Lyn's Journey to 8

A Weight Loss Adventure

Breakfast

I’ve never been good at waking up and making a grand breakfast. In fact, it’s a challenge. I like knowing that food is available and ready within minutes of me stepping into the kitchen. I decided to make the effort and prepare a cooked breakfast. I needed a change.

I baked an egg! It was fab.

Baked Egg, Toast, Strawberries

Then, I had some oats porridge (Quakers has a weight control line of instant oats) with a few blueberries and a banana. I suppose I should make it from scratch at some point…

Oatmeal with Blueberries

I found a recipe for breakfast cake – Blueberry Coffee  Cake. Clearly its the breakfast of Champions and Domestic Divas everywhere. Judge me not! It was wonderful! I baked this the evening before. I couldn’t imagine waking up and baking a cake for breakfast.

Blueberry Coffee Cake

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter. I am a bit under the weather but I did not want to miss another week of posting.

Take care of you.

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April 25, 2011 Posted by | food, Healthy Meals, Weight Loss | , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Fried Rice, Braised Chicken and Irish Soda Bread

I love planning meals for the week. It doesn’t always run smoothly being the busy mom that I am, but I like having an idea of what the weeks meals are going to be. My father always told me “if you fail to prepare… prepare to fail!”. I’ve applied that to so many things in life, both big and small. Last weeks meals were great as usual. Here are the new things I’ve made that fit well into my healthy lifestyle.

When I was younger, being the oldest child and the GIRL, I sometimes had to make a quick meal for my 2 brothers when my parents were running late from work. I used to make fried rice using leftover rice, hot dogs and scrambled eggs (It was good too!). Boy have I come a long way! I have witnesses! I decided to make a new version of fried rice. I gratered zucchini and carrots into the fried rice before adding scrambled eggs and chicken. Not too shabby!

I absolutely loved this – Braised Chicken in Butternut Squash Sauce. The original recipe called for Red Bell Peppers for the sauce, which I tried a few weeks ago but I wasn’t doing cartwheels over it. But I liked the consistency and the process. So I tried it again but with Butternut Squash instead. The texture was wonderful and I enjoyed it with spaghetti.

I came across a lot of recipes for this past St. Patrick’s Day, and although I wasn’t up for baking with beer for the occasion – I was curious to know what Soda Bread was. So I decided to give it a try. You know… to pay homage to my Irish lineage 🙂 I will in the near future, try baking with Guinness just to say I did. My curiosity often gets the better of me. The Soda Bread was great – tasted just like raisin bread made with love.

That’s all for this week. I’m still watching my weight while watching my figure. Stay focused and happy eating!

Ciao

March 30, 2011 Posted by | food, Healthy Meals, Weight Loss | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Butternut Squash, Blueberries and Barley

Another week, and the dream is still alive! Hope everyone had a great week and is eating well and moving more. I had severe pain this past week so I didn’t get to do as much as I wanted to but better days are ahead, I’m sure. I did make some really cool healthy meals though. I absolutely love that each week I can try something new and healthy!

I had a delightful dish that was easy to throw together – Bowtie Pasta, Turkey Sausage tossed in a Butternut Squash puree. The original recipe called for canned pumpkin but – you know I don’t have any of that stuff (plus I’m not sure I like pumpkin). So I made my very own substitute – pureed Butternut Squash!  I use what I have and I make it work!

 

Turkey Sausage & Butternut Squash Pasta

 

 

Every week, I try to bake something for the family. I will avoid using a dozen eggs, shortening, 10 cups of sugar etc. I will always aim for simple and healthy ingredients. My son loves blueberries. My daughter… not so much. But she’ll eat almost any muffin you give her. So I decided to make Blueberry Muffins. And as I hoped… she loved it. Oh – and I am now the proud owner of traditional round muffin tins 🙂

 

 

Blueberry Muffins

 

 

I’ve been having rice a lot lately (out of boredom and the fact that it’s always there) and I wanted to try something else aside from Pasta. I came across a Barley recipe and decided to give it a go. I remember Barley being used more in soups, so this seemed a little different. The original recipe called for Lean Ground Beef but I don’t do beef. So I used Lean Ground Turkey instead. The vegetables included were carrots, tomatoes and zucchini. The zucchini kinda dissolved so it’s not visible …but it’s there! The texture was a bit chewy (different) but I’d definitely have it again. One cup of Barley went a long way. Fiber rules!

 

 

Barley Turkey Skillet

 

 

Have a splendid week! Let’s see what the first week of spring has to offer 🙂

L

 

March 21, 2011 Posted by | food, Healthy Meals, Weight Loss | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

I didn’t burn the Risotto

It has been an interesting few weeks. Sometimes I get really bored with chicken. I find that I’m always looking for something else to please my figure watching palate.  So I tried boring fish… again! This time, a little different.

You know how when you hear how difficult and challenging a dish is, you might shy away from it? Well this happened to me with Risotto. I’ve been wanting to try it for a very long time. It’s a rice dish cooked in broth, cheese and whatever else that you might think compliment it. I read how easy it is to ruin this dish if you’re not super careful. I cooked mine with chicken broth, white wine, green peas and a little cheese for good measure. I hate ruining food. It really makes me upset whenever I burn something to a cinder. Not that it happens often, but anything is possible with two little ones tugging at your feet 🙂 I didn’t burn the Risotto and I’m very happy about it. I served it with Salmon. I have no idea if I did it properly, or if it tasted “right”. All I know is, I didn’t burn it. The Arborio rice was cooked, and it tasted great!

 

Baked Salmon & Green Pea Risotto

I also found Panko Bread Crumbs (Japanese cuisine) which is usually found in health food stores, to adorn some haddock that I roasted. I liked the crispness without having to actually fry it. I think I’ll experiment with it some more. I roasted it beside some Carrots, Butternut Squash, Egg Plant and… Zucchini!

 

Roasted Haddock with Roasted Roots

 

Roasted Root Veggies and Roasted Haddock

With a little additional exercise, I’ve noticed a little progress and the numbers on the scale are behaving themselves once again. Such an unruly little gadget at times, that scale! More on some goodies I purchased, in the next post.

Ciao!

March 15, 2011 Posted by | food, Healthy Meals, Weight Loss | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

A Dieters Plate

Great week. Lots of  progress – which I’m thankful for. I really hate feeling like I’m at a standstill. And that’s a general statement! So imagine me watching my weight loss chart going in the wrong direction. No bueno! I got MAD and went on the treadmill 3 days in a row plus a 15 minute walking routine by Leslie Sansone. I actually have her DVD that came with Nutrisystem back in 2008. It was pretty awesome. If I could just place my hands on it… Anyway, so far I don’t feel terribly sore. I didn’t pass out or become bedridden so I think I’m okay to proceed!

On a trip to a favourite store recently, I found a plate that perhaps could have best benefited me at the start of my journey, however occasionally a  subtle reminder is good.

 

Roasted Zucchini, Minced Turkey, Butternut Squash

 

 

Tasty Bite!

I’ve been wanting to have fish other than Salmon. I’ve had so much Tilapia in my life that I’ve lost the taste for it. I tried Haddock and seasoned it very lightly, then pan seared for the first go. It was quite nice. Although a very soft fish once cooked, I still enjoyed it. I can start looking for Haddock recipes now 🙂 As for the baby potatoes, this was my first time having it. I needed a break from Sweet Potato. To see these little darlings prepared this way actually put a smile on my face.  I boiled them, allowed them to cool slightly. Then I smashed them with a saucepan! Ha! So much fun! Then I brushed them with Olive Oil and a sprinkle of salt and popped them in the oven for 20 minutes or so until the skin was crispy. I saw it on The Food Network ~ my favourite television station ❤

 

Haddock, Baby Potatoes, Green Beans

Have a great week! Stay motivated!

Ciao

February 28, 2011 Posted by | food, Healthy Meals, Weight Loss | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Romantic Meal And Little Treats

I use the word “romantic” very lightly because on Valentines Day, all my loved ones were under the weather.  I made a lovely meal that I thought would have been nice for everybody but… no one was well enough to enjoy it. (Except me – it was flipping fabulous!) Thankfully my pain does not affect my taste buds. So here was my first attempt at Tarragon Chicken, Pan Seared Zucchini, Pan Seared Fennel, and Carrots in Butter and Brown Sugar [with a side of Basmati Rice for the husband]. Dessert was supposed to be on the same night but happened a few days later ~ Lemon Madeleines, a french dessert (petite cakes). This was my first try at everything and it was great, but I’m going to do it all over again with some minor adjustments. Stay tuned 🙂

I never had Tarragon anything before. It’s an herb and the leaves have a licorice scent. The flavour of the chicken was awesome – like nothing I had prepared in the past. This will definitely be on the menu for a dinner gathering at my home in the future. Zucchini wasn’t really a favourite of mine. But when I made it myself? Perfection! I liked Fennel but this was the first time I had it cooked. I like the crisp licorice taste. Its milder once cooked but still tasty. Another veggie victory! Now that I think about it… the rice looked like it didn’t belong on this menu.

 

Tarragon Chicken, Pan Seared Zucchini and Fennel, Carrots, Basmati Rice

 

The white wine was actually used in the chicken recipe to make the sauce. I felt quite sophisticated cooking with a glass of wine in hand! A nice French wine to go with the French themed meal. Terrific!

 

French Cross Dry White Wine

 

I need to check to see if these are still called Madeleines if I used a square-shaped muffin tin. Ah well! I used what I had and they were very nice. They are supposed to be served with a fruit so I will do that next time.

Lemon Madeleines

 

And these little mini cupcakes were for my little bundles of joy whom I love so much. I wanted to cheer them up since they were under the weather and decided to spend time with them instead of being in the kitchen. I won’t think about the ingredients. I know I make everything much healthier. But it’s just this one time.

 

Chocolate Valentine Mini Cupcake

Take good care of you.

Ciao

February 21, 2011 Posted by | food, Healthy Meals, Weight Loss | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Home at last…

So my contact assignment is finally over. The 6 week contract ended early due to the absolute proficiency of the temps dedicated to the cause. I for one was relieved that it was over. My body had a bad reaction to sitting in the same position for 5 hours every day, and eventually shut down after almost 4 weeks. I’m still hurting but at least I’m on the mend. My kids were sick at the start of the new year, and of course they love me so much that they shared their new year cold with me 🙂 So there has been a lot going on! But my head is in the right place so I’m back in blog land.

In my previous blog entry , I mentioned that packing sandwiches was the way to go. Now that I’m home again, I think I rather enjoy sandwiches! So I’ve been thinking about various combinations that make for a healthy and tasty lunch meal. Here are a few that were successful experiments. I love the whole wheat hamburger flatbread – 170 calories, 2g fat and 5g fibre!

I haven’t been able to eat plain tuna for some time now. I don’t know, it’s just so blah and you have to add a ton of stuff to get a decent flavour and texture to it. Anyway, a few years back I was introduced to Spicy Thai Tuna so I thought I’d add a dash of light mayo, a slice of fat-free cheese and some romaine lettuce and here’s the result:

 

Spicy Thai Tuna Sandwich with Cheese & Romaine Lettuce

 

 

I’ve been wanting to expand my vegetarian options. I swear, I’m probably going to be a vegetarian later on in my life. There are so many vegan alternatives, I doubt I’d miss meat. I made myself a Black Bean Burger and I was surprised at how GREAT it tasted. I added some fresh spinach, fat free cheese, a few slices of avocado and some light mayo on the bread. Come on, that bread would have been so DRY. I omitted butter – for balance :-).  Since it was a burger, I had it with some ketchup. It was DE-LISH. Would you even guess that this burger was meatless???

Black Bean Burger with fat-free cheese, spinach and avocado

 

Looking at that burger makes me hungry.

Ciao!

January 19, 2011 Posted by | Healthy Meals, Weight Loss | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Temporary Challenges

Last week, a turn of events had me searching for solutions. Generally, I spend much of my time thinking about what to prepare over the next few days while at home with my family. When I got a phone call to start a temporary assignment the next day… I was thinking about what I was going to do about food! I suppose, in days gone by, typically I would have been thinking about my wardrobe. But my primary goal has me thinking way beyond what I wear. Besides, I already had what I needed to step back into the work place comfortably and confidently.

This weekend, I had to take a few shortcuts since I had no time to prepare meals ahead of my employment start date. I picked up some granola bars, nuts, fruits – healthy food items to keep on hand. I got some items for my freezer too. Dinner might get tricky until I get myself sorted out. What’s funny to me is, I will probably get into the swing of things just before my contract ends in approximately 6 weeks. Due to the nature of the assignment, it may end before or after the estimated end date. We’ll see what happens.

The great thing about this opportunity, is that I get a chance to see what its like as a working mother of two! What a welcome change and challenge! I have to adjust some things in terms of the family schedule. The major thing is –  I need to be in bed a lot earlier than what I’ve been used to over the past year. My body is already reacting to the change in routine. All weekend – pain from head to toe! And this is after only 2 days at work! Damn you, Chronic Pain! I will remain positive and pray that the pain subsides to allow me to function and take care of myself and my family. After all, I am the CEO of my household 🙂

Here are some meals from last week. I found use of my Wok that I forgot I had! Wow! I used it twice and I think it’s absolutely fabulous. I just love to see food cooking in it! First up – Honey Chicken Stir Fry.

 

Honey Chicken Stir Fry

 

Voila!

 

Honey Chicken Stir Fry with Basmati Rice

 

I’ve been wanting to try this recipe for a while now and it was well worth the wait! Zesty Chicken Meatballs served with Spinach Pesto Linguine. The original pesto recipe that I looked at was made with Collard Greens, olives and pecans. I didn’t have any at hand but I didn’t let that stop me (plus I don’t care for olives). I used Spinach and Pumpkin Seeds. I’m no pesto fanatic but it was pretty good!

 

Zesty Chicken Meatballs With Spinach Pesto Linguine

 

Have a wonderful week!

Ciao

December 20, 2010 Posted by | food, Healthy Meals, Weight Loss | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Simplicity, is sometimes all you need…

I did my weekly Monday weigh-in and I’m at a respectable 137lbs. My weight is still fluctuating so I am monitoring myself as I plan my next phase of action. As usual, a good week. A busy week. I didn’t do much cooking but what I did prepare was very simple, colourful and healthy (of course).

I wanted a really simple meal with a lean meat and some veggies. And here it is, while still in the dutch pot and finally, served. Ground pork, Edamame, Tomato and Yellow Sweet Pepper – served on a bed of Basmati Rice. [Red, Gold & Green! :-)] Dinner doesn’t have to be a complicated production. Not often, at least 🙂

 

On the Stove!

 

One night last week, I didn’t feel for any meat. I steamed some veggies in some chicken broth and sprinkled a bit of sea salt over top. I was terrified that I might have tummy troubles but I’m sure I should be fine if I have broccoli once a week or so. Fingers crossed! It was delish!

 

Steamed Veg - Carrots, Broccoli, Cauliflower, String Beans, Edamame

 

Last but not least, I was doing my weekly reading of some of my favourite blogs (food and photography related). I was looking at some cute, tempting little cupcakes (oh so tempting) – my son saw them and decided that he wanted cupcakes. After being nagged, poked and pulled 🙂 I decided to figure out what cupcakes I was going to make and how I was going to make it healthy. I looked for a recipe that had few ingredients. I didn’t need any shortening, a dozen eggs or anything else that was just a bit much. I found a recipe for Chocolate Cream Cheese Cupcakes and made a few modifications. In an effort to avoid using regular white flour, I needed an excuse to use my stash of Whole Wheat Pastry Flour I bought from the health food store recently. I substituted it for the white flour, used Light Cream Cheese and omitted the chocolate chips. (Actually, I forgot to add it – but I’ll make it look like I did it on purpose. THIS TIME). This recipe is a definite keeper. Who knew chocolate and cream cheese went together so well? The cupcakes didn’t last very long. The little fellas didn’t stand a chance.

 

 

Have an amazing week! Give thanks for all the food that is available to us… because we actually have a choice!

Ciao!

 

 

December 14, 2010 Posted by | food, Healthy Meals, Weight Loss | , , , , | Leave a comment

A Green Challenge Pt.2

Here are some more meals from my green challenge. Oh so tasty!

One morning I woke up and looked for a hearty breakfast and I decided to try a frittata! I never tried it before but based on my reading, its like a fluffy omelette. Fair enough! I used 2 eggs, spinach, garlic, onions, green onion, chopped mushrooms, tomatoes, almond milk, salt and pepper to taste. I cooked on the stove top first, then when the sides were set, I added some mozzarella cheese, then put the pan in oven and broiled until the top was set, and the cheese nicely browned.

 

Frittata - on the stove!

I think maybe I should have added more milk and whisked the eggs a little bit more. This really looked like an omelette 🙂 But it tasted great so I enjoyed it! Next!

 

Frittata - Spinach, Green Onion, Mushroom

 

I love curried everything. I prepared curried chicken for my family but instead of using potatoes, I replaced it with lentils. I thought I would try something a little different. For my own portion, I took some lentils, carrots and gravy and placed them in a saucepan. I added some spinach – just long enough to wilt and to bring out that lovely green colour. Then I served it over a serving of curried chicken breast. VoilĂ !

 

Curried Chicken, Lentils, Carrots & Spinach

 

Last but not least, something else I just threw together. I made minced turkey for the family and removed a small serving for myself. I then boiled some whole wheat spaghetti, drained it, added some light Laughing Cow cheese and mixed it until even. I added chopped asparagus, and spinach followed by the turkey then I gently tossed it all together. I sprinkled some parmesan cheese and this is what I got. Makes me hungry just looking at it.

 

Whole Wheat Spaghetti, Minced Turkey, Spinach, Asparagus

 

It may look like a large serving, but don’t be fooled by the pictures. My serving bowls are smaller than a traditional dinner plate. I specifically use them for portion control purposes. I think when a plate or a bowl looks like its full, it helps you to feel full at the end of your meal. Maybe that’s just me. But it works!

Have a great day!

December 9, 2010 Posted by | Healthy Meals, Weight Loss | , , , , , | 2 Comments