Refreshed and Relaxed

I’m back from Florida and feel so much better. Last week was no fun. Super stressed out and my foot issue was really getting to me.

What a perfect time to get outta town!! My parents are in the Sunshine State for the winters, so I went for a visit.

The weather on the first day was a little rainy.

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What do you do on a rainy day? Go shopping!!

The next 3 days were beautiful. There we are!

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It was great to see the family and get away from work. I read, went to the beach, shopped and of course there was a bunch of eating!!

Here are some of the food highlights.

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Scallops, veggies and a baked potato

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My father’s homemade bread. So good! Crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. I had a piece almost every day for breakfast with peanut butter and a sprinkle of cereal.

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Best Chocolate Chips ever!! I will never buy another brand.

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I would show you a picture of the cookies we made but they were eaten so fast it never happened.

My mom and I also cooked together.

Here she is making her lemon chicken in her super small kitchen.

Ya gotta work what you got!

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It made a delicious dinner. Lemon chicken, brown rice and a side salad.

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The Running Breakup

So I’m sad to say that running and I have broken up. Or at least we will be taking some time apart.

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We are “on a break” as Ross and Rachel would say. (Yes I made a Friends reference) I’ve shed the tears, asked “why me” and stayed in bed with a box of cereal.  I’m done and over it.

My foot is no better a week later. I definitely have a strain in my arch. I haven’t been to see a Dr. so I don’t want to say that it’s plantar fasciitis. I have been resting, icing and stretching. It’s better but not enough to run on it. I have now missed 2 long runs in my half marathon training plan. I feel like there is not enough time between now and April 23rd to rebound from this. I could be wrong, I hope I’m wrong.

On a brighter note, I did buy some inserts for my sneakers. Okay maybe I’m not over it yet. I went to Fleet Feet in Colonie and had an employee go over the inserts and tried them all out. I bought a pair that is considered “aggressive”. Whatever that means. I hope they work. I have to wear them an hour a day for a week or so and let my feet adjust.  Fleet Feet is a great resource for runners. They are incredibly informative and helpful when come to running shoes and other running products. 

On another brighter note, now that I’m not running, I’m becoming a pro at the elliptical. I have always hated the elliptical because I felt it wasn’t that good of a workout. I would watch people sweating on that thing and wonder how is that happening!! I figured it out. You have to use a good amount of resistance and keep it moving. I was actually a little sore this morning. From the elliptical? Who knew!

Veggie Packed Mac and Cheese

I’m always looking for ways to add veggies into my meals. So I thought why not give it a try with a classic “Macaroni and Cheese”

How good is macaroni and cheese? Honestly it is a treat to me. All that cheese and pasta make it an occasional meal at my house.

I had been wanting to try a new recipe since reading about Rocco Dispirito’s Mac and Cheese in my Fitness Magazine. He takes out the milk and butter by making  his own “secret weapon”. I took a few of his ideas and a few of my own for this recipe. If you’re interested in Rocco’s recipe, you can find it here

Once I had mac and cheese with shredded lamb in the bottom of the dish. I thought why can’t I do that with zucchini! So I tried it.

two zucchinis found their way into the food processor.

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Zucchinis have a lot of water in them so you will want to squeeze out the excess water after it’s shredded. I used my hands but you could also use paper towels.

Then I layered in it the bottom of a 9 by 13 casserole dish and baked it for about 15 minutes at 375 degrees.

Of course there is the cheese!!! I used about 4 oz of pepper jack but you could use any kind.  More shredding, this time by hand. I got lazy so there are some big chunks in there.

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I then modified Rocco’s  “secret weapon”. Half a large onion, 5 garlic cloves and 1/2 cup of water microwaved for 10 minutes. Then all of that goes in the food processor to make a puree.

His recipe called for mustard powder and greek yogurt. I had neither so I substituted 1 tbsp of spicy mustard and 1/2 cup of plain fat free yogurt. Spiced it up with salt and pepper. I added the cheese slowly and whisked until it was all melted. Then I took it off the heat and stirred in the yogurt.

I added the cheese mixture to cooked pasta. I used whole wheat shells.

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I poured it on top of the zucchini that already baked up in the oven.

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Sprinkled with whole wheat bread crumbs and about a little bit of parmesan cheese.

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Baked for about 15 minutes at 475 degrees. So good!!!!

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I estimate that if you cut this into 6 servings, which is about 1 cup, it around 231 calories. This is just based on my own estimations of the ingredients that I used.

Veggie Packed Mac and Cheese

  • 2 medium zucchinis shredded
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 4 oz of shredded cheese (I used pepper jack but you could use any type)
  • 6 oz of whole wheat cooked pasta
  • 1/2 cup of fat free plain yogurt
  • 1 tbsp of mustard
  • 1/4 cup of whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Shred the zucchini by hand or in a food processor. Once shredded squeeze out the excess water by hand or with paper towels. Then layer the zucchini in a 9 by 13 baking dish and bake for about 15 or 20 minutes.

While zucchini is baking, place onion, garlic and 1/2 cup of water in a glass bowl covered with plastic wrap. Microwave for 10 minutes.  Then puree in food processor until smooth.

Heat the puree and slowly add in the cheese in 1/4 cup increments. Stir continuously until cheese is completely melted. Take off the heat and stir in the mustard and yogurt.

Turn up oven to 475 degrees. Add cheese mixture to cooked pasta and pour on top of the baked zucchini. Sprinkle bread crumbs and parmesan cheese over pasta.  Bake for 20 minutes or until bread crumbs brown and it it heated through.

Chicken Sausage and Veggie Pizza

My favorite pizza is veggie with gooey cheese and perfect crust. I don’t eat pizza that much but sometime I get a craving for it.

I wanted to try and make my own crust this time using Hodgson Mills Whole Wheat Flour, that I had just bought. There was a pizza crust recipe on the package so I gave it a try.

First I stated with the yeast. I mixed the a package of dry yeast with  1 cup of warm water and let it sit for 5 minutes.

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Then I mixed the dry ingredients. I used half whole wheat and half all purpose.

  • 1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour

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Then I mixed in 2 tsp of olive oil, 1 tsp of salt and the yeast mixture.

I tried not to over mix but it was hard to incorporate all the ingredients.

It turned out like this

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Then I let it sit in a warm spot (up in my bedroom) for about 20 minutes. Really it didn’t look that different when I brought it back to the kitchen. I thought i was going to increase in size but I didn’t notice a change.

While the pizza dough was “resting”, I cut up an onion, zucchini and a red pepper and roasted them in the oven with  a drizzle of olive oil.

Before Shot

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After Shot

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I also cut up some chicken sausage to add to the pizza.

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I rolled the dough out as best I could into a circle.

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Then we loaded it up!!!! Of course there was part-skim mozzarella and pizza sauce on there too.

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Cooked in the oven until the bottom browned up nicely.

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The chicken sausage and roasted veggies added great flavor. The crust was a little dry and didn’t have that much flavor. I’ll have to work on that recipe another time. I could experiment with pizza crust everyday!!

Today’s Eats

Oh I can’t wait for this week to be over!

Work has been stressful and boyfriend has been working the night shift this whole week. The worst part if not being able to run off the stress because of my foot!! The good news is that it’s getting better everyday. The foot that is. Right now I’m rolling a frozen water bottle under my arch.  Thanks Runner’s World for the advice.

Breakfast

  • 1/2 c oats
  • splash of milk
  • 1 tbsp of Trader Joe’s pumpkin butter
  • coconut

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Lunch

Romaine lettuce topped with the stuffed buffalo chicken and an apple.

This picture was taken right before he tried to knock my apple of the window sill.

 

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Dinner

More of the same stuffed buffalo chicken but this time with a side of broccoli.

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Off to meet up with friends to watch a basketball game and have a few drinks!!!

Portion Control Ideas

I have definitely struggled over my life time with portion control. I eat way too quickly and don’t pay any attention to the taste. I feel like I’m capable of eating a lot of food and sometimes I don’t realize how much I’ve eaten until ITS ALL GONE.

So over the past month since I started this blog, I’ve really tried hard to watch my portions. I was keeping a food journal, which was great. I’ve actually fallen off with that in the last week. But I’m ready to get back into it, since I do see the results.

I do follow the basic portion control ideas when I eat. I think these are much easier than actually measuring or weighing. I do that also but it’s not always convenient or realistic.

  • Meat = a deck of cards
  • cheese= 3 dice (not a lot of cheese)
  • 1 cup of cereal = baseball
  • 1/2 cup of rice or pasta = light bulb
  • 1 tbsp of peanut butter, salad dressing or butter= poker chip

I don’t pay attention to measuring fruit and veggies because I feel like you can never have too many of those!!

Another strategies that I use is making my own 100 calorie snack bags. I think that the 100 calorie snack packs are a great idea but I don’t buy them because I think they’re over priced and really not the healthiest choices of snacks. Plus they just don’t satisfy my snack craving.

So when I buy a bag of almonds, cereal, raisins or any other snack that I can grab handfuls of I separate them into servings. I buy the Ziploc snack bags and portion the entire bag out. It really helps me from eating a whole box of cereal in two days.

I do buy the 100 calorie bags of popcorn. They are the best!! A whole bag of popcorn for only 100 calories.

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Stuffed Buffalo Chicken

>What’s a great combo?

Buffalo chicken wings and blue cheese!! So good!

I’m actually not much of a wing girl. It’s the chicken on a bone thing that gets to me. But I love the flavor combo. When Buffalo Chicken dip became popular, you couldn’t go to a party or BBQ without seeing it there.

Well I decided to make stuffed chicken using that same flavor combo!


Stuffed Buffalo Chicken

  • 1 lb of skinless chicken breast
  • 1/2 bottle of buffalo chicken sauce
  • 4 oz of blue cheese
  • 10 oz of frozen spinach
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup of bread crumbs

First I marinated the chicken in the buffalo chicken sauce. Sorry for the raw chicken pic!

Then I thawed out the spinach in the microwave and squeezed out all the water. Mix it with the crumbled blue cheese, chopped garlic and salt and pepper.

Then slice the chicken sideways but be careful not to slice it all the way through. Just make a pocket. Start stuffing!

The I topped them with a sprinkling of bread crumbs and  baked the chicken in the oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

They came out great!! Not too spicy but you can still taste the buffalo sauce. The blue cheese and spinach got all gooey and delicious.