Monthly Archives: August 2010

Playing Catch-Up

I had thought briefly of dragging myself out of bed at the crack of dawn this morning to do some strength training mixed with cardio. But somehow I knew I would not be able to do it. Despite the fact that 3.6 miles isn’t that new to me, my legs are feeling somewhat sore today. I attribute that to the fact that we were on a trail where I was constantly having to work my legs muscles to keep my balance, not to mention all the hills that were present.

So I decided to sleep in a little (tough decision that it was) and save the strength training for tomorrow. Perhaps today will be one of my days off?

Since today was my early day at work (hence my desire to sleep as much as I could), I wanted something quick and easy for breakfast. I’m not usually hungry until around 8:00 or 9:00, so on Tuesdays I end up taking a breakfast with me to eat when I get to work. Today I made a cottage cheese parfait with cottage cheese, Back to Nature Sunflower Seed granola, and some fresh peaches. It was sooo yummy that I’m not even sure why I hadn’t done this before. I used to make these kinds of things a lot with canned peaches, but I had never done it with fresh peaches. As I’ve stated before, fresh peaches are so much better than canned and I will never go back.

the highlight of breakfast!

This breakfast really hit the spot. It was very filling, so much in fact that I couldn’t even finish it! The best part was that I let go of my guilt for not cleaning my plate. Hallelujah! I think the only thing this breakfast needed was a touch of cinnamon or something just to give it a bit more kick. I did love that it kept me full right up until lunchtime.

boring cottage cheese and granola

see how the peaches liven things up!

protein + fiber + lots of nutrients = very filling breakfast

Lunch was also quite tasty. I made myself a grilled cheese out of pita bread and also brought some 365 Organic Tomato Basil Soup. It was like sick food . . . only I wasn’t sick! 🙂 This is the only packaged soup that I love eating, even when I’m feeling at the top of my game. It is sooo good.

Does anyone else ever feel like licking the bowl when they are done? I totally felt like doing that. But alas, I did not even though no one was watching me. 😉

had to keep myself from licking the bowl

Snack was a delicious red apple.

For some reason, there are times when I have to literally force myself to eat the fruits and veggies that I brought with me for snack. It’s not because I don’t like them. It’s because my mind wants something else, like maybe another item in my lunch box that isn’t fruit or veggie related. I am trying to eat the “good stuff” first because otherwise I fill up on the other stuff and then I don’t have any appetite for the apples or grapes that I have with me. But even though I had to force myself to pick the apple as a choice for a snack, I still wholeheartedly enjoyed it once I started eating it. My body enjoyed it, even though it took my mind a few minutes to catch up. Sometimes I feel like my mind is always playing catch-up.

Snack #2 was my favorite: hummus with some whole wheat pita breads. Mmm . . . yummy. Excuse me if you can smell my garlic breath from the computer. 🙂

Dinner tonight was one of my favorite, go-to simple meals. It was whole wheat pasta with tomato sauce and chicken as well. The only thing that this dish needed to add some extra nutrients was maybe some broccoli so I could mix it in with the pasta or something. But typically, my husband and I take about 6-7 oz. worth of chicken (2 servings worth), season it with some paprika and red pepper and bake it in the oven for 20 minutes. In the meantime, we cook the pasta and some tomato sauce as well. I always add some extra seasonings to our tomato sauce to spice it up a bit. I usually add some oregano, garlic powder, and red pepper (can you tell we like things spicy?). Then when everything is done, we just mix it together. Corey usually put in an extra serving of sauce so that I can have leftovers. So basically this makes about 3 servings. I know what I will be having for lunch tomorrow! It is very tasty and very filling (much more filling than just noodles and sauce).

I was so hungry that I cleaned my plate AND my husband's!

Now I must relax and watch some TV. I think I will take a little time off from exercise tonight. If I work out tonight, I know that I won’t feel like doing anything tomorrow. And I have GOT to do some strength training! I never do enough of it and I want to be nice and prepared for tomorrow’s session.

Creamy Salad Dressing and Long Runs

I  could tell I overindulged on pizza last night at dinner. I still had an upset stomach when I woke up today. When that happens, you know that you have to get back on track . . . and fast.

Today was a lot better. I had a light breakfast of an egg with some whole wheat pita bread. This being my day off, I decided to make a batch of granola bars using a new recipe. I could tell as I was making them that it would be a bad recipe. There were too many sugary ingredients and then when I baked them, they were too hard to cut and they smelled overpoweringly sweet. I just threw them out immediately. I hate when that happens, but that is the price of cooking. Win some, you lose them. Not sure if I should throw out the entire recipe or just modify it a little.

I did manage to make some of my wonderful Creamy Salad Dressing. It is so tasty and is kind of a low fat alternative to Ranch Dressing. It’s great with salads or as a veggie dip. Mmm . . . tasty.

Recipe for Creamy Salad Dressing

  • 1/2 cup fat-free mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons fat-free milk
  • 4 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

In a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, milk and vinegar until combined. Whisk in the oregano, basil, sugar, salt, garlic powder and pepper. Serve with salad greens. A serving is 2 tablespoons.

The highlight of the day was definitely going to lunch with a friend that I haven’t seen since I got married about two years ago. We were able to catch up and we were laughing and joking with each other as if time had stopped. It was awesome.

I was really proud of myself during the meal. Instead of inhaling the bread basket, I had ZERO pieces of bread. And instead of splurging on a burger or pasta or something like that, I had a salad with grilled peppercorn chicken, corn, black beans, and some pico de gallo. It was so awesome. The worst thing on the salad was some tortilla strips, but I did the research on the nutrition and the entire salad (without the dressing) was 610 calories. Including the dressing, it was a little bit more but I had the dressing on the side and only had a portion of that. So I think I did very well. This time last year, I probably wouldn’t have thought of choosing healthy options at the restaurant. And I probably would have used a lunchtime “splurge” as an excuse to binge all day long. Now I am conscious of the fact that if I am having a meal that is a little higher in calories than normal, I definitely need to balance that out with lighter options the rest of the day, as well as more exercise.

Later in the afternoon, I was feeling very tired and I’m sure it was because I didn’t go to bed until after midnight. I wanted nothing more than to curl up on the couch and not exercise. But that was not going to happen.

I was supposed to do my long run yesterday of 4 miles. I know that’s not long to some, but since I usually do about 2-2.5 miles during the week, it’s definitely long to me. Since I was feeling yucky yesterday from some leftover migraine symptoms, we didn’t get to do that. Of course I was feeling some “runner’s guilt” so I wanted to do that tonight.

My Beloved Running Shoes

So when Corey got home from work, we took Callie and we were off! It is amazing how a run can rejuvenate you. Before the run, I was feeling so tired and lethargic. But the run totally energized me.

We actually went running on a different surface than normal. It was a trail rather than a paved surface. Because of the measurements, we actually ended up doing 3.6 miles instead of 4. I am always disappointed with my pace. I feel like I am so slow. And let’s face it . . . I am. I read on someone else’s blog that they consider themselves more of a “long distance jogger” rather than a “long distance runner.” That is probably a really good way to put it. I just go at my own pace and I guess speed will come later. At this point, I am just working on endurance because I still can’t run more than 5 or 6 minutes at a time without stopping to walk. But I am getting better!

And trail running is definitely another ball game. I had to go a little bit slower because the ground was uneven and I was afraid of falling (which I almost did a time or two). I’ve done 4 miles before, but I noticed that around mile 2.5 or so, I started getting super tired. I don’t know if it was because I started out too fast or because there were a LOT more hills that were tiring me out super quick. I guess I should do trail running more often because it will test my endurance even more.

I am so glad we went ahead and got our run out of the way because about half an hour after we were done, it started pouring down rain. But my major workout is done!

Callie waiting to start the walk

Dog Park and the second day of my headache . . .

I just hate it when migraines last for two days. 😦 I woke up and was still feeling yucky from yesterday. And that’s a shame because I had every intention of going on this week’s long run of 4 miles. Oh well . . . next time, I will think long and hard before giving into the temptation of eating foods with MSG. Fresh is definitely better.

Breakfast was really nothing to write home about. I had a little Back to Nature Sunflower and Pumpkin Seed granola. It was tasty, but I didn’t have any cottage cheese or eggs or anything to have with it because we were sorely needing a trip to the grocery store. I did have an apple before we went to the store because as everyone knows, going to the store hungry is the last thing I would want to do.

Lunch was pretty good. I made a grilled cheese sandwich from some pita bread I bought from the Farmer’s Market a couple weeks ago. I also had some beautiful grapes that we bought at Whole Foods today. For dessert, I had a yummy brownie from yesterday. And yes . . . I stopped at just one. 🙂

The highlight of the day though was definitely taking our dog (Callie) to the park. She really needed to run off some of her energy and she loves the park! It was cloudy when we left for the park, but the sun came out soon after.

excited about going to the park

playing fetch with her favorite toy

racing Callie - she is obviously winning!

Callie running towards Daddy

passed out after running around in the park

I got a lot more exercise than I thought I would while at the park. Apparently, Callie thought it was fun to try to race me at the park. Needless to say, she won.

I’ve done pretty well today on food, but not on exercise. But it’s all about balance. I am really looking forward to tonight. Corey and I are going to see Eat, Pray, Love at the Studio Movie Grill. It’s a great place that has an extensive dinner menu where you can order dinner and eat it while you watch your movie. Yay! I may even order some pizza (thin crust) in honor of the movie. Can’t wait.

Satisfying my Sweet Tooth the Jillian Michaels Way!

Today started out well. Corey and I woke up and decided to take Callie out on a 2 mile jog. I have to work on Saturdays and I wanted to get my workout out of the way. I should work out in the mornings more often. I am not a morning person, but morning workouts are a great way to start the day!

However, after I got home and took a shower I promptly developed a migraine. 😦 Being the trooper that I am, I went into work anyway. My husband was awesome and drove me into work so I wouldn’t have to drive. But counseling patients on a migraine is not my idea of a good time. I blame my migraine on the MSG from last night’s Chick-fil-A dinner. Hard to say that it was worth it. Yes, the chicken sandwich was sooo good. But this is why I try to stay away from MSG and preservatives. No good can come from it.

My food intake was not that great today because of the headache. I had no breakfast and when I finally did have lunch, I had an awesome salad with spinach, leftover chicken, and my homemade salad dressing. Yummy. And for dinner, my husband made me my favorite “sick” food: tomato soup. Mmmm . . . so comforting and so light on the tummy. I used to eat Campbell’s tomato soup, but I have since switched to 365 Organic Tomato Basil Soup because that doesn’t have any MSG. And . . . headaches or not, that is! There is a reason to only eat foods with simple, nonprocessed ingredients. Awesome taste and flavor.

Anyway, the most exciting thing of the evening was that I was in the mood to bake. My headache was feeling better and I wanted to bake my husband some healthy brownies. I have been dying to try a recipe I found online that come from Jillian Michaels “Master Your Metabolism” Cookbook. Seemed like a simple recipe and the brownies are only 86 calories. And I love cooking with Corey! After all, the couple who cooks together stays together, right? 😉

These are the ingredients needed for the recipe:

Mmmm . . . . chocolate batter

Finished Product

Brownie #2 - Since I already have a headache, it's okay to indulge, right? 🙂

These brownies were so freaking amazing! I have never had brownies that were this moist and tasty. I had two of them . . . okay, maybe three. I had to stop myself. Yes, chocolate is bad for migraines and I totally shouldn’t be having any chocolate. But I already had a headache, so how much more damage could I do? And I hadn’t eaten that much today and they are only 86 calories each. It’s amazing the way that my mind can rationalize things. 🙂 But seriously, we will be making these again. Best brownie recipe EVER! See the recipe below.

Fudge Brownies courtesy of Jillian Michaels (makes 16 brownies)

2/3 cup mild honey, such as clover or orange blossom

1/3 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup white whole-wheat flour (I just used organic white all-purpose flour, so that will do as well)

1/4 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 large egg, at room temperature  

3/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8-inch pan with nonstick spray and set aside.

Place the honey in a large glass measuring cup. Microwave on high power until the honey is runny and just bubbling, 45 to 60 seconds. Add the cocoa and stir with a fork until well combined. Let cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile in a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk until combined. In a large bowl, combine applesauce, oil, egg, and vanilla. Whisk together until well blended. Add the honey-cocoa mixture and whisk until smooth. Add the flour mixture to the liquid mixture and stir until no traces of flour remain. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake until the surfaces look dry around the edges of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs clinging to it, about 25 minutes. Do not overbake. Place the pan on a cooling rack and let cool completely before slicing into 16 squares. Store the brownies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Need More Greens!

If there is anything that today’s meals taught me, I need more veggies. I’m not worried about the calorie count at all, but I know that I need to work on getting more fruits and veggies in my diet. But it’s the end of the week and most of the healthy foods are gone so alas, a trip to the grocery store is called for.

The day started with my favorite (and almost daily breakfast): eggs and bacon. I typically have an egg white with two whole eggs. It allows for a more filling breakfast without having the additional calories of a third egg.

You can't have eggs without cheese!

Can't have breakfast without bacon . . .

Sometimes I think it’s too much, but since I’ve lost weight eating this way I won’t sweat it. I did add a peach to today’s breakfast to add a few more nutrients.

Today’s lunch consisted of a leftover burger from the other day. It was just as good as the other day. I would have made some bacon to go with it, but I feel guilty about having bacon for more than one meal a day. It would just be too much. I also stole some of my husband’s potato chips to go with it. It was just that kind of day. I very rarely have chips with a meal. It is amazing to me that chips do not have any MSG or preservatives. They are just made with potatoes, oil, and salt. Isn’t that awesome? Of course, that philosophy does not hold true for Doritos. Ahhh . . . Doritos. That takes me back to my childhood. I miss them sometimes.

Why is it that I always feel the need to eat even when I am not hungry? Believe it or not, this burger and chips kept me full well into the afternoon. Since I can’t bear the thought of being hungry, I am always well prepared with quick snacks at work. Even though I wasn’t hungry, I felt like I should be eating the foods that I had brought. But I refrained.

When I got home from work, there was some time before dinner and I was hungry at that point. So I got some wonderful hummus and put it on some whole wheat saltine crackers. And I just have to say that it was really tough to find hummus that did not have any lemon juice in it. But I am sooo glad I did. I forgot how much I love hummus. It is unbelievably good. Can’t wait until I can have feta cheese again. I’m dreaming of a feta, hummus, and lettuce wrap. Mmmm . . . Yum-O.

Watch out for garlic breath!

As for dinner . . . it was supposed to be pasta with chicken. That was the plan. It was on the menu for the week. However, I let my wily adorable husband talk me into getting Chick-fil-A. I know, it’s not good for me due to the MSG. But sometimes a girl just needs a chicken sandwich. A spicy chicken sandwich at that. And boy was it good. We actually just got two sandwiches and an order of fries to share. But Corey ended up letting me steal eat all the fries because he wasn’t feeling super well. Probably not the best idea because I ate a little too much.

so spicy!

It was a great dinner, maybe not the best day in terms of meals. Tomorrow will be better. 🙂

On another topic, I actually received a compliment today because a coworker noticed that I had lost some weight. That made me happy. In the past couple months, I have lost roughly 10 pounds. I always negate my accomplishments though. Maybe it’s because 10 is a really small number or maybe it’s because I don’t notice any changes myself. Or maybe it’s because I still have about 30 more pounds to reach my goal weight. Whatever the reason, I have to start celebrating my victories where I can get them.

Trying Something New

Tonight was an adventure for both myself and my husband. Corey had said last week that he wanted to try something new at least once a week. This conversation started when he informed me that he wanted our (future) kids to eat healthy. He wants them to eat fruits and veggies, he doesn’t want them to drink soda hardly ever, etc. I had to raise my eyebrows at this. Really? This coming from a man who eats chocolate pop tarts every day and says they contain 7 essential vitamins and minerals? This coming from the man who thinks mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese is an appropriate meal? (And he actually eats those things when I am not here.)

I think that when you have kids, they pretty much follow by example. And I think he has finally realized that it may be hard for me to get the kids to eat their broccoli if he refuses to eat it (regardless of the fact that I may be eating it). So he has decided to broaden his horizons, albeit kicking and screaming. 🙂

The first thing that I suggested was . . . a rutabega. I had never, ever tried one before either. Maybe I could have suggested something a little more wimpy tame for him to try. But there was a recipe for Rutabega Fries that I found on another blog that I read on a regular basis and I was dying to try it. Thanks Julie for the idea!

the star of dinner - scary looking!

We basically just cooked them like we would a potato. You peel it and chop it like fries. Then put some spices on it. We have “baked fries” that we make on a regular basis (like tonight) and we just put the same spices on it as the potato. We put some red pepper and paprika on it, tossed it with a little olive oil and cooked it for about 20 minutes or so.

Final product!

As I am never one to shy away from tasting new items, I didn’t hesitate to grab one, dip it in some ketchup like a regular fry and try it. And . . . it wasn’t horrible. The spices covered up (most) of the rutabega taste.

I should have taken a picture of Corey’s reaction. For some reason, he didn’t want to put ketchup on it because he didn’t want to “mask the flavor.” I’m not sure he realizes that it is important to do what you have to do to vegetables so that they taste good. He was immediately turned off by the smell (which I barely noticed). He said that they “smell like throw up.” Honestly, my husband can be very melodramatic. But he did take a bite and then he proceeded to spit it out. Nope, he did not like it at all.

I ate some of it, not all. I think I still have to get used to the taste. I read somewhere that a person (on average) needs to eat something at least seven times to develop a taste for it. And I firmly believe that. So I will be having that again. As for whether Corey will try it a second time . . . that’s another story.

I think the next thing he tries will be something a little easier to handle. Grapes maybe??

Nature's Candy

After dinner, Corey and I did try to go for a run. However, I became sick with what I like to call “runner’s upset stomach” and we had to turn around. We only managed to do 1.75 miles instead of the 2.5 miles that I wanted. At least I got some exercise, even if it was walking instead of running.

Mmm . . . Bacon

Still feeling so tired tonight and I’m really debating about whether to work out or not. I always feel guilty if I skip a day. It’s the obsessive, perfectionist part of my personality. I feel like I have to work out every single day. My typical week involves me working out 5-6 days a week, so I usually do pretty well. My days off usually vary, depending on my mood but I still work out when my body needs it.

Tonight I decided I was in the mood for a bacon cheeseburger. Bacon is one of my favorite foods. If I could get away with eating it every day for every meal, I would. But I don’t think I can afford that much bacon and I don’t think that would be the healthiest thing anyway. Since my headache prevention diet, I discovered a bacon that is nitrate and MSG-free. Honestly, I think it is way tastier than the other stuff.

With my burgers, I usually just throw a heaping dose of onion powder in the meat along with some red pepper to spice it up. I love spicy foods.

Then I just fry the burgers in the pan. One trick I have learned with burgers is not to press them during cooking. That just squeezes out the juicy goodness. So I just let ’em cook a few minutes per side and then they are done. I cooked two of them so that I would have one as leftovers. I love leftovers!

Of course, you can’t forget the cheese . . .

Everything's better with cheese!

Then I had to fry up some bacon . . . my favorite part. I love the smell of bacon.

I wrapped it up in lettuce like a wrap, low-carb style. With a little mayo, ketchup and mustard, it was good to go. I practically inhaled it and I had to restrain myself from eating the other burger. It was sooo good!

Now I am waiting for my husband to get home from his business trip and still debating the merits of taking today off from exercise or just resting. I am exhausted because I haven’t been sleeping well. I never seem to sleep well when Corey is away. I don’t know if it’s because I stay up too late just because he’s gone or if it’s because I just don’t like sleeping without him. Looking forward to having him home and getting back into our normal routine.