Tag Archives: Broccoli

A Sweet Sweet Day

Today was a sweet sweet day– and I mean that sort of literally. These food journal posts are always very educational to me. I didn’t tag myself as Sweetie Pie without good reason. I’ve been on a bit of a sweet jag today! 

For breakfast, I had a bowl of coconut chai oat bran. I added 1/2 tsp of cinnamon, 1/2 tsp of ground cardamom and 1/4 tsp of ground ginger to my oat bran along with a tsp of honey and a tsp of raw sugar. Then I topped it with some vanilla roasted almonds and coconut. This has been my new favorite oat bran concoction this week. I love the cardamom, and I’m a sucker for coconut. Along with my oat bran, I had a cup of cherry tea with my usual mix of skim milk and almond milk. I haven’t missed my coffee this week. I’m so surprised! I haven’t had any since I mentioned to you last week that I was going to start drinking up all the loose tea in my pantry. This does the trick just fine, and I love the taste of this cherry tea!

Chai Oat Bran

Since I was going to be kickboxing during my usual lunchtime, I decided to have this protein and fiber filled snack about an hour before my class. I really love the orange and ginger Siggi’s, but the blueberry is pretty good too. It would be the runner up if I was judging a Siggi’s pageant. I had so much energy in my kickboxing class today! Some weeks, I feel like I drag myself through the workout just trying to make it to the end. I had a bit more bounce to my kick today. I’m not sure why I had so much more energy, but it was nice!

Siggi'sAfter kickboxing, I had a Gardenburger grilled chik’n patty on an Arnold thin with some dill pickles and light Hellman’s. I love the combo of pickles, mayo and chicken (or chik’n as the case may be.) Back in the day, I ate a lot of fast food chicken sandwiches, and I became hooked on that combination. Now, I’m glad to have a healthier way to enjoy it. The real star of my lunch was this enormous salad! In addition to a huge pile of lettuce, it contains tomato, cucumber, carrots, Cabot cheddar, and a serving of my Dillicious Golden Beet and Red Onion Salad. I topped it with my new favorite creamy dressing: 2 Tbsp of smoked paprika hummus mixed with a little vinegar, a Tbsp of Greek yogurt and a tsp of sweet pickle relish. It tastes like Thousand Island dressing! Yet another healthier version of an old favorite. I really enjoyed my lunch, and this salad really filled me up. 

LunchOf course, I had to have dessert. I had a triple chocolate chunk vitatop with berries and fat free Cool Whip. I seemed to be craving chocolate today. That’s odd for me. Chocolate isn’t usually my thing. I’m much more of a coconut or caramel girl. I’m not sure what’s going on, but, as you will see, this was not the day’s only chocolate. 
Vita Berry WhipI had a couple of snacks between lunch dessert and dinner. My favorite snack this week has been a mixture of Kashi Honey Sunshine cereal and lightly salted pumpkin seeds. Sweet… salty… perfect!

Cereal and SeedsI also had half of a serving of my new favorite granola, Galaxy Granola Vanilla Almond Munch, mixed with a few bittersweet chocolate chips. Yep. Chocolate.

Granola and ChipsFor dinner, I was in the mood for a classic. Along with my leftover roasted broccoli, I whipped up a grilled cheese sandwich with tomato and basil. This was no ordinary grilled cheese. I love the basket of cheese scraps at my local Whole Foods. I always poke around a bit in the basket when I’m there, and I like buying little remnants of interesting cheeses. The cheese on this sandwich is called “Amadeus.” I’ve bought it several times before. I’m not sure if it is the creamy nuttiness of the yummy cheese or the fact that it shares a name with a famous composer, but I always bring a piece home when I find it in the scrap basket. You can take the music teacher out of the classroom, but you can’t take her out of the kitchen?

Grilled AmadeusI’d checked out Tina’s site earlier today, and she was having peanut butter and chips on an English muffin. Of course, I had to have my own. Umm… can you say “chocolate?” 

PB ChipsOh look! More chocolate. I had a vitabrownie later in the evening.

VitabrownieFinally, I was mixing up a batch of cheesecake flavored fat free sugar free pudding cups. Of course, I wanted some right then, and I wanted it with pumpkin and cool whip. So… I had some. I’m always amazed at how filling the 1/2 cup of pumpkin is when mixed in with a bit of pudding. There is no chocolate here, but the thought did cross my mind… Are you sure that there aren’t chips hidden in the bottom? Hmm? Well, there aren’t, but they would have been yummy!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Pudding

I love everything I ate today. I had plenty of veggies and plenty of dairy. it was another accidental meatless day. I have those more and more often lately! I’m still puzzled as to why there are so many sweet things, but I guess the fact that I ate within my points scheme and got plenty of healthy stuff in there should make it ok. There has been much discussion lately about the idea of intuitive eating. I’m trying to get better at listening, although it seems that the little voice in my head often shouts SUGAR! Today, at least, I listened. Did I mention how much I love everything I ate today? :-)

I’m so glad that it’s almost Friday. I’m pretty sure I know how my Friday weigh-in ritual is going to go. That will have to wait until tomorrow. For now, I have a few little tidbits to mention:

I submitted my recipes for Abbie’s blogger cookbook over at Foods That Fit. I can’t wait to see the finished product. What a great idea! She is still accepting submissions, but not for long! Check it out!

Check out Fitnessista’s Quaker giveaway!

Also, check out the amazing Pure Bar giveaway at An Apple a Day.

Ciao for now!

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Filed under diet, Food, Uncategorized, Weight Loss, Weight Loss Success Story, Weight Watchers

A Tale of Two Pavlovas and a Day in the Life

Baklava Pavlova

Yesterday, I mentioned that I was excited about my pavlova plan for last night. It’s a little creation I like to call “Baklava Pavlova”… because that’s fun to say, and because it has the nut and honey combo that makes baklava so darn tasty! I mixed 1/2 a tsp of Tupelo honey with 2 Tbsp. of Greek yogurt to make the creamy topping, topped that with chopped cinnamon almonds, and then drizzled another 1/2 of a tsp of honey over the top. I think this one might have been my favorite of the four pavlovas, although tonight’s was pretty awesome too!!!

Since I have to sit through a lawyeriffic conference for the next two days (whilst trying to avoid munching on the breakfast and lunch buffets out of boredom…), I decided to just go ahead and do my weekly “day in the life” food journal post today. I was also working from home, which typically results in less interruptions. So, here it is…

Breakfast was a latte made with unsweetened vanilla almond breeze and a bit of sugar free Torani white chocolate syrup. Unsweetened vanilla almond breeze is, hands down, my favorite non-dairy milk. I really love the stuff! I also had a bowl of oat bran topped with five strawberries, 1/2 an ounce of chopped cinnamon almonds from Trader Joe’s and 1/2 of a Tbsp. of honey. I’m so excited about the oat bran purchase, and this bowl was delicious. Amazingly, it kept me full until lunch, and I didn’t need to go looking for an 11:00 snack.

BreakfastI love oat bran!! I’m also a big fan of anything involving honey and nuts. Speaking of honey, do you know the Van Morrison song, “Tupelo Honey?” I’m a fan of it. I was thinking of it when I chose the Tupelo honey over the other honeys at the store. If I need to laugh, I just listen to that song and focus on the back up singers. They make the song. Their part is hilarious. Speaking of focusing…. Sorry about that…. 

Oat Bran, Strawberries, Cinnamon Almonds and HoneyFor lunch, I made a salad with Boston butter lettuce, roma tomato, carrots, onions and celery and then topped it with my favorite creamy dressing. 

Hummussy SaladMy dressing is made of 1 Tbsp. of Greek yogurt, 2 Tbsp. of Forty Spices Hummus, and a little bit of salt and then thinned out with a bit of lemon juice. Since there are about a zillion flavors of hummus available, the possibilities for this dressing seem endless.

Hummus, Yogurt and Lemon... Yum!I also had a serving of my “Big Batch” Broccoli and White Bean Bake  and some leftover spinach and mushrooms topped with a bit of parmesan cheese. I think the casserole is getting better by the day, and I’m really loving the beans!

Broccoli and White Bean Bake

For lunch dessert, I had a bowl of TJ’s fruit and fiber cereal with some dried peaches and a little skim milk.

Lunch DessertTime sort of got away from me this afternoon. I spent a lot of the day on the phone with my boss and with the analysts I work with trying to get things squared away before my two day hiatus. At some point,  I realized that I was past due for a snack so I doubled up and had a bowl of fresh pineapple and a piece of peanut butter toast with sugar free jam.

PB&J Toast and PineappleAfter that, I had a vitatop…

Chocolate Vita TopThat was followed by one last snack before I went to kickboxing. Despite being sick, I’ve mostly kept up with my workout schedule. It has been tough to muster up the energy to go, but I find that I feel better afterwards. At the very least, my nose unstops for a little while. I went to class tonight since I can’t go tomorrow during lunch, and I needed something that would hold me past my usual dinnertime and through the class. Siggi’s Pomegranate and Passion Fruit (with its 16 grams of protein) was the winner along with some Fiber One. I tried the orange and ginger flavor last week and posted about it. I tried the blueberry yesterday, and really liked it. I’d been saving this one since it involved pomegranate (which I LOVE), thinking that it would be “blow my mind” good. Unfortunately, the passion fruit flavor is predominant, and, well, I don’t love passion fruit. I think that the orange and ginger is my fave, and I’ll definitely be stocking up on it and the blueberry in the future. 

Siggi'sAfter class, I made dinner: crispy kale and tacos made with 96/4 ground beef, Cabot 75% reduced fat sharp cheddar, Pepitos corn tortillas (2 for 1 point!), and some salsa. I love tex mex, and I can usually get a fix with something as basic as this.

Crispy Kale and TacosFinally…. Pavlova’s swan song. I ate the last of my four little pavlovas this evening. I’m going to be sad when I don’t have one to eat tomorrow night, but I’m determined not to get into a pavlova addiction/dessert rut. The last pavlova was topped with some fat free cool whip, a Tbsp. of Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter, and fresh strawberries. It was a pretty classic flavor combo with a bit of peanut buttery goodness mixed in, and it was yummy. I think that the Baklava Pavlova was my favorite, but this one is probably the runner up.

Pavlova's Swan Song

If you were dressing a pavlova, what would yours be wearing? 

I had a pretty yummy day!! Now I need to pack a bunch of snacks for tomorrow and head off to bed. These conferences always seem to involve buffets of pastries in the morning and buffets of mayonnaisey salads and cardboardy desserts at noon. I’m not planning to avoid the free food altogether. I just suspect that, if this is similar to other events I’ve attended, most of the food may not really be worth my points. That means I need to be prepared with things that I would prefer to eat so that I don’t eat the other junk out of boredom or hunger. I may sneak a few photos, and I will definitely tell you how it goes tomorrow including whether any of the food makes the cut and finds its way onto my plate!!

A few tidbits to wrap up:

Tina– you will be getting some interview questions from me tomorrow or Friday so get ready! I can’t wait to learn more about you!

BSI!!!

Don’t forget to submit your BSI entries to me at melodylawgirl@yahoo.com by midnight on Sunday, March 1st. This week is BSI: Black Beans. I’ve received one luscious looking entry so far, and updated the post so check it out!

Other Awesome Contests!!

Check out this awesome granola that Heather is giving away at Hangry Pants.

Also check out this fun giveaway going on at Mara’s site!

Goodnight, y’all!

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Filed under BSI, diet, Fitness, Food, Recipes, Uncategorized, Weight Loss, Weight Loss Success Story, Weight Watchers

“Big Batch” Broccoli and White Bean Bake

"Big Batch" Broccoli and White Bean Bake

It’s Sunday, and I’ve got a bit of a cold so I’m not feeling my best today. I’ve had a pretty healthy winter, so I guess I shouldn’t complain! Even though I’m feeling a bit under the weather, the work week is still looming, and it is time for me to make my weekly “big batch” food to have in my lunches. Often, when “big batch” day comes along, I go into the kitchen and do a little produce inventory. I hardly ever find myself running out to the store so that I can make a particular recipe. I usually just identify whatever items need to be used and then look for inspiration.

Last week, I ordered extra broccoli in my “Merry Produce Wednesday” box. If, by the way, you have found your way to my site thanks to the great newsletter prepared by Lisa at Washington’s Green Grocer, welcome to you!!! I’m glad you’re here!

Broccoli

I had a ton of broccoli, and I wanted to plan a dish around it. I considered making a lightened up broccoli cheese soup, but I enjoyed last week’s mushroom casserole so much that I decided to try something similar to that again this week. I wanted a casserole with a lot of flavor, a decent amount of protein and a hint of cheesy goodness. This is what I came up with:

“Big Batch” Broccoli and White Bean Bake

Ingredients:

Nonstick Cooking Spray

Salt (for sprinkling on broccoli and salting the pasta water)

1/2 pound broccoli, cleaned and prepped (stems peeled and sliced, florets broken apart)

4 ounces uncooked whole wheat elbow pasta (I used Barilla Plus elbows in my points calculation)

1/2 tsp. olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped

2 tsp. dried thyme

1 egg

1 egg white

1 cup 1% lowfat cottage cheese

1/2 cup light sour cream

2 tsp. dijon mustard

3/4 tsp. salt

1 15 ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

4 ounces reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese, diced rather small (I used Cabot 75% reduced fat sharp cheddar in my points calculation)

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Roasting the Broccoli:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place a pot of water on the stove to heat to a boil for the pasta.

Spray two baking sheets well with nonstick cooking spray. Arrange broccoli florets and sliced stems on baking sheets in a single layer. Spray the broccoli with cooking spray and then sprinkle it with a bit of salt. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes, remove from the oven, and set aside. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. After the broccoli has cooled a bit, place it on the cutting board and give it a rough chop.

Cooking the pasta:

Cook pasta according to package directions, and be sure to liberally salt the pasta water. When pasta is done, drain the water and set the pasta aside.

Sauteeing the Onions and Garlic:

While pasta and broccoli are cooking, Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and saute for 7 minutes. Add dried thyme to the skillet and saute for one more minute. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Combining the ingredients:

In a large bowl, beat the egg and egg white well. Add the cottage cheese, sour cream, dijon mustard and 3/4 tsp. salt. Mix thoroughly. Add the white beans, pasta, onion mixture and chunks of cheddar to the bowl and fold all ingredients in well. Add the broccoli, and stir it in combining all ingredients and making sure that everything is coated in the egg mixture. 

Spray a 9×13 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Pour the broccoli mixture into the baking pan and smooth it out evenly. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the casserole from the oven, remove the aluminum foil, top with the parmesan cheese and bake uncovered for another 30 minutes until cheese is melted and edges are browned.

If you are a Weight Watcher, this makes 8 unofficial 4 point servings using the Barilla pasta and the Cabot cheese. You can certainly use other brands, but you may wish to recalculate the points. 

I find that one of the easiest ways to cook with less fat and calories is to really infuse each component of a dish like this one with flavor. That’s why I suggest roasting the broccoli rather than steaming or boiling it. It’s easy, and it gives the broccoli a lot of flavor that really punches up the taste factor in the casserole. I often roast my broccoli this way and have it as a side dish. Those little browned crispy bits make me happy!

I hate wasting food, so I always use the stems of my broccoli. I remove the tough outer skin with my vegetable peeler and then slice the tender flesh that lurks under that tough exterior.

Roasted BroccoliI’m not a big pasta eater at all, but, as I said, I’m not feeling great today and pasta is comforting. I find that I don’t need a lot of pasta in a dish like this, so I only included a rather modest amount. There are so many yummy things in here, that I didn’t see any reason to weigh it all down with a pasta majority. When you are using a small amount of pasta, a small pasta like these elbows is perfect because a handful of them can infiltrate a pretty big space. Salting the pasta water well will give the little elbows a good amount of flavor, so don’t forget the salt!

Barilla Plus Elbows

I decided to chop the cheese into little bitty cubes, rather than shredding or grating it, because I feel like it is less likely to get “lost” if I incorporate slightly larger pieces. I want to know that the cheese is in there, but I don’t want to have to use too much of it to accomplish that. If you can’t find the Cabot cheese I used where you live, no worries. You can use another cheese. Just try to find a reduced fat cheddar that is sharp or extra sharp, as the sharper cheese will provide more flavor in a smaller quantity. If you choose to use the pre-shredded type, it will be perfectly fine. I just think the little cubes are slightly better.

Cheese!

I added Dijon mustard to the “glue” mixture, because I find that a little bit of mustard really enhances the flavor of cheese.

GlueYou can see the bits of thyme used to infuse the onion and garlic mixture in here as well as the beans, which give this a creamy texture while adding fiber and protein. Win win! I used cannellini beans, but any small white bean will work just fine.

Ready to get cookin'!Cooking the casserole covered for half the time and then cooking uncovered after adding the cheese is another good way to enhance the presence of the cheese. Parmesan is a great topper because of its strong flavor. Here’s what the finished casserole looked like in the pan:

Done!

Now, I’m all set with something hearty and healthy to have for my lunches this week. I’m going to be eating luncheon food (plus my own snacks I’m sure…) on Thursday and Friday at an ABA conference, so I think I’m going to put a few servings of this casserole in the freezer. I love using the freezer! I’d much rather pull out a container of this than a sad store bought microwave dinner any day!

They say that as long as you are only sick from the neck up it is ok to work-out. I’ve found that sometimes it even makes me feel better. I’m going to finish polishing off my piece of casserole and then head to the gym. We’ll see how it goes. If it isn’t going well, I’ll abandon the effort in favor of a cup of tea. Hopefully, that won’t be the case.  

I hope you try this recipe (let me know if you do!!), and I hope you have a great week!!

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Filed under diet, Fitness, Food, Recipes, Uncategorized, Weight Loss, Weight Loss Success Story, Weight Watchers