Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wine Wednesday

I love having weekdays off, they seem so much more special and deserving of productivity than weekend days off. 

I currently have Wednesdays off, which is quite a nice little mid-week break, and a great time to get random errands and projects done.

My To-do list for today included:
·      Walk Leo
·      Yoga
·      Shower
·      Sand wood
·      Put up decorations
·      Pack lunch
·      Blog -- in progress :)

You may be aware that I have a slight addiction to Pinterest. There was some quote that says something to the matter of The irony of pinterest: the website where you pin inspirational pictures of workouts and ideal bodies, next to decadent, calorie laden foods.  

I could not find the exact quote I was looking for, but this one has similar sentiments.

The sentiments of the quotes are for the most part is true, but I have found it quite useful for compiling ideas I want for the wedding (including pinning possible bridesmaids dresses, food, and other general inspiration .... um I told you I was addicted already, give me a break).  I have also used it a lot for finding recipes, and some crafts. 

Today I started working on my very own Giant Jenga set (Inspired by pinterest of course)... I haven't finished my set yet so this one will act as my inspiration picture. I ran out of sand paper while sanding, so I will have to pick up on this project next time I have time (to be continued...)

After putting off my Giant Jenga making, I then set off to decorate the house.

For those of you that do not know, Jordan and I were planning to move to California so that he could more actively pursue his screen writing career, but alas we put off our plans after getting engaged and choosing to get married on the east coast (that coupled with the job market and me not being able to fine a job on the west coast.) 

So, for the time being we are living with his parents up in Gloucester, MA which is quite nice, and not paying rent is helpful for saving up some money, though the commute is a bit of a pain. We technically live in a little "cottage" off of his parents house, so we do not have room for a Christmas tree or many decorations inside of the house, so instead, I decorated the trees outside.

Alina (Jordan's Madre) had a couple of big shatter-resistant ornaments for the outside, but she sent me to get more when I made a trip to Home Depot (for my Jenga supplies...) I bought the 100 piece Martha Stewart shatter-resistant ornament set.

At the time of decorating, I started to think I made a terrible decision on the purchase! Not because they were a bad quality or anything, but simply because 100 + ornaments are really annoying to put up on your own, especially when spread across 7 outdoor trees! 

In the end, I think they came out pretty good (though I was not able to get any good pictures via my phone unfortunately.) 

After tree decorating, it was time for a late lunch of an antipasto-salad with: baby spinach, iceberg lettuce, roasted potatoes, carrots and onions, american cheese and deli ham and topped with Trader Joe's fat free balsamic vinaigrette.

Yes, it is in a mixing bowl... again, let's reserve judgement. Thanks.

Leo snugged up with me during lunch time, and then we went on a nice 3 mile wog (that's walk/ jog) along the ocean and through the woods.

After returning from the puppy wog, I felt really lazy and tired, so decided to scrap the yoga and just shower.  Furthermore, it is in fact #WineWednesday so I felt that I should honor it. We oddly are out of wine so I made due with a glass of this weird Sangria drink that Jordan's sister left behind.

 It is a very sweet wine drink with fruit juice in it. I had to water it down a lot. Nice fruity flavor, though clearly not for the wine snob. 

And now I have finished off as much as my list as I am going to today- and so- I bid you adieu!  

Monday, November 28, 2011

Slightly less guilty sundae

I often question how I managed to become a dietitian: Growing up I was taught that ice cream was healthy. My grandmother (who ate ice cream at least once a day) believed it was one of the best sources of calcium. - While I have learned it is a good source of calcium, it certainly is not the most healthy manner of consuming it.

Despite not being the most healthy food, I do love ice cream. I personally have a very large sweet tooth, so I am always on the quest to find somewhat healthier versions of decadent treats. Similar to how I 'diluted' my beef and broccoli last night with extra vegetables and whole grains I often dilute my treats with healthier items.

My most recent creation is blackberries, with Ghirardelli dark chocolate chips (60% cocoa) and Bavarian Espresso light ice cream (how fabulous does that sound? I assure you it is even better).

First I filled the bowl with about 1 cup of frozen blackberries, and sprinkle with some chocolate chips (mine were frozen too).

I defrosted this in the microwave for 2 minutes (I like it to it to get warm and squishy.)

Next I added on about 1/2 cup of Bavarian Espresso Ice Cream. (I am sure it would be great with whatever flavor you like.)

Since it had all of the berries (which are low in fat, and high in for vitamins, fiber, antioxidants) they add volume and help make the delicious dessert more filling and long lasting.

This still isn't a low calorie snack... the portions I ate are probably around 320 calories (~120 from the 1 cup of berries, 120 for the 1/2 cup of ice cream, and 80 calories in a 16 dark chocolate chips) You could always cut down the serving sizes.
Also,  I frequently mix in nonfat yogurt with the ice cream which can also help cut calories and fat.

What is your favorite snack??

Sunday, November 27, 2011


I went to Trader Joe’s today and tried their sample of Schezuan beef and broccoli  - it was so delicious (And I was rather hungry) so I bought a bag.
The nutrition facts were less than desirable with 430 calories a serving, 13 grams of fat, 1400 mg sodium, and sugar being one of the main ingredients. But, alas, I always like to believe in “everything in moderation”  - so I decided I could use it as part of a dinner entrée.
I marinated a block of extra firm tofu in
·      Trader Joe’s Low sodium Soyaki sauce (~2 tablespoons)
·      1 Tablespoon lime juice
·      sprinkle of ginger
In the microwave I cooked up
·      1 bag of frozen mixed oriental vegetables
·      4 medium carrots, chopped (I bought a 5 pound bag of carrots hence why every recipe I will be posting is likely heavy on the carrots)
After the tofu marinated for about an hour, I sautéed it in a frying pan over medium-high heat.
Next, I prepared the TJ’s Schezuan beef and broccoli, per its cooking instructions, sautéing the beef in the frying pan, and microwaving the broccoli.
I like my veggies a little bit crispier so I added those to the frying pan after microwaving as well.
I then combined all ingredients in a pan and mixed in the Schezuan sauce
I also made some brown rice on the side.  And Tada!:
The brown rice adds in a whole grain, which is a great source of fiber, and provides more vitamins and minerals.
The tofu is a good source of plant protein, is lower in fat than many animal proteins (Such as the beef) and contains phytoestrogens which have been linked (when consumed in moderation) to decreased risk of cancer.
The vegetables are a great source of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and antioxidants. They are also low in calories and a good source of fiber.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving Leftover Turkey Soup

Post Thanksgiving, aka Black Friday, has been a relaxing, yet semi-productive day!

Yesterday Jordan and I hit three Thanksgivings, but of course, we did not pace ourselves and only really ate at the first one.

We did, however, get some lovely leftovers. One of my best finds would have to be the turkey carcass from Jordan’s brother’s house. I was helping with clean up, and they were going to throw the bird remains away! Since no one else was interested in making soup with it, I decided to step up and offer to take it off of their hands.

As you may know, I was a vegetarian for quite some time. I am now back to my omnivorous ways, but I still try to limit my impact of animal eating by at least making use of as much as I can- hence, my compulsive need to repurpose the carcass.

So this morning I started my turkey soup making.  This is only my second attempt making a soup with a carcass- so I am sure my routine could use some refining, and from some internet sources I read, many people add in a lot more steps, but, frankly I think mine came out just fine.

Ingredients used:
·      1 Turkey carcass(I only used half of mine, and froze the rest for a later time)
·      1 Red onion
·      1 Yellow onion
·      4 ribs Celery, chopped
·      ~ 2 pounds Carrots, chopped
·      4 tiny Red potato, quartered
·      2 medium Idaho potato, chopped
·      1 Italian pepper, chopped
·      1 cup Frozen peas
·      ½ cup Frozen corn
·      2 cups dry Egg noodles
·      1 cup dry Lentils
·      5 cloves garlic, sliced
·      Thyme
·      Rosemary
·      Black pepper
·      Parsley
·      Oregano 

(As usual- I just used whatever veggies I had around- no real need for mixed colors of onions/ potatoes etc, they just happened to be hanging around) 

1.     I started by making the stock by placing the carcass in my crockpot with water, the veggies that were stuffed inside (in this case red onion, celery, and parsley). I also threw in an additional yellow onion (quartered) and a few carrots (roughly chopped).  I simmered this for a few hours. 

2.     During the interm, I chopped up some of the other veggies and threw them into the pot as I went.  I also added the spices and garlic at this time.

3.     After a few hours of simmering I removed the bones from the stock. Some of the meat had already fallen off, but I picked at the carcass and removed the rest of the meat before throwing it away. I gave the weird bits that I wasn’t quite sure what they were to Leo, who was quite appreciative. 

4.     I added the meat back into the stock.  ** This is where my methods varied from a lot of others I read, many people make the stock, strain it, cool it, remove the fat etc, and get rid of the veggies and stuff they used in the stock.. but I just kept it in there. I only had a little bit of fat on the top so I just skimmed that off in the crock pot. 

5. I then added the egg noodles and lentils.
6. I then continued simmering the soup on low for most of the day. I decided I wanted it to be a bit thicker of a soup, so I removed some of the large pieces of potatoes, carrots, and celery and placed them in another bowl and blenderized them with an immersion blender, then added the pureed soup back into the crock pot.

Here are a few pictures of the end result. I was surprised how much meat was actually in the soup considering it was only what was on half of a turkey carcass- and what was going to be thrown away! 

What are you making with your Thanksgiving left overs??