So tonight, I called a friend of mine, whom I'd seen on Valentine's day (in the liquor store, lol!), and we talked about maybe going swimming. I told her I'd order a bathing suit, and call her up when I got it, and we'd make plans.
So this evening, I called her and we made plans to go swimming on sunday!!
Also, she invited me to go to the movies with her and some other people on thursday, which is equally exciting to me... I was thinking, just earlier today, that I wish I had friends I could get together and do things with... I have a couple of friends here, but I spend a lot of my time holed up at home... I miss my friends down south, so much...
I am filled to glowing with excitement right now!
Supper tonight was a Roasted Pork Tenderloin, with Corn & Red Pepper Relish (The relish was taken from a recipe from the WW 20 minutes cookbook), with couscous and brussels sprouts.
I love pork tenderloin! It is one of the easiest meats you can make, I think, and if you make it correctly it can be juicy and yummy! Plus, it's fun to serve, those great little medallions!
As for the corn and red pepper relish, it's adapted from a recipe from the WW 20 minutes or less cookbook, the brand new one. The original recipe calls for pork chops, but we had pork tenderloin, so I just calculated out the relish. It's so easy to make, really just thrown together, and it's a really tasty addition to meats. I don't know if I'd serve it with beef, but I think it could be really tasty with chicken, or shrimp, or fish. Actually, it'd be really lovely on a nice piece of whitefish!
I added a bit of extra cayenne pepper to the relish, because it adds a nice kick, which I really like. It balances the flavors nicely, with the sweet and sour.
The couscous is pretty simple to make, which is why I like making it as a side dish. I just put 1 cup couscous into a bowl, added dried rosemary, thyme, basil, and some salt and pepper. I poured 1 3/4 cup of bowling water over top. When all the liquid was absorbed, I added 6 Tbsp of Kraft Olive Oil salad dressing. It's flavorful, and a nice carb.
And then of course there were my steamer-bag brussel sprouts!
For the relish:
Ease of preparation - 4.5/5
Appearance - 4.5/5
Taste - 4/5
So, I went and weighed-in, and I lost 3 more lbs, for a total of 29 lbs in 6 weeks.
That brings me to 422lbs, and my bmi, which started at 69, is down to 64!
The recipe for the Chocolate cookies! (Shhh, don't tell!)
4oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
4 Tbsp butter (unsalted)
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 cup flour
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda & salt in a bowl.
Place another bowl over a pot of simmering water, and heat the butter, sugar and chocolate until they’re mostly melted, then take the chocolate mixture off the heat and stir until it's all melted. Add the egg, and beat til just combined. Stir in the flour mixture gradually. (The dough will form a ball)
Divide the dough in half, and roll out each half on sheets of parchment paper to about 1/4 inch thick. Place on a baking sheet, and freeze for about 20 minutes, until the dough is firm.
Heat the oven to 350degrees.
Take the dough off the baking sheet, use a cookie cutter to cut out the cookies, and place them at least a ½ inch apart. Bake for 5-8 minutes for 2" cookies, 4-5 minutes for 1" cookies.
Let the cookies sit on the sheet for a few minutes to firm up before transferring to cool on a cooling rack.
As long as I have something to contribute to the wellbeing of myself and others, I am not worthless.
As long as what I do can have a positive effect, I am not worthless.
As long as my being alive makes a difference to even one person, I am not worthless (and this one person can be me if necessary).
If giving love, understanding, companionship, encouragement, sociability, counsel, solace means anything, I am not worthless.
If I can respect my opinions, my intelligence, I am not worthless. If others also respect me, that is a bonus.
If I have self-respect and dignity, I am not worthless.
If helping to contribute to the livlihood of my employee's families is a plus, I am not worthless.
If I do my best to help my customers and vendors through my productivity and creativity, I am not worthless.
If my presense in this milieu does make a difference to others, I am not worthless.
I am not worthless. I am eminently worthwhile!
I still had all my daily and weekly points left, so I thought I'd have a little splurge, and have a reuben sandwich. It was delicious!!!
And then I come home, and calculate out the points... I enjoyed it this time, but I think next time I'll stick to the grilled chicken burger!
On the plus side, though, I only ate about 1/3 of the fries that came with it!
But lately, I've been feeling more of an urge to, well... Get up! 100 lbs ago, 200 lbs ago, I had absolutely no desire to get my butt in gear. And just recently, I've been feeling like moving. I have energy. I feel WONDERFUL!! Maybe it's the eating well, maybe it's the anti-depressants, I don't know.
All I know is that this is the first time I can really remember feeling wholly and truly alive.
So this evening, hubbins and I went to the rec centre to walk. I was hoping to do a half hour, but I ended up doing 20 minutes, but I did 20 minutes of power walking. I know for a lot of people, 20 minutes is not much, but if you calculate it out for me, I burned 150 calories. That actually covered the bowl of bean-thread noodles w/ Thai Chili sauce and plum sauce I had when I got home. (I used my Daily Points... I'm also having grapes, and I'll still be 1.5 pts short today.)
I could've walked longer, but my hands were really uncomfortable. I think it has to do with the blood going to my hands, and me not being used to it.
Anywho, I did 6 laps. 6 laps x 215m per lap = 1.29 km!!!
Here is me after the walk. Notice the band on my wrist? That is the rec centre band. :D
Tonight, I decided that I wanted to try spaghetti Squash. I remember having it when I was a kid, and I've always been enchanted by the way it shreds off into those pasta-like strands. (Yes, that's right. I'm enchanted by squash. It's pretty easy to enchant me.)
So here is the recipe for Chantel's Spaghetti Squish with Sauce!
4 tsp Olive Oil
1 cup onion, diced
1/2 lb mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 medium stalks celery, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, diced
1 lb extra lean ground beef
1 cup fat free beef stock
1 large can plain tomato sauce
1 1/2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 med. Spaghetti Squash
Heat a large pan over medium heat, and heat oil in it. Saute onions until translucent. Add mushrooms, carrot and celery, garlic, salt and pepper, and saute until tender. Remove to a bowl.
Add beef to pan, break up, and saute until all browned and cooked through. Add the vegetables back in, and then add in the beef stock, tomato sauce, and herbs. Turn the heat to low (boy does tomato sauce splatter...), and simmer the sauce.
Cut the squash in half, and scoop out the seeds and guts. Sprinkle the halves with salt and pepper, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave on high for 10 minutes. Take the squash halves and a couple of forks, and shred the squash into strands. Add the squash to the sauce, stir in, and serve.
I had this with parmesan cheese and (shhhhh...) white bread. It was absolutely delicious. At least, in my opinion. My husband is a cream sauce kind of guy, so for him, tomato sauce is always a let down. However, there are lots of things I cook because he likes them; tomato sauce is something I do for ME!
I'm not going to rate this, because really, I just threw things together. I love cooking like that...
Also, cooking a vegetable laden dish gave me the chance to satisfy my craving for white bread... I've just eaten so much whole grain lately that I absolutely needed some white, soft, fluffy bread.
The wonderful thing about making a lot of good eating choices is that I don't have to feel any guilt about what I eat anymore... That makes everything taste to much better!
I'm now down to 425lbs, from 451lbs 5 weeks ago!!
I'm rather expecting to either stay the same or gain a little bit next week, because I weighed in earlier in the day than I usually do (1:15pm instead of 5:30pm), but I'm still going to enjoy this for the next 6 days!
The dough, on the cookie sheet. I thought it was pretty darn cute!
These are delicious cookies... They are SUPER rich and delicious. And if you can stop yourself at one, guess what!!
You haven't spent a single point!
Of course, I ate 6, spending a paltry 2.5 pts. I used almost as many points on the milk I drank with them!
These are such worthwhile cookies to make. A little bit of work, because they need to be rolled out, chilled, cookie cuttered... But so worth it!
Ease of Preparation: 2/5
Hubbin's Review: (The cookies are about 13 pixels to the right of center of the plate!!) 5/5
Enter... Everyday Food! (The Martha Stewart publication.) I was attracted to the cover, which proclaimed, "It's All Light!" I picked it up, and to my surprise, they weren't only cooking pale food. It was then that I began to realize that they meant low-cal, low-fat, etc.
I never said I was very bright.
I flipped through - there are some tasty sounding recipes, I'll agree. When I came to the back page, just before the back cover, they had the "Cookie Jar" page, with a photo of "Chocolate Sweet Hearts". Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwww... I flipped back a page to the recipe, and it said that each cookie had fewer than 50 calories, which appealed to my WW sensibility. And then I thought... Wouldn't it be adorable to make mini cookies? The recipe called for a 2 inch cookie cutter; what if I used a 1 inch? How cute would that be?!
The recipe is simple enough, and uses both chocolate and cocoa, so a double dose of chocolate.
The only downside to the recipe, so far...
Have you ever tried to roll cookie dough on parchment paper? It's a wee bit slidy!!! I ended up with my belly pressed against the counter, holding the flap of parchment paper down, trying to get the dough rolled out. It didn't help that the dough was a bit crumbly, and liked to crack apart.
As I'm writing this, the dough is resting in the oven, waiting to be cut into hearts and baked. Check back, and I'll tell you how they taste!!
Why am I telling you all this? Why is Chantel blathering on about something you don't care about? Does she just like to hear the sound of her own... er... typing?
Not so much.
Hubbins and I usually drive to work together, as we both start at close to the time, and finish at the same time. This morning, DH was not feeling well enough to go to work, so I was in a bit of a quandry... So I called my mother to see if I could get a ride with her downtown, and her answer was, "Yes, if you can be ready in about 4 minutes."
(Did I mention that I wasn't even dressed yet?)
So, a couple of minutes of RUSHING to get ready, I get downstairs and see no vehicle waiting for me, so I figure I can get some food together...
But what to bring? I don't really have time to make a sandwich, but I don't want to buy breakfast AND lunch from the cafeteria, which is expensive, and not generally figure friendly... I knew I'd probably have to buy one or two items, but I didn't want to be eating MEALS from there.
So here is what I had for breakfast and lunch today:
Whole Grain Bagel w/ 1 egg & 1 slice cheese - no mayo or margarine. (cafeteria)
Activia Strawberry Yogurt
Green Salad (cafeteria) with 2Tbsp Kraft Olive Oil Raspberry Vinegrette (that I keep in the fridge at work)
4 pieces dark rye Ryvita toast
4 wedges Laughing Cow Light Cheese
50gm deli sliced turkey
1 cup sugar snap peas
No-sugar-added chocolate pudding
Not a bad day's eating for 2 minutes of foraging and a little bit of cafeteria shopping... It pays to keep a couple of great grab 'n' go foods to, well, grab and go. I love to have ryvita bread and laughing cow cheese around because it's a delicious, crunchy snack, and keeping yogurt and pudding makes my daytime meals a lot more cheerful.
Now, I hope that tomorrow I have a few more than 4 minutes to get ready for work!!
Tonight, I really didn't cook anything to a recipe... We had pan fried salmon (medium high heat, don't be afraid!), wild rice (chicken stock, water, thyme, cayenne), salad & asparagus.
The salmon was delicious. I actually started out with frozen salmon, as that's what we had... I was convinced that it wouldn't be as nice as fresh. Because really, frozen food! The sear wasn't as dark and crispy as fresh salmon, but otherwise, the flavor was just as nice. It wasn't as meaty a salmon, but still tasted lovely with just a little salt, pepper, and olive oil for searing.
Wild rice is probably my new favorite grain... It's nutty and chewy and satisfying. The only downside is that it takes approximately forever to cook... Fortunately, I had frozen salmon to defrost!
The only thing I was really disappointed with was the asparagus... I'd never done frozen asparagus before, and I cooked it the way suggested on the package, microwaving it in the bag. The flavor was alright, but those were the LIMPEST, soggiest asparagus I'd ever seen! The poor things were bent and wet, and falling apart. Instead of cutting them, we all ended up just folding them in half...
The great thing about meal planning is that you really do end up being able to entertain more easily. You know what you have on hand, you know what you're planning to make... At worst, you end up having to pop out for a bit of extra meat or veggies, but it's pretty well as quick to cook for 6 as for 2.
There's something about eating salmon that always makes me feel healthy... Maybe it's just the perceived "health glow" associated with the omega-3 fatty acids and all that jazz, but I never feel like I've stuffed myself, and I always feel like somehow I've done something good for me. And now that I know how to cook it, it actually tastes as good as it leaves me feeling!
Tomorrow, the hubbins cooks! Stay tuned, I'll let you know how it goes! (If you don't hear from me, call 911!)
1 thin crust pizza shell (I used Ziggy's, from Superstore. It comes in a package of 2... An excuse for more pizza!)
I love pizza with Barbecue sauce, because I find that it adds a really nice sweetness to the pizza. There are sometimes that you want tomato based sauce, but with the pineapple and bell pepper, bbq sauce is the way to go.
Mmmmm, Banana bread! I had a few getting-mushy bananas sitting in my fruit bowl, and I couldn't think of anything I'd enjoy more than delicious, delicious, freshly baked banana bread. Is there anything more wonderful than the smell of baking, especially on a cold day? (The answer, if you were wondering, is no.)
I looked through the WW recipes I had for banana bread, and, honestly... They just weren't what I was looking for. One had oatmeal, the other, dried dates. I'm sure they're great recipes, but I just couldn't bring myself to put dried dates in with my banana bread. So I calculated out the recipe from my Betty Crocker cookbook, which makes 2 loafs, and the amount per slice was a totally acceptable 3 pts per 1/12th of a loaf.
I made a minor health substitution... I changed half of the white flour out for whole wheat flour, which you totally couldn't notice. It was the same lovely texture, the same wonderful crusty exterior.
I was actually really surprised that banana bread is actually low fat, this recipe only containing 1/2 cup of butter for the whole thing! From what I can tell, a lot of the moisture in the bread comes from the mashed bananas, and a little bit of buttermilk and eggs...
Ok, this was a yummy, yummy recipe. Did I mention Yummy?
Ease of preparation: 3.5/5
Hubby's rating: 4/5 (Tasty, but not out of this world.)
Went I went to bed last night, after our weekly splurge (this week's splurge was on what hubby and I like to call the "Giant Sandwich"), I was FULL. I planned on having another little snack after that, but I didn't have any room left, all evening.
However, this morning (yes, yes, I know... afternoon) I woke up with a hungry tummy, and I thought...
We have back bacon (canadian bacon, to all you americans) in the fridge!
So may I present, the:
Canadian Bacon & Cheese Omelette
100 grams back bacon, sliced into small strips
1/2 cup diced onion (or M&M meats pre-cut onion)
1/2 red pepper, sliced into strips
250 ml Egg Substitute (I used Naturegg Break-Free Omega-3)
2 Slices Cracker Barrel Pre-sliced Medium Cheddar
Salt & Pepper to taste
Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add in the sliced back bacon, and saute until hot through. (My favorite way to test this is, of course, to eat a piece. Does it taste done? Perfect!) Add in the onions, and saute until slightly translucent. Add in red pepper, and saute until tender-crisp.
Pour the egg substitute over the bacon mixture, and add salt & pepper to taste. I would recommend using more pepper than salt, as the bacon will be salty.
Cook, stirring frequently, until the egg is partially cooked. Break up the cheese slices, and add to the pan, stirring them to combine.
Keep cooking and stirring until the egg substitute is cooked and the cheese is completely melted in.
Serves 2 (for what I calculated to be 7 points each.)
Yummmmy! One thing I noticed is that the back bacon cooks out way less fat than regular bacon, which was nice to see.
I really enjoy eggs for breakfast, and bacon, well... I agree with Jeffrey Steingarten that Bacon is the best food in the world (with chocolate coming second). The onion and red pepper add a nice texture, and I love the flavor of bell pepper with something salty.
I served this with a couple of slices of canadian grain bread, with nutella. Nutella is the food of the Gods, and there can be nothing better on a Saturday morning (ok, ok... afternoon). I find that when I top toast with delicious things like nutella, or delicious jam, I don't miss the butter NEARLY so much.
(Oh butter, my love... How I've longed for thee these long weeks... But I've found a new love! So I'll put you in banana bread later and have a secret affair.)
Speaking of, as I've saved some overripe bananas in the freezer, today seems like a nice day for to make that. That gives me something to review later! Stay Tuned!
Ease of Preparation: 4/5
Taste: 18/5 (Come on! Bacon!)
Hubby's Review: 3.5/5 (You could only really taste the bacon, but the bacon was delicious.)
This is my own recipe, so I can actually write it down for you!
Seared Pork Tenderloin
14 oz Pork Tenderloin, trimmed of all visible fat
1 1/2 Tsp EVOO
1 Tsp Cumin
1/2 Tsp Cayenne Pepper (adjust to taste)
Salt and Pepper
Preheat oven to 350degrees.
Pat the surface of the tenderloin, so that it isn't wet. Moist is ok, but we don't want a lot of surface liquid. Sprinkle all sides with salt, pepper, cumin and cayenne, and then rub to get it nicely stuck.
Using an OVEN PROOF saute pan, large enough to lay out the tenderloin, heat the oil over medium-high heat until you see the teeniest, wispiest little bits of smoke just over the surface of the oil. You need to look closely, as they're not super-visible, and you don't want anything to catch on fire!
Lay the tenderloin into the pan, preferably starting closest to you, and laying away from you, in case of any splatter. Sear each side until nicely brown, which is usually about the time that the meat will release easily from the pan.
Once the meat is seared, insert a meat thermometer into the middle of the meat. Remember that you want the tip of the probe in the middle of the tenderloin, not touching the pan, or that will give you incorrect readings. Pop the pan into the oven, and set your thermometer to (or watch for) 150degrees.
Once the meat has reached that temperature, take the pan out of the oven (remember, the handle will be HOT! Please use an oven mitt!), and tent the pan with aluminum foil. Leave the meat tented until the internal temperature reaches 160degrees.
Slice the tenderloin into 4 equal servings, and then slice each serving into 3-4 slices.
On the side of this, I served WW Corn SpoonBread, and Brussels sprouts.
As for the WW Corn Spoonbread, it was relatively easy to cook. You ended up having to do a couple of things at once, but if you get your ingredients organized, it ends up being relatively steamlined. This does bake for about 45 min, so it's a good recipe to make first, and then get your meats and veggies prepared.
I really enjoyed the spoonbread, but it isn't my favorite kind of cornbread. I actually generally prefer a drier cornbread, the kind you would make in a loaf pan, or muffin tins. This was dense, and moist, and rich, enough so that you didn't need butter for either the richness or the moistness. (My first instinct when it comes to cornbread is gobs of butter; my second, maple syrup.)
I have to say, there's nothing quite as fun as pulling something tasty looking out of the oven. You bake this in a souffle dish (or, in my case, a small casserole), and it comes out looking crusty and golden, with a beautiful domed top.
The recipe called for turkey ham, and I omitted that. (What part of the turkey does the HAM come from, anyways?! Really people...) I knew that the leftovers would probably be used for desserts, and I'm trying to stay away from as many pseudo-foods as I can.
I actually found this cornbread a bit TOO rich and moist. One serving of this is good, but I had 2 with the pork and while I enjoyed about the first 3/4, I found that by the end, it just wasn't as good. Also, because the recipe calls for kernel corn as well, you really need to make sure to eat it really hot, if you're going to have it plain.
On the 5th, after the smoked salmon pizza, I had the Corn Spoonbread as a dessert, topped with maple syrup. This is what I'd highly recommend this cornbread for. If you reheat the cornbread, letting it dry out a bit, and then top it with the sweet, slight bitterness of real maple syrup, it's a really wonderful treat! I mean, maybe that's just my fondness for maple talking, but the cornbread was a perfectly lovely vessel. I still have another serving left, and I'm looking for another excuse to eat maple syrup.... er.... cornbread!
Ease of Preparation: 3.5/5
Appearance: 3/5 (but can be improved by proper presentation)
Ease of Preparation: 3/5
Cornbread: 1.5/5 - The Sweet Corn overpowered the already weak Cornbread taste. Not even butter and maple syrup could save the palatability.
I did make a couple of adjustments; I had to recalculate for the pizza crust I was able to find where I shop for groceries, which upped the points by a few, and we ended up using less salmon than the recipe called for, so a couple points less for that. (The salmon issue was a fluke... I thought the package I bought was more than enough! Crazy American measurement systems!)
Also, I omitted the capers, as they're a food that neither DH nor I find anything more than just vaguely creepy.
This pizza turned out looking and tasting like something you'd find in a restaurant! It was creamy and smoky and fresh and really, really luscious. It was simple enough that even the most beginner of beginner chefs could easily master this recipe. I think that this is a situation to splurge for nice, lox style smoked salmon, because it really is the star of this show, and that way, you don't end up with everything coloured the odd red colour of regular, bulk smoked salmon.
The only downside I found was that there wasn't a lot of freshness to counterbalance the salty-smokiness of the smoked salmon. I think next time, a little more green might help with that. (And there will DEFINITELY be a next time!)
This is a recipe, however, that is a bit low on the veggie quotient, so I added a nice big side salad, topped off with bell pepper and Kraft Olive Oil Balsamic dressing, and some really nice sugar-snap peas.
For dessert? (Though I have previously been a sugar fiend, I'm trying to cut down, so dessert is not an often event.)
WW Corn Spoonbread, again from the online recipe bank, topped off with some real maple syrup. (More to come later.)
I love healthy food that doesn't taste like "diet" food, and the Smoked Salmon Pizza definitely qualified in that regard!
Ease of Preparation: 5/5
Hubby's rating: Delectable, now let me get back to sleep! (4.5/5)
(Yes, yes, in the future I will try and take pictures. I haven't been able to find my camera battery charger, and it's deader than dead.)
And this is about a girl who loves food!
I love food!
The complicating factor in this, however, is that I'm a recovering food addict. I am a binge eater. This is as terrible and deadly an addiction as alcoholism or drug addiction, and can be even more frustrating, because food is something you need for life. It is so hard to distinguish between hunger from actual hunger, and hunger from emotional need. Sometimes, the deep, gnawing feeling in your gut is too much to ignore; sometimes you don't even realize that you've just eaten more than you thought you physically could, and you wake up to realize that you hate yourself even more than you did a few minutes ago.
But there is a way through addiction. It has been many months since I've binged. I'm learning new coping skills, learning more about myself. I feel proud to call myself a recovering binge eater! I will always have this addiction, but with constant vigilence and self-love, I can live a life out from the constant shadow of it.
And so now, I'm learning about myself as a person not living every day with addiction.
I have discovered that, apart from being an addict, I really enjoy food. I love cooking. I love discovering new recipes! I love playing around with ingredients, healthy or not. And I learned that, frankly, healthy cooking is a wonderful new adventure!
This is my journey from food addict to food lover, whole person, and healthy woman.