The (Poor) Dieting Girl’s Spaghetti


So… true disclosure: I’m on a diet.

It seems like I’ve been on a diet since my oldest was born 7 years ago and the great figure I used to complain about disappeared more with each beautiful life I created.

But this time, I’m REALLY on a diet.  I turn 40 in T-minus 2 months and, I swear: I. Am. Going. To. Own. 40.

I’m exercising. I’m watching what I eat.  I got myself a Fit Bit.  I’m in it to win it.

But I have a little problem. Spaghetti. It’s just so darn delicious.

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So, I decided to trick my mind and body and try something new.

Tofu Pasta. (those of you who know me… don’t faint from the shock.)

Honestly, the mere thought of this struck me as absolutely gross. It sounds pretty icky, doesn’t it?  I didn’t even dare test this on the kids because I wanted to check it out first.  But the Hubs didn’t escape.  He was, as always, my ultimate guinea pig.

My garden is full of eggplants, peppers and (OMG! SO MANY) tomatoes. So I whipped up a quick-and-dirty lunchtime version of my Grandma’s stewed eggplant recipe and hoped a delicious topping would make Tofu Noodles palatable.  (I followed the recipe I previously posted almost exactly, but used all fresh tomatoes instead of canned.)

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Here’s the thing: I was VERY skeptical. It certainly LOOKS like spaghetti, and when you take it out of the bag it feels like cold, cooked spaghetti.  photo 5-8Plus, it only has 20 calories a serving and takes about 3 minutes to cook.  (just follow the directions on the package.)  But… c’mon. This can’t taste good. Can it?

I’m not gonna lie. It ain’t spaghetti. Its texture is different, somewhat chewier.

But once you get past the texture I didn’t find it all that different from spaghetti, especially after I topped it with the eggplant and tomatoes. I think it would also be good topped with tomato sauce, as part of a Veggie Primavera, or as cold sesame noodles. I’d eat it again, particularly as I try to loose the dreaded belly before our big anniversary vacation that’s coming up. It makes a quick, low-cal, low-carb meal.  photo 3-30

The Hubs is not sold. He ate it. He tolerated it. He would eat it again if I made it and that was all there was for dinner. But as he told me tonight, he definitely would not ask for me to make it again.

I’m going to try these again because I have goals and I’m going to reach them. (Cue the music: Katy Perry’s ‘Roar’)

Look out 40.  Here I come and you are about to get schooled…. even if I have to replace my beloved spaghetti with tofu noodles for a little while.  (just until I get my sexy back!!)   🙂

Happy eating!



Dinner on the Fly

Now that school’s in session again, that means one thing: families on the run. We learned that first hand tonight as baseball season started up again.

My son’s baseball team practices until 5:30 — prime dinner time in our house.  So tonight, by the time practice ended and I was set and ready to start dinner, it was 6pm.  I needed something quick and easy so I could feed the beasts and get them to bed!

My husband asked for fish tonight and, frankly, I’m just tired of salmon.  We eat salmon here all of the time. When I saw sea scallops were on sale today, I thought they were the ticket.

I used this recipe as a basis for our dinner tonight, but with some tweaks (not to be confused with twerks.)  🙂  And if you have 30 minutes or less… this can be your dinner, too.


Pan-Seared Scallops with Herb Butter Sauce

  • 1.5 lbs sea scallops
  • 4 Tbsp butter, divided
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
  • fresh chopped herbs (I used basil, parsley, chives, thyme)
  • 1 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 c. dry white wine

Heat a large skillet.  Melt 2 Tbsp butter with 2 Tbsp olive oil.  Sear the scallops for about 3 minutes on each side until they’re cooked through and browned on each side.


Once the scallops have been seared, transfer them and keep them warm on a separate dish.  In the pan, saute butter and garlic.  Add the white wine and lemon juice and let it cook down.  Add the chopped herbs and let simmer for 2-3 minutes.  Serve over the scallops.

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This dinner was rounded out with steamed broccoli and wild rice.  The wild rice was the most time-consuming part of this menu taking about 30 minutes to make.  (I used Zatarains Wild Rice.)  If you make a different side dish, you might save time. (I had considered making orzo or sauteed mushrooms.)

The broccoli was another story.  So fast!  And the reason is my favorite kitchen tool — the Pampered Chef Micro Cooker. I’ve had it longer than I’ve had my husband.  I love it because you can clean your produce in it, drain it, and then steam it perfectly in your microwave in 2 minutes. ImageI

The results???

My husband and I thought this was delicious.  And the kids loved it — our boys really liked it, but actually could have done without the butter sauce.  I get it.  If I wanted to make this healthier, I’d make it without the butter, too. But I’ll definitely make scallops for our family again.  Quick.  Easy.  Dinner is done.

I don’t know about the rest of you… but as we get back into the swing of the school year herein our house, I need a lot of quick-and-easy meals.  Hopefully you’ll find some help from this post.  Maybe you have some suggestions for me.  Let’s get through this school year together!  🙂

Happy eatings!


Color Our World: How the ‘rainbow connection’ helps our mealtime

Quick Tandoori Chicken, Fried Kale, and Yellow Jasmine Rice

I think I may be on to something.

It seems my kids, like me, are visual beings. They tend to like colorful meals. I think this may be why they like sushi so much. When they were really little and learning their colors, I did a one-on-one ‘Special Day with Mommy’ with each of them and took them out for a sushi lunch. We sat at the sushi bar, talked about the different colors we saw, discussed different types of fish and seaweed, and then tried anything my child would pick out.

We’ve done the same thing at the grocery store and at farmer’s markets — walking through the aisles and talking about the colors and shapes of the fruits and vegetables we saw. Sometimes we stop to smell the ripe peaches, knock on a butternut squash, feel the texture of avocados, and count the leaves of artichokes. And then I’ll let them pick a new veggie or fruit to buy and they will help me prepare it at home. In fact, our family’s newfound love of brussels sprouts started this way. The kids saw them at the store, asked me what they were, and we decided to try them. I had never eaten a brussels sprout before and didn’t know how to make them. But we found it was fun to try them together, as a family.

It’s all about our senses. So I tapped into that with tonight’s dinner — Quick Tandoori Chicken, Fried Kale, and Yellow Jasmine Rice.

Quick Tandoori Chicken Thighs, Yellow Jasmine Rice, Fried Kale

The meal is pretty — bright yellow in the rice, rich green in the kale, and the beautiful marks of the grill lining the chicken. And it was DELICIOUS!

Best of all, it was simple!  Honestly!  I know it doesn’t look like it…but this was stovetop to tabletop in 30-minutes!!ust enough time for my 1st grader to get some homework done, my 5yo to practice some reading, and my 3yo to work on some puzzles while I stirred and sauteed.

And even better than that — my kids LOVED this meal! They cleaned their plates and asked for seconds!  My 1st grader is working on using ‘descriptive’ words in his writing assignments at school, so I asked him to use descriptive words to help describe the meal for my blog.  “Yummy.” “Scrumptious.”  “Delicious.” “Colorful.” Those are the words my kids used. (they all got into that game!)

But there’s one things I’d suggest: watch the salt. The Hubs and I felt this meal was a bit high on the sodium levels – but this was my fault. It’s a chronic problem I have since I measure my ingredients with my eyes instead of actual measuring cups and spoons. You’d think I’d learn, but I’m stubborn. Just ask my husband.

I digress.

Here are links to all of the recipes. (the pictures are from here in my kitchen)


Yellow Jasmine Rice



I was really proud of the kids for trying this meal.  It was some brand new flavors for us — and it was definitely out of our comfort zone with the heavy Indian influences.

As a reward for being such willing guinea pigs, it was Lindor chocolates all-around for dessert!

Happy eatings, everyone!

So… what to make tomorrow…?