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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Egg Salad & Turkey Bacon Lettuce Tacos

I just like thinking of them as tacos. I know some people call them lettuce WRAPS, but honestly, thinking of them as tacos is 1) more fun and 2) gives me a lot more ideas of things to put in them!

I used a baby romaine, a pretty crunchy but tasteless lettuce. If you like something crisper, go with a kale, or if you like something more bitter, grab some escarole. Basically any lettuce will do!

You don't see it underneath, but I tossed a couple of leaves of fresh, raw spinach under the egg salad for some added crunch and greens. Spinach has basically no calories and a bit of fiber.

My husband has a healthy appetite and we each had 2 lettuce tacos and he was comfortably full and happy. Neither of us felt stuffed, but we did feel satisfied!







Egg Salad & Turkey Bacon Lettuce Tacos
**This whole thing took me about 15 minutes, start to finish!
1 dozen eggs makes approximately 6 servings, (12 tacos).
Ingredients:
-12 eggs
-5-6 slices of turkey bacon (use any kind of bacon you want, but it will change nutritional info. I used Oscar Meyer)
-4 tbsp mayo (I used Hellman's Light)
-2 tsp dijon mustard (I used grey poupon)
-1 tsp lemon juice (Add more to taste)
-Salt, pepper, garlic, onion powder
-Lettuce of choice (I used a baby romaine)

Instructions:
-Hardboil all 12 eggs. I did approximately 10 minutes from cold water to removal. They were not super hard boiled, which I like.
-While eggs are on the stove, put 5-6 slices of turkey bacon in between 2 paper towels and microwave them for 2-3 minutes. (I did 2 minutes on high, and I got crispy edges and rubbery middles, which I love.) Longer times for crispier bacon. You can also cook it on the stove, this is just the least-dishes option. 
-Cut up bacon into smaller bits.
-Peel all 12 eggs and put into a medium sized bowl.
-Add 4 tbsp mayo, 2 tsp mustard, 1tsp lemon juice. I used a potato masher for the initial mash, then left it chunky and used a fork for mixing everything in.
-Spices to taste. I liked a good amount of pepper and garlic powder in this. It's creamy but not TOO creamy.
-Use fork to scoop egg salad on top the lettuce leaves, top with turkey bacon, and enjoy!
Variation options: 
-For those who like crunch, relish or celery would be great, or raw bell peppers and a small amount of raw onion.
-Or make it brighter and use a little lemon, lime or orange zest in the egg salad.
-I also added a couple leaves of fresh raw spinach to my lettuce tacos before adding the egg salad. I just like spinach, and it really doesnt change the nutritional info. More greenery!

Nutritional Information for 1 serving is:
Serving size is about 1/2 a cup of egg salad, which is 2 good sized lettuce tacos:

210 calories (for BOTH!)
1.2g sugar
1.67g carbs
3 g protein
Make 2 of these.


NOM NOM NOM

Monday, September 12, 2016

Very Low Carb Muffin-Sized Egg Cups!

My masterpiece!
I like to bake/cook on Sundays, and make breakfast for my husband and I to take to work for that week. Cooking at home is generally healthier than picking up breakfast on the way to work, and it's definitely cheaper!

For awhile, I was making banana-blueberry muffins with whole wheat flour. I did a lot of fiddling with the recipe, and while it tasted good, they were pretty dry.

For several weeks, I was making oatmeal-banana-peanut butter bars. Those were yummy and VERY filling and high protein, but also very high carb. These had no sugar added, they were sweetened with honey, and were delicious.

I have decided to cut down on carbs and wanted a healthy and filling breakfast for us, and decided on an egg cup! Basically an egg muffin cup, and could also be considered a small frittata.

But not a quiche! A quiche has a crust (like a tiny pie!) and typically has cream in the egg, to make more of a custard. A frittata is a thick omelette that is cooked on the stovetop and then often finished in the oven to get it nice and browned on top.

But an Egg Cup is neither of these! It's more like a frittata than a quiche, but the eggs are cooked in the oven. Though I did cook the other stuff on the stovetop, as they would not have been completely cooked through in the oven.

I only used 6 ingredients, plus spices I already had. At the bottom of the recipe there are exact nutritional info (math'ed all by myself), but each cup only has 107 calories AND almost 11 grams of protein!

I used half a cup of milk in the eggs to cream it up a bit, and the 1% milk I chose actually had 55 calories and 6g of sugar in just half a serving! You can save yourself the sugar and some calories using unsweetened almond milk, if you like, though it won't change the nutritional counts much overall.

In some similar recipes, the cheese is halved to 1 cup. While it seems like A LOT of cheese when you're putting this together and pouring it into the tins, the end result is not overly cheesy. With a meltier cheese like cheddar, 1 cup may be enough.

TIP: When using ground turkey, the taste of the meat alone is fairly bland, and you can really make it pop with spicing. Hot sauce would be great in this recipe, chilli powder, some adobo, I used some coriander in mine. Have fun with spicing, just taste as you go to make sure the turkey has enough spicing. It may feel like a lot, but ground turkey typically needs more flavor added than other meats.

This recipe was originally planned to make 12 egg cups, but actually made 24 in 2 standard sized muffin tins!


Low Carb Muffin-Sized Egg Cups with Spinach, Asparagus & Turkey

Ingredients:
-2 cups shredded cheese (I used 1 package of Borden low-moisture, part skim Mozzarella)
-12 extra large brown eggs (personal choice, you can use white eggs)
-1/2 cup of milk (I used Cream-O-Land 1%)
-Approximately 10 fresh raw asparagus spears
-2 cups of spinach (I used fresh, but frozen could also be used. 2 cups = about 2 big handfuls)
-1 package of lean ground turkey (I used Sandy Brook Farms, 93% lean, total weight was 20.8 oz)

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1. In a large skillet on the stovetop, start browning the ground turkey over medium-high heat. Make sure to break up the meat into small pieces, and spice to your taste. I added a lot of salt, pepper, garlic, coriander, and both onion powder and minced dried onion, as well as chili powder.

2. While turkey is cooking, chop asparagus to bite-size pieces and add to the same skillet. Add the spinach to the same pan as well. Spice as wanted. Let it all cook for about 3-5 minutes, stirring around the meat and greens occasionally.

3. In a medium sized bowl, crack 12 eggs and add 1/2 cup milk. Add salt and pepper. Use a fork to scramble the eggs and break all the yolks. Add the package of cheese to the eggs and stir.

4. Spray muffin tins with cooking spray (I use Pam). Using a slotted spoon, add meat and greens to the bottom of each muffin cup, it will fill each cup about halfway. It's enough for all 24 cups.

5. Pour egg and cheese mixture into each muffin cup, about 3/4 of the way. It will seem like a lot of cheese, and I actually used a fork to move some of the cheese from one cup to another if it looked like too much!

6. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until starting to brown on top. A toothpick should come out clean (not runny with egg). Let cool before storing.

I put 2 egg cups per small baggie and loaded them into the fridge after cooling. We have 20 for our breakfasts all week (2 per person per day), and I took the extras to work to share with colleagues. Husband and I actually just ate them cold at our desks, and they are just as yummy heated up. 

Nutritional Info:
PER EGG CUP:
-107.46 calories
 -1.28g carbs
-0.38g sugar
-10.825g protein

Nutritional info per ingredient: 
Eggs: 80 calories each, 0g sugar, 7g protein (Total for 12 eggs: 960 calories, 84g protein)
Cheese: (whole package) 720 calories, 16g carbs, 0g sugar, 56g protein
Milk, 1/2 cup: 55 calories, 6g sugar, 4g protein
Spinach, 2 cups: 14 calories, 2.2g carbs, 0.2g sugar, 1.8g protein
Asparagus, ~10 spears: 30 calories, 6g carbs, 3g sugar, 4g protein
Turkey, (whole package): 800 calories, 10g carbs, 0g sugar, 110g protein


Friday, September 9, 2016

Random Thoughts

Marriage is basically asking "Where are you going?" every time someone gets up, and if it's to get something and come right back, then marriage is also "Can you get me some water/chips/pants too?"

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I think my computer has slid past "annoying" and is now openly at war with me. 
Guess what? It's winning.

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You know it's summer in New York when your bare arms are touching other people's bare arms on the train. 

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My cat always watches me shower. Not only is it mildly creepy, but what could he possibly be thinking? He hates getting baths, but loves to sit in the bathtub. Is he wondering at my stupidity for purposely standing under falling water? Is he plotting my murder (this could be a constant)? Is he daydreaming about napping in the tub later? I DONT KNOW. 
I am leaning towards stalker-peeping tom kitty.
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I never post anything fun or funny on Twitter. It is literally hooked up to my LinkedIn work account. Yet somehow I acquire followers. 
But try to be a hilarious writer on a blog and attract followers? Good luck!  

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My dad got into town last night. It was his first time in our new place, and only maybe the second time meeting our cat. Dad sat on the couch, and my cat came up and investigated. After receiving exactly 1.7 pets, the kitty climbed to the back of the couch and decided it was the right time to cross some personal boundaries and sniff dad's bald head, sweep his tail across the aforementioned bald head, and just kind of tap his paw on it. Was he seeing if it was ripe? I don't know. Cat then wandered off. 
 

Friday, September 2, 2016

My Husband Inspires Me

 My husband is an IT geek. He loves computers, math, algorithms, coding, programming, card and board games, and me. He has been computer science focused since before high school, and in high school was even able to take computer-science-specific classes along with his regular classes.

He went to college, achieved a Computer Science Bachelor’s degree, and then moved home to Brooklyn and immediately got a job in programming, and has transitioned into bigger and better jobs since then. He has built websites, programmed and fixed giant deployment tools, coded stuff, taught himself mobile phone programming, and reads articles about techie stuff in his free time.

My husband loves what he does. He is passionate about his chosen career field, and is 100% certain that he is doing the right thing for him. He is creative in a techie/mathy way that actually creates something out of nothing, using his lines of code, which is really cool.

I am 10 years deep in a career I sort of fell into after college. I am good at sales, I am decently successful in my field, and I have been lucky enough and have worked hard enough to move into good positions with great companies, and work with amazing bosses. I like my job.

But I am not passionate about my job the way Hubs is. I don’t take the same depth of satisfaction from mine as he does when he’s solving a code crisis. I didn’t know at 14 that this is what I would be doing.

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a singer, songwriter, illustrator, writer, or lawyer. I was always told I was good at arguing and should be a lawyer, so I’m not sure if I wanted to be that, or if it just seemed like a good back-up plan.

As an adult, my hobbies include singing, songwriting, and writing. None of those are my career and none of them are paid. I still am passionate about them, I love doing them, and I let my creative flag fly free.

Listening to Hubs talk about work and the projects he is working on (I have learned SO MUCH about computer-y things in the last 6 years!) and the problems he faces, the solutions he finds, acting as a sounding board and suggesting things from a different point of view, seeing the gratification he gets from a job well done, a project completed, and a good review from his boss, has inspired the hell out of me.

I recently turned 30, and also marked 5 years of having my personal blog. It is a creative outlet full of rants, ramblings, coherent articles, doodles, lyrics, and lists. For some reason, I assumed if my blog was entertaining enough, it would magically attract readers and I could maybe get some ad revenue out of it, or somehow parlay that into a writing career. Well, that hasn’t happened, but I have gotten a lot of happiness and satisfaction from maintaining my blog, so that’s awesome.

When I turned 30, I started examining my writing goals. I have journals full of poetry and lyrics, and 2 half-started books on my computer (one is a young adult novel, one a self-help book on confidence), I have a small demo with a couple of songs I wrote and recorded, and I already had a few articles posted as a guest contributor on one website that was not my blog.

I wasn’t actively taking steps forward to write elsewhere or try to get paid. But the truth is, I’ve always wanted to be a writer, and getting published isn’t just going to fall out a window and hit me. If I’m going to be a writer, I needed to start making a real concerted effort to write.

And I have. Since my birthday in June, I’ve added several more websites to the list of places that publish my articles, including my most recent achievement of Huffington Post blogger platform. I’ve applied to several part time writer/editor positions, and have started working on a couple of pieces to submit to writing contests. I am continuing to apply to websites to be a guest contributor.

I’ve blogged and posted articles on sites significantly more often than before, I’ve taken more time to work on my book, and I’ve carved out time weekly to just sit at a computer and WRITE. Even when I’m not sure what to say.

It’s tough sometimes, and I get frustrated or I have nothing to say. I try to pay more attention to the news, so I can write more relevant articles instead of rants or funny posts that were more for my personal blog and less for a wider audience. I have started thinking a lot more about keywords and SEO and what appeals to people who are not me.

It’s also exciting and interesting and new and shiny. I have always wanted to be a writer and every single time I see my byline and thumbnail photo on a new website, I get giddy and happy.

My husband loves what he does, even when it annoys or frustrates him. Seeing him happy and successful and fulfilled inspires me to find that as well. His passion and drive inspire me to do better and improve. And that is pretty awesome.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Celebrity Fishbowls & Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift is all over the media all the time no matter what she's doing. Dating someone, not dating someone, walking around, hanging out with friends, dancing, anything TSwift is doing, people take pictures and report about it. 

Of course, many of the same people also complain about how overexposed she is, how she is in every tabloid, all over the news, and her picture is everywhere. 

Taylor Swift has been all over the tabloids lately, with everyone trying to take sides, explain, or discuss her "feud" with Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, and the ever-popular Katy Perry. First, let's wonder. Do we really care what Kanye is rapping about these days? Does anyone care whether or not Swift knew about the lyrics? Do people still care about KimK? If the answer is yes to all of these questions, then hey, good for you, but you might need a hobby or something. 

I like picking up a tabloid now and then and keeping up with who's popular these days, but I know to take anything reported there with a grain of salt. Who are all these "sources close to the family" that are telling secrets? Are they real secrets, or made up ones because they get paid either way, and hey, these celebrities are going to be in the news anyway?

The celebrity culture in the US is insane and out of hand. Movie and tv actors and sports figures are making millions upon millions of dollars, and we either worship or revile them. With A-Rod, with Mel Gibson, we have the villains. With Taylor Swift and Ellen DeGeneres, we have our heroes. 

They are only heroes and villains because we make them so. As fans, and superfans, and reporters, we build these people up to practically saint status, and we relish in their inevitable fall. 

Taylor Swift has given millions of dollars in relief aid and charity, she has broken records with her studio albums, she writes her own songs, and she has long been the country-pop sweetheart of our celebrity world. She is friends with a bunch of pretty people, and she seems to genuinely love her fans, responding to many on social media, sending people presents, visiting fans in hospitals. Is she perfect? I certainly hope not, I've always held out that no one is perfect. I wouldn't want that as my goal!

What she is, is human. A young twentysomething in the public eye 100% of the time. When she was single for a couple of years, people dwelled on her dating history. They wondered if she would ever find love. When she dated as a teenager, she was mocked by the media and by people all over the world for dating for a few months, breaking up, and dating someone else. Quick question: if we were to list every person you dated or even hung out with between 16-20, what would that look like? Include the thought that every single person had their picture with you plastered on national tabloids. Not a pretty thought!

I don't understand why we expect, and demand, perfection from some celebrities and then are outraged when it isn't accurate. Yet we only have those expectations for celebrities that already have a "good" image to begin with. No one is expecting Rihanna or Lady Gaga or Kesha to be perfect. They are exactly who they are and seem to be accepted by the world for it. 

I like Taylor Swift. I don't really care about her personal life, and I enjoy her music. I don't care how much money she has, who she's dating, or where she had dinner. I do like that she seems to love her fans, that she is really really tall, and that she dances in public. I like that she seems to make fun of herself and seems like a real person. Do I know how much of that is manufactured? Nope. But I don't really care. As long as she isn't a blatant jerk to people and I continue liking her music, then I will keep listening to it. 

I don't truly understand our obsession with knowing every detail and every secret of these people's lives. Living in that kind of fishbowl sounds like my own personal version of hell. I do NOT wake up looking like that, and I don't want to. I wanted to be a singer/songwriter when I was younger, but even then I knew I had no desire to be famous. 

It's a symbiotic relationship, though. In order to be successful, singers and actors need fans and people wiling to pay to see them. In order for the fans to want to pay to see them, they want to know their music and who the person is. 

When we idolize celebrities, we aren't doing anyone any favors. You're idolizing someone you don't and can't truly know as a person, and their inevitable failings will feel like personal attacks. They feel like they are trying to live up to an impossible standard, and they're right. We want them to be whatever we think they should be.

I would not want to be held up to imaginary standards and then punished for not meeting them. 

Monday, August 8, 2016

Marriage Is... (A Poem)

Your face lax, 
You snore quietly.
Your arm reaches out
To slightly whack me upside the head.

Warm and cozy
Wrapped up in the comforter
With a cat across your legs.
So handsome.

My alarm rings
And I roll over to
See if it woke you up.
It did not.

As I come out of the shower
And turn on my lamp
You make a disgruntled sound
Turning away from the light.

Your grunt is so cute
Your turn so sweet.
I could just hug you
But you'd be woken up and be morning-cranky.

I feed the cat
And brush my teeth.
I go to leave,
But kiss you first.

Good morning, sunshine!
I love you! Have a great day!
You mumble and kiss me back.
And then fart.

Marriage is...
Kisses 
Farts
Laughs
Comfort
Sometimes arguing
Being silly
Bills
Cuddles
Cats
Computers
Netflix and chill
Friends
Annoying each other on purpose
and
Happiness.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Ahhh, Books.

I like to read. 
No, I love to read. 
Reading is both the problem and the solution to all things. Have a question? A book somewhere has the answer. Read a book and it only presents more questions? There might be a support group for that?

My mom was an English and Reading teacher. When my brother and I were kids, we didn't really have video games...we had 2 options: Read a book or play outside (you were allowed to read outside and play inside as well. Um, 4 options?). 

I love reading. I like seeing characters develop, getting their inner monologue. I do generally see movies made from books (after reading it first, so I can complain with good examples afterwards), and the biggest thing missing in the movie format is getting the main characters' narrative. How they felt, what they thought, the reasons why they do certain things. 

I like imagining a world that isn't the one I inhabit. I read scifi and imagine the universe, and spaceships, and battles and aliens and more. I read fantasy and imagine the world of the fey. I read thrillers and imagine being hunted or hunting the bad guys. I read biographies and imagine what that person was like growing up. 

I dream in vivid colors, and sometimes I dream about the book I'm reading. It's awesome! So, in honor of my favorite hobby, here are some random lines and book memes.
      


Me, preparing to travel in 2007: Packs 9 books. "I'm going to read so much! Wooo vacation!"
Coming back from vacation in 2007: "How did I come back with 14 books? Did I steal books from other vacationers? Oh well, happy time!"


Me, preparing for vacation now: "I have my Kindle, I am prepared for anything. What? Pants? What are these 'pants' of which you speak??"

My husband and I just moved. He suggested maybe I should give away my books, since I read on the kindle all the time. 
UM HOW BOUT NO? I told him that I literally refuse to live in a home without books. 
The worst insult I can possibly think of or have ever heard:
"I hope your favorite book gets turned into a movie and it doesn't translate well and the characters are nothing like you imagined!"
Oh, you think I have too many books? Hold on one moment while I use my books to build a fort and then go in it and then find an old magazine and cut out letters to form a 'No Idiots Allowed' sign to hang on the front. 

But not with tape, wouldn't want to mess up a book!
I literally get teased at work for walking around with my Kindle and reading, or reading while eating lunch. 

Sorry I like awesome stories, finding new authors, using my imagination, escaping life a little, and expanding my vocabulary! #sorrynotsorry
How old is too old to be excited about new Harry Potter? Never? Oh, good.
LIAR.






Literally my life.