Guacamole Veggie Burgers

I had a cheat day. I totally bought Pizza Hut. And it was delicious.
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Now, I'm a "make-it-from-scratch" kinda girl. I love pulling out all the fresh vegetables, fruits, flour, baking powder, eggs, etc. I know what's in my food, and I have complete control over the extras. Extra spicy (well, for Joe anyway)? Maybe a little bit more savory than sweet? I have complete creative control. I also, however, work 2 jobs. Which leaves me precious little time for cooking like I'd like. Honestly, with my schedule, I don't really have time to cook make-ahead meals for lunch or dinner (hellooo Lean Cuisine). This is one of those meals I can make in the hour in between switching jobs. I don't have much prep work, so I get to spend more time with my husband.

Now, I generally consider it a cop-out when a recipe calls for store-bought pre-made items. Keep in mind, this is a light, quick meal for any kind of busy life. And obviously you can adjust and change everything to your own taste! Now, the health information is for one burger. I served mine with cripsy sweet potato fries!

Guacamole Veggie Burger

Calories: 320 | Fat 15g | Chol 10mg | Sodium 645mg | Carb 26.5g | Fiber 8.5g | Protein 24g

What You'll Need:
1 Morning Star Grillers Veggie Burger
1 Sliced (Saragento) Reduced Fat Provolone Cheese
2 tbsp Guacamole
1 split Aunt Millie's Slimwich sandwich buns, toasted
Tortilla strips for garnish (optional)

Spray a skillet with non-stick spray, and heat over medium heat. Add veggie burger, and cook about 3 1/2-4 minutes on each side. Add provolone cheese to burger, and let sit till melty. Meanwhile, toast bun (if desired) and spread guacamole to cover. Add burger and tortilla strips, and you have a quick, tasty, healthy dinner!

This was also the first time I'd ever had veggie burgers, and I loved them!


Light Creamy Potato & Leek Soup

Well, now. How did my day go? Got a migraine around midnight, went to bed with a migraine, woke up with a migraine. Usually I pop a couple of Excedrine, and in an hour I'm good to go. No...this was the Bruce Lee of migraines. The Zeus of them, and it kicked my butt. So after calling in to both jobs (which is never fun) I passed out until 3pm, when I felt good enough to get up. Now I'm feeling much better, and my stomach is full of delicious soup, to boot!

This soup is decadently creamy without the heavy cream! It relies on pureed potatoes for the creamy texture, and the sharp cheddar gives it such an unexpected bite! All in all, it's a very filling soup without being filling on the calories!

Creamy Potato & Leek Soup

Serves: 6
293 calories | 15g fat | 41mg chol. | 588mg sodium | 24g carb | 1g fiber | 17g protein |

You'll Need:
1 medium leek, white and green part diced thinly
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
2 cups fat free milk
3 tbsp all purpose flour
4 c reduced sodium chicken broth
1/4 c dry white wine
3 medium potatoes
2 c (8oz) sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
Salt, pepper, and chives

In a large stockpot, cook leeks in 1 tbsp oil over medium heat for 5 minutes, or until tender. In a medium bowl, whisk milk and flour together, and add to onions. Cook 5 more minutes, and add broth, wine, and 2 of the diced potatoes.

Mean while, preheat oven to 425. Dice remaining potato, and toss with 1 tbsp oil. Add to baking dish, and bake for 20 minutes or until tender.

Bring soup to boiling, reduce heat. Simmer for 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Remove from heat. Using an immersion blender, or transferring the soup to a blender in batches, puree soup to a smooth texture. Return to medium heat and add the cheese and oven-baked potatoes, stirring until cheese has melted. Season to taste, and serve topped with chives. Enjoy!


Chicken Macaroni and Cheese

I've been in such a slump lately. I want to exercise and go running, but I just haven't had the motivation or the energy. We went to see our good friend Chris get married over the weekend. It was nice to see him and his now-wife so happy. The day before they got married, we celebrated our 5 year marriage anniversary! 5 whole years, and looking forward for 5 more :3

We went to a close-out store called Ollie's a little while ago, and I found a Better Homes and Gardens low calorie cookbook! There are a ton of tasty looking recipes, and I can't wait to try them out. I did get to try one of them, though! A delicious, creamy, and filling mac and cheese. This dish is so creamy, and doesn't skimp on flavor being light! I adapted some of the ingredients to fit my personal tastes.

Chicken Mac and Cheese
Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens

Serves 5
369 Calories | 12g Fat | 85mg Cholesterol | 393mg Sodium | 33g Carb | 4g Fiber | 33g Protein

1 1/2 c Dried Multigrain Elbow Macaroni
12oz Skinless boneless chicken breast, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 12oz bag frozen broccoli florets
1-6.5 container light semisoft cheese with garlic and herbs (Laughing Cow brand)
1 2/3 c fat-free milk
1 tbsp all purpose flour
3/4 reduced fat cheddar cheese
1 box frozen spinach, squeezed of water

Cook macaroni according to package, but do not add salt (you will change the sodium content if you do); drain

Meanwhile, coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray; heat skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken and frozen broccoli, and cook 4-6 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink and broccoli is tender, stirring frequently. Remove from heat, and stir in semi-soft cheese until melted.

In a medium bowl, whisk together milk and flour until smooth. Add to chicken mixture, cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Add macaroni. Reduce heat to low. Stir in cheddar cheese and spinach, cook 1 to 2 minutes or until heated through. Serve immediately.

Health Blog?

It's been a long time, and since then, I've made a few changes. My husband and I made the choice to live a more healthy, more active lifestyle. And I have to say, it's been a bit of a challenge. So I thought, maybe I could keep a blog to help people get a good idea on what they're missing out on (you're not missing out on cake...though I am!! ;~;). This blog is going to be used to give encouragement, and possibly post healthy recipes. Some of which will be my own creation, some will be from websites. Did I mention I'm doing this on a budget? Ah, I wish I had the time and money to come up with recipes every day! But here's a little bit of what we've changed in our lifestyle.

One of the hardest things we gave up (for the most part) is soda. Personally, it was hardest in the beginning. I had never been much of a water drinker, and consequently I suffered a lot of migraines due to dehydration. I found it was easier first starting out to use little water sweeteners. I used Mios, Crystal Light, etc. I was use to having something sweet when I drank anything, and my mind missed that. Eventually, while I was switching between flavored water and plain water, I found I needed the sweeteners less and less. Now they're more or less a little treat every now and then, when I genuinely do want something sweet.

Another one that was hard (for my husband...I more or less was okay with it) was giving up restaurants. We will go out every now and then. If it's for a special occasion, we'll splurge. We won't count calories, or make healthy decisions. I'm okay with doing that every now and then one meal. And even now, we'll go out to eat once or twice a month. But when we do, we try to make healthier decisions. Now, realistically the calorie count and fat count in any fast food is high. If you want a real meal, and not just one egg McMuffin, you've gotta be prepared for that. But there are ways to eat a little healthier. Chipotle is our favorite staple. But, instead of getting a burrito, we get a bowl. I get no meat (out of personal preference...I like rice and veggies). My burrito consists of rice, pinto beans, pico de gallo, cheese, sour cream, and guacamole. The whole calorie count is 520 calories. Not horrible, but not great. However, there are 23g of fat. Yikes! But okay every now and then.

One more note, I've gotten better at portioning and substitutions. I used reduced fat or fat free cheese, skim milk, egg beaters, turkey bacon, and whole wheat at most meals. I also make sure we have vegetables at every meal, so the main course is smaller, but we still feel full. I use lean ground beef, ground turkey, and chicken more often as well. I can usually make these substitutions in non-light recipes to clean them up a bit.

So on this adventure, I started out at 241lbs, and down to 198lbs. But we're not stopping there!

Breakfast Casserole, Lightened Up

It's snowing, again.

Who else misses the sun? I can't wait for warm morning sleep-ins, picnic afternoons, and grill outs!! Patience, I suppose. It will come. Well today, since the weather called for snow, I wanted to make a warm, filling breakfast without all the calories. So, I did just that! This recipe is adapted from a recipe I found on pintrest. I just lightened it a bit.

Breakfast Casserole (Lightened Up)
Adapted from At Home with Lady B
Serves 6
Calories: 393
Serving: 1/6

1 Can reduced fat Pillsbury flaky Biscuits
1 lb Turkey sausage, crumbled, browned
2 c. Reduced fat cheddar cheese
1 1/4 c. Egg beaters
1/2 c. Fat free milk
Salt & pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 425 °F. Crumble and cook sausage in s skillet over medium heat until browned. Drain.

Line bottom of greased 8 x 8 inch baking dish with biscuit dough, firmly pressing perforations to seal.

Spread sausage and cheese over biscuits.

Whisk together eggs, milk, salt and pepper in a medium bowl until blended; pour over sausage and cheese.

Bake 30 minutes or until set (A knife should come out clean when inserted in the center). Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting into squares; serve warm. Enjoy!
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The Way Life Goes

Eh, I know no one's reading this. But I still like to post every now and then. It gets things off my mind, writing it down, and typing on the keyboard is faster than using a pen (whoa...was that a total sign of the times? Or just the enormity of my laziness?). I was thinking about the crazy things we take for granted. The things we watched our parents do, and then when we grew up realized, we realized those things are really hard to do. I never heard my parents talk about bills. Well, not in the way you think about it at least. I'd hear "turn off the light, that's a waste of electricity!" Or "Don't run the water when you aren't using it!" Typical stuff I chalked up to my parent's craziness. Never to money, though. When they said those things, it never occurred to me that I was using something that cost money.

Now that I'm an "adult" (and I use the term loosely), I have to pay for these things myself. And I realize now how much I took for granted. It's a struggle every month over what I'm not paying, what has to be paid, and what has to be put off till next month. I can pay the car bill, insurance, and electric, but my phone is going to be shut off till next month (it's either the phone or the electric, and I damn well like lighting). Plus the idea of doctor bills. I just lost the "cheap" insurance at work (due to being there a year), and now I have to sign up for the insurance I can barely afford. Yet my parents had insurance for all 6 of us, plus whenever we were sick took us immediately to the doctor and footed the bills. I can't even do that yet. When I'm sick, it's stay-in-bed-and-hope-I-don't-die kind of cure.

I realize at this age, I am going to be making minimum wage and stuggling till I get a better (or second) job. Perhaps this journal will be help for that. We'll see what happens.

(no subject)

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In other news, brakes went out on the dodge. But the jeep (which hasn't started in like two months, hasn't even turned over) started. Wtf? Also couldn't sleep last night, stayed awake till 10am and had to get up at 2pm :( I'm so effing sleepy, but if I sleep, I'll just do it again tonight.