Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

May all your scares be non-scale related! bah-ha-ha-ha! ;)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

HYC Halloween-is-Coming Check-In

I'm trying to get back on my regular check-ins, regardless of whether my news is good or bad. :P This week has been pretty good. My clothes are slip sliding around ( getting loose ) and I feel stronger, though my weight has been fluctuating ( down 2 pounds yesterday, up the same today). I should work (again!) on my water intake. I'm planning on staying cool (on program) over Halloween. That's my goal anyway! Hopefully, my dh will let me be the one to take the girls around the neighbourhood so I'm moving a little and NOT indoors surrounded with a lot of sweet smelling chocolate. ;)

We were invited out to a pumpkin carving party tomorrow ( yeah! ), so we started our planned Halloween cupcakes and cookies tonight. The ones pictured above are from a recipe from the Cooking Light site. They're Classic Iced Sugar Cookies- obviously not iced yet! My children definitely want me to wait for them for the icing part (and they had to go to bed), so we'll finish them tomorrow- a long with the million other Halloween tasks I have for tomorrow. har.

We tried a couple un-iced and declared them very tasty. (I just had one with my herbal tea and I just heard dh sneaking another). They are a little nit picky in the making. After reading the reviews (and another iced sugar cookie recipe), I cut down the prep time by (a) using a freezer bag instead of the plastic wrap (b) putting them in the freezer, instead of the fridge (since I was trying to get the kids to bed at a reasonable hour and (c) cut down on the baking time (I did 7 mins as suggested by most reviewers).

The freezer bag seemed to work pretty well. It was probably more of a struggle getting them out of the bag rather than peeling off plastic wrap, but it worked ok and I just ran the rolling pin over any torn edges before we had at the dough with our funky, spooky Halloween cookie cutters.

Hope everyone has a happy and sane ( in terms of eating ) Halloween! :)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Godiva Brownie Sundaes

How better to celebrate Monday than with a delicious Godiva Brownie Sundae from a new cookbook that I found at our public library? It's from The Most Decadent Diet Ever! by Devin Alexander (author of The Biggest Loser Cookbook) and it really is very decadent and delicious for 4 points- if you are a point counting kind of person.

When I was looking for the recipe online for you guys (click here), I also found this Youtube video of a promo for the book that is kind of cute and inspiring.

Anyway, in terms of recipe changes, I have a tip for the whole grain oat flour: just grind your own in your coffee grinder. All you need is regular oats. (Ok, I didn't have any oats on hand, but now I do for future oat grinding and possible oatmeal, probably not that. My dad kind of turned me off oatmeal with his constant thick, lumpy, oatmeal eating while I was a kid. Now you know 8 things about me. har.)

My coffee grinder got double play for this recipe actually, what with the espresso bean grinding in it too ( I just used a dark roast bean since my espresso machine is kaput and I didn't want to buy espresso beans- which might have led to the purchase of a new espresso machine- esp. tempting since those little espresso cups are so darn cute. kwim? This recipe was already expensive enough with the purchase of a big bottle of Godiva liqueur. Now I'm better prepared for my Christmas party, too. )

The whole family enjoyed this sundae immensely. (I skipped the Godiva liqueur on the kids', of course!) I could definitely see serving it at a dinner party. It tastes like a special treat. It was also pretty quick to make. I actually made it while my family was finishing up dinner. (They're slow eaters- being picky and all.)

Besides having a good sundae, I also had a good workout today. Boot camp involved 3 sets of 4 exercises (cardio and muscle mix) done 3 times in a cycle for each of 3 sections, followed by a larger group set of various squats and push ups. (So I deserved my decadent 4 point sundae!) :)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Seven Things

I was tagged by Lainie of Fitness Fig to post seven things that people don't know about me and since she gave me a lovely, burgundy Fitness Fig Tee prize and all, here goes...

# 1- I was once the (French) translator at a mayors' convention in Ontario (just because they learned that I was born in Quebec. Quel stress- lol).

#2- I'm a published scrapbooker (my other hobby) and even wrote 3 articles once upon a time.

#3- I can touch my tongue to my nose.

#4- I'm known for my cocktails at my Christmas party (by those who remember them).

#5- Someone in my family (by marriage) is soon to be on a reality TV show in the US. (yikes)

#6- I used to write songs and wrote one to perform at my hs grad. ( I played guitar. )

#7- I wrote a song for my dh and sang it at our wedding. (My most nerve wracking part of the day.) It made dh cry (in a good way).

#8- I enjoy a good reputation for my video game playing among my children's friends. :P

#9- In childbirth (with my first) I survived a complication that kills 90% of the people who have it.

#10- I was once briefly on TV- doing a news segment on step aerobics for the YMCA. (I spoke VERY fast and luckily never saw the show since my mother was in charge of taping it and she got too excited and forgot to press record. lol.)

so.......................Thanks for the shirt Lainie! It's super soft and comfy, too. :D

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Getting Pump-kined

I'm falling behind on my blog reading AND posting lately. Life has been busy. I've also been really bad about checking in on my challenges and bad about tracking my food intake on ww online. I will strive to be better this week. I do WAY better when I'm actually tracking and checking in with my online groups. Accountability and all that.

In good Janet news, I did have a great workout at boot camp yesterday. He had us do 2 cycles of 19 stations across the two workout rooms without a break and then- finally!- we took a water break and did one more cycle of every other station. whew!
I feel like I'm getting stronger. My trainer said ( when he was assisting me with my positioning in one of the exercises ) that he definitely could see improved muscle definition in my arms. ( yeah! ) Since I have little upper body strength, I'm really happy to see any gains in this area. :D I love feeling stronger and fit- about as much as loose feeling ( non-muffin top impaired ) pants.

(( ok. The above post was saved from yesterday. I was having camera battery issues and then company ( my sister and child ) came. ))

The pumpkin muffins pictured above are from my Cooking Light Complete recipe book ( but you can get the recipe here ). I really enjoyed them (as did my children, company and dh ). I actually made them twice this weekend (Saturday AND Sunday morning). I still had a can of pumpkin left over from last weekend and there was enough in one to do this recipe twice ( possibly 3 times ). This morning when I made them, I realized that I didn't have the sour cream, so I replaced it with non-fat yogurt, which worked out just as well. I love the sugar blend crust on the top of these and the pumpkin flavour, of course.

Hope everyone is doing well! I will have to catch up on my blog reading tonight. We're off to a rainy visit to the pumpkin patch and my eight year old is really anxious to get going.

Monday, October 20, 2008

a rough week and a roadhouse steak

I had kind of a stressful week at work ( why can't people just do the right thing? and not be greedy for their own selfish ends? why? WHY- I ask you? Why do I take such behaviour to heart and get depressed? *sigh* ) and so you might think that Janet went off program- being disheartened, disillusioned and all AND having a "Roadhouse Steak" to suppress her misery, but indeed, she did NOT! Well, not with this steak anyway.

The recipe was Roadhouse Steaks with Ancho Chile Rub. I was checking out the Cooking Light site on Saturday and I noticed a link to the recipe under a suggestion for Saturday night supper- which I'm guessing is a weekly site feature. It looked so delicious with the spoonful of mashed potatoes next to it ( I made those, too), that I thought I'd try it.

We all enjoyed it, though it's QUITE spicy. I cut back on the spice for my tots. I couldn't find the ancho chile, so I just used regular chili powder. My steaks were a kazillion bucks, by the way, but they cut "like butter." Quite delish. I should mention that we never have steak or red meat often, for that matter, but my children just recently discovered that they like steak since it's on the kid's menu at Jack Astor's- which we've been to a couple of times recently with the birthdays (and we've continued going to even though I car was burgled there during one of the last times. (but that's another story)

The mash potatoes were really good, too, and something else we rarely have. The recipe was actually for Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes, but when I was making them I realized the rest of the dinner was almost ready and the garlic needs to be in the oven for an hour- so I skipped the garlic. dh has been complaining about garlic a lot lately. (Yes, the man is often painful to cook for. )

In exercise news, I've been going to boot camp and having really good workouts AND I started my step class at school today (for female students and teachers). So I'm really proud of myself today because it meant that I actually worked out twice. Can I get a "woo hoo?"

Monday, October 13, 2008

Having no shame.

Actually, having QUITE a bit of shame, but working through it! ;)

In spite of my Cooking Light cake looking horrible in this picture, I'm sharing a pic of it ( with my sister opening her bday present from us in the background ) and in spite of going up 2 pounds in one meal ( a very tasty meal- my sister and her dh are gourmet chefs :) ), I'm still checking in.

Anyway, in defence of the cake, it tasted really good. The frosting is really tasty: light cream cheese, icing sugar and fresh oj, but it made the cake super slide-y. I put it in a too large tote- the flip side of the cupcake base, so on our trip to Toronto, it slid all OVER the place. Now, if I'd read the cake reviews, I would have been better prepared for the top sliding off and cut back on the icing a bit AND if I was wise and talented like my sister or mother, I would have thought of spearing it with toothpicks before the car, but I didn't. Also, I should have been LESS lazy at 1 a.m. and actually chopped my pecan pieces. It would have made for a more attractive topping (though it tasted good). I also used more that called for- again lazy measuring and not wanting to put the nuts back through the tiny hole I cut in the bag to preserve freshness- ergo the nutty look to the cake, in more ways that one.

I do HIGHLY recommend this cake though- and it is perfect for people who don't want pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving. It's called Pumpkin Pie Cake and it's moist and delicious. We had a guest who didn't like pumpkin pie, but really enjoyed this cake. Actually, everyone who had it liked it a lot and that was after pumpkin pie and cupcakes. ( I didn't have the cupcakes. NSV? har. ) Any Americans wanting a dessert idea for your upcoming Thanksgiving, definitely try this cake. You won't regret it- especially if you spear it with a large toothpick while travelling. ;)

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving Monday everyone!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Chipotle Chicken Taco Salad and a new bowl

I haven't posted in a few days because, in part, I've still been kind of sick. In other parts, it's been the rush for visitors, Thanksgiving, more family birthdays and upcoming work events...and so here I am posting LATE my time, in the middle of making a Cooking Light pumpkin cake for tomorrow ( it's not cooling on the wire rack too quickly, so I'm standing by for the icing part ), but I'm posting. ( Better late than never? )

Today I made a delicious Cooking Light salad for supper- well, I really liked it anyway. lol. I've already spoken of my love for chipotle(s)? That love has not diminished. This was a strictly from the internet recipe- as in I didn't have the original magazine or cookbook version like usual. The recipe Chipotle Chicken Taco Salad was pretty easy to whip together and is very generous in serving size. It implies it's four servings, but it makes a ton. (dh didn't have a lot though- the picky man doesn't really enjoy salads with beans or (shocker) chipotle that much, so his serving was smallish. I made him take some and he claims to have liked it, though he didn't have seconds and tucked into tortilla chips and salsa instead. :P

Anywhoooo, I loved it, as did mil and my visiting mother, (though my mom didn't like the cilantro in it- not everyone's favourite as I think I've discussed here before as a topic. It's a strong little herb. I like it in some things. I actually enjoyed it in this salad. You chop it in the dressing, btw. If you don't enjoy cilantro, skip that part.)

I'm trying to work beans into my diet a little more, so this was a tiny step forward, too.

Ok! off to check my cooling cake. Have a nice Thanksgiving tomorrow for those celebrating. I'm not going to worry too much about my points, BUT I'm going to try for reasonable portion sizes. Wish me luck, please. :)

p.s. I got my new bowl on super-sale at Homesense. It makes me happy just to look at it AND adds no extra calories!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The long and winding road ( to weight loss )

Here it is HYC check in again. I feel super tired, but good overall. I'm hoping to get a little work out in tonight and follow my workout pledge for the week, but tiredness kills my workouts. Should have done it right after work- but it is Brownie night tonight: so a rush to eat. ergo, no working out before dinner.

I snapped this picture on Sunday during our walk through the conservation area. I really have no excuse (well, I have plenty, but I SHOULDN'T have excuses ) about exercising. We are super close to beautiful trails and what is better and more beautiful than a walk or light jog through conservation area? OR I could ride my still new bike! But I digress. I'm aiming to get outside to exercise a little over the next month. I hope to keep up a family hike at least once a week, too.

My weight levelled off (thus far) at a 3 pound loss for the week, so I'll take that and hopefully keep on track through Thanksgiving weekend. We're bringing the pumpkin pie (to my sister's ), so I HOPE to make a Cooking Light one to take along with the decadent one from our local bakery. Hope everyone does well through turkey eating this weekend- well, the Canadians anyway!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Panko Pork to say (alliteration and all ) AND fun to eat. Well, at least I enjoyed it. Dh can't get behind pork being the OTHER white meat, though he loves bacon well enough.

I finally cracked open my panko crumbs that I bought weeks back and made Panko-Crusted Pork Chops with Creamy Herb Dressing from the new Cooking Light. I really liked it. The panko makes the dish really crispy, eh? In this recipe, you brown the panko-crusted pork in a non-stick frying pan and then you bake it. The side dressing pictured above looks more than a little sad, but it was quite tasty with it. ( I find I'm usually rushing by the sauce preparation time, and my side sauce never, EVER looks as pretty as the one in the magazine picture. er well. lol. No food modelling here!) The whole dish will cost you 6 points.

sidenote change: The recipe is supposed to cover 2 chops, but I actually did 4- one for each family member. I gave the last chop- with the least coating, to my dd who likes everything plain and calls breadcrumbs and such "sand." Anyway, it seemed to be enough to cover 4 chops reasonably well.

Also pictured here is a new find from Costco- Uptime dumplings! They're available for a short time and are selling like hot cakes apparently (said the lady at the Uptime Dumpling Costco stand anyway). You get 5 dumplings in each serving. The ones I tried were 2 points for the Pork, Bokchoi and Shrimp ones and 3 points for the Chicken and Cabbage ones. The sauce isn't pictured on my plate here, but they sell that too. It's also pretty reasonable point wise. The dumplings are quite delicious. :)

My crazy looking squash in the picture has Splenda brown sugar (also from Costco). It tasted like the real thing, too.

In exercise news, we went for a nice long walk in the conservation area trails today. It was so nice out and beautiful. I want to make family hikes more of a regular thing...with less whining. We took a loop that took us an hour up and down hills, so I was quite proud of my family- in spite of the minor complaining.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Cupcakes Crumble too ( apparently )

After being up a couple of pounds last wi ( on Wed ), my weight has suddenly dropped. I have stayed on plan somewhat better this week ( though I have had treats- at a conference where treats were all over the place ), exercised a tad more, but I think mainly this drop is due to weight fluctuation (maybe I didn't really gain those 2 pounds last wi ) and because of the fact that I feel crappy. My older dd complained of feeling bad this week, so I think we have a wee bit of the flu- which makes me not want to overeat, at least. Mainly now my head feels full and dizzy. kwim? Not a good way to lose weight, but it's cutting down on my desire for extra snacks.

So, my two week goal of getting back to summer weight has happened in 3 days instead. I'm actually a pound lighter than my lowest summer weight. Will it stick till wi? have the Cooking Light cupcakes crumbled? Stay tuned!

p.s. I'm going to try to make something from the new Cooking Light tonight if I can muster it. I'll share the results later.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Dancing in the Rain

My weigh in went poorly as expected ( up 2 pounds ), but I'm moving on. Moving on and grooving on, actually! I didn't go to the boot camp outdoor session tonight because of the rain, so I'm off to try my brand new Dance, Dance Revolution 2 on the wii in our basement. I'll lyk how it is later.

I'm pledging to do a little something, something every day this week to burn off the last of the end of summer weight gain. I THINK I can do it over the next 2 weeks.

*sigh* Crazy how easy it is to go in the opposite direction of weight loss, eh? The summer feels a million years ago, but the extra weight is still here. ( Can't taste the poutine, but still can feel it. lol. )

Happy Hump day everyone! Now go to your basement and dance! ;)