Saturday, April 28, 2012

G is for Grilled Portabello Mushroom Wrapini

 One of the best vegetarian wraps I've ever had out in a restaurant was Jason's Deli's grilled portabello mushroom wrapini. Unfortunately, after having had this scrumptious wrapini only once, Jason's took it off the menu. I found this description somewhere on the web (not sure where), but it's from an old Jason's Deli menu.  "The Grilled Portabello Mushroom Wrapini features the glorious mushroom marinated in our Italian dressing. The wrap is loaded with homemade guacamole and pico de gallo along with organic spinach and asiago cheese. Fabulous! "  I hated to think I couldn't get this wrapini any more so I  set out to make my own version. Here's what I cam up with:

Grilled Portabello Mushroom Wrapini
(Copycat version by me)

*1 package pre sliced portabello mushroom or 1 large portabello sliced 1/4 inch thick

*marinade of your choice (I used fat free zesty Italian. Next time I'll use Lowry's Garlic & Herb marinade- the zesty Italian was good, but I have had the Lowry's on grilled veggies before and really like it.I think it would be better.)

*1/2 c sweet onion thin slices, caramelized

*whole wheat tortillas

*Trader Joe's Guacamole Hummus

*pico de gallo or salsa of choice (pico is best)

*spinach leaves

*shredded cheese of choice (asiago, white cheddar, Italian blend, etc.)

*sour cream (optional)

Marinade mushrooms for an hour or so in the marinade of your choice. Meanwhile, cut up the onion and caramelize it.  Grill or pan saute the mushrooms.

To assemble: spread 1 Tbsp or so of guacamole hummus (more or less as you see fit) in the center of a tortilla. I also use a little lite sour cream (optional). Next layer half of the warmed mushrooms and onions, saving the other half for the next day's lunch or dinner. Top with a little salsa or pico de gallo, shredded cheese of choice, and spinach leaves. Roll tortilla like you would a burrito or enchilada and enjoy!

Review: Very close to the original.  I will use the Lowry's next time. Loved using the guacamole hummus as opposed to just plain guacamole, because of the added protein from the chickpeas. I always try to get in extra protein whenever possible. Play around with this wrap and make it your own. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Hungry Hungry Shannon

Do you remember ever playing a game called Hungry, Hungry Hippos? You played it trying to make your hippo gobble up as many little balls as you could.  If your hippo ate the most, you were a winner. I never thought about it till now, but a silly game that rewards the winner who eats the most seems like bad precedent to set to me.

I am hungry, as some might say. I'm trying to lower my portions and keep my whole grains and fruits to 2 a day. It's all a part of me trying to get myself out of this plateau situation that I'm in. I'm going to 2 whole grains and 2 fruits because that's how I did it in phase 2 of the South  Beach Diet that I followed successfully (at least for awhile) several years ago. I have a sugar problem so I feel like limiting the amount of fruits and whole grains will be helpful to me.  I am a carb lover.
I started thinking about hunger in relation to dieting. I don't like the feeling, but is it helpful for dieters?  I don't know.  Dr Joel Fuhrman posted  recently on Facebook  that "Hunger is the best sauce. You will enjoy what you eat more, when you do not overeat because then you will be hungry for and better enjoy the next meal."  To me it seems like hunger would make you want to overeat, because you would be soooo hungry when you get to the next meal, that you want to eat more. I guess small frequent snacks/meals are a way to combat this as well as making sure to eat some kind of protein with each meal. Sometimes if I get hungry in between meals, a warm  1/2 cup of some left over homemade soup will sometimes 'fill me up" and get me through, especially between lunch and dinner which is my longest stretch.  Hunger in the evening is hard for me right now because I am trying not to eat anything past 730 or so. I  drink hot tea and chew sugar free gum to try to help.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. I stay up late so that's probably not helping either. So, what I'm left with is good old fashioned will power. That puts the responsibility back on me, I guess.

So, when I'm done with all my eating for the day, I'll just have to be hungry, hungry least till my body adjusts to less.

So what are your tips and tricks for staving off hunger?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

I'm on a muffin kick. They are just so easy to make and so great to have as snacks and quick breakfasts for the kiddos. While my last two muffin posts, yummy blueberry muffins  and  Best Apple Oatmeal Muffins Ever are my own delicious concoctions (and yes, you should try them), this one is from Lindsay at These chocolate zucchini muffins are pretty darn good, and I enjoyed them even though I'm not really a chocolate lover. They smelled fabulous while they were cooking too. I always love it when my kids come home and I hear, "Yum, Mom. What are you making today? It smells sooo good." 

I first heard about this recipe from my sister, Tricia, a few weeks ago. I debated on making these muffins because of the zucchini. I thought my kids would never eat them. Honestly, my other sister, Jennie, was right when she told me that you can't even taste the zucchini.  I certainly didn't.   It will be interesting to see if my kids notice it's in there.  I don't think they'll taste the zucchini, but they might see the shreds. I added 1/4 c mini chocolate chips to the muffins as my sister suggested...definitely a good add-in. I can't wait to hear the kids' feedback on this one. 

Post muffin tasting:   A success! No one noticed the zucchini, and only DH asked what was in them.  These were the comments I got:

"pretty good"           "top notch"         "great"
 "Wo!  These are awesome!" 

So, try Lindsay's muffins.  You'll be glad you did. I certainly will be making them again! 

***While everyone liked these zucchini chocolate muffins, the household favorite remains my best ever apple oatmeal muffins with my yummy blueberry muffins our second favorite.  Go mom!***

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

B is for . . . Yummy Blueberry Muffins!

So, yesterday I made a batch of homemade blueberry muffins. Everyone liked them. Score one for mom! The comments:

"Oh my gosh, these are so good!"                      "Really good, Mom!"

"Awesome muffins!'                                          "Top Notch!'

Can I do much better than that?  I don't think so. It is rare in my house that everyone like something, so when it happens, I revel in it. Here's my recipe. Enjoy!

 Yummy Blueberry Muffins


 rolled oats pulsed in the food processor so they resemble quick oats - need 1 1/2 cups (quick oats will work in a pinch)

 1 1/4 cups flour (I use only whole wheat pastry flour)

 1 teaspoon baking powder

 3/4 teaspoon baking soda

 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

 1/2 cup packed brown sugar

  1 egg white

 1 cup applesauce

 1 tsp vanilla

 1/2 cup milk

 1 cup blueberries ( I used Trader Joe's frozen organic blueberries0

 1/4 cup my homemade grain-ola (storebought granola will also work or just rolled oats)

 1/4 cup packed brown sugar

 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon

 2 tablespoon melted butter

 1 Tbsp whole wheat flour


1. Preheat an oven to 400. Grease a muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray. Whisk together 1 1/2 cups oatmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon in a mixing bowl and set aside.

2. Whisk 1/2 cup brown sugar, egg white, applesauce, and milk together in a mixing bowl until smooth. Stir in the flour mixture and blueberries till moistened. Pour the batter into the muffin pan. Stir the topping ingredients in a small bowl, mixing with a fork. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the muffins.

3. Bake in the preheated oven until golden and toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle, about 20-25 minutes depending on your oven. Cool at least 10 minutes and then remove from muffin pan.  Makes 12  muffins.
Cook's Notes: 
*Fresh blueberries can be used if you like.
*When you mix in the frozen blueberries your batter will change colors, and that's okay. They will still cook up all nice and golden brown.
*Granola is best to use for the tpping because it creates a crunchier crust which works well with the moist, soft muffins.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Week's End Update

Fitness-wise: I have done a pretty good job of getting to the gym for the past 2 weeks. While I'm still watching my exercising to make sure I don't over do it and hurt my knees or my leg, I feel good about what I've been doing. That has includes cardio, weights, and sculpting...though not everything the same every time I go. I am really liking this one Precor machine that looks something like this one to the left.

 Something else happened to me this week: my 7 year old iPod (the 2nd generation iPod classic, I think) went kaput. It started acting funny last week and would not hold a charge. I went without it one day this week and my workout sucked! I realized that I have to have my tunes. They keep me moving at a good pace and make me want to continue. That day without them, I was forced to listen to the gym music and it was, later the next day, DH and I went to the Apple Store and I got a brand new iPod (this one to the right). I even had to move in to this century because it's a touch screen (which I hate)...but, I love my new iPod. It even acts as a pedometer and has a place for me to download photos. All my old one did was play music. And, I can also listen to the radio on it...amazing! today, when I went to workout, I was ready!

Food wise:  I am working on using less artificial sweeteners and drinking less diet soda, and am succeeding. I made some homemade whole wheat croutons today for a salad topper and some hummus. After I made the hummus, I split it up into two containers and sprinkled one with Mrs. Dash tomato basil garlic salt free seasoning for a sun dried tomato hummus flavor. It's delish! I am also going to try to get back to logging my food on my fitness pal.  Lately, I've had trouble finding the time to log in, but I think I really need to.  It keeps me honest and helps me to make sure I've eaten enough protein.  I'm going to try to limit my grain intake too, because I think I'm getting too many.

Happy weekend everyone!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

E is for Eggs

I love eggs and since I'm not vegan, but vegetarian, I still eat them. A few weeks ago, I was lamenting about how to make easy peel, perfectly cooked hard boiled eggs.

I am happy to report that after a year of trying everything under the sun, I finally found a fool proof method that works.  So I have to share it...and just in time for Easter!

I put my eggs in a pan with cold water and 1 tsp of baking soda, making sure to cover the eggs so that there is at least an inch or two of water above the top of the eggs.

Next, put the pan on the stove on high heat. When the water comes to a good boil, put a lid on the pan and remove the pan from the heat. Let it sit for 15 minutes. When the 15 minutes is almost up, fill a bowl with ice and water. After the 15 minutes, use a slotted spoon and remove the hot eggs from the hot pot and gently put into the ice water. Repeat this with each egg. Once all eggs are in the ice water, let them sit for 15 minutes.

At the end of the 15 minutes, you can either peel the eggs immediately (they will keep for up to one week peeled in the fridge) or put them into a bowl in the fridge till you're ready to use them. I usually do the latter.

When I am ready to use the eggs, I tap each end of the egg on the counter top. Then under cool water, I roll the egg between my hands, and starting at the wider end, I begin peeling the eggs. Doing it under cold running water helps. I start at the wide end, because that's where the air bubble is and it seems to make peeling easier.  My friend, Lauren, sent me this video about egg peeling. The cooking is pretty self explanatory, so if you play it you may want to skip ahead to the  end where it shows how to peel the eggs. It uses a different method than mine, but it sounds like it would work great.

I can't tell you what a boon this is for me to finally be able to cook and then peel a hard boiled egg with ease. It makes my life a lot easier.  And the eggs come out cooked perfectly...completely yellow on the inside and no green rings around the yolk.  Love it!  Who knew that perfect timing and 1 tsp of baking soda would be the ultimate answer?  Happy Easter eggs everybody!