Monthly Archives: January 2009

road food

I just couldn’t resist getting a quick post in today before heading out to NC for the next 30 hours.  :) I’ve packed myself some snacks to help resist the urge of eating unhealthy meals on the road, and wanted to show you guys what I’ve eaten so far today.  More quick and easy favorites…

Breakfast:  toasted ezekiel cinnamon raisin muffin with 1-1/2 tbsp natural PB and 1 small pink lady apple.

[384 calories]

090130-b1

Lunch:  baked sweet potato with 1/4 cup wheat berries, 1 cup steamed broccoli, 2 tbsp edamame, 2 tbsp corn, sea salt

[341 calories]

090130-l1

Snacks: [for today and tomorrow's road trips] small pink lady apple, clif bar, quaker true delights bar, walnut halves and dried turkish apricots.  These will be spread out over the next couple of days, and probably not all consumed.  But I’ve included calorie counts below so that I can pick and choose to make up my snacks while I’m out of town.  What do you pack for road trips?

[apple = 80 calories, clif bar = 250 calories, true delights bar = 140 calories, 1/4 cup walnut halves = 215 calories, 1/2 cup dried apricots = 173 calories]

090130-s1

And I’m off!  Have a great weekend!!!  :)

who knows me?!?

Whew, its been a long day!  This will be a quick post…I’ve got no energy left!  

But first, I had lunch today with a friend from grad school…a friend that informed me when we first met up today that she had discovered my blog! Randomly!  So that left me curious, do I have any other readers that know me outside of the blog world?  If so, please speak up!!!

And, thank you for all of your great calorie-counting suggestions!  I really appreciate it.  I’m going to check out all of the sites you mentioned and will give you a full review of what I think of them.  It will take a couple weeks, but I’m excited to try out some of the FREE services out there!

My breakfast was inspired this morning by reader Kelly who asked on my last post how many calories my yogurt/granola/fruit breakfasts have.

Breakfast:  1/2 cup Fage Total 0%, 1/4 cup TJ’s pumpkin spice granola, 6 strawberries, 1/2 banana

[262 calories]

090129-b1

This was lighter in calories than a normal breakfast for me, but it stuck with me for about 3-1/2 hours!  I was impressed.  I need to keep this combo in mind for future mornings.  I knew that I had a later than normal lunch planned for today, so I packed a morning snack to keep me going.  This was perfect, it helped to bridge the gap so I wasn’t ravenous at lunch time.

Morning Snack: 6 walnut halves, 2 tbsp dried cherries

[178 calories]

090129-s1

Lunch:  at one of my favorite C’ville spots, Eppies!  They have great southern favorites.  I had the veggie plate with 1 cup collard greens, 1/2 cup black beans, 1/2 cup brown rice, 1 cup sweet potato, a nibble of cornbread, unsweetened iced tea

[about 350 calories]

Afternoon Snack: 1 medjool date, 1/2 tbsp PB

[113 calories]

090129-s2

I had to work late tonight, then had errands to run before heading home.  I didn’t walk in the door until after 9pm, at which point I was STARVING!  My hubb ordered us Chinese once he knew I was en route (he hung some shelves in our laundry room tonight! yay!).  I went a little overboard…  My standard healthy take-out order is steamed veggies and tofu with steamed rice, sauce on the side.  Tonight I substituted the steamed rice for some leftover whole wheat pasta we had in the fridge.  At the last second I requested egg drop soup because it sounded so good, and I couldn’t resist when my hubb offered me 1/2 his veggie egg roll.  And, of course, the fortune cookie.  :)  The calorie count is an estimate from what I could find on myfooddiary…

Dinner:  take-out steamed veggies + tofu on 1 cup whole wheat pasta, 2 tbsp garlic sauce, 1-1/2 cups egg drop soup, 1/2 a veggie egg roll, 1 fortune cookie

[about 600 calories - eek!  I let my hunger take over...  note to self, pack an emergency bar in purse in case of late nights in the office!]

090129-d1

090129-d2

Sadly, I missed all exercise today.  I’ve been getting to bed so late that I have a hard time yanking myself out of bed in the morning.  And with as late as I got home tonight, there was no running.  :(  Its probably a good thing though because my foot has been bothering me today.  Argh!!!  So frustrating.

Tomorrow I’m heading to Charlotte for my friend Christine’s baby shower!!!  I’m super-excited.  We’re staying overnight so I probably won’t be posting again until Sunday.  I hope you all have a great Friday and weekend!

a few thoughts…

First of all, I want to welcome my new readers!  I’ve seen a lot of new names pop up in the comments these last couple of weeks…keep it up!  I love hearing from you.  In fact, if you haven’t commented before, please do!  Don’t be shy…  I try to respond to all questions and suggestions as soon as possible, but sometimes it takes me a couple of days…I’m sorry!  If you ask me a question, be sure to check back for an answer within a day or two.  :)

Secondly, there are some exciting things happening in our little community right now that I want to mention.

  1. Meghann’s training for a marathon!  Not only is she training, she’s raising money for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  Please check out her blog to keep up with her progress and to donate if you can!  Also, she will be hosting a blogger bake sale the week of February 9th (I’ll be selling some goods!) so be sure to check in and bid on some tasty treats to support a great cause!
  2. BSI is back!!!  Thanks to Biz over at Biggest Diabetic Loser for reorganizing the fun last week! She’s picked Sarah over at Tales of Expansion to host this week’s contest…DATES!!!  I’m very excited.  :)

And last, I’ve been a bad little calorie counter.  Which means that little things probably slip into my mouth during the day that don’t get tallied in my head or recorded on the blog.  :(  In fact, I know this happens, and I want to keep better track and hold myself more accountable for what I am consuming. ESPECIALLY since my exercise has been less then stellar what with my sad foot and crummy weather.  I did so well with accountability my first month having the blog, then the holidays arrived and I just never really got fully back on track.  I saw improvements in my body and how I felt that first month but I’ve definitely plateaued since then, and I’m ready for more loss and more toning!  :)

I don’t plan to take pictures of every little thing because I work 10 feet away from my boss and I’m not willing to tell him about the blog yet.  I try to take care of all photography in the morning and after work because I like consistency and I like the backdrop my table provides. :)  But I do plan on at least telling you about all eats and keeping a running calorie count on my posts.  I’ll try to keep it simple and un-annoying…you might not even notice it.  And, for the record, I haven’t been keeping things from the blog purposefully, I just sometimes forget to mention something.  Its never big…a dove chocolate here, handful of Kashi there…but as we all know, the small things add up. :)  I don’t plan to calorie count forever, but I do find that it helps me to gain perspective on what I am consuming.

Now, on to today’s eats!

I tried something new with my oats this morning, something I’ve seen Kath and many others do…I added wheatberries to my oatmeal.  And…I LOVED it!!!  

Breakfast: banana, PB, wheatberry + dried apricot oats.

[470 cal - higher than I would like.  i'm going to start having only 1/2 a banana in the oats to get it closer to 400 cal]

090128-b1

This DELICIOUS bowl contained:

  • 1 cup water, pinch of salt, 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 small mashed banana
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp wheatberries
  • 1 tbsp natural PB
  • 3 small turkish apricots

Seriously, this may beat my banana, PB, fig + flax oats…or at least equal it.  The wheatberries added such a wonderful chewy crunch!

Lunch:  leftover veggie tofu stir fry on 1/2 cup jasmine rice and 1/2 cup wheatberries.

[499 cal]

090128-l1

Afternoon Snack:  1/2 cup plain Fage 0% and one tangelo.

[132 cal]

090128-s1

Extras:  3 Dove dark chocolate hearts [126 cal - I should try to skip these tomorrow], 10 Annie’s Honey Bunnies [54 cal]

090128-s2

Dinner:  saffron tomato fennel soup [recipe] and “grilled cheese”.

[262 cal (soup) + 220 cal (grilled cheese)]

090128-d1

This is one of my favorite soups, we make it several times a year.  I added wheatberries this time and substituted thyme for basil because its what I had.  I just realized that I had wheatberries with every meal today…versatile little things, aren’t they?!?

090128-d2

My substitute for the classic gilled cheese I normally enjoy with tomato soup was a broiled ham + cheddar sandwich on whole wheat sourdough bread.  1 slice bread, 1oz cheddar, 1/2oz sliced ham.

090128-d4

Exercise:  I went for a run!!!  FINALLY!  It felt great to be back out on the road, stretching out my legs.  I had my new inserts in my shoes and I have to say, they hurt my feet a little!  I’m hoping its just because my feet aren’t used to them yet.  I’m going to give it a few more runs and see how they feel.  My toes have been all weird and tingly tonight too.  They felt like they were asleep when I finished my run, and now they are red, a little puffy, and hurt to the touch. Strange!  I’ve never had that happen before, and I’m hoping it will pass quickly!  So other than my weird feet issues my 3-mile run felt great.  I’m still hoping to train for the race, and am planning on getting a 5-6 mile long run in this weekend.  I’ll re-evaluate my training schedule after that.

[3 miles, 10-min/mile pace, -318 cal]

Total Calorie Count:

  • consumed 1,884 cal
  • expelled 318 cal
  • net 1,564 cal

I try to net between 1200 and 1300 calories/day when I am striving to lose weight, so I was way over tonight.  This is what I love about calorie counting, if you had asked me before I counted, I would have told you that I did pretty well and was close to 1200 net calories.  Wrong!  Counting really helps me to keep perspective, and it makes me want to workout more so that I don’t have to be as strict with my eats!  Tomorrow my goals are to lower my breakfast and lunch cals and reduce my “extras”.  I also want to get up for some yoga in the morning and make sure to get a run in tomorrow evening.  Do any of you count calories?  What service do you use?  I use myfooddiary.com, but you have to pay for it and I’m hoping to find a free service.

I’ve got some work to do, then I’m planning on a hot bath with my book.  :)  G’night!


bella eats pan-glazed tofu

I’ve had several comments and questions about my pan-glazed tofu, so I thought I would do a tutorial post to go through my method.  If you’ve seen this before, I apologize.  I just thought it would be easier to have the method in one condensed post rather than buried in several…

I originally found this recipe in Jack Bishop’s A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen, which is probably the most-used cookbook in our house.  My hubb and I have tried many different ways of cooking stovetop tofu (amazingly enough we’ve never baked it!  I know!) and were never happy with the texture.  We love the feel and taste of the tofu from our local Chinese restaurant but I just know its deep-fried, which I refuse to do.  So I was really excited when I flipped through the Winter section of Jack Bishop’s lovely book and found several tofu recipes, all using this method, with Jack claiming that it was the best tofu he’d ever cooked.  We tried it, and had to agree.  And for a bonus, its really quick!  I can have tofu prepared and on our plates 25 minutes after removing it from its packaging.  Gotta love that.

There are endless variations that can be made to the glaze, you can see some of mine here, here and here. I think this one is my favorite though…

Bella Eats Tofu Glaze [for 12oz of firm or extra firm tofu]

  • 1/4 cup water or veggie broth
  • 2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • pinch of salt

The glaze has 2 main components that you should keep in any variation you make:

  1. liquid (deglazes the pan and helps coat the tofu)
  2. syrup (thickens the glaze when heated in the pan as the liquid evaporates)

*The liquid can be water, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, broth, orange juice, or any combination of the above.

* For the syrup I’ve used both honey and maple syrup – both turn out well.

Bella Eats Pan-Glazed Tofu Method [inspired by A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen, by Jack Bishop]

I use firm or extra firm tofu for this recipe.  I think that extra firm comes out the best, with a firm but silky texture inside and glazed crispiness on the outside.

  1. Cut tofu into 1/2″ thick slabs.  Size can vary, but thickness should always be around 1/2″.  Any thinner and it gets tough.
  2. Place tofu pieces on 3 layers of paper towels.  Put 3 more paper towels across the top and press down on tofu firmly with the palm of your hand, until paper towels are saturated.  Repeat once more.
  3. Heat 1 tbsp oil on medium heat in non-stick skillet.
  4. When oil is hot, place tofu in pan.  You may need to do two batches if your pan isn’t big enough to fit all of the tofu.
  5. This is the hardest part…LEAVE IT ALONE!  Don’t touch the tofu for 5-6 minutes.  No stirring, no pan shaking, no flipping.  Just let it sit and sizzle.  After 5-6 minutes, check the bottom of the tofu for color.  Once it is a beautiful golden brown, flip it.
  6. And again, LEAVE IT ALONE!  Let it sizzle on the second side for an additional 5-6 minutes, until golden brown.
  7. Meanwhile, mix all of your glaze ingredients together.
  8. When tofu is golden on both sides, pour glaze over tofu into pan.  Now you can stir, coating the tofu with the glaze.  Let simmer for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until all liquid as evaporated and the glaze has thickened.  Remove from pan and serve, pouring leftover glaze in pan over the tofu.

Sorry for the repeat of pictures…

tofu after first flip

tofu after first flip

tofu simmering in glaze

tofu simmering in glaze

tofu ready to serve

tofu ready to serve

If I’m using the tofu in a stir fry with veggies, I cook the tofu first, remove from pan, cook the veggies in pan, then add the tofu back in when the veggies are tender along with a sauce of some sort.

tofu-4

tofu veggie stir fry

Enjoy!

standard fuel

So today was a day full of easy favorites for me.  These meals/snacks show up on my blog pretty consistently because I love them all so much and they are so quick to prepare.  Honestly, if you asked me what my favorite easy + healthy breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner were these are probably the answers you would get.  Kind of a quick post tonight…goes with the theme of my quick eats!  :)

Breakfast:  my standard banana, PB, flax and fig oats…yum. (this b-fast is tied with my ezekiel muffin, PB and fruit combo, which is my go-to if I’m running late and need to take b-fast with me).

090127-b11

This oat bowl contained the usual:

  • 1 cup water, pinch of salt, 1/2 cup rolled oats, 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 small mashed banana
  • sprinkle of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground flax seeds
  • 1 dried fig
  • 1 tbsp natural peanut butter

Lunch:  baked sweet potato with 1/4 cup edamame and 1/4 cup corn…such a good combo and SO filling.

090127-l2

Snack:  1/2 cup plain Fage 0% and 5 strawberries…the yogurt helps pick me up and keep me going through the rest of the afternoon, and makes me think I’m eating dessert.  :)

090127-s1

Snackie Treats:  I had a serious sweet tooth today!  I ran to the CVS across the street for some Dove dark chocolate hearts and ate 3 throughout the day.  I also had a date while fixing dinner.

090127-s2

Dinner:  tofu veggie stir fry on jasmine rice…a quick, easy vegetarian favorite!  We try to add bamboo shoots and water chestnuts, but forgot again tonight as usual.  We never remember until we’ve finished the meal!

090127-d6

This was a collaborative effort between my hubb and I tonight.  He took care of the veggies, I took care of the rice, wheatberries and tofu.  Our delectable meal contained:

  • 12oz pan-glazed tofu
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 3 celery ribs
  • 1 broccoli floret
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 onion
  • jasmine rice
  • wheatberries
  • soy sauce
  • trader joe’s soyaki sauce
  • sesame seeds

First I pan-glazed the tofu with my usual method.

090127-d1

This glaze consisted of (measurements are estimates…):

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp orange juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes

090127-d2

The tofu turns out just crispy on the outside, firmly silky on the inside.  We LOVE it this way, and haven’t been able to stray in years.

090127-d4

My hubb sauteed the veggies in a bit of olive oil and soysauce, then added the Trader Joe’s soyaki sauce and tofu once the veggies were tender.  This sauce is really great.  We usually buy Veri Veri Teriyaki sauce from Soy Vay, but I picked this up last time I was at TJ’s and it is almost as good, for much less $$$!

090127-d3

My bowl contained 1/2 cup jasmine rice, 1/2 cup wheatberries (boiled tonight to keep for the week) and about 1-1/2 cups of veggies + tofu.  Yum!

090127-d51

Dessert:  a Quaker True Delights toasted coconut banana macadamia nut granola bar, split with my hubb.  YUM!!!!!!  These bars are brilliant.  Absolutely brilliant.  When I opened the package I almost passed out from the unbelievably good scent that met my nose.  And the flavor was perfect…not artificial tasting at all.  I could eat one for dessert every night, and they are only 140 calories!  

090127-s3

Exercise:  YOGA!!!!  Mmmmmmmm.  We’ve been having an ice storm for most of the day so the sidewalks were far to treacherous for a run this evening.  I didn’t even want to go back out to the yoga studio and drive on the slick roads.  So, instead, I popped my favorite Power Yoga dvd into my computer and stretched out my unused muscles for 55 minutes.  It felt SO good, but made me realize how much my week off from exercise has affected my strength, flexibility and endurance!  Good news though, my foot felt GREAT!  I’m READY for a run, as soon as the weather cooperates!  :)

Question, What’s your favorite yoga pose?  Least favorite?  I think my favorites are pigeon and twisted triangle, my least favorite is currently twisted prayer lunge (I think that’s what its called…).

G’night!