Menu Making for 400 Calorie Meals or Less Made Easy!

Friday, January 31, 2014
400 Calorie Meal or Less- Maple Mustard Pork with Carmelized Apples on 2011 Original Livliga Plate (photo by LivligaHome)

This past week has been great for going down memory lane. I started my blog on May 2, 2011... nearly 3 years ago. I am a mom, working hard to build her own business. It is so wonderful to me to think just shy of 3 years ago my blog has had well over 28,000 pageviews.

It is funny to see how I categorized things "way back when". I wasn't very good at providing links either. This year I have a goal to provide a list of visible labels for my readers to see and to add more usable labels like "fish",  "chicken", "beef" and "muffins". This should make it so much easy to search my blog and find recipes and menus that appeal to you. It won't be perfect but it will be so much easier!

To that end, I went back over all my discussions about recipes and menus to find those that were 400 Calories or less for a meal. Good news is there are many. In fact I am still working on the total list but wanted to offer what I have without any more delay. You can now find it on the right-hand side of my blog under "Labels" or you can just click on 400 Calorie or Less Meals to see the list I have assembled.

There is a great variety of choice. Take a look:

Chicken Tagine
Yummy Cheesburger
Tasty Soup
Spinach, Mushroom and Feta Frittata
Maple Mustard Pork with Carmelized Apples
Seasame Shrimp Salad

Seasame Shrimp Salad

And there are so many more! Enjoy the journey and let me know how you like the updates and better access. Here's to a great...and more organized 2014!

Enjoy! And Live Vibrant!


Picturing Portion Sizes Sounds Easy...but it's not!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Livliga takes the guess work out of serving sizes (photo by LivligaHome)

Picturing portion sizes seems like such an easy concept. I recently read an article that goes through step by step images to help you gage appropriate serving sizes for the different food groups. The problem is we are leaving it up to our eyes to judge what a light bulb's worth of fruit looks like. In reality it is asking too much of our eyes to be that accurate.

A great point the article makes is that we often confuse a portion with a serving size. In fact, that is where we so often have problems with managing our weight. We really don't know what a recommended serving size is for the different food groups like protein, starch/grain or vegetable.

In truth, this is a great article to point out Why Livliga Works. Livliga is way easier to use than remembering what shape and size a light bulb or cupcake wrapper is. Guaranteed, we are more likely to imagine a larger light bulb... and are we talking florescent or LED? And who can remember if the light bulb size is for protein, fruit or grain?
Each circle or line is a specific measurement that is a serving size for each food goup (photo by LivligaHome)
 Our eyes are not exact in guiding us to right-sized servings. Our eyes can only help us relatively. And as studies have shown our eyes lead us to pouring more wine than we think or serving ourselves more food than we realize. That is why Livliga is extremely helpful. It takes the guesswork out and gives us the literal cues we need to right size our portions in a subtle and beautiful way. Who wants to remember all those serving sizes anyway!?!

Live Vibrant!

Great Healthy Living Quote #79-- Every New Day is a Chance to Change

Monday, January 27, 2014
Chance For Change


Make it a great day....and remember, Live Vibrant!

Jumpstart Your Livliga Lifestyle with our Get Started Guide!

Muffins Can be a Treasure Trove of Health and Deliciousness

Friday, January 24, 2014
health, muffins, healthy recipes, recipes, kid-friendly recipe, vegetarian, healthy eating
Muffins are a Treasure Trove of Deliciousness (photo by livligahome)

Muffins can be a treasure trove of health and deliciousness.  You can combine any number of ingredients to satisfy your cravings. They can be light and airy or dense and hearty.  They can be packed full of goodness to ward off colds and build your immune system with ingredients like herbs and spices to dried fruits and honey. And you can let your creativity flow with the seasons, using the fresh ingredients available. It is also fun to seek out locally produced ingredients like the herbs and honey mentioned above. Then there are the vegetables like pumpkin in the fall or zucchini in the summer, just to name a couple of examples. They can be a nutritional part of any meal.

Muffins are easy to make with just a few ingredients. And fortunately, unlike loaves of bread, they don’t take long to bake. Most freeze well so you can make a batch and save some later for other meals or snacks. They work well for our busy lifestyles.
For those of us concerned about what we eat and the calories we consume, muffins are ideal. Muffins are pre-packaged in individual servings. You know what you are eating and what the calories are for each muffin.

My current favorite healthy and hearty muffin is a Whole Wheat Dried Apricot Muffin. Here is the recipe:

  • 1 cup unbleached flour
  • ⅔ cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons grated orange rind
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup lowfat buttermilk
  • ¼ cup light butter, melted
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup liquid egg (i.e., Egg Beaters)
  • 1 cup finely chopped dried apricots
  • Cooking Spray

1. Spoon flours into measuring cups; level with a knife.
2. Combine flours, sugar, orange rind, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center.
3. Combine buttermilk, light butter, vanilla and liquid egg. Add to flour mixture. Stir just until moist.
4. Fold in apricots.
5. Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray.
6. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched in the center.
7. Remove from muffin pan and serve.

Yield: 12 muffins. Calories per muffin: 126.

For other muffin inspirations, check out my blog for “Healthy Muffins”.

Enjoy! And Live Vibrant!

Re-posted from Sheila's Blog on

New Year, Fresh Start!--What are the tools we need?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014
New Year, Fresh Start! Buy a Livliga Starter Kit and get 20% off any other sets of Livliga! (photo by LivligaHome)

How do we set ourselves up for success rather than giving up on our New Year's Resolutions before we even get started? It's easy! Commit to right-sizing your food environment with Livliga.

New Year, Fresh Start! Buy a Livliga starter kit & use the code FRESH20 for 20% off any other dishware set (wine glasses, water glasses, bowls, salad plates, mugs, Kidliga, you name it). Your starter kit comes in either pattern-- Vivente or Hälsa. Which one will you choose? Offer is good through January 25, 2014. Don't delay!

We want to make it easy for you to meet your 2014 goals - head on over to our store to get started:

Enjoy the #LivligaLifestyle.   Live Vibrant!

Great Healthy Living Quote # 78--Decide Who You Will Be

Monday, January 20, 2014
The Person You Decide to Be
#HappyMonday and #MondayInspirations!

Make it a great day and don't forget to Live Vibrant!


Menu Making for 400 Calorie Meals (or less)

Sunday, January 19, 2014

This all started because I was watching "The Doctors" on television during lunch. As their guest they had Rocco Dispirito, a chef, touting his new book, Now Eat This! Diet! I was so taken with the whole premise--eating delicious food that was visually appealing, made from real ingredients, tasty AND good for you. It seemed too good to be true. When in doubt, I research! I got on line to learn more about him and his books. It seemed legit--he is a chef who started experimenting with ingredients to make recipes healthier and yet keep the taste appealing and the amount reasonable. He even did a stint for "The Biggest Loser" helping come up with better alternatives for long time favorites of the contestants. His book seemed worth a try!

I have now tried his recipes, as have my husband and daughter, and we are all loving the food! I have not been reduced to "cheating" once. I do get hungry and always have that late afternoon craving, but what I eat is so satisfying I do not need more. I think his premise of eating 6 times a day is key. I can't not eat between my three big meals a day. And one or two of the snacks are often cookies, Popsicle or muffins (with low glycemic indexes). I don't just get to eat carrots, celery and apples!

We are currently using his 14 day meal plan. All the recipes are good but the daily menu planning is a little wanting. Yesterday, for instance, we ate two breaded recipes--a Filet-O-Fish sandwich for lunch and a breaded Chicken Amandine for dinner. I love planning weekly menus so I am looking forward to creating new weekly menus this next week and sharing them. The new goal will be to plan daily menus with a total of 1200 - 1300 calories. The recipes will come from 4 cookbooks I have found which all focus on eating well, eating lighter and where the portion sizes are no more than 400. The books are:

Now Eat This  by  Rocco Dispirito
Now Eat This! Diet  by  Rocco Dispirito
Light & Healthy 2011  by the Editor's of America's Test Kitchen
400 Calorie Fix  by Liz Vaccariello

All the menus will come from these resources. I plan on noting the resource and the page number for those who want to use my planning. Eventually I want to see how I can share my shopping lists as well...stay tuned!

No Fuss Vegetarian Crockpot Lasagna

Friday, January 17, 2014
No Fuss Crockpot Lasagna (photo by LivligaHome)
After the holidays I am "done" with complicated meals and all the cooking! And then the New Year rolls around and I am motivated to exercize more and eat right. How to make it all work? I turn to my crockpot. It is easy, no fuss, and by getting it done all at once it frees up more time for me to fit in my exercize.

A family favorite is a Cooking Light Slow Cooker recipe from a cookbook I have had for years. Goods news is I found it on so I can easily share it with you. It is called Pesto Lasagna with Spinach and Mushrooms. It is packed full of good, healthy ingredients like fresh spinach and sliced mushrooms. It also has four cheeses in it-- mozarella, provolone, ricotta and parmesan. It is rich and delicious and only 398 calories per serving.

To make it a meal I added a tossed green salad with some fruit and my light vinaigrette (30 cal per 2 Tbs) and a whole wheat roll (110 cal/Alexia) for a total calorie count of 538. This is a great family meal but can also be a great weekend meal with friends. And since it is vegetarian you can serve it to a broad range of people. They will all love your for it!

Enjoy! And Live Vibrant!

Starving Your Fears Is The Key To Change

Wednesday, January 15, 2014
I find I get motivation and inspiration wherever I roam on the internet. Recently I read a very truthful post from Kurt Smith that I wanted to share with you. Made me think about how I use food and make the same excuses. Fear can suffocate our motivation and dreams. Let's make this the year to feed our souls and starve our fears! Are you with me!?!

Feed Your Souls and Starve Your Fears

It’s that time of year when many of us are thinking about making changes. But it’s easy to feed our fears and convince ourselves that things can’t change.

You may have thought of resolving to stop smoking or start exercising or spend more time with your family. But then that little voice inside your head reminded you that you’ve tried that before and failed – so why will this time be any different? And having fed your fears, you chose to do nothing instead.

Dale Carnegie gave some great advice when he said, “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”

Do you want to know how to starve your fears? Take Carnegie’s advice, and “go out and get busy.” Take small steps toward change, and your fears will wither away.

Download Your FREE Copy: Emotional Barriers to Sustained Weight Loss Success

Great Healthy Living Quote # 77--Today is the Right Day

Monday, January 13, 2014
Today is the Day!

Get Your FREE Download of Our Healthy Lifestyle & Weight Loss eBook

Barrier and Weather Free Work Outs

Friday, January 10, 2014
We still need the work out despite the weather or our current location. (photo by LivligaHome)
I am always looking for ways to keep myself motivated and moving. According to experts like Dr. Jim Hill (The Step Diet) the main goal for everyday workouts is to move at least 30 minutes a day and preferably 60 minutes for the healthiest of lifestyles.

How to fit this amount of exercise in? It all depends on your priorities and your daily demands. Click here to read the entire article...

Re-posted from Sheila's Blog on

Food is One of Our Most Faithful Teachers

Wednesday, January 8, 2014
Food is One of Our Most Faithful Teachers (photo by LivligaHome)

Most of us have an ambivalent relationship with food rather than a benevolent one. As this segment from Mark David's Psychology of Eating blog points out "Life is a classroom, and for many of us food is one of our most faithful teachers". Read on for more great insight about the "you in food".

Food is Teaching Us, Helping Us Grow - If you are ready to walk through that door, then the first thing we tend to see, in our brave new world, is that our relationship with food is here to teach us, and is here to help us grow. It’s as simple as that. You don’t need to make it any more complicated. I’m not saying it isn’t easy to deal with our challenges with food and body, I’m simply saying that in principle, there’s nothing wrong with us because we have a food, weight or body challenge. Life is a classroom, and for many of us food is one of our most faithful teachers. If you’re willing to be a good student, the learning will be forthcoming. You’ll need to study a bit, the tests might be challenging, but life will always give you a passing grade for your hard won efforts. For many people, this is a significant and powerful change in worldview. And I believe, an extremely necessary one. If we want true hope for our eating challenge, then we need to see that despite the difficulty of it, there is a hidden benevolent function within it. It’s doing its best to be a great teacher for us. And with great teaching comes great learning, and great results. We don’t always get to choose, so it seems, the lessons that we learn – but if you get on board with the wisdom of life, then I personally promise you that, within time, your eating challenge will transform into a source of wisdom, strength, and compassion.

See more at:

Great Healthy Living Quote #76-- Today is Your Day to Start Fresh!

Monday, January 6, 2014
Great Healthy Living Quote #76 (LivligaHome)
Happy New Year!
Here's to Living Vibrant in 2014!

Jumpstart Your Livliga Lifestyle with our Get Started Guide!

First New Year's Resolution--Create a New Workout Playlist for 2014

Wednesday, January 1, 2014
First New Year's Resolution

The beginning of a New Year is always a great time to re-up, re-do and re-plenish ourselves. I came across this fun blog which lists the top workout tunes from 2013. Most of them I do not have cued up in my iPod so they are a fun treat. A great way to use some of my holiday gift money to invest in me a little bit by downloading these tunes for my daily workouts. New tunes for a New Year. An easy and fun way to get started on the right foot in the new year. Check out the whole blog for the entire list and see which ones you want to download to spice up your first week of 2014 workouts. Happy Healthy New Year!

No. 1 Workout Song of the Year:
Katy Perry

No. 2:
Robin Thicke
Blurred Lines

No. 3:
Alicia Keys
Girl On Fire

No. 4:
Lady Gaga

No. 5:
Just Give Me a Reason