Monday, November 3, 2014

Post-Halloween Damage Control

We had a few friends over for Halloween and enjoyed some naughty treats.  I made Candy Corn Jell-o Shots:

Layered Jell-O Shots

Dirt cake with gummy snakes:

Dirt Cake

Mummy dogs (I left out the cheese, and I should’ve cut their poor little arms a little longer):

 Mummy Crescent Dogs

Pumpkin seed brittle:

Pumpkin Seed Brittle

made from these guys’ innards:

Her Pumpkin His Pumpkin

Pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese icing:

 Pumpkin Cupcake with Cream Cheese Icing

And of course we played Cards Against Humanity, as we do at all our social gatherings.

Cards Against Humanity

So after the debauchery of this weekend, we’re getting back to basics with our cooking.  I was a bottomless pit yesterday, and I know it’s because my body was so out of whack from the crap I fed it Friday (and some leftovers Saturday).  It’s insane how “hungover” I feel after eating the wrong things (carby, salty, sugary, gluteny things).  Today I was achy, puffy, depressed, and irritable among a host of other unsavory characteristics.  I wish I could bottle up that feeling and take a small shot of it when faced with making poor eating decisions.  I might make wiser choices if I could more clearly remember the impact these foods have on me even several days after consuming them.

Dinner tonight was a couple of tuna steaks marinated in Soy Vay Hoisin Garlic sauce alongside some zucchini I spiralized and briefly cooked in a skillet with some onions, olive oil, and a couple spoonfuls of Trader Joe’s Many Cloves garlic sauce:

DSC_2114

We also went to the gym tonight for the first time in FOREVER.  I updated my Facebook status earlier that I’d be going to the gym for the first time in over a month – I thought for certain we hadn’t been in about 6-8 weeks.  Well, as we left, we asked the desk clerk to look up the last time we had been there.  JULY 13TH.  WOW.  Wedding stuff really consumed my life for the last couple of months of our engagement, and I’m SO glad to try to get a handle on all the stuff I let fall by the wayside.

If I keep up the clean eating and gym-going, before too long I’ll be feeling a little less Piggy!

DSC_2108

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sausage and Kale with Butternut Sauce and Spaghetti Squash

Mom came over for dinner earlier this week and I made a variation of this pasta dish from A Skinny Taste, but I also added some cannellini beans – it was to die for!  I had some butternut squash sauce left over, so I used it for a pasta-free version tonight.  I started by browning some sausage and adding onions, sage, and mushrooms in a big sauté pan we got as a wedding shower gift!

sausage, kale, baby bella mushrooms

Once the onions and mushrooms had cooked down a bit, I added some chopped kale and let it cook down.  Then I added the remainder of my butternut squash sauce (I wish I had written down everything I put in – it was a butternut squash I cooked in boiling water, plus about 3-4 oz cream cheese, maybe a splash of chicken stock, salt, and pepper).

adding butternut squash sauce

I added some fresh nutmeg with my Microplane – also a wedding present (we got so many wonderful gadgets!)

nutmeg all ingredients ready for spaghetti squash

Meanwhile I had roasted some spaghetti squash in the oven and sprinkled it with salt, pepper, and ground sage, so I scraped out the squash fibers once it was done…

spaghetti squash

We could’ve served the sausage/butternut mixture on top of individual portions of the squash, but we elected to just mix it all together in the pan before portioning out and topping with parmesan cheese.

DSC_2081

It was perfect – a little spicy, a little sweet, and chock-full of veggies!  We’ll definitely do this again over the fall and winter months.

Crock Pot BBQ and Back to Normalcy Post-Wedding

We got a new crockpot as a wedding gift and are having fun with it!  One of our favorite things to do is pulled pork.  Friday night, Jason put together a friggin’ awesome rub comprised of ground coffee, some chili powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, coriander, cayenne, thyme, minced onions, and probably a couple other things I’m forgetting.

Pork shoulder rub

We put the rub on Friday night after we got home from a family dinner and let it sit in the fridge wrapped in plastic wrap.  The next morning we put it in the crock with a little bourbon to cook on low for about 8 hours while we did stuff during the day.

Pork in crock pot

At that point, it was ready to shred and enjoy!

Shredding pork Shredding pork  

We had some friends over to watch football Saturday night and had pulled pork, my lightened-up coleslaw, baked beans, and a few other little nibbles. 

Since I’ve been wedding planning for the last 10 months or so, it’s nice to try to get back to a routine and some sense of normalcy.  I might write a blog post about wedding stuff once we get photos back from the photographers, but I’d like to try to focus on blogging about food and recipes with even a shred of consistency!  Jason and I are ready to get back to healthier eating after our honeymoon, so hopefully this will help us!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Wedding home stretch!

Time to panic!
In less than 3 months, I'll be walking down the aisle toward the love of my life....and I still have a ways to go with my weight loss!  I've been stuck in a rut for awhile now - eating 100% on-plan most of the time but then going waaaaay off-course just enough to make everything break even.
According to the scales at work (I keep track both at home and work - the scales are about 5lbs different from each other), I've hovered around 185 for over a year, and that's only about 5lbs less than my average for the year before.  In the grand scheme of things it's great that I'm able to maintain, but when I'd still consider myself "trying" to lose weight, I'm frustrated with myself for holding so steady.
We've been going to the gym about 3-4 days a week doing about 20 minutes of cardio and then strength training either on upper or lower body on alternate days - I can tell a little bit of difference in definition and I've been able to increase my resistance a bit, but of course it's nothing huge.
So here I am at my wit's end, desperate for something to kick myself into high-gear.  I'm terrible with tracking - I wear my fitbit diligently but forget to log my food.  I've started paper logs, spreadsheet logs, journals....I never remember to stop and track.  I wear my heart rate monitor at the gym but don't go back to sync it and actually take heed of the numbers.
Blogging my progress and struggles has helped in the past, but even that falls prey to my "forgettiness" - I'll blog a triumphant return only to disappear again for months at a time.
This has to be my last straw!!
I'm committing myself to logging my foods on Lose It.
I'll still do my 3-4 days per week at the gym, paying close attention to increasing weight resistance.
I'd like to blog a few times a week - even if it's something quick from my phone.  I can't expect myself to jump in and write elaborate posts with recipes and pictures all the time.
I'd like to do yoga a few times a week, but it's difficult to get into a routine myself.  There's a studio nearby that seems very financially reasonable - maybe I can coerce the Mister into checking it out with me.  I've had a lot of anxiety lately - probably mostly due to wedding stress and lack of weight loss progress - and instead of turning to medication I really want to get back into yoga for a more natural stress release.
I think that's a pretty good start...

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Zucchini Pizzas

My newest fixation are these little mini pizzas made with a shredded zucchini crust:

italian zucchini pizza

We’ve made them a few times over the past couple days.  I started with 6 zucchini and it has lasted through three rounds of pizza-making!

shredded zucchini zucchini pizza olives and basil

making zucchini pizza zucchini pizzas under the broiler

Our first attempt had tomato, mozzarella, basil, and black olives, but I went with cheddar, chicken, bacon, onion, and barbeque sauce for the second:

bbq chicken pizza 

I just bought some frozen cauliflower that I’ll use in this recipe again soon.  What else have you made pizza crust from?

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Pretty Nice Little Saturday

We’ve had cold rainy days most of this week, so I’m definitely glad to be sitting here enjoying a warm day and a cool breeze blowing through our open windows.  I’m so ready for spring!  This morning we went to the park with the dog and I logged my 2nd activity on my new heart rate monitor Jason and his dad and stepmom got me for my birthday: 

Polar FT60I’m still learning how to use it and have yet to actually run with it, but I’ve wanted one for awhile.  When I engage in strenuous exercises, I tend to wuss out and stop pushing myself as hard as I could, so I’ve reasoned that if I have the feedback of a monitor, I’ll know my heart isn’t about to explode and I should keep going!

 

Earlier this week we made an AMAZING shepherd’s pie recipe:

 

turkey shepherd's pie turkey shepherd's pie

…and I also attempted a layered baked ratatouille based on this recipe:

 

ratatouille

My mission was to use up ALLL the veggies, not make it look pretty.  Success!

ratatouille

Later this evening we’re headed to a friend’s birthday celebration, so I attempted to make a variation of my Irish Car Bomb cookies last night, but the ganache just ain’t working out.

car bomb cookies

So I’m attempting this recipe instead.  Got the dough logs chilling in the fridge (leftover ratatouille in the background!) while I roast some cauliflower for a snack.

car bomb cookie dough logs  cauliflower

My weight has been steady this week, but we’ve celebrated my 30th birthday a few times and thus I’ve been a little loose with my diet plan.  At least I haven’t gained!

We also got our engagement pictures back this week (done by the fabulous Joshua and Aaron Moore – I’m obsessed with their work and can’t wait for them to capture our wedding!!), and while I’m quite pleased with them, I’m frustrated with how I still look.  It was definitely eye-opening to realize how much farther I have to go, especially when seeing my ass/hip/thigh area front and center of a wide-angle shot like this:

engagement photos

My arms are my most embarrassing part, and the one I’m most focused on toning right now.  It’s easier to hide chunky thighs, but flabby arms are harder to camouflage, in my opinion.

engagement photos 

Right now I’m doing this dumbbell circuit from Fitsugar but need to step up the efforts to drop weight all over.  It’s happened before and will happen again – I know my arms will shrink when the rest of me does.

Cauliflower is done, drizzled with some Bolthouse Farms yogurt ranch (the cauliflower is spicy), and I’m off to finish baking my cookies!!

roasted cauliflower

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sunday Grocery Stock-Up

After a nice walk at the park with the dude and dog…

Sunday stroll at the park

…we went and bought ALL THE THINGS at the grocery store.  It helps so much with both budget and diet when we make a big grocery trip at the beginning of the week.

groceries

And that was probably half of it.  For dinner tonight, I sautéed some onions and garlic with some yellow cherry tomatoes (they explode in then pan!) and added steam-in-bag green beans and balsamic vinegar.

tomatoes in the pan  green beans and tomatoes

We had that alongside some leftover broccoli, some collards I cooked all afternoon, and steak with horseradish sauce while we watched We Are the Millers – pretty funny albeit predictable.

 dinner

I didn’t quite get everything done today that I’d hoped, but I still feel pretty accomplished.  I got a giant pile of clothes put away and some arm-strengthening exercises done.  Nothing brag-worthy though, so I’m going to write up an actual to-do list for this week so I can cross things off.  I do so much better when I have a plan to stick to!

Engaged and Recommitted

Haven’t blogged since August…is anyone surprised?  I’m not.  I’m not even going to try to make excuses and apologies anymore!  Now that 2014 is in full swing and the holidays are over, I’m busy mostly with wedding planning!  Jason proposed at the end of December, and we’ve had to make the big vendor decisions now even though the wedding isn’t for quite a few more months. 

Jason proposing Engaged! Engaged!

The first few weeks of January were crazy since I had no idea who we wanted to hire in the way of vendors, but now that we have a great team picked out and locked down, I’m much more calm about things now.  I’ve even got a dress (that fits, but I need to work a little more on some trouble areas!) and am now happy to focus on smaller, fun details for our big day!

Totally unrelated, but I wanted to share a recipe we tried last night from The Redefined Chef, Red Snapper Veracruzo:

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Horrible picture because I used the cell phone.  Who wants to get up to get their camera once they’re seated in front of this delicious dish?  We had some red snapper in the freezer left over from a giant Valentine’s Day cut.  I didn’t have any jalapenos so I used a chipotle in adobo which gave it a smoky spiciness.  Also I didn’t have raisins, but dried cranberries worked just fine.  I like these “all-in-one” dishes that yield a protein and a side all in one.

I’ve been maintaining my weight for about 2 years now, gaining and losing the same 5-10 pounds or so.  On the one hand I’m frustrated that it’s not as easy to lose as it was when I was bigger, but on the other hand I totally expect to stay the same with the “effort” I’ve been putting in to lose lately.  Jason and I are beginning to try to increase our activity levels after our winter/holiday slump.  We’ve been doing an arm-strengthening routine with our barbell set, and now that the weather should be warming up, we intend to pick up running again.  I hope to stay more accountable this time because blogging was such a huge help before.  I’ve gotten away from the culture of healthy living – which isn’t to say I’ve been “unhealthy,” I just haven’t been 100% committed to improving myself – and would like to get back to that mindset of making better decisions and doing all I can to get healthier.