Calorie Counting

Back in 2009 I began calorie counting in an effort to lose weight.  I continued counting my daily calories for about a year and a half stopping for about a month at one point, but soon began again.  In the summer of 2011, as I began reading daily food blogs and shortly thereafter starting my own blog I decided that a daily diary of my meals was sufficient enough as I now had a better understanding of portion sizes and a general idea of the calories those portions were worth.  Ultimately, I gave up inputting my meals into the online database hosted by www.411fit.com.

Don’t get me wrong; calorie counting is the “bible” so to speak when it comes to losing weight.  It works if done honestly.  I am just no longer at a point where I want or need to lose weight; however, I do want to maintain my current weight.  Though I could certainly afford to lose some fatty tissue on some areas of my body, in particular my thighs.  At some point in my lifetime, I want to feel comfortable in a swimsuit without covering up with shorts.  I’m just not sure that will ever happen.

Anyway, today started in a rush since I awoke late once again.  I haven’t been sleeping all that well.  My dog and Mom’s dog (I’ve been babysitting since last Friday) keep me up all hours of the night wanting to go outside.   Needless to say, breakfast had to be FAST.

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Muenster cheese and seedless black raspberry preserves on a whole wheat tortilla with a banana and hot earl grey green tea on side.

Lunch consisted of last’s nights leftover steamed chicken and vegetables with light garlic sauce that Chris picked up from the Chinese takeout place.

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I ate jus about all of the vegetables, but left most of the chicken.  I was bothered by its texture from the steaming.  The Chobani Black Cherry was saved for my pre-cardio snack.

Today’s cardio session included 15 minutes on the bike and 6 miles on the elliptical for 30 minutes while watching 5 Ingredient Fix on the Food Channel.  I concluded with stretching and abdominal floor work.

Dinner was super tasty.  I made Gorgonzola Chicken Alfredo over Spaghetti Squash.

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The evening light was going dim as I was trying to get a good photo from real light.  So I had to move indoors.

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I was shooting for a healthier version on this chicken alfredo, so I was curious to figure out how many calories this was.  My mind immediately thought to log onto www.411fit.com to calculate the stats.  So that is just what I did for all of today’s eats.

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A cup of squash, with two tenders, and two tablespoons of the sauce came out to 322 calories.  I did have a third chicken tender with a third tablespoon of sauce so my dinner was about 460 calories.  Still, 500 calories seems reasonable to me for a meal.

My grade on today’s nutrition came out to a B+—Good.  My calories are slightly low and my protein was more than needed, but overall a good day.  Just to be clear, the database does not contain every single thing I ate.  I found compatible items for things like the raspberry preserves and my leftover Chinese chicken and veggies.  For my dinner, I did actually upload the recipes into the site so that is pretty accurate.  And I owe you the recipe.  It’s a keeper. :0)

Question of the Night:  Do you count calories?  Does that seem obsessive to you?

Not Your Everyday Football Fare

Any Saints fans out there?  Tonight was a big game for the “Bless You Boys" against the “dirty birds.”  And thankfully the New Orleans Saints pulled it together to get a W on the board against the Atlanta Falcons.

Earlier today Mom and I went to La Madeleine’s for lunch and she asked if I was planning football food on the dinner menu.  I desperately needed to cook my spaghetti squash that I purchased a few weeks back, so I wasn’t planning on typical game food, but more of a meal to go along with squash.  Just before the big game I asked Chris what he felt like eating for dinner with the squash and replied pork chops.  So on to the store I went to collect much needed staples and pork chops, which just so happened to be buy 1 get 1 free today.  Score!

Prior to running to pick up groceries, I turned on the oven and prepped the squash for roasting as previously done here roasting the whole squash.  I asked hub to stick it in the oven so it would be nearly done by the time I got back. 

Once home, I seasoned my center cut bone-in pork chops with salt and pepper and browned them in a pan sprayed with nonstick spray for 5 minutes on each side.  The chops were removed and I added a sliced green pepper, sliced onion, and a tad of water to the same pan used to cook chops stirring and scraping the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.  As the vegetables cooked sown I removed the seeded pulp from the squash and then scraped out the spaghetti strands to be added to the pepper and onion mixture.  Along with the veggies, I added about 3/4 cup of teriyaki sauce to the pan.  The chops were placed on top of the veggie mixture, covered, and  cooked on low for twenty minutes more to ensure they were cooked through. 

This meal came together on a whim and turned out great!

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The squash did not keep its natural yellow color; it absorbed the teriyaki brown color, but it was still tasty.  The dish reminded me much of braised cabbage and pork.  Chris said “dinner was great” and it reminded him of french onion soup. 

As for my earlier eats today, I started with oats—more because I wanted to use my new bowl and less of the fact that I had no banana or milk to put in it.

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So I stirred sweet potato pecan butter into my very plain oatmeal and topped it with Fage Greek Yogurt with Honey.  It turned out to be a satisfying, not very warm breakfast.

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Mom and I headed to the gym a while later for cardio.  I did 20 minutes on the killer of a stair stepper, 20 minutes on the arc trainer, and 10 minutes on the bicycle.  I finished with some stretching to try to relieve the pain in my lower back/tailbone area and left hip.

Mom and I then stopped for lunch at our usual.  I ordered the wild fields salad and a bowl of country potato soup with cheese and bacon, please.

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Spring mix with balsamic vinaigrette

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Totally.hit.the.spot.

I also had a few bites of Mom’s pasta salad and sandwich.

While waiting for dinner to cook I shared a piece of cheese with my German Shepherd, Niko.

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And during the game—no beer for me, just coffee…

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No nachos, wings, or burgers; just an apple.

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Long Lost Lunchables

Upon waking up for breakfast the past few days it has been quite chilly in the southern parts of Louisiana with temperatures in the 50s and 60s.  (It doesn’t stay that cold; it gets to high 80s and 90s through the afternoon so we get used to dressing in layers in this neck of the woods.)  Due to the cool morning, I wanted some breakfast fare that would warm me up.  So I opted for warm old fashioned oats with a spoon of peanut butter, cinnamon sprinkles, and the last of my apple spice muffins.

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I had some hot chai tea along with my oatmeal and it did just the trick.

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Reading blogs is not the first time I’ve been known to eat foods just because I see others eating it.  A long time ago, (okay 10 plus years ago) back in high school, I had a friend, Leslie, who came to school with a homemade lunchable where she brought crackers, deli meat, and cheese for stacking.  I always liked the concept of lunchables; it is just fun to be able to manipulate your food and not have to worry about the hassle of forks and knives.  Well, the very next day I had to mimic her lunchable spread and have my very own.  Which it was very rare for me to bring lunch because my school had the BEST salad and baked potato bar.  So my need for a quick lunch as I packed it this morning led me back to high school for lunch.

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Today’s lunch was a tad more sophisticated than my long lost lunchables due to the inclusion of sliced cucumbers and spreadable cheese.  There is something slightly fancy about spreading cheese on a cucumber.  Or maybe it is just me. 😉

I did get some questions in the lounge about my lunch today.  But I liked it.  It brought me back to being a kid–stacking and eating my cucumber, laughing cow, and turkey atop a cracker.

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A few weeks ago I purchased a spaghetti squash with good intentions of trying it out immediately.  But hesitance stuck with me until tonight.  After work I headed straight to the grocery store to pick up what I thought would be ground meat for some meat sauce.  However, in the parking lot I googled a recipe for spaghetti squash and found one that revolved around Turkey Tetrazzini.  When I got in the store I had no such luck finding turkey breasts so I decided to do Chicken Tetrazzini instead substituting a few ingredients the original recipe called for.

Once home, I first had a snack.

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Pickled okra, tortilla chips, and spinach artichoke flavored hummus

I immediately preheated the oven to 400* followed by scoring the squash with a knife in about 7 spots, spraying a nonstick pan with cooking spray, and roasting the squash for 1 hour.  Using the following ingredients the meal came to a whole.

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Chicken Tetrazzini with Spaghetti Squash

1 spaghetti squash, roasted as stated above

1.5 lbs chicken breast tenders

3 tbsp. butter or margarine (Brummel & Brown was used)

3 tbsp. flour

1 bay leaf

Salt and Pepper

3 cups chicken broth

1/2 cup fat free half and half

1 tbsp. dry sherry wine

1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan, divided

Juice of 1 lemon

1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg

1 bag frozen peas

3 tbsp. Italian style bread crumbs

Directions:  While squash is roasting, season chicken with salt and paper and brown in pan sprayed with nonstick spray.  Once cooked remove to separate plate.  Using the same pan, add butter and flour whisking for 3 minutes on low heat.  Add broth and bay leaf, salt and pepper and simmer for 15 minutes stirring until smooth.  Add chicken, half and half, and sherry; bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.  Add 1/3 cup of parmesan, lemon juice, nutmeg, and frozen peas.  Cut squash in half and remove center pulp and seeds.  Then using a fork, scrape the rest of the squash from the skins and put in greased baking dish.  Top the squash strands with the chicken mixture.  Sprinkle the remaining parmesan and bread crumbs on top.  Bake for 30 minutes in oven preheated to 350*.

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Roasting of Squash

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Browning Chicken

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Creamy Chicken Mixture

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Squash Strands seasoned with Salt and Pepper

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Pre-Bake

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Cooked

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Tasty lemony, creamy dinner and I do not miss the pasta!  Score!9-21-10 013

Question of the Night:  Did you enjoy your school’s lunches as a kid?  Did they provide healthy options or was it one lunch and take it or leave it type like at the school I work at now?

My high school had options–hot lunch, sandwich/pizza line, salad/baked potato bar, and smoothies.  If only it were the same where I am at now.  Seriously, I would go back just for the salad bar.  Ohhhh, memories.