Monthly Archives: August 2011

Pumpkin Pancakes and Orange Smoothies

I must admit fall is my favorite time of year.  The trees are beautiful and vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows.  The air becomes crisp and cool with amazing breezes.  Everything around me seems fresh, yet comfortable.  I know it is not fall just yet, but I am looking forward to it.  Pumpkins, squash, friends, family, birthdays, holidays, and so much more.

Here are a couple recipes that will be perfect for those lazy fall weekend mornings:


  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1-1/2 cups fat-free milk
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • In a large bowl, combine the first eight ingredients. In a small bowl, combine the milk, pumpkin, egg white and oil; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.
  • Pour batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto a hot griddle coated with cooking spray; turn when bubbles form on top. Cook until second side is golden brown.

Here’s the dirt:
6 servings (2 pancakes each)

240 calories
5 g fat (1 g saturated fat)
1 mg cholesterol
375 mg sodium
41 g carbohydrate
3 g fiber
8 g protein



  • 2-1/4 cups orange juice
  • 1 package (12.3 ounces) silken reduced-fat firm tofu
  • 3 cups halved frozen unsweetened strawberries
  • 1-1/2 cups sliced ripe bananas

In a food processor, combine the orange juice, tofu, strawberries and bananas; cover and pulse until blended. Pour into chilled glasses; serve immediately.

Here’s the dirt:
6 servings (1 cup each)

120 calories
1 g fat (trace saturated fat)
0 cholesterol
51 mg sodium
25 g carbs
3 g fiber
5 g protein


Weigh Day (week seven)

To be honest, I cannot believe it has been seven weeks already!  The time is really just flying by.

This morning as I exhaled and looked down I saw…drumroll please…290.0!  That is two pounds lost this week, and a total of 22 in seven weeks.  I am thoroughly excited.  Of course, two weeks ago I thought I would be at 289.X by this week, but I am not discouraged or disappointed.  I know it will come – next week – because I have been sticking with it (no cheating), and exercising often.

Besides, I am still at an average of over three pounds lost per week (not much over three, but still).  Lifestyle change takes time to be successful, and that is precisely what I am doing here.  Not dieting.  Not “trying something out.”  Nope.  Lifestyle change, folks.  That is where it is.

It is all in the mindset.  Because I am making life-long, lifestyle changes I feel a lot less “bogged down” and worried.  I find that I am not craving any “bad” food (other than a few weeks ago, which passed quickly).  My chicklets have had pancakes and waffles several times since I have started my journey.  Usually I would be staring at them, and eventually indulge.  Nope.  Not this time.  Yesterday we attended my little cousin’s third birthday part.  They served pizza, cake, and ice cream.  I tasted a tiny (truly microscopic) bite of the cake, and was never tempted to do it again – much less devour an entire hunk.  I just do not have that yearning anymore.  Maybe the whole grains are doing their job keeping my insulin in check (which curbs the cravings), or maybe it really is just my mindset.  Who knows.

All I know is I feel great.  I have more energy now than I did two months ago – by far.  My chicklets have noticed, and are enjoying time with momma more than ever.  I am loving life…and I know I will be loving it a lot longer the thinner I get.

How did your week go?  Are you where you hoped you would be?  If not, what can you do to get there soon?


Knowledge is Power

A few weeks back when the doctor started talking to me about eating only whole grain breads and pastas I thought it would be easy.  So many products on the shelves today say “made with whole grain” or “all-natural” (or some version similar to these).  One might think eating healthy is a snap with all these “low fat,” “whole grain” foods available conveniently packaged waiting on the end cap of every grocery aisle.  Did you know, though, that majority of these products that claim to be “healthy” are, in fact, not?

Here is some information I found today while perusing the Internet:

The Best (and Worst) Nutrition Bars for Women

How Whole is Whole Grain?

25 Diet-Busting Foods You Should Never Eat

The 100 Healthiest Foods

On another note…I spent more than 3 hours at the gym this week in total.  Can I just say again how much I *love* the gym?  I truly feel so happy and energized when I walk out of there.  Actually, I wanted to stay longer today, but my chicklets were anxious for me to get home for our bedtime rituals.  Of course, they won.  I am looking forward to Monday.  I am meeting with a personal trainer, and I am excited!

Weigh day is creeping up on me again.  I have not decided whether I am excited or apprehensive about it just yet.  Probably because I know I have been doing exceptionally well this week, but I have spent quite a bit of time lifting weights.  So, we will see what the friendly scale has to say to me on Sunday morning.

How is your week going so far?  Have you met any milestones/goals lately, or are you getting close?


Interesting Information

I stumbled onto another blog whose writer is working toward a healthier lifestyle right now.  The blog is 52 Weeks, 52 Pounds.  So far he has lost about 22 pounds (which is awesome!), so I know he is excited.

While perusing his blog I found a post that provided links to some interesting information.  I thought I would share:

9 Scariest Food Facts

15 Minutes of Fitness Adds Three Years

9 Unhealthiest Foods at Restaurants

I hope you find this information as interesting as I did.  If you have a minute, drop by 52 Weeks, 52 Pounds.  There is a lot of good information there.


A Small Success

It really is the little things in life that typically make me the happiest.  This is one of those moments.  For the women out there, you will understand how this feels…

My bras have three rows of hooks.  Up until yesterday, I was on the first row (the loosest row) of hooks.  When I went to fasten it yesterday, though, I noticed my hands went a little further than they usually do.  So, I thought to myself, “I wonder if I could possibly move to the middle row.”  Well, I tried it, and…success!  I am officially on the second/middle row of hooks!  That probably equates to less than an inch loss, but it is a loss none-the-less.  I am excited!

The gym energizes me.  I can honestly say I love going.  Even without my personal trainer (which I actually have not been seeing…can you say “expensive”?) I enjoy going.  I am up to 33 minutes on the elliptical on a preset course (weight loss course) that varies the intensity and monitors my heart rate.  Monday I burned (according to the elliptical calculator) just under 360 calories in 33 minutes.  Of course, I hit the circuit machines after that, so I know I burned more before I left.

Right now I am going three days a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday), but I am wanting to go more often.  I think I am becoming addicted to the gym, which is certainly something I never thought *I* would say.  The environment at the gym I attend is amazing.  I never feel like anyone is “staring at the fat girl” or wondering what I think I am doing.  Funny as it may sound, I always thought of the gym as a place for healthy people (you know, runners, athletes, etc.), not fat girls.  Fitworks is certainly changing my mind, though.  The staff is always friendly when I come in.  They always ask how I am doing, if I need anything, and smile (a genuine smile).  That goes a long way for me.  Best of all, they are the most cost-friendly gyms anywhere near my house.  At only $15 a month, it is truly a steal.  If you are thinking about a gym membership, and want something affordable where people are friendly (really, just awesome)…see if a Fitworks is near you.

How is your week going so far?


Weigh Day (week six)

So, I still consider the scale my friend.  I did meet it with apprehension this morning, of course.  But, as I slowly let out my breath and peeked down I read 292.0 on the scale!  That means 1.2 pounds lost this week.  Excellent.  That is 20 pounds total in six weeks.  Fabulous.

That gives me the extra boost of motivation I need for this upcoming week.  We spent the day out in the sun with friends today at the water park.  My chicklets had a blast, and are now sleeping sound in their beds.  It felt great to get out and run (term used loosely, considering my ankle) around with them.  I never even got sore or tired – even after hours of playing in the water.  It felt amazing.  I can really tell a difference in my stamina.  After sitting at home for a couple hours, I am still not sore.  Usually, after I sit and “relax” when I go to move again I feel all the aches and pains of standing for a long time, but not today.  I love it.

How did your week go?  Are you one step closer to being where you want to be?  Are you motivated to face new challenges this week?


Another Week is Ending

Tomorrow is weigh day, and I find myself more apprehensive about my date with the scale.  My biggest fear is that I have gained weight this week.  Not because I have been “bad” (actually, I have not cheated at all – or even had the desire to).  Not because I have not been exercising regularly either.  The reason?  “Muscle weighs more than fat.”  Have you heard that saying before?  Well, it is true.

I have been to the gym three times this week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday), and each time I did a minimum of 20 minutes on the elliptical and one round in the circuit training/weight lifting room.  I was especially proud of myself yesterday.  I completed an entire 28-minute cycle on the elliptical, which was just under 2 miles, and the machine calculated 315 calories burned.  That is really exciting.

All this working out, though, on top of dancing with my chicklets here at home makes me nervous about the scale tomorrow.  If I gained, I know it is not fat, but muscle.  However, the gain will still sting a little because I am working so hard.  My husband told me this morning that the gain (*if* there is a gain) should not matter because I *feel* so much better.  He said, “You have had more energy this past week than you have in years.  That should be enough to keep you motivated.”  He is right, it *should* be enough.

So, I anxiously await tomorrow morning.

How is your week going?  Have you taken steps in the right direction?


Thursday Dinner

After a successful dinner on Wednesday, I was certainly up for another batch of new recipes on Thursday.  My family was excited.

We had mushroom cheese chicken, veggie cheese casserole, and oven roasted corn on the cob.  It was all absolutely delicious!

The chicken was tender and moist.  The cheesy filling was fabulous.

The veggie cheese casserole was quite different than any way I have ever prepared broccoli before.  My husband and chicklets loved it, though!  This shot was taken before I put it in the oven.

As it baked, it had the best aroma.  Mixed with the smell of the chicken baking, my house smelled wonderful.  When the casserole came out of the oven it looked amazing.  The parmesan cheese had melted and the top was a light golden brown.  My chicklets called it broccoli cake.

We had quite a bit of the casserole left over (as you can see), so I would probably cut this recipe in half next time to avoid having to store so much of it.

Unfortunately, I never remembered to take any pictures of the corn (before or after baking).  That is a shame, I will say, because it was beautiful.  The green of the cilantro against the bright yellow and white looked incredible – and it was so yummy.


4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (5 ounces each)
1/2 tsp salt
dash pepper
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 c reduced-fat plain yogurt
1/2 c shredded aprt-skim mozzarella cheese
1/2 c canned mushroom stems and pieces
1 Tbsp diced pimientos
1 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
1 Tbsp minced chives

1 Tbsp reduced-fat plain yogurt
1 Tbsp dry bread crumbs
1/8 tsp paprika

Flatten chicken to 1/8-inch thickness; sprinkle with salt and pepper.  In a small bowl, combine the flour and yogurt until smooth.  Stir in the cheese, mushrooms, pimientos, parsley, and chives.  Spread down the center of each piece of chicken.  Roll up and tuck in ends; secure with toothpicks.  Place seam side down in an 11 X 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Brush yogurt over chicken.  Combine bread crumbs and paprika; sprinkle over the top.  Bake, uncovered, at 350 F for 20 to 25 minutes or until chicken juices run clear.  Discard toothpicks before serving.

Here’s the dirt:
4 servings

222 calories
5 g fat (2 g saturated fat)
92 mg cholesterol
544 mg sodium
4 g carbs
trace fiber
39 g protein



3 c frozen chopped broccoli, thawed and drained
1/2 c  reduced-fat biscuit/baking mix
1 c reduced-fat sour cream
1 c reduced-fat cottage cheese
2 eggs
1/4 c butter, melted
1/4 tsp salt
1 large tomato, thinly sliced and halved
1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese

Arrange the broccoli in a greased 8-inch square baking pan; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the biscuit mix, sour cream, cottage cheese, eggs, butter, and salt; pour over the broccoli.  Arrange tomato slices over the top; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Bake, uncovered, at 350 F for 35 to 40 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.  Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting.

Here’s the dirt:
9 servings

158 calories
9 g fat (6 g saturated fat)
72 mg cholesterol
354 mg sodium
10 g carbs
1 g fiber
8 g protein



2 Tbsp finey chopped fresh cilantro
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp water
4 ears of corn, shucked

Preheat the oven to 450 F.  Tear off 4 (12-inch square) sheets of heavy-duty foil.

In a shallow bowl, combine the cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, and water.  Roll the corn in the cilantro oil, then place on the foil; brush with any remaining cilantro oil.  Wrap the foil around the corn securely, then place directly on an oven rack.  Bake, turning occasionally, until tender (about 25 minutes).

Here’s the dirt:
4 servings

109 calories
4 g fat (1 g saturated fat, 0 g Trans fat)
0 mg cholesterol
14 mg sodium
18 g carbs
3 g fiber
3 g protein
3 mg calcium


Wednesday Dinner

Remember my little goal this week to try new recipes and post pictures of my adventures?  Well, here they come…

Wednesday night we had braised pork chops, zucchini tomato toss, and corn potato pancakes (well, almost).  The dinner was fabulous, if I do say so myself (and my husband agreed).  Eating healthy certainly has its benefits.  The entire meal was only 400 calories, and we all left the table satisfied (but not over-stuffed).

Here are the ingredients for the zucchini tomato toss.  They look amazing, don’t they?  I love the bright greens and purple against the red.  Beautiful.

The aroma of this cooking was phenomenal, honestly.  Everyone started flocking to the kitchen to see what I was whipping up.  There was none of this left after dinner either.

Here is the beginning of the corn potato pancakes.  I made my own mashed potatoes from scratch – yummy.

The next step was to add the rest of the ingredients for the pancakes.  Fresh parsley, cream style corn, flour, egg, onion…it all smelled so good.

Well, here they are in the skillet.  Unfortunately, they never made it out of the skillet (not in the proper form anyway).  I could not get the pancakes to stay in pancake form.  Every time I went to flip them they just fell apart and behaved, well, like mashed potatoes.  So, instead of throwing away all the “batter” I ended up throwing it all in the pan and cooking it that way.  When they changed in consistency (a little thicker, and less wet) I scooped them up and served them as mashed potatoes.  Apparently, I went wrong somewhere.  If anyone has tried this recipe, or any other potato pancake recipe please share your words of wisdom.

Here are the braised pork chops sizzling away in the skillet.  The flavor was amazing, but I will admit they were a little dry for my taste (and my husband’s).  The next time I prepare these I will tweak it a little to make the meat a little more moist.

Overall, though, we had an amazing dinner.  Even my chicklets loved everything.

Here are the recipes:


1/4 c. chopped green pepper
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch slices (I doubled this)
1 small onion, thinly sliced and separated
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp. olive oil
2 small plum tomatoes, peeled and cut into wedges (I cut 3 tomatoes)
1/2 tsp. salt
dash pepper
1 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley

In a nonstick skillet, saute green pepper, zucchini, onion, and garlic in oil for 3 to 4 minutes or until crisp-tender.  Add the tomatoes, salt, and pepper.  Reduce heat to low; cover and cook until heated through.  Sprinkle with parsley.

Here’s the dirt:
2 servings (more if you add extra zucchini and tomato)

59 calories
3 g fat (trace saturated fat)
0 g cholesterol
597 mg sodium
9 g carbs
3 g fiber
2 g protein



1/2 tsp. dried marjoram
1/8 tsp. onion powder
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. pepper
4 bone-in pork loin chops (6 ounces each)
1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 c. water
2 tsp. cornstarch
1/4 c. reduced-sodium chicken broth

Combine seasonings; sprinkle over chops.  In a nonstick skillet, cook chops in oil until browned on both sides.  Add water.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 45 to 60 minutes or until tender.  Remove meat and keep warm.  Combine cornstarch and broth until smooth; stir into cooking juices.  Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.  Serve over chops.

Here’s the dirt:
4 servings (1 chop with 2 Tbsp of gravy)

180 calories
9 g fat (3 g saturated fat)
67 mg cholesterol
83 mg sodium
1 g carbs
trace fiber
23 g protein


Weigh Day (week five)

I was actually a little excited to hop on the scale this morning, believe it or not.  So, as I looked down to see 293.2 on the scale, I was really happy.  That is 3.2 pounds down from last week (for a total of 18.8 lost in five weeks).  My average is now 3.76 pounds per week, which is awesome!  I have my eye on my next “prize” right now because I am so close.  Only 4.2 more pounds to get to 289, and my earrings.  I should be there in two more weeks.

Today is going to be a busy day.  My husband and I are taking the chicklets to the zoo.  That means lots of walking – lots and lots.  Tomorrow I am headed back to the gym for weights and the elliptical.

My short-term goal this week (other than 2 pounds lost) is to try some new recipes.  While I am cooking, though, I intend to take some pictures and share them with you.  I think that will be fun.

How did your week go?  Were you happy with the way it turned out for you?  Are you closer to your goal(s)?