Food, Mind and Body, Weightloss

Discipline isn’t, discipline is.

Today was one of those days when I REALLY did not want to work out. I was tired from work, blah blah blah.  (Eight point five hours at The Duck Store during football season can be fairly exhausting).

Miraculously, I mustered up the nerve Continue reading

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Food, Recipes, Weightloss

Namely, it’s Spaghetti Squash

So you know those forty-or-so extra points that Weight Watchers gives you for treats and stuff throughout the week? Well, yesterday I used A LOT of them. Twenty-two to be exact.

To give you some perspective, Continue reading

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Weightloss

The pressure is off

Don’t you just love fall? I do.

 It has gotten to be a very brisk fall night in my house and although I am chilly, sleepy and sweaty from my workout, I have to write now. I accidentally clicked on my bookmark to Orangette and received one of those little whispers in my ear Continue reading

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Food, Recipes, Weightloss

A good weird

Even though I’m only five days into my summer weight loss journey, I feel like there’s so much I could talk about. So in order to keep this post focused, let’s just discuss food for today.

Cutting out junk food really feels like a cleanse. Of course I’ve been drinking more water, snacking on fruit, and eating smaller portions, but what has been so significant is making the distinction between wanting to stuff my face and actually being hungry. I had become so used to regularly allowing myself things like pizza, burgers and ice cream, so now it feels kind of weird restricting those foods again. But it’s a good weird. It feels good to make healthy choices at restaurants and pack myself a healthy lunch to take to work. And It gives me a reason to come up with and try new recipes.

Since I remembered having Continue reading

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Exercise, Health, Weightloss

Day 1

Whether we’re ready or not, we’re halfway through April. Before we know it–in a little over two months–it’s going to be summer!

Last night, to kick-off my summer fitness plan, I went out and got myself a one-last-horrah-dip-cone from Dairy Queen. Did you know that they discontinued the butterscotch flavor? Rude. I got chocolate instead.

So today, April 13th, was Day One of my plan (it’s also exactly one month until my Birthday). I took ‘before’ pictures and everything. My goal is to lose a significant amount of body fat and tone muscle in time for summer. Ideally, I’d like to lose 15-20 pounds. Since I’ve heard that 90% of body fat loss is attributed to diet, that will be the most important aspect that I focus on during the next two months. I’m sure you’re all wondering what exactly my plan is, so let me give you a quick run-down.

Eating:

  • No more muffins, no cookies, no ice cream, no candy. Nothing in the junk food zone.
  • Small meal portions.
  • Snack (healthily) often.
  • Limit of one diet soda per day. Drink water in its place.
  • Eat mostly fruit, vegetables and lean protein.

Exercise

For Month 1:

  • Any level of Jillian’s 30-Day Shred (I want to see if it works), 5 days a week.
  • A different workout of my choice 1-2 days a week.
  • Me and my friend Kenzie are going to try a FREE week of yoga classes at Core Power in Portland.

For Month 2:

  • Challenging workout of my choice 6 days a week.
  • Take various fitness classes (spinning, zumba, yoga, aerobics).

After my first 30 days are over on May 13th (my Birthday), I plan on taking another set of ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures and going out for a celebratory Birthday dinner at The Cheesecake Factory. Oh yes, I will be eating cheesecake and pasta on my Birthday. Then, I will proceed on with the next 30 days and take more pictures at the end of round two. Don’t worry, I’ll post all my results pictures despite how unsightly they might be.

I’ll be trying plenty of new recipes and exercise routines so be sure to check back. Also, I’m interested in hearing about healthy recipes and good fitness classes in the Portland area. If you have any suggestions feel free to leave them in a comment.

Wish me luck…actually, don’t wish me luck. Wish me strength and will power.

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Food, Recipes

Adultish things from February

Well then! A lot of monumental things happened in February. It was a stressful and exciting month to say the least. On February 8th, Philip made good on his promise to provide me with 1 kitten as a late Christmas present.

Photo By Ryan Mowery

Her name is Zoey–after Zoe Saldana–and she has drastically improved the condition of my life. She is sweet, silly, and makes me laugh. Isn’t she cute!?

It’s amazing how having another creature depend on you can really make you feel much more like an adult. It’s a really nice feeling knowing that someone wants me home, and it evokes in me a feeling of belonging somewhere. Animals are great that way. They make home feel like home.

Two days after adopting Zoey from the Oregon Humane Society, the dawn of February 10th came upon us: mine and Philip’s Three Year Anniversary. Epic, right? So epic that we actually got each other gifts (we don’t usually do this). From Philip I received the ever-appropriate spa certificate. Here’s a hint to any man who will ever buy a gift for a woman: Flowers. Jewelry. Spa certificate. I guarantee you that those are your best bets, (I spoke with my council and we concur). For Philip I got us each a ticket to see the Ducks play the Beavers in the Civil War game at the new Matthew Knight Arena. We both gave each other the gift of a desired experience, which was nice.

On the night of our three-year the festivities included a homemade–and might I add delicious–dinner that we made together, the movie Easy A (pretty funny), and an all-night-cuddle session with Zoey.

Adulthood story number three is the tale of me selling my car. If you were following on Facebook, you will have already seen the photo of me hugging the Plymouth Neon that I’ve had for the past five years…you know, this one:

Her name is Debbie. Well, her name was Debbie. May she rest in peace.

Her new owner now holds the power to re-name my tenacious little car however she sees fit. Despite my initial sadness over the fact, I have found immense joy in what I am about to announce: I am now the owner of a shiny, girly and white 2001 Honda CR-V. She doesn’t have a name yet, but it will come to me when the time is right. Oh wait, it just came to me.

Harriet. Her name is Harriet. Harriet the Honda.

In addition to the aforementioned happenings, I have also been re-experiencing the challenges of living alone and eating healthy. Without the convenience of having my mother around to promptly stock the fridge, I haven’t been cooking nearly as often as usual. The last time I had an adult meal was on mine and Philip’s anniversary.

We made salmon, broiled asparagus, and hot red potato salad. I call it an “adult meal” because the potato side dish alone had several steps and ingredients that took a great amount of my attention, effort and focus.

So this is the recipe that I will share with you today.

Hot Red Potato Salad

Adapted from The Jacob Family Recipes

As is usually the case with great recipes, this one was passed on to me. My former roommate Rachel shared this gem with me a couple years ago. I think it was a family recipe because she made it at her little sister’s graduation party and that’s when I fell in love with it. Although I’m not sure if I’m still doing it right, I have found that I am quite pleased making it my way, however much adapted. It’s great for serving lots of people at summer barbecues and picnics. The ingredient measurements are based more off my own preference than anything, so don’t take them too seriously. For instance, I usually make about 2-3 potatoes per person (believe me, you will want seconds). Here’s what I did for just me and Philip:

  • 7 small red potatoes
  • 12 ounces Tillamook Light Sour Cream (about 2/3 of tub)
  • 1 packet of Hidden Valley Ranch Salad Dressing Seasoning Mix
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan
  • 1/4 cup sweet onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chives, chopped
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Wash the potatoes and cut off the bad spots. You can peel them if you’d like but I like to leave the skins on.  Chop the potatoes into quarters or a little smaller. Boil the potatoes for about 15 minutes or until just tender enough to bite. The skins should still be on the potatoes. Do not overcook because they will continue to cook in the skillet.

Heat garlic, olive oil and onions in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot and the garlic starts to brown, add the potatoes to the pan. Continue to cook over medium until the sides of the potatoes are brown.

Meanwhile, combine and stir together sour cream and ranch seasoning mix in a small bowl. When mixture is thoroughly blended, pour it into the skillet with the potatoes and stir. Then stir in chives, salt and pepper, and parmesan. Let the potato salad simmer over low heat for 3-5 minutes.

Serve with parmesan. Yield 3-4 servings.

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Food, Recipes, Weightloss

I still ate cookies

Christmas cookies are the devil. Actually, they often take the shape of angels, trees, Santas and sleighs, but that’s beside the point.

The point is, my kitchen was overpopulated by Christmas cookies this season, and I only have myself to blame.

Traditionally, the plan is to make loads upon loads of Christmas cookies and then send them on their merry way to friends and family who live within a 20 minute drive. But this is not what happened this year. Although I fully intended on delivering cookie plates (I do it every year), the cookies didn’t seem to go anywhere but my stomach. My brother and I even forgot to put out cookies and milk for Santa (we still do this every year even though we both know we are only bombarding my mother with the task of chomping down cookies in her half-asleep state). All I’m saying is, very few cookies left my possession, and it has been a very dangerous situation. Actually, since there is still a significant amount of cookies in my kitchen, it’s still a pretty dangerous situation. That being said, things could have been a lot worse.

As many of you know, I set out a goal to not gain ANY holiday weight. If it wasn’t for the ferocious Insanity Workout, I’m not sure I would be in the position that I am in today: 5 pounds lighter! I can hardly believe it when I look at the scale, but it’s true. Instead of gaining, I actually lost weight during the Holidays. And I still ate cookies.

It seems that the key to losing weight while freely indulging in Christmas cookies is doing the Insanity Workout every night before bed. Since Insanity is so insane, my physical activity outweighed my seasonably excessive caloric intake. I’m sure that being on my feet for 9-hour work days helped too.

While I’m not sure if I’ll lose a total of 15 pounds by January 16th, I am very pleased with the success of my primary goal to not gain weight over the course of the Holiday season. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without making the sacrifices I did: 40 minutes of daily insanity, and choosing healthier options when I could. For example, when buying food on my lunch break, I would go for a Jamba Light smoothie from Jamba Juice, or a half turkey sandwich and side salad from the Nordstrom Café. I even incorporated healthier options into my holiday baking. Instead of making Oreo Truffles with the full-fat ingredients, I made them with the lightest ingredients I could find at my local Thriftway. They ended up being 175 calories and 8 grams of fat per truffle. Even so, it was difficult to limit myself to two truffles. Take my experience as a warning.

Reduced Fat Oreo Truffles

  • 1 package of Reduced Fat Oreos
  • 8oz. Philadelphia Fat-free cream cheese (1 brick package)
  • 1 1/2 bars of Ghirardelli Semisweet baking chocolate

This is probably the simplest recipe I can think of, but I’ll try to make it exciting for you.

Combine Oreos and cream cheese in a large bowl. Mix together with a wooden spoon, crunching the Oreos in with the cream cheese (you can also use a Kitchen Aid mixer for this if you have a beater that is strong enough). Stir until the mixture is consolidated and somewhat creamy. It’s okay if there are still a few chunks of Oreo.

Form Oreo-cream cheese mixture into tablespoon-sized balls and place on cookie sheets. Don’t be afraid to get your hands a little gooey, it’s inevitable.

Melt chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl as the package instructs. After the balls are all formed, you have a choice to make. You have the option of either dunking the balls into the chocolate, or using a spoon to pour the chocolate over the Oreo balls. If you choose to dunk them, I would advise refrigerating the balls for about an hour beforehand. I, however, am impatient and prefer to just pour the chocolate on. It’s just easier.

After you have chosen your path, you might want to lick all the chocolate off your fingers. That’s usually pretty important. Now, clear out some room in your fridge, and place the truffle-covered cookie sheets in there. Let them sit in the refrigerator until the chocolate is hard and cold, (usually at least an hour).

After they’re done hardening, and you’ve eaten a few, it is now time to invite all your friends over so that you don’t have to eat them all by yourself. Believe me, it will be tempting to try.

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Food, Recipes

The best I could

I love pasta, potatoes, and bread. There’s no getting around this fact.

Two weeks ago, I told myself that I would significantly cut back on carbs. I haven’t done as well as I planned, and I take full responsibility for that. I’m working through it. Perhaps the reason for my behavior is my perverse obsession with pasta. It’s one of my favorite things to cook and eat! Whenever I think of what I’m going to make for dinner, the words that pop–almost violently–into my head are ziti! fettuccine! ravioli! LASAGNA!

It’s hard to pass-up dishes like these. Like I said, I’m working through it.

This is why it’s so heartbreaking when I go on a weight loss plan. Because pasta dishes–namely those involving a cream sauce–aren’t exactly a suitable dinner option. Let’s face it: No one can go to the Olive Garden, order the fettuccine alfredo, and then be genuinely confused as to why they’re not losing weight. It just doesn’t work like that.

However, because I told myself that I would not deny myself of ANY foods during the holiday season, I decided last night that I would attempt a healthy version of a cream sauce. I know what a lot of you are thinking: There’s nothing healthy about cream sauce.

 

That being said, I did the best I could.

This is probably a good time to mention that I don’t intend on making this regularly. By no means is this recipe appropriate for days like today. (Today my dinner consisted of 1) chicken, and 2) broccoli. And did I mention I ran a 5k?) This recipe is for days when my carb-cravings must be silenced with pure satisfaction. The days that I ravage the take-out food listings with a disturbed look in my eye.

Mark my words: On days that do not include the aforementioned, I do not recommend this recipe as a staple for weight loss. Consider yourselves warned.

 

Shrimp Linguine in Lemon Butter Cream Sauce Adapted from AllSands (dot) com‘s food and recipe section.

I sought out this recipe in a desperate attempt to imitate a dish from Café Lucky Noodle in Eugene. It’s called Almond Breast of Chicken, and it is one of the most satisfying meals I have ever had the pleasure of eating at a restaurant. It is “finished in a light, lemon butter cream sauce with linguine pasta and sautéed vegetables,” and I fantasize about it on a daily basis. For my first try at a legitimate cream sauce, I think I did a pretty good job. (I once made an illegitimate cream sauce with no measurements or directions to speak of).

Luckily, I had my friend Alex Bertoni handy to help me make this recipe successful. Unless you’re some sort of superhero, I would suggest making this meal with a partner. The sauce needs a full-time babysitter, a constant eye, and continuous stirring. You don’t want to leave it sitting unattended on the stove, or else it could stick to the pan. Nothing’s worse than a messed-up cream sauce.

  • 1 pound whole grain linguine
  • 2/3 cups whipping cream
  • 2/3 cups fat-free half and half
  • 1 Tbs freshly grated lemon rind (about 1 lemon’s worth)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup light margarine
  • 2 ½ tsp lemon juice
  • 1 ½ cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil
  • ½ pound shrimp

To serve:

  • parmesan
  • lemon wedges, optional

Cook pasta as directed, al dente, then drain.

In a small, heavy saucepan, combine the whipping cream, half and half, lemon rind, and half of the minced garlic. Bring to a boil and boil for 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and whisk in the margarine in small spoonfuls . Whisk until margarine is completely melted.

Meanwhile, combine the shrimp and remaining garlic in a small frying pan. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat until shrimp is completely pink.

When the sauce mixture is ready, add the lemon juice, Parmesan cheese, nutmeg, salt, and pepper (to taste) and continue to whisk over low heat until the cheese is completely melted. Toss with pasta over medium heat for 1 minute.

Toss the finished shrimp with the pasta.  Serve immediately with lemon wedges and parmesan if you like.

Yield 2-3 servings.

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