Experimentation

How many of you are on Pinterest? I got addicted by a friend of mine before it got really popular. Well this recipe came from a post on Pinterest. It’s a no-cook refrigerator oatmeal, in a couple different flavors. The science behind it is that the oatmeal absorbs the liquid while it’s in the refrigerator, and it eliminates the overheating feeling of trying to eat oatmeal in the summer time.

Now, I’m not going to go into too much detail about it just yet – I want to see how it works. But it’s basically a mixture of oatmeal, greek yogurt, milk, and honey with the other ingredients that add the flavor. I made a peanut butter cocoa version, a mocha, a peanut butter banana and an apple cinnamon. We’ll see how at least one of them tastes in the morning.

To continue on the path of yummy, dinner was a taco salad. You know how when you’re eating at Taco Bell, and everything falls out of the taco shell on to the paper? And then you use a spork and scoop it up and it usually tastes better than the taco itself did? Well, that’s what my salad tasted like. And it was amazing. It had a lot more calories than I wanted it to because avocado is expensive on the calories. But it was totally worth it and totally delicious. Avocado, tomato, lettuce and spinach, a mango salsa, ground beef with green bell peppers and onions, cheese and a home made taco seasoning. Try it for a quick dinner on a hot evening.

On a side note, when did Lego come out with Polly Pocket -esque figurines and Barbie-like scenery?

Oh, and dessert! I got dessert!! It’s a glorious day. My friend and I made a chocolate cake yesterday with chocolate whipped topping frosting. It’s delicious, light and moist. And tastes even better after a day in the fridge. Oh and 160 calories per slice. Yay dessert!!

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Scrambled Veggie Delight

Today I had plans to go shopping for some “grown up” clothes in preparation for finding a new job. But before I made my way down to the city, I had to get a good workout in, and follow up with some delicious breakfast.

(I have found that if I write about my workouts, I am more likely to stick to working out, because then I’m being held responsible. Skip the next paragraph if you’re just here for the food!)

Without my hunny here, I can get away with having breakfast that’s filled with vegetables. He would never hear of that. But first, the workout. I kind of invented a new workout that is based on some stuff I’ve seen on Pinterest. I did five exercises – jumping jacks, squats, crunches, mountain climbers, and push-ups. I started with 50 jumping jacks, then 40 squats, so on and so forth, and worked down the repetitions until I did 10 of each. Then I followed that up with some boxing strikes as my cardio. All in all, made for a good half hour.

Back to the food.

The original plan was for an omelet. I have yet to master the art of making eggs into a tortilla-type shape and folding them over in a pan. Therefore it became scrambled eggs with good stuff mixed in.

Tomatoes, onions, mushrooms and bell pepper, tossed over some light heat with some cooking spray, salt and pepper. Add in the egg that’s been mixed with garlic powder, ground sage and a touch of seasoned salt. Scramble. Just before it’s fully cooked, add in a few leaves of julienned spinach leaves and some feta cheese. Finish and plate with a whole wheat english muffin and tasty avocado. I have an avocado obsession. Did you know apple butter only has about 25 calories per tablespoon? That makes me super happy.

And yes I know I’m have a squirrel-complex moment.

Anyway, all that works out to be 554 calories, which works out just fine when I wanted to stay full for a while. It did mean that I ate a few too many calories today, but it was well deserved. I’m actually kind of excited for breakfast tomorrow.

My Days Off

Two days off from work left me with a little time to do a lot of things. I bought Marlene Koch’s new cookbook, Eat More of What You Love, and I’ve been wanting to try some of the recipes out of it. I had bought some blueberries from Sam’s Club that were begging to be made in to coffee cake (from her first book) and I had some bananas on the counter that really wanted to be made into banana bread. Well wouldn’t you know it, she had a recipe for that in her new book.

Let me just start by saying, sorry I don’t have a picture of the banana bread. When I took the picture, I couldn’t figure out why it was so dark. I later figured out that I hadn’t changed the exposure back since the concert this past weekend.

But this banana bread used molasses, Splenda, bran flakes and wheat flour instead of the normal sugar, brown sugar and extra stuff that’s no good for you. Given, one piece is still 120 calories, but that’s an after lunch treat I can afford. If you’re a lover of banana bread like I am and have some bananas sitting around that you should have eaten days ago, try out this recipe.

My dinner adventure also came out of her new book, though I altered it just a smidge. Its a chicken sandwich with barbecue sauce and bacon (and healthy?? What??), and instead of the lettuce, I used avocado. I also mixed some hot sauce in with my barbecue sauce.

A.Maz.Ing.

And so simple.

Chicken breast, pounded, and seasoned with salt and pepper then cooked (grill or pan, your choice). Cheddar cheese, barbecue sauce, a wheat bun, lettuce, tomato, and a piece of bacon. Done.

Love this sandwich.

So an update about the diet. Weekends as of late, not so great for me. I get too excited about a Saturday and my honey being home and cheat too much on my diet. Or I have a really bad day at work and have a Jack and Coke or two. But during the week, I’ve been really good. Like eating salad every night, and only going over my calorie count by maybe 100, very seldom. Working out, I don’t run as much as I should, but when I do work out, I push it. And guess what? My little accomplishment this morning… I fit back into a smaller pair of my jeans. Not as well as I used to, but before the wedding I couldn’t even get them buttoned. Yay!

Alfredo and Peppers

The past couple of nights, making dinner has been an adventure. I’m having to modify my way of doing things a little bit to make sure that I’m staying within my calorie count. Instead of just saying, “Yeah that looks right,” I’m actually measuring things, and I’m not doing a whole lot of improvising these days. I guess as we grow older, things have to change a little right?

The real challenge I faced yesterday. I had to go back to work at the restaurant, where I had to physically think about not grabbing a french fry or downing a cup of soda, which I’m so used to doing while I was there. I am almost dreading working doubles because I am going to have to bring my mid-day meal to resist the temptation of getting something stupid unhealthy.

So, on to the food. The whole reason people read this blog.

The other night, I pulled out one of my other cookbooks, and this one I’ve mentioned before in a post and in a recipe. It’s the Eat What You Love by Marlene Koch. This time I found her recipe for a Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo, and instead of using the heavy cream and butter with tons of parmesan to make an alfredo sauce, she uses lowfat milk and cornstarch to imitate the creaminess of the sauce and then only a little bit of parmesan and I’m thinking that because the cheese doesn’t have to penetrate as much sauce, a little bit goes a long way and it’s absolutely delightful. And, the broccoli is basically steamed in the microwave which makes for super easy preparation. And I got to have pasta! On a diet! It was a good day.

So then last night, I decided to try something that I wasn’t one hundred percent sure that my hunny would enjoy, but that I had never tried to make and that only had 187 calories per serving. That would be Stuffed Peppers, and goodness gracious did they turn out pretty. Now, out of the three go-to cookbooks for this diet adventure, the only recipe that I could find for a low-cal version involved using the meatless soy crumbles instead of ground beef. I had pulled out ground beef, I was going to use it. I had bought some deliciously colored red, yellow and orange bell peppers at Sam’s Club and they were calling me to make this dish. (Have you ever noticed that the more pretty an ingredient is, the more you want to eat it? It goes right along with that whole eat with your eyes first mantra.) Therefore, I turned to my friend Google and found a great recipe. And guess what? My hunny loved them. And we both decided that the meat mixture that goes into the peppers would also taste really good wrapped in a tortilla with some cheese.

Corkscrew Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo

Ingredients:

8 oz rotini or bowties

5 c. broccoli florets

1 c. low fat milk

1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch

1 c. reduced-sodium chicken broth

1/4 c. light cream cheese

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp pepper, or more to taste

1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese

2 c. shredded cooked boneless, skinless chicken breast (I used chicken thighs and it was really good too)

Directions:

1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions while preparing the sauce, and set aside.

2. Place the broccoli in a large microwave-safe dish. Add 3 tablespoons of water, cover, and microwave for 4 minutes, or until crisp tender.

3. In a medium saucepan, whisk the milk and cornstarch until smooth. Whisk in the broth and place over low heat. Add the cream cheese, garlic powder, and pepper. Bring to a low simmer and cook until the sauce thickens, about 4 minutes. Whisk in the Parmesan and cook for 1 to 2 more minutes, or until sauce is smooth.

4. Toss the cooked pasta, broccoli, and chicken together in a large serving dish. Pour the sauce on top, and toss gently to combine.

Serves 6.

NUTRITION INFORMATION PER SERVING (1 1/2 CUPS): 330 Cal, 36g Carbs, 7g Total Fat (3.5g Sat Fat), 6 WW Points

RECIPE FROM: Eat What You Love by Marlene Koch

So the Diet Begins…

The Army says I need to lose some pounds. So lose some pounds is what I’m going to do. The honeymoon is over, and my hunny has agreed to help me out with this by eating “diet food” for dinners. He’s such a good husband. Of course, I’m going to combine my dieting with exercise… though that part is harder for me than the watching my diet part. This diet I’ve done before, and it worked rather well, just took a lot of discipline. It’s only allowing myself 1400 calories a day. No fast food, no soda, very little alcohol unless I have calories left in my diet. Tonight I got to have a beer.

So, since I’ve already invested in a couple diet cookbooks, I decided that I should probably start using them. The first one that I’ve delved into for the past two nights is called Cook Yourself Thin Faster. Last night was porkchops with apples. It was surprisingly tasty. There was a sauce that went with it that was made with the apples, shallots, apple cider vinegar and a couple teaspoons of heavy cream. It was delightfully tasty. We balanced out the tanginess of the vinegar with a simple salad.

Stay tuned for more tasty diet friendly food. And go buy the book for more tasty recipes!

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lb loin pork chops, fat fully trimmed, off the bone

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

Cooking Spray, preferably olive oil

1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped

1 apple, peeled, cored, and cut into eighths

3/4 cup apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp heavy cream

Directions:

1. Lightly pound the pork with a meat mallet or rolling pin to flatten slightly.

2. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Lightly spray a large saute pan with cooking spray and set over medium high heat.

4. Add the pork to the pan and cook 3-4 minutes. Turn and cook for another 4 minutes, until cooked through. Remove the pork to a plate and keep covered. Saute the shallot and apple until slightly golden. Add the apple cider and cook until the liquid begins to boil. Add the heavy cream and stir. Return the pork to the pan, toss with the sauce, and serve immediately.

Nutrition Facts:

Serves 4. Per Serving: 270 Calories, 9g Total Fat, 591 mg Sodium, 5g Sugar