Sunday, August 31, 2008

Grill Once, Eat Twice AGAIN

How is it possible that the summer is gone so fast? *sigh* I always have all these plans about things that I'm going to get done- complete house remodelling and organizing, marathon training, world peace, getting caught up in my scrapbooking (har on the last one esp)... er well. There will probably be a lot of annoying whining about tiredness on this blog this week. Sorry in advance. I need to get myself and the tots back into some kind of meaningful routine. *yawn* The word routine is making me tired.

anywhooo...enough belly-aching. I decided to try another recipe from the August Cooking Light's Grill Once, Eat Twice. I thought it was a good idea to end the summer with partial planning (and precooking) of vacation's last meal- what with all the weeping getting in the way of elaborate dinner preparation. Anyway again, you might remember, I did the salmon one last- that culminated in the salmon chipotle tacos? This time I did the flank steak set, especially since my eldest dd recently discovered that she liked steak (something we rarely have). The first menu (tonight's) was Garlic-Rubbed Flank Steak with Chimichurri Sauce. They suggest sides of black beans and yellow rice (yellow rice?), but we had bbq potatoes, corn and broccoli- all that looked super fresh (and local) at Fortinos. The steak was really good. The whole chicken loving family actually gave it unanimous thumbs up.

Not sure how the family will react to tomorrow's dinner salad (salad usually being a side, not a main course with my children anyway) as Menu Two is Steak Panzanella. I'll lyk how it goes!

Friday, August 29, 2008

getting yer chicken a beer...

or in other words making Lager and Lemon Grilled Chicken- I would say a perfect recipe for Labour Day Weekend, no?

In honour of the long weekend (and since I didn't actually cook today other than making myself a de-lish-ous sub out of the left over chicken and crusty bread from yesterday), I thought I'd share the recipe I made for mil's bday (before the aerobics convention, when I didn't have time to post). It's pretty easy and makes the chicken oh-so-juicy. I loved it, though dh- weirdly (imho), prefers his chicken dry (!), so he liked it, but didn't love it. Everyone else seemed to like it, but who can really tell from party guests? would they actually TELL you if they didn't like a dish? Everyone cleaned their plates anyway.

Hope everyone has a great long weekend! Good luck with the food choices. Holidays can be rough, eh?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

a quick post...

about Quick Barbecue Chicken from the new, September issue of Cooking Light. We got back from our US trip late last night. Continuing my theme of badness that I've continued from the last post prior to the vacay (and so on and so on), I was a BAD ww girl on my trip. *sigh* I had a great time though and did a ton of walking whilst shopping and a ton of stair climbing while enjoying the indoor splash park with my tots and dh.

Anyway, I did buy some US light snack foods to have- and got a couple of new ones, so I'll post on those through the upcoming weeks as I'll be packing lunches and snacks for school again. *muffledsob*

Anywhoo, today, I went to Costco and bought the new CL, so I made the fore mentioned chicken since I had all the spices and didn't have to go back out to the store again for more ingredients. yeah! In terms of recipe changes, I used 4 boneless chicken breasts- they call for 2 skin-on chicken breast halves. The recipe is in the Dinner Tonight section, so they have side suggestions as well (which some of you might remember I enjoy considering). I didn't have corn, but their notes for "Spicy Corn on the Cob" sound interesting- especially since it calls for chipotle chile, my new culinary passion. har. I did do their OTHER side suggestion, however, since I had bought the Costco asian coleslaw package.

Note on the Costco coleslaw, I skipped the most fattening part of their packaged slaw, the delicious sesame dressing and used my spritz bottle of Hellman's "Asian Silk" dressing. So Janet ended the day not being a Super-BAD ww girl. yeah! (though the US trip fudge in the fridge is calling my name) ;)

oh! ya! the chicken is super easy and delicious! My seven year old loved it especially well. :)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Need to Salsa

I did go to boot camp yesterday morning, otherwise, I been BAD. Yesterday I ate out twice with friends- English scones with jam and cream for lunch AND an all-you-can-eat Japanese restaurant for supper. oy.

I'm also about to be a bad blogger: we're going to the US for a mini vacation (a last blast of summer before school restarts), so I won't be around for a few days.

Today, I spent the day on my butt scrapbooking, so I thought I'd share a couple of things from the past weeks. Firstly, pictured above, my new shoes from the aerobics convention. :) Aren't they pretty? I heart orange. They're for indoor use in my studio classes at boot camp AND my step aerobics classes.

I did recently do a few Cooking Light recipes that I haven't shared, so I thought I'd link one here. I made Avocado Salsa for mil's bday party (just before leaving for the aerobics convention). It was super easy, but so tasty that it made you wonder why you ever bought the bottled stuff. (Then I remembered: it's easier still just to buy it! ;)) BUT it was super easy to make this and it got rave reviews. The bottled stuff pales in comparison. I made it from my Cooking Light Complete binder recipe book under "Appetizers & Beverages", but the same recipe online suggests it accompany vegetarian chili (not mentioned in the recipe book). I'm sure it would be good with the chili. I served it to my guest with tortilla chips with a side of Sangria- also good, though maybe not as dietary. ;)

Have a good rest of your weekend everyone! See you later in the week. :)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Salmon Tacos and an Englishman

Well, the Grilled Salmon Tacos with Chipotle Sauce were delicious! Loved them, truly! Much of the goodness was the flavourful chipotle sauce (and my chipotle chiles WERE in adobo sauce after all- gotta get better glasses apparently for the adobo small print ).

Other things to get excited about in this recipe: I haven't made anything with cabbage for a very long time, if ever (is that wrong?) It calls for it chopped and mixed with lime juice and green onions (kinda snappy and fresh). Also, exciting, the tomatoes were the first ever grown by the dh in our very own backyard. woo hoo! (yes, we're late bloomers, pun intended. My gardening sis kind of rolls her eyes at all our wasted backyard garden potential.)

Anyway, I'd definitely recommend the recipe. I couldn't find the corn tortillas, so I used flour ones. They were really fresh, and added to the flavour-ful-ness. (I could never go on a low carb diet.)


My brief (cause I'm tired AND have boot camp in the AM) instructor spotlight from Can Fit Pro tonight is one John Shehan. His from England and very, very funny. Sophia and I love his classes much probably due to the fact that he makes us laugh and laugh. Is anything funnier with English sayings (about "bums" and such) WITH an English accent. (He has come to the conference for many years now- though he kind of blends with Marcus Irwin in my mind, though Marcus is from Australia with a completely different accent and style)

This year I did a step and an aerobics class with him, as well as a couple of combo step classes with other instructors, including one that he did with another fave of ours, Canadian Geoff Bagshaw.

John's class is a lot of fun cause he's funny and his choreography is challenging. He ends up putting spins on everything. I like this kind of step class that challenges me to get the choreography, especially when he breaks it down and mixes up the chunks. I think I like exercise in general that takes your mind off the fact that you are exercising.

Interesting aerobics side note for those slightly interested: John claims that in Europe if the aerobics class doesn't have spins all over the place, people end up leaving.

Here's a youTube video of John and Geoff. Sorry John's part isn't shown in the clip, so you don't get to hear him. The classes these two do together are always called something about a "Brit and a Canuck."

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Grill Once, Eat Twice and Petra

I finally tried another recipe from the August Cooking Light last night. It was from the Grill Once, Eat Twice article. Last night's dish was Cedar-Planked Salmon with Barbecue Spice Rub and tonight's will be Grilled Salmon Tacos with Chipotle Sauce. The salmon was very good, of course, and both my girls and the dh enjoyed it. I think rubs for grilled fish, chicken and meat are so easy, but add so much. Why don't I do them all the time? (laziness, I'm sure) They must be lower in fat than the standard wet marinade, too. My sides were easy: rice and salad.

Anyway, for tonight's meal, I actually found a can of chipotle chile (thanks to my chum, Karin!) though it's not canned in adobo sauce (that I could see reading from the label). er well! Don't know if there is massive calorie difference without the sauce, but am plugging ahead. Today I have to find white corn tortillas. Do we have those in Canada? I can't even find corn ones (though Karin says that she's seen them. She's a better grocery store shopper than I, apparently! ;))

My instructor spotlight (from conference instructors) today is on Petra Kolber. Check out her site- it's full of inspiration. Isn't she cute? You can tell from her picture, I think, that she's a very friendly and warm presenter- which isn't always the case in presenters at large conferences. No offence to the non-warm and friendly presenters. They are all talented, but there are only a few that make eye contact with everyone (not just those doing the choreography well or passably) and who just exude warmth. kwim? She's super classy and cares that people are getting the routine. At these conferences you get the hard core aerobics instructors, but you also get the newbies scattered about who get lost in all the spinning and leaping...or the grapevining for that matter. Petra's whole mantra is in helping participants feel successful.
I did three of her classes: an aerobics (dance) one, a step one and a "boot camp boogie" one. They were all very user friendly, but at the same time, not boring. She has lots of fun moves and ideas. I'd definitely recommend one of her videos. She's one of those people with super posture, too. lol. Very inspiring for me- who needs to work on my core muscles and standing taller. sidenote: I sometimes mix her up with Lexie Williams, another presenter we love, it's interesting to see from her site that she considers her an inspiration. :)

Well, off to get some stuff done- including my search for corn tortillas. Sometimes Canada is a bit like old school Russia in its grocery store stocking for American magazine recipes...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I met Kathy Smith...

and I bought her new weight loss book, too! (plus 2 videos which came with said book for the low, low price of 40 bucks Canadian.) She was very nice and- unlike most fitness professionals with videos, kind of tall. (Here is her blog for those interested in that kind of thang.)
Her talk was pretty interesting. She started working out at 19 after both her parents suddenly died. She went with her boyfriend "Rocky" to the track because she didn't want to be alone. She eventually worked up from one lap and made the "mind/body" connection, feeling better emotionally when she was feeling better physically. Her first aerobics ( which was just starting in California) video was on a record (!) and came with a poster with pictures of her doing the exercises. lol. It came out just when Jane Fonda's (an aerobic classmate ) came out and she was really distressed (since Jane was so famous and all), but it made her work harder- visiting gyms and getting out there meeting people. Much of her talk was about not being afraid of failure or listening to the voices in your head (the itty, bitty, shi**y committee, she called it) or the voices of others telling you that you can't do it. She had to really fight for her first Yoga video, apparently, as the Warner's executives were acting like she was trying to convert them to a new religion. Anyway, it was an interesting lecture and she ended with a video of her fitness videos over the years (leg warmers flashback). She didn't actually teach any of the sessions at the conference, but she did show up at the Zumba party and briefly danced on stage. (good sport and in good shape for over 50!)
Sophia (my friend who does the conference with me) and I got her autograph (yes, we're dorks) when we ran into her on the way to the bathroom after one of our many, many classes this weekend. I hadn't bought my book yet (unlike Sophia), because I didn't feel like carrying it around in my already stuffed backpack (especially since we were going to Lululemon after also), so she signed her name on a card one of the volunteers with her provided. (I wouldn't have asked, but the volunteer whipped it out and I figured I could paste it in the book later. OR put it on a scrapbook page with my photo after I undergo massive weight loss and body shaping apres reading fore mentioned book...Kathy will want to include me in her next book..... We'll go to next conference together...etc. etc. ....or not! ;P
I'll let you all know how the book is though. It has recipes and exercises, too.
I'll further report on highlights from my conference and do some instructor spotlights thru the week- much like my review of the Buffalo snack food that carried on forever- since it might be good to break up a possibly really long post AND I'm still feeling tired and a tad lazy.
In terms of my weekly recap, I STILL haven't dropped the holiday weight- mainly because I've not been recording my points (having been away and eating out in the big city). I did go to boot camp this morning- after taking Monday completely off to recuperate from the 13 (!) classes I did this weekend. We just had a small group today and each station had 2 exercises you did one after the other. I enjoyed this method: less having to circulate- probably keeping you more in the zone...ok, maybe this method wasn't as good. ;)
hope everyone else had a good week with better weight loss success than me! I will be a better blogger for the next few days (before our last holiday trip of summer). *sob*

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

One Day Late No Pounds Short

I had a late night last night, so I missed the HYC check-in. I haven't really lost any weight the last few weeks (and am up about 3 pounds from my 150s goal). We've been caught up in baseball fever in my house. Eldest dd made it to the championship rounds- played through the rain all last weekend to only lose one game in the gold medal round and finally, win last night in a very exciting final game!
It was so fun seeing dd go from fretting about being one of the youngest (and in her opinion, least talented) on the team at the start of the season, to her fielding so well in the championship and getting a double last night. I was so happy for her. She worked so hard at it. She's the kid who comes in at the back of the pack for track and field runs and who thinks she can't do it. While (of course) I try to teach both my girls that you are only competing against yourself, it's a hard lesson for kids, I think. Speed is not her thing, but heart definitely is. Anyway, her confidence was much higher after last night's game. She was getting kudos all round. I think organized sports is such a great thing for girls to be involved in- so many great life lessons. kwim?
And speaking of organized fitness, as for me, I did go to boot camp yesterday morning. We did a double cycle through a tough weight room circuit and did a number of ball exercises in the studio room. Doing ball exercises always makes me think I should use mine at home more. (sounds kind of dirty, sorry!) ;)
I have NOT been the best with my eating this week though- what with the jockeying between the 2 dd's bb games and eating on the run. I also at at my sister's in TO- she's an amazing cook and it would be rude not to eat the whole juicy hamburger she prepared, right?! or have the berries and icecream for dessert? *sigh* I need to reign my eating back in. I'm feeling like I will get back on track though. kwim? I have the aerobics conference this weekend, so my eating will be weird during that, and I won't be tracking again, but I will definitely rack up the APs.
Hope everyone had a good week out there! I'll try to catch up on my blog reading later tonight, hopefully. :)

Friday, August 8, 2008

Midnight Quickie

Just a quick post (and nothing else AP earning) to say that I did get through boot camp, but I didn't try out the new shoes pictured dork-a-ly above. I should have taken another picture showing where the chip thing goes in (if anyone actually cares or thinks it's cool other than moi :P) BUT I'm very tired and have to get up for baseball at the crack of dawn. (After this weekend, baseball will be done, not that I'm happy about that fact or anything. *coughbadmom*)

Anyway, our boot camp session was exhausting again (is this a theme in all my posts? ). The room was broken up into 3 sections: upper body, cardio and lower body. The muscle sections each had 5 exercises to cycle through and the cardio section had two rope type ladders on the floor that you did various running drills through. We did each section 3 times. *yawn* (tired thinking of it)

night all! Hope all my weight loss blogger peeps had a good day!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Goat Cheese love continues

The goat cheese love continued tonight with Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Sun-Dried Tomatoes. The dd's and I went to the mall and then the grocery store, and I brought the new August issue of CL with me (so I could get ingredients for a recipe), but I actually ended up buying a new "best of CL" magazine titled Kitchen Secrets. I had most of the ingredients already for this chicken recipe- goat cheese and overgrown basil included, so I thought I'd try it.

The recipe is very doable, but more elaborate than I REALLY had time for, what with us having a baseball game to get to and all, so it was a tad stressful (had to call in underage culinary reinforcements) but it all worked out. There are a few steps to it, since you make the sauce (that even dh really liked- and he's not a sauce guy) AFTER you cook the chicken. Our sauce was a bit thick and the shallots a bit "brown" (note prior ref to culinary reinforcements), but it really was tasty.

I should have taken the picture from a side view, to better illustrate the little side pocket you make for the goat cheese stuffing on the side. Oh well. Isn't a stuffed chicken breast fun once in awhile? It's so easy to make, but looks so "fancy." lol. I'm also usually all about flattening the chicken breast before grilling, so it was nice to put down the kitchen hammer for a change (and rest my tired bootcamped biceps.)

I liked the basil and sun-dried tomatoes mixed in with the goat cheese. (Also adding a step, you have to soak the un-oiled sun-dried tomatoes for half an hour in boiling water.) I also liked the orzo with it. CL suggests it to soak up the sauce. My family was all, "Is this rice? it tastes like spaghetti." Orzo= a fun new pasta shape for the whole family to enjoy.

In other fitness news, I also bought new Nike running shoes today to fit my computer gizmo. If I still have energy after boot camp tomorrow, I might take them out for a spin, so to speak. I wish some of my fellow bloggers would join me in some run/walk challenges? any chip owners out there? (and I don't mean the tasty kind )

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Arugula and Goat Cheese and certain promises

...checking in LATE (after not being able to log onto Blogger earlier and then going to the late showing of Mama Mia- a fun summer movie, btw), but I am determined to check in! If you read my last post, you know that Janet has been a bad, BAD ww girl the last week and a half. I started off being away making ok choices that descended into egg salad sandwiches and squares and pies and sundaes and Quebec pizza (sidenote: way better than Ontario pizza, imho) and beer and wine and poutine. I was at a 3 pound gain when I peeked this a.m. eep! BUT that's ok. Getting back on track now!

So, while I don't have much in the way of good behaviour to boast about, I thought I'd share (drum roll, please!) ways I'm getting back on track after falling off weight loss wagon face first into delicious servings of poutine, etc:

Number one: I got my new copy of Cooking Light (woo hoo!) and it looks like a good I plan to try to do a bunch of new recipes over the next few weeks. I did the recipe pictured above last night (before getting the new issue). My salad didn't look as pretty- might not have boiled down the balsamic vinegar enough- BUT it was very delicious. The goat cheese in it was so good. A little cheese in recipes goes a lot way to adding a lot of flavour, don't you think? and I loved it in this recipe. It was from the June CL- Grilled Peaches over Arugula with Goat Cheese and Prosciutto . I really enjoyed the Arugula, too. It was a nice change from my usual greens. Peaches are in season here now, so it was a good time to try this recipe (rather than say in June when the issue came out, duh!) Mine weren't quite ripe enough (having just bought the basket that day), but still tasted good, if a little tangy. I liked the idea of grilling them for a different salad taste.

Number two: I went to boot camp this morning and am signing up for the August session. Today's class was bru-tal and my muscles were all trembly- so yeah for vigorous exercise commitment. I also need to get in shape for the aerobics convention that I already paid for and can't get a reimbursement for at this late date.

Number three: I bought the Nike sportband/ shoe doo-dad that allows you to upload runs onto your computer and track your progress. I still need to get new running shoes and, if they aren't Nike shoes, figure out a good way to attach the sensor to my shoe. My bil and his friends supposedly cut holes in their running shoes to fit them, but I heard a rumour of an attachment to laces. Will look into it and hopefully be inspired back to regular running.

Number four: I'm going back to tracking my food online after tomorrow's morning weigh-in. Tracking makes ALL the difference in keeping me on track.
It's good to be home again and feeling in better control of my food choices again. Hope everyone had a good couple of weeks!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Country Road Bring (me back) Home

We got back home late last night. Today we unpacked and discovered that eldest dd had a high fever (104 at the highest point!). So I'm posting kind of late- but I needed to check in and get back on track, too. I hope to get caught up on everyone's blogs over the next couple of days.

We had my dad's funeral outside Montreal and then, as per his wishes, headed down to the Gaspe to bury his ashes. Remember the Waltons TV show? Picture where they lived (and add lots and lots of black flies) and you will be picturing the scenery around my father's homestead. My dad's family even has a mountain (like the Waltons) with their name on it behind their house. Seriously. The mountain is on maps and everything.

My siblings and I grew up a little way away in another town. I haven't been home in over 20 years and we haven't all been together in one place for a long time either- so the whole thing was very bittersweet. My dad would have loved being there and it's hard to imagine that he's really gone. I cried more than a few tears these past 2 weeks, but I shared a lot of laughs, too.

I would like to say that I didn't share a lot of food- and I kind of didn't share a lot... since I was eating it all for myself! *sigh* Quebec makes some good food and much of it isn't dietary. I didn't have access to the Internet, didn't track what I ate and I ate everything offered to me- even possibly Quebec's most fattening dish: the poutine.

I'm pledging to get back on track now though. Wednesday's wi won't be pretty though...and strangely, I'm not even tempted to peek before hand. Weird, huh?