Weekly Food Challenge (3/1 – 3/7) – Sardines!

Click here to learn more about the weekly food challenge and how you can play along. But, basically, you just make something during the challenge week with the weekly challenge food item and add your link to this post (leave a comment with your URL and I’ll add it). See, simple!


This Week’s Challenge Item (3/1 – 3/7) – Sardines:

This week’s challenge ingredient scares me the most from the original article that kicked off this challenge, “The 11 Best Foods You Aren’t Eating“. I’m not sure I’ve ever knowingly consumed sardines. I’m actually afraid to eat this ingredient, so it will be interesting to see if how I’m able to work it into any meals. I remember that growing up, my dad almost always had a can of sardines in the house. My sister and I would always turn up our noses when he’d eat them. He probably snuck them into our food and we didn’t even know it! lol. Guess I’d better call him for some tips on how to eat them.

According to Parker-Pope, from her article “The 11 Best Foods You Aren’t Eating“, “Sardines: Dr. Bowden calls them “health food in a can.” They are high in omega-3’s, contain virtually no mercury and are loaded with calcium. They also contain iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper and manganese as well as a full complement of B vitamins. How to eat: Choose sardines packed in olive or sardine oil. Eat plain, mixed with salad, on toast, or mashed with dijon mustard and onions as a spread.”

According to Jonny Bowden in The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth, Sardines offer a high serving of omega-3 fats and calcium. According to Bowden, “They also contain iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, and manganese, not to mention a full compliment of B vitamins.” Bowden explained that he and fellow nutrionist friend Oz Garcia ate cans (1 can each) of sardines when they were in a pinch for food on a road trip because they were so tasty and full of nutrition. I have to admit, the thought of opening up a can or sardines and eating the fish as is makes my skin crawl. However, I really shouldn’t pre-judge these poor little fish considering I don’t even know what they taste like! Not sure I’ll be eating them straight from the can, but I hope to eat them at least once this week.

Recipe Ideas:

How to Play:
Everyone is welcome to play, and this week, since the challenge ingredient is, in my opinion, the most challenging one, I have an extra-special prize!

  • Cook/prepare something during the challenge week (3/1-3/7) with sardines
  • Do a blog post about what you made
  • Add the Challenge banner (the muffin photo – available here – click) to your blog post, optional
  • Leave me a comment on this post to let me know you did your post so I can add you link to the list

Happy cooking!

I will randomly select 1 winner from the group that participates. Players will be assigned #’s based on the order I received your entry and a random # will be generated online. The winner will receive a Green, fabric, grocery bag that I will personally make for you, like the one I made for myself this past weekend!

Winner will have their choice of fabrics from the following:


Options A – red polka dot with red lining


Option B – green floral fabric with yellow gingham lining


Option C – Pink/Orange/Yellow/Purple Floral with light pink lining

I’m not making these bags to sell…just for the winner. If you’d like to purchase a fabric grocery tote, check out Homemaking Dreams’ (creator of the tutorial I used) Etsy shop (click) where there are some available for purchase.

The Players:

TBD – Leave me a comment with a link to your sardine-post and I’ll add your link here. Please make your entry during the challenge week and submit your comment to this post by the end of the challenge week.

I hope someone is brave enough to give this challenge a go. Anyone? :)

Special thanks to everyone who played last week! :)

Happy cooking!

SCBR Week 5/ Day 2 Food/Exercise Journal

9:00 am – Coffee + Maple-Brown-Sugar-Pecan-AB-Oatmeal – Full (7)


As I mentioned earlier, it snowed last night! I tried to take a photo of this morning’s eats with a shot of all the snow you could see from our window, but as you can see, it didn’t work. Anywho, due to the snow, I got a late start this AM. I stayed up waaaaay too late last night working on my bag and blog posts. I think I’ve derailed all my hard work to go to bed earlier, but I’m hoping to get back in the swing of things tonight.


I desperately needed some coffee this morning to get going. I brewed up some Fresh Market Breakfast Blend and enjoyed that with some sugar and 2% milk.


I also made myself a nice bowl of Maple-Brown-Sugar-Pecan-AB Oatmeal. The hot, gooey bowl of oats was so comforting to enjoy on this snowy day. I actually made myself full finishing all the oats and coffee. Who knew oats could be so filling?


Coffee – round #2.


I made sure to dress for the cold weather and put on some nice wool socks hubby’s big bro got me for Christmas this past year. They were super cozy!

11:00 am – Yogi Defense Tea – Content (5)


When I finally made it through the snowy/icy roads to work, I quickly brewed up some hot tea – Yogi Tea Echinacea Immune Support – with some honey. I also got my heater going! It was coooooold today!


Yogi tea quote of the day – “Man is as vast as he acts.”

1:15 pm – Spinach Salad, Babybel, Water – Content (5)


Lunch was on the light side today. We’re still low on food in the house and I knew I wanted to bring something so I wouldn’t have to brave the nasty roads any more than I had to. I think I was half-asleep when I put together this tiny baby spinach salad with about 6 baby carrots and some sliced almonds. I topped the salad with some salad dressing my co-worker let me have – Newman’s Own Light Balsamic Vinaigrette, which was very good.


Luckily, I knew I had more food at the office. I also grabbed a Babybel cheese, which was sooo enjoyable to eat. They are addicting, I swear! I also grabbed some water – a nice, full cup.

I had lunch while watching…can you guess? More Food TV! I caught the end of Barefoot Contessa and some of Secrets of a Restaurant Chef.


I even got a sample of my co-workers Pacific Creamy Carrot Soup – about 1/4 cup. It was really good! I’m so glad I had hubby pick up a couple Pacific soup flavors, though I don’t think we got this exact one.

Lunch, though light, was actually quite satisfying…especially since I knew I had tons more snacks in case I got hungry.

3:30 pm – KIND Plus Antioxidants – Cranberry Almond – Content (5)


Later in the day, I started to feel hungry, but brushed off the feeling. By 3:30pm, I was feeling pretty light-headed, so I decided to add up my calories. I’d only had 500! 500 by 3:30pm! I know people have stereotypes about people who count calories, and though I am (now) trying to lose some weight and therefore make sure I don’t eat too many calories, I think calorie counting can be useful to make sure you don’t eat too few, too! I browsed my bar stash in my desk and settled upon this KIND Plus Antioxidants in cranberry & almond.


The bar was an awesome mix of crunchy nuts and puffs and chewy dried fruits and a sticky-sweet syrup that held it all together (I think it was mostly honey?). This bar would be great for those days when you want a bar with a little more texture. The bar also had a nice mix of extra vitamins.

4:00 pm – String Cheese – Content (5)


Shortly after enjoying the KIND bar, I felt a craving for something salty, so I grabbed a Sargento mozzarella cheese stick, which totally hit the spot!

5:30 pm – Walk with Bailey – Relaxed


We braved the snowy and icy sidewalks to take Bailey for a walk before dinner. He was quite fascinated with all the snowmen we saw, including this mound of snow, which appears to have been a snow-dog. I think the slightly smaller mound was a snow-cat?


The rest of the snow-family was in a different grouping.

Our walk was about 35 minutes long. I did about 10 minutes of strength conditioning when I got home, including 5 pushups to test out my wrist, which is feeling better. I used to do pushups all the time when I was training for skating and gymnastics…I can’t believe I only did 5! I don’t want to push it too much, though since my wrist has been bothering me lately. After conditioning, I did 10-15 minutes of stretching, which was nice and relaxing.

7:45 pm – Leftover Stir-Fry – First Signs of Feeling Full (6)

IMG_3452.JPG IMG_3453.JPG


Dinner tonight was decent, but what I was most happy about was the fact that I used all leftover ingredients to make it! :) The package of pork that hubby got, which I used in yesterday’s dinner had 6 thin-sliced boneless pork chops, so we had 3 yesterday and 3 today. I also got to use the leftover rice pilaf from yesterday and some frozen mixed veggies and extra peas that had been opened for previous meals.

I cooked the pork chops by seasoning them with steak seasoning and sauteing them. When they were done cooking, I put them on a cutting board to rest a wee bit while I stir-fried the frozen veggies and rice pilaf in the same pan. While the rice pilaf cooked, I chopped the pork into bite-sized bits and then added it back to the stir fry. I wasn’t going to add any soy sauce since this wasn’t really an Asian stir-fry, but decided to add a splash at the very end.

I multi-tasked during the whole cooking time by doing the dishes when I had a free hand.


The stir fry was pretty tasty. Hubby seemed to like it. I mainly liked being resourceful and not wasteful of our food.


I just had water with dinner.


I had a little bit more for round #2.

9:30 pm – Hot Cocoa – Content (5)


I was so glad I got whipped cream at TJ’s earlier today because I was still feeling festive from the snowy weather and wanted to make more hot chocolate. I used Ellie Krieger’s recipe again, but with 2% milk since that’s what we have in the fridge. I made 2 big mugs for me and hubby.


The whipped cream really made the hot cocoa extra special and even more tasty.

Calorie Summary + Weight Update

Calories Eaten: 1428
Calories Burned: 127
Net Calories: 1301

I’m not a big fan of scales. All my life people have told me I don’t look like what I weigh. I like to thank skating for bestowing me gigantic leg muscles. Muscles weigh more than fat. I tend to have a lot of muscle (or did tend to) since I’ve been pretty athletic most of my life. Therefore, I weigh a lot for my size…at least that’s what people tell me. So, when hubby asked me the other day if I had weighed myself recently, I said no. I hardly ever weigh myself. I’ve gone years without weighing myself. I typically measure myself by jeans that used to fit a certain way and are either getting tighter or looser. Anywho, enough blabbing…I weighed myself the other day and I’m now 128.4. I’ve lost almost 3 pounds! My jeans are still fitting looser and seem to be getting a wee bit more loose every day. Yay!

I think I’m going to have to take photos of me in these jeans I keep talking about so you guys can see what I mean. I’ll try to get on that this week.

New Handmade Grocery Bag Testing

Well, I didn't end up getting to work from home today. *sad face* I did, however, wait out the rush hour traffic and go in late. I hate driving in bad weather and always get so freaked out on the roads. I do try to drive as calm as possible, just in case anyone is worried I'm a spazz behind the wheel…haha. Anywho, the accidents on the road totaled to about 12-15 at the time I normally left, so I waited until the # was down to 2, just after rush hour, to avoid the other crazy drivers (we really just don't know how to drive in the snow down here!)


Just like last time, I carefully snuck a couple photos while I was driving (my eyes were on the road and I held the camera in a general forward direction…don't try this at home kiddos!). Also just like last time, there were a handful of cars that had skidded off the roads, like the one in the photo above.


I got to test out my new bag (that I made yesterday) today, too! After work, I made a quick trip to Trader Joe's to do some more re-stocking. We really went through a lot of our pantry food when we had that $37 for the last week of February's food budget, so some shopping was definitely in order.


My handmade, fabric, grocery bag was a BIG success! Look at all the food that fit in there! I won't lie…it was darn heavy. I kept my hand under the bag as I walked back to my car because I was worried the bag would tear, but I made it home with my groceries safe and sound. Now, I just have to get started on my second bag so I won't have the same problem!

Groceries purchased:

  • frozen artichoke hearts
  • frozen edamame
  • frozen shrimp
  • Morningstar sausage patties
  • pickles
  • canadian bacon
  • sardines
  • 2 Clif Z Bars in chocolate chip
  • 2 Pure bars in Chocolate Brownie
  • Whipped cream

I didn't buy any fresh veggies since we're getting our organic produce delivery tomorrow…yay!

Btw, Kelsey, I wouldn't have gotten the MorningStar sausage patties if you hadn't give me that sample this weekend. Thanks so much for intro-ing me to a yummy new treat!

Oh, and the tempeh! Have you guys ever seen something in the grocery store that looks completely foreign and yet completely delicious at the same time? You have no idea what it is or how to cook it, but you do know that you want to try it? That's me and tempeh. After seeing it on a couple blogs, like Kath's, I decided to give it a go. I'm really looking forward to trying it! Next on my bizarre foods to try list: those mochi cakes in the refrigerated section of most non-traditional grocery stores.

I think I hear hubby's tummy growling, so I'd better get started on dinner!

Going Green: Handmade Fabric Grocery Bag + First Gen Organic!

I did it!  I made the fabric grocery bag that I mentioned last week!  I fiiiinally made some time for crafting…


To start, I google-searched for handmade, re-usable, fabric grocery bag/tote tutorials.  There were tons of tutorials, but I decided this one, by Homemaking Dreams (thanks for sharing, HD!), one was the best and looked super easy to put together.  I also liked that the tutorial didn't use a pattern…you just had to cut a bunch of rectangles up.


Next, I had a hard time choosing which fabrics to use.  I have a bad habit of hoarding away my faves (of anything – fabric, beads, foods, etc.), but I decided that since I'm going to be using these bags quite often, I may as well use a fabric that I absolutely love so I can enjoy using my totes even more.  I picked one of my fave fabrics (the turquoise-y one above) that I've been hoarding for a couple years now. 

My next tough call was choosing the lining fabric, which could actually be an outside fabric, too, since the tote is reversible.  I wanted to use the green because it coordinated with the specks of green on the main fabric and would hide dirt better, but I thought the pink was a much better match color-wise, so I went with the pink.


After choosing the fabric, I got my work area ready.  My computer currently resides on our dining room table, and I decided that instead of printing out the tutorial, I'd leave it up on my computer, turn the screen so I could see it from the sewing machine, and save some trees in the process.  I also got a candle going to keep the mood relaxed.


The fabric cutting seemed to take forever!  Luckily, I had already pre-washed these fabrics, but they were all wrinkly because I neglected to iron them beforehand.  So, I had to mix my cutting up with some ironing to get them in the proper size.  I had a handful of these little 2 1/2" square leftover, so I think I'm going to keep these for another project…possibly a quilt!?


I had my computer screen positioned nicely so I could look up and double-check my work at any time.  The scrolling was more challenging since I left my mouse further away, but I still really enjoyed working from my screen vs a paper print-out of the tutorial.

Sewing the pieces together was a cinch – just a bunch of straight sewing!


Sewing the handle…

First Generation Organic
I had a nice phone conversation with my dad while I was working on this part of the tutorial.  We talked for a long time about why/how he got into being green and eating organic foods.  He even talked about how he ate organic foods "back in the day" before I was born and how he was part of some organic food organization in Atlanta, I think it's this one – Sevanada.  I didn't even know organic food existed then!  He went on (the man likes to talk!) to talk about subscribing to organic gardening magazines, keeping his compost pile, researching solar power for school, natural foods, taking my sister and me to local farms to pick vegetables so he could teach me when they were ripe and feed us natural foods, and even how he almost built our family a sustainable house with a mud roof and south-facing window for passive solar design!  Sounds like I'm first generation organic…just like Sara Snow!  How cool!?

I can't wait till Hubby and I finally get a house!  We can have my fam over to help us plant a garden and stuff and maybe make a day of it and grill out?  Could be fun times…Here's to hoping! :)

Oh, and I'm trying to talk my dad into starting a blog…hehe.  He has lots of great advice that I think could really benefit other people.  Plus, like I said, the man likes to talk!  If he could blog as much as he talks, I think he could have a good thing going!


After I got the handles sewn up, I had to pin them in place. 


I did this part veeeeeeeery carefully.  I'd done too much work to mess up now!


Once both handles were pinned in place, I could put the right sides together to prep them for the final streth of the project – sewing the top!  Doesn't it look like the pink bag is eating the turquoise one!?  haha


Once the top was sewn, I could pull the outside fabric through the inside fabric so I could wrap things up.  All I had to do was topstitch the top of the bag and then sew up the bottom of the liner fabric and I was DONE! :)


The finished product!


A different POV.


A closer look.

Overall, this tutorial rocked!  I have fabric cut already to make a second bag and am thinking of making another one that is slightly larger than the first 2.  The tutorial was very simple to follow and had tons of photos that were very helpful (I'm a very visual person).  This project would make an excellent sewing project for begginner sewers and would be super simple for those more experienced.  I highly recommend trying it out and if you do, let me know!  I'd love to see your finished work!

SCBR Week 5/ Day 1 Food/Exercise Journal

9:30 am – Coffee + Yogurt – Content (5)


I had early brunch plans with some girlfriends today, but I knew I had to eat something beforehand. I was hoping my usual breakfast brew with some yogurt wouldn't spoil my appetite, but it kinda did. I guess it was good because it kept me from eating too much at brunch?

11:30 am – The Flying Biscuit – First Signs of Feeling Full (6)


I met up with Kath and Kelsey for an amazing brunch at The Flying Biscuit, a restaurant suggested by Kath. Check out their cool ceiling! The inside of TFB was super bright and fun. From the ceilings…


…to the tablesetting.


They had some nifty pottery. I asked if this had pickles in it, but it didn't…


…it had sugar! Two please!


I ordered a coffee to go with my meal and added about 2 or 3 sugar cubes and a bit of cream.


I ordered the Southern Scramble with a regular biscuit and fresh fruit. The scramble was made with 3 farm-fresh eggs, collard greens, turkey bacon, onion, and cheddar cheese.


It was sooooo good! I think we're getting collard greens in this week's produce delivery, so I may try to re-create the dish at home. I doubt I'll be able to do their delicious biscuits, though!


I got a couple samples from the girls. I had a piece of Kath's whole wheat biscuit…


…and a bite of Kelsey's Soy-sage, which was my first taste of a vegetarian sausage. Me likey! Kelsey said she likes these on English muffins…I think they would make an amazing addition to my breakfast rotation. Gotta find some!


I did what I could with lunch, but I guess that yogurt filled me up more than I thought it would. I had probably 1/3 of the eggs, 1/2 the biscuit, 1/2 the fruit, and 1 cup of coffee, plus some water. I packed up the leftovers to bring home to hubby.

After brunch, it was movie-time! We saw The Reader, which was a really great movie. I thought the whole thing was sad, but quite beautiful at the same time. The scenes were set nicely and all the filming of the old buildings reminded me of when I stayed in a small downtown area of a city in France – Besancon.


After the movie, us girls hit up TJ's and sampled a couple goodies – some chicken tenders in a tomato chutney, cheese, wine, and sunflower butter. The sunflower butter was better than I thought it would be – sort of sweet but distinctively sunflower-y. I'll have to think about getting some. I did end up getting the Valencia Peanut Butter with Roasted Flaxseeds, some TJ's hummus, baby spinach, and whole wheat tortillas. I feel like I got a pretty good deal since all this was just under $10!


After TJ's, I headed home with my new food goodies and brought back my brunch leftovers for hubby, who prompted ate them right up!

4:00 pm – PB GHBC Toast + Tea – Content (5)


Once home, I brewed some nice, hot tea since I was so glad to be inside from the cold, drizzly weather. I had some comforting Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime with some honey.


I also was ready to dive into my new PB. I love getting new things and can't wait to try them out!


I thought the new PB was quite tasty! I was so glad I got it.

8:30 pm – Lemon Caper Pork, Rice Pilaf, Garlic Spinach – Content (5)


Hubby wanted to order pizza tonight. I was working on a project, post to go up tomorrow since it's so late already, and he kept dropping hints all night that he wanted pizza. He even tried to lure me into his pizza trap by offering to get Pizza Hut – my fave and his least fave. Sneaky, sneaky.

Luckily, while we were playing with Bailey in the snow (yup we got some!), he changed his mind.


Bailey was going crazy in the snow…he kept trying to eat as much as he could…it was pretty funny.


The snow was coming down pretty heavy for awhile there, but we'll have to see how things look tomorrow. I hope they let us work from home tomorrow. People don't know how to drive in snow/ice around here, myself included.


I cooked up some boneless pork in a lemon butter sauce that I made up with some capers, which I served with some of that baby spinach sauteed with garlic and a bit of rice pilaf (thanks Kath!).


Dinner was fab, especially considering I threw it together last minute and got to use up some leftover lemon and some capers that had been hanging out in my fridge for awhile.


I just had some water with tonight's dinner.

11:00 pm – Hot Chocolate – Content (5)


I got pretty caught up in tonight's project and totally lost track of time, but still really wanted to have some hot chocolate to celebrate the snow.


I whipped up this hot chocolate recipe from Ellie Krieger (click) that comes together pretty fast.


It doesn't make much, but it sure hits the spot! I just wish I had some whipped cream!

Since I got lost in my project tonight, I didn't have the chance to enter my calorie info for today, but I'm guessing it's not terrible since I did pretty good on portioning and stuff. Who knows, though…I'm not good at estimating yet.

I'm also posting my challenge stuff tomorrow. Wow…lots to do tomorrow already! *crossing fingers I can work from home* Wish me luck with the weather/commuting! G'night! :)

Related Posts with Thumbnails