Healthy and Sane

Beginning of a new challenge

December 8th, 2008 · 10 Comments · favorite recipes, Holiday bootie buster challenge, salad, snacks, sweet potato, turkey, yogurt

As suspected, getting up at 10:30 am yesterday made me go to bed late (well into the morning) and screwed me up for the rest of the day.  I really tried to be productive at work, but it just really wasn’t happening.  Oh well, hopefully I won’t be going to bed past midnight today and tomorrow I’ll make up for my slow start to the week.  My food was delicious, though, so let’s get to that! 😀


I missed my yogurt parfaits… it’s been a few days!  Today’s bowl had about 3/4 c of nonfat yogurt, 1/2 banana, about 2/3 serving of (Target’s) Archer Farms cranberry nut trail mix (includes cranberries, white chocolate chips, almonds and pecans) + some kashi golean cereal.  This trail mix tasted much healthier than the double chocolate espresso kind (duh!) but I missed the dark chocolate chips (I need that intense chocolate flavor!).  This trail mix is definitely a really good one and I’m thinking should be incorporated into some kind of baked good.  Let’s see if I can come up with something one of these days – or I may just eat it plain 😛


I was planning on having this snack…

But after biting into the apple I walked over to the printer and found some ricotta cheesecake.  Of course I had to cut myself a tiny slice!  I didn’t end up eating any of the bunnies so you’ll see them on some other day (I did finish the apple though).  Here is the tiny sliver of the ricotta cheesecake (it looks way bigger in the picture than it really was).  It was from a bakery and very delicious!


Amanda of Run to Finish is hosting a Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge (HBBC) which starts today and runs through Jan 4th.  The idea is to log a bunch of exercise in to counteract some of the inevitable indulgences during this holiday season – sounds like my kind of challenge so of course I signed up!  If you care, you can find the rules for the challenge here and I will update you on my points earned on daily basis.  Btw, I don’t plan to really increase my activity level to compete with 70+ people… I know I won’t win, but I do plan on tracking my exercise minutes using her point system and maybe this will be eye opening (and even inspiring) come Jan 4.

Workout was simple but sweaty.  I wanted to do some cardio but didn’t feel like running so I signed up for a spinning class and finished myself off with 15 minutes on the elliptical :)  Spinning was a little easier for me today – not sure if it was because I didn’t work out for the last 2 days (so my body was well recovered) or if my machine was not as tight or something.  I felt like I had to turn the knob a lot more to really feel it today.  I dunno…  After 60 minutes of this workout, though, I was definitely sweaty and ready to go back to work :)

Total HBBC points earned: 4


Lunch today was a nice big salad.  I finally finished the romaine lettuce we had and bought some baby spinach.  I love leafier greens so I was really excited for my salad today!  In this combo I used 2 cups of baby spinach, some grape tomatoes, cucumber, 3 oz of grilled chicken (just sauteed on the pan spayed with EVOO Pam), 100 calorie pack of almonds and 1 laughing cow cheese wedge.  After taking this picture I dressed it in 1 tablespoon of Annie’s goddess dressing.  Yum!


I thought I could maybe go without a mid-day snack but my body is so used to eating every few hours that I just start thinking about food when the hour comes whether I am truly hungry or not.  It’s ok, I was a little low on calories at that point so I made myself a yummy snack with some tea :)

This is 1/2 of Arnold’s sandwich thin with 1/2 packet of Barney Butter and 2 dates (chopped).  I’m not crazy about the sandwich thins (too white tasting) and I really wanted to finish off the rest of the Barney Butter packet to make it more indulgent tasting, but I held off and still enjoyed this very much! 😀


A few hours later after coming home and relaxing for a little while, my husband asked me to cook dinner.  We were both pretty excited for the shepherd’s pie I planned on making using this recipe from Allen of Eating Out Loud. I used 1.2 lbs of super lean turkey in this recipe, skipped the onions and fennel, halved the butter and omitted the oil (just used Pam), otherwise I followed the recipe to the T and it came out fantastic!  What a perfect comfort food!  Here are a few pics of the process…

Mashing the sweet potatoes after boiling them.  They came out so smooth and creamy, I couldn’t believe it!

Here are some of the shepherd’s pie “innards” in process, right after adding the frozen peas to the mix:

And this is the mixture after the sauce has thickened.  It was ready to be transferred into the pan…

And putting it all together.  I wish I had pretty single pots like Allen but the bread pan did the trick :)

And the final product after 25 minutes of baking and about 5 minutes under the broiler.

Inside the sweet potato blanket:

And my plate (1/3 of the recipe ~ 400 calories):

This was a lot of food.  I was actually planning on only having 1/4 of the recipe and having the other half for lunch tomorrow but my husband wanted a larger portion so we agreed to split it 3 ways and he gets to have the leftovers.  Lucky guy!  This recipe was a winner – we both really loved it!!!

And I finished the meal with a Kashi oatmeal dark chocolate cookie (I got this sample in the mail today).  I’ve had these before (and loved them) but who can turn down free food 😉

And now I munching on the trail mix referenced above (I brought the bag over to look at the name of it and now of course I’m eating straight from the bag!).  I have a serious weakness for trail mix!!  I’m only grabbing a few pieces at a time (instead of the usual handful) so I’m kind of behaving 😳

Total calories for the day: 1606 + trail mix out of the bag

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10 Comments so far ↓

  • #1 - Sharon

    Hahah, I love free samples! =)
    Great eats for the day! And excellent workout!

  • #2 - Lara

    I’m seriously impressed your shepard’s pie–you make it seem easy and I love the sweet potatoes instead of white poatoes. I might just have to make that one of these days!
    I have always wondered…when people discuss portions of meat in ounces, are they generally referring to its uncooked or cooked weight? I usually do cooked weight but then I realized I might be overdoing it and eating bigger portions than recommended…

  • #3 - Elina

    Thanks, Sharon!

    Lara, I think most of the times when people refer to meat portions (like I did in my salad) they refer to cooked weight, but in recipes (unless specified) it’s uncooked weight (like I used 1.2 lbs of raw turkey, which obviously cooks down to less than that cooked). You should definitely make the shepherd’s pie. It was super delicious! 😀

  • #4 - K

    Barney Butter!!! That salad looks so good! I can never restrain myself around cheesecake :)

  • #5 - Kelly

    All of your meals in the post look delicious. I love the step by step process with the shepherd’s pie. I will have to try one with sweet potato on top as it looks so good. I love that kind of savory sweet combo. Mmm mmm!

  • #6 - inna

    i signed up for a free sample of that cookie on the kashi website and never got it :( if it’s anything like their cherry dk chocolate bars it must be incredible.. yum yum yum

  • #7 - Bridget

    Your salad looks so good. I am DEFINITELY making that shepards pie…so easy and such a great thing to make and then have leftovers for lunch :) I’m so jealous you have barney butter, I know I could just order it but alas I have not.

  • #8 - Healthy and Sane » Blog Archive » Good bye 2008, Hello 2009

    […] Shepherd’s pie with sweet potatoes – simply […]

  • #9 - Allen of Eating Out Loud

    Thank you so much for trying my recipe (and for making it healthy!) — it looks absolutely delicious. I love the thick layer of sweet potatoes — yum!

  • #10 - Elina

    Allen, this was definitely one of my favorite recipes I’ve ever made. Thanks for sharing it with us! :)