Monday, May 25, 2015

5:2 Turkey & Mushroom Asian Lettuce Wraps (201 calories)

I tried planning out a 200 calorie version of our Asian Lettuce Wraps before, but with the sugar, peanut butter, and ground turkey, I just couldn't get it low enough. Once I got a jar of PB2 to replace the peanut butter, I pulled out the recipe again and knocked it down by replacing half of the ground turkey with a whole lot of mushrooms! We tried it for dinner with great results ~ it ended up being the same size of the previous meal and tasted very similar. With the mushrooms cut so small they blended well with the ground meat and didn't even seem like shrooms anymore.

5:2 Turkey & Mushroom Lettuce Wraps (201 calories)

3 Tbsp. soy sauce (30)
2 Tbsp. sugar (96)
1 Tbsp. white vinegar (0)
1 Tbsp. PB2 (23)
1/2 tsp. ground ginger (0)

1/2 Tbsp. cornstarch (15)
1/2 Tbsp. water (0)
1 Tbsp. lemon juice (0)

1/2 lb. ground turkey (320)
16 oz. mushrooms, minced or chopped small(100)
1 Tbsp. garlic, minced (0)
4 cups coleslaw mix (or shredded cabbage) (100)
8 oz. can water chestnuts, drained & minced (68)
2 green onions, white & green parts, thinly sliced (20)
1 head of Romaine lettuce (about 8 oz. used, 32)

1) In a small saucepan combine the soy sauce, sugar, white vinegar, PB2, and ground ginger. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir together the cornstarch and water and add to the pan along with the lemon juice. Stir until sauce thickens, about 3 minutes, then remove from heat.

2) (This cooks up quick so make sure everything is cut & ready to go!) Warm up a large pot (4qt) over medium heat. When hot, add ground turkey, mushrooms, and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently & breaking up the turkey into small pieces until cooked through. Spoon out all liquid from the pan.

3) Add the coleslaw mix, water chestnuts, and green onions. Cook for about 2 minutes to wilt the cabbage then stir in the sauce and heat until there is no liquid on the bottom of the pan.

4) Cut the end off of the Romain lettuce to separate the leaves. Cut the leaves into two pieces about 4" long, and you may want to trim the widest pieces down to about 4-5" wide to make them easier to handle (some are huge!). Each person will need 5 pieces. To eat, spoon some of the mixture down the center of the leaf and fold in half like a taco. 

Calories - 201 for 1/4

Friday, May 22, 2015

5:2 Update - Week 18, 4 months

Ok, I know I said I was going to post a recipe using PB2 next, but I totally forgot that I owe you a 5:2 diet update today!

Progress ~
I am back on track now that Easter is behind us, and over the last 4 weeks I've lost about 6.5 lbs. for a total of 22.5!

Yeas ago we made a big effort to lose weight and were tracking (and restricting) our calories 6 days of the week and working out about 3 times a week. It took me 6 months to lose 23 lbs. that time, so I'm very excited to see I've reached the same amount in 2/3 of the time! (And only 'dieting' 2 days a week.)

My measurements dropped this month too ~ 1" off the waist, 1/2" off the hips, and another .75" from the thighs. I've been doing Pilates with Cassie Ho (YouTube) for my strength training lately, and it must be working! I've been taking pics monthly, but didn't feel like they showed much of a difference until this month. The front shots are worthless, but you can see some slimming from the side ~

Weight loss, 4 months (22 lbs.)

Exercise ~
I've been playing around with my workout schedule a bit. I was doing my strength training (about 10 min.) before my Zumba cardio (20-30 min.), but now I do it after about 15-20 minutes of Zumba to break up the chunk.

For a while I tried breaking up the exercise throughout the day... 10 mintutes here, another 10 there, and so on. It worked well for a few days and was pretty enjoyable (it barely felt like I'd exercised those days), but then I was so busy with work I kept forgetting that I'd only done 10 minutes until it was almost time for bed! After a few days of forgetting, I went back to my normal routine, but I also started writing my times down on my daily to-do list (instead of scrap paper) so I can easily see if I still need to do more.

Food ~
I've also been playing around with the times I eat on diet days, and had some luck bumping back my lunch a little later, closer to snack time, and saving that snack for after dinner. I wasn't any hungrier at lunch time, and was more content at the end of the night. But once I discovered the 100 calorie salad, I've pretty much been eating that at my normal lunch time, and I still have room for the bigger snack after dinner.

I'm behind on posting our new 200 calorie meals, but I've got some yummy Asian Lettuce Wraps, Cabbage Pad Thai, and Singapore Noodles coming for you soon!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Secret Ingredient - PB2

PB2 is a super low-calorie powdered peanut butter that I first heard about from Our Best Bites. This powdered substitute is only 45 calories for 2 Tbsp., compared with a whopping 180 for 2 Tbsp. of normal peanut butter! While I probably wouldn't use it to replace the real stuff in every recipe, it's great for adding a little peanutty flavor to sauces and smoothies that you want to keep low-cal.

(Image via The Oregon Tale.)

Our local grocery store carries normal PB2 as well as a peanut butter & chocolate version in their health food section. The bottle was a little pricey at $4.50, but with 30 Tbsp. inside, it's going to last a while! I've already used it a few times with great results for our 5:2 diet recipes and will share one of those next.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Veggie Soup Preview

Veggie Soup, 1

Another meal that I've been loving for diet days is this super low calorie veggie soup. At around 100 calories for 2 loaded cups of soup, this one really fills you up.

Veggie Soup, 2

I'm planning on making it again this week and chopping up the veggies a little smaller to see if I prefer it that way. Either way I will hopefully have the recipe ready for you soon!

Adjusting to the new laptop is definitely slowing me down right now. I've got a new screen, new operating system, the keyboard is arranged differently (I use a lot of shortcuts too!), my pen mouse isn't in the normal spot, and I had to get new versions of some of the editing programs I use. I feel like I'm having to learn everything over again & every move is very deliberate & unnatural. I'm starting to see a little progress, but it will take time! However, I am definitely enjoying the ability to take my computer all over the house! It will all be worth it in the end.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Happy Birthday

Life is a little crazy this week! Work has been super busy, we've had something planned almost every night, and I just got a new laptop & am struggling to find a few spare minutes to load all of the programs, log-ins, and files. It's going to take a while.

And today our little girl turned 2!

p3-15 St. Patrick's, 4

p3-15 St. Patrick's, 3

I think we've done a pretty good job spoiling her today in spite of the craziness. She is full of chocolate pie and goldfish crackers, doing laps around the house with her new doll stroller. Happy birthday Pandora!

Friday, May 1, 2015

(Low-cal) Chocolate Yogurt

I love cheesecake, so I was very tempted by this Weight Watchers Faux Cheesecake recipe. It calls for a mix of plain Greek yogurt and sugar-free cheesecake pudding mix, and as I stirred them together the texture was lovely & thick like cheesecake, but the flavor was not so great. There was an odd aftertaste that kind of ruined the whole thing, and while the crumbled graham crackers helped hide it a little, it wasn't enough.

We wondered if it was a fakey cake flavor in the cheesecake pudding, like the nasty flavor they like to mix in Birthday Cake & Pecan Pie shakes at restaurants. I tried it again with chocolate pudding and the odd taste was still there, so the Greek yogurt was definitely to blame.

I decided to try one more time with the chocolate pudding mix and (non-Greek) plain yogurt, and loved the result!

(Low-cal) Chocolate Yogurt

Unfortunately the result is not nearly as thick, so you don't get the fun cheesecake consistency, but it is a lovely chocolate flavored yogurt! (And there are not many of those out there. I used to enjoy getting the Yoplait chocolate Whips, until I saw they have 22 grams of sugar! No thank you.) These taste just like the popsicles I used to make with chocolate pudding (prepared with the milk) and vanilla yogurt, but are even easier to make and lower calorie.

Another nice thing about flavoring yogurt yourself is you can make the serving size however large or small you want! I like to divide this between 6 containers, which ends up being about half the size of a normal yogurt. It's just the right amount when I'm having a sweet craving, and at 73 calories, it's low enough to enjoy on a diet day too. So, it's not much of a recipe, but...

Chocolate Yogurt

2 cups (16 oz.) plain yogurt (280)
Small box chocolate sugar-free pudding (160)

1) Add the yogurt to a medium bowl. Sprinkle the top with a small amount of the pudding mix and stir in. Repeat (about 6 times or so) until you've used up the pudding.

2) Divide in to small containers. You can enjoy some right now and chill the rest for later.

Calories - 73 for 1/6 (about 3 oz.)