Friday, July 30, 2010

Heading out ... It's the Weekend!

Well, no yoga for me this morning. I just couldn't get up at 6:30AM. But I didn't slack off, for I completed 45 minutes on the elliptical trainer. Operation Sweating Buckets was in full effect.

But prior to my workout, I had some Overnight Oats in a Jar for breakfast with some watermelon and blueberries. I also prepped a small version for one of my camping breakfasts this weekend.

In between some extra camping prep and blogging, I switched up my lunch for a light tuna sandwich with tomato on some Cybros multi-grain flatbread. For the tuna, I used one small can of Bumble Bee's albacore light in water and mixed it with two teaspoons of 365's light mayonnaise. Top with some mustard and you have a pretty nice sandwich.

I also added two cups of herby greens with three chopped slices of english cucumber and some chopped hard-boiled egg. Top with a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar.

I can't forget about my cool iced coffee. I won't be having these during my camping excursion this weekend.

So I must bring this post to an end, for I'll be dining by the campfire tonight with some veggie dogs from Smart Dogs on multi-grain hot dog buns. Add a nectarine and maybe some cherry tomatoes with hummus, and it's a healthy dinner, camping-style. I'll be sure to document our trip come our return on Sunday.

The car is pretty much packed. Ryan is anxious to go, like right now, but work duties call for a few more hours.

You'll see we packed the important stuff. HAHA! I am a graduate of Michigan State University and absolutely adore my Spartans. Ryan graduated from the University of Michigan. It's a divided household for sure, come football season. I'm sure my love for MSU and Big 10 sports will be all over this blog come fall.

Thanks for reading. May all of you have an awesome weekend!

Surf the Web AND Lose Weight? What?

God bless the Internet. It's provided millions of jobs, including great work for myself and Ryan. During my time off this summer, I've spent countless hours on the Web for work and fun. But according to an article recently published by TIME, research shows that the Internet can be of great assistance during your weight loss journey.

The new study, conducted over a two-and-a-half-year period, found that the more often people logged on to a website, the more likely they were to maintain weight loss. Of course, it wasn't just any old website, but one that investigators at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research (KPCHR) had designed specifically to help people keep the pounds off.

Pretty interesting, right? As I've briefly chatted about here, I chart my meal plans and calories, and fitness hours online via SparkPeople. It helps me remain completely accountable for what I am doing in order to get fit and healthy.

That was the main reason for creating Fighting the Pudge, too. I want to keep myself in line and have the proof to show for it, not just the pounds.

Also, perusing the Web for interesting and healthy recipes is a blast, not to mention incredibly motivating. Having the chance to speak with others who are also tracking their fitness and food has been encouraging as well. So far, this kind of interaction has been great in my weight loss journey. I know it'll continue to be an asset in the future.

Does the Internet help you with keeping on track with your fight to be fit?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Lots of leftovers

Today was quite busy with various interviews for freelance projects, camping prep, cooking, and laundry. Honestly, it felt pretty good and I'm really looking forward to roughin' it a bit this weekend.

I tried using up the strawberries and bananas before we leave tomorrow, thus breakfast saw a second helping of these lovely fruits. I had six strawberries with a fourth-cup of blueberries, and Cybros Multi-Grain flatbread with Ghee and a banana. Love this combo!

Lunchtime saw my final installment of my yummy Taco Bake with Turkey. I was craving something else and had missed my usual mixed herby greens all week, so I decided to add 'em in. I also grabbed some fresh basil and some fresh dill from my herb garden. Add a tablespoon or so of balsamic vinegar and a dash of pepper and you have a pretty sweet salad.

I am not the world's biggest coffee drinker, but I've developed quite the habit of having one after lunch. Ryan makes one for himself, so I've been joining him in that ritual. I should really stop, since it's cutting in my time of having water, which is what I drink all day long, all week long.

Dinner saw our second helping of Real Simple's Spiced Beef Kebabs with Minted Watermelon Salad. This time we added some grilled cucumber and cherry tomatoes. I enjoyed the change. Also, I seriously cannot get enough of the watermelon salad. It's cool, it's refreshing, and I could have had a second helping. I mean, how gorgeous is this salad?

Ryan and I spent the remainder of the evening getting ready for our trip. We're pretty dang excited. Ryan has never slept in a tent before! Isn't that INSANE? I have camped a gazillion times and slept in a tent a gazillion times, so this will be fun. The car is half-way packed, too.

Oh I can't forget ... I logged 45 minutes on the elliptical trainer today! Back in motion. We'll be doing some biking and hiking this weekend, too, so I am not going to feel guilty about missing Wednesday's workout.

... and snacks. I had two pickles, one nectarine, and one low-fat part-skim string cheese from Lucerne. Oh yeah, I snuck two Kraft Jet-Puffed Marshmallows when I was organizing the packing. I couldn't resist.

So it's me and Siggi's before bed. 

Before I go, here are today's totals:

Calorie goal 1,210-1,560: 1,546
Carbohydrates goal 164-237: 199
Fat goal 32-57: 48
Protein goal 60-128: 91

Back to yoga bright and early tomorrow. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Slack ... er

Today was pretty productive with various deadlines and applications to complete. Sadly, I slacked on the exercise front. Ryan and I had plans to attend another Yoga course, but wussed out to focus on work and our upcoming camping trip. Total lamesauce, I know.

I'm keeping with the fruit this week in an effort to use up as much food that's stored in the refrigerator prior to our mini vacation. So breakfast featured lots of strawberries (four large berries, quartered to be exact) and one banana with two Nutri-Grain low fat Eggos with two teaspoons of Ghee.

Lunch saw my third day with the Taco Bake with Turkey. This stuff is just too good. Check out my recipe at SparkPeople here. I also added a nectarine to the mix. Can't get enough of these either.

Also in preparation of our camping trip, I prepared some Cranberry and Almond Granola for Ryan. He LOVES this stuff. Eating Well has a great and healthy recipe, too. Check it out.

- 2/3 cup frozen unsweetened apple juice concentrate, thawed
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/3 cup canola oil (or almond oil, if you like)
- 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 5 cups rolled oats (not the instant kind)
- 1 cup toasted wheat germ
- 1 cup whole almonds, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds, (2 ounces)
- 1 cup dried cranberries, divided

From there, preheat the over to 325 degrees and coat two large baking pans with cooking spray. Combine the apple juice concentrate, maple syrup, oil and brown sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer at medium high heat. Add cinnamon and salt.

In a separate large bowl, combine oats, wheat germ, almonds, and sunflower seeds. Add juice mixture so oats are covered. Evenly spread granola to fill each baking pan.

Bake granola for 15 minutes, stirring once or twice with a spatula. Switch baking pans to opposite racks for another 15 minutes, until fragrant. Add 1/2 cup dried cranberries to granola and let it cool.

Granola can be stored in an air-tight container for up to two months! Ryan usually works through this stuff in a week. Only 262 calories per serving (1/2 cup) and 7 grams of protein.

Prior to dinner, I snacked on a pickle and had some Lucerne low fat string cheese. And dinner found us resorting to the August 2010 issue of Real Simple for Spiced Kebabs and Minted Watermelon Salad. The cover inspired me to try this, for it's just too beautiful to ignore. Right?

LOVED THIS! We cookrf our top sirloin on the grill and added a 1/2 cup of a grilled red pepper.The minted watermelon salad was really refreshing and lite. We added some Athenos Reduced Fat Feta Cheese, per Two Peas and Their Pod's recent adaptation, too. Perfect!

We have enough for tomorrow's dinner. Hooray!

So yeah, it's time to call it a night with some Criminal Minds and some Skyr.Is Strawberry Yogurt. Back on the exercise schedule tomorrow. Anxiously awaiting word on some potential freelance gigs. Keep your fingers crossed for me. Thanks for reading.

Calorie goal 1,210-1,560: 1,453
Carbohydrates goal 164-237: 184
Fat goal 32-57: 45
Protein goal 60-128: 87

All In a Day's Work

Appropriate right? Haha. Thought I'd break things up a bit for a laugh. Marc Johns also rules. Check his stuff out here.

P90X Week 4 begins!

I’ve had some really great workouts over the past three (week 3) weeks, but I am ready to commit to my real week 4 of P90X. I have been successful in walking with Charlie for two miles every day for the past week in addition to some other form of exercise. This makes me happy.

Here's my walking buddy Charlie:

My blog buddy, MacKenzie, has inspired me to take photos of all my meals. What a much easier way to keep track of your food and really thinking about what is going in your mouth if you have to take a picture of it?! Love it. Dr. Oz said today that those who keep a food diary tend to keep their lost weight off longer than those who do not. I am not good with keeping up with my food journals, although I have started them many times.

I have discovered I really love of Special K cereal, especially the fruit and yogurt line. I never get tired of eating this brand! A hot cup of fresh brewed 8 o’clock coffee rounds that out for me. I ate a big red apple for a snack later in the morning because I didn’t have any bananas, except my rotting ones waiting to be baked into a yummy banana nut bread recipe I need to get from sis. This is not low fat by any means, so I will share it when I make it tomorrow. If my sister will give permission, I will share the recipe with all of you. It’s sooooo good!

Today was my day off from teaching summer school, but it didn’t keep me from having to do work for school. So that is already keeping me busy this summer and now fall planning work has begun. Today was busy with lots of housework and laundry because I am going on a trip to Michigan and Chicago to see MacKenzie! Yeah! Lunch was my favorite, and probably not the healthiest choice, but I really wanted it: Campbell's Tomato Soup made with fat free lactose free milk (best find of my dietary life!) and a grilled cheese sandwich made with Publics awesome Chicago deli bread and Colby Jack Cheese. I truly enjoyed eating this while reading some of my current novel on my iPod Touch.

Dinner was better because I was not just making it for myself. I like cooking for others, so this makes me want to put more thought into the preparation. Stephen and I had pork chops seasoned with a nice salt rub, Lipton chicken and broccoli rice, and broiled cherry tomatoes with a dash of sea salt, fresh garlic, and olive oil. Mmm. I had a small glass of wine too …well I saved most of it for later. I still needed to work out.

Yoga X! Phew, I love the stretching. It feels so good.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tutti Fruitti Tuesday

And we're baaaaaaack! I hope everyone had a fine Tuesday. More of the usual here in the Windy City today, gorgeous weather with plenty of job hunting, blogging and other odds and ends. Ryan and I are gearing up for a camping trip this weekend, so I spent a lot of time researching healthy camp-friendly meals. But I'm getting anxious ... I want a job. Here's hoping things pick up once the summer calms down.

I was craving fruit pretty much the entire day and it began at breakfast. I had Cherrios with skim milk and four quartered strawberries. I also had some watermelon and blueberries on the side. I tell ya, Ryan and I are lovin' this watermelon and we're incorporating it more and more into our meal plans. I can't believe I was such a watermelon wuss for so long.

Lunch saw a repeat of yesterday's Taco Bake with Turkey. I also added a fresh nectarine. These are my absolute favorite summertime fruit and remind me a lot of being a little kid. My Mom always had fresh fruit around when my sister, Stephanie, and I were growing up, especially nectarines and peaches in the summer. I had a cold iced coffee as well.

Dinner would come later, as I attended my second class of free yoga courtesy of Whole Foods, in downtown Chicago. And prior to class, I snacked on some cherries and some low-fat string cheese from Lucerne so I wouldn't be starving come the end of class.

I am telling you, nothing beats an hour of FREE yoga or an hour long of FREE yoga under the wide open blue sky. The view is just too cool. And no lie, I did not plan all this pink on purpose. Haha!

Dinner arrived around 7:45pm and I grabbed some of last night's leftovers of Spiced Chicken and Couscous Salad. Can't get enough of this stuff. This is definitely going into rotation. And I also had a pear. See the reason for today's title?

All in all, Tuesday was pretty easy breezy. I have my regular date with Siggi's Yogurt shortly, but I am also going to try this DIY-face mask recipe made of Tumeric courtesy of SELF magazine tonight. I will report back tomorrow to fill you in on how things went.

Calorie goal 1,210-1,560: 1,466
Carbohydrates goal 164-237: 226
Fat goal 32-57: 27
Protein goal 60-128: 80


** UPDATE: The Tumeric mask concoction ... um, well, it turned my faced yellow. I looked like I had jaundice. While the exfoliant aspect of it is nice, it's safe to say I won't be trying this recipe again.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Taco Bake with Turkey and Then Some

Another week in ... summer is going by so fast! BOO!

This morning's breakfast featured Cybros' multi-grain flatbread with Ghee and a sliced banana. I had to have some cantaloupe too, so I included a half-cup with a fourth-cup of blueberries.

Operation Sweating Buckets continued on my elliptical trainer for 45 minutes today. Weird thing, though: my feet always fall asleep around the 30-minute mark. I've been taking a quick break around this time to walk it off, but I've been trying to refrain the last couple of days. My shoes are pretty comfortable and I'm not tying them so tight where I wouldn't have any movement. Does this happen to anyone?

I also completed various dumbbell exercises with 10 sets of 10. Even though I only lost a pound in two weeks, I feel like I'm toning up and losing inches. I am starting to notice that some of my clothing is fitting much more comfortably.

For lunch, Ryan prepared his tasty Taco Bake with Turkey recipe on Sunday night. I know there's various versions of this recipe, however this is one that Ryan came up with years ago. It's mighty filling and tasty, and it lasts us all week long and we love it.

- 1 package of extra lean ground turkey (we used Jennie-O)
- 1 packet of McCormick taco seasoning
- 1 15 oz. can of black beans
- 1 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes
- 1 8 oz. can of whole kernel corn
- 1 jalapeno, chopped
- 1 red pepper, chopped
- 1 tablespoon chives, chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 bag of Tostitos' Baked Scoops
- 2 cups of 2% milk reduced fat Mexican cheese
- Juice of one lime
- Hot sauce to taste

Preheat over to 350 degrees. Cook the ground turkey accordingly until no longer pink. Once cooked, add to a large bowl with tomatoes, black beans, and corn, mix with garlic, chives, jalapeno, red pepper, and juice of one lime, and set aside.

Take a rolling pin and roll over the bag of Tostitos' Baked Scoops until bag is full of crunchy pieces.

In a large casserole pan, spread taco turkey mixture to fill the pan. Sprinkle with crunchy Tostitos' Baked Scoops and top with cheese.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. Serving size about 3/4 cup. Serves 10-12.

I like to top mine with salsa, which I did today with a fourth-cup of Ortega's Thick 'N Chunky Medium sauce. I can't forget about my cold ice coffee, either.

I noshed on 10 sweet cherries prior to dinner, which featured a selection from the August 2010 issue of Real Simple. Tonight, Ryan and I split the prep work for Spiced Chicken and Couscous Salad. For the couscous, we used Near East's Toasted Pine Nut and it nicely complimented the chicken. The basil included was from our herb garden. Love me some basil!

I think a Siggi's Yogurt is calling my name! Have a fab evening everyone.

Calorie goal 1,210-1,560: 1,407
Carbohydrates goal 164-237: 206
Fat goal 32-57: 37
Protein goal 60-128: 65

Blueberry and Rhubarb Buttermilk Cake

Recently, I caught Two Peas and Their Pod's recipe for Blackberry Rhubarb Buttermilk Cake. I absolutely love cake and I love blackberries, so I gave it a shot. And I actually had all the ingredients on hand, so no extra shopping. This was also my first time trying a cake from scratch. Talk about easy and awesome!

Late last week I tried the same recipe again, using blueberries and rhubarb instead of blackberries. YUMMMMMMMY! The lemon zest include provides so much flavor and the cake itself is so lite and fluffy. My husband is a super fan of this dessert. I thought I'd share.

Blueberry and Rhubarb Buttermilk Cake (Adapted by Gourmet and thanks to Two Peas and Their Pod):

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
3/4 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup rhubarb, chopped
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar

1. Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle. Coat a 9-inch round cake pan with cooking spray.

2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.

3. Beat butter and 2/3 cup sugar with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until batter is smooth, about 2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and lemon zest. Mix until well combined.

4. At low speed, mix in the flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with buttermilk. Start with the flour and end with the flour. Mix until just combined. Don’t over mix.

5. Spoon batter into cake pan, smoothing the top with a spatula. Scatter blackberries and rhubarb evenly over  the top of the batter. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons of turbinado sugar.

6. Bake until cake is golden brown and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 20-25 minutes. Let the cake cool in pan for about 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack and cool completely. Serve the cake upside down to show off the pretty berries and rhubarb. Cut into slices. Serves 8.

Check out Two Peas and Their Pod. They do some lovely stuff!