Friday, August 31, 2012

Ego boost from an odd source

A funeral is never a fun place to be but it's one of those times where you see people that you only see at funerals (and maybe the occasional wedding).  We were nervous but the last time we saw some of them was 3 years ago, others 4 years ago at the last funeral and others still...our wedding 16 years ago.

It was an evening of double takes and non-stop compliments for us.  I think every single person who said hello to us or was introduced to us by the Mr's mom had nothing but compliments, questions on how we lost weight and it was a huge and much needed ego boost.  We hate to admit it but it feels a little vindicating to a degree to have a few people who looked down on us now walking a mile in our old wide width shoes.  I don't wish massive weight gain on anyone (okay, maybe a few people but I'm trying to be nice) but I hope people who treated us less than in the past now understand that was not okay since they were the same weight or more when comments or looks were made to us.  For once, I felt like some people were proud of us and it made us both feel a little less black sheepish.

We were gracious accepting compliments, stood tall and most of all, we finally felt confident and worthy.  I know that we are all worthy of feeling good about ourselves no matter what weight we are but I think many of you can relate that feeling bad about yourself can translate to the outside without even realizing it.  I now look at many pictures where I remembered thinking it was a good picture or that I was happy but my body language said something else.  I haven't felt that proud of us and that motivated to keep on going in a while.  Well, I'm always proud of him but I haven't felt that way about myself in too long.  It's re-stoked that fire in me to just keep pushing and to make even more jaws drop the next time we see those people.  That might sound selfish to a degree but given some family members resigned us to being fat and on the road to various health problems like they were/are.  It's good to show them that no, we have no plans of joining the family destiny.  That you don't need to be 20 years old to lose weight and hopefully inspire some of them to look within and realize they didn't have to accept the life they're living right now.  I saw far too many canes, people sitting because they couldn't take standing for long periods of time and such and I just said a prayer for them all that they finally get the wake up call we were lucky enough to get.  I mean, a funeral for someone dying younger than they should, should be a light bulb moment.

So while it was a sad occasion to gather together, I have to say I'm more excited than ever to keep going full throttle down this pathway.

Have you ever gotten an ego boost from an unconventional place?

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Victory or Fail?

Thank you so much for your support yesterday.  I can't begin to tell you how hard it was to get through the day especially when I realized the Mr was ready for a cupcake bender as well.  That doesn't bode well when you've both got frosting on the brain.  You know how men are, they want to fix you so you're not sad anymore.  He said he didn't know what to do for me and said we could go get cupcakes because he wanted them too.  (Because in his mind cupcakes=happy wife)  I told him as I was eating breakfast "look, I need you to be strong for me and not offer me any damn cupcakes to make me happy.  I'm a grown friggin' woman and I don't need a cupcake to make me feel better.  I'm just going to have to get through this."  He thanked me for giving specific instructions and suggested we go putt putting so off we went.

A different kind of water hazard.

I'm pretty sure he's judging me.

The Mr putting his blue ball.

Photographic proof of my hole in one!

It never happened again.  :-(

This place has seen better days.  I know this looks "rustic" but trust me, it's an insurance company's worst nightmare.

Heh heh. 

We went to a specialty store after and I'm going to pretend that my nutmeg didn't expire in 2003 a long time ago.  You ever do that?  Like you think you've replaced a spice within the past year or two and it's been way longer?  
I got some rosemary too since I was almost out & it was "more herbs, less salt day."  (I can't make that stuff up!)

Then came the statement.  "We're going to the cupcake place we've been wanting to try and if they have mini's we'll get one or split one."  The Mr agreed.  Now many would consider this a fail.  Here's why I know it's not.

1)  It didn't come from an emotional place or a feeling I was trying to bury under icing.  I planned my calories for the day and they were WAY low.  I mean the kind of low that can screw up your metabolism based on my range.  I'd left 300 calories to play with.

2)  This was a place we genuinely wanted to try but are never on that side of town to justify it.  I passed about 50 different sweets in that specialty store from cakes to muffins to donuts to candy and none of it looked good.  If I wanted to go batchit on sweets I had ample opportunity which is how I knew my cupcake craving was no longer about an emotional need but we had the calories available and we decided to take them.

3)  These cupcakes were under 300 calories based on size and the ones I wanted would've easily been 2 of them at about 1500 calories.

I know this probably all sounds like justification but I think people who have used food in the past know the difference between having something because you want it and have the calories available and shoveling stuff in your pie cupcake hole because you don't like how your week is going.  They didn't have mini's but she was so happy to have customers, I couldn't walk out and the size of the cupcakes were slightly smaller than homemade.  I got vanilla and he got chocolate.  I took one bite and didn't care for it so I was going to throw it away and I gave it to him and he actually liked mine but not his.  He gave me half and I actually liked his over mine.  The lady was super nice (a cute little Asian lady and her adorable son who sat quietly reading his book)  and I don't think her business is doing too well so I know she really appreciated our business.  Well that and she said so and that she hoped to see us again.  I don't know that we'd need to go back but we will give her a good online review because I would love to see her succeed.

I ended up at 1823 calories for the day (my range is 1800-2200 calories) so I'd say being at the low end of my range along with burning 1040 calories in our circuit workout is pretty darn good.  (Actually working out with a low grade migraine to boot!)

Today is the service so we're on the road.  We're going to do everything we can to be good.  I have a pork roast in the crockpot so we can have sliders and brussels sprouts when we come home so it'll make it easier to turn down a calorie laden dinner.

Have you ever given in to a craving in a controlled manner to take away it's power over you?  When/if you mini golf, what color ball are you?

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Old Demons

This has been a doozy of a week thusfar.

Our road trip got cancelled due to my concert that I've been waiting for 20 years of my life being cancelled because of extreme illness. You ever want to cry so hard but you're just at such a loss for any kind of emotion you just kind of sit there like a manatee?

Then there was a death in the family of someone we're not close to but feel like we should go pay our respects. It's basically an anxiety attack waiting to happen. So what is the first thing that pops into my head?   "All I want is what I have coming to me, all I want is my fair share" and I want it in cupcakes.  The cupcakes I was supposed to be eating today.

Ghost of cupcakes past

Yeah I know, I'm bitching about not losing weight and then I'm going to indulge in 2 cupcakes mid week? Well it was my birthday concert and this bakery is a place we don't get to all the time so yeah, we both felt entitled. Then I feel like I'm being punished for planning to eat cupcakes mid week. Then I felt like maybe if I weighed in today, I would let that decide. If I haven't lost anything and my dragon isn't going to get slain anyway then screw it, let's go to a different place just because it was already a planned wreck. But if I was losing weight then it was a sign to not get them.

I mean seriously, it sucks how quickly you can go back to that line of thinking and how obsessive it can be. I don't need a pep talk on why I shouldn't do it and such, I know that. I just seriously can't believe that 200+ lbs later that this is still a struggle. I know it always will be.  Granted, it's rare and back in the day, all it would take is a hang nail to get me to order a pizza or polish off half a box of Swiss Cake Rolls so I guess I should look at it as 3-4x per year is pretty good in comparison to 3-4x a week. Those old demons will always be there...lurking...waiting...wanting you to screw up so they can prove how right they were about how weak you are. Some days you win, some days you lose but as long as there are more in the win columns, I've gotta believe that's worth something.

Are you fighting any old demons on your adventure to a better you?

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Pumpkin Pie Push Ups

I know, there are people out there who are dreading the upcoming weekend as the unofficial end of summer.   I think most people may fall into the category of "I'm bummed summer is over but Fall is cool too.  Bring it."  Those aren't me, of course, I've been counting down the days until Fall since the beginning of June because I'm not a summer girl. Regardless of what camp you fall into, these babies will satisfy the summer you're trying to hold on to and celebrate the upcoming season of pumpkin and cinnamon everything.



The Mr is nuts over these.  He says they taste just like frozen pumpkin pie and I agree.  I get that wonderful spicy taste of Fall in the push up form we've enjoyed all summer.  Here's what you'll need to make yours.

Pumpkin Pie Push Ups
(Makes 5)

8 oz bananas, frozen and sliced
3 oz of Vitacoco coconut water
1/2 cup Libby's canned pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla paste (or extract)
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp ground ginger
2 1/2 sheets honey graham crackers
5 tbsp Cool Whip Lite

Let's get started.

In your personal sized blender, add your bananas and coconut water.


Give it a whirl.


When it is smooth, grab your pumpkin.


Add it to the banana smoothie mixture.


Add your vanilla paste.


Add all of your spices.


Give it another whirl until everything is combined.


Break your graham cracker sheets in half so you have 5 halves.


Crumble them one at a time on a paper towel.


Add a few to the bottom to mimic a "crust."


Grab your pumpkin smoothie.  Try not to just stick a straw in it and drink it straight up!


Fill your push up containers 3/4 of the way up with pumpkin goodness.


Get some of your graham cracker crumbles and use a chopstick or something similar to sink them throughout the push up.  (Click here to order push up containers if you don't have them)


Put a few on top too (making sure you leave the smallest crumbs for topping later).


Top with 1 tbsp of Cool Whip Lite.


Use the last of the wee bits of graham crackers to sprinkle on top of the cool whip.


Top it off with the lid and repeat with the rest of the containers.


Put them in the freezer to chill out.


A few hours later you will have frozen pumpkin pie deliciousness.  You can enjoy the taste of Fall and still cling on to summer.


You know you want to.


Nutritional Information (per push up):  Calories 84  Total Fat 2g  Sat Fat 1g  Sodium 33mg  Potassium 155mg  Total Carbs 17g  Fiber 2g  Sugars 8g  Protein 1g  Vitamin A 1%  Vitamin C  17%  Calcium 1%  Iron 2%

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Last weekend of August recap

It was a somewhat non-eventful weekend for us.  The Mr got stuck working for about 9 hours.  That's all I'm gonna say about that.  We tried to cram in some shopping before he had to start but it began to get rushed so it wasn't overly enjoyable.  Sigh.

Sunday we lazed around a little and then went to three open houses.  (Yes we go to open houses although we're not quite in the market for a place just yet.  We pay off in a couple of years then we'll be wide open unless a house we just can't resist pops up.  It only happened once and they refused a contingent offer.  Pfft) We didn't see anything that blew us away.  Boo.  Well no, I'm glad we didn't because it would bum me out more than excite me.  We found one that we liked but too much work to be done that we're just not up for right now.  Is it just me or shouldn't a realtor say "you might want to remove the cartoon of naked lawyers showing their junk and ta ta's?"  It was straight out of the 70's.

Then it was off to the grocery store to load up on fruits for the week.  I'm giving up on watermelon.  I usually get decent ones most of the year but the past three have been mealy and mushy.  Not good eats.  So I went with cantaloupe, grapes, pineapple and clementines.  I switched it up from Pink Ladies to Golden Delicious apples this week.  I'm a rebel I tell you.  Before you know it I'll be making homemade gravy with skim milk.  It'll be anarchy.  (That's a hint of things to come)

Can you believe college football season is upon us?  I find myself less excited about it than I used to be.  I'm very content with DVRing it and fast forwarding.  The Mr is going to chain me to the house for 3 1/2 boring hours.  Maybe I'll just go somewhere and watch it later on DVR.

We did a good strength workout last night.  Free weights and I lifted semi-heavy (15, 20 and 25).  I wore my thumb brace then iced afterward for a couple of hours so it hopefully won't yell at me today.  September will introduce a Friday workout.  They'll be more fun ones that have been relegated to the back shelf because they're not calorie scorchers like Dance Dance Revolution, Xtreme Cardio Dance, Gilad and a couple of others.  This week I will especially need it as my birthday is coming up and there will be 1 1/2 days of goodies over the course of this week.  Speaking of which, today is the birthday of a dude I had a crush on in the 6th grade.  Am I the only one who remembers birthdays of people who are no longer relevant in your life?

I told you it was boring.  What about you?

What did you do this weekend?

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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Reminding myself - Weigh In

...patience is a virtue, right?

Down 1.

I'm not going to say "only" a pound even though the work I did coupled with intense tracking would've warranted a 3 pound loss easily.  I'm not going to say I'm still up one from where I was before I gained last week's two.  Okay so maybe I just did.

The point is, it's only been a week since the implementation of the plan and since we all know it takes your body about 3 weeks to get used to a change like that (what a load of crap!  I mean come on bod, snap to it!) then I have 2 more weeks before I can officially declare it a flop and retweak for the 5000th time.  (For those new to the blog, yep, I've had medical tests done.  No thyroid issues or anything so medically I should be losing weight just fine.)

So instead of focusing on what went wrong this week, I'm going to focus on what I did right.

*  I considerably upped my water intake which is always difficult for me.

*  I was consistent on calorie cycling within my range to "keep the body guessing."

*  I didn't peek at the scale no matter how much I was tempted.

*  I created a goodly amount of new recipes this week that are going to be good additions to the rotation.

*  I wore my thumb brace every time I did strength oriented workouts.

Where I could improve.

*  Even though we planned our calories around it, we did sample a Halloween recipe I made as our snack one night and even though we didn't go over our calories, we probably should've had one less than we did.

*  My body paid the price for my overzealousness in wanting to hit it hard this week.  Just as I calorie cycle, I need to uh, exercycle?  I can't go full throttle workouts every day and do one lesser one thinking that'll give my body enough time to recover.

*  I MUST ice my thumb after every workout.  I will never heal up the sprain if I don't do this and while it's not throbbing today, one set of push ups could put me back at square one.

So there it is.

In better news, the Mr lost 2 and he slayed his number dragon. I'm going to hope with persistence, I can lose 2 next week and slay mine.

What did you do right last week that you're going to carry into next week?  Where could you improve?

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Friday, August 24, 2012

The new plan update + current crushes

It's been a long but good week.

We've really kicked butt on exercise.  I've been sore everyday in different places letting me know my intensity wasn't wasted.  I surpassed my 4200 calorie goal by 200 so far and a walk later will put me about 450 over but doing 'active recovery' exercises so I can give my muscles a rest.  I've been getting in my water like clockwork which means I've also been sleeping less since I'm up 2-4x a night.  I swear my bladder stores wee like a squirrel storing nuts for the winter.  Yet somehow I've felt bloated this week and yes, I watch my sodium like a hawk so I have no idea what's going on there.  I've done some good calorie cycling this week, hopefully keeping the body guessing.  I seem to have adjusted to cutting the peanut butter oat bars.  I do get hungry sooner but no weak spells like Monday night so yay!  I can only hope for the best on the scale tomorrow and I haven't peeked all week.  I don't even try to guess anymore.

We rented Chimpanzee last night.  I want Oscar.  SO adorable and of course I bawled at all of the appropriate moments.  I recommend it but caution those sensitive to the ugly side of nature that it has some cringe worthy parts even if they don't exactly show it.

Let's get to what I'm crushin' on.

I am absolutely pining over this multi-function stockpot from Sur La Table.  It may or may not have anything to do with me accidentally nicking my non-stick coating in my stock pot.  Mmm...teflon.  So this thing is definitely on my wish list.




Also at Sur La Table is this awesome wire vegetable basket.  They have one for fruits too.  It makes me want to buy them and skip through the farmers markets for the rest of the season.  It wouldn't look ridiculous at all.  At all.




I am sooo digging this industrial shelf dohicker from World Market (probably because I bought an industrial cart very similar from there).  I can see putting my food photography stuff in it and being a little better organized in there as I'm kind of running out of room on some stuff.  I have no idea where it would go but I'm pretty sure if I wiggle my nose, a space of that exact dimension would magically open it.  It could happen.



I cannot begin to tell you how much I am in love with Edison filament bulbs.  I think anything looks sexy with those babies plugged inside.  I would love to have this aged steel reflector filament pendant light from Restoration Hardware.  Seriously, I would love this hanging anywhere in my house right now and at under $150 that's like bargain basement prices for that store.  (Too bad my wallet doesn't quite agree)



It wouldn't quite go over the Josephine bed that I'm sure Restoration Hardware would like to donate to me because they're generous like that.  (I can dream)  It would probably take up our whole bedroom but then I would be forced to hire a butler because people who own this bed obviously have one, right?  "Jeeves, I shall take my Earl Grey tea with a sweet scone and a side of devonshire cream.  Please see that you fluff my pillows before tending to your other deeds for the day, will you?"



I could be here all day but you know, we've all got stuff to do so I'll just leave you with that right now.

The Mr unfortunately has to work from home tomorrow so we'll be home Saturday but we have a road trip coming up this week I'm looking forward to (you'll hear about it next week) so I'll just have to grin and bear it.  So I'm going to live vicariously through you guys...

What are your plans for the weekend?  Have anything you're crushing on right now?

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

The man behind the food blogger

I'm not a "full time" food blogger.  I mean I cook every single day (except Saturdays if I'm lucky) but I don't document the process of everything every single day or work on recipes once or twice a day because I think I would twitch.  But that doesn't mean I don't spend time trying to come up with new recipes not just for us but you guys too.  You all made me want to be on my game presentation wise so of course I had to get some pretty plates...



bowls...



glasses...



placemats and napkins...



frillies...



stuff I have no idea why I bought them...



I don't do my shopping on my own.  Oh no.  The Mr luckily was used to being dragged from store to store as a kid with his mom so he's got a shopping gene.  When he's on a mission, he's 50 steps ahead of me.  When I'm on a mission he patiently waits for me to check out all of Sur La Table's newest items, World Market's latest line of dishes or even cupcake liners at the grocery store.  Nowhere is safe from my eagle eye.  Everything I consider buying I hold up and say "this is pretty!" or "do you like this?"  I get a smile and nod or if we've been there too long an "mmm hmm."  (Translation- "I love you but seriously...another plate?")

There are days he comes home to a clean house.  There are days he comes home to this...



He wonders aloud how the dishwashing liquid could be low again.  (I should've bought stock in Cascade or Finish before I started this!  I feel like I keep their companies in the black.)

He looks at 30 pictures of the same thing at slightly different angles and says "I like that one."  Most of the time you use it, sometimes you don't but you don't tell him you liked a different one.

He is a proofreader because despite you reading your post twice, he's still able to spot 2 typos that your brain hazed over before you hit publish.  {I'm proofing now-  The Mr.}

He patiently waits for you to take pics of your dinners for food journal posts even though you tell him to go ahead.

He listens as you prattle on about flavor combinations, ambitious plans you have for different seasons, supports your food hoarding for future projects and then reminds you to check the expiration dates before you go on baking sprees.

He begins to see something in stores on his own and says "hey, this might look good in a picture" and you smile because you love how supportive he is and doesn't think of your blog as a perceived "hobby" like everyone else you know

But don't feel too sorry for him.  He gets to be the guinea pig for things like Chocolate Crinkle Cookies,  Pineapple Banana Bread, Tri-Color Potato Salad, Spicy Mexican Stuffed Shells, Spicy Egg Salad Sandwiches and a lot more.

There is nothing I love more than seeing "the look" on his face.  Other food bloggers know what I'm talking about.  That look of utter bliss, eyes rolling in the back of the head and can't stop talking about it from beginning to end.  Then you've also got the "it's good" in a high pitched voice which means "you might like it but please don't put this into regular rotation."

My experimentation has taken a man who hated brussels sprouts into someone who asks "one bag or two?" and says they're one of his favorite side dishes.  It's shown him that changing your lifestyle doesn't mean sacrificing flavor and mouth watering meals.  I'm grateful for that because 10 years ago, our idea of lifestyle change meant restriction and deprivation.  Every recipe I create is to please the man behind the food blogger and you guys reap the benefits.

What's your favorite homemade recipe whether it's one you make all the time or a family recipe passed down through the years?

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Tropical Butternut Squash Soup

I started seeing butternut squash popping up and I got a hankering.  Well I don't know if it can be called a hankering since I've never actually had it but I'll say I got an itch to experiment.  I see those boxed soups all the time and I even buy some of them but ya see, I have an emulsion blender that has been sitting all alone in the basement just waiting to make something delicious just for us.  Meet something delicious...


This soup is smooth as velvet, full of subtle flavors of the coming season and a few you might not expect.  It's one of those soups that gives your tummy a big hug from the inside.  Fall is just around the corner but the chilly morning temps have made me crave soup something fierce.  Here's what you'll need to make mine.

Tropical Butternut Squash Soup
(Makes 4 servings)
Click here for printable recipe

1 butternut squash
1 can Trader Joe's (or comparable) Light Coconut Milk
1 cup Trader Joe's Low Sodium Chicken Broth
1 cup crush pineapple, in juice
1 tbsp olive oil
Lemongrass (optional)
Nutmeg
Cinnamon
Ginger
Cumin
White pepper
Orange peel/zest
Salt (optional- I prefer to let people salt their own if they feel they need it)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

With a corn cob holder (or fork), poke the squash several times.


Put it in the microwave for 60 seconds.  This will make it easier to cut.


Cut squash in half.


Like so.


Remove the seeds.


Hello loverlies.


Time to season up.  Brush (or spray if you're using a Misto) 1 tbsp of olive oil on the flesh of the squash.  Then add nutmeg, cinnamon, orange peel, ginger and white pepper


Give a 13x9 baking dish a spray of cooking spray and place the squash cut side down in the pan.


Bake for 45 minutes and until nice and roasted.


Flip it over and let it cool for a few minutes.


Time to let the other folks in on the party.


In a large stock pot on medium heat, add the pineapple, coconut milk and lemongrass.  Let it cook for about 5 minutes while you get to other business...


...like scooping out the innards of the squash and add to the coconut milk.


Add your cup of chicken broth.


It won't look very appetizing at first.


But add your spices to your liking (I used all of the spices again except the orange peel) and let it have a flavor party (cook) for about 10 minutes.


Once everything has gotten all good and bubbly, it's time to whip out the stick blender (or food processor) and get to blending.


When you're done, it should look smooth, velvety and ready to get in your belly.


The Mr and I were in a soupy food coma after eating this filling tummy warmer.


It could also be used as a pasta sauce.  Toss it with gnocchi or tortellini and pair it with a nice flavorful protein!

Nutritional information (per serving):  Calories 155  Total Fat 8g  Sat Fat 4g  Mono Fat 3g  Sodium 52mg Potassium 291mg  Total Carbs 23g  Fiber 4g  Sugars 9g  Protein 1g  Vitamin A 144%  Vitamin C  38%  Calcium 4%  Iron 5%

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This recipe was also shared at Gingersnap Crafts and The Shabby Creek Cottage

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