Countdown to Jamaica…

24 01 2012

There are exactly 3 weeks until my trip to Jamaica, which means I have exactly 3 weeks to make some progress on my weight loss goals!

Day 1

I was in too much of a rush today to take any food pics, but I’m probably going to repeat my meals for the rest of the week so stay tuned. Here’s the run down:
Breakfast: egg whites (scrambled) on naan bread (half)
Snack: Quaker Chewy chocolate chip granola bar
Lunch: Salad with mixed greens, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and tempeh (Turtle Island Foods Sesame Garlic tempeh strips–my new fave protein source. Yummy!) with an Asian inspired homemade dressing (soy sauce, lemon juice, agave nectar, garlic, ginger, shallots, & Vega EFA oil).
Snack: Jell-o Chocolate Indulgence Mousse Temptations
Dinner: Naan Pizza with onions and mushrooms
Dessert: Toffee chip cookies (oops!)

Overall, not too bad a day food-wise. 🙂 I made up for those cookies by working out hard doing this crazy strength training class.

I’ve been wanting to do a review of this really cool women’s only fitness studio I started going to last year called Flirty Girl Fitness, so here’s a quick one. Flirty Girl is well known for being one of the pioneers of the pole dancing exercise classes in Toronto (they also have studios in Chicago), but in addition to the pole dancing classes, they offer a variety of dance, cardio, and strength training classes.

These classes are INTENSE!! And amazing! Most of them are total body circuit training-like workouts. They usually go non-stop for 60 minutes–NO breaks! The instructors are all super fit and very motivating, they really push you so you get a fantastic workout that leaves your muscles feeling like jelly and sore for the next few days. The best kind! 🙂

I haven’t been able to get to the gym in a couple of months because it’s a bit of trek for me (and I’ve been so lazy LOL), but luckily the company came up with an ingenious idea. Flirty Girl films some of their classes and streams them live online at FlirtyGirlFitness LIVE. For $15/month, you can watch and participate in an unlimited number of classes. It’s pretty awesome to not have to travel to the gym and just pull up a class on my laptop, but, of course, that means I have to motivate myself to actually do it haha! 🙂

There are, of course, some drawbacks. Because the classes are streamed live, there are some issues with the sound and sometimes with videos loading properly. Sometimes classes get cut off at the end (I think that usually happens when the studio class is running behind getting started). Also, some of the studio classes use a variety of equipment like weights, medicine balls, foam rollers, resistance bands, stability balls, and Bender balls. If you don’t have the equipment at home, it’s hard to get the full benefits of the workout. However, some instructors do offer suggestions for alternate ways to do the exercises.

Overall, as much as I hate the class while doing it, I love how I feel afterward! I highly recommend both the studio and online classes. They’ve been worth every penny 🙂

Back to today’s workout…I did a 60 min Body Blast class that was killer! My arms and legs are jelly right now…and I love it! I’d say I worked off those cookies 😉

Let’s hope tomorrow goes as smoothly. If I can walk that is.

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Summer Eats

23 08 2011

It’s been a busy and exhausting summer! I’ve been trying to get back on the weight loss wagon and so far so good. I tend to go on pizza kicks in the summers for some reason, but this year it was the Summer of Chickpea Salad!

Our garden has been flourishing this summer, so I’ve had the pleasure of drinking garden kale filled green monsters, making fresh basil pesto, roasted garden tomatoes with basil, fresh dill with lemon on salmon, and of course,chickpea salad with garden fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, and parsley!

This summer also marked a landmark birthday. I hit the big 2-5 and am smack dab in my mid-20’s! It’s been over a month but I’m still trying to wrap my head around this one. I guess I’ll always be young at heart. 🙂

Anyway, I decided to treat myself to a cellphone upgrade and got an iPhone, so most of my pics will be not-so-great iPhone pics. On the other hand, I’ve been trying to take regular pics of my meals to keep track of what I’ve been eating. Hasn’t worked out perfectly, but I do have a bunch of pics to share of my summer eats!

Salmon en papillote with dill and lemon, steamed broccoli and spinach, roasted tomatoes with basil and havarti cheese

House Foods Shirataki Tofu noodles (Fettucine shaped) in fresh pesto (basil, garlic, EVOO) with chicken and mushrooms; side of baked bittermelon

Birthday bbq leftovers - spinach & feta stuffed turkey sausage, mango and my awesome chickpea salad

Bento Nouveau Spicy Salmon rolls

Clockwise: Kale chips, microwaved egg with salsa on top, mini pita with avocado, roasted tomatoes with basil and brie on mini pitas

 

Kale salad with (store bought) parisienne potatoes, massaged with basil lemon dressing

Smoked chicken deli meat with lettuce and avocado on whole wheat

salmon en papillote with dill and lemon and a side of chickpea salad

BBQ chicken, egg white topped with sauteed mushrooms and onions, salsa (store bought) and fresh basil

Chickpea salad on mixed greens

Chickpea salad, grilled chicken breast, Pita Gourmet mini pitas

Lunch at Cafe Via Crescent in Montreal, QC - fresh pasta tossed with roasted tomatoes, basil, bacon and grilled chicken - AMAZING!!

Salty caramel chocolate fondant with a scoop of vanilla icecream at Juliette et Chocolat in Montreal - To die for! Rich and delicious!!

Roasted tomatoes with basil on mini pitas, steamed broccoli (overcooked!), salmon en papillote (with dill and lemon) covered in corn

Recipangles: Ruby’s Easy-Peasy Chickpea Salad

The hardest part is the prep because there’s a lot of ‘dicing’ and ‘finely chopping’ to do.

Ingredients

  • 1 can of Chickpeas (or you can soak and boil 1-2 cups of dried chickpeas – depends on how much you want to make)
  • 1.5 cups diced Tomato
  • 1.5 cups diced Cucumber
  • 1/2 cup – 1 cup finely diced Red Onion (or any onion)
  • 1/2 cup – 1 cup of finely chopped Parsley (curly or flat leafed) – amount depends on personal taste preference
  • Optional: Grab a handful of other herbs (I used Basil and Dill), finely chop and throw in
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 a Lemon
  • sprinkle of Garlic powder (about 1/2 tsp)
  • *Secret Ingredient* — pinch of Sugar (about 1/2 tsp)
  • Optional for some added heat: 1/4 tsp Cayenne pepper

Directions:
1. Grab a container or bowl. Pour rinsed and drained chickpeas in.
2. Add the finely diced and chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, parsley, and other herbs.
3. Add the juice of 1/2 a lemon, garlic powder, pinch of sugar, salt and pepper (and maybe cayenne).
4. Mix everything together well. Serve and enjoy!

Tastes best chilled.

Side note:
-If you add dill, it tends to overpower the other herbs but still gives the salad a nice flavour. I personally love parsley but had to add the dill in because I depleted our garden’s supply!

Disclaimer: I didn’t measure anything so these are all estimates and you should fiddle with the quantities and ingredients to your own personal tastes!

We grew cucumbers and tomatoes (and later onions) in our garden, which is why they are the staple veggies in this dish. Chopped celery and carrots might add a nice crunchy texture to it too, but personally I think cucumbers, tomatoes and red onions are the best combination. I just can’t get enough of this salad! I could eat it at every meal!

Well, after that massive post I’ll probably see you all in another month! 🙂

(Or maybe sooner since I’m unemployed and job hunting now!)





Recipangles – Summer of Pizza returns

3 08 2010

Pizza is most definitely my favourite food.

I’m a strange Indian girl who is not a huge fan of traditional Indian food. I’ve always been a picky eater and I know it sounds crazy, but I’ve always preferred bland food over intense flavours, the very thing Indian food is known for. Of course, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more adventurous with food, but pizza is still my all-time fave.

Last summer I discovered the deliciousness of Amy’s Kitchen organic pizza and went on a spending spree to indulge my taste buds.

This summer, my bank account can’t support my Amy’s Kitchen or fast food pizza joint pizza habit, so I’ve gotten thrifty and healthy.

Instead I’ve been over indulging on veggie-overloaded naan pizzas.

Red onions, mushrooms, broccoli, spinach and zucchini topped with marble cheese on a whole wheat naan

It’s such a quick and delicious meal. I’ve made pita pizzas in the past using thin whole wheat pitas to cut down on the carbs, but they weren’t as satisfying as these pizzas are. I do enjoy thin crust pizzas, which this is in comparison to traditional store bought or restaurant crusts, but naan bread is a bit more doughy and dense (but in a fluffy way) than pita bread.

Here’s my quick, cheap and easy way of making them:

Saute your veggies for a few minutes to cook and soften first (I used red onions, mushrooms, broccoli, zucchini and spinach and cooked them for about 5 mins on medium)

For convenience sake, I bought canned pizza sauce (Unico is my favourite brand with Primo coming in a close second). You need a special tandoori oven to make a proper naan, so that also has to be store bought from either the grocery store or from a restaurant.

Top your naan with pizza sauce and your cooked veggies

My other time-saving trick was to use sliced cheese from the deli section of the grocery store.

1 slice of havarti (this one had jalapeno peppers in it for some added zing) ripped apart to cover the toppings

It obviously doesn’t take long to shred cheese or use already shredded cheese, but the slices pull double duty for sandwiches. (Oftentimes blocks of cheese get moldy in my fridge from infrequent use, so deli slices are a better choice for me.)

Into the toaster oven it goes...

I use the toast function on the toaster oven and set it to between medium and dark. Approximately 3-5 mins.

And out comes the finished product!

Oops, I forgot to mention I added some leftover chicken breast to the above pizza.

Here’s a breakfast pizza I made with turkey bacon, scrambled eggs, spinach, red onions and mushrooms:

Breakfast pizza

As you can tell, red onions and mushrooms are my pizza staples. I can’t eat pizza without them! (Well I can, but it’s never as good!)

What are your favourite pizza toppings?





Recipangles – Homefries for homeday

3 04 2010

So it’s a gorgeous day. Phenomenal warm breezy weather that I absolutely love love love, and what do I do? Stay indoors. In my basement room. In front of the computer. ALL DAY LONG! I stepped outside for a split second and got to bask in some sunlight, just the burst of vitamin D I needed, before guilt drew me back to my laptop.

I have my final English paper due tomorrow night and I’m only half-way done. 😦

But of course, it’s not like I spent the whole day working on the essay. I got my Project Runway fix (Maya, what were you thinking, crazy girl?!) among my other faves (CastTV is a freakin fantastic site I’m addicted!). Sigh, that’s one of the downsides of long weekends that are religious/family oriented. Maybe if my friends were around, I might have procrastinated and gotten out of the house. Oh well, in the end it gave me the extra time and luxury of cooking for the first time in weeks!

I was in the mood for breakfast food and a bag of baby potatoes caught my eye immediately. I haven’t had potatoes in awhile, so I contemplated roasting them, nixed that idea since it would take way too long with my oven, and decided to make HOMEFRIES!

I’ve tried making homefries in the past but they ended up being raw and gross, so I was a little scared. I was also too lazy to look up a recipe, so I winged it.

After chopping up the potatoes (4 little babies), I sauteed them in olive oil (about 1 Tbsp) on MEDIUM heat. (I think my problem in the past was cooking on high, burning the outside and having a raw inside.) Then I added some salt, pepper, paprika and garlic powder, before covering for about 5 mins. I chopped up half a white onion in the meantime, added that and covered for another 5 mins, stirring occasionally. Then I chopped 2 slices of turkey bacon, added that and covered, stirring occasionally for maybe 15-20 mins.

It took a loooong time, about 45 min in total but I also made an omelet with tomatoes, broccoli, mushrooms and a little cheese sprinkled on top, while the potatoes were cooking. Even though I burned the bacon a little bit while I was making my omelet, it still tasted amazing! The potatoes were cooked to perfection!

Beats a restaurant breakfast anyday!

Normally, I would have split the meal in two because it was a lot of food, but I was really hungry, having woken up late, so it was a hearty, filling comfort food-esque brunch that I Daily Plate-calculated to be about 550 calories. Reducing the amount of potatoes, getting rid of the turkey bacon (or just 1 slice would be plenty), and using Eggbeaters or egg whites instead of the whole 2 eggs, would significantly slash the calories.

I will definitely be making this again (and again and again and…)! Especially once I figure out how to reduce the cooking time. Any suggestions?