Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Philly Cheesesteak Lettuce Wraps

Hello again!

I may have mentioned this before, but I only recently started eating steak. I KNOW. Weird. Growing up, I never liked it. I can't even remember what made me try it again after years of not liking it, but the important thing is that I did. And it was like a light bulb went off over my head. Like, "what took you so long?" Or, "where have you been all my life?"

Because now I'm all about <3 steak <3.

Over the summer, I tried my first Philly Cheesesteak. My dad made it. Steak and peppers and onions grilled to perfection on a roll and topped with melted cheese. It was a life-changing moment, I guess, because since then I've been a steak lover.

For this recipe, I had to cook a steak for the first time. I decided to use my George Foreman Grill to cook it, and it came out pretty good.

After the steak was cooked, I cut it up and put it back on the Foreman to melt the cheese. If you don't have a Foreman, you can grill the steak, cook it in the over, or sear it - whatever you choose. You can also use a broiler to melt the cheese when you're done.

Here's a tip for melting the cheese using a Foreman: once the steak and cheese are back on the grill, DON'T close the grill all the way. I just held the lid about an inch above the cheese for 30-45 seconds and it melted the cheese really fast.

This recipe is super easy. The most time consuming thing is cutting the peppers and onions and waiting for them to cook. But over medium/high heat, it really doesn't take that long.

To make these healthier, I swapped the carby rolls for iceberg lettuce wraps. 

As an optional extra, you can add some chipotle mayo to the lettuce wraps. Definitely not necessary, but it does give it that extra kick! One of my favorite blogs, Pinch of Yum, recommends Sir Kensington's so that's what I use. One tablespoon can be distributed among three wraps - you definitely don't need a lot.

And that's that! Enjoy!


  • 1/2 tbsp salted butter
  • 1 medium vidalia onion, sliced thin
  • 5.5 oz lean beef sirloin, seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and steak seasoning
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced thin
  • 2 slices part-skim provolone cheese
  • 6 iceberg lettuce leaves

Serving size: 3 wraps
Servings per recipe: 2
Weight Watchers Smart Points value: 7


  1. Place the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Once melted, add the onions and cook until golden brown (caramelized), stirring occasionally.
  2. While the onions are cooking, cook the steak. I cooked mine on the Foreman Grill (preheated to 400 and seasoned with steak seasoning, salt, pepper, and garlic powder). It took about 7-8 minutes to cook through.
  3. When the onions are done, remove them from the skillet. Place the skillet back on the stove and give it a spray with no-calorie cooking spray. Add the peppers and cook until soft, stirring occasionally. You may need to re-spray the skillet and stir the peppers if they dry up while cooking.
  4. When the peppers are done, lower the heat to low. Add the onions back into the pan and stir occasionally. (NOTE: this is just to keep the peppers and onions warm while you prepare the rest of the meal. You could also remove them from the heat - they shouldn't cool off too much).
  5. When the steak is done cooking, remove from the heat (but do NOT turn off the grill). Slice the steak thin, and then return it to the grill. Add the provolone on top and let sit until the cheese melts (it helps if you partially close the Foreman - almost as if you're broiling. Don't close it all the way - you'll have to hold it, but this will melt the cheese in about 30 seconds).
  6. Distribute the peppers and onions among the iceberg leaves. Top with the steak and cheese. Roll up and enjoy!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Green Power Smoothie

Hi everyone! Happy New Year! Welcome to 2016! I hope everyone is starting the year well rested and in a positive state of mind. I know I am. 

It's been a MONTH since my last blog post. I'm so sorry for taking such a long hiatus, but I needed it. December was a crazy month! Work was really busy, I was spending a lot of time (and money) Christmas shopping, and I picked up some freelance work to make some extra money. Plus, the weekends were filled with family and friends and parties and PLENTY of snacks and drinks that shouldn't even be mentioned on Lighter Bites - oops. Dieting is HARD around the holidays, you guys! But the new year is here and with it, a time to start fresh.

Speaking of fresh, THIS SMOOTHIE.

I may not strike you as a smoothie kind of girl, and you'd be right. This is new to me. I've had them in the past, but it was never a regular thing for me. But now? With this smoothie? Yes please.

Let me back up. The path that led me to create this smoothie wasn't so straightforward. First, I've probably mentioned here that I'm a member of Weight Watchers. I've had a lot of success with this program in the past. I'd say I strictly follow the program 80% of the time - the other 20% (usually on weekends) I allow myself some leeway, such as an extra snack or drink. Well, Weight Watchers revamped their program last year - you'll see my recipes now list the Smart Points value instead of the PointsPlus value. I'm still figuring the Smart Points out, but a lot of the things I eat regularly have gone up.

Another factor: I don't eat breakfast at home. It's just not realistic for me. I get up early, get ready, and rush to make the train every day. In the past, I'd keep oatmeal packets in my desk at work and make one with hot water around 9:30 every morning. If you know anything about oatmeal, you know it's easy and convenient - and not very filling. I'd be satisfied for a couple of hours, but my stomach would start rumbling for lunch before noon.

The oatmeal I usually eat went from 4 PointsPlus to 5 Smart Points. I didn't feel like spending 5 of my daily points on something so small and unsatisfying, so I began brainstorming different ideas for breakfast.

The criteria? It needed to be easy. Healthy. Satisfying. Something I could prepare at home in advance and bring with me. And ideally, no more than 4 Smart Points.

I thought a green smoothie may be a good idea. I was never a regular smoothie drinker, but I did a juice fast before my wedding and it did not end well. I was all gung-ho to go 10 days on juice only, but after 3 days I just couldn't stomach the juices that tasted like vegetables. Smoothies are different - green smoothies, at least the ones I've tried, are FULL of veggies (like spinach) but you can't even taste it. Bonus!

The hard part was perfecting the smoothie. I've tried recipes that were Greek-yogurt based, but I don't think I could drink this every day. First of all, Green yogurt can be bland, and when it's overpowering everything else in the smoothie it just tastes thick and blah. Plus, too much yogurt equals higher Smart Points.

So I turned to Google and searched for "green smoothies with spinach." (Spinach is my green of choice for smoothies - I know kale is super trendy right now, but I have not been able to jump on that bandwagon. I just don't like it that much, you guys.) I read through a bunch of the results, and it seemed that a lot of green smoothies had the same few ingredients in common:

  • spinach
  • a banana (frozen or not)
  • a nut milk

Then, depending on the smoothie, other extra ingredients were added in. So I started my smoothie with those three ingredients and played around with quantities and add-ins. I've been wanting to experiment with vanilla protein powder for a while, so I decided to see if I could figure out a way to work it into my smoothie.

WELL. After a few failed attempts (nothing inedible, thank goodness, because I still drank the ones that didn't make it here), I came up with a green smoothie that I really, really like. I've been back to work for a week since the holidays and I've brought a smoothie for breakfast every day. I plan to do the same this week. And hopefully for many weeks to come (#newyearnewme, right?).

And did I mention it's filling? My stomach hasn't started growling for lunch until after 1:00 all week long.

I really hope you like these! If you're looking for a quick, easy, delicious, and filling breakfast that you can prepare in advance, this smoothie is for you.


  • 1 1/4 cups unsweetened vanilla-flavored nut milk (I use Almond Breeze Unsweetened Almond Cashew mix, vanilla flavor)
  • 2 cups baby spinach (or 2 large handfuls)
  • 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder (I use 100% Natural Only Protein)
  • 2 tbsp plain fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp PB2 powdered peanut butter (mixed with 1 tbsp water)
  • 1 banana, frozen

Serving size: 1 smoothie
Weight Watchers Smart Points value: 4


  1. Add all ingredients to a blender and liquefy. Serve immediately, or refrigerate overnight and enjoy for breakfast.

  • I read that putting the liquid (the milk) into the blender first helps the blades move and not get stuck, so I recommend doing that.
  • The banana doesn't have to be frozen, but freezing it beforehand helps give the smoothie a thicker consistency. I like to peel a bunch of bananas and put them in a Ziplock in my freezer so I can grab one when I need it.
  • If you're planning on drinking this immediately, try adding 2 or 3 ice cubes to the blender to make the smoothie extra cool and delicious.