Parmesan Chicken Meatball Soup

I was contacted a few weeks ago from Legends from Europe, asking if I’d like to participate in their blogger recipe contest.  I jumped at the chance!  Then quickly forgot about it!

Legends from Europe is on a three-year campaign in the United States to increase awareness of the legendary ingredients:

Grana Padano:

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Parmigiano Reggiano:

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Montasio:

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Prosciutto di Parma and Prosciutto di San Daniele:

       di parma    san daniele

I actually thought that prosciutto was all the same.  I actually never even heard of it or tasted it before I met Tony.  There are two schools of thought – most people think that the Prosciutto di San Daniele is better because it isn’t massed produced like Proscuitto de Parma. 

I once made proscuitto purses stuffed with balsamic fig goat cheese – I need to make these again soon!

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But once I agreed to this recipe contest, I was given my star ingredient.  I was thrilled when I was given parmigiano reggiano cheese! 

The first thing I think of is parmesan chicken, but decided to make parmesan chicken meatballs for a soup – thus this recipe was born.

Parmesan Chicken Meatball Florentine Soup

  • makes 4 servings: 1.5 cups of soup and 8 meatballs per serving
  • 311 calories, 10 fat, 24 carbs, 4.5 fiber and 33 protein

Ingredients for Meatballs:

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano cheese, grated
  • 8 basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • pinches of salt and pepper
  • 2 teaspoon olive oil

For the soup:

  • 1 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 cups chopped baby spinach
  • pinches of salt and pepper

Put all the soup ingredients in a stock pot over medium low heat.  Put all the meatball ingredients in your food processor.  Pulse, just until everything is combined – if you puree it too much they won’t hold together.   My batch made 32 marble size meatballs.

Once you have your meatballs rolled out, heat up 1 teaspoon of olive oil over medium high heat.  Sear the outsides of your meatballs – I ended up doing this in two batches so I didn’t overcrowd the pan. You don’t want to fully cook the balls because once they are browned, add them to the soup and they will continue to cook in the soup.  You’ll have super tender meatballs when you do it this way.

Once all the meatballs have been incorporated into the soup, simmer for about 10 minutes.  Remove from the heat and stir in the chopped spinach.  Garnish with shaved parmiagano reggiano on top.

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Parmiagano reggiano cheese has to be stamped as such, otherwise its just parmesan cheese.

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You can see the basil and crushed red pepper in each ball.  I just like to say balls.

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This is the tomato sauce I used – its super thick with just the tiniest bit of tomato chunks.  Me no likey big tomato chunks. Sick smile

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This is a winning soup (first prize is $1,000!).  The soup has a nice kick to it from the crushed red pepper, I love the subtle flavor of the balsamic vinegar, and of course the cheezy meatballs are amazeballs. Open-mouthed smile  My SIL and I will be enjoying this next week for one of our lunches!

Thanks to Legends from Europe for letting me participate in your contest!

Tony and I are off to run some errands, have lunch out and do some grocery shopping.  We are having grilled turkey breast tonight with mashed potatoes!

And I am going to be lunching it at my Mom’s house tomorrow with Hannah to celebrate her birthday a week late.  I am going to make a classic breakfast casserole and fresh fruit salad – can’t wait to see Hannah again!

Enjoy your weekend!

I’m gonna to lap you, crazy bitch!

There are just some things that I cannot photograph well (well, a lot of things!), but an egg white hash has to be one of them.  I had a 6 ounce baked potato in the fridge and diced it up with Canadian bacon, 1/2 cup egg whites and 1 cup chopped baby spinach – and of course a sprinkling of cheese. Flirt male

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So while this may look like someone ate a beautiful spinach and egg white omelet, then threw up in a bowl, this was super tasty.  With a piece of toast on the side, breakfast comes in at 443 calories, 15 fat, 41 carbs, 4.1 fiber and 32 protein.

So you may or may not know this about me, but I am pretty competitive.  After playing field hockey, doing shot put for indoor and outdoor track (as well as being a sprinter!) then playing softball (Tony still can’t believe I didn’t turn out a lesbian given my choice of sports!), turns out I like to win. 

So I decided to swim yesterday.  While I am not the best swimmer, I do like swimming because its an all body workout – I feel it in my back, my thighs my arms.  As luck would have it, a little Chinese woman got in the pool at the same time as me.  I suddenly imagined that we were going for gold!  After I put my goggles on, I looked at her and gave her the stink eye – I was there to win!

Okay, it doesn’t matter that this woman was in her 60s, I was there to win and she helped me push myself that much harder – I lapped her!  And while she was a super sweet lady, I had to envision her as my arch enemy – hey, whatever works to push yourself, right?!

I ended up swimming almost non-stop for 30 minutes – which doesn’t seem like much, but I was definitely flush and breathing hard.  It felt good!

My blood sugar before my workout?  229 – when I got back to my office, it was 75 and I was hangry!  I ended up having 3/4 a serving left of the kung pao chicken from my tacos earlier in the week.  I stir fried some broccoli slaw and broccoli, then accessorized my meal by hitting the Chinese restaurant across the street for some steamed brown rice and Szechwan green beans.

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While I asked for my green beans not to be cooked in oil, I am not so sure.  But they tasted amazing – nice and crisp and supa spicy!  Lunch comes in at 524 calories, 17 fat, 62 carbs, 10 fiber and 32 protein.

I was busy working away, when guess who stopped by to surprise me?!

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Thank you for using Instagram to soften my belly!  And mind you, this is swim hair – I didn’t blow dry it, just pulled it back in a pony tail.  Hannah had spent the night before babysitting for her friend in Schaumburg and after thrifting, stopped by my office to surprise me.  It was so good to see her – I miss her a lot. Crying face

I ended up not working late – woot!  But then realized I never really planned anything for dinner other than potato soup and sammies.  When I texted Tony that I’d be home he asked what was for dinner, and when I told him soup and sammies he said “that’s not football food!”

He was fine with it.  I actually wasn’t in the mood for soup, so I had a sammie and some jalapeno chipins.  This jalapeno cheddar bread is sold for $1.29 a loaf at my store – I cut off a 3 oz. portion, then pulled out enough of the inside bread to make it 2 ounces.  On the inside?  Deli roast beef, a slice of mozzarella, and a teaspoon of my broccoli rabe pesto.

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This was an amazeball sandwich – loved the balance between the baked in cheddar with the mozzarella on the inside, and the garlic in the broccoli rabe pesto was perfect with the roast beef.  This plate comes in at 520 calories, 17 fat, 58 carbs, 2.8 fiber and 28 protein.

Have you seen these chips before?  I think I actually bought them at Bed Bath & Beyond – you can really taste the “popcorn” flavor, and of course, they had me at jalapeno.

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Stats for Thursday:

  • 1487 calories, 50 fat, 163 carbs, 17 fiber and 94 protein
  • 44% calories from carbs, 31 from fat, 25 from protein
  • 15 minute walk with the dog before work
  • 15 minute walk after dinner
  • 30 minute swim (giving myself 2 miles for my exercise yesterday!)
  • 154.6 miles left of my 170 mile challenge

When I tool the dog for a walk last night, the sky was so cool – I need to figure out how to use my camera at night – I used my telephoto lens – still not what I wanted but kind of cool!

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Come back tomorrow for my winning recipe!  I was asked to participate in a blogger recipe contest by Legends from Europe – you had to create a recipe using a “Legend” ingredient from Europe.  I was assigned Parmigiano reggiano.  You know how I love cheese!

I am making a chicken parmesan meatball Florentine soup!  In my head it turns out good, so we’ll see how it turns out tomorrow!

What are you plans for the weekend?  I hope to get together for lunch with Hannah and my Mom on Sunday to celebrate her birthday. Open-mouthed smile  And I want to get to the gym over the weekend – something I have plenty of time for but hardly ever do.

Make it a great day!  Hooray for me – no snacking after dinner last night! Just kidding

It’s All About Balance

I walked off to work a second day in a row without my camera.  No worries, I had my cell phone with me.  Except I forgot to plug it in the night before, so it was dead when I got ready to take a picture of my breakfast.

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Thanks Google images!!  I had two breakfast tacos:  2 corn tortillas, 1/2 cup egg whites, 1/2 ounce chopped pepperoni, 1/2 cup of canned kidney beans, 1 cup baby spinach and 3/4 oz of cheese.  I had a fuji apple on the side – breakfast came in at 501 calories, 15 fat, 60 carbs, 12 fiber and 32 protein.

I decided to do a bike ride at lunch to take at stab at my 170 mile challenge.  I ended up doing 9 miles!  Woop!  I took the picture you see below, texted it to Tony and I got this wonderful text back that ended up saying WOW!  In my head I was like “it’s just a bike ride!”  Um, turns out he thought I ran that far – I wish!  Thanks though Tony!

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I tried to take a picture while I was still riding, that didn’t turn out so well! Open-mouthed smile

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Just like scallop potatoes have been my Achilles heal, so has potato soup.  More than half the time it tastes like I am eating a bowl of mashed potatoes.  Not this recipe!  I think the key was cooking the potatoes separately and adding them back in at the end.  This is creamy, but a bit chunky all at the same time.

Potato Soup

(adapted from Tidy Mom)

Makes 8 servings, 1.5 cups each:  274 calories, 8.6 fat, 40 carbs, 3.5 fiber and 13 protein

I left out the bacon in the soup recipe, but feel free to cook some up for a garnish.

Ingredients:

  • 5 large baking potatoes (1.5 pounds), cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 cup chopped carrots, diced
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper to taste

Put the potatoes in a pot of water, covered an inch higher than the potatoes.  Cook until tender, about 10 minutes, then drain.

In a stock pot, heat olive oil. Add garlic, celery and carrots.  Cook for 10 minutes until carrots start to get tender.  Add flour.  Cook for 1 minute.  Slowly add the chicken broth, stirring until the sauce starts to thicken and get bubbly.  Put the potatoes and remaining ingredients in the pot and simmer for 10 minutes.  I did use my potato masher to mash some of the potatoes.

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This was so good.  Creamy, with bits of potato and carrots.  And I love that this whole bowl was under 250 calories!

The reason I was happy about how low in calorie my soup was going to be, was because I knew my dinner was going to be a calorie bomb.  You see, over the weekend while flipping channels we saw a show that made a meatza deep dish pizza:  Italian sausage, Canadian bacon, pepperoni AND bacon!  Tony and I looked at each other and I was like “that’s going on the menu next week!”

Half of me didn’t even want to figure out the calories, but then I thought, I have to.  I have to own up to what I eat.

I always have to stop myself and remember, I am nowhere near what I was like back in the day.  I wondered “how the hell did I get to be 210 pounds?!”  I’ll tell you how:

  • Burger King breakfast croissant, cheezy hash browns and a 20 oz. pop: 1090 calories, 47 grams of fat
  • McDonald’s 10 chicken nuggets, large fry, pop and an apple pie: 1,460 calories, 65 grams of fat
  • On my way home: Auntie Ann’s pretzel for the train ride: 480 calories, 4 fat
  • Dinner: 4 beef tacos, refried beans, Mexican rice: 1,120 calories, 68 grams of fat
  • After Hannah went to bed?  12 inch Jack’s pizza: 1320 calories, 69 grams of fat

Not kidding, that was a typical day in the former life of Biz.  That day totals 5473 calories, 253 grams of fat, 572 carbs (!!!) 39 fiber, 214 protein and get this . . . ready for it?  11,876 grams of sodium!!

So when I figured out the calories for my one slice of a 9 inch pizza, it came in at 642 calories, 32 fat, 55 carbs, 2.8 fiber and 28 protein.

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my slice of heaven

When I finished entering the rest of my food for the day into fatsecret.com, I realized as a whole day, I didn’t do too bad!

Stats for Wednesday:

  • 1417 calories, 55 fat, 156 carbs, 18 fiber and 73 protein
  • 45% of calories from calories, 35% from fat and 20% from protein
  • 9 mile bike ride
  • 156.5 miles left of my 170 mile challenge
  • average blood sugar 141

So while a part of me was beating myself up for eating that pizza, the other half was telling me “you don’t eat like you used to,  It’s one slice of pizza – enjoy it and move on!”

Question of the Day:  How have your eating habits changed over the years?  All I know is that until I was about 30, the only vegetables I ate were cucumber and carrots!

Off to put my food together for the day – breakfast, lunch and dinner!  I might have to work late tonight – but fingers crossed that I don’t.  Somehow I think Tony will be just fine watching football tonight if I do work late! Open-mouthed smile

Make it a great day!

 

Kung Pao Chicken Tacos

I didn’t sleep well the night before last. So my alarm going off at 6:30 a.m. came and went. I had my lunch ready to go, but still needed to put my gym clothes and breakfast together. I got up at 7:30. Went to turn on my cell phone and two messages popped up – one secretary called in sick, the other was from the office manager asking if I can get to the office by 8:00 to notarize some documents.

Um, it takes me 30 minutes to drive to work. I was still in my pajamas! Guess what time I was in the car by?? 7:36! Yep, six minutes from sleep to driving – rest assured I did not look very pretty. But, I knew I was working out and my shower would just be delayed for a few hours. 😀

So after I finished what I had to do, I realized I needed to pick up something for breakfast. Subway is across the street, so I went there. Do you know about Nutritionix? It’s a Subway nutrition calculator. I ended up getting the black forest ham flatbread with egg white, provolone, cucumber, green peppers, banana peppers, spinach, pickles and hot sauce.

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While this super filling breakfast sammie comes in at 420 calories, 13 fat, 47 carbs, 3 fiber and 29 protein, guess what else this sammie comes with??

2,000 mg of sodium!!

Skippy, if you are reading this, don’t ever go to Subway for breakfast – that’s your sodium intake for a week! But as I pick apart the sandwich, um turns out deli ham, pickles, banana peppers and hot sauce have a shit load of sodium. Let’s just say that I drank a TON of water yesterday. My pee actually had no color by the end of the day! Hopefully you aren’t eating your breakfast or lunch as you read that last sentence. Winking smile

I structured my blood sugar perfectly so that it was 239 before my lunch workout. To get some more miles in my 170 mile six week challenge, and to increase my stamina, I did 3 miles on the treadmill. I started out with a 5 minute warm-up, and ended up walking 3 minutes, running 2 until I finished.

3 miles

It will probably be a couple more weeks until I can run 30 minutes without stopping, but hopefully each day I’ll get a bit better. By the time I got back to work, my blood sugar was 85 – nice!

Holy amazeballs. My lunch was awesome. I hadn’t even flipped through my Cooking Light magazine yet before Nicole already posted this on her blog: Kung Pao Chicken Tacos. I like spicy shit. I like tacos. Winning!

I did switch it up just a bit to make two servings instead of four. Tony wouldn’t touch this with a 10-foot pole. So with the second half of the kung pao chicken I am going to have it with steamed brown rice and stir fry veggies. I also divided the chicken nutrition separate from the tortillas, since there are so many different ones out there. Mine are LaTortilla Factory low carb tortillas – two are 120 calories.

Kung Pao Chicken

  • 2 servings – 338 calories, 17 fat, 17 catbs, 3 fiber and 30 protein

Ingredients:

  • 10 ounces diced boneless, skinless, chicken breast
  • 1.5 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce, divided
  • 1/8 cup + .75 teaspoon cornstarch, divided
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 stalks of celery, diagonally cut
  • 4 teaspoons dry roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
  • .75 tablespoon honey
  • ½ tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon sambal oelek (chile paste)
  • 2 teaspoons sriracha (my addition, you knows I love the spice!)
  • 1 orange pepper, sliced in strips

Directions:

1. Put the chicken in a bowl and toss ½ a tablespoon of soy sauce. Add 1/8 cup of cornstarch and toss to coat well.

2. Heat a skillet over medium heat with canola oil. Add chicken and sauté for about 6 minutes. Remove from heat.

3. Here’s how I did things differently: I then sautéed my pepper and celery, to make it almost like a kung pao fajita. Cook just until the peppers start to brown and wilt a bit – about 5-6 minutes.

4. Here’s the next thing I did differently: the instructions said to add the remaining cornstarch, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, vinegar and chile sauce to a microwave save bowl and microwave on high for 1 – 1.5 minutes, until thickened, then pour over the chicken. The first time? It burned. I started over, cooked for 30 seconds, and it was still an unusable paste. Lastly, I mixed the cornstarch, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, vinegar and chile sauce and just mixed well and added the sauce to the peppers and celery in the pan, then tossed in the chicken and cooked for an additional minute.

I served my tacos: 2.5 ounces chicken per taco, split the celery and peppers between the tacos, then added 1 teaspoon crushed peanuts to each taco, and finished it off with a bit more sriracha.

In my rush to get out of the house this morning, I forgot to grab my camera, but I hope this picture entices you to make this. Such a combination of flavors: salty/sweet/spicy. I never would have though to put Chinese food in a tortilla, but this was delicious. All together these two tacos come in at: 458 calories, 20 fat, 36 carbs, 16 fiber (thanks to the low carb tortillas!) and 35 protein.

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I will definitely be making these again – soon!

Now that the weather is cooler, my mind immediately jumps to fall comfort food.  Tony loves beef stroganoff, so when I saw a recipe for stove top stroganoff, I was all over it.  Even though it’s a Cook’s Illustrated recipe, I decided to tweak it a bit.  I reduced the oil to 2 teaspoons vs. 4 tablespoons, and I cooked the egg noodles on the side and incorporated it in at the end.

The recipe also called for sirloin tips, which I couldn’t find, but I found this sirloin tip roast – only $6!  I ended up cutting up 1 pound in the meat and I’ll use the leftovers to make Italian beef sandwiches next week.

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Guess what people?  I am starting to like mushrooms!  I’ve always loved the flavor and smell of mushrooms, its just been a texture thing.  The only problem with this dinner?  The sauce was kind of soupy.  It never thickened up, even when I pureed some mushrooms sauce and pasta to kind of thicken it up.  I told Tony later that maybe the reason it didn’t thicken up was because I skipped the step of adding the raw noodles to the sauce to cook – maybe the starch from the pasta thickens the sauce?

The flavor was there, but I am going back to the drawing board on this one.  My guestimate is this plate is:  456 calories, 20 fat, 40 carbs, 2.4 fiber and 26 protein.

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And then I got snacky later on.  WTF?!  I ate a serving of sweet potato straws:

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These took me by surprise because I expected a salty treat, but these are sweet and have like a cinnamon coating on the outside – good news is 34 straws is 120 calories!

But then I had a small sliver of carrot cake – I am finally taking it to work today to get it out of the house!  These two snacks added 300 calories to my total caloric intake. Sad smile

Stats for Tuesday:

  • 1634 calories, 62 fat, 175 carbs, 21 fiber and 93 protein
  • 15 minute walk with the dog
  • 45 minutes on treadmill – 3.2 total miles
  • average blood sugar 155
  • 165.8 miles left in 170 mile challenge

I have probably the best potato soup I’ve ever made for lunch today – come back tomorrow for the recipe!  And tonight’s dinner?  Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza!

Make it a great day!

36 Pounds to Normal

I’ve come to realize that when I sleep in over the weekend, which I love, that come Monday morning, no matter how great my intentions are, this ass is not getting out of bed to exercise.  That and going to bed after 11:00 p.m. on a Sunday just isn’t a recipe for success.

So while my alarm went off at 6:30, I didn’t actually get out of bed until 7:20 – eek!  While that’s plenty of time for me to get ready for work, it left zero time for my morning walk.

Over the weekend I realized that my wonton wrappers were about to go, so I decided to bake them up.  Just bake at 350 for about 8-10 minutes, just until they are lightly browned. 

I decided to make some breakfast wontons! Haven’t done that in a while.  I scrambled up 1/4 cup of egg whites with 2 ounces of chopped deli ham, 1/2 cup shredded zucchini and 1 slice of American cheese.  I made my scramble at home, then assembled them at work – be sure to put your wonton cups on top of your lunch – they are very fragile!

I heated the scramble once I got to work, then divided the mixture evenly between the wonton cups – topped with some baja fresh salsa, and a sliced apple on the side – this was a delicious way to start the day.   This plate comes in at 371 calories, 9 fat, 47 carbs, 4.5 fiber and 22 protein.

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You want to make sure you squeeze out the grated zucchini in a paper towel before scrambling – otherwise the bottom of your wontons will be soggy the longer they sit on your plate.

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I may have added some splashes of Tabasco after the pics were taken. Devil

So at lunch I met with my plastic surgeon.  She’s totally nice, down to earth, and as I was speaking with her, could not for the life of me figure out if her boobs were real or not – they were kind of out there, but who knows! 

She said my mole removal will only take about 30 minutes under local anesthesia, and while I’ll have a scar, its her goal to make it as minimal as possible.  I’ve scheduled it for October 22 then its done and over with.  She reassured that just because the cells were abnormal, it doesn’t necessarily mean cancer, but as a safety precaution just to get it removed, and then I’ll be good to go.

By the time I got back to the office I was hangry!  Thankfully I froze the rest of Suzie’s chorizo chili for lunch – I had an ounce of unphotographed tortilla chips for dipping – just as good as when I made it!  Lunch comes in at 466 calories, 20 fat, 49 carbs, 11 fiber and 25 protein.  The jarred hot peppers were a nice kick. Open-mouthed smile

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The afternoon d r a g g e d at work yesterday.  Couldn’t wait to get the hockey puck out of there.  Guess what Tony requested for our dinner this week?  Another round of grilled chicken caesar salad!  Any time he recommends a salad I jump all over it.

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The romaine I bought was kind of skinny, so we each got a whole head.  Chicken tenders were on sale so I bought those instead of chicken breasts – just tossed in a bit of olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder.

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The romaine only cooks about 1 minute – about 30 seconds per side.  The darker part gets wilty, almost tastes like spinach, while the lighter part stays nice and crisp.

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Such a delicious salad – its just lightly dressed and of course, the garlic croutons and sprinkle of Parmesan cheese make this salad.  505 calories, 35 fat, 8 carbs, 4 fiber and 36 protein.  This is a great low carb/paleo salad!

So happy I have some company with my six week, 170 miles challenge!  The wonderful folks at Chobani have offered up one of their yogurt packs.  If you decide to do a six week challenge and complete it, you’ll be entered for a chance to win.  Who doesn’t love Chobani!

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So here is where I am at.  172 pounds.  I put my height and weight into a BMI calculator and just as I suspected, I am back in the “obese” category.  I started entering different weights until I got to one that was within normal range – well the top of the normal range.  The magic number?

136 pounds!

Yep, I have to lose 36 pounds in order to be in a normal weight range.  So I have my work cut out for me!  I have decided that if I do an exercise that I can’t measure, like a work out video or walking the dog, that for every 45 minutes I’ll count that as one mile to my total goal.  I ended up walking the dog for 15 minutes after dinner and did 30 minutes of Classical stretch.  Turns out I tried to do a TaeBo video but having the salad sitting in my stomach I felt like I was going to puke any second.  Note to self: don’t exercise 20 minutes after eating!

Stats for Monday:

  • 1400 calories, 66 fat, 116 carbs, 20 fiber and 85 protein
  • 15 minute walking dog, 30 minute stretch video
  • average blood sugar 144
  • 1 mile down, 169 to go!

It’s not too late to join the challenge – just leave a comment and tell me what you want to accomplish in the next six weeks – maybe its bring your lunch one more day than you normally do, or trying a new recipe, or eating out less.   Who’s with me?

Make it a great day!