Tag Archives: Oikos

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

Snapshots, Salmon Cakes and Sweet Frozen Bananas

Hi friends! Happy Monday! As promised, I have a few pics to share from my trip again today. After that, I have a new recipe for you so stay tuned. First….

Iceberg!!

Iceberg! Dead ahead!! We got to see glaciers “calving” on several occasions. Calving is when big chunks of glacier fall into the water following an amazingly thunderous noise. It was definitely a sight (and sound) to behold! That, my friends, is the recipe for an iceberg. The water was so beautiful, but I was certainly not tempted to go for a swim!

Here’s a silly photo. While in Anchorage, I was petted by a bear!!

DSCN3264_2I can’t resist silly tourist type photo ops. Further evidence from Anchorage:

Cheese!Those pants are a bit big on me even though this was the end of a week of constant eating! Awesome! Have you ever given in and done the touristy photo op thing? Come on! Fess up! Sweetie wants to know! I hope my friend, Miss M, won’t mind appearing here with her pickaxe. 🙂 I just couldn’t get that moose to go any faster. I tried! While you might think these little photo shoots were the highlight of our day in Anchorage, I’m sure you will be shocked to hear that there was actually something even better…

KobukThe Kobuk had a sign in the window promoting their old fashioned style donuts, and, after a long bus ride from Whittier to Anchorage, that sounded like just the ticket!

Old Alaska HospitalityI love the teapot mural on the side of the building. So cute! I had an old fashioned donut topped with chocolate and a peanut butter bar:

SweetsThe bar was not what I expected. I had a nice surprise when I realized that it was like the cornflake cluster candies that my grandmother used to make at Christmastime. I’d say it involved cornflakes, peanut butter, corn syrup and butter. That would be my guess. It was soooo yummy, but the donut, well… drool.

So I didn’t have donuts today, but I did start off with a nice breakfast. I’m sorry to say that it isn’t very interesting to look at:

BrekkieI was in the mood for steel cut oats, and, since I had a day off, I had time for the 30 minute stove top method. I liked them so much that I’m going to put a batch in the slow cooker tonight so I can have more tomorrow. I like their chewy texture, and I usually have some in the pantry. I just don’t think to make them very often since they take longer. I can’t wait for breakfast! Today’s bowl was a classic. It had brown sugar, cinnamon and raisins. I also added a little Jay Robb’s for some protein sticking power. Three hours later, I was ready for an apple with some cashew butter. YUM!

Apple Cashew Butter Goodness

The bluebirds kept jumping into every photo today. I don’t know what got into them!

Not long after my apple snack, it was time for lunch. That brings me to the new recipe I promised you. I hope you didn’t think the iceberg recipe was it for the day! 🙂 As a kid, I did a lot of the cooking. We were on a pretty tight budget so stretching a can of tuna or salmon was definitely a goal. Add that to the fact that I was just learning my way around the kitchen, and the results were often less than stellar. I made countless batches of salmon patties that could probably best be described as gluey, bready, slightly fishy, hockey pucks. Thank goodness for ketchup! I had a can of salmon in the pantry today, and I decided to come up with a healthier and more grown-up version. I was very happy with the end result! Here’s the recipe:

Grown Up Salmon Cake

Sweetie’s” All Grown Up” Salmon Cakes

Ingredients:

cooking spray

1 14.5 ounce can of salmon, drained and flaked (if bones are included, do your best to sort of crunch them up while flaking the salmon… no reason to waste that calcium!)

4 ounces of jarred roasted red bell peppers, finely chopped

5 Reduced Fat Ritz Crackers, finely crushed (any crackers should work just fine)

1/4 cup of chopped scallions

2 tsp old bay seasoning

1/4 cup egg beaters

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees, and coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.

Combine all ingredients (except cooking spray) in a large bowl. Divide into fourths, and form each fourth into a ball. Press the balls out into patty shapes and place in the fridge to chill for ten minutes. Spray a nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Heat the skillet on high heat and gently place the patties in the pan to brown– about 2 minutes on each side. Here’s a warning: These have very little filler, and very little glue. It may take some patience and some care to keep them from falling apart during this part of the process. If it happens, don’t worry. you can reshape it a bit before it goes into the oven, and no one will no the difference. Believe me. I know. 🙂 

Place the browned cakes on the baking sheet, and then spray the tops with more cooking spray for a bit of extra crispness. Pop them into the oven for 15-20 minutes in order to heat them through. 

A little recipe calculator told me that these are 4 points each.

My salmon cake had flavor! It was moist, and did not resemble a hockey puck at all. Success! I’ve had enough good crab cakes since moving to the east coast to know that the less filling there is in a fish type cake the better. That’s why there are only a few crackers and a bit of egg in these. I love the sweetness of the jarred roasted red peppers. If you don’t keep these in your pantry, you might consider giving them a spot on the shelf. I love them in potato salads, pasta salads and all sorts of things– including these cakes. I topped my cake with some raspberry wasabi mustard, and tossed a zucchini on the griddler to have as a side. I loved my lunch!

After lunch, I took one of yesterday’s chocolate covered bananas out of the freezer, and it was even better with the banana actually, um, frozen! It also took a long time to eat, which is a great quality in any dessert.

Chocolate Covered GoodnessI’m so enamored with these that I scoped out the chocolate at Whole Foods today in order to find some to wrap around my two remaining bananas. I found this:

The GoodnessGinger+ Chocolate + Banana? You bet! I made a batch this afternoon, and I can’t wait to try them! I also picked up a new bar that I snacked on after my WF trip:

Raise the BarThis Kashi GoLean Crunchy Chocolate Pretzel bar was ok. I think I like Coffee Cake flavor of this line of bars the best so far out of the ones I’ve tried. Even so, it was pretty good, and I definitely  liked the pretzel bits. I followed it up with a blueberry Oikos:

Blueberry OikosThe bluebirds approved! These were on sale at WF today, and I picked up several. I love the blueberry Oikos the best of any of the flavored Greek yogurts I’ve tried. I found the Chobani fruit flavored yogurts to be too gloppy and gooey. I think this one is just right. I didn’t even add any crunch!

Close to dinner, I munched on another little treat from my WF trip. I love cherries, and I look forward to their appearance at the farmer’s market and the grocery store each year. They are, hands down, one of my favorite fruits. They are so sweet and juicy, and I also think they are just so darn pretty!

Just a Bowl of CherriesThese are like Sweetie Pie crack. I could eat them all day. So good!!

When it came time for dinner, there was really only one thing I wanted: Breakfast!!

Dinner BrekkieI had two slices of turkey bacon, a fried egg, some berries, and two Van’s 97% fat free waffles topped with a bit of maple syrup. Yum! These waffles are much better than any other frozen waffles I’ve tried. I will be buying them again. This was exactly what I wanted, and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Dinner was, of course, followed by dessert. I wanted to swing by the Gelateria up the street today on my way to WF, but since I’m trying to really behave myself post-cruise, I decided to splurge on a container of gelato at WF. That way, I’d know the number of calories and be able to make a wise choice. It wasn’t a sacrifice. Not at all! I picked up a container of Ciao Bella Maple Ginger Snap Gelato. Oh my!! It was delish! 

Ciao Bella!I’ve never found a gelato in the U.S. that comes close to the scoops I enjoyed a couple of years ago while in Italy, but maybe it just tastes different when you are in Florence or Rome? 😉 This will definitely do.

There is a bit of a story about the crumbs on top. I bought a ready made reduced fat graham cracker pie crust some time ago, and it fell out of the top of the cabinet and broke into a bunch of pieces. The pieces were nicely protected under the plastic cover, but it was still a broken mess hiding under the lid. I decided to just crunch it all up, put it in a container, and use it to top ice cream, pudding, yogurt and whatever else comes along. I’m sure I could add some butter and make it back into a nice crust shape, but I’m happy with my crumbles. 🙂 

That’s it for today’s eats. I’m doing better with my sugar cravings, and I think that’s because I’ve been eating more fruit. Now that there are cherries available, well, that should help matters tremendously!

I had a great workout tonight in the gym, but I’m sorry I didn’t get my bicycle out this afternoon before the rain started. It is collecting dust, and I’m missing feeling the breeze through my bicycle helmet hair. I vow to take advantage of the next nice day that provides the opportunity. Now, I’m off to turn on the slow cooker so my steel cut oats will be nice and creamy in the morning, and then I’m off to bed. Ciao for now, bloggies!

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Filed under Alaska, Bananas, Chocolate, cooking, diet, Food, Greek Yogurt, Recipes, Salmon, Uncategorized, Weight Loss, Weight Loss Success Story

Happy Blog-a-Christmas!

Hi, everybody!! I hope you are having a great week so far. Mine has been good, and it got even better today when I went to check the mail. I’ll tell you all about it, but first, here are some of my eats from today. For breakfast: oat bran– of course!

Oat Bran BrekkieThis was my typical bowl. In addition to the oat bran, I stirred in some maple syrup, banana, and Jay Robb’s vanilla whey protein powder. I topped it with strawberries and Dark Chocolate Dreams PB. The berries and PB are my favorite part of this bowl for sure! So good! Check out my boring, plain travel mug. It got upgraded today, and I’m so glad! Stay tuned for that…

I had my appointment at the dermatologist and was starving by the time I was done. Since there was a Subway nearby, I decided to go ahead and have lunch.

Eat Fresh... plus a cookie...I had the Subway Club on Honey Oat with spinach, onions, tomatoes, red peppers, olives and pickles topped with provolone, a little light mayo and some spicy mustard. I haven’t had Subway in awhile, and I enjoyed it. I especially enjoyed my little cookie splurge at the end! Lunch held me over pretty well, but I did have some peanut butter puffins around 3:00. Closer to time to head home, I had this:

Blueberry OikosI really do love the blueberry Oikos. See the berry swirl? I topped it with some Zoe’s granola, as usual, and it was such a satisfying snack! Once I got home, I had some of my Spiced Zucchini with Bulgur, along with two Trader Joe’s turkey meatballs, a spot of ketchup and a few Brussels sprouts. I love eating a couple of these meatballs when I’m in the mood for meatloaf. It usually does the trick!

Din DinI followed that up with another yogurt selection that I have wanted to try for awhile now: Rachel’s Blueberry Pomegranate! I’ve been having lots of fun in the yogurt aisle since switching from points to calories!

Rachel's YumminessI thought the flavor was really good, although I’m not sure it necessarily tasted like pomegranate. I definitely enjoyed the flavor, so I guess that makes it a winner! After that, I nibbled on some dark chocolate and had a bit of peanut butter and bread. I see a few chocolate chips in my future, but then I’ll be calling it a day. A really good day. A Blog-A-Christmas Day, in fact! I went to check the mail this evening and discovered a whole host of awesome things!

Score!The pretty pink shirt and mug were my prize for the BSI: strawberry contest. I was drinking out of an ugly, plain to go cup this morning, but I will no longer be sipping from an ugly mug. I love the pink travel mug and the shirt! I’m such a coffee lover, and I’m so amused with this cute logo! I’m going to Alaska in May, and now I’m looking forward to it even more! Here’s a close-up:

Pretty in PinkI LOVE it! So cute. Thanks, Laura! I also had two cookbooks that I ordered last week. I used the Amazon gift certificate I got from Christina for winning BSI: Cabbage as a downpayment on the cookbooks. I can’t wait to read them. I love Jamie Oliver’s show, and, well, Alice Waters… do I need to say more? Thanks, Christina

Cookbooks!You can also see some Country Bob’s goodness and No Pudge coupons that I won from the giveaway hosted by Lucky Taste Buds. I can’t wait to try the sauce out after seeing it used on so many blogs, and I always love a good brownie! Thanks, Lucky Taste Buds! I had one more little surprise package. My mom sent me the little Arkansas notepad, along with a pretty little kitchen towel, a little basket liner (she knows I can’t resist frilly little kitchen linens), and a couple of other fun things. I’m feeling very spoiled right now with all of my new stuff. Thanks, mom and thanks to everyone!!

I finished up in the gym about an hour ago, and I need to do a bit of tidying up before I go to bed so I’m going to sign off. I do want to mention Sarah’s giveaway at Tales of Expansion. You could win a product from Bob’s Red Mill. Oat bran, anyone? Check it out! I love Sarah’s blog. It’s always such fun to read!

Good night to you all, and have a very happy humpday!

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

The Last Oikos Review and Another Journalicious Day

BrekkieHappy Humpday!! I’m glad that we are that much closer to the weekend! I still have a bunch of things on my “to do” list including planning my excursions, and I suspect that it will all come together this weekend. Thanks so much for the comments on yesterday’s post. I still haven’t decided what I want to do while in Alaska, but the input is much appreciated!! I also just love reading comments. You guys have such great ideas!

 I started today with another bowl of regular oats. They were good, but I’m missing my oat bran. Oat bran was kind of like the upgrade from the Keds I loved in high school to the fancy running shoes I wear now. Even so, this bowl was no slouch. I finally decided to get some PB2, because curiosity got the best of me, and there is some chocolate PB2 in the bowl. There is also a bit of honey, a smushed up banana, a slew of berries and a little spoonful of Dark Chocolate Dreams PB. I couldn’t really taste the PB2, but the verdict isn’t in on it just yet. I did enjoy dipping my berries in the Dark Chocolate PB. You can’t go wrong with strawberries and chocolate! I didn’t add protein powder this morning and… I was starving only two hours later. Lesson learned. I broke into my bowl of peanut butter Puffins about an hour before lunch, and I was too hungry to snap a photo. Imagine a ravenous wolf and you will get the missing picture.

Lunch on the Crazy Carpet

I had a pretty big lunch today. I met a friend at a frequent lunch spot– a museum close to the office. The tables were all full when we arrived so we started out sprawled on the floor. Don’t you love the crazy carpet? I haven’t cooked much this week because I’m having one of those “clean out the freezer” kind of weeks. I like making use of what I have, and making room for more. I had bulgur chili again today along with a piece of light string cheese, the rest of my cookie and a Mocha Latte yogurt from Stonyfield Farm. I’d never tried this yogurt, and I have to say that it was good. I’d had a coffee flavored yogurt made by another company before, and it had a funky after taste. This one didn’t. Yay! I’ll buy it again! Do I even have to mention how good the cookie was? Awesome!

Just like yesterday, having a bigger lunch seemed to keep me away from the snack parade much longer than usual. Around 4:00, I decided it was time to try out the last of my free Oikos yogurts from the Stonyfield Farm folks. I was excited about finding the blueberry at my store this weekend, and I would have been even more excited if I’d known how good it was. I loved this little bowl!!! The honey flavor was a bit too sweet for my taste. The vanilla flavor was good. The blueberry– oh my gosh! It had just the right amount of blueberry in the bottom and, together with the awesome creamy texture, it made for a very delicious mix. I will not only buy this again, but it might even deserve a special trip to the store. Did I mention that I love it?

Blueberry Oikos

As usual, I had some Zoe’s granola with the yogurt, but this would have been amazing on its own. 
Blueberry LoveAfter the yogurt, I had an apple with some peanut butter. What a classic combo! The apple was a Braeburn, and the picture doesn’t do it justice. I just can’t seem to find a good spot to take pictures in my office, but I’m working on it! It was a bit of a challenge to remove the centers with my plastic kid safe knife, but I got the job done.

A Classic!When I got home, I made up another of my Cabbage “Nests” Primavera concoctions. I broiled it a bit longer than usual and some of the cabbage got a bit crispy. I think I liked those bits the best. I should slightly burn my food more often!

Cabbage "Nests" PrimaveraAfter the main event, I had a piece of my cottage cheese bread, courtesy of the freezer, topped with some of the regular PB2. I’m not sold. I think I prefer my Better ‘n Peanut Butter. I just mixed it with water, but I’m sure that other liquids would make it more interesting. I think I’m going to try mixing it directly with jam tomorrow. If you are a PB2 fan, I’d love to know what you mix with yours. I thought the flavor was a little bland, although the texture was totally fine.

I also had half of a 3 Musketeers mint bar that I bought on a whim. It’s fun to buy things like that on a whim. It’s been a long time since I’ve done that. As for the bar, well, it didn’t satisfy my chocolate craving at all, but the mint was yummy. It reminded me of an overgrown Junior Mint. I tossed the second half in the freezer. I think I’ll like it better if its on the frosty side.

TreatsI’m proud that I identified the chocolate craving and didn’t just eat random things. I had a chocolate brownie Z bar, and it did the trick! These bars always remind me a bit of no bake chocolate cookies. You know, the ones with all of the oats, chocolate, sugar and butter? With my chocolate craving taken care of, I headed to the gym.

Z Bar

My workout tonight was good. It was one of the “boring” nights where I just do cardio on the cardio machines. I say “boring” because it is much less entertaining than sessions with my trainer or kickboxing. Even so, I ran a pretty good mile, which surprised me. Sometimes I don’t feel like I have the energy to run. It’s usually ok once I get started, but I really hate running on the treadmill. Tonight was one of those nights when it was hard to get started, but, once I did, I felt sort of energized as I picked up speed. It ended up being pretty nice! I also put in my time on the elliptical and the stairmaster. I’ve said that I refuse to do things I hate, and I don’t hate these exercises, I just like a lot of other things better. Tomorrow is kickboxing, and I’m looking forward to it. This girl needs variety!

I saved one little treat for after the gym.

Goji Berries CrunchThis is yet another thing I bought at the store on Sunday that I’ve wanted to try but avoided because of points. I don’t know that I’ve been missing out with this one. It was good, and the cashews were awesome. However, there wasn’t much chocolate flavor and the 150 calories were gone in a couple of bites. It gets a “meh.”

I’m having so much fun this week just trying all of these new things that I’d left on the shelves before. My trip to Whole Foods was so much fun. I may go into fun overload the next time I visit Trader Joe’s!! Speaking of fun, there are a few giveaways to mention, and then it’s time for me to get to bed.

There is a very cool My Way Cereal giveaway over at Run to the Finish.

AND

An awesome Vita-Mix giveaway is going on over at Jumbo Empanadas.

I will see you guys tomorrow with my usual Thursday food journal post. I feel weird that I haven’t posted any recipes for several days now, but I’ll be back in the kitchen stirring up a batch of trouble once I make a bit of room. Get ready to see bulgur chili again tomorrow!!! Good night and have a great Thursday!

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Filed under Bread, cooking, diet, Fitness, Food, Weight Loss, Weight Loss Success Story, Weight Watchers

“Big Batch” Bulgur Chili and an Oikos Review

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

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

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

Brekkie

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

A Pot Full of Love

“Big Batch” Bulgur Chili

Ingredients:

1 tsp. olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

1 medium carrot, thinly sliced

2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed or thinly sliced

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

1 medium sized jalapeno, seeds removed and finely chopped

2 1/2 tsp. chili powder

1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1 1/2 tsp. salt

28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes

Water to fill the 28 ounce tomato can

1 10 ounce can of Ro-tel

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

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

1 cup of canned pumpkin

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

Directions:

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

This makes 8 unofficial 3 point servings.

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

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

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

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

Oikos with Honey

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

Oikos with Honey

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

Good to the last drop!

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

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

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

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

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