Saturday, October 30, 2010

Weight Loss Body Changes

Last night I decided to take my measurements - I've been doing them about 1x/month since the Spring to give me another way to measure success other than just the scale. It had been 6 weeks since the last time I took them - and during that 6 weeks I've lost 12 lbs. I was convinced there wouldn't be much of a difference since so much of October I was not able to work out as regularly. The thing I forgot is that as anyone who's lost significant weight will know, your body changes and adjusts to its new weight on it's own time schedule. So those times of losing weight but not inches caught up! I was delighted to find that in the past 6 weeks I've lost 2 inches in my waist, 2 1/2 inches in my hips, 1 1/2 inches in my thigh, 1/2 inch in my upper arm! so exciting :)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mexican Party Menu

Last weekend when my brother and his family were visiting we invited some cousins over for a little party. I planned carefully, made my shopping lists way in advance, cooked what I could beforehand and pulled it off stress-free. I was asked to share recipes, so thought I'd share them here even though I don't have photos.

  • Guacamole (while I love making my own fresh, Wholly Guacamole from Costco is great and easy)
  • Pico de Gallo (I have a great recipe for this but with so much else to cook, used Whole Foods' fresh pico de Gallo from the prepared foods section of the store and it's very good.
  • El Azteco Cheese Dip (a favorite restaurant in East Lansing from my college days, this dip is best made a couple days in advance for all the flavors to meld. Addicting!)

    Ingredients: 16 oz sour cream (I used lowfat), 24oz small curd cottage cheese (I used nonfat), 3/4 lb Jalapeno Monterey Jack cheese shredded, 4 green onions finely chopped, 1 1/2 tsp cumin, white pepper to taste

    Directions: Mix it all together in a big bowl (makes a lot!), cover and put in fridge at least overnight for best results. Serve with tortilla chips (my favorite is from the Ann Arbor Tortilla Factory)
  • Black Bean with Roasted Corn Dip (low fat, high fiber, it's guilt free!)
    from Whole Foods website
Main Course:
  • Baja Chicken Tacos (this recipe was from the Canyon Ranch spa)

    Ingredients: 1/4 cup orange juice, 1/4 cup lime juice, 2 TB olive oil, 1 TB chili powder, 1 tsp sea salt, 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

    Directions: Whisk marinade ingredients together and pour into large ziplock bag with chicken breasts. Allow it to marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour. Preheat grill and cook until done, discard leftover marinade. Allow to cool slightly and chop into bite size pieces.
  • Ground Beef Taco Meat I used grass fed ground beef for this (although I don't use much ground beef anymore, I do stock up and freeze when it's on sale). I cooked up some small diced yellow onion and garlic in some olive oil, then put in the ground beef and seasoned with taco seasonings and simmered with a little water for about 5 minutes, allowed to cool and then froze it a week before the party. Then I just took out the night before (transfer to fridge) and put into Crockpot with a little water to reheat in the morning.
  • Carne Asada Steak After 4 years of living in Southern California, I searched for the best/most authentic recipe to replicate these baja style tacos. I found it on someone's blog a couple years ago and it's now our go-to recipe for carne asada.

    Ingredients: 2 lbs tri tip steak (I've substituted whatever steak is on sale many times, but tri tip is the most authentic). I used top round steak last weekend because I was making so much., 1 small/med red onion, juice of 1 lemon, salt and pepper to taste

    Directions: Cut raw steak into 1/4 inch cubes. Season with salt and pepper (the easiest way to get the right amount is to spread out the cut meat on your cutting board like a hamburger patty and season liberally). I use fresh ground pepper and fine sea salt. Put meat in large ziplock bag with lemon juice and onion, mix well. Refrigerate for at least an hour. When ready, heat a bit of olive oil in a hot pan, then sear the meat in small batches and cook til done.
  • Spanish Rice My friend Vern made her grandmother's spanish rice for me for the party. I'll see if I can get her to share the recipe, but it's one of those things where it's not measured but cooked by taste. She did use long grain brown rice rather than white.
  • Refried Beans I hadn't planned on making my own but when I found this healthier recipe I knew I had to try it out. I loved it and will definitely make it again and again! (I used only a sprinkling of cheese on top rather than the 1/2 cup the recipe calls for.) Whole Foods Recipe
  • Spicy Mexican Slaw with Lime & Cilantro - This recipe is from one of my favorite healthy cooking blogs, Kalyn's Kitchen. My changes: I did substitute regular mayo with vegan canola oil mayo (Spectrum Whole Foods Brand) as a healthier/lower cal/fat alternative, without losing any flavor. I also used Chipotle Tabasco rather than green because that's what I had. I eliminated the salt.
  • Fixings - sour cream, mexican mix cheese, chopped romaine lettuce, pico de gallo, plain chopped tomatoes, plain chopped red onion, guacamole. I had both corn and flour tortillas (La Jalisciense, Detroit) and hard shell corn tortillas (Whole Foods 365 brand)
Dessert: (okay, nothing here is Mexican but it is yummy and healthy!)
  • Apple Crumble with Golden Raisins - It's a Cooking Light recipe. I used honeycrisp apples instead of Granny Smith, and also threw in some dried cherries with the raisins.
  • Zucchini Bread - as posted earlier on my blog

And . . . October is almost over!

In the past several weeks Thad and I went on a roadtrip (10 states!), saw friends and family, and then hosted my brother and family at our house last week. Now the laundry is all done, the house cleaned again, and I'm back to my Jazzercise and cooking routines - life is back to normal! I'll post some photos and anecdotes soon, but just wanted to jump back in with a quick blog post and a promise to keep at it :)

Sunday is Halloween and I've yet to buy treats to hand out. I've been debating on what to get. I REALLY do not want to hand out candy. Kids will get so much of it and no one needs that much candy. I also kind of feel like our new healthy lifestyle needs to spill over into what we pass out - but at the same time I don't want to be 'that' house either. Any suggestions for healthy or non-candy things to pass out on Halloween (and where to buy them!?) that kids will like? One year we did glow stick necklaces that were a big hit (plus a piece of candy though). I know, I's one night a year, right? It's Halloween. It's what's expected. And so, the debate continues. Any thoughts?

Monday, October 4, 2010

small victories!

It's been too long since I last posted - my life has been insane for the past week getting ready for and then having a garage sale and is finally back to normal! We did well even though we didn't have the best weather and even better, got to clean house a bit of things we don't need - including items in boxes still from when we moved in 5 1/2 years ago!

Unfortunately that also means that I haven't been to Jazzercise since last Wednesday. :( I walked Izzie about a mile 1 day. how pathetic!! I was exhausted just the same though from all the running around and moving boxes, so it really wasn't too terrible I suppose.

Anyway, I just wanted to write about small victories last week. I've been in control of our meals because I've been cooking everything, almost every meal, all the time for awhile now. I wasn't able to with the mess around my house and my parents and Aunt over helping get ready for the sale. The thought of ordering out or fast food had me a little panicked, but I had several small victories that have given me a newfound confidence in my ability to make good choices out in the 'real world' or decide to do something different than everyone else and it be okay.
  1. We went to Big Boys and while I watched everyone else order big boys and fries or onion rings, i did the soup and salad bar and enjoyed 2 bowls of cabbage soup and had just a few onion rings and fries of thad's/my dad's. didn't miss the big boy at all! 
  2. We went to Olive Garden and instead of getting eggplant parm that I love, I tried something new that was noted as a healthy item - a seafood dish in a delicious broth that I enjoyed immensely - AND I did not have the waitress add cheese AND I took 1/2 of it home!
  3. My parents got pizza for lunch one day. I ate 1 slice and 2 breadsticks and that was plenty for me. this is huge cause I've always loved pizza and one of my biggest issues always used to be overdoing it on something that I loved. it's been months since ive had pizza. 
  4. Yesterday they were heading out to get taco bell (which just sounds gross to me) and rather than get anything there I spent 10 minutes to whip up some quinoa with garlic, feta, spinach, red peppers and zucchini and felt so much more myself after days of not eating the foods im used to.