Last minute xmas shopping and some food in between

Thank you all for your comments yesterday.  I guess my blogging is still a “work in progress” and hopefully I’ll be able to get to the right balance.  Today’s post is easy because it’s only for 1 day :)

BREAKFAST

We were out of eggs and bananas, so I had to get creative.  Here is a little combo I threw together.  It was fun to eat a bunch of different things!

That’s part skim ricotta with dried figs, 1/2 Food for Life english muffin with fruit spread and chunky peanut butter and a large mug of coffee.  Yum!

I <3 ricotta!!!

LUNCH

We were going to the mall to buy some last minute xmas gifts so I made a sammy to go (so glad I did because the mall was crazy busy and the food selections were definitely limited).

3 oz of turkey, 1 oz of Land ‘o Lakes white american cheese, pickles, dijon mustard on a ww pita.  I took the picture on a plate but then put it in a baggie for the ride to the mall.  It looks messy here but was actually very easy to eat on the go.

SNACKS

I took a little fun treat with me to the mall, knowing my sweet tooth will inevitably kick in.  I picked this baby up at Pret when I was in NY on Thursday.

Portion control is key with such a lovely treat, so I immediately cut it in half and only took 1/2 with me in a little snack baggie.  Thank god, because there is no way I could stop myself from eating the whole thing… this was AMAZING!!!  I am in love with the love bar :D

We were shopping until 8pm, so I had to buy an emergency bar to keep myself from chewing my arm off.  I saw this Kashi Go Lean Crunchy Chocolate Peanut bar in the grocery store.  I’ve been wanting to try it for a while (after reading some positive reviews of it in the blog world) so this was my chance.

 

Here it is on the inside:

I really liked it!  It was definitely on the hard side but the flavors were great!  I was also not hungry for a while after eating this. In fact I made dinner just because it was getting really late and we wanted to watch a movie.  I’d buy this bar again!

DINNER

Dinner was on the small side because I ate the above mentioned Kashi bar only an hour before maybe.  I made a fun salad with mixed greens, grape tomatoes, cucumbers, last of the homemade hummus (gotta make more!) and a falafel patty.  I used just some lemon juice for a dressing but next time I’d add some goddess dressing to this.  It would take the salad to the next level, for sure. :lol:  

And while watching The Dark Knight (which was awesome!) I roasted some chestnuts.  Here is my first plate of four… yeah I went back for another 4 or 5, one at a time.  They were soo sweet and delicious.  I love roasted chestnuts!

Oh and I had a 5oz glass of some Temporillo.  I wanted more but I’m trying to get back to healthier eating so I stopped at just one glass :)

Total calories for the day: 1692 (the extra chestnuts put me over the edge, but it’s ok, it’s still way better than I’ve been eating all week).

No exercise either – shopping took forever!

Back with a (long) recap

I’m back to blogging!!!  Man, I missed it :)  It’s funny how blogging has become such a huge part of my daily life and missing five whole days seems like ages!  With that said, I’ve decided to cut down on frequency of my posts because it’s too time consuming to do it every day and I don’t want it to feel like a chore.  I ran my idea by my friend Katie and my sister Inna (the two readers I know in real life) and they agreed that this should work.  I think what I’m going to try to do is give you guys a recap twice a week, say Wednesday and Saturday.  I’ll try to squeeze in additional posts of random stuff if I have time or have something super cool to share with you (btw, the bakery reviews will continue soon – and those will be separate posts)  but at least there should be some consistency with the Wed/Sat posts and hopefully I won’t be too boring :)  My sister told me that my pictures (and those of other bloggers) are the most important to her (and give her enough inspiration for her own cooking) so I’ll definitely continue taking lots of pictures to keep you guys coming back for more :)  How does this sound?  Please let me know if you have any other ideas about how I can make this blog interesting to you, without daily, journal like posts.

Ok so let’s get to this week’s recap (not on Wednesday because I was traveling)… Sorry in advance for a super long post!

I really REALLY fell off the wagon with the mindless eating challenge.  And when I fall, I really fall… it was bad.  I basically was stuffing my face Monday-Thursday (I got it out of my system now so Friday was good and I plan on being healthy going forward). I just couldn’t stop… I don’t know what happened.  So there is definitely some unphotographed food that was eaten on top of what’s here, mostly chocolate :D

BREAKFASTS

I made some cranberry sauce on Sunday morning using this recipe from Cooking Light.  I cut the sugar in half because I wanted to keep it pretty versatile (so I could use it on sweet and savory things).  I was ready to add more sugar if it didn’t taste sweet enough, but it was plenty sweet even with just 1/4 cup.  It came out great!  Here it is in a pot:

And here is the whole batch in tupperware ready for future use :)

So my Monday oats, of course, utilized this delicious goodness…

This bowl had 1/3 cup oats, 1/2 banana, some pecans, almonds, white chocolate chunks and the star ingredient, 1/4 cup of cranberry sauce.  The white chocolate chunks melted all over and were heavenly!  I wish I added more (ok, that would probably make this bowl a lot less healthy).

Tuesday breakfast: my usual banana/barney butter waffle sandwich

 

On Wednesday I wanted to try the Bear Naked fruit and nut granola sample I recently received in the mail.  I combined it with about a cup of TJ’s nonfat European style yogurt and a juicy pear.  Yogurt ingredients: 

 

And all mixed in:

I liked this granola a lot!  It had whole almonds in it, which is a huge selling point for me… I just love nuts!  It was also a little sweet but not too sweet.  I’d definitely buy this again (although I’m still in the market to find the perfect granola so I will be trying other kinds before settling on this one)… maybe I should try making my own.  I hear it’s the best :razz:

Thursday morning breakfast was at my sister’s house in NY.  I loaded my yogurt bowl with lots of toppings.  I kind of went overboard a little :oops:

I know you can’t even see the yogurt under all that stuff… it was there though, about 1 cup of nonfat yogurt, 1/2 banana, a serving of TJ’s nutty american trek mix (my favorite!!! I was so happy she had some), a handful of frosted mini wheats and a healthy spoonful of crunchy Barney Butter.  The yogurt had kind of nasty consistency (sorry I’m spoiled with TJ’s yogurt and other greek yogurts) but all the topping more than made up for it :D

And to finish off breakfast I had a cupcake.  Yup, I had a cupcake for breakfast.  My sister made some and I couldn’t resist the chance to try one.  I was eating breakfast at about 10:30 (went to a yoga class in the morning) so this also counted as my mid-morning “snack.”  I wish I could have a cupcake for a snack everyday!!  Anyways, this was a carrot cake cupcake with cream cheese frosting.  Sorry it’s kind of overexposed… the frosting is practically glowing :lol:

This was the best carrot cake (cupcake) I’ve ever had!!!  Inna, I need the recipe asap.  Wait, no, I don’t want the recipe.  I don’t think I can be trusted with these things around the house.  A.mazing!!!

Here is another shot of the best carrot cake cupcake ever:

Today’s breakfast was a simple egg and cheese sandwich on a Food for Life english muffin.  It was super delicious.  I love home-made egg and cheese sandwiches and those english muffins are the bomb!  Yes, I said “the bomb” when referring to english muffins :D

All breakfasts were of course accompanied by cups of coffee sweetened with agave nectar.

LUNCHES

3 slices of turkey, 1 laughing cow wedge, 1/4 cup of home-made cranberry sauce on When Pigs Fly sourdough bread with some steamed broc.  I tossed most of the broccoli when I decided I just wasn’t in the mood for it.

Here is the sandwich up close.  Very delicious!

Tuesday lunch was not healthy (I kind of lost it Monday night so that’s when sh*t hit the fan).  I wanted something greasy even though I brought a healthy lunch so I went out for some pizza at Upper Crust.  This was their daily slice of tomato and basil pizza… I requested it on whole wheat dough and paper toweled away some of the oil.

This was honestly kind of disappointing.  I’ve had Upper Crust before and it was amazing, but their whole wheat crust apparently tastes like cardboard.  Good to know!  I still ate the whole thing though :(

Later in the day, I wanted to redeem my less than stellar pizza experience so I went to Pizzeria Regina and got a slice of their Sicilian tomato basil pizzas.  It has onions under a layer of cheese so naturally tasted pretty nasty to me :(  Not cool!!

Wednesday lunch was a bunch of leftovers: freekeh grains with roasted grapes in white wine/thyme sauce and some orange chicken (from Tuesday’s dinner to be discussed further).  The grapes and the chicken were both sweet so they worked well together and I still really like those freaky grains… hehe.

Thursday lunch was eaten at a meeting, so there is no picture.  I had a tiny sandwich with ham and cheese and two 1-bite brownies (this was the day I ate the cupcake after breakfast so I wasn’t very hungry).

Last lunch in this recap (ok this was today and I had to find the picture to remember what I ate… scary!):

This is a crab cake from Legal Sea Foods (we received a gift basket from my husband’s work so I baked them last night) with a simple mixed greens/tomato/cucumber/carrot salad dressed with 1T of Annie’s goddess dressing.  This was super delicious!!!

For lunch dessert I had some chocolate covered toffee:

This stuff was crunchey!  A cross-section pic just to get you salivating a bit ;)

DINNERS

On Monday I made some beef chili in our crockpot.  I just love crockpot soups because they are ready when I get home.  This was a winner!!!  We had my parents over our house and polished the whole thing off, without blinking.  I used this recipe from Bread & Honey as the base (no onions, oil or corn used) and added a little over a pound of 96% lean ground beef.  I browned the beef on a skillet with some EVOO Pam and then just dumped everything into the crockpot and set it to 6 hours (it switches to warming mode after cooking).  Oh btw, I originally only used 1 cup of chicken broth but it was waaay too thick, not soup like at all.  I added another 1/2 cup later and it was perfectly thick but more chili like.  I’d do the same next time (and there will be a next time!).  Here is my bowl (a little less than 1/4 of the whole thing) topped with shredded 2% Cabot cheddar cheese (awesome cheese btw!) and a dollop of nonfat yogurt.  So good!!

And since we had guests over I had to make dessert.  I baked some Trader Joe’s chocolate chip dough cookies.  Unfortunately my parents were trying to behave themselves and didn’t eat nearly as much as I thought they would, so I ended up polishing them off (2.5 in total).  The whole tray…

And my first cookie:

Tuesday night since I already blew my diet I was craving Chinese food (my co-worker had it for lunch and that definitely triggered the craving).  We went out to Golden Temple in Brookline and I started with the Peach Tea cocktail.  Here I am… this is an action shot :D

This thing was SO sweet!  I don’t think I drank half of it.  It was pretty strong though, so I was still feeling it a little :lol:

My husband ordered some chicken wings for an appetizer.  Here is the whole dish (I think I had four of those babies)… they were the perfect balance of sweet and spicy – this was definitely the highlight of the meal!

I eat Chinese food very (!) rarely so when I do, I usually go for the orange chicken.  It’s typically fried and super unhealthy but since it’s usually a treat of sorts when I have it, I go for the real thing.  So this time was no different, I was craving it and that’s what I ordered.  Here is the dish:

Unfortunately this was kind of healthified.  Normally this would be a good thing, but I wanted the good old orange chicken I used to have back in the day without thinking twice about how bad it was for me.  This actually tasted like orange (instead of just super sweet flavor that only slightly resembles orange).  I was disappointed :(

My husband ordered Szechuan Pork, which we shared… and also some steamed brown rice.  Again, this is the entire dish:

I was kind of grabbing everything in random amounts from both plates so I don’t know how much I actually had… maybe 1/3 of each dish?  The pork was yummy but I was definitely upset about my un-fried chicken.  Golden Temple is actually proud of the healthy ingredients they use (although they certainly serve fried versions of foods) so that’s probably a good thing for a time when I don’t want to be unkind to my waistline.  The atmosphere is also very nice… definitely temple like.  I snapped a photo, but I don’t think it does it justice.

We’ll definitely be back!  I’ll just ask more questions next time to make sure I’m getting exactly what I’m looking for, whether I’m going for the healthy or the unhealthy option.

Oh, and of course I had a fortune cookie for dessert.  It has a stupid message.  I don’t remember what it was… you’re not missing any words of wisdom here :lol:

Wednesday night dinner was in NY.  My sister wanted us to go out to Pala for wine and pizza.  I had two disappointing slices the day before so I decided to have pizza again to hopefully redeem myself.  Pala is awesome!!

I started with a glass of a Tuscan sangiovese.  It came in a stemless glass – so modern!

Do you see the little rosemary bush on a plate?  So cool!!  You can use it for your pizza too.  They actually bake rosemary straight into the dough.  Yum!

While waiting for our pizza, I snapped a photo of their pizza counter.  Again this picture totally does not do the decor justice – it was modern, classy and cool. :cool:

We got some pizza dough bites to snack on.  I had just 2 or 3 before we got the pizza since I didn’t want to spoil my appetite, but after dinner I really dug into this bowl.  I’m so bad sometimes!  These were really really yummy, though, so at least I was mindlessly munching on delicious food :)

And here is the star of the dinner: romana pizza with sweet pecorino cheese, field mushrooms, tomato sauce and fresh parsley.  It was so unique – they use the highest quality ingredients.  You taste that in every bite.  I loved it! I ate 1/2 of this…

Thursday dinner was on the train back to Boston.  I grabbed a sandwich at Pret a Manger for the ride – train food is gross!  This was a balsamic chicken/avocado sandwich.  Very delicious!  I wish there was more chicken in it – it was perfectly marinated!

+ Dessert…

Tonight’s dinner couldn’t be simpler (I’m back to more “normal” eating): TJ’s mushroom/provolone ravioli with some peas.  No sauce required.  This was pretty yummy but it had onions, so I won’t be buying these again.  I hate when I forget to check the label!!

LOTS AND LOTS OF SNACKS

This is going to be a lot of pictures!  There was a lot (!) of mindless (and mindful) snacking.  I took pictures of most things but as mentioned before there were a few treats that snuck into my mouth because I felt like being gross.  I can recall a Dunkin Donuts Boston Creme donut and an apple.  I know there were others too… I just can’t remember right now.  So yeah, here goes…

Random work trail mix:

The most amazing fudgy cookie:

Here is another shot of it.  I wish I got my hands on more of them!!!

A lot of grapes (I ate a lot more than this handful):

A pistachio/apricot blondie.  My friend Katie made them using this Martha Steward recipe, replacing dried apricots for dried pears, I can’t believe it’s not butter instead of real butter and I think whole wheat flour instead of white.  They turned out so good!  I think I’ll be making them in the near future.  Seriously delicious!!

I think this is called toffee bark (?)  I don’t know… it was super crunchy.  I went back for seconds, and thirds, and maybe fourths of this.  My memory is blurry at this point.  I had a lot of this.  It was amazing.

Au Bon Pain‘s creme de fleur:

Inside:

Legal Sea Food’s boston cream pie:

Edible Arrangements fruit sticks:

(Every bite of this was savored… I’ve been dying to try these forever).  This Baked brownie was delicious, although I would say Flour Bakery’s is still the best brownie I’ve ever had!  Here is a side shot (excuse my nasty chipped nails) :)

WORKOUTS

Monday: 45 minute weight training + 15 minutes elliptical = 4 HBBC points

Wednesday: 15 minutes abs + 45 minutes weight training = 3.5 HBBC points

Thursday: 90 minutes yoga = 3 HBBC points

I know, so much eating and hardly any exercise.  I’l be better… I promise!  Total for the challenge: 38.55

And that ends this super long recap.  Sorry it was so long… hopefully I got your drooling at least one time ;)  I promise to keep these shorter in the future.  I just had a lot of catching up to do.  Hope you’re having a great day!  We have a crazy snow storm in Boston which means we’re staying in and watching a movie (there may be wine involved).

See you tomorrow with a post!

The weekend is coming to an end

The weekend is coming to an end but I definitely feel like I just had a mini-vacation.  There is something about having 4 days off work and not rushing to go somewhere.  Traveling vacations are great (I absolutely love traveling) but once in a while doing absolutely nothing (well, almost nothing) at home for 3 days (I’m not counting Thanksgiving because it was pretty busy) is also a great treat!  So let’s get to today’s eats…

BREAKFAST

We were totally out of fruit (*gasp*) and I’m trying to use up the sandwich thins I bought last week before they go bad, so that was the inspiration for today’s breakfast.  It was simple really: egg, bacon and cheese on a sandwich thin + some Dunkin Donuts hazelnut coffee with skim milk and agave.  It was lower on calories compared to my usual breakfasts, but sitting on the coach all day doesn’t burn very many calories so I didn’t get hungry again for a while :)

Close up pic:

LUNCH

I planned today’s lunch in my head yesterday, so when my husband and I were preparing the pizza, I kept a little bit of chicken to star in today’s salad.  I used iceberg lettuce as the base, added grape tomatoes, cucumber, buffalo chicken and some toasted sliced almonds.  No dressing necessary… the buffalo sauce added plenty of flavor!  The sliced almonds were the best part though – they complemented all the other ingredients really well.  I’m glad I threw them in the salad at the last minute :)

And after doing a quick calorie calculation in my head, I realized this was super low-cal, so I made a little dessert… a leftover chocolate banana pancake with a small spoonful of peanut butter.  I warmed up the pancake and the peanut butter melted all over it.  OMG – so good!

WORKOUT

I did another routine from Jillian’s “Winning by Losing.”  I used the gym in our apartment building so it didn’t have all the cable machines her routine suggested so I substituted a few moves, but I still worked on my chest, hamstrings, biceps and abs.  I warmed and cooled down on the ET for 5 minutes each.  Total workout time = 60 minutes.

DINNER

My husband and I promised my parents we would go see them today so dinner was kind of on the go.  I didn’t want to eat at their place, because they only cook unhealthy things and the other option was take-out, so we stopped by UFood on the way there and I had their amazing chipotle chicken sandwich (tender chicken breast with melted jalapeno jack, spicy chipotle mayo, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and sweet red onion on toasted ciabatta bread).  I ordered it sans onions and seriously, I was kind of speechless for a while after saying how good it was like 10 times! :)  My belly was very happy!! :D  I love UFood!!!  Healthy fast food – brilliant! 

I ate the whole thing and practically licked the plate clean :)

SNACKS

Once we got to my parents house, I munched on some strawberries.  They were so sweet and juicy, and despite being full from dinner I couldn’t stop myself from digging in.  We took the rest home, so here is a little re-enactment picture:

I also had a tiny piece of this almond bar my dad just brought from Barcelona… it’s basically almonds, honey and sesame seeds.  Very delicious and definitely calorie dense so I just had a taste because my dad was really excited about it, and I actually had plenty of calories to spare.

Daily calorie total: 1205

We’re back home.  I’m off to prepare some food for tomorrow and hopefully plan out the rest of the week’s eats.  We’ll see how ambitious I feel… it’s getting late.

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