Monday, April 26, 2010

Crab Salad

The weather is warming up and I'm trying to think of ways to avoid cooking.  And eat real foods.  And incorporate more veggies.  And here is success #1!
  • A package of crabmeat or imitation crabmeat,
  • 2 tablespoons of mayo,
  • maybe 2 cups of cooked pasta shells,
  • a few generous dashes of dried dill (I love dill, I'll put it in anything), and
  • salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over a bed of fresh kale and enjoy. 

I tried to make little wraps with the kale but ended up making a mess instead, so I advise sticking to traditional salad presentation :)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Pineapple Angelfood Cake With Strawberries

Who doesn't love angelfood cake topped with strawberries?  This recipe uses pineapple to pump up the fiber content of one of my favorites, the angelfood cake.  I think this is one of those ww food-hacks that have been around forever, but I could be wrong. 

It's pretty simple: mix an 8 ounce can of crushed pineapple (juice and all) with one angelfood cake mix.  I stirred it by hand just until it came together and there was no dry mix left in the bowl, then spread it in two loaf pans. 

The instructions on the mix said not to grease the pans but I couldn't help myself; I prepared the loaf pans with non-stick spray.

Bake at 350 for 35 to 45 minutes, until deep golden brown.  Mine took about 35 minutes.  Then I set the pans on their side on a cooling rack.  Once they cooled completely I ran a knife around the edges; the loaf-shaped cakes came free easily.  That's a relief because they are sticky; I was afraid I'd be scraping them out of the pans!

They didn't rise very much but I didn't expect them to since I didn't beat the batter for the fluff-factor.  I topped them with strawberries I had sliced, sprinkled with sugar (2 Tbs sugar on a pound of strawberries, so not alot of added sugar), and set aside earlier.  Awesome!  It doesn't have as much of the light, spongey texture of regular angelfood cake, but it still has the fabulous burnt-sugar tasting crust.  I had some trouble cutting it without the crust breaking in the wrong place, but that didn't change the taste.  I could see the pineapple bits but I didn't really notice them when I ate it.  Probably because of all the strawberries!

I would make this again, definitely.  And in my opinion it's good enough to serve to company.  Or keep for yourself...

Random Fat Thoughts... Or Thoughts On Fats And Weight Loss

I'm not a fan of artificially low-fat foods.  I was pleasantly surprised when I read Eat Fat, Lose Fat, which promotes using real fats in your diet like butter, coconut oil, olive oil and avocados, and says you can lose weight while doing so. 

And I was really excited in January when I had more free time than usual... I spent alot of time working out and was losing weight.  I was also eating about 25% more than my allowance of ww points and sort of lost faith in tracking foods and sticking to the points allowance, since I was losing weight and getting stronger and smaller while eating more.

After January I didn't have that spare time for extra workouts anymore, but I didn't go back to the more restrictive way of eating, and I continued to enjoy healthy fats and unfortunately, some serious fast food.  I had some starts and stops with weight loss and now have pretty much gained all the weight back.   

I have two thoughts here.  One is that cutting fast food out of my life is not realistic.  As much as I would like to be a healthy super-woman, if I draw the line and mandate "no more fast food, never again" then with deprivation on my mind, I am even more likely to say "honey, how about Hardee's tonight?" and say it often.  The other thought is that I would like to accomplish weight loss while incorporating real, healthy fats into my diet.

I'm going to have to start planning meals again, writing down dinner for the whole week and shopping accordingly.  And planning out breakfast, lunch and snacks.  And to do it the way I want to, I'm going to have to figure out how to eat real foods and real fats but keep the total fat and calories down to a reasonable level to allow for weight loss.  And plan for good choices with the occasional burger joint take-out: maybe eat half the burger and a small order of fries, for starters.

Sheesh, it all sounds so complicated.  Maybe I will just concentrate this week on doing SOME planning, SOME exercising, making sure to eat fruits and veggies and get plenty of water.  Back to baby steps, people.

Have a fab day.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


I'm forgoing my beloved errands today to do a big house-cleaning.  The poor shack has been much-neglected lately since I've been ultra-busy again.  I might also have skipped errands today since they include the ww meeting and I would probably weigh-in at or over my start-weight from November '09...

The good news is I have successfully continued to only have Starbucks Frappucinos a couple times a week, yay me!

I'm off to continue cleaning, have a fab weekend.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Brussel sprout haters beware, this may turn you.  It's pretty simple.  Your ingredients are brussel sprouts, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Clean the sprouts by cutting off the stems, removing the outer leaves and rinsing them.

Toss them with olive oil, salt and pepper.  I like to use parchment paper when I'm roasting vegetables, instead of using non-stick spray on the bakeware.  Makes cleanup easier.

Bake at 450.  I checked them after about 20 minutes and then every 10 minutes until they were nice and brown.  I think it took about 45 minutes, total.

Roasting brings out the natural sweetness in vegetables.  The sprouts were mild, without the pungency that many cooking methods leave them with.  And their shape makes them fun for snacking; I popped a few in my mouth as I plated dinner.

I'm pretty much sold on roasting veggies; it's simple and yields consistently good results.

Monday, April 19, 2010

New 'Do

I love it!  All that long hair was not doing me any favors.  Plus I wasn't even fixing it most days.  I asked the stylist to make sure it was short enough that the ol' looped ponytail would not be an option anymore.... even if I didn't start the day that way, I always ended it that way.  But sshhhh!  Don't tell her I can still pull it up in a little bunny-tail if need be.

This pic is a "self-portrait" from right after I fixed my hair this morning.

This is after the work-day.

And here is some of the carnage after the cut.

And totally out of order, here's a before pic from last month.  It's kinda fuzzy but you get the idea.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

New "Recipes" Page!

I've added a "Pages" function to the old blog to make the cooking posts more accessible.  Now you can navigate to the recipes and cooking experiments by clicking on "Recipes, Experiments and Food Finds" on the right-hand menu bar.  Enjoy!

Okay, Maybe HALF-way On Track...

So I did great working out last Saturday, Sunday and Monday.  Then I didn't work out again until Saturday (yesterday).  But I'm not gonna beat myself up; working out three days a week is good!  I hit the gym yesterday and today.  My goal this week is to go TWICE in the morning before work, instead of just once like I did last week.  And for the record, I am not sticking to that Weight Watchers training plan.  To be honest I hate training plans, I would rather just do it my own way.  I liked their plan better than C25K, but I don't want to knock C25K because without it I might never had started running several years ago.  But anyhoo, I'll just do it my own way: I've got running a mile down pat, so I will start adding a little distance on the days I was smart enough to go slower and save some energy for more than my one little mile. 

Oh, and remember how getting a cute new haircut was going to be my reward for losing 15 lbs?  Well, even though I've been gaining weight and am almost back up to my start weight, I went ahead and got a haircut yesterday because I needed one so badly.  It had gotten to the point where instead of getting the haircut being a reward, NOT getting it was a punishment for not losing weight.  And that's not cool.  So I got the 'cut and stay tuned, pictures are coming!

Have a fab Sunday.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Still on Track

Well, I didn't make it to the gym yesterday, so that means I've already had both my rest days this week.  So Saturday I will have to go to the gym for sure, so I'll have to make sure to get there early enough to get a treadmill.  Saturday's get busy at the gym!  Hopefully now that the weather's nice that shouldn't be the problem it was a couple months ago; more runners will be doing their workouts outside.  As for me, I want to be able to run two miles before I take to the asphalt.

I went this morning and ran my slow little mile again.  The training schedule Weight Watchers gave us has me walking or running 10 minutes the first two days, then 12 minutes the next two, with a rest day in there.  My mile might take a hair longer than that, ahem... So in a few days the training schedule will catch up with my abilities and start pushing me a little more.  This training schedule is loosely based on Couch to 5K (C25K), a beginning running program, but without all the stops and starts.  I think that's because the WW training schedule is intended for someone to walk, not run, and it is allowing for people who are not exercising at all yet.  I did Couch to 5K several years ago when I first started running.  It was useful for me then because even though I was already in good shape, walking a great deal, I still found running intimidating.  I had trouble with C25K because all the starts and stops drove me nuts, I felt like stopping made beginning the next running segment even harder.  But I don't think I would have been successful in becoming a runner without it.  I fell in love with running after completing C25K.  I was never a long distance runner or a fast runner, but I loved it and still do.  When I've stopped running and had to recondition to get back into it, like I'm having to do now, I've found that as long as I go slow, I am always capable of running that first mile, at least physically.  It's the mental aspect that holds me back... a mile?  Am I sure I can do that?  I get past that by distracting myself with good music or if I'm really having trouble, doing math problems in my head.  Weird?  Maybe, but it works for me.  I am kicking myself for stopping running; I'm sure that plays a big part in gaining all this weight back.  But my non-running days are over, I'm back, and better for it.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Rest Day Is Over

It was nice having a recovery day yesterday, that's for sure!  I didn't get up early enough today to go to the gym before work so I'll be heading that way when the work day is done.  I'm not a fan of the after-work work-out, so that experience will be extra motivation for me to pay more attention to the alarm clock tomorrow.

Have a fab day!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Tired again, yikes!  Fortunately after three kick-ass workouts, today is a rest day. 

I see new faces in the comments and followers, welcome!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Back on Track

I hadn't worked out or gone to a Weight Watchers meeting in a month, but I did both on Saturday.  I postponed my beloved Saturday morning errands for it, and paid the price.  When I finally got to the errands, EVERYONE was out  because it was a beautiful Saturday afternoon.  It was crowded and crazy everywhere I went.  Here's to better planning next Saturday! 

My weight is way up, no big surprise there.  I almost didn't go in to the WW meeting after weigh-in; I was excited about getting to the gym and didn't want to wait.  But I did go to the meeting and was so glad.  This week WW started a six week plan to get ready for a 5k on June 6th.  The expectation is to walk it, but I am going to take advantage of this opportunity to run it!  I am so pumped.  Sticking to the training plan means working out five days a week for the next six weeks.  I'm excited about getting back into working out.  Of course that means I will finally have to make before-work work-outs a habit.  Yikes.  But I can do it.  I hit the gym Saturday and Sunday, and this morning before work!  I ran a mile today, albeit very slowly, and am pretty darn proud of myself.

Have a fab week!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Easy Two-Ingredient Marinade

This simple marinade is a recipe from the island of Guam.  What I like best about it is that due to the high acidity of the mixture, it can cook your food without heat.  I'm comfortable doing that with fish or beef, but I wouldn't try it with pork or chicken.  And for the record, I'm not recommending not cooking your food, proceed in that direction at your own risk.  I've thrown stew-beef in it before and let the marinade cook it for fajitas with a different flavor, but I ended up actually cooking the fish I used it with this time because it was taking too long and I was hungry!

The recipe is simple: half lemon juice, half soy sauce. 

No need to mix the marinade in a separate bowl; just pour the ingredients over the fish or meat. 

I used swai, I bought some frozen on sale a few weeks ago.  We cooked some once already and it was pretty fishy tasting.  This batch smelled really fishy when it thawed, too, but the marinade removed the fishiness, thank goodness!

I gave it about half an hour and the fish wasn't fully "cooked" yet, so ended up throwing it in the oven at 350 for 20 minutes.  Here it is on a bed of quinoa with some broccoli to keep it company.  I cooked the broccoli with a little soy and lemon juice, also.

It was fabulous!  I think next time I will use more lemon juice than soy sauce instead of the one-to-one ratio, just to see how it tastes.  But this is great as-is.  It's versatile; I've tried it on fish, vegetables and beef with good results and I think it would be good on chicken or pork, too.  It would probably be good with the addition of cilantro or fresh ginger; I might try that next time.  And I plan to use low-sodium soy sauce next time, too; that's alot of sodium.  But the fish was perfect; the marinade decreased the cooking time, the soy flavor is not overwhelming, and it was a nice, summery dish for one of the first warm days of the year.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Happy Saturday

Hello!  It's been crazybusy in these parts and I'm so happy to have time to return to Blog-Land.  I have a three-day weekend and spent yesterday running a few errands and puttering around the house.  I'm starting to feel so refreshed.  Today I have my normal Saturday errands lined up: take the recycyling up to Metro North Mall, do the grocery shopping, and contemplate not skipping Weight Watchers this week, maybe drop in for a meeting.  I'm not sure why I love my Saturday morning errands, maybe because it's Saturday.  I have something else on the agenda aside from catching up on housework: playing in the yard! We always plant our vegetable garden late and then congratulate ourselves on missing this frost or that hail storm, but it's time to spend some time on my flowers. 

I love spring!

I'll be playing with the flowers today, but we need to start planning this year's vegetable garden.  Are there any vegetable gardeners out there?  Have you planted yet or are you late, like me?