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), 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 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