Monday, October 31, 2011

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Here I Go Again...

It's a duck/dino gourd. Autumn! Deal with it.
Weigh in time!  These last two weeks have been rollercoasteresque, and not in a "yay, rollercoaster!" way.  Every day, up and down, but staying in some high regions that I'd rather forget about.  I didn't even do a blog post about last week, because, embarassingly enough, I was even up .4 from the week before.  Yes, ladies and gents, that means as of last Thursday, I was a pound above where I started my LoseIt journey, and only down 6.2 lbs from January 1st.  Seeing as how I have two months left to get to my 20 lb goal, well... it's going to be a rough holiday season. 

So, last week, I gained .4.  This week, I lost 1.2, which puts me .8 lbs under where I was two weeks ago.  Only .2 lbs under where I started LoseIt.  I am not losing faith, but I am realizing that I need to step up my game.  I've decided that in addition to staying under my calories each day (it's Halloween weekend coming up!), I won't post any exercise calories until the end of the day, as to not use them as an excuse to eat more stuff.  I do plan on using a lot of my 'saved' calories this weekend, but I'm also going to try really hard to only go over my calories on Saturday, a night in which I'll be dressed in costume, and it'll be really hard to stay under.  Ugh.

On a happy note, I have been making some great recipes, and adding a lot more veggies to my meals.  I tried acorn squash last night for the first time, and it was delicious.  Never fear, blog post to come about that!

Goals for the week:
  1. Workout 3x
  2. End the week with a calorie deficit
  3. Exercise WILLPOWER at Halloween Party/ handing out candy
  4. Figure out a non-food related reward for getting to my goal weight
Good Luck, Me!

This week (and last): -.8
Total: -7.4

Monday, October 24, 2011

Pumpkin Seed Almond Crusted Chicken

I have a boatload of roasted pumpkin seeds leftover.  I've been eating, sharing, all of the above, and still have a bunch left.  I probably should have made a few more varieties, but I didn't, so I'm 'suffering' the consequences.  I stumbled upon this recipe for Pumpkin Seed Encrusted Tilapia on SkinnyTaste, and it sounded like a great idea!  Why not use my leftover roasted seeds as breading!  Genius!

I've experimented with breading/encrusting chicken before, and while it's been good, I wouldn't say it's knocked my socks off.  This one though... lets just say I don't know where my socks are.

Pumpkin Seed Almond Encrusted Chicken
1-2 lbs chicken breast, sliced thinly
1/2 C roasted or raw pumpkin seeds (I used my Cinnamon/Salt variety)
1/2 C plain panko bread crumbs
1/4 C raw slivered almonds
1/2 tsp salt, to taste
whatever other spices you'd like!
1 egg, lightly beaten

In your food processor, process pumpkin seeds and slivered almonds until you have a chunky crumb consistency.  Pulse in panko, salt and other spices.  I didn't add much because my seeds were already spiced, albeit very lightly- you can be really creative here with your spices, kick it up with cayenne or add garlic salt, whatever your heart desires!

Put your breading mixture into one bowl, beaten egg in another.  Spray a shallow pan with non-stick spray (I use my Misto).  Dip a chicken breast in egg mixture, then dip in breading, make sure to coat both sides.  Place encrusted chicken breast on pan, repeat until you're finished, with the chicken space evenly in a single layer.

Bake at 400º for approximately 30 minutes, or until your chicken is done.  This will depend greatly on the thickness of your chicken breast.  I served this with wilted spinach and rice, but I'm eating it on a salad for lunch, and that's great as well!

Next time I make this, I do plan on soaking the chicken in buttermilk- it really tenderizes the chicken.  If you do soak in buttermilk, there's no need for the egg to get the breading to stick.

I think this breading would be good on tofu, veggies or fish as well!  It packs a great crunch!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Breakfast of Champions

I love breakfast.  It's a well documented fact.  I'm like Ron Swanson, except, you know, a lady.  Anyways, I just wanted to a little post about how I switched my everyday breakfast up a little bit...  only by adding tomatoes and an egg yolk.  I'm getting farm fresh eggs now from my coworker, and the yolks are so perfect and pumpkin orange that I feel bad throwing them out.  Plus, they're delicious. 

Anyways, wake up a few minutes earlier, and make this for yourself.  It's delicious, nutritious and will seriously give you a leg up on the day. 

Open Faced Breakfast Sandwich
1 slice of toast (I prefer Ezekiel Sprouted Grain)
1 egg
1 thin slice of cheese (REAL CHEESE!  Not American!)
1/2 tomato, thinly sliced
Spices to your liking- I add Matt's Mix, freshly ground pepper and dried parsley flakes

Toast bread.  Make your egg however you see fit- I just microwave it in a cup.  Slice your tomato.  Top toasted bread with a layer of sliced tomato, followed with a slice of cheese.  Microwave until cheese is melted.  Top with cooked egg and seasonings.  Eat.  Enjoy your day.

"Just give me all the bacon and eggs you have. Wait, wait. I'm worried what you just heard was, 'Give me a lot of bacon and eggs.' What I said was, 'Give me all the bacon and eggs you have.' Do you understand?"  - My hero, Ron Swanson

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Pumpkin Time!

My weirdo pumpkin this year
It's that time of year again where apple cider runs rampant, the leaves are accumulating in the backyard, and all of the sudden you have three large pumpkins on your front stoop, just waiting to be carved.  Being a bit of a creative freak, not only do I LOVE carving pumpkins, but I like roasting the seeds as well.  I haven't figured out what to do with the stringy stuff besides the garbage, but it's gross and that seems like a good place for it.  Turns out I need to slow down on shoveling the seeds down my pie hole, cause my teeth are starting to hurt.  Two recipes below!

*HINT!* I found a salad spinner works pretty well for drying the seeds after your excess pumpkin has been washed away.  Whatever you do, do NOT open the spinner while it's still spinning... you'll end up with pumpkin seeds all over your kitchen.  Not that I know from experience or anything...

Roasted Cinnamon/Salt Pumpkin Seeds

1-2 Cups cleaned and dried pumpkin seeds
1 tsp Olive Oil or melted butter
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Sugar

Preheat oven to 275º.  Toss the cleaned and dried pumpkin seeds with just enough olive oil or butter (ooooo butter WOULD be good on these) to evenly coat the seeds.  Sprinkle in your cinnamon/salt/sugar and toss again to coat.  Taste one and adjust your seasoning.  Pour these into a baking pan in one even layer, bake at 275º for about an hour.  Feel free to toss on a little more salt/cinnamon after they're done- I did, and it was worth it.

Matt's Slap Ya Mama Seeds
1-2 Cups cleaned and dried pumpkin seeds
1 tsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Matt's Mix (or salt, or another seasoning salt)
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp-1 tsp Slap Ya Mama (or any other cajun seasoning mix)

Preheat oven to 275º.  Toss the cleaned and dried pumpkin seeds with just enough olive oil to evenly coat the seeds.  Sprinkle in your Matt's Mix, pepper and Slap Ya Mama and toss again to coat.  Taste one and adjust your seasoning.  Pour these into a baking pan in one even layer, bake at 275º for about an hour.

I preferred the kick in the pants from the spicy seeds, but the sweet and salty ones were a nice change from most pumpkin seeds you try.  

And now a word from Buster- my favorite pumpkin I've ever carved!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Surprise

Yeah, the Smoke Monster is following me
Okay... I've been on the verge of tears for the last two days... I gained 2.4 lbs this week.  I literally have no idea how it happened- I've worked out 4 times since last Thursday, ate healthy, and I gained.  A lot.  It's been a complete mystery, and it's driving me insane.  I'm obsessed with the scale- it's affecting my attitude towards everything negatively lately.  I'm actually thinking about weighing myself only once a week, instead of every day, but it's so hard when the scale is staring me down every morning.  I have felt like complete crap the last two days because of this- I have to just get over it.  Get over it, get past it, move on, and stay on a healthy path.

I didn't even want to do a post about this today, because it would make it REAL.  I'm hoping I can get out from under this attitude black cloud, because it feels like a million pounds.

This week: +2.4 lbs
Total: -6.6

Monday, October 10, 2011

Recipe Round Up

Pumpkin Pie Cream Cheese
Cinnamon Honey Walnut Butter- Probably the best nut butter I've ever had.  Let me just say this, I'm never buying peanut butter from the store again.

Spiced Pumpkin Cream Cheese - A great appetizer or dessert- creamy, pumpkin pie goodness with a kick of spices.  I served these with graham crackers, spice cookies, sliced apples and pretzels for dipping.  Yum!

Cheddar Bay BiscuitsTallBoy has been begging me to make these for a LONG time now, so I made them Saturday night.  Apparently, they were spot on for the famous Red Lobster biscuits.  Basically, this recipe will save me from ever having to set foot in a Red Lobster again- once was enough. 

Mashed Sweet Potatoes- Okay, I don't have a link or a full recipe, since I made them up on the spot- but here's the gist: Cube sweet potatoes; boil about 30 min; drain; add sour cream or cream cheese, a touch of maple syrup and butter; mash with mashing device- I use a hand mixer.  I keep the skins on, but I guess that's your prerogative.  Do it!

Friday, October 7, 2011

TallBoy's Famous Chili

When we're cooking, TallBoy and I switch off.  I'll cook, he cleans, vice versa.  There are a few things he's claimed- steaks, burgers, Beer Can Chicken and chili.  He's awesome at all of these; so much so that I just let him tell me when it's time to eat.  When he's cooking other things, I tend to stand around, add stuff and generally be a pest- but when he's making chili, I just get out of the way.

I have argued for making our own chili seasoning, but he swears by the McCormick packet stuff- and I have to admit, this chili comes out pretty damn delicious, so I guess I'll concede on this one.

TallBoy's Famous Chili

2 lbs lean ground turkey
Lawry's seasoning salt
1 green pepper
4 stalks celery
2-3 medium sized yellow onions
1 yellow hot hungarian pepper
8 oz fresh mushrooms
1-2 jalapeno peppers (he uses 2)
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
2 envelopes McCormack HOT Chili Seasoning
2 15 oz cans HOT Chili Beans
2 Cans Dark Red Kidney Beans (drained)

1-2 12 oz cans of CHEAP beer (this is the ONLY thing we use cheap beer in)

** This chili is not for the faint of heart- it is SPICY.  If you want to cut down on the spice, use less hot peppers, or remove the seeds, even use mild seasoning/chili beans, but I recommend it HOT.**

In a large pot, brown ground turkey with a couple of good shakes of Lawry's.  After it has browned, drain any extra grease. 

Dice all fresh ingredients: green pepper, onions, celery, hungarian pepper, jalapenos and mushrooms.  Add half can of beer and diced veggies to ground turkey, cook until soft (NOT mushy).  Again, drain off extra liquid and grease.

Add can of crushed tomatoes and McCormack seasoning packets.  Add remaining beer (he usually adds another complete can of beer for this step).  Add the remaining beans, and simmer for another 30 minutes, at least.  

This is sacrilege to TallBoy, but I like to serve this with a dollop of sour cream and some shredded cheese.

This makes a whole boatload of chili- I'd say at least 8-12 servings.  

Also, make SURE you have a doggy helper.
In my opinion, this is usually the best the next day, when the chili ingredients have been hanging out and comingling for at least 24 hours.  It takes a big person to admit when they've been defeated, and TallBoy's Chili has indeed defeated mine.  The only thing we do NOT agree upon when it comes to chili is the carb that goes alongside- he's a saltine guy, and I am decidedly a cornbread girl.  Although- I did make a perfect beer bread recipe last week with pumpkin ale that we might be able to agree on goes well with chili...

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Some Perspective

My post today was kind of negative.  But I went on some LoseIt Message boards and came across this, in response to someone who also wasn't losing at the rate they wanted to- it made me feel much better today.  It feels like a good day to put things in perspective.
"Please put The Biggest Loser and women's magazine covers out of your mind; losing "thirty pounds in thirty days!!" is not only irrational for most people, but very unhealthy. You should not be trying to lose more than 1% of your body weight per week. You're doing it right.

Weight fluctuates because scales measure everything, much of which can change from day to day. A scale doesn't measure just fat -- it measures everything in you and on you, including but not limited to bone, muscle, organs, muscle glycogen, water, waste, hair on your head, toenails, etc. A normal, healthy person's weight WILL fluctuate from day to day, and sometimes it may seem like a wild ride. If you've had a lot of salt, you can retain water and "gain" pounds in a single day. Good news is: you'll lose that "weight" as soon as your hydration rights itself. You need to concentrate on trends over time, and not get too hung up on day to day. As long as things are more or less trending downward, you're doing just fine. Weight loss is not a smooth progression downward. Examined over a course of months, it will look like a more or less downward trend, but it will spike upward and downward on the way. As I like to say, the line looks more like a snake than a slope, and sometimes it even looks like a sidewinder. Totally. Normal.

You can reduce some fluctuation by weighing at the same time and in the same condition. Many people here weigh first thing in the morning, after their first trip to the bathroom, unclothed. It doesn't really matter when you do it, but try to keep things consistent. If weighing every day freaks you out, then don't do it. Only do that if you enjoy gathering data and can keep the ups and downs in perspective.

Don't be taken in by the people who think the measure of success is how fast you can lose weight. Fast weight loss is not good weight loss -- and fast weight loss is often followed by regaining the weight. If what you are doing is a TRUE lifestyle change, then small changes over time, resulting in small losses over time, will add up to big things in the long run. By the time you reach your goal weight, you'll be completely trained in how to live as a thinner person. If a magic unicorn waved his hoof in your direction and you were immediately 120 pounds, you would have no idea how to stay at that weight and Mr. Unicorn really didn't do you any favors (let's assume the unicorn added a magic tummy tuck in there too, but you get my point). Use this time to learn to live a healthier life.

As long as the weight is going down, don't worry about how fast it goes. Some weeks you'll seem to lose nothing, and then you may seem to drop a whole lot the next. Weight loss goes in fits and starts, not a smooth progression. Your body has a lot of adapting to do. Don't ask it to do too many things at once and you'll have a sustainable way to reach your goals.

And really, what you are trying to do here is lose fat, not weight. It's a subtle difference, but an important one. Water weight? Who cares ... doesn't really matter toward your health. Muscle? You definitely want to eat enough to support your muscles, because if you're undereating and lose muscle instead of fat, that's bad news for your metabolism. It might help to get a scale that measures body fat percentage as well, and track that along with weight. Also start keeping a log of measurements -- waist, hip, bust, upper arm, neck, thigh, wrist, etc -- because sometimes the scale doesn't move but measurements change."

-Barb F. from the LoseIt Message Boards

Baby Steps

I've already done a post with this title, I'm pretty sure.  Probably this picture too.  I'm down this week by .6 lbs, but I'm still feeling the same sentiments as I did when I weighed in last week.  Frustrated and confused, but not throwing in the towel.  I have a new pair of jeans that I'm dying to break in, but they don't quite fit yet.  I don't want to fill this blog with pessimism, but I'm frustrated as hell.  When will eating healthy + working out regularly = weight loss?  I'm not measuring myself (which I should probably be doing), but damn it, I want to see the numbers go DOWN!  Preferably by MORE than half a pound!


This week: -.6 lbs
Total: -9.0