Monthly Archives: February 2011

Date Night

Last night I had a great date night with Corey.

He graciously allowed me to choose the restaurant and I was in the mood for something new (and light). Believe it or not, I have quite a few restaurants bookmarked in my Favorites folder to remind me about them. Does anyone else do that?

Last night we ended up at the 5 seasons brewing company. Their website stated that the chef policy was to use all natural, local, and organic ingredients. I loved that policy! I am always looking for new restaurants that use only local ingredients and they seem to be lacking.

The food did not disappoint. I started with the hummus and homemade toast points.

The hummus was delicious, as were the toast points. The only issue I had was that they only gave a few toast points for a huge portion of hummus.

Look at that waste! The waiter did offer to bring me some more toast points. However, they didn’t come until about ten or fifteen minutes after our food did. By that point, I was too busy eating my main course.

For my main course, I ordered the honey curry grilled chicken sandwich on homemade foccacia bread with sweet potato fries.

Holy vegetables! The sandwich came with roasted red pepper and arugula. I also added some goat cheese and grilled onions.

These vegetables tasted so unbelievably fresh. Usually grilled onions at restaurants are soaked in oil. But I didn’t taste anything but onion.

I also loved the fact that the sandwich was overflowing with veggies. Usually there is a lot of bread and not enough of the good stuff with restaurant sandwiches. I liked that the veggies were taking over my plate. :) Corey had a great time taking lots of pics of me eating my sandwich. Here is one of the least embarrassing ones.

I will definitely go back to this restaurant again. There were lots of other items on the menu that I wanted to try. Next time . . .

Now I am watching the Oscars with my hubby. I have seen every nominee up for Best Picture, except for the Fighter. I have to say that I absolutely loved King’s Speech and True Grit. Those are two of my favorites. The only two movies that don’t really deserve to be nominated (in my opinion) are Social Network and The Kids Are All Right. Both of those movies are pretty good, don’t get me wrong. But are they Oscar worthy? Not so much. But Toy Story 3 . . . there’s a different story. ;)

Fueling Foods

I have mentioned before that my work schedule has gotten really busy over the past few weeks. On those days where I am really busy, food choices are even more important because my foods need to fuel me for a long day.

When you are working late, it can be easy to mindlessly snack all day. Sometimes I do feel like I get even hungrier on those days. So I like to bring foods that will keep me full for a while. This is what I ate yesterday to keep me full and energized.

I started the day with a peanut butter waffle (recipe coming soon!) topped with hot apples, cinnamon, and a little maple syrup.

The apple on the waffle added some extra fiber that kept me full for several hours.

On the way to work, I picked up my new favorite drink from Starbucks, a skinny White Chocolate Mocha. I also added some cinnamon and nutmeg to it to give it a little something special.

Granted, this was decaf so I didn’t exactly get a caffeine boost. But it still gave me a surge in energy.

Breakfast kept me full for a while so I had a late lunch. I had some chili that my husband and I prepared last week (leftover chili is the best). I added some brown rice and some kidney beans for a little added bulk.

Not a pretty picture, but it was delicious! And it kept me full for a while as well.

I had an afternoon/early evening snack of a couple of hard boiled eggs.

I think that eggs get a bad rap. They are a great source of protein!

A little while later, I was feeling a little snackish again. I brought out my little homemade snack mix that I made that morning.

In the tupperware container were some Barbara’s Peanut Butter Puffins, some Trader Joe’s peanut butter filled pretzels, and some honey roasted peanuts. Can you tell that I love peanut butter? :) Because the eggs had done their job, I didn’t feel hungry enough to eat all of it. I just had the pretzels and about half of the cereal. Great munching material!

I did not get home until after 8:00 pm. I didn’t take a picture of my food, but my wonderful husband had prepared me a dinner of sweet potato fries and a lean hamburger patty. Yummy!

I will be honest and say that after dinner I was in the mood for something sweet, so I had a few of my husband’s Famous Amos vanilla sandwich cookies. They were so good!

The best thing about my busy schedule is that I stay very active at work. There are a couple of sets of stairs that I have to climb. The busier we are, the more times I have to climb the stairs. So I may not have had time for a workout, but it’s hard to feel guilty when my quads are feeling this sore! :)

What is your favorite snack or meal that keeps you full for a long period of time?

Hot, Hot, HOT

I adore my slow cooker. I also adore buffalo chicken. Corey and I saw a HUGE bottle of Frank’s hot wing sauce at Sam’s and I intend to buy it next time I run out . . . which probably won’t be too much longer.

The best thing about the slow cooker is that you really don’t need a hard and fast recipe. You can probably throw just about anything in the slow cooker and it would come out tasty.

I decided to make some shredded buffalo chicken for sandwiches. I need quick meals to eat at work and this was the perfect thing. I feel kind of guilty calling this a recipe because it only requires THREE ingredients. Aren’t those the best recipes??

The hardest part is shredding the chicken when it’s done. And that wasn’t even hard. The chicken was so tender after it was done that all I had to do was touch it with a fork and it came apart.

I’m glad that I did not add paprika to this. That may have been a bit much. All of the buffalo sauce made it quite spicy. I think the only thing I would want to change is to add an onion next time just to jazz it up a bit.

Since I am the only one who eats buffalo sauce, I will be having buffalo chicken sandwiches for the next week. I am not complaining about that.

lots of leftovers!

Shredded Buffalo Chicken (makes 5 servings)

1 pound chicken breasts
3/4 cup Frank’s buffalo sauce
2 tablespoons butter

Place chicken in slow cooker. Cover with buffalo sauce and butter. Cook on low for 7 to 8 hours. When done, shred chicken with fork. Serve!

today's lunch

Easiest recipe ever . . . even easier than my three ingredient Easy Biscuits. :)

Accountability

I haven’t blogged for a while and there are a couple of reasons. My work has been extremely busy and there are certain days where I just don’t feel like blogging after a long day of counseling people. Also, I have been a bit slack in my eating habits . . . and my exercise ones as well.

I have a feeling it has to do with the fact that I am not using the scale anymore. Last time I stopped using it (a couple of years ago), I found myself slacking off with my healthy habits because I didn’t have a number to keep me in check. So now I find myself in the same cycle, despite my best efforts to the contrary. I still eat fruits and veggies when I can, but I have found myself splurging more and more in terms of eating out.

Over the past few days I have considered giving up the blog for good. I told myself it was because it took up too much of my time. But honestly, it was because I didn’t want to blog about what I have eaten over the past couple of weeks, nor did I want to confess that this week is the first time in about two  weeks that I have done consistent exercise. These past few weeks have taught me that my issues with food and weight will always be a constant struggle for me.

I have come up with an idea that will give me some accountability in the weight department. I can’t take credit for this idea though. I got the idea from Tina’s blog. She is kind of a role model. I love how self-confident she is and how far she has come in terms of her disordered ideas surrounding food. I admire her a lot.

So I will start weighing myself this weekend. However, the catch is that I will not look at the numbers at all. I will have my husband look at the scale. Every week, he can tell me whether I have lost, gained, or maintained. I think this is a great compromise. This way, I do not obsess about the actual numbers and hopefully, I will start to like my body regardless of what the numbers are. But this method will still allow me to ensure that the scale is actually going in the right direction.

I am trying to tell myself that a couple of weeks without consistent exercise and a couple of dinners out does not mean I have gained weight . . . at least not the ten pounds I have been envisioning. I have still eaten somewhat healthy most of the time. I just have a tremendous amount of guilt when it comes to food and exercise. Above all else (even weight), this is what I would like to work on the most. I know that if I don’t develop a better relationship with food, then my weight loss will most likely not be permanent. Not to mention the fact that I will still be unhappy with myself even when I reach my “happy weight.”

I am glad that I decided not to quit this blog. The blogging community has provided me with a lot of support lately and I would hate to give that up. Also, I think the fact that I post most of what I eat helps me be a healthier person. There have been lots of times where I intentionally added extra veggies to my meals because I knew I would be posting them online later. This blog is an added way to hold me accountable. I just have to realize that no one is judging me if I have an occasional hamburger and fries. I have realized that no one can possibly judge me harsher than I judge myself.

I appreciate all of the readers who follow my blog and I appreciate you sticking with me through the ramblings of this post. I plan on doing a little baking and/or cooking later this week and I can’t wait to share the results with you. I realize that I have so many cookbooks and I barely use any of them. I just like looking at all of the pictures of the food. :)

So how do you hold yourself accountable? Do you feel any guilt regarding food . . . or even posting pictures of food that may not be considered all that healthy?

Trader Joe’s convert

I should never be allowed to enter Trader Joe’s on my own. Today I went there because I needed one thing; I came out with eight. :)

I said once that I wasn’t sure what the appeal was to Trader Joe’s. I think I finally get it. I could browse that store for hours. I originally went there because I needed tuna fish. Believe it or not, the tuna fish at Trader Joe’s is more natural than any other store, even Whole Foods. If I eat regular canned tuna, there are often certain fillers that can make me sick. Trader Joe’s canned tuna doesn’t have that.

But when I arrived at the store, that kind of flew out the window. There are so many cool things there! Did you know they have peanut butter cream cheese?? How crazy is that? I will be trying that.

Check out that haul!

So I ended up buying a roasted seaweed snack (total impulse buy), strawberry cream cheese, pomegranate seeds, hummus with horseradish (yummy!), peanut butter filled pretzels, some hot and sweet mustard, and a container of Fage 2% yogurt with honey. If you look in the back, under the mustard, you will see the tuna . .  . the only thing I actually went there to buy. ;)

I cracked open the bag of peanut butter filled pretzels on the way home. They were delicious! I was torn between the hummus with horseradish and the guacamole hummus. The horseradish thing kind of got to me. Has anyone tried the guacamole hummus? I think I will try that one next time . . . along with the peanut butter cream cheese.

I have no idea why I picked up the roasted seaweed. Maybe it was because it was just 99 cents. Maybe I just wanted to try something new. I cracked open the roasted seaweed this evening.

Fail.

The taste wasn’t too bad at first. But then there was an aftertaste. Yech, not good.

At least I tried something new, right? Does that count as one of my new veggies that I wanted to try? Guess that might be kind of stretch. ;)

What is your favorite Trader Joe’s item? I am always looking for new ideas.

Sugar Overload

Hope everyone had a nice Valentine’s Day. :) Mine was pretty great. Corey and I wanted to keep things kind of low-key because of our budget. But who says you can’t have a great day even though you don’t spend a lot of money?

The day started with a trip to Starbucks. I completely forgot that I still had money left on my Starbucks gift card from Christmas! I purchased my new favorite drink: a skinny latte with a shot of white chocolate mocha syrup.

I also bought a piece of their pumpkin bread.

It was a delicious way to start the day. For lunch, I had some leftover buffalo chicken pizza. Corey and I ordered pizza from Mellow Mushroom last night.

I had never tried this pizza place before. This is my new favorite kind of pizza. The crust was so buttery and garlicky. The pizza came with Mozzarella cheese, buffalo chicken, buffalo sauce, applewood smoked bacon, caramelized onions, and a little ranch dressing. It was really tasty. Salty, but delicious. It is official: I will eat buffalo sauce on anything.

I worked today and work went by fast. Before I knew it, it was the end of the day. I picked up a tired Callie from doggy daycare and when I arrived home from work, Corey had these post-its all over the house.

Seriously, they were everywhere. He put them all over the television, the mantle, the bathroom . . . he even put one on the toilet. :)

The rest of his gifts to me were food related. He is such a food pusher. He bought me a couple of organic dark chocolate bars from a chocolate shop in Atlanta.

I love these things! He got me a couple of small bars because too much chocolate = a headache. But how could he pass up getting me some kind of chocolate on Valentine’s Day? I ate a couple of small pieces to make sure I wouldn’t get sick.

He also bought me some macaroons from this little French pastry shop near our house.

Every time I have a macaroon, it takes me back to our honeymoon in Paris.

me and Corey in Paris!

These macaroons were so good! He also bought me some white chocolate covered strawberries from the same shop.

Maybe it was because the strawberry was covered in sugar, but it was the best strawberry I have tasted in a long time!

I’m not really any better than Corey. I also am a food pusher. I bought Corey some workout pants and I also bought him Reese’s peanut butter cups in the shape of a heart and a huge box of Milky Ways.

Corey will always eat like a twelve year old boy and there are very few things that I can do to change it. And I don’t try. Corey does eat healthy enough because we do cook fairly healthy on a regular basis. But if he wants a candy bar, who am I to stop him? :)

I desperately needed something fairly healthy to balance out the sugar. Because we were keeping things fairly simple budget-wise, we went to Jason’s Deli for dinner. I have become addicted to this place. I ordered tomato basil soup (duh) and a roast beef on whole grain with organic greens and Italian peppers.

The soup was delicious (as usual). I ate the soup and I saved my sandwich for later. The sugar had left me with not much appetite, but at least I got some veggies in.

Mmm . . . so good I want to lick the bowl!

I did have a couple of the potato chips that came with the sandwich.

As if Corey hadn’t had enough sugar, he had some free soft serve.

This was probably the first time ever that I turned down the free soft serve at Jason’s Deli. I was on sugar overload and I knew that Corey had given me another gift: ingredients to make homemade cupcakes! On the way home, we stopped at Red Box to get a movie to watch as well . .  . a love story in honor of Valentine’s Day. :) The best part was that I had a coupon code for a free rental that was good only for Valentine’s Day.

Corey had gotten a couple of recipes for homemade vanilla cupcakes and homemade caramel frosting. Since I can’t have a lot of chocolate, these cupcakes were perfect because we could both eat them. And it doesn’t hurt that Corey is obsessed with caramel cake. The recipe that we used for the cupcakes can be found here and the recipe for the frosting can be found here.

I have to say that the baking was way more fun than the eating.

Yes, we are using a Christmas themed spatula. That's just how we roll.

Corey and I had great fun baking together and laughing. It was a great way to spend the day. It was nice to spend some quality time together. Of course Corey was laughing because I was so busy taking pictures of everything that I didn’t help with the baking that much. He called me the paparazzi. :) At one point, he actually told me to take a picture of the butter because it was sexy. He is such a goof ball.

Check out that sugar!

The cupcakes were really rich, but good. The frosting was so incredibly decadent. I could actually only eat three quarters of the cupcake.

It also took both of us about half an hour to form these cupcakes in the shape of a heart. We had lots of fun doing that.

Of course we could not leave Callie out. I got the feeling that she was sad because no one was showing her enough love today . . . as if we don’t spoil her all the time anyway. ;) We bought her a little duck and some rawhide that had little hearts on them. They were a big hit!

Corey and I ended the day by watching Going the Distance. It stars Drew Barrymore and it is about a couple in a long distance relationship. It was really funny and a pretty good movie.

Corey and I had a pretty great day. I hope all of you had a great day as well.

Virtual Age

The past few days have been brutal. We are so incredibly busy at work. The patient load has increased dramatically. I have worked a couple of ten-hour days and on Friday, I worked for twelve hours. I also have to walk up and down the stairs a LOT on my job. It’s great activity-wise, but my quads are so sore right now. I guess that’s a good thing because I haven’t had time (or the energy) to workout. When you work from 8:30 in the morning until 9:00 at night, the last thing you feel like doing is exercising.

I worked all day yesterday and I have to be at work bright and early tomorrow. Since today is my day off, I have literally been doing nothing all day. I feel physically and mentally exhausted. Since I haven’t been taking a lot of pictures of my food lately (or cooking a lot, for that matter), I will leave you guys with a fun link that I found. Answer some questions and it calculates your virtual age. The results are based on age, sex, and a lot of lifestyle factors. I’m not sure how scientific it is, but it only takes a few minutes and it’s fun!

My real age is 30 (I will be 31 in May). My virtual age is 19.6. Woo-hoo! And apparently, the normal life expectancy is 74 and my life expectancy is 84.4. Take the test here. What is your virtual age?