Lisa Eirene

About Lisa Eirene Lisa lost 110 pounds through calorie counting and exercise. She swims, bikes, runs, hikes and is enjoying life in Portland, Oregon. Her weight loss story has been featured in First Magazine, Yahoo Health, Woman's Day and

Jan 282015

Spaghetti squash is one of my new favorite meals in our rotation. We had it a few years ago in place of spaghetti noodles and then for some reason, didn’t eat it again for a long time. The last 6 months or so we’ve been having spaghetti squash on a regular basis. At least twice a month.

The traditional method we’ve been doing was using it in place of noodles and having marinara sauce and meatballs. It’s been a tasty, filling meal for not a lot of calories. Recently I wanted to try a new recipe I found and I had a spaghetti squash already so I gave it a try. Here is the recipe:

Garlicky Broccoli and Spaghetti Squash

Prep Time: 35 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes

Yield: 3-4 servings

Calories per serving: Around 250 calories



  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1 head broccoli, washed at cut into medium florets
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • EVOO
  • 1 cup stock (veg or chicken)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (sharp cheddar or parmesan)


  1. To cook squash:
  2. Preheat oven to 350.
  3. Cut squash in to quarters (lengthwise and then width)
  4. Place in large pan filled with 1/2 inch water, cut side up (don’t want domes)
  5. Cook 35-40 mins
  6. Let rest until it is cool enough to handle, then shred in to a large bowl.
  7. Season with S&P and drizzle with olive oil.
  8. Top with your choice of cheese, and mix in so that cheese begins to melt (If squash isn’t hot anymore, just give it all a good turn in the microwave).
  9. To cook Broccoli
  10. Meanwhile, in a large pan coated with olive oil, saute garlic over medium-high heat for about 1 min stirring continuously.
  11. Add broccoli and saute for 3 mins stirring constantly, making sure not to burn garlic.
  12. Add 1 cup stock and continue to saute over medium heat until broccoli is tender and most of liquid is absorbed. (About 10-12 more mins)
  13. Season broccoli with S&P.
  14. Serve broccoli over a bowl of the spaghetti squash and enjoy!

It sounded amazing to me. I love garlic. The more the better. This was a new method of cooking broccoli for me and I really enjoyed it. I did change the recipe a tad because I though the garlic would burn if I cooked it first. Instead I cooked the broccoli first, then added the garlic, then the chicken broth. I cooked it down while the squash was baking.

I loved this broccoli! It was SO good! The garlic was perfect and everything tasted so great. I baked the squash with olive oil, salt, pepper, and the no-salt Costco seasoning. Because of this I didn’t need to add salt and pepper to the broccoli.


Michael baked two chicken breasts (just seasoned with salt and pepper) to go with the squash and that was a good call because the dinner is super low in calories. I chopped up the baked chicken and tossed the “noodles” with freshly grated parmesan cheese. Really, the calories in this dish come from the cheese I think. We split a chicken breast.


The dinner itself is less than 400 calories total. It’s a super low calorie, super healthy dinner and I felt satisfied and full. I didn’t feel like I was deprived because it was low in calories. This is one of my favorite new recipes we’ve tried lately and I will be making this dish on a regular basis. It can be vegetarian, or with chicken and I think shrimp would also work really well with this recipe. I can’t wait to make it again!

Jan 272015

My goal for 2015 was to read 140 books. That’s about two books a week or so. That’s about on par of what I typically read. Some of these books I read in December but a few are from this month so I am already on track with my goal!

I read a lot of fiction. Mystery and thriller type books are my favorite genre for sure. As a teen I could not get enough of the horror books. I also like nonfiction, too, despite the majority of the books I post about being mysteries. I have a few nonfiction books on my “to read” list and will be reading those next.

Here are a few of my favorites in the last month or two:

1. Abandon by Blake Crouch

This is the same author that wrote the Wayward Pines trilogy (which was REALLY good if you’re looking for an intriguing series to check out), which will soon be a TV show. I really enjoyed that series and wanted to read more by this author. I had the opportunity to read this particular book for free through Amazon Prime.

I LOVE this type of book…I don’t even know how to categorize it–mystery? Horror? Adventure with some paranormal aspects to it? It reminded me a bit of one of my favorite books–Thunderhead. In Abandon, a group of people get a special permit to visit an abandoned mining town high up in the mountains in Colorado that is near impossible to get to. It’s a professor, a journalist, two paranormal scientists and their guides. They traverse difficult landscapes on llamas to get to this town that was abandoned mysteriously over 100 years ago. Then everything goes wrong, of course. The book is told in both flashbacks to the 1800’s townspeople and the current day group trying to explore the town. There were some really gripping, exciting, horrifying elements to this book and it kept me on the edge of my seat. The ending was a little weak, I felt like maybe the author didn’t know how to finish it–but that didn’t ruin the rest of the book for me.


2. Run by Blake Crouch

Another free read from Amazon Prime for me. I read it right after Abandon because I just wanted to read more from this author! Where do I start? This book was a wild ride from beginning to end. Heart pumping action.

I would describe this book as a combination of The Road and how I imagine The Walking Dead to start–the downfall, essentially. No, this isn’t a zombie book, but it’s a book about society completely breaking down and what one family does to survive. I love survival type stories like this. I constantly think, what would I do in this situation? And I also constantly remind myself that I need to take some basic survival classes! lol

The “cause” of this downfall was unique and fascinating and I bought it. The character’s fear felt real. The panic and desperation jumped off the pages. It was a great book. My one complaint is that the book starts in the “future” (or present day) with an unknown character and then the end of the book goes back to that time period and character (revealing who it really is) but by the end of the book I had completely forgotten that first chapter and how the book started and was so wrapped up in the survival story I was confused. Then I remembered. The ending fits but it was abrupt.

This book was amazing. I was impressed beginning to end and felt like it was a solid book–and would be a great movie.

0285 Crouch_RUN_10

3. Moonlight Mile by Dennis Lehane

The last book in this series! I hope he’s writing more because I love the characters. This book takes place in more recent times, while the earlier books in the series took place in the late 80’s and early 90’s. The main characters have grown up a lot and their lives have changed drastically.

The story brings back a character from an earlier book, Amanda McCready (the 4 year old girl that was kidnapped) but now she’s 17 years old and missing again. I LOVED the ending. It was so good and things wrapped up nicely. The sad part? It kind of felt like the end, too. I don’t know that there will be any more books in this series. It felt like a firm ending…

4. Ice Limit by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

I’ve been a huge fan of these authors for a long time. But apparently I missed a bunch of their books! It was before I religiously used Goodreads and kept track of what I read so I bypassed several of their novels thinking I’d already read them but I hadn’t. This was one of them. It was a page-turner! Suspense from beginning to end. The story was an adventure story–kind of a cross between Indiana Jones and a book about explorers to a new land. I haven’t read many maritime adventure/survival stories and this was a great one that made me want to read more in this genre. I liked the characters, I was excited to finish the book and wanted to read more.

5. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

I didn’t really know what to expect with this book and had little knowledge of what it was about. At first it feels like chick lit; the story of several middle aged women who are friends because their kids are in the same kindergarten class. But as the story unfolds you realize it’s so much more. The way the author told the story was fantastic. The layers peeled back bit by bit and you suddenly realize there was so much more going on in the story. On the surface you think the book is about childhood bullying. At one point another mother starts a petition to get rid of one 5 year old who was deemed the bully of her kid. Reading this you get angry at this woman and angry at how the lemmings surrounding her follow suit. You realize that even as adults, you never really escape that snobby clique-y world that is school…The end of the book was CRAZY. It was such a good read and it had me hooked. It ended exactly the way I would have wanted it to end. GREAT READ!!


6. Those Who Wish Me Dead by Michael Koryta

This book makes my top 10 books this year for sure. From beginning to end this book was fantastic. It was an easy, fast read and I loved the characters. I wanted them all to win in the end. The bad guys were good bad guys and you hated them. The heroes of the story (and there were a few) were so well written and REAL. The story was fascinating, exciting, on the edge of your seat fun. LOVED THIS BOOK. Cannot recommend it enough!


7. Abandoned: A Thriller by Cody McFadyen

I picked this book up by random at the library and was happy I did! Although, I later discovered that this was book 4 of a series! Dammit! I hate when that happens. However, it works as a stand alone book and I never felt confused or like I missed out not having read the first three in the series (and will be reading the other books soon).  I started reading the book and when I thought maybe there were previous books I checked it out on Goodreads and sure enough, this was book 4 AND this book had a lot of mixed reviews. As I kept reading, however, I found that I really loved the characters and how they interacted with each other. The story was new and compelling. It felt original and it was exciting. It kept me guessing! I enjoyed this book a lot and would recommend it to anyone looking for a thriller.


Do you have a reading goal for 2015? Have you read any good books lately?