A Valentine’s Breakfast

Hope everyone is having a great Valentine’s Day! This day isn’t a big deal for us, but I like to use my heart shape plates when I get an excuse.

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I decided to make French Toast this morning. French toast is one of my favorite breakfasts, but I love it with butter and powdered sugar. No syrup, because that just hides the extra cinnamony goodness of my french toast. Just those 2 toppings, which essentially make a yummy butter cream frosting when they melt together. It’s almost like an easy to make cinnamon roll. YUM.

Of course, today I went the healthier route. This french toast was super easy. Just a piece of bread dipped in a mix of egg beaters, almond milk, nutmeg, and lots of cinnamon. I topped with a spritz of ICBINB, some splenda, and then sugar free syrup. That’s right, I used syrup. It’s not my favorite, but I couldn’t quite justify loading it with the powdered sugar I really wanted to use.  I had lots of fruit on the side, which made it more fun since who wants to eat just one piece of french toast (especially with syrup, lol)?

Tonight, at my request, we are going to Chick-fil-a. I just don’t care to spend tons of money at a crowded restaurant where I will overeat anyway. I will get some nuggets and a side salad and enjoy a small homemade low sugar strawberry shortcake for dessert. I am looking forward to it!

Hopefully, it doesn’t rain again since I’d like to get in a nice jog today.

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Running Slump and a Shrimp Dinner

I think I may have gone a little too full-steam ahead when I got my gps watch.. goodness. Running was tough the last couple days! I just was not feeling it and my energy was so low. I still managed my mileage goals, but was slower than I should have been.

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Here’s the stats from my 5 miler yesterday. Only a couple minutes slower than Saturday, but it was so much harder. I am really relieved that today is a non-running day. I did my 30DS video earlier, and am ready to do an easy 20 minutes on the bike later. I’m not so sure I’ll pull off my 4 mile plan for tomorrow, but we’ll see how I feel (and how my toe feels – I dropped a can on it yesterday, ouch). I would like to get it done since Friday is weigh in day, and like EVERY single week, I have not had any sustained progress on the scale yet.

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In other news, I tried out a new shrimp recipe last week, which was ok, but not exciting enough to write much about. I thought this dish would have tons of flavor, but despite all the chili powders, it was still a little boring. I basically followed the recipe, except I added onion, red pepper, and zucchini to the corn and drizzled the cooked shrimp with a little honey instead of putting sugar in the rub. It’s Cooking Light’s 3 Chile Dusted Shrimp recipe in case you are interested since this is still a really light, healthy meal. I may be a little biased about this recipe because the only shrimp I really love is coconut shrimp (with pina colada dipping sauce!).

Recipe: Lentil Mango Picadillo

lentilpicadillo

This recipe really doesn’t seem close to traditional Picadillo, not only because there’s no meat and there’s mango in it, but because every Picadillo recipe I’ve seen has olives. However, I hate olives and have never had traditional Picadillo, so I am glad I saw this version. I can’t think of another name for it, so I’m sticking with the same recipe title from the recipe I slightly adapted.

I really liked this recipe for a change. We have one standard lentil dish we cook all the time, and I was ready for a change. I love adding mango to savory dishes, so this was a great choice for me. I do think it could have used a bit more flavor. The flavor was there, but it seemed to get a little lost. Or maybe I am just used to well spiced dishes thanks to my husband. I would recommend upping all the seasonings listed below by 25-50% and possibly using a hotter salsa.

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Lentil Mango Picadillo

adapted from Eats Well with Others, originally adapted from Simply Recipes

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups lentils
1 onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1 cup mild Pace Picante sauce (or other salsa)
1-2 mangoes, peeled pitted and cubed
Blue Diamond Jalapeno Smokehouse almonds, chopped, for topping (or other almonds)
chopped fresh cilantro leaves, for topping

Directions:
1. Place lentils in a large pan and fill pot with walter. Add some salt, and bring to a boil.  Cook for 15-25 minutes, covered. (I cooked it longer because we like very soft lentils.) When lentils are tender, drain off the excess water.

2. Heat a large non-stick skillet on medium heat and spray with Pam. Cook onions about 5 minutes, then add the bell pepper and continue cooking another 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cumin, oregano, thyme, mango, and salsa. Cook 2 minutes. Add the cooked lentils and stir to combine, keeping on the heat for another few minutes.

3. Serve topped with chopped almonds and cilantro.

I served this with pita wedges and hummus on the side.

Recipe: Hawaiian Pizza Pocket

We recently made pita bread pizzas, and I made a Hawaiian one. With the leftovers, I decided to make a sandwich of sorts with the same theme. I know, that’s not a unique idea, but I thought I would share anyway, because this was a really good lunch. I served it with a yummy ripe nectarine (excited they are so good this time of year!) on the side.

hawaiianpocket

Hawaiian Pizza Pocket

Ingredients:
1/2 a pita bread or flat bread (or other bread/bun/wrap)
2 ounces (about 5 slices) deli honey ham
1 slice of mozzarella cheese
6 fresh spinach leaves
1 ring grilled fresh pineapple (canned would work too)
5 sun-dried tomato strips
2-3 tbsp spaghetti or pizza sauce (I used Bertolli Fire Roasted Tomato With Cabernet Sauvignon)

Directions:
Place all the ingredients in a pita pocket or on 2 slices of bread. Or, save the spaghetti sauce for dipping sauce if you want to pretend it’s a calzone. Heat in the toaster oven, panini press, foreman grill, and/or microwave until the cheese is melted and everything is heated through. I microwaved first, then used the toaster oven to crisp up the bread. Super easy!

Bread Note: I used 1/2 an Arnold’s Pocket Thin, but I am not a fan of these. I only bought them because I was buying Sandwich Thins on a bogo sale, and there was a high coupon specifically for the Pocket Thins, so I thought I’d try out one pack. To me, these are a waste because you could get real pita bread for much cheaper AND less calories AND better flavor. Seriously. You can get pita bread in a 6 pack for around $1.39 at Publix and each pita is 150 calories. The Pocket Thins are like $3.79 (!!!) for only 4 of them at 200 calories each, and they are thinner than the pita bread. I didn’t even think they tasted good because I’m not a fan of wheat bread. I will definitely stick to Arnold’s regular white Sandwich Thins, which I love, or just regular pita bread for this pizza pocket.

Recipe: Golden Curried Vegetables

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This week I wasn’t as happy with the new recipes I tried, but they do have potential. I am posting this recipe with the adjustments that I would make in the future, not exactly how I made it this time. I did not have curry paste which was originally called for, so I modified with curry powder and other spices, and my end result was a bit too spicy in my opinion. So I’ve listed what I will do the next time, and I think this version will be a bit better. Although, if I ever have some curry paste on hand, maybe I will try it the way it is supposed to be made.

Note that I am really not a big fan of curry powder, but I am coming around. This dish was so healthy, I am willing to work with it and I know it will grow on me.
curry

Golden Curried Vegetables

adapted from Eats Well with Others and Vegetarian Times

Ingredients:
1.5 lbs potatoes (mix of sweet potatoes and russet), peeled and diced
3 medium carrots, peeled and diced
12 ounce frozen chopped green beans
1/2 cup chopped cauliflower
1 tsp coconut oil
1 large white onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 small squash, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 can lite coconut milk
1.5 tbsp sweet yellow curry powder
1 tsp crushed coriander
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
dash cayenne pepper
1 tsp lemongrass paste
2 tbsp PB2
2 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp dried basil (or use all fresh basil)
1 tbsp fresh basil (or use all dried basil)

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Cook the potatoes for 7 minutes.  Add the carrots, green beans, and cauliflower and cook 10 more minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add onion and bell pepper and cook about 5 minutes until softening.  Add garlic and squash and cook another 5 minutes. Stir in drained cooked vegetables, coconut milk, and all seasonings (everything should be in the skillet at this point). Bring mixture to a simmer and cook, stirring a few times, for about 5 more minutes until sauce is thickening some.

Recipe: Spaghetti Squash with Swiss Chard, Chickpeas, and Craisins

Last night I made another new recipe loaded with veggies! I am not a vegetarian by any means, but I’ve found us making more and more vegetarian meals just because they are so healthy and low calorie.

This recipe was really light and had a great combinations of flavors. I love that it can be so versatile. I can already think of several other variations to make. I don’t think my husband liked it as much, but that’s because he is not crazy about sweet ingredients in dinner (like craisins). Next time I will use sun-dried tomatoes instead, and I think he will like it more.

I served this as a main dish with a piece of garlic toast on the side.

spag-squash-meal

Spaghetti Squash with Swiss Chard, Chickpeas, and Craisins
Makes about 4 bowls

Adapted from Cara’s Cravings

Ingredients:
1 spaghetti squash (about 2.5 lbs)
1 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced orange bell pepper
2 tbsp chopped pecans
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 large bunch swiss chard
spritz of olive oil
2 tbsp Sabra garlic hummus
1 tsp red wine vinegar
4 garlic cloves, diced
1 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp italian seasoning
pinch red pepper flakes
1 15oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 oz crumbled feta cheese

Directions:

  • Cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Place cut side down into a large microwavable glass dish and cover the bottom 1/2 inch of the dish with water. Lightly place plastic wrap over the top of the squash. Microwave for 10-15 minutes to steam the squash.
  • Add Craisins to a small bowl and cover with hot water. Set aside to soak.
  • Toast the nuts in a toaster oven for a few minutes.
  • Spritz a large skillet lightly with oil and turn on medium heat. Add diced onion and bell pepper and cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, tear the swiss chard leaves away from the thick stems and roughly chop. Discard the bottom ends of the swiss chard stems and cut the rest of the stems into 1/2 inch pieces. Add the chard stems to the skillet and cook for 1-2 minutes, then add the chard leaves and the garlic. Cook for five more minutes, stirring occasionally, until the swiss chard has wilted.
  • Add the chickpeas and red wine vinegar and season with salt, pepper, italian seasoning, and crushed red pepper.
  • Scrape out the cooked spaghetti squash strands and add them with the hummus to the skillet. Drain the cranberries and add them as well. Cook while stirring, for about three more minutes, until everything is heated through and well combined.
  • Divide among serving dishes and top with the toasted pecans and crumbled feta.

Recipe: Tomato, Squash and Red Pepper Gratin

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Tomato, Squash and Red Pepper Gratin
Serves 4-6, adapted from Cooking Light August 2012

Ingredients:
Pam cooking spray
2 cups chopped onion
2 cups chopped red bell pepper
1 lb yellow summer squash, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
dried basil
dried thyme
salt
black pepper
1/2 cup unsweetened original almond milk
3 oz cheese, shredded (I used monterrey jack and swiss)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbsp panko breadcrumbs
2 tbsp chopped or small croutons
12 oz vine ripe  tomatoes, sliced thinly (would recommend 16 ounce)
parmesan cheese

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375.
  • Heat a large, oven-safe nonstick skillet over medium heat and spray it with Pam. Cook the onion for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the bell pepper and cook for 2 minutes.  Add the squash and garlic and cook for 4 minutes.  Stir in the quinoa, basil, thyme, salt and black pepper.  Taste for seasoning.
  • Combine the almond milk, cheese and eggs in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk.  Add the milk mix to the veggie mix, stirring until just combined.
  • Arrange tomatoes evenly over the veggie mixture in the pan.  Top evenly with the breadcrumbs and croutons.  Bake at 375 for 40 minutes. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top, to taste.

tomatosquashgratin

I thought this was pretty good, but probably needed more seasoning. The original recipe called for fresh basil, but I didn’t have any. Next time I will use that because I love fresh basil. I read some reviews that said they wished it had more tomato, and I agree with that. Also, this was not cheesy at all, and was almost quiche-like. I think maybe some laughing cow would make it creamier.

I served this as a main dish with a salad, although it would make a good side dish too (but a little time consuming for just a side).