Finding my Inner Vegetarian

Disclaimer – I am not a vegetarian, nor to I aspire to be. What I do aspire to is better overall health, less inflammation in my body, and a lower number on the scale. For that reason, I have been choosing to eat vegetarian meals for breakfast and lunch. I have been doing this mostly on weekdays, but I have been trying to do so on the weekends as well. I started with “clean eating” back in the last half of 2020, I’d say. I stopped eating most processed foods (let’s not forget that all cheese is processed, and I have not given that up), and because of that, slowly my diet has become more plant based. I have become more diligent about this since the beginning of the year ( 2 full weeks now), and already I feel better overall. My energy is better, I am less achy (that’s the inflammation going down), and my clothes are fitting more loosely. This is a winning lifestyle for me.

This week I prepped a play on the soup and sandwich combo. I made on a breakfast burrito (for lunch), but made it with tofu instead of eggs. It’s amazing, once you season and heat the mashed tofu, and mix it with a little turmeric, garlic powder, and nutritional yeast, it does looks just like eggs, and tastes like them too. I picked this dish because I had tofu in the house that I needed to use up, I like a burrito, and it just sounded like fun to me. You kind of can’t miss if you like sweet potatoes, zucchini, and red bell pepper. Here is the recipe: https://skinnyms.com/meal-prep-friendly-vegan-breakfast-burritos/. I will garnish these with a little salsa, and maybe a little avocado when I have them for lunch this week. The sweet potato is 3 points spread between 4 servings, and the Ole Whole Wheat Tortillas are 1 point on WW Blue Plan.

Vegan Breakfast Burrito – For Lunch!

The soup I made today was born out of veggies I had hanging around in the fridge that needed to be used. I had almost a whole package of celery, so I looked up celery soups, and found this simple recipe: https://www.feastingathome.com/celery-soup/. I also used up my onions, most of my garlic, a few baby carrots I had in there, and the shredded zucchini I had left over from my burrito prep I had done earlier. The only new ingredient I bought for this was 1 Yukon gold potato (which is 2 points on WW Blue Plan). I kept the seasonings simple too, just S & P, and about a tablespoon of dried dill weed. I followed technique of the recipe, and used my immersion blender at the end to smooth it out. I decided against using the blender as shown in my photo.

I think I should call this “kitchen sink” celery soup because the ingredients consist of things had in the house, and needed to use up.

In addition to my plant based meal plan, I have also kept up my exercise plan for the year so far. It’s a great NSV for me. As active as I am in general, it has been easy for me to make excuses for myself and skip days in the past. So far this year, I have either gone swimming or walking every single day. Even if I get home late from work, I walk for at least 15 minutes. My swims during the week are by reservation, so I just make sure I leave the office on time to make it there. If I have to go in early the next day to make up time, that’s an easy trade off for me.

I want to quickly share last week’s meal prep with you. It was also a soup and sandwich combo. This was a garbanzo bean salad done tuna salad style on a light English muffin, and a pureed roasted cauliflower and artichoke soup, inspired by my fabulous SIL, Cynthia. Here are the recipes: https://goop.com/recipes/chickpea-tuna-salad/, and https://food52.com/recipes/26788-roasted-cauliflower-artichoke-soup. Both were delicious, and this was a very filling meal.

Garbanzo Bean Salad Sandwich with Roasted Cauliflower and Artichoke Soup

I hope I have inspired you to try something new today, and to think more about what you are putting into your body, besides just low point foods. Eating clean is actually less expensive than buying processed convenience foods, even if they are low points. Clean foods are naturally low in points, calories, fat, and salt. And clean foods don’t have to be all plant based either. Lean animal proteins and fish are also delicious, clean eats, and don’t have to be expensive.

Thank you for stopping by today. Your comments, questions, and critiques are always welcome.

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Resetting for 2021

“Intention without Action Leads to Procrastination” ~ quote by Michelle J, WW Coach from Sherman Oaks, CA.

It’s time to reset, to turn our ideas into actions. Want to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet? Add one to EVERY meal and snack you have. That can mean having an apple with your light string cheese snack in the afternoon. It can mean adding salsa to your eggs in the morning. It can mean adding broccoli to your pasta water while it’s in the last 2 minutes of cooking. There are so many creative and delicious ways to achieve this goal. Another fun thing to do is make a commitment to try a new fruit or vegetable at least once a month. This is a great way to discover the fresh new produce that comes out every season. By the way – it is Cara Cara orange season now. If you have not tried one, you are missing out.

Additional easy ways to achieve your goals to eat healthier include meal planning. Start with planning just one or 2 meals a week. Make a shopping list, and stick to it (except in the produce department, where you can go a little crazy). As you shop, be aware of highly processed foods. Clean eating is key to good health. Clean foods fill your body with vitamins and minerals, high-quality protein and healthy fats, which improve heart and brain health, help with weight management, build a stronger immune system and increase energy levels, among other benefits.

My intention for myself this year, is to eat more plant based. I am also continuing with a couple of the plans I started this past year – 1 pot meals, and a focus on anti-inflammatory foods. My first lunch prep for 2021 is a curried lentil soup. Here is the recipe inspiration: https://www.thekitchn.com/lentil-soup-recipe-23004361. I cut the recipe in half, since it’s just for myself, but my trick with this is that I only cut the main components in half, not the seasonings or the vegetables. Also, instead of tomato sauce, I used less processed diced tomatoes, with no salt added. I also used frozen spinach, but only because my Trader Joe’s was out of fresh baby spinach. I also cut the fat. Instead of the 3 tablespoons (!) of olive oil the recipe called for, I sprayed my non stick Dutch oven with probably about 1 teaspoon of olive oil.

Curry Lentil Soup with Spinach

It looks like we will still be going through tough times with the virus for the next few months, at least. But you don’t have to be complacent, or get yourself into any ruts. Get out of the house, and get moving. Try to get a short walk in either before or after work (or during your lunch break). I love my after work swims. Great for decompressing. And the afternoons I can’t get to the pool, I make sure I walk for at least 15 – 20 minutes. Same thing on the weekends. I get some type of movement in daily, in addition to my morning stretch sessions. Start small, but start.

Thank you for joining me this week. Please feel free to comment, critique, or ask me anything.

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A Look Back – My Favorite Meal Preps of 2020

No need to rehash what an unprecedented year 2020 has been. It has been a horror story in so many ways, but has also produced some wonderful epiphanies for many of us. I have become aware of being more compassionate towards others, and have learned to take better care of myself, both inside and out. And for these realizations, I am grateful.

I did have some fun with meal preps this year. In no particular order, here are my favorites of the year:

Fritatta prep from Brunch All Day, August 9. Recipe inspiration: https://www.loveandlemons.com/frittata-recipe/
One Pot Spinach & Artichoke Chicken Pasta from Reality Check, September 14. Recipe inspiration: https://www.thekitchn.com/one-pot-spinach-artichoke-chicken-pasta-recipe-23073220
Homemade Healthy Granola from Take Care of Your Heart, October 11. (I make this all of the time now. It has become a breakfast staple for me, topping my yogurt blueberry bowls almost daily). Recipe inspiration: https://cookieandkate.com/healthy-granola-recipe/
Garbanzo Bean Greek Salad from In Gratitude, August 30
Very Veggie Turkey Meatloaf from Making Clean Eating a Priority from June 17. Recipe inspiration: https://www.weightwatchers.com/us/recipe/very-veggie-turkey-meat-loaf/5c993ed35e84d2001c1cf17f
Spinach and Tofu Miso Soup from Managing the Holiday, December 6. Recipe inspiration: https://www.marthastewart.com/1159033/miso-soup-tofu-spinach-and-carrots.

Like most of the world, I did a little baking this year. My favorite recipe conversion came from the PB & J Blondie I made for Baking Baby Boomer Mermaid Style, published July 3.

Other baking favorites from this year that did not get photographed were: cherry oatmeal bars from: https://shewearsmanyhats.com/almond-cherry-oatmeal-bars-recipe/; fudgy brownies from: https://www.skinnykitchen.com/recipes/super-fudgy-brownies/; and my long time favorite, pumpkin spice cream cheese muffins (which I make into bars) from: https://drizzlemeskinny.com/pumpkin-spice-cream-cheese-muffins/

You can find many more healthy and yummy recipe inspirations on my Pinterest boards: https://www.pinterest.com/marshaleeg/_saved/. Also, find additional content on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marshaleeg54, and Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/marshaleeg/

This was also a year of lots of long walks, and video streaming. Two of my favorite discoveries from streaming are: https://www.youtube.com/user/flavcity with chef Bobby Parrish, whom I have learned so much from this year, and Chef Jamie Oliver, streaming on Hulu: https://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/category/books/5-ingredients-quick-easy-food-recipes/. Both are so inspiring and are great teachers. Check them out.

It’s hard to admit that I have any favorite memories from the first shutdown that went from March to June, but this was a cool moment, seeing ducks swimming in the pool next door to me back in April.

What will 2021 bring? Who knows? My prayers are for enough vaccines for all, and peace in the world.

Wishing you all a very Happy, HEALTHY, and Prosperous New Year full of Joy and Love!

Managing the Holidays – 2020 Edition

It’s the holidays! And yet we are all still going through very stressful times. The uncertainty of life with Covid-19 continues. It’s unfortunate that we won’t be able to enjoy the holidays with our friends and families in person this year, but virtual family gatherings are a great way to connect with your loved ones this season while keeping yourself safe and healthy.

It is more important than ever to stick to our regular self care routines as closely as possible. Keep your body, your mind, and spirit active. Continue your exercise regimens. Read. Explore new cuisines, foods and recipes. Stream – enjoy all that Netflix and the like have to offer. Learn to paint with watercolors, or take on a 100+ piece jigsaw puzzle. One of my girlfriends continues to play Trivia virtually weekly. Remember, prioritizing your health and well being is not an extravagance, it is part of being human.

My meal prep this week is a super simple vegetarian spinach miso soup. Miso is a fermented food, which good for our gut health. It is also rich in essential vitamins and minerals. 

I started with Trader Joe’s Miso Ginger Broth. To that I added 2 cubes each of frozen minced garlic and ginger, a 6 oz bag of baby spinach, carrots cut up like matchsticks, and a heaping tablespoon of white miso paste. For cooking tips for this meal prep I consulted Martha Stewart: https://www.marthastewart.com/1159033/miso-soup-tofu-spinach-and-carrots.

Additional add ins were edamame and tofu for protein, Trader Joe’s Thai Vegetable Goyza (because I had about a half of a package of it in my freezer), shirataki noodles, and sliced scallions. I also kept about half of my sliced up scallions fresh to add right before eating. The goyza is 9 points/ 160 calories for a serving of 5 dumplings. I won’t have more than 1 or 2 per serving. Everything else in this work week lunch is 0 points :).

Spinach and Tofu Miso Soup

As we get into winter, the produce in the markets are changing. Don’t forget to explore new fruits and vegetables throughout the year. This month alone enjoy parsnips, persimmons, all of the wonderful varieties of winter squash, turnips, and yams, to name a few.

This week’s fruits are mega kiwis, new at Trader Joe’s, and Satsuma mandarins. I look forward to them every year.

Wishing you all a holiday season filled with love, joy, health, and happiness!

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And BOOM! It’s the HOLIDAYS!

The holidays are definitely looking different this year, but there is no reason not to be festive! Decorate now. Spend time with the friends and family you would normally see this time of year in person virtually, or at least by telephone. Most importantly, continue to be kind to yourself, and take good care of yourself. Here are a few reminders on how to stay on track this season:

  1. Don’t skip meals before your big feast.
  2. Alternate your alcoholic beverages with glasses of water, or mix water or club soda into your cocktail or glass of wine.
  3. Use a smaller plate to control portions.
  4. Make your splurges “worth it”.
  5. Veggies first! Load your plate up with vegetables.
  6. Eat slowly.
  7. Take 10. It can take a few minutes for your belly to send the “I’m full” signals to your brain. For this reason, give yourself at least ten minutes before you decide to go back for a second helping. Remember, we’re going for satisfied, not stuffed.

My meal preps are becoming more and more simple. Today’s is probably the most simple yet, and it’s based on one of my favorite fast foods – bean & cheese burritos from Taco Bell! My plan was to incorporate as many veggies as possible in my mixture. I drained a can of diced tomatoes with chilis, and added them to the saucepan that already had diced red onions that had been sweated down, and a can of fat free refried beans. I just stirred it all through, and took it off the heat to cool. I put the mixture in the refrigerator for about a half hour, then filled my Ole Extreme Wellness Whole Wheat Tortillas with the mixture, and a pinch of shredded Lite 3 Cheese Blend. I rolled them up, and made individual foil packs out of them, so I can grab an go. This entire meal is barely 2 points on the WW Blue Plan. I say barely because the cheese is 2 points for a 1/4 cup serving, and I’m barely using a teaspoon of it per serving. My salad side is Trader Joe’s Power greens mixed with their Chopped Veggies, and that will be topped off with 2 tablespoons of Cilantro Salad Dressing, which is also 2 points. Now I have a filling, satisfying, and yummy 4 point lunch to eat throughout my work week.

Bean & Cheese Burritos Baby Boomer Mermaid Style
Fresh & Easy Side Salad

Last week I made a really delicious slow cooker recipe from WW.com: https://www.weightwatchers.com/us/recipe/chicken-mushroom-and-brown-rice-slow-cooker-casserole. I reduced the calories, and points by swapping the brown rice for Trader Joe’s Risoni lentil rice. The flavors were savory, and very satisfying, but the recipe made a lot of food. I recommend this for an easy family dinner.

Slow Cooker Savory Chicken Thighs with Vegetables and Lentil Rice
A little inspiration

Thank you for stopping by. Stop and savor the beauty of the season, and take time with your friends and family, even if it can’t be done in person. And, please practice self compassion daily.

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Surprise Delivery Delivers Fresh Inspiration

My good friend, and WW Tribe Member, Stacey, has been receiving deliveries from Imperfect Foods https://www.imperfectfoods.com/ pretty much since quarantine began back in March. She went from almost never cooking, to cooking for herself every day, every meal. She receives this delivery twice a month along with meal preps from Blue Apron https://www.blueapron.com/, and twice monthly shopping trips to Trader Joe’s. She has lost 30 lbs in the last 6 months just by making this one change – cooking fresh, clean, homemade meals 3 times daily. When you are eating out for most meals, even if you think you are making good choices you don’t really know what the salt and sugar contents are in the foods that you are eating. We can all take a lesson from Stacey, and up our cooking and clean eating games. She has been a true inspiration to me, and to our other tribe members who have been stalled in their own weight loss journeys.

Because every week Stacey tells me of the treasures that arrived from Imperfect Foods (broccoli leaves, her new favorite – who knew?), I became intrigued. I am in a different situation. I love to cook, as does my husband, and we only go out once a weekend for lunch or brunch. Since quarantine started we have brought in food exactly twice, and those were planned “treat” meals. But I was intrigued, as I said, so I signed up for the service. I did not go through with placing my order this week though, or so I thought, and on Thursday I got a text that my box was on it’s way. I panicked a little, since this wasn’t planned, but ended up taking it in stride. Here is what I got:

My Imperfect Foods Delivery Detail. (By the way, I did not get just 1 of each of the produce varieties mentioned. I got 3 beautiful peaches, 3 perfect little red pears, and 2 roma tomatoes.)

I had put in a few preferences such as fruit and vegetables (unspecified), salmon, and ground turkey. Most things on the list shown above are things that I would normally eat. There are a couple of challenging items here though. Can you guess which ones? The Shishito peppers, and the dragon fruit. Never tasted either one.

The Shishito peppers became my inspiration for my lunch prep this week. I found an Asian Turkey and Rice Bowl recipe on line that featured pickled Shishito peppers as a garnish. Of course I had to spin both of these recipes to fit my Baby Boomer Mermaid eating and cooking style, and that is exactly what I did. First the original recipes: https://sweetphi.com/asian-ground-turkey-rice-bowls-recipe/#wprm-recipe-container-18205 and https://eatsimplefood.com/quick-pickled-shishito-peppers/.

In the turkey rice bowl I used Trader Joe’s Risoni lentil rice instead of white rice, and I added diced red bell pepper and green onions to the ground turkey meat. I omitted the sugar from the recipe, and cut the soy sauce in half, by using coconut aminos for half of the liquid. So I slashed the sugar and salt in my prep significantly. For the pickled peppers I found a quick pickle recipe that didn’t have sugar as one of the ingredients. Sugar is usually prevalent in pickling recipes. I also added the shredded carrots and more green onions to the pickled Shishito peppers. The more veggies the better!

The dragon fruit was my next challenge. Most recommendations online were for smoothies. But I don’t use smoothies. I was told early on in my WW journey that blended fruit does not promote weight loss. I honestly never fully looked into it, but here is a comprehensive article that explains: https://www.treehugger.com/why-is-whole-fruit-healthier-than-smoothie-4868770. I diced up the dragon fruit, which is a truly beautiful thing, and plan to use it in my breakfast yogurt bowls this week along with my blueberries. I gave it a taste, and found it quite bland. As pretty as it is, it was one of the most expensive items in the box, and I would not choose to get it again.

Breakfast yogurt bowl prep.

I did not publish anything the previous 2 weeks. The Jewish high holidays fell on the weekends, and although I did not spend them with my family or attend services as I normally do, I still took some time for myself to reflect on the past year, and the coming one… which will hopefully bring more peace, health, and happiness to all mankind. This past year certainly sucked. Bring on 5781!

I still did my meal planning and prep though. 2 weeks ago I bought sliced turkey meat, a multi grain bread, and 2 prepared soups from Trader Joe’s. I highly recommend the Spicy Pozole Verde. It’s a must try!

Easy soup and sandwich combo takes away the meal prep but not the planning.

Last week I put together a little quick stir fry that was inspired by a Martha Stewart chow mein recipe https://www.marthastewart.com/1512441/chow-mein. Again here, I slashed the salt and sugar and made a yummy Asian noodle dish. I used shirataki noodles, which have almost no calories, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shirataki_noodles, omitted the sugar in the recipe, and used coconut aminos in place of half of the soy sauce. I also used chicken breast in place of the chicken thighs, and added snap peas. I was really happy with the result.

Chicken Chow Mein Baby Boomer Mermaid Style

I hope Stacey and I have inspired you today. I feel that she has been my partner in today’s blog. My goal here is to inspire you to be mindful, take good care of yourself, and eat healthy, and clean. I hope I achieved that today. Please feel free to send any comments or questions to me any time.

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Make it a great week!

Reality Check

Throughout the span of the pandemic, as a WW Lifetime member, I have gotten a free ride, so to speak. I have totally enjoyed our WW Zoom meetings, and especially our tribe’s tailgate meetings prior to those each Saturday morning. But I haven’t been kept accountable, other than by my own basic routine of meal planning and prepping (which I did not really do at the beginning of the shut down), and the Zoom conversations. I haven’t been on a scale since mid-March. Like most everybody, I have been a little more, shall we say, lenient with myself with regard to my eating? I didn’t even try to put on a pair of jeans for the first 3 months, and like everyone else, I was dabbling in baking….Actually still am, but now being more conscientious again about my ingredients.

This past week I received an e mail from WW that I will have to start weighing in again once a month at a studio starting November 1. I honestly don’t know if I am over my goal weight or not at this point. I know I am over my “personal” goal weight for sure. I also have lost all of the muscle tone I developed from being in the pool 5 times a week, pre-pandemic, aqua jogging and lap swimming. Most of my jeans fit, but not the same, and not all of them…. I definitely have work to do. My goal that first week of November is to be under goal for sure, and as close to my “personal” goal weight as possible. So now begins operation “Blueplan”, as I am dubbing it.

Last weekend was one of the hottest on record in Southern California. I was giving myself a little staycation, so did not publish a blog, but I did prep something for my work week lunches. It had to be quick, easy, and light. I started with Trader Joe’s frozen Riced Cauliflower Stir Fry. To that I added frozen veggies I had in the house – broccoli, spinach, and edamame. I also added a diced fresh red bell pepper, and diced tofu. I seasoned this with Coconut Aminos, Dorot frozen garlic and ginger cubes (2 of each), a little onion salt (because I forgot to buy the scallions I wanted to use, and did not have fresh onion in the house), and fresh ground black pepper. It turned out great.

Vegan Stir Fry

I had leftovers into the weekend, so I repurposed them into a vegetarian baked eggs casserole. I added fresh chopped red onion, a little roasted red pepper from the jar that I had in the refrigerator, and more frozen broccoli. I mixed a heaping tablespoon of non fat plain Greek yogurt into 6 beaten whole eggs, which I poured over the veggie mixture, and baked it at 350 for about 35 minutes in a square 9 X 9 Pyrex pan, sprayed with olive oil. I had a piece for breakfast yesterday, and will eat it for breakfast throughout the week. This too turned out really yummy.

Veggie Baked Eggs Casserole

With the eggs this week, I’ll be having a little butternut squash muffin that I baked today. They were supposed to be pumpkin muffins, but there was not 1 can of pureed pumpkin to be found in all of Santa Monica today. I kid you not. I wanted this so badly, I went to 5 different grocery stores. I was craving something pumpkin, but wanted it to be almost on the savory side and made from whole grains. I found this great recipe, which (other than the main ingredient) I followed exactly: https://cookieandkate.com/healthy-maple-pumpkin-muffins/. Note that the author gives you the choice of honey or maple syrup to sweeten these with. I used maple syrup.

Healthy Butternut Squash Muffins

For my lunch prep this week, I found this great 1 pot, 15 minute recipe, Spinach Artichoke Pasta: https://www.thekitchn.com/one-pot-spinach-artichoke-chicken-pasta-recipe-23073220. I made this with my favorite Sweet Italian Chicken Sausage from Trader Joe’s. I substituted about 1/2 of the Parmesan cheese with nutritional yeast, used 10 oz of fresh baby spinach, and just over 1 cup of pasta, probably about 8.5 oz. I used the whole wheat fusilli I had in my pantry.

Spinach Artichoke Pasta Baby Boomer Mermaid Style

I feel like I am setting myself up for a successful week. I am on planning 4 pool workouts, and walks on the afternoons I am not in the pool, all after work. I let my husband know that I am getting back on track, so no surprise snacks are allowed. He threatened to buy potato chips anyway, so it will be up to me to stay strong. Which of course it always is, at the end of the day. And back to drinking all of my water everyday! It’s a lot, but I know I’ve got this.

Make it a great week! Take care of yourselves. Stay safe, and healthy.

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In Gratitude

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.

This is what the pool looks like when we arrive for our lane reservation. A far cry from what it normally looks like on a summer afternoon. At least there are still a few children there taking lessons.

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.

Easy no cook garbanzo bean Greek Salad for lunch this week. The dressing is my old stand by, the WW red wine vinaigrette: 1/3 c. olive oil/ 1/3 c. red wine vinegar/ 1/3 c. water. I added a diced shallot, dried oregano, s&p to season. To the salad, I’ll add arugula and fresh San Marzano tomatoes as I dole out my portions during the week.
Using this 70 calorie/ 2 point sliced multi grain bread, and kale, cashew, basil pesto on my turkey sandwich this week.

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.

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Self Sabotage. Tips on How to Avoid It

Last week I briefly mentioned the dreaded notion of “self sabotage”. We all do it. Whether we are gaming the weight loss or maintenance program we are on, or just blatantly going for it, we all sabotage ourselves with regard to our eating at one time or another, and another….

Lately, even during this challenging time, I have been a little more mobile during my work day. There have been a couple of days, especially during these hot summer days, that I was not comfortable taking my lunch with me. I didn’t want to leave it in the hot car, even with a freezer disc in it. I had to be resourceful and find some fast, healthy lunches on the fly. Here are my discoveries:

  • Starbucks Chicken & Quinoa Protein Bowl with Black Beans and Greens. This salad is delicious and satisfying. The dressing is a super tasty medium-spiced chile vinaigrette. This salad is 420 calories/ 8 points.
  • Pollo Loco Chicken Avocado Tortilla Wrap from their Meals under 500 Calories Menu. Easy to eat in a hurry, and satisfying. This meal is 480 calories/ 11 points. There are several other great choices on that menu as well.
  • Don’t laugh. This really felt like I was cheating. Taco Bell Bean Burrito. 386 calories/ 8 points. Nuf said.

We are still in the dog days of summer. It is uncomfortably hot and muggy outside. I live in Santa Monica, CA, not far from the beach, but it has been in the 80’s by 11 am this week. I don’t have air conditioning. That said, I was looking for something easy to make for my meal prep this week that would not heat up my kitchen. I was inspired by a post I saw in one of the WW Facebook groups I follow. Someone posted a photo of chicken breasts with a jar of salsa verde, and the light bulb went off in my head. No recipe required.

First – a new product alert: From Trader Joe’s – Risoni. They advertise it as a legume based grain alternative, and is made with chickpea and red lentils. It mimics rice. The nutritional stats are 170 calories/ 4 points for a 1/4 cup serving. Check it out: https://www.traderjoes.com/digin/post/organic-chickpea–red-lentil-risoni. We made it as a rice alternative for dinner one night, and without added flavorings, it was a little bit of an acquired taste. I recommend playing around with added flavors such as garlic, herbs, onions, whatever you like in regular rice.

Using my old school slow cooker today, I started with 1 cup of Risoni, just under 2 lbs of chicken breast, the jar of salsa verde (my favorite is Herdez: https://www.salsas.com/herdez/products/salsas/salsa-verde/), some diced red onion, and a couple of tablespoons of Trader Joe’s Jalapeno Sauce, and just let it go on high for 3 hours. I’m going to shred the chicken to make soft chicken tacos using Ole Whole Wheat Tortilla Wraps. I’ll be topping my tacos with a slaw made from Trader Joe’s Cruciferous Crunch tossed with Bolthouse Farms Cilantro Avocado Yogurt dressing.

Shredded chicken breast slow cooked with salsa verde, onions, jalapeno sauce, and “rice” made out of chickpeas and lentils. I’m making soft tacos with this, but let your imagination and appetite go wild. You can do anything with this healthy preparation of low calorie/ low fat/ low points bowl of goodness.
Easy slaw taco topper.

Thank you for stopping by today. Your comments, questions, and critiques are always welcome.

Take care of yourselves. Be good to yourselves. Make it a great week.

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Brunch All Day

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.

My fritatta prep
My finished meal prep. Ready to heat and eat.

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.

A hearty, healthy breakfast in a flash for week day 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:

https://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/category/books/5-ingredients-quick-easy-food-recipes/

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 –

This says it all, don’t you think?
Artichokes growing in a front garden in Santa Monica. The photo on the left was taken back in May or June. The photo on the right was taken this past week. I just find the evolution of the plant fascinating, and beautiful.

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.

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