Butternut Squash Soup

Ah! I am doing much better! I finally got my walk in today! I got out in the cold and a bit of rain (just a drizzle) and felt alive again! It’s amazing what “moving” can do for you! I even got in the groove of cooking and experimenting again!

Would you believe it if I told you I had never had butternut squash? It’s a vegetable that has always intrigued me… it looks so beautiful! So perfect for fall… so inviting and at the same time a little scary! It’s one of those things I just have the feeling I won’t like but I made myself buy it at the store just to try it!

So… I made a butternut squash soup and it was delicious! JUST DELICIOUS! I used whole milk instead of heavy whipping cream just to reduce calories and fat so… and when I checked the amount of calories on myfitnesspal (I entered the recipe and each ingredient) I came up with this:

This soup makes 4 generous servings (I say 4 because I loved it so much that I know I ate a quarter of this soup) and… for a serving that size… it has only 199 calories! Isn’t that great? So… here we go… get ready! this is GOOD!!! (I took the picture using a ramekin, which obviously isn’t big but each serving is about 1 bowl)

IMG_8984RECIPE:

BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP

1 2lb. butternut squash, whole, not peeled, quartered, seeds and fibers from the center removed and set aside (don’t discard)
1/2 white onion chopped
3 tbsp. butter
3/4 cup of whole milk
1 tsp. packed light brown sugar
5 cups of water
freshly grated nutmeg (a pinch or two -or three-)
salt to taste

Directions:
1. In a large saucepan melt 1.5 tbsp. of butter (medium/low heat). Once butter is melted add the chopped onion and sautee until translucent. Add the reserved squash seeds/fibers, stir frequently and sautee until fragrant and the butter has turned deep orange/redish (about 8 mins.)
2. Add water to seeds/fibers and bring to a boil. Once it’s boiling turn the heat down to a simmer, cover -leaving it a bit open- and simmer for about 50 minutes.
3. In a large pot (or a steamer) add a little bit of water, quartered butternut squash, cover with a tight lid and let it steam for about 50 minutes (while the seeds/fibers of the squash simmer making a nutty broth)
4. Once the steamed squash is ready (there should be no resistance at all to a fork/knife) remove carefully using tongs and place in a bowl. Let it cool a little bit so you can handle it with your hands.
5. In the meantime strain your pumpkin seed broth into a big bowl or measuring container. Discard all the seeds/fibers and chopped onion. You should have about 3 cups of broth, that’s about all you’ll need (if you have more than that don’t get rid of it)
6. Using a big spoon scoop the flesh out of the squash and discard the peel.
7. Using a blender (and in about 3-4 batches to avoid having an explosion) carefully blend the squash along with the liquid, making sure it has a nice consistency but not too runny and/or thick (you can always add more of the broth if needed later).
8. Once all the squash is blended pour it back into the big saucepan and bring to a simmer at medium heat. Add the milk, remaining 1.5 tbsp. of butter, teaspoon of brown sugar and pinch of nutmeg (or more to taste), season with more salt to taste. Add more of the broth to thin if too thick. Let it simmer and stir until all flavors are combined.

Enjoy!

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Weigh-In Day! 1/15/2013

Hello everybody! Here I am … first of all let me tell you about my day yesterday…

My day was really good, I exercised for almost an hour in the morning, strength training and some cardio… then I conIMG_4746[1]tinued with my regular activities and for lunch I had:
This is made with one Mission Tortilla (carb balance, only 80 calories)

Roasted green bell peppers and onions plus 1 zucchini (and some fresh tomato for garnish)

4 oz. of pan seared chicken breast (with Pam)

Seasoned with salt and pepper. (I used 2 oz. of chicken breast INSIDE the tortilla and 2 oz. separately)

It was yummy! And only 260 calories! So anybody can get creative with something like this! If I had had avocado I would’ve used it and for 1/5 of a medium avocado I would’ve only added 50 additional calories, lots of good flavor and great nutrition!

My numbers for yesterday:

Calories I ate: 1300

I exercised a total of 2 hours on the Wii Balance Board burning: 580 calories!

and now… [[drumroll]] my weight!

Weight Last week: 181.0

Weight Today: 178.4

I lost a total of 2.6, I think it’s a great amount of weight to lose! Do I wish I had lost more? Well! Yes! I am greedy like that! But I am happy with the weight I lost! Plus I know I am definitely replacing fat with muscle!

Yesterday I watched The Biggest Loser! ah! It was awesome! I ended in tears but not in tears of hopeless devastation from being so lost and not knowing where to even begin like I used to! but with tears of joy seeing others lose their weight and KNOW how it feels like! It’s really awesome to see lives transformed and even see the real personalities of people start to come out… They also have “thin people inside”! And I am so happy for them! We got this!!!

The Thin Lady Inside

Breakfast Time! Egg Burrito for less than 300 calories!

Hello everybody! How are you doing? just a couple days ago I was looking at the stuff in my fridge and I was really low on veggies, I usually have lots of veggies with an egg in the morning but this time I wanted something different and the fridge just confirmed I’d have to find another choice.

So… I decided to make a “breakfast burrito or breakfast taco”

It turned out delicious, it’s easy to make and very satisfying… so… here it is!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 90 calorie tortilla (I use whole wheat from HEB)
  • 2 large Eggs -150/160 calories-
  • 2 tbsp. Pace Chunky Salsa (Mild) -10 calories-
  • 1 sec. Spray of Pam (Olive Oil or Butter Flavor) -9 calories-
  • 1 tbsp. Sharp Shredded Cheddar Cheese (whole) -22 calories-

On medium heat… Spray a (non stick) skillet with pam (for 1 second only), Let it warm up, when the skillet is hot (not smoking, just hot enough) add the eggs, a sprinkle of salt if desired and once the eggs are cooked half way through just add the 2 tbsp. of salsa. stir until incorporated. Also at the same time warm up your tortilla (on a griddle like I do or in the microwave if you prefer) Fill the tortilla up with the cooked eggs and salsa and sprinkle with the cheddar cheese!

YUM! This tasty burrito made with TWO eggs is only 281 calories! Very flavorful and obviously packed with protein which will make you feel more satisfied during the day. Enjoy with a cup of coffee.

Ok… now… about me… I did great yesterday… 1 hour exercise and calories right on my daily goal! Feeling good!

The Thin Lady Inside

Delicious Tilapia Dish

I don’t know how to call this recipe… I just put a bunch of ingredients that I know just work well! and it turned out pretty amazing… So… Here it is … (let me find a name)

Tomato & Herbs Tilapia

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Yield: 4 servings

Calories per serving: About 200

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 1/2 green bell pepper (finely chopped)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped) -always use fresh-
  • 1 1/2 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup 99% Fat Free Chicken Stock
  • 1 tsp. chicken bouillion (granules)
  • 1 1/2 lbs. tilapia (2 good sized filets cut in halves vertically -right in the mark where the bone used to be-)
  • 1 tbsp. fresh oregano leaves
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste (I use Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper)

Directions:

  1. In a big non-stick skillet heat the tablespoon of oil (medium heat). Once it’s warmed up add the chopped onion and green bell pepper, stir until onions are translucent and tender (about 5 minutes), add chopped garlic, stir and cook for about 1 minute making sure the garlic doesn’t brown.
  2. Add the crushed tomato, season with salt and pepper to taste (be very conservative with the salt because the chicken bouillion is salty too), stir and cook for about 1 minute.
  3. Add chicken stock and chicken bouillion, bring to a boil.
  4. Once it’s boiling reduce temperature to low, cover and let it simmer for about 8 minutes.
  5. Add the fish filets and cover with the sauce by spoonfuls, carefully flip the filets right away and spoon more sauce on top, sprinkle it all with the fresh chopped oregano and parsley, stir the sauce a little, cover and cook for about 8 minutes or until fish looks opaque and starts to flake but still moist. Taste and adjust seasoning Turn off heat, cover and let it sit for 2 more minutes.

Enjoy!!! (I served it with a small portion of brown rice and it would go great with a big side salad too!) – Sorry, I should’ve taken a better picture and how it looks when served but I wasn’t really thinking about posting it then. ūüôā Trust me, it is delicious!

The Thin Lady Inside

Finding satisfying alternatives

I loooove sandwiches! I really do! And I’ve found them to be a great aid in my eating healthier lifestyle! … You can stack them up, make them big with veggies, some cheese and avocado, roasted veggies and different spreads on the bread… I just make sure I have “the right kind of bread” to keep the calories down!

Well… Sometimes I do feel like eating something that I can use a spoon or a fork to eat it! So I am trying to make sure I add variety to my diet so I don’t get bored or start making “bad choices” due to my craving of something soupy, hot or just different!

So… I found this awesome recipe (which I altered and I am happy I did) in the book I borrowed from a friend (I mentioned that on my previous post) and it is SOOOO GOOD! Again… the credit goes mostly to the people from “Cooking Light” but as I said… I did some tweaks and changes…

Very healthy, satisfying and yummy! (plus it’s freezable!) I just finished eating this for lunch!

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GARDEN MINESTRONE

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups soup and 2 tablespoons cheese)
281 calories per serving

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon crushed dried oregano
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 cups chopped zucchini
  • 1 cup chopped carrot
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels (about 2 ears)
  • 4 cups chopped tomato, divided
  • 3 (14-ounce) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 1/2 cup uncooked ditalini pasta (very short tube-shaped macaroni) – I just used small elbow pasta
  • 1 bunch of red chard leaves (about 4 cups coarsely chopped) -you can also use a 6 oz. pkg. of spinach-
  • 2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) fresh Asiago cheese (shredded)
  • Coarsely ground black pepper (optional)

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Preparation

  1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until softened. Add oregano and garlic; sauté 1 minute. Stir in carrot, and corn; sauté 4 minutes, add zucchini and sautee with the rest of the vegetables for 1 more minute. Remove from heat.
  2. Place 3 cups tomato and 1 can broth in a blender; process until smooth. Add tomato mixture to pan; return pan to heat. Stir in remaining 1 cup tomato and remaining 2 cans broth; bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes.
  3. Add pasta to pan; cook 10 minutes or until pasta is tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in chopped chard leaves, salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Ladle soup into individual bowls; top with cheese. Garnish with coarsely ground black pepper, if desired.

ImageThe Thin Lady Inside

Southwestern Falafel with Avocado Spread

Hello friends! I’ve been doing good… well… kind of… I don’t know if you remember I mentioned I get a weird rash often… well… it seems it’s the sun that causes it… I got it again and I am going to get tested for Lupus… Hopefully that’s not it and it’s just some simple allergy… -sigh- So… since I’ve had it again I can’t get overheated… not even a little bit… so exercising becomes near to impossible… I’ve stayed very active though… more than usual… and making sure I stay in my calorie range! It’s been very good!
So, recently, a friend let me use one of her cooking books (she wanted me to find what to do with spaghetti squash but I haven’t even looked it up yet… -shame-) but I’ve found great recipes here! It’s one of those “Cooking Light” Annual Recipe Books and this one is from 2006! there are such great recipes here and it got me inspired! So once it was time to go grocery shopping (yesterday) I made sure I would add more different things to be able to make some of the recipes from the book… and this is the first thing I made from it (I just had it for dinner tonight)! It was delicious, very inexpensive and only 281 calories per serving! YUM!

Southwestern Falafel with Avocado Spread

Obviously the traditional falafel is made with chickpea patties in pita bread, well this is an American version (a Tex-Mex falafel I guess?) and it uses pinto bean patties that are enhanced with green onions, cilantro and cumin, these patties go in pita bread and a very easy guacamole spread.

Amount per serving

  • Calories: 281
  • Calories from fat: 30%
  • Fat: 9.5g
  • Saturated fat: 3.4g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 3.9g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 1.5g
  • Protein: 12.2g
  • Carbohydrate: 37.4g
  • Fiber: 5.9g
  • Cholesterol: 13mg
  • Iron: 2.4mg
  • Sodium: 625mg
  • Calcium: 188mg

Patties:

  • 1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/4 cup finely crushed baked tortilla chips (about 3/4 ounce)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons canola oil

Spread:

  • 1/4 cup mashed peeled avocado
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped plum tomato (you can use roma tomatoes too)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped red onion (or white if you don’t have red)
  • 2 tablespoons fat-free sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 (6-inch) pitas, each cut in half crosswise

Preparation

  1. To prepare patties, place pinto beans in a medium bowl; partially mash with a fork. Add Monterey Jack cheese and next 5 ingredients (through egg white); stir until well combined. Form into 4 (1/2-inch-thick) oval patties.
  2. Heat canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add patties; cook 3 minutes on each side or until patties are browned and thoroughly heated.
  3. To prepare spread, while patties cook, combine the avocado, plum tomato, red onion, sour cream, lime juice, and salt. (I didn’t include the sour cream and added it separately on top of the patty/guacamole) Place 1 patty in each pita half. Spread about 2 tablespoons avocado spread over patty in each pita half.

Credit goes to: Krista Ackerbloom Montgomery & Ann Taylor Pittman, Cooking Light
AUGUST 2006

I hope you enjoy it! I think it’s a good change for the stuff we usually eat when “on a diet”

The Thin Lady Inside

Enjoy Avocados and Reduce Belly FAT!

Well… as you’ve probably noticed I’ve been sharing some Mexican recipes lately…. Being a Mexican (born and raised in Mexico) I often crave the great food for my country… and never find a place that does a good job representing Mexican cuisine… I am glad Mexican food is not the “greasy, cheesy” stuff everybody thinks it is… but it’s filled with rich, flavorful, FRESH ingredients and just the right amount of spice (instead of tons of it!)

Of course in Mexico, you’ll find very bad habits too… and poor choices as well… we are food lovers (and what’s not to love with such amazing options!?) and all our “events” revolve around food… we drink way too much coke, eat dinner way too late at night (there are taco stands in many streets and they are open sometimes until 1 or 2 in the morning!), eat too much salt and sometimes our carbs are not balanced… (we can eat rice, beans, potatoes and corn tortillas all together!)

But aside of that… I think we have many great, healthy choices! which makes me very happy because it means I can lose weight and satisfy my Mexican tooth!

I love avocados! They are brain food too! Avocados are rich in potassium and vitamin c and a great source of protein! Yes… they have more calories than other fruits but they are also way richer in vitamins and lots of good stuff! Plus they don’t have “that many calories” … just about 150 for 1 whole average sized avocado!

Loving avocado as much as I do I knew I had to include it in my diet! So I eat avocado EVERY SINGLE DAY! (in moderation of course!) and let me tell you a little secret: Did you know that avocados are good to fight BELLY FAT? Incredible! Isn’t it? Well… it’s because of its vitamin c content! it’s not magic! It turns out that people like me… who have issues with big middles usually have higher levels of cortisol, cortisol is the body‚Äôs key stress hormone. The problem is that cortisol slows your metabolism and it ALSO breaks down muscle! so you pretty much are a fat storing machine!¬† Vitamin C is known to reduce levels of cortisol! So try to include more Vitamin C in your diet with foods like avocados, which are also rich in monounsaturated fats, these fats are known to reduce inflammation and decrease fat storage in the belly!

Ok… so enough of the information and let’s get to the yummy part… so … We love avocados and we’d love to enjoy a big guacamole, right? We can do that! but to cut on the calories I have a little trick that will not hurt the flavor:

Make your guacamole with equal parts of avocado and MASHED PEAS! … Yes! Peas! When I was little I remember my mom used to go to a “Mexican kind of Weight Watchers” thing… and they used to use mashed peas instead of avocado to make some salsas to top their “light taquitos” … So… I thought it was a good idea! And then today I found a recipe to make this great guacamole without the guilt! Peas have calories too, of course… but less fat content! Real Mexican guacamole does NOT call for sour cream or Taco Mix seasoning and stuff like that…¬† and it should all be fresh ingredients (except for the peas in this case)

So… here’s your SKINNY GUACAMOLE!

4 Servings   = Calories per serving: about 90-100

INGREDIENTS:

1 box (10 oz.) frozen peas, thawed
2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 Hass avocado
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
1/3 cup Spanish onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
2 tbsp. chopped jalape√Īo chiles (optional)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

PREPARATION:

1. In a food processor, combine peas and 1 tbsp. of the lime juice and process until smooth. Set aside.

2. Scoop avocado flesh into a medium bowl. Add remaining 1 tbsp. lime juice and mash with back of fork or potato masher. Add peas to mashed avocado and mix to combine. Add tomatoes, onion, cilantro, and jalape√Īos and continue mixing until desired texture is reached. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Cover with plastic wrap placed directly on surface of guacamole and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (no more than 2) to let flavors blend (this is key, because that way the peas will absorb all the flavor from the avocado and the rest of the ingredients).

Enjoy!

 The  Thin Lady Inside