Pinning and Planning – December 30

After a month of trying not to overindulge, I feel like it was a losing battle.  I feel so bloated, globby and lumpy much like the Lumpy Space Princess from Adventiure Time.  “Oh my glob!  Don’t be hating on my lumps!”   

But I truly hate the lumpiness.  Maybe it’s because I’ve been unable to run for two weeks due to a nasty chest cold and I’ve not been able to burn the extra unhealthy calories. 

Well, the party is over!  The sweets and globiness have got to go!  It’s time to get back on the healthy track again; time to cut back on the carbs and attempt to eat better again.

A commitment to healthy eating again starts on Day 1 with our traditional New Year’s meal, a pot of lentil soup.  This tradition was passed onto my mom by her best friend.  Supposedly, lentil represent coins and with a bit of green such as spinach, it brings a promise of wealth in the new year.  Also in the way of tradition, we eat 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight, a Spanish custom that promises a month of good fortune with each grape.  Hey, I’ll take all the good luck I can get!

And thankfully, Publix still has lots of wonderful veggies, fish and legumes on sale to help with the healthy and wealthy part of our resolutions and commitments.  Saving pennies means keeping pennies in my pocket while keeping the calories and carbs off my plate.

S – Lamb Curry (still lots of leftovers in the freezer from Christmas)

M – Lentil and Spinach Soup with Grilled Eggplant and Zucchini Salad

T – Sweet Potato Crusted Tilapia with Fingerling Roasted Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts

W – Skinnytaste’s Chicken Rollatini Stuffed with Zucchini and Mozzarella with Mashed Cauliflower

Th – Stacked Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas

F – Dinner out

Here’s to lots of luck, health, wealth and good fortune to you and yours in 2013!

What things are you cooking up this week?  Are you eating less carbs too?  Link up and share the delicious dishes you are pinning and planning to serve this week.

Plan your menu for the week and if you have some favorite food pins, add those too. Then, link up and share your post. If you’re not on Pinterest, send me an email and I’ll send you an invite.



Denise Mestanza-Taylor+

Pinning and Planning – December 23

Honestly, I wasn’t going to post a Pinning and Planning post since two days of this week’s menu would be consumed with Christmas dinners.  But then I had a thought that perhaps my readers would want to see what Allan and I had planned for our Christmas dinners.

We spend Christmas Eve with my family which is typically a meatless meat per my mom’s request.  It’s an Italian-American Catholic thing.  Over the years, Allan has slowly added some meat dishes into the mix (chicken cutlets or Italian sausage) and no one has complained, although my mom, my sister and I still elect to remain meatless.  (Some really rude joke come to mind.  Keep it clean, guys! lol)

Growing up, our meatless Christmas Eve meals consisted on shrimp marinara, but Allan isn’t the biggest fan of shrimp and so years ago, he decided to serve eggplant parmesan.  Now fifteen years later, everyone expects the dish on Christmas Eve.  No lie, Iron Chef Allan makes the most delicious eggplant parmesan and I can’t stomach restaurant eggplant parmesan anymore.  I’m always disappointed because it doesn’t taste as good as Allan’s, which really is a thing of beauty and I’ll have to post a photo of it for you.

Of course, there is nothing light about Allan’s eggplant parmesan and you could probably bake the eggplant to save on calories and fat, but it’s Christmas and Christmas calories don’t count, right?  It’s a Christmas miracle!  Thank you, Baby Jesus!

We serve our eggplant parmesan with spaghetti topped with marinara sauce and there’s always a huge tossed salad.  So, those who are concerned with calories can pass on the parmesan and save room for the Yule log cake Allan always bakes (another photo worthy masterpiece).  My oldest daughter has requested cheesecake too.

On Christmas Day, we’re entertaining Allan’s family and for the Taylor Clan, Iron Chef Allan will prepare a somewhat traditional British Christmas dinner of roast lamb and a small turkey with all the trimmings, potatoes and stuffing.  His family loves Brussels sprouts so I think I’m going to try my hand at Healthy Homemade’s Brussels sprouts because she promises that her recipe will make the pickiest person a fan.  There will also be roasted parsnips and mince pies for dessert.

The food fest continues the next day with Boxing Day.  Iron Chef Allan always prepares huge sweaty British breakfast complete with scrambled eggs, fried tomatoes and mushrooms, fried bread, baked beans, potatoes and English breakfast sausages.

Since the Day-After Turkey Soup was such a hit in our house will eat that for dinner on Boxing Day, if we have any room for food.

I imagine it’s going to be a week of yummy leftovers.  I can be healthy again when January first rolls around next week.

S – Eggplant Parmesan with Pasta Marinara and Salad and Yule log for dessert

M – Roast Turkey and Lamb with Mashed Potatoes, Sage Stuffing, Lemon Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Glazed Winter Veggies, Parmesan Asparagus and Mince Pie for dessert

T – Sweaty Breakfast and Day-After Turkey Soup for dinner

W – Leftovers

Th – Leftovers

F – Pizza

What things are you cooking up for Christmas and the rest of the week?  Will it be a lotf of leftovers for you too?  Link up and share the delicious dishes you are pinning and planning to serve this week.

Plan your menu for the week and if you have some favorite food pins, add those too. Then, link up and share your post. If you’re not on Pinterest, send me an email and I’ll send you an invite.



Leeky, Creamy Chicken and Dumpling Soup

PhotobucketWhen I planned this week’s menu, I was craving this soup. Maybe with all the icky, sick germs in my house, my body needed the immune-building homemade penicillin that chicken soup always seems to provide.

I first found this ridiculous easy recipe in Rachel Ray Every Day, but over the years, I’ve tweaked it a bit by finding a way to reduce the fat without losing all the creaminess.  I also use less gnocchi than the original recipe.

It’s been a while since I last made it, but one taste and I remembered how much I love it and it’s always a hit with the family too.

With the nasty cold weather expected this weekend, bundle up and stay warm and then get this soup started for dinner tonight.  With this soup, you can prepare it ahead of time and then throw the gnocchi in just before you serve it.  The leftovers reheat and freeze nicely too, so you’ll have it for another cold, winter day.

Leeky, Creamy Chicken and Dumpling Soup
(Adapted from Rachel Ray)

Ingredients
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 leeks, white and tender green parts split lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
5 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1 bay leaf
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup non-fat milk
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pound chicken tenders, cut into small chunks
1 package gnocchi
1/3 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
3 Tbsp dry sherry
¼ tsp cayenne pepper

Directions
In a Dutch oven or soup pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add the leeks, celery and bay leaf and cook until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.

Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Stir in the cream and milk, lower the heat and simmer until the soup bubbles at the edges.

Add cayenne pepper, salt and pepper to taste.  Add the chicken and gnocchi and cook for 5 minutes.  Stir in the parsley and sherry.  Serve hot.

Makes  4-6 servings.

Thanks for joining our weekly Friday Food Fight! Can’t wait to see what everyone is flinging this week!

While here, don’t forget to toss some cookies at The Ultimate Virtual Christmas Cookie Swap!



*Also submitted at*

Denise Mestanza-Taylor+

Pinning and Planning – December 16

With Christmas only 10 days away and one more week of school left full of holiday children’s parties and playdates, I was already feeling a little overwhelmed.  Then, the horrific events at Sandy Hook Elementary unfolded and everything seemed so trivial.

Though I’m finding it difficult to focus, I need to be here for my family.  I need to keep on running, planning dinners and play dates to keep things as normal as possible for my family.  I need to keep the magic and joy in Christmas.  And each of us needs to hug our babies a little tighter.

S – Leeky, Creamy Chicken and Dumpling Stoup

M – Sautéed Tilapia with Lemon and Capers on a bed of couscous

T – Anniversary Dinner

W – Cumin Lime Zucchini Quesadillas

Th – Chicken Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomatoes Ravioli (BOGO this week at Publix)

F – Pizza

What things are you cooking up this week?  Link up and share the delicious dishes you are pinning and planning to serve this week.

Plan your menu for the week and if you have some favorite food pins, add those too. Then, link up and share your post. If you’re not on Pinterest, send me an email and I’ll send you an invite.



Denise Mestanza-Taylor+

Pinning and Planning – November 18

Can you believe Thanksgiving is this week?

We’re hosting Thanksgiving this year.  Last year we happily passed on hosting because we were traveling over to the east coast for the Space Coast Marathon.   Although I don’t have a marathon to burn off all those Thanksgiving calories this year, I’ll still try a get a few miles in before we feast.

Iron Chef Allan is excited to be cooking again this year.  He really missed it last year and all the leftovers in our fridge.  Despite his excitement to be brining a turkey again, he hasn’t planned the menu yet.  That’s not good.

No worries!  It will all come together once he buys the turkey.  Nope, he hasn’t bought the bird yet, but like I said, that’s not my job or my concern.  My job is to plan the rest of the menu for the week and while I’m pinning and planning, maybe I’ll offer Iron Chef Allan Skinnytaste suggestions for our Thanksgiving menu.

This week, we’ll try eating a lighter since the Thanksgiving will make up the calories and the carbs for the lighter days.  Plus, Allan always prepares a Black Friday Brunch, a welcomed sight and a great way to refuel after fighting the crowds for hours.  However, for the past couple years, I’ve skipped out on Black Friday and just shopped online throughout the season.  Funny enough, I always found the same deals or better online after Black Friday.  See, sometimes the early bird doesn’t always the worm, but this one will still get a brunch either way.

Once we’ve had enough Thanksgiving leftovers (Is there even such a thing?), I’ll probably make my turkey enchiladas once again.

S – Lentil Soup with Spinach

M – Black Beans with Spanish Rice

T – Tampa Bay Blogger Meetup at Taps

W –Turkey White Bean Pumpkin Chili

Th –  Thanksgiving

F – Brunch and leftovers for dinner

S – Turkey Enchiladas

What things are you cooking up this week?  Have you planned and shopped for you Thanksgiving dinner?  Link up and share the delicious dishes you are pinning and planning to serve this week.

Plan your menu for the week and if you have some favorite food pins, add those too. Then, link up and share your post. If you’re not on Pinterest, send me an email and I’ll send you an invite.

Pinning and Planning – November 11

I had two kids sick this past week.  Little Lion Man had a stomach bug.  Then, my oldest daughter had a sore throat which I think may have been a side effect to her flu shot.  Last week was a relatively quiet week until that point.

Then the weekend came.  I had a Pretty Muddy pre-race course preview meetup, followed by the Pretty Muddy race on Saturday, 12 miles to run on Sunday and a rooftop fitness party sponsored by my peerFit friends later that day.  I am truly amazed that I can still walk after all of that.  Although I have to admit, I’m shattered. Therefore, I’m off to bed in a little bit which is probably a good thing as I need to be up by 3:30 to be all dolled up for a Mom Squad taping at 5:15 at Channel 10.  I’m a little nervous about it.  Hopefully, I won’t sound like a complete fool.

As for this week’s menu, there’s no fooling that we will be eating well this week, thanks to all the delicious deals at Publix.  With tilapia on special as well as lots of vegetables perfect for roasting, we’ll be eating well and a bit more pescatarian this week.

M – Roasted Veggies with Goat Cheese on Pressed Cuban Bread

T – Sautéed Tilapia with Lemon-Peppercorn Pan Sauce with Couscous

W – Dinner out with friends

Th – Linguini with Roasted Campari Tomatoes and Arugula

F – Pizza

What things are you cooking up this week?  Are any of your meals related to supermarket deals?  Link up and share the delicious dishes you are pinning and planning to serve this week.



Denise Mestanza-Taylor+

Pinning and Planning – November 5

October has come and gone and now things have returned to somewhat normal routine for November.   There are still lots of fun things happening like races, 30 Days of Giving, a fitness challenge and of course, preparing for Thanksgiving.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, Camille of Growing Up Gabel and I are co-hosting a Thanksgiving food blog hop, Thankful for Good Food.  If you have some Thanksgiving favorites, we would love for you to link up and share them here or if you need some menu ideas for Thanksgiving, our Thankful for Good Food is a great place to start.

As for menus, here’s what I’m planning this week.

M – Pasta Shells with Tomatoes and Cheese

T  – Turkey Tacos

W  – Crock Pot Turkey White Bean Pumpkin Chili

Th – Loaded Baked Potaoes

F – Pizza

What things are you cooking up this week?  Link up and share the delicious dishes you are pinning and planning to serve this week.

Plan your menu for the week and if you have some favorite food pins, add those too. Then, link up and share your post. If you’re not on Pinterest, send me an email and I’ll send you an invite.


Denise Mestanza-Taylor+

Pinning and Planning – October 14

It’s act two of another crazy week in the Run DMT house.  Once again, I’m keeping our dinners simple and healthy (and unprocessed as much as possible) since the weekend ahead will probably be anything but healthy.

Friday night, my youngest daughter and I are camping with her Brownie troop which means my long run will happen in the wee early hours of Friday morning rather than Saturday.  Camping with twenty 6 and 7 year olds, means many main courses with mac ‘n cheese and hot dogs. *sigh*  Maybe, I’ll pack some homemade granola to keep me regular and keep my arteries from clogging.

Then, on Saturday night, we’re hosting our annual Halloween adult party.  So, this weekend will serve two days of unhealthy eating which will be washed down with some binge drinking on Saturday night.

With the Halloween party less than a week away, there is still so much left to do to prepare for it.  I need to make or buy decorations, buy food and drinks, prepare a dreadful dish or dessert and of course, there’s tons of cleaning to do.  Maybe I’ll just leave things the way they are in my house because as busy as we’ve been, things already look pretty scary around here.

Here’s this week’s menu:

S – BBQ Pulled Chicken with Low Fat Coleslaw

M – Skinnytaste’s Mushroom Stroganoff

T – Roasted Tomatoes with Shrimp and Feta on crusty bread served with Greek salad

W – Skinnytaste’s Crock Pot Turkey White Bean Pumpkin Chili

Th – Baked Chicken Parmesan with Pasta

F – Pizza

Are you keeping things simple too this week?  What delicious dishes are you pinning and planning to serve?

Plan your menu for the week and if you have some favorite food pins, add those too. Then, link up and share your post. If you’re not on Pinterest, send me an email and I’ll send you an invite.



Denise Mestanza-Taylor+

Pinning and Planning – October 7

It’s another crazy week in the Run DMT house.  October is always a maddening month which may or may not have something to do with Halloween, but October often feels more like the holidays than December does.

With so many things happening at once between blogging opportunities, school assignments, hubby’s traveling and all the Halloween hoopla, I’m keeping the menu simple and easy this week.

Last week, Iron Chef Allan requested my turkey chili, but he actually prepared the meal and may have been a bit heavy with the chili powder.  Even though we add sour cream and grated cheddar cheese to the kids’ chili, it didn’t seem to hide the heat this time and my seven year old threw a fit.  “WHY CAN’T WE JUST HAVE BEANS AND RICE?  WHY DOES IT HAVE TO HAVE MEAT AND BE SPICY?!”

Per her request, I’m will be serving beans and rice this week.  There’s also a school fundraiser at McDonalds this week, so the happy meals just keep coming.  However, my happy meal will be served with wine when my girlfriends I attend the Wine Walk at Wiregrass. We had such a fun time last year and we wanted to do it again, but kid-free.  Since we’re not running a race this weekend, no better than a McDonalds night where the dads can handle “cooking” dinner.

And that’s how a mom on the run does it.

M – Creamy Avocado Fettuccine

T – Skinnytaste’s Broccoli and Cheese Stuffed Chicken with Mashed Cauliflower

W – Black Beans and Rice

Th – McDonalds Night (school fundraiser)/Wine Walk at the Shoppes at Wiregrass

F – Pizza

Does your school host McDonalds nights?  Is October crazy for you too?  Are you keeping things simple also this week?  Link up and share the delicious dishes you are pinning and planning to serve this week.

Link up and share what meals you’re pinning and planning.  If you’re not on Pinterest, send me an email and I’ll send you an invite.

Denise Mestanza-Taylor+



Pinning and Planning – September 30

This week’s Pinning and Planning post should be called Menu Monday.  For the mere fact that I’m late posting this demonstrates how crazy October is going to be.  Over the years, October has become progressively busier and busier.  In the midst of a crazy October, the Unprocessed Challenge starts today, which means I will have to stay away from many of my favorite foods like sausage (unless it’s from the butcher) and candy corn and even though my schedule will be busy, I will do my best to avoid fast food.

Speaking of fast food, instead of our usual pizza on Friday, we decided to try Burger 21 on a whim.  The quality over the meat in the burgers was excellent, but overall experience was just o.k. Honestly, I’m still a Square 1 fan.  Burger 21 is upscale fast food but a bit fancier than Five Guys with its specialty burgers and turkey and chicken options, however, I prefer the full service sand full bar at Square 1.  Craft beer and burgers just go hand in hand for me.

This weekend was a burger fest for us.  On Sunday, the World of Beer served free burgers and hot dogs with every beer purchase during the football games.  So, I had my craft beer and burger experience after all.

I think my red meat craving and iron levels should be good now.

M – Skinnytaste’s Mushroom Stroganoff

T – Blackened Tilapia Baja Tacos

W – Grilled Mojo Chicken on Flatbread

Th – Turkey Chili

F – Pizza

What foods have you been craving? Are you participating in the Unprocessed Challenge? Link up and share the delicious dishes you are pinning and planning to serve this week.


Denise Mestanza-Taylor+