Calorie Counting

Back in 2009 I began calorie counting in an effort to lose weight.  I continued counting my daily calories for about a year and a half stopping for about a month at one point, but soon began again.  In the summer of 2011, as I began reading daily food blogs and shortly thereafter starting my own blog I decided that a daily diary of my meals was sufficient enough as I now had a better understanding of portion sizes and a general idea of the calories those portions were worth.  Ultimately, I gave up inputting my meals into the online database hosted by www.411fit.com.

Don’t get me wrong; calorie counting is the “bible” so to speak when it comes to losing weight.  It works if done honestly.  I am just no longer at a point where I want or need to lose weight; however, I do want to maintain my current weight.  Though I could certainly afford to lose some fatty tissue on some areas of my body, in particular my thighs.  At some point in my lifetime, I want to feel comfortable in a swimsuit without covering up with shorts.  I’m just not sure that will ever happen.

Anyway, today started in a rush since I awoke late once again.  I haven’t been sleeping all that well.  My dog and Mom’s dog (I’ve been babysitting since last Friday) keep me up all hours of the night wanting to go outside.   Needless to say, breakfast had to be FAST.

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Muenster cheese and seedless black raspberry preserves on a whole wheat tortilla with a banana and hot earl grey green tea on side.

Lunch consisted of last’s nights leftover steamed chicken and vegetables with light garlic sauce that Chris picked up from the Chinese takeout place.

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I ate jus about all of the vegetables, but left most of the chicken.  I was bothered by its texture from the steaming.  The Chobani Black Cherry was saved for my pre-cardio snack.

Today’s cardio session included 15 minutes on the bike and 6 miles on the elliptical for 30 minutes while watching 5 Ingredient Fix on the Food Channel.  I concluded with stretching and abdominal floor work.

Dinner was super tasty.  I made Gorgonzola Chicken Alfredo over Spaghetti Squash.

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The evening light was going dim as I was trying to get a good photo from real light.  So I had to move indoors.

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I was shooting for a healthier version on this chicken alfredo, so I was curious to figure out how many calories this was.  My mind immediately thought to log onto www.411fit.com to calculate the stats.  So that is just what I did for all of today’s eats.

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A cup of squash, with two tenders, and two tablespoons of the sauce came out to 322 calories.  I did have a third chicken tender with a third tablespoon of sauce so my dinner was about 460 calories.  Still, 500 calories seems reasonable to me for a meal.

My grade on today’s nutrition came out to a B+—Good.  My calories are slightly low and my protein was more than needed, but overall a good day.  Just to be clear, the database does not contain every single thing I ate.  I found compatible items for things like the raspberry preserves and my leftover Chinese chicken and veggies.  For my dinner, I did actually upload the recipes into the site so that is pretty accurate.  And I owe you the recipe.  It’s a keeper. :0)

Question of the Night:  Do you count calories?  Does that seem obsessive to you?

Is It the Carbs or the Calories?

While people around the globe set a New Year’s Resolution to lose weight, surely there are some of them jumping on the “no carb”Atkins Diet bandwagon in hopes of eliminating those unwanted pounds.  But is it necessary to completely cut out an entire nutritional component of foods that our bodies use for its main source of energy?

The answer is simple.  No!  One does not need to eliminate carbohydrates in an effort to shed pounds.  Those who are on “no carb” diets do in fact lose weight eliminating carbs, but the real reasoning behind that is because they are actually consuming less calories. 

Regardless of what one eats, he or she can lose weight.  It is a simple mathematical equation.  One pound=3,500 calories.  So over seven days in a week, if 500 extra calories are burned per day or 500 less calories are consumed per day then weight loss will result dependent upon individual basal metabolic rates (number of calories the body naturally burns with normal daily activities). 

Now, why does the “No Carb” diet work?  Well, if a consumer has trouble watching portions and balancing fat, protein, and carbs in a normal balanced way, he or she may opt for the diet mentioned above.  Consuming fat and proteins are more satiating /filling, so the result is that they should ultimately consume less food. Hence, less food means less calories.  However, if too much proteins and fatty foods are consumed in excess of the basal metabolic rate, weight loss will not occur due to the overindulgence of calories. 

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All this talk of carbs had me in the mood for a baked microwaved potato for dinner.  Along with my potato I had a simply baked fillet of the grown up fish and roasted asparagus.

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The salmon was seasoned with salt and pepper, garlic powder + the juice of a Satsuma baked at 400* for 15 minutes until flaky.

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The asparagus were tossed in olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted at 400* for 20 minutes.  I topped my tater with Brummel and Brown Yogurt Spread, a little reduced fat mexican cheese, and a dollop of plain greek yogurt.  It was delish and Chris agreed!

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As for lunch, it was leftover Chinese vegetables and rice from last night’s take out…

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….and a satsuma from sis’s tree.

Breakfast was an over toasted whole wheat waffle with a thin spread of peanut butter, two spoonfuls of cottage cheese, a sliced banana, and a spoonful of sweet potato pecan butter.  Yummy aside from the crunchy, blackened waffle beneath.

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I did also have a carby cornbread muffin when I got home from work with a killer headache.  It has finally gone away after a nap and dinner.

**Disclaimer: I am not a registered dietician; the above information is what I have learned in my own effort to lose weight.  For professional nutritional advice please consult a registered dietician.  

A Taste of the Holidays

The cool weather this weekend has put me in the holiday spirit and reminded me that in two short weeks I’ll be off of work an entire week for the Thanksgiving holidays.  I.Can’t.Wait!  The winter holidays are my favorite time of year with the aromas of wood burning fireplaces and Christmas trees filling the air, festive decorations, comforting home-cooking, and spending time with loved ones.  On Saturday, Mom and I attended the Pontchartrain Holiday Arts and Craft Show.  We go just about every year to see mostly the same types of jellies, dip mixes, wooden yard signs, wreaths, jewelry, and much more. 

At the show I sampled way too much of these and did not buy one of them.

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All Kinds of Pepper Jellies including Crawfish Pepper Jelly and Mayhaw Pepper Jelly of The Ole Homestead out of Gilbert, LA.  Plus all sorts of mayonnaise/ sour cream based dips with pretzel sticks from spinach dip to garlic dip to Mardi Gras dip, which is a Cajun flavored spicy dip.  They were all tasty, but what I enjoyed the most and had to have (because I knew I would actually use it and not store it in the cabinet for years like some of the dip and soup mixes purchased two years ago) to top on my oatmeal was Sweet Potato Pecan Butter.

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I actually baked a homemade Sweet Potato Pie with Maple Pecan topping on Friday and topped my oatmeal this morning with it.

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Sunday breakfast—steel cut oats made with banana, cinnamon, milk, and water.  I guess sweet potatoes are on my brain since we still have a bunch to use up, so fittingly I purchased the sweet potato butter which tastes a lot like this pie.  More on the pie in another post.

The arts and craft show was not just about food, though it seemed many people just go for the sample tastings.  There was also tons of jewelry for sale at the show as well.

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Saints and Fleur de Lis paraphernalia out the Ying-Yang!

Handmade Wooden Yard Signage

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Christmas Decor, the Door Wreath I Purchased

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As always, Mom and I shared some freshly roasted New Orleans Praline Pecans.  They were sweet and hot right out the pan.

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To recap the rest of my Saturday eats:

Breakfast was a hunk of Sweet Potato Pie with a cup of Pumpkin Spice Coffee.

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Lunch was sandwiches for two—one for Chris and one for me. 

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Whole Wheat Toast topped with Greek Olive Hummus, Reduced Fat Feta Cheese, Grape Tomatoes, Spring Mix, Sliced Cucumbers, Sliced Bell Peppers, Salt & Pepper

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Chris said this very well could be his favorite sandwich of all times and he wants me to make it “everyday.”  I agree it was scrumptious though I am sure he and I would both tire of it if eaten every day.

Later in the day I tried my first pomegranate.  Julie was right when she warned her readers that there will be ruby red pomegranate juice all over the place when dissecting a pom to get to the beautiful, crunchy, juicy little arils.  I was worried, though, about the staining power, but the juice easily wiped up from my white countertops with water.

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Wish I had this hunk of jewels as a ring; the arils look like beautiful, glistening gemstones.

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My pomegranate provided me with hundreds of the juice bursting arils.  When you bite down on one of them a burst of juice explodes in your mouth.  They are a fun, little snack to chomp on.

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Shortly after dark, husband and I decided to head out to try Prime Time Seafood and Steak House down the street from our house.  It has been there for a while, but we were hesitant to try it since they hardly ever look packed.

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The outside looks a bit old-fashioned, but the inside has been freshly renovated to a modern sophistication with dim lights.  The hostess greeted us kindly and proceeded to seat us at a white linen covered table.  The dining tables were very close together, so Chris asked if we could sit in a booth where our request was welcomed.

To start, we had the stuffed mushrooms, which our waitress claimed she ate them everyday because they are that good.

IMG_0184  They were deep fried and served with ranch dressing, although the menu stated they came with hollandaise sauce.  When asked about the substitution, Angie, our waitress, stated most people do not eat the hollandaise and that they go better with the in-house made ranch dressing anyway.  I’m not a fan of hollandaise, so it was no problem for me.  And Chris couldn’t get enough of the ranch.  I had two of the fried mushroom stuffed balls with a couple slices of crusty, hot French bread as well.  The mushroom pieces seemed to be sliced on the inside of the fried breading, so being called stuffed mushrooms was somewhat deceptive, but the flavor was delicious.  I think it is difficult to mess up a “stuffed mushroom.”  I can’t recall ever having a bad one.

For my meal, I ordered the chopped salad and crabcake appetizer.

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Pile of chopped lettuce, tomato, onion, olives, cheese, egg, bacon, mushrooms, croutons topped with crispy, fried onion rings.  Initially, I requested Italian dressing for my salad, but it was certainly not needed or used because the salad had so many flavors already.  I ate all of this with two of my crabcakes mixed in.  Chris ate the third along with his T-bone steak.

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The crabcakes were chock full of lumps of meat.  Very little breading was used unlike most restaurants who serve more breading than crabmeat.  These were the perfect accompaniment to my chopped salad. 

As for Chris’s steak ordered from the steak house, we both agreed that it was way too over-seasoned.  For a $40 cut of meat, you should be able to actually taste the flavor of the meat and not the seasoning that it was dredged in.

We finished up our meal sharing a cup of coffee and New Orleans Style Bread Pudding with a Sweet Rum Sauce.

IMG_0194    Pudding for Two—Decadent and Delicious

Sip for Him & Sip for Her

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We both agreed that the steak was overpriced, but would perhaps come back for the other food offerings at another time.  Another couple actually came in, were seated, looked at the menu, and got up and left without ordering a thing.  I think it may have been due to the pricing.  The cheapest steak is 30 bucks, which maybe they are trying to become one of the better steak restaurants in the area; however, the place does not stand up to the top notch steak houses for two reasons. 1.) The location is next to a not so nice hotel, so the people staying there may not want to fork out that kind of money for the food.  2.) If the flavor of the steak needs to be hidden with that much extra seasoning, then perhaps they do not know how to cook a good steak.  Maybe they should stick to seafood.  Lastly, I think the name says something about a place.  Prime Time sounds more like the name of a sports bar rather than a fancy dining eatery.

Finally, the day ended with Chris lighting our fireplace for the first time this season.

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Just a taste of the holidays because it did not last too long, because we are short on firewood.  All we had were some twigs and branches that were gathered up a couple weeks ago from the yard.

As for now, this time change has made me feel like I need to go to sleep with it being so dark so early, but I need to get some laundry done instead and see if any good shows are on.  I may just have to pop a handful of pom arils in my mouth for a burst of energy even though I just had some froyo not long ago.  Have a good night!

Do you like the time change for the winter or do you dislike it?

I am not a fan of setting the clocks back for winter because once I get home from work between five or six, I feel like my whole day is lost/gone.  Not to mention it puts me to sleep when I have things to get done around my house.  And I thoroughly dislike driving in the dark (I’ve been in glasses since I was 2 years old and can’t see very well during the day much less at night) which I’m forced to do if I need to run any errands.