The Weekend Cook

I like to cook up most of our meals on the weekend.  We moved into a new home in August, so I am still getting use to the kitchen.  I’ve felt a little out of sync.  This is how things look in my frig when I’m on it.  Also, studies show that the best way to stay on a diet is if you plan ahead.

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Tip of the day

Apparently grape juice prevents stomach flu.  Drinking a few sips a day between January and March is suppose to do it.  I’ll let you know if it works for us.  Half of the city I live in is sick with colds and flu currently.  The YMCA canceled a health expo because of such. 😦

Food Portioning

Smaller portions of food are easier for my husband Jim, to handle since he is disabled and has trouble holding onto large casserole dishes.  I found he was bypassing my cooked meals in the casseroles for a protein bar or anything handy because of such.

Portioning is also ideal for lunches on the go and dieting in general.

Some of the things I do with the “lunch tray”  container is pan seared chicken breasts with asparagus and sweet potato wedges.  I also sauteed spinach in olive oil with garlic and onion and added that in the last section.

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The sweet potatoes are so easy.  Just put on a greased cookie sheet and spray with oil.  Bake at 400 for 20 minutes.

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If you are doing the “Six Meals a Day” plan, low fat cottage cheese with 4 Melba Toast crackers is a good mid morning or afternoon snack.  Yogurt with fruit is too.    So much easier in the morning rush to grab an individual container of such instead of the larger container and then have to portion it out for the day.

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This is a great and quick way to prepare chicken breasts for lunch.  Sear them with a tiny bit of olive oil and your favorite seasonings.  I prepared my salads last night so they are ready along with the boiled eggs.  A standard for daily lunch.

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What is better than spinach to top it off.  I fixed mine quickly with onions, garlic and olive oil.

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Station Break…My Favorite Things

I always crave tacos with Old El Paso “Medium” taco sauce.  They have to have heated crunchy shell, taco flavored ground chuck (Old El Paso taco seasoning).  A few spinach leaves and shredded cheddar.  This isn’t a diet food item, just love them.  Don’t deprive yourself of things you crave.  This is mine.  Had some on Saturday.

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Hope you have a great work week!  See you online!

Salads to Go

One of the best gadgets for creating fresh crisp salads , is the Salad Spinner.  After soaking and rinsing the lettuce, just put the torn leaves into the Spinner basket and with a few hard presses, centrifugal force pulls the water away from the leaves.  I fill it just half way with lettuce and do this twice for each half basket full.

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In the past I would combine the salad for the week in a big bowl minus the dressing.

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Now I have a better way…

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It’s salad in a jar.  Very easy to create.  After cleaning and chopping all of the veggies, fruit, etc., just assemble.  Dressing goes in first then all of the wet produce (tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, berries).  Follow that with lettuce, and other leafy greens.  Make sure it’s stuffed not allowing for air, then seal Mason jar with lid.

I like to have boiled eggs handy to throw into a lunch along with the salad jar and some yogurt.  It’s fast and helps me get my 3 cups of raw veggies in each day.

The jars keep for a good week – sometimes up to 10 days.  These salad jars have Romaine and Butter lettuce with cucumbers, green peppers, tomatoes, olives and a Ranch dressing.

Try it and then circle back and tell me your favorite salad combo.

Have a great day and make it count!

Going the Distance…Daily

I’m finishing my third week on diet and exercise plan.  All still going strong.  I’ve lost 6 pounds (all from fat too – not lean tissue) and several inches.  So glad.  I already see a difference in my running, breathing, etc.  Feels great.

My job causes me to travel a lot and I attend many events/banquets.  Yesterday was another one.  The lunch was a chicken breast stuffed with a lot of things not on the diet.  Then covered with Phylo dough and resting on a bed of mixed salad greens that had dried cranberries and nuts added.  I had called ahead and requested plain chicken breast without the embellishments, but didn’t happen.  So,  while I love all the extras, I scraped all from such and just ate the chicken and the salad.  It took so long to do so and carry on conversations around me with those I needed to engage, that I didn’t get to finish it before the program started.  Not good.

I struggle with a blood sugar issue and the biggest challenge to such is when I’m working out of town.  This diet is a strict 1200 calories and I try to be consistent with what I eat when (every 3 hours).  I am not sure but may have only eaten 1 ounce of chicken when should have had 3 and didn’t get enough salad (carbs).

After the luncheon I had a meeting that ran long.  So I went more than 3 hours without anything.  Therefore my blood sugar dropped.  After leaving the meeting I was really shaky and extremely tired – kind of like a fog.  Also had some nausea and a headache.  When I left, I drove to the nearest McDonald’s – ordered a grilled chicken sandwich with nothing on it, a bottle of water and a diet coke.  Then ate the sandwich (3 ounces of chicken) with only half the bun.  The diet coke was to get some caffeine for my 2.5 hour drive home.  Following the chicken sandwich, I also ate a protein bar.  Within a short amount of time I felt better and headed home – drank a couple of bottles of water too.   I keep a protein bar in my purse but didn’t want to eat in front of the others in the meeting.  Bottom line…each day is about going the distance.  Tomorrow is another race – to get it all in.

Last night Alex picked the cherries off our new tree that had ripened.  I ate a cup full as one of my 2 servings of fruit I’m to have each day.  They were great.  Sorry about the seeds in the corner – started in on them before I took the picture – I didn’t eat all of these – there are still some left for today too.  Jim and Alex aren’t that crazy about them – so I don’t have to share.   🙂

Today‘s Harvest from My Cherry Tree

There is a tree on my way home that always stands out among the others along the highway.  I mentioned it in a post back in November.

Photo Taken November 2011

Here it is in May.  Beautiful!

Favorite Tree “Welcoming Me Back from Another Trip to KC”
Photo Taken May 2012

Tonight I need to run again.  Didn’t do so last night after getting home – too tired.

Here’s your morning dose of inspiration and make today count.

Finally…An Iphone and Taps for the Ipod

We went out to dinner last night to Red Lobster.  I had my usual fare of grilled salmon, baked potato, asparagus and garden salad with vinaigrette dressing.

To keep from having to use butter, I squeeze several lemon wedges onto my potato and then seasoned with pepper.  It always does the trick.  I love potatoes but can’t afford the butter right now on this diet so that is my substitute.  It is actually pretty good.  I have also been known to put hot sauce on my potato too (w/o the lemon).  All good choices…

The big news is  – I got an Iphone!

Trying the camera out on Alex.

Then later Dolores came over .  She and Alex (both iphone experts) had a lot of good advice for me.

I have already begun using Siri (as Dolores suggested).  Added all my social media apps and others that would come in handy.

Best yet…No longer will I have blurred pics – yay! 🙂  I have spent the morning downloading free apps.  What are your favorite apps for your phone???

I’m going for a 4 mile run this morning – can’t wait.  Email or leave a comment and let me know how far you ran or walked today.    Waiting on that “work fairy” to appear and clean my house.  Wish there really was one.  That will wait.

More later.  Have a great day!

Marathon Pre-Training – Moving Towards Peak Condition

Fortunately, I am six months out from the St. Louis Rock and Roll Marathon to build towards the official training.  Why???  Because, according to this CNN story as well as other sources, you should be running 40 to 50 miles per week for 3 months (even though the subject of the article, with 3 marathons under his belt, did not).  That means beginning mid July, my daily average will be 7 miles per day – 6 days per week.  I can do this. ..with a lot of discipline and laser-beam focus.

This will be a life changing journey.  I’m not just referring to the physical sacrifice, but also the mental exercise as well as spiritual.

For now, I’m in pre-training phase.  I want to engage my official training (June) 20 pounds lighter.   I can do this too.  This is day 6 almost through first week of what will probably be close to 10 weeks of a reducing plan.  Even with travel have stuck strictly to the diet.  and exercise plan.  I’ve overcome harder battles – like a 2 pack a day smoking habit – 20 years ago or going back to  school as a wife and Mom (for undergraduate degree) while working – graduated summa cum laude.

Went out yesterday morning (cold and windy following storm through the night) and did a quick 2.5 miles.  In a few minutes leaving to do 3 with four quarter-mile sprints to work on speed during mile 3.  Then will finish with my stretching (LIFE Runner Coach Pat will be happy I remembered that as will my muscles – working to keep them injury  free).

I’m in KC – went  to a banquet last night.  Banquet staff brought me the plated feta cheese stuffed chicken and I politely reminded them about my earlier request for simple chicken breast with green beans (understandable about needed reminder – I was one of 600 guests).  They were very gracious and returned with the plate.  It was delicious.  Passed on the desert and nibbled on the roll while drinking a lot of water.  All following the perfect spinach salad with a tablespoon of the raspberry dressing and then later finished up with a little coffee.

Simple food.  No sauces or embellishments.  I like eating this way and can follow this with ease.  Breakfast was a protein bar, vitamins and supplements and coffee.  Mid morning snack before leaving was yogurt with plenty of water.  Lunch was a Southwest Salad from McDonald’s.

I also take chromium throughout the day to help keep my blood sugar stable.

Feeling good and ready to get out there and embrace the day.  Need to get home to knock out some housekeeping and cooking.  Tomorrow running a 5K with my niece and her daughter.  Great days ahead and on with conditioning.

 

 

 

Superbowl Food…Maybe? It’s Always a Superbowl at Our House

Great stuff…

Yesterday I made a very crisp salad out of tomatoes, cucumbers, cranberries and Romaine lettuce. Ran it through the salad spinner and it’s good for a at least 5 days.  Doesn’t brown or wilt.

Today I made a roast smothered in stewed tomatoes, potatoes, carrots and onions – the best (well, Julia Child‘s might be a little better).

Then also fixed some Mexican Chicken with peppers and onions along with corn on the cob.

Don’t forget the Pumpkin Muffins…there’s nothing better.  Still cooling on a towel.

Great start to a great week ahead.

Done! My 11 mile run/walk Pace 13:38 My best to date.  Burned 1,100 calories.

It wasn’t easy.  I’ve been working at it for a while.

I started at the Nature Center again – what a beautiful place. 

Alex went along but he stayed at Runge while

I continued on to my other 10 miles that would bring me back there.  He didn’t wait till I got back though – too long for him.  He was going to do some sketching.

Yesterday, I got some of the cooking done.  Then today made BBQ Beef – in a crock pot – it is the best for sandwiches.

I usually fix a big salad but we needed something different so I cut up some carrots, radishes and celery.    Then of course there is the muffins – this week is oatmeal raisin and the baked bread.  I also made some Tuna Salad.  I’m out of time but tomorrow night will make some Taco Chicken with Peppers.  Really tired and doing a lot of snacking tonight – on good stuff though.

Shoes did well – still had some pain in toes on left foot.  Will have to adjust them a little.

I’m really tired but feeling good I got my long run in and that I picked up the pace.  Also, Amazing Race is on – gotta go!