Grew Dat!

Happy Halloween!  I’m not much of the “dress up and party all night person.”  I think the last time I dressed up was as a Junior in high school.  My friends and I were all roaches and one of the more dramatic, comedic friends was the can of Raid.  Fun memory!

Chris (my husband) works almost every Saturday so we rarely get to enjoy a night out on the town regardless of Halloween although it may be fun on occasion.  For the most part I am a homebody, but being home today just left me in a funky, unhappy mood.  I think it largely had to do with the fact that I knew so many others were out and about celebrating Halloween, attending VooDoo Fest, and getting pumped up for some “Who Dat’in” with our Saints tonight!

My day started early with some pumpkin spice coffee and a giant pancake.

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I used 1 serving of Bisquick Heart Smart, an egg, 1/4 cup lowfat milk, and a teaspoon or so of peanut butter for the pancake.  I topped it with Greek Yogurt, Black Seedless Raspberry Preserves, and a few blueberries.  Those other small broken pieces are from dried banana sheets Mom brought me from Trader Joe’s Chicago.  The ingredient list says “bananas.”  It is much like the texture of a fruit roll-up.  My pancake was a little overcooked on the other side, but it hit the spot.

Shortly after breakfast I went to Lafreniere Park to get in some cardio.  I jogged/walked 4 miles total.  Once around the track is 2 miles so I did it twice.  My first two miles were done in 24:34 and the second two took a little longer at 28:15.  On average, that is a 13 minute mile.  Not great, but hey it’s exercise.  And like I said before, I’ve never been much for running, though I am starting to enjoy seeing what my body can do.

Once I got home I helped Chris install our new dishwasher.  Well, not brand new, but new to us.  Some close friends gave us theirs since they upgraded.  The dryer component on my old one went out so it was time for a new dishwasher anyway.  I just didn’t want to fork out the money because I hope to remodel my entire kitchen in the near future. 

By the time we were done my stomach was screaming for some food.  I blanched some green beans after snapping the ends off and ate half of a Think Thin Bar while waiting.  I added pre-cooked shrimp defrosted from frozen, mushrooms and made an Asian sweet and spicy sauce to mix all together.

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To make the sauce I cooked down low sodium soy sauce, honey with macadamia nuts, rice wine vinegar, dry sherry, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, water, and a pinch or two of flour.  I did not measure, but went along making additions by taste and consistency.  In the process of tasting I seriously burnt the heck out of my inner lower lip so be careful if using the “flavor as you taste method.”  I then tossed the shrimp, beans, mushrooms, and sauce in a saucepan until heated through.  Chris liked the sauce enough to suggest I make more to go with the fish he prepared later in the day for dinner, but I wasn’t feeling it enough to put over fish.  Maybe chicken or pork, but I don’t know about fish.

I had a Fage Honey Greek Yogurt for some snacking.  DSC00124  

Okay, my snacking did not stop there, but I did not take pictures of it all.  I also had some more coffee, a reduced fat colby jack cheese stick and some of this (maybe too much of this).

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Had to get it just in case we get some trick-or-treaters!

Chris harvested some of his veggies this afternoon–sweet taters!  While I snapped pictures.

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He also came up with this post’s title.  As a who dat fan, he wanted you all to know that he “grew dat!”

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Yesterday, hub went fishing and caught some speckled trout, so fish and of course sweet potatoes were on the menu.  Chris fried the fish in “buerre noisette” or brown butter after dredging in egg and flour. 

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Usually we are not very good at frying fish, but it came out crispy and tasty tonight.  We ate baked sweet potato fries and steamed brussel sprouts on the side.

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I would have preferred baked trout to forego all the butter used, but it was a nice treat to not have to be in charge of cooking dinner and have fried fish—which is a favorite around this city.

Okay, I am off to watch the second half of the Saint’s game.  Who Dat Say They Gonna Beat Dem Saints?  Not the Steelers! 

Don’t forget to let me know which symbol you associate with from the Personality Symbol Test.  Check back tomorrow for what the symbols represent.

Good Night and Stay Safe! 🙂

Break the Fast

All through high school and college I avoided breakfast due to my failure to wake up on time, having to rush out the house to get to school, or just because I “wasn’t a breakfast person.”  I even skipped lunch at times because I had to rush straight from school to work and didn’t have time.  Looking back, that only left me cranky and a raging binge eater at night time. 

Nowadays, I cannot skip breakfast.  Upon waking, I can feel it inside my body that I must break the fast.  Throughout the work week, I immediately wake and head straight to the kitchen to cook fix  a quick and easy breakfast usually consisting of a yogurt and fruit combination, a peanut butter and fruit sandwich, cereal and milk, oatmeal and fruit, or maybe (very rarely) a quick egg sandwich.  However, on the weekend I have the time to enjoy coffee rather than tea and a breakfast where cooking is actually involved. 

To start my Saturday this weekend, I had a craving for some pumpkin muffins.  So after brewing a pot of pumpkin spice coffee I got to work on the muffins—pumpkin chocolate chip that is.

Ingredients

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Servings: 12 muffins

Dry Ingredients:

1 1/2 c whole wheat flower

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp allspice

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 c semi-sweet chocolate chips

Wet Ingredients:

1 egg

1/3 c canola oil

1 tbsp butter, softened

1/2 c light brown sugar

1/2 c turbinado sugar

1 c pure canned pumpkin

Directions: Preheat oven to 350*. Spray muffin tins with cooking spray.  In bowl, combine all ingredients except chocolate chips with wire whisk.  In medium bowl, combine all wet ingredients and whisk until fully combined.  Gradually add dry ingredients to wet ingredients while whisking until thoroughly combined.  Fold in chocolate chips.  Using a heaping tablespoons for each, evenly distribute batter into twelve muffin tins.  Bake on middle rack for 23 minutes or until toothpick inserted  in center comes out clean.  Allow to cool 3 minutes in pan and remove to wire rack to finish cooling.

Nutrition Information from 411 fit: Calories 209.44 g  Carbs 24.01 g  Fat 8.87 g  Protein  3.10 g  Sodium 189.75 mg

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These muffins came out pretty near perfect in my opinion of what a muffin should be.  Great taste, great texture.  I was concerned with the amount of fats used, but it made for a moist muffin.  I ended up eating two for breakfast along side my pumpkin spice coffee.

After a night of football, pizza and drinks, and hanging out with friends, Sunday’s breakfast included something a bit more savory and substantial to add to one of the muffins.  A veggie frittata.

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I began by sauteing some veggies.  Then I added some water and a lid for some steaming.  While that was cooking, I whisked eggs with half & half and feta.

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I then poured the egg mixture over the veggies.  This cooked on medium-low stovetop for 5 minutes.

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The entire pan was then put into a preheated oven.9-21-10 021

The frittata cooked until firm to the touch.

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Then it was gobbled up with a pumpkin chocolate chip muffin on side.

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Shortly after this plate I went back for another wedge of the frittata.

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Veggie Frittata

Servings: 2

Ingredients:

Cooking Spray

1 summer squash, chopped (peeled if desired)

1 small onion, chopped

10 fresh green beans, ends cut off and cut in thirds

3 eggs

1/4 c reduced fat feta cheese

3-4 tbsp fat free half & half (I ran out of milk and did not measure exactly)

salt and pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350*.  Spray oven-safe medium sized pan with cooking spray. Saute vegetables seasoned with salt and pepper about 5 minutes over medium low heat stirring occasionally until onions are tender.  Meanwhile, whisk eggs and  half & half in small bowl. Add feta, salt and pepper to taste and whisk to combine; set aside.  Next, add a tablespoon or two of water to pan and cover with a lid to steam beans until desired tenderness is reached and water is absorbed.  Pour egg mixture over the veggies distributing cheese among veggies and continue cooking for 5 minutes on low.  Put pan into the oven to finish cooking.  Bake for 25 minutes or until firm.

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Plate up with a serving of fruit, whole wheat bread, or a whole wheat muffin for some added carbohydrates. 

The above portion is 1/4 of the frittata, but I did go back for another 1/4 shortly after eating this and my hub ate the rest. 

Variations of this frittata are endless.  Use vegetables that you have on hand if recreating.  I was actually going to add grape tomatoes as well, but remembered the last time I made this the tomatoes made the frittata a bit watery.    Whatever combination is used, it is sure to be a tasty one.

Question of the Night:  What is your favorite toppings/veggies to add to egg omelets or frittatas?

Grocery Shopping 101

I’m still under the weather today, but am hopeful that my cold will soon disappear.  This morning I woke up and was unsure of what to eat, since I had no fresh fruit or veggies on hand, nor did I have any yogurt, eggs, or milk for that matter.  Upon looking in the freezer, I found some whole grain waffles and frozen bananas.  To my surprise I was able have a scrumptious breakfast in no time.  I toasted a waffle and topped it with about a tablespoon of peanut butter.  While the waffle was toasting, I whipped up a batch of Banana Soft Serve.  (Notice it gets capitalized because it is just that special!)  Banana Soft Serve is simply frozen bananas processed in a food processor until smooth and creamy deliciousness results.  You may have to stop to scrape the banana from off the sides as it is being blended due to clumping.  But the result is divine; I highly recommend that you let some bananas ripen, peel and freeze them, and whip up some soft serve.  It was like having dessert for breakfast, but nutritious at the same time.  I then topped my peanut butter waffle with the soft serve and some ground cinnamon.

Earl Grey Tea and Waffle Sundae

Lunch today was leftover vegetable soup, crackers, and frozen grapes for some sweetness.

All Together Now

Yum, Yum, Eat 'Em Up

Frosty

When you find your grapes on the verge of going bad and you can’t eat them all, pop ’em in a Ziploc and store in the freezer for a sweet, cold treat.  I have tried using them in smoothies, but they do not produce a good consistency, so I prefer them as is.

I desperately needed to hit up the grocery store and finally accomplished that task this evening.  On my way from work I snacked on a Kashi Bar to hinder my uncontrollable purchases when going to the grocery  store hungry.

My Bar Matched My Skirt

I really despise grocery shopping at Wal-Mart, but it is cheaper than Winn Dixie near my house and I am trying to save a little moolah on my food.  It is too crowded and seems to take forever when I go, but I went anyway.  And an hour and a half later I arrived home to cook up some dinner.  I made some crispy oven baked chicken (actually wish it would have been crispier, but better luck next time) to put in a healthified “snack wrap.”  Many fast food places offer the crispy and grilled chicken wraps, so if ordering from one of those types of places I’d definitely go with the grilled.  But tonight I was in the mood for some crispy chicken.  I originally intended to put it on a salad, but wasn’t quite in the mood for a big salad–so a wrap it was.

While preheating the oven to 350*, I breaded three boneless, skinless chicken breast by dipping them 1st in whole wheat flour (seasoned with salt and pepper), 2nd in an egg wash bowl made of one egg, tad of water, salt and pepper, and 3rd in italian breadcrumbs.  I then baked them on a broiler pan sprayed with nonstick spray for 40 minutes.  Lastly, they were put under the broiler for a couple minutes to get the top crispy.

My whole wheat wrap is filled with half of a breaded chicken breast, romaine lettuce, grape tomatoes, half an avocado, and some honey mustard.

Wrap 'N Roll

I enjoyed some green bean fries on the side with salt, cajun seasoning, and ketchup.

This may make an appearance in my tummy later on.

Finally, I want to share some tips on my grocery shopping adventures.  Now this is not for those trying to shop healthily on a “budget” because I, myself, need some help with that.  This is only tips that I follow for making healthy food purchase.

*Do not go to the grocery hungry! As we all know, going to the grocery with a hungry stomach only leads to less money and your wallet and more (unhealthy) food than you intended to buy.  Eat a snack before heading out to shop or go after you’ve had a meal.  This will help to eliminate tempting, eye-catching, new, “low-fat” foods.

*Shop the perimeters to make up the bulk of your groceries. The perimeter of the store is where you can find healthy produce–fruits and veggies, lean meats, and healthy reduced fat dairy products.  Fill up your basket with mostly fruits and veggies.  Purchase fish, lean chicken, pork, or beef.  When purchasing cheeses, I usually look for a reduced fat variety.  If skim milk seems to watered down, then opt for low-fat.  (Vitamin D actually needs a small amount of fat for the body to absorb it anyway.)

*Go in the aisles for specifics, but do not go up and down every aisle. Tonight I went into the aisles for these things:  whole wheat spaghetti, quick-cooking oats or rolled oats, maple syrup, flavored tea, salsa, tomato and basil sauce, reduced sodium canned beans, canned white meat chicken, dark chocolate peanut butter (saw on another blog that Wal-Mart sold the PB & Co. brand; that’s the real reason I went to Wal-Mart) ;), whole wheat tortillas, whole wheat sandwich thins, pita chips, and pistachios because the husband loves ’em, oh and orzo pasta.  So there are healthy reasons to stray into the aisles.  And that leads to my next tip.

*Pay attention to the ingredient lists. If you cannot read the lists, it is probably filled with preservatives due to the amount of processing that needs to be done to make it actually taste good.  Avoid those foods at all costs.  They are not satiating and leave you wanting, craving more.

*Opt for whole grains. That is for pastas, rice, breads, etc.  Look at the ingredients that have whole wheat or whole grain listed first.  If it says “enriched” then the natural nutrients have been lost due to processing and some may have been unnaturally added back in along the way so steer clear of those.

*Avoid gimmicks. Do not believe that if you “eat three of these a day” you will lose all kind of weight.  Weight loss is simply calories consumed versus calories burned.  You can eat 2,000 calories of whatever food you want, but if your body does not burn those 2,000 calories then eventually it will add up.  To lose weight, eat fewer calories or even better participate in more physical activity to burn off what you consume.

That concludes my Grocery Shopping 101. Please be advised, I am not a nutritionist/dietician.  These are simply tips I have learned along my journey to living a more healthified life.

Question of the Night:  What tips do you follow for grocery shopping when trying to lead a healthy life?