Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Winter is here and evident– The weather temperatures are in the forties, my hands are red and dry, it is so cold it hurts.  The frigid temperatures don’t stay long around here in southeastern Louisiana, so when it is this cold out it is quite the adjustment.

Waking up this a.m. all I wanted was some warming oatmeal.

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My oatmeal was cooked on the stove for 5 minutes on medium heat including:

~1/4 c old fashioned oats

~1/4 c water

~1/4 c low fat milk

~mashed banana

~pinch of salt

~dash of vanilla

~generous dash of cinnamon

I crumbled a small date, pecan, chocolate chip muffin on top with a spoonful of peanut butter.  I also sipped a mug of soothing mango black tea.

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Ummm, I need to invest in some winter placemats; please forgive my continuous fall colors.  😉

Lunch was more of my delicious gumbo with a crisp apple.

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I did add some water during the reheating to make it more soupy.  This picture was snapped fresh out of the refrigerator so looks slightly thick.

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After work today I headed home and decided to forego working out for a nap.  I felt sore from yesterday’s workout and worn out.  So after my snack, I took an hour nap.  I enjoyed the rest of my favorite hummus with some baby carrots.  I also had a few miniature chocolate peanut butter cups Mom brought back from her first trip to Trader Joe’s Chicago back in September.

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Tonight’s dinner was requested by Chris.  I told him I had ground beef and pork chops and asked him what he wanted for dinner.  He requested chili.  And of course with this chilly weather, I obliged with his request.  Using jarred tomato basil sauce and the recipe on the back of the chili powder I made the chili with a few adjustments.  I’ve made this twice before and Chris thoroughly enjoys it.

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 Chili Recipe (my changes in parentheses)

1 pound lean ground beef

1 onion, chopped

1 tbsp. minced garlic

1 tbsp. olive oil (added)

2 tbsp. chili powder

1 tbsp. flour

1/2 tsp. cumin, ground

1 tsp. salt (more added to taste)

cayenne pepper to taste (added)

2 tbsp. honey (substituted this for sugar)

1 1/2 cup tomato basil sauce (substituted this for 8 oz. canned, plain sauce)

2 tbsp. ketchup (added)

1 1/2 cup water (original called for 1 cup)

1 cup baby portabella mushrooms, sliced (added)

Optional toppings: pita chip crumbs, greek yogurt, cheese (added)

Directions:  Heat oil in large saucepan.  Saute’ onions, garlic, and beef until browned.  Drain any excess liquid.  Add remaining ingredients and stir.  Cook on medium low for 30 minutes.  Plate and top with desired toppings.

I ate my chili with a dollop of 0% greek yogurt and some multigrain pita crumbs. (I knew I saved that bag of crumbs for a reason.)

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This chili recipe is super simple, super filling, and super comforting especially when the cold winter air is in full swing.

What is your “go to” cold weather meal?

Triangles, Squares, Circles, Oh My!

Life sometimes takes over and gets in the way.  And the past couple of days work and sleep were more of a priority than blogging and cooking and exercising.  What’s the phrase?  A lady needs her beauty sleep, right?  ;)  Please forgive me if I do not post every single day.  I started the blog as a hobby and I don’t want it to become something that I feel obligated to do just to please others or to allow it to get in the way of spending time with my husband, Chris, or my family.  I do fully appreciate the small readership that I have gained in the past three months and hope to gain more and also that you continue to check back to read new posts. 

With saying that, I did  begin the blog as a way of tracking my eating habits and exercise, and any other snippets from my days.  Therefore, I no longer use www.411fit.com to keep my daily calorie intake and output.  On the other hand, I do try to keep a mental estimate in my head more so for breakfast, lunch, and snacks than dinner.  I try to take in between 300 to 400 calories for each of breakfast and lunch and no more than 200 calories for snacks, which I generally always have after work and sometimes after dinner.  Usually I do not eat a morning snack, but will drink coffee at work with no-calorie sweetener and powdered creamer.

Now that is off my chest, the past two days I was away at the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Conference.  I wish I could say that it was out of town and I got to experience some other part of the country, :(  but actually it was held in downtown New Orleans at the Convention Center, about 15 miles from where I live.  I signed up to be a volunteer when I registered so each afternoon I stood outside of doors giving out presenter handouts, directing people where to sit, and making sure lines were orderly and rooms were cleared.

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Me Volunteering—well technically “the  greedy triangle” who did not want to be a triangle because his friends didn’t look like him, but I’m handing these out to participants.  I have always considered myself to be a somewhat of a triangle actually for two different reasons.  One, the shape of my body is somewhat of a triangle shape; more so prior to losing weight because I was smaller on top with wider hips like the “pear” shape.  But I think I have balanced out a little bit since exercising.  Secondly, there is a personality test where you select one of the following figures that you most identify with.  The couple of times I’ve done this I’ve always chosen the triangle—probably because of reason one above, but either way that is the shape that speaks to me most.

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Which of the five shapes do you most identify with:  square, rectangle, triangle, circle, or zig zag?  Don’t think too much into to it, just make a quick choice and leave it in the comment’s section.  I will post the meanings tomorrow.

As for my eats the past two days, here is a recap of some of my meals.

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DSC00034 Breakfast Thursday—Oatmeal with Raspberry Preserves and Cottage Cheese Stirred In and Pumpkin Spice Coffee

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Breakfast Friday—Sandwich Thin with Peanut Butter, Banana, Cottage Cheese, Raspberry Preserves and Chai Tea with Milk

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Lunch Thursday—Roast Beef Sandwich and a Diet Coke that cost $3.25 just for the drink! :/

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Lunch Friday—Chicken Taco Salad and Diet Dr. Pepper

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DSC00055 DSC00056 Dinner Thursday—Clear Soup, Spicy Tuna Roll, and Salmon Avocado Roll from Cherry Blossom at the Corner of My Street

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Dinner Friday—Chili Made with Jarred Pasta Sauce, Zucchini, Mushrooms, Lean Ground Beef according to directions on back of Chili Powder, but instead of sugar I used honey and I add a little ketchup also.  With crumbled light babybel round, greek yogurt, and pita chips for dipping.  Chris raves over this chili when he eats it and it is so simple.

A few pics from my excursion downtown:

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Mardi Gras Float Topper

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New Orleans Streetcar Artwork

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TV Monitors Outside of Every Door

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While eating lunch at the Riverwalk Mall next to the Convention Center I was wishing I was one of the people boarding this cruise ship!

While it is no relaxing cruise, it is the weekend so I am going to relax, exercise, and enjoy!  Hope you do as well!

Soaking in the Sunrays

I got to sleep a whole extra hour due to my workshop being five minutes away from my house compared to my normal 45 minute drive.  Yippee for that! :)  My day started off on a good note with a hot bowl of oatmeal.

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My oatmeal bowl contained:

  • 1/3 cup of rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup of skim milk
  • 1/3 cup of water
  • 1 tsp. of dark chocolate dreams peanut butter
  • half apple, chopped
  • less than 1/3 cup cottage cheese
  • drizzle of maple syrup

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Since some other teachers and I were given an hour and fifteen minutes for lunch, we decided to try out this new restaurant which I have been wanting to try since they opened and constantly pass by due to it being about two minutes from my home.  So we headed to Sun Ray Grill and Oyster Bar.  They have a couple of other locations, but I’ve never been to any of them.

For my meal I ordered the Spinach Salad with Warm Brie Dressing.  The menu described it as baby spinach tossed in a sun dried tomato and warm brie dressing topped with fried shrimp, sliced mushrooms, and bacon.  I substituted grilled shrimp for the fried. 

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The shrimp were large and delicious.  As for my salad, I should have requested the dressing on the side.  It was swimming in a puddle of dressing and I could not finish it because the spinach was so wilted and soupy due to the dressing.  I also wish the sun dried tomato flavor was a tad more prevalent.  Overall, I enjoyed the salad, but toward the end it became overwhelmingly rich with the brie turning my stomach some. 

The others ordered smoky mountain burgers, chicken nachos, shrimp remoulade po’boy, and a chicken club pita.  They all seemed to enjoy their meals.  I definitely plan on taking my hub back to try some other menu items.

After settling in at home, I had the other half of my apple from breakfast with some greek yogurt.

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Dinner tonight was some chili that I cooked based on the recipe on the back of the chili powder.  I began by sautéing a chopped onion and minced garlic.  I then added a pound of lean ground beef.  After the meat was brown and drained, I added chili powder, cumin, sugar, corn, salt and pepper, and (don’t laugh) jarred tomato and basil sauce and ketchup along with a cup or two of water.  I didn’t have a can of plain tomato sauce as the recipe called for, so I had to modify to what was on hand.  My grandmother on my dad’s side always makes her spaghetti sauce as the base of her chili and then just adds chili powder, so I didn’t see any problem with using jarred spaghetti sauce.  😉

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I usually do not like chili during the summer months (wait is it fall yet?) but this definitely hit the spot.  The chili turned out quite tasty especially with a dollop of light sour cream and tortilla chips for scooping!  Mmm, mmm, mmm! 🙂

Question of the Night:  Do you save soups and chili for the winter months or do you enjoy them year round?