Did someone say shish-kebobs?

Dan and I had a special treat last night – my sisters came by and we collaborated on dinner.  We decided to do some grilling.  The weather was nice and we wanted something pretty healthy.

On the menu was shish-kebobs.  Steak, chicken and lots of veggies.  We paired it with some roasted potatoes and green beans.  It was delicious.

We started by chopping zucchini, red peppers, mushrooms, onions and tomatoes.  I added a little olive oil and some Montreal Steak Seasoning.

After the veggies were all cut, Alison cut up the protein.  The chicken breast was marinated in some olive oil, white pepper, salt and a little “BBQ 3000” from Penzey’s.  (It’s my new favorite spice rub).  The steak had olive oil and Montreal Steak Seasoning.  After they were all ready to go, we put the veggies and meat on separate skewers – because they cook at different rates.

Jackson was really hoping that something would fall into his mouth.

Lauren worked on her roasted potatoes.  I bought some small little yukon gold potatoes at Trader Joe’s last week and I needed to use them before they went bad.  We boiled them first so they didn’t take too long in the oven.  After they were cooked through, Lauren added fresh rosemary, olive oil and lemon juice.  When we were ready to grill, we put the potatoes in a 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes.

Dan was the grill master and cooked everything perfectly.

The roasted potatoes were absolutely perfect.  Nice and crisp on the outside, creamy on the inside.  And, you can’t beat that fresh rosemary straight from Lauren’s little herb garden.

Overall, it was one of the best meals of the summer.  Very good and pretty good for you too.  🙂  We topped off the night with a nice long walk with Jackson.

And, another thing to be excited about?  Look what I got in the mail yesterday…

If you haven’t figured it out already, I absolutely love the theater.  I love plays and musicals.  My favorite local theater company is the Milwaukee Rep.  I think they are extremely underrated.  Every show I’ve seen as been very well done.  I may not like every single show, but they always do a great job.  And, my favorite musical of all time is “Cabaret”.  I love it.  Love everything about it.  It has humor, history, sadness, love, loss, sex, greed, etc, etc…  And, it turns out, the Milwaukee Rep will be doing it’s first musical next season and it’s…. CABARET!!  🙂

I recognized the eyes on the mailing and got instantly giddy.  I’m so excited about it.  It makes me wish it was fall already…

I guess I can wait a month or two…  🙂

Cut out the Meat?

I am a meat eater – an omnivore if you will.  I love the stuff – I really do.  However, there is a new study out that is showing that the more meat you eat, the more weight you’ll gain – with calories being equal.

You can read the article here.

A few highlights:

A group of European researchers found that people who consume meat regularly gained more weight over a five-year period than those who ate less meat but took in the same number of calories.

I found it interesting that poultry is actually a large culprit:

Perhaps surprisingly, the biggest culprit behind the extra pounds was poultry, followed by processed meats and red meat, according to the scientists from Imperial College London. Their findings were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

I normally substitute poultry for red meat in a lot of my dishes to be a little more healthy.  I’ll have to sit down with the full report one of these days.

Now, I’ll definitely take this into consideration when preparing dinner, but I’m not ready to eliminate all meat all together.  I mean, who can turn down BBQ?

Greek Meets Italian

Tonight was a lazy dinner.  I didn’t want to do much and I wasn’t feeling any of the old standbys.  I put my trip to the Greek store to good use again and made pita pizzas.

Nothing too crazy, just pita bread, cheese, turkey pepperoni, italian seasoning and a little garlic.  Put it under the broiler and viola!  A perfect personal pizza all for about 400 calories.

It was yummy, but I probably should’ve had a salad or something along with it.  It wasn’t as filling as I had hoped.

I did have some good news today – a great weigh in.  I’m down 3.6 pounds.  That means that I’m right at my goal of 2 pounds a week.  It just took my body a little bit to catch up…  🙂

Off to watch some “White Collar” (MMMMMMmmmm… Matt Bomer) and “Top Chef”.

It’s All Greek To Me…

It’s been a long day.  Three swim practices (coaching two, swimming one), a final exam and errands.  Thankfully, I’m done with my summer class (yay!) and I got everything done that I needed.

I was a little upset with my swim.  I was all set to do 3,000 yards.  I was actually doing well.  I wasn’t swimming fast, but I was swimming.  I actually got a few lengths of butterfly worked in.  It wasn’t pretty – but it was there.  🙂  Unfortunately, I didn’t realize there was a class at 5:30.  And, apparently, with four kids in the class, they needed all four lanes.  (Can you tell I’m bitter?)  I did end up getting 1,800 yards in.  Not too bad – but those last 1,200 would have been nice.

Workout: (Sets in the parentheses are what I would have done if I had the time…)

Warmup: 200 swim, 200 pull, 200 kick, 200 swim

12 X 50 swim on 1:10 – fly/free, back/free, breast/free, free/free (X 3)

2 X 200 pull – one free, one backstroke – on 4:30

(2 X 200 pull – one free, one backstroke – on 4:30)

(8 X 50 on 1:00 – build)

(6 X 25 sprint on :35)

(200 cool down)

I guess I’ll get over the fact I didn’t get it in.  45 minutes is better than nothing, right?

For dinner, it was all about my trip to the Greek Store.  I make a stop there every once in awhile to pick up some feta ($2.89/pound!), pitas and anything else I may need.  Today, I picked up some feta, pitas, phyllo dough, mizithra and some Nutella (just ‘cuz).

I made some Greek chicken breast, brown butter noodles and broccoli for dinner.

The chicken breast was marinated with equal parts lemon juice and olive oil, Greek seasoning, black pepper, salt and oregano.  The whole wheat noodles had some browned butter and mizithra cheese on top.  If you haven’t had mizithra, it’s fantastic – in my opinion, of course.

It’s a hard cheese with a little bit of a bite.  It’s has some saltiness to it as well.  I guess it’s a fairly old cheese and according to the Greek yia-yias – it lasts forever.  🙂  The only unfortunate thing about it is that I’ve only been able to find it at the Greek stores around here.  I have a few recipes that call for it, and if I can’t find it, I usually substitute Romano.  It’s definitely not as good – but close enough.  🙂

Overall, it was a great meal.  We served it with a side of pita (and feta).  Yummmm….

Tomorrow is another BodyBugg weigh-in.  I really hope this week is better than last week!

Dancin’ Through Life…

Today was my first weigh in with the Body Bugg.  I didn’t reach my goal of 2 pounds a week, so I was a little disappointed.  However, I’m not going to get too down on myself.  We did go out to eat last night (icky salt!), and I have started a little strength training program courtesy of my sisters.  So, I’m thinking all of those things might have something to do with it.  (Okay – so I’m HOPING that they have something to do with it…)

Oh well, on with the day…

On the menu tonight was another turkey burger.  This time, it had a Mexican spin on it.

In the burger was ground turkey, fajita seasoning, salsa, lime zest and a little bit of egg.  The burgers seemed a little loose tonight, so we wanted to make sure they would stay together.  That’s why I added egg.  It turned out to be a good idea.

I whipped up an avocado spread that consisted of one avocado, a couple tablespoons of non-fat plain Greek yogurt and some lime juice.  Just combine the ingredients and mash them together.

On top of the burgers was some extra sharp Wisconsin cheddar.

Dan whipped up some cilantro-lime brown rice (brown rice with some cilantro and lime juice) and some black beans.  Overall, it was pretty delicious!  

For dessert, I had a Blue Bunny Personals Frozen Yogurt in Bordeaux Cherry Chocolate.  I absolutely love this flavor.  I’m a sucker when it comes to dark chocolate and cherry!

These things are a bit deceiving because it implies that it’s one serving, but it’s actually two.  Normally, I just eat half.  But, tonight was a full yogurt night.  (Don’t worry, it’s all accounted for in the Body Bugg…)  🙂

Smoothie Madness!

I’ve been on a smoothie kick lately.  Probably because of the heat.  And, most likely, just because they’re awesome.  🙂

I absolutely love Alterra’s smoothies.  Alterra is local coffee place in the Milwaukee area.  I like just about anything from Alterra, but I’ll usually go for a smoothie over coffee any day of the week.  I love their smoothies because they use real fruit and yogurt.  They aren’t those sugary things that people try to pass as smoothies.

So, I did what any fan would do – when I ordered the smoothie, I watched how they made it.  I’ve come up with something that’s pretty close to their Berry Booster.  And, that’s what I had after my late-morning walk.

The Knock-Off Alterra Berry Booster Smoothie

3/4 cup – 1 cup frozen mixed berry blend

1 half of a frozen banana

1/2 cup vanilla yogurt

1/2 cup cranberry-grape juice

1 scoop of vanilla protein powder (optional)

Throw everything into a blender and turn it on until it’s smooth.

I like to put it in a big glass with a straw.  Today, I enjoyed mine in a Smithwick’s glass while watching the Cooking Channel.

Not a bad afternoon…

Body Buggin’

Well, today started a new challenge.  My family got together and four of us got Body Buggs.  They are those little things you see on the arms of all of the Biggest Loser contestants.  My sisters (who have nothing to lose, btw) talked to someone at church who lost 50 pounds using the system.  So, we decided to put the money down and give it a shot.  After all, we have to look fabulous at my brother’s wedding next June.  🙂

I’ve used it for a day now and it’s pretty easy to use.  I’m still getting used to the online software (you have to document all of your calories online), but I’m sure it will get a little easier.  I actually reached my calorie deficit goal today – 1,000 calories to lose 2 pounds a week.  And, I didn’t even formally exercise today.

The great thing is that it keeps track of my steps.  I was short on my steps today – but I was more conscious of how many steps I took during swim practice.   I moved a little bit more than usual.  Tomorrow, my goal is to reach 10,000 steps.  Baby steps, baby steps…

The only thing I don’t really like – especially now in the summer – is that everyone’s going to know what I’m doing.  I work with kids – and they ask a lot of questions.  🙂  But, I suppose it’s worth it if it works!

Today, I was fortunate to have some time in the evening.  With a lot of family things and late swim practices lately, I haven’t really had an opportunity to cook.  Today, I came home and decided to try a new recipe.  I was inspired by Mel over at A Taste of Life to try my hand at another risotto.  I have made a few risottos in the past, but they’ve been filled with cheese and cream.  Yes, they have been delicious, but not that good for you.

I searched for a few recipes online and adapted one to my personal liking.

Asparagus & Pea Risotto –

Adapted from allrecipes.com

  • 9 oz package of frozen asparagus, heated
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 cup uncooked Arborio rice
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1/4 cup grated Asiago cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • Zest of one lemon
  1. Heat frozen asparagus according to the package’s instructions.  Set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan, bring broth to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and maintain at a simmer. In a large heavy skillet, cook onion in oil over medium heat until tender. Add rice and stir to coat well; cook 3 minutes longer. Add wine and cook until absorbed.
  3. Stir in 1/2 cup simmering broth. Cook until broth is almost completely absorbed, stirring frequently, then add another 1/2 cup of simmering broth; the process should take about 20 minutes. Rice should be slightly firm in center and look creamy.
  4. Add asparagus and frozen peas; heat through. Remove from the heat; add the butter, Asiago cheese, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

I served it with a center-cut pork chop with a little of Penzy’s poultry seasoning, salt and pepper.

Overall, it was a great meal.  The husband told me to “file it away”.  (That’s his code for “I want to eat this again”)  I think it came in under 500 calories for everything.  Not too shabby.  🙂

For dessert, we fixed some single servings of Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt Brownies.

They are pretty much “No Pudge” brownies.  They definitely hit the spot.  Nice and warm, ooey and gooey.  They’re perfect with a little whipped cream on top.

It’s time to watch some “Top Chef” and go to bed a little early tonight.  We have a long day tomorrow…

Have a great night.  🙂