Another HUGE post!
First, I'd like to point out a few things. 1) I've had over 1,000 visits to the site (yay!) and 2) I've finally
added an About Me
section (though I don't suppose anyone was REALLY jonesing for this one) and 3) I've begun to repeat enough recipes that meal-by-meal posts will have to start soon!
Also, one reader who has been commenting on the blog (Serenity) has recently moved to Puerto Rico and has posted her photos here for prints and buying. I really feel that they are reasonably priced, and even if you're not in the market for photos, check them out because they are beautiful!
On Sunday night, Boyfriend's parents came to visit (I'm hoping to see mine tomorrow!) and before they came I fixed dinner and made myself a new stock of Cranberry Sauce/Jam= Cranberry Sam
! Click on the link for the full recipe, or find it on the Recipage
I bought a medium sized jar ESPECIALLY for this sauce and it was TOO big! Grr. Oh well. This is really great, though a bit tart (I like it this way). If you want a sweeter version add a little more sugar (brown is better than white) or sweetener or agave nectar. If you would rather have a true sauce, boil it less. More jammy? Boil more! Simple stuff! =)
But here's what this post is REALLY about!
Chicken Wings! Yes, I realize that it doesn't take a genius to throw some chicken wings into an oven and call it a meal, but honestly, I always found this to be really daunting? How many of you have always assumed it's just easier to order chicken wings at a bar than to make them yourself?
(Well it IS easier, and probably only a little more expensive)
But MY way you can do it without deep frying! In fact, I strongly suspect that I can make chicken wings that are just as tasty but without the oil in the future. Anyway, here's my dinner from Sunday night, complete with a side of Kale Chips and 1/2 of an Ithaca Apricot Wheat Beer (yum!). Not pictured is the 4th wing I had when I decided 3 weren't actually enough (though they should have been!)
After my ridiculous 7.5 mile run on Saturday, I had big plans to do something easy on my joints on Sunday: Hot Yoga. But wouldn't you know it, Boyfriend convinced me to take a run in the park. Only 2 people can convince me to run in the park, BF and Nurse L, so an easy 4 miler took the place of yoga that day. Here
's a running map of central park, in case any New Yorkers are reading this. It's great that someone took the time to plot out exactly how long each portion of a path is so everyone can really tailor their exercise. Of course, everyone and their sisters were out that day and when we went back out later for a mini picnic and some park-side studying, it clouded over and got chilly =(
But I did come up with the perfect timing to make 3 dishes in one 2 hour time slot! 1) Cranberry sauce (above) 2) Kale chips (below) and 3) Chicken Wings, Asian style (main feature, keep reading!)
I need to gripe about this. About 4 months ago, I perfected the making of Kale Chips. They were crunchy and salty and delicious and so so easy. For some reason, I've now had 3 (!!) failed attempts at Kale Chips. Why? Ok, I've used a *little* less oil but surely that can't be the reason that once they came out a little funky, the second time they burnt to a crisp and this time they not only burnt (thought I salvaged this one plateful) but were also underseasoned. Did the salt just not stick to the measly oil? Does anyone else ever feel frustrated when tride and true recipes fail them out of nowhere? I feel like this happens to me a lot. Especially when I'm making something for company =( =( At least the cranberry sauce was good.
And the wings were GREAT.
I purchased a dozen wings (comes out to 24 sections) at the "cheap" supermarket near us and came home already regretting my decision. I've never used a meat cleaver before!! But here I am, chopping through those wings. Not easy. You have to get your cleaver in the cartilage at the joint and really put some pressure on it to separate the joints. But at least I finally finished.
Here's what you get: A female wing, a male wing and a little end piece (if you don't get the male/female thing, I'm not going to explain, just conisder what the bones inside end up looking like). The end piece is supposed to be saved for stock, but I threw them away because I'm perfectly happy to buy my stock (though apparently not my wings).
Asian Style Seasme Scallion Marinade (24 wing sections/12 wings)
2-3 tbsp dark sesame oil (390cals!)
2 tbsp sesame seeds
3 tbsp light soy sauce
3 tbsp rice vinegar (or any white vinegar)
2 tbsp honey (or agave nectar)
4-5 tbsp mustard (depending on how you like it)
2-3 tbsp water
**These are all very subjective measurements, I adjusted the taste by making tiny licks of spoon to determine what it needed**
I tossed the wings in this marinade and had the mixture sit in the fridge for 2 hours (but you can do it up to overnight!)
Two hours later, I preheated the oven to 375 degrees.
Placed all 24 of these on a baking rack (eh, I could have just done it on parchament paper or some sprayed foil!) and cooked it for about 15-20 minutes on one side. I flipped each piece with tongs and cooked for another 15 minutes and then took them out to "rest".
I also cut into one of the juiciest looking wings to see if the meat inside was pink or not. Not pink=done! You don't want dry chicken!
Great Success =)
Anecdote: 24 wings were made, 13 were consumed that evening, 4 were taken with me to work and there were 7 left. What happened to the last wing? Boyfriend? Anyway, the 7 were gone pretty shortly, but the 4 I took to work wound up being lunch, followed by a late, post-yoga dinner of PIZZA! Yes, I had wings and pizza in one day! But both were relatively healthy options! Indeed you can eat junk-food and remain within your calorie goals! Check out this healthy pizza place: Revd Up Pizza
(low calorie pizza). Definitely worth it if you're watching your calories but not as good as regular pizza (and maybe not even as good as my Cauliflower Pizza!
)Anyway, yesterday was another session of hot yoga. It was a truly hateful class (meaning that it was actually really strenuous and great!) and tomorrow looks like it's going to be Relentless (my toning cardio class). Adios for tonight. No cooking plans for now, stay tuned for meal pictures =)<3 Jules
Coming up is a super picture-heavy post and I'm sure most of you will think: are you KIDDING me? These are all the same thing! But the result turned out so well I couldn't resist giving a step-by-step approach because this is something everyone should REALLY try!
It's Monday, the weekend is over. This means 1 more week of my second year of residency, 1 more week in the New Jersey hospital and 1 more week of ease before Hell Rotation starts again. Also 1 more week of Boyfriend's residency before his fellowship (Hell Year!) starts. I started Saturday by commuting in and out of New Jersey for only 3 hours of work and made it to the gym in time to watch The Next Food Network Star. I managed to run 7.5 miles!
Quick exercise note: I am lucky to have a gym that has TVs mounted on the treadmills, so I time my workouts according to good shows to watch on TV. They have more channels there than we do at home and I don't have to feel guilty for taking up the TV with Food Network! So when there's a good long show on, I can run a lot more.
Just before I left for the gym, I made THIS: BORSCHT!!
Pink Soup! =) =)
Yes, yes, I was born in Ukraine, grew up eating variations of the stuff (though I never particularly liked it) and have NEVER worked with a beet in my whole life.
Two weeks ago Boyfriend's Mom made some vegetarian summer borscht as part of dinner and it was soooo good (and garnished with yogurt instead of sour cream!). It was just the right amount of sweetness, acidity and heartiness for a summer soup. I asked her for the recipe but like all Russians (and me, sadly) she mostly eyeballed it. So though I did go on the net and search out borscht recipes, I used her advice for garnish and other things. Here's a mish-mash of lots of different internet recipes made to resemble and taste just like Boyfriend's Mom's Borscht. BMM =)
The picture here is of me grating a beet. I used 2 giant beets and grated them using the large holes on my grater.
Boy did they make a huge pot full of borscht shavings!
Into the pot I added about 10 cups of water and set it to boil.
So far: 2 ingredients.
There's a lot of variation out there for what to put into borscht aside from beets. A lot of countries make their borscht with meat and potatoes, some with onions, some with cabbage and the list is endless. I saw a lot used eggs? Mine was a summery cold borscht (cold=no meat, otherwise it would get all gellied) with cool cucumber and refreshing dill.
As the pot boiled, I began to skim off the foam as recommended by many of the websites I looked at. I abandoned this approach very fast and decided that the foam couldn't possibly taste that bad.
As it boiled I began to add acidity: 2 tbsp lemon juice and maybe 2-3 tbsp rice vinegar to start. You can use any sort of light-colored vinegar but I happen to have a lot of rice vinegar so there you go.
It didn't last, I kept going. More lemon juice, more vinegar (maybe up to 4 tbsp each? It's a BIG pot kids. I also added approximately 2 tbsp sugar and a few sprinkles of sat (maybe up to 2-3 tsp?). I even cracked in some black pepper (which on tasting later was really fun!)
I basically just kept taking little sips of it throughout the seasoning process to get it to the right level of acidity. Don't worry about the SLIGHT bitterish taste, a little dallop of yogurt takes care of that easily.
Garnish: Cucumber, Scallion, Dill.
I chopped up about 3 of these big scallions all the way to the bottoms and threw them into the soup probably about halfway through.
I knew it was done when the beets were the consistency I wanted (a little al dente but fairly soft). I feel like that's pretty subjective. It took me about 30-40 minutes total.
When the soup was done I separated it into two giant tupperwares and garnished 1 of the 2 with a medium sized cucumber (peeled and finely chopped) and a few handfuls of fresh dill (also chopped).
This is what the soup looks like when it's still warm from the pot with the cucumber tossed in.
I set this out to cool in the refrigerator and when I came home from the gym, I put it into a little bowl for a snack.
I also dipped a teaspoon into a tub of greek yogurt (0% Fage) and mixed it into the soup. PINK SOUP!!! Could it be any cuter?
Dipping the bread into it was HEAVENLY. A word of advice: add yogurt and any dairy product as you eat. Otherwise it doesn't last and gets a little grainy.
So now, in my refrigerator are these giant tupperwares of Borscht. I toyed with freezing some of it but I don't think this will last that long after all. I judge 2 cups of this soup to be less than 100 cals (ingredients are beets, cucs, scallions and dill with the TINIEST sprinkle of sugar per cup). It tastes just like a soup salad and it's pink. Watch out for pics of Borscht in a Jar!
After my little post-run borscht snack, BF and I got ready to head to an engagement party for Rocket Scientist and Nurse Z. This was soooooo pleasant. Rooftop apartment, great atmosphere, elegant but understated party. My favorite things. I was surprised to find myself in quite a few of the montage photos, though since their relationship rests heavily on skiing and I accompany them on many group trips, it makes a bit of sense. Boyfriend was also treated to a great video of my first time skiing in the trees and falling and being unable to dig myself out of the snow for a good long time. =)
Next Post: Chicken Wings!! A La Jules =)
This post kind of goes over Thursday and Friday, as I clearly didn't post for those days. First of all, Thursday was a bit hectic as I did a good long work out then immediately got into the kitchen AND paid a social call. The gym was pretty decent, I did a good 6 miles and I felt pretty motivated when I came home, so I did finally make those cheesy jalapeno corn muffins I had been talking about forever!
Sarah Lee Corn Bread/Muffin Mix (makes 6 muffins, 110cals total)
1 egg (80 cal)
1/3 cup Almond Breeze Milk (regular milk would have been better, but I didn't have any on hand) (15 cal)
1/2 cup cheese (1/4 Part Skim Mexican Mix 1/4 fat free cheddar) (125 cal)
1/2 cup Greek Yogurt (maybe a little less) 0% (60 cal)
6 rings of super-spicy jarred jalapenos
1/2 cup whole kernel canned corn (100 cal)
1/2 tsp baking powder
Baked at 400 (!!? says so on the box) for about 20 minutes.
Verdict: a tad dry, but I'm not sure why. Maybe the cheese just wasn't worth putting in. The bacon corn muffins
were a bit better but the bacon was a little mild. Perhaps a combination of two? Jalapeno/bacon muffins? Nix the cheese? Sadly, there's no great picture of the interior of a muffin because though I wanted to take one today, they were all gone by the time I got home this morning. The roundup? In two days, I had 2, my friend had 1, BF had 4. New batch to come.This post is going to be picture light. Just wanted to quickly go over some highlights. Yesterday
we made plans to go to an Argentinian place for dinner with another couple. Because the celebratory Steak Night is looming ahead, Boyfriend actually decided he'd prefer to save his coronaries for Del Frisco's (hurrah, I am winning the battle!) and so we went to an Argentinian place (Libertador
) and ordered seafood and poultry. It was good, but that's not the point of this little tale. The point is that for the first time in a long time in NYC I really felt like I got gouged when the bill came. Huge 1/2 chicken with delicious fries: $15, 2 delicious baked empanadas: $6, an amazing shrimp
salad with veg and
fruit and 4 medium sized shrimp
: $20. Whaaaaaaaaatttt??? Did we really just pay more for a SMALL appetizer than we did for a HUGE main course? Almost as much as some of the steaks on the menu?!? Yes. Why? It was a "special" on the menu that day. It was announced as an appetizer special and the appetizers ranged from $8-$12 so we figured it couldn't be that bad. Of course, "specials" prices are never stated, but this was completely uncalled for. I suppose we learned our lesson that night. Always ask for prices on specials and NEVER assume that they'll be in any way reasonable. That shrimp salad left a bad taste in our mouths and we allowed ourselves to be coerced into going to the Little Brown Bakery
where we "shared" a very fluffy, moist AND warm chocolate chip cookie ("shared"= 1/4 or less for me, rest for Boyfriend). I also purchased a 92 calorie dark chocolate/puff cereal bar, not sure how well that's going to go over.This dinner cost me a bit of a weight setback, but totally worth it ($20 shrimp appetizer aside).
So, Libertador: boooo thumbs down, you are greedy. Little Brown Bakery: Yummmm but not something I'll be doing regularly. Though I did see a Chipotle Hot Chocolate on their menu and chocolate with cayenne or chipotle is one of my fave things!Saturday I am looking forward to an engagement party of two good friends, whose wedding invitation picture is actually one I took of them! Yay!A quick teaser about tomorrow's post (which will recount today) is one word: Borscht.Ciao<3 Jules
** Second post today-decided to catch up instead of being outdated!**
I'm getting pretty nervous about being able to roll back this weekend bulge. First of all, yesterday's lunch was SUSHI, which is pretty hard to resist. Still, this plate had only about 500 calories (perfect!). But then...then....I went back (twice!!) for white rice and sauteed veggies. Why?!? Ugh, I decided to call lunch 800 cals, but it was probably 900. =(
This is especially dissapointing because as soon as I was done gorging myself, Boyfriend reminded me about our upcoming celebratory dinner out. Steak Night at Del Friscos. This is going to be Trouble (capital T).
Why the celebration? Well, I'm proud to say that Boyfriend is completing his third (last) year of residency and starting his gastroenterology fellowship. As you can probably imagine, between me (pathologist) and him (gastroenterologist) our conversations can get pretty yucky! I have to consciously stay away from that stuff on the blog!
After such a splurge-y lunch I figured I should at least pay a visit to the hot yoga studio. I ran one (10 minute) errand 4 blocks from the studio and walked outside only to be hit by a DELUGE of rain that left me (and my umbrella!) soaked through and through. Even worse, I was the very last person to get a mat spot in the class meaning that I had to take the hallway spot =( I was in a total huff but since the humidity was so high, the room was super hot and my spot still got me nice and sweaty!
There's absolutely nothing that I hate more than being dissatisfied with a class, especially when I pay for it! Waste of time and money and too few calories burned. Terrible feeling. What's your biggest fitness pet peeve?
Eventually, I came home, ate a light dinner of just snacks (obviously I wasn't hugely hungry after such an absurd lunch!) and made this
. It's kind of like my Summer Sauce
but with cilantro. I'm calling it a Cucumber/Cilantro/Yogurt dressing. It was unexciting. Definitely would have been better with basil and even better with mint! Cilantro was on hand though. Even more unfortunate: I had an idea that this would be good as a dressing and as a dip, but it came out too watery, so I came up with the genius
(sarcastic) idea of adding in a handful of oats and blending again (then refrigerating overnight). The texture was certainly better this morning, but the bready taste wasn't really ideal for a dip OR a dressing. Sigh.
1 medium sized cucumber (peeled and seeded)
1 small clove garlic (grated) *garlic powder will do fine*
1/2 cup Greek Yogurt (Fage 0%)
1 lemon (zest and juice)
S+P, lemon pepper
Blend all ingredients together. Taste test for seasoning.
I did take the dressing/dip to work this morning and it actually did provide a delicious, cool and refreshing taste to my boring lettuce/cuc/tomato salad I stole from work yesterday (pasta on top). Miscellaneous snacks brought this meal up to 500 cal.
Breakfast was another attempt at a Peaches and Cream Overnight Oat Jar
(not pictured, looks just like yesterday's) but I pureed the frozen peaches in the milk/yogurt base before adding the oatmeal. Verdict: frozen peaches are just not good for this thing. It was still tasty, just not great. Snacks with breakfast also came out to 500 cal.
My plan for the weekend weight rollback is the "Eat breakfast like a king (queen), lunch like a prince (princess) and breakfast like a pauper" mantra. 500 cal for breakfast and lunch, work out and then attempt less than 500 cal for dinner, putting me at less than 1200 cal net (I know this is technically "too little" but it does leave room for the snacks that find their way into my mouth seemingly of their own accord). To be perfectly honest, 500 cal breakfast and lunch is a LOT and people have actually made comments on how MUCH I eat. So if dinner is a little light, I don't feel that I'm denying myself anything.
It's also Day 7 of chocolate detox, which means I *can* but don't *have to* have chocolate tomorrow! Maybe I'll make some sort of chocolaty breakfast and hit two birds with one stone!
Finally, with the help of jarred jalapenos and fat free/reduced fat cheese I hope to create the jalapeno/cheesy corn bread muffins I've been going on about for ages.
P.S. You wouldn't believe what I'm craving right now: cauliflower! I wish I could justify buying some but there's just too much stuff in our fridge right now. Including beets! Borscht?
You may remember from last week that on a certain Wednesday, I ate so much chocolate that I literally made myself feel sick. I decided then to go on a chocolate detox of 7 chocolate-free days. I knew that going away for the weekend meant I'd be unlikely to keep to that so I was willing to give myself a pass. Wouldn't you know it? I barely missed chocolate and only fell off the wagon on Sunday when chocolate fudge was part of a wine tasting (and I took a few free samples besides). So this is now day 6 of the chocolate detox program. I'm missing it but it seems that when I consciously "give it up" for a few days, avoiding it is much easier than when I just say "I shouldn't have that chocolate because I don't need it". Maybe I'll make this a regular thing?
Anyway, at the moment I'm writing during a slow work period and hoping that I can make good work on the upcoming buffet lunch, especially since after a heavy weekend of eating, my stomach STILL feels kind of bad, as if it's scolding me for making it work so hard! I ran 7.5 miles yesterday despite a low level of cramping and am still waiting for the weekend weight to begin to drop. I'm also heading into work early for the next few days so I'm eating breakfast on site instead of waking up early to eat it at home.
Overnight Oats (click for a few variations) have been amazing for this kind of thing. I make them the night before in a jar, close the jar of watery, gooey mess, refrigerate overnight and in the morning wake up to a nice, thick, tasty and fragrant breakfast!
Today could have used a little help but I blame the fruit.
Peaches N' Cream Overnight Oats
1/3 cup oats
1/4 cup Fage 0% Greek Yogurt (just because I had to use it up)
1/4 cup Dannon Light N' Fit Vanilla Yogurt
1/2 cup skim milk
100g (2/3 cup?) frozen peaches (microwaved, cut into little slices)
1 tsp chia seeds
1.5 tsp vanilla
Topped with 1/2 cup puffed millet
Little jar, long spoon.
The consistency (made thicker by the Fage?) was amazing. Thick and creamy.
The millet gave it a nice porridge thickness once mixed in.
The peaches were eh....
Maybe if I had pureed them the flavor would have infused? Maybe if I had used the fresh stuff? I guess they were a little hard and just didn't give up their flavor as easily as blueberries/cranberries and didnt' have as strong a flavor as apples.
For the future I will A) use all vanilla yogurt
B) Vanilla Almond Breeze milk C) Will consider sweetener D) possibly puree the peaches
Either way, 300 calories of pure enjoyment (well usually, this could have been more dessert-y)
Wish me luck at lunch and hopefully my stomach will feel better so I don't hate the gym so much tonight!
This weekend was ahh-mazing! We took a long weekend and hiked, wined and dined our way through Ithaca and Cornell University, my old stomping grounds. =) =)
Here's a shot of me at Buttermilk Falls, which are possibly some of the most beautiful waterfalls I've ever seen (Niagra Falls doesn't stand a chance!).
We hiked around tons of other waterfalls...
Hiked (and even got lost a bit) in the woods...
And took a walk through my old college campus!
And we ate...so much!
We ordered a focaccia bread (this is an appetizer!) with roasted garlic and olive oil from one of my favorite places on the campus (in the end the meal was mediocre, but living in NYC for 6 years means my palate is spoiled forever!) and it was amazing and SO HUGE (I had 1 of these huge triangle slabs, dripping in oil and garlic). To the right is a shot of our last meal in Ithaca: a pate plate (chicken liver pate, smoked trout pate, chorizo sausage-all for BF, and a baguette and an absurdly good blood mary at the side. Not pictured: the huge short rib sandwich and the second baguette that we shared. This meal was so filling and huge that I didn't eat for the rest of the night, save for a carrot stick and a few sunflower seeds. Guilt? No! My stomach was just that full. I did happen to attempt to quantify the calories in the chicken liver pate and caloriecount.com and it came out to something like 30-60 cals/tbsp (depending on brand). Still, I think I had at least 4-5 tbsp of the stuff. If you look closely at the picture, you might notice the top of the 11 oclock ramekin in white...that's a nice 1/4" layer of fat! Scraaaape. Oh well, totally worth this coming week of veggies and running.
We also had a meal at another college fave that ended in these little 1/2 cup sized desserts. I ordered the banana cream pie (my absolute favorite dessert on earth) and Boyfriend had the cheesecake. I loved the perfect exact-right sized portions of these things. I felt totally guilt-free after eating them.
And we drank....
Ithaca and the Finger Lakes region has loads of wineries that all have inexpensive tastings and most even have really great little cafes and delis attached. So we visited at least 1 winery each day (and a cidery!) and did a lot of tastings! We also came back with enough wine to refill our wine-rack, leaving us fully stocked with wine for the next year!
Finally, so I don't end a recipe blog posting without at least discussing something I made, I'll quickly explain this picture. I "made" the most yummy wrap!
We spent 2 out of 3 lunches doing outdoor picnics (same as our indoor picnics, without the fancy ingredients). Processed cheese/turkey and wraps are our general choices. But this time....I put carrot sticks INTO my wrap! This gave the wrap some crunch and added a lot of satisfaction to my mouth! On a side note, these are LaTortilla Company wraps and they are 80-100 calories for a monster-sized wrap. They come in cool flavors too. Even Boyfriend admitted these tasted great. None of that lo-cal flavor stuff!
The damage? Considerable. 3lbs gained in 3 days! Ouch! That's ok, I've come to realize that with a little care and a lot of exercise, I am in control of at least 5 of the lbs I tend to gain and lose over the course of a week or two. So my fear of sliding back into chubbiness (brought back to sharp relief with my trip back to the scene of the college-15!) is held at bay. I think the worst part of it is that I can actually SEE the changes in the pictures from the weekend!! Is that crazy? Well perhaps.
P.S. I have no huge cooking plans in mind since I'll be having buffet lunch at work again (same plan: no pasta, no cheese, lots of salad, more protein/less bread) but may be making some cheesy corn muffins in the near future.
Ok, we're going back even further. I'm being very bad at posting chronologically since this dinner was actually made on last Friday!! But I felt like I should post some cooking-intensive recipes after all the throw-together meals recently. This throw-together meal has been one of our major staples since we became a couple.
Taco night actually became sort of a tradition when Boyfriend decided to make me dinner for the first time (this event did not repeat itself for many, many months afterwards). He chose tacos and I came to his apartment to find (sorry BF) greasy ground beef with store bought salsa, guac, shredded cheese and sour cream as the fixins. At the time I wasn't nearly at my goal weight and was fairly dismayed at his choice of dinner (though flattered by the gesture). Still, that taco night wound up being a really interactive meal and it was fun since we were making our own tacos while we talked and ate! We returned to it many times over the course of the past 1.5 yrs but the tradition did become healthified (Tacos a la Jules!)
Shown above are the Mango Shrimp Tacos that we threw together the night before we went to see Cirque.
To give you an accurate time frame: we defrosted the shrimp in the morning and I came home at 6pm. By that time Boyfriend had already chopped the mango (so lets call that 15 minutes). I poured 1 or 2 tbsp Honey Mustard Marinade on the shrimp and chopped half a jalapeno very finely. Opened a can of corn (about 1/2 cup) and tore off a bunch of cilantro leaves.
We microwaved a few fajita shells (80 cals each!) and put a container of arugula on the table.
After everything was chopped I threw the 10 minute marinated shrimp onto a pan and sauteed until they were opaque (4 min one side, 3 min other side?) and cut them into three pieces each.
Threw all the ingredients together in a bowl, squeezed some lemon juice over it and it all went on the table.
Taco: 80 calorie fajita shell, probably at least 4 medium sized shrimp, some pieces of mango, some corn, cilantro and as a base: arugula. We also put some spicy sauce we brought back from Peru on the taco shell before piling it on.
I only had 1 taco that night (you might recall the post that described the giant 10oz glass of wine I got served later that night and couldn't finish due to the light meal) but 2 tacos (at less than 400 cals total) would have been REALLY filling. And so tasty and refreshing. The perfect thing for summer.
Now that it actually is getting to be summer, I have a feeling taco nights will become much more common. Some of our previous taco night endeavors have included: cod/mango/cilantro (switching up any flaky white fish for the shrimp works really well), chicken/red bell pepper/mushroom on a bed of spinach, turkey sausage crumbles with shredded cheddar and sliced beef roast with zucchini, mushroom and red bell pepper. We've also been known to make omelet tacos =).
Today was Chocolate Detox Day #2 (walked by the candy basket all day! Took lollipops) and I'm feeling pretty good about it. I suppose once you actually feel sick from chocolate it loses some of it's appeal! I'm also packing for our hiking, dining and wining weekend but took a break to have a beer and a green papaya salad with a friend. Like I said, there's a possibility (although small) that there will be a weekend post, but for sure I wont be cooking anything!
As long as I'm making everyone nauseous, I may as well talk about another romantic dinner thing that has become something of a tradition. The indoor picnic!
This is actually something I've long been fond of as I've lived in many a rainy place (including Ithaca, NY and London, UK). This means that sometimes, the picnic plans get rained out but the produce has already been purchased, so the picnic moves indoors. Now, I plan indoor picnics and enjoy them year round, especially in winter, when indoors is the only way a picnic might happen.
We normally set this thing up on our coffee table and lounge while we eat but we had plenty to discuss, so table it was. Still the concept is the same, some fancy bread, some little finger-food sized meat, vegetables and cheese.
The only thing missing is the wine! But....the reason the wine is missing is that we're heading up to the Finger Lakes for some hiking/wining and dining and we both have alcohol related events this week, so we're trying to avoid it at home.
Here's my pride: this is my plate (looks a little crowded because I used a salad plate!) and I did NOT go back for seconds on aything but 1 piece of eggplant and zucchini! =) =)
Though, I did have dessert. I wound up putting a little Tasti-D-Lite (chocolate) on some microwaved frozen blueberries and it turned into almost a cold choco-blueberry soup. Soooo yummy!
Allllriighhttt, yesterday's chocolate debacle and a similar situation the day before has prompted me to begin a 7-day chocolate free existance. Unfortunately, our vacation falls directly in the middle of those 7 days, so I'm going to make an exception for Saturday, Sunday and Monday. I will also be within eyesight of Boyfriend during this time, and theoretically too ashamed to be eating such enormous quantities of chocolate. This morning I calmly walked by the big basket with chocolate candies (the same one that got me yesterday). Later in the afternoon, I snuck a Tootsie pop out of the thing, so I am still on track.
I wish I could have said the same for the stupid eggplant parm (cheese scraped off) and handful of pasta that I didn't stay away from (despite eating my perfectly healthy, nutritious and satisfying lunch salad). Oh well, guess the day-off from the gym will have to be postponed till tomorrow!
Finally, I'd like to introduce you to two super low calorie snacks (100 for spicy popcorn and 60 for the cucumber crackers) that I really enjoy. The popcorn is sprayed with "I can't believe it's not butter" zero calorie spray and then sprinkled liberally with cumin and sparingly with cayenne (paprika, garlic powder and any meat/poultry seasoning is also f un). The crackers are schmeared with fat free cream cheese and topped with cucumber slices (Fin Crisp). The Laughing Cow Light Cheese wedges might also be nice on this kind of thing.
Ok, I'm off, tonight will consist of gymming and then going out on the town with the Nurse who does what I can never do: Eat whatever she wants and remain absolutely drop dead gorgeous. =)
I have one more back-post to publish before I head to the Finger Lakes. I can see a situation where Boyfriend may want to study and I will perhaps go back to my old college library (Cornell has such beautiful libraries I almost WANT to take an hour over the weekend and do something in there!) and put up a quick post detailing our outdoor picnics and wine tastings =)
I looooveee the tall spoons! Totally worth $2/each.
I took this jar of butternut squash soup into work on Monday along with two slices of the olive bread loaf we snagged at the farmer's market last weekend.
Tuesday more of the same but I decided to slice up the bread and toast it in crouton form since I tore the bread up and dropped it in the jar anyway (see below)!
Actually, this batch of butternut squash soup is my first-ever attempt to work with this vegetable. I am so glad I started this blog because I've learned to work with soooo many new foods, including oatmeal, cauliflower, butternut squash, spaghetti squash and pears! Not to mention a renewed enthusiasm for eggplant and zucchini. I bolded butternut squash because the soup still needs work. But I'll post the working recipe for now and discuss future direction.
I cut the squash in half and cored out all the stringy/seedy middle.
**I reserved the seeds, dried them overnight and toasted them with a spray of olive oil, cayenne pepper and cumin, yum!!**
I baked this guy cut side down at 375 degrees for about 1 hour in a casserole dish with an inch of water. I sprinkled the top with salt before putting it in the water.
When I was able to easily stick a fork through the skin, I took the squash out of the oven and scooped out the insides using a metal spoon. I don't think it was as done as it should have been, which is what I'm hoping explains the very slightly bitter taste I got. I added 1 cup chicken stock, a pinch of salt, a lot of cinnamon, ginger and at the end, nutmeg (maybe the nutmeg did it?) I keep trying to like nutmeg, but always fail. I processed the squash into a puree.
Finally, I refrigerated the mixture overnight and in the morning added 1 cup Greek Yogurt (Fage total 0%) and blended again. Result: creamy light orange REALLY pretty soup. Taste? Respectable but could be better. Next time: will cook squash IN chicken broth and nix the nutmeg.
This made 2 servings at about 150 cal/serving. 2 full jars, meaning just under 2 cups per serving. This is a lot of soup, especially with the bread thrown in.
Lunch on Tuesday (looks a lot like Monday's huh?)
What I loooove about the olive bread (when not in soup) is that the olives add enough flavor to it that it doesn't need any add-on to be tasty. No need for butter, cheese, meat, veg etc etc (though Tuesday night's indoor picnic dinner did feature all of those things, minus butter-to be posted soon)
Finally, my newest cereal fave: Fiber-One 80 calorie Honey Squares. These are sooooo yummy at just 80 calories/cup!
've been putting 1/2 cup into my Overnight Blueberry Oatmeal Jar (much crunchier than puffed corn!) and taking 1/2 cup in a ziploc baggie to work as a "dessert" snack.
Time for current events: I had set my goals for our Wednesday conference (with free food) to take a big salad and then 1 sandwich half and no pasta. Well, they didn't have sandwiches, they had Italian food, which was actually easy to avoid. The salad this time was great with chickpeas, tomatoes and craisins (it's all in there, trust me). The dressing was some creamy stuff so I just gave it the barest drizzle. Also, I took a small piece of chicken parm (at 11 oclock there) but scraped off the cheese and about half the breading. I did get this little handful of pasta though. I was pretty proud of myself.
Then....there was this little half piece of tiramisu. Ok, permissible. Then...dooooom....I don't even know how it happened. A full 6 of those stupid little bite-sized Halloween candies (snickers, twix...) just popped into my mouth, as if on their own accord. Stupid stupid giant basket of candies right by the door of the clinic!! Ugh! That was 300 calories of pure nonsense that weren't even worthwhile. Who has had this issue before? Anyway, I finished up my night with 6 miles on the treadmill (grr, I was looking forward to a light workout)
and a very spare dinner of popcorn, pumpkin cake dessert
and a few little snacks and I have ended my day only about 100 calories over my goal NET 1200ish/day. I'm sure the scale will not be impressed tomorrow but then, I guess what I've learned through the blogging process is that I can go up a pound or two (or 5!) here and there but I can always get it back under control by being careful. Here's a bit of a personal tale, a reward (or a cruel joke?) for those who have reached this far into this entry. As someone who has lost a lot of weight and then watched it all come back pound by pound, I am consistently afraid that
every gained pound represents the first in a long slide of pounds back to my original weight. However, I've been keeping the weight I'm at now (a historic low) for about 6 months, give or take 2-3lbs. Still, I don't feel that I have a good sense of control when it comes to high calorie splurges and I take in a LOT of calories overall (usually approximately 1700-2000) for my height (5'2"). This leads to a LOT of exercise. Now, as much as I've said that I hate exercise, I have a lot of energy and it's obvious when I take a day off of the gym because I get edgy and jittery just from my own adrenaline. Unfortunately, I know that over time, my workouts will have to decrease in intensity and I hope that I can keep my calorie counts lower to compensate. I guess we'll see as I keep blogging!<3 Jules
No picture taken, but this morning I had a jar of Overnight Blueberry Oats (plus a little snack) and felt uncomfortably full. I am learning to REALLY respect these Overnight Oat Jars (and will therefore come up with a better picture soon!) and feel like next time I do it I wont even bother with the snack!
Ok, on to a recipe:
I'm not going to pretend this was a very recent meal. This one was made on Saturday night, but I'm only posting it now. There's no need to pretend that I cook every night!
Saturday night was rainy, gloomy, misty and altogether unpleasant. A perfect evening for a good, hearty meat and potatoes meal! Sadly, this was only really true for Boyfriend. Me? I had snacked my way through breakfast and lunch (had to work Saturday, snacks were my reward!) with the assumption that I would compensate with a bunch of calories burned at hot yoga. But....yoga was some sort of gentle nonsense and I felt like I accomplished nothing.
Still, I didn't want to deny Boyfriend aaannnddd, my mom had gotten me this cute little casserole-for-one bakeware. Actually I don't know, it seems a bit big for one, but it's not enough for two.
This is my version of Shepherd's Pie (the 1/4 piece was my share)
Substitute cauliflower for the potato top, substitute turkey meat for beer, a peppered panko crust for gravy!
It's a very photogenic meal =)
Clearly, it went over pretty well. It wasn't the least energy-intensive dish, but then, I wouldn't have made this guy on a weeknight!
Cauliflower: 275g (about 2 cups?) -75 cal
Shredded Cheese: 2 servings fat free cheddar, 1 serving mozarella (but I wound up taking a handful out because it seemed a bit much) - 160 cal
*Call it something a little less than 3/4 cup total*
2 spicy uncooked turkey sausages -300 cal
2 heaping tbsp corn and black bean salsa - 50 cal
Salt, black pepper to taste.
This really is only 5 ingredients, about 585 calories (probably less since I took away some cheese and reserved some mashed cauli)!
1) Remove casings from *uncooked* spicy turkey sausages and sautee on medium heat, breaking up the pieces with a spoon (yes, you can just use regular ground turkey meat and spice it up how you like-red pepper flakes, etc etc)
2) While the sausages are browning, steam the cauliflower (7-8 minutes?)
3) When the sausages are just browned, throw in 2 heaping tbsp of your favorite salsa (you can also use canned peas/carrots etc but I think the salsa adds a lot of moisture) and give it a mix.
4) Throw the steamed cauli into your food processor and add the cheese (and a little water/milk/chicken stock). Make sure to add some salt and black pepper at this step. The cheese will melt and produce a "mashed potato" consistency and a "cheesy mashed potato" taste!
5) Finally, begin to layer. Bottom layer: sausage with salsa. "Paint" or "slather" the cauli mash on top. Finally, sprinkle a nice healthy layer of panko bread crumbs on top (about 1/4 cup adds about 55 cals), but I think it's optional. Bake in a toaster oven in the little casserole dish (or oven) at 375 degrees until the top begins to brown.
Turns out there was too much cauli mash so that went right onto my plate and into my belly =)
Mmmm.... I love dinners that leave plenty of room for dessert. I'm assuming a quarter of the Shepherd's pie was just under 150 cal and this little bit of mash was a little over 50.
Personal notes: Tomorrow is free-lunch-at-work day again, so I have another chance to test my self control. I'm not sure what the situation will be but I hope this time there's a salad.
Goals: Nooooooo pasta! (The pasta they always have is COVERED in EVOO). If it's sandwiches, stick to 1 half or if 2, good healthy choices and leave half the bread. I'll be helpless against dessert, so I'm going to try to at least cut something in half. Salad. Lots of salad!
Last personal note: Took the Relentless! class again tonight and my upper body is reeling! I do a lot of running and yoga, but upper body work is something I rely on an instructor forcing on me! Ok, it's late and I want to go to enjoy the rest of my evening =)