Jun 032015
 

…And back on the plan!

Honestly I didn’t do too bad on my vacation in Arizona. We were doing a LOT of walking the entire time and I still worked out. I used the hotel gym twice, I swam once and we went for a hike. Most days we didn’t eat three meals. Which is typical when I’m on vacation. I usually just eat breakfast and dinner, or brunch and a snack.

I tried to make good choices when we did eat out, choosing vegetables and salads whenever possible. I knew that the portions would be much bigger than what I was used to. I also knew that a lot of my calories would be coming from booze. I tried to limit that as well to 3 glasses of whatever it was for the day.

When I got back I weighed myself. I was up about 1.5 pounds. Which was disappointing for sure, but I’m not beating myself up because I knew that I might gain some back on vacation. Anyways, I’m back at it and hopefully will make some progress soon.

Day One

Breakfast: 2 fried eggs, piece of toast with jalapeno jam and coffee with creamer. Calories: 345

Snack: Sliced pear. Calories: 57

Lunch: Applesauce, 1 ham and cheese wrap and 1 turkey and cheese wrap with a little mayo and mustard, spinach and kale and Craisins. No bread (just wrapped everything up in the meat). Two mini Tootsie rolls. Calories: 255

Snack: Guacamole and celery for pre-gym snack. Calories: 109

Dinner: Brussels Sprouts, baked lemon and dill salmon, some tortilla chips (I was craving SALT!). Calories: 584

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Dessert: 2 small pieces of chocolate. Calories: 180

Fitness: Back at the gym. Weight lifting, PT exercises, ran on the treadmill, also did a lot of walking on my breaks at work.

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It felt REALLY good to get back into the routine right after vacation. It also felt good to eat fruits and veggies!

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Day Two

Breakfast: 2 fried eggs, piece of toast with jalapeno jam and coffee with creamer. Calories: 345

Snack: Applesauce. Calories: 50

Lunch: Lentil and Roasted Red Pepper soup. There was a potluck at work for two retirements so I munched on some fruit and crackers and tried not to partake in the cake and other junk (that look REALLY tasty). Calories: Around 279

Snack: I ended up having a little bite of some potluck treats. Calories: about 100

Dinner: I baked some tilapia and topped it with mango peach salsa, steamed some green beans and had rice. Dinner was delicious! Calories: 448

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Dessert: Strawberries and some chocolate. Calories: 142

Despite eating some potluck munchies, I did really well. It was a rest day so only walking for me.

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Day Three

Breakfast: 2 fried eggs with hot sauce, English muffin toasted with cinnamon and Splenda, unsweetened iced tea and coffee with creamer. Calories: 338

Snack: Baby carrots and a Laughing Cow Swiss cheese wedge. Calories: 52

Lunch: Sliced apple wrapped in cheese and ham and turkey.  I also had some cashews. Calories: 294

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Snack: Plain Greek yogurt with sliced strawberries and a tootsie roll. Calories: 164

Dinner: Michael made burgers. I had mine on a toasted sandwich thin with the light Sargento cheese slice, a little bit of mayo, mustard, lettuce and pickles. I also had some Trader Joe’s tots. Plus 2 glasses of wine. Calories: 892

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Dessert: Strawberries and a piece of chocolate. Calories: 118

Fitness: Swim! Swam 2000 yards in 45 minutes. Burned around 300. Also did some walking during my lunch break and we walked Bella after dinner.

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I’d call this day a fail. I could have skipped the tots and saved myself 200 calories. But I wanted them. I could have stuck with 1 glass of wine but I wanted the second. I struggled. Sure I didn’t go too crazy over my calories but…I still did. :(

Day Four

Breakfast: I sauteed some chopped broccoli in veggie broth, let the broth evaporate and then scrambled 2 eggs into them with green onion. Then I topped it with hot sauce and had cottage cheese with it. It was really delicious! Coffee with creamer and EmergenC drink. Calories: 348

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Lunch: Ham and cheese sandwich on a sandwich thin. Goldfish crackers. Calories: 418

Snack: Luna protein bar. Calories: 90

Dinner: Papa Murphy’s DeLite pizza with a salad and wine. Calories: 910

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Dessert: Strawberries and chocolate. Calories: 118

Fitness: Went for a hike and burned 867 calories!

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Day Five

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with spicy pork sausage in a small corn tortilla with cottage cheese and hot sauce. Unsweetened iced tea and coffee with creamer. Calories: 392

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Lunch: Roasted red pepper and lentil vegetable soup with some goldfish crackers. Calories: 337

Dinner: We had a garden party and two couples came over. They each brought a salad (a homemade Caesar salad with a sliced egg on top and a yummy kale salad). I did baked beans and Michael grilled up chicken drumsticks with BBQ sauce. There was some cider shared, some wine drunk…yeah I overdid it. Calories: 1146

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Dessert: A friend brought over angel food cake (I sliced a small piece) and strawberries and it was a much healthier and lower calorie option for dessert. It was perfect! Calories: 172

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Fitness: Went to the gym. Warmed up on the spin bike, then did weights followed by the elliptical. Also did some gardening and took Bella for a walk. It was a very active day and my body felt tired and sore from the busy weekend and the hike on Saturday!

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I went over my calories. Dinner was pretty healthy but it was the portions and the liquid calories that got me!

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Day Six

Breakfast: Toasted English muffin with cinnamon and splenda, Chocolate whey protein shake, coffee with creamer. Calories: 298

Snack: Unsweetened applesauce. Calories: 50

Lunch: Leftover rice, kale salad and some chips.  Calories: 281

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Snack: I didn’t eat enough protein this day I think. I was kind of hungry most of the day. For a snack I had some Buddha Skinny Tea. Calories: 0

Dinner: Leftover chicken drumstricks, steamed green beans, cottage cheese and some crackers (not shown) while dinner was cooking. Calories: 418

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Dessert: Strawberries and some chocolate. Calories: 212

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Day Seven

Breakfast: 2 fried eggs, English muffin with cinnamon and splenda, unsweetened iced tea, coffee with creamer. Calories: 338

Snack: Applesauce. Calories: 50

Lunch: Miso soup with green onions and steamed Chicken Shu Mai dumplings. Calories: 205

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Snack: Guacamole and baby carrots. Calories: 109

Dinner: Steamed broccoli with a little Goddess dressing, a bratwurst with mustard and sauerkraut, quinoa. Calories: 693

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Dessert: Strawberries and some chocolate. Calories: 140

Fitness: Weight lifting, PT exercises and the elliptical at the gym.

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Here are my stats for the day:

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It was a pretty good day all in all. I’m going to weigh myself next week and keep doing what I’m doing and hopefully I’ll see some of the vacation weight gone.

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Feb 242015
 

veggies

Lately I’ve been craving vegetables like crazy. I’ve always been a fan of veggies but for some reason I recently started craving them. I made a switch in my diet and started incorporating more veggies in my diet to satisfy that craving and I found that I was really enjoying roasted vegetables for lunch during the week.

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I’ve been rotating what I roast. For awhile I was doing carrots, onions, broccoli and pre-chopped butternut squash from Trader Joe’s. Then I did carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli and onions. I don’t know why it took me so long to roast these babies. They are so good! I use a little bit of olive oil or the spray-on coconut oil from Trader Joe’s, then use salt, pepper and the Costco no-salt seasoning. That’s about it! And they come out delicious, perfectly cooked (although the sweet potatoes are often a little softer than the rest of the veggies).

This has been a base for my lunches at work lately. I love it! I tried it with some rice; for a few days I added some half a cooked spicy bratwurst (splitting one brat between two lunches); I also tried adding some cooked cubed chicken. All of those variations worked well and kept me fairly full for the rest of the afternoon.

One of the problems with the frozen meals (Lean Cuisines, etc) was that I would be hungry again in 1-2 hours after eating lunch. Then I’d start snacking on the candy at work. I was sabotaging myself by eating processed food that wasn’t filling, wasn’t enough calories and just made me hungry.

A tip that I learned a long time ago was to spend 1 hour doing food prep after grocery shopping. I am so glad I adopted this habit. I get home from the store and I take the time to chop the vegetables and on Sunday nights Michael and I cook up various meats (like pork sausage for breakfasts for the week, chicken breasts for lunches, etc). It makes it so much easier to make a good choice when looking to make something to eat quickly.

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One night Michael and I went out for a date night dinner to Laughing Planet. It’s a great restaurant, especially if you have kids. They have tons of really healthy options, a rotating menu and they post the nutritional information for the meals. You also have the option to put your burrito in a bowl to make it low-carb.

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I ended up ordering the daily special. It was called the “Winter’s Bounty Bowl.” It was pulled pork with Korean BBQ sauce, spinach, roasted Brussels sprouts on top of a butternut squash puree. Then it was topped with an apple, ginger and mango relish. It was SO good! And it was really filling. I am totally going to try and recreate this recipe at home soon!

Back to lunches…I’ve been trying to look for some recipes and ideas for other lunch options. I’ve collected a few. Here is one:

Carrot Coconut Curry Soup

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Calories per serving: 204

From: http://www.acouplecooks.com/2014/09/carrot-coconut-curry-soup/

Ingredients

  • 1 small onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 4 cups chopped carrots
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2½ cups vegetable broth
  • 14-ounce can coconut milk (full fat)
  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Cilantro, lime wedges, and red pepper flakes (to garnish)

Instructions

  1. Dice the onion. Peel and mince 1 tablespoon ginger. Peel and chop 4 cups carrots.
  2. In a medium stockpot, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 6 to 7 minutes.
  3. Add the ginger, carrots, and 2½ cups vegetable broth, and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer; cover and cook until carrots are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. When the carrots are soft, carefully blend with an immersion blender (or in a blender) until the carrots are smooth.
  5. Return the carrot mixture to the pot and add 1 can coconut milk and 2 tablespoons red curry paste. Stir until well blended. Simmer gently for 10 minutes. Add about ½ teaspoon kosher salt, then taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
  6. Serve with chopped cilantro, lime wedges, and red pepper flakes if desired.
  7. Notes: Slightly adapted from Easy Gourmet by Stephanie Le
http://www.110pounds.com/?p=45882

I recently had the Thai carrot soup at Whole Foods from their soup/salad bar and it was OMG AMAZING. I immediately tried to find the recipe because I had to make it myself. I didn’t find one specifically from Whole Foods but I found a bunch of options and settled on this one to try first. It was super easy to make and didn’t have a ton of ingredients. The only thing I changed: I used the Light Coconut Milk instead of the full fat like the recipe said. It’s what I had on hand and honestly,  I didn’t want the extra calories from the full-fat version.

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One thing I’ve learned making Asian dishes–never add extra salt. A lot of recipes call for a pinch or two of salt (sometimes more). But if you’re using jars of curry paste, or chili paste, or other Asian ingredients from a can/jar/package–IT ALREADY HAS SALT! And sometimes a lot of it. I learned that lesson the hard way and now I almost never add salt to recipes I make when using these ingredients. It’s just not necessary.

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I cooked everything up and let it simmer for awhile and then used my immersion blender to get the soup creamy. I love that blender! It’s so easy to use and it works really well. Plus I don’t have to mess with pouring things into a blender and then spilling it all over the place. So much cleaner and easier. I blended up the carrot mixture until it was the consistency of baby food then I added the curry paste and coconut milk.

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The one downside of the immersion blender–I did get splattered a few times when I used the fast speed. Ooops! After everything was all mixed in I let it simmer for 10 minutes and then tasted it. It needed a little something…I added a pinch of Splenda and then tasted it again. I added one more pinch of Splenda and then it was perfect. I hadn’t expected having to add sweetener because carrots are already so sweet but the soup was just a tad on the bitter side. The Splenda fixed that right up and the soup was perfect!

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I got 5 GENEROUS servings out of this recipe instead of 4, which made the calories more like 165 calories instead of 200+. This could have easily been 6 servings for dinner–with maybe some crunchy French bread and a salad. The soup was creamy and the texture was perfect. It was also surprisingly spicy!

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I loved the soup. It was SO CLOSE to the Whole Foods recipe. I’m not sure where it’s different. I need to have the WF version again. I’m sure they used fresh ginger (I used powdered) and they probably used the full fat coconut milk. Maybe those small changes made the difference? I’m not sure but I loved my version. It was tasty and filling, low in calories and spicy!  Yum! Yum! I also had a bunch of leftovers for work lunches. Perfect!

What are your favorite veggie recipes?

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