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.