The Ketchup Diaries 2.0

21 09 2010

Hey, Loves!

The Ketchup Diaries has a new home over at http://theketchupdiaries.com. If you’d like to continue reading, please do it from the new domain. And don’t forget to add TKD’s new site to your Readers!

See ya over there!





Technical Difficulties

21 09 2010

Hi, Guys…

I am having technical difficulties with the blog. I unveiled TKD 2.0 last night, bit it appears some people still can’t see. Working on it. Hang in there!

In the meantime, subscribe on your readers. You will see the new blog on there…still called TKD.

Let me know if you have issues.





Leave It For Leftovers: BBQ Pulled Pork

19 09 2010

Welcome to Leave It For Leftovers – a new series I’ll be featuring here on TKD.  The plan is to showcase easy, delicious recipes that serve a substantial amount for a small family.  It is my hope to use these leftovers to save money at the grocery store each week.  Hopefully, the series will help your family save in the process too.

In a perfect world, I would be able to eat chicken wings, potato skins, pizza and beer during every Sunday of football season.  In this world, nutrition wouldn’t affect my jeans size or cholesterol levels.  Unfortunately, this isn’t a reality so it’s necessary to get creative during the season.  I want to serve foods that scream “football” without worrying about splurging too much before the work week.

That is exactly where this BBQ pulled pork comes in.  Pulled pork and football go hand-in-hand.  This meal will satisfy the manly, meat eaters that invade your house during the season.  Trust me on this one.  It also makes the house smell like a BBQ Heaven.

Pulled pork may look intimidating.  After all, restaurants make a living off of claiming they have the best BBQ in town.  Well, those restaurants have nothing on me – or you.

Because we’re healthy living bloggers, we’re going to use pork loin because it’s such a lean cut of meat.  There is zero fat to trim off like there would be if using a pork shoulder or other cut of meat.  Don’t worry – no one will ever be able to tell the difference.

Shhh.  Want in on a little secret?  This is the easiest recipe I could possibly give you.  Can you even call it a recipe when the crock pot does all the work?

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BBQ Pulled Pork

  • ~ 1.5 – 2 lbs of pork loin
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1.5 jars of your favorite BBQ sauce
  • Garlic salt

Directions

Slice onion into rounds and place half on the bottom of a crock pot.  Place pork over onions and sprinkle with garlic salt.  Cover pork with the remainder of the onions and all of the BBQ Sauce.

Cook on LOW for 8 hrs.  Shred pork with two forks and serve alone or on whole wheat roll.

See?  I told you it was easy. 

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The pork will shred so easily that you only need to use one fork for shredding.  The onions become translucent and sweet, which creates the perfect companion for the tangy pork.  Once the meat is shredded, you will have a substantial portion for leftovers.  Great ideas include the topping for a baked potato or the filling to a quesadilla.  Of course, it will be perfect leftover by itself or in a sandwich for hot lunches (or it can be eaten cold!) or a quick, week night dinner.

The only advice I can give is to choose your BBQ sauce carefully.  Most of the sauces on the shelves contain HFCS and other added ingredients that simply are not necessary for a good-tasting sauce.  As always, I used the original flavor from the Dinosaur BBQ in New York.

To round out the meal, I served the pork with roasted red potatoes and roasted broccoli.  It was the perfect meal to watch during a game. 

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Give it a try and let me know what you think!





Banana Bread

19 09 2010

Mr. KD has been requesting banana bread for a few weeks now.

Sunday morning seems like the perfect time for baking a fresh bread.  Doesn’t it?

As soon as I woke up this morning, I hit the kitchen with one motive: Make a delicious, but healthy banana bread that we could snack all throughout the week.

I’m not sure if your family has a go-to recipe, but mine does not.  As much as I love banana bread, I actually can’t remember my mom ever making one.  So, I was on my own and left to scour endless recipes.  There might be more recipes for banana bread than any other food on the planet.  There were so many to choose from.  They all included some mix of flour, sugar, eggs and bananas.

I decided to go out on a whim and create my own recipe.  I used what I read on the web for inspiration to

Become A Beachbody Coach

, but put a KD spin on it to create a bread that’s slightly lighter than the average.

Mr. KD and I were quite impressed with the results.  My only complaint is that my bananas should have been more ripe.  Make sure those babies are really brown.  That’s when bananas exude the most banana deliciousness for baking.  The bananas I used could have gone a few more days, but the remainder of the ingredients created a fluffy, soft, delicious bread that I think you should try the next time you decide to whip up this crowd-pleasing snack.

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Banana Bread (Makes 8 slices)

  • 2 large & 1 small very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, 1 egg white
  • 1/8 cup canola oil
  • 1/8 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/4 milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray the bottom of a 8 x 4 loaf pan with cooking spray.  Set aside.

Mix together flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl. 

In a large bowl, mix together bananas, sugar, egg, egg white, oil, applesauce, milk and vanilla. 

Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients.

Pour into the loaf pan and bake for approximately 50 – 55 minutes.

Best served warm with butter :wink:

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I enjoyed a slice with a side of fresh, ripe strawberries for breakfast.

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Now, it’s time to put the pulled pork in the crock pot to enjoy during the game!!

See ya!





One Lucky Girl

18 09 2010

I’m lucky because…

I have a house to decorate with the season.

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(Too early for Halloween?  Too bad.)

I have a plentiful fridge for healthy eating.

Egg, spinach and Laughing Cow on deli thin (Breakfast # 2)

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Apple & String Cheese (Snack around 3 pm)

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I have an awesome boyfriend who bakes cookies (just because he feels like it!!) and brings me one hot out of the oven.

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I have a salad and pizza date with said boyfriend tonight while watching Brooklyn’s Finest. 

Margherita pizza on a Boboli whole wheat crust, Mixed green salad with Bolthouse ranch

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I guess you could say I had a good Saturday :wink:

Question: What makes you lucky on this Saturday?





Wahhhhh

18 09 2010

Where’s Snooki when you need her?

Look at my aching feet!

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Okay, that’s a poor photo.  I just gave myself blisters to the point of blood on both heels.  Double Wahhhhhhhh!

I have a case of the poor me’s.

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Let’s start from the beginning.

Wedding

The wedding was a great time last night, but unfortunately, I didn’t get a decent pic all night.  The lighting was poor and I sat in the back and on the inside of a pew during the mass.  At the reception, I was tasked with taking candid shots for the couple with a disposable camera, so I used that all night instead of my own camera.  I ate an amazing stuffed chicken breast and cake, of course!  It was a lot of fun and I’m so happy for Kerri and Brian!

Workout

We got home at a decent time, but when Mr. KD and I both woke up this morning, we were exhausted.  Neither of us was exactly sure why considering we didn’t drink much alcohol last night either.  I was dreading my run, but Mr. KD told me that I could run how ever many miles I wanted and simply turn around and come home.  It seemed to click and I thought I’d figure out my mileage once I was out and running.

Before heading out, I fueled up with a staple.

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I set off with the mindset of running 6, but once I got out there, I realized it was honestly the perfect day for running.  The sun was shining and I felt surprisingly good.  When I hit the 3 mile mark, I knew I had it in me to push to the 4 mile marker for 8 mile total.

Just before I hit mile 7, my phone rang.  I was using Pandora as my music, so the phone rang right in my ear and I decided to answer it.  It was my Mom.  I chatted with her for about 7 – 8 minutes.  Unfortunately, when I stopped to answer the phone, I paused my Garmin and forgot to start it up again :evil:   If I had to guess, I’d say I actually ran about 8.3 or 8.4 in total.  Of course, I knew if I just ran to my house, it would be an 8 mile route because I simply went out and back.  But I’m anal and just had to see the Garmin tick to 8.

I didn’t walk at all this time and while an average of 11:12 is still slow, I think I am getting faster!  Baby steps, my friends! :grin:

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During the last mile or so, I could really feel my knees and ankle start to get sore along with my feet.  I knew I had some chafing, but I didn’t think it would be this bad.  My feet are burning now!!  How the heck am I going to put on shoes?!?

Plans for the rest of the day include decorating for Fall and running a few errands.  I’m off to shower and have breakfast #2 in a bit.

I’ll check in later, lovebugs!

Question: Do you take an Advil before setting out for a long run?

I never have, but after the way my ankle and knees started ache, I think I understand why people do!  Or maybe I’m just old?!? :wink:





Bad Blogger

17 09 2010

Hey, Lovebugs!

TGIF!  How’s your Friday going?  If you’re working, hang in there.  It’s almost over :mrgreen:

I have been a bad blogger today.  I’m not sure why, but Mr. KD and I were sooooooo lazy this morning.  We laid in bed for so long that I’m actually ashamed to tell you what time we got up.  When I finally glanced at the time, I freaked out a little because I knew I had a lot to get done today. 

Since it was raining, I flew to the gym without eating breakfast.  Bad, bad, bad healthy living blogger! :oops:   I didn’t have any bananas or bars for quick fuel and I was in a rush to get out the door.

I hate working out past 8AM.  I know a lot of you may think that’s crazy, but I do.  My attitude is that I have better things to do with my day than exercise.  This is precisely why I work out early.  Today, I was there well past 8.  I actually had no desire to exercise, but I forced myself to go.  I knew once I was there, I’d end up getting in a good work out.  I spent 40 hard minutes on the elliptical and lifted for about an hour and 15 minutes altogether.  Just goes to show – you never regret a workout!!

I showered at the gym, so that I could run errands after.  I know.  I should have come home and eaten, but I didn’t.

My please forgive me face.

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I stopped by Dunkin’ and got a medium iced coffee with milk and sugar to take with me on my errands, which included the grocery store.  I could have gotten an egg & cheese sandwich, but it was basically lunch time and I wasn’t in the mood for eggs.

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When I got home, I finally made myself a healthy meal.

I sautéed a mix of frozen veggies in a bit of canola oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder and minced onion.  I also had some Alexia fries and a veggie burger with a Laughing Cow cheese wedge.

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As always, the veggies were consumed first and I used the vacant space for my ketchup :wink:

Tonight, Mr. KD and I are going to my friend, Kerri’s, wedding.  Remember when I went to her shower?

I’m so bummed for her that it’s raining, but I am sure she will have a beautiful ceremony nonetheless.  I’ll take lots of photos and recap tomorrow.

Hope you guys have a wonderful Friday!  Chat with you tomorrow!

Question: Do you ever skip breakfast?

This is only the second time I can remember skipping breakfast.  I’m serious.  I have always eaten it and realize why.  I’m still starved after lunch.  Off to find a snack!





Leave It for Leftovers

16 09 2010

I have a serious problem.

I spend WAY too much money at the grocery store :sad:

I don’t even want to tell you what I spend because it’s downright embarrassing.  I’ve read the amount that some other bloggers spend and my monthly bills easily double – if not triple – their costs! :oops:

I think here are a few factors that contribute to my large bill:

  1. I think geographic location is a big issue.  New England is expensive, people!  On top of that, I’m in the ‘burbs without easy access to farmers’ markets.  I always make an attempt to buy locally grown food at the store, but it’s still not as cheap as it would be at a farm stand.
  2. I also don’t receive a ton of free swag for my blog, which I know most of you can relate to.  I don’t need swag by any means, but I also understand that it contributes to the lesser amount that other bloggers spend at the store.
  3. Another problem I have is taking leftovers for lunch.  I love having a hearty, home cooked meal for lunch.  Mr. KD does too.  We would be better served taking a less expensive sandwich for lunch and choosing to save the leftovers for another dinner, since that is always the most expensive meal.  I want to attempt to meet in the middle here.  I love hot lunches, but I should compromise and save them for once or twice a week.
  4. And, lastly, there is the variety problem.  I grew up having something different for dinner every night.  I don’t simply cook something new for the blog.  I would do this with or without this space.  Not only did I grow up this way, but I get excited to eat something different every night.  Food is my life and having a delicious dinner is my FAVORITE part of the day.  But, I’m quickly realizing this is an expensive way to live!
  5. I try extremely hard to sneak in vegetarian meals to save money.  But, Mr. KD is a meat guy.  Some weeks it works and others it doesn’t.  It’s hard to please everyone.

I’m sure many of you can relate to the above points.  In addition, many of my readers are of a similar age and either do not have children or have little ones that aren’t quite eating their share of table food yet. 

So, I’m announcing a new series on the blog, simply entitled Leave It for Leftovers.  I’m going to be featuring recipes that make a significant amount (for a small family like ours!) and can be turned into leftovers later in the week or for quick, hot lunches.  My plan is to feature oldies but goodies, as well as new recipes.  Hopefully, this will help keep my grocery bill down as well as yours!

Dinner

Jen & I are going out to dinner.  I’m thinking Ruby Tuesday for the salad bar.  Yum!

Question: How do you cut costs at the grocery store?





Grocery Store Confusion

15 09 2010

When did life become so complicated?  Or rather, when did certain aspects of life become so complicated?  Things that should be quite easy have become so difficult and confusing.

Take the grocery store – for example.

Have you ever taken a moment to take a good look around the grocery store?  It embodies much of what has put the brakes on healthy living in this country.  We have too much.  We have way more than we need.

Food From Afar

A few weeks ago, Mr. KD came to the store with me.  I asked him to grab some apples and oranges, while I was grabbing the veggies.  When we got home, I noticed that both of the fruits were grown in a foreign country.  I mentioned this to Mr. KD, who shrugged and said, “Sorry, babe.  I just grabbed what I saw.  Plus, I know you like navel oranges.” 

He’s right.  I do like navel oranges, but not enough that I would choose them over an orange grown in Florida. 

Mr. KD portrays the average shopper’s attitude toward food.  We know what we like, we find it, we grab it, we buy it, we eat it.  Without getting preachy, can’t we at least agree that there’s something wrong with a foreign apple being sold IN THE PEAK of apple season in New England?

I not only want to support my local farms, but I also want to sustain my health.  Fruits and vegetables are perishable.  When they come from so far away, we are either not receiving the freshest products or products that have been picked before ripeness and brought to ripeness by gas (I’m not sure of the specifics on this, but this does happen). 

Wouldn’t it simply be easier to offer a lesser variety of options and only offer local foods?  At the very least, the food we’re eating should be DOMESTIC. 

But, we’re spoiled.  We’re now used to eating tomatoes in January when it is not their season.  Similarly, we eat apples in July. 

I have even noticed that the fish counter is affected by this, too.  The last time I bought fish, I noticed that I could purchase haddock caught in the US or mahi mahi caught in Iceland.  Why even offer the mahi mahi?  While I enjoy both types, they are so similar.  Why do we need five different options of white fish?  We don’t.  We only think we do.

We’d be better off going back to a more simplistic view of food.  We should cook with what is in season. We’d appreciate it a lot more this way.

Too Much Variety

Anyone that knows me will tell you that I get overwhelmed by certain, little things in life.  Well, there are three more things you can add to this list: the cereal aisle, the bread aisle and the yogurt section.  While someone else might enjoy the fact that he/she is offered 25 different types of bread, I hate it.  It’s overwhelming.  Just when I think I’ve found bread I can feel good about, there is another on the shelf within the next week that claims to have better health benefits.

Cereal is even worse.  How can the average shopper be expected to make the best choice for health in this aisle?  Are Wheaties better than Raisin Bran?  Are Cheerios better than Kashi Smart Start?  It’s insane!  Who has the time to read ingredients lists of all those boxes (assuming the shopper is educated enough to do so)?!?  I sure as heck don’t, which is why I always buy the same ol’ cereal time and time again.

[Side Note: I REALLY like the Uncle Sam’s cereal I picked up.  It reminds me of whole Grain Rice Krispies.  It’s not sweetened and quite plain (in a good way).  It’s perfect with sliced banana and cold milk.  The cereal even contains flaxseed, which adds a fun crunch!  The best part is that it stays crunchy the entire time!  It’s definitely a winner in my book.]

Yogurt is the same.  There’s yogurt for kids, for digestive health, for extra protein, etc, etc, etc.  Who wants to be exhausted by the refrigerated section of the store?!?  How the HECK are we supposed to know what’s best?  It’s frustrating.

Hidden Ingredients

Okay, ingredients are never really hidden considering we can read the labels for ourselves.  But, I’m sick and tired of products pretending to be healthy when they’re anything but.

Didn’t you know the Lucky Charms are healthy because they contain whole grains?  Who cares if they contain Red 40?!?  Those pesky colors you see on boxes used to be derived from coal tar and are now derived from petroleum.  But, don’t worry about that because they contain WHOLE GRAINS!

It’s the same with yogurt.  You would think it’s healthy, but most brands on the shelf contain high fructose corn syrup.  Do I think eating certain products that contain HFCS is the end of the world?  No.  But, yogurt is generally a food that’s consumed on a weekly basis.  When it’s consumed that regularly, I think it’s something that deserves mentioning.  There are so many yogurts that contain minimally added sugars (other than those found naturally from the lactose).  Why even put the ones with HFCS on the shelves?

In Summary

I understand that money drives all things.  I also understand that there are political aspects to food, whether it be through the manufacturers, suppliers or ingredients.  I understand that certain farmers receive subsidies because they manufacture certain products.  But, I also understand that there are complications to the industry that I haven’t even scratched the surface of yet.

I’m not indicating things can be fixed quickly.

Nor am I indicating that I watch every morsel of food that goes into my mouth and then FREAK OUT when it contains something iffy.  In my opinion, life is entirely too short.  I made stuffed mushrooms the other day that contained Stovetop stuffing, which happened to contain HFCS or partially hydrogenated oils.  I honestly can’t remember which.  Maybe it was both!  Either way, I wasn’t about to make my own stuffing at the last minute so I went with it.  And, I DEVOURED the mushrooms because they were so tasty.  I’d do it again in a heartbeat (although I admit I might make my own stuffing if given adequate time).

As a consumer, I’m simply voicing that it’s frustrating.  The grocery store shouldn’t be a place where things are in “code” and consumers are left confused.  It should be straightforward.  It isn’t.  Frankly, it makes me sad.

Breakfast

In case you’re new to the blog, I have recently started taking Van’s waffles with me to work for one of the better breakfasts I’ve had in a long time.

It begins as a smiley face with a peanut butter unibrow :wink:

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…and turns into this: Half is topped with mashed banana, while the other half is topped with peanut butter.  Both sides are then drizzled in honey and topped with cinnamon.  So delicious.

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Lunch

Ham and laughing cow on a deli thin with mustard.  I also added some mixed greens.  I know it’s not a full serving, but anything is better than nothing.  Right?

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Popchips

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Carrots

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Snacks

Orange

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Chobani with Uncle Sam’s for mixing

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Dinner

Leftovers!!

My heart swoons for lasagna

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And ranch dressing that’s healthy!

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Question: What’s the most frustrating thing you’ve noticed at the grocery store lately?

While I didn’t mention it, the cost of (healthy) food is my # 1 complaint. 





(Unexciting) Aspects of My Life

14 09 2010

Hey, Beauts :smile:

How was your Tuesday?

Mine flew by, which is always a good thing!  I’ve been so busy at work that the hours simply fly.

I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve been so busy at work and my brain is fried, but I’ve been struggling to come up with relevant posts lately.  There are a lot of bloggers out there that say they need to be inspired to post, and while I respect that, my blog is a little less serious.  I view it as one, large email chain among friends.  I simply like to chat, read your comments and open up a dialogue.

No big ideas needed.

I thought I’d let you in on certain (albeit unexciting) aspects of my life that don’t make the blog. 

For example:

  • I need new perfume, new high-heeled boots, A HAIRCUT and new sneakers.  Ugh!  Why does everything always run out/need replacing at the same time?
  • I’ve picked out colors for the three rooms we want to paint.  For the downstairs bathroom, I want to do something in the cranberry – plum family.  I know that’s a large spectrum, but I still have to see the colors in person.  I like color, but this is still pretty bold.  Do you think I’m crazy?
  • I’m going to Disney for a week on October 9th.  I’m not sure I can actually portray my excitement in print other than to tell you that I created a Disney station on Pandora.  It makes the work day inevitably brighter.  If Disney tunes don’t make you smile, you’re just cold-hearted.
  • Since I’ve cut a day of running from my schedule, I’ve been concentrating on making sure that all of my other workouts really count.  I’ve reconnected with the Arc Trainer and remember what a fantastic workout it is.  If you crank the incline and resistances high, it is killer.  You should try it!
  • The other night, I created a grid of all the Fall TV shows – old and new – that Mr. KD and I are interested in watching.  Since we go to bed so early, this means that a lot of the shows are set-up to be DVRed.  I already advanced the weeks and set the DVR.  Yes, I did.  And, no, I can’t believe I just told you this.

Hakuna Matata, my friends :mrgreen:

Dinner

Pasta with Goat Cheese, Asparagus and Chicken Sausage

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I can’t believe it took me this long to re-create this one.  I loved it so much the first time! 

I also can’t believe that I didn’t remember how substantial a portion was.  I love volume and this meal is definitely a volume pleaser.

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I added in basil at the last minute, which turned out to be a very flavorful addition.  But then again – when isn’t it?

Mm hmm.  It was just as good as I remember.

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Okay – off to scour OnDemand for the season finale of True Blood.  Of course, it was on there last night but we couldn’t watch it because someone refuses to watch anything that isn’t in HD.  I’ll give you a guess as to who.  Hint: It’s not me :wink:

Question: What have you been up to lately?