Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A 5 minute Lunch Idea and Under 500 Calorie Dinner!

So I was a slacker last night. I didn't prepare a lunch a head of time, so I knew I needed to come up with something quick and healthy. I went grocery shopping this weekend so buying a $7-10 salad for lunch is not an option since I've got a ton of food at home. So this morning after I got home from my work out I give myself about 30 minutes to prepare and eat breakfast before I need to hit the shower and get ready for my work that only gave me about 5 minutes to throw something together for lunch out of what I had lying around.

So grabbing things hastily here's what I came up with: Cod fillet with spinach and squash.

Here's what you need:

*Frozen single wrapped fillet of cod (4-5oz)
*Your favorite spice or a seafood spice
*Olive oil
*Ziploc medium sized steamer bag for the microwave (hopefully you have access at your job!)

*Frozen veges (cook in a separate container unless you want your veges to taste like fish)

So all I had to do was throw the filled of cod in the steamer bag, cut a lemon in half add one slice to the bag and squeeze in some of the juice, drizzle a little bit of olive oil, throw in some seasoning and shake...viola you've got a marinade going til lunch hour.

Then I grabbed some frozen vegetables I had lying around and placed them in a separate container.

For a healthy carb to go with my lunch I already had some of my winter squash quinoa salad left over so I have a well rounded meal of a protein/vege/healthy carb. If you don't have a left over lying around a slice of wheat bread or maybe even consider a half of a sweet potato (easy to cook in the microwave as well).

Nutrition information for this lunch:
*40z Cod Fillet: 119 Calories
*Yellow Squash and Zucchini: 2 cup serving = 25 calories. I didn't have that much left in my freezer so my serving is probably only 1 cup...but seriously you can fill your plate up with these veges so you don't go hungry and not do damage to your diet.
*Spinach:1 cup = 7 calories!!
*Quinoa Salad: one serving = 293 calories (following the recipe I have)

Totals: 444 Calories (and it's going to be one filling nutritious meal!)

If you decide to try this meal with a sweet potato on the side, a 4oz. portion is only 103 that's an even healthier option. All nutrition information for this meal is from

On to dinner!

So I have left over butternut squash from the other day that needs to get eaten up! And when I was looking for soup recipes for the last post I found this delish sounding recipe for a hearty dinner

Roast Chicken with Potatoes and Butternut Squash

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: about 3 ounces chicken and about 3/4 cup vegetables) TSP Note: Obviously if you have a big family to feed prepare a larger bird and more veges so there's more to go around...but 3oz is a proper portion size for a serving of chicken.

2 tablespoons minced garlic, divided
1 teaspoon salt, divided
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1/2 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
1 (3 1/2-pound) roasting chicken
Cooking spray
12 ounces red potatoes, cut into wedges
1 1/2 cups cubed peeled butternut squash (about 8 ounces)
2 tablespoons butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 400.

2. Combine 1 1/2 tablespoons garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and sage in a small bowl. Remove and discard giblets and neck from chicken. Starting at neck cavity, loosen skin from breast and drumsticks by inserting fingers, gently pushing between skin and meat. Lift wing tips up and over back; tuck under chicken. Rub garlic mixture under loosened skin. Place chicken, breast side up, on rack of a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Place rack in broiler pan.

3. Combine potatoes, squash, butter, 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Arrange vegetable mixture around chicken. Bake at 400 for 1 hour or until a thermometer inserted into meaty part of thigh registers 165. Let stand 10 minutes. Discard skin.

Nutrition Information:
CALORIES 399 ; FAT 12.1g (sat 5g,mono 3.2g,poly 1.7g); CHOLESTEROL 147mg; CALCIUM 77mg; CARBOHYDRATE 25.9g; SODIUM 791mg; PROTEIN 43.8g; FIBER 3.4g; IRON 3.5mg
So I must make this tonight or tomorrow. Tonight might need to whip up something quick again though. I have a dentist appointment...I'm getting my last set of wires for my braces which means I'm reaching the home stretch...which means I'm one step closer to not resembling a teenager and being carded all the time.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Healthy Soup Recipes!

Ok so I totally meant to post my attempt at cooking last night to share a healthy recipe... I made a winter squash and quinoa salad. (read: side dish) to go with my turkey and the end it didn't taste as good as it sounded on paper. It took me forever to make it too. Trust me, peeling and cutting up a butternut squash is a work out! The quinoa needed to soak, veges to be chopped and baked for 55 minutes in the oven.

I took pictures of the entire cooking process and I was so excited to share in the end but after the first taste I was like...meh. So I'm not going to share. I found some recipes that sound tastier that I'm going to attempt...and I think the best use for a butternut squash is in soup. I made butternut squash soup for the family as our Christmas day lunch and it was delish. But I found a recipe online that is healthier than the one I followed.

So with out further ado...

It's Healthy Soup Recipe time!

In case you haven't noticed it's cold out and most of the country is covered in snow or ice. Even better with soups there always seems to be left overs so there always plenty to share with a group or you'll end up saving money by eating left overs and not buying lunch out during the work week. I was kind of afraid of cooking soup the first time I tried it because I had this idea in my head that it would take for EVER...but really some of them can be put together pretty quickly and the time you put into it is worth it in the end because, trust me these will taste much better and be lower in sodium than the canned crap at the grocery store. I also love that you can get a little creative with soup by adding/substituting different ingredients for ones you might like better or play around with the spices to get it to taste juuuuust right for your palette. It can be a lot of fun and I feel like I (a person who is mostly allergic to the kitchen) can actually sort of cook!

Enchilada Chicken soup

Each serving (1 cup [8oz]) - 105 calories, 1.75 g fat, 641 sodium, 12.5 carbs, 2 g fiber, 4 sugars, 11 g protein.

*3 cups fat-free chicken broth (go for the low-sodium broth)
*1 1/4 cups finely chopped celery
*1/2 cup diced onion
*3 cups green enchilada sauce (2 cans)
*1 15-0z can pure pumpkin
*10 oz cooked boneless skinless chicken breast, chopped or shredded
optional - dash of hot sauce

Directions - In a large pot, bring broth to a boil, add celery and onion and simmer for about 5 minutes, until slightly tender. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for another 10 minutes. Optional: Serve with fat-free cheese or crushed baked tortilla chips on top.

So this is just the basics for this recipe, I think this one should call for more veges ie. fresh peppers would definitely taste awesome. Also, make this soup vegetarian by using vege based broth and substitute the chicken for beans. Maybe try black beans or pinto. (this will change some of the nutritional information but probably not by much)

Minestrone Soup

1 cup 105 calories, 0.5 g fat, 512 g sodium, 19.5 g carbs, 4.5 g fiber, 4 g sugar, 5 g protein.

*Two 14-0z can of fat-free chicken or veg. broth
*Two 14.5 cans diced tomatoes, drained
*One 15 oz can cannellini beans drained and rinsed
*One 10 oz package frozen spinach
*1 packed mixed frozen vegetables
*1 cup uncooked whole-wheat-blend rotini or penne pasta (substitute with different grain for those who are gluten free)
*1 TBs dried minced onion
*2 tsp chopped garlic
*1 tsp Italian seasoning
*1 bay leaf
*Salt & pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a large pot, add 1 cup water to all, stir and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes. Don’t forget to pair this with a good lean protein for a complete meal.

Butternut Squash Soup!
mm mm good!

Spicy fresh ginger complements the sweet roasted winter squash and shallots in this easy recipe. Serve with a grilled cheese or turkey sandwich for a simple dinner.

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 2/3 cup soup and 1 teaspoon chives)
Nutritional Information: Calories: 112 (20% from fat)Fat: 2.5g (sat 0.4g,mono 1.7g,poly 0.3g) Protein:3.3g Carbohydrate:22.4g Fiber:3.6g Cholesterol:0.0mg Iron:1.6mg Sodium:266mg Calcium: 84mg

* 4 cups (1-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 4 large shallots, peeled and halved
* 1 (1/2-inch) piece peeled fresh ginger, thinly sliced (when I made this I just used ground ginger that you can get in any spice aisle)
* 2 1/2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth (or vege broth)
* 2 tablespoons (1-inch) slices fresh chives
* Cracked black pepper (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 375°.

2. Combine first 5 ingredients in a roasting pan or jelly-roll pan; toss well. Bake at 375° for 50 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Cool 10 minutes.

3. Place half of squash mixture and half of broth in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Pour into a large saucepan. Repeat procedure with remaining squash mixture and broth. Cook over medium heat 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Top with chives and pepper, if desired.

Ok, now this recipe is off of When I made the soup I just combined the squash, onion, broth, ginger, pepper and a few sprigs of fresh thyme in a dutch over (ie. Large pot) and simmered until the squash was soft (you should be able to pierce it with a fork easily like when you boil potatoes). There's really no need to bake this in the oven you can cook it all on the stove top. Make sure that the soup is well blended it should be creamy.

If you really want to add a dallop of flavor to this creamy dish ad a drop of creme fraiche (2tbsp =110 cal. so cut that in half and only use a *tiny* drop a little bit packs a lot of flavor) and I top mine with more ground ginger. Either way it's a delicious satisfying soup on a cold day.

Hmmm... Delicious and satisfying... Kinda like looking at RPattz...

but he's even better... he's calorie free :)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Sometimes Things Are Too Tough to Blog About...

If you follow this blog you may have noticed that I took a bit of a hiatus...I actually took the blog down for a while with every intention of deleting it, but I sat on that idea for a couple months first. My last post was made on Oct. 16th. The day I ran my first half marathon. Two days later on Oct. 18th my grandfather passed away.

On Oct 15th my Dad had said to me that I needed to visit, that my Poppop had taken a turn for the worst and he might not be with us much longer. I had known he was sick earlier in the week but I didn't think it was that bad. He had been to the hospital a time or two in the previous years but, like he always was, my Poppop seemed to come out strong and chug along stoically as always with a Manhattan in one hand and occasionally a cigar in the other. I left work early to visit him that Friday and my Dad was right. I wasn't prepared to see my lovable Poppop struggling for breath, unable to open his eyes, eat food or even sit up. He still held our hands though and he still wanted my Mommom, his wife of 63 years, by his side. He knew when she wasn't there and that made him restless.

When I ran the marathon and the pain in my legs was at its worst I thought of my Poppop. He made me keep going. My Aunt had told me that he was a fighter. He always had been. Poppop fought in every major campaign in Europe during World War II: D-Day, the Battle of the Bulge and Rhineland. He never spoke much about the war but the few stories we did hear made me realize how lucky he was to be alive, how lucky my entire family was to even be here to share these stories. So when I was running I thought of Poppop and how he would never quit so I should never quit either.

Quite a handsome young man in his uniform too wouldn't you agree :)

Two days later my Poppop passed away. I had never lost anyone close to me before. It was a blessing he no longer suffered but it was also the most heart breaking time for me and my entire family.

Right before I ran I was pushing to reach a weight loss goal. I was only 2-3 lbs away from 100lbs of total loss. After my Poppop passed I took a week off from working out to be with my family. I was surrounded by desserts and hearty meals for an entire week. And I ate blindly with out even thinking. I seemed to have no control over the desserts. I just wanted sweets.

When I returned to bootcamp the following week I got on the scale and I had gained 10lbs. TEN POUNDS!!! I was crushed. On top of everything that had happened this was just one more stress ball to add to it. I freaked out. I had never gained so much weight so quickly. I felt like a failure. I felt like I failed everyone including my readers of this blog and worse I felt like because I let this happen during my Poppop's passing that his death was some how an excuse to let myself go a little and that made me feel terrible.

I hid the blog from public view. I contemplated deleting it because I was a failure. I was not someone setting a good example for a healthy life style. How could I write about getting up and exercising and eating properly when I failed so miserably at it. I just wasn't in a good place and I needed time to think and get myself back on track. Because I told myself remember Poppop wouldn't give up!

I've been working out just as hard as always since I took that week off, I still went to bootcamp I still went on runs even in the freezing cold too, I still played soccer I managed to lose a little through the holidays which I'm happy about, but I just couldn't bring myself to come back to the blog and share it. Because after all I still screwed up so bad. My friends told me I was being too hard on myself when I stressed about my weight gain and I realize now I probably was. Hindsight is always 20/20 they say. I set a new goal to push through those final pounds to reach 100lbs of loss, and I've been working toward it. I have a deadline and I'll see where I stand tomorrow when I hop on the scale again at boot camp.

I also learned a valuable lesson about how I deal with grief through all this. I've never mourned the loss of anyone close to me before. I've been very lucky in that aspect, I know. But now I know my way of handling grief is to turn to food. Now I know to be aware of it in the future.

It took me a long long time to come to the blog and write about why I basically dropped off the face of the earth, about why I gave up and hid the blog. For the longest time I didn't know what to say, but it was a post on Twitarded from Dangrdafne that made me say I have to keep writing. I have to keep promoting healthy living on this silly little blog of mine because it was my mission when I started and I'm not a quitter. It's not in my blood to quit. Thanks Poppop :).