I Can’t Control It and I Don’t Care

I got a great surprise today.

No, I didn’t find money in the street.

No, I didn’t find out that my beloved Will & Grace is going back on the air.

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Although I really wish it was.

So what was this surprise, you ask?

My boyf’ bought me a flight to LA for my birthday!

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I’m so excited!  Not only do I get to have a quick, spontaneous vacation, but I get to see my long lost pal, Colleen! (Hi, Colleen!  I miss your face!)

Anyway, I was too excited to cook a real dinner (nervous energy sometimes works against my culinary ambitions.  Don’t ask me why.) so we decided to use up one of my favorite T. Joe’s frozen entrees: Mandarin Orange Chicken.

Nope, it’s not one of their healthiest options (the chicken is fried) but it’s so good I don’t care.  I’ll eat fried chicken if I want to and I’ll LIKE it!

I was in charge of picking up a veggie to balance out the meal.  Since I took the train to work today, I stopped at the Chicago French Market.

I love me a good French market.  I really love a French market in, well, France, but I’ll take one in Chicago.  The great thing about this place (besides its convenience to my commuter train- it’s literally inside the train station.) is that the vendors are locally and independently owned, offer a great selection of organic produce and (as some of the girls that ventured here during HLS learned) have some really interesting food selections!

I was on a mission to find broccoli.  To my credit, I did buy broccoli.

I also may have picked up a few other things…

Coconut water, couscous salad, pita chips, roasted garlic hummus and…broccoli.  At least I didn’t fail on my mission!  I could argue that I need the rest of my loot, but I’m not going to drag you down that road.

I clearly can’t control myself in that market.  And if my lack of control is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

Plus, my purchases rounded out the meal nicely.

I roasted the broccoli (shocking, I know.  Try to contain yourself.) with some Tony Cachere (say! It really is great on everything!) and dumped out a little couscous onto our plates.  It was a highly technical culinary process, believe me.

And the pricey coconut water?  Well, I’m treating myself.  Because this weekend is…

My birthday!! Woot, woot!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go put my party hat on.

What are your grocery store weaknesses?  Am I the only one who’s like a kid in a candy shop around produce?

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No Case of the Mondays

Today was not your typical Monday.  My office had a staff outing to Six Flags!  I’m not a huge fan of big rollercoasters, but it was still a fun day and a great way to help our staff bond.   Plus, there are other rides at the park that aren’t terrifying!

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Included with our tickets was a meal ticket to use for lunch.  I think we can all agree that theme parks aren’t the best place to find healthy meal options, but there are ways to at least do some damage control.

1. Get a workout in before you go. I was tired this morning, but I made myself get out of bed to go for a run.  I ran on the treadmill (which I haven’t done in a while!) and used the outing as an excuse to push myself extra hard.

2. Take advantage of the opportunity to walk. It’s easy to pick up a map of the park grounds and take the most direct route to the rides you want to go on, but since you’re going to be standing in lots of lines anyway, why not meander?  Plus, you might stumble upon a ride or two you didn’t know you wanted to go on!

3. Only eat what you’re really craving, and stop when you’re full. If you’re going to be forced to eat something that’s not so healthy, at least get what you really want! Then, don’t over-do it.  The portions at theme parks are often HUGE, so eat until you’re not hungry anymore and then stop.  Rollercoasters+overeating = pukey.

After my workout this morning, I inhaled this:

I may be obsessed with these Saturn peaches.  They are a little bit more floral than a regular peach, and dare I say- slightly milky?  It sounds kind of weird, but they are really good and so funny to eat! (I must look strange eating them in public- it sort of looks like I’m eating a sandwich because of the way I hold them.)

I also inhaled some trail mix.  It was pretty crucial. (M&M’s before 9 am?  It happens.)

Since my eats this afternoon weren’t exactly the pinnacle of good eats, I’ll leave you with last night’s dinner:

I marinated some boneless, skinless chicken breasts for dinner.  I need to marinate more!  This chicken was really, really good.  Not only did it have a lot of flavor, but it stayed really juicy.  Here’s the marinade recipe for a little less than a pound of poultry (I had 2 huge breasts that I butterflied in half).

1/4 cup tequila (I didn’t use a super high quality tequila.  It was Cuervo.  What?  Don’t judge me!)

1 lime, juiced

1/2 lemon, juiced

1 t. chili powder

2 T. chopped jalapeno (I used the jarred, pickled kind.  I think they’re spicier!)

1 T. minced garlic

1 t. ground cumin

Combine all ingredients in a dish and add chicken.  Cover and refrigerate as long as you can stand it.

I made a little sauce out of sour cream, salsa and cumin to cool off the chicken.  Simple but good!

Check out my grill marks!  I’m a pretty skilled grillmaster these days.  Come visit me in Chicago and maybe I’ll prove it. 🙂  It must have been good, in all honesty- the boyfriend went back for 2nds!

I made some roasted broccoli and garlic toast on the side (with leftover bread from the farmers market).

D. E. Licious.

Are you a fan of amusement parks?  What do you do about the eating situation while you’re there?

A Regressive Stance

Tonight I am not in the mood to be a big kid.

Last night was a long night and I’m pooped.  One thing that I’ve learned about myself is that when I don’t get enough sleep (ie, 8 hours) I regress back to my 6 year old self.   And tonight, owing to the fact that I only got about 5 hours (!!) of sleep I would like nothing more than a Yoo-Hoo and my ‘toons.

However, I did manage to put my big kid pants on long enough to make a delicious (and huge!) dinner for myself.

My inner child couldn’t decide what she wanted to eat, so the exasperated mother in me cooked pretty much everything that I had in the fridge.

I roasted some broccoli (an old favorite).

I snazzed them up with some Cajun seasoning and cayenne pepper (definitely not suitable for children- hot!!)

I also roasted some sweet potato slices.

They didn’t quite turn into chips, but that’s ok- I kinda like them mushy. 🙂

I grilled the last of the jalapeño chicken sausage and topped it with a little cheese.  Why?  Because one of my core beliefs in life is that everything is better with cheese.  (Unless it’s a dessert.  And then it’s always better with chocolate…and sometimes cheese.)

See what I mean?

The last part?  Trader Joe’s organic baked beans topped with a drizzle of Trader Joe’s organic ketchup.

They were everything I remembered.

[insert contented sigh]

Now that my belly is full, I think it’s time to turn in for the night.  I hear Curious George is on.

What do you make for dinner when you’re too tired to think about cooking?