Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Clean Eating Adventures

With the wedding a short 32 days away and FCAT over, we decided to start hitting the gym harder and change our consumption habits. We are newbies at this, so errors will be made, we know that, but we're trying and it's a huge life change for us, so that's really what matters at this point. We're going to the gym for 45-60 minutes every morning at 5:15 or 5:30ish. I can't explain the relief I feel when I leave school in the afternoon and I don't feel the pressure of having to go to the gym or guilty if my day was too rough and I want to relax. I actually feel less tired getting up at 5 than when we sleep in until 6:30. It would be wonderful if that is something that sticks :)

Yesterday was day 1 and it was certainly a challenge. I didn't realize how much sugar I unconsciously consume throughout the day. A little candy here and there.. just one of the dangers of being a teacher! Yesterday, I managed to completely refrain, and it was rough. I was definitely having withdrawals and I was pretty cranky. I'm hoping day 2 is better.

Here's what's on the food agenda today:
I had a chocolate whey protein shake for breakfast, mixed with unsweetened almond milk (suggested by my very healthy friend, Katie). It was actually really good. We wanted to start moderately priced on the whey, so we got the Publix Greenwise and it's pretty good. We'll probably start exploring more options if the protein shakes stick.

I've realized a big part of eating clean is commitment and planning. "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail!" This seems especially difficult for me considering I'm in a classroom all day with no refrigerator.. talk about challenging.. so I've have to plan ahead. Here is today's lunchbox...
Clockwise from L to R: nonfat greek yogurt with cut strawberries and honey; apples with 1 tsp of natural ground peanut butter; 1 tbl sun-dried tomato hummus with 1/4 cup organic carrot sticks; leftover chicken from last night's dinner.

I'm not sure in which order I'll consume or if I'll be able to even eat everything, but I like having options!

Also, I'm drinking Dr. Oz's Weight-orade, which is basically green tea with tangerine slices, instead of coffee this morning and water is the plan for the rest of the day. luckily I make the switch from Diet Coke to water in January.. Can you imagine, sugar and white starch withdrawal AND a Diet Coke withdrawal? Yikes!

Wish me luck!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Chicken and Potatoes

This was our dinner tonight.. just one of a million Pinterest inspirations.

The potatoes in the background were pinned from Pioneer Woman.. her recipes are no-fail and always delicious. That recipe can be found here.

The chicken began as an Pinspired recipe, but turned into something I made up. The recipe I was originally going to use was for a lemon chicken. Unfortunately, I started it a bit late and had no time for a 2 hour marinade as the recipe called for. Instead, I decided to experiment a little. Goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, lemon, and bacon has to be one of my favorite flavor combinations... also, includes artichokes when I have them; they would've been included tonight if I had 'em!

Here's what I did..
I mixed up about 3 ounces of crumbled goat cheese, 2 tablespoons of sun-dried tomatoes, a tablespoon of crumbled bacon, the zest/juice of a medium lemon, 2 cloves of crushed garlic, and 2 tablespoons of butter. I lifted the skin from the chicken leg quarters (3), and stuffed the chicken with the mixture. I then brushed on a coat of olive oil mixed with some lemon juice and a sprinkle of garlic powder, onion powder, and an Italian seasoning mixture. I popped it in the oven for about 25 minutes on 425˚. Then, I moved them to the bottom shelf and popped the potatoes in on the top. Finished off for 20 minutes at 450˚. I pulled them out and let them rest for about 5 minutes. We enjoyed with a nice fresh salad mix!

Perfect way to end President's Day!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Chicken Sausage and Brussels Sprouts over Orrechiette

I got this recipe inspiration from Pinterest.. surprise, surprise.

It's been a particularly stressful week at school and preparing this tonight was the perfect outlet for stress relief.

I used this recipe (click here), except I made a few changes..
1) I roasted the fresh brussels sprouts for about 15 minutes, while the chicken sausage cooked. Once the sausage was done, I removed it from the pan to rest and threw the brussels sprouts in the pan with the little bit of grease they produced and a small handful of bacon pieces.
2)I topped with goat cheese and sun-dried tomatoes instead of the parmesan. I felt it needed a bit of a tang!

This was really delicious and at the end of the day, pretty healthy!

If you need it, my pesto recipe is here!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Stuffed Zucchini Boats..

Don't let the zucchini fool you.. this is not exactly healthy :)

Weelllll, maybe a little... It does have tomatoes involved...

I've found this no fail delicousness via my tomato pie creations.. It involved Dukes mayonnaise (is there any other kind? no. stop buying Kraft and Hellman's and light mayo in general, esp if you're in the south.. it's like the one thing I don't buy light), an Italian blend of cheese, a squirt of lemon juice and a squirt of hot sauce. I generally used Crystals, but we were out so I went Siracha on this and was not disappointed! I have no idea what I used, so I'm going to ballpark this!

Stuffed Zucchini Boats
1 decent sized zucc
2 Roma tomatoes
2-3 heaping tablespoons of Duke's mayo
1/3-1/2 cup of Italian blend cheese (I used reduced fat)
little squirt of lemon juice
hot sauce to taste
little bit of fresh basil (if you're in a bind, fresh will do
Parmesan cheese block

- Preheat oven to 400
- slice the tomatoes into about 1/4 inch slices then halve slices, arrange flat on a paper towel, and sprinkle with a little salt... This help to get as much moisture out as possible.. between the zucc and toms, you'll need to do this..
- mix up the mayo, cheese, lemon juice, and hot sauce.
- halve the zucc... scrape out the seeded area. Be careful not to take too much out.. leave at least 1/3 inch thickness.
- chop basil (hoping you're using fresh!)
- spread a thin layer of mayo-cheese mixture on the bottom of the zucc
- arrange the half moon shaped tom slices alternating, so no area is left exposed
- cover with the remaining mayo-cheese mixture
- grate fresh parm on top
- bake 15-25 mins (I have a convection over, so my cooking times are different than conventional - I suggest setting a timer and checking ever 5 minutes or so..

I have used this mixture in so many variations, I wonder what I can't use the tomato pie angle on! If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Crock Pot Baked Potato Soup

I, as well as a bajillion others, are currently pinspired. It's called Pinterest. If you don't know what it is, ask me, but make sure you have some available space on your calendar because you will only resurface for bathroom and food breaks for at least 3 days. It is incredible. It makes me feel inspired in all facets of life while very much making me feel dumb for not coming up with the simple, yet incredibly genius, ideas some of these people have! I currently pin yummy things, yummy light things, gameday ideas, holiday ideas, inspiring quotes, teacher ideas, and several different boards for our May wedding's details. Seriously, if you don't know, ask me... it will change your life.

I have made about a dozen recipes from Pinterest and have yet to be disappointed by a single one. The most recent recipe I've made and been prompted for is this Baked Potato Soup made in a crock pot. The original recipe is here.

In my opinion, the original recipe would create waaay too much food for 2 people, or 3, or 4, or 5. I don't believe my crockpot could've successfully held this recipe as a whole, so I halved the entire recipe. The amounts you see here are exactly what I used.

- 2.5lbs Russet Potatoes, washed but NOT peeled. Diced into 1/2 inch(ish) cubes
- 1/2 medium to large yellow onion, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, whole *I used my garlic press
- 9 cups chicken stock
(or more if necessary, depending on your crock pot)
- 8 oz cream cheese *I used 1/3 less fat
- 1/2 TBS seasoned salt
- 8oz light sour cream (I added this and I think it made a big delicious difference)

- Crumbled bacon
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- sour cream


- Add potatoes, onion, garlic, seasoning and chicken stock to slow cooker.
- Cook on high for 6 hours or low for 10 hours.
- Stir in the cream cheese, and sour cream, allow to melt.
- Remove and puree the garlic cloves along with 1/2 to 1/3rd of the soup, and then reintroduce to the remainder in the crock pot. *Since I crushed the garlic I didn't have to remove anything. I used an immersion blender for a little bit until it looked about half way blended, so I didn't have to deal with a blender or food processor
- Top with your choice of garnishes & serve!

Yields about 6-8 servings.