Change Your Choices

Change Your Life…Tips for a healthier you

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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Born To Run?

 

 

Today’s post is a bit more like reading a journal so bear with me.  I’m working on a goal here and need all of you to hold me accountable!

Ever since I have started seriously exercising (about 10 years ago), I have tried to run.  I run for a minute and give up in frustration because I just don’t enjoy it.  Where’s the runners high?  Where’s that feeling of exhilaration that I hear about from all my runner friends?  I just get cranky because I just can’t do it.  I know,” can’t means won'”t so I decided to give it one last shot.

If I was going to attempt to be a runner, I needed a goal.  I am taking this in baby-steps so my goal is a 5k.  (I have done one 5k before, but I don’t think the course was  that long and I ended up walking a lot of it.)  5k= 3 miles plus 188 yards.

There is a Packers 5k at Lambeau Field in July and that seemed to be a good way to start.  Run through Lambeau, get a free t-shirt…this will be fun.  I mentioned it to my boss who said “get 50 people together as a team and I’ll pay the entry fee.”  Well, this is getting serious!  If I organize a team, I have to run it.  In my excitement, I signed myself up for the 9-11 minute wave even though I had never actually run 1 whole mile in my life, let alone 3!  Whew- that’s what’s known as setting a goal.  I know, it can be called other things but I’m calling it a goal!

I first had to figure out why I can’t (won’t ) run.  My cardio endurance is good from cycling, my legs, knees, and hips are fine so there is no physical reason why I can’t run.  Shoot, that means it’s all in my head which is probably harder to fix than if it were a physical issue.

I bought some new shoes, cranked up the ipod and headed out for my first serious stab at running.  I read a few articles about running for a length of time vs running for distance and went with time.  How about 2 minutes?  haha…seriously, I am not kidding- 2 minutes and I was ready to stop.  But I didn’t, I made myself do 5.  I would like to say I kept going but I slowed to a brisk walk at 5 minutes.  I don’t want to be too crazy!

I’ve been going for a run almost daily for about 2 weeks now and am excited that I can now do 3 miles in just under 30 minutes without stopping.  This is on the treadmill in the gym, running outside is still a bit of a challenge with all the hills and wind and stuff.  (I love excuses).  I am getting outside more and pushing myself to run 15 minutes before taking a walk break.  I still haven’t experienced that running high, but it is very exciting to see the treadmill hit 3 miles. Small victories are awesome!  The next goal is to run 3 miles (in a row!) outside, and then see if I can maybe speed it up a bit.

I’m a big believer in setting reasonable goals and sticking to them.  Even if  you are in good shape, it’s fun to give yourself a challenge.  If you aren’t in such good shape, goals can help you get there.  Sometimes a goal is as easy as a walk around the block before dinner.  Then make it 2 blocks, then 3….you see where this is going.  We can’t be awesome right out of the gate–sometimes we need to build up to it!

 

What’s your goal?  Don’t have one?  Why not?

 

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Another Winning Recipe!

I have been testing new recipes all week and am quite surprised at how well they turned out.  I’m mostly surprised because almost all have been meatless, low calorie, high fiber, low sodium, and very few processed ingredients. AND–they taste awesome!  I have been a lifelong vegetable avoider and have finally decided to embrace the produce department.

I found the basic recipe on allrecipes.com and added my own twist.  Yes, I am taking recipes, adding a twist- and it works!

Stuffed Green Peppers- Greek Style

  •                     1/2 cup uncooked brown rice*
  •                      1 cup vegetable broth
  •                     2 green (or whatever color you want) bell peppers, halved and seeded (cut vertically, not just taking the top off)
  •                     1 tablespoon olive oil
  •                     1 small onion, minced
  •                      1 tbl. minced garlic
  •                     1 teaspoon dried basil
  •                     1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  •                     1 teaspoon salt
  •                     1 pinch ground black pepper
  •                     1 tomato, diced
  •                      1/2 cup sliced black olives
  •                     1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
 Directions:
-Preheat oven to 400.  Spray cookie sheet with non-stick spray or wipe with a bit of olive oil
-Prepare brown rice per recipe below.  Brown Rice can be difficult but it is worth it.  If you don’t have time, white rice will work, prepare according to directions on the box.
1.    Place the peppers cut-side down on the prepared baking sheet. Roast 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until tender and skin starts to brown.
2.    While the peppers are roasting, heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the onions, basil, Italian seasoning, garlic, salt, and pepper in oil for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the tomato and black olives,  cook for 5 minutes. Spoon in the cooked rice, and stir until heated through. Remove from heat, mix in the feta cheese, and spoon the mixture into the pepper halves.
 3. Return to the oven for 5 minutes. Top with a bit more of the feta cheese and serve immediately.

*How to make Brown Rice

  • Put brown rice and vegetable broth (or water) together in a pot with a lid.
  • Set the heat to maximum, and bring the rice/water to a boil uncovered.  Then put the lid on the pot, and reduce the heat to low/simmer.  If your lid has a steam valve, keep it closed.  Let the rice simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat, and let the rice sit in the covered pot for another 10 minutes.  It’s OK if you let the rice sit longer than 10 minutes (20 or 30 minutes is fine too), but don’t let it go any less.  I prefer my rice to be slightly chewy, not mushy, so I usually remove the lid after 10 minutes

Calories if you eat a whole pepper approximately 385.  I only ate one half and saved the other for lunch the next day.  I served it with a crusty parmesan tomato bread from the bakery topped with a bit of olive oil.  This added about 160 calories.  Total- 352!  Woo-hoo, that means I can have small cup of ice cream before bed!

Not mine, but similar

 

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Ouch! My anterior tibialis hurts.

It sounds pretty scary when the medical term is used but what I’m suffering from is shin splints.  A shin splint is pain in the lower front part of the leg along the shin bone.  This is a fairly common type of muscle trauma and it seems to hit at any given time.  Even a small change in your routine can cause this pain.

I walk, cycle, and lift weights several times a week, usually indoors over the past few months.  The weather is finally getting nice so I went outside to walk which is the cause of this pain.  Any change of surface affects your stride, foot strike, and movement which stresses different muscles and bones.  Instead of easing into this change of pavement, I walked for an hour on Sunday.  And not just a walk, it was with my daughter and her dog, a big Doberman who made  us keep up a fast pace the whole time.  I think dogs are one of the best pieces of exercise equipment a person can have!  Too bad I only have cats, they are only good for stretching.  (and they aren’t much help with that, either)

Another reason for this shin pain?  Lack of warm-up and cool down stretching.  We were so anxious to get out and go that we skipped the basics.  Lots of people will be heading outside to walk, run, garden, etc. without taking the proper precautions and will be really sore for a few days after.  While you can’t entirely avoid sore muscles (especially if you have been dormant all winter) taking a few minutes before and after will prevent some of the pain.

What should you do when you get shin splints? Rest it the best treatment but I hate to rest and waste the few nice days we get each year.   I also need to keep burning calories to make up for how much I eat! If rest is not an option, try some low or no-impact activities like cycling or swimming until your shins feel better.  Ice packs are good and some light stretching will help.

I’m sure my shin splints are from taking such a long walk, but I think it’s time to get some new shoes as well.

Have you looked at your workout shoes lately?  They could also cause more harm than good when they start to wear out. As a general rule, most running and walking shoes last up to 500 miles. How and where  you use your shoes could alter that number. For example, pavement wears down shoes faster than a track, a trail or gravel. Also keep in mind that shoes with an EVA midsole tend to wear down faster than shoes with a polyurethane midsole. I tend to replace mine every 6 months but there are better ways to determine if you need new shoes.

Do the Press Test:

To determine if the midsoles of your shoes are compressed and are no longer providing cushioning, do the press test. Using your thumb, push on the outsole upward into the midsole. With new shoes, it should be easy to see the midsole compress into lines or wrinkles. As the shoe wears down, the midsole compresses less with the same amount of pressure. When the midsole shows heavy compression lines and the press test reveals a  minimal amount of compression, there is little or no cushioning left.

Look at Your Shoes:

Don’t worry about how dirty they are. That’s a good thing. It means you’ve been using them. What you should be concerned with is general wear and tear. Take a look at your shoes. Are the heels stretched out? Are places on the outsoles worn down? Can you see how the shoes have molded to your foot? These are all signs of excessive wear.

How Do They Feel?

Your body will know when there is little or no cushioning left in your shoes. If you  notice any aches or pains in your feet, legs, knees, hips or back after you’ve worn your  shoes, it’s a good sign that you need a new pair. Other signs include friction or blisters in unexpected places, which means your shoes have stretched and your feet are moving around too much.

It’s time to get up and move around, Ouch- those shins are going to hurt.  As a trainer once told me- pain is the bad stuff leaving your body.

Get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather!

My walking partner needed to rest as well!

 

 

 

 

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Awesome recipe for Meatless Monday

I was asked to share Meatless Monday recipes before Monday so you would have time to shop and prepare so we had Meatless Sunday at our house.   I also wanted to eat something lower calorie and healthy to make up for the Culver’s Sundae I was craving and knew I would have later in the day!

I have been getting recipes from a couple different sources e-mailed to me each day which has led to quite a bit of experimenting and new stuff.  Again, I am fortunate that my husband is not at all fussy and will eat anything that is served.  I am the fussier eater as I’m not much into seafood or vegetables but I have been eating lots of both lately and discovering that I might actually like more things that I previously thought! Whew- that was a long run-on sentence, I hope it makes sense.  Anyway, here is the recipe from EatingWell.com via WebMD. I added my own comments in italics. Also- this recipe is not as complicated as it seems and didn’t take an hour, closer to 30 minutes.  Start the onions, get the mushrooms going, then do the spinach/beans when the mushrooms are almost done instead of doing everything separately.

Portobello Mushrooms with Spinach, White Beans & Caramelized Onions

WebMD Recipe from EatingWell.com

Picture of Portobello Paillards with Spinach
 This is their version with the correct beans.  Mine was similar.

Portobello mushrooms are so meaty that even carnivores will be satisfied with this lusty vegetarian dish. Instead of pounding the caps, we weigh them down in the skillet to flatten them while they cook.

Servings: 4

Yield: 4 servings

Total Time: 1 hour (It did not take and hour.  Probably 30 mins.)

Prep Time: 1 hour (again- 30 mins total, not sure why it would take an hour)

Recipe Ingredients:

  1. 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  2. 1 large red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  3. 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
  4. 1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  5. 1/3 cup 1% milk (I used almond milk, I’m sure water would work, too)
  6. 1/2 cup plain dry breadcrumbs
  7. 4 Portobello mushroom caps, 3-4 inches in diameter ( I only had 3 and it was plenty for 2 people)
  8. 3 cloves garlic, minced ( I used the already cut stuff in a jar to save time)
  9. 1 pound spinach, tough stems removed
  10. 1 15-ounce can white beans, rinsed (uh-oh, no canellini so I used garbanzos- good substitute but will try canellini next time)
  11. 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  12. 1/2 cup grated Manchego, Gruyere or Parmesan cheese ( I used shredded parm)

 

Recipe Steps:

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Reduce heat to very low, season with 1/4 teaspoon pepper and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until caramelized, about 15 minutes Transfer to a bowl and keep warm. (I just left them in the pan, this recipe dirties enough dishes as it is!)
  2. Meanwhile, place milk in a small bowl and place breadcrumbs on a large plate. Dip each mushroom cap in milk, then dredge in the breadcrumbs.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms, gill-side down. Place a heavy, heatproof plate or pie pan on top of the mushrooms and cook until golden brown, pressing down on the plate periodically to flatten them, about 6 minutes. (I used a smaller frying pan to press down). Add 1 tablespoon oil to the pan and turn the mushrooms over. Replace the plate and cook, pressing the plate once or twice, until the mushrooms are golden brown and cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes more. Remove from heat; cover to keep warm.
  4.  (Do this while the mushrooms are cooking!) Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 20 to 30 seconds. Add spinach and cook, stirring, until just wilted, about 2 minutes. Stir in beans, broth and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. Cut each mushroom into thin slices and serve over the spinach. Top with the reserved onions and cheese.

I used a slotted spoon to dish up the beans/spinach mixture, then added sliced mushrooms topped with onions then cheese.  This looked very impressive and tasted fantastic!  We both had a hearty serving and there was enough left for my husband to have seconds. I was going to serve some crusty bread but the beans are quite filling so you really don’t need anything else with this dish.

 

Recipe Nutrition:

Per serving: 358 calories; 17 g fat (3 g saturated fat, 11 g mono unsaturated fat); 5 mg cholesterol; 44 g carbohydrates; 15 g protein; 11 g fiber; 755 mg sodium; 1382 mg potassium

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (220% daily value), Vitamin C (70% dv), Folate (66% dv), Potassium (39% dv), Iron (30% dv), Calcium (25% dv).

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