Food Rut

Meal planning is hard. Packing lunch five days a week and cooking for a husband who likes a lot of variety and does not like healthy food while maintaining a budget, is like balancing on a tightrope. This week I decided to use a new source for dinner recipe ideas and found each one on Pinterest. My qualifications for a recipe are:

Minimally processed, whole ingredients

Can be cooked in 45 minutes or less (for a weekday meal)

Mostly meat-free

Every meal has some kind of vegetables

For really busy days, I always have a salad made up for the entire week. I do that on Sunday when I have time to wash and chop all of the vegetables. I make large batches, even though I cook for two, so we always have leftovers on hand.


Cereal with banana and kefir

Shredded Wheat

Uncle Sam’s Cereal

1 Banana

Strawberry Kefir


Coffee black x 2

Morning Snack

Banana Fresh

String Cheese



Quinoa With Roasted Butternut Squash

This came out amazing. The smell of the roasting squash was delicious and the pecans on top added just the right crunch.

Organic Apple

Afternoon Snack

More string cheese.


Tortellini Vegetable Soup

Tortellini Vegetable Soup

This soup was very tasty and really quick to make. The only change I would make is to lighten up on the salt. I was able to find a whole wheat cheese tortellini which was quite good. J usually complains about whole wheat pasta and he was not able to tell.

Tuna Sandwich

Tuna Sandwich with mixed greens on Ezekial Bread

What are your tips for getting out of a food rut?

Husband Approved Quick Dinner

J and I do not always see eye to eye on dinner. I am a healthier, less meat, more vegetables type eater. He wants dinner to be quick (so we don’t eat at 8 PM after my runs) and more meat-filled. Attempting to meet him in the middle, I spend a lot of time looking at recipes online. Recently I stumbled on Chipotle Bean Burritos.  This recipe is perfect, meat-like without meat, fairly healthy, and quick. J and I love Mexican food and any excuse to incorporate tortilla chips into a meal.

Chiptole Bean Burrito

The recipe is great because it would be easy to substitute different ingredients, depending what you have on hand. I used Pinto Beans instead of Black Beans because they were in my pantry. I would also use a few more cloves of garlic next time but adjust to your own tastes.

One burrito and many, many chips with guacamole was very filling. The recipe makes six, so there are leftovers for lunch.

Do you and your significant other disagree about dinner? How do you handle it?

Alton Brown Is My Cooking God (Baked Potatoes A Love Story)

I make the worlds worst baked potatoes. (You can ask J and he will surely confirm.) They are always under cooked and rarely have a crispy outside. So who to turn to with a culinary dilemma?



I used the recipe found here. The key is poking holes in the potato and cooking directly on the oven rack. Genius! I did change-up one thing, instead of canola oil I used Roasted Garlic Oil from Stonewall Kitchen.


I picked this up on a trip to the Cheese Shop On Park. If you like garlic, this is a must try.

I try to purchase fish once a week for dinner and always will purchase salmon when they have the wild caught variety in the store. I rubbed more of the Roasted Garlic Oil on the fish with salt/pepper and some Italian seasoning and cooked it in parchment.


Found a new use for my Touchpad. Sirius while cooking.


A few other tips I learned from AB (I can call him that because I follow him on the Twitter.)

1. When making nachos, use balls of tinfoil to prop cooling racks on top of a baking sheet. You can make a ton at one time and it makes clean-up easier.

2. You can use parsnips instead of carrots while baking.

3. Cooking should be fun and you don’t need a ton of fancy gadgets.

Besides being sick, I got some bad news at work today. Eating a baked potato that was actually cooked all the way through may have been the highlight of my day.

Do you love Alton Brown?

Have any great cooking tips to share?

What I Ate Wednesday

Yesterday’s run was kind of crappy. During it, I started to realize that doing a hard 60 minute workout the day after running seven miles might not have been the best idea. - If I ever had to run for my life, I would probably die.


Live and learn. Moving forward, I will probably have Sunday be an easy or rest day.

Now for the money shots, a day in the life of Dina’s food.


Cereal Kefir Shredded Wheat Uncle Sams

Shredded Wheat

Uncle Sam’s

Sliced Almonds


Strawberry Kefir




Salad with Goat Cheese

Super Greens

Grape Tomatoes



Goat Cheese


Olive Oil

String Cheese

String Cheese


Chobani Lemon Yogurt


Pre-Run Snack

Wasa Cracker

Whole Grain Wasa Cracker



Six-Inch Veggie on Honey Oat Bread (From Subway)



Green Peppers


Swiss Cheese

One Pickle


One bag of Baked Lay’s

This post linked up with peas & crayons for What I Ate Wednesday.

Were you able to buy the livingsocial deal for Whole Foods? It is crazy to me how much buzz the deal got and how many were sold. Should be interesting to see if more grocery stores jump on the bandwagon.



What’s For Dinner Wednesday

This weeks dinners have been quick and easy.

Monday was tuna on sprouted toast with sun dried tomatoes and greens. Left over white bean humus from The Shipyard Emporium with baby carrots.

Tuna Carrot Hummus

Tuesday was Turkey Tacos (you can also use chicken or bison here.)

1 1/4 or Ground Turkey Breast

1 Tbs. chili powder

1 Tbs. red pepper

1 Tsp. ground cumin

Sprinkle of salt and garlic powder

Cook for about ten minutes.

Add one can of kidney beans and heat.

Toppings included avocado and lime, salsa, Mexican cheese blend, and jalapeno’s.

Turkey Taco 1

I eat the rest of the turkey and salsa on assorted greens for lunch during the week. That is one of the great things about cooking like you have a family of four but being only two people.

Recipes To Try:

Avocado Basil Pesto These are some of my favorite things.

Sprouted Lentil Humus Burger Have tried some raw foods but would like to try more.

Pasta with Fennel, Sardines, and Pine Nuts – I am obsessed with sardines. I may gross out my coworkers by eating sardine sandwiches at work.

Any great new recipes to share?

Do you (or someone you work with) eat something at lunch that grosses you out?

What’s For Dinner Wednesday

I am in a food rut. I do all the cooking and grocery shopping in our house and when J will ask me what’s for dinner, I have been going to my old standards. That can get boring and eating a wide variety of foods is so important. (It can also lead to a happier husband.) - I'm a few days more of bland, unleavened food away from my goal weight.                                                  (Source)

I get some of the best recipe ideas from other bloggers and would love to start collecting your favorites and sharing some of mine.

A few of my favorite recipes:

Simple Delicious Quinoa Salad Recipe

Black-Bean Tostadas with Corn Relish

Pasta with Arugala, White Beans, and Walnuts

The EatingWell Taco

Summer Vegetable Frittata

What are your favorite go to recipes?



Saturday started with a bang. I was actually able to get out of the house before noon to get my run in. I have the best intentions every Saturday but am so slow in the morning, especially when I do not have to be somewhere (like work).

After my run, a little over three miles, I had to jump in the shower and drive in to Orlando for my hair appointment. Of course, there was tons of Disney traffic. Of course, my hairdresser was not at the salon when I got there. I ended up waiting around for 45 minutes until she texted my back and told me I could go to her house and she would do it for free.

J was craving seafood and Ocean Prime is newish, so we decided to check it out.


They have an amazing outdoor area, that I did not get any pictures of, but would totally love to get a drink out there.

I started with Berries & Bubbles which is: Belvedere Citrus Vodka, Marinated Blackberries, House made sour mix, and Domaine Chandon Brut. It also had dry ice in it so it smoked. I never order cocktails but this one was delicious.


J took a sip.


To start we had the white truffle caviar deviled eggs. I do not even like deviled eggs but these were yummy. Creamy, salty, and truffley rolled into each mouthwatering bite.


We also had Oysters. Being Connecticut natives, we can rarely turn down an appetizer from a raw bar.


J had the wedge salad.


I had the Prime Feature (Crab Crusted Blue Tilapia, French Beans, and Fingerling Potatoes). It was very good including the sides.


J had the filet with béarnaise sauce. He thought it was really good for a seafood place.


Ocean Prime was very good if not a bit over priced but the food was tasty and the service prompt. We will definitely eat here again.

How was you week-end?

Saturday at the mall

Saturday, when you have a three day week-end, can be a glorious affair. There is no need to rush to fit everything in because you have that extra day to get things done.

This Saturday started off with a run through my favorite park. It was not the five miles I planned on but at least it did not rain.


After the run, I worked on getting my new laptop set-up. I have wanted a laptop for awhile and have been looking for a good deal. Money is always tight with J being a full-time law-student but he surprised with me with the laptop on Friday night. It was actually pretty cute because he called me out of my office to watch a movie and was holding the box in his hands when I came out. Super cute and sweat. (The movie was Red Riding Hood which was pretty good but kind of cheesy. Who am I kidding, I love cheesy movies especially if there are cute boys in it.)

We headed over to the Mall at Millennia in Orlando because J needed to pick-up an external hard drive at the Apple store. We also had a Cheese Cake Factory gift card from Christmas. (Thanks in-laws!)

The largest menu known to man.


Before the bread basket came.


After the bread basket came. I was super hungry obviously.


We ate tons of food as usual.

It is a fact that the Cheese Cake Factory has the best spinach artichoke dip in all of greater Orlando.


Not the salad I ordered but still good.


Veggie pasta.


Caramel chicken.


I spied this from across the way. Not sure how the mall made it so far without fro-yo but this is an excellent development.


We came home and watched Sucker Punch which was kind of awesome.

Man Meals: Southwest Buffalo Burgers

If you read my previous post on Man Meals, you know that I am searching for quick, healthy meals that J will actually eat. He is not a picky eater but he thinks healthy food is boring.

I do not eat beef of any kind but will eat poultry. I tend to cook vegetarian meals but try, when I do cook meat, to use sustainable sources.

You start with ground buffalo.




Make them into four patties (I typically will make J’s larger than mine).

Season the patties with chili powder and salt/pepper.

Cook on the stove (or grill). Drain off excess fat. 

Place between toasted sprouted bread smeared with mashed avocado. Top with sliced jalapeno and salsa. I put extra lettuce greens on my burger.


Serve with roasted veggies (J did not eat these).


Ta da….


Man Meal number one or Southwest Buffalo Burgers.

Off to watch Falling Skies. I love summer TV.

Bar Louie and the return of J

J was in LA last week for E3. It was nice to have the house to myself but I missed him. (Not as much as the cats who spent nearly the entire week sleeping and moping around.) It just goes to show, I am only second best to those cats to J. He came back yesterday morning and we were able to have a nice evening on Saturday.

We went to Bar Louie in Dr. Phillips for a casual dinner before a movie.

J had the Buffalo Style Crispy Calamari for an appetizer. He thought it was different and he really liked it. 

We split chips with guacamole, salsa, and queso.

I had the Grilled Veggie Wrap. It was huge and I only could eat half but it will be good for lunch today.

J had The Luigi which is shaved ribeye, lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo, and olive oil.

We had a good time even though some of us needed more prompting than others. Smile for the camera J.

After dinner we went to see Super 8 on the IMAX at Pointe Orlando. It was a great movie and I would definitely recommend it.

Does your city have upside down buildings? Orlando does.

I also spotted police officers on horse back give someone (in a car) a ticket.

Now I need to head out the door for some grocery shopping. Stay tuned for my next post on running my first 15K. I am working on putting together a training plan (the race is the end of September) but have never raced anything longer than a 5K so I’m nervous/excited.

What did you do on Saturday?