Friday, February 29, 2008

Terrific Turkey Tacos

Our friends were happy with our decision to have make-your-own tacos for dinner tonight. We used ground turkey and taco seasoning for the meat and had a variety of toppings: black beans, taco cheese, tomatoes, red onions, salsa, sour cream, red cabbage, and Tabasco sauce. I added everything to my taco, except for the sour cream. We used the Mission Restaurant-Style soft tacos, which I wouldn't recommend-- they tasted okay, but fell apart and were not very nutritious. Minus the sub-par soft shell, my taco was delicious! I just ended up eating most of it with a fork. :) 

I also had a glass of wine with dinner. Only one drink for me tonight! 

I finished off dinner with two Nature's Promise chocolate chip cookies. Unfortunately, they had quite a bit of saturated fat (3.5 g), but they were very tasty! 

Tomorrow is a big gym day! I have been overindulging lately and not exercising. I need to get myself back on track! 

Soft taco: 140
2 oz ground turkey: 75
2 tbsp salsa: 15
Veggies: ~50
1/8 black beans: 50
3.5 oz wine: 85
2 cookies: 120
Dinner total: 535

Big Shopping

We finally went grocery shopping, and it was amazing! We bought sooooo much food... we were out of ev-ery-thing

In this week's cart:
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Cashews
  • Amy's Kitchen chili
  • Instant plain oatmeal
  • Kashi waffles
  • Oat bran
  • Turning Leaf Chardonay 
  • Liquid egg whites
  • Whole wheat flour
  • Soda water
  • Spring Tree sugar-free maple syrup
  • Organic non-fat milk
  • Stacy's pita chips
  • Ground turkey
  • Nature's Promise chocolate chip cookies
  • Simply Asia garlic noodles
  • Black beans
  • Healthy Valley lentil soup
  • Organic tomato & basil pasta sauce
  • Pitted dates
  • Polaner fruit spread 
  • Tomato 
  • Bananas
  • Red pepper
  • Oranges
  • Blood orange
  • Kiwi
  • Summer squash 
  • Diced tomatoes 
  • Fage
  • Ezekel bread
  • Pizza dough
  • Soft tacos
  • Taco seasoning
  • Taco cheese
  • Deli ham
  • Deli swiss 
We bought lots of taco ingredients because we are having friends over for dinner tonight, and what better Friday evening food than homemade tacos! Can't wait! (I really get so excited for food!)


My blog has a new domain name!

My new domain name is Please be sure to bookmark it or update your RSS feeds. I have really enjoyed blogging these past few weeks and have been receiving great feedback, so I decided to make my blog a little more "official" with a new host and my own domain name.

I hope you guys like the new domain as much as I do! I'm so excited! I love all this techy stuff! (What a nerd!)

P.S. My blogspot domain is still active and will just redirect you to the new domain.

TGI Fridays

My friend and I had lunch at TGI Friday's this afternoon. I'm not a big fan of chain restaurants, but out of convenience (it's a 5 minute walk away) and having a $5 off coupon, we decided to eat there. I ordered the Cedar-Seared Salmon on Field Greens (with honey mustard on the side) from their "Right Portion, Right Price" menu. The portion size was perfect. I ate almost the whole salad, minus a few pieces of lettuce. I was full, but not at all stuffed. The food quality was poor and not super tasty, but I wasn't expecting it to be. It was a nice, relaxing lunch with good company, but in my opinion, TGI Friday's is mediocre and overpriced for what you are getting.

While I am not much of a fan of TGI Fridays, I think they deserve some credit for their “Right Portion, Right Price” menu. Their menu gives customers the option of being served smaller entreés when they dine out. We all know that cutting back on portion sizes is one of the best strategies for losing or maintain one's weight. With Americans eating out so frequently, I think it is beneficial for diners to have a large selection of healthier, portion-controlled options. At least it's a start in the battle against obesity. Hopefully, this will become a trend in other restaurants as well.

The salmon looked delicious, but it tasted "off."

After lunch, I had 3 Reese's peanut butter cups and a mug of Refresh tea.

My afternoon snack was a packet of plain instant oatmeal with a scoop of peanut butter and a honey orange, which is a new fruit for me. I'm full after the oatmeal, so I'll have to try the honey orange later.

Salmon salad: ~500 (according to TGI Friday's website)
3 Reese PB cups: 125
Lunch total: 625

1 packet oatmeal: 100
1 tbsp PB: 95
Snack total: 195

Slim Pickins

Our food supply is officially exhausted. It was tough putting together breakfast this morning. Thank God we are going grocery shopping tonight! I'm actually really looking forward to it!

Breakfast was a package of Quaker Simple Harvest oatmeal with 1/2 cup of hemp milk and 1/8 cup of walnuts. (I got the same free sample in the mail as Kath.) It was pretty tasty, but I'll probably stick with my regular Quaker Oats. I agree with Kath that it's much more fun to add your own toppings.

When I got to work, I sliced up an apple and ate it with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter and a cup of coffee with organic half and half.

Oatmeal: 160
1/2 cup hemp milk: 65
1/8 cup walnuts: 85
Apple: 80
2 tbsp PB: 190
Coffee w/ H&H: 40
Breakfast total: 620

Liquid Dinner

"Thirsty Thursday" ended up being a lot crazier than I thought. Let's just say, last night was not a good example of healthy eating and nutritious choices... but I'm not going to lie, it was a really fun evening!

The night started with 2 glasses of wine at the hotel where my friend from California was staying. A few of our friends joined us there, and we relaxed and enjoyed a couple of drinks together.

One of my glasses of wine...

We had plans to meet some friends from my old marketing job at another bar, so we headed there next. When we arrived, my friend had a cosmo in my hand before I even had a chance to take off my coat! It's our "special" drink, so I was happy that she ordered one for me.

After 3 drinks, I was ready for some food! Our table ordered a plate of nachos to share. I'm the girl who digs out the cheesiest chips to eat. Nachos are one of my favorite foods ever!

As if 3 drinks and nachos weren't enough, I topped-off my evening with an Irish Car Bomb! (An Irish Car Bomb is 1/2 a pint of Guinness that you drop a shot made with 1 0z of Jamison Whiskey and 1/2 oz of Bailey's Irish Cream into and chug before the Bailey's curdles. It's nuts!) I'm still not sure what I was thinking when I agreed to one, but it was fun and it ended my boozing for the night. After that drink, I was done!

After the Irish Car Bomb, I hung out with my friends and drank two glasses of water. I ended up leaving the bar around 10:00; my friends are party animals and stayed out much later. At home, I drank two more glasses of water before going to bed. This morning, I feel like I went out drinking last night, but I don't feel hung-over (thankfully!) It was great seeing my friends last night, but I definitely had too many drinks. Life is all about finding a good balance, and after that night, I think the weekend will be pretty tame.

One of my glasses of water... with Crazy Carl in the background!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Liberte and Tazo

For my afternoon snack, I tried a new type of yogurt: Liberte Yogourt Six Grains. It is pear-flavored yogurt (Liberte spells it "yogourt") made with buckwheat, rice, barley, wheat, rye and oats. It's very yummy and tastes like regular yogurt. Nutritionally, I think there are better options, but it's a decent snack, especially if you're looking for something new and different: 160 calories, 3 g fat (2 g sat), 1 g fiber, 8 g protein, 4% A, C, iron, 25% calcium. I added a 1/2 cup of Kashi Go Lean Crunch mixed with some almond slices and made a mug of Tazo "Refresh."

Right after work, I'm off to "Thirsty Thursday" with some friends, one of which is visiting from California. The night starts with free wine and cheese-- let's hope I behave!

Liberte yogourt: 160
Kashi: 100
1/8 cup sliced almonds: 70
Snack total: 330

David's Leftovers

Busy, busy morning at the office today! I worked through lunch again, but I'll probably try to escape this afternoon for a quick walk outside.

Today's lunch was leftovers from our take-out dinner last night. The roll-up reheated pretty well. I also brought some carrots and snap peas to eat with my hummus. (I need to find out from where or how David's makes their hummus!) I grabbed a chocolate hazelnut praline when I was waiting in line to pay for my tea at Whole Foods. I'm so glad that I did because it was a perfect end to lunch. My body really wanted chocolate today!

Sorry for a short post. Busy day!

Up close and personal...

Breakfast and a Vaccination

My day started extra early this morning-- I had an 8:00 am appointment at MGH for a Hepatitis A vaccination. The travel agent, who Mal spoke with about our honeymoon, suggested that we get them before our trip. (I have a second shot the week before our wedding.) I still don't know where were are going for the honeymoon, but apparently you risk the chance of contracting Hep A from drinking the water. Might as well be safe than sorry!

Breakfast was bulgar with pumpkin, hemp milk, almonds, and some sliced kiwi. I'm really starting to love citrus fruit! All of them are so darn tasty!

1/4 cup bulgar: 160
1/4 cup pumpkin: 20
1/8 cup almonds: 70
1/2 cup hemp milk: 65
1 kiwi: 50
Coffee with H&H: 40
Breakfast total: 405

After my doctor's appointment, I stopped at Whole Foods to pick up some mint tea. I love the Tazo brand, especially with a little bit of honey or Splenda. I'm already looking forward to having some this afternoon.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

David's Pizza

We finally caved-in and ordered take-out for dinner tonight. We tried to put together a meal with what we had in our kitchen, but nothing sounded appetizing. Mal suggested trying out a place called David's Pizza, which is right down the street. Mal ordered a chicken parm sub, but was not impressed. However, I ordered a roll-up with eggplant, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and roasted red peppers with a side of hummus, and thought it was delicious! I loved the combination of ingredients, especially the breaded eggplant. The hummus was wonderful too-- perfect consistency and a little garlicy. We had some broccoli in the fridge, so I ate a few pieces with the hummus. The roll-up was enormous, so I saved half for tomorrow's lunch. 

I ate a snack around 4:00 this afternoon: Fage with pumpkin and chocolate chips. Mmm!

Dangerously Low

We are running dangerously low on food, which is apparent by my food selections for lunch. First, I made a plate of what was supposed to be brussels sprouts, carrots, and a peanut butter and banana sandwich. Unfortunately, we are out of peanut butter (like everything else), so I made some toast with jelly. The jelly was absolutely vile! The texture and taste were disgusting, and the semi-stale bread didn't help either. (I'm such a drama queen!) After tossing the toast with jelly, I made an open-face egg sandwich with Tabasco, which hit the spot. I finished off lunch with the last two Ginger Betty cookies, which made the meal at least somewhat decent.

Brussels sprouts: 50
Carrots: 50
Whole wheat bread: 110
Egg: 80
2 cookies: ~300
Lunch total: 590


After breakfast, I did a TV-based workout. I went down to the gym a little before 9 am, when the Regis and Kelly show was starting. Reese Witherspoon, Simon Cowell, and a balloon-popping dog were guests today, so I used their appearances as cardio time and the commercials as lifting time. I switched between running on the treadmill and free weights for the whole show, which was an hour. Afterwards, I stayed on the treadmill and walked for an additional 30 minutes on an incline.

Mental Health Day

I decided to take a "mental health" day today. I don't usually do this, but we all know that our mental health can affect our physical health, and I think I will truly benefit from a day away from the office... but I'm not going to waste the day away. In fact, I already have a To Do list ready to go, which even includes a 90 minute yoga class at Healing Tree! (I hope that I like the class-- I'd really love to incorporate yoga into my lifestyle.)

Breakfast was a new and interesting combination of bulgar, pumpkin, hemp milk, walnuts, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pumpkin seems to make everything taste better! :) With the bulgar, I had a glass of iced coffee with milk and a pear, which I am munching on now. After a little digesting, I am going to hit the gym for a super sweaty workout!

All together...

1/4 cup (dry) bulgar: 160
1/4 cup pumpkin: 20
1/2 cup help milk: 60
1/8 cup walnuts: 80
1 cup organic non-fat milk: 80
Pear: 120 (it was a big one!)
Breakfast total: 520

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Dinner and a Massage

Before our massage, we had a quick dinner... well, actually breakfast for dinner. We teamed-up and had dinner on the table in 10 minutes. Mal cooked the eggs and toasted the bagels; I peeled and cut some fruit. I ended up having an open-face bagel sandwich with Tabasco sauce, and we shared a blood orange and a kiwi.

The massages were a-mazing!!! Both of us almost fell asleep on the massage tables. I am still totally relaxed. I will definitely be going back soon! Healing Tree Yoga and Wellness Center is right down my alley! They have yoga, pilates, and nia classes as well as healing services, wellness workshops, and training sessions. I talked with an employee about taking some classes, and I'll probably take one sometime this week. I'm so happy that I finally stopped in!

On my way out of Healing Tree, I was distracted by these amazing-looking cookies from Ginger Betty's Bakery. They are ginger cookies with chocolate drizzled on top. The ingredients are all-natural, but I have no idea how many calories are in each. Oh well, they are delicious and I have enjoyed every bite! I'm getting psyched for my hard workout tomorrow morning!

Sweet Snack!

My coffee break was a trip to Dunkin' Donuts for one of their $0.99 lattes! What a deal! I decided to get mine iced and made with non-fat milk. With my iced latte, I ate 5 mini Reese's peanut butter cups (sorry, no photo). I should have cut myself off after eating 2 or 3, but they tasted so darn good with the iced latte! Coffee and chocolate compliment each other so well! I'll just have to get in a tough workout tomorrow morning.

On a whim, I booked a couples massage for Mal and I tonight. The yoga studio near our apartment is offering a special this month, and I have a health and wellness reimbursement through work, so I figured it would be a nice activity for us to enjoy together. I keep talking about adding more yoga to my life, so it'll be a good chance to check out the studio as well. I'll be sure to report back later tonight!

5 PB cups: 210
Iced latte: 70
Snack total: 280

Working Lunch

I worked through lunch today, but I am planning a coffee break with a friend this afternoon, so at least I will get out of the office for a little while.

Today's lunch was half an almond butter sandwich, baby carrots, snap peas, and Fage Greek yogurt. The Fage was by far the "star" of my lunch! I mixed in 1/4 cup of canned pumpkin along with sliced almonds and chocolate chips. I thought the chocolate chips would sweeten-up the mixture, but it wasn't enough for me, so I ended up adding a packet of Splenda. The end result was AMAZING! It almost tasted like I was eating pumpkin almond chocolate chip ice cream! You will be seeing this creation again! :)

Fage-pumpkin-almond-chocolate-chip-creation... delish!

Whole wheat bread: 110
1 tbsp almond butter: 100
Fage: 80
1/4 cup pumpkin: 20
1/8 cup almonds: 80
1 tbsp chocolate chips: 70
Carrots: 50
Snap peas: 30
Lunch total: 540

Crazy Day Ahead!

My To Do list at work is a mile long today! I've managed to cross-off a few little things this morning, but the projects and tasks keep coming!

Breakfast was bulgar with sliced dates and a banana. The dates were wonderful in the bulgar-- sweet and chewy! Instead of adding 3/4 cup of water to my bulgar, I added 1/2 cup of water and 1/4 of hemp milk. The texture was a tad different, but the taste really wasn't. I might have to add more hemp milk next time.

Bulgar: 160
5 dates: 100
1/4 cup hemp milk: 35
Banana: 110
Coffee w/ H&H: 40
Breakfast total: 445

Last Night's Dinner

Sorry for the late (or is it early?) post. I'm not sure if blogger was having problems or it was our internet connection, but after 45 minutes of trying to upload my dinner photos, I gave up and went to bed.

In the back of our cupboard, we found a box of Simply Asia Sesame Teriyaki Noodles to which we added snap peas, red cabbage, and red onions. It was so easy to make and tasted wonderful! The nutritional information on the box looked pretty decent too-- a little high in sodium and just a couple of "interesting" ingredients. The veggies definitely spruced-it-up and made the meal much more colorful.

After dinner, I had a piece of Olive Oil Cake with melted chocolate chips. Very delicious!

Noodles: 360
Olive Oil Cake: 150
1 tbsp chocolate chips: 70
Dinner total: 580

Monday, February 25, 2008

Grocery Challenge: Week of Feburary 24

So, Mal and I have created a "grocery challenge" for ourselves. We're feeling a little broke this week-- mainly because we have been going out a lot and spending too much money-- so we decided to not go grocery shopping this week and see what we can do with what is already in our fridge, freezer, and cupboards. I can't make it an entire week without fresh produce, so I did a small shopping on my lunch break to get some of the "necessities." FYI-- you may see some strange and interesting meals and food combinations this week!

Apple Wrap

I had planned to have a peanut butter and banana wrap today for lunch, but I forgot my banana on the kitchen counter at home. Duh! I tried to buy one at the HSPH cafe, but no bananas today. I improvised with a granny smith apple and some trail mix, which was mostly sunflower seeds. I sliced-up the apple, then nuked it in the microwave for about 30 seconds to soften it up, then added peanut butter and trail mix to the wrap.

I was planning on rolling the wrap, but I packed too much stuff in it! I ended up folding it in half and eating it like that.

Post-lunch cocoa...

Afternoon snack: cantaloupe and cottage cheese....

Pita: 80
Apple: 85
2 tbsp PB: 190
1/4 cup trail mix: 70
Cocoa: 60
Lunch total: 485

1 cup cantaloupe: 50
Cottage cheese: 90
Afternoon snack total: 140

Tips for Navigating Social Events and Eating Out

A number of people have asked me for my tips for balancing social events with healthy eating and the occasionally splurge. I have created a list of practices that work for me. Most of these can be applied to a variety of social situations as well as eating out at restaurants. Please let me know if you have any others to add. I can always use help in this department!

  • Exercise (on the day of the event/restaurant visit). If I plan to splurge, I will make sure that I have a good workout to help balance-out any extra calories. Plus, exercising always makes me feel good and more confident about myself.
  • No skipping meals. I try to eat normally on the day of the event. If I skip meals during the day to save-up calories, I usually end up overeating once I get to the party/restaurant. Eating sensibly throughout the day helps take the edge off my appetite and empowers a bit of restraint. I will eat “light” on the day of the event, but I make sure to eat meals with some substance.

  • Preview the menu. When eating out at a restaurant, I always look at their online menu to get an idea of the type of food served and what I may want to eat there. Depending on the menu, I might choose to eat or forgo a snack beforehand.

  • Be a food snob. When I eat out, I almost always try to order something new and different. If I can make it at home, I usually won’t order it. Similarly at parties, I will only eat things that I really, really love or have never tried before. For instance, I usually won't bother with chips or a store-bought cookie. If I don't love it, I won’t eat it.

  • Have an appetizer (instead of an entrée). Most restaurants serve huge meals. Sometimes I will order an appetizer as my meal, which is usually a much smaller portion. Splitting an entrée with your significant other or a friend is always a way to cut extra calories.

  • Pace yourself. When I arrive at a party/bar, I will usually grab a soda water/sparkling water, and hang out for about 30 minutes. This gives me time to relax and survey the food and drink choices.

  • Alternate alcohol with soda water. We all know that most alcoholic drinks are loaded with calories. I cut calories by alternating soda water (or water) between alcoholic beverages. If you add a lemon or lime to your drink, it looks and feels like you are drinking a cocktail. Adding soda water to white wine is also a way to slim calories (aka "wine spritzer.")

  • Cut yourself off (before you start drinking). Obviously, I like to enjoy a cocktail or two. Before the night begins, I determine how many cocktails I will have that evening and try to stick to that number. Easier said than done, right? All I know is that it’s hard to determine that number once I’ve already had a few drinks!

  • Fill your plate (with lots of veggies and fruit). At parties, I pick a small plate and load it up with fresh fruit and veggies-- then I will chose 2-3 “fun” appetizers to enjoy.

  • Cook something. If I am invited to a party, I will usually offer to bring a low-cal/healthy dish. At least there will be one healthy item at the party from which to choose.

  • Don’t beat yourself up. If I indulge too much at a social event, I try not to feel guilty. I just eat lightly the next day, exercise, and get back on track. Social events are supposed to be enjoyable, and for me, eating and drinking is part of the fun!

Pumpkin Oatmeal Pancake

I don't think I slept at all last night! It was one of those nights that you wake up practically every hour and then fall right back to sleep. When my alarm went off at 5:45, I was pretty much awake, which made getting out of bed not so bad. I did 45 minutes on the elliptical, while catching up with my celebrity gossip in US Weekly, followed by 10 minutes of abs. It was a decent workout despite not getting much quality sleep. I think it will catch-up with me later today though-- I briefly dosed-off on the T this morning, which I hate doing. Ugh.

Breakfast was an oatmeal pancake with pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Yum! I added about 1/4 cup of canned pumpkin, which really plumped-up the pancake for just 20 additional calories. I had planned to eat an apple as well, but I was full from the pancake. I took the apple with me to work, and will probably eat it later today.

My boss baked some cranberry bread for the office, so I had a piece with my mug of "Dark Magic" coffee. (That name cracks me up for some reason. It's so dramatic!)

Oatmeal pancake: 150
1/4 cup pumpkin: 20
1/8 cup sugar-free maple syrup: 15
Coffee with H&H: 40
Cranberry bread X 2: ~300
Breakfast total: 525

Olive Oil Cake: ~125
Pre-workout snack total: 125

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Cleaning Out the Fridge

Tonight's dinner was another "refrigerator salad." We had a bunch of random veggies that were about to spoil, so I threw them all together. In my salad: greens, cantaloupe, tomatoes, green peppers, roasted red peppers, olives, jalapenos, and guacamole. Surprisingly, it hit the spot and was exactly what I was craving. Sometimes my body just wants nutritious foods, especially since I hadn't eaten much fresh produce all day. After dinner, I had another slice of that delicious Olive Oil Cake-- this time is was a big piece! 

1/2 cup cantaloup: 30
1 tbsp guacamole: 25
Veggies: ~150
Olive Oil Cake: 310
Dinner total: 515