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Archive for February, 2010

Knee-d Some Help

I must be sleeping pretty well at night because I’ve been up pretty early, but still feeling really energized. A big part of that is Peanut sleeping for an 8 hour stretch most nights.

Peanut and I both had oats for breakfast.

I think she’s a little jealous that she can’t have toppings yet. She gets plain, single grain oatmeal while I get PB&J oats.

I managed some much-needed gym time in the early afternoon. I did Week 3 Day 3 of the Couch-to-5k program. I really feel like I’m starting to get back into my running groove. I’m able to relax into the runs and focus on my breathing and posture. I was worried that my body would reject running this time around, but I think easing back in has been the key. I walked briskly on an incline after my run intervals to make an even 30 minutes. Peanut fell asleep so I took advantage of the time by doing squats and then grabbed some weights. I cranked out 3 sets of 12 of these exercises:

~bicep curls
~chest press
~chest flies
~skull crushers
~overhead press
~lateral raises
~tricep kickbacks
~front raises

I managed to squeak in 2 sets of 50 crunches before Peanut woke up. That means time to stretch and head home.

This is where I need some knee help.

The last few times I’ve done cardio I’ve had a weird knee thing happen afterward. It usually happens 1-2 hours post-workout. Basically the outside half of my left knee feels like it fell asleep. I always stretch really well. I’ve tried massage, ice and elevation when it’s occurred, but none of that seems to help. I just have to let it go away on its own which usually happens after just a few minutes. It’s not exactly painful, just an odd sensation and my knee buckles a little when I put weight on it. I injured this same knee my freshman year of high school. That was followed by physical therapy that helped with the big stuff. I’ve continued to have minor discomfort here and there. Usually it’s at the top of bottom of my knee cap so this side thing is new. The tingling sensation makes me think that maybe it’s a nerve. Anyone ever have this happen to them? Any tips for what I can do to prevent it?

Last night’s leftovers for lunch! I think it might have tasted even better reheated.

Bacon, Ranch & Chicken Mac & Cheese with a side of sugar snap peas:

Dinner wasn’t very photogenic. It was Beef & Mushroom Meatloaf from a Weight Watchers recipe, but something about the ratio wasn’t right
and it ended up crumbling as soon as I attempted to slice it. Thankfully it still tasted great. So did the roasted Yukon Gold potatoes I served on the side. My ‘meat and potatoes’ husband was thrilled. 🙂

Peanut and I have a busy day in town today that culminates in my weekly weigh-in. The battery in our scale went kaput a couple days ago so I have no idea what to expect. I don’t have high hopes, though. I skipped most of my workouts this week in order to take care of other people’s needs. I enjoy helping other people and I enjoy (and need) exercise. Finding a balance between the two is so tough. Either I shortchange myself on the workout time I deserve (like I did this past week) or I disappoint/upset someone when I make my workout a priority. I just wish it were easy to find a happy medium.

Hope everyone is enjoying their Thursday so far. Don’t forget to do something nice for yourself today.

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Baby Blogger

Wow! It’s been a busy week in the UFC household. There hasn’t been any one major event, just lots of little happenings that have kept me from sitting down at the computer for quite some time. I’ve been eating a lot of repeat meals and leftovers so you haven’t missed much in the creative food department.

I attempted to make a dent in my Google Reader this morning. My favorite bloggers have been super busy so I had well over 150 posts. Needless to say I’m not all caught up yet, but I did get to a few. I had help for a while. Peanut sat on my lap and slapped at the keyboard so I apologize if anyone had random letters in comments I left. I can’t take responsibility for that. LOL

Blogs don’t hold her attention quite as long as they do mine. She fell asleep, head-first on the keyboard:

She’s down in her crib so I’ll take this time to update you with (most of) yesterday’s eats.

I like Larabar‘s on their own, but I like them even better mixed into my oats. I crumbled up a Chocolate Coconut Chew and added it while the oats were still hot. When I stirred it up, the chocolate melted and it got ooey gooey like a brownie. Yum!

Pasta sounded good for lunch. Okay, pasta always sounds good 🙂 , but it sounded especially good when I remembered I had Buitoni 100% Whole Wheat Three Cheese Tortellini in the refrigerator.

I could easily eat these plain, but I wanted to bulk it up with some veggies. I diced a tomato, sliced some mushrooms and broke some fresh green beans in half. I threw all of that into a saucepan with EVOO, garlic and a couple splashes of white wine. I surprised myself with how great it tasted, plus the veggies made the meal extremely filling. I love when a food experiment works out!

I didn’t take any pictures of dinner, but I found this one courtesy of Cooking Light:

O.M.G. This was sooooo good. It had so many delicious flavors that blended together perfectly. It’s going in the recipe file as a definite “make again” meal.

You can find the original recipe here. I substituted 3 slices of turkey bacon for the applewood smoked bacon and cooked the chicken in a little EVOO rather than the bacon drippings.

Well, sounds like someone is awake so I’m off to do my motherly duties. Hope everyone has a fantastic day. See you all again tomorrow!

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My husband ended up staying home from work yesterday due to the weather. I got up with him at 3 to pack his lunch and because I was worried. He attempted to leave around 4:30AM, but the roads were horrible and the snow was drifting pretty badly so he didn’t make it a mile before he turned around and came home. I was relieved that he wouldn’t be driving in the mess and happy to be able to spend time with him.

He made coffee when he got back home, but he never saw the first cup because he passed out snoring like a trooper in the recliner before it was done brewing. I was starving so I dove into the coffee while fixing myself a little breakfast:

~Arnold’s Sandwich Thin
~2 egg whites
~deli sliced chicken & French dip beef
~wedge of Laughing Cow Light Swiss cheese

The rest of the morning was pretty lazy. Peanut and I snuggled in the chair and we all watched the Olympics. My husband has decided he’s going to start training for the biathlon even though he’s never been on skis. Riiiiight. 🙂

I didn’t make it to the gym, but I did break out another video from The Firm. It was a 45-minute sculpting workout, but I ended up breaking it into a few 15-20 minute increments. Peanut was super cranky and wasn’t interested in any one thing for very long before she melted down. I burned a total of 356 calories which was pretty good considering my HR was up and down when it should have been more steadily elevated. A workout is a workout though and it felt good to move.

Lunch was some delicious turkey chili that my sister-in-law brought over to share on Monday. She’s a teacher and she’s have plenty of snow days. Lucky for me, she likes to cook and bake when she’s off work. Double lucky is that she’s really into healthy eating. Her chili (which I topped with shredded cheese and a little sour cream) was delicious and perfect for a cold day:

I had a bad case of the munchies after lunch, but I knew I wasn’t really hungry. Instead, I cleaned like a mad woman and drank some Twinings Irish Breakfast tea. The mug was quite appropriate considering I’m absolutely addicted to the Olympics.

Dinner was a usual suspect in the UFC household, taco salad. I forgot to take the picture before I started eating. Pardon the not-so-pretty photo.

~romaine lettuce
~broccoli slaw (used in place of tortilla chips for crunch)
~diced tomatoes
~dollop of sour cream
~little blob of salsa
~Bud Light Golden Wheat beer

We vegged out the rest of the evening and watched it snow some more. My sister-in-law had concert tickets to see the Black Eyed Peas, but she decided not to go because it would have been a long drive in the bad weather and she just wasn’t comfortable. She’s pretty fearless so you know it’s bad when she says she’s too nervous to drive.

Have you been watching the Olympics? What’s your favorite event to watch? Which one would you most like to try?

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In with the New

I had a great weekend, but it was none too exciting in the food department. I decided to use today’s post to share some new eats I’ve tried recently. These are all products that I purchased for myself.

Health Valley Organic Chocolate Chip Chewy Granola Bars

The base of the bar was crisp rice, kind of like a Rice Krispy treat, but less gooey and not nearly as sweet. The top was drizzled with chocolate and had mini chocolate chips. Overall I’d say it tasted okay. There was something about the texture that I didn’t particularly care for, almost stale maybe? The chocolate was really yummy and had a good taste so that made up for something. Looking at them I didn’t expect them to be very filling, but they were. The nutrition information wasn’t too bad: 110 calories, 2 grams of total fat and 1 gram of protein. However, I was a bit turned off by the 1 gram of saturated fat and 10 grams of sugar. I bought these on sale for $2.99/box. I think I’d buy them again on sale, but I wouldn’t be willing to pay the regular price.

O.N.E. Coconut Water

I have a think for little boxed drinks. I think it takes me back to my childhood. LOL I’ve always thought these looked interesting and decided to give them a try when I saw them on sale. The side of the box (and their website) had this to say:

O.N.E.™ Coconut Water is the water from inside the young green coconut. The water is extracted from the coconut at approximately seven months, before the meat grows. While the meat of the coconut (from which coconut milk and oils are extracted) is rich in fat and protein; O.N.E.™ Coconut Water has no fat. Our Coconut Water is naturally filtered through the dense fibers of the coconut creating a nutritious, pure, and refreshing isotonic beverage.

The website also bills coconut water as being full of electrolytes, a natural alternative to sports drinks, good for nursing mothers, and a drink able to improve skin, but the FAQ’s section includes a disclaimer that says none of these health claims have been reviewed or found to be true by the FDA or any other authority of the like. I bought the pineapple, pink guava and passion fruit flavors and thought they all had a great taste. They’re pretty sweet, but not syrupy and I thought they were very refreshing. The boxed packaging is convenient as is the fact that they do not have to be refrigerated, but I would suggest (as do the people at O.N.E.) that you drink them cold. I suppose you could drink them right out of the box, but a straw makes it much more convenient. Unfortunately, the boxes don’t come with those cute little straws so you’ll need to pack your own. I don’t think I’d keep a stock of these in the refrigerator at all times, but I’m definitely keeping them in mind for occasions that require packing portable beverages.

Clif Luna Blueberry Bliss Bar

I love all things blueberry. Unfortunately, I’m allergic to most artificial blueberry colors and flavors. Bummer. My grocery store just started carrying this flavor of Clif Luna bars. I tried not to get too excited about them before I read the ingredients. In true natural Clif fashion, I didn’t see anything on the ingredients list that I couldn’t read or easily identify. Score! I grabbed one to try and I’m happy to announce that I had no reaction at all. Oh, and did I mention it was delicious? It had a great texture, perfect blueberry-to-crisp ratio and just the right amount of sweetness. I picked up several more of this flavor and have added it to my list of flavors to buy when I stock up.

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Blowing the Stink Off

Yesterday was the first time since Monday that I’ve ventured out beyond the front porch. It felt sooo good to “blow the stink off.” I think Peanut enjoyed being out too because she was an absolute angel. We went to the bank, Hobby Lobby, the grocery, my Weight Watchers meeting and then to exchange something for my husband at Tractor Supply Company. She loves to shop which is good because so do I. LOL

It was a sad, sad day at the grocery. First, they were out of the microwave sweet potatoes that my husband has fallen in love with. They’re individually wrapped. You just pop them in the microwave for a few minutes and voila! Sweet potatoes are one of those foods I just can’t stand (I know. I’m strange.) so being able to make one potato without turning on the oven is nice.

Then came the real grocery disaster. My grocery is no longer carrying steel cut oats. I’m horrified. I couldn’t find them on the shelf so I asked the stockboy. He couldn’t find them either so he asked a manager who delivered the bad news to me. He said they “just don’t sell well.” Our grocery store choices are extremely limited so I was very sad. Looks like I’ll likely be switching to old-fashioned oats. They’re good, but not *quite* as good as steel cut.

My Weight Watchers meeting was the perfect pick-me-up after my grocery disappointment. To start, I was down 1.4lbs. Woo hoo! That makes my first 5lbs (5.8lbs to be exact) lost since going back to meetings. It’s a small part of what I have to lose, but that milestone made me super motivated to stay on track with the program because it’s clearly working this time around, too. To make it even better, the meeting topic was “Making Yourself a Priority.” I felt like the leader was talking directly to me when she addressed things like feeling guilty and asking for help, both of which are things I struggle with on a regular basis. I overcame these things when I lost weight the first time around and I really think that was my key to success.

This time around I have a husband and a child so the feelings of guilt are multiplied and it’s harder to ask for help. I feel guilty asking someone to watch Peanut so I can grocery shop or go to the gym solo every once in a while. Even if it’s just an hour or two, I don’t want people to think that I “dump” my kiddo to do things I want to do or that I don’t want to spend time with her. The truth of the matter is that my mother-in-law or sister-in-law are thrilled to get to spend time with her when I ask them to pitch in. I feel guilty if I go to the gym alone and leave Peanut with her daddy. The truth of the matter is that he doesn’t get to spend as much time with her as I do and they both enjoy the bonding. I’m not sure why I create so much guilt for myself, but it’s something I’m really going to work on.

Swenyway, on to my eats from yesterday. Breakfast was a repeat PB&J english muffin & Oikos so no photo.

I worked up quite the appetite while we were out. Lunch was an attempt to clear some leftovers out of the refrigerator.

~1 cup Annie’s Organic Macaroni & Cheese
~3/4 cup black beans
~1/2 cup diced chicken

I stirred it all together, microwaved it and then topped it with some Mexican seasoning and dried cilantro. It turned out better than I expected and refueled me for the rest of my day.

My workout was another transFIRMer video, Supercharged Sculpting. 35 minutes and I burned 256 calories although it felt a lot tougher than that. LOL

I could smell dinner in the crockpot the whole time I was working out and it made me soooo hungry. I managed to hold off until my husband got home to eat although I did “sample” a taste…or 2…or 3 before the meal. The original recipe came from a friend, but I didn’t have a few of the ingredients so I made some substitutions.

Slow Cooker Bacon Ranch Chicken

Ingredients

~1lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
~1 can cream of chicken soup (I used 98% fat free)
~1 cup sour cream (I used fat free)
~2 cloves garlic, minced
~1/2 cup milk
~1 package Hidden Valley Ranch salad dressing mix
~6 pieces turkey bacon, cooked and crunched into small pieces

Directions

Dump it all in the crockpot and cook on high 3-4 hours or until chicken is cooked through. Serve over rice or pasta.

It was pretty good for a quick and easy weeknight supper. I thought it was a little too salty. We served it over whole wheat penne with asparagus on the side. I used too much lemon juice and overcooked it a bit so it was pretty nasty. I ate it anyway because I was low on veggies for the day, but I gave my husband permission to toss his. He did. LOL

If you eat oats, what type do you prefer?

Speaking of oats, Kristen is hosting a give-a-way for some Bobo’s Oat Bars!

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Have you ever gotten so much sleep that it felt like almost too much? That’s how I felt when I got up yesterday. Peanut slept for a 7 hour stretch (our longest so far), ate for 30 minutes and then went back down for another two and a half hours. That’s by far the most sleep I’ve had in one night for four months. I’m hoping this trend continues and that if it does, my body will realize that it’s actually *supposed* to get that much sleep every night.

Peanut was nice and chaired her highchair tray for breakfast. She was way more interested in my honey Oikos and PB&J english muffin than in her rice cereal. Can’t say that I blame her, but I wasn’t sharing.

My hunger hit me like a ton of bricks at 1PM. I went from not thinking about food at all to STARVING! I hate when that happens because that’s when I tend to overeat or eat crap. I sipped on a glass of water and figured out my menu before I even opened the fridge. No random food grabbing!

~whole wheat wrap
~deli sliced chicken & french dip beef
~pepperjack cheese
~dijon mustard
~steamed broccoli topped with a dollop of sour cream

I popped it in the microwave for 30 seconds, then added the mustard and rolled it up. It was like a hot sub without so much bread.

Served with the last bowl of my homemade vegetable barley soup and Tazo Awake tea:

I was really hoping to make it to the gym, but the temperatures and snow drifts didn’t cooperate well and it just didn’t seem like a good idea to take Peanut out in the cold. I’m all for “me time” and making exercise a priority, but sometimes adaptability is important, too. Not being able to go to the gym doesn’t equal not being able to work out. That’s the beauty of exercise DVDs. I needed something with a good burn for the day before a weigh-in so I went with this:

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a big fan of The Firm. The transFIRMer was the first workout system I bought when I decided I wanted to lose weight. It basically has a set of three DVDs and two steps that can be used individually, stacked or used as an incline. I never really used it on a regular basis, but I do like to break it out every once in a while to mix things up. My 45 minute workout burned 440 calories and left me feeling the burn in my legs.

My wonderful in-laws bought us a 1/4 of a side of beef for Christmas. It filled about half our deep freeze with various types of beef: roasts, ground beef, hamburger patties, steaks, stew meat and much more. It’s saving us a lot on groceries. The HUGE bonus is that the cow was raised by my husband’s uncle and it’s all grain-fed and free of antibiotics. I’m not typically a big fan of red meat, but this stuff has great flavor and is very lean.

Dinner was a special request by my husband…a beef roast from our freezer stash. I threw it in the crock pot with some beef stock, a quartered onion and dried garlic chips. We served it with oven-roasted Yukon Gold potatoes, cubed and tossed with EVOO and herbs:

There was also a camera shy leafy green salad on the side.

What was the very first workout you can remember doing?

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Weight of the Union

At the beginning of 2009 I was battling the extra 15 pounds I’d put on since our wedding (March 2008). At the end of 2009 I found myself battling 30 of the extra 60 pounds I gained during pregnancy plus those extra 15 that I was battling when the year started. I entered 2010 feeling pretty down on myself about the extra poundage, but I’ve refocused that energy and I’m determined to do something about it.

For those of you who haven’t read my Weight Loss Journey page, I lost 70lbs. a few years back on Weight Watchers. I went back to meetings at the beginning of this year. Part of me feels a little ashamed that I can’t do it this time around on my own. I know how to eat well and I love to workout. Why can’t I just get my act together and get the weight off? This is where I’ve had to start being a little nicer to myself. I *know* that this is what works for me and I just shouldn’t beat myself up over wanting to go back. The program totally appeals to my Type A personality. Counting calories or tracking points isn’t for everyone, but it works for me and I believe strongly in the old adage “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” I can’t say I’ve learned anything new this time around by going to the meetings, but I like the accountability of the scale every week. Another huge perk is having an excuse to get out of the house and socialize face-to-face with people who share a common goal. It’s a nice compliment to the amazing support system I’ve found in the food blogging community.

So far, I’m down just over 5 pounds and on track with what I’d hoped for. I have 26lbs to lose to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight and 41lbs to get back to my goal weight. Those numbers seem huge when I think about the big picture, but I’m taking it week by week, day by day and doing everything I can to accomplish my goals.

I am doing a few things differently this time around:

1. I’m trying to eat “real” food and get away from the packaged, processed stuff. Sure those 100 calorie packs are only 2 points, but there’s nothing in them. Absolutely no nutritional value and they’re not filling in the least.

2. I’m trying to tone up while I lose weight by incorporating a lot more strength training into my workout schedule. I was skinny fat the last time I made it to goal meaning I had a low BMI, but a high percentage of body fat. I don’t want to just weigh less. I want to be fit.

3. I’m doing this as a mom and as a wife. The first time around I was able to make weight loss my #1 priority in life. This time it is still a huge priority, but it has to take a backseat to a very small, very adorable little girl and a handsome man. 🙂 Everyone tells you to take “me time” on a regular basis. One thing I have going for me is that when I think of doing something nice for myself, the first thing that comes to mind is exercising.

My food yesterday was all leftovers and repeats so I decided to skip the pictures and go a different route. Sorry if this post was tedious or boring. It feels good to be honest with all of you and with myself in getting it all out there.

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