Wednesday, August 20, 2014

New Recipe: Asian Peanut Chicken w/ Noodles

First time making this dish tonight and it went over incredibly well.  I occasionally get a "thanks for dinner, mom", but tonight, both my kids said they REALLY liked this!  I'm am so surprised because the flavors in this dish are not what they normally eat.

This is from "Just Tell Me What to Eat" and I was surprised by the flavor as much as the kids. It had some good spice from the red pepper (I may have added a pinch more) and the cilantro added a really unique background to the peanut butter.

Here's the recipe:

Asian Peanut Chicken with Noodles

Servings = 2 | Serving size =2 ounces pasta with 3 ounces chicken and sauce
Cooking Time = 30 Minutes
This recipe can be multiplied by 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.
This recipe makes good leftovers if reheated gently. Leftovers, chilled, work well as a pasta salad.

3 quartswater
3 Tbspsmooth peanut butter
1/4 cupfresh cilantro leaves
1/2lime (juiced)
2 tsplow-sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsplow sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1/8 tspred pepper flakes
6 ouncesboneless skinless chicken breast (sliced into strips)
1/2 cupfrozen edamame (soybeans)
4 ounceswhole wheat or gluten-free spaghetti
1 smallcarrot (shredded)
red onion (slivered; to taste)
2 Tbspdry roasted unsalted peanuts

Place peanut butter, cilantro, lime juice, soy sauce, chicken stock, and red pepper flakes in a blender or mini chopper and puree until smooth. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 200°.

Place 3 quarts water in large saucepan over high heat. When water boils, reduce heat to medium until water is simmering. Add chicken strips and cook for five minutes. Remove the chicken with tongs, leaving the water in the pot, and place the plate in the preheated oven.

Increase the heat under the water to high, and when the water returns to a boil, add the whole wheat pasta. Cook for 8-10 minutes, until pasta is almost al dente. Add edamame and cook for another 1 minute.

Remove 1/2 cup of the pasta water and reserve. Drain the pasta and edamame, then return to sauce pan. Reduce heat to medium and add peanut sauce, chicken, and shredded carrots and onions, then toss well. (Don't add onions if they are a GERD trigger for you).

If the sauce is too thick, add the reserved pasta water, one tablespoon at a time, until it reaches the desired consistency. Top with peanuts and serve.

I left out the onion because no one would eat it anyway and I left out the edamame because Walmart didn't have it.  I wasn't about to go to another store in 90+ degree heat with perishables left in the car.  No way.  The edamame would've been a first for all of us, so I guess it's good that we have the initial shock of a new meal out of the way.  Next shopping trip, I'll be keeping an eye out for this elusive ingredient.  

Today's report is good too!

Got in 30 minutes of walking AND I made it to a hundred 100-ups (See THIS post for more info on 100-ups).  I did have to take a couple second break at around 70 and 90 though.

Breakfast:  GrapeNuts w/2% milk
Snack:  Trail Mix (Pack of Second Nature Naked Medley from a coworker)
Lunch:  Leftover Skillet Tostadas from dinner 
Snack:  Cucumber w/1 TBS ranch 
Dinner:  Asian Peanut Chicken w/Noodles

Have a great rest of your week! 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Not a bad day

Today wasn't perfect, but what day is?  I had to stay late at work today so I worked out when I got up this morning.  That kind of threw off my routine and I forgot to eat breakfast.  I remembered around 9am when my stomach started growling.  I had a NutriGrain bar and pressed on til lunch, then stuck with the plan for the rest of the day.

I stepped on the scale this morning and wasn't surprised at the number.  Needless to say, I'm scouting out weightloss competitions in the hopes of finding that drive and motivation to really kick start myself back in line with my goals.  It seems when there's something on the line other than my own will power (i.e. my hard earned cash), then I tend to work a little harder.

Walked 20 minutes
Did 50 "Hundred ups" 

Breakfast:  Skipped =(
Snack:  NutriGrain Bar
Lunch:  1/2 Market Side Southwest Salad Kit (from Walmart)
Snack:  StarKist Light Tuna Make Your Own 
Dinner:  Skillet Tostadas

This wasn't too bad - chipotle ranch dressing spiced it up a bit

I didn't drink as much water as I wanted, but I sure was hitting the restroom as if I was!  Not drinking enough water is a huge downfall for me.  I know I'd feel so much better if I drank 80oz per day.  I'm usually doing great to get in 50oz.

Monday, August 18, 2014

First Day Setbacks and Successes

Since it seems I'm starting over, why not call today my "first day".  Although I've had many first days, they're always different.  One will be remembered as the first day that never happened and others have gone off without a hitch.  Well, today was great until I realized today at around 5pm that we'd be eating out tonight.  Remember I mentioned my son's birthday?  Uh, yeah, totally spaced that we'd be going out to a restaurant of his choosing.  What'd he pick?  First choice was Buffalo Wild Wings, but that's like an hour drive away, so second choice won and we went to Hooters.  I think I had about 12 wings (naked hot) and maybe a handful of fries, plus a couple glasses of sweet tea.  It was sooooo good and I felt sooooo bad (still feeling painfully full actually).

This is how I ended up where I am today.  No control.  Sure I could have planned ahead and picked some salad or something.  But what's the point of going to Hooters if you don't have wings?  And to top that off, it was "All you can eat wings Monday."  That's like saying "buffet" to me.  You've just gotta get your money's worth, right?  Well, next time, I'll draw the line at far less than a dozen - I swear.   On a positive note, I didn't have beer!!  That must've saved several hundred calories!

And here's what the more successful part of my day looked like:
Core exercise/Stretches 30 min
Walked 30 min

Breakfast:  Kashi Go Lean Crunch (Honey Almond Flax) w/ 2% milk
Snack:  Nutri-Grain Apple Cinnamon cereal bar
Lunch:  Leftover burger on wheat bun with tomato, bbq chips
Snack:  Nectarine
Dinner:  Hooters :( 
I managed to drink about 60 oz of water today as well and hopefully the 60 minutes of exercise will help offset the huge dinner.  (Wish I could've fit another "60" in there for the trifecta, but alas it is not to be.)

In other news, today I received the Grape Seed Oil I ordered from Amazon.  Anybody tried this stuff?  I have several recipes from "Just Tell Me What to Eat" that use it.  According to the book and some different web sites, grape seed oil is beneficial because:
  • Like olive oil, it contains no saturated fat and is considered a "healthy oil"
  • Has a lighter, more neutral taste than olive oil
  • Has a higher smoke point than olive oil at 485F (though some say they're the same at 325F)
  • Grapeseed oil is great for searing and cooking at higher temperatures
I'm looking forward to trying this 
Well, here's to an excellent and healthy tomorrow.  I plan to stay on track tomorrow even with the food pushers at work trying to talk me into "Taco Tuesday."  I WILL BE STRONG!!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Dreaded Menu Planning Day

Why do I always wait until Sunday to plan my menu for the week?  I just want the last day before going back to work to be relaxing, ya know?  Well, I suppose it is better than waiting until the middle of the week.  But what comes after the planning?  Ughh!  The shopping.  I dislike shopping almost as much as doing laundry.

Ok, enough of the whining, I'll just get it done.

I was all set to follow the weekly menu plans in a book I'm reading called "Just Tell Me What to Eat" by Timothy Harlan.  I sooooo want to follow all the meal plans in this book!  But unfortunately, I know I won't.  It's just too much cooking for me.  After working a 12-hour shift, I have to be honest with myself and know it just won't happen and that we'll end up eating out.  Eating out for me equals spending too much money and poor food choices.

Ah, that brings me to an interesting thing about "Just Tell Me What to Eat."  The author offers a couple other menu options in addition to cooking at home.  One is a "convenience meal" (from the grocery store's freezer section) and the other is a meal from a restaurant if you have to eat out.  Of course, he recommends cooking your own food, but stuff happens so it's nice to have options.  I'll be picking up some of the frozen meal choices for sure.  I'm also going to add a list of the restaurants/meals to my phone in case I get lazy or don't have a choice.  I'll let you know how that goes, but here are the convenience meals I'm picking up this week:

I've never tried either one, so I look forward to trying these and hearing what my kids have to say.  Speaking of my kids, I can't remember if I mentioned that my son has moved home.  After 4 years in the Navy, he is preparing to use his GI Bill and go to school starting in the fall.  He'll be living near the campus once he starts, but until then he's here with us.  He adds a whole new dynamic to the household, let me tell you!  After it just being me and my daughter for the last four years, it's taking some getting use to.

Ok soooooo, enough stalling.  On to the menu for this week:

Breakfast:  Kashi Go Lean Crunch w/Almond Milk or Grape Nuts w/fruit & 2% milk

Lunch:  Leftovers or a Salad Kit

Snacks (max of 2 per day):  Homemade Trailmix, Nuts, Cucumbers, Rice cakes, beef jerky, or fruit


Michael Angelo's Italian Natural Cuisine Chicken Alfredo with Broccoli
Lean Cuisine Lemon Pepper Fish
Asian Peanut Chicken with Noodles (recipe from "Just Tell Me What to Eat")
Skillet Tostadas (see Recipe page)
Grilled Burgers on wheat w/(baked) Sweet Potato Fries
BBQ Chicken Pizza (recipe from "Just Tell Me What to Eat")

Since this is turning out to be a bit of a book review, I'll mention a couple more things I've read in the book.  While they are by no means new concepts, I just enjoyed these reminders…

  • Keep a food and exercise journal
  • Weigh in

So yeah, not new at all, but definitely an area where I've been slacking.  I will begin posting daily (M-F) in an effort to begin anew, my actual food and exercise.  Weigh-in days will be Saturday for me.  I'm even thinking of starting a new DietBet competition in mid September, but more on that later.

Oh, almost forgot the exercise plan!!  I'm starting out light.  This week will be either walking or biking plus some core exercises as well.  My goal is to DO SOMETHING every day!!

Well, I'm off to go shopping... <sigh>

What's your plan for the week?  Make it fun!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Gotta Krawl Before I Run

So I'm starting off with a 5K.  It's called the "Turtle Krawl."  How fitting right?  Race/Krawl day is the 13th of September.

All proceeds benefit the Sea Turtle Preservation Society

My plan is to use this 5K as a milestone on the way to my first sprint triathlon.  Triathlon date is TBD - but I'm thinking January-March timeframe.  It's undecided due to the swimming portion.  I don't know if I'll start in a pool, lake or the ocean, but most likely pool or lake.  I tried swimming in the ocean the other day and it was not pretty!

Most of the training is indoors or early morning since it's so hot outside.  During the fall and winter months, I'll be heading outdoors.  There's a park very close to my house that will be perfect for biking and running.  If I can find a duathlon, I'd love to do one of those too!

Starting over really stinks.  It makes me want to just give up because what's the point if all I do is gain the weight back every year?  But I refuse to give up on my goals.  I will succeed.

Monday, July 28, 2014

MOVED to Florida!!

Sorry to be completely absent for the past few months, but once stuff started happening, it happened FAST!!

I'll recap events from the last few months as best as I can:

Mid March - rented my house with a June 1st move-in date for my new tenant

Late March (Spring Break) - got away from it all and took a vacation in Florida.  Checked out SeaWorld and then hit the beaches.  While in Florida, I also visited with some folks I spoke with daily on the phone at work, but had never met in person.  That's how I found out about the possibility of getting a new job!  

April - Applied for the job position in Florida and anxiously waited for news.  Like really anxious, like the phone didn't leave my side sort of anxious (read LOTS of overeating!).  Finally, near the end of April, I received and accepted the offer.  Gave my 2-weeks notice at work. 

May - I started packing like a crazy woman!  I bought/was given lots of boxes.  Rented a 25-ft truck from a "U-Pack We Drive" type company.  (There was no way I was driving 2000+ miles with my daughter and our 2 dogs in the cab of a moving truck!)  The trailer was dropped off on a Monday evening and picked up on a Friday morning.  There was a SNAFU on Wednesday afternoon when, during a torrential downpour, we discovered the ceiling of the truck was leaking water.  Best to find these things out early on, with the truck half-packed, instead of unpacking soggy televisions and mattresses later, right?  Anyway the company sent a guy out the next day to patch the hole and they gave me an extra day to finish packing.  That was the same day (Thursday) of my daughter's high school graduation.  Whew!  There was a lot going on!!  We packed that truck into the wee hours of the morning.  We got up early Friday morning, showered, packed a few last-minute pieces, and were finally ready to go!  Hit the road around 2pm for the 3-day, 30-hour drive to Florida.  

Long story longer, we're pretty much settled in now and are just getting into a routine.  I think I've gained every pound back in this whole 3-4 month experience unfortunately.  I'm working 12-hour shifts, so there hasn't been I haven't made a lot of time for exercise.  Basically, I come home and start getting stuff ready for the next day and then fall into bed.  I'm trying to work out some workout time while I'm at work.  But when you're a new employee, it's awkward to ask for time away if you aren't 100% trained.  So, last week, I finished all my training!!  This week… I ask about gym-during-lunch time.  Wish me luck!!

Other challenges to living here - beer and wine.  When it's sooooo hot outside, I love to enjoy an ice-cold beverage.  Not a lot, just one here and there.  But that's a lot more "here and theres" than I was doing before!!  

Nutrition of late has been quite poor.  The 12-hour shifts mean little time to cook.  So we either eat out (which basically means we "over eat"), or we do something quick at home.  My daughter has been pitching in a lot, bless her heart, but her culinary skills are limited.  I'm thinking I'll go back to the "cook for a day, eat for a month" type of menu planning.  

Lastly, I have to share the best part about living here… walking on the beach.  We've made it a tradition now to go every Saturday.  Six-weeks in a row and I absolutely love it!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

I might be getting a new job...

In FLORIDA!!!!  I've been trying to get there my entire career and now there's a chance.  But I just wanted to put up a quick post to let you all know I haven't dropped off the planet completely.

I've rented out my house and now I just gotta get that job so I can move.  Oh yeah and my daughter is graduating HS this year, so now all that stuff is coming into play.

So, what have I been up to?  Packing and painting!

What keeps me motivated, oddly enough, is how long triathlon season is in Florida.  That means if I have to miss the June Tri, I can certainly find another.  Worse case is it move to next year.  I don't want that to happen, but one way or another a triathlon I will complete!  (I say in my Yoda voice).
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