Tuesday, January 31, 2012

First blog in my new home!

Hi everybody, I am happy to announce that I am writing my first blog from my new apartment!  This past weekend I moved into a new place that I consider to be my first "Big Girl" apartment.  I'm writing from my kitchen table -- the first I've ever had, in a kitchen that has great counter space and a brand new stove/oven!

My new kitchen!

I am SO excited to be able to have my own space and have this wonderful kitchen to try new recipes and entertain in.  Now that I am getting settled into my own space, I feel like the year is really just starting for me.  As you may have read, around the New Year, I posted my resolutions for 2012.  These are big overarching goals that I am going to be working towards throughout the entire year and they are always in my mind.  However, over the past couple weeks I have started to feel a little lost and have fallen into a bit of a funk with my workouts and eating.  I've cheated a ton on Weight Watchers and am expecting to go up at my weigh in tomorrow.  My exercise routine consists of spin class 2x a week, boot camp 3x a week, and running on the treadmill 1x a week.  This is challenging, but getting a little old.  I think the winter is getting to me and I am missing running outside (which is shocking for me to say!)

So, I've decided to add some new goals to the mix for the month of February to keep me on my toes and keep me challenged.  I know many of you have these smaller monthly goal lists and I think that they are really great.  I was super excited to put my list together and am looking forward to reporting back to you at the end of the month to let you know how I do!  Let me know if you have monthly goals as well, I would love to read them and follow along as you work to achieve them!

  • Blog at least 10x
  • Lose 5 lbs
  • Do a cardio workout 3-4x a week (running 2x a week)
  • Use my reusable bags at the grocery store
  • Buy fruits & vegetables that are on sale that week
  • Try cooking a new vegetable
  • Stay away from Valentine's Day candy
  • Use all of the food I purchase at the grocery store-- do not let anything go bad!
  • Bring my lunch to work every day
  • Do not purchase clothing for the whole month
  • Finish reading one of the books I am in the middle of
  • Recycle bottles & cans
  • Give up coffee completely
  • Go to 2 yoga classes at Good Karma Studio
  • Go on a date
  • Reconnect with a friend I haven't spoken to in a while
  • Celebrate my friends in little ways
  • Complete my taxes
  • Organize my recipe binder
  • Commit to a road race that I have never done before
  • Tell myself I am beautiful. Out loud. Every day.

A few of these things I have already started working on (cutting out coffee) and some I've been preparing for by treating myself beforehand (I bought myself a box of Valentine's Day Junior Mints yesterday... does that defeat the purpose?)  Either way, starting tomorrow I am going to work to hopefully check each of these items off my list this month.  I hope everybody has a great start to your February!

Friday, January 20, 2012

More chicken sausage -- this time with spinach!

So, why another chicken sausage meal you may ask?  Well, I have currently been living off of the stuff.  My apartment is undergoing renovations and I don't have a full kitchen to work with right now.  Pots & pans are stored in one part of the apartment, seasonings are stored in another place, food is in another place, and I have to gather everything together and pull a Rachel Ray by carrying it all to the kitchen (which is down a flight of stairs and in a completely OTHER place) to even prepare a meal.  Therefore, chicken sausage has been my savior.  It is low in fat, filling, and the best part is that it is fully cooked already AND comes in many different varieties, all extremely flavorful, so I use that as the seasoning on my veggies.

I promise, SOON, I will have non-chicken sausage recipes for you all.  Until then, this is still yummy!

Spinach & Chicken Sausage
Makes: 2 servings
Weight Watchers PointsPlus (per serving): 8 (easily lowered by using less Panko & Parmesan!)

4 links Spinach & Garlic chicken sausage
2 cups cooked spinach
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup whole wheat Panko breadcrumbs
2 Teaspoons olive oil

Step 1: In a dry pan, over medium heat, add your panko breadcrumbs to the pan and toast stir them continually with a wooden spatula to toast.  Toast until they are all a light brown color.  Then, set aside off of heat.  Add Parmesan cheese to the toasted breadcrumbs and mix.

Step 2:  Add 1 teaspoon of olive oil to your pan to a big pan over medium heat.  Add your spinach and toss continually to wilt the spinach down (6-8 minutes).  Drain any existing water from spinach.  I used one big bag of fresh spinach but you could also use as much or as little as you want.  With Weight Watchers PointsPlus, spinach is a 0 point vegetable so if you want to make this a BIGGER dish, by all means, add more spinach!  Then, set aside.

Step 3:  Add other 1 teaspoon of olive oil to the pan, then add sliced chicken sausage.  If you bought fully cooked chicken sausage, just cook until they are golden brown.

Step 4:  Return spinach to the pan and toss with the chicken sausage.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and breadcrumb mixture, give it a final toss.  And serve!!

It is amazing how much spinach wilts!
A meal in progress.
A meal that includes breadcrumbs and cheese has to be good!
Finished product. Bon appetite!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

What's for dinner?

One of the new blogs I've started following A Running Tale recently posted an entry all about planning and scheduling meals.  I found myself writing a long response in the comments because I'd recently had this topic in my mind.  Just a couple of weeks ago the Weight Watchers weekly meeting topic was about this exact thing-- meal planning.

At the meeting, our leader asked the group, "Who here plans their meals?"  Without hesitation, I raised my hand.  Now, I always get quite a bit of teasing at the Weight Watchers meetings because I am seen as a bit of a teacher's pet since I follow the program very strictly.  However, my meal planning has nothing to do with Weight Watchers and what they suggest.  For as long as I can remember, as soon as I finished consuming one meal, my thoughts were already on the next.

Breakfast?  Done. What's for lunch? Lunch over? Do we have dinner plans yet? I am ALWAYS thinking about food!

When I plan meals, it also helps me to enjoy the meals more when I actually eat them.  I get excited thinking about my next meal throughout the day and savor the food as I have it.  Like today, I was very much looking forward to my latest spinach, chicken sausage, panko, and Parmesan cheese concoction I've been eating lately.  And yum, it did not disappoint! Recipe to come...!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The perfect chocolate chip cookie is on its way!

I found this video to be totally adorable. And gave me a future date to start getting excited about now. According to Jeremy Snyder, the perfect chocolate chip cookie will be here in 2040.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

What is on your list?

Hi everybody! I haven't checked in since I made my New Year's Resolutions and as it turns out... I probably should have made a resolution to blog more. Oops! Anyways, I wanted to share a list today that I saw on one of my new favorite food/health/life blogs, Khushboo's Blog. She posted a list of “100 Things to EAT Before You Die” that got me thinking.  How many have I had?  I've been plagued for a long time of thinking I dislike foods just by not having ever tried them.  Perhaps this list will do me some good.  I'd like to make it a resolution to try 5 more.  Let's see how that works out for me!

1. Venison - Check.
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros- Check.
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue - Yum, yes, yes, yes!
8. Carp
9. Borscht - Check. Not a fan though.
10. Baba ghanoush - Check.
11. Calamari - Check.
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich - Check (although I'd prefer a PB&Fluff!)
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart - Check.
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle - Check. I love everything and anything truffle.
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes? Check.
19. Steamed pork buns - Check.
20. Pistachio ice cream - Check.
21. Heirloom tomatoes - Check.
22. Fresh wild berries- Check.
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans - Check.
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters - Check.
29. Baklava - Check.
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float - Check.
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O - Check.
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail - Check-- just recently!
41. Curried goat - Check again! At the same time I had the oxtail.
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala - Check. Love it.
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut - Check.
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer- Check.
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzl- Check.
57. Dirty gin martini- Check.
58. Beer above 8% ABV - Check.
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores - Check.
62. Sweetbreads- Check.
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake - Check.
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain - Check. Thank you Nana!
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette- Check.
71. Gazpacho- Check.
72. Caviar and bilini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie- Check. (RIP Hostess)
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini- Check.
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict - Check.
83. Pocky - Check.
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash- Check.
88. Flower- Check.
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano - Check.
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta - Check.
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

I've got around 40.  How many do you have?