The addition of the chicken made the dish take on a Mexican flava that was delicious!

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This was a great twist on my normal noodle bowls which almost always feature marinara sauce and Parmesan cheese.

YUM!

Rollin’ In

Look what have started rollin’ in…

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Wedding RSVP cards!

We got a bunch in the mail today… and so far every single one is a YES!

I’m off to sort the RSVP cards in a mini filing box that my mom gave to me before doing some dishes.

Why do dishes seem to accumulate so quickly?

Fitnessista’s Welcome Dinner at Season’s 52

What are a group of bloggers to do when they hear that a wonderful blogger is moving to the area?

Host a “Welcome to Orlando” dinner, naturally!

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When I got word of Gina, aka The Fitnessista’s, plans to move to Orlando from Valdosta, I was immediately excited and knew it would be a great chance for area bloggers to get together and warmly welcome her to our wonderful city.

Luckily, a bunch of fantastic bloggers were more than happy to welcome Gina and we all decided to meet at Season’s 52 to enjoy dinner and drinks last night.

The gang included (from left to right above):

Gina had the hook up at the restaurant and was able to snag us the chef’s table.

While we were waiting for our table, we enjoyed complimentary glasses of sparkling wine.

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I’m always down for a little bit o’ bubbly! 😉

After we were seated, the chef greeted us and described the amuse-bouche he created for our table.

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It was salmon served on a delicious pineapple mango salsa. Loved it! I would definitely order a much larger portion of this little sample as a meal if it was offered on the menu.

Following the amuse-bouche, our server brought out a bunch of appetizers for us to sample.

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Spicy Chipotle Shrimp Flatbread

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Edamame with Green Tea Salt

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Housemade Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli

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Grilled Artichoke Flatbread

Every single appetizer was fantastic, though my favorites were the goat cheese ravioli and the chipotle shrimp flatbread.

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I had two pieces of the shrimp flatbread, one piece of the artichoke flatbread, a large spoonful of the goat cheese ravioli and lots and lots of edamame.

Delish!

Since our dinner wasn’t until 9 p.m. I ate a little something with Ryan before arriving, so I wasn’t too hungry after my pre-dinner snack and the appetizers. When it was time to order our entrees, I opted for the chipotle grilled prawns with tomatillo salsa verde and fresh guacamole appetizer as my main meal.

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It was so, so good!

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The shrimp were perfectly seasoned and the guacamole was a tasty relief from the heat of the dish.

Then it was time for the best part of any meal…

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Dessert!

Season’s 52 offers a variety of mini dessert shots, and we decided it was best to taste them all and shared the whole spread… with one exception…

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The fresh fruit!

And we call ourselves healthy living bloggers… 😉

Fresh fruit is fantastic, but when choosing between a dessert shot of fresh fruit or carrot cake, rocky road mousse or pecan pie, there’s no competition!

Possibly my favorite part about Season’s 52 is that the restaurant concentrates on creating fresh, healthy meals. Everything on their menu has 475 calories or less which is a neat concept when you think about all the restaurants that have 1,000 + calorie dishes hidden on their menu. It takes the guessing game out of the equation.

We all agreed that our meal was delicious!

I really enjoyed chatting with these wonderful bloggers. I had a great time talking about blogging, food, fashion, Orlando and more. These are some fun girls! 😀 I can’t wait to get together again soon.

Today

It’s about time for a good workout at the gym.

Ryan and I also have plans for a date later today, which I’m awfully excited about.

See ya later, friends!

Baking Turns Into Dinner

I did a little baking tonight.

Can you guess what I made?

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Mmm. Peanut butter.

Tonight I whipped up a batch of flourless peanut butter cookies for Jessica, the wonderful woman who bid on my cookies through Tina’s charity blog bake sale.

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Now I’m not one to eat other people’s food, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to resist nibbling on these cookies, so I made sure to bake half of a batch for me and Ryan to enjoy.

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I baked the cookies on a Silpat, the most amazing non-stick baking mat that my friend Merri introduced to me.

I flippin’ love this thing!

The cookies slide off the mat so easily and clean up is a breeze.

Once the cookies were cooled, it was time to enjoy one… or five.

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What? They were small…

I had to put a lid on the cookies to stop myself from eating my body weight in these bad boys!

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Guess who else likes these cookies?

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She’s a huge peanut butter fan just like her mama, though she doesn’t appreciate it when you smear peanut butter on the roof of her mouth and laugh as she tries to get it off.

I ended up eating so many cookies and a significant amount of dough that I basically ruined my appetite for dinner.

I still managed to eat half of a stuffed pepper right out of the Tupperware to get something nutritious in my belly.

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After enjoying my cookies and pepper, Ryan and I spent the evening catching up with our friends Dru and Carrie who came over to hang out and answer the bazillion questions we had for them about their recent engagement and upcoming wedding.

They got engaged last week and it was fun to talk to them and hear the excitement in their voices!

Dru and Carrie just left and now we’re unwinding a bit before heading into bed.

Hooray for Friday tomorrow! 😀

Stuffed Peppers + Nutrition Seminar

After work today I headed to my gym… but not for a workout.

I saw a sign on the whiteboard near the front desk this morning informing members about a free nutrition seminar with a registered dietitian today at 5:30 p.m.

Sign me up!

The seminar was called “To Eat or Not to Eat” and was essentially an “Eat This, Not That” lecture that compared two dining options. Class participants were then asked to choose the healthier option.

I guessed correctly on almost all of the comparisons except for the one comparing the sugar content between one Pop-Tart and a small cup of original apple sauce.

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The cup of apple sauce (original, not natural or unsweetened) had 22 – 23 grams of sugar, while one Pop-Tart had 20 grams. Yikes!

During the seminar, the dietitian answered a lot of different questions, including how to drink more water throughout the day, as many of us in attendance struggle to consume the recommended eight glasses a day. Her suggestions included:

  • Add citrus fruits to cold water, like orange or lemon wedges for added flavor
  • Add cucumber slices to water for a refreshing taste
  • Try sparkling water, as it can satisfy carbonation desires that many soda-lovers crave
  • Buy a 16 oz. water bottle and make it a point to fill it up and drink the whole thing four times daily

I recently began buying sparkling water and must agree that it helps me down more water daily. I get sick of sipping plain water and find that a little extra fizz can make it easier to drink adequate amounts.

Dinner

Once the seminar was over, I headed home and hung out with Ryan and his cousin for a bit while preparing dinner.

On the menu this evening was stuffed peppers!

I’ve never made stuffed peppers before and after seeing a recipe for stoplight stuffed peppers on Janetha’s blog, I knew I had to give ‘em a go!

I followed her recipe for the most part, but omitted some ingredients and changed the amounts of others.

Luckily with all of my changes they still turned out delicious!

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Though the stuffed peppers looked all fancy sitting up straight, I cut into mine before digging in to make sure the chicken filling was cooked all the way through. It was a good thing I did because the meat wasn’t fully cooked.

After another 8 minutes in the oven, the peppers were ready for eatin’.

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The end result was really, really tasty!

Plus, we have lots of chicken filling that I cooked in a loaf pan along with the peppers leftover to enjoy in the upcoming days.

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And now it’s time to enjoy the lovely company of Ryan and Sadie for the rest of the evening.

See ya in the morning. Let’s hope tomorrow starts off a little chilly again!

Chicken ‘n’ Veggie Stuffed Peppers

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. ground chicken
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 c chopped mushrooms
  • 1 packet Knorr vegetable soup mix
  • 1/2 c. marinara sauce
  • 3 egg whites
  • 3/4 c. salsa
  • 2 – 4 large bell peppers

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Mix chicken through salsa in a bowl
  • Cut off tops of peppers and remove the insides
  • Fill peppers with chicken mixture and bake for 40 minutes to an hour, until chicken mixture is fully cooked
  • Enjoy as is, or top with ketchup or hot sauce

*Note: You may cook any leftover chicken filling in a loaf pan and enjoy it as a chicken meatloaf.  

Sweet Potato Wedges

When I got home from work, Ryan and I took Sadie on a walk around the neighborhood before heading to the grocery store to pick up some essentials for the week.

While there, we also nabbed a couple of sweet potatoes to incorporate into our dinner this evening.

I started by slicing the sweet potato before tossing the wedges in canola oil and salt.

I then spread them out on a cookie sheet and baked them at 415 degrees for approximately 20 minutes, flipping them halfway through.

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We enjoyed the wedges along with muenster cheese and Morningstar Farms veggie bacon sandwiches.

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It was a pretty random dinner, but it was also exactly what I was craving!

The rest of the night will be spent curled up on the couch with a movie.

In the DVD player this evening:

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Ryan and I wanted to see it when it was in theaters, but never got around to it. We’ve heard great things, so let’s hope it’s a funny one!