Monthly Archives: August 2011

Spicy French Dip

This is a recipe you can leave unattended while you do other daily chores.


1 boneless beef sirloin tip roast (about 3 pounds, cut in half)
1/2 c. water
1 can (4 ounces) diced jalapeno peppers, drained
1 envelope Italian dressing mix
12 crusty rolls (5 inches)

1. Place beef in a 5-qt slow cooker.  In a small bowl, combine the water, jalapenos, and dressing mix; pour over beef.  Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or until meat is tender.  Remove beef and shred using two forks.  Skim fat from cooking juices.  Serve beef on buns with juice.

Here’s the dirt:
12 servings (1 sandwich with 3 Tbsp of juice)

357 calories
9 g fat (4 g saturated fat)
68 mg cholesterol
877 mg sodium
37 g carbs
2 g fiber
31 g protein


Confetti Scrambled Egg Pockets

An interesting take on breakfast.  Considering they are in a pita, this would probably be a great “on the go” breakfast, too.


1 c. fresh or frozen corn
1/4 c. chopped green pepper
2 Tbsp chopped onion
1 jar (2 ounces) diced pimientos, drained
1 Tbsp butter
1-1/4 c. egg substitute
3 eggs
1/4 c. fat-free evaporated milk
1/2 tsp seasoned salt
1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped
1 green onion, sliced
3 whole wheat pita breads (6 inches), halved

1. In a large nonstick skillet, saute the corn, green pepper, onion and pimientos in butter for 5 to 7 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

2. In a large bowl, combine the egg substitute, eggs, milk, and salt; pour into skillet.  Cook and stir over medium heat until the eggs are completely set.  Stir in the tomato and green onion.  Spoon about 2/3 c. into each pita half.

Here’s the dirt:
6 servings

207 calories
6 g fat (2 g saturated fat)
112 mg cholesterol
538 mg sodium
28 g carbs
4 g fiber
13 g protein


Feeling Good

Another week is closing, which means weigh day is staring me in the face again.  I am slightly less anxious about it, though, I must admit.  This week has certainly not been perfect (eating-wise), but I am not too concerned.  After spending 45 minutes at the gym last night I felt pumped.  Actually, I did not want to leave the gym, but I knew I had to.  The last thing I want to do is work out so furiously that I am sore for days after (which would discourage me from going back until I felt better).

I managed to sustain 10 minutes on the elliptical machine at a moderate pace.  Then I went to circuit training.  Of course, I was unable to successfully complete all machines within the circuit, but I am sure over time I will be able to do them all.  I will be heading back to the gym Monday evening, and I am truly looking forward to it.

This weekend should have plenty of exercise built in.  Today we are heading up to the park for a grill out with the chicklets.  Tomorrow we are planning a trip to the Cincinnati Zoo.  This will be the first time all summer my husband will be able to make the trip with us, so the chicklets are excited.  I still intend to dance at some point today and tomorrow, though.

It is amazing how much exercise can really change your life.  Before I was exercising on a regular basis I always felt tired.  I almost never felt like I had enough time to get anything (productive) done throughout the day.  Now, even though I am taking away up to an hour each day for exercise, I feel like I have more time.  I am much more energetic, and am able to accomplish so much more each day.  Just yesterday I did laundry, dishes, schoolwork, went to the gym, cooked a great dinner, spent time with my chicklets, and so much more.  Amazing.

How are you feeling this week?


Classic Sticky Buns

Here is another recipe I am dying to try – soon.


1 envelope active dry yeast
2 Tbsp lukewarm (105 – 115 F) water
1/2 c. lukewarm (105 – 115 F) fat-free milk
1 large egg
2 tsp unsalted butter, melted
2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
1-1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c. dark raisins
2 tsp. fat-free milk
1/4 c. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1-1/2 tsp warm water

1. In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the water.  Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.

2. In a small bowl, combine the lukewarm milk, egg, and butter.  In a food processor, combine the flour, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and salt.  With the machine running, scrape the yeast mixture and milk mixture through the feed tube until the dough forms a ball.  Knead the dough by pulsing until smooth and no longer sticky, about 30 times.

3. Spray a large bowl with nonstick spray; place the dough in the bowl.  Cover loosely with platic wrap or a damp towel and let the dough rise in a warm, drat-free place until it doubles in volume, 30 to 45 minutes.

4. Spray an 8-inch cake pan with nonstick spray.  Punch down the dough; lightly sprinkle a work surface with flour.

5. Turn out dough; knead in the raisins and divide the dough into 8 pieces.  Roll each piece of dough into an 8-inch rope, then coil the ropes into buns.  Place the buns in the pan; cover loosely with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let them rise until doubled in volume, 35 to 40 minutes.

6. Preheat oven to 375 F.  Brush the tops of the buns with the milk.  Bake on the center rack until lightly browned, 20 to 25 minutes.

7. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar, vanilla, and warm water.  Spread over the buns as soon as you remove them from the oven.  Serve warm.

Here’s the dirt:
8 servings

204 calories
2 g fat (0 g saturated fat, 0 g Trans fat)
27 mg cholesterol
163 mg sodium
42 g carbs
2 g fiber
5 g protein
40 mg calcium


My New Friend

I met my personal trainer yesterday (and today, actually), and he is really great!  His name is Don.  At first I was a little skeeved out by the fact that he is a boy, but I got over that quickly.  Today we did my fitness evaluation (to see where I am now, and where we need to start).

The fitness evaluation consisted of measuring my body (biceps, bust, waist – in two places, hips, thighs, neck, and calves), body fat, and calculating my BMI.  After that he had me hop on the elliptical machine to see how fast/steady my heart rate is during exertion.  We went straight onto the chest and leg presses from there.  I really felt as though I did well on both of the presses.  I was able to do 10 chest presses at 150 pounds, and 10 leg presses at 280 pounds (even with a brace on my right ankle).  Next was crunches, which I completed 50 in a minute.  Don said that was really good to start.  Last he measured flexibility.  The problem here was that my disc prevented me from doing the test accurately.  You are *supposed* to sit with your legs extended in front of you, feet about 12 inches apart, and reach forward.  I could not do it.  Honestly, I could barely put my left leg down flat on the floor.  So, instead I stood and bent over to touch the floor.  He said we can measure that way instead.  Progress will be charted as I can put more of my hand (not just my fingertips) on the floor standing up.  Who knows, though, maybe one day I will be able to do it the right way.

I am really excited to get this plan moving in the right direction.  I meet with Don again on Monday.  He said he will have a “food diary” for me, and some other nutritional information.  I cannot wait.  However, I will not be waiting to hit the gym again until Monday.  Nope.  I will be back there on Friday evening – for a hot date with that elliptical machine.  We are going to be best friends, I think.

On a less happy note…tomorrow is going to be rough.  One of my best friend’s mother passed away.  Her funeral is tomorrow.  This, of course, means food – and lots of it.  I am going there with the intention of not grazing throughout the entire event.  Here’s to hoping.

How is your week going?  Are you getting closer to reaching your goal(s)?


Weigh Day (week four)

Just as I suspected…I lost 1 pound this week.  First of all, I knew the weight would not continue to come off so quickly.  Second of all, I cheated this week.  Shame on me.

However, 15.6 pounds lost in one month is certainly not shabby.  In fact, that is a pretty decent (and healthy) loss.  That is an average of 3.9 pounds lost per week, so not too much but progress is good.

When I officially began this journey four weeks ago my BMI was 49.  Today my BMI is 46.  I am not certain that would make a significant difference in a health professional’s eyes, but again progress is good.  Although, for someone my height the health professionals’ chart of height-weight ratio determines I should be around 160 pounds.  I can tell you that will *never* happen.  Ever.  At age 16 I was around 180 pounds and I was perfectly fit.  I wore a size 10, which for my body type and build, was perfect.  So, in a doctor’s eyes I will always be “overweight,” but I do not care about their standards, frankly.

I am facing this week with excitement and anticipation.  I meet with my new personal trainer on Tuesday, and I hope I will love him.  I met him briefly last week (just to schedule the appointment), and he seemed wonderful.  He is also going to give me some nutritional information.  I asked about semolina, couscous, and dark rye bread with this “no refined, enriched, or bleached flour” consumption.  I am not sure if I am supposed to be eating those things, but he said he would let me know on Tuesday.

It is still early, but I am already exhausted today.  My chicklets and I gardened for three hours earlier, and it kicked my butt.  I hope to be up for dancing later, but if I am not I think I will still be okay.  I have no idea exactly how many calories I burned out there that long, of course.  However, I think it was a decent amount with all the lifting (40-lb. bags of soil), digging, squatting, etc.

How did your week go?  Have you made satisfactory progress?  If not, what can you do this week to improve your results?


Corn Potato Pancakes

This is a recipe I have not tried yet, but I want to (and probably will this week).  It sounds yummy, and I am pretty sure my chicklets would love them.


2 c. mashed potatoes (with added milk and butter)
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. cream-style corn
1 egg, beaten
3 Tbsp finely chopped onion
1 tsp minced fresh parsley
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/8 tsp pepper
6 tsp vegetable oil, divided

1. In a large bowl, combine the first nine ingredients.  In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 tsp oil; drop four 1/4 cupfuls of batter into skillet.  Cook for 1 to 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown.  Repeat with remaining oil and batter.

Here’s the dirt:
About 6 servings (2 pancakes per serving)

160 calories
8 g fat (2 g saturated fat)
43 mg cholesterol
461 mg sodium
18 g carbs
1 g fiber
3 g protein


Parmesan Tomatoes

This is a delicious side that goes with just about any entree.


3 large tomatoes
1 Tbsp chicken bouillion granules
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp butter

1. Remove stems from tomatoes; cut in half widthwise.  Place cut side up in an 11 X 7″ baking dish coated with cooking spray.

2. Sprinkle with bouillion and Parmesan cheese; dot with butter.  Bake, uncovered, at 400 F for 20 to 25 minutes or until heated through.

Here’s the dirt:
6 servings

54 calories
3 g. fat (2 g. saturated fat)
8 mg. cholesterol
510 mg. sodium
5 g. carbs
1 g. fiber
2 g. protein


My Next Step

This week has been busy for me.  I had quite a lot of schoolwork to do, preparing and tending to my garden in the backyard, enjoying summer with my chicklets, household chores, catching up with friends…and, of course, exercising and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  All of that equates to me being worn out.  I “fell off the wagon” a day or two this week and ate some Tootsie Rolls.  I know it is not the worst thing I could have eaten, but I am still disappointed in myself.  I will say that I noticed myself getting a headache shortly after I ate them, though.  The sugar must really not be interacting well with the rest of me.

Knowing I cheated this week makes me even more apprehensive to face the scale in the morning.  I know I will be truly upset with myself if I have not lost anything this week (or worse, gained).  In the face of temptation I *must* remember to remind myself I am in this for the long-term, not the “right now.”  Eating some Tootsie Rolls on Thursday is not going to help me feel better a year from now, three years from now…but eating a salad and a piece of fruit certainly will.

Of course, under previous circumstances I would have already given up knowing I cheated.  I would have stopped exercising.  I would have stopped even attempting to eat healthfully.  Instead I kept on exercising every day, and even took my next step…I joined a gym.  I went to a local gym and signed up to meet with a personal trainer this week.  Admittedly, I am a little nervous, but I am equally excited.  I know I will not be able to afford to see a personal trainer on a regular basis, but maybe I can pick up some pointers (and pass them onto you).  Any help is better than no help, right?  My personal training goal is to meet with him once a month to gain some perspective, and help keep my motivation up.

Speaking of motivation…do you find you are more intrinsically motivated or extrinsically?  Studies show people who are intrinsically motivated do better in the long run than those who are extrinscially motivated.  Would you agree?  How do you reward yourself as you complete goals?