Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Reviews and Recipes

As promised... (yes, I know it was well over a week ago...)  But here they are.  We got a lot, so get comfy.

Up first..   My version of chicken salad.   A few weeks back, a co-worker, Marcy brought this amazing chicken salad she found at Sam's.  It was sweet, and chunky, and super-fab.  I decided I could re-create this.  Sho nuff...  here ya go.

Here's what you need:
1 can Tyson Canned chicken breast (mostly because it's just easier)
4 tbsp of Kraft Poppyseed dressing
8 tbsp of Fresh Gourmet Cranberries and Walnuts (if you dont like nuts, just go with the cranberries)
1 small/medium Granny Smith apple (not pictured)

It made 4, 1 cup servings and came out to 208 calories, 18 carbs and 20 grams of protein per cup.   I ate mine with Kashi Asiago crackers.  YUM!

Let's move onto product reviews...

If you've followed by blog for awhile, you know I LOVE my salads.   As mentioned before Bolthouse Farms Yogurt dressings are my ABSOLUTE favorite!!  They come in a variety of flavors and ranch from 45 to 80 calories per serving, depending on the dressing you choose.   Locally, they can be found at Schnuck's and Dierbergs.  Each location has different selections of course, and they're located in the refrigerated section with the bagged salads.  They're normally around $3.99 each, which is more than I typically care to spend on salad dressings, but take my word for it, they're worth it!  Check the date though!!!  Some of them expire quickly... I'm guessing it's because of the "yogurt" in them. 

from left to right - Thousand Island, Chunky Bleu Cheese, Classic Ranch, Ceasar Parmesan, Honey Dijon,
 Classic Coleslaw 

My favorites are...

Bolthouse Farms Yogurt Ranch - 70 calories per 2 tbsp
Bolthouse Farms Balsamic Vinagarette - 45 calories per 2 tbsp
Botlhouse Farms Ceasar Parmesan - 70 calories per 2 tbsp
Bolthouse Farms Honey Dijon - 45 calories per 2 tbsp (EXCELLENT on grilled chicken breast topped with melted swiss)

and my 2 new favorites that I just found at Dierberg's (Thanks Pam for the heads up)

Bolthouse Salsa Ranch - 45 calories per 2 tbsp
Botlhouse Zesty French - 45 calories per 2 tbsp

Next up...  Marshmallows!!!! 

I usually hate marshmallows.  It's the texture that gets me.  BUT - I found these at Dierberg's and they were $1.  So why not right???   They came in all types of flavors.  I saw Chocolate Mint, German Chocolate, Coconut, and they were out of the Pumpkin Spice, so I opted for the Cinnamon Bun flavor.  My first thought was, "what the hell am I going to do with marshmallows??".  Then it hit me.. I'm a sucker for coffee creamer, so why not add it to my coffee for wayyyyyy less calories??   BINGO!

You can have 17 of these little gems for 100 calories!!! They're a pretty good size so I only added 4 (24 calories) to my coffee with 1 tbsp of Sugar Free Vanilla Coffeemate.  It was delish!  

I wish they would've had the Pumpkin Spice because how good would that be topped on some warm sweet potatoes!!!??? 

I think that's all I have for new stuff.   Let's move to Thanksgiving sides!   My favorite food ever... Macaroni and Cheese!!!   I'm making 2 versions this year.  My normal crock pot mac and cheese (recipe below), and a pumpkin mac and cheese.   I found this Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese recipe in the October Better Homes and Gardens magazine.  I love all things pumpkin, and let's be honest here, EVERYTHING is better with cheese, so why not give it a go!?   I'll report next week how good it is. LOL

In addition to the mac and cheeses, I'm making 2 cheesecakes, one pumpkin cranberry and one chocolate chip, and Hawaiian Bread Stuffing.

I love Thanksgiving!!!  But, let's keep it in check people!!  Take your measuring cups, your food scales, use smaller plates, whatever the hell you gotta do NOT to go crazy!  Stick to the white meat, no skin, skip the gravy... opt for either mashed potatoes OR stuffing, or just have smaller servings of both.  Stick to ONE plate and have dessert... no seconds.  These are all great ideas, yeah???  Let's see if I can take my own advice. LOL doubtful!  

Either way...   HAPPY THANKSGIVING to you and yours!!  As always, thanks for reading! 

Hawaiian bread stuffing

2 cups chicken broth
1 cup craisins
1/4 cup I Cant Believe It's Not Butter Light
1 yellow onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery, or 2 stalks
2 Granny Smith apples, cored and finely chopped
3 large eggs
1 (10.75-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
8-10 Hawaiian rolls, cubed and toasted Salt and pepper to taste


*Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish.
*In a small bowl, combine chicken broth and cranberries; let soak for 30 minutes.
*In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion, pepper and celery; cook for 5 minutes stirring frequently or until tender. Add apples and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

*Remove from heat and place in a large bowl.
*Beat 3 eggs in a separate bowl. Add salt and pepper. Set aside.
*In the large bowl with vegetables, stir in chicken broth mixture, mushroom soup, and nutmeg. Add toasted bread, stirring gently to combine. Add eggs. Spoon mixture into prepared dish and bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until center is set.

12 (1 cup) servings.
227 calories per serving, 38 carbs, and 6 grams of protein

Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese

1 pound (2 cups) elbow macaroni or shells (or any other pasta of your choice - I prefer fusilli, or spiral pasta, it tends to hold sauces/cheeses better)
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
3 cups shredded monterey jack cheese
24 oz (2 cans) evaporated milk
3 cups heavy cream (or milk, but if I’m doing mac and cheese, I’m going all in with the cream)
4 eggs
Salt and pepper to taste


*Coat the inside of the slow cooker with cooking spray

*In a large bowl, beat eggs with cream and evaporated milks.  Mix in the uncooked macaroni and 4 cups of the shredded cheese mixture.  Transfer to slow cooker, and sprinkle remaining cheese on top.

*cook on low for 5-6 hours.  Do not stir or remove lid while cooking.

15 (1 cup) servings
555 calories per serving, 30 carbs, 20 grams of protein

Monday, November 21, 2011

Weigh in Day

Happy Monday!!!

I'm  happy to report that I'm down 6 lbs from last week!! WOOHOO!! All my hard work paid off this week.  That makes me incredibly happy. Now, I just have to keep the momentum going.


Total intake for the week - 8,858 calories (last week was 13,622 calories)
4 days in the gym - 18 miles done (I set a goal of 20) and 2,630 calories burned (I set a goal of 3500) Neither goal was met, but obviously I'm okay with that.  This leaves me with a NET intake with an average of 1265 calories per day.

As I mentioned in last weeks blog I said I was going to start doing Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred.  Yep, I tried it.  Not a fan.  I burned more calories working out on my own at the gym, than I did in those 26 minutes, or however long it was.  I didnt feel challenged, which I guess is a good thing, but at the same time I feel like I need to step up my game.  Obviously this DVD isn't the right option for me to do that.   I'll have to come up with something though.

I also promised that I'd blog some new recipes and product reviews, and I apologize that I haven't been able to do that.  I'll make it a priority this week though.

Have a Happy Monday and as always, thanks for reading!


Monday, November 14, 2011

"It Will Never Be"... A little motivation for your Monday!

I meant to post this last week when I read this on his blog, and totally got sidetracked with work.. go figure, that damn work thing...  LOL  Anyway, it's a cool read and very true!  If you get time, visit his blog,  Nerd Fitness.

It will never be:
  • easy
  • perfect
  • the right time
Nobody is going to:
  • tell you exactly what to do
  • drag you out of bed in the morning
  • yell at you to eat healthy
  • lift weights for you
  • run a race for you
There will always be:
  • holidays
  • sick days
  • sleepless nights
  • early mornings
  • vacations
  • bad weather
  • long days at the office
It will always be easier to:
  • say no
  • hit SNOOZE
  • do nothing
  • settle
  • blame others
  • make excuses
  • give up
  • say “I tried my best” when you really didn’t
Life is freaking tough - health, wealth, and happiness certainly don’t come easy.
For those reasons, you don’t need:
  • The best equipment
  • The best business plan
  • The PERFECT workout program (it doesn’t exist)
  • A super specific meal plan
And it’s okay to:
  • not have all of the answers yet – NOBODY does
  • not have your life completely figured out yet – NOBODY does
  • get started and figure things out as you go
As Teddy Roosevelt once said, “Do the best you can, with what you have, where you are.”
Take action.  Make changes.
You will make mistakes.   You will fail.  Embrace it!
You know what’s NOT okay?
  • to expect instant success and gratification
  • to give up immediately when life doesn’t go your way
  • to keep doing the same thing while expecting different results
  • to coast through life while complaining about it
  • to constantly wonder “what if” without ever finding out
Tomorrow never comes. 
Eventually never happens.
Shut up and start.

Cool huh??   Now, if you're sitting there thinking about working out, I hope this motivates you to get your ass up and go.   If you're sitting there about to shove another cookie in your mouth... again, I hope this motivates you NOT to do it.  Or, if you're anything like me, you're going to eat 5 of those damn cookies, THEN go to the gym and burn em all off!  LOL Either way...  get up, get out, get moving!

Weigh in Day

Let's get right to it shall we...??

Last week was 227, this week 226.  Down 1.  
I'll take it considering it's a loss and not a gain which  has been my norm as of late.


Total intake for the week - 13,622 calories
4 days in the gym - 14 miles done, 3,516 calories burned leaving me with a NET intake of 10,106, an average of 1443 per day.

Goals for this week - 20 miles (either on the treadmill, outside, or on the bike), and to burn at least 3,500 calories again this week.

I'm also starting Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred tonight, thanks to my fabulous sister in law, Stephanie for lending it to me!!   I'm usually not a big fan of exercising at home, because honestly, it doesnt "click" with me like it does when I step into Gold's.  So - we'll see.

In other news, I'm LOVING MyFitnessPal.  If you're looking for an easy to use site to log your food, definately give this one a go!!  They also have an app for Android, which is what I usually use instead of the computer.  

That's all I got guys... Have a good Monday!!!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Weekly Weigh In

Do you know why diet is as important as working out....

This would be why...

I'm up 2 lbs this week from last week. 

I worked out 4 days last week, for a total of 6.5 hours and I completed 23 miles on the treadmill and the bike combined, and I still gained 2 lbs.      Why you ask..   Well, because I'm about to share my HORRIBLE eating pattern with you from last week.

Monday was Halloween, and we had a birthday celebration for 2 of my co-workers, where I proceeded to have a huge slice of red velvet cheesecake from Cheesecake Factory, I ate 2454 calories (no gym)

Tuesday - I ate 2185 calories which included countless fun size candy bars and another slice of cheesecake, AND pizzsa for dinner (no gym)

Wednesday - I ate 2577 calories, more fun size candy  bars (spent 90 minutes at the gym, and burned 903) NET intake was 1674

Thursday - I ate 2261 calories, you guessed it... more candy bars (Spent an hour at the gym, burned 770) NET intake was 1491

Friday - Heres the REALLY  bad one...   I ate 3566 calories.   This included candy... donuts...  dinner was homemade meatloaf, cheesey potatoes, and baked mac and cheese, all washed down with a full bottle of pinot grigio.  You guessed it, No gym.

Saturday - I was feeling bloated and disgusting from Friday's disaster, so I hit the gym, and I hit it hard.  I ate 2129 calories, and spent 2 hours in the gym for a total burn of 1338, NET intake of 791.

Sunday - I was feeling better, sore from the gym, but overall pretty motivated to get back there.  So after I made breakfast for the fam, I went and did another 80 minutes for 844 burned.  I made the hubbs take me to dinner though.  We went to Pei Wei and I opted for the Thai Dynamite Shrimp.  It's fabulous.. but its also 870 calories, and god only knows how much sodium.   A few hours later, while watching tv I ate a 100 calorie bag of popcorn and a Reese's Tree.  (Yes, the trees are already out)  Anyway - totals for yesterday are 2328, NET 1484.

So - all in all, I ate 16,500 calories, which comes out to 2357 calories per day, before exercise.   I burned 3855 calories, over a pound...  yet still gained...  My average NET intake for last week, 1806 calories per day.  THIS my friends is why the food choices we make, are more important than the calories we burn at the gym.

You think NOW I'll be able to make better food choices, and say NO to the junk??? 

Dear God let's friggin hope so...

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Butternut Squash Soup

Have you ever had butternut squash??  Well, up until about 2 months ago I never had.   Now - I'm in love with it.  It's sweet and kinda nutty, and you can prepare it so many ways.  In fact, last week instead of making my pumpkin cheesecake that my husband loves so much, I substituted butternut squash and he had no clue.  If you love pumpkin, you'll love butternut squash.   However, you won't find butternut squash in a can, like you will pumpkin.

Anyway - so since I'm into making my own soups these days, what better soup to make than butternut squash soup.

Again, I took a recipe I found and tweaked it to my needs.


  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves (chopped)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 6 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash (I used one large squash)
  • 6 cups fat free, low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (I used more)
  • 1 tsp ground sage
  • 1 granny smith apple, peeled and sliced
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese 
  • 4 stalks celery (chopped)
  • 4 large carrots (chopped)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • In a large saucepan, saute onions in butter until tender, then add garlic
  • Add celery and carrots, squash, apple, chicken broth, salt, pepper, sage and cayenne pepper. Bring to boil; cook 20 minutes, or until squash is tender.
  • Puree squash/soup mixture and cream cheese in a blender or food processor (I use a blender because I dont have a food processor yet)  in batches until smooth. Return to saucepan, but make sure the burner is off.  There is no need to keep cooking.
  • Top with a dollop of sour cream!  Enjoy!
 Makes 10 - 1 cup servings
203 Calories, 20 carbs and 5 grams of protein per serving.
Let me know if you try it, and how you like it!!   I'm off to the gym!  Have a great Sunday everyone!

Friday, November 4, 2011

What's your number?

After telling my friend Pam I ate a much need chocolate iced donut this afternoon,

Thanks Aub's for the pic!

(Donuts are the devil by the way, I think they're cousins with the scale... they work together to conspire against me..)  Anyway, she proceeds to tell me about this website/program, "Shrink Yourself".  So of course I'm intrigued and go take a look.   Are you an emotional eater?  I can relate the most with #3, and #5.

Yep.  According to this I am.  I'm 5 of the 8 scenerios.   Now of course this is no news to me.  I know I'm addicted to food, I know I want certain foods, vs actually "needing" them, but my goodness who isn't like that??  I think I just take my addiction partnered with the "want" and it becomes extreme.

None the less, it prompted me to go here and take the free assesment, it's pretty direct, and accurate.

Now that I know I'm addicted to emotional eating, what do I do about it??   I guess I just keep trying my damndest to succeed...  one of these days, I'll get there!

Have a great day guys!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Didn't we just finish Halloween??

Yep!!! And I'm still raiding Grace's Halloween Candy. I REALLY need to remove it from my house.  Upside - I made it back to the gym yesterday for the first time since Cardinal playoffs began, like 3 weeks ago.  Hence why the scale on Tuesday was UG-LY.  But it is what it is.    I managed to complete 90 minutes, burn 903 calories and I ended the day with a NET intake of 1500 calories.   A VAST improvment from the past month.  

Today has been a good day thus far.  I've only had ONE fun size Butterfinger, and 3 Starbursts instead of the 3 or 4 fun size candies I've been grabbing at one time.  Gym tonight is lower body leg work/push ups/ab work and 45 minutes of cardio.   My friend Pam suggested a November challenge... 90 in November.  90 miles by Dec 1.   You know Im a sucker for a challange..   I skipped November 1, so yesterday I managed 6 miles  (3 elliptical, 3 treadmill), and today's goal will be another 4.

Moving on..

While at my mom's house on Halloween night, my Aunt turns and says to me, "What do I need to bring on Thanksgiving?"   HOLY HELL its right around the corner!!

Just 3 short weeks from today, Thanksgiving will be here.  The day we stuff ourselves full of the most delicious comfort foods, a cornucopia of foods if you will...  mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, corn, cranberry sauce and, of course, turkey, among other delights, making us eat until we want to nap.  That damn tryptophan.

Last year was my first year hosting Thanksgiving, and I must admit, other than cleaning my house for hours only to have to re-clean after everyone leaves, I loved it.  All of my friends and family know how much I love to entertain, so this really doesn't bother me at all.  Plus - there's nothing better to me than having a house full of family to share the holidays with.   The best part of planning... THE MENU!!!    My family is pretty straight laced when it comes to food though.  They're traditional in the sense that they really don't like trying new things, but they're going to this year!   I've found an awesome recipe for stuffing, but you know me, I like to mix it up and create my own, so here it is...

DISCLAIMER:  this is in NO WAY healthy for you, so just have a little.  :)   Moderation, right??
2 cups chicken broth (I use College Inn, low sodium low fat chicken broth)
1 cup craisins (these can be found in the salad/condiment aisle, if you dont like craisins, regular dried cranberries will do)
1/4 cup I Cant Believe It's Not Butt Light
1 yellow onion, chopped (I actually grate my onion now, because I hate the texture….thanks Carolyn for the idea!!!)
1/2 cup chopped celery, or 2 stalks (I hate celery, so I chop it fine)
2 Granny Smith apples, cored and finely chopped
3 large eggs
1 (10.75-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
8-10 Hawaiian rolls, cubed and toasted (1 package should work just fine)
Salt and pepper to tasteDirections:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish.
In a small bowl, combine chicken broth and cranberries; let soak for 30 minutes.
In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion, pepper and celery; cook for 5 minutes stirring frequently or until tender. Add apples and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and place in a large bowl.
Beat 3 eggs in a separate bowl. Add salt and pepper. Set aside.
In the large bowl with vegetables, stir in chicken broth mixture, mushroom soup, and nutmeg. Add toasted bread, stirring gently to combine. Add eggs. Spoon mixture into prepared dish and bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until center is set.

12 servings.
227 calories per serving, 38 carbs, and 6 grams of protein.

I dont know about you, but I'd MUCH rather have this, over 200 calories of mashed potatoes! 

Have a great day guys!! Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

November 1, Weigh In Day

Yes Yes, it's actually November 2, but I was too busy napping and eating pizza last night to write my blog.

True Story.

Before we go into my weigh-in, I want to thank my very amazing sister in law, Stephanie for reminding me, that the scale is a tool... just like my band...  the number does not define who I am, only helps me along the way of my journey.   She emailed this to me a few weeks ago after I had a rough food day, and it made me smile.   Thanks Stephanie, I love you!  :)

So, the results are in.. (I apologize for not taking a picture, I forgot) 

October 1 weigh in - 220 lbs

November 1 weigh in - 225 lbs

This is proof that monthly weigh ins just DO NOT work for me. 

Excuses???   Let's see, I blame the Cardinals for going to the NLCS play offs...   winning those games, then going onto the World Series, and winning that!  YAY CARDINALS!!!!  However - my nights during Red October have been full of Bud Select, hot wings, cheese fries, pizza, etc while watching these games with friends, and celebrating these victories.

It's now November, and baseball is over, (until April 13th) and I NEED to get back to my regular routine.   I will...  beginning today.   

Have a good day friends, as always, thanks for reading! :)