WIAW: White Cheddar Mac & Cheese

Dear Readers,

It has been six weeks since my last WIAW post and these are my confessions.  HA!  Kidding.  But really…  It feels like I’m sitting down in a confessional since it has been over a month since I’ve joined Jenn’s delicious link-up.

I could remind you about how busy life currently is, but that would be redundant and I’m sure that others are equally as {or even more} busy.  But really…  Life is crazy, in the best possible way.  Teaching, conferences and meetings before/after-school, tutoring, working at the running store, running, getting ready for a fabulously fun bachelorette weekend, doctor’s appointments, yada yada yada.  I’ll save those rambles for another time because today it’s all about the food.

Salty, sweet, chewy, crunchy, doughy, fluffy, I don’t discriminate.  But I do get cravings and hankerings for things that I just have to have and couldn’t live another minute without.  

Breakfasts lately have been pancakes, but bagels are a close second.  I’ve eaten enough tuna fish to sustain a small country.  Trader Joe’s needs to sell their Sweet Apple Chicken Sausages in larger packages, five is just not enough.  I ate a whole bag of frozen peas after working at the running store {and yes, I had already eaten dinner}.  Wegmans real crab sushi rolls and organic soups are my favorite to get when Ryan and I go on weekend lunch dates.  I forgot how tasty doughy, white carbs are #wheatbrainturnedwhite.  And how delicious Annie’s White Cheddar Mac & Cheese is.  Actually, anything cheesy sounds absolutely divine.  PB&J will forever steal my heart.  And all days that end with ice cream are good days!

Now, onto yesterday’s eats…

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Breakfast:  It’s much easier for me to remember to take my vitamins when they’re gummies.  Two mini plain bagels topped with TJ’s creamy peanut butter + St. Dalfour Four Fruits Preserves with a side of {unpictured} frozen berries.

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Mid-Morning Snack:  School was delayed due to Monday’s snow, so on my way in I stopped by Starbucks.  A handful of dates and a grande Coffee Light Frappuccino minus the frapp base, plus a banana.  It has a mild coffee taste with a hint of banana.  The only thing that could make it better would chocolate.

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Lunch:  An apple, {unpictured peas and carrots}, PB&J sandwich on potato bread {current favorite bread!}, and  TJ’s honey pretzels.  More white carbs, swoon.  Oh, and a Diet Hansen’s because I had a stomach ache.  I suppose I do now have one confession to share since I was supposed to have given up candy and soda for Lent…

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Afternoon Snack {unpictured}:  In the car on the way to my chiropractor appointment, I ate a banana and a Luna Bar.  I used to eat a Luna Bar almost every day a few years ago and I seem to be getting back into the habit.  Hate to admit it, but Quest Bars aren’t doing it for me anymore.

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Dinner:  I’ll never forget when my momma first bought a box of Annie’s White Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese back when I was in high school.  I was bummed.  Bummed because I was so used to the traditional blue box…  But oh my, I quickly realized that there was more than silly shaped coated in orange cheese and I’ll never go back.  

For dinner I sautéed mushrooms with salt + pepper, added a handful of frozen peas, and poured a little jarred marina sauce into the pan.  While that was cooking, I cooked a box of Annie’s Whole Wheat Shells & White Cheddar {according to the directions} and warmed up a few frozen turkey meatballs from TJ’s.  The mushrooms and peas made a great base for the mac & cheese + meatballs, plus {salted} sliced tomatoes.  Definitely worth remaking again and again!

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Dessert:  A generous scoop of Stonyfield’s Gotta Have Vanilla frozen yogurt with a few animal crackers + grapes.  Strange combo but it hit the spot.

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P.S.  Check back tomorrow for a recipe for PB&J Energy Bites!  They’re no-bake and gluten-free!

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Question:  What food{s} have you been craving?

Question:  What’s the strangest combo you’ve recently enjoyed?

— Allison

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Thinking Out Loud: Mrs. Green’s

I didn’t sleep very well last night and have a 14-hour day ahead, so I’m struggling to come up with an interesting opener today…  Let’s just dive into my random thoughts.  Oh wait, did y’all see that I shared our current favorite dinner yesterday?  Mini Mexican Meatloaves…  Let me know if you try them!

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Thanks Amanda for hosting another week of Thinking Out Loud!

Thought #1:  By the time you read this I’ll have already been to the chiropractor and been adjusted…  I still need to attend a 4th grade team meeting, teach a full day, drive to Potomac River Running, work my first shift and learn all things running, squeeze in a late workout, and eat dinner hopefully before 10PM.  It’s a long Thursday!

Thought #2:  Ryan tried spaghetti squash for the first time and thought it was less than delicious.  I shared his thoughts via Twitter and a handful of ladies responded saying that their husbands don’t like it either…  Maybe it’s in our DNA?

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Thought #3:  Tuesday night Ryan and I had a headstand/handstand contest.  I struggled to do a headstand and he easily kicked his feet up into a handstand.  A computer wiz and a secret handstander…  I never saw it coming.  Considering I ended up at the chiropractor yesterday and again today, he clearly won.

image Tip: it’s called a HEADstand, but you’re not actually supposed to put any weight on your head – use your arms!

Thought #4:  Quest did it again.  I took a break from buying Quest Bars for the past few months, but the (bad) habit is back because of their newest, latest, greatest bar…  Cookies & Cream.  Get your hands on one or a dozen of them ASAP!  And if you don’t like them, you can most definitely send them to me ;)

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Thought #5:  This year I’m tracking my miles and cardio minutes for no real reason, but because I wanna know.  I’ve tried using the Nike Running App, but I always forget to turn it when I do a treadmill run.  A couple of weeks ago I outlined my workouts in iCal and it’s been good so far…  If I switch days or change workouts, I simply have to edit the event.  It doesn’t total numbers, but I don’t mind doing it myself.

  • Running:  54.6 miles
  • Walking:  7 miles
  • Cardio:  840 minutes

Thought #6:  Charlie loves getting tangled up in his t-shirt…

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Thought #7:  Hot dogs were our Super Bowl Sunday dinner.  I used to eat hot dogs frequently as a kid (my momma made franks and beans), but nowadays we typically buy chicken sausages.  The jalapeno chicken sausages from Trader Joe’s are our favorite!

Thought #8:  Over the weekend we swung by Mrs. Green’s, a new natural market that offers 100% organic produce, all-natural meats and dairy, artisan baked goods, supplements, and household, pet, and baby products.  It immediately reminded me of Whole Foods, but the prices were whopping expensive.  Ryan said it’s called Mrs. GREEN’S for a reason – you’ve gotta have a lot of green to shop there.

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Thought #9:  I forgot my lunch at home today and the thought of eating cafeteria food makes my stomach churn.  True story: A kid found a plastic knife in his hot dog one day at lunch when I was in elementary school.  Thankfully (or unthankfully?) Ryan is working from home today because he’s not feeling well, so he and Charlie saved me from having to buy.  I love my boys!

Thought #10:  Saturday morning I proctored another SSAT test and afterwards treated myself to my favorite “me time” – a mani + pedi…

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Question:  Did you usually bring or buy your lunch in grade school?

Question:  Spaghetti squash – yay or nay?  What’s your favorite way to eat it?

— Allison

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WIAW: Mini Mexican Meatloaves {Recipe}

Last night I was dreaming about sunshine, warm weather, and swear that I could smell the salty beach.  But the salt that I smelled most likely was from the snow trucks outside my window because I woke up this morning to ice and a 2-hour delay.  Oye, VA.

Thank you all so much for your messages since Monday’s post.  The unknown definitely can be stressful and although there are no quick fixes, I truly believe that an optimistic attitude can help…  Or a trip to the nail salon.  And a supportive husband (significant other/family/friend).

Another thing that always seems to help is what Ryan calls “good mood food” ;)   Some of my favorite good mood foods include fluffy cappuccinos, pancakes, chocolate, salty + sweet snacks, comfort food (no surprise)…  Which is exactly what I ate on Sunday.

Thanks Jenn for hosting another tasty link-up!

IMG_5782 fluffy vanilla cappuccino {this recipe without molasses, plus a touch of vanilla extract}

IMG_5799 Cinnamon Pancakes {without flax seeds} topped with Greek yogurt + peanut butter + strawberry jam + bananas

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IMG_5819 the toughest long run yet, I wanted to quit every.single.mile – 8 {treadmill} miles

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IMG_5824 an orange, carrots, Honey Mustard Tuna Fish Salad with Avocado wrapped up, & pretzels

IMG_5838 a banana & Brown Bag Popcorn with almonds + Joe’s O’s

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IMG_5774 Mini Mexican Meatloaves

Inspired by Mini BBQ Cheddar Meatloaves by Iowa Girl Eats

Ingredients (serves 2 – 4):

  • 1/2 small sweet onion, diced
  • Sprinkle of salt
  • Approx. 1 lb. lean ground turkey
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1/4 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • 1 tbsp. Stubb’s Bar-B-Q Spice Rub
  • 1/4 cup Trader Joe’s Crisp Rice Cereal {or any rice cereal}

Directions:

Place a medium skillet over medium heat and coat with cooking spray.  Cut onion in half and dice.  Add onion to pan and sprinkle with salt.  Cook until onions are caramelized and a golden brown color.  Turn heat off and set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 350*.  In a large bowl, combine the ground turkey, egg, salsa, cheese, spice rub, rice cereal, and onions.  Mix until combined and form into four miniature meatloaves.  Place meatloaves on a greased baking sheet.  Bake uncovered for 25 – 30 minutes, or until no longer pink in the center.

Mini Mexican Meatloaves Ryan & I each ate two mini loaves for dinner – they’re delicious!

Notes:

  • Black beans, olives, and/or corn would be great additions
  • Serve with with beans, quinoa, or rice, for a complete Mexican-inspired meal
  • Meatloaf is one of the few foods that I think tastes better the next day – slice up a loaf, add your favorite taco toppings, and wrap it up in a tortilla

IMG_5653 chewy & soft Brown Sugar Peanut Butter Cookies

Question:  What are your favorite good mood foods?

Question:  What foods do you think taste better the next day?

— Allison

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