Wednesday, March 27, 2013

WIAW: Spring is Here! Brown Rice Risotto with Asparagus & Peas

I have no reason for posting a cat picture other than I just love my cats.  Plus, I got a new couch..and they clearly love it, because that's where they are always cuddled.
They remind me of a yin-yang here, too, even though Boscoe is not that light, it's just the flash.

Anyways, bouncing back from that's time for food stuff!
Peas and Crayons

Breakfast, Part I: Vita Top
I enjoyed a naked cran bran Vita top for a pre-boot camp snack.

Breakfast, Part II: Sausage & Eggs
For my protein filled breakfast I had a turkey sausage, spinach and egg scramble.  Plus toast and coffee (not pictured).

I couldn't bring myself to eat the banana that I brought for snack today.  I guess I'm just NOT in a banana mood.

Lunch: Wrap, Carrots, Pretzels
In a skillet, I heated 1/2 a Laughing cow cheese wedge (Swiss) with some roast beef on a light tortilla, then added lettuce.  Carrots, pretzel sticks and hummus on the side.  
Did you notice I got some new paper plates ;)
Lunch dessert happened:
Tall soy chai latte and a silly little chocolate pop.
Empty calories, yes.  But I needs mah treats!

I got hungry later in the afternoon and cut an apple.

After work I accompanied my favorite lady (yes, my mom) to get her some new athletic shoes.  I acted real girly and got some shoes of my own.

Yay, spring shoes!!!!  I can't even tell you the last time I bought shoes.  I'm excited :)

Then, it was dinner time.

Dinner: Brown Rice Risotto with Veggies
I've never heard of anyone making risotto (a creamy rice dish) from brown rice before and started to doubt it could be done, but I did it!  Sort of.  The rice doesn't expand as much as an arborio rice or orzo would, but it is nice and creamy.  And healthy to boot!

Spring is Here! Brown Rice Risotto with Asparagus & Peas
serves 2-3

1-2 tbsp Olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup brown rice
2 cup Chicken broth 
1/4 cup Parmesan 
1/4 cup goat cheese crumbles
1/2 cup diced ham
1/2 cup cooked asparagus 
1/2 cup cooked peas
Salt to taste

Heat enough olive oil to coat a sauce pan. Add garlic and cook for a minute or two. 
Pour in the brown rice and stir to coat. Toast rice for 2-3 min. Add 1 cup of chicken broth. Stir occasionally until liquid is absorbed. Add another half cup of broth and repeat. Repeat one more time. 
Remove from heat and stir in all add-ins. 
Serve hot.

Soooooo goooooodd!

I followed dinner with this tiny coconut ice cream sandwich.

I mean, just look at the size of that.  It's ridiculous.

Mmm, nice and frosty.  Just how I like it.

Have a lovely Wednesday, all!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Healthy Grilled Stuffed Beef & Potato Burritos

Ok, guys.  Regardless of your healthy lifestyle, sometimes you gotta crave fast food.

And it's no wonder.  I mean, the commercials show oozing melty cheese and fake steam rising off the food in a drool-worthy fashion.

For me, Taco Bell (along with McD's) was the food of my teenage years.  Big, fat stuffed burritos...that make you big and fat, unfortunately.

Well, no longer, people!

I made you a healthy swap.  Well, I made it for me.  But I'm sharing it with you.  So, it's a win-win, really.

Here's the line up: 

Healthy Grilled Stuffed Beef & Potato Burritos
makes 6 burritos

1 lb 93% lean ground sirloin, cooked with half a packet of taco seasoning
3 small-medium golden potatoes, diced and cooked until fork tender
2 Laughing Cow light Swiss cheese wedges
1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese
Big burrito tortillas with 90 calories a piece or less
Optional-black bean and corn mixture
Fat free sour cream

Mix all ingredients except sour cream and tortillas in a large bowl.  Scoop in each of the 6 burritos about 1/2 cup of the mixture and add about a tablespoon of sour cream to each.  Roll it up tight!

Then grill the burritos on both sides in a grill pan or on a panini or grill press.  You can also just do them in a skillet, like a grilled cheese.  Works that way too ;)

I put mine in the grill pan, then put aluminum foil on top, covered with a sheet pan topped with 2 pans, so it worked like a press.

It didn't exactly look professional, but the end result was pretty awesome.
*Don't be deterred by the yield of 6 burritos.  They freeze awesomely and make a great lunch!

Bonus points if you serve your healthy burrito with steamed, fresh veggies!
For the win!

Happy, healthy Friday, everyone!!!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

WIAW: Cajun "Alfredo" Pasta

Happy First Day of Springggggg!  I'm so glad it's finally here :)
Flowers are blooming, birds are singing.
This is definitely my favorite season!
Peas and Crayons

Can you believe it's Wednesday already?  Where does the time go?
Well, I stuck to my plan from last week to have all new foods to show you today.
Wanna see??

Breakfast, Part I: PB Waffle
I might have gotten by on a technicality with this one.  You know I usually have some sort of carb smeared with peanut butter..but today it was a low fat Nutrigrain Eggo waffle.  Which is different.  So, there.  Ha!  Anyways, this was my workout fuel as I headed out the door for an early morning boot camp class.

Breakfast, Part II: Breakfast Quesadilla
I have no idea why it's been so long since I've made a breakfast quesadilla.  They are like the best breakfast ever!
These low carb taco sized tortillas are stuffed with an egg & egg white, 2 strips of bacon, 1/4 of an avocado, a drizzle of salsa and a sprinkling of cheese.
 Breakfast of champions!

Morning Snack: Fruit Smoothie
I took an extra five minutes this morning and blended some fruit in a mason jar.  It was worth the time.  This jar is filled with 1 frozen banana, 5 frozen strawberries, a handful of blueberries and 1 cup of Trop 50 orange juice.  So good!  Can you tell my blender does not do well with blueberries?  I don't know what the deal is with that..

Before eating lunch today, I went on a walk..spotting spring colors along the way.
I <3 pansies!

Lunch: Tuna Sandwich & Carrots
Easy peasy lunch today of Starkist premade tuna salad (100 calorie pouch) on Target's multigrain seeded bread with tomato & lettuce.  Served with stupid carrots.
Ok, they weren't stupid.  I'm just going through a baby carrot rut.  I should have packed a different vegetable.  Oh well ;)
Lunch dessert happened:
These are definitely my favorite Easter candy.  I really prefer the dark chocolate ones, but these will do in a pinch.  At least they are in mini bags, right?

Afternoon Snack: Apple Rings
Things got a little weird for snack time..  I cut some shoddy looking apple rings and smeared them with dark chocolate peanut butter.  My boss thought I was eating donuts and did a double take.  It was kind of funny.

Dinner: Cajun Alfredo Pasta with Brussels 
This picture does not do this sauce justice.  I threw together some Alfredo like sauce last week with stuff I had on hand and decided to repeat it for WIAW.  I was actually going to use spaghetti squash as the pasta, but my store had none :-(
So, atop my roasted Brussels I had angel hair pasta with Alfredo sauce and Cajun spiced shrimp and turkey sausage.  Want a recipe?  

Cajun "Alfredo" Pasta
serves 4

1 bag of thawed medium shrimp, deveined, peeled, tail off
1 turkey sausage link (I used Butterball brand), cut in quarters
1/2 tsp-1 tsp Cajun spice mix
Angel hair pasta (I used 1/3 of a box of Smart Taste pasta), cooked per box instructions
"Alfredo" sauce (below)
Roasted Brussels sprouts

Season the shrimp and sausage pieces with spice mix and cook in a skillet until shrimp are pinkish and everything starts to get a nice color.
In the skillet with the meat, add the cooked pasta and half of the sauce and stir it up.  Add more sauce to your liking.
Serve over roasted Brussels. 

For the sauce:
2 tbsp I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Light spread
1 tbsp flour
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup chicken broth
2 Laughing Cow Swiss Light cheese wedges
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
Salt & pepper to taste
pasta water (for thinning out the sauce)
sprinkle of Cajun spice mix

Melt the "butter" in a sauce pan and add in the flour and garlic.  Stir it up and add the chicken broth.  Whisk it all together and simmer on low-med heat until it looks smooth and creamy.  Throw in the cheese wedges and parmesan and whisk until combined.  Add seasoning to taste.  If the sauce is too thick for your liking, add hot pasta water (from the noodles you boiled) or more broth to thin it out.

Such a quick and easy meal!  And Alfredo with no cream or butter? Awesome!

For dessert I made a strawberry shortcake inspired parfait.
I layered fresh sliced strawberries with low fat (homemade) angel food cake and light whipped cream.  Yum!

Well, that's it for me today.  Hope everyone is having a super spring-y day!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

WIAW: Buffalo Chicken Sandwich

Peas and Crayons

Hey hey!  We are halfway through the week!  
Time to share my eats with you :)

Breakfast, Part I: Vita Top
I repeated my cran bran Vita Top from 2 weeks ago before a.m. boot camp.  It may not look pretty, but it sure does fuel my workout!

Breakfast, Part II: Eggs, Fruit
Another familiar looking breakfast this morning with a ham & cheese omelet served with strawberries and blueberries.  Coffee repeated twice.

A.M. Snack: Apple & Cheese 
Am I a creature of habit or what?  I think next week my goal will be to have all different kinds of food on Tuesday for WIAW.  It's funny how you don't realize you eat the same stuff until it is documented.  Well, I had a glorious rose apple with a cheese wheel for snack.

When lunchtime rolled around, I had to go walk a super energetic puppy.
This picture is actually recycled as you can tell from my hair in a ponytail (too short to do that now!) and the leaves on the ground.  But you get the idea.

Lunch: Soup & Grilled Cheese
Definitely my favorite lunch combo!  Healthy soup and healthy grilled cheese.  There's just no topping that.  This soup is my favorite veggie, white bean soup & the grilled cheese is light wheat bread with sharp cheddar.
Followed by a healthy cookie!

P.M. Snack: Carrots & Hummus
 Another typical Renee snack ;) while typing lots of things.  It was a very busy day, indeed.

After work, I talked myself into enjoying the weather on another walk.  I took my parents' pups, Finny & Madmartigan with me!
 They had a blast.  Finny wrapped me around every mailbox and street pole along the way.

Dinner: Buffalo Chicken Sandwich, Sweet Potato Fries
 So yummy this meal was.  Why am I talking like Yoda?
It was that good, I guess.
You can find the recipe for the Buffalo Chicken Sandwich by clicking the link to Men's Health site.  I had my usual sweet potato fries and cauliflower on the side.
Here's the sandwich, topless.
Spicy chicken, tangy bleu cheese sauce, grilled onions and a toasted wheat bun?  Yes, please!

After dinner I had a glass of red wine (shiraz).
What do you get when you combine daylight savings time, getting up at 4:40 a.m. and red wine?
This sleeping lady on the couch!

I'm trying to think of something brilliant to post for you guys on Friday, so pop back over here then.

In case you missed it:
I made a boozy milkshake with Lucky Charms on Endless Simmer
and I posted some super yummy and healthy chicken fried rice!

Did you notice the ole blog got a face lift?  I love it!
The design came from Maree at Grey Loves Design on Etsy.  Go check out her designs.  She is great and she's super nice to work with!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Healthy Fried Brown Rice with Chicken & Cabbage

Well, good morning!  Thanks for stopping by.

I made this quick & easy dish with no intention to share it on the blog, but sometimes you just gotta.

So, it's March now and almost Spring, but we still have those days where it's kind of cold and grey outside (around these parts anyways).  Nothing better than comfort food on those days.

This comfort food is healthy *gasp*

Do this.

Healthy Fried Brown Rice with Chicken & Cabbage
serves 4

1 cup brown rice
1 1/4 cup chicken broth

1/2 head of cabbage, de-cored & chopped
3 chicken breasts (thawed, if frozen), diced
seasonng for chicken--garlic powder, salt, pepper, cumin
1-2 cloves garlic
1 cup thinly sliced mushrooms
4 fried eggs
soy sauce
coconut oil

Make your rice (either in the rice cooker, on the stove or in the microwave).  I like to use chicken broth instead of water.  Trust me.  It makes better rice.

Heat 1 tbsp of coconut oil in a wok or large saute pan and throw in the cabbage.  Cook for about 7-8 minutes, stirring around occasionally, throw 1 clove of thinly sliced (or minced) garlic, some salt and about 1-2 tsp of soy sauce (to taste).  Cook for an additional 3-4 minutes.
Remove the cabbage and set aside.  Season the chicken with salt, pepper, garlic powder & cumin (just a pinch of each) and cook in some coconut oil in the wok (about another tbsp or less) until done.  Add mushrooms and a tsp of soy sauce.  Cook for another 2 minutes.
Remove the chicken & 'shrooms from the pan and add another tbsp of coconut oil to the wok.  Toss in the cooked rice and cook until crispy or until it starts to stick to the pan.  Toss everything together and top with a fried egg.  Add soy sauce to taste.
It's a mess.
But a good mess.
See you folks tomorrow for What I Ate Wednesday!

Did you notice the ole blog got a face lift?  I love it!
The design came from Maree at Grey Loves Design on Etsy.  Go check out her designs.  She is great and she's super nice to work with!
Also I'm trying pictures in an XL format.  I think I dig it.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

WIAW: Brick Chicken & Photo Recap

Peas and Crayons

Good Morning!  It's the first What I Ate Wednesday for March!
I never know what the theme is going to be for the first WIAW post of the month until that day.  And since I take my pics a day ahead of time (on Tuesday), my recap might not look so "green."  Oh well...

Breakfast #1: PB English Muffin
Before 5 a.m. boot camp workout I had the last of the crunchy peanut butter on half of a whole grain English muffin.  Always a delicious choice!

Breakfast #2: Shake 
I continued the peanut butter love by including some smooth pb in my shake.  Shake included: 1 scoop protein powder, 1 cup almond milk, 5 strawberries, a handful of blueberries, 1 frozen banana and a tablespoon of creamy peanut butter.
Coffee on the side x 2!

 Snack: Bar & Yogurt
I was really hungry this morning, so I had Greek yogurt and a Kind bar.  It was very helpful in taming the hungry beast within.

 Lunch: Smoky Chicken Chili
Last week I made this Smoky White Bean Chili and it was so so so yummy!  I had the last of it for lunch alongside some light rye Wasa crackers, a cheese wedge and carrots.

Coffee for dessert!
That's a tall skinny cinnamon dolce latte made with soy & and added shot of espresso.

Too busy busy for an afternoon snack, so I was quite starving for dinner.  Which was a winner.  That was an unintentional rhyme, but I'll go with it (winner winner chicken dinner!).

 Dinner: Brick Chicken, Sauteed Cabbage, Smashed Potatoes & Brocolli
This chicken turned out so yummy!  We took the bones out (which you can find instructions for here), added olive oil and spice rub and grilled the chicken under two aluminum foil wrapped bricks.  It was awesome.  I'll make one during the day sometime so I can take better pictures and do a recipe down the road to share.
On the side I made sauteed cabbage with olive oil, garlic and a touch of soy sauce.  I had never done this before, but will definitely do it again--delish!
I made smashed potatoes by microwaving potatoes til fork tender then smashing them down with a masher, drizzling with olive oil, spices and cheese then baking for 25 minutes in a 425 degree oven.
I also microwaved broccoli for some more green.

Here's a quick recap of my Photo an Hour Challenge I gave myself on Friday.
All pictures were taken from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (one an hour) on Saturday, March 2nd.
You can see larger pics in order with explanation of each on my Instagram page.
You do not need to have an Instagram account to view them.

Happy Wednesday, everyone!!!!