Sunday, June 12, 2011

Here's to a New Beginning

I woke up early, around 7:30, after promising myself that I would sleep in after such a busy couple weeks. Well, if you add in the time change (about an hour) and the fact that I've been waking up between 5:30 and 6am this IS sleeping in, so I shouldn't be too upset with myself. The truth is, I woke up and started to panic a bit. I had done it. I had moved back to the Midwest after two years. The past three weeks have been a whirlwind and I haven't really had time to absorb it until this morning while lying in bed. But here I am, after making the decision to take on a nutrition communications internship that I'm so excited about, leaving a fantastic job that I really did love and friends that had become my family in a city that I initially knew nothing about but grew comfortable in, coming to a new city that I once swore up and down that I would never move to, and am now near the guy that I love with all my heart along with my family and best friends. It has been a big three weeks and I'm tired. And nervous. And happy. And scared. And excited. All the emotions that accompany change I suppose.

I had to get up and get out. I needed to clear my head and calm down. I put on my good ol' MSU long sleeved T-shirt (it really does feel good to be back in the Midwest) and tied my shoes and stepped out into my new city for a nice long morning walk. The air was cold, the sky was gray, a welcome contrast to the 90+ degree weather we were having in Baltimore when I left.

I started walking around our current neighborhood in the Gold Coast district and was surprised at the activity going on. Usually when I would go out early on a Saturday morning in Baltimore the streets were quiet, peaceful with very few people out and about but here, this was a different kind of peaceful. It was a nice sort of busy. Couples and individuals were already out walking their dogs, grabbing coffee at the already half full coffee shops and restaurants, riding their bikes and enjoying the morning air. I stumbled across an early morning farmers market just a couple blocks down on Division filled with delicious goodies and hand-crafted items that was filled with people. Families were out taking walks and having breakfast. I walked by a couple already working on their garden out front of their beautiful stone walk-up. I had several friendly faces nod and tell me good morning. All of this before 9am.

I loved it. I loved the feel of the city, the energy, the things to do, the people, all of it. This morning was just what I needed to get myself back on track. Chicago, I know we're going to get along just fine. I know we'll have our ups and downs especially until we get settled into our new location in Lincoln Park but I welcome this. I'm so happy to be here, in my new life with MB. I'm grateful to be back in this wonderful Midwest city near people I love. I'm looking forward to all of our adventures to come. I can't wait to explore my new location and see all that Chicago has to offer. I can't wait to start my internship and begin my path to a career I know I'm going to enjoy. I'm open to this change and love my new life already :) More updates to come!
My "welcome to Chicago" flowers :)

Indulging in some crab dip with the crew before I left Baltimore.

One last Baltimore crab cake (for now anyway)!

My beet salad during my first Chicago dinner as a resident :)

Pretzels with beer cheese and whole grain honey mustard.

My life...packed into this little unit...

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Super Quick Egg Sandwich!

Hey all, so I've been super busy packing for the past week since I'm moving to CHICAGO so soon!! I can't wait to be completing my foodie updates from our new apartment in Lincoln Park :) So many new things to do, see and eat! I can't wait!

With that being said, I haven't been to the grocery store and have been trying to exist off of what I bought about....2-3 weeks ago :/ Plus I've been going out to dinner quite a bit with friends and my family that came to visit so there's been no need to shop.

I peered into my fridge tonight prior to continuing to pack up clothes, odds and ends...and found...a half loaf of wheat bread, about 4 eggs (no pan since they're packed), and a few wedges of laughing cow cheese. Oh! and a small amount of Real Bacon Bits! hmmm...what can I do with this? Thinking back to my childhood when my grandfather was in charge of making us meals, our go-to was always a simple egg sandwich. Eggs prepared in the microwave for a quick easy dish. Yessss! Dinner will not consist of dry cereal :)

So here's what I did: sprayed a small microwave safe dish with nonstick spray, crack 1 egg (you can use egg whites or substitute if you time may vary) into dish and microwave about 45 seconds until just cooked through. Be careful, if you cook it even a few seconds too long it may explode! Spread your favorite Laughing Cow cheese onto 1 slice of whole grain toast (I used Queso Fresco Light), top with egg and another piece of toast and you've got a very quick sandwich! I paired it with one of the two apples I have left. Easy, super fast and yummy. 

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Semi {Healthy} Comfort Meal

I really wanted some comfort food tonight...and I was about to cave and get takeout from my neighboring restaurants here in Little Italy, I really really was. I restrained myself to keep a hold on my calories as well as my wallet and went to the freezer where I have been building my stores :)

I realized I had some frozen whole wheat tortellini, reduced fat pesto and Italian sausage. Perfect! However, just because something is whole grain and "reduced fat" does not mean the calorie content is low or it is necessarily "good" for you. You still need to keep your portions in check and not go overboard. I made a few modifications (mainly the portions) and was still left satisfied with a comforting choice.

Here's what I used:
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat tortellini, cheese filled, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 Italian sausage link, sliced into about 1/4-1/2 inch rounds
  • 1T reduced-fat pesto (such as Buitoni)
Heat a small sauté pan over medium heat, spray with nonstick spray and add sausage rounds. Cook until done tossing occasionally. Add in cooked tortellini and pesto and mix. Heat through. 

This amount is filling, tasty and provides you with only 443 calories. If you were to use the "serving size" listed on the package of pasta (1 full cup) and pesto (1/4 cup) you would add on an additional 289 calories. If you were to use a full serving of regular pesto you would add 225 calories (on top of the 115 calories from the extra pasta)! All you need is a small spoonful to get that full basil-garlic-olive oil flavor! Pair this smaller version with a nice green salad and a drizzle of your favorite dressing and you have a better-for-you comfort meal. For an even better version you could swap the sausage for Jennie-O turkey sausage or a chicken breast (this will cut out another 100 calories).