Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Morning Breakdowns + A New Recipe

Sorry I missed you all this morning.  My laptop screen went kaput, so no blogging was happening til I hooked up my old computer monitor to the laptop so I can see!!!   Time for a new computer;  ka-ching, ka-ching :(   I had to spend the morning at the car dealership, too.  Thankfully, that didn’t cost much.  It’s funny how everything seems to go all at once!


I’m still surprised in the morning when I come down to the kitchen.  After so many years of the same look, it’s different to see a new look.  I really like it!

I was ready to break out the pans for breakfast.  I decided on eggs again.  This time, I sauteed sliced mushrooms in nonstick spray, added egg whites and a slice of asiago cheese.  Very tasty…

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The rest of the morning was spent in clean-up mode.  Still catching up on cleaning after the painting.  Lunch time came quickly, so I made up some fast food.  I decided on another Lavash Pizza, this time topped with some leftover mushrooms from breakfast.  So easy to make;  spray Lavash bread with cooking spray, spread on sauce, top with light cheese and bake at 400 for about 10 minutes…

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It makes a huge serving and I ate the whole thing along with a bowl of Tabatchnick Vegetable Soup


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I tried to get myself organized for the week during the remainder of the afternoon.  I had a billion school papers to read through, sign, send in money for, etc.  Whew!  And schools say they’re trying to go “green”!  I also worked on some homework with little daughter while munching on a snack of Trader Joe’s Chipotle Pepper Hummus and carrots…

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Dinner was easy.  The husband and daughters were jealous of my pizza lunch, well, with the exception of the mushrooms, so I told them they could have quick pizzas for dinner.  I used Trader Joe’s Naan Bread as the dough.  They loved it!  Good for me;  no complaining :)

I dug around the freezer and found a few pieces of my Gram’s zucchini quiche, so I heated that and made a side salad with evoo for us all…

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Love it, Gram!!



As I said, this morning started off a little rough with the computer glitch.  I had planned on blogging at the dealership, but since that was not to be, I gathered up a bunch of reading material to bring to my Car Dealership Camp Out.  I was rushed, but hungry, so I heated up a Blueberry Apricot Oat Bran Muffin and gobbled that up along with a Chobani nonfat strawberry yogurt before I left…

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Turned out I only had to wait 2 1/2 hours instead of the 3-4 hours that I thought!  And the "damage” was minimum.  Hey, this day is turning around!

Breakfast did not hold me over very long at all.  I’m finding that the 6 oz. cups are not enough for me;  I really need 8 oz. to hold me over.  And the muffin, although delicious and healthy, doesn’t have enough staying power either.  I’m noticing, breakfast is turning out to be the most important meal of the day for me.  If I don’t eat enough at breakfast, I feel like eating more later in the day.

Needless to say, I couldn’t wait for lunch!  My stomach was growling  by 11:30 , but I managed to hold off until 12:30.  I dug around in the freezer again and found some homemade turkey meatballs that I completely forgot about!  I made a Turkey Meatball Stuffed Pita using 3 turkey meatballs (sliced to fit), baby spinach, a Weight Watchers Whole Wheat Pita and a drizzle of marinara…

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Along with a fuji apple, it was a great lunch…

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Little daughter had dance this afternoon, which means that we do not get home until dinner time.  I planned in advance and decided to make a Vegetable Lasagna so that it would be ready when we got home.  Now, I pretty much knew this was going to get some “eeewwws and blaaaahs” because no one but me ,will eat vegetables mixed in with something else.  But, I had this lasagna idea and I really wanted to try it out, so I said tough noogies ;P

These are the items I used for the Vegetable Lasagna

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The star ingredient was the Green Giant Immunity Blend Veggies.  I like these because they are a premium blend;  the vegetables are good quality (no broccoli stalks!) and it is flavored with extra virgin olive oil and seasoning which takes the work out of chopping, cooking and flavoring the veggies before adding them to the dish…

Vegetable Lasagna

  • 3 boxes Green Giant Immunity Blend frozen veggies, defrosted
  • 2 1/2 cups fat free milk
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 6 oz. block Cabot 50 % reduced fat cheddar cheese, grated(or other lowfat white cheese such as swiss or mozzarella)
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 12 no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 3 tbsp. parmesan cheese

Prepare an 11 x 7 baking dish by spraying with nonstick spray and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine flour and milk.  Stir continuously over medium heat until mixture thickens, about 5 minutes…

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Remove from heat and stir in grated cheese until melted and sauce is smooth….

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Add the vegetables and stir until mixed in.  *note – I think next time, I would save a bit of the plain cheese sauce to pour over the top layer of the lasagna (maybe about 1/3 cup)…

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Place 3 noodles on the bottom of the sprayed dish and top with 1/3 of the sauce…

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Add spinach…

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Continue with 2 more layers of noodles and sauce.  Top with remaining 3 noodles and sprinkle with parmesan cheese (I added about 1/8 c. shredded mozzarella, too – again, a bit of the plain cheese sauce would have gone nicely as a topper, then additional cheese could be omitted…

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Cover with foil and bake in a 400 degree oven for 45 minutes…

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Dinner done!  While little daughter was at dance, I was able to run over to the gym for a 30 minute beat session on The Arc Trainer.  Boy, I have missed the gym these past few days!  I worked so hard that I was actually shaky when I left.  I remembered to bring a snack in the car, so I dug into some Cocoa Roasted Almonds and felt a lot better…

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Dinner was waiting when we got home!  I thought it was delish and so did the husband and daughters after they scraped all the vegetables out of it.  Grrrrrr.

I served it with some of Gram’s green beans to round out the meal…

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According to the ingredients I used, this lasagna came in at 330 calories and 10 grams fat per serving  (for 6 servings).  I have a couple pieces leftover that will make a great “frozen dinner” for another night.

I’m hoping to get my new computer tomorrow and get back to my morning blogging on Thursday!  Looking forward to catching up on all your blogs, too.  It’s been a couple days and I miss seeing what you’re all up to!

ONE GOOD THING:  I was able to fit in a workout and it felt great!

Question of the Day:  What kind of computer do you use?

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Heart Of The Home

Back to the grind!  We were up and at ‘em early to try and finish up the last painting touches and put the kitchen back together.  We had to make another quick trip to the Lowe’s,  but first some breakfast was in order.  I was in the mood for eggs, so I whipped up a Salsa Egg White Scramble (egg whites, spinach, salsa and light cheddar)…

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Then, it was off to pick up our hardwares.  Since, Trader Joe’s was right around the corner, I talked the husband into a pit stop to pick up a couple items.  I scored a cool new (to me) hummus that I couldn’t wait to have with lunch…

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I thought it would make a great topping for my Cuban Black Bean Patty on an Ezekiel hamburger bun

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It was perfect!  I liked the smoky flavor and the mild heat.  Definitely a keeper!

We finally finished up the last of the retouching and put the kitchen back in working order.  Only glitch was with the lighting over the table.  Seems our compact fluorescents were too big and stuck out above the shades.  I had to run back out and get smaller bulbs, but other than that, this repainting/updating job went pretty smoothly.  And the husband and I worked really well together, so no divorce papers needed to be drawn up after this project ;)

The daughters came home as we were finished and were so surprised at the change!  They loved it, though, which made me happy since the kitchen is the heart of our home and I want everyone to be comfortable in it.

I decided on an easy dinner.  I wasn’t quite ready to cook after the long, tiring weekend, so we fired up the grill and made some of these cool dogs I found at Trader Joe’s

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I haven’t had a hot dog in ages because of the high fat content of the regular ones and I found the light ones to be okay, but I question the “healthiness” of them.  However, I saw these Applegate Farms Organic Uncured Beef Hot Dogs and the “organic” and “no nitrates or preservatives” made me feel a little better about them!  Hey, it’s un-American to not eat a hot dog, right?!  Anyway, I was surprised by the nutritional information considering these are not touted as a “light” hot dog.  One dogger is 70 calories with only 4.5 grams of fat!  That’s impressive.  Can’t get away from the sodium though – 430 mg., but that’s how a hot dog rolls ;P  Speaking of rolls, I ate my dog on a whole wheat roll with a squirt of straight up yellow mustard along with a side salad and some baked fries….

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I loved this hot dog!!!  Seriously good;  even the husband gave it a thumbs up.  Now, the fries…eh, not so lovely.  I bought these Alexia Yukon Gold fries and had high expectations…

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The nutritionals looked good…

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but the flavor was meh and some of the fries were hollow inside when you bit into them.  Somehow, the precooking process they do, cooks the potato right out of it!  Not a fan :(

All in all, a tasty dinner in our “new” kitchen.  Wanna see it???  Here’s a mini tour…

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Looks good now;  I’m sure I’ll mess it up soon enough!

I ended the night with another Trader Joe’s find:  Whole Grain Chocolate Chip Cookie Bites

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A serving is 8 cookies for 130 calories and 6 grams fat.  They are made with whole wheat flour, oats and walnut meal.  Good ingredients and delicious!  I was satisfied with just 3 because they have such great flavor.   Just right…

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Hope everyone had a relaxing weekend!

ONE GOOD THING:  I was able to enjoy cookies without feeling like I had to eat the whole serving or container for that matter- LOL!  I ate what satisfied me and put them away.

Question of the Day:  What room do you consider to be the “heart of your home” ?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Paint + Date

Hey guys!  Sorry for this fly-by post;  I have lots to get done to put Humpty Dumpty the kitchen back together again!

The husband and I sent the daughters off to my parents for an overnight stay so that we could paint without interruption.  It was a work day for sure!  We started bright and early and didn’t finish up until nearly 6:00 p.m.  I made sure to start off with a yummy breakfast.  My Mom gave me some of her homemade fig jam made from the fresh figs in her garden and I was looking forward to trying it out…

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I spread some on 2 slices of toasted Trader Joe’s Organic Spelt Bread with a wedge of Laughing Cow Light Cheese.  It was delicious!
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The husband painted away in the kitchen, while I taped and painted trim/doors in various parts of the house.  Time flew by!  Before we knew it, our stomach were screaming for food.  I decided to just make a quick wrap with turkey, avocado and baby spinach on a Joseph’s Lavash Bread .  I knew the wrap needed some condiment, so I dug around the fridge (which was in the middle of my kitchen!) and found some of this …

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That made it!  It was a yummy addition.  I rounded out the lunch with some POPchips crumbs and a juicy pear…

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Then, it was back to the grind.  The husband finished off the kitchen and I finished off the last of my downstairs trim and cleaned up our painting supplies while hobbling around.  Back breaking work, but well worth the effort!  We finally decided it was quittin’ time, showered and headed out for a little dinner date to a local sports bar.

We celebrated our hard work with a nice, cold one…

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Then ordered a couple appetizers…

Sweet Potato Chips with Horseradish Sauce …

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Fried Mozzarella Moons…

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My plate ( sorry about the dark pics, they really dimmed the lighting at this point)…

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We also ordered dinner.  I went with the Lemon Pepper Salmon Salad with citrus vinagrette.  It was delish and I ate most of it.  I was really craving some greens!

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And the husband ordered a GINORMOUS burger with steak fries and a side Iceberg Wedge salad smothered in bacon and ranch dressing…

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Heart attacks on plates.  He’s a hopeless cause!  More frustrating, he’ll probably wake up and have lost 2 lbs.!!!

We headed home and plopped in bed for a good night’s rest.  Got much more to do before the daughters get home, but we’re close.  Here’s a sneak peek…

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Hope you had a great day!

ONE GOOD THING:  I didn’t go crazy with appetizers at the restaurant and ordered a healthy dinner  =)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

For The Love Of Leftovers

This kitchen wallpaper removal/painting prep/nasty cold is not leaving me with much creativity in the food department.  The kitchen is a mess, so minimal “cooking” is going on.  So, I thought this is a good opportunity to stress the importance of “being prepared” with respect to staying the healthy eating course.  As the saying goes, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail”!

During the weight loss journey, I have heard many people (including myself) say that they didn’t have time to cook healthy foods or didn’t have the right ingredients in their pantry, fridge or freezer.    This lack of time and staples makes it all too easy to opt for takeout, especially when you’re getting in late from work, activities or when your kitchen is a huge mess!  It is so important to have a basic stock of pantry staples, so that you are able to throw something together at a moments notice.  I always keep some canned soups for quick lunches or dinners paired with salad or grilled cheese.  Also, cans of diced tomatoes make great quick pasta toppings;  just saute with garlic and extra virgin olive oil, pour over some whole wheat pasta and finish off with some grated parmesan.  Canned beans are a good option, too.  You can add some chick peas or cannellini beans to a pasta dish for an extra protein punch or just add them to your salad for more staying power.  Some of my fridge/freezer staples are bagged salads ( I make my own by cutting up romaine hearts and placing them in large zipper bags), tortillas, baby carrots, apples, cheese, eggs, yogurt, veggie burgers (homemade or store bought), soups, precooked taco meat (turkey or beef), chicken cutlets and frozen veggies, just to name a few.

But, I have to say that my saving grace many days and especially during this kitchen project has been having leftovers in my fridge and freezer.  I used to balk at leftovers.  Why eat the same thing over and over??  Unless, it’s brownies, of course.  However, there probably wouldn’t be much of those leftover!  Now, I look at leftovers in a whole new way.  Leftovers allow me to have a quick and healthy option with minimal effort or fuss.  Knowing that I had those meals and fridge/freezer items made it easy for me to make good choices during this tiring project;  just heat and eat!  Gotta give props to the microwave!!!   Having these options, besides being a real time-saver, allowed me to “plan” to stay on track.  Failure was not an option!  Love it when a plan comes together :)

Onto the food!  Warning:  prepare to bored out of your mind.  Not much creativity here, just necessary eats!


Started the day off with a hearty bowl of leftover oat bran.  I have to say, I wasn’t quite sure how precooked oat bran would translate, but it was just fine with the addition of a little extra water to thin it out while reheating.  I morphed it into PB&J Oatbran with a bit of grape jam and PB2

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Lunch was a Cedarlane Beans, Rice and Cheese style Burrito with a side of POPchips and a peach…

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After tons more wallpaper scraping, I decided I needed a break.  I couldn’t shake another Starbucks craving!  The crack is back!!!  This time, I went for a Pumpkin Spice Light Frappuccino

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OMG!  Loved it and a Grande is only 150 calories, .5 grams fat and 3 grams fiber.  Heeeelloooo!!

Scrape, scrape, tape, tape, paint the trim.  UGH!

Dinner was a Dominex Eggplant Burger topped with leftover Hot Artichoke-Cheese Dip and baby spinach on a deli flat, a side of carrots and a Chobani nonfat strawberry yogurt for dessert…

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Wallpaper on…

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Wallpaper off ---thank, gawd!!!

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Now to choose a color….


I felt a lot better this morning!  Still stuffy, but no fever and head throb.  Since I was on the mend, I decided to make a quick run to the gym.  The Arc Trainer was calling my name!  Brought my breakfast to-go…

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The Arc Trainer whipped me good for 30 minutes which was all I had time for since I had a late morning doctor’s appointment.  On the way to the appointment, I munched on a Blueberry Apricot Oat Bran Muffin (from the freezer)…

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I went for a routine physical and all checks out, except for my hip which the doc thinks is bursitis and wants me to consult with a Sports Medicine doc for it.  Yikes!

I made it home for a “leftover” lunch before running out the door again to pick up paint and supplies.  I went with Chickpea Croquettes and the ever easy side of carrots and apple…

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Later, a Peanut Butter Cookie Larabar was needed to help with the paint color choosing…

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And dinner was leftover crock pot chicken with a side of sweet potato fries (pre-cut from Trader Joe’s)…

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Thanks for hanging in there with this marathon post!!!  Hope you have a great weekend!  I’ll see you tomorrow for the “reveal” :)

ONE GOOD THING: Leftovers!!!!!!