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Keeping an Eye on Portion Control During the Family Meal

March 26, 2014

Let’s not kid ourselves. Portion control and healthy eating in general is easier when you live alone. As a single gal, it was ok to stock my fridge with single portion healthy dinners…lots of veggies…and fruits.

Now, with two kids and a husband, my pantry overflows with foods that single me never allowed in the house! Chips, crackers, granola bars…etc.

They have to eat. I have to eat. It’s even better when I can make us all happy at the same time!

Enter the term- portion control. You can be healthy and happy eating family friendly food if you exercise portion control.


Here is a photo of the baked penne that my daughter and I made a few nights ago. Comfort food and cheesy goodness at its finest. Notice that I am eating a small portion that covers roughly 1/4 of a ten inch salad plate. Then, I filled the rest of the space with fresh, low calorie veggies. I filled up on low calorie, high fiber veggies which are high in water content. Then, I also enjoyed the same meal that my family did.

Ps- they enjoyed the exact same meal. They just chose different portion sizes of entree and veggies. We gave the kids salad dressing or hummus to dip. My kids love crunchy raw veggies or fruit as a side dish.

Portion control is the perfect way to indulge in foods that you really love that might be higher in calories and fat. You can eat anything you like–in moderation. Being healthy is not about diet and deprivation. It’s about balance.

my fabulous sous chef


A new twist on leftovers…

March 25, 2014


If you look closely, you might just be able to pick out the lentil quinoa salad that I had yesterday. If you were my stomach…you’d be fooled into thinking you had something new and different for lunch. Surely, this fresh salad isn’t a clever disguise for leftovers?

Zesty tuna and lentil salad with lime (roughly 500 calories)

1 can tuna drained and flaked
1 tbs capers
1 cup lentil quinoa salad
Juice of 1/2 lime
Handful of baby spinach
1/2-1 c chopped veggies ( I used red bell pepper and radishes)
Salt and pepper to taste
Chile sauce* if you are a nut for spice like moi!

Mix it up and enjoy! Use what you have to put a new twist on yesterday’s dish. I’ll stop now 🙂


March 24, 2014

Woke up this morning and realized that my winter eating habits are not going to cut it for swimsuit season.


What am I enjoying for lunch? A roasted beet, 1/2 roasted sweet potato, a cup of sautéed baby kale, and a cup of simple green lentil and quinoa salad.

Vegan. Loaded with vitamins, fiber, and protein from the quinoa. I added a drizzle of chile sauce to spice things up. Yum.

All of these things are easy to make and keep well in the fridge.

For the roasted veggies: combine peeled whole beets, sweet potatoes, and onion in a ziplock bag with 1 tbs olive oil and shake to coat. Roast at 375 for approximately 30 minutes until veggies are tender. Season with coarse sea salt and pepper.

For the kale: add 1 tsp oil to pan and heat over medium. Add several handfuls of clean baby kale and cook and stir- I add 2-3 tbs water after a minute or so to steam the kale. When it’s wilted–it’s done!

For the lentil salad:

Seriously hating wordpress on the iPad today- hope this makes sense!

Reviving Meatless Monday- Butternut Squash Gratin with Onions and Sage

February 25, 2014


I’ve found my favorite winter squash recipe of all time. Full of flavor and very satisfying for a hearty winter meal. The gruyere cheese adds a salty, almost mushroom-like flavor. Yummy!

I came across this recipe quite by accident. L bug requested chocolate pudding (from scratch) last weekend and grabbed a cookbook off of the shelf and thumbed through it saying “hmmm…here is the recipe we need!” Total three year old cuteness.

The cookbook remained on the counter over night and this recipe was dog eared when I opened the book this morning while enjoying a cup of coffee.

It sounded yummy- seasonally appropriate and husband friendly.

Butternut Squash Gratin with Onions and Sage
From: Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison
Serves: 4

1/4 c olive oil divided
4c thinly sliced onion
2 tsp dried sage
1 tsp dried thyme
Salt and pepper
1 large butternut squash cut into 1/2 inch cubes (6 cups)
1/2 c flour
1/2 c grated Gruyere
1/2 c plus 2T heated whole milk
1 c fresh bread crumbs (I used a local sourdough)

Preheat oven to 350

Heat 1/2 oil in large skillet over med heat. add onion, thyme, sage and cook until onions are lightly caramelized- about 15 minutes. Place onions in a buttered baking dish.

Place squash in a gallon ziplock bag with 1/2c flour- toss to coat. Add remaining oil to skillet over med heat. Shake excess flour off of squash and add to heated skillet. Sauté 7-8 minutes-or until lightly browned.

Place squash on top of onions in baking dish.

Top with 1/2c gruyere cheese. Add hot milk.
Cover and bake 25 minutes.
Add bread crumbs. Uncover and bake additional 25 minutes or until lightly browned on top.


Happy Valentine’s Day.

February 14, 2014



We are snowed in. I had planned to prepare a lovely romantic dinner tonight…and I bought an incredible bottle of wine.

Unfortunately, I’ve run out of places to put the snow that I need to shovel in order to locate the driveway.

School was cancelled today. It’s been fun lifting 20lb shovel fulls of white stuff while dashing inside every 15 minutes to check on two pint sized maniacs who ate candy for breakfast while I was outside. Good times!! I love seeing what they’ve done to the house (destroyed it) while I’ve been valiantly attempting to clear a path.

Frozen pizza is romantic. Besides, you will work up quite an appetite shoveling 🙂

No One is Perfect….and That is OK.

February 7, 2014

I’ve always been one for honesty. I’m not the type of blogger who only shows the good stuff. You need only look back at a few of my cooking disasters to realize it.

This week, I posted lots of delicious healthy breakfast ideas. I truly do eat that way- 80 or 90% of the time. The other 10-20%?? Meh…

This morning, I had high hopes for a healthy French toast recipe. I’m trying to push myself for good suggestions since several friends are slimming down and struggle with breakfast.

I gathered ingredients- whole grain bread, pasture raised eggs, my friend Steph’s insanely delicious homemade vanilla. I grabbed a banana to caramelize on the griddle. I reached for my jar of Nutiva organic coconut oil next to the stove and twisted the lid open….and that is when it happened.

My oil, typically solid at room temperature, was an explosive liquid mess from being on the side of the counter directly over a heating vent. A good ten dollars worth of oil shot out of the jar-dousing the counter, my cabinets, and my hardwood floor.

I dropped the F bomb. More than once. My paper towel roll was empty and I grabbed a dish towel. There was so much oil on the towel that I threw it away, thinking it would likely explode in my gas dryer.

There was plenty of oil splashed over the griddle for the French toast! I threw the egg soaked bread into the coconut oil with a grimace. Both furious and hungry– I let it cook while working coconut oil into my cabinets. Perhaps it will be a great wood conditioner? I threw down some salted butter from a local farm and added banana. I knew the calorie count was lost…and I did not care. I added a handful of pecans to the butter and a pinch of sea salt. Go big or go home.


It was amazing. So good that I stopped caring about the coconut oil bath that the floors took. I savored. Every. Single. Bite.

French Toast with Caramelized Bananas

Coconut oil
2 slices whole grain bread
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1 tbs salted butter
1 small banana
1/4c pecans
Maple syrup (2tbs)

Mix egg, vanilla, salt. Saturate bread. Cook in coconut oil over med heat 2-3 minutes and flip. Add butter and banana slices to skillet. Add pecans. Remove bread when 2nd side is done. Flip bananas, stir pecans. (I added a second pinch of salt here). Top toast with bananas and pecans. Drizzle with pure maple syrup.

I’m guessing that I inhaled 800 calories.

Another breakfast post

February 6, 2014

This was my treat before shoveling snow (again) this morning.


Two whole grain blueberry waffles 200 calories
1/2 cup blueberries. 40 calories
4 oz Greek yogurt (plain). 150 calories
2 tbs maple syrup. 50 calories
440 calories of yum.

This looks and tastes decadent- it’s also loaded with calcium, fiber, and protein.