Warm and Comforting Meals

Hey there!

Remember my New Year’s “resolution”? I am happy to say that over a week into the year, I am still on a roll with getting more creative with my meals, or more so being more motivated to make meals. I did get some help this week from family and friends but I did a bunch on my own too! I’m taking a few extra minutes on the weekends to semi-plan some meals for the week, so that I can get everything I need on our weekly grocery trip.

I missed the WIAW link-up yesterday, but want to share some of my veggie-packed eats as of lately. So here I go again with my version of WIAW: What I’ve Been Eating Lately: Warm and Comforting Meals!

Sautéed mushrooms, onions, black beans, and tomatoes served over crunchy spinach with havarti cheese and an egg. The egg was supposed to be over-easy but I kept cracking the sensitive yolk. I gave up after cracking the yolk on my second attempt. It was still good just not as good.

veggies with egg

Homemade chili from Amanda! I topped the chili with some colby jack cheese we had on hand. Sorry about the lighting; it doesn’t do the soup justice I swear!

chili from amanda

Mom’s homemade meatloaf! This meal was thoroughly enjoyed on an extremely cold winter evening here in Minnesota; one of the coldest we’ve had in a long time. Talk about comfort food. It warms my belly just thinking of it. Mmmm so so good.

meatloaf

Mom’s homemade ham and bean soup. She used the leftover ham from Christmas to make this super comforting soup.

ham and bean soup

I was so excited that I had a few meals made for me this week. It always holds true that when someone else makes food for you, it tastes better. Thanks mom and Amanda!

I definitely preferred warm meals this week due to the weather (besides my smoothies of course), but did manage to make a couple of cold salads. This one is spinach, broccoli, muffuletta mix, havarti cheese, BBQ chicken, and ranch.

bbq chicken spinach salad

Last night I made chicken stuffed zucchini boats. I mixed together diced cooked chicken, diced onion, parmesan cheese, and marinara sauce. I hollowed out a zucchini and filled it with the mixture. I topped the boats with mozzarella cheese and a bit more parmesan, baked them at 375 degrees F for about 15-20 minutes, and finished them off under the broiler.

zucchini boats with chicken marinara zucchini boats with chicken marinara

Not too shabby for an impromptu Wednesday evening meal!

Let’s hope the creativity continues all year!

What have you been cooking up lately?

What I’ve Been Eating Lately: Random and Tasty

It’s been a while since I’ve caught you all up on what I have been eating lately. I will warn you that my eats have been completely random. I have been veering away from the cold salads more often in place of something warm like soup or quesadillas.

Thank you to Jen at Peas and Crayons for hosting the What I Ate Wednesdays!

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Here it goes!

Gluten-free pasta with mom’s spaghetti sauce. NUM!

gluten free spaghetti

Cheese quesadillas with salsa.

gluten free quesadilla

Organic tomato soup with extra cracked black pepper.

tomato soup

Homemade veggie dip made from cottage cheese, ranch seasoning, and Italian seasoning packets–the Ninja Ultima was perfect for this job!

homemade cottage cheese veggie dip

Veggie plate with veggie dip.

veggie plate

Grass-fed beef burger with Monterey jack cheese.

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Acorn squash with turkey bacon.

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Oatmeal for National Oatmeal Day!

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More quesadillas, this time with black beans and avocados too!

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Loads of berries (recycled photo)!!

driscolls berries

Baked strawberry oatmeal bars.

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I told you…completely random, but TASTY!

What have you been eating lately?! 

Weekend Happenings: Soups, Weddings, Family Time

Hello, hello! How was your weekend? Mine was FANTASTIC!

It started on Friday. I made myself a super nummy smoothie in my new Ninja Ultima.

In the smoothie (all frozen fruits and veggies):

  • Kale
  • Blueberries
  • Pineapple
  • Bananas
  • almond milk
  • peanut butter
  • flax-seed
  • cocoa powder

ninja smoothie

 

I gave it a whirl in the Ninja…

ninja

 

So far I have used the Ninja for smoothies and I also used it last night when I made a batch of soup! I love it. It is so efficient! I can’t wait to make nut butters in it. I am hoping the clean up is a lot easier than when I make nut butter in the food processor!

Friday morning I met up with my mom or our annual girl’s day. This year we decided to go to Whole Foods to do some shopping, have lunch at Panera, go for a walk with Abbie around the neighborhood, and just veg out together. It was so nice and so relaxing! I can’t wait for our next one!

Oh, and don’t act surprised when you hear I got the French Onion Soup once again at Panera. It is just my fav! Next time though I might have to try that squash soup, right Katie?

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On Saturday we attended my cousin’s wedding. It was fun getting all dolled up and hanging out with my family for the day.

carolyns wedding collage

On Sunday…more family time! We met up with Dana’s parents in the morning for a while and then went to my parent’s house to hang out with Scott and Nicole before they headed back home. No wonder my weekend was so fabulous, it was full of family time!

In the afternoon I whipped up a batch of veggie soup to eat throughout the week. It’s packed with bone broth, broccoli, green beans, zucchini, onion, carrots, celery and more. I am hoping it turned out well! If so, I will share the recipe!

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While the soup cooked, I heated up myself a bowl of four bean quinoa chili from the freezer and added some cheddar cheese to the top. Mmmmm mmmmm! The perfect meal on a cozy Sunday evening.

chili

I have been all about the soups lately. The fall weather has finally nestled in and the forecast is looking like 50′s this week! Bring out the sweaters, slippers, soup, pumpkin scented candles, and let’s get a fire going in the fireplace! Cozy city! LOVE.

What did you do this weekend? Have you been enjoying any soups yet this fall?

Do Something for You.

Happy Thursday! It’s time to for some normal posts again.

Yesterday morning I had tentative plans to get a run in on the treadmill, but when I started my walk warmup, my hip was hurting and I decided not to press my luck with the race coming up on Saturday. So, I hopped off the treadmill and headed upstairs to my yoga mat. I haven’t done yoga in a very long time and I know I say this every time but whenever I get a yoga session in again, I always remember how much I love it.

I chose a yoga/pilates OnDemand. It was about a half hour and was pretty fast-moving. Afterwards I felt so refreshed, energized, and stretched out. My body must have been telling me I needed that yoga. Now, don’t forget that feeeling! :smile:

For breakfast I pulled out a gluten-free pumpkin waffle from the freezer. I made a big batch of these last month and froze a few of them for a later time and I’m so glad I did!

I microwaved the waffle to thaw it, and then topped it with some peanut butter and a teeny drizzle of honey. I could swear it tasted better this time around! Probably because I didn’t have to do any cooking this time? FYI I took a couple of bites before I took the photo…I just couldn’t wait!

gf pumpkin waffle

For lunch I had an apple and leftover salad which was made of mixed greens, artichoke hearts, olives, tomatoes, zucchini, parmesan cheese, and olive oil dressing.

salad

The second part of lunch was a banana with peanut butter. Go figure.

Before I went back to work I snapped this photo of Moose because he looked so darn precious. This is his favorite spot to sit and look out the window and snarl at anything that walks by or anything he thinks he sees go by. He’s my watch dog.

moose

I have gotten myself back on this no extra sugars bit now that I am back home and back to reality.

I resisted the Easter jelly beans at work yesterday which was a proud moment for me. There’s something about jelly beans that I really enjoy. It’s not the taste because they don’t taste ALL that great to me, unless they are jolly rancher or starburst jelly beans, but I think it’s the texture. The hard candy coating and the chewy sugary center. It really does something for me. Anyway, I resisted this time.

On vacation I packed one dark chocolate candy bar for Dana and I. Each night we would each have one square for our dessert. Well then things escalated from there. We went to dinner at the Silver Palms and had the most delicious and decadent chocolate cake with coconut ice cream. Then on the plane we got cookies. Then in Colorado we celebrated Dana’s uncles birthday so we had ice cream cake. Not to mention I also nibbled on girl scout cookies, jelly beans, and chocolate.

No one was forcing me to eat any of these things, but I had decided that since it was vacation that I was going to go all out. Well, my gut reminded me why I had decided to get rid of the sugars in the first place. I set myself back a couple of days, but it didn’t take long for me to get back on track and I am feeling much better now. Although, I must confess that I had a few chocolate chips last night out of a trail mix bag last night. But all in all, I am doing a VERY good job of staying away from the sweets for now, until I get back on track with all of my health shenanigans.

For dinner I had a bowl of the veggie soup I made on Monday. I sprinkled some parmesan cheese on top just to give it that somethin’ somethin’.

veggie soup

For dessert I had a few too many dates with peanut butter, and then those chocolate chips. I watched Glee and opened the insane amount of mail we had accumulated from being away; 90% of it was junk of course. No, I do not want another credit card. Thanks.

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Have you ever read a book that inspired you to be a better person? While I was on vacation I read the book, The Happiness Project, By Gretchen Rubin.

Gretchen writes about finding true happiness in everyday life. She admits that she is indeed a happy person and happy with her life, but she wonders if she could be “happier.” She spends a year working through happiness resolutions, each month focusing on a new project. Some projects bring her happiness, others leave her feeling the same, but all of them make her think about her life and simple changes that can be made to make her be a better person and make her happier.

She realizes that making herself happy will in turn help to make others happier.

This book struck me big time. All I wanted to do was get home and start making my own resolutions chart and happiness project. So, that’s what I’m going to do. Gretchen provides a free template on her website to help start your own project. I don’t know if I will go as extensively as she did, but I do want to make changes in my everyday life and think that focusing on projects on a month-to-month basis is a good way to stay in check.

Nothing is set in stone yet, but once I do decide on my happiness project, I will probably keep it to myself, at least until after it is complete. There will more than likely be more on this in future posts.

I bring this book to your attention because I feel that all of us deserve to be happy. So often we forget about ourselves and get so wrapped up in our busy lives, that we forget to stop and smell the roses and forget to do something for ourselves purely because we want to. And to do something special for ourselves and NOT feel guilty about it.

This is just something to think about. If you haven’t read her book I highly recommend you do. Who wouldn’t want to be happier?!

Question of the day: When is the last time you did something for YOU?

Low-Fat Vegetable Soup in the Slow Cooker

It’s my favorite day of the week! HAPPY FRIDAY! I have a very low key weekend ahead of me and I am perfectly okay with that.

I have a recipe to share for you that was inspired by Courtney from SweetToothSweetLife. She made a veggie stew which looked spectacular and I wanted to try something similar. I made a few changes and am pretty darn happy with the results!

Into the crockpot on Wednesday morning:

  • carrots
  • parsnips
  • onion
  • garlic
  • green bell pepper
  • celery
  • tomatoes (frozen from garden!)
  • cannelini beans
  • chicken broth
  • italian spices
  • garlic powder
  • salt and pepper

vegetable soup

I set my favorite piece of kitchen equipment, aka the crock pot, on low for 8 hours during the day.

For lunch: Chicken breast with leftover refried beans, melted cheese, salsa, and avocado. This combo was just ‘meh’ to me. I didn’t LOVE it, but I did like that it was protein packed. I’m just more of a bean, Greek yogurt, egg, or peanut butter protein loving kinda gal.

chicken

I also ate a big baggy of carrots and a pear for dessert.

pear

After work I changed into my workout clothes and went to the living room to work my arms and back with the resistance band. My knees were hurting pretty badly after the race so I wanted to keep it low intensity.

Once dinner time rolled around I tested the flavor of the soup, added a touch more salt and pepper, and ladled up two bowls for the hubby and myself.

vegetable soup

I topped the veggie soup with parmesan cheese…

vegetable soup

And thoroughly enjoyed this soup. I went back for a second bowl too. It’s warm, hearty, veggie-filled, low-fat, and DELICIOUS.

Low-Fat Vegetable Soup in the Slow Cooker

Ingredients
  • 2 parsnips, peeled and chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups white beans
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 2 cups diced tomatoes (canned tomatoes would work fine)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients into crockpot. Cover and set on low for 8 hours. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with parmesan cheese. ENJOY!

 

Mooser is just getting over an outer ear infection which included an antibiotic treatment as well as ointment in his ear daily. He quickly learned to hate the ear drops and got all too smart when it came time for them.

I thought this picture was hysterical and really captured his hate love for it!

moose

So resistant!

Thursday

Thursday was a pretty ordinary day around here. I went to work, went to the gym after work (elliptical, push-ups, and core work), came home, made dinner.

I went the easy route again with dinner: Buffalo chicken salad with green onions, celery, feta cheese, and light ranch dressing.

buffalo chicken salad

So spicaaay! I am realizing that the older I get, the more sensitive I become to spicy foods. Is that weird?

I am debating whether or not to get a workout in at some point today. My knees are still very sore. I’ve been icing them daily but they must not have been too happy with my cold run the other day because they are still aching. I’m pretty sure my body is trying to tell me to rest but I’m having a challenging time listening to it because it’s the new year and I really want to get back into a solid workout regime again. I will see how I am feeling this afternoon and then decide.

I am off to take on my day. I hope you all have a fantastic Friday and I will catch up with you later gators!

xoxo,

M

Guest Post: Favorite Soup & Chili Recipes

Hello, hello to all of Melanie’s awesome readers!

My name is Courtney and I write the blog Sweet Tooth, Sweet Life. I’m 28, a former elementary school teacher (you can read about that here if you’d like) and currently running my own online personal training business, Courtney’s Total Body Wellness.

I live up in Upstate, NY with my husband Jay and my kitty, Cody. Most of the time, if I’m not working on creating personal training plans, you’ll most likely find me blogging, baking goodies in the kitchen, or spending time with some of my favorite friends and family.

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I was so honored when Melanie asked me to guest post for her while she’s away in Colombia (how fun is THAT?!) that I couldn’t resist.

I know that Melanie tends to stick with mostly gluten-free choices when it comes to food, so I thought I’d share a couple of my favorite soup and chili recipes with you all today. Not only are they perfect for the fall (and quickly approaching, winter) weather, but they’re also gluten free. Win-win, right? Right!

First is my Pumpkin Black Bean Soup. I made this for the first time last year and have made it quite a few times ever since.

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I actually just bought all of the ingredients to make it again…I’m just waiting for the leftovers in my fridge to clear out so I have room. Oy vey.

Another favorite of mine is this Light ‘n Easy Cincinnati Chili. I LOVE this chili because it’s slightly different from most other chili’s I’ve had, thanks to a subtly sweet flavor from the cinnamon in the recipe.

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I serve it on top of spaghetti squash for a lightened up version of the real thing (which is usually served on pasta).

Last up is my Spinach Lentil Soup. It may not photograph well, but I promise you…it’s delicious.

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I actually really enjoy scooping up this soup with some crackers or tortilla chip “scoops” since it’s a little thicker. Either way, it’s awesome, and it makes a huge batch too, so you’ll have plenty of leftovers.

Hopefully you’ve found something that sparked your interest here, so feel free to check out the recipes, and I hope you love them all as much as I do!

Thanks again to the lovely Melanie for allowing me to invade her space today. clip_image005

French Onion Soup & A GIVEAWAY!

Well, I survived my Monday, did you? It is gloomy around here this morning which immediately puts me into a lethargic mood. I am going to get the legs moving on a walk to see if that can amp me up a bit.

Breakfast

I didn’t have a chance to snap a photo of my breakfast yesterday but I had a peach flavored Chobani with blueberries on top (Chobani hooked us up at the HLS with some great coupons btw). I learned that I don’t enjoy the peach blueberry combo and will probably never do that again. It wasn’t terrible but there definitely wasn’t the peanut butter-banana-combo love action happening in the least bit. I didn’t really think that one through. I was in a hurry. The peach yogurt would have been great by itself but I was trying to increase my fruit intake! Well, better luck next time.

Lunch

I booked it home for lunch and threw together a semi-sweet salad made of mixed greens, Driscoll’s raspberries, crunchy grapes, avocado, feta cheese, and walnuts. I topped it off with a light drizzle of Newman’s Own Lite Honey Mustard dressing.

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I finished lunch off with an apple and a bite of peanut butter before heading back to work.

Dinner

Dinner was wonderful last night for many reasons:

  1. It was VERY simple.
  2. It was ready for me when I got home from work and errands thanks to the crock pot.
  3. It is one of my all-time favorite soups.
  4. I got to use cute soup bowls that my co-worker gave me.

On the menu was French onion soup. Into the crockpot  went 3 yellow onions, 2-32 ounce boxes beef broth (reduced sodium), a splash of Worcestershire, a few cracks of black pepper.

I covered the soup and set it on high for 4 hours.

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The soup turned out great but I would change the cooking time next time. Instead of the short cooking time, I would cook it on low for about  7-9 hours. I couldn’t time it right with work to do it that way so I had to do it the high temp way, and the onions ended up a little crunchy. I like them to be more tender and ended up sautéing them for a few minutes in a separate pan on the stovetop and then adding the back into the soup.

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So, here is the recipe for you that I would use the NEXT time I made this soup, and it would turn out perfect.

French Onion Soup Crock Pot Style

Ingredients

Soup:

  • 2-32 ounce boxes of low sodium beef broth
  • 3 Vidalia onions, chopped into 2-3 inch strips
  • 1-2 Tbsp Worcestershire
  • 2 tsp black pepper

Topping:

  • Monterey Jack cheese, thinly sliced or shredded
  • Bagel chips, homemade croutons, or crunchy bread*

*I made my version gluten-free so I used thinly sliced almond bread which I toasted in the oven.

Directions

  1. Place soup ingredients into large crock pot. Cover and turn on low for 7-9 hours, or until onions are tender.
  2. Ladle soup into microwave safe bowls. Top with crunchy bread of choice, then cheese. Microwave for 1 minute or until cheese is melted.

ENJOY!

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Sneaky Pete’s Oatstanding Giveaway

Now, sound the horns. It’s time for my very first giveaway on Beautifully Nutty!

When I was at the Healthy Living Summit in Cambridge, I sampled a beverage from  Sneaky Pete’s Beverage Co.  called Oatstanding which is an oat-based beverage. Oats have been shown to have many health benefits. The soluble fiber in oats can help to lower cholesterol, can decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease, and can help to improve overall heart health.

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One bottle of Oatstanding has 3 grams of fiber (2 grams of soluble fiber) which is equivalent to about one bowl of oatmeal. The majority of people do not get the recommended amount of dietary fiber daily, so this is another way to help increase your fiber intake.

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Besides the health benefits, this product also tastes good. I am a gal who enjoys a sweetened beverage now and then, and this one was refreshingly light, and had just the right amount of sweetness to it (only 5 grams of sugar). It is the perfect afternoon pick-me-up and also great for on the go.

They offer 5 different flavors: Apple Away, Grape Escape, Mango Mystique, Peach Perfection, and Raspberry Beret.

They have a great site full of even more information on their product. If you would like to learn more, click here.

They are so excited about their product, that they want to giveaway a sample of all 5 of their flavors to one of my lucky readers (U.S. residents only).

Enter to win: Simply write a comment on this post about your favorite on-the-go drink or snack. The winner will be chosen at random and will be announced Friday morning. Good luck!

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. A WINNER HAS BEEN SELECTED.

Have a great day. :smile:

Note: I was not paid by Sneaky Pete’s for the opinions in this post, however I did receive the beverages at no cost for this giveaway. The opinions expressed about this product are solely my own.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Haaapppy Hump Day! I AM so happy because I just found out last night that will be attending my first ever healthy living conference this August! I will have the opportunity to meet so many wonderful healthy living bloggers who I have been following forever, meet fellow blogging friends, learn about how to improve my blog, talk about healthy living and food, and soak up every other bit in between! I am on cloud 9 seriously. I cannot wait. WOOOO!

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Yesterday I briefly mentioned how I will be gearing my workouts towards lower impact activities, at least for a couple of weeks until I get my colitis under control. I notice that my body doesn’t respond well recently to running and jumping which makes sense as I am putting a lot of impact on my body (organs included I guess). This might explain my not so beautiful half-marathon experience.

I absolutely will continue to be active through this all. My activities can include: walking, biking, yoga, elliptical, swimming, strength training and more. I will just be limiting my running and jumping exercises for a short time.

Let’s talk about yoga for a second shall we? I haven’t always been a huge fan of it, and I think the one of the reasons why is because I’m not good at it. I am embarrassed to say as a former dancer that I can no longer touch my toes without bending my knees and have lost all flexibility whatsoever. Well, what’s the best way to get better at something? Practice.

Yesterday, I flipped to OnDemand yoga on the TV and found a workout called “Gentle Yoga.” That sounded nice, and guess what? It was nice. It was a little slow moving at first which is something one has to get used to when you’re used to doing majority cardio type exercises. I focused on my breathing like the woman was telling me to do, and took the 36 minutes to really relax and stretch and listen to my body.

Wow. If I can actually let myself be patient enough to ease into yoga, I think I could really benefit from it and even enjoy it! I would love to regain flexibility and I KNOW yoga would help me with this. Also, I believe that if I can learn to manage my stress more effectively, including yoga and breathing exercises, I can heal faster. I am really hoping to try and add yoga into my weekly routine. Maybe start off with a goal of one time per week, see how I am liking it, then increase to two times per week. Huh, I like this idea! A fellow blogger Courtney at Sweettoothsweetlife, started a June Yoga Challenge and although I’m a little late on the ball, I just may join in. I never thought I would say it.

After my relaxing yoga, I headed out for an easy 30-minute walk, and then it was time for breakfast. Do I even need to tell you what I had? You could look at my last whole entire month of breakfasts practically and learn real quickly that breakfast was indeed a bowl of Cream of Wheat cereal mixed with cinnamon, stevia and just a touch of brown sugar. This is my ‘makes my tummy feel fine’ breakfast and it’s a must on days I have to work; for now at least.

We had a potluck meeting at work over the lunch hour and I didn’t snap any photos mostly because my plate wasn’t very colorful or pretty. Continuing to stick with the low-fiber meals, I managed to find a few options that I was able to enjoy: tuna noodle salad, turkey wrapped mozzarella (courtesy of moi), and a piece of the most fabulous homemade lemon blueberry bread.

I had an evening shift at work and managed to munch on five handfuls of peanut butter M & M’s (my absolute favorite alongside Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups OMG) throughout the course of the afternoon. I ate a banana around 5:30 which held me over until I got home at 7:30. I’ve mentioned this before but whenever I work later, I can never figure out what sounds good to me for dinner when I am home. I am in deed hungry, but I just can’t put my finger on what it is I’m hungry for. So I usually end up having a few small snacks.

I began with a piece of toasted Spelt Bread from Trader Joe’s with peanut butter and jelly.

After that I moved on to a small serving of Fage Non-fat Greek Yogurt with maple syrup, a half of a pair, and one more spoonful of peanut butter. That would have to do. I crawled into bed and read my book but the strangest thing happened to me last night…I could not get tired for the life of me. I read and read and read and instead of getting my normal droopy eyelids after about five pages, I just got more energy as I went along. At about 11:00 (already one hour past my bedtime), I decided I should shut off the lights and try and sleep. I laid in bed for almost 3 hours before finally falling asleep. Then, every time I woke up in the middle of the night I felt like I was ready for the day and full of energy. Is this what insomnia feels like? I didn’t like it. I hope I survive my day today, keeping in mind I am off the caffeine. Yikes.

Recipe Time!

Moving on….I mentioned this past weekend that I was busy in the kitchen whipping up a batch of pureed butternut squash soup. Well, here it is ladies and gentleman. Enjoy!

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup (makes about 4-6 servings)

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cups butternut squash, skinned, seeds removed and cut into cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups carrots, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3/4 cup celery, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 48 oz. reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp dried sage
  • salt and pepper
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. If you have an option for convection roast, use that, if not standard 350 roast or bake is perfect too.
  2. Lightly grease large baking pan with olive oil; place squash, carrots, celery, onion and garlic on pan; use hands to stir and coat veggies with olive oil.
  3. Roast or bake in oven for 25-45 minutes. Baking times vary greatly depending on cooking method (convection roast, roast, bake, etc.). You should be able to pierce the carrots easily with a fork when roasting time is complete, and onions start to take on a sweet scent.
  4. On the stove top, in a large soup pan, add vegetables and broth; cover and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes then reduce to simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Add thyme and sage; stir.
  6. Using an immersion blender or standard blender, puree soup until smooth.
  7. Return to pot; add salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Spoon into bowls,  garnish with fresh herbs and serve with whole grain bread or croutons.

After the soup was cooled, I ladled the soup into 6 Ziploc baggies and froze them for an easy and healthy meal in minutes.

Have a great day!

A Quiet Date Night

Happy weekend!

Recap from yesterday…

My day started off with a follow up appointment with the gastroenterologist regarding my current colitis flare. To give you a quick update, I’m still not feeling very well. The doc is going to amp up the dosage of my medication and has recommended I stick to a low-fiber diet as best as I can, reminding me that some small salads here and there will probably be fine, just don’t go crazy. I told her I had tried to stick to a very low-fiber, low-residue diet, but couldn’t stick with it very long because my body was craving greens so bad, and I wasn’t feeling well because of it. I am going to continue to experiment with my diet, but have decided to only allow myself to experiment at night or dinner time, so that if I do have a negative reaction, I won’t be stuck at work with it.

Anyway, I am continuing my research on different allowable foods and plan to get creative. I got busy in the kitchen later and whipped up (literally) a batch of roasted butternut squash soup for my lunches or dinners next week. People with U.C. can often tolerate cooked veggies; squash, carrots, sweet potato, but are continued to be advised to stay away from cruciferous types of vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, because they often cause GI distress. I will be posting this recipe soon! It turned out fantastic.

We made a stop at Trader Joe’s to pick up a few things since we were in the area. I L.O.V.E. LOVE Trader Joe’s. We especially love their Three Buck Chuck.

For lunch…I had some snacks and then made myself one of my most favorite lunches of all time. Spelt bread in this case, with peanut butter, honey and bananas. In my younger years, whenever I got sick with flare-ups, my mom would buy me spelt bread and I seemed to tolerate it well. I thought I would give it a go again.

So beautiful. I actually used PB2 on this one today because I am needing to watch my fat intake right now. Since PB2 only has 1.5 grams of fat per serving, it was a good decision today. I could probably eat this lunch every day and never ever get sick of it. Num.

I made my way to the gym but really wasn’t feeling the best so just hit the elliptical for an easy pace and easy resistance for a half hour.

Dinner and quiet date night….

For dinner I pureed a can of rinsed and drained pinto beans with garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, salt, pepper, and a touch of chicken broth. This was an experimental dinner btw to see if I can handle brown beans in the pureed form. We cooked up some white rice, and chopped up tomato, cilantro, and avocado, and piled it on a plate. We melted cheddar cheese on the deal and called it one quick and easy dinner.

Whoops, forgot the cheese.

There it is. How could I forget the cheese?!

I was hoping that we had mild salsa on hand to top off the dish but we didn’t, so I ended up seasoning my dish with a little dash of salt and a splash of lemon juice. I didn’t miss the salsa at all. I actually think I prefer the lemon taste (would have used lime if we had it and that would have been great too!).

Dana and I had a quiet date night planned for last night. We waited to finalize any date plans until I knew how I was feeling and since I wasn’t feeling great, we decided to make ourselves a healthy dinner, rent a movie, and stay home.

A while back I read ‘The Help’ and have wanted to see the movie ever since. Well, it just so happened redbox had it for us.

We spent the evening cuddled on the couch in our cozies watching ‘The Help.’ That is my idea of a perfect date night.

Now I am off running here and there today. Have a great Saturday everyone!

Carrot Soup Take Two

Happy Friday and Happy 8 Month Anniversary to my honey!

Recap of yesterday coming right up.

After my morning run yesterday, I whipped up a bowl of Cream of Wheat. This is a recycled photo from a few days ago as my breakfast yesterday was completely the same except it was in “to-go” form (plus I forgot to take a picture). I had a meeting yesterday morning and was running late, so I heated my bowl of cereal right before I left the house, and it was still fairly hot when I got there.

For lunch I made rice with soy sauce, leftover chicken breast with teriyaki sauce, and green beans. Mmm, salty.

And for dessert….I couple bites of banana with peanut butter. This is a very common dessert for me but I always forget to snap a photo.

Dinner was a real easy one last night. I took a batch of carrot soup I had made a while back, out of the freezer, and began the defrosting process.

In the meantime, I sliced three bread-butts from the freezer (I save the butts of the breads for croutons) into bite-size squares, sprinkled them with garlic powder and a little salt, and set them under the broiler. Voila. Homemade croutons to go on top of the soup; healthy and simple.

I also cut up some fresh cilantro and fresh chives. Reminder to self: I need to dry the chives this weekend before they go bad.

So what do you get when you take your carrot pumpkin soup, add croutons, and fresh herbs? THIS!

Here’s the recipe if you’re interested: Carrot Pumpkin Soup. I made this batch back in March. The only thing I left off on the March ingredient list was the chives and croutons as those are optional items.

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This morning I woke up not feeling so hot. My tummy feels pretty nasty. I am wondering if I ate a little too much salt yesterday? It’s a possibility that I am just feeling über dehydrated. I hope it goes away soon.

Anyway, I am off. It looks like it’s going to be a beautiful day in our  neighborhood. Have a great Friday.