Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Ho-Hum week so far

So far this week has been totally ordinary. Work, exercise, kids, blah blah blah. Yesterday for my workout, I did a short one. I had stuff to do, so I did 65 minutes on the elliptical and then some abs and upper body. I heard over at www.Hungry-Girl.com that the company that makes the Lightfull Satiety Smoothie (a favorite of mine because it tastes amazing and is only 1 point) is going out of business. I remembered seeing some of the cafe latte flavor at my local Grocery Outlet, so I went over there and bought all they had (five cases of 12). I also bought 4 more cases at a discounted price on Amazon.com. So I think I have enough of those to last me for a while.

I also bought a new energy drink to try. Maybe I will post my first product review when I try it. Possibly tomorrow? Today I did an hour of group class at karate and then a half-hour private lesson. Boy, did I work up a sweat! For lunch I was totally craving the leftover taco meat that was in the 'fridge from my boys' dinner the other night. It wasn't lean ground beef, though. I have a hard time eating the fatty stuff! LOL. After much deliberation, I finally weighed out 1 and a 1/4 ounces (2 points) and heated it up on a La Tortilla factory tortilla with a half ounce of 75% fat-free cheddar cheese and some pico de gallo. It tasted like a Beef Meximelt from Taco Bell (YUM) and it was only 2.5 points!

I am leaving the karate school early tomorrow night to attend a band/orchestra concert that two of my sons will be playing in. We usually go out for snacks and dessert afterward. Not sure if we will this time. I'd better get an extra good workout in tomorrow morning just in case!

Tomorrow is my weigh-in day. I am excited but nervous (as I always am) the night before WI. I worked out hard this week, but I also indulged in pizza and desserts over the weekend. Anything could happen on the scale. I'm super close to having a total weight loss of 75 pounds. I want to get to that number really badly!

I love that I weigh-in on Wednesday mornings because I always watch "the Biggest Loser" on TV the night before...it's my little pre-weigh-in ritual. OMG, for anyone who watched, I would love to discuss tonight's show! I couldn't believe what all went down. This season's contestants are just so stupid and annoying, and they make bad decisions all over the place! I was seriously disappointed with the outcome of tonight's show. I find myself biting my tongue every week to keep from yelling at the screen.

I'll update tomorrow after I weigh in. Maybe I'll post some pictures if I can dig up a good "before" picture...

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sunday long run Plus a 2-fer recipe!

Oh, the last few weeks have been filled with food-laden temptations. Friday night it was pizza, wine, beer, and 4 kinds of desserts at my grandma's house. Luckily the pizza was vegetarian (because everyone is Catholic and therefore not eating meat). Round Table's veggie pizzas are surprisingly not that terrible for you. I only had 2 pieces. That is impressive for me.

Saturday I mostly hung around the house after a half day of work. After a stimulating 40-minute bike ride in GORGEOUS weather, I cooked a healthy dinner of chicken stir-fry with two kinds of mushrooms, lots of ginger and garlic, and some crushed red pepper. Yum! But then I was sitting around a house that still has Christmas, Valentine, and now Easter candy hanging around (plus leftover desserts from Grandma's house).

Today, Sunday, is my day to go for a "long" run. This can mean anything from 4 miles to whatever. Today I decided to try for around 14. I ended up doing 13.93. Who would have thought that a piece of cake, half a banana, and a glass of milk would make a good pre-run breakfast? Well, it did! That particular cake was NOT leftover from Grandma's house. I made it myself for my son's birthday and there were leftovers. It was reduced sugar, reduced fat, no cholesterol. (only 3 WW points)

Anyway, it was very warm and sunny today on my run, but it was also WINDY. I capitalized that for a reason. At one point I was running hard and it seemed like I wasn't moving forward! I got my resistance training and my cardio in at the same time, I guess!

Usually on long runs, I run in intervals of 5 minutes of jogging to 1 minute of walking. Today I upped it to 6:1. It went well! I was so glad! Every 4 miles or so I stopped by my house to eat a Clif Shot Blok and drink a little electrolyte drink (also by Clif). I have a bunch of that sort of junk left over from marathon training. I'm all out of my favorites and just trying to use up the dregs now.

I made my 7-year-old come with me for the last 2.25 miles. He didn't really want to, but I talked him into it. It was such a beautiful day and he was just sitting indoors since his brothers were all gone for the weekend. He balked at the idea of doing 3:1 intervals (none of my boys can keep up with me when we run so I have to slow down, WOOT), so I lied and told him we would do 3:2. LOL, I fessed up the last half mile, though. He wasn't mad.

All together, my run today took me 2 hours and 29 minutes. Not bad! I averaged a 10-minute mile until I slowed down for my son. Afterwards I downed about a half gallon of water and a glass of milk for some carbs and protein. After my shower, I was craving salty food (lost a lot today in sweat). Since I am totally obsessed with Trader Joe's pizza sauce the past few days, and had some mushrooms that needed using, I whipped up some turkey-stuffed mushrooms. I had a lot of meat filling left over after I stuffed the caps, and I had already counted all the points for everything, so I just cooked it up into a "turkey pizza burger" and ate it with a fork and knife. Both turned out delicious, and it was actually a pretty filling lunch. You could serve the pizza burger on light bread or a bun if you like!

--Turkey Stuffed Mushroom Caps (with a bonus)--

-3 ounces extra lean ground turkey breast
-7 large white button mushrooms, stems removed and chopped
-1/4 cup fat-free pizza sauce, divided
-1 ounce lite shredded mozzarella
-1/4 ounce shredded parmesan
-1 tsp. garlic olive oil
-1 clove garlic, chopped
-2 Tbsp. diced onion
-Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400F. Sautee the onion, garlic, and mushroom stems over medium heat just until softened. Mix with ground turkey, about half of the pizza sauce, salt and pepper to taste, and mozzarella. Use a small spoon or your fingers to pack the mushroom caps tightly with meat mixture. Mound it up so the top is rounded; place a few shreds of parmesan on top of each one. Bake in a dish sprayed with cooking spray for about 15 minutes or until meat is cooked through and cheese is bubbly and starting to brown. If desired, top mushrooms with additional pizza sauce after cooking.

You can cook any leftover meat mixture in a nonstick skillet until cooked through - about 7 minutes per side. Serve with any remaining pizza sauce and parmesan cheese not used for mushrooms.

Nutritionals: Sorry, I was too lazy to calculate them. But the WW points are 4.5

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Recipe: Pepperoni Polenta Pizza Bites

Today around lunch time, I had a serious craving for Bagel Bites. Bagel Bites don't get brought into my house because I could probably polish off about 15 of them no sweat. I had most of the ingredients for pizza and some polenta that needed to be used, so I whipped up this recipe!

--Pepperoni Polenta Pizza Bites--

- 3 ounces store-bought firm polenta (I used the Organic Onion and Mushroom flavor by Food Merchants that comes in a tube - calories 71, fat 0, fiber 1)
- 1/8 cup fat free pizza sauce (I used Trader Joe's that comes in a jar)
- 1/2 ounce reduced fat mozarella cheese shreds (again from Trader Joe's)
- 4 slices Hormel turkey pepperoni, quartered

Slice the polenta into 4 thin slices. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Bake the polenta slices for 4-5 minutes on each side at 400F. (This keeps it from getting too soft to eat with your hands). Place a spoonful of pizza sauce in the center of each slice. Distribute the cheese and pepperoni on top of the sauce. Bake at 400 for about 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted and edges start to brown. Allow to cool slightly before eating. Makes one serving.

Nutritionals: 126 calories, 2.5g fat, 2g fiber, 7g protein, 735mg sodium

(your nutritionals will vary depending on the polenta, cheese, and pizza sauce used)

WW points: 2

** note: 4 pepperoni Bagel Pizzas contain 220 calories, 7 grams of fat, and have a WW point value of 5 **

Friday, March 27, 2009

Recipe: Choco-PB-Banana Oatmeal

So I decided to run later and to make oatmeal for breakfast. Since I'm not sure how long it will be before I have lunch (gotta squeeze in that baby visit and a 4-mile run before then), I'm going with one of my favorite higher-point breakfast recipes.

You can cut the points down if you like by omitting the Fiber One, using less oatmeal, or less peanut butter. If I put the ingredients into the WW online point tracker individually, I get 5 points. If I add everything up and figure out the points that way, I get 7 points. So I guess I will count 5 and let you decide for yourself. Inspiration is owed partly to Lisa at www.hungry-girl.com who makes something similar (but without the PB).

I LOVE peanut butter. I LOVE chocolate. This recipe has both. It feels decadent and naughty but has a lot of good stuff going on in it. Fiber, Protein, and Potassium make this a smart pre-workout meal. I should have my kids try it and see if they like it. They get tired of plain Malt-O-Meal and oatmeal with cinnamon and raisins in it. (I decided I was tired of spending so much money on cereal all the time, so we hardly ever have it).

Admittedly, this looks like a bowl of dogfood in the picture, but it doesn't taste like it, I swear! (Hmmm, although, like a dog, I'm always tempted to lick the bowl clean when I'm done).

--Choco-PB-Banana Oatmeal--

- 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats, cooked to package directions
- 1 Tbsp. peanut butter
- 1/2 ripe medium banana, mashed
- 1/4 cup Fiber One Original cereal (you can use another high-fiber cereal if you don't like F1 or can't eat aspartame)
- 1 packet diet hot cocoa mix (I use Swiss Miss 'Sensible Sweets' at 25 calories)
- Splash of Unsweetened Vanilla Almond milk

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Easy, huh?

Nutritionals: 360 calories, 11g fat, 14g fiber, 285mg sodium, 12g protein

WW points: 7

Fridays mean running...

I typically run (either outside if the weather is nice, or in the gym) on Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. I don't particularly love running. In fact, I used to say I hated it. I called people who did it "freaking nuts". I was always that one kid in Highschool P.E. class trying to fake an asthma attack or find some other way to get out of running the mile. But guess what, it burns a TON of calories, and is great for my heart, my lungs, and my muscles. So now I do it. In fact, I ran a marathon in 2007 in Florence, Italy and one in 2008 in San Francisco and have done 4 half-marathons.

The full marathons I ran were through the National AIDS Marathon Training Program. It is a great training program that teaches you a lot and gets you ready to finish a half- or full marathon. Go to www.aidsmarathon.com if you want to check it out. I'm not sure if I will do any full marathons this year. I am tempted to do the San Francisco Marathon again just to see if I can improve my time. (I am a LOT faster and a lot stronger now). But then I am reminded of last year around mile 22 when I came around a corner to see another HUGE hill, and proclaimed, "This is the last full marathon I'm doing!"

Last year I completely geeked out and made a spreadsheet to track all my running mileage for the year. I ALMOST made it to 600 miles. In fact, I would have if I hadn't gotten sick with the flu the last week of the year! This year I have set a goal for myself of 700 miles. I am on track to get there if I keep up my schedule of running four times a week. So far I am a little past 200. Who knows, maybe I will make it to 800 this year, barring any catastrophic injuries?

I'm not sure if I will go for my run now or a little bit later. I have a 2-month-old baby nephew that I am completely enamored of, and I think I need to go visit. It's way easier when his brother and sister aren't around hogging him.

What, then, should I have for breakfast? It needs to be sweet (because I am in a sweet mood). It needs to have both complex carbs and protein in it. Some potassium would be good to help prevent muscle cramps on my run, and fiber would help me stay full longer so I won't be tempted to snack while I'm out visiting. (That's what people in my family do when they get together - they eat).

Hmmm, I'll update when I've decided and see if it's anything worth posting.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Recipe: Berry Yogurt Sundae

So, I know that the idea of mixing plain nonfat Greek yogurt with berries is not new. But I was having some and decided to post my little spin on it as my first recipe post. It has a good tart/sweet thing going on, with some crunch. The antioxidants from the berries and protein from the yogurt make this filling snack or dessert a winner!

--Yogurt Berry Sundae--

- 1 cup unsweetened frozen berries (I like to use Trader Joe's 'berry
cherry' blend)
- 1/2 cup Fage total 0% Greek yogurt
- 1/4 ounce walnut halves, diced
- 2 tsp. sugar-free pancake syrup (I use Mrs. Butterworth's)
- pinch ground cinnamon

Put the berries in a bowl and allow to thaw slightly (about 5 minutes). Top with Fage. Sprinkle on walnut pieces, drizzle on syrup, and sprinkle cinnamon over the top. Let sit for a few minutes to allow the yogurt to get really cold and thick.

Nutritionals (yours may vary depending on the berries you use): 190 calories, 4.5 g fat, 5.5 g fiber, 60 mg sodium, 12 g protein

WW points: 3

Getting Started...

So, my good friend Carol over at www.uncoveringfood.com has been doing a healthy foodie type of BLOG thing for a while. I have always admired her and use her recipes all the time. Recently I expressed jealousy at her following and made a comment that I wished I had time to do the same thing. She pointed out that if she has the time (with a very busy job that requries a lot of travel), then I have the time! So here we go.

I don't know if I will be very regular or organized in my posts, but it's worth a shot, right?

A little about me: I am a busy mom of four boys - stepsons ages 14, 13, and 11, and a 7-year-old. I own a martial arts school and teach classes to children and adults. I work in the afternoon and evenings and I bring the kids to the karate school with me. I use my mornings to get in my own karate training, work out at the gym, do housework, and run errands.

I have been on an on again/off again (but mostly off) Weight Watchers journey for the past 10 years, trying to lose lots of extra pounds that accumulated since my sedentary teenage years. This time around, I have been going strong for 9 months and have lost 75 pounds. This BLOG will include a lot of Weight Watchers (or WW for short) mentions, I am sure.

Please feel free to leave me your honest feedback and suggestions. If you have taken the time to read this far, I hope you will stick around!