Seriously people, the Ninja, is awesome!

So, for all 11 years of marriage, Jeff and I have had the saddest little blender.  It was either my mom’s or my mother-in-law’s blender originally and sometime while I was in college, she got a new one and gave me hers.  I guess we never got one as a wedding gift and just never got around to buying a new one.  Well, all of that changed today.  I broke down and bought the Ninja Kitchen System and I absolutely love it already.  Since I am on this journey to being healthier, I decided I should get on the bandwagon for making vitamin filled smoothies and the first one I made today did not disappoint.  Here is all it was:

2 cups ice

1 cup strawberries

1/2 of a banana

3 hands full of fresh spinach

3/4 cup low fat vanilla yogurt (I used Lowes Foods Brand)

Just pop it all in the small Ninja Blender and chop for about 60-90 sec.  It is delicious!  I made Will one before mine with everything but the spinach but next time I will throw the spinach in his too.  Poor kid doesn’t feel well, I didn’t want to hurt his feelings by making him drink spinach this morning.  So all in all I am thrilled with this purchase.  It was $159.99 at Bed Bath and Beyond and I was even able to use the 20% off coupon that we all get in the mail all the time so it was only $127.99 with that.  Great buy in my opinion!  After running this morning, my oatmeal was long gone so the smoothie was a welcome treat to fill me back up.

Here is what all I ate today (I am drinking water throughout the day and trying to get in more than 64 oz per day)

6:45am – breakfastQuaker Oatmeal Maple Brown Sugar

10:30am – Spinach Smoothie (see recipe above)

12:30pm – lunch – Chicken Salad Sandwich on whole wheat bread with a HUGE honey crisp apple (YUM)

1:00 – guilty pleasure snack – I was craving something chocolate and I caved in and had a mini Heath Bar from the leftover Halloween Candy.  But, I did just have one and at least it was a mini.  A week ago I would have had a few!

2:30 – New Discovery Snack – I need salsa in my life to survive and I have been trying to figure out how to eat it without the guilt of eating tortilla chips.  Those Quaker Mini Rice Cakes from yesterday are delicious dipped in homemade salsa for a snack with few calories and very little fat.

7:00pm – Dinner (and I am starving!) – No-guilt Chicken & Dumplings

2 qt plus 5 cups water

3-4 stalks of celery with leaves

Handful of mini carrots

1/2 of a meduim onion sliced

6 boneless skinless chicken breast tenders

salt & pepper

2 cups AP flour (plus a little more for dusting)

1/3 cup butter (I only had regular butter but I would recommend using reduced fat butter)

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

dried parsley

Combine first 6 ingredients in a large pot & bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 1-2 hours.  Remove veggies to a blender or food processor (I used the fabulous aforementioned Ninja)  and chicken to a cutting board where you will shred chicken.  Strain broth and reserve 2/3 of a cup to use with the dumplings.  Return remaining broth to the pot along with the shredded chicken.  Add approximately 1 cup of broth to blender and liquify veggies, then return it to the pot with broth and chicken.  This is a great way to keep from losing all the vitamins that cook out of the veggies.  Just use it all!  Salt & pepper broth to taste.

While this is returning to a low boil, cut butter into flour, baking powder, and salt with a pastry cutter until it is crumbly.  Slowly add reserved broth stirring with a fork just until it is moistened.  Roll out dough to 1/8 in thickness and cut into 2 inch squares.  Carefully drop dumplings into boiling water and simmer for 5-10 min.

This is a GREAT alternative to the often fatty chicken and dumpling recipes.  The boneless skinless chicken has very little fat and you can control the amount of fat in the dumplings based on the type of butter you use.  Makes 6-8 servings with about 8 grams of fat if you use full fat butter.  It was delicious!  Jeff and I had it with a big side salad with my favorite Makoto Ginger Dressing and the kids had it with grilled cheese on whole wheat so everyone was happy.

At this point in the week, I am still happy and feeling full.  I am not dieting, just eating better.  If tomorrow, I want another mini Heath Bar, I am probably going to have one… and smile while eating it!

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