Category Archives: recipe

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! 😀

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 😀 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 🙂

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! 😉

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. 😉

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

Crock Pot Chicken Tacos + Homemade Taco Seasoning

Good morning! 😀

I hadn’t planned to blog this morning, but I couldn’t sleep in any. I was going to try sleeping in until…get this…6:30am! I know, what an exciting life I lead. Yesterday’s commutes were much better than expected and I was in the car just under 3 hours all day. That sounds insane, but considering the mileage and the snow, that’s not bad at all!! When I expect the worst, I end up early…go figure 😉

Last night was another successful class. We talked about carbohydrates and the dangers of low-carb diets. I think I have them all convinced that carbs are good…especially the ones that contain fiber and are healthiest! 😀 I feel like they are so engaged and interested in the topics we talk about, it really makes for a fun, engaging class. I hope they feel the same way, ha!

So yes, I couldn’t sleep in but maybe that’s because I was so anxious to share a new crock pot recipe with you all! As I had planned, the old crock has been getting some use and the results have been scrumptious! Not always pretty, but healthy and good! 😉 Oh, and time-efficient, too!!

[source]

Homemade Taco Seasoning from Sweet Life Kitchen as seen on Bean Town Baker

3 Tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dried onion flakes
3/4 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp oregano
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 1/2 Tbsp cumin
2 tsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp black pepper

Directions:

Mix it all together! The mix can be stored in an airtight container for up to a year! 2 1/2 tablespoons = 1 store-bought packet.

 

Crockpot Chicken Tacos from Sweet Life Kitchen as seen on Bean Town Baker

2 1/2 Tbsp taco seasoning mix (recipe above) or 1 packet of store-bought
15 oz low-sodium chicken broth
1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes and liquid
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 5 ounces each)
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce + 2 Tbsp adobo sauce
Your favorite taco fixins (lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, etc.)*

Directions:

In a large bowl or measuring cup pour the chicken broth in, and use a fork to whisk in the taco seasoning mixture.

Spray the slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. Open the diced tomato can and pour all contents over the bottom of the slow cooker. Lay the chicken breasts on top of the tomatoes and pour the broth, seasoning, and adobo peppers and sauce over that. Cover and cook on LOW for 6-10 hours. The chicken should fork apart easily in the crock pot. Serve. Yield: 5 servings (4-ounces each).

Nutrition Information (per serving): 146 calories; 2.8 g. fat; 65 mg. sodium; 460 mg. sodium; 5.8 g. carbohydrate; 1.6 g. fiber; 24.2 g. protein

Result: Ohhh my goodness! These were OUT of this world! Personally, I think the chipotle peppers in the adobo sauce are what made this taco meat so flavorful, but I’m probably a little biased since I made that addition to the original recipe. There is plenty of liquid to let this cook as long as you need to without drying out, and the meat just flakes apart with the touch of a fork. Reheats beautifully, too! *Nutrition information is for the meat only – tortilla and taco fixin’s are not accounted for. Enjoy!

Question: Hard shell or soft shell tacos?

I always do soft corn shells…so much flavor and healthier, too!

I’m off to work and then leaving for Chicago! My 15-hour work day yesterday more than makes up for a 3-day relaxing weekend with my family!! 😀 Cannot wait!! I also can’t wait to get in a good workout…my last workout was shoveling on Tuesday. My parent’s gym will be seeing plenty of me!

“See” you in the Windy City!

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Filed under carb-controlled, carbohydrates, crock pot, dinner, exercise, guilt-free, healthy cooking, low-carb, protein, recipe, teaching, travel, work

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… 😉

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! 😉

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! 😀

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

Simple Crusty Bread

Firstly, thank you for all the kind, amazing feedback after yesterday’s post. It wasn’t easy putting myself out there. After hitting “post” yesterday morning, my heart skipped a beat and I geared up for the worst. It was a huge leap of “blog faith”, I guess you could say. So, thank you! 🙂

In food news… 🙂

If yeast and kneading and rising scare you, you’re not alone. I’ve only attempted yeast breads a time or two, but there’s really nothing to fear. Sure, you need a bit of time and patience, but there’s no rocket science or technique involved. Just read the directions 😉

 

My first recommendation is to buy loose yeast (i.e. not packets). This way yeast can easily be measured out, plus it’s more economical. Second, use a kitchen thermometer (meat or candy) to find “lukewarm” water at 100° F. While 100° sounds rather warm, it’s not, and too hot of water will kill your yeast causing a flopped bread. If you don’t have a thermometer, just caution on the side of being too cold vs. too hot. The water should be warm, but feel too cold if it were bath water, let’s say.

 

Simple Crusty Bread from My Bizzy Kitchen and “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day”

1 1/2 Tbsp yeast
1 1/2 Tbsp kosher salt
6 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour + more for dusting dough

Directions:

In a large bowl or plastic container, mix yeast and salt into 3 cups lukewarm water (about 100° F).  Stir in flour with a wooden spoon, mixing until there are no dry patches.  Dough will be quite loose and sticky.  I covered with plastic wrap sprayed with Pam.  Let dough rise at room temperature for 2 hours (or up to 5 hours).

Bake at this point, or refrigerate, covered, for as long as two weeks.  When ready to bake, sprinkle a little and cut into four pieces. Turn dough in hands to lightly stretch the surface creating a rounded top and a lumpy bottom.  Put dough on a surface sprinkled with cornmeal and rest for 40 minutes.

Place a broiler pan in the bottom of the oven.  Place baking stone on middle rack and turn oven to 450° F; heat stone at that temperature for 20 minutes.

Dust dough with flour; slash the top with a serrated knife.  Slide onto stone (I used a pizza stone).  Pour one cup hot water into broiler pan and shut oven quickly to trap steam.  Bake until well browned, about 22-28minutes. Cool completely.Yield: 4 small loaves (approx. 8 – 3/4th inch thick slices per loaf).

Nutrition Information (1/8th of loaf): 81 calories; 0 g. fat; 0 mg. cholesterol; 108 mg. sodium; 18 g. carbohydrate; 0 g. fiber; 2.4 g. protein

Result: I saw this recipe on Biz’s blog long, long ago and I’ve been wanting to make it ever since. But like I said, the yeast and rising scared me…for no good reason! The secret is that this is baked at a high temperature with a water bath to steam the outside for a crunchy crust, just as Biz said. If you don’t have a broiler pan to use, just throw the water in an 8×8 pan — it will serve the same function. I halved this recipe and cooked the loaves one at a time. Mr. Prevention wishes I would’ve made the whole recipe — he ate an entire loaf in one sitting (literally)! Portion control much?! I look forward to trying some herb and whole wheat varieties of this bread. It’s delicious – enjoy! 😀

And for fun, Kjirsten tagged me to answer 10 random questions. Thanks, girl!

1.  How many days a week do you workout? I religiously workout 4-5 days a week — 3 runs, 1 elliptical workout, and 1 hockey game is a typical week.

2.  What is your favorite ab move? Reverse crunches — lay flat on your back, pull your knees to your chest and then extend your legs straight out so that they are 6″ or less from the ground, being sure to not let them touch down. Repeat in slow motion. You want to do these slowly to get a good ab workout, especially once your legs are fully extended.

3.  If you could meet one celebrity, who would it be? Ellen Degeneres. I just love her!

4.  If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live and why? I’m not sure. Hubby and I talk about this a lot, but I think Chicago (home) would be my first choice.

5.  What is your favorite beauty product you can’t go a day without? I have 2 can’t-live-without-’em products: BadGal Mascara from Benefit and smudge-proof eye-liner from Stila. Both products hold up through a long, sweaty hockey game but come off easily with face wash.

6.  Do you have any pets?  If so what kind?  If you don’t what animal would you love to have? If you read my blog, you probably know about Lily, my English Bulldog. We also have an albino corn snake named Pinky. He made an appearance on the blog once upon a time and I think it freaked people out!!

7.  If you could only eat one food for the rest of you life, what would it be? I think cereal…

8.  What does your family and friends think about your blog? My family and friends are so supportive of my blog and many of them read on a fairly regular basis. 🙂 Mr. P, however, never reads my blog. I should start dishing out the dirt on him, shouldn’t I?! 😉

9.  What is one sport you haven’t tried, but would love to get involved in? Salsa dancing. Sexy workout time with a man…I’m there!

10.  Red wine or white wine? Red (merlot or chianti, usually), however, Pinot Grigio has been a favorite lately.

Rather than tagging just a few people, I ask you:

If you could meet one celebrity, who would it be?


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Filed under blog, carbohydrates, recipe, Uncategorized, Weight Watchers

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 🙂 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 350° 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.  Beat thoroughly. Pour egg mix on top of cornbread. Sprinkle with cheese.  Put back in the oven and bake for 15 minutes at 350.  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! 😀

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 😉

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 400° 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.  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 corn  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 Crème Brûlée 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 350° 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. 🙂

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! 😉

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