Saturday, May 28, 2011

Holiday Eating

This is the first holiday I've had to even really contemplate what to eat since DH and I started eating the Nutritarian way.  Now, of course, we are doing the vegetarian thing now, but still trying to use the Nutritarian food pyramid to guide us (see the pyramid at the bottom of this post).  Since we are hosting a get together and not just attending one, we have all the power of the meal planning. This is a good thing since we want to make sure there is plenty of food readily available to us that fits in our lifestyle change.

We are having the following foods:

grilled corn on the cob
grilled veggie skewers (onion, peppers) 
grilled asparagus
fresh fruit salad
fresh green salad
tater tots (mainly for kids)
Mama Peas's Seven Layer Dip with tortilla chips
grilled chicken breasts (for meat eaters)
hamburgers (for meat eaters)
bacon wrapped shrimp (for meat eaters)
brownies and ice cream (for the kids)

 If you are not hosting a soiree but attending one, take at least one dish that you know you will be able to eat according to whatever eating plan you are following.  At any party, choose smallish portions and try to make sure to indulge of any veggie tray or fresh fruit salad available.  Another good idea is to make sure you get some exercise in prior to your party. This will help you in case you do indulge in any excess. And personally, I like to drink a lot of water/iced tea to help keep my tummy full.

Be mindful of your eating, and try your best to make good choices, but also have fun.  Try not to let it be "all about the food."  In our society, where food is a part of almost any celebration, it is hard to do, but if you train yourself with this mindset, your choices will get easier.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Perfect Workout Companion: A Good Playlist.

I am constantly trying to revamp my "Workout" playlist on my IPOD. Music helps me to exercise, because whether I exercise for a short time or a long time, I can get lost in the music. It actually helps make exercise go faster for me.  Of course other people sometimes think I'm crazy because I just can't help but sing some of the songs I'm sweating to...and I am not the best singer.  Exercise, in general, is not my friend. I love the way I feel after I exercise, but I hate to be hot and I detest sweat! Good music even makes sweating a little more bearable for me. I am trying to put together good 15-30-45 and 6o minutes playlists to help me muddle through that which I loathe. Regardless of how long I exercise, two songs are always on my playlists:  Gonna Fly Now (The Rocky Theme song) and Work the Change by Danny Flanigan and the Rain Chorus.  The Rocky Theme is my mid point song on every playlist. it lets me know that I'm halfway finished and to keep on going. Work the Change acts a s a cool down and reminds me I have to work to make changes. Standing still is no option.  Below are just some of the songs I choose to exercise to. Most are fast to make me work harder.

What songs do you like to exercise to?

My Songs

Lady Marmelade
U + Ur Hand
Would I Lie to You?
Rock the Casbah
Radar Love
River Deep, Mountain High
Mr. Brightside
Runnin' Down a Dream
Me Against the Music
Hella Good
Don't Cha
All You Need Is Now
Better Now
Let's Go Crazy
Short Skirt/Long Jacket
      and many more....

Monday, May 23, 2011

Greens and Beans with Rosemary and Thyme

Here is the original recipe from Whole Foods.  I changed it a bit. What I did is below.

1 1/2 c low sodium vegetable broth
1/4-1/2 c water
1/2 a white onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp jarred minced garlic
1 lb bag Trader Joe's Southern Greens Blend
1 15 oz can drained, rinsed low or no salt Great Northern beans
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
Parmesan cheese (optional, but recommended)
Mrs. Dash tomato basil seasoning (optional, but recommended)
salt and pepper to taste

Saute the onion and garlic in water till softened. Then add 1 1/2 c vegetable broth and bring it to a boil.
Add the seasonings through crushed red pepper, the greens, and the beans. Cover and cook over low- med heat 30-35 minutes till tender.  Add salt and pepper, Parmesan cheese, and Mrs Dash seasoning to taste. before eating. It was yummy! I actually forgot to put the crushed red pepper in, but DH and I both agreed it would be good. I also might add more beans. It was very filling and a definite keeper recipe!

Created by MyFitnessPal - Nutrition Facts For Foods

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Living a Healthy Life 2: Diet, a dirty four letter word.

I've always hated the word "diet." I have never done well, for any length of time following a "diet."  It may have worked well for awhile or till I lost whatever excess weight I wanted, but when I got to my goal, I would go back to some of my crappy eating habits and the weight would once again creep back up. To diet is the problem.

To most people, a diet is temporary. It requires only limited effort (even though it doesn't always feel that way) which is probably why diets are so popular.  I think  many people tend to do only what they have to do to get by, while exerting the least amount of effort possible. I have been there...done that.   Because of this, "diets " are easy; real changes,  "lifestyle changes" are least not at first.  And let's face it, the only way in our fried Twinkies, Ben & Jerry's,  extra value meals, portion blind world to really lose weight and keep it off without having to yo- yo diet is to make permanent changes in our eating and exercise habits.  We have to make choices to facilitate a lifestyle change. That is what I am working towards. I am tired of swaying back and forth like I'm just blowing in the wind. I am taking control and making changes so that I never have to "diet" again. Lifestyle change is where it's at.  it's extremely hard work, but will be worth it, I believe, in the long run.

Just some food for thought...

Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Weight Loss Tools

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Shannon's Chicken Fried Rice

This is the best recipe ever! It deserves more than 5 spoons. I made it for the kiddos this week, however minus the chicken , it could be a good vegetarian dish as well. You could even add tofu instead, if you were so inclined.

Shannon’s Chicken Fried Rice

The night before, make your rice. I use Dynasty jasmine rice (in a bag in the Asian food isle.) I use 3 c water and 2 c rice. When rice is done and cooled slightly store it in the fridge overnight.

Marinade 2-3 BLSL chicken breasts in 1 T. soy sauce and 1 T. sherry for 30 minutes.

While chicken is in fridge, chop up about 1-1 ¼ c. green onion and 1-1 ½ c mini carrots cut julienned into thin match sticks. Set aside.

Scramble 3 eggs + 2 egg whites and set aside.

Heat up wok and add ½-1 t. sesame oil. Add diced chicken. Sprinkle with ginger and garlic powder. Stir-fry till done. Then remove from skillet and set aside.

Add ½ t. sesame oil and carrots sprinkled with a little ginger and ½ t. minced garlic. Stir-fry @ 2-3 minutes.

Add green onions, 1 dollup oyster sauce, and a sprinkle of soy sauce. Saute 2-3 minutes more. Then remove veggie mixture and set aside.

Add 1 t. sesame oil and add cold cooked rice. Cook 1 minute w/o stirring. Then stir adding chicken, egg, veggies and 2/3 or more c. soy sauce. Mix thoroughly.

*I usually prepare rice in AM and let flavors meld in the fridge all day. Then I warm rice up before serving. YUM!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Daily Garnish's Broccoli Soup- Recipe Review

So today, I made broccoli soup from a recipe I got from the The Daily Garnish.  I love broccoli soup, so I was willing to give it a try. You can view the original recipe here.  I left out the onion since I'm not a fan of onion in my broccoli soup, but I LOVED the addition of the nutritional yeast.  Not only did it add protein and give the soup a slightly cheesy flavor, but it was also a thickening agent.   I also did not puree the whole soup because I like some chunkiness to my soup. I'm a texture girl and the texture has to be right for my palate. So,  I only put about half of the soup in my blender.  I mashed what was left in the pot with my potato masher.  I did not care for the color of the soup, and it seemed more grainy than creamy to me, so I added 1 c of skim milk and some salt. It was much better with the milk in my opinion.  I also think it would be better with a little less broccoli or a little more veggie broth so that the soup is not quite so thick. It is a good soup and definitely a recipe you can play with a little to accommodate your own individual taste.  I am giving this  recipe 3 spoons.

Picante Beans with Brown Rice

Last night a made a yummy take off of picante chicken with brown rice from So Fat, Low Fat, No Fat by Betty Rhode.  My version is vegetarian and we used it as burrito filling. It is very good.

Picante Beans with Brown Rice

1 can tri-color beans, drained
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/4 c water
2-3 sliced green onions
1 tsp minced garlic (from jar)
1 14 oz can petite diced tomatoes or crushed tomatoes, undrained
1 c frozen corn
3/4 c uncooked instant brown rice
1 heaping Tbsp diced green chiles
 1/2 c water
Tony Chatcher's Creole Seasoning to taste
hot sauce or sprinkling of Cajun seasoning

Put beans, chili powder, cumin, 1/4 c water, green onions, and garlic in a large sauce pan.  heat over med. heat till it bubbles. Simmer for 5 minutes or so, stirring occasionally.  Next, add tomatoes through 1/2 c water.   Stir, bring to a boil, and  then reduce heat. Cover the sauce pan and simmer all for  10-12 minutes till rice is done.  Remember to stir it a couple of times while it's cooking.
Excellent filling for burritos.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Wannabe Chef's Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Dessert Hummus

So, if I had more than 5 spoons as my top review, this recipe would get it. Love, love, love this recipe!  I have to admit that I was dubious when my sister, Tricia, first made this for me back in February, but after one bite, I was hooked.  Tonight I made it for my family and served it with apple slices. My kids are picky eaters, so I truly did not know what to expect. My oldest, who has issues with peanut butter, ate some and said it was good and that he would eat it again. He would have liked it even better with a little less peanut butter, I think. My twins both really liked it. One saying he would give it 4000 thumbs up if he could, and one saying he liked it so much he didn't even need the apples to eat with it.  I called it cookie dough dessert because it looks like cookie dough. The twins decided it would really be good sandwiched in between animal crackers, so we're trying that tomorrow. They all like it well enough that no one even groaned when I told them that they ate chick peas. Score 1 for mom!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Dessert Hummus


• 2 cups chickpeas

• 1/4 cup natural peanut butter

• 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons maple syrup

• 1/2 Tablespoon vanilla extract

• 1/4 cup chocolate chips

Drain, measure, wash, and peel your chickpeas. Peeling them isn’t absolutely necessary but it makes for the creamiest hummus and really is worth the effort.

In a food processor, add the first 4 ingredients and process until the hummus is smooth and emulsified(the one thing no one wants for dessert is chunky chickpea pieces in their dessert).

Remove the blade and fold in the chocolate chips. Move into a deep serving bowl and serve with graham crackers or baby carrots.

For more cool recipes, check out the Wannabe Chef.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Living a Healthy life 1: Measuring Up

Lots of websites have stories about tips and tricks to help with diet and/or weight loss. None of the tips work for all people since we are all different, but it’s still good to see what works for other people. Trial and error will judge what works best for you. I have decided to do a similar series based solely on what works for me.When I have something to say, I'll write it. If it helps someone else, great; If not, that’s okay too.

Measuring Up: Well, the scale still won’t move past that stubborn 19 pounds mark. My body is definitely rearranging itself though, as I can tell in the way that my clothes are fitting. Since I need a way to measure this change and the evil scale isn’t cutting it, I have resorted to taking measurements of different areas in my body and recording them so that in one month, I can measure again hoping to see a change…not just to feel it. I did this long ago when I was a Curves member and I remember it helping me. I am visual and I need to see the difference. I am also taking photos every 10 pounds down that I get, and hopefully that will help as well. One thing for sure: whether I see the changes in my body or not, I feel them, and not just because my clothes are getting looser. I feel better. I have more energy, and can physically do some things more easily than I could 20 pounds ago. Certain exercises are easier too. I can only imagine that as I lose even more excess baggage, that the physical benefits will only get better. Numbers don't lie, and I need to see numbers. So, I’m giving measuring myself a try.

Lentil Soup

I got this recipe from my sister when I visited her in February. It originally called for carrots and mushrooms, but DH won’t eat mushrooms so I adapted and added celery instead. The recipe also called for 1 entire onion. I have a really big, strong onion, and a whole one would have been too much, so I simply used less. I am giving this recipe 3 spoons meaning “Good. I enjoyed this recipe. I may/may not make it again, or if I do make it I might tweak it a little...” While we enjoyed the recipe because it was different, we both agreed we liked it but didn’t love it.

Lentil Soup

1 Tbsp oil (I skipped this and used water to saute my veggies)

1 heaping quarter cup chopped onion

1 stalk chopped celery

1 c. chopped carrots

2 cloves minced garlic

½ tsp turmeric

½ tsp curry

2 tsp cumin

1 tsp chili powder

6 c. water

1 ½ c chicken or veggie broth

1 c lentils

½ c barley

1 14 ½ oz can crushed tomatoes

Salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat oil or throw some water in the bottom of a soup post. Add onion and veggies and water saute till softened. Add more water if necessary so veggies don’t burn.

2. Add garlic, spices, water, stock, lentils, barley, tomatoes, and pepper.

3. Boil, then cover and simmer 45 minutes or till lentils and barley

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Southwestern Salad

I have to try to keep salads interesting or I quit eating them because I get bored. Hence, I had a southwestern salad tonight, and it was terrific.

mixed greens, chopped ( I used a a mix of dark leafy greens and iceberg)
diced onion ( I used only a little-adjust to your taste)
shredded carrot
1/4 c roasted corn (Trader Joe's frozen)
1/4-1/2 c black beans
1/4 c brown rice
lite sour cream
2-3 Tbsp Trader Joe's  Guacamole Hummus (OMG!)
a handful of crushed organic or HM white corn chips


I chopped up the greens and put in a big salad bowl. Then I added diced onion through brown rice on top. Next I used a dollop of sour cream, a dollop of salsa, and the guacamole hummus.  I mixed the whole thing together and topped it all with crushed up organic corn chips. Soooooo good!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Best Ever Potato Soup

I used this recipe from Susan V. at as a base recipe. Below is what I did. It was sooooooo good!   Definitely the best potato soup I've ever had!

Best Ever Potato Soup

I used 4-5 md. regular russet potatoes.  I peeled, diced them, and cooked them till they were tender.

While the potatoes were cooking, I diced up 1 stalk celery and 2 Tbsp onion. Then I "sweat" sauteed them till tender.

When potatoes were done, I drained them and set aside 1 c for usage later.  I put the rest of the potatoes back in the pot they were cooking in, poured the veggies over them, and added 1 c.  low sodium veggie broth and 1/4 tsp crushed up dried rosemary.  This simmered for 15 minutes.  Then I had to add a little more veggie broth since some simmered off and I used more potatoes than Susan's recipe. I probably added another 1/2-3/4 c, but I didn't measure. I hardly ever do. 

Next  added 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast, 1 1/2 c skim milk, 1 pinch of thyme, about a tsp pf vegetarian chicken bouillon, and a few sprinkles of black pepper. I used my potato masher to break up some of the bigger potato chunks. I stirred it up and put a couple of ladles full in my blender along with the 1 c diced potatoes I had reserved.   I pulsed the blender till all was a smooth consistency. Then I added this blender mixture back into the soup pan and stirred it together.    Since I thought DH was going to eat it, I added no salt. I did add a little salt to my bowl before eating. This was sooooo good!

Menu May 2nd-May 8th

We are trying to get rid of some left overs this week so we will all be eating different things. Plus with DH and I going vegetarian and him not eating pasta or most dairy, different meals may just be the way it will be in our least for awhile.  Also, I wanted to share 2 menu planning tools that I use each week. This one  from, I use to plan weekly, though I don't necessarily use the right side except for notes to myself, ideas I get while meal planning, or to plan future meals based on leftovers. This grocery list from, I fill in and actually take to the grocery with me. Just thought I'd share in case anyone else wants to check these downloads out.

Monday- (k) mac n cheese, green beans, fruit
               (S/V) salad and homemade potato soup

Tuesday - (S/K)  Spaghetti and bread,chicken parmesan(K only), salad
                 (V) lo chili, salad

Wednesday - (K) tomato soup w/ grilled cheese
                      (S/V) Big salad

Thursday - (K) pork chops, broccoli, applesauce, roasted vegetables, rice and beans mixed

Friday - (K) pizza Friday
              (V/S) lentil soup

Saturday- (K) burgers and tots, fruit, veg
                 (S/V) boca burgers and vegetarian beans

Sunday - (V)  Red beans and rice
                (K) baked chicken
                                 - (all)  carrots, lo veg, fruit