Sunday, February 28, 2010

Easy and Good: Kale Chips

How long ago did I buy that kale?  Because it still looks pretty good.

I had three bunches left and used one for this recipe.  I'd say it made one serving.  I ripped the leaves into pieces, putting the thick stems in the freezer to make broth with another time.  Recipes for kale chips are all over the net but the gist seems to be toss them with olive oil and seasoning, them bake for 10 or 15 minutes.  I kept it simple, tossing mine with olive oil, salt and pepper after I washed them.  Then I spread them on parchment paper to bake.

After 15 minutes in the oven at 350, they were ready.  Crispy, yummy and green, who knew!  This is going to my my new go-to snack if I want something crunchy.  Try them, you will not believe how easy they are to make, and how fun it is to eat "chips" that are so healthy!

Friday, February 26, 2010

F Factor Diet

I just watched a clip from The View about the F Factor Diet. I’m sure the less-than-four-minute clip left out a lot of details, but I liked what I heard: increase your fiber, lose weight. The emphasis is on reducing or eliminating refined carbs and replacing them with healthier versions: whole wheat pasta instead of white pasta, for instance.

The F Factor Diet has three stages: detox, weight loss and maintenance. In the two-week detox phase women lose four to six pounds, and in the weight loss phase they lose one to two pounds a week, depending on exercise. Sound familiar to anyone? One to two pounds a week is the generally accepted rule for a healthy and sustainable rate of weight loss.

No, I haven’t done any research on this other than watch the clip on Hulu. And no, I’m not going to change from Weight Watchers to the F Factor Diet. And maybe there’s some radical unhealthy aspect of the diet that I don’t know about. But it’s nice to see a common sense diet being hyped for once: increase your fiber intake, reduce refined carbohydrates while maintaining a healthy carbohydrate intake, and lose weight at a healthy rate. Bravo!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Cleaning Up My Kitchen

I've been beating myself up lately about not tracking my food, not exercising, and a general lackadaisical approach to weight loss which is resulting in no progress. 

Last night at Weight Watchers there was a discussion of trigger-proofing your kitchen.  A trigger food is one that you seem to have little or no control over. As we talked, I realized I have made progress, and I want to recognize that.

What am I no longer buying? 
  • Cereal bars.  If they are in the house, I will snack on them every five minutes. 
  • Chips, including baked, whole grain and pretzels.  Because if they are in the house I will have a handful with dinner.  The first day I might count them, maybe even the second.  But after that, no.  I will buy plain tortilla chips for the rest of the house.  I only love those at Mexican restaurants or with a yummy dip.  Which I will not make. 
  • Ice cream.  'Nuff said.
  • Mixes for side dishes, like macaroni and cheese.  There are still some in the cupboard but I won't cook them.  I will buy the occasional brownie mix for a specific healthy-fix recipe, but that's it.
  • Fat-free lab creation foods.  I'm still working on balancing the full-fat versions with losing weight; hopefully this week I will find the right balance.
What do I buy more of now, or that I didn't buy before?
  • Tons of produce.  The produce drawer in my fridge is stuffed full; I can barely close it.
    • Two avocados a week;
    • Bagged lettuce mixes;
    • Apples;
    • Oranges;
    • Leafy greens like kale or beet greens;
    • Parsnips;
    • Heads of cabbage;
    • Cilantro;
    • Celery;
    • Carrot chips; and
    • A new produce item twice a month, something new to try.
  • Frozen blueberries and frozen bananas;
  • Lots of lean meats and seafoods (I got over my omnivore issues, currently I only eat meat at dinner but I would not rule out having it at lunch once in a while.  Wait, I had a salad with chicken on it for lunch two days ago.);
  • One-point tortillas;
  • Whole wheat couscous;
  • Raw almonds;
  • Stevia for sweetener;
  • Sugar-free cereals like All-Bran or Shredded Wheat;
  • Agave nectar;
  • and PB2 and Naturally More peanut butters.
And what are some good grocery-buying habits I already had in place?
  • Whole wheat pasta only;
  • Brown rice;
  • Canned black beans, kidney beans (including cannellini), and garbanzo beans; and dried pinto beans and lentils;
  • Lots of frozen veggies;
  • Eggs;
  • Good cheeses with lots of flavor even if you use less, like feta or blue cheese;
  • Skim milk;
  • Oatmeal, both quick-cooking and once in a while the steel-cut variety;
  • Different grains like quinoa or millet for experimenting.  Love quinoa; and
  • The occasional new produce experiment.
Is my kitchen perfect?  No.  The most recent trip to the grocery store included a request for sugared cereal, so I bought some I liked, too.  The first couple nights after that I had two bowls of sugary cereal before bed.  Last night I didn't.  Just because it's there doesn't mean I need to eat it.  Maybe I need to put that on a post-it on the cupboard.

Is my kitchen getting better, more health-friendly, more weight-loss friendly?  Yes.

I'm going to go pack a healthy lunch to take to work.  Here's to recognizing successes and building on them.  Have a fab day!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Checking In

So it happened again... I went to weigh-in and gained 0.6 lb. I am hovering around the 10 to 12 lb loss point and I know why... it's because I am not putting in the effort. I'm trying to make healthier food choices but not all the time, and I'm not tracking my food more than half a day two or three times a week. I'm not working out. And whatever my reasons or excuses, that does not change the result. Or lack of result.

So, here's to a new week, a new day, a new "right now" to turn things around.

Some people seem to speed-skate through the weight-loss journey. They know what they want, how to get it, and they DO it. They take the time, make the plans (meal planning, planning for workouts, etc), and do the work. What is the difference between them and me? Today, commitment. But tomorrow, maybe nothing. Wait and see.

To be continued... tomorrow. And the next day. And the next. Until I reach my goal. And then to be continued the rest of my life as I maintain my health and fitness. Stay tuned!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Book Review: Eat Fat, Lose Fat: The Healthy Alternative to Trans Fats

I was talking to a friend over coffee a few weeks ago and the subject of lowfat and fat-free foods came up. Not naturally lowfat or fat-free foods like celery or tomatoes, but lab creations like fat-free cheese and fat-free salad dressing. She said something I’ve been thinking about for a while but didn’t know how to put into words: our body knows what to do with the real thing. It doesn’t know what to do with those fake foods.

Eat Fat, Lose Fat: The Healthy Alternative to Trans Fats*

Enter a book suggestion from Stephanie of BODA Life: Eat Fat, Lose Fat. She mentioned it in a comment on this post. The title alone sounded to me like a fantasy and I wondered if it was something along the lines of the Atkins Diet. I tried Atkins in my mid-20’s and it worked but was very restrictive; once you go off-plan the weight comes back with a vengeance. Plus there are a lot of concerns about the effect Atkins can have on your health. But I’ve been reading the BODA Life blog and respect what Stephanie has to say, so I ordered it and read it.

The Book
First of all, it is nothing like the Atkins Diet. It promotes a well-rounded diet with foods from every part of the food pyramid and an emphasis on healthy fats. What is different about Eat Fat, Lose Fat is how it defines healthy fats, as it includes saturated fats on that list: animal fats from butter, red meat, etc. It also emphasizes the use of coconut oil for weight loss and maintaining good health, which fascinated me. Isn’t that the stuff that used to be in movie theater popcorn, when there was a big flap about it ten or so years ago? Isn’t it supposed to be bad? Not according to the authors of Eat Fat, Lost Fat, Dr. Mary Enig and Sally Fallon.

The book extensively describes research on different kinds of fat and its effect on the body. It’s well organized, describing each concept simply and then going into more detail, so you can get the idea but can start skimming if the information gets too complex for you. As it did for me occasionally. But then I was able to move on to the next idea with a good basic understanding of the previous one.

It also includes three diet plans: one for weight loss, a second one for weight loss if your body is resistant to the first, and one for maintaining good health. Honestly the diets are too complicated for me, but if someone else uses them I'd love to hear about your experience.

My Thoughts
What I got out of this book is that fats like olive oil, coconut oil, butter, and what is found in dairy products like cheese or in a fruit like avocado, are not the enemy. They are a beneficial part of a healthy diet. My impression from Eat Fat, Lose Fat is that the enemy is food created in a lab, like fat-free butter-flavored spray or fat-free blue cheese dressing. These are laboratory recreations of foods that would have naturally contained fats that could have benefited your body. The fat-free lab version replaces the fat with chemicals intended to duplicate flavor or texture. I know what butter is. I don’t know what those chemicals are or how they affect my body.

The book doesn’t call for completely abandoning all well-known good health guidelines for eating. It calls for a redesign of what healthy eating is. It’s not a quick-fix fad diet, it’s a philosophy that promotes good health and informed decision-making.  I recommend you give it a read.

The Outcome
How has it affected me? It reinforced what I was already thinking, that it would be better to make room in my daily diet for real foods that might happen to contain a significant amount of fat, rather than play beat-the-system games with frankenfoods. I am officially announcing my retirement from using fat-free reproductions of foods. Except skim milk, because I like it.

*Link is through my Amazon Associates account.

Happy 101 and Honest Scrap

Many thanks to Journey Beyond Survival for the Happy 101 Award! I'm supposed to list 10 things that make me happy and pass the award on to 10 blogs that make me happy.  See my lists here.

And more thanks to Journey Beyond Survival for including me in the list of bloggers she wants to know more about in her Honest Scrap post. I am now supposed to tell you ten pieces of honest scrap about myself.

1. I was a Navy Brat but when my dad retired after 20 years of service I was only seven years old. So I have the double experience of both remembering living on bases in California and Illinois and a couple other places after he retired, and then growing up in a small town.

2. I was born in Spain (another military base) and when I learned to talk, I was learning both English and Spanish. Of course I later forgot most of my Spanish but I took it in high school and college. I credit my early experience with the language for my good grades in the subject.

3. I hate it when my eyelashes get wet. When I shower I have a towel hanging over the shower rod especially to dry off my eyes.

4. I love getting pedicures but manicures are a waste of money for me. It lasts so much longer if I just do it myself.

5. I lost 80 lbs in my late 20’s and kept if off for about seven years. Which is why I am so frustrated with my current situation. How could I have let myself gain the weight back after keeping it off for so long?!

6. I had breast augmentation after I’d been at my goal weight for a couple years. When I was a little girl I always thought I’d grow up and have boobies, and then I barely did. So I took care of that myself and I’ve never regretted it.

7. I get cranky when I don’t get some alone-time regularly.

8. I love critters. Cats, dogs, horses, deer, raccoons, snakes, lizards, whatever. Love ‘em!

9. I have a snowboard but haven’t used it since I gained the weight back. Maybe next winter.

10. I’m a sci fi geek. I read my first sci fi book at age 10, The Forever War by Joe Haldeman. Not the greatest book ever but I was hooked.

I’m going to refrain from passing the post on to a list of bloggers because I want to know more about ALL of you, bloggers and readers alike. Please comment with your own ten pieces of honest scrap!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Still Losing Weight And Thinking About Switching To Simply Filling

Slowly but surely.  I haven't caught back up to where I was before I had my brief backsliding period yet, but I'm almost there.  I lost 1.4 lbs this week for a total loss so far of 12.8 lbs.  I have to lose 2.2 more lbs before I can get my 15 lb reward!  I'm guessing it will take two more weeks.

I'm thinking about switching to Simply Filling from the Flex Plan.  It would make tracking easier, and I'm still struggling with tracking.  But I'm scared to only have 35 points (plus activity points) for non-core foods.  Maybe I'll do Flex this week and see how many Filling Foods I can incorporate, and see how many points I use on non-Filling Foods.

For those of you not on Weight Watchers, on the Simply Filling plan you don't have to count the points of certain foods you eat; you just eat them to satisfaction without becoming overfull.  These include fruits, vegetables, grains, and lean meats.  There are a few rules but it's really not complicated at all.  Then if you eat something not on the list, you count the points for that and use your Weekly Allowance of 35 points.  Or use activity points, if you earn them.  But the pitfall I keep going back to is if you decide to have a meal of several items not on the list, then you might use up all your Weekly Points at once. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Kale and Cannellini Soup and Random Thoughts

I made a fabulous soup last night, cooking with kale for the first time ever!  And I have more than enough greens left over to try kale chips and probably something else too.

Look at all that kale, and for only 98 cents:

I used about half of it and ended up with maybe two cups of greens once I stripped them from their stems (and washed and chopped them).
I made two quarts of broth the night before using my mystery soup method.  One quart went into the freezer and the other into the soup.  I added a can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed, the kale, and then a few ounces of one of the Valentine's Day cheeses.

After seasoning with salt, pepper and dried dill, I separated the soup into two saucepans because I was adding chopped Canadian bacon to J's soup.  I never brought the soup to a simmer; I thought that might be a bad idea with a dairy product in the mix.  And here is the finished product!  Note the difference in bowl sizes.  That is one of the ways I cope with cooking for someone who has no need to lose weight and can eat anything he wants with no repercussions.

The soup was great.  The texture of the kale was similar to spinach but with a milder flavor, and the cheese, while I did not use much, added some depth and personality to the mix.  The dill was just a guess, but it turned out to be the perfect match.  Of course for the purposes of full disclosure I should add that I'm a dill freak and I buy it in the bulk section of the grocery store because I go through so much of it.

Kale Experiment #1: Success!  Looking forward to Kale Experiment #2: TBD.  Probably kale chips.

Now for the random thoughts:
  1. Weigh-in tonight!  I'm a little nervous.  I was at 187 and change this morning, so I'm pretty sure I won't be getting my 15 lb reward this week.  Ah well, there's always next week.
  2. I'd intended this blog to be about my weight-loss journey and titled it accordingly, but I'm posting an awful lot of recipes.  Do I need to refocus?  Cut back on the recipes and post more about other weight loss efforts?  Maybe do I need to start a second blog for the recipes?  Seriously, I have two more cooking posts to put up but haven't yet because I think I'm already on the brink of over-kill with the cooking.
Thoughts?  Comments?  Randomness?  Bring it on, I love a comment!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Omnivore Issues?

So I have always had streaks of food oddness.  Sometimes I lose my taste for coffee for several weeks, gasp!  Or all I want is blueberries, for weeks.  Or sometimes it's cheeseburgers.  And there was the three-month grilled-eggplant-for-dinner-everyday incident of 2002.  So I'm no stranger to odd cravings.  But in the last couple days I've noticed I have no desire to eat meat.  Meat is currently grossing me out.  Yes, last night for dinner I defrosted some home-made steamed pork dumplings at J's request, but I really didn't want them at all.  And I put egg in the fried (brown) rice.  But today I find myself looking for a way to make dinner for both of us that will allow me to skip the meat.  During the day it's easy, but I know my beloved omnivore will want meat with his dinner and I guess that means no one-dish meals for a while, at least until the current anti-meat craving passes.  I'm okay with dairy: milk, cheese, yogurt.  But actual meat? Gag.  Weird.

Side note: weigh-in tomorrow night.  This morning the scale said 186, we will see what a day and a half brings!  I need to hit 186.4 on the WW scale to make my 15 lb loss and get my reward haircut.  I'm thinking about going a little shorter, somewhere between chin and shoulder-length.

Have a fab day!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Black Bean Salad With Oranges, Red Onion and Cilantro

Sheryl over at *Ms. Bitchcakes* A Neurotic Glamour Girl's Weight Watchers Experience and Fitness Adventures made a fabulous looking black bean salad last month and I just had to try it.  She said it was a Weight Watchers recipe, so I'm giving credit everywhere credit is due!

The recipe calls for: 

•1/2 tsp Olive Oil
•1/2 medium red onion, cut into thin wedges
•2 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
•1/4 tsp ground cumin
•1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
•2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
•2 tsp red wine vinegar
•2 medium oranges or grapefruits, peeled, segmented
•salt & pepper to taste

Saute the onion in olive oil, adding the cumin and chopped garlic after the onion is translucent.  When the garlic begins to brown, add the black beans and cook just long enough for them to warm up.  Remove the mixture from the heat and add the remaining ingredients: the orange, cilantro, balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper.

I put half of the mixture on my favorite mix of spring greens with half an avocado. 

The verdict: yum!  I do wish I had read the recipe more carefully and used two oranges instead of the one.  It was still fab, but double the citrus would have doubled the fun!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

My honey surprised me with a fabulous Sonoma wine and an assortment of gourmet cheeses from a company in New York.  He knows me so well!  He had them both shipped in and hid them very effectively from me until yesterday.

I hope everyone got spoiled by their special someones this weekend or spoiled themselves!

Have a fab week.

Veggie Crazy!

I went to the grocery store this morning and came home with two new vegetables to try: fresh beets, and kale.  I'll post when I use them.  I'm thinking I'll roast the beets with some parsnips and sweet potatoes; ever since the Winter Vegetable Extravaganza, parsnips have become a staple in my house, right after carrots on the grocery list.  And I'm planning to make kale chips, where you toss them with olive oil and seasonings and bake them.  Or maybe add the kale to a bean dip, with garbanzo beans or cannolini.  Kale's supposed to be good in soup, too, but I have not been the soup-making-freak this winter that I usually am in cold weather.

Here are the two new produce experiments.  The paper towell is to keep the beets, on the right, from staining the counter.

Check this site out: 365 Days of Kale.  I found it on Green Lite Bites in a post Roni wrote about kale.  Lots of info about my new veggie!

I also bought cabbage, celery, carrot chips and cilantro.  And some things that didn't start with "C", too.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Losing Again

This past Wednesday at the WW weigh-in I showed a 0.6 lb loss.  Whoo hoo!  My baby steps are working; I'm back!  So that's 11.4 lbs total lost and less than 4 lbs to go til I get my 15 lb reward, a haircut which is WAY overdue.

Have a fab day!

The Hump I Just Got Over

And I'm not talking about a llama.

So I've been having trouble for a few weeks, trouble staying on track and sticking to the plan, tired, unmotivated, and fighting through the above.  I didn't really know why.  I tried to pin it on the winter blues and while that was part of it, it wasn't all of it.  I have a couple other things going on that just did not work together.

I planned on applying to grad school this year and felt the deadlines bearing down on me pretty hard and fast.  I got about half the work done for applying and then stalled. 

And here's something I hesitate to "blog out loud" but we have been trying to start a family for a few years and I just started going to the doctor about it in October.  I'm kind of private and so not comfortable sharing the details but I will say it's my body that is not cooperating, not his. 

So that is where my heart is right now, not focused on getting my masters which is something I would like to accomplish eventually, but focused instead on the baby stuff, which is the most important right now.  Grad school can wait, baby stuff has a chronological deadline.  This past week I let the application date pass for grad school and felt a huge weight lift itself off my shoulders.  I think if I'd applied and planned to start going to school in the fall, that would be like saying I didn't think things would work; like I didn't think we would be able to expand our happy little family of two into three.

So there it is.  I don't plan to blog about it again but I felt like I needed to just spit it out if I'm going to keep it real.

Back that A** Up

"A**" being your data.  Last night after four beautiful years together, I lost my laptop to the blue screen of death.  I'd stopped what I was doing on it and was watching part of the opening of the Winter Olympics with my schweetie.  We were being silly and I accidentally knocked the laptop onto the floor.  Everything looked okay for a few minutes and then the crazy screens started showing up... DOS screens saying to hit F1, F5, etc.  I hit the keys it said to and it beeped and beeped at me, I felt like a kid getting her hand slapped for touching something she shouldn't.  Then it went blue. 

There is SO MUCH on that laptop... a spreadsheet with over three years of exercise logs and weights.  Another spreadsheet I use for scheduling and paying bills.  Years and years of pictures, most of which I don't have in hard copy.  Blog ideas.  Recipes.  Emails.  "My favorites" on Internet Explorer, that was a seriously comprehensive list of things I had found on the 'net.  Some were just interesting, but many were useful.  I categorized recipes in the favorites list into "tried and true", "canning and preserving" (a new interest I experimented with this year that you will get to hear all about as the garden begins to produce again this summer), different kinds of recipes to try, and more.  I had bookmarked yoga websites, blog resources, just everything... But I can find those again if I want to.  The things I'm really worried about are the spreadsheets and most of all the pictures.  Ack!

Not a single thing was backed up.  Not.  One.  Thing.

Hopefully it's not all gone.  J is in I.T. and he is going to try to recover the data from my hard drive later.  He says the problem is it's no longer recognizing the hard drive.  I have no idea how he will work his magic but cross your fingers for me!

And learn from my mistake, people.  Back up your data.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Checking In

I'm feeling alot better but will be crazybusy for the next few days.  I'll be scarce in the blogging world until Friday.  But then I'll be back!

Have a fab week!

And once again, thank you for your words of encouragement, it means alot.

Edit:  I just realized I've been fighting the winter blues! Among other things.  Silly, silly Lizard.  That's what it is.  Maybe I need to make sure to spend some time outside, no matter how cold it is.  Anyhoo, now that I (think) I know what my problem has been, I feel more in control of it.  WAHOO!  (that was my coffee kicking in)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Baby Steps

Lately I've been feeling very busy and tired.  Nothing out of the ordinary is going on, just the day-to-day minutae that piles up in a big to-do list.  I truly believe that living a healthy life will be worth the effort, but each step that needs to be taken is one more thing on the to-do list.  I'm losing steam, and I don't want to lose steam.  I know I posted about this already, but it's still happening.  I have to find a way to grab hold of this process and keep the momentum going.  I don't want to get up at 5:00 a.m. to go to the gym.  But I did it once last week and it didn't kill me.  I don't mind preparing my lunch and snacks ahead of time to take to work, but I do resent the time it takes.  I feel like I have a limited amount of free time and do not want to give up the pieces of it that these activities take up.  But the reward will be an increased enjoyment of every day with increased energy, increased athletic ability, and let's be honest, smaller size.  And a longer life to enjoy these things. It's important, and maybe I'm just being whiny and lazy.  Life is full of obligations and responsibilities, and this commitment to healthier living is an obligation and responsibility to myself.  Going to the gym once or twice a week is not enough, and eating on-plan 60% of the time is not going to cut it.  I guess it's time to go back to the basics.  And take baby steps.  Not token baby steps, but things that matter.  Move more and eat better.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Planning Ahead

I used up all my weekly points allowance (the extra points you can use anytime during the week) today at lunch.  I always do that!  The first day of the WW week I use 'em up.  Sigh.  Goal for next Thursday... don't do that!  So for dinner I had a pretty good salad and a sweet potato.  And I've already prepared tomorrow's lunch tote contents:
  • salad of mixed butter lettuce, cilantro, 1/4 avocado, 1/2 cup kidney beans, splash olive oil, splash lime juice (same salad I had for dinner tonight);
  • 3 sticks of string cheese to be snacked on throughout the day;
  • sandwich of 2 pieces Sara Lee De-Lightful multi-grain bread, 2 tbs Naturally More peanut butter (only 2 points per serving, people!!) and all-fruit strawberry jam/spread; and
  • unsweetened applesauce.
We'll see if that holds me.  Sounds like plenty.  For breakfast I'm planning on 1 piece toast with coconut oil for my fat (don't knock it 'til ya try it) and a fruit smoothie made of: frozen cherries, spinach, skim milk, PB2 because I'm already getting plenty of fats tomorrow, and agave nectar.  And dinner will be crockpot pot roast (I think it's a lean cut, I don't see any fat on it) with salad and a sweet potato.  No gym planned tomorrow but there will be a little yoga at lunch possibly.  I plan to go to the gym Saturday.  I need to work on my water intake, too.

For me planning ahead makes a huge difference. How about you?  Are you planning for tomorrow to help stay on track?  Or does it help you at all?  Maybe you have a good routine down pat and don't need to plan it anymore?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Back On The Wagon

So this morning my alarm went off at 5:00 a.m.  I was in the gym before 6:00 for a slo-mo 30 minutes on the elliptical trainer, then home to shower and get ready for work.  I didn't leave myself enough time to pack my lunch this morning, so I should pack tomorrow's lunch tonight so that's already taken care of for tomorrow morning.  Lunch was a small selection from a grocery store salad bar, and two Smart Ones quesadillas (four points each). 

And I went to Weight Watchers.  Weigh-in was tough; I gained 2.2 lbs this week.  That's 3.4 lbs in two weeks.  Yikes!  So I was extra glad I worked out this morning.  And I tracked everything I ate today. 

Aaaannnndddd I'm back.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


And let's be honest, it's not like I haven't been off-topic alot lately.  Clearly my focus needs to be readjusted.  I'm working on it!  I went to Wally tonight and stocked up on mixed salad  greens, beans, lean meats, agave nectar (extra large bottle this time), etc.  I am promising myself to pack my lunch tomorrow in my awesome pretty lunch tote, and to make a yummy fruit smoothie for breakfast, and to plan dinner more than five minutes ahead of time.  There is a very small chance I will get up at 5:00 a.m. to go to the gym.  But nobody hold their breath about the gym, I don't need y'all passing out and then being mad because I didn't go, so you bumped your head for no reason.  But there's a chance.

Anyhoo, when I don't feel good about myself I tend to skip the makeup and not make any effort with my 'do, just slap some product  in it after the old shower and run out the door with it wet.  Not that there is a thing wrong with being natural.  I'm just aware that is how I behave when I am not valuing myself as much as I should.  Sooo..... Sunday I treated myself!  Nothing extravagant, just some drugstore/Wally products.  But I got new foundation, powder, mascara and a new tool for my 'do!

The foundation is a liquid mineral foundation by Maybelline.  Unless I go high-end, the foundations light enough for my winter-pale skin usually is way too pink.  But there are a ton of shades with this foundation so I found one that worked without making me look too pink!

 Maybelline Mineral Power Natural Perfecting Foundation, Nude 1 fl oz (30 ml)

The powder is another mineral product, Physician's Formula Mineral Powder, in translucent:

*Physicians Formula Mineral Wear Talc-free Mineral Face Powder, Translucent, 0.3-Ounces

The mascara is one I always see in magazines as a great buy at a low price; a never-fail oldie but goodie:  Maybelline Great Lash:

 *Maybelline Great Lash Mascara, Soft Black (6 Mascaras)

And last but not least, the tool  for my 'do.  Mine is silver, not blue, and it was only $23... I can't figure out how this one is different from the one I bought so I'm including a pic of it, too.  I've tried it once already and it cut my drying time in half, probably because it cuts out the whole 'dryer in one hand, round brush in the other' routine:

*Revlon Ionic Hot Air Dryer and Styler

Anyhoo, I tried on the makeup and love it!

Alrighty, it's off to bed for me so that there's a chance I might go to the gym in the morning. 

Have a fab evening!

*Links are to my Amazon Associates account.

Current Happenings in Lizard-Land (That's My World, Where Things are Supposed to go My Way!)

Ok, I have not been watching what I eat, I have not exercised in about a week, I am tired and cranky... I am sure of course that these things are connected; the first two causing the last two.  Not looking forward to weigh-in tomorrow.  And not even sure I can get there!  I have an appointment right when I am supposed to go to WW, so I will have to go to a WW meeting either tonight or Thursday.  Boo.  I like my Wednesday night meetings.  If I go tonight I can be sure to get it done and get it out of the way, but if I go Thursday that gives me an extra day to get back on track and at least to drink alot of water to try to get rid of any water weight that is contributing to my weight.  Which my bathroom scales tells me is up.  And I'm sure it's not lying to me, considering what I've been (not) doing.  I'm looking at TWO WEEKS with a gain.  I need to kick myself in the butt and get back on track.  This ain't cool!  And Punxsutawney Phill just said we will have six more weeks of winter.  Geez Louise!

On a more positive note, last night I made tuna casserole and used yolk-less egg noodles, and snuck in a bunch of chopped cabbage and parsnips.  The crust was crushed crackers and ALMOND MEAL!  And yesterday I made a smoothie for breakfast: frozen cherries, skim milk, some Naturally More peanut butter and some Equal.  Of course lunch involved yet another "cheeseburger incident."  I'm tempted to say "Well, ya can't win 'em all" but that is a bad attitude!  We CAN win 'em all!  I just need to start today, writing down what I eat and finding opportunities to move more.

If I have another weigh-in with a gain I will not get discouraged.  (Self talk happening now.) 
I will take that as reinforcement of what I know works for me and what I know doesn't work for me.
I can SO do this.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Coconut Jasmine Rice With Green Onions And Cilantro

I have to ask… do you call them green onions or scallions? My mom always called them scallions but I think most people call them green onions.

Anyhoo *Bitch Cakes* posted a recipe from the cookbook The Balanced Plate by Renee Loux. It called for cilantro and lemongrass. I love those. It called for coconut milk. I was intrigued. It called for jasmine rice. I have never cooked with jasmine rice and that + cilantro and lemongrass love + coconut milk intrigue = I must try this!

I scoured the grocery store but wasn’t able to find any lemongrass, not even the lemongrass powder that Bitch Cakes had to resort to using. So I was stuck with using lemon juice and lemon zest because I couldn't wait any longer to try this recipe!

First you put the rice on to boil after rinsing it a few times. I did three rinses, swirling it in a bowl of water and then draining it through a mesh strainer. Combine the rice with 2 ¼ cups water or broth (I used water) and 12 ounces off coconut milk. Bring to a boil then cover, reducing the heat. Check on it in 20 minutes. If it goes like mine did, you’ll check it in 10 more minutes and then in 10 more.

Meanwhile chop enough green onion for ¾ cup, and tear enough cilantro leaves for ½ cup. I chopped my cilantro; I thought it would help release the flavor since you don’t add it until the rice is cooked.

On to the lemon. This was a battle second only to the oatmeal can. I was already miffed that I could not find lemongrass. I got all set to zest the lemon.

It would not zest! The skin was impervious to my grater! I resorted to slicing off zest and chopping it. Sigh.

Once the rice is done remove it from the heat and let it sit, covered, for 10 more minutes. Then add a pinch of sea salt, the cilantro, green onions, a teaspoon of lemon zest and a tablespoon of lemon juice. I ended up adding the juice of an entire lemon after I tried it.

It was good! I was mystified be the absence of coconut flavor; I had been looking forward to a coconutty/cilantro/lemony taste sensation. So it was not what I expected. But it was tasty and went really well with the chicken breasts I sautéed with some lemon juice and salt and pepper. The jasmine rice was lovely. I have not had white rice in forever and this is of course a very special white rice. I will probably try it with brown rice next time. It will not be the same, but one must make concessions in the quest for more fiber. I will make this again for sure, and in the meantime I will be on the lookout for lemongrass so I can get the full experience! Thanks to Bitch Cakes for sharing the recipe.

And let me know... do you say green onions or scallions?