Monthly Archives:

October 2009

Salad Time

IMG_4928Even after my post about Halloween candy, I must admit I’m probably guilty of eating one too many fun-sized candy bars this year.  It’s the variety that gets me.  If there’s a Snickers and a Reese’s within my reach, I feel the need to sample both.  Oh well, it’s Halloween and you gotta live right?  I love chocolate, so any excuse to eat it is good enough for me.  I did just take a run…Probably one of the only Saturday night runs I’ve taken all year, haha.

In between eating all the chocolate, I did get a few good, green salads in my system.  I love salads because they’re so easy to make.  You can throw just about anything into a salad and it will taste good.  From fruit, to cheese, to beans (maybe not all three together), pretty much anything lying around or left over in the fridge can be tossed into a salad.

Check out two of the salads I made this week.

IMG_4869 Mixed Greens with Roasted Butternut Squash

-Any mixed greens mix, or romaine

-Butternut squash, sliced 1/2 inch thick circles

-Salt and Pepper

-Olive oil and balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 375.  Cover the squash with olive oil and and place in a baking dish.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook 20 minutes, then flip and cook another 20 minutes, or until tender.

Chop the sqauash, then place it in a bowl of salad.  Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar (2:1), S&P, and enjoy.

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Chickpea, “Tabouli” Salad

For this salad, I used some left over bulghur wheat to make a variation of tabouli.  For the lettuce, I picked up an herb, mixed greens mix that had red and green leaf lettuce along with baby spinach, dill, and parsley.  The herbs added a nice change of pace.  I placed the bulghur wheat and chickpeas on top of the lettuce, added a few chopped onions, and some just steamed brussel sprouts on the side.  To dress it up, I used extra virgin olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, a splash of red wine vinegar, and as always, a little S&P.  Easy, filling, and delicious.

IMG_4899Happy Halloween!

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Me and my girls

IMG_4893More of my girls

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Amy’s

I’m a big fan of Amy’s Kitchen products.  When I’m running short on time and looking for a quick meal, it’s Amy’s frozen meals I often turn to.  I don’t often eat microwavable meals…One, because I am weary of microwaves, and two, because they’re usually loaded with fat, calories, artificial ingredients, and perservatives.

But, this is simply why I love Amy’s products.  While the frozen meals do require a microwave, they’re made with all natural, organic ingredients.  I know I can turn to Amy’s when I’m in a crunch and need something real to eat.  There also all-vegetarian with the addition of a lot of vegan options as well…SCORE!  They don’t taste bad like the brands who put out vegetarian products and think they’re allowed to taste like crap either.  Nope, Amy’s, a family owned and operated company started by real vegetarians, knows what they’re doing.  Their website says:  “We made the amazing discovery that they [the products] were being eaten not only by vegetarians and those interested in natural foods, but by millions of people looking for easy to prepare meals that really tasted good.”  That’s the key:  Their products are delicious enough to appeal to both nonmeat-eaters and meat-eaters alike.

IMG_4861 I recently tried the Mexican Tofu Scramble….It was way better than I had imagined.  Beans, salsa, potatoes, tofu, and a little cheese = a great combo.  I’d prefer this over scrambled eggs anyday, and while I didn’t eat it for breakfast, it’d make a quick grab-and-go breakfast meal.

Some of my other favs:  Black Bean Vegetable Enchiladas, Tofu Vegetable Lasagna, Brown Rice & Vegetables Bowl, and the Teriyaki Bowl.  With over 80 different options, I haven’t tried nearly all of Amy’s products, but I can vouch for the one’s I have tried.  There are also several Indian entrees, which satisfy my love of Indian food.

So if you’re looking to stock up your freezer with some easy, go-to meals, don’t suffice for those junky tv dinners.  Instead, try-out of one Amy’s many products and keep your health in line.  While they’re not quite as good as home-made, they kick most of the frozen world’s booties.

Not a fan of the microwave either?  Check out her pasta sauces, soups, and other canned goods.

Philly’s Love of Cheesesteaks…More Harm Than Good?

Yeah, we all know cheesesteaks are terrible for us, but many continue to eat them anyways.  In fact, when interviewing people for the cheesesteak project below, I came across some people who said they indulged in cheesesteaks two to three times a week!  Thats a heck of a lot of grease and calories they are consuming ever week.

Since I’m a vegetarian, I no longer eat cheesesteaks, although I can’t say I ever really did habitually eat them.  However, for the brief time I wasn’t a v

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I've never ever made a cheesesteak...so this is the best picture I could find...fried onions on your cheesesteak anyone?

egetarian, I did consume a cheesesteak.  I moved to Philly and felt I had to try one, just for the true Philadelphia experience…While I might get a lot of flack from my fellow Philadelphians, following my first few bites of a Jim’s cheesesteak (one of the 3 well-known, famous places on South Street in Philly), I immediately felt that they were overrated.  But, I can’t deny that I may have felt this way because I was never a huge meat-lover to begin with.  Nonetheless, I never went back to stand in one of those 45 minute lines just get get a notoriously greasy cheesesteak.

Whether a cheesesteak lover or not, check out the following audio clip.  Me and some girls from school sat down with an expert and a few people on the street to get the real scoop on Philly’s love of cheesesteaks and how they may be taking a toll on our health.

Philly Cheesesteaks

How to Handle a Pomegranate

IMG_4834After hearing about several bloggers going on the POM harvest tour, I came across a large box full of pomegranates in my local grocery store and decided to purchase one.  I must say, this was a great decision.  I previously didn’t think I liked pomegranates, but after eating the one I just bought, I think I’ve become a newfound fan. However, I’m not so much a fan of the huge mess they make!  This time I made sure to put on a black shirt so that the red splatters wouldn’t stain my clothes.  Despite my failed attempts at avoiding a mess, I have begun to master how to handle a pomegranate.

The key to eating a pomegranate is getting all of the white pithy areas away from the seeds.  These are the areas that if not removed will taint your spoonful of juicy, red seeds with a not so pleasant bitter taste.

To remove the seeds without taking the pith with you, follow these simple steps:

-First, fill a large bowl with water.

-Using a large, sharp knife, cut the pomegranate in half, and then into quarters.

-Grasp a section of the pomegranate in your hands and position your hands above the bowl.  Use your fingeres to remove the IMG_4856seeds.  (Note:  If you use a spoon, you are more likely to crush the seeds and send red juice flying across the room.)

-Once all the sections are de-seeded, you should notice that the seeds have sunk to the bottom of the bowl.  Remove the white pith floating at the top.

-Use a strainer to drain the seeds.

-Place seeds in a bowl and enjoy!

If you can’t eat the whole fruit, the seeds will keep in the refridgerator for several days.  The seeds make great toppings for yogurt and salads and also provide a nice afternoon snack.  My intention was to eat 1/3 of the seeds and save the rest for later use, but I ended up devouring the whole bowl.  Yum-O.

No worries though.  Pomegranates are relatively low in calories (105 per 3 3/8 inch diameter fruit) and IMG_4858are filled with antioxidants.  The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has claimed that pomegranates may help lower bad cholesterol.  A study done on mice showed that they reduced the oxidation of LDL cholesterol (the bad kind).  Pomegranates have also been shown to lower blood pressure.

Give one of these vitamin-&-taste-loaded fruits a try while they’re in season.  You don’t have to rush considering the season usually runs from October through January, but I recommended purchasing one soon in case you end up becoming a fan like me.

Halloween Candy

Halloween, this coming weekend!  A time to get a little crazy, rock a cute outfit, or dress up a cute, little munchkin and watch them parade around in IMG_4843their costume.  However, it’s also a time for tons and tons of candy, and if you go too crazy, say goodbye to that cute, little physique of yours.

While it’s okay to have a couple pieces of candy in celebrating the holiday, one should be mindful as to what and how much they decide to indulge in.  Let’s take a peek at some of your options:

  • Snickers– Peanutty, chocolaty goodness

Full-size bar:  270 calories, over a quarter of your day’s saturated fat

Fun- size bar:  80 calories, eat two and you’re well over a 100 cal. snack, with the addition of a significant 8 grams of fat

Mini bar:  Around 42 calories per bar.  Not bad if you stick to one, instead of the 4 bar serving size which will cost you 170 calories.

  • Twix– Chocolate with a smooth caramel twist

Full-size bar:  290 calories, over half a day’s recommended amount of saturated fat.

Fun-size bar:  80 calories, made up of 45% fat

Mini bar:  Sorry, fun-size is the smallest option…break it in half and make your own if you can resist just eating a single bite of this chocolaty sinfulness

  • Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups– Peanut butter + chocolate, how could you get a better combo?  One of the few candies I actually prefer made with milk chocolate.

Full-size (Two cups):  230 calories, 21% of a day’s fat, plus a whopping 21 grams of sugar

Snack-size (One cup):  100 calories in about 2 bites, 12% of daily saturated fat

One Mini:  36 calories-  Not bad, eat two and you’re still less than 100 calories.  Try to stick with just one, and if you want to make it a little more of a treat, top it with some extra peanut butter, but go all natural.  Don’t load on extra sugar and processed ingredients by using a brand like Jiff or Skippy.

  • Butterfinger- A variation of crunchy, sticky, sweet peanut brittle smothered in chocolate.

Full-size bar:  290 calories, 30% daily saturated fat, and almost 8 teaspoons of sugar

Fun-size bar:  100 calories, 11 grams of sugar

Mini bar:  45 empty calories, once again, if you can stick to one, go for it but be careful not to let it stick to your teeth for too long

  • Baby Ruth- Similar to a snickers with twice as many peanuts.

Full-size bar:  280 calories, 13 grams of fat (a 5th of your daily allowance)

Fun-size bar:  65 calories, 45% of them from fat

Mini bar:  53 calories…more than the comparative mini candy bars

  • Candy Corn–  Shaped like corn, tastes like sugar

26 pieces:  140 calories, no fat but 28 grams of sugar which will turn into fat in your body….However, can be consumed in 26 bites, rather than simply gulped down in one

  • Tootsie Roll–  Imitation chocolate chewiness

One mini thick roll:  50 calories

One regular mini:  25 calories….No fat and will leave you chewing for a little while

Tootsie pop:  60 calories, 10 grams of sugar…How many licks will you get in before taking a bite?IMG_4841

Bottom Line: It can’t be denied, chocolate is tasty.  Don’t deprive yourself, but instead be mindful of portion controls and opt for mini sizes.  The individual wrappings will help keep you from indulging in a huge fat-filled bar’s worth of chocolate.  Note that if you eat more than one of these mini’s, the fat can add up.  If you’re looking to entirely skip the fat, opt for something such as a tootsie roll or candy corn.  Because these types of treats tend to leave you chewing, a little can go a long way.  Even so, be conscious not to overindulge because they are simply empty calories full of sugar.

To help keep your mind off of Halloween candy all together, try popping in a stick of gum.  Also try indulging in an apple or sweet potato, both fall harvest sweet-treats that are natural and healthy too.  And don’t forget about pumpkins.  Loaded with fiber, potassium, and vitamin A, these babies can be used for more than just carving.

IMG_4845So conjure up a “drop-dead” gorgeous costume and get out there and have fun this Halloween.  Even let yourself be a kid and eat a few pieces of chocolate.  If you decide to go trick-or-treating, or take your little munchkin(s) out, and end up finding yourself with an overload of candy, freeze some and enjoy it on a later occasions.

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