Monday, May 31, 2010

Monday weigh-in...not good

I'm finally back home. I kind of wish I was back in Phoenix just so I could see my weight on mom's uncalibrated scale. *sigh*

I gained weight while I was away. I knew it would happen. I really wasn't working out very hard and I really wasn't watching what I ate. I had a lot of candy, ice cream, coffee with flavored creamers, etc. Lots of calories that I know better about.

What can I say? I was on vacation and enjoying myself a little too much. Now that I'm home, I'm back on the wagon. Back to working out and watching calories. I feel horrible that I took a huge step back but it is what it is I guess. All I can do now is try to lose it again.

Weight: 239.0 (+1.8 pounds)
Hips: 49 (no change)
Waist: 39.5 (-.5 inches)
Bust: 37 (no change)
Arms: 14.5 (no change)
Thighs: 26 (+1 inch)
Calves: 17 (+.5 inch)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Monday weigh-in

I'm still in Phoenix visiting my mom. I haven't really been working out. I've gone to Curves with her a couple of times and we been doing a ton of walking but other than that, nothing. We haven't been eating well either. Not horrible, but not great either. Mom has been cooking most meals but she uses TONS of salt and oil/butter in all of her cooking. It tastes awesome but it is definitely taking it's toll on me.

Mom's scale is not calibrated. I weighed myself at the doctor just before I came out here and then weighed myself on mom's scale right when I arrived. So I'm estimating that her scale is about 10 pounds off. I did not bring a tape measure so I'm not able to take my measurements this week. This week's weight looks really good but I'm really not sure how accurate it is, so I'm not getting my hopes up too high. I also won't be too disappointed if my weight goes back up when I return home, simply because the scale at home is calibrated.

I feel bad that this is such a short post and doesn't really have a whole lot of information in it, but I'm working with what I have available here. Hopefully next week will look better.

Weight: 235 (-2.2 pounds)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Stocking Up

I'm visiting my mom in Phoenix! I'm going to be there for almost 2 weeks. I am beyond excited. I can't wait to see her condo, visit with family, and just tool around Arizona and possibly Vegas.

I've been out of work for 5 months now. In that time I've completely become a housewife. I do all of the housework (cleaning), laundry, shopping, and of course cooking. I make sure that we have a healthy home-cooked dinner on the table at least 6 days a week.

So I stared thinking, and we all know that is never a good thing.

Anyway, I started thinking and I know this sounds completely irrational but, if I'm gone for 2 weeks...what will Vince eat for dinner? Stupid, right? Well, the thought was eating at me. I just couldn't leave him to his own devices. If it were up to him, he would happily have fast food every night until my return. I just couldn't let that happen.

So, I started making dinners and freezing them. He has no excuses. All he has to do is pull something out of the freezer before he leaves for work. Some of the meals will require assembly and/or a little cooking, but the meal is prepped and ready.

As always, I went completely overboard. I took a simple, good idea and made it into a huge project. My irrational mind was thinking that I should make a dinner for each night that I am away. That Vince should not have to have the same dinner two nights in a row. Vince very kindly pointed out that all of the meals I was making were for more than 1 serving. He said if he defrosted one every day then there would be a ton of leftovers sitting in the fridge when I got back. He also protested my planning out his meals for him. Apparently he is an adult and can choose to eat whatever he wants, whenever he wants...including Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Chick-Fil-A, McDonald's, etc. He actually said that he would eat the junk anyway and just not cook what I had prepared. Oh well, at least I know it's there if he wants it and it will keep me from having to cook so much as the weather gets hotter.

This is a list of what I'm making.

Beef Kabobs
Ginger Sesame Chicken with Rice Noodles
Pork Satay with Brown Rice & Steamed Broccoli
Turkey Tacos
Turkey Noodle Soup
Eggplant Parmesan
Spanakopita
Stuffed Shells
Chicken Pizza
Stuffed Peppers

Some of them are pretty easy to put together and stick in the freezer. I've made "meal kits", just to make it easy for Vince to determine which ingredients go for which meal.

The best tip I got was for marinading meats. Basically you put the marinade and the meat into a ziplock freezer bag, roll it, seal it, and stick it in the freezer. When you want to have that for dinner, take the bag out of the freezer and put it in the fridge to defrost. As it defrosts it marinades the meat so you have seasoned meat by the time you get home.

Be sure to label all of your bags/containers with what is in it and the date that it was put in.

Beef Kabobs:
 
I made a simple marinade for the beef. I dumped the marinade and the cubed beef into a big freezer bag, rolled and sealed the bag and stuck it in the freezer.

Then, I cut a couple of bell peppers and an onion into big chunks. The peppers and onion each went into their own ziplock bags. I also made a bag of cherry tomatoes.

I then took a big freezer bag and labeled it as "Beef Kabob Kit" and put all of the individual bags of veggies into the one big bag. That kit now resides in the refrigerator. I would probably serve this dinner with some brown rice but I doubt if Vince will make or eat that.

To make: 
Defrost the beef. Soak a few bamboo skewers in water for about 20 minutes. Then make the kabobs by sliding beef, peppers, tomatoes, and onions onto the skewers. Grill until the meat is cooked through.

Ginger Sesame Chicken:
 
I was bad and used a bottled marinade for this one. It was easier and it really tastes good. I put the marinade and the cubed chicken into a labeled freezer bag and stuck it in the freezer. There is a bag of frozen "Chinese Stir Fry" vegetables in the freezer for this dish as well.

The recipe is served over rice noodles.

To make:
Defrost the chicken. Boil water and cook the rice noodles for about 7 minutes, then drain. Cook the chicken and vegetables in a skillet/wok until done. Serve over cooked rice noodles.

Pork Satay:
 
I made the marinade from this recipe. I, once again, put it into a freezer bag with the pork strips and stuck it in the freezer. There is also a steamer bag of broccoli in the freezer to go with this meal.

I did not make the peanut sauce for this recipe since Vince could take it or leave it and I didn't think it would hold up well if not used right away. This dish is served with brown rice and steamed broccoli.

To make:
Defrost the pork. Soak some bamboo skewers. Slide the pork onto the skewers and cook on a griddle or grill until the meat is done. Microwave the steamer bag of broccoli for 5 minutes. Serve over brown rice.

Turkey Tacos:

This is one of Vince's favorite meals so it had to be in the rotation. It is pretty easy to make and there was not a whole lot to do ahead of time. I basically just made sure all of the ingredients were in the cabinets and easy to find.

I froze 1 pound of ground turkey. In the cabinet I have 1 can of diced tomatoes (no-salt), 1 can of sliced mushrooms, 1 packet of taco seasoning (no-sodium), and 1 package of 8 grain tortillas. In the fridge I have a tub of soy sour cream and a bag of cheddar flavor veggie shreds.

To make:
Start by defrosting the turkey. In a skillet, brown the turkey and drain any fat. Then add the taco seasoning and water. Add the tomatoes and mushrooms. Cook until the liquid evaporates. Serve on tortillas with sour cream and veggie shreds.

Turkey Noodle Soup:
 
This is actually an easy one. I have a great recipe for this soup. It uses turkey breast, tons of veggies, and broth. Pretty simple. The key is to freeze it before putting the noodles in. That way, when you defrost it the noodles don't get too soggy.

To make: 
Just defrost and heat up the soup. In a separate pot, boil water and cook a package of egg noodles. Once cooked, drain the noodles and add to the soup. Voila! Turkey noodle soup.

Eggplant Parmesan:
 
I made eggplant cutlets and froze them. I very lightly bread them (each cutlet has less than a teaspoon of bread crumbs) and bake them instead of frying.

To make: 
Defrost the eggplant and then place into a baking dish. Pour tomato sauce over the cutlets (I go sparse on this but really it is to taste), then place slices of Vegan Delight Mozzarella flavored soy cheese over everything. Bake in a 350 degree oven just long enough to heat everything up and melt the cheese (~30 minutes).

Spanikoptia:
 
I love spanikopita. Flaky, cheesy, and very filling. I not only make my spanikopita dairy-free but I also make it so each pastry is under 200 calories. Unfortunately, Vince doesn't share my affection for this buttery dinner so I've only made and frozen enough for me to have for lunches when I return.

I use a tofu, egg, and spinach filling (along with other seasonings) inside a phyllo dough crust. Check out the full recipe here, in case you missed it.

Basically, I make each spanikopita triangle and then freeze them before baking.

To make: 
Take the spanakopita out of the freezer and put them onto a baking sheet. Bake them in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes. Take them out when the crusts are golden brown.

Stuffed Shells:
 
I found this recipe for "Lasagna Stuffed Shells" on Allrecipes.com. As always, I adapted that recipe to be dairy-free and lower in fat. You can check it out here. I use a tofu mix for the "cheese" portion and I use turkey instead of ground beef/sausage. I also go light on the tomato sauce.

I use disposable tin pans so that I can bake them and stick them in the freezer without having to transfer to bags/containers. You don't want to completely cook this dish. Completely assemble the shells in the baking pan with the tomato sauce. Then put them in the fridge and let them cool so that the cheese is set. Once they are cold you can wrap the pan up in plastic wrap or a freezer bag and put it in the freezer.

To make, take the pan out of the oven and place it in the fridge to thaw for the day. Once it is completely thawed bake the shells at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or so, until the cheese is completely melted on top.

Chicken Pizza:
 
Vince is a pizza addict. I knew that if left alone for too long, pizza would be delivered to our door. I'm sure he will still be ordering some Papa John's while I'm away but having this alternative in the freezer means that maybe he'll only order it once instead of several times.

I make whole wheat pizza dough and shape it into a crust. I par-bake the crust by putting it into a 500 degree oven for 3 minutes. After the crust has cooled I either wrap it in plastic and freeze it or I add all of the topping, wrap it and freeze it. You could also make a pizza kit by freezing eat component in its own bag and then wrapping them all together.

I have fully made pizzas frozen, just to make it easier for Vince while I'm gone.

To make, just put the pizza on a pan and bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes (until the cheese is melted and the crust is brown).

Stuffed Peppers:
 
This is an easy one. Prepare them to the point of putting them in the oven, but don't. At this point cool them down in the fridge. Once they are cold, wrap them up and put them in the freezer.

To make, defrost them in the fridge then put them into a baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.

Other:
 
I also chopped up a bunch of fresh fruit and stuck those in the freezer. Frozen fruit is great in smoothies instead of ice cubes. You can also thaw it out and use it for fruit salad. Yum.

I made high protein banana muffins as well and those went into the freezer. Those are individually wrapped so Vince can take one to work, the gym, or have one for a quick breakfast. Just heat it up in the microwave or leave it out to thaw before eating it.


I made a big batch of whole wheat rolls. Some of those went into the fridge for immediate consumption and the rest went into the freezer.

I'm sure that Vince is not going to eat all of this food. I really did go overboard with the cooking. It will be nice to have a freezer full of food when I get home though. Having the oven on in the middle of summer in Virginia is something I try to avoid at all costs.

I'll keep you updated on my adventures here in Phoenix!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Weigh-In

It is Monday once again. My morning has been busy so I didn't weigh myself right away. I actually forgot to do it until just a minute ago. I had already eaten breakfast but I don't think it affected my weight too much. I have been pretty forgetful about taking my meds at night and I ate a LOT of sugar over the weekend. I hadn't plan on it. I was doing really well all week. I worked out almost every day last week. I ate well and watched my calories and my sodium. I felt good. I was looking forward to the weekend and getting ready to leave for Phoenix.

That's when it happened. Friday night arrived. Vince and I went up to our neighbor's place to hang out. I was really good, I didn't even have a drink other than caffeine free diet coke. We were supposed to go bowling with friends later that evening. As we were getting into the car to go bowling, we get a text that our friends are sick and not able to go. So now what do we do? It is 9pm on a Friday night. We are already getting into the car and have no where to go. I suggest that we go back upstairs. I can make a healthy dessert of some kind and we can watch a movie. Nope. Not gonna happen.

Ok. I agree to go with Vince to the store, with the hopes that I can convince him to get something no quite so bad. I'm horrible. I have no will power what so ever. We choose a giant cookie cake. Ok not too bad. Then Vince says he can't have it without frosting. So a can of chocolate fudge frosting goes into the basket. This is getting bad. As we walk toward the ice cream aisle (yes, that's right, ice cream), we pass a display of Krispy Kreme donuts. This is where my will power is completely obliterated. I can't pass up a box of raspberry jelly donuts. Vince doesn't want those, he wants the boston cream donuts. So in the basket both boxes go. Horrible I know.

We get all of this junk home and settle in for a sugar coma and some Babylon 5. I know what you're thinking. I can hear it coming through my computer screen. I even thought it myself. I know that just because it is in the house doesn't mean that I have to eat it. I could have done damage control by only eating a little bit of it, but I didn't.

Over the weekend I ate 6 donuts and half of that giant cookie (without frosting). I pretty much made myself sick. It disgusts me just to think about it. Thankfully, I didn't do too much damage as far as my weight is concerned. I'm guessing that all of my workouts off-set my eating. I know I could have had a bigger loss if I had eaten better.

Weight: 237.2 (-.6 pounds)
Hips: 49 inches (no change)
Waist: 40 inches (no change)
Bust: 37 inches (-1 inch)
Arms: 14.5 inches (no change)
Thighs: 25 inches (-.5 inch)
Calves: 16.5 inches (-.5 inch)

I am leaving for Phoenix this afternoon. I will be gone for almost 2 weeks. I don't know if I'll get to work out at all. I know mom has a membership at Curves, so I might be able to get a light workout in over there. I will really have to watch what I eat since I know we will be eating out quite a bit and well, let's face it, mom isn't the healthiest eater in the world. I'll just have to do my best.

I don't know if mom has a scale/tape measure so I don't know if I'll be able to post my weigh-in for the next 2 weeks. Keep checking though, just in case.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Lasagna Stuffed Shells

I can't remember having stuffed shells. I'm sure at some point in my life I did, but I just don't remember it. They look good, and they smell good, but they are filled with evil, evil cheese. I wanted to try them out but honestly didn't think they would be good with nothing but pasta and tofu in them. Then I found a different recipe and my whole view changed.

I have already perfected dairy-free lasagna. I love it but it is a pretty heavy dish. Tons of pasta, sauce, meat...well, tons of everything really. These shells seemed like the perfect solution. I could have the taste of lasagna that I loved but in a smaller commitment. I love how they turned out. I will be making these again, once my freezer stash has dwindled.

Lasagna Stuffed Shells
From Allrecipes.com


Ingredients
1 Box Jumbo Pasta Shells (about 40 shells)
1 Pound Ground Turkey
12oz Firm Tofu
8oz Veggie Shreds Parmesan/Mozzarella Mix Flavor
2 Large Eggs
1 1/2 Jars Tomato Sauce (I used Tomato & Basil flavor)

Directions
  1. In a large stock pot, bring about 4 quarts of water to a boil.
  2. Once the water is boiling, salt the water generously and add the shells.
  3. Cook the shells for about 10 minutes. You want them to be slightly under-done.
  4. While the shells are cooking, cook the turkey in a skillet and set aside.
  5. In a bowl, mash together the eggs, tofu, and veggie shreds.
  6. Once the shells are cooked, remove from the water and rinse with cold water.
  7. Spread tomato sauce on the bottom of two 9x13 baking pans (or 3 8x8 pans).
  8. Take a shell and spoon about a teaspoon of turkey into the bottom of it.
  9. Next, spoon a heaping teaspoon of tofu mixture onto the turkey.
  10. Place the shell into a baking dish.
  11. Continue with the remaining shells.
  12. Once all of the shells are in the pans, spoon tomato sauce onto the top of each shell.
  13. Bake the shells at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, just until the cheese/tofu is melted.
Optional: Feel free to cover the tops of the shells/sauce with more shredded cheese.

Yields:12 servings

These are really filling and very yummy. They freeze well too. The best part is the stats.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Spanakopita

Spanakopita is a Greek spinach pie. It is usually seen being passed around at wedding as tiny hors d'oeuvers. I found a recipe for dinner Spanakopita on one my new favorite cooking blogs, Branny Boils Over. I, of course, took that recipe and modified it to make it dairy-free and higher in protein.

I think it turned out awesome. Vince on the other hand, didn't like it. He said the flavor was good but he didn't like the flaky pastry shell. He's "not a flaky crust kind of guy". Oh well, I guess I can't win them all with him. I'm still making a batch to put in the freezer. I can take them out and heat them up for a quick, yummy lunch.

This recipe does call for the use of phyllo dough. I know that can be intimidating but it really is easy to use. I'll walk you through it. Don't panic, it will be ok.

Spanakopita
From Branny Boils Over


Ingredients

14 Sheets of Phyllo Dough (about 1/4 of a package)
1 10oz Box of Frozen Spinach, Thawed and Drained
4oz Soft Tofu
2oz Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese
2 Tablespoons Parmesan Flavor Veggie Shreds
1/2 Medium Yellow Onion, Diced
1.5 Tablespoons Pine Nuts
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Pepper
1 Large Egg
1 Large Egg White
1.5 Tablespoons Seasoned Bread Crumbs
1/4 Teaspoon Nutmeg
4 Tablespoons Margarine, Melted

Directions
  1. In a skillet, fry the onion until caramelized (about 3 minutes).
  2. Briefly add the spinach to the skillet, just long enough to steam off any excess moisture. You want it to be completely dry.
  3. In a bowl, mix together all of the ingredients, except for the margarine and the phyllo dough.
  4. Set the filling aside.
  5. Open the package of phyllo dough and roll out the sheets.
  6. Place a damp paper towel over the sheets to keep them from drying out while you work.
  7. Carefully take one sheet and lay it out flat.
  8. With a pastry brush, brush the sheet with melted margarine.
  9. Carefully lay a second phyllo sheet on top of the first.
  10. Brush the second sheet with melted margarine.
  11. Lay a third phyllo sheet on the stack.
  12. Brush the third sheet with margarine.
  13. Lay a fourth sheet on the stack.
  14. Do not brush the top of the fourth sheet.
  15. Cut the stack of phyllo sheets in half, lengthwise.You will now have two long rectangles of phyllo dough.
  16. Make 4 more long rectangles of dough in this way.
  17. For the last (7th) rectangle, take one sheet of dough and brush margarine on half of it (lengthwise).
  18. Fold the sheet over itself lengthwise.
  19. Brush margarine on the top of the sheet.
  20. Place another sheet on top.
  21. Brush margarine on half of this sheet.
  22. Fold the second sheet over itself. You will now have one long rectangle of dough.
Assembly


  1. Place 1/3 cup of filling onto one end of one of the rectangles.
  2. Take the corner of the rectangle, with the filling, and fold it towards the edge of the dough.
  3. Continue folding the dough until you have a large triangle.
  4. Place the triangle on a cookie sheet.
  5. Repeat with remaining dough.
Bake the Spanakopitas in a preheated 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes. You want them to be golden brown and flaky.

Yields: 7 servings

These are pretty quick to make and are very filling. The best part is that they are each under 200 calories! The stats below are for each pastry triangle. You could also add in some Fiber One powder to up the fiber, it is pretty low.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Pepino Melon-Banana Protein Smoothie

I recently found Pepino melons at the grocery store. I had no idea what they were or what they tasted like but I was curious. So I bought a few.

These are Pepino melons:


They are about the size of a lemon. The skin is very thin and smooth, almost like the skin of a plum. They have a very sweet banana-like fragrance.

After I got them home, I had to look them up on the interwebz to figure out how to eat them.

It turns out that the whole thing is edible, just like a plum. Just wash it and take a bite! The flavor is pretty sweet. It tastes like a cross between a cantaloupe and a banana. They are very juicy so be prepared with napkins. You can tell they are ripe by the purple stripes along the side, those don't show up until the fruit is completely ripe.

Since I had this fabulous fruit sitting in my fridge and I also happened to have a couple of almost-too-ripe bananas in the fruit bowl, I made a smoothie. It was thick and creamy. Sweet with a unique taste of banana and melon.


Pepino Melon-Banana Protein Smoothie


Ingredients

1 Pepino Melon
1 Ripe Small/Medium Banana
1/2 Cup Unsweetened Soy Milk
1/2 Cup Water
1 Scoop Vanilla Protein Powder
1/8 Teaspoon Xanthan Gum (optional)
5 Ice Cubes

Directions

Cut the fruit into large cubes and add to the blender along with all of the other ingredients. Blend until smooth.

This packs a punch calorie and carb-wise but if you are using it as a meal replacement, go ahead and put in a full cup of milk instead of doing half water/half milk. You could also add in another banana for more carbs if you are drinking it right after an extremely vigorous work-out.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Blackberries & Cream Protein Smoothie

Today has been a good day diet-wise. After all of the house cleaning and organizing was done. I had time to fit in a 30 minute elliptical session. Since it was only 30 minutes long, I decided to make it a little more difficult by doing hills. I was only on level 5 (so the hill goes up to level 5 and then back down) but it was an excellent work-out.

After a nice long shower I decided to make myself a protein smoothie. It turned out really yummy. You could make this with any variety of fruit, but I had blackberries so that's what I made. The possibilities are enormous. Play around with it and come up with something yummy!

Blackberries & Cream Protein Smoothie


Ingredients

1/2 Cup Lite Coconut Milk
1/2 Cup Water
144 Grams (~1 Cup) Blackberries
1 Scoop Vanilla Protein Powder
2 Tablespoons Plain Yogurt (I use soy)
4 Packets of Splenda
6-8 Ice Cubes

Directions

Put everything into the blender and blend it until thick and smooth.

You may want to add about 1/8 teaspoon of Xanthan Gum to thicken it up and keep it from separating.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mondays suck

Mondays suck. That's right, I said it. Whatcha gonna do about it?

Ok, so maybe it's my own fault. Friday night's dinner was supposed to be left-over stuffed rotolo pasta with a big salad. Sounds good right? Wrong. Vince ended up working really late. I didn't feel like getting dinner together at 8:30 at night so when he called I said......



are you ready for it......



"Stop at McDonald's on the way home."


That started the downward spiral for our weekend. A Quarter Pounder meal (with soy cheese) and sweet tea is never a good idea. I don't know what I was thinking. Oh yeah, convenience. I felt horrible the next morning. Bloated from the salt and sick from the grease.

We had errands to run on Saturday but we were determined to get in a workout of some kind. So, we scheduled some letterboxing with friends in the afternoon. We did not find any boxes but we did get in a nice 4.5 mile hike. If you missed that story, here it is. We are leaving the park and in a bit of a rush. We spend more time there than we had planned and were now running late for a movie date with another couple. We were starving. We had not had breakfast or lunch and did not anticipate having dinner for several more hours, at least. We had just enough time to make a run to Chick-Fil-A, run home to eat, shower, and change clothes. Yes, you read that right. We got fast food again. Breaded, fried, chicken goodness on a greasy white bun. As if it could get worse, it had mayo on it. Full fat mayo...plus fries. Argghh. The weekend is pretty much blown at this point, but just wait, it gets worse.

We were forced to go see Iron Man 2 with our friends Saturday evening. (That was completely sarcastic in case you missed it. I actually really enjoyed the movie and the company.) Which of course meant that someone put a gun to my head and made me eat an entire bag of Reese's Pieces, a hand full of Gummi Bears, and a Twizzler.

It was one of our friend's birthday so we just had to go out for Thai food after the movie (more sarcasm there). Bring on the greasy, salt-laden Pad Thai and pork satay.

As good as the food was, I was really feeling it by Sunday morning. I had a headache, my fingers and toes were swollen, my face was a total grease pit, but there was more to come.

It was Mother's Day. I decided to bake some muffins to send to my mom and for Vince to take to work. I had to run to the store for a few missing items (isn't that always the case?). By the time I was finished baking, I had just enough time to whip up a protein shake and down it before heading out to church. Not doing too bad at this point. After church, we met up with Vince's family at one of my favorite restaurants for dinner. Casablanca Moroccan restaurant in Old Town. They sit you on pillows all around a large table. There is live belly dancing and awesome food. The table agrees on what to order since everyone shares the dishes. We got the six course feast. It begins with Harira soup, a tomato and lentil soup. The next course is Moroccan salad. It consists of several fresh vegetables that have been seasoned and marinated. Our salad was chick peas, green beans, and beets. The salads change based on what is in season. The third course is my favorite. The Bastilla Pastry. It is a phyllo dough filled pie. The pie is filled with a mixture of chicken, eggs, and nuts. It is seasoned with cinnamon and sugar. I could easily make an entire meal out of just this. We ordered two entrees. We got lamb with fig and sesame and kafta kabobs. Vince's sister also ordered couscous and hummus as side dishes. The lamb was awesome. It just fell off the bone. The kabobs are made of seasoned ground beef and served with a rice/vegetable mix. It was also very good. The meal ends with Moraccan mint tea and almond cookies. We stayed to have a couple of drinks after dinner and watch the show. I shudder at the thought of how many calories this meal must have been.

After getting home, Vince wasn't tired yet so we stayed up. I was bored and tired, so what do I do? I eat. I had two apple muffins and a glass of sweet tea while I was waiting for Vince to get tired. I really should have just gone to bed but the horrendous weekend of eating was finally over.

So here it is, Monday. The dreaded Monday. It should be the start of a new week. A new chance to try to do it right. I decided I wanted to do my weigh-ins on Mondays so I went ahead and did all of my measurements this morning. Boy was that a bad idea. Or was it? I guess it really showed me what I did to myself over the weekend. It is probably a much more accurate picture of my weight. So here it is, my shame, my weigh-in.

Weight: 237.8 (+2 pounds)
Hips: 49 inches (+1 inch)
Waist: 40 inches (+1 inch)
Bust: 38 inches (no change)
Arms: 14.5 inches (+1 inch)
Thighs: 25.5 inches (no change)
Calves: 17 inches (+.5 inch)

I've been good today. I had a bowl of oat cereal with half a cup of soy milk for breakfast. I've been downing water like there's no tomorrow (hoping to flush out all the salt from the weekend). I've got quite a few chores to do today but I plan to fit in a long elliptical session and a new protein smoothie recipe. I'll let you know how it goes.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day - Strawberry Coconut Protein Smoothies

On this beautiful Sunday in early May, I'm thinking about my mom. My mom is awesome. She is my best friend, a confidante, a guide, a teacher, and my mom. She has seen quite a bit in her lifetime. I'm very lucky to say that she is passing on her knowledge to me.

My mom lives over a thousand miles away and I miss her. Sure we talk on the phone almost daily and we email, facebook, and IM, but it really isn't the same as the face-to-face talks. Just vegging out watching a movie or having coffee by the pool. I miss having her nearby when I'm sick, when I need a ride to the hospital, when Vince is out of town and I'm lonely.

Don't get me wrong, Vince is great company and I have some awesome friends here in DC...it's just not the same. Vince's family is much different from my own. I get along with them fabulously but again, it's just not the same. I miss my mom.

So today, the day created to honor our mothers, I am thinking about my mom. I have a great gift ready to ship out to her. I've been baking muffins all morning to send to her. The best part of the day was when Vince said, "Hey, why don't you just go to Phoenix for a week or so and visit her.". Holy cow! I'm giddy! I'm now looking up flights and I'll be there for almost 2 weeks. It is awesome. We are going to have so much fun!

My day has turned from gloomy gray to vibrant pink. To celebrate my change in mood, I made myself a strawberry coconut protein smoothie. It is delicious and very filling. Creamy coconut, sweet strawberry...yum. So make one for yourself and give yourself a vibrant pink day. :)

Strawberry Protein Smoothie

Ingredients

3-4 Large Strawberries, diced
3/4 Cup Coconut Milk
1/4 Cup Water
1 Scoop Vanilla Protein Powder
5-6 Ice Cubes
Sugar or other sweetener

Directions
  1. Put everything into a blender.
  2. Blend until smooth and thick.
Optional: Add some xanthum gum to the mix to make a thicker smoothie and prevent it from separating.
Just sweeten it to taste. It will really vary depending on how sweet your fruit is and how sweet you want your smoothie to be. Today I added 4 packets of Splenda.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

New Workouts


I'm really trying to get back into a good workout routine. I don't want to be bored with doing the same workout every day, so I'm branching out. Letterboxing and the nice weather has been a great help.

Our favorite park is Lake Accotink Park in Springfield. Vince grew up just down the street and knows all of the trails backwards and forward. The main trail circles around the lake and is 4 miles long. We have collected almost all of the letterboxes at Lake Accotink, so we are going to have to start going to another park pretty soon.

Today however was a huge bust. Not only did we not find the two letterboxes that we were looking for, but we also added on an additional half mile to our hike. We took a couple of friends with us who had never been to the park before. They wanted to learn about letterboxing. They did not however want us to tell them anything about the park trails. They wanted to "figure it out on their own". Great.

So we had walked the trail for 2 miles, we were halfway around the lake at this point. We reached the tip of the trail where you can either choose to turn to go around the other side of the lake or continue on the trail until you reach the road at the other end. The road is about a quarter of mile further down the trail. As much as we tried to explain to our friends that the boxes we were looking for were not down that way they would not listen. We read and re-read the clues to the boxes. We knew we needed to continue on the main trail along the other side of the lake. They wouldn't listen. So we walked to the road at the end of the trail and you know what? That was not where the boxes were. So we turned around and walked back to the turn off for the main trail. We added half a mile for nothing.

I know it was ultimately a good thing. Right? I mean it can't be bad to walk an extra half mile. Sure I was sore at the end and my feet hurt but it didn't kill me. I actually kind of enjoyed myself. I need more of this. I need to push myself more and find ways to enjoy it.

I am going to look into taking some classes at my gym. I'm thinking of trying a spin class and maybe a step class. I'm hoping that by having different types of workouts I won't get bored and give up. We'll see how it goes.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Weight Loss Progress

I've been called out. I keep saying I'm going to update with my weight loss journey and then I don't. I have more excuses than should be allowed by law. The truth is, I fell off the wagon. I'm an emotional eater. We've had some extremely stressful stuff going on and well, I just couldn't be bothered to continue to workout or not eat the entire pint of ice cream that was in the freezer.

Very slowly I've been getting back on track.

I bought a food scale and have been weighing out my meal portions. This has been a tremendous educational tool. You really don't have any idea how much you're eating until you weigh it out. You don't really know what 3 ounces of meat looks like until you see it on the scale. I can tell you right now that my "guestimates" all this time have been way off. I've been eating much more than I thought I was. That is now changing.

Healthy cooking. That's all I have to say about that. Well...not really. We both know I can't just leave it at that, I like to talk too much. I've been making a huge effort to cook better food for us to eat. We eat out way too much so I've been researching our favorite restaurant meals and trying them out at home, using fresh ingredients. I've cut back on our sodium and caffeine intake. I've cut back on pre-packaged foods with tons of preservatives. I'm using more whole grains and eating fewer "white" products. I'm actually a little surprised at the difference in taste and the fact that I really don't miss my daily baked potato.

Exercise, the bane of my existence. I know I don't lose weight without exercising yet, I hate to exercise. I really do have to talk myself into getting onto the elliptical. Sometimes I even bribe myself. I know, I know, I'm terrible. I haven't worked out in weeks. Now that the weather is getting nicer, I will be doing more hiking outside. But I know the 4-6 miles of hiking I do a week will not be enough. I need to get back onto the elliptical. I might also take a class at the gym just to mix things up. I really should work out 4 times a week to see optimum weight loss. As much as I hate it, it is a necessary evil in this journey. I just need to suck it up and do it.

So now we've come to the part that you came here for, my weigh-in. I will admit that I've gained a little back in size. I'm guessing that is because I stopped working out. My weight has continued to go down but not nearly as quickly as it could have if I had been better. Now that I know someone is actually reading this and holding me accountable, I'll think I'll be better.

My losses are calculated from the last week I had a weigh-in, which was 3/17/10.
Weight: 235.8 (-1.6 pounds)
Hips: 48 inches (+1.5 inches)
Waist: 39 inches (+1.5 inches)
Bust: 38 inches (+1.5 inches)
Biceps: 13.5 inches (no change)
Thighs: 25.5 inches (-.5 inches)
Calves: 16.5 inches (+.5 inches)

Here's to bigger losses in the future!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Squash & Spinach Stuffed Rotolo Pasta

Jamie Oliver is awesome. I've been watching the Food Revolution on ABC Friday nights. I've been a fan of Jamie's cooking for awhile but this show is what really sparked me to start cooking more food from scratch. In the show, he tries to get the public schools in Huntington, West Virginia to change the cafeteria menus to healthy food. He sets ups a "kitchen" in town where he gives free cooking lessons to anyone that walks in. He does fund raisers to have the cafeteria cooks retrained on how to cook actual meals, instead of just adding water and reheating precooked junk. It really is fun to watch the transformation and his enthusiasm for healthy cooking is infectious.

So, I took what Jamie was teaching in the schools and applied it to my own life. Basically, he says that you can still eat the food you love, you just have to make it healthy. So the journey began. There have been some disasters and some pretty good finds. I'm slowly adding to my recipe rotations and having fun trying new stuff.

This recipe is an adaptation from one of the recipes in the book Jaime's Italy.

This is a great summer meal. It is light and filling. There is no heavy sauce to go along with it, although Vince thinks this is a great tragedy. It is also very pretty. It makes a great presentation for guests.

Now don't panic, but you will be making your own pasta for this recipe. Deep breaths...really, it will be ok. It is not that hard to do. I'll walk you through it step by step. Just take it slow and it will turn out beautifully. I promise.


Squash & Spinach Stuffed Rotolo
From Branny Boils Over


Pasta

Ingredients

1 & 1/2 Cups Flour
3 Large Eggs
1/4 Teaspoon Salt

Directions
  1. Place the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Make a hole in the center of the flour.
  3. Break the eggs into the hole.
  4. Whisk the eggs until pale yellow.
  5. Continue whisking while slowly incorporating the flour.
  6. Continue to incorporate the flour until a dough has formed.
  7. Once a dough ball has formed, begin to knead the dough until it is no longer sticky.
  8. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface to roll out.
  9. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a large rectangle shape. It should measure about 10 inches by 15 inches. It should be about 1/4 inch thick.
  10. Cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap until ready for use.

Filling

Ingredients

1 Small Squash (I used acorn)
3/4 Teaspoon Coriander
1 Teaspoon Fennel Seeds
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Minced Garlic
About 2 Cups Baby Spinach Leaves
1 Tablespoon Butter/Margarine
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1 Cup Ricotta Cheese (I used Soft Tofu)

Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Cut the squash into quarters.
  3. Scoop out the seeds and place the squash, flesh side up, into a baking dish.
  4. With a mortar and pestle, grind the fennel seed with the coriander and salt.
  5. Season the squash with the ground spices.
  6. Cover the squash with tin foil and place in the oven for 25 minutes.
  7. After 25 minutes, remove the foil and bake for an additional 20 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and let cool.
  9. Once cool, scrape the flesh out of the skin and into a bowl.
  10. Mash until smooth.
  11. In a large saute pan or skillet, melt the butter and brown the garlic.
  12. Add the spinach and cook until completely wilted.
  13. Add the nutmeg and toss.

Assembly

Directions
  1. Lay out a large piece of cheese-cloth or a clean dish towel (bigger than the pasta).
  2. Lay the pasta onto the cloth.
  3. Spoon the squash across the long end of the pasta that is closest to you.
  4. Spoon the spinach across the pasta right next to the squash.
  5. Spoon the cheese/tofu across the remaining edge of the pasta, be sure to go all the way to the edge.
  6. Begin slowly rolling the pasta up, jelly-roll style. Start at the squash end and roll towards the cheese/tofu. Roll fairly tight but don't squish out the filling.
  7. Use the cheese/tofu to seal the end of the pasta to itself.
  8. Wrap the cloth/towel around the rotolo.
  9. Tie the cloth on each end and 2-3 times in the middle using kitchen twine.

Cooking

Directions
  1. Fill a large pasta pot (or stew pot) with about 6 inches of water.
  2. Generously salt the water and bring to a boil.
  3. Once the water is boiling place the rotolo (towel and all) into the water. You may need to place a plate or other object over the rotolo to keep it from floating to the top of the water.
  4. Boil for 25 minutes.
  5. After 25 minutes, remove from the water and place on a cutting board.
  6. Carefully unwrap the rotolo and slice into 1/2 - 1 inch pieces.
Yields: 6-8 servings

I served this without any sauce but Vince "needed" it. He has an aversion to pasta without sauce. *sigh* He put basil tomato sauce on it, which I would not recommend. If anything, I would do a light cream sauce but it was really yummy without anything.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Thai Pineapple Rice with Shrimp


I first had this dish at Pasara Thai restaurant in Kingstown, VA. It comes served in a pineapple shell. A beautiful presentation. It is a little on the sweet side but could also be served cold as a refreshing summer dinner dish.

I did not serve our dinner in pineapple shells but Vince seemed to like it anyway. It was relatively easy to make, it just required a little bit of prep work. I used shrimp as the protein for our dinner but you can substitute anything you would like. I don't think the sweet flavors would work well with red meat though so I would stick with poultry, pork, and seafood.


Thai Pineapple Rice


Ingredients

1 Fresh Pineapple, diced
3 Cups Cooked Rice (I used brown)
3/4 Cups Coconut Milk
1 Medium Onion, diced
2 Tablespoons Raisins
2 Tablespoons Cashews, chopped
2 Tablespoons Oil, olive or peanut
1/2 Tablespoon Sugar
1 Tablespoon Cumin
1 Tablespoon Coriander
1/2 Tablespoon Ground Ginger
1/2 Teaspoon Turmeric
2 Teaspoons Minced Garlic
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
30 Shrimp (I used precooked frozen)

Directions
  1. In a blender add the cumin, coriander, ginger, turmeric, garlic, salt, 1/2 of the diced onion, and 1/4 cup coconut milk. Blend until it becomes a thick paste.
  2. In a large saucepan or wok, cook the shrimp (or heat through if precooked, frozen).
  3. Remove the shrimp from the pan and set aside for later.
  4. Remove water/juice from the pan.
  5. Add oil to the pan and heat.
  6. Add 1/2 of the diced onion and cook until soft.
  7. Add the paste to the onions and fry for about a minute, until browned.
  8. Add the pineapple, rice, coconut milk, raisins, and cashews to the pan.
  9. Stir and cook until the milk is completely absorbed.
  10. Add the sugar and the shrimp to the pan.
  11. Cook until the shrimp is heated through.

At this point, you can be fancy and serve the rice in the pineapple shell or you can be unfancy, like me, and serve it in cereal bowls. You can also be adventurous and try to eat it with chopsticks. Although we do own chopsticks, I have not yet mastered eating rice with them. So we used spoons. However you decide to serve this or eat it, you will love it.