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400 calorie pumpkin pie {the entire pie!}

disclaimer: i do not support eating an entire pie.  by yourself.  that being said, if you are feeling the need to splurge on pie, this is the pie to make.

i am an emotional eater.  i am all about finding ways to trick my brain into feeling comfort from healthier options than i turned to in the past.  when i think of  pie, i think of amazing smells in the kitchen.  i think of huge family gatherings at thanksgiving.  comfort food at its best.

now this pie will not win any awards at the state fair.  it is not a flaky crust pie.  there is no crust.  but for those moments when you have a sweet tooth, want your kitchen smelling of pumpkin spice, this is for you.  the entire pie is 400 calories.  the entire pie.  i made it yesterday.  sat down to read my book club book with my 1/4 pie piece and i felt like i was sneaking a treat.  my brain had not caught on to the fact that that overindulgent piece of pie was a whopping 100 calories.

the ingredients:

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/3 cup light brown sugar

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup flour

2 teaspoons truvia or another sugar substitute

3 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 – 15oz can pure pumpkin puree

1 cup milk {i used unsweetened vanilla almond milk for 30 calories per cup}

preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  mix all the ingredients together well.  pour into a well greased pie dish and bake for 30-40 mins.  let it fall and cool before slicing it up.

it is good to have dishes like this in the arsenal.  so many decadent temptations.  this hits the spot and isn’t going to hurt my goals that i am trying to reach each week.  what are your secret recipes to keep on track when you need something sweet?

weigh in monday {banana and egg pancakes?!}

finally! a good week for weight loss.  last week was spent purging my soul as well as some pounds.  total lost last week, four pounds!   i put in 280 mins {which averages out to 40 mins per day, 10 mins above my 2013 goal.}  in those minutes i burned 2024 calories.  officially patting myself on the back.  this week i was an emotional hot mess.  making healthy decisions is even more challenging being that i am the quintessential emotional binge eater.  i hit the bike or the rower when i got angry.  i made healthy food decisions.  i am pretty darn proud of myself.

one of my new favorite recipes is for pancakes.  i know, i know.  pancakes do not equal optimal health.  keep reading.

these babies have three ingredients.  1 banana, 1 egg, and a handful of blueberries.  no flour.  no sugar.  fruit and protein.  done.  i have made these twice and not taken the time to photograph my own.  i mean, hot pancakes are better than luke warm.

here is what you do:

mash your banana.  whisk in your egg.

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throw in some blueberries once your pancake is in the skillet.  once it starts to bubble, flip.

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and you are done.  three pancakes for 65 calories.  no guilt.  a really healthy and easy pancake.

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with the extra calories you saved, you can put a tablespoon or two of maple syrup.  i thought the blueberries gave enough sweetness and i opted for no syrup.  these are my new “go to” dish when i am craving some comfort food.  my brain is still wired to think that pancakes are a decadent treat.

chocolate chia seed pudding {yum!}

oh chia seeds.  i have declared my love for these little seeds a while back but had gotten out of the habit of eating them.  this week, i found my bag and went to town. the husband picked on me at first but now he is a believer.  they are easier to digest than flax seeds and have more benefits.  they absorb 10 times their weight in water to help you feel fuller and reduce food cravings.  plus they are the richest plant source of omega-3s, even more than salmon!

i mix them in smoothies and in yogurt, everyday.  there isn’t any taste but a little crunch.  i love it!  it is fun to watch them grow and grow when i put them into my smoothies.  last night i wanted to make a little something special for the husband.  i personally, love the rainy, cloudy weather.  seattle and me would get along.  the husband, on the other hand, needs the sun.  since we haven’t seen the sun since sunday {and still no sight} he had been feeling a little down.  typically, i would go to the chocolate chip cookies.  but i really wanted to make a “treat” that had health benefits.  a quick search later, i found chocolate chia seed pudding.

the recipe:

2 tbsp chia seeds
1/2 C unsweetened almond milk {or your favorite dairy alternative}
2 tbsp agave, brown rice syrup, maple syrup or stevia to taste {i used maple syrup}
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp vanilla

mix all the ingredients together. it may take a little time to incorporate the cocoa, but eventually it will. after everything is mixed, cover and leave on your counter for at least 20 minutes before enjoying. or you can leave it in the fridge overnight and enjoy the next day. the chia seeds continue to absorb the liquid they are in, so you may need to water your pudding down with some more almond milk if you leave it till the next day. you can top your pudding with fresh fruit or just eat it plain.

the consistency was like tapioca pudding and it was super tasty.  success!

since counting calories, strictly, dinners have been a lot of “fend for yourself” nights.  i typically will make a green smoothie for the both of us and then the husband will eat something else on his own.  one meal that i found that is super easy to pull together and under 400 calories is a stir fry.  i chop up 1 onion, 2 bell peppers {the more colorful the better}, 4 sausage link {i keep the flavors of this dish different but switching up the sausage. last night this was bison with jalapeño and the last time it was chicken with apple and maple.  no matter the flavor, make sure you read the ingredients and buy sausage that has been minimally processed.  if you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it.}, a little garlic and thats it.  sometimes i add a can of white beans if i have calories to spare.

super healthy dinner that is super quick.  if i am cooking, this is mostly likely what i have made.

breakfast with a book

why is it so difficult to make breakfast in the morning?  i wake up, hungry, and desperately want to start my day off with healthy decisions, but that box of cereal just looks so easy.  damn you gluten-free honey nut chex.  since tracking my food, i have noticed a trend.  when i eat a really small breakfast, i end up having a SUPER hard time staying within my calorie per day allotment.  when i eat a big breakfast, the rest of the day doesn’t seem that difficult.  this was my morning pep talk to myself today.

so i peeled a carrot.  washed and cut up an apple and an orange.  i whipped up a super green smoothie with both veggies and fruit.  {the vegs will keep me fuller, longer}  i took some photos because the newness of the light box is still there.  i sat down to a healthy, good for me 343 calorie breakfast.

here is a great beginner green smoothie {meaning, all you taste with sweet fruit}

1 cup grapes {recipe called for green, i only had red on hand}

1 medium orange, peeled & halved

1/2 cup fresh pineapple chunks {i used frozen}

1 frozen banana

1 carrot, peeled and halved

2 cups fresh spinach

1 medium apple, quartered & seeded

i am trying different yogurts.  there are not a whole lot of options for full fat or at the least, 2% milk yogurts.  i really like the atlanta fresh co. but they are a bit expensive to eat every day.  i am kinda loving this dreaming cow.  it isn’t greek yogurt {for those of you that can’t stand the greek stuff} and has interesting flavors.  my favorite so far is the maple ginger.  at 141 calories and 5g of healthy dairy fat, i feel good about making this choice.

i am so excited to have met with my book club last night!  we set out books for the next 6 months and i am super excited about our list.  first up, gone girl by gillian flynn.


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thanks to the kindle, i was able to start this morning with my smoothie breakfast in hand.

cranberry, orange, raspberry vinaigrette {major yum}

i have never been the girl excited about eating a salad.  nope.  but as i am getting older and my taste buds changing, i have found the world of salads a bit more exciting.  the ease of my vitamix makes making homemade dressing so extremely simple.  i took a basic smoothie recipe with oranges, raspberries, and cranberries and decided to switch up some ingredients to make a salad vinaigrette.  citrus, sweet, and delicious.

for our dinner party, i pared the dressing with a salad of mixed greens, sliced pears, walnuts and dried cranberries.  nothing artificial in the dressing.  all calories come from whole food ingredients.  the best kind.

the recipe {adjust to  your tastes}

1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries + 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup, or adjust to taste
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp fresh orange juice {juice from 2 oranges}
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
freshly ground black pepper

1. in a medium pot, heat the cranberries and raspberries, maple syrup, and vinegar over medium heat until the cranberries burst, about 7-10 mins.

2. slightly cool cranberry mixture and place in a blender along with the rest of the ingredients (except salt and pepper). blend until smooth. now add salt, 1/4 tsp at a time, to taste. blend again. adjust other ingredients to taste if necessary. you may want more maple syrup than i used. i liked this dressing with a bit of tart aftertaste to really let the cranberries shine. place in fridge to chill. should keep in fridge in an air-tight container for up to 5-7 days.

leftover salad lunches for the week for me means i don’t do the 11:30 scramble of finding something healthy to eat.

hopefully you noticed the much improved photography {above}.  as part of my “reinvestment” plan of some of the money the holiday order boom brought to my etsy shop, i bought a photography light box!  when purchasing, i only had my etsy shop in mind but when my good friend and fellow blogger, shannon, saw my new box, she reminded me that i could take amazing food photos for my blog too.  there is still a lot to learn but i am having a blast experimenting.

below is the light box in action with one of my etsy pillows.

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