Finishing strong

I’m trying to finish this year on a strong note.  2008 was a great year for me… I got married (!!!!), discovered my passion for cooking and started my own blog.  These are just a few things, but they will definitely mark this year as a memorable one (especially the getting married part :D )  This past month was full of indulgences (yeah, I know, ’tis the season) but I didn’t want to start 2009 feeling bloated and fat.  So on Christmas Day I decided to amp up my time at the gym (just a little bit) and restart cleaner eating.  It’s only been 3 days, but seriously I can feel the difference in my mood and even my body.  Lots of deliciousness was consumed so let’s get to it…

BREAKFASTS

TJ’s nonfat yogurt, banana, Bear Naked Hundred Mile Medley trail mix (cashews, dark chocolate chips, cherries, almonds and granola), some pb puffins and shredded coconut.  This trail mix is just ok (the granola part is kind of dry and the nuts are not roasted)…

Omelet with light feta, grape tomatoes and avocado (made with 1 egg and 1 egg white) + 1/2 pita:

Similar yogurt to the above (I was planning on using a different trail mix and only realized I used the same one after polishing off this bowl :P )… nonfat yogurt, 1/2 banana, Bear Naked hundred mile medley and some homemade cranberry sauce + a massive cup of coffee.

LUNCHES

This was a genius creation: ww pita with bbq chicken, avocado, laughing cow wedge and grape tomatoes.  Seriously, amazing!

I was stuck at home (nasty weather) with a limited food supply, so I reheated some frozen lentil soup.  Yum!

 

DINNERS

Turkey burger with cranberry sauce alla Meghann.  Sounds funky but it was really really good (I actually wish I added even more cranberry sauce!).  I added some laughing cow cheese for creaminess and used a ww english muffin instead of a bun + some sweet potato fries.  Perfect Friday night dinner!

Ww pasta shells with ground lean turkey, diced tomatoes and garlic.  Pretty delicious :)

SNACKS

There were many snacks, but none of them mindless!  That’s how I like ‘em :D

Two ak-mac crackers with a packet of Barney Butter and 2 prunes.   I really love this combo (and the sesame seeds on the crackers)!

I was only going to have 1/2…

But the other half was calling my name so I ate it too :oops: Honestly though, this was not the best brownie I’ve had, shocking given my love for everything peanut butter and Baked brownies’ reputation.

Something from my stocking… :D

I was able to only eat 1/2 of this guy (as planned)… at first it seemed a bit bitter, but once the sweet chocolate chip taste kicked in, it was quite tasty :)

A sweet sloop (sailboat shaped almond butter crunch, a mainsail and a jib of white chocolate floating in rich dark chocolate with pecan spindrift washing her sides):

I’ve been craving cheesecake lately so I bought a box of frozen 100 calorie cheesecakes the other day.  Man, these are tiny!  I topped this baby with some cherry preserve.  It did take care of my cheesecake craving! :razz:

And there were a few glasses of vino… a glass of Shiraz at Great Bay (that place is awesome!):

And a Cotes du Rhone something rather at Eastern Standard (that place was hopping!!!):

I didn’t finish either one of those glasses, but it was fun to “bar/restaurant hop” :D

WORKOUTS

I totally slacked off on exercise in the last week.  In fact, I did not work out for a whole 7 days, and I wasn’t even sick!!!  Just lazy… not a good excuse.  So starting on Christmas day, with my new HRM toy that my husband bought me, I’ve kicked it up a notch and it’s been awesome.  I already posted my stats from Thursday.  On Friday I did 55 minutes circuit training + 35 minutes ET (=6 HBBC points) and last night I did 4.5 miles on the treadmill, 10 minutes on the bike + 12.5 minutes on the ET (it was so freaking boring I had to get off after getting to a round number)… yesterday’s workout also totaled 6 HBBC points.  So to-date I’ve accumulated 58.8… can I get to 100 by January 4th??  Probably not, but I’ll keep trying :D

So yeah, 3 days of NMSC so far.  I’ve been able to stay away from office cookies on Friday and didn’t order any food in my slightly tipsy state last night (I knew I didn’t really need it!).  Tomorrow there will be more challenges at the office because more people will be back and I’m sure many of them will want to bring their cookies to the office so they stop eating them themselves.  I think I’m finally at the right mindset though… 2009 here I come, stronger (and leaner :) ) than ever!!

Christmas Day 2008

Merry Christmas everybody (or those who celebrate it :D )!!!  I’ve taken a few fun pics over this holiday season that I’d like to start with.  We’ll move on to food and fitness after that :)

Before we got our Christmas tree, I stopped by an art gallery store to check out their ornament selection.  There were so many unique and absolutely gorgeous ornaments that I just had to take pictures of them.  Unfortunately they were outrageously expensive so I didn’t get any.  Maybe if I win the lottery one day :P

Aren’t these amazing?!

And these are some giant ornaments in my office lobby.  There a bunch of them all over the Prudential Mall in Boston.  So cool! :cool:

And here is my husband cutting the protective plastic around our first Christmas tree ever :D  

And our tree all lit up.  It looks really pathetic in this picture, but actually it’s really cute and made the last few weeks very festive :)

Ok, onto food and fitness…

I woke up this morning ready to be super healthy.  I was so excited about it!  So today I’m happy to report was so so good.  I just love being healthy!  It makes me feel a billion times better than stuffing my face!!!

BREAKFAST

After opening some gifts from my husband (I got a brand new camera and an HRM – yay!!!!!!) while drinking coffee, I made one my lovely yogurt parfaits.  It’s been what seems like ages since I’ve had one.

In this beautiful bowl (picture still taken with the old camera – not bad) was about 3/4 cup of yogurt, 1/2 banana, some strawberries and blueberries and a serving of Bear Naked Continental Divide Blend trail mix (banana chips, chocolate chips, walnuts, almonds and chocolate granola).  Yum yum yum.

Here is the package of the trail mix.  I liked it a lot!

WORKOUT

After digesting my breakfast for a few hours, I head to the gym in our building.  It is so convenient having it right there… I really have no excuse of ever skipping workouts!  I used my new HRM, so I have some workout stats… I love knowing exactly how many calories I burn!  The HRM was about 25% below what the treadmill and elliptical showed!

I like having a plan before I go to the gym, so today I came with a printout of this 3s and 5s treadmill challenge.  I looked at Melissa’s speeds and thought they were at about my fitness level so I started following her numbers exactly but after the first set, realized I could kick it up a notch without jeopardizing my ability to finish the run so I increased everything by 0.3 mph, oh and I also ran all the recovery intervals at 6.3 mph.  This was so much fun… I’ll definitely do this again.  Hopefully I can increase my speed and add some inclines over time!

After 45 minutes on the treadmill (or exactly 5 miles), I jumped on the elliptical and did another 30 minutes there.  I think the elliptical is just so boring… it took a lot of convincing to stay on for the full 30, but I did it!  Here are my stats:

Duration: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Calories burnt: 701

Ave heart rate: 151 (I think that’s a bit low but this thing is new so I’m still figuring it out)

Max heart rate: 198 (whoa)

HBBC points today: 7

Total HBBC points: 46.8 

SNACKS

I wasn’t too hungry after my workout so I just had a snack before making lunch.  I’ve decided to give Meghann’s orange + pb combo a try. I gave it a little twist by using Peanut Butter and Co.’s Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter.  This is about 1/2 orange with 1/2T of pb:

It’s official, peanut butter goes with everything… including orange!!  The juicy orange was actually a nice contrast to the creaminess and heaviness of the peanut butter.  De.licious!

Another snack later in the afternoon… a Harry & David pear.  I grabbed one from a goodie basket at work yesterday, so it got a little bruised on its commute home.  It was still juicy and delicious.  Harry & David pears are definitely the best (honestly I wouldn’t be able to justify the price though)!

LUNCH

For lunch I planned on making a salad since my husband was eating the leftover calzone (I usually try to eat salads or other “funky” foods he wouldn’t be interested in when he’s on his own with food).  We had a pretty pathetic amount of mixed greens, though, so I brainstormed and came up with this “salad.”

This looks just like a pile of food, but here is what you really see:

  • mixed greens dressed in 1 teaspoon of Annie’s organic goddess dressing
  • 1/4 avocado
  • grape tomatoes
  • small handful of macadamia nuts
  • 1/2 block of baked tofu (sprinkled in chili powder and salt, baked at 375* for 35 minutes)

This made me so full!  I think it was the fat from the avocado and the nuts.  This was about 300 calories but I was seriously stuffed for hours (almost in an uncomfortable kind of stuffed).

DINNER

My husband was craving buffalo chicken, so I suggested making little pita pizzas with buffalo chicken.  They came out super delicious!  Un-pocketing the ww pita makes for a great base for TWO individual pizzas… so efficient :P

Here is my plate with 2 large carrots on the side for some veg:

Close-up of the pizza:

Oh, I used Trader Joe’s pizza sauce (it’s really great!) and 2% Italian shredded cheese (1 oz worth).  I burnt it a little but it was still super yummy!  I will definitely remember this idea when I’m craving a greasy slice – this one was enjoyed 100% guilt free!

And after blogging, I’m going to make some tea and have this baby:

This guy was in my stocking this morning.  The snowman is so cute :razz:

All in all, I am so happy about getting back on track.  I just feel so happy!  I’m restarting my No Mindless Snacking Challenge (NMSC).  Today was Day 1 (of a second streak attempt).  I home to make to the end of December (and then I’ll start the January NMSC).

Merry Christmas to everyone again!  I hope you are having a wonderful day, whether you celebrate it or not (you probably still got the day off :D )

A super lazy Saturday

Wow, I’ve been la-zay today!  Seriously, I hardly left the coach today.  Bad!  There was no exercise but definitely some yummy and healthy food, though :D

BREAKFAST

I really love feta in omelets and since I had an open package of feta today’s breakfast was an obvious choice.  I sauteed some grape tomatoes with some spinach, added 1 egg and 2 egg whites and 1 oz of light feta.  Yum!  I also toasted 1/2 of a Food for Life english muffin for a side + made a large cup of coffee with skim milk and agave nectar.

SNACK

Breakfast was a little low in calories so I was ready for a snack soon after I was done.  I missed my yogurt so I made a tiny bowl with 1/2 cup of nonfat TJ’s European style yogurt, a clementine and a handful of Erin Baker’s double chocolate granola.  So yummy!  I love yogurt!!

LUNCH

Simple: a sandwich with 2 slices of turkey, 2 tablespoons of homemade hummus and grape tomatoes and a large carrot on the side.

I <3 hummus!

BAKING!

When you have a banana that looks like that, what do you do?

Hehe, it looks like a monster! :lol:  Well, I mashed it and made it into cookies using this recipe from Simply Recipes found on the Bread & Honey blog.  The pictures just looked so good, I couldn’t resist making a batch of my own :D

My 1 banana produced 1/3 of a cup of mashed banana, so I made 1/3 of the recipe.

I also opted to use 1/2 pecans and 1/2 chocolate chips for my “mix-ins.”  Here are some of the progress pics so you feel like you were in my kitchen today :)

Creaming the butter and sugar:

 

Adding the egg and flour…

Folding in the pecans and chocolate chips…

Divide the batter into 10 cookies (30 if you make the entire recipe), and pop in the oven for ~12 minutes:

Here they are post baking, cooling on the cooling rack:

Closeup:

The kitchen smelled absolutely incredible at this point!!  Of course I had to make some tea and have 1 (ahem, I mean 2) cookies :D

I didn’t photograph the second one… I grabbed one of the “uglier” ones.  These were very light and fluffy – very cake-like.  I think I realize that I prefer cookies that are more dense, but because they are light they are also lower in calories, so that’s why I could have 2 of them guilt-free.  There is definitely something to say for that.  If you like fluffy (muffin-top-like cookies) these are yummy and are a nice alternative to banana bread if you have some overripe bananas.  I probably won’t make them again, but I had fun making them and will enjoy polishing them off (hopefully with my husband’s help) over the next few days.  Oh, and they are now resting on a pretty holiday plate.  I love it!!

DINNER

Since like I mentioned before I haven’t left my apartment today (meaning no grocery trip either), I had to whip something up from what we had.  I dug deep into my freezer and found this:

There were 2 little eggplant cutlets left in the box (this is from Trader Joe’s – not sure if you can see that from this pic).  So I made some baked zitti in my toaster oven.  I cooked 4oz of ww pasta for 13 minutes, while that was going baked the eggplant patties according to package directions and cooked up some diced tomatoes with garlic, oregano, basil and red pepper flakes to make a chunky tomato sauce.  Once the pasta was done, I tossed it with the diced tomatoes, divided into two bowls (1 for me and 1 for my husband), topped each pasta bowl with a slice of eggplant, 1/4 cup of part skim ricotta and 3/4 oz of 2% cheddar cheese and baked it right in the bowls in the toasted oven (for maybe 5 minutes and then turned it to broil for a few extra minutes until the cheese browned).  Yum!

 

Here is my first bite… cheesy goodness!

This was very delicious.  Baked zitti with eggplant used to be one of my favorite deliveries back in college, although I used to eat a huge tub of it in one sitting.  This was nicely portion controlled.  Much better!

And a little bit later I had a square of Ghirardelli 72% chocolate square.  This is just ok.  Honestly tastes slightly waxy to me.  I forgot I’m not a fan of this stuff.  I want more chocolate now but trying to resist the urge! :(

Total calorie count for now is 1567, although I have a feeling I’m going to have something a little later (hopefully not but I can’t make any promises).  I’m trying to decided whether I want to go out with my husband and his friends or stay at home and take some thing off my to-do list.  I want to stay home but I’m afraid of being alone with a house full temptations and no-one but myself to stop me from indulging.  I’ll report tomorrow on how I did.

*Edited to add* I stayed at home and I am finally caught up on all of my blog reading.  Yay!!!  I am also extremely proud to report that the only thing I had was lots of water.  I didn’t even give myself the option of having anything else… at first reading all the food blogs made me a little hungry but then I just forgot about it.  So the calorie count for the day is still the number noted above, and today was officially my Day 4 of NMSC!!  I told you I do well with streaking challenges :D  I’m going to try to go to bed soon.  I want to take a hot vinyasa class tomorrow morning.  I haven’t done that in months and I’m actually really looking forward to it!

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