Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sunday Dinner

Our Sunday night tradition is to go over to my parents for dinner every Sunday...well, when we are both in town (which is sometimes a rare occurrence!). My Mom is an AMAZING cook and my Dad an amazing griller...and great cleaner-upper. ;) It is fun going over for dinner there on Sundays as Mom is always trying new, delicious, flavorful and healthy recipes. She always makes complicated recipes, yet gets them done in a timely fashion and manages to have everything together perfectly. Every Sunday we come over we are excited to see what will be on the menu for the evening.

This past Sunday was different. Daniel and I had my parents over to our new home, instead. Now that our kitchen is in working order, it was our turn to have them over. We ate our first meal at our new dining room table...used our fancy wedding gifts that we hadn't used yet (finally!!!), and made our first "complicated" meal. (Our meals before this have been horribly easy to throw together) We are all kicking ourselves because we forgot to take pictures of the big event. The four of us had a great time, and Daniel and I kept saying how grown-up we feel to own a large, formal dining room table. Yozers! (haha)

On the menu for Sunday night was:
-Sweet and Sour Tilapia
-Zucchini bread (recipe in post before this)
-Brown Rice
-Fresh green beans (you know the ones you snap the ends off...yum)
-Summer salad
-Tri-Berry Trifle for dessert

Since it's been 100 degrees plus, I wanted to do something light and cool for dinner. I found the tilapia recipe from Cooking Light and it turned out good, but not great. I will not share the recipe because I did not love it, so it's not worth the post. :) I didn't do anything fancy with the green beans, but my Mom usually boils them in fat-free chicken broth...this adds some good flavor. I would have done this but didn't have the broth on hand, so I just used water. For the summer salad, I mixed up fresh spinach, blueberries, chopped cashews, and a little bit of Gorgonzola cheese, then tossed this with a fat-free raspberry vinaigrette...yum-o.

Lately, I have been on an eating local kick...mainly for fresh, local, farm-grown fruit. I have been eating my weight plus in blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, etc. this summer. I usually eat a lot of fruit, but man---this summer I basically have fruit with every meal, plus for snacks. I can't get enough. I don't want summer and all this fresh produce to end!!!! So, for dessert, I made a Tri-Berry Trifle. I think this was my most favorite part of the meal. I got this recipe from a web-site called: "You've Got Supper"...great cooking web-site for those of your interested. Here is the recipe:

Servings: 8 Prep Time: 20 min.
Berry deliciousness!!

• 2 cup(s) whipping cream (I used 2 containers of light cool whip and it worked great!)
• 1/4 cup(s) sugar (I used a little less than this b/c it's not really needed)
• 1 tsp vanilla
• 1 lime(s)
• 1 cup(s) blackberries
• 2 cup(s) blueberries
• 2 cup(s) raspberries
• 1 angel food cake

1. Beat together heavy whipping cream, sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Fold in lime zest from one lime.

2. Set aside 1/4 cup blueberries, 1/4 cup blackberries and 1/4 cup raspberries in separate bowl. Combine the remaining berries in a flat dish and gently crush with a large spoon to release the juices. Add juice from one lime and stir.

3. Cut angel food cake into 1/2 inch cubes. Place half in bottom of glass trifle dish. Top with half of crushed berry mixture and then 1/2 of whipped cream. Repeat layers with remaining angel food cake, crushed berries and whipping cream. Top with reserved bowl of berries.

*This is SO delicious and so easy. I was curious to how this would taste, but it is sooo good and the lime really makes the dessert. I have to thank my mother-in-law for her inspiration with trifles. I looove trifle desserts and think of her everytime I make or eat them. :) She makes a mean coffee trifle and berry trifle!


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Zucchini Bread

One of our nice neighbors dropped by a HUGE fresh garden grown zucchini along with some delicious tomatoes. Since the zucchini was obviously over grown, the taste wouldn't be the same if I were to put it in a salad or other dish where it doesn't cook much. However, I had to put this fresh zucchini to use some how! Mmm...zucchini bread! I got this recipe from Cooking Light, but made a few changes, so here is the recipe below:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 t. baking powder
1 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. baking soda
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
1/3 cup canola oil
1 t. grated lemon rind
2 t. vanilla extract
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 cups shredded zucchini
1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (if desired, I don't like nuts in my bread so didn't use them)


-Preheat oven to 350.
-Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, level with a knife. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients (through baking soda) in a large bowl.
-Combine sour cream and next 4 ingredients (through egg) in a large bowl; add sugar, stirring until combined. Add zucchini; stir until well combined. Add flour mixture, stir just until combined. Stir in walnuts.
-Divide batter evenly between 2 loaf pans (or if you want 1 large loaf, this works too) coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 for 1 hour (may be closer to 2 hours if you just do one large loaf) or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pans on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

Enjoy! This is delicious for breakfast, with lunch and dinner, as a snack...or my favorite with peanut butter!

Friday, July 23, 2010


"Change is the essence of life. Be willing to surrender what you are for what you could become.”

I'm not sure who wrote this quote, but I love it. It sure has been a year of change for me. Beginning in January, I accepted a job at the Retail Merchants Association in sales. I have enjoyed this job and the staff. The experience to get out in Richmond and meet very important people who make Richmond what it is has also been great. Although I have had a good experience, this week I resigned. Sales is tough and requires a special person to do it. Selling retail memeberships is not my passion, however; I am pleased to say that I have finally discovered my true passion in life. Well, I've known about it for gosh, the past 20 years? But, it has officially surfaced and has been like a bright, shiny light going off in my head. I mean, it's as clear as the bright sun...wham right in my face.

I began personal training about three months ago. And, I love it. I don't even think that love is a strong enough word to describe my passion towards it. Growing up in a family where exercise and nutrition play a huge part in our lifestyle and a Mom who is a registered nutritionist, I know-has had a lot to do with where my heart is leading me. Not only do I l.o.v.e. reading about exercise/nutrition, cooking healthy and exercising almost daily, but I also love helping others. Growing up I've always wanted a career that helps people. Whether it be helping a little old lady with her groceries...helping deliver meals on wheels to the less fortunate...helping "Tammy" become more tone...or helping "Jared" to get one stop closer to his fitness goals. Help---such a simple word that can mean so much. I love helping others and the sense of peace and happiness that comes from this.

Now...if I could just pass the darn personal trainer's exam! There are a few PT exams out there, but of course, I've picked one of the hardest and highest ranked...darn it! But, I am NOT giving up and I WILL pass it. The test is A LOT harder than I ever I am a AWFUL test taker (not a good combo). Now that I have resigned from RMA, I am going to have more time to focus on studying and passing this baby. Thankfully, Dustin (owner of Stride Club where I train) allows me to train there as he knows my background and that I'm working hard to pass this test.

August 6th will be my last day at the RMA. I am already getting more PT clients and couldn't be happier about it. Right now I have four, and will be able to get even more once I'm not working full-time. This will now be my full-time position beginning early August, woohoo.

Back to "change"'s been a year of changes with jobs and with buying our first home. We've had a lot of first time home experiences with the new house and all that comes with it...hello renovations. Phew! I have learned through growing up and moving a lot and then the experiences I've had of late that change is hard, but it can be so good and so worth all the tough times. If you're going through change or thinking about going through can do it, and you'll have me as your cheerleader if you need it. Thankfully, I have an EXTREMLEY supportive husband and family who have been my cheerleaders. THANK YOU, THANK YOU to all of you! I wonder what will come next for the Hoffman's?? Hopefully nothing too crazy...well...unless we won the lottery or something??! ;)

Oh, and this is the longest post ever, but update on our house: It's going great! Our (or should I say Daniel's) big project that we are currently working on now is remodeling a bathroom. Man this is a lot of work and nasty work. Thankfully we can close the door and not see it when we don't want to! I promise I will post pictures soon. Our Mac has been and still is in the shop, so once we get it back I'll be able to get some pics up (using my work computer currently).

Have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Egg o'licious

It's been a while since my last recipe post. Although our kitchen is 95% done (horray!), we are still working hard on our house, so I have not done anything super exciting in the kitchen yet. The nice thing about our kitchen being done though is that we can now eat at home...ahhh...sigh of relief. :) However, because we have been so insanely busy, I have been creating super easy and healthy meals for us at home. Nothing yet has been *fabulous* enough to share, until I made egg salad last night for us. With these 100 degree days, I have been wanting cool and light meals. I love egg salad, but don't eat it that often as I don't like when it's loaded with mayo. I thought a perfect, cool, light dinner last night would be to fix up some egg salad sandwiches. I got the recipe off, but I changed it, so this is my version below:

Egg Salad

8 eggs
2 T. low-fat mayo
2 T. prepared Dijon-style mustard (I only had honey mustard on hand, and it worked great)
1 t. paprika
1 t. prepared dried onion/herb mix (if you have this on hand)
salt and pepper to taste

1. Place eggs in a saucepan and cover with cool water. Bring water to a boil; cover, remove from heat, and let eggs stand in hot water for 10-12 minutes. Remove hot water and add cold water to the eggs. Remove water after eggs are cooled, then peel and chop.
2. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, mayo, mustard, paprika, onion and salt and pepper. Mash well with a fork or wooden spoon.
3. Serve on bread as a sandwich or over crisp lettuce as a salad.



I served this as a sandwich on toasted whole wheat sandwich thins, as sides we had fresh pineapple, a spinach salad with crasians and cashews, and baked chips with salsa. Delicious summer meal.

Friday, July 16, 2010


If this picture doesn't make you smile, then I don't know what will! I am a proud Aunt to baby James. James is doing well and growing lots. Michael called the other day and heard James laugh for the first time. This was a special moment for all! I told him I wish he had it on time they will be prepared.

Happy Friday to all!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Holden Beach

Daniel and I took a MUCH NEEDED vacation for a few days down in Holden Beach in North Carolina. Daniel's family does a beach vacation here every year, and the whole family comes. They rent a large house so that everyone can stay together. It is wonderful! Each couple/family chooses a night they want to cook dinner before the vacay, and then when we get to the beach you can relax on the night you're not cooking and then have fun cooking for about 12 people when it's your night.

Before experiencing the Hoffman beach vacation, I was a little weary of how it would be...all of us staying under one roof for a few days. After going for the first time a few years ago, I was pleasantly surprised though at how AWESOME it is. Everyone does their own thing and it is so fun and relaxing. Always lots of laughter...giggles...smiles and fun. We are not sure though how much longer we'll all be able to stay under one roof as the family keeps growing with babies!

Unfortunately Daniel and I have not been able to stay for the full week in a few years (or, I have never). This is because we don't have much vacation time with our jobs, and we have to plan out our vacation to make time to go to other social events/vacations such as weddings. We are thankful though to be able to get down there with the family for a few days, but it's always SO hard to leave everyone!

When Daniel and I had our night to cook, we made Steak and Cheese sandwiches (recipe already on blog), roasted veggies, baked beans and for dessert...yummmmmy brownie, peanut butter marshmallow treats. This dessert recipe is not on the blog yet, but I will get it up soon. :)

We were both thankful to have lots of relaxing time and to get away from the real world craziness of work and house remodeling. This was a much needed vacation for us both. I especially enjoyed hanging out with family and being the sun-worshipper that I am. Yay for finally a tan...I just wish it would stay...

We were at the beach for the 4th, and it was lots of fun. Lisa and Tim cooked a wonderful meal (Lisa...will you please send me your dessert recipe?!) and Tim and Daniel (the wild men of the family) bought MANY fireworks, so we had a show that evening. Although Elise and I had our hearts in our throats b/c we were so nervous that someone would get hurt...nevertheless all went well and it was fun.

After vacay, it was stressful coming back to our house that is in complete chaos. I know Daniel and I didn't sleep well when we got back as our list of what to do in the house kept rolling over and over in our minds...

We had a great time...can we go back soon?!

I am heading to my parents beach house at the end of July for a quick girls weekend with my Clemson friends. Then in late August Daniel and I will be taking a few days off to head to Cape Cod for a friends wedding and site-seeing. Thankfully, we have some fun things to look forward to! Have I mentioned how much I LOVE summer???