Jalapeno Poppers!

Parties, football games, or just a fun “pick me up”, sometimes we need a snack! But who wants to drop a couple hundred calories on finger food? Here’s an idea for those times when snacking is inevitable. Jalapeno poppers! Who doesn’t love them right? Now you can make this low calorie version that is both filling and satisfying!

Ingredients

8 Jalapenos

8 slices of turkey bacon

8 wedges of laughing cow cheese (one box comes with 8 wedges)

16 toothpicks

Steps

1) Cut the top off the Jalapenos and slice into two pieces, long way. Scrap out ALL seeds! If you don’t get all the seeds, you will be in for a spicy shock. Rinse the Jalapenos with cold water.

2) Slice your 8 pieces of turkey bacon in half making 16 pieces. Do the same with the cheese wedges to make 16 chunks of cheese.

3) Working one at a time, pat a jalapeno slice dry, fill the inside with cheese spread, and wrap with bacon. Secure the bacon with a toothpick.

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4) Place on greased (nonstick spray) baking dish and bake on 400 for 45 min. or until bacon is crisp.

5) Allow to cool 5 mins and serve.

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This recipe makes 16 poppers. Are you ready for the total calorie count? 35 Calories a popper!! WOW! What a fun way to stay on a diet!

leah tag

 

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Vanilla Cinnamon Pancakes

My family LOVES to eat breakfast for dinner or, in today’s case, lunch. Unfortunately, this meal is usually very high in calories. Since we started counting calories I assumed this favorite meal would have to be a thing of the past. In an effort to stay on my grocery budget this month I planned on eating breakfast for dinner two times this month. I thought if nothing else we would just have to cut back and eat a small portion. However, I ended up taking my favorite pancake recipe and making a lower calorie version instead! I promise you, I could not tell the difference! These pancakes looked, smelled, and tasted every bit of the original and with only 97 calories each! So, I decided to share the recipe with you 🙂

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Vanilla Cinnamon Pancakes

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups flour (I used wheat flour but the calorie difference isn’t much, use what you have)

1 t. baking powder

1 t. baking soda

1/4 t. salt

1 egg, beaten

1 cup water

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 t. cinnamon

1 TBSP Vanilla

Steps:

1) Stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

2) Add egg, water, applesauce, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. Stir until smooth.

3) Cook on a medium-hot griddle, lightly sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

I used a little less than 1/2 cup of the batter for each pancake. Each cake was 5-6in in diameter. Be sure and spread the batter out a little bit with a spoon immediately after dropping it on the griddle. These pancakes puff up a lot!

This recipe makes 9 pancakes and each pancake is approximately 97 calories

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We topped our pancakes with applesauce and bananas! It was so yummy! The “cost” for the entire meal pictured here, with 3 slices of turkey bacon, 2 boiled eggs, 3 pancakes, 1/2 cup applesauce, and 1/2 banana, was 638 calories. That was a HUGE meal that normally would have set us back at least 1,000 calories if not more! The best part of the whole thing is that I didn’t feel sluggish or bogged down after eating this rich, breakfast meal and normally I would have.

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Lemon Pepper Chicken Salad

There are those days when you are running low on calories but you still want something big and yummy to eat. Lemon Pepper Chicken Salad has become one of our favorite low calorie options!

The secret to making salad into a comfort food is what you add to it! Yes, this usually involves adding calories to your salad but when you start with as few calories as lettuce has, it makes it all OK! This particular salad has 292 calories a serving and always fills my very hungry husband!

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(Disclaimer: This is not my salad 🙂

We eat it to fast to take a picture!)

What you need:

12 cups Romaine Lettuce

Tortilla strips (can be found in the salad isle, or make your own by striping up a corn tortilla, spray with a little non stick spray, salt and bake in the oven till crispy)

4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts cut into strips

2 Tomatoes

1 1/2 TBSP Lemon Pepper

1/4 cup Lemon Juice

Steps

1) Marinate your chicken strips in the lemon juice for about 15 mins. Then sprinkle both sides of the chicken generously with the lemon pepper.

2) Place chicken and marinade in a skillet over medium heat and cook 10-15 min. until the chicken is cooked through and the lemon juice is almost gone

3) On each plate place 3 cups of romaine lettuce and half of a tomato cut for salad. Top it with 4 oz. of the cooked chicken, and 2 TBSPs of the tortilla strips. The tortilla strips make the whole salad in my opinion!

4) Finish it off with your salad dressing of choice. Don’t forget to add the calories for your dressing which is not included in calorie total for this recipe. We like Walden Farms Raspberry Vinaigrette dressing which has zero calories! I wouldn’t recommend any of their creamier dressings though- yuck.

You can add whatever sounds good to you, apple, cheese, croutons, olives, almonds, or bread on the side. Just remember to also add the calories.

This recipe serves 4. Happy eating!

leah tag

Things To Remember

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When we think about dieting or counting calories, most of us automatically feel ourselves go into starvation mode! We start imagining all the rich, yummy favorites that we are sure we will have to give up! We envision ourselves munching on celery and suffering through flavorless salads for every meal until we reach our goal. I believe this reaction is a sure fire way to FAIL!

I have a little list of things in my head to help me remember when my new life style seems hard. These five things really help me stick to my plan. Maybe they will help you too.

1) It is going to take a long time to lose everything you have to lose ~ Get over it! You didn’t gain the weight in a week and it won’t come off in a week! Instead of being discouraged, be encouraged that you are working to be better.

2) Don’t compare yourself to other people, or day dream about how good you WILL look. This is really just a discouragement when you look in the mirror and don’t see what you want to see. You become upset and stressed and want to eat. Instead, accept the fact that you have work to do to be healthy and love your body for what God made it to be. I will never be a size 3, probably not even a size 6 but as long as I am taking care of my body the way God intended I need to be satisfied with what He made me to be.

3) Food is good, enjoy it! Just because you are limiting your intake and taking control of your body doesn’t mean what you eat has to be uncomforting and flavorless! Be creative! Most of the seasonings in your cabinet have zero calories. Think flavor not fat!

4) Saying no is OK! Sometimes it is really hard to say no to empty calorie temptations when everyone else is eating them, or when they are sitting in front of you just begging you to eat them. Remember that it’s not the end of the world to turn away. It really ISN’T going to kill you to not eat the pie or chips and dip.

5) Saying yes is OK! Completely removing the “fun foods” will only drive you to lose your resolve and go crazy with calories! When you really must have that cookie, have it BUT count it! If you don’t have enough calories to eat it then save it and make it part of your eating plan the next day.

Remembering these few things has really helped me to not feel stressed, starved, deprived or discouraged. I hope they help you too!

leah tag

Valentines is Upon Us! {Free Printables}

It’s that time of year again – the day of love and cheesiness. Here are some free printables that fit both categories!

Library Card

Hersheys

love you more than bacon

sandwhich

trash can

Love Note 1

Love Notes 2

Dani Tag

To Feast Or Not To Feast

We started our new eating plan a month and a half ago. I have lost 13 lbs. and Pete has lost 15 lbs.! We are both so excited about our weight loss. Seeing such good results makes it easier to stick with it everyday. When I REALLY want chips and dip I just eat an amount that will fit into my calorie budget (which is now down to 1570 a day) or if everyone is having ice cream and I am out of calories for the day it is easier to pass it up when I know I will see results on the scale because of it.

Some days I do allow myself to go over my calories by 100 or less, but very seldom. Mainly I don’t want to stress so much about it that I make it harder for my body to lose because I am stressed. Some days you eat at a friend’s house and have to guestimate calories or measurements, or you just really need something little to get you through to the next meal. These are the things that I don’t stress. I also don’t do these little “cheats” everyday, probably more like once every one or two weeks.

When we began this new way of life we decided that we would allow ourselves “feast days”. These days wouldn’t be a time to pig out but more a time to break from counting calories and yes, treat ourselves to higher calorie, “old life” favorites. We have planned these out far in advance so that we could have something to look forward to, and so that we aren’t tempted to gorge ourselves randomly and call it a feast day! Our planned feast days are usually major holidays, birthdays, and our anniversary.

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Tomorrow is our first feast day! I mean who can count calories on Valentines Day?!? I am just saying, there better be some chocolate in my hand at least twice tomorrow. And then there is the dinner! We ALWAYS go out on Valentines Day and this year won’t be any different. The baby sitter is booked and my mouth is watering. I asked Pete today what he wanted to eat for our first feast day and had to make him stop giving suggestions because I was about to break! Everything we used to eat danced in my head like sugar plumbs! Hmm, I have never had a sugar plumb but I bet they are good!

Anyway, here is my problem. I have settled in very well into my new eating habits. I have lost weight. I feel good, and look different. I DO NOT want to mess this up! I am not really worried about gaining weight from our feasting (after all it won’t be gorging) but I am more afraid that once I taste those more fattening favorites it will be hard to go back!

It will be a great personal victory to be able to allow myself to indulge and to rein myself back in afterward. I have a big problem with that in every area in my life; money, family scheduling, dieting, everything. God has been trying to teach me to keep my body in subjection for a long time.

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Here is my statement of determination: I will feast tomorrow, and I will enjoy it. I will go back to limiting my intake and will not be bullied by pizza, chocolate, bar-b-q, or sodas! I will pass this test!…Until the next feast day 😉

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I Can’t Believe She Doesn’t Use Butter!

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Last night I wrote a post about how I only spend $210 on groceries (you can find that post here) and in that post I mentioned that I have almost completely stopped using butter. This apparently struck a nerve with a lot of people! I have been getting Facebook responses and texts all day asking why and how I have cut out butter and butter substitutes from our meals.

First of all, I want everyone to know that I am not against butter! In moderation it is fine. However, just like many other things in our lives, butter is not usually used in moderation. We all use butter for frying, sautéing, baking, and even as a seasoning! I didn’t realize how much butter we actually used until I tried to cut it out.

For me there are two reasons to cut out butter. 1) Save calories. One TBSP of butter has 100 calories in it! That is a really sneaky way to load up on empty calories! 2) Save money. We only used real butter which can get really pricy! At a grocery store you pay upwards of $3 a pound. I usually purchase butter in bulk at SAMs where you can get 4 pounds for $8 making it $2 a pound. That is how much I spend on meat! I just seemed like an obvious place to cut for both reasons.

The first thing I cut butter from was our garlic toast. When we make garlic toast we just put butter on sliced bread, sprinkle with garlic salt, shredded cheese, and basil. I used to use a TBSP of butter for every slice of bread (100 calories of butter a slice!). At first I cut the butter to 1/2 TBSP, then 1/4. When we didn’t see much difference in taste I decided to drop the butter completely and see if anyone noticed. They didn’t!

This got me thinking about where else I could cut butter out. I used to use butter or oil to coat the bottom of the pan while cooking. I switched to only using non-stick spray instead. This is probably the only area I can tell much difference. Foods are a little more dry but not enough for me to justify using hundreds of calories for butter. I do like to use things like soy sauce, Worchester sauce, and lemon juice, which have little or no calories to help keep meats juicy.

The easiest ways to cut out butter has been in the places where butter was more of a seasoning than anything else. Mashed potatoes for example. I never would have thought that you could make mashed potatoes without butter, but I have and everyone loved them! I used only milk to help make them smooth and then added seasoning such as garlic salt and black pepper.

Up till now I have still used butter in baking. Most of our bread recipes for my machine don’t use butter so that saves calories there. I made cookies a couple of times and following the recipe used quite a bit of butter. This month I am going to try using healthy butter substitutes like applesauce in my baking.

Now, don’t go thinking that I am some sort of butter snob. There are still some places that we use butter and will continue too. For example, no one wants a dry baked potato! I use sour cream (and pickle juice, don’t judge me) on my potato but the boys don’t like sour cream so I put 1/2 TBSP of butter on theirs. And there are a couple bread recipes that I have used that require a TBSP or two of butter.

There are three pounds of butter in our freezer right now and that will last us a good six months or more! In our house butter has become a “use sparingly” option instead of a staple.  My husband, wanted to make sure everyone knew that he still loves my cooking and hasn’t missed the butter 🙂

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