Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Ok, ok. I admit it. I have been bad. I have been looking at my caloric allowance and not making the best decisions.
Example: Oh, I have 300 extra calories. Chocolate? Yes please - and 300 calories to be exact.
How about this one: I am at the bottom of my range, that means I have wiggle room. Ok, I will wiggle my jiggly self to that fridge and help myself to some cheese, ooooh and maybe some ice cream too.
HELLOOOOOOO! Just because you are staying in range, does NOT mean that you are putting HEALTHY FOODS into your system!
I remember someone once telling me early on (I can't even tell you who it would have been!) but said that if you are low on protein, eat some Peanut M&Ms. THAT is exactly the kind of BS I have been pulling on myself and it is not doing anything for me!
Then, I got to the point where I knew I was playing the game SO well that I decided "Who cares if I track" Shame on you, Holly!
So I have been upping my workouts, building muscle and NOT FOLLOWING UP WITH GOOD NUTRITION!!!
Eff that. I am back to tracking. I am back to counting every bite. I started yesterday and will go for eternity, if that's what it takes.
My heart and soul wants to convert my family into a clean eating no over-processed foods kind of family, but that is a complete 180 from what they are eating now and I don't know how to get them on board. Tips?!?! PLEASE?!?!?
I have been doing better this week. I have been getting most of my consumption from freggies. That has been awesome. I have reduced my carbs - because I know I eat too many icky carbs and I want the majority of my carb life coming from my freggies! I want to eat natural stuff.
When I get home, I am going to plaster my new fridge with images of what I want to eat. I am also going to print off pictures of the fruits and veggies that are in my fridge, so when fatty starts trolling later at night, she can see pictures of those yummy-ness stuff and seek it out.
Another thing, I have re-addicted myself to Diet Mountain Dew. It may not seem bad because of the caloric intake, but read this article about the links between diet soda and weight gain to see why I want to quit: www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/29/di
I don't know why I am doing this to myself! I LOVE water. I can chug it all day long. I just need to buy some lemons to squeeze in my cup to feel like I am on some island, soaking up the sun. NO.MORE.SODA.
So here are my nutritional goals:
-No more soda, we got a divorce.
-Eat at home 90% of the time
-Seek out new recipes (and crockpot ones!) to stay successful - help me out!
-Stay active, and if activity decreases, change nutritional goals.
I really need some tough love, here. I was doing SO well January thru March and when my partner fell off the wagon, I started to fake it. It has been slowly getting worse and now I need to light a fire under my largeness and get going! I know I am building more muscle but every step needs to be in place to be a success. I want to be FIT.
I have my food and fitness trackers public, so I am asking you to keep me accountable, if you can. Knowing that someone is going to be checking in on me will help me keep on chugging. I use to have some awesome people helping me out, but this is my time to shine and I have to do them with our without them. It may look like I am going at this alone, but I must overcome!
*DISCLOSURE* I am not totally pigging out. I am not totally off track, I am just using my alottments to my full satisfaction and not making the best choices. I know this and I have owned up to this. This blog is not about being negative. Please keep Spark positive as I am doing here!
Monday, August 15, 2011
I live in a beautiful place. I am lucky to be near a city with all of the ammenities, but also very fortunate to live out in the country - where everyone is on the same level and there are trees EVERYWHERE.
I am a big nature nut, and when it started to cool down, I wanted to get out in nature. Autumn is by far my favorite time of year. The trees changing colors, it's so beautiful! This weekend, I was on a mission: Nicole and Heather were going to experience something in our own backyard that I experienced with my dad when I was a teen - Lapham Peak Park.
I live in Waukesha County - the county just west of Milwaukee. We are fortunate to have a state forest in the county, and the tallest point of the county is within this forest. When you get to that peak, there is a tower -- 70 steps tall -- it is a hike, but once you arrive, it is breath-taking!
OK back to the story of my weekend. Saturday was a cleaning day. It had to be done, there was no choice in the matter. Unfortuntely this left me a little disappointed since we didn't make it to the tower. Sunday, we woke up and had a low-key morning then ran errands. I could kind of tell that Nicole was not up to the tower's challenge as we putzed around the stores aimlessly... but I was not going to let that stop us from our adventure!
Finally it was 6:30pm. We left Half Price Books (with some new circuit training DVDs and healthy cookbooks for kids) and I headed to the park. It was a perfect day... low 70s with a slight breeze.
Here is a picture of Heather on the path up to the tower:
She thinks she is fierce, can you tell?
So we walked up to the tower, and as we approached, it looked as if it could swallow us whole! Heather wondered how many steps there would be to climb, and she announced that she wanted to climb the tower FOUR TIMES! Oh man, I don't think so little mama, not today!
Here is a shot of the tower as you stand below it just before you start to step:
So off we went - climbing up the steps. 1 - 2 - 3- 4- 14 steps on the first set. I wasn't sure how many sets of stairs there were, but I was a little winded. I wasn't going to stop! Heather and I scaled the next set 15 - 16 - 17 ... at this point, I didn't know how many steps there would be total, but I was hoping it would be less than 50.
About two-thirds of the way up, there is more of a platform to walk on. Here is Nicole and Heather getting ready for the last leg of the adventure:
Can you tell that it wasn't Nicole's idea to climb these stairs? As you can see, the stairs aren't the smallest things, it's almost like doing a squat for each step you take! We kept going. 65 - 66 - 67 - 68 - 69 - 70!
Once we arrived on the top, my fat girl instincts set it. I did a quick pan of the area to see who is staring at me trying to catch my breath before I noticed that I wasn't panting like a dog sitting in 100 degree weather who drank the last of his water three hours ago! I was just fine! Yeah, hiking up 70 steep stairs is not a normal activity - but I wasn't about to pass out.
Then, my mother insticts snapped into the place of the fat girl as I was extra cautious of Heather's actions. 70 steps is a lot farther down then I want her to ever fall! (Heck 1 stair is much farther than I want her to ever fall!!!) We stopped for a moment and Nicole snapped this picture of me and my wack-a-doo of a daughter: Please ignore the face. It was sunny and apparently I needed to squint with my WHOLE face in both of these pictures!
You see, four year olds don't have a sense of what their body's shouldnt' allow them to do. Limitations is just a concept to them - it isn't realistic. I wish I had that frame of mind, because I DID IT TOO! I could have been running laps around the top of the tower but the concept of falling and stepping on the 6-8 other people that were enjoying the view was not my idea of fun.
Finally, I wrangled Heather up for a quiet moment to look at the tree tops. An older gentlemen helped us find some familiar landmarks from the tower: Holy Hill, 21 miles away and the Downtown Milwaukee skyline - 25 miles away! You can't quite see it without zooming in a ton, but Milwaukee is at the horizon of this picture, past the post and past the larger tan blob:
This picture is zoomed in a bunch more - can you see the faint skyline past the red and white tower? That's Milwaukee!
As we were heading down, I admitted that the fear of falling makes going DOWN the tower much more difficult than going UP. Heather had a magnificent idea though; she suggests that the DNR installs a large slide so that we can just slide our way down - then we could go up and down FOUR TIMES! hehe. I love her!
As we reached the platform that was 2/3 the way up, Nicole spotted a hot air balloon. This was the point where I realized how beautiful real life is, and how unfortunate my camera skills are. If you look closely, you will see a black dot in the sky. THAT is the hot air balloon. This, too, must have been 25+ miles away because I have seen hot air balloons up close and this had nothing on their true size:
Overall, we had an amazing end to the weekend. Oh, how I wish it was longer! Next time, I plan to take the girls on some more hiking trails throughout the forest. It will be BEAUTIFUL! We had to stop there for the day, though, because Heather was starving and it was almost her bedtime! Luckily, we don't live far away and can visit whenever we want!
Today my thighs are feeling the workout, it's as if I did 70 squats instead of walking up 70 stairs. It feels great and helps me remember the time I spent with my family.
Saturday, August 13, 2011
Chicken Parm is one of my favorite Italian dishes... but the calories and grease are NOT my friends. In fact, they are quite the enemies around these parts! Here is a recipe that I have found and LOVE to make HEALTHY Chicken Parm. This is the first chicken recipe that my daughter asked for MORE of! She loves it and requests it often.
This recipe is for four servings, so multiply/divide ingredients accordingly - depending upon how many mouths you are feeding.
*Extra special hint* I always make an extra serving for the next day's lunch!
4 - 4oz raw boneless skinless chicken breasts (Or just get your chicken breasts out - I will show you how to get them there later)
1 cup Fiber One Cereal (ORIGINAL!)
1 1/2 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Italian seasoning (or your favorite salt-free version)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder (all seasonings you can add more to taste, but I did not).
1/2 cup low sodium tomato sauce with italian seasoning (I mixed my own). You can just use your favorite spaghetti sauce, but that will change the calories and sodium!
1/4 egg substitute
4 oz reduced fat mozzarella cheese
Most of those ingredients you should have in the house - it's so easy!
First, let's make sure you have the right size chicken. Portion size is important! First, trim all the nasty fat off of the chicken breast:
See that nasty white stuff- it all has to go! Next, get out your food scale and see how much the breast weighs, then trim it down until it gets to 4.0 oz.:
Next, place all of the breasts into a ziploc bag and seal it. Take a meat mallet or heavy can and pound the chicken until it is about a half-inch thick. This allows the meat to cook evenly and quickly!
I totally recommend that you do the prep work with the chicken earlier if you have the time. It will make the cooking part so much faster!
Now it's time to make the breadding. First, Let's discuss the FiberOne cereal for those who haven't experienced it yet. This was my first time using this cereal, and I must admit that I was a bit taken back when I opened. I thought for a moment that we were at the zoo, about to feed the goats! Yep; it looks like goat food. But that's ok. We are going to grind it out of it's goat-food-shaped misery so we can enjoy it! The FiberOne cereal is essential - don't use just bread crumbs because the fiberous nature of the cereal makes the breading texture like a fried texture with none of those fried calories!
OK so put the FiberOne ceareal into your favorite blender or food processor until it gets to be like a bread crumb texture. Here are some beauty shots of my blender doing the work:
I have the MyBlend blender from Oster. It's awesome for making smoothies and other drinks (like my coffee drink!) The green part where the FiberOne cereal is is a 20oz container that you can take the blades off and put on a drinking spout! It's super amazing for a blender - and it works well too!
Ok, back to the recipe. Mix the italian seasoning, 1/4 teaspoon of both the onion and garlic powders into the cereal. This is the breading. Then, in a seperate bowl, pour the egg substitute. Now, bread this like you've never breaded before (egg than breading). WORK IT!
Now the pan needs to get ready for the main event. Put a big pan on the stove, spray it down with cooking spray (I use the olive oil type). Now warm the pan up on Medium-High heat. Once the pan is warmed up, place the chicken on there and let it cook for 4 minutes.
Next, it's a hard step... oh no I don't think you can handle it. Are you ready? Flip the chicken over for another 4 minutes. hehe. SO HARD! While the timer is ticking, add the other 1/4 teaspoon of onion and garlic powders to the tomato sauce and mix well. Once the timer goes off, spoon the sauce over the top of the chicken:
Then, sprinkle the cheese on top!
Cover the pan for 2-3 minutes, just so the cheese can relax and make melty goodness on top of your chicken.
Then? You're Done! Chicken Parm for 4! I served mine with some no yolks and extra tomato sauce I made.
I know you are wondering the calories in this yumm-o chicken: only 249! A normal piece of chicken parm at a resturant is going to cost you more than double that - 600 calories, and that isn't including the mountain of pasta it is sittin on, or any of the sides that come with it - like breadsticks or fried cheese? It's mindblowing! This recipe is from Hungry Girl, so you know it will be good!
So try out this recipe on your friends and family. Non-dieters will love it too! Check out the recipe on SP here - so you can add it to your tracker!
Do you like these recipe blogs? If you do, I will work on more! What is for dinner tonight for you?
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
I have a few recipes that I have done that I would like to share with all of you. None of these are 100% my idea, but I wanted to share a couple tricks and tips. I am always looking for new recipes so PLEASE leave a comment with your favorites for me! I tend to pick things that are more like this one; a "makeover" recipe that my girlfriend will eat with me, even though she has no interest in changing her eating habits.
THIS is Chef Meg's "Fried" Cheese Sticks. OMFFG. If you like cheese and/or fried things, you will LOVE this! Kids and adults alike will love it. I usually pair this with another italian dish when I am having company over. I have a lasanga AND chicken parm recipe that I am going to share with you all soon that are a HIT in my house - with EVERYONE!
Ingredients are super easy, and something you should have in your home anyway! I doubled (or more) the recipe since we were having a lot of guests over, that eat a LOT. I will tell you everything to serve two people.
4 light string cheese sticks
1 teaspoon flour
1/2 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs. YES you need these, not just regular ones - they make the final product crispier!)
1/4 cup egg substitute (or two egg whites)
1 tablespoon of your favorite No-Salk Italian Herb Seasoning Blend. (SP recommends Chef Meg's but I used Mrs. Dash)
Note, these ingredients are altered from the original recipe to reduce waste - no one wants to throw away food and cooking items that they pay for!
Ok, so you have all of your ingredients? Now make sure that you take the wrappers off of the string cheese, and place them on a plate:
Then, cut them in half! This makes the serving sizes- each person gets 4 cheese sticks once this is all done with!!
TRICK OF THE TRADE: Chef Meg's recipe doesn't say this, but trust me! Put all of your sticks into a freezer bag and pop them in the freezer for 10 minutes. (They can be longer, but at least 10 minutes to freeze them)
Now you are ready to continue with the recipe. Roll each stick in flour, then mix the panko and italian seasonings and set it aside for a moment. Then get your egg substitute ready. This is a basic breading process- dunk the cheese in the egg sub. and then roll into the bread crumb mixture. Place them on a baking sheet. Repeat this until they are all breaded.
Next, spritz each stick with some cooking spray (I highly recommend the Olive Oil one!)
Bake them in the oven for 3-5 minutes at 350 degrees - just so the cheese has time to warm up and the breading crisps up - but not so the sticks are a gooey mess.
Pretty amazing food for only 151.8 calories for FOUR PIECES! Be sure to make this next time you are serving an italian dinner for friends and family. I promise it will be a hit!
Original recipe: recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detai
Sunday, August 07, 2011
I have been SO busy this week, that I feel bad for not being around. I am so use to checking in with everyone each day, but it has been so busy that I haven't had the opportunity to really say "hi" over the last few days - and today will be one of those days too!
I wanted to let you in on a day in my life, so here is a picture and story version of my Friday (8-5-11).
For my close Spark friends, you all know that I will sometimes go to the main branch of my job and work hard. I am often excited for these days because it takes me away from my desk and I sweat all day. But what do I do there?
The picture above kind of shows what I do. I dress down in jeans and a company T-shirt and go into our stock room to organize, move boxes, fold clothes, etc. for 7 hours (minus my one-hour meeting with my managers about our company's social media 'stuff' that I work on back at my office.
For whatever reason, I am the only person that is willing to work on the stockroom and company logoed apparel - and it's ok with me! I get time away from my routine and I am ACTIVE for 6 hours of my work day! I always leave with sweat running down my back and in desperate need for a shower. It's AWESOME!
After work, I normally pick up Heather and Nicole from the daycare, but Heather stayed home with my sister Heidi (yes, my sister has an "H" name too - actually my daughter is named after my older sister who passed away when I was a child) so I only had to pick up Nicole.
As we arrived home, we were very excited. Heidi was taking care of Heather at home on Friday because there was a special delivery at my house: my new treadmill! Someone had to be there to let the delivery guy in, so I paid my sister in books.
Nicole and I were eager to start to set up our treadmill, so we asked Heidi if she would like to learn a new recipe! She agreed and we got to work while I continually instructed Heidi through a recipe that I knew well: Hungry Girl's Pan Fried Chicken Parm.... I have every intention of my next blog being how to make that recipe for all of you!!
Heidi starting to make the meal
Our friends have advised us that assembling the treadmill would take us hours and lots of tools but our install took only about an hour! Here was the first step: lift the running deck.
Heather decided that while Nicole did the next step, she would show you how fabulous she was looking that day:
Nicole and I are really awesome at teamwork. Here is the two of us working on the treadmill... about halfway through the assembly:
After we finished assembly, I wanted to try it out. Nicole took this picture and it is a bit blurry, but:
I have used the treadmill three times since that moment- already!
Just before dinner, we were all having a little bit of fun and cleaning up. It's so much fun to have a big box in the living room! Nicole and Heather were paddling their "boat" to try to keep away from the scary dragon (me).
I was running around and roaring - things I don't even think twice about it now, but something that I would have never wanted to do before SparkPeople... its amazing to see the many ways this site improves lives!
Here is our meal. The chicken (sauce, cheese and all) was 258 calories/serving! woo hoo!
Saturday, we went to the library and I wrote a paper on Scientology for a class... then worked out a TON. I used dumbbells to work my arms while I walked and MAN my arms are sore today!!
Today we are going to State Fair with my dad. It is a place of fatty, deep fried foods so I am kind of nervous. In Wisconsin, fried foods is the normal... I mean they are advertising one of the new fair foods as deep fried BUTTER. Come on!!!!
How was your weekend? What did you do to MAKE your weekend healthy?
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