Hello from Utah! We are here for a ski vacation this week and I still haven't closed out last weeks kitchen adventures! Our first night featured a fancy-pants dive bar with jazz music, local brews and some interesting food. We started by sharing the alligator cheesecake (left) which was more like a quiche. It wasn't particularly impressive but it was certainly tasty. We left feeling nicely buzzed, nicely full and ready for a full day of skiing the next day. There hasn't been any fresh snow, but what there is is pretty soft and we had a great time going through some mini powder. It kind of looked like what you see below, though that's neither of us.
Also of note are the muffins I made earlier this week. These were essentially the same as the Salmon Muffins I made for Mother's day 2011 and they received less enthusiastic reviews from Boyfriend. I thought they were pretty similar.
This recipe made 9 muffins (as you can see)
They cooked up nice and golden and were super tasty straight out of the oven.
In one bowl....
(Note this is one of the few exceptions I will make to my one bowl per mix rule)
4oz smoked salmon, chopped
4 servings (8tbsp) fat free cream cheese
Big handful of chopped dill
In another bowl...
2 servings Egg Beaters
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking powder
Not shown: 1/2 cup 0% Greek Yogurt (Fage)
Baked at 375 degrees for 20 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out clean)
For about 100 calories a pop, these were super satisfying (fiber, protein, dairy....yum!) and really held up well.
I thought that the next day, they were a little hardish (but softened after a 30 sec nuke) but the ones I put in the fridge were just as good as new (also after a 45 sec nuke).
I also froze 2 and I imagine they'll taste just great!
A quick word about eating at ski resorts and other touristy areas. We try to stay pretty thrifty, and one of the major money sinks at ski resorts is the $20 you can pay for 2 lunches. The lunches are usually mediocre and wind up making you feel full and have a difficult time skiing. BUT, we make sure to make a quick trip to a grocery store, stock up on some gourmet cold cuts, some delicious craft bread and some fancy-ish cheese. For the equivalent of 1 day of lunch, we buy 4 days worth of sandwhich ingredients, snacks and fruits. On top of that, we also avoid a daily trip to Dunkin Donuts by keeping a few single-serving yogurts and a box of cereal for daily breakfast. The sandwiches that we make are superior than anything we'd find on the mountain and the yogurt/cereal combo is great and healthy. Just a suggestion for your next adventure trip! What do you all do in that situation? Does anyone know any place in salt lake city that's particularly good?
That's it for today, folks! Will blog soon!
There was an excess of apples in my fridge and an excess of root canals going on in my mouth, so I had to find a way to soften these guys before they were too soft to eat! I think even still there were a few that will wind up going bad before I can use them up =(
Anyway, I decided to double the recipe for my Oatmeal Apple Pie and get the apples into a nice chewy form for me and Boyfriend (it was a 25%/75% arrangement). Stewing in that pot is 1 large green apple and 1 little green apple. Also added is 1.5tbsp I Can't Believe It's Not Butter and 1.5 tbsp brown sugar. Basically I just heat them on medium heat until the apples begin to soften and turn a little caramel in color. The butter will melt, combine with the sugar and the released juices from the apples to form a little broth at the bottom which adds nicely to the "pie". Actually this is more of an adaptation of my Oatmeal Breakfast Bars than anything else.
Ingredients (Makes 8 Slices)
1 large green apple (in 1" cubes)
1 small green apple (in 1" cubes)
1 cup Instant Oatmeal (300cals)
1 cup Slender Soy Vanilla Milk (70 cals)
1.5 tbsp margarine (I Can't Believe It's Not Butter is best) (75 cals)
1 tbsp brown sugar (~40cals)
1 serving Egg Beaters Egg White (25cals)
1 tbsp Walden Farms Caramel Sauce
2 packets Sweet N' Lo
Total Damage=660 cals (maybe round it off to 700 total)
Each slice comes out to less than 100 calories. If I had walnuts on hand, I would have thrown them in for a little extra kick.
Still, these came out YUMMY and they went fast. Who knows, maybe if I get some time tomorrow I'll be able to get to those other apples before they're gone.
FYI, by fast I mean that I started these on Monday and they were gone by Wednesday afternoon!
I also have a Savory Recipe coming up but lets first talk weekends and exercise.
Our ski trip was amazing on the first day. We drove for 6.5 hours (ugh traffic and getting lost) and got to a snowy paradise village where we checked into our very unremarkable hotel. We froze for an hour but woke up and spent a day skiing FRESH SNOW at Killington. It was cooooold. There were times when we couldn't even feel our fingers and our toes. But it was glorious. We were warned that the second day would be colder. But we were prepared. We purchased a new pair of gloves and a face shield for Boyfriend and a new pair of Ski Socks for me. All at good deals of course. Food for thought: a lot of places nowadays have something called a blind booking. So for a big discount, you book a place without knowing what it is or where it is (they give you stats like "stars" and "distance from your main attraction" and "type of lodging") and hope for the best. This worked out well for us since we got both the hotel and the lift tickets at discounted rates.
Unfortunately, it didn't work out well for us in the end because despite all of our new warming gear and our doubling up on the packets of hand and feet warmers, we could not tolerate the outside temperature long enough to take more than 1 consecutive run (and even THAT run was kind of miserable!). On top of all this, most of the lifts on the mountain were closed due to cold. Can you imagine, a SKI RESORT closing because it was too cold? I'd feel equally stumped if they closed because there was TOO MUCH SNOW! So the second day was a bust but we had already invested in all the cost that went with it. Fail. But we still had a nice time during our little mini ski vacation before THE BIG ONE comes up in T-1 week!!
The savory recipe is super easy. It was adapted from Skinny TasteIngredients1 eggplant (though I think this was 1/2 of a giant one)Panko crumbs (I poured out around 1 cup but only used half that amount)Egg Beaters Egg Whites (I poured out 2 servings but only used half)Black sesame seedsSalt+Pepper
Overall, this turned out to be a slightly wasteful recipe. I am pretty sure I threw away at least $1.50 worth of Panko, Black Sesame Seeds and Egg Whites. But the snack itself is very cheap overall. Especially if you already have all the ingredients on hand and just need to buy the veg!
Also I think that Italian Breadcrumbs (seasoned) would have worked better here. That's what the original recipe calls for but that's not what I had sitting in my pantry. Oh well. Next time.
Cut the eggplant into equal-sized pieces as shown above. Leave the skin on, it's the best part (hello fiber!)
(Feel free to also salt and pepper the eggplant and let it sit for an hour if you happen to have the time)
Place the egg whites in one bowl and the dry ingredients in another.
Thoroughly soak the eggplant pieces in the egg wash then pick them up, let the excess liquid drip off and dip them into the bread crumb mixture.
Bake at 450 degrees in a Pammed baking tray for about 15-20 minutes (flip halfway through)
I served these with tomato sauce for dipping. They were yummy, like Eggplant Parm without the cheese and the guilt! Still, Italian Breadcrumbs next time!
Finally, a quick word about excersise. I think I've mentioned before that I started to do some really early morning hot yoga (6:20am class!) and it's been feeling REALLY good. I've done it three times so far. The first two times I felt that the class was a gentler version of the evening classes and the last time it was HARD. But I'll tell you what, I greatly preferred the hard class because if I want to relax in the morning, heck I'll just stay in bed for an extra 1.5hrs! If I'm up, if I have trudged through an NYC winter at 6am 1/2 mile to the studio, I'd better be getting a good workout! I think I'm going to persevere and keep doing the morning classes and hope that some of them are harder than others.
Finally, tonight we are going to a Russian Restaurant Party (better known as all you can eat, all you can drink debacle). Unfortunately I generally wind up both eating and drinking more than I should (or want to!) and feeling bad later. My goals for tonight are to understand that I will still drink and eat more than I should, but at LEAST I will seriously attempt to NOT eat anything "simple". So I will not put into my mouth the following things: breads, pastas, cheeses, cold cuts. These I can and do get anywhere. Ok, gotta go get pretty!
I'll discuss these in the middle of the post, promise =) Before that I will bore you half to death with my lunches all week (that bored me half to death!). What with a big wedding weekend and various other commitments, I didn't want to do a whole lot of cooking and was even less inclined to do a whole lot of lunchtime eating. So I packed salads. Lots o' salads. And had salads for dinner. But, you know what? Salads are amazing. Each bite tastes totally different based on whatever is on your fork, there's cruch, softness, saltiness, cheesiness, protein, and volume. Oh so much volume! To be perfectly fair though, this was one of the first weeks where I could even EAT a salad (teeth are well on their way to being fixed again!) so I went way overboard. Here's the breakdown....
1 can of tuna (chunk light in water) + some chopped up left-over grilled vegetables (eggplant and zucchini) + 1.5 big tablespoons cottage cheese + S+P + some "Everything Bagel" seasoning called Bagel-It which my dentist's son makes and she gave me to try.
*Yes, I've spent so much time with her in the past 2 months we've gotten close*
The Bagel-It mix is amazing. It really makes your salads taste like you're eating them on/with a bagel! Yuummmm . By the way, this was a LOT of food and combined with the bread made for a VERY filling ~300-350 a
I would not reccomend using cottage cheese in place of another dressing, but it was what I had on hand. It was ok, but the texture was only "eh".
Then there was the amazing 400 calorie lunch that took forever to eat, was completely delicious and filled me way up to the top.
Salad: more leftover grilled zucchini and eggplants + 1 serving FF feta cheese + mixed green salad + some TJ's lite parmesan ranch dressing. On the side we have puffed kamut which I put over the salad right before eating because while it does provide that croutony crunch and bready taste at a fraction of the caloric cost, it doesn't hold up well to moisture at all. If you go to any big supermarket they have these in big plastic bags and they are really cheap! I think that calling this salad 150+the 50cals of kamut is pretty accurate.
For a little appetizer/palate cleanser I had 2 wedges of Laughing Cow Lite (they have SO many flavors now and I love them all except the Swiss).
Dessert was a Vitatop muffin: Chocolate Chocolate Chip. SO good. Not as good as the Fiber One Peanut Butter Brownies, but definitely tasty.
Here's the salad with the Kamut mixed in. I am not sure if this was one in which I chopped up some rehydrated and lightly sauteed dried shittake mushrooms.
If you've never tried the dried shittakes I would highly reccomend them. They are super cheap (esp if you live near an asian supermarket) and are VERY VERY strong in flavor. So if you DO like mushroom flavor, go out and get some of these things. They last forever anyway.
This salad DEFINITELY has the mushrooms, you can see them all piled up on top. The FF feta cheese is crumbled on. It may not look like a lot but it's a very sharp flavor and that 1 serving (at 40cals!) makes a big difference. I know I've gone over this before, but I really like the fat free feta cheese, better than it's higher fat cousins. It is harder and saltier and I don't know, I would take this kind over any fancy feta any day.
Ok, on to the main event. I call this post "Back to Basics" because I haven't tried anything new and simply decided to go back to a few old favorites (i.e. the salads and these baked oatmeal bars
). I've made them before a few times but have kind of let it go for a while, and once these were done, I was immediately asked to make another batch. My mom, who was one of the first people who tried my recipes, still makes these bars when company comes around and they go like hot cakes! Interestingly, I recently met someone who I had given the website url to a while back who has been reading the blog and has tried the Cauliflower Pizza Crust. She gave it a thumbs up (Hi Elena!) but has not commented on the site as of yet =)
Ok, on to the bars. I didn't want to stray from my original recipe (see Recipage
) too much in terms of the base ingredients, so it's still 1.5 cups rolled oats, 1.25 cups milk, 1 egg. The diference is that I used a Slender Soy Vanilla milk and instead of egg I used 1 egg equivalent of egg whites. The original recipe I used also called for 3/4 cup of dried fruit and 1/4 cup nuts. I think in this batch there was just about 1cup (maybe a litte more) of finely chopped dried fruits (apples, cherries, prunes, apricots). The second batch (with no pictures) had cherries, apricots and dried bannanas. Other things I added: cinnamon, vanilla, Sweet N Lo (or sugar), maple syrup/or caramel syrup. Both batches were delicious. You'll notice up top the his (2) and hers (1) baggies for on-the-go breakfast.
The process is so easy: mix all the ingredients, allow them to sit around for a while, then dump it all into a baking dish lined with parchament paper.
Cook at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until pressing on it doesn't cause liquid to come out. I think I even baked a batch at 400 degrees once in like 25 minutes and it came out just fine.
Finally, take out to cool and cut into about 10 pieces. Or whatever you think is a good serving size. I cut them into 10 so each piece would be roughly just over 100 calories.
They refrigerate well (I would say 4 days) and freeze REALLY well (microwave x 40 seconds).
If you're a skiier like me, make a batch of these and take them to have as a mid-mountian of lift chair snack =)
Boyriend assembled us a picnic-style dinner one night when we couldn't decide whether or not to order in or scavenge our refrigerator. Wisely, he chose to scavenge. Included: remainder of grilled veggies, some olives, some random spreads (red pepper and artichose), some slices of TJ's seeded bread, 2 slices of my Bakery Light 45 calorie slice breads (Peppridge Farm makes it best), a few slices of turkey breast and a few slices of cooked turkey bacon.
And the star of the meal: The Rogue Chipotle Ale. I thought this was awesome, and Boyfriend thought it was so-so. This is the best of all possible scenarios because he didn't finish his half and I got to have the remaining 1/3 of his glass =)
So...picnic dinners....I know I've said this before, but they are one of my absolute favorite things. First, I feel like it's kind of an intimate thing, taking stuff from the same plate. Second, it allows for SO MUCH VARIETY (a piece of bread with pepper tampenade+turkey, another piece of bread with artichoke spread+bacon, another with turkey, bacon and a little mustard, another with just the spread!). The combinations aren't endless, but they are at least many. Thirdly, picnic dinners are a great way to eat what you have on hand (since there's no such thing as "not having an ingredient"). Finally, and maybe most importantly, these kind of "make it yourself" sandwiches and plates remind me of hiking and other sporting activities that I love to do with Boyfriend. There's nothing I love more than a good, loooonnggg, strenuous hike and it's even better when you get to sit on top of whatever you were hiking up and have a delicious meal.
I'll say it even again, I. LOVE. PICNIC. DINNERS. =)
Finally, I've obviously already failed in my New Years Resolution to blog more frequently and be more consciencous about putting up my meals, but I guess being in a wedding, fighting a cold (grr!) and planning ski trips has kind of pushed that to the side. The weather is finally getting colder and wetter (preventing any early morning yoga, grr again) and Boyfriend and I are going to chase the only snow on the East Coast up to Killington for the MLK weekend. It will be crowded but worth it for potentially the only good skiing we can get this year. We have a big week-long trip planned to Tahoe and unfortunatley, they haven't had an inch of snow in over a month. This stresses me out to no end since I feel that it will be both money and time wasted in what is generally a time-limited sporting season. Hopefully I'll have some meals to post from the weekend =)
Why are my soups always so "meh"? They're not bad, and they're warm and cozy and usually quite pretty, but they just aren't that great! Maybe it's my reluctance to use cream/butter/oil/beans/lentils?
Anyway, with TJ's Seeded Bread it was pretty nice and savory. But I wasn't really satisfied with just the soup so I also bought a pack of Pop Chips. These are soooo yummy but guess what, on the ingredient list, they don't actually list potatoes! Sure, potato starch and potato flakes, but I don't think that's the same thing! The Seeded Bread, on the other hand, is amazing. So delicious and has something in it that makes you think of parmesan! Yummmmm. =)
Continuing the soup chronicles (my teeth are ALMOST DONE!...but not quite yet and I had many appointments this week) is a V8 Broccoli soup. I bought this kind of on a whim because it had a decent profile (180 calories/2 servings, 40% sodium...which is actually good for canned/boxed soups!). It was actually pretty yummy and VERY VERY creamy. Kind of tasted unnatural though (big surprise). Up after that was a Sophie Banana Cream Pie Greek Yogurt (0%) with a 1/2 serving of low fat graham crackers "dissolved" inside. This yogurt is ah.mazing! It is so creamy and flavorful and SO HARD TO FIND even in Manhattan. But now that I know where it is, I suspect I will be paying a few extra $$ to get it. The graham cracker becomes soft when mixed into the yogurt and makes it really taste like a banana cream pie, complete with crust. For those of you with intact teeth who want chew, just don't mix them in. =)
Continuing on (these are not consecutive days, but I did eat soup a lot as the temperature dropped and my teeth became more sore!) another broccoli soup, this time by Imagine. Now I had already tried the Portobello Soup (also 180 cals/36% sodium) and found it to be a little lackluster but overall a winner since it was cheaper than the V8. The Broccoli (at 120 cals/36% sodium) was similar. Not as creamy, not as flavorful, but with the bread it turned out A-OK. This whole lunch: 2 slices light bread, 2 pieces Laughing Cow Light, 2 servings soup, 2 clementines and 2 pieces of chocolate was just about 400 calories. This was great because it had a lot of variety and took a nice long time to eat! =)
Sigh, soup isn't only for lunch. This is a Campbell's Heart Healthy Cream of Chicken Soup (210 calories/2.5 servings, somewhat higher sodium). I actually probably only had 2 of the servings since I always dump out a soup-spoon full of the soup and add more water (more soup, easier to dissolve!). I always have to re-season with some cumin and pepper anyway. Sigh. This is my stand-by soup. It's satisfying and voluminous and most importantly-cheap. Does the job.
Bean dip for an app.
Actually my teeth are ok with some chew. So I could have, say, 2 celery sticks without being miserable. But I can't have anything where I have to take big bites like a sandwich.
This TJ's Roasted Red Pepper Tampenade (super low-calorie, super healthy) is delicious. It's well seasoned, tastes SO FRESH and comes in a darling little jar. This was a super-thick spread on a piece of Seeded Bread, but even a nice thin spread is more than enough.
I think this was something I actually had for breakfast one morning. The bread softened with the tampenade.
Finally, a tiny little snack before bed: a tea for one and a cup of watermelon pieces =)
One last bit!
Lunch was a bunch of arugula, a sliced up turkey sausage and a "dressing" of leftover bean spread. This was simple and tasty, but nothing to write home about...but I guess it was something to blog about!
My New Years Resolution? To post more! And to really post meals. I know I've said this before and statistically I'm likely not to do it. Oh well. =)
Now that the holidays are over I think I can finally avoid drinking more than 2-3x/week! Phew, my body was NOT having any of that and was just expanding out of spite. Grr. One wedding coming up (but it's actually a 2-day affair) and then quietness for a while. Yay!
Happy New Years! For anyone who does happen to read this blog, I hope you had a wonderful time on New Years Eve, I hope you indulged like crazy (what is the holiday season for anyway?) and I hope you're ready for some new yummy food ideas. =)
Some of you may have actually made New Years Resolutions to eat healthier. Well I hear that having a good breakfast is key (though I don't find myself too miserable when I skip it). Still, a nice weekend breakfast with Boyfriend is one of my favorite meals, and this one did not dissapoint. The sunny side up oatmeal is something I've seen on other blogs and also in a back issue of Health Magazine I read while waiting for ANOTHER dentist appointment. So simple: 1/3 cup oats microwaved with 2/3 cup water, seasoned with S+P + Italian Seasoning. Topped with a few chunks of roasted red pepper and topped with a single sunny side up egg (this one looks a little overeasy, but it's just a little overcooked).
This meal was super easy since Boyfriend was already making himself sunny side up eggs and I just asked him to make 4 instead of 3. I wound up just cutting one of the eggs out of his sunny side up omelet and plopping it on top of my bowl. This was SO GOOD. So savory and warm and gooey and it hit SO many nutritional points: fiber (check), veggies (check), protein (double check), volume (check!). The bowl was approximately 210 calories. If the egg was really nice and sunny-side-up it would have broken and spilled it's yolk, which was the original idea.
Next time, I might spring for a bit of cheese, or maybe some tomato basil instead of the peps.
But...not all breakfasts can be leisurely enough to make an egg AND a bowl of oatmeal. Not only that but that bowl requires a sit-down affair. But with these muffins you can get your hit of carbs (check), protein (double check!), fiber (check) and dairy (eehhh...) on the go. This is my second batch this month because they are just.so.handy!
Same ingredients this post from 2 weeks ago:
Ingredients (makes 10 muffins) at 100 calories/muffin
3 eggs (240 cals)
2 servings All Egg Whites (50 cals)
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour, or any flour (260 cals)
2 small chicken sausages, buffalo flavor, chopped (140 cals)
3 servings turkey bacon, chopped (105 cals)
1/2 cup Fage 0% Plain Greek Yogurt (55 cals)
1/2 medium sized sweet onion, chopped
Handful (3 servings?) fire roasted red peppers, chopped
2tsp S+ 1tsp P
1/2 tsp baking powder
Topped with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese
So why go through all this again? The reasons are two-fold. First, please not my pink TJMaxx pan. Pink! Love it.
The second is to show you the ease of the cooking process. Pam up your non-stick pan, throw in the chopped onion, give it a few minutes and add the meat. This can sit for a while, but if you cover it it will cook faster. Place all of that into a bowl, give it 5 minutes to cool and start plopping in the rest. I don't usually both with all that Dry Ingredient, Wet Ingredient stuff because that seems more like One Bowl, Plus Another Bowl to me. Anyway, mix it all together, throw in some roasted red peppers from a jar (or perhaps some roasted tomatoes from a can?) and start loading your Pammed muffin tin (use plastic, it is THE BEST).
To cook: 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. Don't worry, they will not rise immediately. They will look like sad little egg pucks for a long time and you will almost give up but out of absolutely nowhere, they'll pop right out and say hello. 5 minutes after THAT, take them out, stick a toothpick in and make sure it comes out clean then sprinkle on a little parm cheese. These were sprinkled with bigger parm pieces so they didn't come out with the pretty spikes but just look a bit gooey.
This batch did not get devoured as quickly but went at a reasonable pace. Since there are only 2 of us, I froze these for future breakfasts. They froze and defrosted wonderfully. 45 seconds in a microwave and a perfectly delicious little 100 calorie protein bomb was all mine. =) Haha, yeah right, I didn't just eat 1 =)
Now, on to things that don't involve me experimenting in the kitchen. It was Boyfriend's big 3-0 birthday this past weekend and he was on call. Major bummer! That meant waking up at the pitiful hour of 5am and coming home at 9pm! I dutifully waited until he fell asleep and stayed up to make him blueberry pancakes, which I placed right on his desk in the morning along with a little cup of maple syrup and a little spoonful of butter (well I Can't Believe It's Not Butter). He was pleased. But not as pleased when I brought him lunch from his favorite burger joint and threw him a mini surprise party where I ordered in something from every one of his favorite take out restaurants (featured: potato-gorganzola pizza, pad thai, alaska sushi rolls, enchilladas, buffalo wings and waffle fries). His mother also brought him some of his favorite desserts: tiramisu and carrot cake.
Here's what I was thinking: since dinner is generally homemade that's not much of a treat. But if I ordered in his favorite foods, THAT would be special. BUT, who is having a slice of pizza, a dish of pad thai, an enchillada, a sushi roll and a bunch of wings in addition to 2 slices of cake? So, I cut all the stuff into bite sized pieces (thankfully, the sushi and the wings came that way!) and served it tapas style so that everyone could try a bit of everything! =) Big hit. If you are thinking of throwing someone a party, this is a really great (and not too expensive, really) way to do it. I saved a lot on costs by picking all these things up from the take-out places instead of having them delivered and having to pay tip. Not too shabby. Plus, it certainly made cleanup very easy.
And finally, because it's not all about breakfast, a recap of a fabulous dinner party hosted by our newly-married friends, the rocket scientist and the nurse. We brought over grilled veggies with bean dip and crudite (left) which we enjoyed with a round of wheat and dark beers (Boyfriend and I split two bottles, each getting to taste both kinds). We moved on to the main course of a PERFECTLY cooked/breaded/herbed rack of lamb (shown is my plate of 2 pieces, omitted is the extra piece I took later) and some garlicy potatoes. The highlight of the meal (sorry rocket scientist) was this amazing chocolate caramel lava boozy cake made by the nurse. Not shown is the 1/4 of a piece I stole from Boyfriend's SECOND portion! The dip was unbelievable. Such an amazing dinner.
In exercise news: the gym really cleared out big time for the holidays = good. So I decided to put in a LOT of extra time there and managed to stave off the holiday bulge. Or rather, I gained it, but then worked my butt off to lose it! I will also be starting a new hot yoga studio soon. I've gone to this one before, there are a lot of inversions, of which I am not a fan.
In the meanwhile, I hope everyone is having a great start to their new year and getting all healthy and resolutionized =)