Monthly Archives: March 2009

Happy Blog-a-Christmas!

Hi, everybody!! I hope you are having a great week so far. Mine has been good, and it got even better today when I went to check the mail. I’ll tell you all about it, but first, here are some of my eats from today. For breakfast: oat bran– of course!

Oat Bran BrekkieThis was my typical bowl. In addition to the oat bran, I stirred in some maple syrup, banana, and Jay Robb’s vanilla whey protein powder. I topped it with strawberries and Dark Chocolate Dreams PB. The berries and PB are my favorite part of this bowl for sure! So good! Check out my boring, plain travel mug. It got upgraded today, and I’m so glad! Stay tuned for that…

I had my appointment at the dermatologist and was starving by the time I was done. Since there was a Subway nearby, I decided to go ahead and have lunch.

Eat Fresh... plus a cookie...I had the Subway Club on Honey Oat with spinach, onions, tomatoes, red peppers, olives and pickles topped with provolone, a little light mayo and some spicy mustard. I haven’t had Subway in awhile, and I enjoyed it. I especially enjoyed my little cookie splurge at the end! Lunch held me over pretty well, but I did have some peanut butter puffins around 3:00. Closer to time to head home, I had this:

Blueberry OikosI really do love the blueberry Oikos. See the berry swirl? I topped it with some Zoe’s granola, as usual, and it was such a satisfying snack! Once I got home, I had some of my Spiced Zucchini with Bulgur, along with two Trader Joe’s turkey meatballs, a spot of ketchup and a few Brussels sprouts. I love eating a couple of these meatballs when I’m in the mood for meatloaf. It usually does the trick!

Din DinI followed that up with another yogurt selection that I have wanted to try for awhile now: Rachel’s Blueberry Pomegranate! I’ve been having lots of fun in the yogurt aisle since switching from points to calories!

Rachel's YumminessI thought the flavor was really good, although I’m not sure it necessarily tasted like pomegranate. I definitely enjoyed the flavor, so I guess that makes it a winner! After that, I nibbled on some dark chocolate and had a bit of peanut butter and bread. I see a few chocolate chips in my future, but then I’ll be calling it a day. A really good day. A Blog-A-Christmas Day, in fact! I went to check the mail this evening and discovered a whole host of awesome things!

Score!The pretty pink shirt and mug were my prize for the BSI: strawberry contest. I was drinking out of an ugly, plain to go cup this morning, but I will no longer be sipping from an ugly mug. I love the pink travel mug and the shirt! I’m such a coffee lover, and I’m so amused with this cute logo! I’m going to Alaska in May, and now I’m looking forward to it even more! Here’s a close-up:

Pretty in PinkI LOVE it! So cute. Thanks, Laura! I also had two cookbooks that I ordered last week. I used the Amazon gift certificate I got from Christina for winning BSI: Cabbage as a downpayment on the cookbooks. I can’t wait to read them. I love Jamie Oliver’s show, and, well, Alice Waters… do I need to say more? Thanks, Christina

Cookbooks!You can also see some Country Bob’s goodness and No Pudge coupons that I won from the giveaway hosted by Lucky Taste Buds. I can’t wait to try the sauce out after seeing it used on so many blogs, and I always love a good brownie! Thanks, Lucky Taste Buds! I had one more little surprise package. My mom sent me the little Arkansas notepad, along with a pretty little kitchen towel, a little basket liner (she knows I can’t resist frilly little kitchen linens), and a couple of other fun things. I’m feeling very spoiled right now with all of my new stuff. Thanks, mom and thanks to everyone!!

I finished up in the gym about an hour ago, and I need to do a bit of tidying up before I go to bed so I’m going to sign off. I do want to mention Sarah’s giveaway at Tales of Expansion. You could win a product from Bob’s Red Mill. Oat bran, anyone? Check it out! I love Sarah’s blog. It’s always such fun to read!

Good night to you all, and have a very happy humpday!

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Filed under cooking, diet, Fitness, Food, Uncategorized, Weight Loss, Weight Loss Success Story

Slow but Easy Baked Beans

dscn22741

Wow! This weekend flew by and Monday did as well. I’ve been too busy to post since Friday, and I’ve missed it and all of my bloggie friends! I hope everyone had a great weekend. I did! It even came complete with a tiny bit of sunburn. I wasn’t properly prepared for the beautiful weather at the cookout on Sunday, but it was certainly nice to see the sun!

Thank you all so much for the wonderful comments you left on my last post. I will treasure them! I’m so happy with my new approach for now, and I have to say that I had a much less stressful weekend full of eating activities, largely due to my new outlook. It was lovely. I didn’t realize how stressed I had been about food situations. I’ve just been doing my best to choose things that I really want, and then eat reasonable portions. I think I’ve done pretty well.

I don’t have any photos (some friends don’t know about the blog…), so I won’t get into too many longwinded details, but I will say that over the past few days, I’ve enjoyed bastilla, lamb couscous and chicken mkali at a Moroccan restaurant. I had Rabbit Fricassee with Gnocchi, Coq au Vin, Chocolate Mousse Cake with Bourbon Cherries, and an assortment of items from the charcuterie menu including spanish ham and an amazing duck prosciutto at Vinoteca, which is a very cool wine bar and bistro on U Street. At the cookout, I had a small portion of some pulled pork that my friends had smoked, salad, some of the baked beans I’m going to tell you about, and a small lemon bar for dessert. I love lemon bars. Yum!

I’ve kept my portions small, tried to skip the bread when possible because it isn’t my favorite thing anyway, and tried to plan ahead while eating during the rest of the day so as to leave a bit more room in the calorie count for these richer foods. I’ve kept up with my workout schedule too. The last few days have been nice, and I haven’t regretted any of the things I’ve eaten. I figure that’s a pretty good sign that I’m doing ok. Time and the scale will tell, but, as I said before, I’m absolutely prepared to keep tabs on the situation and adjust if necessary. 

So, on to the beans! I volunteered to bring baked beans to the cookout, and I wanted to try making them from scratch rather than just doctoring up some canned beans. Here’s the recipe I came up with:

Mmmmm....

Slow but Easy Baked Beans

Ingredients:

1 lb. small white beans, uncooked

water

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/8 tsp. salt

1 cup chopped onion

3 ounces center cut bacon, chopped

1/2 cup Virginia Gentleman Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

2 tsp. dijon mustard

Directions:

Rinse and sort the dried beans. Place the beans in a large pot and cover them with water. Bring the pot to a boil, and boil for 10 minutes. Cover, and allow the beans to sit for one hour. Drain the water, rinse the beans again and place them in a slow cooker. Add 1 1/2 cups water, onion, syrup, brown sugar, salt and bacon. Cook over high heat for four hours. I added a splash more water to the slow cooker around hour number three because the beans were looking a bit dry. You might want to keep an eye on them and add a little water if needed.

Add the barbecue sauce and dijon mustard and allow to cook for an additional hour.

I made mine the day before the cookout, so I spread them in a baking dish and reheated them at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes just before I got ready to serve them. I think this was good as it allowed a bit of a crust to develop on the top.

This made about sixteen 1/4 cup servings.

I decided to use smaller amounts of syrup and brown sugar than usual, and then to finish it off with a distinctively flavored barbecue sauce to punch up the flavor. I think that the sauce gave the beans a nice taste without adding quite as many calories. I also wanted some bacon, but I didn’t want to go overboard. There was enough in there to give it some good bacon flavor without resulting in greasy baked beans. Here’s what they looked like right after I put them in the slow cooker:

The heat is on!

I know this post is short and sweet, but I need to head off to bed. I have a bit of an early day tomorrow. I’m headed to the dermatologist in the morning for an annual check-up, and I’m sure that my bit of accidental sunburn will earn me a well deserved lecture. Here’s a question: Do you wear sunscreen every day or just when you expect to be out in the sun for a long period of time? 

My everyday foundation has sunscreen in it, and my face didn’t burn at all. I have a weird stripe on one forearm and my collar bones got a bit singed. It is lovely, to be sure. Speaking of lovely, I hope you all have a lovely night and a lovely week. I’m hoping to get caught up on reading/commenting over the next couple of days. I’m sure I’ve missed some great posts! Goodnight!

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Filed under Beans, cooking, diet, Fitness, Food, Recipes, Slow Cooker, Uncategorized, Weight Loss, Weight Loss Success Story

Reflections on My “Pointless” Week

blossoms-and-monument2In honor of the kickoff of the cherry blossom festival, I thought I’d share a photo from a couple of years ago. I hope you like it! This isn’t my usual Friday post, and I haven’t had a typical week. For the record, I wouldn’t recommend snacking on the Washington Monument. It is not a featured snack. Before I get to my week, I want to say thanks for all of the creative suggestions as to what to do with my rejected Jocalat bar. Composting it is my favorite suggestion by far! I’ll let you know if I find a good use for it or end up chucking it in the trash.

Happy Friday, by the way. I’m so glad that the weekend is here, and I have a pretty busy one planned. Tonight, I’m going to dinner with a new friend, and I haven’t been told where we’re going so I’m in for a surprise. Fun! Tomorrow, I’m going out to brunch with some lovely friends, and I think our plan is to try out Rock Creek Restaurant, which is a local restaurant that has healthy eats and provides the nutritional information to go along with them. I’ve heard that the food is amazing! On Sunday, I’m going to a cookout to get caught up with some friends that I haven’t seen in awhile. I’m bringing the baked beans so stay tuned for that project! My fingers are crossed for good cookout weather.

If you’ve been checking out my posts this week, you know that I decided to have a week of “pointless eating.” After being a devoted WW point counter for over four years, and having recently found myself in both weight loss and mindset ruts, I decided to change things up and see what happened. This is a long post. Warning: Lots of words ahead!

First of all, in case you haven’t guessed already based on my posts this week, I’m planning to stick with calorie counting for awhile and see how it goes. I’ve felt much more freedom in my food choices, and I’ve tried so many things I had avoided because they weren’t the lowest point yogurt or cereal or bread or whatever. It’s been a fun week of trying new things, and I’ve found some foods that I absolutely love.

I also said that I was going to focus on feeding my body a healthy number of calories and healthy food and just see what happened with the weight loss. I’m tired of trying to decide whether its time to switch to maintenance, so I thought I’d let my body decide for itself. At the end of this week, after enjoying my fair share of treats and healthy food, I’ve lost 5.8 pounds. I weighed in today at 154. Shaking things up and getting out of the rut seems to have done the trick in a big way.

I’m so grateful to WW. While following the program, I learned to eat healthy foods, to really watch my portion sizes, and to understand the relationship between my activity level and my food intake. As I said before, I just think our relationship has grown a bit stale, and I feel like it’s time for a change. I know that the plan works, and it’s in my back pocket in case I need to go back to it. I won’t hesitate to do that if the need arises. I take comfort in knowing that I have a safety plan.

A great habit from WW that I do plan to keep up is tracking my food on-line. I decided on day one of the “pointless” week that I wanted to continue tracking, and the free tracker at Sparkpeople.com seemed like the perfect choice. I like this tracker because I can track certain things like protein, calcium and iron, in addition to keeping count of the number of calories I’ve eaten and burned. I discovered that I was eating much more than the recommended daily amount of fiber and not nearly enough fat. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I was never diligent about eating my servings of healthy oils on WW, and that would certainly have helped with that problem. On the plus side, I discovered that I was getting enough protein. I had been worried about my protein intake as I had been eating less meat. It’s nice to see that I’ve been doing pretty well. My trainer will be proud!

As far as my calorie target goes, I used Sparkpeople’s tools to come up with a range. I said that I’d like to lose 15 pounds by December 31st. I also provided my current weight, height and the approximate number of calories I burn each week through exercise. Those exercise calories are divided and added in to my daily allowance. I estimated my exercise calories at 2850, which is really on the low end of my usual range, but I thought that would leave me a bit of breathing room with regard to my workout schedule. The numbers were crunched and my daily target for achieving my 15 pound goal was determined to be around 2,000 calories a day, give or take a couple hundred.

Without giving you a day to day breakdown, I will say that I’ve eaten between 1,944 and 2,148 calories each day of this last week, and, according to my heart rate monitor, I’ve burned 2940 calories following my usual workout schedule. I’m eating at the high end of the range each day because I seem to be hungrier, and because I like sampling cookies. 🙂

I realized that I’ve been trying hard to listen to my body’s hunger signals for awhile now, but that my eating was very much focused on hunger avoidance. It’s hard to listen to signals when they aren’t being transmitted. I’m wondering if I’ve been consuming more calories than I realized in the form of zero point foods. I’m always quick to grab some celery or broccoli to fill myself up if I even start to think about getting hungry. It’s a switch to realize that those foods have calories. By never really allowing myself to feel hungry, I wasn’t allowing my body to communicate. It was much easier to listen this week since there was actually a two way conversation going on. When I’m hungry, I eat. Sometimes I eat when I’m not hungry, but I know that’s ok too.

Am I planning to officially go on maintenance now rather than try to lose? Yes and no. I’ve decided to leave my target set with my small and long term weight loss goal in mind, but I’m going to try my darnedest not to beat myself up if I go over my calories on any given day. I expect to go over a bit this weekend, and I’m already counseling myself that it’s ok for that to happen. My goal is to make reasonable choices and to enjoy myself! What’s reasonable? I guess that will depend on the situation, but my basic idea is this:

  • I’m not going to eat something just because it’s there.
  • I won’t eat everything on my plate unless I really want it or am truly hungry.
  • I will try to make healthy choices when dining out, but, if there is something that I really want, I will get it and just try to eat a reasonable portion.
  • I will try to avoid chewing mindlessly while watching the television or sitting at the computer, and I’ll make sure to really taste and enjoy my food. I’ve learned that it helps to actually look at the food I’m eating. I’ll also use my dining table more often for eating rather than just for collecting stray scarves and the day’s mail.
  • I won’t let one meal with friends spill out into a whole day of overeating. I’m already pretty good at this one, but it’s still good to remind myself that it’s important.
  • I will remind myself that it’s ok if I don’t lose any weight this month. By far, I expect for this to be the hardest part. I’m going to focus on the fact that I’m pretty happy at this size and, as I said before, a few more pounds of loss aren’t worth a truckload of frustration and stress. If I can lose a few more pounds by following my new plan 90% of the time, I will happily let those pounds go! If not, well, I just bought some new pants that fit pretty well, and as long as I can keep wearing them, I’ll save money on clothing expenses. I can’t really imagine why I’d feel more content in size 4 pants than I do in these size 6 ones. Given that I was a size 26/28 for a very long time, I can barely fathom the fact that I can wear a size 6 to begin with!

If you pay close attention to the last bullet, I mentioned losing weight over the course of the month. While I’m planning to continue weighing myself on a daily basis, I’m not planning to make such a big deal out of it. I will keep tabs on things for sure, but I think that the only way for me to complete this change in mindset is to move away from the idea of HUGE FRIDAY WEIGH-IN AHEAD! I see it as a bright orange caution sign. It’s kind of like “Beware of Falling Rocks” or “Slippery When Wet.” I need to use the scale as a way to monitor where I am so that I can make necessary adjustments, but it should not play a larger role than that. It’s just a tool. It isn’t the be all and end all. I’m going to post about my weight again, but not until April 24th– four weeks from now. I hope you understand why it’s important for me to make that change.

I know that this is a long post, and I appreciate your patience with all of my words. I wanted to give you a full account of my “pointless week” experience. Please feel free to ask if there’s something I didn’t mention and you are left feeling curious. The thing that I hope anyone reading this will take away is that change can be a very good thing. It isn’t the idea that one plan is better than another. It’s the idea that getting out of a rut and trying something new can be good for the body and the mind.

So, you know what I’m up to this weekend. What are your plans? I hope you’re up to something fun!! Have a great weekend! 🙂

Maybe I’ll see some of these:

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Filed under diet, Fitness, Food, Uncategorized, Weight Loss, Weight Loss Success Story, Weight Watchers

Zucchini and Cookies

Zucchini

Happy Thursday! The weekend’s almost here. I just hope the weather improves. It’s been gloomy and cloudy with drizzle all day today. It’s not warm either. The cherry blossom festival is about to get under way, and I just hope the little blossoms manage to stay warm.

Oat Bran!I had another day of tasty “pointless” eats, and I made a zucchini dish for dinner tonight that I’m going to tell you about. It was good, and a great way to use up the zucchini that came in my last Merry Produce Wednesday box. This morning, I started off with a bowl of oat bran. I’d just been missing it too much to have regular oats for another day! I added 1/3 a pack of Jay Robb’s strawberry whey protein powder, 1/2 Tbsp. of maple syrup, half of a banana that I smushed up, and some cinnamon and nutmeg. I tossed some strawberries on top with 1/2 Tbsp. of Dark Chocolate Dreams. It was gooood! 

Blue Ridge Dairy GoodnessBefore kickboxing, I had a bowl of Greek yogurt. I’ve been waiting to finish up some Fage before trying out the nonfat Greek yogurt I bought on Saturday at the farmer’s market. The Blue Ridge Dairy folks have kept me well fed this week with the smoked mozzarella. This yogurt? Oh my gosh. It was so good. In fact, I think it was the best Greek yogurt I’ve had! The add-ins were pretty awesome too. I added 1/2 Tbsp. of orange and fig spread along with some chopped vanilla almonds. It was the best thing I ate all day!

Cabbage Nest Primavera... againAfter kickboxing, I was starving! I woke up hungry this morning and that continued into the afternoon. I had my last Cabbage “Nest” Primavera along with a few Brussels sprouts. I’m made sure to get a good singe on my cabbage since the burnt bits were so tasty when it happened accidentally yesterday.

Lunch DessertAfter that, I enjoyed a slice of my cottage cheese bread with some Mighty Maple PB and half of a Cookiehead Belgian Chocolate Chunk cookie. Yes, this is another thing I hadn’t tried because it wasn’t very points friendly. You can tell that it is made with whole wheat because it has a nice soft texture and a nutty flavor. I really liked it, and I will definitely be trying the other flavors available at my store!

dscn2257Eventually, I decided it was time for a snack so I had a little strawberry Yokids with some Zoe’s granola mixed in. YUM!

Cashew and Pear CrazinessWhen snack time rolled around again, I decided to have a variation on the apple and PB theme. I had a pear and some cashew butter sprinkled with a ton of cinnamon. WOW! I’m living on the edge. 🙂 It was a really nice combo. Red pears are so pretty!

Din Din

By dinnertime, I was seriously hungry again! My body has adjusted to the new eating framework, and there are some noticeable changes. I seem to be hungrier, but yet more satisfied. I will talk more about that in tomorrow’s post. Just know that when dinner time rolled around, I was ready! I had a Gardenburger Chik’n Grill patty on some Nature’s Own Double Fiber bread with a little light mayo and some pickles. On the side, I had some grape tomatoes and some Spiced Zucchini with Bulgur. 

Spiced Zucchini with BulgurMy recipe for the zucchini dish was loosely based on this one from an old Gourmet magazine. I ran across the page I had torn out the other day while I was cleaning out a folder of random magazine pages. I have a habit of tearing out pages that interest me and then losing them due to the lack of any sort of organizational system whatsoever. I was glad to find this one. My version is actually quite a bit different, but I wanted to mention the original because it would be good too. Here’s mine:

Spiced Zucchini with Bulgur

Ingredients:

3 cups of boiling water

3/4 cup of bulgur

1 tsp. salt, divided

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 cup onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed or sliced

1 1/2 pounds of zucchini, cubed

3/4 tsp. ground coriander

1/4 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. chili powder

 1/4 tsp. black pepper

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary

Juice of half of a lemon

Directions:
Place bulgur and 1/2 tsp. salt in a medium sized microwave safe bowl. Pour the boiling water over the bulgur, cover and let it sit for three minutes. Then, place in the microwave, uncovered, for 6 minutes. Remove from the microwave and give it a stir. Return to the microwave for two minutes at a time, stirring it at each two minute interval. It took about ten minutes for mine to absorb most of the water, but the time could vary. Just continue microwaving until the water is absorbed and the bulgur is tender.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet and add the onion and 1/4 tsp. of salt, sauteeing for one minute. Add the garlic and saute for one minute. Add the zucchini and the remaining 1/4 tsp. of salt. Saute the zucchini, stirring gently, for about 6 minutes or until the zucchini is tender.

Add the remaining ingredients except for the lemon juice. Continue to cook the mixture for two more minutes. Remove from heat. Stir the zucchini mixture into the bulgur, being gentle so as to avoid mashing the zucchini. Add the lemon juice and give it another gentle stir. 

This makes 8 side servings, but two servings could make a nice lunch.

It was creamy and kind of reminded me of risotto! I used rosemary because I have some growing in a pot, and it is need of some serious trimming. You’ll be seeing a lot of rosemary until I get my plant under control. I used a whole tablespoon of olive oil because I’m trying to make sure and get enough healthy fat into my diet each day. You could certainly use less or just use cooking spray. I will say that this dish had a much richer texture than I expected, and I have to attribute it to the olive oil. It felt decadent! Yum! Fat!!

DessertAfter dinner, I had the other half of my cookie and a cup of fat free Nestle’s cocoa. After that, I decided to try the chocolate orange Jocalat Bar from Larabar. I didn’t take a picture. I also didn’t eat much of the bar. I’m now faced with a dilemma. I did not like the way this bar tasted AT ALL! I love chocolate and orange together, and I expected to love this. Instead, I thought it had a weird and unpleasant taste. I’m not sure what the deal is, but, as I try not to waste calories on things I don’t like, I now have most of a bar to dispose of. I don’t think that giving a half eaten ancient larabar to trick or treaters in October is appropriate, but that’s the only idea I’ve come up with so far. What do you think I should do with it? I’m also curious if anyone else has tried this bar. Maybe mine is defective? Well, at any rate, I’m going to be looking for another little treat this evening, and I’ll be putting this little number in a ziploc baggie where it will await its fate.

Today was day seven of my “pointless” eating week. Tomorrow I’ll let you know how it went and what I’m planning as I move forward. It has been a good week, and I’ve done more food journal posts than usual to sort of let you see what was on the menu. It’s a lot of work! I don’t think I’d like doing it everyday, but it is fun to look back and see what I’ve eaten.

I have some major cleaning to do this evening, and I need to get to it. If you are reading this, please leave a comment and let me know what on earth I should do with this bar?!? I’m hoping you have an idea that is better than mine!

Have a great Friday and an amazing weekend!

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Filed under Cookies, diet, Farmer's Market, Fitness, Food, Recipes, Uncategorized, Vegetarian Recipes, Weight Loss, Weight Loss Success Story, Weight Watchers

The Last Oikos Review and Another Journalicious Day

BrekkieHappy Humpday!! I’m glad that we are that much closer to the weekend! I still have a bunch of things on my “to do” list including planning my excursions, and I suspect that it will all come together this weekend. Thanks so much for the comments on yesterday’s post. I still haven’t decided what I want to do while in Alaska, but the input is much appreciated!! I also just love reading comments. You guys have such great ideas!

 I started today with another bowl of regular oats. They were good, but I’m missing my oat bran. Oat bran was kind of like the upgrade from the Keds I loved in high school to the fancy running shoes I wear now. Even so, this bowl was no slouch. I finally decided to get some PB2, because curiosity got the best of me, and there is some chocolate PB2 in the bowl. There is also a bit of honey, a smushed up banana, a slew of berries and a little spoonful of Dark Chocolate Dreams PB. I couldn’t really taste the PB2, but the verdict isn’t in on it just yet. I did enjoy dipping my berries in the Dark Chocolate PB. You can’t go wrong with strawberries and chocolate! I didn’t add protein powder this morning and… I was starving only two hours later. Lesson learned. I broke into my bowl of peanut butter Puffins about an hour before lunch, and I was too hungry to snap a photo. Imagine a ravenous wolf and you will get the missing picture.

Lunch on the Crazy Carpet

I had a pretty big lunch today. I met a friend at a frequent lunch spot– a museum close to the office. The tables were all full when we arrived so we started out sprawled on the floor. Don’t you love the crazy carpet? I haven’t cooked much this week because I’m having one of those “clean out the freezer” kind of weeks. I like making use of what I have, and making room for more. I had bulgur chili again today along with a piece of light string cheese, the rest of my cookie and a Mocha Latte yogurt from Stonyfield Farm. I’d never tried this yogurt, and I have to say that it was good. I’d had a coffee flavored yogurt made by another company before, and it had a funky after taste. This one didn’t. Yay! I’ll buy it again! Do I even have to mention how good the cookie was? Awesome!

Just like yesterday, having a bigger lunch seemed to keep me away from the snack parade much longer than usual. Around 4:00, I decided it was time to try out the last of my free Oikos yogurts from the Stonyfield Farm folks. I was excited about finding the blueberry at my store this weekend, and I would have been even more excited if I’d known how good it was. I loved this little bowl!!! The honey flavor was a bit too sweet for my taste. The vanilla flavor was good. The blueberry– oh my gosh! It had just the right amount of blueberry in the bottom and, together with the awesome creamy texture, it made for a very delicious mix. I will not only buy this again, but it might even deserve a special trip to the store. Did I mention that I love it?

Blueberry Oikos

As usual, I had some Zoe’s granola with the yogurt, but this would have been amazing on its own. 
Blueberry LoveAfter the yogurt, I had an apple with some peanut butter. What a classic combo! The apple was a Braeburn, and the picture doesn’t do it justice. I just can’t seem to find a good spot to take pictures in my office, but I’m working on it! It was a bit of a challenge to remove the centers with my plastic kid safe knife, but I got the job done.

A Classic!When I got home, I made up another of my Cabbage “Nests” Primavera concoctions. I broiled it a bit longer than usual and some of the cabbage got a bit crispy. I think I liked those bits the best. I should slightly burn my food more often!

Cabbage "Nests" PrimaveraAfter the main event, I had a piece of my cottage cheese bread, courtesy of the freezer, topped with some of the regular PB2. I’m not sold. I think I prefer my Better ‘n Peanut Butter. I just mixed it with water, but I’m sure that other liquids would make it more interesting. I think I’m going to try mixing it directly with jam tomorrow. If you are a PB2 fan, I’d love to know what you mix with yours. I thought the flavor was a little bland, although the texture was totally fine.

I also had half of a 3 Musketeers mint bar that I bought on a whim. It’s fun to buy things like that on a whim. It’s been a long time since I’ve done that. As for the bar, well, it didn’t satisfy my chocolate craving at all, but the mint was yummy. It reminded me of an overgrown Junior Mint. I tossed the second half in the freezer. I think I’ll like it better if its on the frosty side.

TreatsI’m proud that I identified the chocolate craving and didn’t just eat random things. I had a chocolate brownie Z bar, and it did the trick! These bars always remind me a bit of no bake chocolate cookies. You know, the ones with all of the oats, chocolate, sugar and butter? With my chocolate craving taken care of, I headed to the gym.

Z Bar

My workout tonight was good. It was one of the “boring” nights where I just do cardio on the cardio machines. I say “boring” because it is much less entertaining than sessions with my trainer or kickboxing. Even so, I ran a pretty good mile, which surprised me. Sometimes I don’t feel like I have the energy to run. It’s usually ok once I get started, but I really hate running on the treadmill. Tonight was one of those nights when it was hard to get started, but, once I did, I felt sort of energized as I picked up speed. It ended up being pretty nice! I also put in my time on the elliptical and the stairmaster. I’ve said that I refuse to do things I hate, and I don’t hate these exercises, I just like a lot of other things better. Tomorrow is kickboxing, and I’m looking forward to it. This girl needs variety!

I saved one little treat for after the gym.

Goji Berries CrunchThis is yet another thing I bought at the store on Sunday that I’ve wanted to try but avoided because of points. I don’t know that I’ve been missing out with this one. It was good, and the cashews were awesome. However, there wasn’t much chocolate flavor and the 150 calories were gone in a couple of bites. It gets a “meh.”

I’m having so much fun this week just trying all of these new things that I’d left on the shelves before. My trip to Whole Foods was so much fun. I may go into fun overload the next time I visit Trader Joe’s!! Speaking of fun, there are a few giveaways to mention, and then it’s time for me to get to bed.

There is a very cool My Way Cereal giveaway over at Run to the Finish.

AND

An awesome Vita-Mix giveaway is going on over at Jumbo Empanadas.

I will see you guys tomorrow with my usual Thursday food journal post. I feel weird that I haven’t posted any recipes for several days now, but I’ll be back in the kitchen stirring up a batch of trouble once I make a bit of room. Get ready to see bulgur chili again tomorrow!!! Good night and have a great Thursday!

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Filed under Bread, cooking, diet, Fitness, Food, Weight Loss, Weight Loss Success Story, Weight Watchers

Pretzelogically Delicious and My Opinions on Some New Eats

BrekkiePretzelogically speaking, I’ve had a great day!! Why? I ate the rest of my Berkshire Bark’s Pretzelogical bar as my end of the day treat. I’m getting ahead of myself by skipping to dinner dessert, but that’s appropriate since I started looking forward to it while I was making my yummy oat breakfast right beside the rest of the bar! This morning’s bowl had regular oats, half a banana, a few strawberries, some brown sugar that had gotten a bit dried out, 1/3 a packet of Jay Robb’s strawberry whey powder and a few vanilla bean almonds. It was good and held me over until lunch and then some!

Jay Robb looks so friendly on the package, but sort of intimidating too. Do you think he would be fun to hang out with? I guess it’s hard to tell just from the picture. I’m a fan of his whey powders, that’s for sure. Today was my first time to try the strawberry, and I thought it was good. It had a nice berry smell, but not really a strong berry taste. It mixed in well with the other things in my bowl and bumped up the protein a bit, so I can’t complain. I still think I like his vanilla whey variety the best.

The pretzel chocolate goodness is not the only reason I’ve had a great day. I also finished my taxes. Woo hoo! I always put them off, but then feel so much better when they’re done. It’s nice to be able to check that off of the “to do” list. I also exchanged some pants that I bought over the weekend and later realized were TOO short. Shopping is much more fun now than it used to be, but I need to remember to look at the bottom of my legs when buying pants and not just focus on how they fit on my behind! It was a productive day, and properly fitting pants are always a good thing.

Before I headed to the store for my quick lunch hour trip, I had this:

LunchI put the leftover pork tenderloin on an Arnold’s whole wheat sandwich thin with a few pickles, a bit of mustard and some Cabot 75% reduced fat cheddar. I love this sandwich! I may have to visit the farmer for some more of his awesome pork tenderloin on Saturday. It was sooo good. I also had an orange, a serving of baba ghanouj and a pile of chippy cucumbers. Following that, I had this So Delicious strawberry coconut milk yogurt with some Zoe’s granola for lunch dessert.

So Delicious?This was my first time to try one of these coconut milk yogurts, and I think I’d built my expectations up too high. I didn’t love it. It was fine, but the texture wasn’t as creamy as I would have liked. It wasn’t incredibly sweet, which was ok since I had it with the granola, but I don’t think I would have enjoyed it much on its own. I usually love anything involving coconut, so I’m sad that I didn’t love this. I probably won’t buy the strawberry again, but I am still open to trying some of the other flavors.

I tried to do a better job of gauging my hunger before eating my snacks this afternoon, and I think I did pretty well. It may also help, that the first snack I had was a very satisfying one. On my crazy “pointless” shopping trip to Whole Foods this weekend, I picked up so many fun things that I’ve passed by time and time again. One of those things was this peanut butter cookie from the Alternative Baking Company. This little vegan cookie is one of the best peanut butter cookies I’ve ever had. Period. It’s dense and chewy (as all good PB cookies should be!!) and it had big chunks of peanuts scattered throughout. Half of the cookie was 230 calories, so I’ve been eating it in thirds. As you can see, there is one third left in the wrapper. I’m looking forward to having it tomorrow!

Peanut Buttery HeavenMuch later (did I mention that the cookie was satisfying!!!), I had the little bowl of Peanut Butter Puffins. Man, those things are good. I was surprised that I didn’t reach for my snacks sooner, and it was almost 3:30 when I jumped into my bowl of Puffins. That’s a whole hour later than I usually start the snack parade. Wow! I realized that things were off schedule, and thought I’d make the most of it by really paying attention to what was going on. Sitting in front of the computer, it’s easy to fall into the same trap that often presents itself when eating in front of the television: mindless eating. Have you ever eaten something and then realized that the bowl was empty and you’d really only barely tasted the food? I think that often happens with my afternoon snacks. I tried to really enjoy the Puffins today. This may sound silly, but I tried to actually LOOK at the Puffins while I was eating them. It’s amazing what a difference it made. The bowl lasted longer too. Hooray!!! Closer to quittin’ time, I decided to have one other snack– a Prune Activia yogurt.

PrunieliciousSo, there’s a story that goes along with this yogurt. I often vacation with a friend I’ve known practically since birth, and our excursions are always a great chance to get caught up. Unlike me…, she’s great at planning trips. We’re both pretty laid back tourists, and I love traveling with her. I don’t do well with a packed schedule. It’s vacation! She understands this well. Anyway, she’d been living abroad in a place where this yogurt was available, and had been missing it after a recent move back to the states. When we went to the grocery store in Portugal last summer, she was excited to find this yogurt. Yep, they have Activia in Portugal. I didn’t know what the big deal could possibly be until I tasted it. It has a flavor unlike any yogurt I’ve ever had, and I love it!! I was so excited when it showed up at my grocery store. I always think of her when I eat it. 🙂

I don’t eat this yogurt for its probiotic properties, but I did come across an interesting article today that discussed the recent probiotic trend. I won’t get into the details, but if you are interested, here’s a link to the article. As for me, the thing that motivates me to buy this is simply the pruney goodness!

The metro was having some issues tonight, and I got home a bit later than I would have preferred. That meant that I needed to grab a quick dinner and then scamper off to strength training with my trainer. I decided that a quick salad was the answer, and I painted the dressing on this one “Jackson Pollock style.” Fun!

Jackson Pollack StyleThis salad has red leaf lettuce, grape tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, a hardboiled egg, some turkey pepperoni, a bit of feta, and my Greek yogurt and smoked paprika hummus dressing concoction. I used a knife to sort of spatter the dressing around on the salad, which gave it a bit of Jackson Pollock flair. It was good and had lots of satisfying protein. Of course, I probably ate it faster than I should have because I knew that this was waiting for me:

Pretzelogical

I ate the much anticipated remains of my Pretzelogical bar, and I enjoyed every bite. What’s more, I wasn’t tempted to follow it up with fifty little snacks. It satisfied my sweet tooth once again. I had half before I went to workout and the other half after I got back. I earned it! That workout was tough. I love that my trainer provides variety, but sometimes the new moves can be a bit frustrating. Lying on my back holding a medicine ball between my feet, lifting and dipping the ball this way and that, trying to stay in a neutral position the whole time, and trying to avoid dropping the ball or flinging it across the room at another exerciser was a new form of torture. Thank goodness it only lasted for a minute! I’m sure it will be easier the next time, but wow– it was tough!

I’m off now to have one last nibble before I head off to bed. There is a graham cracker and a smear of Dark Chocolate Dreams PB in the kitchen with my name on it. I should sleep well now that I’ve checked “do taxes” off of my “to do” list. Now, on to the next thing. It has something to do with choosing some excursions for the Alaskan cruise I’m going on with my prune yogurt eating friend in May… Did I mention that I’m not much of a planner? 🙂

I love posing questions and reading all of the awesome comments. If you were going to Alaska and needed to pick an excursion, would you: 1.) Go rafting, 2.) Go hiking, 3.) Participate in an activity requiring crampons, 4.) Zipline, 5.) Bicycle through the countryside, 6.) Fly fish, 7.) Ride around on a boat looking for whales, or 8.)Shop and eat tasty things? Hmm… I’d love to know what you’d do if it were you!

Before I go, there are a crazy number of fun giveaways going on around blogland. Check them out! You may win something cool, and you will definitely find some awesome blogs along the way!

There is a Quaker giveaway at Run, Eat, Repeat.

Check out the Barney Butter giveaway over at The Hungry Yogini.

Tons of Michael Seasons natural snacks could be yours at Missy Maintains.

Glorious almonds are the prize at Melissa’s Journey.

You could win a “survive the slump” goodiebag at Meloncauliflower.

There is an awesome granola giveaway at Foods That Fit!

Finally, and I love this one, there is a cool Seventh Generation cleaning product giveaway over at Hey What’s For Dinner?

In the spirit of 30 Rock: Sweetie Out!

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Filed under diet, Fitness, Food, Uncategorized, Weight Loss, Weight Loss Success Story, Weight Watchers

Monday Food-day

Sweet Sweet Grits

I started my day off with a sweet bowl of grits. I love grits, and I love for my grits to be sweet. Some people question my southernness when I mention this, but, I can assure you that I am from the south. Applying rules of logic, I think that means that any way I choose to eat my grits is a “southern way.” 🙂 This morning’s grits had 1/2 Tbsp. of maple syrup, 1/2 Tbsp. of mighty maple peanut butter, 1/2 Tbsp. of cashew butter and 1/2 of a banana all sprinkled with cinnamon. YUM! I’m loving the cashew butter. I also had a combo of cherry and chocolate tea with So Delicious Coconut Milk Beverage and a bit of sugar free Raspberry Torani syrup.

As I’m adjusting to this “pointless” week and the switch to counting calories, I think my eats are definitely changing a bit. Don’t get me wrong. The idea isn’t that I’m going crazy or eating all of my calories in the form of chocolate– not “all,” anyway. I just feel like the seams have been let out of a very tight pair of pants. There’s more room to breathe.

The way I’ve eaten since Friday is very similar, generally, to the way I always eat. That was my intention. The number of calories I’m shooting for each day is still geared to allow me to lose a few pounds so I haven’t come into a sudden calorie windfall either. The difference has been subtle, with the addition of a few lovely treats. Some of these treats are decadent, like the one I had this evening. Others are healthy foods that were a bit “pointier” than other similar options. I thought I’d do a food journal post today to give you an idea of how things are going, and to help me out as well. 

The grits held me over pretty well until lunch, but I started snacking on some orange slices around 11:30. Half of the orange had gotten a little mushy, so I just ate the good half. No reason to waste the good part! I finished up my orange slices alongside my bowl of bulgur chili. Yep. I’m still eating my chili. Some of it went into the freezer, and I’ve been happy to have it this week.

Lunch

For lunch dessert, I had this little container of maple Wallaby yogurt and half a serving of Zoe’s Cranberries and Currants granola. Isn’t the wallaby cute?

Tasty Wallaby

The yogurt is not something I’d let myself buy previously because it was a bit higher in fat and calories (a tiny tiny bit) than some other options. I had a tendency to pick the lowest point yogurt, the lowest point cereal, the lowest point… whatever. This yogurt was so good. I liked the creamier texture, and the maple flavor went well with my granola. This is one of those little treats that is healthy, and I found it to be incredibly satisfying.

I waited until I started getting hungry to start in on my snacks. First, I had some peanut butter Puffins. That’s another item that, as I mentioned earlier, I haven’t bought before. The reason? The cinnamon puffins were a better choice as far as points go. The difference in the nutritional information between the two types is pretty minimal. I’ll just say that I know why people happily post and comment on photos of these puffins. YUM! I’ve been missing out!

PB Puffins!! Finally!Later on, I had a little container of Banilla yogurt (love it!) with some blueberries. I do love my yogurt and mix-ins.

Banilla and BerriesI was in the mood for a warm chocolate cup of comfort so I had a cup of cocoa around 5:30.

Hot CocoaI also had an apple with some peanut butter this afternoon as well as a fun size Snicker’s bar. I forgot to take pictures, but I’m sure you can imagine what they looked like. 🙂 I sometimes wonder if it would be better to eat a bigger lunch rather than snacking so much, but I like the snacks. They break up the monotony of the afternoon quite nicely. I never really get full, but I never really get hungry. Eating a bigger lunch might not be a bad experiment at some point. My snack schedule isn’t the best for the “eat when hungry” rule either, but that’s a challenge that I’ll save for another week.

For dinner, I topped another of my little cabbage nests with the same ingredients as last night, but used an ounce of mozzarella instead of a half ounce. I love my smoked mozzarella. Thanks, farmers! The cabbage nest reheated quite well, by the way. I know what I’m doing with the remaining half of the head of cabbage after the last two little nests are gone– making more!!

Thanks, by the way, to Christina for hosting this week’s BSI. That reminds me: She’s hosting a fun giveaway, so check it out! I was so honored that she chose my dish as one of the BSI winners this week. I am also just so happy that the BSI contest got me to thinking and led me to come up with a new way to enjoy a wonderful veggie! Hooray for blogspiration!

Cabbage "Nest" Primavera Day 2After that, and this would be worth a post of its own, I had my big treat of the day. I bought a number of things at Whole Foods yesterday that I’ve seen and wanted to try for the longest time. One of those things was Berkshire Bark’s Pretzelogical. One half of this bar is a serving, and a serving has 230 calories. A serving also has more satisfying chocolate, caramel and salty pretzel than anything I’ve ever eaten in my life. Instead of eating five things to satisfy my sweet tooth. This one little bar took care of it. I literally looked forward to it all day! Having met my nutritional goals for the day and stayed within my calorie goal, I ate it guilt free. I love that I was able to enjoy this in a reasonable way. It was so good!!

Pretzelogical

So, Sweetie Pie, what have you learned so far now that you’ve made it to day four of your “pointless” week? Well, I’ve learned several things. A few of these things are due to a different tracking mechanism. After logging my food choices in a tracker that keeps track of things like protein, calcium, fat and fiber, I’ve realized that I have probably not been getting the recommended daily amount of fat in my diet, and that I have most certainly been getting a LOT more than the daily recommendation for fiber. I’m not sure that’s a bad thing, but I’m not sure it’s good either. I wasn’t diligent about eating the WW recommended servings of oil each day, which would have helped with the fat. As for the fiber, well, high fiber foods tend to be lower in points. I also really like a lot of them. What I do know is that I’ve been more satisfied over the last few days after adjusting my diet to try to fit into the daily recommendations. Is it the additional fat? Perhaps. On the plus side, I think I’ve been getting enough protein, which is something I’d been sort of keeping track of for awhile anyway. 

I’ve also had a positive experience with a food that seemed outlandish– the pretzel bar. I have the same concerns as before about eating healthy foods that will keep me full. I know that if I just ate the chocolate all day, I would undoubtedly be starving and probably end up with a headache. Instead, my daily food consumption is geared to keeping me full while meeting certain nutrition goals. Today, I met those goals and fit this in too. I managed to balance treats with my healthy eats before, but they weren’t usually treats of this magnitude. I think I was afraid that I’d be starving if I spent a lot of points on something like this. It might have worked. I can’t be sure. All I know is that it worked fine today! 

I can’t wait to see what else I learn this week. The other thing I’m trying to do is to remember that I don’t have to lose this week. I’m having the most trouble with that. I can’t switch those gears so quickly, but I feel a sense of satisfaction knowing that what I’m eating represents a healthy balance. The rest will remain to be seen. Stay tuned. 

Now, I’m headed to bed. I had trouble sleeping last night, and I’m hoping to catch up a bit tonight. I’m a little behind on my reading and commenting too, but hoping to get caught up over the next few evenings. I love reading what other bloggers are up to, and I hate to miss out on all the fun and great ideas.

Good night to you all, and have a great Tuesday!

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Filed under diet, Farmer's Market, Fitness, Food, Uncategorized, Weight Loss, Weight Loss Success Story, Weight Watchers