Friday, October 30, 2009

Home Cookin’

I’m homebound today with big daughter who is sick.  We are keeping our fingers crossed that it’s not Swine, but it’s likely since every kid in school is dropping like flies.  We were able to get her vaccinated early last week, so hopefully that will keep the worst of it at bay.  We’ll see…

So when I’m hanging around the house, I always get the urge to bake!  After yesterday’s wrestle with the bag of Halloween candy, I decided to bake something healthy.  I’ve been thinking of a new Breakfast Cookie idea and wanted to try it out.  I loved it!  This one is a keeper…

Ginger Apple Oat Breakfast Cookie

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup oat bran
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, unpacked
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 egg white, beaten lightly
  • 2 tbsp. molasses
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  1. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients (flour through cinnamon).  In a separate bowl, combine wet ingredients.  Add to oat mixture and mix until fully incorporated.
  2. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Using a 1/3 measuring cup, scoop batter and place mounds on lined cookie sheet.
  3. Bake 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.

Makes 5 BIG cookies.  Each cookie is 171 calories, 1 gram fat, 4 grams fiber (calculated using

These were a cross between a soft oatmeal cookie and a gingersnap…


I had to have one right away.  It was soft and warm with a nice bit of spice.  Perfect with a cup of joe…


Yeah, I’ve fallen off the “no coffee” wagon.  I’m trying to keep it to a minimum though, and if my stomach or throat acts up, I’ll break up with it again.  But, for now, it’s making me happy.  Speaking of joe and happy, I got some fun mail that I won from my friend, Danica


Looking forward to trying these :)  Thanks, Danica!

Since I was around the house, I had plenty of time to get creative for lunch.  This actually was a quick meal to put together.  It was another take on breakfast – Fried Egg with Polenta Toast over sauteed spinach…


I used some of the leftover Cheesy Polenta which I had spread in a baking dish and refrigerated until firm.  I cut the polenta into 2 triangles and broiled until “toasted” on each side.  Meanwhile, I sauteed a heaping bunch of baby spinach until wilted (down to nothing – how does that happen?).  I pan-fried the egg in nonstick spray and plated it all.  I garnished with 2 slices of crumbled center cut bacon cooked in the micro and a shaving of parmesan.  How fancy is that?


Later, I needed a hearty snack…


Kidding, kidding :)  A hearty, healthy snack…


Dinner was low-key.  The husband had to work late and the daughters were up for an easy meal (aka sandwiches).  I dug through the freezer and found some shrimp, so I decided on a quick Shrimp Fajita bowl – frozen shrimp(no need to thaw – they cook to perfection when cooked from frozen), sauteed red and green peppers, onions, taco seasoning and salsa…


Love easy and tasty dinners:)

Time to tend to the sick!  Hope you all are staying well!

ONE GOOD THINGGinger Apple Oat Breakfast Cookies!  Cookies for breakfast are a great way to start the day :)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Life Is Like A Bag Of Chocolates

Hey guys!  I’m a little off my blogging schedule – not enough hours in the day, ya know?  I’m faltering with my “to-do list”!  I started off great but, I got side-tracked with other things and now my list is a mile long again.  Pffft!!

The morning began with the growl of my stomach.  That is one annoying alarm clock ;P  Breakfast was definitely in order before gyming it.  I munched down a Thomas’ Light Multigrain English Muffin with homemade almond butter and a pear…


Almond butter is so good.  And sooo hard to control!  I could eat gobs of it, but I have to keep reminding myself:  A serving is 2 tbsp., a serving is 2 tbsp.  Yes, I chant this as I spread it :)  I have received some requests for this recipe, so here it is…

Homemade Almond Butter

  • 1 cup whole almonds, roasted
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. olive oil (not extra virgin)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place almonds on a baking sheet and roast for 7-10 minutes. Watch closely to not burn.
  2. Place nuts in food processor and pulse until nuts are fully chopped.  Add salt, honey and oil.
  3. Continue to process until creamy;  this may take 5-7 minutes.
  4. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.
  5. Try not to eat the whole thing.
  6. Good luck with that :)

Then, I drug myself to the gym.  I know that’s not a word, but it is when you don’t want to go to the gym.  Drug is way worse than dragged ;P  I usually like the gym, but since I’m restricted to the recumbent bike  til this dizziness goes away, I’m less than thrilled.  For some reason, the bike just doesn’t do it for me.  It’s boring and I don’t feel like I’m doing much of anything  for a workout.  I did try to pump up the resistance, which definitely was a challenge, but it’s still just “meh” to me.  Maybe, I’ll learn to like it??

I was ready for lunch after my non-exciting gym experience.  I couldn’t wait to get some food.  It was one of THOSE days.  Lunch was a Health is Wealth Chicken Free Patty on a deli flat with guacamole, chopped tomatoes and spinach.  Some soy crisps and carrots filled up the rest of my plate…


But not the rest of my stomach!!!  No, really my stomach was full, but my brain did not get that memo.  It was too focused on these Halloween candies…


My favorite…


A close second…


What I thought I should have instead…


What I did have… all of the above.  And CHEEZ-ITS!  I hate those friggers!

Dinner, as if I needed it, was a delicious bowl of Cheesy Polenta with mushrooms and asparagus…


I used this Polenta recipe from Everyday Food


It was a beautiful thing.  So is chocolate.  I know it so well :)

ONE GOOD THING:  I did not eat 105 pieces of chocolate :D

Question of the Day:  What is your favorite exercise machine at the gym/home?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

You Spin Me Right Round

I can’t stop singing that dopey 80’s tune.  But, it pretty well describes my morning.  I was still having vertigo issues and the medicine I took the night before made me drowsy to boot.  I actually went back to bed for a bit in the morning, too.  Don’t like that feeling, but I had to do it.  Anyway, I finally felt decent enough to make breakfast.  I went with Chobani nonfat yogurt sweetened with NuStevia and topped with strawberry syrup, pomegranate arils and granola crumbs…


Really good!  I loved the crunchy addition of the pomegranate arils (aka seeds!).  This is the season for pomegranates and I picked one up at the supermarket the other day along with a cool brochure from the POM people with instructions on how to open one.  I have always just hacked away at it, but now I know the “proper way” to open this beautiful guy…


and you can, too…







It worked perfectly and I got many more arils, especially non-butchered ones, than when I just hacked away at it –LOL!

I slowly worked on some house cleaning, then realized that I was starving and ready for lunch.  When I’m like that, the first thing that jumps at me is what I choose.  Today, leftover pizza was the winner…


With some awesome cantaloupe and grapes.  Hmmm… I miss summer:(

I spent some time doing research on my vertigo diagnosis.  I love doing research (it’s the old paralegal in me) and I love the easy access to all info via the Internet.  It’s so easy to come up with questions for doctors when you have info at your fingertips!  Anywho, what I found was a bit disheartening.  Without getting into a bunch of medical mumbo jumbo, I basically found that there  is no specific, guaranteed  cause or treatment for Benign Positional Vertigo.  The general treatment is a series of exercises or maneuvers that the doctor performs to help move debris from your inner ear to a less sensitive place within your head.  Many of these exercises I can do as a home treatment.  So, I decided that I would try to do these and see if it would rectify the situation.  There is a decent success rate with doing these, however, BPV may reoccur.  But, I’m willing to try it so as not to have to take any medication (Antivert) which, oddly enough, has a side effect of possible dizziness!!!  Huh???  The disappointing part is that while doing these maneuvers, I have to be careful not to put myself in a position that’s counterproductive to moving the debris – no leaning too far back or flat, no bending over with head down, no sports activities involving lying flat (weight bench, yoga, pilates) or too much jostling of the head (RUNNING!!) and I need to sleep propped up on pillows for a bit.  For now, running is out.  Major bummer since I was all juiced up to start racking up my mileage :(  But, if I’m going to lead a “healthy” lifestyle, I have to do ALL the things needed to keep me healthy which includes paying attention to my body’s needs.  So, I may be benched for now, but hopefully not for long!

I felt a little frustrated after my research session and I took it out on myself by eating!!  Aaaah!  I made up some homemade almond butter


and ate a whole lot of it!  Then I snacked on most of these guys…


and there may have been a few Cheez-Its involved, too.  Moving on…

I finished off the whole shebang with a hearty, carby bowl of Creamy Bowties with Asparagus


made with Chavrie goat cheese, parmesan and a bit of milk.  YUM!

Have a great day, everyone!!!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Spicy Sunday

Hope you all had a wonderful Sunday!  Thankfully, the weather cleared up nicely and it was a picture perfect fall day. 

Since it was such a beautiful day, I decided  to go for an outdoor run and I dragged the family along with me!  Before we left, I nibbled on a Banana Walnut Breakfast Cookie topped with PB2.  I cut it in quarters and only ate half so as to not be weighed down during my run…


We went to a nearby paved trail/park for the run.   The paved trail is exactly one mile, so it was easy to gauge how far I ran.  I planned on doing 3.1 miles, but didn’t want to push it too hard considering I haven’t run since the race and I’m still suffering from bouts of dizziness.  The husband and daughters came along for my first mile, then branched off into some basketball playing and scooter riding.  I can’t lie – my first mile was tough.  My breathing was fine and I was running at a mild pace, but I felt weak and not really into it.  But, I kept going.  And beginning with mile 2, I started to feel that rush of good feelings.  I was in a steady groove and got “out of my head” and into the music.  I ended up doing 3.25 miles and finished strong.  I tried not to pay too much attention to the time, but I think I pulled it off in about 40 minutes.  My goal for right now is to get my body used to the mileage more so than concentrate on the speed.  I know that will come later.

After the run, I joined the family and walked another mile while they rode scooters.  I brought along  this coconut water to try out…


I took 2 sips and knew it wasn’t for me.  Straight up water seems to be my drink of choice these days :)

The fresh air did us all good!  Nothing like crisp air and beautiful changing leaves to brighten up your day…


By the time we got home, I was ready for some lunch.  I went with turkey and hummus wrap with arugula on a Joseph’s Lavash Bread , Kettle Brand Baked potato chips and super sweet cantaloupe…


After much chillaxin’ in the afternoon and a surprise visit from the in-laws, I got around to making some dinner.  Well, most of this dinner made itself!  Tacos were on the menu and I thought I would try out this new item from Trader Joe’sCarne Asada


It’s finely chopped beef sirloin seasoned with some spices and lime.  It’s fully cooked which is convenient, but a little high on the calorie and fat side…


I served it taco-style for the husband and daughters with the usual suspects:  white corn tortillas, lettuce, tomato, quacamole, salsa and cheese.  I decided to put all the ingredients together in a big taco salad…


I added some pinto beans to it and toasted my tortilla for crunch.  My final addition was a dollop of another new TJ item…


Pretty low calorie, but definitely a long list of not so great ingredients(aka processed)…



Overall, a tasty salad!  However, the Carne Asada was not as good as I had hoped.  I found the meat to be tough and chewy.  Not a texture I love and the price tag is steep - $7.99 for a bag that serves 4.  The Queso Dip was okay.  It was moderately spicy and added a nice kick to the salad.  It would probably be good in a quesadilla or as a topping for a Mexican-style baked potato.

Dessert was the other half of my Banana Walnut Breakfast Cookie and then a trip on the Tilt-a-Whirl.  Yes, the vertigo acted up big time, so medicine popping and to bed I went.  It sucks getting old :(

ONE GOOD THING:  I got some great outdoor activity today!

Have a great day!!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Race Reflections

It’s been one week and I thought about my 5K race  a lot today.  Ironically, the weather this morning was as crappy as it was last Saturday, so I think that brought up some of my thoughts!  I was replaying the race in my mind again and trying to figure out what I could do to be better next time.  Yes, I think I just said…next time!  Oh no!  But, the more I think about it the more I see that I have to try it again.  I can’t got down like that with my first race – LOL! 

Seriously though, it’s not about competing with others.  I’m not a competitive person at all.  I would classify myself more like “everybody’s cheerleader”!  It’s more about how to be better for myself.  There are lots of things that went wrong and thinking it over, I realize that the main thing is that I did not train as hard as I should have.  I kinda took the attitude that if I ran 3.1 miles once, I can do it over again, no problem.  And yes, that is true mentally, but physically, I think my body needed much more practice than I was giving it.  I primarily backed off due to my hip.  I was concerned that training may damage it so that I would have to bag out of the race altogether.  So I backed off, but that ended up hurting me in the end because I realize that my legs weren’t ready.

Another thing I need to learn is how to manage the racing jitters.  I was so nervous when the start gun went off  and that threw my whole breathing pattern out of whack.  I was unable to focus at all.  Even my music did not help.  And my head was so filled with nerves and doubts that emotions took over causing me to really lose it!  I’m not quite sure what to do to help with the jitters, but I did do some research on training for a 5K.  I found some good articles on Runnersworld and Cool Running, so I think I’m going to try out the program and see if I can get myself to run stronger and faster!  I would love any additional tips from my runner blog friends, so please feel free to leave a comment or email me!

Well, that being said, I took the day off from exercise today –LOL!  So much for training, right?!  Seriously, I am planning on starting tomorrow!  I’m a bit apprehensive due to my bouts of dizziness, but my plan is ,as long as it’s not acting up, I’ll get in a run.  Today, I was still experiencing a little dizziness, so I just puttered around the house which was kinda nice!

I wasn’t especially hungry for breakfast and couldn’t figure out what I wanted.  I finally decided a smoothie sounded right.  Not any smoothie…a BLUE MONSTER!  Green monsters have been all the rage, but I’m going blue…


Loved it!


For lunch I made a ginormous salad…

  • lots of romaine
  • diced ham
  • 1 lite string cheese, chopped
  • 1 hard boiled egg white
  • 1/2 cup pinto beans
  • 1 hummus filled egg white (filled with Trader Joe’s Chipotle Pepper Hummus)
  • Kraft Light Three Cheese Ranch Dressing


and some tuscan crackers topped with asiago spread (from our Anniversary basket)…


I tried another Zevia this afternoon…


I didn’t like this flavor, so I tried another…


It was definitely better.  So far, I’ve only liked 2 of the flavors.  I think my affinity for diet soda has really diminished though. 

I felt like munching this afternoon, so I pulled out the Cheez-its!  I made sure to “control” myself…slightly, by putting them in a bowl instead of having my face in the bag :)  My cup overfloweth…


Dinner was random.  We were all in relax mode, so I just reheated some turkey meatballs for sandwiches and sliced up sweet potatoes for fries.  I went bunless but layered on the cheeeeese…


And ended the flop- around day with chocolate…


Running is definitely on the agenda tomorrow ;)

ONE GOOD THING:  While I was relaxing, I went through some magazines and pulled out some great new recipes to try this week.

Have a great day!!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Fridays Are For Dates + Pizza

I love Fridays!  I love them even more when the husband is off from work and the daughters have school.  Instant date time with no sitter required !  Our big date plan was to go for a walk together.  I know, we’re really wild and crazy ;P 

I made sure to get in some breakfast, but one that wouldn’t be too heavy.  Yogurt sounded good this morning, so I went with some plain nonfat Chobani with fresh strawberry “syrup”.  I topped it with some granola crumbs.  It was really good…


Because I was using the plain yogurt, I decided to sweeten it with a packet of NuNaturals NuStevia that I received a while back…


  Now, I have to say that in my quest to reduce the amount of artificial sweeteners (especially Splenda), I have tried stevia as a sweetener in my coffee/tea.  One word –blech.  I wanted to like it, but I couldn’t get past the bitter aftertaste.  The NuNaturals product claimed to be non-bitter, so I was interested to see if that was the case.  I used about half a packet in my yogurt this morning and it was great!  No strange aftertaste and just the right amount of sweetness.  I think with stevia, less is more and you do need to play around with the amounts to get the level of sweetness that you like.  For me, half the packet was perfect.  I’m looking forward to trying it out in some coffee or tea and see if it still holds the non-bitter claim.  Also, Ron at NuNaturals was kind enough to send me quite a few of their products to try out which included baking blends and extracts…


Might make for some good sugar-free holiday treats!  Thanks, Ron:)

After the daughters were off to school, the husband and I set out on our walking date.  With the dog :)  We walked at a good pace for about 50 minutes and 3.5 miles.  It was a beautiful morning!

On the way home, I had a craving for coffee, so we stopped for a small Pumpkin Latte Lite


I can’t believe I’m saying this, buuuuut, I think this was better than Starbucks!  Gasp!

Lunch was a fiber powerhouse – Mixed Bean Melt and a pear the size of my head…


The Mixed Bean Melt

  • Joseph’s Lavash Bread 
  • 1/2 c. pinto beans, mashed
  • 1/4 c. chick peas, mashed
  • 1 Laughing Cow Light Cheese Wedge
  • handful of baby spinach – you know I put it in everything

Spread beans and cheese on one half of the Lavash.  Add spinach and fold over.  Spray skillet with nonstick spray.  Cook until browned on both sides and warmed through.

Very filling…


As always in this house, Fridays are pizza night!  I usually make our pizzas and alternate between making my own dough and using Trader Joe’s pre-made dough.  I have fooled around with my own dough recipe quite a bit, trying to tweak it and get it just right.  I’m always open to new recipes and when I saw Biz had a No Rise Pizza Dough that’s ready in 5 minutes, I jumped all over it!  I doubled the recipe to get two pizzas and actually ended up making 2 and a small one for me.  For my pizza, I used Trader Joe’s Roasted Red Pepper and Artichoke Tapenade for the sauce, added some baby bella mushrooms, Chavrie goat cheese and a tiny sprinkle of mozzarella…


It was fab!  I ate quite a bit of it along with a side salad of arugula dressed with evoo, red wine vinegar and a shaving of parmesan…


Now, that’s a pizza!

ONE GOOD THING:  I indulged in pizza tonight.  Guilt free.  That hasn’t happened in a loooooong time :)

Happy weekend, everyone!