……and turnip greens!  – Billy Currington

This song has been in my head ever since I decided what we were having for dinner today.  Tonight we used our turnip greens from our bi-weekly harvest.  They were yummy.  Joe’s reaction to them? “They taste like they are part of a plant.  Like someone took the leaves off of a plant and cooked them.”  yep, that’s pretty much what they are!  The tops of turnips sauteed with garlic, olive oil, and red onion.  He loved it though because he was halfway through the meal before I even got a chance to take a picture of my plate for this post.

Joe’s Plate

My Plate

To go with our turnip greens, I made a baked sweet potato and a pork chop.  The pork chop recipe was from Skinnytaste.com and I used the exact recipe.

Pork Chops with Dijon Herb Sauce

Serves 4 ~ 167 calories

Ingredients:
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 4 pork chops (22 oz with bone, fat removed), 1 inch thick, trim all visible fat
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 3 tbsp chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup fat free chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp chopped, fresh herbs like parsley, chives
Directions:
In a large frying pan heat the butter over moderately low heat. Season pork with salt and pepper.
Raise heat to medium and add the chops to the pan and sauté for 7 minutes. Turn and cook until chops are browned and done to medium, about 7-8 minutes longer. Remove the chops and put in a warm spot.
Add the onion to the pan and cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the stock and boil until it reduces to 1/2 cup, about 3 minutes. Stir in the mustard, herbs, and 1/8 tsp pepper. Put the chops on a platter and pour the sauce over the meat.

 

Today was also weigh in wednesday.  I lost another pound this week, bringing me back to what I weighed before Shea’s wedding.  I didn’t get flowers today at the store because I don’t feel like I should have a reward for losing weight I already lost.  Instead, I made us a nice, healthy dinner to continue to keep us on track.

I have decided that I want to make a weight loss goal for myself with the goal date as my birthday.  I have 11 pounds to go to meet the weight I’m aiming for, so 11 pounds in 50 days (November 21st) is very doable.  It’s less than 1 1/2 pounds a week.  Katie has a ShipShape long sleeved tshirt already on hold for me as my reward for meeting my goal.   I know I can do it!

Today I was excited to cook. I’ve really been having trouble staying on track recently.  I do my best when I have breakfast and lunch planned for the week.  The Eagles weren’t on until later in the afternoon, so I was able to spend most of the day fixing lunch for the week and a yummy dinner for tonight.  I made black bean & corn chili for lunch, to which Joe said, “Is some of that is for me??”  I guess I’ll have to share!

I’ve had pork chops sitting in the freezer for nearly 2 months, so I was on a mission to use them this week.  I found a recipe on Taste of Home for Pork Chop Cacciatore.  I’ve found the best way to make pork is to cook it for a long time and this recipe uses the crockpot, so I decided to try it out.  The recipe said to cook for 10-12 hours, but by then I think it would end up as a pork stew because my chops were falling apart as I took them out after 5 hours.  I also replaced the pasta with roasted cauliflower.  It was so good and incredibly filling.  I had one serving and now have another serving leftover for lunch this week.

 

Pork Chop Cacciatore

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless pork chops
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 celery rib, chopped
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup water, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil or other italian seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch or flour
  • 4-1/2 cups cooked egg noodles (I replaced it with a head of roasted califlower)

Instructions:

  • Sprinkle chops with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, brown chops in oil in batches depending on size of pan. Transfer to a 4-or 5-qt. slow cooker coated with cooking spray. Saute the mushrooms, onion, celery and carrots in drippings until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in the tomatoes, 1/4 cup water,  basil and remaining salt; pour over chops.
  •    Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours or until pork is tender. Remove meat to a serving platter; keep warm. Skim fat from cooking juices if necessary; transfer to a small saucepan. Bring liquid to a boil. Combine cornstarch (or flour) and remaining water until smooth. Gradually stir into the pan. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Serve with meat and noodles (cauliflower).

Yield: 4 servings.

Nutrition:  1 pork chop and 1 1/2 cup cauliflower  with sauce  ~ 360 calories per serving

Today was week 3 of gaining.  I’m up three pounds since before vacation, which isn’t terrible, but I’m trying to lose!  This weekend was tough with lots of food I normally don’t eat.  Carbs seem to be the biggest offender.  I often say “I can look at a piece of bread and gain weight”.  I’m feeling more and more that that’s the truth.  Plus 3 nights of ice cream for dessert doesn’t help.

Today is my restart.  It seems appropriate with summer ending and the school year starting.  I focused on doing what I know works for me.

  • Eat a filling breakfast
  • Bring in a prepared lunch
  • Have fruit and/or vegetables at each meal or snack
  • Have carrots and hummus for my afternoon snack

I did each of these today and came in just a smidge over my 1200 calorie goal for the day and I didn’t feel hungry at all.  Plus I did 30 minutes of cardio and Katie’s BodyPump class.  It was a great day all around.

Dinner was my take on McKenzie’s Mediteranean Salad, my all time favorite salad to have at a restaurant.  I could eat it every day….seriously!

1 head of leaf lettuce (courtesy of my CSA harvest)

1 green bell pepper (to replace the cucumbers since I was out of them)

2 scallion stems chopped

tomato slices (I love tomato, so I put in 2 whole tomatos)

Sprinkle of Feta Cheese

2 hard boiled eggs

Freshly cooked beets (also from my CSA harvest…YUM!!!!)

Croutons for some crunch

I also had 2 Marco Polo rolls leftover (from Wegmans of course- only Collegeville sells them), so I sliced them up and drizzled a little olive oil and salt/pepper on them to make crostini.  I just put them on a tray and put them in the oven at 350* for 20 minutes to crisp them up.  I sprinkled just a bit of parmesan cheese on them and popped them back in the oven for 5 minutes to melt.  If I made these again, I wouldn’t cook them as long because they definately were very crunchy and crispy, but still delicious.

Today I joined the Kimberton CSA (Community Sponsored Agriculture).  I’ve been wanting to find a way to try to vegetables without breaking the bank and get local veggies.  We haven’t been able to take advantage of our farmers market in Phoenixville and I was just tired of buying the same old thing at Wegmans.  I think this was a great decision to join.  The farm itself is so neat.  They have pick your own areas for flowers, hot peppers, certain types of tomatoes, okra….I know there’s more, but I can’t remember.

They have these “take what you need” tables full of herbs and whatever they have a ton of that week.  Today they had 4 huge cartons of basil, omigosh, the room smelled amazing!!!  They had celery, parsley, escarole, and some greens too.  I did my “share” and then took a little bit of each from the “take what you need” table and headed outside.  The farmer, Erik, told me about how they have events on the weekends for the people in the CSA.  There were a bunch of people with kids there today just running around the farm.  It was pretty cool.

I can’t wait to learn some recipes and enjoy new vegetables in the process.  I’ll be sure to share!!!

In preparation for the seafood cooking class I’m taking next week, I decided to thaw the tuna steaks sitting in our freezer.  I found an interesting marinade and it turned out pretty well.  I didn’t have any scallions, but it didn’t make much difference.  I made a salad and sauteed up some zucchini to go with it.

Asian Sesame Grilled Tuna Steak

INGREDIENTS
2 albacore tuna steaks
1 clove garlic, grated
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
1-2 Tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 scallion, chopped

DIRECTIONS
-Mix all ingredients except the tuna steaks together in a medium bowl
-Rinse the tuna steak with water, pat dry and season with salt and pepper on both sides
-Add tuna steak to marinade, turning once or twice with tongs to coat all sides
-Marinate for about 30 minutes in the refrigerator, turning once (TIP: don’t marinate too long or the acid in the lemon juice will start to “cook” the fish)
-Heat your grill to medium-high heat and oil the grates
-Grill tuna steak for 3 minutes on each side and serve

Well we are back from vacation and I wish we were still there.  I had spent so much time worrying about the drive up and back to Maine that it took away from a bit of the fun of vacation itself,but the mantra above kept me going.  I recently bought this magnet and I have it directly next to the handle on my refridgerator door since it’s somewhere I visit often and I need a reminder that I need to keep pushing myself.  On my white knuckled drive through the Jersey turnpike in the rain, I kept repeating these words.  Ever since our car accident in June, I have dreaded driving on highways and in the rain, let alone both!!  I am hoping it will continue to keep me going so I can get over my apprehensions and realize that the accident wasn’t my fault!  It’s going to take some time, but I have too many places I want to go and people I want to visit that I can’t let my lack of control over the rest of the world keep me from doing what I want to do.

Once we finally got to Maine, we had a great time exploring Mount Desert Island, but mostly Acadia National Park.  We did quite a few hikes and long walks on the famous Rockefeller Carriage Roads.  We picked a 3.2 miler for the first walk and apparently I forgot to mention that it has the steepest climb of all of the carriage roads.  I know it was challenging, especially for my parents, but they were troopers and stuck with it.  We were all smiles once we were done and the view was well worth the effort!  It was such a revelation for me that things I used to dread (ie. exercize of any kind), I now enjoy and look forward to.

As for eating, it was pretty challenging to eat healthy since we ate out most of the time, but we usually only ate a late breakfast and dinner.  I was so excited to get a salad when we got home, so we went to Sly Fox where I had a Greek Salad with Grilled Chicken (dressing and feta on the side).  I devoured every bit of it!  I swear I was in veggie withdrawal!!!  We’ll see how Weigh In Wednesday goes tomorrow, but I’ve been doing well with eating since we’ve been back, so hopefully I’ve already reversed any weight I gained.  I guess we’ll see tomorrow!

 

 

 

I finally got to buy celebratory weigh in flowers again!!!!

I’ve maintained my weight for the past 2 months which is good, but when you’re working out 5-6 times a week, it’d be nice to see a little movement on the scale.  I refocused on eating fruit and vegetables as well as limiting the processed carbs (ie. Pretzels and Parmesan Goldfish) That seemed to help a great deal because I dropped 4 pounds!  I have a ton of energy and physically feel better than I’ve felt all summer.

 

I’ve been bored with just basic zucchini recipes, so I thought I’d try something I saw online where you slice the zucchini in ribbons using a peeler.  Make sure you buy small zucchini to make the peeling easier.  I paired this with grilled chicken marinated in white balsamic vinegarette dressing and a small salad.  Joe couldn’t wait to try this new dressing I bought at the grocery store today, so he requested I make a salad.   ALso, I’ve been hungry all day and came home from personal training with Katie with a grumbling stomach.

 

Zucchini Ribbons with Tomatoes

4 servings ~ 70 calories per serving

Ingredients

2 zucchini cut in ribbons with a peeler

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp minced garlic (or as much as you prefer)

10 cherry/grape tomatoes sliced in half

2 tbsp shredded parmesan cheese

 Instructions

Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized pan and add the garlic.  Saute the garlic for a few minutes and add the zucchini ribbons, tossing with tongs to coat with the garlic/oil mixture.  Continue to toss until zucchini warms and appears to be tender.  Add the halved tomatoes and cook another minute or two.  Transfer to serving dish using the tongs since this produces a lot of liquid when cooked.  Top with shredded parmesan cheese.

 

We spent Saturday moving one of my friends and Joe fell asleep on the couch for about 3 hours when we got home, so I was able to pull together a really nice meal and not worry about how long it took to cook.   I made cheeseburger sliders with Joe’s favorite roll (Martin’s Potato Rolls) and “Baked Tomatoes, Squash, and Potatoes”.

A friend of mine made this for Joe and I when we visited for dinner over a year ago and it was one of the best side dishes I’ve ever had.  The recipe was only posted to Whole Living’s website in September 2011 and, thanks to Pintrest, I finally found it!!!   Since it takes well over an hour to make from start to finish, I figured this would be a great time to test out the recipe on my own.

I used a pie dish thinking it would be the right size for the potato, tomato, and squash I had sliced, but as I started filling the dish, it quickly ran out of room.  I would recommend the 9×13 dish they mention in the recipe.  I think it would allow everything to cook quicker.  When I made it in the pie dish, it took nearly 90 minutes instead of 60 minutes to cook.

6 Servings ~ 91 Calories per serving

Ingredients

  •                                         2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  •                                         1 onion, thinly sliced
  •                                         2 small tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  •                                         1 medium yellow summer squash, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  •                                         1 medium Yukon Gold potato, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  •                                         Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  •                                         1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  •                                         2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Heat oil over medium and cook onion until tender and lightly golden, 6 to 8 minutes.
  2. Arrange the onion on the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Overlap tomato, squash, and potato on top of the onion. Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with thyme and Parmesan, and drizzle with more oil.
  3. Bake covered for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until golden, 30 minutes more.

I’ve been looking for a good make ahead breakfast recipe and haven’t been very successful….until now.  These Insanely Good Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins from skinnytaste live up to their namesake.  I had to distract myself with sorting laundry to stop myself from opening the oven door every few minutes to check on them because even the batter smelled delicious.  These do not disappoint and are worth the extra 30 minutes you have to wait to let the quick oats soak.  My only frustration is that they stuck to my paper wrappers.

The recipe made 12 regular size muffins and 10 mini-muffins when I made them.  My only deviation from the original recipe is that I had no brown sugar.  I used 1/2 white sugar and added a tbsp of maple syrup.  Thank you Google!

Skinnytaste’s Insanely Good Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins

12 muffins = 127 calories

  • 1 1/2 cups Quaker quick oatmeal
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or skim milk) I used skim milk
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed, or 1/2 cup white sugar + 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp agave (or sugar, honey) I used honey
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • baking spray

Preheat oven to 400°. Line a muffin tin with liners and lightly spray with oil.  Now I realize I forgot to spray the paperliners with the cooking spray!
Place oats in a food processor or chopper and pulse a few times. Soak oats in milk for about 30 minutes.

In a medium bowl combine brown sugar, agave, apple sauce, vanilla, egg whites, oil and mix well. 

In a third bowl combine whole wheat flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and whisk to combine.

Combine oats and milk with sugar, applesauce mixture and mix well. Slowly add in the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated. Fold in blueberries.

Spoon into the muffin tin and bake for 22-24 minutes.

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