turkey sausage

so it's been a looong time since anyone has posted here and thought i'd add something...
I had this action for lunch today:it's kind of a mix and match mess on the plate, but it was super yummy, and only took about 10 minutes total from my fridge to my mouth.

turkey sausage sauteed with a poblano pepper and some white onions. no need for oil or cooking spray, really. just throw it all in a pan.

i made a simple salad of arugula, feta, and sliced roma tomatoes. dressing on the salad was just some vinegar, tiny bit of olive oil, sea salt, fresh pepper, and a bit of onion powder.



Rate a Recipe

I actually get bored easily by food. So, although all the research says that weight loss happens more effectively when you have LESS variety in your diet, I'm all about MORE variety. I mean really, why else would I buy not one, but TWO cooking magazines and never leave a bookstore without spending at least 30 minutes in the cookbooks section. So, I'm always looking for new ways to cook staple foods - like chicken breast. For the most part, I really like Clean Eating Magazine. I like some of the sections, and I really like the weekly meal plans. But their recipes are hit and miss. So, I thought it would be fun if we did a "rate a recipe" every once in a while. We could share what we liked/disliked about the recipe and whether or not we had tips or tricks for it!

My first recipe rating comes from the August issue of Cooking Light Magazine (and next time I'll remember to take a photo)! Chicken and Rice Casserole (less than 350 calories per serving, and just about 9.5 g of fat - and I'm pretty sure that my substitutions reduced all that a bit too).
First - the substitutions to make it clean:
1. Use brown rice instead of the long grain white
2. Use whole wheat flour instead of the all-purpose
3. Use 1 T olive oil instead of the 1T butter
4. Use skim milk instead of the 2%

The benefits of this recipe are that it's a one dish meal with all the necessary requirements - good lean protein (chicken breast), a good serving of veggies (zucchini and yellow squash), and a health starch option with the brown rice substitution.

The flavors were great too, mostly coming from a single teaspoon of chopped FRESH rosemary. And once finished, this meal was both filling and tasty.

The cons here are that it is not a "quickie." The rice takes time (though you could pre-cook it) and all the steps take time too. There's both stove-top cooking AND oven cooking AND broiler cooking. But the yummy flavors are worth those troubles. The only thing is that I'd likely save this for later in the fall when having the stove and oven running heating up the house isn't such a bad thing.

Also, I did write in "make rice first" at the top of the directions because I realized (almost too late) that I needed "cooked rice" from the ingredients list.

I'm giving the recipe 3.5 (out of 5) stars for great flavor and super healthy benefits. But it is a little boring looking because the sauce and rice are all so neutral looking. It also takes a lot of steps and I like faster meals. However, as I said, they were worth it and I will make this again!

You can find the recipe here: Chicken and Rice Casserole


More Veggies Needed

I recently started a boot camp class and have been talking with the trainer about nutrition. I am down to my last 10 pounds, and as everyone knows, those are the hardest to lose. So, one thing we discussed after going over my daily intake (which he agreed was highly nutritious) was that I was eating too many grains and not enough veggies. As I looked, I had to admit that he was right. I was getting about 4-5 servings of "fruits AND veggies" but most of my servings were coming from the fruit side rather than the veggie side. Well, I struggle with this and have a hard time adding variety into my diet. So, when the trainer started posting his smoothie recipes online, I was of course interested because I DO love my morning smoothies. Well, he posted one recently, raspberries, blueberries, non-fat milk, protein powder, and SPINACH. What? Was that a typo? No, he was serious. Claimed you couldn't even taste it. The next day, a similar recipe was posted - again with spinach and all these other sweet ingredients. Well, as I said, I've been struggling with the veggie servings so this morning, I did a little experiment of my own. I took my favorite smoothie recipe: 1 c skim milk, 1 banana, 1 TB natural peanut butter, 1 scoop chocolate flavored protein powder, and 5 ice cubes and mixed it up. Only this time, I also added a handful of spinach leaves. And know what? I couldn't taste the spinach at all. And bam, one veggie serving down. It was the perfect way to start the day.


yummy pears...

after being disgusted at the pear selection where i buy my groceries, i decided to give it another go when a friend of mine suggested this little snack:

1 pear, chopped
feta cheese

that's it! i'm not big on cheese, but i buy that crumbled feta and just put a few chunks on top of the pears and then add some walnuts. yum!!!

instead of using the whole pear, get a handful of strawberries and add them to the mix with half the pear.

liz :)


It All Starts with Breakfast!

If we've heard it once, we've heard it a hundred times: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Well, I'm here to remind you how true that is. If you want to maintain your health, your body needs fuel. It's important to remember that although YOU may be asleep, your body is still working for you all night long... pumping your blood, keeping you alive. Right? But it's doing all that on no fuel, no food - for a good 6-8 hours. So, in general, breakfast is just important for a good "fill up."

But especially if you are changing your eating habits because you want to a) change the shape of your body and/or b) lose weight... there is nothing you can do better than to fill up first thing in the morning. The key to weight loss (that took me 45 years of hearing, not believing, then waking up and realizing I was wrong) is not simple reduction in calories. It's absolutely, first and foremost changing your metabolism (and eating enough, not too many, calories). And you know what comes next, right? To boost the metabolism, you start out by feeding that body that has already been starving during those sleep hours. Just go ahead and give it a kick start every single morning.

So, not having been a fan of the breakfast previously, I find my breakfast choices tend to get boring. This morning I experimented a little and I loved the result. Perhaps you do this already, perhaps not. I do love hot oat bran cereal - reminds me of my childhood Cream of Wheat days. But of course, here is a healthier version:

1/2 c oat bran
1 1/4 c water
1/2 banana (sliced)
dash of salt
1 tsp pure maple syrup (optional)

Combine the oat bran, water, salt and sliced banana in a bowl. Microwave on high for 3 minutes. It will look like it's still watery when you take it out but once you stir up the bran from the bottom it will be fine. While stirring, mash the banana so that it mixes in with the hot cereal. If desired, add 1 tsp pure maple syrup for added flavor.


Grilled Chicken and Mango Salsa

Grilled Chicken:

1. season thawed chicken breast tenderloins (or whole breasts) with a little sea salt and some fresh ground pepper.
2. grill until done.

Mango Salsa:

1 whole mango, chopped
1 whole avocado, chopped
a few sprigs fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 red onion (you can use more, but mine was super hot)
1/2 jalapeno (again, you can use more but mine was HOT!!!)
1/2 small can super sweet white and yellow corn
about 6 cherry tomatoes, chopped
lime juice (about 3 Tbsp?)

chop all the above stuff up. mix it all together and stir in the lime juice. Add to your cooked chicken.

This is my favorite thing i've made so far! and the best part is you can use this salsa on just about anything else...wraps, salads, pork loin. i don't know what else, but if you think of something good to put the salsa on, leave it in the comments section :)



shim-han cho-un su-reg-i

that means "serious good garbage"...well this isn't garbage, it's chicken. and it's pretty darn good and easy, to boot.

Honey Balsamic Grilled Chicken Breast:

marinade: balsamic vinegar, honey...don't ask me for measurments. just go easy on the honey and make a thick liquid while stirring in the balsamic vinegar.

marinade the chicken with it for about an hour. and grill. super easy. i'd say i used about 3 Tbsp honey and about 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar over 4 medium sized chicken breasts.

it was excellent. i served with my fave bag of 50/50 mix lettuce...topped with feta, dried cranberries, and kalamata olives. the dressing i made using 2 tsp olive oil, balsamic vinegar, a few shakes of onion powder and italian seasoning, and one clove pressed garlic. again, not really a measuring kind of person.

next time i make it, i'll post a pic. it looked pretty!