Category Archives: Filling Foods

Grocery Shopping and Racist Remarks at Wal-Mart

I was inspired to do some meal planning and grocery shopping over the weekend because my goal for the next week is to prepare every meal and snack at home. I’m healthier when I do that, but it does require a bit more effort and planning than I’ve been accustomed to lately.

I don't know if I'll have a sandwich and chips during the week or not. I didn't buy stuff for that, but it sounds delicious.

I don’t know if I’ll have a sandwich and chips during the week or not. I didn’t buy stuff for that, but it sounds delicious.

It’s much easier to eat out since I’m often 15 or 20 minutes from home when it’s time to eat dinner. It’s also easier to order take out on my way home at the end of a long day than it is to go home and cook, but that convenience has led to major weight gain on my part.

Saturday I went to Wal-Mart to buy groceries. I prefer to go to Target or Whole Foods, but I have a gift card (that I forgot to use.) It was also easier for my aunt, who’s here with my uncle because he’s in the hospital, to get what she needed there.

When the cashier was ringing me up she laughed at the way I shop. I don’t use plastic bags for my produce, but I used one for the chicken breast that I bought. I apologized for inadvertently creating more work for her and explained that I didn’t want to waste bags for produce because they’d end up in the trash as soon as I got home, but I definitely don’t want chicken juice all over everything.


I thought that was pretty solid reasoning, but she laughed, pointed at the iced mocha latte in my cart and said, “You’re young and white, baby. It’s all good.” I can’t imagine what my skin color has to do with my shopping methods, but I think it’s nice that she thought I was young. I don’t think she said it to be offensive; it was just an odd response.

Am I the only one who skips the bags when buying produce? Do you think socioeconomic status  plays a role in our shopping habits?



Juice and Smoothies and Questions

Last week at Monte and Olga’s house, I tasted a green juice that Olga made with their fancy new juicer.  It contained spinach, kale, cucumber, celery and other healthy green things, and it tasted surprisingly great!  They sent me home with their old juicer and inspired me to try making juice myself, so I made a trip to the supermarket and came home with a variety of fruits and vegetables.

Sunday morning (the most rushed morning of my week) I drank juice that I made the night before.  It contained spinach, apples, oranges and a banana.  That’s a lot of sugar, but it seems like a better choice than the doughnuts I might have had in prior weeks.

Kenlie Green Juice

I’ve always been leery of juicing because it feels wasteful.  We also miss out on fiber when we juice, and I’m having trouble deciding whether that’s a bad thing or not.

– Do we need the fiber?

– Are we missing other nutrients when we don’t eat the entire piece of produce?

– Would a smoothie (like the ones I made for later today) be a better choice?

Kenlie Green Smoothie

I like to chew my food so I’m not planning on doing a juicing fast or anything extreme like that, but this does feel like a good way to consume more fruits and veggies.  We’ll see how it works.

Do you juice and/or drink smoothies regularly?  If so, do you worry about not eating enough protein?  Is there anything else that concerns you when juicing?


Just Curious

I’m a week into calorie counting now, and it definitely feels like the right thing for me.  And one thing that I didn’t like about the idea when I tried it briefly in the past was that it  the nutritional information was always posted on the processed junk and not on fresh food.  But seriously? How hard is it to look up the calories?  I mean, I always looked up points so what’s the difference?   And thanks to the iPhone app, it’s really easy to figure out the calories of an orange or a banana or a cup of spinach which leads me to my question about your food habits.

Monday = rest day.

My goal, right now, is to eat 9 servings or so per day, and eating a big salad with leafy greens and other stuff makes that easily attainable.

How many servings of fruits and vegetables do you eat on an average day?  Do you seat an intake goal?  How do you work them into your meals?



Friend Makin’ Mondays: Recipe Exchange

Last week I experimented in the kitchen, and the results were fantastic.  I made stuffed peppers, roasted vegetables and tried a new chili recipe (courtesy of Whole Foods) which prompted this week’s topic!  If you know me, you know I love Fall.  You may also know that the cooler weather makes me want to spend time in the kitchen which is great for my weight-loss efforts so check out this week’s topic…

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here at: so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

FMM: Recipe Exchange

Let’s share one or two of our favorite Fall recipes this week!  It’s always fun to mix things up in the kitchen! 


Turkey Pumpkin Chili

Photo Credit: Whole Foods

This recipe has quickly become one of my favorites because it’s easy and delicious! And though I typically only cook one one, I can easily freeze the rest to have a healthy and satisfying meal for lunch or dinner even when I’m in a rush.

Serves 6


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
2 jalapeños, seeded and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 pound ground white or dark meat turkey
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with their liquid
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin purée
1 cup water
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained


Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, jalapeños and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add turkey and cook until browned. Add tomatoes, pumpkin, water, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and add beans. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes more. Ladle chili into bowls and serve.


Per serving: 280 calories (110 from fat), 13g total fat, 2.5g saturated fat, 55mg cholesterol, 580mg sodium, 23g total carbohydrate (8g dietary fiber, 7g sugar), 20g protein

Now it’s your turn to share one of your favorites! Don’t forget to come back and link up in the comments! Happy Monday!

Happy Taste Buds

I know I said that I wouldn’t post about what I eat daily just because I’ve added a new Food Journal tab, and I won’t.  But I want to share how posting my food journal on my blog affected my choices yesterday.  If you missed yesterday’s post, you can read my reasons for sharing everything I eat for the week here.   And if you want see a complete list of everything I ate yesterday, click here.

I’m no stranger to tracking, but sharing the details of my intake for everyone to see (if they want to) definitely had a little impact on the choices I made yesterday.  And I’m already thinking about how I can improve on my choices today.

There wasn’t a huge difference in how I tracked yesterday versus other days, and it feels good to recognize that.  But knowing that I planned to share my snacks and meals drove me to be a bit more creative with dinner.  I  baked chicken breasts stuffed with broccoli, cheese and bacon with mashed potatoes and cheesecake cups for dessert.

An old photo of the same dish because I forgot to photograph it today!

I adapted the recipes from one of my favorite sites,  You can find Gina’s *stuffed chicken recipe here and the **cheesecake cups recipe here.  They were both easy to make and satisfying.  I made the chicken pretty regularly when I lived in New York, but this was my first attempt at baking cheesecake cups.

3 P+ of sheer deliciousness!

I baked my first authentic NY cheesecake last Winter for a guy I dated briefly, and you can see it here.  Each slice was valued at 11 P+! In fairness, the servings were bigger, but who needs 11 points of decadence?  The cheesecake cups are perfect because I can enjoy a guilt-free portion, and I can even double it if I want to…and I did. 😉

Tracking often feels like a game in which I attempt to get the most bang for the buck (i.e. the most food for the points,) but yesterday the game seemed to revolve around satisfying my taste buds while making healthy and sustainable choices.  I’m looking forward to seeing what I can come up with today.

What will you eat for dinner tonight?  Do you eat differently when you know others are observing?



*I added a slice of bacon and used half a slice of mozzarella instead of Swiss.

**I used Dannon Vanilla Greek yogurt, left out the lemon zest and substituted with strawberries and blueberries because I had them in the fridge already. =)

Every Day (More Than Just Reflection)

It’s a new year filled with opportunities to make it better than the last, and I am going to do my best to fully embrace that in the coming months. Looking in the mirror and in photos, I see a bloated, not-so-motivated Kenz who needs to look ahead not back.

I’ve made a list of things I can do in order to be successful in the coming year.  It’s not a list of resolutions nor is it rocket science.  It’s just a reminder of the little things I can do to create big success.  If you have something to add to the list, feel free to share it.

  • Drink at least 8 glasses of water per day.  I’m pretty comfortable with this  already because I drink more than that most days, but it makes an incredible difference.  It’s important because I feel fuller and more satisfied when I do this. 
  • Track my food intake daily.  I did this when I started Weight Watchers, and nothing keeps me as honest about what’s going into my mouth.  Some people don’t do it, but it has been such a big part of my success.  And doing it over the last week has made me acutely aware of just how much I’m consuming.
  • Eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables.  This is something I did the first year. Actually, I ate more like 8 to 9 servings per day, and I’m not sure why I’ve let it slip.  I’m not sure why I’ve let any of my habits slip.  Sure, I could provide some pretty solid excuses, but this journey isn’t about that.  It’s about making today better so today I will eat fruits and veggies.  I was craving a banana at lunch so I ate one.  I also love spaghetti squash, apples, sweet potatoes and a variety of other healthy foods so I’ll stock up on those today. 
  • Look in the mirror and take lots of photos.  No one ever has to tell me to take pictures. Ha..I’m pretty obsessed with my camera regardless of what I’m doing.  But over the weekend, I saw myself in photos, and I saw someone who is struggling to keep the weight off.  I looked bloated (which is no surprise since I inhaled about 5,500 mg of sodium more than one or two days in a row.) 
  • Exercise!  Working out has made such a substantial difference in the way I move, the way I feel and the way I look.  I absolutely believe that cardio and strength training has been my best friend along this journey.  So why have I allowed myself to regress?  Asking myself these questions is important, but not as important as doing it anyway.  When I was the healthiest version of myself I exercised even when I didn’t want to, and I often found that I enjoyed it.  I know it may take time to get on fire again, but I’ve said it so many times.  The days that I don’t feel like working out are the most important days to workout.
  • Stay positive.  Losing weight requires a positive attitude.  I’m happy to say that I haven’t lost that, but it’s very important to remember to forgive myself for the mistakes I’ve made.  And I’ve made many. We all make mistakes – big ones even, but we can learn from them and do better. And concentrating on those mistakes will not make the future any better.
  • Be honest with myself and others.  Okay, here it goes.  I’m struggling with weight-loss big time, and it’s not easy to admit that to myself or anyone.  But last night, my mom called me on it.  She lovingly expressed that I’m not doing what made me so successful before, and she’s right.  So there it is.  I’m struggling, but I’m taking baby steps forward.  And I will not quit.

I’m sure I could add many things to this list, but these things will lead healthier, more successful year for me.  There’s a long road ahead, but I’ve experienced enough success to know how great I feel when I’m doing my best. I’m going to remind myself of that everyday if I have to because at this time next year, I want to be much closer to my ultimate goal. 

On The Second Day of Christmas….

My friend, Janna, said to me “Let’s do 30 pushups, and crunches starting with 3 sets of 30!”

Okay folks…it’s time to get to work on Day 2. 🙂

Here’s what I ate today:

Pomegranate and banana…
A lovely salad….

I also ate lean proteins, a sweet potato and other healthy foods. It has been a successful day of eating…good for me, right? 🙂

And my swap prezzie today was awesome! I received Acai Berry Burt’s Bees lip balm and cuticle cream. And I LOVE it! =)

I forgot to photograph it before I ripped the package open. Ha..Thank you Janna!

Fresh Ideas?

I love the produce section, but I tend to find myself buying the same veggies every week. I buy onions, green peppers, bananas, cucumbers, spaghetti squash, apples and zucchini because I never get tired of eating those vegetables. But I’d like some fresh ideas if you have some for me.

When I go to the store later today, I’d like to pick up something different. I’ll buy sweet potatoes which I do from time to time, and perhaps I’ll even grab some navel oranges. I love those, but I had forgotten until I started writing this post. I also discovered that I like tomatoes recently, but I’m picky about them.

I want to add some color to my new fruit basket! Do you have any ideas for me? What are your go-to vegetables? What am I leaving off of my must-have list?

Feelin’ Fine….

I feel like I’m finally getting into a new groove, and it feels good. Being at Mom’s is great, but I have to try harder than usual to be healthy. I don’t have access to a gym here nor do I have as many food options at the supermarket, but it’s still totally possible to be healthy here if I choose to.

My body has been craving whole, healthy foods and exercise so today I made corn salsa – one of my favorite ways to eat veggies. And as I was dicing and chopping I realized that Mom doesn’t have cilantro in the house so I walked about 20 blocks to the grocery store to pick it up then walked home.

The weather here is as beautiful as I can ever remember it being so there was no need for a gym today. I used my legs to accomplish two things at once: buying cilantro to complete the corn salsa and getting my heart pumping.

Now the salsa, which tastes great by the way, is in the fridge, and I can mark working out off of my “things to do” list today. Taking it one day at a time seems to be the best way for me so that’s what I’m going to do.

How’s everyone today? What did you eat for lunch? I had a ham and cheese sandwich with vegetables and multigrain chips and salsa. Just saying…

Losing Control: Seeking To Regain My Mental Grip (Not Pounds)

I knew this week could be stressful so I wrote posts in preparation for being away from the blogosphere for a while, but this post is important. I am too important to let myself regress so I’m going to workout right now then I’ll come back and write.


I’m back after completing a big, sweaty workout. I’m not sure how to begin this post so here it is: I feel like I’m losing control. I’m making choices that I know I don’t really want to make, and I can’t explain why I’m doing it. Over the weekend I indulged in cupcakes and sushi, but what happened on Monday that allowed my brain to think it was okay to eat Kit-Kats? Yes, you read that’s plural.

Over the last few months my eating habits have spiraled, and while I don’t usually eat more than my daily POINTS allowance, I don’t feel as good as I do when I make healthy, responsible choices. I’m not happy with where I am today. I have consumed too much sodium. I have consumed too much crap in general. I started the day by eating a candy bar. What?!

It is so easy to make healthy dishes that are filling and satisfying, but it has been even easier to make lame excuses in my own mind as to why I should just grab something to go. I’m not talking about fast food here. That stuff is gross. But even if my choices could be worse, they are not nearly as good as they have been or should be.

I often say that nothing is off-limits, and that statement is true. But I could be/should be doing so much better with my food choices overall. I typically consume healthy foods (veggies, fiber rich foods, lean proteins) about 85% of the time while eating things like candy or cupcakes or hot chocolate about 15% of the time. And this strategy has worked well for me in the past. But I’m not doing that now…not even close.

When I arrived in Oklahoma over the summer, one of the first places Dad and I ate was Charlie’s Chicken. I had three fried chicken chunks, a side of mashed potatoes and fried okra. It was delicious and easily within my daily POINTS allowance, but that kind of meal is something I should have rarely. And it was the beginning of my downward spiral towards lower quality foods. Thankfully, Charlie’s Chicken is far, far away from New York, but as you can see in previous posts, I’ve managed to eat a few incredibly fattening foods here lately too.

Eating fattening, unhealthy foods is acceptable in my mind when I do it with purpose. When it is my plan to eat something unhealthy, I usually make up for it with healthy choices the rest of the day and week. But my eating and exercise habits have digressed quite a bit over the last 7 days or so. Just one week ago I wrote about regaining control, and I find myself desperately searching for the strength I found to get back in the game. I ate well a few days last week, but I haven’t had a truly healthy day since last Wednesday! This is not acceptable.

I’ve been losing just a little for far too long now. A little loss here and a little loss there is great, but I am capable of so much more! And it’s time for me to start acting like it. My choices need to be better. I feel happier with myself when I make dishes that I’m proud to post on my blog. I feel fuller and more satisfied when I eat 5 to 9 vegetables per day. And I feel proud every time I go to bed knowing that I had enough water that day.

So I’m going to say it again today. I have learned that I have many strengths on this journey, but I still have so many weaknesses. My body craves exercise and healthy foods. I know that because I feel so much better when I give my body the things it needs. I feel it after every workout. And I feel it when I feel satisfied without having a rock in my stomach.

This journey is long, and I’ve come a long way. I’ve come far enough to know that I cannot/will not go back! I love this new life even with my imperfections. I love being a gym member, swimming laps (can’t wait to find a pool again) and working on healthy, satisfying cooking projects.

Perhaps I haven’t fallen off any wagons, but I’ve been dwelling in mediocrity for too long. I have so much to accomplish and so much to live for…and even when times are tough I’m happier knowing that I’m taking care of my body and mind.

I worked out today, and I’ll do it again tomorrow. I’ll make good food choices today then do the same again tomorrow. I’ll do my best right now because that’s all we have. And right now is always a good time to make changes. I can’t do anything about yesterday, but I will do my best once again to be sure that tomorrow is better than today.