Healthy and Sane

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Back on track

October 28th, 2008 · 4 Comments · breakfast, polenta, shrimp

Oh I feel so much better today… and my belly is happy :) Here’s the recap of today’s eats:

Breakfast was banana themed: 2 leftover whole wheat banana pancakes with a tsp of maple syrup on the side, 1/2 cup of TJ’s nonfat European yogurt with 1/2 sliced banana and raisins + a cup of coffee with half and half and 1 1/2 sugar packets. I need to buy some agave nectar for the office. I hate consuming white sugar (that’s not part of baked goods) and thankfully I’ve weaved myself off of Splenda. Sorry, this picture is not appetizing, but it was pretty delicious :)

My stomach was still freaking out a bit (I’ve decided I ate something bad this weekend and that’s why I’ve been feeling weirdly full) so I had a pretty late snack. It was super simple and made me feel a little better.

The fresh peach paired very nicely with the creamy ricotta. I used 1/4 cup to fill this peach. Good stuff!

Onto my lunch workout. Due to lack of exercise over the weekend, I’ve decided to make it up over the last 3 days. I will double my workouts for the next 3 days (well, 1 day is down already :D). So here is the schedule:

Monday – lunch – spinning class; after work – Group Power class
Tuesday – 4 mile run + pilates class (not sure if I’m going to split this into 2 workouts or just bang it out in one notch)
Wednesday – lunch – spinning class; after work – weight lifting workout
Thursday – lunch – 8 mile run
Friday – lunch- Journey to the Core class
Saturday – TBD – some kind of cardio
Sunday – rest day

A little while after spinning I put together my delicious lunch: 1 1/4 oz of smoked salmon and a wedge of light laughing cow cheese on Ezekiel english muffin with grape tomatoes and an apple on the side.

Sandwich close up:

The apple was meant to be for dessert but I actually really enjoyed eating it with the sandwich. It was a nice sweet and salty combo!

And a little while later I ate my last pumpkin chocolate chip cookie. They’re finally gone! I’m actually happy about that.

Man, my manicure is looking rough already! Seriously I think my nails reject nail polish. I got my nails done just 2 days ago. Anyways, I digress…

As planned, after work I took the Group Power class at my gym. This class is the best! After 60 minutes of good old lifting to the music, I finally felt back to my normal self. Yay!

Dinner came from the Cooking Light September 2008 issue. I knew I’d be home a little later so I looked through the “superfast” section of a random magazine I had lying around. I’ve made a few things from Cooking Light’s superfast section before and they are always (as the title implies) superfast and always delicious. 100% of them have been amazing! Tonight we made the smoky shrimp and parmesan polenta cakes and served it with some steamed asparagus. It literally took less than 10 minutes and was super delicious!

Fresh asparagus:

Polenta cakes topped with spaghetti sauce and parmesan cheese:

And the final product:

Make this! 😀

And to finish this wonderful meal off, I made a quicky dessert: about 3/4 serving of Stony Field’s vanilla frozen yogurt, 3 sliced strawberries and 1 square of dark chocolate melted. Perfection!

I’m very happy right now and am looking forward to another healthy day tomorrow. Yeah!

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Kitchen experiments

October 27th, 2008 · 2 Comments · restaurant reviews, salad

P.F. Chang’s and Whole Foods. I didn’t want anything, but my husband got a cup of their hot and sour soup (it’s only 80 calories and is really good) and a Blue Moon. All the food around us looked really good, but I just didn’t feel like having another meal out today. P.F. Chang’s is really great, though, despite being a chain. Some chains are ok, I guess. I put the Cheesecake Factory in the same category. It’s good food, so no wonder they have so many of them – people love them! Another good thing about P.F. Chang’s is that they post nutritional information online for all of their food (very cool!) and are also very flexible with “special orders.” You can ask them to not use any oil, or saute instead of frying, etc. Ok, enough with P.F. Chang’s promotions :) When we finally got home I was pretty hungry. This was many many hours after breakfast, so I had to throw something together quickly! I feel like I’ve been making a lot of quick meals lately, hopefully it doesn’t make it too boring for you readers. This was a very satisfying lunch, though, despite not being as fancy as my breakfast.
This was kind of a Mediterranean salad: mixed greens, grape tomatoes, green olives, roasted red peppers and the star of the show, 1/4 cup of Sabra hummus (this is only 2 tablespoons in the picture… I went back for more later!). I used just some lemon juice to dress this up. As I was making the salad, I toasted 1 1/2 of TJ’s low carb wraps. I cut them up into little triangles, sprayed them with Pam and sprinkled them with garlic powder and some parmesan cheese. I dipped these into the hummus as I was eating the salad. It was very satisfying. And for dessert I had a serving of TJ’s american nutty trek mix. Seriously, this is the best trail mix ever (and very versatile)! Then I watched a bunch of TV and did a whole lot of nothing. Oh and I ate some more brownies and pumpkin choc chip cookies. Yup, I’m totally bad this weekend. These things must be out of my house by tomorrow morning because apparently I’ve lost all self control. No workout either. I need a break. Tomorrow is a new day. After eating all the sweets I got into a negative/self destructive mood. I got an urge to stuff my face and go out for pizza. I knew this was really bad thinking, especially since I’ve been very unhealthy for the past few days. This is what happens to me when I fall off the wagon. I want to continue sliding down until I feel sick and sorry for myself. At times like this I try to remind myself of how great it feels to be healthy (and how good it is for my body!) but it usually takes a little bit of time to snap out of it. Thankfully I listened to my husband (he’s the best!) and stayed away from the cookie jar. Instead I started to think about what to create for dinner. Tonight’s dinner was the first time I ever just threw things together that I thought would just work. I don’t mean throwing a salad together or making a sandwich. I mean cooking a real meal without a recipe to follow. I am new at cooking and so far have followed directions with some success, but tonight there was no recipe to follow. I had an idea of what I wanted dinner to taste like, and I decided to just go for it. It came out wonderfully! I was really REALLY proud of myself! Here is how it all happened. A little over a week ago I made turkey lasagna. This required some butternut squash, the rest of which has been sitting in our fridge, waiting patiently to be prepared somehow. Also, I asked my husband today what he wanted for dinner and he said he wanted fish since we haven’t made that in a long time. Hmm, fish and butternut squash. These did not sound like they’d go together but I was willing to give it a go. Inspired by today’s walk, I wanted to make something that would feel and taste like fall. Butternut squash was a great base for that, and I thought that some cranberries and hazelnuts would be a nice addition to that. So here is what I did… I cubed and steamed some butternut squash. While that was going, I made 2 servings of bulgar accroding to package directions. If you haven’t tried bulgar yet, it is a really great whole grain. It’s also great because while being exceptionally nutritious, it only takes 15 minutes to cook (unlike brown rice which tasted you know, for-ever!). I also bought a really interesting dried fruit mixture at TJ’s the other day: dried cranberries, golden raisins, dried sour cherries and dried blueberries. I threw a little over a tablespoon of them right into the bulgar while it was cooking and saved a bit to add into the final product. We also purchased some tilapia at Whole Foods today, so I simply sprinkled it with some S&P and bread crumbs and broiled it on high for maybe 10 minutes (just until it was flaky). I added a bit of parmesan cheese to it a few minutes before finally taking it out of the oven. Ok, on to the side dish. I toasted some hazelnuts on a skillet, then added a tsp of EVOO and garlic to it, followed by the steamed butternut squash and a sprinkle of brown sugar. I let it caremelize a bit and then added the bulgar mixture into the pan. I salted and peppered it and then added a bit of parmesan cheese (to tie it to the fish… but you couldn’t really taste it) and squeezed some lemon to it. This tasted super complex – sweet and savory. Seriously amazing. I loved it, but more importantly my tougher critic, my husband, loved it too! He said he’s starting to like butternut squash and pumpkin now… I’ll take the credit for it 😀 This was also pretty low calorie but extremely filling. I highly recommend this concoction, or some sort of combination to this. It really tasted like fall… Mission accomplished! Mmm, sweet whole grains… Time to catch up on some blog reading and get ready for tomorrow. Thank you all new readers for tuning in. I really appreciate all your comments and look forward to checking out your blogs (if I haven’t already).]] >

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So fancy

October 26th, 2008 · 4 Comments · breakfast, restaurant reviews

Wow, I feel like a real chef this morning. And here is why:

Yes, I made this this morning and it was really easy! Is your mouth watering yet? Mine did the second I put this together and I couldn’t wait to dig in 😀

Let me backtrack a bit. As I mentioned yesterday I watched Ellie Krieger’s latest episode of Healthy Appetite and it was chocolate themed. This meant that every entree had some chocolate in it and this chocolate and strawberry stuffed french toast looked like something I had to try for breakfast this morning. I even had all the ingredients on hand. It was fate! :)

This seriously took just a few minutes to make. You can check out the link for the recipe, but you basically take two slices of ww bread, put some ricotta cheese, some sliced strawberries and choc chips inside, dip in a milk and egg mixture and pan fry. I topped it off with some extra strawberries and even sprinkled it with some confectioner’s sugar for you guys :) How fancy does that look?! Stuffed french toast is my favorite brunch item ever, and if I see it on the menu I can’t help but order it. Now I know I don’t have to go out for a greasy breakfast but instead can make it at home. Awesome! I had it with some homemade strawberry sauce on the side. Surprise, surprise, it was Ellie Krieger’s recipe too (you can find it here, just scroll down). I made this awhile back.

I had it with a large cup of coffee, with skim milk and a tsp of agave nectar. What a great breakfast! Aerial view:

And a close up:

Before this yumminess I had a pumpkin choc chip cookie (see previous posts for picture + recipe). The choc chips were calling my name and I was weak. It’s ok, I woke up late so there will be one less snack today.

Last night, btw, I totally fell off the wagon again. Boo! We went to the Bleacher Bar at Fenway for our first round of drinks. I had a bottle of Magner’s hard cider. I love this stuff! This was my first time at the Bleacher Bar and this place was pretty cool. It is right in the park and would be super cool during a game. It was very tastefully decorated too – modern yet appropriate for a Fenway sports bar – lots of Red Sox memorabilia and what not, but not in a tacky way. We’ll definitely be back! We then headed to the Cask’n Flagon for the rest of the night. This is where things turned for the worse (healthy choices wise). I had a really early dinner so I was starving by then (it was probably 5 hours since I’ve last eaten). We ordered a pitcher of Stella (to start things off) and some friends ordered french fries for the table (btw, those french fries were amazing and only $3 -wow!). I wanted food, I wanted drinks (without counting every calorie) so I just gave in. This is where the “sane” part of this blog comes into play. I don’t want to feel deprived because that just comes back to haunt me. I just know myself. My husband and I ordered the boneless buffalo wings with their buffaque sauce (buffalo + bbq = buffaque). The “wings” were really like chicken breasts – they were huge! Here is the plate that contained 4 “wings.”

I had half of this (no blue cheese, I hate blue cheese). And more beer of course. It was one of those “self-refilling” glasses night :)

And when we got home I had some brownies and pumpkin cookies (2 of each, I think). BAD!!!! Oh well, I am seriously back on track today!

Another thing I decided is that I am no longer going to have the “all bets are off” days. Friday was just too much and I didn’t feel well until Saturday afternoon. Putting myself out of commission like that is just not healthy (and honestly not fun) so I’m done with that. Instead I’m going to eat healthy at least 5 days a week and allow myself a few meals (not days!) of splurges. A night like last night when we were hanging out with friends and having fun would qualify as a “worthy occasion.”

Ok, I’m done rambling for now. We’re off to check out an open house and then I don’t know, maybe enjoy the nice weather we have in Boston today. Have a great rest of the weekend. Hopefully it’s nice weather wherever you are!

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