Thursday, September 20, 2012

Fit Day

If you're like me, you're getting older and your clothing are getting tighter.  If you're not, well then go read something else.  You stink.  Just kidding.  Kind of.

I have gained twelve pounds since January.  I was certain that I had some sort of underactive thyroid problem or some sort of logical explanation.  My weight has always remained constant, even during my brief stint as a "runner".  I trained for and ran two half-marathons (all in an effort to get thin thighs), and my weight stayed exactly.the.same.  Anyway, I had some blood work done, and it seems I am quite healthy.  So, my symptoms of fatigue, weight gain, and irritability seem to all be due to bad behavior.  And maybe, just maybe, getting older. 

I am nothing if not determined, so I resolved to lose the weight by December 1st.  I happened to be reading a blog post that mentioned a site where you can journal your caloric intake and daily activity.  Long story short?  It seems I was totally underestimating my caloric intake.  After inputting all of my information, logging my goal, and giving myself a timeline, the website set me up with a profile.  I have a caloric budget each day, and though the first few days I was starving (!!!!), I feel a little more regulated now.  I go above my budget nearly every day, but I try to keep my activity levels high so that my "surplus" at the end of the day reaches about 600 calories.  I'm definitely not starving myself, but I'm more aware of what I'm eating.

It really isn't terribly time-consuming, but you have to be honest with your activity level and foods.  There are lots of food options and activity choices.  Sometimes they don't have exactly what I've eaten, but I try to choose something close, calorically and ingredient-wise.  There is a free version and then the premium site - I've just been using the free version, it's fine as long as you don't mind advertising.  I had read reviews that said the free version was slower, but I don't have anything to compare it to!

I have dropped a few pounds, so I'm feeling encouraged.  As someone who never really had to worry too much about food intake, this is challenging.  It's hard work and I think it's going to take time.  I even bought white cheddar rice cakes [that taste exactly like styrofoam] and will probably keep the birds well-fed this winter.  I still love food and will continue to consume and serve homemade foods, but my portion sizes will need to be smaller. 

If you're interested, the website is

If you do try it, let me know what you think and if it works for your goals!  I'll keep you posted on mine.  If you'd like more information, let me know and I'll help you set up a profile if you're interested. 

I'm not advertising for them, I have just found it helpful and thought you might, too. 

I liked it better.....

when politics was a taboo subject. 

I'd like to thank Stephanie Sullivan for posting this little gem on a facebook post last week:
"Thanks to your insightful political facebook post, I have completely changed my views" [said by no one ever].  Um, yeah. 

I can't tell you how many times my fingers have itched to share something I found to be true, insightful, and damning to "the other side".  This morning, I so badly wanted to comment on a friend's post and tell her commenter just how wrong she was.  I wanted to stand up for my friend and the values we share.  I had all kinds of snarky comments ready, you know, to post in a passive-aggressive way. 

And then. 

In my bible reading this morning I came across this verse, "In a word, what I'm saying is, grow up.  You're kingdom subjects.  Now live like it.  Live out your God-created identity.  Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives towards you" (Matthew 5:48, the message).  Ouch.  This is totally not what I want to hear.  When I see an offensive bumper sticker or yard sign [or political facebook post], I want to scream, "I DON'T CARE WHAT YOU THINK"! Why do you think that you're so important that you imagine everyone wants to hear your views and thoughts?  (small aside: my facebook feed is blissfully free from political rhetoric - thank you friends!)

It is so very hard to be gracious and generous, isn't it?  I can tell you the location and persuasion of each and every yard sign in the surrounding mile radius for the last three presidential elections.  I remember blog posts that have angered me, discussions that left me irritated , and bumper stickers I find downright offensive.  This stuff brings out my worst side.  It's all very personal, isn't it?  I would like to suggest we keep it that way.  You have strong opinions?  Good, go vote in November.  The only thing you'll succeed in doing by publicizing your views is to anger those in opposition and garner a few "likes" or comments from supporters.  Big deal.  It's much easier to be gracious and generous to each other when we refrain from sharing our every thought. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Impromptu Dinner

At 5:03pm on Friday, I was making pizza for dinner.  My parents happened to call at about 5:05 and I said, "wanna come over for pizza"? They had previously planned to go out for sushi, but they said, "sure".  So, with my pizzas in the oven, I also threw together a salad, put out a jar of pickles and figs from our tree.  I stuffed some pears with a streusel topping and popped them in the oven.  Perfect impromptu Friday night dinner at home!

My new favorite pizza - sweet peppers and sliced onions.  I added lots of dried seasonings, all of the cheese I had on hand (parmesan, mozzarella, and Sargento's shredded 5-blend italian cheese), sliced onions, jarred sweet peppers, and jarred marinara. I should also add that while I've had success in the past with homemade dough, this was a frozen version I buy for 99 cents each.  Can't beat the ease!

No picture of the pears - they were in the oven when I snapped these pics, but.....

here is the recipe! Perfect for fall. 

Baked Pears

4 Whole Pears (a bit underripe)
flour (I happened to have oat flour and used that)
brown sugar

1. Half and core pears (I left the skin on).
2. Sprinkle with cinnamon, flour, oats, brown sugar, and butter (in that order).
3. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Baked Chocolate Doughnuts

I have always wanted a donut pan.  I pictured myself making those delicious pumpkin cake donuts with the sugary topping.  I thought we'd immediately disavow ourselves of commercially-prepared donuts, scoffing at the hordes of people at Dunkin Donuts every morning. 

The reality?  I don't think we're ready to take over the title of best donut ever. 

I found a donut pan at Target one of the times I shopped there this summer [and spent $100, even though I had two things on my list].  It's been sitting on my counter waiting to be filled.  I found a recipe for a chocolate cake donut a few days ago and finally tried it just now.  Totally disappointing. 

I should have known better.  The past few times I've tried to add yogurt to baked goods, the results have been rubbery.  Blech. 

I'm going to keep trying - I'll keep you posted if I find a winner!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Dinner Tonight, 9.4.12

I have pinned quite a few recipes to try (via Pinterest).  I have actually made several of them, with varied degrees of success. 

I saw a recipe for a philly-cheesesteak stuffed pepper.  Before I actually read over the recipe, the picture has been taunting me for a few weeks.  I'd already had some ideas in my head about how I would make it for dinner.  After I read the recipe this afternoon, I realized I was missing several ingredients, but that I wanted to try my version first anyway.  The original recipe calls for sauteed mushrooms and onions and deli-style roast beef. 

I love to buy minute-steaks from the butcher and so I combined the sauteed beef with onions and then added cooked rice, a cheese sauce, and some crumbled bacon.  The addition of the bacon was a last minute decision and it was a winner!

before baking

Philly-Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers 

6 red peppers, halved with seeds removed
1 lb. minute steak, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp canola oil
1/2 cup thinly sliced onion
3/4 cup cooked white rice (you could also use brown)
4 slices crumbled bacon
3/4 cup shredded cheddar, divided
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt, pepper
1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1.  Saute beef and onion in canola oil until browned and cooked through.
2.  In a medium bowl, add sauteed beef and onions to cooked rice.  Add crumbled bacon. Set aside.
3.  In a small saucepan, make your cheese sauce.  Melt butter and sprinkle flour over.  With a spoon, stir and cook until mixture thickens and boils.  Slowly add milk and stir until thick.  Add 1/2 cup of the shredded cheddar and remaining ingredients.  Stir until completely melted. 
4.  Combine cheese sauce with rice/beef/bacon mixture in bowl.  Stuff peppers with as much filling as possible.  Sprinkle remaining cheddar over stuffed peppers.
5.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown. 

**I would not describe myself as loving red peppers, but this was totally delicious. I added pickled jalapenos to mine and it was so, so good.  The only problem is that I only made one for each of us (two for Rob).  I could totally have eaten another one.  The good news......I made dessert.

Apple Crisp!!

I'm so happy right now.  :)