Tag Archives: Greek Yogurt

New Tricks

Scones!

Hi, Sweeties! This week has been so busy. I’m so glad the weekend is almost here! I’ve had basically the same thing for breakfast and lunch day after day, but I’m not complaining! Luckily, I’ve had a new breakfast up my sleeve (or… actually… in the freezer), and it has been getting me off to a good start in the mornings. What is your ideal breakfast for a busy day?

I’ve always loved the overly sugary and often frosted scones for sale at local coffee shops, but I’ve learned that they make a better dessert than meal. The hit of sugar gives me energy for a little while, but they aren’t very good when it comes to staying power. If I have one for breakfast, I’ll be hungry again in no time. I saw a scone recipe in a Prevention newsletter a few weeks ago that looked as if it might be a bit different. Whole wheat flour, a wealth of nuts, no sweetener aside from what is found in the protein rich vanilla yogurt, and a smattering of dried fruit makes for a delicious, but not too sweet, breakfast treat!!

Eight Meals in a Pan

The link to the original recipe can be found here.

I changed it a bit by using:

  • Regular whole wheat flour instead of whole wheat pastry flour for a nuttier and chewier texture
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. of canola oil instead of 2 Tbsp.
  • Lemon zest in place of orange zest 
  • Dried cherries instead of dried cranberries (b/c that was what I had in the pantry)

I like to have one of these scones with a big pile of fruit and my morning coffee.

BrekkieThe scones are yummy, and, thanks to the healthy fats and protein, they keep me full until lunch time!! I will be making these again, and, undoubtedly, experimenting with variations. I had a few fresh ones, but I froze most of the batch. I had my first scone from the freezer this morning. I zapped it for about 20 seconds, and that was long enough to thaw it out and warm it up just a bit. Tasty– and quicker than my bowl of oats!

I’m so sad that the summer peaches are almost gone. If the farmer I spoke with at the farmer’s market last week was right, I may not have any more of these little gems until next season:

Peachy KeenI’ve been stocking up each Saturday, and then using the paper bag trick to ripen a few at a time. I was spoiled by the peaches from Swihart Orchard, near my hometown, as a kid, and I never find peaches at the grocery store that are worthy of my spoiled taste buds. The peaches from the farmer’s market have been amazing, and I’m going to miss them so much!  🙂

Speaking of the farmer’s market, I happened to catch this fuzzy little guy frolicking among the blooms on Saturday:

BuzzzzzzzzzzI love blogging because I always seem to have my camera when I need it! 🙂

In other news, I tried a “new to me” product this week, and I’m a big fan! I’m sure many of you already keep these in your freezer, but, for those of you just starting to explore the realm of frozen veggie burgers, I thought I’d tell you about these:

Spicy!I always keep a variety of soy and veggie burgers in my freezer. While I like most of them just fine, there are only a few that I really get very excited about. These spicy black bean burgers are on that list! I had them crumbled on top of my lunchtime salads this week with lettuce, tomatoes, fresh corn, reduced fat Mexican cheese blend, fat free Greek yogurt and salsa.

EnsaladaYUM! Seriously, I even love the way these burgers smell while they are cooking. The only problem is the fact that I’ve eaten them all. I need to buy more!!

The other fun thing I’ve had this week is the result of a little griddler experiment. I was cooking a pork tenderloin on the griddler, and I wondered what would happen if I tossed some thinly sliced potato on with the pork.

Griddler Me ThisI’ve never tried to grill potatoes, and I wasn’t sure what would happen. I love making fries in the oven, but sometimes I just hate the time it takes to heat the oven to temperature. I would also hate to heat the whole oven to cook one little potato. If this worked… oh my! I’d have a whole new quick method for making something fry like! My fingers were crossed!!!

I sprayed the thin potato slices on both sides with cooking spray, and then sprinkled them with a little bit of salt. The end result:

YES!! Griddler Fries!Yes!!! We have griddler fries!! They were crispy on the outside, and nicely cooked in the center. A few of the thinner pieces got super crispy and tasted like potato chips. I’m so happy I tried this, and I’ll be making more… and more… and more… of them in the future! They went well with my sauteed swiss chard and pork tenderloin. Don’t be fooled by the photo, however. I did decide to have some ketchup with my fries. What could be better?

What’s your favorite way to eat a potato?

P.S. Mara is having an insanely awesome and cheesy giveaway. You should definitely check it out!!

Christina is also having a celebratory giveaway (Congrats, Christina!!) and you should check it out too!!

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Filed under Baking, cooking, diet, Farmer's Market, Food, Greek Yogurt, Nuts, Recipes, Uncategorized, Weight Loss Success Story

Soup Weather

Lying MugThe mug. It lies. If I had a “Curried Carrot and Squash Soup” mug in the cabinet, I would have used it, but this seemed like a good alternative. 🙂

It seems like Labor Day flipped the switch on fall weather in D.C., and I’m not complaining! The weather this week has been decidedly fall like, and I’m loving every minute of it. In fact, it inspired me to make a warm, cozy and spicy soup with things I had on hand, and I wanted to share it with you.

I had a pile of yellow summer squash, a partially eaten bag of baby carrots and the usual staples of broth, onions, nut butter (of course!) and Greek yogurt (as always!!). Add to that, the variety of spices in my spice drawer, and a creamy soup was imminent. I used lots of spice, because I love a little burn, but if you aren’t a fan of spice, you could certainly use a bit less curry powder, give it a taste, and add more if you decide you want to kick it up a bit. What’s better than roasted veggies? They are always just the way I like them– nice and sweet!

Carrot Roast

Squash Roast

Pot of Coziness

Sweetie’s Curried Carrot and Squash Soup

Ingredients:

Cooking spray

3/4 pound baby carrots

1 1/2 pounds yellow squash, quartered and cut into 1/2 inch slices

salt

1/2 tsp olive oil

1/2 cup chopped onion

3 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1 tsp curry powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/8 tsp ground red pepper

1 Tbsp. almond or peanut butter

1/3 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt

salt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Spray two baking sheets with cooking spray. Layer the baby carrots on one baking sheet. Spray the carrots with cooking spray and then sprinkle them with a bit of salt. Layer the squash chunks on the other baking sheet. Spray the squash with cooking spray and sprinkle it with a bit of salt.

Place both sheets in the oven. Roast the carrots for 15 to 20 minutes, or until they become soft and start to brown. Roast the squash for about 25 minutes, stirring the mixture at the halfway point. 

Heat 1/2 tsp olive oil in a 3 1/2 quart saucepan. When the oil is hot, add the onions and a sprinkle of salt. Reduce the heat and cook the onions for seven minutes, or until they become soft. Add the squash, carrots and broth to the saucepan, bring it to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. 

Add the curry powder, cinnamon, ginger, red pepper and nut butter to the veggie mixture. Using a blender, carefully puree the veggie mixture in batches. I usually remove the stopper from the top of the blender container and hold a dish towel loosely over the opening to allow some steam to escape while the veggies are pureeing. They are hot and they will spatter so be careful!

Add all of the pureed vegetables back to the saucepan. Stir in the Greek yogurt, and heat the mixture through on medium heat. Add salt to taste.

This makes 5 or 6 servings

The roasted veggies make it slightly sweet. The spices make it cozy, and the nut butter and Greek yogurt add creaminess as well as protein. This soup is low calorie with a high satisfaction factor. That’s a match made in heaven!

I’ve been having this for lunch over the past few days, and I’ve been looking forward to it each time. While packing my lunches this week, I realized it has been awhile since I have made a big batch type food for my lunchtime munching. I love having a hearty and filling soup ready to go in the morning, and then being able to match it up with whatever suits my whim– peanut butter on an Arnold’s sandwich thin, hummus and pita, cheese and crackers, whatever! I know that the soup will guarantee that I will have a full tummy, and that’s a good thing! Soup is also one of my favorite ways to eat my veggies. 🙂

Since the weather is cooling off, I thought I’d give you a little flashback with links to some of the soup type things I’ve made and blogged about in the past:

“Big Batch” Bulgur Chili

Cleaning Up the Apartment Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Soup

Creamy Cauliflower and Cannellini Soup

Just Sweet Enough Pinto Bean Soup with Tomato Chipotle Ketchup

“Not Going to the Store” Garlic Scape, Eggplant and Red Lentil Stew

“Project: Clean Out the Freezer” Spinach and Sausage Soup

Super Quick Lentil, Carrot and Tomato Soup

My little trip down memory lane reminded me of several things I need to make in the cooler months to come. I see bulgur chili in my near future for sure.

Bulgur ChiliMmmmm…..

Most of the soups I make are created using what I have on hand. How about you? Do you have a favorite soup, stew or type of chili? Is there one ingredient that always inspires you to whip up a pot of comfort?


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Filed under cooking, diet, Food, Greek Yogurt, Lowfat, Recipes, Soup, Squash, Uncategorized, Vegetarian Recipes, Weight Loss, Weight Loss Success Story

Sweetie’s Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Sweetie's Chocolate Zucchini CakeHi, sweetie pies! I hope you are all enjoying your weekend. Mine has been pretty laid back, but nice, so far. We have had a very mild summer up until now, and I think the month of August is going to be a hot one. I’ve been kicking it with the A/C as much as possible and laying low. It has been a perfect opportunity for me to spend some time in the kitchen.

My mom and I were talking on the phone the other day, and she mentioned that my dad had brought in a few “baseball bats” from the garden patch. The meaning of that statement was immediately clear– baseball bats are oversize summertime zucchinis! She was trying to figure out to do with them, and we laughed about one of our favorite ways to enjoy zucchini– in chocolate cake. 🙂 There is an old zucchini cake recipe that we used to enjoy that was pretty decadent. I started to wonder if I could get the same yummy result with a few tweaks. I love revamping an old recipe to fit the way I prefer to cook now. I am especially happy when I get a result that I deem to be just as good as the original. I’m happy to report that such was the case with this recipe. Mom, here you go– If you make it, let me know what you think!

Mmmm...Sweetie’s Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Ingredients:

1/4 cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup apple sauce

1/4 cup egg beaters (or 1 egg)

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 cup plain fat free Greek yogurt

3/4 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. salt

1 cup grated zucchini

2 1/2 Tbsp. chopped pecans (or other nuts)

1/4 cup chocolate chips (I used mini chips, but any chips would work just fine. The minis just go further.)

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Spray a 9×9 inch baking pan with cooking spray.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla extract. Add the applesauce, Greek yogurt, and egg beaters and continue to beat the mixture until the ingredients are thoroughly combined (about two minutes). You can’t overwork this part of the mixture so don’t worry about just letting the mixer run for a bit.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flours, cocoa powder, soda, salt and cinnamon. Add the dry mixture to the mixing bowl, and beat just until the dry ingredients are moistened and the mixture looks smooth. 

Using a spatula, fold in the grated zucchini. I used the small holes on my grater to make finer shreds of zucchini. Pour the batter into the baking pan.

Sprinkle the nuts and the chocolate chips on top of the mixture, and bake for 40-45 minutes. When it is done, the center should spring back when you touch it with your finger. Just be careful, and don’t try to touch your finger to the hot, melted chocolate chips. Not that I did that myself. Nope. I would never do something silly like that. 🙂

This makes 9 to 12 servings, depending on how hungry you are for cake! 

Being the farmer’s market junkie that I am, I was so excited to see a new vendor a couple of weeks ago. They had whole wheat flour for sale. Of course, I had to support my local economy by buying a bag. 😉

Local GoldI’m happy to have this bag of beautiful flour in the fridge. The Greek yogurt and the zucchini in this cake came from the market as well. My zucchini was on the plump side, but it was no baseball bat!

Zuke. E. KneeThe zucchini adds a lovely moistness to this cake, and it becomes virtually invisible (unless you know to look for a few flecks of green) in the finished product.

I swear, it's in there!See… it’s in there!

Sprinkles of GreenI substituted applesauce for the oil called for in my original recipe, and I will admit that the applesauce sub was the switch that concerned me the most. I feel like I’ve tried that trick before only to end up with overly dense and sort of gummy baked goods. That is no bueno in my book. I don’t know if the Greek yogurt somehow balanced it out (which wouldn’t be surprising since GY is my kitchen superstar), but I didn’t find this cake to be overly dense at all. In fact, it had nice crumbs, was lovely and moist but was rather light and fluffy as well. Just the way I like it! Check out the side view. Do you see any green (aside from the plate)? Subtle, right?

YUM!When I woke up this morning, I realized that the thing I really wanted for breakfast was… yes… you guessed it… a piece of this cake! It seemed perfect for a Sunday morning, and I savored it along with my yummy cup of coffee. Maybe I should make some in muffin form…? They would certainly be similar to the cake like muffins for sale at Starbucks.

I’m finding that one of the amazing things about intuitive eating is the fact that, if I have what I really want, it often doesn’t take a lot of it to satisfy me. If I’m satisfied, I’m not going to go rooting through the kitchen looking for something more (or trying my hardest NOT to do that). For example, I’ve realized that I prefer my morning coffee to have a little bit of half and half mixed with unsweetened almond breeze. The flavor is so rich and satisfying that I’m completely satisfied with one cup. I’m really learning a lot from this new approach to eating, and it gets a bit better each day. I’m not just eating cake all day long, but it’s nice to enjoy my cake without feeling guilty and like I’m cheating on my plan. 

Speaking of the cake, I made this cake last night, and shared it with a friend, Mr. T, who came over for dinner. The dinner I made last night was not enormous, but I was very happy at the end of the meal because the ingredients were good quality, very fresh and cooked the way I liked them. In addition to testing out this new version of the cake recipe, we also tried out Emeril’s Steak Rub. I received a package in the mail the other day, from the Foodbuzz tastemaker program, and it had several of Emeril’s products for me to try out. So far, I’ve used a couple of them, but I’m planning to tell you about all of them in one big Emerilicious post. Stay tuned for that! I already have plans for the other two items, so I expect to post about them very soon. By the way, Mr. T seemed to enjoy the cake. Good thing since I sent a big chunk home with him. 🙂 

Now, I’m going to brave a Sunday afternoon trip to Trader Joe’s. I haven’t been in awhile, and I can’t wait to see what I find. Unlike Whole Foods, Safeway and Giant, I have to actually drive to Trader Joe’s. As a result, I probably only go to Trader Joe’s once every couple of months. That may seem funny, since it is probably only a ten minute drive, but I love living in a place where I can walk to do errands, and I try to stick to that as much as possible. I love getting a little bit of bonus exercise, and I know that leaving my car at home is better for the environment too. Can you walk/bike to run errands where you live? Do you?

Growing up in the country with no sidewalks and not a lot of stores, walking or biking to run errands wasn’t much of an option. We often hopped in the car to go “to town” to get groceries at Kroger, Piggly Wiggly, Save-a-lot and, later on, the Wal-mart supercenter. The post office was really about the only thing within walking distance. Walking to run errands is one of my favorite things about the place I live now. TJ’s is always super crowded on Sunday, but the fun stuff I find usually makes getting in the car a worthwhile venture. Wish me luck!

Ciao for now, sweeties and I hope you all have a great week! 🙂

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Filed under Baking, Cake, Chocolate, Farmer's Market, Food, Greek Yogurt, Intuitive Eating, Recipes, Weight Loss Success Story, Zucchini

Greek Yogurt: Kitchen Superstar

Hello sweeties! I hope this finds you enjoying your summer! I’m enjoying mine. 🙂 As you know, part of my summer fun involves visiting the farmer’s market. I went to my market in Courthouse on Saturday and made a major haul:

Market BootyI bought peaches, one little nectarine, blueberries, blackberries, cherries, an onion, yellow squash, zucchini, Brandywine tomatoes, beets, garlic scapes, tomatoes, some silver queen corn (my childhood favorite!!!), a container of Blue Ridge dairy Greek yogurt, and a pork shoulder that is barely peeking into the picture on the bottom right hand side. There’s also a little piece of cherry pie that I just couldn’t resist. It was a little one, I swear! 😉

I had a plan for the peaches, and they’ve been sitting in the box with their nectarine buddy and ripening a bit this week.

What a peach!

This was all gone. 😦

Cherry Berry "Ice Cream"Time to make more frozen loveliness! I peeled all but one of the peaches and the nectarine (5 fruits), and gave them a blitz in the blender along with 1/4 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond breeze, the juice of a lemon, the scrapings from a random vanilla bean I had in the fridge and a little can of fat free sweetened condensed milk. Today, I added a bit of extra love to the batch too: 1/2 cup of fat free plain Greek yogurt. I put the mix into the machine and flipped the magic switch.

Magic MachineWhile my mix was going for a spin, I peeled and chopped the remaining peach. It was SO ripe and juicy. YUM!

Peachy KeenAfter the freezer had been running for 30 minutes, I added my ripe peach chunks and let it run for 10 more minutes. 

ChunkyTake a look at this!:

Peachy Creamy LoveThis batch is bursting with fresh peach flavor, creaminess and tang from the Greek yogurt, and the smooth sweetness of the condensed milk. I will be sure to add Greek yogurt from now on. I couldn’t believe the difference it made! This is the creamiest batch I’ve made so far. I’ve tried more traditional recipes using eggs and full fat dairy before, but I can be quite happy with a slightly less creamy dessert that still tastes great and is virtually fat free. The Greek yogurt really upped the creaminess (as well as the protein!) without adding extra fat. Me likey. Me likey a lot!

Seriously, I don’t know how I made it for so long without Greek yogurt in my kitchen! It’s great for making potato salad, chicken salad and tuna salad creamy. It works well in baked goods. It makes a great salad dressing when mixed with a bit of mustard/vinegar/pomegranate molasses/hummus. It’s yummy with honey/maple syrup/agave/jam/nuts and fruit. It works great as a sub for sour cream. It adds creaminess to curry. It makes a great dip for fruit when mixed with a bit of PB2 and jam. I’ve never asked it to make my morning cup of coffee, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it could do that too. Yes. I believe Greek yogurt has officially become a staple in my kitchen. In case you can’t find it where you live, you can always make your own! Making your own might be a cheaper alternative as well, and that’s a good thing these days.

Aside from my frozen deliciousness, I’ve had a pretty uneventful week in the kitchen. I mentioned that I bought a pork shoulder at the market on Saturday, and I’ve been eating leftover pulled pork all week. While not as lean as a pork tenderloin, it isn’t too bad, and I tried to minimize the fat as much as possible. First, I trimmed off all of the visible fat using my kitchen scissors, and rubbed the pork with some mesquite grilling spice mix:

Pork!Then, I put it into the slow cooker with 1/2 an onion, 1/4 cup of apple juice, 3/4 cup of water, and 2 Tablespoons of balsamic vinegar. Then I let it cook on high for two hours. After two hours, I flipped it over and let it cook for a couple of hours more. 

In the PoolAt that point, my meat thermometer told me that it was done, and I pulled it out and let it rest. Easy! 

Yum!

I let it cool and then gave it a good shred with a couple of forks. 

This pork shoulder was about 2 1/4 pounds before cooking. I put in enough liquid to keep the meat moist, but the meat was really just dipping its toes in the puddle. My goal was to allow the fat and juices to run off into the bottom of the pan instead of later appearing on my plate. I grew up eating Memphis style barbecue, which isn’t typically swimming in grease or sauce. I saw a number of recipes on line for cooking a pork shoulder in a slow cooker, and most of them involved adding bottles of barbecue sauce. I think that is no bueno from a calorie perspective and also from a yumminess perspective. I didn’t need that much sauce, and there would have been no way to avoid any of the fat that had cooked off if the drippings and sauce were all incorporated. I wanted to be able to taste the meat, and I was surprised at how much I liked this given that I cooked it without the benefit of a smoker. It was moist, delicious and, maybe by virtue of its ecofriendly upbringing, it really tasted like pork. Perfect!

My friend, Inga’s mom, came over for dinner Saturday night, and we each had a big plate of summer:

Plate o' SummerI’ve enjoyed something similar for my dinners this week, but now it is all gone. 😦 I’m going to have to do this again sometime soon!

I’ve had one other blogworthy eat this week. I picked up a little package of this wondrous stuff at Whole Foods over the weekend:

Awesome!I nibbled some by itself, but quickly realized its proper place:

Outstanding Oat BranThe. Best. Oat bran. Ever. It has chocolatey nibs, coconut, sweet raisins, berries and oat bran goodness all in one big bowl. Sadly, I’m out of this yummy little mix, but I will definitely be buying more on my next Whole Foods visit!!

So, now you’ve seen the highlights from my week. I know I’ve become a once or twice a week blogger this summer, but I’m finding so many nice outdoor activities to keep me occupied. Last night, I decided to walk home from work instead of taking the metro. It took two hours, and I was pretty pooped when I got home. However, the weather was great, I enjoyed my stroll through the city, and I got some exercise without hitting the gym. I’m trying to find more opportunities for that sort of activity, and it was a fabulous day for a long trek home. What’s your favorite way to get in some exercise without going to the gym?

I’m also trying not to focus so much on food. I think that, while useful, keeping a photo journal of my eats each day was putting way too much of a focus on my food and making me a little crazy. I’m sure to go back to that eventually, but, for now, I want to focus on new dishes and treats in my posts. I loved everything in this post, and I loved telling you about it!

Now, it’s time for me to head to bed. I did something weird to my shoulder the other evening, and I don’t think this evening’s strength training workout did me any favors. I believe that some ice may be called for, and then I’m heading to bed. 

I hope you have a great weekend, and I hope you stick with me and my infrequent posts. I think I just need to take it easy a bit and go from there. I’m sure I’ll be in the kitchen this weekend, and I’ll want to tell you about it for sure. Until then, ciao for now, y’all! 🙂

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Filed under Arlington, Farmer's Market, Food, Greek Yogurt, Recipes, Slow Cooker, Weight Loss, Weight Loss Success Story

Griddle Me This, Griddle Me That…

…Griddle Zucchini and Sausage (low-fat…). Summer is here, and I don’t know what I’d do without my Griddler!! More about that later. Let’s begin at the beginning. Here are yesterday and today’s brekkie bowls. The only difference is the shape of the bowls.

Yesterday:

Square MealToday:

Well Rounded MealI did it, friends. I ate Mr. Banana Man. I finished off the last two crazy banana locks this morning! This is the same bowl as usual: oat bran, five grain cereal, Jay Robb’s Vanilla Whey Protein Powder, bananas and TJ’s Peanuts, Berries and Almonds. Yum! 

I snapped photos yesterday, but I didn’t have time to post. I hope you won’t mind seeing double today! I hate to waste my photos! 🙂 Yesterday’s lunch was another picnic special. Yogi would approve! I even ate outside with friends, so it was a real al fresco picnic instead of a picnic of the fake desk variety.

Hey, Boo boo...I love my picnic lunch!!! I was so glad to hear that several of you have nice memories of Yogi and Boo Boo!! What fun!

Today’s lunch was different, since I was working at home, but it shows a similar approach to lunch.

Tuna Fish and Tater Totties... sort of...What’s the same? Well, aside from the obvious mini pitas, this is another meal made up of lots of little things. I love little bits of this and that. Yes, I am a fan of tapas! Both of these lunches involve some fresh produce and some protein. That’s a typical lunch formula for me. If you think you have nothing healthy to toss into your lunch bag, consider making a little snack plate like this one!

Today’s plate includes a Dr. Praeger’s Potato Pancake. One of my mother’s favorite little lunches involves tuna salad and tater tots. I thought of her today. This is no tater tot, but it is pretty darn close! I also have some Trader Joe’s triple layer hummus on the side. If you have a TJ’s nearby, and you haven’t tried this hummus, trust me. It’s GOOD!! It’s one of my favorite hummus flavors for sure!

The tuna salad has hardboiled egg, sweet pickle relish and dijon mustard along with a tiny bit of light mayo and some Greek yogurt mixed in with the tuna for a bit of creaminess. There’s just enough mayo for a mayo flavor, but it gets most of its creaminess from the Greek yogurt. That’s one of my favorite salad tricks!

Yesterday, I snacked on a few graham crackers with peanut butter (as usual), and I also had an afternoon stroll to Tangy Sweet where I tried a bowl of their strawberry fro yo. 

Berry Yummy Fro YoSigh. I do love Tangy Sweet.

This afternoon, I had some sweet and creamy treats too. I sent some skim milk, blueberries and half a packet of Weight Watchers vanilla chai smoothie mix for a little ride in the Magic Bullet, and was rewarded with a yummy and brightly colored smoothie. 

True Blue

After that, I had a blueberry Oikos with some coconut on top. I don’t know why I’ve never added coconut to my Greek yogurt before. Umm…. yum! It was a nice addition. I’m sure this won’t be the last time I put this pair together!

Berry CoconuttyThis afternoon, I also had a tiny little snack bowl:

Snick SnackA few chocolate almonds, a smidgen of granola and a few butterscotch chips made the perfect snack close to dinnertime when I just needed a little something to tide me over until dinner.

So…. Dinner. My title pays tribute to my favorite summertime dinner making gadget: my Cuisinart Griddler. It’s great for me, since I don’t live in a place where I am allowed to have an outdoor grill. It also makes dinner preparation SUPER quick. I love grilled veggies, and this is a nice way to grill them right in the kitchen.

I took a package of TJ’s chicken sausages out of the freezer yesterday, and I had zucchini and other veggies in the crisper. Those ingredients are definitely the makings of several dinners for one. Last night’s plate:

Din DinI’m now out of my Dr. Praeger’s Potato Cakes. 😦 Last night’s dinner was good. Tonight? Well, not to get all Emeril on you, but I kicked it up a notch. Should I say it? I shouldn’t say it, right?

Bam!It has to be said. BAM! Yes, inspired by Mara, I whipped up some quick polenta for one, and it made this one of the best quickie dinners I’ve made in a long time. The whole thing was done in ten minutes!

I only made half a serving of polenta, which was plenty for me. I mixed in some cheddar, and saved some to put on top. I also topped it with some griddlered red bell pepper (yes, the same one I’ve been eating all week… it was big!) and some fresh basil from the balcony. I love polenta when I eat it in restaurants, but I really never think to make it for myself. This was so good! I can’t believe I’ve been missing out!! It took no more time than making my morning oats. Easy peasy!! It was so delicious alongside my grilled zucchini and my chicken sausage. Not to be boring, but I’m pretty sure I know what I’ll be having for dinner tomorrow evening!

I also have some visions of future polenta breakfasts. Oh yes. I have some ideas for sure. Grits are grits, right?

In addition to my evening griddling, I’ve also been diligent in my Holey Donut sampling duties. Last night, I tried the vanilla coconut donut.

Coconutty!Sorry the picture looks sort of electric. I love my blue plates, but they sometimes make for crazy photos!

Tonight, I tried the vanilla crumb donut (and a different camera angle).

D'oh-nutWhat can I say? Not surprisingly, they were both really good. I prefer the coconut donut over the crumb donut, but that’s just because I really love coconut. I’ve had to make a “one per day” rule for these little gems, but I think that just makes me enjoy them more. It would be easy to eat the whole box! “Wholey Donuts?” They are THAT good!

I tried one other new thing today:

RefrescanteThe package says that it is “like sticking a straw in a coconut.” I have tasted coconut milk straight from a coconut before, and, yes– that is what this was like. It was good, and it was refreshing. It wasn’t, however, a taste that captured my heart. I would have it again some time, but I’m not going to be making emergency runs to Whole Foods for a Vita Coco fix. It’s kind of sweet, and it does taste sort of like coconut. I don’t know. It was just a little… weird. I may have to try another one soon just to verify my feelings about it. Hmm. Yes. I think there may have to be a second taste test on this one. The jury is still out.  

This has been quite a day. I’m not really one who keeps up with celebrities, but I was certainly saddened by the loss of both Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett. I remember watching Charlie’s Angels as a kid, and I have nice memories of singing “We Are the World” in my elementary school music class. Along with the metro crash this week, and the turmoil abroad, the news is even more depressing than usual. Here’s hoping for some happy news in the days to come!!

I can offer you this bright spot: I want to remind you about the opportunity to save $$ on Jay Robb products purchased from his on-line store using a special promotion code exclusively for Just Sweet Enough readers. For more info, check out yesterday’s post. I have a little Jay Robb in my bowl every morning! If you can’t find these products in a store near you, this is a chance for you to save a bit of money and summon some Jay Robb’s love right to your door. 

Now, I’m going to turn off the television, and finish the book I’m reading. I love knowing that I get to start a fresh new book in the morning! Here’s wishing you a very happy Friday and lots of happy news! Ciao for now, y’all!

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Filed under Bananas, cooking, D.C., diet, Food, Frozen Yogurt, Greek Yogurt, Weight Loss, Weight Loss Success Story, Weight Watchers

Introducing: “Gritsy Bran”

Hi, y’all! I hope this post finds everyone well. My work week is going much better after having wrapped up several things on Friday. I’m breathing a sigh of relief! My big news this week is that my parents are arriving on Saturday to spend a week hanging out at Chez Sweetie Pie. It’s always fun when they come to visit from Arkansas, and I’m looking forward to seeing them. I’m also looking forward to cooking all sorts of things. I love having people to feed! 🙂

Today, I’ve been busy feeding myself. I got creative this morning, and had an interesting mix in my breakfast bowl.

Gritsy BranI love grits, and I love oat bran. I decided to try the two together. They make an awesome couple! Who knew? I really like the taste and texture of “Gritsy Bran.” It’s unique, and half a serving of grits plus half a serving of oat bran made for a hefty and delicious bowl. I also added some Jay Robb’s protein powder, as usual, along with a bit of agave nectar. Then I topped it off with an apple and some chopped almonds. You can expect to see more “Gritsy Bran” in my breakfast bowls. I lurved it!

Lunch today looks much like yesterday’s lunch– complete with the picnic blanket. Yay!!

LunchI had a salad with light Italian dressing, and topped it with an Amy’s Texas Veggie Burger with melted cheddar. It was good yesterday, and it was good today!

I wanted to say a quick thanks to those of you who told me about the salad dressings you enjoy. I do love straight vinegar, and I often make my own concoctions involving mustard, vinegar, hummus, salsa, Greek yogurt, lemon juice and other things of that nature. I just think it might be fun, now that we are entering “salad season,” to buy one already made for me. I’m very much out of the loop, so it was great to hear about some of the products you enjoy. I plan to invest in some dressing on my next grocery shopping trip!!

The new item on today’s blanket is the Maple Nut Clif Bar. I loved the Carrot Cake Clif Bar I tried yesterday, and I was excited to try another flavor. I’d always avoided these because they are high in calories (and points), but they work well to round out a light lunch by serving as a protein packed “dessert.” I liked the Carrot Cake bar the best so far, but Maple Nut wasn’t too shabby!

I lunched with a couple of friends again today, and my friend, Miss C and I decided to take a quick stroll over to Tangy Sweet. I needed second dessert! I might be am totally hooked on Tangy Sweet! It’s close enough to the office to be dangerous! Today, I had a small chocolate fro yo topped with teddy grahams.

Still Tangy, Still SweetI counted the Teddy Grahams (16) so that I could figure out the calories when I got back to my computer. I might be a little nutty, but I like to know what I’m working with caloriewise so that I can adjust the rest of my eats if need be. It was good, but I actually think I like the chocolate fro yo better with strawberries. Good to know! 

Later in the afternoon, I felt a bit snackish so I  had a bowl of Blue Ridge Dairy Greek yogurt mixed with berry jam and strawberries from the farmer’s market.

Yo!!I didn’t snack much this afternoon since I had the bonus fro yo with lunch, but then, I wasn’t particularly hungry. Funny how that happens when I eat a bigger lunch! In addition to the Greek yogurt, I had the half serving of Snikiddy Pizza Puffs that I’d tossed in my lunch bag when it was close to time to head home.

Puffs!I’m loving this little snack for its crunch factor. Substance wise, of course, it’s kind of like eating air– tasty, tasty air! 

I was really craving Mexican this evening, so, while riding the metro home, I was thinking about what I had on hand that I could turn into a Mexican-esque dinner. I liked my final creation, and it was nice to use what I had on hand. Check it out!

Tex Mex FrittataIt looks a little weird, but it tasted awesome! I seasoned half a chopped onion, half a chopped red bell pepper and some spinach with a bit of Adobo and gave it a quick saute in a bit of cooking spray. When the veggies were soft, I poured 1/2 cup of egg beaters over the top of the veggies and let the mix cook in the skillet until the egg was nearly set up. Then, I put 1/2 cup of fat free green chili refried beans on the top, sprinkled an ounce of feta on the beans, and put it under the broiler just to finish setting up the eggs and to brown the cheese a bit. After it was done, I added some salsa and chowed down.

I had tortillas in the fridge, and I considered making bean tacos. I decided that I wanted more protein, and the tortillas got replaced by egg beaters. Eggs/egg beaters really are a “go to” food for me when I want more protein on the menu. I’m constantly amazed at how versatile they are.  This frittata was filling, had the flavors I wanted and really hit the spot! 

I followed it up with a bit of Dark Chocolate Dreams PB on Multi-grain bread.

Bread and ChocolateYou can’t go wrong with bread and chocolate, and when you add a PB twist… yum.

After my little dessert, I went to class with my trainer. Tonight’s workout was AWFUL! 😦 I’m not sure what the problem was, but I suspect I should have rested last night instead of doing cardio.

I struggled through the ab workout, and had to do easier versions of some moves that are usually not a problem. When it came to lifting, I reached failure sooner than usual, and I had to use some lighter weights. It was frustrating! I felt so weak and wimpy. Ugh! These sorts of workouts happen on occasion, and I just hope the next class will be better! 

I usually rest on Mondays and Fridays, but my workout schedule has been sort of screwy lately. After vacation, I returned to find that my trainer was in the midst of a project that has caused several cancellations. Glitches in her schedule are the reason I haven’t been back to kickboxing. In addition, I have a reception to attend tomorrow night, so I decided to trade my Monday night off for a Wednesday night off this week. That means that I didn’t take a rest day between my Sunday and Tuesday strength training workouts. I’m really looking forward to getting things back to normal. I think it makes a big difference!

I liked reading your comments about how you incorporate strength training into your lives, and now I’m wondering how you incorporate rest and recovery. How many workout days do you shoot for each week? Do you place great importance on recovery time? Can you tell when you haven’t recovered properly? 

After my disaster of a work out (I still burned 500 calories, but I struggled through every one!!), I had the interesting sensation of knowing exactly what I wanted for dessert. The bread and chocolate, well, that was a teaser! 😉 It is rare that I crave something specific, and even weirder when it is some sort of junk food. It seemed like I should honor my craving.

I’ve never mentioned this before, but there is a convenience store located in my building. That means that I can hop in the elevator and grab any old junk food I might be craving with very little effort. The store actually has some pretty gourmet choices too, and it’s great if I’m out of milk or looking for an emergency jar of salsa. It’s also perfect if I happen to have a specific craving for….

Oreos…. Oreos! I’m not sure why these were on my mind, but there was a mention of them in the book I’m currently reading, Underworld. Did that cause it? I don’t know. What I do know is that I really wanted Oreos, and I took advantage of the store downstairs by going down and snagging a single serving package. I enjoyed every bite! Although, I’m glad I opted for the single serving pack. I could have schnarfed tons of these little junk food gems. Instead, I savored my little packet. I wish it was always so easy to know exactly what will hit the spot, and I’m going to try to do a better job of responding when the answer is clear. 

With that, I’m going to bid you a goodnight. I need to empty the dishwasher, program the coffee maker, and put a load of clothes in the dryer. Fun fun fun!!! I also need to make sure I have a nice big bowl ready for some “Gritsy Bran” in the morning!

I hope you have a great humpday! Ciao for now, y’all. 🙂

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Filed under Beans, D.C., diet, Fitness, Frozen Yogurt, Greek Yogurt, Weight Loss, Weight Loss Success Story

In a Flash

Hi, kids! Today seems to have flown by! Seriously, where did the day go? I need to make this quick so that I get a good night’s sleep. Here are today’s eats— in a flash! 

First, I have to say that you guys had some pretty amazing food over the weekend. I loved hearing all about it in the comments so thanks for sharing! 🙂

Breakfast:

Today’s bowl was 3/4 oat bran, 1/4 five grain cereal, almonds, molasses, Jay Robb’s vanilla whey protein powder and a ton of berries. I also had some of my Williamsburg coffee with a bit of unsweetened vanilla almond breeze. Today’s coffee flavor was English Toffee. Mmmm….

BrekkieLunch:

I had a lettuce, radish, cucumber and tomato salad topped with some Kraft Zesty Light Italian dressing and an Amy’s Texas Veggie Burger with melted cheddar. I love Amy’s Texas burgers, by the way. They are slightly sweet and SO good!

Lunch

I’ve been having balsamic vinegar as a salad dressing for so long that having a prepackaged dressing is really kind of weird. I like! I think I might need to check out salad dressings again. It might be time to invest in a bottle of something good. What’s your favorite low calorie dressing? I’d love suggestions!

Since my lunch was a bit smallish, I decided it was a perfect day to have a higher calorie bar on the side. I tasted Mr. T’s carrot cake Clif Bar when we were at the zoo, and I thought it was really tasty. Of course, I had to buy one of my own. The carrot cake bar was perfect for me today! It bulked up the protein in my lunch, and made for a tasty dessert. I see more of these in my future! I’ve also concluded that I prefer my bars to be a little melty. This one was perfect after a bit of time in the sun.

Now that the weather is warm, you can expect to see more lunch photos taken on my picnic blanket. I love eating outside with my friends. It’s the perfect midday break for a windowless lawyer!

Afternoon Snacks:

For my first snack of the afternoon, I had a bowl of Blue Ridge Dairy Greek yogurt from the farmer’s market sweetened with berry jam and a ton of strawberries. I also snacked on a bowl of cherries. I’m out of cherries now. 😦 I have to get more ASAP!! I love them soooo much!

Yo! Cherries!Later, I munched and crunched on a 1oo calorie bag of microwave kettle corn. Yum!

PoppycornBefore heading home, I wanted one more little nibble. I wanted peanut butter! I’ve recently realized that I sometimes eat extra calories that I don’t want just because it seems like the peanut butter should go ON something. If I really want peanut butter, doesn’t it make more sense to just have it ON a spoon? I would have a piece of cheese without feeling like it had to go on a cracker. I’d eat nuts by themselves. Why should lovely PB be any different?

Unfrozen PBsickleMy musical pepper notepad approved! Wherever there is peanut butter, there’s a party. 😉 The spoon is sporting The Bee’s Knees peanut butter from PB&Co., by the way.

Dinner:

Dinner was tasty, although it looks weird thanks to my see through blue plate. Oh well. Photography lesson learned. I had a turkey bacon BLT on some multi-grain bread from Whole Foods alongside some leftover roasted broccoli topped with melted cheese. Broccoli and cheese are such a classic combo, and the same is true of the BLT. I had a very classic sort of dinner going on, and it really hit the spot. 

Din DinFor dessert I had half a serving of Ciao Bella Maple Ginger Snap Gelato and half a serving of Dolci Gelati Pumpkin Pie Gelato. When I can’t decide which flavor to have, I am a firm believer in having a dab of both!

Love from the FreezerAfter Dinner Nibbles:

I just finished a 25 minute run outside followed by 35 minutes of cardio in the gym. I don’t usually run outside during the week, but, since it is staying light much later, I was able to do the first chunk of my workout al fresco. It was nice. I hate being stuck in the gym all the time! After I did a bit of core work and a ton of stretching I came back to the apartment and had a salty snack. I recently found these at Whole Foods, and I’ve really been digging them!

Pizza PuffsThey are nicely seasoned, but not covered in a crazy orange powder. Don’t get me wrong: I like the cheesy poufs with the crazy orange glow, but I hate having orange fingers! These are yummy and much less messy. I can imagine that as a benefit if you have kiddos. If you like salty snacks, you should try these! I had half a serving, and it was still a nice amount. That little bowl is only 55 calories!!

I think there is probably one more snack in my future, perhaps a chocolate covered frozen banana, and there is definitely a cup of tea waiting to be sipped. This may be my quickest post yet, but I loved my food today so I really wanted to share.

I hope you had a great day!! I’m still getting caught up on the blog posts I missed during my vacation, and it is nice catching up with everyone. My google reader is still touting 1000+ posts, but I’m positive that I’m making progress. Everyone has so much to say, and I love hearing about what you are all up to! Now, I’m up to finding that last snack and getting to bed.

Have a great Tuesday! Ciao for now!! 🙂

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Filed under diet, Fitness, Food, Greek Yogurt, Salad, Washington, Weight Loss

We Need to Get Caught Up!

Red VelvetCome on in! It’s nice to see you. It’s been awhile. 🙂 I’ve been a bad blogger this weekend. I got home on Friday night after another busy day, and all I wanted to do was crash on the couch and watch one of the Netflix movies collecting dust on top of the television. I took photos of my food all day, but I decided I needed to just relax and stay away from the computer for a bit. Instead of blogging, I watched “Juliet of the Spirits,” put my feet up, and kicked it. Yesterday was just busy! I hope you understand. 🙂

Now, are you wondering what Red Velvet is? Here’s a hint:

I Saw the SignIt would be a long post if I showed you everything I’ve eaten this weekend, so I’m just going to tell you about cupcakes, fro yo, shortcakes (with a recipe) and a few other things sprinkled in as a garnish. Yum! Some garnishes are tasty!

Friday:

Friday was a busy day at work. I wrapped up a few things, which is always good on a Friday, and I was ready to celebrate the start of the weekend with a special treat. My law school friend, Mr. M, works in an office close to mine, and he agreed to meet me for some frozen yogurt at Tangy Sweet after work. You might recall that I tried Tangy Sweet’s fro yo right before I went on vacation. I really couldn’t wait to go back!

The flavor du jour was chocolate. Chocolate isn’t usually my choice when it comes to ice cream flavors, but I tried a little sample. As it melted on my tongue, I realized that it tasted a bit like chocolate cheesecake. I decided to have a cup of it with some fresh strawberries on top.

Fro Yo!Check out the rain. There was a serious gully washer outside! I braved the weather just for you! 😉

This was gooooood!! I’m still kind of amazed at the way Tangy Sweet’s fro yo doesn’t taste very sweet during the first few bites, but then the flavor transforms and becomes sweet as the tang fades away. It’s like magic– tasty, tasty magic! 🙂 

Speaking of magic, cupcakes are one of the foods I consider to be the most magical. They are adorable, delicious, and they hearken back to childhood fun in a very lovely way. Red Velvet is a “cupcakery” next door to Tangy Sweet. If you are in the area and are interested, both places are at 7th and E in Penn Quarter. Here is a glimpse of the cupcake case:

Cupcakes!On my previous fro yo excursion, I stuck my nose in the door at Red Velvet, but I didn’t make any purchases. This Friday, I decided to get a couple of little cupcakes and take them for a spin. I was hoping to find a cupcake to rival the one I recently had at Sugar Mama’s in Skagway, Alaska. Those were SO good!!

Here’s another peek in the case at Red Velvet:

CupcakesThe cupcakes I chose were called “Southern Belle” and “Vanilla Bean.” Southern Belle was a traditional red velvet cupcake topped with a whipped cream cheese icing. Vanilla bean was a vanilla bean cake topped with a Madagascar bourbon vanilla frosting. 

Yum one and Yum twoMr. M was kind enough to agree to split each cupcake with me, so I had half of each. What a nice guy! I know it was a sacrifice. 🙂 While it would be hard to fit two whole cupcakes into a day of healthy eating, two halves work out just fine! Yes, I love cupcakes, and NO, I don’t plan to ever make them off limits. I’d rather figure out how to work them in with my nutritious eats so that I can… yep… “have my cake and eat it too.”  That’s a balance worth striking!

Check out the thickness of the frosting!

Aaaaahhhh!Southern Belle’s cake was delightfully moist, dense and rich. The beautiful color was matched by a beautiful flavor. I loved the cake! As for the icing, well, I don’t think I prefer my cream cheese icing whipped. It was good, but I like my frosting to be thicker and a bit more solid. That’s my personal preference, and I’m sure plenty of people prefer it whipped and gooey. If that describes your preference, this is the cupcake for you! 

Vanilla Bean was my favorite of the two. I love vanilla cupcakes, and this cake was moist and sweet with a nice, strong vanilla flavor. I think that I was expecting buttercream (note: read signs more closely!!), so I was surprised when I first bit into the frosting. It wasn’t the buttercream I was craving after my Alaskan cupcake, but I really liked it nonetheless. The vanilla flavor came on strong, and it really was a great cupcake.

I still haven’t found my DC Sugar Mama’s, but I’m looking. 🙂 Since Red Velvet is close to work, I foresee more samples in my future. I need to try their buttercream for sure! 

When I got home, I had a bowl of sauteed spinach, broccoli and smoked tofu. I liked having dessert first! Later, while lounging around watching my movie, I decided to open up this little bag and take these barbecue flavored Pop Chips for a whirl.

Pop ChipsI’ve wanted to try these for a while, but I hate buying big bags of chips. Since I don’t tend to choose salty snacks very often, a big bag of chips often goes stale before I get around to eating them. I was excited to find a single serving bag of these in a nearby deli, and they seemed perfect for movie munching. I really liked them. They were barbecue sauce sweet and deliciously salty at the same time. Perfect! The texture is much more like regular chips than the baked chips I’ve tried, and they aren’t made with any weird Olean type chemcials. I’m sold. These are good! If you find them where you are, give them a shot!

My other movie watching snack was a tiny bowl of chocolate chip cookie oat bran.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Oat Bran

I made half a serving of oat bran, added a bit of vanilla extract and some brown sugar to the bowl, and then topped it with chopped almonds and mini semi-sweet morsels. It was a good way to satisfy a craving for something sweet without having another real dessert. Since I’d already had the fro yo and the cupcakes before dinner, I thought I’d dial things back a bit. I’m doing my best to keep my sweet tooth in check, while still enjoying plenty of treats. This is an example of my attempt to balance things out a bit!

Saturday:

Saturday morning, I woke up to find the sun shining and a nice breeze blowing through my balcony door. It was going to be a great trip to the farmer’s market for sure! I got ready, and headed to the market armed with my reusable shopping bags, some cash, and my camera. I missed the market last Saturday. I knew that the Westmoreland Berry Farms people had been there with strawberries for sale because A Daunting Tale of Scale Warfare was at the Courthouse market last Saturday, and she featured a photo of her haul (including the berries) in her post. Grrrr!!! I was so sad to have missed the berries… and so jealous! 🙂 Luckily, there were plenty of berries waiting for me this Saturday!

BerryliciousI made up for missing the market last weekend by buying a ton of things today. I got two big containers of the berries along with: garlic scapes, radishes, tomatoes, asparagus, sugar snap peas, cucumbers, Greek yogurt, low-fat ricotta sweetened with honey and vanilla, eggs and an oregano plant.

If you haven’t heard of garlic scapes (they are the green things curled around the eggs), I’ll be posting one of my favorite scape recipes soon! I’ll tell you all about them then.

The BootyIt was quite a haul! When I started looking at all of the berries, I realized that I might have gotten a bit carried away. While freezing the berries was a definite option, a phone call from my friend, Inga’s mom, led me to a better plan. Remember the lovely Inga? My favorite dog friend?

Inga DingaInga’s parents were going to fire up the grill, and I promised to bring over some strawberry shortcake for dessert. I also promised to bring Inga her present from Alaska. 

Hello, Squeaky Moose!Hello, Mr. Squeaky Moose! I think he knew he was doomed, so he was lying on his back in defeat.

Chewy!Mmm…. chewy! I didn’t expect for this flimsy little moose to have a long life, and she had already de-squeaked him by the time I headed home last night! I’m so glad that she had fun with him, and that Mr. Squeaky Moose will no longer be squeaky. I felt like the aunt who gave her niece a noisy drum set for Christmas. Hee hee! 

I mentioned shortcake. Here’s the finished dish:

Strawberry ShortcakeWhen I started looking for a lightened up shortcake recipe, I found a ton to choose from. None of them were exactly what I wanted, so I sort of combined ideas from several in order to come up with my version. Here’s my recipe:

Sweetie’s Olive Oil Shortcakes

Ingredients:

2 cups of all purpose flour

2 Tbsp. granulated sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

3 Tbsp. chilled butter, cut into small pieces

1/3 cup skim milk

1/3 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1/4 cup egg beaters (or one egg)

2 tsp. Turbinado sugar (or granulated sugar–  for sprinkling on top)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. I used a silpat, and I sprayed it with cooking spray as well.

In a large bowl, combine flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt. Use a whisk to thoroughly combine the ingredients. Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, yogurt, vanilla, egg and oil. 

Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture, and stir just until moistened. Turn the dough out on to the baking sheet. Spray the top with cooking spray to keep it from sticking to your fingers, and use your hands to shape the dough into an 8×8 square. Then, using a sharp knife, cut into but not through the dough, dividing it into 16 squares. Give it another spritz with cooking spray and then sprinkle the Turbinado sugar over the top.

BeforeBake for 15 minutes or until golden. 

After

Cut along the lines to separate the cakes, and then top with sweetened berries and the whipped topping of your choice.

This makes 8 servings with 2 squares per person.

I liked these, but I think the shortcakes would have been yummier if they had been warm when I served them. Since they are lower in fat, they got a little bit chewy when they cooled. I also underestimated the amount of berries we needed, and I would have liked a few more berries and a little more juice on my shortcake.

I quartered 1 1/4 pounds of berries, and added the juice of half a lime as well as 2 tsp. of sugar. There were only six people at dinner, and we ate all of the berries. Next time I make shortcake for eight, I think I’ll probably prepare at least 2 pounds of berries– maybe more. You can never have enough berry goodness!

I’m kind of happy that I had a couple of cakes leftover. I already put one to good use today in a big bowl of berry jam sweetened Greek yogurt and berries:

Yum!I like having a shortcake recipe up my sleeve because you can top them with so many different things. Summer fruits are the obvious choice, but not the only good one! I’m so glad I was able to share my haul with my friends, and I had a great time hanging out at their place– as usual! 

So, now you are pretty much caught up– cupcakes, fro yo, berries, farmers market shopping and Inga. Those are definitely the highlights of my weekend so far. I need to say Ciao and go and run some errands before what’s left of the weekend evaporates! I hope you have a great week, and I can’t wait to share my garlic scape recipe with you soon!! Ciao for now, bloggies. 🙂

What was the best thing you ate this weekend??

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Filed under Baking, Cake, cooking, D.C., diet, Farmer's Market, Fitness, Food, Frozen Yogurt, Greek Yogurt, Recipes, Washington, Weight Loss, Weight Loss Success Story

What? No Nut Butter?

That’s right. I had a day without any peanut, cashew or almond butter. I didn’t do it on purpose. I swear! That doesn’t mean there were no nuts. I saw several while riding the metro. *Ba dump bump* Ha! Oh, Sweetie Pie. What can I say? It’s been a long day. At least it started out with a tasty bowl:

BananabowlerrifficThere’s a smushed up banana in the bowl along with some oat bran and some five grain cereal. I topped it with a bit of honey and some of these:
Daily CrunchI bought these awhile back, and they are yummy. The problem is, it is 150 calories for the few little bites you see in that bowl. Hmph. My solution? I run it through my nut chopper and put 1/2 or 1/3 of a serving on my morning bowl. You’ll see some later in this post in another bowl too. On their own, it takes about three bites, and they’re gone. Chopping them up makes them go a bit farther, and they taste really good mixed in with the other things!

I didn’t add protein powder to my bowl this morning, and I got hungry earlier than usual. I really do need a good amount of protein in the morning if I’m going to make it to lunch. I had a little yogurt and some Fiber One about two hours before lunch. I like the Yokids. It isn’t too sweet, the serving is small, and it’s kind of perfect for a small snack with a calcium punch at only 80 calories. Plus, I can pretend I’m a kid. 🙂

Yoooooo Kids!!I also broke out the piece of a Theo’s orange and dark chocolate bar that I had tucked into the lunch bag, and I sort of nibbled on it throughout the morning. 

ChockieDark chocolate is SO satisfying!

When lunchtime came around, I was very excited about my eats! I had a serving of the Springtime Market Potato Salad that I whipped up on Sunday, a hard boiled egg with some natural sea salt that a friend shared with me, and an Arnold’s sandwich thin topped with the rest of my container of Tribe chipotle hummus and some radishes and green onions from the market. My lunch was so fresh and springy. It made me happy. 🙂 

Lunchy LunchSpeaking of happy… I had this after lunch:

Cookie LoveAs you can see, I cut it in half. This little cookie is a prime example of why it’s important to read nutritional information carefully. The cookie is two servings, although, you might think it was only one if you weren’t reading closely. It’s kind of high in calories, so I planned on having half. It was incredibly tasty, so I decided to skip one of my planned snacks and have the whole thing. Some times you just need the whole cookie!!! 🙂 I like the whole graininess of Cookiehead’s cookies. This one also had various seeds and nuts with some very yummy chunks of chocolate. It was gooooood, and well worth the calorie splurge.

Since my lunch was a bit light on the protein, I made sure that a couple of my afternoon snacks were a bit higher in protein. This edamame gave me a little boost:

EdamameI followed it up with this pretty little apple. This would have been a usual place to insert peanut butter into the afternoon, but that was part of the cookie trade-off. This apple was crisp and sweet all on its own. Can you believe that it’s May already? Do you have anything special planned for the summer months? Vacation? Personal challenges? Lounging by the pool?

Pretty Little LadyAnother protein rich snack I had this afternoon was a bowl of Greek yogurt topped with some honey pomegranate jelly and some more crushed up Goji snacks. This combo was great! I had forgotten how much I love cashews. 

Greek yogurt!I still can’t believe I didn’t have any peanut butter on vanilla wafers, my apple, a newton crisp, a date, my finger… You get the point! My eats were a little different, and I like that! It’s so important to avoid the food rut for both my own eating enjoyment and for the purpose of including a lot of variety in my diet. Today was a good day for that!

When I got home, I made a huge salad with lettuce, radishes, tomatoes and green onions from Saturday’s farmer’s market trip. Look at the purple radishes. What fun!! I also topped it with some goat cheese, a chopped up chicken mushroom asiago sausage from Trader Joe’s, salt, pepper and a bit of balsamic vinegar. Yum!

Big SaladFor dessert, I had the bowl I’d been looking forward to all day. LaLoo’s Strawberry Darling goat’s milk ice cream. I really love this stuff. I put some chopped almonds on the top for a little crunch. Just look at all of the balsamic swirl in the bowl. Mmmm….

Strawberry Darlin'Finally, I finished off the day with a little bowlful of one of my favorite snack combinations: Galaxy Vanilla Almond Munch Granola and Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips. This is a perfect snack for a nibbler like me!

Galactic SnacktasticI worked out with my trainer tonight and followed the strength training up with cardio for a total calorie blast of 600 calories. I’m making the most of my workout routine this week in anticipation of next week’s vacation. I’m hoping to try a few new exercise classes for fun on the ship, but I’ll have to see what my choices are after I get there. I’m kind of hoping for Zumba. I’ve heard great things about it, and I’ve wanted to give it a try. Do you zumba?

I had a productive day at work today, and I’ve started a list of things to pack. I’m just so ready to go! I haven’t really taken any time off since the Christmas holidays, and I’m really looking forward to it. I guess it’s kind of like my very own spring break. I don’t think you are ever to old for spring break!

So now I need to take my clean sheets out of the dryer, put them on the bed, and crawl under the covers. I hope you are having a great week. We are already up to Wednesday, and my week sort of seems to be flying by. Time does fly when you are having fun… or when you are just really busy!!

Ciao for now, bloggies and have a happy humpday!

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Filed under Asparagus, Bananas, cooking, diet, Farmer's Market, Fitness, Food, Greek Yogurt, Nuts, Salad, Uncategorized, Weight Loss, Weight Loss Success Story, Weight Watchers

Springtime Market Potato Salad and a Quick Weekend Recap

Pretty PoppiesI’m a little behind on posting, but I’m going to do my best to get you caught up on what I’ve been up to this weekend, a few of my favorite eats, and a recipe that I’m really excited about. Here goes…

The photo of the gorgeous poppies at the top of the post, and the photo of the beautiful arrangement below were both taken at the farmer’s market yesterday. The market was really hopping! I can’t resist taking photos of the beautiful flowers, but I didn’t actually bring any home with me… this time.

Beautiful!This is what I did buy:

My HaulNow, I recognize the fact that the tomatoes are out of season, but I was in the mood for some so I picked them up anyway. They are only so so. The other purchases from yesterday, the radishes, green onions, asparagus, pink lady apples (out of winter storage, I believe…), the lettuce and the Greek yogurt holding up the tomatoes, are all pretty awesome!! There is also a basil plant and a bell pepper plant in the midst of the veggies. Time for more balcony gardening! Just look at these pretty radishes:

Radiant RadishesI was never a fan of radishes as a kid because I thought they were too “hot.” Now, I really like them!

I decided to slice up the rest of my Blue Ridge Dairy smoked mozzarella from the market a couple of weeks ago, along with one of my tomatoes and some fresh basil in order to make myself a quick caprese salad for lunch. There’s a little balsamic vinegar and sea salt on top too. After seeing all of the fresh things at the market, I wanted a fresh lunch.

CapreseI followed up my salad with an interesting and delightfully crunchy sandwich:

Crunch!Tribe chipotle hummus and sliced radishes on an Arnold’s sandwich thin made for a surprisingly yummy combination!!

After lunch, I sliced up my Derby Day brownies, and fixed them on a plate with a little mint sprig from the pot of mint on my balcony. Then, I headed over to my friends’ house to watch the horsies. 🙂

Derby Day Brownies!When I go to my friends’ house, I get to hang out with my favorite puppy dog in the whole world, Inga. Isn’t that face adorable!?

What a Pretty Girl!

I was discussing the fact that I probably shouldn’t have another brownie with Inga, since, as I told her, I had already had one after lunch. This is what she had to say about that:

IngabadingaI stick my tongue out at the idea of no more brownies too. She’s so wise! I really just couldn’t resist posting this picture of her with her tongue sticking out because I thought it was so darn cute!! I hope she won’t be embarrassed. 🙂 While we were discussing brownies, her mom was making mint juleps.

Muddlin'

The smell of the mint was AMAZING! My friends have a ton of it growing in their back yard, and Inga’s dad was out harvesting some when I came in the door. It doesn’t get any more fresh than that! I didn’t take a photo of my finished drink because I was too busy sipping! 🙂 I did get this action shot of my friend adding the bourbon with the simple syrup sitting in the background.

Juleppy

The juleps were yummy, and what an exciting race! I always love checking out the interesting hats and other fashion choices in the crowd too. What fun! After the race was over, the boys went out to fire up the grill and Inga’s mom made this pretty salad.
Big Bowl of FreshnessI’m so jealous of their outdoor grill, since outdoor grills aren’t allowed in my apartment building. This burger was SO yummy! Just look at the melted cheese!! There’s a little piece of grilled chicken hiding in the background too, because it looked so good that, of course, I needed a sample.

Din DinThis dinner was perfect for a Saturday night hanging out on the porch with friends. YUM and YUM!! I had so much fun last night!! Thanks again to my friends for having me over. 🙂

Today, I did a bit more cooking with my farmer’s market purchases and also with a few things out of the fridge. I’m trying to empty out all of my produce before I leave for Alaska next Monday, and I decided that I needed to make another little batch of Cabbage Nests with some cabbage that was in the fridge. I wanted a fried egg today, for some reason, and I decided I might like it on top of a Cabbage Nest. This may seem like an odd plate, with the tomatoes and goat cheese alongside the egg and the cabbage, but it was actually pretty good! Yay for using up things in the fridge!! Get ready to see a lot of that this week…

Return of the Cabbage NestThe other thing I made today rates much higher than “pretty good.” I’d say that this is freakin’ awesome!!! I made this salad using some of the things I bought at the market yesterday, and a dressing mixture that I came up with last year when I was making a more basic potato salad. I love this recipe, and I love how versatile and low fat the dressing mixture is. You could use it on all sorts of things. Without further adieu…

Springtime Market Potato Salad

 

Springtime Market Potato Salad

Ingredients:

The Veggies:

Nonstick Cooking Spray

1 1/2 pounds of fingerling potatoes, complete with the skin

3/4 pound of fresh asparagus (or more if you prefer), cut into 1 1/2″ pieces

1 cup green onions, chopped

1/3 cup roasted red peppers, chopped

Salt and Black Pepper to taste

The Dressing:

1/3 cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt

2 Tbsp. light mayonnaise

3 Tbsp. rice wine or other light vinegar

1 Tbsp. coarse dijon mustard 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Spray a baking sheet well with nonstick cooking spray. Spread the potatoes in a single layer on half of the sheet, and spread the asparagus in a single layer on the other half of the sheet. Spray the asparagus and the potatoes with cooking spray and give them a little sprinkle of salt (about 1/4 tsp). Place in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, place the asparagus in a large bowl, and return the potatoes to the oven for an additional 5-10 minutes, making sure that the largest potatoes are tender. Allow the potatoes and asparagus to cool.

When the veggies have cooled, slice the potato into bite sized chunks and add it to the bowl with the asparagus. Add the green onions and roasted peppers.

To make the dressing, combine all of the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and mix well with a whisk.

Add the dressing to the veggies, stir very gently, and add salt and black pepper to taste. 

This makes about 6 servings, and the recipe calculator I used says that each serving is cal: 113, fat: 1.5, fiber: 2.6. Of course, you would want to plug it into your own calculator, but that should at least give you a rough idea. That’s not bad for potato salad, and the Greek yogurt really makes it creamy without adding a lot of fat and calories. It also adds a bit of protein. Woo hoo!

I used some fingerling potatoes I had in the drawer, but you could always chop up a couple of regular potatoes and roast them to use in this salad:

Fingerling PotatoesI cut the potatoes into pretty big chunks, and I love the combo of the potatoes and the roasted asparagus!

Asparagus and PotatoesThe onions and peppers really give it a blast of color!

VeggieliciousIf you’ve never bought the coarse dijon mustard, I have to recommend it! I like it mixed with vinegar as a dressing for green salads, and I love the texture of the mustard seeds when I use it in a dressing like this one.

DressingFor dinner, I brought everything together and had a cabbage nest topped with a chicken mushroom asiago sausage and accompanied by a big pile of my springtime market potato salad. Sausage, potato salad and cabbage just “go together” to me, and this was reminiscent of a cookout. It was rainy outside, but I was having my own little indoor picnic!

Dinner!Now, I’ve finished my gym time for the evening, and had a bit of chocolate. It’s time to get to bed and get ready for Monday. I’m expecting a busy week as I try to wrap things up in tidy packages so that they will be manageable during the week that I’m away. Wish me luck! I hope you have a great week! Ciao for now. 🙂

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Filed under Asparagus, cooking, diet, Farmer's Market, Food, Greek Yogurt, Recipes, Salad, Uncategorized, Vegetarian Recipes, Weight Loss, Weight Loss Success Story