When Words Don’t Come Out…

…They’re probably best unsaid.  So I’ll leave this post short.

One of my favorite breakfasts—toast with peanut butter, cottage cheese, banana slices, and sweet potato pumpkin butter

DSC00885 DSC00888 DSC00883 Lunch (unpictured) was a Subway 6 inch turkey sandwich dressed on wheat with all the veggies offered except cucumber and onions with honey mustard.  I saved the salty cardboard Baked Lay’s for a pre-cardio snack.

After work I headed to the gym where I started on the exhausting stair stepper for 22 minutes.  I then hopped on the elliptical for a 30 minutes session.  The workout concluded with 2 minutes on the bicycle until the stretching unit was available so I could stretch (my achy hip in particular).

On the way home from the gym I picked up Come Back Inn for Chris and me.  I decided on the spinach and artichoke soup and a small chef salad with drizzled creamy Italian dressing.

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I did have a couple bites of the husband’s meatball po’boy as well.

Shortly after dinner my sweet tooth was prevalent, so I satisfied it with a date, pecan, chocolate chip muffin heated with a spoon of dark chocolate dreams peanut butter smeared on top.  Looks like a cupcake with chocolate icing and tastes like one too!

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Family, Football, Food

Today was my usual relaxing Sunday.  I started the day off with some coffee to give me a bit of a pick me up.  I can’t recall who, but last week another blogger recommended adding cinnamon to the coffee grounds before brewing.  Well I took her advice and tried it.  It was a very nice addition to my coffee and chicory brew.  So if you like cinnamon give it a try.  I dare you!  :) 

Shortly after my first cup of coffee and blog reading/email checking/bill paying it was time for some food.  I fixed myself two pancakes using Bisquick Heart Smart mix.  The directions call for milk, but I was all out. 

My mixture included:

  • 1/3 c bisquick
  • 1 egg
  • water
  • fat free powdered coffee creamer (to replace milk)
  • splash of vanilla
  • dash of cinnamon
  • cottage cheese (on top)
  • maple syrup (on top)

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Pancakes on hub’s garden box containing broccoli plants

After devouring these bad boys, I felt the need to go to the gym.  I had not been in over two weeks due to getting a cold and my attempts to let my hip heel, but I haven’t felt my best self lately.  So I went to the gym for some cardio and strength training.  I started with 15 minutes on the elliptical machine, followed by 30 minutes of weights, and 15 minutes on the arc trainer.  My weight routine looked like this with 3 sets of each:

  • 12 reps biceps at 15 lbs.
  • 15 reps triceps at 30 lbs.
  • 12 reps pectorals at 30 lbs.
  • 10 reps leg lifts at 30 lbs.
  • 12 reps leg extension at 45 lbs.
  • 20 reps total abs at 60 lbs.
  • 18 reps adductor at 60 lbs.
  • 15 reps abductor at 50 lbs.
  • 12 reps leg press at 40 lbs.
  • 10 reps row at 40 lbs.

When I got home from the gym I needed some food.  The Saints game was on so I quickly heated up a slice of pizza left from Saturday night.

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It was still tasty and filling.  After eating I headed to my sister’s to visit with her family and their new addition.

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She is such a little angel!

I may or may not have brought and eaten some of my oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and some of my nephew’s goldfish crackers.

After watching the miserable loss of the Saints (we’ll get those birds next time) I headed home after stopping at the grocery to get some staples for the week.

Instead of cooking dinner, I nabbed one of the rotisserie chickens to throw onto a big spinach salad.

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Spinach, strawberries, cucumbers, tomatoes, chicken, gorgonzola cheese, fat free raspberry vinaigrette—yummy restaurant style salad!

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I finally finished off my night with this sweet treat my hub surprised me with.9-21-10 015

Not the healthiest, more like portioned controlled, but still 170 calories.  And it was appreciated and delish!  Thanks babe! 😉

Question of the Night:  What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

My favorite ice cream flavor is, hmmmmm….., peanut butter cup or pistachio. 

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?

Portion Contortions

At times I find myself trying to contort my portions of food so that my brain thinks that I am getting more food than is actually on my plate. To start, let’s take a look at breakfast.

 

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For breakfast I completely enjoyed my toasted sandwich thin topped with sliced banana, cottage cheese, honey drizzles and cinnamon.  This meal was oh so sweet and satisfying.

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Instead of making the sandwich closed, I left it open faced topping each half with a half of the banana.  Then I topped each half with 1/4 cup of cottage cheese rather than having a 1/2 cup serving all in one scoop.  Ultimately, making the sandwich this way takes up more of the plates surface area, which deceptively makes my mind think I have more food to indulge in rather than one small sandwich that barely covers my plate.  Ideally I could have opted for a smaller plate aiding in that perception. 

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For lunch today I had some leftover brown rice that was mixed with veggies from Sunday Night’s Slow Cooker Chicken and Veggies.  On the side I lapped up some Greek honey yogurt.

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Side note—For Sunday’s dinner, to a crock pot I added three chicken breasts atop one chopped potato, a sliced onion, minced garlic, sliced squash, and corn removed from the ear.  I seasoned it with salt and pepper and poured a can of reduced sodium cream of mushroom condensed soup on top.  I set the cooker on high for four hours.  Two hours in, I poured about a cup of water over the top of the mixture.  Once the slow cooker went off, I cooked brown rice and steamed some brussel sprouts  to add to the slow cooker.  I let the rice absorb the liquid mixture by setting the crock pot to warm setting and letting it rest for about 20 minutes longer.   Here is the picture from my Sunday slow cooker meal.

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The appearance is not the most appeasing, but it was much like a rice and chicken casserole.  My hub enjoyed it thoroughly! 

Back to lunch—I chose a small container to fill my fair portion of rice and veggies (one chicken breast was eaten by me, two others were eaten by hubby for two meals so none was left in the rice).  I often see people bring very large containers for their food and it is sometimes more than a serving but other times they have a whole lot of empty space making it appear to be too little food.

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I found these smaller containers of greek yogurt that are only 90 calories per serving as opposed to the normal 150 calories in the larger containers.  All in all, my rice + veggies combined with the side of yogurt kept me full all the way until dinner.

For dinner tonight, I made a variation of Christina’s Orzo and Shrimp Bake which can be viewed at Hungry Meets Healthy.

9-21-10 009  I did not have tomatoes so I used store-bought tomato and basil sauce instead.  I began by cooking the orzo according to the package.

Shrimp and Orzo with Feta

1 lb. orzo, cooked

1tbsp. olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 lb. raw shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 tbsp. minced garlic

1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

Salt to taste

2 cups tomato-basil sauce

4 ounces reduced fat feta cheese

Directions:  Preheat oven to 350*.  Heat oil in skillet.  Add onion and sauté until softened.  Add shrimp,  garlic, red pepper, and oregano.  Cook for 2-3 minutes.  Pour shrimp into greased glass casserole dish.  Add orzo, sauce, and salt to shrimp and mix to combine.  Crumble feta over the top of the entire casserole dish.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until heated through and shrimp are cooked.

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For dinner, I used a salad plate.  To bulk up my portion I plated a cup? or so of steamed vegetables and added a cup of the orzo shrimp mixture on top.  I first read of this portioning technique on Julie’s blog at PB Fingers.  I like this idea of manipulating your brain to enjoy the full flavor of the pasta dish, but filling the belly with healthy veggies at the same time.

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Shortly after dinner I felt the munchies settling in.  So to satisfy my sweet tooth I ate a bowl of cereal which contained a mixture of shredded wheat puffs, blueberry flakes, and apple cinnamon o’s.  I actually have a bowl from a chip and dip set that I use for small portion eats.

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Often people trying to lose weight will begin making healthy changes to their diet; however, they do not watch portion sizes.  I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again.  No matter what foods you eat, you can’t lose weight if you consume the same or more calories than your body burns. 

For example, if you make the switch to brown rice or whole wheat pasta, that in itself will not make you lose weight.  A cup of brown rice has the same number of calories as a cup of white rice.  The point of doing that is more about the nutrients your body gains from brown versus white.  In regards to losing weight, perhaps cut back from your normal 2 cup serving of rice to 1 cup or even less.

The bottom line is that you have to be honest with portion sizes.  Use the tricks listed above including using smaller containers and plates, spreading your food out over the plate, or bulking up portions with healthier options like steamed vegetables.

If you have trouble eyeballing portion sizes, take some time to actually measure out portions.  I go through several measuring cups and measuring spoons a day.  But from doing it so much, I do have a better idea of portion sizes.  The list below is a guide for portion sizes if you prefer to manage your portions without measuring.

Serving Size Compatible Object
1 teaspoon 1 dice
2 tablespoons Golf ball
1 cup Tennis ball
4 ounces (meats) Deck of cards
1 ounce (cheese) 4 dice

Questions of the Night:  Do you watch portion size or just eat what you want?  What tips do you use to manage portion sizes?