Traveling through life with a timer and sneakers

Food

Overnight Oats – HMR Decision Free Portable Breakfast!

It’s been a short stint since I’ve posted (despite having dozens of things I want to share!) – but since I’m up past my bedtime watching election results, I thought I’d share something quick and easy I’ve been enjoying during this stressful time of year (end of the school year is crazy for teachers!).

You can switch up the flavor of pudding, but I like the cheesecake flavor combined with the thick texture of the overnight oats – awesome for breakfast but would also make a great last meal of the night!

HMR Diet Overnight Oats

  • 1 HMR Multigrain Cereal
  • 1 tablespoon fat-free, sugar-free cheesecake flavored pudding mix powder
  • 1 cup water

I mix everything up using a fork (to prevent clumps of powder) in a portable container with a lid. Put in the fridge overnight. The oats and pudding mix absorb the liquid and create a thick, almost solid, oatmeal. Perfect for the post-morning workout meal and easy to transport (I’ve been eating it on my walking commute this week).

You can play with the amount of liquid to get the texture you want. I like it thick and rich, so one cup of water is perfect. And yes, I eat this cold – I have never tried to heat it after soaking it all night.


Disneyland and HMR Healthy Solutions

In 2014 I traveled to Disney world and wrote about staying in my Decision Free Box. Well this weekend I was chaperoning our Senior Trip in Southern California and I wanted to share my day at Disneyland because I wanted to record how I stayed in the HMR Program box while in the “Happiest Place on Earth (with the most delicious smells!)”

I started my morning at the hotel with two big cups of fresh cup fruit and a mug of plain black coffee. The goal today was to eat supportive foods whenever I felt hungry, so I also grabbed a banana and an apple and two cups of grapes to throw in my bag. I was carrying all of my supplies in a super light collapsible pack that prevented me from feeling weighed down or burdened by bringing my own food. In addition to my hotel fruit, I had also brought:

It was a lengthy drive to Disneyland from the city we were staying in, so I enjoyed a chocolate shake and a packet of cookies during the commute.

Once through all the shuttles and security, we started out at California Adventure. I skipped the Soaring ride (I get a little extra queasy on it) and enjoyed my chili and the banana. This helped keep me full since I had been up for quite a few hours at this point in the morning and I could eat the entree without feeling watchful eyes of coworkers, most of whom did not know about HMR.

A little bit later in the morning while my friends enjoyed soft serves and root beer floats, I ordered a Diet Coke and poured it into my shaker bottle. I added a vanilla shake and had my own Diet Coke Float! (Note I shake in the Blender Bottle carefully but then slowly unscrew the lid to release the carbonation rather than pop open the top which causes liquids to fly!).

After traversing California Adventure including riding Guardians of the Galaxy (oofta that one shook me up!), we went over to the Magic Kingdom to grab a Fast Pass for Space Mountain and to have lunch. My friends grabbed pizza in Tomorrowland while I grabbed a plain side salad. I topped it with my Walden Farms dressing and donated the high-calorie dressing to my friends to dip their breadsticks in. Once I finished my salad, I ate my two cups of grapes. I don’t eat a lot of grapes because of the sugar content (they are really sweet to me) but there is something to be said for keeping your hands busy with those little buggers. I also enjoyed sipping on a diet lemonade.

Then we were off to the Matterhorn and then on to Adventureland. At this point in the day it was getting quite warm. I grabbed some fresh mango after we rode the Jungle Cruise to enjoy while in line for Haunted Mansion. It was delicious topped with some Tajin. The line was about an hour, so I finished off my second serving of cookies as well.

After the Haunted Mansion, my friends wanted to get Dole Whip. I wasn’t super hungry but I did feel tempted as it was close to when I would normally eat dinner (but we still had many hours left in the park)… so I ordered a fresh pineapple spear. At this point I was quite full.

Some shows, some more rides, and then we had just an hour left before we left to go back to our hotel. There was a pizza party when we got back to the hotel and some of my coworkers wanted to get a real meal instead of the pizza. So we left the park in search of food. I enjoyed a massive spicy fruit salad at a restaurant in Downtown Disney as well as my 5 Bean entree.

On the bus ride home, shortly before heading into the pizza party, I ended my day of dining with my chocolate Benefit Bar. This special treat left a sweet chocolate taste in my mouth and was the perfect topper to keep me full while in a room full of one of my favorite foods.

I didn’t end up going to bed until about midnight, so it was an incredibly long day. However I stayed in the box (and walked almost 22,000 steps!) which helped keep me motivated to stay in the box during the remainder of the trip.

Have you been to a theme park while in Phase One? Would love to hear how you stayed in the box during your visit!


Healthy Solutions Spaghetti and Fried Ravioli

This recipe can be made with or without the ravioli entree, but after a heavy activity day  it’s super filling and the ravioli feels like a special treat! You can also just make the spaghetti and top it with an entree to save time. I will sometimes batch cook the spaghetti and portion it out to use over the course of a week – sometimes making it with the ravioli, sometimes eating alone, and sometimes topping with another HMR entree like the penne or lasagna.

NOTE: There is no salt/sodium in the spaghetti without the HMR entree sauce added, so if you are having it by itself, you may want to add some salt to amp up the flavor.

Fried Ravioli

  • HMR Ravioli Entree

You will need an air-fryer for this part of the recipe. You could also bake the ravioli or pan fry it if you want. It’s relatively simple! Just scrape the sauce off the ravioli (save it for the spaghetti) and place the ravioli in a single layer in the air-fryer. Cook for 10 minutes at 390 degrees, flipping over once during the cooking process.

Healthy Solutions Spaghetti

Heat a large frying pan to medium-high heat. You may want to use a quick spritz of cooking spray depending on the pan you have chosen (you can also just occasionally sprinkle water as you cook to keep things from sticking).

Cook the onions for several minutes in the hot pan, stirring frequently, until the onions start to soften and start to become translucent. Add the spaghetti squash and Penzey’s spices. Stir to combine and cook for another two minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and stir to combine, cook for one more minute. Finally, add the sauce from the raviolis and stir, cooking for approximately one more minute.

Enjoy the spaghetti with the raviolis on top or on the side. You end up with 4 cups of vegetables and an entree as your incredibly filling meal.


Savory HMR Porridge

When you have been enjoying HMR meals for over four years (yes I used them in Phase Two and Phase One) and nine of those months were an exclusive relationship (Decision Free), sometimes you try out some combinations that don’t necessarily sound appealing to the causal observer.

I have said before that I never post a recipe in this blog that I haven’t tried several times to ensure it’s reasonably accurate and worth sharing. Well today’s post is a recipe I have been making for years but is just strange enough I haven’t shared because I know it’s going to sound odd to almost everyone. But I finally had to confess to my secret love for savory porridge.

Traveling and exploring different cultures through food meant this concept was not new to me. I have had savory porridges in a number of countries. However this unique combination of HMR food puts a special spin on this dish.

Savory HMR Pudding

  • HMR Oatmeal (I pick out the biggest chunks of fruit)
  • HMR Soup
  • 2 tbsp Franks Buffalo Wing Sauce
  • 2/3 cup of water
  • HMR BBQ Chicken Entree (I chop up the chicken into little pieces)

Mix oatmeal and soup together in a large microwave safe bowl. Add in wing sauce and water and stir until it all mixes together. Microwave for 3 minutes.

When you remove from microwave, the porridge will have thickened but upon stirring you will still find it is oatmeal-like in consistency. Add in the BBQ chicken entree (yes the whole shebang) and stir. Microwave for another 90 seconds.

Remove from microwave and enjoy. Warning it will be hot!

You can microwave for longer to thicken the porridge into almost a savory bread. You can also add more water initially if you want a soupier consistency. I have found the measurements above to be perfect for the consistency I enjoy which is a thick savory porridge with a little heat from the wing sauce, sweet from the bbq sauce and tiny bits of fruit, salty and almost a little cheesy from the soup.

This dish sticks inside of me and keeps me full for hours. I will often eat it the night before a big run or eat it right before heading off to a social event as I know it will fuel me and keep me away from temptations for hours.

Let me know if you try this and what you think! Or if you have your own HMR savory porridge recipe!


When you just can’t ignore the sweet tooth

It’s been a rough couple of weeks in our house and through it all, I’ve fought to stay in my Healthy Solutions Box (aside from when I had Strep last week and could barely get down water, forget a veggie or entree!). I know it’s been rough because my fruit consumption has drastically increased over my veggies, as I’ve been choosing berries over broccoli in my emotion-clouded mood. Don’t get me wrong, I know fruit is awesome and it’s not a terrible choice. But I also recognize I just wanted something sweet because I associate sweet with happier times.

With one shake left to get in my minimum prescription tonight, I opted to have a special treat saved only for that rare moment when I need an extra kick to keep me in the box. And yes I call Benefit Bars “candy bars” – because it helps to remind me they are a “sometimes food” – a tool but more energy dense and addicting than other HMR foods.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Candy Bar Pudding

  • HMR 70 chocolate shake packet
  • 1/2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tbsp PB2
  • 1 tbsp Torani sugar-free salted caramel syrup
  • 2-3 oz cold water
  • HMR peanut butter Benefit bar

Mix the shake, cocoa and PB2 together in a bowl. Add syrup and slowly add cold water. The amount of water is a personal decision depending on how thick you want the pudding. Normal HMR pudding is 2oz but with the additional dry ingredients it can be more like a dough.

Place in freezer to expedite the thickening. While it chills, chopped up Benefit bar. Mix into pudding. I actually throw the bowl back into the freezer so I end up with a pretty solid pudding with frozen chunks of candy bar.

This is a more caloric way of enjoying your HMR foods – so I don’t have it often. However it is an easy and relatively quick way to prepare a sweet treat when you need something special.


HMR Healthy Solutions Peanut Butter Chocolate Banana Bars

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A couple of weeks ago I went camping and trail running – all while staying in the HMR Program Healthy Solutions Box. However I had to plan ahead and prepare foods that would be supportive of both the HMR program, but also of the endurance activities I would be participating in. With no way to heat up my normal oatmeal in the morning, I got creative!

These bars are a higher calorie food that are relatively compact in nature. While I wouldn’t make them every day, it was a method of combining foods I use to fuel before long runs in a portable manner. My normal oatmeal with a tbsp of PB2 and a side of banana would have been much higher in volume, and I honestly wouldn’t have had the shake because I would have already been full. However this worked for me for fueling for the trail half and also gave me some additional snacks to enjoy during the weekend when other people were recovering with bagels and beer.

HMR Healthy Solutions Peanut Butter Chocolate Banana Bars

  • 1 HMR Oatmeal
  • 1 HMR 70 Chocolate Shake
  • 1 tbsp PB2
  • 1 tbsp Fat-Free Sugar-Free Banana Pudding Mix
  • 1 small ripe banana
  • 4 ounces water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mash the banana in a mixing bowl and add the dry ingredients to it. Slowly add the water in until you get a cookie dough consistency (you may not need all of the water depending on the size and ripeness of the banana – both of which will impact overall moisture of the batter).

Scoop out dough on a cookie sheet lined with a silicone mat. I shaped the dough like bars, but you could easily just put scoops out and end up with cookies.

Bake for 15-20 minutes (will depend on your oven calibration and moisture content of your dough) until your bars are baked through. They may still be slightly soft on the underside, but I found flipping them on to a paper towel will allow them to cool while the steam escapes. Leaving them on the hot pan could cause textural issues as the steam tries to escape and is trapped.

One recipe made 4 bars. I doubled the batch for the weekend I went camping and it was plenty for fueling and recovery (it was super delicious to pair a bar with a shaken HMR chocolate shake over ice post-run).


Celebrating 4/20 the HMR Healthy Solutions Way!

Did you know April 20th was a day recognized around the country as a very special day? It’s true! On 4/20, people around the country gather together to recognize National Pineapple Upside Down Cake Day!

What better way to celebrate than with an HMR muffin! These won’t quite replicate the cake itself (but to be honest I have forgotten what that cake tastes like), however reading through a number of recipes and descriptors, I have crafted what I think is pretty darn tasty.

I have to thank one of my HMR Program classmates who mentioned making muffins with canned pineapple for the inspiration behind this recipe. (She also recommended what our class calls “The Rosé” – a double entree mixing the Penne and Alfredo – SO GOOD) I LOVE being inspired by my classmates – their stories and experiences motivate me going into rough weeks as I reflect on the lessons I have learned from them.

HMR Pineapple Muffins

  • HMR Oatmeal packet
  • HMR 70 Vanilla packet
  • 8 ounce can of crushed pineapple in it’s own juice
  • 1 tsp rum extract
  • 1/2 tbsp baking powder
  • 2 pumps Torani Sugar-Free Coconut Syrup

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare your baking tins. I use a silicone mini muffin tin which expedites cooking time while making it easy for quick release – I also use a quick spritz of cooking spray in the tin before filling it with batter – this also helps with release of the baked muffins.

Mix all of the ingredients together. Fill batter tins. It’s really that easy. The liquids from the pineapple, extract, and syrup are enough to moisten the batter. If you don’t like rum and coconut extract you could easily sub those out. I’m thinking the brown sugar syrup and vanilla extract might be nice as well. Or a brandy extract and a cherry syrup. I was going for a bit of tropical flair after being inspired by my classmate, but the possibilities are endless!

Bake for approximately 15 minutes until the tops of the muffins have browned. Then pop them out of the muffin tins to cool. Your baking time may vary based on oven calibration and muffin tins used.