All posts by Busy Sawyer Gal, Actively Engaged in Life.

About Busy Sawyer Gal, Actively Engaged in Life.

I strive to live an Actively Engaged Life, not just a busy life. My blog is about getting organized, eating right and prioritizing goals so that we can make a difference.

What’s Green All Over and Low in Calories?

Traditionally the tasty treat on St. Patrick’s Day is a hearty Corn Beef & Cabbage and I have found a really fantastic recipe for this. Tyler Florence, Corn beef & Cabbage

In my house however it’s not a favorite of anyone but me. So this year I was thinking green and low calorie and came up with this tasty recipe. Split Pea Soup Just 304 calories compared to other recipes that can add up to 500+ in calories.  Since the holiday falls in the middle of the week a little prep work is required so that when you and your family hit the door after a long week this hearty, warm and welcoming soup is ready to go with just a few minor prepping details. I rinsed and drained my peas over the weekend as well as cut up all my veggies. Thursday morning before I leave the house I’ll just have to toss everything into the Crock-Pot and out the door I go. When I get home all I’ll have to do is hit it with the immersion blender and my very GREEN dinner is table ready. Happy St. Patrick’s day

Split Pea Soup

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Servings: 8 Calories: 304 Fat: 4g Protein: 22g Carbs: 45g

1 lb dried green split peas, rinsed and drained
1 lg or 2 small Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced (reserve peelings)
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup carrots, peeled and chopped.
5 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 bay leaf
2 lbs ham hocks
6 cups beef broth (or a combination of water and broth totaling 6 cups)

Combine all ingredients into a crock pot, set LOW for 8 hours
Remove ham hocks, remove any meat from bones, discard bones
Remove bay leaf and discard
Using an immersion blender, blend soup, adding additional water until desired consistency. Do not over blend, you want to leave some texture. If you don’t have an immersion blender- get one Amazon has this super great Red one that I love, they are awesome.  But you can use a potato masher heck even a fork will do the trick. You just want to mash it up a bit. I don’t recommend putting the hot soup in your blender- Yikes this will make quite a mess.  Add the ham reserved from the bones and serve it up.

Subsitute – If you don’t have a ham hock- I just happen to have save one in the freezer from our Thanksgiving Ham, but I’ve also made this using precooked diced ham. just add it after you’ve blended it.  Just a good. Sour cream would be a great topping but don’t forget to add those calories… Trust me this is amazing without it.

Bonus: You might be tempted to toast up some crusty bread to dip, but save those calories and carbs for dessert and try using the peelings from the potatoes… Put them in zip top bag, add a drizzle of olive oil, s & p and toss. Then lay out the peelings on a baking sheet and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 for 5-7 min. Yum!

What’s for dinner on a Wednesday?

Wednesdays always seem so blah… but if you remembered to thaw out some chicken this morning you are in luck. I just posted my Lemon Dill Chicken recipe and it’s only going to take you about 20 mins to get this on the table and into your belly when you get home tonight. Super low calories; just 173, so there is either room for a fresh salad or dessert depending on how good you’ve been today. Let me know what you think.




Servings: 4 Calories: 173 Fat: 6g Protein: 24g Carbs: 3 g

4 boneless Chicken Breast
3tbs olive oil
¼ cup onions, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic
1 cup chicken broth, reduced sodium
2 tsp flour
2 tbs dill, chopped fresh, divided
1 tbs lemon juice
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
Season chicken breast on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat 1 ½ tsp oil in large heavy skillet over med high heat. Add the chicken and sear until well browned on both sides. About 3 min per side. Transfer to plate, cover with foil. Reduce heat to med. Add remaining 1 ¼ tsp oil to pan, warm slightly. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring for 1 min. Whisk broth, flour 1tbs dill and lemon juice in a bowl and then add to pan. Cook whisking until slightly thickened about 3 min. Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the pan; reduce heat to low and simmer until the chicken is cooked through about 4 min. Transfer the chicken back to pan and season sauce with additional salt and pepper. Spoon over the chicken. Top with remaining 1 tbs of dill.

Skinny Minute Beans & Rice

Skinny Minute Beans & Rice

1 tsp canola oil

8 oz smoked Andouill chicken sausage links, cut on the diagonal about ½ inch thick

2 can 15-16 oz red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

2 cups sweat potato, peeled and diced

1 cup green pepper, diced

1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth

¾ cup celery, chopped

¾ cup onion, chopped

¾ cup water

¼ tomato paste (no salt added)

1 bay leaf 1 tsp dried thyme, crushed

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp allspice

Dash of paprika

Dash of ground cayenne pepper (to taste)

2 1/2 cups cooked brown rice

Sliced green onions for garnish

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In a large skillet oven heat oil over med heat. Add sausage, cook until browned, stirring occasionally add remaining ingredients except rice and green onions. Cook covered 10 min. Uncover, simmer about 5 more minutes more until additional moisture has evaporated and sauce becomes slightly thickened. Discard bay leaf. Serve mixture over prepared hot brown rice. Top with green onions and sour cream if desired (add the extra calories)

Servings: 5 1 cup/bean mixture + 1/3 cup rice

Cal 272

Fat 6g

Protein 16g

Carbs 41g

Time saver tip, over the weekend I cooked the rice and bagged it. I sliced the sausage and bagged it. Then I chopped up all veggies and bagged it along with all the seasoning. So when I got home at 5:30 I heated the pan, microwaved the rice and followed the remaining directions. BAM dinner in 30

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Super Bowl Baby

Recipe will be uploaded soon BUSYGAL - WIN_20160206_065516I’ve been under tremendous pressure to divert from this healthy lifestyle path and layout the junk food for the “big game” but I’m resisting temptation. Just finished my menu and its loaded with veggies. I’m off to the store… pray for me as I try to dodge the giant chip, soda and sweets displayed down every isle.

Busy Day…no plan

Each of these recipes are quick and easy!

Herbalife Pumpkin Spice Formula 1 shake mix (2 scoops) 1 banana and a dash of pumpkin pie spice. Add water or 1% milk and mix, so yummy!

I always have hard boiled eggs in the fridge so I quickly peeled a couple, added a handful of shredded carrots and a tbs of mayo. In my to-go container I put a handful of fresh baby spinach topped it with my ‘egg salad’ and then just because they were handy I tossed in a few grape tomatoes. This was a very satisfying lunch.

Totally forgot to take something out of the freezer… after a long work day I needed a ‘quicky’ dinner. Reached for the fresh spinach again, added a chopped apple and a high quality balsamic vinegar, a little s&p and bam! A quick, healthy and satisfying day. Give some of these a try next time you find yourself unprepared for the day.



Warming up with Chili

Winter 2016

When it looks like this outside it’s best to be inside with a warm bowl of chili. I host Sunday dinner at my house and it’s tough watching your calories while feeding a crowd. My chicken chili works here for a lot of reasons. The spices really bring a warm heat to the chili, I’m not talking about nose running kind of heat just that slow spreading heat that makes you feel cozy inside. With 392 cal. per 1 cup serving you can replenish all those calories you’ve burned shoveling snow all day and not feel guilty about it. This calorie count doesn’t include any of the toppings so if your watching this number be careful here. Trust me, it’s completely filing without any additions but when you’ve got a couple of hungry men to satisfy these toppings are a perfect option. I also made corn bread. Just used a box mix and added a handful of cheddar cheese and diced scallions to the batter before baking, per package directions. A little honey butter to top them seemed to make my soon-to-be son in law very happy. 2 helpings for him and my husband!  Give it a try and let me know how you liked it. You’ll find the recipe “Busygals Chicken Chili” under the Yummy Nutrition tab.


Busygals Chicken Chili

2 tsp canola oil
2 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
2 tsp. olive oil
1 med. onion chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded, diced
1 poblano chile pepper, seeded, diced
1tbs ground cumin
1tps. Ground coriander
½ tsp. dried oregano
¼ tsp ground allspice
Salt and pepper
2 15 oz can cannoli beans (white beans, undrained)
1 4oz can chopped green chiles (do not drain)
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
Toppings options:
Cilantro, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, jalapenos, lime wedges and avocados.

Heat the canola oil in large dutch oven over med heat. In small batches brown chicken then reserve on plate until all batches are browned but not thoroughly cooked. Add olive oil to dutch oven and heat, then add onions, saute until translucent. Add garlic, jalapeno peppers, poblano chile pepper and spices. Saute to soften peppers and bloom spices about 5 min.
Return chicken to dutch oven, add cannoli beans, canned green chiles, chicken broth and 1 ¼ cup of water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer until chicken is cooked through and house smells yummy. Serve with assorted toppings.
Enjoy xoxo

Nutrition Facts
Servings 8.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 392
Total Fat 7 g
Saturated Fat 1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 19 mg
Sodium 256 mg
Potassium 1086 mg
Total Carbohydrate 65 g
Dietary Fiber 8 g
Sugars 3 g
Protein 23 g

BAM! Mac n Cheese for 269 cal.

Transforming your family’s favorite comfort food into a healthy version is risky business but I think I nailed it. Traditionally I would use at least 4 different kinds of cheese, minimum of 1 cup each which loaded my mac and cheese recipe with fat and calories. This version replaces much of the cheese with veggies. Get creative, use whatever veggies you have on hand. I used broccoli, green beans and carrots but cauliflower, corn and peas would work just as easily. I have tried using spinach and kale before but none of us liked the chewy texture. For a little brightness bell peppers and tomatoes would also be yummy. The kicker in this recipe is the mustard. It’s the thing that make you go “whoa” Hubby went back for seconds, his serving size was definitely over 1 cup, which is equal to success in my house.

mac n cheese

Busygals… good for you Mac n Cheese:

1/4 c. panko bread crumbs

1/4 c. shredded Parmesan cheese

1/4 tsp paprika

8 oz whole grain, elbow macaroni  (about 2 cups)

1 c. sliced carrots

1 c. green beans (trimmed)

2 c. broccoli florets

1 tbs butter

2/3 c. finely chopped onion

1 3/4 c. fat free milk

3 tbs flour (all purpose or whole wheat)

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

3 oz. reduced fat cream cheese (cut up in small cubes)

1 1/2 tsp dijon-style mustard *

8 oz  shredded reduced-fat Mexican style, four-cheese blend (about 2 c. )

  1. Preheat broiler. In a bowl stir together panko, Parmesan cheese and paprika. set aside
  2. In a large saucepan combine dried pasta, carrots and green beans. Cover with water and cook per pasta package directions. During last 4 min. add broccoli. Drain and return to pan, cover and keep warm.
  3. Meanwhile, melt butter in medium sauce pan over medium heat. Saute onions until translucent. Add salt and pepper, milk, flour. Stir until well mixed, bubbly and thickened. Stir in cream cheese and mustard until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in shredded cheese mixture until melted.
  4. Immediately pour cheese mixture over pasta-veggie mixture; toss gently to coat.
  5. Lightly spray baking dish with non-stick spray. Transfer mixture to baking dish and top with panko mixture. Place under the broiler for 1-2 min. Watch carefully to avoid burning.

Makes 8 servings (1 c. each) per serving= 269 cal., 8g f., 34 carb., 4 g. fiber, 6 g. sugar, 6 g. pro.