Wednesday, February 27, 2013

WIAW: There's a Plan & Bruschetta Turkey Burger

Peas and Crayons

Have you ever had one of those pivotal moments of realization that you are exactly where you are supposed to be?
Well, I had one.
I try to keep it light and fun on the ole bliggity blog, but today, I just want to share something a little personal.
Is that okay?
Well, if it's not, I guess you can stop reading at any time.
It's super easy to just say you regret mistakes in your life.  Decisions you didn't think through.  Times when you didn't look inside your soul and ask if what was happening was right for you.  But I just can't.  Mistakes and poor decisions (with some good sprinkled in there, too) made me who I am today.
There's a plan and it's working itself out.
I was married and now I'm not.  After a yearlong divorce battle, it's finally over and done with.
Most of the time I just took things day by day and was really happy and content, but these last two weeks had me stressed to the max.
So I stopped exercising.  I stopped thinking about what is healthy for my body.  I just couldn't deal.
My weight is about the same, but I feel like crap physically.
Soooo, getting back to it like now!
Get ready for lots of health all up in this site, y'all.
Now, What I Ate Wednesday (and other blog posts, of course) will hopefully reflect a much freer, happier and super productive Renee.
I guess I'm sharing this to say that if you are going through something that seems endless, keep going.  Be true to yourself and all those cliches, because there's a plan.  For real.

Okeedoke.  Let's talk about food, shall we?

Breakfast, Part I: Vita Top
I ate this bran Vita Top before heading out to make my triumphant return to 5 a.m. boot camp.  Unfortunately a train stalled on the tracks.  I waited 20 minutes at that stupid train, then my mom and I headed to the park to do some walking.  Not exactly high impact, but better than nothin'.

 Breakfast, Part II: Eggs & Fruit
I hope the beauty of these berries makes up for my ugly attempt at an omelet ;)  Whatever.  This scramble (that's what we'll call it) contains diced ham, mushrooms, shredded cheddar an Egg Beaters.  Strawberries & blueberries on the side, along with some coffee.

A.M. Snack: Apple & Cheese
My mom told me yesterday that sometimes she is not hungry for a morning snack.  I cannot even fathom that, because by 10:30 I am ravenous.  I guess that's just me.  I'm either not hungry or starving.  There's no in between for this hungry monster ;)  So, I had a snack of a super shiny honeycrisp apple and a cheese wheel.

Lunch: Salad
For lunch today, I had some leftover chicken that I made on Monday, along with leftover broccoli and some almost gone avocado.  Kraft light Asian sesame dressing on top.
Then, some dessert.

P.M. Snack: Hummus & Carrots
Obviously I had more carrots than pictured.  Loving this white bean hummus!

Then I had some time with Jillian.

It's been a while, old friend.

Dinner: Bruschetta Turkey Burger, Sweet Potato & Veg
This meal was easy to throw together & super duper flavorful.  I roasted some sweet potatoes, zucchini and brussels sprouts for about 25-30 minutes in a 425 degree oven.  Then I pattied out some basic turkey burgers and cooked those in the pan.  For the bruschetta topping...

Bruschetta Burger Topping
1 large tomato, diced
1-2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp grated parmesan
salt & pepper to taste

Mix all this together and let it sit for about 20 minutes, drain and serve.  Makes about a cup.

Yum!  So good.
Topped the evening off with some television and the teeniest ice cream sandwich I ever did see.  It's the So Delicious coconut milk mini ice cream sandwiches (90 cals, I think).

Gotsta have my sweets!

Have a great week, everyone!  Thanks for reading :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

WIAW: Blueberry BBQ Sauce

Peas and Crayons

Hiya, everyone!  Hope everyone is having a super fantastic week.  Mine's going well so far.
Enough chit chat.  Let me show you what I ate yesterday.  Don't act like you don't wanna know..

Breakfast Part I: PB Toast
Yes, I am truly predictable.  I had a PB toast before 5 a.m. boot camp.  I switched it up and used honey peanut that's something.

Breakfast Part II: Egg & Bagel
I made an omelet using the rest of my egg beaters, plus an egg white, smoked salmon and feta cheese (reduced fat).  Put it all on an everything bagel thin and you got yourself a satisfying breakfast.  I had coffee, but didn't take a pic.  Use your imagination on that one ;)

A.M. Snack: Yogurt & Granola
I've been digging pomegranate flavored stuff lately, so I grabbed this cherry pom yogurt.  It was tasty.  Even tastier topped with Bear Naked granola.  Yum!

Lunch: Southwestern Potato
I made steak taco salads on Monday and had some leftover fixins.  I topped this medium sized baked potato (I know it looks ginormous, but it's a small plate) with black beans, corn, black olives, sauteed peppers & onions and some cheese & salsa.  Such a filling lunch!

Followed by...frozen yogurt.
I just couldn't help myself.  It was so good!
Yogurt Mountain is my favorite.  They have the best flavors!  This was dark chocolate truffle (so fudgy!) and caramel pretzel cheesecake topped with Oreo, granola and a circus animal cookie.

No time for a p.m. snack today.

Dinner: Turkey Burger with Goat Cheese & Blueberry BBQ Sauce, Veggies
Aghhh!  This was such an awesome tasting meal.  All thanks to my blueberry BBQ sauce.  This was my first time making a BBQ sauce from scratch and it turned out fantastically.  I'll get to the recipe in a sec.
I made a basic turkey burger using spices and breadcrumbs, topped it with goat cheese and blueberry BBQ sauce on a toasted 100 calorie white wheat bun.  I served it with a mound of sauteed butternut squash and Brussels sprouts.  So good!

So, the sauce.  It was tangy with just a hint of sweetness.  You could add more heat if you like, but I thought it was perfect.  And it was purple, which is my favorite color.  Yay!

Blueberry BBQ Sauce
Makes approximately 1 cup of sauce

2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup chopped yellow onion
1 clove garlic, sliced
6 oz fresh blueberries
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup ketchup
1 Tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 tsp fresh lemon zest
1/4 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp ground mustard powder
salt & pepper to taste

Heat a sauce pan with the olive oil to medium heat, toss in the onion for about 2 minutes, then throw in the garlic for another minute.  Add in the blueberries & brown sugar and stir them around.  Let those cook for another minute.  Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 10 minutes on low-medium heat.  Mash the blueberries using a fork or potato masher.  Simmer until thickened (about 10 more minutes), stain and serve. You can store this in the fridge in an air tight container for 2 weeks.

This was excellent on turkey, but would also be great on chicken or salmon.

Links I like this week:
DIY workout tank (I've tried this before and failed, but this makes me want to try it again)
Dark Chocolate Fudge Merlot Cupcakes (there are no words)
40 ways to stay fitness motivated in the winter
What to make for Valentine's Day from Shutterbean
This funny Wine Snobs video
My Homemade Thin Mints & Tagalongs Girl Scout Cookies!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Last Minute Valentine's Stuff

Thought I'd pop in on a Tuesday (usually unheard of) and give you a few last minute Valentine's Ideas.
Make these for you or someone special in your life.

This protein shake with chocolate covered strawberry magic will get you ready for whatever kind of Valentine's day you are gonna have.  Or you could make it for your dude/lady or your kids.  It's a crowd pleaser, for sure.

These little chocolate cookies come together in a snap with help from a cake mix.  Take them to work and pass them out.  Or just make them for the family.

Homemade cards are the best cards.  Make a quick eraser stamp and you can make alot of cards in a short amount of time.  Score!

You need to be properly dressed for such an occasion.  So, you could bust out the fabric paint
Or the sewing machine:

See you guys tomorrow for What I Ate Wednesday!!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

WIAW: 2 Ingredient Pancakes

Peas and Crayons

Well, hello there.  Fancy meeting you here, eh?
Time again to see what I ate on Tuesday...on a Wednesday.
Lots of good stuff to show you.  Let's get to it.

Breakfast, Part I: PB Toast
Back to the old classic of having peanut butter toast before 5 a.m. boot camp workout.  This was Smart Balance crunchy on some 45 calorie bread.

Breakfast, Part II: 2 Ingredient Pancakes!
So, these pancakes.  They are made with 1 banana and 1 egg.  That's it!  How crazy is that?  I've been wanting to try them for sometime since I see them on Carrots & Cake blog often.
I just blended up a mashed banana with 1 whole egg and I added in a bit of baking soda and cinnamon.  Technically I guess that makes it 4 ingredients, but whatever.
Then you just scoop out four pancakes on your griddle and flip them (oh, so carefully) when browned on the first side.  They taste like caramelized bananas.
I topped it with some Bees Knee's honey peanut butter, sugar free syrup, strawberries and walnuts.  Yum yum!  Coffee on the side, obvi.
Check out that fancy plate!  Ha.  Paper plates leftover from the Superbowl makes doing dishes much easier ;)

Morning Snack: Luna Bar
I realize my breakfast probably did not have as much protein as I needed after a strength/cardio workout, so I packed a Luna for snack.  This is a good one, y'all.

Lunch: Bento Box
It's the return of the bento box!  It's been a while since I packed lunch in my cute little box.
Today's lunch had a Flat Out wrap (light tomato flavor) smeared with goat cheese and filled with deli turkey, roast beef and lettuce.  I dipped my carrots in plain Greek yogurt with a ranch seasoning packet (not a whole one, mind you) and had strawberries for dessert.
That's a lie.  I had these for dessert:
But I also ate the strawberries, know.  Yay healthy balance!

Afternoon Snack: Greek Yogurt & Berries
A few WIAWs ago, I talked about this yogurt being my new favorite snack.  Well, I branched out and tried some new flavors this week.  I had the honeyed apricot and the blueberry.  This is obviously the blueberry.  It was really tasty.  I added some fresh blueberries in there, too.

Dinner; Bangers & Mash
So far, I've asked 3 people if they knew what "bangers & mash" was, and they have laughed and said "no."  It's a British dish (not that I've ever been out of the country, but I own a television) of sausages and mashed potatoes.
I was inspired by that and made my own, healthy version.  We'll start from the bottom and go up.  I sauteed some fresh spinach in garlic, shallots and olive oil then made some mashed sweet potatoes (mixed with goat cheese, broth, seasoning).  The sausages are low fat chicken sausage links that I found at Target.  For only 180 calories per sausage (pictured is one sausage sliced lengthwise), It was a super filling and low cal dish.
 Here it is, all chopped up.
Felt like I should try something different for dinner.  It turned out to be a pretty good plan.

Dessert: Fro Yo!
I had to run some errands last night, and that included eating frozen yogurt with lots of toppings.  This is TCBY's white chocolate mousse topped with Oreo, Butterfinger, sprinkles, cookie dough bits and hot fudge.
Worth it.

Alrighty, y'all have a lovely Wednesday!

If you missed it, I made some stuff this week.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Crockpot Challenge: Santa Fe Chicken and Rice

This is as pretty as this meal is gonna get.

It's really tasty, though.  I swear.  It's super filling and full of good things.  Plus, it's not spicy on its own, which would be great if feeding picky people.  Each person can just add their own toppings to make it as spicy as they like.

Santa Fe Chicken and Rice
Serves 6-8

1 cup brown rice, rinsed
4 chicken breasts
1 can black beans
1 cup salsa
1 1/2 cups water or broth
salt & pepper

Spray the crockpot with non-stick spray and add the wet rice, black beans, salsa and liquids.  Season the chicken with S&P and add that in as well.  Top each chicken breast with cheese (if desired).  I used 2 % sharp cheddar.  The original recipe used mozzarella, but I did not have that.  

Cook on low for 7 hours.  Check on the rice and if it looks crunchy, you need to add more liquid.  The rice gets really creamy from slow cooking.  It's a little like a risotto texture.

I'm going to include these terribly gross looking pics so you can see how it looks once cooked.

Then you shred that chicken with two forks.

Serve it up!  I put mine over some spinach and topped it with enchilada sauce and guacamole.  Yum!

This is part of the Crockpot Challenge.  You can read more about it here.

Recipe adapted from A Year of Slowcooking blog

See ya' for WIAW!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Baked Banana Bread Donuts

About a week or so ago, I decided I needed banana bread in my life.  So I searched my favorite healthy living blogs and found a great recipe.  That bread lasted 2 days amongst myself,  friends and family (ok, just me and 2 other people--whatever).  48 hours later, there I was...banana bread-less.

Now, they are all portioned out.  Into 14 beautiful donuts.  It's equivalent to unicorns and rainbows, folks.  These healthy donuts are heavenly and will most certainly rock your socks.

Note, you could also make these into muffins if you don't have a donuts pan (using the same instructions below).

Baked Banana Bread Donuts
makes 14

2 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
scant 1/2 cup egg substitute
3 medium ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup agave nectar (honey would also work)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
toppings of your choice (I used cinnamon chips and pecans)

Preheat the oven at 350 degrees.
Mix all these ingredients until combined.  Using a muffin scoop (or standard ice cream scoop), distribute the batter in a non-stick standard sized donuts pan.  Run your finger around the middle part of the wells, so there will be a hole in the center.  
Top with cinnamon chips and chopped pecans (or whatever topping you choose) and bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

You can also make this in a 9x5 loaf pan and bake it at 325 degrees for an hour.

Have a nice weekend.  Hopefully I'll have a crockpot recipe for your Monday ;)