Broccoli

5 v 5

Hello and happy almost Friday! I’m in a great mood because it is gorgeous outside and my old boss is taking me out for early birthday drinks tonight (which is Tuesday!) These things add up to me having a bit of trouble sitting still…

My friend/coworker Kara brought me in a treat today. (Side note… isn’t it always weird to just say coworker when they’re your friend, or to just say friend when they’re your coworker, but maybe even weirder to put a slash in an introduction!?) Anyways, she posted a recipe for Blueberry Cheesecake Squares with Hazelnuts and they looked SO good that I commented on the entry asking when she was going to bring them in for me to try… well today was the day.

Oh man was that tasty! She used fat free cream cheese and fat free yogurt in the recipe instead of the heavy cream/full fat cream cheese, but these babies were still 5 points each! While absolutely delicious and I’m so glad I had it, it’s kind of funny that the picture above this is 5 points, and all the food below this (my real lunch) was also 5 points…

Carrot “chips” and raw broccoli (0 pts)

Massaged Kale Salad with 1 tsp olive oil (1 pt) and salt, plus 1/2 cup chickpeas (1 pt) and yellow squash (0 pts).

I also had a toasted wheat pita on the side (1 pt) and used it to eat the chickpeas and salad. For dessert, I had some watermelon chunks (1 pt).

Isn’t that crazy that you can have one blueberry cheesecake square OR carrots, broccoli, chickpeas, squash, kale, olive oil, a pita, and watermelon for the same number of points!?

What are some substitutions you’ve made in your diet to cut down on calories/fat or points? I used to snack on a lot of processed granola bars or yogurt with cereal and peanut butter, but as my points started dwindling down I realized I could get much more bang for my buck if I ate fruit or veggies for snacks. For the same number of points as 1/2 cup of yogurt plus 1 tbsp of peanut butter and 3/4 cup puffins, I can have an apple, a grapefruit, a cup of grapes, AND some watermelon. I might turn into a piece of fruit if I did that, but you get my drift… 🙂

Holy Veggies

I just got my entire day’s worth of fruit and veggies in 20 minutes. Let me show you.

First, I had a Mexican Style Salad.

It had:

  • Red Leaf Lettuce, no slug (0 pts)
  • Fresh cilantro (0 pts)
  • New Jersey Corn (1 pt)
  • 1/2 cup canned black beans (1 pt)
  • 1 oz 75% RF Cabot Cheddar (1 pt)
  • Salsa (0 pts)
  • 1/2 serving baked tostitos (1 pt)

On the side, I steamed some broccoli (0 pts)

And then had 2 baby cucumbers sliced, and 1 cup of cherries.

Everything that I ate (besides the canned black beans, cheese, salsa, and baked tortilla chips) was organic and from a local farm. It was so filling and satisfying, and the whole huge meal was only 5 points. As you can probably venture to guess, I’m trying to use up all the fruits and veggies I have because I have a new farm share box coming tomorrow! Normally I won’t have a problem using up everything but because I’ve been traveling on the weekends, its been tough trying to use it all.

What are some of your favorite ways to add extra flavor to meals, without adding too many calories? Adding fresh herbs to a salad is one of my favorite ways to add tons of flavor with minimal calories. I also love to use garlic and vinegar in cooking, and salsa for salad dressings, dip, or as a topping on baked potato.

The Flavor Was There, But…

Hiya! Thanks for all your responses on my post from this morning. It looks like most people are morning exercisers, which makes me feel like I should be less lazy and just get up and go! To think about freeing up my evenings is pretty desirable too, and I think it is great to get my day started on the right foot. I can already feel how much more on track I am today than on days where I don’t work out.. an M&M here, starburst here… bite of whatever is in the office kitchen, etc.

So unintentionally I haven’t been to the grocery store in ages. I’ve been traveling for so many weekends and stopping at farmer’s markets here and there and just haven’t made the time to go. It’s made me go out a bit more than normal, but also get a little creative in the kitchen. For lunch today, I decided to make some black bean burgers.

Into the food processor, I threw:

  • 1/2 cup black beans (1 pt)
  • 1 tbsp parmesan cheese (1 pt)
  • 1/2 large carrot
  • 1/4 onion
  • fresh dill

I pulsed that until combined so it looked like this:

And then formed it into patties:

I realized once I started forming them into patties they were a little too wet. I should have added 1/4 cup of panko crumbs, and also rinsed and dried the beans better. I was in a rush though, so I just went with it. The texture of these was sort of like a thick bean spread, so when I heated them up they kind of melted a bit together. The flavor of them, however, was awesome. The fresh dill and parmesan make SUCH a difference – I think that’s the trick to delicious homemade veggie burgers.

I ended up taking a flatout wrap (1 pt) with some greens, and put the heated “burgers” on top and wrapped it up.

Again, the consistency was way off on these, but the flavor was awesome. It tasted great spread in the wrap. On the side, I had some more fresh broccoli (0 pts) from my farm share with some salsa (0 pts) to dip.

I had an apple (1 pt) for “dessert”

I am off to wrap up the day. Be back!

What are you looking forward to tonight?

Eww!

Hello! How’s your Monday going so far? Mine is good and fast! Lots to do so the day is flying by. Lunch today was reworked leftovers with some of the veggies from my CSA.

I had Shrimp Fajitas for dinner last night, and only ate about half, so brought the other half home to bring in today. I grabbed some red leaf lettuce from my farm share and washed it 3x before packing it up. I brought it out today and look what I found:

A slug! I know its actually a good sign because you know it really came from the ground and is fresh, but…

Ew!

I almost couldn’t eat my salad but I washed the lettuce two more times and carefully inspected each piece to make sure there were no other creatures trying to get in my belly.

I threw together:

  • 2 cups of red leaf lettuce (0 pts)
  • 1/2 cup black beans (1 pt)
  • 5 shrimp + veggies (3 pts)

It was actually quite delicious! The shrimp + veggies were so good and added a ton of flavor to the salad. I didn’t eat all the lettuce because I was still a little nervous about the slug discovery.

On the side, I had some broccoli from the farm share.

I had some salsa to dip it in, but the broccoli was so delicious that I didn’t even use it! What a difference fresh broccoli is from what I usually get at the store! It was so flavorful and crunchy, and just perfect. I ended up eating this x2 and loved every second of it.

So time to check back in on my June goals, even though they are really not going as well as I would have hoped.

1.) Drink more water. Check on this one. I’ve been consistently drinking more water and making an effort to have at least 8 glasses during the work day, and more at night.

2.) Be consistent with exercise. Check on this one, too. I managed to wake up early Friday to get in a run and then did a 17 mile bike ride yesterday even though I was away for the weekend. I’d like to be getting in 5 days a week but 4 is more reasonable with the amount of traveling I’ve been doing lately.

3.) Get back to strength training. I have done strength training 2x this month so far, which is more than normal, but I’d like to get in 1-2x a week. I plan to do at least one day this week, so half check. I also ordered The Shred from amazon.com, so hopefully once that arrives (early next week) I’ll be able to get it in more consistently.

4.) Go back to Weight Watchers Meetings – Hopefully I’ll make it this Thursday. I weighed myself this morning and it’s not looking too good, but I definitely need to just suck it back up and go.

5.) Limit alcohol consumption – Fail. I haven’t been going crazy or anything, but I have been having a lot of unnecessary drinks here and there – and high calorie ones at that (margaritas!). I need to cut back in this department, though I have a happy hour for work coming up Thursday…

6.) Count WW Points. Half check. I’ve been good about counting my breakfasts/lunches, but not so much about dinners and eating out. Have to be more consistent about this until I’m at goal weight.

So I guess its not as bad as I was thinking, but I really need to get it together so that I can look and feel my best in my best friend’s wedding in August. I have 7 weeks from Saturday, so definitely enough time, but I need to get my butt in gear and stop making excuses! I realize that I’ve had a lot going on the past few weeks, but there’s always a lot going on, and I can’t keep using it as an excuse to get off track and not be so focused on my goals.

CSA!

Good morning and happy almost-Friday! Today is off to a great start because I went to pick up my CSA this morning and it looks great this week. In case you didn’t know, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture and translates to getting a box of fresh, local produce every week. Farms have a certain number of shares (farm shares) that can be purchased by the public, and this allows them to get their cash flow started early and allows them to get to know the people eating their food. As a consumer, there are tons of benefits because you get seasonal fresh produce, packed with nutrients and you know where you food is coming from. Also, you don’t get to pick what you get (like you do at a Farmer’s Market) so it forces you to try new things that you might not otherwise, which always excites me.

I signed up for the CSA a few months ago and have been looking forward to it starting ever since. I was pretty disappointed when the first week was during my time in OKC, and then last week my friend picked it up for me and it didn’t look THAT good. In fact, we haven’t even used most of the produce we got last week, but today was a new day and a new box of veggies! I set out to pick it up at 9am because its right by my house and I wanted to get first pick of the veggies and also not have them sitting in an unairconditioned room all day (which I suspect was part of the problem from last week) so I set out before work to go find the veggies.

There were tons of boxes stacked up in the room, and so I just picked out the two I was getting (one for me, and one for my friend Amber because we’re splitting a full share). One box is a half-share, and two are a full-share, so Amber and I are splitting a full share. Here’s what the box looked like:

And spread out on my counter…

This week my share had:

  • 3 heads of broccoli
  • collard greens (lots)
  • yellow squash
  • red leaf lettuce
  • a baby cilantro plant
  • beets with tops

I am really happy with this week’s share and am excited to start eating it.. tonight! I’ve never had farm fresh broccoli and I love broccoli, so that’s one of the things I’m looking forward to the most.

Breakfast today was true Overnight Oats (as in I actually made them last night for once!) and added craisins overnight. I got the ideal from Nicole because she put raisins in her overnight oats, so I decided to give it a go with craisins, and it tasted SO good! The craisins/raisins soak up a lot of the liquid so they plump up and add a nice flavor/texture to the mix. The bowl was interesting enough on its own that I didn’t even add any toppings and I’m feeling really satisfied.

In the mix:

  • 1/3 cup rolled oats (1.5 pts)
  • 1/2 scoop protein powder (1 pt)
  • 1 tsp chia seeds (.5 pts)
  • 2 tbsp cherry craisins (1 pt)
  • 2/3 cup light soy milk (1 pt)

If you like overnight oats and haven’t ever tried adding raisins or craisins to it, DO IT! It’s so good.

Question: Have you ever done a CSA or is that something you’d be interested in? What was your experience like if you did it, and if not, what would you look forward to the most about it?

Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers

Lunch today was a new creation that you must try. 3 ingredients total – so simple, healthy, and delicious.

What you need (for one serving):

  • 1/2 cooked sweet potato (1.5 pts)
  • 1/4 cup black beans (.5 pts)
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs (1 pt)

Directions:

1.) Wash and poke holes in a sweet potato and microwave it for 5 minutes. OR use 1/2 leftover baked potato

2.) Put 1/4 cup canned beans and the sweet potato in a food processor and pulse until combined

3.) Put mixture into a bowl and add the panko crumbs.

4.) Mix until combined and form into patties.

If I was eating at home, I would have cooked them in a pan, but since I brought them with me to work, I microwaved them for 45 seconds and then threw them into the toaster. I served them open faced on a toasted arnold thin

And then added a spoonful of salsa onto each patty.

I served these with a side salad of romaine and radicchio with chopped garlic sprouts

And then leftover broccoli from the chinese restaurant

Oh my gosh, these burgers are amazing. And they take no time to prepare, especially if you have leftover sweet potato to throw in there. You probably know by now that sweet potato and black beans is one of my all time favorite combos, and I’ve just started making my own veggie burgers, so I thought why not a black bean sweet potato burger? I’m so happy I thought of this and tried it!

Total points for lunch today was 3 (burgers) + 1 (arnold thin) + 0 (salad) + 1 (broccoli – just a guess bc of the sauce which I mostly washed off) = 5

So much food for the points. You’ll definitely be seeing these burgers again, if not in your own kitchen, on here!

Happy Wednesday!

Maoz

Today I am so happy that I didn’t have food at home to make lunch because I had an AWESOME meal at a new-to-me place. My friend/former coworker Helene actually emailed me while I was in OKC to tell me about this place she went to, and I knew I had to try it.

Maoz is a vegetarian restaurant that has international locations, and then one in Philly, NYC, and now DC. It opened about 6 months ago, but I’d never heard of it until Helene emailed me about it. It’s on M Street between 18th and 19th, so a bit of a trek from my office, but TOTALLY worth it. The whole concept behind it is that they use fresh ingredients and try to do as much farm to table as possible. From the website,

“Maoz Vegetarian is an international, quick service vegetarian restaurant chain, which brought to the world the delicious Maoz sandwich: FALAFEL. Our menu is strictly vegetarian and is based on simplicity, freshness and care. Our famous Maoz sandwich is home baked pita bread filled with crispy, handmade Falafel balls which are made from chickpeas, a vitamin rich legume, packed with plenty of proteins, minerals and vitamin B. The chickpeas are blended daily with fresh spices and vegetables and then fried in zero trans-fat Canola oil. All of our salads and sauces are freshly prepared every day using handpicked ingredients to assure superior quality and freshness.”

So they have falafel sandwiches, or falafel salads, and then a whole salad bar of fresh salads that are made daily and refreshed every few minutes so you know its as fresh as could be. The wraps come with the falafel in a pita and regular or sweet potato fries, and the salad comes with two mix-ins and a drink. For my salad, I added eggplant and hummus as my two mix ins and here it was before I got to the salad bar:

And then the salad bar was AWESOME. Everything was vegetarian and looked and tasted so fresh.

And from the other side:

The first part of the salad bar had: Olives, Pickles, Hot Peppers, Chickpea Salad, Beet Salad, and Carrot Salad:

The next part had Veggie Salad, Tabouli Salad, Broccoli + Cauliflower, Coleslaw, and Cabbage Salad:

And then the end had a bunch of sauces to choose from:

Salsa, Cilantro Sauce, Hot Sauce, and something else I didn’t catch the name of. I loaded up my bowl with practically everything on the salad bar, and you pay for it PRE-toppings, not by weight, which is awesome in my book. Here’s the finished product:

It was AWESOME. The falafel was really crispy and warm, and a perfect contrast to the chilled veggie salads. In my bowl was:

  • Falafel
  • Eggplant
  • Hummus
  • Chickpea Salad
  • Pickled Hot Peppers
  • Beet Salad
  • Veggie Salad
  • Red Cabbage Salad
  • Tabouli Salad
  • Broccoli + Cauliflower
  • Carrot Salad
  • Cilantro Sauce
  • Salsa

The bowl was HUGE. I should have saved some of it because I ate it all in one go and I was stuffed, but it was delicious, healthy, and loaded with lots of fresh veggies. Maoz is definitely a close second to Juice Joint for my favorite places to get lunch in DC when I don’t bring it. I highly recommend you check it out if you live here or visit DC, NYC, or Philly. So, so good.

I’m actually using a little bit of my comp time to leave early today so that I can unpack, go grocery shopping, and hopefully get to Bikram too. My body is missing it since it’s been over a week since I’ve gone – I really can’t wait to go. I find that when I go after taking some time off I have an awesome class, which is a bit different than I’d expect. I still feel a little unsettled since I got home so late last night and haven’t really had any downtime at all since I’ve been back. I’ll be back!

Question: What is your favorite place to go for lunch if you don’t bring it to work/school? What type of food is it?