GAME PLAN – High Protein Meal Plan on a Budget

Hello everybody, it has been a six weeks since my last post and I have been working and experimenting on mastering basic cooking techniques that I am proud to share on this blog.

Recently I was glancing through several articles and reviewing food labeling content when I realize do people really know portion control.  For example, on a typical diet, one serving of chicken is 4 oz or 1/2 cup or 8 tablespoons so for about a pound of chicken, total servings would be four people.

Over the weekend we went grocery shopping at Shop Rite and we brought several ingredients to see how many portion meals we can make and how long it would last for under $50.  We created dishes, which will be shown on Instagram throughout the week. These recipes are inspired from Thai and Chinese cuisines in combination with recipes from Ideal Protein.  Here is the game plan that should last at least 7 days:

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Stay tuned for more.  Let us know if you have any questions, concerns, comments or feedback on how to improve this blog.  We are open to suggestions.  Thank you for all your support.

 

 

Throwback Thursday – Pizzeria Forno E Trattoria

Earlier this spring I decided to try a neighborhood spot in Maspeth NY called Pizzeria Forno e Trattoria. I always pass by during my bus ride to Jackson Heights or doing my walk. The restaurant felt cozy and homey. The food looked really good and fresh. I even got overwhelmed with the options that I had to get recommendations from the manager and owner. 

So my guilty pleasure is cheese, I love cheese so given my cheese craving that day everything ordered had cheese in it. Therefore is what I ordered. 

Top photo: CREPE DI SPINACI $8.50 Crepe stuffed with ricotta and spinach topped with white four cheese sauce. 

Overall the dish was to die for the stuffed crepe just melts in my mouth and tasted all five kinds of cheese. It hit the spot. 

Bottom photo: Half Sopressata and half Quattro Formaggi pizza pie $23.50 

The pizza pie was freshly made and the pie crust was perfectly thin. I did not feel guilty consuming four different cheeses and the spicy salami. 

Sunday Game Plan – Ultimate Vegetarian Meal Plan under $10. 

Happy Sunday! As I aggressively push myself to lose the remaining twenty pounds, this was a great opportunity for me to resume calorie counting and making entries on MyFitnessPal. So I began burning calories walking to various supermarket checking for deals. As a result I ended going to three Asian markets and spent less than $10 on the star ingredients for this game plan. 

For this game plan, the star ingredients were: zucchini, plantains, cauliflower, tofu, eggplants, peppers and carrots. 

I am so excited to create these dishes. Stay tuned! 

Week One Semi Paleo/Clean Eating Diet and The Final 15-20 Update

Hello everybody, as Labor Day approaches which unofficially means that summer has ended.  So in my last diet game plan post,  I took ideas from the a diet published by the authors of Physique 57 Solution   The good news is that I followed the classic workout outlined in the book, it definitely took longer than 57 minutes because I kept taking breaks.  However, I struggled with the diet as unfortunately I have cheated numerous times with ice cream, oyster sauce, dark soy sauce, flour and alcohol.  I improved my water intake and slept according to schedule for the most part.  Consequently I did not lose the weight.

I am not giving up and still hope to lose the last 15-20 before the year’s end.  I began doing research again on devising another diet plan and for the next two weeks I am going into the plan that is semi paleo and semi clean.

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It is obvious that I have stocked up on spinach, onions, eggs along with my own pantry of oils and spices.  My goal is to track the number of calorie consumption and calories burned throughout the day.   I do plan on having lots of left overs so hopefully by the end of next week I can feel skinnier.   Stay tuned.

Flashback Friday – China Grill

Happy Friday! It is time to take full advantage of the summer deals during my vacation.

One of these deals is the bento box lunch special from 12pm-4pm Monday-Saturday at China Grill in New York City.

Did you know that China Grill was around for almost thirty years? Well after one of the best fusion lunches I have had in a while, I can definitely testify to that.

Earlier this week, I caught up with a friend for lunch and both of us were definitely excited to explore the options.  So below are the two bento boxes we created.  Both of us ordered the Peking duck salad and wasabi mashed potatoes.  My friend ordered the dumplings and salmon teriyaki and I was on the noodle box and shrimp red curry.  Our bento boxes were “to die for”, presentation was beautiful but more importantly the taste was on point.  It was definitely worth the $19.87 spent on this meal.

In addition to the bento box, we decided order the popular salted caramel soufflé ($20), which has to be ordered ahead of time and it is served only on the lunch menu.

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Made to order dessert that serves two people available during lunch

After devouring the divine dessert, that was well balanced.  The sponge cake, plus the cream and caramel definitely hit the spot.

It was after 4pm and happy hour begins.  My other friend contacted me and informed me that I have to come here for happy hour.  It turns out she was right.  The menu offers a lot of options for drinks such as cocktails and bar bites from their appetizer menu.  So I settled for the lychee and cucumber cocktail ($8) with the lotus root dumplings ($7).  Both choices were delicious.

Overall service for lunch and happy hour were awesome.  My friend and I were satisfied and I can’t wait to share this experience with my friends and peers.  Cheers to China Grill and their continuing success.  See you soon China Grill!

 

(Sunday) Game Plan – The final 15-20 – Week 1

Hello everybody, it has been a over two weeks since my last post and after doing additional research on healthy meals, weight loss and trying to get off the weight loss plateau, I am devising a diet game plan inspired and partly adapted by the authors of Physique 57 Solution   After reviewing my food supply, I have been attempting to follow  the diet plan as outlined in the book, which appears to be cost-effective, but requires a lot of discipline especially playing catch up with my social life.  To be brief, this two week diet and exercise plan outlined in this book calls for no carbs, no soy, no dairy, no alcohol in combination with pilates, barre and yoga.  The hardest part of all this is getting enough sleep and drinking enough water.

So, in order to ideally lose 5 lbs., I would have to burn 14,000 calories, since 2000 calories equals to 1 lb.  Here’s my ambitious potentially unhealthy and unsafe plan, I want to lose 5lbs. in seven days; easier said than done.

Based on the blogs and fitness articles, the minimum calorie consumption is 1200 calories daily; that is 8,400 calories per week.  According to articles and testimonials about Physique 57, for about a hour of exercise one can lose up to 500 calories.  So five hours of Physique 57 exercises would total up to 2500 calories, that is about 1.25 lbs weight loss from this exercise alone.    Well as they say it is 85% what is consumed and 15% what is burned off.

A few days ago I started on my grocery shopping and had to come up with a game plan that models the diet plan outlined in Physique 57.  To start here is this week’s game plan:

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The star ingredients of each of these dishes were on sale this week at the various supermarkets in my neighborhood.   I am looking forward to start this diet and exercise plan, hopefully I can lose five pounds in the next seven days.  I will provide updates in the next week of my progress.  Stay tuned!

 

Meatless Monday – Red, White & Blue Smoothie

On behalf on Tablespoons & Teaspoons, we want to wish everyone a Happy 4th of July!

Since it is a holiday and given that today is Monday, I came up with a quick, healthy, low calorie and gluten free patriotic concoction that will commemorate the continuous blending of America’s diversity on birth of America.

Red, White & Blue Smoothie

Total calories – 194 calories

Total cost at Stop & Shop at minimum with a $25 purchase in order to get the blueberries at the cheapest price – $5.55

RED 1/2 cup of sliced strawberries (approximately 24 calories) –$2.99/lb. Stop & Shop this week.  Health benefits of Strawberry consumption can be seen in a previous Meatless Monday Post.

WHITE 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk – 30 calories – Silk almond milk is on sale this week at Stop & Shop – 2 for $6.   Health benefits of almond milk consumption include: Low sugar, which provides an option for diabetics.  It also has no cholesterol and low sodium plus contains omega 3 fatty acids, which helps maintain blood pressure & a healthy heart.  One cup provides 10% more calcium than regular milk and more vitamin D, which helps strengthen bone and even lower the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease.  Almond milk also contains vitamin E, which is involved with maintaining healthy skin.  It also has vitamin B especially iron and riboflavin with helps build muscle.  It also has fiber and is lactose free, which helps aid digestion.  Other health benefits include boosting the immune system, preventing cancers, and improving vision.

BLUE 1 cup of blueberries – 85 calories – on sale for $0.97/pint with a $25 purchase at Stop & Shop this week.  Blueberries, similar to strawberries contain plenty of antioxidants, which prevents cancers, aging, degenerative disease and infections.  They also contain chlorogenic acid which lowers blood sugar levels & control blood-glucose levels in Type II diabetes.  Blueberries is also considered a brain food which helps boost memory and focus.  Research studies also show that blueberry consumption has lowered blood pressure and even reduce heart disease risk.

1/2 medium banana (sliced) – 55 calories – $0.49/lb at Stop & Shop.  Health benefits of banana consumption include replenishing energy.  It also contains soluble dietary fiber which reduces constipation by helping normal bowel movements.  Bananas also carry antioxidants such as lutein, zeaxantin, carotenes that helps reduce aging.  Vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine) helps with neuritis and anemia and reduces homocystine levels, which is a contributor to heart disease & stroke.  It also contains vitamin C, which develops resistance again infections.  But most importantly bananas are known for their rich source of potassium, which helps control heart rate & blood pressure.

Instruction: Combine and blend until smooth.

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA!! Cheers to good healthy and more budget friendly meals.

Flashback Friday – Ayada

Happy Friday, after a week of planning and cooking healthy meals on a budget for Cinco de Mayo, it is time to head to one of my favorite Thai restaurants to date.  Ayada Thai is a neighborhood gem and a great place to eat with a group of friends.  I usually take my relatives from out of town here and even have held small birthday parties here.

Ayada Thai is located in Elmhurst, Queens.  The restaurant offers authentic, affordable and tasty Thai food that will feed an entire family.  The restaurant received a lot of press and awards for their amazing cuisine.  They have been covered by ABC NewsNew York TimesVillage Voice, New York Magazine, and even was voted as one of the best Cheap Eats and best Thai Restaurants in Zagat.  More importantly they received recognition of  Bib Gourmands by Michelin Star.

I can definitely testify to Ayada’s success by the food portion and quality of food that is provided to us.  Below are images of my family and my personal favorite dishes:

BBQ Pork $10

BBQ Beef $10

Satay Chicken $7

Shrimp in a Blanket $5

Crispy Chinese Watercress Salad $15

Crispy Catfish Salad $15

Shrimp Pad Thai $11

Chicken Pad Thai $9

Beef Pad Cee Eiw $9

Fried Banana (only sold on Saturdays)

Thai Ice Tea $3

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1) BBQ Pork 2) Beef Pad Cee Eiw 3) Fried Banana (sold on weekends), 4) Crispy Catfish Salad, 5) BBQ Beef and BBQ Pork 6) Chicken Satay and Shrimp in a Blanket, 7) Crispy Watercress Salad, 8) Shrimp Pad Thai

Best times to go is during lunch and early dinner before 7pm.  I have not tried their lunch special yet because I work on the weekdays.  Given that half of my heritage is Thai I can testify to the authenticity and taste of the food.  Food is overall consistent and I will definitely return for another family meal.

Throwback Thursday – Fonda – East Village

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Also did you know that it is National Enchilada Day! Personally I have not eaten enough enchiladas at restaurants because I usually go for nachos, quesadillas and tacos.  However, two summers ago, I decided to take advantage of the summer restaurant week at Fonda an urban Mexican restaurant located in the East Village location.  They have two other locations, one in Chelsea and the other in Park Slope (Brooklyn).  The restaurant was a winner of the 2014 “Love New York” Awards and the 2015 winner for Diner’s Choice from OpenTable.  I recalled visiting the restaurant on a weeknight and they had a great deal on a prix fixe that included a margarita.  The items listed below are still on the menu.  Also, this was the first and only time I actually ordered an enchilada as recommended by my server.

Cocktail: Frozen Rosalita Margarita $11; $7 happy hour

Appetizer: Guacamole $12.95 dinner; $7 happy hour

Entree: Enchiladas Suizas $19.95 dinner

Dessert: Morenitas $7.95 dinner

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I believed that the prix fixe was offered on either a Monday or Tuesday evening during happy hour.  The portion size were exact for one person.  The overall food experience started well and expectations was diminishing by the end of dessert.  My favorite items out of the four images were the rosalita and the guacamole.  The enchilada was on the greasy side and the morenita was way too sweet especially after the consuming the dishes I had prior.  I have not returned to the restaurant and yet to try the other two locations.  The happy hour and daily specials are appealing in the East Village location so since I enjoyed the drinks and the guacamole, I would definitely return on a Sunday night for the Guac and Cocktail Sunday Special.

As mentioned in my Sunday Game Plan – 1st week of May, I plan on making enchiladas to commemorate National Enchilada Day, but due to circumstances beyond my control, I decided to make this dish over the weekend – Mother’s Day weekend possibly.  Stay tuned!

Meatless Monday – 2 courses – 7 ingredients

Happy Monday! Following my game plan posted yesterday, I created a two course meal that only requires a total of eight ingredients. These two dishes commemorate three monthly food observances:

National Egg Month
National Salad Month
National Strawberry Month

The first dish requires only two ingredients. It is gluten free and Paleo friendly.

Banana Pancakes
1 ripe banana = 110 calories = $0.49/lb. this week at Stop and Shop
2 eggs = 90 calories/egg

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Second dish requires five ingredients:
Strawberry Arugula Salad
1 cup arugula = 6 calories
6 strawberries sliced = 35 calories = $2.99 a package on sale this week at Stop & Shop
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted = 350 calories
1 tablespoon spoon extra virgin olive oil = 120 calories
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar = 30 calories

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