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Archive for the ‘Breakfast’ Category

I didn’t do it on purpose, but layers were a common theme in yesterday’s eats.

When I was cleaning out pantry the other day, I found an upopened box of oatmeal I forgot I’d purchased. I go in spells with oatmeal. I’ll eat it almost every day for breakfast, get burnt out, take a break from it for a while, then rediscover my love for its wholesome goodness. The last few months have been one of those vacations from oatmeal, but finding it made me go “Mmmmmm.”

I didn’t just want a boring bowl of oats with toppings. My solution? Oatmeal parfait!

It’s really just layers of blackberries, vanilla Oikos, and oatmeal with a peanut butter stir-in. Eating it this way made it feel almost more like dessert than breakfast. Food should be fun, right?

There really is coffee in the mug. It was not layered. It was just coffee. And it was delicious.

 

Lunch was a little something I like to call a garbage salad. Basically, I just scour my fridge for leftovers and make a salad out of them. It cuts down on the food waste and the creations tend to be pretty delicious. Plus, it’s fun to be creative! I feel like a mad scientist.

This one turned out to be a hybrid of buffalo chicken salad and taco salad.

~2 handfulls mixed greens
~3 oz. Italian dressing marinated chicken breast (leftover from meal swap), tossed in buffalo wing sauce
~chopped tomato & sliced green onions (leftover from Sunday’s supper salad bar)
~shredded mozzarella cheese
~3 Tbsp. reduced-fat sour cream, mixed with powdered ranch dressing mix

Very, very yum.

Dinner was not made in layers because there was no dinner. Monday nights are fasting nights for my husband and I. This is NOT weight loss related. It’s something we’re doing once a week as part of our Bible study. I’ve started to enjoy the weekly experience and am beginning to truly connect with the meaning behind the practice.

How do you make your food fun?

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Congratulations to the Green Bay Packers! I’m not a die-hard fan of either team, but I am a huge fan of football in general. Besides, it’s the Super Bowl! It was a great game. The National Anthem, however, was not. That part made me sad. 😦 And, I think I was the only person in the entire universe who DIDN’T hate the halftime show. I did have to ask my husband who Slash is which brought much ridicule and jeering from my Facebook friends. I did rock out to Usher and Black Eyed Peas, even busting out some of my Zumba moves.

I was a little disappointed in the commercials. They were chuckle-worthy, but nothing made me really laugh. A kid who went to my high school starred in the Safe Auto commercial where he gets kicked repeatedly. I wouldn’t tell him this, but I didn’t find it all that funny or original. Still, it was cool to see someone I know during the Super Bowl.

My husband earned the title of MVP in our house yesterday. After church, he served up some mazing veggie omelettes for brunch. One egg, two egg whites. The innards were mushrooms with a blend of feta and cheddar cheeses. To top it off, he added fresh tomatoes, green onions and a dollop of Greek yogurt seasoned with ranch dressing mix.

As if that weren’t enough, he made dinner too! This man makes an amazing burger. He never adds the same seasonings twice, but they always turn out super juicy and delicious. I wasn’t feeling a bun so I cut mine up and had a cheeseburger salad.

That would be mixed greens, chopped tomatoes, cheddar cheese, my diced-up burger and plenty of dill pickles! Nom nom nom. For dressing, I mixed up a honey mustard vinaigrette. My aunt recently sent the honey mustard as a gift and it’s heavenly. Whisked with a little red wine vinegar, it was the perfect condiment to go along with my cheeseburger theme.

My only contribution to the festive food was twice-baked redskin potatoes. I stuck them in the oven about an hour before we’d planned to eat dinner. When I went to retrieve them, I realized I hadn’t turned the oven knob all the way to “Bake” so the oven never heated up. I tossed them in the microwave for a few minutes, mixed up the filling and popped them in an oven I made sure was hot that time. We ended up eating them as finger food at halftime so all was not lost. I just felt pretty stupid. 🙂

What’s your favorite Super Bowl food?

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One thing I love about the first few weeks of January is that the grocery stores seem to have more healthy foods on sale than normal. I take advantage of the savings by stocking up on the healthy things we eat regularly, and also by trying some new things. Like a lot of other bloggers, I opted to stay in yesterday rather than brave the winter wonderland. That gave me plenty of time to check out some of those new-to-me finds.

Breakfast was a new-to-me treat, Kashi 7-grain waffles.

I’ve never bought these before because they’re a bit on the expensive side so it was a treat to see them on sale. I usually buy the “other brand’s” low-fat waffles. They’re pretty good when I want a waffle fix, but don’t keep me full for very long. These new waffles were delicious! They had tons of flavor and kept me full for several hours. The ingredients were much less processed and, for those who are wondering, they’re the same number of PointsPlus values  as “those other” waffles. I’m definitely going to watch for these to go on sale again and for coupons.

For lunch, I decided to fix something I’ve read about quite often in the blogosphere, but never tried until yesterday. Tempeh!

The cooking directions on the package were a little vague so I wanted a tried-and-true way to eat it. Most recently, I remembered reading about tempeh on Cynthia’s blog. A quick search led me to her directions for Banh Mi. I didn’t have any spinach and I don’t really like carrots so no banh mi for me. However, I did get the inspiration to put my tempeh in a wrap and I heated it according to her directions. Inside the wrap I layered romaine lettuce, sprouts, the tempeh and dijon mustard. The tortilla was so full that I couldn’t really get it to wrap and ended up eating it like a taco.

I really, really liked the tempeh and will definitely buy it again, on sale or not. Cynthia informed me (via a reply to my comment on her post) that tempeh had a “different texture.” She was absolutely right, but I found it to be a nice texture. It’s very hard to describe the flavor, but there’s lots of it! If you haven’t tried tempeh, I’d encourage you to give it a go.

With my tempeh wrap, I had a mug o’ lentil soup from the batch I made on Sunday.

This was also a new-to-me recipe from The Volumetrics Eating Plan. My husband bought this book a few years ago when he first became interested in eating more healthy. We successfully made a few recipes and then sort of forgot about it. I revived it in my recent quest for new recipes and found a lot of dishes I want to try. This one is definitely a keeper.

Together, it made for a wonderful, filling lunch.

My husband got home from work pretty early and we headed to the gym for a triceps and chest workout. He recently downloaded the free JEFIT app for his android phone and has been torturing me with it sharing it with me. We haven’t really even begun to dig into all the features, but we’ve figured out the basics.

Basically, the app lets you view and select exercises by the part of the body you’re aiming to target.

The app has several predefined workouts which you can do as is or add/remove exercises to suit your needs. You can also start from scratch by selecting individual exercises to create your own routine.

If you’re not sure how to perform a certain exercise, there’s also a free downloadable player that allows you to view animations for each move.

So far we’ve done two of the preset workouts using this app and I must say that I’m impressed. My husband has some experience with weights and likes the way it’s put together. I’m fairly new to “real” lifting and it’s still easy for me to use. It’s helping me build my confidence around the free weights and machines which is a huge benefit in my mind.

After our workout it was home for dinner, also a new recipe. This one came from the same cookbook as my lentil soup from lunch. Italian Turkey Spirals were time consuming t0 prep, but fun to assemble and tasted delicious!

As suggested in the recipe, I also made the Tomato and Fresh Basil Sauce (a separate recipe in the same book) to go with the spirals. Served with whole wheat spaghetti, this was the perfect mix of protein and carbs for a post-workout meal. Oh, and there are green beans hiding in the back there for some veggie goodness.

My husband was super impressed with this dinner and I really liked it, too. I’ll definitely make it again. Since we didn’t use much of the sauce, there was enough left over to freeze and use later for another meal.

What new food or fitness ideas have you discovered in 2011?

Don’t forget to enter my giveaway to win a Dr. Weil audiobook! Entries close Friday at midnight EST.

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Is it seriously Wednesday already? It seems like I *just* woke up on Saturday morning. It’s been go, go, go since the 5k with entertaining, shopping and visiting. I didn’t forget about you, bloggies! As promised, I’m back with my race report from the 5k on Saturday. Gold star to you if you finish reading this whole post because it’s LONG. 🙂

I’ve run 5ks before, but for some reason I was all jittery and butterfly stomached for this one. I think it was part excitement and part pressure that I was putting on myself. This was my first race post-baby (not counting the disastrous race 3 days after I was cleared to run again) and I had one very definite, very concrete goal: I wanted to run the whole thing. I didn’t care how long it took me to run it, but I was NOT going to walk.

I was a little preoccupied with getting Peanut up, packed and loaded in the car so I didn’t get to snap a picture of the gorgeous morning. The race was only about 5 minutes from our house so I wasn’t up to see the sunrise, but the morning could not have been any more clear and perfect for a run. My husband drove us down to the park where we met my sister-in-law and got checked in. For being a small race, the event was VERY well organized and the race crew was extremely friendly.

The half marathon stepped off at 9am on the dot. About 5 minutes later they called for the 5kers and everyone made their way to the start/finish line. My stomach completely bottomed out when I saw that there were only about 30-40 participants. One thought immediately came into my mind: “I’m going to be last.” I got really panicky all of a sudden and thought about bailing. I shared my concern with my sister-in-law and she told me to just do my best. Honestly, that statement should have made me feel better, but it felt more like pity coming from someone who is as fiercely competitive as she is. One thing that helped me loosen up was that all the competitors were very friendly. The whole lot of us stood there chatting and laughing while we waited for the start. One couple were owners of a local bike shop and gave me some great advice about what to look for when buying a running stroller.

For the last minute before the race, I closed my eyes, put in my headphones and just kept repeating my Baz Luhrman running mantra: “The race is long and, in the end, it’s only with yourself.” I got goosebumps in the 10 second countdown until the start. When they yelled “GO!” my whole mindset shifted. I felt calm and relaxed and just started running. I kept pace right behind my sister-in-law for the first quarter mile or so, but quickly realized that I couldn’t sustain that pace and settled into my own rhythm.

There was a volunteer yelling out times at the 1-mile mark. I was at 11:23 and completely fine with that. I felt really good so I decided to push a little bit harder on my way to the turn-around. My sister-in-law passed me on her way back and gave me the thumbs up and told me that I wasn’t even close to last. While that shouldn’t have mattered but, not gonna lie, it made me feel good.

I rounded the cone at the turn-around and headed for home feeling pretty good. That lasted for about another half mile. With one mile left to go, my breathing got difficult and I was having trouble getting it under control. I slowed my pace a little, determined not to walk, and kept plugging along.

The bike path where we were running has mile markers so it was easy to know where I was. I’d told myself that when I hit the 0.5 mile mark I was going to bust a move and push as hard as I could to the finish. Unfortunately, I was still struggling a bit when I got to that point and facing a bit of an uphill section. I told myself to keep running and putting one foot in front of the other, but decided I wasn’t ready to sprint.

The finish line banner was hanging from a bridge overpass. I spotted it as I rounded the corner about .25 miles out and decided it was time to make my move. I have no idea where that extra gas came from, but it was there. I bolted like lightening! I picked up the pace even more when I spotted my husband, sister-in-law and baby girl waiting at the finish line, cheering me on.

My official time was 36:24. My heart rate monitor (which I started & stopped as I hit the line) said 36:12. Either way, I was beyond thrilled. That’s only a few minutes off the time of the last 5k I ran before I got pregnant. I think I was a bit shocked, too. 40 minutes was sort of the time I’d had in my head as a realistic expectation of what I’d be able to do.

Peanut gave me a huge smile that melted my heart when I got to her stroller and my husband gave me a giant hug. The whole rest of the day he told me how great I did and how proud he was of me. That was really nice to hear. He also took this post-race photo of me. I am being VERY brave and posting it here even though I look like complete crap. Please remember that I just had a baby 6 months ago. Oh, and if anyone knows of a good hairdo that keeps your hair out of your face without exposing the fivehead, I’d really appreciate some tips. 🙂

Also very nice was this beer that I drank after I’d gotten showered:

My in-laws came over for a cookout around noon. My husband insisted that I relax while he did all the grilling. I did get the task of setting up the buffet. I got caught up in my task and forgot photos again. My husband made chicken & shrimp kabobs, grilled baby bella mushrooms and some yummy bread. My mother-in-law brought pasta salad and my sister-in-law made some healthy cream cheese bars that were HEAVENLY. Recipe and review of those to come because I am going to be making them very, very soon.

The rest of Saturday evening was really low-key. I read while Peanut played in her ExerSaucer and my husband played Madden. I love evenings like that.

Sunday morning my husband asked me the thing every woman likes to hear first thing in the morning. Get your mind out of the gutter! 😉 I meant that he asked me: “Do you want me to make breakfast?” Of course my answer was yes! I was treated to a delicious omelette made with turkey bacon, sharp cheddar cheese and leftover baby bella mushrooms. Nom.

I’m planning a special Earth Day event for Peanut tomorrow. Check back tomorrow, probably late afternoon, for a photo recap. I promise adorableness. 🙂

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Tripled Up

Good morning, bloggies! Where have the last two days gone? Sorry to be PIA. Peanut has been anti-sleep and it’s been a looooong few night. My energy was at a 0 and I had to stay up and moving all day to keep myself awake. I did manage a bit of blog commenting, but if I didn’t hit you up that didn’t mean that I didn’t read and/or don’t love you. 🙂 Here’s a little catchup recap of the last two days:

Tuesday

Tuesday’s eats were unremarkable. It started off with a processed, packaged breakfast:

The convenience of these is definitely the star of the show rather than taste. They’re not awful, but they are a little chewy and a tad on the bland side. They’re fairly light on the calories which is nice, but I think I could make my own version with the exact same ingredients (whole wheat english muffin, egg white, slice of cheese, turkey sausage or other meat) and be just as satisfied and calorie conscious.

You know there was plenty of coffee. This is one of my favorite mugs. My friend and I went to one of those create-your-own pottery places a couple years ago and this was my creation. An artist I am not, but it was fun and I like the outcome.

Breakfast of champions!

I took advantage of the sunshine with a little jog. I ran the same route through town as last week and made it a little further in the same amount of time. I guess that’s progress, right? I have GOT to learn to relax my shoulders when I run, especially while pushing the stroller. My neck, upper back and triceps have been killing me and I know the tension is probably using unnecessary energy.

Dinner was almost a giant FAIL. In preparation, not in taste. We bought a pre-marinated portobello & cracked peppercorn pork loin at Sam’s Club on Saturday after tasting it at one of the sampling stations. The package directions said to wrap it tightly in aluminum foil and bake at “350 degrees for 20-30 minutes per pound or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.” Okie dokie. I stuck my digital thermometer in there and set the display on the counter so I could monitor the progress. 90 minutes later we were at 91 degrees. After 2 hours, it read 104 degrees. So much for those cooking instructions. I was starving. Finally, 3 and a half hours after putting it in the oven, we hit 160 degrees. Luckily, it turned out to be worth the wait.

Roasted Yukon Gold potatoes on the side:

Togetherness! Notice the whole grain bread and husband-requested corn joining in the fun.

Wednesday

Sleepy mommy = lots and lots of coffee + no breakfast photos. It was PB&J on a sandwich thin. I think ya’ll know what that looks like.

It was a GLORIOUS day. The sun was shining and it was warm enough for a t-shirt! My head said run, but my knees and hips thought otherwise. I popped in a video from The Firm for a combo of cardio and strength moves. With all the squats, dips and lunges, I think I would have been better off to do the run. My quads were burning by the end.

My workout fired up my appetite so I fired up the stove for a quick and easy shrimp stir fry…

…and dined outdoors with my favorite lunch buddy.

Dinner was one of my favorite Weight Watchers recipes. I searched the blog and I don’t think I’ve ever posted these before.

Turkey Meatloaf Muffins

Ingredients

~1 lb. extra lean (93/7) ground turkey
~1 box (6oz.) Stove Top Stuffing (I use the reduced sodium chicken variety.)
~1 cup water
~2 egg whites

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and spray a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray.

2. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Use your hands!!!

3. Press the mixture, in equal amounts, into all of the muffin cups.

4. Bake for 20-30, until the muffins are cooked through.

Served up with leftover roasted potatoes and a salad on the side.

Thursday

No photos from Thursday. Part was because I didn’t eat anything new or exciting and part because I was pouting. I weighed in at Weight Watchers this week and was shocked to see a GAIN of .8 on the scale. I know it’s not a big gain, but that’s the second week in a row to see that size of a gain. The first week I expected it because I’d been busy and eaten like crap without any exercise. This week was different. I journaled all of my food, worked out consistently and had a decent calorie deficit on paper. I felt confident that I’d lose so that “+” next to the amount was a slap in the face.

I’m not going to let it get me down. This week I’m going to cut back on the processed foods and caffeine. I’m also going to up my water intake because that’s one area where I haven’t been as diligent as I should.

HAPPY EASTER EVERYONE! Do you have anything fun planned for the weekend?

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Ready to Run

I woke up yesterday feeling pretty ‘blah’ about myself. With baby shower planning, my head cold, icky weather and Peanut getting sick, I haven’t really worked out since last Thursday. The food department hasn’t looked any better. I’m all for indulging every now and then so that I don’t feel deprived, but I’ve really slacked on getting my head back in the game this week after a weekend of not-so-healthy eats. I’ve been a bottomless pit and the snack choices I’ve made for the last couple of days haven’t been the greatest.

I needed something concrete and tangible to help me refocus. First, I grabbed my coffee and sat down at my computer to blog read. That ALWAYS inspires me to be healthy and the pictures of such fabulous food remind me that healthy eating CAN be crave-worthy. My frame of mind was headed in the right direction when my cell phone beeped through a text message. It was my sister-in-law reminding me that the price for the 5k we’d agreed to run in May goes up on April 1st. BINGO! I went directly to active.com and registered. I didn’t stop there. There’s another race mid-April in the small town where we live. I’d said I was just going to register on the day of the race, but I went ahead and registered online. I printed both confirmation e-mails as reminders of my goals and posted them in the kitchen. One on the fridge and one on the snack-tastic lazy Susan. Instant motivation!

I started my day off right with some oats. My mix-ins were raisins, peanut butter & a sprinkle of unsweetened coconut. So filling!

Lunch was in two courses. My appetizers were a plate of crudites and dip along with some tortilla chips & salsa.

The “main course” was some Progresso Light soup.

I fixed the whole can, but only ate about half before I felt full and stopped. That’s a big deal for me because I’m usually a “clean plater.” If there’s food left in front of me, I’ll eat it whether I’m hungry or not.

The weather was still too icky for an outside workout so I headed to my DVD selection instead. Anyone remember when this was THE workout of the moment?

Core Secrets was actually the first workout system I bought when I got semi-serious about losing weight. I was just out of college and bought it on ebay. I’d almost forgotten that I had it, but seeing Brooke Burke on Dancing with the Stars Monday night reminded me about it. Peanut wasn’t in the mood to be independent for very long so I needed something quick, but with bang for my buck. I chose the “Give me 20” session which is a full-body strength and ab workout, all in 20 minutes.

While trying to find a photo, I found this on the Core Secrets website. I checked Amazon and it’s listed as “Currently Unavailable” there, too. Interesting. Did too much new technology and research make it outdated? Gilad is still rockin’ out workouts from the 80’s on FitTV so I think truly effective workouts stand the test of time. Whatever hapened to Gunnar Peterson?

But I digress.

Dinner was grilled chicken. I pounded out 2 large chicken breasts, cut them in half and then threw them in my favorite quick and easy marinade:

~1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
~1/4 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
~2 cloves of garlic, minced
~a handful of chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

Marinate for at least 20 minutes, throw them on the grill (or grill pan or skillet) for about 7 minutes on each side and, Voila!

Side dishes were a spring mix salad and some cheddar broccoli rice from an Amish store mix.

Everyone have a lovely Wednesday evening! I hope the sun is shining where you are the way it is here in southern Ohio. Hooray for spring!

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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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