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The Post I Dreaded

This is the end of Up Fit Creek. ūüė¶ I’ve been working really hard to keep this blog new, innovative and updated regularly. Unfortunately, it’s just not working out. My life has changed drastically since Up Fit Creek began. Healthy living is still extremely important to me, but there’s so much more that I just don’t feel “fits in” here.

This isn’t ‘goodbye’, though. It’s merely a transition. I’ve been trying to maintain 2 blogs for quite some time. Obviously that hasn’t been working out for either one of them. Rather than give up on both because it’s too difficult to maintain two, I’m shifting all of my content to the other blog. It’s still me. It’s just me more well-rounded. ūüôā

Please update your readers to the following address: http://pearlsandbluejeans.blogspot.com

I’m going to continue reading and commenting on your blogs, just from my new location. I’m also going to be switching my tweeting to my¬†new handle: @pearlsbluejeans. I’m working on getting my profile all set up and¬†re-following all of you from there.

I don’t want to post this whole “I’m going to miss all the great friends I’ve made…” yada, yada, yada here because I’m hoping you’ll all continue reading at my new location. See ya on the flip side!

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Recipes in Review

We’ve been trying a lot of new¬†eats in our house lately. Here’s a quick recap of what we’ve been eating as well as what we thought. None of these¬†are originals by moi¬†so I’ve posted my photos and reviews with¬†links to the recipe source.

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I can’t believe I’ve never shared this first dish on the blog before! It’s one of our all-time favorites, Spicy Beef Noodles from Laura’s Lean Beef.

My husband doesn’t typically like Asian flavors (doesn’t like soy sauce at all), but the peanut butter masks it enough that he doesn’t notice. He actually requested this for his birthday this year and regularly asks for it to be added to the menu. You can adjust the level of heat by how much or how little red pepper flakes you use. A few of my vegetarian friends have made this and suggest using either soy crumbles or 1/2 can of pinto beans in place of the beef. Genius!

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Next is Nacho-rific Stuffed Chicken from Hungry Girl.

Confession: I have her show set to DVR. To be honest, the show is awful. It’s cheesy and she annoys me a little in her delivery. All that aside, I have seen a few really great ideas and recipes. This is one of them.

We really liked this dish and I’ll definitely be making it again. Assembly is pretty messy, but kinda fun.

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The May 2011 issue of Martha Stewart Living had some fantastic pasta recipes for the summer. I LOVE me some arugula so I was immediately drawn to the Whole-Wheat Shells with Tuna & Arugula. I knew this wasn’t something my husband would love so it was all for me. I made a big batch on¬†Monday and portioned out the leftovers for lunches during the week.

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Yum! It was good served immediately, but I actually preferred the leftovers served cold.¬†I did make a few¬†modifications to the original recipe. I used 2 cans of chunk light tuna in water because I couldn’t find jarred fillets. I also skipped drizzling the extra 2 tablespoons of EVOO over the top before serving.

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Then there was one we didn’t love so much…Cheese Ravioli with Pumpkin Sauce.

 

I don’t think this is a bad dish. I think we’ve just discovered that we’re not fans of pumpkin in savory dishes. Give me a pumpkin muffin, pumpkin spice latte, pumpkin fluff or any other pumpkin sweet any day, though.

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Last, but certainly¬†not least, Triple Layer Cookies & Cream Crunch Bars¬†from Jessica @ How Sweet It Is.¬† I made them for a church picnic a few weeks ago and people are STILL raving about them. I didn’t cut them until we got to the picnic so¬†check out the photos from her blog as well as the recipe. You’re going to want to make these. Today. Right now, actually. They’re amazing.

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My mission right now is to¬†rely on meals¬†that don’t require turning on the oven. As summer heats up, I do whatever I can to keep the house cool and save our air conditioner from working any harder than it needs to.

What’s your favorite no-bake meal?

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Tank of gas: $60

Season pass: $70

2 Packed lunches: about $5

Stuffed otter: $8

Spending the day at the zoo with Peanut…

PRICELESS ! ! !


 

I missed you all! We had a great day at the zoo on Tuesday. Come evening, I was exhausted and my eyes couldn’t focus on the computer screen. I’ll be back tomorrow with a brand new post and my PLANKS Challenge update. Stay tuned!

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My husband and I co-lead a weight loss group at our church. There are 12 members, all at very diffect places in their journey to live a healthier lifestyle.¬†A couple of the people are making the choice to do something about their health for the very first time in their lives.¬†I can tell how¬†happy they are to get started,¬†but also a little fearful. When they ask for help, I’ve been trying to take myself back to¬†square one.¬†That’s led me¬†a lot of thinking about the very beginning of my weight loss journey. Namely, the feelings that came along with it. And oh, are there feelings. Desperation. Shame. Fear. Frustration. Excitement. Pride.¬†

For so long, weight loss had seemed to overwhelming to me. I wanted to eat right. I wanted to exercise. The catch was, I had no clue how to do either. Don’t get me wrong. There was plenty of information out there. “Eat this! “Lose 10lbs in 19 minutes!” “Cut carbs!” “Don’t eat meat!” I was confused and I was scared. Confused about where to begin. Scared to stay the same. Scared to change. Scared to fail.

I started by taking baby steps to exercise more, but with no real direction.¬†I joined a ladies’ gym and bought a workout DVD, doing one of those things on most¬†days of the week. It was a good start, but I didn’t understand what to¬†do next or how to do it.¬†I would sort of start to acknowledge that I needed to change the way I ate, but then¬†I’d freeze up. I was¬†too afraid to¬†face how bad my diet really was.¬†Frustrated,¬†my exercise would decrease¬†until it was¬†nonexistent. Back to square one. My efforts at exercise were going to be derailed completely if I didn’t get a food wake-up call.

For me, that was the orientation session at my very first Weight Watchers meeting.¬†I remember being fascinated as the leader explained the basics.¬†She was making weight loss simple, logical, formulaic and kind of fun…all at the same time. No way that was possible! Suddenly, I was excited about getting started. I finally had control over getting healthier. I had a plan. It was a huge relief. For the first time ever, I felt like I really could do this!

After the meeting, I bought the expanded member kit. (Which I still have. I can’t stand to part with it, even though the information is obsolete on the new PointsPlus program.) I’m a Type-A person through and through so¬†I wanted all the information I could possibly get my hands on in order to learn. If I was going to do this, I was going to do it right.

I went home and absolutely devoured these books. I read through them like they were novels. I highlighted foods I already ate for easy reference. The next day I spent 3 hours at the grocery. T-H-R-E-E. In a place I didn’t even really like. I was giddy with excitement. It was almost sick. ūüôā Calculating points, which can be a tedious task, suddenly became like a game to me. I was actually taking the time to look at nutrition labels and paying attention to what I was putting in my body.

I learned A LOT in those first few weeks of my new eating style. Writing¬†down what I ate laid it all out there in black and white. It was eye-opening.¬†The biggest shocker¬†for me was portion sizes. It was nothing for me to consume large helpings of firsts, always seconds and sometimes even thirds. Actually measuring out a 1-cup portion of pasta was eye-opening. Before, I’d been known to eat an entire box of pasta in one sitting. By myself. In one sense, I felt ashamed. How could I have not known that was a problem? I also felt relieved by the fact that I did know now and I was changing.

The more I learned, the easier it got. I started taking baby steps, but this time with a distinct purpose. I started packing my lunch for work instead of buying it in the cafeteria. I started walking on my lunch hour instead of listening to the radio in my car. Grocery shopping took less time, too. Some things, like buying more fruits and veggies, became intuitive. I also¬†became¬†familiar with the points values of my¬†go-to foods and didn’t need to¬†calculate them or look¬†them up every time. I’d take the long way to fill up my water bottle which accomplished two things: drinking more water and moving more. I still think it’s funny that I rewarded myself with a water mug after losing my first five pounds when, before, a reward would have been a giant piece of molten lava cake. (Still have the mug, too. It’s my all-time favorite.)

So why have I been dwelling on these “before” feelings? I don’t think it’s dwelling as much as it is using them to¬†motivate myself and to help the people around me who are just getting started.¬† So often, I take for granted the things that are common knowledge for me now, but that were HUGE revelations back then. A couple weeks ago, one of the women¬†from our group was in awe of the can of pumpkin + cake mix muffins.¬†Another lady jotted things down furiously when we talked about the food pyramid and portion sizes.¬†It was really cool to see¬†them learning something from our group and getting so excited about it, but in my head I was thinking “How can you not know this?”¬† Then I remembered that this was me just a few years ago.

On days when I just cannot get my butt out the door to the gym. On days when I don’t want to track. On days when I want to eat that whole box of pasta. Those are the days I want to remember what it was like when I didn’t know what to do. And then I want to remember how excited I was when I finally had a doable plan, a direction. There I was, getting excited about those first steps to taking control of my eating. And, in turn, my life. I want to use those memories to remember why I’m so grateful¬†for my healthy lifestyle.¬†It’s not because I should live this way.¬†It’s because I’ve made the decision to do so and worked hard for it.

What was/is the first step you took toward a healthier lifestyle?

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Priorities

I’m working on a few new posts to share with you very soon, but today I just can’t get my head in the game to wrap anything up. My thoughts have another priority.

Last Monday, my 20 year old cousin Kayla¬†had a nosebleed that lasted 6 hours. She felt fine for a while after it stopped, but soon began the excrutiating headaches. On Thursday she decided she couldn’t take it anymore and went to the doctor. They did a cat scan and discovered a mass. An MRI would later reveal a¬†tennis ball-sized tumor filling almost her entire right sinus cavity.¬†

After a biopsy on Sunday, she was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer, already stage 4. Right now the doctors, Kayla and her family are trying to decide the best method of treatment; whether they should operate immediately to remove the tumor or begin chemo and radiation to shrink it before performing the surgery.

So, if you have a second today…and tomorrow…and the next day, please send up a prayer to whatever God you believe in for Kayla, her family & her doctors. And hug your loved ones. Very, very tightly.

Eff cancer.

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My hiatus has been semi-intentional. Truth be told, my support system IRL has sort of collapsed. I’ve gone pretty internal when it comes to all things related to my eating right and exercise. And, in response to the Dr. Philesque question, “How’s that working for you?” It’s not. At all. I’m¬†coming out of my self-imposed shell and coming back to the blog for¬†support I’ve come to know and love. And the support I need now more than ever.

I wrote out a really long, rambly post with the details of my support system collapse, but I’m too nervous to post in fear of who might be reading.

Long story short, there’s¬†someone in my life who was instrumental to getting me started on my healthy living journey and¬†helping me along the way. This person has gone from being extremely supportive to being super competitive. “Anything you can do, I can do better.”¬†

It hurts to hear someone who was once your biggest cheerleader now pointing out your trouble zones and all the things you’re doing wrong…and not in a loving¬†, intended-to-help kind of way. I don’t even know if this person realizes that they’re doing it, but I have to learn to let it be their problem. It seems to be stemming from a combination of Type-A personality (which I can totally relate to), an extreme case of perfectionism (also something I struggle with) and jealousy.¬†It’s not that I’m running around bragging and boasting, but it’s impossible to hide when a visible, physical change is the payoff¬†for what you’re doing. I’m sorry, but I won’t apologize for putting in the hard work and having others notice and compliment me on the results.

Another blow came¬†when, out of the blue, someone who goes to the gym with me very regularly told me they don’t like to work out with me. They told me I rush through the workout, it makes them flustered and then they quit before they’re finished with the workout. Coming from someone so close to me, this made me feel pretty down in the dumps. I will admit that I don’t mess around when I’m at the gym, but I¬†had no¬†idea that it was impacting someone else’s workout. I don’t want to stop working out with someone who means so much to me, especially someone who would rather not go to the gym at all than to go alone. Fortunately, I’m close enough with this person to have addressed the issue. After some thought, I told this person that we should continue to go to the gym together, but maybe try doing different workouts. They didn’t like the idea at first, but we’re going to give it a try and see how it goes.

Hopefully my abbreviated version of this makes some sense to you. Writing this has actually made me super excited about getting back to the blog and sharing my healthy livingness with all of you!

Do you ever find it challenging to balance support with competitiveness? How do you deal with this?

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Hey, Cutie!

I hate oranges. I know hate is a strong word, but it’s appropriate in this case. It grosses me out just watching someone else eat an orange. I don’t like the taste. I don’t like the texture.

My aversion goes beyond the actual fruit. I can’t stand orange juice, I don’t eat orange-flavored candy, I think orange glaze on meat is disgusting and I always turn down baked goods that taste anything like an orange. Heck, I don’t even really like the color orange.

Given these things, I have no idea what made me bite into the Cutie I was feeding to Peanut. But I did and…

it. was. HEAVEN!

Despite the appearance, I didn’t think it really tasted anything like an orange. There was no waxy, stringy texture and the flesh was super sweet. The closest thing I could even compare the taste to would be fruit punch. Yes, fruit punch. I know it’s a strange comparison, but that’s what they taste like to me. I love fruit punch so this is most definitely a good thing.

I’m so happy that I’ve discovered these. I love fresh fruit and have been eating even more of it since starting the¬†launch of the new¬†Weight Watchers PointsPlus program. This gives me yet another option to enjoy!

Speaking of Cutie, it doesn’t get much better than this:

Have you ever steered clear of a food because you just knew you wouldn’t like it, only to find out that you did?

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