Working Girl

The day has come: tonight is my first night on the job from 11:30 tonight until 7 AM tomorrow. And what a time, since my brother arrives in town tomorrow afternoon!! It’s going to be a spitfire week, and one of my top priorities this week is attempting to maintain some diet and exercise despite restaurant meals and balancing work with school with Tyler’s stay. And my biggest question is: if I’m awake for 20-something hours, am I allowed more calories? It would seem so…but I don’t want to use it as an excuse to break my perseverance. Jonmark and I didn’t get to the rock gym today, but we did go for a nice long walk – very enjoyable. The houses on neighboring streets are so beautiful, an array of blues, oranges, teals, picture windows, Dutch overhangs, and castle-like peaks. The sidewalks are uneven, and the sky is always always grey, but on the arm of my future hubby in the perfectly brisk winter air, it was perfect.

Speaking of winter…I  made some delicious tortellini soup yesterday! I’ve been in the soup mood; I plan to make potato-leek and New England clam chowder this week as well. Tortellini was by far my favorite food as a child. In fact, it was practically the only food I would  eat when I was little. Something about cheese or meat wrapped in pasta…obviously tempting. This soup was pretty healthy: we cooked it with very little sodium, fresh veggies, and bi-colored all-natural TORTELLINIS yummmmmmmmm. SO simple and can mostly be made with things from the pantry, which makes it perfect for any cold winter evening where you are too chilly to remain outside of the blankets for too long.

Whitney’s Tortellini Soup
1.5 tsp. canola oil
2 tbsp. minced garlic (or to taste)
3 tbsp. diced onion
4 cups water
1 chicken bouillon cube
1 15 oz. can plum tomatoes, diced, with juice
about 10 oz. tortellini of your choice, uncooked (I use cheese but you can use meat)
half a large carrot, diced
1 stalk celery, sliced small
about 1/3 summer squash, cut thickly and chopped
pepper and Italian seasoning to taste
salt to taste, if desired

-Heat garlic and onions in the bottom of a saucepan with the canola oil until soft and sweet (properly caramelized).
-Add 2 cups water, bouillon cube, and diced tomatoes with juice to pan and bring to boil.
-Add seasoning, celery, carrots, squash, and remaining water to pot and bring back to boil, then simmer until vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.
-Add tortellinis and turn up the heat a bit to boil the pasta, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and serve with a little parmesan cheese and bread!
-Spoon-feed self like helpless baby hungry for more. But blow first – that soup is damn hot!

This was an absolutely great, great soup for a winter night, particularly if you love tortellinis as much as I do. It would be far easier to use canned tomato soup and just “doctor it up,” as my 80-year-old Italian neighbor Jim says, but you must be careful of that sodium!! It gets bad.

So far today, I’ve only eaten about 900 calories and burned 160 on our 2 mile walk today! Needless to say, I’ll be getting my massive food processor out tonight and making a mean smoothie with Greek yogurt, fruits, and maybe even some peanut butter for extra naughtiness (and protein).  I’m off to pack a small lunch for tomorrow, gather my homework together, throw a whole chicken in the oven for low-sodium low-fat sandwiches this week, and then head off to my first night at work! No Red Bulls here, folks.

Today’s nutrition report

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The Good Fight

Written last night, but our Internet went out!

My little treat for the day – a small scone, two Hershey kisses, and coffee with a titch of lowfat milk!

There is nothing quite like the smell of hot pasta as it floods in curly-q’s and sloppy spirals out of boiling water and into an ancient metal colander, the steam obscuring all visions of the writhing mass until it parts dramatically to reveal: dinner. Tonight, it wasn’t tortellini or tri-color macaroni, but linguine, the semi-skinny stuff typically suited for clams. Donned in asparagus, mushrooms, and just a little bit of grated parmesan cheese, it was a bowl of simplistic high calorie goodness. Yes sir, at a time where everything in my life seems to be a struggle, my greatest struggle today was indeed merely with the pasta. I stayed within my calorie count for today (and carbs, and fat, and went well over my needed protein!!) but I definitely could not resist that pasta. And with my knee acting up and the busy day I’ve had, I guiltily failed to work out today. Boo. But since I’ve had plenty of cardio this week with more to come, guilt no more. My pants were loose and I feel better. All pride here, baby.

Yesterday was good, too. 30 minutes of cardio – and I totally kicked ass. Good diet day, good work out day. I also resolved to never buy Toufayan Smart Bagels again (essentially, I’m still craving a bagel with no time to make one!). They are a let down each time I eat one….

I whipped up some very delicious impromptu bruschetta bread today – and it’s probably one of the quickest, easiest things to make!! If you like toasty bread and tomato…and cheese…this version is for you!! You may even have all these ingredients already in your refrigerator and pantry. To me, bruschetta is just classic (particularly if you’re at all Italian like Jonmark and I) and you really can’t go wrong. There’s plenty of chefs who do it better, but I’m not worried about it because it’s great in my tum-tum-tummy. You’ll be content with the process here; it’s so easy it’s practically nonexistent.

Easy Bruschetta Bread
Pre-sliced Italian bread (if you’re tracking calories. Otherwise, use the good stuff!)
Deli-sliced provolone cheese
Plum tomatoes
Dash of olive oil
Minced garlic
Italian seasoning
Red pepper flakes
A pinch of salt

Clarification: Why are there no amounts here? Because you can just go ahead and make as much as you want! However, for some specificity, two plum tomatoes makes about 1 cup of topping (the tomatoes are going to lose moisture and cook down. Plus, you’re removing the whole interior). You can use whatever type of tomatoes you want, but I prefer the plums for most purposes because they are always a fairly firm tomato.

-Preheat oven to 400 F and VERY lightly grease a non-stick pan with a little olive oil (or canola, whatever you like. I suggest extra virgin olive oil).
-Dash your pan with just a hint of oil and begin sizzling your garlic.
-Lay desired slices of Italian bread on the non-stick baking sheet and pop them in the oven for 5 minutes. In the meantime, de-seed and dice your tomatoes and throw them in to saute with the garlic. Add Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, and salt to taste.
-Add provolone cheese to the Italian bread and bake for at least another 5 minutes, or until desired level of crispiness has been reached for your toast!
-Saute the tomatoes for 5-7 minutes, or until they are fully cooked but not too soft or mushy. You’re not trying to make spaghetti sauce after all 😉
-Remove toasts from the oven, bury in tomatoes, and demolish with your hungry face.

Behaving is so hard, and it really does feel good to be bad. But it’s not always worth it 😉 Anyway, you can check out my charts and see how I’m doing for yourself!

Wednesday’s report
Thursday’s report

Weekly report through Thursday