Okay everyone so in fear of never catching back up, this blog is going to be a little more concise. If you do have any questions about any of these recipes feel free to ask, and I will let you know anything that you would like!
Wednesday I wasn’t able to cook much due to school, but in the morning I did take some of that extra-lean pork sausage from the night before, and used it to make breakfast sausage from Devin Alexander’s book, “Fast Food Fix”. Instead of a regular pork sausage sandwich that would add up to just about 450 calories, 27 grams of fat, 30 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber and 21 grams of protein, my new breakfast sandwich addition comes in at only 357 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, 28.5 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of fiber and 30 grams of protein, not a bad way to start the day.
For Thursday I was trying to find a crowd pleasing dish for all of our friends for bible study that night, so I decided to make some pretty easy and good for us food. I grabbed my “Healthy Homestyle Cooking” by Evelyn Tribole, a gift from my friend Sarah and began looking for tasty chicken recipes. I found a recipe for Cheesy Chicken and Artichoke Bake, it turned out pretty tasty, and for me that says a lot, I’m not normally a fan of creamy style chicken, but this was really good. The traditional version of this chicken bake, would add up to 616 calories and 30 grams of fat per serving, the new improved version found in this cookbook adds up to only 351 calories and 5 grams of fat, a great trade off, and a tasty easy bake, that everyone really enjoyed. For dessert, I went the super easy way, I had heard of a non-fat brownie mix and I was dying to try it, so I picked up the Trader Joe’s version called “Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt Brownies” and asked my friend Shelly to mix them up. They were super easy, only two ingredients the mix and non-fat vanilla yogurt, I decided to use Dannon Light & Fit Vanilla Yogurt, for a reduced sugar amount as well. Our brownies turned out perfect if you like cake-y style brownies and were super easy, for one brownie the totals come to only, 110 calories, 0 grams of fat, 28 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber and 2 grams of protein, for a typical brownie the tables are slightly turned. A typical brownie adds up to about 145 calories, 9 grams of fat, 15 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber and 2 grams of protein. I think that I could make from scratch a better for you brownie, but these are the best out of the box brownies that I have been able to find so far, and they are really really good!
Friday of last week was also a busy day, doctor’s appointment, work and then home, but dinner was something that I was looking forward to cooking that night. I had been thinking of ideas all day, and I decided to try to find a recipe for Mediterranean-style pork chops. My mom found this to be very humorous and a kind-of oxymoron, considering that many people in the middle east don’t consume pork, but we were able to find a recipe for them online. For every serving of these savory, sweet, sour creations that calories only came to 278 calories, 10 grams of fat, 22 gram of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber and 25.7 grams of protein, for dessert, the all-reliable Skinny Cow came in, the perfect little dessert when you are way too tired to make something. These “ice cream” cones are super tasty, no-one I have met hasn’t liked them, they come in a variety of flavors and most are only about 150 calories and 2 grams of fat, most regular kinds of ice cream sandwiches will cost about 170 calories and 7 grams of fat a piece! Check out Skinny Cows at any grocery store, they will be worth it!
Saturday, was the day that I had been waiting for all week, it was my chance to cook a little. Breakfast, I had to get on the road, Sarah and I had an appointment that we woke up a little late for making our Starbuck’s run, not only a necessary one, but a convenient one. After our appointment, we popped back home to relax for a while, and I decided that for lunch, although I felt like cooking, I really wanted to do something pretty quick. I had pre-frozen already breaded chicken strips earlier that week, and stuck them away in the freezer for a time like Saturday. In less then 20 minutes we had fresh chicken strips, that were so tasty! If you feel like freezing yours, just make the chicken strip recipe that I included a few blogs done, and just after breading before baking, put them in a freezer safe bag and freeze them up to 2 months! Our quick lunch, had a caloric count of only 322 calories, 5 grams of fat, 28 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber and 40 grams of protein, regular chicken strips aren’t going to be nearly as friendly, the originals would add up to 430 calories, 20 grams of fat, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber and 43 grams of protein. For dinner, my family had come up with a fairly elaborate idea. We love Mongolian BBQ, but only know one place that does it, well now we know too. We decided to grill up a bunch of chicken as our main protein, but then arrange a make-your-own-Mongolian BBQ-bar at my house. It was crazy and so much fun! We had a ton of toppings, from carrots to tofu to freshly minced garlic, almost everything was present to be able to make your own feast! We also had different sauces to use for a main sauce over the BBQ to help it cook. I worked as the wok-ing master, and cooked everyone’s food, although half-way through I ended up with a burn on my finger, which left me in pain for a couple of days…ouch. Everyone’s Mongolian BBQ was different but with a variety of fresh veggies and chicken breast we weren’t too worried. I also made my own version of fried “rice”. My fried rice was made with quinoa, which I’m not sure if I have talked about on here. Pretty much one of my new best friends. It works extremely well as a substitute for rice, but is a whole grain. It has a ton more protein and fiber then rice and not nearly as many calories so it was the perfect substitution. After preparing the quinoa as directed on the box, I woked it in a skillet with Eggbeaters, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, some frozen peas, carrots and corn and a tablespoon of sesame seed oil. For my version, of my favorite asian side, the totals only come to: 149 calories, 3.3 grams of fat, 22.7 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, and 6.8 grams of protein, for a typical version this stuff will cost you much, much more, 450 calories, 14 grams of fat, 67 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of fiber and 13 grams of protein. After our feast of veggies and whole grains it was time for dessert. I had just received one of my new cookbooks earlier in the week, More Healthy Homestyle Cooking by Evelyn Tribole and had been looking through it. I found a recipe for homemade pudding and decided to give it a shot, after about 7 minutes I was proudly possessing my first batch of homemade pudding, and with calorie counts as low as 85 calories and 2.8 grams of fat for the rich and chocolately flavor you couldn’t really beat it…unless it was in a Julia Child inspired crepe; then possibly. Well, if you couldn’t guess, I thought crepes and chocolate, there aren’t many combos that beat that. So I whipped out my Mastering the Art of French cooking cookbook and begun hard at work to change Julia’s Light Batter for Crepes Suzette around. I used fat-free milk, 1 egg yolk and 1/4 cup Eggbeaters, Splenda, oat flour, applesauce for part of the butter, and was intensely nervous through the whole process. I was sure that the applesauce or the Eggbeaters were going to fail me, but low and behold, perfection. My perfect Julia inspired crepes only add up to 61.3 calories, 2.3 grams of fat, 7.3 grams of carbohydrates, 0.8 grams of fiber and 2.3 grams of protein, as opposed to Julia’s version weighing in at 112.8 calories, 6.5 grams of fat, 9.9 grams of carbohydrates, 0.2 grams of fiber and 2.2 grams of protein. Our whole dessert was a mere, 146.3 calories and 5.1 grams of fat, a great way to end a fun night with family and friends.
Sunday was a typical day for me, church, fellowship with loved ones at breakfast, a quiet and relaxed afternoon, all to follow with dinner. For dinner, I was really not in the mood to make something. I wanted to throw something together and just be done with it. I grabbed a box of whole wheat pasta, a jar of Classico pasta sauce, bell pepper, zucchini, onion, garlic and a package of sweet Italian turkey sausage. I sautéed the veggies, grilled the sausage, boiled the pasta and in less than 30 minutes it was time for dinner. All my pasta only added up to 431 calories, 13.3 grams of fat, 61.1 grams of carbohydrates, 9.9 grams of fiber and 27.5 grams of protein. A traditional sausage pasta would add up to much higher numbers like 900 calories and 50 grams of fat for example. After a lazy day, I decided to be much lazier and head to bed a little early.
Monday was a typical day, full of work and meetings, but met with my relief of cooking at the end of the day. After work, I went home knowing what I wanted to cook. I had been thinking about mexican food all day, but not just any kind, a super-loaded chicken fajita burrito sounded amazing. So I decided to make my own. I grilled the chicken with no oil for the soup and burritos. For the burritos I sauteed bell peppers and onions using no oil again, and added them to the chicken. I added a packaged fajita mix to that the chicken and peppers and let them marinade for a while together. After getting the chicken and peppers ready to go, it was time to work on my sides. I made my own tortilla chips and mexican style “rice” using quinoa. For my rice this time, I still prepared the quinoa like the package directions say, and after it was finished cooking added in some diced tomatoes with chiles, and taco seasoning, quick, low-fat and very tasty. My whole family enjoyed making their own loaded burritos, complete with fat-free refried beans, fat-free sour cream and guacamole. Everything was so great and just what we all needed. It’s hard to say what everything came out to be calorie wise, but the chips were baked using the recipe from “200 under 200″ by Lisa Lillen, making each serving just under 130 calories and 2 grams of fat. For the quinoa, it comes to a mere 158 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, 25.8 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber and 5.6 gram of protein, not bad when you consider the alternative of 260 calories, 7 grams of fat, 44 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein. Overall, it satisfied my craving and was a lot of fun!
P.S. For your build your own burrito night, pick up a package of La Tortilla factory tortillas, at only 80 calories, 3 grams of fat, 19 grams of carbohydrates, 14 grams of fiber and 8 grams of protein — it’s the only way to enjoy a burrito.
Tuesday was an interesting day, I was having an off-day. You know those days when everything is discouraging you, and you feel like you are all alone? That was me on Tuesday, not the best day, but my Dan helped pull me out of my bad mood. After my long day of work and school, he came over to make me dinner, yummy BBQ and give me the hug that I had been needing. While he was making dinner, instead of eating my feelings, like I have always done, I baked them instead. I was in the mood for something chocolately and I love cookies, so I decided to whip up a batch of Chocolate Crispy Cookies. I swapped out part of the butter for applesauce, the flour for oat flour, a blend of Splenda and sugar, Eggbeaters for eggs, and Fiber One cereal for crisp rice cereal. These babies turned out to be one of my favorite cookies so far. They were the perfect amount of crunch and chew and had the right amount of chocolate. Each one adds up to only 107.6 calories, 4 grams of fat, 18.8 grams of carbohydrates, 3.5 grams of fiber and 1.9 grams of protein, and all I have to say is take that original cookie which would have set me back by 155 calories, 7.1 grams of fat, 22.6 grams of carbohydrates, 0.7 grams of fiber and 1.6 grams of protein. Not a bad way at all to banish bad feelings and spend a little time with the people I love.
Wednesday was a much better day, but because I had school all day was SUPER busy. I started out with my Food Principles class where we make some pretty amazing things, none of which are healthy though sadly, and then it is on to Child Development. These two classes keep me busy for 10 hours at school, which leaves no time for cooking on Wednesdays.
Thursday is a much lighter school day, only one class; Cultural & Ethnic Foods and it only lasts about 2 hours. After class I met up with Sarah, Amanda and my mom for lunch at Chick-fil-a. It was nice to be able to visit with all of them for a few hours considering how crazy and hectic my days prior had been. Since I hadn’t been able to cook the day before I was more than ready to get back in the kitchen. It seemed like the perfect day for chili to me, so I popped open my “The Most Decadent Diet Ever” to try Devin’s Chipotle Chili with Blue Cheese Crumbles. It was super easy, but a tad on the spicy side for some of our Bible study guests. The only bummer about the recipe is that it didn’t seem to stretch as far as I originally thought it would, that in consideration I would definitely make it again. For the servings that we all had, it was 325 calories, 5 grams of fat, 35 grams of carbohydrates, 10 grams of fiber and 38 grams of protein. For a side, I put together my first ever blog recipe of cornbread. This time, I was out of plain yogurt, so I decided to use Vanilla no-sugar added, fat-free yogurt, they are SOO good, and it just gave the bread a slightly sweet taste. For dessert, I served leftover Chocolate Crispy Cookies, and I tried to make cinnamon crescents. I say tried, because although they did go through the baking process, they didn’t turn out how I would have liked them to be, those will have to be re-tried before I am able to share the recipe, sorry everyone .
Who doesn’t love Friday, it’s the first day of the weekend, and last day of the work week, it’s pretty much a great day. After work I headed home, I was ready to cook, and had gone over some ideas with my mom for a tasty dinner. We decided together that Beef Stroganoff would be good. I found a recipe for beef stroganoff in an old Cooking Light magazine and decided that would be the one to use. For the original recipe we didn’t change much, just the sour cream to fat-free instead of reduced fat, we also used whole wheat flour to thicken and whole wheat egg noodles instead of the white kind. The result — a comfort food classic, hearty and tasty at only 412 calories, 7.8 grams of fat, 43.4 grams of carbohydrates, 4.9 grams of fiber and 41.3 grams of protein. The original recipe isn’t too different calorie wise, but my version still ended up saving us 30 calories, 8 grams of fat, and gave us a little more protein and fiber, overall a fairly easy and good swap.
Saturday was the craziest day by far. I had already decided with the help of my good friends to shoot my first video blog. I did the blog on Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes, which are similar to the version found in Lisa Lillen’s cookbook, “200 under 200″. Her recipe was one of my favorites, but by swapping out the pre-boxed cake mix for my own recipe, I save a little bit more and have an overall better product. Stay tuned for the video, hopefully it will be up by the end of this weekend. After our long day of shooting, Dan once again made us dinner. Using some of the left over beef from the day before, he made Philly Cheesesteak sandwiches, which turned out awesome. At only 428 calories a piece and 12 grams of fat, Dan was able to enjoy one of his favorite all time meals, and I got a chance to relax. When I think now that my man was enjoying the regular versions of these sandwiches it makes me think about all the damage that I did to my body in a somewhat oblivious fashion. For a regular Philly Cheesesteak they can run you up to 685 calories, and 40 grams of fat! That’s insane for a sandwich, after relaxing with my friends for a bit it was time to go to bed.
Sunday was a typical day in our home, church and breakfast, followed by a lazy afternoon. I was busy working on projects for school and for some friends that my mom made dinner instead of me, which was nice to have a break for a little bit. She made turkey breast tenderloin served with cous cous and multigrain bread. It was delicious, and was a huge blessing so that I could finish my projects. Not too long after dinner, it was time for me to go to bed, I needed to be up the next day at 4 in the morning.
Now, we are officially caught up to today!
Today was a fairly ordinary day, full of work and the day-to-day rituals, but on my lunch, things changed a little. I normally bring a cookbook or a magazine to work to read on my lunch break, but today I forgot. I decided while I was on lunch to go pick up a magazine at the local store so that I wouldn’t be bored out of my mind for an hour. After rummaging through several books and magazines, I decided to pick up the latest Rachel Ray magazine. I vividly remember watching Rachel Ray when I was younger thinking that when I grew up, I wanted to be just like her. I think a little part of that younger me still exists. I love that she has aimed to help the busy mom and family have a quick, easy, affordable dinner every night to enjoy together. I am here to help her a little with nutrition. Like I said before, I have total respect for her, and her main goal is not healthy food, so I figured I would help on that aspect. In her magazine, I found an amazing looking sandwich called Meatball Melties, and from that point early this afternoon I started craving meatball subs. When I got off of work, I knew exactly what I wanted to make for dinner, went to the store and picked up the stuff and headed on home to begin re-vamping the classic. I used 7% ground beef, Eggbeaters, fat-free milk, no oil, reduced-fat provolone cheese, and kaiser rolls, instead of ciabatta. Rachel’s original recipe came to an astonishing 1056 calories, 58.8 grams of fat, 62.1 grams of carbohydrates, 3.8 grams of fiber and 67.5 grams of protein. My version of this sandwich only came to a caloric count of 613 calories, 21 grams of fat, 60.7 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of fiber and 45.5 grams of protein. This sandwich is a little higher calorie wise then what we normally have, but for every once in a while it is the perfect alternative, and take it from my sister these are tasty! After the first bite, Manda couldn’t stop raving about how much she loved the sandwich and she wasn’t alone. I’m not sure if it was because I hadn’t had a meatball sub in a long time or if it was really that good, but I was shocked. Anyways, now I am off to bed, ready to face another day of work and school. In the future, remember to always eat well!
Until I’m in the kitchen again…
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