Holiday Recovery

Did anyone actually get a wink of sleep last night?  Lots of neighbors were shooting off fireworks, which we enjoyed from our bedroom, but became very annoyed when it went on and on until midnight!!  Then I tossed and turned all night.  When my alarm when off at 5am, I considered staying in bed for another hour and skipping my workout, but would 1 hour of restless sleep really help?  Probably not, and I’m glad I got up because I had an awesome 6.2-mile run. 

I will be the first to admit when I mess up on my healthy eating habits, and I messed up big time this weekend.  We went to visit my grandmother, who after losing my grandfather 3 years ago, has decided to make cookies, chocolate milk, and ice cream her diet staples.  Hey, I guess when you’re 83 you can eat whatever you want!  At age 31, however, I need to eat well to ensure that I not only make it to 83, but still feel decent.  What’s more, she’s become a lot more “honest” in her older age, and despite losing 14 pounds since January, still tells me I’m “not a small girl”.  Um, thanks Grandma.  I love you too.  Needless to say, after that comment, I lost my will power and joined her in eating cookies and ice cream the rest of the weekend, in addition to the healthier meals I made for all of us.  Blah.

I got back on track Monday, despite a handful of Hershey kisses.  I ran my favorite weekly errand – grocery shopping – and spent about 3 hours cooking and prepping food for the week.  So let’s review what I made . . .

First up, Quinoa Porridge.  I actually got this recipe from a Kroger newsletter, along with great coupons.  I love Kroger.  It was very quick and easy to make, and was delicious!  I halved the recipe and made 2 servings, subbing cranberries for raisins and topping it with 1 tsp of sugar-free maple syrup.  It was just as delicious fresh out of pot as it was microwaved this morning, and made an excellent pre-workout snack.  A+ rating.

Next up, Sweet Potato Quinoa Cakes.  I got this recipe from fellow blogger, “Eating Bird Food” (click for link & recipe), and decided to try it because I love anything with sweet potatoes.  They were surprisingly easy to make.  I chopped the sweet potatoes and microwaved them for 5 minutes, rather than steaming them, and that seemed to work just fine.  I did not have any sage, so I used a Moroccan Spice blend that I got from Pampered Chef, which added a very nice flavor.  I then paired them with spinach for healthy lunches the rest of the week:

Now on to dinner … I decided to try the new Philadelphia Cooking Creme after getting a good coupon and recipe for Creamy Italian Chicken & Orzo.  I chose the Italian Cheese & Herb flavor, and used whole wheat spaghetti instead of orzo pasta.  The recipe was easy to make, and I really liked all of the fresh veggies, but I was shocked that it called for the entire container of cream cheese, which adds 440 calories, 36 grams of fat (20g saturated), and 1920 grams of sodium for approximately 4 servings!  Yikes.  I cut it down and only used about 2/3 the container, then added some fresh basil for more flavor.  My husband, who is a picky eater, gave it 7 out of 10 stars after smothering it in extra cheese.  I’d probably give it about a 7 also (without cheese), but will probably not make this again due to the calorie and sodium content.

Finally, dessert!  I found a recipe for Coconut Pops, a childhood favorite.  I subbed Truvia for sugar, used unsweetened coconut flakes, and 1% milk.  After 6 hours in the freezer, they were not quite ready to eat last night, which was very disappointing, but I did use a spoon to scoop out a little and try it and they were quite good.  I’d definitely make these again before buying the sugary variety at the grocery.

So there you have it.  My fridge is full of food for the week.  Besides the prepared foods above, I’m fully stocked with my weekly staples as well, which fill the gaps in my daily menu – berries, bananas, apples, greek yogurt, wraps, avocado, beans, fresh salsa…  And my garden is finally starting to come alive, so I should have fresh veggies very soon!  I’ll blog about that later.

Have a great week!!

Cinch Core, Days 1 & 2

Weekend Workouts:  7 mile jog / walk + a few stregnth exercises (Saturday); P90x leg / back video (Sunday)

Just like Detox, the second time around is much easier.  However, I feel like I’m constantly watching the clock, wondering when it’s time to eat again.  Weekends are especially tough because my schedule is so much later.  During the week, it’s pretty easy to stick to a 7am / 11am / 3pm / 7pm schedule, because my work day is very structured.  Weekends, however, start later and often have a flurry of activity during the day that doesn’t allow for a home-cooked meal.  This is where healthy subs and learning how to make the right choices at restaurants will come in handy.  So now let’s discuss the food! 

We had the Fruity Waffle Sundaes for breakfast both days, one of my favorites so far!  I made them as directed in the Shape Magazine, except the first day I subbed a big spoonful of no-sugar-added Comstock cherries for the dried version, and pistachios for pumpkin seeds.  I’m pretty sure Cynthia would not recommend these cherries for her recipes since they’re loaded with artificial sweeteners, but they are delicious, and I had a 1/2 can in my fridge that needed to be used.  On Day 2, I used the dried cranberries, as listed in the book.  My husband’s larger version (2 waffles instead of 1) is shown below.  Also, I finally found fruit-juice sweetened cranberries on Amazon, and they are DELICIOUS!!  Click on the cranberry picture below to see them on Amazon.

Fruity Waffle Sundae (man-size with 2 waffles)


For snack, we had the Parmesan Popcorn with Cranberries, with a few alterations.  I chose to use Smart Pop Kettle Korn instead of making my own, and used a drizzle of coconut oil instead of sunflower.  On day 1 we paired it with dried cranberries and on day 2 we had fresh grapes.  Also, the parmesan cheese seemed like an odd combo with the coconut popcorn, so we instead had a Laughing Cow cheese wedge (35 calories each), which I had bought for the Sonoma Snack later this week.  I chose the Queso Fresco Chipoltle variety.  YUM!! 

Do you like coconut oil?  I discovered it about a year ago and have been using it in place of butter and other oils ever since, but only recently discovered the Nutiva brand, which is hands down the best I’ve tried.  First off, I discovered in the Cinch book that there is a big difference in processing between regular coconut oil (like I found in the baking aisle of my grocery store) and Virgin coconut oil, which is cold-pressed and not mechanically processed, similar to the process for producing olive oil.  The taste difference is also a huge factor.  The other brands I’ve tried are basically tasteless, but the Nutiva has a slight smell and taste of coconut, which I LOVE!  Click on the coconut oil below for a link to see on Amazon.

Popcorn Snack ingredients

Popcorn Snack (for 2 people)

I subbed the 3rd meal for a Black Bean & Mango Salad (see recipes page) so I could use up some leftover items in my fridge.  Once again, it provides all of the puzzle pieces.  Black beans provide both complex carbs (in place of whole grains), plus protein and fiber, then the mango, peppers, onion, and jalapeno provide the produce, and a little olive oil is the plant-based fat.  It’s one of my very favorite recipes – check it out on my Favorite Recipes page!

The last meal of the day is the Avocado Tostadas, which were really good and tasted very fresh.  However, as depicted below, the 1-cup of lettuce basically took over the plate!  I ended up folding them like tacos, forcing the gob of lettuce inside.  I also made my husband his own version, adding some chicken and basically leaving off all the veggies (he’s a self-proclaimed “meatitarian”), but he did eat a salad (loaded with cheese, bacon, and ranch).  Anyway, back to my dinner… has anyone else struggle to find decent tomatoes this time of year?  I recently discovered Campari tomatoes at my local Kroger (see below / click picture for more info), and they’re worth the extra money.  Lime was also a big hit in this dish.  I added some to the avocado and then also squeezed some more on the finished tostadas. 

Avocado Tostadas

Campari tomatoes (click on picture)

All of the recipes this weekend were very, very, good…. but small.  It’s going to take some time to adjust to the smaller meals.  Don’t get me wrong, I was full once my food digested, but after a lifetime of infrequent, huge meals, it just felt like I needed more food.  It was nice, however, not to have that too-full, bloated feeling. 

I spent about an hour this morning prepping food for the next 3 days.  My fridge is full and beautiful!  Enjoy your Sunday!  I’m off to the grocery for a few forgotten ingredients…