Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Dancing outside of my comfort zone!

I finally went to Latin Moves tonight.  More on that later...I'll start at the very beginning.  Breakfast! Last night I mixed 1/2 cup Oikos plain greek yogurt, 1/2 cup Trader Joe's blueberry museli, and 1 spoonful of pumpkin butter in a bowl and put in the fridge overnight.  I ate it this morning with a small banana.  So good.  This is one of the best breakfasts I've had in awhile.  I'd love more tomorrow but I'm out of greek yogurt! :(
Lunch was leftover soup with homemade bread and dab of peanut butter.  I like Krema Natural peanut butter because it has exactly one ingredient.  Peanuts!  It's very creamy, spreads well, isn't too oily, and it doesn't need refridgerated or so it says on the jar.  Anyhow I keep it on the counter and it's not made me sick yet. 
For dinner I was really craving a fried egg sandwich but my family wasn't.  So we decided to use a Quiznos coupon I got via email.  I choose a small black angus steak (aka roast beef) sub with cheese and mushrooms.  I skipped the bourbon sauce and grill stuff and added pickles.  If I have pickles I don't need mayo or other sauces.  One thing I will not give up to save calories is cheese. You pretty much will never see me having a cheese-less sandwich.  I love cheese! Anyhow this sub was good.  Suprisingly I was full enough without eating chips or anything on the side.  Just the sandwich.
Now for Latin Moves.  I think this is supposed to be a Zumba class because at first that's what they called it but now it's called Latin Moves. I don't like dancing or choreography of any sort but seeing as I'm aiming to improve myself I felt I should give it a try.  To start we did some stretching.  That was okay.  I could keep up.  Then we started the dancing.  Ummm...not so good here.  I felt like a chubby, no rhythm having dumbass.  I really wanted to leave but I stayed.  Then we moved on to the "weight" segment.  I got quite excited for this part.  Well I shouldn't have.  She suggest 2 lb. weights.  You read that right.  2.  So what we were going to be doing exactly?...the answer: dancing while swinging the weights around.  Sounds safe and effective.  Ummm. Yeah.  I could tell I got on my friend's nerves by being all "know it all" but seriously why waste your time doing 400 reps with Barbie weights?  I was a good sport and got big scary 5lb. weights and partcipated.  At least it burned calories since we were jumping around like crazy.  It just seemed like you were increasing injury risk without any benefit to your body at all.  I'm 100% in favor of the New Rules of Lifting for Women philosphy.  Heavy weights, low reps.  The class was an hour and 15 minutes and my heart rate monitor said I burned 600 calories.  Honestly this seems high since my heart rate was much lower than in kickboxing but whatever. When  I got home I made an interesting shake.  We were almost out of milk and I didn't want to use the last of it so I mixed ice, cranberry juice, and chocolate whey powder in the blender.  Surprisingly delicious!            

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Soup weather!

Woke up this morning in the freezing cold.  Seems that during the night winter decided not to give fall it's turn!  I had a breakfast cookie waiting in the fridge but it appeared that a hungry husband had been snacking on it!  So I found a pack of instant oatmeal to eat with my banana and yogurt.  This oatmeal isn't bad.  I'm sure it has more sugar than I need but at least it's organic sugar. 
Speaking of sweetners. I am trying to break my Sweet N' Low habit.  I just hate the thought of drinking calories.  I like to eat way too much for that!  Also I cannot tolerate the taste of Splenda.  I don't know why the rest of the world likes it so much.  I makes me literally sick sometimes.  So I go old school and tempt bladder cancer with the pink stuff.  In my quest for natural calorie free sweetners I've tried 4 varieties of stevia.  This is the only one I halfway enjoy.  It's a mix of stevia and cane sugar.  It has 5 calories per pack.  I still taste a licorice taste (not as bad as with Truvia or Sweet Leaf) that I'm not fond of but I'm forcing myself to drink it all week to see if I can adapt to it.  Wish me luck.
Lunch was leftover sheperd's pie and a V8.  I also ate an apple for dessert but I didn't get a picture of it.  I love leftovers. 

Tuesday is kickboxing night so I knew dinner wouldn't be until 8.  I needed a substantial snack so I had my absolute favorite Cliff Bar.  The peanut butter and jelly Mojo.  It's heaven in bar form.  It has pretzel pieces in it.  Yumtastic. By the way kickboxing was great.  It was leg night.  I love leg night.  Lots of kicking, squats, and lunges.  I especially like the kicking/squat combos.  They really get my heart rate up.  I burned 588 calories!

For dinner I decided to make a soup mix I got at the store this weekend.  I looked at all the bean soups and kept seeing those nasty powdered flavoring packets that I call the sodium packet and I knew I didn't want that.  Then I found this one the top shelf practically out of reach.  It's beans, pasta, herbs, and spices.  Nothing else.  Not even salt! 

To make it into this lovely soup I sauteed garlic, carrots, and mushrooms in olive oil, added canned diced tomatoes, beef stock, water, and the soup and herbs.  I simmered it while kickboxing and then added the pasta when I got home.  In a few short minutes we were ready to eat.  I served it with my homemade bread and some butter.  I sprinkled some parmesan on it too.  It's a great soup for a cold night!

For dessert I had half of a chocolate ganache cupcake and half of a key lime. I'm glad to say they have all been given away or eaten now so they will no longer be calling my name!

Fun Giveaway!

Leftovers for Lunch is giving away some wonderful things so hurry and enter!  The winner will be announced 10/1!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Perfect weather for dog walking!

I don't know why the weekends pass so fast but they do and it's Monday again.  On Mondays I like to have an extra special breakfast to make things a little easier.  Today I had homemade bread, Nutella, and banana.  My favorite yogurt flavor, raspberry, and herbal tea because I still can't drink the real stuff! :( 

Lunch was an Amy's spinach feta pocket.  I try not to eat a lot of frozen meals but I feel okay about eating Amy's stuff.  Plus it's so yummy.  Served with a low sodium V8 and an apple.  I know "real" veggies would be healthier but I love a V8.  Only the low sodium ones though.  The original is way too salty! 

For dinner I decided to make shepherd's pie.  I've made many versions of this but my current favorite I saw on an episode of Emeril Green.   It's on the Planet Green channel and it is my new favorite cooking show. 
Basically Emeril is at a Whole Foods and he helps people pick out fresh, local ingredients and cook great meals.  Anyhow the original recipe is here but I make some changes such as all ground sirloin and no lamb, no onions, ect.   This meal is so good.  The base is ground sirloin, carrots, mushrooms, and garlic and the top is homemade mashed potatoes with sharp cheddar.  I use 2% cheeses to save fat/calories. 
 After dinner we decided it was a great night to take Cocoa for a walk.  It's very fall-like.  Brisk and chilly.  I put on a sweatshirt and was ready to go.  So was Cocoa!  I tried to get a nice picture of him but he knows his harness means he's going somewhere so he's WAY to excited to pose! lol!

He looks a little more normal here. Why these pictues say they were taken in 2007 I don't know because  I suck at figuring out electronics.  I took this right before our walk.  We walked for about 45 minutes.  According to my heart rate monitor I burned 360 calories.  That seems high but our neighborhood is very hilly (as is all of WV) and my husband is 6'5 so I really have to move to keep up with him!  I'm only 4'11. 
  I did pick up a small indulgence since it was so chilly out.  A sugar free vanilla cappuccino from the gas station.  It's not Starbucks but it's pretty good for $1.05!   

Sunday, September 27, 2009

I'm a baker!

I am so excited because I successfully baked bread today.  Like real bread.  Not quick bread or bread machine bread.  First things first...breakfast, or brunch really since I slept late.
 On Sundays we like to go out for breakfast.  Usually to the Omelet Shoppe.  This is the best breakfast spot.  The decor is stuck in a 70's time warp, orange tile walls, brown linoleum, and super cool retro food pictures on the wall.  Seriously if they ever modernize the place I might cry.  Especially if they take the 30 year old food pics down!  Anyhow I got the ham and cheese omelet, cheese and mushroom hashbrowns, and rye toast.   Obviously they specialize in omelets but their mushroom swiss burger is to die for.  Really.
Upon my return home I got a wild idea to make bread.  I was staring at my bag of flour, Hodgson Mills 50/50, and noticed the recipe on the back.  This flour is a mix of half whole wheat and half regular flour.  It's not bleached or enriched however. I made the recipe on the back of the bag as written and it turned out great.  I can see where a mixer and dough hook thingy would come in handy because 10 minutes of kneading by hand is a lot.  The results were worth it though.  So good! 
 The recipe made three loaves. We ate half of a loaf right away!  I gave one to my parents and we will be eating the remainder this week.  In fact, I'm planning a couple slices for breakfast tomorrow. So the moral of this tale is that you shouldn't be afraid to try things in the kitchen.  For years I was afraid of the whole yeast, rising, and kneading thing and in the past week I've succeeded in making sesame flatbreads, pizza crust, and now three gorgeous and delicious loaves of bread.  Go me! :P  

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Cupcake Party!!!

Last month my daughter and I took a trip to D.C.  so I could try on bridesmaid dresses for my cousin's wedding.  While there I found a cupcake place, Hello Cupcake.  I picked two cupcakes to try, de lime and de coconut and gianduja.  They were fabulous.  I have a less than flattering picture I could post of me stuffing a cupcake in my mouth but I'll spare you! Anyhow I knew I wanted to have wonderful cupcakes like these again and soon.  My best friend and I love to get together and bake so we decided to have a cupcake party! 
 The first cupcake I decided to make was key lime.  I found a recipe on line at Bon Appetit.  The only change I made was skipping the green food coloring.  I didn't find a vivid green cupcake to be necessary.  These cupcakes were phenomenal.  The icing is out of this world.  I could have eaten the entire bowl.  It is however a great thing that  I don't get paid to decorate cakes because my first try with the piping tip and bag was a epic fail as you can see!
Finding a recipe that came close to the chocolate hazel nut ganache of the Hello Cupcake was harder.  So I improvised.  On the Food Network website I found a chocolate ganache cupcake recipe by Ina Garten.  I made the recipe as written but after the cupcakes were out of the oven I piped a bit of Nutella in the center.  Then I dipped them in the ganache and sprinkled them with toasted hazelnuts.  Not as good as the ones in D.C. but fabulous none the less. 

My best friend of almost 30 years Vanessa made a root bear float cupcake and a peach mango cheesecake recipe.  Both were spectacular!  We have so much fun when we bake together!  We always get together before any major holiday to do some baking so be watching for some Halloween creations! 

Friday, September 25, 2009

It's Friday!

I'm feeling a good bit better today besides a wretched back ache so I went back to work.  Work one day get two days off...sounds good to me! :P  Breakfast was another breakfast cookie.  This one I made with Trader Joe's blueberry musli instead of oats.  I added vanilla protein powder, almond butter, and vanilla unsweetened soymilk.  Turned out way delicious.  I served it with a Carbmaster yogurt and some Celestial Seasonings Perfectly Pear white tea.  It has less caffine and is a clear beverage so I'm following the doctor's orders...sort of.

Lunch was leftover taco pasta.  So good.  Seriously I'm glad this stuff is gone because I cannot stay out of it.  It's the best pasta I've had in ages.  Today I used my adorable stainless waterbottle.  It has the cutest graphics...monkeys lifting weights and doing cardio.  I got it in the kid's section of Old Navy for $5!  It's awesome!

Today was our friend John's birthday so we went to a Mexican restaurant to celebrate.  I did not take pictures of dinner because his coworkers were there and seeing as I didn't know them I would feel awkward explaining why I was photographing my meal.  However at one point John dared my daughter to dip a piece of b-day cake in jalapeno cheese dip and eat it and she accepted.  Ewwww!  Gross!!!  I had to take a picture of that! 

Tomorrow I'm supposed to visit with my best friend and make cupcakes!  I'm planning to make two varieties...key lime and chocolate ganache.  Stay tuned to see how it goes!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tequila Sunrise

Okay so that isn't actually a tequila sunrise.  It's my favorite juice combo, cranberry with a splash of orange.  I like the Simply Orange with the lots of pulp.  I can't drink orange juice if it doesn't have pulp!  Anyhow today was another sick day.  I'm feeling a good bit better, just tired and achy, but the doctor said not to go back to work until Friday so I stayed in.  I decided to try a breakfast cookie this morning.  I got the idea from Susan who got the idea from Fitnessista.  I subbed cranberries for coconut though for the simple reason that I didn't have coconut.  It was very tasty and surprisingly filling! 
For lunch I had what appears to be a second breakfast.  I had to run to the pharmacy so I took the opportunity to visit Starbucks.  The only issue is that I can't have caffine until I'm better so that means no coffee or tea.  So I tried a tall, non-fat, no whip, pumpkin creme.  Yumtastic!  When I got home I quickly toasted up an english muffin, fried an egg, and threw on 1/2 a slice of cheese.  Delicious!  Most of the time I make my eggs over-well but today I really wanted to dip the bread in the yolk so I went over easy.  Then I spent a great portion of time of the couch in my pjs watching Dead Like Me on streaming Netflix. 
Before I knew it, it was almost time for Todd to get home so I needed to start cooking dinner.  I decided to fix taco pasta.  Basically I cook ground sirloin, add a can of tomato, a can of tomato sauce, and 1/2 a packet of reduced sodium taco seasoning.  Then I stir that into cooked pasta with a a few dollups of reduced fat sour cream, top with cheese, and bake.  It is so good.  We all had seconds.  I'll probably have the leftovers for lunch tomorrow! 
I felt I had to finish the post with a picture of the little lady that's been keeping me company while I've been ill.  Okay so she's not at all little and looks terribly unlike a lady in this photo.  Anyhow this is my lovely, quite voluptious cat Buttercup.  Boy is she sassy....

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sick Day! :(

It seems I've taken ill so there probably won't be any culinary creations to photograph today!  I've been to the doctor and in a few day should be good as new...fingers crossed! 

I thought I'd take the time to explain a bit about my blog.  I know it seems curious that I am always talking about the gym and then photographing not so slimming foods.  At the moment I am attempting to maintain my weight.  I do need to lose a smidge of weight but seeing as I have an expensive bridesmaids dress to wear the weekend after Thanksgiving it's going to be cheaper to maintain for now!  As such I can indulge in a few more calories.  I just have to be careful not to go overboard.  So after my cousin's wedding the food choices should get progressively healthier.  :) 

Well I'm going back to bed!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Feeling ill...

The day started out pretty good.  I had a delicious breakfast!  Greek yogurt, lemon curd, raspberries, and Multi-grain Cheerios.  My favorite tea to drink.  I was very sad to see that the Zhena tea tins have been redesigned and simplified!  I really think that the fancy tin is part of the appeal!

  Lunch was leftover pizza.  Still amazing on day two.  Around lunch time I started to feel headachy and just blah.  I thought it might be because there was work going on in the building and my office was really loud today. 

For snack time I decided on a Gala apple and another amazing tea.  Choice Organics Oolong.  I had tried their Darjeeling once upon a time and loved it but then the health food store I bought it at closed.  This summer while out of town I grabbed this Oolong at a Whole Foods.  The sad thing about living in WV is that I am 300 miles from the nearest Trader Joe's and Whole Foods.  I love healthy foods so those stores are like heaven to me.  Or as my friend said in Trader Joe's once "OMG Ang has found her mother ship!".

By the time I got home from work I was aching all over and had a sore throat.  I wanted something quick and easy for dinner.  I had a carton of leftover Kitchen Basics chicken stock and a roasted chicken from Sam's Club so I decided on chicken and dumplings.  This recipe is not healthy due to the large amount of processed food but it is quick and comforting.  I cooked some garlic and carrots, added the stock, a can of golden mushroom soups, 1 1/2 soup cans of water, a can of corn, and shredded chicken.  I then simmer this together for awhile to soften the carrots.  Then I cut canned biscuits into forths, roll into balls, and drop into the soup.  Cook around 10 minutes and you have  chicken and dumplings!

To finish off the night my wonderful husband offered to get me a latte at Starbucks!  I love a hot drink when my throat hurts!  I know a lot of people don't care for Starbucks but I love it.  For years my town didn't have a coffee shop period so getting a Starbucks was a big step for us! Sad, eh?  Anyhow I choose a tall soy latte with 1 pump of pumpkin spice.  The pumpkin spice latte is one of the things that make the end of summer more bearable!
I think I'm going to head to bed and hopefully feel better tomorrow.  My friend gave me some Zycam to try so lets home it works!

Heads up on an awesome giveaway!

Zevia Giveaway on the Missy Maintains blog! 

Monday, September 21, 2009

Spinning and spinach, steak, feta pizza.

Tonight I decided to head to spinning class after work.  I try to do spinning once a week, either Monday or Wednesday.  I decided on Monday this week because I am considering trying a Zumba class on Wednesday.  I'm a little nervous about it because I am the most uncoordinated person on the planet.  I definately try to avoid anything "dance-y".

Today's pre-workout snack was a South Beach cereal bar.  The dark chocolate berry is my favorite flavor of these.  I'm not fond of the sketchy ingredients but I do like the high protein count and the low calories.

For dinner I made my steak, spinach, and feta pizza.  It is one of my favorite meals.  To start I browned some steak on the stove and then sauteed my mushrooms and spinach.  After I prepped the toppings I put them in the fridge while I went to spinning class.  On gym nights I start prepping dinner right after work.  That way when I get home and I'm starving dinner is almost done and I won't be tempted to get take-out.   After spinning I made a quick and healthy pizza crust. Seriously it was almost as easy as buying a pre-made crust! 
You take 1 envelope of rapid rise yeast and mix it with one cup of lukewarm water.  Add 2 TB. of olive oil, 1 TB. of honey, and 2 1/2 cups of flour.I used 1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 white.  Mix with your hands.  Cover and let sit for 10 min. Then pat it out in your pan!  Add the toppings of your choice and bake for 12 minutes at 450 degrees.  Other than the steak, spinach, and mushrooms I added mozzarella and feta cheeses.  How easy is that?  The results are fabulous too!  

The start of another week...

I decided to start off the day with an almond butter and jelly sandwich.  So simple, yet one of my favorite things.  This week I bought the Food for Life's 7 sprouted grain bread.  It's really good.  Their Genesis bread is my favorite with the nuts and seeds.  I've also tried their cinammon raisin.  It's amazing but it NEVER goes on sale and it's almost $5 a loaf.  That makes it a rare treat for this girl!  My sandwich was toasted on served with a Carbmaster yogurt and Oolong tea.                                                                                            

Lunch today is leftovers from Saturday night.  Spiced couscous and chicken apricot tagine.  Things like this are often better as leftovers because it gives the flavors time to blend better.   I almost always pack a lunch because it's cheaper and healthier.  Around here most lunch choices would be fast food and aside from the high calories, fat, and sodium it just gets so boring.  I limit myself to once every two week.  I do on occassion use my lunch break to get a drink at Starbucks.  Then I enjoy it with whatever I packed from home. 
By the way: Check out this super cool container I got at Krogers Friday!  It's a skull and crossbones glass bowl with a plastic lid!  I can now pack my lunch in Goth fashion! lol!

My planned afternoon snack is an apple and some roasted edamame.  They are quite tasty and high protein!
This evening I'm hoping to hit the gym (most likely spinning class) and perhaps make a pizza for dinner.

Sunday Lazy Sunday

Sunday was just not a high energy day.  I started out good.  Got up and made waffles on the George Foreman grill.  I have the one with the interchangeable plates so it's a grill, griddle, waffle maker, ect. Served with butter, peach syrup, and a fried egg.  Then we went to Sam's Club so my husband could look at TVs.  Upon returning home I was exhausted so I took a nap.  Then I went to visit my cousin in the hospital.  Kidney stones!  I stayed at the hospital for a long time and upon leaving realized I was starving.  I had planned to cook a beef stir-fry but we decided to meet up with our BFF Mike and head to Rio Grande for dinner.  This is our favorite Mexican place because there are no onion chunks in the salsa.  My husband is severely intolerant of onions.  If he smells or tastes one he pukes!                                                                             
        I started out dinner with a peach margarita.  They have the absolute best margaritas.  Strong and cheap too!  I prefer mine on the rocks, but I forgot to specify.  This was still fabulous though. 
Then of course I had to order cheese dip for my chips.  This is really a big downfall for me.  I LOVE cheese.  I can't stay out of this stuff!  Thank goodness we don't eat here every night! I'd weigh over a ton by now!  For my entree I went simple with a #1.  One taco, two cheese enchilades, and rice. All in all a good lazy end to the weekend.  Now it's back to work for Ang! :P