Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Being good and kinda bad at the same time. ;)

Just a quick post for an HYC check in. I've been both good and bad this week! My weight isn't going down much (to say the least) what with all the holiday snacking I've been doing. We threw a Christmas party last Saturday. I made a number of items from the Nigella Christmas book I found at Winners (and love!) including 3 martini recipes and a chocolate peanut butter cup recipe. I also tried a couple of her non-alcoholic ones for our designated drivers.

I did make one healthy recipe at the party- a Cooking Light Pumpkin Ice cream Torte from the November issue, that I'd been wanting to try, but never got to- partially due to the fact that, though pretty easy, it's pretty lengthy in waiting (to freeze) parts. Anyway, I really liked the torte, as did the rest of my family and party guests.

I didn't have any allspice left, so that was omitted in my rendition and I used butterscotch sauce instead of caramel. I didn't take ANY pictures of food at my party being too busy making martinis and stuff. ;)

In terms of being "good," I have still been enjoying my boot camp at school and my new gym membership. Pictured above is my group post workout and stretching. Today we did a pretty cardio heavy workout: 7 laps of the fifth floor and then relay running under the clock around the circuit muscle work.

Hope everyone is enjoying these busy weeks prepping for the holidays (if you do that kind of thing!) I feel somewhat under pressure with a lengthy To-Do list. It's good to have a few good exercise sessions to distress, right? That's the "good" Janet talking, the bad one is thinking of Nigella's "Santa's Little Helper" cocktail that she didn't get to make at the party, that would probably make a very nice nightcap. ;)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Monday, Monday! with a side of banana apple crisp.

Hey all! had a pretty good weekend, except for my knee bugging me: so no running! I feel like I over stretched it or something. My one-time running partner cancelled on me at the gym today and only one person showed up for step at lunch, so more rest for my over worked body again today. yeah! Hopefully, this week it feels better- especially, if I'm going to get some mileage down this coming month in preparation for our races to come.

I did try a new recipe tonight- using up more of my organic fruit backlog in the fridge: Banana-Coconut Apple Crisp from the Cooking Light site. (4pts per serving) I really liked it and had it with some leftover banana gelato- mmmmm..banana-y! I had to force myself to stop eating it. eep! It was an interesting, tangy and sweet mixture. I liked the chewy little bits of coconut in it and the surprising warm bites of banana flavour. Different from your usual apple crisp.

I incredibly had all the ingredients on hand without a separate trip to the grocery store and though I didn't have any OJ left, I did have a couple of huge organic oranges that I could juice. Woo hoo! love not sending stuff to the green bin untried.

Final side note: love my bday gift- the lovely red casserole dish pictured above- from one of my girlfriends. Love kitchen gifts that make me want to empty my crisper and make stuff. :)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

white carrots in the HOWssssse!

dd9 made me laugh tonight when I served the family some raw white carrots from our most recent organic delivery box. She leaned over to dd12 and said, "I can't wait to tell my friends about this one. They always love to hear about the weird stuff mom serves." lol. High praise indeed.

Anyway, a pretty rushed meal tonight, though I did zip up some pesto with some fresh organic basil, lemon, pecans, tomato, garlic and parmesan (in my new summer blender from the Shopping Network). I love pesto so. *sigh

So I missed reporting in for HYC yesterday. In brief, I'm trying to get my eating back on track. I've gained back a lot of my 20 pounds that I had lost. *sigh again* The summer was a tad rough on the waistline. Why do I let myself get so far off good portion sizes and healthy choices? I know I feel better when I'm eating in a healthier way. Anyway, all I can do now is get back on track!

My exercising has been going better than my eating. I've been doing boot camp twice a week through the summer and now the fall. I've started back to running with big plans for upcoming races, maybe even surpassing my longest race of 30K? We'll see how my body holds up. I've also been doing a bit of yoga- enjoying the lower key nature of it again. I think in the desire to lose weight and burn calories fast, sometimes we forget to work on things like stretching and thoughtful breathing.

Hope everyone else has been having a healthy fall. Try a white carrot! They're delicious!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Monday with the Muffin Top

Ok. So I'm going to work on posting more regularly. I'm going to try to catch up on my favourite blogs. I'm going to step back from cyber-farming (curses to you Farmville)! I'm going to get back to HYC.

I have tried a number of recipes over the last few weeks. A few recent ones were motivated by my organic delivery. To use some of my backlog of apples, tonight I made Amaretto Apple Crisp from the Cooking Light site. (4pts) It was very good. dd9 and I were the only ones who had it though. (dd12 is a little under the weather today with a touch of the flu.) I happened to have an old bottle of Amaretto in my cupboard (xmas gift to dh from his sister- classic regift, perhaps?!? ;) and so I picked this crisp to do.

I also made Roasted Butternut Soup with Goat Cheese Toasts (well, without the toasts so far, though I DO enjoy goat cheese- subject of many prior posts.) The soup was pretty good and really used up a lot of items from my organic delivery (especially since I went to the trouble of making the vegetable stock), but I didn't love it to death and it was a lot of work. (Lots of dicing and peeling involved, let me tell you!) I found the flavour kind of sharp and really could taste the carrot over the butternut. I might not have put enough squash in it, perhaps. Anyway, still feeling proud and gloat-y from using up such a variety of organic delivery goods. Yeah non-wasteful-like-usual me!

Will check in tomorrow with a fitness update. Lots of running plans for the new year, if my bones and joints hold together. ;)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Bananas for Saturday

I started the day off with a run/walk through the autumn colours of a local trail with a couple of friends. It was pretty brisk out this morning- officially my first run with layers, but I'm always glad that I went (even when my bed seems particularly inviting and cozy.) As one of my running partners said, it's best to get out there (running) now BEFORE it snows and we just won't want to start. I can make some serious excuses not to run when it's cold out (even though I live in Canada and should be snow-hardy. ;)) We've promised ourselves that we will do an 8K race in January to ensure winter running. We'll *see how that goes. (*refer to previous comment about excuses)

After running today, I tried a new muffin recipe: Banana Spice Muffins from the Cooking Light site, taking a brief break from pumpkin- until tomorrow anyway. I had all the ingredients for these, except for a marginal shortage of ground allspice (which I topped up with cinnamon) and no ricotta cheese. I replaced the ricotta with light cream cheese after reading the recipe's review section. I used a bit less cream cheese than the called for 1/3 cup of ricotta (one of the recipe reviewers used 2 tbsp to replace it). I'd like to try them again with the ricotta to see how they compare.

sidenote: I usually like to stay really close to a recipe's ingredients, especially the first few times making it. (Never was "a pinch of this" and a "pinch of that" kind of baker- though I really admire people who can do that with success.)

Anyway, the muffins were good and they made the house smell good, too, which hopefully masked the general untidiness. ;)

This afternoon- when I wasn't tidying- I finally found a store that had Sigg bottles in stock so we could trade our old ones in. (The store where I bought our old (toxic ;)) ones has been out of stock for weeks.) Our new replacements have such cute designs, but it did make me sad to replace my lovely bottle from Laurie that I shared on here awhile back. *sniffle*

Here's hoping that our new bottles help me to remember to actually take my water with me to work.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pumpkin crazy!

There's definitely a feeling of fall in the air lately! Ok, today it was more like winter. I'm so not ready. Brrrr...

Anyway, autumn makes me want to roast stuff (we had roast chicken, veggies and warmed Naan bread for dinner). We've also been partaking in a number of pumpkin - the classic autumn veg (fruit?)- items lately.

We've done a couple of batches of pumpkin muffins: the Pumpkin Pie Muffin ones (I'll add links after posting as I can't from my Touch) and the Pumpkin Muffin recipe from my Cooking Light Complete binder.

Today we enjoyed a pumpkin pie made with a real pie pumpkin from my organic delivery. A totally new step for me, I messed up on the prep of the pumpkin- following a good site online, I switched over to the recipe Gingersnap Pumpkin Pie (6pts) on the CL site and forgot about the last step in the pumpkin prep: the draining. In my defence, it didn't look overly moist, but I guess that sucker can hold a lot of water! Rushed cooking is not a good idea with a new recipe apparently.

Anyway, the pie was still tasty, in spite of not setting well. The crust was really tasty. I used Dare Simple Pleasures Cookies- Spice Snaps for a relatively low fat option. I bet Pantry cookies would be good with it, too. (side note: when we were kids, following my mother's lead, we used to butter our Pantry gingersnaps. Tasty: yes. Especially low fat: not really. ;) )

Finally in pumpkin news, on the weekend, a couple of girlfriends and I went to Whole Foods and I had the most delicious pumpkin gelato. It was so good, it's got me thinking about getting an icecream machine. You can do gelato in one, right? Course, that might be a little like buying a deep fryer.

-- Post From My iPhone

Monday, October 12, 2009

Does it count that I've been posting in my head?

Yes, I know, my skunk hat still fits. and my camera is apparently not working well.

Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Canadian blogging friends! (and future Thanksgiving wishes to the ones across the border) :)

We had an amazing Thanksgiving dinner at my sister, Laurie's. I made a couple of sides. (Yeah for having Thanksgiving at someone else's house!) Overall the dinner was healthy, other than having double dessert. eep. (We brought pumpkin pie from our local bakery and Laurie's dh made chocolate peanut butter cupcakes for Laurie's birthday. Had to eat one to be polite, right?) Laurie also sent us home with some turkey, so we can have delicious sandwiches and whatnot today! Turkey: the best left over in the entire world. Just saying.

Want some sweet potatoes with your cardamom? One of the sides I brought to Laurie's yesterday was Coconut-Cardamom Sweet Potatoes (2pts) from the new (Nov/Dec 2009) issue of Clean Eating. It sounded really good and I had all the ingredients (other than sweet potatoes) on hand, AND it was easy to prep and bring to put in Laurie's oven after the turkey came out.
I knew there was a problem with the dish though, as soon as I added the 2 tsp of cardamom to the potatoes: cardamom was all I could smell (and later taste). At Laurie's we even added steamed squash and a bit of butter to the dish, but it still was pretty cardamomy. I liked it ok, Laurie said the same (I was too embarrassed to look closely at everyone else's plates), but I'd definitely cut it down to one tsp of the spicy stuff- or less.

Maybe the 2 tsp was a typo? the 1 and "/" was missing from in front of the 2? Possibly!

Anyway the recipe is as follows (in brief). I'm off to boot camp this afternoon to work off the double dessert. Happy Thanksgiving Monday! :)

Coconut-Cardamom Sweet Potatoes

5 med sweet potatoes (I used yams- same thing, right?)
3/4 c light coconut milk
2 tsp ground cardamom (danger! danger! use less!)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/3 c unsalted pecan halves, chopped

Preheat oven 325 F. Boil (chopped up) potatoes for about 10 mins. Drain. With an electric mixer, on medium mix everything except the pecans together until smooth. Put mixture in 9x9 in baking dish. Sprinkle with pecans and bake for 45-50 mins- until edges are slightly browned. Cool for 10 mins before serving.
per 1/2c serving: 100 cals; fat 3.5g; fiber 2g

Sunday, August 9, 2009

wearing the skunk hat

Hey blogging friends! Sorry I've been mia! summer, you know. I'm wearing the skunk hat (and skunk jumper in size XL ;)). I'm going to get back into a more regular routine soon. I have been doing the boot camp thing (tomorrow morning is our next session), but my running has slid off the regular routine.

(These pics are from our cottage rental which was filled with stuffed and displayed wildlife, including this intriguing skunk hat. :P I wouldn't put it on my head, of course, so my skunk hat wearing is all figurative.)

Friday, July 17, 2009

My 200th Post

...which would be way more exciting if I'd been posting regularly! eep! Still, I'll give myself a tiny "woo hoo" and try to get back to posting and reading my favourite blogs more regularly...and make the next 200 really count. (I should be to goal by then, right?!) ;P

Anyway, I'll be better- well, once I'm back from my cottage holiday which we're going on tomorrow. LOL We go with my sisters and their families and my mom, so it's a lot of fun. One of my sisters lives in Vancouver with her dh and two young sons, so we don't get to see them very often.

I'm packing my workout gear, btw, and taking a couple of Cooking Light recipes with ingredients. My sisters and their husbands all like to be active, and my Toronto sister is a pretty fast runner, so I should be able to get a couple of good run-walks in. (to counteract all the heavy eating and drinking, I'm sure?) ;)

Besides enjoying my boot camp sessions (Monday, Wednesday and Thursday), I've tried a few new CL recipes. Firstly, we keep getting zucchini in our organic delivery box and besides having it grilled on the bbq, I did a Zucchini Bread recipe from the Cooking Light site. Well, the recipe makes enough for 2 loaves, so I made a loaf (not pictured) and a batch of muffins. My neighbour and I really liked them, but my family wouldn't try them once they learned that they had zucchini in them. sheesh! I really liked the lemon flavour. After reading the reviews, I increased the baking soda slightly and added more cinnamon. I'd definitely make them again.

I also (on the recommendation of my chum, Karin) made a kale recipe from the organic delivery people. They claim it tastes like french fries- and I say, it kind of does! dh liked it, too. (The tots wouldn't really try much.) Karin's son said that the people making the claim had never tried french fries. lol. Anyway, it really is tasty. The trick is to get the kale REALLY crisp, so it's crackly and not bendy. Enjoy your Krispy Kale fries! (or as dh had the tots saying, Krispy Kelp.) ;)

Crispy Kale - Kale Recipes By Stephanie Gallagher, About.com
Kale recipes aren't normally on the top of most parents lists when they're looking for vegetables the kids will like. But I urge you to try this crispy kale. It is really extraordinary. Although the kale is roasted, not fried, it becomes crispy and salty, almost like french fries. This kale recipe is incredibly healthy, too. It boasts a whopping 309% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A, 201% vitamin C, 14% calcium, 10% iron, 3 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber, and it only has 112 calories and 1 gram of saturated fat per serving!
• 6-8 cups chopped fresh kale, hard stems removed
• 2 Tbsp. olive oil
• 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
• 1/2 tsp. kosher salt or sea salt
Place a rack on the lowest shelf of your oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Spread kale out on a sturdy baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and apple cider vinegar. Toss to coat completely.
Place on the lowest rack of the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
Remove from oven and stir so that kale can get crispy all over.
Bake another 8 to 12 minutes or until kale is crispy. It should be just lightly browned and crispy to the touch. If kale still bends, rather than crackles, when you touch it, it isn't done yet. Return it to the oven. Turn down the heat if it is getting too brown. Continue cooking until crispy. 10. Remove from oven, and sprinkle with sea salt (Maldon sea salt makes it taste fantastic) and serve immediately.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Week One of Summer

Yes, I've been missing in action for a bit. Sorry! I've missed you, my weightloss blogging friends. And to make matters worse, usually when I'm not around here posting and checking in, it's because I'm out being B.A.D.- bad, as in, eating wildly, not drinking water (but calorie laden cocktails at parties instead) and not exercising. June is always a super busy month for me and often "the busy" leads to poor food decisions. Well, with my boot camp, at least I've been exercising. I'm starting to feel stronger, though my muscles are buried under more muffin top again. ;P

We spent our first week of summer with a summer bug- dd11 got it first on her first day of holiday, passed it to dd8 a couple of days later and now I'm stuffed up and exhausted. Also bringing me down, one of my co-workers had a health related incident while driving and ended up killing 3 people. I can stop thinking about this sad turn of events and how someone's life can change so suddenly. :( So sad all around.

Anyway, I'm pledging to make this a summer of fit- as opposed to fat. Going to turn things around from here on out. The girls are feeling better. Boot camp's first week sessions were great in the new yoga studio where our trainer found a place for us this summer. (Plus it's beside Starbucks: low fat Chai after strenuous workout!) My delivery of organic vegetables this week brought lots of summery greens.

Pictured is my bagel from yesterday with Cooking Light pesto made with fresh organic basil and tomatoes. Love summer's offerings. I'm going to try to get back to centering my eating around what I get in the delivery. I've got a number of unread magazines and cookbooks to check out. I'll try to share some of my new finds with you all, too.

Happy July 4th to my American friends, btw! Hope it was festive and yet healthy, too! :)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Weekend Eats

I had a nice weekend. Got a couple of workouts in (boot camp and a run/walk Saturday morning). I've got to get back on program better though. I get out of the zone when I'm (a) tired or (b) stressed or (c) busy and June with all its activities has plenty of all three.

I did manage to try a number of new recipes this weekend in spite of the "busy." Saturday we fired up the grill and I tried another recipe from Williams-Sonoma's Essentials of Grilling borrowed from the library. I made "Souvlakia" (lamb) with a side of Tzatziki. It's served with warm pita, sliced tomato and onion. I was the only one who tucked the souvlakia inside the pita with the tzatziki and toppings. It was tasty! I heart pocket sandwich meals. The family doesn't know what they're missing.

Tonight's BBQ meal was one I've done and blogged about before: Cedar-Planked Salmon with Barbecue Spice Rub. dd8 helped me mix the rub and rub it on the salmon. She didn't enjoy the rubbing part in the end- too unexpectedly "sandy" for her. Another "rub," dh left the salmon unattended too long and came back to the plank on fire, but though a bit singed around the edges, it was still delicious. (and dh took all the applause on it, what with blowing out the cedar plank fire and taking the fish off the BBQ and all. ;)) We had the salmon with rice, broccoli and/or greens and avocado. I had my salad with Renee's Asian dressing, which seemed to compliment the salmon perfectly with it's sesame flavour.

Finally, I finally got around to using up my organic box rhubarb and making the Raspberry-Rhubarb Pie (5 points) from the new Cooking Light (June 2009). It was a pretty quick recipe to make (we made it pretty much while the salmon was cooking), with the cool already made for you- just-unroll-it crust! Anyway, dd8 and I really liked the pie. dd11 decided she wouldn't like it before hand, but did try a little and dh was too full from the salmon so his review is on standby. I really liked the almond taste in the topping (which is a crumbly mixture, avoiding the need for a crust on top- which includes some slivered almonds and almond extract: very nice!)

The one downside to my dessert tonight was the lack of vanilla ice cream. I thought we had some on hand (of the low fat vanilla yogurt variety, of course), but we didn't, so we had it with a bit of cool whip. I think a scoop of vanilla ice cream would have put it over the top of deliciousness.

Guess what Janet's planning on buying on the way home from work tomorrow? ;)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Summer Organics and Balsamic Pork

Yes, I've been missing in action for awhile: missed 2 checkins, even forgot to weigh in this a.m. Oops! I'll just say, June is busy. Summer is coming fast though!

Hope everyone has been doing better than I with staying on track. I've been gaining pounds rather than shedding, but I have been building some muscle keeping up with my exercise: boot camp and running. I ran a hilly 5K race yesterday. I felt good. My back has been cooperating, too. Yeah!

I haven't tried any new recipes lately- well until today! :) We didn't have any extra activities (other than a trip to the library), so I tried a new recipe from the new Clean Eating magazine: Balsamic-Marinated Pork Chops & Grilled Peaches.

The chops were very tasty and easy. Even dh, our non-pork lover, liked it. My peaches weren't ripe enough (I just bought them after work), so I'd really like to try it again with juicy, ripe local peaches when they are in season. Mmmmmm...

Yesterday was my first summer organic box, and I was excited that I got some rubarb. I'm going to try the rubarb raspberry pie from the new Cooking Light, possibly tomorrow. I'll try to post in a timely fashion if I do. :)
-- Post From My iPhone

Monday, May 25, 2009

HYC + Summer Salads

HYC check in: I had another good week exercisewise. I even ran walked a 10K which I haven't done for quite a while. (with my sweet friend and brand new and still shiney and enthused running partner Karin. :)) My step group got their fancy new workout shirts that look great and most of them are excited about possibly making an exercise video next week. FUN! Bootcamp has been great- working in muscle work 2x a week.

My eating did not go that well though! I started off the week fine- even reflected in the scale dipping down to a new low, but then I squashed it by going to a party with my old running group- go figure! Why? Chinese food, apps, cocktails, chocolate dipped strawberries served at a mansion like house. Eeeee! :P I'm so weak at times, esp when faced with treats, weakened by cocktails.

So anyway, now I think my weight will be back to where it was last week: no loss. I'd say this week will be better, and it will be except I'm going to a scrapbook convention: lots of sitting around and American Super Sizes. *sigh* Say a little prayer for the muffin top...may it crumble and not Super Size before summer.

My picture above is a salad using my organic greens from this week. Don't you love the colours of summer? :)

Hope you all had a great week! Happy Memorial Day if you celebrated it today- hope it was skinny! (unlike all my holidays)

-- Post From My iPhone

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sunday BBQ

Why does weekend pass so quickly? Why? *quiet sobbing* Okay, I'm over that and moving on...

We had a nice one. My sister, Laurie, husband and our nephew came out for the afternoon. The girls practiced baseball (baseball has started: a sure sign of summer) with Uncle Rich and dad, while I made the marinade for the chicken. Later I went to a local farm for strawberries with Laurie. Love most things "summer"!

The marinade recipes for the chicken and the flank steak came from Williams-Sonoma's "Essentials of Grilling" that I borrowed from the library this week. The chicken was "Citrus-and-Honey Chicken Breasts." The steak was "Ginger-Soy Flank Steak with Grilled Green Onions." Both were very enjoyable. :) The chicken has a definite citrusy flavour. It reminded me of the Cooking Light chicken brochette recipe that we tried a few weeks ago. I loved the flavours of the flank steak marinade also. with the soy sauce and sesame oil and ginger. mmmm...

The dinner was capped off with some homemade ice cream made by Laurie in her ice cream maker: vanilla with dark chocolate and almonds. It was very, very good. Laurie says that she cuts back on the fattening ingredients where possible, but we'll just count it high and move on- adding a side of low-point strawberries. ;)

Hope you all had enjoyable weekends! (Happy Memorial Day tomorrow to my American blogging friends!) Here are the recipes in brief as I couldn't find them on line. I haven't calculated the points yet, but they seem pretty low. :)

Citrus-and-Honey Chicken Breasts
zest and juice from orange, lemon and lime
3 tbsp chives I used some of my newly planted garden herbs from Costco!
1 tbsp fresh mint
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp wildflower honey I used regular honey
Marinate 6 boneless (pounded flat) chicken breasts in a glass dish (after reserving 2 tbsp of the marinade for basting) for at least an hour up to 4 hours. Remove from fridge the last 30 minutes and add sliced lemon, orange and lime to the marinade the last 15 minutes. Discard marinade and grill.
The chicken grills for 4-6 mins per side over med.-high heat; the fruit for 1 min per side. Baste with the reserved marinade.

Ginger-Soy Flank Steak with Grilled Green Onions
1/2 c soy sauce
2 tbsp veg oil (I used canola)
1 tsp Asian sesame oil
2 tbsp packed golden brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp grated fresh ginger (My organic ginger has kept well wrapped at room temp.)
1 flank steak (625-750 g)
12 green onions (I used my organic spring garlic)
1 tsp veg oil (I didn't use. Just grilled my garlic as is. Missed this oil part. :P)

Mix marinade. Marinate steak for 20-30 mins at room temp and discard marinade. Grill 4-5 mins per side. Grill onions 3-4 mins. Serve steak on a bed of grilled onion. (Mine are just pictured in part. There was more steak not shown and it was more well done than it looks here. Dh likes well done meat: have to supervise him or he'll burn it all. lol.)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

adding fish to the diet

Happy Hump Day once again. Another busy day of rushing- though it was one of my two weekly days without exercise. (Hard to tell, what with the rushing. :P)

Anyway, one of my goals is to add more fish to our diet, and not just the battered stuff that we like best, of course. Anyway, driving back from my after school appt, I stopped in to Costco and bought some tilapia. I used a recipe in the new Cooking Light (May 2009) to prepare it: Snapper with Basil-Mint Sauce." (5 points) I happened to have mint and lime in my fridge and basil on my cupboard (see post from yesterday. ;)) so I was good to go without another trip to the store. Anyway, dd8 ate at a friend's house (ironically, they were having fish, too, so yeah! lol), but the three of us remaining liked the recipe.

I really, really loved the sauce. It has a delicious minty-pesto flavour. As mentioned, I used tilapia instead of the red snapper, after googling it as a possible replacement. The tilapia is very mild. Even dd11 enjoyed it, saying it was like salmon (her idea of the ideal fish). LOL Overall, I'd definitely do this recipe again.

My side salad has some light Renee's Caesar, my dd's favourite. Our organic shipment this week was very good, so I'll have lots of good greens this week. Not pictured, we also had our usual raw carrots. Oh, well, small steps of dietary change.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

HYC garden fresh promises

Another week, improved muscle tone and better fitting clothes, but probably no weight lost. Why? Didn't track again this week (though I pay for the right to), didn't drink enough water and ate too large portion sizes in the snacking dept (due to the non-tracking issue). So, in summary, not a horrible week, I'm starting to feel a lot fitter, but I need to make further changes to get the scale moving in the right direction again.

My back is feeling a lot better: Yeah! Only modified 1 thing in boot camp tonight. (the full sit up: I'm afraid of ripping apart my back on the first jolt up) :P

No recipe to share tonight- had a very delicious egg sandwich for dinner tonight with lots of garden fresh toppings and light mayo. Mmmmm... Anyway, I thought I'd share a tip from my organic delivery people, instead, that made a world of difference to the quality of my fresh basil.

The basil we get in the delivery comes with the roots attached. I was finding that the basil would still turn black pretty quickly if I didn't use it right away. Well, one week, the veggie experts told us not to put the basil in the fridge- it's too cold, but rather, put it on the kitchen counter in some water. I took their advice and my basil lasts perfectly, right till I need to use it, even a couple weeks later! Sidenote: It also makes the kitchen smell garden fresh. :)

-- Post From My iPhone

Monday, May 18, 2009

Strawberry Layer cake for our Marie :)

Hope all my Canadian friends had a great Victoria Day weekend. (and everyone else had a great weekend + Monday!) We had a nice long weekend, complete with a birthday dinner for our friend and chief babysitter, Marie, who turned 83 on Sunday.

Our German neighbour from when we lived in our first home, has stayed a part of our family with lots of emergency babysitting/ stand-in grand mothering. If only I'm half as fit as Marie when I'm 83, I will have lived a very fit life! She has her aches and pains- badly broke her arm a few years back which put an end to a regular fitness regime (she had started as part of a university hospital study), BUT even that didn't really hold her back. She stuck to all her physio exercises, of course, and probably surprised most of her doctors. She's always on the go, driving her friends to appointments, organizing groups to plays, doing her gardening, keeping her house as neat as a pin.

Yes, a lot of it is beyond our control: ie good genes, but I think even more of it is a good attitude. Marie would say, "Just Do It!" (ok, not her words, but summing up her non-whining attitude.)

Anyway, for Marie's bday celebration I made the Strawberry Layer Cake from the May 2009 issue of Cooking Light. The cake was a hit with the crowd (except for dd11 who wouldn't try it). With the pureed cup and a bit of strawberries mixed in the batter, it really has this fresh jam taste to it. The cream cheese icing is really good on it, too. It will cost you some points at 8 pts for a piece, but it's worth it. (Marie would tell you that.)

Speaking of 8, I got out today for an over 8K walk/run. It was a bit cool out, but sunny- perfect for running.

Just Do It! plus, have cake now and again. :)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Long Weekend Muffins

Happy Victoria Day weekend, if they have that in your world! I was going to post yesterday, but was out late seeing Star Trek (fun movie!) and then the family computer was taking forever to upload pics. Ugh!

Anyway, the week was pretty much back on track. My back has been good overall. Did Tuesday and Fridays boot camp and taught step on Monday and Thursday. Didn't run on Wednesday (dd's baseball and chiro), but got out on the Monday and yesterday. Yesterday we ran over 7K on my favourite route: down a wooded walkway to the escarpment stairs, up (way up!) and then along the mountain brow (sidewalk, grass, gravel, road and trail) to a lovely wooded trail down and through a golf course area. We're on our way to our June 5K! Where do you guys like to run?

Yesterday I made some muffins from the library-borrowed Cook's Illustrated "The Best Light Recipe." I really liked them and would definitely do them again. The base recipe is for "Blueberrry Muffins," but (not having blueberries) I used their adaptations for "Cranberry and Orange Muffins"

The muffins are quite large! (and 6 pts) You could definitely make more than 12 of these. I didn't have enough cranberries, (about half called for) and besides adding more next time, I think I might not cut them up as called for. They remind me of the Mmmm Muffin and those always had big cranberries.

I will link the recipe later-can't do it on my Touch. I also hope to try the blueberry ones later I bought blueberries: woo hoo! But that's another post.

Hope you all have a nice rest of your weekend, with fireworks, too- even if you didn't get Monday off from a queen. :)

Updated with recipe:

Cranberry and Orange Muffins

1 ½ cups dried cranberries
2/3 cup orange juice
2 tsp orange zest
1 cup plus 1 tbsp sugar
2 cups, plus 1 tbsp flour
1 cup cake flour
1 tbsp baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 ½ cup plain low-fat yogurt

Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray 12 cup muffin tin with cooking spray.

Mix cranberries and orange juice in microwave-safe bowl with cover. Heat about 1 min in micro until juice is bubbling. Let stand 5 minutes and then strain and discard juice.

Process sugar with 2 tsp orange zest, about 10 seconds.

Whisk together 2 c flour, cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and ¼ c of sugar in med bowl; set aside.

3 In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and ¾ c sugar together, beating until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each one. Beat in the lemon juice, grated lemon peel and vanilla.

4 Reduce speed to low. Beat in one third of the dry ingredients until just incorporated. Beat in one third of the yogurt. Beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients. Beat in a second third of the yogurt. Beat in the remaining dry ingredients and then the remaining yogurt. Do not over beat. Toss berries in tbsp of flour and fold into batter.

5. Distribute the muffin dough equally among the cups. Sprinkle with remaining tbsp of sugar. Bake until muffins are golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes.

-- Post From My iPhone

Monday, May 11, 2009

Happy, Happy Anniversary to Me... Blog!

Okay, kind of anti climatic since I missed my actual blog anniversary (May 3rd), ummm...by MORE than a few days, but still "woo hoo!" been blogging for a year now. It's been an interesting year- for me anyway. I definitely tried more recipes (one of my goals), exercised more now and again (with a few stalls), ate more fruits and vegetables (esp with my organic veggie delivery), fell off the wagon a number of times ("events" seem to be my downfall) and got to know many of you much better through reading YOUR blogs. In terms of success: I lost 20 pounds this year. Not quite the 40 I'd hoped for, but I'm still working on it. I know that my smaller sized clothes (from my stash) fit me much better and I definitely feel like I'm treating my body better. :)

Sorry I've been mia this week AND missed my HYC check in. Had a rough week after pulling my back on Monday night. I've been enjoying my sessions with my new and shiny chiropractor, though. I'm a new believer in being pulled like a pretzel. ;) I did my first run- walk tonight since being injured. I also did step at lunch, too. So far, so good. We signed up for that 5K in June, so I want to keep up on the training.

I had a nice Mother's Day, but had a few too many fatty foods. I find it upsets my stomach now. Like the underlying Weight Watcher principal: moderation is the key. Sometimes I go a little crazy, but I know it doesn't make me feel great in the end. So I should work on having less of those crazy eating sessions this coming year, eh?

In recipe news, I tried a few. One was from "The Best Light Recipe" from the editors of Cook's Illustrated. I found it at the library and knowing my gf's love of Cook's Illustrated magazine, I checked it out right away. It looks like it has a lot of good recipes. The chicken pictured above has a "Honey, Mustard and Garlic Wet Rub" (1 point) on it from the book. The ingredients are as follows:
1 tbsp veg oil
3 garlic cloves minced
2 tsp honey
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp fresh rosemary
1 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 salt

The asparagus recipe I found in another cookbook- super fast: basically sprinkled with garlic powder and roasted. It also called for slivered almonds, but I didn't have any, so I skipped them.
Hope you all had a very nice Mother's Day! This is one of my beautiful M's D cards, definitely the best gift of all (even next to my fancy new Ipod docking station/alarm clock). :)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Celebrate Spring! (with some cake!)

Had a nice, low key kind of Sunday with a family dinner at the end with grandma, Aunt Karen and cousin, Michael. I did get out biking earlier in the day for the first time this spring with dd11. :) Our neighbourhood is pretty hilly, and I'm not great on the bike gears, so got the heart pumping a few times.

We had BBQ chicken (very good simply marinated in olive oil, lemon juice and zest, garlic, oregano and salt and pepper), grilled Naan bread, salad (mixed greens Mache mix, avocado, blackberries, goat cheese, lemon juice and olive oil), and raw baby carrots. The best, of course, was the chocolaty dessert. From the Celebrate Spring! article in the latest Healthy Cooking by Taste of Home, dd and I made the Chocolate Raspberry Torte. (6 pts) It got rave reviews from the company.

The cake called for raspberries on top of the cake, but I couldn't find any at the couple of stores I went to, but the strawberries looked pretty good. To make the four layers, you have to cut the double slabs in two. It was a little crumbly (cake was probably a little too warm), but overall not too difficult. The filling is a mixture of light cream cheese, icing sugar and seedless raspberry jam. You can also sprinkle the top with icing sugar, along with the fruit, the idea is to save calories on icing. You don't really miss it. The fruit makes it quite delicious.

Hope everyone had a nice weekend!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Greek Food BBQ-style and Remembering Dad

I'm writing this still super full from dinner. We ate kind of late, and had antipasto (from a visit to Whole Foods today) before we did our BBQ (plus, had a couple of rum frozen cocktails: wild Saturday night and all: mil, Ken and I, yee haw! ;)). Luckily, I had some exercise today (though probably not enough to cover tonight's feast).

We met at 8am in the parking lot of a local golf course, ran down a path to some escarpment stairs which we then climbed (flights and flights of them) and then ran across with mountain brow to a woody trail and ran-walked down those. It was about 8.5 K in total. It was the perfect temp for running, too- sunny, but coolish.

Tonight I tried a couple of new recipes: we had Greek Lamb Chops (5 pts) and Feta Mashed Potatoes (2 pts) from the Cooking Light. The lamb chops were easy and tasty. We did them on the BBQ instead of the broiler. The feta potatoes were good, too. They did involve unhooking my beater from the mixer stand, but otherwise, they were pretty easy. I should have crumbled the feta a bit more- some spoonfuls got more than others. (mil and dd liked them more than dh, who, as a rule, isn't crazy about potatoes anyway.) I also tried some Designer Fries (roasted sweet potatoes) and Chili Dip (sour cream, lime zest and chili powder) from an LCBO (liquor store) flier that came in the newspaper today.

And about my dad...today would have been his birthday and this is the first May 2nd we've had without him. We were all thinking of him today and miss him, always.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Zucchini with a Squeeze of Lemon

Happy Friday, almost Saturday, Blogland. Had a day of a lot of sitting around in meetings- with a brief 10 min walk in the sun to lunch. A gf had a whole group of us co-worker/ friends to lunch in between the meetings. I brought Lemon-Glazed Zucchini Quick Bread from my Cookin Light Complete.

I was able to use 2 organic zucchini and 2 organic lemons. It got good reviews at lunch even amid some way more decadent desserts.
I like the sweet lemon coating: a mix of icing sugar and lemon juice. I skipped the butter and didn't really miss it.

Sidenote: Ken said he's never had zucchini bread. I was shocked. I thought it was part of everyone's childhood. I know my mom used up a lot of endless zucchini with bread recipes! (slathered in butter in the end) :)

Tomorrow we're going for a 8am run. Should go to bed now. Night.

p.s. edited to add recipe...I couldn't find it on the Cooking Light site, but I found it typed out on someone else's site. (Thanks Jerry!)

Lemon-Glazed Zucchini Quick Bread
(from the All-New Complete Cooking Light Cookboook)

2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup finely shredded zucchini
1/2 cup 1% low-fat milk
1/4 cup canola oil
2 Tbls grated lemon rind
1 large egg
cooking spray
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
2 Tbls fresh lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, level with knife.
Combine flour and next 6 ingredients in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture.
Combine zucchini, milk, oil, rind, and egg in a bowl; add the flour mixture. Stir just until moist.

3. Spoon batter into an 8 x 4-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray (or muffin tins, half baking time). Bake at 350 for 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack.

4. Combine powdered sugar and lemon juice; stir with a whisk. Drizzle over loaf.

-- Post From My iPhone

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tuesday check-in and a new find share

No picture, no recipe, but a workout to share and a salad dressing find...and a check-in, too. :)

I had a good week this week. I tried a few recipes, and even better, had a number of good workouts and signed up for a local 5K race in June. I feel like I'm in the zone. kwim? I still have a few things to work out: better (er some!) tracking, more water (as usual) and more sleep. My weight is on the downward trend again- at least 1 pound down. I hope it sticks.

My boot camp tonight was a great workout. We were kicked out of the gym (due to a team practice), so we did it in the hallway on the fifth floor. Well first we ran the stairs. We ran up and down the stairs adding a flight each time, working up to the fifth. (exhausting! Our stairs are pretty brutal.) Next we all did a stairwell circuit of mat work (push ups, sit ups, planks) and cardio (double stairs and stair runs) in pairs.

Our next circuit set in the main hallway on the fifth was split in two: half the group on sets of arm exercises, and half on legs. Our trainer, Brian sets up the stations down one of the halls on the fifth. Afterwards we did a couple laps of the hall (our school hallways are conveniently large squares.)

Today was also organic veggie (and fruit!) pick up. I'm still loving working these into our week. Tonight I had some mixed greens with a bit of my new, favourite dressing that I found at the Whole Foods Store last week: The Best Dressed: Caesar (no anchovies). Want to see what it looks like? Click here for a closer look. Hope everyone had a great week!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Chili on a not chilly day!

Just a quick post before getting some much needed sleep (as boot camp is tomorrow). Had a chai latte after our 6K run walk tonight and I'm thinking that it's why I'm not super tired. Next time, a decaf! We're hoping to run at least 3 x week to prep for our 5K in June. Next run, Wednesday.

I crazily prepped a slow cooker chili this morning before work- the CL one I'd made before: Smoky Slow Cooker Chili, for those of you interested. It's the one with the scary ham hock in it for flavour- eek. This time I had beer on hand and in spite of the added morning chaos, it was deliciously worth it in the end- the chili, not the beer, though that can be enjoyable, too.

I replaced their impossible to find Mexican (?) cheese with feta for the final touch, used my green-onion- like garlic instead of cilantro and served it on chopped lettuce with a side of Baked! tortilla chips. Very nice. :)

Sweet caffeine free dreams, blogland!

-- Post From My iPhone

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sunday Sweet: Uncle Walter, the Crisp, and using Stuff

A bit cooler out today, but still sunshiney. I had a nice day overall- getting stuff done and trying a few recipes using up stuff from my full fridge. I made the classic banana loaf from my Cooking Light Complete using up some browning bananas.

I also was happy to use some of the miso I bought at Whole Foods the other day, in making Vegetable Donburi over Seasoned Rice. (6pts- 1 c mixture; 1 cup of rice) I was also able to use up organic shiitake mushrooms (I used way less than called for- since I didn't have 6 cups), ginger, green onions, carrot and garlic. It was good, but only dh and I would truly try it. It looked quite different to my dds. They judge food on looks. :P

I also made the Peanut Brittle Apple Crisp that I found on the Cooking Light site. (using the Chipotle Peanut Brittle from yesterday) It was really good. I will edit this post to link it. Not sure how to do it from my Touch. The recipe calls for frozen yogurt. I used Chapman's low fat vanilla. Delicious! (and used up 8 organic apples!) I used small ramekins to make the small servings (1/3 c crisp+ 1/2 c frozen yogurt- 6pts)

Finally, I thought I'd take some lines to honour my sweet Uncle Walter who passed away this week. At 96, he lived a pretty healthy life, running into more troubled times in recent years as his past as a prisoner of war in Hong Kong during WWII came back to haunt his thoughts and memories.

He'd always been a very quiet and gentle man as long as I've known him, but the changes on his memories brought back those sad times to the forefront. As a kid I never heard him speak of those times, he didn't want to remember them, but my parents told me of his having to eat whatever crawled across his cell- grasshoppers- is what stuck with me as a child. I think he got to work in the kitchens later and he survived.

I didn't get to see him in recent years, but my sister Susie lives close to him (in Vancouver) and my mom is visiting these past weeks, so that was good. My thoughts are with my Aunt Jeanie, my dad's eldest sister and Uncle Walter's wife.

Goodbye, Uncle Walter- you were always a good uncle, always ready with a hug. Hard to imagine that you're gone.

-- Post From My iPhone