Thursday, January 27, 2011

Beer Bread!

So today I took photos of all my meals, and then lost them - I guess thats what happens when you use a REAL camera instead of an iPhone! Well, here is what I ate anyway:

Breakfast - Slice of WW Toast with almond butter and a tiny smear of peanut butter
Lunch - Salad with 1 1/2 turkey sausages, feta, artichoke hearts, bruchetta, and balsamic. And I made an identical one for lunch tomorrow :)
Dinner - A Morningstar black bean veggie burger on an english muffin with lettuce, tomato, ranch, avocado, and hot sauce. Side salad with tomato, avocado, cilantro, salsa, and balsamic. Delicious!

SO, on Sunday night, I BAKED BEER BREAD! If you know me at all, you know I am NOT a baker. At all. I am actually suprised I have been cooking real dinners, and not microwaving cans of Italian wedding soup in plastic tupperwares every night. Anyway, Walter's sister has made beer bread a few times, and it is much thicker and heartier then normal bread. I have been craving it to go with all of the salads i've been eating lately. Trader Joes used to sell a mix for it, but they discontinued it. So I decided to take matters into my own hands! I googled a bunch of recipes, and here is what I came up with. SO simple, and so delicious!

3 cups self rising flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 beer (any beer you would like!)

1 tbsp margarine or butter
various herbs to enhance the bread

First, I added 3 cups of self rising flour to a mixing bowl:
Then I added 3 tablespoons of sugar, 1 tsp of rosemary, 1 tsp thyme, and 1 tsp of dried minced garlic (There are so many combos you can add to your bread, and many suggestions online)
Then, I added the beer! Walter and I thought Yuengling would be a good, safe choice. Not too light, not a crazy flavor, a nice traditional lager if you will. :)
Walter stirred it up because he thought knew I would get flour EVERYWHERE! And he would have been absolutely right if he let me stir it! And then he poured it into a loaf(?) pan that was greased up with Pam.
Here it is in the pan before going into the oven...
I set the oven to 375, and baked it for 45 minutes. I mustve checked on it 10 times! The yeast in the beer makes it rise in the oven, and i thought it was going to rise right into the top rack! But it didn't :). With 20 minutes left to bake, i melted a tsp of margarine, and brushed it over the bread. To me, it turned out to be an essential step, because it make the bread crispy on the outside, and so soft on the inside. Here is the bread when we took it out of the oven...
And here is a slice! 
It was seriously SO GOOD - I can't believe I baked! I want to make this every week now. A co-worker tried it the next day, and she said it tasted like macaroni grill bread! Oh beer bread, I love you!

Snow Day!

We got yet another snow storm in NJ last night, and we now have another 15 inches of snow! Looks like I am working from home today :)

Today would have been the week 2 weigh in for the Biggest Loser Challenge at work. I opted to weigh in a day early because I had a feeling we wouldn't be going in today, and i only lost 0.2 pounds. BOO! You know those days during the week where you just feel heavier? Yep-yesterday was one of those. I weighed myself this morning at home just to see, and i am 2 pounds less today then yesterday on my home scale. I guess that's why they tell you not to weigh yourself every day!

So now that I have my eating *semi* under control, I needed to get my butt to the gym! Enter, the COUCH TO 5K (C25K) program! I knew I needed a goal to get myself to the gym 3x a week, so i found a 5k in early April I am planning on signing up for. To help run the 5k, i printed out the C25K program, along with a handy treadmill guide for a minute by minute breakdown. I cut out the week 1 workout, slid it into the back of my clear iPhone case and went to the gym on Tuesday morning to start!
Hello gym, I'm baaaaaaack!!!

Here is a summary of my workout:

00:00-5:00: Warmup walk5:00-6:00: Run
6:00-7:30: Walk
7:30-8:30: Run
8:30-10:00: Walk
10:00-11:00: Run
11:00-12:30: Walk
12:30-13:30: Run
13:30-15:00: Walk
15:00-16:00: Run
16:00-17:30: Walk
17:30-18:30: Run
18:30-20:00: Walk
20:00-21:00: Run
21:00-22:30: Walk
22:30-23:30: Run
23:30-25:00: Walk
25:00-30:00: Cooldown Walk

I did everything but the 5 minute cool down walk. I was scared I wasn't going to have enough time to get ready and be to work on time. Turned out, I definitely did. While I was doing this workout, I jogged the running parts, and increased my speed by .1 for the second half of the runs (I started out running at 4.2 and ended at 4.6). I didn't want to kill myself and quit after the first workout, and I am glad I used that strategy! I was so proud of myself for finishing, and not dying during the process, I think I am actually excited for my next workout! (which was supposed to be today, thanks a lot snow day!) I also liked getting ready for work at the gym. It definitely speeds up my morning routine. 

I guess I will end with my eats for the last few days. I will pick up where I left off, Saturday's lunch!

L - Salad w/feta and kidney beans, a pear
D - slice pizza, 1 in slice sausage bread, small salad with balsamic vinaigrette and feta.

B - WW toast with almond butter
L - Leftover veggie stir fry with jasmine rice
S - small salad w/kidney beans and cheese, balsamic dressing, pretzels and hummus
D - Crock Pot Adobo Chicken, jasmine rice, and a slice of heaven - I mean beer bread (recipes coming soon!)

B - Dannon Light n Fit yogurt w/blueberries and granola
S -  beer bread
L - small wonton soup, 2 spicy tuna rolls with brown rice
D - Adobo chicken

B - Dannon Light n Fit yogurt w/granola
S - banana
L - salad w/ground turkey, artichoke hearts, bruchetta, shaved parmesan cheese, and balsamic dressing
D - Chili Mango Chicken with wild rice- recipe here

B - 1/2 pumpernickel bagel, insides removed, 1 tbsp chive cream cheese, an orange
S - Pretzels
L - side salad with artichoke hearts, onion, balsamic, Chili Mango Chicken, small slice of beer bread
D - Huge salad with chicken sausage, artichoke hearts, feta, bruchetta, and balsamic. 1 clementine

Off to work from home on this SNOW DAY!!!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Weigh in #6

I lost 2.2 pounds!!! I was lower before the weekend, but i enjoyed a few too many carbs and snacks. I still need to give myself my 5 pound reward, but can't think of anything good. Maybe a manicure???

Total weight loss: 7.2 pounds
Weight Loss Remaining: 42.8 pounds
For Christmas I got the "Cook This, Not That" book, and there are so many simple recipes that I have been dying to make! Last night, I decided to try and make the Chili-Mango Chicken, because I happened to have all of the ingredients needed.
I began by cutting up a pound of boneless, skinless chicken thighs (with all the extra fat removed), and adding 1 tsp sesame oil, 1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce, and 1 tbsp corn starch. I never used corn starch in my life and was a little scared, but Walter said it is just to thicken the stir fry sauce. If i remember correctly, the tbsp only had 30 calories. While the chicken was marinating for 10 minutes, I added a tsp of canola oil to a pan, and threw in 1 diced red onion and some ground ginger. Once the onion was translucent, in went 2 cups of snap peas.

After cooking on high for a minute or 2, i added in the chicken. You are supposed to leave the pan on high the whole time and cook each addition to the pan for 1-2 minutes, but i left the chicken in for awhile because I wanted to make sure it cooked through. This made my snap peas mushy. Boo.
Finally, I added in a diced mango, and 1 tbsp of chili garlic sauce, and cooked for another few minutes. This chili sauce is SPICY!!! Walter and I have recently started liking spicy foods in the past few months, but my tolerance for them is still low. 
 Other than the high-ish sodium count, this isn't too bad. 
Here is the finished product! It was definitely mushier then i would have liked because I cooked it for too long, and kept reheating it waiting for my rice to finish, but it was very good! I might make it again later in the week when my other mangoes ripen!
I had about a cup of this with 2/3 cup of wild rice from Trader Joes. All in all, a great meal!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Recipes: Week 2

I wanted to share the recipes I made for week 2 of my 2011 goal of 2 recipes per week. I am actually making my crock pot recipe right now, so I will post about it when i taste it and make sure its good :)

Last week, I made a Grilled Shrimp with Mom's Avocado-and-Orange Salad that I found in Food & Wine Magazine (link above). It was SO GOOD! Walter and I made it on Tuesday, and then ate the leftovers on Wednesday. 
The shrimp had a marinade that included ornage juice, hot sauce, and mint, and it was delicious!
 The side salad consisted of avocado, orange slice, tomato, onion, hot sauce, cilantro, olive oil, and lime juice. It was also delicious! Here it is all together:
 Here are the leftovers we saved for the next day. The trick was cutting enough avocado for dinner the first night, and when we brought it our the next day, we cut up the rest of the avocado to make sure it was fresh!
We both agreed it was more of a summer dish, since it was so light and refreshing. I will definately make this again when it gets warmer!

Another dish Walter and I made this week was the Spicy Shrimp and Vegetable Stir-fry I found on We wanted to make a quick and easy dinner with whatever we had in the kitchen, so we used the above recipe as a guide and used our own veggies. Here are the ingredients for the recipe:

  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup sake
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dark (toasted) sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped or grated ginger
  • 1 cup large-diced red bell pepper
  • 1 cup large-diced green bell pepper
  • 1 cup large-diced onion
  • 1 cup cubed cabbage
  • 1 cup sliced carrot
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 24 large shrimp, shelled and deveined

Substitutions: For the stir fry sauce, we used all of the ingredients exactly but omitted the sake. It tasted great! For veggies, we used 1 1/2 cups of green pepper instead of a cup of red and a cup of green. We substituted the cabbage for broccoli, and still used the onion and carrot. we only had about 10 shrimp, so we just used what we had. It turned out to be medium spicy to me (probably mild for most people). You can vary the spice level by using more or less of the red pepper flakes. We ate it with a side of jasmine rice. I forgot to take a picture of it though :(

Finally, I guess I created my OWN recipe!!!! (Insert your shock here) I absolutely LOVE the quesadilla explosion salad from chilis, but it is one of the most unhealthy meals out there. It has a whopping 1400 calories and 88 grams of fat if you order it as is. Check out all of Chilis nutrition facts here. I used to order this salad ALL the time, which is why i need to loose weight! The other night, i was playing around not knowing what I really wanted to make for dinner, and out came a salad that tasted just like the quesadilla explosion! Here is what I used (I don't have exact measurements, because i just eyeballed everything):

First, combine the following in a pan (makes 2 servings):

  • Chopped pepper and green onion (about 1 cup total)
  • 2 servings ground turkey (i used a pre-packaged jennie-o turkey burger and chopped it up as i cooked).
  • Chili powder
  • 1 serrano pepper
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
For the salad (makes ONE salad):
  • 2 cups romaine lettuce (or whatever you prefer)
  • Diced tomatoes
  • chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2-3 tablespoons of salsa
  • drizzle of ranch dressing
  • 2 tablespoons of Ken's Creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette with Honey salad dressing
I think it was the mixture of the salsa, ranch, and balsamic, but it tasted just like the real quesadilla explosion dressing! I ended up eating this for 3 meals! (Once with Shrimp) Of course, I forgot to take a picture of this too. I need to get better about that!

Right now, there is adobo chicken cooking away in the crock pot, and I am off to *attempt* to bake some beer bread!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Food Log 1/17 - 1/22, and Biggest Loser Challenge at Work

Thursday was the first weigh in for our biggest loser challenge at work, and it went very well! I lose 4 pounds, and came in 3rd place out of 16! Now, that 4 pound weight loss was partly due to the fact that in my initial weigh in, i wore my heavy pants, left my sweater on, and had just finished my oatmeal and morning coffee, but those are just details :) I am proud of myself and hope to keep doing well in the competition! I think I am going to see if some of my NJ friends want to do our own biggest loser challenge!
Below are all of my meals for this past week:

MONDAY 1-17-11
B - 1 C light n fit raspberry yogurt, 1/4 c granola, slice walnut bread
S - slice walnut bread
L - salad - 1 1/2 chicken sausage, peppers, onions, tomato, balsamic dressing
S - 30 mini pretzels
D - salad w/ground turkey, black beans, peppers, onions, salsa, 1 tsp ranch, 2 tsp balsamic dressing, slice whole wheat (WW) bread , slice provolone cheese
TUESDAY 1-18-11
B - 1 banana, french vanilla coffee
L - salad w/ground turkey, black beans, peppers, onions, salsa, 1 tsp ranch, 2 tsp balsamic dressing
S - 8 crackers, 2 slices ham, 3 slices brie cheese
D - grilled shrimp w/orange & avocado salad (recipe to come), 10 parsnip fries

B - 1 banana
S - chocolate vitamuffin top
L - ham sandwich on ww bread (w/lettuce and dijon mustard), 1 pear
S - 1/2 yuengling, 1 chicken finger w/1 tsp honey mustard
D - grilled shrimp w/orange & avocado salad (6 shrimp)

THURSDAY 1-20-11
B - 1/2 C oatmeal, 1/2 banana
S - 1/2 banana
L - can of progresso italian wedding soup w/2 wedges laughing cow cheese and 1 slice WW bread
S - 1 pretzel rod
D - salad w/ground turkey, kidney beans, peppers, onions, salsa, 1 tsp ranch, 2 tsp balsamic dressing

FRIDAY 1-21-11
B - egg omlette (1 egg + 1 egg white) w/cilantro, tomato, sprinkle of feta cheese, slice WW toast w/1 tbsp apple butter, cup of coffee w/2 splendas and splash of fat free half & half
L - 5 grilled shrimp, peppers & onions over romaine with homemade guac, kidney beans, 2 tsp balsamic vinaigrette
S - 15 mini pretzels
D - shrimp stir fry (recipe to come) and 2/3 c jasmine rice

SATURDAY 1-22-11
B - 2 egg omlette w/cilantro, peppers, onions, tomato, sprinkle of feta cheese, slice WW toast w/1 tbsp apple butter, cup of coffee w/2 splendas and splash of fat free half & half
S - 15 mini pretzels

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Weigh In #5

I lost another pound, so now I am back to my 5 pound weight loss!

Total weight loss: 5 pounds
Weight Loss Remaining: 45 pounds
I never gave myself a reward for the first time I hit 5 pounds (before I went on vacation), so now I think a reward is in order! Any ideas???
In other news, I am participating in a Biggest Loser challenge at work. I did it a few months ago, but didn't take it seriously at all. It is for 8 weeks, and we weigh in every Thursday. We are ranked by % weight loss for the 8 weeks, and there is also a weekly winner for highest % weight lost. If you gain, you have to pay $2 and donate 2 food items that is given to a food bank at the end of the challenge. We weighed in last week for our starting weights, so this Thursday if the first official weigh in! I am taking this very seriously this time around, and i hope i win! I also think I might switch my weigh ins to Thursdays instead of Mondays, but am still thinking about it. Have a great night!

Two new recipes

With my 2011 goals in full effect, i wanted to share the two recipes i cooked last week! The first meal I made was spaghetti squash, which I didn't make from a recipe, but it was a "new" thing I haven't made in forever! I baked the spaghetti squash, and made a sauce with a can of diced tomatoes and ground turkey for protein. I made sauteed mushrooms and onions on the side, which I ended up mixing right in when I had this as leftovers! I ate half the squash, and froze the other half for a quick meal later. (The picture stinks!)
For my next meal, I made  crockpot dish from the book Walter got me for Christmas. It is called Chicken Provencal, and in the mix is boneless skinless chicken thighs, red and yellow peppers, red onion, crushed tomatoes, orange peel, and spices. I know you are probably thinking dark meat chicken?! She is supposed to be in a diet! But i compared the nutrition lables, and the dark meat had about 40 more calories, and about 5 more grams of fat. When i took the chicken out of the package, i cut all of the excess fat off that i could, which ended up being a lot! To me, the extra fat and calories are worth it because chicken breast is usually too dry for me, and i don't enjoy eating it. The chicken in this meal ended up staying moist the whole week I ate it! Here it is all in the crock pot before cooking...
Here it is finished! With a salad on the side...

And here it is over a salad for lunch! I did this twice and loved it! I ended up having this for 3 dinners and 2 lunches. I loved it and would make it a million times! It took 3-4 hours on high, or i think 7-9 hours on low. If anyone is interested, i can post the recipe.
Some other notable meals I made this week were yogurt with granola and pears:
and a breakfast sandwich on a ciabatta roll with egg, provolone, tomato, basil, and balsamic vinegar.
I am about to make my first recipe for this week, which is grilled shrimp with avacado and orange salad. Wish me luck!

Monday, January 17, 2011


So I decided to include restaurant reviews on my blog. I eat out a lot (more then I should, and if I go to a new place, I wanted to let everyone know how it is. So on Saturday night, Walter, a bunch of our friends and I went to Patria in Rahway for dinner and drinks. It is a new restaurant where El Bodegon used to be. It has been closed for about a year for renovations, so when it reopened as Patria, everyone was interested in checking it out.

When we walked in, it was huge, and trendy. We has a party of seven, and the hostess gave us a tour of all the "rooms" that we could choose to eat. There was the bar, the main dining room, a "club" room where the DJ would be later in the night, and a room downstairs with lower tables and couch like seating. We chose to eat there because it was quieter and looked so unique. They did a great job of renovating, and really transformed the restaurant. I wish I took pictures! We then ordered drinks - I got the watermelon mojito, which was fabulous! (If I knew at the time it was $12, I would never have ordered it!)

All the food on the menu looked great, aside from the fact that it was having a bit of an identity crisis (it had both Asian and Spanish options all over the menu). A friend and I got two meals to split – the skirt steak, and a shrimp dish. The meals came with a soup and one side, which were basically rice (fried, white, rice of the day, or beans). We were all shocked that you couldn’t get rice AND beans together. The soups came (I ordered butternut squash), I didn’t care for it at all – it tasted like they dumped ginger in the soup. Walter was nice enough to share his lobster bisque, which was better. Then the main courses came, and it didn’t get much better. Here are some of the opinions around the table:

·         The steak was WAY overcooked
·         The white rice was hard as a rock
·         The black beans came STRAIGHT from the can, and weren’t seasoned or heated
·         The scallops were awful
·         The fried rice was way too salty
·         The pork dish and shrimp were actually pretty good

All in all, we all decided we would not be returning for dinner. Ever. We then went into the club area for drinks to celebrate a friend’s birthday. The music was all over the place, the drinks were expensive, and I left early because I had a splitting headache. Walter stayed and later told me that the fire alarm went off and the fire department showed up, they had to start kicking people put since they were over capacity, and cars were getting towed because there was nowhere to park. So, I am glad we tried a new restaurant, but I will not be returning. I know it's bad that my first restaraunt review is so negative, but I know there will be many positive reviews in the future!