Tag Archives: vegetables

Jena the TV Producer Tells Us… “What’s For Lunch”!

Today’s “What’s For Lunch” contributor is kind of a big deal.  She’s the breaking news producer for Fox News’ Shepard Smith Reporting.  Her name is Jena.


Jena, breaking news producer for Shepard Smith Reporting on Fox News

We met when we were producing news together in Cincinnati, and if her job is anything like mine is now, she’s almost always eating at her desk.  So when you want to eat well, you need to pack well, and that’s exactly what Jena does.   Her trick – dinner leftovers.  Let’s take a look!

Jena’s Lunch


  • Poached salmon
  • Steamed & sautéed veggies
  • Quinoa
  • Fig Newtons

Jena told me she ate her leftovers cold, and they were amazing!

Now I want YOU to answer the question… “What’s For Lunch?”!  E-mail me a description of your meal (with a picture!), and we’ll feature it on the blog!  The address is thehungrytortoise at gmail dot com.

I look forward to hearing from you!


Recipe: Better Than Bob’s Eggplant Chili

Update!  I’ve survived 2 whole weeks on Bob Harper’s Jumpstart To Skinny plan!


I outlined the basics about a week ago HERE.  It’s a 3 week diet aimed at getting you to a better body fast before a big event, or to “jumpstart” a longer weight loss journey.  My big event happens to be a work trip to Hawaii (I’m serious).  800 calories a day for women.  12oo for men.  It’s temporary, yes… but that kinda of starvation takes some getting used to.  I’ve remained mostly on track, minus a premeditated trip to my favorite sushi buffet last Saturday.  I don’t even feel guilty.  There was mackerel.


The Jumpstart To Skinny plan never really tells you how much weight you should expect to lose, which I actually appreciate.  Everyone’s different.  Heavier people will lose more.  Fitter people will lose less.  That’s just how our bodies work.  In 2 weeks, I’m down almost 5 pounds, and I’m totally thrilled.  I feel lighter, my clothes fit better, and I could be hallucinating… but I think I see an ab or two trying to come up for air.

I will say that I’m not following the diet exactly the way Bob outlines it in the book.  I’m not taking fish oil.  I’m not, for the most part, working out in the morning.  I’m not drinking espresso first thing out of bed.  I have, however, stopped pretending like coffee with sugar-free creamer and stevia isn’t important to me.  It just is.  Yes, the creamer is artificial.  No, it’s not accounted for in the daily calorie limit.  I don’t care.  It makes me happy.  Just like that sushi buffet did.

The plan has gotten a lot easier as the days press on, mostly because I’ve been repeating recipes that I like and finding ways to make them actually taste good.  In my last post about Jumpstart To Skinny, you’ll remember that I mentioned that Bob’s recipes are bland.  Total understatement, so I decided to get creative with his Eggplant Chili dinner recipe.  First, I’ll post Bob’s version.  Then, I’ll post mine.  It’s 100 times tastier, and the changes do not compromise the rules of the diet.

Eggplant Chili (Bob’s Recipe)


  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 c. diced eggplant
  • 4 oz. lean ground turkey breast
  • 1 c. roasted tomatoes
  • 1 c. low sodium veggie broth
  • 3 c. finely chopped fresh spinach
  • cracked black pepper (optional)
  • 1 tbsp. fresh cilantro


  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat.  Add the garlic and the eggplant and cook for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the turkey and cook for about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally to break up the meat, until browned.
  3. Add the tomatoes and broth and simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Add the spinach and cook until just wilted.
  5. Turn off the heat, add black pepper if desired, stir in the cilantro and serve

Nutritional Info:

279 calories, 24g protein, 23g carbs, 7g fat, 7 grams fiber.

Okay, time for my version!  Before we move on, it’s important to note that all the meals in the Jumpstart to Skinny book adhere to a strict 40/40/20 rule.  That’s 40% protein, 40% carbohydrates, and 20% fat.  I’ve taken some things away, but added other nutritionally similar ingredients I think are a better use of the calories (i.e. they taste better).  I’ve also replaced the turkey with canned tuna.  I know.  Sounds gross.  But that’s only because I’m a sometimes fish eater and not a meat eater.  Tuna, I decided, was a better idea than tofu.  It tastes better than it sounds, I promise.  Oh, and one more thing.  All of the veggies in this recipe are UNLIMITED, so go crazy!  I added as many as humanly possible while still keeping a chili-like consistency.

This version makes four pretty large 3 cup servings, so you can make a big pot and eat it all week.

Eggplant Chili (The Hungry Tortoise Version)



  • 2 whole eggplants, peeled and diced
  • 2 zucchinis, sliced
  • 2 c. fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 c. spinach, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tbsp. cumin
  • 2 tsp. cayenne pepper (adjust to taste)
  • 1 c. low sodium veggie broth
  • 1 large can of crushed tomatoes (I used 28 oz.)
  • 2 cans of chunk light tuna, water packed
  • Garnish: green onion, plain non-fat greek yogurt, avocado


  1. Add garlic, eggplant, and a little bit of the veggie broth to a large pot, stirring frequently over medium heat.  Cook until tender.
  2. Add the zucchinis and mushrooms.  Again, cook until tender.
  3. Add the rest of the veggie broth, the entire can of crushed tomatoes, the spices and the tuna/choice of lean protein.  Stir and simmer until heated.
  4. Add the spinach and cook until just wilted.
  5. Divide batch into 4 servings, about three cups each.  Garnish each with exactly 1/4 of an avocado, a dollop or greek yogurt, and as much green onion as you want.

Because we’re not using olive oil, we can have the avocado.  Because the protein is spread out over more servings, we can add a little extra with the greek yogurt.  Tomatoes are on the list of unlimited veggies, and the crushed variety adds to the heartiness of the meal.  The spices, in my opinion, are an obvious addition.  This is a low-calorie dinner I actually look forward to… and it keeps me full!

Do you have any healthy tricks up your sleeve to make bland foods taste better?  Let me know!  Comment in the section below or e-mail me at thehungrytortoise@gmail.com.

Recipe: Thai Red Coconut Curry

This recipe is vegan, delicious, and impressive.  Make it for your friends, and you’ll immediately appear more exotic and interesting.  If you like spice, add more curry paste.  I paired the curry with quinoa instead of rice for an extra helping of protein.  And if you don’t have the veggies listed, don’t worry.  Just about anything, from broccoli to bok choy, will work!

Thai Red Coconut Curry

Serves 4

Calories Per Serving: 240 (quinoa included!)



  • 2 c. quinoa, cooked
  • 7 oz. or half a standard package of extra firm tofu, cubed
  • 1 c. frozen stir-fry veggies
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 c. fresh spinach
  • 1 c. fresh mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 14 oz. can lite coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp. fish sauce
  • 4 tbsp. red curry paste
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. toasted sesame oil


  1. Heat sesame oil in a large skillet.  Add garlic, onion, and tofu.  Cook until aromatic and tofu is golden on all sides.
  2. Add frozen veggies (fresh veggies will come later!) to the skillet and stir-fry until nearly thawed.
  3. While you’re waiting on the frozen veggies to cook, prepare the curry sauce.  In a separate pan or skillet, combine the coconut milk, fish sauce, red curry paste, lemon juice, and brown sugar.  Heat just until boiling and reduce to a simmer.
  4. Check back to the skillet.  As soon as the frozen veggies are just about thawed, add the fresh bell pepper, mushrooms, and spinach.  Cook just until tender.
  5. Pour warm curry sauce into the skillet with the tofu and veggies.  Mix well.
  6. Serve with 1/2 c. of quinoa.  It helps soak up every last drop!
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