Posted by: the delish | March 27, 2012

Working out = hungry.

Several people have asked me lately how I am doing this diet and if it was hard to get started. Yes, it was very hard. Very hard. Hard to get out of the rut of comforting, fatty, high cal, high carb foods that I had been in. Hard to be logging all that I ate and facing the harsh realities of just why I had gained so much. Hard to not have a snack whenever I wanted. Hard to be hungry ALL THE DAMN TIME.

That was by far the hardest part. I was hungry every minute of every day for like a month. I would eat a meal or a snack and still be hungry. I remember one time eating lunch and then almost crying because I was still starving. (Yep, I am a hungry cryer. Or sometimes “hangry” lol.)

Finally, I started to get used to it. And I just recently realized I was not so hungry anymore, even at mealtimes. I backed off on the protein at lunch time and began to load up more on veggies. 

For the last several days, I have been getting some sort of exercise every day. Yesterday and today, I found myself very hungry again. Today I snacked a lot more than normal. Now I am thinking maybe I should put that protein back in at lunch – although I even had a Greek yogurt for breakfast today which I don’t normally have. So now I am confused.

On a side note, I can’t believe I have been working out this much! I think what motivated me was that I have been on the dreaded “plateau” and I am 5 measly pounds away from that 9 month pregnant weight that has been my first goal. It is not my ultimate goal, but it is a marker that I want to pass – and soon! 

I could afford to do some cleanup in my diet. I eat more sugar than I should, i definitely drink way too much Diet Coke, and I could probably tweak some other aspects. But, I am ultimately trying to form a healthy lifestyle here, not a strict diet. I want something that is realistic that I can actually see myself sticking to – and let’s face it, I am not giving up everything! Moderation. 

Keeping an open mind, learning as I go, and adjusting what needs to be adjusted. That is realistic for me.

Now to figure out how to curb this hunger again.

Posted by: the delish | March 25, 2012

What goes in my belly.

I don’t always have a brilliant recipe (and I certainly don’t get brilliant photos) but I always document it. I had quite a few pics to share, so here are some of the things we have been eating. I included dates so if you would like more information about portion sizes, you can go to my food log and go to the corresponding date.

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Trader Joe’s Maryland style crab cake with fresh green beans (sautéed in olive oil) with a caprese salad. 557 calories. (Dinner 3/16/12)

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Spinach & ricotta stuffed chicken breast with angel hair pasta and fresh marinara. I ate about a third of this at meal time. Roughly 410 calories for a third of this. (Dinner 3/17/12)

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Romaine hearts topped with cucumber, avocado, asparagus, salt & pepper and lemon & lime juice. Roughly 70 calories using only about 1/8 of an avocado. (Dinner 3/17/12)

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Iceberg lettuce with chicken breast, broccoli, sweet peppers, tomatoes and shredded mozzarella. Using about half of a chicken breast and topping with tangerine balsamic and lemon olive oil, roughly 460 calories. (Dinner 3/22/12)

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Organic baby spinach topped with 2 Kumato tomatoes, mozzarella pearls, a small amount of craisins, and balsamic vinegar, approx 244 calories. (Lunch 3/23/12)

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Naan topped with pesto, fresh mozzarella and tomato, baked like a pizza, approx 544 calories. (Dinner 3/24/12)

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Mediterranean style lunch: artichoke hearts, kalmata olives, organic blue corn tortilla chips, broccoli, baby carrots, cheese, wheat thins, hummus. 378 calories. (Lunch 3/25/12)

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Indulgence. Pork ribs, Brussels sprouts and potatoes (I ate about half the potatoes pictured.) 730 calories. (Dinner 3/25/12)

Posted by: the delish | March 22, 2012

Veggies! Fresh produce!

I started reading this book – and I am not sharing or linking because, in all honesty, I only got a few pages into it before I caught what the general idea was and I don’t want to share a terrible read with you – so once I get into it more, maybe I will share. :).

I think the premise was this: eat whatever you want and however much of it you want – just be sure that if you eat 1 donut, you are eating 4x that donut’s weight in fruits and vegetables. This is why I am not sharing the book – I am probably massacring it!

But I like the general idea that I picked up and I am running with it. I am trying really hard to just piggggggggg out on vegetables. And today, I did just that. You should check out my food log. It is almost 10 and I am still full and I didn’t even have my normal nightly snack!

I had 475% of my daily recommended intake of vitamin C, 222% of vitamin A and it is one of the rare days I was actually approaching the recommended potassium. I usually never get that.

What is so exciting about this to me is – it’s not even garden season yet! I am doing pretty good on store bought vegetables which are not nearly as exciting to me as my own home grown or farm fresh produce.

We have started on the garden already. This weather has been so amazing. This is only our second year in our house, so last year we had a 10′ x 20′ plot. This year, we were able to double that. It is all tilled and ready for a truckload of black dirt (we have clay soil). Seeds are planted for mostly the salsa items – including one whole tray of Roma tomatoes. (and a tray is 36 spots with 3 seeds each!)

I am hoping for lots of other great vegetables, but need to do some studying to determine what will be best! I definitely had some failures last year that I am trying to avoid.

All in all, I am sooooo excited for garden produce!

Posted by: the delish | March 19, 2012

Dark Chocolate Espresso Cake

I made this cake for my mother-in-law’s birthday. I found the recipe via Pinterest (if you can’t tell, it’s my new favorite cookbook) and decided to try and healthify it a little bit. It all worked out quite well! The cake itself was moist, flavorful and delicious! Check out this blog where I got the recipe. Her photos are so professional and beautiful, not to mention she has a super cool bundt pan. I have now added “fancy antique bundt pan” to the list of things I want.

About the cake – I am definitely making this again. My modifications to the recipe all came out surprisingly well, except on the glaze. Everyone here said it was good, but I think I should have used bittersweet chocolate like the recipe called for. Instead I used a Ghirardelli 100% Cacao bar that I had in my cupboard. I failed to think that out fully – it has no sweetness to it, therefore gave a slightly bitter taste to the glaze.

The other thing I am going to try for next time is instead of whole wheat flour, I am going to try coconut flour. And MAYBE, just maybe, I will go for vanilla Greek yogurt instead of plain. But I don’t think that would make too much of a difference.

I did use all high quality ingredients, including raw, unfiltered local honey, espresso powder and cocoa powder from The Spice House, and I actually scraped my vanilla fresh out of the bean and mixed it in with the yogurt before adding to the recipe. I don’t believe in plastic margarine, so I used REAL butter as I always do.

Cut into 12 slices (which are rather large, actually), it is 408 calories, 44 carbs and 27 grams of fat per slice. Not something I would eat every night but at least it was a more moderate indulgence than it could have been. On the second night, I had half a slice and was much more content with this. That is about a half inch slice. It was plenty because it is very rich and bold in flavor. Simple vanilla bean ice cream complimented perfectly.

Dark Chocolate Espresso Cake

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup Dutch process cocoa
  • 1 tablespoon espresso powder dissolved into 3/4 cup water
  • 1 cup raw, unfiltered honey
  • 1 cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt (or maybe vanilla??)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh vanilla, mixed into yogurt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350. Grease or butter/flour bundt pan.

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat; add cocoa, stirring until smooth. Whisk in the espresso water and remove from heat. Add the sugar, sour cream, vanilla, and eggs to the warmed cocoa mixture and whisk until smooth. In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add all at once to the first mixture, whisking until well blended.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until it feels firm to the touch and has slightly pulled away from the sides of the pan. Cool in pan on a rack for 20 minutes. Carefully loosen the cake with a knife and invert onto a large plate.

Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Glaze

  • 4 oz high quality bittersweet chocolate ***Note*** I used 100% Cacao but do not recommend!
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened and cut into 1/2 pieces
  • 1 1/2 teaspooons raw, unfiltered honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Place the chocolate, butter, corn syrup, and cinnamon in a medium heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Stir the mixture using a rubber spatula until melted and smooth.

Pour warm glaze over bundt cake. Keep covered in a cake-keeper at room temperature for up to 4 days.

The above recipe was adapted from Rosie at Sweet Apolita – please check out her blog for the original version of the recipe – and for lots of other super excellent recipes, photos and writing. :)

Posted by: the delish | March 18, 2012

That is a diet?

So I just finished entering all of my food in for the weekend. I was entering some as I went on Saturday, but not all. Even with exercise all weekend, I went way over my calorie goals. What surprised me is how far I went over on Saturday when I was actually still trying to diet.

We started off with scrambled eggs with spinach, turkey polish sausage, fruit salad, granola, and Greek yogurt. I kept all of my portions moderate.

For lunch, we went to Don Pablo’s where I knowingly gorged on chips, salsa, and dips. I loved every minute of it too. :) I did decide to forgo a regular meal and just went with a cup of tortilla soup to save room for chips. I have a weakness for chips and salsa. I also skipped the margarita I would normally have gotten and went for a Corona instead.

For dinner, we were celebrating my mother-in-law’s birthday and I let her choose the style of meal. She chose Italian, which I saw as a great opportunity to modify my prior recipes and methods. 6 months ago, I would have (and did, actually) made lasagna loaded with cheese, bread – also loaded with cheese, and probably some uber fattening dessert. Instead, I made a healthy salad with only lemon and lime juice for dressing, ricotta and spinach stuffed chicken breasts served on a bed of angel hair pasta with fresh made marinara, and ok, some bread with cheese on it.

For her “birthday cake,” I also tried to go with a healthier recipe. I made a dark chocolate espresso cake which I was actually quite pleased with. I substituted honey for sugar, yogurt for sour cream, and some other tweaks and it was quite delicious. I will share that recipe tomorrow. I did cut the pieces rather large and now that I put the recipe in, I realized those pieces were about 400 calories each, plus 200 calories worth of ice cream. So, yes, I indulged a little.

Despite the fact that I only ate about a third of my main dish, I was still almost 2000 calories over for the day. I am totally ok with this – I am not going to get crazy over doing this once in awhile. But I am kind of reflecting back and thinking – jeeze, if I was going to go that far over, why did I even try to make diet food? And then I kick myself and remind myself that it is not a diet, it is a healthy
Iifestyle. But I still feel like I got a little ripped off. That many calories and it was supposedly healthy? Ugh. I know, I know, I should be proud because old eating habits probably would have been a 5000 calorie day. I just have to grasp that concept, I suppose.

Posted by: the delish | March 14, 2012

Frugal dieting

A quick note today. I work about a mile north of Sam’s Club and I drive by it usually twice or more per day. I noticed over the years, their produce has been vastly improving. No, it is not all organic, which has been bothering me more and more lately. So much news on this subject every day. For now, I use whatever I can organic, but I can’t deny the convenience factor.

I really don’t like to let food go to waste. My “strategy” lately has been to purchase the huge bags of fresh produce because I don’t want to let the food go to waste, so if I buy it in bulk, I will be forced to eat it. Right? Right! It has been working! I have been buying broccoli, brussels sprouts, peppers, avocados, carrots, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries on almost a weekly basis. I make sure to eat them, and if I don’t, I freeze them or throw them into a soup. It has been working out great.

The other three things I am keeping stocked up on are fresh mozzarella, hummus, and plain greek yogurt. What I love about the mozzarella is that it is pretty low cal compared to other cheeses, yet it is one of my favorites, so it really helps feed that cheese craving. The hummus is meant to help my normal lunchtime plate full of veggies go down easier. The yogurt, I have been substituting wherever I can in place of mayo and sour cream.

My new favorite thing? Yogurt ranch veggie dip. I took about 1/4 of one of those big containers of yogurt and mixed in a couple tablespoons of dry ranch dressing mix. The entire container is 180 calories and I am making it last 4 days = 45 calories. And it really tastes like ranch dressing!! Yummy! Try it!

Posted by: the delish | March 12, 2012

Good but not so great

We had a great weekend. Lots of fun – in some ways, too much fun, but I am OK with it.

First of all – we made an amaaaaazing dinner on Friday night: swordfish steaks with brown butter balsamic sauce, capers and tomatoes. I had a breakthrough on this one…. you heard it here: I followed a recipe! I got the recipe from this great blog. I think she was inspired by another recipe, but that one doesn’t have a great pic like this one. I highly recommend you make this. Follow the recipe and your tastebuds will be absolutely THRILLED. I’ve been hearing a lot about “brown butter” over the last year. It seems to be a foodie trend. I haven’t made any recipes using it, but this was a great one to start on. This was definitely one of the best seafood recipes I’ve ever made.

Saturday, we ventured out and about all over town and ended up with some friends for the evening. A good friend who appreciates good food as much as I do. We had some fabulous snacks – cheese, sausage, conch fritters, and mozzarella/pesto/tomato on focaccia bread. Yum, we really ate well. I probably ate a little more than I should have, but I’m not worrying too much over it.

One of my philosophies on dieting is this: be realistic. I’m going to have an off day here and again. I need it, I deserve it, and if I don’t have it, I’ll probably go insane. So, yes, I was almost 2000 calories over my daily goal on Saturday. Oh well, I got back on the horse the next day. Can’t win ‘em all and there is no sense beating myself up over it. And in all actuality, most of it was due to drinks, and the foods I ate are some of those “good for you” fats that I’m certainly not getting all messed up over eating. It’s not like I was chowing on a cheeseburger!

Tonight for dinner, I made another Pinterest inspired meal: zucchini pizzas. This one, I did not even look at a recipe. I saw the idea and made up my own recipe.

Doesn’t it look so good? Yeah? Well, it wasn’t!

I should admit, the recipe I saw actually cut the zucchini into wheels and made a bunch of mini pizzas. Considering the amount of prep time I had, and the fact that I was making this as a meal, I decided to go “boat” style.

I’m not sure where I went wrong – but am open to ideas.

First, we sliced them in half and spread some pesto on each side. We topped with tomato slices, some bratwurst slices (we had leftover to use) and then fresh mozzarella. We put them in the oven, uncovered, at 400, for about 20 minutes. Checked them, and the zucchini wasn’t cooked at all. So, we covered them, cranked up the oven to 475 and let them go another 20 minutes. Looked good – but the zucchini was thick, watery and bland. The flavors on top were yummy but once you got into the zucchini, it was just blah!

Here is what was left on my plate. Haha.

Do you have any suggestions or ideas?? It sounded so good in theory, but totally didn’t work for me. How can I make this meal happy?

Posted by: the delish | March 8, 2012

Lost 2 pounds – does it count? (Beware, possible TMI)

So – I must confess, I ate some cake on Tuesday night. But booooooyyyyy am I sorry!! Never have my intestines been quite so angry with me – I mean really, never. I have had some ugliness but nothing like that. It felt like I had the flu! I suppose I could have – although I felt totally normal today – aside from the banging headache I had most of the day, which I believe was from the lack of food/nutrients yesterday.

I don’t know what to think. It is so ironic that I had just mentioned some “intolerances” in my previous blog. Now I go and eat something that encompasses all of the possible triggers – sugar, gluten, dairy… did I mention it was wedding cake with buttercream frosting?

What do you think? Anyone with experience have any input? And – I lost 2 lbs from that ordeal. I logged it on My Fitness Pal because – well, I hope it doesn’t come back! But I bet it will. Maybe I shouldn’t have logged it, I dunno.

Today I will share one of my favorite recipes to date. This past fall when we went to Myrtle Beach, we specifically budgeted for seafood to bring home. Since we drove, we were able to bring back a nice cooler full. One thing I wish I had gotten more of was lump crab meat. Sure you can get it here – for about double the price!

This was a Pinterest inspired idea – but I am not referencing an inspiration recipe because I read through several and none matched my ingredients – so I made my own recipe. Mine was much healthier than any I saw! I don’t have a PIN IT button – but please if you want to pin (I would be honored!!) click here and USE THIS LINK TO PIN. (Because not everybody wants to read about my intestinal issues LOL.)

Crab Stuffed Avocados

  • 2 avocados
  • 1 cup lump crab meat
  • 2 tablespoons plain greek yogurt (I used Chobani)
  • 2-4 tablespoons chopped sweet pepper
  • 2-4 tablespoons chopped green onion
  • spices to taste: salt, pepper, dill, garlic powder
  • Lime juice

Halve avocados, remove pits, skin and sprinkle with lime juice. Combine remaining ingredients and place in avocado halves. Voila!

Each serving is approx 375 calories, 19 carbs and 23 grams fat. Please keep in mind – these are the healthiest and best fats you can possibly eat! THIS IS GOOD FOR YOU. :)

Posted by: the delish | March 6, 2012

Gonna do it, gonna LIKE it.

Today I woke up and realized I had officially lost 20 pounds. THAT was pretty exciting, and a great way to start the day! 

There are a lot of reasons I decided to start this journey. I mean – I really did it quite reluctantly because I was having a grand old time eating whatever and whenever I wanted. I do love food. I looooove it. And I love to cook. With butter. And cream. And cheese. And pasta. And I do happen to really like vegetables too. But instead of showcasing the vegetables, they were becoming overpowered by all of the other stuff.

I started to notice that all my clothes kept shrinking. And in turn, my entire wardrobe was shrinking. I could not afford to buy a new wardrobe for each season.

Then, I began to notice that I was developing some, ahem… intolerances. I still have not pinned down exactly what those “intolerances” were, but ever since I stopped eating my weight in sugar, dairy and wheat products, I have had no issues.  

The final straw that made everything click was seeing a number on the scale that I never thought I would see. I am not to a point in my journey where I feel comfortable sharing that number but I will tell you it was almost 30 pounds over my 9 months pregnant weight. Ouch, it hurts a little to even say that. 

But, with that said, you can see why losing 20 pounds – while not “easy” – was not really that hard. It was just waiting for me to evict it.

I have a feeling the next 20 pounds is not going to be nearly so easy. This is why I am trying really hard to like exercise. I honestly can’t say I like it yet. But I am getting there. I have worked out 3 times in 4 days which is more than I worked out the whole past month, I think. HA.

Mind over matter.  I LOVE EXERCISING. 

I used to hate a lot of foods – like tomatoes, onions, peppers. I knew I was missing out, so I told myself over and over that I was going to try them and I was going to LIKE them. Now, they are some of my favorite foods. Same thing happened with yard work. I used to hate yard work, but I wanted to have a decent looking yard, so I told myself over and over that I was going to do it and LIKE it. Now I love working in the yard. Just wish there were more hours in the day!

The point is… I am exercising, and gosh darn it, I am going to LIKE it. 

Posted by: the delish | March 5, 2012

Yum, yum, yum, yum, yum. That’s all.

Today was totally a day of looking forward to food all day. It is sad how much I think about and anticipate food. But it is also kind of cool because I can appreciate a good meal so much more when I am consciously WAITING for it and not just eating whenever food crosses my mind… which is a lot.

This is silly – but yesterday, I pored over the granola bars in the grocery store trying to pick just the right ones for my weekday breakfasts. I wanted something healthy, packed with protein, antioxidants, and also low calorie, low fat. Seems like a tall order – but I ended up getting 2 different Kashi bars. One was chocolate coconut something-or-other and the other was Dark Mocha Almond. This morning, I chose the latter – and was really looking forward to it. HOLY YUM. It tastes like Cocoa Krispies made into a Rice Krispie treat with almonds. SO good. And I am totally not a breakfast eater, mostly because I never make the time – I eat on my commute. Granola bars (or whatever you want to call them) are the perfect solution for me. G gets an organic fruit bar on our trip also. (And gets real breakfast at daycare.)

For lunch – work was footing the bill and I didn’t really care what we ate – I was just excited for a free lunch of something other than turkey, veggies and hummus. We settled on Jimmy John’s which is one of my favorites. I love their Turkey Tom – and according to My Fitness Pal – without cheese and mayo, and add avocado, it is 336 calories. Not bad, not bad. I did have a weak moment – I haven’t had chips in a very long time and their jalapeno chips are my fav. I should have eaten half the bag – but I ate it all. All 300 calories. As I was eating it, I was promising myself to work out tonight. And, guess what…. I actually did. So, not to say that I am going to do that all the time, but at least I am sticking to SOME kind of self-discipline. Is that rationalizing? Maybe – but at least I recognize it. Ha.

Dinner I was also looking forward to all day. I got it all made yesterday and it did not disappoint. As I mentioned in last night’s post, I found myself with a thawed rump roast and a change in plans. I didn’t really know what to do, so I totally winged it. It worked. It was packed with flavor and unlike any crockpot meal I’ve ever made. I will probably never be able to duplicate this because it was a case of “hmmm, I think this will work” and “hey, let’s add this.” But – if you can get similar ingredients – or heck, the same ingredients! – then I highly recommend. It was totally delish!

Our wine pairing was also perfect – we chose a 2008 Semi-dry Riesling from Leelanau Cellars. I don’t think we could have chosen a more complimentary flavor.

Ginger Spiced Crockpot Beef & Broccoli

  • 2lb Rump Roast (approx weight – or another cut of meat of your choice)
  • 4 cups water
  • 12 ounces Ginger Beer (I used Saranac)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup Ginger Wasabi Creamy Cooking Sauce (made by The Ginger People)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 6 pcs Crystallized Candied Ginger
  • 1.5 cups Instant Brown Rice
  • 4 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 6 cups fresh broccoli, cut into bite sized pcs.

Coat a skillet with a little bit of olive oil. Heat it up and brown the rump roast on all sides. Chop the garlic and ginger and put in bottom of crock pot. Place the roast on top. Mix liquids and sauce and pour over top. Cook on high for 3 hours.

Remove roast from crock pot and chop into 1/2″ cubes. It should not be shredding – rump roast is tougher and should cube out nicely. Mine was shaped like a brick. If yours is thinner, may want to check it earlier so you catch it before it gets shreddy. Yes, I just said shreddy.

Put the meat back in the crockpot and add the rice and mushrooms. Mix well. Add broccoli on top – do not mix in. Broccoli will sit on top and steam. Replace the lid and cook for another 1+ hour until broccoli is tender. Mix well before serving.

Serves 8. Each serving has 414 calories, 19 grams fat and 33 carbs.

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