Wednesday, July 20, 2011

What I Ate Wednesday

Every summer, my work hours change from a regular Monday through Friday routine to a Green Friday schedule.  This means we squeeze our 40 hours into four days and we have every Friday off. Those four days are long, but having a three day weekend is super!

 This past Friday I got up early to go bike riding with some friends and we ended up riding 26 miles.  We usually go about 15 miles. My typical food before a ride is handful of dried fruit. Two hours later when I got home, I was famished! This was my breakfast that I washed down with about 3 glasses of water.

Egg and cheese on a bagel thin with spinach and tomato

Lunch wasn't too long after and I found some leftovers from dinner the night before.

Salad with grilled chicken 

Dinner was an experiment.  I love chicken pot pie, but my husband had a craving for mashed potatoes.  I decided to make the pot pie without a crust and serve it over the mashed potatoes.  Definite comfort food!  

Deconstructed Chicken Pot Pie with broccoli

Dessert is one of my favorite meals of the day.  This cookie bar did not disappoint.

S'more Cookie Bar

  Today's meals were sponsored by: The Chicken

What good food have you eaten lately? 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Taste of the Low Country- Cheddar Scallion Grit Cakes

Grit cakes cooking in the pan
On my visit to Charleston, South Carolina in May I attended a cooking demonstration at Charleston Cooks!, a kitchen retail store that offers cooking classes and demonstrations.  I was in Charleston for a few days for my daughter's graduation from the College of Charleston. (My alma mater too)

We signed up for the session "Taste of the Low Country".  During this two hour session we were taught how to make Shrimp Gravy, Cheddar Scallion Grit Cakes (recipe below) and Sweet Potato Berry Shortcakes.
Grit Cakes -vegetarian style (no shrimp gravy)
As the chef cooked, she shared many cooking tips with us along the way from how to best roll out dough (use a Silpat and be careful not to knead it too much) to the importance of not over stirring or over turning food while it is cooking in the saute pan. She was quite entertaining as she cooked and we were given a glass of wine to drink as we watched.
Grit cakes with shrimp gravy - SO GOOD!
The environment was casual, so there were plenty of opportunities to ask questions about each procedure or technique she used. At the end of the cooking demo, we got a chance to eat a sample of every item made. 

I did not expect to like the grit cakes, because although my family eats grits, I do not.  It is a texture thing for me and the goopiness of them, do not appeal to me.  I was a big girl and tried the grit cakes - it was a life changing moment! I can no longer say I don't eat grits because I do if they are made like this.  
Caroline enjoying her berry shortcake
(Recipe will be shared in a later post)
The food tasted great and of course made us want to buy every item we needed to make these recipes at home, just the way she did.  To encourage us even more, we were given 10% off everything we bought in the store that day.  
I left with a shrimp zipper that peels and deveins shrimp simultaneously, a micro-plane grater, a red salt pig and a one-pound bag of Carolina Plantation stone ground grits. The salt pig keeps my salt easily accessible and the unglazed interior keeps the salt from clumping even in the most humid places. It was more than I wanted to spend, but I'm glad I got it.  I love it for both its ease of use and the cute way it looks on my counter. 
Red Velvet cake ball, Smores bar and salted brownie from Baked
The Baked bakery is right down the street from Charleston Cooks, so I had to grab some goodies for later. In linking to their website, it looks like Baked Charleston may no longer be in business :(

Because I had raved about the grit cakes, my family couldn't wait to try them once I got home so we made this recipe first.  It was a hit with everyone and not difficult to make. Try it for yourself.  
Homemade version of grit cakes
Cheddar Scallion Grit Cakes
Serves 4-6
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup stone ground grits
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup cheddar cheese, grated
2  green onions, chopped
cornmeal as needed
oil as needed

1.  In a medium sauce pan over medium high heat, bring water, salt and butter to a simmer.
2.  Stir in the grits and reduce heat to low.
3.  Cook grits on low, stirring occasionally until thick and creamy, about 40 minutes.
4.  Stir in cream.
5.  Remove pan from heat and stir in cheese and onions.  Season to taste with salt.
6.  Spread grit mixture on sheet pan covered with parchment paper or silpat about 1/2 inch thick.
7.  Place in refrigerator to cool and become firm. (To speed things up you can put it in the freezer)
8.  When grits are firm, cut out rings using a biscuit cutter. Remaining grits can be reshaped into cakes by hand.
9. Place cornmeal in a shallow dish.  Coat grit cakes with cornmeal on both sides.  Shake off any excess.
10. Heat saute pan on  medium high heat, when hot, add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan.  When oil is hot, add in the grit cakes.  Don't crowd your pan. Fry until browned on one side and then flip and brown the remaining side.
11. Remove from pan and keep warm by covering with aluminum foil until serving.  

What is one food you do not eat?  
Is there a food you eat now that you used to not like?

Congratulations to Christy @ My Dirt Road Anthem: A Runner's Blog for winning the Gotein!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sweet and Spicy

I am all about tasty food.  In fact the most popular reply to "What do want for dinner?" in our house is, "Something good"  Not a very helpful response, but who wants to waste their calories on something only so so?  Tasty for me doesn't have to mean fancy, but I do prefer food that is made with real ingredients.  So often when I go out to eat, I end up feeling like I could have made it better at home and for less money. When we eat out, it is typically something we would not make at home, or at a place that offers fresh or unique food.  That is why I like food trucks, most are making it on the spot and are on the cutting edge of flavor combinations. 

To help make my food tasty I shop at Penzeys Spices.  An awesome spice shop with great recipe ideas throughout the store. That's where I got that awesome bumper sticker. They have every spice you could imagine and a great selection of spice mixes for every kind of food. If you are lucky enough to have one near you, don't miss out.
Penseys Spice Shop
As a kid I eating candy was a treat, some Saturdays I would count out my change, hop on my bike and ride 2-3 miles to the neighborhood candy store. (Don't know what my parents thought of this, but I was one of five kids, so maybe they didn't know.) I would pick out my favorites, like a Sky Bar, Mike and Ike, candy cigarettes and pop rocks, you know the good stuff!   I  recently discovered the cutest candy shop, Sassafras right down the street from the spice shop. It was like stepping back in time. It had all my old time favorites, plus all the latest candy too. 
I had a great time looking through the store. It conjured up so many memories.  There was a cooler with many of  the throwback soda pops and even some not so candy, candy like chocolate covered ants, and cheese flavored crickets. Although I don't eat much candy now, I did have to get a chocolate caramel cream, an orange slice and an orange NeHi soda.
Definitely a happy place!

What are some of your favorite candies from your youth?

Enter to win Gotein-protein on the go! sample pack HERE

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Gotein Review and Giveaway

Gotein is a convenient protein supplement for athletes of all levels and people on the go. It can be used before a workout for energy, after for recovery, or as a healthy snack during the day for only 100-110 calories.

The great people at Gotein sent me some packets to try and included some extras to give away to one of my awesome readers! Other bloggers have been talking about it and if you missed a chance to win some, now you have another shot. 
All you need to enjoy some Gotein is a bottle of cold water (about 16oz), and a stick of Gotein in one of their three flavors (chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry).  These are big sticks containing about as powder much as scoop of protein powder.  Each stick provides 16g of protein, 6g carbs and 24 vitamins and minerals.
Add a packet to your water, swirl it around and then shake really well to get it completely mixed.
I ended up shaking it more than I originally thought I needed to, because there is a lot of powder to mix.
I tried all three flavors and liked chocolate the best. I don't usually eat before working out, so I only drank it for recovery. I often drink chocolate milk after a run, but substituted Gotein instead.  

I was very excited to have a chance to try Gotein, because I have heard so much about it.  I know that I do not get enough protein and I need even more of it as I am incorporating more strength training in my schedule.  The thought of getting protein so conveniently  was appealing. I liked the protein sticks with water okay, but would have liked a richer, sweeter flavor. If you've been a reader of my blog, you know how I like sweets.   

The way I liked Gotein the best was to use it in place of my scoop of whey in my smoothies.  I find that big containers of whey can be expensive and you end with a lot of one flavor. By using Gotein I had 3 different flavors to choose from to compliment a variety of smoothie flavors.

The pluses of Gotein are:
     Convenience - protein sticks can go anywhere and only need a bottle of water
     Low Calorie  - 100-110 calories
     Fortified with many vitamins and minerals
     No aftertaste and no powdery texture

If you plan on ordering some use discount code: Anna for $4 off each box.

GIVEAWAY - If you would like to try Gotein for yourself, enter to win 3 packets of Gotein (one chocolate, one vanilla, one strawberry)
Here's how you can win.  Please leave me a separate comment for each one.
1)  Be a follower of this blog.
2)  Like Gotein on Facebook HERE and tell them Moments That Make a Life sent you.
3)  Tweet about this giveaway. Use can use the following tweet if you want "I just entered to win Gotein protein on the go! @momentsinalife "
4)  Mention this giveaway on your blog or facebook page.

Entries will be accepted until midnight on July 15th. One winner will be selected using

Disclaimer: While I received these protein sticks for free from Gotein, the opinions and reviews are my own. 

Monday, July 4, 2011

Fourth of July Watermelon Run

Happy Fourth of July!!

This morning I ran a local 5K to celebrate the holiday.  This was a first for me and great event! It was a non timed, family run/walk with over 3,000 participating. Following the race they hold a watermelon eating contest.  
Andy and I before the race with our bags for Treats for Troops
The shirt was cute, although cotton, and I actually ran in it because they requested us to.  I don't usually wear my race shirt on race day, because I feel I haven't earned it until after I run.  I made an exception and it was too hot and humid a day to wear a shirt that didn't breathe.  Plus I decided to wear a hat instead of sunglasses and that made me even hotter.  I am either going back to sunglasses or will try a visor. I don't remember the last time I sweat that much! I wasn't the only hot one,  some people were sweating so much that sweat was dripping off their arms and onto those around us as they pumped their arms. Gross!!   I tried to get away from those folks as quickly as I could. 
Action photo of #4 the runner boy!
I ran the race with an average pace of 9:23 for a time of 28:44. I wasn't killing it, but  a decent pace I thought until I saw this little guy (#4) running near me at the start of mile 2.  I thought like most kids he would run fast for a while and then walk a little...Oh no, this guy was a runner.  He had a nice even pace and never slowed down.  In fact he ended up moving ahead to the point that I couldn't see him anymore.  I am pretty sure he beat me.

In addition to the run, this event was about showing support for our soldiers overseas. The Florida based volunteer organization called Treats for Troops sends care packages to remote military camps, hospitals and chaplains. Typically donations are quite low at this time of year. 

All runners were asked to bring a gallon ziplock bag filled with personal care and/or food items plus $1 inside for shipping. Most of the soldiers receiving these packages don't have access to a PX or Commissary (store or base). If you or your organization is looking for a community service project, check it out.  They want to continue to send these care packages until all the soldiers come home.

I can't tell you how good it felt to make our bags for today. We truly enjoyed shopping, filling and writing a note for our bags. I am excited that I can do one small thing for those men and women who risk their lives to keep America free and safe!  It reminds what this holiday is really all about.

Hope you have a fabulous holiday and eat something yummy!

Look for the Gotein giveaway coming this week.