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!


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

Slow but Easy Baked Beans


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:


Slow but Easy Baked Beans


1 lb. small white beans, uncooked


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


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!


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 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:



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

Zucchini and Cookies


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


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

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!


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.


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!


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:


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!


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.


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!!


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!


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

Cabbage “Nests” Primavera and a Vanilla Oikos Review

Beautiful BloomsToday has been such an amazing day!! The sky was blue, the sun was shining, people were strolling, and it was just nice to be out and about. I snapped the picture up above while standing in front of Whole Foods. I love when things start to bloom!

I’m on day three of my “pointless” week, and I’m feeling so good about it. Thanks again for all of the comments the past few days. They were much appreciated! I looked at the store in a whole new way today. I bought the peanut butter puffins instead of the lower point cinnamon ones. I bought some cashew butter for the first time ever. I got another Larabar. I’m looking forward to working these formerly forbidden foods into my menu this week. It’s nice being out of the rut!

Among the new things I picked up at Whole Foods today was a container of vanilla Oikos. I was excited to find both the vanilla and the blueberry, the two flavors I hadn’t tried. I used the remaining two coupons sent to me by Kristina at Stonyfield Farm. Thanks again!

Vanilla OikosI tried the honey flavor last week, and I liked it but found it to be quite sweet. The vanilla still had a nice creamy and smooth texture, but it wasn’t nearly as sweet as the honey flavor. I think I might have liked the vanilla better. The honey was good, but it definitely had more honey in it than I usually put into a bowl of Greek yogurt if I’m sweetening it myself. I thought that the vanilla flavor was nice, and it went well with my blueberries and my Zoe’s Cranberry and Currant granola. I finally got some Zoe’s granola after hearing so much about it, and wow– it’s good stuff! I would definitely buy this yogurt again. It’s yummy, and it’s nice that it’s organic too. 

After I got home with all of my exciting purchases, I repotted a few plants, popped my new basil plant into a big pot, and started thinking through my BSI entry for this week’s cabbage contest hosted by Christina at Dinner at Christina’s. I had a basic idea, but I hadn’t worked out all the details. Feeling inspired by springtime, I decided to turn my cabbage into little birds’ nests and top the nests with some tasty Italian tidbits. Sorry the picture is so dark. Oops! Here’s what I came up with:

Cabbage "Nests" PrimaveraCabbage “Nests” Primavera


The “Nests”:

1/2 medium sized head of cabbage, cored and very thinly sliced

1/4 cup egg beaters or one egg, beaten well

2 Tbsp. parmesan cheese

1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

1/4 tsp. salt

nonstick cooking spray

The Toppings:

2 links of Sweet Italian Turkey Sausage

12 grape tomatoes, halved

1 portabella mushroom, cubed

cooking spray

2 ounces of smoked or plain mozzarella, finely chopped or grated


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray a baking sheet generously with nonstick cooking spray.

Place the thinly sliced cabbage into a medium sized bowl. By the way, I just used a knife to slice my cabbage rather than dragging out any fancier shredding type gadgets. Mix the parmesan, egg beaters, salt and pepper in a small bowl and then pour the mixture over the cabbage. Using tongs, mix the cabbage around until it is all coated in the egg beater mixture. Divide the cabbage mixture into four mounds or “nests” on the baking sheet.

Scatter the halved grape tomatoes around on the baking sheet in between the “nests,” with the cut sides facing up. Sprinkle them with a bit of salt.

Spray the tomatoes and cabbage mounds with cooking spray, and roast the tray of veggies in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove the cabbage nests and tomatoes from the oven, and heat the oven to broil.

While the cabbage nests are roasting, prepare the toppings. I was in the mood for Italian (hence the “primavera”), and wanted to use some of the smoked mozzarella I bought yesterday at the farmer’s market! So good!

Break up the Italian sausage while browning it in a skillet coated with nonstick cooking spray. When the sausage is browned, add the cubed mushroom to the pan and continue to cook until the mushroom cubes reduce in size. This will probably take five additional minutes. 

Top each little nest with 1/4 of the sausage and mushroom mixture, six tomato halves and 1/2 ounce of mozzarella– more, of course, if you are feeling cheesier! 

Pop it under the broiler until the cheese has melted and browned to suit you. 

A scattering of fresh basil would be a great addition after broiling. I just wasn’t ready to snip my new plant yet. 🙂

This makes four servings.

Here’s what it looked like before it went into the oven:

BeforeHere is the after picture:


Finally, here it is with the toppings ready to go under the broiler:

Broil Me!I transferred it to a little skillet because I was only eating one this evening. I think they should reheat with no problem. I layered the nests in a container with little slices of waxed paper to keep them separated, and I’m planning to broil up a fresh one tomorrow night for dinner with some of my leftover topping mixture. 

I wasn’t sure if this was going to be a good recipe or… a big mess. I’m happy to say, that it was good! Hey– it involves roasting vegetables, and I almost always love roasted veg! The cabbage nests are a bit like a cabbage fritter? latke? pancake? Well, whatever you call it, the cabbage gets a nice sweet flavor, and the egg and cheese really bind it together nicely. This could be topped with a wide variety of things, and I can’t wait to experiment. I’m thinking that goat cheese would be amazing. Actually, I’d be pretty happy eating it without any topping at all. I love cabbage!

Now, I need to get caught up on some blog reading and get things ready for tomorrow. I hope that everyone has a very good week, and plenty of sunshine wherever you are! I think it’s going to be a great week. 🙂


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

Saturday At the Farmer’s Market

Blue Ridge DairyToday was a gorgeous day. It was chilly, but the sunshine made me smile! I also had a very therapeutic time writing my previous post. I am on cloud nine right now, and I feel like things are looking up!

It was so nice out when I woke up this morning, that I decided to head down to the farmer’s market. I should tell you that I don’t have far to go to get to the Courthouse Farmer’s Market on Saturdays, and I feel badly that I haven’t been a regular patron through the cold and gloomy months. I could almost just roll out of bed and land there, so I have no good excuse. Granted, the pickin’s are a bit slim when the growing season isn’t in full swing, but there are still plenty of local farmers braving the cold to sell a host of things including amazing free range eggs, handmade yogurts and cheeses, and ecofriendly meats like the ones I purchased today.

My HaulI’m reading “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” right now, and it is one of a long line of books I’ve read on topics like eating locally, the lack of a traditional food culture in America, and environmentally friendly food practices. Each book I read increases my awareness of the plight of the small farmer, and the reasons we should support and treasure them. Here’s one great reason: these beautiful brown eggs!

Thanks, Chicken!I come from a farming background. My father’s ancestors established a homestead in South Dakota where they raised a number of things including cattle. My mother’s parents, the grandparents I mention so often, were the children of sharecroppers in Arkansas and Tennessee, and they spent some time as cotton sharecroppers themselves before my grandfather stopped farming, got a job in the local hardware store and moved the family closer to town. Both of my parents grew up on farms. While farming was never their vocation, we always had a sizable garden and lots of pecan trees so perhaps they subconsciously needed a “dirt fix.” Oh, and our house is in the middle of a field. 🙂 Even now, I grow things, including tomatoes, in pots out on my apartment balcony. I’m convinced that dirt is in my blood. I appreciate the hard work that goes in to growing our food, and I appreciate the farmers who are willing to do it! Look at these awesome mushrooms!

Mushroom LadyI’ve decided to try to do a better job of shopping for certain things at the farmer’s market. The quality of the things I purchase is always amazing, the people are nice, and many of them are happy to stand around and chat on a Saturday morning about their plants, animals and lives on the farm. I get a sense of community, a story about the food going on my dinner plate and a chance to put money to good use. I have nothing to lose! 

PastaI’ve mentioned before that I don’t eat a lot of meat. It hasn’t been a conscious decision, but my taste has sort of evolved in a meatless direction. A big exception to that are the meats I purchase at the farmer’s market. I believe that you really can tell a difference in the taste of an animal who has been allowed to roam about as animals are meant to do munching on fresh things (not piles of corn) and living in a healthy environment. I couldn’t resist buying a small pork tenderloin this morning, which turned into my evening dinner. 

Rosemary Mustard Pork TenderloinI mixed up a marinade for this 1/2 pound pork tenderloin that contained 1/2 Tbsp. soy sauce, 1 tsp. brown sugar, 1 tsp. country style dijon mustard and 1/2 Tbsp. of fresh rosemary snipped from my potted rosemary plant. My dirt! 🙂 I slathered it on the pork and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Then, I roasted it in a 400 degree oven for about 25 minutes, until the thermometer read 160. It turned a lovely mahogany color, and had an amazing taste and aroma. It couldn’t be easier, either. This was a dinner to feel good about. 

Dinner!I enjoyed an oven baked sweet potato topped with cinnamon and some Brussels sprouts on the side. I only ate about 1/3 of the pork because I love leftover pork tenderloin on sandwiches! It’s always a good choice if you are looking for a lean meat, and when it is as flavorful as this piece, it becomes one of the best choices I can think of for sandwich making– period! I know what I’ll be having tomorrow!!

I realize that not everyone has the luxury of a farmer’s market outside their door, but you may be surprised to find one closer than you think. If you are interested, this USDA website  has a feature that will allow you to search for the one nearest to you. I’m hoping to feature a number of farmer’s market purchases from now on, and I’d encourage you to check into the wares at a farmer’s market in your area if you haven’t already.

If you are a farmer’s market shopper, what’s the coolest purchase you’ve ever made? I bought some very interesting heirloom tomatoes last summer, including one that was bright purple!

My current quest is to buy some of the first asparagus of the year. If I understand correctly, it could appear at any time. I’m going to be checking next Saturday with a sense of excitement and with my fingers crossed! I might be a little dorky, but… I really love the asparagus hunt!


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

My Pointless Week

A New Leaf

I snapped this photo on my way to the farmer’s market this morning. The tulip leaves popping up around the pansies are new leaves. They are a sign that, despite the fact that there are still some chilly and gloomy days ahead, spring is here! It seemed appropriate to me to take a picture of them, because I feel like I’ve turned over a new leaf too. By the way, this is a long post, and a bit different than my usual, but I hope you don’t mind too much. 🙂

I really appreciate all of the comments on my previous post. This is such a supportive community, and I’m so lucky to have found it. One of the reasons I started my blog was because I felt like I was stuck in a rut. After writing about my weekly weigh-ins for the past couple of months, I’ve come to realize just how deep that rut had become. Looking at my Friday posts, I can see myself go back and forth between the stubbornness that drives me to push on to the weight goal I’ve set for myself, and the viewpoint of nice friends and colleagues who seem surprised that I’m still trying to lose.

Having been overweight for as long as I can remember, I never thought it would be possible for me to wear something in a size 6. Guess what! I can. When I started on this quest which has led me to lose over half of my body weight, it seemed like an emergency. I was miserable. I felt that I had to follow a straight and narrow path to solve the problem in the most efficient way possible. I’m the type of person who can commit to a long term solution and stick with it. I’m also a person with some perfectionist tendencies that can cause me to make myself crazy with rule following.

Yesterday, I wrote that I was going to try having a “pointless” week. I wasn’t exactly sure what that would entail, so I didn’t get into specifics. Initially, I thought I’d just try to eat reasonably and see what happened. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I wanted…. needed to continue keeping a journal of my food. I usually log everything in my on-line Weight Watchers tracker. That option was out as I was trying not to think “in points,” and they would be right there staring me in the face. I started putting pen to paper, but then I remembered the food tracker available through my sparkpeople account. I’ve thought about using the sparkpeople tracker to track calories before, in part because I was curious about how my daily points allowance would translate. Although I’m still counting “something,” it really is a different way of thinking, and I’ve approached my food in a very different way over the past two days. It has been a breath of fresh air! Strangely enough, I feel like a weight has been lifted. I think that I was just feeling burned out and mired down after four years, and I needed a change– even if that change just means adding larger numbers together. I took a big step out of my rut!

I’d love to tell you that I was brave enough to just try eating without counting anything. That’s my ultimate goal, and I considered leaping into that yesterday. I think I used up all of my bravery just deciding to break away from the plan that has served me so well. Please don’t think I’m criticizing Weight Watchers, by the way. I want to be clear about that. I’m not criticizing it at all. I would still recommend it wholeheartedly to any person wanting to lose weight. I just think our relationship has grown stale. 

To be honest, I like the practice of logging my food on-line each day. I enjoy the fancy spreadsheets and the checkboxes. I like looking back at all of the nice healthy things I’ve eaten. I really don’t have a problem with keeping track, and I may always want to do that. I’ve never counted calories, and, while I can rattle off points values like nobody’s business, I’m not well versed in the number of calories in many of the foods I eat. I don’t think that knowing the calories in my food choices is a bad thing as long as I use that knowledge wisely to make healthy choices that sustain my body and my spirit.I’ve realized that I kind of like the simplicity of the calorie. It is what it is. No formula needs to be applied, there is no room for “tricks” (and believe me, I have some) and every food really counts. That makes sense to me.

I also think that looking at a daily rather than weekly picture of my food choices may be better for me. Focusing on each week and each Friday morning weigh-in has really been frustrating and has made me a bit more obsessive than I think is healthy. A good friend who always hears my weekly woes likes to remind me that Fridays are only a snapshot, which is so true. My food choices on Monday had a big impact on whether I’d be willing to do something with friends (involving eating) on Wednesday. With a Friday morning weigh-in, I tried not to do anything on Thursday nights. I don’t think that’s a very sane way for me to live my life. It isn’t so great for my social life either. What’s the point of looking and feeling better if you are going to hide out on Thursday night worrying about the number you will see in the morning? It is, indeed, a time for change.

Basically, this week (month? year?) I’m sticking to my old habits of eating at least five servings of fruit and vegetables and drinking at least 100 ounces of water a day, concentrating on eating healthy and satisfying foods rather than empty ones, and trying to get at least two servings of dairy. Yes, that’s the weight watchers way of eating, but I’m convinced that it is just a healthy way to eat too. That’s part of the reason I’ve stuck with the plan for so long. In addition to that, I’m continuing in my quest to really pay attention to whether or not I’m actually hungry when I decide to have a bite to eat. I feel like these are all healthy goals, very normal and, um, basically what I’ve been doing all along. The only real difference is the framework I’m using to keep track of it all. 

Oh, and I’ve noticed quite a difference in the frameworks already. That brings me to Vani’s forbidden foods challenge at Fit for Free. From Vani’s site: “This challenge is based on the idea that life is short, we should LOVE what we eat, and denial will only lead to overindulgence. It’s a challenge to leave behind the stress associated with a particular food and begin to trust yourself around it.”

There are some foods that are quite “expensive” as far as points go, and I’ve not allowed myself to have them. I’m not talking about a slab of cheesecake here. Nuts, for example, add up quickly. They’re also good for you. Therein lies a quandry. I eat them, but never a full serving at once. One nutty food that I’ve wanted to try forever, but haven’t, is the chocolate coconut chew Larabar. This nutty little bar would cost me almost 1/4 of the entire number of points I’m allowed to eat in a day. Meanwhile, it is only 220 calories. I say “only” because that is certainly not 1/4 of the calories target I’ve set for myself with the assistance of the sparkpeople tools. I always looked longingly at these bars, but knew that I couldn’t “afford” to have one without seriously adjusting my eating for the rest of the day. It was always safer just to leave it sitting on the shelf with its Larabar cousins. I love coconut and chocolate, so this bar has always sounded particularly tempting to me. It’s full of healthy ingredients, and I’ve always felt as though it was something that I should be able to have from time to time. Tonight, I had one– guilt free. 

Forbidden? Nope!

I enjoyed my nutty yummy Larabar for dessert following my healthy dinner. I savored it along with a cup of tea, and I was just so HAPPY! It didn’t morph into a five point elephant. It sat there proudly wearing its 220 calorie tag. I ate it slowly, enjoying the big pieces of nuts and the strands of coconut, and it was just lovely. I hope it still counts as a forbidden food. I don’t plan to keep it out of my snack bowl any longer!

Does the Larabar example mean that I’m going to be eating more calories this week? Maybe so. Does that scare me? Strangely enough, it doesn’t. In addition to deciding to keep track of calories instead of points and to focus on the day to day rather than the week to week, I’ve decided to let my body decide whether it wants to be in maintenance or weight loss mode. My goal is to eat the number of calories that is healthy for my body, keep up my current exercise routine because the benefits are much bigger than my scale, and focus on eating a healthy diet. If I lose weight, great! I will know that my body needed this change in approach, and, possibly, needed the extra calories. If I start to gain, I may start counting points again. That’s my safety, and I like having a plan B. If I manage to stay the same, well, that’s ok. I’m grateful to have had the success I’ve had, and I’m pretty sure that the benefits of losing another 10 or 20 pounds would not outweigh the stress, obsession and frustration it might take to get me there. I’m going to wear my size eights and sixes with a continuing sense of amazement and gratitude, and any additional pounds I shed will just be gravy. Mmmm…. gravy. 🙂

If you are still reading, thanks for hanging in there. If you skimmed to the bottom, I can’t say I blame you. Writing this post was a useful exercise for me, and I hope that something in it might be useful for someone else as well. Now that I have all of the heavy stuff out of the way, I’m going to finish up a lighter post about today’s visit to the farmer’s market, which I plan to post soon. I’m having a great weekend and feeling so very good about my choices. I hope you are having a great weekend too!


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