Wednesday, January 30, 2013

WIAW: Attack of the Chocolate Monster

It's time again for another fantabulous installment ooooofffff....
What I Ate Wednesday!!
Peas and Crayons

Breakfast, Take 1: Rice Cake
Before boot camp this morning, I smeared a caramel rice cake with some dark chocolate peanut butter.  Get the day started right with some chocolate!  You will see this trending as my day goes on.  What can I say?  I needs my chocolate.

Breakfast, Take 2: Shake
My protein shake was the bomb diggity, this morning.  It is a chocolate cherry shake and contains: 1 tbsp cocoa, 1 scoop protein powder, 1 cup of frozen cherries, 1 frozen banana and 1 cup of almond milk.  Yum, yum.  Coffee on the side, of course.

Morning Snack: Peach & Bar
What's this?  More chocolate?  It's just one of them days.  I had some peach slices and half of a Zone bar from the day before.

Lunch: Salad
I made a big ole salad for lunch that contained spring mix, leftover chicken, green beans, fat free feta cheese and beets.  I found this thing of beets in the produce department of Walmart and decided to try it.  Very delish.  I topped my salad with fat free Italian dressing.
Then I went on a 2 mile walk and then hopped in the car to get a treat.  The last bit of that sentence makes me sound like a dog.  Hm.
Iced coffee made with Splenda and a splash of soy milk.
Aaaaand, this happened.
More chocolate!!!  Raspberry truffle pop.  The pops are probably the lowest calorie treat they have at, meh.  Not too shabby.

Afternoon Snack: Yogurt & Orange
Ok, I swear this is the last chocolate I ate!  I'm not sure if it counts, but whatever.  This was my last Chobani bite and I enjoyed it thoroughly.  So, most of my chocolate was pretty healthy-fied.  Great way to satisfy that craving (that was seemingly unsatisfy-able--I make up words).

Dinner: Meatball Sandwich
This was not my best dinner.  I didn't get home until late and in no way did I feel like cooking, so I peeked in the freezer.  There were some turkey meatballs in there, so in the microwave they went.  I had some turkey meatballs with reduced fat sharp cheddar on a 100 calorie wheat hot dog bun with some leftover butternut squash mac & cheese and some Brussels sprouts.

That about does it for today.  Hope everyone is having a super fantastic week!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Crockpot Challenge: Asian Marinated Pork Loin

Well, hello there.
So far, so good with the Crockpot Challenge.  Just a refresher for you, in case you missed it, I'm participating in a challenge where you cook 10 crockpot meals by the end of February.  You can read more about it here.

Pork is almost always good in the slow cooker, in my opinion, but it usually tastes like pork roast, which can get a little boring.
So, I amped it up with some Asian marinated pork loin.  Pork loin is leaner than a roast, so yay me.

Crockpot Asian Marinated Pork Loin

unseasoned tube of pork loin
1/2 tsp ginger
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup of soy sauce
can of chicken broth.  

Cook on low for 6 hours.  Shred with a fork and add additional seasonings like cumin, chili powder and red pepper flakes (depending on who you are serving it to or how you are using it).  There.  Perfect-o.

The veggies I served with it (above) are a super simple pickled vegetable recipe.  Here's how to make those:

Cut a carrot, a zucchini and an onion into thin strips.  Then get a sauce pan ready with 1 cup of water, 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of vinegar.  Throw in the veggies and bring to a boil for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.  You can store these in the pickling liquid for up to 2 weeks.

You could serve it over rice, noodles or in tacos or salad.  I have even been scrambling the meat in eggs!  Delish!  

In case you missed it, I made a 112 calorie single serve peanut butter microwave cake at Endless Simmer this week:

Peanut Butter Toast Crunch Cereal Cake for One

Later, gators!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

WIAW: Spaghetti Squash with Turkey Meatballs

Just a teaser pic to pull you in.  
Are you on the edge of your seat to see what I ate yesterday??  I think you are.  
It's What I Ate Wednesday time!!!

Peas and Crayons

Breakfast Part 1: PB Toast Crunch
I ate a half a cup of this delightful cereal with some almond milk before heading to 5 a.m. boot camp.  It was pretty good workout fuel.  Then again, I usually have peanut butter toast before a workout ;)

Breakfast Part 2: Egg Scramble & Bagel
For my protein packed breakfast I made Egg Beaters scrambled with some leftover crockpot Asian marinated pork loin (recipe on Friday!) and some fat free cheddar.  Under all that is a wheat bagel thin.  Coffee on the side.

 A.M. Snack: Pear & Cheese
Fruit and cheese is the best snack ever.  That's all I have to say about that.

Lunch: Soup
I grabbed this can of soup before running out the door this morning.  Good thing it was a perfect soup day.  It was decent for 120 calories (for the entire can), but not the best soup ever.  I had a couple Club crackers on the side.
Then I had a diet hot chocolate and a little Kit Kat.

P.M. Snack: Yogurt
Introducing my new favorite snack!  I have been eating Greek yogurt for some time, but this is seriously the bees' knees.  This is the only flavor I've tried (and I buy at least 4 or 5 at a time), but they have lots of flavors.  The strawberry is the perfect amount of sweetness to offset the tang of the yogurt.
Yes, that's how it looks.

So, before I started dinner, my stomach told me I better eat

 P.M. Snack #2: Rice Cake
So, I had a caramel rice cake with natural, crunchy peanut butter.
You didn't think I could go a whole day without actual peanut butter, did you?
This is the face I make when eating rice cakes, apparently.

 Dinner: Spaghetti Squash with Turkey Meatballs
Look!  Zucchini innards!!
Aaaggghh!  So gooooood!
I added letters to my words just then to express how much you need to make this meal.  Like now.
Here's how it is done:

Spaghetti Squash with Turkey Meatballs
serves 3-4 (with leftover meatballs)

Large spaghetti squash, poked with a knife and microwaved for about 8 minutes, then split in half, scoop out the seeds (and discard) and scrape out the "noodles."

For the meatballs:
1 medium zucchini, shredded
4 mushrooms, shredded
1 lb 93% lean ground turkey
1 1/2-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tbsp egg beaters.

Mix it all together in a bowl.  Form into golf ball sized balls.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Get a skillet or dutch oven going on medium heat and add some olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan.  Sear the meatballs on both sides (about 2 minutes each side) in batches and remove.  Discard the oil, add the meatballs back to the pan, top with a jar of spaghetti sauce and simmer on low-med for about 15 minutes or until done.
Here's my plate, y'all.

Dessert: Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberry
I got it in my head yesterday that I NEEDED a chocolate covered strawberry.  
So I made some by dipping strawberries in dark chocolate (that I melted over a double boiler with coconut oil).  I actually, seriously, only ate that middle one there.  I guess I was a little over it after getting chocolate all over my white shirt.  Such a Renee thing to do.

See you guys on Friday with Crockpot Challenge meal numero dos!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Crockpot Challenge: Buffalo Chicken Soup

Happy Monday, Everyone!

Julie at Peanut Butter Fingers blog is doing a Crockpot Challenge that I thought I'd attempt to participate in.

The gist is that you cook 10 crockpot meals by the end of February.  You can read more about it here.

The first meal I made is one I've actually already posted.  But I will post it again for you, because it's just that dang good.

This soup is healthy and hearty with a little spice.  Feel free to add more buffalo sauce if you like it really spicy.

Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Soup
makes about 6 cups

4 small carrots
4 stalks celery
1/2 yellow onion
small red pepper
3-4 large chicken breasts
1 box chicken broth (32 oz)

Chop all the veggies (I did this the night before for quick preparation), toss them and the other above ingredients in the crockpot.  Cook on low for 8 hours.

Once everything has cooked for 8 hours, shred the chicken using two forks, drain a little broth into a small bowl and whisk in 1 tbsp of flour then stir it back in the crock.  

You'll also need:
1/4 cup buffalo wing sauce
1 handful of shredded jack cheese
1 handful of shredded parmesan cheese

Toss all this in the crock and stir around.  Give it a taste & add more sauce or cheese if you want.

Garnish with reduced fat bleu cheese and serve with bread.

Original post here

My next meal is an Asian marinated pork loin and pickled veggies.  I think I'll tell you all about it on Friday.

See you guys for What I Ate Wednesday :)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

WIAW: Butternut Squash & Black Bean Enchilada Lasagna

Peas and Crayons

Breakfast: PB Banana Toast
Here's where I admit I didn't drag my lazy butt out of bed this morning for 5 a.m. boot camp.  It's tough to get motivated when it's 27 degrees outside.  Anyone with me on this??  For breakfast I had two pieces of Sara Lee 45 calorie multigrain bread with sliced banana and a drizzle of honey.  Plus, some coffee.

 Morning Snack: Orange & Cereal
Another orange?!  Craziness.  I enjoyed this juicy orange with a half a cup of Quaker Oatmeal Squares cereal (aka-the best cereal).

Lunch: Leftovers
For lunch I enjoyed a leftover bison burger (from Saturday) and some mashed cauliflower, sauteed spinach and mushrooms (from Sunday).  It was quite filling, indeed.

I left work a bit early because of a winter storm warning (that turned out to be not too bad at all) and had to make up for missing boot camp.  Enter Jillian Michaels.  She kicks my butt every time.

Post Workout Snack: Cereal 
I had a little bowl of this Peanut Butter Toast Crunch I've been searching for (finally found it!!!).  Yes, I bought 3 boxes.  Shut up.  I'm actually developing some recipes for next week using this yeah.

Dinner: Butternut Squash & Black Bean Enchilada Lasagna 
OMG, this was sooooo good.  You must make it right now.  I originally planned to make my sweet potato & black bean enchiladas, but had to adapt it to the ingredients I had on hand.

Butternut Squash & Black Bean Enchilada Lasagna 
serves 5-6

Medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed
2 cloves garlic
Sea salt
3 tbsp I Can't Believe it's Not Butter
Can black beans
1/2 cup salsa
Cilantro (optional)
12 oz reduced fat shredded cheese
4 original 90 calorie flat out wraps
Red enchilada sauce (1/2 cup)
Optional-sautéed onion and bell pepper

Roast, sautéed or steam the squash. Mix in the butter, garlic, salt to taste; then kind of mash it a little. Once incorporated, mix in beans, salsa, cilantro and onion/ pepper (if using). Spray 9x13 pan with non- stick spray. Pour a bit of enchilada sauce in the pan and layer 2 flat out wraps followed by half of the butternut filling. Top with cheese and repeat layers. 
Bake for 35 minutes at 400 degree oven. 

Serve with fat free sour cream and guacamole if desired.

 Only one thing could follow a dinner that good.  Ice Cream!!  Ok, it was low fat frozen yogurt.  But I pretend it's the real thing.

Happy Happy Wednesday, Everyone!!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Blackened Salmon Tacos with Cilantro Crema

Hey hey hey!  Just poppin' in on this beautiful Friday with a quick and easy meal that won't break the calorie bank.
I love fish tacos, but my freezer only held salmon.  So, I thought I'd give it a whirl.  
It was a good decision.

Blackened Salmon Tacos with Cilantro Crema
serves 4

4 salmon fillets, thawed if frozen
2 tbsp blackening spice mix
1/4 lime
low carb tortillas
tomatoes, lettuce
cilantro crema
*optional--guacamole or fresh avocado would be great on these..but I didn't have any :(

Heat a large skillet or a grill pan on medium high heat.  Pat your salmon fillets with a paper towel.  Squeeze the lime over all filets and rub both sides of each filet with the blackening spice mix.  Cook on both sides until done.  It depends on the thickness of your filets and how done you like your salmon.  I sear both sides and then when the fish easily flakes with a fork, I call it done.
Serve on tortillas with tomatoes, lettuce and cilantro crema.

Blackening Spice Mix
makes about 1/4 cup

1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp paprika
2/3 tsp cumin
1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt

Mix together.  Great on fish, chicken or steak.

Cilantro Crema

4 oz fat free Greek yogurt
1/8 tsp of blackening spice mix
2 tbsp of diced cilantro

Mix together and serve on tacos.

I served mine with veggies and sauteed butternut squash.  Yum!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

What I Ate Wednesday Returns! Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms

Peas and Crayons
Ok, so I used to count calories.  And then I didn't.  Now I must again, because I'm tired.  I'm sluggish.  I'm not eating what I should.  The holidays will do that to a gal, huh?

All of these eats, as well as my water consumption, are logged in my phone app.  It's kind of rigid, but I think I'll probably just do it til my body adjusts to the right way of eating and exercising again.

Fun stuff!  Let's get to these Wednesday eats.  They are still delicious while meeting my daily caloric allowance.

Breakfast Part 1: PB Crackers
If you have ever read a WIAW post from me before, you know I typically eat a piece of peanut butter toast before my 5 a.m. boot camp workout, but I did not buy bread this week.  It's my own special form of carb deprivation torture.  Ok, maybe I'm being dramatic.  I unearthed some Club crackers from my perpetually disorganized pantry and slapped some PB on those bad boys.

Breakfast Part 2: Egg Scramble & Tortilla
A little bit later on in the morning, I enjoyed a egg white scramble with turkey sausage and spinach.  For more calories and some sort of carb to tame the beast, I added a low carb tortilla.  Coffee, of course.

More coffee on the road.

A.M. Snack: Orange & Yogurt
I'm gonna go ahead and quote myself and say that "you know Renee's hungry when she eats an orange (yes, I speak in the third person on the occasion)."  I have nothing against oranges.  They are delicious.  But you have to peel them and that sounds like work.  So, I worked for my snack today and peeled an orange.  I also enjoyed a baby Chobani yogurt.  Apparently it was coffee flavored with chocolate chunks.  I could have sworn I picked up vanilla chocolate at the store.  It was tasty, though.

Lunch: Salmon and Veggie Salad
I used up my last bit of spring mix salad for lunch and topped it with leftover broccoli, cauliflower and blackened salmon (recipe Friday).  The dressing was fat free zesty Italian.  I enjoyed a tiny cheese wheel, as well.
All mixed up.

After my salad, I used my lunch hour to go on a fantastically beautiful walk.

Back to the office for dessert: diet hot chocolate and a 100 calorie snack.

P.M. Snack: Veggies & Hummus
A big time veggie snack was necessary this afternoon.  Baby carrots, sugar snap peas and yummy hummus.

Dinner: Stuffed Portabella Mushroom & Pasta
I created this yummy, low fat/calorie meal last night and shared a picture as they came out of the oven via Instagram.  I had a couple people ask me about them, so here's the recipe. 

Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms
(serves 4, by my calculations, each 'shroom is worth about 190 calories, but it depends on the specific items you use)

4 portablella mushroom caps, washed with damp paper towel and stems removed
1/2 lb 90% lean ground chicken (or you could use any ground meat)
1/2 cup frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1/2 cup chopped marinated artichokes, drained
1 clove minced garlic
salt and pepper
Italian seasoning
1/4-1/2 cup goat cheese crumbles
1/4 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
heaping 1/2 cup low fat Italian blend shredded cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and mix the chicken, spinach, artichokes, garlic, seasonings, goat cheese and bread crumbs until combined.  Split the mixture into four and press into each mushroom cap upside down.  Top with shredded cheese & bake for 30 minutes.

I served mine with angel hair pasta tossed in olive oil, salt and Parmesan cheese (topped with basil).
After dinner, I did some baking.  Yesterday I found out my favorite cookie from Starbucks (chocolate chunk) is 440 calories.  My heart cried.
So, I did a healthy cookie bake off and sampled one of each.
Can you guess which one I liked better based on this picture?
I'll work on that post for next week, y'all.

Hope everyone enjoys their Wednesday!  We are halfway through the work week :)