Arrivederci Carbs

Well… for now.

I’ve decided to cut back on my carb intake. After researching, most weight comes from people overeating the wrong types of carbs, so that’s my plan. I’m not getting rid of them all together, only because I know when you go back from no carbs to carbs you regain weight like mad crazy.

Not gonna lie, have not started my work out plan yet. I feel like every time I’m gung ho about starting, something happens. I had an awful cold last week that basically made it painful to get off the couch. Poo.

In happy news, we officially repicked a wedding venue and a new date. After all the family stuff happening, we realized our families could no longer afford our original plan (sorry guys! I know we were all looking forward to a mostly free beach vacation!), so we started looking at other unique venues. Well we found everything from a ranch in the mountains of North Carolina to a vineyard in Michigan.

We eventually landed on Heritage Prairie Farm RIGHT HERE IN ILLINOIS WHAT?! I am a little sad that we won’t be having a destination wedding anymore (good bye childhood dreams…. sigh…), but this place is pretty much awesome. You get the farm for the day and EVERYTHING is included (tables, chairs, linens, dishes, set up, tent, dance floor, food, BOOZE, favors…), the only things we have to bring in are DJ, photo, and a cake! You can decorate the tent however you want, but it comes with basic decorations that I think are pretty awesome, but of course I’m going to DIY that shit and make it super super awesome. The date is now early September 2013 on a Friday night.

Some wedding examples from the farm for your viewing pleasure:

http://www.coupleofdudes.com/cozzi-in-the-country/

http://duchessandtherabbit.typepad.com/blog/2011/07/claire-ben-wedding.html

http://willowlaneblog.com/2011/07/18/john-and-kira-7-2-2011/

That’s about it! 2 hours until I’m out of work and then time to relax this weekend.

Sun-Dried Tomato and Parsley Pesto

I made food all by myself tonight 🙂 (See above title)

So I went out and purchased all the fun ingredients…

The Ingredients

Here’s the thing….someone didn’t actually read the instructions beforehand and didn’t realize she needed a food processor.  Someone also didn’t want to drive the whole 5 minutes to her parents house because she was already in pjs.  So…..

Blender- not a Food Processor

And Ta-Da!  Turned out kind of pretty right?

Sun-dried Tomato and Parsley Pesto

It took me around an hour (mostly because of the blender thing) but I think it could’ve gone much quicker for an average cook…at most 30 mins.

I think it was good, just a a little too sweet for me.  I couldn’t finish my whole bowl because of that but I’ll probably have some tomorrow at lunch.

Recipe from New Vegetarian Cuisine by Linda Rosenweig.

End of Jan!

So…here we are 1 month in!

I went to the gym 15 times this month!  This is the most I’ve ever been in a month so I feel pretty proud of that…especially since I actually worked out every one of those days.  Boo Yah!

Today I had a delicious Harvest Salad that included chicken, couscous, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, currants, sunflower seeds, and creamy basil dressing.  Really good!  I like that I’ve become more willing to try new things.  Which brings me to another thing…

I’m getting ready to train for a 5K as we all discussed earlier this month!  March seems a little close for me but I feel that I can be ready for May.  So I asked the best runner I know- my sister Danielle 🙂  She is going to help me put together a training calendar.  She recommended looking up “Couch to 5K” as a good way to get started training.  I’m going to have to take a look…

I had a great talk with her last night and its pretty cool because she is into a lot of the stuff I’ve been getting into.  She has been using myfitnesspal and says she is concerned with how much sugar she gets in a day too.  So she sent me an ebook called “I Quit Sugar and got clean, got well, lost weight, and became a much nicer person” by Sarah Wilson.  The book explains what to do week by week to cut out sugar.  I think I’ll give it a try!

One other thing I have been thinking about is doing the gym’s “90 Day Challenge” it is mostly used for weight loss but it can also be used to set other goals.  Basically you meet with a trainer in the beginning and they detail a plan for you over the 90 days.  I will get workouts to do and will meet with the trainer in a group every once in a while during those 90 days.  Its all about accountability and guidance and I think both of those would really help.  I’m not sure though…what do you guys think, should I try it?

Avocados- My Newest Favorite Food

I have been eating avocados at least 2 days a week for the last 3 or so months and I love them!  The biggest downside is that they never seem to last very long and it seems nearly impossible to not have a ton of brown in them when I slice them open.

But…discovered through pinterest was a wonderful website that has a bunch of tips, tricks, and recipes for avocados! Go ahead and check out How to Slice, Store & Eat an Avocado from thekitchn  I am a little skeptical about the desserts but I may give some of them a try one day!

Aguacate / Avocado

Wish mine looked like this!

I went grocery shopping alone today (and picked up some avocados) and I’m pretty proud of everything I got.  Lots o’ fruit and veggies (um can I tell you how much I love Blackberries?  I love them A LOT).  I even bought ingredients for a recipe that I intend to try without Andrew as he is always busy at night.  It is a recipe from a vegetarian cookbook I got awhile ago from a neighbor so I’m very excited to try some of the stuff in there.

I’ll keep you updated on how my meal turns out in the next couple of days…

Brownie Batter Pancakes

Brownie Batter Pancakes
Skinnytaste.com
Servings: 1 • Size: 6-8 silver-dollar pancakes • Old Points: 3 pts • Points+: 4 pts
Calories: 172 • Fat: 2.4 g • Carb: 32 g • Fiber: 6.7 g • Protein: 5.3 g • Sugar: 4.7
Sodium: 241.7 (without salt)

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup Bob’s spelt flour (or all-purpose or for gluten free use Bob’s gluten-free ap flour)
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp Hershey’s Special Dark unsweetened cocoa powder (or dutch cocoa)
  • 1 1/2 packets nunaturals stevia or 1 tbsp + 1 tsp sugar (you can use less if you’re planning to top with syrup and don’t want the actual pancakes to taste sweet)
  • pinch of salt (optional)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 5 1/2 tbsp nondairy milk of your choice

Directions:

Mix dry ingredients very well, then add wet. Make pancakes! There are only 130 calories in this entire recipe. If you want a more substantial breakfast, feel free to make a bigger serving and/or go crazy with the toppings!! And if you’re feeling really crazy:

Try topping these with: Chocolate-Chip Cookie Dough Dip.
Cookie dough brownie batter pancakes… who knew such decadence could be healthy?!

GAH I MUST TRY THESE NOOOOOWWWWWW!!!!!!!!

From Here

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Tacos

FOR THE PESTO:

  • 1 bunch Swiss Chard, Cut Into Chunks
  • 1 whole Jalapeno, Seeds Removed Then Roughly Chopped
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Roughly Chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons Green Hot Sauce (Tabasco Brand)
  • ÂĽ cups Toasted Pepitas
  • 1 pinch Coarse Salt And Freshly Ground Pepper
  • ½ cups Extra Virgin Olive Oil

FOR THE TACOS:

  • 1 whole Sweet Potato, Cut Into A Medium Dice
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 teaspoons Chili Powder, Divided
  • 2 teaspoons Cumin, Divided
  • 2 pinches Coarse Salt And Freshly Ground Pepper
  • 1 can 14.5 Oz. Black Beans, Drained And Rinsed.
  • ½ teaspoons Garlic Salt
  • 8 whole White Corn Tortillas
  • ÂĽ cups Crumbled Queso Fresco
  • 1 whole Avocado, Peeled, Pitted, And Diced
  • 1 whole Lime (for The Juice)
  • ÂĽ cups Fresh Chopped Cilantro, For Garnish

Preheat your oven to 400 F.

On a rimmed baking sheet toss the diced sweet potato with the oil, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon cumin, a pinch of coarse salt and pepper. Roast in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.

In the meantime, toss the Swiss chard, jalapeno, garlic, hot sauce and pepitas into a food processor. Season with salt and pepper. Pulse to combine and blend. With the motor running, pour the oil into the processor in a thin stream, until you reach your desired consistency for pesto. Taste. Yes. Yes.

Toss the black beans into a small sauce pan over medium heat. Season with the remaining cumin, chili powder and garlic salt. Heat the beans for about 5 minutes.

On a small grill or skillet over medium heat, toast the tortillas until you get browning or charred marks on each side.

Layer 2 tortillas onto each serving plate. Then spoon on some beans, followed by some sweet potatoes. Dollop with a good 2 tablespoons of Swiss chard pesto. Sprinkle on some queso fresco, the diced avocado, a good spritz of lime and a few cilantro leaves.

From tastykitchen.com

How To Lose Weight All Day Long

How To Lose Weight All Day Long — Of course another Yahoo Health Article 🙂

This article just has a bunch of good tips for how to schedule your day- fitness and food-wise.  I won’t post the whole thing here but I will post what I would like to try- if only for a day!

6 am– 20 minutes of cardio before breakfast.  I would be able to manage this before work if I get there at 6 and leave before 7

7:30 am– Breakfast.  ALWAYS eat breakfast!  The article says “The alarm clock also wakes up ghrelin, the “feed me” hormone made in your stomach. Ignore ghrelin and your body will produce even more, eventually making you ravenous.”

10 am– snack time!  I usually eat Greek yogurt or almonds.

12 pm– Eat lunch.  Article says “Galanin, another hunger hormone that makes you crave fat, rises around lunchtime. However, dietary fat causes you to produce more galanin, which then tells you to eat more fat. ”

3:30 pm– Last chance for coffee!  Drinking coffee after 4 messes up your sleep.

5-6 pm– Strength training and any additional cardio.  This is nice because this how my schedule has been going anyway

7 pm– Dinner time.

9 pm– Have a snack.  Article says “Enjoy a carb-based bedtime snack, such as a serving of low-fat frozen yogurt. Nighttime carbs create tryptophan, which helps your brain produce serotonin. This feel-good chemical triggers your body to make melatonin, the sleep hormone. ”

9:30 pm–  “Power down” turn off the tv and computer (so i’m failing right now…) so your brain will start to relax before bed.

10:30 pm- Go to sleep.  This is usually my goal…but rarely happens.

Pretty good schedule!  Not trying it tomorrow because I have my Kickboxing Jam class in the afternoon but may try it out on Thursday!

————

Quick update on progress- had a great workout on Sunday and a great Kickboxing session today.  It occurred to me that I have improved in Kickboxing over this time because I don’t get nearly as tired or as red as I did when I first started taking the class!

Food-wise I’m doing okish.  Today we were out of food so I went and bought one  of those microwave three cheese rot inis from walgreens…um it was delicious but super bad for me.  It really reminds me of college though (tells you how my eating habits were then…). The rest of today was good just because Andrew made hard-boiled eggs (he kind of failed and they turned out to be soft-boiled…) and for dinner he made a garlic chicken breast that was pretty yummy.  What would I do without him???

 

MLK

I have to say the best part of working in a school is having these random days off. Except I went into work today to catch up on stuff and redo my lesson plans for the week because I was an idiot and forgot there was no school today when I did my planning last week. We’ll see how this week goes because I’ve essentially lost a day and the semester ends on Friday. Wah.

The last couple of days have been much better! I’m back on track. My sleeping is still not great, but hopefully that’ll improve. Basically, I’m having a really hard time falling asleep, and when I do finally fall asleep, I’m unable to stay asleep for more than 3-4 consecutive hours. Why?! I did some catching up on my sleep this weekend, but I’m hoping this week won’t be a repeat of last week. Must. Get. To. Bed. Earlier. And. Stay. Asleep. Once I get my sleep schedule regulated, my eating and portion control should fix itself since I won’t be grazing and bingeing to make up for lack of energy.

I did some major grocery shopping this weekend; I think I have enough food to last me through the first week of February!

I had two fantastic workouts yesterday and today. I went in the morning both days and worked my face off. I prefer working out around 10 AM because I can actually stay focused and be super productive because I’m well rested and awake. Stupid adult life getting in the way of that.

My dinners have been pretty fancy these past couple of days with very simple breakfasts and lunches. I’ll talk about my dinners since they were more exciting.

Yesterday: mustard/maple syrup (aka generic pancake syrup) glazed pork chops with sautéed veggies and barley. Delicious.

Tonight: homemade sweet potato gnocchi cooked with dark green veggies, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, garlic, turkey bacon in a totally improvised sauce made from chicken stock and a little butter; side salad with Italian dressing

Tonight’s dinner was such a success. Actually, turns out making gnocchi is really fun. It was an impromptu decision last night to try some because I was bored and couldn’t fall asleep. I’ve got a few batches sitting in the freezer. From now on, I may be making all kinds of gnocchi as a stress reliever instead of baking.

I’ve also decided that I’m going to cook batches of stuff for the week on Sundays because that’s when I generally get my big cooking kick. It’s been getting harder and harder to cook decent meals for just myself each week. Which is why my meals sound much cooler on the weekends. I really love living by myself now, but I miss cooking for and eating with roommates. :-/ Oh, nostalgia.

Meat

I’ve been unable to control my appetite this week and it’s been all after 6pm. Needless to say, I’ve gained a couple of pounds this week despite my workouts. I reflected back on this past week and I can pinpoint two distinct reasons why this week was such a huge setback:

1. I hadn’t slept much all week long. I’ve been getting only 4-5 hours of sleep each night so I’m exhausted and moody all day. I didn’t have much of an appetite all day because I never stopped drinking fluids with caffeine to keep me awake. So, when I come home, I relax and eat my face off.

2. I hadn’t eaten any meat in over a week. I’m not a vegetarian nor do I plan on ever being one. However, I have mentioned that my meat consumption has decreased significantly since moving out. This has been completely unintentional. I think I just don’t have a lot of meat around the apartment and I never really plan out what I’m going to eat. I just kind of throw all the healthy shit I have lying around and whip up something that tastes good in that moment. The meat that I do have available to me is all white. I can’t remember the last time I ate red meat. I’ve been getting plenty of protein through eggs, beans, quinoa, etc., so that’s not the issue. I’m clearly just depriving my body of something it craves and I’m trying to make up for it in another way.

So, what do I need to do to make improvements this week? I’m going to try really hard to get to bed at a decent hour and get enough sleep. I’m going to need to make conscious efforts to wind down so that I can fall asleep faster and STAY asleep (which has been a HUGE problem for me lately). I’m also going to need to be more conscientious of my protein intake and its sources. I’m going to treat myself to some delicious meat every now and then.

One positive that I’ve noticed this week is that even though I’ve put on a couple of pounds, I’ve definitely gotten stronger. I can handle more difficult workouts and make them last longer. Now, I just need to get my eating under control (which I guess has been my issue since day one).

Winter Detox Superfood Salad

I’m definitely making this this week! It looks so fresh!

Winter Detox Superfoods Salad
serves 4
1 small bunch broccoli, raw or quickly blanched
2 tangerines, peeled and segments separated, plus 1 for dressing
1 pomegranate, seeded
1/4 cup shaved or thinly sliced fennel
1 avocado, sliced
1/4 cup walnut pieces
extra virgin olive oil
Toss first 6 ingredients together in a medium bowl. Drizzle olive oil and juice of one tangerine over salad. Season with salt and pepper to taste.