Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Spring Cleaning

The beautiful weather is here, well, here in central IL anyway! I'm hoping that will be motivation to spend some more time outdoors and become more active. This weekend I'm hoping to get in some walks with the dog, some possible gardening, and maybe a little letterboxing. I'd also like to tidy up our house and get things in order. It's hard to focus on eating healthy & weight loss when your household is kind of chaotic. For me, when one thing goes, everything goes!

I haven't posted any recipes in awhile. We've just been having some old stand-bys, not trying anything new lately, but as soon as we do, there will be posts! I'm thinking of trying a stuffed chicken using Laughing Cow cheese & spinach. If you've never tried Laughing Cow, you definately should! It's the consistency of cream cheese, and it comes in several flavors, and one little wedge is super low in calories! I want to say less than 100 cals in a wedge! It makes a good topping for crackers, to dip veggies in, to stuff chicken breasts with, and I've even heard of some people using it as like an alfredo on pasta! But I haven't tried that one yet.

A few blogs I've been reading lately have been talking about doing the C25K program (Couch to 5K). A couple years ago, I did a couple weeks of the program, but stopped due to a foot injury. I was walking a lot back then though and feel like my level of activity was better equipped to start such a project. I know I'd "like" to start the program, but I don't know that at this point I'd be physically able. Maybe a goal of walking 3x a week to start off with would be better. We'll see.

Is anyone else finding themselves spending more time outdoors since spring is finally here? What's your favorite thing to do outside?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Mexican Chicken Chowder

Got this one from the BH&G diabetic cookbook. Don't have nutrition info right now, but have the recipe! This one was pretty good. I don't know that I'd make it a TON, but it was tasty & flavorful, and I'd have it again. Also wasn't too difficult to make, so easy peasy!

8 oz chicken breast, cooked & diced
1 c. chicken broth
16 oz frozen corn, thawed
4 oz can chiles
1 clove minced garlic
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 c. diced tomatoes
2 c. skim milk
1 c. monterray jack shredded cheese

1. In a blender, puree half the corn & the chicken broth until mostly smooth, then add to a large sauce pan.
2. Add remaining corn, garlic, chiles, salt, and pepper & bring to a boil. Simmer, uncovered for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Slowly mix in milk while stirring, then add tomatoes & chicken & cook til heated through.
4. Right before serving, add cheese & stir until melted
Tasty, creamy soup for a cool spring day!

Easy Crockpot Pot Roast

**This recipe is not low in sodium. Keep that in mind if you make it & you're watching your salt intake!**

Growing up, I never liked pot roast, but as an adult, it's something that I really enjoy having once in awhile. On nights I have to work late, the last thing I want to do when I come home is cook, so I try to have a crockpot meal waiting. This week I went with a super easy pot roast.

2-3 pound beef roast (arm, chuck, etc. Whatever cut you like)
16 oz bag of baby carrots
1 large onion, cut in chunks
6 potatoes, peeled & chunked
2 packets (1 box) of Lipton's Onion Soup mix
1 family sized can Cream of Mushroom soup (98%FF kind)
About a cup of water

I start with my roast in the very bottom. Next is potatoes, then onions, then carrots on top. Sprinkle on the dry soup mix, then top with the cream of mushroom. Add your water, cover, and cook all day! I cooked for about 8 hours on low heat, but you could cook on high heat for a shorter period if you needed to.

The veggies were cooked perfectly, not too mushy like can sometimes happen! Throughout the day, I had my husband stir it every couple of hours to make sure the soup & water was mixing well & that nothing was sticking. And it turned out perfectly! Yum!

Trying a new recipe tonight, should be posted late tonight or early tomorrow... Mexican chicken chowder!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Another oldie--italian beef

No picture today... I was so hungry I didn't take the time to do that! This is a recipe I've posted before, but this time I added half a chopped onion & half a green bell pepper. Check it out, it was delicious! Served on a wheat bun with a slice of provolone... perfection!


Monday, March 15, 2010

Chicken Tortilla Soup

This soup originally appeared on my blog over two years ago! It was one of the first recipes I posted, when I was doing WW & I gave it an A+. It was good then, and it was good now! This cooked all day while I was at work and was perfect by 5pm. See the original post here.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Tex Mex Sloppy Joes

I will just preface this by saying: This is hands down, one of the best things I've ever made! I loved it, and the husband said he wouldn't mind having it weekly! It was pretty easy, and oh so tasty! So without further ado... Tex Mex Sloppy Joes!

1 pound lean ground beef (or turkey, chicken, etc)
1/2 large onion
1/2 large green pepper
2 tbsp canned green chiles
2/3 c. frozen corn
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
3/4 c. ketchup
4 tsp worchestershire sauce

1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet & add onion, bell pepper, chiles, garlic, and corn. Cook 5-6 minutes, until veggies are tender.
2. Add ground beef, chili powder, and cumin & cook 5-10 more minutes, until meat is cooked through.
3. Add ketchup & worchestershire and heat through.
4. Serve on wheat rolls (I like "healthy life" buns). Makes 6 (large) sandwiches

Friday, March 12, 2010

Broccoli Chicken Penne

I took a recipe from the BH&G cookbook & modified it a bit to suit our tastes, so the recipe you'll see is the recipe with my twist. I would also make some changes next time, like maybe using a bag of stir fry veggies instead of broccoli, just to add some different flavors.

1 pound boneless skinless chicken, diced
3 cups broccoli (fresh or frozen)
8 oz cooked penne pasta
Southwest seasoning to taste (1-2 tbsp)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/4 c. chicken broth
1/4 c. light mayo or miracle whip
Grated parmesan, to taste
Black pepper, to taste

1. In a skillet, heat olive oil. Add chicken, southwest seasoning, and garlic. Cook several minutes until chicken is cooked through.

2. Meanwhile, cook penne.

3. Once chicken is cooked, add broccoli and chicken broth to the skillet & cover, cooking about 5 minutes, or until broccoli is tender.

4. Add chicken & broccoli mixture to pasta & stir in mayo or miracle whip & pepper until all contents are lightly coated, then top with parmesan.

A note about the miracle whip/mayo. I was skeptical... it sounded gross. But really it's so little compared to the big pot of food, you don't taste it, it just gives it a more moist texture. I also added a little onion powder & seasoned salt to my individual bowl, to suit my tastes. Made a huge pot--6 servings.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

One day at a time

Confession: I am one to get easily overwhelmed with the "big picture" and just let things go. It's true of my housekeeping abilities, my organizational skills, and myself. Of course everyone's heard of the Alcoholics Anonymous saying "One day at a time", and really, it's true. Instead of looking at the big picture (I have to stay sober my WHOLE LIFE) they look at one small snippet (I have to stay sober THIS DAY, or THIS HOUR, or THIS MINUTE). Yet knowing that doesn't make daunting tasks any easier. Knowing that I need to tackle my big obstacles one tiny bit at a time doesn't give me the extra push I need to actually DO one of those tiny tasks... and I don't know why.

I need to work on the baby steps to getting things done. I need to worry about organizing one room at a time (or even one SHELF at a time) in my house, rather than the huge task of organizing my whole house. And I need to worry about one POUND at a time when it comes to weight loss, instead of seeing that I need to lose the equivalent to another human being. But how to do that becomes the big question... obviously if I knew how (and stuck to it), I'd be there by now. I know that organizing the chaos that is my life isn't a destination... that it's an on-going routine of the same struggles. Once I get things in order, or clean my house, or lose my weight, the battle isn't over. It's really only just begun.

So, as they say... one day at a time.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

GM Giveaway

Who doesn't love free stuff?! Head on over to My Good Cents for a chance to win a prize pack from General Mills. You'll receive 2 coupons for free cereal, plus a tote bag, cereal mug, and breakfast chiller (whatever that is!). Good luck!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Pork Stir Fry

An old standby, stir fry is one of my favorite meals! You can make it totally different depending on what you toss in it & what kind of sauce you use. Plus it's super easy! The only item I had to purchase for this meal was the pork, as I had everything else on-hand from past shopping trips. You can tweak the recipe however you desire to fit your family's preferences!

1.5 pounds lean pork, boneless, cut up
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 medium onion, diced
1/2 yellow pepper, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
3 carrots, chopped
1 bag frozen stir fry veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, snap peas, mushrooms, corn, etc)
1/2 bag frozen broccoli (it's my favorite & I like lots of broc!)
Stir fry sauce found in the Asian section of the grocery store
4 servings instant white rice

1. Heat oil, soy sauce, chili powder, garlic, pepper, and pork in a skillet until pork is cooked through (about 5 minutes)
2. Add veggies and cook covered until they are tender (about 5 minutes more).
3. Meanwhile, cook your rice.
4. Once veggies are done, stir in your stir fry sauce to coat the meat & veggies, then serve over rice.

Piece of cake!

And the nice thing is that we still have half a bottle of stir fry sauce, instant rice, and frozen veggies, so we'll be having this again next week with chicken!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Sugar Free Strawberry Cheesecake Dessert

No pictures for this one, but this is an old standby I used to make when I was on Weight Watchers. I modified it with sugar free items for a really healthy (and tasty) dessert! Of course the strawberries have natural sugars in them, so it's not 100% sugar free, but you get the idea. The strawberries could easily be substituted with any other fresh fruit you enjoy, and the cheesecake pudding can be subtituted with any other flavor as well!

1 small package Jello instant pudding (sugar free)--cheesecake flavored

1 cup milk

1 standard sized tub of sugar free Cool Whip

Fresh fruit--strawberries in this case

Pour pudding powdered mix into a bowl & add 1 cup milk. Whisk until the consistency is pretty thick (not pudding-like, but sticky & heavy). Fold in cool whip until pudding & cool whip are entirely mixed. Fold in fresh fruit & enjoy! Makes 4 (1 cup) servings.

I've also made this with chocolate pudding & sliced bananas in it... it's delicious!

You can make the pudding with the full 2 cups that the pudding recipe calls for, but the flavor isn't as good, in my opinion, because it's not as concentrated. It does make more dessert that way, obviously, but the consistency is a little different. To each their own, though!


Chipotle Beef Burritos

Another tasty meal tonight from the BH&G Diabetic Living cookbook. This one was super easy. Put it in the crockpot before work & when I came home, the house was smelling delicious and dinner was done!

1.5 pounds boneless beef round steak
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 c. chopped onion
1-2 canned chipotle chile peppers in adobo sauce, chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
1 clove minced garlic
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cumin
Whole wheat or low fat tortillas

1. Trim fat from meat & cut into 6 pieces. Place meat, undrained tomatoes, onion, peppers, oregano, garlic, salt, and cumin in slow cooker.
2. Cover & cook on low heat for 8-10 hours or on high heat for 4-5 hours.
3. Remove meat from liquid & shred. Scoop remaining contents with a slotted spoon and add to shredded meat.
4. Spoon meat onto tortillas, top with cheese, salsa, etc and enjoy!
Makes 6 servings. Nutrition information per serving:

Calories: 224
Fat: 7g
Carbs: 15g
Fiber: 9g

I made the following changes to my recipe: used 2 regular sized cans of Rotel in place of the tomatoes/peppers & added a tsp southwest chipotle Mrs. Dash. It was excellent! The husband said he definately wanted to have it again!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Garden Style Ravioli

What's this? An actual MEAL on Teale's Meals? Why yes it is!!! I tried a new recipe from a new cookbook tonight, and it was quite tasty! This is Garden Style Ravioli, found in the Better Homes & Gardens' "Our Best Diabetic Living Recipes" Here's a cell-phone quality pic of the meal from the cookbook:
9 oz. frozen/refrigerated cheese ravioli
1 tbsp olive oil
2 medium red/green/yellow/etc peppers, cut into chunks (I only used half of each pepper though & it was plenty!)
1 medium carrot, cut into long, thin strips (use a potato peeler)
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium tomato, chopped
1/4 cup chicken broth (I decided to use 1/2 a cup though to make it more moist)
Italian Seasonings... they reccomend Tarragon or Basil. I used 1.5 tsp "italian blend" seasonings

1. Cook ravioli according to package directions & drain.

2. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add peppers, onions, garlic, and carrots & cook for about 5 minutes, til tender. Stir in tomato, broth, and seasonings and cook about 2 minutes more, until flavors blend.

3. Add veggie mixture to cooked ravioli & toss gently to combine. Makes 4 (1-cup) servings.

Since we were having this as our main dish, we had 2 (2-cup) servings. The following nutrition info is for the 1 cup servings:
Calories: 278
Fat: 9g
Carbs: 39g
Fiber: 2g
Protein: 13g

What a tasty dinner! I also added a sprinkle of grated parmesan on top. We'd definately have this one again.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Ups & Downs

Overall, I'd say that my life is pretty grand. If you plotted points on a graph, the overall trend would be up. But if you connected the dots, there would be some pretty high highs, and some pretty steep dips. But like I said, overall... pretty grand.

The husband was supposed to have knee surgery last week, but pre-surgery blood work came back & he wasn't cleared for surgery. We're working that stuff out today at the doctor. It's nothing that will be the end of the world, but it's going to mean some changes on his and my part. That same day, my debit card information was stolen. The second time in 6 months that my numbers have been stolen (two different cards). The first time it wasn't so bad b/c it was a card that I didn't use. We used it on our honeymoon & it's been banished from use until the big balance is paid down. This time though, it was my check card. MY CHECK CARD. That I use probably 3+ times a day. Cash? What's that? Swipey swipe is where it's at. So needless to say, that has cramped my style a bit in the last week. Apparently in 5-10 business days I'll have a new card & new card number, but man has it been a pain in my butt.

Before the crappy stuff last week, we did take a delightful trip to Tennessee for Valentine's Day weekend. I realize that I haven't written about it on here yet, and that's mainly b/c I can't find my camera cord to post pictures to accompany the entry. But here's the short version: took 8.5 hours to get down there, we ate a lot, we spent a lot of time in the hot tub, we did touristy stuff, the Smokies were closed down due to snow so we didn't get to do much driving through them, then our trip home took 12.5 hours due to crazy winter storms ALL THE WAY HOME. But, we made it (though 50+ cars were in the ditch for about a 120 mile stretch in Indiana).

So, that's that. Not much of an update, I realize, but it had been awhile & I wanted to say that I'm still alive and kicking. And ready for Spring.