Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Turkey Burgers

Ground turkey is super cheap yet still high in protein and low in fat! I got 1.5 lbs from Trader Joes for $4.50 and was able to make 5 turkey burgers! I did not put my turkey burgers on buns because I was adding a small amout of BBQ sauce and did not want the extra carbs from the buns, so I ate it like a steak with a fork and knife. Another good way to go is a "protein" style burger with 2 pieces of lettuce.

Turkey Burger Recipe:
1.5 lb. ground turkey breast
4 tbsp panko bread crumbs
2 egg whites
2 garlic cloves, minced or 2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 white onion finely chopped or 2 tsp onion powder
1 Tbsp black pepper or cayenne pepper

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Form into 5 patties, and make a nice indent in the middle of each patty (this helps so they cook into an even patty and are not raised in the center). Heat a grill pan, spray with cooking olive oil spray, over medium-medium high heat grill each side for 5-6 minutes.

While the burgers were cooking, I grilled up some asparagus, sweet potatoes, broccoli and onion slices! Seasoned the veggies with olive oil, pepper, garlic powder and sea salt.

I topped my burger with 1 tsp of Sweet Baby Rays BBQ Sauce (but they are great plain too!)

I had plenty of left overs which was great! I stored them in an airtight Tupperware container so they could last a few days in the fridge.

For breakfast I wanted another turkey burger, so I paired it with an egg white scramble with zucchini, white onions, spinach and red pepper flakes! To reheat the burger, I heated up a pan, added a little cooking spray and cooked on medium-high for 2 minutes on each side with the lid on.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Lemon Chicken

On Thursday night, my mom got 4 free tickets to the Angels, A's baseball game! It was so much fun, but unfortunately the Angels lost.

As a pre-game meal, I made baked chicken on a bed of fresh arugula with grilled veggies, asparagus, sweet potato, and onions.

To bake the chicken, I greased a baking sheet and placed 4 thin breasts on it. I brushed each breast with extra virgin olive oil, and topped with sea salt, ground lemon pepper, dried oregano, fresh minced garlic, and two slices of lemon for each piece of chicken. I put the chicken in a preheated 385 degree oven and baked them for 15-20 minutes (mine were really thinly cut so they cooked really quickly).

While the chicken breasts were baking, I used a grill pan, greased it with Olive oil spray and added fresh asparagus, thick white onion slices, and sweet potato slices (had already peeled & boiled these for 6-8 min previously).. Once on the grill, I seasoned lightly with cayenne pepper (or black pepper works also), and garlic powder. Once there were nice grill marks on the sweet potato and onions I flipped each carefully, and turned over the asparagus.

Once the veggies were done grilling, I turned off the heat. The chicken was done by now and I took the baking sheet out of the oven. I played the chicken on top of a bed of fresh angular and served with a side of veggies!

Veggies with grill marks:

Final Product!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Put Your Lunch Face On

After work yesterday, I made myself an open faced sandwich!

I have never mixed avocado and hummus but I saw a recipe for an appetizer that did it, so I thought why not try it in a sandwich!

1• I began by roasting a thick tomato slice and toasting a piece of whole wheat bread.
2• After my bread was toasted, I added 1/4 mashed avocado in top, and then added 1 tbsp of Trader Joes eggplant hummus.
3• I like mesquite turkey, but any lean meat will work (or no meat at all too!). I used 4 slices of turkey breast, adding some good lean protein.
4• Top the turkey with a small amount of arugula, the roasted tomato slice ad a sprinkle of black pepper.

A fresh tomato will work well also, but roasting it for a couple minutes adds a little sweetness and warmth that I really enjoy on this sandwich.

That's it! How easy was that?

This open faced sandwich has good protein, whole grains, healthy fat, and fiber!


Italian Inspired Frittata

On Tuesday morning before class, I did an intense an workout I got from April Oxygen Magazine! (I am obviously late posting this one haha)

After an intense ab workout and a 4 mile run, I was hungry!

I made a Tomato, Spinach, Feta Frittata with toast and a glass of unsweetened vanilla almond milk.

To make the frittata:

1• Spray Trader Joe's Olive oil spray (or any other cooking spray) in a small sautée pan, add 2 cups fresh spinach, once wilted, transfer to a separate plate
2• Spray a little more cooking spray so eggs don't stick. Then add 1/2 roma tomato, sliced (4 slices), then add the spinach back into pan, and pour 6 tbsp egg whites into pan, add a sprinkle of red pepper flakes
3• Put top on the pan, cook until bottom is cooked (I like mine a little browned) (~4 min over medium heat)
4• Flip over carefully (!!!) and cook another 2 min-3 min over medium heat.
5• Top with 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (can add more if u like it spicer) & 1-2 tbsp nonfat feta, put top on pan to let cheese get warm (~1 min)


For the toast:
• Toast 1 slice whole wheat bread, add 1/4 mashed avocado on top with a sprinkle of black pepper

Nom nom nom! :)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Roasting Up!

I wasn't very hungry for dinner last night since I had been munching on raw walnuts all day, so I made a small plate of roasted veggies for dinner! I have never cooked brussels sprouts nor sweet potatoes, but I know I like them!

4 brussels sprouts, quartered
4 asparagus spears
5 cauliflower florets, halved if too large
1/2 sweet potato, peeled & cubed

Preheated oven 375

I first boiled water in a pot and added in the sweet potato chunks for 3-4 minutes, so they softened. (This was to ensure that all the vegetables would cook in the same amount of time)

Once I had arranged vegetables on the baking sheet, I sprayed olive oil cooking spray on each, and sprinkled lightly with sea salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. I put the baking sheet in the oven for ~10 minutes, and broiled them for the last 30 seconds to 1 minute!

Served immediately!


Back to the Tropics!

I actually got up this morning before 8AM work and did a 2 mile walk with my dog. I was impressed with myself. Work today is short luckily so I will be able to do some legs and a light run after work!

I made a tropic breakfast shake this morning!

1 small banana
1 container Trader Joe's nonfat mango Greek yogurt
1 cup pineapple chunks
1 small orange, peel removed
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1/2-3/4 cup water

Blend until smooth, you can change up the water and ice amounts depending on how thick you prefer your shakes!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Greek, Chinese, and Dessert!

Yesterday, before work, I had prepared my chicken greek salad for lunch! Work was so slow, so I also finished reading April Oxygen magazine and finally starting doing my math hw! I picked up the may edition of Clean Eating and Oxygen magazine so I will have something to do Friday at work!

Greek salad with grilled chicken:
3 cups fresh spinach
1/2 tomato, chopped
1/4 cucumber, chopped
1/4 red onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped

1/4 cup cubed grilled chicken
1-2 tbsp nonfat feta
2 tbsp Trader Joes Nonfat Balsamic Viniagrette

Once I got home from work, I was so hungry! I had left overs from the Sweet & Sour Chicken recipe so I decided to make it into a "fried" quinoa with green beans and broccoli. I was hoping that by mixing the left overs with the quinoa and veggies it would mellow the spice. It worked! It was still spicy, but not nearly as bad.

I mixed the left over chicken & bell pepper and sautéed it with 1/4 cup cooked quinoa and a lot steamed broccoli and green beans! I used Trader Joes Olive Oil Spray which has no calories! So it was a healthy "fried" quinoa.

After dinner, I was craving an apple crisp so I decided to experiment! I was determined to make a "healthy" apple crisp, so I used no butter nor oil, and added ground flaxseed, wheat germ and fresh blueberries!



Final Product:

Recipe will be up soon! Putting the final touches together :)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tofu Part 2

I used some more tofu this morning to make my breakfast shake!

1/3 cup firm tofu
1/2 cup chopped pineapple
1/2 cup strawberries
1/2 scoop vanilla Pro7 Synthesis Protein Powder
Water & ice

Total calories: ~250 calories, 4g fat (0.5 saturated fat), 25g protein

This tofu shake turned out a lot better then yesterday's and I think it's because of the vanilla protein powder! in my opinion, vanilla protein powder is a lot more versatile then chocolate.

Now I am at work reading April Oxygen Magazine having my healthy and yummy breakfast!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Hot Hot Hot!

For dinner, I cooked Clean Chinese Sweet & Sour Chicken! Holy moly it was spicy! I do not eat spicy foods very often, because both my mouth and tummy are sensitive to foods that are too hot. However, I am definitely getting into the spicy life. I got this recipe idea from April 2012 Oxygen Magazine.

~4 oz. chicken breast, diced into bite size pieces
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp red pepper flakes

1 red bell pepper, diced

Sauce: 1 Tbsp ketchup (low-sodium recommended)
1 Tbsp peach preserves (low sugar recommended)
 1 Tbsp spicy brown mustard

Combine first three ingredients in a bowl until chicken is completely covered. 
Add olive oil cooking spray to a saucepan then add chicken, cook 6-8 minutes on medium to medium-high heat until browned and cooked through.
Meanwhile, dice bell peppers and set aside, then combine the three ingredients for the sauce in a separate bowl.
After the chicken is cooked, add the bell peppers and sauce to the skillet and lower heat. Continue to cook for 5 minutes until heated through.

(Makes 1 serving; 230 calories, 2g fat, 20g carbs, 28g protein)

I served this with brown rice-quinoa mixture and steamed broccoli, green beans, and carrots.

Next time I made this (which I definitely will!), I will add the steamed veggies to the chicken-bell pepper mixture for the last few minutes of cooking to give them some extra flavor and hopefully make the dish a little less spicy! 

For the boy, I made him steamed veggies, brown rice-quinoa mixture and grilled chicken. Simple, tastey and healthy all at once! He is not a fan of the spicy food, so he got the regular chicken, veggie dinner.

Cottage Cheese

In between classes today I went home to make a quick, easy, yet healthy lunch!

•1 hard boiled large egg
(80 calories, 5g fat (2g sat fat), 6g protein, 1g carb (1g sugar))
•1/2 cup low fat cottage cheese
(80 calories, 1.5g fat (sat fat), 4g carbs (3g sugar), 14g protein)

•2 cups of fresh spinach
(20 calories, 0g fat, 3g carbs (dietary fiber 2g, 0g sugar), 2g protein)
•1/4 of a cucumber (8 slices)
(20 calories)
•1/2 Roma tomato, quartered
(20 calories)
•1-2 tbsp fat free balsamic vinaigrette
(25 calories, 0g fat, 6g carbs (5g sugar), 0g protein)

Total calorie count: 245 calories, 22g protein, 6.5 g fat, ~14g carbs

Final product...

Pineapple Tofu Shake

This morning  I had a completely new experience for both making and drinking a pre/post workout shake. It involved my first time working with tofu! I have had tofu in a vegan pasta dish once but I have never myself worked with it. Not going to lie, I was a bit scared of what to expect!

I used chocolate whey protein powder in this shake but next time I may use my vanilla one instead. If you're vegan or trying to make this recipe vegan, using rice or hemp protein would work too!

This shake has about 300 calories with 33 grams of protein, and 4 grams of fiber!

1 cup chopped pineapple
1/2 medium banana
1/4 cup firm tofu
1 scoop whey protein powder
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup ice
-->Blend until smooth

Why is this shake beneficial?
•Pineapple contains manganese, thiamine which will give you energy and bromelain which aids in muscle repair and recovery.
•Bananas give you sustained energy that will fuel you through your workout.
•Tofu contains high quality proteins as well as antioxidants that repair damage from free radical build up during workout.
•Whey protein gives your muscles energy and builds an repairs these muscles after your workout.
(info and recipe idea from April 2012 Oxygen Magazine)

Whey protein! In double dutch chocolate flavor

I have extra tofu, so I will either make another shake tomorrow or I got an idea from @sprinkledwlove on instagram for a salad with tofu. The salad has spinach, roasted cauliflower, tofu, cucumber, and hummus.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


I was watching the food network and got good ideas for "volumezing" pasta. If you want fettucini then add half a serving of whole wheat cooked fettucini with zucchini or squash ribbons (use a peeler to peel zucchini and add to cooked pasta). Add a healthy sauce and serve with a salad or steamed veggies! It will look like your eating a full serving or more of pasta with cutting calories. If you prefer angel hair pasta or spaghetti, you can do the same thing but instead of zucchini , microwave a halved spaghetti squash for ~8 minutes and with a fork create strands and add to cooked pasta + sauce.

I was craving pasta all so I decided to try this volume zing technique. I used 1/2 serving whole wheat linguini and 1 cup zucchini ribbons. For the sauce I sautéed some onions, garlic, basil and oregano in a small amount of olive oil. After the onions were translucent I added diced zucchini and tomatoes, then spinach, a spoonful of marinara, red pepper flakes and finally some red wine. I let the sauce simmer for 5 minutes and served over the pasta.

Fresh Ingredients!

Just added the red pepper flakes, it ended up having a nice kick to it.

Linguini and zucchini ribbons

I am definitely making pasta with zucchini ribbons again because I feel full and satisfied but I cut the calories! So now I feel even more satisfied knowing I made a healthy substitution that I will use again.

Paleo Vegan Pizza!

I have been wanting to try a paleo pizza with cauliflower crust. I didn't have cauliflower in my fridge but I did have broccoli! Yummm. So I decided to give it a try. First, I had to make flax eggs (since this was a vegan paleo crust). To make a flax egg you will whisk 1 tablespoon ground flax meal with 3 tablespoons water (make sure to whisk while adding water to flax), and refrigerate for a minimum of 15 minutes (an hour is preferred).

I took about 4 cups of broccoli and put into the blender until "riced", and then transferred broccoli to a big bowl.Then to the blender, I blended about 1/3 cup of almonds to make almond flour. Once the almonds were a flour consistency I added them to the big bowl of broccoli. I then added my 2 flax eggs and mixed them all together with a big spoon until a dough ball formed. On a cookie sheet I spread the dough out, and cooked it in a preheated 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes. Once the crust was getting crispy, I took it out and added some fresh marinara, veggies (bell peppers, garlic, onions, spinach and mushrooms), fresh herbs, and the last part of my soy mozzarella cheese (pretty sure the cheese isnt a part of the paleo diet, but I wanted to finish up the cheese so I added it!). Once all the toppings were on, I put the pizza back in the oven for 8-10 minutes. And then it was all ready to eat!

It turned out pretty well! I was pleasantly surprised with the results. Next time I want to try with cauliflower because the broccoli had a very strong taste and the crust was a bit moist. I think this is a healthy alternative to regular pizza. The vegan cheese is very low in calories as well as the crust, and I put a lot of veggies to add nutrients! 

For the boy I made an egg white scramble with red bell peppers, spinach, onions, and turkey, with a couple grilled shrimp skewers and a glass of orange juice!

Lemon Cucumber Infused Water

When I was at Starbucks this morning I tried the egg white, feta and spinach wrap (~300 calories) and I really liked it! I have nonfat feta, spinach, and eggs at home so I can make an egg scramble with.

Before I left for work I was getting lunch together. I made a big salad and for a snack I made carrots with eggplant hummus. I had a bunch of lemon, limes and cucumbers I need to use up in my fridge so I decided to add some lemon and cucumber slices to my water!

I'm sure I have talked about it before, but Trader Joe's eggplant hummus is so delicious! I love it with veggie sticks.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Prepping Ahead

Today is a long day at work, 12 hours, starting before the sun even comes up! So I prepped all my meals last night before bed.

Early breakfast: Mini breakfast shake
Late breakfast: Regular shake

The shake is very similar to the one I did yesterday, but instead of blueberries I put a whole sliced kiwi and added a scoop of vanilla protein powder!

For lunch I made a salad with mixed greens, chopped red bell pepper, celery, tomato, cucumber and non fat feta cheese.

For snacks I brought a sliced orange and a handful of raw pistachios.

After prepping my meals for today, I made dinner! It was a simple and typical dinner but still tasty nonetheless. Left over grilled chicken with a drizzle of ketchup (I know, I know), 1/4 cup brown rice & quinoa, and a hearty serving of steamed broccoli. I did treat myself to a glass of white wine because I fought temptation by not having pizza for lunch when I met up with some friends, and also for the Lakers win last night ;) 

Volumetric Eating Plan?

I have been reading into this Volumetric Eating Plan by Barbara Rolls. It is an interesting concept to "dieting" because in my opinion it's simply healthy eating because it's a lower calorie, lower fat diet, high in fruits and veggies.

This "diet" has people fill up on foods that aren't high in calories but foods that have a high water content. By eating low density foods a person can eat more with fewer calories, instead of eating high energy dense foods which calories add up quickly. So when you fill up your plate it looks like your eating more with lower density foods compared to the same calorie amount with higher energy dense foods.

One thing I disagree with is that she says people don't get full because of the number of calories they consume nor the grams of fat, protein or carbs. I know I feel more full when I have a meal high in protein so as long as an adequate amount of lean protein and healthy oils are incorporated (which she recommends) and foods high in fiber (which she also recommends) then I think this is a sustainable plan for getting healthy.

Examples of high density foods are cookies, chips, butter, candies, chocolates, and oils. By cutting out oil, butter, and cream and replacing them with skim milk, egg whites, yogurt, and applesauce it decreases the calories in the food.

Foods that are "freebies," which you can consume as many as you want are celery, cucumbers, tomatoes, spinach, salad greens, asparagus, broccoli, mushrooms, green beans, red bell peppers, carrots, cantaloupe, and oranges.

Let me know what your thoughts on this!

In leu of this plan, I made myself a huge Greek inspired salad today with nonfat feta sprinkled over it and a side of eggplant hummus and carrots!

New Shake!

After a good 3 1/2 mile walk to Starbucks with my pup jack to get a black coffee, I decided to experiment a little with this mornings shake...

I have been seeing people adding oats, ground flaxseed and chia seeds to shakes, and I have wanted to try it. Since I had ground flax and dry oats already in my kitchen I used these two to start with. It turned out so good!

I put 1/4 cup dry old fashion oats, 2 Tbsp ground flaxseed, 1 container Trader Joes nonfat honey Greek yogurt, 1 frozen banana sliced, a handful of fresh spinach & fresh blueberries, 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 1 cup water, and ice; blended until smooth.

It turned out to be the perfect amount to fit in my large shaker cup and so I brought it to class!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Dinner Served at Job 2 of the Day!

I am so tired after this long day, but I made dinner ahead of time as simple yet nutritious as possible. Last night I cooked brown rice and quinoa together and added a little garlic and lemon pepper. This morning I steamed up a huge handful of broccoli, put them in tupperware, and dinner was ready after a quick heat up!

Grilled Chicken Night!

I do love grilled chicken. I top it with a little olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, and Lawry's seasoning salt. Last night I served it with roasted asparagus, steamed carrots, steamed peas and a brown rice/quinoa mixture. I had to have a glass of Sauvignon blanc too!

If I know I am going to be busy during the week, like this week (43 hours work + school!), then either on Sunday night or Monday night I will try to grill chicken and make some brown rice to have for a couple dinners since these are both easy to combine with different ingredients to make new meals. I unfortunately don't always remember to do this but I at least try to keep a few things in my fridge that are easy and healthy dinners that will last a few days so I can easily heat them up with minimal work after a long day.

I work 9 1/2 hours today, double shift, and I am having some of the brown rice I cooked last night and some broccoli I steamed this morning.

Tomorrow I will add the chicken on top of my lunch salad or heat it up for dinner!

Mini Pizzas!

I tried vegan cheese for the first time! Not too bad on pizza. It was a mozzarella, Parmesan blend. I put it on top of a Sara Lee whole wheat pita (200 calories for the whole pita). For toppings I put purple basil, bell pepper, onion, tomato, and steamed broccoli, with a vegetarian low fat marinara. It was really good and pretty low in calories. I also had a side salad and a glass of champagne in a sweet mini goblet I found in my mom's wine glass cabinet.

I want to experiment more with whole wheat mini pita, flat bread, and homemade cauliflower crust pizzas. Using different vegan cheeses could be fun as well as different sauces like pesto, sun dried tomato pesto, olive oil & garlic, bbq or different favors of marinara. Any other ideas?

Here are some specific pizza combos I want to try:

Original Pizza:
•Marinara sauce
•Bell pepper, sliced
•Onion, sliced
•Tomato, thinly slice or chopped
•Basil, fresh, chopped
•Low-fat or Vegan Mozzarella cheese/Italian blend
•Garlic, minced

BBQ Pizza:
•BBQ sauce
•Grilled BBQ chicken
•Red onion, sliced
•Low-fat or Vegan Mozzarella cheese
•Fresh Cilantro, chopped

Pesto Pizza:
•Pesto or Sun dried tomato
•Low-fat or Vegan Mozzarella cheese/ Italian blend
•Pine Nuts
•Onions, white, sliced
•Broccoli, steamed, chopped
•Garlic, minced
•Tomato, sliced/chopped, optional

White Pizza:
•Olive Oil
•Garlic, minced
•Onion, white, sliced
•Basil, fresh, chopped
•Low-fat Ricotta
•Tomato, sliced/chopped, optional

What other combinations have you tried or would like to try! Let me know


I have been wanting to go on a picnic and I finally had a day off when I could! Finally my boy and I decided we were doing it; perfect weather and fresh ingredients. I made us sandwiches, cut up pineapple and had low fat string cheese. My sandwich was on toasted whole wheat with Trader Joe's eggplant hummus (AMAZING try it!), bell pepper, baby greens, tomatoes and cucumbers, and it was delicious! On his sandwich I toasted whole wheat bread, put light mayo, turkey slices, cucumber, tomatoes, and baby greens.

Sister time!

My half sister came in town to Santa Monica with her husband so I was able to go up and visit her! Minus the fact that I got lost on the drive there and ended up near Pepperdine University! On a high note, I did see Taye Diggs walking through the parking lot at the Santa Monica pier. I was very excited.

My sister, her husband and I had brunch at Jack n Jill's, which was so good. We had a whole wheat crepe with vanilla yogurt and fresh berries.

We walked on the beach by the Santa Monica Pier. It was nice to see my sister, she is 7 years older then me and we have became a lot closet over the past year being able to actually talk to each other and get to know each other better.

The parking garage by the Santa Monica pier is so high tech! It has a little computer box on each level and if you type in your license plate number it can locate your car and show you a picture of it; no matter where it is parked in the garage.