A Little More Each Day

One working mama learning to run & to maintain my 100+ pound weight loss!

Southern Living Super Fast Southern Cookbook Review & Giveaway

Back in October, I reviewed the Southern Living 5 Ingredient Weeknight Meals cookbook (see here). At the same time, I was also sent their Super Fast Southern cookbook to review. You guys may remember that I’m a native Southerner – southwest Louisiana to be exact – and my husband is from Arkansas, so calling a cookbook “Southern” sets the bar pretty high in our house.

Southern Living Super Fast Southern, Oxmoor House 2014

Southern Living Super Fast Southern, Oxmoor House 2014

While these aren’t all classic Southern dishes, there are definitely a lot of pluses to this cookbook and enough truly Southern-inspired dishes to keep things interesting. I love that the table of contents are all photographs of the dishes, so it’s quick and easy to look for something that looks interesting. Like the 5 Ingredient cookbook, there are some handy general tips articles like “10 superfast secrets.” There’s also several sections (sorry for the blurry picture) with an original recipe plus a few minor tweaks for new dishes. I particularly loved the red pepper jelly-brie bites in the snacks section, with blue cheese, goat cheese and feta variations. It made me want to throw a party!

Variations on an original recipe

Variations on an original recipe for quesadillas

The more classically Southern dishes include hot water cornbread, maque choux and pan fried okra (I LOVE okra). I was intrigued by the black eyed pea cakes. They were really easy and a nice twist on our usual New Year’s black eyed pea tradition.


15 oz can black eyed peas, undrained

2 garlic cloves, pressed

6 oz package buttermilk cornbread mix

1 large egg

1/4 cup sour cream

1.5 tsp Chipotle southwest seasoning mix

I promise it tasted better than this looked, but I wanted you to see the consistency (thick!).

I promise it tasted better than this looked, but I wanted you to see the consistency (thick!).

– Coarsely mash the peas with a fork. Stir in garlic and remaining ingredients. Spoon about 1/3 cup batter for each cake onto a hot lightly greased griddle. Cook cakes 2 minutes or until edges look dry and cooked; turn and cook 2 more minutes.

For New Year's, with sauteed greens and a baked sweet potato.

For New Year’s, with sauteed greens and a baked sweet potato.

These were a nice of change of pace for black eyed peas, although next time I’d make them smaller (maybe a scant 1/4 cup batter?) so they weren’t so thick. As much as I enjoyed these the first day, I admit I really appreciated them as post run snacks for the rest of the weekend because they were portable, good at room temperature and a nice mix of protein and carbs.

Ham biscuits are such a Southern classic.

Ham biscuits are such a Southern classic.

The black pepper honey ham biscuits and shrimp butter are still on our list to try when we’re up for an indulgence.

This makes think of a shrimp dip my mom always made at the holidays.

This makes think of a shrimp dip my mom always made at the holidays.

The desserts were where things got really fun. I loved the idea of topping pie filling with a sugared biscuit cutout with fun cookie cutter shapes for a quick and easy shortcake.

Don't these look adorable?

Don’t these look adorable?

Oliver and I had a blast making the little mini-banana puddings, layering individual serving of sliced bananas, pre-made pudding (gotta love the pudding cups) and Nilla wafers. It wasn’t quite the same as my mom’s classic banana pudding, but for a weeknight it was a fun dessert with Oliver!

Ours weren't nearly this cute, but they were tasty.

Ours weren’t nearly this cute, but they were tasty.

Of course, the most Southern and indulgent dessert in the book is the deep fried Moon Pie. If you aren’t Southern, you may not even know what a Moon Pie is and I’m not sure I’d be able to find them in Nebraska. It’s this layered cookie/cake thing with slightly stale wafers and stale marshmallow filling, covered in chocolate. I don’t love them, but I have to say the deep fried version looks tempting!

Looks like something from the state fair, right?

Looks like something from the state fair, right?

If you’re looking for cookbook that is purely and truly Southern, this might not meet your needs, but if you’re looking for approachable recipes with a Southern twist, definitely check this one out! Everything is straightforward and doable for the average home cook, with lots of pictures and tips to make things even easier.

Somebody gets to check this out for themselves! Just like last time, you can enter by leaving a comment below and I’ll choose a winner with the random number generator. I’ll leave the giveaway open through next Tuesday (1/20/2015). This would be a great way to find new Southern treats before Mardi Gras. 🙂

Disclosure: Just like last time, I was given the book to review and the opportunity to pass a book on to one of you guys but I wasn’t otherwise compensated and all opinions are my own. Thanks!



Weekly Wrap-Up: Double digit runs!

Instead of going right to the normal wrap up, I’m going to take a minute to gush about yesterday’s 10 mile run. You guys don’t mind, right? I can remember when I got to 10 miles on my last half marathon training plan (the next to last long run then, as opposed to halfway through the plan this time!). I was so nervous about hitting that double digit run and yet I was also excited because I knew I was at the end of the training cycle. This time, I wasn’t nervous at all. I had absolutely zero doubt I’d get the ten miles in without any trouble, which is really amazing. My shift in confidence about my running is definitely a huge NSV!

My other big NSV for the week is being honest with myself about my weight creeping up and making a change. It was hard to admit to myself, but good to get it out there. I feel like I got a little kudos from the universe for that decision by finding a long ago Bravo sticker when I was cleaning out my car:


Literally found this on Wednesday when that post went live!

Literally found this on Wednesday when that post went live!

As part of that re-evaluation, I’d decided to work on snacking on veggies instead of so much fruit and was rewarded by this bonus at our grocery store – definitely a nice cosmic reward. 🙂

Woohoo! Nothing like a little cash back, right?

Woohoo! Nothing like a little cash back, right?

All in all, I’m feeling good about things this week.


Monday 50 minutes walking, partly at lunch at work (glad to get back to that!) and partly at home

Tuesday 5 miles in the evening, for that crazy humid, embarrasssing-sweat stain run!

Wednesday 33 minutes walking outside while Darrell did bedtime

Thursday 4 miles in the evening, with the requisite crazy humid hair

Friday 35 minutes walking (Can I just say that I’m a little tired of the 10K a day challenge? I really miss being lazy at the end of the day every once in a while instead of heading out for a late night walk to get those last steps in!)

Saturday It was crazy foggy in our neighborhood Saturday morning:

It was 830 in the morning and like running in a cloud!

It was 830 in the morning and like running in a cloud!

I’ve really been working on doing my easy runs at a truly easy pace (more about that coming tomorrow!), so I didn’t look at the pace on the Garmin (much) or worry about any intervals or anything. I just ran and if I felt like taking a walk break, I did. What was amazing about that was a) it was so PLEASANT and b) my pace for that “easy” ten mile was 11:20 overall, which is the same as it is when I’m struggling more. Amazing. I suspect it’s because I’m running a lot faster during the run intervals because it’s fun and I feel good and I know I can walk whenever I want. Mindset is everything.

Omaha is always overrun with turkeys this time of year. This one was hanging out in a neighbor's yard.

Omaha is always overrun with turkeys this time of year. This one was hanging out in a neighbor’s yard.

I did stop for a bathroom break and to refill my water bottle at the grocery store near my house – why have I never thought of that before? There’s never any reason to worry about running out of water, now that I’ve realized that. I will say that even though this was an easy run that felt good, I was sore later in the day. Foam rolling helped and I was sure to stretch immediately after the run.

Sunday Today we’re going to be doing some yard work, which I’m not really looking forward to but it must be done. At least it’ll help me get to 10K steps a day. I’ll be sure to do some more yoga and stretching so that it feels more like a recovery day, I promise.

Meal plan for the week

Since we talked last week about how we plan meals, I thought I’d share this week’s meal plan with you guys. It is based on a) the eggplant, corn, various squash and other veggies we got in our CSA bag and b) input from my guys. I looked at the schedule for the week and saw that I have a hair appointment Thursday night, so we know we need something in the slow cooker that day since I’ll get home a little late.

Oliver wanted chicken stew and he started perusing his two favorite Sesame Street cookbooks to find a recipe.

Oliver wanted chicken stew and he started perusing his two favorite Sesame Street cookbooks to find a recipe.

This week, we’ll have Mexican chicken casserole, Salisbury steak meatballs (confession: this will be just the boys – I’m not a fan, so I’ll be having ratatouille instead), pork loin with kale and tomatoes, and slow cooker chicken stew. My back pocket recipe, for when I’ve forgotten to thaw something, is going to be our favorite tuna melts. Several of these will be new recipes for us, so I’ll let you know how they turn out.

I hope everyone enjoys their weekend! Stay safe with all of the holiday travelers and revelers out there!


Cooking for your family when not everyone is counting calories

While we are all eating healthier, my husband likes to have some non-Weight Watchers options with dinner and sometimes it is easier for me track my food if I’m not having to use the recipe builder and divide out an entire recipe. Here are some of the tricks I use to make that easier!

1. Individual portions: We do this a lot with foil/parchment packets or individual casserole dishes (a little more work in that they’re extra dish washing, but good for casseroles and a nice presentation option). I can measure and track exactly what goes in mine and just eyeball his or add any of the pointier extras he may like.

We did this tonight for Mexican chicken casserole. It was easy to use the scale and just keep track of what I was adding to my bowl, plus he could have the loads of cheese he wanted in his!


This individualized approach also works well with little pizzas (we use sandwich thins or the little individual pre made crusts for crusts, but tortillas, English muffins or pitas would also work), tacos, or quesadillas. It is also great if you have kids who are more likely to eat healthy food if they have a little control and customization.

2. Healthy lean protein with a variety of side choices: We tend to have one veggie every eats, a quick one for me (something quick and easy roasted, like broccoli or butternut squash) and something grain/carby for my son and husband. Frozen quinoa or brown rice works well for small portions, or the individual Mac and cheese cups. Potatoes that roast at the same time and temp as my veggie are also easy.

3. Tasty healthy food that everyone will eat! Believe it or not, it does exist! I’ve had lots of success with recipes from Cooking Light and http://www.skinnytaste.com. Asian stir fries are also healthy crowd pleasers in my house. I’ll highlight and review some of those as they come up in our rotation.

4. Regularly scheduled splurges: We always eat at Village Inn Wednesday for the free pie. 🙂 In addition to pie, that is my husband’s chance to get fries and burgers if he wants. He also eats lunch out every Wednesday instead of packing it. Having a couple of regularly occurring “splurges” during the week makes it easier to accept healthier choices at home. (Knowing I have pie coming Wednesday also makes it easier for me to say no to cookies that show up unexpectedly at work sometimes!)

Trying to meet everyone in your family’s needs and likes is always a challenge, but these things have kept me from eating frozen dinners while the rest of my family eats something totally different.

Anyone else have any ideas?

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