Making Clean Eating a Priority

Clean eating ¬†involves choosing minimally processed, real foods¬†that provide maximal nutritional benefits. As I have embraced the anti inflammatory diet over the last several months my choices have begun evolving more towards cleaner food choices. I have cut back on my cheeses and processed meats.When I do choose a sausage, I read the label to make sure it doesn’t have too many preservatives or questionable ingredients. For more information on how to incorporate clean eating into your routine, here is a comprehensive article to get you started: https://www.webmd.com/diet/ss/slideshow-how-to-eat-clean

Today’s meal prep is straight from the WW website – Very Veggie Turkey Meatloaf. It is clean and healthy. Full of fresh veggies, oats, and fresh ground turkey. And I’ve had a taste. It is really delicious! Here is the recipe: https://www.weightwatchers.com/us/recipe/very-veggie-turkey-meat-loaf/5c993ed35e84d2001c1cf17f.

To start my very veggie turkey meatloaf I have clean, healthy, yet full flavor ingredients. Not shown are the olive oil used to saute the veggies, and the salt & pepper added, per the recipe.
Mid meal prep – notice the gorgeous colors
The finished product. I will spit this into servings to have ready for my work lunches.
My work lunch side salad
One of the easiest and most budget friendly ways to eat clean is to incorporate seasonal fruits and vegetables into your diet. These are a few of my favorite for summer. Speaking of gorgeous colors!

Make it a great week, my friends. Continue to stay safe and healthy.

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Gearing Up for the Holidays

How to Manage Holiday Parties and All of that Delectable Food!

Thanksgiving is just a couple of weeks away, then come Christmas and Hanukkah. BOOM! These are the biggest and best food holidays of the year. Let me help you put things in perspective. These are just 2 or 3 meals you are going to enjoy over the next 6 weeks or so. At 3 meals a day, that is 3 x 42 days = 126 meals. That is 2 or 3 celebration meals out of the 126 meals you will eat in the next 6 weeks. We have plenty of time to plan for them. The most important thing is to stay on track during all of the days leading up to these special celebrations. Stay within your calorie or point budgets, and continue to be mindful of your portion sizes. I know this isn’t easy. We have “Friendsgiving” parties, we have office parties, we have cocktail parties at friends homes, just to name a few. Be smart with your choices. And don’t go to any of these parties or dinners hungry! This is one of the most valuable tips I can give you this time of year. Eat something healthy and a little filling before you leave your house! You won’t arrive famished, and ready to grab every fried, or processed appetizer that is put in front of you, not to mention the cheese and crackers (my downfall). With regard to alcohol, be mindful. Add soda water to your wine glass and make it a spritzer. Alternate with glasses of water between drinks, especially if you are more comfortable having a glass in your hand. Most importantly, remember WHY you started this journey to begin with while you are enjoying your friends and family during this special time of year.

I went Asian this week for my lunch prep. I made an easy Asian vegetable soup and teriyaki roasted chicken breast, using my husband’s famous savory teriyaki recipe, but with a healthier twist. In place of soy sauce, the base of my marinade is Coconut Aminos, which is made from coconut blossom nectar and sea salt. It is gluten free, soy free, and lower in sodium than soy or even tamari sauce, but lends itself to the soy flavor you are looking for here. Here is the original teriyaki recipe (which actually came from a friend’s mother back when my husband was growing up in the 60’s): 1/2 c soy sauce, 2 tablespoons oil, 1 tsp mustard, 1/2 tsp ginger, pepper, 2 cloves garlic. That’s it. It is hand written. There are no other instructions. But it works. We add a little Sriracha to it too.

My Asian veggie noodle soup is seasoned with coconut aminos, ginger, garlic, dry mustard, and granulated onion, and a dash of Sriracha . In addition to the frozen stir fry starter, I added frozen, shelled edamame, and the rest of the bag of frozen riced cauliflower I had in the house.
My juicy 1.22 lb chicken breast cut into 4 servings. This was marinated in coconut aminos, garlic, ginger, dry mustard, and sriracha for about 4 hours, then roasted at 450 for about 25 minutes. Your chicken breast must reach a temp of 165 to be cooked through. A quick read thermometer is a valuable tool to have on hand. It’s important to remember to let any protein rest for about 20 minutes before slicing to retain the juices. The last thing you want is a dry chicken breast or piece of beef.

Breakfast this week is a egg white fritatta which includes turkey sausage crumbles, chopped spinach, and roasted red bell peppers, diced. I always add chia seeds and flax seed meal for their health benefits. I only used freshly ground black pepper to season this today, as the sausage has plenty of salt in it.

Healthy, hearty egg white fritatta with spinach, roasted red bell peppers, and turkey sausage crumbles

An important part of my meal planning includes my snacks. I always bring snacks to eat between meals. I eat breakfast early, so around 10 I’ll have a banana and a cup of 80 calorie/ 2 point Greek yogurt. In the late afternoon I’ll have an apple, and a piece of low fat string cheese, or a WW nut bar, which I always have handy.

Thank you for stopping by! I hope I have inspired you to take care of yourselves! Your comments, critiques, questions, and meal prep ideas are always welcome.

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Make it a great week!

Life Changes – Again

And Back to Work I Go!

Today’s blog is going to be very brief. I started back to work last week, and it is a whirlwind. Next week I am off to our trade show, so I have barely any time to spare with getting ready for it both personally, and professionally.

Now that things are so hectic, I want to show you how I made it through last week food wise, and what my plans are for this week. Actually, my meal plan will be the same. The goal is to remain satisfied, and of course, on track.

A great start to the day: Smoked Salmon on an Ole Whole Wheat Tortilla with Spinach Kale Yogurt Dip, and a sliced vine ripened tomato. I’d say this is about a 4 point breakfast, and it keeps me full.
I switched off some days with plain Greek yogurt & berries, and I had scrambled eggs one day with salsa, wrapped int the Ole tortilla.
Lunch Basics – Healthy Dark Greens, Trader Joe’s Chopped Veggie Mix, and Garbanzo Beans – 0 points. I’ll add a lean protein to this, and one of the Bolt House Salad Dressings I have on hand.
Last week I had turkey breast in the house as well as low fat Jarlsberg cheese. Made a nice “chef salad”

Following is my food plan for my trip (which is 4 days in Las Vegas).

Breakfast in the room (always ask for a refrigerator when you check in):
WW Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal, paired with plain Greek yogurt. Mixed together this makes a kind of “Spackle”. It’s healthy, and filling. The oatmeal cup is 3 points/ 120 calories.

Lunch will be “take out” at the trade show, and dinner will be in restaurants. I will make the best, most mindful choices possible. I may treat myself a little, but I have made a decision that I will not order any desserts this trip.

My after dinner treat will be a Fiber One brownie (2 points) and a cup of tea in the room.
I will also have fresh fruit on hand in my refrigerator.

Feel free to send your tips on how you manage in trying times. I know I can learn from you too. And as always, your comments, critiques, and questions are always welcome.

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See you in 2 weeks when I get back! Take care of yourselves!

Image result for heart emoji

Tomato Tomahto

Continuing The Celebration of Summer Fruits

Heirloom Tomatoes on Display at The Farmer’s Market
Bentwood, CA, today

If you didn’t already know this, tomatoes are a fruit disguised as a vegetable. They are low calorie and low carb. They provide vitamins and minerals including vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, and potassium.

There are so many varieties of tomatoes to choose from: beefsteak, cherry, roma, green, grape, to name a few, and of course the many varieties of heirloom tomatoes as well. For a complete list of tomato varieties, visit this link: https://www.naturefresh.ca/types-of-tomatoes-guide/

Fresh San Marzano Tomatoes found at The Farmers Market today

Tomatoes are so versatile. They are great raw in salads, sandwiches, and in cold soups, which is what I did with them today. They can be scrambled into eggs, chopped into a salsa, made into jam, oven roasted, sun dried, stuffed, and made into sauces and soups.

Today I made my favorite gazpacho recipe. I found this years ago when I first started with WW. I began my WW journey back in May 2012. In my first meeting/ orientation, my leader, the great Amy B. told me about the magic of soups and weight loss. I immediately began meal prepping for my workweek that weekend, with the classic WW vegetable soup, which I loved, and did start losing weight immediately with. I began to experiment with the vegetable soup concept, and developed flavor profiles for Italian, Mexican, and Asian varieties of that basic WW soup recipe. As summer approached, I began to investigated cold soups. Since I have always loved tomatoes, I gravitated towards classic gazpacho soups. I read many recipes, and tried several. I ran across this one in my Cooking Light Magazine, loved it, and have stuck to it since. Here is the link to that recipe:

https://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/gazpacho-lemon-garlic-shrimp

My tried and true gazpacho recipe

This recipe is so easy, that there are no shortcuts needed. Note in the photo above, that this recipe is made in the blender. No cooking involved whatsoever. I have never made the lemon shrimp part of the recipe. I use this as a lunch meal prep, and enjoy adding cooked frozen shrimp to this, or whatever lean protein I have available at the moment. I follow the recipe as written, but I add 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice for additional acidity.

I am continuing my love affair with stone fruit this week. I bought cherries, which I pitted (see link below) so they are ready to add to my yogurt bowl in the morning. And this week, I bought donut peaches (also known as Saturn peaches), and apricots, as well.

https://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/store/product/oxo-good-grips-reg-cherry-and-olive-pitter

This week’s stone fruit varieties

Thank you for stopping by. I hope I have inspired you to try a new meal prep at home. I welcome your comments, critiques, and questions.

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Have a good week, my friends. Take care of yourselves!

What Level are You At?

Hunger – Fullness Scale

I hope you all had a wonderful and meaningful holiday last week, whether you celebrated Passover or Easter. And now it’s time for us all to regroup and get back on track.

Mindful eating is a THING. I have learned in my journey that it is not a good idea to go to the market hungry, or to an event hungry. Not that hungry anyway. What is THAT hungry, though? How do you discern that for yourself? There is another THING called Intuitive Eating. Books have been written about this, but I am going to try to put it in a nutshell here for you, so that you can start feeling your hunger and fullness levels, and become mindful of how much you should eat at any given moment, or meal time.

Here is the scale that I have learned to use. The challenge is to learn to stay in the neutral zones between levels 5 and 7.

0 – I’m about to faint. Painfully hungry.

1 – I’m so hungry I could eat my thigh.

2 – I feel my blood sugar dropping. Need to eat!

3 – I’m kinda feeling hungry. I think I’ll have an apple, and see how I feel.

4 – I’m fine (while looking at the clock to see when I can have lunch).

5 – Comfortable. Neutral.

6 – Getting full.

7 – Comfortably satisfied. Stop eating Now.

8 – A little bit too full, a few too many bites.

9 – Uncomfortably full, feeling bloated.

10 – Stuffed. I’m never eating again!

Before I begin this week’s meal prep, I want to go back and tell you what I contributed to my family’s Seder. I went on Pinterest for inspiration. Of course I was searching for a vegetable based side dish with very little matzo meal. I was very successful and found lots of good recipes. Here is the link to the Holiday Recipe board I have started:
https://www.pinterest.com/marshaleeg/holiday-recipes/

I sent the board to my sister in law so she could choose the dish she wanted me to make. She picked the Spinach Vegetable Kugel, which was the one I wanted to make anyway :). It was all veggies with just 1/4 cup matzo meal in the whole recipe. Here is the link to the original recipe:
https://www.kidneybuzz.com/daily-impact-meal/2015/8/17/spinach-vegetable-kugel Well, with all due respect to KidneyBuzz.com, the recipe was very poorly written with regard to the ingredient list. It called for fresh spinach 1 oz. (1 OUNCE??)
2 onions chopped (I used 1 large yellow onion), 1 stalk celery chopped, 1 red pepper chopped, 3 grated carrots, 1 cup chopped mushrooms, 1 tbsp. olive oil, 2 eggs, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp. pepper, 1/2 tsp. dried basil, and 1/4 cup matzo meal (which can be subbed with bread crumbs or panko when not using the recipe for Passover). Because I always make a recipe as written the first time I use it, I followed the recipe almost to a T. It didn’t take me long to realize that I really did need more spinach. I ended up using 10 ounces of baby spinach in all, and my kugel looked nothing like the one in the picture. It did, however taste great. When I make it again, I will use less carrot, more celery, more mushrooms, and more dried basil.

Spinach Vegetable Kugel. Mine is the one on the top of the photo. The one below is from Kidneybuzz.com. Doesn’t even look like the same recipe, but it is.

My meal plan for lunch this week is a Mexican style chicken salad, starting with seasoned shredded chicken. Since we had plans with friends for Sunday brunch, I did my grocery shopping yesterday. After my swim and shower this morning, I popped my chicken in the slow cooker with a little vegetable broth (you can use any broth, that is what I had open in my frig), a can of Rotel tomatoes, and a little bit of jalepeno peppers that were also sitting in the frig. It was great to get this cooking before we left for our date. I’ll be pairing the chicken with a salad mixture made with Trader Joe’s Southwestern Salad Kit, and Broccoli Slaw. I’ll use Bolthouse Ranch for my dressing this week, which is 45 calories for a 2 tblsp serving and delicious. If I want a little more volume in my lunch I’ll take along a cup of Trader Joe’s Latin Style Black Bean Soup, 70 calories for a 1 cup serving.

Mexican Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken Ingredients


Final Product – shredded chicken and a bonus – a seasoned tomato broth to be used in a recipe to be named later


My Salad Mix Ins

I was able to knock out my egg white fritatta before we left as well! That’s how fast and easy this recipe is. I used the Trader Joe’s bagged Power Greens I had left over from last week. I added a little of the broccoli slaw, and some roasted red bell pepper from the jar. I seasoned it with salt & pepper, and added my shredded flax seed, and chia seeds, as always (about 1 tsp each for the entire recipe). I did spray the pan with Canola Oil spray before I started. I baked it in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes. I call this The Green Egg White Fritatta. I also have a couple of jars of overnight oats that I made last week, to change off.

Green Fritatta Ingredients
My Green Egg White Fritatta, the finished product

That’s all for now! Please join the conversation. Your comments, critiques, and questions are welcome.

Make it a great week!