Sunday, February 26, 2012

Challenge #5: Reflection

I finished this challenge and I have been thinking that it really helped me eat better while I was doing it. I found that once I was done with the blog I was still thinking in my head, "I shouldn't eat that because I have to blog about it and I don't want it to look bad." I think that I was doing a better job at controlling what I ate when I did the blog. As you can see from my posts, I didn't eat super healthy all of the time (those darn goldfish crackers and TJs cookies!). I have also realized that I am still searching for new recipes that are healthy to try out. Usually, I have my go-to recipes, but it seems like there is always at least a couple to a few new recipes that I try out each week. Although, a new recipe makes it harder for me because I have to enter in all of the information to figure out how many calories I am probably eating. I'm still eating Kale and loving it! I now have to step up my exercising and start running more because I have a half marathon in July to do!

I have an idea of what I want my next challenge to be, but I am not sure when I will start it. It should be an interesting one!


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Day 30: Butternut Squash Soup (A few days late)

As you know very well I was sick and on day 30 I ate about a total of 100 calories that I'm sure didn't get past my stomach. I haven't been able to think about food and this blog was the last thing I wanted to do. On Sunday I was a ton better and finally able to eat some food and to think about food. I was able to plan out our dinner meals for the week, which is something I wasn't sure I was going to be able to do.

Here is what I ate for Sunday:

Fancy Pancakes (see previous post about these) with maple syrup

Mac & Cheese with chicken and veggies

Rotisserie Chicken
Butternut Squash Soup (see recipe below)
Sparkling Cranberry Juice

Homemade bread
TJs mini ice-cream cone

Recipe: Butternut Squash Soup

I got this recipe from America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook and the recipe is soooooo good! We love making this soup because it turns out great every time and it is really easy to make. We tried making the healthier version that they have in their Healthy Cookbook, but it didn't turn out nearly as good and this one isn't too bad for you.j

2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 onion, chopped fine
3 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 sprigs thyme
Pinch nutmeg
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper

1. Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the squash, broth, thyme, and nutmeg. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook until the squash is tender, 20-25 minutes.

2. Remove the thyme sprigs and puree the soup in batches in a blender until smooth.

3. Return the pureed soup to the pot. Stir n the cream. Bring to a brief simmer, then remove from the heat. If the soup seems too thick, thin it out with additional broth or water. Season with salt and pepper to taste before serving. Sprinkle additional servings with more nutmeg, if desired.

Little Bubs really enjoyed the soup after he finally got the fact that the soup goes in his mouth and not on his tray!

Nutritional Information:
Serving Size: 8 (about 1 1/2 cups per serving)
Calories: 170
Carbs: 23
Fat: 9
Protein: 3

Day 29: Old Time Beef Stew

Ugh! I really don't want to do this post because it just brings me back to the last thing I started eating before I started puking :(. Just the thought of it makes my stomach turn. It is funny how your brain does that after you throw-up whether it be from food or alcohol! What's even worse than this meal is popcorn for me. That was actually the very last thing that I ate and that sounds so unappetizing to me! My husband had some a day after I was sick and the smell made me want to throw-up some more....deep breath, here it goes.

Trader Joe's Apple Cereal Bar

Leftover turkey cutlets with cranberries and apples

Old-Time Beef Stew (see recipe below)
Salad with blueberries, goat cheese, cucumbers, tomatoes, & salad dressing. When I started feeling sick I was sure that it was the lettuce that was making me sick. When I opened the not-yet-expired bag it smelled like it was getting close to being bad, but I thought that it would be alright. It wasn't until I kept being sick that I realized it wasn't the lettuce!
Here's my salad. I thought that it looked pretty and yummy!

TJs mini ice-cream
Homemade strawberry cereal bars

Recipe: Old-Time Beef Stew

I believe that my husband came across this recipe from The Food Network one day when we were looking to do a beef stew. The recipe seemed really simple and not that bad for you, which was surprising because it was one of Paula Deen's recipes. It is very tasty and simple to make.

Ingredients: I did change up a couple of things to her recipe to make it a little healthier
1.5 pounds stew beef
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 cups water
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 or 2 bay leaves
1 medium onion, sliced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
Dash ground allspice or ground cloves
3 large carrots, sliced
3 ribs celery, chopped (these came from my garden!)
1 tbsp cornstarch

1. Brown meat in hot oil. Add water, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, bay leaves, onion, salt, sugar, pepper, paprika, and allspice. Cover and simmer 1 1/2 hours.

2. Remove bay leaves and garlic clove. Add carrots and celery. Cover and cook 30 to 40 minutes longer.

3. To thicken gravy, remove 2 cups hot liquid (I only did 1 cup). Using a separate bowl, combine 1/4 cup water and cornstarch until smooth. Mix with a little hot liquid and return mixture to pot. Stir and cook until bubbly. Serve!

Nutritional Information:
Serving Size: 6 people (4 oz of meat per person)
Calories: 199
Carbs: 11
Fat: 6
Protein: 24

Friday, February 17, 2012

Stomach Flu :(

So days 29 and 30 are going to be a bit delayed. I got everything done for day 29, but I just needed to type it out and I was going to do that on day 30, but I was struck down with the stomach flu! I hate feeling sick like this! I hate the feeling of wanting to throw-up every second of the day. With that said on day 30 I only ate 2 1/2 crackers plus two goldfish crackers (that's all that I could manage). I couldn't think about, smell, or look at food without wanting to barf. Today, I am much better, but food still isn't sounding good.

I think that this weekend, when I am fully recovered, I will post day 29 and then I will post one of the weekend days for my last day. Of course, something always comes up when I am doing one of these challenges!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Day 28: Happy V-Day and Cereal Bars

Happy late Valentine's Day! I was a busy mom yesterday and around 8:30 I was down for the count. I think that I needed some sleep and boy did I get some! I am actually feeling really tired right now, but I don't want to be two posts behind, so you'll at least get this one. Valentine's Day was a fun day and I even splurged and had some sweets, but I didn't overdue it and I was happy that I was able to reel it in!

Greek yogurt with blueberries, granola, and maple syrup

The boys had a heart egg, heart toast, and heart watermelon.

Rotisserie chicken
Homemade cinnamon-raisin bread
Homemade buttermilk bread

I fell asleep before I had dinner, but I snacked a lot before dinner, so that was like a dinner

Goldfish crackers
Strawberry Oatmeal Cereal Bars (see recipe below)
Round crackers with heart cheese slices
Homemade heart shaped cheese pizza
Strawberry cupcake with frosting

Recipe: Strawberry Oatmeal Cereal Bars

This recipe I got from The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond. The recipe was for her Food Network show and it sounded like it was yummy and I wanted to make it. I had plans to use a heart shaped cookie cutter and make heart cereal bars, but it didn't work out because the cereal bars crumbled a little too much (not a bad thing) and I was running short on time. I think that if I had more time to let the cereal bars cool it might have been easier to use the cookie cutter? This is also an excellent recipe to do with small kids. Big Bubs helped a lot and enjoyed what he was able to do.

1 3/4 sticks salted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for greasing pan
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup oats
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
10-ounce jar of reduced sugar strawberry preserves

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-by-13-inch rectangular pan.

2. Mix together the butter, flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Press half the oat mixture into the prepared pan. Spread with the strawberry preserves. Sprinkle the other half of the oat mixture over the top and pat lightly. Bake until light brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool completely, and then cut into 24 squares. Serve and enjoy!

Nutritional Information:
Servings: 24
Calories: 154
Carbs: 21
Fat: 7
Protein: 2

Monday, February 13, 2012

Day 27: Turkey Cutlets with Cranberries and Apples and Chia Seed Pudding

I am going to try and get two blog posts done today, so let's get started!

Kale, egg whites, and an egg
Cherry tomatoes
Homemade buttermilk bread with butter

Blue corn tortilla with shredded lite cheese and chicken

Turkey Cutlets with Cranberries and Apples (see recipe below)
Steamed broccoli

Chia seed pudding (see recipe below)
Goldfish crackers
Artic zero strawberry ice-cream


Turkey Cutlets with Cranberries and Apples
This recipe comes from America's Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook. This was the first time that I made it and I thought that it turned out tasty. It wasn't my favorite dish that I've ever made, but I enjoyed it. The recipe that they have highlighted in the book is made with cranberries and red wine, but I decided to use their modified version of apples instead. I think that it probably tastes even better with the red wine, especially if you are a wine fan.

1/2 cup all-purpose flour (I probably only used 1/4 cup)
6 (4-ounce) turkey cutlets, pounded 1/4 inch thick
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp canola oil

2 shallots, sliced thin
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp fresh thyme, minced
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and chopped small
3/4 cup apple juice
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

To peel, core, and slice apples this gadget is the best!

1. For the cutlets: Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 200º. SPread the flour into a shallow dish. Pat the cutlets dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Dredge the cutlets in the flour to coat and shake off an excess.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add half of the cutlets and cook until light golden brown on both sides, about 4 minutes. Transfer the cutlets to a plate and keep warm in the oven. Repeat with the remaining oil and cutlets. Do not wipe out the skillet.

3. For the sauce: Add the shallots and apples to the skillet and cook over medium heat until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the flour and cook for 30 seconds. Whisk in the apple juice, vinegar, broth, and cranberries, scraping up any browned bits.

4. Bring to a simmer and cook until the sauce has reduced to 1 cup, about 3 minutes. Stir in any accumulated turkey juice, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve with the cutlets.

Nutritional Information:
Serving Size: 4. 6 oz of turkey and 1/4 cup of the sauce
Calories: 390
Carbs: 36
Fat: 8
Protein: 44

Chia Seed Pudding
My husband and I got introduced to Chia Seeds when we were reading the book Born to Run. The book is about running and the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico are incredible runners and one of the things that they eat are chia seeds. Chia seeds are really good for you and are a bit slimy, but aren't that bad. I wasn't sure how this recipe from What's Cooking Good Looking would turn out, but I ended up LOVING it! It is a little high in calories, but it would be a great snack/meal after a workout!

1 cup almond milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp maple syrup
3 tbsp chia seeds
cinnamon, for garnish

1. In a glass cup, mix together the almond milk, vanilla extract, and maple syrup until combined. Then gently stir in the chia seeds. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours. Ideally it is best to have it sit overnight to allow the chia seeds to gel and firm up.

2. Serve with a dusting of cinnamon on top.

Nutritional Information:
This comes from My Fitness Pal's recipe calculator.
Serving Size: 1
Calories: 317
Carbs: 40
Fat: 18
Protein: 9

Day 26: Fancy Pancakes and Baked Penne and Sausage Supper

It appears as though I am going to continue to be a day behind on this blog because I don't get to it until it is around 9 and I just don't have enough time to do two entries! I really don't know how these serious bloggers can do it while taking care of kids too. I decided that since I skipped out on some recipes for a few days I will double up on the recipe section for the next few days to make up for the ones that I missed.

Here is what I ate yesterday:

Fancy Pancakes (see recipe below) with maple syrup

Rye bread with avocado and green beans

Baked Penne and Sausage Supper (see recipe below)

Goldfish crackers
Whey vanilla protein drink with fresh squeezed orange juice
Cinnamon-raisin bread

Fancy Pancakes
My husband has been making these pancakes for awhile and they are kind of like crepes instead of pancakes. They are really tasty and there is a funny story to go with them. After college my husband wanted to get the "old family recipe" for the pancakes that his mom would always make. She was born in Lithuania and grew-up in Germany, so he always suspected that this is where the recipe came from. One day he called her to get the recipe and when he was talking to her about it he asked her where the recipe for the pancakes came from. Instead of the reply he was expecting his mom told him that she got it off of the top of a cottage cheese container here in the States! Even though it isn't some secret family recipe it is now one of our family's recipes and now I am sharing it with you!

1 cup lowfat cottage cheese
6 eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup of oil (we were thinking of trying to cut this back a little)
1/4 cup of rice milk (we use rice, but you can use whatever you want)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
cornstarch or xanthan gum to thicken

1. Put all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until everything is incorporated. Add in a tsp at a time of cornstarch or xanthan gum to thicken it up a little bit.

2. Pour the batter on the griddle making 4-5" circles, flip, and then serve!

Nutritional Information:
Serving Size: 4 (we get about 8 pancakes per serving)
Calories: 339
Carbs: 16
Fat: 22
Protein: 18

Baked Penne and Sausage Supper
This recipe I got from America's Test Kitchen (ATK) Healthy Cookbook. It is one of our favorite recipes from this book and I hope that you enjoy it as much as us!

1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 tsp olive oil
1 onion, halved and sliced thin
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into matchsticks
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/8 red pepper flakes
8 ounces hot or sweet Italian turkey (chicken or pork would also work) sausage, removed from its casing
Salt and pepper
8 ounces whole wheat penne
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (about 4 oz)

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 425º. Lightly coat an 8-inch square baking dish with vegetable oil spray and set aside. Pulse the tomatoes with their juice in a food processor until mostly smooth, about 5 pulses.

2. Heat the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

3. Stir in the sausage and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon until no longer pink, about 4 minutes. Stir in the processed tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and cook, until slightly thickened, 6 to 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts water to a boil in a large pot. Add the pasta and 1 tablespoon salt and cook, stirring often, until almost al dente but still firm to the bite. Reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta and return it to the pot.

5. Add the meat sauce and reserved cooking water to the pasta and toss to combine. Spread half of the pasta mixture in the prepare baking dish and sprinkle with 1/2 cup of the mozzarella. Repeat with the remaining pasta and 1/2 cup mozzarella.

6. Bake until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Nutritional Information:
This is according to the book.
Serving Size: 4-inch square piece
Calories: 380
Carbs: 45
Fat: 13
Protein: 22

Sunday, February 12, 2012


I was going through my blog and I realized that I had a couple of duplicate days! I thought that I was only on day 24, but it turns out that I am on day 26, which I will be posting about tomorrow! I have fixed everything, phew! Only five more days to go!

Day 25: Buttermilk Bread

Today (well, actually yesterday because I'm a day late writing this) was another day that I didn't make any recipe to share with my followers (the nine of you!). So, I will share a recipe of some bread that we made today. It was delicious!

For yesterday I ate:

Kale and egg whites and an egg (Big Bubs took all of my tomatoes from me)
Homemade bread, toasted with butter

Homemade Rye bread with smashed avocado and tomato slices on top, yummy!

Costco rotisserie chicken (these are so delicious!)
Green beans
Instant garlic mashed potatoes from Trader Joes

Edamame crackers
Bowl of Koala Crisp cereal with rice milk

Recipe: Buttermilk Bread
This book came from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. It is another winner and I REALLY URGE you to go buy this book! My husband and I love making our own bread and the process is pretty simple and it is awesome to make our own bread with so few ingredients.

2 cups lukewarm water (about 100º)
1 cup buttermilk (we used lowfat)
1 1/2 tbsp granulated yeast (Costco sells a 32 oz yeast package for $4 and a little glass jar at the store goes for around $8!)
1 1/2 tbsp Kosher salt
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
6 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1. Mix the yeast, salt, and sugar with the water and buttermilk in a 5-quart bowl (or a lidded food container)

2. Mix in the flour without kneading, using a spoon (or a food processor or standing mixer with the dough attachment). If you are using a spoon, you might have to use your hands to incorporate the last bit of flour.

3. Cover (not airtight), and allow to rest at room temperature until the dough rises and collapses, approximately 2 hours.

4. The dough can be used immediately after the initial rise or you can refrigerate it in a lidded container and it can be used over the next 7 days.

5. On baking day, lightly grease a 9x4x3-inch nonstick loaf pan. Dust the surface of the dough with flour and cut off a 1 1/2 lb piece. Dust the piece with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go. Elongate the ball into an oval.

6. Drop the dough into the prepared pan. You want to fill the pan slightly more than half-full.

7. Allow the dough to rest for 1 hour and 40 minutes (or just 40 mins if you are using unrefrigerated dough). Dust the loaf with flour and slash the top, using the tip of a sharp knife. Brush the top surface with melted butter.

8. Twenty minutes before baking time, preheat the oven to 350º. If you're not using a stone in the oven, 5 minutes is adequate. A baking stone is not essential when using a loaf pan.

9. Bake the bread near the center of the oven for about 45 minutes, or until golden brown.

10. Remove from the pan. Allow to cool completely before slicing, or it will be nearly impossible to achieve reasonable sandwich slices.

*I want to stress again that you should just go and buy this book! It is well worth it, especially if you like fresh homemade bread!

Nutritional Information:
Serving Size: Makes three 1 1/2-pound loaves (we made two bigger loaves)-72 ounces. Information below is for 1 ounce of bread.
Calories: 43
Carbs: 8
Fat: 0
Protein: 2

We also used this bread recipe as a base and made a loaf of Cinnamon-Raisin bread (pictured in the middle), which was delicious! You will have to get the book to get that recipe!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Day 24: Out of Control!

Today was a very bad day in the food department! I had one of my very good friends visiting us, from out of the country, for the day, so I gave myself a free pass for eating bad because we were supposed to eat all of the things that she can't get where she lives! Needless to say, there will not be a recipe.

Here it goes!

Pumpkin pancakes with maple syrup (the pancake mix is from Trader Joe's)

In-N-Out hamburger, protein style
A tray of fries (this really did me in and I wasn't planning on eating all of my fries, but they were so darned good!)

Indian Fry Bread (8-inch) with bean and beef chili, tomatoes, lettuce, and cheese on top

Frozen Yogurt with cheesecake bits, cookie dough bits, shaved coconut, carmel pieces, granola, and blueberries (the toppings were very minimal of each).

As you can see I splurged today :( Unbelievably, it appears that I just barely burned more calories then what I ate!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Day 23: Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich

I've come to the realization, just a couple of seconds ago, that when I am active during the day I eat less! I should have realized this much sooner, but I didn't. I was entering in all of my food for today and I still need to eat more. I was surprised that I still had some to eat because I wasn't feeling ravenous during the day and I didn't do a lot of snacking. I also feel pretty satisfied right now. I do know that after I do a run or workout I never feel hungry. I have some friends that are "starving" after they workout and that has never been me. I guess this means that I just need to be more active so that I am not constantly thinking of food and what I want to eat all day long!

Here is what I ate:

Kale, avocado, cheese, and tomato omelet with an egg and egg whites
Homemade bread
(My breakfasts must be getting boring because I really only have three that I do!)

Leftover minestrone soup (and yes I still have more leftover!)
Homemade bread

Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich (see recipe below)

Tomato and basil hummus
??-I still have to figure out what I'm going to eat :)

Recipe: Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich (not including the bread)
I was looking for recipes that had beef in them (I like to have at least one beef meal a week) and I came across this one at Eating Well. I have never been interested in this meal because I wasn't a huge pepper or onion fan, but I've come around. I only ever have had one Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich and it was just alright. I was later told that to get a traditional one I need Cheez Whiz on it. This recipe was rated highly and the calorie count (with the bread) was fairly low, so I decided to give it a try. Boy am I glad that I gave it a try. It was REALLY good! So much better than the one that I had and my husband, who has had more of these, really liked it. Both of the boys ate it too, which like I've mentioned before is a good sign!

2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
1 red or green bell pepper, sliced
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
2 tsp dried oregano (or 2 tbsp fresh)
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1 lb sirloin steak, trimmed & thinly sliced
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
3 slices reduced-fat provolone cheese (about 3 ounces)

1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until soft and beginning to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add mushrooms, bell pepper, oregano and pepper and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are wilted and soft, about 7 minutes. Add steak and salt and cook, stirring, until the meat is just cooked through, about 4 minutes.

2. Reduce heat to low. Sprinkle the vegetables and meat with flour; stir to coat. Stir in the broth; bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat; lay cheese slices on top of the vegetables and meat, cover and let stand until melted, 1 to 2 minutes.

3. Divide into 4 portions with a spatula, leaving the melted cheese layer on top. Scoop a portion onto each bun (or your choice of bread) and serve immediately.

Nutritional Information:
I got this information on My Fitness Pal. I wasn't going to use a bun that is suggested in the original recipe, so I needed to know what the calories were for just the Cheese Steak portion.
Serving size: 4
Calories: 276
Carbs: 8
Fat: 20
Protein: 34

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Day 22: Pad Thai

I bet that you thought that I was going to give you some Pad Thai recipe for tonight, didn't you? Well, I'm not. I had a seafood stew dinner all planned out and then my husband said that he didn't want to have another tomato based dish to eat, so we tossed out that dinner plan and we both agreed that we would get takeout from our favorite Thai restaurant. I've also been feeling like a bottomless pit today, so the idea of eating a whole bunch of bad food sounded really good to me. This also means that there is no recipe for today :(. If I wasn't feeling super lazy I would give you one from one of my favorite dishes, but alas I am tired and kind of just want to veg out in front of the TV or read one of my books.

Here is what I ate today:

Greek yogurt with fresh blueberries, granola, and maple syrup.
Homemade bread, toasted

Leftover minestrone soup
Homemade bread, toasted
An organic apple (apples are also on the dirty dozen list, so you should only buy organic ones).

Pad Thai with chicken
1/2 egg roll
Fried rice (we ordered our meals with brown rice, but they accidentally gave us fried rice. I was secretly very happy!)

Edamame crackers
Cheese stick
Schoolbook cookies
Cucumber with tomato basil hummus (get this hummus from Trader Joe's! It is delicious and has the lowest amount of calories of any other hummus I have seen).

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Day 21: Kale Chips

Today was all about eating leftovers, so I didn't have any big meals planned out, so I thought that I would bake one of my favorite snacks, Kale Chips! I had never eaten Kale before and I just assumed that it didn't taste great because I am not a huge veggie person. Then during a visit to our house my sister in-law made some Kale Chips and they were delicious! She had called them "Crack Kale" because they were so addicting and I thought that the name was appropriate. After that first encounter I have become a Kale fan. I love the taste of it! BTW, I can hardly move today because of the working out I did yesterday!

Before I get to the recipe here is what I had to eat today:

Steel-cut oatmeal with brown sugar and fresh strawberries and blueberries

Leftover enchiladas
Salami (the boys had some salami sandwiches and I just couldn't help myself!)

Leftover Minestrone soup

Goldfish crackers
Roasted Seaweed
Mini ice-cream cone
Schoolbook cookies
Baked Kale Chips (see recipe below)

Recipe: Baked Kale Chips

I have made these before and you can Google and find recipes for these everywhere. I just went with what the majority of them said to do and use.

1 bunch of kale, washed and leafy parts removed from stem and torn into pieces
1 tbsp olive oil
salt to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 350º. Wash the kale and let it dry completely (you can use a salad spinner, towel, or let it air dry).

2. Drizzle the olive oil on the kale and then mix the kale and olive oil together with your hands.

3. Put the kale pieces on a baking sheet (not to crammed, so it should take about two sheets) and season with salt.

4. Bake the kale until they are brown on the edges, but not burnt. I baked them for 10 minutes. Serve!

*You really want to try and get organic kale. Kale is one of the dirty dozen foods to eat because it has the highest pesticide residue on it.

Nutritional Information:
I once again used My Fitness Pal to calculate the NI, but I am not sure how correct it is because I don't exactly know how much kale I had (I forgot to weigh or measure it), but I think that it is close.
Serving Size: 4
Calories: 130
Carbs: 14
Fat: 7
Protein: 4

Monday, February 6, 2012

Day 20: Minestrone Soup

Today I did a slow cooker recipe and I really love when I use my slow cooker because it is so nice to not have to rush at the end of the day to prepare dinner. Also, the house ends up smelling really good for most of the day! I should also mention that today I ran 2.5 miles and then I did 30 minutes of exercising! Boy was that a workout for me. I could hardly move after that and I have a feeling that tomorrow I am really going to be feeling it :( It feels great to be working out though!

Here is what went in my belly today:

Kale, cheese, tomato, and an avocado omelet with an egg and egg whites
Homemade bread with butter

Leftover enchiladas
1/2 apple

Minestrone Soup (see recipe below)
Homemade Lithuanian Rye bread
Steamed broccoli

Dried Cherries
Schoolbook cookies
Mini ice-cream cone (these things are delicious and addicting. I just wish they were bigger with the same amount of calories!)

Recipe: Minestrone Soup

This recipe is a slow cooker recipe and it comes from the book Fix-It and Forget-It Lightly. This is my first time trying out this recipe and it actually turned out very tasty and the Big Bubs devoured it! I varied the recipe a little and I'll note that below.

4 cups low-fat, low-sodium chicken broth
4 cups low-sodium tomato juice
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 medium carrots, sliced
2 ribs celery, chopped (I used celery from my garden!)
1 medium sized onion, chopped
1 medium sized zucchini, chopped (this is not in the original recipe)
1 cup of fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced or crushed
28-oz can low-sodium diced tomatoes (the one I found at TJ's wasn't low sodium)
1 1/2 cups uncooked rotini pasta (I didn't use rotini because I had elbow noodles & used those instead, which increased the calorie count some).
1 tbsp parmesan cheese, per serving to be sprinkled on top

1. Combine all ingredients, except pasta, in the slow cooker.

2. Cover. Cook on low 7-8 hours.

3. Add pasta.

4. Cover. Cook on high 15-20 minutes. Serve with a tablespoon of parmesan on each serving.

Nutritional Information:
My version / Cookbook's (does not include the parmesan cheese)
Serving Size: 12 (a little over 1 cup each)
Calories: 138 / 70
Carbs: 22 / 13
Fat: 2 / 0
Protein: 7 / 5

Day 19: Chicken Enchiladas

Today was a really good day! I decided that I need to start going to the Farmer's Market again and get some produce from local farmers. Plus, a lot of the food there is organic, which is an added bonus. I went to the Farmer's Market and it was so nice to be surrounded by greens, reds, yellows, and oranges. I didn't get a lot because I already did my big shopping trip for the week and this trip to the Farmer's Market was to see what they had available and to get some fruit. I'm very excited to be going next week and every week thereafter!

Here is what I ate:

Greek yogurt with granola, blueberries, and maple syrup
Homemade bread with butter
Tea (I have been drinking green tea because I heard that it boosts your metabolism).

Leftover Chicken Katsu
Strawberries (from the Farmer's Market that were huge and delicious!)
Monterrey Jack cheese stick
Homemade Lithuanian Rye bread with butter
Orange (from the Farmer's Market)

Chicken Enchiladas (see recipe below)
Steamed Zucchini

Dried Cherries
Trader Joe's mini ice-cream cone

Recipe: Chicken Enchiladas with Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce

I got this recipe from America's Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook. We have made this recipe before and it is super easy and tastes really good. I think that I have said it before (I could be wrong), but you should buy the America's Test Kitchen cookbooks! We have three of them and they are really great cookbooks. The recipes are really easy to follow and they taste great. I did make some changes to the original recipe and actually got the calories down by 110 per serving, yay me! You really won't be disappointed with these and the Little Bubs ate his whole dinner, which he rarely does!

Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce:
1 tsp canola oil
1 onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp sugar
1 15 oz can of tomato sauce
1/2 water
Salt and pepper

1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook until softened, about five minutes.

2. Stir in the garlic, chili powder, cumin, and sugar and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

4. Stir in the tomato sauce and water, bring to a simmer, and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Nutritional Information:
This comes from the cookbook
Serving Size: 1/4 cup (this recipe makes 2 1/2 cups)
Calories: 30
Carbs: 6
Fat: 1
Protein: 1
Fiber: 2

Chicken Enchiladas:
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts (2-3), trimmed, pounded if necessary
2 1/2 cups enchilada sauce (see above or you can buy the canned enchilada sauce)
1 cup finely crumbled queso fresco or feta cheese (I used Trader Joe's fat free crumbled feta)
1 (4 oz) can chopped green chiles
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro (I only did 1/4 cup because my husband isn't a big fan of cilantro)
12 (6-inch) soft corn tortillas (I went to the farmer's market and found Nopaltilla's Corn/Cactus tortillas. They were green, beautiful, tasted great, and 20 calories less per serving).
Vegetable oil spray
1 cup shredded cheddar (I used Trader Joe's Lite Shredded 3 Cheese Blend), about 4 oz
Lime wedges, for serving (optional)

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350º. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper to taste.

2. Combine the chicken and enchilada sauce in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, 10 to 15 minutes. When the sauce is simmering, flip the chicken over, cover, and continue to cook until the chicken registers 160º-165º on an instant-read thermometer, 10-15 minutes.

3. Shred the chicken. *I learned this great trick for how to shred chicken on Pinterest and I thought that it was too good to be true, but it wasn't and it amazes me every time we shred chicken! You put your whole boneless cooked chicken in your stand mixer with the paddle attachment. You turn the mixer on to speed 4-6 and keep it on for 20-30 seconds. When the time is up you have perfectly shredded chicken!!! I used to do it by hand and it was a pain, but this is soooooo easy!* Combine the shredded chicken, 1/2 cup enchilada sauce, feta cheese, chiles, and cilantro in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste and cover to keep warm while heating the tortillas.

4. Lightly coat both sides of the tortillas with vegetable oil spray. Place 6 tortillas onto a baking sheet and bake until the tortillas are soft and pliable, 2-4 minutes

5. Working quickly while the tortillas are still warm and pliable, spread them out over a clean counter. Place 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture evenly down the center of each tortillas. Tightly roll each tortilla around the filling and lay them, seam-side down, in a 13 by 9-inch backing dish. Repeat with the remaining tortillas and filling and increase the oven temperature to 450º.
Here are the enchiladas before the final sauce and cheese is put on them. Don't the corn/cactus tortillas look gorgeous?

6. Pour 1 cup more sauce over the enchiladas and sprinkle with the cheddar. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake until the enchiladas are heated through, about 10 minutes. Remove the foil and contine to bake until the cheese is melted, 3 to 5 minutes longer. Serve, passing the remaining sauce and lime wedges separately.

Nutritional Information (including the enchilada sauce):
Serving Size: 6 (2 enchiladas per serving)
My version / America's Test Kitchen
Cal: 310 / 420
Carbs: 35 / 40
Fat: 6 / 8
Protein: 31 / 29

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Day 18: Baked Sweet Potato Fries

I'm behind once again, but I have a really good excuse this time :). Last night my husband and I got to go on a date! Well, it wasn't really a date because we just went and watched a movie, but we don't get out often. My sister in-law and her boyfriend came over for dinner and then they stayed to watch the boys. We saw Mission Impossible and it was pretty good. I even indulged in a lot of popcorn, but I figured that I deserved it because I ran 3 miles!

Here was what I ate:

Kale, cheese, avocado, and tomato omelet
Toast with butter
Tea with honey

I didn't specify this in the blog, but I was really hoping to not eat ANY fastfood for this challenge. I only really ever eat at In-N-Out. We sometimes eat at El Pollo Loco & only when we are on long road trips (two times a year) do we eat at Taco Bell. It is very rare for us and we try to avoid it. With that said, we had a lot of errands to do and it was just really convenient for us to eat at Subway. I think that Subway is one of the healthier ff joints and I didn't go overboard.

6" Turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and mustard
Maui onion potato chips (I couldn't resist and I only had about 1/3 of the bag).

Spinach, Fontina & Roasted Garlic Sausage
Baked Butternut Squash Fries (see recipe below)

Light MinuteMaid (at the theater)
Movie theater popcorn
Healthy Cupcake

Recipe: Baked Butternut Squash Fries

Lately, I have been on a butternut squash kick (as you can see from some of the past posts). I really like the taste and I didn't think that it was so versatile to go in a lot of dishes. I mostly just thought of Butternut Squash soup as the only use for it (maybe that recipe will be a future post because it is REALLY good!). I came across this recipe from Can You Stay For Dinner and thought that I had to try it out. I would have never though to use butternut squash as fries. I've used sweet potatoes as fries. These turned out delicious and I will definitely be making them again!

2 lbs butternut squash, sliced (on the original recipe she calls for a 2lb butternut squash and I know that it ends up weighing less after you cut it up and slice it, so I just did a total of 2 lbs butternut squash fries.
1 tbsp canola oil


1. Preheat the oven to 400º. Peel and cut the squash into long, thin french fry shapes (roughly 1/3″ thick). Hers looked much better than mine.

2. In a large bowl, toss the squash with oil, using your hands to evenly coat each one.

3. Lay them on a wire rack set on top of a baking sheet and salt them generously. Bake for about 40 minutes, flipping halfway for even crispness (I didn't flip mine because they were falling through the wire rack and I didn't want to touch them!). Serve immediately.

*Oops! I posted this without putting the nutritional information! Here it is:

Nutritional Info:
Serving: 1/4 of the recipe
Calories: 132 (I do have to mention that I am not positive on the actual calorie count for the butternut squash)
Carbs: 27
Fat: 3.5
Protein: 2

p.s. I will be posting today's post tomorrow, but hopefully I can get all caught up tomorrow!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Day 17: Healthy Snacks

Today was not a good food eating day. I don't know why, but I was ravenous and for stuff that wasn't that healthy! Today was also Food Truck Friday and it was yummy! I didn't make anything today, so I have no recipe for today. I wanted to give you something, so I am posting this picture from Keep Your Diet Real to give me and you some inspiration on healthy snacks for the future!

Here's what went in my belly today:

Steel-cut oatmeal with brown sugar

Hamburger with 1/2 of the homemade brioche bun
Green beans

Chicken Katsu with the Hawaiian macaroni pasta
A small portion of ham and cheese crepe

Goldfish crackers
Edamame crackers
Healthy cupcake
Roasted seaweed snack
Schoolbook cookies

Day 16: Light Wheat Brioche Buns

Sorry about the late posts, but I have been trying to catch up on some other stuff and this blog was put on the back burner for a little bit. Hopefully, I can get through this post and the next one before falling asleep (Little Bubs woke up super early today)!

What was on my menu for Thursday:

Cheese and avocado omelet
Homemade bread with butter

Turkey sandwich
Monterrey Jack cheese stick

Hamburger (using grass-fed beef) with homemade buns (see recipe below).
Green beans

Healthy cupcake
Cinnamon schoolbook cookies (someone has a sweet tooth!)

Recipe: Light Wheat Broche Buns

I got this recipe from Hungry Girl Por Vida and I had made the Turkey burger recipe that she had around Thanksgiving time and it was delicious. At the time I didn't feel like taking more time to make the buns, so I skipped it, but the thought of making the buns was always in the back of my mind. I was very happy that I had a reason to make them. When these buns were baking it made the house smell so good! The buns turned out delicious and the recipe was fairly easy.

3/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup + 3 tbsp warm milk
2 tsp dry yeast
2 tbsp honey
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups bread flour
1 1/2 + 1/3 cup white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp butter, room temperature
1 tbsp half & half
sesame seeds for sprinkling


1. Put the water and milk in a container and heat up. The mixture should register 100º (warm). Once it is warm add the honey and then the yeast. Let it sit for five minutes, or until foamy.

2. Lightly beat one egg in a small dish and set aside.

3. In a stand mixer, whisk together the flours and salt. Rub butter into flour mixture with your fingertips. Mix in the yeast and water mixture, as well as the egg. Knead with the dough hook for 5 minutes. The dough will pull from the sides of the bowl and form a ball, the dough ball should be tacky to the touch. Rise, covered with plastic for 1-2 hours until doubled in bulk.

4. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces and roll into balls. Place the dough portions on a parchment lined baking sheet and cover loosely, allow to rise another hour.

5. Preheat oven to 400F.

6. Whisk together the remaining egg and cream (egg wash), brush the tops of the dough with egg wash and sprinkle with seeds. Bake buns in the center of the oven for 15 minutes, rotating halfway through. The buns should be golden brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Allow to cool on a cooling rack. Buns can be baked and frozen in a resealable plastic bag for use later. Just defrost for 1-2 hours on the counter, or overnight in the refrigerator.

Nutritional Information:
Serving Size: 1 bun (makes 8)
Calories: 278
Carbs: 43
Fat: 8
Protein: 9

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Day 15: Gnocchi with Zucchini Ribbons & Parsley Brown Butter

Here was what was on the menu for today:

Greek yogurt with blueberries, maple syrup, and granola.

Chicken (leftover from last night) and some homemade bread with butter.

Gnocchi with Zucchini Ribbons & Parsley Brown Butter (see recipe below)

Rye bread (this is homemade traditional Lithuanian rye bread) with butter
Goldfish (my addiction is bad, but I am really limiting myself)
Healthy Cupcake (I know that I didn't care for them yesterday, but today when I had one it wasn't that bad. I think that yesterday when I was sampling the frosting it just left a bad taste in my mouth).

Recipe: Gnocchi with Zucchini Ribbons & Parsley Brown Butter

I got this recipe from Eating Well awhile back and it is a winner in our house! It is very easy and fast to make and the boys like it.

1 lb fresh or frozen gnocchi
2 tbsp butter
2 medium shallots, chopped
1 lb zucchini, (about 3 small), very thinly sliced lengthwise (slice lengthwise with a veggie peeler or a mandoline slicer)
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped (we used the fresh parsley from my garden!)

1. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Cook gnocchi until they float, 3 to 5 minutes or according to package directions. Drain.

2. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook until the butter is beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Add shallots and zucchini and cook, stirring often, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, salt, nutmeg, and pepper and continue cooking, stirring often, until the tomatoes are just starting to break down, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in Parmesan and parsley. Add the gnocchi and toss to coat. Serve!

Nutritional Information: From the Eating Well site.
Servings: 4, 1 1/2 cups each
Calories: 424
Fat: 10g
Carbs: 17g
Protein: 5g