Friday, June 8, 2012

Pinterest Favorites

So I'm thinking about doing a little bit of an experiment to see how cheaply (and healthily) we can eat.

I have to wait another week or two for my fridge to clear out a bit first though.

In the meantime, I've become addicted to Pinterest. I pin food recipes to my "Eat All The Things!" board and then I make anywhere from 3-10 of those recipes a week and pin them onto my "Ate All The Things!" board with a few notes on how it turned out.

So far I've tried 88 recipes, and I currently have 135 that I still want to try.

It's been an amazing way to discover and try new things.

A couple of my favorites?

This chickpea salad. I know it sounds lame. I never imagined that a CHICKPEA SALAD would be at the top of my list. However, of all the recipes I've tried so far, I've remade this one the most. Everyone who tries it loves it, even my veggie-hating husband. I had it for dinner last night. I served it to my foodie aunt and uncle last weekend. I'm taking it to a cookout this weekend. Do you understand the point yet? It's fantastic.

This focaccia bread. I have baked with yeast probably 50 times now, and have only been really successful a few times. I have made a lot of mediocre and/or terrible breads. But this? No, not this. This was phenomenal. It could not have gotten any better. I didn't even know that focaccia could be so... dreamy. This is my new secret bread weapon ladies and gents.

And did you know that homemade butter is ridiculously easy to make? And that if you make it people will be all like "Wait. What? You made this? You MADE butter? Seriously?" and then their brains explode. It's awesome. Also homemade butter goes really well with dreamy warm-from-the-oven focaccia. Jus' sayin'.

I also love this whipped garlic sauce. It goes with almost everything. It makes stuff you put it on 100 times better. Plain brown rice? Add some whipped garlic sauce and all of a sudden? HOLY CRAP THIS RICE IS DELICIOUS!!! Unless you hate garlic. And then you should probably avoid this sauce at all costs. The garlic flavor in this sauce is no joke.

Chicken with mustard cream sauce is the best way I have ever had chicken. EVER. E-V-E-R. I cannot emphasize that enough. Evvvvvvverrrrrrrrr. Okay. I'm done.

These confetti cookies are my new favorite cookie. If you are a vanilla lover, make these. Make them now.

I won't make this often, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that this Chick Fil A copycat recipe does in fact taste nearly identical to my beloved Chick Fil A. It helps that I marinated the chicken in pickle juice though. (That's the secret, I swear.)

A lot of the recipes I tried I would make again, but these are a few really outstanding ones.

I also learned how to etch glass, that you can keep a cake moist by putting a slice or two of bread on top, and that if you put green onions in water they will grow and grow for weeks!

Pinterest is an incredible time waster if all you do is look at the pretty pictures... but if you actually take some of the ideas and try them out... it's actually really useful.

Who knew?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Back to the Basics

I woke up at 9:30 am but then I laid in bed until 11 and played on my phone.

Woops. So no breakfast.

I did make myself some coffee straight away however. Via + sweetener + 3 tbsp fat free half and half.

I am becoming more and more addicted to coffee and enjoying it less and less sweet. I never thought the day would come.

Oh also. You can't buy it anymore cuz it's out of stores. But Dunkin' Donuts Mocha Mint coffee is amazing. I am addicted. I bought one bag on clearance at Target and then after I tried it went back the next day and bought 7 more.

If something is 0 calories and delicious? I consider it a necessity.

And while we're talking about new found loves.

This. This. SO MUCH this. I know I said that Oikos vanilla was my favorite, but I was wrong. THIS is my favorite.

Wanna know why it's a million times better? It's full fat.


But I only eat 4 ounces at a time. And it is so much more satisfying and awesome than the 0% stuff.

I have eaten two quarts in a week.

As soon as I woke up I went to the store to buy my third quart. Also to get honey crisp apples from my house.

When I walked in the door all I smelled was grilled cheese. Yeah... couldn't resist that. I made myself a half of one for about 175 calories.

And then I ate a half cup of my yogurt with one apple for about 170 calories. And some carrots and cucumber for about 35 calories.

I have been using a lot of brain power at work lately which somehow makes me hungrier. So I packed up a salad (spinach + turkey pepperoni + lf mozzarella + black olives + yogurt blue cheese dressing) and ate it at around 3:00 pm.

Also some penguin shaped cheddar crackers. They were delicious but they did nothing for me in terms of hunger fulfillment.

And right now as I'm about to leave work I just finished a diet swiss miss with 2 teaspoons nondairy creamer stirred in for about 50 calories.

Lose It! says I'm at 792 for the day.

I really want to get serious about losing weight again.

Can ya tell?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

My favorite healthy cooking gadget.

For 364 days of the year I keep a "wish list" in my head of items I want, but that I can survive without purchasing for awhile. I save this list for that one blessed day... Black Friday. When it is likely that most of the random gadgets I have been wanting all year long will be on sale SOMEWHERE for 40-70% off what I would have otherwise paid.

One of the best purchases I made from 2011's sale was one of these guys.

Why so miraculous? Because I am lazy. And this little guy works with my laziness in 3 ways.

1) Crock pot meals are inherently easy. You throw it in, you season it, you turn it on, and then it is ready when you come home. It's kind of like magic. Slow cooking magic of laziness and awesome.

2) A lot of my fatness is a by-product of tiredness. I come home from work, I don't wanna cook, so I order a pizza. I definitely save calories and money and time by using my slow cooker instead. Equally as easy, but better in every way.

3) I specifically like this model because there are three different 6 cup crockpots. That means you can make three different things at once. So ideally you could get like 3 meals out of the way in 15 minutes. And that makes me excited in ways I shouldn't explain.

Let me show you.

Most recently I made pinto beans, a beef roast, and pulled pork. The crock pots are pretty small and there's only two of us so I cut my beef and pork roasts in half if they are too large. (I simply wrap and freeze the portion I'm not cooking immediately.)

I love cooking beans in the crock pot because I always, always, always, without fail, forget to soak them. Guess what? When you cook them in the crock pot you get to pour them in straight from the bag. (Uhhh just watch out for rocks. Cuz ow.) Isn't that awesome? Bags of beans are way cheaper than cans and I think they are tastier as well.

I add salt and garlic powder after they're done cooking. And then what?

I make "tacos" by wrapping 1/4 cup of cooked beans in a warmed corn tortilla and topping with salsa. Each one is 110 calories, 150 if you add a half ounce of reduced fat cheddar cheese.

I fry an egg in the morning and top with 1/3 cup of beans, cilantro, and 1/4 c enchilada sauce for about 230 calories.

I mix 1/3 c beans with 1/2 c brown rice, add salsa or tomato sauce or cajun seasoning or whatever strikes my fancy, and vegetables for around 300 calories.

As for the beef roast, the possibilities are practically endless. Stroganoff, any type of mexican, soup, shepherd's pie, sandwiches, salads, and on and on. I typically just keep it in the fridge and reincarnate it into something new each meal.

Today I slapped some on whole wheat bread, added reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese and panini-fied that sucker for 350 calories. Better than Wendy's and better for ME.

And as for the pulled pork? Well that mostly becomes sandwiches for the husband. He isn't a fan of traditional lunch meats so this is a good option.

I like it on top of a toasted whole wheat pita with chopped cabbage and hot sauce for about 400 calories.

So if you are lazy like me and the thought of eating something that's been in the fridge for 4 days doesn't skeeve you out, definitely consider a triple slow cooker.

I get to dedicate alllllll the time I spend NOT cooking dinner to walking the dog and catching up with the DVR.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Let's face it. I'm fat because the wrong kinds of foods make me super happy. (This means YOU Kraft Deluxe Mac & Cheese, In n Out well-done fries, and Red Robin vanilla milkshakes).

I was raised so as to believe that all "diet" food was complete crap. Anything that resembled "healthful" could not possibly taste good.

Maybe you're like I was. Maybe the idea of eating a turkey taco or whole wheat pasta or low fat cream cheese sounds absolutely revolting.

That's how I used to feel. But now I really like all of those things.

Being calorie conscious has expanded my palate in a way that I have never experienced before. I am constantly trying out new products. Some things I really love and some things are total busts.

So I thought I'd document my favorite finds and some of the OH-DEAR-GOD-NO! ones as well. Maybe you'll be inspired to try something new and fall in love, or maybe you'll be able to avoid spending your money on a bust.

That said, let's get started.

1. Chobani 0% Fat Blood Orange Greek Yogurt: WIN

For anyone who has never had greek yogurt... it is thicker and more tart than average yogurt. It also has a lot more protein.

In general, I am not a Chobani loyalist. I prefer Oikos 0% vanilla. But I am passionately in love with blood orange italian soda and so anything "blood orange" flavored catches my attention. This yogurt is dead-on. I love it. If you like orange flavored things, you will love it too.

I paid $1.27 for 6 ounces at Target. Yowch. But well worth the price tag, in my opinion, because there is nothing else like it on the market.

140 calories per 6 oz serving. 0 g fat. 19 g sugar. 14 g protein. 8% DV vitamin C. 15% DV calcium.

2. Zico Chocolate Coconut Water: WIN

Coconut water has a lot of potassium and other great vitamins/electrolytes. I have read that some athletes like to drink it as a more natural "Gatorade" type of recovery drink.

I don't taste the coconut, but what I do taste is a delicious and deep chocolate flavor. It is more chocolate-y than any chocolate milk I've ever had. I was expecting the consistency to be more like water, but it isn't. It's similar to almond or soy or skim milk. If you like chocolate drinks, you'll love this.

If it were cheaper, I'd buy it ALL the time. I got my 14-ounce bottle for $1.50 on sale but it's typically $2.00-2.50.

110 calories for the entire 14 oz bottle. 19% DV potassium, 18 g sugar, 1 g protein, 6% DV calcium, 7% DV phosphorus, 16% DV magnesium.

3. Silk PureAlmond Dark Chocolate Almond Milk: WIN

I crave chocolate milk like no other... clearly. I am really glad I found chocolate almond milk because at 110-120 calories per cup, it saves me 50-100 calories when compared to actual milk.

I don't feel like I am sacrificing any chocolate-y or cream-y goodness either. In fact, I actually prefer almond milk because the slight almond flavor makes it taste like a chocolate bar.

That said, I was expecting the "Dark Chocolate" to be more... well... DARK chocolate. It's not, it's definitely more milk chocolate.

The coconut water has double the chocolate flavor and half the calories.

But the almond milk is cheaper and has a different nutrient profile.

$3.19 at Target for I think 8 cups. If you like chocolate milk, try this.

120 calories per 8 oz serving. 3 g fat. 3% DV potassium. 1 g fiber. 22 g sugar. 1 g protein. A BUNCH of other vitamins. Most notably, 45% DV calcium (more than milk), 50% vitamin E and 50% vitamin B12. Check out the rest here.

4. Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf Winter Dream Tea: WIN

Flavored teas save my butt from getting any larger. I sweeten them with my favorite sweetener, sometimes add a dash of non fat half-and-half, and sip away happily.

Spice teas are some of my favorite and this one doesn't disappoint. My husband is also a huge fan. We don't live in a city that has a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, but we found this at our local Fresh & Easy. You can also order it online.

I managed to get 16 bags for $1.50 (originally $4) at a really great sale but I have and would pay the regular $8 price tag as well.

If you are a fan of chai, you'll like this.

0 calories.

5. Healthy Choice Chicken with Rice/Chicken Noodle Soup: FAIL

I bought a big case of these soups at Costco when I first started trying to lose weight. The nutritional stats were great and I thought it would be a good option for when I don't have time to prepare food before going into work.

I think I got 10 cans for $10-15.

The problem? They taste so completely bland. They are not the worst thing in the world but 90% of the cans are still sitting in my pantry. And it's been a year. I think I'm going to donate them the next time I happen upon a food drive.

The problem might be that I am kind of a salt addict and this soup is low in sodium compared to other brands. I tried adding my own salt, but it didn't help. The broth just lacks a certain... depth.

Not a fan.

110 calories for half the can. 2 g fat. 16% DV potassium. 2 g fiber. 5 g protein. 10% DV vitamin A. 4% DV vitamin C, calcium and iron.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

I love my ugly shoes.

I am a girl who loves shoes.

I especially love shoes that are as tall as skyscrapers, extra glittery, or have a bow. I am not a girl who wears converse or sketchers or nikes in every day life.

Tennis shoes make my feet depressed and a little suicidal.

I have possibly 80 pairs of shoes. As much as I love shoes, I am also a cheap bastard. I can confidently say that MOST of the shoes I have in my closet cost less than $20.

There was that one time last year in San Francisco when I realized that cheap $20 flats from Target are NOT awesome for being on your feet 6 hours a day. So I spent $50 and bought a comfy pair of moccasins. My feet thanked me, but I still died a little on the inside. $50 for a pair of shoes! That was more than I had EVER spent. Ever!

But then? Two days ago? I hit a new all-time high.


On one pair of shoes.

You would think that if someone as cheap and girly shoe loving as me was going to spend $100 on a pair of shoes, they would have to be pretty dang special.

Well they are special.

But also? They are hideous.

In fact, they are possibly the most ugly shoes I have ever seen.

Wanna see?

Those are them. I have this exact pair in all their froggy glory.

Aren't they disgusting?

They are, I know.

If you aren't hip to the trend, they're called Vibrams. Supposedly they do all these miraculous amazing things and can teach you "how" to run.

I don't really care about any of that.

There is one thing I love as much as putting a beautiful pair of shoes on... and that is taking them off.

I love being barefoot.

As soon as I step inside, I take my shoes off. Frequently when I go outside I leave my shoes off. My feet are dirty, blackened, and calloused permanently. My husband looks at me like I am insane when I walk around naked-footed on hot, rough asphalt or cold, sharp rocks like it is nothing.

But I will never change.

So you know why I spent $100 on a pair of Vibrams?

Cuz when you run in them... it is like running barefoot.

And now every day I wake up so excited to go outside and pound the pavement all free and wild and unencumbered by bulky tennis shoes and without worrying about razor sharp shards of glass.

It's kind of... amazing.

I love my ugly shoes.

Monday, January 9, 2012

So failed, so fat.

Okay. The old adage is true.

Slow and steady wins the race.

After day 1.5 of fad diet I am DONE.

The pizza is totally on it's way.


Don't judge me.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

17 Day Diet- Day 1

I did pretty good today.

I realized that I totally forgot to drink my lemon water first thing so I'll be sure to do it tomorrow morning. I drank it with lunch.

For breakfast I had a serving of frozen strawberries blended with water and 2 scoops of vanilla protein powder. (We were unfortunately out of eggs.)

I also ate a pink lady apple.

For a snack I had a salmon patty. I was cooking them up for my husband's dinner and they just looked soooooooo good.

I also had 2 ounces of chicken breast for the same reason that I was cooking them up to have on hand and it was calling my name.

On my way to the grocery store I had one of the Oikos vanilla yogurts and some baby carrots.

When I got home I realized that I had not had ANY green tea (oops) so brewed a cup and a half and snacked on some roasted cabbage.

Also I poured some of that yummy blue cheese over the last of the iceberg lettuce mix.

Around 4 pm I had some soup I made a few days ago with chickpeas, kale, tomato and a tiny bit of chicken chorizo sausage. The chickpeas are a semi-cheat. I think the carbs slow down weight loss but they're allowed on the vegetarian plan which I'll be switching back and forth between.

For proper dinner I had 4 ounces of chicken breast with a bunch of broccoli and a tbsp of the caesar dressing for dipping.

Finished off the night with my last probiotic. 6 ounces plain greek yogurt with 2 tbsp sugarfree jam and 1 tbsp slivered almonds. The almonds count as "healthy fat". I don't cook with olive oil generally and I don't like it plain on salad so most likely I'll be using nuts in place of oil.

I've drank all 3 cups of green tea and 8 cups of other liquid. Tea is supposed to count against your water intake but I have a trick for taking the caffeine out. I'm assuming the caffeine is the reason they don't want you to count tea as water.

Estimated total calories are 1,250.

Also I weighed in today. 135.1.

I'll weigh in again next Sunday or Monday.

Haven't done my 17 minutes of exercise yet, but I'm gonna do that riiiighhttt.... now. Yay elliptical!