Monday, December 14, 2009

Food, Glorious Food!

I haven't done a food post in a while so I thought I'd update y'all on what I have been loving lately.

First up is the delicious combo of Fage 0% plain yogurt, 1/4 C. Craisins and 2/3 C. Kashi Golean Crunch, topped with a hearty sprinkle of *pumpkin pie spice. This is so good! The seasonal flavors of cranberries mixed with pumpkin make me happy every time I eat this! This meal, which I rotate between breakfast and lunch, clocks in at 313 calories and is the yum!
All ingredients ready for assembly...A thing of beauty! I sprinkle the pumpkin pie spice on the yogurt and then again on top of the Craisins and Kashi...you MUST try this!

Next, I have been eating peanut butter almost every day - either on Orowheat Sandwich Thins as a pb&j, or having a tablespoon of it with a sliced apple as an afternoon snack, which really seems to hold me quite a while - must be the combination of fiber and fat? Any case, until recently I've never had peanut butter and fruit (really, in my old way of thinking the only other combination besides jelly for peanut butter was chocolate!) but I have to say that I really like it. And although I was raised on (and raised my kids on) Jif (yes I am a choosy mom!), in the interest of making it as healthy as I can, I'm using MaraNatha Organic peanut butter - which, I'm surprised to say, I really like. Never thought I would tolerate anything except Jif...but my tastes have changed apparently.
Does anyone else slice their apples pretty thin to in order to make it seem like you are getting a lot to eat, or is it just me that employs such trickery?

This next item isn't really food, but I thought I would update you on the fish oil caplets that I've been taking for a couple of weeks now. The odorless fish oil caplets? Well, most days they are odorless. However, once in a while I get one that gives me the worst fish burps - and I loathe fish. And nothing, not even chocolate, can cover up the smell. I may rethink the benefits (Omega 3's, good for your joints) vs. negatives (the aforementioned burps) before I buy these again!

Ok, back to food. Yes, I know it's winter, but we are still loving my salads. Jeff thinks they are better than any restaurant salad, and while I mostly agree, I still say that anything that someone else makes for me tastes pretty darn good! The most recent ingredient list includes romaine lettuce, English cucumber, sliced mushrooms, green onions, garbanzo beans, little broccoli florets, diced avocado, **toasted chopped walnuts or pecans, Gorgonzola cheese, dried cherries and Newman's Own Light Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing. Jeff sometimes always wants some chicken on his, so I've been buying already seasoned and cooked chicken breasts that come individually frozen - just toss one in the microwave, slice and throw on top of his salad. As I only add up the "real" calories (I don't bother with the lettuce, cucumber, mushrooms, broccoli or onions - too little to count, really), these salads come in around 370 - with "good" fats coming from the avocado and walnuts. When strawberries come into season again I'll swap out the dried cherries for the fresh strawberries, which would lower the calorie count quite a bit. These salads, while a little labor intensive, are so tasty! I really encourage y'all to experiment with different salad combinations (and let me know what you think is good)!
Forgot to add garbanzo beans to this one...and yes, there is lettuce under all of the toppings!
Hunkering down with my salad - now that the kids are gone, we mostly eat in front of the TV (something I rarely allowed when my kids were little) - HGTV's House Hunters is a favorite dinnertime show! Please note my everpresent Camelbak 24 oz. water bottle - I drink several of these each day. Please do not note the lack of makeup, oversized sweatshirt and Crocs...sometimes comfy and warm does not always equal stylish!

On the pure veggie front, going from one of Biz's ideas, I've been ***julienning zucchini (using a peeler, but a mandolin would be much quicker), steaming it, and tossing it with salt and pepper - it's like zucchini pasta! I tried sprinkling some Parmesan cheese on it, but found that we needed quite a bit to actually taste it, so I just leave that off now. This is a great side dish.

Broccoli is another veggie that I've been eating a lot lately. The other day, I had a ton of broccoli florets remaining from a three-pound bag (and this was after serving it twice over the Thanksgiving weekend). At the suggestion of my best friend, Barbara, I made broccoli soup. I diced and sauteed a huge onion in a tablespoon of butter (I couldn't resist!), added some garlic, then poured in a box and a quarter (what was left over from T-day) of chicken broth, brought it to a boil, and added eight cups of broccoli (told ya I had a lot left over). Simmered that for a while - until the broccoli was pretty tender - then used my immersion blender very carefully (caution: hot soup!) and blended all the broccoli and onions together. Added some salt and pepper and that was it! It was nice and thick and tasted great! Best part was that I didn't add any milk or cream, so again, this was incredibly low-calorie, yet very good-for-you (thanks, broccoli!). You can also add a little shredded cheddar to your individual bowl for fun, and if I'd have had some fresh pico de gallo on hand, I would have added that to the top of my soup as well.

Finally, thanks to Lynn's post, I have been dying to try some hot teas - specifically Celestial Seasoning's Candy Cane Lane and Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride flavors. Well. Apparently they aren't huge in my town...I checked every grocery and natural food store around here, and only came up with a box of the Candy Cane Lane tea. I finally thought to check their website, where you can enter your zip code to find which stores in your area have the specific tea. Would you believe Dollar General was the only store that came up?!? I never in a million years would have thought of looking for "specialty" tea at a dollar store! Anyway, Jeff went out and found one box of SCSR tea, and also a box of Gingerbread Spice. I am surprised at how much I like the flavored hot teas - as I am not a fan of those fruit-flavored iced teas that have become popular lately. But dang, these are good! So far the Candy Cane Lane is my favorite...it actually has some substance to it, which surprises me considering there's zero calories, no caffeine and no artificial flavors in it.
Tea - who knew?!?

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After reading this incredibly long post, if you still need some ideas for good food, mylifetime.com has recipes online from the authors of "Cook Yourself Thin" - they have been releasing new recipes every week in anticipation of their newest cookbook, "Cook Yourself Thin Faster," that comes out on December 29th. You can enter to win a cookbook - click here - and also check back with me in a couple of weeks, because I should have one to give away around the new year!
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*This idea comes courtesy of Lynn!

**Did you know that you can toast nuts in the microwave? I heard about this from Lori - I just fold a paper towel on a little plate, put a handful of nuts on the towel, and microwave for about 90 seconds. So easy! If I've forgotten to do this earlier in the day, then I put the plate in the freezer while I'm preparing the salads so I'm not adding hot nuts. Important thing to remember is to get them out of the freezer...a couple of times I've been halfway through my salad and pulled a Homer Doh!

***Biz actually sauteed her zucchini in olive oil, which sounded great, but I like the ease of steaming (I'm not quite the chef that she is, lol!).

24 comments:

  1. So many good things here, Shelley! Celestial also has a great soothing tea called Sleepytime that's great with a tiny bit of honey. And House Hunters? Nothing better on TV. You look so cozy and comfy - it's important to know how to relax, isn't it?

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  2. Ha! You are just as good a cook as me Shelley - but I love that you called me a chef!

    I also add a bit of fat free half and half (just 1/2 cup and about 80 calories) to my soups to give them an extra bit of thickness - the great part of lots of soup is that it freezes well!

    Loved your foodie post! :D

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  3. I'm going to try the kashi/pumpkin pie spice thing.

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  4. Now I want a salad for lunch and I brought soup and sandwich with me. Oh well. Thanks for taking the time to post all this. I love food posts, find them fascinating!

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  5. Yes yes!!!! to that greek yogurt combo. I eat it like that all the time, yum.....


    I'll have to look online for the holiday tea as well. None of our stores carry them, which is annoying.

    Hooray for broccoli! You know, I have never made a broccoli soup. I just realized that and cannot believe it's true!

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  6. OMG!! Look at all that fantastic YUMMINESS! I really like your yogurt recipe! I love the CS teas too! I haven't tried the flavors you mentioned, but my favorite so far is Honey Vanilla Camomile. Looking good! Keep up the good work!:-)

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  7. I like peanut butter on banana. Your yogurt concoction looks great!!

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  8. Lots of good ideas, Shelley! I recently started making more 'luxurious' salads, and I find them most worthy! In the past I didn't want to spend that many calories on a salad, and then I didn't like my salads. I really like adding shredded carrots and zucchini to my salad--love the texture and taste.

    LOVE the greek yogurt idea--and like the idea of adding the pumpkin pie spice without adding pumpkin. I will be trying this!

    I am surprised at how many people grew up NOT eating apples and peanut butter. We would halve, peel and core them, and then stick peanut butter in the core hole. But I do like you now, and like to slice my apples thin and serve on a pretty dish. Did you try the combo of apple, laughing cow, and walnuts? To die for!

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  9. Great post! So much info- and not a bit too long. Thanks for all the tips. I'm now going on a quest for those products you mentioned. They sound great. And, thanks for the follow-up on the fish oil caps.

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  10. If you haven't had peanut butter on (low-fat?) graham crackers, you do not know the definition of delicious!

    Also, my favorite peanut butter sammy is with a slice of American cheese, in lieu of the jam/jelly. Don't knock it until you've tried it!

    Oh, and I hate broccoli. Except broccoli slaw. That I eat every day. ;)

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  11. I am so glad I read this post before going to the grocery store... looks like some yummy ideas.

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  12. I love hot peppermint tea! I drink it everyday and I like that it makes my breath sort of minty and it can hold off cravings for a while.

    I am also a huge House Hunters fan, although I haven't been watching much lately because I'm convinced I have seen every one they ever made at least twice.

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  13. Your yogurt/kashi mix sounds totally devine. I would never had thought to put in pumkin pie spice. What a wonderful idea!

    I've never been a soup person, but with all the rain/cold we've been getting just the way you made your broccoli soup it sounds so easy.

    Thanks for sharing all your yumming sounding food finds.

    And yes, I do have an etsy shop, but not very much inventory on it right not since I had to take most of it off so I could stock up for the botiques I've been doing. If you want something or have an interest in seeing more of my thing, let me know and I'll email you directly. biggirl65@gmail.com

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  14. Good thing I've eaten already otherwise all those lovely food pics would make me run to the fridge :)

    I love broccoli but my hub doesn't so I can't use it in things we both eat.

    I love peanutbutter but not with fruit. Is it really good? I can't imagine :)

    And the tip of the nuts I'm going to remember!

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  15. I love peanut butter, but not the jelly. I'll eat jelly on toast but not with peanut butter! I'm strange.

    I too have enjoyed discovering teas. I like all kinds, and am in fact drinking peppermint tea right now!

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  16. Great post. All this good, healthy food makes me want to go out in the yard and eat grass. And the salads...you've got practically every superfood in there except black beans.

    Organic PB blows away Jif. So creamy and hearty.

    The Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride is a non-guilty pleasure. The tea smells sooo good. Drinking it is an "ahhhh" moment every time.

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  17. Your salads look so terrific - I need to get more creative with mine, and get back into the habit of making them a meal a couple times a week.

    I also love the combo of fresh fruit with nut butters . . . have you ever tried Maranatha's almond butter? It's great with apples.

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  18. All the food ideas look wonderful. I would definitely try the fage and cereal with craisens. And the salads -- wow. I ate some walnuts for breakfast and a salad with some chicken on it sounds pretty good right about now. But I'll finish my coffee first.
    Thanks for all those suggestions, Skinny!

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  19. I just discovered wraps that had 10 grams of fiber! I fix one of those sometimes for breakfast.

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  20. Great salad! Great pictures. Thanks for those good ideas.

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  21. salads with "good" fats coming from the avocado and walnuts ...

    Yes, indeed. I love high-fat, low-carb foods, especially bite-sized chunks of avocado with warm real butter drizzled on top.

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  22. What a great post, Shelly. Thanks for going to the trouble to write it all up for us! I have all the ingredients for the pumpkin cranberry parfait for tomorrow morning (except my Fage is 2%) so I will give it a try! And now you have got me wanting to hunt down some of those teas. Thank goodness I have a cup of good old Constant Comment on the nightstand next to me!

    Another good thing to try is to nuke a cup of water, add a peppermint teabag, and then add a 0 pts. package of cocoa. Peppermint cocoa for 0 pts.!

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