Sunday, November 08, 2009
Ok, it wasn't quite a true Thanksgiving for us, but it's the rare occasion I'm together with my entire immediate family -- and it's already happened twice this year! If it were truly Thanksgiving, there would have been a whole lot more food & desserts . . . not that there weren't more than enough of both.
Instead of oatmeal, I started out the day with an Ezekiel muffin topped with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter. I figured I'd be having dessert -- and I knew what it was -- so I didn't need the chocolate in my oatmeal.
Not that that stopped me from snacking on chocolate covered figs on the way down, of course.
Lunch was sort of a bread pudding with cheese and turkey sausage, plus a large salad. There were also rolls with tuna fish and chopped liver, but I skipped those.
Dessert was my chocolate pumpkin pie. We seemed to split on gender lines on this one -- too chocolately for the guys, but the gals all seemed to love it. My mom also had some cookie type stuff out, but I stuck to my pie.
The dogs were surprisingly good. We took a couple of baby gates with us so we could contain them in the kitchen & my mom's den, since she didn't want them in her living or dining room. We also took a couple of soft crates we'd never used before with us, and I gave them some chews to work on during lunch (so I didn't have to worry about them getting into the garbage, for instance, which is a small plastic one on the floor).
They didn't make a peep -- not even when my BIL came in late & rang the doorbell. In fact, he was astounded to learn there were dogs in the house. DH began to worry about them because they were so quiet!
I don't love this house. I don't hate it; it was the best option we had; I guess it just suffers by comparison to our house in Austin which I loved (which wasn't perfect, either). But I do enjoy looking out the 2nd floor windows. I especially enjoy it at sunrise and sunset.
I wanted to get a photo of my boots, but you can barely see them. These are my Old Navy jeans I bought for $19. They fit now! They're a bit lower in the waist then I'm really comfortable with, but I can tuck my boots in, and that's why I bought them.
The boots, btw, which are so in now, I bought on my honeymoon! It's been a really long time since I wore them. I wore them a lot when we lived in VT, but not so much in TX.
Dinner was leftover pizza with baby carrots. I firmly believe that healthy eating is all about checks and balances and choices. Normally I wouldn't have pizza on a day when I'd had a rich dessert. If I go for dessert, I usually try to make my meals more nutritious. I had some healthier leftovers that just needed warming up. But I felt like pizza, and that's what I had. The trick is not to feel guilty, and I didn't.
However, here's where this food blog saved me: I had 3 leftover pieces. And quite frankly, if I didn't have to photograph them and put them out there for the world to see, I probably would have polished them off. I knew I'd be better off with just 2 pieces, tho. The blog kept me honest.
And in another ironic twist, turns out my brother will be in Seattle for business while we're there. So we will try to get together.
Saturday, November 07, 2009
It was that sort of gray, cold-looking day yesterday that just wants to make you curl up on a couch with a mug of hot cocoa. As I was taking the dogs on their afternoon walk, noticing that we were the only fools out there, I thought about how I might never step an unnecessary foot outside during the winter if it weren't for the dogs.
That is both a good & bad thing. There are certainly days that I would prefer not to have to venture out at all, but being forced to do so, most of the time (but not always) I enjoy being outside for a while. It's good for the spirit.
As I type this, there is a purring cat on my lap. Which is unusual at this hour. Normally they're snoozing on a couch somewhere, just waiting for breakfast. They all feel the cold. The dogs don't really want their afternoon walk. Little do they know that this ain't nothing yet!
Vacations are so necessary tho. We need to recharge our batteries, see new things, relax a little. But they're also rife with temptations to eat the "good" stuff and not move. It's a slippery slope between enjoying yourself and wrecking your figure. It IS important to indulge a bit, occasionally, but we can't have the attitude that because it's vacation, we get to eat whatever we want, either.
My vegan friends may want to skip looking at yesterday's food.
It started out with oatmeal. Of course. Then there was a cup of hot cocoa after our walk. It's not really all that cold yet, but somehow the thought of it was very comforting to my cold nose during the walk. And it can be healthy.
Then on to the baking.
First I made the cookie crumb crust. I decided to have one cookie, rather than noshing on a piece here and there. Sure looks lonely on the plate, doesn't it? But it worked.
Then it was on to the chocolate pumpkin pie. Yes, I did lick this spoon. Just the once. I also had to crack the window to let the smoke escape. After working on that baked on cheese, I realized the only way to get rid of it was to use the oven & let it become charcoal. Mostly worked. I was very lucky that it almost missed the heating element altogether.
Lunch was a veggie sandwich from one of my WW booklets. Roasted red peppers, lettuce, and mozzarella. With mayo & pesto mixed together for a spread. Good, not great.
I ended lunch with an apple and adora -- my chocolate calcium supplement. I was told it was discontinued, but apparently that store just stopped carrying it. I ordered it online and it was here in 2 days. I love that stuff! A 30 calorie chocolate, comes in both milk & dark, and it's got 500 mg of calcium.
I finally tried my chocolate covered figs for a snack. Awesome! I will definitely try the figamajigs at the end of the month if my challenge is successful, but they were so good that I did the rest of the package of figs last night -- and a couple of slices of dried mango, too, since I had a little melted chocolate left over. I won't lie, I did lick the spoon a little again -- but that was actually dessert after dinner.
Very few of the FBD recipes disappoint, but this one did. It wasn't bad, it just wasn't good. The sad thing is I made it because I thought it might appeal to DH, but he really didn't like it. Oh well, he's got to eat it one more time.
They're pork pineapple tacos with a little guacamole.
Today I'm going to my folks -- my brother is in town, so it's like an early Thanksgiving for us (hence the chocolate pumpkin pie), altho I don't know if my sister is coming over or not. I'm bringing some healthy snacks, just in case, and the dogs, so it should be interesting.
Friday, November 06, 2009
It's definitely true -- portion sizes are so much larger in the US. Sorry, I wasn't taking photos of my food while I was in Europe. I sort of wish I had! That amazing beet salad inspired me to get some beets this week, with the intention of making a roasted beet dish I found in a WW booklet.
As I mentioned, I collect mugs. It wasn't really a conscious decision, it just sort of happened as I traveled and would need a mug for my tea, and now I seek them out. One of my favorites was a little cat mug I bought in Delft, that ironically one of my cats broke quickly (they don't break things too often).
Even the mugs in Europe are smaller! They are just the perfect size for a cup of tea, and I love them (and hope that the current crop last longer).
You'll notice that I don't generally use large pates for my food. I even started going to a smaller bowl again for my oatmeal -- the difference in seeing a full plate & being satisfied is real.
It's funny, I always thought I would know when I was slipping if I started ignoring the basics: drinking water, exercise, eating mindfully, etc. etc. I guess most of those habits are just too ingrained in me. As I had my artist's date yesterday, I realized the true sign of my slipping was not putting myself first. Not allowing me enough me time.
This is ironic too -- because the truth is, it would seem to the casual observer that I have nothing but me time. I don't work (outside the home, that is) and I don't have kids. But I wasn't knitting, I wasn't painting, I wasn't meditating . . . so many wasn'ts.
For my artist's date I just went to Michaels. And wandered around. Whenever I go shopping I always feel time pressure to get back because of the dogs. But I gave myself an hour to wander. And it felt so good. I also picked up supplies to make something to help me on my weight loss journey at some point, and I gave myself a budget of no more than $10. I almost made it -- spend just a tad over $11. It would've been so easy to spend twice that amount or more!
So in this busy holiday season, please take time out for you. Don't forget yourself and don't put yourself last. I loved what I heard on Oprah yesterday (maybe that's why I had such a weird dream about her): if your glass is empty, you can't give anyone else anything to drink.
This is my WI day breakfast. A vitatop with 1 tbsp almond butter -- I even measured my almond butter yesterday.
Because I have a light breakfast before WI (maybe someday I'll get back to just eating what I want before weighing in!), I always bring a snack with me. I made a larabar from a recipe ai found on the Web -- and it was awesome. In fact, I was full enough afterwards that I didn't have the chocolate covered figs I'd made.
Deciding to get myself some figamajigs (dark chocolate covered figs) as a reward made me think why can't I make my own? So I tried. I already know how to make chocolate covered strawberries, after all.
Lunch was the last of my chickpea curry. Man, that stuff is so satisfying!
I had a late snack of the other half of yesterday's green monster. This is my shaker bottle. I bought it to bring to Europe with me -- and used it! It did taste a little weird the second day. I was going to try out those figs, but decided I could probably use the veggies in the green monster instead.
Only suddenly I was hungry so I had a couple of chunks of dried papaya. Oh, those would be awesome with a little chocolate on them . . .
I think everyone thought I was making my own sushi yesterday, but I just bought the kit and will try it for lunch someday next week. No, we were going out to dinner with some of my husband's coworkers. This is quickly becoming our go-to restaurant for guests -- it serves both Chinese and Japanese, and is really close to home. It's the only restaurant we've been to three times already.
Anyway, that's seaweed salad above. Guess I really didn't have to worry about those veggies . . . it's really good, and it's full of calcium.
Ah, sushi. My husband likes to joke that introducing me to sushi was the worst thing he ever did. If only it weren't so darn expensive! One reason I love going out for sushi is that it's fairly healthy and low fat, so I really enjoy my meal but I'm making good choices, too!
For those that to know, it's an Alaska roll (salmon & avocado), a candy cane roll (salmon wrapped in tuna), and 2 pieces of salmon nigiri. Yes, I love salmon!
We split the last of the Viennese chocolates for dessert. Time was I would have bought a lot more chocolate in that store. It was still really tempting. But I know myself -- if it's there, I'll want it. With my Lindt chocolates, I am usually satisfied with a square or two. But with "real" chocolates -- I may start out well, but eventually I'll start eating more than I should. I'll miss the Viennese chocolates, but I'm glad I didn't buy anymore.
Thursday, November 05, 2009
And we are already deep into the baking season. I used to start baking Christmas cookies in August. I'd bake one type almost every week, and freeze it. Then I'd send everyone cookies, bring in cookies, and send cookies with DH to work during the holidays. I don't do that anymore!
Holidays used to be all about the food. What new recipes would I try? How would my favorites turn out? Just how many desserts could I bake for one dinner, anyway?
Holidays are still about food, but I've learned to reign myself in. To some degree. I feel the siren call of the cookie monster. Actually, I want to bake a chocolate pumpkin pie to bring to my folks this weekend (incredibly good, incredibly easy -- not too terrible). I found myself wanting to make my corn buns, too. It's something I only make at Thanksgiving.
I wanted to bake them this week so I could bring them to my folks, too. Hey, I'm the baking gal. Of course, my mom's a pretty good baker herself, not to mention she's not supposed to have sugar. I will still make my corn buns -- it's tradition! -- but not this week. Assuming I can find the recipe. I know that cookbook is still residing in a box in our garage. I think I veganized a version and put it up on my cookbook maven site, so I'll have to go look.
I pretty much lost the weight I'd gained over vacation this week (forgot to take the pedometer out of my pocket -- AGAIN, and walked out without my water bottle -- AGAIN; I swear I'm losing my mind here).
It's nice to know that I can indulge a bit on occasion, gain some weight, and lose it pretty quickly once I get back to my healthy habits. Now if only I could figure out how to go on vacation and not gain weight at all! Especially with the next trip in just a couple of weeks.
My healthy habits challenge is going well. I'm excited about it! I set up "other goals" on my spark points page so I could check them off. Dog training is done; one artist's date is done; I'm on track with my veggie/fruit consumption, and as long as I get in one short extra ST session this week, week one was a success!
I've come up with most of my rewards, too. Decided I would do a reward for each category, and try to make it something meaningful to that category -- but be careful not to spend a lot of money, either.
Mind: get the book "Eat to Live" from the library
Spirit: Download a session from yoga download (the 20 minute classes are free! Wish they had some 10 minute ones)
Body: still pondering this one. Maybe a sweaty band -- I've been wanting one for a while; maybe a new workout DVD.
Food: try a variety pack of figamajigs. I'd read about them a while back, but came across them again recenlty.
Another oatmeal breakfast. Yesterday I managed to go from breakfast to lunch without a snack.
I swear, some meals are just sooooooooo good, even if they are simple. The last of my asparagus frittata, with the last of my roasted brussel sprouts (never fear, I already bought more -- now just gotta roast them), and a home made chocolate muffin. It's been forever since I had a home made one (I had one chocolate muffin during vacation -- the only time I had anything sweet for breakfast, and that was with some herring, I think). Bliss.
My green monster yesterday. I used 1 cup soy milk, 2 cups kale, 1 banana, and 2 scoops of Amazing Grass chocolate superfood. Probably should have used 2 cups of soy milk. I drank half yesterday, and put the other half in my new shaker bottle to have some other time. I was surprised that it lasted me til dinner.
Look closely at that picture. Notice anything strange? Like it's all gooey & cheesy on top, but almost no cheese on the bottom? Anyway, it's an Amy's Margherita pizza with baby carrots. I bake them right in the oven on a pizza stone. Only one of them slide off, flipped, and now I have baked on cheese all over my oven bottom. I am not happy. I've been working on it, but this is almost impossible to get off.
Since I made 2 individual ones, we just split them, and each of us got half of the okay pizza, and half of the cheeseless pizza. Since I had much less cheese than planned, I decided to have a square of Lindt Fleur de Sel and half a Viennese chocolate for dessert.
So there you go. Pizza several times this week, chocolate pretty much every day, and I still lost 1.4 lb (I think without the pedometer that would have been 1.6 lb). I do think having a photo blog of my food is helping . . . and I think I'll revive cookbook maven & probably move it over there eventually.
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
First, I MUST thank my spark buddies who suggested I design my own challenge. It has been challenging, but I think I've come up with a good one. Still working out the details, but I put a lot of thought into it and I think it's going to be awesome.
After reading Jeanlecuy's blog about grading herself in 4 parts (25% for each component), I just knew that I had to steal/borrow her idea. My original idea was to retake the health habits quiz from the week 4 WW booklet -- it tells you which habit you need to work on -- but wouldn't you know it's the only one I don't have. I think I'm glad; I think what I came up with is even better.
So, the 4 components of my Healthy Habits Challenge:
Sometimes there's some overlap -- some things could fall under both mind and spirit, for instance. But I just pick one and go with it. My idea right now is to try to come up with enough ideas for each category to keep this going for a whole year! I'd welcome any suggestions. I've written down some thoughts, but I'm definitely not up to 12 for every (or any!) category yet.
1. Mind: work on new tricks with the dogs. This may seem silly, but even for the simplest tricks, there's a lot of thinking and planning. I actually did start this yesterday. We worked on doing our downs with their head down on the floor. Chester already sort of knows this, but Lola doesn't at all.
The trick to teaching tricks is the same as sparking -- break everything down into baby steps. Lots of treats (rewards). Reevaluating when things don't go as planned. And patience, patience, patience.
Now, this may seem a silly goal to you, but it's one I've only been doing haphazardly with them. So making it a goal will keep in in my thoughts.
I will aim for at least 3 sessions a week. It's hard, sometimes, because when the treats come out, the cats want in on the fun too.
2. Body: an short, extra session of strength training at least 2 times a week. Cardio is often more fun for me, so while I do my ST, sometimes it's easier to shirk it. And it's holiday season. Being Jewish helps me escape from some of it, but not all of it. I have the challenge of going to my inlaws for Thanksgiving, going to see my folks this weekend, and the really big challenge of DH having 2 weeks off between Christmas and New Year's. And oh, of course it's dark & cold, too.
3. Spirit: artist's dates! Are you creative? Then you should read the Artist's Way. In it, Julia Cameron recommends artist's dates. A 2 hour block of time each week to renew & recharge your creative side. I think they're supposed to be 2 hours, but I'll be happy if I can get one 1 hour artist date in each week.
4. Food: after photographing my food for several days, I can easily see it's seriously lacking in fruits & veggies. Well, maybe not seriously, but it's lacking. Which is sort of strange, because I love veggies, but not so strange, because they do take more work. So I'm going to aim for at least 3 veggie servings and at least 1 fruit serving at least 5 days a week. Hopefully I'll get more than that, but slow and steady really does win the race. I guess I've got to believe that, since I'm so slow!
One way I plan to get in those veggies is with green smoothies, which have become known as green monsters on the Web. It's an easy way to get in your fruits and veggies (although not quite as satisfying sometimes because it's a drink).
And I found this cool Website -- greenmonstermovement.com/ , started by one of my new favorite blogs, ohsheglows.com/ .
So now I'm thinking about rewards. Specifically 4 rewards that won't break the bank!
I'm excited. I never lost my spark or my motivation, but in hindsight, I can see that it's dimmed a bit. That I've been losing myself in all the moving stuff. It's really hard, sometimes, to remember you deserve to do stuff for yourself, when you've still got so much decluttering, unpacking, and organizing to do. But it's easier to do all the boring stuff when you're also doing stuff for yourself.
Not too many photos today; lots of repeats.
Breakfast was oatmeal. I was going to change it up today and warm up my frittata, some brussel sprouts, and a muffin, but I got caught up down here so I guess today will be oatmeal, too. Gotta make some waffles -- it's been a long time and I'm missing them!
I made some hot cocoa post-dogwalk. Yup, it's hot cocoa season, and I love it. They say chocolate milk is the perfect recovery drink, so surely hot cocoa is even better? I use Ah!laska, which is a non-dairy cocoa mix.
Lunch was the last of the mac & cheese, an apple, and 1 square Lindt Fleur de Sel chocolate. Lola has these gagging fits -- usually at night -- that last a long time, and she woke me up early the night before. So I was really exhausted yesterday.
I snacked on tea with some HV Amaranth crackers again.
Dinner was chickpea curry (from FBD -- awesome) with brown rice, a dollop of yogurt and some brussel sprouts. Then I shared a couple of Viennese chocolates with DH again.
I would call this a good day -- a bit light on fruit & veggies, but it actually did meet my goal for the day. I probably didn't need those Amaranth crackers, but I was getting hungry. In fact, I ended up eating before DH got home (very unusual) because I knew he was getting home a bit late, I was making something different for him, and I was just really hungry.
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