Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A healthy(ish) snack for a sweet tooth

Hi guys.

It's me, Lauren and today I'm going to let you in on a little not-so secret.....

I have a terrible sweet tooth.

It is the one thing that derails my healthy eating quicker than anything.

So, I thought I'd share a new snack that is healthy(ish) that satisfies my sweet tooth.

Dark Chocolate & Pistachio Covered Apricots

AND..... even better..... they're super easy to make.

Here's the "recipe":


½ cup dark chocolate chips
(or dark chocolate squares chopped)
24 dried apricots
4 tbs. chopped pistachios


Melt chocolate chips. 
Dip half of each apricot in chocolate. 
Place on waxed paper. 
Sprinkle with pistachios. 
Let chocolate set in fridge.
Serving size: 4 apricots
Calories: 140
Happy snacking!

P.S.  I'm having a giveaway over at my blog.  Le Creuset baking dishes....perfect for baking up healthy meals :).  Check it out!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Katie: Week 14


Current weight: 145 pounds
Last week's weight: 145pounds
Total weight loss: 25 pounds

This week's post is going to be short.  Mostly because I've been spending the morning trying to figure some things out with my plants and it's keeping me a little preoccupied.  (Hence the super late post--sorry!)  Although I do feel that this attempt of mine to sprout seeds is Skinny related because... I'm hoping to grow my own tomato plants!  I don't really know anything about it, though, so Dorothy has been giving me some good advice.  If you're interested in trying it out yourself or if you have some great seed-sprouting advice for me, click HERE to see my post today with my most recent attempt. 

As for the lack of weight loss, let me just say that I have never been so happy to maintain my weight.  I ate until I was past full a couple of times this past week and my weight went up for a few days.  I think I've learned my lesson.  I'm hoping to do better this week.  Oh!  And wish me luck that I won't gain a million pounds now that I CAN FINALLY EAT TREATS ON THURSDAY!  Moderation, moderation, moderation.  That is what I've got to keep telling myself. 

See you all next week!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Mango and Black Bean Salad

Oooh-la-la! I fixed this salad for the first time tonight, and it is YUMMY! This is going to be a regular event at our house. The creamy-smooth mango taste juxtaposed with the spicy dressing is amazing! Here's how you make it:

1 1/2 cup chopped peeled ripe mango
1 cup thinly sliced green onions (see my comment below)
1/2 cup cooked wild or brown rice
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons roasted tomatillo or fresh salsa
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons extravirgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (15-ounce) can organic no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained.

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Toss gently to mix. Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 2/3 cup)

Calories 167, Fat 5.4 g (sat 0.7 g, mono 3.4 g, poly 0.8 g), Protein 5.2 g, Carb 25.5 g, Fiber 5.5 g, Chol 0 mg, Iron 1.1 mg, Sodium 226 mg, Calc 41 mg.

Note: We used about half that many green onions, and it was still a little spicy to our middle-aged taste buds. We'll cut back even more on the green onions next time we make it. I used regular canned black beans because that's what I had in the cupboard, ditto on using bottled lime juice instead of fresh.

The recipe suggests serving this salad with spicy pork tenderloins. I'm sure that would be yummy, but we had our Vegetarian Green Pitas on the menu, and that was a great combination, too!
Ha ha! I managed to snap a photo of the Veggie Greek Pitas before we ate them all gone this time!

Vegetarian Greek Pita

Here's a quick and easy meal that's becoming a favorite at our house. My husband doesn't miss the meat, and we find it to be very filling.
For 1 serving:
Toss 1/4 cup shredded lettuce, 1/4 cup cooked garbanzo beans, 2 Tablespoons chopped cucumber, 2 Tablespoons chopped tomato, 1 oz (1/4 cup) reduced-fat feta cheese, 1 Tablespoon sunflower seeds, 4 large olives, 1 teaspoon olive oil, and 1 teaspoon vinegar. Stuff into 1 (2 oz) whole wheat pita.

For two of us, I just double the quantities and mix it all in one bowl. Then slice the pitas in half and stuff.

We just had this again recently, and it was SO delicious! However, we had a quick supper...and we were hungry! I forgot to take a photo of the finished sandwiches again. Sorry!

This recipe is from the Curves "Fitness and Weight Management Plan" book. They don't include calorie counts, but 1 serving of this recipe (1 whole pita, cut in half and stuffed) is about 400 calories. Very filling and high in fiber.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

All things in MODERATION!

Okay, so since I accidentally skipped my Thursday post (sorry!) I get to post today :)

First, a TRIATHLON UPDATE. So this last week is when I started my official training schedule which includes the following:
-one long swim day
-one long run day
-one long run day
-three days of strength training (one for arms & back, one for legs, one for core/abs)
-2-3 days of smaller double workouts (i.e. bike & run)
-at least one complete day off

The first time I was supposed to jump in the pool was
Monday and it was in the 30's when I woke up- no swimming for me thank you! All I have access to at the moment is my apartment pool which is definitely not heated (but nice...see picture). I started to investigate and see if there were other places to go, but I only found one that had a heated pool that you don't have to be a member at (hello, membership rates are nuts!) So on Friday I decided to suck it up and go to Fleet Aquatic Center for their "open swim"; it couldn't be that bad, right?

So I drove there and could see people swimming from the parking lot. For one thing, all the lanes were full. For another, they all had like goggles and swimming caps and were like serious swimmers...I was just hoping to not drown! So I sat in my car for a few minutes and watched...but I couldn't get up the courage to get out of my car. It was a very weird moment for me; eventually I drove home. I was mad that I didn't do it and so when I got home (already in bathing suit and such) I made myself jump in the apartment pool...IT WAS FREEZING!!! I swam a couple of laps (it is a small pool!) freestyle, backstroke, froggie style, and freestyle again before I got out and wrapped myself in my towel. I was a little dizzy and quite nauseous and so I had to sit there a few minutes before I could walk back to my apartment...but I did it! The running and biking aren't too hard for me though so I am still hopeful that I can meet my goal in the way did I mention that the swimming part is in a river? Yikes.

Now, on to my post. Today's thought is about moderation :) I heard this week about a new eating disorder that they are calling "orthorexia". Basically these people cut more and more out of their diet because they are thinking that they are being healthy when really all it does is malnourish excessive focus on eating healthy.

This one lady told her story- she started becoming aware of food labels and realizing how much weird stuff we put into our soon she became a vegetarian. Then she went completely vegan...and then only ate raw foods...and by the end her doctor told her parents to plan her funeral because she was so emaciated. She had started at a normal weight (for her) of 120 lbs. and at rock bottom was barely 60 lbs! She had started as an average woman- she was married and had two kids- who wasn't even concerned about losing weight. The moral of her really cautious and talk to a professional if you are thinking about eliminating entire food groups from your diet.
Our bodies need protein, carbs, fat, etc. It is okay to eat! While we could and should be more careful about what and how much we eat, the bottom line is that we need to enjoy foods from all food groups to get the nutrients necessary for our body...and one cookie isn't going to ruin us! The trick is to enjoy things in moderation. Don't live on chocolate chips and marshmallows and swedish fish and french fries (that was pretty much my diet in college!) Have a well balanced meal, heavy on the fruits and veggies, and then go ahead and enjoy a little dessert or meat or night of lounging on the couch watching reruns. The point is that we don't create bad habits that control us- being a slave is no fun!

Which leads me to the peaceful thought for today: We have been given our agency to choose. Our Father in Heaven believes that we are smart enough to choose what is right for ourselves and thus has endowed in us the ability to choose...He wouldn't have given us that gift if He didn't have faith that we could do the right thing. We do have control- you are the only one who can determine what goes in your mouth! Be strong and refuse to choose things that aren't the best!

I hope that we can all retain the gift of agency by staying in control of our body instead of losing it by becoming a slave to our passions. Enjoy things in moderation and you can can have the power to control yourself!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Kathy: Week 13: In Training:

Current Weight: 141
Last Week's Weight: ?? (I was on vacation, remember?)
Starting Weight: 151
Total Weight Loss:  10 pounds

Ummm...My weight is back UP a pound...

But before we go into any of that...the pictures! 

Today I want to compare this morning with two weeks ago...

Here I am at Week 11.

And here I am this morning.

Am I just imagining things, or is there a slight difference? Even though the scale is up 1 pound, the tape measure says my waist is 1" smaller. My rings are looser, and I've started using the next-smaller hole on my watchband, which means that my wrist is 1/4" smaller. As Emily reminded us a couple of weeks ago, the numbers on the scale aren't everything, so what's up here?
I'm noticing that I feel stronger, that my legs and arms feel more toned, and that I have more energy. Why is that?? I think it's because...I'm in training!! Woohoo!!

Yes, dear Skinny readers, two week ago I signed up as a walker on the Goat Mountain Gallop! I was so inspired by Jen finishing her 5K run, and Alex training for a triathlon, and Annemarie running a half marathon that I decided to fill out the form and send it in. I keep saying I want to get more fit, so I might as well commit to it, right?

What is the Goat Mountain Gallop, you ask. It's a funky half-marathon out in rural Oregon - from Colton High School to Molalla High School, around and over an area known as Goat Mountain. The description on their brochure says that "It's hilly, by golly," and yup, it is. The brochure also claims that there is a net elevation loss, but you couldn't prove it by me.

This year the Gallop will be on April 17, 2010.

I walked the Goat Mountain Gallop in 2008. Boy, was I a novice! Thirteen miles sounded like a hike to me, and I have lots of hiking experience...

I trained for the event by hiking in the Columbia River Gorge. On the day of the Gallop I wore my hiking boots. I had a fanny pack full of water and snacks along with me. I thought it would be like a hike! Ha ha!

So this time I'll wear my trail runners. No fanny pack. And I'll train by walking lots of our hilly (by golly) paths and sidewalks here in Oregon City.

In 2008 my goal was to finish the thirteen miles, and not come in last. I did it! I'll be happy if I can accomplish the same goal in 2010.

So here's my training plan. I did some looking online at training suggestions. I'm on a short training timeline, but I'll make the most of the time I have!

Kathy's Training Schedule:
Monday, Wednesday, Friday: work out at Curves for overall strength
Tuesday night: Yoga for strength and flexibility
Tuesday, Thursday: 3-mile training walk (increase this to 4 miles the week before the Gallop)
Saturday: longer training walk (today--6 miles, next week--7-8 miles, week before the Gallop--6 miles)
Sunday: rest, maybe take a peaceful stroll around the neighborhood

I'm also working on staying hydrated. I realized that I had slipped in that area a little, and I actually went up a couple of pounds...which promptly came off as soon as I made sure to drink ten 8-oz glasses of water every day. (Thanks, Dorothy, for reminding me about that!) Yesterday when I went in for my Curves workout, I was waaaaay stronger, and I think part of that was starting out well-hydrated.

I exchanged my wonderful Salomon Trail Runners (shoes) a couple of weeks ago, because the uppers were beginning to crack. Since I bought them at REI (and I'm a member), I was able to get a brand-new pair for free! I'm wearing them every day to make sure they are nice and friendly for my feet before the day of the Gallop. 

I'm wondering if there are some especially good energy bars that I should carry with me on the Gallop? Two years ago, the last 3 miles were really tough, and I think it would have helped me to eat a little something for energy along the way.

Anything else?? Skinny readers with more long-distance running/walking experience, I would welcome your suggestions!

Have a great week everyone! I'll update you next Saturday on my weight loss and health goals, and how the training is coming along!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Experiments with No-Fat Pineapple Cake: Frugal Food Friday

Writing for The Skinny is good for me because it's helping me think about healthier recipes, and the more I share, the more I need to come up with more material.  Our youngest "Sweet Pea" is turning 1 this weekend, so I'm starting to get ready.  I thought I'd pull out my favorite cookbook with easy, healthy recipes "Quick and Healthy Recipes and Ideas" by Brenda J. Ponchtera, pg. 218.  She's got several ideas for cakes that are a lot healthier than regular cake.  They still have sugar, but little or no fat.
I first made this recipe for mine and my husband's 1 month anniversary. He tried it and said, "Yum! But it's not very sweet." "Yes," I said, "That's the great thing about it! It's sugar-free!" Then I looked at the recipe and realized it's not supposed to be sugar-free. I'd just forgotten the sugar. We've joked about it a lot, but dubbed it pineapple if you're looking to make this even lower calorie, you can leave out the sugar and it is still enjoyably edible.

Canned pineapple can be a bit expensive, but if you watch for sales, I can often find it for $1 a can or a little less and I stock up.  That's about the same as a cake mix on sale and this is a lot healthier, and I will say yummier.  These stand on their own without a topping better than typical cupcakes, in my opinion.

The recipe calls for egg substitute, and I used 2 whole eggs instead.  A healthier option without buying substitute could be to use just egg whites.  If you try that you'd want to use 4 egg whites.  I might try that when I make these for Sweet Pea's Big Day.

I'm planning on making a cupcake-cake for Sweet Pea, so I thought I'd better try out making this into cupcakes rather than baking it in a dish.  (And of course I needed pics earlier for my Frugal Food Friday post.)  The verdict:  It cooks up great as both a cake and as cupcakes.  If you don't have a particular need for cupcakes, I'd go with the cake though.  (The cupcakes look a little burned in the picture and they were in fact browner than typical cake, but they were not burned at all.)
If you make them as cupcakes, they stick to the paper quite a bit when still warm, but once they cool, they peel out pretty easy.  (Here's a hint as to what Sweet Pea's cake will be.  Any guesses who the character is?  You can see the finished cake here.)
And most importantly, Sweet Pea approves. so this is a go for using them for Sweet Pea's birthday. 

Pineapple Cake
1 can (20 oz) unsweetened crushed pineapple, in juice (undrained)
1/4 tsp salt (optional)
2 cups unbleached flour
1 cup sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup egg substitute (equal to 2 eggs)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix all ingredients and pour into a 9x13 inch pan that has been sprayed with non-stick coating.  Bake for 30-35 minutes.  Cool before adding a topping.  For cupcakes, I baked them for 25 minutes and might even do it a few minutes less next time.  Also, I mixed things in this order...pineapple and juice, sugar, eggs (whipped), flour, and baking soda last.  I put the baking soda in last, so it wouldn't immediately react with all the acid in the pineapple juice.  It's kind of fun when you stir it in to see the trails of little bubbles.

She recommends serving this plain, dusted with powdered sugar, or topped with lite whipped topping.  This got the kids' stamp of approval just fine, without any topping.

Nutrition Info (although this will be slightly differnet if you use whole eggs):
16 servings (If you make cupcakes out of this recipe, you would get more servings that are fewer calories each.)
One serving: one piece 2''x3''
Calories per serving: 130
Fat: 0 grams
Exchanges: 1 fruit, 1 starch
I'm linking to:


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Walking in Circles: In Funny Shoes!

We stopped at an outlet mall this weekend because I needed another pair of outdoor shoes. While trying on some nice practical ones, I noticed these "fitness" shoes on display and tried them on simply out of curiosity. They are so dorky looking, but I have seen them in many different places for sale and wondered what they felt like. Ken snickered while I laced them up and paced a little bit around the area.

"Oh my."
"Oh my. These are really something."
"Why? What do they feel like?"
"Woah. My feet are liking the way these feel. I can't describe it. Go find a men's pair and see for yourself."

Ken came back a few minutes later wearing the same brand and with a giddy amazed look on his face.

"Um...I'll get a pair if you do."

So now we both have some outrageously stupid looking shoes....but they are weirdly comfortable. Oh my.

UPDATE: This was posted on my home blog a few weeks ago, and today I've decided to repost it here and give everyone an update on how we're doing with our new shoes.

So here's the verdict:

We love them! Now, I only use mine for WALKING, meaning I don't wear them around the house or to the store, etc. Look at the bottoms of those shoes...they are rounded, and what that means is when you are just standing around, well, they make it hard to stand still. But for consistent walking, they are wonderful! My feet are still very happy when I lace them on and get moving. My legs felt the difference at first. Not in a bad way, but noticeable. Some previously lazy muscles were being called upon to move in a new way, and going uphill was more of a workout! (We have lots of hills around here!) I especially like that the design of the shoe prevents heel-striking, so each step is gentler on my body. Even though it took a little while to get used to my new shoes, I'm very glad we followed our impulse to purchase them.

While preparing to write this, I asked my husband for his review, and he simply stated, "They are very comfortable to wear." He actually wears his to work every day (He got a solid black pair) and says that because of the rounded sole, he feels that his balance has improved.

So there you have it. Two thumbs up for the Funny Shoes.

Have a great week, and enjoy your walks!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

i am getting some pudge (sort of)

by Marae

For an update on my last post, the nutrition class went really well. The big surprise was that these girls really knew their stuff. One thing I did was give each girl a scenario to read, and have the rest of the girls give her ideas about how she could improve and what to change to be healthier. Their answers were pretty much everything I could have given, and they seemed a lot better informed than I was at their age.

In the middle of the class, one of the girls said, "okay, it's time" and pulled out of her purse a box of fried chicken and fries--dinner time, I guess. And I realized that these girls weren't seriously under-informed, but, like most of us, have a hard time finding motivation and like doing things the "normal" way. Anyway, it went well, and the spread afterward converted at least two girls to hummus and carrots. Nobody rushed for seconds of the whole wheat oatmeal cookies I brought, but my husband loves them (and so do I). I used this recipe from smitten kitchen, and just replaced all of the white flour with wheat.

Now, onto the breaking news--I'm a pregnant lady! We were slightly slow telling people (I'm at about 25 weeks), so it's not so new, but I have learned a lot.

Thoughts so far...

- When I was nauseous all the time at first, I was also starving but nothing sounded good. I wasn't used to nausea being helped by eating. I craved meat and bananas. I banned several foods from the apartment (smelly). I lost weight.

- When my appetite came back, it was huge. I ate any and everything because I could without feeling sick, and I was always hungry. And I think that my body needed it.

- After a while, my appetite normalized. I had to get used to eating healthful foods and regular intervals, instead of whatever I wanted anytime. That took a while.

*Recent studies show that pregnant women need no extra calories in the first two trimesters and only 200 extra per day in the last trimester. Our bodies become more efficient during pregnancy and can actually put on the weight we need without extra food.* (Disappointing, right? Still, I'm listening to my body. Because it is hungrier than that sometimes.)

- My doctor hasn't weighed me since about 13 weeks, and I hadn't gained anything at that point. I have read that a lot of women become really anxious about weight, but I think it's really nice to not know and just try to do the best I can entirely for the sake of health.

- I pretty much read and slept for months at first, because I got really dizzy and nauseous when I walked around, and because London was freezing at the time. Granted, I'm currently in an easier trimester, but I feel so much better now that I can go outside and walk every day. If I could go back, I would have tried a little harder to get more fresh air and exercise. I've really been reminded that exercise is good for so much more than weight control.

- The strangest thing? I seem to have no wheat allergy or sensitivity whatsoever. I forgot to tell some friends about the allergy when we went over for dinner, and we had huge plates of pasta. I ate it and felt totally fine, then experimented a little with more, and now I can eat it like any old person. It is odd. I've heard of pregnancy building certain immunities...I wonder if it will come back later, though.

So, that's it so far. While I haven't been thinking about losing weight the whole time The Skinny has been around, this blog has been a fantastic reminder and support to stay healthy and keep my eating and exercise in check. And, when it's time to get rid of the inevitable few extra pounds, I can read back and be armed with the knowledge and great advice of all of you!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Katie: Week 13


Current weight: 145 pounds!!
Last week's weight: 148pounds
Total weight loss: 25 pounds!!

Pictures: Week 13
Well, I know this isn't my usual ever-so-flattering weighing in outfit, but I thought I'd switch things up a little this week.  Also, Bryan was in a hurry to leave for class and I was still trying to get some sleep when he left, so we didn't take pictures this morning.  But no biggie.  These pictures were taken yesterday (Thanks Sarah!) and while this top and my jeans (that are so big on me now that I can pull them off without undoing them--please nobody try and pants me) do a great job of hiding the pudge that still remains, I think it's okay for all of you to see that I do dress like a normal person from time to time.  So, I thought today instead of doing my boring weekly re-cap of my rules I'd talk a bit about some good things we can do to make ourselves feel great without having to break a sweat (or the bank).  Today I'm going to highlight a couple of tutorials I've done on my regular blog, Notes From A Very Red Kitchen, that you skinny minis might find useful. 
First off, the top I'm wearing in the above pictures?  I made it!  And I'm rather proud of it.  Today is Part 1 of the tutorial--materials, measurements, and a tidy little hem.  This top is super comfy, nice and long, super light and airy for spring and summer, and hides that extra bit of pudge like a charm.  And while I'm all for getting rid of the pudge, sometimes you have to do what you can to fake it until you really do make it.  Because nobody wants to go out feeling flabby, me included.  The techniques for making this top are simple, but since it's kind of a lengthy explanation, I've split it into a couple posts.  Check back on my other blog throughout the week for the rest of the tutorial. 

Next up, adding pockets to exercise shorts!  When Sarah and I were out on one of our walks last week she asked if it would be possible to add some pockets to her exercise shorts.  I told her it should be fairly easy, so she dropped them off at my house for a bit of a make over.  One cut up t-shirt later, her exercise shorts are fully equipped with pockets!  You can follow the "Adding Pockets" tutorial to learn how to do this with your own shorts.  When I asked Sarah yesterday how her new pockets were working out, she said they were great.  And she added that it's nice to not have to exercise in baggy sweatpants anymore, especially now that the weather is starting to get nicer.  When she said that I thought how much I prefer to exercise in my more flattering workout clothes because they make me feel better and less self conscious, leaving me to concentrate on my exercise instead of on my clothes. 

I have a couple more fitness-related projects in the works and when I have tutorials up for them I'll be sure to let you all know.  It feels so great to be losing weight!  It's finally fun to make/buy clothes for myself again!  And I haven't felt that way since before I was pregnant.  Speaking of which, did I ever tell you all that my pre-pregnancy weight was 150lbs?  So I have been below my pre-pregnancy weight for the past few weeks now.  Yay!  Yay!  Yay!  Oh yeah!  One more thing!  I'm officially in the "normal" range for my BMI!  Whoo-hooo!  Best of luck with all of the wonderful goals you're working on!

Have a great week everybody!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Tri Training Part 3

Lisa for the triathlon in May...

Injuries are bound to happen. Our bodies get tired and hurt. I learned a lesson in this a few years ago when I was training for my first triathlon. I was playing a raucous game of indoor volleyball and went to spike the ball (I’m 5’3” by the way, that should have been my first clue not to try it) and jammed my thumb. Hard. I, in my prideful way, pretended that nothing happened. I continued playing for a little while. BAD IDEA. By the time I got home and put ice on it, it was too late. I Ace-bandaged it up and kept ice on it. The next day, I jumped on my bike for a morning ride and realized my thumb was so swollen I couldn’t use my break! When I tried to swim, the pressure of the water against my hand as I went through the strokes was excruciating! I was panicking! How was I suppose to follow my schedule if I couldn’t ride or swim? Even running hurt my bruised and swollen hand. Not good. I went to my doctor and had him look at it. Nothing broken, but badly sprained. I went to physical therapy for a few weeks and that seriously worked miracles. I wore a wrist and hard guard for a couple months. Luckily, by the time my triathlon came around I was 95% healed.

Lesson learned, if you have any injuries, take care of them ASAP! I went snowboarding last weekend and strained the quad muscle in my right leg. Not good. Even stretching it gently made me want to cry. I didn’t go to the doctor, but I have been resting and icing it this week. I’ve been taking the elevator at work, making sure it’s elevated when I’m sitting, gentle massages to break up the scar tissue. I’m going to be gently easing back into my schedule.

Have you heard of the PRICE formula?

P: Protection

R: Rest

I: Ice

C: Compression

E: Elevation

Always be sure to talk to your doctor if you're worried at all about your injury.

It’s extremely frustrating to have an injury, but even worse to make that injury worse by pushing too hard too soon. So be careful out there. Love your body, but know it’s limits. Stretch your limits, but do it gently and gradually. And congrats and good luck to Alex on her upcoming tri!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Another Peaceful Sunday Evening Thought

We were welcomed to our daughter and son-in-law's home with this sweet message.
I've been enjoying peaceful moments with little J.J.
Happy times with family make life worthwhile!
I join with Katie in wishing you a happy and peaceful Sunday evening.

Sunday Evening

Hey everybody!  Sorry I'm so late posting today.  I hope you've all been enjoying a peaceful Sunday.  We had a beautiful spring evening tonight and ate dinner out on our balcony.  It was wonderful.  I hope you all have a great night! 

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Kathy Week 12: Spring Break Road Trip!

No numbers today...we're on the road! We're driving to the Bay Area (800 miles) to visit our newest, darling grandson in California. In the internet scale...

Here's a photo of the little charmer we're on our way to meet:
He has two lively older siblings, 4-year-old twins, and we are anxious to see all of them, along with our daughter and son-in-law.

But that doesn't mean I won't be working on my goals! I have a guest pass from Curves to visit gyms in California, and I've already looked up the locations of a couple of them along our route. My husband has promised to remind me to focus on healthy eating choices, and we'll be going for lots of walks. We're packing water bottles in the car, so I'll be keeping my fluid intake up.

What else? I'll be doing some wonderful stretches we've been learning in our yoga class. I can do these anywhere, and they make my body feel soooooo good! Here's a really nice progression:

Start with Child's Pose.
Knees about hip-width apart, toes together.
Bum on ankles, and arms stretched out straight--no bend in the elbows.
Hands reaching forward.
Great stretch in: upper back, lower back, quads, hamstrings. Wow!
Hold for 1 minute or so.

Then go on to Downward Facing Dog.
Hands remain where they were for Child's Pose, but the feet are now hip-width apart, and the bum goes in the air.
Keep the heels as low as you can, and you will feel a wonderful stretch in the back of your legs.
Lift from the hamstrings.
Your body should be an inverted V.
Hold for a minute.

Then go into a Plank.
Keep your feet where they were for Downward Facing Dog, but you may need to walk your hands a little forward to keep them directly under your shoulders.
Your body should be in a plane. Don't let the bum sag.
Lift from the back of your hamstrings.
Builds strength in the abdominals and core muscles.
Hold for a minute or so.
Now back into Downward Facing Dog, and it will feel so good and restful after the Plank!
Remember to keep those heels down!
Hold for a minute.
Then go into another minute of Child's Pose.
You will feel yourself go more deeply into the pose each time you cycle through it, as your muscles get more and more relaxed.

You can finish here, or go back up into Downward Facing Dog, then Plank, then Downward Facing Dog, then Child's many times as you like!

I'm writing this post while we're still in Oregon - time for me to go finish packing!

I hope you all have a wonderful week.
What are you doing for Spring Break?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Frugal Food Friday: Rainbow Cole Slaw (Cooking with Kids)

For those of us with kids, it's important to not only cook healthy foods for them, but also get them to actually eat and love them.  One great way is to have them help in the kitchen.

Here's another salad recipe for this week...and this was a big hit with our kids.  Okay, so my 11 month old wants to eat it, but it's really doesn't work for her with only four teeth, but the other two LOVE it.

I was introducted to Mollie Katzen's cookbooks via this post on Little Page Turners.  (Okay, not at all weight loss related, but if you don't know Little Page Turners, you definitely need to check it out.  Christianne highlights several children's books each week and a fun activity to go along with them.  Lots of great ideas for moms, dads, grandmas, etc.)  I tried to find "Pretend Soup" in our library system, but for some mysterious reason it wouldn't let me place a hold.  It did let me request the sequal "Salad People," though, and so far it's a hit at our house.  It has recipes that are easy to have young children help with and the recipes are written in a format easy for young helpers.  While not all the recipes are low-calorie, they are all on the healthier end of things and introduce kids to food that you don't necessarily think of as kid-foods.
One of our new favorites is Rainbow Cole Slaw from page 33:
Put in salad bowl (I've doubled this each time I've made it and it's still be gone in just a day or two):
1 1/2 cups (packed) shredded green cabbage
1 1/2 cups (packed) shredded purple cabbage

1/2 small red bell pepper, minced or cut into thin slices
1/2 small yellow bell pepper, minced or cut in thin slices
1 medium carrot, grated
1/2 cup raisins (black, golden or both)

For dressing, mix together in seperate bowl and whisk.  Pour over veggies:
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Options for making it healthier:
Make sure to use low-fat or non-fat mayonnaise or you can substitute non-fat plain yogurt for the mayonnaise as well.  You can also use sugar substitutes in place of the honey to cut down on calories as well.  Sorry I don't have calorie information on this since it didn't come in the cookbook.  Maybe someone else can use one of their handy calculators to figure it.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Let Them Eat Pizza!

So when I am "watching what I eat", one of the hardest things for me is pizza. I love it; I crave it; I can't stop at just one piece. It is great for lunch the next day and makes even a mundane day seem a little more fun. But when I am counting calories, it usually doesn't make the cut. Until now!

Two years ago my dad was diagnosed with a serious case of liver disease- he had complete liver failure. As we still wait for a transplant, not only do we live by a crazy prescription schedule but he isn't supposed to consume at all. A few miligrams here or there doesn't hurt too much, but his liver can't process all of the fluid that accompanies sodium and so it just builds up around his organs and he gets liters of it pumped out of his stomach every once and awhile. Not pleasant. So my family has gone through a serious life adjustment of trying to cut out all forms of sodium. While most of the results are pretty bland, this recipe has made the cut. Not only is it salt-free and fairly easy, it is delicious! (So much so that it is the pizza crust I make even when my dad isn't joining us!)

Here it goes:

2 packages (or 4 1/2 tsp.) dry yeast
2 cups lukewarm water
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. honey
4-plus cups flour

Dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup of the water and allow to stand for a few minutes until it begins to foam. Add the oil, honey, and the rest of the water and stir to blend.
Add 1 cup of flour and stir. Add the rest of the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until the dough becomes too stiff to stir with a spoon. Remove it to a floured board and knead for about 5 minutes, until it feels soft and elastic and the texture is uniform.

(If you have a mixer with a dough hook, you can use it to knead the dough. After stirring in the first cup of flour by hand, put the mixture in the mixer's bowl, add 2 more cups of flour and run the mixer on slow speed. Add more flour 1/4 cup at a time until the dough holds together in a ball and no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl. After removing the dough from the bowl, knead by hand a few times to make sure the texture is uniform. Even though I have a great mixer, I still do it by hand.)

Wipe the inside of a clean bowl with olive oil; place the dough in it to rise and cover loosely with plastic wrap. For a faster rise, put the bowl in a sink partly filled with hot water or in a warm dryer (don't turn the dryer on!) The dough is ready to use for pizza crusts when it has doubled in bulk. There should be enough for four medium-sized pies.

Now I usually half the recipe when it is just my hubby and still makes one good sized pizza. And I have started using half whole wheat flour and half white, kneading it with white flour. It doesn't seem to work as well when I use all whole wheat flour. I load it up with some sauce, lots of veggies (zucchini, squash, bell pepper, etc.), and just enough cheese to make the toppings stick together...but not a ton. Cheese is a major part of pizza that will get you in trouble! :) Then bake it in a hot oven (400* - 450*) until the edges are brown and the cheese has melted...sorry, I am not usually a timer kind of girl! SIDE NOTE: This is an really easy dish to customize for those that aren't as supportive of the healthy eating- not that my Nicholas isn't supportive, but his side usually has more cheese and pepperoni and such...please notice in the picture that one side has more cheese :)

Try it out! (Hey and if anyone out there finds great sodium-free recipes, send them my way!)

One last thing- while we are all taking matters into our own hands to get and remain healthy, please remember that not everyone is so fortunate. One thing that you can do to help those who aren't able to help themselves is to donate blood. Now I know everyone has a reason not to and believe me when I say that I don't love needles either! But it is important for those who are healthy and able to donate to give to others...chances are that sometime in your lifetime someone you know will need blood. And in just one donation you can help save up to three lives! Plus it is a great way to get your blood pressure, iron, cholesterol, etc. checked without having to go to your doctor. To find a location near you, go to

Triathlon Update: This week I have added some biking to my regular routine (which mostly just consists of running). I have also created a training schedule of my own after looking over and borrowing from a few different online training includes biking, swimming, running, and weight training. I begin that on Monday- wish me luck in the pool! (It is going to be freezing! At least that is motivation to warm myself up, right?)

Walking in Circles: The Photo Walk

Good Morning!

My walking buddy couldn't make it today, so how about you come along on a walk with me this morning? This will be one of my favorite kind of walks: A Photo Walk! As long as we're walking around in circles, we might as well add another fun element and bring along a little point and shoot camera to help remember what we see along the way. Today we're going to one of my favorite places: The local cememtery! First stop is my driveway...check out the great sunrise!

I don't know how you feel about being in a cemetery, but I think they are wonderful places. It's beautiful and peaceful, and kind of reminds me of a giant outdoor scrapbook of the lives of the people who have lived in my town. Every marker is a reminder and a testimony of the importance of each life in our world...they all say "Love" to me! So, I'll stop chatting now and we'll just wander around a bit, shall we?

The sun is fully up now, but's cold this morning. My camera battery is freezing, so I have to warm it inside my coat between shots. I love the play of light on the stones, the lawns, and the gorgeous blossoming trees!

It is said that every stone or marker has a story to tell. It would take a lifetime to hear all these stories, but wouldn't they be interesting?

Thanks for coming along today! Naturally, all the photos I took today didn't get posted here, but you get the idea, right? Next time you head out the door for a little walk...don't forget to shove the camera in your pocket!

Happy Walking!

We'd love to hear from you!

Want to write a guest post for The Skinny? E-mail Katie at kathleenann08 (at) gmail (dot) com.