3 More Bite the Dust

This is a long one, because it’s been a while.  You don’t have to read it.  I’ve come to realize that these are mostly just for me… but if you do want to read, I hope you enjoy.


Today, according to the scale, I said, “Bye Felicia,” to 3 more pounds.  Hooray!  So I guess there’s some merit to the readings, but I’m still skeptical.  Here’s why…

Aside from the readings on the scale, I feel like I’m really, really sucking at this diet. Numbers don’t lie, so maybe I’m being a bit hard on myself, but I KNOW I can do better. The thing is that I’m in a bit of a bad place now, because it’s been two weeks of mediocre dieting, and right now there are results.  So, while my shoulder angel is warning me that if I continue to be so liberal in my dieting, I’m going to plateau and maybe even gain some back, my shoulder devil is saying, “Don’t worry!  Last week  you had a whole bottle of wine and a few slices of cake, and you still lost three pounds!” And I’m likely to want to believe her.  After all, she’s significantly thinner than I am and is sporting this cute little bob that I’ve always wanted but never had the guts to get.  Meanwhile, my shoulder angel is plump like me, with “mom hair”, and I kinda want to tell her, “Shut up, bitch” sometimes.

She means well though.  I should listen to her more often.  She’s the better friend.

Anyway, enough of my delusions.  Here’s a recollection of the things that have been through my system since the last time I posted..

Thursday, I worked late.  I texted my husband to say I would be home late, and I really didn’t feel like cooking the chicken-stuffed peppers on the menu for this week.  He said that was fine, and that what he really wanted was a pizza.  Was I ok with that?

Pizza… it’s my weakness.  The perfect invention of bread, tomato, and cheese… plus, yummy veggies and meats to make it even better.  I started to say no, I’d rather not, but then I reminded myself that this “diet” is all about sustainability.  And if I had to live for a sustainable period of time without so much as a slice of pizza, I would surely not make it.  I would just have to learn to control myself and limit my slices.

I got home and made a salad for when the pizza man arrived, and then we waited, and waited, and waited.  When our pizza guy finally buzzed our gate, I took my salad out of the fridge, and then we proceeded to wait another 10 minutes while he got lost in our apartment complex.  By this time it was almost 9 p.m., and, being the good girl I was that day, I hadn’t eaten much.  I was soo hungry!

I served myself a slice and sat down with my salad.  This was a record.  I’d never just eaten one slice during pizza delivery night!  I took this picture…

IMG_2945

(Side note:  Jonathan and I are packing, and we came across a bottle of sparkly pink wine that I was just positive had gone flat. Of course, it hadn’t, so since I opened it, I decided to have a glass with dinner.  Again, all about sustainability.  I’ve since drunk the whole bottle.)

I was so proud at the end of dinner and went to make a congratulatory post to myself… and then I realized I was still hungry.  And the pizza box was still open.

So I learned something about myself: I have no willpower when it comes to pizza.  I split a slice in half, and after devouring it, I ate the other half.  And then I ate an orange.  Needless to say, I didn’t post that post.

Friday, I had a lunch date with a friend.  We went to Tropical Smoothie Cafe, where I got a Thai salad and the least-caloric smoothie with Splenda.  The smoothie was about 400 calories and the salad under 350.  And then for dinner I had 1/3 can of red beans and rice.  Nothing to brag about, but I also didn’t do that bad… yet.

Friday night I also baked an angel food cake.  This is the part of me that has absolutely no discretion for what I should and should not do.  I wanted something sweet, and angel food cake was the least “sinful” of the options in my kitchen. Actually, that wasn’t even true.  I had a full drawer full of apples and oranges in my refrigerator.  These are just the things I tell myself sometimes to make it seem better.  Looking back, I realize how much I actually lie to myself.  It’s about as unhealthy as my eating habits sometimes.

Anyway, once the cake was done, I did at least practice some self-restraint by only eating a small slice.  And some strawberries.

Saturday,  I tried to get back on track.  For dinner, I made my chicken burrito-stuffed peppers.  I forgot to take a picture, but imagine a chicken burrito, but stuffed in a green bell pepper instead of a tortilla. I’ll definitely be making it again, so stay tuned… unless you’re dying to know, and then let me know in the comments section.

Then more cake, strawberries, and bubbly pink wine.

Sunday, I grilled hamburgers.  We’re trying to clean out the freezer and had a few burgers we wanted to finish up.  I’ve eaten worse…

Then again, more cake and bubbly wine.  There may have been strawberries.

Monday, I realized that enough was enough, and that I needed to start focusing on the diet again.  For dinner, I made angel hair pasta with an onion pepper tomato sauce.  It’s one of Jonathan’s favorite meals from his childhood, and I find it amazing as well… so much flavor in each bite! I’ve posted a picture before, with zoodles instead of angel hair, which would be great if you were doing paleo.

Here’s the recipe for the sauce:

Onion Pepper Tomato Sauce

Servings: 3
WW Points: 6

Ingredients:

1 onion, thinly slicedIMG_2953
1 1/2 cup red, yellow, orange, or green sweet peppers, thinly sliced
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp oil (I use olive oil)
1 can diced tomatoes (although if you used 2, you could probably get about 2-3 more servings out of this recipe)
1 bunch of basil (coarsely chopped)

Directions:

Heat butter and oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet.  When melted, add onions and peppers, and cook until peppers are tender.  Add tomatoes and basil. Stir, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Serve over angel hair pasta (+5 points per cup) or vegetable noodles (+0 points).

11 points for this dinner.  Plus some more, because let’s face it, that’s probably more than 1 cup of angel hair.  Going forward, I’m going to use just one tbsp of butter, because when you use a non-stick pan, you really don’t need that much.

Before I go, I have a treat for you!  Another recipe from tonight’s dinner!  Because tomorrow I have a work dinner, and because I’m already a day behind on recipes, here‘s what we had tonight.  OMG.  It was amazing…

IMG_2955

I followed this recipe precisely… well, kinda.  I used all the same ingredients.  But I only used 2/3 of the amount of onion, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, milk, bread crumbs, ketchup, mustard, and brown sugar.  I thought I only had 1 lb of beef, instead of the 1 1/2 lb of beef the recipe prescribed.  After forming the meatloaves into 6 generous servings, I looked again and noticed it was, in fact, 1.47 lbs of beef.  Oops.

Nevertheless, this still came out delicious!  So, I cut out some calories in the process.  I recommend a little salt and pepper sprinkled on right before cooking, and they only needed 1 hour in the oven for me.  Other than that,  truly scrumptious!  9 WW points.

So that’s all for now.  I’m going to do better, but for now I’m going to revel in the fact that I’m almost back down to where I was when I left off a few months ago.  And that, truly, is a victory.

To Join or Not to Join…

At work today, I got a notification that our Benefits department is offering discounted membership at LA Fitness.  This comes one day after I thought to myself, “Maybe I should go back to the gym again.”

Unfortunately, I’ve had LA Fitness membership before.  In fact, I had it an entire year at one point and didn’t use it once.  They don’t let you cancel online… you either have to go in person or send in a letter, which reminded me a lot of a certain Friends episode:  “I want to quit the gym!” Finally I did send in that “Dear John” letter, after about $360 of unspent gym fees.

The truth is, at the end of the day, whether it’s 5 or 6 p.m., I am ready to go home.  Not pass go and collect $200.  Not go to the gym and spend 1/2 hour on a treadmill or elliptical.

On the other hand, i’m about to move out into the suburbs and modify my work schedule to where I should be getting off quite a bit earlier.  And there’s a gym one exit north of ours.  So… we’ll see.  Jury is still out, but I have all week to think about it.

In other news, today was another good diet day.  I brought some of the yummy chicken bruschetta for lunch today and had it with a side of roasted carrots.  OMG roasted carrots are like candy.  I cannot get enough!

Dinner tonight was also awesome… in a way.  I made beef and broccoli, which I’ve actually never made before but always wanted to.  I used a Pinterest recipe, but there were a few things I wish I had done differently.  For one thing, the recipe seemed to suggest that you could marinate the beef in a mixture of soy sauce, sugar, baking soda, and corn starch for an hour and you’d magically have very tender meat.  Either I did it wrong (doubtful) or bought a very tough cut of meat (more probable), but either way it was way chewy.  The sauce, though.  OMG. I must admit I licked the bowl.  Amazing.  Next time, I’ll make it in a crock pot or let the meat tenderize a lot longer.

Anyway, here’s the recipe, modified a-la Jen:

Beef and Broccoli

Servings: 4
WW Points: 6

Ingredients

1 lb beef (I used chuck steak, but you could also use flank steak, sirloin, etc.)
1/2 tsp baking sodaIMG_2943
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp corn starch
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp water
2 tbsp brown sugar
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp flour
2 bags frozen broccoli (in the steamer bag)– approx 4 cups
oil
Cooked white rice

Directions

Cut beef in thin slices, against the grain.  Place in medium bowl.  Whisk together the next 4 ingredients, plus the 1 tbsp soy sauce, and pour over beef to coat.

Refrigerate for at least an hour (although I recommend more than 1 hour!).

Once ready to cook, mix together soy sauce, water, brown sugar, garlic and flour.  Heat oil over medium-high heat and stir-fry beef with 1/2 the sauce in a wok or skillet, until no longer pink.

Meanwhile, steam broccoli in the microwave, according to the bag’s instructions.

Add broccoli and the rest of the sauce to the skillet and cook for 1 minute, stirring to prevent burning.

Serve over rice!

A Grain of Salt

Mr. Scale said I was two pounds lighter this morning than I was a week ago.  Speaking as someone whose weight fluctuates several pounds throughout the day, I’ll take this win with a grain of salt. (Ha! If this blog had an official name it would totally be ‘A Grain of Salt.’ I’ll look into that…) Next week I should have some better evidence as to whether the diet is working, but at the end of the day, a minus on the scale is always better than a plus!

I ended up taking the leftover chicken alfredo for lunch today and when I went to track it was pleased to learn that it was only 10 points. Not nearly as bad as I thought!

Dinner tonight, though, was pretty awesome! I made bruschetta chicken. Back when I did Whole 30, I made it without the cheese, but one slice of mozzarella is only 2 points, so I added it.  Try this! You’ll love it! It’s so simple and yet so amazing! It made a gravy to die for. I literally wanted to lick the pan!

Bruschetta Chicken  IMG_2939

Servings: 6
WW Points: 7

Ingredients

6 split chicken breasts
1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp reserved
Cajun seasoning
Salt
Italian seasoning
Pepper
4-6 Slices Mozzarella
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 handful of basil, chopped

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sprinkle chicken with salt, pepper, Cajun seasoning, and Italian seasoning.  Heat olive oil (minus one tsp) in a large skillet over medium high heat, and when hot, cook chicken 2-3 minutes per side, until golden brown.  Flip chicken and cook for another 2 minutes.  Transfer to a 9×13 inch baking pan, sprayed with non-stick spray.

Bake chicken for 10 minutes, until juices run clear.  Then top with cheese (you may have to split the slices among the chicken) and set oven to broil.  Broil for 5 minutes, until cheese in bubbly and beginning to brown.

While chicken is baking, combine tomatoes, basil, salt, pepper, and 1 tsp olive oil.  After broiling, top chicken with tomato mix and serve.

Bon appetit!

 

Exhaustion and Dismay

Guys, this is hard. Part of me wonders how on Earth I was able to do a full Whole 30 in the first place. I have a hard enough time putting together a low-carb, low-calorie menu for a week at a time.  I’ve looked at so many recipes, and there’s either no variety (i.e., all stir fry and Mexican food) or it’s stuff either Jonathan or I don’t like. After adding 4 meals to this week’s, I pretty much gave up.

So it’s been rough. I’m too exhausted with work and the move to put serious effort into meal planning and cooking every day. Yesterday we were so busy I just bought a bag of skillet chicken alfredo.  I focused on portion control, so it ended up not being too many calories, but pasta isn’t the way to go on a weight loss plan.

image

I have my first weigh-in tomorrow, but I’m not optimistic.

Tonight, I did make one of my very favorite paleo dinners, a stir fry with sausage, shrimp, and squash (yellow and zucchini). It’s so incredibly tasty  I make it every other week.image

This was Jonathan’s bowl, although I did have about 1/4 cup of rice in mine as well.

Since I didn’t modify this recipe at all, here it is. Make it. Eat it. You’re welcome.

Zucchini

 

Day 1 went great, as most first days go.  I’m excited- it’s new, and my goals are still resounding in my head.  I was also prepared to do well!  I brought some amazing zucchini lasagna to work for lunch.  The recipe is below, but first, here’s the story:

One of the best things to come from my Whole 30 was the replacement of pasta with zucchini.  OMG.  We didn’t know what we were missing, because from the very first zoodle, we loved it!  In fact, when I make pasta dishes nowadays, I rarely use pasta.  We prefer zucchini!

Anyway…

As I was planning my meals for this week, I thought about how much I have been wanting my grandmother’s lasagna, but since I wanted a low-carb alternative, I thought zucchini lasagna would be the perfect fix!

Whenever I try a new recipe, I always search Pinterest for some recipe to use as guidance, and then alter it the way I want it. Every zucchini lasagna recipe I could find said to use a mandolin, and thanks to one of my good friends, we’d recently acquired one as a wedding gift.  I was stoked!  I bought all the ingredients, got home, and eagerly awaited the time when I could use my new kitchen toy!

Only… as luck would have it, I soon discovered my trusty mandolin had been packed away. In one of about 20 boxes we’ve packed.  Far, far, away.  Sigh.

If you Google “How to cut zucchini lasagna without a mandolin,” the most popular method seems to be with a vegetable peeler.  No problemo, we have several!  So, I washed my zucchini, cut off the ends, and prepared to slice my zucchini.

Now… I have been cooking for a very long time.  From a very young age, my mother and grandmothers taught me the basics of cooking, and as I grew, I eventually learned some of the finer points of culinary technique.  Still, I am who I am, and who I am is sometimes a very, very clumsy, accident-prone girl.

So, lo and behold, on my very first slice, my peeler slipped, and instead of cutting a slice of zucchini, I cut a slice of my pointer finger.  OUCH!!!  I rushed to the bathroom to wrap my wound, where my heroic husband helped me bandage my gushing finger.  And then, feeling defeated, I returned to the kitchen to face my zucchini.

What to do?  I’d already started the filling, so it was too late to change the menu.  So I stood there, staring at my zucchini, knife in hand, pondering what on Earth my next move would be.

And this is where my husband saved the day.  He saw me, focusing my vision from knife to zucchini and back again, hovered over my cutting board.  And without hesitation, he picked up the zucchini, took a knife, and started making meticulous slices of zucchini, one sliver at a time.

There are some times when I think he just doesn’t understand how much the little things he does affect me.  Usually they make me giggle, or annoyed, but in this instance, I was overwhelmed with gratitude!  And because I couldn’t contribute much to the process, I returned to the rest of the lasagna.

And we made dinner as a team.  Like out of some movie.  Awww…

And dinner was amazing!

The one thing I had to learn early on, though, is that zucchini may be a replacement for pasta, but it’s never going to be pasta.  Never.  It kinda can be made into the same consistency, but not really.  And it doesn’t taste like pasta, it tastes like a vegetable.  The first time I made zoodles with spaghetti sauce, I was sadly disappointed when I couldn’t get my zucchini soft and springy like a spaghetti noodle.  But that’s not the zucchini way.  Zoodles can either be crisp and firm, or soft and a bit mushy.  Nothing else.

So, admittedly, although I went through all the motions of layering like lasagna, the end result was less like a stack of layers and more of a spoon of casserole. But still lovely!  I have a lot of leftovers, but I’m looking forward to eating each and every one of them!

And so without further ado, here’s the recipe:

Zucchini Lasgana

Servings: 8
Points: 9

Ingredients:

3 medium zucchini
1 lb lean ground beef
1 jar red pasta sauce (we use Newman’s Own Sockarooni for some extra veggies)
1/2 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 bunches basil, chopped
Seasoning as you like it (salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, Cajun seasoning)
3/4 cup mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup cheddar cheese

Directions:

Brown ground beef in a skillet over medium high heat.  Line paper towel in a colander and drain beef for 2 minutes.

While the beef is draining, reduce heat to medium, add garlic to the skillet and saute until fragrant.  Add onion and cook 1 minute until soft.  Add beef back to skillet and stir.

Add pasta sauce and seasoning.  Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.

While the sauce is simmering, USE A MANDOLIN to cut zucchini into 1/8 inch slices. Lightly salt slices and place in colander to drain.

After 30 minutes, add chopped basil to the sauce, and stir.  Cook an additional 5 minutes uncovered.

Spray a 9×13 inch casserole dish with nonstick spray.  Put a very thin layer of pasta sauce on the bottom, and then add 1/3 of the zucchini noodles in a single layer.  Add 1/3 of the remaining sauce, and then 1/3 of each type of cheese.  Repeat twice, until there are 3 layers of each, ending with the cheese layer.

Cover the casserole, and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.  Then, remove the cover and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes, until cheese is golden and bubbly.

Cut into 8 slices, and serve.

Yum!

Prepping for a Lifestyle Change

Here we are again, at the embarking of a new life journey.  These actually come into fruition about half the time, but this time make no doubt about it– I will be committing.  I have you guys behind me.

I’ve found there are a few absolute necessities when it comes to eating right.  They include things like “don’t go to the grocery store hungry,” and “you need a great support system.” Yes.  Both key.  And I’ll get to those.  But for me, the #1 key success factor is preparation.

Preparation.
Preparation.
Preparation.

Ever since the start of my Whole 30 diet, I’ve kept a weekly dinner menu.  It’s helped me to think ahead, buy only what I need, and make healthy choices.  I attribute my greatest triumphs to those times when I’ve spent ample time planning ahead.

I need to get much better at preparation, though.  Dinner is only one meal.  What about breakfast and lunch?   Sometimes I get in the mindset of thinking I’m making dinner for two, when in reality, I should be thinking about it in number of meals.  Tonight’s dinner is for two, but it needs to make at least 4 meals– that is, leftovers for lunch the next day for both me and my husband.

So… today I prep.  I’m taking into consideration what I need to do this week in order to make a great first start.  My menu is planned, and I’ve already made my breakfast for this week.

I’ve also made dinner, and it will serve as lunch for probably a few days this week.  I’ll save that recipe for tomorrow, but first, I need to remind myself to brag on my husband in a big way tomorrow.  It’ll make more sense then, but I swear, if I don’t remind myself here, I will never do it justice!

Anyway, for now, here’s breakfast for the next few days!

Turkey Sausage and Egg Casserole IMG_2915

Servings: 4
WW Points: 8

Ingredients:
3/4 lb ground turkey sausage
6 eggs
1/4 cup cheese (I used cheedar and peperjack)
1/4 onion, diced
1/4 tomato, diced
salt and pepper

Directions:
In a large skillet, fry turkey sausage.  When almost browned, add tomato and onion, and cook until browned.

Break eggs into a bowl and whisk until thick and foamy.  Add salt and pepper.

Spray a 9′ pie plate with non-stick spray.  Lay sausage in a single row.  Pour eggs over the sausage, and then top with cheese.  Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, until eggs are set.  Then uncover and bake an additional 5 minutes.

Cool completely.  Then cut into quarters.  Serve or store for 4-5 days.

 

Look at that bubbly- eggy goodness.  Oh, this one is a keeper!

 

 

 

 

Baby’s Back!

Helloooo world!  Again.  Hi again.  Perhaps I’m not familiar to you.  After all, since last we spoke, I’ve gotten this shiny new ring on my left hand, a new name, a nice suntan… AND a new house!  But for all the good changes, there have been some not-so-good changes.  Like, remember the 16 pounds I’d lost by the end of March?  Well, they’re baaaack!

Ok, not all of it, but about half.  “That’s not so bad,” you say. But what if two months ago you got rid of 16 cockroaches, and come July, half of them came back?  Yeeaahh…. I’ve got 8 unwanted cockroaches that I thought I’d said goodbye to for good.

So, I had a fun 3 months getting married, honeymooning, house hunting… but I have a goal, and now it’s time to get back to it.  This blog was a great medium for keeping to my Whole 30 diet- it kept me honest and it kept me on track.  So, as it was then, I will be using this blog for my next journey.

But it’s not a diet this time.  Whole 30 was a great experience, but it’s not sustainable for me.  It meant abstaining from a whole bunch of things I love, and of the foods that were allowed, I only liked a portion of them.  I need something I can stick to for 6 months to a year, because now I’m serious.  So this will be different.  Its a diet I’m creating myself, but I will be using Weight Watchers to stay on track.

You know what’s funny?  I’ve actually had an online Weight Watchers account since January.  Much like some people have a gym membership that they never use, I have a Weight Watchers subscription that I never use. So I’m looking forward to actually putting that to use.

Also, this time I’ll be posting recipes.  Just because.  Maybe I can put some of these on Pinterest for later.

I’ve already got some meals on the stove and in the oven.  So stay tuned for something very, very soon!

Thanks in advance for following me on this journey, for those few friends that will follow me.  You guys are my cheerleaders!  You’ll be my reason for keeping true.  Leave me a message, post me a comment, feel free to ask questions or challenge me… leave me recipes, anything.  I’ll need the encouragement.

Stay tuned!