Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fall into this Comfort Breakfast

Is it weird that I absolutely love waking up at 5:15 every morning to workout? For me, there is nothing like getting out of bed and going straight to the gym to start the day with a good butt kicking workout. I actually enjoy the days where I have such a hard workout that it's difficult to walk into work or when my arms won't stop shaking while I am doing my makeup. 

Yes, many think I am crazy. I mean how many 23 year olds really wake up before dawn when they don't have to? Better yet, how many 23 years olds go to bed around 9:45 to make sure they aren't too tired when the alarm goes off? I'll admit, I'm not normal, but I love my routine.

I love my Butler Power shirt! I got this for hang cleaning some major weight(when I used to lift really heavy for volleyball).
I also love that the same people go to my gym at 5:30 AM. You almost feel like they are your friends because you see them everyday. When I was out for heart surgery, an older lady (note: she is in killer shape) noticed I was gone and ran up to me on my first day back because she missed seeing me. It's the little things like that, that make my day. 

After my morning workouts, I refuel with protein oatmeal. I shared one of my recipes with you a while back, but lately I decided to change things up. I threw together a hodgepodge of ingredients yesterday, and made Pumpkin Pie Oats. I know, you are probably tired of seeing my pumpkin recipes, but you can't pass this one up. It's not everyday that you get to eat "pumpkin pie" for breakfast! 

You can eat this "pie" without feeling guilty too because it is filled with protein, carbs, and healthy fats. The perfect fueling strong combo. Give it a try, and let me know what you think below. Who knows, maybe you'll love it so much that you'll serve oats instead of actual pie at Thanksgiving this year. -Ha...I'm not sure that would work in my house. 

                                                                      Pumpkin Pie Oats
                                                                            Serves 1


1/2 C Rolled Oats
1/2 C Water
1/4 C Pumpkin Puree (don't use the pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
A dash of Cinnamon
2 T Chopped Walnuts (or Almonds)
2 T Vanilla Almond Milk
1/2 tsp Honey
1 T (or 1/2 Scoop) Vanilla Protein Powder
1 tsp Flax Seed

Start Cooking

1. Mix the oats and water in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave the oatmeal for 2 minutes. 
2. Stir in the remaining ingredients, and start fueling strong. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Back at Soldier Field + Stuffed Acorn Squash

I finally made my way back to Soldier Field yesterday for my first game of the season. I have to admit, it was weird sitting in the stands and not working the game, but I enjoyed every minute of it. My wonderful friends at the Bears hooked me up with field access before the game. I stood on field for every game last year, but there was something about yesterday's experience that literally brought me to tears (thank goodness I had sunglasses on, so no one could tell). I can't pinpoint what exactly made me cry, but I know part of it was being humbled by God's gift of letting me work for the Bears. He has let me see some pretty amazing things in only 23 years .

Well, I am done with the sappy part of the weekend. The game was a lot of fun, and it was great to see the Bears win on a beautiful fall day. After the game, Kyle and I hit up Argo Tea for a Low Fat Pumpkin Chai Tea Latte. If you live near an Argo Tea, drop everything you are doing and get one now. They are a little piece of Heaven. If you aren't fortunate to live near one, I'll try to replicate the recipe one of these days, so you guys don't feel left out. 

Finally, we ended the night with one of my favorite fall vegetarian dishes: Stuffed Acorn Squash. This meal is filled with beans, quinoa, spinach, onions, and spices. All in all, it's a perfect protein packed meal that will keep you satisfied for hours. If you aren't into eating vegetarian, give this recipe a try. I promise you won't even miss the meat! Ask my rugby husband, he'll tell you it's true. Give it a try, and let me know what you think. Have a great week!

                                                              Stuffed Acorn Squash
                                                                         Serves 4


2 Acorn Squash, Cut in half and gutted
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Onion, Chopped
2 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
1 Box Frozen Spinach, thawed and drained
1 Can Black Beans, drained and rinsed (I prefer no-salt added)
3 T Cumin
1 1/2 T Chili Powder
Salt and Pepper
3/4 C Quinoa
2 C Water
1/2 C Low Fat Cheddar Cheese

Start Cooking

1. Set your oven to 375 degrees. 
2. Place 2 squash halves in the microwave and heat for 4 minutes. Repeat with the other squash. This will cut down on the cooking time in the oven. 
3. In a medium pot, heat 1 T of Extra Virgin Olive Oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and garlic. Saute until they become translucent, about 5 minutes. Be sure to stir them often because you do not want the garlic to burn.
4. Add the beans, spinach, cumin, and chili powder. Mix well. 
5. Add the quinoa and water to the mixture and cover with a lid. Cook this until the quinoa has sprouted. This will take about 10 minutes. Be sure to stir often. Once it is done, add salt and pepper to taste. 
6. Place the squash in a large casserole dish and stuff with the quinoa mixture. 
7. Bake for about 30 minutes. Then add a little cheddar cheese to the top of each one and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Let these cool for about 10 minutes, then dig in! 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Yoga Pants & Pumpkin Muffins Brighten My Day

I came home to a wonderful surprise last night! Kyle knew I did not have the best day, so he stopped by Athleta on his way home. This guy knows the way to me heart, yoga pants! Here is the newest member of my wardrobe. If I had it my way, I would never get out of them, but unfortunately yoga pants are not looked highly upon at work.

Speaking of work, we closed out summer today with an office outing to the putt-putt course. My golfing partner and I managed to dominate the course and won the competition! Not only did we win the competition, but we also won the "green jackets." They aren't nearly as attractive as the Master's jackets, but we are pretty darn proud of them.

For those of you who read my last post, Kyle is healing well. Don't worry, I was also able to make the pumpkin muffins that I intended to make the night he cut his eye open. Many pumpkin muffin recipes are filled with fat and sugar, but I found this recipe from Alida's Kitchen that cuts the fat and sugar in half by adding bananas. Don't worry, the banana flavor does not over power the pumpkin, it actually enhances it. Give this recipe a try, and let me know what you think.

                                                              Pumpkin Banana Muffins
                                                                 Makes 14-16 Muffins
                                                            Inspired by Alida's Kitchen


1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 bananas, mashed
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup canola oil
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Start Baking

1.  Set your oven to 350 degrees and line the muffin pan with paper holders.
2. In a large bowl, mix together both flours, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice.
3. In a separate bowl, mash the banana and add pumpkin, oil, eggs, and vanilla together.
4. Add the pumpkin mix to the dry ingredients. Make sure you do not over mix or the muffins will be tough.
5. Divide the batter between 14-16 cups and bake for 13-15 minutes.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Chronicles of a Rugby Wife

Well, we had an interesting Tuesday night in the Toombs' house. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Kyle has rugby practice until 9PM, so I usually do some yoga and practice new recipes while he is gone. Last night I was getting ready to make pumpkin bread when I noticed Kyle was calling me. 

Kyle: "Hey babe, I'm coming home to get my wallet because I need to go to the hospital to get stitches.  Oh- and we have to take the guy that I hit heads with because he needs them too..." [said causally like it was no big deal]

A year or two ago I would have freaked out about Kyle needing stitches, but over time I have learned that this is all apart of being a Rugby Wife. Thinking about it now, I should have added a line to our vows that said..."I will love you even when you track mud in the house, call me to take you to the ER, and keep your smelly cleats in the bedroom..."  What can I say, being a rugby wife is always entertaining. 

Anyway, Kyle cut open his eye during a drill. He did the same thing last year to his other eye nearly 2 weeks after our wedding! I guess now his scars are even.The doctor was great and decided to glue the wound to hopefully minimize the scaring. Fingers crossed it heals as well as his last one. Don't worry, the other guy is fine too. He actually did this same exact thing to his other eye a while back, so both guys knew the routine. 

Well, being a rugby wife never gets old. My handsome husband loves to keep me on my toes. Who knows what he will throw at me next. I'll just keep my fingers crossed that he keeps his cleats outside tonight so they don't stink up the whole house. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Apple Picking and Pumpkin Quesadillas

I hope you all had a chance to enjoy the beautiful weather this weekend. I spent the a lot of time outside on Saturday at my brother in law's outdoor wedding. They had a beautiful ceremony, and could not have asked for a better fall day! It was the first wedding I have been to since my own, so it brought back many wonderful memories of June 4, 2011!

My good looking date
Before heading home on Sunday, we drove up to Tree-Mendus (an apple farm) to do our annual family picking (Abbey, we missed you!). The trees are pretty bare this year because of the drought, but they are still delicious. For those of you who have never been apple picking, I highly suggest going. The experience is fun, and I personally think the apples taste better than the ones you get from the store. We came home with about 20 pounds of Golden Delicious apples, so get ready for some apple recipes!

Korbin loved eating his apple
Korbin and the first apple he picked with assistance from Uncle Kyle
I decided to keep with my fall themed day while making dinner last night, so I made Pumpkin Quesadillas.  I saw the original idea in Rachael Ray's new magazine, but decided change it up a bit. I filled mine with pumpkin, spices, sauteed onions, spinach, and light mozzarella cheese. The best thing about this meal is you can add a variety of fillings. For example, you can easily make it vegan by using vegan cheese and vegan tortillas, or for you carnivores, just add chicken. Enjoy this fall recipe, and let me know what you think in the comment box below!

                                                                Pumpkin Quesadilla
                                                              Inspired by Rachael Ray                                                                 
                                                                Makes 1 Quesadilla


2 Whole Grain Tortillas
1/3 C Pumpkin Puree (Not the pumpkin pie spiced kind, just plain pumpkin)
1/2 tsp Chili Powder (If you want is spicy, add a little more)
1/4 tsp Cumin
1/4 C Raw Spinach
1/2 Sweet Onion, Sliced
1/3 C Low Fat Mozzarella Cheese
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Start Cooking

1. Saute half of an onion in 1 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil for 5-7 minutes, or until it begins a caramel color.
2. Heat up a griddle pan over medium high heat and spray with cooking spray.
3. Mix together the pumpkin, chili powder, and cumin. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4. Spread the pumpkin mixture on one tortilla.
5. Top with spinach, onions, and cheese.
6. Place the tortilla on the griddle and place the other tortilla on top.
7. To speed up cooking and to make sure everything stays together, place a pot on top of the top tortilla while it is cooking. Cook for 3 minutes on each side, or until the tortilla is nice and brown and the cheese is melted.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Leg Day

It's game day! I have been waiting "patiently" all week to watch the Bears take on the Packers. I rarely go home and watch TV, but tonight I am making an exception. I plan on heating up a bowl of the chili I made last night and cheering on Da Bears to a victory (sorry Packer friends...not really). Chicago- I need you to win tonight because I already picked out my victory outfit for casual Friday. Thanks:)

I slacked last week on giving you guys a new work out. With the holiday week, it kind of slipped my mind to take pictures of my workouts. Well, you don't have to wait any longer. It's time for Side Lunges! This exercise is great for toning the inner and outer thighs, butt, and quads. Also, I add a slight twisting motion to incorporate your whole core. It doesn't get much better than that.

For this exercise, I like to use a kettle bell because they are easy to hold, but you can do it without weight, with a dumbbell, or even a gallon of milk. I'll let you be the judge for what you need to use. Follow my step by step directions below. I recommend starting with 8 reps on each leg for 3 sets, but increase to as many as 20 reps per leg at a time. You will feel a nice burn and stretch, but don't stop! Embrace the burn to see changes.

                                                                Standing Side Lunges

1. Grab your weight in your left hand and stand up straight with your shoulders back and abs pulled in tight. Remember to keep your abs engaged (tightened) throughout the whole workout.

Kyle made me smile for the camera at 5:15 AM. 

2. With your opposite leg (the side that is not holding the weight), step laterally as though you are stretching your groin. Dip down into the stretch until you are a 90 degree angle. Be sure to keep your knee aligned over your ankle, and sit back into the squat to engage the glutes. Also, keep the opposite leg straight and firmly planted on the ground.

 Reach your right hand (or hand holding the weight) to your bent knee to create a mild twist in the torso.

3. Push off of your bent knee to a standing position. I like to keep the knee that was bent off of the ground before continuing into another set. This adds a layer of balance to the equation and works your lower abs. Repeat the same thing on this leg for 8-15 reps before switching legs.

Note: Keep your heels firmly planted on the ground. If you come onto your toes you will feel pain/tension in your knees and potentially injure yourself. Also, if you want to feel this more in the glute (butt), step out further.

Enjoy this leg toning exercise, and remember to cheer on the Bears tonight! Bear down!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Fall Time - Chicken Chili

I refused to let the warm weather get me out of my fall craze today. It was 80+ degrees, yet I still wore a sweater to work and made chili in the Crock Pot! On top of that, I also made a special trip during my lunch break to the grocery store just to load up on pumpkin! Needless to say, I am ready to officially welcome fall.

For those of you who are also ready for fall, get out your crock pot and make my Chicken Chili. This chili is loaded with beans and chicken for an extra protein boost, and plenty of vegetables. The best thing about making chili is you can throw a hodge podge of ingredients in the slow cooker and walk way for 8 to 9 hours. It's not every day that you can go for a run, yet still have dinner cooking at the same time. I promise you this recipe is extremely easy, and it's even husband proof aka Kyle has made this before.

I'll be the first to admit that I am a big wimp when it comes to spice, so if you like your chili spicy, add in some hot sauce or keep the seeds in the jalapeno. Heck, get crazy with it and do both, but keep a glass of milk on hand to cool your mouth down.

Tomorrow is Thursday, one day closer to the weekend! Keep working hard and pushing yourself to the limit.

                                                                      Chicken Chili
                                                                        Serves 4-5


2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
1 Yellow Onion, chopped
1 Green Pepper, chopped
1 Jalapeno,  diced (if you want it spicy, keep the seeds)
1 28 oz Can Peeled Tomatoes OR 5 plum tomatoes, chopped (If you use plum tomatoes, add 8oz of tomato sauce)
1 C Frozen Corn
1 Can Black Beans, drained and rinsed
1 Can Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed 
3 T Chili Powder
2 T Cumin
3 Chicken Breasts (Keep these whole)
1 T Oregeno
Salt and Pepper

Start Slow Cookin'

1. Place all of the items above in the slow cooker except the chicken.
2. Stir all of the ingredients. Once well mixed, place the chicken breasts on top.
3. Cook on low for 8-9 hours.
4. Once the chili is cooked, use a fork to shred the chicken. The chicken will literally fall apart.


Monday, September 10, 2012


No "case of the Mondays" for me today! Like most people, Mondays aren't usually my day, but today was a little different. I got a phone call from my dad around 9:45 this morning because he was going to be in town for a couple of hours and wanted to take me to lunch! It was a pleasant surprise, and I always welcome lunch guests! To say the least, his visit immediately turned an average day into a great one.
You know what else makes my Mondays great? Meatless Mondays!! I enjoy eating vegetarian 4-5 times a week, but on Mondays even Kyle participates. Yes, I'm sure it's hard to believe, but he really does! This week I made one of my favorites, Falafel. For those of you who have never tried this wonderful Middle Eastern food, give it a try!

Falafel is made with chickpeas and usually deep fried. Don't even think about touching the deep fryer with my recipe though! Instead, I spray my skillet with a little cooking spray and Extra Virgin Olive Oil. This allows for a nice crust and half of the calories and fat. Not only is this meal delicious, it is packed with protein and fiber! Enjoy these patties in a pita or whole grain tortilla with some hummus and feta cheese. No matter how you eat it, you can rest assured knowing that you are fueling strong.

                                                                        Serves 4

1 Can Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 Garlic Clove
1/2 Yellow Onion
1 1/2 tsp Chili Powder
1 tsp Cumin
1/4 C Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
Salt and Pepper

Start Cooking

1. Add the garlic clove and onion to a food processor. Chop the ingredients until they are finely chopped.
2. Place the onion mixture in a large bowl.
3. In the same food processor, finely chop the chickpeas. You can leave some of the chickpeas coursely chopped for more texture.
4. Add the chickpeas to the onion mixture. Add the remaing ingredients and mix well.
5. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and create 4 large patties.
6. Spray a medium skillet and add 1/2 T of Extra Virgin Olive Oil to the pan. Heat over medium heat.
7. Cook the patties for 4-5 minutes on each side, until they are golden brown.
8. Once golden brown, remove from heat and serve on a pita or whole grain tortilla with hummus. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Turkey Meatballs

One year ago I had the best seats in Soldier Field, and on a beautiful day like today, I must say I am missing it so much! I miss being able to just walk down to the field during the game and cheer my heart out while still "working." Now, I am sitting on my couch cheering on my favorite team, and I'm becoming content with my new seat. I'll always miss game day with the Bears, but I'm proud to say I had an experience that most would die for.

Best view- from the sidelines.

I hope you are all having a great weekend. I took advantage of the change in temperatures yesterday and enjoyed a nice "fall" run on the lake. I love a good run on the lake, but one thing I miss is running on the canal in Indy during the fall. The view isn't as scenic as my Chicago runs, but there is something about running with the leaves crunching beneath your feet that I don't get here in the city. 

Speaking of running, my friend Jeff dominated his second half marathon today! Nice work Jeff! I'll take a little credit for his success because he came over last night for a pre-race meal sponsored by Fueling Strong. Finding the right foods to eat before a race are key. I wanted to be sure he ate a meal with mild flavors, complex carbohydrates, and lean protein. Another important aspect to pre-race fuel is to eat something that you have run on before. It is never good to introduce new foods into your diet the day before a race because you never know how your body will respond.

For dinner we had turkey meatballs and whole wheat penne pasta.  If you have a race coming up, I suggest eating this the night before. The flavors are bold, but they will not upset your stomach for the race. Also, you get a good balance of carbs and protein, that slowly digest and keep your blood sugars stable over time. Jeff, thanks for letting me get your race off to the right start with a healthy meal!

                                                               Turkey Meatballs
                                                                       Serves 4


1 Pound Ground Turkey
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
1/4 C Plain Bread Crumbs
1/2 C Grated Parmsean Cheese
3 T Ketchup
1 Egg, beaten
1/2 tsp Dried basil
1/4 tsp Salt
1/8 tsp Pepper

Get Cooking

1. Preheat Oven to 375 degrees
2. Mix together all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. I prefer to mix with my hands to make sure every thing gets mixed together.
3. Make 2 inch meatballs. You will make 13-16 balls.
4. Line a baking sheet with foil. Spray the foil with non-stick cooking spray.
5. Place the meatballs on the foil, and bake for 30-35 minutes.

                                                                 Tomato Sauce

2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
1 Medium Onion, Finely Chopped
1 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 (28 oz) Can Crushed Tomatoes
1 (6 oz) Can Tomato Paste
1 1/2 T Fresh Basil, Chopped
1 tsp Fresh Oregeno, Chopped
1 tsp Dried Thyme
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
1/4 tsp Salt

Get Cooking

1. In a large sauce pan, saute the garlic and onions in 1 T of olive oil.
2. Once the onions are translucent (about 5 minutes) add the basil, oregano, and thyme.   Cook for 3 minutes.
3. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
4. Add the meatballs to the sauce, and start fueling strong.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Peanut Butter Yogurt Dip

Rumor on the street is the weather is supposed to get cooler this weekend! I cannot explain how excited that makes me! It is time to dig out my fall clothes (and purchase some new ones), stock up on pumpkin/squash, and enjoy some football. Life doesn’t get much better than that. I will warn you now; I love pumpkin and squash, so prepare to see me use it in a lot of future recipes.

Fall has always been my favorite season. Not only do I love to watch the trees change, but fall also means its volleyball season. For those of you who do not know, I was blessed to play volleyball at the collegiate level, and the sport still holds a special place in my heart. I often find myself day dreaming about the good old days of high school and college volleyball.  I admit, I miss it a lot, but some days my body thanks me for not making it jump three hours a day.

I miss game day!
Enough reminiscing, it's snack time! If you are looking for a healthy snack, try this Peanut Butter Yogurt Dip. It is simple to make, and filled with protein to keep you satisfied for hours! The base is pretty flexible, so feel free to add in other ingredients. For example, if you are looking for a little sweetness add in dark chocolate chips, or if you want to add more heart healthy fats try some chopped nuts. Eat it with apples (or other fruit), and you will find yourself in engrossed in the prefect snack made up of carbs, fibers, protein, and healthy fats. This snack will keep you fueling strong throughout the whole day!

                                                         Peanut Butter Yogurt Dip
                                                         Inspired by Hello Giggles
                                                                      Serves 2 
1 single serving container of Vanilla Greek Yogurt
1 1/2 T Peanut Butter (Crunchy or Creamy)
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Honey

Start Mixing

1. Combine all of the ingredients above
2. Chill for at least 30 minutes before serving
3. Serve with apples, bananas, pretzels, and/or graham crackers

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Pancake Muffins

The picture below pretty much summarizes my holiday weekend. That cutie is my nephew, and Kyle and I went home to celebrate his 2nd birthday! We had a great time spoiling him with love, gifts, and plenty of sugar from my mom's bakery.
Korbin and his Mickey Mouse cupcake. He melts my heart!

Well, now that the celebrations are over, it's time to focus on another work week. Do you ever feel like it's difficult for you to cook during the week because of your work schedule? Well, you are not alone. Whether you are a full-time student or work 50+ hours a week, you can still prepare healthy meals regardless of time.

In the next couple of weeks, I will share with you some of my "quick cooking" tips to save you time. Today, let's start with breakfast! The majority of people claim that they do not eat breakfast because they do not have time. I understand that time is short, but skipping breakfast is one of the worst things you can do to your body. It's like trying to drive a car on empty, you must put fuel into your body to get it moving and to burn calories.

Try prepping breakfasts on Sundays. My husband leaves for work early, so on Sunday evenings I prepare meals that he can heat up at work. This week, I made pancake muffins. Basically, it's a pancake in travel form! Make one batch, and breakfast is served for the whole week!

All you need is a pancake batter and mix-ins (berries, bacon, nuts, etc). I prefer to make my own pancake batter, but if you normally use Bisquick or another boxed mix, feel free to use it. Get creative with your mix-ins. This week Kyle requested strawberry banana muffins and bacon muffins. (Note: If you are going to use bacon, stick to either Center Cut bacon which has less fat or turkey bacon)

These are not only perfect for working adults, but also for your kids before school! You can throw the muffins at them as they run out the door, and rest assured knowing that you helped them get their brain started for a day of learning ahead of them.

Let me know what mix-in combination you used for your pancake muffins. Remember, fueling strong starts at the beginning of the day!

                                                                   Pancake Muffins
                                                Adapted from Lady with the Red Rocker
                                                                 Makes 12 Muffins

1 ¾ C Whole Wheat Flour
1 T Baking Powder
¼ tsp Salt
2 T White Sugar
1 Egg
1 ½ C Skim Milk
3 T Canola Oil
1 T Apple Sauce
Mix-ins of your choice (blueberries, strawberries, bananas, bacon, etc)

Start Baking

1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees
2. In a large bowl, sift all of your dry ingredients. Once sifted, add in the milk, egg, oil, and apple sauce.
3. Line 12 muffin cups with liners and fill ½ way with the batter
4. Add your desired mix-ins to each cup 
5. Cover the mix-ins with 1 T of batter.
6. Bake for 12-15 minutes, test with a toothpick to make sure they are done in the center.

Note: Store in the refrigerator and heat for a couple of seconds before eating.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Zucchini Fries

It's back!!! College football season is amongst us! I woke up at 7:45 this morning and turned on the TV to watch my Irish play! Life is good! Who are you cheering for today?

Be on the look out for the new AT&T commercial during College Game Day. For those of you who don't know, I work at The Marketing Arm and my client is AT&T. We have an amazing college football activation going on throughout the season, and I'm sure you guys will love it! I'll share more in a later post once it has been announced to the public. Just be prepared to laugh and get involved!

I love college football season because it means fall is here and its time for tailgating/viewing parties. Try out my zucchini fries for your next football party. These are similar to the Asparagus Fries I made a few weeks ago, but they have distinct Italian flavors. Dip them in marinara sauce, and you may even think they taste like a mozzarella stick without all of the calories.

Enjoy the college football today, and have a great Labor Day weekend! Remember fueling your body with healthy foods is not a "diet." It is a life style that should be pursued every day!

                                                                       Zucchini Fries
                                                                Adapted from Pip & Ebby
                                                                            Serves 2

1 Large Zucchini or 2 Small
1 Egg
1 tsp Water
1/2 C Flour (I prefer Whole Wheat)
1 C Panko Bread Crumbs
1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Basil
1/4 tsp Oregeno
1/4 tsp Thyme
1/4 C Grated Parmesan 
Salt and Pepper

Get Cooking
Preheat Oven to 425 Degrees

1. Cut the zucchini in 3-inch by 1/2 inch strips.
2. In a gallon size bag add 1/2 C flour, and toss the zucchini strips in it. This will help the breading staying on the fries.
3. In a medium bowl beat 1 egg and 1 tsp of water until well mixed. Place each zucchini stick in the egg mix. Don't pour then in to the bowl because you don't want the extra flour to get into the egg mix.
4. Pour the flour mixture out of the bag, and add in the Panko, garlic powder, basil, Parmesan, oregano, and thyme. Give the bag a shake to mix everything up.
5. Place each zucchini stick in the bag and shake well until everything is well coated.
6. Arrange the fries on a baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Spray the fries with cooking spray to ensure they come out crunchy, and bake for 15-20 minutes.