Tuesday, January 31, 2012
So I think most of us would either have to be living under a rock or never signing into SparkPeople to not know about the release of both the SparkPeople Cookbook and Coach Nicole's new 28-Day Bootcamp DVD.
In a very smart marketing campaign, selected bloggers and team leaders were all sent the new DVD for free and asked to post an honest review of the product by, well, today. I love living to the deadline!
So here's what I HONESTLY think - It's Great!
I do love getting stuff for free, but more than that, I think that this is actually a DVD I'm going to use and enjoy more than once. And thank goodness I have something better to look at now while I'm toning by buttocks than Tony Little in a tight jumpsuit. No jokes kids - Tony Little Target Training was the first series of workout videos I ever purchased (on VHS no less) and they still get rotation every so often when I feel like my cardio alone isn't cutting the bacon anymore. But I've been in need of something new for a while, and this fits the bill nicely. I mean, let's face it - Tony Little is, well, annoying. Coach Nicole - definitely not annoying. You kinda want to hate her when she's making you sweat, but she's honestly too cute to hate, especially in these videos. And her workout assistants are cute too!
So to give you the rundown - there's a 28-Day Calendar program that you can follow to a T, or you have the option to play the video segments separately and go at your own pace. Either is totally acceptable. I was a little confused at first because when I got the DVD in the mail, I loaded it onto my laptop instead of into my regular DVD player and it skipped the main title menu and went straight into the workouts. But after backing it up a bit and reading through the different menus, I found the 28-Day routine right at the top of the list. I really like the calendar program because you can select a specific day and it will automatically play through all the videos associated with that day. No guessing games, remembering or stopping and starting the DVD required. Just plug & play and get ready to sweat.
The videos on their own are simple. As an avid fan of a pretty hardcore Zumba class, this is NOT that kind of workout. I am still a little disappointed that I can't seem to find an at-home workout that works me as hard as my Zumba class, but then again, I think that's just the nature of the fitness class beast (there is higher impact in numbers!) These routines and the overall look and feel of the video remind me of a Weight Watcher's cardio dance video I got for free the last time I signed up with them. Simple dance moves, easy to follow, gets your heart rate up - but I could easily have carried on a conversation or even sang along to a song while doing the workouts and it's a fairly minimal calorie burn. It does get tougher, however, when you start layering the videos together. So for people who want to pack a harder punch, you have to spend the time and do the full routine, and you WILL feel it after that.
There are some cool extras that I enjoy including a couple of workouts from other fitness experts. There are also a couple of great recipes in the booklet that comes with the DVD. There's an online component to accompany the DVD - a place to ask questions, get feedback and comment on your progress, which is cool. After my initial confusion about the location of the 28-Day Program on the DVD, the website is actually where I went to get help (and found what I was looking for).
Overall, I think this is a really great solution for people who want a ready-made plan to follow without having to think too much about it. Kind of like Spark's food plans, it's a great tool and resource when you don't have a lot of time or need additional instruction. For me, because I do so many other cardio activities, the video will be used mostly for the added strength component when I need it, but I don't know if I'll ever end up doing the full 28-Day routine since I have no plans to forgo or stop all of my other activities for any length of time. But it's always nice to have the option! The 28-Day Plan has built-in rest or cross-training days, so maybe if I REALLY want to bust out a month of FULL activity I could follow this plan and squeeze in my running, swimming, biking and Zumba too. Phew! Makes me tired just thinking about it. And rest days are important. Remember that!
So now to the nitty gritty: Target has these DVDs exclusively, so you'll want to go there to pick one up. You get 250 SparkPoints for buying it and a $3 off coupon if you go to www.sparkpeople.com/28daybootcamp . Us lovely folk who got one for free...no SparkPoints. Trust me - I tried. Hehe. But definitely take advantage of the $3 coupon while you can. It's not a pricey investment and it's a good resource to have laying around, especially for when the snows of winter start coming and trap us all in our caves of warm slumber and comfort food.
And of course - "I received this DVD for free from SparkPeople and did not receive any form of payment for my review."
Monday, January 23, 2012
This doesn't count as my blog this week, but for any of the rest of you who also play all of these songs regularly on your running/workout mix, this is SO COOL!!!
This is the first I've heard of it, but apparently this guy does one of these every year. The video for this one is also on YouTube and it's fantastic.
Definitely a new one to download and "add to the mix"!
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Those of you who read my blogs regularly know that I'm a big believer that the weight on our bodies is a direct representation of the weight between our ears. That gelatinous mass of grey matter floating around up there weighs a heck of a lot more than 3 pounds the last time I checked. 3 pounds. That's it. The total amount of actual mass that stands in the way of you losing any more weight, the source of the saboteur, and the only player you really need on your team to win the game.
I will be the first to say that none of these are proven methods of breaking through a plateau, but what I do know is that committing to these behaviours WILL make you feel better about yourself, and according to the most recent issue of Newsweek, might actually help to expand that dense grey matter in areas proven to make you smarter!
I'm as as guilty as anyone in needing to practice what I preach. But I've been frustrated for too long now and it's time for a change. So I'm making a promise to myself to forget about the scale for a little while and instead focus on these behaviours to make positive changes in myself that can only help contribute to eventual positive changes on the scale.
#1: Get Rid of the Extra Weight
Um, duh? That's what I'm trying to do - but the whole reason I'm here is because the weight isn't coming off. Right? Nope. Not THAT weight - remember, we're not talking about the scale for a little while here. I'm talking about the THINGS that are weighing you down. It's the new year. Have you filed all your 2010 paperwork away yet? What about a good, thorough closet cleaning? Had a couple of potluck parties this year and inherited a bunch of extra mismatched tupperware? Get rid of it. Clean out the pantry. Take down the Christmas tree. Systematically clean up your life. What about your desk at work? Dusty, dingy, in need of a good spring cleaning? Why wait until spring? Do it NOW and feel lighter tomorrow. Seriously. Don't hold off on doing the tasks that will make you walk a little easier through life. The longer you put off a cleaning project, the worse it seems to get. If you make a promise to take care of it a couple of different things will happen. You will feel like you crossed a big thing off your list. You will feel like you accomplished something. You will feel GREAT about your new state of cleanliness. And you might actually have fun doing it. And bonus - if it's a task that actually involves physical activity, you might gain some activity points for it and - gasp - lose some actual pounds. How about that!
I live in a very small 2 bedroom apartment with NO closets. A year ago I spent some time packing up a cabinet of pretty dishes that I got as wedding gifts years ago but that I never used and were just taking up space and collecting dust. By paring down my life to just the essentials that I used every day, I made room for some other things in that cabinet, I prolonged the life of those pretty dishes by packing them away for "someday" and I gave my future self a present that I can open and enjoy all over again when I have a bigger place and more plans for dinner parties that involve pretty dishes.
Since then, though, that spare room (which is supposed to be my office but I would pay anyone good money to actually FIND my desk) has been piled high with 10 different sizes of old clothing, paperwork dating back to 2009, half-finished vacation scrapbooks, old cell phones, etc. etc. etc. I could seriously be on an episode of Hoarders if anyone saw that room. It has now become a BIG project and it's weighing me down. So I'm going to make a promise to get rid of that weight. I'm done carrying it around and I know I'll feel better when it's done. Not to mention, I need my office back!
#2: Cry About It
No one likes a cry baby, I know, but guess what? I don't think most of us are. In fact, I'm going to assume that if any of you are like me, you DON'T cry. You're the one that is always seen as a person of great strength. Someone who can handle it all. Someone that all your friends come to for advice, to talk about their problems, as a shoulder to cry on. You're a great comfort to everyone around you because YOU are a rock. Am I getting close?
Problem with all of the above is that being a rock also gives you soft, fleshy shoulders. It's not a wonder your friends like crying on yours. It's more comfortable than crying on a skinny, boney person's shoulder. And when we take on the problems of others, it only serves to make us cushier. Because, at least where I'm concerned, when I'm upset about things, I eat. Eating feels good. Eating masks the pain.
Something that I have heard come out of the mouth of almost every contestant on The Biggest Loser is when they look back at their before pictures. They say "I was so sad," "there is so much pain behind my eyes," "eating stopped the hurt." I see it in my own before pictures too. Fat people are NOT happy. Despite the adjectives that are used to describe the Santa Claus-like figure - jolly, roly-poly, fat & happy - being overweight involves being in a lot of pain. But we seem to negate those feelings of pain in ourselves because being vulnerable and in pain doesn't always make you a popular person. The world has enough issues - no one needs to listen to me gripe. But that's where we're wrong.
Would you turn away a friend who just lost their job? How about someone whose father just passed away? Of course not. In many cases, our pain is just as deep as these emotional wounds (and quite possibly caused by one or a series of traumatic events like this in the first place). So why try to go through that alone? We need each other here to empathize over the amount of pain we all feel about being obese. In short - it sucks. So own the SUCK. As long as you're making a point to do something about it, we all deserve the right to bitch about how much losing weight BITES THE BIG ONE sometimes. And even more we deserve to be upset about the reasons we got fat in the first place.
My goal here, besides losing approximately 200 pounds start to finish, is to overcome my need to be fat. Yes - I NEED to be fat. Right now anyway. My fat is the wall (both physical and mental) between me and my feelings. My habit is not to FEEL my pain, my habit is to eat my pain. Instead of embracing the SUCK, I keep myself fat so that I can be that strong, jolly person that everyone has come to know. The one who doesn't have any problems of her own. The one that is so great at taking on and solving issues for everyone else. The one who doesn't cry. But in reality I'm in a lot of pain. I have a great boyfriend, but I'm lonely a lot of the time. I have a good job, but I never have any money. I'm trying everything I know how to do, but the weight isn't coming off anymore. And sometimes all the pressure to be wonderful is just too much to handle.
So cry about it. Let it out. Be sad. Be upset. Own your tears. I remember a couple of months ago I had a particularly tough day, I wanted to sit on the couch and fill myself with enough junk food to sink a small ship and to bury all my feelings of angst and frustration in that one feeling that seems to make it all better - Full. But instead I searched Netflix for a yoga dvd, lit a candle, and pressed play. I was determined to do something good for myself even though I felt like a fraud for even thinking I could rectify the latest series of food binging. And then something magical happened. As I started to relax into the stretches and got out of my head a bit (I was negatively calling myself stupid for even thinking that 30 minutes of stretching could help anything) and actually started listening to the instructor, my mind cleared and I started to cry. I continued the yoga, but just let the tears come and let myself feel the pain from my day. I felt my loneliness and anger and overall sadness. I cried for about 10 minutes, then finished the dvd, brushed my teeth, and went to bed. The next morning I had lost 2 pounds.
I am not good at owning my feelings. But I'm going to start making a concerted effort to do it more often. And Spark is a great place to get it all out when you don't want to "burden" your other friends or family with your problems. But I challenge any of you that have a similar problem to flex those emotional muscles a bit and stop thinking of talking about your SUCK with your in-person friends and family as a burden to anyone. None of us is perfect and I doubt any of your friends expect you to be. So go cry on their shoulder for once. I will warn you though - it's not going to be comfortable. Cause their shoulders are a lot bonier than yours.
#3: Pick A Challenge You Can Learn From
The new year is rife with promises we make to ourselves to get healthier, exercise more, eat less - blah blah blah. I hate resolutions. But I do love challenges. Because challenges flex that grey matter more than promises do. And I tend to have more desire to stick to "challenges" than promises because challenges have a winning factor even when there isn't a prize. The prize is the mental feat you gain from getting through it.
Signing up for a 28-Day Bootcamp Challenge is easy enough for the person looking to start the new year off on the right foot. But so far (and this happens to me every time I do Bootcamp) the only thing I have learned from it is that I hate having to do it. I do it anyway, because I took on the challenge and I will be darned if I'm not going to get my cute button at the end. And I suppose learning that I hate 10 minute exercise videos is good knowledge to have. But I'm looking for that challenge that gives me a positive result in more ways than one.
So I took on a challenge in January to get through the entire month without eating out at a restaurant. No lunch jaunts to Potbelly's. No ordered-in pizza on a Friday night. And Saturday night date nights would need to be at home. My one exception to the rule is Starbucks in the morning - cause I have a die hard habit and because I'm making up the rules. Maybe next month I'll take on Starbucks as a challenge. Maybe.
I'm half way through the month and I have learned A LOT. I have learned that I use being able to pop across the street to grab a sandwich at lunch as an excuse not to prep for myself at home even though I DO have the time to do it when I want to. I have learned how romantic cooking in can really be on a weekend. I have learned how much money eating out every month sets me back. I have learned that preparing all meals at home takes A LOT of groceries and makes A LOT of dishes, but that my cupboards are well stocked enough that I CAN whip something up with a seemingly bare fridge. I have learned what needs to be on my "staples list" and that it's probably a good idea to keep an inventory of that list in my cupboard so I know when I need to restock. And I have an even deeper love affair with my crockpot.
This has also been a really fun challenge. I think I'm driving Nikhil nuts by saying "Nope! Can't eat out until February!" every time he suggests going out to eat. He forgets that he was the one that spurned this great idea in the first place by saying over dinner at a local Mexican restaurant on December 30th that he really wanted to focus on eating out less and when we do eat out, making a point to only order ONE entree and split it instead of gorging ourselves like we usually do costing both calories and money. So I think when I do go back to allowing myself a meal out every now and again that those are good rules to live by anyway. But I have tested myself and my culinary abilities this month and I quite like what a month of no restaurants has done for my kitchen, my wallet and my waistline.
Something else that this month has triggered is next month's challenge. Moving back to a focus on Eating Mindfully, packing breakfast, lunch and dinner most days of the week has re-instilled the habit of bringing a lot of healthy food with me wherever I go. I don't always have to eat it all, but it's available if I'm hungry. And learning to know when I'm really hungry and how much I need to eat when I am is something that I've been working on since the beginning of this journey. So for February I'm planning on going back to filling out hunger charts every day, before and after every time I eat, to learn what my eating patterns are and to understand better the relationship between food and my body.
Add to these challenges my other Fast Break Goals and I'm sure to see some positive changes in my attitude towards food and, eventually, the scale. I have faith!
So there it is. Three unconventional ways to bust through that plateau by exercising your brain instead of your body. ACT, FEEL and THINK thin. That has to count for something. If doing these things doesn't contribute directly to shrinking numbers on that silly piece of metal and plastic sitting on the bathroom floor, then it certainly will contribute to expanding that floating 3 pound mass of mushy, grey substance behind your eyes. Because I for one am not about to let 3 pounds of anything stand between me and my goals.
Thursday, January 12, 2012
I've put a lot of pressure on myself the first two weeks of this year to write this epic, thoughtful, "this is the year that all my dreams will come true" blog to kick-off 2012. That's not going to happen. This isn't that blog.
Instead what you're going to get from me is a RAMBLE of sorts in hopes to put 2011 to bed and really invest in this new year in front of us with a little more vigor than what last year left me with. Because the truth is - even though it kinda sucked near the end, 2011 was a great year and I need to step back and recognize all of my incredible accomplishments for what they are.
I'm anti "the re-investment blog." I'm not going to say "I'm starting over" because the truth is I'm not. I never quit. I just got lazy for a bit. I got into my head. I got held up by a plateau. I stopped blogging. I lost track of my community that has been so supportive of me. I was injured, so I stopped running. And I got REALLY, REALLY frustrated with myself and the situation. But I never quit. I kept trying, the best I knew how to try with the holidays and the injury and the stupid, dumb, daft, annoying PLATEAU that I still can't seem to shake and that ended up turning into a 10 pound weight gain by the time January 1 rolled over.
That's ok. I've lost 5 pounds of water weight already. I have a suspicion the next 5 are going to hang on until the end of the month just to annoy me and to confirm the fact that my holiday ditherings have just officially cost me the first month of my new year to make up. Moving on...
In trying to figure out how to best organize all my ideas into a concise Super-Blog (again, not gonna happen) I went back and read through some of my blogs from 2011 including the one that started it all off on that first day of January last year. The Year of the Ones. And it absolutely was. I did make it a year of running. I ran my first 8K, 10K, 15K and a number of 5Ks. I was disappointed not to end the year with my first Half Marathon, but when you are injured, you can't mess around and so I did the best I could and quite honestly - my best yielded one heck of a year for running! And how fitting that I ended it all with an almost PERFECT 11 (one one) mile run before I injured out? It's the memory of that amazing run that is getting me through these 6 weeks of taking it easy, healing and waiting to get back out there again. But the lethargy, and now the snow, has set in - so getting back out there is going to be a huge challenge for me in the next few weeks and one that I know is going to take everything I have right now to meet.
2011 also saw my first 100 pound loss (on the DAY of my 1 year Sparkversary no less) and quickly ushered in my current status in Onederland. A place I hadn't seen in over 10 years and one that I'm proud to say I haven't left since I got here. Nor do I intend to - holiday weight gain or not.
I went to Africa. I went to Turkey. I found love in a really wonderful man who gets me better than anyone I have been with before, but who offers up a whole new world of challenges for me in learning to live FOR MYSELF and not for someone else.
I spent 2011 LIVING. And I can't be ashamed of that. I wish I had spent more of the year losing, but in not losing as much, I learned more about my limits, balance and what making an effort feels like even when the rewards don't feel as big.
But a glance through more of my blogs from 2011 yielded some more interesting information. My struggle with the scale slow-down started WAY earlier than I thought it did. My first blog post about not having an easy time of things was as soon as February 2011. I suppose my big entry into the Centenarians Club and Onederland by the end of the first quarter did well of hiding the fact that I wasn't doing as well by the numbers game as it was looking from the outside. And it didn't take very long after that excitement died down for the blahs to hit hard and fast along with a new relationship that seemed to be consuming my abilities to stay the course for myself with any effort at all. In short - my galloping horse of weight-loss got yanked up by the bridle rather quickly in May and turned around to bite the jockey in the ass for the rest of the year. By the time the holidays rolled around, the jockey had had enough and decided on an honourable dismount. But I was still hanging on to the reigns. I never fully let go. I just did what I needed to do to survive, and unfortunately, my survival skills involve a fair amount of binge eating on what has become an absolutely regular basis.
I wanted to post a triumphant ski bunny blog about my wonderful Christmas vacation and how healthy and wonderful it was to do something active over the holidays. But in all honesty, I ate my way through the entire 6 days away. I ate a handful of chocolate almonds every time I passed the damn bowl on the counter that my mother INSISTS on leaving out all the time. I drank wine and beer and alcohol every chance I got with high calorie mixers, not the least of which was eggnog. I ate seconds and thirds and dessert after every meal. I indulged in family favorites, gorged myself on the annual cookie tray, and didn't go a single day without experiencing that uncomfortable feeling of being too full - fat, roly poly and unhealthy. The saving grace was skiing. Thank god we went skiing. Even though I used it every day as my excuse for bad behaviour knowing full well that even at approximately 400 calories an hour it couldn't even begin to touch the damage I was doing food-wise. But I also walked when I could, did some cross-country skiing on my day off the hills, stretched every morning, and committed to drinking my water every single day no matter what. Those where the reigns. The things that were keeping me bridled to the horse even though it seemed to be galloping off in the other direction. As long as I had hold of the reigns, I was still in control.
A couple of really good sessions with my therapist upon returning from my vacation have also given me some of the answers and reassurance in my behaviours that I was seeking. As she put it - sometimes, you need to eat. Just make sure that you dedicate your eating to something and know WHY you're doing it. So the chocolate almonds? Those were for my mom getting her way again despite my crazy work schedule and having her whole family home for Christmas with no regard to how much stress that put on me to get there. The drinking? For having no privacy while on vacation and having to share the pull-out couch in the middle of the living room with my brother. The cookie tray? I'm dedicating that to the month I spent without my boyfriend while he was in India with his family and I was in Canada with mine. It could go on and on. I'm no different than anyone else here when it comes to holiday related stress and worry - regardless of how idyllic the vacation sounds.
Dedicating my overeating to things once I got back though has been a little harder. At work, January 1st brought about major renovations to much of the theatre space and I have been slammed with early mornings, late nights, a multitude of decisions to make, a lot of money being spent and just hoping like hell that I'm doing the right thing for the future of the company. Anyone who has built a house will know what it's like dealing with contractors constantly asking you questions about what you want, what light fixture should go where, how many electrical sockets you want in a room, which way you want the cupboards to go on the wall, paint colours, etc. etc. And they always need more - another order of drywall, more screws, more plywood. The costs are adding up quickly and it's not my money. I worry constantly about the expenditures and whether or not my boss is going to freak out at my decision to buy new light fixtures over re-using the old ones that were terribly ratty looking and probably donated-used in the first place. I'm constantly hanging out between that place of excitement about a project that is going to mean great things for everyone involved and that I am heading up all on my own, and terror that I'm doing it all wrong and that everyone is going to be mad at me. So, at the end of very long, 10-12 hour days, I drag myself home, open up my fridge, and eat. Everything. Anything I can get my hands on. I eat.
And here is where 2012 begins.
I don't feel like I'm in a good place like I was last year in January. My energy is already socked and we're not even half way through the month. I am kicking my butt every day to keep up with the January Bootcamp workouts, but I fight with myself constantly to get my 5 weekly cardio sessions in. I want to be running, but I don't want to run at the same time. The first blog of this year was supposed to be my triumphant "2012 - The Year of the Marathon" blog - but I don't have the heart to write it yet because my head just isn't in that game right now. Perhaps I'll save it for the beginning of February after I have officially signed up to run and forked over my entrance fee. Maybe THAT will light the fire under my ass that I desperately need right now. Here's hoping.
But for now there is this blog. Trudging along. One day at a time.
I have reset my SparkDiet steps because I feel like I could stand a refresher course and I need to get back in the habit of setting up goals and Fast Breaks. But I can't seem to get the program to send me the weekly emails again. Anyone have any ideas? I certainly don't want to reset all my goals and lose all of the information that I have so far.
I also have not made any New Year's Resolutions (I'm not a fan of them) but I have set a couple of goals so far that I'm having fun sticking to this month. #1 - No eating out for the entire month of January (not including Starbucks coffee in the morning). So far, so good. I have prepped and brought to work every single meal for the past two weeks, which is a feat in an of itself since I'm away from my house for 3 meals a day. And #2 - get back to blogging. So here we are. I need to reconnect with the Spark community. I honestly think there's a reason for my huge successes in the first year of this program and I think much of that has to do with my level of involvement with this site which ultimately correlates to my level of involvement with myself. Time on Spark is time for me, so the more time I spend blogging and tracking and planning, the more time I am ultimately investing in myself and my spirit to stick with it and keep pushing myself. My weight loss started to taper off the same time my blogging started to taper off. So here's hoping that everyone is going to hear a lot more from me this year as I attempt to get back into this world and make big moves for myself in mine.
I hope everyone has had time now in the first two weeks of the year to settle in, really think about your goals for the upcoming year, and do something good for yourself. Regardless of how these next 12 months go, I am certain of one thing: at this time next year I WILL be healthier than I am now, smaller than I am now, and happy about how far I've come. Because this path only goes in one direction - forward. 2011 got me to where I am now and I am grateful for everything that it gave me. But 2012 is where I'm headed now and it is FULL of possibilities.
Happy (Belated) New Year Everyone. Get on that horse and ride.
Monday, December 12, 2011
I swear I have an AHA Moment every time I actually have a day where I manage to cook 3 solid meals for myself. Because today I have eaten like a KING, I still have almost 200 calories left and I am not the least bit hungry. I have managed ALL of my fruits and veggies, have consumed near perfect numbers of protein, fat, carbs and other essential nutrients, and even had room for a Starbucks treat on my walk home. What's that again? Oh yes, I walked home tonight because I still had the energy to at the end of the day. It's amazing what happens when you fuel your body with the things that it wants and needs - it actually PERFORMS the way it should!
It never fails to amaze me how few calories I seem to have and how much sodium I manage to consume when even ONE meal a day is away from home. Most days it's TWO meals away from home - and I know I'm not alone in that habit. I, like many people, burn the candle at both ends and hardly have time on the weekends to catch up. But with the sweetie out of town, it's back to being FULLY focused on me - and that means some down hard time in the kitchen...
Or not. Though I like to cook, it's my crockpot that gets me through the day. Knowing that dinner is already made for me when I leave work is what allows me to say "yeah sure, let's spend the 45 minutes that it takes me to walk because once I'm there, it's serve & sit." And there is nothing better than walking into a house that smells of somethin' good cookin'. Yum!
So if you don't already own one - I HIGHLY suggest adding a crockpot to your Christmas list this year. I'm a bit obsessed with mine. Maybe not as much as Stephanie O'Dea. She took it upon herself to use her (now numerous) Crockpots every day for a whole year and wrote a blog about it. crockpot365.blogspot.com/ I stumbled upon this site myself a couple of years ago and it has been my go-to recipe manual ever since. I own both of her books and use them almost every time I pull out my pot. I have never cooked a recipe of hers that wasn't totally amazing. But guess what? Once you learn how easy it is to do - you start coming up with stuff of your own. Or, you remember old recipes that you once loved and figure out how to use the crockpot to make those too. For me it was simple - my mom is just as obsessed with her crockpot as I am with mine and so I grew up on slow cooked recipes. Some of my favorite childhood memories revolve around the smells coming out of that pot. So for me - a simple phone call and a "what did you put in that again?" yielded me a whole slew of stew recipes and other slow cooker gems.
My menu today? Started out with one of these guys that was featured on Spark a couple of days ago: recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detai
l.asp?recipe=1099770 with a couple of clementines which are totally in season right now and are so super sweet and delicious.
Then for lunch I had Mom's Beef Stew recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detai
l.asp?recipe=1900721 with a pear, yogurt, snack bag of pretzels and a fun-sized Twizzler's licorice.
Dinner was a new one - Thai Marmalade Pork Tenderloin Roast recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detai
l.asp?recipe=1902355 served over rice with a side of broccoli. Mmmm!
Since I have some extra calories left, I'm on to continue my Christmas cookie baking. I know little tasters and spoon licks add up, so I'll likely top out on my calories for the day - but it's so nice to have that freedom and not be too worried about going over.
If you're interested in more of my crockpot recipes - check out my Recipe Box. I post the recipe for everything I cook and try to indicate if it was a total flop - but usually I just change up the ingredients and improve on it the next time I make it. Here are a couple of links to my personal favorites though. Happy Cooking! Tis the season to throw it in the pot and let the appliance do the work for you!
Asian Peanut Butter Pork (one of Stephanie's recipes) recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detai
Brown Sugar Chicken (Stephanie again) recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detai
Chicken & Dumplings recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detai
Crockpot Lasagna (adapted from Stephanie's recipe - I make mine with turkey & spinach!) recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detai
Fruit Jam Chicken recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detai
Lentil (or Split Pea) Soup with Ham recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detai
Mom's Chili - Can't beat this one! recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detai
Turkey Pumpkin Chili - a different take on the classic that's really good! recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detai
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