Thursday, October 29, 2015

Whoa...We're Halfway There

(I am secretly hoping that most of you have Livin' on a Prayer stuck in your head now..."take my hand and we'll make it I swear...")
If I were being totally honest, I would say I am more of a starter than a finisher. I have great ideas and plans...get started and then let them slip away. Just take a look in my craft room and you will see the evidence. Therefore, when we started this 100 Day Challenge in the back of my mind, I didn't really believe I would complete it. And now I am halfway there and am starting to believe I can (and will) do it. In the past 50 days, there were plenty of days when I just didn't want to do the work. Maybe I was tired, maybe I was in pain, maybe I was busy. I wanted to take a day off at times, but I knew if the streak broke, it was just a matter of time before I quit completely. Something inside me has made me stubbornly hang on. Maybe it is the one thing I feel I am in control of at the moment and I don't want to let it go.

Day 50 was a 39 minute walk during my lunch break yesterday. It was one of those dreary wet fall days. As much as I love a bright sunny day, I think fall needs some days like this too. It was much chillier than I realized and I was wearing a short sleeved top - there was some arm swinging to keep warm :)

I've been this way many times, but never really noticed this house. The chimney caught my eye this time. The big windows in the front make me think this is the sort of house that should be on a mountain side somewhere.

Clearly with my zero upper body strength I did NOT do this. But is it wrong to imagine being strong enough to bend those bars?
Of course, there  continues to be eating (some good and some bad), which means trying a few new recipes.

My husband and I are proof that opposites attract....mushroom lover and mushroom hater. Every time I mention mushrooms my beloved husband reminds me that they are a fungus, as is athlete's foot...and who wants to eat athlete's foot. Really?!! We somewhat playfully argue for a bit and then no mushrooms for me :( 

A couple of weeks ago, when my husband had to drive a Friday night trip, I spent the day plotting my dinner. I had pinned this recipe quite awhile ago, but hadn't tried it yet because of the mushroom situation. I had some beef that needed to be used, so I stopped on my way home for mushrooms and snow peas (snow peas are not my husband's thing either, but he doesn't despise them like mushrooms).

First, I made the sauce. I added the cayenne because I like a little kick. I had planned to add sesame oil and though it made it to the ingredient picture I forgot to put it in.
The sauce smelled so good with its garlickly gingerness...mmm!
Mushrooms and snow peas ready to go.
First you saute the mushrooms, then the beef, the peas are blanched in boiling water.
Then all back in the pan with the sauce.
It was a delicious treat :)  I didn't really want to mess with making rice, but I would next time the sauce needed something to soak it up and balance the dish a bit.

This recipe is right up both our alleys - we love the cilantro/lime flavors.  For me, it plays into how I like to cook (a little time on the stovetop and then finish in the oven while I do other things). I love, love my cast iron skillets. Searing the chicken in the cast iron skillet smells delicious and who doesn't love a good sizzle?
 While the chicken is searing I prepped the sauce ingredients - including lime, cilantro and onion.
The chicken is removed from the pan and the sauce ingredients are combined and reduced in the pan for about 10 minutes. The recipe called for heavy cream, but since I didn't have any I subbed sour cream (worked great). The recipe also called for two tablespoons of butter, which I used, but next time I will reduce. It was a rich sauce and less butter would still be delicious. Once the sauce has cooked, put the chicken back in the pan and pop it n the oven to finish while you clean up a little and set the table. As Ina Garten would say - how easy is that??
I served it with rice and cauliflower. I apologize for the complete blandness of this plating. I was trying to use what I had in the house. Otherwise, I promise there would have been more color on the plate - asparagus, carrots (for me), broccoli. Despite the lack of color the chicken was perfectly cooked. Super moist - which can be a challenge with chicken breast. The sauce was as the blogger described - "lick off the plate" delicious.
Several times a month my job requires me to start the day at a different location. Last week I had one of those mornings. I hadn't eaten breakfast and by the time I was headed back to the office, I was starving. Not a good thing since there about 10 fast food places stand between that location and my office. I thought I had seen some healthier options at this gas station previously, so I decided to take a peek there first.

I was pleasantly surprised by all the options they had.

All of that at a gas station. Truth be told I did briefly pick up a piece of breakfast pizza,. However, since I had taken all these pictures of the better choices and wanted to share with them with you all, I could hardly buy the pizza. The thought of you all looking over my shoulder helped me leave the store with this. Thank you!
I admit it wasn't the best breakfast I have ever had, but I felt pretty good about it. It is good reminder that there are better options on the road that are also super convenient.

How do you avoid fast food when you are out and about unprepared?


  1. Aside from the beef in the one recipe and the cilantro in the other one those look yummy! ;)

    Good for you for crushing the streaking goal!

    1. I think the beef could easily be changed to chicken and be just as yummy. You could definitely make the chicken without the cilantro and if anyone wanted it they could sprinkle it on their plate.

  2. Dude, your cooking is amazing. I wish I could do as well. If it has more than 10 ingredients, I say "nay"! Everything looks to yummy except for the mushroom. (I'm on your hubby's side with that!) You are kicking butt with the streak for real!

    1. I am trying to get better about trying things that are more time/labor intensive - i.e. building a sauce. Some of my favorite people are mushroom haters :)

  3. I love all your protein choices :) Way to hang on with the streaking :)

    1. Thanks, Lori! I love trying new recipes :)

  4. You are doing AMAZING with the streak! Both recipes look so good (mushroom lover here!), but the cilantro chicken is calling my name. May need to make that one soon :)

    I'm so proud of you for remembering to look at the gas station instead of just going straight for the fast food!

    1. The chicken was very good...I think I salted the chicken a little too heavy before searing. I generally don't use much salt so it doesn't take much for me to be over-salted. Let me know if you try it.

  5. Having the invisible army watching over my shoulder keeps me on the straight and narrow too. :) Good choices!

    1. The invisible army has helped me many times, but I am about to invite you all to come live with me and really whip me into shape :)