Leftover Chili Zucchini Lasagna

It was 34 degrees when I left on my walk before work.  Although this time of year while it starts out chili it does usually warm up to the 50s, but still – I want it to start out in the 50s and end at a perfect 75!  You know what is a great part about living in the sticks?  You can take your morning walk in your pajama pants.  I am klassy like that.

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I only snuck in 20 minutes, but it was very refreshing and a great way to start the day.  I mean, just look at the view a mere 2 minute walk from my house?!

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Breakfast was leftover steak, egg whites, zucchini and potato hash with 1/2 an ounce of Alpine Cheddar Cabot cheese – that cheese is like butter and a half ounce goes a long way.  On the side was a cup of sliced strawberries.

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When it was time to go to the gym at lunch, I looked at the weather and it was already up to 54 degrees so I drove a couple minutes from my office to the nature preserve and got my steps in with wonderful fresh air.  It was a tad windy, but nice – even nicer when everything turns green!

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So I had this idea about turning my leftover buffalo chicken chili into a buffalo chicken chili lasagna using zucchini in place of noodles.  Jacky gave the idea thumbs up and blog reader Molly suggested blue cheese – genius!

  • 3 cups leftover chili
  • 1 large zucchini, cut into thin strips
  • 1 cup fat free ricotta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons Tapatio hot sauce
  • 2 ounces cheddar cheese
  • 2 ounces crumbled blue cheese
  • 1 ounce shredded Cabot Alpine Cheddar

Heat oven to 350.  Put 1 cup of chili on the bottom of a 9×9 pan.  Mix the Tapatio and ricotta cheese together and set aside.  Cover with a layer of zucchini, then a layer of the spicy ricotta, then some of the cheddar cheese, crumbled blue cheese and keep layering – finishing off with the cheddar cheese.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Let cool completely.  Now I had a bit of liquid in the bottom of my dish, but I just left it in there.  Once I reheated it at lunch it was fine.  Check out the score I got on the blue cheese!

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Not the prettiest picture, but it was delicious.  I did end up adding more Frank’s hot sauce to it though. Open-mouthed smile

I did get a bit hungry later in the afternoon, so I had my new favorite snack – banana peanut butter bites with walnuts.

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Hannah pinned last nights dinner for me to add to the weekly menu.  Although it is kind of funny, after she started eating it she said “I love the sauce, the noodles and the zucchini and cilantro, but I think it’s a bit too much on the shrimp.  She probably left behind 8 shrimp on her plate!  The only thing I changed from Nicole’s recipe was reduced the oil down to 1/2 a tsp. vs. the 2 tablespoons, and left out the crushed red pepper and reduced the sriracha so Hannah would actually eat it – Jacob and I both liberally added sriracha to our dishes!

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I had about 1/2 a cup of noodles and the rest shrimp and zucchini.  With the added sriracha, it was the perfect amount of heat.

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I didn’t get my after work gym workout in because I had to work late, but I still managed to get in a decent amount of steps – I’ll just push back my strength training a day – no big.

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Alright, I am off to the knee doctor before work – fingers crossed it isn’t anything too serious.  Make it a great day!

Week 1 DietBet Weigh In–Cauliflower Pizza Crust

What the DietBet does for me is make me think twice before putting anything in my mouth.  Literally.  I guess over time I don’t realize how many licks and tastes I have during a particular day and they add up.  I’d find myself breaking off a piece of cheese if I went to the fridge.  Think about eating half a cookie that comes with our office supplies while brewing a pot of coffee at work.  And each time I told myself “that’s not going to win you the money!”  You see, the pot on Brooke’s DietBet is $16,000!

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I lost three pounds this week!  It helped that I ditched my wine for water, a couple days got to or close to 20,000 steps and just was mindful of all the licks and tastes.  And I ate some good food!

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That doesn’t look like grilled chicken, brown rice and broccoli day in and day out as I see some food planners eat.  But herein lies the problem – week 2!  I tend to get complacent, not be as mindful as I was during week one so I am determined to have a loss after week 2.  But I have my meal plan laid out for the week, have my workout clothes all washed and ready to go – it’s going to be a good week!  I did a great grocery shop too – even with buying steak, shrimp, ground beef, and chicken breasts, I only spent $66 for the week on food – well, it helped that I had a 20% coupon!

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I am pissed though because when I took this picture I realized she scanned two containers of egg whites, and I only bought one.  Oh well, at least I got $16.35 off my bill! 

We had a great night out for Jacob’s birthday.  I ended up hitting the gym before dinner since I had the time and so that I could eat my way in beef!  And because I am short, I am still in the obese category, but now with my 3 pound weight loss this week, I am only 1.5 points away from being just overweight – woop!

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The only person I worried about with the menu was Hannah, since she doesn’t eat meat or fish for that matter.  No worries!  When the server asked what she wanted she said “I’ll take the chopped salad without the hearts of palm and blue cheese and I’ll have the onion rings.”  He stopped for a second and questioned “you want both for your entrée?!”  Maybe she’s the first person to do that!  But she loved them both.  Jacob got the Cowboy ribeye and it looked amazeballs.  Jacob’s Mom and I both got the petite filet, and I got mine with shrimp.

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And Mel, I got the Save Me Pinot Noir at your suggestion – so good!  The only sad part of the evening was when he server asked if we’d like to split a bottle of Coppola Claret with our dinner.  I was kind of confused for a second because we hadn’t even ordered drinks yet, when I realized that it was the wine that Tony and I always had when we went there.   They must have looked it up when I made the reservation.  It’s little things like that, that can just stab me out of nowhere and remind me that he’s not here anymore.

Saturday I asked the kids (ahem, young adults living with me!) what they wanted for dinner and they both said deep dish pizza.  I decided to make another stab at a cauliflower pizza crust.   The first and only time I made it was nearly six years ago!  Please forgive the awful photography back then.  I used this recipe, but reduced the cheese down to 2 ounces instead of a cup.  I drained the cooked cauliflower in a strainer in my sink for a good 30 minutes and then pressed all the moisture out of it as I could.  One of the perks of being a food blogger is that you get free stuff – my friends at Cabot Cheese sent me some more cheese – one of which was new to me – smokey bacon!

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And I also got these “cow pots” and some seeds with some gardening gloves.  I didn’t see a green thumb though in the box though, so we’ll see how that goes!

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I topped my pizza with an ounce of Italian sausage, an ounce of pepperoni, baby spinach and 2 ounces of the smoky bacon shredded on top.  I baked it on my baking steel that had been in the oven while the deep dish pizza cooked.  I got the crust so that I could eat it with my hands instead of a knife and fork – it was delicious!  I ate half of this pizza.

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The kids had the deep dish – that buttery crust is to die for!

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It was a super cold yesterday – rainy, blustery, with temps not even getting out of the 30s.  It’s almost April – what the hell?!  I went to the gym instead of walking outside, then did my grocery shopping and then of course got Bizzy in my Kitchen.  Hannah requested chicken gyros for later in the week, so I made up another batch of naan bread – this time using a spice I got when we were in Key West – it has lemon and lime zest in it and it’s amazing!

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This batch makes 16 naan – each one only 127 calories and 25 grams of carbs.  Perfect for a breakfast panini, or naan pizza.  I am sure in a couple days they will be all gone, because the kids love it.

They actually went out last night to a concert that they have been looking forward to – Circa Survive, Balance and I don’t know what the other band is. 

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So I had the house to myself last night which was actually nice.  I prepped the food for the day, repacked my gym bag and just relaxed and watched t.v. before calling it an early night, and made a quick beef and veggie lo mein for dinner.  No real recipe, just tossed some veggies and beef in my Green pan and added some soy sauce, a touch of sesame oil, sriracha and added in some cooked lo mein noodles at the end.

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Here’s to Week 2 on the DietBet!  It’s 34 degrees outside, but I have time to squeeze in a 20 minute walk before getting ready for work.  It’s like Brooke says: #WYCWYC – What You Can When You Can – it all adds up!  Make it a great day!

Happy Birthday Jacob!

Today is Hannah’s fiancés birthday – Happy Birthday Jacob!  We are celebrating tonight at Ruth’s Chris and I cannot wait.  It’s been over two years ago that I’ve been there and I just love their beef.  Well, and the sizzling buttery platter they serve it on!  And I will probably have one glass of pinot noir to go with my steak.  I’ve been good all week with my 21 Day Detox, and I am using the 90/10 rule, and it is a special occasion.

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Yesterday morning I looked at the clock and I had 25 minutes to go before I had to leave for work and I was like “I have time to make pancakes!”  I totally threw this together with what I had on hand, and I seriously had doubts if it was going to work or not.  This batter takes a bit longer to cook than regular pancakes.  I had to cook them on medium low heat so that they bottom didn’t burn before it was set enough to flip.  I had time to cook exactly two pancakes before throwing the rest of the batter in the fridge and hitting the road.

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I heated them up about 45 seconds at work.  My syrup was 1/2 teaspoon almond butter mixed with 1 tablespoon sugar free pancake syrup, then drizzled with 5 chopped pecans.

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Still plenty fluffy and so good.  I normally don’t gravitate towards sweet breakfasts, but the almond butter and pecans gave it just enough salty savory flavor to offset the sweetness.  And because there’s only 3 tablespoons of brown sugar in the batter, the pancakes in and of themselves weren’t too sweet.  Best part?  The stats!  Each pancakes comes in at 99 calories, 2.2 fat, 13 carbs, .8 fiber and 6.1 protein.  These are a keeper!

It was party sunny yesterday, and even though it was only 40 degrees, I put on an extra jacket and got my steps outside – I am hoping that if I walk outside more it will feel more like spring than winter!  This is at a forest preserve a mere 3 minute drive from my office – nice!

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Then more lasagna soup for lunch – except this time I grated a medium size zucchini into the soup while it heated up – delish!

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I finished getting my steps in after work, just a 5k because I had to make a cake for Jacob – his favorite?  German Chocolate Cake – just like my Dad!  The recipe was super easy to follow, and even though I was a bit worried about my frosting, once I cooled it in the fridge it was fine.

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Since I was busy making cake and frosting, dinner was on the fly, just heated up buffalo chicken chili and some cheese and I had a serving of tortilla chips for dipping.

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I will admit I did have a couple licks and tastes while I was baking the cake and making the frosting.  Um, let’s just say that on more than half a dozen occasions I’ve forgotten to add sugar to cake and/or muffin batters?

So I am killing it with my steps these last couple days!

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I’ll post a picture of the German Chocolate Cake on Instagram tomorrow.  I haven’t frosted it yet because I had the frosting in the fridge overnight.  Hope you have a great weekend!  Other than dinner tonight I don’t have anything planned, but of course, you know I’ll be Bizzy in My Kitchen on Sunday.  The kids have requested my rosemary sea salt artisan bread, and when I looked at the picture I realized its been a while since I made it!

artisan bread

Make it a great day!

My 600 Pound Life

I found a new to me show and I am hooked.  I am sure if Tony were here he’d say “that’s Biz t.v. – no way I am watching that show!”  It fascinates me because when I hear some of their stories, I connect with them.  Bottom line is they love food.  They love how it makes them feel.  And when the eating stops, and that happy feeling goes away, they want nothing more than to get that feeling back again.  But what makes me different is that I know I have to stop myself sometimes because I know, especially through these last months, that I easily could have eaten all the grief and stress I had.  But for these people there is no “shut off” valve.  They can eat from 10,000 to 15,000 calories A DAY and do it all over again, day after day.   In the end it doesn’t matter if you are 600 pounds or 175 like me, we all have a choice on how to live our lives.

But what is surprising to me is that so far of the half dozen shows I’ve watched this past week, none of these people are able to work.  Their spouses or children aren’t able to work because they have to take care of the person that is way beyond morbidly obese.  They are on disability and live off of that, and then they find a doctor who may be willing to help them with gastric bypass surgery, and some are hospitalized for months at a time, and I wonder, who pays for that if you are disabled?  The government? 

All I know is that by watching that show, it’s helped me get through Day 3 of my 21 day detox with a whole new perspective.  The doctor that treats them says that until they can control their addition to food, no surgery in the world is going to help them.  And it is all about choice.  We choose if we get up to workout.  We choose if we want to eat well.  I posted this on an old post of mine, and I have this hanging up on cabinet at work, and one at home near the fridge (um, not magnets stick to a stainless steel fridge – doh!).   It’s just a gentle reminder to me when I see it that I can choose my hard – and so far I am choosing to lose this weight.  I have no excuses.  I don’t have a long commute, I don’t have little kids, so I am putting myself first.  And it feels really good!

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I had to laugh because I posted this picture on Instagram and Jacob thought that those were chocolate donuts, and was disappointed that it was a pumpernickel roll!  Spinach, egg whites, ham and a bit of cheese and then put under the toaster oven.  I like my spring plate – makes it look like spring if it doesn’t feel like it outside.

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I had to run some errands at lunch yesterday for work, but I still managed to squeeze in a 2 mile walk.

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I was scoping out a restaurant near our office to see if it was suitable for our firm’s anniversary.  When I told my boss where I was going and I’d be gone longer she said “buy me Panera!”  Well, she buys, I fly, so I switched up my lunch a bit.  I did have grilled chicken, zucchini, half a baked potato and an apple, but when I looked up the calories I got a Caesar salad from Panera.  I ditched the croutons, got rid of half the Parmesan cheese, added my chopped chicken, zucchini and apple to the salad and used Annie’s light dressing.  It was so filling!  I couldn’t even finish it all.

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But here is the NSV (non-scale victory) of the day.  When the woman swiped my Panera card she said “oh, you are eligible for a free pastry!”  And without hesitation I said “I’ll take a toffee cookie please.”  They handed it to me directly and it went straight into my purse.  On the drive back to the office I literally reached into the bag to feel it.  I was thinking to myself “what if I only eat half.”  Or maybe eat 1/4 of it today and then eat 1/4 of it the rest of the week.  I got back to my desk and looked up and saw the “choose your hard” mantra, and I immediately gave it to my boss.  I asked him “do you want my free cookie?  you know I started the DietBet and I am choosing not to eat it” and he said “I’ll take one for the team” and gladly took it from me.  p.s. Courtney, Tyler loved it!  There may have been just a teeny tiny bit of butter in them!

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So Brooke the moderator of the DietBet I am doing (which the pot is now up to $15,575!!) gave us a 28 day calendar.  Each day has a small goal.  Today’s goal was to try a new workout or food.  So I decided to try the elliptical after work – while it’s not a new piece of equipment to me, it’s different from what I was doing, so I went with it.  I chose a leg workout for 45 minutes.

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Um no.  I’ve been having some problems with my left knee lately.  It hurts sometimes when I go upstairs, then it goes away.  It hurts if I stand up after sitting for a while, then once I get walking it goes away.  Sometimes if I move in the night it will wake me up.  The only thing that doesn’t seem to hurt is just regular walking.  I have an appointment next Tuesday to get it looked at, so I ended up going back to the treadmill and walked just shy of 3.99 miles – my machine cuts off at exactly 60 minutes, I wish I would have looked down to make it an even 4 miles!

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I was still home by 7:00.  The kids decided to fix nachos for themselves for dinner, but I knew I wanted to make lasagna soup, so I got in my comfy clothes and started cooking – it’s such an easy recipe and I’ve made it so many times that I could literally make it with my eyes closed.   This time I added 1/2 a cup of cheese tortellini to my bowl and just a pinch of mozzarella cheese.

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I didn’t eat until nearly 8:00, but I kinda like that.  I am full and satisfied from dinner and I am less likely to grab cheese to eat before going to bed.  So at the end of the day, check out how many steps I got on!

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And to tell you the truth, it wasn’t that hard to get that many steps.  Just 30 minute walk at lunch and an hour walking after work – all while watching FoodTV and HGTV! 

I have a huge shout out to my blog reader friend Kym who sent me the cutest stuffed pillow off of Etsy – it is so kind and thoughtful and it sits on my bed as I type this so I can be reminded of it every morning and night.  Thank you so much!  Sorry about the hair – I’d just gotten home from the gym Open-mouthed smile

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Make it a great day!

Potato Crusted Quiche for One

Tony used to hate when I came home with more dishes, bowls, miscellaneous colored plates.  I would most of the time try to sneak them into the basement since in the last couple years of his life, going down to the basement was too many stairs, so I’d quickly come in the back door, run downstairs to hide my loot, and if he asked me what I was doing down there I’d say “just putting the clothes in the wash.”  Let’s just say that folding clothes wasn’t my favorite task, and when it was just me and him, the side bench next to my dryer would be just a huge pile of clothes and I’d just sift through the pile and normally throw whatever looked least wrinkled on for the day.  But I digress!

I got this bowl with a lid on it at Goodwill for $2.  I can’t read what the brand is, but it does say it’s oven and microwave safe.  So the night before last I made a potato crusted quiche for one.  You know I’ve told you how I bake up a bunch of baked potatoes over the weekend and just keep them in the fridge for whatever.  Well, I used half of one of the potatoes to make this quiche.

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I baked it without the lid, but once cooled, put the lid on and put a couple rubber bands to keep it together while driving to work.  I just heated it up with the lid on for about 2 minutes.

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If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll see that I mentioned that this came in at a different calorie count, I forgot to add the zucchini to the recipe calculation – oops!  Still not bad though.  A bit high on the sodium, but the carbs and protein.  And this was really filling!

I hit up the gym at lunch and did my usual 2.0 miles at 8% incline.  I was watching the Travel Channel and now besides Prague, I have a new foodie destination to go to – Lisbon Portugal!  OMG, the meat and cheeses there!  And all the fresh seafood looked amazeballs too.

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While I wish we were thinking about margaritas and grilling outside, sadly I am still in soups/stew/chili/comfort food mode.  So over the weekend I made a batch of my Buffalo Chicken Chili.  It’s actually been a while since I made it!  For lunch I had half a baked sweet potato topped with 1/2 a cup of my chili, then 1/4 of a diced avocado, 1/2 ounce of diced reduced fat Cabot cheese, and chopped baby spinach.  Oh, and extra Frank’s Redhot because you know I put that shit on everything.  So good – this dish came in at 424 calories, 44 carbs, 17 fat, 27 protein and a whopping 9 grams of fiber.

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I’ve been remiss with my strength training ever since I got back from Key West, so I went back to the gym after work to knock it out and get back in the game.  Only 8 weeks until my Spartan race!  I had a pre-workout snack of a small banana sliced with 1 teaspoon of peanut butter divided among the slices and 8 walnut halves.  Salty, sweet – delish!

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I went back to Week 4 of my program, doing the Bench Press through Dumbbell Side Laterals – 5 sets 10 REPS EACH because I am a badass, and it took me just about 30 minutes to complete that workout.  No way in hell my arms could even move to do the optional chest or delts!  Then I finished off on the treadmill, and I had every intention of doing a 5k while watching Foodtv, when all of a sudden I could feel myself start to sweat profusely.  Gross.  Not from working out too hard, but my blood sugar was dropping, and fast.  I jumped off at 2.25 miles:

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I tested my blood sugar and sure enough, it was 56.  Dammit.  I went to the front desk of the gym and bought the protein bar that had the highest carbs, and it was this one at 26:

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But here’s the thing with low blood sugar.  Just like when you are eating a big plate of food and you keep going only to stop ten minutes later and realize you are already full?  Yep, same happens to me.  I want the feeling of the low blood sugar to go away as fast as possible, so I ate the whole bar, and then when I got in the car I felt like I needed to eat more, so I remembered I had strawberries in my bag and ate nearly the whole container on the drive home.  So that was my dinner.  The clock on my meter is wrong, it was actually at 6:15, and it’s a 30 minute drive home.  I downloaded my pics and at 9:00 last night I still wasn’t hungry, so I didn’t end up eating anything else.

THE GOOD NEWS THOUGH?!!  I got my new fridge!  They were supposed to deliver it between 3-6 in the afternoon when I knew Hannah and Jacob would be home.  I drove nearly all the way to my office and they changed the time to between 9-10 a.m. based on the location of my house and where the rest of the deliveries were.  So I high tailed it back home and got everything out of the old fridge, cleaned behind etc., and then Jacob was home and he took care of the rest of it.

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I love that it’s so bright.  Has so much more room and that there is a built in water/ice maker.  Our icemaker broke a couple years ago and we never got it replaced – I think Tony and I could have bought two fridges on the amount of bagged ice we bought!   Hannah did call me a name though – Condiment Whore!  She’s right though.  So now my downstairs fridge is basically my leftover/condiment refrigerator.  While I know you don’t need stuff like hoisin sauce, or red chile paste every day, you do need them from time to time.  I just couldn’t part with any of them – well, the ones that were expired Hannah made me throw out. Open-mouthed smile

I got tons of steps in yesterday!

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And because of my low blood sugar debacle (damn sugars!) my macros were a bit off:

  • 1374 calories, 128 carbs, 97 protein, 56 fat, 21 fiber
  • 36% of calories from fat, 27% from protein and 36% from carbs

Time to get my shit together for the day – make it a great day!

Another Before Picture

I should really go through all my blog posts from September of 2008 and pull out all me “before” pics and put them in a collage – ha!  I wrote half of yesterdays post on Sunday night and realized I never did a 2015 before shot.  So here we go – this was one of the outtakes because Rummy has to be a diva and be in all the pics!

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Note to self:  mop the kitchen floor!  I forget how dirty the kitchen floor gets with two dogs in the house.  And see that ugly ass refrigerator to the left?  I am getting a new fridge installed today!  Well, it actually was supposed to be installed last week, but turns out I didn’t have the right copper piping hook up, what I had was not up to code and I needed a shut of valve installed behind the fridge.  Dangit.  So last Friday the plumber did his thing and hopefully by the time I get home I’ll have a new fridge.   You can’t see it in that picture, but the fridge refuses to stay shut anymore and we have it taped with duck tape and a stool is in front of it as a backup in case it pops open.  Klassy!

So I had a few emails, texts, etc. asking me where I was getting my 21 day detox program from, and basically I am making it up.  Well, that’s true and it’s not.  Basically I want to stick to about 30% of calories from fat, 30% from protein and 40% from carbs.  I love using Calorie Count because I can put all my food in for the day and see how close I am to that goal, and can tweak it before I eat it.  Well, that’s organized me now, so we’ll see how long I can keep up with it.

I had breakfast all worked out until I forgot there were bagels brought in for my birthday last week now that people are back from spring break.  So I swapped out the banana and peanut butter I was going to have with my zucchini egg whites and made an oat bran breakfast bagel – scooping out most of the inside of the bread so it was 2 ounces. 

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I ended up watching a show on Travel Channel about the best steak houses in Chicago, and I hate that everyone goes for Gene & Georgetti’s first – I think it’s overrated and kind of a tourist trap.   They did talk about a steak house I didn’t even know existed (well, I do live 55 miles NW of Chicago, so it’s not like I am down there all the time anymore) – it’s David Burke’s Primehouse.  Holy balls they had the most amazing steaks!   They dry age their beef – this is the Executive Chef Rick Gresh.  They have a wall of Himalayan sea salt that helps not only to tenderize the beef as it ages, but lightly season it as well.  This summer I will definitely make a trip down to Chicago for this beef!

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I ended up drooling on the treadmill while watching the show about beef!

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Lunch was leftover pot roast – this time I did the pot roast in the crock pot while we were with my Mom on Sunday.  I used this crock pot version, and you can never go wrong with it.  When it’s done all you need to do is drain the juices and make a gravy with some corn starch.  I measured out 3 ounces of the beef, the carrots and potatoes and had cucumbers and apples on the side.  While this plate comes in at 521 calories and 24 grams of fat, this still fit in with my calories as a whole for the day.

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And then in the afternoon?  Birthday cake for me!  I ended up having half a slice of one of these slices – my guess was it was about a 150 calorie slice – it would have been rude not to have some, and I didn’t want to be so strict on this “detox” and just took it in stride. 

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My boss was back from Spring Break and got me this super funny birthday card – she said as she was reading it, she could hear my voice!

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And thank you to Louise who sent me a beautiful hand crafted birthday card – just to let you know Louise, I’ve kept every card you’ve given me!

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Since I watched a show about beef at lunch, you know I had to have it for dinner!  I had this on the menu for later in the week, but switched it around.  This is a 6 oz. portion, with sauteed zucchini and half a baked potato on the side.  Hannah was my photographer last night while I was checking my blood sugar and taking my insulin before eating – this was her favorite one she took, so I’ll go with it.

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Then inexplicably, just as we sat down to eat, the power went out.  We could see it was out all around us, so we just lit some candles, Hannah turned on some music on her phone and we ate dinner by candle light!

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Yep, that’s one of my snowmen candles that stays out all year round.   The power ended up being off for an hour – not too bad!  We sat around the table, talked, the kids show me crazy ass Vines.  That’s one app I have yet to put on my phone because I know it would be an absolute time suck, but not like Instagram (yeah right!).

So my total calories for the day?  1640, 144 carbs, 108 protein, 52 fat and 17.2 fiber, which is 31% calories from fat, 29% from protein and 39% from carbs – pretty much right on the money, even with the adjustments I made on the fly.  I got all my steps in too!

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So the DietBet that started yesterday?  The pot is up to $13,525 dollars with 521 players strong!  It’s not to late to join – I think the final weigh-in is April 20-21.   You can click this link to join.

And guess what?  I didn’t have any wine – woop!  And I got my ass to bed at 10:30 last night, I haven’t done that in long time and I feel so rested this morning.  I was going to walk outside this morning, but it’s only 9 degrees out – I don’t think this winter is every going to end!  And just as I was remarking to myself on Saturday how happy I was to look out in my backyard and not see anymore dirty ugly snow, yesterday morning woke up to this:

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The dogs don’t seem to mind though!  Off to find an exercise on demand before getting ready for work – make it a great day!

Peoples Choice, Seared Pot Roast, 21 Day Detox

So much to talk about in today’s post!  If you don’t follow me on Facebook (friend me: Beth Hills Velatini) or Instagram (mybizzykitchen), then you don’t know that while I didn’t win the Sebastiani Pizza My Way Contest, I did win the People’s Choice award for most online votes – so thank you very much for that!  That prize was worth $1500!  Momma needs a new gas grill, so some of that will go towards a new gas grill.  If you have any recommendations, I am all ears.   The Grand Prize winner was the tuscan kale, parmesan reggiano, brie stuffed crust with veggies and a red onion sauce.   While I wouldn’t try that pizza because of the red onion sauce, that is just not a combo of pizza that if it were on a menu I’d read and think “I’ll get the kale pizza!”  Congrats to the winner though, it’s not like I am bitter or anything.  Maybe it’s just the bitter taste I get in my mouth with I eat kale.

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I am totally kidding by the way – I am sure Salvatore’s pizza tasted good, and I can’t really complain about my recipe contests so far.  I’ve entered four so far, one I won $5,000, then I won a trip to NYC, and now $1500, so I think I should start making entering recipe contests my hobby!

You would think that by now most food bloggers are more than ready to make the turn to more spring like recipes, like my spring time risotto, but sadly after reaching over 70 degrees last Monday, our Chicago temps are back in the 20s and 30s, and now I have a blanket of snow on the ground.  So meal planning took me back to more comfort foods, and when I saw that pot roast was on sale, I bought it.  I actually have Tony to thank for teaching me that pot roast doesn’t necessarily have to always be cooked low and slow.  The first time he wanted to grill a pot roast like a steak I thought he was crazy.  But it totally worked.  So either you have to cook it super high heat and fast, or low and slow and either way, you’ll get amazingly tender beef.

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Now I don’t really know exactly what cut of beef this is, but most likely it is from the chuck part of the steer which is around the shoulder area.  Because that’s a highly used muscle, rule of thumb is that you have to cook it low and slow to break up the connective tissues.  But look at how lean this cut of beef is.  Most of the fat is on the outside, with some nice marbling.  On Saturday night I did take out night in – Asian marinated pot roast, veggie fried rice and pork potstickers.   Both of the kids worked on Saturday so it was nice to get Bizzy in my Kitchen blaring the music I like.

Asian Marinated Pot Roast

  • 1 pound pot roast (which was half of one of my twin pot roasts)
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 1/8 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoons sriracha (less if you don’t like it spicy)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Mix the ginger through the red pepper in a bowl.  Put the pot roast in a ziplock bag and pour marinade over.  I marinated mine for six hours, but overnight would probably be even more amazeballs.  Take the meat out of the fridge an hour before cooking to let it get to room temperature.  Cut the roast in thin slices and pan sear for 60 seconds a side.  That’s it!  Super tender and delicious beef. 

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You can see the meat is perfect medium rare.  Jacob was a bit skeptical at first, but I won him over.  That bottom right picture?  That’s supposed to be broccoli.  I bought a bag of frozen veggies for my veggie fried rice and nearly 80% of all the broccoli in the bag looked like that – I did buy the generic brand, so I guess I get what I paid for.  I saw that Lori had the same issue over the weekend too and agreed that some brands of frozen veggies are better than others.

I have to tell you guys though, that the green pans I bought for myself for my birthday and amazing.  Why I haven’t splurged on getting better sauté pans before now is beyond me.   Nothing sticks and the couldn’t clean up any better.  A few things to remember about these pans.  No olive oil because the smoke point isn’t high enough – so I use either coconut oil or canola.  Only plastic spatulas, which I had to buy one because all of mine are metal.  And you have to let them cool completely before cleaning.  I was a bit worried when I saw the pan look all dirty, but literally a wipe with a sponge and a quick dry with a paper towel, it was back to new! 

Yep, that’s my shitty fluorescent lighting in my kitchen!

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Yesterday we met my Momma for lunch to celebrate belated birthdays.  My sister and her family weren’t available, so it was just me, Hannah and Jacob.  Jacob’s is the next March birthday – on Friday!  We met at Piggyback Tavern.  My Mom and I went a while back right when they opened two years ago (can you believe it was over two years ago Mom?!).  You all know how I feel about pork, so I got the pulled pork bbq sandwich.  I love that they bring you drinks in Mason jars.  The pork was much better than the first time – super tender, juicy and I added some carolina bbq sauce after this picture was taken.  It was great seeing you Momma – what, it’s been a whole three weeks since Key West already?!

PicMonkey Collage - sunday lunch

So I kind of lost my mojo after coming back from Key West.  Just going through the motions.  Then I saw a couple weeks ago that Brooke was starting a Diet Bet and that woke me right up.  You see, I am a competitive person.  And I happily gifted that to my daughter who is competitive as well.  In any event, I signed up right on the spot.  The buy-in is $25.  It’s 28 days long and I have to lose 7 pounds in 28 days, or 4% of my body weight to share the pot.  What’s the pot for this Diet Bet?  Last I checked it was $10,400!  So everyone who makes their 4% goal splits the pot.  I’ve done two Diet Bet’s before, both hosted by my blog friend Helen, and I was successful in both of those. 

Interestingly enough, my starting weight this time around, nearly two years later, is nearly the same!  The blurry picture is from May of 2013 – the summer I did Insanity for 100 days straight and I lost 8.25 inches and 20 pounds from June to December.  Things fell off the wagon once I started working at the restaurant and time and meal planning took a back seat to keeping our heads above water when Tony was sick.

PicMonkey Collage - weight

The last few months of Tony’s life are actually quite a blur when I think about what I ate and exercise.  Both of those obviously took a back burner because Tony was my main focus.  But now as we are nearly four months after Tony’s death, I don’t have any excuses of why I can’t get back on track.  Yes, grief and sadness are still in the forefront, no doubt about that, but I realize I can now really put myself first for the first time in a long time.  But what is remarkable, is that even though I’ve had ups and downs the last couple months, I’ve basically maintained my weight.  And I got my toes done – love this color!

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So I am basically doing a 21 day detox to get myself back in the game.  My goal is not perfection, but I hope I’ll be able to follow this plan 90/10.  Basically no processed foods, fried foods (I will miss you deep fryer!), white flour, and no alcohol.  My goal is still still get my 10,000 steps and then some every day, and get back to my strength training program.  My calorie range will be 1500 – 1700.  My Spartan race is two months away – eek!

So let’s all start the day off on the right food, okay?  Make it a great day!