Weight Loss Goal

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tuesday Cuties

What's the best part about a three-day-weekend? 

A four-day week!

I woke up this morning assuming it was Monday and was pleasantly surprised when I remembered that it is Tuesday -- and Tuesday means a golf lesson (maybe), and dinner plans with some co-workers / agency peeps that are in town from SFO... we're hitting up a great restaurant in NE Mpls, one I've never been to before, and I'm looking forward to trying it out. 

Had a super fun weekend -- spent Friday night bonfiring and gabbing with some of the Manfriend's co-workers... Saturday was Hangover 2 (don't bother - if you've seen the first one, you've already seen it), and dinner with some friends... Sunday was a whole lotta nothing: Manfriend golfed, while I puttered around the house, grocery shopped, did laundry, and made an outstanding dinner... and Monday I made a very foolish trip to Home Depot at noon (witnessed 3 marital spats in 10 minutes and got my heels rammed twice by carts -- I aborted my project and plans and headed home), and then headed to my parents house around 4 PM to grill with the fam.

It was a weird weather weekend - ranging from chilly with lots of rain to intense heat and humidity yesterday.  I HATE that sort of weather, to the point where it makes me mad when people try to convince me to enjoy it.  Not gonna happen.  I'm sweating, my clothes are sticking to me, everything feels puffy, my hair looks like crap, and all I want to do is sit in the A/C.  90 and dry?  No problem.  But I can do without the 90% humidity of yesterday (I actually had to empty my dehumidifier twice, and a third time this morning).  I went to bed last night assuming I'd get up and exercise this morning, but no dice: intense wind today, and I feel like I slept in a steam bath, despite the fact that MY A/C was on all night. 

Sigh.  So much for spring.. 

So, I leave you with the treat of the weekend -- pictures of Abby and Cam, my niece and nephew!



Abby Marie, aged 2.5 years... how'd she get so TALL???


Cam - 3 months and showing that it's never too early for a fist bump. He'll be auditioning next month for Jersey Shore.


 Proud big sister; confused little guy.

Off and running,
~Jessica

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Happy Housaversary


While going through some house-related paperwork tonight, I realized that I closed on my home 7 years ago today.  It was a really magical time in my life, filled with possibility and disbelief and change. Possibility because of where I knew my life could go.  Disbelief that I could be a single female home owner at 26. 
Change because I'd joined weight watchers a year earlier in anticipation of being a bridesmaid in my brother's wedding a month after my closing. 


Brother now has 2 children.  I weigh almost exactly the same as I did the day that I walked down his wedding aisle.  From the street, the house appears to remain the same -- but on the inside, it tells incredible stories.

This nearly-100-year-old-house and I have been through a lot together -- the dysfunction and dissolution of a terrible relationship.  Life with a compulsive hoarder.  The beginning of a career, as I spent nearly 5 years officing out of my guest room.  The scratches and scrapes of a 100 lb dog.  Prior to my ownership of the Little House That Could, it was a HUD house -- a previous owner bought it for a song, gutted it, and redid a lot of it... since then, I've made a lot of changes of my own, most recently gutting the kitchen, and remodeling it to my own design -- countertops, backsplash, cupboards, pantry, dishwasher, and microwave; paint, roman shades... all painstakingly picked out and put together by yours truly.

When I was going through a terrible breakup, I painstakingly painted and restored every room.  Painted over years of chaos -- the fluorescent yellow office, piled high with junk, is now a peaceful sage with beautiful, tasteful furniture.  The living room a subtle beige; the dining room showcases my "ridiculous breakup purchase," a gigantic chandelier that looks like candles... it is my favorite thing I have ever purchased.  I lost 70 lbs and trained for a marathon in this house -- I became a writer in this house.  I mourned two grandparents in this living room.  I celebrated the birth of my niece while juggling conference calls in my second bedroom.  I've cooked until exhaustion in the kitchen.  I watched, open-mouthed, through the front windows, while my neighbor died of a heart attack after the paramedics worked on him for an hour.  I've seen the babies across the alley turn into little girls and now tweens.  My patio has seen the tears of a dozen girlfriends -- and the laughter of dozens more. 

At the end of every single day, I look forward to walking through my doors and seeing the cozy beauty of the home I've built.  It's the same feeling of comfort and peace that I felt the day I FOUND the house.  When I walk in, I exhale.

I don't know how much longer I'll be here, but I'm in no hurry to leave.   

This year is all about the "Must do's".  Updating some electrical.  Fixing a problem with the garage.  And today, the second estimate on all new windows (gulp).  These aren't the fun things to invest in.  New kitchen?  Now THAT was fun.  New windows?  Notsomuch.  But it needs to be done at some point.

And the final piece of the puzzle is my back yard -- again, after being dug to hell and back by a dog, I've finally started to put it back together... tree removal... grass seed... planting hasta... replanting damaged peony bushes... dismantling compost pile... firepit in the yard... a peaceful fountain and windchime on my cute little patio...

Even though I've been here for seven years, it's only been the past three that I've had this place truly to myself -- so in some ways, it feels like I'm just starting down this road of home ownership as a single gal.  But one thing has never changed:

Owning this place has challenged me, frustrated me at times, and forced me to grow, learn, and put blood sweat and tears into projects I NEVER thought I'd see myself doing. 

There's nowhere I'd rather be, because home is where your story begins.  

And the real story here is that of my relationship.

With myself.

Off and running,
~Jessica

Weighing In

Down .2 at WI today -- that's POINT 2, not 2 lbs.

I'll take it -- didn't do a great job of journaling this week, and dinner last night was nuked at 10 PM.

Off and running,
~jessica

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Quick Weeknight Dinner: Kalbi Marinated Flank Steak With Country Potatoes

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I went on a Trader Joe's binge -- there isn't one terribly convenient to me, so I don't go very often, but when I do, I tend to stock up on favorites (frozen brown rice), and try lots of new things that they've come out with since my last visit.  Last night, I tried one of these new items, which meant that a healthy and satisfying dinner was on the table in about 10 minutes.  A little prep means that you can do this too.

First of all, mix up a Kalbi marinade.
  • 2/3 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons raw sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
  • 2 tablespoons green onions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
Place your steak (I used flank steak), in a shallow pan and cover with the marinade.  Cover and place in fridge until you're ready to grill / cook.

(In this case, I prepped the marinade before work yesterday, so it was ready to throw on the grill when I got home after work last night).


I chose to grill this -- but if you don't have a grill you could also pan sear or broil.

Next up -- Crack open a bag of these babies:



Country potatoes with haricots verts & wild mushrooms, courtesy of Trader Joe's.

These take about 7 minutes to cook in a medium saute pan.  There's about 4 servings in a bag of this, which makes it perfect for leftovers the next night. Each 1.5 cup serving is 130 calories, and rounds out to about 3 PPS per serving.  Mushrooms include chantarelle and porcini, and the ingredients listed on the package are all natural food substances -- none of this chemical junk that gunks up a lot of frozen meals.



To grill -- I turned all burners onto high and let the grill heat up.  Then I seared for about 1-2 minutes per side, reduced direct heat to low and kept indirect heat on high.  I like my beef very rare -- practically with a pulse - so you might want to grill longer, but once I'd reduced the heat, I went inside to start the vegetables, and everything finished at the same time -- so about 10-12 minutes total. 

7 minutes
8 PPTs
Leftover steak chopped into a beautiful salad for lunch today.
Done and done.


I had just about the best night of sleep last night that I've had in ages -- early to bed, woke up naturally before my alarm... the temperature was perfect, I hadn't over-or-under-eaten, no alcohol or caffeine, and I had freshly washed bedding on the bed (isn't that just the best thing ever?).  Although I haven't run since Saturday, I've been spending a lot of time outdoors, working in the yard, which has led to a nice peaceful and "comfortably exhausted" feeling at the end of every day.  I've got my back yard looking pretty darn good -- ALMOST as cute as I want it to be.  If my grass will continue to grow in where I've planted seed, I'll be in pretty good shape.  But I digress.  The great night of sleep led to a lovely scale hop this morning that has me (almost) excited for my WW@W meeting tomorrow -- motivation to keep it together today!

How about you?  What are your favorite sleeping conditions?  What is your favorite easy weeknight dinner?  Do you notice how your food / beverage choices throughout the day affect your sleep?



Off and running,
~Jessica

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Spring Sprang Sprung

This past week was gorgeous - and I was so exhausted from yard work that I didn't get out for a single run / walk... today, I woke up to rain and more rain... so I set about crossing things off my to-do list: Target, Comcast, Target again, groceries, renew license tabs, unload dishwasher... and finally, clean the basement (this task has been on my To Do list probably since LAST spring). 

At about 2:15, when I was about to throw my dusty clothes in the laundry and hit the shower (followed by an afternoon of clearing out the TiVo), the sun came out - I happened to be in the kitchen at the time, and the sunbeams through my skylights, in an instant, inspired me to something entirely different.

Ran 30 (without stopping, except twice to tiptoe around the puddles)
Walked 28
571 calories burned
Min HR = 115 (walking)
Max HR = 166 (running up a small hill)
Theme of the run: "Hey Mama" by Mat Kearney.

It is official that I won't be doing the half-marathon -- I'm definitely not in shape to run it, and it is questionable whether I could even walk the full 13.1 miles.  But it is great to know that I can still go bang out a 30 minute run, no problem.

NOW it is time to hit the shower and clear out the TiVo -- and smile, knowing that I earned tonight's movie popcorn.

Off and running,
~Jessica

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Pesto Pasta Faux Fresco

Sometimes, you want a light, fresh springy meal, even though all the contents of your fridge is mostly processed foods. Last night was one of these nights:




Artichoke ravioli from Trader Joe’s
Pesto (have you ever made your own pesto? I have too. It is super easy. You know what is easier? Buying a jar of Classico and saving yourself the headache)
Hearts of palm (Don’t ask me what these are. I don’t’ know. I just know that they are awesome).
Grape tomatos
Avocado
Side of Alexia garlic bread
=
Pesto Pasta Faux Fresco!
Chop ingredients

Boil water, cook pasta


Mix all together, topping with some pesto...

Chill while the garlic bread bakes...



Serve with a side of garlic bread. Light, crisp, flavorful and fresh(tasting).

Done and done.

Off and running,
~jessica




Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Weighing In

Quick update - scooted to my WW@W meeting today and hopped on the scale -- down .4 lbs.

After wine and chinese food on Thursday night, beer on Friday, desserts and dinner on Saturday, and Chipotle on Sunday... I walked in to the meeting thinking I might actually gain.

I am thrilled.

I journaled every single point.
I drank copious amounts of water (no soda, no booze other than Thursday and Friday night, no juice).
I ate breakfast every day, I got lots of sleep and movement -- no intentional EXERCISE, but three days of very intense yard work have worn me out.

Tonight, I'm looking forward to getting back out into the yard... but just to SIT and enjoy the peaceful environment.

Off and running,
~Jessica

Spring In My Step

I have a work-related conflict with my golf lesson tomorrow, so yesterday I called my pro to see if I could basically just start over with lessons next week -- since we were rained out last week, and I'd have to miss Thursday, he was amenable to that assuming that I didn't make it last night either.  Turns out that 5:45 is a little too early for me to get there on time, reasonably, so I think I'll be switching to the 7 PM class starting NEXT Tu/Th and continuing on for another week and a half.  Since I was dying to get back out into the yard and finish what I'd started, this was a great turn of events.  I worked until about 5:30, hit Home Depot (hopefully for the second-to-last-time-this-year), got home and got right to work.  Guys, I worked so hard I forgot to eat dinner.

~crickets~

In what world do I forget to eat?  A world where I'm enjoying the outdoors and the labors of home ownership SO much that I just can't stop moving.

When I was in college, my friends would always tease me because the first day of the year, I'd disappear into my tiny dorm room, and the sounds of banging and clanging and hammering and drilling and sandblasting would echo from my room... I wouldn't emerge until I was completely nested and satisfied, and the result was that my room would look practically professionally decorated- wall paper borders, custom cut rug remnants, funky half-loft for my bed, etc. 

What can I say - I am nothing if not obsessive.

And this weather... Bliss.  Let's just say that the much-anticipated / long-awaited arrival of spring has put, well, a SPRING in my step.  I just can't get enough of the outdoors.  Normally at this time of year I'm running and walking and biking (and I'm looking forward to that in the coming days), but right now my exercise has been in the form of digging, shoveling, planting, hauling, lifting big bags of mulch and soil, squatting to plant peonies and hasta, cabbages and kings... my final need is for a small patio fountain that is solar powered, and then the back yard of my pseudo-dreams will be complete.  Last night, like the night before, I worked until night fell, and that sat on my patio with my laptop and a glass of water, just enjoying the peace of it all and the exhaustion and fulfillment that comes with really hard work.

The task list:
  • Rake BLVD and spread wildflower seed
  • Transplant 7 hasta
  • Position 12 river-rocks around new hasta garden
  • Plant front-of-house window boxes
  • Cedar chips in new hasta garden
  • Plant 3 new peony bushes against back fence
  • Plant herbs in garage window box
  • Plant greens in kitchen window box
  • Plant heirloom tomatoes in giant patio pot
  • Disassemble 10 7ear old compost pile and move contents to giant tarp
  • Spread the GOOD compost in the now-bare area where the compost pile USED to be for future grass-or-possible-vegetable growing
  • Fill holes in yard with compost dirt
  • Seed.
  • Feed.
  • Water.
  • Collapse.
Here's the photographic evidence of the fruits of my labor:


The broken fence - damaged during tree removal.  Note that the chips below are NOT the cedar chips that I planted, but the leftovers after the box elder tree was removed and stump was ground out.


Another shot of the broken fence - old weather boards... the previous owner built the fence, and actually nailed the tree directly into the fence, so it left a huge gaping hole when removed. Behind the chain link fence, you can see how high the compost pile was, but you can't tell the depth -- it was about 4 X 4.


New fence, transplanted hasta, compost pile.


Transplanted hasta with some fertilizer, a petunia plant, and river rock border.


 FINISHED!  Cedar woodchips and a pretty, peaceful, maintenance free garden space.  Note absence of compost pile behind it, because....

I took it apart!  And put all the contents in a giant drawstring tarp... thinking was that I'd donate it to the community garden this weekend but, uh, it is totally heavy and immovable, so I have to figure out next steps on that.


But at the bottom of, oh, 10 years worth of grass clippings, leaves, and other yard waste, there was some pretty awesome soil, which I was able to spread out where the pile USED to be, and now I hope to plant grass or maybe vegetables there!


Front of house window boxes... I do these every year.



The finished product!

What's NOT shown?  The peony bushes in the back yard (they are too small to photograph!), the beautiful solar lights I put along the back fence, that cast a beautiful light against the garage... and of course, the beauty of the perfect MN spring sky.

Next up - I need to figure out some cute, easy, inexpensive and maintenance free landscaping below the window shown on the right above.  There used to be some hugely overgrown evergreens there, and I ripped it out in a frenzy last summer.  Any ideas?  Also, want to do something to secure the fire pit more securely / permanently in the back yard, making it more of a fixture rather than just a piece that sits in the yard. Now the only thing left to do is pray for more beautiful days, a few rainy nights, and enough of a green thumb to not kill it all.

This is what I love about this weather, this time of year... even though I collapsed into bed exhausted last night, I couldn't turn off my brain. I wasn't focused on relaxing or vegging out, rather on what I could do next.

That spring in my step translates into every aspect of life -- up at 5:45 this morning, threw myself in the shower... made some coffee, a smoothie, packed a lunch, and prepped some dinner.  Exercise on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday consisted of yard work -- today and tomorrow I've got my fingers crossed for a bike ride, walk, or run.

I have a cute new outfit to wear, a smile on my face, nd I'm out the door in 5...4...3...2...

Off and running,
~Jessica




Monday, May 16, 2011

Jescipes: Parmesan Dijon Chicken, Pomegranate Balsamic Broccolini

I spent the night at Manfriends last night, as per our Sunday night tradition, and got ready for work this morning at his house - but I'd spent a big chunk of the day on Sunday doing yard work, so I impulsively stopped at home en route to work to water some of the grass seed that I planted... and as long as I was here, I went about making a smoothie, packing a lunch, and prepping for dinner.  I got to work on time, feeling caffeinated, fed, and prepared for the day.  Love that feeling... and my healthy choices fueled me for a productive evening -- breaking only for dinner, I did yard work basically from the time I left work until 10 PM.  I shall sleep well tonight.

Without further ado -- here's tonight's creation.  I feel like I've posted the recipe for parmesan dijon chicken before, but here we go again...



Chicken breast
Panko
Grated parmesan
Italian seasoning
Trader Joe's garlic aioli mustard

Chopped broccolini
Extra virgin olive oil
Pomegranate balsamic vinegar
Pine nuts
Goat cheese


 First off, plop a healthy dollop of mustard on the defrosted chicken breast...




Mix up the parmesan, panko, and italian herbs in a zip lock bag...


... add the chicken breast and shake until coated.



Put chicken breast on lined cookie shit and toss it in the oven -- 40 minutes at 400 should do it.


While the chicken is cooking, dice up your broccolini.  Heat up a mixture of EVOO and balsamic in the pan and coat to toss... adding a few pine nuts, and a few crumbles of goat cheese.  After you've sauteed for a few minutes, put the whole mixture in the oven while the chicken finishes.


Not a great picture, but... tada! 

Served with a side of brown rice.


 And the fruits of all my non-food labor?

I transformed this...


...into this!  

Off and running,
~Jessica

Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday Favorites!

I haven't continued on this tradition since my very first "episode" of Friday favorites, probably because I haven't had much to talk about, but suddenly there is a ton!

First off -- favorite ad campaign, courtesy of my dear friend KEB.  As somebody who has struggled with "thunder thighs" my whole life, I have become reassured in my 30s that these days, the thunder is more about muscle than fat.  My legs have carried me through a lot, emotionally and physically.  They'll always touch in the middle. And though I've felt shame over the years about the fact that I don't have long skinny legs, in the end, I'm proud of what they can do (click picture to read the text).
 |
Second -- springtime in MN.  Hand down, favorite season.  Where else can you go from THIS:

... to THIS:


...in the matter of a few hours?  Yep, Thursday night when I left work, my car thermometer said 92 degrees.  I don't think the actual air temp was 92, but it was about 85 and HUMID... yet later that night, I was picking hail up from my back yard while the tornado sirens started to sound.  Insanity.

And finally, the food - what you've all been waiting for.  I did a long-overdue Trader Joe's run on Monday night and stocked up on goodies, old and new:

Garlic aioli dijon mustard.  Delicious on a sandwich and only 1 pt per tsp. Will make a great marinade for parmesan dijon chicken breasts as well, and possibly a vegetable tip when mixed with some greek yogurt.


Swiss / colby cheese slices of the "lace" variety -- 3 pts for a whole slice, but on the sandwiches I've been eating, half a slice is plenty...


... because I've been eating them on these new sandwich thins.  HOTDOG shaped!  3 pts each, which seems high, compared to their old 1 pt value, but they are high in fiber, high in protein, and very tasty.


SILK unsweetened almond milk.  1 pt per cup.  I just like the way it tastes, and it is extremely low in sugar, much lower than skim milk (but also only 1 gram of protein per a whole cup, vs the 9 grams in a cup of skim). Great in my smoothies and in coffee, and doesn't go bad as quickly as moo juice.


Skinny Cow's new snack bar products -- peanut butter flavor and chocolate flavor.  Delicious.  2 pts each.  I THINK these are just being test-marketed right now, because they aren't even on the website, but I saw some at Walgreens the other day right by the register and impulse bought a few to try.  They also have these new little pouches of mock "turtles" that taste kind of like 100 Grand bars.  2-3 points per packet.  Another nice sweet-tooth craving.


Aria "Women's Protein" powder.  A great combo of soy and whey protein.  I am soy conscious because 1) too much gives me heartburn, and 2) I've read a lot about it slowing the thyroid.  But 2 scoops of this is 2 pts and 14 grams of vanilla'y protein.  I've been adding it to my smoothies this week and it really does keep me fuller longer (plus it is vanilla flavored, so adds a bit of sweetness and thickness to the shake).






That's all I've got this week -- have a great weekend!

Off and running,
~Jessica

Irritating

So, I had a really good post on here yesterday.... and one prepped for today... and blogger ate them both.  Due to some weird crash in blogger, both posts are completely gone.

Boo.

I don't have drafts of them -- which is unfortunate, because today's was a long overdue "Friday Favorites" post.

I don't have time to write a full post, but I'll leave you with this  -- my favorite ad campaign of the moment (Click to enlarge), courtesy of my friend KEB.


Off and running,
~Jessica

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Tools and Rules

Over the past weekend, the Manfriend, disgusted by my lack of household tools, took me to Menards to pick out everything I need to have a sufficient at-home toolbox. For a girl who has always considered herself a bit of a tomboy and quite handy / self-reliant, I will admit that my showing of tools was pretty weak.

Really weak, actually. 

While trying to fix a window frame in my garage, Manfriend asked me “do you have any nails?” and was horrified when I said “well, I really need a pedicure, my nails are pretty short right now.”

Um, not that kind of nails, hon.

Anyway, that conversation – and a few similar exchanges – led to my purchase of this:



Which is filled with a decidedly “non-girly hammer,” a bunch of screwdrivers, a small saw, some wrenches, a box of nails, and various other items that I am only partially sure what to do with, but certainly could figure it out if necessary.

A few days later, I went out to MAC and bought my own toolkit:



What do these things have in common? 

As silly as it sounds, they all prepare you to do the job at hand. In the case of my fabulous pink toolkit, it (along with a haircut and color) prepared me for a big presentation on Wednesday, where I knew I wanted to look and feel my best. 


(Note: it was, like, the most intimidating 90 seconds of my life -- only 90 seconds, but that feels like a decade when you're facing a roomful of executives. For a girl who basically does not ever get nervous when faced with performance, delivery, interviews, etc... my shaking knees and butterfly-ridden tummy were evidence that this job is a whole new ballgame than jobs I've had in the past). 

I’ve never been much of a wearer of makeup, and if you read Monday's post about the shellac from MAC, you know I wasn't thrilled with the AMOUNT of makeup they put on me, but once I applied it myself, I loved the light "enhancement" it gave my face.

But I digress.  

I delivered my presentation in a black suit and heels, feeling put together, polished, and confident – all the things you want when faced with a room full of executives in suit

Later that day, I went to another important meeting: my first Weight Watchers at Work weigh-in… and as I jubilantly exclaimed here, I was down 3.4 very unexpected pounds.

It lead me to ponder the various “tools and rules” of weight loss that have bounced around in my brain over the years.

The Rules:
Rule 1: On Weight Watchers, you can eat whatever you want (You just can’t eat it ALL).

Rule 2: Tracking / journaling helps me stay accountable (Many beers on Friday night? I’m lookin’ at you).

Rule 3: You can eat every last point you are allocated and STILL lose weight (see above for reference).

Rule 4: Drink your water; eat your vegetables, and mind your P’s and Q’s. (Even when it sucks.  Just do it.  You'll live).

Rule 5: Learn to cultivate what I call "healthy selfishness" (The inability to put ourselves first is the reason many of us struggle with weight in the first place).

Rule 6: Persistence and progress, NOT perfection (4 slices of pizza on Saturday? I’m lookin’ at you too!)

Rule 7: Every day that you do this, you’re better off than the day before (Even if you don't lose weight)

Rule 8: Let weight loss be the by-product, not the goal, of healthy living (Sometimes the sweetest victories are of the "non-scale" variety).

Rule 9: We don’t live in a famine culture. The Dairy Queen will still be there next week. (Food is fuel - not a reward, a celebration, or a drug).

Rule 10: Never let thing you want RIGHT NOW get in the way of what you want the most.

The Tools:

Anchoring: when I wear my stupid rubber “I am a runner” bracelet, I seem to do better. It is a constant reminder to stay “anchored” to my ultimate goal.

Planning: If I don’t have a plan, I’m screwed, plain and simple. I look at menus online before I go out. I eat breakfast (almost) every single day. I pack my lunch, I prep my dinner. I have a PLAN at all times.

Support: This is the tricky one – how much (and what kind of) support is right? That varies by individual. I’m lucky because I have just about the best support system a girl could ask for – between family, friends, and my quirky little online world, I’ve carved out a place that I can go, no matter the situation, and ask for what I need. This isn’t always easy, but chances are, the people in your life WANT to know how to help you the right way.  There isn't a cookie cutter answer to this, but if you take a minute to think about what YOU truly NEED, and then find the courage to speak up, the rewards will be plentiful.

Movement: Any kind. Any type. No matter what you’re doing, it is better than sitting on your ass.

Believe: There is nothing special about anybody who has done this before you -- I mean, those people have plenty of special things ABOUT them, but they do not posses magical powers that make them more capable of self control, good choices, journaling, etc. than you are. 


Control: You are stronger than the cookie. The cookie is just a cookie, it holds no magical powers or skills or anything in the world that can outsmart you. There’s a big difference between consciously drinking beer and eating pizza and subconsciously plowing your way through a box of cheese-its. I’ve done both – and the latter doesn’t feel very good.  Sometimes you have to just buckle down an operate on route memorization / habit... eat what is RIGHT rather than what you WANT.  As my man Winston Churchill once said, "it's not enough that we do our best, sometimes we have to do what is required."  

(In other words -- suck it up, sailor - nobody said this was going to be easy). 

And finally... remember that no matter what happens.  Whether you gain or lose, shrink or grow... you are still a wonderful, unique, lovely human being, worthy of love, respect, and care... no matter your shape or size.

I walked out of WEdnesday's meeting feeling, for the first time in a LONG time, like I remembered how to do this - how to go through the motions, how to lose weight.  It was a feeling and a victory I desperately needed.

And now I can't wait to lose the next 2 lbs.


Off and running,
~Jessica

Weighing In...

A more detailed post coming tomorrow, but for now...

Back from my first WW @ Work Weigh-in...

...and down 3.4 lbs!!!!!!!!
I am beaming.

Off and running,
~Jessica

Monday, May 9, 2011

Peanut Chicken With Cilantro Noodles

(Sort of)

I had a big day today -- hair appointment, makeup lesson / appointment, and a big time overdue Trader Joe's run.

A little background here -- right before Christmas, my sister in law and I were both complaining that we were totally clueless about makeup -- what to buy, how to put it on, etc.  I basically do not wear makeup.  A quick dash of the mascara wand, a swipe of lip gloss / chap stick, and a dot of concealer to cover up my scar, and I'm good to go.  But I'd been craving something a bit more polished looking since starting this job.

So for Christmas, my mom gave me a nice big gift card to MAC... and today I redeemed it. 


 I mean... really?  Do people really look like this on a daily basis?  I feel completely caked with makeup -- a bit whorish, really.  I don't think you're supposed to be able to SEE THE BLUSH in iPhone photos.  So I'll probably not put all this on every day.  In fact, my exact request to the makeup artist was "I don't wear makeup, I just want something to make me look a bit more polished.  Totally natural.  Can't take more than 10 minutes.  And then show me how to make it a little more va-va-voom for evening."

(For, yaknow, those two nights a year I need a smoky eye).

What you see above, obviously, is the smoky eye. 

But I'm quite pleased with my new hair color... and yesterday's eyebrow wax.  :-)

Anyway!  Trader Joe's!  This is supposed to be a cooking post, after all!

I never remember how many things I absolutecannotlivewithout from Trader Joe's until they are staring me straight in the face, and then I just feel like 'Duh, life is easier -- and healthier -- with Trader Joe's".  Even though the parking lots and tiny aisles are road-rage-inducing locations, once I leave, I exhale.

Today, I was starving when I left.  I shopped hungry, which is usually a recipe for disaster, but despite the fact that MANY unplanned things found their way into my cart, I kept it all on the healthy side.  Once I got home and put everything away, I got to work.  "Light" and "Delicious" were themes of this meal, because I grazed a bit while putting things away (I dare YOU to buy Gorgonzola crackers and dark chocolate crisps and not sample them!).

This fabulous recipe was so easy it is ridiculous -- which is good, because I was pretty ready for a quick dinner.  I mean, given the look I was rocking, I probably could have stood on the corner and earned my dinner, but that seemed like way too much work too.

I LOVE peanut flavored things, especially SPICY peanut flavored things, ala chinese noodles, chicken, etc.  I also love cilantro -- one of my favorite things about Thai food is that it marries so many different textures (soft, crunchy, chewy), and so many different flavors (savory, sweet, sour, salty, spicy), to create the perfect combination that you never would imagine yourself.  I mean really -- my favorite thai dish is tropical fried rice with tofu, which is basically a big bowl of chewy spicy fried rice, topped with pan-fried tofu, pineapple, red bell peppers, cilantro, and peanuts.

It is A-Maze-Ing.

I digress.

Thai food, however, is pretty high cal for those sorts of dishes, mostly because of the noodles or rice.  So here's where I got crafty...


Ingredients:
2 small zucchini
Trader Joe's pre-cooked chicken breast - about 4 oz
Trader Joe's reduced fat cilantro dressing
Trader Joe's spicy peanut sauce
Peanuts (Optional: not pictured)



First, you get out your miniature mid-evil torture device vegetable slicer...


Use the slicer to create these awesome pasta-shaped curly'q's of zucchini.  Seriously?  You'll never need pasta again.


Toss the "pasta" with a little bit of the cilantro dressing -- cool, creamy, delicious.


Dice and toss about 4 oz of chicken with the spicy peanut sauce...


Mix it all and serve; top with a few crushed peanuts if you should so desire.

VOILA: spicy peanut chicken over cool cilantro noodles.

It's a crazy week in my world.  Actually, it's a crazy 8 weeks in my world, due to an awesome-but-stressful work project.  PLUS, I signed up for golf lessons, which start tomorrow.  When it rains, it pours, huh?  And if definitely did pour this morning -- thunder and lightening too -- so who knows if the course will even be dry enough to play.  But tomorrow I report for golfing duty around 5:45 PM.

I'm in meetings until 5:15, so I"ll need something quick and easy to eat... I plan on making this for dinner tomorrow too.

Off and running,
~Jessica