Monday, April 30, 2012

I can shop at whole foods too dammit

(Day 36)

Tuna Stuffed Tomatoes (pg 128)
Eating stuffed tomatoes is a messy job but somebodys got to do it.   I believe this was our dinner from Friday night, photo provided by Abels Flickr Account as I hungrily bit into mine before even thinking about getting a shot.


Due to a dreary gloomy Saturday we spent most of the day indoors watching movies and of course sorting our meals for the upcoming week.   Sunday was grocery day and though we spent more than I was hoping to ($75), a lot of that went to replenish items that will last the entire month.  Grains and dried fruits mostly....

I'd like to plan a trip to Whole Foods in the upcoming weeks and maybe even a stop at Trader Joes.  I've only been once to Whole Foods and I can't tell you how out of place I felt.  It was prior to this SASS eating plan and I don't recall what we were looking for specifically but my mind automatically went into defense mode telling me fatties like me don't belong at Whole Foods and I suddenly felt quite uncomfortable.

Ah, the mind games of our subconscious, eh?

As for Trader Joes, we've never been to one so its definitely something to look forward to.  Any product recommendations are, of course, welcome.   It may be about two weeks before we make the trip but in the mean time I'm still getting some great ideas from healthy eating blogs out there.  So many blogs, so little time!

Most of these blogs I'm finding include fancy pants recipes with ingredients I've never heard of but it's kinda fun taking notes and learning about these foods rather than snubbing them as too "complicated".  (Something I would have done in the past) It's becoming fun....

Abels really getting into the cooking aspect as well.  When we first started I didn't exactly break down the 411 about the 5-piece puzzle concept  but now as we go along, he's correcting me on what foods fit into which category.  (I keep forgetting cheese falls as a protein and not a fat)...

The student surpasses the teacher :0)
Not that I mind though.. having him help as much as he does (and doing so willfully) has been awesome.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

TheFiance - Unveiled!!!

1.  First things first, do you have a real name or are all the readers destined to know you as "TheFiance"?
[lol] I do have a real name.  It's Abel.

2.  As in "Cain and Abel"? 
[ugh] yes... lol

3.  Prior to this experience were you looking to lose weight or was it really a non issue?
It was something I've wanted to do, I just didn't know how to go about it.

4.  What then made you decide to do this plan?
It was mainly to be supportive to Frances.

5.  Is there a specific amount of weight you would like to lose? 
Not really, no.

6.  In terms of the S.A.S.S way of eating, what would you say was the hardest thing about the initial 30 days? 
Self control the first week on the 5 day Fast Forward.  That, and avoiding temptation from 3 food parties at work (which never happened as much until now...of course)

7.  Are you satisfied with the volume of food?
[slight pause] Meh, I think so... Majority of the time, I'm pretty good.

8.  Do you find the plan gives you sufficient energy to keep you full, satisfied and energized?
Most of the time, yeah.  Sometimes I would get a little hungry between meals. Now I find myself splitting the "snack" in half and saving the second half to decrease the hour spans in between. It seems to work for me.

9.  What would you say is the best change you've noticed since starting this healthier eating plan? 
I've noticed I'm no longer tired and groggy in the mornings.

10.  Do you have any favorite meals from the book? 
A few! But off the top of my head, the green tea chicken with avocado corn salad! (SO good)

11.  Is there anything you haven't eaten in these 30 days that you especially miss?

12. Any new delicious foods you've discovered that you've liked?
Cherimoya fruit -- though its more a re-discovery. I remember eating it in Mexico as a child -- years later we've reconciled.

13. Any new foods you've discovered you don't particularly like?
I don't think I like artichokes very much.  Or black olives.

14.  Do you see this way of eating more as a temporary thing or are you in it for the long run? 
Hoping for the long run.  For the sake of our health it will be better for us, though there will of course be exceptions. Family/friends b-days, holidays, or special nights out.

15.  Any plans to make a recipe of your own fitting into the "5-piece puzzle"?
Not just yet, but I will!

16.  Does Frances really get as crabby as she claims to when she's hungry?
Yes [clears throat] next question.

17.  Is there anything you don't like about this plan?
No. I think as long as you stick to it, your habits will change.  Like anything else, its difficult at first but once you get used to it, its like second nature.

18.  Is that your biggest takeaway from this plan?
Yes.  It's hard to explain but as an example, if Im hungry and driving past a fast food restaurant I don't feel the desire to stop in for a "quick bite". Or if I make a quick run to the store or gas station, I don't have the urge to pick up any snacks. The need vs want has changed. Its more about what my body needs rather than wants.

19.  Thats a huge takeaway!!  Anything else you'd like to share with the lovely people? 
Sure! I'm a sucker for all the attention my food photos on facebook are receiving from friends and family.  If anyone else wants to see more pictures, they can check out my Flickr page here.

Thank you Mr Fiance Abel for taking the time out to give us one mans perspective on the 30 day core plan of S.A.S.S Yourself Slim.  If anyone has any further questions from the male perspective, we welcome you to leave a comment or email us.  

fine print:  [No fiances were injured in the answering of question #16]

Saturday, April 28, 2012

New goodies....

(Day 34)

According to my calculations, there are currently 3 Breakfast Recipes, 8 Snack Recipes and 8 Lunch/Dinner Recipes that we have yet to try from the book.  There are also a few floating around online that we haven't covered yet but we'll get to them as well.

Yesterday was the infamous Shrimp Creole dish that I've been hearing so many good things about.  Upon reading some success stories in the book and online, a lot of people mentioned the Shrimp Creole as their favorite dish, so I've been patiently waiting to give it a taste::

Shrimp Creole (pg 128)
Most of the shrimp lies under the sauce, so please don't think all you get is three measly shrimp bites ;0)  This was just as good as everyone said it was going to be.   I won't go as far as saying its my favorite but its definitely in the top 5.     TheFiance might just have this in his top 3 meals but considering there have been so many great meals, its hard to remember them all on a whim.  

As for the package we received Thursday, our cabinets are now welcoming new stock including:

Items Ordered From Nuts.Com
Mullberries, Wasabi Peas, Coffee Beans, and Goji Berries.

But not just any coffee beans....

Naturally, the minute we got it we had to try it out.  To say that it tastes like Cookies n Cream is a long shot but it's definitely an awesome coffee.  A hint of sweetness that takes on a flavor reminiscent of cocount and cream.  Delicious!

After checking out their website a bit further, ( theres quite a few things I'd like to get my hands on.     Primarily the quinoa puffs and the truffle oil.   Along with my order came a complimentary bag of Chia Seeds.

I'm not entirely sure what to do with these but a few google searches can help me out with that.  Suggestions, of course are also welcome.   Seems like a nice size "free sample", no?

It's quite a lazy Saturday for us today.  The skies are gray and the thunder is like a warning to keep our butts home.   If nothing else, this gives me the opportunity to update this blog and get a few pages added next week.  

Hope you're all enjoying your weekends :0)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Well, they can't all be winners...

Thank God we made it through the 30 days because it seems for Days 31 and 32, things have been a big blur.  I've wanted to continue showing you photos of our meals until Saturday but I've already fallen behind on them and absentmindedly forgot to photograph two of the last few meals... 

I'm irresponsibly blaming my job for the dropping of the ball on my part.   For those who don't know, I presently work for a bakery as a mixer/baker and sometimes a decorator.   Considering its secretarys week,  "Administrative Professionals" week, cookie bouquets have been flying out the door.  The days have been longer than usual and I've come home beyond exhausted the past couple of nights.   

Regardless, it is now Friday and I'm taking time this morning to relax with the sounds of bossa nova music as I upload some photos and enjoy my breakfast pita:

Pesto Breakfast Pita (pg 100)
One thing I must make note of is that I did not "work out" with dear Leslie Sansone neither Wednesday or Thursday and those seemed to be the days I felt like I was hit by a mac truck the worst.   I came home thinking "Thank God I didn't work out or I'd be dead by now"...  but then I got to thinking.  Monday and Tuesday were just as busy so why wasn't I as exhuasted those days?   Could it be the workout actually kept me from being tired those long days?  

I'm guessing (and dreading) the answer is probably yes.   As much as I'm enjoying this nice relaxing atmosphere at the moment I'm already mind prepping myself to get this 3 mile walk in before going to work in an hour.  I don't want to but if it will fight off feeling like utter poo at night then its worth it.  

As for the meals I actually have managed to take pics of the last few days... well, we have to make note of the first recipe in the book we didn't fully enjoy:
Mediterranean Minted Turkey Salad (pg 125)
Isn't it lovely though?    Truthfully I didn't mind it after the first 3 bites.  It got a little tastier everytime but never quite enough to say "this is delicious!"   TheFiance gave it a harsh two thumbs down.  My guess is because of the black olive tapenade and the artichoke hearts.   For me, it was just the tapenade and mint flavor combo that I wasn't a fan of.   The bulgur and sun dried tomatoes totally saved this dish for me though.   I would definitely do this again replacing the tapenade with a type of nut or sunflower seeds.   

Lucky for us, dinner was much more appealing and made our little tastebuds happy: 
Ginger Turkey Stirfry (pg 127)
Also helping my mood lift last night was the adorable package delivered via UPS waiting for me upon my arrival home.....

The last of my splurges before our final 30 days were up.  Want to know whats in the box?  

Come back for the next post ;0)  Right now Leslie and her posse await me for our 3 mile walk.  For any of you familiar with these dvds  I must say it has to be difficult for those women to keep a smile on their faces throughout the entire walk.  I'd be the grumpy face in the back marching in place and squatting down into those kickbacks with my scrunchy face of pain.  The workouts aren't "hard" or intense really but smiling is just something that doesnt come naturally for me when working out.. 

... thats just creepy.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

30 Day Overview: Pantry Budget, Prep Time, and Cleaning Woes

Every single day has been documented.  

For a woman who absolutely abhors the idea of planning and formal "structure"/routine to her days, that is quite an accomplishment!!

If youve been following along, you'll know exactly what it is we love about this eating strategy:
  • The recipes are delicious
  • The method behind the food selections is easy to remember
  • The difference in our energy levels is beyond remarkable
  • It clearly worked for us!  (After 30 days:: I'm down 15 pounds and TheFiance is down 21 lbs)
What we didn't love about the last 30 days:
  • Cost of foods
  • Prep time
  • Increase in Kitchen and Dish cleaning
In order to keep this post from being a novel, you can find all of the positives broken down amongst the array of our last 30 day posts. They are all pretty self explanatory and though I mentioned the fact that the 5 piece puzzle strategy of the book is easy to remember; the actually implementing of it isn't as quick and easy.  It will still take me time to study the book further and remember which foods fall under what categories (though this could just be a personal thing as I have always lacked in paying attention to things longer than 2 seconds)... 

 I will state that regardless of the negatives (which I'll explain in a moment) I am willing to bet there is something for everyone to takeaway from this book.  Whether its just good recipes, learning the 5 piece puzzle strategy, or learning what your body needs to stay at its utmost best, I would definitely recommend giving it a glance over at least.  If you happen to see it in the book store, and you're looking to make a healthier transition, why not at least give it a once over?    Whether you're vegetarian, vegan or a die hard meat eater this book has a lot of awesome information.     

Not much to my surprise, I am still a little overwhelmed by it myself.  Even after 30 days.   When people talk about a lifestyle change, thats not something thats going to take a few weeks and suddenly become routine. (Certainly not for someone like me whos battled obesity since childhood anyway) 

It's a haul... an immense overhaul of mind body and soul.   Lucky thing is with the healthier eating, your body automatically starts feeling better and it really seems to overflow into other aspects of your life.   Mainly in your attitude and in the pride you take on for doing your body well. 

That said, I will get into the "negatives" of  our 30 day experience.   

:::Cost of Foods:::
As hopeful as I was that I was going to be able to save every receipt this month to show just how much our expenses added up to, it simply wasn't possible after the Five Day Fast Forward.  To see the breakdown costs of the inital five days, click on this post here.  

Including that initial $100 week, and after reviewing the bank statement, the total comes close to $600 for our 30 days of meals.   Considering it was 8 meals a day (4 for him and 4 for me) our meals count should have been 240 total meals....  the basic math of it all brings each meal to cost about $2.50.

Looking at it in those terms sure doesn't seem like much at all, does it?   Of course when we are used to spending half of that on monthly groceries prior to this experiment, its a real punch in the gut.   After a little research on how much the average bill is for a household of 2 I'm quite shocked to see that a lot of people spend between 400-600 a month.  Am I crazy for finding this mindblowing?  Yikes....  

Sadly, this isn't a feasible budget for TheFiance and I to continue on.  A good chunk of my tax return went into this project and though I would do it again in a heartbeat, we are going to be scaling back from here on out.    Don't let the total amount frighten you off from trying this plan out though.  TheFiance and I went all out and picked up a huge variety of spices, nuts, vegetables, grains, nut butters and cheeses in order to follow this book as best we could.   It was what we wanted and chose to do.   In all reality we could have gotten started buying one or two bulk grains, stocking up on bulk chicken breasts, tuna, and turkey and keeping the rest of our choices limited for the sake of the budget... in fact this is more than likely what we will be doing from here on out to taper down the bills again.   

If you're at all curious as to our variety of foods the quick breakdown of our month is as follows:
  • 17 different fresh fruits kept in rotation
  • 4 dried fruit varieties
  • 10 new spices
  • 9 types of nuts
  • 3 nut butters
  • 8 varieties of cheese
  • 8 different whole grains
and lets not forget the vegetables...  so many friggin vegetables.   Ask me if I would do this all over again and I wouldn't hesitate to tell you I would.  As much as the money could be used for other things currently in our needs, we made the choice to prioritize our health in hopes this experience would teach us the basic building blocks that I, personally, seemed to have lacked all my life.  

I regret nothing.......

... except maybe buying the kumquats.  (sorry kumquats)  

::Prep Time::
 Prep time... o-m-g, where do I begin on this subject?  This was a biggie here.  Aside from sacrificing money for this project, I wish there was a way to tell you these meals were all quick fixes.  In an ideal world thats what we all want to hear, right?

Sadly for many of the recipes this isn't always the case.  Although many of the cold salads can be thrown together in mere minutes -- there is still the rinsing and cutting of the vegetables, the measuring of the ingredients, and this all in turn also affects clean up time.   I will say if you are a person that is always out and about picking up lunches from restaurants this may not be an issue for you if youre able to hit a salad bar and create your own meal using the 5 piece puzzle method.  

For those of us who prefer to brown bag it from home, there will be prep work necessary.  It helps to have precooked chicken/turkey/salmon/rice/quinoa/etc/etc/etc ready to just go when you need it and that of course entails more prep work usually at the start of your week.

But that is only the tip of the iceberg my friends.  If you don't want to be completely overwhelmed by this change, it is highly recommendable that you take some time out to pre-plan your meals at least a week ahead of time. TheFiance and I made a weekly food chart, and though it took us a full weekend to get all the recipes on index cards and create our board, it is so well worth it and saved us a LOT of time and frustration in the long run.

Spare me your stories of not having the patience to do this kind of thing because you are talking to the Queen of Impatience and Disarray.   As much as I detest pre-planning things in all their little details, we more than likely would NOT have done so well on this plan without it.   Once the chart was made, it took us about 10 minutes to pick and choose which meals we would have for which day, another 10 to write down our grocery list and off we went every weekend to stock up.

In having such a variety of items I may have screwed us over in this aspect.  If we would have stuck to a week of meals incorporating mainly just chicken, it would have been a lot easier to have all the chicken cooked and ready to go for the full week.  Or one type of grain ... but because we randomly selected our meals the first two weeks of the core plan, we sometimes had 4 different grains to cook each week.   Generally speaking I cooked those the night before we needed them.   As of next week we will work around what is presently still in our pantry to keep our new costs down.

I'm still learning about how to cut corners with this type of meal planning.  As the blog continues I do encourage anyone with helpful hints to suggest them in the comment form below, and I will of course blog about any tips I may find along the way that I find helpful!

:::The Cleaning:::
As mentioned above, all the prep work does involve major clean up sometimes. With four servings of vegetables a day and two servings of fruits you know you're going to be pulling out that cutting board every single day.   For me personaly, taking photos of these dishes actually had me washing more dishes than the average person.  That of course is my own fault .. in the name of vanity and taking semi decent photos ;0)

Considering the tiny size of our kitchen, TheFiance and I still managed to work together on the majority of the meals.  If the meal didn't involve very much in terms of prep -- one of us would normally be washing dishes while the other prepared the meal.   We work pretty damn well together.

I will have to do a kitchen photo tour to show you just how small we are talking here.   In one way its good that its so small because it means we have to constantly keep it all clean to clear up the space we need.. but on the other it still means we're constantly cleaning up.  I'm pretty sure more counter space would only lead to a bigger mess so I won't complain too much more on this aspect.

All in all, I currently feel like food has taken over my life.  The prep of it, the purchasing of it, the consuming of it, the aftermath cleaning....  it's definitely a huge change.   Going from looking to avoid food in order to lose weight to suddenly having it take over is such an ironic change.   Still, its a little overwhelming for a newbie like me but I'm embracing it because my body is quite frankly loving it.    In time I am hoping I will be able to apply this food strategy like second nature but until then I have no choice but to take my time and accept this is what I want to do.   And count my blessings that I have a man that is willing to do this as well.  What started out as moral support has turned into something hes grown quite fond of.

I couldnt possibly have covered everything I originally wanted to in this already oh so long post but if I missed anything specifically that anyone may have had questions on I'm all ears. There are e a few topics I have in plans to cover such as Juliets question on not having leftovers and or food go bad....   and of course the questions I'd like to ask TheFiance for more on his point of view.  

The weekend is right around the corner.....  it can't come soon enough :0)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

How much did we lose in 30 days?

My apologies in the delay of this post, I was trying to sneak it in before going to work this afternoon but I got sidetracked with google and my search for food information.

As much as I wanted this to be a big elaborate 30 day finale post, time has escaped me and even as I sit and type, I am at war with the spaghetti squash we are having for dinner.

The little bugger has been in the oven for an hour and refuses to bake properly.  I've never had this much trouble with my spaghetti squashes .. but as soon as I wrap this post up I will go back in for Round 3.  

  • 30 days
  • Nearly 120 meals
  • 1 scorched slotted spoon
  • 1 melted tupperware lid
  • and yes, a small fortune on food.... 
.... all of the above is the price we paid for our total weightlosses of: (drum roll please)

Frances comes in with a wonderful weightloss finale of 15.6 lbs for the end of 30 Days!
TheFiance comes in with a whopping weightloss finale of 21.2 lbs for the end of 30 Days!

He's such an overachiever, isn't he?  ;0)  Needless to say we're very happy with the results, and I promise a post with a little more coverage on the overall experience tomorrow.

I'll also be working on posts to cover the topics some of you guys asked about hopefully this coming weekend.   I just wanted to be sure I got this post out tonight :0)

Time to get back to this finicky little squash!!  >:(

Day 30 And the dish ran away with the spoon...

9:40 a.m. Breakfast - Strawberry Cardamom Smoothie w/Cashew Oatmeal (pg 97)
2:00 p.m. Lunch - Peppery Broadbeans over Vegetable Barley (pg 134)
6:15 p.m. Snack -  Open Faced Cheese & Apple Sandwich (Recipe Variation #3 on website)
9:30 p.m. Dinner - Wild Rice & Chicken Lettuce Wraps w/Citrus Slaw (pg 122) 

These were the chosen four meals for Day 30.  No complaints on any of them -- though I had my strong doubts on the "citrus slaw" for dinner.  Cabbage has never really been my friend...

It wasn't until  recently that I've found I actually enjoy it within asian dishes, but I wasn't too keen on the idea of having it a solo side dish.   TheFiance once again had to talk me into trying it and stop being such a stubborn mule...  (my words, not his)  Much to my surprise, it was pretty good.  My apologies to the cabbage patches of the world.... 

Lunch was great, I really would like to get into the habit of cooking my own beans but with all the work thats already going into this whole lifestyle change, going with the canned is definitely a huge plus right now. 

Our snack was a repeat (of several times by now) and more than likely one of our top 3 favorites.  The gouda and apple are fantastic together.   

As for dinner, another set of lettuce wraps that were SO good.  With the change of our tastebuds lately,  I did note that the dijon mustard was pretty intense in the dish.  Not necessarily in a bad way, just in a way that wasn't quite expected. It gave it a little extra kick.  The crunch of the romaine with the side of slaw ended up making my mouth very happy.  Crunchiness factors are always good in my book.  

We still have a few more dishes that are new coming up this week so I'll still be posting up our daily foods from now till Saturday.   After that I will probably only feature those recipes that we haven't tried yet and of course any that I come up with on my own.  

30 days.  Came and went....  hard to believe how quickly!!  I'll be posting our weigh in results and our next set of plans shortly.  Just wanted to get the recap of Day 30s foods out first :0)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Day 29. Any Questions?

9:30 a.m. Breakfast - Raspberry Pistachio Cereal (pg 102)
2:00 p.m. Snack - Tangerine Almond Twist (pg 106)
6:00 p.m. Lunch - Vegetarian Cashew Ginger Stir Fry (Variation 2 on website)
9:50 p.m. Dinner - Pesto Chickpea Lettuce Wraps (Vatiation 6 on website)

Day 29 is done....

Sweet merciful Jesus, where did the time go?!  Wednesday marks Day 30 and instead of bringing this blog to a close as originally intended -- its all only just begun.

We are very thankful for those of you who take the time out to check in now and again.  I know its got to be a little repetitive to see the foods that we eat along with our feeble attempts to review them, but as we continue to grow and learn we promise to share with you our experiences.

Day 29 was great in terms of food.  I always have a tendency to think lettuce wraps are going to be dull but out of the few we've tried in this book, they've been so fresh and flavor packed. The combination of pesto and chickpeas gave it such a rich buttery feel, I was pretty impressed.  TheFiance had zero complaints and these are so far his favorite of the lettuce wraps. They leave you feeling very satisfied without feeling super stuffed... its quite refreshing.

The tangerine almond twist involves tangerines and cottage cheese with spices in a pita; another one I had silly doubts about, only to have it end up being my favorite meal of the day....  When will I learn to trust these yummy recipes? ;0)

Breakfast and Lunch were also quite tasty -- and I am loving the fact that this way of eating cereal (w/fruits and nuts) is far more satisfying than I thought it could be.  Cereal is one of those things I've missed dearly since starting my weightloss.
In other news, I'm not exactly sure what format we will continue to blog in after Day 30.

I'm on the fence about keeping up with photos of our daily meals.  I love taking the photos but in all honesty many of the recipes from here on out will more than likely be repeats and rotations from the last 30 days. I know the food can be quite visually appealing but I'm not sure if that alone is reason enough to keep posting every meal.  Any thoughts on the matter?  Do the pictures lure you guys into reading or is it my genuine charms and grammatical errors that keep you coming? ;0)

Also, for anyone who may be curious about anything involving these last 30 days from TheFiance's point of view, I would encourage you to ask away (anything really) and I may be able to set up a little interview format entry in the next few days.

It's bad enough I feel this blog is 90% me, 10% him.... ease my guilt and help me include him furthermore ;0)

Aside from that I do have a few other posts in mind, one including the changes this overhaul has created for our pantry and our grocery budget (inquired about by Lucy), another with a few online goodies we are receiving in the mail tomorrow, a third idea involving a new book which I hope will assist us with this new found way of eating,  and of course a recap post of the last 30 days with both the ups and downs of our experience thus far.

So many posts, so little time!  We're open to any other suggestions if anyone is curious about anything.  I know this blog is still in its baby stages of growth but its our baby and we are always happy to hear from you guys!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Day 28. Casualties of my cooking/kitchen....

10:00 A.M. Breakfast - Peach & Pecan French Toast (Recipe #1 on website)
1:30 P.M. Lunch - Savory Spaghetti Squash w/Citrus Zest (pg 120)
5:15 P.M. Snack -  Cranberry Parmesan Popcorn (pg 107 & Snack #2 on website)
9:40 P.M. Dinner - Fish Tacos w/Cilantro Jalapeno Guacamole (pg 130)

Breakfasts like these make you a little more eager to get out of bed in the mornings ;0)  French toast was always a luxury for us growing up.  Once in a blue moon, my father would whip some up on a Saturday morning and we'd all be in sweet syrupy french toast heaven.   Eventually when his work schedule changed and he started working different shifts those random french toast mornings came to an end.  Sadness...

To this day I still think of my father everytime I see or smell french toast. Perhaps next time we drive up north, I'll be the one making french toast for him!

Lunch was delicious but we found the essence of Asiago cheese to be quite powerful.   Oh yes, powerful indeed!  The first bite had me hesitant but as usual, once all the flavors melded together, it was really very enjoyable.   Next time we may cut the asiago serving in half and replace the other half with something a little more flavor tamed :0)

The popcorn snack was deeee-licious and oh so very plentiful. We didn't actually pop the kernels ourselves in oil -- we kinda cheated and measured the kernels into a brown paper bag to microwave for just under 2 minutes.   The parmesan and herbs went really well with the cranberries...  now I only need to find a big enough purse to sneak this type of popcorn into any future movie theater outings :0)

Dinner was delicious -- the recipe called for wild pollack but we had some Tilapia from a while back that we wanted to use before buying more fish.  We both loved them and added a dash of tabasco sauce to them... Amazing!

As much as I go on and on about how good this food is, I suppose its only fair to mention a few things that haven't gone well while doing this 30 day project...

.. nothing to do with the book mind you, but I thought I would share with you guys the casualties of my cooking.   The brave little kitchen items that have had to pay the price for my inept kitchen skills:::

Its hard to tell from the photo but that recipe card is beyond warped from my spilling of something-or-another  all over it. The back is a blurry ink smeared mess and I've been too lazy  busy to make a new one.   As for the plastic items... well they obtained injury in the line of duty after I absent mindedly kept them too close to the burner...  (or more like directly on the burner)....

Plastic melts.   Of this I'm sure.

Please don't judge my kitchen skills, for if nothing else what I lack in kitchen safety I make up for in honesty skills and sharing abilities.   I share with you my shenanigans.   Lucky for TheFiance, he has not incurred any injuries from my new found love of the kitchen...

... well, not yet anyway.   ;0)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Day 27 - Cherimoya fruit

8:30 A.M. Breakfast - Open Faced Egg Sandwich w/Peaches Cherimoya (recipe #2)
1:50 P.M. Lunch - Black Bean Tacos w/Cilantro Jalapeno Guacamole (recipe #4 and pg 133)
5:30 P.M. Snack - Pineapple Avocado Tacos (pg 110)
9:30 P.M. Dinner - Chicken Satay Pita (pg 123)

While picking up a few things at the grocery store, we ran into more Cherimoyas and decided to bring one in again this weekend.  The first time we used this fruit, we mixed it in with cherries over a waffle, but this time we wanted to just let the cherimoya be the solo act.  Dee-licious! 

Lunch was a repeat, another favorite -- though now that I think of it anything with avocado seems to be a favorite with us.  Including our snack... pineapple, feta cheese and avocado...  oh so good :0)

In sharing our new finds, I decided to take a few pics of our Cherimoya before cutting it up this time.  Forgive the quality of the pics, I generally use my cell phone for all the pics you see because its convenient but I may just start using my digital camera for better resolution.
The cherimoya is a large tropical fruit with a soft flesh.  The outer skin is textured with thumb print like impressions.  Not very "pretty" but definitely sweet... in my own words I'd say its consistency is like that of a soft banana.. only slightly wet and mushier.   From what I've learned most people cut them in half, remove the seeds and simply spoon out the flesh for their enjoyment.  The seeds are fairly large, as you can see.. and plentiful.  I pulled out about 20 seeds in one half alone.   And because I like to be complicated I scooped them all out and then cut the flesh as best as I could into pieces -- discarding the green skin of course.

The taste is a nice subtle sweetness reminiscent of banana, papaya, pear and pineapple.   
The caloric equivalents fall around 115 calories per cup, and though they aren't as low calorie as other fruits, they are still a great source of potassium, fiber, Vitamin C and B-complex vitamins.

While looking up the benefits of this fruit I came across a site declaring the seeds and skin to be poisonous if eaten but further investigating declared it to be an exaggerated fact.   The seeds do contain several alkaloids and are often crushed up to be used as pesticides and even as lice treatment but accidentally swallowing a seed or two will do you no harm.

I'm not sure how easy it is to "accidentally" swallow one but it can happen.  Just something thats good to know and keep in mind.

Either way its not enough to keep either my fiance or I away from this delicious new fruit.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Day 26 - My very own recipe creation & Weigh In.

8:45 A.M. Breakfast - Dark Chocolate Oatmeal w/Side of Minted Blueberry Yogurt (recipe #4 on that link)
2:00 P.M. Lunch - Citrus Salmon Salad (pg 129)
6:00 P.M Snack - Zesty Cherry Chicken (see recipe below)
9:30 P.M. Dinner - Mediterranean Shrimp Pizza (pg 129)

The breakfast recipe can be found online and also on page 101 of the book.  Due to my recent stomach issues I omitted the blueberry yogurt and simply had the oatmeal.  Not a completely balanced breakfast since I didnt have my fruit and protein but I must say the dark chocolate oatmeal felt absolutely sinful.    I want to liken it to eating a cake batter of sorts but obviously not as sweet as cake batter.   Decadent though, very very decadent :0)

The salmon for lunch was great. The recipe called for red wine vinegar but I opted for balsamic instead.  I feel like the last meal I had with red wine vinegar, the flavor was a little too overpowering for me and though I could have just cut back this time I decided to go with what I know I like.  Especially since my snack was somewhat "experimental"...

Originally the snack was going to be Cherry Yogurt w/a side of Peanut Butter Crackers, but again since I'm trying to keep my dairy intake down for the next few days I had to find a replacement.  Sadly, I only had about 10 minutes before heading out the door and because dairy products fit the "Protein" puzzle piece I had to find something that was quick.  My first thought was to hard boil an egg to eat separately,   but to boil it and take it with me to peel it at work would have been a pain -- the only other thing I had prepped was some cooked chicken.

So cooked chicken it was and this was how the recipe went:
  • 1 c. thawed dark cherries
  • 1 serving whole grain crackers
  • 3 oz cooked chicken
  • 1 tbsp  pine nuts
  • 1/8 tsp lemon zest; 1/8 tsp orange zest and 1 tsp italian seasonings
Combine chicken and dark cherries, sprinkle with zest and seasonings, top with pine nuts and serve with crackers. 

Easy peasy... and the result was wonderful.  One of my favorite things about the flavor meld was in part due to the crackers I paired it up with:

I first heard of these on Cynthias Facebook Page.  They were highly recommended and available online here.

Not really looking to order foods online at the time I first started this plan, I forgot all about them until a recent trip to Kroger led me right to them.  If I'm not mistaken they were $3.65.  A little steep for a box of crackers but I made the splurge and am so far loving them.  The website tells you this particular flavor (Caraway) is reminiscent of rye bread which is true.  Personally I've never enjoyed rye bread but theres something about these crackers that I definitely love.

Paired with the cherry chicken, everything just harmonized and made me happy.  TheFiance was sent to work with the original snack of cherry yogurt and PB crackers but I ended up saving just enough of my recipe so he could try it out and give me his input that evening.   It was kinda one of those things where he tasted it and said "Oh, thats good!" ... and two seconds after eating it, the flavors hit him and he said "MMM! That was REALLY good!!"

It's a keeper.

As for the weigh in, I normally would do a separate post but considering there may be a few more posts within the weekend that I want to share I'm throwing it up here to save time.

Plus my weigh in (as predicted) kinda sucked.  Still fighting the constipation blues and semi bloated up, the scale put me down a mere .4 lbs.   Quite frankly I'm ok with it as I've also increased my 2 mile equivalent walks to 4 miles this week.  My thighs have been feeling the burn and my prominent little love handles are furthermore deflating.  Regardless of what that little scale says I know changes are still occurring :0)

As for TheFiance, the scale is still loving him with a decrease of 2.4 pounds.   Even though he got stuck working this Saturday morning, he left a happy little camper! :0)

[side note]:I got so excited about my snack recipe I forgot to mention that dinner (the shrimp pizza) was AWESOME...  sun dried tomatoes are fantastic for flavor punches!   How I could forget to mention pizza of any kind is beyond me.... theres just so much to say I guess ;0)  

Friday, April 20, 2012

Day 25 - Irregular

9:30 A.M. Breakfast - Zesty Cranberry Walnut Parfait (pg 97)
1:45 P.M. Lunch - Turkey Walnut Pita (pg 125)
6:30 P.M. Snack - Peppery Kiwi Almond Crunch (pg 104)
10:00 P.M. Dinner - Green Tea Chicken w/Avocado Corn Salad (pg 120)

Breakfast may have once again topped all the meals for me for Day 25.  I'm loving dried cranberries right now. Also, the addition of fruit zest in the yogurt?  Divine.  Its such a subtle enhancer.... Love!

Lunch was very similar to Day 24's dinner but I much preferred the pita with the almond butter rather than walnuts sprinkled within.  (I tell you, I'm a sucker for nut butters)  We still enjoyed it but we also realized that Pitas aren't our number one choice for "on-the-go" meals.  I end up with half of the filling on my lap rather than in my mouth.  Thats certainly not the way I want to cut calories ;0)

The other two meals were great, the snack wasn't too different from the past ones we've had with different fruits. The ricotta on the bread adds a rich taste and really feels like you're eating something almost cheese-cakey (in texture at least).   As for the green tea chicken, I'm almost certain this is the fourth time we've eaten this meal.  Its just that good.

Weighing in tomorrow and I gotta admit I'm not reaching for any miracles.  My "reguarlity" issues remain and though I'm trying to get the ball rolling (so to speak) I haven't found the answer to solve my problem just yet.   The bloating and gas has me feeling heavier around midday.....  Not fun.

I'm wondering if it has anything to do with all the dairy we've had lately.  I mentioned in a recent post that I miss milk oh so much and looking back I see we've had quite a bit of yogurt and smoothies over the past week.  I'm going to try to cut back and stick to different non-dairy ingredients for our breakfasts and snacks.

Wednesday will be Day 30 and we'll weigh in once again for the final month tally.  From there on out I'm thinking we may just not weigh in again until the end of another 30 days.   I'll have to discuss it with TheFiance and see how he feels on the subject.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Day 24- Thanks for the support!!!

8:45 A.M. Breakfast - Strawberry Green Tea Muesli (pg 99)
2:00 P.M. Lunch - Chilled Lentil and Wild Rice Salad (pg 132)
5:30 P.M. Snack - Peanut Butter Plum Toast (pg 113)
10:00 P.M. Dinner - Turkey Almond Pita (pg 127)

It should go without saying that anything with strawberries in the mix is more than likely always going to be a win!   I've been looking forward to the green tea muesli for a while now and I'm glad to say it was just as good as I hoped it would be.

Considering I've written more than enough about my love for wild rice, no need to tell you lunch was a hit, as was the Plum Toast.  TheFiance would probably opt for a different fruit next time but he said it wasn't bad.  I couldn't tell you the last time I ate a plum but its been YEARS.  I'm pretty sure the flavor of mine didn't shine through as much as it should have considering my plum wasn't the ripest of them but I would be willing to try it again.

Dinner was a huge thumbs up once again.  Anything involving almond butter and a pita is guaranteed wonderful in our book.... even when it includes turkey and greens!

Less than a week to go for the intial 30 days to be complete.  

Yesterday as I was reviewing the stats of the blog I noticed that we had a few hits from Pinterest.  Imagine my surprise to see that a number of people have actually pinned our little old blog :0)

Makes me want to renovate around here a little more.   This blog was only going to last thirty days but has kinda taken on a life of its own.  All the support is VERY much appreciated!!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Day 23 - I'm not a creepy stalker...

10:00 A.M. Breakfast- Chocolate Pear Ginger Vanilla Smoothie (pg 97)
1:45 P.M. Lunch - Smoked Gouda And Grilled Onion Salad (pg 117)
6:30 P.M. Snack - Pineapple Almond Peppercorn Parfait (pg 112)
9:30 P.M. Dinner - Turkey & Wild Rice Stuffed W/Peppers (pg 125)

As I recently mentioned, ginger and my tastebuds aren't getting along too well when it comes to sweet dishes so we altered the breakfast recipe to include vanilla instead.   Vanilla from a bean makes the world of difference... I've always heard that but never really thought it could be that big a deal.... once again I was proven wrong.   [that tends to be happening a lot lately]  Our little blender didn't get all the chocolate bits crunched up so with every few sips we'd get a nice piece of chocolate surprise to nibble on.

I had my reservations about lunch as neither TheFiance nor I are big fans of onions.  He was a lot more optimistic than I was considering the onions were grilled and caramelized.   It's not hard to tell who the pessimist of the relationship is, eh?   But I still went along with it and kept the open mind...

...  not only was I pleasantly surprised at the taste but I found myself wanting more onions after all was said and done.  The combination of the vinegar, the smoked gouda and the onions were amazing, almost creamy even.   I'm pretty infamous for detesting salads but this one will absolutely be made again. As for TheFiance, he couldn't tell whether he was just really hungry or if the salad was just that good.   I'm betting it was the latter!

The snack was a hit, no big surprise there as its fruit and yogurt.. always a winning combination!

Dinner was improvised because we didn't have more than two peppers in their entirety to cut and stuff.  We kinda had an array of pre-cut peppers from our past meals and though we really wanted to try the stuffed peppers, we ended up just using the slew of sliced ones we had as a base for our wild rice and turkey.

It seems that wild rice may just be my absolutely favorite grain hands down.  The smell as it cooks causes an instant reaction in my brain.  I'm a huge fan of "textures" in everything from food, clothes, touch, and design and apparently the smell alone makes me think of texture.   Did you know texture had a smell?  

It smells like wild rice cooking.   Seriously, you heard it here first ;0)

And on a final topic, if you haven't already checked out the authors facebook page, last night I came home to find that she posted the link to this blog on her wall and I shrieked like a little school girl.   She mentioned how  strange it was to read what someone has to say about her book a.k.a her "baby" and its funny to me because I never considered it from her point of view.

Quite frankly I'm not the first to blog about this plan but after looking around I may be the one who seems most detailed with it.   Of course this now makes me feel a little bit like the creepy stalker fan girl but it's a label I'm willing to risk in order to finally achieve a life of health :0)

I promise in the weeks to come I won't be making vegetable busts in her image, nor tropical fruit shrines in her honor.   I may be a fan, but I'm far too riddled with A.D.D (plus laziness) to be a creepy stalker...


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Day 22- Waffles? YESSssssss

10:00 A.M. Breakfast- Fruity Waffle Sundae
2:00 P.M. Lunch -  Layered Bean Dip w/Cilantro Jalapeno Guacamole (pg 134)
6:00 P.M. Snack - Ginger Yogurt with Carambola Crunch (pg 115)
9:45 P.M Dinner - Spicy Avocado Tostadas (pg 119)

11 P.M. Chocolate Escape- Balsamic Truffles

Neither TheFiance nor I had the words to describe how delicious breakfast was.   I would have it every morning.  Fruit combinations for this one can be endless.  I mentioned in yesterdays post that we had picked up a cherimoya  fruit.  My apologies for not taking a photo of it but the thought came to me after TheFiance had already cut into it.   Since we only bought one small cherimoya, we made up the difference by throwing in some dark cherries.. topped with precious pecans.

Definitely need more cherimoya in our days!!

One thing I'm not quite as fond of unfortuneatly seems to be ginger. Its fine in savory asian dishes but when it comes to fruit and yogurt, it's not very appealing to me.   May just have to find a new spice to replace it with... aside from the standard cinnamon or nutmeg that is :0)

Short post for day 22 as we are already at the end of day 23 and time has gotten away from me.

Besides, I'm sure if I continued writing it would only be about that incredibly delicious waffle.  :0)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Day 21 - the foods keep comin....

9:30 p.m. Breakfast - Berry Almond French Toast (pg 99)
1:30 p.m.  Snack - Mango Mint Avocado Smoothie (pg 106)
5:45 p.m  Lunch - Tuna Pecan Pasta (pg 130)
10:15 p.m.  Dinner - Herbed Turkey and Spinach "Spaghetti" Bake (pg 126)
11:00 p.m.  Chocolate Escape - Green Tea Truffles (pg 148)

Did you catch that Snack title?  Mango mint avocado smoothie.   Quite an odd combination but it worked lovely together.  Sadly I forgot we had fresh mint and I used extract instead.  The extract was a wee bit overpowering to the other flavors but even still, it was pretty good.  If I didnt know what was in there I would have had no clue it involved avocado.  

Sometimes with these meals it still takes a few bites for my tastebuds to harmonize and realize the greatness of taste.  Both lunch and dinner (at first bite) felt a little bland to me (even with all the seasonings in) but a few bites in and suddenly its some great tasting deliciousness.

Dinner was my favorite meal of the day this time.  I've only cooked with spaghetti squash in one other recipe, (an asian dish) and I've forever been telling myself to actually make spaghetti with it and just never got around to it.   We've definitely been missing out!  The portion was rather large, I had to keep double checking the recipe card we have to make sure I didn't foul up and make too much.   It was ah-mazing....

In other news, the last few days I've been scouring the internet for recipes others may have decided to share that fit this particular strategy of eating.  It's not hard to plug in your own recipe and make swaps for each of the categories (produce, whole grain, protein, plant based fats, & seasonings) but I feel like I'm not quite ready to jump in and try it just yet.  So I've just been checking around.

Upon searching, I stumbled across an article the author of the book wrote for Prevention magazine:

16 New Fruits To Try Today

Although it was written years ago, there were a few fruits on the list I've never heard of and we are officially going to be on lookout for some of these to try.  One of the fruits we found, Cherimoya will be making its debut for our Day 22 foods.    I've never heard of it let alone had it, but TheFiance is familiar with it -- he's apparently had the fruit long ago in Mexico and is anxiously awaiting its destination into our tummies.

Yay Fruit!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Day 20 - The dinner that almost wasn't...

10:00 a.m. Breakfast - California Harvest Pita w/Minted Yogurt (pg 102)
2:00 p.m. Snack - Tangerine *Shrimp Tacos w/Guacamole (pg 114)
5:30 p.m. Lunch - Garlicky Barley Vegetable Chicken Soup (pg 123)
10:00 p.m. Dinner - Turkey Mock Tacos (pg 124)
11:00 p.m. Chocolate Escape - Chocolate Balsamic Truffle

(*original recipe called for Tofu, but we swapped it out for baby shrimp)

Say what you will but I'm firmly starting to believe that something as simple as a great breakfast can put your morning attitude in brighter spirits.   Not to sound like a cereal nor coffee advertisement but it's very much true.

[For me anyway]    I can't speak on TheFiances behalf but I can tell you that he's noticed his morning sluggishness has vanished since starting this plan.

Not that we're walking balls of sunshine spewing rainbows at people, heavens no.  Its just a nice change of pace from being little routine walking zombies every morning.

Our snack and dinner were delicious, but I'm thinking yesterdays gold star goes to the soup. Its hard to tell from the photo above but that is one massive bowl of heart warming soupy goodness!  Perfect for the rainy drab weather we had here in Cincinnati.

After eating it all up, I wondered how we would possibly be hungry hours later for dinner.

Of course with my body reacting the way it has all week, 3 hours later the warning of slight hunger pangs were on the horizon.   And though it's perfectly acceptable to eat your meals within 3-5 hours apart, I'd feel much better psychologically if this food kept me fuller 4 to 5 hours rather than just 3.

TheFiances hunger tends to stay at bay longer than mine and that, quite frankly, makes me feel like such a hunger beast.  Not dainty nor feminine at all :0)

(The inner workings for my neurotic little mind)... its fun stuff people.    Speaking of neurotic little mind, just before prepping dinner we realized we had used the last of the onion and veggie broth for our soup and ended up having to make a quick run to the grocery store.

Upon our return, we realized there was something wrong with our doorknob as it refused to budge when we unlocked the door.  For a split second I stopped and looked around to make sure we were actually in the right building.  I'd like to say we've never gone to the wrong building before but that would be a lie and a story for another day (in our defense it was our first day at the new apartment)...

...  after our welcome mat confirmed it was indeed our apartment, we tried all we could to get the knob to turn and had no such luck.  Maintenance was around for emergency purposes but we had neither their number nor our cell phones as we figured it was just a quick run to the store.  Sure they also live on the premises but we had no idea where as we've only needed them the first week we moved in and never bothered to ask.  (tsk tsk)

I suddenly had a flash of TheFiance and I at a hotel room that night dining on a single onion while drinking our vegetable broth for dinner.  As if that was going to be our only option....

 I'ts never a dull moment with this imagination of mine...

Lucky for us our neighbor across the hall is a female Mcguyver and had us in our apartment in less than 10 minutes.  She ended up having to take the entire knob off and shimmy a screwdriver around for a while but after all was said and done, I was chopping our little onion in the kitchen prepping our deliciousness as TheFiance called for maintenance to come first thing in the morning.

♥ Yay for happy endings! ♥
Boo for dramatic overactive imaginations. 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Saturday Weigh In 2

Errands are done, breakfast and snacks are in our tummies and we are now settled back in to report the results of our morning weigh-ins.

If you recall, last weigh-in had TheFiance down 3.8 lbs.  This week he seems to have done it again coming in at another 3.8 lbs down.   This brings his 3 week total weightloss to 16.8 lbs.   Awesome!

As for me, last weigh-in I was down 3 lbs.  This week (even with Aunt Flo still hanging around) I'm still down 2.8 lbs; bringing my 3 week total weightloss to 14.2 lbs.

Great results if I do say so myself ;0)

Day 19 - Hello Mr Sardine...

9:30 a.m. Breakfast - Spicy Grape Parfait (pg. 98)
1:00 p.m. Lunch - Sicilian Sardine Pasta (pg. 131)
6:00 p.m. Snack - Avocado Egg Dip (pg. 111)
9:00 p.m. Dinner - Peanut Noodles w/Salmon (Variation #4 on website)

Ah, nothing quite like the smell of warm sardines first thing in the morning.

Joking of course...  I'm not sure when I ever tried sardines but I was pretty sure I hated them.  It took quite a bit of coaching from TheFiance for me to even steal a taste from his before packing it up for his lunch.  That way if I didn't like it I would find something else to make for my own lunch later.  Hesitant as I was, he had a good point and a bite of sardine pasta was the first thing I ate Day 19.

Much to my surprise, I didn't hate them.  In fact, I didn't see too much of a difference between sardines and other types of fish.  Their flavor was a little "fishier" but not awful.  My apologies to all the sardines of the world.  You are delicious and I will probably eat you again sometime.  (You're welcome)

As for the rest of the meals, breakfast and dinner were the stars.  Grapes+cereal+yogurt, spices and nuts= the ultimate "cereal bowl" upgrade.  Two thumbs up from the two of us.

When it came to our snack, the picture above is what the recipe called for.  It's an avocado egg dip, whole grain crackers and a side of kumquats.   What I ended up eating was the avocado egg dip and a small apple sliced up.  As much as I wanted to love the kumquats, I found them entirely too annoying to eat.  They are extremely tart which I actually loved but the seeds in them were too much work.  Something that tiny shouldn't have 4-5 standard sized seeds.  And though I know people often eat them in their entirety I simply couldn't get into it and finally gave up.  Here I thought the rind was going to be a big turn off but not at all, it was just the seeds.   TheFiance, on the other hand enjoyed them and though he found the seeds to be annoying, it was worth it to him to eat em on up.

Dinner was another one TheFiance had to talk me through only because it involved red cabbage.  I've never been a fan of cabbage but I may have to stop saying so because the cabbage in the ginger sauce worked really well.   If there was one thing about this meal that kept my hopes sky high, it was the fact that the noodles were smothered around in peanut butter.   If I'm not mistaken I am peanut butters #1 fan, and this meal wouldn't have been the same sans the PB.   Amazing :0)

On another note, its officially weigh in day and I'll be posting the results after our morning errands.  Still fighting evil "Aunt Flo"s constipation and bloating but regardless of what the scale says, I'm one happy camper.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Day 18- Technical Difficulties

  • 9:30 a.m. Breakfast - Green Tea & Vanilla Banana Almond Smoothie (pg 103)
  • 2:00 p.m. Lunch - Tomato Basil & Walnut Salad w/Cannellini Beans (pg 132)
  • 5:00 p.m. Snack - Tropical Fruit & Yogurt Dip (healthy snack #4 on website)
  • 9:30 p.m. Dinner - Turkey Pita "Pizzalad" (pg 124)

Before anything I would like to say that the breakfast smoothie was friggin delicious.   I've never been a huge fan of having smoothies for breakfast beacase in my silly little mind I always thought there was no way it could be filling.   Apparently I've been wrong.    Just as I was drinking the last sweet bit of it, I realized I forgot to add in the whole oats.  

Sadness enveloped me and I wished nothing more than to spew it back out just to add the oats and re-drink.

Sick, I know... but the thought was merely a fleeting one that goes to show just how immense my disappointment was in having left them out.

Alas, theres always next time.  

As enjoyable as lunch and dinner were, I must admit breakfast and the snack stole the show for me on Day 18.  The Tropical Fruit & Yogurt Dip was our first experience with Carambola (aka Star Fruit) and it was subtle but delicious.  Considering the sweetness of the pineapple and grapes, it was a nice balanced blend.

There was also some mango but cutting our mango into chunks wasn't a particularly easy task and we simply slid the mushy mess into the yogurt dip.  Problem solved :0)

TheFiances hunger cues are starting to curb and he no longer finds the need to have the snack between his breakfast and lunch.   It's a funny thing to me because in the back of my mind I'm always worried he's going to be hungry all day and more often than not I almost feel I should throw in extra portions of protein for him at times.

But all the while, he's fine with no complaints :0)

As for me, forgive me if this gets into the "too much information" zone but my body seems to be rebelling the last two days and my "regularity" is having technical difficulties.   I'm not sure if this is part of "Aunt Flow"s doing and if I should just wait it out but with this particular food plan my body should be getting everything it needs to keep the body in good working mode.

We'll be weighing in tomorrow and between Aunt Flows bloating and this minor glitch in my "regularity" I'm not expecting anything too major.  Perhaps after Day 19s breakfast, Im hoping the yogurt and fiber from the oats will encourage my body to resume  its regularly scheduled programming.

Happy Friday guys!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Day 17 - Links to some of these recipes.

10:00 a.m. Breakfast - Apple Pecan Breakfast Pilaf (pg. 103)
2:00 p.m. Snack - California Sunshine Salad 
5:30 p.m. Lunch - Green Tea Chicken w/Avocado Corn Salad (pg. 120)
10:00 p.m. Dinner - Fiesta Pasta Salad (pg 126)
11:30 Chocolate Indulgence - Peppercorn Truffle (pg. 148)

Breakfast was DEEE-licious.  For all these "new/strange" things we encounter we tend to be hesitant in the first few bites but once the flavors start coming together, we find ourselves saying "This is SOOOOO good".

Thats exactly what happened with breakfast.  Rice, Apples, Milk and Nuts.. sounds like an odd combination but growing up in latin families we're no strangers to "Arroz Con Leche" (Rice with Milk) and this was fairly reminiscent of it.   Its a decadent comfort food that always makes me think of my mom.  Of course Arroz Con Leche is a thicker consistency but the fact that this was more of a cereal was still great.  The apples gave it all the sweetness it needed.

Would definitely do this again though perhaps warmed up next time.  It surely beats the hell out of oatmeal anyday. *sorry oatmeal*

Sadly I wish I could say the same for our Day 17 Snack.  The title alone indicated I would probably love this combination.  Seriously, California Sunshine... who wouldn't want sunshine in a bowl, right?!

Sadly, the combo of the corn, edamame and avocado just never harmonized with the oranges for me.  The first few bites were odd but I kept on hoping for it to come together and .. it just never happened . Booo....

TheFiance, on the other hand... loved it.    I was secretly jealous that he loved it so much because I had such high hopes for this one.

It's not to say that I hated it,  it was simply "just ok".I think if we choose to have this again in the future, I would probably enjoy the orange separately and toss the grains and produce in a light vinaigrette. Problem solved :0)

At any rate, you'll note the sunshine salad at the start of this blog is linked up to where I found it online.   There is also a second link to direct you to more recipes that  Mrs. Swan  reminded me about.

This link might be a little more helpful if you'd like to get the idea of the authors eating plan because she breaks down the ingredients into which of the 5-piece puzzle they fall into.  (Produce, Whole Grains, Lean Protein, Plant Based Fats, & S.A.S.S)  If you continue on from that page it will also take you to breakfast ideas, lunch ideas and dinner ideas.

I'm going to be going back and linking to those same pages anytime we've used the recipes and also tagging all the recipes with the appropriate pages they can be found in the Sass Yourself Slim book.

Hope you're all having a great week.  The weekend is almost here!  :0)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Day 16 - Observations this week

9:30 a.m. Breakfast- Blueberry Almond Toast w/Milk
1:30 p.m. Lunch - Mediterranian Lentils & Couscous
5:00 p.m. Snack- Creamy Strawberry Swirl
8:00 p.m. Dinner- Turkey Pesto Salad

10:p.m. Chocolate Escape- Dark Chocolate Mint

I was hoping to really start paying attention to my body and its hunger pangs this week but with Aunt Flo here, she's clearly disrupting the regularly scheduled programming and I've been hungry almost on the dot every 3 hours.

Strange how the body can be so precise.   Definitely something I've never really paid attention to.  Though its a bit more aggravating this week because the hunger tends to come quite strong.  Once my little monthly friend is gone I'll have to work a bit harder at paying attention to my bodys regular needs and wants.

This entire "lifestyle change" has a lot of intricate details to it.  Its not just about eating healthy and losing weight.  Its about paying attention and nurturing what your body actually needs, and balancing out those needs for optimal performance.

Exhausting and overwhelming for those of us with food addictions/dependencies.  It's like having to discard a lot of things you thought you knew about healthy eating, and starting semi-fresh with fragments of stones to rebuild it all over again.  

This is definitely going to take some time for me.   As much as I consider myself a fairly bright individual, this particular lesson is going to take more time than I initially thought.  

Not a bad thing, mind you-- just an observation.  

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Day 15- Halfway through it...

9:30 p.m. Breakfast - Breakfast Tacos w/Figs
1:45 p.m Snack - Cranberry Pesto Egg Spread
5:30 p.m. Lunch - Mediterranian Broccoli Couscous Platter
10:00 p.m. Dinner - Herbed Walnut Artichoke Lettuce Wraps

Short post for Day 15 foods.

Who knew cranberries and pesto work well together?
Not us, but we know now :0)

Our dinner was an array of cottage cheese and artichoke hearts in lettuce wraps and though TheFiance wasn't  a huge fan, it was easily one of my favorites thus far.   I don't think I've ever had artichokes before -- aside from artichoke spinach dip in restaurants which are nowhere near being "healthy".

Breakfast and Lunch were fairly "safe" for us since they included foods we were already sure we liked.  Though for me the figs were something new.  Finding fresh figs turned out to be mission impossible so we picked up a pack of organic dried figs and they were perfect.    As for lunch, TheFiance found it to be a little bland but not necessarily too bad.

We were discussing what we were going to do once the initial 30 days are up and have decided we're going to keep up with this.  There are still more recipes to be tried and eventually I'd like to get the hang of this enough to where I can plug in my own swaps and create new recipes.

For now things are still a little time consuming and I still get confused putting the right foods in the right categories (produce, whole grains, protein, plant-based fats & seasonings) but once I get the hang of it I'm hoping it will be more like second nature.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Day 14 - Cookie splurge and Aunt Flo

10:30 am Breakfast- Pear Almond Ginger Pancakes
2:30pm Snack- Open Faced Cheese & Pear Sandwich (half portion)
5:30pm Lunch- Spicy Avocado Tostadas
9:30pm Dinner- Brazil Nut Dusted Chicken w/Veggies and Rice

10:30 p.m Splurge-. Half a mint chocolate chip cookie.

We forewent our chocolate escape for Day 14 and split a gourmet cookie I brought home from work. Not that its an equal exchange, mind you, but it was a splurge we worked into our day and enjoyed.

As for the rest of the days food, the tostadas were by far our favorite meal of the day!

No big food temptations for Easter weekend as both of our families live about 5 hours away.  Our weekend was spent watching movies, menu planning and feeding our brains at a bookstore.

This week should prove interesting for me as good ol' Aunt Flo is visiting.

TMI?    perhaps, but ladies will tell you that all of our monthly issues come with different symptoms.  Usually my symptoms include non stop hunger, bloating and of course the dreaded cramps.  

Generally speaking when I eat healtheir the cramps are fairly tolerable but the insatiable hunger stays the same regardless.  Considering this recent schedule of eating every few hours I'm wondering if it will be enough to keep my body from driving me crazy.   She's a beast I tell you.

Day 15 is now upon us and its a little hard to believe we're halfway into this 30 day blog.   I'm starting to re-think of leaving this blog on Day 30 and perhaps just continue on wherever this new eating plan will take us.  Originally the 30 days were to have us just be a couple of public guinea pigs.  I wasn't sure if we'd like this or even get results from it but from where things stand, this is definitely an enjoyable change we want to continue on with.

I'll be doing a formal review on the book on the 17th which will be Day 23 for us.  Not too hard to tell that this will be a positive review indeed :0)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Day 13 - some of our groceries for the upcoming week

9:30 a.m. Breakfast - Banana Hazelnut Ricotta Toast
1:15p.m. Snack- Open Faced Cheese & Apple Sandwich (half serving)
5:45 p.m. Lunch- Chicken Pesto Pita
9:30 p.m. Dinner- Chicken Satay Pita
11:30 p.m Chocolate Escape- Peppercorn Truffle

Day 13 went a little askew and lunch wasn't supposed to be as late as 5:45p.m. but we got caught up grocery shopping for next weeks menu items.  Had we known it would take us so long to find most of our items, we would have eaten our full snack at 1 o'clock rather than splitting one.

By the time we got home I was quite the little crab ass and my energy levels were absolutely low.  It wasn't my prettiest moment but apparently thats what happens when you don't feed the lioness.  (My apologies MrFiance)

After we ate, I was back in happy mode and was even up for another final grocery trip.  About 40 minutes away is the most amazing grocery store I've ever seen called Jungle Jims.  It's an international supermarket which has a bizzillion items from all over the world.

I should've taken a photograph of the place to show you how fun it is but I was certain we already had photos from prior trips.  Apparently I was mistaken as I couldn't find any to share with you guys.   I did however take a snapshot of our misfit groceries (the items we couldn't find anywhere else yesterday)

  • Macadamia Nuts
  • Kumquats
  • Red Pepper Tampenade
  • Dark Chocolate Morsels
  • Buckwheat pancake mix
  • Dried Cranberries
  • Cardamom
  • Cashew Butter
  • Brazil Nuts 
Nothing really "exotic" in this trip but definitely a costly stop for us as we all know the costs of nuts and nut butters.

The good news is, the pricier items will last us quite a while -- the hefty 10 dollar price tag for cardamom was almost sinful.  Never in my right mind would I have thought to pay so much for a spice but in honor of trying all these new things, it was a sacrifice I was willing to make.

TheFiance did see the same spice for $6 online but after the costs of shipping and considering the wait time, we decided to just make the purchase local.  

Also new to us for the upcoming week are the kumquats.  Interesting little things, we're pretty anxious to try them out.  I'll of course update with our opinions as the days go by and we use these in our snacks and meals :0)

As for our Day 13 pick of meals... all delicious.  Our lunch and snacks were repeats from last week so we knew those were yummy.  I was a little hesitant at having a pita for lunch and another for dinner but after eating the dinner pita, I have to admit I was on cloud 9.   I would have never thought of joining chicken and peanut butter but that is what that little fella entails.. along with a mix of veggies and spices.  They were amazing.

Its nice to know that our menu is already prepped for next week and the cabinets are ready and waiting.

I could get used to this :0)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Saturday Weigh In 1

Quick and to the point as there is grocery shopping to be done::

Todays weigh in put TheFiance down 3.8 lbs from last week & me at 3 lbs down.  

That would make a total of  13 pounds for TheFiance and 11.8 pounds down for me.

With all these foods we've been eating I was sure it would only be a pound (if that).  Looks like we're doing right by our bodies though we havent necessarily needed the scale to tell us that.  We feel great and its only the first week after the fast forward.


Day 12 Mulberry update

9:30 a.m. Breakfast -  Mulberry Almond Parfait
1:30 p.m. Snack - Peppery Pear Crunch
4 p.m-6 p.m. Lunch - Ricotta Primavera Penna
8:30pm Dinner - Salmon Ginger Rice Bowl

The dried mulberries were a hit!  I was trying to figure out the best way to describe their flavor but all I could come up with is "Theyr'e kinda like raisins...  only not"...

Descriptive, right?  I know, I have a knack for words ;0)

Regardless, I'm glad I made the splurge of getting them online.  I'll definitely keep these in rotation with my fruit intake!  

The peppery pear crunch "snack" was delicious, its hard to tell from the pic but the pear slices in the center are sitting atop cheese and an english muffin half.  Another amazing combination of fruit and cheese that I've never had.  It was great.

TheFiance was quite the fan of the Ricotta Primavera which surprised me as I found it to be a tad bit bland.  Maybe I didn't put enough spices into mine but it wasn't bad, just needed a little something more.

Dinner, on the other hand was fantastic.  We've never cooked with salmon or wild rice before so it was another day of firsts.  As TheFiance chopped up and sauteed all the veggies with the ginger sauce, our apartment was infused with a lovely citrus aroma.

It tasted just as good as it smelled and though TheFiance could have done without so much carrot in the recipe, we both really enjoyed it.   I also found a new love in wild rice. Yay for texture!

Weigh in day is upon us once TheFiance wakes up.  Im eager to see the results and will of course come back to report any changes :0)