Summer 2 of 101 Days of Summer Challenge

So happy I have so many people to check up on each week to make sure they are on the right path to their Summer 2011 goals! 😀  You can check out how everyone did last year on this post – I’ll be replacing this post next Sunday. 😀

So here are our participants, in no particular order:  and now updated to add all the people I forgot!  (and again, if I missed you – sorry it was a brain dead day at jury duty!) please email me at mybizzykitchen@gmail.com

Christina of Dinner at Christina’s.  I’ve had the pleasure of having lunch at her house, and meeting her at Big Bowl with some other local bloggers.  She’s funny, beautiful and has a lot going on in her life now – not only is she getting married in December, but she’s moving from Illinois back to her home state of North Carolina.  She’s gained 25 pounds over the last 5 years, they kind of just snuck up on her.

Her plan is lost 10 to 15 pounds.  The two nearest grocery stores to her parents house are a little over a mile away.  Her plan is, weather permitting, to ride her bike to the store intead of driving.  Pop and alcohol have also snuck back into her diet, she she plans on drinking just water and tea.

Jenn of Slim-Shoppin.  I think I may have guilted my twin sister to joining this challenge, but I don’t care!   Her goals are to ride her bike to work every day. Write down what I eat – stay away from the food at work i.e. donuts, muffins, cake, candy, etc…and join the pilates summer class near my house.  She found out through her Blue Cross Insurance that she can take as many pilates classes a month for only $29!  Blue Cross picks up the rest and pays the pilates club directly – how cool is that?

Blog reader Janie is a new momma, having her baby at the end of April.  While she can’t start to exercise for a couple more weeks because of her C-section, her goals are to exercise consistently 4 days a week.  While she is already back to her pre-baby weight, its not at a weight she wants.  Thanks for joining the group Janie!

Blog reader Christine – let’s just say that when I forgot to add her to the list, she had a quick thought of “oh well!”  But that isn’t going to give her the accountability she’s looking for – I’ve already told her be prepared to be stalked by me! 😀  Her focus is simple – maintain her weight loss (which is turning out to be more difficult than losing the weight and she’s realized she hasn’t resolved all of her food issues) AND to exercise at least 30 minutes, 5 times a week.

Morgan from Back Off I’m Starving, another 101 Days of Summer alum!  Her goals is a doozy – she needs to successfully complete her half-marathon training so that she can successfully complete her first ever half marathon at Disneyland on September 4th.  She’s already started and has just finished week two – but its going to be  along summer for her learning to run!

Jacky from Jax House is our next participant.   Jacky and I went to the same high school and I am so excited that not only does she have a recipe blog, she lives in Oak Park and runs into my sister from time to time.  Her internet has been down in the last couple days, but will be getting back to me shortly with her summer goals.  She’s also an avid reader, so check out her summer book selections!

And because of Jacky, I have now gotten into contact with her sister Jody, who is our next participant!  Jody was a senior when I was a freshman, and I consider her to be a mentor when I started my field hockey career.  She has always been fit and kept her weight between 135-140 for years.  Now at 164 pounds, she wants a major intervention!  She doesn’t want any sob stories or excuses – she’s just been complacent and hopes that this public summer challenge will find her mojo back.  And she’s a regular reader – can’t wait to catch up with you!

And how could I forget my blog BFF Shelley?!   She’s been a total inspiration to me – she’s lost so much weight, when I look at her blog I don’t even recognize her “before” picture!  And she’s stuck with her healthy lifestyle, even while she went through a plateau for I think a few months!  She went to a trainer, and changed things up, and while she’s gained a bit back, she’s refocused (especially since her Momma is doing great with her battle with cancer!)

For her challenge, I think I’m going to commit to eating super healthy for 5 out of 7 days each week. Time to get back to basics for her, and hopefully fit back into her smaller pants by the end of summer.

Blog reader Aide is a regular reader and thinks I am inspirational, so she’s a new friend in my book! 😀  Her goals – to lose 15 pounds – as of 5/31/11 her start weight is 246.  She also wants to continue eating les carbs, she’s also diabetic and needs to watch her carb intake to manage her blood sugar, and to get back into the gym so she can get stronger. 😀  You can do it Aide!

Maggie from Say Yes to Salad.  First of all, Maggie has been reading my blog since almost the very beginning.  She was my first giveaway winner and the first person to introduce me to kabocha!  Her goals are…lose 5-10 pounds that I put on when I started my office job last year :D

Lori from Fit and Healthy Mama.  She just discovered my blog not too long ago and is ready to jump on the bandwagon!  Her goals. .  

  1. Lose something each week. No gains.
  2. Try a new recipe each week.
  3. Run at least 2 5ks this summer – I’m sooo not a heat & humidity person, so this is going to be the biggest challenge for me. I have one lined up for June 4th so I’m hoping the summer temps stay cool until then.

Tish from Incremental Improvements.  She is the grandma of two adorable kids, and has her hand full with her adult son that lives at home.  I especially enjoyed a recent post about her son being tempted with pop – he would sneak to get them, no matter how many times he was told he could only have one can. 
The solution was simple – he doesn’t shop for himself, so they no longer have to worry about him drinking too much pop.  But how do we handle temptations on a daily basis?  Food for though!  Her goal is to lose an avg of 1 pound per week (or more!) for each summer week.

Blog reader Ashley C wants to lost 25 pounds and reduce her food waste.  I am totally on board with that one – especially when I clean out my fridge and am like “I would have eaten that if I had remembered it was there!”  Maybe all my hot sauce and mustard containers get in the way sometimes? 😀  Go Ashley!

Ally of Sweet and Savory.  Ally is just going back to work after having her second child – a baby girl!  While she was able to stay home for a year with her son, this time around its back to work after 9 weeks off.  Ally also made my baja fresh salsa last summer and with the help of her Mom, sold it at her local farmers market – love that!

  1. Lose 20 pounds by Labor Day, or sooner, via Weight Watchers.
  2. Attept to get in 3 long walks a week with her kiddos in the double stroller.
  3. Continue to blog at least 3 times a week, with new and exciting recipes.

Errign (pronounced Erin) of Errign’s Adventures.  Errign is quite the world traveler having spent time this spring in Singapore!  And she’s got lots of changes going on in her life – she’s no longer with her boyfriend, and while that was a trying experience, I know she’ll be stronger because of it.  This summer she’s transferring schools, moving to a whole new city and is more than ready to have a kick ass summer.

Her goals are to:

  1. Run 8 miles outside
  2. do a yoga style handstand without the wall and
  3. make new friends in her new city of Asheville!

Next up is Tyler of Life of Ty.  I like to think of myself as Ty’s blog momma.  Her husband is in the military, currently deployed while she is at home going to school – I’ll brag about her – her last semester she got a 4.0 GPA!  Apparently she had a rough freshman year and is paying the price, but all her hard work is paying off – you should be so proud of yourself Ty!

  1. She participated last year and promises to stay in touch better this year – I already told her I plan to stalk her this summer. 😀
  2. Get closer to size “healthy.”
  3. Drink more water – turns out she’s a diet Coke addict!
  4. Use her juicer 3-4 times a week
  5. sweat 3-4 times a week (or more!)
  6. try yoga on break from school
  7. get all A’s in all of her classes

Sam of Sam’s Weight Watchin’ Menu.  I also like to think of myself as Sam’s blog momma.  She took her site down a while back, and I got concerned.  I mean, its your choice if you want to keep up with a blog, but I always think worst case scenario.  But, turns out she wasn’t living the life she wanted to and just shut it down.  Well, she is getting back on track, her site is back up and she’s ready to kick some ass!

  1. lose 30 pounds
  2. finish the Couch to 5k program

Blog reader Jill came out of the woodwork to participate – yeah!  She reads my blog every day through Google Reader, and hasn’t left a comment yet – love it when daily readers contact me! 

  1. move more, sit less.  get outside for at least an hour a day
  2. eat dinner at home at least 3 weekdays a week.  Her daughter left home for college and apparently she and the mister are having fun eating out a lot more! 😀

Sara from Cupcake Muffin.  She’s been a past BSI hostess, and she’s having a cookbook giveaway – check that post out here!

Her goals for 101 days of summer this year is to cook more, and incorporate more vegetables into that cooking – she’s gotten into a bad rut of going out to a lot of restaurants and eating a lot of frozen pizza, packaged meals, etc. – not good for either physical or financial health! She wants to focus on eating more fresh produce, and creating interesting, healthy, and less expensive meals at home.

Blog reader Joan is in for a challenge too!  Thanks for leaving a comment. 😀

Her goals will be 1) lose 1 pound a week, 2) try at least one new recipe a week and 3) walk at least 2 miles 6 days a week.

Nicole from Prevention RD.  Not only did Nicole and I go to the same high school (ahem, many many years apart!) she’s been great at answering my questions about diabetes – she’s trying to get certified as a diabetes specialist as a registered dietician – holy cow, it’s a lot of work to get certified!  

Her main goal is to track her food – she’s also a second timer as she participated last year and it help her stay on track. 😀

MaryBe from Accidentally Vegan.  She’s a very loyal blog reader and just turned 50 not too long ago. 

Her Dad’s been very sick and she is SO stressed…her challenge will be to do yoga every night, for at least 30 minutes. That will help clear my mind and help me sleep better!

Tracy of Tracy’s Journey to Health.  Tracy had a blog around 2009, gave up, but has now resurrected her blog and hopes to be an inspiration to the weight loss blog community.   Um, just noticing Tracy you haven’t posted since March – I need an update. 😀

Her goals are 1) to lose something each week. I don’t care if its .2 of a pound, I just want to weigh less than the week before and 2) to exercise 150 minutes each week (30 min 5 days).

Rachel of Losing It!  She and her finance Dave are trying to live healthier lives – which can be good or bad when you are doing it with your partner – I know when I lived in a two flat with my sister, we could be the best of influence and do Tae Bo after work, but just as easily look at each other and say, “let’s just order a pizza!”  Rachel was also generous enough to send Tony some cool “Fuck Cancer” refrigerator magnets that I see every day – thanks again Rachel!  (oh, and she sent me some really good meat rub too and hot sauce!).  Oh, and Rachel is also a 101 Days of Summer Alum!

 I’m ready for the 101 Days of Summer Challenge part deux! My goals are:

(1) Track everything I eat
(2) Exercise at least 2x/week
(3) Continue to lose weight and not gain anything back at my weekly weigh-ins. I have a wedding dress that most likely doesn’t fit me right now and it has to fit by OCt 29 (or earlier for my fittings)!

Mo’Betta aka Kim of This Little Life of Mine – love her blog.  She’s got adorable kids and I love all of her recipes from comfort food to making smores! 😀

She hopes the challenge will give her extra incentive to stay on track! Her goals are (1) Lose 15 lbs (20 would be better!) (2) Exercise at least 3 x a week for a minimum of 30 minutes.  She’s started taking aerobics classes at the Y this week, so is hoping to stick with it!

MB is another 101 Days of Summer Alum!  And people. . . she’s already down 92 pounds! and is so close to goal.  She and I both have the same love/hate relationship with BL too – not realistic, but we both tear up when we see how the people have transformed their lives.

She’s up for the challenge.  Her goals are to find a way to continue her workouts now that she’s going back to work, avoid eating the junk food that’s always there, and finally get to her goal of losing 101 pounds. I’m so close I can almost taste it. Then the real hard part begins, maintenance….

New reader Autumn Rose is maintaining her weight loss.  She recently ran a 5k, then went hiking with her family for the rest of the day!  Her goals are to contine to clean eat, i.e. no processed food, refined sugars and grains, add more strength training to her workout routine and drop body fat percentage.

And then there is me!  At last years Day 1, I weighed 169, so I am proud to say that I am starting this Day 1 at 158.4.  My goal for the summer is to get down to 140, so I have 18.4 pounds to go.  I need to continue to watch portion sizes, set down the glass of wine a little more often, and continue to realize this is my lifestyle, and not a diet. 

If I missed your comment or email and you still want to join – could you send me another email at mybizzykitchen@gmail.com and I’ll add you to the list.

I am actually headed to my first jury duty – I hope I don’t get picked because my office is going to be very busy this week and I’d hate to have the other two secretaries have to cover my desk all week.

Hope everyone had a great long weekend – I’ll be back tomorrow with our best ribs made at home – smoked to perfection!

Hmmm… I didn’t seem to get an email from my twin sister?  What gives?! 😀

Crunchy Sesame Seed and Dried Cherry Granola

Hi guys!  Well, with storms the last couple days, I have been off the computer – we need to unplug it when the weather gets bad, just in case.  I am finally logging on this morning with bright blue skies and warm weather – love it!

One of my bosses eats granola just about every day.  We have a busy work week coming up, so I decided to try my hand at making a batch.  Holy cow, this one is a winner.  I adapted my recipe from this one – my alterations?  I subbed 1/2 the honey for agave nectar, I used only 2 cups almonds, I added 1/2 a cup of sesame seeds, and I cooked mine for a full hour, in 2 batches.

Crunchy Sesame Seed Granola with Dried Cherries

  • each 2/3 cup serving is 7 PointsPlus

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups rolled oats (not quick oats)
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seed
  • 2 cups sliced almonds
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • 1 cup raisins

In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients.   Mix the wet ingredients in another bowl.  Combine and using your hands, mix well.  Heat oven to 300 degrees.

Instead of doing two batches at once and then flipping them, I just did two batches – you just want to make sure the granola is one layer on your cookie sheet.  Bake for 1 hours, mixing it up every 15 minutes.  Cool on paper towels.  Her recipe said to store into an airtight container and it will keep in your refrigerator indefinitely.  I put my batch in the fridge, took it out this morning to take pictures, and it was soft, not crunchy as it was yesterday.

I think it will safely keep in an airtight container in your pantry for a couple weeks.  If it lasts that long!

This turned out so good!  Super crunchy, I love the added flavor of the sesame seeds.  I never would have thought to use applesauce as the binding agent and while I was skeptical, it worked out perfectly.

We are going to be smoking some ribs for dinner, I need to make German potato salad and maybe a fruit salad?  I am almost done with my laundry – Hannah and I went to Goodwill yesterday and scored on some great items – I’ll have to do a Fashion Friday maybe?  If Shelley doesn’t mind me stealing her idea – I bought a way cute pair of brown capri pants, and 5 different tops that match – the pants are a size 12, and have a little room, and I was also able to pick up a size 10 pants that are just a smidge too tight, but I think another 5-7 pounds they’ll fit just fine.  Woot!

Question of the Day:  Potato Salad or Cole Slaw?

Stop by tomorrow when I’ll introduce the 101 Days of Summer Challengers.  It’s not too late to join – just email me at mybizzykitchen@gmail.com and let me know what your summer goals are.

 

WI Saturday and $20 Date Night In

I got my sticker!

I am down exactly 15 pounds!  While I was hoping for more than a .8 loss – I got my sticker, and now I am only 2 pounds away from hitting a 10% loss – woot!  While the scale isn’t going down as fast as I want, I know my body shape is changing.  I wore a pair of size 14 pants to work yesterday, and while I was at the copier, they literally fell down to about my knees!

Thank God I work in a small office and no one was around!  Those pants (and a few other size 14’s!) are in the goodwill pile. 😀

I had egg beater spinach tacos for breakfast yesterday.  I was heating it up in my work kitchen.  Another co-worker was having a bagel with a teaspoon of jelly.  Both of ours were 8 points, but lets just say I got more bang for my point buck and I was full until lunch time – she emailed me an hour and a half after eating her bagel and was still hungry!

I had chicken tortilla soup in my deep freeze, so now I am officially out of soup – need to fix that this weekend.  On the side I had a spinach corn tortilla quesadilla – 5 points for that and 5 points for the soup – again, a filling 10 point lunch. 😀

Did you guys know that I like cheese?

On my 50 minute jog/walk, I found a $10 bill!  When I got back to the office I emailed Tony and said “how about I pick up some steak?”  At the same time I was at the copier when my pants fell down, I thought “I’ll pick up some fresh rosemary to make rosemary butter for our steaks.”

When I got back to my desk, Tony had emailed me back and said “why don’t you pick up some rosemary – I have a taste for rosemary butter!” Yep, that means we’ve been living together way too long! 😀

Tony was the grill master while I made the best shrimp cocktail.  You have to make this shrimp cocktail – you would sweat that it is restaurant quality!

So with my $10 find, this was actually a $10 date night in.  We had a bottle of cheap pinot grigio and when I told Tony this was just as good as any resaurant for a fraction of the cost, he said the only difference is that we would have ordered better wine if we had been out. 😀

Tony melted 2 tablespoons of butter and I added about 2 tablespoons fresh chopped rosemary.  He had that in a small cast iron skillet, and basted the steak while it cooked.

Tony cooked the steaks at a high temperature to sear the outside, then moves them to the cool side to finish – these size steaks took about 15 minutes to cook for rare/medium rare.

I ended up eating 4 ounces of shrimp, 2 tablespoons shrimp cocktail sauce and about 7 ounces of my steak – still plenty of leftovers from both of ours to make steak tacos later this weekend. 😀  Dinner comes in at 12 points.

Holy shizz, this was a great meal  – the method of cooking the shrimp makes them taste almost like lobster, and the steak was perfectly seasoned and cooked.  A hint on making great steak?  Make sure your meat is at room temperature before grilling – if you go from cold meat to hot grill, you’ll have tough meat, no matter what cut of meat it is.

And simple seasoning – we have a mixture on our counter that is 2 parts salt, 1 part black pepper.  Season generously when you take the steaks out of the kitchen while letting them come to room temperature.  Um, the rosemary butter helps too! 😀

Stats for Friday:

  • 50 minute walk/jog – found $10 bucks!
  • 30 points
  • average blood sugar 129

Hope everyone has a long weekend!  I do have some chores I want to do around the house, but other than that, we don’t have any concrete plans – love that!

It’s not too late to join my 101 Days of Summer Challenge – just leave a comment on this post, or email me at mybizzykitchen@gmail.com with your summer goals – you can read the recap of last years participants here

Another flashback – it was already a year ago today that Hannah graduated high school!  So crazy how fast this year went by.   And for the record, my arms are still messed up from the sunburn I got at her graduation – I think I’ll have a permanent farmers tan for the rest of my life. 🙁

Here is Hannah last year with her favorite teacher, who was her German teacher.  She’s already been back to see him a handful of times this past school year just to keep in touch. 😀

Enjoy your weekend! 

Flashback Friday and Shaved Asparagus Pizza

When my parents met, they both lived in Virginia – close to all their relatives and friends.  A couple years after they were married, my Dad got offered a job in Chicago “just for two years.”  They were young and thought how exciting “city” life would be!

Well a couple years after that move, my brother was born, two years after that, me and my sister were born.  And they just stayed, long after the original job my Dad moved to Chicago was long gone.

So we had my Mom’s parents – Grammy and Grandy – that we spent summers with in a tiny town called Warsaw, Virginia, about an hour away from Richmond.  The kids in that town used to think we were so cool because we were from Chicago – nevermind the fact that we lived in a near west suburb.  We were asked “are there gangs with guns on every corner?”  “Do you have trees?”

I have fond memories of them – in fact to this day, the smell of fresh cut canteloupe can bring me right back to Grammy’s kitchen table, me eating chunk after chunk of the juicy fruit while she made the best cinnamon toast – white bread, butter, sprinkled cinnamon sugar, then broiled in the oven.  The edges were always almost slightly burnt, but the middle was sugary soft goodness.

My fondest memory of my grandpa was when we had a crab fest.  Friends and relatives would be elbow deep in blue crabs over newspaper strewn picnic tables.  My grandpa was missing half his thumb.  When I asked him how it happened, he picked up a crab and said “one of these just bit it off!”  I was forever scared of live crab for a few years after that!

Sadly, my grandpa died when I was 11.  Grammy died when I was 19 – and as luck would have it, my college field hockey team was playing schools in the east coast and I was able to see her in the hospital right before she died.  Sometimes I wish I hadn’t seen her in that condition – because the last time I had seen her she was so bright and lively.  I hugged a frail, tiny little woman – I guess I can only say I am happy my brother and sister don’t have that image of her.

I often wish that I had known my grandparents as an adult – I missed out on asking all the questions a teenager doesn’t give a shit about.  And that I had more pictures of them – I probably take more pictures in a day than they did in a whole year!

Here are a few pictures of my grandparents 😀

This one is not only my grandparents on the far right and left, but my great-grandparents, who we called Memaw and Ditty and I believe they are holding my Mom – maybe her christening, which would make this picture taken in 1940.

Not sure when this one was taken?

Do you have fond memories of your grandparents?  Are they still alive?

My breakfast was so good yesterday, and simple.  1/2 cup egg beaters with baby spinach, 3/4 ounce cheddar cheese, 1 pt. cheese stick and watermelon.  This whole plate for 4 points!

For lunch I had a 5 pt. cup of chili, with a 5 pt. roast beef sandwich.  And if you are thinking that’s too much mustard – you are wrong. 😀  I also think I need to bring a bigger plate to work!

Okay, so you all know what a pizza whore I am.  I haven’t made any in a long time.  I saw this pizza on Tastespotting and immediately knew I would make it this week, especially with asparagus at .99 cents a pound!

I adapted it to make one pizza: 12 PointsPlus for 1/2 a pizza – nice!

Shaved Asparagus Pizza

For the dough for 1, 14 inch thin crust pizza:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup tap water
  • 1 teaspoon yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

Mix well and let sit for 20-30 minutes.  Heat oven to 500 with a baking stone.  Roll out dough, brush the edges with the teaspoon of olive oil.

For the topping:

  • 6 ounces fresh asparagus, shaved
  • 4 ounces herbed spreadable cheese (any brand is fine)
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • sprinkle of Italian seasoning
  • fresh basil (mine was moldy, so I just sprinkled dry oregano over the top) 🙁

While the original recipe called for dotting the top of the pizza with the herbed cheese, I decided to make that my “sauce” and spread that all over the bottom.

So the base was the herbed cheese, then I added the sliced mozzarella, then the shaved asparagus on top.  Bake on the preheated stone for 12-15 minutes.  Let cool slightly before slicing.

*When I got home from work, I made my dough and preheated my oven – that gave me enough time to do 30 day shred before getting back to business.  The weather was too crappy at lunch to walk outside yesterday. 🙁

The verdict?  I loved this pizza!  I normally start my crust out on a regular pizza pan, then as soon as I am able to shake it off the pan, I put it directly on the racks in my oven so that it gets really crisp.  I left the dough on the preheated baking stone the whole time and it was the perfect crust for me – although Tony likes a more substantial crust – I need to make him a deep dish pizza next time.  😀  I also liked that since the herbed cheese spread was the base, every bite was cheezy goodness.  

Stats for Thursday

  • 36 points, including wine and 1/2 cup sf ice cream
  • 30 day shred, level 1
  • average blood sugar 119

 Here is another flashback.  This was taken this past Christmas:

And this was taken a couple weeks ago – my face is thinner for sure!

See you tomorrow for WI Saturday! 😀

Carrot Chipotle Pepper Soup – I forgot how good this was!

Tony and I were able to see our doctor yesterday “through the back door” if you know what I mean.  We are full of prescriptions!  Tony has done some research, and he’s discovered Canadian pharmacies are a fraction of the cost here – and its totally legal!  And as much as Tony tried, our doctor would not get him a prescription for dilaudid.   When Tony was sick with his back a few years ago and for his knee replacement, this was the best drug – as soon as the nurse would put that in his I.V. he could feel it from his toes to his head – like instantly having 4-5 stiff drinks at once!  But more importantly, it instantly took any pain away.

I knew there wouldn’t be time to eat breakfast before we went, so while I had my lunch all figured out, I kinda just winged breakfast – I had the last two of my easy pancakes, half a sliced banana and 1/4 cup sugar free syrup – not bad for a 7 point breakfast, and because I reheated the pancakes with the banana, the banana was so creamy good.  All that was missing were some walnuts. 😀

It was rainy all day, and stormy, so knowing that Hannah and I were going to the gym after dinner, no walk at lunch.  I had made a grilled chicken salad: 3 oz. grilled chicken, 3 cups baby spinach, apple, carrot, 1/4 cup leftover corn on the cob – the whole salad (I could only fit half of it in the picture below) is only 6 points, so I went to my deep freeze to see what kind of soups I had.

This one was perfectly labeled – Carrot Chipotle Soup – 2 cups/4 pts., so I grabbed it.  I forgot how fricken good this one is – slightly sweet from the carrots, but the kick of heat from the chipotle pepper – perfect soup for a rainy day.

I had grilled shrimp on the menu for dinner, but with the weather, I had to go to Plan B.

Lemon, Lime and Garlic Shrimps

(adapted from Sea Salt With Food)

Makes 4 servings: each serving is 6 PointsPlus – with 1 cup cooked pasta, 11 PointsPlus total.

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil (thanks healthy oil!)
  • 8 ounces raw shrimp
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • zest of 1 lime
  • zest on 1 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chili flakes (just used this on my portion – Tony no likey)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
  • 2 tablespoon bread crumbs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Preheat your oven to 425. 

Place the olive oil in a baking dish large enough to fit the shrimp in a single layer.  Warm the oil in the oven for about 5 or 6 minutes, or until the oil is hot.

Toss the prawns in the garlic, zest, parsley, salt, pepper and chili flakes if using.  Separately mix together the butter and breadcrumbs together. 

Remove the baking dish from the oven, add the srhimp and scatter the buttered breadcrumbs over the top.  Bake another 8-10 minutes depending on the size of the shrimp.  Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with lemon wedges and either crusty bread, or serve over cooked pasta.

Hannah may have added a touch more garlic. 😀

The verdict?  The shrimp was outstanding.  Because the oil was hot from the oven, as soon as I put the shrimp in the garlic and shrimp started to sizzle.  The only drawback was the pasta I used – I tried a new pasta, I think its called bocatini?  It’s the one that’s like a straw with a hole in the middle.  While I liked it, Tony wasn’t a big fan.

And next time, I will bake the shrimp in an oven safe dish – then toss the cooked spaghetti with the olive oil garlic shrimp mixture to coat all the pasta.

After we cleaned up, Hannah and I headed to the gym.  Since we just ate, we did 30 minutes on the treadmill at 8% incline at 4.0 mph, then I did 10 minutes of running at 5.5 mph.  Then we didn’t realize there were swim lessons going on in the lap lanes, so we water jogged for 20 minutes, while I did upper body strength with the aqua dumbbells, and then 10 glorious minutes in the hot tub. 😀

I did have two glasses of wine last night – one while watching the American Idol finale – I just am not a huge country music fan, so I’ll leave it at that. 🙁  But the other musical guests were fabulous – I was shocked to even see Bono from U2!

The second glass of wine was watching the season finale of Modern Family and an episode of Tosh.O with Tony.   All in all it was a great day!

Stats for Wednesday:

  • 35 points
  • 25 flex points remaining
  • 20 activity points earned
  • average blood sugar 119

It’s another rainy day here in Chicagoland – hope I can get my walk in at lunch.  Have a great day!

I can(‘t) run!

Tony and I are lucky that we have an awesome GP doctor.  Sadly, he’s leaving his old practice because of the buracracy he endured these last few years – he wasn’t able to practice medicine they way he wanted.

In the letter we got from this doctor group, it offered us about a dozen other doctors to choose from.  Our doctor said that most of these doctors went to medical school in countries that have low standards, and most of them graduated in the bottom of their class.  Case in point one doctor that was suggested.  My friend went to see him because of a wide variety of reasons – and after explaining the symptoms to this doctor, he looked at her and said “when is the last time you went to a movie with your husband?”  He then went on to say all her symptoms were because she worked too hard, and he prescribed rest and relaxation.  Really?!

Tony gave him a call last week, explained our situation with our gap in insurance, and he agreed to see us anyway.  Our appointment was for yesterday morning, but he got side tracked at the hospital, so we are headed over to his office this morning. 😀

When I was trying to figure out what to make for breakfast yesterday, I forgot that I had these mini flat out wraps – two are only 3 points!  So using some leftovers, I made some spinach egg wraps – 2 mini wraps, 1/3 cup refried beans, 1/2 cup egg beaters, 1 cup baby spinach, 3/4 ounce cheese and lots of Frank’s hot sauce.  With a side of unpictured watermelon, breakfast came in at 7 points.

It was a perfect weather day yesterday.  When I left to go on my walk, it was 60 degrees, sunny, nice breeze.  I have a fear of running outside for some reason.  I always think I go out too fast, I convince myself that I am probably breathing too hard, and just stop and walk.  Even though I know I am okay, I still talk myself into stopping.

Well, I had an idea yesterday.  I figured if I walked/jogged far enough, I would have no choice but to run back so that I got back to my office on time.  I walked/slow jogged 2 miles in 25 minutes.  I had 1.5 miles to go to get back to my car, and I just said “run.”   I had my iPod on, I had some faster songs playing, and I felt okay.  Whenever I started to think “I can’t” I literally said out loud “you can!”

Guess what?  I ran 1.5 miles in 15 minutes!  That’s a 10 minute mile pace.  And it felt good.  I ran with my head held high, kept my breathing under control, and just put one foot in front of the other.   Part of my Second Annual 101 Days of Summer Challenge this summer is to run two 5k’s outside – I am feeling more confident about it after yesterdays run!

My lunch was leftovers – a 3 ounce baked potato, 1 cup broccoli, 1 cup of buffalo chicken chili and 3/4 ounce of cheese – this took me forever to eat, and it was 10 points.

When I got home from work, since both Tony and I had late lunches, I decided to do my 30 Day Shred almost as soon as I got home to get it over with.  Tony had to run an errand, so by the time he went and came back, I did the advance (Natalie) side of Level 1 of 30 day shred.  Well, all except the push-ups – I can’t do them all on my toes yet. 😀

And you know what?  I finished Shred at 6:30 and dinner was ready by 7!  😀

I had grilled chicken cordon blue on my menu – perfect grilling weather and this couldn’t be easier.  When I took out the chicken breasts from the package, half of one breast was 11 ounces, so I only cooked one for Tony and I to split.  I actually for once cooked food for just two people!

It’s easy, I just salt and pepper the chicken – cook on one side, and then when you flip it, add a couple slices of ham and swiss cheese.  By the time the second half of the chicken cooks, the cheese will be all melty.

On the side was one zucchini – all for me because Tony isn’t a fan.  I’ve been brushing my zucchini with this sauce – so good – and only 25 calories for a tablespoon, which is plenty.

So dinner was 5.5 ounces of chicken, 1/2 ounce of ham, 3/4 ounces of swiss cheese, one whole grilled zucchini with the spicy thai sauce and 3/4 cup cooked brown rice.  Delicious 12 point dinner.

Did you watch the Biggest Loser finale?  I am not going to spoil it in case some of you still have it on the DVR – but everyone looks great.  But the biggest thing I got out of the finale was that these people never quit.  Yep, it was hard – but hard work shows results.  I can’t tell you how many times, just in the 2 1/2 years since I’ve started this blog, that I am “on” for a few weeks, and then maybe I’ll have more wine, an extra piece of pizza, maybe some cheese and bacon on my fries, and those choices never gave me what I was after.

I have been going strong since about March 1st.  While the weight loss is slow and steady, I’ve lost almost 15 pounds in the last two months, and I haven’t really lost a pound in the last 2 1/2 years!   I have decided that my weight is important, and I am making good choices to get to my goal.

Have I told you that my doctor wants me to be around 125 pounds?  Turns out I am short.  I have 34 pounds to go to lose it, and each day I am going to do my best to reach that goal.

Stats for Tuesday

  • 29 pounds exactly again!  no wine 😀
  • 32 flex points left
  • 14 activity points earned
  • average blood sugar 121

Tonight is another Hanging with Hannah night. 😀   We are going to the gym, finishing off with the hot tub, and then watching last nights episode of American Idol and the finale tonight.  Two season finales of my favorite shows back to back?  Pinch me! 😀

Make it a great day!

I love balls.

After having pumpkin scones almost every day last week, I went back to an old standby – the bagel sammie!  1 small onion bagel (the only time I’ll do onion anything), 1/4 cup egg beaters, 1/2 ounce swiss cheese and 1 oz. deli ham.  A delicious 9 PointsPlus breakfast that kept me full for hours.

I actually got the idea for my zucchini meat balls from Rocco’s Now Eat This cookbook.  But the recipe called for charring a small eggplant, and then after the eggplant cooled, scraping out the seeds and then using only 1/4 cup of the eggplant flesh and reserving the rest for another use.  First of all, I hate eggplant, and second of all, the remainder of the eggplant had I used it would just be thrown out in 3 weeks the next time I deep clean my refrigerator.

Biz’s Zucchini Meat Balls

  • 1 ball – 2 points, 2 balls – 5 points, 3 balls – 7 points

Ingredients:

  • 1 zucchini (mine was 6 ounces)
  • 8 ounces ground beef (I used 20% fat – nice!)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup egg beaters
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • 6 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper

I made the mistake of putting all these ingredients in my food processor, so the balls are not as firm as they should be.  Everyone likes firm balls, right? 😀  Next time I would process everything but the meat, and then mix the meat and zucchini/egg mixture together.

But the flavor was amazing – so I had 3 balls, a 1.5 ounce roll (I hollowed out some of the bread from the roll), 3/4 ounce of mozzarella cheese and homemade marinara sauce. 

I cooked the balls in about 1 teaspoon of olive oil and mostly Pam. 

Then I assembled my sammie at work.  I nuked the balls for 1 minutes.  Then put the balls on my roll, put the marinara over the top, and the cheese and put it in my office toaster oven on broil for about 5 minutes.

You guys have to try these balls.  I am sure they would be a bit less points with leaner meat, but these were so tender and delicious.  I did add crushed red pepper to half the ball mixture – I preferred those better. 😀

On the side I had watermelon and papaya.  Lunch comes in at 10 points.  But I learned a valuable lesson – papaya tastes like the bottom of a bird cage – ew!  Never buying that fruit again!

I did my 50 minute walk at lunch – turns out I walk a mile in 15 minutes – I am going to try to pick up the pace this week.  It was a gorgeous day – 75 degrees, sunny and breezy.

Over the weekend Tony and I grilled a marinated flank steak – our store marinated it and it was so good.  We had leftovers, and I morphed them into the best taquitos last night.  I had 3 corn tortillas, 2 ounces of chopped meat, .75 ounces of cheddar cheese, 3 tablespoons of refried beans.  I added 1 teaspoon of canola oil in my points because I deep fried these, but I’ve said it before, since our fryer holds the temperature well, nothing is really greasy.

On the bottom I had a romaine salad with cucumbers and just used my smoked salsa as a dressing – such a delicious 9 PointsPlus dinner. 😀

Stats for Monday:

  • 29 points exactly, no wine 😀
  • 50 minute walk at lunch
  • 25 minute Shred at 8:45 last night because I said I was going to do it 😀
  • average blood sugar 132

Biggest Loser finale tonight!   I hope either Hannah or Olivia wins. 😀 

Have a great Tuesday!