Tuesday, June 30, 2009

TGI... T...

I am currently snacking on a larabar, polishing off a big bottle of water, thanking the good lord that it's a short week, and totally procrastinating at work (sorry, Dad!). I don't know if it's the heat, the time of year, or what feels like a desperate need for vaca (hooray I leave July 24th!) but my brain just feels a bit mushy today. And yesterday. Hmmm....

Bruce the rambunctious kitten burger decided to wake up at 5:30 and try to climb everything in the house. Twice. And then race around in circles for good measure. So the pup woke up, wanted to go out, and I couldn't fall back asleep. Boo. The good news was that I decided last night to head to the gym this morning so I was up bright and early to work up a sweat pre-office. Here is the part where I made a guilty admission: I have been a total exercise slacker lately. I was on such a great streak before the Chicago trip and then I came back and slugged out. I did purchase the Jillian Michaels 30 day shred and I've been doing that twice a week from home. Holy Moly, there's a reason people on the Biggest Loser drop the lbs- that lady is a beast! But with the exception of the rediculously intense 20 minute workouts I've been lazy. I did, however, montitor my calorie intake more closely to offset the lack of burn. Fewer snacks and desserts = bummer. So back to the gym this morning I went. 30 mins on the elliptical isn't much, but I am getting back in the groove and we all have to start somewhere. Day one- check.

Breakfast this morning was low sugar Quaker maple and brown sugar oats with a tbsp pb and half a banana. In an ideal world, the oats would have been homemade, the sweetener would have been organic, and the pb would have been almond butter. But who am I kidding? I am not perfect and it least it wasn't a giant coffee and scone from the coffee shop down the street (yum cinnamon scones and white chocolate latte).

I've been a bit thrown this week since I had dinner with the beautiful Ms. Molly, her handsome husband and too cute for words bambino last night, and I am joining some lovely and amazing friends for a baby shower this evening. So no menu. Yet. I do need to restock on some healthy food before the weekend so I don't get takeout and DQ again (that was not me you saw doing those things last weekend).

I'm a work in progress and this is a day by day project to improve (let's be honest) the way I look, but far more importantly the way I feel. And I'm getting there. Sometimes it feels like an uphill battle when I read flogs (food blogs) about how amazingly healthy some folks are. Maybe I'll get there, eventually, but for now every healthy choice I make moves me in the right direction and for now that's good enough. There is lots of room to grow, learn, and improve, but I think it will continue to be a great adventure.

Day two, here I come...

Hope you are having a gorgeous Tuesday (and not melting if you're in MT!).

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Lovin' Summer

Whew- this week has been such a whirlwind! High: my brother being home and spending tons of time with my fam. Low: finding a huge tick in my pup's ear. Hopefully that's the worst thing that will happen this week and the rest is smooth sailing!

Happy belated birthday to the lovely Tami, who is such an amazing friend! I don't know what I would do without you! Tami turned a year older on Tuesday and we celebrated last weekend:

I am so grateful for all the amazing people in my life- I feel lucky to call such lovely people my friends. Of course Parker is especially high up there since he not only puts up with all my silliness, but tastes my food attemps with a smile every day. I am the luckiest girl in the world!


Here's a photo of the chicken tacos with mango jicama salsa we made earlier this week:

Parker ate his in traditional taco form and I scooped all the fillings into a bowl over beans and rice:

Here's the recipe link: http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/recipefinder.dyn?action=displayRecipe&recipe_id=1880013

I also made the spicy asian noodles for lunch on Wednesday:

They were just OK. Maybe it's because I made them over the lunch hour and rushed through the recipe without paying much attention to the ingredients and no attention to the quantities. That tends to happen when I'm in a hurry! I also need to find a new variety of noodle to use- I've stuck to rice noodles for awhile and they just aren't my favorite. So maybe it's worth a re-try- I think it definitely has potential.

The BEST thing I ate this week wasn't actually anything I made, though it was homemade! I had dinner with my fam last night and mom made her ah-ma-zing pizza crust. We topped it will some tomato paste, fresh mozzarella, fresh tomatos (can't wait til they're actually in season) and fresh basil and oregano from the garden. I also cooked up some chicken with Hungarian Paprika and garlic salt and threw that on top. Delish!


I've decided one of my goals for the summer is to master the art of pizza crust. Mom makes it look like the easiest thing in the world, but all my attempts have been utter failures. I am sticking with the thought that practice makes perfect so I'm determined to give it another shot. I'll have to add it to the menu next week :)

My menu plan went out the window in a hurry this week. Oh well. It makes me think of the saying "life is what happens when you're busy making plans." Taking advantage of the moment is definitely more fun- and has turned out to be quite tasty, too :)

For some reason I've had quite the hankering for cobbler lately. My attempt earlier this week was not an utter failure, but I'd only give it a 4 or 5 on a scale of 1 to 10. Thank goodness for Cool Whip- it saved the day! Any good reasonably healthy cobbler suggestions?

Hope you're having a great week!

Monday, June 22, 2009

The game plan

Here's the food plan for this week- things have been so hectic lately who knows how the week will turn out, but this is the starting point for dinner plans:

Monday: Chicken tacos w/mango jicama salad and beans and rice (for P!). I've never cooked with jicama before so wish me luck!

Tuesday: Dinner with friends

Wednesday: Spicy asian noodles with chicken. Instead of serving extra veggies on the side I think I'll just add them all to the pasta.

Thursday: Chicken and mushrooms in garlic sauce with green beans or summer veggie tostadas/tacos

Friday: Friend's wedding

Saturday: Whatever I didn't make for dinner Thursday :)

Hope your week is off to a great start!

Playing catch up

Whew- last week was such a whirwind! As some of you know, my dad had his knee partially replaced on June 9th. This is his second knee replacement in less than three months, but he's doing so well! I played chauffer a bit last week, driving him home from PT, helping run errands, etc. Needless to say my schedule was a bit off from the norm so planning fell a bit by the wayside. In addition to helping my dad out, my 90 year old grandfather went to the doctor on Monday and they immediately scheduled him to have a pacemaker installed the following afternoon. His oxygen levels were way down so they wanted him to have the procedure as soon as possible so that he'd be on his way to feeling better. Things went very well, and at our father's day BBQ yesterday he was doing so well! Not only was he happy, funny, and chatty, but he looked at least 5 years younger :) The pink was back in his cheeks and it was great to see him enjoying the beautiful day. I am so grateful that both my dad and gpa are well on their way to feeling better!

Here are some highlights from food last week:

"Stuffed" Chicken with roasted potatos and asparagus
Here's a link to the recipe: http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/recipefinder.dyn?action=displayRecipe&recipe_id=1886438

And a photo:

OK, so the plan was to make stuffed chicken breasts, until I realized that I bought chicken tenders rather than breasts. Whoops! So I made the filling, cooked the chicken in a saucepan until almost done, then spread the filling on top and popped the whole pan in the oven for a few minutes until the filling melted on top . The dish tasted great and it was so much less work than cutting, stuffing, and skewering the chicken according to the recipe. It seems like there are a lot of great stuffed chx recipes out there but sometimes it just seems like sooooo much work- I may have to resort to this method again! I found a "poultry seasoning" mix of fresh herbs at the store so in addition to adding them to the chicken filling, I also chopped them up and sprinkled them on top of the potatoes along with salt and pepper using cooking spray to coat the pan and make the seasonings stick- so good! The mix included rosemary, thyme, and sage. The red potatoes were a nice change from the sps I usually make and a great addition to the chicken and asparagus.

I also make an African Peanut Stew recipe that Molly made about a year ago. It was so tasty when she made it and even though I've had the recipe for awhile it took me forever to get around to cooking it myself. I was motivated to cook a big pot of something since P gave me an awesome new pan the weekend before. What a great bf :) If you google "African Peanut Stew" you'll find a lot of variations, but this one included:

  • Onion
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Sweet Potato
  • Diced Tomatoes
  • Fresh ginger
  • Fresh garlic
  • Vegetable broth
  • Edamame
  • Curry
  • Peanut butter (I used almond butter)
  • Molly also suggested adding golden raisins and Siracha (sp?) sauce, both of which were great additions
  • A few other things that I'm undoubtedly forgetting

There are tons of potential variations to this recipe and it's a great one for using what you have around and varying the quantities of different ingredients according to your taste. I chose to serve it plain, and my mom served her leftovers over brown rice with fresh avocado and yogurt on top. Thanks for the great recipe Mols!


The other new recipe I tried was spiced pork chops with apple chutney. Here's the recipe link: http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/recipefinder.dyn?action=displayRecipe&recipe_id=1880022

I've always loved chutney but never attempted to make it myself. It was sooooo good! Although it calls for dried cranberries I didn't have any so used diced dried apricot instead and loved the flavor. I served the dish with green beans and couscous and it's definitely one I'll try again. Sorry no photos, I must have been super hungry and forgotten that evening :)

Hope last week was a great one for you!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Best laid plans....

Happy Friday!
Hope you're having a great week!

Although I had my whole food week planned out, real life happened and I got a little off track.

Here's how food actually went:

M- Thurs breakfast as planned- thank goodness cereal is easy!
Monday lunch: light veggie rockets ginger wrap on wheat tortilla
Dinner: stir fry (I was horrible about taking photos this week- but I'll include the recipe for this dish!) and gellato for dessert :)

T lunch: subway turkey wrap (6" wheat bread with turkey, swiss, banana peppers, lettuce, tomato, black olives and sweet onion dressing), baked bbq lays, diet coke. Boo for hospital lunches. I also had half a bag of peanut m&ms as a snack along with two huge handfuls of cheez-its. Those little crackers are so tasty I swear they are evil!
D: leftover stir fry since I got home late

W lunch: lean cuisine mad cheese. So gross- I can't believe I used to eat those all the time!
D: Curried veggies (the recipe from cooking light minus the tofu and with some extra veggies. I used zucchini, baked yams, onion, carrot, pineapple and great beans) over rice noodles. The recipe was.... good. Not great, but good. It tasted like it was missing something so I'll have to keep experimenting... Skinny cow skinny dipper bar for dessert.

Th lunch: leftover curried veggies over rice noodles with a little goat cheese sprinkeld on top :) much better with the extra flavor!
D: Veggies tostadas- corn, zuchhini, onion and yellow squash with jalepeno, lots of cilantro, a little green salsa, tomato, avocado and cheese on a corn tortilla crisped in the oven. So good! This is a recipe I keep coming back to it's so fresh, yummy and easy!

Tostada filling:


All together!

F breakfast: My first attempt at smoothies! I blended (for two of us)
  • 2 c frozen strawberries
  • 1 1/2 c frozen mango chunks
  • 1 light lemon yogurt
  • 1 light vanilla yogurt
  • 4 scoops of vegan protein powder (following the serving suggestions)

I was so excited to dump all this in and push the blend button until.... nothing happened. I stirred it all up and tried again.... nothing. Then P suggested I add a little soy milk and it finally started to work. Next time I may nix one of the yogurts and just add more soy milk. The protein powder gave it sort of an odd consistency/tast, but it was a good first attempt. I will keep messing with the recipe but I love the idea of smoothies for breakfast. I need a break from cereal!

Here's what I brought to work with me today- the smoothie and a couple snacks (larabar and vitatop):


Lunch today will be thai (yum!) and for dinner- who knows.

The point of this long rambling post is that even though I planned out a great week of food, things inevitably change and my biggest challenge is to go with the flow and make healthy choices along the way. Obviously I had some slip ups (hello Cheez Its!) but all in all things weren't too bad. I don't want to give the impression that just because I post a menu on Monday that's what I eat all week- far from it! That is sort of the goal I strive for and a provides a shopping list for me and then things go from there.

The only time I ate meat was in the stir fry which was a nice change and I stayed away from booze other than the skinny margaritas last night- it was just one of those days! One of my challenges is to get right back on the horse when I slip up rather than figuring that day is a bust and I can eat whatever I want and start over tomorrow. I am realizing that it's about a series of consistent, healthy, postive choices and that a treat here or there isn't the end of the world.

Here's the recipe for the stir fry in the order I add ingredients to the pan:

  • 2 chopped onions (cook until transparent- add chicken broth if needed to keep from sticking to pan)
  • 2-3 chicken breasts chopped into small pieces- add when onions are almost done
  • 2 bell peppers (yellow, red or orange) chopped into small strips- add when chicken is about halfway cooked
  • 1 1/2 c orange juice
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tsp chili oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • Ginger freshly chopped or grated (I use tons- maybe 3 or 4 tbsp)
  • 2 cloves freshly pressed ginger
  • 1 cup chopped carrots- cook until carrots soften slightly
  • 1 can of chopped pineapple with juice (I usually add the juice along with the oj)
  • 1 can of bamboo skinny strips
  • 3 celery sticks chopped

After adding the celery I let everything simmer for a few minutes and then serve over rice or rice noodles. This is a really easy recipe to add or subtract ingredients and doesn't take too long- the chopping is definitely the most time consuming part. You can also tinker with the amounts- this is a rough guess since I usually just dump things in and add to taste. Happy cooking!

Hope you have a lovely weekend!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Home again, home again

Hi All!

We had such a fabulous time in Chicago and it was so amazing to see some great friends and spend time in the city. Not to mention all the amazing food we ate!
P has a day by day recap with lots of amazing photos on his blog: www.parkerbrownsmusic.com
He took some incredible photos that really capture the feel of the city and our super fun long weekend.

I am EXHAUSTED today but looking forward to a week of well rounded, healthy, fresh meals and getting back to my workout schedule. The healthy food will start tonight, but the workouts will have to wait until tomorrow since we're having dinner with family :)

Here's the meal plan for the week:

bf all week: Fiber One shredded wheat with lt vanilla soy milk
l: light veggie ginger wrap from rocket burrito with no crunchy noodles on a whole wheat tortilla (I ate 3/4 and gave the rest to P!)
d: Stir fry with rice (garlic, ginger, bell pepper, carrota, celery, onion, chicken, pineapple, and bamboo- I'll take photos tonight and post the recipe tomorrow)

l: leftover stir fry or pear/walnut/gorg flatbread
d: curried tofu w/rice noodles http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/recipefinder.dyn?action=displayRecipe&recipe_id=686184

l: leftover curried tofu or flatbread
d: Summber veggie tacos sans chicken (the tostada recipe from last week in taco form- they were so tasty and I have been craving them since- plus they make for great leftovers! http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/recipefinder.dyn?action=displayRecipe&recipe_id=1215924) If P is super hungry I'll make Vigo yellow rice with black beans as well. Here's a photo of the tostadas from last week:

l: leftovers (there should be lots by this point!)
d: three bean chili with cornbread http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/recipefinder.dyn?action=displayRecipe&recipe_id=1696625

Friday we will likely go out for dinner to celebrate the big closing that happened on Friday :)

I put together a shopping list every week in spreadsheet form (yes, I am a little OCD and a huge dork- I think my mom literally laughed out loud when she saw it for the first time!) that has helped make grocery shopping a lot easier. If you'd like a copy let me know and I'm happy to email it your way.

My goals for this week are to cook without meat (with the exception of dinner tonight since we're having company) and to not drink until Friday. We had so much fun on the trip but my body feels like it needs a bit of a break and I feel like this will be a good way to de-tox!

Here are a couple photos from our trip:
The fountain at Millenium Park

The bean!

Hope you're having a great day!

Friday, June 5, 2009


We arrived in Chicago on Wednesday and we'll be eating amazing food and enjoying the city until Sunday. I'll update on everything when we get back home.

Hope you're having a great week!