Thursday, February 24, 2011

Kitchen Gadget Bingo

It's time for another installment of Thrifty Thursday.  The day of the week when I take all of the advice I've gleaned during the week , reduce it to only the finest, and share it with all of you.

Better For You Fruits (
One of my favorite things about coming back to Weight Watchers and joining the new program is the fact that fruits are free.  But which fruits are the better choice?  So here's a short list of juicy fruits that give a lot of satisfaction and not a lot of calories.  And the ideas for squeezing more in are wonderful!  Think frozen berries in your iced tea or grapefruit sections in stir fry. 

Bust Out of Your Workout Rut (
When I was running, jumping, bouncing and sweating in a room full of 20 or 30 people, I never got bored.  The energy was intense, the music was pumping and the motivation was constant.  Now that I'm recovering and taking it easy, all of that has been gone.  This slideshow gave me some advice, ideas and even some short phrases that may become mantras as I hit the cardio equipment solo.  First up:  Setting mini goals at the gym. 

Snap Decisions tat Save You Big Pounds (
At first, the name of this article seems a little off.  Most of the tips involve me planning ahead of time, like knowing my coffee order before I get to the counter at 8 am!  Then I realized that all of this planning results in being able to make better decisions in an instant.  Sure, deciding how many glasses of wine I can have before I meet my girlfriends may sound like a chore, but who wants to interrupt a good night out to count calories/points/carbs?

I love office supplies.  I like iPhone accessories.  In short, I like gadgets.  This little article, about
Kitchen Tools That Keep You Thin ( was created for me.
I've printed all the slides on one page and I'm now playing a sort of Bingo game involving which gadgets I have (steamer, apple divider, kitchen scissors, small glasses and a muffin tin).  I only need a few more to win! 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Being Honest With Myself

My Weigh In
Today I faced my enemy.  He was cold, hard, completely unbending and brutally honest. 

Today I got on the scale. 

Honestly, I don't usually dread it.  But last week I hauled myself back to Weight Watchers after being depressed/angry/bored because of my knee injury.  I realized that there was nothing about my leg that was keeping me from making healthy decisions.  I was doing that all by myself.  So I went to my meeting, weighed in and found out I'd only gained a little.  So I was back in the game, right?  Except this past week I was absolutely not in the game.  I knew I hadn't been horrible, but I hadn't been on program either.  I almost talked myself out of going to the meeting.  And then I was going but wouldn't weigh in. 

And then I realized I needed to know what a week of not really trying looked like.  It could have been worse , but I did gain 0.8.  Sure, that doesn't seem like a lot, but a year of not really trying would be a gain of 41.6 pounds!

Besides, I definitely needed to listen to this week's meeting topic.  Two sometimes ugly words that really do make all the difference:  PORTION CONTROL.  This week I'm going to focus on measuring my food.  Everything from my morning cereal to my glass of wine at dinner.  I recently read something from jennifer Hudson who pointed out that measuring our food allows us to have those things we would otherwise fear were taboo.  Pizza is only "bad" when we don't account for how much we eat, and how much we can afford nutritionally.  When we measure it and know its value we are in control. 

I am taking back control!

Your turn to weigh in...
Tell me about your portions.  Do you have certain foods that you would avoid because they feel too dangerous?  How would measuring those foods and knowing their nutritional value change that feeling?  Do you measure the food you eat at home? in restaurants?  What tools do you use to measure?


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Deliciously Dirty

Do you know what today is? 

If you said Tuesday, you'd be right, but kinda boring.

If you said "Tried-It Tuesday" I'd accuse you of being a mind reader, because I haven't branded that name for my Tuesday Blog entries all that well. 

But if you said it was National Margarita Day then you would hear ding-ding-ding of a bell telling you you're absolutely right. 

So in honor of such an important observance, I'd like to share with you a delicious recipe that you can make by the batch (and ahead of time).  So the next time you're playing host for a girls' night, bachelorette party or Cinco de Mayo fiesta you'll have more time to play with your friends and less time at the blender. 

Dirty Margaritas
1 can frozen limeade
1 can tequila
1 (12 oz) bottle Corona
2 L Diet Lemon-Lime Soda (I use Sprite Zero)

Mix together and enjoy!* 

Serves 6.  Yields approx. 12 oz per serving.

*Now by enjoy, I mean cut yourself some lime wedges, use one to wet the top of a nice tall glass and dip the glass in salt before adding ice.  Pour the delicious concoction over those thirsty ice cubes and then enjoy. 

One great thing about these Dirty Margaritas is that they are a Points Plus compared to traditional ones.  According to the Weight Watchers website, twelve ounces of a regular margarita will run you 26 points plus values whereas my little substitution weighs in at only 6. 

Now, who has a "skinny" Mexican dish I can serve with it?

Also - on a completely UNskinny note, this weekend I tried a creation from Jocelyn at Inside BruCrew Life

Let me tell you; anytime you tire of hearing about points values, exercise, weight loss or any of my usual topics, head over to her blog and take in the endless goodies she has on display.  Her cupcakes make my cupcakes want to be better people.  She even inspires me to frost them.  Nicely.  You should understand, I'd rather avoid frosting cupcakes if at all possible.  In fact, if I make you cupcakes, I'll probably try to convince you that frosting them yourself is half the fun. 

Now enter Nutter Butter Truffle Cupcakes.  Wow.  I don't know what else to say.    I saw, I baked and then I even broke out the bags and tips and did the fancy swirly thing (prompting one of my coworkers to compare the finished product to something unattractive a dog might leave behind) and transport them the the nifty divided carrier.  One thing about the recipe was that it didn't indicate how many balls the cookie/cream cheese/pb mixture should make.  I got 12 per batch, but wish I had made them a little smaller - probably a yield of about 18 per batch.  I actually still have 12 (now smaller) balls in my freezer to either be made into the next batch or simply dipped in chocolate and eaten devoured.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

This is what...

bird-watching looks like. 

For my cat.

By the way - she told me spring is coming because she was "talking" to robins in this shot.

Friday, February 18, 2011

My Wish for You

It's been a beautiful week of unusually warm Iowa weather in my backyard. 

Unfortunately, that's about to come to an end with rain, snow or both.

And I (as a banker type) have a three day weekend. 

I suppose I should see it as an opportunity to tackle a few home improvement projects. 

Then again, I have a bad knee (*wink* *smile*)  So...

I'll sit here and raise my (rather full) glass to you, my friends, and toast your happiness.

Have a joyful and relaxing weekend! 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Short and Sweet [[Thrifty Thursday]]

It's time for another installment of Thrifty Thursday.  The day of the week when I take all of the advice I've gleaned during the week , reduce it to only the finest, and share it with all of you.

Weight loss strategies that even I have time for! 
Some of my favorite ideas are: 

A mini-manicure.  I get this one.  I absolutely hate messing up the paint job.  And there's no way of reaching into a bag of Garden Tomato Basil Lays potato chips without doing so. 

Slicing my food.  I am all about presentation.  Even when I have a frozen meal for lunch, I place it nicely on a small, bright yellow plate.  And I drink my milk from a real glass.  So I can see how I would like be pleased by neatly cut portions of my food. 

Adding Air.  We get this same advide in Weight Watchers.  It's why air-popped popcorn is such a superstar.  The air helps make you feel full.  (The same concept applies to why eating grapes makes you fuller than eating the same number of raisins.)  So I'm going to by whipped yogurt and whipped butter. 

Finally - replacing Mayonnaise with Hummus.  I love hummus.  Why wouldn't I love it on a sandwhich.  Oh hello turkey and chickpeas!
My find this week is your finds.
What tips and tricks have you found this week? 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Hunter Style Chicken [Recipe Review]

Okay.  I'm trying to get back on schedule, so I fully intend to review a recipe today for "Tried It Tuesday."  Eventually I hope to review other things on Tuesdays, but for now - you get food. 

Let's start with a "me" update though.  I hauled myself to the Pain Terrorist   Personal Torturist  Physical Therapist today.  I thought it was going to be a quick initial consultation, but ended up staying there an hour and a half.  We stretched the leg.  We flexed the leg.  We tested hip strength.  We noted my over-pronating feet and high arches.  We even touched on my bad posture and why I have headaches that make me want to stay in bed.  Contrary to my assumptions, he actually doesn't want to hurt me.  Actually, he would only perform a move once he knew it was pain free.  I guess he figures I won't do the stuff that hurts.  And even if I do my body will fight it all along the way and won't remember what's it's like to move without pain or hesitation.  I think we're off to a good start. 

I also liked the way he asked me if there was anything work related that I felt like I couldn't do because of my injury.  I felt like he was opening it up to me to say I couldn't help customers who were grumpy or service the ATM on cold days, which was pretty nice.  Since anything I could come up with would likely not be as bad as the exercises required to get better, I told him work was fine.  Now if only housework was in the realm of things he from which he could excuse me.

Now for the promised review.  Hey Ang, remember mentioning that you would like to hear more about this "Hunter Style" Chicken I had on the menu.  Maybe I should have pointed out at the time that it's more well known as Chicken Cacciatore.  Keep in mind, this is a Weight Watchers dish, so any changes you notice have more to do with that than a change in the name. 

Hunter-Style Chicken (Chicken Cacciatore)

Serves 8. 5 Points Plus Value per serving.
1 serving is 1 piece of chicken with scant 1/2 c. vegs and sauce.
1 (2 1/2 to 3) pound chicken cut into 8 pieces
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3 tsp EVOO
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, pressed
2 assorted colors bell peppers, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/4 lb fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 (1 pint) container refrigerated fresh tomato pasta sauce

Sprinkle chicken with S and P. Heat 2 tsp oil.
Cook chicken on Med-high until browned, about 3-4 min on each side.
Remove chicken and set aside. Heat remaining oil in same pan.
Cook onion and garlic over med-high until softened about 3 minutes.
Add peppers, mushrooms, and celery. Cook until softened, about 5-6 min.
Return chicken to pan. Add the pasta sauce and stir to coat. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer, covered until chicken is cooked through and vegs are tender, about 20 min.

I served this over rice but you could use noodles or just serve plain. 
My review?  Perfect.  Tastes amazing, super easy to make and well worth the points plus value (or calorie value to most of you)  This is definitely going into regular rotation.  Plus how great is it that so many of these healthy ingredients are probably in your kitchen right now?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Good For One Day of Lovin'

It's a bad day for my male coworkers.  Especially the one who has horrible allergies to flowers.  Or claim allergies so they don't have to send their wives and girlfriends flowers. 

But it's a good day to be in love. 

(Friday night was too, because My Guy took me out for dinner and drinks.  Nice wine, shared shrimp & crab dip and a seafood orzo - delish!) 

I admit it.  I'm among those who still enjoy Valentine's Day.  I enjoy it because it's a day especially set aside for us to remind the people in our lives how much we love them.  I can hear some of you now.  We should show the love all year.  I know that.  That's why this year I made love coupons!

Previously, when I thought of the whole "good for one bear hug" kind of gifts, I thought I was being cheap.

Then I started assembling this year's present.  It started with the idea of having a cuddly movie night.  I had a coupon for a free plastic popcorn tub with the purchase of popcorn and candy so I bought those.  I threw in some comfy new loungy-pants, a six-pack of beer and My Guy was set for movie night in.  Then I thought - "what if he'd rather have the wine, cheese and candles kind of night?"  So I added a coupon for that option (as well as more appropriate attire).  Then I realized I had a bunch of ideas for ways to spoil My Guy on Lovey-Dovey Day! 

Then, gathering up leftover materials from scrapbooking, my finest red, pink and purple markers and crayons and adding to it a few stickers and embellishments I set to making my coupons.  Then I tucked them away into two envelopes, one marked "Naughty" and  "Nice".  The envelopes being with the nights described above, and include about a dozen more in each to choose from.  The whole thing cost me less than $25 and I honestly can't wait for him to open it.

As you can obviously tell, I wasn't thinking forward enough to take pictures of this project, so you'll have to take my word for how it turned out.  Instead I'll show you his more traditional gift to me, which was delivered as I wrote this
How and when are you celebrating the love?  Was it this weekend, today, or everyday?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Two & a Half Weeks

That's how long it's been.  And itt's with a heavy sigh that I take up my keyboard and type.  I have been a bad blogger.  I have been a bad Weight Watcher.  I have been a bad homemaker. 

But I have excuses. 

Remember my knee injury?   Turns out it was a little worse than I thought.

Turns out I injured my ACL. 

Remember (from the same post) my previous injury and how I had to be rebuilt like the bionic woman? 

Turns out all that metal makes it pretty tough (as in impossible) to do an MRI, so we don't know how bad it really is. 

We do know it's equally difficult to do reconstructive surgery.  So I start physical therapy this week.

And while I've been waiting through the pain and swelling and the uncertainty and inactivity, I've been bad. 

What my days largely looked like (Magzines, Books, TV)
I haven't blogged.

I haven't worked out.

I've eaten poorly out of boredom.

The poor eating has led to weight gain.

And all of the above (plus other things) has made me a little depressed.

Guess what depression leads to?  (More eating)

But I know.  Time to snap out of it and stop feeling sorry for myself. 

So I'm planning to continue blogging, but I don't know what format I'll follow.  For now, it's gonna just be whatever it wants to be.  It's difficult for me to stand and cook, so no new recipes.  I can follow Weight Watchers though and need to get back to that. 

So I'll be around.  And I'll be candid.  And we'll get through this leg of the journey.  Can I borrow your legs from time to time since I only have one good one?

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