Archive for August, 2011

I feel like I have a lot to cover this Wednesday.  So let’s just dive right in!

Welcome to WIAW created by Jen over at Peas & Crayons. It’s basically a one-day blogging food journal.  Why so much to cover?  Today was the first day we cooked in my Fundamentals of Food class (for those of you who are new I’m in school to become a Registered Dietitian). Plus we went out to eat so there’s much food photos today.  Enjoy! Here’s a look at past WIAW:version one, two, threefourfivesixseveneightnine.

8am – standard driving to school breakfast.  Coffee with peppermint creamer (dreaming of the holidays) and a berry, flax seed, oatmeal, spinach, and HEMP protein shake.  More on the hemp this week!

1130am- Whole wheat penne with sauteed yellow squash, tomatoes, garlic, and a “pesto”.

        – This was our first cooking class project. As dietitians we may have to work in or supervise a kitchen, therefore we have to know how to cook and prepare a multitude of foods. Today we made butterscotch corn starch pudding and the pasta.  

Here’s where things went south on the pasta.  It was supposed to have a pesto sauce.  I’ve made pesto before, so I know the drill..EXCEPT we didn’t have pine nuts OR fresh basil. Come again?  How can we make pesto out of that?  

I’m laughing because I’m making pesto with dried basil. And it’s not going well.

We improvised with EVOO, garlic, some dry basil, fresh parmesan cheese, and some parsley.  Let me just say that our breath was NOT fresh after this class!
1pm- apple230pm- Rotisserie chicken “salad” made using Marie’s Cole Slaw dressing, roasted okra, and a Mississippi sweet potato with cinnamon

A little run went down in anticipation of football season parties and dinner out tonight.  3 miles all under 9 minute pace!  I’m a happy girl!  It was a little (like a tiny bit little) cooler today and my body was so happy!  Look at me go! 🙂

615pm- a Farmer’s Market Georgia Peach – bought in Georgia!

8pm- Dinner at Outback!        – So why the crazy mid-week rush to Outback?  See my husband is lucky and last year he won Free Outback for a YEAR!  Yes really!  So we have 2 $25 gift certificates to use each month.  We give some away, but we like to enjoy this free meal too. Since August is coming to an end we had to get there fast.

We started off the meal with some well-spiced, yet tiny, grilled shrimp. 

I had my weakness – the wedge salad (no bacon, dressing on the side)!  Balsamic glaze, blue cheese, and nutritionally void lettuce – yes please!  I was so happy to eat it that I forgot to take a pic.  My bad!

Dinner was my Outback standard – grilled chicken and dry green beans.  Half was saved for leftovers.

Wow!  What a day of eating!  I feel like I’ve been around the world on my plate.  I like the amount of fruits and veggies I had today.  Nutrient score.
Have you guys ever won any contests?
Love and NO RULES just right,Carissa & Kyle


Here’s something to get excited about!  Today is my first “cooking” day in my Fundamentals of Food class!  

For the next month I get to cook in class! Take that biochem! Our menu for the first day includes a basil, zucchini penne pasta and some type of corn starch pudding.  Remind me to pack my will power when I head out the door in the morning.  Vacation + cooking class + football season + Orlando Magic Dining Month = mental breakdown.  I’ll be doing my best not to over-indulge in our educational eating.

Today is the return of Thinking Tuesday!  Sadly, our amazing professor that really made us “think” about food is no longer with us.  Hopefully I can still get us thinking and learning together.

If you’re new to Thinking Tuesday you can catch up here:week 1 hereweek 2 hereweek 3, week 4.

Today I wanted to share a video called “The Meatrix”.  Eating meat is something I sometimes struggle with.  It tastes good, I like the lean protein aspect of it, but I don’t love the way America is processing and treating meat.  To me, it’s a question of why are they putting so many antibiotics and hormones into the meat?  Surely that can’t be good for me?

This is a good and quite witty video to give you a few things to think about.  If you’ve seen the Matrix, then you’ll appreciate the humor. 

I personally like “Moofious”.  Makes me giggle.  Although this is a very serious subject and I’m not trying to offend anyone.  It’s just to make us think.  There are several continuations of this series if you’d like to see more.

So what did you think about the Meatrix?

Love and toeing the line,
Carissa & Kyle

Bite some Bison!

Posted: August 29, 2011 in dining out, travel, workouts

Happy Monday readers!  How’s your first day back to the “real world”?  This is Kyle and I’s first day back after a long vacation.  It’s sad to not get to spend all day with Kyle, but it feels good to be back into our workout/healthy eating mode.  Although cleaning my house still isn’t growing on me….

Here’s what you might’ve missed over the weekend:
Georgia Aquarium
Salsa City
Coupons for Quick Meals
Refreshed and Relaxed

I hit the gym at 730am!  My mind wasn’t ready for what Kyle had in store for me.  Here’s a quick run down of our training.
– Pre-exhaust set on abductor machine – 12 
– Single leg leg press – 10 each leg
– Leg extension with 10 second negative – 6
– Smith machine squats with bands – To failure bottom half, full squat, top squat – each to failure
– Close grip pull down – to failure bottom half then full reps to failure then top half reps to failure
– Smith machine squats with bands – To failure bottom half, full squat, top squat
– Close grip pull down to failure
– Straight bar Chest press – to failure bottom half then full reps to failure then top half reps to failure
– Bicep DB curls keeping the alternating arm contracted
– Straight bar chest press
– Bicep DB curls
– 10 Forward/Backward squat jumps with sprints x 2
– Abs in Roman chair- knees up, straight legs up, obliques

Now back to the Bison and vacation recap.  After the beautiful Georgia Aquarium and our hotel workout we headed off to dinner at Ted’s Montana Grill.

You know how we all have quirks?  Here’s Kyle…if you tell him something, he gets it in his mind, and you have to follow through with it.  I mentioned Ted’s and that they served lean bison.  He’d never tried bison and he wanted to. Even when I tried to twist his arm to get Mexican..he stayed true to the Bison!

Ted’s Montana Grill was started by media Mogul Ted Turner.  They focus on American cuisine with an eco-friendly environment. The decor felt very western, in a modern way.  If you call a giant buffalo outside modern! 🙂 I do apparently!

I decided to go healthy and ordered the salmon with dry asparagus and squash casserole.  Kyle went big for the Bison burger which he got with bacon and blue cheese.  We both chose Blue Moon as our drink of choice.

Bison is a great choice of a protein source.  It is very lean, low in fat, low in cholesterol, and gives you a good amount of protein.  The bison (aka buffalo) at Ted’s is fed a semi-grass diet. Grass fed red meat is always best, so be sure to ask.


The burger didn’t stay together well (less fat) but it had a sweet, rich flavor.  I think I’ll make a trek to whole foods this week and see if they have any bison.  I don’t eat steak, but would consider eating bison that was grass fed sans hormones or antibiotics.  Bison chili anyone?

What’s one new thing you’ve eaten recently?

Love and home on the range,
Carissa & Kyle

Georgia Aquarium

Posted: August 28, 2011 in travel

Having a blog is fun.  It allows me to look back and reflect on an amazing vacation.  I feel so grateful that Kyle and I got an entire week to relax and enjoy just being together.

Hello friend.

Our first day of vacation we drove to the ATL, sweated it out at a Braves game, and then met with another “King of Fitness” and his family at Atlantic Station.

For the second day of vacation we had a few goals: sleep in, get Kyle a big breakfast, and workout.  All 3 were accomplished!

After sleeping in we drove to Another Broken Egg Cafe.  We’ve never been before, but I hear about my VA friends going and loving it.  There’s a lot to love!  Such cute decor and as we discovered…out of this world breakfast food!

Kyle had a meaty omelet and I had a veggie omelet with caramelized onions, red peppers, and feta.  Holy cow can we say good?  I also started the meal with an equally delicious bowl of blackberry grits.  Grits in the South?  Can’t pass that up!

We decided to spend the hot day (record breaking heat) inside at the much famed Georgia Aquarium.  After the parking machine stole $3 for me…we were ready to see the fishes!

One word: amazing!  I’ll let the pictures do the talking.  It was amazing (I need a new word) to see the gigantic whale sharks (not actually “sharks” or “whales” apparently)!  Another highlight was the African penguins and the piranhas.

It was just amazing seeing so many different species of fish and reptiles.  This is a great place and a must-see for anyone visiting Atlanta!

A little story about the piranhas.  The screen said “Piranha feeding 3:15″…so at 3:10 we rushed over there to see this.  Piranhas can devour an entire tuna in 2-10 minutes…that must be a sight to see.  There was a crowd of about 50 people smashed in front of the window to see the feeding.  Everyone had cameras poised and Kyle and I even split up to see who could get a better video.

3:20- no feeding.  Cameras were turned off.
3:30- no feeding.  A few people left and we got a better spot.
4 – no feeding.  A kinda rude employee comes by and when we ask about the feeding she tells us that they’re not being fed today and we all read the sign wrong.  Seriously?  50+ people read the sign wrong and stood crammed together for no reason.  Apparently so. Fail. I guess the Disney guide to guest service didn’t make it to the ATL.

Sad that we missed the feeding we left and took a walk around Centennial Park. Hot, but pretty.


We headed back to the hotel for a high intensity full body workout before dinner.  Kyle got a little excited creating some challenging push-ups and chest moves..we were both sore for days.

Next up…dinner…

Love and fish faces,
Carissa & Kyle

Salsa City

Posted: August 28, 2011 in family, foodbuzz, healthy products, recipes

Being back from vacation means one very important thing for us: back to eating clean and basically going crazy in the gym.

We stayed in Saturday and opted to grill with Kyle’s cousin, his fiancee, and her son over at our house. We made a healthy favorite of ours, Grilled Fajita Pizzas.  Kyle has a way of grilling and marinated the flank steak that is heavenly…and I don’t eat steak but I always have a nibble of this dish. He is the Grill King!

The steak and chicken were marinated in a tequila lime marinade with fresh garlic and fresh squeezed lime juice.  He then grilled the meats, onions, bell peppers, and tortillas.

My usual job for this meal is to make guacamole.  The creaminess of it pairs fantastically with the grilled, spicy meat.  I mash 2 avocados and I add 1/4c diced tomato, 1t lime juice, 1T salsa, tabasco sauce, and salt.  So good!

Since we had company coming I wanted to jazz it up a bit!  Aim high right!  My Mom, who was hurricane bound inside her house, offered up some inspiration.  Mom makes an amazing fresh salsa which made the menu and she also suggested a watermelon salsa.  Yup, watermelon.

For both salsa I diced a sweet white onion and “sweated” it in the microwave for 1 minute.  I added half of that to the watermelon bowl.  I added garlic and “sweated” the onions and garlic together for the tomato salsa.

For the watermelon salsa I used: diced watermelon, sweated sweet onion, diced jalapeno, cilantro, 1T EVOO, 1T cider vinegar, salt, and a pinch of Splenda to taste.

For the tomato salsa I used: diced tomato, onion, garlic, diced jalapeno, cilantro, 1T EVOO, 1T cider vinegar, salt, and a 1/8t Spelenda.  Kinda the same recipe, huh!

I had never thought to put olive oil in salsa…but Mom said to do it and I don’t argue with Mom! 🙂  It brought a nice richness to the salsa.  

I happened to have some Crisco Extra Virgin Olive Oil on hand that I received through the FoodBuzz Tastemaker Program.  Crisco sent me the extra virgin olive oil, a pure olive oil, and a light tasting olive oil.  I had no idea that different EVOO’s could be used.  I guess I’ve been brainwashed by Rachel Ray and I just EVOO it up anytime.  The 3 oils have different uses that are conveniently listed on the bottles. EVOO for dressing and sauces, pure Olive Oil for grilling, sauteing, and marinades, and the light tasting oil for frying and baking.

I loved the watermelon salsa.  The watermelon had a crisp texture and the perfect amount of sweetness for our blue corn + flax chips.

A delicious meal with great company.  What more could you want on a Saturday night?  Oh yeah~ football….6 days baby! 

Love and grill marks, 
Carissa & Kyle

As part of the FoodBuzz Tastemaker program I get the exciting chance to sample many new food products. 

I choose which products I opt-in for and I try to highlight healthy choices.
Earlier this month I sampled Birds Eye new Chef’s Favorite SteamFresh sides. I enjoyed the fast and creamy risotto. 

I also had a chance to try BirdsEye’s trusty Voila frozen meals. Their meals have been out for years. How do I know?  Because as a child I had no idea how to say “voila”. I simply thought it was a poor spelling of viola..the thing kids in my strings class played.

These birdseye meals may not sing of “clean-eating”, but in a pinch they provide a fast meal with a good ratio of protein to carbs to veggies. Veggies being so important!  I keep a BirdsEye in the freezer at all times for fast dinners. As always, eating clean unprocessed foods is the healthiest way to go, but life requires adaptations and this is a good, fast choice.

Since I got to try BirdsEye, they’re giving me a chance to share the love. I have about 100 BOGO coupons for their Voila meals. I love coupons as you know…and I love our readers. 

Let me know if you’d like some coupons and I’ll send em your way…all I ask in return is that you share our blog with some friends!  Good trade?  I think so!

Love and quick bites,
Carissa & Kyle

Refreshed and relaxed

Posted: August 26, 2011 in travel
Well, the vacation party is over. Curtain closed. It was so much fun!  Perfect weather, delicious food, beautiful scenery, and handsome company!

I have lots of work to do with the vacation wrap up posts. I did one on our trip to the Braves game but there’s so much more. I’ll bring them to you with a mega dose of workout advice in the upcoming week. Thank you also to Lindsay and Charissa, my amazing guest bloggers!

We had a hard time deciding where to vacation this year.

The past 2 years we’ve gone to an amazing all-inclusive resort in Cancun.

We originally thought we were going to go to Las Vegas this year…but….that’s just not us. One, we don’t do clubs or gamble. Two, can you imagine how much it would cost us to feed Kyle for a week in Vegas? It just didn’t feel exciting…

We thought and thought and finally settled on Atlanta. We could drive, meaning we could search out healthier foods, and there is so much to do in Atlanta! I was also highly inspired by Julie’s trip to Woodfire Grill. Delish is all I’ll say!

Originally we planned to do 3 days in the ATL and 3 near the beach probably in Savannah…until one of Kyle’s clients offered us the use of their mountain home in North Carolina. Kyle had never been to the mountains so we jumped on the idea.

It was perfect. The mountain views are every bit as beautiful and relaxing as the beaches of Cancun.  Plus we had a fridge for “semi” healthy foods. It is vacation after all!

We also got 2 VERY intense workouts in and 2 less intense ones….I cannot wait to run on the surface of the sun with my Garmin tomorrow!

We can’t wait to share all of our travels with you!

What’s your favorite place to vacation?
Love and road trips,
Kyle & Carissa

What I Ate Wednesday v9.0- Fast Food

Posted: August 24, 2011 in recipes, wiaw

We are still enjoying some much-needed time off.  Kyle is finally getting to sleep in! But it’s my favorite blogging day of the week so I just couldn’t miss WIAW! Catch up on past posts: version one, two, threefourfivesixseven, eight

Last week I had a Stella & Dot jewelry party to go to. I was rushing to get out the door and had very little time to eat.  But you know this girl had to eat! 

I whipped up the fastest healthy dinner I’ve ever seen.

Fast food healthy?  So fast and so healthy.  Ready go.

I diced a zucchini and cut asparagus in half.  Drizzle of EVOO and into the toaster oven on 400 for 15 minutes. <now I ran back to the bathroom to finish my makeup and hair>

Microwave a bag of spicy lentils and chickpeas – 90 seconds.

Mix them all together and what do you get? Flavor, nutrients, protein, fiber.  That’s what I call winning.

What fast, healthy meals do you whip up?

Love and lightening speed,
Carissa & Kyle

Take Me Out to the Ball Park

Posted: August 23, 2011 in date night, travel

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Take Me Out to the Ball Game!
Sunday morning Kyle and I woke up bright and early at 5am to start our vacation! Our driving food consisted of coffee, smoothies, home oatmeal cookies, pulled chicken sandwiches, apples, and snow peas.

6.5 hours later we arrived in the ATL.  Our first order of the business was a good ‘ole American baseball game.  The Atlanta Braves vs. the NL West leading Arizona Diamondbacks.
This was Kyle’s first trip to the newer Turner Field.  We were at the game early, so we got some time to tour the stadium.  I was very happy to see an entire Gluten Free food stand. I was also happy to see that my program book featured Braves All Star pitcher (and brother of my friend An’Marie) Jonny Venters!

We settled on some peanuts and a giant Coca-Cola to start the game.  Hey, this is Atlanta..I HAD to drink the Coke…right! 
That Coke bottle is an LCD screen- pretty awesome!

They don’t call it HOT-lanta for nothin’! Wowza!  We spent 9 innings in the sun and my knees have the sunburn to prove it!

The game featured great pitching by Tim Hudson and an inning of work by Jonny Venters! 

Yes, I am a Braves fan and yes, I am wearing a Red Sox shirt.  I love the Red Sox, but I like the Braves too.  They’re Kyle’s fave, the team of the South, and I spent several years working for the Braves in Spring Training. 
A “brave” Red Sox fan!
Midway through the game we needed some lunch. Kyle had a hot dog and I went for chicken tenders and fries.  I didn’t want fries, but apparently they come as a pair…so I ate them.  What a healthy meal, huh!  I had a V8 as soon as we got to the hotel! 

Did I mention it was hot?  Who cares! It was a great day of baseball, Braves won, and I got to spend it with my husband!
ps- the old man behind us told Kyle he needed a hat! 
Braves win!
Love and foul balls,
Carissa & Kyle

Kyle and I are still off living and enjoying life!  He sure does miss his clients and 6am wake up calls!  I have another great guest post for you today from Lindsay.  I am so envious of Lindsay’s stellar culinary skills.  I need some more kitchen courage.  Lindsay is also studying to be an RD at THE Ohio State University. Lindsay, you have also made me realize that I need to up my blog photo taking skills! 🙂  Please check out her awesome blog and recipes.

Hi Friends!
My name is Lindsay and I blog over at The Lean Green Bean. I’m so excited to be here entertaining all of you while Carissa is off being her fabulous self for the day!
Naturally, since I write a food blog, I have a little recipe to share with you today. It involves my most recent kitchen experiment ingredient: Buckwheat. Have you heard of it? It’s not actually wheat at all so it can be a great substitute for a gluten-free diet. It’s most often used to make soba noodles, which my hubby and I recently enjoyed in the form of Soba Noodle Veggie Bowls, crepes and and pancakes! In fact, I just made myself some Buckwheat Crepes stuffed with Greek yogurt, blueberries and peaches for lunch the other day. Buckwheat is a great source of fiber and protein as well.

 Over the past year or so, I’ve become quite fond of making homemade bread. It’s super easy, yes-even when yeast is involved, and it tastes way better than store bought. Although buckwheat flour has to be mixed with some other kind of flour to make a successful loaf of bread, it still does a great job transferring its rich, nutty taste into whatever you use it in. I knew I wanted to try out my new flour in some bread, so after doing some googling, I found a recipe for Buckwheat Molasses Bread and I was off to the races! I used this recipe as a starting point and made a few changes. Below is the recipe I used.

Buckwheat Molasses Bread
1 c buckwheat flour
2 ¼ c bread flour
1 Tbsp active dry yeast
1 ¼ c skim milk, warm (110 degrees F)
2 Tbsp molasses
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
¾ tsp kosher salt
1 egg white
1. In a large bowl, mix the salt, vegetable oil, molasses and yeast together.
2. Add the warm milk and stir to combine.
3. Add the buckwheat flour, followed by 2 cups of the bread flour and stir until a dough ball forms.
4. Place the ball on a floured surface and knead for approximately 5 minutes, working in the remaining ¼ c bread flour.
5. Shape into a ball and place in a well oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with saran wrap and a towel and let rise for 1 hour.
6. Punch the dough down, remove it from the bowl and knead it 5 times.
7. Place the dough in a greased loaf pan, cover and let rise for 30 minutes.
8. Brush the top of the loaf with the egg white and make three slashes across the top of the loaf.
9. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.
10. Remove from pan and let cool on a wire rack
 A few notes:
-If you’re familiar with bread-making at all, you’ll notice that you don’t have to let the yeast sit and start to bubble in the liquid before adding the flour. It’s not necessary unless you’re not sure if your yeast is fresh.
-When you’re kneading this dough, it will feel softer than some other dough you may have worked with. Resist the urge to add too much flour. The amount in the recipe should be just enough!
-This is not an overly sweet bread and it is definitely a bit darker and nuttier tasting than regular wheat bread, but it has a great flavor and tastes great with peanut butter!
-In one of my pictures, the bread is in a bowl in the oven with a towel over it. Please be assured that the oven is not on! I just have to hide things in there to keep all the wandering animal paws away!
Thanks for listening to me ramble today. I know this bread isn’t for everyone, but one of my favorite things about blogging is that it encourages me to try new things, and I love passing on my experiments to others!
 Feel free to stop by The Lean Green Bean to say hi and check out my recipes. I love making new friends!