Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Home at Last!

Heeeeeey my dear readers, are you out there? I've really missed hanging out in the blogosphere. Many thanks for those who have left friendly comments and messages. I greatly appreciate it.

Well, why the break? I guess I needed one. Work got kind of crazy during the first two weeks of November and didn't entirely let up until the Thanksgiving holiday. Fighting the Pudge has been in the back of my mind throughout my time away, as has working out. I must be honest -- I haven't worked out in what seems like ages. I've done yoga a couple of times, but that's it. With the insanity of work, I let all of my focus go toward that. Nasty habit, I know. But it's December and with the holidays coming up quickly, my spirits are high. I'm getting back into it.

As for the food, I suppose I burned out on photographing my meals three times a day, five times a week. For those who also do this, do you find yourself sick of doing that from time to time. For me, though, I found that I missed it somewhat. It's really helped me with my weight-loss journey. I've found it keeps me on track in a positive way. So here I am, again, back at it :) But I have to give a big shout out to my Mom. She surprised recently, as she informed me that she missed my blog and that I need to get back into it. Thanks Mom, you're the best.

Let me cut this long (boring) story short and start again. Just a warning: it's going to be a week of simple meals. Today for breakfast, I resorted to my favorite Love You Man Steel-Cut Oatmeal. I also paired it up with a banana and an iced coffee.

Before getting into today's lunch, I'd like to share that on Sunday, my hubs referenced a Whole Foods recipe for a wonderful Butternut Squash Soup, which was meant to last us all week long. Well, Ryan wasn't a fan of the soup's consistency, so we chucked it. I hate hate hate wasting food. So instead, we resorted to turkey sandwiches (and some veggie sandwiches later on this week) for lunch. Today's selection has a slice of provolone cheese, spinach, a slice of roasted red pepper and mustard. I also had a McClure's spicy pickle and an orange.

Remember how I've been volunteering for the awesome non-profit literacy program, Open Books, this semester? Well today marked my second to last session with my student. Next week we're supposed to have a fun farewell/holiday party.

Anyhow, Ryan prepped some fantastic parmesan encrusted tilapia. We also had some green beans with cranberries and walnuts on top. Awesome!!

Since I mentioned the holidays above, I figured why not share some of our holiday set up. Also, check out the winter wonderland that hit Chicago over the weekend. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! May each of you have a fantastic holiday with lots of fantastic food! Is anyone heading out for Black Friday sales? I am back home in Michigan, visiting with my in-laws and my parents.

Again, I wish all of my dear blogger friends and readers a very happy holiday! I hope to be blogging again very soon! Take care!

Monday, November 8, 2010

My Sincere Apologies

Wow, where has the time gone? My dear Fighting the Pudge readers, I would like to apologize for my recent absence, as my job has pretty much taken over things in the last week or so. I've missed out on working out and logging my meals, so I'm a little anxious at the moment. But I've stuck to healthy eating throughout this chaos. It just feels weird not to log it via SparkPeople.

Anyhow, I hope each of you are doing well and having a great November so far! The storm will most likely come to a calm this weekend. Thanks so much!! xx

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Is It Friday Yet?

It's starting to feel a lot like Friday around here. Or maybe it's because I work from home now. Either way, it seems like it should be the end of the week already. Is anybody with me?

BBC blogging took off like wildfire this morning and I didn't get a chance to have breakfast until 11 AM. In the old days, I would have skipped this meal. I skipped breakfast many, many times! But since taking on this new mission to get healthy, I haven't missed one meal. Anyhow, since I was running late with having my first meal of the deal, I went the simple route with some vanilla Chobani, a slice of Arnold whole wheat bread with a teaspoon of reduced fat Jif and a banana. I didn't end up having the banana until after lunch.

Hats off to my friend Tracey at Veggies, Cake and Cocktails for mentioning her obsession with vanilla Chobani. I finally tried it and um, hello!!! SO GOOD! I'm sticking with this one for sure!

I kept things simple when it came to lunch and had a turkey sandwich on multi-grain flatbread. I topped mine with dijon mustard, mixed greens, and a slice of roasted red pepper. On the side, I had a McClure's spicy pickle and an orange. Totally FAB-u!

Once dinnertime arrived, I was in the middle of our cleaning mission. As I mentioned yesterday, Ryan and I are prepping for a weekend visit from his parents. It'll be their first time visiting Chicago since we moved here earlier this year, so we needed to give the apartment a little refresher.

I got about three-fourths of the bathroom clean once Ryan informed me that dinner was ready. Once more, we consulted the November 2010 issue of Real Simple for inspiration and created their Steak Faijitas with Sweet Potato and Poblano dish. It calls for sour cream in the sauce topping, but we went the greek yogurt route instead. We also served ours on a spelt tortilla. On the side, we had some freshly made coleslaw from Whole Foods.

The sweet potato adds a nice change to your usual fajita recipe, but this one was kind of high in calories. I suppose some of that is my guilt talking since I've been failing miserably on the exercise front for a couple of weeks now. I AM doing it tomorrow! I AM!

Ok, it's time to escape my computer. I've been on it for what seems like 20 hours. I know many of you out there get this :) I hope you had a fabulous Wednesday!

What are you doing to celebrate the upcoming Halloween holiday?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pumpkin Time

It seems like much of this side of the country is experiencing some crazy weather. The wind was absolutely insane today here in Chicago and I don't think it's about to stop any time soon. This time, it goes beyond our nickname, The Windy City.

For breakfast today, I paired up one Organic Valley egg with a piece of turkey bacon and one slice of multi-grain flatbread. I also had some strawberries on the side. Super good! Ryan is really loving the turkey bacon too. So much in fact, he went out and bought another pack so that his parents can have some when they visit this weekend.

Today's lunch also saw a repeat of Monday's chili and this time I topped it with some Black Diamond Grand Reserve Cheddar. I also had a mixed greens salad with baby carrots, parmesan cheese and balsamic vinegar on the side. The Black Diamond cheese was fabulously yummy, but I think I'll hold off on it next time around.

A couple of hours later, I grabbed a KIND bar to snack on. The cranberry almond version was good, but not as hearty as other combinations.

Dinner also saw a repeat of Monday's Real Simple dish: Chicken with Acorn Squash and Tomatoes. I need more squash in my life. I really do. We usually have it when we make Ellie Krieger's Butternut Squash Soup. Now I want to find squash-centric desserts, other side dishes, and the like. If anyone out there has a recommendation, I am all ears.

Last but not least, Ryan and I got ready for Halloween tonight by carving pumpkins. He and I have never done this together, so this was a lot of fun. Being the crazy and passionate sports fans and college diehards that we are, we each paid homage to our respective alma maters when carving a design. I *just* had to do it. My Michigan State Spartans are No. 5 in the country right now and currently undefeated. I've been waiting for this my entire life, but I never thought I'd see it. Needless to say, football season in my divided household has been a complete blast so far! GO STATE! (Next time, I'll take the photo when it's not pitch black outside haha)

Snuck into the Halloween Reese's Peanut Butter Cups again, too. I should have purchased a bag of candy that I'm not too fond off in order to stay away. Arrrgh!

Do you  have a favorite kind of Halloween treat? If so, do you have an alternative to candy?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Playing Catch Up

Hello dear blog friends! I hope everything is fab in your world. Last week totally escaped me. I had every intention of keeping up with my posts, but honestly I just ran out of steam. I am back this week, hoping to get back on track.

It was in the 70s today and it's OCTOBER! Crazy temps, I tell ya. I'm ready for fall sweater weather. Anyhow, I attempted to do something a little different for breakfast today since many of my dishes have featured many repeats as of late. I prepared multi-grain blueberry pancakes with turkey sausage. The pancake recipe is included in Bethenny Frankel's Skinnygirl Dish book and I went with Pamela's gluten-free pancake and baking mix and fresh blueberries that I already had in my pantry. I topped mine with a drizzle of pure maple syrup and had a piece of organic turkey sausage from Applegate Farms. Fabulous and only 35 calories in one serving. I initially prepped two slices, but Ryan stole one. :) I also had an iced coffee and a banana.

Lunch time came a bit later than usual due to impending blog deadlines. Ryan prepared his own chili in the slow cooker overnight; we almost always go with ground turkey in our chili, but the store was out, so we opted for ground sirloin, and added in diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, some onion, chipotle chillies, and Tabasco sauce. Super good! On the side, I had some multi-grain saltines from Nabisco. I also had a dark chocolate calcium disk from Adora after lunch.

Once the work day was done, I hopped on my elliptical trainer for a long overdue visit. I completed 30 minutes while catching up on old episodes from this season's 30 Rock. Oh how I miss working out earlier in the day. Once 5-6pm hits, my motivation starts to dwindle. But I have a recharged outlook on keeping up with exercise this week. One day at a time, I say.

For dinner, we reached for the November 2010 issue of Real Simple. Inside, they have some festive fall dishes and we decided to try their recipe for Chicken with Acorn Squash and Tomatoes. It was wonderful, really, and totally satisfying. I am a big tomato fan, and this particular mix was a nice change. Highly recommend this one!

Prior to calling it a day, I reached for the Reese's Peanut Butter Cups bag that's sitting on top of my fridge for Halloween. I did sneak in one piece of chocolate and still made it under my monitored calorie count for the day. Woo hoo!

Here's hoping I can blog about Ryan's birthday at Rick Bayless' awesome XOCO restaurant tomorrow. Until then, thanks for reading Fighting the Pudge! I hope you had a fantastic Monday! xx

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Plugging Along

Wowsa! Today was a busy one at work, but also a gorgeous one outside. How is fall where you are? Per my dear blog reader Kristy's (at My Little Space) request, I attempted to a take a photo of the Japanese Maple tree outside my office window. Sadly, the leaves keep falling off of it each day. I shot from both the inside and outside, but the inside shot won. Apologies for the fuzzy screen look. :)

Today's breakfast featured an oldie but goodie, my open face fruit sandwich with chia seeds. I haven't had this in what seems like a while and it's another go-to safety dish when I'm running on borrowed time in the morning. I also had my usual iced coffee.

While waiting for some publishing issues to sort themselves out, I reached for a snack: an McIntosh apple with homemade apple butter, which were both purchased during a quick trip to the orchard on Sunday. The closest orchards to Chicago, at least to my knowledge, are in Wisconsin. Ryan and I decided to stop by Spicer's Orchard near my parent's house on our way back to Chicago on Sunday. It was a last minute trip, and a lot of fun! Not sure if serving apple butter is the greatest thing to serve with an apple, but it worked for me.

Come lunch time, we reverted back to our goal of working with a limited grocery list and today Ryan prepared a grilled chicken pita with cherry tomatoes, olives, greens and a greek yogurt sauce. On the side, we had a spicy McClure's pickle. A quick and easy, yet filling lunch!

After lunch, Ryan and I took a break from our work to take a walk outside. The weather is in the high 60s and quite lovely. I'm also trying my best to tear myself away from the computer for a few minutes each day for a short break. This afternoon, we visited Starbucks, where I ordered a tall skinny vanilla latte. I love them!

But dinner was another story. I have to say we caved when dinnertime rolled around only because we both worked past 6 PM. Once that happens, we wuss out on cooking something. We shared a medium margherita pizza instead from Robey's. I can't say I didn't enjoy it.

Arrgh ... back at the elliptical tomorrow. Time to take care of some organizational stuff before I hit the hay. How was your day? Thanks for reading! xx

What kinds of food do you go after when you don't feel like cooking?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Faster Than the Speed of Light

Happy Tuesday everyone! Fall is certainly in full swing here in Chicago and the large Japanese Maple tree outside my office window has finally changed color. It's a fantastic golden yellow ... I should take a photo of it. Anyhow, here we are at Tuesday. Tuesdays are always bonkers on my end since my work day is slightly cut short with my volunteering duties at Open Books. Every Tuesday blows through like the speed of light. I can't complain though ... It keeps me on my toes.

Lately, I've noticed that my breakfasts are fitting into the "quick" category, so to speak. With a 7:30 AM start time, I am typically rushing to get a healthy breakfast together and that's probably why you seen a lot of eggs here. Today is no exception.

For lunch, we had some of our leftover black bean and avocado salad with a non-dairy burrito from Amy's. YUM! And like I did yesterday, I snuck in two more chocolate chip cookies. So bad, but oh so good!

Once returning home from another fun-filled day with Open Books, Ryan was in the midst of preparing dinner. Tonight, he concocted a fabulously tasty Mediterranean Chicken dish with Jasmine Rice. YUM-MY! Definitely an easy one to mix up!

I have to say, so far so good on the lighter grocery list this week. Skipped working out today since I have a lot of catch up work to attend to. Back at it tomorrow. Thanks for reading.

When watching your grocery budget, what are some of your favorite easy-but-tasty dishes?

Monday, October 18, 2010

I'm Baaaaaaack!

My dearest readers, hello again! It's been a while hasn't it? I'm just now starting to feel back to normal after a fantastic trip to New York City. I had every intention of blogging while I was there. But I swear to you, I never saw my laptop. Between working from the BBC offices, seeing Ryan's family some of the time, visiting with friends, and getting around NYC and New Jersey, I never sat down until 10:30PM each night. At that point, I was spent. I seriously admire folks who can do it all and blog about their meals and exercise everyday, especially when living out of a suitcase. You guys are my heroes!

I wasn't home 24 hours until I had to jump on another plane to head back to Michigan for a speaking engagement at my alma mater, Michigan State University. I was honored to be a part of the Neal Shine Ethics Lecture last Friday, speaking about my experience as the bobsled, luge, and skeleton producer at NBCOlympics.com during the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games. I also attended MSU's homecoming game and hung out with my family. Loads of fun was had in the last 12 days, but I'm glad to be back in the Windy City, computing from my green-walled nook. How the heck are YOU?

Monday morning started off with some Fage fat-free yogurt! Oh how I've missed this stuff. I ate a yogurt parfait from Starbucks for breakfast everyday when I was in the Big Apple, but I missed making my own food. This dish is easy and I included golden raspberries for the very first time. Ryan looked at me like I was crazy when I purchased them, but they are fab! The strawberries, almonds, and chia seeds (plus a tablespoon of honey) aren't too bad either ;)

For lunch, we resorted to one of our usual go-to meals when we're lacking groceries: Rising Moon Ravioli. The Butternut Squash version is probably our favorite. Ryan likes to dress it up with chunky veggie pasta sauce from Rinaldi that's mixed with garlic, balsamic vinegar and red wine. I also had a mixed green salad on the side with sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, tomatoes, carrots, and freshly grated parmesan. For dessert, I snuck into Ryan's homemade cookies from my Mom. Couldn't resist.


Upon returning home from our weekend in Michigan, Ryan and I stopped at Whole Foods to pick up a few things. While it wasn't our usual grocery trip, we hope our selection will hopefully last us throughout the week. They had a fabulous sale on freshly grilled tilapia tacos, so that's exactly what we planned for Monday's dinner. We served ours with Rudi's spelt flour tortillas and some cherry tomatoes. Ryan also created a fun black bean and avocado salad on the side.

Yay for home cooking! I almost forgot ... I got back together with my elliptical trainer, too. Even though it was only for 35 minutes, it was good to be back. Walking nearly five miles every day in New York was fine, but I missed shedding some sweat, y'know? HAHA!

It's time to play catch up with all of my bookmarked food blogs. Thanks for your patience and for always supporting Fighting the Pudge.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Here I Come New York City

Apologies for the quietness the last two days. Like usual, work has taken over and here I am, just mere hours away from flying to my beloved New York City! I hope to blog a ton about my food and exercise while I'm there. It'll be an interesting test, balancing healthy meals and exercise with working in the city. This will be my first time trying this in such a core environment, so here's hoping I can keep up with my SparkPeople log, too. I am determined to stay on course in losing an extra 15 pounds by the end of the year.

But aside from that, I'll be seeing a handful of great friends, taking in a Broadway show on Monday and doing serious shopping in SoHo. Until we chat again, may you have a fabulous day and thanks a ton for supporting Fighting the Pudge!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Fall Means Fall Cooking!

Wow, I think fall is officially here in the Windy City. Leaves on the Japanese Maple tree outside my window are finally starting to change color. It's also a little chilly outside and today was the first day where Ryan and I kicked up our thermostat. Here it comes ...

Happy Manic Monday, my dear readers! Tell me, what did you have for breakfast today? I'm always up for new breakfast ideas. Actually, I tried a new granola recipe this morning, Spark People's Low-Fat Maple Granola. It's a tasty fall dish with its mixture of almonds and pumpkin seeds. I had my usual iced coffee as well.

As I mentioned in a previous post, Ryan and I are heading to our old stomping grounds of New York City come Thursday. I seriously cannot wait! The Big Apple is so nice in the fall and I'm really looking forward to the daily hustle and flow. We are also meeting up with his family for his Dad and Aunt's birthday celebration and seeing a host of pals. Again, I am so excited!

Anyhow, with our upcoming trip, we're trying to use up as many ingredients in our pantry before we leave, which also means that our meals are going to be less involved this week. Who says low key isn't lovely, right?

Our lunch for this week is one of those meals: Curried Butternut Squash Soup. It's loaded in veggies and quite delicious. I had mine with an orange and a pickle on the side today. I also tried drizzling some non-fat plain yogurt, so don't be alarmed by my squiggly-like attempt in the photo below.

Dinner featured one of our old-time favorites, the very simple Spanish Rice. Ryan introduced this dish to me when we first started dating and we always bring it back into rotation when we're in a rush. It's a nice mixture of whole-grain rice, lean ground turkey, one can of low sodium black beans, and a can of diced tomatoes. We also season ours with a dash of oregano, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. YUM! For tonight's dinner, we also had a mixed green salad on the side with cucumbers, tomatoes and freshly grated parmesan cheese. So quick, so easy, and oh sooooo good!

Later on, I was still pretty hungry and had a part-skin mozzarella string cheese. I also dived into the last of my Blackberry Pomegranate True Delights from Quaker.

Fab food for a fab day. To tell you the truth, I am exhausted! I am going to hit the hay tonight before 9:30. I haven't done that in what seems like a hundred years. I need to catch up on my sleep so I can attack Tuesday with full force ... and hit the elliptical too. 

Wishing you all a great evening! Thanks for reading xx

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Chicago's AIDS Run Walk

My weekend started off with a bang with Saturday's AIDS Run Walk at Grant Park! I really needed it too, for I needed to get outside after being cooped up in the house for much of this week. I was anxious to stretch my legs and take in the autumn air. Sorry to sound cheesy, but that's the truth.

Taking part in Chicago's AIDS Run Walk was a lot of fun! Over 7,000 people participated and over a half a million dollars was raised in support to fight AIDS. I also accomplished my goal of raising $400! Thank you thank you to my family and friends who took time out to donate. I greatly appreciate it.

Despite the roaming clouds and drizzle, I plugged along throughout my 5K walk and completed the race in 59:03. Here are some snapshots from the event.

My next walk is the Hot Chocolate 5k walk on Saturday, November 5th. Woo hoo! Cannot wait!

I would also like to wish my fabulous Mom a wonderful and fantastic birthday today! Love ya Mom!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Carne Asada Friday!

WOO HOO! It's Friday! Don't you just love it when this day rolls around? What do you guys have planned this weekend? At last, my AIDS Run Walk is tomorrow!

Today's breakfast featured some more eggs -- I've really been in the mood for them lately. Ryan and I are also trying use up everything we have in our pantry since we're heading to New York City next week. Anyhow, I had an egg sandwich on flatbread with some mixed fruit on the side.

Since I spend much of my day blogging for work and blogging for fun, I thought I'd share a snapshot of where the magic happens, haha. I heart this little spot in our apartment.

Once lunch rolled around, we were scraping by with a lot of leftover ingredients. I got creative and resorted to one of my old faves, a veggie sandwich on Arnold multi-grain bread and Athenos jalapeno and artichoke hummus. It does the trick every time!

At the end of the work day, I reunited with my elliptical machine after nearly four days and it was fabulous. You know, for the first time in my life I'm really starting to notice the signals that my body is giving me in regards to exercising. I was so ansy by the end of this week, it wasn't even funny. So yeah, it was great to get back on the horse and kick some butt!

While this week has been long, our Friday night is going to be equally so. Ryan and I are headed to Lincoln Hall to see one of my very favorite shoegazer bands, Chapterhouse. They've reunited after 16 years and they're opening their U.S. tour in the Windy City. I'm covering the show for Anglophenia.

But before our evening out, Ryan prepped Carne Asada with Jalapeno Cilantro Pesto! Incredible! We also had homemade salsa and Tostitos' baked scoops on the side.

How was your week? Happy Friday everyone! xx