My name is Erin, and I’m a stress eater.

For as long as I can remember, food has been very much a comfort for me. As sad as it sounds, food is the one thing that has never left me and has never let me down. It’s a weird sort of pleasure that I get from eating.

It started from an early age.

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I keep myself sharp by trying to teach myself new things. It keeps me occupied, and best of all, it keeps me employable!

I have my moments when I don’t like the thought of interrupting what I’m working on if I can help it. But come lunchtime, my stomach starts to rumble, and I need food. Thankfully, I’m at home, and even better, I’ve got ingredients on hand for a lunch that is so simple, I can throw it all together in the span of about 5 minutes.

The other day, I posted a recipe for a hummus and cucumber sandwich, and I hinted that I’d paired it with a smoothie. This is that smoothie. I liked that meal so much, I had it twice this week! And with the spicy chipotle hummus that I use in the sandwich, this smoothie is the perfect thing to cool down my mouth.

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The days have seemed longer and longer ever since I applied to my dream graduate school. The only thing that I know is that sometime this month, they’ll send out their decisions to prospective students. The later that it gets in the month, the more I worry that I’ve been rejected. It wouldn’t be the end of the world, but this is the program I’ve had my eye on since before I even graduated from college.

In the meantime, I’ve been working on my personal website, in addition to developing recipes at home. Both of those are great ways to occupy my time, and of course, my husband is pretty happy with eating the results of my experimentation. In recent weeks, he’s been treated to vegan bolognese and pasta, banh mi burgers, stuffed spaghetti squash, red velvet cheesecake, quinoa burrito bowls, and salads, among other things. He also recently celebrated his birthday, for which he got to choose whatever he wanted for dinner. That ended up being a bit of a diet cheat day — while the bulk of the food I ate was definitely in my diet, the burger that was part of dinner definitely wasn’t (however small it was)!

My husband is off working at a local university most days, meaning that I can really make sure my lunches are healthy and satisfying for me. As much as I love my husband, and as easy as he is to please, I feel like I keep underfeeding him! Sure, a salad will fill him up, but in a couple of hours, it’s like his body has burned all that fuel, and he heads straight for a cup of yogurt. He’s luckier than I am genetically; both of his parents are naturally slender people, and he can eat pretty much anything he wants. I make sure our meals at home are healthy, but while he’s out of the house, he is free to pursue the odd burger or chicken fingers if he so pleases. During the summer, he’s home almost every day, meaning that the bulk of his lunches are eaten with me, and I always feel a bit guilty that he’s not getting some of the foods he’d normally like to eat. He never complains, but I’m sure at least a small part of him looks forward to the times when school is back in session so that he can eat whatever he likes during the day and come back to a healthy dinner and dessert every night.

The bulk of my diet has also been primarily plant-based, as well, since I lost my job in January. Vegetable dishes are often cheaper than ones that contain meat. My husband still wants meat dishes as often as he can get it, so I’ve been adding the occasional meat dish to our dinners, and he’s come around to me using adaptable, inexpensive TVP in stuff like a bolognese sauce. Since he is gone during the day, salads and smoothies are a big part of my daytime menu, and they keep me going until dinner. I woke up a bit late today (11 AM — oops!), so I skipped breakfast. Instead, I opted for a banana, spinach, and flax milk smoothie with some meal replacement powder mixed in, and I added a lovely hummus and cucumber sandwich to it to sort of round it out.

I discovered how wonderful hummus sandwiches were when we started regularly grabbing one lunch a week (usually Sundays, after our weekly shop but before I’ve had a chance to cook for the week) from a local bakery chain. When I’m not getting my usual breakfast sandwich (I know, a bacon and egg bagel isn’t the usual lunch fare), I tend to get hummus on sourdough with some other vegetables and toppings. It sounds odd, but I always get them panini-pressed. I just love toasty bread with some hummus. But today, because I didn’t feel like pulling out the Foreman grill to mock a panini press, and because my smoothie was already nice and cold thanks to a frozen banana, I decided that a cold sandwich sounded best.

Our local grocery store carries various hummus flavors. This week, I opted to buy a tub of the spicy chipotle flavor, and because I know how spicy that can be, I wanted to balance it out and sort of “put out the flames,” so to speak. I had some cucumber left over from a different recipe, and I thought it would be wonderful to add that to my sandwich.

All in all, the sandwich added only 150 calories to my lunch. And it was delicious! Perhaps next time, I’ll try it with some spinach.

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I apologize for my absence!  Life has been a bit hectic lately, so blogging has been put on the back burner for the most part.

Lately, I’ve been in a bit of a baking mood, but earlier this year, I had a phase where my baking was definitely unhealthy. I  gained back some of the weight I’d worked so hard to lose. I’m back on track and trying to at least practice what I preach (moderation). I’ve been craving some good (American) biscuits lately, but given that the “good” biscuits are packed full of butter and (typically) all-purpose flour, it wouldn’t be a good idea for me to bake them. Even if I ate just one right out of the oven, the other seven would be sitting around, tempting me. Not good when I’m home all day, and I can’t trust my husband to eat more than a couple.

Then it hit me: Scones are basically the English version of those biscuits.

vegan_scones_main

And thanks to a blog post over on Amy’s Healthy Baking, I knew (but apparently forgot!) that yogurt can be used to make a tender, almost buttery scone with much less fat than a typical scone or biscuit.

scones_disc_cut

I’ve had some dried fruit kicking around in my cabinets for a few months, so what better way to add more deliciousness to these scones? And to kick up the healthiness a notch, I eliminated the sugar (opting for erythritol) and used whole-wheat flour. At around 90 calories per scone, two scones make a filling breakfast, and one is perfect for an afternoon snack.

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The company that I worked for recently went through a round of layoffs, and I was unfortunately caught up in it. I understand that it was strictly business; the company just plain didn’t have a lot of money, and I was in a part of the business that didn’t make its targets last year. My last day was last Monday.

In that time since, I’ve wanted nothing but comfort food. I’ve managed to stick to my diet, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t wanted to drown my sorrows in something heavy, cheesy, chocolatey, or filled with alcohol. I had a severance check and my final paycheck to deposit on Saturday, so to avoid needing to leave the apartment twice over the weekend, I quickly drafted a grocery list before we left. We dropped by a local credit union to deal with the checks, then grabbed lunch at Wegmans before picking up the groceries.

At the top of my list this week was chicken and noodles. I grew up making chicken and noodles with kluski noodles, some shredded chicken, and a big can of cream of chicken soup. We’d spoon these noodles on top of a big pile of buttery mashed potatoes. Well, I try to keep my diet healthy, so I couldn’t make the meal that way.

We still use shredded chicken and kluski noodles. We still use potatoes. But there is a way to make a delicious pot of chicken and noodles, cutting out 100 calories (75 of them fat). At 404 calories, this means I can sneak a tiny, tiny piece of cake. After all…moderation is key, right?

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I decided on Friday evening that my husband and I would make our weekly shopping trip a Saturday deal this week. We were due for a pretty good dusting of snow, and today (Sunday) would have the added “bonus” (not!) of a cold snap, so I wanted to be out when the weather would be a bit less frustrating. I then spent all of Friday working on my nanodegree with Udacity, going to bed sometime around 4 in the morning.

The next morning, when my husband was in the shower, I took all of 5 minutes to quickly jot down some items to the grocery list we keep on the fridge. I decided that this week, I wasn’t going to stick with a bunch of recipes I’d found on the Internet; I just felt like making meals that were quick and dirty that I could get done in the span of a couple of hours.

Up this week: A chicken “stir” fry, some pork chops, and the Italian wonderpot recipe I found on budgetbytes. (I know, I know, but to be fair, it’s a really quick and easy recipe, and it was something that we planned for last week but didn’t end up actually doing, as we didn’t quite need that meal.)

First up, a delicious chicken stir fry.

chicken stir fry by allgoodthings

The name for this is kind of a misnomer, because I didn’t stir as much as one would do when making actual Asian cuisine, but when you’re looking for something quick, cheap, and easy (and you’re fine with it being Asian-inspired, not completely authentic), this meal is for you. At just 276 calories, you can easily add some rice or quinoa alongside this tasty stir fry, and just by itself, it’s loaded with niacin, selenium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin B6.

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This past couple of weeks has been a bit trying for me. In addition to a bit of a grueling schedule at work, part of my personal life took a pretty bad turn, and I’ve been struggling to keep myself sane ever since.

I’ve been turning to baking more and more over the past week or so, just to keep my mind off of my situation. My husband has been happy to benefit, even though he’s not very happy with what has made me do this more often.

But when I bake, the world kind of melts away for that little bit of time. Because I work from home, I have more flexibility to take a bit of a break to work on something as simple as dinner, and it gives my eyes a bit of a chance to uncross from the information I’m working with day in and day out. I made a massive pan of lighter macaroni and cheese for my husband and I to pair with some chicken for dinner, which, until I discovered the linked recipe, I hadn’t figured out a way to eat since I’d started my weight loss journey. I’ve felt like I’m indulging, which really has kept me sane.

Today, while working toward solutions to my personal issues, I took a break and made this cocoa banana breakfast cake. We’d had some bananas sitting on top of our fridge this week, and from how they looked today, they would be perfect for some sort of baked good. I tweaked one of my favorite recipes for a banana breakfast cake to include cocoa and poured it into one of our baking dishes, hoping that it would turn out well and that I hadn’t just wasted two perfectly good bananas…

I didn’t. The bananas and sugar add just the right amount of sweetness to offset the deep chocolate flavor of this light, fluffy breakfast cake. At 160 calories a slice, this cake is perfect for nearly any time of day. I consider it a breakfast cake, but you can even serve yourself a slice as a snack, and I’m sure it’d make your day feel as sunny as mine just did.

And my husband had nothing but happy noises to make while snarfing it down.

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Quick post:

This week is the week from hell for me at work. Friday’s our deadline, and I foresee 14-hour days ahead of me until then.

I didn’t have time for breakfast today, so around 10:30, my stomach started rumbling at me. I rummaged around the kitchen for a bit, then remembered that I wanted to make my own lunch today. Something that could come together in minutes, refrigerated well, and could even freeze well. I’ve had some freeze-dried vegetables and textured soy protein in my cabinet for a few weeks now, in addition to some bouillon granules, so soup seemed like the logical option. It also gave me a great opportunity to get rid of some quinoa.

The servings for this are massive – 2 cups, at less than 200 calories! Hopefully this will keep me full and moving full steam ahead until dinner.

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Sundays are the days that my husband and I go out shopping for groceries for the week. We usually go around lunchtime, which gives us the opportunity to grab a bite to eat at the cafe in Wegmans before we shop for food (great pro tip: never shop hungry!). The past couple of weeks, I’ve been pleased to find healthier options on their hot bars. It fills me up, and I’m not eating the same old salad every week.

I try not to stare too longingly at my husband’s plate. Today, it was a cheese-and-rice ball that’s deep-fried, an egg roll, vegetable fried rice, bourbon chicken, and fruit. Thankfully, I managed to find some stuff that was delicious, too: Spicy Hunan mushrooms (great if you have blocked sinuses!), cheesy cauliflower bake (actually fairly okay calories-wise, which made me happy, because I love cheese), dashi beef stir-fry, and some fruit. My husband’s lucky that he won’t gain weight simply by looking at something caloric. Now, if he ate this stuff daily, I’d worry, but I do keep weeknight food fairly healthy for both of us.

After having our fill, we set off with our grocery list. Temptation is kept at bay when we do this — I’m much less likely to try to sneak in unhealthy snacks when I’ve got a freshly-full stomach. For this week’s menu, I had a craving for something we’ve made in the past: Banh-Mi Burgers. They’re great sandwiches in and of themselves, and with a couple of modifications, they aren’t terrible. In particular, we don’t use any sugar, and in the burgers themselves, we can easily scale back the oil without causing them to be dry. On top of that, we use something like Sandwich Thins to cut back on the amount of bread we’re ingesting. I have to avoid anything with oats and malted barley, but anything that is 100% whole wheat tends to pass that requirement for me.

That left me trying to figure out what to do to for a side dish. We’ve slacked a bit on the salad front, so what better way to get ourselves back into the habit than by adding one next to the banh-mi burgers?

SkinnyMs is a website that I’ve been following for awhile. The site is full of healthy yet delicious foods that are low on calories while still remaining high on flavor. So when I found the recipe for Asian Salad with Crispy Chicken, I trusted it.

Now, we already had a protein, so there was no need to add the chicken. The other modifications I made were minor at best, primarily upping the cabbage.

My version of the recipe is a whopping 42 calories, and it’s chock-full of vitamins and nutrients. And given that it’s all essentially “roughage,” it goes a long way toward filling you up! This recipe is truly a winner, even without the chicken.

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Who doesn’t love chocolate?

Animals, that’s who.

The following cake can be topped with something as simple as a dusting of powdered sugar, or for an extra 30 calories, add the cocoa glaze that I’ve listed below! Low in fat, at just 215 calories (for a massive slice of cake+glaze), you can occasionally treat yourself to something decadent and sinful. Leave off the frosting, and you cut way back on the sugar, too!

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