Tag Archives: cauliflower

Mr. Banana Man and Random Portion Size Reminders

Hi!! I hope everyone is having a good week. Tomorrow is Friday, you know. Woo hoo!!! As usual, I’m ready for the weekend. How about you? Any big plans?¬†

My big plans today included a big bowl of breakfast. I had oat bran, 5 grain cereal, Jay Robb’s vanilla whey protein powder, agave nectar, a baby banana, and some Trader Joe’s Peanuts, Berries and Almonds ((PB&A)) in the bowl. So good!! Baby banana, Sweetie Pie? Just wait. You’ll see….

Baby Nanners

The baby nanners are super yellow, and super good!

For lunch, I grilled a Trader Joe’s Chile Chicken Lime burger, and used it to make a quick taco salad.

Another Big BowlI put lettuce, red bell pepper and corn in the bowl along with some crunched up light Tostitos and some little cubes of Cabot 75% reduced fat cheddar. I topped it with the chopped up burger, and then added salsa, Greek yogurt and a bit of Tostitos Bean and Cheese Dip on the top. I love salads like this one! I don’t want to discuss the ingredients in the Tostitos dip. I’m sure it isn’t the greatest. Speaking of Tostitos products in jars, I have to confess that I love their cheese dip more than I should. Seriously. It’s perfect when I need a Taco Bell type powdered cheese fix. Sometimes it really hits the spot.

Following my big salad….

Mr. Banana ManIntroducing: Mr. Banana Man!! I bought this huge bunch of baby bananas at the international food grocery store last weekend, and I can’t seem to make a dent in them. I love baby bananas because of their smaller portion size. They’re also really cute! I have a feeling some of these babies are about to get frozen and dipped in some chocolate, since I have so many, but, um… I’m ok with that! I couldn’t resist playing with my food a bit. Mr. Banana Man has vanilla wafer features, a banana mouth and a PB& Company Cinnamon Raisin Swirl PB goatee. alternatively, he has a PB mouth and a big banana ‘stache. I’m not sure which it is. What do you think?

Later in the day, I sliced up a pretty pink lady apple, and then made a very tasty dip.

Hey, Pretty Lady!I mixed 2 Tablespoons of PB2 with a Tablespoon of Greek yogurt and half a Tablespoon of berry jam. It was vaguely cheesecakey, and totally delicious!! This might be my favorite use for PB2 so far. Too bad I’m out of apples. ūüė¶ Luckily, I’m sure it would taste great on a baby banana, and goodness knows I have plenty of those!

Closer to dinner time, I had a little snack bowl.

Snickitty SnackI often have this mix in the evening, but I really wanted it for an afternoon snack today. I think this bowl is a great example of how quickly little bites of things can add up caloriewise. I put about half a serving of Quaker Essentials Crunchy Corn Bran squares, one fifth of a serving of Zoe’s honey almond granola and one third of a serving of Reese’s peanut butter chips in the bowl. This added up to 115 calories despite being little bits of this and that. That’s certainly not a bad total for a snack, but seeing the total is a great reminder of how the little bites add up!

For dinner, I was feeling the urge to use something out of the pantry. I had so much success with my little freezer clean out project, that I’m now trying to clean out the pantry. It was cool and rainy most of today, so it seemed like the perfect day for a bowl of Trader Joe’s turkey chili with beans.

TJ's Bowl of GoodnessThere is some roasted cauliflower hiding under there, and a couple of blocks of Cabot 75% reduced fat cheddar on top. Sometimes a simple dinner from a can is a nice thing. Finding a meal in the pantry is sort of like finding change in the couch cushions. I love a hidden treasure!

For dessert, I had a serving of the Breyer’s All Natural Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream that we bought while my parents were here.

Chocolate Minty GoodnessMint chocolate chip is such a perfect combo! There is a lesson in this bowl too. In case you haven’t noticed, I have ice cream almost every night. I love it!! I always weigh out a serving because it saves me from having a dirty measuring cup, and I know I get a more accurate serving. The other thing I always do is put it in a small bowl. Tonight, I grabbed a regular sized bowl, and I couldn’t believe how empty it looked! Using a little bowl really does make your brain think you are having more ice cream. This also is a good reminder of what a serving of ice cream looks like. The next time I find myself in front of a huge bowl, I should keep this in mind!

After my little dessert, I went to work out with my trainer and do some cardio. I loved reading about your favorite stretches in the comments on my last post! It sounds like the old classics rate pretty high with y’all. They do with me too! Sadly, I was still a bit sore from all of the Tuesday night lunges when I got to class tonight. Of course, there was more lunging. Ugh! I feel like both of my strength training work outs were really good this week, but I suspect that I have another day or two of soreness in my future. What’s that saying? “Pain is weakness leaving the body?” Well, I think I’m leaving a trail of weakness behind me. ūüôā

After my work out, I treated some strawberries, 1/2 a cup of unsweetened vanilla almond breeze and 1/2 a packet of Weight Watcher’s Chocolate Smoothie Mix to a little spin in the magic bullet. Yum!! I think this would be an interesting color for nail polish:

SmoothI love chocolate and berries together. Strangely enough, I’m still hungry. I think it’s time for a few almonds and then I’m off to bed. I’ve had a hard time falling asleep this week, so I’m going to have a nice cup of chamomile tea along with my almonds and I hope that will do the trick.¬†

Before I go, I wanted to tell you that Lucky Taste Buds is hosting a massive giveaway, so be sure to check it out. LTB is always a fun blog to read, and I’ve learned about a number of interesting eats from her site. I highly recommend a visit to Lucky Taste Buds!

Ciao for now, y’all and I hope you have a great Friday!

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Filed under Bananas, diet, Fitness, Food, Greek Yogurt, Salad, Uncategorized, Weight Loss, Weight Loss Success Story

Creamy Cauliflower and Cannellini Soup

All Set For You!I had such an awesome day today full of great weather, amazing friends and… fabulous soup! A couple of very good friends came over for a laid back lunch. I haven’t seen either of them in a while, and we had some serious catching up to do! It was great spending some time with them, and it reminds me that I should have people over more often. It’s so much fun to cook for someone other than just myself!

Today’s Menu

Garden Salad topped with Smoked Paprika Hummus, Lemon Juice and Greek Yogurt Dressing with Toasted Chickpeas and Pumpkin Seeds

Toasted Bran Bread with Assorted Jams

Creamy Cauliflower and Cannellini Soup

Fresh Pineapple

Bittersweet Chocolate Oat Bran Cookies

Lunch is Ready!

This was a very simple lunch, but it was perfect for catching up with old friends. The soup recipe I came up with turned out so well, and I can’t wait to eat the leftovers in my lunches this week! After making bread last weekend, I froze half of it and was happy that it toasted up so nicely under the broiler today. The smoked paprika hummus is a new flavor to me, and the dressing had a bit of a Thousand Island taste to it. I think I might add a bit of sweet pickle relish the next time. That was the only flavor missing from the Thousand Island experience, and it might just be a good “special sauce” for a Boca burger.¬†

This soup recipe came about because I had some cauliflower and wanted to make a soup. The end result tastes more like the beans than the cauliflower, but I’m not complaining! It was rich and creamy and satisfying while costing a mere 2 points for a huge bowl. Plus, it is vegetarian friendly, which was perfect since one friend is a long time vegetarian. I’m already thinking about making more, and I know it is going to be a staple recipe next winter! Here’s my recipe:

Creamy Cauliflower and Cannellini Soup

Ingredients:

nonstick cooking spray

1 medium sized head of cauliflower, broken into florets

1 cup chopped onion

1 medium sized carrot, thinly sliced

2 cloves of garlic, sliced

1 Tbsp. fresh dill, chopped

4 cups of broth (chicken or veggie)

2 cups of water

juice of half a lemon (about 2 Tbsp)

1 19 ounce can of Cannellini Beans with the liquid (I used the Progresso brand in calculating points)

1 cup of 1% lowfat cottage cheese

Salt to taste

Fresh dill for garnish 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Place the cauliflower on the baking sheet and spray the cauliflower with cooking spray. Roast in the 475 degree oven for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Spray a large pot with cooking spray and heat on medium high. When the pot is hot, add the onions, garlic and carrot. Saute for 7 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the chopped dill and saute for an additional minute. Add the broth, cauliflower, water, lemon juice and beans (with the bean liquid) to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the soup for 20 minutes. 

Puree the soup in small batches in a blender or food processor incorporating half of the cottage cheese in the first batch and the other half in the second. Continue processing the soup until it has all been pureed. Return the processed soup to the pot, stir well and heat through (about a minute). Add salt to taste. I added 3/4 tsp., but the broth I used was reduced sodium. The bean juice adds some salt too, so I’d just give it a little taste and adjust it to your liking. Garnish each bowl with a sprig of fresh dill if desired.

This makes 6 unofficial 2 point servings or 8 unofficial 1 point servings.

Soup's On!I was so pleased with this soup. The carrot gives it a little sweetness and color. Roasting the cauliflower beforehand adds some nice caramel bits as well. The beans and cottage cheese work together to make the soup creamy and give it a punch of protein, and the lemon and dill give it a few bright notes. I honestly have to say that this may be my favorite of the soup recipes I’ve concocted this winter. I’m so happy to know that I’ll be having some more tomorrow!¬†

After lunch, I headed downtown to a very cool bowling alley, Lucky Strike, to celebrate a friend’s birthday. I got to catch up with a few more friends while I was there, and it was just nice to be out and about on a very springlike day. If my friend is reading this, Happy Birthday to you!! I got there a bit late, so I didn’t actually bowl, but I had a great time watching everyone else and just hanging out. After the bowling, I headed home for my Sunday night cardio session followed by strength training with my trainer.

It was a full but fun day. Now, I’m going to try to get on track with the changes to the clock, so I’m headed to bed with a cup of tea and Pasta Queen’s book. I finished Dietgirl’s book, and I loved it so much. I think when I weighed over 300 pounds, I sometimes felt like I was the only girl in the world suffering through the experience. It’s so nice to read the words of someone who has walked in the same sensible and comfortable shoes as me, and who has endured so many of the same things. It’s also nice because her story has a happy ending. I’m a sucker for a happy ending!! As a bonus, Shauna has a stellar sense of humor, and I think we’d be fast friends. I highly recommend it!

Tonight’s workout was pretty great. I just find that I have so much more energy when the weather is favorable. I’m like a bear when it is cold. I’d rather just stay in my cave and hibernate! So, my question to you is this: What is your favorite thing about spring?

I wish you all sweet dreams in the wake of the time change! G’night… hopefully…! ūüôā

 

 

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

Another Day in the Life…

BreakfastSince today was a “work from home” day, I decided to do another post to show you what a typical day’s menu looks like for me. This morning, I started off by making a little pot of espresso. I added the rich espresso to 1/2 cup of skim milk and 1/2 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond breeze with a bit of sugar free chocolate Torani syrup. You may wonder why I mix almond milk and skim milk. Well, I love the almond milk, but it doesn’t count as a dairy serving for purposes of weight watchers. I hate to miss a perfect opportunity– a morning latte, to get in some “official” dairy so the mixture is my compromise.¬†

Big BowlAlong with my latte, I had a serving of Hodgson Mill Bulgur Wheat with Soy leftover from the batch I made to go with my curried cauliflower. I really love this stuff. It is nutty and yummy plus, a serving has 3 grams of fiber and 10 grams of protein. You get a lot of bang for 2 weight watcher points! I topped it with a little of the almond milk from my latte mug, some chopped up cinnamon almonds from TJ’s and a bit of honey. It was sooooo good!¬†

Siggi's Orange & GingerSince I was planning to kickbox at noon, that meant that my lunch would be late and also that I would be in for a challenging workout. Today’s class was definitely tough! I felt pretty energetic start to finish and noticed that my form is starting to improve, which made me happy. My kickboxing class is always the toughest, but most fun workout I have all week. I’m so glad I got brave enough to try it!

I decided I needed to have a filling snack around 11:00 to give me a little energy boost before class. At Whole Foods the other day, my curiosity was piqued by this Siggi’s Icelandic style skyr strained non-fat yogurt in Orange & Ginger. I bought it thinking that it would be a little treat, and it was exactly that. It has a texture very much like that of my beloved Fage Greek yogurt, and the flavorings were lovely. It is sweetened with agave nectar and was just sweet enough with my Fiber One cereal twigs. As a plus, this little container packs 16 grams of protein!! Most importantly– it was just tasty. I loved the little bits of ginger and the fresh taste of the orange. There was a pomegranate variety on the shelf beside this one, and I’m definitely going to have to try it next!
Lunch!For lunch, I had some of my leftover mushroom casserole along with a very tasty salad. The casserole doesn’t look nearly as yummy as it tastes. I’ve really been enjoying it in my lunches this week!

SaladMy salad was a mix of romaine, grape tomatoes, celery, carrots, goat cheese and pumpkin seeds topped with freshly ground pepper and my mustard and cherry vinegar mixture. Yum! I thought it was too pretty not to have its own close up.

Blueberry ShortcakeAre you a fellow vitamuffin eater? If yes, have you tried the golden corn vitatop? I order big boxes of vitamuffins and keep my freezer well stocked. I usually stick with the chocolate varieties of the vitatops (the peanut butter fudge ones are my fave), but I decided to try the golden corn vitatops when I placed my last order. I figured that this is soup and chili season, and, well, what goes better with soup and chili than cornbread?! As it turns out, these remind me more of the old school shortbread cake that my mom used to make when we would have strawberry shortcake than the cornbread I ate as a kid, which was not usually very sweet. Sure enough, when topped with berries and some fat free cool whip, it makes a great shortcake. I’m a big fan! When berries are back in season, I will have to order more of these along with my usual chocolate selections.

Sugar Snap SnackOne of my snacks this afternoon was the rest of my sugar snap peas from last night.

Cara CaraI also had a beautiful and sweet cara cara red naval orange. It looks like a grapefruit, but tastes like an orange. Tricky… and delish!

Cascadian Farms BarFor my last afternoon snack, I had a Cascadian Farm organic fiber right dark chocolate almond chewy granola bar. I bought these on a whim, along with the Siggi’s, at Whole Foods the other day, and I will be buying them again. I love Fiber One bars, but they do have a lot of strange ingredients in them. This was very similar, but its ingredients are a bit less mysterious. I don’t expect it to replace my Fiber One bar addiction, but I do expect to keep some of these around. I really like them a lot. In fact, I bought them on Sunday and there is only one left.¬†

DinnerFor dinner, I sauteed some shallot, garlic, mushrooms and spinach. I made enough to fill several omelets or to make several frittatas. I really do love leftovers! I put some of the spinach mixture in my little skillet, topped it with egg beaters, cottage cheese and reduced fat parmesan, and then popped it under the broiler. I had this along with a lovely sliced tomato topped with fresh pepper and a piece of Nature’s Own Double Fiber bread topped with Better ‘n Peanut Butter and sugar free raspberry preserves.
TJ's Fruit and Fiber CerealAfter dinner, I had a bowl of Trader Joe’s Fruit and Fiber cereal with a splash of almond milk. A bowl of cereal like this would not keep me full for very long, but it makes a good snack or bite of something sweet.

Chocolate HeartSpeaking of bites of sweetness, I finished the night off with a little bite of chocolate. I am usually immune to post holiday candy sales, but these Lake Champlain chocolates from Whole Foods looked too good to pass up. I’ve been eating one piece each night, and enjoying them completely! Tonight I ate the one with the tree. It had pieces of mint in it. Yum!¬†

After I finish this post, I’m planning to have a cup of vanilla honey chamomile tea and then head off to bed. Tomorrow morning is my weigh-in, and I’m not really sure what to expect. Regardless of how that turns out, I’ve eaten lots of good healthy food this week, and I’ve enjoyed making some new recipes. I hope that you are enjoying my little cooking adventures too!

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

A Day in the Life…

I have this very nice arrangement which allows me to work from home on Thursdays. I look forward to Thursdays all week long, and I’m amazed at how productive I can be in my pajamas. I’ve enjoyed several blogs over the last few years in which the blogger basically keeps a photo diary of the things he or she ate during the day. I don’t think I have the patience to snap a photo of every morsel of food that I eat, but I appreciate those who do. Having said that, I think it might be fun to do it every once in awhile, and work at home Thursdays seem like the perfect opportunity!¬†

¬†So, drumroll please…. Here’s what I ate today.

For breakfast, I had 1/2 cup of egg beaters cooked in the microwave because I need a little protein in the morning to get me through until lunch. I tossed in some dried dill and topped them with a little Tabasco. I also had a piece of toast made with Nature’s Own Double Fiber bread spritzed with spray butter and topped with Smucker’s Sugar Free Raspberry Preserves. Then, I had a baked apple for “breakfast dessert.” I washed it all down with a latte made with 1/2 cup skim milk, 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond breeze and a little bit of sugar free chocolate Torani syrup. (3.5 points)

Eggs and Toast

 

Baked AppleI usually eat lunch around noon, but I went to a lunchtime kickboxing class today so I needed a little snack to get me through until after class. I had one of my favorite combinations: blueberries, Fiber One cereal and a container of Weight Watchers lemon cream pie yogurt. (1.5 points)

Berries, Yogurt and Crunchy Fiber oneAfter kickboxing, I had lunch. Today’s lunch included a 3 point serving of chicken salad (I’m planning to share that recipe another day…), 2 slices of bread, and a bowl of my Lentil, Carrot and Tomato Soup. For dessert, I had one of my favorite little 1 point bars from Safeway. (7 points)

Lunch

 

BarMy snacks this afternoon included a peanut butter fudge vitatop along with 1/2 cup of skim milk as well as 1/2 ounce of toasted pumpkin seeds. (2.5 points)

Vitatop and Milk

 

Pumpkin SeedsFor dinner, I had a serving of curried cauliflower on top of some Hodgson Mill Bulgur Wheat with Soy and topped with 1/4 cup of Greek yogurt. It was good and VERY filling! I followed that up with a bowl of vanilla pudding mixed with pumpkin, and I was stuffed! (5.5 points)

My Dinner

 

Pumpkin and PuddingNow, I’m enjoying my last treat for the night. I mentioned that I was trying to finish off my Christmas holiday teas before Valentine’s Day, and I am one bag away from being done. Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride is gone until next year, and Gingerbread Spice is on its way out as well. Along with my tea, I had an Oatmeal Dark Chocolate Kashi cookie. I think these are very yummy, and I don’t mind spending 2 points on one at the end of the day. I also think that enjoying something small like the cookie along with a big mug of steamy tea makes it last longer and keeps me from wanting to have a second cookie. (2 points)

TeatimeGrand total: 22 points (my daily target) Now it is time for me to finish the laundry and get ready for FRIDAY!! I’m so excited about the weekend!!

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Cooking Light Curried Cauliflower

 

Cooking Light Curried Cauliflower

Today was Merry Produce Wednesday, and I asked for extra cauliflower this week because I had a certain little curry recipe in mind. I love this recipe, and it has been awhile since I’ve whipped up a batch. I love eating curries at restaurants, but I know that they are often laden with an abundance of fat and calories. This dish is a good way to get a curry fix with a minimal investment of points.

This Week's Merry Produce Wednesday Box

Curried Cauliflower from Cooking Light 

This recipe originally appeared in the September 2003 issue of Cooking Light magazine, and is available in Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2004. 

Ingredients:

  • 2¬† teaspoons¬† olive oil
  • 2¬† cups¬† thinly sliced onion
  • 2¬† tablespoons¬† finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
  • 2¬† tablespoons ¬†mild curry powder (The original recipe provided a recipe for making your own curry powder. I let the store take care of that step for me and just used some muchi curry powder from Whole Foods. Muchi is pretty hot, but that’s ok with me. Any curry powder should be fine!)
  • 1¬† tablespoon¬† minced garlic
  • 10¬† cup¬† cauliflower florets (2 medium heads)
  • 1¬† cup¬† chopped seeded peeled tomato
  • 1¬† cup ¬†fat free Greek yogurt (The original recipe called for 1 cup of whole milk yogurt. I had nonfat Greek yogurt in the fridge so I used that instead. If you have some nonfat plain yogurt, I suspect it would work just fine and the points should come out the same. I’ve made it with whole milk yogurt, and it was certainly good, but it does increase the points a bit so keep that in mind. )
  • 1/2¬† cup¬† finely chopped cilantro stems (I used mostly stems, but some leaves snuck in there as well. It’s fine if that happens!)
  • 1¬† teaspoon¬† salt
  • 8¬† lemon wedges (optional)
  • Cilantro sprigs (optional)

 

Directions:

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and ginger; cover and cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium. Add curry powder and garlic; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add cauliflower and next 4 ingredients (cauliflower through salt), stirring well to combine. Bring to a boil (yogurt will curdle); cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until cauliflower is tender. Serve with lemon wedges and cilantro sprigs, if desired.

This makes 8 unofficial 1 point servings or 6 unofficial 2 point servings.

The first time I made this recipe, I was skeptical. I didn’t think that such a huge mound of cauliflower would be able to cook in such a small amount of “liquid” (the yogurt). It does look strange when it is all in the pot together:

Everybody's In the Pool

Don’t worry. I know it looks impossible. Just make sure to stir it up very thoroughly and the magic will happen. Also, I think it is better to cook it for around 25 minutes over low heat rather than trying to cook it faster over a higher heat. This will ensure that you won’t end up with a burned layer in the bottom of the pot and uncooked cauliflower. The yogurt and the juice that comes out of the tomato will create enough steam to slowly cook the cauliflower to perfection.

I love the way the fresh ginger really plays up this dish. It tastes more complicated than it is thanks to the fragrant and flavorful ingredients. If you like curry, this might be a great way to get more veggies into your day along with a curry fix. I’m planning to eat mine for lunch tomorrow with some couscous and a little extra dollop of Greek yogurt on top. Yummy!

That’s all I have for tonight. Do you have a favorite light curry recipe? I’d love to hear about it if you do!!

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