MacGyver & Giveaway

*There’s a giveaway at the end of this post. Feel free to skip the cute pictures of animals and the delicious recipe to get to it*

Have you ever had one of those days where you swear that you were not dry for one minute of that day? No? Try this:

  1. shower at 5:10 a.m. and leave hair to air dry with product
  2. spend 6 hours outside in the rain at the zoo
  3. sit in a seat on the bus ride back with a broken window, have rain drip on you the whole hour ride.
  4. have to wear a wet sweatshirt until warm enough to take it off

How’s that sound? I was so soaking wet today ALL day due to the 6 hours of being out in the rain that my fingers were pruny! BUT… it was still a fantastically fun day!!!

We met some camels:

2 camels, 4 humps

2 camels, 4 humps

Some bison (though I eat them, I still think they’re amazing!)

NOT buffalo. Bison.

NOT buffalo. Bison.

A zebra:

The kids named him ZeeVee

The kids named him ZeeVee

The most beautiful “teenage” giraffe:

SUCH great eyelashes!

SUCH great eyelashes!

An orangutan, just hangin’ out:

He was quite chill

He was quite chill

A baby gorilla:

Cute, huh?

Cute, huh?

And a dinosaur:

No, not real... animatronic!

No, not real... animatronic!

It was quite an eventful, tiring, and wet day! When I got home, I was quite hungry, and decided to “MacGyver” a meal out of the ingredients we had in the house… I’m calling this one:

Lentil Confetti Chicken

This recipe made a TON!

This recipe made a TON!


1 lb chicken breasts, cut into chunks

1 orange pepper, diced

3 small tomatoes, seeded and diced

1/2 onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 c. dried lentils

4 c. water

1/2 tsp. dried basil

1/8 tsp. red pepper

1 Tbsp. olive oil

S&P to taste


In a large pot, heat the olive oil and garlic. When the garlic is lightly browned, add the bell pepper, onion, and tomato and cook a few minutes. Add the chicken and brown, mixing well with the vegetables. Add lentils, water, and seasonings. Cover and simmer about 40 minutes, or until the lentils are tender. Serve and enjoy!

I served mine on brown rice, and ended up topping it with a bit of low fat cheddar cheese and it was delicious and satisfying!

Now, on to the reason you’re actually here: to win something!

I mentioned in my post on Sunday that I’d made some delicious cookies with coconut flour, and many of you mentioned that you’d never had coconut flour, or even heard of it! Well, the lovely folks over at Tropical Traditions have offered to give you, one lucky What’s For Dinner reader, a 2.2 lb. bag of their delicious coconut flour! So far, it’s been a fantastic addition to my baking and breakfasts, and I can’t wait to use it in sauces, and as a breading for some coconut shrimp. Want to win some?? It’s easy! Just leave a comment below!!! For a bonus entry, sign up for the Tropical Traditions Newsletter, and email me to let me know you’ve done so. Winner will be announced Sunday evening!

There’s more love from Tropical Traditions to come soon… so stay tuned!

The camper quote of the day made me fall over in my seat laughing today… we were eating lunch near the rhinos and hippos. One girl turned to another and said “You know whats the difference between those 2? One’s head is soft and one’s head is hard. Kind of like you and me. My head is soft and your head is hard, so don’t poke my head!”


Posted in chicken/turkey, giveaway, simple recipe | Tagged , , | 53 Comments

Let’s Call Him Steve!

Little kids crack me up.

I find myself laughing uncontrollably at some of the things my campers say more often than not, whether its talking about the “UNORMOUS” spiders on the trees, the “skeetoes” that are everywhere at the forest preserves, playing at the “butt washers” at the pool (those vertical squirting fountains), or today, when we met our new friend.

My girls wanted to go on a nature walk today, which I was quite thrilled about, as I’ve been feeling like a potato lately. So we set out on one of the paths at the forest preserve this afternoon, and stopped to look in this pond:

Hmmm... who's hiding?

Hmmm... who's hiding?

I know that many bullfrogs live in this chain of ponds at this forest preserve, so I told my girls to be very quiet and look carefully. Suddenly, a little gasp came from one of the girls. “Eyeballs!” she said, pointing at the space between some of the reeds. “It’s  a frog!” As a group, we promptly decided that this frog was going to be our new friend, and we’d come visit him every week that we’re at this forest preserve. “What’s his name?” I asked. “Mr. Toady!” said one girl. “That’s not a toad, thats a frog!” said another. “I know,” said one of my smartest girls. “Let’s call him Steve!” So Steve it was. Steve has a friend, MaraFrog that lives down the pond. It was an eventful day in the Duckie group today!

After a relatively long commute, I came home to a package on the counter. I quickly took it off the counter and put it on a chair, because I knew what was inside. Why the chair? Well, the package contained these:

new kicks!

new kicks!

These are not for working out. These are simply “I wanted them so I had to buy them” Nike Shox. And why did I move the box to the chair? Family superstition! No shoes on the table! As far as I’m concerned, that counter is a table, so for good luck, I had to move it. Do you have any funny superstitions like that?

After trying on my shoes (they fit!) I set out to cook dinner. I made some simple meatballs, Smart Taste pasta, and sauce. This was not just any sauce though! A while back, the lovely people at Dei Fratelli sent me 2 jars of their pasta sauce, and we’d been saving the jars for an after-camp meal! I would recommend this amazing tomato basil sauce without hesitation! It really tasted fresh, like I actually made it.

Thanks, Dei Fratelli!

Thanks, Dei Fratelli!

I made a great bowl of pasta and sauce with 3 meatballs (yes, I was hungry!) and some fresh mozzarella and parmesan cheese. It was just what I needed after a day full of skeetoes!

Why yes, that IS a lot of balls (TWSS!)

Why yes, that IS a lot of balls (TWSS!)

Tomorrow, we’re heading to Brookfield Zoo for a day full of monkeys, snakes, lions, tigers, bears, and dinosaurs! Are you ready for more animal pictures?? There may be a giveaway tomorrow too :)

Posted in beef, Italian, simple recipe | Tagged , , , | 23 Comments

A Monday Quickie

First of all, I want to thank you ALL for your kind words in my moment of insecurity at the end of my last post. I know that I started this blog in the dead of winter, and know not of the downturn that apparently comes when the weather gets nicer. All of your comments, seriously, each of them, as they came through my email on my phone today boosted my spirits ever so much! It’s good to know that so many of you are still reading, and that you are all so caring and supportive!

Second of all, today’s post is going to be über short, as the Monday after a long weekend is quite possibly the longest day EVER! I’d been craving Chinese food all day, so that’s just what we got for dinner. I splurged a bit and bought us Chinese carry-out! Adam got beef and broccoli, and I got shrimp and broccoli. This place has the most enormous and plentiful shrimp in their dishes! We also shared some potstickers.

Crispy, doughy, and pork-filled (thats what she said)

Crispy, doughy, and pork-filled (thats what she said)

Shrimp and broccoli!

Shrimp and broccoli!

I indulged in a couple of the coconut flour cookies that I made last night, and a few strawberries with lowfat sour cream and brown sugar.

Lastly tonight, I’d like to direct you to my latest post on Jewish Wedding Network! Sara, the editor of the site, asked me if I would share my weight loss story, and it was posted today. Let me know what you all think!

Bed is calling my name… so I’ll catch you all mañana, but first: the camper quote of the day! “My mostest favoritest thing to dip in my bahamas is the red peppers. Then the cucumbers. Then the carrots then the yellow peppers.” It took me 10 minutes to figure out that “bahamas” was hummus.

Posted in Asian, dinner out, weight loss | Tagged , , , | 13 Comments

Would You Care for a Hot Pocket?

An Eggo?

Sorry… Austin Powers moment…

Sunday was a day full of just what I needed: relaxation, shopping, sun, swimming, and baking!

The relaxation came after the other 4, and I gotta say, after the insane amount of cleaning we did Friday, then the unbelievable amount of cooking I did on Saturday, relaxation was what I needed. BUT, first things first! I met my friend Kristin for coffee and some minor shopping, and then we headed out to our townhome complex’s pool. It was so nice to just lay in the sun and float in the pool without 4-year-olds screaming and splashing me! Apparently, my sunscreen didn’t quite do its job and I’m now somewhere in the color range of a red radish… hopefully it’ll fade.

The baking was quite fun. I rarely bake, as I have a hard time controlling myself around fresh baked goods, but after reading the amazing nutritionals on the coconut flour I got from Tropical Traditions, I decided to break out the mixing bowl and whisk and bake up some cookies. I searched the net for various recipes, combined them, tweaked them, and came up with these…

Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies



1/2 c. Virgin Coconut Oil, melted

4 eggs

1 c. coconut flour

1/2 Tbsp. vanilla extract

1/8 tsp salt

1/2 c. sugar

3/4 c. chocolate chips

1/2 c. shredded coconut


Mix together coconut oil, sugar, vanilla, eggs, and salt together. Blend thoroughly. Add flour, coconut, chocolate chips, mix thoroughly. Form into small cookies on a parchment lined pan. Bake at 375* about 15 minutes, or until lightly browned.

These small cookies were a) delicious and b) super satisfying! Coconut flour has, in a mere 3.5 ounces, over 38 g. of dietary fiber in it, thus increasing satisfaction. They’ll be a nice treat, while they last!

Dinner was simple. I chopped up some of our leftover BBQ chicken from the 4th, mixed it with a bit of BBQ sauce and made myself a “hot pocket”.

Wonder what else was inside?

Wonder what else was inside?

I know, that looks super boring. BUT, I assure you it is not! Inside, in addition to the chicken was some smushed avocado, a little bit of cheddar cheese, and a whole lotta careful rolling. After lightly toasting the wrap and cutting it to make it look pretty, I ended up with this:

See? Not boring!

See? Not boring!

It was quite delicious, and the fiber-rich flat out wrap made it very satisfying as well!

*Serious question here* I’ve noticed a major down turn in my readership lately. I’m not just talking the usual “I’m busy over the weekend/holiday so I’m not reading blogs” down turn, but a loss of 200+ subscribers. So, for those of you that are still reading (thank you!) what can I do to improve this site? I’m trying to not take it personally, but I’m starting to wonder really, WHY?!

So, for those of you still reading… what do you like? What do you miss? Should I change anything?

Thanks for your feedback, and for still reading this little blog of mine.

Posted in chicken/turkey, friends, simple recipe | Tagged , , , | 32 Comments

The Summer’s Over!

When I was growing up, we’d spend nearly every 4th of July (or the 3rd or 5th) at my grandma’s house. Oddly enough, I can’t remember much of the food other than blueberry cake and watermelon! My grandma would tell us the story of how, when she was growing up, every 4th, her father would announce at the end of the night “The Summer’s over!” It was something about how prepping for the 4th of July was a ton of work for their little candy store in Brooklyn, and then after the 4th, the school supplies came in… but now, every 4th, we all say “the Summer’s over!” and happily go about our remaining 8 weeks of summer activities.

Last night, my mom and stepdad and my sister and her boyfriend came over for a BBQ… and it rained. ALL DAY. i was so worried that it was going to turn into a “broil in” instead of a “cook out” but just as I was getting out the broil pans, I looked outside. It had stopped raining! I quickly got the grill going and put the food on so in case it started to rain, it would still be a cook out!

Let’s rewind, shall we? The very first thing I did after detailing the kitchen, was to set the table. In 3 years living with Adam, this is the FIRST time I set the table! What do we think?

DSCN3297 We started the evening with my everyone’s favorite chips, guacamole, and salsa from Valli Produce (the best produce market EVER) served in our fancy schmancy chip and dip bowl from Pearl! Were your ears ringing yesterday?? I couldn’t stop gushing over how sweet you are!

DSCN3301 DSCN3299

I made a huge salad with field greens, orange peppers, cucumbers, lowfat feta, avocado, and some Cardini’s Caesar for dipping.

DSCN3302 Since it was a cook out, after all, I grilled some BBQ chicken breasts and some of my summer burgers and had tomato and romaine for sandwich making.

DSCN3306 DSCN3303

My mom was kind enough to bring her amazing potato salad! I don’t even try to make it because I can NEVER get it to taste right!

DSCN3304 There was some camera-shy corn on the cob, condiments for the burgers, and well… just see for yourself! Yes, that’s my mom giving me bunny ears :)

DSCN3309 Then came dessert! (what, you thought all that was it?) I made a blueberry crunch! Usually, that’s my mom’s thing, but when I saw blueberries for $0.99/lb, I had to make one! The recipe is simple, usually: 1 cup sugar, 1 cup flour, 1 stick butter. Make crumbs. Put enough fruit in the bottom of a baking dish to coat the pan about 2 berries high. Top with crumbs. Bake at 350* until the fruit is “pooped” and the crumbs are brown.

I did a little something different: I substituted 1/4 c. of the regular flour for some of the coconut flour I’d gotten from Tropical Traditions. It was absolutely delicious, and beautiful!

DSCN3298 My mom brought a nostalgic treat for us as well: huge strawberries with brown sugar and sour cream. Never had it? You must! Dip your strawberry in sour cream, then brown sugar, then eat. SO delicious! My very patriotic plate:

DSCN3310 We ended the night by heading to the green on the golf course right next to our house to watch our town’s fireworks. It was a great show as always!

DSCN3340 DSCN3313 DSCN3315 DSCN3316 DSCN3320 DSCN3325 DSCN3333 DSCN3338 

When we came inside, I pretty much crashed on the couch. Next thing I knew, it was 2 a.m. and I dragged myself to bed.

How was your Fourth?

I have a mall/pool date with my friend today, and I’m looking forward to just relaxing!


Posted in family, family recipe, grilling | Tagged , , , | 13 Comments