Thursday, February 25, 2010

Recipe of the week #11

I'm behind on my recipe posting! I made this tonight for my was yummy. I'm still not eating bread, and it was just as good without it!

Biggest Loser Pizza Burgers


1 lb. 96% lean ground beef
1 tsp. dried oregano leaves
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 to 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
1/4 tsp. salt
3 oz. thinly sliced, low-fat mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup low-fat, low-sodium, low-sugar marinara sauce
4 whole grain or whole wheat hamburger buns


Preheat a grill to high heat. In a large bowl, mix the beef, oregano, garlic, red pepper flakes, and salt until well combined. Divide the mixture into fourths and shape each into a ball, packing them tightly. Press each into a patty about half an inch larger than the buns. Grill them about 2 minutes per side, for medium rare, or until desired doneness is reached. About 1 minute before they’re cooked, add the cheese slices to the tops of the patties evenly to melt them. Meanwhile, spoon the sauce into a medium microwave-safe bowl. Heat it on low until hot, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Toast the bun halves, with the cut sides down, on an upper grill rack or away from direct flame, approximately 20 seconds. Place each bun bottom on a serving plate, toasted side up. Put each burger patty, cheese side up, on top of the bun bottoms. Add 2 tablespoons of sauce to each, then add the bun tops. Makes 4 burgers.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

I *heart* Winter Camp

This weekend, I got to head up to the Oakhurst area with a couple of our youth group kids for Winter/Snow Camp. We had an awesome time on the way up, but we were a little concerned when most of the mountain didn't have much snow...kind of like this picture...

But...halfway through the day Saturday and all of Sunday there was TONS of snow! Anyways, the theme this year was I *heart* winter camp. (what is with my blog not letting me make a heart?"The theme was love, God's love for us, our love for Him, our love for others. I know these camps are all about the kids, but I love that we get to learn, too. :) Here are a few things that stuck with me:

"God assesses our lives by how we love." That was huge for me. What do you think about that statement? Do you think it's true? I took a step back and thought...if that's true, then I have some work to do. I think I'm a pretty loving person by nature, but I'm also a people pleaser. Sometimes I don't do things out of love, I just do it to please someone or make them happy. The important thing is that there are too many "I"s in the last few sentences. Loving people in a Christ like way can only be done through Him.

"If you can't show your love and excitement for Jesus in a place with other Christians, who are your family, how are you going to be able to show it to the world?" This hit close to home for our group and for me. I'm not afraid to show how much I love Him when I'm in a safe place, but kick me out of there, and it's definitely harder for me. I pray that I keep having those opportunites!

It was great to see so many students who are on fire for the Lord. We were there with 5 other youth groups. I was so blessed to get to hang out with some awesome Pastors and leaders. I love junior high and high school kids. They're tons of fun to be around. I really, really want my middle school credential...maybe some day.


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

Contrary to most single people my age, I love Valentine's Day! I love celebrating with my students and just having an extra reason to celebrate the people I love.

This year, I got to show my love for people in a different way. I got to run in a 5k for the Monterey Rape Crisis Center. I pray that the money raised today will make a huge difference in the lives of some young women!

This was my first race, and it was a super cool experience! Rachel and I ran the 5k. A couple of friends from work came, and they ran the 10k. I have been having problems with my right foot going numb about halfway into the race. It happened again today, so I definitely ran slower than I would have liked to.(I'm going to see a doctor this week.)

BUT we accomplished our goal! We ran 3.1 miles in 41 minutes, without stopping. This is the longest distance we've ever ran, and we are pretty proud of it! I'm thankful for encouraging friends who came along to support and encourage me to push through the pain and the urge to stop. :) 4 months ago I laughed at the thought of even running a mile...

After the race, we had breakfast and relaxed a little before heading back to Santa Cruz. It was such an awesome day and a great way to start Valentine's Day! I am looking forward to a movie with a friend tonight, but before that...a nap! My body may need a few days to recover!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Bring on the 5K!

It's crazy to think that in November, I could barely run for 2 minutes. And on Sunday, Rachel and I, and a few friends from work, are running a 5K! I am sooo excited! I feel like even being able to think about doing this is an achievement. Now if only I can get my lower back and left leg to stop hurting...I have been doing upper body workouts at home every night, and somehow I hurt myself. Should be ok.

Not only is this 5K going on, but the AT & T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am is this weekend. Saturday night I'm staying in Pebble Beach with a friend. We're going to go down to Spanish Bay and check out the fun! I'm not going to pretend like I enjoy watching golf, but Josh Duhamel is going to be there. Enough said.

So between the 5K and the celebrity sightings, this could be an awesome Valentine's Day weekend! Check back Monday to find out if I survived the 5K. :)

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Another year of this...

March is a month away...for teachers this is a horrible month. Pink slips go out and final cuts are made. Our district voted to increase class size to 28 for K-3 and 35 for upper grades.(I currently have 34). They are saying that even tenured teachers aren't safe this year. This is such a frustrating job. You pour your life into it, and at the end of the year, you're never sure if you have a job or not.

The worst part is that so many teachers are notified that they will lose their jobs, but they still have to teach for 3 more months. It's rough. I was there my 2nd year of teaching and it was not fun. The kids are the ones who suffer.

I will be interested to see the scores in our district over the next few years. Maybe those will show what happens when a kindergartener is put in a class with 29 others. On a positive note, our school is SO close to being out of program improvement. We just have to meet our goal this year. We have everything going against us, but I hope we can do it.

I hope you'll be praying for the thousands of teachers and educational faculty that will be affected this year. You can include my sister, Cassie, in that. She just found out last week that they will most likely not have a job for her next year. I'm thankful that we both have an amazing God we can trust in.

Recipe of the week #9 and #10

I'm updating with couple recipes...and then maybe I'll do a non food blog post, haha. This past monday I got to have the Kertsons over for dinner! I made was super, super yummy.

Enchilada Chicken

  • 4 (4-ounce) trimmed boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 teaspoons salt-free Mexican or Southwestern seasoning (like Mrs. Dash)
  • Olive oil spray
  • 4 tablespoons enchilada sauce
  • 2 ounces (1 cup) finely shredded Cabot 75 Percent Light Cheddar
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro

Season each chicken breast evenly on all sides with the seasoning. Place a large ovenproof nonstick skillet over high heat. When hot, lightly mist with the olive oil spray and add the chicken. Cook, turning once, for 1 to 2 minutes per side, or just until the chicken is golden brown on the outside.

Remove the pan from the heat and top each chicken breast with 1 tablespoon of the enchilada sauce, followed by one-fourth of the cheese and one-fourth of the cilantro. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 4 to 6 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink inside and the cheese is melted.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

    1 Tablespoon Cornstarch
    1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
    1/4 Teaspoon Salt
    Ground Black Pepper, To Taste
    1 Pound Trimmed Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast, Cut Into Bite-sized Cubes
    1 Tablespoon Toasted Sesame Oil
    1 Cup 1/2" Wide Strips Onion (about 1" long)
    1 Cup 1/2" Wide Strips Green Bell Pepper (about 1" long)
    2 Tablespoons Freshly Minced Garlic
    1/4 Cup Bottled Sweet & Sour Stir-fry Sauce (I used La Choy)

In a large bowl, combine cornstarch, garlic powder, salt, and pepper and mix well. Add the chicken and toss until thoroughly coated.

Place a large nonstick skillet or nonstick wok over high heat. When hot, add 1 teaspoon sesame oil, onion, green pepper, and garlic. Cook, stirring, until the garlic softens and the vegetables are crisp-tender, 2 to 4 minutes. Be careful not to overcook or the garlic may burn. Transfer the vegetables to a large bowl and cover to keep warm.

Return the pan to high heat and add another teaspoon oil and half the chicken in a single layer. Cook until the pieces are lightly brown on the bottom. Flip the pieces and continue cooking until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the cooked chicken the the bowl with the vegetables. Return the pan to high heat, add the remaining oil and cook the remaining chicken.

Return the vegetables and chicken to the pan to reheat if needed. Transfer to a medium bowl, add the sauce, and mix until well combined. Divide the stir-fry among 4 bowls, and serve.

Have fun!

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Recipe of the Week #8

I have been cooking so much at home the last few weeks, I can't even keep up with the recipes! But for now, I'll share the Biggest Loser recipe that has been the most fun and the biggest hit. That cookbook may be the best thing I've ever bought I made these for life group, and they're already asking me to make them again! I gave up sweets, starting this week...I wonder if these count... :) Enjoy!Chocolate–Peanut Butter Grahamwiches
4 whole chocolate graham cracker sheets
4 tsp. reduced-fat peanut butter
1/2 cup frozen fat-free whipped topping , thawed

  • Break each graham cracker in half (so each half is 1 square).

  • Spread 1 teaspoon of peanut butter evenly over the inside of each of 4 halves. Spread 2 tablespoons whipped topping each evenly among the insides of the 4 remaining halves.

  • Sandwich the crackers together to form 4 sandwiches, each with a layer of peanut butter and a layer of whipped topping.

  • Transfer to an airtight plastic container and place in freezer. Freeze for about 2 hours or up to 1 month. Serve frozen.

Other recipes to come....Sweet and Sour Chicken, Beef and Broccoli, Enchilada Chicken, Swedish Meatballs...I know you're excited! :)

Monday, February 01, 2010

Life is Good

Life is so good right now...thanks to an amazingly faithful God, awesome friends and family and a good training schedule!

I can't believe I ran for 30 minutes today. I remember back when I ran for 3 minutes straight and I thought, "I wonder if Rachel will still love me if I quit?" For the last few weeks I've been running and biking 6 days a week. I never thought I'd say this but, I look forward to it everyday(except maybe Saturday mornings). Tomorrow is the big day...swimming starts! I have a double day, swimming in the morning and biking after work. This is just crazy talk! I am really, really worried about the swimming and I am wishing I could afford a swimming coach. I'm sure it will come together, just like everything else has.

I have a 5k coming up on Valentine's Day, it'll be good goal is to run the whole thing, without stopping. I'm not going to worry about time yet! I'm feeling good and my body has never felt this good. I think I have lost somewhere between 20 and 30 pounds. I'm in that stage where people are noticing, which gives me even more motivation. I am so thankful to Him for the strength to keep going. The dieting is the worst part, but it's working! Can't wait to go shopping for new clothes. :)

The craziest thing that's happened through all this is tons of people have been motivated to join in the "fun!" A few people from work are training for the Tri and are running the 5k with me. This is so exciting. It's just another way I get to connect with them, and I am SO excited about it! And best of all, I get to spend more and more time with Rachel, who has been pushing me and encouraging me like only a friend can! She has been gone for two weeks...can't wait for her to be back!

God is blessing me greatly, even if it's in ways I wasn't expecting. He knows what I need at this time in my life, especially when I think I know what I "need."
I'm swimming at 6 tomorrow morning and it's midnight. I'm going to wish I had saved blogging for tomorrow...Thanks for reading my random triathlon post and thanks to everyone for the encouragement!