Wednesday, January 29, 2014

WIAW: Pumpkin Enchilada Casserole

Hello, hello!  Hope everyone is having a great week.

#projectleanandclean is still in effect!

Peas and Crayons

Breakfast: Spinach Egg White Omelet, Toast, Berries

This past weekend I made a naughty cookie recipe (for a friend's birthday party--HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AMANDA!) that called for 4 egg yolks!  Crazy, right?  Well, the point of me telling you that is that I had 4 egg whites on standby, which might seem like alot to put in an omelet, but it's only 68 calories (Thanks, Google!).  So I made an omelet by wilting some fresh spinach and adding the four egg whites.  A 45 calorie wheat toast and a few strawberries on the side.  Oh, and coffee, of course!

A.M. Snack: Apple

I probably am boring the internet with all my apple snack pics-ha!  I eat an apple a keep the doctor away?  Well, mostly just because they are readily available and usually delicious.

Lunch: Taco Soup

For lunch I had a cup of leftover taco soup from Monday night.
This is based on an old Weight Watcher recipe and is similar to my crockpot chicken taco soup.  But it's a little different, so I'll recount what I put in it.

Taco Soup
serves 6

1 lbs 93% lean ground turkey (or ground beef)
2-3 tbsp taco seasoning (I made my own using equal parts of chili powder, cumin, paprika; half the amount of garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, salt & pepper)
2 cans black beans
1 can sweet corn
2 big (any color) bell peppers, diced (I used half of a red, half of an orange, and half of a yellow)
1/2 red onion, diced
1 can diced green chilies
1 cup diced fresh mushrooms
chicken broth (just enough to cover everything--maybe a can or a can and 1/2)

(I kind of wish I had tomatoes to add, but I was out, so add some diced or crushed tomatoes if you try this.)

Cook the turkey in an oiled pan until browned, add seasoning and peppers & onions (and diced mushrooms).  Cook until done.  Add cans (I just drained the beans, did not rinse--hence the lovely grey color of the soup) and broth.  Boil for a few minutes, then reduce to a simmer.

Serve with a dollop of reduced fat sour cream.


I had such a busy day, that I did not have time for an afternoon snack.

I got home kind of late and went to work preparing this yumminess:

Dinner: Pumpkin Enchilada Casserole

This was supposed to be pumpkin enchiladas (from this recipe), but my corn tortillas started tearing when I was rolling them, so I just gave up and made a casserole.

I cooked most of my filling in the crockpot all day, so that was easy.  Here's what I did:

Pumpkin Enchilada Filling
3 chicken breasts
2 big (any color) bell peppers, diced (I used half of a red, half of an orange, and half of a yellow)
1/2 red onion, diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced

Add all these things in the crockpot with enough chicken broth to cover.  Cook on low for 6 hours.  Shred chicken with a fork, drain and reserve 1/2 cup chicken broth (for the sauce).

Add this filling to 10 oz frozen, thawed spinach and season to taste.  I added salt and garlic powder.  I also added 1-2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro.

Pumpkin Enchilada Sauce
1 cup Pumpkin Puree
1 tsp Chili Powder
½ tsp Cumin
¼ tsp Dry Oregano
¾ cup Plain, Low-fat Greek Yogurt
½ cup Unsalted Chicken Stock

Mix until combined.

Spoon a bit of sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 oiled pan.  Lay corn tortillas overlapping (I think I used 5) and top with half of the filling.  Top with a little more sauce and 1/2 cup of shredded cheese.
Add another layer of tortillas and cover with remaining filling, more sauce and another half cup of shredded cheese.
Bake at 425F degrees for 25 minutes.

(this makes about 6 servings)

This was really, really good!  If you have ever had Rotel chicken at a church potluck (the kind with crushed Doritos-OMG), it has a similar flavor, but is so, so much better for you!

After dinner, I had a cone of cookies & cream.

recycled pic from this post

Then it was puppy play time with this crazy goose!  She's getting tired of being cooped up from the cold weather, so she usually runs full speed in a circle around the living room.

Have a fantastic week!  See you soon with a recap of Part 2 of Project Lean & Clean.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

WIAW: Portabella Mushroom Burger with Roasted Veggies

Happy Wednesday, everybody!!!  #projectleanandclean is still going strong!  I can't believe I've stuck with it for so long!  I gotta say, though, I'm getting kind of tired of taking a picture of every meal and snack.

But, not too much longer!!  Of documenting this way, that is.  At the beginning of February, I'm going to be very diligent about keeping my food documented in My Fitness Pal app.  Yay, technology!

Peas and Crayons

Breakfast: Oatmeal

Boy, do I have a hard time getting my butt out of bed when it's cold out!  Such was the case this morning, so I only had time to throw together some quick oatmeal.  This is my favorite Quaker date & walnut oatmeal, made with almond milk and banana (I smushed half of the banana into the oatmeal).  I also had coffee while running out the door.

 A.M. Snack: Orange & Granola Bar

Oatmeal never sticks with me for too long, so around 10 my tummy was telling me it was snack time.  So I peeled an orange.
Then I decided I was still hungry and ate half of the bar that I brought.  I made these bars using this recipe.  So good!

Lunch: Soup!

My mom and I both made big batches of soup this past Sunday and then shared with each other.  I made Stuffed Pepper Soup and she made this one, which is sort of like chicken tortilla soup?  Maybe..  It has broth, chicken, beans and salsa verde.  I added some fresh spinach to bulk it up a bit.  My guy grilled us some half quesadillas (on low carb tortillas) to enjoy on the side.

I got to look at this face while I ate lunch, too!  #luckygirl

Reggie is the sweetest puppy boy!  Always so happy :)

For dessert, I had whipped up some of Carrots N Cake's cookie balls and OMG--so perfect!  Love them!  I've already made them twice this week.  Healthy and delicious! (note-her recipe makes 6 balls, I doubled it..and we had eaten 2 before this picture was taken)

I had one with some coffee.  The perfect lunch dessert.

For afternoon snack, I ate the other half of my granola bar.

Then, a super tough boot camp workout...and home to make dinner.

Dinner: Portabella Mushroom Burger with Roasted Veggies

This meal is a real winner, especially if you are craving a burger but are looking to be a little healthier (plus it's vegetarian!).
So, you just marinate your portabellas (wipe them off first with a damp paper towel) with some balsamic vinegar (about 2 tbsp), olive oil, soy sauce (1 tbsp of each), salt & pepper and rosemary.  I marinated mine in a giant Ziploc for an hour, but you could probably just marinate it for 20-30 minutes.  Then grill for 5-7 minutes on each side.  Yum!
I had mine on an 80 calorie whole wheat bun with lettuce, tomato, grilled onions and a little parmesan cheese.
Also, I roasted some cauliflower and sweet potatoes.
For the sweet potatoes, I cut them in large wedges, tossed them in 1 1/2 tbsp of melted coconut oil, salt and garlic powder, then baked them for 25 minutes at 425F degrees, flipped them and baked them for 10 more minutes.
The cauliflower was basically the same, but I baked it for only 25 minutes.  Couldn't hurt to leave it in a little longer, though.

After dinner, I had a wonky ice cream cone with low cal (140 calories) Moose Tracks.

I tweeted this the other day, and it still holds true:

Moose (mooses? meese?) have the most delicious tracks

Then it was time to read and snuggle with my snoring pup.

Have a super fun rest of the week, y'all!  Stay warm!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Project Lean and Clean, Part 1

Howdy, friends.

I thought it would be fun to do a quick round up of the first part of my self-imposed January challenge that I call Project Lean and Clean.  I have been posting these pics every weekday in January on my Instagram to help me with eating healthy, balanced meals full of all the good stuff.

*Keep in mind that I may have had an ice cream cone or occasional glass of wine after some of these food collages took place...I'm human ;)

I will include links to any recipes I used.

January 1

Breakfast: Egg Beater scramble with spinach, deli turkey, side of strawberries (unpictured-coffee..goes for all of these)
Snack: Fruit smoothie (frozen banana, frozen berries, almond milk, honey)
Lunch: Salad of mixed greens with peas, reduced fat cottage cheese, hard boiled egg, sunflower seeds, beets, hummus
Dinner: Salmon in parchment with peppers, onions and zucchini, sweet potato & broccoli, cauliflower

January 2

Breakfast: Banana pancakes strawberries, sugar free syrup
Snack: Apple and fiber bar
Lunch: Mini salad replica from the day before, but with leftover salmon and peppers
Dinner: Turkey meatballs on spaghetti squash with homemade sauce and kale on the side (blech--not a fan)--here's a similar turkey meatball recipe (not the same, though)

January 3
Breakfast: Egg Beaters, toast, strawberries
Snack: Pear, pistachios
Lunch: Another loaded salad with leftover turkey meatballs, peas, hummus, beets, cottage cheese, & peppers
Dinner: Spinach Tortellini Soup (except I added zucchini and mushrooms)

January 6
Breakfast: Egg Beater omelet with spinach, half English muffin, strawberries
Snack: Zucchini muffin, apple
Lunch: Smoky White Bean Chicken Chili, Cornbread Waffle
Dinner: Veggie Enchilada Stack

January 7
Breakfast: Raisin Bran (Aldi brand), banana
Snack: Fruit shake (frozen banana half, frozen cherries, spinach, almond milk)
Lunch: Leftover veggie enchilada stack on a salad
Dinner: Roasted Red Pepper ChiliCornbread Waffle

January 8
Breakfast: Spinach Egg Beater omelet with 1/2 English muffin and strawberries
Snack: Pear
Lunch: Subway buffalo chicken sandwich with all the veggies, carrots, cookie
Dinner: Tilapia cooked in parchment, roasted cauliflower, sweet potato

January 9
Breakfast: Raisin Bran (Aldi brand), banana
Snack: graham cracker with peanut butter and banana, soy chai latte
Lunch: Big salad with leftover cauliflower and tilapia
Dinner: Buffalo chicken tenders with whole wheat (gobetti shaped) pasta covered in my "faux-fredo" sauce, broccoli

January 10
Breakfast: Quaker date and walnut oatmeal made with almond milk, strawberries
Snack: Apple
Lunch: Leftover chili
Dinner: Chicken taco salad..inspired by, but kind of different from THIS recipe

January 13
Breakfast: Spinach Egg Beater omelet with 1/2 English muffin and strawberries
Snack: Orange
Lunch: Salad of romaine lettuce topped with a leftover turkey burger, cottage cheese, grilled onions and tomatoes...and a pumpkin brownie
Dinner: Southwestern Stuffed Sweet Potato

January 14
Breakfast: Pumpkin flourless pancake, strawberries
Snack: Apple, rice cake with peanut butter
Lunch: leftover Southwestern Stuffed Sweet Potato, pumpkin brownie
Dinner: Grilled salmon and grilled veggie couscous

January 15
Breakfast: Smoked salmon and spinach egg white omelet
Snack: Fiber bar, orange
Lunch: Leftover white bean chili, hot chocolate for dessert!
Dinner: Grilled shrimp with whole wheat (gobetti shaped) pasta covered in my "faux-fredo" sauce, spinach
See, wasn't that fun?!

Ha ha!  Well, I will post the round up of the second half of January pretty soon.  Time is a'flyin'!

Have a great weekend :-)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

What I Ate Wednesday: Southwestern Loaded Sweet Potatoes & Project Lean and Clean

Well, hello there!  Welcome to me talking about food.  Which is basically all the time, but it is in a blog format here ;)
I am still going strong on #projectleanandclean over on Instagram.  I was just telling my guy that as much as it gets to be a pain in the bum to document food for a month, it's really helping me out.  I think I might be inspiring other people to make healthy food that is beautiful, as well.  At least, I hope so.
Here are my eats from yesterday.  So many colors!!!

Peas and Crayons

Breakfast: Pumpkin Flourless Pancake {Sort Of}

Don't you hate those mornings when pancakes just don't flip right?  Well, in my case it's more of a "flipped it too early" situation.  I tried out this yummy pancake recipe from Shutterbean, and though I did not execute it to its beautiful potential it was still delicious.  Think, pumpkin pie french toast.  That's what it tasted like to me.  And since it broke into pieces I didn't have to cut it!  Lazy win!
Anywho, I had this choppy pumpkin pancake with strawberries and sugar free syrup.  I also had 2 cups of super strong coffee, so I was metaphorically bouncing off the walls.

A.M. Snack: Apple & Rice Cake

For morning snack, I knew my tiny little apple was not going to do the trick, so I smeared some natural peanut butter on a 50 calorie caramel rice cake.  Perfect to hold me over until lunch.

Lunch: Southwestern Loaded Sweet Potato

This is leftover from Monday night's dinner, which was a very quick one.  We had roasted a chicken on Sunday evening, so I stashed the rest of it in the fridge to pick apart later.  Well, maybe I'll just break this down like a recipe for you....

Southwestern Loaded Sweet Potatoes
serves 4

4 medium sweet potatoes
garlic powder, salt & pepper to taste
2 cups of diced cooked chicken (or leftover rotisserie chicken)
1 cup of black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup of corn, cooked
2-3 cups of fresh spinach
2 tbsp adobo sauce (from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo)
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup fat free sour cream
cheese for topping, optional

Microwave your sweet potatoes until fork tender.  I put all 4 of my washed sweet potatoes (with a fork prick in each) in a gallon Ziploc that is open about an inch and microwaved it for maybe 11 minutes.  I just see if I can squeeze the potatoes to see if they're done.
Lay the potatoes out (and smash them open) in 4 bowls (I used 2 tupperware containers for lunch the next day) and sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
Make your topping by sauteing the spinach in a skillet until wilted.  Remove the spinach and add the diced chicken in there  Add all seasonings and adobo sauce and cook until warm.  Toss the chicken in a bowl with the other topping ingredients and mix.
Top each potato with about 3/4 cup or so of the mixture and serve with cheese on top, if you desire.

Such a perfect, filling and healthy meal!

For dessert, I had made brownies over the weekend using a brownie mix and pumpkin.  That's it.  No eggs or oil.  It makes for a very fudgelike brownie (just mix brownie mix and pumpkin, spread in an 8x8 pan and bake per the directions on the box).  Just the ticket to quelch any chocolate cravings you might be having.  Also, I topped each piece with a pecan half, also.


So, I usually have an afternoon snack, but I didn't feel like peeling the orange I brought.  Seriously lazy!

After work, I took Bizzy the Dog on a quick neighborhood walk until it started sprinkling rain on us.  Then I went and did my boot camp workout thing.  Definitely a tough one!

Dinner: Salmon & Grilled Veggie Couscous

I first tried a grilled veggie couscous after seeing it on Bobby Flay's BBQ Addiction and I much prefer his recipe to this one.  This was still good, don't get me wrong, but the Israli couscous and the Japanese eggplant in the other one are just better.  Click on that one to see the recipe.

I made my couscous with
  • grilled zucchini
  • grilled yellow squash
  • quartered and grilled grape tomatoes
  • grilled eggplant
  • whole wheat couscous (1 cup)
  • salt, garlic powder to taste
  • drizzle olive oil
  • some dried basil

I also grilled up some salmon that I had marinated in teriyaki sauce and garlic.  It was a pretty good dinner.

Well, that's it for me!

In case you missed it: On Friday I made a pretty yummy veggie enchilada stack thingy!  Check it out!

Have a great day and enjoy the sunshine!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Veggie Enchilada Stacks {Low Carb, Vegetarian, Healthy}

This past Wednesday, I talked about my favorite thing to make and eat at home. And that is my sweet potato and black bean enchiladas.  I make several variations on this recipe; I've added meat; sometimes I'll do butternut squash instead of sweet potatoes.  But these.  These are my flavors.  Perfect for any day of the week!

With my Project Lean & Clean I got going on, I thought I'd eliminate the tortilla (soo sad!  I love tortillas!!!) and use the sweet potato as the carb in this dish.

It worked perfectly!  

It's kind of like a scalloped potato effect..except with tex mex flavors!  Yumm-o!

Ok, sorry.  I did not mean to say "Yumm-o."  

Whoops.  Did it again...

Let's move on.

Veggie Enchilada Stacks
serves 4-6

2 sweet potatoes
2 cans of black beans, rinsed & drained
1 10 oz bag of frozen spinach
1 can enchilada sauce
1/4 cup reduced fat or fat free sour cream (plus additional, for topping)
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp garlic powder
salt & pepper to taste
1 cup of reduced fat cheese
pickled jalapenos, cilantro (optional, for topping)

Cook spinach by the directions on the bag.  Mix cooked spinach, black beans, spices, 1/4 cup of fat free sour cream and 1/4 cup of enchilada sauce in a bowl and set aside.
Partially cook your sweet potatoes in the microwave for about 4 minutes, so they are easier to slice.  Slice with a mandolin on a medium setting.  You can also cut these by hand, but I'm not skilled enough to make consistent cuts.
Drizzle a layer of enchilada sauce on the bottom of a greased 9X13 pan.  Layer slices of sweet potatoes on top of this, overlapping slightly.  Add half of the filling (should be about 2 cups) on top.  Then sprinkle 1/2 cup of cheese on top of that and lay down another layer of sweet potato slices and drizzle with enchilada sauce.  Then add the rest of the filling, a final layer of sweet potato slices and more enchilada sauce.  Top with 1/2 cup of cheese and pickled jalapenos & cilantro, if desired.
Bake in 375F degree oven for 40 minutes.

Do this.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

WIAW: {Healthy} Chili & Cornbread Waffles

Wow, I guess it's been a while since I popped by the ole blog, huh?  It's a whole new year!!  And it's very evident in my picture above of the frozen lake.

I started a thing that I like to call Project Lean and Clean.  Basically, it's just me wanting to eat better..not so many treats or carbs as I usually eat.  I am posting a little picture collage on my Instagram every weekday in January.  It's going really well, so far.  Of course, we are just 8 days into the whole thing.  Here's my Day 1 to give you a taste of what I'm talking about.  Go to Instagram and look at more!  And pictures of my dog!

So hopefully my pictures are motivating to others.  I know that it is motivating to me to create healthy food that is beautiful and flavorful.  Not just limp baked chicken on an iceberg lettuce salad.  I mean, come on.  Healthy food is not a punishment!  It's an adventure.

Peas and Crayons

Breakfast: Raisin Bran with Banana

This is not actual Raisin Bran, it's the Aldi brand of the name brand cereal.  But, according to my mom, it's tastier and has better nutritional stats.  I trust her, so I went and got some.  It was really good and filling!  I topped mine with some almond milk and half of a banana.  Coffee on the side!

A.M. Snack: Fruit Shake

I made the ugliest fruit shake today!  Ha ha!  It is way yummier than it looks.  It has 1 cup of frozen cherries, 1/2 of a banana, almond milk, a handful of fresh spinach, a spoonful of peach puree and a half of a Splenda packet.  Yay!

Lunch: Veggie Enchilada Stack on Salad

So, probably the most favorite meal in our house is sweet potato and black bean enchiladas.  I love them sooo much and so does my guy.  But, I made a healthier spin on them using sweet potatoes in place of the tortillas.  I'll share the recipe with you Friday.  It's so good!
We had some leftovers of my veggie enchilada stack on a bed of chopped romaine, chopped assorted peppers and peas.  Topped off with a little fat free sour cream, it was satisfying and full of health!

I enjoyed a nice mug of Kona blend coffee as dessert.


And a dark chocolate kiss once I got back to work.

Dinner: Roasted Red Pepper Chili & Waffle Cornbread

For dinner, I made some delicious chili, adapting this recipe.
Then, I made my cornbread recipe much, much healthier by switching the butter to coconut oil and reducing it alot.  I made it quicker and more interesting by cooking the cornbread batter in our waffle maker (a lovely gift we received for Christmas!).

Roasted Red Pepper Chili
Serves 8

1 (24-ounce) jar of roasted red peppers, diced
1/2 cup of assorted peppers, diced
1 diced zucchini
2 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 pound lean ground beef
2 can reduced-sodium black beans, drained
1 (10-ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chiles (undrained)
2 (8-ounce) cans no-salt-added tomato sauce
salt & pepper to taste

Heat a large pot over medium heat. Spray with cooking spray (or drizzle with olive oil). Add lean ground beef, cooking until the meat begins to crumble and turn brown.  Add peppers, zucchini and seasoning and cook for another 3-4 minutes
Stir in remaining ingredients, reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for 15 minutes.
Spoon into bowls, top with desired toppings and enjoy.

Healthy Cornbread Waffles
makes 3 large, round waffles--enough to serve 4-6 people

3/4  cup of all-purpose flour
1 1/4 heaping cup of yellow cornmeal
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
3 tbsp of coconut oil, melted
1 tbsp melted butter
1 1/2 cups of fat free plain Greek yogurt
1/3 cup liquid egg whites
1 cup plain almond milk

Preheat your waffle maker.
Combine wet and dry ingredients separately, then mix them all together.
For our waffle maker, I cook the waffle on each side for 2 minutes, then I place the waffles on a rack in the oven at 200 degrees to keep them warm and crispy while I make the rest.

You can also make this into corn pancakes on a stovetop griddle or bake this in a 9" cake pan for 25 minutes at 400F degrees, if you don't have a waffle maker.

Ok, have a super fun rest of the week!  And stay warm!