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January 2013

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Back to Basics

I read a fantastic blog post yesterday from Lori at Finding Radiance.  She’s lost 100 pounds the old fashioned way – watching what she eats and exercising.  No short cuts, no diet pills, just dedication.  She’s redoing their bathroom and she made the analogy between renovating and weight loss. 

The last line of the post is what struck with me the most:

It is a complete change in life to lose weight. You must do the full renovation to have permanent lifestyle changes to not only get the weight off, but keep it off.

I realized that while I started off strong in January, a few of my bad habits came back without me even realizing it.  And extra glass of wine, a piece of cheese eaten when I was looking for something else in the fridge.

I realized I have to go back to basics again.  I bought a journal yesterday. 

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If I bite it, I must write it.  I also found a cool new nutritional website.  While I do like fatsecret.com because its free, this one has a price tag of $7.95 a month, with the first trial week free with no credit card to “hold” it.

What I like about it is that it’s super easy to navigate and the recipe builder is super easy to use.  The only thing I can’t figure out is how to get a total for each meal, it just keeps adding it up together.  But when I put in my weight, and my goal weight, they said I should eat 1653 calories a day.

Breakfast was a Chobani parfait – this one with a new flavor to me, apple cinnamon.  I loved this parfait in the beginning, but again, by the time I got to the last 1/4 of it, it was just too sweet.  I will eat this yogurt, but it will have to be by itself.

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I went to the gym at lunch.  I did a 5k – this time running 7 minutes, walking 3 minutes.  I am trying to build up my cardio strength again after my 21 days of running a 5k last fall.  Not a bad time!

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Lunch was leftover black bean soup from last week, but I added 1/2 cup of Mexican yellow rice and a cup of chopped baby spinach.  I added some buffalo Tabasco and it was spicy delicious.

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So I put in my breakfast, lunch and my 500 calorie dinner into the nutritional data on the new site, and I was still only at 1200 calories for the day!  So I made a snack of the last of my marble rye (recipe coming soon!) with a teaspoon of strawberry jam, and half an apple.  (and yes, I did take a bite before deciding to take a picture!)

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Dinner was Tony’s famous fried rice – so.fricken.good!  He gave me this huge bowl and I thought, I’ll eat about 1/3 of it.  Nope!  I was hangry and ate half – which my estimate is at about 500 calories.

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And after dinner I ate 15 almonds.  My totals for the day?

  • 1543 calories, 73 protein, 245 carbs, 31 fat and 23 fiber

What I learned is that wowza, that was a high carb day for me.  And guess how many milligrams of sodium I had??  3700!

So my plan is when I get my act together this weekend, is to not only plan out my meals, but enter them in this site to see how I can make my nutrition better each day.  I’d like to stay around 150 carbs, and watch the sodium intake.

I did great drinking my water – I bought this water bottle because its 1 liter (33 ounces) and I drank three of these before leaving the office.  I just need to drink more water at home.

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I have some more link love today:

So proud of Amanda at Getting to Goal – she just PR’d her last 1/2 marathon – running in Chicago in January!!  Great job Amanda!

Now that our temps are in the single digits with wind chill advisories, today would be the perfect day to try Bonnie’s pumpkin spice lattes – they look amazing!

And why have I never thought to pickle my own jalapenos?!!  Jane has the perfect recipe that I can’t wait to try.

Alright, time to get my food together and get out in this frigid weather – and in case anyone is wondering, I will be wearing a winter coat today!

Make it a great day!

Chili

Weeknight Bolognese (or chili)

I’ve been telling my boss about the Green Monster for a while.  I kept telling her that it’s high in Vitamin A, calcium, and iron.  That you really can’t taste the spinach – it tastes like a banana shake to me.

I decided to make us mini bagel breakfast sandwiches and we’d split a serving of the Green Monster.  The only thing I’ll do differently, is to bring the smoothie maker to work.  I made it at home and put it in the fridge when I got to work.  By the time my boss got in, it had been in there for about an hour, so it was a bit melty?  Not sure if that’s the right word, but it didn’t have the same texture as when it comes right from the smoothie machine.

She didn’t love it.  But she didn’t totally hate it either.  I think next time I’ll add a bit more honey to hers too.

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I ended up doing 10 miles on the bike at lunch!  While we had temps in the 60’s, it was rainy and stormy pretty much all day long.  So weird to hear thunder in January!

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And while I can’t stand Anne Burrel, I did watch part of her show on FoodTV.  She made pulled pork that cooked for 9 hours, but what I was mostly interested in was the North Carolina barbecue sauce she made to go with it – it had me at three cups of apple cider vinegar! Open-mouthed smile

Lunch, shocker, was more lasagna soup!  That’s the last of it, but pretty sure I’ll be making it again soon.

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I bought some meatloaf mix over the weekend with the intention of making a slow cooked bolognese over the weekend and letting it develop flavor in the fridge for a few days.  Um, that didn’t happen.  So I adapted a recipe from Ina Garten for a weeknight Bolognese.

Weeknight Bolognese

  • 1 pound meatloaf mix (mine was beef, pork and veal)
  • 4 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (I put that just on my bowl)
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup of skim milk

I don’t know why recipes call for 2 tablespoons of olive oil to brown meat, when I think most of the time, there is enough fat in the meat that you don’t need it.  Feel free to add it though if you want.

Brown the meat and skim off any fat.  My meat was surprisingly pretty lean, so I didn’t have to do that.  Add remaining ingredients except the milk, bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes.  Take off the heat and stir in the milk.

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You can barely see it, but I had my 1 cup of pasta and 1/2 cup of sauce on two cups of chopped baby spinach.  The heat from the pasta wilted the spinach – so good!

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The only thing I was missing for the recipe was the tomato paste.  It only called for 2 tablespoons so I thought it wouldn’t be a big deal to leave it out.  Well, our bolognese tasted more like chili!  It was still delicious though.

So Tony was able to videotape our friend squirrel!

Louise, hope you like the video! Open-mouthed smile

I’ve got some link love today.  Danica put together a WW friendly Superbowl recipe round up – I was thrilled that she linked to my buffalo chicken chili – thanks Danica!

Autumn hit this one out of the park – her take on Chili’s onion rings and battered jalapenos – yum!

And I can’t wait to try this one – Mara made green burritos – I plan on subbing in Chobani plain yogurt for the sour cream, so this would be like a Green Monster burrito!  And only 8 WW points each!

So I didn’t weigh in last week – but here is my Day 28 Weigh In.  Sorry for the crappy picture, I forgot to turn the flash off!

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So it looks like in the last two weeks I gained 1.4, for a total loss of only 1.8 for the month of January.  It got me thinking.  While I like to think I can eat intuitively with an occasional treat here and there, I think I need to go back to counting calories for February.  And maybe not make any Jack in the Box tacos! Open-mouthed smile

Question of the Day:  How did your goals for January work out??

Make it a great day!

Beef

Ladies and Gentlemen. . . the Jack in the Box Taco!

When I started coming up with breakfasts for my boss, I asked her if she liked Greek yogurt and she shrugged her nose and said, “not really.”  I am kind of a Greek yogurt snob, Chobani is my favorite Greek yogurt.

So I decided to make her a Vanilla chobani parfait.  I made another batch of Nicole’s Sweet & Salty Granola – and then put a layer of yogurt, sliced banana, granola, and then over the weekend I made a strawberry sauce – it was 1 cup of strawberries, 1/3 cup water and 2 tablespoons of Splenda – just cooked on the stove top for about 10 minutes until the sauce became thick.

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Guess what?  She loved it!  She didn’t even realize she was eating Greek yogurt – I think she was always eating the plain version, which I actually prefer in a parfait, otherwise its too sweet for me.

And I have to thank my co-worker J for bringing me some new flavored Chobani – I haven’t tried the pear one yet – she’s bartering the Chobani for her Souper Friday lunch – deal!  I love how you can see the bacon in the background – it’s all about balance, right? Hot smile

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I was super busy at work yesterday, and actually thought I wasn’t going to have a chance to work out, but I basically stood up, left what I was working on and said “I am going to work out – I’ll be back in an hour.”  No one stopped me. Open-mouthed smile

I ended doing a HIIT run – 3 minutes running, 2 minutes walking on an incline, and did that 7 times.  My last 3 minute run was at 6.0 mph, or a 10 minute mile pace, and I felt great!

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When I got back to work, I had more lasagna soup – I seriously have an addiction to this soup.  Check out how many times I’ve linked to it on Suzie’s blog!

On the side was some toasted Artisan bread.  So good!

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So when Tony found a copycat recipe for the Jack in the Box tacos, the first thing that caught our eye is that these are make ahead tacos – because you have to freeze them and they go straight from freezer to fryer.  I also altered the recipe a bit, because I have no idea what soy protein powder is.  Either way, the taco meat was spot on.

Jack in the Box Taco Meat

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cups cold water
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon plain chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon masa corn flour
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon Accent seasoning (I used seasoned salt)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 dash ground black pepper
  • 1 dash cayenne pepper

Brown the ground beef.  Add in remaining ingredients and bring to a boil and let boil for five minutes.  Let cool slightly.  Put in your food processor to puree.  For each taco I used 3 tablespoons of meat.  Heat your tortillas in the microwave so they are pliable and don’t break.

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I folded the tacos over, and then put them in a ziploc bag.  Next time I am going to put them on a cookie sheet to freeze individually before putting in a ziploc – a couple of them stuck together and broke.

Heat your fryer or oil in a pot to 350.  Fry for 1-2 minutes.  Pry open the hot taco (careful!) and add a triangle slice of American cheese, shredded iceburg lettuce, and the Jack in the Box Taco Sauce:

Jack in the Box Taco Sauce:

Mix all the ingredients in a pan and bring to a boil.  Let boil for 5 minutes, then remove from heat to cool.  This was very close to the sauce – although we did agree it could have had a bit more heat and tang.

Here they are frozen and ready to go for a dip in the fryer:

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That was kind of a shitty picture above, but I wanted to show you how the beef got crispy on the sides from the hot oil.

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Hot damn, these were good.  Super crispy, not greasy.  My eyes were bigger than my stomach, I ate 2 1/2 before having to stop – our dog happily licked our plates clean.

Alright, I have to jump in the shower and get my ass in gear.  It’s so weird, here we are at the end of January, it’s 7:30 in the morning and its already 57 degrees!  I wish it would stay like that, but its stormy too – I would have liked a sunny day at that temp!

Just curious – are any of you going to replicate the Jack in the Box taco at home? 

Make it a great day!