Friday, August 22, 2014

Productive Friday

I did it.  I actually got up this morning and took the dogs to the park near my house.  It was later than I planned and therefore a little hotter - about 82F at 9am.  Learned a couple lessons though.  Gotta take water for the pups - they're so used to the A/C that they immediately start panting when we walk out the door.  Gotta take water for me too, especially in this heat.  We had to stop at a convenience store and grab some water for humans and canine alike.  But we did it!  Three miles in 1 hour and 15 minutes.  That includes poop and pee stops for the pups, the water break and even geocache!  Fun was had by all.

After a short break to recoup from the heat, I grabbed a shower, made the menu for next week then grabbed the daughter for a shopping trip.  Stopped by Chic-Fil-A for lunch and probably should have had the grilled chicken instead of the original and probably should have had water instead of sweet tea, but the side salad was a good substitute for the fries, right?  Besides, I skipped breakfast this morning.  I didn't eat before the walk and completely forgot about it afterwards.  It all works out in the end, doesn't it?

This afternoon, after putting away all the groceries, I was entering my food for the day on MyFitnessPal when I noticed a recipe link for a Chicken & Black Bean Burrito Bowl.  Doesn't that just sound good?  So I clicked the link and I liked 98.9% of the ingredients.  SCORE!  It was from another blog called 24 Carrot Life.  Here it is…

Chicken & Black Bean Burrito Bowls

Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Mexican, Salad
Serves: 4 (as a main dish)
  • 8 cups lettuce
  • 2 cups shredded chicken breast
  • 1 and 1/3 cups cooked black beans
  • 1 and 1/3 cups cooked brown rice
  • 2 large tomatoes, sliced or chopped
  • 1 cup chopped jicama
  • 1/2 red onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 ripe avocado, cored and sliced
  • large handful fresh cilantro
Dressing (makes about 2/3 cup)
  • 4 tablespoons unsweetened natural almond butter
  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce (can use regular or low sodium, adjust salt accordingly)
  • 2-4 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons water to thin out
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 large clove garlic, peeled and chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Add all salad ingredients to a large salad bowl and pour dressing over right before serving. Toss to coat completely and serve immediately.
  2. Alternately, you can prepare the salads ahead of time and store in an airtight container in the fridge and toss in the dressing right before eating.

The only ingredient that I don't know is "jicama."  Apparently it's know as a yam bean or Mexican turnip.  To me, it looks like a cross between a potato and a turnip.  Anyone ever tried one?  I don't even know if I've ever seen one.  I probably could've found it in Colorado, but I'm wondering if I'll find it here.  We'll see.  I'm putting this on the menu soon.  It'll be my own little salad kit.  

I'll post the menu Monday.  It's using a lot of "go to" meals since I made it in a pinch.  Next week, I plan to prep during the week so that all I do on Friday is go to the store.  

We're heading to the beach tomorrow morning.  Oh and I'll weigh in too.  I'll fill you in Monday on how that goes.  But, the beach, what a way to get the exercise, right?  Here's a pic from last weekend.  I'm not sure why the water looks green - but there are some rocks on this particular beach, so maybe the surf is kicking up some seaweed?

The waves were breaking right on the sand!  

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Getting' it Done

Went to the gym - check!

This week is going really great.  I'm very focused and I'm looking forward to seeing this weight fall off.

A goal-oriented reward is in order.  I think my reward to myself for ultimately reaching my goal weight will be a cruise to the Bahamas.  I want to feel great about myself and all the hard work it takes to be fit.  The cruise terminal is nearby now, so it'll be an affordable prize.  

Bike 30 minutes / 5.39 miles 

Breakfast:  Honey Nut Cheerios w/fresh raspberries & 2% milk
Snack:  Homemade Trail Mix
Lunch:  Leftover Asian Peanut Chicken w/Noodles 
Snack:  Was supposed to be a nectarine, but it was bad =(
Dinner:  Michael Angelo's Fettucini Alfredo w/Chicken

As you can see above, my afternoon snack didn't work out so well.  I think the nectarine went bad.  It was hard and crunchy (as in not ripe) on the outside and all brown around the pit.  Didn't look appetizing at all and it didn't really taste great like they normally do.  So here's the thing.  Do you continue to eat something just to finish it off even though it doesn't taste good?  I vote no.  I used to finish whatever it was because it would be a waste not to, but not now.  If something doesn't meet the standard of taste or quality, then why waste calories eating it?  I'm already disappointed, so why continue?  More disappointment?  No!  I'm in control, not my stomach OR my bad habits.  In the trash with you, you crappy fruit!!  I will not be a slave to food.  Food is NOT my friend, it's food. (I'm going to make a T-Shirt with that and have the quote surrounded by sharks lol!  Sorry, bit of a Nemo fan here.)

Well, I'm done with work for the week, so I'm sleeping in tomorrow.  However, as soon as I wake up, I'm headed to the park with the pups for a nice walk.  Have a great Friday everyone!

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!

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