Friday, March 29, 2013

Fresh and Fantastic Friday

I could not possibly be happier that the week is over today and that it's time to start the weekend. I'm really looking forward to seeing family over the weekend for Easter and then the fun continues all the way through next Monday when I put on my parka and snow pants and head to the MN Twins Home Opener...Brrr

Today I decided I wanted in on The Real Food Runner's Fresh Friday! I love seeing everyone's links and I figured it would be a great way to end a long hard week. 

The first thing that made my week fresh and fantastic was the above 40 degree weather we had here, the first time since DECEMBER! I took advantage by only wearing a hoodie while walking my brown dogs outside, the sunshine felt amazing!! Look how excited they are to get outside and go :)

The second fresh and fantastic part of my week was completing week 3 of my C25K. This week seemed scary to me because it varied from running 90 seconds to running 3 minutes at a time. But I totally did it!!! I finished last night and start week 4 on Saturday 

             Day 1                          Day 2                    Day 3            

The third thing on my list was my lunch yesterday. I went out to a mexican restaurant with some co-workers, something we try to do every few weeks and it was really nice to get out of the office, spend time with the girls and eat this amazing fajita salad with fresh salsa and guacamole dressing. It is not the prettiest thing I've ever seen but it was so tasty. It had three colors of peppers, some pinto beans, fajita chicken and I crushed up four chips on top. I will tell you how HARD it was for me to sit and sip my water the whole time everyone was eating chips and salsa and queso dip. But I knew I wanted to have a few chips on my salad and I tend to go crazy with unlimited chips and salsa, however I totally did it! I drank my water and talked and watched everyone else eat tons of chips that I knew I didn't need. 

I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter weekend, whether it means something special to you or not, hopefully you have nice weather where you are and get to spend some time with your families.

Real Food Runner

Thursday, March 28, 2013

My Grandma's Pinterest

Last May, my Grandma passed away. Over the next few weeks, us grand kids got the chance to go through her house and take whatever keepsakes we wanted. I am a VERY sentimental person so this was a special and difficult endeavor for me. I wanted to have everything of hers, but I knew I couldn't possibly have everything so I had to make sure the things I did keep were special to me. My grandmother was a very trendy woman, especially back in the day, she sold Avon, she made sure her house decorations all coordinated color and theme with the season or holiday, she kept up with what was in fashion and home decor trends, she was just in general a very put together person. She was not however, a home cookin' kind of woman, she wasn't the kind to wear an apron and slave over a stove all day. There are maybe a few dishes I remember she would make or special sweets she would have for certain holidays though. 

While going through her kitchen cupboards, I found a black three ring notebook, the leather was worn and it smelled of times gone by. I opened the book and inside I discovered a recipe scrapbook of sorts. My Grandma made this recipe book herself, each dividing tab, every magazine or newspaper recipe cut out, she glued in. This was in essence  her recipe Pinterest board. It is not a store bought cook book, and it is also not a recipe book with handwritten recipes that she created over time, this was her crafty compilation of the latest recipes, serving techniques and "best cake recipe ever" book. 
The first page, in her beautiful handwriting, she wrote a message. "Some very good recipes & serving suggestions". I'm not sure what the "at" means, or maybe its an "a+"

I think what I love the most is that everything in it she cut out herself, and she must have done so for a reason. Which means every page has her personal touch. I can see now where I got my scrap booking skills and my desire to collect and save things. Some of the recipes call for ingredients I'm not sure you could find anymore, some of them call for Crisco and pasteurized process cheese. But a lot of them are simple recipes with real ingredients, honest cooking that you don't see much anymore. I am going to go through this book every once in a while and try some of these recipes- just to feel a little closer to my grandma.

The first thing I pulled out is a recipe poster of sorts, it is from American Weekly, March 2, 1952. I'm not sure what a woman was supposed to do with this large poster of "Delightful Hot Cheese Dishes", perhaps pin it on her kitchen wall as inspiration for a while?

I zoned in on one recipe in particular that I think I would make of all of them "savory dairy loaf"...sounds disgusting but its really like a veggie meat loaf. 

Other pages I really enjoyed were her cake "Pinterest board"

Where I found this "Perfect Spice Cake" recipe, the secret ingredient is a pinch of black pepper...hmmm could be good?

This blueberry muffin recipe- simple ingredients, whole foods, sounds delicious! Plus it says it's "tested in The American Home Kitchen" so that must mean it rocks!

And this adorable page where she noted a serving suggestion for creamy sauces over veggies and a recipe I would totally try for "Corn Fritters"

What I don't know is if my grandma ever made any of these, if she liked them, if any were her favorites, there are no other notes in this book, so there isn't much for me to go off of, but I love having it because I know she didn't just buy it and put it in her cupboard, she made it, she sat and cut out these pictures and recipes, she wanted to make this for one reason or another and I will certainly cherish it.

In other daily news, we went to the home improvement store last night to pick out supplies for a back splash !! I am waaaay more excited about a few sheets of glass tile than I should be but I can't wait to post pictures of the finished product :) After shopping we were hungry and stopped at...McDonald's. Don't worry I got their southwest grilled chicken salad for 10 Points Plus 

Oh and I also took the brown dogs for a walk because it was a tropical 43 degrees yesterday in MN

Did you have a good Wednesday?

Do you have any recipe books or keepsakes that you treasure?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

I Cried About Guacamole

I have a confession to make.
I am a freak about food.
Yesterday morning as I was packing my lunch I noticed something was missing...I had put all the ingredients for my taco salad down on the bottom shelf of the fridge (hidden from bf's view) in order to make sure he didn't take them easily grab them. I could have sworn I put the guacamole down here with everything, I scanned the fridge and didn't see the little tub of green amazingness anywhere...then it dawned on me...I slowly turned around and walked over to the trash. There, empty and sad was the container that held the last serving of guacamole that was intended for MY TACO SALAD. Then, tears welled in my eyes. He ate MY guacamole!!! My delicious new Greek yogurt Guacamole from Trader Joe's.  I have to give the bf a little leeway because I didn't tell him I was planning to eat it the next day, and I didn't ask him NOT to eat it. But I went to bed at 10 pm thinking it was late enough that my last little bits of chunky guacamole would be safe until morning. Why am I nearly crying over guacamole?!!?! Why did it upset me so much?? I mean I had already had some, it's not like I didn't get to try it, and it's not like I can't go get more. I should be happy I found a healthy snack that the bf likes....BUT I WASN'T. I took my time to go to Trader Joe's, I lovingly picked out the new dip, and I had imagined how creamy and delicious it would be on top of my taco salad at lunch.
I. Am. A.'s just food, but it really upset me.

I'm over it now, I'm not mad the bf or anything, but this salad sure was missing something.

In other news, in order to quell my sadness from the guacamole incident of '13, I made some chocolate chip cookies last night after dinner. 
OH wait, here was dinner:

I saw a recipe on Pinterest for cookies that didn't use any flour, sugar or eggs and I wanted to try them. 
I adapted This Recipe from "Watching What I Eat" and made these cookies

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed until smooth & creamy
  • 1/3 cup chocolate PB2(or regular PB2)
  • individual cup of unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups oats 
  • 1/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a large bowl, mix 1/3 cup dry chocolate PB2 with 3 TBS of water
  3. Mash in bananas until completely combined
  4. Add in the applesauce and vanilla extract mix again until all are completely combined
  5. Add in the oats and chocolate chips and combine well
  6. Chill dough in fridge for 10 minutes
  7. Drop dough by spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet
  8. Bake for 25-30 minutes depending on how you prefer your cookies, a little softer or a little chewier
  9. Enjoy!

I calculated this entire recipe to be 15 Points Plus. It will obviously depend on what kind of applesauce, oats or chocolate chips you use and any other modifications or substitutions you might make. I wanted to make 15 cookies so they would be 1 PP each...but I fail at portioning the dough and ended up with 13 cookies, I rounded up and say two cookies for 3PP just to be safe. They are SO GOOD, so good in fact the bf ate one, then went back for another- I know I did something right if he goes back for more, especially when I thought he would say they were weird.

Also, I completed Day 2 of Week 3 of my C25K, feeling better every single run I do, the longer running sections- up to 3 minutes at a time now, aren't even that hard. It's probably time to start upping my speed :)


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Eight Weight Loss Essentials

Good morning! Yesterday on my drive home from work I got to thinkin', what are the essential things I personally need in my weight loss journey? Now I know each person is different and has specific goals for their own health, but I realized there are a few things that are absolutely necessary for me to reach my weight loss goals. Why are there only eight you ask and not a nice solid number like ten? BECAUSE, I only could think of eight and I didn't want to throw in two junky ones just to have a good number, so the number is eight. If your OCD can't handle it (mine is just a little uncomfortable with it) then you can mentally picture two more items on this list.

So without further ado, my Eight Weight Loss Essentials
(so important I created a cute little graphic for it)
((I didn't work that hard on it though I only made it in Paint))

1.) Something that you will drink water from. Water is SO important and if you have a container you LIKE to drink out of it will be more likely that you will drink water. I personally love drinking out of straws, so I have these plastic tumblers that I get, that way I'm not buying disposable straws and I like that these are less likely to spill too. I keep these at work, at home, wherever I am. This particular one the bf got for me on one of his trips, I think it is so cute it makes me drink even more water :) 

2.) Food Scale- This is soooo important for me in my cooking because measuring food with measuring cups is very difficult and can easily cause inaccurate results, especially if the food item is oddly shaped, however with a scale like this you can easily get the exact amount in a serving and they are not too expensive either. I got mine on Amazon for $13 which is a bargain in my opinion for how much I use it and how much it helps me. I also love it measures in grams and oz/lbs. It can zero out so I can put any container on there, zero it and add my food. 

3.) Good workout shoes. I used to just buy any old sneakers from where ever and use them, I never knew the importance of a good pair of shoes. This became especially important when I moved from the elliptical to the treadmill. Running requires well fitted shoes if you want to avoid injury and pain. I bought my first pair of Asics a few years ago and love love love them. I am now on my second pair of Asics, the retina burning pink ones on the left :) and so far I love them too. 

4.) Along with good running shoes, I would not be able to monitor my workout progress without my chest strap. I have only ever had this Polar HRM but I'm sure there are others out there that are equally as good. I like that you put in all of your own personal information in it and it tracks your personal heart rate zone, lets you know how many calories you burned, your workout time, high heart rate, average heart rate etc. I love this gadget.

5.) And of course, a good sports bra! This might not be an essential if you are a male, but if you are female I would greatly stress the need for a supportive and well fitting sports bra. Especially if you are like me and are  a bit bustier. I have worked out with ill-fitting sports bras before and let me tell you it is NOT PLEASANT.

6.) Another item that is essential to my success is my tablet. This one might seem silly and might not be essential to you, but maybe you have a laptop, maybe you use your phone, or an e-reader, or even a good old fashioned cook book, but for me, I use my tablet ALL THE TIME to look up recipes online or on Pinterest. I use my tablet for my Weight Watchers app to use the points calculator, I Google substitutions for recipes or measurement exchanges, everything. I even use it to play Pandora while I cook, it is definitely my cooking buddy. 

7.)  I love love love Tupperware! I use containers for packing items in my lunch, I use them for saving portions of meals to freeze for future enjoyment. I use them to portion out items I buy in bulk. They can be put in the freezer, microwaved, go in the dishwasher. I have purchased a few sets of these Tupperware because I love that they all match and the lids fit a few different sizes of each container. I also love these lunchboxes because you can put different parts of a meal in one container without stuff touching or getting all mixed together (I know I'm kind of a freak).

8.) Lastly, a scale. I know a lot of people like to measure Non-scale victories, and I do too, it's important to recognize accomplishments in building muscle  clothes fitting better, feeling more energy, making healthier choices, all of those things. But it is also important for me to track my weight progress as well. I used to have a scale that measured body fat and hydration and weight and tracked from previous weights but it really didn't work well. I think it was just too fancy and I never had much success with it actually getting me all that information. I now have this scale it is simple, works so well and I love it. (can you tell I buy everything from Amazon? Prime baby!)

So those are my most essential items I own/use in order to be successful in getting healthy, changing my life and of course, losing weight.

I'd love to know what YOUR essential items are, what do you need for your personal journey?
Do you buy things on Amazon like I do?

Here is what happened for dinner last night. I made stir fry veggies, and some chicken with this new Campbell's skillet sauce I had. I combined it with my noodles from my Trader Joe's Extravaganza and it was a delicious 9 Points Plus dinner.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Why Doing Stuff All Day is Hard

And by stuff, I mean house projects- specifically PAINTING.
Yes, the saga continues, weekend three of painting. I was so tempted to take a weekend off, my body takes all five weekdays to stop being sore and then BAM I make all the muscles hurt again. I wanted to just take it easy, but the bf decided to let me know that his friend whom he hasn't seen in a while wanted to come over and see our place for the first time next week...UM I guess that means my break will have to wait because I don't want people seeing a half painted house! So here's why doing stuff all day is hard- specifically when it comes to healthy eating. Here is how the day breaks down:

  • 9:00am wake up and have coffee, banana and protein muffin
  • Start taping and prepping
  • 11:30am I am kinda hungry already, must be all the moving around so I grab a Luna bar because it's quick and I don't time to stop
  • Start painting
  • 2:00pm I'm hungry!! but I 'm in the middle of painting and need to do something quick- ok well trying this new guacamole will be quick and at least give me some energy- now BACK TO PAINTING
  • then I finish painting the house, I must put my kitchen back together, I am moving my stove across my living room and kitchen back to its place, I'm moving my fridge back into it's place, I'm up and down ladders, sweeping, cleaning, scrubbing, I'm a crazy woman because all I want is to be DONE painting and have  my house back together and OMG now it's 8:00pm!!!
  • 8:30pm I am so so so way too hungry, I've had a total of 11 of my 34 points and usually at this time I'm about done eating for the day...So I quick throw together some tacos because heck they are easy and filling and I don't have time to think
  • 9:00pm I'm eating my tacos, sitting down for the first time in 12 hours

Do you see how doing stuff all day is hard? Well for me it is because I get so involved in my project that I don't want to stop and eat a real meal, I don't stop to cut up fruit and veggies or drink a lot of water I just kind of go. I didn't go over my points, and I did a lot of physical activity, but for sure not great to eat most of your points at 9pm at night. EEK
Here is the finished product- the left is before we moved into the house, the right is now.

Also, here is the guacamole I tried from my Trader Joe's Extravaganza, and it is AMAZING! Especially with their baked Blue Chips.

Here are my quick tacos:

I also tried this Cowboy Caviar from Trader Joe's,  it's corn, black bean and pepper salsa. REALLY GOOD, not as good as the guacamole, because hey, guacamole is awesome, but this stuff is spicy and fresh tasting.

In other weekend news, I ran Saturday morning, day 1 of  week 3 of my C25K and my puppy layed so nicely waiting for me to finish

Saturday night, the bf, got tickets to go see a comedian named Bill Burr downtown, we went with his brother and his girlfriend.

We were going to eat at a restaurant next to the theater called Rock Bottom Brewery- I knew in advance I wanted to eat something yummy so I saved up my points AND I looked at their menu, planning out three different options in case my tastes changed, I ended up getting their homemade veggie burger plain with a side of onion rings, for 24 points. It was the majority of my daily points but it was very good and worth it.

How was your weekend? 
Did you do stuff?

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Trader Joe's Extravaganza

So Friday afternoon I knew I was going to be near my Trader Joe's store, it had been a while since I had been and a few of my staples that I can only get there were out. It was definitely time to hit up TJ's and score some awesome food finds! I maybe shop there once every other month or so, maybe more depending on if I am in the area because it's not entirely convenient. Just like every time I go there, I have my few staple items on my list, and then I end up finding a MILLION things I want that I've never even seen there before, and I go crazy like a kid in a toy store and I suddenly MUST HAVE ALL THE THINGS. I stop looking at prices, I stop thinking about if I even need the item, I just must have it. Trader Joe's probably has crack air freshener or something. Oh and once I bring all my unnecessary  items home, I have this urge that I must try them all, luckily, I was able to control myself, but I really wanted to rip open every package and nibble every item. 
Anyways I thought I'd share with you my great finds that I've never seen there before.

I love guacamole, like LOVE, and I've seen guacamole hummus before, which I feel makes it a little healthier in a protein kind of way, but still high in fats (albeit good ones) and calories. Well here I found guacamole with greek yogurt! It has better stats than regular guacamole, I'm hoping it won't taste totally weird. 

Here we have chicken patties, I am a sucker for precooked and pre-portioned meat items for when the bf is traveling it makes it a lot easier for me to cook healthy for one when I don't have to deal with raw meat or large quantities. These are 5 Points Plus each. 

I have bought this before but I sometimes forget about it, this baked tofu has a really great flavor and texture, better than regular cooked tofu in my opinion and plus I stink at cooking tofu. This is nice it's portioned into two squares and I can cut it up for salads or stir fry. Each square (they are larger than they appear) is 4 Points Plus. 

 I totally got sucked into the packaging on these muffins, Protein Power, c'mon who doesn't want muffins with a weird circus guy on them?! I had to have them, banana chocolate chunk muffins for 3 Points Plus each, they are good too, not dry or flaky but moist and rich. Yum

Another meatless find for me, Beef-less strips, I have never seen these before but they look right up my alley, again for meals when the bf is not around and I am looking for some easy protein options. These are 3 Points Plus for a serving. 

This was my jewel of a salad that I was going to scarf down when I got home, I was beyond hungry (probably why I bought so much) and I was really excited for this salad. The little couscous was so light and fresh, I've never had currant before they were really yummy and the sweet basil dressing was delish. I tossed this salad in with a bunch more spinach and some romaine for a huge salad, it was 8 Points Plus for the whole thing. 

This dressing was sitting next to my beloved Champagne Pear Vinaigrette dressing in the refrigerated section, I don't know if I liked it more for its spring green color or the bright orange sticker "AT ALL TIMES" 
..."but what about when I'm bringing it home?"
 "AT ALL TIMES!!" haha (I ammuse myself)
and bonus is that it's only 1 Point Plus for 2 whole tablespoons, that is a win for dressing.

This was a sort of fail for me, I thought I was buying some kale chips...didn't read the packaging until I got home...well here's hoping seaweed isn't totally nasty. It's only 1 Point Plus so I won't be breaking the bank if I hate it.

These tricked me because they are so brightly colored and festive, I had to have them, I don't even know what they are! Popsicle?  Icee? not sure!! but I bought them anyway and they are 2 Points Plus, we shall see when I open the box what I find. I mean what does "fruit floe" even mean?!

A kid food that I wanted to have for myself, "little dried fruit snacks" too stinkin' adorable, I had to have them. They are 2 Points Plus a pouch, probably a nice little afternoon snack at work or something. 

Nothing about these sounds bad: chocolate chip, brownie, oat bar..I think so!! they are 3 Points Plus

So those were all of my finds that were NOT on my list! 
Whoopsie..guess I was a little too hungry to shop, but I think I got some good products and I'm really looking forward to trying them and seeing if they get added to my staples list from TJ's. 

Do you shop at Trader Joe's? 

What do you like to get there?

Friday, March 22, 2013

Week 2=Done

Happy Friday!!

The bf comes home from his work trip today I'm pretty excited to see him :) I think we both enjoy getting some time apart but it makes it even better when we get to see each other again and spend time together..aww how mushy

Yesterday I kicked my own butt back in gear and decided to be all Jillian Michaels on myself, I was not letting myself be weak yesterday. I wasn't totally feeling energetic after work when it was time for my run but I was like "get on that treadmill and run your heart out!" plus I was motivated because I bribed myself to workout by getting to watch last week's episode of Once Upon a Time while I did it- I'm in love with that show! I completed Day 3 of Week 2 of my C25K Program, joining in on Katie  and Kim's link up party- and it went well! My heart rate was a little bit higher than it was on Monday but maybe that's because I was a bit more tired or sluggish from eating snacks the day before, or because there were two days in between workouts? Also, it was my first run with my new shoes...I have to say they kind of hurt, I don't remember my first pair of Asics hurting when I got them but that was a long long time ago. I didn't get any blisters but my ankle sort of hurt and the bottom of my foot hurt, they just didn't feel *good*...maybe I need to get use to them? Or maybe I need to return them and try something else? I don't know enough about this! I'm nervous for Week 3 but also excited, starting it Saturday.

For lunch I took a yummy new soup I found and poured it over this yummy brown rice and quinoa mix I have, added some green pepper and voila! Insta-lunch. This lunch was 10 Weight Watchers Points Plus- a little high for what I like my lunches to be but very filling.

For dinner I knew I had to make good choices or I would fall onto the snack-binge train again. I recently got these instant sweet mashed potatoes- and I don't need the lecture on eating processed foods since I already know it, but I liked the ease and convenience of them. I also bought these spicy green beans from Target, paired with grilled chicken and I was full and totally satisfied by my dinner yay!!! No bad snacking! I also think that working out right after work helped me not to want snacks and bad food and also I was busy during my most snacky time. Dinner was 9 WW PP.


Did you make some good food choices yesterday? 
Did you do any working out? 
Can you help me understand how new running shoes should feel and if they need a "break in" period or if I have the wrong shoes for my feet?