Monday, November 30, 2009

Business as Usual

How did you all survive Thanksgiving 2009? We had a wonderful time but I'm quite pleased that it's Monday and business as usual. I got on the scale this morning to find just a couple of pounds of bloat to work off this week. Not bad at all! All the leftovers are packed away in containers in the freezer for a Sunday dinner in late December. No junk hanging around, the fridge has the usual delicious and nutritious suspects at the ready for healthy eating.

Just back from a great workout with Lisa, almost an hour of cardio and a great upper body circuit x3. I'm up to 48 pounds on the upper body cable machines now and I'm pretty excited about that. Inspired by Lori of Finding Radiance, I'm a handful of chapters into The New Rules of Lifting for Women. Once I read it through, I'm going to start the workouts. I'll be sure to post my progress and thoughts.

After a quick shower I'm going to juice, have a cup of green tea and a parfait. Then it's off to work, truly business as usual. Have a great Monday!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

We Won!

Good morning! I am all in after the past few days of cooking and celebrating but I'm happy as can be. All the food last night was amazing, one dish better than the next and boy am I bloated today. But it was worth it, we had so much fun and our Crazy Coconut Curry won the competition. Tracy and I along with the help of our husbands, took first place in the fabulous music trivia contest that Lisa and Bill put together.

Team Bindi for the Win!

We never did make it up the mountain yesterday and this is the reason.

Tunnel of Fudge

This bloody cake took all day to make. It was a long and involved process, Martha Stewart complicated. I'd love to say that it was the absolute best cake that I ever tasted. It was moist and fudgy for sure, it got a handful of votes in the dessert contest and we came home with only a very small chunk leftover but it really missed the mark for me. The effort did not match the outcome and that, for me, is a total letdown when it comes to cooking. Next time I'll stick with my tried and true Strawberry Cream Trifle where the trifle bowl always gets licked clean.

Here's my favorite photo of the weekend. I enjoyed that turkey dinner so much. What was your favorite dish of the holiday? I've got more Thanksgiving food porn and recipes to share but now it's time for me to turn back into a pumpkin, I want to have my morning juice and get going on the laundry. Have a beautiful day and enjoy the rest of the weekend!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday Weigh-In

I hope you all had a fantastic day yesterday. We had a wonderful relaxing day. It started off with a nice, long walk then coffee and a light breakfast, then we got the turkey in the oven. We had Champagne and watched the parade. The meal was delicious! I have lots of recipes and food porn to post but not today. I'm still in holiday mode and don't want to spend much time sitting in front of this screen. I weighed-in yesterday morning at 184, so no change. I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing and eventually the scale catches up, not worth stressing about on this gorgeous day.

When Rob wakes up and it warms up a little we're going to go up the mountain. Then it's time to make the Tunnel of Fudge cake. We're going to a Curry Cook-off this evening that our friends Bill and Lisa hold every year. I made a really tasty curry using up a good portion of the leftover turkey. As for the cake, I've been dying to try it since I saw them make it on Cook's Country from America's Test Kitchen. It serves 14 people, so this party is the best way for me to have my cake and eat it too. One serving, no leftovers! I haven't had Indian food in awhile so I'm really looking forward to it.

Are you going to brave the stores today? Did you set the alarm for 3am to hit the door busters? I'm not a fan of crowds so I'll be avoiding the shops for the most part this weekend. If you're shopping this weekend, have fun and be safe! Enjoy the weekend and I'll be seeing you soon.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

My shopping is done, my menus are planned and only one shift later today stands between me and spending the day in the kitchen doing what I love most. Since it's just the two of us, there isn't a huge menu but I'm getting all the prep work done tomorrow so that Thursday is just about Rob, The Turkey, The Parade, The Champagne and me.

I'm going to take a moment to count my blessings, since it's definitely the week for that. I'm thankful for my newly gained health and energy, for my loving and supportive husband, for the fact that we both have jobs and a roof over our heads and food on the table. I'm thankful for my family and friends, though many of them are far away from me, they are always in my heart and my thoughts.

Have a beautiful and safe week and happy, happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Strategy Review: Planned Indulgences

With Thanksgiving Day less than a week away, The holiday season is upon us. As I've written before, "The Holiday Season" is a marketing tool. It's about getting you out to the shops to buy things you don't need, about getting you to buy lots of fattening food and cooking yourself into a state of exhaustion, about eating and eating and eating so that "Big Diet" can come along and take what's left in your wallet on January 1st.

Boy, that sounded so Grinchy, didn't it? Well, that's not my intention, I love this time of year as much as anyone. I get the biggest thrill when the first food magazine arrives with that glossy cover photo of a golden brown and delicious turkey. And don't get me started on the magazines featuring Christmas Cookies (squee!) I even did a happy dance at Trader Joe's on Thursday morning as I was picking out my own turkey. But I wanted to take a moment to remind myself and my awesome readers that the actual holidays are really just a few special days scattered through a five week period.

I don't want to wake up on January 1st feeling like I derailed any of the progress I've made this year so I'm digging into my bag of strategies and dusting off "planned indulgences." I'm earmarking the actual holidays and a couple of other much anticipated social engagements as my planned indulgences this year. Every other day in between is going to be business as usual complete with healthy eating, juicing, portion control and exercise. Even on the planned indulgence days I'm going to be juicing and starting the day with some sort of physical activity. In fact, I'm really looking forward to the four day Thanksgiving weekend when my husband and I can take long walks together each morning on the beautiful walking trails we have here in Marietta.

Have you planned your holiday strategy yet? The food and wine is always so fun and festive this time of year, but it's only one part of the equation. Spending time with friends and family, not turkey and pie, should take center stage. There is so much this season has to offer other than watching the numbers on the scale go up. It's about curling up next to a cozy fire with a glass of hot cider. It's about sights (lights!) and sounds (Baby, It's Cold Outside) and smells (oranges studded with cloves) not just tastes. It's about watching Flick stick his tongue to a frozen flagpole in response to the sinister triple dog-dare. It's about laughing at old jokes and meeting new friends. It's about looking back at a year gone by and looking ahead to all the promises of a fresh new one. This "holiday season" I'm going to count my blessings, balance activity with proper rest and enjoy time with my husband and friends. I'm going to raise a glass to my good health and to yours and enjoy the rest of 2009 on a light and happy note. Cheers!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Elements and Artifacts

My friend Alicia is the creator the most beautiful and unique wearable art available anywhere. I just purchased the most fabulous pendant for myself, the Filigree Sapphire Snowflake...

I would be remiss if I didn't share her site with all of you. If you're after a one-of-a kind gift for a special person in your life or something to make your holiday party dress really dazzle take a peek at Alicia's Etsy shop. It's no wonder they call her stardust.

Elements and Artifacts
by Alicia Stardust

Friday Weigh-In

Happy Friday and what a gorgeous day it is! I was up early and got the house scrubbed clean, worked up a really good sweat while I was at it and definitely counted that as my Friday workout. According to The Fitness Partner's excellent activity calculator, I burned over 400 calories whilst housecleaning. The weigh-in was good, another pound down for a total of 93 pounds gone, 184. The bad news is my husband lost two pounds out of nowhere so I'm still one pound heavier than he is. The nerve of that guy! Oh, well, next week maybe. Speaking of which, I will be doing my next weigh-in on Thursday morning. Although I'm going to eat sensible portions on Thanksgiving Day, it is a planned indulgence day. I'm not going to annoy myself by getting on the scale Friday morning and see the wine and dessert bloat. I know I'm going to stay balanced and on track during "The Holiday Season" no matter what! I have a strategy review post coming soon, so watch this space.

In other news, after not being able to wear my rings for so long, I made it a priority to have my engagement ring sized. It was a total squee moment when I found out my ring finger is now a size 5! I just picked it up this morning. The jeweler made the perfect size, tightened the prongs, dipped and polished the mounting and cleaned the stones and oh my goodness, it looks so beautiful, just like new. It feels so good to wear it again.

Phew! It's been a crazy busy month, I feel like I've spent more time at work or in my car than at home. But I'm all caught up and have the rest of today to myself (and Grey's Anatomy and the Project Runway finale) and the whole weekend to spend with my husband instead of working or doing "to do" things. I'm going to make a cup of ruby red chai and put my feet up. I hope you are enjoying the day and taking good care of yourself.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Photo Tutorial: Risotto

I remember the first time I had risotto. It was many years ago at a little Italian place in my hometown of Revere, MA. It was a classic risotto that had thin slices of tenderloin and sprinkles of rich Gorgonzola cheese over the top of the creamy rice. So delicious. Then I watched Todd English make it on one of his early cooking shows. This was long before we had Food Network available in our area and only had cooking shows on PBS. He made it look easy and in fact, risotto is very easy to make. It just takes a little time and attention but it's well worth it.

Risotto has many applications, it can be sweet or savory. It can be vegetarian or rich, meaty and cheesy. Simple or elaborate just based on what additions you want to make. I made mine a mushroom risotto and it was delicious!

Triple Mushroom Risotto

olive oil
salt and freshly cracked white and/or black pepper (I used both)
1 tablespoon butter
8 ounces each of shiitake, cremini and white button mushrooms cleaned and sliced
1 large leek, quartered and thinly sliced
12 ounces arborio rice
1 cup of good dry white wine
4 cups of low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Set pot of stock to simmer on burner behind the skillet in which you'll be making the risotto. Saute the mushrooms in butter over medium-high heat.

As the mushrooms cook down and release all their delicious juices, season with salt and pepper. When the mushrooms are ready, transfer them to a bowl and set aside.

Add some olive oil to the pan and saute the leeks until tender.

Stir in the rice and saute for a few minutes. The rice should start to get a bit translucent.

Pour in the wine and stir until the wine is absorbed. Now it's time to start adding the stock. Add the warm stock 1/2 cup at a time (use a small ladle.) Stirring until each addition gets absorbed. Keep the heat at medium to medium-high. The rice and stock should be at a simmer/gentle boil. Season with salt and pepper.

The stirring and slow addition of the stock is what causes the rice to release all its starch and give up that creamy consistency that makes risotto so wonderful. Keep adding the stock and stirring until its thick and creamy but the rice is toothsome, not mushy. If the rice is still too firm after all the stock has been added, you can add some hot water and stir until it's absorbed and the rice reaches the right consistency.

Now it's time to stir in the mushrooms and check the seasoning.

Serve in your favorite bowl, topped with freshly grated cheese. Devour!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Happy Sunday!

I hope you are all enjoying this gorgeous Sunday. The weather is so amazing here that I can't even believe it, November 15th, all the windows open and 73 sunny degrees. I've just completed my weekend work obligation for another month so I'm happy. I do have three more shifts coming up, so I probably won't be too busy around the blog this week. I made a fabulous Mushroom Risotto on Friday night and took pictures of all the steps, so if anyone is interested in a step-by-step risotto photo tutorial, let me know and I'll get that going.

I'm feeling much better and will be embarking on my first official post-cold workout in the morning. I'm really looking forward to it, I have missed my walks so much. I'm not dying to get back in the gym with the weights but I will be doing that this week, regardless.

I had a fun moment of squee this afternoon when I realized that I can wrap my fingers around my own wrist and have my thumb and middle finger touch. I haven't been able to do that for years, my hands are so small and now apparently my wrists are, too. Hee! I'm off to enjoy the rest of this lovely day with my husband. Enjoy!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday Weigh-In and Pumpkin Pie

With not feeling well enough to workout I've been in maintenance mode so I was extra excited to see a half pound loss this morning! 185 straight up, 92 pounds gone. This cough is lingering but I'm heading out to a few shops this morning to get some fresh air and move around a bit. I have a $10 coupon from Kohl's that's burning a hole in my pocket. I'm hoping to be up for a formal workout or at least a walk up the mountain by Monday or Tuesday.

This time of year I love hot breakfast and since I've been craving pumpkin pie, I thought combining the two into a delicious and nutritious breakfast-y bowlful would be a great idea. You can make this with oatmeal but I much prefer the texture of the Kashi seven-grain pilaf so that's what I used. This isn't a quick recipe but it makes 6 one-cup servings. I don't like standing over the stove for just one breakfast. Just portion it out into containers, pop them in the fridge or freezer and breakfast for the week is ready. It reheats a treat!

Pumpkin Pie Porridge

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat stir until combined and bring to a boil~
2 cups water
1 cup 2% milk
2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger root
the zest of one clementine (eat the clementine while you wait)
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup (I like grade B)
1 can pumpkin (not pie filling, just 100% pure pumpkin)

Then add one packet of Kashi seven-grain pilaf and a quarter cup of flax meal, bring back to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until done, stirring occasionally for about an hour. Serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt, a drizzle of raw honey and a few raw pecans sprinkled over the top. Devour!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Getting My Zen Back

I'm still here! This lingering cough is annoying but not even the seasonal plague can keep me out of the kitchen. I spent the better part of the day yesterday doing some batch cooking. I made two beautiful pans of soup and marinated the country ribs in rosemary, garlic, lemon zest and honey brown ale that just went into the slow cooker this morning with golden potatoes, diced rutabaga, ruby red radishes and baby carrots. I never cooked with radishes before but I'm always up for something new so I look forward to seeing how they taste.

As for the soup, I made homemade Minestrone that I added a piece of Parmigiano-Reggiano rind that flavors the soup like nothing else can. This is how it looked when it was just starting to simmer.

The color deepens as the vegetables cook and release all their wonderful goodness. I used a mix of fresh and frozen veggies. Fresh organic delicata squash, zucchini, carrots, celery, onions, garlic, radish greens (from the radishes,) and frozen organic super sweet white corn and cut green beans. It came out so rich and delicious. I'm going to make a loaf of homemade Italian bread to serve for Sunday dinner. The rest is in single serving containers in the freezer for warming winter lunches.

This one is the most amazing Beef and Barley Soup in the Entire Universe. It's my mother's recipe and mine will never be as good as when Mom makes it but it's still pretty tasty. Whole Foods had grass fed bone-in beef shank from a local Georgia farm for a great price. I didn't like grass fed beef the first time I had it (sirloin steak on the grill) but I took a chance on it for the soup and it paid off. You have to have bones to make this soup. The collagen from the bones and the barley make the broth so rich and thick, I can't wait for Saturday night! I'm working day shifts this weekend so I don't have to worry about cooking when I get home.

I didn't make the homemade stock for the Minestrone but look...

I saved all the scraps and they are waiting for me in the freezer. I will be making veggie stock before 2010 draws to a close. It's my last chance victory so watch this space!

Not only is eating homemade soup medicine, making homemade soup is like making magic. You cut up all these wonderful things that came from the ground, put them in a pot with some liquid, add some heat and poof! you have this nutritious and delicious elixir that with one mouthful can make even the worst of days fall away. I love to cook but when life gets busy it can seem like a chore. In trying to relax and rejuvenate these past few days, I really focused on how much joy there is in spending time in my kitchen making delicious and nutritious meals for us. Our kitchen is my absolute favorite room in the house, we have a fireplace and a lovely view of our tree filled back yard. It's a wonderful spot to enjoy a cup of tea.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I wanted to get back to that simple pleasure of making and enjoying a cup of tea without all the other distractions so I've made that a priority this week. Being married to an Englishman, there's no way around having tea as part of daily life. Our electric tea kettle is one of the most used appliances in the house. I also love teapots and loose tea, I have a Brown Betty that Rob and I use to make pots of tea on the weekends and I even have an adorable pink tea cozy that my dear friend Margaret sent me from England, but busy lives take over and tea bags become the rule of the day. But not today. This morning I got out my teapot for one that I bought on one of my first trips to England along with my very favorite loose tea, Kusmi Prince Vladimir tea which is a mixture of black tea from China flavored with natural essences of citrus, vanilla and spices. I mix it with a bit of honey and a splash of milk. Not only is the tea delicious but the whole process is very centering. Boiling the kettle, warming the pot and the teacup with hot water, measuring the loose tea into the pot while enjoying the fragrance of the spices and vanilla. Pouring the hot water and stirring the leaves watching the color go from clear to a rich golden brown. It's even soothing writing about it.

I stood at the back door and watched the brightly colored leaves fall in the breeze while I sipped my tea. It may be a few more days before this cold is completely gone but I'm starting to get my Zen back and it feels so nice. I can hear my pumpkin pie porridge bubbling away so I better get to stirring. I'll be sure to share the recipe next time. Have a beautiful day!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Out of Commission

I'm down with a bit of a cold. I knew last week that I wasn't getting enough rest and sure enough I went to bed Saturday night with a sore throat. That's my body's way of telling me to slow the heck down but I didn't listen soon enough. Anxiety, also, has a big role in how run-down I've gotten. I've been dealing with the symptoms of this recent anxiety with exercise and deep-breathing but unless I address the root it will continue to cause me problems in winding down and getting the good quality sleep my body (and my husband) requires. Poor Rob has had to deal with me waking up screaming and swinging in the night three times in the past two weeks. This anxiety is giving me night-terrors, which I'm not quite sure how to deal with.

I've been mulling it over trying to figure out exactly what is making me so anxious. I feel like I've wasted so much of my life being fat, in a fog of emotional over eating and the freedom I'm feeling now is making me overcompensate. I'm going at a hundred-miles an hour in ten different directions because suddenly, I can. My inner-overachiever has been released and she won't let up. I'm lighter on my feet and have more energy that I don't want to sit still and feel like if I slow down I'm going to miss something. I've become a task-master, always doing and always going and when I'm not, I'm thinking of doing and going. It's tough to admit but it's putting a strain on me.

Even though I feel emotionally and physically stronger that I did at 25, I have to remember that I'm 40, have to admit that I'm not Super Woman and that means that I need more rest now, more time to decompress, more time being serene. To gently remind myself to enjoy being present in the moment. To take the time for more cups of tea where I just sit and enjoy sipping the tea and rather than putting pressure on myself to figure out what needs to be done next. Just slow down and live in the now and know that everything will get done when it's meant to get done.

It will probably be quiet here until I'm feeling better. I'm going to rest today, drink lots of echinacea tea and ginger-laden juice. Until next time, take a moment with a cup of tea and just be. That's what I'm going to (try) to do.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Try Something New: Monkfish

Do you remember the Battle Anglerfish episode on Iron Chef? I'm talking the original Iron Chef here, not the mamby-pamby American version. I was horrified when The Chairman unveiled the secret ingredient. That fish was about the ugliest thing I've ever seen. I'm talking scary ugly! Although I could not look away as the masters set about breaking down the whole fish and using just about every part of it.

Fast forward a few years. I was having our friends Donna and Jeff over for dinner and wasn't sure what to cook. I always get a bit intimidated when cooking for Donna and Jeff as they are both quite fabulous cooks and well versed in the Atlanta dining scene. I wanted to make something that wouldn't stress me out but that would have real wow factor. I found this beautiful chowder recipe in Everyday with Rachael Ray magazine which called for bacon and crab, two of Donna's favorite things. But I'm not a big fan of crab so I needed an alternative. I went to the fish counter at Harry's Farmer's Market and spoke with the fishmonger. He suggested monkfish fillets. He said it was very similar in flavor and texture to lobster and absolutely delicious. He had me at lobster so I bought up a few fillets and got cooking. It was a huge hit! Monkfish does indeed have a similar taste and texture of lobster tails, it's sweet, juicy and meaty. No wonder it's called "the poor man's lobster."

I made the monkfish stew again for a family gathering at my sister's house. My brother-in-law Jason, whom we call "Nature Boy," told me that monkfish was also known as anglerfish...

ACK! I had an Iron Chef flashback and would have been completely freaked out if I wasn't already addicted to that sweet lobster-y taste. They don't always have monkfish at Harry's but they had some beautiful fillets Wednesday so I bought one for that evening's supper. I cooked it simply, lightly dredging it in flour seasoned with salt, white pepper and Old Bay seasoning. I then sauteed it in olive oil and a bit of butter in my new cast iron skillet. I served the fish with delicata squash and Brussels sprouts that I roasted in the oven until golden and delicately caramelized. This was my favorite preparation yet, simple and absolutely delicious.

Click here to watch Battle Anglerfish.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Friday Weigh-In

Happy Friday! How have you handled the time change? It seems with each passing time change it gets tougher and tougher for me and I need that extra bit of sleep and rest for a couple of weeks until I adjust. I took a couple of extra rest days from working out this week because I can't forgo sleep/rest in favor of exercise when my body is telling me I need to slow down. That's the difference between living a healthy lifestyle and learning to really listen to my body's signals vs. living an unhealthy lifestyle.

When I was living the life of a fat, unhealthy person it was all about avoidance, denial. I never listened to my body, I only listened to that pleasure center of my brain that wanted to live on an endless stream of Twinkies, French fries and M&Ms. I was completely disconnected. Rather than face my mad/sad/stressed/tired feelings and deal with them in a healthy way, I only wanted to be on a serotonin high.

Over the past year I've learned what my body really needs to be healthy and vibrant. You can do it, too! It's not selfish to take the time to put your health first and get to know your body again. Your body is an amazing machine, treat it with respect and it will take you anywhere you want to go.

On to the weigh-in, good week 2.5 pounds gone. Finally broke that 90 pound mark for 185.5/91.5 pounds total gone. I'm insanely excited about the fact that I'm just one pound away from weighing less than my husband for the first time ever!

With that I'm off to Publix, it's not my regular shopping day but I forgot to get the ricotta cheese for tomorrow's dinner and they are having the Kashi meals on special buy one get one free. Yay, BOGO! Have a great Friday and take special care of yourselves this weekend.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Bread Machine Magic

Bread Machine Magic, Revised Edition: 138 Exciting Recipes Created Especially for Use in All Types of Bread Machines Bread Machine Magic, Revised Edition: 138 Exciting Recipes Created Especially for Use in All Types of Bread Machines by Linda Rehberg

After multiple unsuccessful attempts at making a decent loaf of bread in my bread machine, I put it on the shelf where it has stayed for eons collecting dust and mocking me. That all changed when I was browsing Amazon and came across Linda Rehberg's Bread Machine Magic. The reviews said to not give up on your automatic bread maker until you give the recipes in this book a try.

I've only tried two recipes so far but the Heavenly Bread has become a staple, an instant classic. This loaf is, indeed, heavenly and unlike any whole grain bread I've ever tried. It's light with the most wonderful flavor and texture. It uses 2/3 whole grain flour and 1/3 bread flour which makes it the perfect combination of delicious and nutritious. I love knowing exactly what is going into each and every loaf. Buying good quality ingredients in bulk works out much cheaper than the $4 loaves that the supermarkets are selling. And it's so easy. Just dump the ingredients into the machine in the order listed, set the maker to the suggested cycle and press start. Sunday afternoon I make a large loaf and Rob has the absolute best quality bread for his weekday lunch sandwiches. I'm going to try an apple breakfast bread this weekend!

Bread used to be a big problem for me but with portion control I've been able to handle it well and really enjoy it. It hasn't triggered any issues for me, but if you're just starting out trying to get emotional overeating or binge disorder under control, I suggest that you wait on breaking out the bread machine. If you're well into living a healthy lifestyle, though, give this book a try.

The smell of fresh bread baking in the house is pure joy. I'm so happy that I listened to the reviewers because even if I only ever make the Heavenly Bread recipe over and over, I feel like I got my money's worth.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Dump It in a Pot Soup

This recipe reminds me of back when I was a "Campbell's Cook." You know all those recipes from Campbell's soup, open a bunch of cans, dump them in a pot with some chicken and rice and dinner is served. Those days of cooking with lots of processed garbage are well over for me but sometimes I want something that is as quick and easy as dumping stuff in a pot. I made this really yummy soup on Monday night and I look forward to eating the leftovers.

Spicy Dumpling Soup

Makes 4 servings

Pour a 32-ounce container of low sodium chicken stock in a stock pot. Add a drizzle of sesame oil, a couple of glugs each of rice wine vinegar and low sodium tamari and a generous sprinkle of crushed red pepper. Then grate in some fresh ginger root (about a two inch knob) and toss in three sliced scallions (white and green parts) and a bag of ready-shredded three color cole slaw. Bring it to a boil then add a 1 pound bag of frozen Asian style dumplings/potstickers. You can use vegetable, chicken, pork...whatever you like. I used the Thai shrimp gyoza from Trader Joe's. Simmer until the dumplings are tender and heated through. Garnish with a bunch of chopped fresh cilantro. Devour!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Try Something New: Chicken Posole

Posole is a traditional Mexican soup or stew and when I saw this recipe in Real Simple, I just had to try it. I followed the recipe closely but did add a can of rinsed and drained organic black beans when I added the hominy. I had never had hominy before and all I have to say is humina humina hominy, that stuff is delectable. This recipe is fast, easy and delicious. The soup is rich, hearty and spicy. Don't leave off squeezing the lime juice in it, it's the perfect finish.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Knock Me Over With A Feather

Yesterday after I finished posting, I did indeed go for a long, vigorous walk. I put on my iPod and queued up Fat 2 Fit radio #78. I almost fell over when I heard my name and my blog in my ears! Awhile back I made mention of Fat 2 Fit in my Retraining the Fat Brain post. The Fat 2 Fit guys must have found that post and decided to mention it in their most recent podcast. This is very exciting because I LOVE that podcast (even though they did mispronounce my name.) If you haven't started listening give it a try. Russ and Jeff wade through all the hype of the weight loss industry and present thoughtful and sane health, fitness and weight loss information. This podcast is a great companion on walks and workouts.

Another knock me over moment occurred during my Sunday walk. I realized that with each walk and workout I hate exercise a little bit less and start to find the joy in it a bit more. I've decided to embrace that joy. Watching my fitness increase has been pretty great, my legs are getting faster, my arms and my core are getting stronger. I can even wear high-heeled shoes now because my balance has improved so much through strength training. That's a huge deal for this klutz who in the past would risk a broken ankle if the shoe was more than an inch off the ground. That's reason enough for me to carry on. Here's a link to a great article with 21 other powerful reasons to exercise. Give it a read and get moving.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

New Goodie: Bob's Red Mill Organic High Fiber Whole Grain Pancake Mix

Happy Sunday! I hope your weekend is going well and that you didn't succumb too badly to the call of the mini-Twix and Snickers last evening. We went out for a lovely meal with dear friends because there was no way I having that garbage in my house. I had a planned indulgence cocktail and some Chardonnay which is much more fun.

Rob has been hankering for blueberry pancakes. I just love them and because no food is forbidden in my delicious and nutritious lifestyle, I thought I'd treat us this morning. But how to make them delicious and nutritious? I bought a bag of Bob's Red Mill Organic High Fiber Whole Grain pancake mix!

I've tried healthy/whole grain mixes before and they just never satisfy. The texture is always wrong but not with this mix. They were light and fluffy with a beautiful flavor and texture, not at all what I was expecting. I added a bag of Cascadian Farms organic blueberries that were so fat and plump and juicy which not only made the pancakes even more delicious, they upped the nutrition factor even higher. I served the pancakes with a thin pat of organic unsalted butter and a light drizzle of pure grade B maple syrup. These pancakes were so nice they didn't need much tarting up.

Eating healthfully and losing weight can include your favorite things if you plan for them thoughtfully. I had a sensible portion and will be heading out for a walk on this sunny Sunday morning as soon as I finish this post. If you love pancakes like we do, I highly recommend you giving this mix a try. Have a beautiful Sunday!