Multigrain Egg and Veggie Scramble

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When the mercury in the thermometer starts going lower in the fall, I’m rarely in the mood for a cold breakfast. Any new ideas I can come up with for warm, hearty breakfasts are welcome.

Here’s my latest. On a recent trip to Trader Joe’s, in addition to learning that my beloved soy chorizo is back, I picked up a couple packages of Multigrain Blend With Vegetables. It doesn’t get much more hearty than a blend of barley, spelt, and rice accompanied by peas, carrots, and corn.

Here’s what I did to round out this side dish into a proper meal.

Ingredients
140 grams Trader Joe’s Multigrain Blend With Vegetables, thawed
1/2 cup Egg Beaters, or 1-2 egg whites or real eggs
Your favorite raw veggies, chopped and/or diced (I went with onion, spinach, tomatoes and mushrooms)
Your favorite seasoning to taste (I chose Cajun seasoning)

Heat a nonstick skillet and spray with cooking spray. Mix together the multigrain blend and the vegetables and sprinkle your seasoning on top; sautee until the vegetables are softened or translucent.

Add the eggs on top of the grain and vegetable mixture. Let the eggs heat through and set, then scramble until the eggs are cooked through and mixed thoroughly into the grains and vegetables. Enjoy!

Cooking music: Confess, by Twin Shadow. I’ve left the 70s behind for something that only sounds like the 80s. In fact, Twin Shadow’s second album is just a few years old. My preferred track to be pon di replay (C) Rihanna is “Five Seconds.”

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Dumped by Jason’s Deli, but Not Ready to Move on

One job ago, I learned from my coworkers about Jason’s Deli. I fell in love with the sandwiches, the speed of their to-go service, and the old school kitschiness of the dine-in use of number placards on your table to signal where your meal should be dropped off. (Having a little ice cream self-serve area wasn’t something I complained about, either.) I even suggested, when my family went for a trip to Atlanta a few years back, that we should stop at a Jason’s Deli there for meals one night. And we did. And everyone loved it.

What kept me coming back to Jason’s Deli? Their food. I loved that they catered to everyone with their offerings–including a decent menu of healthy, low-calorie items along with heavier fare. One of my favorite things to order was their Mediterranean Wrap.

To introduce you to this delightful sandwich (and to take myself down memory lane), it consists of an “organic wheat wrap with roasted turkey breast, roasted red pepper hummus, cucumbers, red onions, kalamata olives, roma tomatoes, organic field greens.” Lots of flavor and crunch for an impressive 350 calories.

But then, to quote an old Buju Banton/Beres Hammond song, “just like magic, you were gone.” Jason’s Deli shuttered its doors here a few years ago. (Apparently this is just Pennsylvania and about 19 other states. According to the location map on their Web site, it looks like many of you in the continental US can go to their restaurant anytime you please. Dear Jason’s Deli, please let me apologize on behalf of Pennsylvania if it’s something we said.)

We broke up via phone–one day, I suggested that my job order from there when we had a big deadline to meet, and after someone tried dialing in our order, they gave me the bad news, that Jason and his pantry of meats, breads, vegetables and condiments had rambled on. (My second choice may have been Baja Fresh, another excellent fast food restaurant with healthy options that also closed shop and set sail from my corner of suburban Pennsylvania.)

What’s a jilted lover to do? My choice, recently, was to try to recreate the magic myself. I didn’t have low-calorie sandwich wraps on hand, so my sandwich is an open-face pita.

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This is what I made with what I had around me. Call it “Culinary MacGyver for the Soul.”

Ingredients

  • 1 pita (whole wheat or regular)
  • 2 T of your favorite hummus (mine is traditional flavr, but I’m a fan of roasted garlic, too)
  • 2 oz deli turkey
  • 4 kalamata olives (mine are pitted by , cut in half by me)
  • Lettuce of your choice (mine is spring mix)
  • Tomatoes, sliced
  • Sprouts

Spread the hummus on the pita. Top the hummus with the turkey, then your lettuce and sprouts. Finally, add your tomatoes and olives.

If you’re brave, you can try to fold this in half and eat it like a typical pita sandwich. Or, cut it into quarters for an open-face sandwich.

Cooking music: David Gilmour, by David Gilmour. Before Pink Floyd’s own nasty split, back in 1978 David Gilmour tried his hand at being a solo artist. I stumbled upon this album recently and have enjoyed its smoothed-out moments of rock and blues, as well as the clear sonic imprint of the Floyd on it.

Still Writing Down the Street

Thank you for stopping by to visit this blog. I have had a great time writing it, sharing my thoughts on weight loss, food and emotions. While my posting has gotten sporadic this year, I’ve been slowly putting writing efforts toward another blog I started recently, called The Savannah Spirit.

The Savannah Spirit is a bit more free-form, about my life, and how I am fighting my way out of the shyness and social anxiety that has followed me around for pretty much all my life. At one point you could say I put value on these qualities for how they protected me from the things I thought were negative and harmful in my life, but now I am longing to live more freely and more connected with others. To that end, I have been focusing my writing on the ways that I have fought back at my fears and defenses.

I am not shutting down Let Them Eat Great, but I will not be keeping up the three times a week publishing that I once provided. Stop by the new blog for tales about how my life has been enriched by BBC Sherlock, Led Zeppelin, and other experiences that don’t involve British people, like neglected scallions, board game luncheons, and a rock climbing wall. And, here’s a little something on why I’ve given my new blog its name.

Hoodwinked by Pinterest

Pinterest is typically a place where I love to hang out, a place where I find good ideas. Whether I’m browsing slowly through a boatload of pins on a weekend day, or I’m taking a quick peek during a slow period at work, it’s always entertaining and educational.

So you can imagine my surprise when I came across two recipes in one week that totally bombed for me. I’m used to recipe links leading to dead ends, but getting a recipe, trying it out, and being underwhelmed? That was new…and disappointing.

Which recipes were the ones that failed me?

Whipped cream icing. The promise with this one, which consists of a box of vanilla pudding, a cup of milk, and a container of whipped topping, is that you can have a light icing in minutes. What I got was a delicious vanilla soup instead, or a sauce or dip for fruit, not something that will adhere to cake or cupcakes as I imagined. (To be fair, maybe it would have worked better if I hadn’t used the fat-free whipped topping.)

Popcorn in Pyrex. The claim: place 1/4 c of popcorn kernels in a Pyrex bowl, top with a ceramic plate, zap for nearly 3 minutes, and voila! The reality for me? Nothing but hot kernels, hot Pyrex, and an extremely hot plate. Not one kernel popped. The recipe said you could zap the popcorn again if any wasn’t popped, but I decided not to try again. The recipe didn’t specify a microwave temperature, however; be my guest if you want to experiment.

Those recipes definitely disappointed me, but I’ll be back on Pinterest in no time. Here’s hoping for no more letdowns anytime soon!

Question of the day: Have you ever had a Pinterest fail? What did you make? What happened?

Honey Mustard Barbecue Meatballs

IMAG2355I saw a honey-chipotle recipe on Pinterest, courtesy of Martha Stewart, that sounded pretty interesting. And it actually didn’t sound like a super elaborate Martha Stewart recipe, either, but I was still looking for something to come together quick. I decided to make up my own flavors and make the meatballs meatloaf style.

When I make meatloaf these days, I make it as meatloaf muffins, using stuffing mix. Here’s how I translated that to easy meatballs:

1 package lean ground beef (or ground turkey)

1 package stuffing mix

1 egg (or 1 serving of liquid eggs)

1 c water

1/2 c barbecue sauce

1/2 honey mustard

Combine the stuffing mix, egg and water in a bowl; let it sit for 15-20 minutes for the stuffing to soften.

Mix in the ground meat. Form the meat mixture into balls. (I forgot to count, but I guesstimate I got between 25 and 35 meatballs… I’ll have to update with the actual amount next time…) Place the meatballs on a pan sprayed with cooking spray. Spray the meatballs with a little spray.

Bake in a pre-heated 350-degree oven until browned, about 20 minutes.

While the meatballs are baking, mix together the barbecue sauce and mustard. When the meatballs are done and cooled, gently mix them with the sauce.

I served them with broccoli and peas, four or five to a serving.

TV’s Positive Body Image Reinforcement

I’m anticipating my anniversary, which comes on Friday, with the same excitement I have every year. This time around, we will “Adorn” our ears with a little live music from singer Miguel the night before, and we’ll have a nice leisurely anniversary day, with our son in school. (Parents, am I right that daycare/school on a weekday is the best “babysitting” arrangement ever? Ha!)

Whenever I look at my wedding photos or think of my wedding–our joyous DIY effort that wisely spared our combined newlywed wallet–I can’t help but remember that I weighed 40 lbs. more at the time. At that weight, believe it or not, I didn’t really stress about my weight (not even when a friend of a friend tried to rain on my parade with a snarky comment). I took for granted that my weight wouldn’t go up in the time leading to the wedding day, causing a wardrobe emergency. And it didn’t. But with a chance few minutes of watching the “Mike & Molly” show premiere earlier this week, a I gathered that Molly suffered some angst over her weight, pushing herself to become a certain size to fit her dress, then becoming frustrated when she didn’t in time for her wedding. All of these things related to wedding preparation and immortalization of the wedding day in photos and fond memories have made me think about body image, and the love/hate relationship we sometimes have with it. (And the particular brand of stress that comes several months before a wedding!)

Ultimately, it sounds like Mike allayed Molly’s stress by letting her know he loved her just the way she was. My husband has done the same–complimenting me at both sizes (one of the many, many reasons why he is truly, amazingly awesome!). I feel now like I was lucky to have felt pretty comfortable about how I looked back then. Now we just need a romantic getaway in Paris like Mike and Molly to be the icing on the cake!

I may have avoided body image stress nearly 10 years ago for my wedding, but those thoughts have crept into my head lately. The war of the part of me that wants to lose more weight to lose more weight and fit an image of myself that has been a guiding beacon during the past almost four years, and the part of me that is finding clothes that I love, more comfortable in my skin in general from a psychological standpoint, and generally fine with how I look right now. Honestly, I can’t call right now which side of this internal debate is going to win. But I want it to be the one that will have the best balance of confidence and contentment.

Another surprisingly positive body image moment that I saw on TV last night was Lady Gaga, having discussed past battles with eating disorders, and admitting to being comfortable with having gained about 25 pounds. She has enlisted her fans to embrace the various sizes in which bodies come in real life. It sounds like she is dieting at the moment and may not stay at her current size, but in a Huffington Post article, she says she is looking to find a new place of balance in her image, which I’m assuming, and hoping, means something that’s easy to attain and maintain.

External, media-encouraged forces of body image dynamics won’t go away, obviously, but people in general, and people who have struck out on their own to lose weight in particular, owe it to themselves to weigh their thoughts of having the perfect body versus being “perfectly me.” I’m starting to see that this is another area of self-examination for me to push through.

UPDATE; Here’s a pic from the Miguel concert. We ate at Reef, a Caribbean restaurant in Philadelphia, had a great night.

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If “Mig Money” comes to your town, don’t miss out on an electrifying R&B experience!

Alors On Zumba

It’s been a very long time since I’ve written anything, I know. If anyone has investigated how to go about putting my Twitter avatar on a milk carton, I thank you for your concern!

What has kept me away has been myself and my scattered attention. I’ve been stuck working 3 intense gigs at the same time, at all hours of day and night. I’ve orchestrated two cookouts in one week (!). I’ve sent a child to kindergarten. I’ve begun to schedule festivities for my upcoming anniversary. I’ve slept (not enough). I’ve stressed (too much).

One thing that has kept a smile on my face recently, though, is knowing that a Zumba class was on the way. I signed up for the class a while ago, and I took it yesterday–my first time taking a full-length aerobics class.

So I endured some work-related craziness of my own design, and then I Zumba’d. I didn’t think it would kill me, because I’ve worked out to dance exercise videos at home. (It did definitely make my legs sore for a while a few hours later, but I’ve awakened with no stiffness or soreness today.) The choreography was a bit challenging, but I kept moving in some manner the whole class, whether it was in a good approximation of the instructor’s moves, or my own freestyle combo of hip-hop and Latin moves.

I loved it! Will I be one of the amped-up Zumba infomercial-type people who go all in on the Zumba wristbands and such? I don’t think so. What it did for me was to provide physical activity in a dance form (my favorite), and it got me around others to keep me excited and motivated (and to reality check me on the fact that I’m not the only one that struggles with the movements sometimes). I think I would get that from any class.

The people were great, though. The instructor was inspiring and supportive, even if she didn’t really teach the moves. (She was honest enough to warn us of that ahead of time, though, thankfully.) The class members were of all fitness levels and ages, and both genders and various ethnicities were represented in the roughly 30 people present. There were hats headbands, scarves, a hijab, one official Zumba T-shirt, and also two coin-laden hip wraps that made a back-up rhythm section for the dance music.

It felt good to carve out an hour of time from my hectic life with something fun. It felt good to be moving. It felt good to be comfortable doing something that I didn’t execute perfectly, and to be OK wit that. It felt good to know my cavalier eating of late was being countered with heart-pounding, sweat-generating, leg-muscle-straining activity. I can’t wait for next week!