Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

What makes you eat more

June 27, 2007

I haven’t had any time to post lately.  It has been crazy at work.

 I found this photo essay interesting from CNN\TIME.
What Makes You Eat More Food


Late night snacking

June 18, 2007

I have been in a habit the last few years of eating a snack before bed every night.  This is my “treat” at the end of the day that I always look forward to.  I am pretty sure it is related to my emotional eating issues by thinking a deserve it after a long hard day. 

One of the first objectives in phase one of The Best Life Diet is to not eat anything within 2 hours of going to bed.  He acknowledges that a calorie is a calorie no matter what time of day it is eaten.  This is supposed to make you want to eat breakfast first thing in the morning to get your metabolism running right away.  Makes sense to me.  Last night, once I finished dinner at 6:30 I didn’t eat anything else. 

The problem?  I was extremely hungry when I got up.  I have a ton of things to do in my weekday morning routine:  Workout, shower and get myself ready for work, make sure the kiddos are up and dressed, get the girl’s breakfast, pack lunches for myself and the little one, unload the dishwasher if necessary, put a load of laundry in, and make sure all the bags are packed for the day.  Only after all this is finished do I allow myself to eat breakfast at home.  If I run out of time, I take my breakfast to-go. 

I usually don’t eat anything before my morning workouts since I basically crawl out of bed, put on my shoes and go outside.  If I decide to cut out late night snacking this will have to change.  I really don’t want to eat much right before I work out.  Maybe just half of a banana will be enough. 

Morning exercisers, what do you do?  Do you eat breakfast before your workouts?  What do you eat?

Simple Granola

June 5, 2007

I made a very simple granola last night that was super-cheap. 

 3 cups oatmeal

1 cup Grape Nuts (purchased on sale of course)

Any kind of nuts (I didn’t use any nuts)

1/4 c water

3/4 c brown sugar

dash vanilla

dash salt

1 tsp cinnamon

In a large bowl combine the two cereals.  Mix water and brown sugar in a small microwavable save bowl.  Microwave on high 2-3 minutes until sugar is completely dissolved.  Stir in vanilla, salt and cinnamon.  Pour over the cereal mixture and stir to coat.  Spread on a foil-lined baking pan.  Cook at 275 for 40 minutes or until golden brown.  Let cool completely and store in an airtight container.  Serving size is 1/2 cup.

Optionally add dried fruits after mixture has cooled. 

DH ate it this morning mixed with yogurt.  I had mine with milk and half a banana.  YUM!

My favorite salad

June 4, 2007

Yes I am still alive – I just have been too busy at work to blog 🙂

Grape tomatoes are on sale at my local store this week so I picked up a container to make my favorite salad.

No real recipe here – I just throw everything in a bowl and mix.

Base ingredients I always add:
Grape tomatoes (halved if you prefer)
Cucumber – sliced and cut in fourths
Canned garbanzo beans – drained and rinsed
Feta cheese – I love the peppercorn flavored feta
Black olives – sliced or left whole
Bottled Greek vinaigrette dressing (or Italian – whatever I have on hand)

Other ingredients I occasionally add
Whole wheat pasta
red/green bell peppers
Mix all together and let sit for at least an hour.  YUM!

I really love Mediterranean flavors – fresh tomatoes, olives, feta.  I think I could be really successful doing the Mediterranean Diet if I liked to eat seafood. 

Magic Milkshakes… YUM!

May 11, 2007

I think I am in love with the Hillbilly Housewife.   I made her Magic Milkshakes last night for the first time.  All 4 of us were slurping with our straws to get the last bit out of our glasses.   Milk shakes for about a quarter a serving – it doesn’t get much better than that.  I think we could have milkshakes every night of the week for what it would cost us for one trip to the Dairy Queen for small ice cream cones.  My mind was spinning last night about all the different flavors to try.  Chocolate-Banana, Strawberry-Banana, Banana, Blueberry,  Chocolate-Marshmallow, Chocolate-peanutbutter, Chocolate-Mint, Chocolate-Mocha.  I can’t wait to try them all!

My hubby asked how healthy they were.  I haven’t taken the time to figure out the calorie content, but i assume they are not real good, but probably better than real milk shakes made with full-fat ice cream.  I may try playing around with the recipe the next few times by using 1/2 the oil to see if we are still as exicited about the results. 

Get the recipe here!


Frugal Challenge: Meals under $10

May 7, 2007

Kelly at Thrifty Mommy threw out a challenge to make a meal for your entire family for under $10. 

Here is a meal we had often when I was growing up.  I recently fixed it for the first time for my DH and he is hooked – we have had this twice in the last week.  It is great for any meal during the day – breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Denver Sandwiches
Crack open 2 eggs per person and whip with a splash of milk.  Salt and pepper to taste.
Saute peppers, onions or any other leftover veggies you have on hand.
In a small skillet (we have one that is the size of a slice of bread), spray with non-stick spray and pour the egg mixture for 1 sandwich.  If you scrambled all your eggs at once, use about 1/2 cup of eggs.  Sprinkle with your sauteed veggies.  Cook on med-high heat until cooked on one side and then flip.  Place egg on whole wheat toast with a slice of cheese and deli ham.  Served with sliced strawberries and bananas and milk for drink. 

Cost breakdown for a family of 4 (most items were purchased on sale and rounded to my best guess):

Eggs (8 total):                     .50
Veggies:                              1.00
Deli Ham (1/2 lb):             2.00
Cheese:                               1.00
Whole Wheat Toast:            .50
Fresh Strawberries (1 lb): 1.00
Bananas (2):                          .50
Milk:                                       .75
Total:                               $7.25

In reality I would say nearly all my meals are under $10.   My ultimate goal is a total of $10 per day or a total of $70 per week.   I don’t always hit this goal, but I think my average is going down each month. 

What’s in season? Strawberries

April 27, 2007

I was looking at the grocery ads in the newspaper and noticed that stores I shop at have strawberries on sale for $.99 a pound.  Yea!

Why they are great.  Strawberries are truely a super-food.  They are:

Naturally fat, sodium and cholesterol free
Low in calories
High in fiber 
High in vitamin C
High in Folate which
High antioxidant level

Go to the driscolls website to find out more information on these nutrients. 

Selection.  Strawberries should be firm and bright red.  Avoid packages with the moldy berry in the middle (this always seems to happen to me).  

Storage.  Strawberries are very perishable.  Store in the refrigerator in the original packaging or spread out in a flat container.  Do not rinse the berries until ready to eat.  They should last in the fridge about 3 days.  If you think they will not get eaten in that time, cut the top off and put them in the freezer for smoothies. 

Serving size.  8 medium strawberries is only 50 calories! 

What to do with them.  I recommend eating fresh strawberries plain.  They are sweet and juicy and don’t need anything to jazz them up.  My girls LOVE them.  Here are some other ideas:

  • Slice up strawberries and add Grape Nuts and skim milk.  It is a very healthy way to start the day
  • Mix sliced peaches, strawberries and blueberries together and add a splash of half and half.  This is my favorite evening snack.

Check out this Strawberry French Toast.  I may have to try that this weekend – i even have all the ingredients (except the bread) at home. It looks amazing (but not very healthy).  

Good Intentions

April 16, 2007

Today was a banner day on how my two goals don’t always jive together. 

I started off my day with great intentions.  I packed oatmeal with cinnamon and raisins for breakfast.  For lunch I packed leftover chicken breast with wild rice along with a banana. Starting off the week being good on my diet is essential. 


I walked into the break-room to make my oatmeal.  Walked out with a donut.  I have such a hard time saying NO to free food.   There wasn’t even an email to announce the evil treats were there.  Maybe if I would have been warned I could have talked myself out of them.

Then later this morning a co-worker came to my desk to chat.  She said she brought in 3 pieces of pizza in for lunch – she would only eat two and probably throw out the extra if I didn’t want it.  Throw out food?  I could never be responsible for throwing out food – there are starving children out there!  Again – healthy planned meal was pushed aside for free food.  I ate the banana – is that worth anything?

The good news is that I don’t have to pack lunch for tomorrow – it is all here waiting for me.

Healthy Eating on a Budget – top 10 staples

April 11, 2007

I read an article on MSN Health & Fitness this morning on  Healthy Eating on $7 a Day:  Top Staples.  Here is their top 10 list and my comments:

1. Whole wheat pasta – I actually prefer whole wheat pasta to white pasta now.  It has a heartier texture and reheats wonderfully – no mushy leftover pasta.  My favorite brand is Barilla Plus.  When it is on sale I can get it for $1.50 a box, otherwise it runs around $1.75. It is also a local brand so I feel good about buying it. I don’t really think of pasta as being healthy even though I am eating the whole wheat version.  The problem is not the pasta it is all the crap I put on it.  Tomato sauce with ground beef.  Melted valveeda cheese for quick mac and cheese (hey, I use the low fat version, does that make it healthy?). 

2.  Eggs – We really don’t eat eggs as often as we should since they are super-cheap.  When we do cook eggs they kind of lose their health value – omlettes with lots of cheese and ham, breakfast burittos with sausage and cheese, egg casseroles.  We have been eating hard-boiled eggs this week that are left over from Easter, but I wouldn’t say this is my favorite way to eat an egg. 

3.  Nuts and Seeds – I am really not much of a nut person.  I like the super salty roasted peanuts or even honey roasted peanuts.  I also have a problem in quantity control when I eat snacks like this.  I would not be able to stop at a few – it is just like potato chips. I did add a few almonds to my green beans I served at Easter – I guess that is a start.  I really don’t see nuts as being cheap either.    

4.  Potatoes – Potatoes are cheap, but I never thought potatoes were a healthy vegetable with a lot of nutrients.  My favorite way to eat potatoes is roasted in the oven.  I cut up the potatoes and place them in a zip lock bag or a bowl.  I toss them with a little olive oil and seasoning salt.  Roast in the oven at 400 until brown and slightly crispy.  We actually had these for our Easter dinner instead of mashed potatoes. 

5.  Canned tomato sauce – We do eat a lot of canned tomato products at our house but mostly in the form of diced tomatoes and spagetti sauce. 

6.  Brown Rice – I want to start eating more rice, but i really don’t know what to do with it.  I am used to those package rice mixes with the seasonings (very bad in sodium).  If I buy a bag of rice, what the heck do I do with it to make it taste decent?

7.  Beans and Tofu – I love beans.  We mostly eat the canned variety because the dried beans take too long.  Black beans are probably my favorite – I use them in black bean soup, chili, mixed in salsa and black bean salad.  We are also big fans of Bush’s Baked Beans – I bet we eat them once a week. I have never tried tofu and to be honest, I don’t think it would fly in my household.

8.  Oatmeal – As I have said before, I eat oatmeal nearly every weekday morning.  Not only does it keep me full most of the morning I am pretty sure it is also keeping me regular (was that TMI???).  I use a variety of toppings to mix things up a little – raisins, brown sugar, peanut butter, honey, berries and milk. 

9.  Cornmeal – I was a little suprised by this item on the list.  Sure, it is cheap, but I have never considered it healthy since I only use it in cornbread.  The article talks about eating it as a replacement to oatmeal for breakfast…I think I will pass on this one.

10.  Green Veggies – Every time I buy green veggies they seem to go to waste at our house.  I like eating salads, I just don’t take the time to make them.  Also – when I want a salad I want all kinds of vegetables on it which makes the cost of the salad go very high. 

The article made me think about my diet and goals and how I could improve.  My grocery bill is always the first that gets cut when I am running low on funds.  I would have like to seen more information in this article.  Sample menus for $7 a day?  or maybe a few recipes? 

Other items I would add to the list:
Whole Wheat Bread – I purchase bread at a bread outlet it town. I can get Sara Lee Heart Healthy whole wheat bread there for a buck. It is a little out of my way so I stock up and freeze the extra loaves. 

Frozen Berries-  OK…Frozen fruit isn’t really cheap food, but it is a lot cheaper than the fresh berries when they are out of season.  I buy a big bag of frozen mixed berries at Sam’s Club for under $8.  The bag usually lasts me several weeks and I add the berries to oatmeal, yogurt, pancakes (homemade mix with whole wheat flour), smoothies and as a topping for ice cream or angel food cake (ok, the last two items are not healthy).  My girls like to eat them partially frozen (very messy).   

Bananas – Bananas have to be one of the best buys in the procuce isle. At the store I go to they usually go between .25 and .50 per lb.  They are also available year round.  My kids love them which is another plus!

Yogurt – I purchase the big tubs of plain lowfat yogurt.  This allows me to control what goes in it.  I like to mix it with a little lemon juice and a tablespoon of powered sugar.  Then I add my frozen berries and top it with grape nuts.  I also use the yogurt in smoothies.  I don’t really love the taste of yogurt so I generally don’t buy it very often. 

Couscous salad

April 5, 2007

I made a great lunch salad this week. 

I cooked a cup of couscous in chicken broth for a little extra flavor.  When the couscous was finished I stirred in some sauteed onions, green peppers, mushrooms and black olives. 

Divided into four portions.  I warmed up my salad in the micro at work (I think it would have been good cold also) and then stirred in some feta cheese.  YUM!  Healthy and very filling. 

Does anyone else have ideas on what to mix with couscous?