Saturday, January 29, 2011
I recently bumped into some photos my best friend posted of me right before I moved to Seattle. We made this big road trip from Denver to Seattle. Apparently she took some pictures I had forgotten about.
I was shocked.
I was 28 years old, and this was a major down point of my life. I was moving to Seattle to get a fresh start.
This was 2003. I weighed 160 in these pictures. No job, no boyfriend, and seemingly insurmountable debt.
Who was that person? Seems like someone else.
Upon moving to Seattle, that person discovered farmer's market fresh vegetables and fruit. Parks and trails within walking distance of her apartment. Bought a mountain bike. Learned to kayak and ski. Got a job I initially hated, but it allowed me to pay off my debt completely. After that, I got a better job that I love, and people I enjoy working with. I met my fiance in 2006.
While looking at those pictures, I didn't feel ashamed. I didn't feel like I should destroy them. I felt accomplishment. Getting to where I am now was no easy task, and it didn't happen overnight. It happened because I wanted a different, better life for myself, and I pushed through the bitter, unpleasant parts.
This is me now. The me that I am. Who I want to be.
Friday, January 28, 2011
I receive a lot of great comments on my food/cooking blogs, so I've decided to take another swing at making a food blog! I'll still keep blogging my fitness and health goals on Spark, but I'm moving my recipes off to my new blog: shortcutmenus.com .
It will be about all the things I have received positive comments about my food blogs. Making small portions of favorite recipes; making 'restaurant' food at home; making semi gourmet dinners in a jiffy after work.
As a fun experiment, I converted my "Single Serve Apple Crisp" recipe into a video 'cooking show' using the website xtranormal.com. shortcutmenus.com/2011/01/single-ser
ve-apple-crisp/ (That is my voice in the voice over.)
It is still in development. Working on the layout, and trying to figure out how to organize my recipes, nutrition, and cost calculators. This is actually my 3rd attempt at a cooking/nutrition blog. My previous attempt people kind of got confused by my cost calculator, so I'm trying to incorporate a simplified format. I want to show that home cooked meals with good quality ingredients costs much less, doesn't need to take a lot of time, and are more nutritious than the equivalent at restaurants.
Take a look and let me know what you think!
Thursday, January 27, 2011
I've often wondered why most of us only eat turkey during holidays. It's delicious, and figure friendly since it is very low in fat and high in protein. The benefits of buying a turkey post holidays is it is very inexpensive, and there's no pressure for a grand dinner.
We recently bought a 13lb turkey for $0.79/lb. Roasted it, then made a very modest dinner plate of turkey breasts with gravy, stuffing, and brussel sprouts. There's plenty of turkey and stuffing leftover, so I decided to make pot pies.
First, I tore chunks of meat off the thighs and put it in a crockpot with carrots, celery, onions, chicken broth and a little flour for thickening. I let that simmer for about 4 hours on high.
Just before my fiance came home from work, I turned the oven to 350F. I took leftover stuffing and made stuffing patties that would fit as a cover in my oven safe bowls.
Turkey stew mixture is laddled into the bowls. Be careful not to fill the mixture to the top. When it goes in the oven, it will bubble up a bit. If you overfill, you will end up with a mess!
Stuffing patties fitted in the bowl.
Pot pies put in the 350F oven for about 15-20 minutes until the stuffing is crispy.
Recipe is here: recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detai
(The sodium total is high because I used the default spark chicken broth for the recipe ingredient. I make my own chicken broth, which has zero sodium, so the sodium total is about half if you use your own.)
Here are the calorie and nutrition totals for my pot pie:
Compare to a Hungry Man Pot Pie:
If you prefer a more 'traditional' pot pie, then just make a small quantity of puff pastry instead of the stuffing. To make it lower calorie pot pie, cover only the top, and don't make the pastry filling for the inside.
So this is a 'man meal', but with figure friendly calories and nutrition. My fiance made no complaints about being hungry or 'diet food' after finishing a bowl!
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Often when reading the message boards, you'll find posts from frustrated Sparkers with comments like this:
"I hate my skinny friend. She eats whatever she wants, and never gains weight."
"I hate going to the gym because of all the skinny people. They don't understand what it's like to do everything right and not lose weight."
Many of us can sympathize with similar feelings at one point in our lives or another.
This is not the first time I've lost and gained weight. It's an ongoing cycle. Yes, I was/am annoyed. But getting things in perspective, I've lost 30 lbs and regained 8. The important thing is, I'm not going to let it slide. I'm not going to regain 30 lbs. 8 lbs, it stops here.
I remember a girl at my old gym. She was about the same height as me, with very toned muscles, but not bulky. She had muscle definition, but not like a bodybuilder. She was lean, sleek, and toned, like a cheetah.
She was usually on the stairclimber machine while I was usually on the elliptical. She worked hard on the stairclimber, usually dripping with sweat by the end. It would have been all too easy to jealously think, "I hate her." But I didn't.
I wanted to be her.
She was my inspiration. I suppose she still is, because I'm writing about it now. For some reason, she has stuck out in my mind.
The thing is, I don't hate her. I admire her. I know that she worked very hard for her trim, lean body. The stairclimber is no joke. Even in my top physical form, the stairclimber machine kicks my butt. It kicked her butt, too. That's why she was always on it. She was always sweating, breathing hard, and checking her pulse after a workout. She earned it.
I once read either an article or a book - I don't remember which - that said the secret of success for millionaires is they don't hate other millionaires. They admire them.
There is a whole philosophical debate we can get into about the downside to this (the keeping up with the Jones complex), but for the moment, I just want to illustrate finding inspiration in the success of others. Not jealousy.
Find someone who inspires you. A friend, a stranger at the gym, Jillian Michaels - whomever. Learn from them. Try to be them.
For me, I have the mental image of a very athletic, beautiful girl at the gym, earning every drop of sweat. Not because it was easy. Because it was hard.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
One of the things I really miss about living in Washington state is the orchard fresh, sweet, crisp apples. Fuji and gala are two of my favorite varieties. Now that I live in the south, they are a bit harder to come by.
Buying apples at the supermarket can be a bit hit or miss. This last time, I bought some Michigan red delicious apples from the supermarket that I was not terribly thrilled with for eating whole. They were crisp, but not very flavorful. I had to do something with them. I decided to make apple crisp.
One of the reasons why I don't usually make desserts is because there's only two of us in my house. My fiance and I. Most recipes for pie make like 12 servings. This is not a terribly good idea for a household trying to keep trim.
On the other hand, I do not believe in 'diet' food. There is no food that is off limits to me - only how much. I eat everything that I like, I just control the portions. This was not an overnight thing that happened. This is something I have learned how to do over a decade. Now I serve myself a small portion, and I'm satisfied. I rarely want more. It is not always been this way, but this is what I have trained myself to do.
So back to the apple crisp. One of the ways I can enjoy small portions of anything is by stacking my kitchen with things that are friendly to single portions. I bought a couple of cute Le Creuset pots with lids for $8 each at an outlet mall. They are like small ramekins with lids. I'm using them to make 2 servings of apple crisp.
The two pots hold two apples chopped up, perfectly. I made a crumble to go on top.
Baked in 350F oven for 30 minutes until crumble is browned.
I haven't calculated the calorie totals, but I went pretty light on the crumble and sugar. I tend to like my apple crisps a bit more tart than sweet, so the mild apples that I had worked well for this.
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