Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Vegetarian Chili Sweet Potatoes

This week, Marc and I decided to make one week of meals ahead of time so we would be better prepared for our busy work schedules. It was a spur of the moment decision we came up with over dinner out and wrote our grocery list and meals as we ate dessert.

I thought I'd split up this post into a couple separate posts. That way I can include recipes in case you wish to make this at home.

This first recipe is chili topped sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are topped with extremely sharp cheddar and covered in vegetable black bean chili. I like this style of a make ahead meal because it's satisfying, easy to freeze and no fuss.

Vegetarian Chili Sweet Potatoes
1-2 sweet potatoes per person, depending on size and appetite (I used 5)
16 OZ prepared black bean vegetable chili, I use Pacific Soups
8 OZ Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Plain Greek Yogurt

Bake pierced sweet potatoes at 350 for 45 minutes, or until very soft. Slice and fill each with chili. Top with cheese and bake until cheese is melted and soup is warmed through, about 15 minutes. Top with garnishes as you wish. I like hot salsa and Greek yogurt.

To make ahead, I cooked as directed above but just didn't do the second heat through to melt cheese and warm the soup. On the day served I reheated it about 30 minutes of 350 to reheat.

My one change next time would to put something crunchy on top for a textural change as this was all pretty soft in texture.

I hope you enjoy!


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sunday Brunch

There really is nothing more satisfying than a leisurely kind of Sunday morning watching the William and Kate Lifetime  <insert serious life changing documentary title here> movie and enjoying a delicious Sunday brunch.

Especially when that Sunday brunch fits into my diet plan! Although slightly higher in calories than I normally eat, I have a date with the circuit training at the gym today. I hurt my hip pretty badly at the gym so I had to take some time off. I am still kind of afraid that I'm going to hurt it again... eek!

I've digressed. This meal is 575 calories. It consists of a blueberry Greek yogurt, two eggs, two slices of marble rye with butter and raspberry jam and a dark roast coffee with chocolate soymilk. YUM!
To me, breakfast is all about the coffee. The darker, the richer the better! I love black coffee but I've been trying to have more calcium in my diet, so chocolate soymilk (1/4 cup) is a great addition that helps my taste buds and my bones!
How do you like your toast? This is my favorite way with jam and butter. Spreads can do you in though, measuring is a great way to make sure those calories aren't piling up. I did a tablespoon each of raspberry jam and Land O Lakes spreadable butter with canola oil (love that stuff). Marble rye is also a favorite, it's not too bready and packs a lot of flavor. Here's a trick for you, cut your bread in half and it doubles the amount visually.
I have a love hate relationship with yogurt. I've eaten a lot of yogurt in my life, especially while trying to lose weight. So, I've grown kind of tired of it. Marc bought these for me when I was running like a chicken with my head cut off this past week while interning. They're quite good and a little surprising with fruit on the bottom. Usually I turn my head at this kind of thing because of the sugar, but the protein count (12 grams, 80 calories) is awesome. This is a good choice, in my opinion.
Ladies and Gents, eggs. Eggs make my world go round. I attribute my keeping of one year of vegetarianism solely to the egg! These are special because they have my favorite seasoning, smoked paprika. It gives that bacon-y flavor without the meat. I like to make mine look and feel like fried eggs without the added fat by cooking them with a little bit of Pam spray on a nonstick skillet.

Treat yourself to brunch every now and then! Even if you're watching your intake! I like to think of foods that I can have rather than foods that I can't, it keeps things positive and keeps me happy.

For lunch I'll have broccoli with hummus and lentil vegetable soup, snacks will be a string cheese, apple and peanut butter, and dinner will be a  spinach stuffed sweet potato!! So exciting!

Now I'm off to enjoy the rest of my Sunday, which I'm sure will consist of such vapid things as a pedicure and getting my hair done... all at the Czesia salon :)

What's happening in your neck of the woods?

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Vegetarian Dinner Ideas

Recently I was asked how do you eat when you're a vegetarian? It seems so off base, do you just eat salads and veggie burgers?

I do love those things but I pride myself on trying to increase the variety of our meals. So let's go through some examples of what I made this week for dinners shall we? I talk a bit about brands because I have noticed that sometimes brands matter to me, so I'm not going to censor myself.

On Monday we had a BBQ sandwich with Gardien brand veggie protein (this one was like chicken), corn, jalapeƱos and (gorgeous) spinach. The side was baked sweet potatoes with smoked paprika seasoning. This is one of my favorites!

Tuesday we had Spaghetti! Spaghetti can be hard if you're counting calories. A very small amount of noodles can equate to a high caloric intake, so I like to serve mine with lots of greens and pour the sauce over the whole plate.

The sauce is Newman's Own Sweet Onion, my absolute favorite. I also put in some veggie crumbles and sprinkled the whole thing with parmesan. What an easy, nourishing and comforting dinner.

I try not to have veggie proteins too many times in a week, so here are some more examples that are straight up good ideas without the fake out stuff.

Wednesday was salad with balsamic vinaigrette, a cornbread muffin and sweet potato bisque. I like the Pacific brand in the tetra pack. My favorite is the poblano corn, but it has more calories and that day I was running a bit short. Also, sorry for the anemic looking muffin, Marc had exactly ten minutes to eat before running out the door to work and they needed a bit more time.

This is my last dinner to share for this week, it also happens to be my favorite! It's barley that I cooked in vegetable broth, with roasted baby portobello mushrooms, onions, garlic and kale. It made a lot and we ate it for two nights, Thursday and Friday... I love barley!

This was fun to show a few vegetarian dinner ideas with you! I think it might be something that I'll continue to update you with in case you would like to use some for a Meatless Monday, or for any day!
Hope you all have had a great week!
Would you like dinner ideas to becoming a regular occurrence on Czesialives? How about lunch ideas, breakfasts, snacks?

Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Best Chocolate Peanut Butter Oats

Sometimes I forget about oats!

 I didn't grow up eating them as my Dad despised them. He ate them for breakfast everyday while he was growing up and vowed never to touch them again. I wonder how my grandmother made them? I bet if she made it everyday she had a few different recipes?! I hope! I think of Bubba from Forrest Gump with his list of shrimp dishes. My grandmother would follow suit..." cinnamon oats, buttered oats, brown sugar oats..... chocolate peanut butter oats.

Well, I think if she made this, my Dad would have requested it everyday! Chocolate peanut butter oats feel sinful but can be actually quite healthy! A serving weighs in at 402 calories! Plus, you wont be feeling hungry for a long while. You could also split this recipe into fourths to reduce calories.

Anyway, the recipe will be added to the bottom of this post and I hope you enjoy! Especially if your morning looks a lot like this one:

To me, the best part is when the kiss melts into the oats and pockets of velvety chocolate give the oats another level of richness and "sin".

Chocolate Peanut Butter Oats

Serves 2, 402 calories of deliciousness

1.5 Cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 Cup almond milk
1 Cup water
2 Tbsp. creamy peanut butter
5 Hershey special dark Kisses, divided
1 tsp. unsweetened cocoa power
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Dash of salt

In small saucepan mix together the oats, milk, water, peanut butter, cocoa powder, cinnamon, salt and 3 of the kisses.

Stirring constantly, simmer until the mixture thickens, about five minutes. Turn the heat off and add the vanilla.

Once dished up, add a chocolate kiss to each bowl. Allow the hot oats to semi-melt the kiss and enjoy!

What's your favorite flavors to add to oats?

Thursday, January 1, 2015

My New Year Resolutions and My 400th Blog Post!

HAPPY 400th blog post!  HAPPY 2015!!!!

We have lots to celebrate!

I must say I'm so glad to see 2014 disappear into history. It's sad to think that a year was so negative but I'm just happy for a fresh start.

With fresh starts comes plans to make that year so great, so without further ado here are my new year resolutions...

1) Keep up with my gym/exercise streak with current schedule of 6 days a week, 1 hour intervals
Marc and I joined a gym that's really close to our house and have been going everyday. Our day off is on Mondays and we're feeling great emotionally and physically. The hard part is getting out of the house but I know we can do it!

2) Keep the house clean, especially during internship
It's true that when my house is dirty, my mood plummets. The best way to counteract this feeling is to clean everyday! If you clean everyday the time put into keeping it up feels short and easy to handle. Since I started vacation, the house feels so nice! It's a great feeling.

3) Follow my daily mantra

I found this in a book and sometimes I forget to apply it to my life, but when I do it makes me a better person. It makes me more true to my inner self and who I want to be.

4) Never allow the stress level of last semester to creep into my last semester of college
I have to be very strict on this one because it is easy to get swallowed into stress. Last semester I cried a lot because I thought I was going to fail. The stress I put on myself was unnecessary and toxic. I'm going to allow myself to flourish and be confident with my ability. There is a reason why I have gotten through those hurdles and why I'm in my last semester (in 4 days!) Do your best, forget the rest!

5) No deep fried foods
 Last year, Marc and I had one resolution, no more meat in our lives. It first became a thing we'd just try and we refused to call ourselves vegetarians. Now we wear that label proudly and we're sticking to our meat free beliefs. We're upping the anty this year by removing deep fried foods from our lives. No more fries, chips, pastries or frozen veggie proteins that are fried to appear more palatable. We don't eat that much deep fried food, but if we did it would be because of a hectic schedule or emotional comfort. So, we're dealing with our problems head on!

6) Blog 100 posts in 2015
Blogging is important to me. When I've hit my best health goals, I was blogging the most! So I can't wait to hit my 500th blog post by the end of this year! 500 blog post will be good for you dear reader as well because I will be hosting a give away to celebrate! If I do 2 or more posts a week I'll hit 500 by the end of this year. Stay tuned!


Comment below what your what your new year resolutions are! I can't wait to read them!