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

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Turkey Artichoke Panini with Garlic Aioli

It’s that time of year.  The days are getting longer (and less depressing).  The temperatures are creeping up.  There are bugs.  Everywhere.  Especially caterpillars.  Green ones and whites ones and ones that like to dangle discretely from low lying tree branches causing you to bust out a Michael Jackson sidestep during your walk to work.  Granted, those people walking toward you have no idea that move you just finangled saved your face from creepy crawly impact.  Just smile and nod.  Or pretend you just received an important phone call.  Can you hear me now?  … How about now?  Smile… Nod.

Besides the bugs, the gym is also crowded with people frantically getting ready for you-know-what season.  Ok, fine.  I’ll say it.  The dreaded swimsuit season.


This time of year, swimsuits are in the back of my mind (in that deep dark spot where I keep all my greatest horrors hidden).  Instead, I’m primed for a different sort of season:  Sandwich Season.

turkey artichoke panini 4

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The (not so) Common Market

During my blissful day of unplanned meandering, I wandered over to The Common Market in South End for lunch:


How adorable is that little sandwich guy?  The Common Market is one of those places you’d probably just drive by if you hadn’t heard through the twitter grapevine that they had delicious sandwiches.  It looks, at least from the outside, like a standard convenience store, and it wasn’t until I walked along the side of the building that I realized they have this great secluded courtyard to sit in and enjoy your lunch!


Once inside the Market you can spot newbies <aka ME> who are unsure where to go to order… where to pay…  and frankly what the heck is going on inside this quirky store. There’s STUFF everywhere in the store.  Not just stuff to fill space, but stuff that is interesting and unique and fun to look at and drool over.

If your heart is set on getting a sandwich (as it should be), you can head straight to the back of the store where the deli counter is located.  You order your grub there and then pay at the register at the front of the store.


While waiting for my sandwich, I snooped around the store a bit and noted that you can even dine-in at one of the handful of tables perched right in the middle of the store.

You can crab a bottle of wine (or five) from their extensive wine selection to enjoy with your grub.  Or if beer is your thing, they’ve got quite the selection of high-end bottled beers as well.


The sandwiches don’t come with chips or drinks or any sides, but that is A-O-Kay because the market is chock full of yummies.  The shelves are packed with snacks and chips and TONS of homemade baked goods:


I somehow exercised superb self control and did not snag any of the baked goodies.  Though they had these brownie logs that looked to die for, and that I’ve been dreaming about since!

The Market also has a random hodgepodge of fun gadgets and gizmos and cards and signs for sale and some random gluten-free products on the shelves.  I’ll have to bring my friend Tracy here when she comes to visit!

$6.25 for a sandwich ain’t bad in Charlotte.  Especially when it comes with a compliment stamp:


I went with the Turkey Capri sandwich, which had sundried tomato spread, a slathering of goat cheese, a big handful of baby spinach, and red onion between two hearty slices of 9 grain bread:


The sandwich was FABULOUS.  I think i could eat one of these every day and not get tired of them.  Though they also had a pepperjack turkey panini on the menu that looked quite tasty…

The the funkyness of the market carried out to the courtyard area which was full of random odds and ends, crazy signs, and patrons enjoying the nice weather and even nicer food.


The South End location does wine tastings on Wednesday nights and beer tastings on Thursday nights.   They also have live music on the patio on the weekends.


Sadly, my sandwich came to an end.  Too soon.  But isn’t that always the case with a tasty lunch? DSCF7240

The Common Market South End on Urbanspoon

Ohhh!  Lest we not forget the scratch off giveaway winner!



Yay Nicole!  Email your mailing address to:  ferventfoodie@gmail.com.


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Smashburger VIP

This weekend I got the VIP treatment at Charlotte’s soon-to-be opened SMASHBURGER.

I’d never been to a Smashburger before—and had to do a little googling to learn the story behind the name.


My research tells me the name Smashburger comes from the process used to cook burgers, which entails smashing a ball of 100% Certified Angus ground beef on a grill to sear in the juices (thank you Wikipedia!).

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Seriously. Make this. Now.

Last weekend, I posted a super simple super quick recipe for the Ahmygawd Breakfast Sandwich.

Today, I made a repeat of that masterpiece with the addition of some Frank’s Red Hot:


I swear to you, this breakfast sandwich is eyes-roll-into-the-back-of-your-head delicious.


If you are a yolk lover like me (and a sausage lover for that matter) do yourself a favor and make this for breakfast.  Immediately! 


Stats on the life changer:  255 calories, 24g carbs, 10g fat, 20g protein, 3g fiber


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Some like it hot

There is a small portion of the population out there that crave heat in their food.  These are the people who actually enjoy the runny nose you inevitably get when eating something hot.  The people who know when others say something is “hot” it won’t even phase them because of their extreme tolerance for heat.  The people who’ve contemplated carrying around a bottle of hot sauce in their purse/bookbag/car.  The people who have found a way to incorporate buffalo sauce in to breakfast, lunch, AND dinner.  The people who constantly get asked “you put hot sauce on that?!”

You know who you are.

This recipe is for you.

I bring you slow-cooked buffalo chicken sandwiches:


When I first stumbled upon this recipe, I KNEW it was destiny.  Buffalo chicken dip is a staple in my circle of friends and family, so how could a buffalo chicken sandwich NOT be amazing?

Simple answer.  If you like hot food, you will love this sandwich.

The recipe was very easy to throw together. 

Throw the following into a plastic baggie to marinate overnight:

  • 4 raw skinless boneless chicken breasts
  • 3/4 of a Quart (24 ounces) buffalo wing sauce (use your favorite brand–we used Gionino’s, of course)
  • 1 package dry ranch salad dressing mix

The next morning toss the marinated chicken into a crockpot, and cook on low for 6 hours.  Once the chicken is cooked, pull the breasts out of the crockpot and shred them up with two forks.  Toss the meat back in and then add:

  •  2 tablespoons butter
  • 8 ounces of buffalo wing sauce (which is the remainder of the quart)

Cook for one hour more, and then serve on top of a toasted kaiser roll. 


To make the sandwich even more amazing, add some pepper jack cheese. 

Awwwwww yeeahhhhhhh.


WARNING:  Things may get a little sloppy.  But true hot sauce lovers like to become one with their food, am I right? 😀

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5 steps forward, 5 steps back

Over the past 4 months I’ve had on-again off-again knee problems.  🙁

I’ve played soccer since I was in elementary school, and never had any issues.  This past spring, I decided to take up running.  I was AMAZED by how much I enjoyed it!  About a month into my newly found passion, I had a sharp pain in my right knee during my morning run.  I didn’t twist the knee, or land funny, or make any other type of movement to cause the pain.  It just sort of happened.  I attributed the pain to weakness (i.e., “push yourself harder, Mary“) and ran about 1 more mile to my house.  That genius move resulted in me limping around for about a week or so.  I tried several times to pick up where I had left off, with no success.  I even went to see an orthopedic doctor who told me “some knees just aren’t made for running.”


Then a couple months ago I developed a plan of attack in the form of my interval training plan.  Basically, the plan was to start off with walking/running intervals and slowly increase the running time over a period of weeks until I was running the entire time.

Things were going super smooth, and I was up to 7 minutes running and 3 minutes walking…. that is until I hurt my knee again on vacation a couple weeks ago.  I think this time it was due to overuse–we did a TON of walking and I was still doing my regular intervals on top of it.

It’s been 2 weeks since vacation, and I’ve tried several times to get my run on.  This was not going well at all — I could only do 1/2 of my regular intervals before feeling the pain start.  At least I have learned my lesson and now stop running at the first sign of knee pain!

So this morning I decided to start the interval all over again… yup… all the way back at 4 minutes walking, 2 minutes running.  Slowly but surely, I am determined to get to running a 5K with no knee issues!

Breakfast #1

Leftovers from yesterday’s eggins–with one new addition:

Heinz reduced sugar ketchup.  After my ketchup post last week, I started thinking about how much ketchup I actually consume in any given week.  As much as I love ketchup, it’s really just a bunch of empty calories.  So I decided to give this reduced sugar version a shot:

The ketchup was pretty good — though it oddly tasted sweeter than regular Heinz ketchup.  I’m going to try and use the reduced sugar ketchup in place of the regular stuff as much as possible.

Stats on B#1:  161 calories, 9g carbs, 5g fat, 21g protein, 2g fiber

Breakfast #2

Overnight oats 🙂

Last night, I put the following into a bowl:

  • 1/2 cup uncooked quick oats
  • 1/2 cup almond breeze unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • sprinkling of cinnamon

I mixed everything up and left them in the fridge overnight.  This morning I added about 6 sliced strawberries (thank you to my mom for hooking me up with these DELICIOUS strawberries) and a 1/3 cup fresh blueberries:

All mixed up:

These overnight oats never get old 🙂

Stats on B#2:  236 calories, 45g carbs, 5g fat, 6g protein, 7g fiber


My all-time favorite hummus comes from Nate’s Deli in Cleveland.  A close second would be Trader Joe’s hummus.  Unfortunately, neither of my long distance relationships with Nate nor Trader Joe are able to satisfy my frequent  hummus cravings, so I’ve been on the hunt for a tasty hummus that I can find locally.

I picked this up at the grocery store last night:

I especially liked the simple list of ingredients (chick peas, tahini, fresh spinach, lemon juice, garlic, and salt) and it is only 33 calories for a 2tbsp serving!  The flavor was a little on the bland side, however.

For lunch, I made up a sandwich with a 3.5 ounce grilled chicken breast, 1 tbsp Amir Hummus, 1/2 a roma tomato, sliced red onion, and 1 cup spinach sandwiched between a Pepperidge Farm 7 grain Deli flat:

Notice that I used my tupperware lid as a plate instead of using a paper plate.  “Kelsy” would be proud 😉

Now that’s what I’m talkin bout:

I could eat this every day:

I also had some cucumber salad on the side.  This cucumber was straight from the BF’s mom’s garden!

Stats on lunch:  323 calories, 37g carbs, 3g fat, 40g protein, 10g fiber


Question:  Have you ever had an injury that prevented you from doing an activity you really enjoy?

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