Albondigas (Meatball Soup)

As with most of the meals here this soup is pretty mild but you can customize it as you wish. You can substitute the ground beef for turkey or chicken as well. A lot of recipes for this soup involve a blender but I wanted something easier.


  • 3/4 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 egg white & 1/2 yolk scrambled together
  • pinch of:
    • salt & pepper
    • garlic powder
    • cumin powder
    • onion powder
    • oregano
    • long grain rice
  • beef or vegetable broth
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 white potato


  • cabbage
  • chayote
  • cauliflower

Mix together meat, spices, and rice. I usually only use half of the egg  but you might want to use even less. Add a tiny bit of egg at at a time until it seems cohesive since the egg will hold the meat together. Once you get the consistency you want form them into even sized balls. Next heat up a bit of oil in a pot and brown the meatballs to seal them in. Remove them from the pot and set aside.
Add carrot, potato, and broth. You can add cabbage and chayote now if you are using them. Just make sure to cook for about ten or fifteen minutes before you add the zucchini and meatballs. If you are adding cauliflower this would be when you put them in. Cook them on medium until the vegetables are soft .

Serve with a sprig of cilantro and tortillas. You can add chipotle, green salsa or hot sauce if you want it spicier.



Chicken Tenders




1/2 Cup Breadcrumbs
Chicken Tenders
1 Egg
1/2 tsp milk (optional)

Spices:  1/2 tsp of each. but honestly you can adjust it as you like.
salt, pepper, paprika, parsley crushed or in power, garlic, and onion

Start by mixing an egg using only half the yolk and if using milk, mix that in as well. I bought the chicken tenders already cut and then placed them all in the egg mix.

Mix together breadcrumbs and the spices before coating all sides of the chicken. To save time and money I just used my small mortar to crush down the parsley I have since I wanted powder. I was ok with not having a thick coating but if you want you can dip back in the egg and then back in the crumbs.

On a greased pan with medium high heat place the tenders side by side careful not to overcrowd. Then spray them all with olive oil and make sure that the heat is not too high. After about five minutes or so flip them over and let them cook more. I leave the sides until last so I can see how pink the middle is. When they are almost done sear all sides and remove from heat.

I made my own dip by using a mustard that had a bit of horseradish and simply adding honey. You can dip them any sauce you want just be careful of the calories.



Mexican Rice & Shrimp

If you have ever made fried rice this is the same concept except you start out with raw rice instead of cooked. Additionally you can use a frozen mix of the vegetables. I didn’t put measurements for the veggies because its ultimately up to you how much you want.


  • Carrot (diced)
  • Peas
  • Corn
  • Chicken & Tomato bouillon
  • Cilantro for Garnish (optional)
  • Diced Onion (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups of water
  • 1 Cup Long Grain Rice


Dissolve the cube of bouillon in the water by heating it up but do not let it boil. Heat a bit of canola oil in a pan – if you are using onion add now – then lightly brown up the rice. After this you can put all the other ingredients along with the rice and water in a rice cooker. Mine came out a bit watery so I put it back in the pan and turned the heat on low until the texture was how i wanted it.

Season the shrimp with Cajun spice mix and saute in a pan using canola oil spray. When it is almost one add a tiny bit of butter just enough to coat the shrimp. You can stir them into the rice or just leave them on the side.

I served the rice with grilled zucchini on the side and leftover re-friend beans.



Feel Better Soup

I haven’t posted in a while for a number of reasons: my illness, a visit from my in-laws, our trip to Disneyland, and lastly the Holidays. I’ve also had several issues keeping food down and I have been really tired and in a lot of pain. In times like this I turn to something that is easy on my stomach.


I call this my feel better soup. The thing about this soup is that you have to understand which vegetables take longer to cook. Because they go into the broth one after another. You can pretty much use any vegetable you would like but for me I use ones that are easy to digest. I make it very plain for nausea and stomach ache but you can add things to it after its cooked.


  • zucchini
  • carrot (peeled)
  • potato
  • cauliflower
  • chicken breast or thigh
  • pinch of rice
  • oregano (i used dry)
  • chicken or vegetable broth (i use one or two bullion cubes)

Topping suggestion:

  • cilantro and / or lime
  • sour cream


Start your pot with water and the bullion cube on medium heat then add the oregano and a pinch of rice. You can also use vegetable or chicken broth if you would like. If I use a russet potato I peel it but if I am using a gold potato I leave the skin on. Put in carrots and potato pieces into the broth and about 10 minutes later you can add the zucchini and cauliflower and lower the heat to medium low. I put a bit of oil or spray oil on a skillet, season your chicken with salt, pepper, garlic and onion. Quickly sear both sides before moving it onto a cutting  board and cutting it into smaller pieces. Add the chicken into the pot and lower the heat completely this time. Check it frequently until the chicken is cooked thoroughly and all veggies are tender.



Playa Omelette

If you have left over squash mix from the picadillo recipe you can use it to make this delicious omelette. Honestly it’s so good I didn’t even need tortillas or toast with it. This dish is a variation of the eggs with chorizo recipe I posted before. By using soy chorizo and a mix of egg and egg whites we save a lot of calories. I couldn’t find my flat spatula at the last minute so I scrambled the eggs.


  • 1 whole egg (about 70 calories)
  • 2 egg whites (about 30 calories)
  • 1 ounce of soy chorizo (55 calories)
  • 1/4 cup yellow squash mix
  • 1/8 cup jack cheese (33 calories)

Total calories: 245


Scramble the eggs but do not add salt now. Set the pan on medium heat and spray with some olive oil, season the squash mixture with a little salt and saute it for about two minutes. Add the soy chorizo and cook both until the squash becomes tender.

If you are making scrambled eggs add the beaten eggs to the pan and lower the heat a bit. You want to flip over the eggs more than scramble them. When they are almost done add the cheese, turn off the heat and cover until the cheese is melted.

If you are making an omelette remove the squash and soy chorizo and set aside.  Pour the eggs in and add the squash & chorizo, with the cheese, to one half of the eggs making sure to stay away from the edges. Then you want to use a flat spatula and fold over the side without the mixture on top of the other. Cover until they are cooked enough for your liking.


Mexican Picadillo

My ulcerative colitis is mostly under control now but there was a long time when I had to follow a low fiber diet. Here is a recipe that can be cooked ahead and full of tender vegetables that are easy to digest.

Picadillo is one of those things where everyone has a different version because it is so versatile. It is usually made with ground beef but you can use ground chicken, turkey, or faux meat crumbles. I have seen recipes for this from Filipino, Cuban, Salvadorian and Mexican cuisines.  This is a low calorie version which is why I put potatoes as optional.


  • 1/2 pound of lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup – diced zucchini
  • 1/2 cup – diced yellow squash
  • 2 tbsp finely diced yellow onion
  • 1/4 cup of carrot
  • tomato sauce – see bellow
  • pinch of garlic
  • 1/2 tsp cumin, or to taste
  • salt to taste
  • pinch of black pepper

This makes two servings.

For the tomato sauce you can make your own by blending tomato, garlic and cilantro with some water or broth. After you can strain it to remove seeds and tomato skin. If you do this you want to saute it either by itself or with the meat for about five minutes. I used El Pato tomato sauce with Jalapeño but you can use other variations.



  • 1 Bay leaf – you can place it with the tomato sauce into the pan and remove before serving.
  • small amount of tomato – sliced thinly or diced
  • 1/4 cup of potato diced
  • cilantro – to taste


Season everything, put the heat on high and spray the pan with olive oil. Saute the onions and carrots for a minute or two before adding the rest of the vegetables. If you are using potato it would go in the pan now. Add a tbsp of water, cover, then reduce the temperature to medium low. Saute the beef in another pan and add it with the tomato sauce to the vegetables after about five minutes.

Make sure the meat is cooked all the way and the vegetables are soft enough for your liking before serving. You can eat this with corn tortillas or over rice.




Physical Therapy

I’ve been lucky and have had a few really nice physical therapists in my life. I love that they understand that with chronic illness and pain it isn’t always possible to do what other people do. And after getting to know me they understand that I don’t always show pain and I am able to tolerate a lot more than other patients will. The most recent therapist I saw told me “I know you can handle the pain but why should you have to?”

Obviously if you need physical therapy see your doctor and get an actual therapist to asses what you need and what will work for you. For example some of these are more advanced than others. Here is a few of the exercises that I have been given.  I put this together (although I am not done yet editing it) to put on the wall so I can remember which I need to do.

jess workout

I can not say this enough the important thing is just to move.


These are easy to make and can be very healthy if you are careful of your toppings. We squeezed some lime on top and served these with salsa verde and light sour cream. You can eat them with either type of tortilla or rice and if you have calories some avocado or guacamole. I normally use green bell pepper but I forgot to buy some.





  1. Chicken Breast – cut into pieces
  2. 1 cup Sliced Bell Peppers (various colors)
  3. 1 Tomato – cut into thick slices
  4. 1/4 cup Sliced Sweet Onion (aim for 1/8″ thick slices)

Fajita Seasoning – you don’t have to use it all

  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper – pinch
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • turmeric – pinch
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder

Optional: pinch of cayenne pepper and / or sugar.


Spray a nonstick pan and put the heat on medium when the oil is shimmering add the onions with a sprinkle of salt. In the meantime add the seasoning to the bell peppers and mix them well. Add them to the pan making sure not to over crowd them. Cover them stirring occasionally for five to ten minutes; depending on how crunchy you want them to be when you eat them.
Rinse the chicken and pat dry before putting the seasoning on both sides. I usually add the chicken in the middle and then the tomatoes. This way I can flip over the chicken once before mixing them all together. At the very end do not cover them anymore because the moisture from the tomato will make things soggy.







Delicious vegetable stir fry

If you get tired of salads this is a great alternative . Keeps you full and has tons of nutritional value. It is subtly sweet and fast to prepare and cook.



  • 1 cup of the Kale & Cabbage Mixture (33 calories)
  • 1/4 cup Mung Bean Sprouts (8 calories)
  • 1 tbsp sliced celery (1 calorie)
  • 1/2 cup butternut squash spirals (12 calories)
  • 1/4 package of Stir-fry noodles (Teriyaki Flavor) (115 calories)

The above comes out to be 136 and honestly it is a lot of food and goes well with green tea. here are the noodles I used but of course you can use your own just be mindful of the calories.



  • Red Pepper flakes


Loosen the noodles and mix the sauce as per the package instructions but do not mix them together. You really have to whisk the sauce or you will have clumps.

Spray non stick skillet with olive or canola oil. Add all vegetables and stir fry for about a minute or two you can add a tiny pinch of salt if you want. Add 1/4 of the packaged stir fry noodles and butternut squash noodles. Next add the mung bean sprouts and the sauce and stir fry for about three minutes. Or more if you don’t want your vegetables so crunchy leave it in the pan longer.




Stretch it out! Working on your work out routine.

When you have a chronic illness it isn’t always possible to go to a gym. With chronic fatigue and mobility issues I find it hard work out. I love swimming and it works really well for those in pain and I recommend doing it if possible.

Remember to take it easy! You do not want to over do it and set yourself back days or a week. And you definitely do not want to injure yourself and add to your pain. It is very common for people to set their goals way too high and quit after a few days. Please have patience! This is not about drastic fast weight loss – which by the way can be harmful or come back right away. Start with gentle stretching routine at home and work up from there.

If you are like me you already have a physical therapy routine that you should be following. Make sure to follow this routine as much as possible. To remind myself I hang up a calendar and mark the days I do my physical therapy. This way we are healing ourselves and preparing our body for more activity.

If you are able to walk start really small and work your way up. So first day go for about 10-15 minutes and see how you feel during and the day after. From here adjust whether you want to walk less or more on your first week. Aim for three times per week to start. Eventually you will find that you can walk longer and more frequently. I find just walking way too boring so I listen to music or take pictures as I walk. If you can’t stick to a routine just do it whenever you feel like it.

Good luck and remember: just move!