Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Linguine with Clam Sauce

What was on the menu tonight at the Hoffman's?

Linguine with Clam Sauce

3/4 cup chopped onion (about one onion)

1 tsp. minced garlic (or more-I love garlic!!)

1/3 cup olive oil (I used 1 T. of butter tonight instead b/c I was feeling bad-was delish!)

3 (7 ounce) cans minced clams

2 Tbsp. chopped parsley

Linguine (use whole wheat!)

Saute onion and garlic in oil/butter until onion is limp. Drain and reserve liquid from clams. Add half the liquid to the onion and garlic. Cover. Simmer slowly about 15 minutes. Add minced clams and remaining liquid, pepper, and parsley. Heat through, about 5 minutes longer. Serve over cooked pasta.

Serves: 3 people

**This is sooo yummy and super easy! Doesn't take long to make either. This recipe is an "oldy but goody" I got from my Mom. I was going to take a picture, but it wasn't very pretty/colorful from the whole wheat noodles and the brownish clams. It def. tastes better than it looks! We had this with a spinach salad tossed with almonds and dried apricots, and fresh broccoli on the side. YUM! :)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Ber's Bowl

ACAC To Host 3rd Annual Ber's Bowl

Midlothian, VA - January 12, 2010 - ACAC Fitness & Wellness Center is asking the community to exercise for a cause all weekend leading up to the Super Bowl! ACAC will host the 3rd Annual Ber's Bowl February 5, 6 & 7. Group exercise classes will run non-stop from 4pm-7pm on Friday, 8am-6pm on Saturday and 9am-1pm on Super Bowl Sunday. For every class attended, ACAC will donate $1 for each ACAC member and $5 for each guest, all benefiting Ber ("bear") and others struggling with childhood cancer. Activities such as a family basketball shoot-out between 2-4pm on Saturday and family classes throughout the weekend will ensure each member of your family is having a blast while supporting a wonderful cause. Also on-hand, an ACAC Massage Therapist who will be offering seated massages for $1/minute with all proceeds benefiting Ber. This event is FREE and classes are open to the public.

Ber's Story

The son of ACAC Group Exercise instructor Amber van der Meer and her husband Stephen and big brother to little Elizabeth, Ber is an extremely special, loving, energetic and curious six year old boy. Ber has always been the special kind of child that brightens the lives of everyone around him and his courage is beyond description.

On the week of Ber's fourth birthday, he went to the doctor with suspected growing pains in his legs. Family and friends were devastated to learn that he was diagnosed with Stage-4 Neuroblastoma, a type of children's cancer. Ber immediately started chemotherapy at MCV. After completing chemo in Richmond, Ber then had surgery at Memorial Sloan Kettering in NYC. Though not yet in remission, Ber will continue to fight this disease with our help. The outpouring of support from the community the past three years has been awe-inspiring and the hope is to pull together again to help Ber and his family with this tremendous fight as well as raise funds for others affected by this illness.

Neuroblastoma affects roughly 650 children each year in the US. The 5-year survival rate for children greater than 1 year of age who are diagnosed with Stage-4 Neuroblastoma is only 30-40 percent. Despite these dismal odds, very few funds are available for research due to the rare occurrence of this disease.

***If you live in Richmond, please stop by ACAC the weekend of Ber's bowl to help raise money for childhood cancer's (you don't have to be a member!). When I work the weekends at ACAC, Ber is often there. In fact, last week Ber and I had a sweet discussion of what he learned in school that week. Ber said he learned to always "tell the truth, be compassionate, and do things for others." I was speechless and felt the tears coming to my eyes...what big words for a six year old with cancer taking over his precious, young body. These are words we should all live by...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

More yummy recipes

I had time Friday night to cook a dinner that required time. It was a rainy, cold night in Richmond, so I thought I'd make risotto! The meals I cook during the work week aren't very complicated, but still good. Daniel and I have fun on the weekends when we have more time to make more gourmet, tough recipes. This risotto recipe isn't tough, it is just tedious and time-consuming. I loooove risotto though and this turn out to be great! (As you can see in the pic above, I was hungry and ready to eat---then I remembered to take a pic!) :)

For dessert, I made Banana Pudding...a favorite of me and Daniel's. I make up the recipe as I go, but below is the one I made in the picture shown.

Laura's Banana Pudding

2 large Bananas
1 container of fat-free cool whip
1 large package of fat-free vanilla pudding
1 small package of banana pudding
Vanilla Wafers
Caramel Sauce

1. Combine the two puddings and make according to package directions (you'll need milk-I used Skim).
2. In a large bowl, put some of the pudding as the bottom layer (once pudding is set).
3. Next layer with cool whip.
4. Next layer with banana slices.
4. Then layer with vanilla wafers and put a small amount of caramel sauce over wafers (or as much as desired)
5. Continue to layer in that order until the bowl is full.
6. Let set in refrig. until time to eat!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Vitamin C, please?

Tomorrow I'm going on day 12 of all work and no breaks. No break is scheduled for me until the end of I going to make it??!! YES!!! :) However, I do feel a cold/scratchy throat coming on. :( Hellooooo Vitamin C, orange juice and orange slices! Also, no work outs and going to bed early for extra sleep.

Update on work: I am loving my job at the Retail Merchants Association. Everyone is so nice, helpful and great teachers. Come February when I am finished with training, I feel I am going to be super busy. I am excited though and ready for this! I am still working at the gym on the weekends. This is also still going well...I get my baby fix, enjoy the healthy atmosphere, and get a free membership for myself and a super cheap one for my husband. Doesn't get much better than that!

I have been proud of myself for working hard, yet finding time to exercise, put a home-made dinner on the table every night for the hubs and I, and do home chores. Thankfully-this is all made easier with a supportive and loving husband, family and friends. I am very happy to be back living this productive life after a nice is good, now cold-go away!

Off to make turkey burgers for dinner!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Food, glorious food!

Aside from work, work, work...the hubs and I have been cookin' fools! Friday night, we let ourselves have a "special treat" and we went out to dinner. We went to a hibachi grill and it was yummy! Saturday night, Daniel cooked for me. I was very excited about this, as I worked Saturday and was starting to feel the exhaustion. Daniel cooked "Kung Pao Chicken" a copycat version of PF Chang's Kung Pao Chicken. It was great! It wasn't Daniel's favorite, but it was very yummy and close to what you'd get at PF Chang's. I made "All American Heath Brownies" for dessert...yum-o. Tonight (Sunday-even though this is my 7th straight day of work) I had my Dad over since my Mom is out of town...I made French Onion Soup and my Dad brought Buffalo Chicken Wings straight from Buffalo (he was there visiting his family and came back this afternoon). The wings were amaaaazing...true Buffalo wings from the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, where wings were founded. I can't eat wings anywhere else, but where they originated--Buffalo...these are hands down the greatest, most mouth watering, wings-EVER. You've never had true wings if you've never had them from Buffalo, NY. The French Onion soup was good, but not awesome...therefore-you will not see the recipe below.

Kung Pao Chicken II (Copycat)

Recipe #202420 | 30 min | 30 min prep | add private note





  1. 1
    Combine chicken, salt, egg white, and cornstarch. Mix well by hand and set aside.
  2. 2
    In a small bowl, blend all sauce ingredients. Set aside.
  3. 3
    Add 2 tablespoons oil to heated wok and stir fry chicken. Cook the chicken until it's golden to golden brown on each side. Remove to serving bowl.
  4. 4
    Add 2 more tablespoons oil to same wok.
  5. 5
    Toss peanuts chili peppers and carrots in the wok and stir fry until peppers turn dark red.
  6. 6
    Remove from wok and add to chicken. Lower Heat. If necessary, add more oil.
  7. 7
    Stir fry green onions and garlic for several seconds. (Do not let garlic burn.).
  8. 8
    Return chicken, peanuts and peppers to wok and stir fry a few seconds to combine.
  9. 9
    Add water chestnuts and combined sauce ingredients and stir fry till heated through and thickened (less than a minute).
  10. 10
    Serve over rice. (we used brown rice)

All American Heath Brownies

1/3 cup butter or margarine
3 sections (1/2 oz. each) Hershey's unsweetened chocolate baking bar
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
2 cups (8-oz. pkg.) heath milk chocolate toffee bits

1. Heat oven to 350. Grease bottom of 8-inch square baking pan.
2. Melt butter and chocolate in medium saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally. Stir in sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Combine flour, baking powder and salt; add to chocolate mixture, stirring until well blended. Stir in 3/4 cup of heath toffee bits. Spread batter in prepared pan.
3. Bake 20 mins. or until brownies begin to pull away from sides of pan. Remove from oven; sprinkle with remainder of toffee bits. Cover tightly with foil. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Remove foil; cut into squares, pour a tall glass of milk and ENJOY!
Servings: 12

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Baked Potato and Broccoli Soup

Baked Potato and Broccoli Soup

1/4 c. all purpose flour (heaping cup!)

2 (14.5 oz) cans chicken broth, divided

3 c. peeled, cubed potato (about 1 1/4 lbs)

2 c. broccoli, chopped

1 small onion chopped

1 ½ cups milk (I used skim milk and it worked just fine)

8 oz. block reduced fat sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (use the block cheese rather than pre-shredded for even melting)

4 fully cooked bacon slices, crushed after cooked (I know, I know--this is not a lot of bacon-but gives the soup good flavor! Keeping this healthy, people!)

3/4 cup cooked ham- Optional! (I had this on hand, so just threw it in)

7 teaspoons chopped green onions

Whisk together flour and 1/3 c. chicken broth until smooth. You may need to stir in a little extra flour if the broth doesn't thicken up enough (you should be fine though w/the heaping cup).

Combine remaining chicken broth and next 3 ingredients in a Dutch oven. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 8 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Gradually stir in flour mixture. Cook, stirring often, 5 minutes. Add ham and cooked bacon.

Stir in Milk and 8 oz. shredded cheese. Cook mixture over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until cheese melts. Top each serving of soup with bacon pieces (if you have some leftover), 1 tsp. chopped green onions.

**This soup was ahhh--maazing...especially on a cold winter's night. We have lots of leftovers and this makes us happy so we have easy "go-to" dinners on super busy evenings (or great for lunch, too!).

***It did take me about 45 mins. from start to finish. Not super fast, but it was easy and worth the extra minutes. Also, this soup is a much healthier version compared to most potato soups. It makes a huge pot, so eat up!

****Thank you Melissa for this recipe!!!! Although I made a few personal changes, it was still a wonderful---thanks for the dinner idea!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Chili-Soy Glazed Salmon

On tonight's menu was Chili-Soy Glazed Salmon, baked sweet potatoes, lima beans, and salad. It was delicious if I do say so myself. My hubby loved it as well...score!!!! :) This meal was easy, healthy and quick. My kind of meal!

I made a few changes to the recipe, but I have made the changes below:

Chili-Garlic Glazed Salmon

3/4 T. of Sriracha sauce (or any hot sauce)
3 T. minced green onions
3 T. Apricot Marmalade
1/2 T. low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup Panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
4 salmon fillets (or in our case, we had one huge salmon fillet that we split into 3 pieces)
Cooking spray

1. Preheat Broiler
2. Combine first 4 ingredients in a small bowl; brush half of chili sauce mixture over fillet. Place fillet, skin side down, on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Broil fish 5 minutes; brush with remaining chili sauce mixture. Add Panko, then broil 3 more minutes, or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness.

Calories: 298; Fat: 13g; Protein: 36 g

*I got this original recipe off, however; I changed the recipe so much---it is now a Laura recipe!

Eat those Omega 3's and ENJOY!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Curry Chicken

What was on the menu tonight at the Hoffman's? Crockpot Curry Chicken!!! Daniel and I both loved this dish. I threw everything in the crockpot this morning before work and set it on low...the apartment smelled delish when I got home. I love crock pots!!!

I made a couple changes to the recipe. Since it's not peach season and I did not want to use canned peaches, I used dried apricots instead (perfect!). I also did not have a shallot on hand, so I put in a couple tablespoons of dried onion I had. I served this dish over rice, and we also had brussel sprouts and broccolini. A perfect warm, easy, healthy meal after a long day at work! Enjoy :)

Curry Chicken

From our provider:
    4-6 chicken thighs or boneless skinless, chicken breasts
    2 peaches, skinned and sliced into 1/4 inch slices, reserving 8 slices for garnish
    1/3 cup raisins
    1 shallot, thinly sliced
    1 tablespoons olive oil
    fresh ginger root - thinly sliced - 4 slices
    2 cloves garlic - crushed
    1/2 teaspoon curry powder
    1 teaspoon cumin
    1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
    3/4 cup chicken stock
    1 tablespoon cider vinegar
    1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
    salt and pepper
    lemon juice
    Hot cooked jasmine rice
  1. Rinse, dry, and season the chicken with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a skillet and add the chicken to lightly brown, about 3 minutes per side.
  3. Transfer chicken to Crock-Pot® slow cooker and top with peaches, raisins and shallots.
  4. Reserve the remaining 8 slices of peaches and toss with lemon juice to coat and refrigerate.
  5. Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl, whisk to combine and pour over chicken.
  6. Turn Crock-Pot® slow cooker to High and cook for 3 – 3 1/2 hours.
  7. Serve over jasmine rice. Top with the reserved peaches as a garnish.
From Disney Family Food

Monday, January 4, 2010

Day One: DONE

Today was my first day at my new job. It was I really feel that this job is a good fit for me. After a year of waiting and waiting and waiting for a job to come...the time has finally come! I am a firm believer that "what's meant to be will be," and this saying has once again proved itself. God has a plan!

Thanks to "Grammy" (my Mom---Zeus' Grandma in Richmond)...we had a sitter for our fur-baby on this first day of transition while both Daniel and I were at work. Zeus was very excited to have Grammy time and play with Tanner today! We also came home from work to a delicious dinner thanks to Mom of homemade Beef Bourguignon, broccolini, homemade cranberry bread, a spinach salad with fresh fruit on it, and homemade cookies. My Mom did all of this...and she worked a full day. She is one amazing woman...I hope I can be as awesome as her one day! :)

I am feeling that 2010 is going to be a great year. It is off to a very nice start. I hope it's off to a good start for you and your loved ones as well.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

What a great start to the new year we have had so far! Daniel and I spent a quiet, relaxing evening at home last night to ring in the new year. We had a crab dip for our appetizer, yummy wine and then cooked "surf and turf": Lobster tails, steak, green beans, and twice baked potatoes. It was very delish!!! For dessert we had cookies and ice cream...a favorite dessert of mine. We purchased our "joint" Christmas gift...a 54" plasma flat screen a couple days ago. Last night we had fun setting this up and watching the ball drop in NYC on our huge screen. We felt like we were right there with everyone...only in our comfy clothes, warm and without the crazy crowds!

I had to work today, then I worked out, then we went over to my parents for their traditional new years dinner. It was sooo yummy! My Mom had a ham, cooked spinach, black eyed peas, homemade biscuits, homemade mac n'cheese (healthier version for my sensitive stomach--thanks Mom!) and fresh fruit. For dessert we had her amazing homemade cookies. Yummmmoo!!!

Before I forget, I am posting a recipe below of a chicken dish I made Wednesday night. It is so yummy, healthy and easy. I highly recommend it! Keep in mind this recipe is for 3, so make sure to double if you need more servings.

Lemon-Apricot Chicken (Cooking for 3)

Lemon-Apricot Chicken (Cooking for 2)
Recipe Tip
Super Chicken
Chicken contains vitamin B6, also called pyridoxine. Vitamin B6 is important for digesting proteins, plus it helps to keep hair and nerves healthy.
Check your pantry! Peach or orange preserves can be substituted for the apricot preserves for an equally delicious dish.
You can use a meat mallet, rolling pin or even a wine bottle to flatten chicken breast halves. Just pound each breast down to 1/2-inch thickness. This helps the meat cook quickly and evenly.

prep time:20 min
start to finish:50 min
makes:3 servings

2tablespoons fat-free egg product or 1 egg white (I used one egg)
1tablespoon water
1/2cup Bisquick Heart Smart® mix (I used whole wheat pancake mix)
11/2teaspoons grated lemon peel
1/8teaspoon garlic powder
3small chicken breasts (1/2 lb)
Cooking spray
Lemon slices, if desired

Lemon-Apricot Sauce
1/3cup apricot preserves
1tablespoon lemon juice
1/4teaspoon soy sauce
1/8teaspoon ground ginger
1.Heat oven to 425°F. Spray 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray. In shallow dish, beat egg product and water slightly. In another shallow dish, stir together Bisquick® mix, lemon peel and garlic powder.
2.Dip chicken into egg mixture, then coat with Bisquick mixture. Place in pan. Spray chicken with cooking spray.
3.Bake uncovered 20 minutes. Turn; bake 10 minutes longer or until chicken is no longer pink in center.
4.In small microwavable bowl, stir together all Lemon-Apricot Sauce ingredients. Microwave on High 1 minute; stir. Cut chicken crosswise into 1/2-inch slices. Pour sauce over chicken. Garnish with lemon slices.
I served this chicken over brown rice, and on the side we had broccoli and butternut squash. This meal was a hit! The recipe is from ---great web-site!

I hope that you have a very happy, healthy, fabulously fun New Year! Welcome 2010!!!!