Friday, March 30, 2012

Mediterranean Chicken Salad

I am so excited to try this recipe that was posted here this week!

I love Mediterranean food...these ingredients are almost always stocked in my pantry or fridge.

I am not a huge fan of the putzi-ness of kebabs, so I will cut up strips of chicken and pan-cook them. I will most definitely also add a pita!!!

And, so you can see how I make an moderately easy recipe SUPER easy, I will put my comments below for each ingredient on how I, the-ever-lazy-wannabe-chef, plan to make this recipe even simpler.

1 lb skinless boneless chicken breast, cut into 1 inch cubes (I am going to do strips)

For the marinade:
2 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice (I am going to do bottled)
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp garlic, crushed (I'll chop it)
kosher salt to taste (I have the one with the girl umbrella, NOT kosher)
fresh ground black pepper to taste (I also don't have a pepper grinder)
OR - if I'm feeling really lazy, I may just marinate it in RF Italian dressing...

For the salad:
1 1/4 cups cucumber, peeled (no peeling for me, thank you very much)
1 1/4 cups diced tomato
1/4 cup diced bell pepper
2 tbsp red onion, diced (eliminating - YUCK)
1/4 cup black olives (jarred whole olives because that's what I have)
1 1/2 tsp vinegar
1 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice (bottled again)
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp fresh dillweed (what? no. I don't ever have fresh herbs. I'll use dried.)
1 tsp fresh parsley (also no.)
1/8 tsp dried oregano
salt and black pepper to taste

4 cups shredded lettuce (I buy the triple washed pre-washed Organic Girl blends. Yes, I'm THAT person who doesn't want to even shred or wash their lettuce.)
1/2 cup feta cheese, grated (I buy Athenos already chunked feta, reduced fat.)
lemon wedges for serving (no again)

Ok folks, the original directions weren't working for me so I condensed them below. Click on the link above if you want to see more beautiful photos and the original directions.

Marinate the chicken overnight.

Combine the first 12 salad ingredients (cucumbers through salt and black pepper, not the lettuce) and set aside in the refrigerator to let the flavors set (10-20 minutes).

Throw chicken strips into a pan with 1 tsp olive oil and cooke for 5-6 minutes until chiken is cooked.

Pile lettuce, tomato-cucumber salad, feta cheese and chicken strips onto a plate. ENJOY!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Training and Seminars

Last week, Jeff was sent for training by his new job. YIPPEE!

He learned a bit about security cameras, and a lot about the software and features of various models.

The best part? According to him, it was the food...over 2 days, they really fed the group well!

A full hot breakfast
Mid-morning cold snack
Day 1 - Taco Bar lunch
Day 2 - Pasta Bar lunch
Mid-afternoon dessert snack

I definitely won't be able to compete with my sack lunches of sandwiches, pita chips & hummus, and carrots...

Friday, March 23, 2012

Oopsie Daisy!

Since I know you are all waiting for most recent results, I'll break it to you right away...I did not hit my 40-lb loss mark yesterday.

I lost only 0.2...mwahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!

I told Jeff I'm not too worried about it. Here's why:

My Top 5 Reasons With Which I Am Convincing Myself Not To Worry

1. I ate well this week...on plan, with no big oopsies or slip-ups.

2. I worked out over 4 hours the past 7 days - earned 27 Activity Points.

3. I flew twice (ATL-MCO-ATL) during my weigh-in day, and landed only about an hour and a half before weigh-in. I retain a LOT of water in my legs and feet when I fly.

4. I do not usually eat or drink anything between 3PM and 6PM (weigh-in time) to stay consistent. Yesterday, I totally did - a big bottle of water, cheese, and a Bailey's at the Sky Club.

5. And finally...TMI coming...I didn't go #1 or #2 before the weigh-in, which I usually do.

I know - likely all of this did not equal 2 lbs worth of stuff...but maybe it did equal 1 lb, which would put me right back around my average weekly loss.

We'll just stay on this path this week again, and eventually the number will come in.

Just like my friend Megan - who has been struggling with health issues and injuries and dental malpractice and therefore NOT losing...all of a sudden this week (after a week of REST), WHAMMY! Her loss was over 4 lbs this week, and enough to hit her 95-lb loss!!!!! WAY TO GO, MEGAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Yellow Sweat

Happy Wednesday from Atlanta! AH-CHOO! Excuse me. It's pollen season.

Zumba kicked my butt on Monday. Our instructor, Maria, told us, "We are doing OL' SKOOL Zumba tonight - so get ready!"

Dude. It was 90% Latin-inspired, 5% warm-up and cool down, and 5% hip hop. Now I can shake my booty just fine to the hip-hop / pop music, which is normally what most of the class is like. TODAY, however, the super quick, on-your-toes, midriff shimmying Ricky Martin style dances left me in the (yellow) DUST!!! I left class REALLY sweaty and totally tired. (And I took Tuesday as a rest day, which normally is a workout day for me.)

When I got home, I noticed the streaks of sweat were leaving a YELLOW TRAIL on my face and neck - this happened after just walking to the car in the parking lot!

The pollen is horrible. The hot weather has started. But hopefully being almost 40 lbs lighter will make it all easier this season! (Stay tuned tomorrow to see if I hit the 40-lb mark!)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

My 10%

I forgot to mention in the flurry of the visit and all our activities lately...

I have hit my 10% lb loss!!!

We finally had time to celebrate today - and we did. Check out my new swag that honors ME!!!:

My new gym bag is replacing a freebie I got in my other job - which was actually a travel duffel bag. Due to the fact it has no vent stinks. Also, it's huge. Like check-able bag huge. BUT MY CUTE NEW PURPLE ONE ROCKS!!!

I also got some more Experia socks - totally my favorite. Although no store ever has purple or pink in Medium (hello, women have size 10 feet!) I did settle in on a pretty blue to keep me blister free.

I picked up some 2-lb weights to use at my Saturday morning Zumba or Jazzercise class (I have 3-lbs but they are too heavy).

And finally, super cute hair bands to keep all the flyaways in place while on the elliptical!

The party continued at home - since I am now working out 4-5 times per week in public, I needed to expand my wardrobe. I bought 2 tops and a pair of capris from Reebok:

I'm totally set and on my way to losing another 10%!!!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Moment of Truth.

YIKES! After re-reading all the eating out and my throwing pure caution to the wind while my family was here, I was REALLY nervous about my weigh-in yesterday.

I expected a gain. Totally. I pre-counseled myself with positive self-talk: "You know how you gained. And you will know what to change next week."

Guess what. I LOST 1.4 lbs! WHAT?

ELATED!!!!!!!!!!! I guess walking around like a crazy touristing person burns a few calories too. Good thing those ribs didn't stick to my ribs like I thought they would :) (HAHAHAHA).

No rest for the weary though. I am back completely on track today - and even went to a 60 minute class at normal dance / step / kickboxing class was not normal...she said, "I don't feel like doing step today. Let's do sprints." Um. I'm pooped.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Where did the past week go?

Holy crap, it occurs to me I have not blogged about ONE THING I did when my family was here. And that was last weekend. SORRY!!!

Overall - we had a BLAST! Here's the snapshot -

On Thursday night last week, we had 5 people arrive from the frozen tundra:
Aunt Kathy / Uncle Bill
Cousin Ben / Girlfriend Jordan
Cousin Joe

Friday: Loaded up 2 cars and hit up Chick-Fil-A (Jordan's request). Spent part of the afternoon at the Georgia Aquarium (family request). Spent the other part of the day at the World of Coke (Joe's favorite). Had a down-home barbeque supper at Shane's Rib Shack (Ben's favorite genre). Started a 500-piece puzzle. Collapsed in exhaustion!

Saturday: Zumba in the morning with Jordan (her first time!!!). Road trip through the countryside. A late lunch at the Blue Eyed Daisy Bakery at Serenbe. Shopping at artisan boutiques. Jeff's famous Jambalaya with chicken, andouille sausage and shrimp...served outside at the firepit. FIRE. S'mores. Laughing hilariously at nothing. More puzzle.

Sunday: Treated the group to my favorite Chinese restaurant, Chin Chin. Split up - Kathy and I went shopping and out for coffee. The others went to Atlanta Motor Speedway and rode around the track at 90 MPH. Even pulled into Pit Road and got out and walked around the track and infield! Regrouped at home to watch NASCAR in Las Vegas and ordered a pizza to chow on before taking them to the airport. Finished the puzzle.

BYE BYE!!! The house has been so quiet this week. Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

A (new to me) Underrated Junk Food

I have been looking for delicious, salty, not-as-bad for me junk food to satisfy that chip or cracker desire that strikes every once in awhile.

Enter Lance Crackers.

Did you even know about these? I had never heard of them until my new job (yet another perk - exposure to more processed food!!!).

I just had 2 cracker 'sandwiches' out of a Lance Whole Grain Sharp Cheddar Cheese package. I am completely happy, satisfied, and dare I say - not wanting more??? after just 2 of those sandwiches for 2 Points Plus.

Even better, they come pre-packaged so it would be really difficult to indulge in more than 5 Points Plus at a time (the value of a whole package).

The nutritionals make my tummy much happier than your typical potato chip or cracker:
180 calories
9 grams of fat
23 grams of carbs
3 grams of fiber
5 grams of protein

I know, I know - it's not as good of a snack as "an apple" or "broccoli" or "just drink water". But I am telling you...sometimes I want some damn salty crunchy things and this is a good alternative to the vending machine! The nutrients may not be a lot different than a bag of chips but I feel like I'm getting more food, it tastes better, and will keep me full longer.

It also appears there is a Peanut Butter version avaialble with the same nutrional information. That will be next on my list to try!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

I want to tell jokes.

Why do I constantly feel the need to think up something funny to make others around me laugh?

Why do I always talk?

Why must I know what other people are thinking?

Quiet and Rest are two underrated qualities. And I need to practice them.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Fake Rotisserie Chicken

Came across this recipe today and can't WAIT to try it!!! If someone else tries it soon, let me know how it turns out.

1 whole chicken, preferably a "roasting" chicken (3.0 - 4.5 Lbs)
Olive Oil cooking spray, such as PAM
Lawry's Seasoned Salt
Aluminum Foil

2 small whole yellow onions, unsliced (as close in size as possible to potatoes)
4 small whole red potatoes, unpeeled (as close in size as possible to onions)

Ensure that chicken is thoroughly thawed, if frozen.

Spray inside of crock with olive oil spray, or line with plastic Crock Pot liner.

Wash and pat dry outside of red potatoes.
Remove outer skin from onions, leaving them whole.
Spray one side of each sheet of foil with Pam and wrap each vegetable.
Line the bottom of the crock with wrapped vegetables.
- The chicken will sit on these aluminum balls, allowing fat and juices to drip without chicken "stewing" in the liquid.

Remove the neck and gizzards from inside of chicken.
Rinse chicken inside and out, and pat dry with paper towels.
Place on paper towels, breast up. Spray outside of chicken with Pam.
Sprinkle evenly with seasoned salt.
Place chicken, BREAST SIDE DOWN, in crock on top of aluminum balls.
Spray back of chicken with olive oil. Sprinkle evenly with Lawry's.


Cook on HIGH 4 - 6 hours. 3 lbs chicken take 4 hours to fully cook.

DO NOT remove lid at any time during cooking.
DO NOT start with a frozen chicken.

When ready, remove all skin from chicken to reduce fat.

My Sister Rocks.

Amy visited this weekend!!! I am SO GLAD she chose to spend her hard earned money on a ticket to visit.

After a bit of an arrival delay Friday evening (due to weather), we finally picked her up and just relaxed at home, catching up on life.

On Saturday we got up early and headed out to catch half a class of Jazzercise and a Zumba class. I mixed up the start time of Zumba (we were there a half hour early) so the Jazzercise folks let us jump in for the last half for free (THANKS TYRONE REC CENTER)! I had actually been really curious about Jazzercise and will consider adding it to my schedule - it was fun!

We had a nice, relaxing lunch at our local sushi spot (which also has Chinese food for Jeff), complete with sake and soup. YUM. I will definitely head back there for a spicy tuna roll soon.

A bit of hanging out at home on the porch, then naps completed our afternoon! Then of course it was time to eat again - Cafe Pig is our local family-owned BBQ spot and the smoky ribs did NOT disappoint.

Sunday was a later start, with more heart to hearts over coffee in the morning...followed by Just Dance on the Kinect. Wow - 35 minutes of hip hop is TIRING! Amy packed up her things, we shared a Kosmic Karma pizza at Mellow Mushroom, and it was time to head back to the airport.

I hope the pink flowering trees, warm-ish weather, and sunshine brightened Amy's spirit as much as her physical presence brightened mine!

Friday, March 2, 2012

A Bit Stagnant

Guess what the scale feedback in week over week change was. -0.4. WHAT? I haven't lost that little except for one week - before Christmas.

The check-in ladies say, "A loss is a loss. Keep it up!"

I say, "DAMMIT. I was expecting at least -1.0. I was hoping for closer to 2.0. I am soooo close to losing 10% - which for me, is a lot of lbs. Why didn't it happen? I must immediately go and consult my charts and graphs to find out what has changed."

There are people at Weight Watchers who HATE tracking. Not me. I love it. As long as you are being HONEST (which really, why wouldn't you), it is the most effective way to not only modify your behavior at the current moment but also do a bit o' statistical analysis on your past to help plan for the future.

Here are my favorite tools that are part of eTools (which I employed last night to make a plan for this week):
1. Weight Tracker. A line graph of week to week how much weight you lost.

2. Progress Reports - Weekly Report. A week to week report of average daily points used, average weekly points used, and average activity points earned.

3. Smiley Faces. In weeks with good progress, did I meet all my Good Health Guidelines (5 fruits & veggies, 2 dairy, 2 oils, whole grains, water).

4. Monthly summary. A non-graphical snapshot of key data - days of tracking, activity earned, weight change.

5. Measurements. Get out the measuring tape and measure your waist, hips, chest, or whatever - there's a place to track it and graph it.

I use these tools to go back to 'big loss weeks' or other time periods (ie, 4 weeks at a time) to reinforce that GOOD BEHAVIORS GET RESULTS.

This week - I only got 17 activity points. Prior to eye surgery - when I was getting better results - I would get between 24 and 33 activity points, and barely used any weekly points. So, both of those will be a focus for me this week - more activity, and stick to my daily allowance only!