28 February 2010

My day in food

Sunday mornings are always busy for us. Between church and Sunday school, it is often a long time between breakfast and lunch with two cookie breaks in between to tempt! I knew I was going to have to have a breakfast with some staying power if I was going to make it until lunch without being tempted by the fellowship cookies! I chose a two egg-white omelette with a piece of whole wheat toast spread with butter and Marmite, 1/2 c. greek yogurt, a banana and coffee. I brought my mug to church and enjoyed the copious amounts of good ol' Lutheran coffee available instead of the treats. Yeah me!

Lunch was hurried and I knew it was going to be. We had even planned a quick lunch at McDonalds (I know, the horrors! :) before an afternoon meeting. Before we left for church in the morning, I packed a little tupperware with some of the seasoned chicken meat from when I made chicken tacos a few nights ago. I ordered a side salad with balsamic vinegarette at McDonalds and a milk, and then topped the salad with my brought in chicken. With such a flavorful and healthy salad, it wasn't even work to resist the fries and greasy burgers.

My uncle in law took us out to dinner tonight and we ended up at a cute local establishment called Rosy's diner. The waiter was delightfully disgruntled, but in his defense, he was doing a great job keeping the whole restaurant served. By the time we left, he had softened up and was smiling. I would like to think it was me thinking his disgruntledness was cute that changed his mood. I'll just think that. Anyway, I ordered the BLT and a side salad with the intention of ordering ice cream. I started in on the salad first, ate half of the sandwich (it was YUMMY!) and then, wanting to leave room for ice cream, opted to just eat the bacon off of the second half. One must have their priorities straight.
I wish I had taken a picture of the ice cream sundae, but I was so excited to dig in, I completely forgot. This was one scoop of chocolate peanut butter ice cream with hot fudge and whipped cream with a cherry on top. The ice cream had little peanut butter cups in it that I really liked.

I was able to get out for an hour walk this afternoon in the gorgeous weather. When "Strut" by Adam Lambert came on my iPod, it was all I could do not to toss my hair about while strutting. Adam Lambert keeps a good beat for walking so I'm a bit worn out this evening, but it was a good day. Have a good night everyone!

27 February 2010

The most interesting borscht chili in the world

I was a little nervous about how I would do with portion control today, but I surprised myself! This morning, there was a pancake breakfast at Applebee's, a fundraiser for my son's school. I paid attention to my stomach and was NOT part of the clean plate club! Lunch was again out with a friend. We went to a cute tea shop and I ordered the high tea. I ate slowly and sipped my tea and again, did not finish it all.

Even though my portions were good today, I can't say my meals were too healthy. Sausage and pancakes made with white flour and syrup for breakfast, tea sandwiches and a scone for lunch....by late afternoon I was craving some veggies. I came up with this, um...interesting, chili as a way to use up some beets and zucchini I had in the fridge. I am calling this dish "The most interesting borscht chili in the world" because it WAS interesting. Not something I'd necessarily make again, but pleasant, healthy and hearty none the less. I paired the borscht chili with cornbread, packaged taco salad, and milk. Enjoy!

The Most Interesting Borscht Chili in the World
by Joie de vivre
Serves 8


2 Tbls. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 beets, peeled and shredded
2 zucchini, shredded
1 14.5 oz. can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 14.5 oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 14.5 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 c. green beans
2 28 oz. cans crushed tomatoes
1 package chili seasoning


1. Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot and add the onions. Saute for a few minutes until it starts to become translucent.
2. Add the shredded zucchini and shredded beets. Cook, stirring occasionally until they are soft, about 20 minutes.
3. When the zucchini and shredded beets are thoroughly cooked and completely softened, add all of the beans, the tomatoes and the chili seasoning.
4. Bring to a boil and cook for an additional 10 minutes to let the chili seasoning blend.
5. If desired, top with a dollop of sour cream.

26 February 2010

Friday night fridge cleanout

With a sick kiddo in the house, dinner was comfort foods + fridge clean out. I mashed the leftover tofu from a couple nights ago, added some eggs as well as some cut up turkey dogs and scrambled it. I thought it was a success, but no one else did. I also made some Buckwheat flour pancakes using some Poconos pancake mix that I had found at the health food store. I was good with portion control and kept my portion to 2 CD sized pancakes with berries on top instead of syrup and butter. Added to it was 1/3 c. cottage cheese. Have a good evening!

Cabbage Soup

It's still raining and gray outside and I was craving warm food, so for lunch today I pulled out some cabbage soup I made as a starter a few nights ago. I paired it with a mini version of last night's chicken taco salad minus the beans and tortilla chips and also had some pepper strips with bleu cheese dressing and 1 c. nonfat milk. When I made lunch, it didn't seem to be a lot of food, and not very calorically dense, but as usual, my eyes were bigger than my stomach and I couldn't finish the soup.

I'm hoping the weather clears up enough for me to go for a walk this afternoon, but if not, I'm pulling out the Pilates DVD again. We'll see if Mother Nature wants me to get outside, or to work on my abs and arms. Ha!

My recipe for cabbage soup follows the next picture. Enjoy!

The soup was pretty easy to make and a good way to fool my kids into eating their veggies. It has an almost sweet flavor and is extremely creamy. While they didn't gobble it down, they did get a few bites down which is all this mom can ask for!

Cabbage Soup by Joie de vivre
Serves: About 8, it made quite a large pot


2 Tbls. olive oil
1 onion, sliced
1 head smooth, green cabbage, shredded
1 red potato, chunked. Leave skin on.
2 tsp. salt (or more depending on taste)
1 quart chicken broth


1. In a large soup pot, warm the olive oil and place in onion, cooking and stirring until translucent.
2. Place cabbage in the pot and stir. Cover and let sit a few minutes, stir again. Recover and let sit again a few minutes. Do this until cabbage is mostly wilted.
3. Add the chicken broth and the potato chunks as well as the salt. Turn the heat up and bring the soup to a boil. Partially cover the soup with lid, turn down the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes until all of the vegetables are cooked and softened.
4. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup completely.


The rain came back last night. I know we were extremely blessed to have 3 days of spring like temperatures in a row in the middle of winter, but it's still a little disappointing when winter decides it's not finished yet. My oldest is also home sick from school today (ear infection and cough), so that combined with the weather put me in the mood for some warming comfort food. Hence, the ugly picture of my bowl of oatmeal. The only problem with having smaller dishes, is when I make oatmeal it always overflows in the microwave! I also added 1/2 tsp. chia seeds just because.
A few frozen peaches + 1 c. buttermilk makes....
A tangy smoothie filled way up to the tippy top of the glass! (It's a special talent)
Since I'll be in today with a sick child and it's dreary outside, this breakfast will keep me going through closet clean-outs and floor washing. I know, it's fun, fun stuff. See ya at lunch!

25 February 2010

Taco Salad

Thank goodness dinner was quick tonight! My in-laws came over for dinner so I needed something quick to put in the crock pot while I cleaned house. Since my Chicken Soft Taco meat was so successful from a few days ago, I decided to use the same cooking method for the meat, but to put it in a salad. Spinach greens, chicken meat, refried beans, some guacamole and sour cream finished off with a few tortilla chips and some French dressing made for an awesome dinner.


Thank God for sunshine and spring like temperatures today. I took my youngest and his bicycle to a bike path and we had a lovely walk/bike for an hour this afternoon. He definitely was tired on the way back as he'd bike a little, stop, point out the tiniest of pebbles, and then resume riding. He was a trooper though!

Lunch was basically a repeat of yesterday as that cream cheese and salami sandwich was so yummy and kept me going until dinner, I just substituted out different veggies and also had 1/2 c. greek yogurt and some grapes. Dinner tonight will incorporate the seasoned chicken I used for chicken soft tacos, but in some sort of different form as I'm out of tortillas! I'll think of something. Have a great afternoon!


This morning, I am really hoping breakfast is going to last me until lunch. Looking at it from a blogging perspective, it is now looking a little skimpy, although I felt quite satisfied after eating it (and still do two hours after consuming it). It does look quite balanced howerver, albeit small! I pulled out a leftover Applesauce Oatmeal Muffin, toasted up a few almonds, had 1/2 c. cottage cheese and a huge banana plus coffee....always coffee!

My arms and chest are slightly sore this morning from yesterday's Pilates workout (which is good!). The sun is shining, although it is windy, so hopefully I'll be able to get out for a walk this afternoon instead of pulling out the Pilates DVD again. I don't think my arms could take two days in a row!

Lunch later. Have a great morning!

That'll put hair on your chest fish condiment

Yesterday afternoon, I found inspiration on how to pep up my frozen fish fillets from an unexpected source. I had a joyous 30 minutes alone in the car yesterday to listen to a radio station that I chose! Usually I'm hauling around kiddos who insist on listening to Kids Place Live on Sirius nonstop. But yesterday, I was alone in the car and was able to listen to something OTHER than kids music! Since this never happens, I didn't really know my other options. As I was flipping through the millions of stations on Sirius, I happened across a station called Hair Nation (seriously). It is a tribute station to the great hair bands of the 1980's. You know, like Firehouse and Def Leppard? I hadn't heard some of these songs in probably 20 years (did I just say that? *shudder*) but somewhere in my brain, all of the lyrics were hidden and I was singing at the top of my lungs. It was here that I found inspiration for my fish condiment. Here is my tribute to the great 80's hair bands, That'll put hair on your chest fish condiment. I think the name says it all. It did go nicely with the fish and was a good way to zing up an otherwise bland source of protein. Enjoy!

That'll put hair on your chest fish condiment by Joie de vivre


2 Tbls. olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 2oz. can anchovies
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
4 oz. can hot diced jalapenos
20 grape tomatoes, halved


1. Heat a medium sized pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil.
2. Add the diced onion and minced garlic and let soften for 3-5 minutes.
3. Add the anchovies plus the anchovy oil mashing the anchovies with the back of your spoon until completely disintegrated.
4. Add the red pepper flakes and stir for 30 seconds until fragrant
5. Add the can of jalapenos and the grape tomatoes. Continue stirring off and on for about 5 minutes until the tomatoes are cooked through and slightly mushy.
6. Serve with fish to pep up your dinner!

24 February 2010

Salami and cream cheese sandwich

It's amazing what 24 hours can do. I feel sooooo much better this afternoon than yesterday afternoon. My head is clear and I have more energy. Hooray! Lunch was fabulous and filling as well, 2 slices lite whole wheat bread smeared with some cream cheese and 4 salami slices, pepper slices with bleu cheese dip, grapes and 1/2 c. greek yogurt. I also poured myself a glass of Perrier and served myself on a place mat. I felt fancy and spoiled indeed.

After lunch I was going to take my youngest on a bike ride but we both decided it was far too windy outside and that it looked nicer than it actually was. Instead I pulled out one of my old Windsor Pilates DVDs. I was able to do it without problem and settled in to watch Gourmet's Diary of a Foodie while I stretched. It was a fun episode about Turkish cuisine, but it was during this time that my muscles caught up with me! I think I'll be a little sore tomorrow.

I'm having a lack of inspiration about dinner. I had planned frozen fish (yeah, I really did) but it just seems so blah now. I need to think of a way to pep it up a little yet not so much the boys won't eat it. More to come....

The evil DVD

Healthy Potato Salad

After yesterday morning's "Bring it on" comment, I'm pretty sure I jinxed myself. My brain was just fuzzy all day and I was just plain tired. I hate oncoming colds. Lunch was a piece of whole wheat bread smeared with peanut butter, an apple, carrot sticks, 1/2c. nonfat cottage cheese and 1/2 c. healthy potato salad. The potato salad was FILLING!

Healthy Potato Salad
by Joie de vivre


3 red skinned potatoes, each cut into 8-16 wedges (leave the skin on)
1/2 c. frozen green beans
1/2 c. carrot slices
1 c. whole wheat pasta, cooked according to package directions and drained
1 Tbls. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried dill


1. Place potatoes, frozen green beans and carrots in a steamer basket, cover and steam for 10-12 minutes until the potatoes are soft.
2. Place potato mixture and the cooked pasta in a large bowl. Add olive oil, salt and dill and stir to combine.
After such a filling and healthy lunch, I thought I was good to go, but around 4pm I bowed to the siren call of Spudnut doughnuts. I really think it was the oncoming cold as my head just felt fuzzy all day! To make up for the afternoon's indiscretion (ha!) dinner was turkey burgers on wheat buns, green beans, 1 c. cultured Bulgarian buttermilk, and potato salad which I didn't end up eating.
See, my turkey burger is happy I'm back on track. Speaking of fuzzy, I ended up putting the ketchup and mustard on the bottom of my burger! It was so strange to eat it that way that I had to turn the whole thing upside down. I just couldn't take the ketchup and mustard being on the bottom!
This morning is a new day, although even after a good night's sleep my brain is still a little fuzzy. Shredded wheat, milk, blueberries, water and coffee. Do you notice our rockin' retro flower cups? They used to belong to my husband's grandmother. Unfortunately they are starting to show their age and one by one are starting to crack, but they are fun to drink out of. Have a great day everyone!

23 February 2010

Petit déjeuner

After a few weeks of having sick kids in the house, I was afraid last night that my body was bowing to the inevitable with a slight itchy feeling in my lungs (hack, hack). But after a good night's sleep, a bright sunny day on the horizon and a rockin' breakfast, I feel ready to take on anything! This morning I had a two egg whites omelette sprinkled with a little feta cheese, a piece of whole wheat toast spread with 1/2 tsp. butter and a little bit of Marmite (I know, I can see why some people would find that disgusting, but I just LOVE IT), grapefruit, 1 c. 2% milk and coffee. Bring it on!

22 February 2010

Portion Control

How big are your dishes? After Thanksgiving, I splurged and bought myself a new set of dishes and glasses. I had been searching and searching for a set with a small cereal bowl and small glasses. Do you know how hard that is to find? It's amazing how your attitude changes toward portion control when you see a small glass filled to the top rather than a large glass with the same amount in it only 1/2 full. Suddenly, the same portion seems appropriate or even large instead of skimpy. Did you notice my milk glass filled to the top? It has exactly 1 c. of milk in it. What does 1c. of milk look like in your glasses?

In addition to portion control this week, I'm also focusing on more variety at breakfast. This morning, 2/3 cup shredded wheat, 3/4 cup blueberries, 1 c. 2%milk and coffee.

Lunch: Celery filled with cream cheese, grapes, whole wheat bread smeared with peanut butter and 1c. nonfat milk. I served myself on a salad plate to visually make the portions seem larger to my eyes while my mind still knew I was practicing control.

Yesterday I went for a lovely walk in the sun. It's amazing what the sun does to rejuvenate my attitude towards walking!

21 February 2010

Breakfast of Champions

I've noticed recently that my breakfasts seem to be getting larger and larger while at the same time becoming less varied. The cereal bowl overfloweth. To get back on track, I found this Applesauce Oatmeal Muffin recipe on Spark People and varied it a little. To be honest, it wasn't a fabulous muffin because the texture was extremely dense. However, it was extremely filling and pretty tasty. It also had the added benefit of portion control and forced me to think outside of the (cereal) box. I supplemented my breakfast with some toasted almonds, golden raisins, and some plain yogurt.

Applesauce Oatmeal Muffins
adapted from Spark people
Makes 12 muffins
(each muffin around 93 cal. according to Spark People)


1 c. oats
1 c. nonfat milk
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce
1/2 c. egg whites
1 c. whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. sugar


1. In a large bowl, soak the oats in the milk for 20-30 minutes while you preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Place muffin liners in 12 muffin cups.
3. Combine oat mixture with applesauce, brown sugar and egg whites.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
6. Spoon the batter into the 12 muffin cups.
7. In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle on each muffin.
8. Bake muffins for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

19 February 2010

Chicken Soft Tacos

These Chicken Soft Tacos are another entry to the annals of "My Crock Pot Once Again Saved My Life". "Overly dramatic?" you say? Perhaps I overly dramatize a titch, but I can't stress enough how much I love my crock pot. I love being able to put dinner in it in the morning, and have dinner ready and the kitchen entirely cleaned up in the evening. This recipe is easy even for a crock pot and tasty enough to serve to company. Enjoy!

Chicken Soft Tacos by Joie de vivre
Serves 4


1 1/4 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes with chilies
1 package taco seasoning mix


1. Mix the diced tomatoes with the taco seasoning mix inside the insert of a 4 qt. crock pot.
2. Lay the chicken breasts on top of tomato mixture and stir to cover chicken with the sauce.
3. Cover the crock pot and cook on LOW for 8 hours.
4. Shred the chicken breasts with two forks and mix with the sauce.
5. Serve on tortillas with guacamole, sour cream, tomatoes and shredded cheddar cheese.


It has been so long since I've posted I've almost forgotten how! I desperately needed the break from blogging as I had forgotten my true motivation for it and had lost the passion.

Here in the Pacific Northwest, we have endured weeks upon weeks of gray skies. Two days ago, the wind picked up and blew out those nasty clouds allowing the sun to peek through. It's amazing what seeing the sun again can do for one's psyche! Unfortunately, I have had two sick little men (taking turns of course) for the better part of a week now and haven't been able to leave the house much, but the sunshine streaming in through the windows has been sublime and promises that spring is coming soon. Our cat has taken to curling up under the window in sunny spots she finds. I personally think she has found a wonderful indoor pursuit.

With the sun, I've noticed the return of birds! The boys and I put out some seed for them this past weekend as their winter stores are dwindling quickly at this point. I'm sure they are looking forward to the return of spring as much as I am.