Category Archives: Recipes

Summer Salad with Vinaigrette

This salad…is amazing!  I had a version of it while on vacation in Indy earlier this month.  Artisan lettuce (no iceberg) with fresh strawberries, mandarin oranges, pecans, crumbled/cubed cheese, and grilled chicken.  Delicious!

Salads are wonderful for a variety of things…you can get seriously creative with them.  Fruits, nuts, cheeses, meats, etc.  Nothing is really “wrong” on a salad…with the exception of dressing.  Some people go crazy with dressing, and drown the flavor (and health value) out of a perfectly good salad.

I have been experimenting with creating everyday food items from scratch.  First up…vinaigrette.  Specifically the vinaigrette that accompanied this salad in Indy.  A poppyseed vinaigrette.  The waitress was nice enough to tell me it had these things included:

-poppyseeds (of course)
-oil
-wine vinegar
-sugar*
-red onion

She followed it up with, “It’s really quite simple to mix up.”  So, I did.  I did; however, switch up the sugar for honey (as noted by the *).  I used two different kinds of oil, olive and canola.  The dressing had a pink hue to it, so I figured she probably meant red wine vinegar.  Putting this dressing together took me all of five minutes…and it is delicious!  Best of all, I know *exactly* what is in it, and I know it is fresh!

What kinds of salads do you enjoy?  Have you ever made your own dressing?

-Erica

“Ultimate” Get-Slim Guide

This is the first issue of Eating Well I have received, and I found their Ultimate Get-Slim Guide intriguing.  For those of you who do not read/receive this magazine, I thought I would share their tips with you…

1. Define Your Goal.  They provide a math problem to determine your caloric intake:
[Your weight X 12] – 500 = Your daily calorie goal to lose 1 pound a week
*Subtract 1000 if you would like to lose 2 pounds a week.  Also be sure not to dip below 1200 calories per day total.

2. Use Little Plates. This, apparently, causes you to eat less because you just think of it as “I ate an entire plate of food.”  I already do this, by the way.

3. Set A Date. Setting a specific goal (“I want to lose 10 pounds in 2 months”) increases the likelihood of success.  Be as specific as possible to give yourself less “wiggle” room in your goals.

4. Make Your Dinner Plate Like This: 1/2 colorful mix of veggies; 1/4 whole grains; 1/4 lean protein.  I will admit I struggle with this…I am getting better, but I am not great still.  This is part of the reason I will be meeting with a nutritionist on Feb 3.

5. Visual Portion Sizes: 1 tsp = tip of your thumb (to the middle joint); 1 Tbsp = your whole thumb; 1 cup = your fist; 3 ounces of meat = palm of your hand

6. Breakfast Is Vital!  Those who eat breakfast are far more likely to acheive weight loss goals…never skip breakfast!  According to the magazine, repeating the same meal can help shed pounds (I thought the idea was to mix it up, but I’m no expert).

7. Eat Soup.  A study published in Physiology & Behavior showed people who ate soup consumed fewer calories during those days.  I should eat more soup.  Got any great recipes to share?

8. Snacks = Protein and Fiber.  They suggest carrots and hummus, nonfat cottage cheese and orange slices, and an apple with almond butter.

9. Ditch Top Buns. Open-face sandwiches reduce calories by at least 100 calories instantly.  So, do not eat the top bun next time.

10. Allow Small Treats Each Day. Apparently, according to Journal of the American Dietetic Association, eating a treat under 150 calories is okay and will not wreck your diet.  They suggest a 16-oz skim latte, two squares of dark chocolate, or 1/2 cup (non-premium) ice cream.  I personally find this insane, especially for anyone with a food addiction.  Opening that gate every day could be dangerous, so think about how you *really* feel about food before deciding to do this one.  I know I will not be even considering it…

11. Count Calories.  Here is a chart I created based on the information they provide in this article: Calorie Tracker Options

12. Post A Picture. Use pictures for motivation and post them anywhere you can (on your fridge, as your phone wallpaper, on your desktop/laptop wallpaper, etc.).  The pictures can be of yourself at your healthiest, your children, motivational quotes, etc.

13. Get Eight Hours of Sleep. Studies show people who sleep fewer than eight hours of sleep often weigh more than those who get eight or more.  Sleeping less can alter hormones levels that control hunger.

14. Use a BIG Fork. A study at the University of Utah showed bigger bites leads to eating less.  Also try holding the fork in your nondominant hand.  Eating slower allows your body to feel full faster, thus making you eat less.

15. Pick A Prize. Reward yourself as you meet incremental goals.  I have discussed this topic previously, and I am also an occasional “rewarder” (my rewards are *always* non-food items, by the way).

16. Portion-Control Your Lunch. A Cornell study revealed those who consumed a packaged lunch of 200 calories (such as a nutrition bar) consumed 250 fewer calories for the day.  The participants reported they still felt completely satisfied, too.

17. Weigh In and Log Progress.  Weighing in at least once weekly helps to keep you accountable, motivated, and on track.

18. 30 Minutes Per Day. Running, swimming, or biking should consume at least 30 minutes of your day…every day.  That will equal about 250 calories burned, which is about a 1/2 pound in weight loss each week.

19. Make A Bet. At stickK.com you can set a goal, appoint a friend to keep you accountable, and wager money (optional) for charity to meet that goal.  If you do not meet the goal by the set date, stickK will automatically charge your card and send the money to your charity.  Apparently, putting up the money will cause an increase in the likelihood of success, too.

20. Drink Water. In a 2010 study, people who drank two cups of water before meals lost more weight than those who did not.

21. Back On Track, Stat. Repeat this mantra if you slip up.  The mindset of “waiting till Monday” to get back on track really adds on the pounds over the weekend.

22. Eat Yogurt. A recent Harvard study linked yogurt closely to weight loss.  So, have some.

23. Move, Move, Move. Incidental exercise significantly increases calorie burn. (Unpacking the car: 3.0 calories/min; Straightening the house: 3.1 calories/min; Take the stairs: 10.7 calories/min; Shovel snow: 7.6 calories/min)

24. Take EatingWell’s 28-Day Challenge.

25. Make A Plan. They provide a 1,500 calorie/day meal plan and others can be found here.

How many of these tips do you already utilize in your journey?  Will you be adding anymore of these strategies to your journey?  Do you have any of your own tips to share?

-Erica

My {proposed} Thanksgiving “Feast”

So, since I came to the revelation that I needed (badly) to develop a plan for Thanksgiving dinner this year the wheels have been spinning…

I appreciate the input and advice from all of you.  I probably would not have come up with this fine “feast” without you!

First up – salad:

Fall Harvest Salad

To be honest, I usually do not prepare a salad for Thanksgiving dinner. This year; however, I will…and I am actually excited to try this one (because it looks/sounds delicious!). I will be using artisan lettuce instead of “plain old” lettuce, though. Also I will not be making such a large amount of the vinaigrette – my family is not big on dressings anyway.

Next comes the turkey:

Roasted Citrus & Herb Turkey

This is a bit different than my usual seasoning for the turkey, but I am excited to try something new with the turkey. You know, shake things up a bit (or a whole lot…as it might be).

Moving on to the mashed potatoes:

Faux Ta Toes

This is maybe where things start to get more interesting. I have been brainstorming ways to “change out” the mashed potatoes with all of their white starchy evilness (yes, I am aware that is not really a word). At first I switched straight to sweet potatoes, but that was an “I-may-lose-my-life-serving-it” kind of plan. So, I thought “faux” potatoes, or cauliflower. I will not follow the recipe above entirely, but this is the general idea. Instead of serving 100% mashed potatoes, I am going to switch out majority of the potatoes for cauliflower. I also usually use light sour cream instead of cream cheese. Additionally, I will be adding some herbs and spices to keep the flavor up (without adding extra calories/fat).

Now, I am not sure about anyone else out there, but when I have mashed potatoes (or even a knock off) I *have* to have corn.  So, I found this delightfully scrumptious recipe a while back:

Oven Roasted Corn on the Cob with Cilantro Lime Butter

I am hoping I will be able to find corn on the cob in the grocery today. If not, I will have to come up with something else. Maybe a variation of this recipe that does not start “on the cob?” We shall see.

The stuffing:

Wild Rice Stuffing

The last dinner item I will be serving is broccoli:

Broccoli (no special recipe)

I did not pick out a “special” recipe for broccoli because I do not really think I need one. I cook broccoli often (because I love it) and I think the way I usually prepare it is just fine (steamed with some garlic).

On to dessert.  As I mentioned before, we have always been a “multi-dessert” kind of family.  That is mostly because I *love* pumpkin and my mother hates it.  I refuse to skip pumpkin *something* on Thanksgiving, and my mother feels the same way about apple *something.*  So, here is my plan:

Apple Confit

Per the reviews on the recipe, I will be significantly reducing the sugar in the recipe. I will also likely increase the cinnamon and maybe a dash of something extra. It sounds absolutely amazing, though.

…and the pumpkin dessert:

Light Pumpkin Custard

I will be making smaller quantities this year (so I may end up halving some of the larger recipes listed above), so that it decreases the amount of food on the table (and in my fridge afterward). All in all, though, I feel as though this is a decent menu with very little room for “disaster” in the way of my weight loss path. I also believe that my family will not be too terribly upset about this menu, so that is another positive.

What are your plans for Thanksgiving? Will you be allowing yourself a “free” day, or will you be mentally preparing to curb poor eating habits?

-Erica

Curry Salad

This looks amazing, too.  Another recipe courtesy of my Facebook friend, Amy, that is on my “must try soon” list.

CURRY SALAD

2 limes
1 c dry quinoa
1 1/4 c water
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/4 tsp curry seasoning (such as Spice Islands)
3/4 tsp salt
1 package (10 oz) shredded carrots
1 c no-salt-added canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1 1/2 c thinly sliced scallions
1/4 c sliced almonds, toasted
1/4 c dried currants or golden raisins
3/8 tsp pepper

1. Zest or finely grate one lime to produce 1 1/2 teaspoons zest, then juice both limes.
2. In a saucepan, combine 3 tablespoons lime juice, quinoa, water, 1 tablespoon olive oil, curry seasoning, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until quinoa turns transparent and liquid is absorbed. Cool and place in a large bowl.
3. Add carrots, chickpeas, scallions, almonds, and currants. Toss.
4. In a small bowl, combine remaining 3 tablespoons lime juice, zest, remaining 2 tablespoons oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 3/8 teaspoon pepper; whisk until well blended. Pour over quinoa mixture and toss. Divide evenly into four salad bowls.

Makes four servings

Here’s the dirt:
431 calories
14 g fat (1.9 g saturated)
511 mg sodium
60 g carbs
10 g fiber
17 g protein

TIP If you can’t find curry seasoning, make your own using 1 teaspoon of curry powder, 1/8 teaspoon of ground ginger, and 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon.

-Erica

Roasted Red Pepper Pesto Pizza

Tell me this pizza does not look absolutely mouth-wateringly delicious!  Yummy!  Another recipe from my Facebook friend, Amy (thanks!).

ROASTED RED PEPPER PESTO PIZZA

1 (10 ounce) roll of refrigerated pizza dough
6 tablespoons prepared pesto, divided
1 1/2 cups roasted red pepper strips, divided
1/2 cup chopped canned tomatoes, divided
1 cup precrumbled gorgonzola cheese, divided

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. 2. Unroll the can of pizza dough and cut in half. Pat and shape each half into two pizza shells, each about 10 inches in diameter, on a large greased baking sheet or two smaller sheets. 3. Spread each pizza shell with 1/2 of the pesto, then top each with 1/2 of the pepper strips, chopped canned tomatoes and gorgonzola cheese. 4. Bake for about 10 minutes or until the cheese melts and the bottoms are nicely browned.

Here’s the dirt:
463.2 calories
23 g fat (9.1 saturated) 
32.5 mg cholesterol 
1589.9 mg sodium 
45.3 g carbs 
8.2 g sugars 
3.9 g fiber
17.6 g protein

***Of course, I would substitute whole wheat crust, which would change the nutritional information.***

-Erica

Seafood and Mushroom Pasta

This is another recipe from my Facebook friend, Amy…and another I want to try.  Although I am not a big fan of clams, so I would probably substitute chicken instead.  I think it would still be equally delicious with chicken anyway.

 

 

SEAFOOD AND MUSHROOM PASTA

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tin (10 ounces) baby clams, with juice
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 cups sliced mushrooms
2 large tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh dill
salt
ground black pepper
8 ounces whole wheat linguine
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Alternate:
If you blanch your tomatoes, their skins will slip off easily. Begin by coring the tomatoes with a paring knife, removing the stems and white middles. Then cut an X in the bottom of each tomato, cutting only the skin. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the tomatoes to the water. Boil for about 30 seconds. Remove the tomatoes from the pot and immediately plunge them into ice water to stop the cooking process. when the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, use the edge of the knife to slip off the skin.

Directions
1. Warm the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add the clams, shrimp, and mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, or until the shrimp are pink and the mushrooms are soft. Add the tomatoes, garlic, and dill. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the juice from the tomatoes evaporates a bit. Season to taste with the salt and pepper. 2. Meanwhile, in a large pot, cook the linguine according to package directions. Drain the pasta and place it in a large bowl. Add the shellfish mixture and toss gently to combine. Sprinkle with the cheese and additional dill, if using, and serve. 

Here’s the dirt: 
489.5 calories
11.7 fat (3.8 saturated)
239 mg cholesterol 
757 mg sodium 
53 g carbs 
6 g fiber 
49 g protein

-Erica

Black Bean Salad

I came across this recipe today looking over a friend’s Facebook page…and it looks *amazing* to me!  I want to try this out sometime in the upcoming week.  I *love* fresh cilantro (so much, in fact, I grow it in my garden).

BLACK BEAN SALAD

1/4 c smoked tomato vinaigrette (such as Drew’s)
1 can (15 oz) no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained
1 tsp ground cumin
2 c fresh corn kernels (about 2 large ears)
2 oz smoked mozzarella, diced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
3/4 c coarsely chopped avocado
1/2 c finely chopped red onion
1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro

1. In a large bowl, combine vinaigrette, beans, cumin, and salt and pepper to taste; set aside.
2. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add corn and pan-roast, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Stir corn and remaining ingredients into black bean mixture and toss together.
3. Chill until ready to serve. Divide evenly into four salad bowls.

Serves 4
Here’s the dirt:
324 calories
9 g fat (2.7 g saturated)
554 mg sodium
42 g carbs
11 g fiber
13 g protein

TIP: If you use frozen corn kernels, make sure they’re thawed and dry so they don’t stick to the pan.

-Erica

Tuna Artichoke Melts

Ingredients:

1 can (6 oz) light water-packed tuna, drained and flaked
1/3 c. coarsely chopped water-packed artichoke hearts
2 Tbsp fat-free mayo
1/2 c. shredded reduced-fat Mexican cheese blend, divided
1/4 tsp salt-free lemon-pepper seasoning
1/8 tsp dried oregano
2 English muffins, split and toasted

1. In a small bowl, combine tuna, artichokes, mayo, 1/4 c. cheese, lemon-pepper and oregano.  Spread over English muffin halves.

2. Place on a baking sheet.  Broil 4-6 inches from heat for 3 to 5 minutes or until heated through.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese; broil 1 to 2 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.

****I would decrease the lemon-pepper seasoning if I made this again.  It was a little too much for my taste.  Other than that, this was fantastic.  Also I used 100% whole grain bagels instead of English muffins and it was just as yummy.

Here’s the dirt:
2 servings (a serving equals 2 open-faced sandwiches)

335 calories
8 g fat (4 g saturated)
47 mg cholesterol
989 mg sodium
31 g carbs
2 g fiber
34 g protein

-Erica

Fruit-Filled Puff Pancake

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp butter
1/3 c. all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp sugar, divided
1/4 tsp salt
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 c. milk
1-1/2 c. fresh or frozen blueberries
1 medium ripe banana, sliced
1/4 tsp cinnamon

1. Place butter in a 9-in pie or cake pan.  Bake at 400 F for 4-5 minutes or until melted.  Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the flour, 1 Tbsp sugar and salt.  Add eggs and milk; whisk until smooth.

2. Pour into hot pan.  Bake at 400 F for 10-12 minutes or until edges are puffed and golden brown.  Meanwhile, combine blueberries and banana.

3. In a small bowl, combine cinnamon and remaining sugar.  Spoon the fruit mixture onto pancake; sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar.  Cut into wedges.

***You can use any fruit you’d like (we used blueberries, strawberries, and bananas).  Also I did not use even half of the cinnamon-sugar mixture.  I could not imagine piling on *that* much sugar…but you can if you want.

Here’s the dirt:
4 servings

232 calories
8 g fat (4 g saturated)
171 mg cholesterol
240 mg sodium
34 g carbs
2 g fiber
8 g protein

-Erica

Pumpkin Pancakes and Orange Smoothies

I must admit fall is my favorite time of year.  The trees are beautiful and vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows.  The air becomes crisp and cool with amazing breezes.  Everything around me seems fresh, yet comfortable.  I know it is not fall just yet, but I am looking forward to it.  Pumpkins, squash, friends, family, birthdays, holidays, and so much more.

Here are a couple recipes that will be perfect for those lazy fall weekend mornings:

PUMPKIN PANCAKES

  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1-1/2 cups fat-free milk
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • In a large bowl, combine the first eight ingredients. In a small bowl, combine the milk, pumpkin, egg white and oil; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.
  • Pour batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto a hot griddle coated with cooking spray; turn when bubbles form on top. Cook until second side is golden brown.

Here’s the dirt:
6 servings (2 pancakes each)

240 calories
5 g fat (1 g saturated fat)
1 mg cholesterol
375 mg sodium
41 g carbohydrate
3 g fiber
8 g protein

************************************************************

ORANGE STRAWBERRY SMOOTHIE

  • 2-1/4 cups orange juice
  • 1 package (12.3 ounces) silken reduced-fat firm tofu
  • 3 cups halved frozen unsweetened strawberries
  • 1-1/2 cups sliced ripe bananas

In a food processor, combine the orange juice, tofu, strawberries and bananas; cover and pulse until blended. Pour into chilled glasses; serve immediately.

Here’s the dirt:
6 servings (1 cup each)

120 calories
1 g fat (trace saturated fat)
0 cholesterol
51 mg sodium
25 g carbs
3 g fiber
5 g protein

-Erica