Monday, July 16, 2018

Lower the Carbs in Mashed Potatoes

To use in mashed potatoes, I peeled the thicker skinned squash, but the smaller,
thinner skinned ones, I simply removed the seeds and cut into cubes. 

My little garden must be the perfect soil for squash because we are being overrun with the veggie.* The basket of squash above was one afternoon's bounty. There is that much more every day.

I've added it to soups and fried it, but still there is more and more coming.

Soo, when I peeled potatoes the other night for mashed potatoes for dinner, I chopped up a couple of squash (removing the seeds!) and threw them in the pot. I cooked them together in salted water until both were tender, then drained and mashed them.

Since the squash must have a higher moisture content, I didn't add any milk. I did add my regular amount of butter for flavor.

No complaint potatoes with less carbs!
Boom. Skinnier mashed potatoes. They tasted great. My picky potato connoisseurs couldn't tell the difference. There was also the added bonus of the yellow veggie giving the potatoes a very buttery look thus fooling my husband into thinking I added extra butter, which stopped him from adding his usual extra dollop of butter. Another win!

*I know that squash is botanically a fruit, but my philosophy that if it it isn't in a fruit salad and tastes best with butter, it's a veggie!

Monday, July 9, 2018

Smoothies and snacks!

You know if I’m talking about food, it’s got to be easy to make.

As I’m counting my calories, I have to make easy to grab-and-go snacks. For me, fruits and veg are free. This encourages me to eat better too.

So here’s my process:
  1. Buy a bunch of produce that’s good raw: berries, kiwi, grapes, cherries, oranges, apples, melons, bananas, celery, mini peppers, broccoli, carrots, etc
  2. Each day, I pick one or two and cut them up then put them in snack-size baggies. Don’t cut it all at once! They will go bad faster. And I suggest doing rasp-/black-berries first, since they go bad quickest.
  3. These snack size sacks also encourage my boys to eat more fruits and veg! When they open the fridge looking for something to eat and see the ready to eat baggies, they grab-and-go. And they can tell me they had something healthy, since I do nag them about that...
    yes, eating while I write!
  4. Now these snack sacks aren’t just for plain snacking. You can eat them so many ways!
    • with dips - veg goes with lots of dips or just some light ranch dressing
    • in eggs - those mini peppers are awesome in scrambled eggs esp with some cheese, if you haven’t tried it, you should! salsa works too.
    • with peanut butter - skip the jelly, use berries, apples, or bananas for sandwiches; and my boys love celery with some pb
    • nutella nom noms - I spread this sinful goodness on waffles with any fruit
    • in parfaits - any fruit makes the perfect parfait mixed with yogurt and any topping you like, from granola to crushed cereal to cookie crumbs
    • with whip cream - whip cream is one of the best things on a diet, low cal and no carbs = no guilt!
    • SMOOTHIES - cool off this summer with a fresh fruit smoothie. Take a few of the fruit baggies - and cut up bananas, especially just before they go bad - and toss them in the freezer. When they’re ready, here’s my recipe for awesome, low-cal smoothies:

Sweet Summer Smoothies:
  • 2-3 baggies of frozen fruit
  • 1 cup lite yogurt
  • 1 cup low-fat milk
  • 1 cup lite juice
You can use some ice if you can't wait for fruit to freeze and use fresh. (a little tasty tongue twister!)

Smooth it up!

Happy Healthy Eating!

PS - even with all the travel days, I'm down 5 pounds. Hope this trend continues cause the travel ain't over!

Monday, July 2, 2018

Weight for It...

A couple of months ago, I mentioned I wanted to lose weight. I wanted to "obsess smarter" and make healthy changes that would lead to lasting results. Tara was like-minded, so we decided we'd make our goals public and band together to get smart about out weight and our health. Tara checked in last week with her update and some great tips, now it's my turn! 

Since we started, I've lost 6 pounds. That's not exactly an impressive amount of weight to lose in two months, but as a friend said, it's 6 pounds down, not up. So that's a good thing!

After that post, I got wonderful feedback from you guys. Some great ideas I wanted to share.

Sandy suggested buying ready-made rotisserie baked chickens from the grocery store deli for quick snack and meal fixes. My son loved this idea. Ever since I told him, he's been bringing home chickens for himself. Tasty, win.

One of my favorite snacks to make with the chicken comes from my sister who told me to use a lettuce leaf as a wrap. Fill the inside with chicken and a bit of low-fat cheese, roll, and eat.
Another quick and tasty recipe, also from Sandy, is chocolate oatmeal. When boiling the cook and serve oats, add a little cocoa powder. This is actually tasty, even without adding sugar, but a bit added wouldn't hurt...unless you want to lose more than a few pounds a month. LOL

Fellow blogger, Jo Wake, was kind enough to share a healthy recipe with us. Jo  posts tasty recipes and life anecdotes on her blog, which you can read here.

Chicken and Broccoli Rice Bowl
Do not cook broccoli too soon, difficult to reheat
3 cups small broccoli florets
1 (8.8-ounce) pouch precooked brown rice (such as Uncle Ben's) I cooked 1/2 cup basmati up for both of us
1 Tbs olive oil
8 oz skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup chopped green onions
3 oz light processed cheese (such as Velveeta Light), cut into 1-inch pieces, I used a regular cheese which was spicy.
2 Tbs sliced almonds, toasted
1. Steam broccoli 5 minutes or until crisp-tender.
2. Heat rice according to directions.
3. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook for 4 minutes or until done, stirring occasionally. Add onions and cheese, stirring until cheese begins to melt. Stir in rice; fold in broccoli. Cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Sprinkle with almonds.
Servings: 3
Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1/3 of a recipe (1 ounces).
Percent daily values based on the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition information calculated from recipe ingredients. 4 of the recipe's ingredients were not linked. These ingredients are not included in the recipe nutrition data.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 79.89
Calories From Fat (82%) 65.5
% Daily Value
Total Fat 7.58g 12%
Saturated Fat 0.85g 4%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 159.6mg 7%
Potassium 91.14mg 3%
Total Carbohydrates 2.45g <1%
Fiber 1.16g 5%
Sugar 0.67g
Protein 1.59g 3%
Source: Cooking Light

Monday, June 25, 2018

Healthy Eating Tips - Do's & Don'ts

I am determined to lose some weight.

Unfortunately, I have to start over again since I went on a trip for two weeks! I wasn't terrible, but I was definitely side-tracked. Before I left, I had a good system going and felt better about myself. I even intended to keep it up while I was away, but I had to eat out too often. That's a killer for keeping track of healthy eating!

So here's what was working for me - keeping it simple and easy!

finding the balance
  • SNACK RIGHT - I cut up fruits and veg into serving sizes and bag them. Easy to grab and munch on!
  • ALSO... When buying snacks for the kids, don't buy stuff you like. Only get stuff they like so you won't be tempted.
  • MEAL RIGHT - though it may conflict with your family, try several small "meals," -- this also helps keep you from snacking between. OR time meals so you can eat with your family, but eat small portions.
  • WRITE IT DOWN - When you write down calories or other info about the food you're eating, you will eat less! And No Cheating!
  • DRINK MORE - Water is the best, but any sugar-free drink will do. And if you feel hungry but you don't want to eat yet, have something to drink!
  • WORK IT, GIRL! - Find a way to get in some extra steps. When I feel I need extra exercise, I go up and down my stairs 10 times or more. It burns so good!
Now, here are the Don'ts:
  • Don't beat yourself up - making any lifestyle change is hard, especially the healthy kind. Try, try again!
  • Don't expect quick results - the older we get, the longer it takes to see a change.
  • Don't get discouraged - even if you don't see the results, you will feel them. You should be proud of yourself for doing it!
Got any advice or stories to share?
Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, June 18, 2018

Better Spaghetti & Dog Belts

Having grown kids isn't so bad, especially when you can count on them for good ideas.

My oldest son is living in New York and frequents Italian restaurants where he learned why my spaghetti always had water pooling on the plates with the noodles. Seems my over-draining was the problem.
According to a pasta professional, the best way to serve pasta with a tomato sauce is to leave a little of the noodle water on the noodles. Add the sauce to the noodles and mix. The starch from the noodle water thickens the sauce.

No more watery sauce!

My youngest son showed me how to improvise a dog leash. Our dog slipped her collar and ran away. My son ran her down, but didn't have a leash to walk her home, so he used his belt. I know I've had to walk run-away dogs home bent over dragging them by the scruff of the neck more than a few times. Not once did I think to use my belt.
A simple belt...
Can become a leash in a pinch.

And here's a tip you probably won't want to use. My husband's old car and was looking a bit raggedy. He decided to give her a fresh coat pf paint.
The old girl's paint was oxidizing, so...
$21 in cans of spray paint from Wal Mart and...

she's fancier than any of the 1994 Nissans in the salvage yard!

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