Food Prep Sunday

Well, I still can’t believe the weekend is over. It was a good one as they always are. Saturday was spent celebrating Kari and Tony’s wedding and relaxing in the evening.

And Sunday…

We slept in until 8:30 which felt amazing. It was so nice to have a relaxing morning and not have to rush to get up, or set the alarm. Once I rolled out of bed, I got to work on a fruit smoothie.

In the mix:

  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Banana
  • Spinach
  • Yogurt
  • Sweetener
  • Splash of water (to get things moving)

I also had a cup of hazelnut coffee. I drank my liquid breakfast while flipping through the Sunday paper and cutting coupons.

After a leisurely morning, we got out and ran our standard Sunday errands. We made a trip to the co-op for freshly ground peanut butter (we priced it out and it was cheaper to buy it this way than make our own), then we went to Target, and lastly Costco. By the time we got home at 12:30 I was about to eat my hair. Our fridge was fully stocked.

I whipped up a batch of scrambled eggs seasoned with salt and pepper. I wanted to try incorporating some Dry Curd Cottage Cheese (SCD talks about this stuff all the time). It took me 2 weeks to find this cheese–I thought I had the right kind during the intro diet, but turns out I bought the wrong stuff. Anyway, I mixed in a spoonful of DCCC into the eggs with high hopes of a cheesy nummy egg, but it turned out to be a flop. It tasted like cottage cheese mixed with eggs (duh) and I should have known that it would come out that way. I guess I thought the cheese would sort of melt into the eggs a little better. The texture was a little too funky for me. I topped it with salsa which made it taste a little better, and I choked down a couple of bites before moving on to something else.

After my failed DCCC eggs, I went on to eat cooked carrots, watermelon, and almond butter. Then, I hit the road to go meet mom for a hot and humid walk. We walked around mom and dad’s neighborhood for about a half hour and we looked like wet noodles by the time we got back because of the humidity. It was a great walk though! After the walk I hung out with mom, dad, and Abbie before coming home to get to work in the kitchen.

I think Sunday can officially be deemed food prep day. Lately, it has been working out well to spend a few hours on Sundays preparing food for the SCD so that I am able to continue to stay on track throughout the week. It can be slightly exhausting but it’s always worth it in the end.

Yesterday I made…

  • Cooked carrots
  • Applesauce
  • Cheesecake (SCD)
  • Crockpot Chicken
  • Tilapia
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Pineapple gelatin
  • Homemade BBQ sauce (recipe to come)
  • And I cut up fresh strawberries from a Costco-sized container

Cooked carrots: place organic baby carrots in a large bowl with about a cup of water, cover and microwave for 8-10 minutes or until carrots are fork tender. I have been eating these like crazy and wanted to have plenty for the week ahead.

Applesauce: Peel, core, and slice your apples. Place in pot with an inch or two of water in bottom of pot. Bring to a boil and let boil for about 10 minutes or until apples are fork tender.

Let the apples cool slightly, then transfer the apples (not the water) to a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.

Refrigerate and enjoy plain or with cinnamon. That’s what you call all natural applesauce!

Next up was SCD cheesecake and I used this cheesecake recipe right from the book.

Crock pot chicken: I placed two boneless skinless chicken breasts into the crock pot with ground mustard, salt, pepper, and a touch of honey. I set the crock to low and let it go for 4-5 hours. Once the time was up, I removed the chicken and placed into my Pyrex so that it would be ready to eat for lunch or dinner this week.

For dinner, we cooked up tilapia seasoned with fresh dill from our garden, fresh lemon juice, and pepper. I ate mine with ketchup (obviously), and I had a side of cooked carrots with a sprinkle of cinnamon and honey.

I LOVED the carrots with the cinnamon and honey holy cow. They tasted like a dessert to me! I finished the meal off with a piece of cheesecake pictured above. Hmm…well, it tasted better than the last time I made it but that’s because I had used the completely wrong cheese! The taste was alright, but I had a hard time getting past the texture. It wasn’t smooth like I was hoping. Oh well, I can’t say I didn’t try, but probably won’t be attempting to make that again.

There you have it; my busy day in the kitchen. The next couple of days I am going to be cooling it with introducing new foods into my diet. My body has been a little off lately and I this past weekend I wasn’t feeling too well. I plan to eat a modified version of the intro diet for a couple of days to get me back on track.

This is what I’m tentatively planning to eat (I am basing these foods off of the SCD Intro Diet and modifying to fit my needs):

  • Eggs
  • Chicken
  • Lean beef (if necessary)
  • Fish
  • Fruit Juice Gelatin
  • Cooked carrots
  • Applesauce
  • Bananas

Basically, I’m just adding applesauce and bananas on to the intro diet. Since I have already improved tremendously, I know I will be able to handle both of those foods just fine yet still give my system a bit of a break. This will only be for 1 or 2 days, then I should be able to move on again with adding foods back in slowly. That’s the plan as of now.

Once I was all done with the food prep, the rest of my Sunday night was spent watching the Season Finale of The Bachelorette. I am pretty surprised with the outcome. Have a great day everybody! I’ll catch up with you soon.

A Cinnamon Cookie or Two or Three…

Happy Wednesday everybody…

Workout & Breakfast

Yesterday morning I grabbed a half a banana with peanut butter as a pre-workout snack before heading to the gym.

At the gym, I hit the elliptical for 30 minutes, then to the treadmill for a fast mile run, and I finished off with leg weights. I felt pretty darn good after that one.

When I got home I made myself breakfast: a smoothie packed with yogurt, blueberries, strawberries, banana, mango, spinach, and a splash of Welch’s 100% grape juice.

I don’t have food photos from lunch or dinner because I ate at work and being we were in meetings, it would have been kind of awkward if I started snapping photos of my food. :smile: I can tell you though I spent time in the kitchen yesterday morning prepping my healthy SCD friendly meals.

For lunch, I made Thai lettuce cups much like these ones but the only veggie I included yesterday was the carrots. For dinner, I made a chicken and veggie sauté. I sautéed carrots, zucchini, and mushrooms until thoroughly cooked and soft, then added the chicken. For sauce, I whisked together honey, fresh orange juice, and a dash of ginger. I poured the sauce over the cooked veggies, sprinkled with salt and pepper, gave it a stir, let it cool, and packed it in my Pyrex to go. I had two super delicious and healthy meals yesterday. It was worth the extra effort for sure.

Amidst the work meetings yesterday, there were chocolates and candies being passed around. I can’t tell you how bad I wanted to reach into that bag of chocolates and savor every last chocolately bite. I think chocolate is what I miss most while on this diet. Of course I didn’t eat any of the chocolates, but I was feeling a little “deprived” at the end of the day, and had a hankering for something sweet. Lately when I want something sweet, I have been eating a bite of peanut butter with honey, but last night, I really wanted something else. So, although I worked late and wasn’t home until late, I decided I was going to make myself a batch of SCD cookies.

I found a recipe from this site, tweaked it the slightest bit, and got to baking. Here’s the recipe:

SCD Cinnamon Cookies

Ingredients

  • 3 cups almond flour
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup yogurt (SCD homemade)
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 saccharin “sugar” packets**
**The saccharin helps to cut the tartness out of the yogurt. The original recipe calls for applesauce but I didn’t have any on hand so I substituted yogurt instead. If using applesauce, you probably would not need the saccharin.
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 300°
  2. Mix all ingredients together
  3. Spoon walnut-size cookies onto a no-slip mat or parchment paper covered baking sheet about 2 inches apart
  4. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until cookies begin to turn golden brown
Notes: The dough is a little tricky to work with as it is pretty sticky. I used a spoon to scoop the dough and used my finger to slide it off onto the mat. You want to bake these long enough for them to begin to crisp up just a bit, if not, they turn out very crumbly and bread like. Also, I would probably add even more cinnamon next time around. It would be nummy to add in butternut squash puree instead of the yogurt too. I may have to try that in the future.

So, how did they turn out? Well, they aren’t even close to being in the same ballpark of deliciousness as a Nestle chocolate chip cookie, but they did a pretty good job of relieving me of my sweet hankering. They have a hint of cinnamon and their texture was sort of like an airy but slightly crispy pancake or muffin top (kind of hard to explain). They were a tiny bit bland, so I ended up making myself an even more special treat by lightly spreading peanut butter and a touch of honey to the cookie.  They were pretty good when eaten plain though too, just not what I am used to when it comes to cookies. If it’s a choice of cookie or no cookie, I would take this cookie. I have to confess….I ate WAY too many of these last night. I think I was really missing my treats and just went overboard. Yes, the Dietitian just admitted that she over-did it on cookies; pretty embarrassing. My body is not very happy with me today. I am a little down because I worry that I set myself back on my healing progress. I have been feeling SO good lately, and the last thing I want to do is back track. I’m trying to stay positive. Today’s a new day. I know I will be okay!

How about this for positive, it’s Wednesday! Half-way through the work week. I hope you all have a great day. I will catch up with you later.

Grab a Snack

I really like that word, “snack.” I don’t know if it brings on a feeling of comfort or what it is, but when I hear the word it makes me happy. It makes me think of snuggling on the couch and watching a movie; it gives me a cozy feeling. I also love during Rachael Ray’s show when she is about to go into a commercial break and says, “go grab a snack and come on back.” I am a weirdo I am aware. But, speaking of snacks, I have some of my favorite SCD snacks to share with you all. Even if you aren’t following the SCD, these snacks are healthy and delicious options if you are in need of a little pick-me-up.

But first, let’s recap dinner last night because it was pretty darn tasty. I sautéed asparagus spears and green peas in a tiny bit of butter and seasoned with salt and pepper. I also had shrimp cocktail with homemade cocktail sauce made from SCD ketchup and horseradish. On the side, butter lettuce with homemade honey mustard sauce.

Honey mustard: mustard, Dijon mustard, honey, and apple cider vinegar.

For me, the asparagus and pea sauté stole the show. I love those two veggies. Num num.

For dessert I ate a bite of peanut butter with honey. Later in the evening I munched on cooked carrots and applesauce.

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Now, on to those snackies. These have been some of my go-to’s lately. They are all SCD-friendly but like I said, SCD or not, they are great snacks for all.
1. Juicy, sweet watermelon. I keep this stocked up in the fridge, all cut up and ready to go. Sure it’s a little bit of a pain to cut up, but it’s well worth it.

2. Cooked carrots. When I have a little extra time I make a big batch and store them in the fridge so that they are easy to grab. I keep them at eye level so I am more likely to go for them first when in need of some energy.

3. Hard-boiled eggs. These are a great source of protein so if I need something to hold me over for a little while, I eat one of these. I like using our egg slicer to make perfect slices, and I sprinkle with a touch of salt.

4. Yogurt bites. Cool, refreshing, and fun.

5. Banana soft serve or yogurt and honey. It’s like eating ice cream, ’nuff said.

6. Mini muffins made from almond flour. Limit to 1 or 2 mini muffins a day though!

7. Smoothies with fruit, SCD yogurt, and spinach.

8. Banana with nut butter or just a bite of nut butter on its own.

9. And my newest snack addition: Almond Saltine Crackers. I found a great recipe from Comfy Belly’s site.

Here’s how you make them. To begin, preheat your oven to 350°. In a large bowl, mix together 2 cups of almond meal or almond flour with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Next, add 1 egg and 1 tablespoon of olive oil and mix well. It’s okay to use your hands to help mix, I did! Form into 2 balls of dough.

Place a dough ball on a non-stick baking mat or parchment paper, and top the dough with a layer of parchment paper (like a cracker dough sandwich). Use a rolling-pin to roll the dough into a flat large rectangle/circle/whatever shape you can roll it into. Carefully peel off top layer of parchment paper.

You can see mine was far from perfect. It doesn’t matter though! Use a pizza cutter to cut into cracker size rectangles, and transfer the baking mat and crackers to a baking pan. Sprinkle with a light amount of sea salt.

Bake for 20 minutes (baking time with vary so keep an eye on crackers and watch for a lightly golden color and crisp edges).

Split crackers apart.  Once cooled, store in an airtight container and you have a salty snack on hand when you need it. They taste a whole lot like saltine crackers and I really like these salty snacks.

Almond Saltine Crackers (courtesy of Comfy Belly)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups almond meal
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • sprinkle of sea salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together almond meal and salt.
  3. Add egg and olive oil; mix well and form into 2 balls of dough.
  4. Place a dough ball on a non-stick baking mat, and top the dough with a layer of parchment paper.
  5. Use rolling-pin to roll the dough into a flat large rectangle/circle/or whatever shape (it really doesn’t matter).
  6. Carefully peel off top layer of parchment paper.
  7. Use a pizza cutter to cut into cracker size rectangles, and transfer the baking mat and crackers to a baking pan. Sprinkle with a light amount of sea salt.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes (baking time with vary so keep an eye on crackers for a lightly golden color and crisp edges).
  9. Split crackers apart.  Once cooled, store in an airtight container.

Happy snacking! Oh, and happy Monday? Kidding, yes it will be a happy Monday. Again, I’ll try and be positive about Monday if you will! Catch up with you later.

Banana Soft Serve on a Summer Day

Yesterday’s weather could have not have been more perfect for the pool party. We celebrated our friend Greg’s birthday while lounging at their pool and catching up with friends and family.

I mentioned yesterday that my brother Jeff is home from Bogota, Colombia and it was almost surreal seeing him yesterday at the party. I don’t like going 9 months without seeing him! Dana and I are planning a trip in the fall to go out to Colombia and see him. I’m already excited for it.

We had all but one family member at the party yesterday (we missed you Scotty!), so we, well I, had to make sure and snap a photo. I should photoshop Scott in and then we would be set! Who’s that misfit in the back with the dark hair and dark skin? :wink: Kidding.

I didn’t take any food photos yesterday because I was enjoying myself way too much. It was definitely a little bit of a challenge to find things I could eat that were SCD allowed, but I snacked on boat loads of watermelon (I made sure to bring a ginormous bowl to share), and some other fresh fruit. I did eat some fresh sugar snap peas and grape tomatoes which I probably wasn’t quite ready for but the good news is I feel fine today! For dinner I ate a grilled beef burger with mustard which really hit the spot.

We had a really great time at the party. Thanks for putting that all together Cheryl and Greg!

I was hungry again when we got home that evening so I made a batch of homemade peanut butter. Oh em gee so good. I ate some peanut butter with banana and cooked carrots with honey and salt. Oh, did I mention I had to start all over on the homemade SCD yogurt last night too? Yea, I did. The yogurt was about 20 hours into the cooking process when I remembered that I forgot to put the “starter” yogurt into the milk. I was not a happy camper last night. We made a quick trip to the store and bought another half-gallon of 1% milk and started all over. It will not be done until 11:30 pm tonight. Ha ha…oh well, what can you do besides crab about it a little and get over it?

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Sunday

For breakfast this morning I ate a banana with peanut butter (again). Dana and I were off to a late start because we once again slept in until 8:45 am! We did our standard Sunday morning newspaper and grocery store routine, and I was starving by the time we got home at noon.

For lunch: sautéed spinach and mushrooms in garlic and olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper, and topped with cheddar cheese and a runny egg.

Yes, that was delicious. Now, it is time to try and be productive around here. I am hoping to get some food prep done for the week ahead, including cooking up some chicken breast, and possibly making homemade marinara sauce!

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In case you’re looking for a healthy cool treat this afternoon, I’ll leave you with this idea for inspiration…

Banana Soft Serve

In your blender (2 servings):

  1. 2 frozen bananas
  2. 1/4 cup (?) homemade SCD yogurt or whatever yogurt you have on hand. Milk would also work here. You may need to add more  yogurt or milk. Use your discretion.
  3. Squirt of honey

Blend away but be patient. It takes a while to break down the frozen bananas. You will need to stop the blending process here and there to mix around the bananas, mash them a little, and incorporate them into the mix. Trust me though, it’s worth it. If you have an ice cream hankering this will do the trick, and that’s coming from an ice cream fanatic.

Happy Sunday friends!

Blueberry Lemon Bars

It’s a rainy Tuesday morning here in MN, so how about a recipe to get you into the cozy baking mood?

In charge of dessert at your next potluck? Tired of bringing the same old thing? Well then you HAVE to try this light and summery dessert. Fresh lemons make this bar slightly tart and the blueberries add to a perfect sweetness. I made this recipe for our Father’s Day celebration on Saturday. The entire thing came together so easily and my family absolutely raved about it. The boys even went back for seconds! I adapted this recipe from Mandy’s Recipe Box.

Blueberry Lemon Bars (makes 9-12 bars)

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs
  • 5 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • zest from one lemon

Filling:

  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1- 14 oz can fat-free sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • zest from one lemon
  • 1 cup fresh Driscoll’s blueberries

Topping:

  • Whipped cream (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Spray an 8 x 8 inch square baking pan with cooking spray; set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together crust ingredients until moist; press crumbs into prepared baking dish; bake for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven, sprinkle with 1 tsp sugar; let cool.
  5. In a medium bowl, beat together filling ingredients except for blueberries; whip until slightly thickened.
  6. Gently fold in blueberries; pour onto cooled crust.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes until bars have set.
  8. Remove and let cool; refrigerate for at least one hour.
  9. Cut into bars and serve cool with whipped cream.
Crust:

Filling:

Bake:

Blueberry Lemon Bars! Ta da!

Enjoy!

Happy Day to the Men

Happy Father’s Day to dads of all kinds…Granddads, dads with grown kids, young kids, expecting daddies, puppy dads, cat dads. How about ‘Happy Day to the Men.’ I like that. They sure have to put up with a lot from us females, and they all deserve a day to celebrate.

Yesterday we spent the afternoon with my family to celebrate Father’s Day with my wonderful dad who makes me laugh constantly…

Knows how to seriously man the grill…

Knows how to present a good-looking plate and loves himself a big juicy steak…

Who cooks a mean marinated chicken breast for his not-as-much-red-meat-lovin’ daughter and wife…

And always has room for dessert (just like his daughter). Lemon Blueberry Bar recipe coming soon!

We spent the evening relaxing, opening gifts, eating a delicious meal put on by mom and dad, and cuddling with our favorite little girl.

Gosh, just a little love for that doggy, huh?

Happy Father’s Day to my incredible papa. Thanks for always finding the corniest, funniest jokes to cheer me up with when I’m feeling down and for all you do for me and the family. I love you so so much. Love, your baby girl.

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Today I am celebrating Father’s Day with my hubby….it started off right with BOGO Caribou coffee. :smile:

I’ll fill you in on the rest later. Have a great Sunday everyone, and again, Happy Day to all of you men today. I love ya!

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!

Favorite Posts

Hello friends! I thought it would be fun to pull together a round up of a few of my favorite posts from when I first began the blog in January 2012 through today….

January:

Sweatin’ Out Onions

Ugly Pacman

February:

Sweet Day & Fun Plans

Jam-Packed Fun

You’ve Gotta Start Somewhere

When in Rome

 March:

Bright Lights, Lots of Sights, Tasty Delights

7 Healthy Eating Tips When You Are Away

Asparagus Appetizer and Asics

Mindful Eating

Make This: Vegetable Lasagna

April:

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Bars

A Lucky Friday the 13th

Homemade Grilled Pizza

Healthier Reese’s Recipe, Now Hide the Sweets

I can’t believe I have had this blog up and running for four months now. I still have so much work to do! Thank you all for being so loyal and supporting my love for food and fitness. I hope to inspire you with new ideas and recipes, and help encourage you to live a healthy lifestyle.

Keeping Sugar Intake Under Control: Mind Over Matter

Happy Good Friday to you all!

After work yesterday I headed to the gym. I rowed on the row machine for 5 minutes as a quick warmup, then headed to grab some free weights. I headed to the back to my favorite area of the gym for privacy, and plowed through the Pyramid Arm Workout. I don’t think “plowed” is necessarily the most accurate term to use though, because that makes it sound like it was a piece of cake for me when in reality, this was pretty challenging for me today. I was feeling exhausted with low energy. I always figure though, at least I’m doing something which is better than nothing.

Dinner last night came together in a pinch thanks to the help of the crock pot. At lunch break, I placed two chicken breasts in the crock pot (without any seasonings) and set the crock pot to “high” as it was already lunch time, and wasn’t going to have quite as long of a time to cook as usual. I love the crock pot because you set it, and forget it!

When I got home from the gym the chicken was cooked through in the crockpot. I removed it and placed into a round bowl, grabbed two forks and began shredding. I removed about half of the shredded chicken, covered it, and refrigerated it for use another day. This is the reason I don’t like to season the whole batch, because I like to use it in several different dishes. The other half of the chicken was for our dinner.

I mixed the chicken with KC Masterpiece Original Barbecue Sauce and placed it on top a bed of baby kale, diced tomatoes, diced avocado, red onion, cilantro and corn.

I then added reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese and Newman’s Own Lite Honey Mustard. I have made this combo before and I must say, I really struck gold again. This combination was fantastic! My inspiration for this combo was from a salad I had eaten at Famous Dave’s that was loaded with pulled chicken and honey mustard. NUM!

After dinner we headed out to run a couple of errands. We needed to buy another photo album for our wedding photos because we ran out of room on the first one. Is it bad that it’s been six months since our wedding and our wedding photos still aren’t all in an album yet? Meh.

After errands I plunked down in front of the computer because I needed recipe ideas. I told mom I would bring desserts and a fruit salad to Easter Sunday at their place. Yes, you read right, DESSERT. I haven’t had dessert since February 22nd, when Lent began. It has been great to get my sugar intake under control again especially after the holidays. My body does not crave sugar like it used to.

When re-introducing sweets back into my life, I am going to continue to be very mindful of my eating, and want to make sure not to fall into an over-indulging of sugar stage again.  I will need to remember to keep sweet treats, indeed a sweet treat every once and a while, not a sweet snack everyday. Knowing me and my sweet tooth this will probably mean keeping sweets out of the house for the most part, and if I really have a hankering for something , I will have to go out and buy it, which will slow me down.

I don’t want to “crave” sugary treats and I have a big vacation coming up in a few weeks which involves being in a swimsuit. I am hoping this motivates me to stay smart. My goal is to keep my sweet tooth under control, and it’s mind over matter.

Anyway, after browsing many photos and recipes, and drooling on my shirt, I think I have decided on two recipes, possibly three that I will be making.

1. Chocolate Caramel Bars or Carmelitas; something like these

2. Lemon Bars

3. Homemade Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (I haven’t for sure decided on this one yet)

I thought these all looked so good! I could waste so much time looking at recipes and food photos. I find it so fun and relaxing. I am such a foodie.

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Breakfast this morning was cinnamon flaxseed oatmeal with bananas and PB2. I added in a small amount of egg whites towards the end of the cooking process to add more protein to the dish. I decided to top it off with a little bit of maple syrup. It was muy delicioso.

Now, my computer is really starting to test my patience so I think this post needs to come to an end. I hope everyone has a beautiful Friday!

Fat Tuesday? It sure was.

Happy Hump Day!

How ironic that I ended up having a complete bottomless pit stomach yesterday on Fat Tuesday. Huh, funny. I didn’t snap photos of all of my food yesterday because quite frankly I would have had to glue the camera to my hand. My day started off with a nice patriotic looking bowl of fruit and greek yogurt.

Btw if you are wondering, I typically buy FAGE (pronounced Fa-yeh) Total 0% all natural non fat greek strained yogurt.

Quick Nutrition Facts (Per 1 cup):

  • 130 calories
  • 0 g fat
  • 85 mg sodium
  • 9 g carbohydrate
  • 9 g sugar
  • 23 whopping grams of protein!
  • 25% daily value of calcium

It’s obvious I really enjoy my yogurt sweetened with a little honey and mixed with a ton of fruit, but it can also be used as a substitute for sour cream, mayonnaise, cream cheese, etc. We have been going through it pretty quickly around our house.

I worked until 1:00 yesterday so I had packed some snacks to tide me over until I got home for lunch. I packed a string cheese, apple, carrots, sugar snap peas, and a banana. I ripped through those snacks like it was no ones business and also had an Archer Farm’s fruit strip on the car ride home. I was going to go to the gym and then eat when I got home but I couldn’t make it. I needed MORE FOOOOOODD! I was like a tornado whipping through the kitchen. I immediately sliced off a piece of bread and slathered it in pb and J. I scarfed that down then headed to the pantry for a few handfuls of Special K blueberry cereal. I wanted more but decided I needed to cool it for a bit, especially if I was planning to get any sort of a workout in.

My intentions were to go for a run on the treadmill. I started running but noticed a little pain in the outside of my left knee cap. I tried to keep running thinking I was just warming up and it would go away, but it didn’t. I turned my run into a 45 minute walk and then cranked out some abs and planks. I hope the pain goes away soon. I think it will.

Anyway…back to the snacks again. I wanted to share with you this new hummus that we bought (new to me at least). It is Cedar’s Artichoke Kalamata Hommus. Oh wow, I can’t begin to describe how good this stuff is but I’ll try. It is creamy and slightly salty with a hint of olive flavor and tiny specks of artichoke. Perfect to dip crackers, veggies, or pita chips. If you ever see this stuff in your grocery store, give it a go.

Now, where was I going with this post? Oh yes, dinner last night! My long-time friend, Kalley came over for dinner last night. We’ve been friends since the 8th grade. Back in the day we passed notes, gossiped about our biggest crushes, and danced and sang to N’sync and Britney Spears. Hmm, come to think of it, not much has changed. :wink: Except now we are passing texts, talking about husbands and real significant boyfriends, and still dancing and singing to JT (although I still have love for Britney too).

Homecoming 2001 (Me, Jules, and Kalley)

Ellen's Wedding 2010

It had been way too long since we had gotten together so we decided to hang out in our comfies and make dinner together. On the menu was veggie fajitas, guacamole and a whole lot of catching up!

Fajitas:

  • bell peppers
  • onions
  • corn
  • pinto beans
  • fajita seasoning (chili powder, cumin, black pepper, salt, paprika, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder)
  • whole wheat tortillas
Kalley’s Guacamole:
  • avocados
  • red onion
  • lime juice
  • lemon juice
  • cilantro
  • salt and pepper

It was SO great catching up! Also, thanks for the books! I started reading Firefly Lane last night. Thanks for coming over Kal!

After Kalley left, Dana and I had our last dessert before lent and it was a good one. Coldstone ice cream (cake batter ice cream with brownies and other goodies) and a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.

No.more.sweets.

Just noticed the time. I still need to finish getting ready for work!I am out! Happy day!