Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Oatmeal Meatballs With Spinach

Oatmeal Meatballs With Spinach

Serves 4

* 1/2 cup instant oats
* 1/4 cup nonfat plain yogurt
* 1/2 cup packed baby spinach, thinly sliced
* 1/4 cup packed basil, chopped, plus 1 sprig
* 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
* 1 egg white
* 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped, divided
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 1/2 pound ground chicken
* olive oil cooking spray
* 1 can (26 oz) diced tomatoes, plus juice
* 1/2 cup chicken broth
* 4 oz whole-wheat pasta, cooked according to the package instructions


Heat oven to 400˚. Mix oats and yogurt with 1/4 cup water in a bowl until oats begin to absorb liquid. Add spinach, basil, Parmesan, egg white, half the garlic, salt and pepper, and stir. Add chicken and mix until well combined. Form into 16 2-inch meatballs.

Coat a large, oven-safe stockpot with cooking spray. Add meatballs and bake until they begin to brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Turn and bake 10 minutes more. Add remaining garlic, basil sprig, tomatoes and broth. Cover and cook until meatballs are cooked through and sauce begins to thicken, 20 minutes. Serve immediately with pasta.

The skinny
314 calories per serving, 3.3 g fat (1.3 g saturated), 40.4 g carbs, 3.7 g fiber, 22.9 g protein

Creamy Polenta

credit to elise for this new inspiration.
I'm going to add about a cup of Italian blend cheese to it as well.

Creamy Polenta Recipe


4 cups water
Salt to taste
1 cup medium-grain yellow polenta
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup cream cheese

1 Heat water lightly seasoned with salt to a boil over high heat, about 5 minutes. Quickly whisk in the polenta until fully incorporated.

2 Lower the heat to a low simmer, add the butter and allow the polenta to cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.

3 Finish by stirring in the cream cheese and salt to taste.

If preparing in advance, cool, cover and refrigerate. Reheat in the microwave, about 5 minutes on high, just before serving. Stir vigorously after reheating to fluff.

Serves 8.

Monday, March 30, 2009

More stuffin's for Veggie Bistro

Veggie Bistro has now been updated. This weekend I upped it from 60 recipes to 135. One of the ladies at church actually offered to BUY it last week. How crazy is that?

For the next couple of days I will be printing, laminating, and polishing. Many of the recipes over there have not yet made it to the blog, so if you're interested go take a peek. :) Happy Monday, Lovelies :)

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Credit to Slice.com - Sudoku Pizza

Would YOU lick a newspaper?

Taste-It Note to save the newspaper biz?

Imagine opening a Sunday newspaper and amongst the coupons is an advertisement for a new sports drink imploring you to lick it for a sample. Sound like an early April Fools' Day joke? Well, it isn't. In fact the marketing folks at newspaper ink giant U.S. Ink Corp. think it is one of the few things that can save the newspaper industry from oblivion.

U.S. Ink, a unit of Sun Chemical Corp., calls its new product Taste-It Note, and for the last two weeks the Carlstadt, N.J., company has been trying to convince newspapers to adopt the peel-and-taste strips to help lick a predicted 22% drop in 2009 advertising revenue, according to New Jersey newspaper The Record.

U.S. Ink marketing manager Todd Wheeler told The Record the Taste-It Notes could give newspaper advertising an advantage that digital communications can't match -- not to mention a "yuck" factor.

However, U.S. Ink must have been aware of the fear of germs because the taste strips, which are manufactured by Bala Cynwyd, Pa.-based First Flavor, are packaged in a pouch for freshness. The company states 1.5 million people have tasted the Taste-It Note, and 59% were more likely to purchase the product after tasting it. Companies using First Flavor's strips include Campbell's Soup Co. (NYSE:CPB), Diageo plc (NYSE:DEO), and Welch Food Inc.

While clearly it could help keep some advertisers on board, it probably won't sell more newspapers. After all, who is going to buy newspapers just to taste an ad anyway? - Gerald Magpily

Sunday, March 22, 2009

This is what I get....

For weeks I haven't been able to be online for more than 5 minutes a day. I start cleaning out my mailbox and what do I get? Lotsa stuff to remember!!! This one is just for me, but I'm posting here in case someone else finds value in it as well.

Eat Right Without Thinking

By Tamar Haspel, Women's Health
From the instructions for some diets, you'd think losing weight was more complicated than calibrating a sextant against Orion on a cloudy night. The food diaries you need to write; the nutrition labels you need to read and pronounce and translate; the protein, fat, and carbohydrate grams you have to add up. It's time to try an easier way. No math, no more squinting at the fine print and trying to decipher those words with no vowels. Instead, just 20 everyday tactics that will get you started on your weight-loss plan and then help you stick to it. Soon enough, your diet will simply become the way you eat.

1. Always eat dessert. Yes, always. "A small amount can signal that the meal is over," says Barbara Rolls, Ph.D., author of The Volumetrics Eating Plan. She ends her meals with a piece of quality chocolate and she's a doctor.

2. Get help from a paper napkin. You can use it to blot a teaspoon of fat off a pizza slice. That may not sound like a lot, but multiply it by a slice a week, and that's more than a whole cup of fat you won't eat or wear this year.

3. Take the beltway. When junk food beckons, tighten your belt a notch. Not so you can't breathe, but so you have a gentle reminder of the size you'd like to be. "The scale isn't the only measure of weight," says Roberta Anding, R.D., a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.

4. Go public. Enlist the help of friends, family, and coworkers and know they're watching. "The power of embarrassment is greater than willpower," says Stephen Gullo, Ph.D., author of The Thin Commandments.

5. Milk it for all it's worth. Consuming 1,800 milligrams of calcium a day could block the absorption of about 80 calories, according to a recent University of Tennessee study. Jump-start your calcium intake by filling your coffee mug with skim or 1 percent milk, drinking it down to the level you want in your coffee, then pouring in your caffeine fix. That's 300 mg down, 1,500 to go.

6. Scrape by. Always order your bagel or burger with a plastic knife. Use it to scrape off the excess cream cheese and mayo. You could shave off as many as half the calories.

7. Spice things up. Capsaicin, the substance that puts the hot in hot pepper, temporarily boosts your metabolism. Just make sure you're drinking a yogurt lassi with that searing-hot chicken vindaloo. Dairy blocks capsaicin's sweat-inducing signals better than water.

8. Case the organic section. That's where you're likely to find bread and cereal with fiber counts that put the conventional choices to shame. Thought you were doing well with your 3-grams-per-serving Cheerios? Nature's Path Slim blows it away with 10 g. (And it really doesn't taste like a shredded shoebox.)

9. Increase your a-peel. Speaking of fiber, a lot of it's in the peel, whether it's potatoes, apples, or pears. Even oranges don't eat the whole peel, but keep the pith, that white stringy stuff; it's packed with flavonoids. More nutrients, more fiber, less labor. It's a win-win-win.

10. Spend lavishly on precut vegetables at the supermarket. Sure, they cost more, but you're more likely to eat them. "Make low-energy snacks as easy as possible," Dr. Rolls says. "Keep vegetables as near to hand as you can. Make it so you have no excuse."

11. Upgrade your restaurant selection. Pick a place where you'll actually want to linger. "When the meals are not hurried, the presentation is beautiful and the portions are reasonable so you can regulate your attitude," Anding says. That means your body not the empty plate will tell you when to stop.

12. Eat a snack at 3 p.m., no matter what. "Have a 150-calorie snack [now], and it can save you 400 calories later," Anding says. An ounce of nuts or two sticks of string cheese weigh in at about 170 calories.

13. Drink with your dominant hand. If you're circulating at a party, Dr. Rolls suggests keeping your glass in the hand you eat with. If you're drinking with it, you can't eat with it, can you?

14. Plate it. Whatever it is, don't eat it out of the container and don't bring the container to the couch. "Part of satiety is visual," Anding says. "Your brain actually has to see the food on the plate, and when you reach into the jar, or the box, or the bag, you don't see it." If it's worth eating, put it on a plate. Eat what's there, then stop.

15. Send back the bread. All it takes is a wave of the hand, a smile, and a "No, thank you."

16. Start with salad. It's the holy grail of dieting eat less by eating more. Dr. Rolls's research has found that eating a salad as a first course decreased total lunch calories by 12 percent. Avoid the croutons and creamy dressings, which have the opposite effect.

17. Go out for ice cream. Or an eclair. Or even guacamole and chips. Just go out. Don't keep your danger foods in the house. You can't eat half of a carton of ice cream that's not there in the first place.

18. Give yourself a hand. Find a way other than food to work off your nervous energy. "It's behavior modification," Anding says. "Instead of grabbing a bag of chips, you pick up your knitting. Art works, woodworking works anything that occupies your hands."

19. Wait a minute. Well, 10 minutes. When your mind strays from your desk to the vending machine, it could be hunger or it could be boredom or irritation with your boss. If you're still thinking about snacking 10 minutes later, then you're probably hungry. Think of it as a chance to have one of the nine servings of fruits and vegetables you need each day.

20. Go wild once in a while. Deprivation won't make you thin or happy. Designate a meal or two a week when you can eat absolutely anything you want.

Coming attractions...

I want to do a stuffed gluten steak (just more method madness really), fake "Beef" wellington, and I still need to invent a decent chicken salad. That's gonna be the easy one. I'm thinking my fried garlic "chicken" as the base...

Zesty Potato Patties

Coupling these with a nice greens and black bean salad or maybe some Mexican flavored chops, sounds like a yummy Sunday to me :)

Zesty Potato Patties

Prep Time: 20 min Makes: 4 patties

1 cup mashed potato flakes
1 oz. (1/4 cup) shredded Cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon chicken flavored instant bouillon
1 teaspoon dried cilantro
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/4 cup salsa
2 tablespoons margarine or butter

1 In medium bowl, combine potato flakes, cheese, flour, bouillon, cilantro
and baking powder; mix well.
2 In small bowl, beat egg with fork. Stir in milk and salsa. Add to potato
mixture; stir just until combined. Let stand 2 to 3 minutes or until liquid is
3 Melt margarine in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Drop
potato mixture by 1/2 cupfuls into skillet. Spread each to form 4-inch round..
Cook 4 to 6 minutes or until golden brown, turning once. Serve warm.

Getting a handle on my love handles...

So, this week DH went out and bought a new scale that tells weight, BMI, body fat, and hydration. And God help me.... I actually stepped on the thing. It was honest with me. Reminded me of my extra 20 lbs, reminded me to drink more water, and then... and then the little bugger told me what percentage body fat I have. Evil little contraption. You'd be proud of me. I didn't react. I didn't throw anything. I didn't yell or grumble. I even went back for more the next day. Amazing, right? Deb's new exercise routine is inspiring me to challenge myself. Hate is such a strong word, and I try not to use it superfluously, but I can safely say, "I HATE exercise." So much. With a passion so much. Would rather have a root canal so much. And so, in lieu of exercise (the last resort), I give you: The top ten foods to help reduce body fat. Tricks first, then foods. Enjoy! And wish me luck!!! :)

10 STEPS: Eating to Reduce Body Fat... Pain Free!
By Mandy Gibbons

1. Don't drive yourself nuts running away from cravings
I am not saying pig out on junk every time the thought pops into your head but on those occasions where you just can't function because you are dreaming of that Mars Bar you so desperately need then by all means buy one, eat it and get the craving out the way so you can get on with life.

2. Work with your hunger pains
Many folk seem to think they are gaining results from suffering away listening to their tummies rumbling, feeling sick and dizzy from not eating, convincing themselves that they must be losing tonnes of body fat. WRONG! WRONG! WRONG! WRONG! By causing your body to starve you are actually encouraging your body to store the food you consume as well as slowing down your metabolism. Take note of the time you are hungry and plan your meals so you have something on hand. Remember if you're training regularly you should be eating up to 5-6 nutritious and meals per day - all of which should contain a lean source of protein.

3. Do you have fat phobia?
Do you avoid meat, eggs, dairy products and any thing else that might have fat? If you do then you're going to have to smarten up because it will cause you more grief and could deter those much wanted fat loss results. Lean Red meat and poultry, fish, egg whites and low fat dairy products play a major role assisting with providing your body with the "goods" it needs to build strong healthy muscles. As for junk food well there is nothing wrong with having a cheat meal once per week, in fact it can help boost your metabolism by shocking it!

4. Using veggies and salad to your advantage
Rather than filling up on rice, pasta, potato and bread for all your meals take advantage of the great recipes and the variety that veggies and salad offer. Not only do they fill you up but they don't rely on as much flavoring to make them taste good. PLUS they don't have any where near as many calories. Your evening meal is a perfect example of how this can help you reduce body fat. Due to our lack of activity in the evenings, consuming less calories is a better fat loss option than consuming heavy rice and pasta dishes, especially when all you are going to be doing is sitting and sleeping.

5. Drink lots of water!
To keep you hydrated and feeling refreshed.

6. Have fun with your protein intake.
If you battle with consuming enough protein then find a protein shake, bar or meal replacement that you find convenient and the enjoy the taste of. If you get bored with your protein shakes or bars just change the flavors and even brands. Hey - you may as well take advantage of the massive range of exciting new protein options available.
You also have the option of mixing vanilla protein shakes with yogurt and other low fat dairy products to help make them more enticing. There are loads of protein shake recipes on the net so head to google.com and do a search on them. You will be surprised just how many you find!

7. Battling with Calorie reduction? Mix it up for some variety!
Why not cycle your calorie intake? As most of you know reducing your calories by 15 % can help break that plateau .... but then what do you do when your body gets used to that? Say for example you're consuming 1900 calories per day. You've completed the above option of reducing your daily calorie intake by 15% which equals 1615 calories per day. You can then mix it up a little. Decrease your calorie intake by 10% (1900 - 10% = 1890 calories per day). Then " up" your calorie intake by 5% (1900 + 5% = 1995 calories per day) and so on - get my drift? Keep your body guessing while also stimulating your metabolism. Some people alter it on a weekly basis some every few days... go with what works best for you. Throw this into your eating plan once in a while to clean out the cobwebs.

8. Keep your portion sizes simple
If you use "gram portions" with your meals and find that your eating program falls by the wayside because you don't have time to weigh your food etc then use "portions sizes or comparisons" to quickly calculate the size of your meals. A deck of cards is a great way to gauge a portion size. Find something on hand that is close to the size of the amount of food you require for your portions so you can have it handy and compare it. It's faster and helps the reduce the hassle of preparing meals.

9. Add variety to your meals
"Spice up" your food. Why not introduce new Indian, Italian, Mexican and Asian dishes into your eating program to help keep those taste buds happy.

You may think that this is old fashioned - but it works and it's fun. Why not have a "bring and share" food bash. Have everyone bring over their favorite low fat casserole / dish / salad / whatever. Socialize with your food and make it fun. You will be surprised at just how many wonderful low fat cooking ideas can arise from a bring & share dinner.

10 Foods to Help Reduce Body Fat

Sweeten your oatmeal or frothy coffee drinks with this sweet spice instead of sugar (which has 16 calories per teaspoon) and you can save a couple hundred calories a week, enough to shed 2 to 3 pounds in a year without doing anything else. You'll also be doing your heart a favor as protective estrogen levels decline: Pakistani researchers found that 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon a day could lower heart-damaging cholesterol by 18% and triglycerides by 30%.

High-Fiber Granola Bars
A small British study found that women who eat a fiber-rich, high-carb breakfast burn twice as much fat during workouts later in the day as those who eat more refined (lower-fiber) foods. Try a granola bar with at least 4 g of fiber, like Kashi, instead of the typical bar that contains just a single gram. Refined carbs spike your insulin levels, which limits your body's ability to use fat as fuel, explains Lisa Dorfman, RD, adjunct professor at the University of Miami.

Hot Sauce
Forget bland condiments. If you want to burn fat, spice things up. In a study of 36 men and women, Australian researchers found that following a spicy meal, levels of insulin--the hormone that triggers body fat storage--were lowered by as much as 32%. One theory: Capsaicin, the chemical that gives chiles their fire, may improve the body's ability to clear insulin from the bloodstream after you eat, so you're more likely to burn fat following a meal spiked with chile peppers than after one that isn't packing heat.

Just 3 ounces of canned salmon delivers 530 IU (more than the Daily Value) for vitamin D and 181 mg of calcium, a power-packed nutritional combination that may be just what your waistline needs as you get older. In a 7-year study of more than 36,000 women ages 50 to 79, researchers at Kaiser Permanente found that those who took both calcium and vitamin D supplements gained less weight after menopause than those who took a placebo. Other research shows that without enough vitamin D, our appetite-regulating hormone leptin can't do its job. Other fatty fish choices include tuna, sardines, and mackerel.

Instead of snacking on some chips, open up a bag of nuts: Walnuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which may keep you feeling fuller longer. In a 1-year study of people with diabetes who were following a low-fat diet, Australian researchers discovered that those who included 8 to 10 walnuts a day lost more weight and body fat. The subjects also reduced their insulin levels, which helps keep fat storage in check.

Water with Lemon
A California study of 240 women found that dieters who replaced their sweetened drinks with water lost an average of 3 pounds more a year than those who didn't. Subjects who sipped more than 4 cups of water a day lost 2 additional pounds, compared with those who drank less. Plus, the phosphoric acid in soda may contribute to bone loss--and osteoporosis--by changing the acid balance in your blood.

Ground Flaxseed
Flaxseed is rich in fiber and healthy fats, which help stabilize blood sugar, so you're less likely to binge. Some research suggests flax can also help soothe symptoms of hormone swings because it's high in plant estrogens. Ground seeds are easier to digest. Sprinkle them over cereals, soups, or salads; add them to smoothies; or substitute 1 cup of ground flaxseed for 1/3 cup canola, corn, or other oil or shortening in muffins and cookies. Note: Lower oven temperature slightly, since baked goods brown faster with flax.

Raw fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables promote weight loss because they are very low in fat,and very low in calories. They are high in fiber, vitamins and minerals. They eliminate wastes quickly and help reduce cravings for sweets. They keep your energy levels steady so you don't become too hungry or too tired. And they carry off excess body acids, and are rich in vitamins, minerals and enzymes that satisfy the body's nutrient requirements with less food. Consider this: animals given raw, enzyme rich foods never gain weight regardless of calorie intake. Given cooked, enzyme poor food, they fatten up. If you have never taken a mouthful of cantaloupe juice, you simply have not lived. Strawberry juice mixed with pear, or apple and yam is a taste of ecstasy. Blueberry juice is a taste of liquid heaven. A mixture of carrot, apple, beet, celery, tomato, and lemon tastes like a living V8, giving an energy-boost to the day that is far better than a coffee. Fruit and vegetable juices are the cleansers, energizers, builders and regenerators of the human system. A combination of either fresh raw fruit or vegetable juices will supply all the enzymes, vitamins and minerals critical to increase vitality!

Complex Carbohydrates
These include foods like oatmeal, whole grain breads and brown rice. Since these are not refined like their counterpart, simple carbs, they keep you feeling full longer, help you eat less, and do not have the sugars found in simple carbs.

Grab two or three glasses of low-fat milk a day and drink up. The more calcium that is stored in fat cells, the more fat those cells will burn. If you do not like milk, try yogurt, cheese or anything that is high in calcium.

Finally, whenever you eat a meal, any calories that are not burned up are stored for later use. If you eat a large meal with 800 calories, you may only use 300 of those. Because of this, the timing of your meals matter. Split up the total calories you eat in a day between 6 small meals. If you eat 2000 calories in a day, (2000 divided by 6 meals per day) each meal should be around 330 calories. Eating smaller meals more often will help the body use energy more efficiently without needing to store any as fat.

Me too!! My very first blog award!!!

I received the "I Love Your Blog!" award from vegetarianmama blog!! What a wonderful surprise! Thank you!! :)

Here are the rules:
1) Add the logo of the award to your blog
2) Add a link to the person who awarded it to you
3) Nominate at least 7 other blogs
4) Add links to those blogs on your blog
5) Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs!
I would like to nominate:

the world around me
vegetarian mama
looking forward
Veggie Venture
smitten kitchen
veg cooking
101 Cookbooks

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Chocolate Cravings...

Since I don't know any Girl Scouts to buy Thin Mints from, I might just have to try to make my own....hmmm.

Chocolate Mint Wafers


METHOD: Microwave

TIME: Prep: 20 min. + standing

* 4 ounces dark chocolate candy coating
* 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
* 18 to 24 vanilla wafers -- I hear you can do this w Ritz, too

Place candy coating and extract in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave, uncovered, on high for 30-60 seconds or until smooth, stirring every 15 seconds.
Dip vanilla wafers in coating; allow excess to drip off. Place on waxed paper; let stand until set. Store in an airtight container. Yield: about 1-1/2 dozen.
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