Happy Pinning!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Breaking through barriers...

Monday night I had a little break down. Really it was sort of like an adult pout session.  I started to cry and complain that nothing in my life was fair.  That I was tired. That I didn't want to have to be "on" all the time, to count points and plan meals and exercise nonstop to do everything that everyone else seems to do all too easy and it was feeling all too much.  Beyond that I am attempting to blog about everything and try to be inspirational.  I didn't want to be inspirational.  I wanted someone else to inspire me.  I wanted someone else to plan my meals.  I wanted a mental break.  Yeah, like I said it was a major adult pout session.

Well rather than falling completely apart and throwing up my hands and quitting I went running with my family.  We did the whole 3 miles for the first time. The kids got filthy and dirty playing on the track.  There was a whole bunch of other people on the track so I felt a little self conscious at first but we did the whole 3 miles, that's another big barrier.  Now I just need to be able to run it! We came  home and had to do a whole big rig-a-ma-roll to bathe the kids and get them to bed.  Then my husband helped me do a little deep tissue to my shins. Tuesday I was sore in my legs, but in a good way, in a I actually pushed myself yesterday kind of way. 

So this morning I should be doing great right. I should be out of my slump.  But I wasn't I was in a funk all day, again.  I didn't feel good.  My kids were whiny.  I am so tired lately, apparently I can't run and stay up late anymore, which is a habit I have been meaning to break anyways.  Ugh. I listened to everyone talk about what an awesome day they were having and I was so jealous, why am I in such a mood?  I realized I was living this song...

I was struggling to live up to this picture perfect image that I thought I was supposed to be at all times.  That's pretty much impossible, have you ever tried this?

Who are you to tell me that I am less than what I should be? Who are you?
I don't need to listen to the list of things I should do? I won't try.
You don't define me.

I am going to use God's mirror.  He loves me even when he is disappointed by my complaining, my quitting early, my eating bad, my hating how I look in the mirror, my getting too impatient with my children, my ignoring my husband.  All the things I do that show that I am not paying attention to how God sees me. 

Two important things I learned, give yourself a break and pick your butt up and keep moving.  Give yourself a break.  If you screw up, get over it, it's not the end of the world.  You need to have a Plan B sometimes.  I know you all know it is exhausting coming up with interesting food all the time.  Don't get me wrong, just because I love to cook doesn't mean I always want to do it.  Doesn't mean I don't get daunted by the thought of coming up with a meal plan and shopping list and actually executing it.  If anything the accountability of knowing that I am sharing recipes with you keeps me going.  But sometimes you need a Plan B. Here are a few of my best Plan B's.

McDonald's, gasp! Most Mom's of kids know nothing makes little one's happier sometimes than a happy meal and hey let's not kid ourselves, the appeal of fast food is right there in the title.  So I wouldn't want to deprive my children of this occasional treat right? But what should I eat? Now doing weight watchers you can still eat their regular greasy food and I have a couple of times since starting this but beware those points add up fast, a medium fry is 10pts! So are the McChicken or Cheeseburger.  What my husband and I have found that we really like at McDonald's is the

Southwest Salad

As long as you get the grilled chicken this little filling beauty is only 8 pts and has quite a bit of kick to it! It's yummy. 

Tuesday I wanted to try a different one so I went over to Wendy's to try this gorgeousness!

Wendy's new Almond Berry Chicken Salad

This one is a little more costly, 11 pts.  But good and fresh. And easy to repeat at home if you wanted to.  But then again, the whole point is giving yourself a break.  Their chicken breast was so plump and juicy and delicious.  It really was a perfect meal.  Now beware, just because it's a salad doesn't mean it's free game.  The crispy version of the McDonald's salad adds 3 pts making it 11 like the Wendy's salad. And other restaurant chains like California Pizza Kitchen's BBQ Chicken Salad is a whopping 39 pts with a 100g of fat in the salad and Chili's Quesadilla Explosion Salad is also 38 pts.  Salad does not always equal healthy.  But the two pictured above get my stamp of approval.  So if you are going to give yourself a break, choose wisely. Another way I got a break tonight if by using one of my freezer meals.  I have done freezer meals myself, gone to a chain store to do them and most recently exchanged meals with a bunch of ladies in my church.  This one is called

Cherry Skillet Chicken

Cherry Skillet Chicken4 chicken breast
1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped
HOT water
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1/3 tsp salt

Place cherries in a bowl and cover with hot water, let sit for 5 mins. In the mean time combine the rest of the ingredients in a zip top bag. Add in chicken and cherries. Release air from bag and freeze. When ready to cook thaw and add chicken to skillet with a little oil/cooking spray cook until chicken is cooked through and juice and cherries, bring to a boil and let cook down.

Now the lovely lady who gave me these gave me 4 monster size chicken breasts that I cut into 3rds so they would cook up faster.  In the end with side of potatoes, vegetable and watermelon I only ate one of the cutlets that was a third of a breast, which means it was only 2 pts!!! Normally I would probably have eaten at least 2 cutlets but we had several sides, I was tired and hot and had just ran so 1/3 was plenty, I still can't get over that, 2 pts!!!  Freezer meals are an awesome way to give yourself a break because you take care of the planning and shopping and chopping and mixing ahead of time and then you only have to do the baking or cooking relatively easily later when you are tired and your kids need dinner now and you really want a healthy homecooked meal but have no energy.  Done.

The other important thing I mentioned was to pick your butt up and keep going.  Very important.  I am sure I will be doing that a lot over the next year.  Which although almost 4 months in already it will take another solid year of losing at this rate to be at my goal.  That sounds like such a long ways a way.  But then again not.  I have had 10 years of living (just barely) a life that was not how I wanted it, not doing what I should be doing. Not doing life.  I am just beginning to feel the transformations.  Another year is really not that bad when you think of the last 10 years.  And really all I need to focus on is today.  When my husband got home this afternoon he saw that I was frazzled and frustrated and once again near tears and he said "What do I need to do?" Make me go running.  And we did.  As we got to the track I decided to push.  We ran one lap, then two, he looked at me under a lifted eyebrow (we hadn't done more than 2 laps at a time before) "How far we going?" "I'm not telling." I paused "OK I may be crazy but I want to do one mile without stopping." "You shouldn't have told me that, let's do this!" he said.  I did it too.  All four laps I thought my legs weren't going to make it but they did.  Then we walked a lap, man walking after running feels amazing.  Then it was time to run two more.  We repeated that pattern walk one, run two twice.  A total of 10 laps, 2.5 miles.  With 1/4 mile to and from the track 3 miles done.  I felt like I was going to quite literally fall and never get up again but I kept going.  A couple of times he had to run off and leave me to rescue the girls who were getting into trouble climbing the bleachers, getting the dog tangled up, following strangers around.  When he wasn't with me the desire to slow to a walk was strong.  Sometimes I would close my eyes, the words of the songs on my running playlist wash over me and they mean so much more, like sending love and positive messages right to my brain, drowning out the other voice that tells me to quit, that I can't do it.  I can do it. Less than three weeks ago I hadn't run in YEARS and tonight I ran a mile (and then two more 1/2 miles for a total of 2 miles running).  That is pretty awesome progress for 2.5 weeks.  The last lap of running the song Dare You to Move by Switchfoot came on in my ears. "I dare you to move, dare you to move, dare you to lift yourself off of the floor, I dare you to move like today never happened today never happened before."   I am going to keep on moving. Man it hurts sometimes.  But I am going to keep going.  I kept thinking tonight "I can't wait till this just feels easy" but I know when it does I will push further. I am going to keep pushing, trusting that the rewards are worth the pain.  Feeling blessed tonight, what a difference from earlier today, thank you for allowing me to share with you!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Some fun nuggets for you!

I had heard about this site from Mr. Bendoeslife and I actually started a membership today.  Here is my picture, don't I look great:

Okay so maybe that's not me, I am going with it though. 

Anyways the site is http://www.mapmyrun.com/ and here is what you can do:

Enter an address, a map comes up, click on your starting point, click on each turn and the red line moves and the distance increased. I made this 2.5 mile route for my husband and I to run yesterday morning. I love being at home and having that track right by my house so that I can measure my time and distance easily and that nice spongy track is not so nasty on the joints and seems safer without those uneven sidewalks and tree debris (in this neighborhood there is a lot of tree debris, it is called Royal Oak after all!).  However I love that if you are somewhere else in the world you can just pull up a map, track it out and go! I plan on using this little nugget a lot more. 

The other thing I wanted to talk about was stretching.  Something not everyone is super good about doing.  But it's something I am die-hard about doing.  (Remember me, super paranoid she is going to get an injury lady) Even when I wasn't running or even really exercising regularly, I always stretched. I hate having achy legs and I always feel so much better when I am all stretched out.  That's why I loved when I took yoga from my friend who is certified, if I was hurting anywhere when I went I was pain-free when I left.  Wish yoga classes weren't so expensive. Sigh.  So anyways, I will give you a low down on the leg stretching routine my hubby and I are doing when we get home from running. Disclaimer: I hate hate hate that I am the one modeling some of these but as you will see my husband couldn't handle some.  I discovered during this photo session that A. Men don't realize how to carefully take pictures of women so they are flattering and B. Apparently 23 lbs down is not enough to make me comfortable in front of a camera yet.  Anyways here we go... 

First things first, hamstrings a characteristically tight muscle located on the back of your thighs.  There are many ways to stretch this muscle. There are three that I really like. If you are a person who is not overly tight you can do this one:

Sitting on the edge of the bed with one leg up on the bed, put your hands on your hips or the top of your thigh and keeping your back tall lean forward and lift the chest until you feel a good stretch behind the thigh.  Hold 20 sec and do 3 on each leg. (My husband is too tight for this one, he can't get his knee even down straight!)

So he does this one

Put one heel on a step, put your hands on your hips, keeping back very straight lean forward at the hips with chest lifted until you are again feeling a stretch behind the thigh. Also 20 sec hold 3 on each side.

Now that is fine for during the stretching routine post-exercise however some people (like my husband) need more substantial stretching. This is for the people that really need to work on this area, you know who you are!

Lay with one leg up on door frame and the other leg through doorway.  Two options either get your behind all the way up to the door frame and then stretch your knee as straight as possible and hold. Or you can keep your knee straight and then get your buttocks as close as possible to the wall. This was my poor tight husbands attempt at keeping his leg straight and getting as close as possible, he is about a foot away and his leg was already starting to bend at the knee.  And although he is faking a serene face he was nearly screaming, hurry up hurry up, it's killing me, seconds before this picture was taken.  Maybe I should stall so he has to stay there for awhile.  For someone like my husband I would recommend a good 3-5 min per leg.  Spend some time with the toe pointing straight back toward you, some time with the toes pointing out stretching the outside of the leg and the toes pointing in stretching the inside of the leg.  Also spend some time flexing the foot up and down which will add an additional stretch all the way from hip to ankle as it glides the sciatic nerve. 

Next muscle we target is the hip flexor. 

Kneel in a marriage proposal position.  Balance yourself with your hands either on your front knee or on the floor. In our land of hardwood floors we kneel on a pillow or our patella say "Ow!" Lean all the way forward until you feel a pull on the back hip.  Remember to keep hips square.  Hold 20 sec, 3 on each leg

Quads are next.  We usually do this one

Standing where you can hold on to something sturdy for balance, pull one foot up towards buttocks.  Hold 20 sec, 3 on each leg.  Be sure to keep bent thigh straight down in parallel with standing leg. 

Groin stretch, Mr tight hamstrings literally can't handle this one.

Sit with legs out in wide V position.  Sit up tall, back straight lean forward until a inner thigh stretch is felt keeping hands on floor to support a proper stretching position.  3 x 20 sec (are you noticing a trend?)

Piriformis stretch, this is a nasty little guy who lives in your behind and is sometimes the culprit for sciatic pain in the leg. Again there are many ways to do this one, a nice easy one is this.

Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor, back tall. Cross one ankle over the other knee, push knee down as far as possible.  Keeping back straight lean forward with chest lifted until you feel a stretch in your buttock.  Hold 20 sec, do 3 on each side.

Another easy option

Sitting on the floor, cross one leg over the other with your knee bent.  Cross the opposite arm over to add a twist to increase the stretch.  Hold 20 sec, 3x on each leg (I bet you guessed that)

Finally the calves, this is where I am focusing a lot of my attention.  As much as I tease my husband about his hamstrings, the calves are my weakness. Remember when I talked about feet and specifically my battle with plantar fascitis.  This means tight calves.  Tight calves mean if you start running you may be feeling a little of those dreaded shin splints.  I am working very hard to prevent the soreness I get with each run to become a full blown case of this problem.  So we first do this one.

Standing with your hands against a wall or sturdy structure.  Stand with one leg back and lean toward front leg with heel down and knee straight. You are going to feel this one more at the knee, you are stretching the Gastrocnemius muscle.  Hold 20 sec.  Then bend back knee like this

And you will feel this more at the ankle by the Achilles tendon, this is stretching the Soleus muscle. Hold this for 20 sec.  Then go back and forth until you have done each one 3 x and then switch legs and repeat.
For an additional stretch I also use the stairs.

You can do one at a time or both at the same time but you stand on a step with your heels hanging off the edge of the step and drop your weight down into your heels for a stretch. Say it with me: Hold 20 sec and do 3x on each.

Whew, that was intense.  Obviously you don't have to do multiples of each muscle, you can pick which one you like best.  If you have a problem area maybe do multiples of that area.  I would also suggest doing that area more like 2-3x a day.
This concludes Stretching with Amanda! Keep loose everyone, you don't  want to come see me at work, we PT's are much crueler in our clinical setting!!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Today was pretty much a perfect day!

I love my in-laws.  Not everyone is fortunate enough to feel that way.  My Mother-in-law and I have a uniquely close relationship and as we sat up last night catching up like old girlfriends until 2 am I was overwhelmed how blessed I am to have her in my life.  She has always been such a big encouragement to me, like her son, she is someone who loves people so much and tells them in ways that they need to hear.  I am challenged to follow in her example and be more aware of who needs to be lifted up and encouraged, you never know how the words you say to someone can bless them and touch their lives at just the right moment. 

When we stay at their house we always fall into an easy rhythm, everything is so laid back and comfortable. It's always like a mini-vacation for this tired Mom as they entertain the "Grands" as they call the kids and even the dog gets extra special love and attention.  And when my kids wake at 6:30 am, when we are here they go climb in bed with Grandma and Grandpa and not us so sometimes we wake to find that we have been gifted with sleeping in.  Seriously, can I move in here??? So today was just a lovely lovely day.  We awoke (which was admittedly difficult for Mom, my husband and I who were all up past 2) had a nice leisurely breakfast (my in-laws have perfected the art of a nice leisurely breakfast, it's refreshing to hang out, fellowship, eat yummy food and not be rushing).  Then almost like it was a date, my hubby and I and our cute little yellow lab went for a run.  When we are on our cool down walk we even held hands (you can tell he and I rarely get out on dates that I feel the need to mention this detail as significant).  My husband is the perfect encourager to me, we would be doing a running interval and I would be fading and he would cheer me on "you can do it!" and I pushed harder knowing he was rooting for me. We did another 2.5 miles, 35 min and we ran for 20 min of it.

We got back and scrambled to get ready and headed out for a fun event in downtown Detroit on the Riverwalk called River Days.  The epitome of summer there was carnival rides and bounce houses, corndogs and elephant ears (I may have indulged), bands playing and dancers, fountains and free slurpees, tall ships and Coast Guard ships and lots and lots of people.  I realized when we got down there that we left our camera battery in the charger back at home, boo.  My MIL got some pics with her phone (more videos though)

Before I realized my camera was just for show, I was pure tourist! (wearing jeans I haven't fit in for two years by the way!)

Ridiculous sand sculpture, this was only about 1/3 of it!

Paws showed up, rather perfect for the men who all had their Tiger gear on, they had a game to go to later...

On board the Coast Guard ship.  Always a ironic experience for me, my husbands original dream was to be serving his country on board one of these (he actually wanted to do search and rescue) however moments prior to admission they asked him the fateful question "Do you have asthma?" If the truth hadn't crushed his dream, he wouldn't have ended up at Grand Valley where 2.5 years later he met me and these adorable kids wouldn't exist.  "For I know the plans I have for you" declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11 How true this verse is and how nice it is when we can look back on those difficult experiences (rejections, hurts, wounds, losses) with this divine clarity, you were working all the while Lord.  Thank you for giving my husband asthma Lord and bringing him to me!!!

Co-Captain in the Captains chair, more like Partners in crime!!!

We returned home at 6 (we left my husband downtown with his friends to go to the game) and we opened the door to one of my favorite recipes in the crock pot. Many of you already have this, I have shared it with people many times before. Nothing like opening the door to the house after a long day to crock pot smells.  I love this recipe so much!! I originally got it from this crafting blog I love, if you like to sew or craft check this out, it's http://www.makeit-loveit.com/ I only wish I could be as blogtastic as that woman.  She got the recipe from someone else but here it is...

Sweet Pork Tacos and Cilantro Lime Avocado Slaw

Cilantro Lime Avocado Slaw
1 package Cole Slaw or whole shredded cabbage

1 c. Plain Greek Yogurt (my sub for mayo - plain yogurt is my new mayo)1 c. Cilantro, chopped
1 tsp. minced Garlic
1/4 tsp. Cayenne Pepper or a dash of your favorite hot sauce
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. Lime Juice
1/2 tsp. Cumin

2 avocados diced (this was my addition, everything is better with avocado right?)
(We thought it needed something more, I always feel this way but I try to tell you about my improvising so we added a sprinkle of garlic salt and a sprinkle of Mrs Dash's Fiesta Lime. And may I just say my MIL should win an award for the amount of Mrs. Dash flavors she has bought, she impressed me, she had more than me which is saying a lot!!)
Chop and combine ingredients. Mix desired amount of dressing with slaw mix no more than 30 minutes before serving.

Roasted Sweet Pork
6 (approx) pounds Pork butt/shoulder (this makes a lot - you can either cut the recipe in half or you can freeze some of it)
1 19 oz. can Red Enchilada Sauce
1 can Dr. Pepper (20 oz) (I used Diet)

2 tsp. Chili Powder
1 tsp. Cumin
1 tsp. salt
1 Clove Garlic or 1 tsp. Garlic Powder
1 1/2 c. Brown Sugar
1/2 onion, chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Combine all ingredients into your crock pot and cook on low overnight or until meat is tender.
Serve in tortilla of your choice, we used whole wheat.  The number of servings is supposed to be 16 which is 9 pts which makes two tortillas worth by the way (13 with the 2 tortillas), the slaw for 16 servings also is 2 pt. 

We served it with

Grilled Pineapple with Ginger Honey Fruit Dip

I cut a pineapple as desired, throw it in this

 While that works it's magic (don't forget to turn a few times until you get those gorgeous grill lines on all sides) I take one of these
(Or you could take any variety of plain yogurt you prefer and add a little honey)

And add some of this (remember this stuff please tell me you've tried this!!!)
A little lime zest and voila, yummy fruit dip! (Which a Tbsp of this stuff is 0 pts so drizzle it on your pineapple and enjoy a point free sweet and satisfying side dish.

After dinner the kids were running around the neighborhood with other kids laughing and getting dirty and having a great time.  They desperately needed  the bath that they got. Now as I blog my tuckered out MIL is snoozing in her chair, my tired dog who is still getting used to all the running is snoring on her doggie bed and it's my chance to bond with my Father-in-law as we watch a movie that has enough explosions and suspense to keep him from assuming a similar position to my MIL.  He is a super awesome guy too! I am a very lucky lady.  Like I said, today was pretty much a perfect day. I am trying to not take any blessings for granted these days. I hope that you all take time to regularly count your blessings, no matter your trials the blessings likely outweigh them. 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Help, help, I have moldy buns!!!

Happy Friday everyone! I seem to find myself blogging pretty faithfully on Friday's.  Well this week I was pretty lax in my counting and a little less than disciplined in my eating as you may have read on Wednesday.  Good thing for running I guess I still managed to lose another 1/2 a lb. All losses, even tiny ones, are good! This week I discovered I am down 3 pant sizes.  I found clothes I was going to give to goodwill because I had given up on fitting in them and they fit, so luckily I have a few more pairs of capris to get me by for a little while longer. I really need to start doing weights or something this week to go along with my cardio which is finally on track!

OK dinner tonight, plus I know you are all dying to find out the story behind the title of this blog entry.  Tonight we had Mediterranean Lamburgers (the Lamburger part makes me smile). This is another Jillian Michaels Master your Metabolism "Master"piece (man I am on a roll tonight). This is what they were supposed to look like:

Mediterranean Lamburgers

1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup rolled oats (not instant)
1 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves, or 1/4 teaspoon dried
1 teaspoon fresh mint leaves, or 1/4 teaspoon dried
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 pound ground lamb
1/4 cup hummus (this is one of my only alterations to Ms Michaels fabulous recipe, it called for a little tahini but I didn't really want to buy it and it is one of the main ingredients in hummus so I added more hummus instead which allowed me to spread my burgers out a little further for fewer points)
1 garlic clove minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Yields 6 servings.
In the work bowl of a food processor, place sunflower seeds, rolled oats, oregano, mint and lemon zest. Process until ground, but not mushy or pureed.
Place the lamb in a large mixing bowl, and add sunflower seed mixture along with hummus, garlic, salt and pepper.
Use your clean hands to gently combine. Form the mixture into six patties and place on a plate.
Cook as you like on an outdoor grill. Or heat a large cast-iron or other heavy-bottomed (not nonstick) skillet over medium heat. When the skillet is hot, add the burgers and cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Then turn with a spatula. Cook for another 5 or 6 minutes. For any cooking method, USDA recommends that burgers be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 160 F.
Serving suggestion: Good served on toasted buns with a 1 Tbsp feta and 1 Tbsp tzatziki sauce, lettuce and tomato.  (Seriously if you have a Costco membership and you haven't bought their tub of tzatziki yet you are missing out.) Now this is how we would have eaten the burgers, as I volunteered to make dinner tonight for my in-laws when we arrived to their house after my Mother-in-law had been working all day.  However I opened my package of buns at the table and they had......um.....expired.  The inside was green and was turning into what my Father-in-law refers to as a "science project".  Nice, how embarrassing.  Luckily my Mother-in-law had whole wheat tortillas, break that meat apart and it's instant gyro!! Awesome.  This meat was SO so good you guys. If you like gyros you have to try this!  Ok with bun, tzatziki and cheese they are 12 pts.  A little harsh, I think.  However delicious enough to be worth it, esp on weigh-in day.  My poor husband missed out on this one as he was leaving for a poker night bachelor party. No way he is eating this good. 

Now lets talk side dishes.  I had to have my ever popular:
Parmesan Sweet Potato Fries

Seriously we eat these like twice a week.  Good thing my husband likes them so much he is willing to cut the potatoes for me, those suckers are hard to cut! Recipe found here in case you missed this one!

OK and we had to do something else exciting, so we found this one thanks to my weekly Yahoo Shine Food emails:

Cilantro Three-Bean Salad

  • 1/2 cup(s) vinegar, cider
  • 3 tablespoon oil, salad
  • 2 teaspoon sugar, brown (packed)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper, black ground
  • 1 can(s) beans, garbanzo (chickpeas), (15 ounces) drained and rinsed
  • 1 can(s) beans, white (small), (15 ounces) drained and rinsed
  • 1 package(s) beans, lima, (10 ounces) thawed
  • 3 medium carrot(s), coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup(s) cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt (my add on)
  • 1 pepper(s), jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped (I skipped this one due to kids!) 

Recipe Tip:

Chill 2 to 24 hours. Or zero hours as we did!


1. For dressing, in a large bowl, whisk together cider vinegar, oil, brown sugar, salt, and pepper. Stir in garbanzo beans, white beans, lima beans, carrots, the 1/3 cup snipped cilantro, and the chile peppers. Cover and chill for 2 to 24 hours, stirring occasionally.
2. Transfer bean mixture to a serving bowl. If desired, garnish with additional snipped cilantro and garlic salt.
Makes 14 servings and this little gem is only 2 pts! It was really good. I definitely thought it needed the salt but maybe that was just me. 
That was it! I will be back on Sunday with a new nugget for you all that may help you in your exercise ambitions and some stretching techniques. Have a blessed weekend!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Just say no!

Today I needed to look back! Remember this post here and this one here.   I had to re-read them to get a handle on my feelings.  These kids sure teach me a lot about myself! The other day my two year old came over to my laptop, her nemesis, her greatest temptation! I said "Don't you touch it!" as she got close and you could just see the wheels churning round and round in her head, "Should I? Shouldn't I?"  She looked over her shoulder at me and gave me the look, the I can't handle it look and hard as she could she smashed her hand down on the keyboard.  Off to timeout she went. Remember these girls (boy do they look alike or what?)


So after her two minutes she apologized to me, I had her repeat "No touch Mommy's computer" and I told her that this had been happening too much and if she hit my computer again she would get a spanking.  We got up from the timeout spot with a hug and a kiss and that little stinker made a beeline for my computer, threw me a defiant glance over her shoulder and smacked the keys once again. This time the wheels weren't churning, there was no thinking or consideration before she stepped into the abyss, no hesitations, just pure unadulterated sin. 

My five year old has to learn similar lessons but thankfully in a more mature manner.  I caught her sneaking some food the other day without asking.  It sparked a conversation about sin and temptation.  It led to me reading to her about the wide vs the narrow way. Matthew 7:13-14 says "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."  I explained to her that the way that we are supposed to go is hard, so hard that many don't bother to choose it, sin is easier and most of the time feels good for a while.  But eventually, that sin leads to many difficulties and hard times and it stops feeling so good.  I explained to her that she knows sneaking food is wrong and that feeling she gets when she wants to do something she knows she isn't supposed to do is called temptation.  Then I taught her one of my favorite verses and had her repeat after me "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man, and God is faithful, he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  But when you are tempted he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." 1 Corinthians 10:13.  Then I reassured her that one of the ways out from under temptation is honestly telling me how she is feeling.  That she can always tell me that she wants to do something she knows she shouldn't and we can talk and pray about it.  Well almost a week later, she came running up to me while her little sister was napping and she had been downstairs playing and I was upstairs folding laundry.  "Mom, I have that tempty feeling that I want to take your Triscuit crackers because they are so delicious and I know I am supposed to ask, I don't know what to do?" Oh, sweet girl, you did exactly what you are supposed to.  My heart was overjoyed, I taught her a life lesson she not only listened to but applied appropriately and it kept her from sneaking.  Well I got her big old bowl of Triscuits and sat down to reflect on this in my own heart for a few minutes. 

Lately my rebellious spirit has been running wild.  "I have been doing this for long enough I don't really need to write down everything I eat, I know what I can and can't eat." "I started running for heavens sakes, I don't need to be so picky about food." "I am running 3-4 times a week, if I want to go out to eat and eat a big dish of pasta, I deserve it." Now this is a fine distinction.  For you these things may not be stumbling blocks in your life and I am not saying eating pasta is a sin.  But for me, the feelings of pride, entitlement, gluttony, choosing the wide easy path instead of the difficult narrow path that leads to better health is sin in my life.  And remember how my young daughter after receiving a punishment ran straight back to the sin with even less hesitancy and thought than before, that is how sin works, it draws us back again and again and it gets easier and easier to run into it's welcoming arms.  But remember it also only feels good for a time.  So I had that bad pasta dinner on Friday night because I was celebrating and it was weigh-in day and I rationalized it but seeing as I hadn't been doing any counting for several days and didn't calculate it, it was a big deal.  So the next day I would be better right, wrong! I had a bagel for breakfast and at dinner we went to Red Robin.  I ordered a greasy cheeseburger of the likes I haven't had in months.  But sin only feels good for a time.  I was only 2/3rds through that burger and the churning indigestion began to stir in my belly.  I felt awful after eating that burger.  In fact I am quite amazed that I ever thought that sort of food tasted good.  The longer you purge that stuff from your diet it would seem the worse it actually tastes if you go back to it.  And in every previous endeavor for me to lose weight I have always given up when the going got tough.  Well not this time.  However many times God gently or strongly has to teach me these lessons through my children or my own stupid tummy ache, I am open to learn it.

I also have been struggling with the pain of picking up the pace of the exercise.  Being a physical therapist who sees injuries all day long, I am so paranoid about getting one myself.  Last weekend I had quite a bit of soreness in my shins and I immediately thought, I can't run anymore I am getting shin splints.  But I knew that was my own weak spirit trying to quit and my own fears taking over.  I need to have that excuse so I can say later "Well I couldn't lose weight anymore because I couldn't exercise, I got shin splints" Not true.  A little stretching, a little massage and I went running again on Monday and I was fine.  I get an occasional twinge in my shin but I am not letting it defeat me.  Then Monday's run brought on foot pain.  I was all set to panic again.  Instead I got a stellar foot massage from my husband last night, I am taking it easy today and then I am going to go back out there as soon as I rest it.  I will not repeatedly fall into these snares.  How fitting is this verse "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." Hebrews 12:1.  Thanks for being my cloud of witnesses.  You are what keeps me going. I know I may have to face a consequence at this weeks weigh-in, but regardless of the outcome I am working on myself and I will not quit.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Side dishes, snack bars and status report

First things first, it's Friday, and I was really hoping since I took up jogging this week I would have a surprise boost in my weight loss but alas it was another even 2 lbs down! 22 lbs since I started this adventure.  Another 3 lbs to my next landmark  weight loss goal! Last time I was really doing good with weight loss with Lose it For Life a few years ago pre-2nd child I don't think I ever made it past 25 lbs so I am getting close! I am going to keep working on the jogging, I feel really good about doing it.  I actually struggled with the breathing thing more than anything.  I guess I am really out of shape, sad to say.  Looking forward to when that doesn't feel so hard for my lungs and heart (I shouldn't feel so old at 31 should I?)

My Mom told me where she got that yummy corn salad she made on Memorial Day, and guess what? I had it all along.  It's from Better Homes and Gardens which I subscribe to however the way I do magazines it is more likely that I would find it next June then anytime soon.  Without further ado....

Fresh Corn Salad
  •  8 ears corn, shucked
  •  6 fresh tomatoes, chopped
  •  2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  •  2 green onions, chopped
  •  1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  •  1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped*
  •  1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  •  4 tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
  •  3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  1. Preheat grill to medium-high. Brush corn with a little olive oil. Grill corn until lightly browned, turning often to cook evenly; cool. When cool enough to handle, cut corn from cobs.
  2. Toss corn with tomatoes, cucumbers, green onions, pepper, jalapeño, cilantro, vinegar, and the 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Toss and marinate at least 2 hours in the refrigerator before serving. Bring to room temperature to serve. Makes 8 servings.
*Hot chile peppers, such as jalapeños, contain oils that can burn skin and eyes. Avoid direct contact as much as possible. Wear plastic gloves. If using bare hands, wash hands well with soap and water. 
10 servings, 4 pts each

The next side dish I made was a watermelon salad for a family barbecue, I had heard about this combo and it sounded up my alley so I went for it, the critics seemed to like it so here goes...

Watermelon Mojito Summer Salad


1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup warm water
a pinch of salt
fresh lime juice
freshly grated lime zest
1 medium large watermelon (8-10 lbs)
1 cucumber thinly sliced
feta cheese crumbles
2 T fresh mint, preferably spearmint, finely chopped
2 T fresh basil


1. In a small bowl, whisk sugar with 1/4 cup warm water and salt until sugar is dissolved. (I microwave mine with frequent stirring if it doesn't dissolve quickly in the warm water.) Stir in lime juice and zest. Cover and refrigerate until cool, about 1 hour. (Syrup can be made ahead, chilled and covered for up to 3 days.)

2. Cube watermelon into 1 inch pieces and add sliced cucumber and refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour. As close to serving time as possible, stir mint and basil into syrup and drizzle over watermelon pieces. Toss. Sprinkle with 1 cup feta cheese. Serve chilled.

1 full cup, 3 pts

Last but not least, I made some snack bars that I got from another fb cooking group for a concert picnic with friends last night, here is how they go:

Oatmeal Everything Bars
Mix together: 2 Cups rolled oats, 1 cup peanut butter (I used chunky), 1 cup flax seed, 1 cup honey, 1/2 cup dried cherries (chopped), 1/2 cup choc chips, 1/2 cup peanut butter chips, 2 scoops of chocolate whey protein powder.  Press into pan and put in fridge for at least 6 hrs (I would recommend actually the freezer because they aren't quite staying together for me!)  I put them in a pan that is smaller than a 9 x 13 it's like 8 x11, cutting them into 28 bars (4 x 7) they are 5 pts each.  Really sweet and good and with all those ingredients like honey, flax seed, whey protein and oats you can almost convince yourself they are healthy...

In another word from my picnic with friends, we had quite a healthy spread and I tried sushi for the first time.  I always was freaked out by the idea of it, I honestly didn't know anything about it! I had california rolls with avocado and crab and can anyone say WASABI!! I was hoping the wasabi would clear out my sinuses, no such luck.  I love it though.  So I guess while I am mentioning that let me recommend a product to you...

Hungry girl taught me about these:
Blue Diamond 100 calorie almond packs! I love the chocolate and the wasabi! Watch out, these bite! Gotta love portion control.  I keep one pack in my purse now at all times.  If my blood sugar starts sinking this is always just the right thing to perk me up!

All right, I need to quit advertising (hey why don't I get a kick-back from my endorsements???) and move on with my day, I need to do a lot before the big day tomorrow!! (You'll find out later what I am talking about if you don't know) One last thing, if all of you could recommend or add 5 of your friends that you think would be interested in the group to the page that would be cool! Thanks! Trying to spread the word.  Have an awesome Friday everyone!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

It's Sunday! And God is good!

First of all, I wouldn't be writing to you if God wasn't so good to me. I was supposed to work at the hospital today. One weekend a month I work at the hospital which I hate for a whole lot of reasons and one very big reason is I don't like breaking the Sabbath, I don't want to work at the hospital when I could and should be going to church with my family to worship God with my church family, to spend time with my family and do amazing things like I have been able to do today.  It has nothing to do with not wanting to work, I love being a therapist, I just wish I didn't have to do it at the hospital and on Sundays! Anyways, I was thrilled yesterday when they were slow and they said they didn't need me today. So off to church we went.  So how was I going to make the most of this gift from God.  First after an amazing morning of worship, visiting with friends and an inspiring sermon I started thinking about lunch on the way home.  I didn't know what I was going to make and the kids were literally chanting in the back about wanting to go to a restaurant and I almost caved but then I thought, no, God allowed me to be home today, I want to cook a nice home cooked healthy meal for my family.  I told them we were going to Momma's Restaurant and luckily they cheered, "Yea, Momma's restaurant is the best!" So this is what we had:

Almond Crusted Chicken (From Jillian Michael's Master Your Metabolism)
and Amanda's Lemon Pepper Pasta Salad

Chicken Ingredients:
3/4 cup unsalted almonds chopped (I smash mine with a meat tenderizer, it's a good stress reliever)
2 Tbsp olive oil
Zest of one lemon
Juice of one lemon
1 sprig of fresh rosemary finely diced
1 garlic clove (or 1 tsp minced)
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
I didn't have Mrs Dash's Lemon Pepper seasoning, I totally would have added some if I did!
6 3-4oz chicken breast halves
6 Tbsp feta cheese

Instructions: Preheat oven to 425deg.  In a bowl mix all ingredients except chicken and feta. Spray square baker with cooking spray, place chicken breasts in and spread almond mixture on top of each breast.  Bake for 10-15 min until meat thermometer reads 165-170 deg.  Top each breast with 1 Tbsp feta cheese. 

So light and lemony and the chicken was so juicy and delicious.  7 pts. So since I am all about themes I made this pasta salad to go with it.

1 lb of whole wheat rotini
4 cups broccoli florets
2 cups chopped bell peppers
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
4 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup Lawry's lemon pepper marinade
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
feta cheese

Partially steam broccoli because I didn't want it all the way cooked but I didn't want it all the way raw.  Cook pasta.  Combine pasta, veges and marinade/seasonings.  Serve in 1 cup portions with 1 Tbsp feta on each serving.  5 pts.

This lunch was so good. You have no idea how giddy I am when it is delicious and healthy.  Such a lucky combination. 

Now on to the other reason why I am such a happy girl today.  You know that video I posted on the fb page, you have probably seen it. It's the Do Life guy Ben who runs and runs and loses 120 lbs and just decides he is going to Do Life.  Very inspirational.  I love how he just decided.  Last night I read over 50 pgs of his blog from the very beginning.  While I don't think he and I necessarily hold all the same values and ideals I am very  impressed with his spirit and drive and determination.  And he is starting an entire movement of people who are doing life.  Starting this Sat actually he is doing a tour across the entire US and doing a 5k with people all over, one 5k each day.  I am very tempted because he is in Detroit on July 3 the day we happen to be over there but I think I can't do a 5k, I can't run, and even though they say you can walk I don't want to be the only one walking, that is so embarrassing....So today I laced on my tennis shoes and I went down to the track that is literally 100 yds from my house (really it's ridiculous how I have NO excuses) and I alternated walking and jogging.  I did a mile and a half.  My kids were playing on the football field, my husband joined me for a few laps.  My dog is SO happy (she is thinking FINALLY!) and I trained her to not cross in front of me but keep pace and heel (she needs to learn, she is going to be my new running partner, HA, did I just say that!).  The first time I ran do you know what song came on....

And our cold and cloudy day receded and the clouds parted and the sun began to shine down on me and I ran...it was a beautiful moment.  The next interval that I had to run, this song came on....

When I finished the mile and a half, I walked home with a smile plastered on my face. I too am going to do life and it feels great.  But even better than that, I am going to do life with God's power, by His strength, following His path and focusing on His ideals.  It is a good thing indeed.  I am happy and blessed today.  And stretching my muscles so I can do it again soon!! Happy Sunday everyone.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Another delicious pizza recipe!

Yesterday I made a Weight Watchers pizza recipe for dinner, Friday night is usually pizza night if we are going to have one!

This was a monster beast of a pizza, check this out...

Chicken Broccoli Pizza
Going in to the oven...

 Coming out of the oven...

Like seriously can you see how thick this piece is??

Take one whole wheat pizza crust, spread with 3/4 cup low-fat ricotta cheese.  Take 1/2 lb chicken and coat with mixture of 1 tsp low-fat milk and 1 Tbsp of reduced fat mayonnaise.  Add 1/2 cup crushed cornflakes and coat.  They differed a little from me here because they had uncooked chicken but mine was cooked.  So they baked it on a cookie sheet for 10 min, I however just threw my coated chicken into a saute pan to warm it/brown it up.  Back to the pizza, on top of the ricotta you sprinkle with coarsely chopped fresh broccoli. I used a lot, this is one of the reason my pizza is so ginormous, you can't have enough broccoli can you? Now this is where I embellished, they didn't use any seasoning. I didn't dare take a chance on having a bland tasteless pizza.  So I sprinkled the pizza with garlic salt, freshly ground black pepper and Mrs Dash's Italian seasoning.  Then you sprinkle with 3 Tbsp shredded Parmesan cheese. Then you add the nice warm coated/crispy chicken.  Finally you top with 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese.  Bake at 450 for 15 min.  Cut into 6 pieces and enjoy, each piece is 6 pts.  That means you get two pieces of this pizza for almost what the cost of a big slice of pepperoni pizza at a pizzeria is.  I didn't eat two by the way it was filling enough to have one, my family supplemented with potato chips and that leaves us leftovers and me points left for my brownie! Oh yeah baby I had another deadly brownie! It's always better to splurge right after weigh-in then right before the next one anyways! 

Does your family have any pizza traditions? What are your favorite unique pizzas? Please post your pizza suggestions on the facebook group page, I like to get your ideas too!  I look forward to hearing your stories...

Friday, June 10, 2011

Something good and something bad!

Friday is weigh-in day and I didn't think I would have a good outcome because despite having a good week I had a bad day yesterday, party at work had me eating extravagantly all day.  However I still managed to lose 2 lbs! I am very happy to be past that 20 lb mark once and for all. 

The something bad is one of the naughty things I ate yesterday which was Brownie Goody Bars that I made.  I saw this recipe in my Betty Crocker newsletter that I get every week.  It sounded kind of weird a little to me but it had all these awards and accolades I assumed it must be worth it.  It had the nutrition info attached with but I didn't want to calculate until after I made them.  So I made them, I brought them to my work get together, they were awesome, extremely sweet so you can get by on a small one and when I got home and calculated 11 pts.  So not something you want to be eating everyday, well maybe you want to but you shouldn't.  Now I realize that not all of you reading this are struggling to lose weight, trust me it's a struggle, and even those of us that are it's important not to give up on the good things in life, but it is also very important to be smart about it and to count it.  I would recommend bringing these somewhere where you can share (I even made my coworkers take home most of the leftovers so I wouldn't be bringing a ton home!) I mean it's OK to have a little of these things but not a whole pan!
So here they are (with some friendly suggestions in italics):

Brownie Goody Bars

box (1 lb 2.4 oz) Betty Crocker® Original Supreme Premium brownie mix (Sorry Betty, I use Ghiradelli)
Water, vegetable oil and egg called for on brownie mix box
cup Betty Crocker® Rich & Creamy vanilla frosting (from 16 oz container) (I used cream cheese instead of vanilla)
cup salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
cups crisp rice cereal
cup creamy peanut butter
1 1/3
cups (8 oz) semisweet chocolate chips
  1. Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pan). Grease bottom only of 9-inch square pan with cooking spray or shortening. (For easier cutting, line pan with foil, then grease foil on bottom only of pan.)
  2. Make and bake brownies as directed on box. Cool completely.
  3. Frost brownies with frosting. Sprinkle with peanuts; refrigerate while making cereal mixture.
  4. Measure cereal into medium bowl; set aside. In 1-quart saucepan, melt peanut butter and chocolate chips over low heat, stirring constantly. Pour over cereal in bowl, stirring until evenly coated. Spread over frosted brownies. Refrigerate 1 hour or until set before cutting. For bars, cut into 4 rows by 4 rows. Store tightly covered at room temperature or in refrigerator. (They were refrigerated overnight and all morning, so when we went to cut into them for lunch they were really hard! I then left them out on the counter and they softened back up later for people to have seconds or take home leftovers, I had made a double patch in a 9x13 for my work, so I would recommend taking them back out of the fridge for at least 30 min before serving!)
Then for breakfast I decided to make myself a little special breakfast, I like to celebrate those weight loss mornings.  I sort of made this one up so here goes...

Amanda's Apple Cinnamon Waffles a la mode

So I toasted an Eggo Whole Grain Low Fat waffle.  Then I diced up one small apple, sauteed it with 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 Tbsp brown sugar and 1 Tbsp whipped butter until caramelized and starting to soften.  Then I took the toasted waffle, added 3 Tbsp of Vanilla Greek Yogurt and topped with the caramelized apple.  It was special and sweet and decadent tasting.  The points are a little tricky, Weight Watcher's confuses me a little in this area.  They say eat all the fruits and veges you want for free but if you put a fruit or veges in a recipe they charge you for them.  This is a bit confusing.  If you typed these ingredients in to your point tracker separately it would be 6 pts however by adding them into a recipe builder it charged 2 pts for the apple for a total of 8 pts. I tend to err on the side of the bigger number to play it safe but I find this a little confusing.  Even at 8 pts it felt like a special dessert rather than a breakfast and it was filling and satisfying so I am good with that.  Anyways I thought I would pass this a long.  I know for me, breakfast is where I get easily stuck in a rut, no no not another bowl of cereal.  Any idea outside of my usual list of 5 standbys is a nice change of pace.  Hope you all have a great weekend! Amanda