Thursday, December 31, 2009

Clean Eating Potato Skins

Adapted from Nov/Dec Issue of Clean Eating Magazine

5 small Potatoes (about 150 grams each)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Low Fat Cheddar Cheese
1-2 Green Onions
4 slices Turkey Bacon
Cayenne Pepper

Poke holes in potatoes with a fork, place in microwave for about 10 minutes, or until "fork tender". Cut in half and dig out the inside of the potato with a spoon leaving between 1/4 and 1/2 inch of the potato. Place on greased cooking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle spices over skins (careful with that cayenne!). Bake for 10 minutes at 425*.

Meanwhile, cook turkey bacon until crisp. Crumble the bacon and slice green onions (enough to sprinkle a few slices on each skin).

Take skins out of oven, sprinkle with cheese (as much as you want, I guess... I mean, the real recipe says some specific amount, but it's in the kitchen and I'm watching the Hokies beat the Vols in the Chick-fil-a bowl, sooo...), bacon, and green onions. Continue baking another 15 minutes or until potatoes are browned.

Serve immediately with sour cream on the side.

DEEEELISH. Great football game snack.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Time to undo everything I've done...

It's been a lousy eating/exercise week. I feel soooo bloated, tired, and just blah. Not to mention my husband's extra present to me: a cold. Sigh... I'm going to be setting some goals very soon about fitness and eating. I've had a year to find lots of recipes and quite a few months to collect clean recipes and learn how to substitute things, so things should be easier now. Once I have control again, it'll all be easier. I think I might pick up a 30 Day Shred DVD at Target. I see a lot of fitness DVDs that are like 45 minutes... I can't do a DVD for that long, but the 30DS is only 20 minutes, that's very easy to handle.

I also would like to get back into running ASAP. I'd like to start a regular running schedule of about 13-15 miles a week, I think.

Something resembling this...

M: 3 Miles
T: 2 Miles
W: 3 Miles
Th: 2 Miles
F: 3 Miles

We'll see what happens... :-/ When normalcy returns, it'll be easier to do it. I just have to make myself do it! I'm also going to go to a class at the gym this week, just to see what's that like. That and I get points for the HFNHC! :-)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas time is here...

Well, after some very, very trecherous driving around VA, we made it to my mom's yesterday and the IL's today. It was a big uffda to get around for sure. The main roads were still not great, which was surprising. Oh well, we're done driving for two days at least.

I'm going to try to get out and run a quick something tomorrow because I need some outdoor time. Being cooped up has been miserable. That and the dinner I consumed tonight is too fattening to think about much less mention to my healthy friends. Attempting to be good seems so futile. At least I took small portions and only had two extra bites after my plate was clear. I'm having more trouble sleeping and I was trying to figure out why, and now that I think about my exercise, I bet it's because I haven't been exercising at all. DUH. My stomach has been way off the past few days since I've not been eating the right things, either. Doing things wrong really does affect me!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Happy Anniversary to Us!

It's our Anniversary! One year has passed so quickly! I got DH the new Norah Jones CD and inside were two tickets to see her in my hometown!
:-) He's a big fan of hers.

This is us at church this morning: (I wore my "getaway" outfit, my wedding jewelry, and my wedding shoes)

Dweeb Husband with head tilted forward, but awesome of me.

Good of DearH and pretty good of me.

My Present! (He actually did go to Jared... Haha)

I've been REALLY slacking in the exercising dept. this week. At least I did a little bit last night and I can feel it big time. I need to get back out running, but it snowed a foot here on Fri/Sat, so the roads aren't super. I'll probably start back up Tuesday. :-)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Make a healthy version of a traditional Hanukkah recipe...

turned into this (ignore the dirty stove):

Latkes (Potato Pancakes)

•1-1/2 lbs. Yukon gold potatoes, peeled

•8 oz (about 2 large) carrots, peeled

•8 oz. (about 2 large) parsnips, peeled

•1/2 cup diced onion

•1 Tbsp. part-skim ricotta cheese

•1/2 cup egg substitute (such as Egg Beaters)

•2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
•Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick spray.
Grate potatoes, carrots and parsnips. Working in small batches, press tightly between paper towels to squeeze out excess moisture. Transfer to a large bowl. Combine with remaining ingredients. Scoop mixture into muffin tins, packing down firmly. Bake 45-55 minutes until golden brown.
Serves 12.

  • Bland...
  • Uninteresting...
  • Went for Subway instead.

  • More potatoes and fewer carrots/parsnips
  • More seasoning (not just S/P)
  • Really press those suckers in the muffin tin
Oh well... I tried a new veggie (parsnips), I posted a recipe, and I made a "healthy" Hanukkah recipe! Points galore! ;-)

Sunday's blues look sunnier on Monday

It also happens to be sunny outside. Something I WISH had happened yesterday. Hmph.

I have to leave in about 30 minutes for Substitute Orientation. YAY! I finally have something to do! I finally get to make MONEY! WOOHOO! I'm steppin' it way up this week on my HFNHC. Ooh yeah. I'm making three traditional winter holiday dishes in new, healthy ways. I'm pretty excited about it! :-)

I was going to run today, but my legs and my hind parts are soooore. I guess the cold did a number on my muscles. I'm feeling a lot better about the race yesterday. Yeah, okay, I didn't do as well as I had hoped, but I still showed up, I still worked hard, and I still FINISHED. Now I know what to expect and what to be ready for when I run the NEXT race. :-)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Toys for Tots 5k

Just finished my first 5k. Before going in, I told myself that if I had to walk, I had to walk. I also set three goals.

I walked and I didn't meet even the easiest goal.

I finished in 36 minutes and 27 seconds.

Things I've learned:

1. Don't run a 5k in pouring rain. Rain=evil saturation of all that I wear, which in turn=slower.

2. Don't wear the Adidas pants that I wore. They absorbed ALL the water and slowed me down a LOT. I took them off around 2.5 miles and ditched them (got them back after the race) by a sign. Wish I had never worn them and just worn my tights. Things were much easier.

3. Push harder. I am very disappointed that I walked, even thought I told myself it'd be okay if I did. I feel like I should have at least gotten in under 35 and I didn't.

It was also 37 degrees... OK if dry. Miserable if wet.

DH was there to photograph the event.

He has been trying to cheer me up ever since. He's very proud of me. I know I should be too. Two and a half months ago, I couldn't run 1 mile, much less three. I can run three, I just couldn't do it today. I know I should be proud that I did this at all.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

I just...

RAN A 9.30 MILE!!!!!!!!!! Fastest EVER!!!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

My first 3 mile run EVER

It was supposed to be 3.1 miles in preparation for Sunday's 5k (just wanted to see if I could do it all running, which I think I can, based on today), but I missed a turn in my suburbian road labrynth that I call my running route, so it turned out being 3.03 miles, but I did have to run in place for at least 15 seconds while waiting for traffic, so I'm kinda telling myself I did the 5k anway. ;-) It took me 32 min 41 sec.

I feel very good about myself, though when I finished I thought I was going to die. I live in very hilly suburbia, but luckily the race is flat. Before c25k, I had hardly run a mile, and that was only in HS gym class... sooo... 7+ years ago? Now I can run THREE miles. :-)
I have some goals for Sunday.

Goal 1: Sub 35 min 5k (an easy goal I pretty much know I can achieve)

Goal 2: Sub 33 min 5k (something I'd have to work for, but achievable)

Goal 3: Sub 31 min 5k (I've never run a whole mile at a 6mph pace, so this is a stretcher)

I feel a little guilty because I never really "completed" the c25k program. I went through week 7, then skipped week 8, and now I am pretty much doing week 9 in preparation for Sunday's race... it's been a 2.5 month journey, but it's been worth it. I can't believe how far I've come. I NEVER thought I'd run 3 miles. Now, I can and I HAVE. I was thinking today about what comes next. I finish c25k. I can run 3 miles. Am I going to keep going? Am I really crazy enough to work up to 26.2? I just don't know if I've fallen in love with it yet, you know? We'll see what happens after Sunday. The race could change everything. Just pray for NO RAIN!

Monday, December 7, 2009


I have been failing a lot lately. Failing at keeping up with my blog, failing at keeping up with my challenge... I am SO not in the lead anymore. Ugh. Failing at keeping up with exercise... Speaking of, I need to go run, but I really don't want to. I hate the roads I run. I hate the hills. I hate my snail pace. Ugh. Saturday was tough. I ran 2 miles in the rain and freezing cold weather. It snowed later in the day. It was my first rain run. I was supposed to do 28 minutes/2.75 miles, but I just didn't have the heart to do it all, so I ran 1 mile, took a 2 minute walk break, then ran a little over another mile. Sigh. We'll see how today goes if I ever get out there and do it. I need to get a move on because I have to drive to my mother's today to take her stuff from our Disney vacation back to her and make fattigman cookies. I have to leave here by 3.15, which gives me a little more than an hour and a half to run for 38 minutes, shower, pack up the car, and pick up powdered sugar and cream. Oy vey! I better get moving!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

As promised...

Tosca Reno's White Chicken Chili
Serves 8-10
From The Eat Clean Diet Cookbook

3 medium Poblano chiles, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
2 medium Jalepeno chili peppers, seeded and deveined, chopped
2 Vidalia onions, peeled and chopped
2 ribs celery, trimmed and chopped
1 large leek, white only, well rinsed and chopped
6 cloves garlic, passed through a garlic press
2 Tbsp ground cumin
2 Tbsp dried oregano
2 Tbsp dried basil
1 tsp fresh rosemary
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 cups water or low sodium chicken stock
2 x 15 oz cans of navy, cannellini, or other small white bean or combination, drained and rinsed
3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and cubed (I used about 2 and 1/4 and it was PLENTY)
Juice from 2 fresh limes
Juice from 2 fresh lemons
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
4 green onions, trimmed and chopped for garnish


1. In a large saucepan or dutch oven, place all chiles, onions, celery, leeks, garlic, cumin, oregano, basil, rosemary, olive oil,  sea salt, and black pepper. Cook over medium heat until onions become translucent--about ten minutes.
2. Add 8 cups cooking liquid, beans, and cubed chicken and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and let mixture simmer for 40 minutes. Add lime and lemon juices, cilantro, and green onions. Remove from heat and serve immediately.


Friday, November 13, 2009

Oh wagon, where art thou?

I fell off a little today. Dinner was Cici's. I wasn't too bad. I had like the equivalent of 2 normal slices of pizza, maybe 2.5, a salad, one cinnamon roll, and one brownie. Haha. My stomach is NOT happy though, I will tell you that much. Oh HFNHC, you are so good at making me feel so guilty. :-)

DH and I may go to Williamsburg for some Christmas shopping. I'm hoping to find an ornament for my Nestie Exchange, but I'm having trouble finding the right thing for her. :-/

11 more days till the family trip to Disney... Can't wait! We got our trading pins in the mail yesterday and we are going to have a BLAST!!! It'll be great to see everyone again, especially my precious niece. :-)

All for now. Though, I promise to post the new recipe (and pics) by the end of tomorrow!!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009


So it's been raining for the past two days, which means no running, but it does mean a healthy appetite for some yummy soup. I'll post the recipe and pictures tomorrow, but let's just say that Tosca Reno's White Chicken Chili is AMAZING. I am soooo full!

Today was not a good HFNHC day at all. I didn't drink any water until at least 8 PM, I ate TWO meals, but three if you count the endless number of pepparkakor that DH and I consumed during our epic Thursday night TV viewing. At least I did exercise! I have a feeling I'll be sore tomorrow, which is no bueno because I HAVE to run my 2.5 miles for C25k W7D2!! Woot!

I also had the strangest dream about aliens coming to the planet disguised as humans. The government handed out sheets of paper for citizens to write down the names of suspected aliens. Apparently they wanted to kidnap us. Luckily, DH and I found a society of young people (high school aged kids) successfully hiding and formulating a plan to rise up against the aliens. This society also had a large selection of wonderful literature such as The Great Gatsby and other great titles as if they were educating themselves. If only the latter part were a reality and teenagers wanted to read and learn about great literature. Ooookay... Goodnight!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I am one. OK. Now that we've established that, we can move on.

Yesterday was a good day. I ran W7(holy halibut! W7 already?) D1 of c25k (25 minutes of running, 2.42 miles; getting closer to 6 min mile pace!), we had an old college friend over for dinner and a movie since he was in town on business, and I made a pretty spectacular dinner.

CLEAN Spaghetti Carbonara

Story: My mom was really sick (before I was born) and my dad had to do a lot of cooking, so his boss gave him a recipe for a very simple pasta dish that has stayed with the family for many years now.

1 lb Whole Wheat Pasta
6 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (divided 4, and 2)
4 tsp salt
3 eggs (or whites)
1 package of Turkey Kielbasa Sausage plus any seasonings you'd like to add (I use black pepper and oregano)
1/2 cup-1 cup parmesan cheese

Bring 4 tbsp EVOO and salt to boil. While water gets to boil, cut sausage into small, bite-sized chunks.
Add pasta to boiling water and cook to desired softness. While the pasta cooks, brown the sausage with seasonings (I use EVOO to do this, but cooking spray works).
Drain, place back in pot, and add the eggs, tossing with HOT pasta to cook the eggs. Add 2 tbsp EVOO, sausage, and Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste if desired.

As of week 1 of the HFNHC, I am winning. That's because I'm awesome. :-)

I contacted HR of the county schools for the county I live in and she said that my name should come up for orientation for subbing in the next few weeks. That'd be wonderful, really wonderful.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


Well, it's been a full, but good day.

1. I finished W6D3 of C25k. 2.35 miles in 25 minutes.
2. We had some friends over for lunch today, which was reallly fun. I made Ina's Pork Loin again, which I thought was delicious. :-)
3. I left my purse in DH's car, and he left for church before I did, so he had to come all the way home to bring me my keys. Oops.

Yesterday, I finished the first week of the HFNHC, gaining about 1000 points in the week. That felt good and I feel like I could be up in the lead, but who knows. :-) I'm trying to do a lot of the 1x/challenge tasks right away to boost the score and make sure I get those things done. :-)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Baked Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta and Sweet Potato Oven Fries

Two new recipes today....

Baked Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta
Ellie Krieger's The Food You Crave

1 tbsp olive oil
1 med. onion, diced (1.5 cups)
2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tsp)
Two 14.5 oz cans no-salt-added diced tomatoes, with their juices
1/4 cup finely minced fresh flat-leaf parsley (I used a lot less dried herbs)
1 tbsp finely minced fresh dill (I used rosemary)
1 1/4 lbs  medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
Dash of salt
Dash of black pepper
2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 3 oz)

Preheat the oven to 425*. Heat the oil in an ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cool stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer for about 5 minutes, until the tomato juices thicken.

Remove from the heat. Stir in the parsley, dill, and shrimp and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the feta over the top. Bake until the shrimp are cooked through and the cheese melts, about 12 minutes.

Review: Okay, I don't know if I didn't simmer the tomatoes long enough or if the frozen shrimp made it extremely watery, but it was very watery. Tasty, but watery. DH really liked it and thought it was tasty. This coming from a man who doesn't care for tomatoes!

For a Thursday night T.V. watching snack, we had...

Sweet Potato Oven Fries
Tosca Reno's The Eat Clean Cookbook

Eat Clean Cooking Spray
Fresh Rosemary to cover a baking sheet (I used dried)
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground pepper
2 medium sweet potatoes (about a lb) scrubbed and blotted dry

Preheat oven to 400* F

Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Spread rosemary on sheet in layer, making sure the surface is covered. Mix all other ingredients, except potatoes, in a small bowl. (Instead of doing this, I just sprinkled each over the potatoes and used cinnamon instead of the paprika to complement the sweetness of the potatoes).

Square off potatoes and slice into "steak fries." Lay the strips on the rosemary in single layer. Sprinkle with mixture and spray generously with cooking spray. Bake 20 minutes.

Spray again and return to oven for 25 minutes or until fries are golden and puffed.

Review: These were really squishy after even the second 25 minutes, and I ended up leaving them in for another 10 minutes at least. I did NOT care for these at all, but I think that's because I just do not like sweet potatoes. I was very excited about trying a new veggie, but I still feel yucky after trying to eat them... On a lighter note, DH LOVED them and ate them ALL.

HFNHC is going well and I love doing it. :-) Part of doing the Sweet Potato Fries was for a part of the challenge. :-) Try a new vegetable and post a review. Since making sure I drink all the water, I am visiting the potty quite a bit these days! Haha.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Notice Increased Activity?

That's probably because I get 5 points every day that I blog about the HFNHC and I am in it to win it, baby!

Today was a full and crazy day. I got out more Christmas stuff and ended up wrapping all the presents. Our tree looks great now. I guess I should post a photo of it sometime! I got the stockings on their holders (which look AWESOME) and made a big mess. After spending all day watching Bones and wrapping gifts, I went to church (where I actually made GOOD choices and stuck to Clean Eating as much as possible at dinner). Working with the Upper School youth is chaotic but fun. Tonight, we made signs for their tailgate at the Godwin/Deep Run game. Neither school have I ever been to, but I ended up making the BIG sign for Godwin, but it's okay because my good friend from college did go there, so I made it for him. :-)

After church, DH and I hit up the gym for a little C25k action. W6D1: OVER. It's getting tougher, and it's a WHOLE different world when you're on a treadmill. I really really really prefer the open road. It's easier for me to focus on other things because there are a million more distractions (such as psycho dog that runs at us every time we pass his house. Yes he does have an electric fence). The treadmill feels like death and my feet hit it so heavily and I hate it. Haha. I guess I've complained enough.

I really like doing this challenge because it makes me really think about the choices that I make throughout the day and I really think it will help me develop better habits in life, though I haven't made it without leftover Halloween candy since the 1st day. Haha.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


I always forget how much I love Charlottesville. It's such a great town full of so many fun things. I believe it will always be my home and I doubt if I'll ever forget how to get around the city unless there are drastic changes.

Today is day 3 of the HFNHC (Health and Fitness Nestie Holiday Challenge). Because I went to Cville and ate at a FABULOUS restaurant called Orzo with my mother, I did not adhere to a few of the smaller point winners. Oh well, it was SO worth it. I think I still managed to rack up almost 100 points today. I really am having fun doing this so far. I like to see how much I can fit into one day because I REALLY want to WIN!!! The veggies and fruit still seem to be a struggle for me, but after these two months, I bet I'll get REALLY good at fitting those in! I am concerned about this weekend because we are going to the IL's and my MIL is a good cook, but of course all those good meals mean not many points in the challenge! Haha. I'll figure something out I'm sure. Well, it's off to bed. We got fewer than 5 hours of sleep last night because we stayed up late talking and then were up at 6 to vote in the election (just doing our civic duty). Go Bob McDonnell!

Super Quick Post

I'm supposed to reflect every day as part of the HFNHC, so here's lookin' at Monday, Kid.

C25k W5D3 was CRAZY. 20 MINUTES OF STRAIGHT RUNNING. WHOA. 1.9 miles... Not bad. Darn hills... DH was SO encouraging. It really helped. :-)

Did not avoid sugar today... it was calling to me. Darn Halloween candy. I'm finding it very difficult to get so many fruits and veggies in though... A lot of my apples and other "servings" are really like 2 servings, which helps, but oy, it's a lot.

We did a lot of Christmas shopping today! Yay! More tomorrow. ;-)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Health and Fitness Nestie Holiday Challenge

So... I'm doing a health and fitness challenge on The Nest (aka my online home), and you lovely people will get to read about it! Since it's day 1, there's not a lot to report, but for Daily Tasks, I am well on my way to completing 1. Drinking enough water 2. Eating 5 servings of fruits and vegetables 3. Wearing sunscreen (EASY! It's in my makeup!!) 4. Avoiding sugars 5. Eating whole grain breads and baked goods and numerous other things. Avoiding the sugar is SUPER hard right now because there is a BIG bowl of Reese's, Almond Joys, Hershey's, and Kit Kats in front of me that is left over from the ZERO trick-or-treaters we had last night. Uff da!

Lunch today knocked my socks off. I used some of the turkey to make some AMAZING sandwiches with swiss cheese, lettuce, and honey mustard on Arnold's WW Sandwich Thins and then we had salads and strawberries. I also tacked on a few almonds because they were sitting in a paper towel on my side table from yesterday. :-)

I'm excited about this challenge. It's just what I need right now. :-)

It's raining AGAIN, so C25k W5D3 will wait until tomorrow... Poo. Haha.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

What says Halloween better than Carved Pumpkins and The Nightmare Before Christmas?

Happy Halloween!!!!

Friday, October 30, 2009


Today, I made two new dishes. :-) Pad Thai Clean Eating Style and Maple Ginger Turkey Breast. :-) Both turned out extremely well, though on the latter, there was hardly any trace of the marinade itself in the meat... Oh well. Still juicy and good!

I accidentally put in 2x the noodles... Oh well, it was super!!!!!

Not the prettiest photo... Oh well... It's proof that I actually made a Turkey.

DH just said as he saw me put up the photos, "You spoiled me today!" because I brought him the Pad Thai for lunch at the library while he studied for his actuarial exam and made the turkey for a late dinner. :-) I loved hearing that!! He even did the dishes (unloaded and reloaded) for me, which made my night even better. We'll be a little sinful later have some of Grandma Jan's famous Chocolate Herman bread, but all in all, I was very pleased with my eating today. :-)

OH and I was wrong about C25k! I do have planned walking breaks for W6D1 and W6D2... Thank you Lord!!! I am very nervous about tomorrow, but since I have been able to accomplish the days pretty well so far, I guess I am ready! If only all the hills would disappear before tomorrow morning!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Well, it's been a while... Sorry! It's been busy around here with DH studying for his next actuarial exam, church, new cooking adventures, shopping, and general merriment surrounding the celebration of my birth! :-) My mom got the swine flu (probably) and is getting over it, my ILs and Grandparent ILs came in, my Dad and his wife came into town too... We went to a great housewarming party for some new church friends... Let's see... Well, most exciting of all...

My birthday was just over a week ago and DH made it perfect in every way except one thing... He woke me up at 7 AM. Haha. He had to head out for some "last minute birthday stuff", which I knew meant breakfast and flowers. :-) He returned with both (Einstein Bros Bagels and Tulips, my favourite) as well as a cake. How sweet is he? :-) For lunch, we went to Maymont Park, which was lovely. After that we went shopping and I got my nails done (love that!). Dinner was the real treat, though; We went to The Melting Pot. YUM. The big night out was definitely that: BIG. I had to unzip my dress in the car in order to breath properly after expanding from so much food.

Lately, we've been experimenting with a few recipes. On Tuesday, we had Clean Eating Macaroni, a recipe I believe I got from TPOX, a wonderful clean eating blogger that I know of from The Nest Boards. Tonight we had Oatmeal Banana Pancakes with a Pomegranate Syrup, also courtesy of TPOX's blog. :-) They were a hit with DH, but I'm not sure I liked the syrup with the pancakes, though separately, each were very good. I get so many fun recipes from people's blogs! Tomorrow night I am making Maple Ginger Turkey Breast, which, if I am not mistaken, has ALSO been taken from TPOX's blog! Oh my!!! Thanks TPOX!

We are now about to finish Week FIVE of the C25k program. Today was 8 minutes of jogging, 5 minute rest, 8 minutes of jogging. It was hard, but at the same time, I did feel ready to run before the 5 minute walk was over. This is the scary point in the training though because now there are no more scheduled walks in the program!! YIKES! Sat/Sun (whichever day we can do it) is a 20 minute straight run! My oh my! At least it's something to counteract my sitting on my butt watching the first two seasons of Bones on DVD which we bought a week ago tomorrow. I finished two seasons of TV in 6 days. Holy mackerel I need a life!

I think I may have good news on the job front. At church last night, two separate people told me about opportunities in the county that we live in. One teaches for the county and said she'd look into the subbing situation for me and talk to some people and the other, our new friend Kim, told me about a job fair for the county schools coming up next month! Let's hope and pray that there's something GOOD out there. I had substitute "orientation" for the city schools a few weeks ago and it was AWFUL. When something like that is presented in such a disorganized fashion, it really makes me want to participate even less. So much time and energy could have been saved if there had been simple planning. I find that this is the case most everywhere I go, but being an organizer and someone who is fond of efficiency, I am bound to notice how things can be improved to be more time effective as well as just more effective in general.

Okay, that was the most boring paragraph EVER. I'm quitting now while I'm ahead.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Is it possible?

To love the Food Network Chefs any more than I already do? I don't think so.

Tonight's dinner was

Herb Marinated Loin of Pork

Courtesy of Ina Garten

(Sorry, I may have to post picture later because I accidentally took the picture on my camera's internal memory and not on my card, which I can stick directly into the computer and I don't know where the cord for my camera is since I never need it!)

Grated zest of one lemon
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (4-6 lemons)
1/2 cup good olive oil, plus extra for brushing the grill
2 tbsp minced garlic (6 cloves)
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary leaves
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 tsp Dijon mustard
Kosher salt
3 pork tenderloins (about 1 lb each)
Freshly ground black pepper

Combine the lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, rosemary, thyme, mustard, and 2 tsp salt in a sturdy 1 gallon resealable plastic bag. Add the pork tenderloins and turn to coat with the marinade. Squeeze the air out and seal the bag. Marinate the pork in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, but preferably overnight.
When you're ready to cook, build a charcoal fire or heat a gas grill. Brush the cooking grate with oil to prevent sticking. Remove the tenderloins from the marinade and discard the marinade but leave the herbs that cling to the meat. Sprinkle the tenderloins generously with salt and pepper. Grill the tenderloins, turning a few times to brown on all sides, for 15-25 minutes (depending on the heat of the coals) until the meat registers 137 degrees at the thickest part. Transfer the tenderloins to a platter and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Allow to rest for 10 minutes. Carve in 1/2-inch-thick diagonal slices. The thickest part of the tenderloin will be quite pink (it's just fine!) and the thinnest part will be well done. Season with salt and pepper and serve warm, or at room temperature with the juices that collect in the platter.

I made a few changes... I used dried herbs (bad selection in produce dept!) and I used a George Foreman grill because we live in a tiny apartment and have no real grill. :-(


For dessert (okay and an afternoon snack) I made...

Ellie Krieger's Double-Chocolate Brownies (Almost-Clean Style) From Food Network Magazine

6 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used dark chocolate morsels)
2 tbsp unsalted butter (I used Country Crock)
1 cup whole grain pastry flour (or 1/2 cup each of whole-wheat and all-purpose flours) *I used 3/4 cup WW and 1/4 AP because my grocery store fails...
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
4 large eggs (I used egg whites)
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1/4 cup canola oil (I used applesauce)
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350* and coat a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.
2. Melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally; do not let the bottom of the bowl touch the water.
3. Whisk flour, cocoa, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and brown sugar until smooth, then add the yogurt, oil, and vanilla and whisk to combine. Whisk in the melted chocolate mixture until blended. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just moistened.
4. Spread the batter in prepared pan and sprinkle with walnuts if desired. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Cool completely in the pan or on a rack before slicing. (OR if you can't wait like ME, cut with a plastic knife... A trick my MIL taught me!)

They are pretty good for not the real thing and definitely satisfy the craving! Very moist!

Dinner RAVE and more

"What's cookin'?", you might ask... Well, I'll tell you.

Ellie Krieger's Crab Cakes and Ina Garten's Confetti Corn, that's what!

Crab Cakes

Courtesy of Ellie Krieger, The Foods You Crave

Cooking Spray
1 large egg, lightly beaten (I used Egg Whites)
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Dash of hot sauce
1/2 tsp Old Bay seasoning
1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1 scallion (white and green parts), finely chopped
1 lb lump crabmeat, picked over for shells and cartilage
3/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs (I toast whole wheat bread and then blended them on "Crumb" to make my own!)
1/4 tsp sale
Pinch of freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400*F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, mix together the egg, mustard, Worcestershire, lemon juice, hot sauce, and Old Bay. Stir in the bell pepper and scallion. Gently fold in crap, 1/4 cup of the bread crumbs, salt, and pepper. Put the remaining 1/2 cup bread crumbs in a shallow dish.
Divide the crab mixture into 8 mounds. Shape each mound into a round and coat evenly with bread crumbs. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and flatten the crap cake to form a patty about an inch high. Spray each crab with a little cooking spray.
Bake until golden on the bottom, about 10 minutes. Gently flip the crap cakes and cook until the second side is golden, 5-10 minutes longer. Serve hot.

She also included a recipe for "Smarter Tartar Sauce," but I opted to make my own sauce for the cakes... I just put equal amounts of honey mustard, dijon mustard, french mustard, and mayo in with a splash of lemon juice, parsley, and basil. It was delish.

The crab cakes did NOT want to stay together AT ALL... but they were VERY tasty anyway!

Confetti Corn

Courtesy of Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa, Back to Basics

2 tbsp good olive oil
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1 small orange bell pepper, 1/2 inch diced
2 tbsp unsalted butter (I used Smart Balance with Flax Oil)
Kernels cut from 5 ears yellow or white corn (I used 2 small packages of frozen Kroger Sweet Corn)
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp julienned fresh basil, minced fresh chives, and/or minced fresh parsley (I used less dried basil and parsley as the grocery store I stopped at had a bad selection of herbs on Monday)

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large saute pan. Add the onion and saute for 5 minutes, until the onion is soft. Stir in the bell pepper and saute for 2 more minutes.
Add the butter to the pan and allow it to melt. Over medium heat, add the corn, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes, until the corn just loses its starchiness. Season to taste, gently stirring in the basil or other green herbs, and serve hot.

H LOVED this corn, as did I. There was a LOT of it, so we'll have it again with our pork loin and roasted potatoes and veggies tonight. :-) Yum!

Last night, two wonderful things happened.

1.) We FINALLY got cable. HELLO FOOD NETWORK, TRAVEL CHANNEL, LIFETIME, and MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL. Happiness! It's a SUPER deal with HD, a gajillion channels, AND a DVR!!!!

2.) We did Week 3, Day 1 of C25k and I ran the whole way and then some. This week is: 5 minute brisk walk warmup, 90 second jog, 90 second brisk walk, three minute jog, three minute brisk walk, 90 second jog, 90 second brisk walk, three minute jog, three minute brisk walk, 5 minute brisk walk cool down. We took a wrong turn in my map, so we did an 8 minute cool down walk, and I got a horrendous cramp in my right side AND one of my toenails stabbed its neighboring toe, which was also no fun, but I made it through. No walks on the jog, and I got confused about the times, so the second 3 minute jog was more like a 5 minute jog. :-) It was fun though. I did get scared half to death about 10 minutes in when a dog jumped out of NOWHERE and started barking at us... I totally screamed because it surprised me so much. He might have been right there, but I was focusing on my jog, so I definitely didn't see him. It was actually pretty funny. :-)

TONIGHT is marinated pork loin (it's been marinating since last night at about 5... YUM), roasted potatoes, red bell pepper (left over from crab cakes), and purple onion (left over from confetti corn), and left over confetti corn. YUM. I can't wait and neither can H!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

It's amazing...

... what a little fresh air and exercise will do for you! I was feeling a little blue this morning, so I said to myself: "Self, why don't you take yourself out for a walk. It's gorgeous outside!" So that's what I did. I walked about 1.75 miles in 25 minutes. I was going to walk 30, but I couldn't think of a creative way to extend my walk for 5 more minutes because I took a new path. I jogged a teeeeeny bit. It also started to get hot and I wore "warmer" clothes... so I was ready to be inside. Oh, and one more excuse... I had a strange dog following me for the last .25 mile or so... Strange in the sense that I didn't know him, not strange in the "weird" sense.

I enjoy the convenience of the Wednesday night suppers at our church, but I am SO excited about the dinners for the rest of the week that I just want to make them already! IMO, the dinners are also a little pricey, but they are good, though not clean, so I guess Wednesday dinner will have to be my exception and I'll just have to be careful!

I have been feeling a whole lot better about myself since starting both the c25k program and clean eating. I don't mind the image the mirror gives me so much anymore. Haha. My clothes still don't fit quite the same, but I'm sure that soon they will fit just fun. For the first time, I feel like I don't have to worry about it and as long as I keep doing what I'm doing and don't overdo anything, I will be fine, dandy, and very happy with my body again. I know everyone says you gain weight when you get married, but since when did that become any sort of excuse for putting on 7 lbs? For the past month, my weight has fluctuated a lot and I've been pretty angry with my Wii Fit for telling me that I weigh what it says I weigh, but I'm just going to roll with it. I only weigh once a week so that daily fluctuations don't get me down, but when I go from 118.5 down to 116.5 back up, then back down, then BACK UP AGAIN every flippin' week... stop... breathe... it's okay. This week I know why it was back up again and next week, it will probably be back down again because I won't be dealing with the same biological issues as this week. Okay... enough of this talk.

Speaking of C25k, I start W3 with H tomorrow and I am neeeervous!!! I mean, I'm gonna do it. I have to do it. I can do it, but it's going to be a challenge. I will definitely have to slow back down for the first day especially. I just have to keep telling myself... I can do it. I can do it. I can do it. I can do it. I can do it!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I've got to be crazy!

I have decided that my ultimate goal is to... run a MARATHON. Whoa. But Jessica, you can't even run. Well, I can't run yet. Today is W2D3 of C25k and my goal for the day is 2.5 miles in the 30 minutes. I've mapped out the course and I really want to do it, so I am going to do something new tonight: really push myself. That's not to say I haven't been pushing in this program, but so far, I've been taking it relatively easy, while still working hard... if that makes sense. Mentally, I know I can step it up a little more because I've been able to complete almost two weeks of training without walking on my runs. I mean, it's been a challenge, but at the same time, I've been able to do it and have felt pretty strong by the end, so why not step it up for the last day of the "week"? I CAN do it. I actually like this!

ANYWAY... Back to this marathon business. This is quite possibly the most ridiculous thing I have ever set my mind to. My sister-in-law is a marathon runner. I always thought "that's great, but not for me!" Well, now that I've started on this program, I really want to GO somewhere with it.

My Goal Map

First goal (short term, building goal): Complete the C25k program November 23rd, 2009.
Second goal (short term, culmination goal): Run a 5k in late November/early December 2009.
Third goal (mid term, building goal): Complete a 10k training program by the end of February 2010.
Fourth goal (mid term, culmination goal): Run a 10k in March 2010.
Fifth goal (long term, building goal): Complete a Marathon Mileage Buildup Schedule by the end of July 2010.
Sixth goal (long term, building goal): Complete a Marathon Training Schedule by December of 2010.
Seventh goal (long term, culmination): Complete the Walt Disney World Marathon in January of 2011.

Holy buckets, I must be crazy. Why would I ever want to do this???

Monday, October 5, 2009

Food Network Magazine's Three Cheese Macaroni

1 large egg (I used 3 tbsp egg beaters)
1 12 oz can evaporated whole milk
Pincg of cayenne pepper (I used cumin because I love the smoky flavour)
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/3 cups grated muenster cheese (I used pepper jack) plus 1 oz for topping
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into small florets  (4 cups)
4 cups medium pasta shells (I used Barilla whole grain)

1. Whisk the egg, evaporated  milk, cayenne, nutmeg, and salt and black pepper to taste in a bowl. Toss the grated cheeses in a separate bowl.
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the cauliflower and cook until almost falling apart, about 7 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a bowl. Add the pasta to the same water and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup cooking water. Preheat the broiler.
3. Combine the egg mixture and the grated cheeses in the empty pot and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the cheeses melt and the sauce begins to thicken. Remove from the heat and add the cauliflower. Puree with an immersion blender until smooth and light (you can also use a regular blender). Stir in some of the reserved pasta water until creamy (I did not have to do this).
4. Toss the pasta in the sauce; season with salt and black pepper. Transfer to a shallow casserole dish and top with muenster slices. Broil until golden brown, about 5 minutes.

If made according to the recipe, Per Serving (about 1.5 cups):
Calories: 403
Fat: 17 g (Sat: 10 g)
Cholesterol: 85 mg
Sodium: 517 mg
Carbs: 41 g
Fiber: 2 g
Protein: 20 g

Sorry about the picture. I got excited about eating it... Should have taken the picture before I indulged with DH.

And now we invite you to relax, let us pull up a chair as the dining room proudly presents...

Your dinner...

Monday/Tuesday: Food Network Magazine's Healthy Mac and Cheese (OKAY not super Clean, but at least I can pronounce the ingredients!)
Wednesday: Church dinner (Meatloaf... guaranteed not to be clean, though I now have an excellent adaptable clean recipe!)
Thursday: Ellie Krieger's Crab Cakes
Friday: Ina Garten's Herb-Marinated Loin of Pork
Saturday: Cilantro Ginger Tilapia

Yummy week ahead. :-) I will definitely be posting any super successful recipes!

Switched Allegiances

I have been blogging on wordpress for a little while now, but now that I have started on this path of clean eating and the c25k program (as inspired by the ladies on the health & fitness board on the Nest), I have found that many of the blogs I like to read from said board are on blogspot, not wordpress. These ladies have such wonderful recipes for clean eating that I just had to have an easy way to follow their food experiments and try them myself. I am so excited about this new lifestyle and knowing others are doing it and succeeding and have such great things to say about it helps so much! So, here's to those nesties, thanks for the blogs; they have inspired me to really commit to this new lifestyle.

That being said, H and I ran W2D2 of the c25k program yesterday afternoon before church and I made it all the way through, despite feeling like death at some points! Haha. I find that the 5th and 6th 90 second runs are the hardest for me, but once I get to the 7th, I feel great. Right now, the 1st and part of the 2nd runs are up a large hill, which is challenging, but it makes me feel all the more accomplished for making it up the hill. The third and fourth runs are usually down a very nice hill, which I appreciate. :-)

I'm still putting together this week's menu, but I got my Food Network Magazine recently and there is a fantastic looking recipe for healthy mac and cheese with cauliflower in it! If I try it out, I will definitely post the recipe. I hope it is as fantastic as it looks. :-) Yesterday, I went to Border's and got two new cookbooks. Ina Garten's Back to Basics and Ellie Krieger's The Foods You Crave (I think that's the title!). H and I looked through Ellie's book last night and it looks faaantastic. There is a turkey recipe that spirals a butterflied breast with the stuffing and I am going to try that one for Christmas since we'll be in Disney World for Thanksgiving (only 50 days till I see my niece... oh, and my brother and sister-in-law).

Speaking of Disney World (one of my many obsessions), my brother and I spent a lot of time talking about our trip and the Disney Vacation Club this weekend while he was in town with my niece (the cutest little 7 month old ever). It would be so wonderful to be able to vacation with friends or family in the same 2 bedroom suite for 5 days or so. The newest resort, Bay Lake Towers (on the Contemporary property), looks fabulous. I've always thought the Contemporary needed a facelift... it's the vision of the future, but from decades ago... But now, Bay Lake has come along and redeemed the Contemporary in my mind. Though, don't get me wrong, I love all things Disney, even the Contemporary. :-)

Scary moment just now: Accidentally closed this tab and lost the post, but then finally found where my drafts were... Phew. Crisis averted.