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 =)