Healthy Bruschetta

I’ve been reading Breathing Room by Susan Elizabeth Phillips.  It’s a romance book set in Italy and I’m halfway through but there are so many mentions of good bread, cheese drizzled with honey & oh my the olive scene in the olive grove.  (You should read it!  Hot.  Then check out all her Chicago Stars books – CANNOT PUT THEM DOWN)

While reading about her characters and the delicious food they were eating I began craving bruschetta.  I decided to make a healthy version and I picked up all of the ingredient at Whole Foods.

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Whole Foods has only one Whole Grain bread that is freshly baked.  I always have them slice the loaves for me and I buy two loaves every time I am there and freeze the second.  It’s the only whole grain bread my husband actually likes and it took this find to wean him off Wonder bread.

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I defrosted a bag of white beans I had in my fridge the day before I made the bruschetta.

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These herbs are such a time and money saver.  I use them many times a week for homemade salad dressings, stuffed peppers or stir frys.  These are frozen basil and crushed garlic cubes that easily pop out from their containers.  I got these at Whole Foods but they have them at Trader Joes too.  I use one cube of basil and scrape a little garlic for most of my recipes.  I find one entire cube of the garlic is too much.

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To make the bruschetta I chopped up cherry tomatoes & a little bit of shallots.  I mixed the tomatoes and shallots with the white beans, one cube of basil, a small amount of crushed garlic, oregano, black pepper and olive oil.  I let this sit and mixed it up occasionally to help the frozen basil and garlic melt.

I toasted 2 slices of bread while that marinated and then I simply topped the bread with the mixtures and drizzled a bit more olive oil on top.

You must top it off with some Parmigiano Reggiano.  I love to use a vegetable peeler and slice some over the bruschetta.  Whole Foods has delicious Parmigiano Reggiano and a good chunk of it will set you back about ten bucks but a little goes a long way with this flavorful, nutty cheese.

I made extra of the tomato and white bean mixture.  I put it in the fridge to use later to mix in with lettuce to make a salad.

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Healthy Panini

I took whole grain bread & spread the bottom with a little goat cheese.  I then added chopped peppadew peppers, arugula, little olive oil & red wine vinegar then topped with some baby swiss cheese.  Put a little olive oil on the top & bottom of the bread then press down on the panini press & voila:

I came up with this on Saturday and just used what I had in the fridge.  I spent all day cleaning and was considering going out to grab something but threw this together instead.  I loved the peppery taste of the arugula with the spiciness of the peppadew peppers.  And of course cheese makes everything better.

The first time I had peppadew peppers was in the Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich from Panera Bread.  If you haven’t tried it you should.  I take out the red onions but this sandwich is fantastic.  Check it out here.  They put it on their tomato basil bread and the crust has a touch of sweetness on it.  So Yum.  I had one last week actually.  Love Panera!

Apple Grilled Cheese Sandwich

It is the season of the apple.  I am trying to come up with some fall inspired recipes.  Here I took thin slices of apples on whole grain bread with cheddar cheese & basil.While I toasted up this delicious sandwich I ate the rest of the apple to get a full serving of fruit.  Here’s this delicious and easy lunch ready to enjoy!
Here’s the Cinch Breakdown:

  • Produce:  one apple
  • Whole Grain:  2 slices of smaller 100% Whole Grain Bread
  • Lean Protein:  Cheddar Cheese
  • Plant Based Fat:  EVOO
  • SASS:  Basil

Weekly Weigh In

Weight Loss (Gain) Results-

Laura     +1.0 lb (Goal 2 lbs/week)

My sisters are still MIA.  They are both busy and not into dieting right now.  I’m still trying and after losing 3.4 lbs the week after vacation I gained back a pound over this past week.  I’m not surprised.  3.4 lbs in one week is too much for me.  I have been good and I have only eaten out once this week.  I went to Cheesecake Factory with a friend.  They have this new menu called Skinnylicious!  Check it out:  Here

Scroll all the way down to the 2 last pages.  I had the Skinnylicious Mexican Tortilla Salad.  It is under 590 calories.  Being a vegetarian, I had them take out the chicken.  It was so delicious and filling.  I didn’t even finish it.  My friend got the Mexican Chicken Lettuce Wrap Tacos.  They are under 490 calories and only $5.95.  There is a lot of things on the new menu I am excited to try out.

Beans & Rice – Rice & Beans

I just discovered Dave Ramsey…how did it take this long?  Anyways, he talks about paying off debt and living off of beans & rice – rice & beans to help to achieve that goal.  Not bad advice for your wallet and your waist!  It’s one of my favorite lunches.  Beans are such a filling lean protein that leaves me feeling full until dinner.  Also, I can make a lot and portion it out for a quick lunch or dinner.  It tastes just as good microwaved the next day.

This is so, so easy.  I know it’s hard to see but I promise you there is rice under there.

  • Produce:  1/2 cup of fresh salsa
  • Whole Grain: 1/2 cup of brown rice
  • Lean Protein:  1/2 cup of beans (I like pinto or black); cheddar cheese
  • Plant Based Fat:  1 tablespoon EVOO
  • SASS:  Mexican Salt free herbs, Ground cumin, Chipotle tabasco hot sauce, fresh cilantro, black pepper

I always soak my dry beans overnight and cook them fresh.  [Here’s a tip:  Put a teaspoon of baking soda in the water with the beans when you soak them overnight.  Also, when you boil the beans add a bay leaf.  The baking soda really softens the skins of the beans and the bay leaf adds some depth of flavor.]  I don’t like the taste of canned beans so I always do this.  You will need to plan ahead if you do this as well.

Cook your rice and beans.  Take your 1/2 cup of beans and add the mexican herbs, cumin & pepper.  Mix the 1/2 cup of rice with the 1/2 cup of salsa & olive oil.  Top with beans and I always add some cheese.  If you add cheese cut back on the beans.  Top with fresh cilantro & hot sauce.  Yum!!!

Here’s Dave Ramsey’s website – http://www.daveramsey.com/home/  He’s awesome!

A new lunch spot at Noodles & Co

I had a wonderful, filling lunch today at only 510 calories.

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It’s The Veggie Med sandwich with a cup of their Tomato Bisque from Noodles & Co. It’s not perfectly Cinch but its close. The soup is good. It’s not my favorite tomato soup but the sandwich is so yummy. It comes on a warm flatbread with mushrooms, spinach, red pepper, cucumber, red onion, cilantro, feta & this Delish med dressing. I don’t like mushrooms so I left those out. Everything is customizable and they sauté it to order. You have to try it. They also have a really good passion fruit unsweetened ice tea. It’s counter service and they bring it out to you when it is ready. The manager brought out mine and was so nice, introduced himself and spoke to me a little while. There’s no tipping and you don’t have to clean up after yourselves.

Another fantastic thing I love about this restaurant is they have 15 vegetarian dishes. I’m lucky to have one entree available at a restaurant when I eat out (especially in Kansas City).

You would think I owned the place by how much I love it. I just feel it serves a need for a healthy place to get a quick lunch. I can’t go to Panera every day. Has anyone eaten here before?

CPK’s new salad

I love this new salad! California Pizza Kitchen’s Roasted vegetable salad for $13.99. It is expensive but if you get it to go it can last for 2-3 meals. When they prepare it to-go the warm veggies are separate, the dressing and lettuce are separate. Here’s my lunch today.

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As far as Cinch it is close. You have 2 cups of veggies, avocado & corn. We are missing the protein though. Maybe I’ll ask them to add goat cheese next time. You can add meat if you are not a vegetarian.