Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Post Holiday Weigh-in

Today's post represents a fresh start on my way to a healthier body.  My ultimate goal is to lose 70-100lbs.  It seemed like a good idea to have the fresh start just after Christmas knowing full well that once the cookies are gone my weight will drop again and give a nice positive start for the weight loss.

This week's meals will be mostly leftovers from the holidays: Jumbalaya, Corned Beef and Cabbage, and Ham.  They aren't super healthy meals but they aren't terribly unhealthy either.  I will be getting back into the routine of zumba every morning and once I've got that going I will work on adding an evening workout of some sort.

So, here is to a fresh start!


Statistics:

Current Weight: 226.2



Weight Loss/Gain: N/A

Starting Weight: 226.2
Highest Point: 
226.2
Lowest Point: 226.2

Friday, December 23, 2011

Uninspired: Technique versus Style

I'm beginning to wonder if my lack of inspiration isn't coming from the dance itself but rather how I do the dance.  I've spent three years working on technique and how to make the dance comfortable both as a lead and as a follow.  This makes for a technically decent swing out but it lacks some of the style and flair of the dancers that draw my eye on the dance floor.

The dancers that I tend to watch are the one that are not just doing the steps of lindy hop but are also dancing.  These are the dancers having the most fun: their swing outs rarely look the same twice in a row and there is a true sense of interplay and communication between the dancers and the music.  My favorite partners to dance with are the leads that inspire that sense of creative play and give me the space to dance.

Obviously that gives me two options: 1) Dance more with those leads and 2) learn to recreate that feeling myself independent of who my partner is.  Clearly, option 2 is the ideal choice but that seems to be easier said than done.

Goals that I am setting for myself for the next few weeks:

  1. Dance to live music more often
  2. Only sit out one song at a time
    • Dance with everyone: Leads, Follows and Beginners
    • Resting drinking water, and listening to the music are fine but sitting out all night is not
  3. Practice solo dancing both on the dance floor and at home


Uninspired: Excuses

This January marks the third anniversary of when I started going out swing dancing socially.  I seem to have found myself in a bit of a slump.  I no longer feel inspired when I go out dancing.  I often leave the house all excited and geared up to dance every song.  Then I get to the dance and ... I sit.  I dance a few songs and then I sit and watch.  I often find myself critiquing the music selection, but when a song I enjoy comes on I only look around for a partner half-heartedly and then go on sitting and watching.

Where has my inspiration gone?

I've traded pure enthusiasm for excuses:

  • The music sucks
  • There isn't anyone I want to ask to dance
  • I'm feeling too shy to ask anyone to dance
  • I'm not feeling inspired
  • The floor is too crowded
  • The floor is too sticky
  • I love watching so-and-so dance


I sometimes wonder if I am growing burned out or tired of lindy hop, but then I realize how much I still crave swinging out.

How do I get my inspiration to dance back?  Is this something that means I should take a break and step away from Lindy Hop and dancing for awhile? Should I try another style of dance for a while?  Or should I just push through and keep swinging out?

This is probably going to end up as a series of blog posts as I examine where this lack of inspiration is coming from and how I personally deal with being an uninspired dancer.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Political Ponderings: Presidential Election 2012 (1/?)

This will probably be just one of many political rants to come as the election draws closer.  But for now, a general idea of my starting point will do.

There isn't a single candidate that is currently in the running that I would like to see in office.

Obama.  Sigh.
I've been disappointed with his inability to follow through with the positions that got him elected but mostly not actively displeased.  That said, I don't really want another four years of a President who isn't strong enough to stand up to the Legislative Bodies.

Republican Candidates. 
This is pretty much their election to lose and barring the late-entry of a sane candidate, they probably will lose.  Besides being ridiculously and viciously socially conservative, the economic policies espoused by these candidates make me cringe.

What I Want (and will probably never get)

  • Economic
    • Cut Spending dramatically, if possible combine with tax increases on the upper tax brackets and Corporations (who are NOT people)
    • Penalties for Outsourcing US Jobs and/or rewards for US job creation
    • End Tax Loopholes for Corporations
  • Social 
    • Equal Rights for Everyone
    • Increased Support for the Sciences
  • Political
    • No New Military Commitments
    • Pay attention to matters at home instead of spreading Democracy to Countries that don't want it
    • Term Limits for all Political Offices
    • Minimize Corporate Inference with Politics

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Re-Imagining

I originally started this blog as a way to track and stay accountable as I tried to lose weight and post recipes.  That was a nice idea but it didn't work out so well for me.  My blogging became erratic as I failed to get a solid start on dieting and/or a new exercise plan.  I came back every couple of months to admit to a set back and my intention to start fresh again.  This blog hasn't had the effect that I was hoping for.

Recently, I read this blog post.  Take a moment and read it.  Here's the part that stuck out to me:

I always thought that some day—when I finally stop failing—I will become smaller, and when I become smaller literally everything will get better (I've heard It Gets Better)! My life can begin! I will get the clothes that I want, the job that I want, the love that I want. It will be great!

I haven't necessarily had these feelings regarding weight loss but reading this post made me realize that I had put my life in a holding pattern.

I'm a 24-year-old college graduate.  I graduated with a degree in Biology from a small private Christian University at a time when unemployment levels were skyrocketing.  I wasn't ready to go straight to graduate school so I temporarily moved back home with my parents while I applied for jobs in my field.  Fast forward two years, I still live with my parents and now I work with them too.  I'm working part-time doing the accounting/book-keeping for the family business, which is most definitely not a job in my field.  I started applying for graduate programs last year and have become adjusted to not being able to plan past the next August/September.  This means that I've been unable to plan more than a year in advance: no traveling for dancing, no pre-planning for out of town Steampunk events, no long-term commitments, and lots of hesitation.

This Fall, I decided to change the direction that I wanted to take my graduate school education.  My previous planning has come unraveled.  This change is a good thing and will almost certainly make me happier than my original intentions but it leaves me feeling under-prepared.  My new program of choice, Genetic Counseling, has some additional requirements compared to the life of Academia I had previously desired.  Given the new requirements, I have chosen to take this year off of Graduate School applications and improve my qualifications for genetic counseling programs.  This leaves me in a novel position:  I can now plan almost two years ahead.  I can get out of this holding pattern that I put myself into and live more intentionally.

Things that will be changing:

  • A New Church Home- I'm picky so this could take some time
  • Classes!- Statistics, Counseling and maybe a language refresher or two
  • Volunteer work- hopefully something with an advocacy component
  • Job Shadowing with a Genetic Counselor
It's time for me to accept who I am and what my life is like.  If I can accept and embrace who I am then I can move forward and be happy.

With these things in mind, this blog is going to change quite a bit.  There will still be posts about weight loss and recipes because I do want to live a healthier life.  However, there will also be posts about things that are weighing on my mind.  

You can expect to see:
  • My Experiences Church Shopping
  • Various thoughts on Religion, Christianity and Spirituality
  • Updates on my Path towards Graduate School
  • Anything else weighing on my mind

Friday, October 28, 2011

Recipe: Beef Burgundy

This is another family favorite recipe!

Recipe: Beef Burgundy
from the South Beach Diet Cookbook

Makes 4 servings
Preparation Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours

Ingredients:
· 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
· 1/4 teaspoon salt
· 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
· 1 1/2 lbs round steak, cubed
· 2 tablespoons olive oil
· 1/2 pound pearl onions
· 1 pound mushrooms, quartered
· 3 clove garlic, minced
· 3 cups burgundy wine
· 4 cups beef broth
· 1/4 cup tomato paste
· 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
· 2 bay leaves

Directions:

In a zip-top plastic bag, combine the flour, salt and pepper.  Add the beef and toss to coat well.
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium-high heat,  Working in batches, add the beef and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes or until browned.  Remove to a plate and repeat with remaining beef.
Add the rest of the olive oil to the pan.  Add the onions, mushrooms, and garlic and cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes.
Add the wine, broth, tomato past, cocoa powder, bay leaves, and beef.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 2 hours. Remove and discard the bay leaves.  Serve with whole wheat pasta, if desired.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Recipe: Slow-Cooked Short Ribs


This is another family favorite!  It produces amazingly tender short ribs.


Recipe: Slow-Cooked Short Ribs


Ingredients:

2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 pounds boneless beef short ribs
1/4 cup butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups beef broth
3/4 cup red wine vinegar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup chili sauce
1/3 cup ketchup
1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder


Directions:

In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the flour, salt and pepper. Add ribs in batches and shake to coat. Transfer to a 6-qt. slow cooker. In the same skillet, combine the remaining ingredients. Cook and stir until mixture comes to a boil; pour over ribs. Cover and cook on low for 9-10 hours or until meat is tender.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Recipe: Curried Chicken with Peaches

This recipe is one of my family's favorites!  It has wonderful flavor and the chicken is always nice and tender.

Recipe: Curried Chicken with Peaches

Makes 4 servings
Preparation Time:  5 minutes

Ingredients:
· 4 Chicken Breasts
· 1/8 teaspoon each salt and pepper
· 1 can (29 ounces) sliced peaches
· ½ cup Chicken Broth
· 2 tablespoons butter, melted
· 1 tablespoon dried minced onion
· 2 teaspoons indian curry paste
· 2 cloves of garlic, minced
· ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
· 3 tablespoons cornstarch
· 3 tablespoons cold water
· ¼ cup raisins

Directions:

Place Chicken in slow cooker, sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Drain the peaches reserving ½ cup juice, set peaches aside

In a small bowl, combine the broth, butter, onion, curry, garlic, ginger, and reserved juice; pour over chicken.  Cover and cook on low 3-4 hours or until chicken juices run clear.

Remove chicken and keep warm.  In a small bowl combine cornstarch and water until smooth; stir into cooking juices.  Add raisins.  Cover and cook on high for 10-15 minutes.  Stir in peaches; heat through.  Serve over chicken.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Weekly Check In September 26

I've had better weeks and I've had worse weeks.  This week had a major routine breakdown with the temporary introduction of my sister's dog into the household mix.  I did a lot more walking and an extra night of dancing but this came at the expense of my regular exercise routine.  There was also a short little heat wave which brought the temptation of ice cream back and the sugar laden birthday cake.  All considered this isn't going to be a big set-back but it was a break in getting going on healthy eating and exercise.


On the plus side, we've got a new cookbook full of curries that are very diet friendly and have declared Friday night to be curry night!  Expect to see some nice curry recipes in the coming weeks.


Statistics:
Last Weigh-in: 217.0
Current Weight: 218.4



Weight Gain/Loss: +1.4 

Starting Weight: 207.4
Highest Point: 222.0
Lowest Point: 206.4

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Recipe: Chicken Cacciatore

Recipe: Chicken Cacciatore

Makes 6 servings
Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:
· 6 boneless chicken breast pieces
· 1 14-1/2 oz. can diced stewed tomatoes with onion and bell pepper (Del monte brand)
· 1 small can tomato sauce
· 1 large yellow onion thinly sliced
· 8 oz. fresh mushrooms thinly sliced
· 1/2 each yellow, red, and green bell peppers diced
· 1/4 cup water
· 1/4 cup white wine, optional
· 2 tbsp minced garlic
· 1 tbsp Italian blend herbs
· salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Mix everything together in crockpot. Cook 3-4 hours on high or 7-9 hours on low

Serve with cooked whole wheat linguini or other whole wheat pasta. (Optional)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Weekly Check In September 19

So, these check ins are tending to be more monthly than weekly but I'm working on that.  I'm also still working on getting into a daily exercise habit.  I've gotten into the daily habit of light strength training (crunches, free weights, etc.) before bed just fine but I'm struggling a bit with carving out time and motivation for getting up in the morning and doing cardio.  I feel better when I get that morning workout in but it's still hard to get going.

I'm doing pretty well at eating healthy but I haven't quite pared away all of the carbs for Phase One of the South Beach Diet yet.  The hardest part right now is the mid-afternoon snack.  I need that small influx of calories but I'm having trouble resisting the muffins and pastries at the neighborhood coffee shop/bakery.

Even though I'm a little up from the last official weigh in, I'm actually down a few pounds.  Camping is not a diet friendly event; lots of food of varying degrees of unhealthiness and lots of lounging.  Very relaxing but not great for the diet.  I'm feeling generally positive and looking forward to continue bringing my weight down. 



Statistics:
Last Weigh-in: 215.8
Current Weight: 217.0
Starting Weight: 207.4
Highest Point: 222.0
Lowest Point: 206.4

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Recipe: Pork and Apple Curry

I really love curries with fruit and this is one of my favorite recipes!

Recipe: Pork and Apple Curry

Makes 4 servings
Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

· 2 pounds boneless pork loin roast, cut into 1-inch cubes
· 1 medium tart apple, peeled and chopped
· 1 small onion, chopped
· 1/2 cup orange juice
· 1 tablespoon curry powder
· 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules
· 1 garlic clove, minced
· 1/2 teaspoon salt
· 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
· 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
· 2 tablespoons cornstarch
· 2 tablespoons cold water
· Hot cooked rice (Optional)
· 1/4 cup raisins

Directions:

In a 3-qt. slow cooker, combine the first 10 ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or until meat is tender. Increase heat to high. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and water until smooth; stir into slow cooker. Cover and cook for 30 minutes or until thickened, stirring once.

Serve over rice if desired. Sprinkle with raisins.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Recipe: Tomato Zucchini Casserole

This is a family favorite vegetarian dish.  The leftovers also work nicely for a side dish with a later meal!

Recipe: Tomato Zucchini Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 lb Zucchini
  • 1 lb Tomatoes
  • 1 cup Herb Stuffing Cubes
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter, melted
  • Sugar
  • 1/4 lb Mozzarella Cheese
  • 4 Slices Provolone Cheese
  • 1 Heaping Tablespoon Chopped Basil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
Directions:
Slice unpeeled zucchini very thin, lay out in a single layer, and sprinkle with salt.  Leave for about 30 minutes. Rinse and pat dry.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. 

Skin tomatoes and slice thin.  Pour melted butter over bread cubes.  Butter a soufflĂ© dish and layer 1/2 zucchini slices on bottom. Season lightly with salt and pepper.  Lay 1/2 tomatoes over zucchini.  Scatter 1/2 the basil over the tomatoes and sprinkle with sugar.  Lay provolone slices over tomatoes.  Cover with 3/4 of bread cubes and 1/2 the mozzarella cheese.  Repeat the layers, leaving out the mozzarella cheese, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Cover and bake for 40 minutes.  Cover with the rest of the mozzarella and bake covered for another 20 minutes.  Let sit for a few minutes before serving.


Monday, August 8, 2011

Weekly Check In August 8


It feels good to bring some discipline back to my exercise and eating habits.  In the mornings, I've been doing aerobic exercise in the form of Zumba videos.  If you aren't familiar, Zumba is an aerobic workout based on movements from various latin style dances (like Salsa, Samba, and Meringue) mixed with hip hop and belly dancing. At night I try to do some mild strength training with crunches and small hand-weights.  I've been less successful at being consistent with the evening routine but that gives me something to work on.

I've been doing much better at eating healthy.  I've been working on cutting out all of the sweets and desserts that tempt me and I've been working on breaking the habit of eating right before bed.  Ideally, I'll get to the point where I don't eat anything at all after dinner except on nights that I go dancing.

All in all, I've made some nice strides toward re-adapting my healthier habits and it's starting to show results!

Statistics:
Last Weigh-in: 217.0
Current Weight: 215.8
Starting Weight: 207.4
Highest Point: 218.6
Lowest Point: 206.4

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Recipe: Chicken Mole

This makes a nice thick sauce that I liked enough to save even though there wasn't any leftover chicken!

Recipe: Chicken Mole
(from The South Beach Diet Cookbook)

Ingredients:
  • 1-1/2 lbs chicken tenders
  • salt
  • ground black pepper
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 TBSP chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 2 TBSP unsweetened natural peanut butter
  • 2 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder
Directions:
Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper.  Coat a large skillet with olive oil and heat over medium high heat.  Add the chicken to the skillet and cook for 8 minutes, turning once.  Remove the chick to a large plate.

Add the onion, bell pepper and garlic to the skillet and cook for 3 minutes.  Stir in the chili powder, cinnamon and cloves and cook for 1 minute.  Add the tomatoes (with juice), peanut butter and cocoa powder and mix well.  Return the chicken to the skillet and bring to a boil.  Cover and simmer, stirring every few minutes, for 25 minutes.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Weekly Check In August 1

So, it's been about a month since my last check in.  And during that month was my sister's wedding.  Aside from the problematic foods featured at weddings and the general inactivity of driving all around the state, I've learned a few things.
  1. I eat when I'm stressed
  2. Stress makes me crave sugar and carbs
  3. Weddings are very stressful, especially when you have to clean the entire house for the visiting relatives
So having gained weight, it's time to kick it into gear with daily exercise and eating healthy


Statistics:
Last Weigh-in: 211.8
Current Weight: 217.0
Starting Weight: 207.4
Highest Point: 218.6
Lowest Point: 206.4

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Recipe: Green Chili Beef Burritos

This recipe produces a nice messy burrito filling.  I also tried it as a salad topping (Taco Salad Style) but I didn't enjoy it as much that way.

Recipe: Green Chili Beef Burritos
(adapted from Taste of Home's Slow Cooker Recipe Cards December 2010)

Ingredients:

  • 1 Beef Roast
  • 4 (4 oz) cans chopped green chilies
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • Optional: Tortillas, Chopped Tomatoes, Shredded lettuce, Shredded Cheese, Sour Cream
Safety Warning: When cutting the Jalapenos, disposable gloves are recommended.  Avoid touching your face!

Directions:
Trim the visible fat and cut the meat into large chunks.  Place in the slow cooker.  Top with chilies, onion, jalapenos, garlic, chili powder, and cumin.  Pour broth over everything.  Cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours.

Remove the beef and shred with two forks.  Mix in enough of the cooking liquid to coat the beef.  Serve as desired: on tortillas with toppings or on salad.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Recipe: Parmesan Pork

I found this recipe to be a bit sweet for the summer heat but it is still an excellent recipe that I plan to use again in the future.

Recipe: Parmesan Pork
(from Taste of Home Slow Cooker December 2010)

Ingredients:
  • 1 Boneless Pork Loin Roast
  • 2/3 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/2 Cup Honey
  • 3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Dried Basil
  • 2 Tablespoons Minced Garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
  • 2 Tablespoons Water
Directions:
Cut Roast in half and transfer into the slow cooker.  In a small bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients except the cornstarch and water.  Pour over the pork.  Cook on low for 5 1/2 to 6 hours or until the meat in tender.

Remove the meat to a serving dish.  Skim the fat.  Combine the cornstarch and water.  Mix into the sauce slowly and cook on high for 10-15 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.  Slice the roast and pour the gravy over the pork.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Recipe: Easy Sourdough Bread

I've had great success with this recipe as long as my starter is active enough to rise and I am patient enough to let the dough rise enough both times. There might be a theme there... If it doesn't rise properly the result is very thick, dense and completely inedible once cooled, I fondly refer to it as a hockey puck.

Note: This recipe makes use of an active sourdough starter!

Easy Sourdough Bread
(from Sourdough Baking, The Basics by S. John Ross)

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups Starter (before a feeding)
  • 3 cups flour (I like to use whole wheat flour)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
Directions:

To the starter, add the sugar, salt, and oil. Mix well, then knead in the flour a half-cup at a time. Knead in enough flour to make a good, flexible bread dough. (Note: The Flour amount is approximate! Trust your hands and eyes more than the recipe, always.)

Let the dough rise in a warm place, in a bowl covered loosely with a towel. (Note: Sourdough rises more slowly than yeast bread. I like to let mine rise overnight.) Let the dough double in bulk, just like yeast-bread dough. When a finger poked into the top of the dough creates a pit that doesn't "heal" (spring back), you've got a risen dough.

Punch the dough down and knead it a little more. Make a loaf and place it on a baking sheet (lightly greased or sprinkled with cornmeal) or in a loaf pan. Slit the top if you like, and cover the loaf with a paper towel and place it in a warm place to rise again, until doubled in bulk.

Place the pan with the loaf in your oven, and then turn your oven to 350o Farenheit and bake the bread for 30-45 minutes. Do not preheat the oven. The loaf is done when the crust is brown and the bottom sounds hollow when thumped with a wooden spoon. Turn the loaf out onto a cooling rack or a towel and let it cool for an hour before slicing.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Weekly Check In June 28

I've been staying pretty steady with my weight which is better than the alternative but not my goal right now. I had to take a break from biking because I pulled a muscle. I've reached my goal on the stationary bike and as soon as it stops raining, I'll start biking to work. I'm still dancing twice a week and should be starting a third and maybe a fourth time within the next couple of weeks. This weekend is the Portland Blues Festival which means there should be plenty of dancing to do, so hopefully next week's weigh in will show some weight loss.

Dinner Plan
Dinner Planning will be back next Week.

Statistics:
Last Weigh-in: 208.4
Current Weight: 211.8
Starting Weight: 207.4
Highest Point: 218.6
Lowest Point: 206.4

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Weekly Check In June 1

This post is a bit late since I was traveling and dancing this weekend. However, the sheer quantity of dancing that I did was really good for my weight loss. I could have eaten healthier this weekend though I made pretty good decisions based on the type of food that was convenient and the caloric needs of dancing almost every waking moment. The trick now is going to be switching back to normal calorie intake and returning to normal exercise patterns. I'll be taking today off to rest and recover but tomorrow I will get right back on the bike (and the dance floor).

Dinner Plan
Dinner Planning will be back next Week.

Statistics:
Last Weigh-in: 214.2
Current Weight: 208.4
Starting Weight: 207.4
Highest Point: 218.6
Lowest Point: 206.4

Monday, May 23, 2011

Weekly Check In May 23

I was correct in last week's guess that getting back to biking daily was going to be difficult. I did manage to bike a few times last week but I was tired enough and sore enough from dancing that I didn't bike as much as I would have liked. On the plus side, I was able to bike 6.25 miles in 24 minutes. That will cover the minimum distance to work and is a faster pace than I had been maintaining.

I was also dancing almost every night this week. Wednesday through Sunday were all dance nights with an added couple of hours in the afternoon on Saturday for a workshop. It wasn't enough to maintain my weight while I succumbed to the temptation of fresh baked cookies but it was still god exercise. This week I hope to work on being a disciplined eater with a focus on eating healthy foods and avoiding sugary snacks and potato products (yes, I'm talking to you, French Fries).

Dinner Plan for May 23-29

May 23 - Steak with Grilled Vegetable
May 24 - Garlic and Soy Grilled Pork Chops with Grilled Peppers
May 25 - Cheesy Vegetable Soup
May 26 - Traveling
May 27 - Traveling
May 28 - Traveling
May 29 - Traveling

Statistics:
Last Weigh-in: 212.2
Current Weight: 214.2
Starting Weight: 207.4
Highest Point: 218.6
Lowest Point: 206.4

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Recipe: Italian Pot Roast

This was a delicious recipe that was the result of adapting to ingredients that we keep in the house.

Recipe: Italian Pot Roast
(based on recipe from Taste of Home "Slow Cooker" December 2010)

Ingredients:
6 whole peppercorns
4 whole cloves
4 whole allspice
1 cinnamon stick
1 pot roast or beef chuck roast
2 celery ribs
3 cups baby carrots (roughly half a large bag)
4 cloves minced garlic
1 cup beef broth
1 jar (24oz) Spicy Basil-Tomato Sauce

Directions:
Place the peppercorns, cloves, allspice, and cinnamon (break into pieces) on a square of cheesecloth and tie closed.

Place the meat on the bottom of the slow cooker and top with celery, carrots and spice packet. Add garlic, beef broth and tomato sauce and mix gently. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours. Discard spice packet before serving.

Weekly Check In May 16

Overall, traveling didn't put me back too far in my weight loss but it did put a dent in my exercise plans. Being gone for a few days broke the momentum that I had in biking everyday and it's going to be a bear to get going again. On the plus side, swing dancing is great exercise! I just need to keep working on consistent exercise and healthier eating and things will work out just fine!

Dinner Plan for May 16-22

May 16 - Out
May 17 - Italian Pot Roast with Brussel Sprouts
May 18 - Italian Sausage
May 20 - Shishkabob
May 21 - Leftovers
May 22 - Taco Salad

Statistics:
Last Weigh-in: 210.3
Current Weight: 212.2
Starting Weight: 207.4
Highest Point: 218.6
Lowest Point: 206.4

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Recipe: Thai Curry-Peanut Sauce

My favorite Thai restaurant serves their salad with a peanut sauce dressing which makes it on my list of favorite ways to have salad. As a salad hater, that really means something. This recipe was my first attempt at making my own and I really liked it, though it might need a bit more curry paste...

Thai Curry-Peanut Sauce

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons red curry paste
1 1/4 cups creamy peanut butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon olive oil
3 (13.5 ounce) cans coconut milk

Directions:
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in the garlic, and cook until the aroma of the garlic has mellowed, about 1 minute. Add the red curry paste, and stir for 1 minute more. Whisk in the peanut butter, brown sugar, chili powder, cayenne pepper, soy sauce, olive oil, and coconut milk. Bring to a simmer, whisking occasionally, until the sauce has thickened and is smooth.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Weekly Check In May 9

This has been a good week for exercising: I've been very consistent about biking everyday and I'm up to 4.7 miles in 18 minutes. That's puts me very close to the minimum distance needed to bike to work and almost halfway to my goal distance.

Unfortunately, this has also been the week that my sweet tooth won out over my desire to be healthier. Since I still lost weight it worked out alright but I'll look forward to seeing how well I can lose weight when I have both diet and exercise under control. This week may not be the week that it happens since I'll be traveling to Seattle for dancing and it's much harder to eat healthy while traveling but I'll definitely give it my best try.

Dinner Plan for May 9-15

May 9 - Out
May 10 - Leftovers
May 11- Tomato-Zucchini Casserole
May 12 - Leftovers
May 13 - Out: Traveling
May 14 - Out: Traveling
May 15 - Traveling?

Statistics:
Last Weigh-in: 213.6
Current Weight: 210.3
Starting Weight: 207.4
Highest Point: 218.6
Lowest Point: 206.4

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Recipe: Slow Cooker Jambalaya

We like our Jambalaya nice and spicy so I've added extra andouille sausage! I also make it without shrimp for the seafood hater in the house but I think shrimp would go in very nicely. For best results, serve over rice.

Slow Cooker Jambalaya

Ingredients:
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1.5 pound andouille sausage, sliced
  • 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 pound frozen cooked shrimp without tails (Optional)

  • Directions:
  • In a slow cooker, mix the chicken, sausage, tomatoes with juice, onion, green bell pepper, celery, and broth. Season with oregano, parsley, Cajun seasoning, cayenne pepper, and thyme.

  • Cover, and cook 7 to 8 hours on Low, or 3 to 4 hours on High. Stir in the shrimp during the last 30 minutes of cook time.