Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Zucchini Boats

I got the idea for this recipe from a SkinnyTaste recipe. I just happen to prefer green chile enchilada sauce to the red sauce. So, in that spirt, I adapted my regular enchilada recipe to a lower calorie option where the zucchini takes the place of those carb laden tortillas (don’t get me wrong, I adore tortillas). Enjoy!

Makes four servings (two boats each): 325 calories | 18g carbs | 34g protein | 14g fat

Here’s what you need!

4  whole zucchini

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast

4 oz reduced fat cream cheese

1 can (one of those small ones) diced green chiles

1/4 cup diced onion

1 can of green chile enchilada sauce

1 cup reduced fat shredded cheese- mexican blend

cilantro and green onion for garnish

Here’s what you do!

1. Slice the zucchini in half length wise and scoop out the middle so you have about 1/4 inch left the whole way around. Pop the zucchini into boiling water for about a minute, drain, and set aside.

2. Cut your chicken into itty bitty pieces and cook until almost completely done. Add the onion and green chiles. Then add the cream cheese and cook until nice and creamy (no cream cheese chunks!). At this point if you want to you could add what you scooped out of the zucchini, but I find that this watered down the flavor (even after trying to get as much water out of the zucchini as possible)… you’d be better off saving it for zucchini cupcakes.

3. Fill your zucchini boats equally with the filling. Top with your enchilada sauce and cheese. Add cilantro and scallions as you wish.

4. Bake in a 350˚ oven for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is nice and bubbly.

Happy noshing!!!


The Perks of Planning

As I embark on my last semester of undergraduate scholarly pursuits (queue droves of people applauding for me actually finishing… and then slowly stopping as they realize it means I have to pay back my mountain of debt… the scene fades as they weep… holding each other…. in despair) I’ve started to look back on why it took me so long finish. Sure, the fact that I kept changing my major didn’t help, but a large part of it was also that I got burnt out. I stopped caring. I had no desire to do my school work and the more I had to do the more I pushed against it. In more recent semesters I’ve gotten my act together and started to care a little more about my grades. In order to get through my last few classes I had to change my approach; I had to figure out a way to balance school, my social life, and a strong desire to lay on the couch and watch teen melodramas.

So I started planning out my school week.

The way my online classes are set up I am aware from day one (more or less) what I will need to do each week and when large papers and projects need to be turned in. Each week I divide up that week’s tasks so that I don’t have to do too much each day. I do the same with papers. I haven’t written a paper in one day since 2007 when I spent 12 straight hours on a Saturday writing a 14 page paper relating the developmental theory of criminology to serial killers (awesome stuff). Rather, I’ll start research and writing early enough on a paper that I usually don’t have to write more than 300 words a day. I mean, I’ll write more if I’m on a roll, but I tend to get writer’s block quickly (go ahead… ask me how my book is coming. I’d throw the manuscript at you but it doesn’t exist… consider yourself lucky). The whole point of it is to not overwhelm myself. I get a decent amount of work done, but then I also get to watch Gossip Girl. It’s win win.

As I mentioned in a previous video , I have also come to enjoy planning my meals for the week. If you didn’t heed my advice the first time, I’ll say it again. Try it. It’s especially helpful if you have trouble with cravings or if you are a stickler for macronutrients. By planning everything out in advance you will be able to see if you need to make any changes to ensure you get enough protein, don’t eat too many carbs, or whatever it is you are watching carefully. It also makes the day itself easier. No longer will you stand with the refrigerator door open staring blankly as you are trying to figure out what you want for lunch… you decided already. And since you are taking the time to plan, you allow yourself to make better food choices rather than grabbing the first easy to make sodium laden thing you find in the convenience store. I have some friends that go so far as to pre cook veggies and proteins for the week. This is an excellent idea if you work crazy hours and don’t have time to cook everyday.

Planning itself can sometimes be a tedious task, but it makes the rest of your life so much easier that it’s really worth it. I’m not always the most organized person, ask anyone who ever entered my adolescent bedroom. But we’re adults now and I can’t just shove things under our bunk beds and pretend we’re solving a problem. Planning things makes my life easier. I make to-do lists for everything. EVERYTHING. I even divide cleaning tasks into the days of the week so I don’t have to spend an entire day cleaning the entire house because I’d rather do a little bit of everything everyday (INCLUDING sitting around and doing nothing) than spend any day devoted to one task and not be able to have any free time.

Ok… I might be rambling now..apologies.

What ways can planning make your life easier?

Drunken Skinny Strawberry Shortcake

Who says you can’t eat healthy and have booze too? Not my mother, that’s for sure. We made this tasty treat while my family was in town last week! The original recipe from a Woman’s World magazine had 432 calories in it, which I’m sure is lower than what you would find in some restaurants, but why not cut out a little extra if it doesn’t sacrifice taste?!

I have to admit, the idea of a soda cake sorta scared me at first, but after this I’m a believer. The basic idea is that when using a boxed cake mix, you use a can of   soda rather than the oil, eggs and butter that the directions call for; using a diet soda helps to cut the calories of the cake without destroying the integrity of the cake. I promise this recipe won’t disappoint. Plus, the strawberries are soaked in alcohol… so really… how could you go wrong?

Click here for a printable version of this recipe!

Makes 12 servings: 214 calories | 46g carbs | 2g protein | 4g fat

Here’s what you need!

1 box sugar free yellow cake mix

1 120z can of diet lemon-lime soda (I used Sprite Zero)

6 cups (about 2 pounds) strawberries, sliced

3/4 cup Amaretto

1/3 cup Splenda (or other low calorie sweetener)

1 1/2 cup Cool Whip- Fat Free

Here’s what you do!

1. Preheat your oven to 325°. Combine strawberries, Amaretto and splenda in a bowl and allow to hang out in the fridge for as long as you please

2. Combine cake mix and soda with a whisk, spoon, mixer, or even your fingers (though I don’t recommend this method). Pour into a 13 x 9 inch pan and bake 35-40 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before serving.

3. Assemble your shortcakes with 1/2 cup of strawberries and 2 tbsp of Cool Whip.

Happy noshing!

Cut Yourself Some Slack

So it seems I took an accidental hiatus from blogging. It also seems that I took an accidental hiatus from watching what I eat. I did very little to limit the food going into my mouth over the holiday weekend; but these are the sort of things that happen when family comes to visit, the french bakery you walk into has fresh baguettes and macaroons and and the fish mongers at Pike Place are handing out samples of smoked salmon. I can say without  a doubt though, that everything I ate was delicious, and I had a blast.

With all that being said, deviations from my normal routine have a tendency to derail me for what is longer than necessary. I dwell on every pound I think I’ve gained (still avoiding my scale as much as possible so I’m not too sure of a number… nor do I care to know); I dread not getting to go to the farmer’s market and eating an organic corn-dog simply because there are organic corn-dogs (it was awesome btw); a small piece of me dies every time I see an add for the local cupcake bakery; I could go on, but I won’t.. because I’m making myself hungry. The point is, not caring about every morsel that goes in your mouth is fun and delicious, and going back to calorie counting can be kind of a downer after a week of dining out and Godiva truffles.

It’s times like this that I ask myself “why do you stop watching what you eat if going back to your routine is such a drag?” The short answer is “because I love cupcakes and refuse to live a life they are not a part of”. And the long answer is “because this is a life” (it’s get’s longer.. gimmie a sec). As much as the allure of my potentially smokin’ hot bod compels me to eat better and exercise, I also know my limits. In order for my new found lifestyle to continue long-term I have to find ways for it to work for me… and if I couldn’t sit down to tea and a scone with my sister-in-law because I was too worried about how many calories were in that scone… this lifestyle would not work for me.

The truth is… not eating like a saint constantly will likely slow down my fitness progress, but the rest of that truth is that as long as I don’t go on a food bender on a regular basis, and as long as I get back to my regular routine and put in the hard work, any damage I might have done will be reversed and I will still be moving toward my goal.

So the same goes for you. Taking the day, the week, or the month off from your normal habits will only ruin your progress if you let it. Just get back into your food and workout regimen… kick some ass… and you’ll be well on your way to a healthy body and healthy mind… cupcakes included!

Devil Scale

It’s certainly true that if weight loss is your only goal, then that number on the scale matters a lot. But I’m willing to guess that most people that say they want to lose weight really want to be healthier and have a healthier lifestyle. True, a healthy lifestyle and weight loss go hand in hand in many cases, but focusing too much on the “weight loss” part of things can potentially lead one to ignore the “healthier lifestyle” part.

As a ballet dancer, I became conscious of my body and what it looked like around the age of nine. I remember my dance teacher lining us all up to see what we weighed; and I remember watching all the teenage girls try to hide the number from their friends and being mortified at the number on the scale. This sort of behavior is pretty common with women, to the point where if a guy even dare asks a women how much she weighs he will be subject to an onslaught of verbal abuse coupled with some angry stares and slapping.

So it seems pretty clear: Your weight matters. So it follows that when women (and probably a lot of men) start trying to lose weight they pay a lot of attention to what that devilish device called the scale says.

I am going to try to convince you to stop.

Why? Because, like I said… the scale is a devilish device and we should end it’s power over us.

Weight loss is not linear

Do you weight yourself daily? I use to. I know a lot of my friends on MyFitnessPal do. There’s nothing particularly wrong with it, providing you are able to maintain your sanity. But if you are anything like me, the constant fluctuations or a general lack of movement will push you to the brink of bat shit craziness and the slightest increase in weight will discourage you. For some people this is enough to push them to the extreme measures of starvation or purging… both of which will make you a sad panda.

But the truth is, your weight will fluctuate constantly and you should probably just come to terms with that. So many factors can contribute to a slight weight increase or decrease including but not limited to: your water intake, your workout routine, the last time you ate, what you ate the last time you ate, where you are in your “lady cycle”, whether or not you have poo’d recently, sodium intake, the phase of the moon, your sleeping habits, stress, that cupcake you eye raped two days ago,  prescription medicines, your fiber intake (back to the poo thing)… I could go on (not really… I ran out of ideas) but you get the point. So rather than risk getting upset with every moon induced ounce gain, weight yourself less often. If you are unable to detached yourself from the scale, then keep track of your daily weight. Chances are, if you are doing things right, even with fluctuations the general patten will be a decrease.

There are other (more awesome) things that matter

On MyFitnessPal… the phrase Non-Scale Victory (NSV) gets tossed around a lot, and with good reason. These are the things that have changed for you regardless of what that stupid bathroom contraption is saying. They can be small victories ( I once read a post about someone being excited to be able to paint her toe nails) or they can be huge ( being about to fit two of you in your old pants) or anywhere in between. I’m here to argue that these non-scale victories can be more telling than the number on the scale because they can tell you a lot more about what is going on in your body.

For the past two months I have been slowing increasing the amount of food I eat. Because of this the scale has not budged (this happens while your body adjusts to eating more). But I’ve had plenty of NSVs in the past couple months, and I seem to celebrate them a lot more than a pound lost.

While I’ve been steadily the same weight for months:

I’ve increased the number of push ups I can do in a row (without pausing) from 15 to 38

I am one bent  knee away from perfecting this:

eight angle pose

A pair of old pants which, upon losing the first 8 pounds, I fit into again are now a little loose on the waist (this is always the first place pants stop fitting for me)

I’m much less of a hungry, cranky bitch ( I hope Husband will attest to that)… or I at least feel like much less of a hungry cranky bitch

All of my shorts and most of my swim suits from living in Hawaii are too big

and my ultimate non-scale victory

when I weighed myself the other day for the first time in a month and it was STILL at the same weight… instead of crying… I shrugged and then ate breakfast with a smile on my face.

I hope that something I’ve said here has convinced you to put a little less stock in scale and more into other aspects of a healthy lifestyle. But if not… in a last ditch attempt to convince you that the scale isn’t everything… allow me to introduce you to Staci.

An Exercise in Trust


In the stereotypical drama class they do a thing call “trust exercises”. Generally speaking this means partnering up with someone from the class… You turn your back to them… let yourself fall… and the idea is to trust your partner enough to catch them. If you are working with someone you know fairly well… falling into them is easy enough… but if it’s someone you don’t know.. you hesitate.. and as you fall you take a step backward.

I feel like I’ve been doing this with myself constantly for the past few months. Metabolisms are very adaptable… but they don’t like to be fooled. When you seek to lose weight on a low calorie diet… chances are you will see some sort of success… the expense of this is that because you have been eating less, you metabolism has slowed. Trying to correct this imbalance can be tricky. When you start to eat more, your metabolism scoffs at you… thinking that this special treatment won’t last… and does its best to hold on to as much of that extra yumminess it can… you see it as a water weight gain on the scale. Instantly you’re convinced that you are going to continue to gain weight if you continue to eat more.. you panic… and then you prove your metabolism right by cutting calories again.

I realized last night that I inadvertantly did this when I got my wisdom teeth removed. Due to a lack of appetite and the sheer inability to eat most things I was eating 1100-1200 calories for a week… after eating 1400-1600 for almost three weeks.  So when I started to eat normally again, my metabolism didn’t think it would last.. it hesitated… took that step back… and starting hanging on to the extra nourishment.

I was frustrated. Yesterday I decided to take a day off from working out. I decided to cut back my food for the day because I didn’t trust my metabolism enough. I hesitated.. and I realize now the that was probably a bad idea.

So starting today my metabolism and I are going to learn to trust eachother. I’m setting my calorie goal to 1600 and I am going to try to get within 50 or so calories of that goal everyday no matter what exercise I do… even if I don’t exercise. My metabolism has to be able to trust me to feed it what it needs to matter what. I’m going to increase that goal slowly up to the 1700s in preparation for NROL4W.. hopefully by the time I start I will be able to trust my metabolism… and it will be able to trust me.. so we can both stop hesitating and finally work together toward the ultimate goal of a long and healthy life.