Thursday, July 29, 2010

Wouldn't it be great

If I could quit my 7-5, train to be a yoga instructor, take art classes to improve my skills and support myself on yoga and painting?

Yeah, that'd be pretty sweet.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Update on the flat belly quest

So I lost 2 pounds last week, my first week on the plan.  Woo hoo!  This also included a full on binge day courtesy of my company's employee appreciation day.  I mean honestly, I was on a boat what choice did I have?!

Here is what I've done so far:

Sundays is meal planning and market day.  Here's the meals we had last week.  I would make everything again!  (sorry I tossed the menu):
  • Korean Beef Lettuce Wraps (MUFA=Safflower Oil) - was a perfect lunch paired with fresh fruit
  • Spinach Salad with Pears, pecans, and goat cheese (MUFA=Pecans)
  • Roasted Potatoes with Feta cheese-walnut butter (MUFA=walnuts) - served with flank steak
  • Roasted chicken, potatoes, & veggies (MUFA=olive oil) - the most common meal we eat weekly
  • Roasted tomatoes with garlic - served on an english muffin for a snack (MUFA=olive oil) 
  • Chicken avocado taco (MUFA=avocado) - a standard also found in the book - score! 
  • Bean avocado tacos (MUFA=avocado) - always a standard - was my staple when I was veg.
  • Olives and cheese for a snack - (MUFA=olives)I realized I am very picky about which olives i like, one kind almost made me ralph!  braved through it though.  (notice there are no olives on this week's menu... I think they would be best in a recipe rather than standing alone)
This week:

  • Not being too planned on breakfast and the snacks:
    • Breakfasts: Cereal with fruit & nuts or egg with muffin (MUFA=nuts or olive oil) - pretty standard stuff
    • Snacks: Fruit, cheese, nuts (MUFA=nuts) or whatever perks interest for the day from the book
  • Monday
    • Lunch: Avocado and ham sandwich (MUFA=Avocado) - pretty standard on our normal menu
    • Dinner: Leftover pasta from Sunday (home cooked fresh tomato, garlic, & basil sauce) (MUFA=olive oil) - recipe courtesy miss Sarah T.
  • Tuesday
    • Lunch: Salad with chicken and etc. (MUFA=nuts)
    • Dinner: Ahi steak with Bok Choy & garlic (MUFA=olive oil)  - yum yum yummy!  Simon made this one and it was delicious!  Who know bok choy would be so great!
  • Wednesday
    • Lunch: Cashew Chicken w/ brown rice (MUFA=Cashews)- just finished making this and it looks GOOD!
    • Dinner: Roasted Chicken with mushroom rice pilaf (MUFA=Pecans)
  • Thursday
    • Lunch: Leftovers from Wed dinner
    • Dinner: tbd - I'm going to a Saki tasting! =)
  • Friday
    • Lunch: Chickpea Curry with Cashews (MUFA=cashews)
    • Dinner: tbd for me, Simon eats out with co-workers every Friday 
A lot of the techniques are pretty on par for the way we cooked before - if anything, it's giving both of us a chance to experiment in the kitchen!  Have stocked up on some new staples - need to get some Hoisin sauce for the asian dishes, though.  Substituting with terriyaki can only go so far.  I don't even know what hoisin sauce is, really.  

I have been going to yoga 3x a week and really working hard while I'm there.  I have seen immense improvements in my strength, control, and flow as well as good oceanic breathing.  My posture is better and I can see the difference in my arms and legs. Also, I've been trying to throw in a cardio/weights day 1x a week when I can.

To be honest, not seeing much shrinkage in the belly area... maybe if I quit drinking during the week or cheating so much on the weekend...  Regardless - my progress is slow but it is ever present!

Baking with Frank and friends

Note: wrote this last Friday night but just now got around to posting...  Guess I've been busy!

Well, couldn't wait until tomorrow - baked the Lemon Cupcakes with Citrus Icing tonight.  I won't bore you with the recipe but if you'd like it email me ( or, just buy the book!  (See Eating My Way to a Flat Belly).  I will tell you , though, that our MUFA in this recipe is Safflower Oil.

Frank (as in Sinatra) provided the tunes and when he tired out Michael Buble stepped in to finish out the set.  A few others helped me out along the way, too.

My late Grandma Thelma (her friends called her Petie) taught me how to take everything out and put it away as you need it - this way, you know if you forgot something because it'll still be sitting out.  Great, right?  So I used my cute little pinch bowls and such and prepped all my ingredients.  Normally, I would just take her advice and dish straight out of the box/jar/bag/whatever but I have always wanted to be fancy and use pinch bowls.  And trust me, it's worth the extra step!

Took a break to head back to the store and purchase a new muffin tin - one of the tricks to Yorkshire puddings is to leave the lard in the muffin tin and cover it with foil for next time.  This definitely warranted a new bakeware purchase!

I couldn't resist to dance my way through - Frankie sure is infectious!  I even thought it might be fun to try to juggle my lemon and orange.  Yep.  Nothing like goofing off and laughing out loud at yourself!

So I had all my ingredients together and ready to go, but I was missing one thing - a refreshing G&T.  Thank you Cross Keys pub in York for serving me my first and getting me hooked!  Cheers!

While preparing the batter I used this new little trick that I love - I was scolded once (in jest of course) for cracking an egg on the counter and introduced to the proper technique.  A lady lightly taps her egg with the bottom of a spoon and presses into the dent with her thumbs.  This just makes me giggle that there is a proper way and I undoubtedly feel obligated to do it.

Another friend that helped this evening is my amazing mother.  She taught me to always clean up as you go, and that starts with a sink full of hot, soapy water.  Sure does the trick!  While the cupcakes were baking, I was able to wash all of my dishes that I used!

Payton, my little niece, reminded me a few Christmases ago the fun of baking like getting flour on yourself or anywhere else possible and making sure you finish off cleaning the bowl.  Mmmm, that batter was tasty!

They came out perfect and smelling intensely of lemon!  Yum yum!  Now to let them cool completely and prepare the icing.


Voile!  287 calories - add a glass of fat free milk and you've got a MUFA meal!

They aren't exactly the picture in the book but I am guessing they taste just as good.  The only thing I would change is buying a bigger lemon and orange to get more zest and then I would have made the glaze a little differently.  I think more fresh OJ to powdered sugar and it may have turned out a little better.  It's basically the icing used to make snow on a gingerbread mountain, but better.  =)

Survey says....   Delish!  moist, fluffy, and fresh!  Will definitely make them again!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Daily Love

I am in love with all of today's quotes from The Daily Love!  I think we all could benefit from them and work them into our own personal mantras.  We have control of our emotions!

Happy Friday!

"Stress is not what happens to us. It's our response TO what happens. And RESPONSE is something we can choose."
- Maureen Killoran, life coach.

 "An optimist is a person who sees a green light everywhere, while a pessimist sees only the red stoplight... The truly wise person is color- blind."
- Albert Schweitzer, was a theologian, organist, philosopher, and physician.

"No one else 'makes us angry.' We make ourselves angry when we surrender control of our attitude. What someone else may have done is irrelevant. We choose, not they. They merely put our attitude to a test."
- Jim Rohn, was an American entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Eating my way to a flat belly

First of all, if I can eat those cupcakes and work towards a flat belly, I'm sold.  Second, this book is so cute with it's bright happy yellow and super fun hot pink I just couldn't wait to get going!   Thank you, Mom!
I know what you are wondering - how the heck is this even possible to eat your way towards a flat belly?  The secret is MUFAs!  (Monounsaturated fats)  The nutritionists at Prevention magazine took habits from people in the Mediterranean (who according to this book and their research, have some of the healthiest stats on the planet) and combined those with loads and loads of research to discover that MUFAs actually target lisceral fat!  That is the dangerous fat that lurks in the core of your body and surronds your organs.  By carefully constructing balanced meals, the Flat Belly Diet has you eating 4 times a day, consuming 1600 calories, and the magic trick is eating 1 MUFA in each 400 cal meal.

There are tons of testimonials inside, and I know of one first hand - my mom.  She suffers from thyroid disease which means she has been struggling with poor metabolism since she was treated - she used to have hyper which means her metabolism was through the roof but, it's a disease and her body was producing too much of the hormone.  They zapped her thyroid and now she has to rely on medication to have any hint of a metabolism.  It's extremely tough and frustrating and I've seen her struggle with it for years.  Two weeks ago, she started this plan and since has lost 13 pounds!  AND she says she is losing it in her belly, the hardest place for her to lose weight!  I'm so happy for her! 

So I say, if she is successful, I can be too!

First step:  4-day Jumpstart

Here is a link to a cheat sheet I created:  Flat Belly Diet - 4-day Jumpstart Plan

Check it out and meet me back here....

... not to bad, huh! And, this is the hard part!  In all honesty, this is pretty close what I eat anyways.  There are a few changes but otherwise, nothing too drastic so far!

So last night I did my shopping for two (Simon is along for the ride) and prepped most of the food for the plan:

Here are my 16 portions of fruit - 1 for breakfast with cereal or oatmeal and 1 for the smoothie.  This was a pain!  3 packages of strawberries, 3 packages of blackberries, and 1 package of blueberries.  AND I think I shorted a few of the baggies so I probably could have gotten 1 more package of blueberries.  Rinsed all and cut up the strawberries and then put 2 handfuls (1c) in a little plastic baggie.  (Thank goodness for my Pampered Chef spinner!)

The veggie tray with plan approved veg for steaming (green beans, carrots, squash) - I think we'll have to replenish this before too soon - does this look like 16 cups to you?  Hardly but we'll see... Sunflower is right across the street so that is a quick and easy fix!

Yummy yummy chicken!  Roasted with Caribbean Jerk marinde.  We only get 3oz chicken per meal.  Wondering if Simon will survive on that little meat!  The alternate is a 4oz fish fillet - I buy the Gortons Tilapia that are delish and they're super easy to pull out of the freezer to bake right when you want your meal.

This is the "Sassy Water" that you drink at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  I renamed it "Jumpstart H2O" to make it a little more guy friendly ;)  Water, lemon & cucumber thinly sliced, grated ginger, and fresh mint leaves.  Let me tell you this is sooooo yummy!  They said a lot of people still drink this after the plan is over but I immediately doubted I would cause it is a lot of work every day but I may have to make it here or there.  Yum yum!

And here are the star players:  the MUFAs! Sunflower seeds at breakfast, Flaxseed Oil in the smoothie, and Olive Oil with the veggies at dinner.

Looking forward to getting through the first part and trying out all of their delicious looking recipes.  First order of business Saturday - bake lemon cupcakes!