Monday, September 28, 2009

Quick and Simple Suppers

Here is the first of the Quick and Simple Suppers series: Chicken Stir Fry

Okay currently we have a can problem in my house. I already had a ton of canned food, but since Matt has now moved in with me - he brought all his canned food along and we have TONS. Therefore, I'm really trying to eat as much out of the pantry as I can. As you may have seen in my previous post, I made chicken noodle casserole entirely out of my pantry/freezer and didn't even know I could make it! Here is my pantry currently.

Um yeah, see all those cans? So tonight I needed something fast to make when I got home from spin. I didn't have much fresh veggies, so I knew it needed to be made from some canned goods. Luckily, I had everything I needed for Chicken Stir Fry! I'm not a big stir fry fan actually, but every now and then I really enjoy it. Here's what you need for tonight's version of Chicken Stir Fry. I'll warn you, it was a bit bland.. so next time I'll make sure to season it up and add some garlic and onion. Tonight I was in such a hurry that I forgot!!! Also, tonight I made two servings.. so keep that in mind when you are looking at my pictures.

  • Sesame oil
  • Chicken breast - diced
  • Broccoli cut in small pieces
  • Can of asian baby corn
  • Can of water chestnuts
  • Brown rice
  • Soy Sauce (I use the low sodium kind)
Pretty simple huh? If you make this, I'd add onion and garlic as I said previously and definitely whatever spices you like. Also this would be incredible with sugar snap peas- I wish I had some!

1. Heat sesame oil in pan.

It looks like a lot of oil, but it's really not. I eyeballed about a tablespoon total.

2. While oil is heating, dice your chicken into chunks. I used two chicken breast halves that I had defrosted over the weekend.


3. Cut broccoli into small peices and rinse.

4. Open can of baby corn, drain, rinse and cut into smaller bite size pieces

5. Add chicken, broccoli and corn all into pan at same time and start cooking. Now you could easily add the chicken first and let this cook and then remove and cook veggies after. I threw it all together because I was hungry and I like my veggies a little more on the tender side.

Pretty huh?

6. After everything is almost done cooking (aka chicken is done and veggies are ALMOST at desired tenderness), open a can of water chestnuts, drain, rinse and add to skillet. I let this all cook for another 2-3 minutes just to warm the chestnuts slightly.

Food looks done

Add chestnuts.

7.  Put rice on plate right before stir fry is done. I made 10 minute rice in a different pan while this was going. That's pretty self explanatory (um read the box) so I didn't tell you how to make that. Here's my rice on my plate.

  Then I added the stir fry and put soy sauce all over the mixture.

Now, like I said.. I was in such a hurry that I didn't add onion or garlic or red pepper flakes, a mistake I won't make again. I was making Matt's dinner at the same time mine was cooking, while I was STARVING after spin - so I definitely would correct that if you plan to make this. I was a little upset my chicken didn't brown more, but that's because I cooked it with the veggies. It's okay though! Cooking the dish in sesame oil definitely adds flavor that you wouldn't get with canola or olive oil - so I highly suggest it if you have it around. I actually prefer beef cooked in sesame oil to chicken, but hey.. it worked tonight.

Stats: Entire dish - 444 calories, 13g total fat, 3g sat fat; 48g carbs; 36g protein; 779g sodium (this is a VERY high sodium meal for me.. it's because of the soy sauce.); 10g fiber.

And just so you know - here was Matt's Quick and Simple Supper I made for him - chicken burritos. WW tortilla topped with refried beans, grilled chicken, cheese, jalepenoes and salsa. He LOVED them!


Happy eating and cooking everyone!

Food updates

Here are finally my food updates from the weekend.

Dinner Friday night:

Do you know what that is??? YUMMMM

Carmelized Cabbage. This was the best batch I've EVER made, must be because I cooked it in my copper bottom sautee pan. YUM.

Hello addiction.

Ben and Jerry's Half Baked Fro Yo = heaven in my mouth. I'm not a big dessert fan, but this is fantastic.

2nd Breakfast  on Saturday

Egg Beaters omelet with turkey, broccoli and cheddar cheese.

Saturday's snacks - though I only ate one of the fruit leathers (the other I had for a snack today!). Those are Newman's own pretzels (delish!) and a Clif Z bar in chocolate chip.

 Breakfast Sunday Morning: 

Nectarine, WW cinnamon toast and two turkey roll-ups with 2% colby jack cheese inside. The turkey roll-ups weren't that great :(

Lexi was trying to eat my breakfast!!

Accompanying breakfast

Dinner Sunday night:

Chicken noodle casserole with WW noodles and peas

Sauteed brussel sprouts (hello delicious!)

Things I love - Week 3

Things I love

1. My post 5K package. I blogged about my pre 5K package from my spark bestie, Heather, but I didn't have a chance to blog yet about my post 5K package from my other spark bestie, Stef. I guess Stef felt bad that Heather had sent me something (even though I told her I didn't need ANYTHING except her support) and I was shocked to get a package in the mail from her on Friday. I had a busy weekend so I didn't even get a chance to blog about it's wonderfullness before she blogged about it this weekend! So I'm referring you to her blog post for the pictures, since we all know that I'm not good at uploading my pictures :) But Stef totally read my mind and bought me the materials to make my first race book! Now I have somewhere to put pictures, race bibs and other assorted race goodies so I can flip back through and look at my races as I progress. I'm super excited to start working on this (hopefully this next weekend) and I can't wait until I can recap my 5K race in November with Heather and Stef!!  Thank you so much Stef!

2. Frozen veggies: This week I'm loving frozen vegetables. Especially the ones that are sold sauceless, extra sodium-less and just plain pure veggies. I typically buy whatever the generic store brand is. Kroger has some great bags that I'm loving this week. I typically buy a lot of veggies when I'm at the store, but they often go bad because things come up and I don't always have time to cook them. So now I've been keeping some frozen blends on hand at all time. This helps a lot when I need veggies super fast, or I'm not in the mood to cut and cook my fresh varieties. Currently my freezer is rocking: broccoli cuts, french style green beans, chopped okra, corn, peas, and carrots/broccoli/cauliflower blends. I love it!

3. The Spark! I pre-ordered this book this morning and it makes me very very happy! Sparkpeople is doing a huge promotion until Oct 12th where you can pre-order the book and receive tons of free stuff including: a $20 gift certificate to the sparkstore (love that sparkpeople swag!), 1000 spark points for ordering now and 1000 when the book is released, access to one of Coach Nicole's new fitness videos and access to a special sparkteam that is having crazy awesome give-a-ways every week until the book comes out! I'm really excited about this book because now when I tell people about sparkpeople I can just hand them the book and they can see for themselves what spark is all about. I'm not sure how much new info I'll get from the book, but I'm excited nonetheless. Now I have to figure out what to buy from the store!

4. Spinning. This is my latest fitness obsession. I found an instructor at my gym who has fantastic workouts and plays great music, so I've been trying to go to as many of his classes as I can. I even bought spinning shoes (these are close to what I bought but not exactly it) this past weekend and they make all the difference in the world! I would definitely recommend them to anyone who enjoys spinning and will get good use out of the shoes! I actually think one day I might become a spinning instructor! I've just got to get my weight down a bit more and become better at it! The spinning shoes really enhance your workout though because your feet are bracketed into the pedal so you can't slip or worry about your feet coming out of the pedal straps. They give you more control when you are moving on the pedal too because you're able to pull your leg, which effortlessly pulls the pedal as well. Also it made my arches and feet stop hurting during the workout, which is awesome!

See the rest of the Things I love series here.

Bad, bad blogger

I don't feel like I've developed a blogging rhythm. Must one have a blogging rhythm before people really enjoy their blog? Or is not having a rhythm actually a fun thing? It's like a grab bag - you never know what I'm going to write about :)

I have to say, even though I have a computer at home - I don't spend a lot of time on there at night and on the weekends. I used to, but I also used to have an ass glued to my couch and TV that was roughly 30 pounds heavier. So the more weight that comes off, the less time I spend on my couch watching TV and screwing around on my computer. I guess this a good thing right?

Well maybe for my ass, but not for all of my dedicated readers :) :)

Seriously though, I've cut back A LOT on my TV habits. I only watch a few shows now, I stopped watching the TWO soaps that I watched every week (hello 10 hours a week (with commercials) that I have cut out of my life) and if I'm watching TV now, I dedicate all my attention to the TV. I was one of those people that had the TV on, Radio on and was on the phone WHILE cooking dinner and chatting online. As I get older and my priorities shift, my love for multi-tasking has fallen to the wayside.

Anyways, I digress. I hate feeling guilty because I haven't blogged in a while and I haven't posted my food pictures for you. Since I try to take all my food pictures with my real camera and not my iphone (trust me, the quality is unbelievably better), I dont' always have time or the energy to upload the pictures to my blog at home. And since I'm generally bored at work a lot, that's where I normally blog. I'll find a way around this, I promise.. but I also want to tell you.. I'm not going to feel guilty anymore about not blogging all the time. At this point, I'm not going to blog 2-3 times a day.. I just don't have that kind of time. Maybe one day. :)

Also I want to tell you that I'm not really an exciting eater. I almost always eat the same thing for breakfast for like 1-2 months straight, then I move to something else and it's that and only that for months. I'm in a cereal and nectarine phase right now and have been for the past 4 weeks. I typically eat the same thing from the night before for lunch the next day. I'm horrible at repurposing left-overs, so I just eat the same thing again! No one wants to see the same things photographed every day, right? This is my justification for not snapping a picture of I hope you understand!

So dear blog readers, yes, I will post pictures of my meals when I can and yes I will update you with step by step recipes I've created (or changed), but I'm not making any promises on how frequently - and therefore you should have no expectations :)

There, I feel much better already! My intention tonight is to upload the pictures I've been taking of meals that I loaded to my computer last night (ran out of time to post). But right now - my intention is to talk about my 14 day no eating out challenge. I am proud to report, I am successfully on day #5 right now.

Here are a few findings.

1. Not eating out is hard for me primarily on the weekends. I'm tired, I don't feel like cooking, or I'm just out and about ALL DAY LONG and don't have the time to make healthy fast things at home. But, I kept reminding myself all weekend that eating something fast and quick at home is still 100X healthier and cheaper than eating things out.

I had a horrible food day Saturday because I was running around so much and by 5pm when I came home, I had barely had 800 calories for the whole day. I was at a Big Brothers Big Sisters event that only had snacks, and I didn't have enough time after my spin class to sit down and eat a proper second breakfast/early lunch.. so I only refueled with about 150 calories after burning 600 in spin. It was miserable. I was STARVING and tired and grouchy and felt awful. Then I proceeded to eat about 700 calories at 5pm when I got home within like 30 minutes and was still hungry. Gah it was miserable. That's one time that eating out, while not as healthy, would have been appropriate to help me stay sane.

2. Even though I've almost cracked a few times, I'm so glad I haven't. I WANT to finish this challenge. I want to see what I learn about myself and how creative I can get in the kitchen. I want to have a reason to eat leftovers because I want them and they are there - rather than go find something else and throw away the leftovers. This is more than just not eating out - this is a challenge to shift my style of thinking about food and start thinking outside of the box and practicing self discipline to eat the right things. Right as in good for you, and good for my bank account.

A majority of my money goes to food. That isn't a bad thing until I'm wasting. I spend a ridiculous amount of money at the grocery story, only to throw out about 1/4 of what I buy - and also spend a ridiculous amount of money eating out. It's not worth it! I have food I can cook! I can think outside of the box and this challenge is REALLY pushing me to do that. Last night I made bean nachos as an appetizer and chicken noodle casserole using items that I had in my pantry that I didn't even realize were there. Most of the time I go to the store and buy food without a purpose or idea of how I'll use it... and then I find myself sticking to my normal stuff I make. It's been so nice to HAVE to think outside the box and mix things together and be surprised with the outcome. I'm also repurposing left-overs, something I'm horrible at, but finding that it's actually not that hard!

3. I don't binge nearly as much when I don't eat out. Aside from a pan of brownies I made for Matt on Friday (I ate like 1/4 of the pan over the weekend - ugh!).. it's so much easier to not blow my day when I'm eating at home. Aside from my high day Saturday, I'm realizing that even when I want to eat bad food - I can make something healthy at home that's already been paid for and not feel too guilty about it. Yes I had a super high day Saturday.. so yesterday I had a super low day. It balanced itself out and the scale DID NOT ( for the first time maybe ever?) show a bad artificial number after the weekend because of salt and dehydration. That feels awesome!

I know I'm only 5 days in, but I definitely am going to keep this up. I think after these 14 days I won't say absolutely NO eating out.. but I will say question when I want to eat out if I really need to. So when times like Saturday come up and it would really really behoove me to stop somewhere and grab something healthy, but filling, I'll do it. And other times like yesterday afternoon when I just as easily could have gone home and cooked instead of stopping somewhere and buying something, I'll remember that I really do enjoy eating at home and it's not as hard as I sometimes build it up to me.

So far, so good!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

14 Day Challenge: Day 1

My intention is to update every day what I eat for my 14 day no eating out challenge. Today is day 1!!

For breakfast I had cereal and a nectarine.

Lunch was a hodge podge since I had NO food when I put it together last night. I mixed ranch style beans, brown rice, chicken and 2% cheddar cheese together. It's absolutely delicious - just sans veggies and a little high on sodium .I literally had no fresh veggies and limited frozen veggies that would taste good with this dish.. so I had an apple with it.

Snack was a chocolate brownie Clif z bar. YUM. I had that before I went grocery shopping after work. My second snack before spinning was a piece of toast with peanut butter.

Finally I went shopping today and bought a TON of stuff. A lot of it was just updating my stock of things - chicken broth, canned chicken, salmon pouches, rice, pasta, beans, cereal etc. etc. Don't you hate those grocery trips? They are always so expensive! For fresh stuff I bought 93% ground beef, brussel sprouts, cabbage, onions, garlic, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, honey crisp apples (YUM), nectarines and broccoli.

I made dinner (and enough for lunch tomorrow) before I went to spin and heated it up after I got home. Spinning was AMAZING by the way!

I took frozen chicken breasts that were defrosted. I cut 3 chicken breast halves in half, so I had 6 chicken cutlets. I sauteed them in olive oil, black pepper, garlic powder and onion powder.

While the chicken was cooking, I quartered brussel sprouts and roasted them in olive oil. After they got out, I put a little parmesan cheese on them. Unfortunately roasted brussel sprouts are not NEARLY as good as roasted cabbage :( The brussel sprouts were a little dry... I'll have to experiment with these. Maybe next time I'll sautee

I also baked a sweet potato. I topped it with a little butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. It was SO delicious and I ate it last since it tasted a little like dessert!!!

Here's the whole meal!

And of course, I had a La Croix - my latest obsession - with it. This was my first time trying the berry. It's probably my least favorite of the flavors - but I have a 12 pack so I will drink it!

I'd call day 1 a success!!


I want to preface this blog by saying I'm not an expert runner. I am a beginning runner and I honestly don't know THAT much about running. I do know how I started running and what has worked for me - so that's what I'm going to share in this blog. If you are thinking about running know that what I say is just my personal experience and nothing is a scientific hard proven fact!

Now that we have that out of the way.. I want to talk about running! I love running! I am a RUNNNNNNNER. And running has been on my mind all morning and everyone keeps talking about it to me, so I figured.. I guess this means I should write a blog about it huh?

Heather had a very good blog this morning about her journey to becoming a runner and she even mentioned me! I was so touched! In the blog, she posed the question of when does someone become a runner? Honestly, I had never stopped to think about WHEN I considered myself a runner? You've got to be very careful because there are some mean, evil and cruel people out there that will ask you when you say you are a runner if you "run" or "jog". This makes me want to punch people in the face. Listen jerk, I'm not walking so what does it matter what I'm doing? I consider anything more than walking to be a "run" and yes if the run is slow, it can be called a "jog".. but it's all the same damn thing!

Back to the question - when does someone become a runner?

I started thinking about it and relating to other things in life. When does someone become a crafter? Or a golfer? Or even something easy like a parent? Well someone becomes any of these things (and more) when they make time in their life for their new passion. Clearly someone like a crafter could pursue their passion much less than a parent would pursue their passion (um their kid)? But the general point is, once something becomes important to you and you actively make time for it - I would consider that a part of your life. So therefore, I decided my definition of a runner would be someone who actively pursues their running fitness often. For me, often means once a week because clearly if you're running any less than once a week, you're probably not making much progress. Running and fitness in general is dependent on you being active more days a week than you aren't. If you are only exercising twice a week, you probably aren't nearly as fit as someone who exercises 5 days a week right? Do I need to prove my theory any more?

So that means that even people who are only running for 3 minutes at a time are still runners. They are working towards their running fitness and they are improving themselves. They won't be stuck at 3 minutes forever, right? Hello all you new Runners who didn't even KNOW you were Runners!

That topic is done. Let's move on to the next.

A lot of people (mostly on spark) ask me for advice on how to start running. And that's why I put the disclaimer at the top because I can't only tell you what I did and what people I know have done. But I love to share my story with people and I have no problem doing it. One girl on spark today told me she has a goal of running a 5K but can't start running because she's too heavy and needs to lose weight before she can run. This is really sore spot for me because I am of the impression that anyone, at any weight, can successfully and safely run. I have no scientific evidence to back this up - but remembering my defition of a runner, if a 500 pound person is running 30 second intervals for 10 minutes 2 times a week - they are STILL running right? Sure they can't do it for long but they are at least doing SOMETHING that isn't walking and I applaud them for it. I started running when I weighed approximately 235 pounds. I ran my first 5K hovering around the 218 mark. Granted, I was not fit whatsoever when I started running and now I am fit, but running played a huge part in me becoming fit.

I am not under ANY circumstances saying this particular girl today is using her weight as an excuse, but I feel like in general - a lot of people do use weight to hold them back from things. WHY? If I hadn't started running there's a great chance I would have given up on being healthy a long time ago. Running is the glue for me. I eat well so I can run well. I cross-train hard so I can run hard. Even worse, if I hadn't started running there's a great chance that today, 20 pounds lighter than when I started, I would have never started. Once you let the fear take you over that you can't do something, it doesn't matter how much you weigh - you won't do it. But instead of saying no, I can't do it, I had a goal and I committed myself to achieving it no matter what. BECAUSE I made that decision, I jump started my weight loss when it was at a stand still and I'm witnessing some incredible changes in my body and cardiovascular health that I never would have dreamed would have happened. If you are trying to lose weight and you want to be a runner, why wouldn't you give running a try right now because it's a fantastic workout and it's just one more thing you can do to lose the weight??

I had a girl on spark tell me after I ran 2 miles straight that she was impressed I could run that far because "girls our size can't run". I was SO offended and mortified. B**ch watch me is what I wanted to scream in her face. I don't CARE what I weigh in relation to what I can do. Those two things have absolutely no correlation in my mind. The ONLY reason my weight is going to stop me from doing something right now is if there is a weight limit and I'm over the limit. That's the only thing holding me back. It's the only thing that SHOULD hold us back.

So if you want to run, do it. In fact - anything that you really want to do, do it. Who cares what you weigh now? I guarantee you if you start working on that goal you'll be 1 million times more motivated when you start seeing progress. Don't make excuses. Don't let the fear take you over. Just go out there and do it.

(and the girl from this morning? I think I just convinced her to give running a try at her weight right now! YAY!)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Updates, Updates

Well this week has been a bit hectic since Matt is moving.

But here are some revelations I've had.

1. I'm fit. Wow, when did that happen? I can go take any class at the gym and ROCK it. I can run a 5K, then walk around the entire night of and not feel anything the next day!

2. Now that I've reached my main goal on this journey of running a 5K, I need to look for more goals. I need to always push myself. And because of that - I've set some new fitness goals today that I will be sharing at the end of this post. Also today I start speed training in my runs. I'm probably going to do speed work twice a week with a long outside run on the weekends. Sounds good, right? For speed work I'm going to start out doing HIIT with running/walking intervals at my gym's indoor track. I'm kind of nervous!

3. I posted a picture from my 5K (also below) on my facebook and had SEVERAL people outside spark tell me that I look like a skinny minnie! Some people that I haven't seen in a long time, which means if they think I'm skinny now, I'm smaller than I used to be! This totally rocks and I can't wait to lose MORE weight and have people do double takes at me when they see me :)

4. In lieu of my 14 day no eating out challenge (starts TOMORROW!), I am going to start a new food series on my blog for "Quick and Simple Suppers." Supper is a southern word for dinner (in case you didn't know). Traditionally in the south, 'dinner' is a big family lunch and 'supper' is your smaller dinner.

side note, but funny story. Matt (more background: Matt is from New Jersey) was going to help one of his friends move a boat right before lunch time and his friend told Matt he had some steaks defrosting and he would make Matt "dinner" after they were done moving the boat in appreciation. Matt started arguing with him saying that he would be there for lunch. The man replies, yes I'll make them for dinner. This exchange happens a few more times and Matt finally gets off the phone and expresses his frustration that the guy didn't understand Matt wouldn't say for dinner. I said honey, dinner is lunch. Supper is dinner. :)

So since supper made the title cuter - I picked supper! Watch out for Quick and Simple Suppers to start soon. I'm REALLY excited. I'm going to post things you can make ahead of time and reheat, and also some things that you can make straight out of the pantry (hello Tyson chicken, we'll be needing you soon!). All will be healthy - I promise!

5. I signed up for my next 5K! It's November 8th in Boston. I'm going up for the weekend for a little family time and also to see my MOST BEST SPARK FRIENDS EVER - Stef and Heather. Together, LSH (Laura, Stef, Heather - also called Legion of Super Heroes). Will be running our first 5K together! This is going to be my second 5K (probably unless I throw in a random one before then) and Heathers first. She's doing her first the weekend before! BUT MOST EXCITING.. this will be Stef's FIRST 5K! I'm so so so excited and proud of them both! They are going to ROCK this with me :)

6. I've been stuck at 217 for a month. Seriously, I've been bouncing between 217-219 for like 4 weeks. I switched my weigh-ins to Tuesday instead of Friday and yesterday I was 216. FINALLY! Whoo-hoo! Can we hope for 214 by next Tuesday?? We're definitely going for it!

7. I tried the cashew cookie lara bar last night. I wasn't a big fan. I'll admit - it was interesting, not at all what I was expecting. I think I was expecting whole chunks of cashew. But I much prefer Clif Z bars. YUM! The lara bar was not worth the 220 calories and 12 grams of fat. I guess I'd rather have a handful of cashews. Well, maybe I'd rather have the bar since it does include a whole serving of fruit. If I can ever find the minis - I'd be willing to try that. I didn't finish the whole thing.. I decided to stop at about 2/3 of it and eat some pretzels instead. Those totally hit the spot :)

8. I'm out of revelations :)

Here are my few fitness goals (more to come):

*Complete a step class without taking a water break using TWO risers
*Pull myself out of the pool using my arms/body instead of the ladder
*Complete the one legged tree pose (a name I made up but it describes the pose I think) in yoga
*Run a 8 minute mile
*Run a 5K in sub 35 minutes (goal for now, this will change as I get faster)
*Run a 10K

Also here is my picture from the 5K! (this was like an hour after the 5K - hence flip flops)

I'm out. Look for Quick and Simple Suppers to start soon, as well as updates on my 14 Day Challenge! I'm about to go do some meal planning so I can effectively grocery shop tomorrow for my 14 day challenge! My intention is to post more food as the 14 day challenge goes by. Let's hope I do!

hasta! - LLB

Monday, September 21, 2009

Things I love - Week 2

Time for things I love this week - Week 2 (5K blog and updates to come later tonight when I'm at home with my pictures).

1. La Croix sparkling water (again). This week I love the papelmousee (grapefruit) flavor. I am trying the plain, lemon and lime flavors this week though.

2. Tyson canned chunk chicken. I used to eat this a lot for fast and quick meals before I started watching what I ate. I don't know why I stopped (besides the higher sodium count) because it is SUPER convienent! I find myself often making excuses for eating fast food or eating junk for dinner because I have no meat defrosted. So now I'm making this a priority to keep this around. I drain the can, rinse a few times to remove extra salt, and usually saute in a non-stick pan with spices to make the chicken taste better. Try it! Put it on top of a salad, or mix it with rice, veggies and cheese. You'll thank me!! (note you can use any brand clearly.. Tyson is just what I normally buy :) )

3. If you haven't been to this website, TRUST ME! It will change your life. Spark people is a healthy lifestyle online community that's 100% FREE. There are weight loss tools for you - including a food tracker, weight tracker, fitness tracker, goals trackers, exercise videos and demonstrations, articles on healthy foods, lifestyles, etc. As if all of that wasn't enough, they have an interactive community where you can join spark teams and post to message boards so you can meet other people who are living healthy and trying to lose weight - just like you! I have met some of my very very best friends in life on this website and I definitely think you should check it out if you are looking for motivation and inspiration. Even if you are maintaining or not trying to lose weight - there is something for you. Everytime I am feeling blah and off track, logging into spark immediately makes my day better and makes me feel inspired. I owe all my success to spark!

4. Confidence. Sure you've heard the word.. but have you ever put it to use? I'm loving confidence, because with confidence I can do ANYTHING that I set my mind to do. The first step to acheiving any goal is getting rid of any negative feelings about it and just believing you can do it. So next time you REALLY want something, sit yourself down and tell yourself that you WILL accomplish this goal. Throw out any "hopefully"s, "maybe"s, "i'm not sure if I can"s and say you WILL do it. Then be confident in yourself, come up with a game plan, and make it happen. Don't teeter, don't faulter.. be confident and you'll be much  more likely to accomplish your goal. Listen folks, I'm not asking for anything outrageous here. You won't get anywhere unless you change your expectations to match your goals. If your goal is to lose 20 pounds but your expectation is to only lose 5 then give up, guess what you'll do? Be confident, work hard and believe in yourself! Expect great things and great things will come to you!

In case you missed it - check out week 1 here.

Friday, September 18, 2009

5K preparations

This is my final blog of the night! jeez! I've been on a roll tonight.

I got a very wonderful package in the mail today from my spark bff Heather. It was full of wonderful things for my 5K tomorrow.

There was a card...

A new sweatband with LSH initials inside of it (LOVE IT!)

A burts bees kit for tonight

and an apple pie lara bar and nuun (liquid hydration.. like healthy gatorade, says heather)

This was perfect, thank you so much Heather!

And finally I made my 5K playlist. I made it for 50 minutes, even though my goal is to finish in under 45 minutes (hey I'm slow!!), just because I like to skip songs sometimes and I also will only listen to various parts of my final song - since it's my sprint and I only like to sprint to the parts where they sing "I get knocked down, but I get up again, you're never gonna keep me down"!
  1. Prodigy - Breathe
  2. Lady Gaga - Beautiful, Dirty, Rich
  3. Madison Avenue - Don't call me baby
  4. Petey Pabloe - Show me the money
  5. September - Cry for you
  6. Madonna - 4 minutes
  7. Ida Corr - Let me think about it
  8. Bubba Sparxx - Ugly
  9. Aly & Aj - Potential breakup song
  10. Lady Gaga - Poker face (space cowboy remix)
  11. The Classic Crime - Gravedigging
  12. Lady Gaga - Lovegame
  13. Chumbawama - Tubthumping (I end every single run on this song)
I'm off to get all my things ready and go to bed soon! I have SUCH a sore throat. I'm hoping it goes away by tomorrow!!

Broken Spaghetti Risotto

Instead of just posting the ingredients of my dinner tonight, I thought I'd take you through the process and show you how to make Broken Spaghetti Risotto since it's kind of a multi-layer meal.

So first, let me tell you about this dish. This is a recipe from Rachel Ray and she makes this with a lot more ingredients than I do. I like to keep it kind of simple and eat things along the side. Her variation has mushrooms, arugula and hazelnuts. I don't have that kind of time. Sometimes I add different vegetables and often I add chicken right to the dish, but tonight I didn't have any meat defrosted so Matt bought a steak for us to eat (more on that later).

Also I feel like I should sort of explain my eating habits. I count calories. I try to eat by the thought process 1/2 plate veggies, 1/4 protein, 1/4 carbs. Sometimes this doesn't happen and I end up at 1/3 for each portion. Other times, like tonight, I end up at 1/2 carbs, 1/4 protein and 1/4 veggies. I typically have one meal a day that is heavy on veggies and the other is light. Also - I almost never eat dessert after dinner as I'm not really a sweets eater, so typically my meals are a little on the large side. Also I mostly eat chicken and turkey, but I do still eat pork and beef occasionally because I get way tired of chicken. I almost always eat ham on my sandwiches. Variety is the spice of life people and a little pork or beef won't kill you!

Some nights I measure everything I use. Other nights, I don't and I just estimate. I'm pretty good now at knowing measurements just by looking. Tonight I didn't measure, therefore I have no measurements for you!

Risotto is actually a method of cooking instead of the type of rice. A lot of people don't realize this. Risotto is the process of cooking a carb (rice) in liquid so that the carb soaks up the liquid and releases starch. You repeat this process and add a small amount of liquid, wait for the carb to absorb, then add a little more. As the carb releases starch, the starch becomes creamy and thus the dish becomes creamy and gooey without adding any type of milk, cheese or cream. This is just my interpretation of risotto, so by all means if I said something wrong - feel free to correct me. Rachel Ray does this with spaghetti and it's awesome!

Here is what you need for this dish (the variation I made tonight, feel free to switch it up and add whatever you want. You are just learning the method, not the actual recipe).
  • Chicken stock (I use unsalted, use what you want)
  • Water
  • EVOO
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Whole wheat spaghetti
  • Peas
  • Parmesan cheese
1. To start, pour some chicken stock and water together (heavier on the stock) into a stock pot and heat. You want this to stay warm the entire time (not boiling though) as you will pour this into your pasta mixture.

2. Next add EVOO to a skillet and heat. Once heated, add chopped onion and garlic and let this sweat out a bit.

3. Now add spaghetti. I take spaghetti and break into three pieces. You want to add and stir around until spaghetti starts to get brown.

4. Now, most people (including Rachel Ray) would add a few shots of white wine to deglaze the pan. I didn't have any wine open and I didn't want to open some and risk drinking it tonight, so I skipped this step. Do as you wish. Instead of adding wine, I just added a small amount of the stock combination to deglaze the pan and waited for it all to evaporate.

 See all the steam? That's the first shot of liquid.

5. Now you are just going to add some of your hot liquid to the pan and stir and wait for it all to be absorbed and then repeat as many times as necessary until your pasta seems soft enough for you.

Pan full of liquid

Time to add more liquid

Pasta almost done. Can you see the difference?

6. After the pasta is soft enough and absorbs most of the liquid I add my veggies, chicken, what have you. Tonight I added frozen peas. I put a little more liquid over the peas and just let this dish cook a little longer until the peas were warm.

Can you see the difference in the pasta now?

7. I added a little parmesan cheese while the dish was still on the stove. Then after I plated, I added a little more to the top. You can do what you want - the cheese when you add it over heat will sort of stick together and make the dish a little hard to mix and stir. This is why I only add a little while it's over heat.

So there is the dish! In addition, Matt broiled a flank steak. Here is the beginning:

This had BBQ sauce, worchestire sauce, onions, a sprinkling of parmesan cheese (random?) and various spices.

And now the final product:

And here is my final plate. I made some garlic toast to go along side. I had about 1/4 the steak (6 ounces), 1/3 the pasta and one piece of toast.




garlic toast

Sorry,  I know the shadows are epic. Oh well.

And here are the two cooks for the night :) (along with a clever oven mitt boob grab, thanks to Matt)