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

Saturday, April 25, 2009

dining by moonlight (with rain and lightning and metal skewers)

Definitely a lovely day today. Stepping out of the house just before 9 this morning, I had to turn back and leave my running jacket. It was crazy warm out there.

Anyway I went for an almost 8K run/ walk with a friend. We're actually hoping to do a 5K race in June. It's good to have a goal. :)

We ate SO late tonight! Our activities went late into the afternoon and then the rain storm put a damper on our BBQ plans. We decided to go ahead later- in spite of a drizzling rain and occasional burst of lightning. Poor dh. metal skewers and all. :P

Another reason the dinner was late was because Mediterranean Grilled Chicken Kebabs (5 pts) marinates in Pomegranate-Orange Dressing which calls for Pomegranate Molasses and it's apparently really hard to find, but easy to make, if not a little time consuming!
Anyway, the chicken kebabs are really, really good. I had a backpile of organic oranges and this recipe uses a cup of their juice and 2 on the kebabs. I really don't use chicken thighs in recipes- we always got for boneless breasts instead. I liked the moistness of the darker meat in these. I'll have to do them again.

Finally, I was also planning to make a peanut-brittle-using-apple-crisp recipe that I found on the Cooking Light site, but in searching for peanut brittle at the grocery store AND the dollar store (next to the grocery store) for the brittle, to no avail, I decided to make brittle. I found a recipe in the new May 2009 Cooking Light for Chipotle Peanut Brittle. (3 pts: 1 oz) (The recipe doesn't seem to be posted yet- so no link.*updated with link*) I don't think I've made peanut brittle before, but this was pretty easy to make and very tasty. (dh really liked it, too.) I was going to leave out the chipotle altogether, but then I only used 1/2. It's still pretty spicy. Should make the apple crisp interesting. I'll let you know.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Salmon, Rice and Greens

Had a pretty good day with a bit of slightly interrupted exercise and one new recipe- or a couple if you count the Cooking Light chocolate sauce (not pictured :)) that I made while watching Grey's Anatomy and had on some low-fat chocolate Chapman's frozen yogurt. mmmm...chocolaty.

About my interrupted so kinda brief exercise: the school I teach at is very multicultural and a couple of the Muslim girls in the class are strict on there being no males in our gym, since they are in gym clothes. We hold our class in the Girl's Gym, but in our busy school, sometimes people stroll along or get curious or have some job to do. Anyway, the head of boy's phys ed suddenly took a supply shipment from Toronto in the middle of our class, so we had to wait (and in some cases, hide) while they (slowly! ie, teenage helpers :P) walked boxes across our gym floor. sheesh. Pretty good workout otherwise though! :)

The salmon recipe that I tried tonight was from the new (April 2009) issue of Cooking Light: Salmon with Maple-Lemon Glaze. (7 points) It was tasty. My greens look pretty green- with green pepper and celery (all from my organic delivery), but I did also have some orange: raw carrots (not pictured). They also have a new low-fat Caesar dressing on them- the greens, I mean, from the Whole Foods store- their brand. It was very tasty.

One of my gfs and I did an after supper run to Whole Foods in a town near us. She'd downloaded a coupon from Oprah for a cute little Whole Foods bag. Kinda like a small part of an Oprah giveaway show? no? Thanks anyway Oprah! I really like it. ;)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

HYC checkin, the good, the bad and the salty

Hey HYCers! Hope everyone had a good week!

(The Bad) I think I'm like Kristin, up a pound again. (Can I say I'm a latecomer to it, but kinda getting hooked on The Biggest Loser.)

Official weigh-in isn't until tomorrow, and even though the boot camp (the good) was really good tonight, its goodness has been counteracted by my snackiness through the week and by (the salty) my dinner of movie popcorn at the Hannah Montana movie.

Strangely, I feel like I'm back on track though. I had some good workouts this week: always the key to my weight loss and my staying in the zone- the zone where I feel in control and make better choices.

Also, the Easter chocolate is now pretty much out of the house. Hop along little chocolaty bunny with your jelly bean droppings.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Sweet and Spicy

Well Monday is just about done like dinner, so I thought I'd share mine. Well, part of it anyway- and the groovy spices I found at Winner's.

I don't always buy food items at Winner's (due to possible freshness questions, but these were dated and well sealed.) I've been looking for fire roasted tomatoes for awhile, so this shaker of dried ones is part of the way there.

I thought the Jamie Oliver spices looked good (plus cute in their little containers). LOL not sure how to use Bird's Eye chilis (any tips?) but they-again- look adorable. Is Janet a shopper or what? Anyway, I've come across a number of recipes lately calling for whole herbs crushed, so this JO stash is good for attempting that.

Finally, for the sweet, I had a sweet and sweaty step class today at lunch with lots of super teens (and one sweet teacher friend) and I tried a new sweet potato recipe. The recipe using up my last 4 organic sweet potatoes (I halved the recipe) was Cooking Light's Brown Sugar Glazed Sweet Potato Wedges. Delicious! Crazily I'm the only one who <3 's sweet potatoes. More for me? ;)

-- Post From My iPhone

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sunny Weekend Suppers

What a nice, sunny weekend- well in Southern Ontario, anyway! Saturday was especially warm. (no jacket required) Today was still really sunny, but with a bit of a chilly breeze. Still perfect for walking though and a gf and I got out for a 5.6K hike through the hills of the conservation area. We didn't run at all, kept up a good pace, and some of the steep parts of the path really get your heart pounding- so a good work out none the less.

No one in my family was interested in walking, in part because both my girls had sleepovers last night with very late nights. (a Brownies' sleepover and then the older siblings had one, too. :))

I tried a few recipes from the new Cooking Light magazine (April 2009) this weekend. Cilantro-Lime Chicken with Avocado Salsa (6pts) was from the "make it Fast & Fresh" article and- ergo, very fresh and very fast. I made a couple of changes: parsley for cilantro and lemon for the lime- using what I had in my fridge. I love homemade salsa. It always makes you question the purchase of store bought stuff.

I also tried a couple of side veggie recipes from the "Take a field trip" article- showcasing local fare growing in fields across America-er, North America, that is. :) My fridge has quite a few organic veggies left in it, so this article "spoke" to me, if you kwim. I did the Soy-Sesame Kale recipe (1 pt) and the Linguine with Arugula Pesto. (6pts) I liked both. I did the Kale with the Swiss Chard that I got. I really enjoy recipes with the flavour of sesame oil and soy sauce. dh said he never had Swiss chard or kale growing up. I'm going to have to question mil about that! Seems impossible!

The linguine was good, too, though I found it a little mild in taste. Maybe my PC arugula that I got at Fortinos today wasn't fresh enough? (I'm getting used to "very fresh" from our organic delivery: not pre-washed and usually with soil attached to the bottom.) or maybe I didn't add enough garlic?

Speaking of garlic, I had my first delivery of organic garlic. It was a different way to get a garlic taste in things. It looks like a green onion. Not sure if I used it "correctly". I'll have to google it if I get it again.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

a most excellent dinner :)

In an attempt to use up some of the organic fruits and veggies that are currently filling my fridge, I tried a number of new Cooking Light recipes tonight. Roasted Chicken with Lemon Curd (6pts- 3 oz and lemon) was super delicious- if a little time consuming for a week night. Luckily it was so nice out, that the girls played outside for a bit longer than usual and I was able to get the clean-up mainly done while it was cooking.

It really was easy to make- and- except for the chicken- I had all the ingredients on hand (yeah), including the 4 lemons I used for the Lemon Curd, plus the two more for the roasting.

side note of extra details from Janet's life: I had bought extra lemons, to go along with the organic ones, in case I decided to make a lemon meringue for Easter. I bought it instead and made the chocolate dessert- ergo a stash o' lemons.

Anyway, the Lemon Curd is a separate step, but very delicious. It actually tastes like lemon meringue pie- almost like I made the pie after all, eh? ok. not quite. Not sure what I'm going to use the left-over lemon curd on- ice cream? What does one use curd on? In this recipe, it's a glaze over the chicken. Love the roasted lemons in this, too. You serve each plate with half a lemon. I squeezed mine over my chicken. It was almost creamy seeming. mmm... The chicken was moist and delicious- lightly flavoured with lemon, garlic and rosemary. Probably most of you roast chickens all the time. I have to admit that it's something I often buy to save time rushing home from work- so this was very exciting for me. (and so much better than store bought, eh?)

In my organic veggie delivery, it's often the potatoes that seem to go soft before I can use them (and so I waste them). Tonight I used mine (woo hoo!) when I made Potato Gratin with Goat Cheese and Garlic. (4pts- 2/3c) I think I might have made this recipe before- lol- not sure, but they were surely delicious. Can anything with goat cheese NOT be delicious? I say "no." Again, the recipe was pretty easy, other than the peeling of the potatoes. I was happy that I used my potatoes- a five or six red ones- before they sprouted. (Just a couple of sweet potatoes left now!)

Finally, I made a carrot dish: Carrot Coins with Maple-Balsamic Browned Butter. (1pt- 3/4c) It was really good, too. You steam the carrot coins first and then basically toss them in a browned butter mixture. I had two bags of carrots left-over: my sister snuck over her own bag of carrots for Easter instead of using mine. Sneaky devil. ;)

Anyway, thumbs up from everyone on the chicken. Dh and I both really liked the veggies.

In exercise news, I had my step class at lunch today. I downloaded new music (love new music!) and had a couple of new students come to the class who were enthusiastic: very fun. :) Tomorrow is boot camp- should get to bed early in preparation. Tonight I felt sore from Tuesday's class.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A brief HYC check in

Just a late night quickie so I actually check in kind of on time! I was downloading music for my step class online (for the first time) and it was taking me longer than I thought.
( So kind of fitness related.)

We had our first boot camp session after work today. Our favourite instructor is back from fireman school in Texas and was willing to train us at our school. Love it! Tough, but good. We're going to do a Biggest Loser kind of thing- complete with weigh-ins and measurements. We'll have to do percentages cause we have a least one skinny mini.

As for scale news currently, I need to clear out the left-over chocolate and jelly bellies from Easter or my belly will be jelly. I expect to be up at least 2 pounds tomorrow. Oh well! Back on track tomorrow with more water and exercise. Hope you all had a nice Easter!

-- Post From My iPhone

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter from Chocolate Central

...the bunnies are winning. Hypnotized by some beady candy eyes, I'm eating more of the delicious creamy stuff than planned. I can resist the cheap waxy bunnies, but the good stuff from a local chocolate place (love you Walkers Chocolate!) AND the delicious bag my sister brought from a flashy TO store, pretty irresistible.

side note: Laurie also brought me a tasty looking bag of tea: Coconut Cream Chai. A bunch of my favourite flavours together. I'll lyk how it is. Had a lot of caffeine today to offset the extreme tiredness of a very late night. That bunny needs a sidekick in the delivery department.

We had a nice Easter dinner. I did a couple of Martha recipes : Ham with Whole-Grain Mustard and Apricot Glaze and Roasted Potatoes with rosemary and garlic (with a side of sweet potatoes on the same pan- had a few sweet potatoes leftover from my organic delivery.) I also did the Anna Olson side salad with a tasty greens variety instead of the usual arugula and goat cheese instead of feta. I hadn't had goat cheese in awhile and one of my gfs was talking about it lately and I was reminded of my gc lurve. My sister Laurie did a Bon Appetit glazed carrot recipe that was very good, too. She did a funky foil covered steaming thing in the cookie sheet pan. I love Laurie and her fancy cooking ways. :)

Remember my plan to do some Cooking Light recipes? Well...my Cooking Light recipe (singular!) was one of my desserts. I picked up a lemon meringue pie (and rolls) from our amazing local bakery), so I decided to do a chocolate recipe. Individual Chocolate Mousse Cakes were delicious and found in my Cooking Light Complete binder, but you can find it here. We had ours with Half-the-fat Haagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream. Chocolate and creamy, 4 worth-it points and cute ramekin sized, they're the perfect end to an Easter dinner...

(...with a side of Easter chocolate eggs, of course- I told you: hypnotized!) ;)

Hope you all had a very sweet and tasty Easter. Tomorrow, we work out!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Easter prep and a long walk in the woods

Hey all! Happy Good Friday! We had an enjoyable day off work. We had a relaxed morning (though dd woke us up around 6 am crawling in). I caught up on some blog reading, made muffins (the Pumpkin Pie Spice ones again) and tidied (for Easter company coming).

In making the muffins, I realized, just as I was putting them into the oven, that I forgot to put in the vanilla. ugh! don't you hate that? assuming it happens to anyone else other than me? I had to scoop all the batter out (luckily this batter is NOT runny in the least), stir in the vanilla and re-spoon into the cleaned muffin tins. We ate them steaming hot from the oven, so it was all worth it in the end. ;)

In my other "fitness" news, I got my friend Karin to come with me on a walk through the conservation area near us. I turned on my Nike Ipod app sensor thingy and we ended up walking almost 5 K. The best part (worst part?) of the conservation area trails is that they are super hilly, so good quad work in there, too. It was a beautiful day to be outside- rather than on my basement treadmill. Something about the sunny spring weather to lift the spirits, eh?

Still have to do my menu planning for Easter dinner. Tomorrow, I guess, I plan AND shop.

Have a nice Easter, everyone! Watch out for those beady eyed chocolate bunnies...they can bite back! ;) (I plan to bite one first- just one bite though, possibly two.)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Scale Shocker

Ok, not soooo shocking! Just down 3 pounds from my last recorded weight a week ago on the online ww tracker.

Funny how just last night on the Biggest Loser, a 3 pound loss seemed like really bad news? LOL It's all relative, eh?

My cute model is my nephew who was telling us about the toy alligator he got on his trip to Mexico. (and not being surprised about my big 3 pound loss.)

Happy Hump Day, weight loss chums! Hope all your weigh ins this week are surprising in a good way, too.

-- Post From My iPhone

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Tuesday's Italian Tomato Tart (and checkin' in!)

Well, actually I made this Italian Tomato Tart from the new April 2009 Cooking Light, last night, ie Monday, but I had left-overs for lunch- so it was kind of Tuesday's tomato tart- for alliteration and all. :)

It was pretty easy and very tasty. It would have been even easier, but instead of the called-for commercial pesto, I made some. I had basil left from my organic delivery and so I made the Cooking Light classic pesto from my Cooking Light Complete Recipe binder. I made just half a recipe (since I just had one basil bunch) and refrained from chopping basil for the top since my children would not have liked a scattering of green on top.

Okay, my children didn't like it even without the scattering of green, but dh and I gave it a big thumbs up. It's actually a recipe that takes awhile to make though- cooking time wise- so maybe try it on the weekend, if your week nights are rushed. I changed up the tomato a little, too, since I had left-over organic grape tomatoes and one vine one. I bought a single (called for) plum and the plum WAS the easiest to work with and the best for this recipe. (so go "plum" if it works for you.)

Finally, I enjoyed the rice/pesto crust of this tart. dh didn't even notice the pesto flavour. Score one for team pesto.

In check-in news, I'm down a couple of pounds so far this week. Easter is a danger zone ahead, but we're holding Easter dinner at our house, so I have a little control over the meal anyway. I will be looking up Cooking Light recipes. (or a crock pot ham one? ;))

In exercise news, we're starting a new workout program after work at our school with our favourite personal trainer from boot camp. Yeah! I'm excited to start back in with a boot camp type workout since we never did make a final gym decision. Best of all, no time to get comfortable home on the couch, forming excuses as to why not to exercise. This is right after work. woo hoo!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Banana Loaf and Chocolate Chicken Chili Soup



Happy Monday ( if there is such a thing in your world. ) My day has been busy and long seeming, but no step at lunch (conflicts with volleyball and illness), so no workout YET. I'm feeling bad now with this cold though ( dizzy symptom added to the unattractive rest) so I might take the night off.

On the weekend I did a couple of recipes: one my classic banana bread one from Cooking Light Complete. I've only done it as muffins, but with my new, crazy looking red "pan", I decided to try it as a loaf. The family really liked it this way. Dh said he preferred it as a loaf.

I liked it, too, but the loaf makes me want butter on it even more. Crazy? I think of pre-buttered slices at teas and events: inch thick at that. It makes me want butter. Anywhooo! Moving on....

I did another crock pot recipe from The Art of the Slow Cooker: Chocolate Chicken Chili Soup. It was yet another good one. His ingredients are always so flavourful. There is a little prep work, but nothing too onerous.
I only had to buy the chicken for it. The rest I had on hand. It works out to 6 points and 6 servings. I served it with baked tortilla scoops and/or crusty bread. I really enjoyed it. My family were fixated on the chocolate part and complained about that flavour (shouldn't have told them that part) LOL I don't think they would have noticed it otherwise.

Recipe in brief:

2 pounds of boneless chicken (cut into 1/2 in pieces)
Cook chicken in non-stick pan-- med high in tbsp of veg oil
About 3 mins. Put in slow cooker.
1 onion
Add onion to pan and sauté 2 mins
4 garlic cloves
1 tsp cumin, oregano, thyme, salt
2 tsp chili powder (I did 1 tsp)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tbsp flour
Add garlic and above spices. Cook 1 min.
1 1/2 c chicken broth
1 can (15oz) diced tomatoes
1 can (15oz) white beans, rinsed + drained
Add broth + tomatoes. Stir, boil, thicken
Add to cooker with beans.
Cook 3-4 hours high
Or 6-8 hours low
1 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
Stir in until melts -2 mins
Cilantro garnish (I skippped)

-- Post From My iPhone

Saturday, April 4, 2009

A Trial Post

Happy Saturday night in blogland! I've been off line for the last few days, but thought I'd post a quickie testing out a new app from my touch. Hope to catch up on more blog reading before the weekend is over AND hope I have a recipe to share on my blog, too.

I made muffins this morning- before getting together with friends for coffee and chatting-but while tasty, not low fat (and made in a rush- so no pic).

The ladies in this pic ( I'm in the pink in the middle) all signed up for the Plan B organic veg delivery and we often share posts and recipes over facebook. I love the support of friends (like my blogging friends, too) on this quest for better health through good food and exercise! I need all the help I can get. So I thank you for all of yours, too.

-- Post From My iPhone