200 Calorie Tuna Salad Recipe

Growing up with divorced parents, my brother, sister, and I split our time between week nights at dad’s and weekends at mom’s.  Everyone once in a while, we’d have to flip flop our schedule, and it seemed when those rare occasions popped up both mom and dad had an unspoken urge to make them special.  On those weekends, dad would make breakfast:  dippy eggs, buttery toast, and his breakfast potatoes.  I do believe my love affair with potatoes started with these very ones around the age of eight.  Sure I’d take an egg and a small piece of toast, but the remainder of that 10-inch plate was devoted solely to those piping hot slightly crunchy potatoes and the biggest squirt of Heinz 57 my kid muscles could muster.  Recently, I texted my dad to finally, after all these years, ask what he put in his breakfast potatoes. (By the way, it still makes me giggle to think of him texting.)

His response?

“I dono.”

After our bodies worked through the haze of early morning overeating, dad would move on to lunch.  Lunches were varied, but one of my favorites were the tuna melts he’d make on cold days, rainy days, or days that otherwise demanded a comforting hot melty sandwich.  After the recent potato-text heartbreak, I didn’t bother asking dad what he put in those tuna melts.  Rather, I choose to focus solely on the memory:  jumbo kaiser rolls loaded with mayonnaise-laden tuna, hunks of fresh cheddar cheese, and chopped up dill pickles.  He’d wrap those giant sandwiches in foil and toss them right into the oven—no cookie sheet needed (which I remember wordlessly opposing).  After a half hour or so, he’d reach into the oven with a giant pot holder.  We’d line up, plates held tightly in our little hands, and dad would plop a massive foil pack on each one.

healthy tuna


‘Twas my birthday.

A few nights ago, the BF and I were discussing my upcoming birthday, and we realized that neither of us were quite sure how old I was going to be.  Apparently, he bases his age off of how old I am, which I attribute to his burning desire to draw frequent attention to the fact that I am six months his senior and thus a cradle robbing cougar.  Rawwwrrrrrrrrr! Cat face

Anyway… after several rounds of bantering back and forth, we came to an agreement.

I was officially turning 27.

Twenty-seven years ripe.

Twenty-seven years seasoned.

Twenty-seven years matured, if you will.

I’m pretty sure you’re officially “old” when you can’t remember how old you actually are.

So there I was, about to turn 27, in a new city, with no one to keep me company but a crappy (albeit tasty) tuna sandwich and a crap load of work to get done.

As fabulous as this sounded, I decided to be proactive with my Ladies who Lunch goal, and invite a few ladies in the area to lunch.  Was it a longshot to invite a bunch of ladies I barely know to have lunch with me on my birthday?  Perhaps.  Was it awkward to put myself out there?  Slightly.  Did I send that email anyway?  You’re darn tootin I did!

One short email followed by four quick responses and I was headed to Savor Café and Catering to have lunch with four fabulous blogging ladies:  Jamie (Bibliophiled Away), Vanessa (Life Undeveloped), Julie (Willow Bird Baking), and Katie (Sweet Tater Blog).

I don’t know what came over me, but I hardly took any pictures during lunch!  All I can say is the interior of Savor was eclectic and slightly rustic.  The restaurant was small and cozy, with super tall ceilings, and exposed brick walls.   Lucky for us we got there before the lunch rush because that line was out the door!


For those who were curious, yesterday’s post about the best birthday present ever came from Jamie.  Seriously, how perfect?!


What’s not perfect is how much my hair hates NC weather!  Also, thanks Vanessa for the pic!

Savor had quite a few options on the menu that sounded worthy of a birthday lunch, but  since I had plans to end my big day with an Italian feast I decided to stick with the Savor Salad.  It had mixed greens, tomatoes, carrots, chickpeas, and cucumbers plus some tasty grilled chicken on top:


The balsamic vinaigrette was so thick, I literally had to slather it on my salad.  It was fabulous.

The ladies:  Julie (Willow Bird Baking), Vanessa (Life Undeveloped), Katie (Sweet Tater Blog), MOI!, and Jamie (Bibliophiled Away).DSCF6801

Savor Cafe and Catering on Urbanspoon

When I got back to work, I had a little surprise waiting:


A birthday treat from the mama Smile


P.S., chocolate covered apples are AMAZING.  Who knew?!

My mailman also brought me a card from my dad Smile


Like father, like daughter?  Perhaps.

And my friend Tracy sent me a big ass tub of Frank’s Red Hot:


You may be wondering what the heck I am going to do with 756 servings of Frank’s Red Hot.  To that I say don’t you worry Smile

< Insert 6 or so more hours of work here >

And it was time for dinna with the Man Candy Open-mouthed smile

We haven’t had an Italian dinner in quite a while, so my pick of the evening was Villa Antonio in Ballantyne.

I was so surprised by how fancy schmancy the restaurant was.


Even though the restaurant was very formal, it was by no means uninviting.  Jarrod and I perused the menu, and were brought *free* bruschetta to munch on while we decided.


At this point I was pretty much in love with the place.  Who doesn’t love free?!

Once we ordered, we were brought *ahem* *FREE* house bread and dipping oil:


Did I mention I love this place?

I wish every meal started off with two courses of bread Winking smile

While I sipped on a glass of Banfi Col di Sasso (a Sangiovese/Cabernet blend), we dug into our sausage and pepper appetizer:


Everything about this dish was perfect.  The sausage was slightly spicy, the marinara sauce was deep and garlicky, the roasted peppers were sweet, and the cheese was melty heaven.  This alone could have been a delicious entre…  but ‘twas my birthday, so we certainly did not stop there!

After the appetizer, we were brought *FREE!!!!* lemon sorbetto to cleanse the palate. At this point I audibly exclaimed “I LOVE THIS PLACE!”.  I can be slightly embarrassing when it comes to food.


For the entre, we decided to split a chicken and gnocchi dish.  Half of the entre was the PERFECT serving size:


The chicken was layered with garlic, pomodoro, goat cheese, spinach, and mozzarella.  And as if that weren’t enough cheesy goodness, the gnocchi was covered in a creamy gorgonzola sauce.


Absolutely divine.

Surmounted only by this large slice of chocolate peanut butter cake that followed:


Villa Antonio Ballantyne on Urbanspoon

Two happy diners:


Thanks everyone for the b-day wishes!


Ladies who lunch

I’ve often joked that my ultimate goal is to be a Lady who Lunches.

I bet you know the lady I’m talking about. Think about the last random workday you had off from your job.  If you’re anything like me, you probably headed to lunch at a local restaurant.  And if you did make this wise decision, chances are you saw some ladies who lunch.  These are the ladies who–on those workdays when EVERYONE else is monotonously moving through the daily grind–somehow manage to break away from it all to enjoy lunch and laughs (and perhaps a few cocktails) with each other.

I often wonder about these ladies.  How did they get here?  What do they do for a living (or not do for that matter) that allows them to have such decadently diverting lunches on a regular basis?  How happy they must be.

While walking home tonight, my mind drifted to my adoration for this concept, and somewhere near E 4th Street I linked it to one of my my all-time favorite TV shows.  Sex and the City.  Four women from varied backgrounds with varied careers and varied interests BUT with a few key things in common.  First, of course, they had the city.  Second, would be a shared love of experiencing that city.  The sights, the sounds, the food.  And third, would be a love of their bond.  The ladies-who-lunch-bond.

Wouldn’t it be fabulous if I had my own group of ladies to lunch with? Ladies from varied backgrounds with varied careers and varied interests. Ladies who lacked even an ounce of superficiality but instead came to the lunch table wholeheartedly and ready to just be (and also to eat of course).  Ladies who (without actively trying) keep each other grounded while simultaneously lifting each other up.

Could this idea work?  Would it work?

I guess you never know unless you give it a shot, right?

Now recruiting for the Charlotte Ladies who Lunch Club.  If interested, please email:  ferventfoodie@gmail.com


Friday eats

Sooooooo… it has been FOR-EV-ER since I last posted about workday breakfast-breakfast-lunch.  I guess I just got bored posting about the same things over and over again.  But today, I figured what the heck.  It’s Friday.  Let’s do this.

Breakfast #1

Mary’s oh-so-special eggs!

 photo (10)

I absolutely adore this B#1 every day!  Sausage, eggs, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, spinach, and garlic?  Come on!

photo (11)

Don’t forget the dollop of ketchup of course :)

 Stats on 1 Servings of my Special Eggs (sans ketchup):  189 Calories,  9g carbs,  9g fat, 23g protein, 1g fiber



Breakfast #2


photo (12) photo (13)

I was in the grocery store the other day and ALMOST bought some strawberries so I could make overnight oats… But it’s so stinkin cold outside that I couldn’t bring myself to do it.  Man I miss them :(   So for today, it was standard microwaved quick oats with cinnamon and brown sugar… maybe my OO’s will make a return next week!

 Stats on 1 Servings of oats:  165 Calories,  31g carbs,  3g fat, 5g protein, 4g fiber


And that brings us to LUNCH.  Mini cheesy meat loaf and a yumlicious side salad with Newman’s Light balsamic dressing:

photo (15)

Maybe it’s a midwest thing….. but I seriously adore meatloaf. 

It’s comforting. 

It’s meaty. 

It brings me unfettered joy. 

photo (14)


Stats on 1 mini cheesy meatloaf:  350 calories, 19g carbs, 17g fat (red meat, folks), 29g protein, 1g fiber

So what’s on everyone’s agenda this weekend?  Here’s what I’ll be up to:

  • Eyebrow wax this evening (fun Friday night activity, no?)
  • Clean.my.house.  Seriously.  I’m living in filth.
  • Work.
  • Get some of my friends and family tax returns done… oh the joys of being a tax accountant
  • Buy the BF a bday present… I’m thinking outlet mall!
  • Possibly venturing out on a Luna Bar quest.  Must find the new flavors STAT!
  • Super Bowl of course!  Bring on the cheese!



Hallelujah it’s Friday!

With September here already (where the heck did August go, by the way?), I’ve already got my head in “fall mode”.  My favorite time of the year is BY FAR the last quarter – October, November, and December.  I love the weather, the excessive parties and family activities, and I also love how things just seem to slow down from the fast pace of summer.  Speaking of fast-paced summers, it saddens me that I haven’t been doing much cooking lately.  The good news is I’ll have plenty of time to cook… in two more weeks!

Breakfast #1

Ever since last weekend’s awesome breakfast fit for vacation, I’ve been craving the spinach and tomato breakfast burrito.  (Let’s be honest, I’ve been craving the potatoes and pancakes too) …  So last night instead of doing my usual batch-scrambled eggs, I made a double serving of the spinach and tomato scrambled eggs.

First up, I chopped up:

  • 2 tbsp red onion (I used white onion last time, but didn’t have any on hand)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup chiffonade spinach
  • 1/2 a roma tomato, diced


I sprayed a skillet down with some cooking spray, and once it was hot I tossed in the garlic and onions. 


While these guys were cooking I whisked together the following in a bowl:

  • 2 whole eggs
  • 6 egg whites
  • Splash of water

 Once the onions were soft, I poured the egg mixture on top and seasoned everything up with S&P and red pepper flakes.  I let the eggs start to cook up, and when they were about 1/2 way done I added the tomato and spinach:


Look how delicious:


While the eggs were getting their groove on, I also roasted up some broccoli that was seasoned with black pepper and garlic salt:


Is it just me, or does that broccoli look really happy to be here?

2 happy campers:


One of which I brought to work with me today to introduce to my friend Heinz:



Stats on B#1:  205 calories, 15g carbs, 5g fat, 23g protein, 2g fiber

B#2 = OO 😀

OVERNIGHT OATSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!  What a great way to end the workweek!


Doesn’t that just bring a smile to your face???  😀



Stats on B#2:  233 calories, 44g carbs, 5g fat, 6g protein, 7g fiber


What better way to end the Bruegger’s Bagels giveaway, then to have Bruegger’s for lunch, of course!


Today I went with the Spinach & Lentil soup, and a half sandwich with turkey and lots and lots of veggies.  I can’t believe this is the HALF sandwich.  It was HUGE!

The Bruegger’s Giveaway ends tonight at midnight (eastern time), so get your posts in!