Weighty Matters

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Recipe Calculations

on August 23, 2013

As I anticipated, I woke up this morning with too much chest congestion to go to Zumba class.  😦  I slept in a little, had breakfast, caught up on a few things and, eventually, went out to do a few errands.  Since Monday, when I was disappointed by the Portugese kale soup I had up on Cape Cod, I’ve had the proverbial bee in my bonnet to make kale soup on my own.  I’ve had some potential ingredients rolling around in my head so I decided not to search for recipes on line.  Instead, I decided to wing it and see if I could invent something tasty and nutritious all on my own.

I already had the kale that I bought at the farm market yesterday and a couple of containers of low sodium vegetable broth here at home.  At the supermarket I picked up a large onion, a large rutabaga, some fresh thyme and some chorizo.  I partially cooked the cubed rutabaga and then added it to the pot in which I was lightly sautéing the chopped onions. I sliced the chorizo into half circles and then let it cook in with the veggies which gave everything more flavor and some color.  After rinsing and patting dry the kale, I tore the leafy goodness off of the ribs and gave it a rough chop before adding it to the pot along with the broth and a couple of cans of drained/rinsed cannellini beans.  I tied up two bundles of thyme, stirred them in along with some black pepper and brought the whole concoction up to a full boil.  After a good stirring, I reduced the soup to simmer for 90 minutes while I went out and cleaned the pool.

When I came back in, the house smelled terrific.  There is something special about a house infused with warmth and the aroma of a pot of deliciousness simmering on a stove.  I am delighted to say that I guessed right on the ingredients.  The slight smoky heat of the chorizo married well with the slight sweetness of the onions and rutabaga.  The thyme provided another layer of flavor that sparked up the kale and beans.  All in all, I give the flavor of my creation two enthusiastic thumbs up!

Taste is one thing, but I wondered about the nutritional value of my new soup.  I went online and found a site that calculates the nutritional numbers for recipes if you enter the ingredients.  According to that site, here’s the breakdown for my Kale & Rutabaga Concoction, based on a one cup serving size.  (Although I rarely eat an entire cup.):

Calories-210; Total fat-4.7g; Saturated fat-1.7g; Cholesterol-9.4mg; Sodium 631.1 mg; Potassium 83.9 mg; Total carbs 31.6g; Dietary fiber 7.4g; Sugars-4.5g; Protein 11.6g.

In the grand scheme of things, this soup fit in great with my total daily numbers.  Although I’d love to reduce the sodium even more, I don’t get much sodium in other foods, so I’m okay for the day.  The fiber from the beans helps to reduce the impact of the carbs and I’m really happy about the protein grams.

Isn’t it cool that there are ways to calculate the values of recipes that we create?  The internet is such a terrific resource for helpful information.  I’m half tempted to revisit the site and type in the ingredients for my famous brownies.  Then again, maybe I don’t really want to know the truth about those particular treats. 😉  For right now, I’ll be happy to have the number for my soup.  I’ve already entered it as a food in MyFitnessPal so that I can call it up easily any time I serve some up.  The overall recipe made a lot.  I have a container in the fridge that will feed me at least three more times as well as three additional containers in the freezer for coming months.

In other news, as the day went on I felt better and less congested.  I started getting antsy from lack of exercise.  Even though cleaning the pool took some energy, after drying off a bit and testing the soup, I figured I’d give that 7 Minute Workout a try.  I love the app I found for my phone.  It not only provides the timing for the 30 second exercise periods and 10 second rest intervals, but it also gives the user a head’s up on which exercise comes up next.

In the interest of honest disclosure, I cannot perfectly do all of the exercises on this workout.  I sort of suck right now at jumping jacks.  I need to do the slightly easier versions of the pushups and planking.  Frankly, I can’t correctly do the side plank either.  However, I gave everything my best shot for the full 30 seconds and I improvised on the exercises that gave me trouble and made them as challenging as I could.  When I was done the 7 minutes, believe me, my heart rate was up and my body knew that it had worked.  I think it provided a good pop of intensity and exercise to the day.

Coincidentally, I had the Dr. Oz show on this afternoon.  One of his guests was Chris Powell, the trainer from Extreme Weight Loss.  They were tackling the problem of people who are doing their best to diet but who aren’t seeing the results.  Chris pointed out how many people think that they’re eating less than they are in reality.  He provided the basic calculation for the basal metabolism rate.  (Your current weight X 12 = Number of calories you burn just in living every day.)  He also offered great suggestions on how to cut back, how to use your hand to estimate the right serving sizes of protein, veggies, carbs and fat, and explained something to the audience that I blogged about a while back.  Keep the snacks at 100 calories and measure them out into small bags or containers so that you plan, have what you need available, and know that you’re not eating too much.

He and Dr. Oz also demonstrated a five minute exercise boost that mixed low intensity with high intensity in 30 second intervals.  Basic steps that you can do anywhere.  I can’t see that the five minutes burn too many calories, but it was further evidence that it can be helpful to incorporate these short periods of exercise into our busy days.   They add up!

All in all, I’m feeling good about getting myself back on track.   There are roughly 19 weeks left in the year.  My goal is to be down another 20 pounds by the end of 2013.

Putting everything into the mix, I’m confident that I can do this, based on my calculations.

Anyone else have a goal they’d like to share?

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5 responses to “Recipe Calculations

  1. Hope says:

    That soup sounds delicious! And, please, don’t ever calculate the nutrition info for your brownies. :p

  2. Susanne says:

    There’s nothing worse than a summer cold. Glad you’re feeling better.

    Several years ago I discovered the joys of making my own stock and freezing it. You can even reduce it until it’s a thick jelly and freeze it in ice cube trays. I haven’t done that yet – I just fill my freezer with containers, lol. The key is you can control the salt. Anyway, my soups have improved tremendously since. The original recipe was from French Mint — there’s one for fish stock, veggie stock, etc. And now that I’ve discovered the pressure cooker, the stock is made very quickly. I haven’t made soup with kale, so I’ll try the one you’ve described. The great thing about soup is that you can just throw stuff into the pot!

    And I’m with Skye, you’ll meet that 20 pound goal. Your determination shines through with every post.

    My goal for 2013 is to self-publish a werewolf book which is the book of my heart. I just woke up one morning and thought “that’s it. I’m going for it.” I’ve hired an editor, and will be sending her the manuscript shortly. I’ve got plans for professional cover, and will have to do a website myself because those the editor and cover shot my budget 🙂 — although I have a little left over for a formatter if I need one. I have no footprint on the net, basically only comment here, so it’ll be interesting to see how my book does.

    But the main thing is that I developed an ACTION PLAN with dates and everything 🙂 That’s totally new for me. I’ve already had to revise it because the editor (whose test edit was great) won’t be able to finish it until the end of October. That’s okay.

    Skye, your goals sound totally doable. We’re rooting for you here 🙂

    Susanne

    • Mary Stella says:

      Skye and Susanne, I think your goals are practical, exciting and absolutely doable! Consider me a cheerleader!

      Thanks for your encouragement. Susanne, I occasionally make my own chicken stock but don’t have a lot of extra freezer space. If I ever add a small freezer, I’ll definitely “stock” up

  3. Skye says:

    Wow, your soup sounds wonderful! I think I’ll steal it and have my housemates cook it (they like to cook more than I do 🙂 )

    I like the idea of the 7-minute workout. Did you give us a link earlier? I think I’d like to try it out, especially as a starter to work up from.

    Goals for 2013? I’d like to finish revising my novel. It would be even cooler if I sent it out and found someone who wanted to do something with it. 🙂 Also, I’d like to lose another 10 lbs. I’d love to lose 20, but I’ll set myself something smaller, so no pressure. And, finally, have enough of an income that I can move out to my own place, and have that place be exactly what I want and need.

    I am sure you will meet your 20-lb goal!

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