Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Little Update, Vegetable Lasagna, and Starbucks

The last few days have been pretty successful. Not perfect, by any means, but the junk food, fast food craziness has finally stopped. I've been drinking my water and tea, and I rode my bike on Monday and Wednesday for 30 minutes each day. I am going to ride again when I am done writing here! I am also going to lift weights today. It feels good to GET MOVING again! It gets the blood flow going and invigorates me.

The other day I made a vegetable lasagna. I chopped up every vegetable I had sitting in my fridge: a great big onion, a red pepper, half a green pepper, a yellow pepper, 5 cloves of garlic, a small head of broccoli, a giant leek, a couple of small yellow crookneck squash, some celery, and a potato. I sauteed this huge amount of veggies in some olive oil until they were soft, and then I added a 14-oz can of diced tomatoes and half of a small can of tomato paste. I added about 6oz of red wine, and simmered all of this for about 40 minutes until it was soft. Then I added some freshly snipped sage and rosemary, and a few tablespoons of dried basil, and a bit of dried parsley and salt. Then I used my hand blender to smash up some of the veggies together into a sauce but left some chunks, too.

I took an eggplant (peeled) and a couple of large zucchinis and sliced them lengthwise about 1/4" thick, and broiled them for a couple minutes until they were soft. Then I made the vegetable lasagna:

I layered the vegetable sauce, the eggplant/zucchini "noodles", low fat mozzarella cheese, and a bit of white sauce I made with wheat flour, a bit of butter, and skim milk (you could use light ricotta instead). I also layered in some fresh baby spinach. On top I finished with sauce, more cheese and freshly grated Parmesan. I baked it at 425 degrees with a greased, loose foil cover for about 45 minutes. It was great.

Last night after a long hard day, I was really craving some comfort. You know the feeling. And what did I crave? A Starbucks salted caramel hot chocolate. Oh yeah. I just wanted to sit down after dinner and sip THAT. And I had to go to the store for milk... and there is a Starbucks inside the store... so off I went. Imagine my dismay as I was finishing up my grocery shopping and noticed that the Starbucks was CLOSED!! They apparently aren't open late at night, go figure. So I swung back around to the hot cocoa aisle to see what I could whip up for myself.

I stood there for a long time, looking at the big bags of gourmet hot chocolate. 240 calories for 8 oz? Hmmm. I didn't think I could justify THAT. I looked at the junkier cocoas without real chocolate in them... 140 calories in a cup. But then I would have a huge container of cocoa on hand and I have a *thing* about chocolate: it disappears within hours of entering my house... and I have been known to actually mix up brownie batter using hot cocoa mix when I was desperate. I picked up a bag of hot cocoa mix. I walked around the aisles with it in my hand. Finally I set it down and got out of there. Yes, I considered getting the "diet" hot cocoa for 25 calories, but I've had it before and I didn't like it. So I just left. After I paid for my groceries and got into my car, I thought, "way to go, self. I'll just go home and have hot tea instead." And then as I was pulling out I saw the OTHER Starbucks down the street with its LIGHTS on!! It looked open. I started towards it, I peered closer, then I said to myself, "quit it, just go have your tea" and I went on past without looking to see for sure if it was open. I came home and had Pumpkin Spice tea with a bit of skim milk and agave nectar, and it was very nice and comforting.

You can imagine my jaw dropping when I came home, looked up the Starbucks hot chocolate on their website and discovered that a Grande (medium) salted caramel hot chocolate made with low fat milk has 620 calories!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHAT???? OMG. Now yes if you ask for no whipped cream you can save some calories and cut it down to... 550 calories!!! OMG, no wonder everyone is so fat!! If you got a Venti (large) with whole milk and whipped cream, it has 790 freaking calories and 40 GRAMS OF FAT!!! STARBUCKS!! What are you thinking????? I am just THRILLED that I saved myself 620 calories and instead drank a 50 calorie cup of hot tea!! Even if you get your Starbucks hot chocolate as a Tall (small) with NO whipped cream and SKIM milk, it has 400 calories and 15 grams of fat! Shame on you Starbucks! That's just crazy! Put the calorie count on the cup, at least, so people realize that one beverage could take up 2/3 of their daily calories!

Rant over. Anyway I am doing better, and I am down to 233 (from my high of 237). Onward and downward.


Cathy said...

Wow! Although that hot chocolate from Starbucks must taste out of this world, it is not worth the calories for me!

Good eye opener! Thank you!

new*me said...

woo-hoo girl!!!!!!!!!! I would save Starbucks treats for a once every 3 months special occasion ;)

Not only was the tea a better choice calorie wise, you also put something good for you in your body ;)

And down 4 lbs! You are doing it!

Emily said...

That lasagna recipe sounds delicious! In college we used to get veggie lasagna with zucchini "noodles"...some people thought it was weird, but I always really liked the taste, and it's a great way to get some more veggies. Congrats on the past few days, you're doing great.

ryry the adventurous said...

That is a GREAT story!!! Very inspiring to see you back on track... busting to get there myself too. That veggie lasagna sounds so awesome. I will have to try it!!

Pubsgal said...

Yep, that's why I like to before I go:

On the good side, if you like their sugar-free options, a small Skinny Caramel Latte is only 60 calories (8 oz., and assuming non-fat milk and no whipped cream). I keep meaning to try one myself, but I usually reach for the tea, too. But your tea sounded really tasty, Lyn! (If you haven't already, try the Good Earth Original Flavor--very cinnamon-orangey.)

Glad you're hanging tough and sounding strong! :-) Go Lyn!!!

Anne said...

Hard ti imagine that many calories in a drink! Just not worth it at all!

You are going well:-)

Lauren said...

wow, down 4 pounds, that's awesome. My starbucks drink of choice is the Venti Iced chai tea latte. It has 350 calories. sigh. that's with 2% milk. I live in korea, so I only can get it when I go to the city, but still, and I wish they had skim milk here.

Karyn said...

The veggie lasagna sounds great!

Good for you to drive by the Starbucks after leaving the chocolate behind in the store.

And now, you have a good reason to drive by Starbucks. Another WTG for looking up the information! Those numbers are crazy!

spunkysuzi said...

I'm impressed you chose the tea ;) And i definitely won't be getting a hot chocolate from starbucks any time soon!!

Dinah Soar said...

Way to dodge a bullet!!

Sometimes at night when I want a hot comforting drink I have some almond milk, only 40 calories a cup, heated in the microwave with some vanilla flavoring and sweetener...and a sprinkle of cinnamon on's pretty tasty too...I use a small tea cup, about 6 ounces...if you like skim milk powder reconstituted you could use it for 80 calories an 8 ounce cup...also, you can add the liquid coffee creamers--they come in lots of flavors and are about 45 cals a tablespoon for the ones with sugar...I like the International Delight brand because they don't use hydrogenated oils...they use palm oil which has a good blend of sat/poly/mono fat.

Also--you veggie lasagna sounded delish! said...

Good for you! Riding my bike right now as I read blogs. Almost said nah, too tired, going to bed... but decided to at least do my daily minimum.

Once Upon A Dieter said...

I'm so glad you're having good days and winning temptation's battles!

I think Starbucks should offer lower calorie options on more beverages and foods, including the hot and iced chocolate. I got a taste of the signature hot chocolate and it was crazy delicious. But I refuse to order it, cause I assumed it was a calorie nightmare. Tempted like mad, though.

I have my regular faves--skinny cinnamon dolce latte grande, iced--which is less than 100 calories. And I like the nonfat vanilla latte with protein, iced (you gotta tell them to mix the protein with the hot coffee so it mixesi n, otherwise, disgusting). The light mocha frappucino tastes like a lot more calories than it actually is...But it's a rare-ish treat.

When I want a splurge, I go for a caramel macchiato, nonfat, with whipped cream. Dang. Yum. Bad, though. All that sugar and fat. Urp.

May you continue to make great choices.

The Princess

Anonymous said...

Way to go Lynnnnn, i definetely know what you mean by comfort, thx for the story, ur awesome, keep finding comfort in things other than food. u rock


Skinny Inside said...

I was totally thinking...yum, salted caramel cocoa must taste awesome...but 650 calories! Good job choosing the tea. How did tea get 50 calories? from the milk?

I made zucchini lasagna just the other day, with meat, though. I think I'll do eggplant as well next time, thanks for the idea!

By the way, my recent post on "What Fills Me?" was totally inspired by you!

Elsha said...

It is amazing how high in calories starbucks is, when you are drinking something, it is hard to even contemplate those calories. Well done for having the tea instead!

Lynne said...

GOOD Lyn, Crisis averted and lesson learned - Know what you are putting in your body before you do it!

Big hugs for all of your crisis'I know how you feel and I hope you know that I read when I don't write. I am hoping your daughter is doing well.

Take care of yourself. You sound MUCH MUCH better - Keep it up!! (and the weight down!)

Petunia said...

Wow -- that vegetable lasagna sounds amazing.

GREAT for you on the eye opening Starbuck realization.

I know. I get cravings like that too -- mostly frozen yogurt -- where I get obsessed with getting it.

Great job on the scale -- let's keep it going!

Just think -- we aren't going to lose a ton of weigh overnight, but many consecutive days of eating mindfully feels great instantly!

Julie said...

I have had the tall hot chocolate there (I had the signature HC made w/skim) and it was 7 pts but it was very filling and very rich.

Anonymous said...

Lyn, may I ask where you found the pumpkin spice tea? I see a craving for pumpkin pie in my future and this will probably help!

Keep up your good work!

Lyn said...


The Pumpkin Spice tea is made by Bigelow. It comes in an orange box and I found it in the tea aisle (on a display) in the grocery store, along with Apple Cider Tea. Yum! They were 2/$4! It has real pumpkin flakes in it!

Skinny Inside~

Yes, the tea got 50 calories from the milk and agave nectar I added. The tea itself has 0 calories but I added a generous amount of skim milk and about a teaspoon of agave.

Sheri said...

WTG Lyn! I thought that Starbucks treat would have been higher than the items you mentioned in the hot chocolate isle.

One thing I have determined from reading on-line nutruition facts (which sometimes undercut the truth) is that the more luxurious, silk and soothing an item is, the higher it is in calories. So if its way too good and I crave it way too much than changes are the calories and fat are way to high!

Sarah said...

Hey Lyn!
Sorry to hear that you have been struggling, but you keep going. That is so key you are making the changes that will last a life time. Often I think that people fail at weight loss b/c when they hit a rough patch they just give up or sooth with food. Bad habits are so hard to change, but with practice and time it does get easier. It is so easy to go from really good to really bad in the span of an afternoon. And then mentally to get back into the healthy mind set seems almost impossible. But it is possible and are doing it. Good for you.

I am amazed that the cocoa has so many calories. The difference between that and their regular hot chocolate is that the signature is a blend of cocos and something else that makes it so creamy mixed into skim milk and allowed to set. I'm skeptical of he skim milk, but no doubt it's the creamy/thickening agent that is adding the calories, that and all the sugar!

Keep up the good work!

gillian said...

Way to go on avoiding the Starbucks! It's shocking how they can fit so many calories into such a relatively small little cup.

Anonymous said...

Should there be an ethical standards for food retailers? You have touch on an important issue. "How can starbucks do this?" I agree with that being a legitimate question. Its easy to create a food or drink that tastes really really fantastic, if you dispense with any notion of impact on health.

I understand that California has successfully past legislation that forces all food retailers (restaurants) to include calorie count on menus. I think this will help discourage heavy calorie items from being produced in the first place.


bbubblyb said...

Way to go Lyn, I just loved reading about how you made it through. Then to find out how many calories it was just made it all the better that you made it through. Hope you are giving yourself big pats on the back, you sure deserve them.

PaulaM said...

There's a push in CA right now to force all restaurants to list the calories in their food items. I think it's a fantastic idea, cause I really do believe most people are grossly underestimating how much they are eating and drinking. Those Starbuck stats are flooring me!

Ceres said...

Starbucks actually does list their calories in certain locations; I'm pretty sure they had their nutritional information up on the board in one of their cafes in NYC... I guess they respond to popular demand in the city :-) I always get either regular coffee of the day and add milk, or a "skinny latte" (skinny is code for nonfat, no sugar :-))
That lasagna sounds awesome!