Baked sweet potato fries

You know that moment when you open your car door after it has been parked in the sun for an hour?  You know what I’m talking about, when you feel like getting in your oven would be better than getting in your driver’s seat.  Or what about how you start sweating buckets the moment you make it out your front door and realize that deodorant should have left home with you today.  Maybe I’m the only one.

Fun in the sun

Fun in the sun

In any case, summer is here for real, folks.  The upside is that we are now able to enjoy days by the pool, fruity drinks with umbrellas (right, like we waited for summer), and vacations to the beach.  Additionally, I am officially DONE with grad school and can now say I earned a Master’s degree in mental health clinical counseling.  I am still job hunting but have not come across the right position for me yet.  In the meantime, I continue evaluating my skills (counseling skills, cooking skills, nun-chuck skills) and remain open minded about my career path.  Things have taken an interesting turn recently.

Mom and Stuffed Husband

Mom and Stuffed Husband

Yesterday I interviewed for and was offered a position as a personal fitness trainer at a local New Orleans gym.  This is outside my experience area but I also find myself quite passionate about this career move.  For the next day or so I’ll be mulling it over, praying, and weighing my options.

baked sweet potato fries

baked sweet potato fries

Job chatter aside, let’s cook some yummy grub!  One of my all-time favorite foods are French fries.  I LOVE them. I love them alone. I love them with ketchup. I love them with CHEESE. I love them with MORE CHEESE.  And, I love them with CHEESE and Jalapeños.  Who doesn’t?  OFF WITH YOUR HEAD.

Baked sweet potato fries are a doable substitute when you are craving a yummy fry but trying to make up for your late-night sins of beer and pizza.  It happens.  Baking the fries saves a number of calories and makes clean up a little easier.  Here’s what you’ll need:

  • two large sweet potatoes (one potato per person usually makes more than enough)
  • 1 tsp of olive oil per potato
  • salt, pepper, or seasonings of your liking
  • aluminum foil to line your baking sheet for easier clean up

First, preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Wash your potatoes and slice them up into 1/2 to 3/4 inch slices.

bakedsweetpotatofries2Toss them in olive oil and seasonings in a bowl.  Then lay out on your baking sheet so they are not touching.

bakedsweetpotatofries3Pop them in the oven for 20 minutes.  Do not open the stove during this time.  It ensures a better fry, I promise.  After 20 minutes, remove the fries from the oven and turn each over so we can cook the other side evenly.

baked sweet potato fries 4Follow by putting them back in the oven for 10 more minutes.  NO opening the oven.  Don’t do it.  You’ll ruin everything. Ok, not everything but I promise it will be worth it when you bite into the perfect fry.

bakedsweetpotatofries5Then just serve them up with a yummy burger, some grilled chicken, or just all by themselves.  Hope you enjoy these as much as I do!

Dig in!

Dig in!

I will keep you all posted on my career decision as things move along.  Thanks for all your support!

Peace, love, and big girl decisions,

~The Hungry Wife

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Black Bean Soup. Arriba!

Something about bean soup just makes sense.  It’s a comfort food for me.  After watching the horrible news unfold about the Tornados that hit Moore, Oklahoma, I knew I needed soup.

This soup is both easy to make and VERY tasty.  It’s great for a meat-free Monday menu but you can absolutely add some bacon for added kick.  I top mine with homemade Pico De Gallo, shredded cheddar, light sour cream, and toasted corn tortilla.  You can’t go wrong. 

black bean soupHere is what you’ll need:

  • 3 cans of creamed black beans (16 oz. each)
  • 1 cup of fresh salsa (I use the store bought kind in the refrigerator)
  • half  yellow onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 cups of water or chicken stock
  • Toppings of your choice (tortilla chips, pico de gallo, shredded cheddar, sour cream, avocado)

To start, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Toss in onion and salsa, let simmer about three minutes.  

Add in all three cans of black beans and 1 cup of water.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce head and let simmer for 10 minutes, pouring in the rest of the water gradually and stirring.  You can use more water for a thinner consistency or less water for a thicker soup.  It’s a matter of preference.  If you can not find creamed black beans, you can mash regular beans once heated to make the creamy soup.

That’s it!  Peace o’ cake.  Then just pour and top.  Enjoy!

Black bean soup 2

I certainly enjoyed this soup today, as did Stuffed Husband.  However, our hearts are still heavy for those affected by Monday’s tornados. While we do not always understand why things happen, we can pray for those in their hour of need.  Our hearts are with you Oklahoma.

 

Peace, love, and praying for Oklahoma,

The Hungry Wife

 

 

Pacing with pals and roasted veggie penance.

Some days I have great ideas for a post, I gather and edit pictures, and then sit  at the computer with coffee and a purpose.  Two hours later I completed nothing…except for three games of Murder, She Wrote (yes, this actually exists).  God help me if it isn’t one of the most addicting games for the computer.  In any case, I am well intended but easily distracted thus I haven’t posted here in far too long.

ccc 10k bib

Last month Stuffed Husband and I participated in the Crescent City Classic 10K for our first time ever!  This race is one of  the biggest races (possibly THE largest) in New Orleans.  This year was the 35th anniversary in fact.  We really enjoyed sharing this race with two of our favorite running buddies.

Scooter and JenJen

Scooter and JenJen

One of the most wonderful parts of racing is building a community of running pals.  Stuffed Husband and I are lucky enough to have friends like this.  Scooter and JenJen are two of our favorite friends to celebrate holidays and milestones with so it makes sense that we would enjoy racing and post-race celebrating with them.

Pacing buddies.

Pacing buddies.

Often we splurge after races.  When I say splurge I’m not talking an extra serving of a light meal or just indulging in dessert.  Nope.  We go all the way.  I’m talking cheesy tater tots, fried catfish, beers, and MORE beers.

Matt double-fisting it

Matt double-fisting it!

Naturally, I have to work on balancing out my post-race gorge fests with lighter fair as the weekend goes on.  Next time you need to lighten things up to pay for your dietary sins, try tossing veggies in olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Pop them in the oven for 20 minutes at 450 degrees.  Divine, I tell you!  

Roasted Veggies

Roasted Veggies

Roasted vegetables are great as a side, with whole wheat pasta, in a wrap, or on a salad.  So much flavor and SO little guilt.  Here’s how I topped off a salad with mine.

Salad with roasted veggies, Tempeh, and roasted tomato.

Salad with roasted veggies, Tempeh, and roasted tomato.

Do you have a quick recipe you use when you need to lighten up your next meal? I would love to hear about it!  Maybe you have a pacing buddy who you love to indulge with?  Tell me your favorite part of having a friend to put away miles with or why you prefer to run alone.

Peace, love, and pacing pals,

~The Hungry Wife

Fuel for the distance: Three Bean Chili

Lately I’ve been really enjoying my outdoor runs.  Some mornings it is still pretty chilly out around these parts.  In fact I’ve had to go as far as wearing a hat and gloves on the mornings we have had a “hard” freeze.  Whatever that means.  Luckily Stuffed Husband is quite the motivator and was willing to take the run with me.  He’s just selfless like that.  Well, selfless and competitive.

Saturday Speedwork

Saturday Speedwork

Anyway, I’ve found that refueling after these bitter cold runs can be tricky.  My body wants something hearty and warm.  Naturally, I turned to chili.  Interesting, I wanted chili when I was feeling chilly.  hah.  Oh no, I’m developing my father’s sense of humor…AKA cheesy. This three bean chili was ridiculous easy and made SO MUCH friggin’ chili that I had to freeze half of it.  I suggest halving the recipe if your family is small like ours.  The recipe can be found here.

3 bean chili

I forgot to take a picture of the chili after I added the corn.  In the future, I would probably leave the corn out anyway.  It seemed unnecessary given that I made cornbread to eat with it.  Too much corn is well…too much.  The recipe is easy as pie to follow.  Just buy a bunch of cans of stuff and a packet of chili mix.

Cans O' Stuff

Cans O’ Stuff

Chop up some onions and garlic.  Try not to cry uncontrollably.  I did.

chop chop chop

chop chop chop

Dump it all in your slow cooker and set it on high for 3 hours, then go for a run.  The running part is an essential part of the recipe.  If you don’t run, you’ll just never get that homemade chili taste just right.  No really!  Would I ever lie to you? 😉

Slow cookers are awesome.

Slow cookers are awesome.

Serve up a bowl after a nice long run.  Maybe top it with a little cheese and/or corn chips.  I served mine with cheese and a side of cornbread.  Definitely hit the spot!  Not only is this recipe crazy easy, but the health benefits are undeniable.  Plenty of protein and fiber from the beans and a serving of vegetables in the diced tomato, corn, onion, and garlic.  Good stuff!  Stuffed husband even used the chili later in the week to make tacos with!  Brain and brawn with that guy.

Stuffed Husband

Stuffed Husband

Do you have a go-to recipe you rely on for recovery after a long hard work out?  I’d love to hear about it.  Share your recipe with me in the comment section below or post a link I can follow.

Peace, Love, and Foodie Fuel~

The Hungry Wife

Tasty Chickpea and Avocado Tacos

Almost 10 months ago I made the personal decision to stop eating meat.  Stuffed Husband was supportive of my decision, as he always is, but made the personal decision for himself to not give up meat  He has a thing for bacon…and ribs…and pulled pork…and flank stank.  I completely respect his decision to continue to eat meat as I still go weak in the knees at the smell of bacon.  For me, choosing not to eat meat had to do with my sensitivity to seeing animals mistreated and total shock when I learned about the types of hormones and genetic engineering used by major producers of meat in the United States.  But enough of that, I’ll get down from this soapbox now.

Chickpea tacos

Chickpea and Avocado Tacos

Often I try new recipes in hopes of finding foods that can satisfy my flavorful cravings.  I stumbled across this recipe while reading Redbook magazine in my dentist’s waiting room.  I also stumbled upon a brilliant workout plan from Gwyneth Paltrow in that same catalogue.  Naturally I only retained the recipe.  For the full recipe, click here!

redbook chickpea taco recipe

This recipe was ridiculously quick, easy, and pretty healthy to boot.  When I wasn’t looking, Stuffed Husband stole a bite and then gave himself away when he told me it was surprisingly tasty.  Now let me be clear, chickpeas will NEVER be flavorful in the way meat is.  Just isn’t going to happen.  However, these chickpeas do have delicious flavor and are full of fiber and protein, so that’s pretty exciting.  To take the yum factor to the next level I baked several corn tortillas in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 1o minutes.  This way you avoid the fat gained when frying them AND you still get that satisfying crunch.

In my last post I offered a challenge to get active.  While I am addicted to running, I am also trying to integrate other activities to give my body a break from the wear and tear running can do to my body.  My goal is to fit in at least one or two body pump classes or a bootcamp or two.  I would love to get some inspiration from your active life.  Let me know how you are getting physical this week by commenting on this post.  

stuffed husband naps 2.19.13

It looks like that guy I married could use a little motivation to move as well.  We’re all a work in progress.

Peace, love, and lazy sundays,

The Hungry Wife

Burning calories to consume them.

There are no secrets to weight loss.  Take in less, burn more, lose weight.  BOOM! Mind blow, I know.  Healthy living is easy to talk about, difficult to commit to all day every day.  So I keep a balance by being physically active so I can enjoy the sweet treats and cool beverages I so enjoy.

Heart Shaped Peanut Butter Fudge Brownies

In 2012 I started running.  And this was the first time I ran without being chased.  My whole life I wanted to be a runner.  In high school I desperately tried to keep up with classmates but asthma, self-consciousness, and a bouncy booty kept me from really embracing the sport.  Let me be clear, I am not a runner in the check-out-my-speed kind of sense.  I am a runner in that three to four days a week I hit the pavement for 3-5 miles at a roughly 10 min/mile pace.  More competitive runners might call me a jogger.  I would call them annoying.

run on treadmill 2012

In any case, with Stuffed Husband’s undying support and patience, I became a runner.  I ran three 5K races and a Turkey day 5 miler in 2012.  It’s safe to say I’m addicted.  I didn’t start off running 3 miles, in fact, I started off walking on a treadmill for 20 minutes at a time.  As I gradually felt more confident, I added five minutes here and there.  Before I knew it I was walking 60 minutes at a brisk pace without a problem at all.  This is when I knew my body was capable of more!  So start somewhere, start small, just START!

Tipitina's 5K 2012

Tipitina’s 5K 2012

Now that I burn 300-600 calories on an average run, I can enjoy beer, gummy bears, and queso from time to time without having to move back into my stretchy jeans.  You know the kind.  They are the ones you wear when you’re “retaining water”.  Exactly.  

IMG_3700

Scraping the bowl of queso.

It took a serious amount of reflection to realize that I needed to challenge myself to really see what I was capable of accomplishing.  Let me tell you, we are ALL capable of so much more than we realize!  So, to help aid in motivating others I’m proposing a challenge.  Challenge for February:  Do something physical, big or small, at least twice a week.  It can be roller-skating for 20 minutes, yoga in your living room, or going for a jog on that dusty old laundry rack, ahem, I mean treadmill.  I promise you won’t regret it!  Let me know what activity you’ll be challenging yourself with in the comment section!

Peace, love, and pushing boundaries-

~The Hungry Wife

Mardi Gras Gris Gris

Every year some 50 days before Easter Sunday the city of New Orleans parties so hard the whole place has to shut down for a few days.  When I say “shut down” I mean even banks, schools, and commercial institutions cease normal productivity to make way for the big P-rades!  I call parades, P-rades.  It just sounds cooler.  This year was no exception.  We partied, paraded, ate too much, caught beads, and even enjoyed a share of boiled crawfish.  Mardi Gras 2013 was a total success!

Mardi Gras 2013

Mardi Gras 2013

Alas, Mardi Gras season came to an end and my waistline is quite relieved.  I’m sure you can relate.  It’s similar to the relief found when Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Years holidays finally end.  With that I decided to grab a trashbag and clean the junk out of the fridge and pantry.  If I have it at home, I’m going to eat it.  It does not mean I can never have a treat.  There will be plenty enough chances/temptations encountered in the rest of life so I try to keep our home a safe healthy haven most of the time.

Mardi Gras Munchies

Mardi Gras Munchies and Libations

I’m happy when Mardi Gras season comes, I’m thrilled when it goes.  My goal is to eat clean all week, primarily non-processed foods.  Fruits and vegetables all the way.  Try this:  next time you fix a meal, think of making a rainbow.  Ideally, you want at least three colors on your plate.  For example, one of my favorite meals is a stuffed sweet potato (orange), roasted asparagus (green), and grapes for dessert (purple).  Additionally, stuffed sweet potatoes are easy and quick for the nights you get home late and stahvin’!  I “bake” mine by washing it, sticking it in a ziploc back with one inch unsealed, and then nuking it in the microwave for 5 minute increments until it’s nice and soft.  The bag locks the moisture in perfectly!  To stuff the potato try mixing two tablespoons of black beans, a tablespoon of light sour cream or plain greek yogurt, a tablespoon of salsa, a tablespoon of corn, and a tablespoon of avocado with your potato “guts” then stuff it back in the skin.  Top with cheese and broil until melted and bubbly in the toaster in oven. DEVOUR!

Southwest Stuffed Sweet Potato

Southwest Stuffed Sweet Potato

The above picture is credited to FoodieBliss, a fellow female blogger whose recipes are simple to follow and totally tasty.  Click the link above and check her out.

So now that Lent season is in full effect, what are you sacrificing this year?  I chose to give up fried food which was fine in my mind until I realized that included french fries and kettle cooked chips.  I feel the cranky cravings kicking in any minute.  Poor Stuffed Husband.  Is it Easter yet?!

Peace, love, and Mardi Gras Detox,

The Hungry Wife