Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Year's Eve Appetizer

Our New Year's Eve tradition is fairly simple. The Aussie and I have our friends Korean Cowgirl and her fiance Mr. Handsome over for cocktails, munchies and movie watching. It's never a bad thing to have a bunch of tasty appetizer recipes to chose from, and if they're easy, even better.

Spicy Crab Bites (makes 12)

1 can of lump crabmeat (pick through to remove all shell pieces)
3 ounzes of cream cheese (can be regular, low fat, fat free...)
2 T mayo (ditto)
1/2 t sriracha chili sauce (or a little more if you like even spicier)
2 t chives, minced
non-stick cooking spray
12 wonton wrappers

Preheat the oven to 350. Mix all of the ingredients, except the chives, together until well blended. Put the wonton wrappers in muffin tins that have been lightly sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Spoon the crab mixture in to the wonton wrappers and bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Sprinkle minched chives on top to garnish. This appetizer can be made with small salad shrimp too.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Thursday, December 22, 2011

10K A Day Wednesday Check In

I'm a day late, and more than a dollar short, with my 10K A Day Wednesday Check In. This past week I was only over 10K a couple of days. Saturday I was over, and that was without having my BodyMediaFit on during a 4.6 mile run. I'd love to know what it would have been if I'd been wearing it!

12.14 - 9.675
12.15 - 7,678
12.16 - 9,485
12.17 - 11,131 (plus 4.6 miles)
12.18 - 14,157
12.19 - 6,002 (awful storms, didn't get out)
12.20 - 8,783

Shrimp and Grits

When I was little and we were visiting my grandparents in Houston, we'd have grits as a side dish when we ate dinner at the neighbor's house. Kids in the kitchen, too. I thought grits were disgusting, and the only way I would eat them is to have a big blog of ketchup mixed in. I mean, they were plain. No cheese, no herbs. Slimy yuck. Since moving to the South, I've heard of this mythical dish called Shrimp and Grits. Given my past history with grits, this dish didn't really sound appealing. Then yesterday afternoon, Andrea mentioned that she couldn't wait to make shrimp and grits for dinner. For some reason, that sounded pretty good. Truth be told, everything sounded good because I didn't want to eat much before going to a makeup Weight Watchers weigh-in last night. So I started surfing through the interwebs for a recipe, tweaked it so that it was a bit more Weight Watchers friendly, and came up with this! Oh my gawd, it was good. I will definitely be making this again. I'm sorry I don't have a picture - I was too hungry to stop and take one!

Shrimp and Grits (serves 4 generously - 5 PP per serving)

1 slice bacon, cooked very crispy and crumbled
1 pound medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
1/4 cup AP flour
1/2 t salt and 1 t black pepper
3 cups sliced mushrooms
2 t canola oil
1/2 cup sliced green onions
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 cup chicken broth
3 T fat free half and half
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 t sriracha chili sauce
Non-stick cooking spray

1. Cook bacon, crumble and set aside (it will top the shrimp and grits)
2. Peel, devein shrimp. Dredge in the flour, salt and pepper.
3. In large skillet, sprayed w/cooking spray, saute the mushrooms over medium high heat until tender. Remove from pan and set aside. Add the canola oil to hot pan. Saute the shrimp until halfway cooked and the shrimp are lightly browned. Add in the garlic and cook for a minute. Add back in the mushrooms and green onions and stir together. Stir in the broth, half and half, lemon and hot sauce. Cook for 2 minutes or until the shrimp are done.

Cheesy Grits (serves 6 - 3 PP a serving)

1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup fat free half and half
1 cup of quick cooking grits
1 cup fat free shredded cheddar cheese
1 t sriracha hot sauce
black pepper to taste

In a small sauce pan, heat up the chicken broth until just boiling. Add in the fat free half and half. Whisk in the grits and cook for about 5 minutes, or as instructed on the package. When almost done, stir in the shredded cheese and the hot sauce. Finish cooking until grits are soft. Add pepper to taste.

Spoon the grits on to your plate, top with the shrimp mixture. Sprinkle bacon bits on top. Enjoy!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Wisdom. Or important things I've learned from my dogs

This post has been running around in my mind for a while, but I wanted to wait until today to share it. You see, a year ago, my boy was on the streets. Literally. He was picked up by animal control on December 26th, 2010, and they guessed he'd been out on the street for about a week. He had been dumped at Christmas time. It breaks my heart that people dump their pets any day of the week, but at Christmas time it devastates me. So in recognition of what he, Puppygirl and ShortStuff endured prior to their becoming my children, I give you these life lessons I've learned from them.

Puppygirl, my sweet girl with a beautiful soul, who was very badly abused by her owners and their children. She was taken in by a rescue group because she wasn't adoptable from the shelter and her time had run out. She's taught me that it may take time and patience, but you can learn to trust, find love, and live happily ever after.

Shortstuff, my adorable little girl, was found as a stray as a puppy by the SPCA. The Aussie and I had gone to a home show where the rescue group that cared for Puppygirl was supposed to have a booth. They weren't there that day, but the SPCA was, and The Aussie made a rapid beeline for a crate at their booth. By the time I caught up with him, he was being handed an adorable 4 month old puppy with a personality as big as Texas. She's taught me that it's important to start the day with a smile, a kiss, a good mood, and to tell your loved ones how much they mean to you.

And lastly, The Boy. We're approaching the 1 year anniversary of The Boy coming to be a part of our family. We've had a few rough times. His trust did not come automatically, however nice we may be. He's had to get to know and trust us, and we've all had to get to know him, but we're so thankful that he's a part of our family. What I've learned from him is that even when it seems like everything bad is happening to you and you don't understand why, something wonderful can still come of it.

So, with visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads, the doggies and I wish you all a Happy Hanukkah, a Very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

10K A Day Wednesday Check In

I've been slacking on my steps the last couple of days. Cleaning and other chores needed to be done and I didn't make an effort to go for walks after dinner.

12.08 - 4,558
12.09 - 10,545
12.10 - 14,006
12.11 - 11,121
12.12 - 6,407
12.13 - 8,646

I'm already at 5,044 for today. I did elliptical and training at the gym. It's raining out, but I've promised The Boy that he'd get a walk today. Yup, it's gonna smell like wet dog...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Guilty Pleasures

Tis the season to get carried away by snacking and sweets. Considering my great weigh in on Sunday afternoon, I don't want to throw the whole week away. I do want a little something that tastes nice too, though. I don't work in an office, so I don't have vendors plying me with gift baskets and goodies. It's up to me to make them if I want them.

Yesterday, a person that I tweet with occasionally tweeted about some coconut macaroons that she had drying in her dehydrator. Curious, I asked her about them. Turns out, they were vegan/raw macaroons. I wasn't really into pulling my dehydrator off of a high storage shelf, and I don't follow a raw food diet anyway, so I have nothing against baking macaroons. I also don't want to wait 7-10 hours to eat my macaroons. There are a bunch of similar recipes floating around the interwebs, but you know I like to tweak things. Since I really like Almond Joy candy bars, I used almond extract in my cookies to get that flavor.

Coconut Cocoa Almond Bites (makes 78 cookies at 1 WW point+ per cookie)

3 cups shredded coconut (I had sweetened in freezer, 1 cup had been toasted previously)
1 cup dark cocoa
1 cup of ground almonds
1/4 cup sugar free "maple" syrup
3/4 cup agave
1 T almond extract
1 t salt (which I forgot to put in)

Preheat oven to 250. Cover baking sheets with parchment paper.

Combine all ingredients together. With a small teaspoon, place small scoops on baking sheets. Bake for 30 minutes.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Weight Watchers - week 6 update

This past week was the first week with the reduced points. While I still go over the points, it wasn't by as much. I've gone back to eating more soup too, which really has helped. The veggie soup fills me up and I know I'm getting several servings of vegetables in each bowl. I'll tell you what. It's worked too. After a few weeks of either gaining, having no loss and having a .2 loss, I was down 4.2 pounds yesterday at my weigh in and I hit my 5% goal. This is the lowest I've been in probably 6 or 7 years.

I'm not getting on the scale for a few days though, because we went out to dinner with a friend last night to a Thai restaurant. I was very careful with my points early in the day because I knew I'd be splurging for dinner, and boy, did I. My dinner alone came to 39 points. Add in a couple of big glasses of wine, and I topped the day out at 60 points. It was delicious. And now I'm back to soup...

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Red fuzz

I just got back from doing the North Texas Great Santa Run. It wasn't a timed race, but my garmin time (by the time I got the long santa suit sleeve rolled up and hit stop) was 37:32. Lots and lots of santas there, cute dogs dressed as reindeer, good music, good weather, if a bit cold at 34 degrees. I'm glad for the extra layer the red santa suit gave me, but I'm going to be finding red fuzz around the house for a while. And that's after I was given a once over by The Aussie with a vacuum cleaner and a once over with the sticky roller we use to get dog hair off of our clothes.

Friday, December 9, 2011

BBC Soup

Do you remember the children's story called "Stone Soup" from many years ago? It was about a man who wandered into a town, hungry, but the townsfolk were so poor, they said they couldn't spare any food. He pulled out a stone from his pocket and said that he'd make some stone soup, if someone could give him a pot to use. The folk are curious about what stone soup would be like. The stranger says, well it would be better if I had a little potato to put in it... next thing you know, someone has a shriveled potato that he can have. It would be even better, he says, if he had a little cabbage.. it goes on and on, until, you guessed it, he has made a huge pot of soup from food they didn't think they could spare, and there is enough to feed everyone. Today I made my own version of stone soup, but no rocks were involved. Everything came out of the pantry or the freezer, and I had everything already on hand. I'm calling it BBC soup, because everything came out of a box, a bag or a can (or cannister, as the case was for the garlic powder and spice blend). This makes a huge pot that will serve about 12, and counts as 1 Weight Watchers +Point per 1 cup serving.

BBC Soup (mixed vegetable soup)

1 1/2 - 2 quart boxes of chicken stock (I had a partial open, used 2nd + 2 cups water)
1 bag of chopped frozen spinach
1 bag of frozen mixed vegetables (carrots, peas, corn, green beans)
1 bag of frozen asian style vegetables (broccoli, onion, mushrooms, green beans)
2 cans of diced tomatoes
1 can of cannellini beans, rinsed
1 T no-salt seasoning blend (from Costco, but you could use Italian seasoning blend)
1 t garlic powder

Empty the boxes of chicken stock into big pot. Add in all of the vegetables, tomatoes, beans and seasoning. Stir to mix. Heat over medium heat for about 20 minutes, or until everything is piping hot.

I'm going to be eating vegetable soup all week!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Shrinking Jeans 10K A Day Update

Wednesday is the official check in day for the 10K A Day Challenge, so here goes:

Tuesday (12.06) - 8,235
Monday (12.05) - 3,721 (was not feeling well in evening, no doggie walks)
Sunday (12.04) - 9,098
Saturday (12.03) - 12,732
Friday (12.02) - 9,255
Thursday (12.01) - 7,973
Wednesday (11.30) - 10,285

Well the days over 10k are days were doggies definitely got walks. It's strange how my lower count days, with the exception of Monday night when I was sick, are strength training days at the gym. Saturday's count was really helped by the Zumba class that I took. Lots of steps! I'm planning on taking Zumba again on Friday and maybe a yoga class tomorrow. Add in the Santa 5k I'm doing on Saturday, and my numbers should be up next week. :)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Gee, is there anything else to add to the list?

Last night was not a good night for me. For the last couple of years I've been occassionally getting these strange "attacks" while eating. I basically become unable to swallow any food, and what I have eaten won't stay put. At first I thought it was just because I have a tendency to eat too quickly. Then I thought it was because I eat quickly and, if I'm eating at the coffee table, which is more likely than not, I'm hunched over a bit. Stopping eating doesn't help, sitting up straight and rubbing my upper chest to make it feel better doesn't help, my husband's offer of a drink of water is the last thing I want when it's happening. The results are not fun, to put it mildly. Now it looks like it's something a bit more than either of those things. I'm going to have to put on my big girl panties and go to the doctor to get tests done to confirm this, but all indications point to this possibly being eosinophilic esophagitis. (Strange coincidence, The Aussie's boss was tested for this earlier this year, which is how we found out about this condition. The Aussie described what was going on with me and the boss told him that he's been suffering the same thing.)

According to several websites, EE may be linked to food allergies. The list is not encouraging, for someone who really likes food: milk, eggs, peanuts, shellfish, peas, beef, chicken, fish, rye, corn, soy, potatoes, oats, tomatoes and wheat. The most common food triggers are milk, egg, wheat, rye and beef.

I'm not a vegetarian, for @#*%$'s sake. Granted I've joked that I'd give up meat before I'd give up my wine, but really??? Last night for dinner I made chicken paprika, which I LOVE. So, let's see what's on the trigger list, shall we? Chicken - check, milk - check, wheat and egg (noodles) - check, tomatoes - check. About the only things in the dish that aren't on this list is the paprika and the onion. I can joke that at least I didn't use up all of my WW points yesterday, but I actually would have liked to eat my dinner.

I'm not sure what to do about this. My primary protein sources are chicken, egg, dairy, fish, shellfish and beef. I like tofu as well, but soy is on this list too. Am I supposed to eat pork chops, barley and vegetables for the rest of time?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Soup of the day

Well I think I've figured out one reason I did so well the first two weeks on Weight Watchers. I was eating lots of homemade soup, filled with vegetables. Today has been so dreary that I figured it would be a perfect time to start some soup during my lunch break.

Curried Squash, Carrot and Cauliflower Soup (makes at least 10 cups)

1 winter squash, peeled and cubed (I had a kabocha sitting on the counter, so I used that)
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 head of cauliflower, broken down into pieces
several cloves of garlic
1 1/2 quarts of chicken stock or broth (1 1/2 boxes of Pacifica chicken broth)
1 T curry powder (I use hot)
1/2 t smoked paprika
2 sage leaves
salt to taste (use at the end)

Combine in large pot. Cook over medium-low heat until all the vegetables are soft. Add salt to taste. The veggies are rather sweet when cooked. Puree with stick blender if you have one (they are fantastic) or carefully puree in blender or food processer. If you don't have any of those, mush everything with a slotted spoon. It will just be a chunky soup. I put this in to the recipe builder on weight watchers. The entire pot of soup comes to 14 points.

10K A Day and Weight Watchers Week 5 Update

It's Monday. A dreary, rainy, chilly Monday that followed a dreary, rainy, chilly Sunday. We really need the rain, but this weather was not conducive to getting outside and run. At least for me. Way to go to all the runners who ran White Rock yesterday. I admit I teared up while watching the beginning of the marathon on tv yesterday morning before church, but I am glad I wasn't running in that weather. Because I didn't want to run in the cold rain, I didn't get the run in that I promised FB and myself yesterday. I did get my butt on the elliptical for 25 minutes though, so that counts for something.

Weight Watchers weigh in: unchanged at 172.4. I'm not surprised. We went out to dinner on Saturday night after picking up our Christmas tree. I had gift cards, so we went to Carrabbas. The points splurge for me was having calamari, and it was very good. The rest of the dinner, not so much. Everything was so salty. We were sucking down the big glasses of water and finished my big bottle of water on the way home. And what is with them putting cheese in everything? When I order minestrone soup, I don't expect cheese in it. And when The Aussie orders something breaded, he doesn't expect cheese in the breading. Hello, breading?? Not cheesing. I'm guessing we won't be going back there any time soon.

Speaking of Weight Watchers, I was dropped to 26 points with the new program upgrade. The points were downgraded retroactively, so on Friday morning, my totals were recalculated for the week. All of my weekly points evaporated. By Saturday night's dinner, I was in to my activity points. (I took my first Zumba class on Saturday morning and burned 500+ calories per my BodyMediaFit, so I had LOTS of activity points earned over the week) It's only 3 points a day, but why do I feel like I'll starve? I was logging over 29 each day anyway, using my weekly points spread out. I'll give the 26 points the old college try. I'd like to be at my 5% by Christmas, and this will help. So will running more races. I have the North Texas Great Santa Race coming up on Saturday. :)

I've been using my BodyMediaFit to log my steps for the 10K A Day Challenge. This week's totals are:

Monday (11.28) - 5,000
Tuesday - 10,298
Wednesday - 10,285
Thursday - 7,973
Friday - 9.255
Saturday - 12,732
Sunday - 9,098

Friday, December 2, 2011


I received an email today about a race that's coming to Dallas in 2012: Hot Chocolate 5k/15k. A race with Ghiradelli Chocolate as a sponsor and purveyor of the after-race party treats? How could you not sign up for something like that. So I did. Yup, the person who isn't a fan of 10k races because there are fewer slow people to hide behind has signed up for a 15k. Go me. :)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

How Is It December Already?

Happy December! I really don't know where this year went. The summer passed in a blur because it was so stinking hot that I stayed in side a lot. The fall went quickly, with the weather cooling into much more user-friendly temperatures that the doggies and I have quite enjoyed. The Aussie has even been joining us on evening dog walks. (It's either that or he has to listen to The Boy bark and whine while I take Puppygirl out for a walk first) This time, last year, I was getting ready to run my first half marathon. Oh, the nerves! I'm not participating in White Rock this year, but I want to wish my friends who are, a great race! It's a great course, and the Christmas decorations on the houses in Highland Park are a treat to see.

My update for this week for the 10K A Day Challenge:

Monday: 5,000 steps
Tuesday: 10,311 steps
Wednesday: 10,285 steps

Tuesday and Wednesday I went to the gym and did 30 minutes of cardio, which helped with my step count and activity points for Weight Watchers. Today's plan is weights with The Cajun (my trainer). No race this weekend, but I'm doing the North Texas Great Santa Run next Saturday. I've signed up to run Bold In The Cold in January with my cousin. My plan for this weekend is to head over to run with the LGRAW group either Saturday morning or Sunday morning before church. The problem with Sunday is that Sunday afternoon is my weigh in/meeting day. I don't want to be too hydrated before the weigh in since 20 ounces of water equals a pound. When I run, I suck down water like mad. I always bring a BIG bottle of water with me to the meeting and as soon as I weigh in I start drinking. It's hard to imagine how dehydrated I've been for so much of my life.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Weight Watchers - week 4 update

Um, yeah, there wasn't a week 3 update. That's because I was +1.4 pounds week 3. (hangs head) I was active, I ate somewhat well, drank too much... the usual story. Because I didn't want a repeat of that so early in the whole Weight Watchers journey, I was pretty careful this past week. Well, with the exception of eating Chinese food with The Aussie on Friday evening. We split an entree and I had a cup of egg drop soup before. Good thing I did. General Tso's chicken is 17 points for 1 cup!!!! Shoot me now. I found this out as I was eating leftovers yesterday afternoon after I got back from my weigh in and meeting. So yes, I seriously went over my points yesterday and a huge chunk of my weekly points are gone and it's only Monday. It really tasted awesome, though!

So yesterday's results: -1.6 pounds. I've lost last week's gain and an additional -.2 pounds. Not bad for a weigh in a few days after Thanksgiving. The leader didn't have any 5k charms, which I'm bummed about, because I did share that doing a Turkey Trot was part of my strategy this week. My total down is -6.2 pounds. I have -2.8 to go until I reach my 5% goal. That would be a really great Christmas present to myself!

Last week I started the 10K A Day challenge with The Sisterhood. I've logged my steps with my BodyMediaFit.

Wednesday - 3,532 (wore arm band for half the day)
Thursday - 18,305 (yay Turkey Trot and dog walks!)
Friday - 13,094
Saturday - 10,493
Sunday - 1204 (I took the armband off after church to charge it, plus I didn't want the weight for my weigh in so I didn't wear it the rest of the day)

Steps and activity = happy dogs = activity points. Win/win situation.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Eggy Cups - Or What To Do With Leftover Veggies

My favorite Thanksgiving side dish that I love to indulge in is stuffing. Specifically, Pepperidge Farms herb stuffing. I didn't make much, so the leftovers are already gone. (dipping cold stuffing in cold gravy is my favorite way to eat it!) I did make a lot of veggies yesterday - a bag of steamed broccoli, cauliflower and carrots, and a tray of roasted asparagus. I made a batch of my Eggy Cups with spinach yesterday morning after I got home from the Turkey Trot, and they got polished off very quickly. This afternoon I made another batch, this time with the leftover veggies. At 1 Weight Watchers Plus Point each (17 points for the entire dozen), these are filling and healthy.

Eggy Cups with Sausage and Veggies (makes 12)

12 wonton wrappers
2 Jimmy Dean turkey sausage patties, diced
1/2 cup chopped, cooked asparagus
1 cup steamed broccoli, cauliflower and carrots, chopped
1 cup Egg Beaters
1/2 cup shredded fat free cheese
PAM cooking spray (olive oil)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray each wonton wrapper with cooking spray, using your finger to evenly coat wrapper if needed, and place in muffin tin cup, spray side down. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until lightly browned.

In a small skillet, heat up the diced turkey sausage and chopped veggies. My broccoli, etc., was very over cooked, so it became more of a mush. Attractive sounding, right? Add in the Egg Beaters and stir until well mixed together and eggs are almost set. Add in the shredded cheese and mix in. Fill the wonton cups. These can be seved hot or cold.

10K A Day Challenge

Yay, another Sisterhood challenge that doesn't involve getting sent to Exile Island! This goal is to get up off our butts (my words) and log steps. Since I work from home, my butt spends a lot of time in a chair. I need to make an effort to increase my steps. Yesterday's Turkey Trot and the afternoon dog walks really helped. I logged 18,316 steps on 11/24/11. I put on my BodyMediaFit this morning. So far, I'm only at 755 steps, so I have a long way to get to my goal of 10,000.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving to All

It's 6:45 am and the intrepid runner leaves the house, spouse asleep, a couple of doggies at the door, wanting walks and wondering why they're being left behind. The fog was very thick as I drove to the race location in Frisco. I'm not familiar with the area and visibility was awful. Today, I am thankful for having a GPS in the car, even if her voice is annoying and I call her "bitch" quite frequently.

This was my first time running a Turkey Trot. I missed running one 2 years ago (when I first started to do C25K) because I rolled my ankle while running with the dogs a couple of weeks before. Little did I know it would be 6 months before I'd be able to run again at all.

The course was nice and flat and included a loop around Pizza Hut Park. I had the chance to look around the area beforehand. There are definitely some shops and restaurants that I'll want to come back and visit. The turnout was great, and I'd guess there were quite a few hundred people. Lots of people, lots of dogs, lots of babies in strollers, lots of kids running too.

The link to the results isn't working for me, but my Garmin put me at 36:35 for 3.17 miles. Any finish is a good finish!

Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving Day with your loved ones.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Weight Watchers - week 2 update

Let's hear it for tracking your points and eating a lot of fresh fruit and piling the veggies on your plate. Oh, and exercising your butt off and earning 16 activity points in a day. I'm down another 2 pounds, for a total of 6 pounds since I started Weight Watchers at the end of October. I earned my first 5 pound star sticker. I'd hoped to earn a 5k charm or 2 because I did a 10k this weekened, but the substitute leader made no mention of it when I told her I'd done a 10k. Bummer. Hopefully the regular leader will be there next weekend and I can tell her. Totally materialistic of me, but I'd really like a charm. I plan on doing a Santa Run in December, so that's another one. By the time I earn my 10% key ring I'll have a bunch of 5k charms to put on it.

This week's topic was about planning ahead for Thanksgiving. The Aussie and I aren't much into roast turkey, but I love the sides. I was a bit bummed to see that 1/2 a cup of stuffing is 5 points. I could easily use my entire 29 daily points on stuffing and gravy. I'll have to check the Pepperidge Farms bag to see what their calorie count is. I also love green bean casserole, and that can be made with fat free ingredients so it will be less than the 6 points for 1 cup that WW has listed. I bought a 2 pack of cornish game hens last week, so I'll cook those for us with the green beans, the stuffing for me and crispy roast potato for The Aussie. Fresh cranberries cooked down with a little orange or apple juice, and splenda makes a great relish. Pumpkin pie is something I like, so I'll try to make up a small crustless version to keep me happy but on track.

I'm really learning that I will have to plan ahead if I know there's a splurge day so that I don't go too far off course. And a 5k race course on Thanksgiving morning will help too!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Rematch Update

I finished! And it was a better time than the July race, so that's a plus. My time on my Garmin was 1:18:27. Garmin also told me that I ran 6.3 miles, too. I noticed that the course markings were different from my GPS by mile 2. The conditions were crazy. It was sunny, about 60 degrees, and SUPER windy. Since the trail goes along the lake for the majority of the race, there were some serious winds to run in. Shout out to New Friend who finished her first 10k in just over an hour! And big thanks to the tall bald guy with a beard who passed me around mile 4 when he was on his return loop and yelled out some encouragement to me. He also cheered me on from his car when he was leaving the park and I was about half a mile from the finish. Thank you. :)

Now, I'm going to finish me lovely omlette, help The Aussie with a few things around here, and then take my doggies on a long awaited for walk. :)

Friday, November 11, 2011

10k Rematch Playlist, Honeybadger Style

So, I picked up my race packet this afternoon for the 10k tomorrow. This should be interesting. The weather will be in the mid-50s at the start of the race, but it's also going to be really windy tomorrow. Much better than mid-90s like it was in July. I also met a really cool woman, about my age, who was picking up her packet. She's never done a 10k before, so she's excited. I look forward to meeting up with her tomorrow. I don't expect to be running with her because her 5k pace would leave me in the dust. We'll see.

Anywho, in honor of getting my butt back out on the racecourse, I have put together a new running playlist. One with Honeybadger attitude.

I Will Possess Your Heart - Death Cab For Cutie (extended version, warm up music)
Solar Midnight - Lupe Fiasco (old faithful)
Ready To Go - Republica
Lose Yourself - Eminem
Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic - The Police
Big Neon Glitter - The Cult
Don't Change - INXS
Times Like This - Foo Fighters
Girlfriend - Avril Lavigne (yes, I'm a MFing Princess..)
She Sells Sanctuary - The Cult
These Days - Foo Fighters
Dog Days Are Over - Florence And The Machine
Everlong - Foo Fighters
Monkey Wrench - Foo Fighters (Trainer Dude suggested this one)
Major Tom - Shiny Toy Guns (another old faithful from last playlist)
Mr. Brightside - The Killers
What's My Scene - Hoodoo Gurus
Dear Prudence - Siousie & The Banshees

Yup, this should be interesting...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

It's Soup Season

We haven't had any freak snowstorms in Texas, but it is cooler these days, and the overcast sky is making me think of soup. Luckily I didn't roast my butternut squash or kale on Sunday afternoon, when I roasted my fennel and acorn squash. I remembered I had left them in the oven at 6am on Monday. Doesn't it just figure?

Butternut Squash, Andouille and Kale Soup (serves about 12)

1 T olive oil
half an onion, diced
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed
2 quarts of chicken or vegetable stock
1 large bunch of kale, rinsed, stemmed and chopped
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 cup farro
1 t seasoned salt
1 package (4 links) of Aidells sausage (I used cajun andouille because that's what I had, but any of their sausages would be wonderful)

Heat a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the oil and the diced onion. Stir and cook until the onion is softened. Add in the cubed butternut squash and the stock. Simmer about 20-30 minutes, or until the squash is slightly tender. Add in the seasoning, chopped kale, black beans, farro and sausage. Cook another 30 minutes, until the farro is cooked and the sausage is warmed through. A serving is 5 Weight Watchers plus points.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Weight Watchers - week 1 update

Yesterday was my 1 week weigh in at Weight Watchers, and I am happy to report that I am down 4 pounds. I know some of this is because it isn't TOM and I didn't have a big breakfast yesterday morning. But I also know that some of it is because I have tracked my butt off, exercised, and have eaten more apples in the last week than I have in a year!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

In black and white... (pg-13)

Pardon the "F bombs" (and grammatical errors) if they offend you, but I needed to share this. I saw this in today's post by Steph. I liked it so much that I'm borrowing it (she nabbed it from Gene, who saw it on Strong Is The New Skinny...) Sometimes you need to see something in black and white for it to sink in.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Interesting weekend

Slowly getting back into running. Did a couple of miles on Saturday that were decent. If I'd had more time I probably would have gotten in more, but time was tight. Did get in a nice walk with the dogs, too.

Sunday was interesting. Started the day by dropping a dinner knife on my foot. The corner of the handle end hit the edge of the nail on the top of a big toe. The pain reminded me of the "I want to throw up this hurts so much" pain I've experienced when breaking toes. Hopefully this will not be a break, but just a nasty bruise. Of course I stubbed the same toe later in the day, scraping the end of it on the driveway when I was putting garbage in our bin. Figures, doesn't it.

And I also joined Weight Watchers on Sunday afternoon. Several years ago I had an online account. Managed to lose the 20 or so pounds that I put on after we moved down from the Northeast. I've pretty much maintained that loss for a couple of years, but stayed around that same weight since then. Recently it's been creeping back up, so it was time I got my act back together. I've never done WW meetings before, and it was really different. People have been raving about the Points Plus method of tracking and there are so many people on FB and Twitter that have had such success on Weight Watchers. And seeing Suzi Storm as the newest WW Success Story is so inspiring. If she can have her beer and do WW and lose the weight, then I should be able to have my wine and do WW and succeed.

I'm a bit scared though, and not in a "it's Halloween" kind of way. I look at the points values of certain foods that I've been eating, and I know I have been waaay overeating. Usually more healthy than not, but way more than I needed to be. (Speaking of more healthy than not, what is with the fact that there are almost 60 pages of desserts, cakes, candy and cookies values in the Complete Food Companion? You aren't supposed to be eating crap, even if you know how many points it is.) I'm afraid of being hungry, I'm afraid I'll fail because I'm not usually very disciplined, I'm afraid I'll give up...I'm even afraid I'll succeed.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Lessons in life from The Honey Badger

Lord help me, but the Kindle is a nifty invention. Last night, waiting for the HOA meeting to start, I pulled out my Kindle and began reading one of the many books on running that I've downloaded. This one, Marathoning For Mortals by John Bingham and Jenny Hadfield, has got me itching to race again. I'm feeling better, I did a slow and easy 5k last weekend, and it felt good. Next month I'm planning on doing a 10k at the scene of the July 4th race fiasco. This time, excuse the expression, I am going to make that race my bitch. I need to re-awaken my Inner Honey Bager.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Shrinkvivor - And Now For Something Completely Different

You may recall (if you're old enough) the Monty Python skit where the John Cleese, as the announcer, turns to the camera and says "and now for something completely different." Well, I wish I had something completely different to report. I'm up .4 of a pound. This week was not a big exercise week due, in part, to the fact that we drove 1200+ miles from Texas to Tennessee and back for a wedding. Can't log a lot of exercise miles in a car. You don't always eat healthy meals during roadtrips either. Add to that, I'm still sick. I was feeling better on Saturday, but woke up with another sore throat and congested chest on Sunday morning. My abs are certainly getting a workout with all of the coughing I've been doing, but I'd like to be healthy again.

Congrats to all of the Shrinkvivors that are kicking butt in this challenge. You're amazing and inspiring.

Monday, October 17, 2011

I can finally share!

This weekend, The Aussie and I travelled to Tennessee for the wedding of Mary and Kepa, one of the most fun and inspiring couples in blogdom. We had a lovely time, the ceremony was sweet and fun, and we are so happy for them.

Now, some of you may know that I dabble in quilting. I haven't been doing it for years and years, but I find it enjoyable. Earlier this year I asked Mary what their favorite colors are, and she replied "purple and blue." I had decided that I wanted to make a quilt for them, and it would be in their favorite colors. Bit by bit, over the long, hot summer and fall, The Quilt came together. I was so excited as it grew, but I couldn't share on FB or twitter because Mary and Kepa might see the post! I took a class to learn how to use a longarm quilting machine at my local store, because I wanted to make the entire quilt, start to finish. This was quite an adventure, and both The Aussie and I fell in love with this quilt along the way. It made me smile just to look at it, and The Aussie said that it glowed, which was such an amazing compliment for him to make about The Quilt. The dogs, two of whom met Mary and Kepa last summer when they stayed with us on their cross country trip, were my faithful companions through the the entire process, from cutting to piecing to binding. (I must admit that, yes, there is dog hair and love sewn into the quilt, which should make Senor Kitty Snugglepuss feel right at home when the quilt arrives in New Zealand at the end of this week!) I hope they love this quilt as much as I loved making it, with happy thoughts sewn into it the entire time.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


It's Shrinkvivor check in day. This is getting discouraging. I've logged more minutes (315 usable minutes), was not able to log a lot of what I did this week because they weren't "exercise" minutes (dancing for almost 2 hours at a concert, 2 hours of yardwork, walking for 4 hours at the Texas State Fair...). It's been TOM, but I've been eating fairly well, eating a lot more fruits and veggies, eating less meat, trying to get more sleep. What do I get? Up 1 pound. Jeesh. I've started doing weights again, so maybe it's muscle, but it still is discouraging when you get on the scale. I can only hope that my tribemates are feeling benevolent towards me and I don't end up on the Exile tribe.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Recipe request

Last week I tried out a new slow cooker recipe that I saw, in all places, the November Woman's Day magazine. This one for coconut rice pudding, which, of course, I have tweaked a bit. It's meant to be a dessert, but it make a tasty breakfast, too.

Coconut Rice Pudding (serves 6)

2 1/2 cups reduced fat milk
1 14 oz can of light coconut milk
1/4 cup of Splenda (You can use sugar if you want. Recipe calls for 1/2 but coconut milk is sweet)
1 cup of arborio rice
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped

In a 5-6 quart slow cooker (I'm not sure what mine is, it's big. This mixture only came up part way) whisk together the milk, coconut milk and Splenda. Stir in the rice and cinnamon stick.

Cook, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours. Add in the chopped apricots, re-cover, and cook for another 30 minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick before serving.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Seventeen again

Last night, a dream almost 30 years in the making came true. I FINALLY saw Duran Duran in concert. My bedroom was covered in posters of Duran Duran when I was in high school. And yes, John Taylor was my favorite. The concert totally lived up to my expectations. I still don't have much of a voice because of the nasty cold, but I sang my heart out and screamed just like all the other 40-something women in the crowd. It was a blast.

What can I say? I'm a 17 year old trapped inside the body of a 46 year old.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Shrinkvivor - Week 2

Well this has been an interesting week. Last Thursday morning I woke up with a sore throat. That sore throat quickly progressed into an all out, no holds barred, head and chest cold. Needless to say, my ability to rack up fitness minutes for week 1's challenge was seriously hampered. They weren't very energetic minutes, but I managed to eek out 200 minutes. My loss was not great, just .6, but I've been drinking so many fluids this week (and it's almost TOM, too) that I'm lucky I had a loss at all.

I finally was able to get back to the gym yesterday evening. My trainer was there, he was apologetic, and he does owe me a few sessions. I don't know why, since my telephone number was correct in the gym computer system, but he was calling another gym member's number last week trying to get in touch with me. That was a fail. But all's well that ends well. I had a good session last night and will have another make up session today. I'm glad our physical challenge will be tracking fitness minutes again - I have to redeem myself now that I'm not constantly coughing up my lungs. Hmmm. Does dancing at a Duran Duran concert count as fitness minutes?

Last week's mini-challenge, not eating fast food, wasn't too difficult for me since I rarely do. This week's mini-challenge, getting more sleep, will be much more difficult. I rarely get enough sleep, but I'm willing to sacrifice some waking hours for the tribe!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


I like the convenience of the gym I recently joined, it's so close to my house. The training is leaving a lot to be desired. Or should I say, the lack of training... Last night, after waiting for him for almost 15 minutes (I was on the treadmill and elliptical warming up) my trainer had to reschedule my session. Two of his trainers were out and since he's the trainer manager he has to cover their appointments. The sessions are only 30 minutes, so he would have had to stop before my session was over. We rescheduled the session for today's lunch hour. I show up and he isn't even there. The guy at the front desk, I think he's the owner, gets through to him on the phone. He says he'll be there in just a few minutes. By 26 past the hour I give up and leave. That's twice now he hasn't been there for a scheduled session. I don't care if they say it's on the house. I NEED A TRAINER.

Shrinkvivor: Outfit, Outlose, Outlast

I've got to hand it to The Sisterhood. They come up with some cool challenges. Today is the start of Shrinkvivor. I am a die-hard Survivor watcher, so this sounds like a really cool challenge. Go Tribe Yellow!

These challenges are good because they motivate you to accomplish something, but they also introduce you to new people. The support system you grow through The Sisterhood and through new twitter friends is so important. We all need support, I know I certainly do. The possibility/likelihood of being voted off by my tribemates terrifies me, but I'm just going to have to suck it up! The last challenge I joined, Burst Into Summer, I totally got off course on. The crappy 10K on July 4th weekend, and my trainer, Barbie's Evil Twin, moving away to Vegas, really threw me off. Clean slate time. New gym, starting with new trainer, and hopefully, a new improved attitude.

Starting weight: 174.0

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Hunger Challenge Recipe

I had good intentions on following through on this challenge. Getting sick put a big damper on this plan as well as just about all others this past week. I'm still not 100%, but slowly I'm getting better. Here's an easy and inexpensive soup recipe. I've made it with chicken broth, but if you're vegetarian you could make it with vegetable broth. These prices come from my list that I've made up from my grocery receipts as well as my recent foray to Super H Mart and are broken down by how much I used. This soup makes 4 very generous servings. I had a half a package of the tofu in the fridge that needed using, otherwise I would have used the entire package.

Asian Soup
1 carton of Pacifica lowfat organic chicken broth ($1.67 Costco)
2 bunches of soba noodles ($.86 Super H Mart)
1/4 pound Shanghai bok choy, thinly sliced ($.55 Super H Mart)
1 carrot, thinly sliced ($.08 Super H Mart)
1 can whole straw mushrooms ($1.49 Super H Mart)
1/2 package firm tofu, cubed ($.60 Super H Mart)

Total: $5.24 for 4 servings ($1.31 per serving)

Heat the chicken broth in a medium-large pot. While this is heating, boil water to cook soba noodles. Add the sliced bok choy, carrots, straw mushrooms and cubed tofu to the broth to heat. Cook the soba noodles for 5 minutes, drain, rinse and add to the soup. I flavored this soup with 1/2 t sesame oil, 1/4 t chili oil, 1/2 t garlic powder, 1/8 t ginger paste and 1/2 t soy sauce. I do not have per serving price breakdown of these items yet as they are pantry staples. I will have to price them on my next trip out.

Monday, September 12, 2011

2011 Hunger Challenge

I'm not going to lie to you. This will not be an easy challenge to do. It will, however, be a worthwile challenge to try. Meal planning isn't simple for me, primarily because The Aussie tends to be a fussy eater. Meat and potatoes, meat and rice (plain with gravy or sauce) with some veggies thrown in, tend to be the way he rolls.

In preparation for this challenge, I started going through grocery receipts to see what I've paid for frequently purchased items, I've prowled through various grocery stores with a notebook and pen, jotting down prices and servings. What I'm finding has surprised me.

To start with, I did some grocery shopping at The World's Largest Retailer on Saturday morning. I purchased a few things that we were low on, and took LOTS of notes. On the way home, I stopped at another discount grocery store to write down a few comparison prices. Once home, I started writing down recipes and calculating cost per serving. Since I'm using the $4.72 per person, per day allowance, I need to know how much what I want to cook will cost.

Breakfast, at least for The Aussie, was easy. He basically eats 1 of 3 things, along with his coffee, every day.

Breakfast 1: Eggo Nutrigrain waffles (2), 1 T butter, 1 ounce of real maple syrup = .55+.09+.40=$1.04

Breakfast 2: 1 cup of Kellogg's cornflakes, 1 c 2% milk, 1 t sugar = .13+.15+.01=.29

Breakfast 3: 1 serving oats, 1/2 c 2% milk, 1 t sugar=.06+.08+.01=.15

Yesterday afternoon I went to an Asian grocery store in my town because I had some coupons for fruits and vegetables that were expiring that day. What a madhouse it was! It was also enlightening. The vegetables you can purchase at an Asian grocery store are super fresh, very reasonably priced, and there is a tremendous variety. If you like cooking Chinese food, you can buy your staples like soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sesame oil and chili paste much cheaper than you can in the specialty section at your regular grocery store. I also found chicken thighs (bone in with the backbone section) at this store for .69 per pound. That's a huge difference between the 1.08 per pound and 3.36 per pound at the first large store I went to. Do I like to buy organic? Yes. If I was on a food stamp budget would I have that luxury? No. The entire package of 5.28 pounds was $3.64 and it contained 9 large pieces. That's .40 per chicken thigh.

Last night for dinner I made a spicy chicken curry. The Aussie is sick, so I figured he might be able to taste something spicy (I was wrong). Here's my cost breakdown for TWO SERVINGS for this meal:

2 large chicken thighs (.80)
1 chopped onion (.20)
1 can diced tomatoes (.48)
2 garlic cloves (.08)
2 T vegetable oil (.06)
curry powder (.20)
rice (.12)
peas (.25)
Total for meal: $2.19 for two people

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Which would you choose?

Now that I'm starting to get back into running, soon it will be time to get in some long-ish runs. I'm looking forward to them, especially since we're having a wave of cooler temperatures. I was looking through my packages of sports chews in the pantry this afternoon, trying to organize things, and started reading labels. One packet was a brand I haven't tried, but was given out at a race expo. I love samples. The other two were brands I've tried, one of whom I absolutely love to have with me on long run/race days. The labels read as follows:

Brand 1 ingredients: sucrose, corn syrup, water, gelatin, vitamin premix (sodium ascorbate, acrola concentrate, potassium chloride, sodium chloride, green tea, pyridoxine HCL, cyanocobalamin, sodium selenite), pectin, citric acid, natural flavors, sodium citrate, paprika extract (color), carnauba wax, carmine.

Brand 2 ingredients: organic rice syrup, organic rice syrup solids, organic evaporated cane juice, pectin, organic white grape juice concentrate, citric acid, sea salt, colors added (black carrot juice concentrate), natural flavors, organic sunflower oil, carnauba wax.

Brand 3 ingredients: organic tapioca syrup, organic evaporated cane juice, organic honey, organic grape juice concentrate, pectin, citric acid, color (black carrot juice concentrate (red), annatto (orange)), ascorbic acid, natural flavors, potassium citrate, organic sunflower oil, carnauba wax.

Alrighty then. I might love samples, but I don't love the ingredients on bag number 1. What surprises me is that they bothered using natural flavors...

Friday, August 19, 2011

What's for dinner

The Aussie and I had some friends over for dinner last night. No pictures, but I have some recipes to share.

Slow Cooker Pork Loin

Pork loin - I used a large 4 pound loin
1 packet of onion soup mix
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup red wine
1 T garlic powder
1 t fresh ground black pepper

I did things a little backwards. Some recipes call for you to brown the meat, some don't. So I didn't. But then I did. I started this out with part of the onion soup mix, garlic powder and pepper sprinkled on the bottom of the slow cooker. Then I put in the pork loin and sprinkled the remaining soup mix, garlic powder and pepper on top. I poured in the chicken broth and the red wine and set the cooker on low. During my lunch break I decided that it would be nice to brown the meat, so I took it out of the cooker and browned it in my cast iron skillet. Then I put it back in the slow cooker to continue cooking. This cooked for seven hours on low and was absolutely delicious. Falling apart tender, I had to lift it out of the cooker with a spatula. Serve the juice that it cooked in as a sauce.

Zucchini and Summer Squash Casserole

I'm calling this a casserole for lack of a better way to describe it.

2 medium zucchini sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
1 small yellow squash sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
1/2 cup fat free half and half
mozzarella cheese - about 8 slices off of a round of cheese
parmesan cheese
bread crumbs
olive oil

Lightly coat the bottom of your casserole dish with olive oil. Spread half of the veggies in a thick layer. Pour on half of the half and half, sprinkle a little parmesan (I use the stuff that comes in a green container. The real stuff goes moldy on me.) Take a couple of slices of mozzarella, break them into pieces and cover the veggies. Layer the rest of the veggies on top, followed by the rest of the half and half and mozzarella. Top with bread crumbs and more parmesan to give it a nice crust. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Mostly finished

One good thing about all of the heat we've been having here in Texas. I've had lots of time to sew and the doggies have been keeping me company in my sewing room. I'm almost finished with this quilt top I've been working on. The last thing to do is the black sashing around the edges. I won't be able to quilt it this weekend on the long-arm machine at the quilt store because I'll be quilting the dresden plate quilt top pieced by either my grandmother or my great-grandmother. How cool will that be? A quilt finished by the great grand-daughter of the woman who pieced it by hand decades before.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Broccoli Cauliflower Salad

I've had this salad before, but never prepared it. O.M.G. It was good. Perfect for these hot Texas summer evenings. I brought it to a potluck dinner last night. LoL, someone else made a broccoli salad too! At least one person said they prefered mine because of the added cauliflower, but both broccoli salads were polished off by the masses. If you can find low fat shredded cheese and low fat coleslaw dressing, all the better, and you may need more dressing, depending on how big the broccoli and cauliflower heads are. If you can, start this the day before, to give the broccoli and cauliflower plenty of time to chill with the dressing and the flavors to blend.

Broccoli Cauliflower Salad

1 head of broccoli
1 head cauliflower
12 pieces of center cut bacon (1 package)
1/4 red onion, diced
3 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup coleslaw dressing
1/4 c sugar
2 T apple cider vinegar
1 T lemon juice (or sprinkle in about 1 t of True Lemon)
1/2 c craisins, soaked in pomegranate juice
1/2 c sunflower seeds

Trim and cut the broccoli and cauliflower into bite sized pieces. Wash and drain the broccoli and cauliflower and place in a large bowl. Mix in the coleslaw dressing, making sure to coat the vegetables well. At this point, I covered the mixture and put it in the refrigerator to sit overnight. It at least needs a couple of hours to chill so that the flavors mix.

Put the craisins in a small bowl with the pomegranate juice. This can chill overnight too.

Next Day: Cook the bacon until it's very crispy (I did this in the microwave). When bacon is cool, cut into small pieces. Set aside. You'll add these at the last minute along with the sunflower seeds so that the bacon doesn't become soft.

Stir the broccoli and cauliflower mixture. Add in the diced red onion, shredded cheese, chopped eggs and the craisins.

In a small bowl, combine the 1/4 c sugar with the apple cider vinegar and lemon juice. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Pour into the salad and mix well. When you're ready to serve, stir in the bacon bits and the sunflower seeds.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Sometimes a finish is good enough. Last Saturday I ran (and I use that word very loosely since I walked for half of the race) the Liberty By The Lake 10k in The Colony, TX. Remind me next year that racing in July in Texas isn't the brightest idea. And doing a 10k (thank you very much trainer, Barbie's Evil Twin, for having to back out at the last minute) is really, really not a bright idea. It was very hot, very sunny, no breeze, no shade, and it was 95 by the time I was done. And boy, was I done. I finished second to last, with a time of 1:31:21. But I finished.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Some times it's three strikes you're out. In this case, it's third times a charm. You see, I've been attempting to bake a clean, or reasonably so, pie since I saw the recent issue of Clean Eating magazine.

First attempt was the cover recipe: banana chocolate freezer pie. Meh. Not successful, in that I don't like eating shards of ice in my pie. Might as well just stick to my breakfast smoothie for those flavors.

Second attempt was a variation on their strawberry lime pie. I didn't want to use tofu in my pie (ask me about the tofu "cheesecake" my sister used to bring home from the hippie bakery in the 70s some time), so I used greek yogurt instead. It didn't set up, plus, I couldn't find no salt cottage cheese, so the flavors were off.

Third attempt was a variation of a no-bake berry cheesecake recipe. Eureeka. The pie set, it tastes good, and it's actually full of healthy, low fat, whole grain ingredients. In fact, with ingredients like fruit, oats, almonds, whole wheat, low fat cream cheese and fat free greek yogurt, I just had a slice for breakfast. ;)

Strawberry Cheesecake Pie


1/2 c oat flour
1/2 c almond flour
1/2 c white whole wheat flour
1/4 c rice flour
1/4 c cocoa roast almonds, finely ground (I couldn't dig out my regular almonds from the freezer, and I had these in the pantry. Feel free to use regular almonds)
3 T butter, cold and cut into chunks
1/4 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t sea salt
1 1/2 t splenda (you could use 2 T agave or brown rice syrup in place of splenda)

Mix flours and other dry ingredients together in bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine. With processor running, add in the cold butter and process until it has the appearance of large crumbs. Slowly add in the water until the dough combines into a ball. If you need to add more flour because it's too sticky, now would be the time. (I originally started with 1/4 c white wheat flour, but needed a little more, which is why I put 1/2 c in the ingredients list) BTW, the reason I'm using white wheat flour and rice flour is because I don't have whole wheat pastry flour, plus I was trying to make this a lower gluten crust.)

Remove the dough from the processor bowl, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for about 15-20 minutes. In the meantime, preheat your oven to 375.

After your dough has chilled and the oven has heated, press the dough into your pie pan. You'll note that this is what could be termed a "short" crust. It acts more like shortbread than a stretchy dough that you'd roll out. Bake the crust for 20 minutes at 375. Allow to cool completely before you fill the crust.

The filling:

1 1/2 lbs strawberries, hulled and quartered. (1 pound goes into the pie, the 1/2 pound you'll cook down as a topping)
1/4 cup water
2 packets of unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 packages of low fat Neufchatel cheese (aka low fat cream cheese. I don't know why they just don't call it cream cheese... whatever...)
1 6 oz container Chobani fat free vanilla greek yogurt (this stuff is like crack, I tell you)
1/2 c. splenda (you can use real sugar if you want to)
2 packets of True Lemon lemon crystals or 1 T fresh lemon juice

Pour the 1/4 cup of water into a small sauce pan. Sprinkle the 2 packets of gelatin over the water and let it soften for about 15 minutes. Stir with a spoon, and over low heat, make sure that the gelatin has all dissolved and that you don't have clumps.

Put the cream cheese, greek yogurt, splenda and about 3-4 cups of the quartered strawberries in the bowl of the food processor. Process until well combined. You'll need to stop a few times and scrape the mixture off the sides of the bowl. When it's thoroughly mixed and you don't see streaks of cream cheese or yogurt in the pink mixture, while processor is going, slowly add the gelatin mixture in through the feed tube of the processor. Pour into cool pie shell. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.


1/2 pound strawberries, hulled and quartered
1 t splenda (again, you can use regular sugar or even agave syrup if you like)
splash of orange juice (if you have, it's not necessary)

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, cook down the strawberries until they start to break down.

Here's the pie just after I took it out of the refrigerator this morning and removed the plastic wrap. As you can see, the plastic leaves marks in the top of the pie. It'll still taste great though, and you're going to drizzle strawberry topping on the pie anyway... ;)

And here, my friends, is the final product, mere seconds before I dug my fork into the pie. So, yogurt, fruit, almonds, oats... sounds like breakfast pie to me.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Burst Into Summer - week 1

The Shrinking Jeans Burst Into Summer bootcamp challenge is in full force this week. We started last week with a mini-challenge: hydration. It's been so stinking hot in Texas that hydration is super important. This week's mini-challenge is to make sure we eat breakfast every day this week. Also super important.

I don't know about you, but I find that I really have to condition myself to make changes if I want to continue to treat myself properly. Maybe it's a helpful reminder to go fill up your water bottle. Or maybe it's a mini-challenge issued to make sure you grab something, a yogurt, a Larabar, just something, for breakfast. (No, just a cup of coffee doesn't count as breakfast). Since I started working out with my trainer, I find that I really need to eat every couple of hours. Sunday, I made the mistake, after doing 6 miles in the morning) of not having enough to eat and hit a wall when The Aussie and I were at Cabela's (the doggies gave him a gift card for Doggy Daddy Day). Luckily, they have a food area and I was able to get a salad that had smoked turkey and hard boiled egg. I was a wreck.

Another thing I've discovered about myself is that I really need to track what I'm eating. Some times I'll log the food into my BodyMedia account, but at the very least, I'm tracking what I'm eating and drinking in an excel spreadsheet. It's helping me see where I could fit in a few more vegetables with my lunch, or perhaps a piece of fruit along with some protein for a snack. And I've also discovered that my idea of breakfast is very flexible. Some days, like today for instance, a greek yogurt with a half a cup of granola is what I feel like eating. Other days, I feel like having leftovers from dinner, or a sandwich made with a bagel thin or sandwich thin, some smoked turkey and a Laughing Cow wedge.

Today is W1D2 of the bootcamp portion of the challenge. We're doing the kind of exercises that boost your metabolism and work your core. It's been a while since I've done sprint intervals, and I have to tell you, I forgot how much they kick my butt. In a good way. And the side plank dips and one arm tricep extensions are good and challenging.

I've needed to be challenged. I've needed to get out of my slump. I've needed to push myself off of the plateau I've been on for a very long time. I'm headed in the right direction: today's weigh in was 170.6. Definitely the right direction, and I'm going to keep moving forward. Go Team 10!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Burst Into Summer

I have to admit it. I need challenges to keep me motivated. Maybe I'll be successfull at them, maybe I won't be (Marathon Week), but I'll at least try. Last week I signed up for the latest challenge hosted by the kick ass ladies over at Shrinking Jeans. Good thing I did. I knew the birthday present weight of 169.2 was too good to last. (Thank you Benihana chef Buddy for all of the soy sauce saturated goodness that was my birthday dinner celebrated on Monday night) This morning's weigh in was 172.8. I totally forgot that today was weigh in day, so I'd already eaten breakfast (1 cup Fiber One cereal with 1 cup of unsweetened vanilla Almond Breeze and a large cup of coffee with 2 ounces of 2% milk).

Burst Into Summer Challenge

Let's rock this challenge, Team 10!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me :)

Well this is a nice birthday present to me. I haven't seen anything below 170 in quite a while. Now if only my husband hadn't thought my birthday was tomorrow... ;)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I really wanted to like it...

I really did. By "it," I mean the cover recipe in a healthy eating magazine. It's a banana chocolate freezer pie. What's not to like, it's like your morning smoothie. It was easy to make, I had the ingredients on hand, and I had my own wheat free crust that I wanted to try out. Maybe it was my freezer, I don't know, but the texture of frozen pie was not pleasing. It was like little shards of ice imbedded in the pie. It tasted good, but it wasn't fun to eat. This won't deter me though. They have a berry pie recipe that looks good too, so that's up next! The strawberries are waiting!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Eat Your Greens

This is the first year I've grown swiss chard in my garden, and to say it's done well would be an understatement. Sauteing anything with garlic and olive oil is going to be great, but you can get tired of it if you have a LOT of swiss chard to use. I recently picked up a copy of Fine Cooking's Cook Fresh magazine. There was a recipe for escarole with pine nuts, raisins and capers that sounded interesting. I didn't have any escarole, but I had lots of swiss chard!

Swiss Chard with Pine Nuts, Raisins and Capers

1 large bunch of swiss chard
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 1/2 T olive oil, use 1 T w/greens, 1/2 t w/garlic
2 T pine nuts, toasted
handful of raisins
1-2 T capers
1/2 t red pepper flakes
1 t balsamic vinegar
squeeze of lemon or dash of True Lemon

Tear your swiss chard into pieces and rinse really, really well. This is the bowl from my salad spinner. After I remove the pieces of chard to the spinning basket I use the water, which has turned light green, to water my houseplants.

I recently wrote about the folks over at True Lemon sending me a True Citrus test kit to try out. While I actually did have a lemon in the fridge, I wanted to try the True Lemon crystals in this recipe.

Heat up a large pan to medium high heat, I've used my wok, and add 1 t of olive oil. Swirl it around the bottom to coat, and then add your greens. Be careful of splatters when the greens, which will still have a little water on them, hit the hot pan. It will look like a lot, but it really cooks down.

In a separate pan, toast the pine nuts over medium high heat. When they're golden brown, remove from the pan.

I use tongs to turn the greens so that they cook evenly. After about 5 minutes, cover, reduce to medium heat, and let the greens cook down for about 10 minutes.

Add the remaining olive oil to the pan you toasted the pine nuts in. Add in the garlic and lightly brown, making sure you don't burn the garlic. Add in a handful of raisins along with the capers. I used a little of the brine from the capers to help plump up the raisins.

When the swiss chard is done, remove the cover and add in the raisin mixture and the pine nuts. Sprinkle in the red pepper flakes and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Finish it off with either a squeeze of lemon or a few dashes of True Lemon. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Friday Night Recap: Runs With Garden Tools, Plays In Dirt...

When I was younger, my Dad had a huge vegetable garden. I love most vegetables, but wasn't a big fan of gardening. Weeding and picking beans. Ooh. Fun. Funny how things turn out, actually.

Fast forward 30 or so years, and you'll find me playing in the dirt in my plots at our community garden. Aside from the fact that I am part of the group that got this garden off the ground, I'm proud of all we've accomplished in the last two years. This is our second season, and we're already off to an amazing start. Just yesterday, we donated 50 pounds of fresh, organic vegetables to a local foodbank.

This is my first plot. It's our second year together. Digging up potatoes. Fresh potatoes are amazing.

Here's some of my haul. This next is my second plot. It's our first year together.

One of the few vegetables I'm not a fan of: eggplant. I'm growing them for the foodbank. Aren't they pretty?

A zucchini is hiding in here. But I found it! Ooh, pretty. Nothing like digging in the dirt to ruin your hands. I had been wearing gloves, but it was easier to find the potatoes without them.

Heading home. 99 degrees and it's 7pm. Here's the haul of 7 pounds of potatoes! A bunch of these guys will head back to the garden on Saturday morning for harvest and delivery to the foodbank.

Anyone need some herbs? My sage and oregano are taking over the courtyard bed, and my rosemary is taking over the front bed. And yes, that rosemary does span the entire field of this picture. The inner part had to be cut out a year ago after the first bad freeze killed that section of the plant. This rosemary was a birthday present from my sister 5 years ago. It came in a 1 gallon sized container. I'd say rosemary does quite well in North Texas, wouldn't you!?

Now it's time to relax on the patio with a shandy, my kindle and get the grill fired up for dinner. Here's Puppygirl and The Boy in picture 1 and Featherbutt (in the cage), ShortStuff (behind the chair) and Puppygirl in picture 2.