Broccoli and Cheddar Quiche

Broccoli and Cheddar Quiche

1 prepared pie crust (or your preferred pie crust recipe)

1/2 cup onion, diced
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed
fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1 tsp olive oil

1 cup cottage cheese
1 whole egg
2 egg whites
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup cheddar cheese
12 ounce bag of frozen, chopped broccoli, thawed and drained.

Preheat oven to 350F

1.  Grease 9 inch pie tin, place pie crust in tin
2.  Sautee onions, mushrooms and garlic over medium heat in olive oil until soft (5-6 minutes)
3.  While onions and mushrooms cook, separate eggs.  Add egg whites and the whole egg to the cottage cheese.  Add mustard.  Mix until smooth. 
4.  Stir in cheddar cheese and broccoli.
5.  Stir in onions and mushrooms.
6.  Pour mixture into pie crust.
7.  Cook 35-40 minutes, or until a sharp knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
8.  Let rest 5 minutes.  Serves 4

Calories:     382
Fat:              21.8g
Sat Fat:          6.4g
Chol:              66mg
Sodium:       534mg
Carb:           29.2g
Fiber:            2.6g
Protein:         16.2g

Grilled Salmon with Roasted Vegetables

Grilled Salmon with Roasted Vegetables

 1.5 pound boneless, skin-on salmon fillet

Heat your grill on high for 10 minutes.  Clean grate and rub with oil.  Lay salmon, skin side down on grill.  Season with your preferred seasonings.  Turn heat to medium.

Fish is done when it begins to flake as you lift it in the middle (10-12 minutes.)

If serving 4 ounce portions, this will feed six.

Calories:  190
Fat:         9.0g
Sat Fat:   1.5g
Chol:       70mg
Sodium:   50mg
Carbs:        0g
Fiber:         0g
Protein:    24g

Roasted Vegetables
6-8 cups of any vegetables (This time I used mushrooms, onions, leek, bell peppers and Brussels sprouts.)  Clean the vegetables as needed. (Leeks can hold a lot of mud.  Cut them in half lengthwise, and rinse completely under running water.) Place in large ziplock bag, add 3 Tablespoons olive oil and your preferred seasoning, and let rest for 15 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 450F.  Put vegetable in a 9×13 pan, and place in the oven.  Toss veggies every 10 minutes.  Veggies will be done in 30 minutes. You are looking for some vegetables to begin browning.

Serves 6-8 in one cup portions

Calories:   85
Fat:         5.5g
Sat Fat:   0.8g
Chol:        0mg
Sodium:   9.5mg
Carbs:      8.2g
Fiber:       2.1g
Protein:       2g

What’s For Dinner?

According to a ad campaign from a few years ago, the answer to that question is “Beef.  It’s what’s for dinner.” 

But that answer doesn’t really help. I can’t find a recipe for “Beef”. And deciding what to make for dinner after a long day at work frequently resulted in a decision between take-out Chinese, delivered pizza, or a fast food run. Fast. Easy. Not cheap. And resulted in my formerly broad gut.

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again. Plan ahead. Take some time on the weekend and chart the course of your week’s meals. It saves time and effort if you know what you will make during the week. It saves money at the grocery store, too.

Simple. Easy. But what if you don’t know what to make? Where do I get my ideas for meals? I buy a lot of cookbooks and cooking magazines. And I use many of them. (If I buy one and it sit on the shelf, untouched for 6 months, I donate it to Goodwill.) Here is a selection of what is in current use. I didn’t show all the editions of each magazine, just enough to give you an idea.

I don’t use every recipe in every book, and I don’t follow the recipes precisely. I add or remove ingredients to make the recipe more to my preferences. But each of the books and magazines shown has important recipes.  One of my favorite periodical is Eating Well. Great magazine, good stories about food, and the regions of the world that produce great foods, and healthy recipes. In a previous blog post, I already talked about the Eating Well cookbooks. In the back left are cookbooks by Rocco DiSpirito. Nice books, easy to make foods. The Weight Watcher 10-minute and 15-minute meals I pick at my local Fleet-Farm (I can’t find it anywhere else), and while I don’t make the recipes for the points, my wife does. It gives all the nutritional data that I need, and the recipes are good. At the right front is Taste of Home’s Healthy Cooking. I don’t use this as much as the others, but it is a nice filler. Better Homes and Gardens produced Eat Well, Lose Weight.  And another magazine published the three Cooking Light books. I don’t subscribe to the magazine, but I like their Fresh Food Fast books. Finally, the Kraft Food and Family magazine sometimes also has recipes that are useful.

These resources have great recipes, and most recipes are accompanied by a beautiful picture. Don’t freak out when your recipe does not look at perfect as the serving on the page. It will still taste great!

And I am a fan of making food taste good, in a healthy fashion, quickly and easily. That means I will make soup “from scratch” but I don’t make my own stock. I buy canned, reduced sodium stock. I buy my pasta instead of making it. I use frozen fruit and vegetables (especially when not in season.) I will sometimes (as evidenced by my beef stroganoff recipe) use prepared ingredients.

That is how I cook and still make healthy meals. Because I believe that almost any meal made at home will be better for you (general health and financially) than eating out.

Oh, and the real answer to the question in the blog post title?  Tonight’s meal will feature salmon, probably grilled. Pictures to follow later.

Winter in Wisconsin

It’s finally winter in Wisconsin. Oh, sure, it has been winter on the calendar since December 21, but last night we got our first real snowfall. Green Bay had 3-4 inches, but my driveway had drifts to 18 inches. (I live on a very windy street.) So I got up early this morning and fired up my trusty snow blower. It’s old, but it starts every time and does a fine job of clearing the driveway.

I was a little over half done before the problem became evident.

The orange chute that is sitting on the floor is supposed to be attached to the top of the snow blower. When that fell off in the middle of the driveway, my snow blower became a snow geyser. Interesting to watch. Not to fun to own. Or to stand under.
I finished the driveway using a shovel. That was a lot more work, but at least the handle didn’t break (and if it had broken, I have second shovel.)
Success in any project requires planning. Good planning always allows for contingencies and emergencies. When a person tries to lose weight, they might carefully budget their calories. In doing so, at the end of the day they may have enough of a budget leftover to go out for a drink with the crew from the office. If they weren’t careful with their budget, that option might not be possible or advisable. You plan for what you can expect and prepare for possibilities that you cannot predict.
Some people experience weight loss plateaus (for this sake of this discussion, I define a plateau where a person doesn’t lose weight, or loses/gains the same pound, for more than 6 consecutive weeks.) If you reach a plateau, now you need to go back to your toolbox, and find a figurative shovel. Increase (NOT decrease) your daily budget by a 10% AND change your workout routine. Try eliminating one class of foods from your diet (dairy, or carbs, or meat … anything that is different). Join a gym.  Form a weight loss support group. Start a blog. Do something different.
Einstein is quoted as saying: “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” If want you are doing is giving you what you want, keep on doing it. You have found YOUR secret to success. But if what you are trying is just causing frustration, you need to try something new. And when you try something new, give it 4 weeks before you decide that it is not working.
Now I need to try to fix that snow chute before the village snow plow comes through and closes off the end of the driveway. I think they get a bonus on their check for every driveway that they clog with the plow.

Protein Pancakes

Protein Pancakes

My Protein Pancakes
Makes 2 servings of 4 pancakes. 
Mix together:
4 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 unsweetened applesauce (or ½ cup canned pumpkin)
¼ c water
½ cup dry oatmeal (or ½ c Kellog’s All Bran)
½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
2 T milled flaxseed
1 scoop (4T) whey powder
Pour scant ¼ c onto non-stick skillet lightly oiled.  Turn when the batter starts to set (1-2 minutes over medium heat.)  This is thick batter, and bubbles will usually not form on the surface.
Serve with whipped cream, sautéed bananas, warm apple compote, peanut butter or Greek Yogurt.
Cal:  221 Fat:  5.1g  Sat Fat: 1g  Chol:  27  Sodium:  293.8mg  Carb:  23.8g  Fiber 5.1g  Protein:  21.3  (The nutritional data is using the applesauce and oatmeal version, and without any toppings.)
Note: in the first picture, the bananas are sauteed.  I put them in a non-stick skillet, without any oil or spray, over medium-high heat, and turned them while the pancakes were cooking.  That brings out the sugars and caramelizes them, and really makes the banana flavor pop.  The bananas were topped with whipped topping and cinnamon.  The second picture uses non-fat blueberry Greek yogurt and fresh blueberries to dress the pancakes.  The options are almost endless.

Lasagna Two Ways

I give you two variations of the same recipe. Life is all about choices. Having a couple options give you more control over your life. Make choices, prioritizing needs, and taking responsibility are frequent topics on my twice-weekly MakeYourSomedayToday podcast, where we talk to successful people in many professions and arround the world, learning their “secrets” of success. 

Spinach Lasagna (in the foreground, served with a green salad and a glass of Cabernet/Syrah blend)
Serves 6
6 Pieces uncooked whole wheat lasagna noodles

2 cups, your preferred marinara sauce
10 ounce box of frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1/2 cup onion, diced
1 egg
1 1/2 cup low fat cottage cheese
8 slices mozzarella cheese

1.       Preheat oven to 350F.
2.       Mix cottage cheese, egg, spinach and onion.
3.       In an 8×8 baking pan, spread 2 tablespoons marinara sauce.
4.       Break 4 uncooked lasagna noodles to fit the pan.  Reserve pieces.
5.       Spread half the cottage cheese mixture over the pasta.
6.       Lay 4 pieces of mozzarella on the cottage cheese mixture, press down gently.
7.       Spread half the remaining marinara sauce over the mozzarella.
8.       Repeat, using the broken pieces as needed.
9.       Bake for 50 minutes.  Remove from oven, let cool minutes.

This recipe can be in the oven with about 10-15 minutes prep time.
Nutritional content:
Calories:                 270
Fat:                       11.4g
Sat fat:                    4.3g
Chol:                     60mg
Sodium:               798mg
Carbs:                   25.3g
Fiber:                      4.2g
Protein:                 17.7g

Meat Lasagna (in the background)
Serves 6
6 pieces of uncooked lasagna noodles
2 cups your preferred marinara sauce
1 pound ground beef, browned
½ cup diced onion
1-2 garlic cloves
1 egg
1.5 cups cottage cheese
8 slices mozzarella cheese
1.            Preheat oven to 350F.
2.            Spread 2 tablespoons of marinara sauce in a 8×8 baking pan.
3.            Brown meat with onion and garlic.  Drain, mix with remaining marinara sauce.
4.            Mix cottage cheese and egg.
5.            In an 8×8 baking pan, spread 2 tablespoons marinara sauce.
6.            Break 4 uncooked lasagna noodles to fit the pan.  Reserve pieces.
7.            Spread half the cottage cheese mixture over the pasta.
8.            Lay 4 pieces of mozzarella on the cottage cheese mixture, press down gently.
7.            Spread half the remaining marinara meat sauce over the mozzarella.
8.            Repeat, using the broken pieces as needed.
9.            Bake for 50 minutes.  Remove from oven, let cool minutes.
Nutritional content:
Calories:                 362
Fat:                      12.9g
Sat fat:                   6.2g
Chol:                    66mg
Sodium:              907mg
Carbs:                  25.3g
Fiber:                     2.8g
Protein:                36.1g
This recipe can be in the oven with about 10-30 minutes prep time.
Make Your Someday Today is a twice-weekly podcast, where we talk to successful people in all walks of life and around the world on Monday, and then on Thursday, I take a specific message from the previous guest and give my “Trevitorial”, where I help you apply that message to your life. The entire purpose of the show is to help all of us overcome our challenges and fears and become the person we want to be, the person we deserve to be.


I’ve never skydived.

I always wanted to, but never been under the weight limit to tandem-jump. I am now well under the weight limit. Now, I need to get over my fear of heights. (Actually, it’s not a fear of heights, it is the fear of falling from a great height, and then the fear of that sudden stop at the end!)

But exceeding the weight limits was a great excuse to avoid that challenge. So, I think I want to go skydiving. I know that before anyone jumps from a plane, they pack their own chute as a safety and confidence measure. Many wear back-up chutes as well, in case the first doesn’t deploy.

According to the non-scholarly but always entertaining Wikipedia, the US experiences about 1 jumping fatality for every 80,000 jumps.  In 1987, there were 29 fatalities.  That is compared to 856 bicycling, over 7,000 drowned, 1154 died of bee stings, and 80 by lightning. Looked at in the big picture, it is a safe sport. Everyone carefully prepares, and when they are completely ready, they step from the plane.

By now you are wondering how I will relate this to weight management. (I’ve been wondering that myself.) When you purposely fall from a plane, you train, wear the right gear, plan the jump, check the weather, pack your parachute, put on your auxiliary chute (the “Uh-oh chute!”) and usually you do this with friends and teammates.  Everyone always falls down to the ground and most people never get hurt.

This is in contrast to people trying to change their weight. Some people grab at whatever new plan that Dr. Phil or Dr. Oz talks about, or something that they heard on a TV commercial. Others choose one of hundreds of restrictive diet plans. Some see their physician, some see a surgeon, some see a therapist.  Some people try pills, hypnosis, fasting, or purges. Not all people reach their goal. Some get close to the goal, and then drift back. Some try one plan, don’t see immediate results, and give up. Some people work their plan in secret, so that no one can comment on it.

The problem is that many people know what they want, but not how to get it.

Using LoseIt helps guide people to their goal, but it is not magic. Every person still needs to pack their own chute. Everyone needs to know how far they can fall before needing to pull the rip cord and slow down. And, while there are few fatalities in weight management, there is the very real risk of emotional injury. Friends and family that make unkind comments. People that try–purposely or unconsciously–to sabotage your progress. And, to be honest, the very real concern that after the weight is lost, the weight will return, with the subsequent feeling of shame, anger and frustration.

Pack your own chute. (Pick a plan that you will follow.) Wear a back-up chute (know how to modify your plan when needed.) And jump with a team (have a support group to help you get through the rough patches.)

And, with confidence, step through the doorway and let go!

Breakfast Bakes

Protein Breakfast Bakes
All versions make 2 servings.  Mix ingredients together, pour into greased loaf pan (approximately 4”x8”).  All version bake at 350F for 14-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry.  Do not overbake.  Serve warm (or cold) with whipped cream, Greek yogurt, or maple syrup.  Can be kept in the refrigerator, covered, for up to a week.   (The flaxseed is optional, and is a great way to boost your Omega-3 fatty acid level.  When you use the flaxseed, one portion has 1.3 grams of O-3 fatty acids, which is approximately the same as 4 fish oil capsules!)
Peanut Butter Version       (not pictured)          
2 egg whites
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 T peanut butter
½ c dried rolled oatmeal
1 scoop (4 Tbsp) vanilla protein powder
2 Tbspn milled flaxseeds
½ tsp baking powder
Cal: 232  Fat 11.9g, Sat Fat 2.2g, Chol 13.5mg, Sodium 311.1mg, Carb 22.5g, Fiber 8.4g, Protein 16g 

Nutella Version               
2 egg whites
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 T Nutella
½ c dried rolled oatmeal
1 scoop (4 T) vanilla protein powder
2 Tbspn milled flaxseeds
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp baking powder
Cal: 305, Fat 9.1g, Sat Fat 2.6g, Chol 15mg, Sodium 203.5mg, Carb 33.1g, Fiber 5.6g, Protein 18.5 

Pumpkin Version                            
2 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup canned, solid-pack pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
½ c dried rolled oatmeal
1 scoop (4 T) vanilla protein powder
2 T milled flaxseeds
1-2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
½ tsp baking powder
Cal: 214, Fat 5.4g, Sat Fat 1g, Chol 27mg, Sodium 150mg, Carb 23.3g, Fiber 6.8g, Protein 18.6g 

Banana Version             (not pictured)  
2 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 very ripe banana, mashed
½ c dried rolled oatmeal
1 tsp cinnamon
1 scoop (4 T) vanilla protein powder
2 T milled flaxseeds
½ tsp baking powder
Cal: 259, Fat 3.8g, Sat Fat 0.9, Chol 27mg, Sodium 198mg, Carb 31.8g, Fiber 5.2, Protein 17.6g 

Who Am I? (Part 2)

“My Muse.”
“Cookbook guru.”
“Motivational speaker.”
“My hero.”

Those are a few labels that people have recently applied to me on LoseIt. And while those labels are really nice to read, I’m actually none of those. Or, at least I never planned to be any of those. I thought I was only going to be a nurse. But the path that leads to my current position covered a wide-ranging territory.

At age 14, I was a stock boy at a grocery store, and mowed the baseball diamond at the village park. I’ve been a bartender at three bowling alleys, a supper club, a country dance bar, and a Mexican restaurant. I’ve sold vacuum cleaners, memberships to the US Chamber of Commerce, Amway products, and Pampered Chef kitchen tools. I self-taught enough to pass the state life insurance exam and held the license until it expired (but never sold insurance.) I’ve worked at a dairy bottling plant, a car wash, and an aluminum embossing factory. I’ve worked for a company blowing insulation into homes, as a carpet/upholstery cleaner, a day-care custodian, a security guard, and courier. I’ve run fast food restaurants, and I’ve run a grill at a bar, and run a banquet hall as executive chef.

Then I went to school and became a nurse. Two hospitals and two insurance companies later, I ended up teaching at a local technical college in the nursing department.

So, how does all that lead to the labels that I listed at the beginning if this post?

Well, unless I am about 185 years old, I either held multiple jobs at once or I didn’t stay at place for long.  (Actually, both are true statements.) My entire life has been about trying to find the “right place” or the “right thing”. So I job hop, and with each position, I get closer to “it”.

And anyone that has had a sales job knows about motivational speakers. I’ve listened to hundreds of tapes and CDs. (That’s not an exaggeration.) All the sales jobs have given me an undying optimism that I CAN achieve my goals with the right amount of effort. That I should never assume the door that stands in my way is locked and that I should never avoid trying a new path then one is presented to me.

You need to take that approach to weight management. Never quit. Find a goal, and make it real.  Take ownership of that goal. Write it down and look at it daily. Find an approach that you like and works for you, and stick with it. But–and this is important–if it does not give you the results you expect, try something else!

Don’t settle for where you are at. If the job you have is not the one you want, start looking. (But don’t quit until you find a new position.) If you don’t like your home, find a way to make it better.  If you need to lose weight or gain muscle, take the necessary action. Change is within your control. It may not be easy–heck, it almost certainly will NOT be easy–but it is possible. Anything is possible, with enough effort and time. 

Never stop believing in yourself, your right to be healthy, your right to try for what you want. You deserve it. But no one will give it to you. You have to earn it.

As promised yesterday, I am posting two versions of my breakfast bake.  Enjoy!

Taking advantage of the day!

Today was a special day. Not just because it was the second day of the all-school in-service, but because on January 10th it was 45 degrees with a beautiful blue sky and not a cloud to be seen. Let me repeat that – 45 degrees Fahrenheit! In northeast Wisconsin. 

When the normal high is 24F and single digits are not uncommon (and subzero temps are expected at some time in January), I was able to sit in my car, without a jacket or heater running and with the windows open while enjoying a simple cold lunch. It was a variation of what the British call a ploughman’s lunch (usually some ham, cheese, fruit, pickle, and rustic bread). In my case, I had some grilled chicken breast (simply seasoned with herbs), a cucumber, some baby bell peppers and a Gala apple.

Why pack a lunch when the school provides a lunch for in-services? Because there is no guarantee that what they serve will fit my needs. Today, the school provided choice of two soups, a grilled ham and cheese sandwich, pickles, potato chips and an ice cream sandwich. That would have been a LOT of sodium. Sure, it would have been tasty, but not worth it in the long run. That’s why planning is important, to eliminate controllable temptations and obvious pitfalls.

I try to anticipate potential problems. I like to pack my own lunch. In additional to being generally healthier, it is much less expensive than buying lunch. And it allowed me the easy opportunity to enjoy a rare spring day in early January.

I don’t have any specific recipes for today. It was a simple food day, and those are good days, too. Tomorrow, I will have photos of two versions of my breakfast bake (and the recipes for all four versions).