Tag Archives: ten minute dinners

A Half??

Life feels like it’s moving so fast lately that I can hardly keep up. I’m not complaining, though! I love this feeling. I think I thrive on being busy.

Solid example of how awesome the healthy living blogging community is: I went home last night with my mind whirling with the possibility of running a half marathon. I’ve been considering it for a long time, but it seems like such a big and intimidating thing that I’ve continually put it to the backburner of my mind, thinking that it’s something I can do later, when I’m more prepared in any of a hundred ways. The truth is, though, that we do big and intimidating things only when we give ourselves specific goals and deadlines and when we make actual and solid choices to pursue them. Yesterday, I put the idea out there into the twitterverse and, lo and behold, found that there were a few blogging friends that seem to be down to do it, including Katherine and Amanda.

And, you know, I started this whole conversation… so I think I have to do it, right? I need to check with a doctor about my knees, but I’m pretty sure that if s/he gives me the go ahead, I’m doing it!

Wow.

My mind was also whirling, during my drive home, with endless dinner possibilities. I think I decided on at least four different dinner combinations by the time I’d gotten home, but thankfully I was able to settle pretty easily on one.

So, first, I threw these guys in the microwave and steamed them for two minutes:

Next, I heated up a big frying pan on medium-high and melted a heaping tablespoon of Earth Balance in it.

I then threw the brussels sprouts into the pan and let them cook (stirring often), allowing them to char slightly (I love that).

While those were going, I cut up a block of savory tofu (TJ’s, of course) and threw the cubes in the toaster oven, on broil.

Once the brussels sprouts looked good and evenly cooked, I topped them with generous amounts of sea salt, ground pepper and grated parmesan & romano. I let them cook for a minute or so more to let some of the cheese burn (yum!) and then they were ready to go.

The best part, of course, was the cheeeese. 🙂

All in all, I don’t think this took more than ten minutes! Pretty great, right?

And thank goodness for that, because I had some TV to watch.

Is anybody else still watching Chuck? I’m so disappointed in it lately. I am, however, enjoying The Event quite a bit, though it’s definitely no Lost.

Easy-peasy!

Man, that would have worked so much better if I’d made peas instead of brussels sprouts…

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Comfort Food Makeover

Throughout my childhood, there were two meals my mom would make when it was just a couple of us at home and she just didn’t feel like cooking. One of these meals was Farina. While this was a big hit with my sister, I never really got on the Farina wagon. Therefore, when it was just my mom and me, I always requested the other of the two: scrambled egg pasta.

Basically, you just boil pasta, then, once cooked and drained, scramble eggs (about one per person) and cheese into the pasta, still over the heat, until cooked.

It’s awesome. Seriously. It’s also one of my favorite comfort foods and is one I relate directly to cozy nights at home with my mom as a child.

Over the past few months, I’ve healthified this slightly by using different kinds of whole wheat pasta when I’ve made it for myself on those nights I, myself, just haven’t felt like cooking. Last night, however, I realized a perfect KWH-ification was at my finger tips.

I should note that I used leftovers of a green veggie medley made primarily of green beans, but the recipe I’m posting is for how you’d do it from scratch.

Oh, and by the way… this is a great ten minute dinner!

Scrambled Egg Green Bean “Pasta”

makes one serving

Ingredients:

  • ~1 1/2 cups green beans, rinsed and trimmed
  • 1/2 tbs butter or Earth Balance
  • 2 eggs
  • parmesan & romano to taste (I probably used about 1 tbs)
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

Rinse & trim green beans. Place green beans in a small pot of water (just enough to cover the beans) and bring to a boil. Cook for 3-4 minutes.

Drain green beans and put back on stove. Add butter or Earth Balance and distribute evenly. Sautee the beans for a minute or so, allowing some to brown slightly.

Crack two eggs into a small bowl and mix with a fork, adding the parmesan & romano and the salt & pepper.

Add the egg mixture to the green beans on the stove and mix until evenly scrambled and cooked with the green beans.

You know, I think I actually enjoyed this version more than the pasta version! The crisp juiciness of the green beans really added something to the dish.

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Blueberry Muffin Smoothie Heaven

My day was just totally made – I’m featured on #fitblog daily today! Not only is this exciting on its own, but I was also really happy about which post was chosen to be featured. I feel that post (Reset Button) really represents who I am and what my blog is about.

Big smile!

In less happy news, though, this made me mad. I never, ever think it’s funny to make fun of girls (or anyone!) for their weight. How completely unacceptable. Plus, this guy isn’t even funny. Lame.

That’s why I love the idea behind Operation Beautiful so much. Thank goodness there’s a community out there trying to counteract the negative effects of so much of the media.

Anyway, I tried my hand a tempeh last night!

That stuff has been sitting in my fridge for…. who knows how long (It’s still good, don’t worry. I checked.). I’ve been totally intimidated by it. I had no idea what to do with it. Plus, after doing a little reading, I felt even more intimidated. It seemed so complicated!

But then I figured, heck, if other bloggers eat it raw (which, by the by, was not for me), it can’t be that hard, right?

So I chopped it up into little blocks, sauteed it in a tablespoon of olive oil and added a tablespoon of worcestershire sauce. Super simple!

I also cooked up some of this stuff on the stovetop. The directions were literally to add a tablespoon of water and stir. Easy enough for me!

I’m  just going to go ahead and call this… Worcestershire Tempeh and Vegetables.

You know you wish you could come up with names as original as mine.

And it took less than ten minutes from start to finish! That ten minutes even includes my hemming and hawwing and total hesitation. Dare I call this… a ten minute dinner?! I think I shall!

…Seriously, who says shall?

This was good! It was a small bowl of food but I felt totally satisfied. I used about one third of the tempeh block and half of the veggies (that bag of veggies holds “five servings,” but I don’t know who TJ’s thinks they’re kidding).

The tempeh was… interesting. I can’t say I loved the taste, but I found it sort of addicting. I kept wanting more. I enjoyed it even if I didn’t love it. And I still want more. I’m having it for lunch.

I don’t know, your take on my sanity is as good as mine.

I then spent the rest of the evening baking! But I’ll get to that in the next post. 😉

This morning’s boot camp was totally strength-focused, which was just further confirmation for me that I can lay off the strength classes for a while and just count on my boot camp classes to fulfill my strength training needs. This class also left me starrrrving, so my (new! and awesome!) smoothie this morning was more than welcome.

I came up with this smoothie in my head as I did roughly eight thousand squats during class. That’s healthy living blog dedication. That, or it was just my empty stomach talking.

Don’t let the ashy color fool you. This smoothie rocked. One of my new favorites, for sure.

Blueberry Muffin Smoothie


Into the mix went:

  • 3 ice cubes
  • handful fresh baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tbs nonfat plain greek yogurt
  • 1/3 frozen banana
  • ~1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 scoop Jay Robb’s Vanilla Whey Protein Powder
  • 2 dashes cinnamon
  • 1 dash nutmeg

On top:

  • ~1/2 tbs coconut butter (again, not drizzled… more like burned. grr.)
  • handful Shredded Oats 😀

Yum and a half. No, really. The cinnamon and nutmeg were sheer genius, if I do say so myself.

Aka… I am a genius. Just in case any of you were slow on the uptake there.

10K Training Day 26

5 minutes elliptical

45 minutes boot camp (strength-heavy!)

35 minutes elliptical (30 min high intensity + 5 min cool down)

It’s Coffee Bean Friiiiiiday! 😀

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Pizza-dilla

Yes, you read that right.

I had kind of a genius idea for dinner last night, if I do say so myself, and it was not only delicious, but it also it most certainly qualifies for the Ten Minute Dinners category.

Excuse me while I pat myself on the back for a moment.

Pizza-dilla

makes 1 serving

Ingredients:

  • 1 Ezekiel tortilla
  • 1 cooked chicken breast (I used the last of the Orange Juice Chicken)
  • ~1/3 cup shredded lowfat cheddar cheese
  • ~1/2 cup frozen bell pepper and onion strips
  • 2-3 tbs BBQ sauce*

Directions:

Set the oven to broil.

Grease a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.

Lay the tortilla out on the baking sheet and sprinkle the tortilla with the cheddar.

Sautee the onion and pepper strips in cooking spray in a skillet until heated through (about 2-3 minutes).

Spread the sauteed peppers and onions over the cheese.

Drizzle the BBQ sauce over everything.

Place the baking sheet in the oven and broil your “pizza-dilla” for 5-7 minutes or until the edges of the tortilla are browned and your cheese is bubbling.

Serve on a plate…

(Check out that steam!)

Slice it up like pizza…

And devour!

* Most BBQ sauces have sugar or high fructose corn syrup. I found this sauce, however, at a local health market. It’s called Robbie’s Original Barbeque Sauce. I tried it for the first time tonight, and while I didn’t love it (not a ton of flavor), it was definitely nice to find a BBQ sauce without sugar. It has fructose, but I’m pretty sure I’m okay with that ingredient.

Followed up with a little cereal with carob chips.

I’ve had this every night this week! Weird.

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Human Again

I slept for 12 hours on Wednesday night, probably about 5-6 hours during the day yesterday, and another 12 hours last night. Think I’m getting enough sleep?

It seems that’s exactly what I needed, though, because I actually feel human again today.

The hardest part of having a cold, for me, is the fact that I lose out on most of my favorite things. I have four broad categories of things that make me happy: people, exercise, food and television (I’m obsessed with good TV, by the by). When I’m sick, I only get to enjoy one of those four things (television), because people (understandably) avoid me, I can’t exercise, and I can’t taste food. TV is great, but it can’t sustain happiness alone.

Last night, while enjoying “Covert Affairs,” I ate one of my all-time favorite “sick foods” (and, let’s be honest, a favorite food even when I’m not sick): eggs on toast.

This definitely counts as a Ten Minute Dinner.

Open-faced KWH-ified Egg McMuffin

I toasted two pieces of Ezekiel and topped them each with an over-easy egg covered in salt, pepper and shredded low-fat cheddar cheese. I could only sort of taste it, but my memories of past installments of this delicious dinner filled in.

Served up with a side of OJ.

Happily, my taste buds returned with my functioning brain this morning.

I made much the same smoothie as I have for the past three days (sorry), but I added strawberries this morning. I had been hoping for a pink color, but sadly the three strawberries I added only served to make the smoothie a kind of dull, beige-ish green. Oh, well.

Into the mix went:

  • 3 ice cubes
  • big handful baby spinach
  • 1 level scoop Greens & Whey
  • 1/2 cup 100% juice orange juice
  • ~1/8 cup nonfat plain greek yogurt
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 3 strawberries

On top:

  • drizzle 1/2 tbs melted coconut butter
  • handful Shredded Oats (definitely my new favorite)

If you look really closely, you can see the red strawberry specks…

Lame. It tasted good, but I couldn’t tell any difference with the added strawberries vs. the previous few smoothies.

In other news, Simon Cowell had quit already, and now both Ellen DeGeneres and Kara DioGuardi are out, as well. Wow. I guess “American Idol” is over, even if they’re still forging ahead. But, seriously, Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson as judges? No thanks.

I just snacked on Goldfish, knowing they have sugar in them. Why, oh why, do I sometimes do stupid things?

I really do love and miss Goldfish… but that is really no excuse. Stupid office kitchen with its tempting snacks.

Anyway, sorry for the short post, but I’ll be back later today… it is, after all, a Coffee Bean Friday!

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Food and a Favor

Before I get to food, I have a favor to ask of you all.

(source)

Friends of mine are in an awesome band called “I Love Monsters” and they are finalists to be the next FreeCreditReport Band! They need your vote! You can vote once a day here. Thank you!!!

My dinner last night… not anywhere near as awesome as I Love Monsters.

My apologies for the hastily-taken, overblown and not-very-appetizing-looking (and, let’s be honest, -tasting) meal. I’m sure it could have been much better, but I was on the phone, starving, and eager to start baking the birthday muffins.

I’ll still tell you what was in it, though, because I think it could be done better if one of you were to give it the attention dinner deserves. This meal included most of the leftover roasted broccoli and cauliflower from the night before; 2/3 cup cooked white beans; about 1/3 of a tomato, diced; dashes each of salt, pepper and oregano; and a sprinkle of parmesan & romano. I microwaved the whole bowl for about three minutes and basically shoveled it in my mouth while my mind was entirely elsewhere. It wasn’t awesome, but I didn’t really care. I just needed sustenance so that I could get onto the Honey, Fig & Goat Cheese Muffins.

Obviously, this is not at all how I normally deal with food. I am a foodie, after all. Please consider this dinner an exception.

Of course, I returned to nutritious and delicious eats this morning.

SIAB time! It was just about the same combination as on Tuesday (I mean, why mess a good thing up?) but I changed the protein powder. You’d be surprised what a difference of just one ingredient can make.

Into the mix went:

  • 3 ice cubes
  • handful baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • blob (this is really about.. well, almost 1/8 cup) nonfat plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 packet Jay Robb’s Vanilla Whey Protein Powder
  • 1 banana
  • ~2/3 cup honeydew melon, sliced & diced

On top:

  • small handful Cinnamon Puffins
  • drizzle (about 3/4 tbs) coconut butter (no need to warm it after a day with the air conditioning off)

I mean, is that green, or is that green? This breakfast so made up for last night’s dinner.

This protein powder was good but almost a little too sweet for my waning sweet tooth. I liked that it really tasted like vanilla and nothing else, though. Oh, and of course, it’s sugar-free. If you’re avoiding refined and artificial sugars like I am, make sure to read labels when you’re choosing your protein powder.

I have been having so many SIABS lately because they are so good to eat after workouts and on hot days. They fill me up for hours, cool me down, and start my day off with so many nutrients.

Oh, and speaking of workouts, I was at the gym before 6:00am this morning! I used to do this when my previous job started earlier, but it’s been awhile since I was there quite that early. It actually wasn’t hard at all… but then again, I am a morning person, and my usual arrival time at the gym is 6:15am – not that much of a difference. I went early knowing I had an errand to run before work and not wanting to compromise my last workout before my mysterious trip. I did 35 minutes on the elliptical, 45 minutes of strength training, and 35 more minutes on the elliptical. It was actually over before I knew it. Even boring cardio flies by when you split it up.

As you may have noticed, I was pretty busy last night and didn’t have time to prepare lunch for today. Given my busy morning, I knew I wouldn’t have time to prepare lunch then, either.

Fortunately, I’m a planner. You really have to be when you have an intolerance.

This was a 30-second pre-work preparation lunch (try saying that ten times fast). This could also easily be a dinner, so I’m going to go ahead and call it a Ten-Minute Dinner.

Sweet Potato with Cottage Cheese & Salsa

All I had to do was grab a microwaveable sweet potato and a container of low-fat cottage cheese, spoon 2 tablespoons of salsa into a mini tupperware container and head out the door.

In the office kitchen at lunchtime, I just followed the directions and microwaved the potato, sliced it lengthwise and added the cottage cheese and the salsa.

Absolutely no effort whatsoever and it was so good. So much faster than fast food and so much healthier. This meal is packed with filling fiber, protein and carbs and will keep me satisfied all afternoon (until snack time… of course).

Again, if you’re watching your sugar intake, salsa is another tricky item on the sugar scale. Many salsas have sugar, and again – you’re going to want to read labels. The salsa I’m using here is Tostitos All Natural Chunky Salsa – Medium.

Finally, this afternoon, it was time to celebrate my boss’ birthday! I had ordered him a cake from a very famous Los Angeles bakery (with locations in Burbank and Glendale) called Porto’s Bakery. If you’re ever in the LA area, I highly suggest you check this incredible restaurant out. I’m very excited that my favorite meal there is one I can still enjoy with my intolerance. I’m sure I’ll go soon and tell you all about it.

Back to the cake… I kind of completely forgot to take a picture of the cake in all of its glory, but here is the (I hear) amazing red velvet half-sheet confection after the office had its way with it.

Happy Birth. Awesome.

I obviously didn’t have any, but it was a lot of fun to be at the birthday celebration even without eating the cake. In fact, I really didn’t miss it at all and kind of appreciated the ability to turn the cake down without any yearnings of “oh, maybe just a little!”

Instead, a couple of hours later, I feasted on carrots and hummus.

Wonderful, as always. Carrots are no cake, but at least I’m not crashing after a sugar rush! To be honest, it feels good to eat food that I know fuels my body and makes me feel good – and that’s intolerance aside.

Next time I post, it won’t be from LA! Well, it might be, but I’ll be on my way somewhere else. 😉

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Finally Summer in LA

The heat is finally upon us in LA! It’s been somewhat cool and very gloomy for the past month or so (at least in the mornings – June gloom lasted a bit long), and I’d started to think we just weren’t going to get a real summer this year.

Looks like I was wrong! The heat is finally here. Last night was the first night we needed to turn our AC on through the night. It’s usually cool enough outside that we just leave our windows cracked for a perfect nighttime temperature in the apartment.

The gym was also extra-hot this morning, even with the air conditioning. The sun rises right into the big bay windows in the classroom, which means it gets pretty warm between that and all the active bodies.

Anyway, as mentioned, yesterday got snacky.

Right after my lunch of White Bean & Tuna Salad, I had another amazingly flavorful pluot:

…. and then followed it about an hour later with a Larabar.

Only two hours after that, I snacked on a banana with almond butter. I should have omitted the AB. Sometimes my planning of everything I’m going to eat gets in the way of intuitive eating.

Yikes. Not my best day.

It also occurred to me yesterday evening that the day had contained a lot of fat. Now, I’m not afraid of eating healthy fats. They’re really good for our bodies (our skin, our hair, our digestive systems and more!) and I think the only thing that works about “low fat” diets is that they (hopefully) help people become more aware of avoiding saturated and trans fats. It’s added fat that gives fat a bad name. However, that doesn’t mean I need to load my diet up with healthy fat, and yesterday was definitely on the high side.

As a result, I scrapped my plans for dinner and went with a vegetable & egg scramble instead.

It was another Ten Minute Dinner!

Of course, this was super easy.

Vegetable & Egg Scramble

I heated up a cooking pan, sprayed it with nonstick cooking spray, and tossed in a little bit of diced onion. As soon as the onion started to brown, I added some mushrooms. I let those cook for about a minute, and then I added some chopped bell peppers. After those cooked for another minute or two (let them heat through), I added a handful of baby spinach and allowed it to wilt slightly. I added two beaten eggs (mixed with salt & pepper), scrambled, and tossed in some diced tomatoes and a few bits of buffalo mozzarella to heat for just a few (maybe 30?) seconds.

Um. YUM. There was so much flavor in this. This meal is high in nutritional value and fairly low in fat (which, like I said, I don’t care about often but cared about yesterday).

I then satisfied my sweet tooth with some rainer cherries and carob chips. 🙂

I’m happy to report that I think my body can handle carob chips if consumed in a “normal person” quantity. In other words, don’t leave me alone with a bag of carob chips. I can’t promise there will be any left when I’m done with it.

It’s sort of a problem.

I may or may not have had another small handful of carob chips after I consumed the above serving. May or may not.

It’s okay, though, because this morning at boot camp KICKED. MY. BUTT. This morning was my first morning back with this instructor, who comes on Wednesdays and Fridays. She’s often a little bit tougher than the boot camp instructor on Monday (whom I also love). Today, she was way tougher. At first, I thought it had been my recent absence from boot camp that made it so tough, but she admitted during the class that she was making it harder on us than usual – with a mischievous glint in her eye. I swear, the instructors enjoy torturing us. Then again, we definitely ask for it!

There were, however, a few new girls who looked to be about high school or college age (I don’t know, they all look like babies to me now) in the class who clearly did not feel the same way as the regulars. They reminded me just how intense the people in this class are because these girls just could not handle it. Every time I looked over at them, they were just standing there, panting. I felt kind of bad for them but I also wanted to push them a little (a la Jillian Michaels) – I mean, these are girls whose bodies are in their prime! They should be pushing themselves harder. If there’s one thing I can’t understand, it’s a quitter.

Anyway, I treated myself post- boot camp (and post- 45 minute elliptical sesh) to the final remains of Sunday’s pancake batch and they were still just as delicious. I was even surprised to find a treat of a nectarine pancake that I’d forgotten I’d made for the leftovers.

I topped these with pre-warmed coconut butter (which, in the current heat, hardly needs to be warmed anymore) and blueberries, then warmed it all up together in the microwave for a minute and 30 seconds. I love that blueberries darken and sometimes burst when they’re heated! It gives them even more flavor.

For the record, heated blueberries also turn your tongue purple. I learned that lesson this morning.

These pancakes are seriously some of the best pancakes I have ever had – even three days after they were made.

Again, they kept me full for hours. I ate them at around 8:45am and I don’t think I’ll be eating today until about 2:00pm. For a girl who snacks like its her job, this is a long stretch without eating!

However, I did have an iced coffee (with soy milk) from Starbucks in between. With this heat and the errand I had to run right next door to a Starbucks… it was really just an inevitable kind of situation.

Yes, my name is spelled wrong. Whenever the people at Sbux (and yes, I call it Sbux. You’ll get used to it) ask me how to spell my name and start guess-spelling it out loud for me, I tell them they’re right even though they’re almost always wrong. There are so many ways of spelling my name… and honestly, does it really matter? The name is only there for them to call it!

Alright… time to get some stuff done before my (office kitchen) lunch date with Hanna!

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