Finally caught up on my sleep the last couple of nights. I woke up today feeling good. My first thoughts were of how lucky I am. Sure, work is immensely stressful, and no real money is coming in. Sure our home is in need of a lot of updating and repair. BUT – I have my health and my mobility. I have a job with a lot of earning potential. I own my home, and it is 14 blocks from the Pacific Ocean. AND I have a wonderful, supportive husband who has a heart of gold and who cooks dinner every night, and 2 adorable, loving kitty cats. I have a loving and supportive extended family, and I have THE BEST friends. I could not get through the stresses of the pandemic without all of these people in my life. I am extremely grateful.
Recently, finally, my local pool reopened. We are required to reserve our lanes 3 days in advance, and often the portal gets jammed, and we can’t get in on the days and times we want. Also, the pool is closed Sundays and Mondays, and the hours are much shorter. I know. First world problems. I wasn’t able to swim yesterday, but learned of a Masters Swim Class starting today, so I decided to join. That is the reason for the early meal prep and blog. The bonus is, my swim crew will be there too. Excited for us all to be together for the hour, swimming together like the old (pre-pandemic) days.
Because of my busy day today, I planned and shopped for my meal prep yesterday. I chose to make an easy, no cook garbanzo bean Greek salad. I will pair that with a pesto turkey sandwich this week. If I get tired of the turkey (which I’m sure I will… ) I also have tuna, and smoked salmon in the refrigerator, shrimp burgers, and veggie burgers in the freezer, so I’m prepared to change it up. The important message here is to have delicious low calorie, low fat, low point choices on hand so we don’t get bored or in a rut.
Time to go! Gotta eat my yogurt/ berry bowl, and get ready to meet the girls at the pool. Wishing you all a wonderful week. Take care of yourselves. Take a moment to reflect on all that is good in your lives.
I love brunch. I love it so much that I prepped 2 healthy brunch dishes for breakfast and lunch this week. For lunch I made an easy, but hearty veggie fritatta, with Trader Joe’s sweet pepper chicken sausage on the side. Breakfast is a heartier version of my yogurt and berry bowl. I am adding quinoa.
I am working super hard these days. I don’t have much time to heat and eat food at the office, so this fritatta idea came to mind. It’s a one container dish that is easily heated in the microwave. Here is the recipe that inspired me: https://www.loveandlemons.com/frittata-recipe/. I used 6 whole eggs mixed with 1/4 cup of 2% plain Greek yogurt, a tablespoon of nutritional yeast (for the cheese flavor without the fat and calories). I first sauteed my veggie mixture which was Trader Joe’s Frozen Organic Green Vegetable Foursome. I just added the defrosted package to a hot pan that I sprayed with olive oil, seasoned it with salt and pepper, and let it do it’s thing (I did chop up some of the larger pieced of broccoli). Later I added chopped up fresh scallions and jarred roasted red peppers, which I also chopped up, both of which I had in the house. The whole process took maybe 10 minutes. I combined the egg mixture with the veggie mixture in a 9×9 square pan, and placed it in the oven, which had been preheated to 400 for 15 minutes. The eggs weren’t completely set. It took an additional 7 minutes for my fritatta to cook through. I then let it rest and cool, then cut it into squares. So easy. And quick. The beauty of a fritatta is that you can put in any ingredients you like, and it will be delicious.
The quinoa berry yogurt bowl breakfast prep I saw on The Kitchen yesterday while having Food TV on in the background (always; it’s either that or Bravo. A girl’s got to have a vice or 2). https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/katie-lee/strawberry-kiwi-quinoa-breakfast-parfait. I was looking for something a little heartier for breakfast, without giving up my yogurt, berries, flax and chia seed mixture in the mornings. It wasn’t holding me quite until lunch time with the hectic schedule I have these days. I hope this will fit the bill. I bought Trader Joe’s frozen, precooked quinoa. All I’ll have to do is layer that into my regular bowl in the morning. It will add some texture, and the added calories I will need to stay satisfied longer in the mornings.
I have one more quick thing for meal prep to share with you. One of my girls in my WW tribe found a great show on HULU (also on PBS and UTube) for meal prep inspiration. Check it out:
Although I am working hard full time now (properly distanced, and masked when necessary), I have still kept up my walks every single day, no matter how tired I am when I get home, or how little time I have. I have several walks mapped out around my neighborhood for different time frames. It’s been a while, but here are a couple of photos from recent walks –
I’m sure, like you, being in quarantine has brought about many personal changes. I recently found these inspirational memes on line. They perfectly express how I’m feeling these days. I wanted to share them with you.
Thank you for taking time to check out my meal prep, and catch up with me today. Your comments, critiques and questions are always welcome. Make it a great week my friends. Take care of yourselves.
As the world opens up, and we are so excited to be going back to work, to restaurants, and retail stores, I feel like we should also embrace some of the wonderful things we discovered about staying home. During quarantine, my walks took the place of the pool for me in that I exercise, I use the walks for meditation, and also as a social outlet enjoying phone visits with friends and family. I learned to sit still without television and/ or devices out in my patio, and to just relax. These are things I want to hold on to, as I ease myself back into the world. I don’t want to be as busy as I used to be, or as harried. Taking things at a slower pace is keeping me more centered and focused. I am adjusting how I organize my time and priorities in order to keep this mindset. Of course I still can’t wait until the pool reopens….
Trader Joe’s Riced Cauliflower Stir Fry was my inspiration for my lunch prep this week. To bulk it up, I added sauteed fresh bok choy and shiitake mushrooms, and the rest of the frozen edamame I had in my freezer to the mix. The basic flavor of the TJ’s cauliflower rice mixture is really good as is, but I wanted to give it a little more oomph, so I added cubes of frozen garlic and frozen ginger to my stir fry, as well as a little coconut aminos. I like Trader Joe’s coconut aminos best. Other brands tend to be a little too sweet for me. Of course you can use soy sauce, low sodium soy sauce, or Tamari sauce as well to achieve that umami flavor. To pair with the veggies I marinated boneless skinless chicken breasts overnight in my husband’s famous teriyaki marinade, and oven roasted them (roasting instructions: https://pin.it/7cFsfZI). Honestly you can’t go wrong with this combo of flavors. And your house will smell amazing. I encourage you to try this recipe. You’re welcome :).
Here is the basic recipe with the changes I made for my meal prep noted:
Spuds Aloha Zesty Hawaiian Marinade; developed by Michael Gronfein
1/2 cup soy sauce (I used TJ’s coconut aminos)
2 tablespoons oil (I used extra virgin olive oil)
1 teaspoon mustard (I used dry mustard)
1/2 teaspoon ginger (I used dry ginger)
2 cloves garlic (I used a teaspoon of granulated garlic)
Pepper (I used a couple of pinches of red chile flakes; sriracha sauce is great in this as well)
Make it a great week, my friends. I know we are still going through some very tough times, but as bad as 2020 has been so far, there is light to be found here. We are on the road to real positive social change in our country, as well as a vaccine for Covid 19. Please be good to yourselves.
Happy Memorial Day, all! We were fortunate enough today to experience a special fly over of an 18-plane formation of historic war planes over So Cal this afternoon. What an awesome experience, and a humbling reminder that this is a day to honor those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom, and to honor the military that is out there today protecting our freedom, our democracy.
Weekly meal prep is back for me. At least for the moment. We are heading into a heat wave this week, so I stuck with an easy, no cook salad for lunches. I found this White Bean, Tuna & Roasted Pepper Salad in the June 2020 issue of Prevention Magazine. Unfortunately I could not access the link to the recipe online, but here is the list of ingredients, and what I used:
15 oz can of cannellini beans, rinsed – I used garbanzo beans
1/4 small red onion chopped
6 tbsp Classic Vinaigrette *see below*
3 hearts of romaine torn into pieces (12 oz; about 6 cups) – I used 1 5 oz bag of romaine and mixed it with a bag of broccoli slaw
2 jarred roasted red peppers, drained, and cut into pieces
1/2 cup marinated artichoke hearts, drained and quartered (I used a little less, and chopped them up)
1/2 cup pitted mixed olives (I used about 1/4 cup of pitted kalamata olives, that I cut in half)
5 oz canned tuna packed in olive oil, drained and flaked – I used a 14.75 oz can of wild caught salmon packed in water
To a jar add 1/3 cup red wine vinegar, 1 shallot finely chopped, 1 tbsp Dijon mustard, 1/2 tsp kosher salt, and 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper. Cover and shake to combine. Add 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (I used 1/4 cup olive oil and 1/4 cup water). Cover and shake until emulsified. The dressing will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.
And I did a breakfast prep today too! I follow a U Tube channel called Flav City, hosted by Chef Bobby Parrish. He is a wealth of knowledge, and a heck of a cook. I saw this and had to try it. It’s a copy cat recipe of Starbucks bacon and Gruyere egg bites. I did modify it Baby Boomer Mermaid style, and I am extremely proud to say that I pulled it off. I had a taste of my finished product and these are delicious. Here is the link to the Flav City recipe and video. Chef gives a lot of great culinary tips in a short amount of time. The video is worth the watch: https://www.flavcity.com/keto-breakfast-egg-bites/#viewrecipe
Thank you for stopping by today. I hope you have enjoyed the holiday weekend, and that you are feeling good. The world is starting to reopen. In a new way, but it is coming along, I am happy to say. Take care of yourselves.
The city is slowly coming back to life. Santa Monica finally reopened their parks and beaches (for swimming and exercise only). My favorite is Palisades Park, which spans the cliffs just above the ocean. There is the most lovely rose garden there. I missed this little piece of paradise. I am gradually starting to feel whole again.
Last week I started going back to the office to begin prep for the economy reopening. My groceries served me well. I had good, healthy lunches each day. It is indeed all about the groceries. That said, I did want to meal plan for this coming week in the office, so I went to my well stocked freezer. There I found Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi (4 pts/ 140 cal per 1 cup serving), their Creamy Spinach and Artichoke Dip (2 pts/ 45 cal per 2 tbsp serving), frozen spinach, and frozen broccoli florets. The light bulb in my Baby Boomer Mermaid head went off, and I decided to combine all of this deliciousness into one veggie forward dish for myself. I will pair this with Trader Joe’s Sweet Italian Chicken Sausage (3 points/ 110 calories per 1 sausage serving). This gives me 4 servings, so all things considered, it will be healthy, filling, and really satisfying for the week.
Last weekend, after I published the blog, I got the baking bug. I had a can of pureed pumpkin in the house, along with all of the other ingredients needed, so I made this muffin recipe from Drizzle Me Skinny. No alterations. They came out amazing: https://drizzlemeskinny.com/pumpkin-spice-cream-cheese-muffins/. I highly recommend you give this a try. 2 pts/ 88 cal per muffin. Almost everything I make is inspired by recipes I find on the interwebs, either from Instagram, Pinterest, FB, the WW website, or just by randomly searching.
Just a reminder that I am still selling hospital grade disposable masks. Masks will be a part of our “new normal” for the foreseeable future. Please contact me privately if you are interested in purchasing some for your home and/ or office: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for joining me this week! Stay safe. Be well. Take care of yourselves.
Feel free to send me comments, critiques, questions, or meal prep ideas 🙂
During this time of the Covid 19 pandemic, meal prep and a “safe” pantry have become even more important than ever. It is so easy to slip back into old habits under these circumstances.
The turkey taco prep I made last week was so good that my craving for spicy Mexican style food has continued. This week I was inspired by a recipe I found on the Skinny Ms. website: https://skinnyms.com/southwestern-black-bean-casserole/, but with the twist of adding soyrizo, which I love, and had not enjoyed in some time.
The basic recipe is great as is, but, I didn’t have black beans in the house. Plus, I wanted to add the soyrizo, so here is how I made it work: I had but one can of pinto beans in the house, the soyrizo, reduced fat shredded Mexican cheese blend (3pts per 1/4 C serving), our favorite salsa (Herdez medium), chicken broth, Dorot frozen garlic cubes, diced white onions, cumin, salt & pepper, and of course the all important Ole Mexican Whole Wheat Tortillas. Those were my ingredients.
I sprayed my saute pan with canola oil spray, then when it got hot, I threw in the diced onions (about 1/4 cup), then half of the soyrizo, which is about 3 oz (4pts), then added 2 frozen garlic cubes, and the cumin. I let that cook for a few minutes, and added the drained pinto beans, 1/4 cup of chicken broth (use vegetable broth if you want a fully vegetarian dish), a pinch of salt, and a few grinds of fresh black pepper, and let that cook down for another few minutes.
When the mixture was cooked through, and the liquid absorbed, I sprayed my 9 x 9″ square pyrex pan with the canola oil spray, then placed the first tortilla in the pan. I layered on the soyrizo mixture, about 2 tablespoons of the salsa, and about 2 tablespoons of the cheese. I repeated this process using 3 of the whole wheat tortillas, then topped it off with the balance of the soyrizo mixture, more salsa, and cheese. I would say I used a total of about 1/3 of a cup each of the salsa and cheese. I estimate this recipe at a total of 11 points on the WW Blue plan. It made 4 servings, so just under 3 points per serving. Pretty good for a comfort food recipe, I’d say. I had a piece this morning for breakfast with a couple of over medium eggs. It was yummy and very satisfying.
My weight loss and fitness journey started when I was in my mid 50’s. Due to a chronic condition that developed in my left leg, I was told by my orthopedist that I could no longer walk long distances, which was my main form of exercise at that time. He told me that the only exercises I could do without hurting myself were riding a stationary bike (the upright kind only), or swimming. I knew how to swim, and enjoyed recreational time in the pool throughout my life, but swimming for fitness was out of my realm. And besides, I had already been coloring my hair for some time, and didn’t want to risk damaging that! So I joined a gym, and started riding the bike for a half hour at a time, with the intent of increasing that in increments as I got into better shape. I dabbled with upper body nautilus machines, and stretching, but overall I was so bored. I was also in denial about my weight.
After a few conversations with my neighbor about this, she convinced me to get into the pool. She had been on swim teams as a kid, and wanted to get back to it herself, so after a heart to heart about hair conditioners, I went for it, with my beloved neighbor at my side. It was slow going at first. I could barely get across the pool twice that first day. Soon I was swimming half miles, then finally a full mile. I got up to swimming 100 lengths at one point. I loved it! I started swimming a minimum of 3 times a week. I was becoming more aware of my 200 + lb weight and especially my size 16/18 physique, but I thought, “now that I’m swimming, the weight will melt right off”…. WRONG! So after a couple of particularly embarrassing photos I saw of myself during the holidays of 2011 (age 56), I made the decision to join WW.
It took me 3 years to lose 47 lbs, which I know is really slow, but I persevered, and today, at age 65, my weight is down an additional 3 lbs for a total loss of 50 lbs. And I am in the best shape of my life! I feel younger, and I look younger. At the family Hanukkah party my niece asked me if I was aging backwards. Of course I said yes! I am still working full time, I take great care of my skin (always have), and now my body is strong too. Yes, I have a few orthopedic issues, but I keep them managed with the pool workouts, which now include water jogging 3 times a week, and lap swimming on Saturdays and Sundays, daily stretching, and an anti inflammatory diet.
Make the most of your age. Here are a few suggestions to help you get to a younger mindset:
Try Something New
Keep an Open Mind About What Aging Looks Like
Tune Out the Negative Self Talk
Find People Who Inspire and Encourage You
Focus on Goals and Celebrate Success
Today’s meal prep celebrates the end of winter with one last squash dish. I made a warm salad with a base of quinoa tossed with a tiny bit of parm, toasted chopped walnuts, and flavored with a little lemon zest, and topped with arugula, roasted delicata squash and scallions. I’ll be topping it with Trader Joe’s Shrimp Burgers. Here is the original recipe, which I hacked into a Baby Boomer Mermaid style lunch prep: https://naturallyella.com/arugula-delicata-squash-pasta/
I used 1 packet of Trader Joe’s Frozen Organic Quinoa, which is a full cup in total, and tossed it with salt, pepper, and a pinch of chile flakes, about 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese, and about a tablespoon of chopped toasted walnuts (which I keep handy for snacks – they are high on the list of the best anti inflammatory foods). I also added a little lemon zest. All the seasoning was per the original recipe, which was actually meant for pasta. I divided the quinoa into 1/4ths, and divided it into my containers. I topped that with raw arugula, then topped that with my roasted squash and scallion mixture, which I prepared according to the recipe. I pan fried the shrimp burgers to top off what will be my warm salad desk lunch, which I will heat up in the microwave at the office so the arugula will become slightly wilted and warm as well. I am figuring the whole plate at about 4 – 5 points (on the Blue Plan), counting the olive oil I used to roast the vegetables with.
This is what I like to eat. Please – scour the interwebs and find meal prep inspiration for yourselves.
My breakfasts this week will be blueberry yogurt bowls mixed with cinnamon, ground flax seeds and chia seeds topped with a sprinkling of Julian Bakery Pro Granola, which I have mentioned to you before. I’ll also take a mid morning snack to work consisting of a hard boiled egg (seasoned with Everything But the Bagel Seasoning), as well as an afternoon snack of a couple of mandarins and a light string cheese. That is my perfect pre workout snack, by the way.
Aging gracefully is a practice and a gift. Take care of yourselves. Thank you for stopping by today. Your comments, critiques, and questions are always welcome.
I came up with some fresh ideas today for my meal prep. I’ve been getting tired of my breakfasts. I haven’t even posted them recently. I eat at home every morning now, so I don’t really need to “prep” perse, just need to have healthy things in the house at the ready. I have been switching off between cultured cottage cheese and yogurt bowls with cinnamon, ground flax and chia seeds mixed in and topped with berries, oatmeal with the same mix ins, or scrambled eggs topped with salsa and wrapped in an Ole Whole Wheat Tortilla. All good, healthy choices. But I’m bored.
For lunch I hacked a slow cooker spinach and artichoke chicken recipe into a stove top version. Usually slow cooker recipes are my go to, but the poached chicken aspect of the original recipe didn’t appeal to me today, so I reworked it. Here is the original recipe, which is a great one. Love the flavor profile: https://www.thekitchn.com/slow-cooker-chicken-spinach-artichoke-recipe-256184
I used all of the ingredients in the original recipe, but I did a stove top version – using ground chicken breast. I started with a diced shallot over medium heat, let that get a little translucent and soft in my pan, then added 1 lb of ground chicken breast, and seasoned that with salt & pepper. I then added 2 cubes (or 2 cloves) of the frozen garlic cubes, and let the chicken cook through. I combined 1/4 cup each of dry white wine, fresh lemon juice, and chicken broth, and deglazed the pan, lowered the heat, and let the liquid reduce to about half. That took about 10 minutes. I added the drained artichoke hearts, which I cut in half, then started adding the baby spinach in batches as it wilted.
I also wanted a “noodle” to go with this, so I cooked the half bag of red lentil penne I had in the cupboard, and combined it with a can of Palmini linguine to use as a bed for the chicken mixture.
I honestly don’t know the calories/ points of this dish, but I do know that it is veggie based, and overall very clean and healthy. It has flavors that I enjoy. And that is what matters.
Don’t be afraid to re-imagine your recipes and experiment. It’s fun, and you might surprise yourself with how well they turn out.
Thank you for joining me today. Make it a great week, and take care of YOU.
Super Simple Meal Prep to Keep Me on Track and Satisfied
Not only am I on a calorie/ WW point budget, but I am on a financial one as well, as I am sure many of you are. Today I finally invested in cheap Rubbermaid containers at the market. I got tired of putting my lunches together every morning. I now have them prepped and set. Fewer dishes and utensils to wash in the morning, and it’s overall going to be a major time saver.
This week’s lunches are based on veggies and lean proteins, i.e. 0 point, albeit convenient foods. I made oven roasted chicken breast, simply seasoned with S&P, cumin, and smoked paprika. Because those are the seasonings that I like. Use the seasonings that you like best. I roasted it on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper that I sprayed with canola oil spray in a 450 degree oven for 18 minutes, then let it rest for about 15 minutes. I want to mention one of my budget saving tips. My market, Ralph’s, has all of the choices of chicken breast in the world. My husband and I discovered that they also have a house brand hand cut chicken breast. These are beautiful, and far less expensive than the branded options at the meat counter at Ralph’s, or even at TJ’s. Check it out. Today I paid $6.02 for 1.22 lbs of chicken breast. By the way, the yield after roasting was just over 1 lb of chicken. If you are planning to eat about a pound of any kind of meat, total for the week, buy a little over that to allow for shrinkage during the cooking process. I paired the chicken breast with Trader Joe’s Riced Cauliflower Stuffing, that I bought during Thanksgiving season, and regular riced cauliflower to build up the volume (I had about 2/3 of a bag left in the freezer). The Riced Cauliflower Stuffing is 60 calories/ 3 points. The regular riced cauliflower is 0 points/ 30 calories per serving. With the chicken and stuffing I am trying a new veggie based soup I discovered at the market today, a Super Greens Creamy Soup. It’s 80 calories/ 2 pints per 1 cup serving.
I was out of town most of last week on a business trip. If you read last week’s blog, you know that I brought my breakfast fixings and snacks with me. It worked out great, and I highly recommend that you take the time to pre plan as I did. Not only was it a calorie/ point saver, but a money saver as well. No restaurant breakfast for me. The snacks I took along were Trader Joe’s Chomps Turkey sticks (60 cal/ 1 point), and WW 2 point nut bars. I also brought chamomile tea bags, and WW 2 point lemon bars for after dinner (saved fat, calories, and $$ on desert too). Note: Starbucks did not charge me for the tall hot waters I asked for every evening.
Yesterday I was exhausted after my long week away. I slept in, missed my WW Workshop, and breakfast with my tribe, but I needed it. When I got up I went directly to the pool and swam laps for an hour. I felt so much better! I was very low on energy when I got home, so just wanted to piddle around. I had a couple of aging bananas hanging around, so decided to make a banana bread. It was so cathartic. I found a great light recipe using plain non fat greek yogurt and applesauce, and just a small amount of sugar: https://www.lecremedelacrumb.com/greek-yogurt-banana-bread-3/. It came out great. I snacked on it yesterday, gave some away to my neighbor, and snacked on a small piece today, witch I toasted. So comforting.
Thanks for joining the conversation today. Note that all of my WW point values are based on the Blue Plan. Check out the points for your plan when using any of the products or recipes mentioned here.
Wanted to show you that I had lovely company while writing the blog today. Pearl has not left my side since I’ve been home.
I start today’s blog with a heavy heart. I am a Los Angeles native, and am heart broken and devastated by the sudden loss of Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and the others lost in today’s tragedy. Not only was he an iconic champion, but a champion among men. He will be greatly missed in this world. Kobe. Gone way too soon.
Next Sunday I travel to Las Vegas for my trade show. I have my plan in place for staying on track. I called the hotel and put in my request for a refrigerator in my room. When you do that, tell them it’s for medical purposes (it actually is, although maybe not technically). They won’t question you or charge you. I’ll be bringing my breakfast items with me: Dannon 80 cal yogurt cups, containers of flax seed meal and chia seeds mixed, Julian Bakery Pro Granola Vanilla Cinnamon Cluster to top my yogurts with (2 points/ 97 cal for a 1/2 cup serving; I use just a tablespoon or so to top the yogurt with https://search.yahoo.com/search?fr=mcafee&type=E211US1079G0&p=pro+granola+vanilla+cinnamon+cluster), hard boiled eggs, and bananas. I won’t have as much control over lunches or dinners, but I’ve been doing this long enough that I’m able to make mindful choices and decide when it will be worth it to treat myself. I am not really planning on ordering desserts, though. I’ll be bringing chamomile tea bags and WW lemon bars for after dinner and winding down the day.
Simple meal prep today for the hectic work week ahead. I wanted to focus on anti inflammatory foods this week, and Hungry Girl’s Scoopy Salmon Salad came to mind. Such a great recipe. Thank you Hungry Girl: https://www.hungry-girl.com/recipes/scoopy-salmon-salad. I am pairing it with my favorite Ak Mak sesame crackers (3 pts/ 110 cal for 5 crackers), and Trader Joe’s Carrot Ginger Soup (0 pts/ 80 cal for a 1 cup serving). I choose to focus on anti inflammatory foods especially when I have a more physical and stressful week on tap than usual.