Tuesday, July 31, 2012

July 2012 Foodie Pen Pal Reveal

The Lean Green Bean

Wow! Has another month already gone by. I can't believe that it's already the end of July. I actually heard someone talking the other day about how many days there were until Christmas. That's not really what I want to hear right now. Won't you please let us enjoy the rest of Summer? I guess it's all relative. While it's already the end of July, it's also ONLY the end of July. Living in the South, that means we have lots of Summer left to enjoy still. But before I get on with enjoying my Summer, I wanted to do a post about my Foodie Pen Pal this month.

This month, I was paired with Jason from MaurPowerFoodie. He was totally different from my last two Foodie Pen Pals and had a theme to the box this month. This month, the theme was Asian...yummy! Here is what he sent:

Coco Jam

Pickled Ground Green Chiles

Instant Duck Flavor Paste

Dried Sweet Kumquats

Vermicelli (Green Bean Thread) Pasta

Brown Candy

I had one casualty of the Pickled Red Chiles, but I guess that is a risk you take when you sign up for a program like this.

I am so excited to break these things out and get started with them. I try not to until after I have made my post, so I will definitely be updating you on how I use all of these items. He also sent me a recipe for some Tabouli. I love Tabouli and can't wait to make some of my own!

Ok, so how do you get involved in this fantastic program? You can find all of the details here.

That's all until next month for the Foodie Pen Pal Program.

So long for today...

Monday, July 30, 2012

Light Chicken Marsala


So it was back to the grind today. In all honesty though, it wasn't that bad for a Monday. Maybe it's because I know this is a short week or maybe it's because we have a few fun events planned for work this week. Whatever the reason, today wasn't too bad and the rest of the week looks like it might not be bad either. Keep your fingers crossed that I didn't just jimx myself.

One of my favorite shows in the Summer time is Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition. I first discovered this show last Summer and was kind of sad when I realized there were only a few episodes to watch. I was happy to see it returned this year. This show has trainer Chris Powell take on a new client in each episode. He works with these people for a year of their life to help them to lose an extreme amount of weight. I love how he has such compassion for his clients. Some of them, I'm not sure I could keep as clients. On one epidose, they made a lighter version of Chicken Marsala. As soon as I saw it, I went to the website to find the recipe. I made it over the weekend and even TC, who doesn't like mushrooms, liked it. What a great victory! Here's the recipe:

LIGHT CHICKEN MARSALA
adapted from Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition
Servings: 4
Points+: 5


4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 Tbsp. flour
1 tsp. sea salt
Black pepper
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. light butter
2 cups sliced mushrooms
½ cup reduced sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup Marsala wine
2 Tbsp. parsley, chopped

Pound chicken breast 1/4 inch thick between plastic wrap.

Place flour, salt, and pepper in large zip lock bag. Add chicken breasts, two at a time, and shake well to lightly coat with flour, place on plate.

Add olive oil to large nonstick sauté pan, add chicken breast and brown for 3 minutes, turn over and brown other side for 1 minute. Add 2 Tbsp. water to sauté pan lid and quickly place on pan to steam chicken breast for 1 minute. Remove lid and transfer chicken breast to clean platter and place in warm oven.

Add butter to sauté pan, melt over medium heat. Add mushrooms and sauté for 3-4 minutes, add Marsala wine and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.

Add chicken breast to mushrooms; add chicken broth and parsley, turning chicken to coat with sauce. Simmer for 2 minutes until sauce thickens.


EXERCISE:
Normally, my Monday night would be a rest night. But I really wanted to do everything that I could to get that pesky scale to drop a little bit. Instead of working out pretty intensely tonight, I decided to go for a walk. Once again, Mother Nature had other plans. Thanks for watering the flowers, but no thanks for cancelling my walk. Despite her best efforts to keep me from working out, Mother Nature failed. I decided to dust of Walk Away the Pounds again and I did the 2 mile walk tonight. Let's hope it makes the scale happy tomorrow!

So long for today...

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Cheesy Stuffed Shells


We're back home after a great weekend camping. The campground was great the the State Park is beautiful. We will definitely be returning again soon. There is a place where you can float down the Edisto River with the starting point actually in the state park. This is something that we might have to look into!

I made these stuffed shells earlier in the week. They were so good! I would have loved to have eaten more, but since it was my WIAW the day we ate them, I had to be good and limit myself to only 3. We had some leftovers and I shared them with the neighbors. They said they were good, too and returned the empty casserole dish to me, so I will take that as a good sign! Here's the recipe:

CHEESY STUFFED SHELLS
A Southern Living Yankee Original
Servings: 4
Points+: 9


1/2 lb. lean ground turkey italian sausage
1/2 medium bell pepper, diced
1/2 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 t. italian seasoning
1 c. 2% reduced fat cottage cheese
1 c. light spaghetti sauce
12 uncooked jumbo pasta shells
1 c. 2% milk mozzarella cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook pasta shells according to package directions.

Meanwhile, spray a non-stick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Once hot, add turkey sausage and cook until meat is well done. Add pepper, onion, garlic and italian seasoning and cook until vegetables are tender.

Remove from heat and stir in cottage cheese. Evenly fill the cooked pasta shells with the filling and place into a 9 x 9 inch baking dish that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

Pour spaghetti sauce over shells and then sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 - 30 minutes or until cheese is lightly brown and bubbly. Allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!


EXERCISE:
I'm happy to say that I got another run in this morning. The park has some beautiful areas and a great hiking/walking trail. It's always a nice change to go from running in the neighborhood to running where I can really enjoy nature!

I think I am going to try to do the next Insanity workout tonight. I know I already ran earlier, but I'd like to do some circuit work and get some strength today, too. As long as my schedule permits, that's what will happen.

So long for today...

Friday, July 27, 2012

Healthy Zucchini Muffins


We made it through another work week! This one was pretty long for me. Not sure why, it just was. Maybe it was because I was looking forward to camping so much this weekend it drug by for me, whatever the case, I have made it through and I'm so glad the weekend is here. We are camping at the nearby State Park for the weekend. I'm so looking forward to just relaxing. I'm hoping I will have cell service down there, but I'm not making any promises.

I decided to treat my co-workers to breakfast. I had a little bit of zucchini that still needed used up, so I searched for something simple that used zucchini and could be eaten for breakfast. Along came these muffins. I think the thing that I like most about them is that they only have 2 T. of oil. Plus, they don't have a lot of apple sauce or anything like that in them. They were also very yummy which is most important of all! Here's the recipe:

HEALTHY ZUCCHINI MUFFINS
adapted from Healthy Diet Mom
Servings: 12
Points+: 4


1 2/3 c. flour
1/2 c. sugar
1 t. cinnamon
1 1/4 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1 1/3 c. shredded zucchini
1/2 c. fat-free milk
2 T. canola oil
2 T. honey
1 large egg
Cooking spray

Topping
1 T. sugar
1/4 t. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400°.

Combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, soda and salt in a large bowl; stir with a whisk.

Combine zucchini, milk, oil, honey, and egg in a small bowl; stir until blended.

Make a well in center of flour mixture; add milk mixture, stirring just until moist. Batter may seem loose. Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups or 24 mini-muffin cups coated with cooking spray.

Combine 1 tablespoon sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon; sprinkle over tops of muffins.

Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until golden for regular muffins, 11 minutes for mini-muffins. Remove from pans immediately; cool on a wire rack.


EXERCISE:
TC and I both had very good intentions of working out while camping. We were going to take the computer outside and do our Insanity workouts after Addison went to bed. well, Mother Nature had other plans and decided that it should rain. So instead, I did the Plyometric Cardio Circuit workout in the camper while also watching the Opening Ceremonies on TV. Let me tell you, you haven't lived until you have done an Insanity workout in a camper!

So long for today...


Light Tzatziki Sauce


Just a quick post. Some one asked me for my tzatziki sauce recipe, so I thought I would post it on here. You can use this on so many different things. I like to add it to my greek foods like my chicken gyros or soemthing along those lines. It's very light and refreshing and adds a delicious tang to the Mediterranean foods. Here's the recipe:

LIGHT TZATZIKI SAUCE
Servings: 8
Points+: 1

1/2 c. peeled & grated cucumber
1 c. fat free plain greek yogurt
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. dill
1/4 t. salt


Combine all ingredients and refrigerate to cool. Serve on gyros, faitas, chicken, whatever you like. Is also good as a veggie or chip dip.


So long for now...

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Orange Creamsicle Cookies


Well, the weekend is almost here! I hope you are as excited as I am. Thursday evening was spent making my list and checking it twice. I am a huge proponent of making lists for everything. Camping is no exception to the rule! I have made lists of the food I want to cook and the foods I want to take. I also have to try to remember everything that I needed last time we went camping but didn't get yet. I'm sure there is some stuff that I'm forgetting. But I'm sure I'll remember it...eventually.

I made these delicious cookies the other night. I sent some to the neighbor's house, sent some to work with TC and took the rest to my office. These disappeared pretty quickly from the plate in my office. Everyone said they were pretty good, and I have to agree. They were pretty easy, too, which I like. I loved the suble hints of orange along with the white chocolate chips. Such a great combination! Here's the recipe:

ORANGE CREAMSICLE COOKIES
adapted from Life As a Lofthouse
Servings: 79
Points+: 2


2 1/4 c. flour
3/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 c. butter
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 t. vanilla (or orange extract for enhanced flavor)
2 T. orange zest
1 1/2 c. white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and both sugars together until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla until well mixed. Gradually add in the flour mixture until combined. Stir in orange zest and white chocolate chips.

Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto a large cookie sheet. Bake for 10-11 minutes.


EXERCISE:
The activity tonight was keeping up with Insanity. You'd think that it would get easier, but after over a week of doing it, it's not getting easier yet. The workout tonight was Pure Cardio. I think this one may trump last night's workout as my favorite. They're all really good at getting my heartrate up and giving me a great workout, so it's hard to decide. Maybe by the end of the 60 days I will have made my mind up...maybe.

So long for today...


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

WIAW #3

Well, here it is again. What I ate Wednesday. As disatrous as the last couple of days have been with my eating, I was back on track today. I am taking the WIAWs very seriously and if I eat something on Wednesdays, I'm taking a picture of it and posting it on here. Complete transparency! So let's see what today had in store:

Of course, I had my Skinny Decaf Chai Latte (0 Points+):

For breakfast, I had one egg and one egg white scrambled just a little bit in a mug (2 Points+) with some Lower Sugar Maple & Brown Sugar oatmeal (3 Points+):

My mid-morning snack was a banana which I remembered to take a picture of today (1 Point+):

For lunch, I had homemade tuna salad on a FF tortilla (4 Points+) with 15 Special K Cracker Chips (1 Point+) and an apple (1 Point+):

My afternoon snack was 1/2 c. FF Greek yogurt (1 Point+) with a packet of Stevia and a little bit of vanilla with some strawberries(1 Point+):

When I got home from work, I was hungry so I reheated some green beans for another snack (0 Points+):

Dinner was a new recipe that will be posted on the blog soon. It was Cheesy Stuffed Shells and it was also very yummy (8 Points+)!

After dinner, I had a Lil' Drumstick (3 Points+) for my something sweet:

Then I tried one of the Orange Creamsicle Cookies that I baked tonight, too (2 Points+):

Total daily points for the day put me at 27, so I am 1 over for the day, but I earned 4 activity points with my exercise. Some would say that I end my day with -3. I say I earned it +1. But I'm ok with that because it's much better than the last few days have been!

EXERCISE:
Tonight was another day of Insanity. The workout this time was Cardio Power & Resistance. I think this might be my favorite of the Insanity workouts so far. It's very similar to the other videos, but a little different at the same time. I still have a few more to do, but so far, this one is in the lead.

So there you have it. My 3rd week of WIAW. Are you guys liking these or should I quit doing them? Personally, they're really helping me to make better decisions about what I eat. I usually eat well, I just tend to snack too much. So what do you think? I really want to know!

So long for today...

Light Olive Garden Salad


Well hey there! I hope you're all having another great week. It's going pretty quickly for me, which is great because I'm really looking forward to this weekend. We are going camping at one of SC's state parks. It's a long the Edisto River. It looks beautiful. We're really looking forward to having a relaxing weekend. It's been a while since we just relaxed for an entire weekend. Yes, we did go camping a couple of weeks ago, but we were still on the go. This time, we are going to the campground and just staying there with no schedule the entire time. Sounds wonderful!

I love Olive Garden. But since I've been on Weight Watchers, the annual visits that I make to that restaurant have gone down drastically. I think one of the things that I miss the most is their salad. I'm the person that eats 2 bowls of salad, plus some breadsticks before my meal comes, then when my meal does come, I'm already full and have to take most of it home. Since I miss the salads so much, I decided to try to make the "at-home" version of it. The good thing about doing it at home is that I can make it lighter for myself. Can't beat the great taste in a lighter version! Here's the recipe:

LIGHT OLIVE GARDEN SALAD
adapted from Chef Pablo's Restaurant Recipes
Servings: 15
Points+: 2


Dressing:
1/2 c. reduced fat mayonnaise
1/3 c. white vinegar
1 t. canola oil
2 T. corn syrup
2 T. reduced fat Parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic minced
1/2 t. Italian seasoning
1/2 t. parsley
1 t. lemon juice
1/2 t. sugar

Salad:
1 head romaine lettuce, cut
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 qt. grape tomatoes
1 15-oz. can medium pitted black olives
1 bag croutons
grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Combine dressing ingredients and mix well. Allow to sit at least an hour or overnight would be better.

Add all salad ingredients, except for Parmesan cheese to a large bowl. Pour dressing over salad and mix until all of the salad ingredients are well coated. Grate the fresh Parmesan cheese over top of the salad to your desired liking. Enjoy!!


EXERCISE:
After taking a rest day Monday, it was back to the routine Tuesday evening. We continued with the Insanity workouts. We have modified it slightly to make up for the late start we got, plus we're making Monday our rest day since I have my WI on Tuesday mornings. I will do anything I can to make that scale lower! I'm really enjoying these workouts. I love that they get my HR up. It's definitely a great workout! I will continue to give you updates!

So long for today...

Monday, July 23, 2012

Sunday on the Lake

Happy Monday everyone! I hope you all had a great weekend. Normally, Monday isn't a word that I would put happy in front of, but after a long day on the lake followed by a busy and bad evening, I had no problem going to work today.

Sunday was spent on the lake. We ended up spending way too much time on the water and didn't get everything done that I wanted to. It's going to be another busy work week for me but I will hopefully get everything done that I need to before we go camping again next weekend.

I know I don't have a recipe or workout related post, but I thought I would share a couple of pictures from our day on the lake with you all.

Addison eating her yogurt while relaxing on the boat:

The captain for the day:

My healthy lunch:

The co-captain helping out her daddy:

Exhausted after her long day on the lake:

Waking up cranky after her nap:

EXERCISE:
I had a very active day Sunday. I went for a 4.39 mile run in the morning. I had planned on doing some water skiing and kneeboarding on the lake, but for one reason or another, that just didn't happen. I also continued with Insanity Sunday evening. This time, it was the Pure Cardio workout. It is constant movement. It definitely got my HR up and the sweat was pretty intense, too! I am really liking the Insanity workout so far!

So long for today...








Friday, July 20, 2012

Cauliflower Crust Pizza


Yay! It's the weekend. Even though this hasn't been an extremly long week for me (even though it was a 5-day work week) I am still glad it's the weekend. I feel like I lost out on a weekend last week since we were camping the whole time. So I'm kind of looking forward to just hanging around the house this weekend. We have a birthday party for one of Addison's friends Saturday morning, but other than that, we have no definitely plans. Although, knowing us, I'm sure we'll stay busy!

I love pizza just as much as the next guy or gal, but I don't like how pointy it is. Since I've gone on Weight Watchers, I haven't been reaching my required pizza quota. I've tried the whole wheat pizza crusts and they're good, just not great. So I kind of just gave up on the idea of eating pizza. Then I saw this recipe on...say it with me, "Pinterest!" I had some doubts about it until I saw how many bloggers were doing posts about it and I realized there must be something to this. I am very happy that I tried this because it is so good. You really can't tell that it's a cauliflower crust. You really need to try this recipe. It's pretty easy, too. Here's the recipe:

CAULIFLOWER CRUST PIZZA
adapted from Eat, Drink, Smile
Servings: 12
Points+: 3


1 cup cooked, riced cauliflower
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp crushed garlic
1/2 tsp garlic salt
olive oil (optional)

pizza sauce, shredded cheese and your choice of toppings*

To "Rice" the Cauliflower:
Take 1 large head of fresh cauliflower, remove stems and leaves, and chop the florets into chunks. Add to food processor and pulse until it looks like grain. Do not over-do pulse or you will puree it. (If you don't have a food processor, you can grate the whole head with a cheese grater). Place the riced cauliflower into a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 8 minutes (some microwaves are more powerful than others, so you may need to reduce this cooking time). There is no need to add water, as the natural moisture in the cauliflower is enough to cook itself.

One large head should produce approximately 3 cups of riced cauliflower. The remainder can be used to make additional pizza crusts immediately, or can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week.

To Make the Pizza Crust:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup cauliflower, egg and mozzarella. Add oregano, crushed garlic and garlic salt, stir. Transfer to the cookie sheet, and using your hands, pat out into a 9" round. Optional: Brush olive oil over top of mixture to help with browning.

Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes.

Remove from oven. To the crust, add sauce, toppings and cheese. Place under a broiler at high heat just until cheese is melted (approximately 3-4 minutes).

Enjoy!

*Note that toppings need to be precooked since you are only broiling for a few minutes.


EXERCISE:
So after doing the first full Insanity workout last night, my muscles were screaming at me today. Not so much at first, but every time I got up from my desk they were a little more sore than last time. I powered through though and I did the second workout for Insanity tonight. It was the Cardio Power & Resistance workout. This one incorporated a little more body weight training into it. It wasn't as fast as the first one, but still pretty intense. Hope I can get out of bed in the morning after this one!

So long for today...

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Chicken Fiesta Bake


So I had found a recipe on Pinterest for a Mexican Chicken Casserole over the weekend. While I was at the grocery store, I bought all the ingredients for it to make it sometime this week and then I added it to my weekly menu. So yesterday, I was starting to prep everything for it to assemble the casserole during my lunch hour. But I can't find the recipe now! I looked through my Pinterest boards and I even searched for it, but I couldn't find a recipe that had the ingredients that I had bought. So I decided to improvise.

I looked through the pantry and figured out what all I thought would be good in this recipe. I don't develop a lot of recipes on my own, but when I do and they taste pretty good, I can't help but to be a little proud of myself. This recipe is so easy. You can make it and keep it in the refrigerator until you're ready to bake it. I was really relieved when TC tried it and said that it tasted good. What a relief! Here's the recipe:

CHICKEN FIESTA BAKE
Southern Living Yankee Original
Servings: 4
Points+: 10


1 c. Bisquick HeartSmart baking mix
4 T. water
1/4 c. Egg Beaters

2 4-oz. chicken breasts, cooked & shredded
1 c. salsa
1 c. FF sour cream
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
4 oz. 2% milk cheddar cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray round baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

Combine Bisquick, water and Egg Beaters and stir until mixed well. Pour into prepared baking dish and spread evenly over bottom.

Combine remaining ingredients, except for cheese. Stir until these ingredients are mixed well. Spread evenly over Bixquick mix in baking dish and top with shredded cheese.

Bake at 400 degrees for 25 - 30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes before cutting. Enjoy!


EXERCISE:
Tonight was day 1 of the Insanity workout. It was the Plyometric Cardio Circuit. Just judging from the warm-up, I was kind of scared. It actually wasn't that bad. Later in the workout, I wasn't able to do the moves as fast as Shaun T. did, but I still had my heartrate up. When the workout was over and the stretching was all done, I had burned 306 calories. I think that was pretty good. Now on to the next workout tomorrow evening.

So long for today...

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

What I Ate Wednesday #2

Yesterday was a disater eating-wise for me. I was frustrated with the scale and I ate pretty much whatever I wanted. I knew that I shouldn't have done it, but I did. It's over and this morning, I had a much better outlook about things and was tetermined to stay OP today. I am happy to report that I did just that, too!

This was my second WIAW. Once again, knowing that I had to stay accountable to you all helped me to stay on track. The only time I wa really tempted was by the fresh popcorn that someone had bought at work. But I resisted and didn't have any.

Here is what I ate today:

Non-fat Chai Latte (0 pts+)

Breakfast (5 pts+): 1 egg, plus 1 egg white scrambled; 1 packet lower sugar oatmeal - 3 pts+

Morning Snack (1 pt+): Banana - not pictured

Lunch (4 pts+): Shrimp Salad with Fat Free Italian Dressing

Lunch con't (1 pt+): Cantaloupe

Afternoon Snack (2 pts+): Strawberries with light string cheese

Emergency Chocolate (1 pt+): Hershey's Miniature Krackle Bar

Dinner (8 pts+): Bowtie Skillet Lasagna (Recipe coming soon)

Snack (2pts+): Twix 90 Calorie Ice Cream Bar

Additional Snack (1 pt+): 2 Sunsweet Ones Prunes

So there you have it. My second week of WIAW. Sorry I didn't take a picture or a couple of things, but they didn't really need any additional explanation. My total Daily Points was 25. I'm happy with that, especially since yesterday was so horrific!

EXERCISE
Tonight I will be doing the Fit Test for the Insanity workout. My cousin sent these dvds to me and I just got them today. I'm a little nervous about doing them based on everything I've heard. But I'm also really looking forward to it after seeing the great results that people get with them. I will definitely be keeping you updated on my progress with this workout!

So long for today...