Eat Clean Challenge: Week Two

Football is finally here!!! There is just something about that recognizable referee whistle and stadium echo that makes me smile…oh and the fact that Lily wore her mini Steeler jersey with a black tutu! It was so freaking adorable. To show my Niners some love I stripped the jersey off & put her in a super soft mini t-shirt I purchased from Kitson Kids in Malibu (still can’t believe I spent that much on a kids t-shirt, but whatever I believe they won because she wore it).

For breakfast we noshed on cupcake sized quiche with salsa….Mmmm. The recipe calls for a mini cupcake tin and I used a regular size instead. Warning, I would eat these with a topping like salsa, balsamic, or ketchup. These are pretty plain, but the flavor was perfect when combined with a chunky salsa. Hop on over to Fit Foodie Finds for the recipe. Note, I doubled the batter since I was filling regular sized muffin tins (made 6).

Greek quesadillas were served for lunch with a plain cheese one for Lily! Mike hasn’t totally committed to my challenge, so he opted for regular flowered tortillas. I was very proud of myself for sticking with the measurements for the mozzarella and feta cheese. You don’t need that much with all the other ingredients. The pre-challenge Amy would have piled on the cheese! For the recipe check out A Couple Cooks, the only changes I made was that I added chopped artichoke hearts, and omitted red pepper flakes.Okay I totally slacked on dinner tonight. It was one of those nights that as soon as Lily went to bed I wanted to pass out myself. So I poured myself a bowl of bran cereal with almond milk….easy and not as bad as the bowl of fruity pebbles or captain crunch I would have gone for pre-challenge.

Today is a great example of a breakfast and lunch that kept me feeling full until dinner. They were tasty and kept me from snacking.

My little family was served some delicious pancakes topped with a little chocolate sweetness! In my opinion the chocolate hazelnut butter was better than the usual maple syrup. But I must admit that I usually don’t eat pancakes with syrup…yes I am strange…I eat my pancakes with my hands. No I was not raised by dogs, I just really enjoy the taste of Bisquick pancakes. Sometimes I will dip a piece of pancake in a little bit of syrup, sometimes! This recipe was adapted from Fit Foodie Finds and I have found some great recipes from this blog lately! For the original recipe check it out on the blog as I made a few changes.

Banana Oat Bran Pancakes
Adapted from Fit Foodie Finds

1/3 cup oat bran
1.5 tbsp whole wheat flour
2 mashed bananas
1 tbsp egg whites
1/4 tsp baking soda
2/3 cup water
¼ cup of vanilla almond milk
cinnamon (to taste)
toppings: Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter, bananas, peanut butter or raisins

Mix all of the ingredients.
Coat pan or griddle with cooking spray and pour your mix to the serving size you would prefer.
Don’t worry that the mixture is thick, it’s suppose to be!
When the pancakes are done spread the chocolate hazelnut butter on top. You don’t need much as the heat will melt it over the pancake!
Top them with sliced bananas (or whatever you want) and enjoy!

For lunch I baked a small potato. I LOVE baking potatoes, Mike sadly doesn’t share my love for this easy, delicious no-brainer meal. I usually always make them when he is out of town. There are many ways to cook a potato, here is the way I always make mine.

Easy Baked Potato

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
Make sure you wash you potato(s).
Place your wet potato on a piece of foil and grind sea salt over the potato and foil.
Roll the potato on the excess salt on the foil to coat all sides. You don’t need that much and the salt will stick to the wet skin.
Roll the potato in the foil and place it in the middle of the oven.
Bake for 45 to an hour. I like mine soft, so I bake it for 1 – 1 ½ hour.
To test for softness I always take my oven mitt and give the potato a squeeze, depending on how soft/hard it is I take it out or keep it cooking!
The salty skin is my favorite part. I slice my potato open and sprinkle it with pepper, oregano and a little shredded mozzarella cheese.

Lunch was easy peasy and so was dinner! We haven’t had Chinese food in awhile so when I saw this recipe on Mckay’s profile on Plan To Eat I was excited to try it. The easy chicken fried rice recipe hails from Iowa Girl Eats blog, check it out and other tasty recipes patiently waiting for your belly!

Mondays are usually depressing as it sadly answers that question we always ask, Is the weekend already over? But this Monday, was an AWESOME Monday (minus the choking dog part).

And it all started with an amazing new oatmeal recipe from The Gracious Pantry. The apple pie oatmeal had me feeling like I was cheating this challenge big time! It really tastes like the dessert it’s named after. I was sitting on the ground watching Lily play when she crawled over making her typical “Gimme Gimme” sound, so I let her have a small taste. This is made with steel cut oats so I didn’t think she would enjoy it, boy was I wrong. She sat there and ate my breakfast with me (and this was after she had hers).  I had to even show her there was none left in the bowl and she gave me the cutest little scowl ever. I am sure I will see more of this facial expression in the future…I need to remember this day when I actually thought it was cute. Check out the recipe here, and the only change I made was that I cooked the oats in vanilla almond milk instead of water.

Now the choking dog part. I was chopping up the apples for the recipe and had some leftover pieces. I have given Lily a slice of Apple before, and she holds it in both hands while she takes small bites. I bent down to give her a slice when Bentley jumped out of nowhere stealing the fruit from her hands. Her face was priceless. She usually is happy to give Bentley handfuls of her Cheerios and goldfish crackers. But this face was like “Oh NO he didn’t just do that!”. I pointed to the living room rug and said Bentley took it. She walked over, got on her knees and put her head down attempting to give Bentley the evil eye, but he was too busy trying to chew the slice down to small edible bites. She then tried to grab the piece of apple and Bentley took it over to another spot on the rug, now trying to accelerate the situation but inhaling it. As I was walking over to stop the madness Lily launched over to Bentley causing him to completely suck the apple down. The poor fella instantly started to walk around with his back curled up and head hung low, making a horrible wheezing like sound. Thank GOD Mike was working from home as I screamed for him to come in. A few moments later with the help of Mike’s finger-down-the-throat maneuver the piece of stuck apple landed on the kitchen tile and all was well again in the Romano Household. I on the other hand was traumatized and sweating profusely.

Lunch came with no headaches as we enjoyed chickpea and avocado sandwiches after a fun morning of MyGym with her buddies, Becket & Brady. These sandwiches are easy and SO yummy! Mike loved them as well. I was sure not to tell Mike what the sandwiches were, as he would have likely wanted to skip it , but he was pleasantly surprised with how good they really were. Check out the recipe on Two Peas and Their Pod, the only thing I added was a few cherry tomatoes. (and yes that sandwich is on a paper plate….don’t judge!)

After Lily’s nap we met her buddies Becket and Brady (Mckay & Emily’s sons) at a local splash park I didn’t even know existed. Finding fun things for your kid to do close to home is like striking gold, well it is to me! The only thing was, Lily wanted nothing to do with the water and everything to do with running towards the street. I would run after her, turn her around and she would then start the trek to the street on the other side of the fountain.

After our fun in the sun we decided to have a glass of wine al fresco at a local restaurant. The kids had a blast chopping on goldfish and animal crackers, all the while their mothers happily enjoyed a lovely glass (or two) of some pinot. Happy hour turned into dinner. Emily was already planning on meeting her husband and neighbors there, so Mckay and I called our hubbys to join. All the sunshine made for a tired Lily so I doggy bagged my sea scallops, broccoli and plantains. We had so much fun that we might start having these Monday happy hour al fresco more often…a perfect way to start the week if you ask me!

Every now and then I find a good smoothie and I make it so much that I get sick of it. I might eat (or drink) my words, but this green monster Spinach Smoothie from Iowa Girl Eats is so lip-smacking good I will never get sick of it!

Green Monster Spinach Smoothie
Slightly adapted From Iowa Girl Eats

1 frozen sliced banana
1 Tablespoon peanut butter
1 cup Vanilla Almond Breeze (or other kind of milk)
4 cups baby spinach (or more or less)

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

For lunch I made the appetizing greek quesadillas from day eight.

I love trying out recipes that become popular on Pinterest and tonight I tried a chicken one that claims to be the world’s greatest. I’m a southern girl at heart and any chicken recipe that isn’t fried chicken will never be called the greatest in my book. This one was tasty, but again not as good as fried chicken. But fried chicken doesn’t help me loose the lbs. The great thing about this recipe…there is no marinating. You just mix the ingredients, pour it over the chicken and bake it. So check out the recipe here and let me know what you think!

For sides I made the quick Seeds of Change Quinoa and Brown Rice that I have told ya’ll about…easy and good! I cut up some yellow squash and sautéed them in a pan with a tbsp of extra virgin olive oil. Half way into I add about a tbsp of minced garlic (I’m a big garlic lover). I cook my squash until its super soft (that’s the way we like it). We always have zucchini and yellow squash in our fridge. This is a simple side to any meal.

Today is when the nasty head cold took over the majority of the house, Mike was lucky enough not to get it. As soon as I started cooking my breakfast (takes about 20 minutes) Lily woke with a 103.5 fever and her first deep cough. We gave her Motrin and a bath to help with the fever and waited for the doctor’s office to open. We had some warm oatmeal that felt good on a raw throat (post-nasal drip blows) as we waited to make an appointment.

For my breakfast I put ½ cup of steel cut oats in a small pot with 2 cups of vanilla almond milk. Bring it to a boil, and then simmer for about 20 minutes or until it reaches the consistency you desire, stir occasionally.

For Lily’s breakfast I put ½ cup old-fashioned oats and 1 up of vanilla almond milk in a bowl and microwave for about 3 minutes. Stir in about 1 tbsp of peanut butter and a small squirt of honey and let it cool before you give it to your child. Sometimes I toss it in the freezer for a quick cool down. (*remember to ask your pediatrician when your child should be allowed to have honey!)

After we were able to put some healthy fuel in our bodies we ran to the doctor and found out it luckily wasn’t in her lungs. She has a bad head cold, post nasal drip and a sore throat. The doctor’s office was jammed packed with other children with the sniffles and by the time we made it back home, with a trip to the drugstore, Lily went straight to bed for a nap. Being so exhausted myself I made a quick bowl of oatmeal again and crawled on the couch with a box of tissues.

Coincidentally soup was already on the agenda for supper and even though I was feeling sub par I sucked it up and made it…in slooooow stages! I chopped up the needed ingredients and curled back on the couch. Mike got home by the time Lily woke up so he took over watching her as I finished in the kitchen. The only thing left to do was toss the ingredients in the pot and then puree it in a blender. While I was cooking I was thinking of giving up and looking for an easier alternative. But making excuses is the reason why I haven’t lost my baby weight. I think if my symptoms (tired, runny nose, scratchy & sore throat) were any worse I might have had Mike attempt to cook (scary!). The soup was hearty and just what I needed for my raw throat. My basil plant needed to be trimmed, so I had plenty to make the delicious pesto sauce. Soup is on the agenda for tomorrow’s lunch because this makes a lot!

Tomato–White Bean Soup With Pesto

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion chopped
4 celery stalks chopped
2 medium carrots chopped
3 cloves garlic quartered
1/2 cup dry white wine or water
1 qt low-sodium vegetable stock
2 cups canned cannellini beans rinsed and drained
1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt divided
2 cups (packed) fresh basil
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat and cook onion until golden, stirring occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes.
Add celery, carrots and garlic; cook, stirring, until vegetables soften, 3 to 5 minutes.
Add wine; stir to scrape brown bits off bottom of pot.
Add stock, beans, tomatoes, bay leaves and 1/4 tsp salt. Bring soup to a boil; reduce heat, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until carrots are very soft, 15 to 20 minutes.
In a blender, puree basil, walnuts, black pepper, remaining 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 cup water. Transfer pesto to a bowl; wash blender.
Remove bay leaves from soup; discard. In blender, carefully puree half of soup; transfer to a bowl; repeat with remaining half of soup.
Divide soup among 4 bowls, dollop each with 1/4 pesto, and swirl in; serve.

Thanks to rest, medication and plenty of water it seems that Lily and I are (hopefully) back on the mend. Not yet 100%, we kept it real simple today by chilling in our pajamas all day! Mike is out of town for a guy weekender (an early birthday gift & why is he always conveniently gone when she is sick?).

Breakfast was a cinch with the Green Monster Spinach Smoothie. Lunch was even easier with re-heating last night’s soup. Dinner was a repeat recipe from day nine.

Have you ever tried the Uncle Ben’s individual cups of Ready Rice? I used one tonight to make one serving of the chicken fried rice. There are two cups per package and you just peel the top off and pop it in the microwave for 1 minute…and poof you have a perfect serving of whole grain brown rice! Listen I don’t care that I cooked it in a microwave and it came from a package. It is so much better than any other option I would have cooked for myself in the past! I’m a big believer that you can have healthy options even if you microwave it! Tip: Don’t throw away the paper packaging as there is a coupon inside!

I weighed myself and I’m down another two pounds!! That is a total of 4 pounds!  {Doin’ a happy dance}

Can’t believe it is already the last day of week two! This challenge seems to be flying by and I am feeling GREAT! When my mom started to eat clean she was so gung ho about it. It felt like it was the only thing she wanted to talk about. “Ooooh I am making this stuff called quinoa, and it is sooo good for you!” or “I only eat things that come from the earth or from a momma.”  I can’t tell you how many times we rolled our eyes as she preached about something new like chia seeds.

And now I am the one that gets giddy over some new ingredient like chickpea flour. Besides the head cold Lily and I got I have been full of energy and had no feelings of starvation, unlike other times I have tried new eating ways in attempt to shed some pounds.

Am I going to quit eating clean after the 30 days are up? No.

Will I never eat processed foods ever again? Of course I will. But it is all in moderation. I am feeling great while loosing this weight and this is a major difference than anything I have ever tried.

So onto my breakfast. I enjoyed another winning recipe from Fit Foodie Finds called, Quinoa Egg Bake. This was beyond simple as I already had chopped onions and red pepper from the chicken fried rice recipe! This is similar to a quiche except there is no crust! Check out the recipe here.

I didn’t feel like making the spinach salad I had planed and instead I was craving the green monster spinach smoothie for lunch (from day 11).

For dinner I cooked myself a Mexican rice bowl (recipe here). I know I keep referring to many of these recipes as easy, but this one really is. It is trouble-free and uncomplicated. You literally just add as many of each ingredients as you want!


View Comments
  1. mckay commented:
    September 17, 2012 Reply

    so glad that my week two meal planning menu is filled out…oh wait. that didn’t happen. starting over today!!! 🙂 I love that you love the green monster. my favorite!!

    • Amy Romano commented:
      September 17, 2012 Reply

      HA!I was about to send you a HeyTell saying “Yay, we have passed the half way marker!”….and I am obsessed with that smoothie. You should have seen how many bananas I had on my counter waiting to ripen so I could toss them in the freezer!

  2. September 19, 2012 Reply

    I do trust all the ideas you have introduced in your post. They are really convincing and can definitely work. Nonetheless, the posts are too short for newbies. Could you please lengthen them a bit from next time? Thank you for the post.

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  1. By Lily & Bliss | Eat Clean Challenge: Week Three on September 24, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    […] Week three is done and only one week to go!! Surprisingly this challenge has not been as hard as I had anticipated it to be. (Read week one & week two) […]

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