Food for Friday

It’s Friday and it’s time for the Friday Food Round-up! How are you feeling? Eat well this week? Sleep enough? Fit in some exercise? Hopefully all those answers are yes, and now we get to enjoy the weekend!

Breakfast

I made bagels from Skinnytaste that were 3 points on Weight Watchers! 3! The base is Greek yogurt and though my mom didn’t love the texture, I thought they were tasty. I dipped the first one in some peanut butter.

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Because the way I assembled them were too thin to cut, I dipped them into two over-easy eggs.

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I need simple and satisfying breakfasts at work, so I’ve been on a huge peanut butter stuffed pita kick as of late. With banana or other fruits is particularly delicious.

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Sometimes a girl just wants some eggs and toast.

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Lunch

I started off the week with a huge salad full of fresh veggies, grilled chicken, and some nuts for crunch.

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One day I stuck with leftovers for lunch, but the next day, I made this tuna salad with greek yogurt and mustard. Red bell peppers, carrots, and celery rounded out the dish.

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Since I work late Thursdays, I made a significant lunch of whole wheat pasta, grilled shrimp, and veggies.
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Dinner

The first dinner of the week was this blackened salmon dish with spinach rice, roasted bell peppers, and broccoli.

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Blackened scallops on a bed of spinach, peppers, carrots, and nuts.

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Chicken cacciatore with whole wheat pasta, bell peppers, and asparagus.

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A beautiful salad with veggies and grilled chicken.

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Have a spectacular weekend!

Food Good, Good Food: I’ve Got It All

Stir fry is a great, healthy dish for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It’s a one pan dish that can be so versatile! It’s easy to make it for one or for a family. Here are some of my tips to make any meal stellar!

To break it down, a stir fry incorporates every single food group into one meal, if you know how to do it right. We can start with the protein. This is the one-two ingredients that will provide staying power.

For breakfast, eggs are the obvious go-to protein. Bacon, ham, sausage, or tofu would work just as well, either as the main or assistant protein. Beans are also really easy and nutrient dense, you can make them fancy or just drop them into the pan out of the can. My favorite combination for breakfast protein would either be eggs with chicken sausage or black beans.

Lunch and dinner follow similar patterns. Chicken is a staple in my diet, as it is for so many others. I eat chicken more than any other protein and you can never go wrong with simply grilled, spiced, or marinated depending on your mood. Steak is another great option as it can offer protein and fat. Steak is one of my favorites, but I tend to eat it less because 1. I try not to eat too much red meat and 2. I am not an expert at cooking it, yet. The most versatile protein for stir fry would be fish, particularly salmon because it is full of omega 3’s and good-for-you fat. I also enjoy tilapia as it is so similar to chicken. Swordfish and tuna are good too. Stir fry is so fun because you have so many different options! Any protein you might use in breakfast can also be used for lunch or dinner: eggs (not just for breakfast/brunch!), beans, or tofu- all excellent choices!

Next up, we need the veggies. Veggies provide the bulk of the dish- or at least they should! Vegetables add heft, filling you with nutrients and vitamins. Not to mention that they allow you to eat more food! Here’s where you can get really fancy. For my stir fry, I usually chop up and toss in any assortment of vegetable I have in the fridge. My staples are red bell peppers (my favorite vegetable), spinach, carrots, broccoli, and zucchini. To keep things fancy, I sometimes add in bok choy, sugar snap peas, sweet potato, squash, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, or corn. For my meals, I add in a ton of vegetables so I never worry about meeting my daily requirement. They are like salads in this way. I recommend choosing at least two-three vegetables to add to your stir fry and be as fancy or simple as you want! Goal: make it colorful!

Carbohydrates tend to scare people. I get it. Carbs and sugar make up a lot of the tasty treats we hate to love (or love to hate) and we’re told not to eat too many.

Side note: don’t ever feel bad about indulging. If you are truly indulging, it means you are enjoying what you love and incorporating it as an important part of your healthy lifestyle. Gulping down spoonfuls of ice cream is a lot different than savoring every bite. Your relationship to food is all in your perspective. I’m still learning more about this, but it’s so important to developing and maintaining healthy habits.

But carbs are good for you and you need them. Yes, you! The easiest grain to use in my stir fry is brown rice. Brown rice is good because it adds a wonderful, chewy texture to the dish without taking away from the flavor. I’m also a fan of whole grain pasta, buckwheat noodles, or quinoa. Sweet potato and regular potato are also yummy carb choices, but they can also still be considered veggies, so double yay! White rice and pasta are fine too on occasion, but the whole grain versions offer more protein, which means it will fuel your body for longer. Let’s vow to stop making carbs, in their simplest form, the enemy. It’s what the carbs make up that matter (which is still quite alright every so often).

Let’s talk about another friend that gets a lot of grief. I don’t get why people are so against fat. I think it’s because it shares a name with an adjective that no one wants to be called. Healthy fats need to be distinguished. Yes, we should use them in smaller portions, but we should still use them.

Uh oh, another side rant! When I was on Weight Watchers I remember thinking how silly it is that the plan would rather me eat a wayward, processed, low-nutrient, but low-calorie and low-fat granola bar than a serving of almonds or peanut butter. First, peanut butter is my favorite food ever. Also, nuts are so good for you. They offer a ton of protein and healthy fats and are incredibly versatile for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks! Nuts can be dressed up and dressed down. They come from the earth. Eat the right kind, the right amount, and you can’t go wrong!

And we’re back- I like to toss in a few nuts, either cashew, peanut, or pine for a bit of fat, when I use grilled chicken as my protein because there is no fat there. Cheese or olive oil also contribute to the healthy fat content and provide the dish with a little heft. It’s in a good way though because you need fat to help keep you full!

We’ve discussed protein, vegetables, carbohydrates, and fat and we’ve created exciting meal options. Last thing we need is a little marinade. It might be a stretch, but we can consider this the sweetness that we all need in our diet. My favorite sauces for stir fry include anything peanutty, sesame, or teriyaki-based. When I buy them, I make sure to first check the ingredients- many store-bought brands have so many ingredients, it’s crazy- and the calories to see if it’s even worth it. Sauces, and dressing for that matter, are things I need to start making home-made. I enjoyed the recipe I did make, which included some spicy mustard, soy sauce, and garlic. Simple, yet delicious! *And I can name the ingredients. A little sauce can go along way if you know how to mix things right.

I don’t know whether to be impressed or embarrassed that my little post on stir fry went on for so long. Let’s blame it on the little rants spread throughout. There are so many dishes that follow the rules of stir fry- oatmeal and yogurt parfaits for example. Yes, these meals can go from good to uh-oh very quickly, but if you pay attention, stir fry is more likely to stay on the side of good.

I followed my own rules this afternoon for lunch. I’ll break it down.

My protein of choice was salmon, which thanks to last night’s leftovers, made things very easy for me. Next, I chopped up and tossed in my veggies. More leftovers included Brussels sprouts and cauliflower. I added bok choy, red pepper, shredded carrots, and zucchini. My grain was a simple brown rice that was seeped in flavor after I poured the medley over it. To top things off (more like swirl around), I drizzled a teriyaki marinade/soy sauce combination throughout.

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The end result was delicious, leaving me fueled, healthy, happy, but not overly stuffed. The meal was a great recovery from my strength workout this afternoon, got me through this post, and will lead me through an afternoon of studying.

What’s your go-to stir fry?

Missin’ the Kitchen

I’m doing the best that I can with the limited space that I have. Usually I prefer creating recipes in my own kitchen and leaving going out to eat for special occasions, but with the construction we have had to go out more often. Nonetheless, I have been trying to remain as healthy as possible and making good choices. The best way to do that is to stay away from words such as “fried” and look for lots and lots of fresh veggies or fruit. Salads do not always have to be chosen exclusively, but I do actually enjoy them for some part of my meal.

Here’s my week (with some pictures forgotten, sorry!)

Breakfasts:

My beloved oatmeal made on an actual stovetop! Glorious dark chocolate peanut butter, jelly, blueberries, banana, and strawberries thrown in alongside some shredded coconut. It was so hot, I sweat while eating, but it was worth it!

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Two Van’s whole wheat waffles covered in Teddie’s crunch peanut butter, berry preserves, and a fruit salad composed of pineapple, raspberries, melon, and blueberries.

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Toast and peanut butter and jelly. Surprise, surprise!

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My beloved pancakes made on an electric griddle. In my excitement, I forgot to add mashed banana in the batter, but it still tasted amazing.

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On Friday my mom and I went out to breakfast with our neighbors while visiting at the beach. We stopped into a little diner connected to the kind of general store only found in a small New England town. I enjoyed my two eggs over easy with a side of whole wheat toast and bacon, but I was a little envious of my mom who enjoyed two poached eggs over spinach and an English muffin covered in Hollandaise sauce. We will be creating that in our own kitchen.

Ugh, I forgot how much I love poached eggs.

When I woke up Saturday I felt like a lazy man’s breakfast, so I had a bowl of Raisin Bran and then a bowl of Puffins with some chopped strawberries, both swirling in almond milk. I think we can all agree that cereal is best with fruit, especially BANANA, but we were out of it by the weekend.

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After a 2000’s party on Saturday night, Sunday I came home after having a piece of leftover pizza and another bowl of cereal.

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Lunches:

Leftover chicken parm and whole wheat shells with some spinach and chopped peppers.

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On Tuesday I enjoyed lunch with my aunt. I had a delightful panini made up of blackened chicken, pepperjack cheese, spinach, and tomato on whole wheat bread and a bag of Cape Cod chips. Forgot to snap a picture in all of my excitement.

Having to move fast on Wednesday to make a decent lunch, I chopped up a bunch of veggies and threw them on top of a whole wheat tortilla with feta, steak tips, and greek dressing. It turned out to be too much stuffing, so I enjoyed the rest of it as a salad.

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I was very impressed with myself on Thursday because I created a delicious English muffin pizza with some veggie sticks and vegetable dip on the side.

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Since we were at the beach on Friday, I had a quick late lunch of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Saturday was a great sandwich I made with a piece of a fresh French baguette, deli roasted chicken, American cheese, spinach, and tomato.

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We had a nice big family lunch on Sunday. I had lobster pie, teriyaki steak tips, and a baked potato after a side salad to start. Didn’t get a picture, but it was excellent.

Dinners:

A big Greek salad with steak tips and a piece of sour dough with butter.

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Quiche that we had made and frozen for times we would need reinforcement dinner. Lots of red pepper and zucchini with a side salad.

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After the gym, I had a hankering for some Panera so I enjoyed my usual You Pick Two choice of broccoli cheddar soup, Thai chicken salad, and a whole wheat baguette.

Though I felt very clever creating my English muffin pizza, that same night my mom came home with take-out pizza. Now listen, I can never have enough pizza so I was fine. Just in case you were concerned.

Friday night, my friend Stephanie came to visit so we headed to the Chateau. We both had side salads then split two apps, fried ravioli and buffalo bites. I realize that I said to avoid fried foods, but in some cases, they are just necessary.

Before the party on Saturday, my friend Katie and I split a pizza (I told you, never enough) and a caesar salad.

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Going out to eat this much doesn’t make me feel my healthiest. I am very much looking forward to having this kitchen back to full functioning so I can experiment and create some healthy meals my own way- the best way!

When restaurants are the only choice, I suggest trying to make healthy choices most of the time and then eating well the rest of the day. This means avoiding too many snacks and whatnot.