So, I have not written in a while – been super busy with baby, husband, and life – all the things everyone has. I am sure you have your own super busy list. One of my goals for 2014 is to get my blog back in action and so it can be something I can share and be proud of! I am currently working with a consulting firm to get the look and feel I want and I hope to unveil something beautifully fun very soon!
Lightning Date Night
I recently started meal planning and it is really helping us to stay on track, spend less, try new recipes and definitely eat better. Plus, it helps us avoid the “What’s for dinner tonight?” debate. I have only been doing it for one week and it’s been good so far. It takes some time to plan each recipe and time to make sure you have (or buy) the needed ingredients, but I think it’s worth it.
This week’s menu:
Monday – (Meatless) Skinny Cheese and Veggie Baked Penne with salad
Tuesday – Chicken with Red Wine Sauce and Baked Sweet Potato
Wednesday – Salmon for Rob and Veggie Sushi for Me
Thursday – Orange Roasted Chicken, Broccoli with salad
Friday – Saturday – Sunday – unplanned since we are not sure about weekend plans just yet!
Sorry about the poor picture quality this go around. I was too lazy to dig out the Nikon. LOL!
Skinny Cheese and Veggie Baked Penne
- ½ box of Ronzoni 150 Calories Penne (Tastes the same! Yes, I will take 25% fewer calories please.)
- 1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
- 1 small bell pepper (any color), chopped (1/2 cup) (I use frozen when I am in a hurry!)
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or Tastefully Simple Garlic, Garlic
- 2 medium zucchini, sliced and quartered
- ½ can whole black olives, drained
- 1 jar (14 to 15 oz) tomato pasta sauce
- 1/2 cup Reduced or Fat Free Ricotta cheese
- 1 egg
- 1 cup shredded Reduced Fat Italian cheese blend or mozzarella cheese (4 oz)
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
- Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Spray glass baking dish with cooking spray. Cook and drain pasta.
- Heat large skillet with cooking spray and cook onion, bell pepper and garlic 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then add the zucchini quarters; cook 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in olives and the pasta sauce. Heat until bubbly.
- In a separate bowl mix ricotta cheese, egg, Parmesan cheese (optional) and 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese.
- Place penne in baking dish. Pour half of sauce mixture over and then dollop ricotta mixture around the dish. Layer again with penne, sauce, cheese – reserving about a cup of sauce mixture to spread over the top. Sprinkle remainder of cheese on top. This is skinny so it won’t be drenched in cheese like Nona’s lasagna. J
- Cover well with foil and bake 30 – 35 minutes. Bake uncovered 5 to 10 minutes longer or until bubbly and cheese is melted. I also broil on high for 5 minutes to crisp it up but that is up to you.
What is your favorite meatless dish??
Not sure about anyone else, but I don’t love Algebra and I certainly don’t love diets. But, the truth of the matter is that I happen to know a lot about both of them. Sigh. I have tried every diet known to (wo)man but even when I have succeeded I have still failed. I am still the same weight I have always been. Yes, it waxes and wanes but it never seems to get me to the green part on my doctor’s (stupid) chart. But… since I started this blog to get it together, I thought I would take a different approach to getting healthy and let the weight loss come as an added benefit. Many health enthusiasts will agree that this plan of action will work. Will it? We shall see together I guess.
What I have learned in a nutshell…
A good (although debatable) measurement of your weight as it relates to your health is your Body Mass Index or BMI. You can calculate these measurements through numerous calculators found over the Internet. BMI uses your height and weight to calculate the amount of FAT in your body. Yum. Mine is not good I am definitely in the red on this (awesome) chart.
My only saving grace is that I exercise quite a lot. Let’s hope this will counteract the FAT in my body a little bit. But, I also eat and drink too much. But, now that I have this number I have it stuck to my computer monitor.
Mini-Motivation: Every time it changes I will make a new one and keep that post-it and this body alive until it gets down to that 24.9.
Other numbers to consider in this battle are Basal Metabolic Rate, daily caloric intake and daily caloric expenditures. These numbers will calculate a target number to lose weight. My target is 1200 calories, although this will be modified in the weeks leading to the half. Your Basal Metabolic Rate or BMR is the amount of calories you burn just lying around all day – does not include movement or food. Your daily caloric intake is the amount of food and drinks you consume each day and your expenditure is the amount of additional energy you burn through daily movement, activities and exercise. I love My Fitness Pal for calculating these numbers. The site calculates everything for you and tracks all your food and activity and even your water intake. I recommend to anyone looking to shed a few pounds and maintain a healthy lifestyle. They also have an app that you can use on your smart phone to scan the bar code off a food product and it automatically enters the nutritional information into your tracker. Technology is finally working for us. Every day you finish your entry it tells you what your expected weight will be in five weeks.
Lastly, I am going to focus on nutrition. This is the hardest for me. 100 = 100 right? WRONG! When it comes to calories and what I put in my face it becomes measure of quality of foods. 100 calories of French fires will not for feed my body like 100 calories of blueberries will. My plan is to focus more on eating simple foods. Foods that come straight from the earth like fruits and vegetables and those foods that are less processed. The longer it takes to change the ingredients into the final product the more processed the food is. My goal is to use my 1200 calories for good and not evil.
Some foods just make you fatter than others… To illustrate what I am talking about please check out this video and infographic from the “Healthy Times Blog.” They reference a NEJM study following the eating habits of 120,000 adults. It’s not only about how much you eat but also what you eat. I know that this post does not include much Algebra but these things can be confusing and intimidating just like ninth grade math. I hope you are not too disappointed.
Ps. I got my new kicks today and I am very excited to try them out tonight. Not only are they adorable, hopefully, they will be equally fun to run in.
What is your “evil” food and how do you try to limit it in your life?