Tag Archives: Bulgur

Out of the Frozen Jungle…

We’ve nearly made it to Friday, and, as always, I’m so glad! The weather is supposed to be warm this weekend, and I can’t wait to get out in it!! Today was gloomy and rainy, and I was happy to be working from home. I started off in the exact same way I have every day this week– with this bowl:

Oat BranI had oat bran with banana, Jay Robb’s vanilla whey protein powder, maple syrup, berries and Dark Chocolate Dreams PB. I’m loving this bowl! I also had the last of my cherry tea with some milk and Torani. I’ve now finished one big canister of tea. I only have five to go…

I went to kickboxing today, and I had my usual pre-workout bowl of Greek yogurt. I’m so enamored with this combination!

Bliss in a Bowl!I love the mix of Fage with dalmatian fig and orange spread topped with chopped up vanilla roasted almonds. Oh my goodness. This is really one of my favorite things. I’ve also decided that it smells vaguely of cake. Weird? I’m down to the last of my fig and orange spread and I’m going to have to pick up some more ASAP!

The usual kickboxing instructor was out today, and the workout we got with her husband, the owner of the gym, was one of the toughest ever. To make matters even more challenging, there were only two of us in the class. I usually do my best to keep up, but I tried extra hard today. There was no place to hide! Needless to say, I was starving when I got home. I decided to have one of my favorite lunches. This could also be called “an ode to Trader Joe.”

Lunch!

I always keep some of Trader Joe’s frozen naan in the freezer in case I need an emergency pizza. I usually heat the naan in the oven for a couple of minutes, take it out, and then turn on the broiler. While the broiler is heating up, I top the naan with whatever sounds good. Today, I added some roasted vegetable tapenade, turkey pepperoni, and more of my awesome smoked mozzarella. I pop it under the broiler to melt the cheese, the edges of the naan crisp up and it’s just so good! I had it alongside a bowl of Trader Joe’s Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup. That is, hands down, my favorite non-homemade soup. The crispy edges of the naan are so perfect for dipping in the soup, and I always save a piece to wipe the bowl clean. I was a happy girl! I nibbled on a bit of chocolate after lunch and followed it up with a fudgy peanut butter vitatop:

Vita loveI never used to be a big chocolate fan, but here lately, I can’t get enough of the stuff! I started getting hungry about an hour before dinner time, and decided to dig into the depths of the freezer for one of my Very Strawberry Almond Butter Bars.

Very Strawberry Almond Butter BarI individually wrapped and froze about half the batch back when I made them for the BSI contest, and I’ve been neglecting them. In a semi-frozen state, they kind of remind me of refrigerator cookie dough that comes in a tube. Yum!! That brings me to this:

AAARGH!!A glimpse into my freezer reveals a place that is low on space, lacking in organization and full of all sorts of things. I’ve decided that one of my goals for April is to do something about this mess! Why should I keep buying new food, when there are so many things in here just waiting to be put to use? I may not be making as many new recipes, but I know I will still be eating well. Project “Clean Out the Freezer” got off to a pretty good start today. In addition to the berry bar, the naan and some frozen banana that went into my oat bran, I ate the last two of my Trader Joe’s turkey meatballs.

Din DinI also had some leftover Spiced Zucchini with Bulgur and a few leftover roasted green beans from the dinner I made last night. After that, I decided to really endure some suffering by cleaning a couple of other items out of the freezer. Wow. It was soooo hard!

Cookie LoveA good friend at work gave me a couple of these very cute shortbread cookies back around Valentine’s Day. I ate one then, and saved the other for later. I was so happy to have it this evening. It was so buttery and good and you can never go wrong with sprinkles!! Thanks, BDK!! I had some Edy’s Slow Churned Cookies and Creme ice cream along with it. Man, this freezer clean-out is tough. 🙂 After that, I finished off the evening with a little chocolate sampler:

Chocolate SamplerI got a little carried away in the chocolate section at Whole Foods the other day. That seems to happen now that I’ve changed my approach to eating. I parcel out my treats in a reasonable manner, but I certainly don’t skimp on variety. I was so amused by Berkshire Bark’s Pretzelogical bar, that I decided to try Midnight Harvest. It has some nuts and dried fruit in it, and it is quite good. I have to say, however, that the pretzelogical is still my absolute fave! I also wanted to try the dark chocolate Theo bar, and the Green & Black’s milk chocolate toffee bar. I realized that I don’t eat milk chocolate very often. It tasted so sweet to me! I think that having a little plate of chocolate like this one is a great way to satisfy my sweet tooth in the evening. Once I’ve fed the beast, I’ve noticed that I don’t snack nearly as much. There is much to be said for eating what you are really craving. It seems to be a better tactic in the long run. 

Sorry I’ve been a but lax about posting this week. Things have been busy, but good! I’ll try to do better. I promise! I also promise to keep you updated on the freezer progress. I’m a little bit scared about what might be hiding in there, but I guess there’s only one way to find out! 

Do you have an organized freezer with nice labels and orderly stacking… or does your freezer more closely resemble my frozen jungle? Sweetie Pie wants to know!

Speaking of busy, I need to take care of a few things so that I’ll be ready to hit the ground running in the morning. Before I go:

Check out this Zoe’s granola giveaway hosted by Lucky Tastebuds!

Congrats to Becca on making it through her first week at the CIA. She’s having a cool giveaway to celebrate. Check it out!

Have a great Friday!!! Ciao!

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Filed under BSI, Cookies, cooking, diet, Fitness, Food, Uncategorized, Weight Loss, Weight Loss Success Story

Zucchini and Cookies

Zucchini

Happy Thursday! The weekend’s almost here. I just hope the weather improves. It’s been gloomy and cloudy with drizzle all day today. It’s not warm either. The cherry blossom festival is about to get under way, and I just hope the little blossoms manage to stay warm.

Oat Bran!I had another day of tasty “pointless” eats, and I made a zucchini dish for dinner tonight that I’m going to tell you about. It was good, and a great way to use up the zucchini that came in my last Merry Produce Wednesday box. This morning, I started off with a bowl of oat bran. I’d just been missing it too much to have regular oats for another day! I added 1/3 a pack of Jay Robb’s strawberry whey protein powder, 1/2 Tbsp. of maple syrup, half of a banana that I smushed up, and some cinnamon and nutmeg. I tossed some strawberries on top with 1/2 Tbsp. of Dark Chocolate Dreams. It was gooood! 

Blue Ridge Dairy GoodnessBefore kickboxing, I had a bowl of Greek yogurt. I’ve been waiting to finish up some Fage before trying out the nonfat Greek yogurt I bought on Saturday at the farmer’s market. The Blue Ridge Dairy folks have kept me well fed this week with the smoked mozzarella. This yogurt? Oh my gosh. It was so good. In fact, I think it was the best Greek yogurt I’ve had! The add-ins were pretty awesome too. I added 1/2 Tbsp. of orange and fig spread along with some chopped vanilla almonds. It was the best thing I ate all day!

Cabbage Nest Primavera... againAfter kickboxing, I was starving! I woke up hungry this morning and that continued into the afternoon. I had my last Cabbage “Nest” Primavera along with a few Brussels sprouts. I’m made sure to get a good singe on my cabbage since the burnt bits were so tasty when it happened accidentally yesterday.

Lunch DessertAfter that, I enjoyed a slice of my cottage cheese bread with some Mighty Maple PB and half of a Cookiehead Belgian Chocolate Chunk cookie. Yes, this is another thing I hadn’t tried because it wasn’t very points friendly. You can tell that it is made with whole wheat because it has a nice soft texture and a nutty flavor. I really liked it, and I will definitely be trying the other flavors available at my store!

dscn2257Eventually, I decided it was time for a snack so I had a little strawberry Yokids with some Zoe’s granola mixed in. YUM!

Cashew and Pear CrazinessWhen snack time rolled around again, I decided to have a variation on the apple and PB theme. I had a pear and some cashew butter sprinkled with a ton of cinnamon. WOW! I’m living on the edge. 🙂 It was a really nice combo. Red pears are so pretty!

Din Din

By dinnertime, I was seriously hungry again! My body has adjusted to the new eating framework, and there are some noticeable changes. I seem to be hungrier, but yet more satisfied. I will talk more about that in tomorrow’s post. Just know that when dinner time rolled around, I was ready! I had a Gardenburger Chik’n Grill patty on some Nature’s Own Double Fiber bread with a little light mayo and some pickles. On the side, I had some grape tomatoes and some Spiced Zucchini with Bulgur. 

Spiced Zucchini with BulgurMy recipe for the zucchini dish was loosely based on this one from an old Gourmet magazine. I ran across the page I had torn out the other day while I was cleaning out a folder of random magazine pages. I have a habit of tearing out pages that interest me and then losing them due to the lack of any sort of organizational system whatsoever. I was glad to find this one. My version is actually quite a bit different, but I wanted to mention the original because it would be good too. Here’s mine:

Spiced Zucchini with Bulgur

Ingredients:

3 cups of boiling water

3/4 cup of bulgur

1 tsp. salt, divided

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 cup onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed or sliced

1 1/2 pounds of zucchini, cubed

3/4 tsp. ground coriander

1/4 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. chili powder

 1/4 tsp. black pepper

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary

Juice of half of a lemon

Directions:
Place bulgur and 1/2 tsp. salt in a medium sized microwave safe bowl. Pour the boiling water over the bulgur, cover and let it sit for three minutes. Then, place in the microwave, uncovered, for 6 minutes. Remove from the microwave and give it a stir. Return to the microwave for two minutes at a time, stirring it at each two minute interval. It took about ten minutes for mine to absorb most of the water, but the time could vary. Just continue microwaving until the water is absorbed and the bulgur is tender.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet and add the onion and 1/4 tsp. of salt, sauteeing for one minute. Add the garlic and saute for one minute. Add the zucchini and the remaining 1/4 tsp. of salt. Saute the zucchini, stirring gently, for about 6 minutes or until the zucchini is tender.

Add the remaining ingredients except for the lemon juice. Continue to cook the mixture for two more minutes. Remove from heat. Stir the zucchini mixture into the bulgur, being gentle so as to avoid mashing the zucchini. Add the lemon juice and give it another gentle stir. 

This makes 8 side servings, but two servings could make a nice lunch.

It was creamy and kind of reminded me of risotto! I used rosemary because I have some growing in a pot, and it is need of some serious trimming. You’ll be seeing a lot of rosemary until I get my plant under control. I used a whole tablespoon of olive oil because I’m trying to make sure and get enough healthy fat into my diet each day. You could certainly use less or just use cooking spray. I will say that this dish had a much richer texture than I expected, and I have to attribute it to the olive oil. It felt decadent! Yum! Fat!!

DessertAfter dinner, I had the other half of my cookie and a cup of fat free Nestle’s cocoa. After that, I decided to try the chocolate orange Jocalat Bar from Larabar. I didn’t take a picture. I also didn’t eat much of the bar. I’m now faced with a dilemma. I did not like the way this bar tasted AT ALL! I love chocolate and orange together, and I expected to love this. Instead, I thought it had a weird and unpleasant taste. I’m not sure what the deal is, but, as I try not to waste calories on things I don’t like, I now have most of a bar to dispose of. I don’t think that giving a half eaten ancient larabar to trick or treaters in October is appropriate, but that’s the only idea I’ve come up with so far. What do you think I should do with it? I’m also curious if anyone else has tried this bar. Maybe mine is defective? Well, at any rate, I’m going to be looking for another little treat this evening, and I’ll be putting this little number in a ziploc baggie where it will await its fate.

Today was day seven of my “pointless” eating week. Tomorrow I’ll let you know how it went and what I’m planning as I move forward. It has been a good week, and I’ve done more food journal posts than usual to sort of let you see what was on the menu. It’s a lot of work! I don’t think I’d like doing it everyday, but it is fun to look back and see what I’ve eaten.

I have some major cleaning to do this evening, and I need to get to it. If you are reading this, please leave a comment and let me know what on earth I should do with this bar?!? I’m hoping you have an idea that is better than mine!

Have a great Friday and an amazing weekend!

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Filed under Cookies, diet, Farmer's Market, Fitness, Food, Recipes, Uncategorized, Vegetarian Recipes, Weight Loss, Weight Loss Success Story, Weight Watchers

“Big Batch” Bulgur Chili and an Oikos Review

JalapenoI told you that I had a pepper to use today! I’m in a spicy mood!

How is it possible that the weekend is almost over already? It just started! It has been a rainy and gloomy weekend, which has discouraged me from sticking my nose out the door very much. It’s more fun to just hang out in my kitchen where umbrellas aren’t usually necessary.

Today, I tried to sleep late, but was not successful. I did enjoy some quality time in my warm bed with my current book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. Hunger finally roused me from my comfy spot, and I had one of my Very Strawberry Almond Butter Snack Bars, some yogurt with Fiber One and a cup of cherry and blueberry tea mixed with So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk. I saw the coconut milk yesterday, and decided to give it a try after hearing it mentioned around here in blogland. I liked it! It was definitely creamier than my usual almond milk, and it made for a nice tea latte. At only 50 calories and 5 grams of fat per serving, I think I’ll be enjoying it in my tea in the days to come. 

Brekkie

After breakfast, I decided to get busy preparing lunch. Think about food much, Sweetie Pie? NO! Not at all! I was reading Mara’s blog the other day, and she mentioned some chili made with bulgur. I love bulgur, and I love chili. The concept had been bouncing around in my head all week, and I decided to see what I had in the fridge/pantry and come up with my own version. Chili is such a perfect big batch food for me to take in my lunches! This recipe is super easy, and super good. Here’s my recipe:

A Pot Full of Love

“Big Batch” Bulgur Chili

Ingredients:

1 tsp. olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

1 medium carrot, thinly sliced

2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed or thinly sliced

2 red bell peppers, chopped (other colors would be fine, but I love the sweet reds)

1 medium sized jalapeno, seeds removed and finely chopped

2 1/2 tsp. chili powder

1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1 1/2 tsp. salt

28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes

Water to fill the 28 ounce tomato can

1 10 ounce can of Ro-tel

1 15 ounce can of fat free refried beans (I used Trader Joe’s fat free refried black beans with jalapeno)

1 15 ounce can of dark kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup of canned pumpkin

1 cup of uncooked bulgur (I used the Hodgson Mill bulgur with soy for an extra punch of protein)

Directions:

Heat oil in a large pot. Add the onion, carrot and garlic and saute for 7 minutes. Add the bell pepper and jalapeno and saute for 5 more minutes. Stir in the chili powder, cumin and salt. Add the can of crushed tomatoes, and then fill the can with water. Add the water and the remaining ingredients to the pot. Stir well. Make sure that your refried beans get broken up. I only mention it because mine were trying their best to maintain the can shape. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

This makes 8 unofficial 3 point servings.

I had a bowl for lunch, and was so struck by the creamy and hearty texture. You can’t taste the pumpkin, of course, but it definitely  contributes to the thick and rib sticking consistency of the chili. I didn’t miss my usual ground beef at all. My lunch bag is going to be a happy place this week!

Bowl of YumI love plain bulgur, which would work fine in this recipe, but I’m such a fan of Hodgson Mill’s Bulgur Wheat with Soy. It has a slightly chewy texture that I really like, and it’s a good way to get a bit of a protein punch. Each 1/4 cup of the dry stuff packs 10 grams! 

Hodgson MillI love it for breakfast with honey and almonds or with stir fried veggies. I’m such a fan!

Later in the afternoon, I decided to try one of the Oikos yogurts I picked up yesterday using a coupon provided by Kristina at Stonyfield Farm. I usually just buy plain Greek yogurt, and add my own sweetener, but I couldn’t resist trying the little cup of Oikos with honey.

Oikos with Honey

It had that thick and creamy texture that I love with the added bonus of sweet honey.  There was a lot of honey, but, as you know, I’m not one to complain about sweet things! 

Oikos with Honey

Of course, I like Greek yogurt because it’s yummy, but also because it’s such a good source of protein. I’ve really been trying to focus on getting more protein into my diet, since I’m a regular at strength training, and so I’ve been paying more attention to the amount of protein in certain foods. This little cup packed 13 grams of protein along with 120 calories and 0 grams of fat! I will also add that it is 2 points according to the Weight Watchers calculator. It was good to the last drop!

Good to the last drop!

I usually buy plain Greek yogurt and add my own sweetener, but I think that the convenience factor of this little cup might cause a few of these to land in my cart each week. I believe in being prepared, and that often means having things that I can grab in a hurry. I’m hoping to find the blueberry flavor at my local store the next time I go. They didn’t have any yesterday, but I’m on the hunt! If I find one, I’ll be sure to tell you all about it!

For now, here’s a link to the page describing the Oikos line, and here is a link to get printable coupons for Stonyfield Farm products. I’ve enjoyed the YoKids yogurts for quite some time now. They aren’t made with fake sweetener, and they come in fun flavors like Banilla. Thanks, Kristina, for the chance to try a different Greek yogurt than my usual!

I’ve got a loaf of bread baking in the oven that I will tell you all about tomorrow. It smells so good. I’ll never be able to wait for it to cool! 🙂 Luckily, I have class with my trainer so I’ll probably take it out of the oven and then run off for some cardio and strength training. I know it is best to do cardio after the strength training, but man is it tough to run when your legs feel like jelly. Still, I look forward to these little torture sessions! 

I’m going to put away the laundry and inhale the baking bread smell. Have a great evening and a fabulous week!!!

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