sorry i’ve been such a bad blogger

Before I get carried away, check out this adorbs pic I just got of Violet (caption reads: I woke up just so I could say goodnight to my Auntie Kelly.) Ahh!

I feel better! Finally! Today is the first day I’ve felt over 95% healthy in over a week, and while I managed workouts three of the last four days, today was my first day of 60 full minutes of cardio exercise at the gym (Chrisanthi spin!).

As you know, I typically weigh in on Wednesdays (skipped last week due to illness), but this week I can’t go because I’ll be traveling that day… So no time like the present to face up to seven full days of absolutely no exercise. SCARY! Good news though! I stayed the same! And while I usually stay the same, I actually consider this a huge victory this week. What a great way to kick off a healthy week of work travel and lots of exercise.

Another positive note: I stayed for the meeting for the first time in months. (Keri told me, too :)) It was quite an inspiring experience, as many Lifetime members were there discussing their weight loss journey, how they reached their goals, and how they’ve kept the weight off for so many years. Unfortunately I know what it’s like to gain back a lot of weight, and now I’m so terrified of it that my natural instincts have changed to protect me from that happening again. Oh, and someone was talking about the power of 0 Point veggie soup at the meeting, so I decided to get on that train. Mark Bittman, (New York Times food editor) to the rescue!

*The parsley/white bean/tomato paste combo is what makes this soup so darn tasty. MAKE IT STAT!!
**I omitted the celery … it was $4!! Also, I added mushrooms and green beans. Oh, and you don’t need nearly that much olive oil.
***In this case, no picture would be more effective than this crappy one, but here it is anyway. Served with a corn tortilla cheese quesadilla:

From his book Food Matters:

* 3/4 cup olive oil, more or less
* 2 onions, peeled and chopped
* 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
* 2 celery stalks, peeled and chopped
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 1 bunch parsley, washed and chopped, thick stems discarded
* 2 or 3 cabbage leaves, chopped
* 1 bunch chard, preferably white, washed and chopped
* 1/4 cup tomato paste
* 3 to 4 cups cooked white beans, like cannelloni, with their liquid if possible

Preparation

Put about a third of the olive oil in the bottom of a deep pot and turn the heat to medium.

Add half the onion, carrot and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until they soften, which takes about 10 minutes.

Add about half of the remaining oil and repeat the process, seasoning with salt and pepper as you go.

Add the remaining oil with the parsley, cabbage and chard and cook, stirring occasionally, until everything is softened but not browned.

Add the tomato paste and stir.

Mash the beans so that they’re about half mashed and half more-or-less whole. Add this mixture to the pot, along with any bean cooking liquid and enough water to make the whole mixture stewy but not watery.

Continue cooking, tasting and adjusting the seasoning as necessary, until all the vegetables are very tender and the soup is hot. Serve hot or warm.
Serving Size

Makes about 10 servings

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the healing powers of beef stew (and the nylins)

Some time ago Sara acquired a beef stew recipe from her Mama, Trish, who adapted it from a friend of hers. Sara’s version was wonderful (Crockpot-style), so I decided to try it myself tonight in a final attempt to rid my body of this evil cough. (This stew + meds = the ability to work tomorrow! Healthy days, here I come!)

I received Trish’s forwarded recipe. As you’ll see, it leaves room for improvisation, which is exactly how soups should be. My version had mushrooms and celery, too. First I’ll share with you the emailed “recipe.” Just adorable:

“m-m-m- here’s the recipe Deborah gave me…blade steak or 7 bone, cubed, salt and pepper, browned. Add 1 cup guinness, 2 cup red wine, 4 cups beef broth, worcestershire sauce (a nylin go to ), simmer 1 hour+. Add chopped onions, carrots, (and potatoes if desired), bay & thyme, and keep cooking. That’s it! Deborah says it’s the meat that makes the dish, plus it’s a dish you want to cook slowly all day, it should end up like a chowder, not a soup or stew… we had homemade biscuits with it in New Hampshire, but a great fresh hearty bread would be excellent and don’t forget a nice smooth flavorful red wine to compliment the dish. Feel free to rate this email and share with others who appreciate a bountiful meat entree. hehe… love you, mommy

Here are some of the ingredients:

After a few hours of stewing:

Sara took some off my hands, as will Cody. Thanks for the group eating effort!

So all this sickness has really hampered my working out. (As in, I have NOT been working out… at all.) I’m starting to freak and feel pretty gross about the lethargy and lack of motivation to do anything. I intend to wake up healthy enough to get to the gym at some point tomorrow… stay tuned.

SICK

This doesn’t happen very often, but I am definitely sick. And even worse is that I forgot to photograph my first bona fide dinner party on Friday night. Four people eating jambalaya and vegan dessert around my kitchen table… truly fabulous. Thanks to Glenna and Becky for making the trek to see my place! The wine and flowers were perfect πŸ™‚

Since then there has been a lot of relaxing, movie watching, take-out and no 24 Hour Fitness. Hopefully I’ll be cooking and working out again by tomorrow evening.

Update: Keri unknowingly made me feel much, much better by sending this over today:

Weigh-in Wednesday

When I first told Cody about my Wednesday weigh-ins, he asked me why I’d spend $40/month to do so. ‘Wouldn’t a scale be cheaper?’ he asked. And sometimes I agree with him, thinking I should trade in my Weight Watchers membership for something a bit more economical (the FREE scale at the gym, perhaps?). I rarely stay for the meetings or count points these days. BUT, just knowing that I have to physically go somewhere once a week to have someone record my weight has played such an influential role in maintaining my weight loss that it’s worth the money. In fact, I’m pretty sure my Ma would step in and pay for it if I told her I was quitting!

I’ve said it before, and I’m saying it again: I stayed the same this week (well, down .2, which is barely anything).

Without the pending Weigh-in Wednesday, I would have ordered tacos at 2am when Mandy and I got home last night from Eugene. I was starving and tired but knew I needed to hold out for a decent weigh-in. Such a weird game of accountability…

Anyway, enough of me justifying my completely stagnant weight loss success…

I was really nervous about WW today because I didn’t make it to the gym yesterday (a rarity for a Tuesday). Fortunately we danced all night to Ryan Bingham, boot stompin’ style!!

Y’all can thank me later for this little treat πŸ™‚

Heck yeah.

I’m staying in tonight and making stir fry and getting 8 hours of sleep and getting up early for the gym before presentations tomorrow. And that’s that.

(Workout today: Spin class!)

Happy Wednesday to you!

LOVE

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Best thing to happen to me today? Getting pics from my Ma of Keri and Violet… look at the smiles!

I celebrated with a few Manlovers this evening at Cha Ba Thai, which is apparently one of the better Thai restaurants in town. (Spicy Tom Ka soup with tofu for me.) All we did during the entire meal was talk about how excited we were to go to bed early tonight… Only two more months left of my twenties, which is becoming more and more obvious.

Last night was also full of V-Day love at Cody’s grandparent’s 58th wedding anniversary party. Becky and Glenna hosted:

G made cookies with everyone’s names:

Even one for me!

Beginning tomorrow I’m going to really try to cut out the sugar. I think I’m still buzzing from it all!

Workout today: 25 minute elliptical, 30 minute lifting class

Not sure I’ll have time for exercise tomorrow between working and going to see RYAN BINGHAM!! It’s time for some boot stompin’!

v-day brownies, sunday brunch

Don’t worry, the sweet treats aren’t for me. I’ve got a chocolate fan on my hands (his birthday dessert was chocolate cake, chocolate frosting and chocolate ice cream…), so brownies it is for the current celebration. Perhaps I tasted the batter:

After the gym this morning (step/lift class!), I had brunch at Anna and Nick’s place. Since I refuse to fry anymore bacon in my apartment, I donated a whole package to our meal. Anna chopped, Nick cooked, I talked… it was fab! Excitement is growing for their summer wedding!

Ok, off to Scappoose for an anniversary party!

Studio Pizza Party

What a miracle that I’ve found a half hour in this crazy weekend to sit down and blog some pics. Seriously, I’ve never been more nonstop! How fun!

Last night a few Manlovers gathered here for a spontaneous homemade pizza party. Imagine my elation when Mandy showed up a half hour early to take charge of the dough. Here she models a bbq chicken/sausage pizza:

Speaking of models, here’s a sneak preview of Sara’s fanciness for Bronwyn’s shiny birthday party tonight:

Mom, my new immersion blender was perfect for pureeing the sauce!

Manlovers:

Workout update:

Yesterday, 50 minutes of elliptical intervals on hardest setting
Today, 35 minute spin (more intervals)

Weigh-in Wednesday

I weighed on a foreign scale yesterday… within 2/10 of a pound of my last weigh-in! I’ll take that as a victory, considering the Superbowl shenanigans I partook in.

There are lots of dinner parties on deck, so stay tuned for some tasty food!

I took yesterday off from the gym (my first break in a week, just as promised!) but will return for Spin class this afternoon.

There’s a rumor going ’round that Cody is making me dinner tonight. Fortunately he knows my affinity for vegetables…

Update:

I’m terrible. He said he’d make me dinner, and then I show up and take over the entire kitchen. At least I let him buy the groceries!

Chicken and veggies over rice:

Sorry, kid!

Superbowl Meat Products

Two briskets, baked bologna and some crazy sausage thing wrapped in bacon… it was wild!

There was even bacon-flavored vodka, perfect for Bloody Mary’s!

Oh, and before we tasted a bite of meat, we were hitting the chocolate fountain:

And Steph’s adorable Packer cookies:

Max tricked me into giving him another piece of cake:

Olivia P., Olivia O., Steph:

Too bad the football action pics didn’t turn out! During halftime, Val and the men and children had loads of fun in the street… I photographed the activity while also watching Steph dance to the Black Eyed Peas through the front window. It was a lovely life moment πŸ™‚

Healthy stuff:

Amazing workouts yesterday and today (90 minute spin today! Yowee!), and I’m about to make a brussel sprout/shitaki stir-fry (over rice noodles) for dinner. I’m super starving, but I’ll try to remember the recipe I concoct as well as take pic.

Happy Monday!

Superbowl Sunday (aka Cheese and Bacon Day)

You didn’t come here today looking for something healthy, did you? Good. Today is dedicated to Wisconsin, which means cheese, cheese, more cheese, and a pound of bacon.

I woke up at 7:30 and cleaned, forked and salted a five pound bag of russet potatoes and baked them for an hour for my Superbowl contribution: Twice Baked Potatoes with Bacon

Once the potatoes were baked and cooled, I cut them in half, scooped them out and made mashed potatoes with butter, milk, sour cream, shredded cheese… and… bacon fat (from the pound of bacon I was frying while the potatoes baked). Don’t you get an irregular heartbeat just reading that??

Anyway, fill the potato shells with the mashed potatoes (which, by the way, I mashed with a fork… note to self: buy a potato masher or mixer ASAP), cover in shredded cheese and chopped bacon, and bake for 10 minutes or so at 350 degrees.

By the time you read this, you’re celebration may very well be over, so don’t forget to try this next year!! Superbowl Sunday is really the only day this sort of nonsense is allowed πŸ™‚

I’m not baking them until I get to Tim and Val’s… pretty sure they’re going to be spectac!

*Dear Willpower, please let me make it out of this alive πŸ™‚

Oh, and I forgot, I do have a healthy tidbit to pass on. Last week Ty turned me on to these Spinach-Potato pancakes from Costco’s frozen section… they’re only 80 calories but taste decadent! Cody did the leg work for me and brought a box home last night. One cake and one egg make a perfect breakfast!

Isn’t my new mini pan just adorable?

Ok, TIME TO WORKOUT.

Go Wisconsin!