Friday, January 29, 2016

Here Comes the Weekend

Yesterday afternoon I took the dogs out to the farm to visit my in-laws. My MIL talked me into walking down to the creek. I was hesitant because the path gets muddy as the ground freezes and refreezes. It was a challenge going up and down the hill. I am not the most graceful person. In fact, my calves are sore this morning from the extra effort they made to help me keep my balance. It was especially difficult with these two maniacs/Sherman tanks underfoot the whole time. My in-laws new dog likes to stick much more closely to us, so when they play they can't help but bump us.  And 85 pounds of dog bumping you makes standing upright much more difficult. Thankfully, despite the footing and the hounds there was no landing on my hiney :)  And poor Zommie had to be carried for her own protection...she didn't mind.
At least our perilous journey yielded some beautiful views.

Friday morning is my weekly weigh-in. I am definitely happy with this week's result. I am down another 1.8 pounds. That brings me to 9.4 so far for the month. I could use a nice string of months like that!

I am thrilled that Friday is finally here!  It is time for another weekend. Because I am so behind in my posting, I am recapping last weekend as my way to segue into this weekend.

Friday night tends to be our date night. This time we celebrated at our favorite Italian place with a big plate of deliciousness. Yes, it is a TON of food.

My husband was hopeful I would share...
Of course, you can see I did. As you can see, there was still a generous portion for each of us. I love that we do this - such a calorie and money savings :)
Since it was our splurge night, we also decided to order a piece of Snickers pie to take home and share. Sadly, they were out of Snickers pie and none of the other available desserts appealed to us. Instead this may or may not have is hard to tell in the dark ;)
Saturday morning I got up and cleaned house for awhile. My niece had invited me over to hang out and snuggle the baby, so I might have bailed a little early on the housework ;) I had been wanting to try these Crispy Baked Wontons. I gathered up the ingredients and took them with me to make for our lunch.
Water chestnuts and onion was chopped and mixed with ground turkey/pork and seasonings.
Each wonton gets a couple teaspoons of the filling and is rolled up egg roll style.
As usual, they didn't turn out quite as pretty as the picture on the recipe, but they were tasty. They are only 38 calories a piece. We had 10 for lunch. Then I might have gone back later in the afternoon for another bite or too. They retained their crispiness pretty well even when they were room temperature. We had plenty leftover. I left some for my niece and took some home. The ones I took home I divided up into snack least that slowed me down a little :)
On Sunday we had a little brunch to celebrate my mom's 81st birthday.  Instead of a cake, I made a giant M&M cookie. I had a piece or two but did not go crazy. To be honest I prefer individual cookies to bar-type cookies, even if it is the exact same recipe.
I was excited to try another new recipe I have been saving Cantaloupe and Mozzarella Caprese Salad for awhile. A birthday brunch seemed like a good occasion. First. I cubed the cantaloupe. I have never been good with the melon baller, which might have made it a little prettier. The melon is combined with mozzarella pearls and shreds of prosciutto.
I had never heard of white balsamic vinegar before this recipe. And now it is in the pantry with the 8 or 9 other kinds of vinegar I own. I cut down on the olive oil a little. I usually like a more vinegary vinaigrette.
Fresh basil was the final ingredient. The recipe also calls for fresh mint, but I always struggle with finding the right kind of mint - not a fan of the spearminty and pepperminty isn't always right either. I've had some delicious Asian mints, but I don't have a good source of them.
It was a beautiful salad. If I were to make it again I would probably just use a good ham. I didn't love the prociutto and it is a little pricey not to be loved.  I think this is an eat right away dish. I did have some of the leftovers for lunch on Monday and it wasn't as fantastic as fresh.
My sister made this yummy breakfast pizza for the party :)  I love brunch!
Because last weekend was the NFL conference championships there was some serious lounging with my husband and pups while watching games. We are happy with the teams that made it through to the Super Bowl.

That pretty much wraps up last weekend and I am ready for this weekend. Tonight and tomorrow will be busy with a wrestling tournament - the last one before regionals. You will notice I didn't mention taking down my Christmas trees last weekend. Maybe Sunday :)  I have to get them down before Super Bowl, right?

What are your weekend plans and how will you stay on track?

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Weekday Eating

It is another busy week in our world with work, classes, wrestling matches, etc.  As you know I have been concentrating on eating well despite hectic schedules (or even lazy days). I didn't get quite the prep work done I had originally planned to do on Sunday because...lazy day football.  However, for Sunday dinner I made a new recipe that I knew would yield leftovers we could use on another busy night later in the week.

It is another recipe from Cooking Light Roasted BBQ Drumsticks with Cowboy Beans.
 First task was to remove the skin. It is a bit messy, but worth the calorie savings.
 While the drumsticks were roasting I assembled the Cowboy Beans.
Start by sauteing the veggies and then add in all the rest of the ingredients and cook everything for a few minutes.
 The BBQ sauce gets basted on the drumsticks a couple times during the roasting.
I served it with cauliflower. I would have liked to have something green to brighten the plate - maybe next time. We enjoyed this recipe - especially the beans (how could you not? did you see the ingredients?) If I were to make the chicken again I think I would go a different direction with the BBQ sauce. To me, it didn't really taste like BBQ - more like the tomato paste. I like that Cooking Light pairs a couple items for a meal. However, I wish they would provide the calories for the individual components. The chicken and the beans totaled 473. I would like to know what the beans were individually, so I can more conveniently track when I mix and match leftovers or my husband wants an extra drumstick. Of course, I could sit down and put the ingredients through a calorie calculator, but I don't always want to take the time.
I love mornings when I can prep in advance. On this particular morning (I think Monday) I made some more Leftover Soup. I had left over chicken, added broth and an assortment of what ever veggies I had on hand.
  It was super simple and I had two portions of delicious soup to take to work for lunches.
I had added a little butternut and a bit of spaghetti. I was careful to not add too much spaghetti so the noodles didn't soak up all the juice (like the rice last time).
Also, that morning I made a batch of egg muffins. Such a great simple and nutritious snack. I have eaten one with my oatmeal and last night even had one for a bedtime snack - I was legit hungry and didn't want to get into the sweets. Well, I did want to get in the sweets, but knew it would not be a good idea to even let myself get started on them.

Yesterday my nephew had a wrestling match at 6p so again I needed something quick. I decided to try a crockpot baked potato. I also threw in a couple sweet potatoes.
 Simply wrap the potatoes in foil and cook all day on low.
Meanwhile at work I had a delicious chef salad courtesy of the leftover food from a workshop at work. We usually split up the leftovers. I took the salad and some deli meat. For the salad I measured out two cups of the salad and 1 oz. each of the turkey, roast beef and ham. I also added a hard boiled egg. I picked up this new dressing. I enjoy raspberry vinaigrette, but the strawberry is a nice change up.
When I got home I split the giant potato in half and topped with some cheese sauce and steamed broccoli. Easy peasy and super fast. The potato was a delicious 300 calories. I served it with a leftover chicken leg. Again, not sure of the calories of the chicken, but guesstimating it at about 150.
Admittedly, this isn't my normal breakfast, but I have been wanting to try Baked Eggs in Marinara since Sara, one of our Lovely Ladies, recommended it a couple weeks ago. Since I am off today and home alone I decided to give it a try.
It was super simple to assemble. Spread marinara in the bottom of the dish, sprinkle with Parmesan and gently place eggs on top.
 It definitely had the wow factor for presentation.
And it was delicious. Next time I might use a different marinara sauce - the calories were a little higher than I wanted and the flavor a bit bland (sorry Emeril).  I definitely like the idea and with the right sauce it will be even better. Sara had warned that the yolks can be tricky to get right (so they are still runny). I watched them like a hawk and knew they would be perfect. But as you can see they cooked a bit more than I had hoped. I think this would be a great addition to a brunch table. I believe Sara said she made it for a quick lunch.
Finally, that brings me to the things I DIDN'T eat this week. I had the opportunity to take these chips home from the workshop, but I didn't. I love chips, so this is a major win for me. I did have a serving of them with the lunch (sandwich and salad) I ate at the workshop.
Okay, I admit this was NOT by choice, but I did NOT have cookies. I had decided on my lunch hour yesterday to go to the bakery for a cookie. I drove over and parked in the lot. Then I spent about 30 minutes talking to my sister on the phone. Then I jumped out of the car to get my cookie and found this...
Apparently the shop has been closed since before Christmas. I think I get some credit for not knowing this sooner :)  By the time I discovered the situation, I didn't have time to go anywhere else, so no cookie for me.

Tomorrow is weigh-in day. Then I navigate another weekend. What are your weekend tips?

Friday, January 22, 2016

Feed Me Friday

I know, I know, I have been posting lots of food lately. It is the main area I have been concentrating on because my exercise plans are not going so well. After my workout the other day, I spent days in pain. My feet (that have not been bothering me at all for a couple of weeks) were very painful again. I don't want to get anywhere near the constant pain I was feeling before. I have a couple ideas (and welcome suggestions) of some things I am going to try to get in workouts with out ending up with the pain. On the list is swimming, which I will be honest I am NOT excited about. Bathing suits in public are a big deal for me and back when I was doing really well on the weight loss I was starting to get over it. However, now that I am on the other side of my starting weight the bathing suit is quite an unpleasant thought.

So on to what I am eating. Oh wait, first, this week was our first real snow of the season. I think our little shed looks so cute out there :)

The day it snowed I was a bit anxious about driving to work and didn't want to spend the extra time putting together a lunch. Instead, I ended up raiding my frozen entree stash. This was shrimp and pasta in a creamy sauce. I do like carrots and get their nutritional value, but sometimes I am a bit baffled when Lean Cuisine thinks they belong in certain dishes. For me, carrots just don't go with this dish, but it was okay and I didn't have to drive anywhere else to get it.

Since we are taking a class on Tuesdays and Thursdays, meals those nights need to be quick and easy. Buffalo Chicken Tacos are a favorite quick meal. I saute chicken breast cubes then toss them with buffalo sauce. Chopped onions are mixed with cilantro (sorry, Meg) and lime juice. We have made this many times and I am still surprised at how much simple deliciousness the doctored up onions add to the tacos.

Assemble the tacos on corn tortillas with lettuce and and a sprinkle of cheese. I measured out a portion of the ingredients for each of us then we put however much we like on each taco. I like a smidge of ranch dressing on the tacos, but my husband doesn't. It is a meal that is quick and easy and I definitely not boring.
I mentioned in my last post that I was working on an idea for green beans. I want to get more variety in my veggies. For example, one week I ate cucumbers and carrots all week with bean dip. It was great, but I want other veggies in the mix. Some veggies I don't enjoy as much raw - like broccoli. I saw a tip once that recommended blanching broccoli for a veggie tray to take the edge off the raw flavor, but keep the crispness. I thought it sounded like a good idea for green beans.
The beans were plunged into boiling water for about a minute.
Then straight into cold water to stop the cooking. I would have put some ice in the water too to cool them more quickly, but I didn't have any. The beans became a beautiful bright green.
Crisp, but not completely raw, green beans and orange peppers were super fresh tasting with my bean dip.
Remember those fried potatoes my mother in law made last weekend?  She sent them home with me and because I love them so much I couldn't make myself throw them out. I thought about a way to incorporate a portion of them into another dish that would be healthier than sitting down with a them and a big spoon. I settled on a breakfast hash. Since it was just me I was free to add a big dose of yummy mushrooms. The potatoes had already been cooked with peppers and onions, but I added a few more onions and a big handful of spinach.
I topped it with an over easy egg. It was super tasty and filling (I actually had it again this morning.)  I loved the convenience of having the potatoes pre-cooked. I am now thinking of a way to prep some potatoes without all the extra oil to make the hash even healthier. Stay tuned.

I know this lunch doesn't look like much, but I am proud of it. I had to work early that day and ran out of time to pack a "good" lunch. I had a few things in the fridge/freezer at work and knew I would have to make do. However, I had to do a work errand at lunch time. I really struggled with just stopping and grabbing fast food. Thankfully, I was able to resist and ate this at my desk instead - the last portion of lentil soup (I decided I will definitely make more - it "freezes beautifully"), bread toasted with Swiss cheese and a cutie. In retrospect, I wish I had split one slice of cheese between the two pieces of bread. Overall, the calories were right on target and I actually enjoyed the meal. Maybe it was the condiment of pride that made it extra delicious.
Last night we decided on Subway for our pre-class dinner. It was fine, but this time of year I crave warm food.
I am so eager to get my Cooking Light magazines. Yesterday, my heart start beating a bit faster when I thought I saw first issue in the mail box. It turned out to be Country (a magazine my husband's grandma gets us) - a perfectly nice magazine, but...

Okay, so this is still happening at my house. I am the WORST about taking down the Christmas tree. I am sure it is a combination of my love for my ornaments and a little laziness. It is quite a task to pack up boxes and boxes of precious ornaments. I think it is going to have to happen this weekend.

The other morning I got out all the ornament boxes. I sorted the ornaments that didn't get put up this year. Some of those ornaments will be "let go."  I am determined to organize the rest as I repack. If anyone out there is an organizing guru and you don't have plans for the weekend....
I was at a wrestling match the other day and I thought this sign was great. Know your role. 
This week I had to have a physical form filled out, so off to the doctor I went. I can't say I am ever excited to go to the doctor. I hate that moment on the way to the exam room when they stop you at the scale. This time was no exception. I knew what it was going to say, but it is hard to let someone else see what it says. The whole time I am thinking about the form knowing there is a section on health problems and one of the items that can be checked is "obesity". When I think of obesity I think of people who are much larger than I am. Of course, I know I am technically in that category, but I really didn't want to see it checked. I still remember MANY years ago when I was applying for the Peace Corp my doctor filled out my physical and wrote in "mildly obese." I was traumatized. At the time, I didn't know the true definition of obese and thought it was a complete overstatement. At that point in my life, I weighed about 40 pounds less than I do now. One day, I need to share the Peace Corp experience and what happened next.

I am not sure how to say this - yes, my current weight is not good for my health, but thankfully, I don't currently make a direct correlation to a health issue I am experiencing. In the end, my doctor did not mark obesity (there was actually nowhere on the form that even asked for my weight).  There were several follow up questions about my physical abilities - lifting, reaching, walking, etc. None of those things are an issue. So now, I just need to keep addressing the weight to prevent future issues.

That brings me to weigh-in. I lost .6. I know every little bit counts, but having plenty to lose I certainly wouldn't mind it a little bit bigger loss. At least, that takes me into that next 10s. Let's see what I can do this week :)