Breakfast or Lunch? Save Me, Panera!

Good Morning!  Or…Good Afternoon…I’m not sure which!

What a busy work week it has been.  From early mornings to late nights and back to early mornings, I’m not sure if I am coming or going!  🙂  Really though…here’s my dilemma.  Up at 4am today and on the road by 445am.  In Des Moines for a case by 630am and in the operating room by 7am.  Surgeon 1 in…graft harvested…graft placed…incision site closed…Surgeon 2 ready to start on the wrist.  My part is done and it is only 830am.  My stomach is growling and I want…LUNCH.  Anybody with me?  I haven’t had breakfast (I’d love to know who can eat at before 6am…I can’t!) but Panera’s Fuji Apple Salad is calling my name.  Technically I’ve been up 4.5 hours and on a normal day, it would be nearly time for lunch…but today, it’s only 830!! 

So, almost another hour later, here I am, at Panera….with a breakfast sandwich.  It isn’t quite the salad I’m craving…but it does have some roasted tomatoes..some spinach…and some basil.  Ahhh…a compromise!  New at Panera is the Mediterranean Egg White Sandich on Ciabatta.  SO GOOD. 

As I mentioned, I am also a huge huge huge fan of the Fuji Apple Salad.  During my pregnancy, I probably had a minimum of 1-2 each week.  I’ve cut back…LOL…but it is still a fave!  Oh…and did I mention their Mac and Cheese??  To.die.for.  Let it be known, I have NEVER ordered a  bowl.  The nutritional information was enough for even me…to say, “I’ll pass.”  But…I do allow my sister or my co-workers to order a bowl…and I sneak my fair share of bites.  🙂

On a recent “Saturday Shopping Date” with Ryan and Bella, we also tried their Jalapeno Ham and Cheese Breakfast Sandwich.  I loved it!  Unfortunately, it is no longer on the menu.  Fortunately, I re-created it at home and you have the recipe here!  So go ahead, surprise your honey and your kids with a yummy breakfast sandwich this weekend. 

Jalapeno Breakfast Bagel Sandwich

Serves 4

  • 4 Panera Jalapeno Cheddar Bagels, sliced
  • 4 slices Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 1/4 lb Deli Ham, freshly shaved (I prefer Black Forest or Honey Ham)
  • 1 handful of spinach
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 4 eggs
  • EVOO or Butter

Start by cooking the eggs.  I put a drizzle of EVOO in a pan and turned the stove on medium low.  To contain the egg in a circular fashion, I laid a “balloon-shaped” cookie cutter in the middle of the pan.  Crack the egg into the cookie cutter and let cook for 2-3 minutes.  Once the bottom of the egg has solidified, flip the egg (and the cookie cutter).  Let cook for one minute more.  Repeat for all for 4 eggs.

Once the eggs are done, build your breakfast sandwiches.  From the bottom up:  Bagel, ham, spinach, tomato, egg, cheese, bagel top.

Set the sandwiches side a Panini Press and let warm for 4-5 minutes on medium.  Remove from Press and cut in half.

A quick, easy, and delicious breakfast SERVED!  Thank you, Panera, for a great little sandwich….and salad…and mac and cheese.  I love you.  🙂

And now…back to work and back on the road!  I hope you all enjoy the rest of your week.  It’s looking like it’s going to be another unseasonably warm weekend.  Get out your grills if you haven’t already.

Indulge.  In Life.  In Love.  In Food.

A Birthday & Cheeseburger in Paradise!

Hola!  Buenos Dias! 

Good Morning from Riviera Cancun Mexico!  Today is St Pat’s…and my 31st Birthday…is there any better time to celebrate in Mexico?!  I think not.  🙂 

With Grandma & Grandpa at the house and a tearful goodbye to Bella on Thursday, Ryan and I headed to Chicago to meet our dear friends from college, Gena and Eric.  From there…we were off to the beautiful resort Secrets Silversands.  Yesterday we relaxed in the sun and caught up on our day-to-day lives, our children, and our families.  And after we felt fully recapped, we reminsced about our college days…it seems the stories are never ending!  I wonder what we will come up with today.  LOL.

To start my birthday off right this morning, Ryan surprised me, not with a bouquet of flowers…but a handful of clovers!  With that we popped a bottle of champagne and poured ourselves some Mimosas.  Delish!  And, in true Ryan-fashion, he brought along a very thoughtful gift…a key charm, with a Ruby for Bella, to add to my “everyday” necklace.  Thank you, Ryan!

And now…before we head down to the beach, I share with you the wonderful lunch we indulged in at the Barefoot Grille yesterday!  Ahhh….a few burgers in paradise! 

First…a traditional CHEESEBURGER IN PARADISE!!  (They were sooo good!)  I can’t help you with the “paradise” part…but I can help you with a delicious cheeseburger part!  Check out an earlier post on INDULGE….featuring “Boudreau’s Burgers“.   These burgers are simple…and do not disappoint.

Second…a MEXI-BURGER!  While I, obviously, didn’t make all of these indgrediants, I do have a recipe that will get this done for you at home.  Give it a try this weekend…pair with a cold Corona…and sit out on your porch.  With the beautiful weather we’ve experienced in the Midwest the last week, you might just be able to close your eyes are pretend you are in Mexico too!


Serves 4

  • 1 lb 90/10 Ground Beef
  • ~ 1/4 cup Milk
  • Seeded Hamburger Buns, 1 bun cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire
  • 1 Tbsp “backyard grilling” seasoning (Choose your favorite burger seasoning)
  • 1 Tbsp Hot Sauce (most any will do!)
  • A Dash or Two of Garlic Salt
  • EVOO
  • 1/4 stick of butter
  • Green Leaf Lettuce, rinsed & torn
  • Sliced Monterey Jack Cheese
  • Guacamole, freshly made
  • Fresh Salsa (Pico de Gallo)

Start by prepping all of your toppings (lettuce, guac, and salsa). Recipes to follow.  Set aside until ready to serve.

Preheat the grill to 400 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine milk and the one cubed hamburger bun.  Using your hands, mix the milk and bun until fully saturated and paste-like.  Add the ground beef and continue to mash together with your hands.  Work in Worcestershire, seasoning, and hot sauce.  Once combined, pat out 4 burgers.   Grill the burgers for ~6 minutes per side or until your desired “done-ness”.  We grill ours until just pink in the middle.

As you flip your burgers over for the final ~6 minutes, prep your buns!  In a small prep bowl, combine 4 Tbsp EVOO and a dash or two of garlic salt.  Brush the inside of each bun (top and bottom).  Place on the top rack of the grill for ~30 seconds (or until grill lines form).  While the buns are grilling, add the swiss cheese  and let melt.

Remove buns annd begin to build your Hamburgesa Mexicano!


  • 4 large Tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 White Onion, chopped
  • 3-4 Cloves of Garlic, minced
  • 4 Serrano Peppers, finely chopped
  • 1/4 Fresh Cilantro, chopped
  • 1 Lime, juiced
  • Salt to taste

Combine all ingredients.  Toss well.


  • 2 Avocados
  • 1 Serrano Pepper
  • 1 Large Roma Tomato
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 Red Onion, chopped
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Mash together with a fork.  (Keep the seed of the avacado with your gauc to prevent it from “browning”.)

Mmmmm…..muy bueno!

…a Cheeseburger or Mexi-Burger in Paradise…or your own backyard!  Enjoy your St Patrick’s Day…with your (big or) Little Leprechauns.

Indulge.  In Life.  In Love.  In Food.

Pesto Chicken, Roasted Tomato and Quinoa

Good Morning!!   I tell you what…it has been quite the week so far…and it is only Wednesday…MORNING!   Let me start with Monday.  Yes, Monday I was just going about my business, working in the Quad Cities.  I spent much of the morning stopping into see my podiatrists and inviting them to an upcoming event.  Around 11am, I pulled into yet another office.  Knowing the surgeon wouldn’t be in, I prepared to jot him a note. 

Reaching into my desk center console to grab my pen and paperclips, I notice that my secret stash of Zone bars was quite obviously no longer a secret. “Living” on the road…driving 2k-3k-4k miles per month, you just never know when you might need a meal bar, so I keep one in the console and replace it as I eat it. Unfortunately, there was going to be NO snacking on Monday. It seems a little furry friend found it, first. Yes. My Zone bar was DESTROYED. Eaten. Shredded. Nearly Gone. In it’s place were wrapper shreds, seat foam, and mouse turds. You can imagine, I was disgusted and furious. Not only was there a MOUSE in my car…but he ATE my bar! Jerk.

In a mad panic, I called Ryan and shared the delightful news. He encouraged me to rush home. His thoughts, “Well…if mice are eating away your seats (I assume to bury their chocolate chip treasure), they may also be eating away at wires. This isn’t safe and you need to get home. I will meet you there to help clean it out.” Me…the stubborn fool that I am, was ticked. I wasn’t done with work yet. I didn’t drive an hour (each way) to not finish my calls. I was not going to let a mouse alter my plans (or waste my gas!). So…I finished my notes and headed directly to Menards…to save some big money on mouse traps. There, I loaded up on supplies and trapped the heck out of my car. I wasn’t so sure I liked the idea of have mice glued to traps and riding around with me, but…hey, what other choice did I have? Traps in place, I finished my stops in the QC and scurried (no pun intended) back to Iowa City afterwards…praying that a mouse wouldn’t run across my feet as I traveled I-80.

Home mid-afternoon, husband-of-the-year, cleaned out my car, trapped the garage, and by midnight caught our little friend, Stuart. Bu-bye Stu. Don’t mess with my office…err, car. I live there.

After a short nights rest, I was on the road again by 5am on Tuesday. With a 7am case in Des Moines, there was no wasting time. Up at 4…on the road by 5. Only one problem. I wasn’t sure I was ready to hop back into my car. Fortunately, Ryan doesn’t drive his…so I opted to take our “old” ride. Ok…it really isn’t that old…only 10 years…but it certainly has it’s issues. Of particular interest yesterday…a NON FUNCTIONING air-conditioner. Sure. It’s March. BUT IT WAS 70 degrees yesterday! Let’s recap.

5am-7am: Drive to Des Moines. Dark…but smooth sailing.

11am-1pm: Drive back to Iowa City. Nearly peak sun…I was ROASTING.

230pm-4pm: Drive to Waterloo. Yep. STILL HOT.

7pm-830pm: Drive back to Iowa City. Dark again. Sure, smooth sailing.

So…I guess, air-conditioning is only important when the sun is out.

By 9pm last night, I was toast. I’d covered a couple of great cases in a couple of different hospitals across the state, I’d fought off a mouse, and gotten in a few hours in a sauna on the road. Whooo-Weee!

During that short break from 1-230pm yesterday, I also took another shot at “Wife of the Year.” Knowing I wouldn’t be home for dinner, I thought I would whip it up anyway so Ryan could eat more easily while he took care of Bella. Needing something quick and easy, I was reminded of a recipe that my friend Sara posted on her blog a long while back. ( Looking through my fridge, I thought I would make my own version…and it turned out well!

Pesto Chicken, Roasted Tomato, and Quinoa

Serves 4

  • 5 cups Cooked Quinoa
  • 8 oz Classico Basil Pesto (+ add’l 2-3oz, if desired)
  • 1 Handful Green Beans, cut into thirds
  • 1 pkg Santa Sweets (grape tomatoes), roasted
  • 2 large chicken Breasts, grilled and sliced
  • EVOO
  • 2 oz Parmesan, freshly grated

Preheat oven and grill to 400 degrees.

Start by marinading your chicken breasts in a bag with 3 oz pesto and 2 tbsp EVOO. Let sit for 20 mins.

While the chicken marinades, prepare the quinoa as directed on the box.

Trim the green beans, cut into thirds and boil for 3 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Line a baking sheet with tin foil and drizzle olive oil to prevent sticking. Toss grape tomatoes in EVOO and spread across sheet. Roast in the oven at 400 degrees for about 15 – 20 minutes. Watch closely. Pull out of oven when tomatoes are oozing their juices and begin to shrivel. Set aside.

Place chicken on the grill. Medium to large breasts will need to cook for about 6-7 minutes on each side. Pull off when cooked through. Let sit for a few minutes and then slice.

When all of your ingredients are prepped. Grab a large bowl and combine by add the remaning 5 ounces of pesto to the quinoa. Stir thoroughly. Add green beans and roasted tomatoes.

Scoop 1 cup of pesto quinoa to a plate and top with slices of chicken. Sprinkle plate with parmesan and drizzle add’l pesto, if desired!


This was super quick and super easy! And I think Ryan was pleasantly surprised to find dinner waiting for him when he got home…even though I was already miles away…again. 

Enjoy the rest of your week!  I look forward to putting on a few more miles…this time ALONE…and WITH AIR. 

Indulge.  In Life.  In Love.  In Food.