Squashing my buddha belly, one recipe at a time

I forgot to weigh myself this morning (I told you, I’m going senile), so I’ll be sure to post an update in the next few days.

On a completely unrelated note, I’ve discovered that I love spaghetti squash. I can see why it’s touted as a favourite weight loss food — not only is it delicious, but it is also ridiculously low in calories. I found an oh-so-yummy spaghetti squash carbonara recipe on Slender Kitchen last week and have been dreaming about it ever since. (Oh, and it was man-approved too.)

We adapted the recipe a bit, but the original recipe can be found on the Slender Kitchen website.

Spaghetti Squash Carbonara

Ingredients
Spaghetti squash
Cooking spray
1/3 cup chopped pancetta
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup skim milk
3 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup warm water (you can also use chicken or veggie broth)
1 large egg

Instructions

  1. Cook the spaghetti squash with your preferred method. (Google is your friend, yo.) Let it cool and then cut it in half and shred it.
  2. Bring a medium skillet to medium high heat and coat with cooking spray. Add the pancetta and cook for about three minutes or until just browned. Add the onion and garlic. Saute for another three to four minutes.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk, Parmesan cheese, parsley, salt and pepper.
  4. Add the spaghetti squash to the skillet. Pour the cheese and milk mixture over the squash and toss to coat everything.
  5. In a small bowl, gently whisk the egg and warm water. Gently add the egg to the skillet and stir constantly. Cook for four more minutes until the sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper if needed.
  6. Split into two servings. Each serving is only 215 calories. HOLLA!

Give me the juice!

Hi, my name is Andrea and I’m addicted to vegetable juice.

No, really, I’m on a massive veggie juice kick — not some stupid “lose 12 pounds in a week” gimmicky detox diet or fast or anything. I just really, really dig veggie juice.

I hated it for the longest time. Drink ground-up salad? No thanks, I’d rather bathe with a toaster. But once I reached adulthood, my tastebuds must have changed. I went through a ridiculous amount of tomato juice before I ventured into hardcore-veggie-drinking territory.

With a sea of Chinese and lame chain restaurants in my work area, there isn’t much I can eat without blowing my meal plan. But my coworker just informed me of a little café hidden in a nearby office building. In addition to a slew of I-can’t-believe-these-are-healthy salads, wraps and smoothies, my new favourite haunt also serves veggie juice. Lots and lots of veggie juice. I’m in clean-eating heaven!

My favourite combo? Carrot, beet and cucumber. I still don’t like super-carrot-heavy juices because, quite frankly, they taste like camel piss (not an exact description). Beets, however, sweeten the juice — although I don’t really need any extra sweetener because I’m sweet enough already (*boom*tish*). Also amazing in juice? Spinach, believe it or not. I’ll throw a handful of it into my fruit smoothies because 1) it adds a bazillion nutrients and 2) you can’t even taste it, so it’s also a staple in my veggie juices.

Yesterday, my boyfriend told me he’s going to use part of his bonus to buy a juicer, so now I’ll be able to juice my little heart out at home. I knew there was a reason I’m keeping him around.

Anyone have any recipe suggestions for a juicin’ noob?

Stressed spelled backwards is desserts

As I’m writing this entry, I’m on day three of a major sweets craving. Like, I would strangle a mountain ox with my bare hands if it meant I could have a bite of a cookie or a handful of peanut M&Ms. It’s weird for me to crave sweets, since I’m usually all about the salty snacks (see Temptation, thy name is Kraft Dinner).

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I’m pretty stressed right now. Between my busy full-time job and numerous freelance projects, daily jaunts to the gym/boot camp, and impending health issues (may need surgery, huzzah!), I am one tired cookie. Mmmm, cookies…

Regardless, I’ve been doing so well this week that I couldn’t possibly risk ruining it by ingesting candy/pie/(insert bad-for-you food here). Heck, even at the movies last night, I went with the healthy (and clean!) snack options: edamame with sea salt and a platter with veggies, hummus and olives.

Until this week, I hadn’t needed a clean-eating alternative to sugary sweets. But this morning, I was desperate. I had just worked my ass off in boot camp (oh, burpees, how I loathe thee) and had almost two hours to kill before work (the joys of 5:30 a.m. work-outs).

Having almost no groceries in the apartment, I searched our freezer for something I could eat. Pushing past my boyfriend’s microwaveable breakfast ‘wiches and perogies, I found two packages of frozen fruit. I usually use fresh fruit when I make smoothies, which is often, but I figured I’d try quelling the craving with a frozen smoothie.

Oh em gee, did it work. I kid you not, it was like a more refreshing version of ice cream. I used frozen mangoes and strawberries, added about a cup of almond milk and a scoop of chocolate protein powder, then puréed the shit out of it. That sucker staved the sugar demons for now.

What are your favourite healthy snacks when you’re craving sweets?

Just call me Betty Crocker

I’m not a cook. Seriously, I can’t even count the number of times my apartment has filled with smoke during one of my many failed attempts. If I make something that’s even remotely edible, it’s a major accomplishment.

I know, I know, I shame Ukrainians everywhere. I wish I took after my mom in the cooking department. Both she and my grandma were ridiculously talented in the kitchen — they rarely followed recipes and would never measure anything, just a pinch of this, a bit of that, yet everything they made was a little taste of heaven. Maybe cooking ability skips a generation?

As I said in an earlier post, not only do I absolutely suck at cooking, but I hate it, too. I’m not sure if it’s because I bite the big one, or if I just hate the actual art of cooking. Whatever the reason, it makes it difficult to follow the Eat Clean Diet, since so many of the meals require some degree of cooking ability and food prep.

Because of my lack of kitchen skills, you won’t find many recipes on this blog. But when I find something that I can actually make and tastes delicious, I’ll post it. If I can make it, anyone can.

I adapted the following recipe from a recent magazine (I believe it was Oxygen), and boy, was it good. Like, lick-the-plate good. You’re welcome.

Clean eating tortilla pizza

1 small whole-grain tortilla
1 clove o’ garlic
3 or 4 egg whites
Half a tomato
About 2 tsp basil
Fresh parmesan cheese
Grated reduced-fat mozza

1) Press garlic, then spread on tortilla. (Yes, this dish is really garlicky, so make sure not to breathe on anyone for a few hours afterwards.)
2) Scramble egg whites. (I know what you’re probably thinking: Egg whites? On pizza? Just trust me.)
3) Spread egg whites evenly over tortilla.
4) Slice tomato, then layer tomato slices on top.
5) Sprinkle basil and cheese on top — I use about 1/4 cup of parm, 1/2 cup of mozza, but you can modify as needed.
7) Bake in the oven for six or seven minutes.
8) Wolf that sucker down.

I once made this three days in a row — it was that good. Somehow the egg whites added a pizza-like texture without an “eggy” (I’m sure that’s the technical term) taste. Either way, I devoured these bad boys like there was no tomorrow.