Tea Time

Tea as Medicine

Tea is not just for parties with fancy sandwiches and scones. Not only can food be used as medicine, but so can a variety of teas. Over the last 10 years or so, I have gotten in the habit of finding foods and teas to help with my aches, pains, and ailments first, in place of meds. As you know, I am no expert, so here is a comprehensive article on the benefits and medicinal qualities of all different varieties of teas: http://www.skrewtips.com/tea-as-medicine.html.

There was no “meal prep” per se this week, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t plan my meals. I’m having turkey wraps using Trader Joe’s Spinach & Kale Greek Yogurt Dip as the spread. And a cup of a veggie based soup.

Wrap ingredients: Ole whole wheat wrap, green leaf lettuce, applewood smoked turkey breast, and a slice of light jarlsberg cheese. Can easily be assembled at my desk. The tortilla should be heated up in the microwave for a few seconds first.

I also prepped slow cooked “baked apples”. I had a few Gala apples aging in my refrigerator, so I decided to slice them up and put them in the slow cooker for a little light dessert for the week. I sliced them, left the skin on, and threw them in the crock pot with a couple of tablespoons of light brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and just a tiny bit of butter. I cooked them on high for the first hour, and on low for the second hour. I took them out while they still had a little bite to them.

Any comments, critiques, and questions are always welcome.

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Make it a great week, my friends. Remember to give yourselves some love this week.

2020 – Taking Control to Make it Great

Setting Intentions for the Year to Come

What a whirlwind of a year it’s been. Frankly, overall, it was not a good year for me, but I have come away feeling stronger for it, and very grateful. Most of all, I am grateful for my good health, and the good health of my husband, family, and friends. We are all so blessed. One thing I know for sure is that no matter how much money you have, good health is everything. Without it we have nothing.

My intention for this year with regard to my health, wellness, and fitness is to continue on my path of becoming physically stronger. This past month I met with a trainer at my local 24 Hour Fitness, where I have a free membership thanks to Medicare and Silver Sneakers. If you are not aware of the benefits you are entitled to, check it out here: https://tools.silversneakers.com/. The meeting with the trainer is a free perk for joining the gym, whether you are with Silver Sneakers or not. Ask about it at your gym. The trainer showed me some new stretches and strength building machines that are right for me. I am excited to expand my fitness repertoire with at least 1 day a week in the gym. Of course I will continue to lap swim, which is my passion, and water jog, which has turned out to be the best thing to manage my lower back pain. I also intend to stay on track with my weight maintenance, and that means mindful meal planning and prepping.

Over the past few weeks, I have been off of my routine with holiday work hours, and general holiday shenanigans, so meal prep has been off the table, as it still is this coming week. But meal planning is not. It’s all in the grocery shopping. I’ve made sure that I have the following on hand:

Progresso Light Soups (140 – 180 calories for the whole can)

Ole Whole Wheat Tortillas (50 calories each)

Fresh veggies and fruits

Oatmeal

Unsweetened almond milk

Non fat plain Greek yogurt, as well as low fat cultured cottage cheese

Trader Joe’s Spinach Kale Yogurt Dip

Also, lean proteins for meals and snacks like eggs, turkey breast, smoked salmon, light string cheese, and hummus.

Decadent 1 point breakfast: Ole Whole Wheat Tortilla topped with non fat refried beans, and scrambled eggs with salsa
Roasted Delicata Squash was a great little treat to have around the house. It tastes like candy. Just follow these simple prep directions – Place seeded squash halves cut side down on a cutting board. Slice into 3/8-inch slices. Transfer slices to a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil; add salt and pepper, or any seasoning you like. Toss to coat squash with oil. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
Arrange squash pieces in a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Place in preheated oven until bottom of slices is browned and squash is tender, 12 to 18 minutes. Enjoy with the skin and all!
2 point lunch – Ole Whole Wheat Tortilla topped with Trader Joe’s Spinach & Kale Yogurt Dip, Everything but the Bagel Smoked Salmon, and a sliced hard boiled egg seasoned with Everything but the Bagel Seasoning. Add a little sliced tomato and/ or cucumber for more fresh veggie goodness.
Lastly, I want to show off my contribution to our family Hanukkah celebration. My beloved Sister in Law, Cynthia invites family and friends every year to a fabulous all homemade dinner for 40 + people. Bringing the fruit for dessert is the least I can do to help. The pan on top contains the best of winter fruits: black grapes, fuyu persimmons, opal and envy apples, cara cara and blood oranges, and Asian pears. The bowl contains the tropical side of fruits in season: kiwi, pineapple, papaya, and mango.

My wish for you all is for a HAPPY, HEALTHY, SWEET, AND PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR!

And remember – Focus on results, and you’ll never see change. Focus on change, and you will see results.

Thank you for joining the conversation. Your thoughts, critiques, and meal prep ideas are always welcome. I look forward to hearing from you.

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See you in 2020!

As Time Rushes By

Reminder to Take a Deep Breath.

It’s Thanksgiving week. How did the year fly by so fast? I just want to take a moment to remind myself, and you, dear readers of the real things that matter in life. Not tangible things, not material things, but things that matter in our daily lives – having a positive attitude, kindness, gratitude, being good to yourself, just to name a few. Take a few minutes to ponder what is meaningful to you this season, and give yourself a hug.

Since this is a short work week, I made a delicious, healthy, hearty Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Soup. It will work for desk lunches, and will just be good to have in the house all week. Oh yes, and my house smells amazing. The recipe is called Keto Cabbage Soup. I don’t know anything about Keto or Paleo and all that. As you know, I am a Lifetime WW member, and follow the low fat, low carb, low calorie/ points meal plan that works for me. I picked this recipe because the ingredients are mostly plant based, and fit in with the flavor profile I wanted for myself. Here is the original recipe: https://www.savorytooth.com/cabbage-soup/.

I actually did follow the recipe pretty much to the letter. I cut the quantities of the liquids in half and only used 10 oz of shredded cabbage instead of 16 oz. I did use a hole pound of ground chicken in place of the beef. I wanted it hearty, as I said. I used chicken broth in place of beef broth. I slightly cut down on the amount of seasonings as well. I can always re season the soup and add more, but I wouldn’t be able to take it out.

Unstuffed Cabbage Soup Baby Boomer Mermaid style

Thank you for stopping by . I want to wish you all a meaningful and Happy Thanksgiving.

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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!

Speed Meal Prepping

It’s All In The Planning

My Sunday’s are lovely, but usually pretty much all the same. I lap swim at 8 when the pool opens, and of course stay to socialize a bit, then go home to shower and meet my husband at our favorite deli, where everyone knows us, for breakfast. I then do my grocery shopping, and come home to meal prep and write this blog. I love this routine, but sometimes things come up and interrupt the routine. An old friend was in town and it was important that I go meet her for coffee this morning.

I planned ahead. Yesterday, I made all of my meal prep decisions, and did a portion of my grocery shopping. Early this morning, I had a light breakfast of cottage cheese & blueberries so I wouldn’t starve, then ran to Trader Joe’s to finish my grocery shopping for the week. I then met my friend, had a great visit, then met my husband at that deli for brunch. About an hour and a half after arriving home, all of my meal prep is finished, and the blog is being written. I will make it to the pool late this afternoon, enjoy my time there, then come home to wind down the weekend, and get ready for the coming week.

This week is still going to be hot in So Cal, so for lunch I decided on my favorite gazpacho recipe, which I have published before here (0 pts). It’s so good, it bears repeating. Any vegetable based soup, hot or cold is a great way to power down lots of veggies at once, plus it is cleansing and hydrating. To go with the gazpacho, I went with one of the seasonal Trader Joe’s frozen specialties, Riced Cauliflower & Butternut Squash Risotto (70 cal/ 2 pts for a 1 cup serving) and a TJ’s favorite, their Sweet Italian Style Italian Sausages (110 cal/ 3 pts for 1 link). Both can be made using the handy microwave.

My gazpacho. I know you see the olive oil there with the ingredients, but there are only 2 tablespoons in the entire recipe, so I’m calling it a 0 point dish.

When you peruse gazpacho recipes on the interwebs you see many that include bread in the ingredients. Years ago, I discovered this bread free recipe in Cooking Light magazine, then found it online. Here is the link to the original recipe: https://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/gazpacho-lemon-garlic-shrimp. On this go round, I just roughly chopped up all of the fresh vegetables (I did not bother with the measurements as listed in the recipe), and blended them in 2 batches, while dividing up the oil, vinegar, garlic, and seasoning, as well. Also, I squeeze the juice of the entire lemon into the recipe. That and the sherry vinegar really balance the acidity of the dish.

To go with my gazpacho are an easy meal put together at Trader Joe’s, Riced Cauliflower & Butternut Squash (cooked in the microwave) with Sweet Italian Chicken Sausage, which are precooked

Breakfast this week is veggie egg white fritatta squares (0 pts) on Everything Bagel Thins (3pts). I put defrosted, drained frozen chopped spinach in my square Pyrex pan with chopped red onions, and cut up roasted red bell pepper from the jar. I added in a little ground flaxseed and chia seeds for their health benefits, and seasoned with salt and pepper. I poured in 1/1/2 cups of liquid egg whites (equals about 8 eggs), then baked at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Every oven is different. Check to make sure the eggs are set before you remove them from the oven. I allowed them to cool, cut into squares, and stored in the refrigerator. So fast and easy.

Egg white veggie fritatta squares

It was fun changing it up today! Meal prep for the week is complete and stored in the refrigerator. I’m off to the pool now!

Thank you for taking time to read my blog today. I hope there is something here that inspires you. Your comments, critiques, questions, and recipe suggestions are always welcome.

Make it a great week, and take care of YOU!

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Meal Prep 101

Starting Over

It’s been about 3 months since I have done meal prep for breakfast and lunches. I kind of let it flow freely, and got creative with foods I already had in the house. My nectarines were aging, and not gracefully. Saturday morning I thought “stone fruit butter”, but then I got lazy about peeling all of the fruit, so I quartered them, took the stones out, of course, and placed them in my slow cooker with a little Splenda Brown Sugar, vanilla, and Chinese Five Spice (a great secret ingredient for sweet dishes, especially chocolate). I then added the rest of my canister of old fashioned oats to the mix, which was barely a half cup, now thinking “nectarine crisp”. I didn’t measure anything. Also, this wasn’t planned and I didn’t know how it would come out, so I didn’t even take any pics of the prep. It did turn out well! Today I topped my yogurt with it after I mixed ground flax seeds, chia seeds, and cinnamon into it. I also heated the bowl in the microwave for about 20 seconds to loosen up the mixture. It was delicious!

Breakfast Prep: Nectarine “crisp” over plain non-fat Greek yogurt that was mixed with cinnamon, ground flax seeds, and chia seeds. all slightly warmed in the microwave

Now for lunch prep: The previous week, I had bought Trader Joe’s Sesame Crunch Chopped Salad Kit and teriyaki baked tofu to go with it for the house. The salad kit was great, and was gone quickly. I had a little over half of the tofu left over. I also had 2 small chicken breasts in the freezer. I went back to Trader Joe’s and bought that delicious salad kit again, and broccoli slaw. Yesterday I marinated the defrosted chicken breasts in my husband’s famous teriyaki marinade, but I substituted the soy sauce with coconut aminos for less sodium. Here is the original recipe, which was actually invented by my husband’s best friend’s mother. It was his favorite as a kid, and we’re talking back in the 1960’s!

1/2 cup soy sauce (I used coconut aminos)

2 tablespoons oil (I used 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil)

1 teaspoon yellow mustard

1 teaspoon ginger

2 cloves garlic

Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Added later by my husband, and used by me for my recipe: about a teaspoon of Sriracha Sauce.

I marinated my chicken overnight, but I would say it really needs 2-4 hours to work.

*Remember – recipes are made to be experimented with. Add and subtract ingredients as it suits you. The measurements can also be adjusted to your taste.

Chicken Fixings
This week’s lunch combo

And I have snacks prepped as well –

That’s it for today! Make it a great, albeit short work week!

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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!

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