Who Knew?

5 Sep

First things first… have you “liked” For the Sake of Cake on facebook yet?! 😉 If not, what are you waiting for?

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Who knew that I could put away so much red meat? Steak was on the menu for dinner tonight again (just like last night), but let’s back up a bit, shall we?

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Like (most of) the rest of the world, I had off from work today. Even still, I was up at about 6:30, but laid in bed until 7:00. The early wake up call was a combination of dogs wanting to go out & feeling all congested. 😦 I’m not sure if I have a cold, or it’s just allergies, but either way I couldn’t really breathe & in turn, couldn’t really sleep.

Eventually, I rolled out of bed, took Stewie for a quick walk, & headed to the gym.

I had a long to do list for today because I wanted to get a “jump start” on the week ahead. Around 10:30, I texted my mom asking if she’d be interested in grabbing some frozen yogurt for lunch. (Hey, we’ve been known to eat frozen treats as meals before!)

Our closest frozen yogurt place is a good 25 minutes away, but we made the trip & I think we’d both agree it was worth it, right mom?

Kiwi Frozen Yogurt opened recently, but we’ve already been there once before. Today, I loaded up my cup with 3 different types of yogurt plus lots of yummy toppings!

In the mix —

  • Peanut butter yogurt
  • White chocolate mousse yogurt
  • Cookies n’ cream yogurt
  • Reese’s pb cup topping
  • Cookie dough topping
  • Rainbow sprinkles

It was really, really delicious & even though it wasn’t the healthiest lunch, we felt surprisingly full afterwards!

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Chris & I had plans to finally use the grill he got for his birthday this evening. Remember what happened last week? Well sadly, this week didn’t turn out much better. We couldn’t get the grill to light for some reason, so we’ll have to figure out what the deal is. In the meantime, I heated up our grill pan!

I used this recipe from Campbell’s to make our marinade. (Seriously, what would I do without these Campbell’s recipes?!)

I followed the recipe exactly & Chris & I both couldn’t stop raving about the marinade!

I grilled the steaks for about 10 minutes (5 on each side), coating it with the marinade frequently.

On the side, I cooked up some Trader Joe’s harvest grain blend that I picked up on Friday. It included Israeli-style couscous, orzo, baby garbanzo beans, & red quinoa. This side dish was by far my favorite part of the meal!

I also steamed some broccoli. Even though I wasn’t feeling it, I figured it’d be good to get a veggie in there.

As we were eating, I asked Chris if it was bad that we were eating steak for the second night in a row. His reply? “Yeah, we’ll back off for a little.” Probably a good idea! 😉 Growing up I hated steak, but I’ve come to enjoy it as long as it’s cooked the right way!

Off to go relax & get ready for the season premiere of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills! 🙂

Are there any foods that you disliked as a kid, but enjoy now?

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Puppy Playtime

4 Sep

My parents invited Chris & I up for dinner tonight & we happily accepted. It was also a good opportunity to get all of our dogs together for some puppy playtime!

Tonight’s menu? Grilled steak kabobs (with peppers & onions), potato salad & dinner rolls. I also brought my apple cake for dessert!

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My dad took care of grilling the kabobs, & my mom made the potato salad using a recipe from Kraft Foods Magazine. I ate most of my kabob (they were more filling than I expected), a serving of potato salad & two rolls.

One of the best things about my parents’ house is their large, fenced-in yard; this is especially important since we are surrounded by dogs! After dinner, we watched the dogs run around & play together.

Soon it was time for dessert, & I enjoyed my piece of apple cake ala mode (again!); this time with some fudge swirl ice cream – yum! I think this cake is even better a day later.

Now it’s time to relax for a little. Even though tomorrow is Labor Day, I’ll definitely be laboring – trying to get a jump start on the week ahead!

Hope you’re making the most of this long weekend!

Are you a dog person, or a cat person (or a fish/bird/turtle/etc. person ;-))? I think it’s pretty obvious where my heart lies. 🙂

Baking Break

4 Sep

I love to bake, but I haven’t had a chance to do too much of it lately. I’ve been busy with back-to-school & cooking dinner every night, so there isn’t much time to break out the mixer & bake my favorite cookies/cakes/cupcakes/etc.

Well this afternoon I was working on stuff for school & got the urge to take a break & bake! I figured I deserved the break, seeing as I have a long weekend, & there isn’t too much to do for school just yet. I better get some baking in now, because things will start to get crazy-busy soon.

At my bridal shower this past June, I received a cookbook compiled by a local church, filled with members’ of the women’s society recipes!

I flipped through the desserts section, looking for something that I had all the ingredients for. I’m so excited to pass this recipe along because it is simple, perfect for fall, & turned out to be delicious. (And thank you to Carol Travers, whoever you are, for this awesome recipe!)

Fresh Apple Cake

Yields 12-18 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 cups diced apples
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts.)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda

 Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350*.
  • Mix the sugar, apples, & eggs together.
  • In a separate bowl, mix the oil, vanilla, & nuts together. Add to the sugar, apples, & eggs.
  • Mix the flour, cinnamon, salt, & baking soda together. Add to the rest of the ingredients.
  • Pour into a greased 9×13 inch pan & bake for 50-60 minutes. You want the top to be golden brown. (Mine took exactly 50 minutes.)

Like I said before, I think this recipe is perfect for the fall season! It’s also a great base recipe; you could easily sub in another fruit (I’m thinking blueberries or peaches!) for the apples.

I enjoyed mine ala mode, with some Phillies Graham Slam!

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What’s your favorite “fall food”? I know so many people get seriously pumped for pumpkin this time of year!

PS – You can now “like” For the Sake of Cake on facebook! Just click on the facebook button on the right sidebar! 🙂

Long Weekend

2 Sep

I’m lucky enough to have had today off, as well as Monday. If only every week could consist of 4 days of work & 4 days of vacation… the world would be a much happier place, don’t you think? 😉

I kicked off my long weekend with a nail appointment first thing this morning! Afterwards, I made a trip to the closest Trader Joe’s, which unfortunately for me is about a 30 minute trip.

I was able to stock up on lots of goodies:

I purchased a few new-to-me items, including these dark chocolate covered peanut butter wafer cookies:

And got some old favorites, like my beloved soft peanut brittle:

Remember this recipe?

After my little shopping trip, I did some cleaning around the apartment, caught up on my DVR, & mustered up some energy to hit the gym. I really, really didn’t feel like going (& can’t say that I worked up much of a sweat) but at least I got there & did something, right?

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Eventually it was time to get dinner going. On the menu tonight – turkey burgers!

No Measure Turkey Burgers

Makes 6 burgers

(All ingredient measurements were “eye-balled”.)

Ingredients:

  • About 1 pound lean, ground turkey
  • About 1/2 c. (I used two palmfulls) of bread crumbs
  • About 2 tbsp. ketchup
  • Chopped peppers & onions
  • Sprinkle of poultry seasoning
  • Sprinkle of garlic salt
  • Black pepper
  • Lemon juice

Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients.
  • Heat a large grill pan or griddle to medium-high heat; spray with cooking spray.
  • Cook turkey burgers through, flipping every few minutes. (I didn’t time exactly how long each burger took… whoops! I just cooked until I didn’t see any more pink!)

I served these burgers up with a side of Alexia Waffle Cut Sweet Potato Fries. This was my first time trying any Alexia product, & I was very pleased. These frozen fries tasted fresh & had a nice “kick” to them (they’re seasoned with salt, onion, garlic, & a chili/black/red pepper combo).

   This was the perfect end-of-summer meal!

After dinner, Stewie started whining about how he hasn’t gotten much blog attention the last few days. I told him I’d be sure to post a really cute picture of him tonight! 😉

Do you have any fun plans for the long, holiday weekend?

What’s your favorite way to enjoy a burger?

Foil-Baked Tilapia

1 Sep

I’ve been wanting to try a foil-baked fish recipe for a while now. To be honest, I was mostly intrigued by the easy clean up factor!

I purchased two tilapia filets at the store this past weekend, & my recipe for foil-baked tilapia was born!

Foil-Baked Tilapia

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 tilapia filets
  • Cooking spray or olive oil
  • Lemon juice (save a few lemon slices for baking!)
  • Parsley
  • Garlic salt
  • Pepper

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400*.
  • Place each tilapia filet on a sheet of foil.
  • Spray with cooking spray (or drizzle with olive oil).
  • Drizzle with fresh lemon juice.
  • Sprinkle a combination of parsley, garlic powder, & black pepper on top.
  • Finally, top with a slice of lemon.
  • Close the foil packet completely & bake for 15-20 minutes.

I was pleasantly surprised by how good this turned out! I like fish, but I hate when it comes out very oily, or “overly fishy” tasting. This was neither!

I served the tilapia alongside whole grain rice & steamed broccoli.

What’s your favorite dinner side dish?

A New Best Friend

31 Aug

I made a new best friend tonight.

I’d like to introduce you; readers, meet Nutella.

(source)

Ok, ok, most of you have already met before. I read about Julie enjoying Nutella throughout Europe. I was intrigued by Gabriela’s Nutella fudge. But I had yet to try the stuff myself.

You see, I’m cheap. And this stuff usually runs about $4/$5+ where I live. So when I saw it on sale tonight for $2.99, I scooped it up & now I’ll never look back!

Questions #1: Have you ever tried Nutella? What’s your favorite way to enjoy it?

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Moving on… I’ve got a super simple dinner recipe to share with you all tonight.

This one comes compliments of another Campbell’s Kitchen e-mail (seriously, sign up for these!).

You can find the original recipe for cheeseburger pasta here!

All you need is: lean ground beef, cheddar cheese soup, tomato soup, & pasta – that’s it!

First, cook up the ground beef. Then add the two soups & the uncooked pasta.

It’s not the prettiest thing to look at, but it was tasty!

I enjoyed my portion topped with some parmesan cheese & alongside of a salad!

And there were even leftovers for lunch the next day! Yes.

What’s your favorite type of pasta? I love a good lobster ravioli!

Lime Marinade

30 Aug

Chris received a grill for his birthday this summer & was hoping to finally test it out at our apartment this weekend.

Unfortunately, “hurricane Irene” had other plans…

You can’t really tell from these pictures, but the wind was definitely blowing outside our kitchen window!

We already had the chicken thawed & the ingredients for a marinade, so I gave it a whirl on the grill pan!

We followed this recipe from Sparkpeople.com – all you need is lime juice, Italian dressing, garlic, basil, salt & pepper!

Combine all ingredients, then place the chicken in a plastic bag, pour the marinade on top, & let sit for at least 15 minutes (but of course you could do this hours in advance)!

I grilled each side of the chicken for about 6 minutes (per side) to get the “grill marks,” then finished cooking them through by placing them in the oven at 350* for about 20 minutes.

Chris & I both agreed that the cooking time was perfect & the marinade added tons of flavor!

Now, we need another recipe to try out on the grill! 😉

What’s YOUR favorite thing to grill?

First Day

29 Aug

Today was my first day back at school.

Well actually, it was an in-service day, but technically I was back to work. The kids come back tomorrow.

Transitioning from summer break to the school year is not easy. I’ve heard a lot of people talk about how spoiled teachers are with their months of vacation. Well, I know for a fact that I work a year’s worth in those nine & a half months, & I think most teachers would say the same.

During the summer, while I definitely didn’t sleep in & lounge around in my pjs all day (or at least not every day), I could still do whatever I wanted once I woke up. It was easy to get up & go to the gym at 5:20AM, because I knew I could nap later in the day. Nap time is a rare thing September through June!

So… what do my days look like now? Here’s a quick run down of how today went:

  • 5:00AM – Alarm goes off
  • 5:15 AM – Roll out of bed & get read for work
  • 7:20AM – Leave for work (6:40AM on a “normal” day.)
  • 8:00AM-3:30PM – Work (7:30-3:00/3:30ish on a “normal” day.)
  • 3:30PM-4:00PM – Errands
  • 4:00PM-4:45PM – Walk Stewie & do some stuff around the apartment
  • 5:00PM – 5:45PM – Gym
  • 6:00PM – 7:00PM – Cook & eat dinner
  • 7:00PM – 7:30ishPM – Blog
  • 7:30PM – Bedtime (usually around 10:00PM) – Shower/relax/prepare for tomorrow

I am a scheduler. I like to know what my days consist of.

I’ve realized that the only way I’ll be able to keep up a healthy lifestyle (& the blog) is by having a schedule & sticking to it. Of course there will be some days that I’m busier than others. Some days I will need to stay late at school, or have to go back in the evening for parent/teacher conferences. Some days, I’ll want to curl up on the couch with Chris & Stewie & not worry about blogging. There might even be an extra “rest day” from the gym appearing on my Workout Log.

However, when all is said & done, it’s important to me to keep up the healthy lifestyle I’ve grown accustomed to this summer. Going to the gym is something that must happen frequently for me. I love writing this blog, so that’s a non-negotiable as well.  It’s a necessity that I keep trying new things & cooking in the kitchen – not allowing myself to fall back into the “frozen dinner trap” again!

It will definitely be a challenge to keep everything balanced, but I hope you’ll stick around to see how it all ends up! 🙂

I’ll leave you with a few pictures I snapped of my classroom today. After all, I’ll be spending a lot of time here through June!

 

What are your best time management tips? I write a to do list every night for the following day!

French Onion Pork Chops

28 Aug

This past week at the store, I found a package of thin, rather small pork chops. While I can “do” pork every now & then, I’m not the biggest fan, so I thought these small pork chops would be a great fit for my appetite!

French Onion Pork Chops

Ingredients:

  • Pork chops (I used 4 small, thin chops)
  • 1 can French onion soup
  • 3/4 c. ketchup
  • 1/3 c. honey
  • Sprinkle of garlic powder
  • Pepper

Directions:

  • Combine the soup, ketchup, honey, garlic powder & pepper. Heat to a boil, then reduce heat to low & cook for 5 minutes.
  • While the soup mixture is cooking, heat a grill pan to high & spray with cooking spray.
  • Season pork chops with salt & pepper.

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  • Grill pork chops, coating frequently with the soup mixture (caution: there WILL be splattering!). I ended up cooking my pork chops for only a few minutes on each side because of their size, but larger pork chops may take about 5-7 minutes per side.

I served up my portion – 1 pork chop, a heaping portion of mashed potatoes (I love ‘em!), & a side salad.

Then, I put the 3 remaining chops aside for Chris, who has been working late. (I can’t wait until 9:00PM to eat, I just can’t!)

Hope you enjoyed the short & sweet post tonight; I’m off to enjoy my last few hours of “freedom” before school kicks off tomorrow!

Two questions…

What’s your favorite way to enjoy potatoes? I love, love, love mashed potatoes!

What’s your usual “dinner time”? I try to eat no later than 6:00PM/6:30PM!

Pineapple Breakfast Casserole

27 Aug

My first year of teaching, I worked at a Catholic high school that had pretty much the best tradition ever! Every first Friday of the month, the PTO would put together an incredible breakfast spread for the teachers to enjoy before starting the day. I still think about these breakfasts – 3 years later – & wonder if anyone would notice if I snuck back for a first Friday every now & then? 😉

That same year of teaching, during “Teacher Appreciation Week,” the faculty was given a mini recipe book filled with some “first Friday favorites.”

I’ve been hanging onto these recipes for a while now, & finally tried one out this week!

Pineapple Breakfast Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1/4 c. (1/2 stick) of softened butter
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 c. cubed bread
  • 1 16 oz. can crushed pineapple with juices (I’m pretty sure I used a 20 oz. can!)
  • 1/8 tsp. vanilla

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350*.
  • Bring all ingredients to room temperature before making.
  • Combine sugar, butter, milk & eggs. Beat with a mixer.

I was especially excited because this recipe gave me the opportunity to break out my new (pink!) KitchenAid stand mixer!

  • Add the cubed bread, pineapple with juice, & vanilla. By hand, with a spatula, blend carefully.

  • Bake in a 1 quart, greased casserole dish. (Unfortunately, the recipe didn’t indicated how long to bake for! I had mine in the oven for about 30 minutes, but I think a little longer might have been better!)
  • Serve warm! 🙂

I enjoyed my serving (what’s pictured, x2) with a side of iced coffee.

Please tell me the “Bride” tumbler is still appropriate even though I’m no longer a bride!

My favorite part about this dish? There are plenty of leftovers! 🙂

Do you prefer sweet or savory breakfasts? I love sweets (& this recipe is definitely sweet!) but every now & then I’ll be craving something a little more savory in the morning. It all depends!