Category Archives: fruits and vegetables

Up and at’em! (+ 5-Hour Energy Confession)

The drive in last night was long and sleepy. It was quite the week, even if only 4 days. There was a full week and then some crammed into Monday through Thursday and I found myself having trouble staying away one hour into my 5 1/2-hour drive back to Chicago. Of course, Mr. Prevention’s suggestion was 5-Hour Energy.

Well, friends, desperate times call for desperate measures. I stopped at some scary gas station in Indiana and picked up a 5-Hour Energy (pomegranate flavor…which was tolerable, by the way). I’ll tell you, the stuff really did the trick. It PAINS me to admit that, but it really did. I still don’t advocate for he MEGADOSE of B-vitamins (or 8333% the daily value of anything!), but my sleepiness was to the point I was going to have to pull over and grab a hotel room if something didn’t wake me up. And 6 hours later, I conked out the second I hit the pillow and slept through the night a full 8 hours. Hmmm?

I had told my parents last night that I wanted to sleep in. What a joke. I was up well before anyone else. I can attribute some of that to being on EST in a CST zone, but this is just another sign that I’m getting old(er). A sign I am totally okay with, so long as I get my 8 hours of beauty rest! ๐Ÿ˜€

When I got into town last night, my mom showed me a few recipes she had printed off that Taste of Home had sent this week. Of course, I had saved the very same recipes to try. Great minds think alike ๐Ÿ˜€ Sign up for Taste of Home email recipes if you haven’t already — they have healthy options, quick options, budget-friendly…it’s great!

Plans today include visiting family & friends, working out, and going out to eat at the restaurant my little brother works at ๐Ÿ™‚

I won’t leave you guys recipe-less, however. I made this recipe before teaching on Monday night. It took all of 15 minutes and was absolutely wonderful. I turned my co-worker onto one of my favorite blogs, My Bizzy Kitchen, and she raved about this soup. So of course, I had to make it, too. Tomato soup takes me back to the days of living in my sorority house: everyone was always at lunch when tomato soup and grilled cheese were on the menu! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Simple Tomato Soup slightly adapted from My Bizzy Kitchen

2-28 oz canned no-salt added tomatoes (one can diced, one can fire roasted)
1 Tbsp olive oil
3 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 Tbsp Italian parsley, freshly chopped
1 serving Hot Sauce, Tabasco
1 cloves garlic, minced

Directions:

Gently heat the olive oil over medium heat and add garlic, taking care not to brown the garlic.

Stir in the canned tomatoes and chicken stock. Bring to a boil.

Remove from stove, let cool slightly. Using a (stick) blender puree soup. Add in cream. Serves 4 (2 cups each).

Nutrition Information (per serving): 196 calories; 10 g. fat; 27 mg. cholesterol; 130 mg. sodium; 18.5 g. carbohydrate; 3.5 g. fiber; 5 g. protein

Result: This was delicious! Don’t freak out about the heavy cream…a little bit goes a long way! I used no-salt added tomatoes to knock the sodium content down and the recipe didn’t need any salt added…the cream, garlic, and oil season it beautifully. The portion is BIG and pairs so well with some homemade bread. The soup reheated great for lunches, and can be stretched to 6 servings or more as a side dish. Enjoy!

I think it’s time to get out of bed and get some coffee. I heard my mom pitter-patter down the stairs not too long ago. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Question: Do you like tomato soup? Do you pair it with grilled cheese?

TGIF!!

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Filed under age, caffeine, coffee, exercise, fruits and vegetables, garlic, healthy cooking, low-carb, recipe, sleep, sodium, travel, vegetarian, vitamins

Creamy Parmesan Spinach Dip

Happy Wednesday!

It’s snowing just about everywhere in the US it seems! When I walked out of work yesterday (in ballet flats!) a good 4″ of snow had fallen. Needless to say, the 20 steps to my car lead to near frost bite. Brrrrr!!! But despite this weather, the show must go on. I have lab rounds at a clinic that’s 50 miles north of home and then I will double back to go teach tonight. It’s probably fair to say I’ll be commuting most of the day. Fabulous.

Though, sitting in the car sounds okay right about now. I decided to shovel for my workout last night. I went out with intentions of just just do the sidewalks, but that only took about 10 minutes. So I decided to shovel the DRIVEWAY! Yep, you read that correctly. And the best part: we have a brand new snow blower! I’m walking like a hunch-back today, and sore is the understatement of the century, but it was a KILLER workout! I wonder what the neighbors are saying… ๐Ÿ˜‰

On to a lightened up classic! This recipe contains light mayonnaise, which I must admit, I love. I know a lot of people don’t like mayonnaise, but I love the stuff (Hellmann’s mayonnaise, please! And no Miracle Whip! Ew!). It’s not like I use it often, but I love it in recipes where it belongs: chicken salad, tuna salad, dips, etc. I recall several years ago brainstorming summer job options with my sister-in-law — one of her requirements for a job was that it didn’t involve mayonnaise!! We had a good laugh over that one. I have a terrible memory, but I’ll never forget it! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Creamy Parmesan Spinach Dip from Gina’s Weight Watcher Recipes

10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and excess liquid squeezed out
1/2 cup light sour cream
1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp light mayonnaise
1/3 cup Parmigiano Reggiano
1/4 cup scallion, chopped
fresh pepper to taste

Directions:

Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl. Can be made one day in advance and stored in the refrigerator. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before serving. Yield: 2 cups (8 servings, 1/4 cup each).

Nutrition Information (per 1/4 cup): 84 calories; 6.1 g. fat; 16 mg. cholesterol; 172 mg. sodium; 2.4 g. carbohydrate; 0.3 g. fiber; 4.4 g. protein

Result: DELICIOUS! I ate this cold with crackers and veggies, Mr. P heated it up and ate it on chips. It is versatile and scrumptious! It’s perfect to take in lunches to doll-up raw veggies, or as an appetizer at a dinner party. And the portion size is generous for the nutrition stats! Enjoy! ๐Ÿ˜€

Off for a crazy day! Why do I have a feeling dinner is going to be a Larabar and clementines? Going prepared!

Question: Is it snowing where you are? Do you like mayonnaise?

Drive safe! Stay warm!


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Filed under condiments, fruits and vegetables, Gina's WW Recipes, hors d'oeuvres, low-carb, physical activity, recipe, reduced-calorie, teaching, travel, Uncategorized, vegetarian, work

Quiche Cornbread

Gooood morning!

I hope your weekend is going splendidly! I got in both lesson planning AND a good workout yesterday (3 mile run + 15 minutes on the elliptical) all while managing to stay in my PJ’s until 4pm :-D. And I grocery shopped, too! Mr. P and I stayed in with a movie and just ate leftovers…nothing special ๐Ÿ™‚ But this morning I made up for a dull culinary night.

Quiche Cornbread adapted from Healthy Tipping Point

1 head broccoli, roasted
8.5 ounce box Jiffy corn muffin mix
5 eggs, divided
1/2 cup egg substitute
1/4 2/3 cup almond skim milk, divided
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup 2% cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350ยฐ F.

Chop broccoli into florets and roast for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the cornbread mix by adding 1/3 cup milk and 1 egg to the box of Jiffy. Combine well. Pour into a greased 12″ cast iron skillet and bake for 15 minutes.

After roasted and slightly cooled, chop broccoli into bits. Combine broccoli, 4 eggs, egg substitute, milk, and salt and pepper in a small bowl.ย  Beat thoroughly. Pour egg mix on top of cornbread. Sprinkle with cheese.ย  Put back in the oven and bake for 15 minutes at 350.ย  Increase temp to 400 degrees and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes before slicing. Yield: 6 pieces.

Nutrition Information (for 1/6th): 280 calories; 10.3 g. fat; 186 mg. cholesterol; 643 mg. sodium; 34.8 g. carbohydrate; 1.7 g. fiber; 14.7 g. protein

Result: This was delicious! I highly recommend making this for a group or as breakfast to reheat for the week. If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, I think a round bakeware would do just fine. And you’ve got to love veggies for breakfast…woop woop! Enjoy!

I get to play hockey tonight! Last “season” ended in early December and I do believe my skate blades are getting a bit rusty!! Hope we win! ๐Ÿ˜€

Question: Do you enjoy quiche?

Weight Watchers post tomorrow – look for it! Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

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Filed under breakfast, exercise, fruits and vegetables, healthy cooking, hockey, protein, recipe, vegetarian

Spaghetti Squash Shrimp Alfredo

Happy Saturday! I am still in my PJ’s, just as I had wished! I don’t know that I’ll make it until 6pm or later – I want to get in some lesson planning and a good workout before the day is done ๐Ÿ˜‰

This meal started out in a humorous way.

Mr P: What’s for dinner?
Me: Spaghetti squash alfredo.
Mr. P: What is spaghetti squash?
Me: Spaghetti squash is spaghetti squash.
Mr. P: Well what is it then, spaghetti or squash?
Me: Both! Squash that looks like spaghetti.
Mr. P: Okay, whatever.

Clearly even those who are married to dietitians are not always well-versed on the varieties of fruits and vegetables out there. And it’s not like I haven’t made spaghetti squash before…Mr. P just probably took a pass at the dinner table! His loss!

Spaghetti Squash Shrimp Alfredo adapted from Healthy Food for Living

1 small large spaghetti squash
1/2 2 Tbsp 50/50 Smart Balance Butter Blend
1 4 small shallots, minced
1 4 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 2 Tbsp flour
1/2 2 cups milk (I used organic 1%)
1 4 oz (2 Tbsp 1/2 cup) neufchatel 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
2 Tbsp 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400ยฐ F. Slice squash in half length-wise. Scrape out seeds and place cut-side down in a 9×13 pan lined with tin foil that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Cook 1 hour.ย  Once cooked, use a fork to pull the stringy, spaghetti-like squash from the skin. Place into a large bowl and cover with foil to keep warm.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the shallots and saute until soft, about 2 minutes. Add in the garlic and saute for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add in the flour and whisk it into the butter for 30 seconds, or until the mixture is well-combined and foamy.

Pour in the milk, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens, about 1-2 minutes. Add shrimp and cook until pink and cooked through. Remove pan from the heat and whisk in the neufchatel and Parmesan cheeses until the sauce is thick and smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top spaghetti squash with alfredo sauce. Yield: 4 servings (approx. 1 1/2 cups spaghetti squash with 4 ounces shrimp and 3/4 cup sauce).

Nutrition Information (per serving): 409 calories; 20.3 g. fat; 213 mg. cholesterol; 720 mg. sodium; 30 g. carbohydrate; 3.3 g. fiber; 32.3 g. protein

Result: I really liked this! Even if you’re not into spaghetti squash, the sauce is well worth making for a traditional pasta. Mr. Prevention said it was very light, and liked the sauce and shrimp — he’s not spaghetti squash’s #1 fan. Be sure to add a bit of salt and pepper to the sauce — it really does need it. Enjoy a lighter shrimp alfredo!

Question: Have you ever had spaghetti squash? Do you like it?

Happy weekend, folks! Off to the coffee shop to lesson plan!

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Filed under butter, carb-controlled, coffee, dinner, fiber, fruits and vegetables, garlic, guilt-free, healthy cooking, recipe, reduced-calorie, salad, teaching, Uncategorized

Epic breakfast…for dinner

Just for fun, here are just a FEW questions my students have asked in our first 2 classes:

  • How often should you have a bowel movement?
  • Is high-fructose corn syrup really worse than sugar?
  • Is stevia safe?
  • Why does the Atkins diet help people lose weight?
  • How many calories do I need to gain weight?
  • Do carbohydrates make you fat?
  • Why does the government subsidize cornย  if the MyPyramid is aiming to reduce high-fructose corn syrup consumption?

Do I have some smart, inquisitive pupils or what? I guess I should now mention that the first 2 chapters we’ve gone over have nothing to do with any of those questions (and those were just a FEW), but the class discussion is priceless. And some of the false information floating around out there is just plain’ol SCARY!

So while teaching is going well, a 6pm start time has caused dinners to be very…rushed. And that is quite the understatement.

Let me preface this next part by saying that I am notoriously late, always. Not a lot, but a little. And when you’re the teacher, that just doesn’t fly. So I’m really trying to be ON TIME…if only to class.

Monday night I shoveled down a bowl of cereal and a banana before jetting off to class. Last night, I made an epic breakfast for dinner that I had to eat in, literally, 2 minutes. Of course, had I not taken the time to photograph this lovely meal, I would’ve had 4 minutes or so, but I had to do this French toast justice. Because I very well know that pretty pictures make you more likely to believe my rave reviews…riiiight?

Lightened Up Crรจme Brรปlรฉe French Toast from Skinny Taste

1 cup unpacked brown sugar
1/4 cup water
cooking spray
10 oz Challah bread, sliced 1 inch thick
2 large eggs
1 cup egg substitute
1-1/2 cups 1% milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp Meyers rum (optional) – I omitted
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp powdered sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Directions:

In a small heavy saucepan melt brown sugar and water over moderate-low heat, stirring, until smooth and melted, about 1 minute, then pour into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Arrange bread slices in one layer in baking dish, squeezing them slightly to fit.

In a large bowl whisk together eggs, egg substitute, milk, vanilla, rum, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and salt until combined well and pour evenly over bread. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350ยฐ F and bring bread to room temperature. Bake uncovered, in middle of oven until puffed and edges are pale golden, 40 to 50 minutes. Top with cinnamon and powdered sugar. Serves 6.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 342 calories; 4.5 g. fat; 84 mg. cholesterol; 378 mg. sodium; 64.6 g. carbohydrate; 1 g. fiber; 12.2 g. protein

Result: YUM-O! When I saw Renee rave about this recipe on her blog, I knew I had to try it. As if the title of the recipe wasn’t tempting enough. I made this in the morning and we had it for supper, but you could just as easily, and more traditionally, make it at night to serve the following morning. Super simple, absolutely delicious!

I want to continue making nutritious meals on Monday and Wednesday nights, but I think 1) I need to utilize the crock pot on these nights (or eat leftovers), and 2) I may need to go lighter on lunch and have a small, early dinner (4:30ish) before class and a snack afterward. I did the later last night — one piece of French toast before class and a fresh strawberry and banana smoothie for afterward. It worked well. ๐Ÿ™‚

I am looking forward to a long workout and another healthy, homemade meal tonight. Lily is going to daycare so that after work I can get in a long run not feel guilty about it. Plus, she could use the exercise, too! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Question: What’s your favorite quick and easy meal? Or a meal that can be prepped ahead of time?

P.S. Last chance to enter the LARABAR Giveaway! It ends TONIGHT!

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Filed under Atkins, breakfast, carbohydrates, crock pot, dinner, dog, exercise, fruits and vegetables, Gina's WW Recipes, Giveaway, high-fructose corn syrup, pets, physical activity, recipe, running, snack, teaching, vegetarian

Sweet Potato Rice Pudding

It’s not like I didn’t already know that 15 hour work days were no fun, but I can confirm that after yesterday. I had orientation for adjunct faculty last night and *yawn*. Necessary, but *yawn*. Just one of those things.

Last night, Mr. P helped me throw dinner in the crock pot for tonight. Crock pot meals that can be made at 10pm for the following day are my kind of meals…assuming it’s good. TBD. More on that tomorrow ๐Ÿ™‚

When I went to take my shower last night, I was faced with another hairy decision: wash my hair and don’t working in the morning, or don’t wash my hair and force myself to workout in the morning. I went with the later, so this post will be brief. When time is hard to come by, and stress levels rise, I figure THAT is the perfect time to MAKE time for a workout. So I have 45 minutes on the elliptical planned for…now! Wee!

But quickly, a recipe. I made this Sweet Potato Rice Pudding before Christmas and froze individual portions. It defrosted really well and it was the perfect “chill out” treat before bed last night. YUM!

Sweet Potato Rice Pudding seen at The Novice Chef, adapted from Healthy Food for Living

1 cup water
1/2 cup brown rice
pinch of salt
2 cups 2% milk
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp vanilla bean paste
1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
a pinch of nutmeg
a pinch of ginger
a pinch of garam masala
1/2 1/4 cup golden raisins
1 cup sweet potato puree (or mashed sweet potatoes)

Directions:

Combine water, rice, and salt in a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed pot. Bring to a boil, stir once, and cover with a tight fitting lid. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until water is absorbed. The rice will be slightly undercooked, but will continue to cook in the next step. Remove rice from pot and place in a bowl, set aside.

Combine milk, honey, maple syrup, vanilla bean paste, and spices to the same pot. Bring to a very low boil over medium heat, whisking often so the milk doesnโ€™t scorch. Lower heat to medium-low.

Whisk in the cooked rice, sweet potato puree, and raisins. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. Simmer and occasionally stir until milk cooks down and the rice is creamy, about 20 minutes. DO NOT over-cook.

Transfer rice pudding to a large bowl and allow to cool, pudding will thicken during this step. To speed up the process you can refrigerate utnil well-chilled.

Serve warm or cold, with an extra dollop of sweet potato puree and a dusting of cinnamon if desired. Serves 6.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 172 calories; 2.3 g. fat; 7 mg. cholesterol; 96 mg. sodium; 29 g. carbohydrate; 15.8 g. sugar; 2.5 g. fiber; 4.3 g. protein

Result: Very good! This isn’t an overly sweet dessert, and the portion is plentiful. I love that it’s low in fat and sodium, with a moderate amount of carbohydrate, along with some fiber. It can be prepared ahead of time, which is great for entertaining. Mr. P refused to even try this dessert, so I ended up freezing a good portion of it for later dates, and it defrosted perfectly! Mmmm!

Question: Have you ever cooked with homemade vanilla beans?

…delicious!

Off to run and then to work! Illinois plays in both basketball (Big 10 season starts!) AND the Texas Bowl tonight!

Go Illini!!!


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Filed under crock pot, dessert, exercise, fiber, fruits and vegetables, guilt-free, recipe, sodium, Uncategorized, vegetarian, work

Back at’em

Whew! Christmas Drive-By 2010 (Columbus to Chicago to Champaign and back in 3 1/2 days) has come to a close, and I start back to work as of this morning. At least I can say that my brief time away was well-spent with family and friends, and decompressing from the stress that was last week. I am feeling energized and ready to take on a crazy, but fulfilling schedule. I have even toyed around with the idea of moving my workouts to the morning as to allow a bit more flexibility in the evening, and to keep up with regular workouts while teaching 2 nights a week…we will see. The added bonus to morning workouts is my hair and its stubborn cow’s lick do appreciateย  a morning wash and blow-dry, but that hasn’t motivated my morning sweat sessions as of yet. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Stay tuned.

So after getting nailed by a state trooper going 73 mph in a 55, my trip picked up from there. Santa, family, and friends were all too generous. Guess I’ve been on my best behavior in 2010. I’d say so ๐Ÿ™‚

Mr. P and I pulled in the drive-way right around 6:30pm last night. We unloaded and extremely packed car (packed in like sardines, I tell you!) and a very tired Lily Monster. I started on dinner right away — I needed balance, green, and something relatively quick.

I loved the lunch I had at Northstar Cafe with Gina. I’ve been wanting it ever since! It was called the Buddah Bowl and was described like so:

Pan seared organic tofu or chicken, long-grain organic brown rice with peanut sauce and bright veggies.

Yum, right? I went with the tofu and it was fabulous.

However, I am a tofu novice. I know that I love a slightly crunchy tofu with a soft center, and I’ve been told “sauteing” in oil is the best/only way to get that texture. Wrong! Baking worked beautifully in this dish that I re-created at home.

Tofu Buddah Bowl Re-Make inspired by Northstar Cafe and Eats Well with Others (sauce)

1 cup brown rice, dry
1 block extra-firm tofu, drained and cubed
6 cups broccoli florets
2 cups carrots, peeled, and sliced into thin, 4″ long pieces
1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp nut butter (almond, cashew, peanut, etc.)
1″ piece ginger, peeled and diced
6 cloves garlic, chopped
3 Tbsp cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
2 Tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
3 Tbsp water

Directions:

Preheat oven to 475ยฐ F.

Cook 1 cup of brown rice according to directions.

Meanwhile, cube tofu. Spray a ceramic or glass 9×13 dish with non-stick spray. Arrange tofu in a single layer in the dish. Spray tofu with non-stick spray. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

Bake tofu for 30 minutes, stirring and rotating tofu every 10 minutes.

In a food processor, mix together nut butter, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, sugar, oil, vinegar, and water. Set aside.

With 5 minutes left to cook on the rice and tofu, steam vegetables in a steamer bag, or place into a large dish and cover. Microwave for 4-4 1/2 minutes or until cooked al dente.

When rice is cooked, stir in half of the nut sauce. Plate rice and top with tofu and veggies. Drizzle with an additional 1-2 tablespoons of nut sauce. Serve immediately. Yield: 4 servings.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 565 calories; 25 g. fat; 0 mg. cholesterol; 642 mg. sodium; 52.5 g. carbohydrate; 10 g. fiber; 16 g. sugar; 24.8 g. protein

Result: This was VERY close to the Northstar Cafe version – delicious! Mr. P really liked it, too. The portion is generous and very high in fiber with a great balance between carbohydrate, protein, and fat. As much as I love baked tofu, this dish would be just as good with shrimp, chicken, pork, or beef…it’s very versatile. You can add more veggies to bulk it up, too! Enjoy!

I am working today and tonight have orientation for new adjunct instructors until nearly my bedtime!! It’s going to be a long one, but the week looks up from here! ๐Ÿ˜€

Question: What are your NYE plans?

Be well,

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Filed under dinner, fiber, fruits and vegetables, garlic, healthy cooking, recipe, restaurant, stress, travel, vegan, vegetarian, work