LASVEGASLASS's SparkPeople Blog LASVEGASLASS's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Happy Birthday to Me! So...yesterday was my 48th birthday! Dang - how did I get here? <BR> <BR> I've always loved having my birthday at the end of May - I get a three day weekend for a present every year! To celebrate I revisited my youth by going to one of the club shows at the Punk Rock Bowling festival. Ran into some old friends from the California scene that I haven't seen since 1984 or so! It was fun to catch up! Saw a few old school bands - including The Dickies, who were the band I saw at my first pu... Tue, 29 May 2012 19:07:49 EST Get In My Belly: 05/27 - o6/05/2012 Whew! As the weather heats up here in Vegas - I start craving crisp, cool salads. I need to get more raw veggies in my diet - but also need to keep an eye on my protein intake, so I thought about making a Nicoise salad of some sort. I seemed to remember that I had seen a veganized tuna salad recipe that used chickpeas as a sub for the tuna, so I did a quick internet search <BR> <BR> Found this instead: Tempeh Salad Nicoise from Whole Foods: <BR> <link> Sun, 27 May 2012 15:15:58 EST Get In My Belly: 05/21 - o5/25/2012 Getting back on track despite my hormones not wanting to cooperate - so this week's vegan pre-portioned grab-n-go meal is Tofu Aloo Gobi (Potato and Cauliflower Curry) from the Vegan Express cookbook. <BR> <BR> Here tofu stands in for paneer cheese - giving each portion the protein boost I so desperately need. There's 10 grams of protein in them there 177 calorie servings! <BR> <BR> The recipe can be found here: <BR> <link><BR>s/Tofu-Aloo-Gobi-Caulifl... Mon, 21 May 2012 12:59:00 EST Ugh. off the rails - trying to climb back on. Ever since I came back from my trip to MN, I've been having a tough time staying on track. I think I have a major case of burn out on everything - from my job, to my band, to my gallery - and that is effecting my dedication to Spark as well. Hm. <BR> <BR> Been feeling overly tired all week - but I suppose it could be hormonal. I've been feel blah all week. Haven't made it to the gym at all, just been wanting to sleep. A lot. And I can't. <BR> <BR> I hope next week is better. Thu, 17 May 2012 13:05:07 EST Friday! Finally! Friday! <BR> <BR> Kind of burnt out from doing something after work every night this week: Monday - gym, Tuesday - co-op meeting then trivia, Wednesday - gym, Thursday - band rehearsal, Friday - gym then dinner with the husband to celebrate our 11 year 11 month wedding anniversary. <BR> <BR> Saturday will be equally frantic because I'm trying to squeeze in a hair appointment, making a gallery map for the opening reception at the gallery later that night, then a show with my band... Fri, 11 May 2012 14:48:34 EST Long Day Yesterday! Whew! <BR> <BR> Full day back at work, then a good, productive meeting at the arts co-op for the gallery. Walked downstairs from the meeting to the coffeehouse - and ran smack into my trivia team mates ready to take on the world. We came in second. Gift certificates for Kabob Korner all 'round! Lucky for me they serve veggie dishes! Wed, 9 May 2012 10:56:15 EST YAY! The Gym! As I had mentioned before, I meant to work out while on a business trip - but that just didn't happen. I did walk miles and miles through downtown Minneapolis checking out the sites though! <BR> <BR> Finally got back to the gym tonight - and I was surprised that my body seemed stronger than ever! I typically burn 250 calories per 30 minute session on the elliptical - blew through 300 last night with no problems. Awesome! Tue, 8 May 2012 13:42:47 EST Get In My Belly: 05/05 - o5/11/2012 Back home and back on Spark! <BR> <BR> This week's vegan entree is Brown Rice and Lentil Loaf (from the Candle Cafe cookbook) with Wild Mushroom Gravy (Candle Cafe) and Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes (Appetite for Reduction). <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I had a rare Friday off and finally made it to our newest farmer's market, Downtown 3rd, where I picked up some stunning organic shiitakes for the gravy. Huge and gorgeous! Hit Who... Mon, 7 May 2012 18:48:54 EST Back to Spark! Whew! That was a crazy three weeks or so! Sorry for the absence everyone! <BR> <BR> Work kind of got away from me the past month. Coordinated a last minute exhibit of about 40 artifacts from our museum's collection. Flew to Minneapolis and installed - then deinstalled the exhibit over a 10 day period. Back home to Vegas finally. <BR> <BR> I had the best intentions, really I did...I even took my workout clothes with me. In reality, I ended up getting carried away with fab meals and dri... Mon, 7 May 2012 18:05:30 EST Little time for reflection today! Dang! <BR> <BR> Spring has sprung and all of a sudden I'm swamped at work. I work by myself in a closed museum, so it's kind of out of the ordinary to get slammed with inquiries and things to do. <BR> <BR> Anywhooooo - this weekend was, ah, interesting. Opened the gallery for our monthly First Friday artwalk and had some delicious vegan chorizo tacos from a local food truck, chased down by couple of Happy Hour priced $1.00 beers. (I'm a cheap date - what can I say?) <BR> <BR> Saturd... Mon, 9 Apr 2012 18:59:23 EST Get In My Belly: 04/08 - o4/13/2012 Yummm! <BR> <BR> This week's homemade vegan entrée is Lettuce Wraps with Hoisin-Mustard Tofu from the Appetite for Reduction cookbook. At mere 140 calories per 3 lettuce wraps, this recipe rocks! Anytime I had tried to make pan-fried tofu in the past - the caramelized crust sadly taunted me, stuck to the bottom of the pan. Finally, a technique that works! <BR> <BR> The sauce for the recipe is pretty stellar. Fragrant with ginger and sesame while having a bite of heat from the red pe... Sat, 7 Apr 2012 22:26:25 EST Taking matters into my own hands So. After two weeks of gaining .5 a pound each week - I decided to compare Spark to WW as far as calories go. I lost a significant amount of weight on WW about 6 years ago - and even made goal, but of course, I gained it all back because I slacked off and didn't exercise. (Grad school will do that to ya!) <BR> <BR> I lowered my caloric intake to 1150 - 1250 per day, which roughly matches what I would be eating if I were following the WW points system. After 3 weeks of going to the gym on ... Wed, 4 Apr 2012 22:06:45 EST Another week to go for it! It's Monday! <BR> <BR> After a second week of scale disappointment, I'm glad to turn the page to new week. <BR> <BR> I don't know what I can change to make the scale move, but I'm just going to keep on keeping on. Overall, I feel better and I'm finally getting some regular exercise, so there are good things happening in other camps. The scale may just have to wait it's turn. <BR> <BR> My goals this week are to stay within my target cals and continue to make the effort to reduce carbs an... Mon, 2 Apr 2012 10:59:07 EST Get In My Belly: 04/01 - o4/06/2012 This week's home cooked, grab on the the go meal is Tempeh Helper from the Appetite for Reduction cookbook. I didn't have any tempeh handy - but I did have a bag of frozen Quorn Crumbles, so I just substituted. Wasn't a big fan of it after I made it last night, but it seemed to get better with an overnight chance to sit. It manages to hit all those childhood junk food notes - as if it were really pasta shells and ground beef in a cheese sauce. This way I get all the fun but without the fa... Sun, 1 Apr 2012 16:28:51 EST It's a Lifestyle, Right? OK, OK! I admit it - to myself and the Sparkworld - I totally blew it last night! Margaritas, corn tortillas, shrimp fajitas - oh my! (hold the sour cream) <BR> <BR> But you know? I'm not going to beat myself up over it. Even back when I was doing WW (successfully, I might add) I always allowed myself a one-night-a-week splurge, just to keep from feeling like I was completely being rigid with myself. Normally, I would wait for the weekend - but my splurge came a couple of days early th... Fri, 30 Mar 2012 13:20:26 EST Workouts and Fatigue Whew! Last night I did my second round of cardio on the elliptical for the week and basically was so tired out I took a soak in the bath and went straight to bed! <BR> <BR> One question for you all out there in Sparkpeople land - my leg muscles started slightly cramping up while laying in bed about 3-4 hours after working out. Does anyone know what could cause this? I'd had plenty of water, so I don't think it was dehydration. Maybe I need to stretch out more? The cramping is slight, ... Thu, 29 Mar 2012 13:13:18 EST Freddie Mercury In Retrograde FTW! Whoo! <BR> <BR> For the past 8 years or so, I've rarely done much of anything after work. Since joining Spark, I've been dedicated myself to stopping at the gym at least 2 times a week to jump on the elliptical and get some cardio and mileage in. It's true what they say - that a body in motion stays in motion - because now, I'm motivated to go out and socialize with friends too! <BR> <BR> Went to my first Trivia Night at a local coffeehouse here in Vegas, The Beat. Our team "Freddie Mercu... Wed, 28 Mar 2012 12:45:02 EST Weekly Weigh-In Woes Well, I weighed in this AM and somehow I've gained a half-pound. I'm pretty much going to ignore it and press on. This journey is about getting and staying healthy as I get older, and sure, I'd love to lose some weight along the way if it happens. I'm still learning how to eat in balance and will be hitting the gym for cardio on Monday! <BR> <BR> Onward! Sun, 25 Mar 2012 15:59:44 EST Get In My Belly: 03/24 - o3/30/2012 This weeks vegan entree is Pasta "Carbonara" with Broccoli from the Vegan Express cookbook. The carbonara is really tempeh bacon! Yum! <BR> <BR> This recipe is quick and easy, although I feel it lacks a little in the flavor department. It calls for 2-4 tbsp of Silk creamer added at the end for some moisture, but really, I feel like I was just adding calories - you can't taste it all so what's the point? This seems like it's a decent base to add other things - chickpeas or some kind of l... Sat, 24 Mar 2012 18:31:36 EST It's a little bumpy over here, off the beaten track! Got a little off track this week with a horrible TOM. Have been a snack-a-licious machine! I try to limit myself to 1200-1300 cals a day and have been going over by just a bit the past few days. Back on track today and making up for my Wed. workout by going to gym after work tonight instead. <BR> <BR> Had band rehearsal last night - seems like there should be a way to track that on the Fitness Tracker! Fri, 23 Mar 2012 12:58:35 EST Feeling blah-ish It's that time - a week early! Blah. <BR> Tue, 20 Mar 2012 12:19:22 EST Back to Work! Monday, Monday. <BR> <BR> Back to work after a really enjoyable weekend! Had a good (but sloppy on my part) band rehearsal yesterday and went out to dinner with friends afterward. Did some reading and went to bed nice and early. Made a vegan Upside Down Lentil Shepherd's Pie with some awesome Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes for my weekly grab-and-go meals. Halved the portions because there is NO WAY I can eat 2 cups of lentils and potatoes in one sitting. I would be soooo stuffed! <BR> <BR... Mon, 19 Mar 2012 16:42:30 EST New Haircut! In my quest for a better attitude about myself - I decided to totally change up my haircut. I had been trying to go without bangs for the past few months - but I just wasn't happy, so THEY'RE BACK! Whoohoo! <BR> <BR> Went thrifting this weekend and found some brand new Pier One table linens that had obviously never been used for CHEAP. Some fun Japanese rice bowls and place mats for food photography projects too. Best part was I found a bunch of cute scarves to cover up my ever encroachin... Sun, 18 Mar 2012 18:26:28 EST Two Pounds Down This Week! So - YAY! I lost two pounds this week! I got a little discouraged last week because I didn't see any progress - my dear sweet, supportive husband told me to stick with it, maybe my body just needed a wake-up jump start, and it looks like he was right! <BR> <BR> I am meticulously tracking what I eat - usually entering an entire day's meals before hand so that I don't deviate from the daily plan. That seems to work for me! I leave a little wiggle room for snacks and such so I'm not being to... Fri, 16 Mar 2012 19:22:11 EST Not much to say today... Work up this AM and definitely felt like I had worked my muscles last night. Not sore, just worked - which is a good thing! <BR> <BR> Thinking about stopping by, not one, but TWO grand openings tonight in Las Vegas to shoot photos - KISS Mini-Golf and Flavor Flav's House o' Flavor! Within mere blocks of each other! <BR> <BR> Sometimes Vegas gives me a good giggle. Thu, 15 Mar 2012 19:54:59 EST First Workout Completed! YAY! Just got back from my return to the gym. I set myself a goal of 30 minutes on the elliptical at a HR of 130 to start. Being almost 50, I didn't want to overdo it the first time out. I'm having a problem with my shoulder (probably a strain from moving my bass amp on Sunday), so I decided to forgo any weight lifting for now. <BR> <BR> All in all, the first 15 minutes were difficult, I even thought "ah well, maybe I'll just stop at 15 my first time out" - but my body warmed up and t... Wed, 14 Mar 2012 22:07:25 EST Yeah Baby! Back to The Gym! Whoohoo! <BR> <BR> Just found out I have FREE credits at the best-kept-secret gym in town, (shhhhh! It's the UNLV Student Wellness Center), until the end of the year! I treated myself to some new workout clothes on the way home from work - and already packed my gym bag. Looking forward to reuniting with the elliptical! <BR> <BR> All I need to do is figure out how to get a workout playlist uploaded to my iPhone! Tue, 13 Mar 2012 22:19:04 EST Happy Birthday Dad! My Dad would have been 82 today. I miss him. A lot. Tue, 13 Mar 2012 12:32:07 EST Crossroads! It's been long known to all my my friends that although I live in Las Vegas it's not my favorite place in the world. Despite that, I have to say - moving here has been nothing but good for us. In the 8 years we've lived here, we own a house (underwater at the moment, but at least it's relatively inexpensive and ours), I've managed to earn two degrees and follow my calling into the museum field, my husband has enrolled in a professional certification class to bolster his credentials in HIS ne... Mon, 12 Mar 2012 15:32:32 EST Get In My Belly: 03/12 - o3/16/2012 <img src=""> <BR> <BR> This week's home-made and pre-portioned vegan meal is Lotsa Veggies Lentil Soup from the Appetite for Reduction cookbook by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. This recipe called for French Lentils (aka Du Puy Lentils) - which I had never cooked with before. Finding them was a challenge - we finally located some hidden away on the bottom shelf at Whole Foods. I also picked up some Vegetable Better than Bullion to make the br... Sun, 11 Mar 2012 14:31:51 EST Day Five: A Lesson in Planning Ahead This past work-week was my first back on Spark for a long time. I'm paying a lot more attention to BALANCE in my daily diet than I have previously - and learned a bunch of things over the past few days about how to manage things and have a pretty good idea of how I want to plan out my meals for next week. I love being able to see the daily breakdown of carbs, fat, protein and fiber on the nutrition tracker - I did WW about 6 years ago and although I lost weight, I bet I was eating waaaaaay ... Fri, 9 Mar 2012 15:51:28 EST Day Four: Balanced! Well, yesterday was a success as far as balancing carbs / fat / protein / cals! <BR> <BR> I think I'm getting the hang of what kind of meal planning I need to do. I'm a little low on veggie servings (I eat primarily plant-based foods so that's kind of funny) - and the 8 oz. of water thing is ALWAYS a struggle for me. I work in a very cold environment, and drinking water when I'm cold is a HUGE turnoff. I've been making non-caffeinated herbal teas instead. <BR> <BR> I've been feeling ... Thu, 8 Mar 2012 12:31:03 EST Day Three: Figuring it out OK, managed to switch up my snacks a bit yesterday to reduce my carb intake and increase my protein by adding a small pouch of water packed tuna to my lunch. My carbs (probably for the first time in this carb-o-holic's life) came in right on target, but I'm still a little low on fats and protein. <BR> <BR> It looks like I need to snack on something like yogurt or tuna rather than pretzels, but I do enjoy my 10 AM carb snack! Maybe I should add some additional protein (baked tofu?) to my ... Wed, 7 Mar 2012 12:22:30 EST Get In My Belly: 03/04 - 03/09/2012 <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Since I'm back with a vengeance and have a few months of eating primarily plant-based meals under my belt, I feel comfortable enough now with vegan cooking that I can start to play with low-fat meals again. <BR> <BR> I was feeling the need for more fresh veggies and less processed foods in my diet so this week's "grab 'n' go" meal is homemade Asparagus Pesto Pasta Salad from the Fat Free Vegan Kitchen website: <... Tue, 6 Mar 2012 13:03:19 EST One Day Down, Life to Go! Did well yesterday! Stuck to my pre-planned meals and had NO after dinner snacks (my biggest foe) or wine (my biggest indulgence). I was within my goal calories, even a bit on the low end. I'm tracking WW points too - and I was under points <BR> <BR> Did a little tweaking today based on the nutritional breakdown of what I ate yesterday - I need more protein and less carbs - which comes as NO surprise. I eat primarily plant-based foods for the most part, with the occasional f... Tue, 6 Mar 2012 12:26:09 EST Back again - post Masters Degree! After taking a major hiatus to finish my Masters thesis - I'm back to try to lose some weight. <BR> <BR> Apparently, as I get older I can only work on one major goal at a time! Mon, 5 Mar 2012 21:32:19 EST Giving in on Thanksgiving <img src=""> <BR> <BR> OK - I admit it. <BR> <BR> I totally gave in on Thanksgiving calorie-wise - but stuck to my guns and made a fabulous all-vegan platter! I was more interested how I could transition all the <BR> traditional Thanksgiving tastes into vegan versions. It was a smashing success! <BR> <BR> We had: <BR> Cranberry and Walnut Salad with Cranberry Balsamic Vinaigrette <BR> Pumpkin and Sage Encrusted Gardien cutlets <B... Tue, 29 Nov 2011 14:25:24 EST Melancholiac Insomniac Once a month I go through a rough bout of insomnia that lasts about a week - one of the really cool things about getting older (not). During these spells I get 1 full night's sleep about every three days. Today is the third day of little sleep, and I'm cranky and oh-so-tired. I'm looking forward to my body to giving in and letting me sleep tonight... <BR> <BR> ...on the brighter side - weighed in this AM and lost 1.5! Must be all that activity at night! LOL! Tue, 15 Nov 2011 12:57:00 EST Get in My Belly! 11/13- 11/19/2011 This week's vegan meal is the incredible Fall inspired Kidney Bean and Butternut Jamba Stew from the Appetite for Reduction cookbook. All the flavors of a traditional jamabalya - along with a nice little spicy kick! Perfect for the cooler nights we're having here in Las Vegas. <BR> <BR> Ooh! Someone already posted the recipe on Spark too: <BR><BR>tail.asp?recipe=1398405 <BR> Mon, 14 Nov 2011 16:45:20 EST Saying No to the Yo-Yo! Weighed in on Tuesday - and was disappointed to see I went back up to my starting weight. I'm a little frustrated. I keep losing and gaining the same 3.5 pounds week-to-week! Ugh! I totally allowed myself a "feeling sorry for myself" pig-out last night, but today is a new day. <BR> <BR> Made something more substantial for lunch than my usual soup - still trying to find the magic combination that will move my weight-loss forward. <BR> <BR> To quote Galaxy Quest: Never give up. Never surre... Thu, 10 Nov 2011 13:30:29 EST Get in My Belly! 11/07 - 11/13/2011 For my at-home-meals this week I'm concentrating on balancing my protein / carbs / fats ratios. I tend to eat WAY too many carbs, so I'm moving away from making pasta or rice based dinners . I picked up some Gardien Chik'n Scallopini and some Mediterranean style frozen veggies for a side. I found a nice bunch of asparagus in my veggie drawer too, which I'll probably roast with some salt and garlic. Yum! <BR> <BR> Now I'm! Mon, 7 Nov 2011 14:07:11 EST Get in My Belly! 10/30 - 11/05/2011 I usually take some time out over the weekend to whip up a batch of some vegan something to have on-hand for dinner for the week. This week's dinner staple is Lasagne with Roasted Cauliflower Ricotta and Spinach from Chandra Moskowitz' Appetite for Reduction cookbook. The portions aren't huge - but I have to admit, the cauliflower/tofu stand in for ricotta is pretty genius! Only 300 calories and 6 grams of fat per serving! <BR> <BR> The Serious Eats blog has a post with the recipe: <BR>... Tue, 1 Nov 2011 14:10:46 EST First Week Revelations One week and 3.5 pounds down on SparkPeople! Yes! <BR> <BR> Using SP's trackers has been a revelation for me. A few months ago I completely overhauled my meals - and gave up my long-standing cheese habit for a primarily vegan diet. I would say that I eat vegan meals 90% of the time. I initially lost about 4 pounds when I made the change, but recently gained the weight back. I couldn't understand why...thanks to SP, now I think I know! <BR> <BR> Turns out that I wasn't eating enough calor... Mon, 31 Oct 2011 16:36:08 EST