My Satisfying “Sundae”

As the weather heats up, I’m constantly looking for a quick treat that is delicious, satisfying, and won’t heat up my kitchen. In years past, ice cream fit the bill, but I’m really trying to avoid that road to larger clothing sizes this year. Trim Healthy Mama is helping with this, and this treat fits the guidelines for an S (= Satisfying) meal or snack with no problem. I call it a “sundae” but there’s no ice cream involved, just yummy greek yogurt. And some additional toppings that you might typically see on a sundae. It’s super-easy to put together and is my go-to when my boys are enjoying their ice cream cones.

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Fuel Cycle Frittata

I love frittata and quiche, and over my years of weight watching and dieting, I’ve come to rely on them as a staple. My favorites are full of cheese and cream, plus they contain lots of veggies and sometimes some meat. Recently, I just wanted to get rid of some stuff in my freezer, and I hit upon one that is a definite winner. Since I just threw it together, my measurements are not going to be terribly exact here, but you get the idea.

Homemade Greek Yogurt

This past weekend, I did a bit of Trim Healthy Mama cooking, prepping special agent brownies, chocolate baked oatmeal, kai si ming, and homemade yogurt. Even though I’ve blogged about homemade yogurt before, I’m gonna talk about it again today, since I’ve learned a few things about making it, and it’s one of my favorite always-have-in-the-fridge-ready-to-grab food items. If you are following THM, this recipe is also FP, so you can eat it with any type of meal.

Just look at this yumminess:

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Trim Healthy Hamburger Helper

Growing up, our food was pretty simple. Dad was a meat and potatoes kind of guy, so that’s what Mom fixed. I never had Hamburger Helper or Rice-A-Roni until I was in college. The first time I tried it, I fell promptly in love. How yummy! How easy! How…fattening!

Now that I’m a lot more weight and health conscious, I really try to avoid eating too much processed junk like that, but I admit to still craving my hamburger helper every once in a while. This week, I decided to try my hand at making it myself. It was pretty good, if I do say so myself!

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My challenge of the week: Getting life a little more organized

It’s been a busy weekend around here! We headed out to my parents’ house to celebrate Memorial Day, with my Dad (my favorite veteran!). There were lots of people there – me, my 3 sisters, all the husbands, most of the kids, and even a few grandkids, cousins, and lifelong friends in the mix. All in all, about 25-30 of us (I never counted, but the plan was for about 24 and then a few extras came by). Anyway, needless to say, little work was done other than simply enjoying the holiday! Tomorrow, I’m headed out to help take mom and dad to a couple dr appts over the next 2 days, which means I won’t be home or able to head to campus. But I cannot afford to keep missing work. So I’m looking into organizational tools, so that I can get work and things organized and in control so that I can get back to the garage. Here are the top 5 things I’m trying to do this week:

1. Plan my time better – I love working with students, but I have to jealously guard my time or I can easily spend too much time working on other people’s stuff and not on my own. I’ve found that setting specific office hours, or lining appointments up one after another, all on the same day, really helps me control the amount of time I am spending in support of others rather than in pursuit of my own goals. Having a workable calendar to schedule this stuff is crucial, so I’m following this example to create a planner that meets MY needs.

2. Plan my blogging better – I’m looking at a few tools for this, and I’ve decided to use some pages available through Mama Jenn. I’m excited about getting these printed and bound into my new planner (see point #1) and getting my blogging back on track!

3. Plan my eating better – my recent freezer cooking session will help with this, as will the leftovers from yesterday’s cookout. Best of all, I’ve got both fresh and frozen fruit ready to enjoy for a healthy snack (as long as I can resist the ice cream to go along with it!)

4. Plan my writing better – I’ve got several manuscripts for work in various stages of non-completion, and I’m working on setting some goals for that too. One way I try to do this is through using the site 750 words. The goal on this site is to write 750 words a day, about anything. Or nothing. Or lots of things. It’s about getting words on paper. I struggle with this, but I find that having a set goal for a number of words really helps me feel like I’ve accomplished something! And many times, when I reach that goal, I’m on a roll, and I keep on going.

5. Plan my breaks – I am highly motivated by being able to check things off of a list, and I find that once I’ve made a list, it’s really helpful to not allow myself to take a break until I can mark off at least 2-3 items. At that point, I’ve likely worked for several hours, and I need a break, plus my reward of email checking, tweeting, or web surfing is much more meaningful since I had to work for it!

Tasty Tuesday

I’ve been on a freezer cooking kick lately, so much so that my freezer is jam packed and we are going to need to spend some time just eating from the freezer pretty soon! This week, I made a new batch of burritos as well as a small batch of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

This time, we made Roast Beef Burritos, using some leftover roast and adding a few things to make a large pot of taco soup. We kept half as soup and drained the liquid off the other half to use for burrito filling. It went something like this:

Roast Beef Burritos
leftover roast beef, shredded
2 potatoes, diced
1/2 pound of carrots, diced
1 cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cans of corn, drained
1 can fiesta tomatoes (w/ peppers)
1 pack of taco seasoning mix

Mix all together, add water if needed, and simmer long enough to let the flavors meld. If I were doing this again, I would add a can of refried beans at this point to give the mix some stickiness, but in this batch, I did not do that.

I do the rolling assembly line style. First I scoop the filling onto a tortilla, roll it up (I tuck in both ends so nothing falls out either side), and place it, seam side down, on a paper towel on the counter.

I keep filling and rolling until I’m out of space, filling, or tortillas, then I roll each burrito in a paper towel, and then in aluminium foil.

And then I store the individually wrapped burritos in plastic bags (here, I used the tortilla bags, but gallon size ziplocs work great too). You can also see my extra soup there – stored in a gallon size ziploc and frozen for quick and easy use next time we want it.

My favorite summer dessert

As I noted on Monday, I’m trying to get back in shape. That means no more sneaking bowls of ice cream after P-Daddy and Pooh have gone to bed. Instead, I’m finding myself loving this easy berry parfait, which I consider to be both delicious and healthy:

Easy Berry Parfait
1 32-oz container of plain or vanilla yogurt (or make your own)
3 cups of fresh or frozen berries
1 box of granola or Kashi Go Lean Crunch cereal (I use the Aldi alternative)

Layer the three ingredients in a large glass bowl, using about 1/3 of each for each layer. Repeat until all ingredients are gone. You could also make these in parfait dishes or even just in glasses, but for a big batch, one large bowl is the easiest choice. It’ll keep in the fridge, but the cereal/granola will get a little soggy, so if you won’t eat it quickly, smaller batches might be better.

Life as Mom hosts the Ultimate Recipe Swap on Thursdays, and this week the theme is berries. It’s the perfect time to check out some new recipes!

Taco Tuesday

This past weekend, when we went to go meet up with the owners of The Property, we walked next door to a little taco truck for dinner. It was so good. I mean, really delicious. I’m talking so good that I have been craving tacos ever since. On Sunday morning I fixed a batch of breakfast burritos with egg, ham, and onion, and happily ate them for lunch and dinner. This morning I wanted the last one, but P-Daddy had already eaten it, so I fried a couple eggs and wrapped them in a tortilla. Yum! Messy, but Yum!

Since I’m trying to make meals easier to plan and make, I’ve been freezer cooking lately. (Money Saving Mom is my inspiration, and she recently posted about her freezer burritos, so I had modified the recipe somewhat and made a batch last week. Tonight, that was dinner. and a snack. It’s crazy! Luckily, it’s also cheap and easy :-)

My new favorite pick-me-up

It’s probably been clear from my lack of posts lately that things here have been BUSY! And when things get hectic, I tend to shove everything down on my priority list that’s not an absolute must-do. I’m working on making blogging more consistent, really I am!

Anyway, one thing that tends to happen when I get stressed is that many of my good eating habits go out the window. I neglect to prepare lunches for the week, and then don’t have anything quick to grab as I head out the door, so I go eat at fast-food central at the university. Not only is this bad for my overall health, it’s also not great for my wallet (or our saving-for-el-salvador fund!). So I’ve really been trying to make sure that I have food ready to go. Since I try to head to the gym in the mornings, in addition to lunch, I need a quick protein pick-me-up for after my workout. I’ve played around with a few different things, like boiled eggs and string cheese, but I’ve found that I really need something that I can eat/drink while I walk back across campus to my office, and peeling an egg just doesn’t work while I walk. Apples work great, but don’t have as much protein as I’d like. So what’s a girl to do?

Eat like a man. And by that, I mean take advantage of all the different protein powders and drinks that are out there. I resisted this at first, but recently I’ve stumbled upon a formula that is tasty, quick, full of protein, and convenient. I take a 32 oz container and fill it with ice, then add one scoop of vanilla protein powder. I then fill the container half full with coffee, and fill it the rest of the way with fat-free milk. Yum! The ice blends the powder well into the rest of the drink, and there’s no need to add additional sugar or splenda since the protein powder is pretty sweet already. I stick the whole container into my gym bag (yep, make sure the lid fits well and is leak-proof!), and the ice keeps it cool the whole time I’m working out. Since the coffee and milk are full-strength to start with, the melting ice doesn’t water it down too much, and I have a delicious frappe kind of thing to drink as I walk across campus. The best part? This drink holds me easily until lunch and beyond.

I know that there’s a better choice than protein powder out there for this, but I feel like it’s the protein that is really helping with keeping me satisfied for the rest of the morning, and I just don’t think that coffee and milk alone would do that for me. But are there alternatives to expensive protein solutions? I’m on the lookout, and I’ll keep you posted.