Thursday, February 4, 2010

Biggest Loser Review and Easy Veggie Polenta

I hope everyone had a nice Thursday. Tonight Nick and I are going to attempt to apply for a loan via a website my uncle (a realtor) suggested. I hope it goes well. I'm slightly nervous.

Look, I've finally posted another recipe for my 2010 cookbook!

Healthy and Simple Recipe #8
Spinach Polenta

2 cups skim milk
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 cup yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
2 cups spinach

** Cornmeal isn't necessarily the healthiest food, but it's really no different than enriched wheat flour. I need to get my folate and starch fix from somewhere! **

Possible Modifications
  • Use any type of milk (Almond, soy, 2%)
  • Use any kind of cheese (parmesan, Swiss, American)
  • Use any non-starchy vegetable you wish


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 inch square baking dish. In a large saucepan, combine the milk and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Once it has reached the stage of a rolling boil, gradually add in the yellow cornmeal and use a whisk to mix. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and mix continuously until thick (between 3 and 5 minutes). Remove from the heat and let sit for about a minute. Then add the spinach and the cheese and mix them in. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and bake in the oven for about 10 minutes.

The finished product should have a nice, slightly baked top, and a smooth and creamy center!

I served mine with some spaghetti sauce on the bottom.

The recipe makes 8 medium sized servings.
The nutrition facts are for 1 serving.

** Add some veggies on the side for more fiber!! **

Rate: 9 out of 10
Cornmeal is one of the few "flour-like substances" I can eat! This was so rich and creamy and it satisfied my starchy craving.

Nick: 7.5 out of 10
He felt it was just a tad better than "ok". He liked his with extra sauce!

Biggest Loser Review


The two teams came back at the beginning and I loved the twist they did by giving the winning team immunity and the right to the only vote!

Loved the pre-workout snack suggestion. Smoothies are a great option, especially in the morning when you need an extra kick.

Jillian really worked on Ashley and got her to be upfront and honest with herself, and to let out her emotions about the loss of her father. I think that will help her later down the road.

Bob's Yoga session. Great idea. I'm a fan. Why don't they do that more often? Some of these contestants are so high strung and stressed out, yoga should be a part of every one of their workout sessions.

Bob told Melissa she gained back his respect because she finally lost weight last time. umm..she had no choice! If she would have only lost 1 pound again, they would have a) called her a liar again, or b) made her get tested for a metabolic disorder of some kind. She had to lose that weight, I still don't really respect her.

I guess I liked that they did the demo with the chili and the lean turkey, but what's wrong with lean ground beef? They just had to promote Jenni-O. And they didn't include any information about the beans! Beans are so good for you and they missed the opportunity to share that knowledge with the world.

They had to plug the Yoplait smoothie. Lame. Why would I pay more for prepackaged frozen fruit and yogurt, when I can just get those ingredients separately, and make my own personalized smoothie, for less money??

Coming Up
This weekend Nick's friend from California is in town, so we'll be going out tomorrow night, and having some fun! Other than that I have a lot of work to do for the new business, and of course a lot of grocery shopping to tackle. Tomorrow you can look forward to a guest post by one of my best friends, Amanda, who lives in New York City. She'll be posting her recipe for tempeh meatloaf.

Thanks for reading, and have a great evening/night/weekend, everything!


  1. Great recipe, Gina... it can very easily be made vegan too!! I made something similar not tooo long ago. Im with Nick, though, extra sauce is a must with me too, sometimes polenta can be a tad bland.

    Ya for tempeh meatloaf.. cant wait to read that!

    Happy Thursday ;)

  2. I love polenta! I always buy the tubes, though. I need to give your way a try!!

  3. I had the same thoughts as you regarding the Yoplait smoothie!

  4. I should definitely try polenta sometime :-). And I think it's pretty cool that you live so close to a Krema Nut Factory!

    Yoga from home is nice - I think I'd compare too much and get frustrated at a studio since I'm not flexible at all!

  5. Ohhh that looks good and sounds easy to make. I hope you have a great weekend Gina!

  6. I agree! If I didn't know any better I would think that beef was horrible for me and I should ALWAYS use turkey. Jenny-O, obviously. Great points on the show, as always! The polenta looks great! I love polenta but it's one of the few things hubs won't touch, sadly!

  7. Mm that polenta looks so good! I didn't know it was so easy to make.. I might have to try that out soon now!!

    And I didn't watch the biggest loser yet for this week so I skipped over your review.. I can't wait to get caught up!

  8. That polenta looks spectacular!

  9. I love polenta! It's so easy and quick to make. I like to bake leftover polenta in the oven and top it with pesto.

  10. oh! you'll be happy to hear that they actually do yoga ALL the time on tbl :) they do it atleast once a day either that or stretching! i read an interview with bob and he was talking about how they never show the amount of time they spend doing yoga and stretching but that they were going to incorporate it a little more into this season just to show that they do do a lot of recover exercises so that they can get back into the gym and preform at a higher level!

    julies fun fact of the day :)

  11. Mmmmm...great recipe! Thanks for sharing! I love polenta, but never think to make it!

  12. You have some great recipes for your book.

    Good luck with the loan. I am keeping my fingers crossed for you.

    I was hoping the red team was going but alas is was wishful thinking. LOL!

  13. I agree about the plug for yoplait...I bet those are expensive! I am looking into getting a little "machine" that my friend has so I can make my own yogurt. I recently read In Defense of Food so I am trying to make some changes to eliminate processed foods. The yogurt I buy is low in calories and fat, yet there is a lot of junk in the processing that makes it that way. I recently tried plain Greek yogurt which was thicker, had more fat, and more calories, but it was made only with milk, cream, and yogurt cultures..seems more healthy.

  14. I love love love corn meal so I'll definitely make this. it has to do with its texture... so unique! :D
    have fun with Nick!

  15. I have never tried polenta but I am a big fan of cornmeal so I might have to try this recipe!
    I wish BL would just advertise during commercials like normal shows!

  16. great recipe! i've never added spinach to polenta before.

    i also like to put it in the grill pan and then top with parmesan, soo good!

  17. That looks so good! I've only had polenta a few times and LOVED it, but never think to buy it myself. Making note of this recipe.

    Enjoy your weekend!

  18. I've never made polenta. It looks pretty easy and tasty! Agreed about the chili on Biggest Loser. It always seems so staged when they are plugging something. Have a great weekend entertaining your visitor :)

  19. i've never made polenta before but this makes me really want to!

  20. That polenta looks good. I am glad you are having some creativity with your FODMAPS diet. Good luck with the loan. I know it must be scary and exciting all at the same time.

  21. That recipe looks great, thanks for sharing.
    I have always seen Giada make polenta and it always looked good, I just never thought about making it.
    Have a nice weekend!

  22. hey girl! awesome post as usualy. Im love the idea of the spinach polenta meal! That sounds so delicious. Its super rainy here and I think that would be a great comforting din!

    I love all your biggest loser reviews. I feel like Im the only one that hasn't seen it yet! I really gotta start recording it because I hear really good things about it. It is a bit lame how they plug a lot of products. (I guess it all comes down to money, right?) but so true, beans are completely underrated. Im such a huge fan of them but I guess theres no company shelling out tons of cash to promote beans=) Ahh well! Great review though!

    Good luck with everything hon. A loan can be scary. Me and my hubs are contemplating this very same thing too since we are looking to buy a house soon. eck! Its scary taking out such a huge amount. (Im on the cheap side) But I guess its good in the long run, ya know? I hope you have an awesome weekend. Sounds like so much fun! Take care!

  23. I agree with all of you BL Dislikes! I am so tired of their product placements AND also what's up with Bob telling her that? I was like "seriously bob seriously?"

  24. The #1 thing I don't like about the Biggest Loser is their product placements. Which is why I usualyl DVR it and then fast forward through them :)

  25. I've never made anything polenta, so this recipe is intriguing.

    Hated the yoplait plug! Have a great weekend!

  26. Have you given almond flour a go? You can make great pancakes with it!
    TBL has finally started in Aus, hurray!!

  27. Great recipe! I love simple, fast recipes... :) And as you point out, it would be easy to play around with, too...

    Have a great weekend! And, applying for a loan - sooooo exciting, yet also a bit scary! Enjoy this exciting time! :)

  28. that recipe sounds delicious- thank you for sharing! i love reading about your opinion on biggest loser :)


  29. Gina, your polenta looks SO yummy!! I can't wait to fix this recipe soon - I love your idea of baking it in the oven after cooking it on the stovetop, to let it firm up a bit more - YUM! Thank you for the awesome recipe!! As a southern girl inherently obsessed with all things cornmeal (I think I'm genetically wired to have to bake cornbread at least once a week :-), I have discovered that a slightly coarser, stone-ground cornmeal does contain some fiber (around 3 to 4 more grams per serving than regular cornmeal), so I can at least justify it in that department... :-) I'm so happy to hear that cornmeal is Gina-friendly! :-)

    Good luck on the loan application!! Sooooo exciting!!

  30. YES! Great polenta recipe. Nom. I'm hungry now!

  31. What a great looking polenta recipe - I am a big fan - I bet it would be good with some mushrooms too!

    Great biggest loser review - I am getting really tired of the product placement - especially the smoothie. Making a smoothie is pretty easy.

  32. I think I'm done with TBL this year (I'm a Lost fan anyway!) too much drama. My husband and I flipped to TBL during the commercials to laugh at the product placements and we weren't disappointed. How staged was that segment with the chili? LOL!

  33. I totally agree with you on your Biggest looser comments. I counsel overweight adults and watch the show to see how the advise the contestants, but I agree about just buying the ingredients separate for the smoothy, I am sure there are also a lot of additives it the mix. I also agree with you on the turkey/beef for the chili, some ground beef can be lower in fat than turkey especially if they use dark meat in it.
    Your Polenta recipe looks great I will have to try that, I am gluten free so it is right up my alley:)
    I printed your granola bar recipe to try, have my GF oats, my kids will love it.

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