Brussels sprouts

Thankful Permission

No matter where you are on your weight loss journey–about to get started, just starting, struggling to stay motivated, getting close to goal weight, or trying to keep it off–big holidays are hard to resist! So much good food! Halloween candyThanksgiving turkey and mashed potatoes. Pumpkin pie. Christmas cookies and egg nog. What about a special New Year’s Eve dinner? The struggle is universal.

Instead of getting myself worked up about the holiday foods, or severely restricting my calories, this year I gave myself permission to enjoy the holiday and not stress about it. After all, I did okay at last year’s holiday: ate what I wanted in moderation and never felt like I missed out on something.

After skipping the gym for a week due to a nasty cold, I finally made it to the gym on Thanksgiving morning. I slept in and then went there around 10 and thankfully the big crowds I saw last year had already come and gone. I got to workout with some measure of peace! It was a hard workout. My heart rate was pretty high the whole time probably because of my sickness, I don’t think I’m 100% over the cold. Either way, I was still glad I got a sweat in!

This year we went to Michael’s mom’s house. I was bringing a veggie so I decided to make this brussels sprouts salad I found. It sounded delicious and easy to make. I also wanted something I can make ahead of time and take with me since there wouldn’t be room in the kitchen to cook. I asked the author of this recipe if it could be served cold and she said yes. Perfect!

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Cranberries and Pecans

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Category: calories, Dinner, Eating the Moment, Family, fitness, food, Food update, Holidays, Low Calorie Recipes, recipes, Thanksgiving

Servings: About 4 servings?


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons diced shallots
  • 1/2 bag Trader Joe's 10 oz shaved brussels sprouts
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • squeeze of lemon


  1. In a medium skillet preheat olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and shallots and saute for 2 minutes.
  2. Add the shaved brussels sprouts and toss until combined. Saute for another minute then season with red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper.
  3. Remove from heat and fold in cranberries and pecans. Squeeze with lemon juice and toss.
  4. Transfer to a serving dish and serve.



Nutrition Facts

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Cranberries and Pecans


Amount Per Serving
Calories About 100
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0
Saturated Fat 0
Trans Fat
Cholesterol 0
Sodium 0
Total Carbohydrate 0
Dietary Fiber 0
Vitamin A Vitamin C
Calcium Iron

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

I quadrupled the recipe to make enough for 10 people and I’m glad I did! It was a hit! Even the people that weren’t fans of Brussels sprouts liked the salad.

It was flavorful with the saltiness of the garlic, shallots and seasoning but the dried cranberries balanced out the flavors. The red pepper flakes gave the salad a nice bite!

We had a nice time at Michael’s mom’s house. Michael’s step-brother and step-sister were there as well as a few of their friends. Michael’s old roommate Shoe came with us, too. And brought some tasty wine to go with dinner.

We had all the traditional fare and I savored every bite.  I’ve always loved Thanksgiving and I had my favorites: mashed potatoes and stuffing! This year I did not have seconds! I was pretty  proud of myself. I ate good food, I felt satisfied and didn’t feel like I needed to keep eating (always the challenge on the holiday!).

Michael’s brother made apple pie from scratch (he’s really good at pie baking) and his sister made a pumpkin mousse pie as well. I had a tiny piece of both and felt satisfied and happy. Everything tasted so good!

After eating enough to fill our bellies and feel happy and sedated from the turkey, we played Mexican Train for a few hours! It’s becoming a holiday tradition. We played it last year at Christmas too. It’s a fun group game.

I was thankful that I got to talk to my grandma (she was celebrating at my aunt’s house) and my brother in Philly. Maybe next year my whole family can be in the same city and we can celebrate together. It was a nice day and Michael and I headed home and went immediately to bed. What a day!

I’m not beating myself up for eating more than I usually do. It’s one day out of many. I balanced the day out with healthy eating earlier in the day and exercise. Today I’m about to head to the pool to do some relaxing swimming to loosen up my sore muscles from yesterday’s weight workout. And I most definitely won’t be out shopping!!!

How was your holiday?  

What I Ate For Dinner

First order of business: announcing the giveaway winner! I picked a winner for a copy of Diane’s book, 150 Pounds Gone Forever: How I Lost Half My Size and You Can To. The winner is:

#14 – KATHIE!

Kathie- email me asap so I can get the book out to you.

Dinners are my favorite meal. I love trying new recipes, and also eating some of the same basic types of meals. It’s comforting to know how many calories my meal will be because dinner is usually a combination of protein + veggie + salad. Dinners change with the seasons. In the summer time, it’s more fresh produce from our garden and there’s lots of grilling involved. In the winter I tend to try out more recipes than in the summer time simply because of the busy factor.

Here is a week’s worth of dinners at home to give you an example of a standard week.


It was the kind of Monday where we were both tired and not in the mood to cook anything complicated. Blackened salmon with steamed broccoli, and a side salad. This is a good standby dinner because we always have salmon in the freezer.

It’s also a good low-calorie dinner. This runs about 500 calories.


I cannot remember the last time Michael and I made burgers out of ground beef. The only time we have ground beef is in a restaurant. Our usual burgers are turkey burgers. But it was such a gorgeous day out that we wanted to grill something.

I have to say, there is just something amazing about a ground beef burger from the grill. The flavors were outstanding, from fat of course, but delicious.

I had a few chips with my dinner and a beer, too.  Michael measured out 4 ounces of meat on the kitchen scale and topped it with a slice of Havarti. Delicious!


This dinner was out of the norm and completely bizarre, but it worked. I got home from the gym and Michael said nothing was defrosted. Ooops! He wanted to get a quickie meal from the grocery store but I suggested shrimp instead. Shrimp defrosts very quickly.

We cooked some spinach raviolis, topped them with the cooked shrimp and then added sauteed Brussels sprouts.

The flavors worked well together and dinner was around 500 calories total.


One of my favorite dinners was on the menu! Fajita salads. Why I love this dinner: it tastes great, it fills me up with the protein in the steak and the fiber in the beans, and I get lots of veggies on my plate.

This time was a little bit different; usually we have Michael’s amazing homemade guacamole with this salad and of course some chips. Doing that adds a ton of calories and make for a gut-bomb kind of dinner where I usually feel like I ate too much.

We skipped the chips and guacamole this time and I was pleasantly satisfied.  On the salad was the following: lettuce, black olives, jalapenos, cooked red peppers and onions, steak, salsa as dressing, black beans, steak and sour cream.


Fridays are long days for me. I am usually off to the pool right after work and don’t get home until fairly late. Michael is a sweetie and always has dinner planned and nearly ready when I walk in the door since I’m usually famished. It’s appreciated in so many ways! This time, I got home first. Michael was taking his friend Shoe to the airport so I made dinner for us after swimming.

I wanted to use up the red curry lentil soup that had been in the pantry far too long, yet it was only 140 calories a serving. I needed more than that! I decided to use it as a base and sauteed some carrots and onions and added that to the soup. It went together really well but I wished that I’d added chicken or rice to it. Next time.

We had the leftover sourdough bread from the night we had grilled cheese as a side with the soup. The soup was really tasty, with a hint of ginger and cinnamon. It was a tad on the sweet side and I bet chicken would really balance that out.


It’s been months since Michael and I did a homemade pizza night! Michael got it started and I helped with the toppings. This time we used pepperoni, black olives, fresh Roma tomatoes and mozzarella cheese.

It tasted great and it was nice to have it again after so long.


Pork chop night! I have become a fan of pork chops, even though I thought pork was bland for so long. What changed it? Proper seasoning (thank you Michael) and combining the pork chops with my new favorite veggie: Brussels sprouts.

And I admit it, there might have been a teeny bit of bacon in that sautee of sprouts. But in my defense, it was only one slice of bacon. So we each had 4 ounces of boneless pork chops seasoned with steak seasoning from Costco. It’s a good seasoning for most meats–basically just salt and pepper.

I also had a spinach salad with some croutons, crumbled feta cheese, pepper, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. This has quickly become one of our “staple” dinners because it’s easy and healthy and fairly low in calories.

QUESTION: What are some examples of a typical dinner in your house?