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No Thanks to Cake: 08/01/2011 - 09/01/2011

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A New Reward Built for Two

One of my dear friends from college is about to start on a journey to lose 30 lbs. 

I'm so excited for her.  She and I BOTH have about 30 to go.... so, she mentioned she might need something to motivate her.  WELL, I'm a big believer in rewards, so we got to talking.... and we both love to travel.

And somehow through our 2 hour conversation....

We decided that when we lose our 30 lbs each....

We're going to GREECE!!!

We're going to start planning when we're down 20 lbs each.  I honestly could use a little push to finish this up!  I've been barely losing for weeks.  Sigh.

So... I know some of you have been there.  What tips do you have for us? 

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

New Recipe: Creamy Cilantro-Tomatillo Dressing

Like anyone else who tries to get their veggies in, I eat a LOT of salad.  I have a million dressings in my fridge (lite ranch, lite catalina, lite honey mustard, 5 different vinaigrettes, lite salsa ranch...)  You name it, I've got it.
A rare view of my fridge, and a glimpse at part of my collection o' dressings.
When you have this many dressings, what's one more?  

I found a recipe for a delicious Creamy Cilantro-Tomatillo Dressing on Skinny Taste a few months ago that I wanted to try.  If you currently don't subscribe/follow Skinny Taste, why not???  She's brilliant!

Also, this dressing seemed to me to be a knock off of one of my favorite mexi-ranch style dressings that I find at Cafe Rio.  I was conservative with the jalepeno, and I recommend the same on your side.  You can always add more, but you can't take it out once it's in there.  

Doesn't it look pretty?
My ingredients... Thanks, Whole Foods

Tomatillos.... Mmmmm

You literally toss all the ingredients in a blender/food processor - - EASY!
And... you're done!

Creamy Cilantro-Tomatillo Dressing
Makes 1 3/4 cups dressing

1/4 cup light mayonnaise (I used vegan, eggless)
1/2 cup lowfat buttermilk
1/4 cup fat free Greek yogurt
1 small jalapeno, seeds removed, leave them in if you want it spicy
1/4 cup of fresh cilantro
1 tomatillo, husks removed, chopped
1 clove garlic
1 scallion
juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 tsp dried parsley flakes
1/8 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/4 tsp salt

Combine in a blender or food processor - - Enjoy!

PER 1/4 CUP SERVING:  CALORIES 43.3; FAT 2.4g; PROTEIN 2.1g; CARB 3.7g; FIBER 0.3g  

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Monday, August 29, 2011

Sampling a Superfood + A New Way to Get Extra Calcium

After a grueling spin/yoga class yesterday, I needed a pick me up.  We had a substitute instructor, who I'm pretty sure I heard say that she was pregnant, so the class wouldn't be as intense as usual.

Um... that was a lie.

I've decided I like my standard instructors, no subs.  I literally hated class this week, and that's a first.  I think I made the decision to detest this class when she did a crow pose during the yoga part of the class.  UGH!

She did this, and other poses "just to play around a little."  REALLY?
Remember, I LOVE Yoga.  I finally get yoga.  I don't really know what happened during that 30 minute class.  Seriously.  All I could think of was that Gen would be back next week, and that it's not polite to bust out laughing in a serious class like this. 

So, I decided to do what any girl would do after a torturous class... I went to get myself some delicious lunch to refuel.  AND... there just happened to be a Whole Foods right near where I was at.  (I promise, this will eventually stop.) And, no big surprise, I had a delightful dish that looks a lot like something I've blogged about before.

I am a HUGE fan of Peanut Butter Fingers, and have enjoyed reading about Julie's adventures and healthy eating for some time.  She's talked about two things several times that I've always wanted to try.  Why not try them today?

Chia Seeds + Adora Calcium Supplements
I'm shocked I made it home without trying the calcium supplements.  I'd tried the calcium chew type supplements (i.e. Viactiv), but nothing could have prepared me for how delicious the Adora supplements are.  I now wish I had gotten the dark chocolate ones, too!

They're LITERALLY little chocolate disks.  OH MY GOODNESS.  They're about the size of a quarter (maybe a little bit larger.)  The packaging suggests that you eat one with every meal.  Um...OK!  I think I'm going to have a harder time eating just three two a day, as is recommended for my age. They're REALLY good.  Each one has 30 calories and 2g of fat.  Cheers!

Julie from PBF does all sorts of cool things with these little guys and recently did a freelance article for Shape Magazine about them.  I've also read recently that Chia Seeds are being called a Superfood. Incorporating them into my meals somehow sounds like a good idea.  They bring extra fiber into your world, and I'm going to have to do some research on their other benefits. 

For today, I just tried them plain and they taste a little nutty.  I think it's hilarious to think that they are the real deal Chia Pet seeds, and I'm planning to eat them. 

Check out Julie's page for all the great ways she uses them.  In granola, cereal, yogurt, smoothies, pancakes... the possibilities are endless.  I'll keep you posted on what I decide to do with them too!

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New Recipe: My First Gazpacho

I've had an obsession with tomatoes for a while now.  Heirlooms, Romas, Salsa, Pasta Sauce, Ketchup... I love them all.  

I found a recipe for Gazpacho recently in Real Simple magazine, and it just sounded so delicious.  So simple.  So fresh.  I tore the article out last month, and I'm finally trying it.  

One great part of the recipe, is that you just roughly chop your veggies...

And, then pop them all in the food processor.  EASY!  
I made a 1/2 batch to get me started but I so wish I had made the full recipe!

Once you puree all the ingredients...

the most beautifully fragrant puree is the result.

After some quick seasoning, it's ready to be refrigerated.

The recipe also calls for some finely chopped cucumber to use as a crunchy garnish - - Yum!

From Real Simple Magazine (slightly modified)

Isn't it beautiful??  Let me assure you, it tastes equally beautiful.

2 pounds ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1/2 small red onion, coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic
1 English cucumber, half coarsely chopped and half finely chopped
2 tsp. olive oil
2 tsp. red wine vinegar
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  1. In a blender, working in batches, puree the tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, garlic, and coarsely chopped cucumber.  Transfer to a bowl and stir in the oil, vinegar and 1 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp black better.  Refrigerate at least 1/2 hour and up to 1 day.
  2. Top the gazpacho with the parsley and finely chopped cucumber.

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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hitting my Mini-Goal + What a Difference a Year Makes

My world has been so crazy lately that I haven't had time to weigh in!!!  Between my Chicago trip and all my Salt Lake City time, I haven't had an OFFICIAL weigh in since August 13th.  

Note:  There are scales in SLC.  However, the ONLY time I ever weighed in there I lost .2 lbs on a week where I worked out a ton.  I'm convinced that those scales are mean-spirited.  My SLC JCC Alicia told me maybe it's the altitude that's causing a difference.  She gets it.  So smart! :)

OK.... so, Saturday's weigh in results.

-2.8 lbs, BABY!

I'm SUPER-STOKED by this.  What this means is that the truffle fry damage has been erased and the crazy drinking in Chicago are a non-issue now.  AND... perhaps more importantly, I may have just broken through my summertime plateau!  YESSSSSS!

So, as of today, I am down -63.8 lbs!  Which also has another meaning.... I've lost her!

LOVE this little lady!
My eight year old niece weighs in at 62 lbs.  She's TALL and I could barely pick up her brother, let alone her.  I've officially "lost" her.

Just for funsies and to celebrate losing my niece, I thought I'd share a BEFORE pic I ran across in my files.  Keep in mind, the before made me cringe when I first saw it last year.  Now, I love the pic because it shows progress.  

It was taken in August of 2010 at a wine tasting party I went to.  The second was a self-portrait at the Marriott... capturing my first side pony - Ha!  Again, what a difference a year makes!!!  Thanks, Jenny!

August 2010
August 2011

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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Whole Foods, You're My Hero (Part II)

After my fabulous adventures at the Sugarhouse Whole Foods on Friday and the delicious lunch I had, I couldn't get it out of my head.

It quickly became a later evening on Friday night, and I wanted dinner.  And there was only one thing that would be acceptable.


I went ahead and got 2 packages, as I'm pretty sure it's going to be a constant craving.

I went to the Boulder Pearl Street location, which I've never been to.  Um, there's something special about the Boulder Pearl Street Whole Foods Market - - It's about the size of a SuperTarget.  I have never seen such a thing! And, I can't wait to see it again!  
I had to be careful in there.  I have never seen so many gorgeous veggies and beautifully prepared foods. If I had toured the whole store, I'm sure I would have spent a fortune.  Here are a few things that I picked up:
Pretty, Pretty Heirlooms - ON SALE! 

I had a few recipes that I want to make this weekend.  I conveniently had a list of ingredients in my Blackberry, so I was ready to shop when I got to Whole Foods.  How about the Heirloom Salsa they had too???
Grilled Heirloom Tomato Salsa - Since I can't eat chips, 
I may have eaten this with a spoon.  No judgment!

Neither the Heirlooms (nor the salsa) were at all on my list, but I was able to pick up tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers for a gazpacho that I was planning to whip together

I also found a cool recipe for salad dressing on SkinnyTaste that I wanted to try that called for light mayo.  I haven't eaten mayo in months, so I knew I needed to pick some up.
$5.99 for Mayo?  
This mayo is something crazy.... how about $5.99 for a SMALL jar of light mayo??  I didn't feel like making a 3rd grocery stop today, so I sucked it up and just bought this mayo.  Apparently, it's eggless and vegan.  Don't care.  It better just taste good!  Stay tuned for a recipe including this gold-plated spread.

Because the garden vegetable sushi is my new favorite dish.... I took a few close-up pics so you can see what you're getting into if you try it.  The Colorado-made version of the sushi also had purple cabbage in it.  Yum!

Don't walk - RUN - and get yours now.
Topped with a smidge of the peanut sauce
I seriously can't wait to go back to the Boulder Whole Foods Market to investigate more.  I know there are MANY other undiscovered treasures in there, just waiting for me to find them.  

And, my spare package of sushi will be gone within the next few hours, so I'll need more of that too. 

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Friday, August 26, 2011

Whole Foods, You're My Hero (Part I)

I'm sort of in an eating rut.  Because I am out on sales calls most days, I have to find my own lunch. I eat a LOT of the same things over and over again:  Subway Veggie Delite sammie, Cafe Rio (highly modified) grilled chicken salad, and the Chick-Fil-A Grilled Chicken Sandwich.  It's pretty much a rotation of these meals over and over again for my midday meal.

Today, I had a little extra time before my flight, and I got an idea to try this place out as a new lunch spot.  I always take my lunch to the airport when possible.  Airport eating is DANGEROUS.

I envisioned that Whole Foods would have a little veggie tray I could get or at minimum that I could raid their salad bar for some in-flight snacks.  I had no idea what a wonderful finds I would have.  I love the Sugarhouse area in SLC, and of course, I fell in love with their Whole Foods!

I've never really been a sushi fan, unless it's completely vegetarian.  Today, during my wandering, I found just that and it leapt into my cart!
Garden Vegetable Sushi
The contents of this "sushi" is as follows:  carrots, leaf lettuce, avocado, and cucumbers, all wrapped up in rice paper.  On the side, the genuises who made this also included tiny serving of peanut sauce.  I'd guess that little container hold about 1 1/2 Tbsp. of peanut sauce.  So, just a little bit to add a touch of flavor.  Mmmmmm!

In just moments, this dish looked like this....

I also picked up few cucumbers off the Whole Foods Salad bar to munch on with their zero oil balsalmic vinaigrette, which also vanished quickly. 

AND... I grabbed a container of grapes as a secondary snack. 

What a great experience, and what a great choice for a pre-flight lunch.  Move over, Subway!  You've got some new competition.

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

I Miss You, Bed

Next week was supposed to be a week in Idaho for me.

Well, attention-hogging Utah has once again pulled me in.  And, it looks like I'll be spending next week here as well.

For those who don't know, that makes FOUR weeks in a row in Salt Lake City.  FIVE of the past SIX weeks, all in Utah. 

I'm hoping that by the end of next week, they'll make me the state mascot or perhaps decide my favorite perfume should be the state fragrance.  I'll need to mention that to the governor tomorrow... brilliant idea.

I must say, the Marriott is taking excellent care of me.  Extra foam pillows and towels in my room when I check in.  Most importantly, the ladies in the concierge lounge are keeping my delicious JC food in their freezer so that dinner is on plan!  They've also had GREAT veggie plates this week that I've monopolized.  Trays of cucumbers, tomatoes, and cauliflower quickly ending up in mah belly!

I do miss this guy though... desperately.

It looks like it misses me too, I think...
Under that comforter and the most super-comfortable jersey sheets ever is a Denver Mattress - - The Madison that I absolutely adore. 

They say consistently getting a good night's sleep can HELP us lose weight.  Maybe if I could get back into this bed at some point those LBs would be dropping again.  Hmmm...

Maybe Friday night, I'll lose 2 extra pounds when I get back into my own bed... I mean, it COULD happen.

Sweet dreams, my friends, wherever you might be sleeping tonight.  May you be well-rested to face the day tomorrow.  It's going to be an amazing one, afterall... you need your rest.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Fantastic Evening

 I feel like I have a few weight loss updates to share (food intake, nuggets of information from my weekly phone consultation today, etc), but honestly, they're all shadowed by what happened tonight.  We'll resume normal programming tomorrow. :)

Today, I figured it out.

Today, it all made sense.

Do you ever speak with someone who confirms
what you've been thinking about all along? 

Who confirms that your dreams are to become a reality? 

That they are yours for the taking?

I didn't need someone to tell me it would happen, but I love that the confirmation arrived.

A message to all the wise souls that read this blog:

"Your intuition is like a GREAT friend who gives you the BEST advice. If you ignore her, she'll eventually leave you alone. No one wants that to happen. LISTEN!"

That's my message to you tonight.  Please listen. 
She's talking to you and wishes you nothing but the best.

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Monday, August 22, 2011

New Recipe: Italian Pinwheel Steaks

This is another recipe from my trip to the Cape a few weeks back.  Another yummy recipe that Beth found in our new favorite cookbook.  Slowly but surely, I'm getting this posted up for you guys!  And, I'm learning about Jenny Craig exchanges... so soon I'll be able to give you my best guess at exchanges on these recipes!  Woo hoo!

Italian Pinwheel Steaks
PointsPlus Value per Serving: 7 

2 (8-oz) skirt steaks
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup (4-oz) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed without oil
1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shredded
2 cups fresh spinach
Cooking spray
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Place steaks between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound to 1/16-inch thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet.  Sprinkle steaks with salt and pepper.
  3. Place cream cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and Parmigiano-Reggiano in a blender of food processor; process until blended.  Spread 1/2 of cheese mixture on each steak.  Top with spinach.  Roll up steaks; secure with wooden picks.  Cut each roll in half crosswise.
  4. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium high heat.  Coat pan with cooking spray.  Add rolls to pan; cook 6 to 7 minutes or until browned, turning frequently.
  5. Place pan in the oven.  Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes or until desired degree of doneness.  YIELD:  4 servings (serving size: 1 pinwheel of steak)
PER SERVING:  CALORIES 290; FAT 16.9g (sat. 8.5g, mono 5.2g, poly 0.5g); PROTEIN 29.6g; CARB 3.6g; FIBER 0.7%; CHOL 88mg; IRON 3.3mg; SODIUM 513mg; CALC 108mg  
I think we may have missed a cutting step.  
But this is how ours looked coming out of the oven.  
We paired our yummy steak with roasted brussels sprouts.  One of my faves!  These were seasoned with Pam Cooking Spray, salt, and pepper.  Yum, Yum!


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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Chicago: My Kind of Town

Friday afternoon when I boarded the plane to Chicago, I honestly thought "How am I going to survive this weekend?"  Having had a BUSY and HARD work week, I was exhausted.  

I took a serious AIRnap on the plane, and thankfully felt really refreshed by the time I got to Chi-town. I always say that I get some of my best sleep at 30,000 feet, and Friday was no exception.  Thank goodness!

My trip to Chicago was to reconnect with my dear friend Jennifer from college and to see the fabulous windy city!  We had a FANTASTIC time.  Love this lady!
With Jenn at Wrigley Field - Cubs WIN!
I'd like to say that it was all salads and fruits this trip, but lying to you guys just doesn't seem appropriate.  I didn't even take any JC food at all with me this trip.  Instead, I relied on eating out and making good choices. 

We met up with Melanie too - - Another KD sister that lives in Chicago.
Hadn't seen her since 1999!
All that being said, I didn't make many good choices (aside from not drinking at the Cubs game.)  Otherwise, there was some delicious pizza at Piece (with veggie toppings), boneless buffalo wings at Mullens in Wrigleyville, truffle fries at LuxBar and late night post-drinking food at the JW Marriott (1/2 a Marriott burger for this girl) and, well, there were some cocktails.

The BEAN in all its glory!

I had to repeatedly remind myself that this was vacation.  AND, to tell myself to be conscious of portions.  For example:  1/2 a Marriott burger is not nearly as bad as a whole.  Pizza with spinach, tomatoes, and chicken is a much better choice than pepperoni, and eating a just a few slices v. the whole pie is also a good decision.  

I'm pretty sure that the ONLY fries I ever want to eat again in my life are Truffle Fries.  All others are just not worth it.  I had my VERY first this weekend, and I'm hooked.  In my defense, I didn't order them, but I definitely had a few.  Wow.  Like answers to all my little potato prayers. Yum-Yum.

Bottom Line:  We all face challenges every day.  You do what you can, and get back on track.  I wouldn't be disappointed in myself if this is what I did during maintenance, as long as I returned to healthy eating directly following the trip.  I also would be pleased to see myself signing up for spin/yoga this week and another yoga class in SLC, which I have done.  What great practice this trip has offered!

Saying Goodbye to the JW Marriott - - Such a great place to stay!
I've never spent this much time in a city this big!  Chicago is a city where people WALK everywhere.  We cabbed a bit, rode the El, and rode other trains, but we did a lot of walking too.  I am ALSO not a big dancer at all, and actually most people who know me personally would be surprised to hear this, but there WAS some dancing at the 80s bar we went to on Saturday night.  Dancing = CARDIO, right??  

I also worked to keep myself hydrated... drinking lots of water.  I always like to think adding water in curbs the appetite and flushes out all of the naughty bites. 

Me, posing at the Bean!

This trip was also one of my first nights debuting the new bod and my new look.  Jenn and Marie (pictured with me below) were so supportive as I shared my weight-loss story.  I even told them about NTTC, so maybe they'll become followers too. :)

It was nice to get dressed up, to go out, and to get a little male attention while we were out.  It's all part of the journey and it felt great!  I really feel like my days of sitting at home are over.  Too much to do, too much to see, and I'm getting out there!

Below you can see which dress I picked to wear out, which we discussed last week.  I also decided to keep the 2nd dress, after much urging by the girls in the pic below.

Before our night out on the town.  SUCH a fun night.
If you've never been to Chicago, I HIGHLY recommend it.  I was there less than 48 hours and saw a ton, had a blast.  I am excited to go back!

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