Change Your Choices

Change Your Life…Tips for a healthier you

Comfort Food- Tuna Noodle Casserole

Garrison Keillor mentioned Tuna Noodle Casserole on A Prairie Home Companion and it immediately took me back in time.  We weren’t big fish eaters in my house when I was growing up,  but we loved Tuna Noodle Casserole, or Hotdish , as it is known in Minnesota.  While this is a great comfort food, there are many ways to make this a healthy dish- much healthier than the original!  The major change in this recipe is sodium, I’m not using condensed soup and made a few other changes so this is a heart healthy dish.  Most of us don’t worry about sodium until a stroke or heart attack occurs so let’s start cutting back and making good choices now- before anything bad happens.

Modern Tuna Noodle Casserole

  • 6 oz Ronzoni Healthy Harvest Noodles
  • 1 tbsp butter or margarine
  • 1 medium onion, minced fine
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 1 3/4 cups no -sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup 1% milk- I used unsweetened almond milk
  • 10 oz sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 cup frozen petite peas
  • 2 cans low-sodium tuna in water, drained
  • 4 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • butter flavored cooking spray
  • 2 tbsp parmesan cheese
  • Panko breadcrumbs

Cook noodles in salted water until al dente, or slightly undercooked by 2 minutes. Set aside.

Melt the butter in a large deep skillet. Add onions and celery, cook on medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the flour and a pinch of salt and stir well, cooking an additional 2-3 minutes on medium-low heat

Preheat oven to 375°. Lightly spray 9 x 12 casserole with butter flavored cooking spray.

Slowly whisk in the chicken broth until well combined, increasing heat to medium and whisking well for 30 seconds, then add the milk and bring to a boil. When boiling, add  mushrooms and petite peas, adjust salt and pepper to taste and simmer on medium, mixing occasionally until it thickens (about 6-7 minutes). Add drained tuna, stirring another minute

Remove from heat and add 1 cup reduced fat sharp cheddar and mix well until it melts. Add the noodles to the sauce and mix well until evenly coated. Pour into casserole and top with parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs. Spray a little more cooking spray and top and bake for about 20 – 25 minutes. Place under the broiler a few minutes to get the crumbs crisp (careful not to burn). Sprinkle with black pepper but leave the salt shaker in the cupboard.

This makes a big pan of casserole but it warms up just fine if you have any leftovers.

What changes were made to this recipe?

First- no Cream of Anything soup.  Loads of sodium and it’s not needed

Second- Healthy Harvest Noodles instead of Creamettes.  Healthy Harvest scores a 91 which is way better than Creamettes at 23 as far as nutritional value.  Even your fussy eaters who “don’t like” brown pasta will like this.  If you haven’t tried Healthy Harvest or Barilla yet, you should.

Nutritionally, Healthy Harvest is way better than Creamettes.

A big game changer was using a no-sodium added broth.  It has 50 mg sodium per serving, the regular stuff has anywhere from 600-800mg per serving. Yikes!!

Tuna is another product that varies greatly in nutritional value.  I was surprised to see that some of the tuna in canola oil had a decent score but overall tuna in water scores higher.  No or low sodium tuna costs more but is worth it compared to the cost of a heart attack.  (spend more now to save more later!)

I also used Panko Japanese breadcrumbs for the topping.  I was thinking of using corn flake crumbs but Panko scored a bit higher at 24.  Not a super healthy ingredient, but darned tasty!  I did find the cost difference in these 2 identical products interesting.  I guess Emeril’s face on the box is worth $1.54.  NOT!  I bought Kikkoman.  Unless Emeril is coming to cook for me, I don’t need to pay him.

You might find this recipe a bit bland, but it’s supposed to be! Hotdishes can’t be too spicy, ya know.  Next time I make this I am going to add some garlic and maybe a few red pepper flakes just to jazz it up.

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How Hot is Too Hot? Right Now it is TOO HOT!

DO NOT EXERCISE IN THIS HEAT!!!

 

 

I love hot weather and I love to workout but sometimes the two don’t mix.  A co-worker just went by my office and said he was going for a run. Now, I’m sitting in a freezing cold office so a run outside sounds good.  However, it is 92 degrees and we are under a heat advisory.  I don’t care how elite you are as an athlete, temps like that will kill you.  Seriously.  Go to the gym or take a day off from working out.  No matter how much you drink or how well you prepare- you could die.  It happens all the time.  As much as we love to sweat- this isn’t the right weather for it.

If you won’t listen to me, listen to the Mayo Clinic:

How heat affects your body

“Exercising in hot weather puts extra stress on your body. If you don’t take care when exercising in the heat, you risk serious illness. Both the exercise itself and the air temperature increase your core body temperature. To help cool itself, your body sends more blood to circulate through your skin. This leaves less blood for your muscles, which in turn increases your heart rate. If the humidity also is high, your body faces added stress because sweat doesn’t readily evaporate from your skin. That pushes your body temperature even higher.

Heat-related illness “Under normal conditions, your skin, blood vessels and perspiration level adjust to the heat. But these natural cooling systems may fail if you’re exposed to high temperatures and humidity for too long, you sweat heavily and you don’t drink enough fluids. The result may be a heat-related illness. Heat-related illnesses occur along a spectrum, starting out mild but worsening if left untreated.

Heat illnesses include: Heat cramps. Heat cramps are painful muscle contractions, mainly affecting the calves, quadriceps and abdominals. Affected muscles may feel firm to the touch. Your body temperature may be normal.

Heat exhaustion. With heat exhaustion, your body temperature rises as high as 104 F (40 C) and you may experience nausea, vomiting, headache, fainting, weakness and cold, clammy skin. If left untreated, this can lead to heatstroke.

Heatstroke. Heatstroke is a life-threatening emergency condition that occurs when your body temperature is greater than 104 F (40 C). Your skin may be hot, but your body may stop sweating to help cool itself. You may develop confusion and irritability. You need immediate medical attention to prevent brain damage, organ failure or even death.”

 

There you have it.  It is just too damn hot to exercise outside.  I’m going to sit back with a bottle of Bud Light 55 and be thankful that I went out for a run at 5am!

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Is there anything other than water?

We all know that we need to stay hydrated but there are very few options that are good for you.  I’m a big fan of Diet Pepsi but the more I read, the more I realize that there could be some long-term side effects.  I used to have 1 can a day, which isn’t  much, but I’m trying to eliminate it completely.  I have recently started drinking coffee, I find it really does give me more energy when I drink it before a workout but it isn’t my beverage of choice.

I have a few beers a week, usually Bud Light 55, but it’s not like I can sit around drinking beer all day!  I have been drinking lots and lots of water.  So much water that I really need to find an alternative.  I like water, but it gets boring.  There are thousands of choices in beverages, most of them full of sugar and calories.  Luckily, the Nu val system came to the rescue and I found a couple of awesome choices!

I have always felt that Vitamin Water is a bit of a scam because the ingredients in order are: filtered water and crystalline fructose (sugar).  One bottle is 250 calories. Ouch.

But- Vitamin Water has now come out with a flavored water that is naturally sweetened with stevia.  Zero Calories.  Nu Val score of 56- pretty much unheard of in the world of beverages.  Also,  the three I have tried taste great!  I especially like the lemonade and the orange flavor contains electrolytes so it’s refreshing after a sweaty workout. (also good if you have the flu and are losing fluids).

You need to be careful, the full sugar variety of Vitamin Water looks just like it so read the label.  Or just look for the Nu Val score if you are lucky enough to shop at a store that uses this system!

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Born to Run…part 2

My new mantra!

 

A few weeks back I wrote about my struggle to run. Running has just not been my favorite thing to do but there are so many reasons to run that I just had to give it another shot.   Why run?

1- It’s Easy.  Well, by easy I mean that you don’t need to learn any rules or do something completely different.  We have all run at one point in our lives, some of us just quit doing it.

2- It’s Cheap.  The equipment needed for running can be pretty inexpensive compared to other sports.  A good pair of running shoes does not have cost $100+, in fact, many of the top rated shoes are much less than that.  I would suggest investing in some good moisture wicking socks with padding in the toe and heel.  Also- get a decent sports bra, one that holds you in place.  Any old t-shirt and shorts will do, although shorts with a built-in compression short or panty are super comfortable.  I also have a running skort that I love but still feel awkward when I wear it.  You don’t need to belong to a gym to run, there is no charge to run outside! (I know, for those of us in the snow belt this can get challenging in the winter).

3-It’s Not Easy- Wait…what?  Why would I want to do something that’s not easy? Didn’t I just say that it was easy?  You’re doing this for a variety of reasons- to lose weight, heart health, cardio health, etc.  Well, running torches more calories that pretty much anything else because it ain’t easy! Running also gives your ticker a world-class workout.  When your legs hit their stride they squeeze blood toward your heart, which in turn forces it to pump the blood right back. The faster you run, the harder your heart works and the stronger it gets.  And that ain’t easy!

4- It’s GOOD for your knees! Contrary to popular belief,  running doesn’t wreck your joints. Osteoarthritis (the most common type of arthritis), occurs when joint-cushioning cartilage starts to break down.  The biggest osteoarthritis risk factor besides age? Body weight.  Runners are much more likely to be at a normal weight than members of the sedentary population, significantly decreasing their risk of osteoarthritis.

Running also bolsters your cartilage by increasing oxygen flow and flushing out toxins, and by strengthening the ligaments around your joints. Hitting the trail also gives your bones a boost, helping to prevent osteoporosis.
Though it’s important to treat all running injuries and to replace your shoes often, in the end, running will build your joints up, not tear them down.

5- You’ll stress less.  Running is a great way to get away from it all.  DON’T bring your phone!  If you feel more secure with it in case of emergency, leave it turned off.  Do you really think the world will end if no one can reach you for 30 minutes?  The world will be fine and you will be MUCH better.  Let your mind wander, play some tunes or just listen to your breathing and the birds.

6- You are only competing against yourself.  I’m not a very competitive person so beating someone else just isn’t that big of a deal.  However, running faster or longer or lifting more weight or doing more reps than I did before is very motivating.  I only have to defeat myself!


6- Running can prevent disease.  Most experts agree that regular exercise reduces the risk of many kinds of cancer, including some of the scariest: colon, breast, endometrial, and lung. Runners, joggers, and walkers also have a leg up against heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, and running has been shown to lower blood pressure, raise good cholesterol, and boost immunity to colds and other viruses.

7- You’ll probably live longer- and probably live better! In perhaps the most surprising study done on the health benefits of running, a team at the Stanford University School of Medicine studied 538 runners and 423 healthy non-runners from 1984 until 2005. All of the subjects were over 50 and were asked to take a disability questionnaire each year measuring simple tasks like cutting meat, shampooing hair, and opening a milk carton.
Every year, the disability levels were significantly lower in the group of runners than in the non-runners, and they became more different as both groups aged.
Even more interesting (though admittedly morbid)?  At the end of the study, 85% of the runners were still alive, while only 66% of the non-runners were.

Ok, now that we know why we should run- how to we do it?  For me, it was signing up for a 5K so I had a goal.  I used to run a minute or two (if even that long) and stop because I just didn’t feel like running.  After I signed up for an official run, I knew there was no turning back.  There are loads of training articles on the internet- just search for 5k training to get started.  I like running to a beat so I went to jog.fm to check the minutes per mile on my favorite songs and set up a playlist.

I ran my first timed 5K this past weekend, my goal was to finish in 30 minutes but my music kept me going and I finished in 27.  But- I was sure happy to see that finish line.  10k’s will have to wait!

 

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Quick Sunday Lunch

This is a great way to use leftover chicken without having to cook.  I didn’t use a recipe and didn’t measure anything so the quantity of each item is “some” or “to taste”

Chicken Salad

Leftover boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into chunks

Grapes, red or green,  cut in half

Celery, chopped

Onion, chopped or minced

Walnut halves or pieces

Miracle Whip Light

Curry powder

Black pepper

Garlic powder

Mix it all up and you’re done!   It can be eaten right away but refrigerating for an hour or so will blend the flavors.  I think it will be even better tomorrow.

I thought about adding pineapple but glad I kept that on the side.  Chopped water chestnuts or apples might get tossed in next time.

This could be served on lettuce as a salad, I put it in whole wheat pitas.   There was no lettuce in the frig (very unusual) or that would have been stuffed that in the pita as well.

I don’t have nutritional info on this but everything is healthy.  Yes, even Miracle Whip in moderation is not horrible! Miracle Whip Light gets a Nu Val score of 11, regular is a 4. There is only 37 calories in a tablespoon, I probably used 1/4 cup for the entire recipe.  This made 4 stuffed pita halves with at least that much more leftover.

Served with a side of pineapple, watermelon, and grapes.

 

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Chilaquiles Casserole

I have written about Chilaquiles (chee-la-KEE-lays) before as it is one of my favorite Mexican foods so I was excited to see this recipe on WebMD and made it last night.  Couple things- it is really tasty and you will never miss the meat.  But- it is not really Chilaquiles, I would say it is more like a Mexican lasagna.  No matter what you call it, call it both delicious and healthy!  I changed the recipe somewhat and used Nu Val scores to make this even more nutritious.  For those who don’t know- Nu Val is a scoring system in which products are labeled from 1 (least nutritious) to 100 (most nutritious).  There are a couple of items in this recipe that could either be really bad or really good and you wouldn’t know unless you studied the labels – or- just use Nu Val and take out the guesswork! The Nu Val scores are in parentheses behind the item, see below for more in-depth info.

Chilaquiles Casserole

Servings: 10

Total Time: 45

Prep Time: 20

Recipe Ingredients:

1 tablespoon canola oil (24)

1 medium onion, diced (93)

1 medium zucchini, grated (99)

1 19-ounce can low-sodium black beans, rinsed (91)

1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained (42)

1 1/2 cups corn, frozen or fresh (91)

1 teaspoon ground cumin

12 corn tortillas, quartered (91)

1 19-ounce can mild red or green enchilada sauce (25)

1 1/4 cups shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese ( I used a Mexican blend,  same Nu Val score and cheaper!) (24)

I also added chopped garlic and chopped cilantro with the vegetables and hit it with some chili powder as well.

Recipe Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
  2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in zucchini, beans, tomatoes, corn, cumin and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are heated through, about 3 minutes.
  3. Scatter half the tortilla pieces in the pan. Top with half the vegetable mixture, half the enchilada sauce and half the cheese. Repeat with one more layer of tortillas, vegetables, sauce and cheese. Cover with foil.
  4. Bake the casserole for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until the casserole is bubbling around the edges and the cheese is melted, about 10 minutes more

This is a quick and easy recipe and it makes a lot so the two of us will be eating this for a few days.  It actually tastes better as leftovers!

The only part of the nutritional info I feel comfortable about using is calories, which are approx. 240 in a serving.  I made some changes to to the original recipe that would change the info given on WebMD, my version will have less sodium, fat, and more fiber.  Overall, this is a darn healthy meal.

Let’s look at some choices you can make to eat healthier.

Black Beans are always a good choice.  High in fiber, low in calories.  But, once they are canned they can be quite high in sodium.  Let’s compare:

Regular canned black beans have a decent score of 55 but contain 400 mg of sodium.  Switching to no salt added raises the score to an awesome 91 and only 10 mg of sodium.  Look for reduced or no salt in everything you buy.  Your heart will thank you.

Tortillas were a real eye opener.  I prefer flour tortillas but corn tortillas score consistently higher.  I was so excited to find white corn tortillas with a score of 91!!!  The flour tortillas next to them on the shelf score a 2, which means a Snickers bar has more nutrition! This category has some extreme highs and extreme lows so shop smart. Also, the white corn tortillas are very similar to flour.  You really won’t notice a difference.

Wow- that is a HUGE difference in nutritional value!!

I had a big dilemma with the enchilada sauce because I prefer red and it seemed like it would work better with this recipe.  Nu Val was telling me that green was the wise choice but I went against it and bought red anyway.  The biggest difference I could see was that red has 1 g of saturated fat which would drive the score down.  It also has about 40 more calories per serving.

The scores are on the shelf tag. 50 for green, 25 for red. This is the only area that I did not go up in score.

This recipe called for diced tomatoes.  Do you know how many varieties of diced tomatoes are available?  A LOT!  I chose the kind with green chiles just to give a little more heat but you can use whatever you like.  Scores are pretty much the same except for low sodium which scores an 81.  You could also use plain tomato sauce (go for the low-sodium).

One of many varieties of canned tomatoes, choose what you like but low-sodium is best.

I also had some non-fat Greek yogurt on hand so I dolloped a bit on top.  I don’t like Greek yogurt by itself, but I like it as sour cream.  And, with a Nu Val core of 93, it is much healthier than sour cream (23).

If you don’t have Nu Val available where you shop and want to make better choices, compare the labels.  I compare saturated/trans fat, sodium and sugar and choose the lowest.  Look at fiber and choose the highest.  That’s really simplified but it will get you on the right track.

Enjoy the Chilaquiles!

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Sunday Morning Inspiration

A good friend and co-worker of many years recently lost her brother.  This blog is an excerpt from a letter she wrote about Jim.  I was so moved that I asked her permission to share it.  Jim didn’t get the recognition he deserved in life but his story is his legacy. Please take a moment to read and contemplate the life of this “simple man.”

I debated for some time now on the best way to thank each and every one of you for your support dealing with my brother’s death. I started hand writing cards several time now and can’t ever seem to get it done. I know email is sometimes impersonal but that is not my intention. I finally decided that this was the best way to  get the message out there that ALL of you are appreciated for whatever roll you took to help comfort me directly or indirectly.

I thought I’d share with you a bit of my brother Jim’s story.

My brother was the second child in the family of nine. He was the first boy between the two oldest girls (3 kids in 3 years) He had a hard life from the day he was born he was weak and sickly, nearly died several times and did not rank high on any intelligence tests, he struggled to get through 8th grade and dropped out of school. He could barely read and write. He was on his own at that point doing farm work to support himself; as soon as he was able he joined the Army where he served 4 years. He married the woman he loved to the day he died and had 2 children with her. His heart was broken when she left him, but he never stopped loving her in all the years they were divorced. He worked a Packerland Packing doing back breaking work for little pay 42 years until his retirement. Packerland normally does not hold “official retirements” but when they checked his service record and found that he had never been late or missed a day of work in 42 years they decided to throw a party which meant a lot to him. Shortly after his retirement he had multiple health problems.

This past Mother’s Day I talked to him and he said he thought he had the flu- wasn’t feeling well, when I expressed my concern he said “I still have got a couple years left in me!”  The following Wednesday, 2 of my sisters tried to get him to go to the doctor with no luck. Wednesday evening I stopped by to check on him and my dog’s barking outside his home brought him to, he had been passed out on the kitchen floor for 3-4 hours before this but still would not go to the doctor because he had a regular checkup scheduled for Thursday and there was, in his words, “no point to pay for 2 doctor visits in 1 week”.  Thursday my sister took him for his appointment; from there he was sent to the specialist and Friday afternoon the verdict was he only had 6 months to live. The prognosis of the 6 months was a shock to everyone, but at least we had 6 months.  I went to his house after work and brought him Friday night fish fry, we had dinner together and I brought my dog. He even got down on the floor to rub the dogs belly and play with her against my advice. He was very weak and tired but other than that seemed fine, no pain or anything. They had given him 3 units of blood at the hospital on Friday. When he got a nose bleed at the hospital, he jokingly told the nurse” I think you gave me too much it’s coming out my nose!” The doctors said after the transfusion it would take 2 weeks for his energy to come back up. I left Friday night to go home. Saturday morning my sister called and said he was in a lot of pain and she had called the doctor to get him some pain medication. Saturday afternoon I went over there to stay with him and was told he took his pain pill, was sleeping, and that his son was going to stay with him. He passed away in bed later that night.

As his obituary stated he was a simple man, some would call him dumb. He lived in a house that was falling down around him. He put on his coat and hat to go to bed at night to save on heat, and had no material wealth at all. Many took advantage of his simple and giving nature, but he never gave up on the people he loved. He would rather go without something he needed to buy you something you wanted.  He was a shining example of how to treat people and will forever be missed! I was truly blessed to have been part of his life.

Rest in Peace, Jim

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Hard Body- Soft Skin

We’re all working out to get toned, strong, hard bodies but no one wants their skin described as hard.  Or rough.  Or compared to a crocodile.  Sometimes a good ol’ exfoliation is what we need get rid of the dead skin and feel smooth as a baby’s butt.  Need more reasons?

90% of the dust in your home is dead skin cells.  And no, I didn’t make a typo.  So, now that you’re a tad bit unsettled, let’s talk about why it’s good for your skin.

We all want smooth soft skin, especially in the summer when we reveal more skin. Your body is covered in a layer of dead skin cells.  The lotion that you put on your skin has to work its way through layers of dead skin cells just to reach the top layer.  No matter how much body lotion you put on the dead skin cells, they still remain dead skin cells.  If you want healthy smooth skin, you must slough them off.  No better way that in the shower or bath with a body exfoliator. Yes- men have plenty of dead skin and contribute to the dust in the house so they need to scrub, too!

Exfoliants range in price but it seems like the good ones start at $15 and go up from there.  Really?  Sometimes I am just cheap and this is one of those times, there has to be a less expensive way to scrub dead skin off your body.

I love Google…a couple of clicks and I found LOADS of recipes for homemade exfoliants.  Some contained ingredients that would take some effort to find.  I chose one that had just 3 ingredients and I happened to have all three in the kitchen.

Easy Scrub

1/2 cup white sugar

3 tbl. olive oil

lemon juice

Mix the sugar and olive oil until mostly moistened, then add lemon juice until you get the desired consistency.  You don’t want it runny so be careful.   That’s all you do- your homemade exfoliator is done!

Shower with soap (or whatever you use), then exfoliate.  I like to turn off the shower so the exfoliant doesn’t wash off right away.  Use your fingers to rub it all over your body, being gentle on your face, neck and chest but really hitting those elbows, toes, and knees.  Turn on the shower and wash it all away!  Shave your legs (or whatever you shave) after doing this for the closest shave ever. My skin is not really rough, but it felt like silk after doing this!  Towel off and moisturize and you are good to go!  Experts recommend exfoliating 2-3 times per week, less often if you have sensitive skin.

What’s the cost?  Sugar approx. 23 cents, oil approx. 64 cents, lemon juice about 5 cents giving it a grand total of 92 cents.  Let’s call it a dollar if you use name brand products.  I used the whole container just because I was enjoying it, but you really could get 2 applications from this recipe.  Cheap and easy- it doesn’t get any better than that.  Like I said, there are loads of recipes that incorporate different oils and fragrances that you can try, but sugar, olive oil, and lemon juice did the trick for me!  Let me know if you come up with something that you like.

 

I support the store brand! This is all you need to get baby soft skin.

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Olive this Chicken!

If you don’t like olives, stop reading now.  You can learn to like many foods but I think olives are something you like or you don’t, there is just no getting used to it.  I happen to love olives in all forms so this recipe intrigued me.  I would never have put these ingredients together but somehow it worked.  The original recipe came from Allrecipes.com but I changed it a bit to suit my tastes and I have to say it was another hit!

Olive this Chicken

Ingredients:

Olive or canola oil

2 tbls. minced garlic

1/4 to 1/2 cup lemon juice

1/2 tsp dried tarragon

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

10 green olives sliced

10 black olives sliced

Feta Cheese

Preheat oven to 350.  Heat oil in oven proof pan on stove top.  Stir in garlic, lemon juice, and tarragon. Add the chicken breasts and cook until evenly browned, about 3-5 minutes per side.  Add olives.  Cover the pan and transfer to preheated oven, adding a bit more lemon juice if it seems dry.  Bake until juices run clear or your thermometer reads 165, about 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and top with  feta cheese.  Replace cover and let cheese soften.  Place chicken on plate and top with olive mixture.

A couple tips- I love Cavender’s Greek seasoning so I sprinkled some on the chicken as it was cooking on the stove top.  You can season with whatever you like but it will add to the already somewhat high sodium content (olives are salty!)  If you like, rinse the olives to get rid of a small amount of sodium.  If you like your chicken seared, just reverse the order, put the chicken in the hot oil first, then add the rest.

The nutrition facts are close but not exact.  The original recipe called for butter but not the feta cheese. I love feta and it adds some great flavor to this dish  but it has a lot of calories and saturated fat so use sparingly or omit.

Servings Per Recipe:                                4

Amount Per Serving

Calories:                                216

  • Total Fat: 11.2g
  • Cholesterol: 82mg
  • Sodium: 569mg
  • Total Carbs: 4.7g
  •     Dietary Fiber: 1.6g
  • Protein: 25.5g

This is not mine, I really need to rmember to take pictures. My olives were sliced and I topped it with feta. I also used both black and green olives, just for variety.

 

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What a Beautiful Sunday!

It is a beautiful day in Northeast Wisconsin- we don’t get many so we really take advantage of them.  I finished Rug Doctoring the rest of the house, pulled weeds, cleaned the kitchen, changed the sheets and then decided I had to stop this foolishness and get outside.  Yes, the weeds were outside but pulling them doesn’t count as fun.

I finally got the bike out of the basement, I cycle 3 times a week but I do it indoors so I never go anywhere!  How refreshing to actually get from Point A to Point B.  Except…Point B was McDonald’s.  Those darn chocolate chip cookies were calling to me and I couldn’t resist.  Have  you ever gone through the drive-thru on your bike?  I just did it for the first time- the kid at the first window said he rode his bike to work and couldn’t wait to ride home and the second kid…get this…said “I guess you are working these off before you eat them!”  Hahahahahaha….I love sassy teens.

I started thinking about working off these cookies and had to do some research.  I love wireless and a laptop- I can sit out on the deck and do this.  The only issue is my  legs are sweating and I’m sliding around on my plastic chairs, might have to get a towel!  Anyway, let’s get back on topic.

McDonald’s sells these horrible fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies- 3 for $1.  They really aren’t horrible, they are AWESOME.  Chewy and melty and perfect.  Except:

Calories (in EACH cookie)=160. Eat all three and it comes to… ALOT.  (I’m not even going to do the math)

Each cookie has 8 grams  of fat, 3.5 of which are saturated and 15 g of sugar (about 4 tsp.)  Take that times 3 and you also get ALOT!

So- to justify this wonderful treat, I went to my favorite calorie calculator at http://www.healthstatus.com/calculate/cbc.  I entered my weight, picked my activity and duration. 30 minutes of biking at 12 -14 mph burned 267 calories.  That seems like a lot of work to burn 1.5 cookies!  Calorie calculators are a great way to either congratulate yourself for a job well done or to give yourself a wake-up call.

Moral of the story- It’s a beautiful day, I burned some calories and really enjoyed my cookies.  Sometimes you just gotta treat yourself for all the hard work you do.  Just don’t do it too often!  Hope you are having a great day and are looking forward to a healthy week.

They baked these cookies just for me so I HAVE to eat them!

 

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