Monday, December 29, 2008

Overnight Spiced Cranberry Oatmeal

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Atlanta...I'm here to cheer on the Tigers to victory! We left Covington this morning at 7 am (my dad likes to get on the road early...I'm not opposed as long as it helps the trip go smoothly...he gets a little grumpy when we travel!). Once we got to the hotel (the Ritz in downtown Atlanta) I started checking my email and came across this recipe for oatmeal that can be made in the slow cooker...love that idea!

So I haven't tried it yet*, but I will as soon as I get home...I'll let you know how it goes. If anyone tries it before me, leave a comment and let me know what you think. I've posted a similar recipe before, but haven't tried it either.

The recipe comes from Coconut & Lime, one of the first blogs that I started reading and still read regularly today. It suggests that the recipe makes 6 servings (3 cups dried oats = 6 cups cooked), but I think because of the fruit you could get 7 servings and cut back a little on the serving size.

Overnight Spiced Cranberry Oatmeal
from coconutlime.blogspot.com

makes 7 servings (about 1 cup each)

4 ½ cups water
3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
2 cups fresh cranberries
¾ cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon salt

Place all ingredients in the slow cooker and stir to combine. Cook on low overnight (6-8 hours). Stir and serve.

Per serving - 206 calories, 2 g fat (0 g saturated), 43 g carbohydrate, 17 g sugar, 5 g fiber, 5 g protein (exchanges: 2 ½ starches, ½ fruit)

Notes - I left the sugar alone even though it is a lot (¾ cup = 12 tablespoons)...as Rachel, the blogger, says, cranberries are very tart so the extra sugar is needed; changes/additions I plan on when I make it: (1) substitute part of the water for milk to boost the protein content (read the comment section before doing this), (2) add some toasted walnuts or pecans for a healthy fat, and (3) cut back on the ginger...I'm not crazy about ginger

* Now that I've tried it, here's what I think:
  • I successfully replaced 1 cup of water with 1 cup of skim milk (no curdling)
  • I started it at 10 pm and ate it at 8:30 am...10 ½ hours...the sides where a little burnt and it was pretty mushy (I guess I'm used to oatmeal with a little more texture and a little less mush) - although I don't mind the consistency, next time I will try using steel cut oats...I'll probably have to modify the amount of oats and water
  • The flavors are really good! I used a 10 ounce bag of frozen cranberries and only ¼ tsp of ginger...I also added a pinch of cloves and omitted the allspice (I didn't have any)
  • I transferred the left over oatmeal to an air-tight container and refrigerated it for later in the week; each morning I microwave my serving and add some walnuts

Lagniappe...

Here is a new review of oatmeal and other hot cereals. My favorite instant oatmeal? In a pinch I use Quaker Simple Harvest Instant Multigrain Hot Cereal.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Crab and Parmesan Stuffed Mushrooms

I know I've said it before, but I love mushrooms...I mean, I can't get enough. Growing up I had them sauteed on top of steak, grilled on kabobs, baked in brown rice casserole (my all time fave), and stewed with chicken.

These days I still cook all of these things my mom did, but I've added new recipes to my repertoire such as roasted mushroom soup and these incredible stuffed mushrooms. You should give them a try!

Crab and Parmesan Stuffed Mushrooms
adapted from foodnetwork.com

24 medium mushrooms, stems removed and finely chopped (chop the stems...not the caps)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 shallot, very finely chopped (about ¼ cup...you could use another kind of onion too)
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and black pepper

¼ cup dry bread crumbs (I made my own using whole wheat bread)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, tarragon, and/or chives (I used parsley...adds color but not much flavor)
½ cup lump crab meat, picked through to remove any shell
½ cup grated Parmesan, divided
1 egg, lightly beaten

In a skillet, melt the butter over med-high heat. Add the shallot and garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the chopped mushroom stems, season with salt and pepper, and cook until the liquid from the mushrooms evaporates, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, using a small spoon (I used my ½ teaspoon to do this) scrape out some of the insides/gills of the mushrooms (be careful not to tear the mushrooms). Arrange the caps, gill side up, in a single layer on a lightly greased rimmed baking sheet. Spray mushrooms with cooking spray* and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.

In a bowl thoroughly combine the sauteed mushrooms, bread crumbs, herbs, crab meat, half of the cheese, and egg. Divide the stuffing mixture among the mushroom caps, mounding it slightly. Sprinkle tops with remaining cheese. At this point the mushrooms can be covered with plastic wrap or foil and refrigerated until ready to cook.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake in the middle of the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, or until heated through.

* I don't buy PAM or other cooking spray from the store very often...it's such a waste (throwing away the empty cans) and expensive! I bought my own oil spray bottle, fill it myself with the kind of olive oil I like, and refill it when it runs out...and guess what the only ingredient is? Olive oil!

Per serving (2 medium mushrooms) - 61 calories, 3 g fat (1 g saturated), 4 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 5 g protein (exchanges: 1 protein, ½ fat)

Notes - I brought these to both of my parties last weekend, so I made a double batch of the sauteed mushroom stems and saved half for the second party...cook once, serve twice!; the original recipe suggests other meats (prosciutto or crumbled cooked bacon) and cheeses (Asiago or crumbled Feta)...the bacon and prosciutto will add more fat and calories though; if you are serving these as hors' dourves, buy smaller 1-bite mushrooms - if they will be served on a plate (with a knife and fork) go for the bigger "stuffers"

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Chicken Roll-Ups with Goat Cheese and Spinach

I love this recipe and have made it so many times. It's been in my recipe binder since 2005 (I only know this because it's printed in the bottom corner). The recipe is from EveryDay Food, the Martha Stewart mag that I rave about.

The original recipe fills the chicken with goat cheese and arugula (a type of lettuce that's "peppery"). I've made it substituting spinach for the arugula and I imagine basil would be nice too (for the party this past weekend I used basil pesto and sun dried tomatoes and it was delish). I've also swapped the goat cheese for feta.

Chicken cutlets are hard for me to find, so I usually buy boneless, skinless chicken breasts and pound them thin. To do this, I put 1 breast in a heavy duty zip-loc bag (I don't seal the bag) and pound it with my rolling pin (I don't have a meat mallet).

Even with the cheese, the recipe is relatively low in fat. Goat cheese and other soft cheeses (like feta) are lower in fat than most (80 cals and 6g fat per 1 oz serving).

Chicken Roll-Ups with Goat Cheese and Spinach
adapted from marthastewart.com

Makes 4 servings

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (1 ½ pounds or less)
Salt and pepper
4 ounces baby spinach (or regular spinach with stems trimmed)
3 ounces soft goat cheese, broken into small pieces
2 teaspoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Pound each chicken breast to about a ¼-inch thickness and pat dry. Season chicken with salt and pepper.

On a clean work surface, lay chicken flat (smooth sides down). Fill and roll: Layer each breast with spinach and then crumble goat cheese in the center. Starting with the narrow end, roll up chicken tightly and seal with a toothpick (or 2) or tie with kitchen twine.

In a large nonstick ovenproof skillet*, heat oil over medium-high heat. Swirl to coat bottom of pan. Cook, seam side down, until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Turn chicken and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes.

Transfer skillet to oven. Cook until chicken is opaque throughout, 10 to 12 minutes. Allow the chicken to rest 5 minutes. Remove toothpicks, and slice chicken crosswise before serving, if desired.

* If you don't have a skillet that can go from the stove-top to the oven (it really depends on whether or not the handle is heat-proof), just transfer the browned chicken to a baking sheet/dish and continue as normal.

Per serving - 268 calories, 9 g fat (4 g saturated), 1 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 44 g protein (exchanges: 2 fat, 6 protein)

Notes - This recipe is so easy to adjust for more servings...you will probably have left-over cheese and spinach so just buy extra chicken; for the party, I browned the roll-ups ahead of time, cooled them to room temperature, and refrigerated them until party time - when guests started arriving I took them out of the fridge to bring them back to room temp and 20 minutes before I was ready to serve, I popped them in the oven (10 to 12 minutes...mine actually took 15 to cook); for the party, I sliced each roll-up in half...there were 9 of us at the party and I cooked 6 breasts - we each had ½ of a roll-up and with all of the other food I served, it was enough (we were all girls too, so that helped)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wild Rice Cranberry Pecan Salad

(This post has been updated here)

I served this salad as a trial run at my party Sunday night...the real event is Hilary's graduation/Christmas party this coming Sunday for over 100 people. Needless to say, I will have to make a very large batch!

I bought a wild rice and brown basmati rice blend in the bulk section of Whole Foods. Both are whole grains. If you can't find a blend, just substitute brown rice and wild rice in a 3:1 ratio (¾ cup brown and ¼ cup wild).

This is meant to be a side dish and therefore it makes 10 small servings...you could add some lean protein to it (chopped chicken or turkey) and serve it as a main course. In that case, I would figure 5 or 6 servings.

Wild Rice Cranberry Pecan Salad
adapted from simplyrecipes.com

Makes 10 ½-cup servings

1 cup brown rice wild rice mix
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
½ cup pecans, toasted and chopped
½ cup green onions, thinly sliced
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Salt and pepper

Cook rice according to package instructions, omitting fat and adding 1/2 tsp salt. Here is the method I used:

Rinse rice. Put all ingredients (1 cup rice, 2 cups water, 1/2 tsp salt) in pot with tight-fitting lid. Stir, bring to boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 45 minutes. Do not remove lid. Remove from heat and allow to sit covered for 10 minutes. Then uncover, fluff with a fork, and let cool to almost room temperature.

In a medium sized bowl, combine the cooled rice, cranberries, pecans, and green onions.

In a separate jar, mix the lemon juice, olive oil, sugar, lemon zest, and salt and pepper to taste.

Combine dressing with the rice mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to allow the flavors to blend. Serve warm, chilled, or room temperature.

Per serving - 168 calories, 10 g fat (1 g saturated), 19 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 3g protein (exchanges: 2 fat, 1 starch)

Notes - You could swap the lemon juice and zest for orange; omitting all or half of the pecans would save a few fat grams; this salad is more of a method than a recipe...you could substitute any of the ingredients (a different grain, nut, fruit, vegetable...the sky's the limit); I like serving grain salads over lettuce - I would double the dressing for the rice, saving half to drizzle over the lettuce (or to use with another salad)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Healthy Holiday

"It's that time of year"...when you have a party to attend every other evening, someone brings a Christmas "treat" to work every day, food presents are arriving at your doorstep by the second, cocktails are flowing, life is crazy and hectic leaving little time for exercise and meal planning (and lots of opportunities for eating out or picking up take-out)...I'm already feeling it!

This past weekend I had a party on Friday and Sunday night. Next weekend is the same. Then another party on Tuesday, a lunch with friends on Tuesday too, Christmas Eve with my dad's side of the family and Christmas day with my mom's side. Then I leave for Atlanta for New Years...and then it's Mardi Gras...

What am I going to do? Well, I might be busy and get a little stressed, but I'm not going to gain weight. What's my plan?
  • make time to exercise - I do it first thing in the morning, before my day gets going and I run out of time
  • eat extra healthy when I have control - when I am eating at home, it will be lots of salads, fruits, vegetables, chicken, yogurt
  • eat breakfast everyday - on a normal day I will have oatmeal or an English muffin; if it's the day after a party/big meal I will have a lighter breakfast like yogurt and fruit (maybe with some granola)
  • give away (or throw away) temptations - don't feel guilty about throwing out the left-over dessert from a party or those yummy cookies someone baked for you...what's a bigger waste? throwing away food or throwing away your waist line?
  • get back on track THE NEXT DAY - post-party day for me: I already have run and had pomegranate oatmeal with milk to drink; I have a salad planned for lunch, and vegetable soup with a turkey sandwich for dinner...and I'm sure I'll have an apple at some point

I try not to give away unhealthy food gifts (i.e. dessert) at Christmas, I figure everyone gets enough of them and no one really needs them. Last year I gave away homemade hummus and crackers and this year I'm doing homemade whole wheat English muffins with pumpkin butter (now you know Mel!). One of my friends, Danielle, is giving away homemade granola.

I also try to bring a healthy dish to the parties I attend. Friday night I made stuffed mushrooms. Last night the party was at my house and I served the following:

punch
stuffed mushrooms
green salad with lemon vinaigrette and Parmesan
wild rice salad
roasted yellow squash
goat cheese & spinach stuffed chicken breasts
peppermint brownie bites

One of my friends made the punch and brownies, but I made the rest and will post each of these recipes over the course of this week...so check back if you are interested!

When you have control of the menu, why not make it healthy? Dinner was so good last night and no one missed the calories! Who says you have to serve unhealthy food around the holidays?

What about at a party where I don't have control of the menu? I make sure I eat something before I go (maybe an apple) and then I don't eat things that I could have on any given day...no chips and salsa for me! Or crackers and cheese, average desserts (brownies, sugar cookies, etc), store-bought items...this way I eliminate half of my choices and don't waste calories on things that aren't special. I fill-up my plate once and then only go back for vegetable seconds.

Here is an article from CalorieKing.com with more tips for having a healthy holiday without gaining any weight. One thing in the article that I don't agree with is their suggestion for low-calorie and low-fat appetizers/snacks at a party. It recommends that you

"Try some low-fat dips with vegetable crudités, or bowls of raw nuts and dried fruits."

Nuts are not low-fat or low-cal and I wouldn't snack on them at a party...its too easy to go overboard (1/4 cup of peanuts has about 200 calories and 18 g of fat). And although dried fruit is fat free, its still calories dense (1/4 cup of raisins has about 110 calories).

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Roasted Mushroom Soup

Whenever my house phone rings early in the morning (no one has the number but close family and friends), I immediately think something is wrong. So when I heard it ringing this morning, that is what I thought. But it was good news! It was one of Hilary's friends, Taylor, calling to tell us to look outside at the SNOW!!!!

It hasn't snowed in south Louisiana in years! I remember there being enough snow one year in the early 90's that we were able to make a snowman; the ditches froze and we could "ice skate" on them (remember that Mary??); and we turned on the sprinkler to make icicles on our bushes.

Schools are closed so I'm assuming that I won't have to teach tonight...what am I going to do with myself? I guess catch up on my to-do list. And blogging about my newest soup recipe is on that list.

I LOVE mushrooms, so when I received a recipe in my email for Roasted Mushroom Soup, I knew I had to make it that day. There were a few steps in the recipe that I didn't like, so I googled for another version. I ended up using a combination of the two. I made a few ingredient modifications too.

The soup is thick and creamy, but only because of pureed mushrooms and not because there is a lot of cream. The recipe only calls for 2 tablespoons of heavy cream, but it is completely optional. I almost left it out, because the soup was already so creamy. I'm going to include the nutrition info for both versions...with and without the cream...and you can decide - nutritionally it doesn't make much of a difference.

Roasted Mushroom Soup
adapted from Countryliving.com and Epicurious.com

makes 8 1-cup servings

2 pounds cremini mushrooms, sliced into ½-inch pieces
about 1 pound shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps cut into ½-inch pieces
2 large garlic clove, unpeeled
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon salt, divided
½ teaspoon black pepper, divided

1 tablespoon butter
2 shallots, finely sliced (about ½ cup)
4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth, divided
¾ cup white wine (I used chardonnay, but any white would work)
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, finely chopped (or ¾ teaspoon dried)

2 tablespoons heavy cream (or half & half, both optional)
juice of 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 400°F. Divide mushrooms and whole garlic cloves between 2 large baking sheets (with rims). To each baking sheet add 1 tablespoon oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Toss to coat and spread mushrooms and garlic into a single layer. Roast for 30 minutes, switching pans from top and bottom shelves half way through.

As soon as you remove the mushrooms from the oven, add about a ¼ cup of broth (or more) to each pan and scrape up any brown bits...this is called deglazing. Set aside to cool slightly.

Once cooled, remove garlic cloves from pan then peel and mince (or press). Puree half of mushrooms with enough broth so that the blender can blend (about 2 cups for me). Set mushroom puree aside.

Meanwhile, melt butter in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add shallot and garlic and sauté until shallot is tender, about 8 minutes. Add wine and simmer until almost all of liquid evaporates, about 2 minutes. Add flour; stir 2 minutes (reduce heat if browning too quickly). Add remaining broth and thyme; stir working out any flour/onion clumps. Stir in remaining cooked mushroom pieces/juices and mushroom puree. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add cream (if using) and lemon juice; taste and reseason with salt and pepper if needed.

Per serving (with cream) - 148 calories, 6 g fat (2 g saturated), 13 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 7 g protein (exchanges: 1 fat, 2 vegetable, 1 protein)

Per serving (without cream) - 135 calories, 5 g fat (1 g saturated), 13 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 7 g protein (exchanges: 1 fat, 2 vegetable, 1 protein)

Notes - The soup can be made ahead of time - cool slightly, then cover and refrigerate, bring to simmer before serving, thinning with additional broth or water if necessary; you could use red onion instead of shallot; my soup was really thick, so I added water to each individual serving instead of thinning out the whole batch; you could use a mixture of creminis (baby portobellos) and button mushrooms instead...shiitakes are expensive and can be hard to find!


Lagniappe...

Having a low-calorie soup (like this one) as a first course may be able to help you lose weight...read about it here!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Strawberries Romanoff

(This post has been updated here.)

Have you ever had strawberries Romanoff at La Madeleine? I've never tried it, but I always think it looks pretty good...can you go wrong with strawberries and cream?

According to "The Food Lover's Companion" (the food encyclopedia Mel gave me a few years ago also available online)
"this deliciously decadent dessert is made by soaking strawberries in orange juice and curaçao or cointreau, then serving them topped with whipped cream. It's one of many dishes named after the Russian royal family by French chefs."

One of my clients asked that I modify a copycat version of the dish on Recipezaar.com to make it more healthful. Not a prob! I changed a few things and made it for myself, and guess what? It's so good! So I decided to share it with all of you. The original recipe serves 4 and the ingredients are as follows:
½ cup sour cream
3 tablespoons
brown sugar
1 tablespoon
brandy or vanilla
½ cup
heavy cream
3 tablespoons
sugar
4 cups
fresh strawberries

This version doesn't call for soaking the berries in orange juice and orange liqueur (although it's not a bad idea). The problem with this recipe isn't the strawberries (obviously), but the cream, sour cream, and sugar. Heavy cream has 50 calories and 5 g fat (3.5 saturated) per tablespoon. Sour cream has the same calories/fat per 2 tablespoons. And then there's the sugar...18 teaspoons total which adds 270 calories...and aren't strawberries already sweet??

So that's where I made the changes. I swapped plain nonfat yogurt for the sour cream, left the heavy cream alone, and reduced the sugar to 7 ½ teaspoons. I used a 6 ounce container of Dannon All Natural plain nonfat yogurt which is ¾ of a cup instead of ½ of a cup like the original recipe...this helps "dilute" the calories in the whipped cream even further. I also increased the fruit and made 6 servings instead of 4.

You may wonder why I left the heavy cream alone...it is very high in fat after all. For some, fat-free Cool Whip would be an option, but I don't use Cool Whip. I don't think it tastes very good and its not made from anything natural like cream or milk (have you seen the commercial for Reddi-wip..."cream or oil?"). Here is the ingredient list from Cool Whip (the fat-free kind):
Ingredients: WATER, CORN SYRUP, HYDROGENATED VEGETABLE OIL* (COCONUT AND PALM KERNEL OILS), HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, LESS THAN 2% OF SODIUM CASEINATE (FROM MILK), NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, MODIFIED FOOD STARCH, XANTHAN AND GUAR GUMS, POLYSORBATE 60, POLYSORBATE 65, SORBITAN MONOSTEARATE, SODIUM HYDROXIDE, BETA CAROTENE (COLOR).
*ADDS A NEGLIGIBLE AMOUNT OF FAT
You be the judge...

I'm sticking with whipped cream lightened with nonfat yogurt.

Strawberries Romanoff
adapted from Recipezaar.com

Makes 6 servings

6 oz container nonfat plain yogurt (I like Dannon All-Natural)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract or brandy
½ cup heavy cream
1 ½ teaspoons sugar
6 cups fresh strawberries, sliced

Mix yogurt, brown sugar, and vanilla or brandy in a small bowl.

In a separate bowl, whip cream and sugar until thick and fluffy.

Gently fold half of cream into yogurt mixture. Add the remaining cream and fold to combine.

Serve over fresh strawberries.

Per serving
before – 296 calories, 18 g fat (11 g saturated), 33 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 3 g protein (exchanges: 3 ½ fat, 1 starch, 1 fruit)

after –152 calories, 8 g fat (5 g saturated), 18 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 3 g protein (exchanges: 1 ½ fat, ¼ starch, 1 fruit)

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Black Bean (Pumpkin) Soup

I've had this recipe saved since June and have been waiting for the right time to make it. I had one can of pumpkin left in my pantry and I was either going to make yeasted chocolate-chip pumpkin bread or black bean pumpkin soup...but, considering all of the dessert I've had over the past week (lemon icebox pie and banana bread at Mel's, pumpkin cream cheese cupcake from Jess, chocolate chip oatmeal cookies and rum cake on Thanksgiving, and M&M's at the LSU/Arkansas game...they weren't lucky this week!) I decided to go with the soup.

I put the pumpkin in parenthesis in the title because you won't even know its in the soup...you can't taste it (Hilary, who hates pumpkin, has eaten the soup twice and hasn't suspected a thing). It adds a thickness to the soup that makes it so rich and creamy...but there is no cream and the soup is very low-fat (4 g per 1 cup).

Things to know about beans:

1) they are a great source of fiber (15 g per cup...60 % of daily value), protein (15 g per cup), and folate...something women in child-bearing years need in order to prevent certain birth defects (64 % of daily value per cup)

2) they are high in carbohydrates, but don't be scared low-carb dieters...these are complex carbohydrates - the kind that are digested and released into your bloodstream more slowly which helps stabilize blood sugar levels (and may help with weight management)

3) the high levels of fiber help stabilize blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol, prevent constipation and other digestive disorders (IBS and diverticulosis)

4) they are rich in antioxidants, and the darker the skin the better...so black beans are extra rich!

So eat up...beans are so good for you!

Black Bean Pumpkin Soup
adapted from Epicurious.com

Makes 9 1-cup servings

2 tablespoons butter (preferably unsalted)
1 large onion, chopped
1 shallot minced (you could omit this)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
three 15 ½ ounce cans (or two 25 ounce cans) black beans (about 4 ½ cups), rinsed and drained
1 cup canned tomatoes, drained and chopped
4 cups beef broth
one 15 ounce can pumpkin pureé (about 1 ½ cups)
½ cup dry Sherry (or any dry white wine)
2 tablespoons Sherry vinegar (optional)

In a 6-quart dutch oven or other large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add the onion and shallot; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown. Add garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper and cook for about 2 minutes more.

Meanwhile, in a blender (or food processor), blend half of each of the following: beans, tomatoes, beef broth, and pumpkin. Once the onions have softened and the garlic and seasonings have been added, add the first batch of the bean mixture. Repeat with the remaining beans, tomatoes, beef broth, and pumpkin; add to the soup pot.

Add the sherry (if using), stir to combine, and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 25 minutes, or until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Just before serving, stir in the vinegar. Taste and re-season with salt and pepper, if needed.

Serve soup as is or garnished with light sour cream or plain low-fat yogurt.

Per 1-cup serving - 300 calories, 4 g fat (2 g saturated), 49 g carbohydrates, 16 g fiber, 17 g protein (exchanges: 1 fat, 2 protein, 3 starch, ½ vegetable)

Notes - The recipe originally called for 4 tablespoons of butter, but I only used 2. It also called for ½ pound of diced ham, but I left it out...I figured I was getting enough protein from the beans. The dry sherry could be omitted or you could substitute any dry (i.e. not sweet) white wine. Serve ½ cup portions as a side dish or 1 to 1-½ cup portions as an entree. I froze half of the soup in 2 cup servings to reheat on a night when I don't have time to or feel like cooking.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Feta Chicken with Yellow Squash

I admit, I do not try all of the recipes that I post...those that I list with nutrition information, notes, and a link to the recipe are ones that I think sound good, but have never actually made. This one, however, I made Sunday night and it's so good. This is when a camera will come in handy...if I had a picture to post, I'd be more convincing!

I love chicken...its easy, inexpensive, and very lean. I always have it in my freezer. My mom cooked chicken all of the time when we were growing up...I remember saying with my brother and sister "chicken again?"...my kids will definitely say the same one day!

I love feta....salty, creamy, delish! And like most soft cheeses, it's lower in fat (75 cals and 6g fat per 1 oz serving).

I love squash...during the summer I like it grilled and in the winter I like it roasted. I like that the vegetable side is incorporated into the main dish...one less side dish to prepare!

So this recipe is perfect for me! It originally called for zucchini (which would be just as good), but I had yellow squash in the fridge so yellow squash it was. I served it with a side salad (just butterleaf lettuce and a Dijon vinaigrette) and sourdough toast.

Feta Chicken with Zucchini
adapted from realsimple.com

Makes 4 servings

3 teaspoons olive oil
2 lemons
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds or 6 oz each)
salt and pepper
4 medium yellow squash
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 clove garlic, minced (or pressed)
1/2 cup crumbled Feta

Preheat oven to 400° F. Drizzle 1 teaspoon of the oil in a roasting pan (or spray with cooking spray). Thinly slice the lemons. Place half the slices in the pan.

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels (I actually like to use coffee filters because they don't stick to the chicken). Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper. Place it on top of the lemon slices.

Slice each squash in half lengthwise, then slice each half into 1/4-inch-thick half-moons. In a bowl, combine the squash, Italian seasoning, garlic, remaining 2 teaspoons of oil, remaining lemon slices; season with salt and pepper and toss. Spread the squash mixture around the chicken.

Roast 15 minutes and then remove from oven and sprinkle the feta over the top of the chicken. Return to the oven and continue roasting until the chicken is cooked through, another 5 to 10 minutes (at the very end I turned on the broiler to brown the cheese a little...just for a few minutes). Serve.

Per serving - 293 calories, 10 g fat (4 g saturated), 10 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber, 43 g protein (exchanges: 2 fat, 6 protein, 2 vegetables)

Notes - The original recipe called for 2 medium zucchini and so I used 4 small yellow squash. But once everything cooked, the squash really shrunk and I wished I had used more. That's why I'm calling for 4 medium. So, even though it may look like alot of squash when you are spreading it around the chicken, go with it. I also cut each breast in half before serving...6 ounces of chicken (and 43 g protein) is alot in 1 meal for a girl (my dad ate the whole breast). The lemon slices aren't meant to be eaten...just for flavor and moisture.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

All We Can Do Is Keep Breathing

Have you heard the Ingrid Michaelson song "Keep Breathing"? Its at the top of my playlist right now...love it! She sings that when life gets crazy and out of control all you can do is keep breathing.

My life has been crazy since November started and as a result I haven't posted anything since November 3rd! In addition to my normal schedule (teaching dance from 3:30 - 9:00 pm Monday through Thursday and 1:00 - 6:00 pm on Sundays) I've been doing a lot of extra choreography: 2 dances for the Saintsations, a duet for 2 kids at the studio, a solo for a high school dancer, and a competition number for the senior company at Tari's School of Dance.

I've also starting working with several high school girls on weight management...I'm on the verge of officially starting my own business...it's so exciting! I love working with this age group (no offense TWL members). I feel that if you can teach young girls healthy eating habits then they will pass what they know on to their families once they get married and have kids.

On top of all of this, LSU has played 4 (going on 5) straight home games. When LSU plays at home my entire Saturday is filled with tailgating, watching band/Golden Girl practice, helping my sister get ready, more tailgating, the game, and finally more tailgating. I also flew to Houston last Friday to watch the Houston Met's fall show and flew home the following morning to get back for the game. Sunday I "worked" from 11:30 am - 7:00 pm. Last night (after teaching from 3:30 - 7:00 pm) I went to Tigerama to watch Hil perform and didn't get home until 12:30 am.

But now I can breathe! Its 10:00 am on Tuesday morning and I am still in bed, blogging. And next week the studio is closed for Thanksgiving so I can really relax.

The following recipes are all slow-cooker recipes. When life gets really hectic, a common problem with getting a home cooked meal on the table is not enough time. With a little planning ahead and by using a slow cooker, you can have dinner ready when you walk in the door at the end of the day. I've already blogged once about slow-cooker meals.

Planning your meals ahead of time can help save time, money, stress, a trip through the drive thru...It will save you from going to the store multiple times a week. You won't have to think about "what's for dinner" each day. And if you have the ingredients to make a recipe on hand, you will probably go ahead and do it as opposed to eating out at a restaurant or getting take out. And as a result you will eat healthier, less processed food.

Before I head to the grocery store, I make a list with the staples I buy every week: apples, yogurt, milk, lettuce, baby carrots, red bell pepper, green onions, cottage cheese. I check to see if I'm out of English muffins (I keep these in the freezer), natural peanut or other nut butter, oatmeal, and nuts. And then I pick my recipes for the week and add the ingredients I need to the list. And this always includes the ingredients for my "salad of the week" and seasonal fruits to snack on.

I actually write down what I plan on eating for the week...and although I don't use it, I found this meal planning worksheet and thought it might be helpful.

Now, I know most of you are thinking right now..."she doesn't have kids", "she doesn't have a whole family to cook for", etc...and you are right! But as you can see above I am really busy, and if I don't plan ahead one of two things happens (1) I don't have enough food for the week and have to eat out more...wasting my calories, or (2) I end up making several trips to the store, usually on my way home from teaching dance late at night ...wasting my time.

My thought is "if you buy it, you will eat it", so buy lots of fruits and vegetables so that you have them to eat and buy fewer processed foods so that you don't have them to eat.

The salad recipe was sent to me by at TWL member. If any of you have any recipes you would like to share with me, I'd love to have them so that I can share them with everyone else! Leave the links as a comment.

Strawberry Salad with Cinnamon Vinaigrette -
  • Per serving - 153 calories, 12 g fat (2 g saturated), 11 g carbohydrates, 2 g protein, 2 g fiber (exchanges ½ fruit, 1 vegetable, 2 fat)
  • Notes - Prep everything ahead of time (except the avocado) so that you have a quick lunch ready all week - store everything in separate containers in the refrigerator; make the salad more filling (so that it can be lunch by itself) by adding more veggies (lettuces, red bell pepper, green beans, shredded carrots…) and some lean protein (chicken, turkey, beans); notice the serving size...it makes 12 2/3 cup servings - if you double the size of your serving, don't double the fats (dressing, avocado, pecans); if you don't have raspberry vinegar, just use balsamic or red/white wine

Slow Cooker Rosemary and Red Pepper Chicken -

  • Per serving - 200 calories, 4.4 g fat (1.2 g saturated), 4.9 g carbohydrates, 31.9 g protein, 0.7 g fiber (exchanges ½ vegetable, 4 protein, 1 fat)
  • Notes - You could use white wine instead of vermouth; Here are some notes I gathered from the comment section: 1) needs more liquid...chicken broth, water, can of chopped tomatoes, or wine (but if you do this double the cornstarch mixture), 2) needs double the rosemary and oregano, 3) serve over pasta

Slow Cooker Chicken Creole -

  • Per serving - 191 calories, 1.8 g fat (0.4 g saturated), 14.3 g carbohydrates, 29.6 g protein, 2.7 g fiber (exchanges 2 vegetable, 4 protein, 1 fat)
  • Notes - From the comment section: 1) it's spicy...you may want to adjust the amount of jalapeno, 2) you may want to add some tomato paste and okra (frozen would be fine)

Jeanne's Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce -

  • Per serving - 210 calories, 9.3 g fat, 19.9 g carbohydrates, 14.2 g protein, 5.7 g fiber (exchanges 2 vegetable, 2 protein, 2 fat)
  • Notes - When buying tomato products, read the labels and try to purchase brands without sugar (in any form) as an ingredient; ¼ of a cup of olive oil seems like a lot to me (even though ¼ cup = 4 Tbsp = 12 tsp…and the recipe makes 12 servings…so each serving only ends up with 1 tsp of oil, but there is fat from the sausage and beef too)...I would probably start out with just 2 tablespoons; the sausage is optional; you could substitute 1 1/2 Tbsp of Italian seasoning instead of all of the separate seasonings; make the whole recipe and freeze half to use later; make it vegetarian by omitting the sausage, beef, and turkey and using 24 - 32 oz of sliced mushrooms

Slow Cooker Fajitas -

  • Per serving - 335 calories, 10 g fat (3 g saturated), 32 g carbohydrates, 29 g protein, 2 g fiber (exchanges 1 1/2 starch, 1 vegetable, 3 protein, 2 fat)
    Notes - Sirloin is one of the leaner cuts of beef, however, you could substitute chicken breasts and save even more calories and fat grams; try to find whole wheat tortillas that are around 120 calories…or less; notice the serving is 1 fajita for 335 cals...serve with a side salad (such as carrot-cumin slaw) or a bowl of tortilla soup (such as Campbell's Select Harvest Mexican-Style Chicken Tortilla)

Curried Lentil Soup -

  • Per serving - 169 calories, 1 g fat (0 g saturated), 34 g carbohydrates, 9 g protein, 2 g fiber (exchanges 1 1/2 starch, 1 vegetable, 1 protein)
  • Notes - I would use chicken or vegetable broth in place of the hot water

Lagniappe...

The last thing I want to share with you is a web-site where you can map the distance that you walk/run/bike...

When I run outdoors (sometimes its just too pretty to get on a treadmill!), I'm always interested in knowing how far I went...and this website tells me. Under "Map New Run" you enter your starting address and then on a map you click along the path you took.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Guess How Many Calories...


So, I'm sitting here watching TV and a commercial for this new Kentucky Fried Chicken meal comes on. KFC describes the "Variety Big Box Meal" like this:

"Hungry for all of your KFC favorites and can’t pick just one? Now you don’t have to. Your rumbling stomach doesn’t stand a chance against our new Variety Big Box Meal, which includes a drumstick, a Crispy Strip, an individual box of Popcorn Chicken, two Homestyle sides, a biscuit and a refreshing 32-oz. drink. Fill up on all your favorites!"
I immediately went to the website to look for the nutrition information. It wasn't listed on the Nutrition Guide, but they did have a nutrition calculator. I guess because there are so many components to the meal, you have to calculate it yourself. So I did. I chose mashed potatoes and gravy and green beans (I had to pick at least 1 healthy thing) as my 2 sides and a large Pepsi as my beverage.

And the nutrition totals? Drum roll please....

1450 calories, 64 g fat (98% of DV), 13 g saturated fat (63% DV), 4.5 g trans fat, 175 mg cholesterol (59% DV), 4150 mg sodium (173% DV), 160 g carbs, 79 g sugar (from the Pepsi), 62 g protein

And the incredible thing is that this is made for 1 person...it's not a family style meal!

So the next time you are at KFC, please don't order this!

Friday, October 31, 2008

A Special Day

Me, mom, and Hil right before "step-off" at an LSU game


I originally sent this message as a TWL email on Mother's Day earlier this year when I was still living and working in Houston. Tonight marks 4 years since my mom suffered a brain aneurysm and passed away. Needless to say, Halloween is not one of my favorite holidays to celebrate (and on top of that, I am sick right now with a sore throat/ear infection and I always miss her more when I am not feeling well). However, tomorrow is All Saints Day...a day of celebrating those who have left us for the most perfect life in heaven...and she could not have passed on a more appropriate day. My mom was a Saint in more ways than one and I am so blessed to have had her in my life for 23 years. So in honor of my mom, here is the email I sent:



Morning!

First I want to wish all of the moms reading this Happy Mother's Day! I hope someone fixes you breakfast in bed...that's what my brother, sister, and I always did for my mom on Mother's Day. I talk about my mom a lot in the TWL classes and most of you know that she had a big influence on my healthy eating habits. What a lot of you don't know is that my mom passed away 3 1/2 years ago. She was such a great person and I am so thankful that I had her in my life for 23 years...she had (and continues to have) such a huge influence on my character, personality, and values.

When I was younger I probably couldn't appreciate the fact that she didn't keep sugary cereal, Oreos, and candy in our house or that we could only have a Coke for a "special treat" (we actually used to ask her, "mom, could I have a coke tonight for a special treat?"). Now that I am older I can appreciate what she did for me!


However, sometime I think I see things about her and the way we ate "through rose colored glasses". If I really think back to it, we didn't always eat perfectly...we ate spaghetti with beef meatballs, pizza, hamburgers, and fried chicken tenders. She would occasionally bake a cake or make cookies for us...sometimes we would have a frozen store bought fruit pie after dinner (with ice cream). She would pick up Popeye's fried chicken and biscuits or order delivery pizza sometimes. And during the summer we would get snow balls (snow cones in Louisiana are called snow balls).

But, all of these things were occasional...and weren't readily available in our house. We didn't eat out a lot and my mom cooked on most nights...mostly things like baked chicken, pork tenderloin, or fish. We always had at least one vegetable with dinner and we didn't have dessert every night. This way, when we did have a "special treat" it was okay...no need to feel guilty.

That's how I eat now too...believe me I eat my share of dessert, beef, full-fat cheese, etc. (although I rarely eat fried food). Most of the time, however, I eat more nutritious foods...that way I can afford to have a treat.

So just remember, it's what you do MOST of the time that's important. Don't keep junk food in your house...it's too tempting (so many parents tell me they have to keep it around for the kids, but the kids don't need it either!). Make it a family event and go out once or twice a month for ice cream, pizza, or another treat, instead. That way those "forbidden" foods go from being "bad" to "special".



Happy All Saints Day to everyone!

Me and mom on the beach in Atlantic City for the Miss America Pageant





Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pumpkin Butter

One of my favorite fall foods is pumpkin. Even though canned pumpkin puree is available all year, I rarely buy it except during this season. But once the weather changes and the leaves are falling, I can't get enough. Last fall when I was in Houston I made pumpkin biscotti, pumpkin oatmeal, and crustless pumpkin pie...all delicious and relatively healthy. This year I've already made pumpkin muffins and have several other pumpkin recipes saved in my "to make" folder: pumpkin dinner rolls, yeasted chocolate chip pumpkin bread, and pumpkin bread pudding...the muffins and rolls the healthy ones out of these.

Yesterday I made pumpkin butter...and guess what? There is no butter involved and it's fat-free. Just like apple butter (which is basically thickened apple sauce), pumpkin butter is sweetened and spiced pumpkin puree that has been simmered so that it gets thick and dark. It would be great on English muffins/toast/bagels or stirred into oatmeal for breakfast. For a snack, I stirred some into my Greek yogurt and loved it...very thick and creamy! I'm sure you could bake with it too...replace 1/2 of the fat in a recipe with the pumpkin butter (you can also do this with apple sauce and mashed bananas).

Pumpkin is fat-free and low-cal (1/2 cup = 40 calories). It's rich in beta-carotene, which can protect against heart disease and may reduce the risk of certain cancers. It is also a good source of potassium, vitamin C, and fiber (5 g per 1/2 cup).

Pumpkin Butter
adapted from Allrecipes.com and Smittenkitchen.com

Makes about 1 1/2 cups (24 tablespoons)

1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree, approx. 1 3/4 cups
6 tablespoons apple juice
1/2 cup brown sugar (not packed)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Juice of half a lemon

Combine pumpkin, apple juice, sugar, and spices* in a large saucepan; stir well. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 30 minutes or until thickened. Stir frequently. Adjust spices to taste. Stir in lemon juice, or more to taste. Once cool, pumpkin butter can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

*1 tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice can be substituted for all of the spices.

Per tablespoon - 20 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated), 5 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 0 g protein

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

What Does a Dietitian Eat? (Day 6 & 7)

I told you Saturday was game day...get ready for this:

Saturday October 25th
  • Breakfast - Oatmeal with pear, walnuts, cinnamon, and maple syrup; skim milk
  • Tailgating (10:00 am - 2:30 pm) - Roasted eggplant and red pepper dip with pita chips; Turkey finger sandwich; a few M&M's; Muffaletta wedge with Zapp's chips; Mini pulled pork sandwich; Cream cheese stuffed oatmeal cookie; water
  • At the game (2:30 - 6:00 pm) - 1/2 bag M&M's; water
  • Tailgating (6:30 - 8:00 pm) - Almond cookie bar; Blondie; BBQ pork sandwich; Mini pulled pork sandwich; Cream cheese stuffed oatmeal cookie; water

Are you scared/worried yet?

Sunday October 26th

  • Breakfast - Coffee with skim milk and sugar
  • Lunch - Cottage cheese; Iced latte with skim milk and fat-free condensed milk
  • Dinner - Apple; Huge salad from Whole Foods
  • Snack - Peanut butter toast

Comments: I'm human! I don't eat perfect all of the time! But eating like this doesn't make me feel guilty...I just know I can't do it very often if I want to stay healthy and in shape. It's about what you do MOST of the time...and I eat healthfully 95% of the time.

I'm not going to even try to calculate the nutrition info for the weekend...all I can say is too much sugar and fat, not enough fiber and calcium. It looks like a lot of food (and believe me it is...and there might have been more that I don't remember!), but most of the things were small bites or finger food.

The problem I have with game day is that I graze all day and never really get full or hungry...I stay somewhere between the two on the hunger scale all day. The food is all so tempting because there are lots of things that I rarely eat, but really like (cookies, M&M's, BBQ sandwiches). It would probably be a good idea if I actually fixed a plate instead of just picking things up and eating them. Grazing can be a bad thing at home too. It's always better to serve yourself a pre-determined amount and then put the rest away.

I always make sure that I eat a good breakfast (and lunch if it's a night game) so that I'm not starving once I get to campus. And I drink lots of water. I don't waste calories on the concessions sold at the game (except for the M&M's...its a superstition* - my dad, sister-in-law, and I have to split a bag after half-time at every game).

Not surprisingly, I wasn't very hungry the next morning. I had coffee before church and afterwards I still wasn't hungry. But I teach dance from 1:00 - 7:00 pm, so I needed to eat something. Cottage cheese it was (plus a iced latte...I needed the caffeine). I knew I was going to have a salad for dinner...its the best "get back on track" meal. Plus an apple!


I've gotten a lot of positive feedback since I've been writing about what I eat. I'll repeat this from time to time...it takes a lot of work to calculate the nutrition info!


* Another superstition we have with LSU Football involves my cat. When I was a Golden Girl at LSU we wore capes over our uniforms when we weren't dancing. At least 5 years ago, my mom found a cape for an animal and since then, one of our cats wears the cape on game day (only for a little while, they hate having it on).

Me with Betsy

Scotti

Sunday, October 26, 2008

What Does a Dietitian Eat? (Day 5)

Here is the fifth day of what I eat.

Friday October 24th
  • Breakfast - Muesli with pear
  • Lunch - Turkey sandwich on pumpernickel bagel with Havarti cheese, mustard, tomato, pickles, and lettuce (about 2/3 of the sandwich...Hil ate the other 1/3); bagel chips with light veggie cream cheese; water
  • Snack - Iced latte with skim milk and fat-free condensed milk
  • Dinner - Salad with chicken, butter lettuce, yellow bell pepper, feta, croutons, and oregano-Dijon-lemon vinaigrette; water
  • Snack - 2 cream cheese stuffed oatmeal cookies

Approximately: 1929 calories (33% fat, 20% protein, 47% carbs); 25 g saturated fat (12%), 163 mg cholesterol, 16 g fiber, 1165 mg calcium

My target numbers: 45 - 65% carbs, 20 - 35% fat, 10 - 35% protein (less than 10% saturated), at least 25 g fiber, less than 300 mg cholesterol, at least 1000 mg calcium

Comments: Fridays are my day off. I don't set foot in the dance studio and I get to run all of my errands. If there is a home LSU game on Saturday then I also bake...I always bring some sort of "treat" to the game for our tailgate party. This Friday was no exception. I woke up and went to the grocery store to get things I needed for the game and my weekend guests (my dad and Jessica, my dietitian sister-in-law) and then met my dad for lunch at New York Bagel. I love bagel sandwiches, but only eat them occasionally because it's a lot like eating a sandwich with 4 pieces of bread (plus they give you bagel chips...5 piece of bread!?!)

I didn't have 2 snacks like I usually do because I was planning on taste-testing the cookies for dessert. I'm also notorious for snacking on the batter as I make the cookies (I should chew gum while I bake!). Unlike on Thursday, I planned ahead.

The cookies were not healthy by any means, but I did make some healthier changes: 1) replaced some of the AP flour with whole wheat pastry flour, 2) eliminated 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup butter, 3) used 2 eggs and 2 whites instead of 3 eggs, and 4) used 1/3 less fat cream cheese. As a rule of thumb, I always remove a quarter of the sugar and fat when I bake (unless the recipe is from cookinglight.com or another healthy source). I also replace a few of the yolks with whites and try to use part whole wheat pastry flour. Here are more healthy recipe substitutions. I didn't calculate the nutrition info for the cookies, so my daily nutrition totals are not very accurate (I used the nutrition info from Little Debbie Oatmeal creme pies...that's what the cookies remind me of!)

It was another high saturated fat day...Havarti, cream cheese, feta, and cookies made with butter. I need to try to pay more attention to my daily cheese intake and not let this get to be a habit...having cheese on both my sandwich and salad needs to stop.

Vinaigrette of the Week

About two years ago I printed out a recipe for a Chicken and Zucchini Salad. But then it got filed away in my recipe binder and I forgot about it. A couple of weeks ago I came across it again and decided to make it. Before I re-read the recipe, I thought it was going to be real chicken salad...you know the mayo-celery-chicken type thing, but it wasn't. I went ahead with my idea anyway, but replaced the typical mayo binder with the vinaigrette dressing. I swapped the mint for oregano because I have it growing in my garden. And to cut calories, I doubled the lemon juice and added more mustard. I made an extra large batch of the dressing (I think I doubled it) and as you already know I've been eating it like crazy...it's that good!

Oregano-Dijon-Lemon Vinaigrette
adapted from FoodandWine.com

Makes about 1 1/4 cup (20 tablespoons)

1/2 cup lemon juice
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 tablespoon whole grain mustard
1/2 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh oregano (leaves only...no stems) or 2 teaspoons dried
salt and pepper

In a blender, combine the lemon juice, garlic, and both mustards and puree until smooth. With the machine on, slowly pour in olive oil. Add the oregano and blend until smooth. Taste and then season the vinaigrette with salt and pepper.

Per tablespoon - 51 calories, 6 g fat (1 g saturated), 1 g carbohydrates, 0 g fiber, 0 g protein (exchanges: 1 fat)

So to make the salad, I seasoned 3 chicken breasts and 4 squash (a combo of zucchini and yellow squash cut lengthwise into quarters) with salt and pepper and grilled them. Once cooled, I chopped it all into bite sized pieces and combined it with chopped bell pepper, more oregano, and sliced green onions. I then mixed in the dressing, a few tablespoons at a time, until the salad was moist but not runny.

I've made this twice so far and the second time I used all yellow squash and also added chopped grilled green beans and diced tomatoes. This salad has lots of Greek flavors, so add what ever veggies you think will "fit" with a Greek meal. I serve it over a bed of lettuce and sometimes top with a little feta.

Friday, October 24, 2008

What Does a Dietitian Eat? (Day 4)

Here is the fourth day of what I eat.

Thursday October 23nd
  • Breakfast - Non-fat Greek yogurt with pomegranate seeds, almonds, and maple syrup; toast with peanut butter
  • Lunch - Half of a croissant sandwich with turkey, ham, mustard, lettuce, and tomato; 1/2 cup pasta salad with olives; 1/4 cup carrot and raisin salad; 1/3 piece lemon raspberry cake; coffee with sugar and half & half; water
  • Snack - Soyjoy bar (I don't recommend these...it was a free sample)
  • Dinner - Omelet (3 whites and 1 1/2 yolks) with sauteed mushrooms, tomatoes, green onions, bell peppers, and reduced-fat cheese; salad with butter lettuce and oregano-Dijon-lemon vinaigrette; water
  • Snack - apple

Approximately: 1525 calories (40% fat, 18% protein, 42% carbs); 21 g saturated fat (12%), 423.5 mg cholesterol, 16 g fiber, 739.5 mg calcium

My target numbers: 45 - 65% carbs, 20 - 35% fat, 10 - 35% protein (less than 10% saturated), at least 25 g fiber, less than 300 mg cholesterol, at least 1000 mg calcium

Comments: This day is a perfect example of why it is so important to eat at home as often as possible. I was invited to attend the LSU Bengal Belle's luncheon yesterday at the Sheraton Hotel. It was a fun event - two of the football coaches and several of the players spoke, door prizes were given away (I didn't win anything), and vendors were selling all thing LSU. When we were seated, all of the food was already on the table: a turkey/bacon/ham/cheese croissant sandwich (lettuce and tomato on the side), pasta and olive salad (vinaigrette dressing), carrot and raisin salad (mayo dressing?), and a piece of lemon raspberry cake. Nothing looked particularly good, but I couldn't sit there and not eat. So I started with the sandwich and removed the bacon and cheese and only ate about 1/3 to 1/2. I had some of the pasta salad and a little of the carrot salad (the carrot salad was actually not bad...I'll have to do a make-over version at home...without the mayo). I made sure to save room for the cake, which looked really yummy. But it wasn't! I had a few bites and decided it wasn't worth it. The coffee was good but there was only half & half, and since I don't like my coffee black I had to use it (which made the coffee even better!)

So I did myself a favor by not eating very much at lunch. But, even though I only ate part of it, I still had over 500 calories worth of food (including 24 g fat and 9 g saturated fat). Just think if I would have eaten everything...1000 plus calories, more than 50 g fat, and over 20 g saturated fat.

The real problem, however, is that I didn't plan ahead for this meal or compensate for it afterwards. If I would have thought ahead that the meal I would be served would be so high in fat I wouldn't have had peanut butter with my breakfast. And I should have cut back on the fat at dinner time (dressing, egg yolks, and cheese). I wasn't over on calories for the day by any means, but I was over my limit of percent calories from saturated fat and total fat and also on cholesterol.

I was short on fiber and calcium. My breakfast usually provides the bulk of my fiber for the day (usually from oats and fruit) and a good amount of my calcium (from milk or a latte).

Remember a few days ago I said I don't eat a "low-carb", "fat-free", or "high-protein" diet...I try to eat a balance of all three because our bodies NEED fat, protein, and carbs, but healthy versions.

Healthy protein sources are those that don't have too much fat and saturated fat. This would include some animal sources:

  • chicken and turkey (breast meat, no skin)
  • pork (tenderloin, loin chop)
  • beef (top round or eye round, 95% fat-free ground, sirloin, tenderloin)
  • lunch meat (less than 3 g fat per serving)
  • fish (catfish, cod, flounder, haddock, halibut, salmon, tilapia, trout, tuna)
  • shellfish (crab, lobster, shrimp, oysters)
  • low fat dairy (milk, yogurt, and cheese with less than 3 g fat per serving)
  • egg whites or egg substitute

And plant sources:

  • beans (all)
  • soy products (tofu, edamame, tempeh)

Nuts and seeds (including nut butter) also provide some protein, but are high in fat (the healthy kind) and should be eaten in moderation (1/4 cup nuts or 2 Tbsp nut butter).

Reduced fat cheese (3 - 5 g fat per serving) and full fat cheese (8+ g fat per serving) are also a good source of protein and calcium, and although the fat content might be high, its worth it to me...in moderation (no more than 1 oz per day on most days). I'll trade fried food for cheese any day!

All of the fat in eggs are in the yolk, about 5 g in each. But not much of it is saturated (about 1.5 g) and its full of fat-soluble vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids. So I don't mind eating the yolks on occasion. And P.S...if you buy omega-3 fortified eggs and throw the yolks out, you are pouring money down the drain!

And remember, its not that you can't EVER have high-fat protein sources...just not very often. Believe me, I can't live without a pot roast during the winter!

I Promised You Muesli

I adapted the muesli recipe so that it called for fewer ingredients (I omitted the flax seed and wheat germ). I also wanted to make single servings and not all 8 at once.

For the muesli mix, there may be a few ingredients that you don't already have in your pantry. I purchased small amounts from the bulk bins at Whole Foods, so that I wasn't stuck with a whole jar of wheat bran or bag of coconut/sunflower seeds. The muesli mix will keep in a sealed container for a while.

As for the second part of the recipe, the ingredients are more common. Any type of dried fruit and fruit juice can be substituted for the raisins and orange juice. Greek yogurt is the best choice here because of its thickness, but plain will be fine too (it may be slightly runny). Read this post on Greek yogurt and how to thicken regular yogurt. The honey could be swapped for any sweetener...I am on a huge maple syrup kick right now. And for the fresh fruit, use whatever you have and is in season.

Muesli
adapted from Saveur

Makes 8 servings

1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup toasted*, unsweetened shredded or flaked coconut
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
6 tablespoons wheat bran
1/8 teaspoon salt

whole rolled oats
skim milk
vanilla extract
orange juice
raisins
fat-free, plain yogurt (preferably Greek)
honey (or maple syrup)
other fresh fruit

To make the muesli mix: Put walnuts and almonds into a food processor and pulse to chop coarsely. Transfer nuts to a storage container along with toasted coconut, sunflower seeds, wheat bran, and salt. Mix well.

For an individual serving:
  • The night before - combine 1/4 cup oats, 1/4 cup milk, and a splash of vanilla in a small container. In another small container, combine 2 tablespoons of orange juice and 2 tablespoons of raisins. Cover both containers with a lid (or plastic wrap) and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight to let oats and raisins soften.
  • The morning of - Add the oat mixture along with the orange juice and raisins to a bowl and stir in 1/4 cup muesli mix, 1/4 cup yogurt, 1 tablespoon honey, and 1/2 cup sliced fruit.
Per serving - 450 calories, 17 g fat (4.4 g saturated), 67 g carbohydrates, 9.4 g fiber, 16 g protein (exchanges: 3 fat, 1/2 protein, 1 starch, 1/2 dairy, 2 fruit)

Notes - Like I said, this is not a low cal breakfast, but it will fill you up the way breakfast should. I usually have around 400 calories at breakfast. Even so, I started thinking of how I could make make this a little lighter. The muesli mix is the first place to make some changes. Replacing 1/2 cup of nuts and 1/4 cup sunflower seeds with some type of wholegrain flake cereal (about a cups worth of something like Wheaties) would save 60 calories and 7 g of fat per serving. I would leave the coconut; it's a fat just like the nuts, but the flavor is worth it. I also think that using less sweetener would be a good idea...the orange juice, raisins, and fruit add their own sweetness. The honey may be completely unnecessary. Or you could omit the OJ and raisins, leaving only 1 fruit serving. I'm going to keep playing around with this one. By the way, did you notice the fiber content?

*If you've never toasted coconut, read about it here.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

What Does a Dietitian Eat? (Day 3)

Here is the third day of what I eat.

Wednesday October 22nd
  • Breakfast - Muesli with pear and strawberries
  • Snack - Iced coffee with skim milk and fat free condensed milk
  • Lunch - Cottage cheese
  • Snack - Apple
  • Snack - Wallaby strawberry yogurt
  • Dinner - Salad with chicken, roasted green beans, butter lettuce, yellow bell pepper, feta, and oregano-Dijon-lemon vinaigrette; water
  • Snack - Pumpkin frozen yogurt from TCBY!

Approximately: 1501 calories (25% fat, 22% protein, 53% carbs); 15.3g saturated fat (9%), 139 mg cholesterol, 18 g fiber, 1317 mg calcium

My target numbers: 45 - 65% carbs, 20 - 35% fat, 10 - 35% protein (less than 10% saturated), at least 25 g fiber, less than 300 mg cholesterol, at least 1000 mg calcium

Comments: I LOVE having muesli for breakfast...I'm going to post the recipe in the morning. I'm warning you, it's not exactly low-cal, but it is healthy! Here are 2 versions from CookingLight.com and Eatingwell.com.

The muesli really fills me up and with the iced coffee too, I wasn't very hungry for lunch. I knew I would be dancing from 2:30 - 6:30 pm and wouldn't be able to eat anything until after that, so I had a little cottage cheese to keep from getting hungry. When I got home at 9:30, there was a surprise waiting for me...Hilary brought me pumpkin frozen yogurt! I have been wanting to try it (I love everything pumpkin). It was delish!

My fiber intake was a little on the low side (for me). This is because I "skipped" lunch and just had cottage cheese (which has no fiber).

By now you have noticed that I eat late...I teach Monday through Thursday until 9pm. I can't follow that nutrition myth of "not eating after 6 pm". It doesn't work for me. However, I do stop eating 2 hours before I go to bed. I eat around 9:30 or 10 and usually don't go to bed until after midnight (I get to sleep in most mornings...the perk of being a dance teacher). The 2 hour rule, gives your body time to digest before you get in bed. By the way, nothing crazy happens to your body after 6 pm...it doesn't suddenly start storing fat like crazy. Having an eating cut-off point just helps limit the number of calories you eat during the day. So its not a bad idea to have a time when "the kitchen is closed"; but, if you have a schedule like me it might be a little later.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What Does a Dietitian Eat? (Day 2)

Here is day two of what I eat.

Tuesday October 21st
  • Breakfast - Muesli* with pears and strawberries
  • Snack - Iced coffee with skim milk and fat free condensed milk
  • Lunch - Chicken sandwich on an onion roll with Dijon mustard, bread and butter pickles, Havarti cheese, pear (yes on the sandwich!), and butter lettuce; water
  • Snack - Honest Foods Choco P'nut Butter Square
  • Snack - Apple
  • Dinner - Chicken salad (chicken, grilled green beans and yellow squash, red bell pepper, oregano-Dijon-lemon dressing) over butter lettuce with feta cheese; water
  • Snack - Cottage cheese with part of a frozen banana

Approximately: 1914 calories (29% fat, 22% protein, 49% carbs); 20.7 g saturated fat (9.7%), 181.7 mg cholesterol, 26 g fiber, 1317 mg calcium

My target numbers: 45 - 65% carbs, 20 - 35% fat, 10 - 35% protein (less than 10% saturated), at least 25 g fiber, less than 300 mg cholesterol, at least 1000 mg calcium

Comments: My schedule was a little off yesterday. I usually teach dance from 3:30 - 9:00 straight. However, I had an unexpected 1 1/2 hour break, so I decided to use the extra time for a quick trip to the grocery store to pick up a few thing I needed. I was looking at the energy bars (something I always do to see if there is anything new and interesting) and I noticed they had Honest Foods Choco P'nut Butter Squares...something I've been wanting to try. So my first afternoon snack was an impulse buy/eat...a little (250 calorie...maybe not so little) treat for the day, but definitely not something I will start eating on a regular basis (its basically junk food made with "healthier" ingredients...but with 4 grams of fiber and a whole grain as the first ingredient, I could have done worse). My planned snack was an apple (as some of you know, I always carry an apple with me), and I ended up eating it around 8:00 pm. Dinner was really good and filling and I'm going to post the recipe soon.

Because I had cheese twice, my saturated fat intake was higher than the day before, but still within the 10% range. It helped that the protein in my lunch and dinner were both lean (chicken has very little saturated fat - about o.3 g per 3 oz serving compared to 5.2 g per 3 oz serving of T-bone steak).

Notice that my macronutrient (fat, protein, and carbs) percentages were different from yesterday...a little more fat (29% vs 24%) and protein (22% vs 17%) and a little less carbs (49% vs 59%). Again, that's because I ate cheese twice which is mostly protein and fat; the muesli has a lot of nuts which are also mostly fat and protein.

I don't eat a "low-carb", "fat-free", or "high-protein" diet...I try to eat a balance of all three. Our bodies NEED fat, protein, and carbs, but healthy versions.

Healthy fats (unsaturated fats) are found in plants and fish: nuts, seeds, oils (especially canola, olive, flaxseed, sesame, peanut, walnut), avocados, olives, soybeans, tofu, salmon, tuna

I'll write about healthy protein and carbohydrates over the next few days.

And check back for the chicken salad recipe.

* The muesli I had for breakfast is loosely based on this recipe from Saveur magazine. Danielle, my Houston roommate, used to eat muesli for breakfast all of the time, but I never tried it. However, when I read about it the the Breakfast Issue of Saveur, I was intrigued. Danielle you must try this! I'll post my version of the recipe soon.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

What Does a Dietitian Eat?

When working with clients, I get the question a lot..."what do YOU eat?" Whether the person asking is trying to lose (or gain) weight or just eat more healthfully, they are usually interested in what I eat on a daily basis. I admit, I'm sort of a health nut...I eat a salad at least once a day, start the day off with a whole grain, buy very little packaged/processed food, and rarely eat out during the week (that's mostly because I love to cook). There are, however, no foods that are off-limit to me. I will eat fried food, candy, cake, cookies, pizza, pasta, cheese, chips, movie theater popcorn (without butter of course), ice cream, steak, hamburgers...just not on a regular basis.

So this week I'm going to post everyday to let you know what I eat. Get ready for the Saturday post...its Game Day in Tiger Stadium and that means tailgate food and lots of it!

Monday October 20th
  • Breakfast - Oatmeal with pears, walnuts, maple syrup; skim milk
  • Snack - Iced coffee* with skim milk and fat free condensed milk
  • Lunch - Grilled peanut butter and banana/strawberry sandwich on white bread; water
  • Snack - Apple; hummus and whole wheat toast
  • Dinner - Salad with chicken, roasted green beans, butter lettuce, and oregano-Dijon-lemon vinaigrette; french onion soup with whole wheat croutons; water
  • Dessert - Fruit salad with a little strawberry yogurt

Approximately: 1651 calories (24% fat, 17% protein, 59% carbs); 9.8 g saturated fat (5%), 69 mg cholesterol, 22 g fiber, 1108 mg calcium

Comments: I try to stay around 1600 calories per day, but some days I may be a little lower and some days higher. I don't count calories, though. I try to think of food groups (click here to figure out the number of food group servings you need). For example my breakfast always has a whole grain, a fruit, a healthy fat, and a protein source... respectively for this day oats, pears, walnuts, and milk. If I'm going to snack, I try to only have fruit, dairy, and vegetables...iced coffee (dairy from the milk), apple, fruit salad with yogurt (broke the rule with the hummus...but its still healthy and a good source of protein and fiber). If I don't have a salad at lunch I try to have one at dinner...its the easiest way to get my veggies in.

The recommendations are based on the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) and are specific for age and gender. So I, a 27 year old girl, should aim for the following:

  • Percentage of total calories: 45 - 65% carbs, 20 - 35% fat, 10 - 35% protein (and less than 10% saturated fat according to the Dietary Guidelines)
  • at least 25 g fiber
  • less than 300 mg cholesterol
  • at least 1000 mg calcium

There are plenty of other recommendations for vitamins and minerals...these are just a few that I chose to mention. They are also all found on the nutrition facts label on all food products.

I encourage you to visit the Mayo Clinic's Healthy Weight Pyramid Tool (also linked above). Once you fill in your info, you can print out a copy of your complete pyramid and a serving size list. They also offer lots of weight management recipes.

* I found this recipe for iced coffee over the summer and I can't get enough of it! I use part coffee concentrate (the coffee your are left with once its strained) and part skim milk (instead of water) and sweeten just slightly with sugar or condensed milk (the fat free kind has about 60 calorie per tablespoon just like sugar). You could sweeten it with anything you like or leave it unsweetened. Because the the coffee is cold-brewed, it doesn't become bitter and tastes so much better. The recipe says it makes 2 servings, but I get more than that (I guess I don't like mine very strong). And the best part (besides the great taste)...you will save all of the money that you would normally spend at Starbucks or CC's (am I the only iced coffee fanatic that pays $3 plus for an iced latte or coffee?)

Until tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

If You Like Artichokes...

Every month when I receive my Bon Appetit magazine in the mail, I read through it and tear out any recipes that are interesting to me...whether or not they are healthy. Then when I make the recipe I decide if it needs any nutritional "tweaking". In September I found a recipe for Artichoke Soup with Pesto and knew I would have to make it once the weather got a little cooler.

Well, the cool weather has arrived and I made the soup...all I can say is its delicious and easy! (Unless you don't like artichokes...and in that case don't bother making it).

I made a few changes and used my own pesto (which I keep frozen in "pesto cubes"). You could also buy store-bought pesto...my favorite brand is Alessi and I can find it in most stores near the marinara (some store-bought pesto is so gross...read the ingredients and watch out for those that shouldn't be there - you should find basil, pine nuts, extra virgin olive oil, Parmesan cheese, garlic, and salt). If you want to save calories, just leave the pesto out (my sister prefers it this way). One tablespoon of store-bought pesto has 50 - 75 calories and 5 or more grams of fat.

If you use canned artichokes, taste the soup before seasoning with salt...canned vegetables already have added salt (it might be a good idea to rinse them).

Make sure when you puree the hot soup, you don't seal the blender completely...leave the lid cracked to allow steam to escape, but cover it with a kitchen towel to prevent splattering.

I think the soup would be good topped with whole wheat croutons. Cube a few slices of whole wheat bread and toast on a baking sheet until golden brown. You could also follow this recipe and toast them in a skillet (I would cut back on the oil...maybe 1 1/2 tablespoons). Toasted almonds might be a good topping as well. I need a little crunch!

Artichoke Soup
adapted from Bon Appetit

Total Time: 25 minutes
Makes 4 servings

1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 8-ounce packages frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and chopped or 2 15-ounce cans, drained and chopped
2 1/2 cups (or more) low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
salt and pepper
pesto (good but optional)

Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until soft, about 6 minutes. Add garlic; stir 30 seconds. Add artichokes and 2 1/2 cups broth. Bring to boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until artichokes are soft, about 7 minutes. Working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth (see note above). Return to saucepan and thin with additional broth by 1/4 cupfuls if desired. Season soup with salt and pepper. Divide among bowls; drizzle with pesto if using.

Per serving (without the pesto) - 81 calories, 3 g fat (0 g saturated), 8 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 5 g protein (exchanges: ½ fat, 2 vegetable)

Enjoy!

P.S. I'm hoping I get a good camera for Christmas so that I can take pics of what I cook and post them! Dad are you reading this?

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Fall Weather Makes Me Want to Cook _______!

I hope you are all having a great weekend! The weather here has been so pretty...its finally starting to feel like fall! There are so many things I love about fall weather...good hair days (i.e. less humidity), enjoyable night football games, and warm comfort foods! I had chili last night for dinner and I made artichoke soup tonight. I've been cooking with butternut squash and sweet potatoes. I have pomegranates, persimmons, and pears in my kitchen right now. I also baked a fall treat...read ahead to find out what it was.

I passed my Adult Weight Management post-test...so I'm officially certified. I didn't learn anything "ground breaking"...no new magic weight loss secrets to share! I did learn a lot of new counseling techniques and I will use them in the future. I have a new understanding of how and when bariatric surgery, weight loss medications, and meal replacements (bars and shakes) can be used in effort to lose weight. I also realized how FABULOUS San Francisco is and that I can't wait to go back!

The following recipes are going to help you with 3 suggestions I have:

1. Eat more veggies! They are low in calories and high in nutrients/fiber.

I am going to attempt to inspire you to eat more veggies...steamed broccoli and green beans can get old really fast. If you can find a way to make vegetables more appealing you will likely eat more of them and more often. At lunch and dinner, a good idea is to fill ½ of your plate with vegetables...this will displace other more calorie dense things (starches and protein) and help you consume fewer calories.

Here and here are some more veggie ideas.

2. Have a starch free lunch on some days.

Starch...meaning bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, etc. Salads at lunch are a good tip. If you have a starch free lunch (like a salad), you will have left-over starches when you get to dinner (that is if you count starches). And then you can enjoy whole wheat pasta, brown rice, quinoa, or a whole wheat dinner roll with the rest of your family. Another good "starch-free" meal is an omelet or frittata made with sautéed veggies, egg whites, and reduced-fat cheese (I love having omelets at non-breakfast meals).

The salad recipe for the week was emailed to me by a LifeTime Fitness TWL participant and looks really good. Its a spinach salad...I'm sure you don't need me to tell you how good spinach is for you, but if you want to read more about it and other greens, read this.

3. Have dairy (yogurt, cottage cheese, milk, or dairy-substitute...soy yogurt, soy milk, etc.) and fruit for snacks.

The recipe for "Very Berry Salad" looks really good. I make something similar to this every week; I make it ahead of time on the weekend and eat it all week. The fruit provides you with carbohydrates for energy and the dairy adds protein to keep you satisfied for longer!

Spinach Salad with Warm Maple Dressing -
  • Per serving - 164 calories, 12 g fat (2 g saturated), 12 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 4 g protein (exchanges: 1 ½ fat, 2 vegetable)
  • Notes - I think this would be good with chopped red bell pepper and diced apple or pear…and add some lean protein to complete the meal (chicken, tuna, beans)

Very Berry Salad -

  • Per Serving - 83 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated), 20 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 2 g protein (exchanges: 1 ½ fruit)
  • Notes - Eat this as is, or for a satisfying snack, add some protein with low-fat yogurt, cottage cheese, or ricotta cheese. This would be good with other types of fruit too…use what is in season (obviously berries aren't really in season right now, so maybe apples, pears, grapes, and pomegranate) and save money!

Asian Cucumber Salad -

  • Per Serving - 52 calories, 2.4 g fat (0.3 g saturated), 5.8 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 1.3 g protein (exchanges: ½ fat, 1 vegetable)
  • Notes - Keep the Asian theme, and serve with Soy Glazed Salmon (or tuna)

Baby Spinach with Pine Nuts -

  • Per Serving - 51 calories, 3.5 g fat (0.5 g saturated), 3.7 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 2.6 g protein (exchanges: ½ fat, 1 vegetable)
  • Notes - Serve with baked chicken or pork tenderloin

Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower -

  • Per Serving - 67 calories, 4.2 g fat (0.8 g saturated), 6 g carbohydrate, 2.4 g fiber, 3 g protein (exchanges: 1 fat, 1 vegetable)
  • Notes - I've made this before and added a little whole grain mustard and lemon juice too...I was inspired by this recipe (but without all of the butter!)

Barley with Shiitakes and Spinach -

  • Per Serving - 172 calories, 3.3 g fat (0.9 g saturated), 26.7 g carbohydrate, 6.7 g fiber, 8.6 g protein (exchanges: ½ fat, ½ protein, 1 starch, 2 vegetable)
  • Notes - Barley is a whole grain...if you can't find quick cooking barley, just buy what you can find and cook it a little longer (pearl barley is easier to find and is usually on the rice isle or the cereal isle near the oats)

Broccoli With Dijon Vinaigrette -

  • Per Serving - 52 calories, 1.7 g fat (0.2 g saturated), 7.6 g carbohydrate, 4.1 g fiber, 4 g protein (exchanges: fat, 1 vegetable)

Brussels Sprouts with Pecans -

  • Per Serving - 82 calories, 3 g fat (0.8 g saturated), 12.6 g carbohydrate, 3.9 g fiber, 3.6 g protein (exchanges: ½ fat, 2 vegetable)
  • Notes - I love Brussels sprouts and get so excited when they are in season! If you've never had a shredded Brussels sprout dish, you should try this

Carrot Coins with Maple-Balsamic Browned Butter -

  • Per Serving - 86 calories, 3.1 g fat (1.8 g saturated), 14.5 g carbohydrate, 3.4 g fiber, 1.1 g protein (exchanges: ½ fat, 2 vegetable)
  • Notes - According to Cooking Light, this recipe tastes best when you start with whole carrots...the peeling and slicing should take you less than five minutes

Green Beans and Pan-Roasted Red Onions -

  • Per Serving - 66 calories, 2 g fat (0.4 g saturated), 10.8 g carbohydrate, 2.4 g fiber, 2.2 g protein (exchanges: ½ fat, 1 ½ vegetable)
  • Notes - The actual recipe says the serving size is 1/2 cup, but I think you should have at least 1 cup...so I doubled the nutrition info above

Quick Eggplant and Tomato Sauté -

  • Per Serving - 46 calories, 2.4 g fat (0.3 g saturated), 5.5 g carbohydrate, 2.1 g fiber, 1 g protein (exchanges: ½ fat, 1 vegetable)
  • Notes - This would be good over whole wheat pasta!


Lagniappe...


I love the fall because I love cooking with pumpkin. This weekend I made pumpkin walnut muffins (with whole wheat pastry flour) and they are delicious! This isn't the recipe I used, but Ellie's looks just as good! If you make them, freeze most of them (after they are baked) so you don't eat them all at once! You could omit the pumpkin seed topping or substitute walnuts or pecans. Make sure you buy canned pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling. Perfect for breakfast with a glass of milk!

Per serving - 205 calories, 7 g fat (1 g saturated), 32 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 5 g protein (exchanges: 2 starches, 1 fat)