Exercise: Evil torture or Step to Success?

This week has not been the best on the exercise front. I won’t make excuses because it will only strengthen their argument against my will to workout. I simply have to do better. Eating healthy is great and necessary, but you have to combine it with exercise to see real results. I will workout tomorrow! I will succeed and you can too.

I leave you today with a picture of a particularly delicious salad I made.

Gumbo Not Jumbo

It has been cold and dreary here which put me in the mood for warm tasty winter food. The sort that warms your feet and your soul.

Inspired by recent discussions of a trip to New Orleans, I tried a healthy low calorie dinner from Eat Better America. (my additions are in bold)

Chicken and Rice Gumbo Soup

prep time:30 min
start to finish:7 hr 20 min
makes:6 servings
3/4 lb boneles skinless free range chicken breast
1/4 lb fully cooked smoked turkey sausage (two 5-inch sausages), chopped
2 medium celery stalks (with leaves), sliced (1 1/4 cups)
1 large carrot, chopped (3/4 cup)  1 orange bell pepper
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup) (I don’t eat them) Onion Powder, Garlic powder, Cajun Seasoning
1 can (14.5 oz) Organic stewed tomatoes, undrained
5 cups water
2 tablespoons very low-sodium chicken bouillon granules
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 box (10 oz) frozen cut okra, thawed, drained
3 cups hot cooked rice
Red pepper sauce, if desired
1. In 4- to 5-quart slow cooker, mix all ingredients except okra, rice and pepper sauce.
2. Cover; cook on Low heat setting 6 hours 30 minutes to 7 hours or until juice of chicken is clear when center of thickest part is cut (180°F).
3. Stir in okra. Cover; cook on Low heat setting 20 minutes longer.
4. Spoon soup over rice in soup bowls. Serve with pepper sauce.
Nutritional Information

1 Serving: Calories 310 (Calories from Fat 100); Total Fat 11g (Saturated Fat 3 1/2g, Trans Fat 0g); Cholesterol45mg; Sodium 760mg; Total Carbohydrate 35g (Dietary Fiber 3g, Sugars 7g); Protein 18g Percent Daily Value*: Vitamin A 45%; Vitamin C 10%; Calcium 10%; Iron 20% Exchanges: 1 Starch; 1/2 Other Carbohydrate; 2Vegetable; 1 1/2 High-Fat Meat Carbohydrate Choices: 2
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
This turned out delicious. I loved it. I like spicy food so I put tons of Cajun seasoning in it and considered adding jalapenos.

A Smoothie Criminal

Holiday weeks always throw me off, but I am still chucking along.

My biggest struggle this week is to find a workout schedule I can maintain, doesn’t leave me exhausted, and burns enough calories to make it worth my time. Week one I did yoga every morning at 6am. It worked okay, but by 10:00pm I was so tired I could barely keep my eyes open (not good because that is when I do most of my writing). Week two I ran on the elliptical after work every other day for 20 minutes, but I felt like I should be doing more. Week three I have been extra busy and sporadic. I have done some yoga and some running but no real schedule. So my plan for week four is 20 minutes on the elliptical Monday, Wednesday, Friday and free weights, and yoga Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday and stomach and leg exercises. Hopefully this is a schedule that will all allow for enough exercise and enough sleep—fingers crossed.

For the recipe today I am going to talk smoothies.

First, I am not a breakfast person. Huge downfall on my part. I know I am supposed to eat breakfast everyday to help my metabolism, and I try. Smoothies work the very best with me. I can still sleep late and drink them on my way to work or while I am at work so they are convenient. Another thing I like about smoothies is I can pack them full of delicious yet nutritious food I wouldn’t normally eat for breakfast.

I have two favorite types of smoothies: green monsters and oatmeal smoothies.

Green Monster– Let me just start with saying I love these so much. They are always delicious, energy boosting, and amazingly good for you. They are also so versatile I could have a different one every morning.  There are very few rules with green monsters you put in them what you like. The base, and the green, comes from spinach or kale. I personally use spinach. Other than that you can put anything you like in the green monster to flavor it.

Liz’s favorite version:

1 tbsp Chai or Flax seeds

2 handfuls of spinach

1 banana

½ cup blueberries

½ scoop Mango infused Amazing Grass Green Superfood powder (it is a powdered wheat grass)

About 1 cup of Almond Milk

¼ cup cranberry juice

Directions- Stack in blender or food processor just as I listed them and blend until smooth and enjoy!

For more information on green monsters or more recipes check out www.greenmonstermovement.com

Oatmeal Smoothie– I love oatmeal. It may be my favorite breakfast food so when I can across this recipe on Pinterest I knew I had to try it and boy am I glad I did. It is delicious and filling. It is a wonderful way to add a little variety to my green monster week.

Liz’s version:

1tbsp Chai or Flax seeds

1 Cup of ice

½ cup of frozen strawberries

½ cup of rolled oats

½ cup plain yogurt

1 tsp of honey

1 cup of almond milk

¼ cup of pomegranate juice

Directions: Put ingredients in blender or food processor, blend until smooth and enjoy. The orginal recipe can be found on www.marthastewart.com

So these are the breakfasts I have during the week when I am my most busy and they are always satisfying and do not sit too heavily on my stomach. On the weekend I venture into the cooking world a bit more. This was my favorite creation last weekend.

1 whole multigrain English muffin

1 hardboiled egg

Spinach

Tomatoes

Mustard

Fruit

What is your favorite healthy breakfast? How do you manage working out with a busy schedule?

Stuffed Strawberries

Wednesday! We are half way there. I have had company visiting this week, so I prepared most of my dinners on Sunday. When I get home from work I pop dinner in the oven and visit with my aunt all evening. It has made for a relaxing week, which is always needed. I have been squeezing in my exercise in the mornings, which isn’t fun, but it does wake me up!

Today’s recipe is a dessert recipe. I know, I know, how am I supposed to lose weight while having dessert? Well the thing is sometimes I just need dessert. You know when the only thing you can think about has to do with sugar and even the sweets your normally do not like start to sound amazing, yep, that’s what I am talking about.

Whether it is because I am having guests over or because my sweets craving will not be squashed by the smell of a vanilla candle (though that does work surprisingly well), these tasty treats are easy, low calorie, and above all else delicious.

On New Year’s Eve I was playing on my favorite past time, Pinterest. I saw a picture of Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries and thought I bet I can make those for tonight. So I set to work first thinking about how to make the light yet maintain the delicious flavor.

Picture from Pinterest

Light (not organic) Stuffed Strawberries

Ingredients:

–      Strawberries

–      Jello Sugar-free Cheesecake Pudding Mix

–      Light Cool Whip

Instructions:

In a mixing bowl combine the pudding mix with one container of light Cool Whip. Core strawberries. Take a ziplock bag and fill with pudding mixture. Cut the corner off the bag and pipe into the center of each strawberry.

That’s it. Simple, right? And these treats only clock in at about 30 calories. All of the strawberries were devoured as soon as I set them down at the party, a definite hit. 

(My picture to come)   

HOWEVER,

They are not organic. So I have been further investigating how I could make them organic as well as light. I haven’t had a chance to do much experimenting with them yet, but I will. I have found an organic vanilla pudding mix that I could combine with homemade whipped cream. Or I could just make a homemade pudding and fill each strawberry with that. I will try it out and report back.

Homemade Vanilla Pudding (from Allrecipes.com)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Directions

  1. In medium saucepan over medium heat, heat milk until bubbles form at edges. In a bowl, combine sugar, cornstarch and salt. Pour into hot milk, a little at a time, stirring to dissolve. Continue to cook and stir until mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a metal spoon. Do not boil. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and butter. Pour into serving dishes. Chill before serving.

If Change Weren’t Hard, Everyone Would Do It

Week one is officially in the books. Holy crap that was the longest week ever! I managed to do yoga 5 mornings and eat healthy all week. I lost five pounds this week, though I have no doubt most of that is probably water weight. It is still encouraging, and I can’t wait until my clothes start fitting a lot differently. One week may not be a big deal, but the first couple weeks of any big change are always the hardest. So many excuses come up on why I can’t do it or why I should start tomorrow or whatever.

The top excuses I had to overcome this week.

  1. I am too busy. It’s true, I am busy. A lot of people are busy. It isn’t easy to make dinner every night and my breakfast and lunch every morning. It isn’t easy, but it is doable. How I overcame this excuse was I planned ahead. I made my lunches the night before and this weekend I made three dinners for the upcoming week and froze them.
  2. I am too tired. 6am is really, really early for me. I stay up late at night because that is when I get most of my writing and editing done. So running on 4-5 hours of sleep is hard and also not wise. I will have to make a concession somewhere, and I need to do the yoga. I have decided to cut back on my internet and television time and write and edit earlier so I can go to sleep at a more reasonable hour.

Goals for this week

  1. Do cardio 3 days for 20 minutes.
  2. Do free weights 3 days

Motivation: Trip to Vegas in one month!

No Excuses in 2012 and Slim Gingerbread Latte Recipe

So far this year I have been busy, busy (no surprise there),but things are starting to settle down a bit. My menu has been made (This week’s menu) and I have stuck to it. Woohoo! I have done yoga every day, including today after only four hours of sleep and at 6 a.m.

I have not made my elliptical running goals yet, but all in time. I need to settle into the routine little by little. Last night I had the urge for a cookie, but luckily I have nothing tasty and sweet in my house other than fruit so ha ha! Take that cookie craving.

The first two weeks of any new routine are always the hardest. They take time to get your body and your brain to agree to the change. So be patient and forgiving of yourself, but do not give up.

Today I have a very special guest post from Mandie Stevens at Time 4 Mommy and Reading on the Cheap. She brings us a delicious and light recipe for Gingerbread Lattes. Enjoy!

❤ Liz

Gingerbread Latte Recipe

I like this version so much better than Starbucks. Theirs is made with syrup and this is so much better for you. It’s amazing how much healthier you can make things when you just change a few ingredients.

 

Ingredients:

1/2 cup Espresso or real strong coffee (I use Decaf)

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Pinch of nutmeg

Skim or low fat milk ( I actually use Almond milk)

Agave nectar, to taste (or you can use honey)

Heavy Cream, for whipping if desired

Directions:

Brew your coffee or espresso. Add a teaspoon of agave nectar (more or less to taste; it’s sweeter than sugar). Steam your milk either with a steamer or in a pot on the stove until it’s 140-160¼F, and add the vanilla and spices. Add enough espresso to fill your cup a third of the way. Add the milk and top with the whipped cream if desired.

Recipe  adapted from creativecookingcorner

Mandie

Meeting The Resistence

~When Your Goals Are Met With Less Than Enthusiastic Support or Sabotage~

While coming up with goals for this coming year; I included my Husband because a clean eating overhaul doesn’t only affect me. My kids roll with it, but I also am married to one of the worlds pickiest and stubborn people.

Our conversation went a little like this: Me- “I’m trying to come up with goals that correlate with a healthier lifestyle in 2012. What are some of the things you are willing to implement?” Him- “Ummm exercising every day for 30 minutes.” Me- “Ok, what else?” Him- “I’m good.” Later that day, he posted this on his Facebook Profile:

You think he was trying to tell me something?! *insert eye roll here* So, what do we do when met with resistance? When the goals we want to implement have an effect on others who oppose change…. even if it’s for the best? Me? I say too damn bad and make the changes anyway… He can starve hahahaha!

Cheers to 2012 and accomplishing our goals!

~M.D. Christie~

Roasted Garbanzo Beans, My New Addiction

Over the last two days I have developed quite the addiction to Pinterest. So many recipes and crafts. Not to mention all the other pictures to stimulate my already overactive mind. I can’t seem to get enough. If you are on Pinterest you can be my friend, http://pinterest.com/liz_schulte/

If you are not on Pinterest have no fear. I am about to share with you one of my greatest discoveries from it. That would be the delicious and addictive discovery of Roasted Garbanzo Beans. Holy moly are they good. I keep thinking these delightfully crispy devils would make an excellent salad topper, but I have yet to make them that they all weren’t devoured in less than an hour.

Roasted Garbanzo Beans with Cajun seasoning

It is super easy to make. Take a can of garbanzo beans drain, rinse, and pat dry. Spread on baking sheet and drizzle with about a tablespoon of olive oil then bake at 400 for 30-40 minutes. Sprinkle with Cajun or any seasoning you want and enjoy.

They are completely addictive, you’ve been warned.

My picture came out weird, but here it is.

What is your favorite healthy snack?

Why we carve Jack-o’-lanterns

There is a long tradition of carving lanterns from vegetables throughout Ireland and Britain,

but immigrants to North America used the native pumpkin. Turnips were carved into lanterns in Ireland

as a way of remembering the souls in purgatory. They were left on the doorsteps on All’s Hallows Eve along with a

treat of some sort to ward off evil spirits.

They became known as Jack-o’-lanterns based on the legend of an Irishman named Stingy Jack.

Apparently, Jack tricked the devil (the manner in which he tricked him varies, sometimes Jack has the devil hanging from an apple tree

in others he is a thief) and made a bargain with him that he would never take his soul. So Jac was left to wander the earth.

As time moved on ol’ Jack died, as all living things do, but he was too sinful to go to Heaven.

The devil however upheld his end of the deal and didn’t claim Jack either

Jack had no where to go and no light to guide him. The devil gave him an ember from hell that would burn eternally

and Jack placed it in a hallowed out turnip and endless wonders the earth looking for a place to rest.