Sunday, February 24, 2013

And we're off to start another week - fueled by spaghetti and meatballs!

 Happy Sunday everyone.

I sort of can't believe that it's been a week since I last posted. I am not joking when I say - 'this week FLEW by!'. It seems like it should be still last Tuesday or Wednesday. I guess that must be the sign of a good week. It was a good week for me. A really good week. I stayed on track with things that I wanted to stay on track with - I exercised everyday - I ate well - I just simply enjoyed the week. Actually - there was one day that I was a bit grumpy - not really sure why - I think maybe just feeling a little tired - but I smacked that in the butt quickly.

So, last week I talked about planning my meals for the week. I was a little hesitant because I was worried that if I missed one meal that it would throw everything off. Well - it worked really well. I changed things up a bit - but it all worked out really well. I am going to try it again this week. I am hoping that this plan was what helped me on the scale today. 6 pounds! I sort of wanted to write '6 POUNDS BITCHES!!!' - but then I remembered that, that is not ladylike.

Here was my plan from last week and I added my success or changes:

Sunday - spaghetti squash and turkey meatballs - just like spaghetti and meatballs - Check - recipe posted below
Monday - lunch - leftover cauliflower salad and Cabbage Roll Soup - Check (click on dish for recipe)
Tuesday - lunch - salad with chicken and for dinner leftover Cabbage Roll Soup - Check (well sort of - I ended up having 2 hard-boiled eggs with a half an avocado and a piece of squirrley bread)
Wednesday - lunch - same as the day before and for dinner - slow cooker chicken with probably some sort of salad - (Check but instead of salad we had mashed sweet potato - probably 1 cup each)
Thursday - lunch - you guessed it - same as the day before - and for dinner - chicken salad with guacamole, and salsa (Lunch yes - dinner no. We had scrambled eggs with a ton of vegetables)
Friday - lunch... and for dinner after a run - scrambled eggs with a ton of vegetables almost like a frittata - Change of plans - for lunch I made a quinoa salad - and for dinner we had a small steak with a stirfry of broccoli, zucchini and mushrooms.
Saturday - free for all - Salmon tacos - recipe to follow shortly


All in all I think that it was pretty successful. I had enough food for the week - I brought salads for two co-workers - and switching it up was totally fine. 

This week - is much the same. I have cooked my chicken, made my post of soup, and am just simmering sauce on the stove. I love having salads everyday for lunch - and find that making them up the night before - when I have all the ingredients ready - makes things so much easier. 

Here is the plan for this week:

Sunday - spaghetti squash and turkey meatballs - just like spaghetti and meatballs - DEJA VU
Monday - lunch/dinner - Green salad with chicken and Cabbage Roll Soup
Tuesday - 
lunch/dinner - Green salad with chicken and leftover Cabbage Roll Soup
Wednesday - lunch/dinner - same as the day before and for dinner - Pork tenderloin (in the slow cooker) with stirfry vegetables
Thursday - lunch/dinner - you guessed it - same as the day before - I am going out for dinner with work - but I already know that I am going to have the Cobb's salad
Friday - 
lunch/dinner - I may have cottage cheese with salsa and celery... and after a run - same as last Friday - Tbone steaks (already bought) and a stirfry
Saturday - free for all


Now - let's talk about this spaghetti and meatballs! 

I love pasta - and I LOVE meatballs. I have cooked spaghetti squash lots before - but always do it the same way - cook it - then saute it in some garlic, olive oil, green onion and freshly chopped tomatoes and top with some parmesan cheese. 

And I have made meatballs a ton before. I am a sucker for ground turkey - so using it for meatballs is my fave.

Oddly enough - both of these are not on my blog :( 

Two weeks ago - a friend at the gym said that she was making Spaghetti and Meatballs for the new episode of the Walking Dead - well the thought of it made my stomach growl in delight - so I knew that I would have to make it too.

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Spaghetti Squash and Meatball

Meatballs

1 pound of ground turkey (or whatever ground meat you like to use)
1/2 cup of panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup of skim milk
1 egg
1 tsp - chili pepper flakes
1 tbsp - italian seasoning 
1 garlic clove - grated

Pre- heat the oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and gently spray it with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, add in the panko bread crumbs, milk, egg, garlic and spices. Mix it all together. Add in the ground turkey. Get in with your hands and combine it all. When it's all combined - start rolling the balls. You should have enough for 24 meatballs.

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes - and then turn them over - and bake for another 15 minutes.


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Remove - and let them rest while your preparing the squash.

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For the squash - slice the squash in half and remove the seeds. Place cut size down on a baking sheet - and bake for 35-40 minutes at 375. 

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Then using a fork, scoop out the squash - and it will come out looking just like spaghetti. Sort of like magic. I used two small squashes - and it makes about 6-8 cups of squash. A lot!

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For the sauce - if you have time to make spaghetti sauce - then you are my hero. If not - then try and find a healthy alternative - Healthy Choice - has low sodium, no fat and low calories. I like to sautee mushrooms, peppers, spinach and celery before adding the sauce. I let it simmer for a couple of minutes and then add in the meatballs and a bit of fresh basil.

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Then just like pasta - add your spaghetti squash and top the sauce and meatballs and some freshly grated parmesan cheese. 

To die for!

The good thing about this - is if you are with people that aren't adventurous and don't want to try the squash - you can cook them up some pasta - and use the same sauce.

Alrighty - I have got to get ready to sit on my Royal Canadian for an episode of the Walking Dead - followed by unloading the dishwasher (why is this my least favourite thing to do???) and an episode of The Amazing Race. 

Loves.

Enjoy!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The joys of being prepared.

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I would say that I am a pretty organized person. Not 'super' organized. And not 'poorly' organized - probably somewhere happily in the middle. Some areas/aspects of my life are more organized than others and some need help. For example - our bedroom is not organized. Not even close to be organized. We lack storage, which causes shoes and clothes to be placed everywhere. And for the record, I don't like it. 2013 is the year that we are re-doing the bedroom. New dressers, new closet doors (we currently have sliding mirror doors), new closet organizer, pictures on the wall... I can't wait. It will hopefully be the peace and tranquility that I have been yearning for. Another example - the cupboard under our kitchen sink - super organized. I bought a basket to put everything in it (cleaning products, cloths, dish soap) and so far so good.

Another thing that I am pretty organized about is meals - shopping for, planning ahead, preparing lunches. I have glanced at a few blogs that do 'Meal Plans' and they haven't been for me. I have tried to figure out why - and I think that it was the stress of not making one of the meals on the list - and then week would go to crap. Over the last couple of months - and really mostly January and February - I have noticed myself planning for the week and not as much defining a meal for each day - but defining a meal for 'A' day - if that makes sense.

There are perks to planning in advance...

As a result of this - I have noticed a few things:
1. We always have a healthy and smart breakfasts, lunches and dinners - as well as snacks.
2. I am spending way less time at the grocery store - I usually do The Root Cellar once a week, and then a grocery store once a week - maybe twice if I forget something.
3. We are way less likely to eat out during the week. If we do decide to eat a meal out - we sort of plan for it so that it is something to look forward to - no cooking, no dishes, a night out together.
4. Tossing less food out. Planning for the week - you pretty much are picking up what you need for the week - and not getting excess of things that you aren't going to eat.
5. We're eating what we love. It's planned - so I am not going to plan something that we don't like.
6. We're saving money. All of the above are contributing to these.

If you don't enjoy being in the kitchen or cooking...

In addition to planning a week's meals - I am also enjoying a couple of hours of prep time. I love being in the kitchen - so prepping food that will help for the week's meals is just another perk for me. For those who don't enjoy being in the kitchen or cooking - I would encourage you to find the dishes that you really like to make - setting a short period of time aside for yourself to do a little preparation so that when you are sitting down to eat the gorgeous meal that you have prepared, it will all be worth it.

Sunday is usually my day for trying to get in shape for the coming week. I try to have all my grocery shopping done by noon - so I may have done some on Saturday and then leave the rest until Sunday morning. I try to ensure that all of the laundry is done and put away so that we have clean clothes for the week. I make sure that all of my workout clothes are ready to go - so that I can't use the excuse that I can go to the gym because I don't have a clean sports bra. :) And I like to have the house vacuumed, floors cleaned (oh god, this doesn't have weekly - trust me), bathrooms cleaned and a clean kitchen. Thank goodness the husband is on par with this (most of the time) so he is a good partner for a quick hour to get it all done.

This Sunday is no different than others - except that the husband was off with me - so we did a few errands together. While I prepped food for the week and made our dinner for tonight, he vacuumed, did some laundry and kept asking 'what next?' - which eventually I got tired of just staring at him in amusement over the fact that he keeps asking 'what's next?'. I'm pretty sure that he asks that over and over again in hopes that I get tired of him asking and just say 'nothing, it's all good' go do whatever. Damn - he got me again this week.

For this week, this is what we will have on the menu:

Sunday - spaghetti squash and turkey meatballs - just like spaghetti and meatballs
Monday - lunch - leftover cauliflower salad and Cabbage Roll Soup
Tuesday - lunch - salad with chicken and for dinner leftover Cabbage Roll Soup
Wednesday - lunch - same as the day before and for dinner - slow cooker chicken with probably some sort of salad
Thursday - lunch - you guessed it - same as the day before - and for dinner - chicken salad with guacamole, and salsa
Friday - lunch... and for dinner after a run - scrambled eggs with a ton of vegetables almost like a frittata
Saturday - free for all

For breakfast - I always have a Veggie/Fruit Drink - just like HERE. On Thursdays, because I do a 6 AM spin class - I bring two hard boiled eggs and an apple for breakfast. Just a perfect protein to fuel me for a couple of hours.

So far on this Super Sunday, I have cooked boneless skinless chicken breasts in a little lemon juice and some dried herbs. I will wrap them up and keep them sealed in the fridge - and have half of one with my salads for lunch.

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I have made a huge pot of Cabbage Roll Soup - which will be for dinner for two nights and probably two of Chris' lunches.

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I have made a slew of turkey meatballs and baked spaghetti squash.

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And I have already wrapped up my lunch for tomorrow.

I am feeling pretty productive. And everything will be all done before The Walking Dead starts.

Now - I have declared my love for Cauliflower before. I just love it. I am in love with Cauliflower Pizza - if you are thinking about trying it - what is holding you back? Make it!!! Love it!!!

My new thing that I just tried is using it almost like a grain - like Quinoa or Barley. I saw a recipe for something like it awhile ago - and knew that I had to try it. Last Sunday I pulsed up 3 cauliflowers and used some for a pizza and the rest to make 2 huge salads. I stored it in a ziploc bag and a sealed container in the fridge for a week - to try and prevent the unpleasant smell that it can give off.

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Cauliflower Salad

2 cups of pulsed cauliflower - using your food processor - pulse up a head of cauliflower so that it is the size of a small grain like quinoa or barley
Fresh vegetables that you like in a salad - celery, peppers, tomatoes, zucchini
Fresh cilantro - finely chopped
Juice of half a lime
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp of balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup feta cheese
If you want to add a protein - chopped up chicken is deelish - or salmon

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In a large bowl, chop up all of your vegetables. Add in the chopped cilantro and the juice of the lime. Add in the cauliflower. Gently toss. Add in the yogurt and balsamic vinegar and mix it all together. Top with some feta and whatever else that you would like to throw in.

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The first time that I made this - Chris said that he would never have known that it was cauliflower.

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Alright friends - I have talked your ear off. I wish you a wonderful week. Be good to yourself and love one another.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Love, love, love...

Tomorrow is the day of love. Well, everyday should be a day of love, shouldn't it?

For tomorrow, I dare you to love yourself. Do something for yourself that you love - treat yourself to something that you love. Maybe chocolate? Maybe a glass of wine? Maybe watch the sappiest movie that you have always wanted to watch? Maybe eat dinner and don't do the dishes afterwards?

I DARE YOU!

I bet that you are dying to know what I will be doing. It is going to be good. Trust me. Fine - I will tell you - it's going to be legen...dary (I get that from 'How I Met Your Mother').

I am going to wake up at 5AM - and head to BDHQ for a 6AM spin class.
Then I will go to work, where I will get ready for the day. I will have two hard-boiled eggs and an apple for breakfast.
I will 'work' throughout the day. I will boycott Valentine's candies and chocolates. I will probably break down and have one or two.
I will then come home and walk our pups.
Then I think that I will make a Cauliflower Pizza for me and my sweetheart who will get home just after I get home from our dog walk.
And then we will talk, watch a little tele, hang out - and he will get ready for a crazy shift at work.
I will try and stay up past 9 and then hit the hay and head to dreamland.

So, for the most part - just being able to have a healthy workout first thing in the morning, being able to spend a little 1:1 time with my true love, will make it a good day. Sorry to disappoint - it won't be 'that' exciting.
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Speaking of love - I have a new soup recipe that I LOVE. I have made it twice - and I think that the last version was a keeper. I had friends in for dinner on Tuesday night and they gave it the name.

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Shrimp and Tofu in Paradise

1 butternut squash
1 shallot
1 litre of vegetable or chicken stock
2 red peppers - julienned
1 medium zucchini - julienned

Juice of 1 lime
1 cup of fresh cilantro
2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp fresh ginger
1/2 of a jalapeno
2 tbsp peanut butter

2 cans of light coconut milk

1/2 package of rice noodles

Protein: I would suggest grilled tofu, fresh salmon and or prawns

Pre-heat the oven to 400. Peel the squash and then cut the butternut squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Place on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet and roast for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool slightly - an then cut into chunks.

In a large soup pot, saute the shallot (or an onion) in a dash of olive oil and pinch of kosher salt. Saute for 6-7 minutes. Add in the squash and then add in the stock. Before adding everything else, lightly mash the squash. Simmer over medium heat. Add in the zucchini and the peppers and continue to simmer.

In a food processor, add in the juice of the lime, cilantro, jalapeno, garlic, ginger and peanut butter. Pulse so that it makes a thick paste. Stir this into the soup. Add in the coconut milk and reduce heat slightly and continue to simmer. Let it simmer for another 15-20 minutes.

Add in the rice noodles - continue to stir. They won't take long to cook - maybe 5 minutes.

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For the protein: Tofu - if you have a grill pan - slice into thin slices, season with kosher salt and pepper. Brown both sides. Fresh prawns - add them right into the soup and let the cook. Salmon - cook in the oven with fresh lemon - and add that right in as well.

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Top with fresh cilantro and a wedge of lime.

The flavours are divine. There are a lot of ingredients, but it is an easy dish to make.

I made the soup the night before - and added the noodles and protein just prior to serving. You can also reduce the amount of coconut milk and add more stock.

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I dare you to try this!

Alright friends - I hope that your day tomorrow is lovely.

Loves.

Enjoy!