Monday, September 26, 2011


Goodbye Summer. I feel like I barely saw you this year. Now suddenly I feel your cold breeze and I know you are leaving me. I'm not going to hide these tears, because maybe... just maybe they'll bring you back to me sooner. I'll miss you, and I'll always remember the treasured afternoon moments reading a book and enjoying a nice cold cup of gazpacho.

Summer Lovin' Gazpacho
4 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 small cucumber, peeled and sliced
1/2 medium onion, sliced
2 ribs celery, quartered
1/2 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and sliced
1/2 cup vegetable juice cocktail
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
Combine everything but the tomatoes in a blender or food processor. Blend only a few seconds, until the vegetables are finely chopped and well mixed, but NOT smooth! Add the chopped tomato; chill. Serve very cold.

So one might think that because there are only veggies here that it must only count as veggie servings. That is right and wrong.  Anytime you have more than 1 1/2 cups of cooked vegetables or 3 cups or more of raw vegetables in a meal, count them as one carbohydrate exchange.
Generally one veggie serving usually contains 5 grams of carbohydrate, 2 grams of protein, no fat and only 25 calories. So it works out to 1/2 cup cooked vegetables or vegetable juice, or 1 cup raw vegetables for an exchange.
This recipe, divided into 5, makes your dinner veggie servings. If you choose to make it more of a meal and divided into anything less than 5 portions be sure to count it as a carb.

Nutrition based on 5 large servings.
Calories    53.52
Total Fat   0.4g
Saturated Fat  0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 192 mg
Potassium 529.7 mg
Total Carbs 11.36 g
Dietary Fiber 2.64 g
Sugars 3.92 g
Protein 2.16 g
Vitamin A 36.6 %
Vitamin B-6 8.3 %
Vitamin C 87.4 %

Monday, September 5, 2011

Cottage Cheese Enchiladas with Cilantro Pesto

The best part about having friends that hold you accountable to a diet or lifestyle change is sharing the tips and tricks that you've both learned along the way. If you are lucky enough to have one of those friends, send them a cyber hug right now! If you are not that lucky, I am for hire...send me your name, and aspirations and I'll torment you with tips and advice. I might even send you pictures like this one below that make you go "Huh?! No way is that healthy!" But I'll be right (as I usually am) and it will be chock full of flavor and low in calories and saturated fat. You'll thank me.

Cottage Cheese Enchiladas with Cilantro Pesto

10 whole grain tortillas
2 cups fat free cottage cheese
8-10 oz fresh spinach, wilted slightly over low heat

For the Cilantro Pesto
2 cups cilantro, leaves only, chopped
½ cup onion, chopped
½ cup slivered almonds
¼ cup garlic, chopped
½ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Mix everything together in a mini blender or magic bullet until it forms a paste. Set aside.

For the Red Sauce
1½ cups tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 garlic clove
1/4 cup tomato purée
½ teaspoon chicken bouillon
Mix everything together in a blender. Transfer to a sauce pan and cook for 10 minutes. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350. Using a brush (or your preferably clean hands), cover tortillas with the pesto. I found it easiest to cover and stack until all the tortillas were covered. Then it’s filling time! Make sure to have your glass baking dish nearby  so you can fill and drop them into the pan. Each tortillas gets about 2 tablespoons of cottage cheese and a handful of spinach. Basically the name of the game is to make sure you have enough to fill all the tortillas evenly. No one wants an all spinach enchilada, or just cheese. In the words of Tim Gunn, “Make it work people, make it work.”
So once each tortilla has been filled, you roll it and put it in the pan. Once the pan is full, top all that amazingness with the red sauce you cooked up. Move the dish into the oven for 10 minutes or until it is heated through.

These were soooo good! Even the leftovers were good cold. And check out that Tequila Chicken and Pico and Baked Onion Rings and SKINNY Margarita made by Bree of Three and a Half Stones to Go. She is seriously amazing and these recipes were perfect for our Hypo/Three Stones Mexican BBQ.  In fact the whole event was so much fun that a tradition has been started and we'll be meeting next month for an Asian twist.

In case you don't believe me that these are pretty darn healthy... take a look. The biggest win here is in the saturated fat content. A typical cheese enchilada contains 21 grams of fat, with 12 of those being from saturated fat.  I'm not willing to sacrifice 12 of my 15 allowed grams of saturated fat to a single enchilada. Here it costs only 2.7 grams, and the nutritional boost is something your mother would be proud of.

Nutrition Facts
Makes 10 Enchiladas

One enchilada is equal to 10 Weight Watchers PointsPlus
Calories    361.1
Total Fat   17.1 g
  Saturated Fat              2.7 g
  Polyunsaturated Fat     2.4 g
  Monounsaturated Fat   9.8 g
Cholesterol      7.8 mg
Sodium        707.3 mg
Potassium    322.8 mg
Total Carbohydrate     38.0 g
Dietary Fiber      4.0 g
Sugars        6.1 g
Protein      18.5 g

Vitamin A          47.5 %
Vitamin B-12       7.8 %
Vitamin B-6       11.1 %
Vitamin C          20.5 %
Vitamin D            0.0 %
Vitamin E           10.6 %
Calcium                9.2 %
Copper                8.1 %
Folate                15.4 %
Iron                    13.4 %
Magnesium         10.0 %
Manganese         26.0 %
Niacin                  3.7 %
Pantothenic Acid  2.8 %
Phosphorus        11.5 %
Riboflavin           11.6 %
Selenium             11.2 %
Thiamin                 5.4 %
Zinc                      4.9 %

So there you have it. Forward this to your mother so she knows you eat well (occasionally), and get your friends together for a healthy night of cooking.  Your waist line will thank you!
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