Happy Father’s Day!

*Gasp* I’m posting in the morning!

I really wanted to get this post up early so that my dad could see it… as of right now, he’s in Cuzco, Peru between sessions of working with the Incan shamans down near Macchu Picchu. This is his third journey down there, and each time he comes back with stories and pictures that are the things of dreams.

Over the last few years, my dad and I have gotten closer, and I’m thankful every day for our relationship. Even when he moved across the country to Oregon, we’ve maintained our closeness thanks to modern technology. Last year, Adam called my dad and asked him to make my engagement ring! It was something I’d dreamed of since I was a little girl watching my dad make jewelry in his shop. So, Dad…even though you’re THOUSANDS of miles away right now, I wanted to wish you a Happy Father’s Day! I can’t wait to see you in August!

Happy Fathers Day!

Love you, Dad!

See you all tonight for dinner… and don’t forget to enter to win a 32 oz. jar of virgin coconut oil by leaving a comment here!

Have a great Sunday!

Posted in family | Tagged , | 12 Comments

Cute Food Saturday!

Welcome back to the 17th installment of Cute Food Saturday!! You can see the other installments by clicking here.

Before we start, I just wanted to remind you all to enter my giveaway for a 32 oz. jar of Virgin Coconut Oil by visiting this post and leaving a comment. That’s it! Winners will be announced tomorrow!

Now, onto the cute!

First off, the wonderful Angela from Oh She Glows created these adorable and healthy cupcakes for a festival this weekend!



Anyone for a spa day?

foodart1Some panda love for my favorite panda-loving, chocolate-covered vegan:

Adorable, no?

Adorable, no?

A great outdoors cake:

You can almost smell the fresh air!

You can almost smell the fresh air!

And for my running friends:

I wouldnt put this one on...

I wouldn't put this one on...

And lastly, a cup of coffee this morning:

Could you drink this?

Could you drink this?

Have a fabulous Saturday all!

Posted in Cute Food Saturday, giveaway | Tagged | 17 Comments

Barbecue Fail and a Giveaway!

Nope, I’m not infallible. I don’t always make meals that are fantastic. In fact, today was a downright FAIL. At 5:30 this morning, I put a chopped up onion, a lean pork loin, ketchup, diet coke, garlic, and hot pepper in the crock pot to cook for 12 hours in the hopes that I’d come home to a delicious barbecue meal.

Nope. Didn’t happen.

I came home to a burnt mess on the bottom of the crockpot with a shrunken, kind of barbecue colored pork loin in the middle. Adam and I thought that maybe if we took it OUT of the burnt mess, shredded the meat and tasted it, maybe it wouldn’t be terrible. Again: nope. It was dry and barely seasoned.

THEN, I added barbecue sauce to the bowl of shredded pork, stirred it up, and put it on a sandwich with fat free american cheese:

Not bad huh? Haha looks are deceiving. It was still dry, but now it was on bread with cheese. So, Adam is out getting us some delicious sushi in honor of National Sushi Day! Thanks for the heads-up Tina!

You can win me!

You can win me!

Onto other news… FREE STUFF NEWS!! Earlier in the week I was sent a 32 oz. jar of virgin coconut oil from Tropical Traditions, and they have so generously offered to send one of you, a What’s For Dinner reader, your very own jar of virgin coconut oil! I’ve been using it as a moisturizer for a few days now, and my previously NASTY dry elbows feel super smooth! It smells amazing, and I can’t wait to start cooking with it. I think some coconut shrimp are in my future!

To enter, just leave a comment below! For an additional entry, subscribe to the Tropical Traditions Newsletter, and email me at mara@imadedinner.net to let me know you’ve done so. Winners will be announced at Dinner time on Sunday, June 21!

FINALLY, I have Guest For Dinner for you!! I met Julie waaaaaaaay back when I was in 6th grade and she was a big bad 7th grader at Hebrew School. She had this amazing singing voice, and we figured out that eventually, we’d end up at the same high school (betcha didn’t remember that, huh Julie?) We remained friends through high school where she was often the star on stage, and I was a mere costume wench, sewing aprons together for our showing of The Crucible. Our paths connected again more recently on Facebook, where I then found her fantastic weight loss and healthy eating blog, Flip This Body. She seriously rocks! So, Julie, pull up a chair, have a seat at my table, and tell us about your meal!
Even with all the recipe oriented magazines I subscribe to, I find that most of my favorite recipes come from friend and family referrals. (Which is what makes this blog so great, in my opinion!) This recipe comes from a Facebook status update from my friend Karen (the wife of one of my college theatre professors, in fact.) Her status was literally all the ingredients, and I had to figure out the rest. Add one charcoal grill and some teriyaki sauce and you’ve got…


1 lb. ground turkey (I used Jennie-O)
1/6 cup minced dried onion (or 1/3 cup chopped fresh sweet onion)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 TBSP dried parsley
1 TBSP Worchestershire sauce
1 tsp. hot sauce (I used Cholula)
1/3 cup chopped dried cranberries (can throw them in whole)
1/3 cup breadcrumbs (I used panko)
1 TBSP teriyaki sauce

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix with your clean, bare hands (makes me feel like a kid again :). Form into 4 patties (1/4 lb. each). Grill or pan-fry. I used my charcoal grill and it took about 20 minutes, flipping the burgers every 4 or 5 minutes to ensure even charring (turkey can burn easily, so monitor diligently.) Once done, place on an Arnold’s Sandwich Thin (my new favorite bread product!!!) and top with 1 TBSP of your favorite sweet teriyaki sauce (I used Soy Vay.)

The thing about cooking turkey (like chicken) is that it needs to be cooked all the way through, or you can risk salmonella poisoning. I suggest using a meat thermometer around the 15 minute mark. The burger will be done at 182 degrees. Make sure to put it in through the SIDE of the burger to get an accurate reading. I had it sticking into the top of the burger for a while and it didn’t get above 130 degrees, but then I tried the side of the burger (making sure at least 1/2 of the thermometer stick was in the meat) and the needle immediately shot up to show it was done!

I LOVED this burger. I have never been a big fan of turkey burgers because I always found them kinda bland and dry. But this burger was moist, flavorful and FILLING. I actually had to put back some of my side dishes after plowing through that puppy because I was so full! The savory sauces & herbs balanced well with the sweet cranberries, and both were great compliments to the turkey. It kinda reminded me of Thanksgiving, in June! :) The teriyaki sauce was my addition to the recipe, and it added a great layer of extra flavor and zing.

I used Sparkrecipes.com to calculate the nutritionals — and they’re not bad! Each patty is about 225 calories, 9g of fat, 1g of fiber and 24g of protein. Add the teriyaki sauce (35 cals, 1g fat, 0 fiber, 0 protein) and the Arnold’s sandwich thin (100 cals, 1g fat, 5g fiber, 4 g protein), and you’re looking at about 355 calories for the whole sandwich (7 Weight Watcher Points.) I definitely will be having another one for lunch tomorrow! Enjoy!
Thanks so much Julie! These look quite fantastic, and like something that would go over VERY well in our house!

The sushi is here, so I’m heading out, but I leave you with the camper quote conversation of the day: “Hey, why are your pants on backwards?” “That’s how I like them!” “Doesn’t the zipper bug your butt?” “No, i just like them this way.”

This occurred after our arts and crafts project of “Teddy Bear Stuffers” where we each got to stuff and take home a stuffed animal!

Have a great night all!

Posted in dinner out, giveaway, Guests for Dinner, pork | Tagged , , , | 52 Comments

A Wonderful Mish-Mash

Today was one of those days that reminds me why I continue to work at camp year after year. There’s really something rewarding about seeing little kids experience things like milking a cow, playing with baby animals, chasing goats, and going on their first hayrides. Today was full of this


And some of this:


A lot of this:


And thankfully, not too much of this:


By the end of the day, I looked like I’d had my hair done by the same person as this guy:


My campers had a complete blast, chased after chickens, geese, ducks, and held one of the biggest rabbits I’ve ever seen. They met Ruby, the milking cow, and watched as baby goats hopped up on other kids backs (a trick they were taught.) All my girls fell asleep on the bus on the way home (along with their counselor!) and when we got back to our base, one girl said to me (Camper quote!) I wantsta have a farm. Can I have a farm? I want a goat and a cow.

I got home after this exhausting day to not one, not two, but THREE blogger love packages! I was not expecting ANYTHING, so these were a nice surprise! The lovely Melissa from P.B. Loco sent me this to try:

And she wanted me to tell you all that first off, you can all recieve coupons and free stuff if you register under the “free stuff” link on the P.B. Loco website. She was also nice enough to pass this fabulous coupon on to all of you as well:
P.B.Loco peanut butters make great gifts! Purchase 5 or more jars of P.B.Loco’s flavored peanut butters and your 6th jar is free. To redeem this coupon, place 6 or more jars of P.B.Loco’s peanut butters in your shopping cart and use coupon code BLOG709 when you checkout. Redeemable only at www.pbloco.com. Offer expires July 10, 2009.

In addition to this amazing peanut butter, I received some hot man powder and maple nut oaties from HEAB!! I’m a) now obsessed with the oaties and b) can’t wait to make my smoothie in the morning!!!! Thanks so much Heather! Just check out this generosity (please ignore the hedge clipper in the background):
AND, Sarah from LovIN my Tummy sent me some lovely Oregon chocolates and some new art for my refrigerator gallery!! Thanks so much Sarah and Gracie!
And finally… I bring you what you’ve been waiting for, Adam’s review of the Pure Bars we were sent! Now, I’ve had a couple of them… but I’ll let him tell you what he thought of them:

Hello all!! I am going to do my best to give a review on the PURE bars that sent to us last week. Normally I do not care for reviewing food. However, since I did eat the majority of the bars I was told that I had the honor of reviewing them.

I do have to start by saying that they were very satisfying. Other “bars” such as Luna and Lara bars that Mara would bring home never satisfied my hunger. For some reason these bars were able to do so; even if it was for a short period of time.

There were many flavors that were given to us and some were better than others. Of the ones I enjoyed I would rank them accordingly:

  1. Apple Cinnamon
  2. Cherry Cashew (a very close second)
  3. Blueberry

Now the bars I just thought were okay were the Chocolate Brownie and the Cranberry Orange. I would eat these if I was hungry, but I would not go out of my way to purchase one.

Finally we have the Chocolate Chip Trail Mix Bar. This was in my opinion horrible. First of all, when I think chocolate chips I think something in a cookie. Turns out in this bar they are chips of raw cacao. Some of you may like this, but I am not a fan. Also, with the makers trying to mimic the trail mix flavor they included: nuts, fruit and the cacao previously mentioned. Some may think that these flavors would complement each other well. This was not the case. The three flavors melded together to create a super flavor that had to be created by some evil force hell bent on the destruction of my taste buds. It was that bad. I do want to point out that someone with a more refined palate (my palate is about as sophisticated as my dog’s) may enjoy this flavor.

In conclusion the bars were very good (except the Trail Mix Bar) and if I saw them at a local store I just might purchase one depending on the price. I just suggest you go for the Apple, Blueberry or Cherry because they were delish (shout out to Rachel Ray… Just kidding I can’t stand her).

Thanks Adam! I agree, the trail mix flavor was not quite as fabulous as the fruit-based ones, and the satisfaction level for a small bar like the Pure Bar was quite impressive!

Dinner was a chicken gyro from a local place. Stay tuned tomorrow for a giveaway AND finally the sushi salad recipe! I leave you with a BONUS camper quote today: Wow, that cow has a big upper butt!

Posted in dinner out, guest post | Tagged , | 24 Comments

Wrappin’ Up Tuesday

Today was another greatly successful day at camp! The rain held off until we were in the bus on the way back to our home base, over a gallon of ice cream was consumed by 6 little girls without spoons, and many a hoop were hula-d. My boss was nice enough to bring me an iced coffee at about 3:45 which, just like all those Dunkin Donuts commercials, really made me feel refreshed and more awake.

200906162029.jpgDuring the ice cream eating contest, I noticed that I wasn’t doing something that I normally do. Usually, I have the ice cream scoop in my hand, mindlessly scooping spoonfuls of ice cream into my mouth. Today? One bite. That’s it. ONE BITE. After we cleaned up, I ate my Pure bar (review to come as soon as Adam does it!) and proceeded to play for about 20 minutes. This was a small victory for me… ok, fine, it was huge! Maybe it was the realization that the crappy bulk ice cream wasn’t anything worth wasting calories on, or maybe it was the satisfaction I had from my green monster with Amazing Grass in it this morning, but whatever it was, I hope it happens over and over.

There was awful traffic on my way home, and I noticed that the backs of my legs are sore… not from any sort of exercise but from sitting in my car seat. Ouch. The time in traffic made me really think about what I wanted to make for dinner. I had leftover grilled chicken from Sunday that needed eating, so what did I do?

  1. Chopped the chicken up into tiny pieces
  2. Added about 3 Tbsp. roasted red pepper hummus
  3. Added about 1 Tbsp. barbecue sauce
  4. Put mixture in a La Tortilla Factory wrap
  5. Added fat free singles
  6. Toasted in a pan.

The result? That would be a Humbecue Chicken Crack Wrap. It was delicious. It was melty and spicy and grilly and just what I needed. And it didn’t hurt that it looked like a Taco Bell burrito:


Yup. It was pretty fantastic.

Tomorrow will bring a trip to Green Meadows Farm which is one of my favorite trips of the summer! There’s nothing like seeing little kids play with baby farm animals to make me smile.

Camper quote of the day: Mara! Mara! Look! There was a moskeeter on me and it bited me but I squished it and it exploded and now I have its blood on me! (Shows HUGE blood splatter with mosquito guts on her leg) I’m ok though. Don’t worry.

Posted in chicken/turkey, simple recipe | Tagged , , | 22 Comments