Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Drink it...don't look at it...

This was surprisingly tasty, and super good for me!

4 frozen strawberries, 2 handfuls fresh spinach, 10 drops stevia, 6 ice cubes, and a cup of water. Blend it up and drink it down!

Due to the odd color, we have dubbed it the 'S.S. (strawberry spinach) swamp.

Hey, if it gets me into my size 8's, I'm in!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Cooking Lean - quick recipes under 300 calories

Ground Beef & Tomato spicy chili....
This one is first, it's my fave! Simply saute 1 lb. lean ground beef in a saucepan, until no longer pink, adding in a bit of S&P, granulated garlic and onion. Set aside to drain. Meanwhile, add 1/2 chopped onion to the pan, and saute about 8 minutes, until translucent. If you don't want to add oil, use a bit of beef broth to keep it moist. I like the Pacific organic brand. when it's mostly done cooking, add 1T. minced onion, 1t. of cumin, paprika, and chili powder. Let those spices 'toast' a bit, then add 4 chopped fresh roma tomatoes. When they are tender, add back in the ground beef, and 1c. crushed canned tomatoes. Stir every few minutes, adding more beef broth as needed for the right consistency, simmer 5-20 minutes, season to taste.
Makes 4 servings, 224 calories each.
(Add grated cheese and eat with tortillas if desired!)

Lemon grilled Chicken
& Strawberry Salad
Season 6 oz. chicken breast with lemon juice, a pinch of granulated garlic, S&P. Let it marinate, then grill! Let chill before slicing then, and drizzle on more lemon juice, salt and pepper. Fix your fave salad greens, sprinkle both with fresh lemon juice as well, then top with fresh sliced strawberries.
Approx. 200 calories (5oz chicken and 6 big strawberries)
Approx 176 calories

Spicy lettuce-wrapped tacos
Saute 1 lb. 93% lean ground beef, drain. Add back to pan with minced garlic, 4T. tomato paste (mixed with 4T. warm beef broth to mix well). Add cumin, red pepper, a bit of oregano to season, add in a bit of salsa and/or crushed red pepper for more flavor! Serve on romaine leaf lettuce with fresh, sugar free salsa and a bit of cilantro.
4 servings, Approx 188 calories each.
(Add sliced avocado, grated cheese, hot sauce (or tortillas) if desired.)
quick canned chicken spinach salad
with fat-free dressing
Whip this one up in minutes when you don't have time to cook! Rely on all white-meat canned chicken breast in your pantry. This version is simply seasoned with a fresh vinegarette:
1 cup white wine vinegar, shaken with 1T. lemon juice and 1T. water, add S&P, granulated garlic, a bit of stevia, dried basil and parsley.
Approx 180 calories as served
(Add fresh parmesan and croutons if desired.)

Shrimp Cocktail!
Start with fresh shrimp, steam to cook! (Or, use pre-cooked shrimp) Sprinkle with a bit of S&P and lemon juice, serve chilled with sugar-free cocktail sauce and some yummy fresh fruit and veggies. Easy!
Approx 180 calories as served.

Fire-grilled spicy fajita-style-chicken salad
Season chicken breast with red pepper, garlic, cumin, S&P, let it marinade a bit. Grill with a fat slice of onion and a whole pepper, then slice thinly, and serve with fresh sliced veggies over lettuce, and sugar-free salsa. Sprinkle on fresh lime juice and S&P.
Less than 200 calories as shown.
(Add crushed tortilla chips, grated cheese, sliced avocado and a bit of sour cream if desired.)
stir-fried cajun shrimp and salad
Saute 2T. minced fresh onion in pan, adding water as needed to keep it from scorching. S&P, add 6oz. shrimp, season with Cajun seasoning, cook until pink. Serve over salad, topped with Cajun seasoning as well. Approx 160 calories as shown.
(Add salad dressing/toppings as desired!)

spicy faux lime 'ceviche' with fresh basil
I used pre-cooked frozen shrimp defrosted (instead of cooking it in the citrus juice) for this, just to be on the safe side. Add fresh lime juice to 6oz. shrimp, then add one chopped roma tomato and 1/4c. diced red tomato. Season with S&P, red pepper flakes, julieenned fresh basil, and minced garlic.
Approx. 170 calories as shown.

 Mesquite-Grilled Chicken, oven-roasted asparagus, and couscous
Season chicken breast with minced garlic, S&P and mesquite liquid smoke. While marinating, saute fresh onion and garlic in a small pot, add just enough oil to coat.  When cooked, add 2c. water (or chicken stock), S&P, along with basil and parsley.  Bring to boil, then remove from heat and add 1c. plain couscous, along with 1T. butter.  Cover, let stand 5 minutes, fluff. Roast asparagus in the oven (on bakeware pan or foil).  Grill the chicken.  
Approx. 300 calories as shown (chicken and asparagus=195 cal.)
(add butter to asparagus or EVOO when cooking if desired, toast pine nuts to top couscous for an added nutty bonus).

Each quick recipe is for 1-4 servings as stated, prepared using fresh ingredients and spices with little-to-no oils, preservatives or sugars. Calorie count for each meal is less than 300; which is a GREAT balanced lunch. I'm a girl with a big appetite (got that one from my Dad), and each of these is satisfying for me.  The best part I have found from eating lean is NO digestive issues. Let me know if have any questions about any of these recipes, I'll be happy to answer you!

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Yesterday turned out to be rough. I had realllly counted on getting into a local show next month, and, because of that, left the weekend before and after open so I wouldn't get overwhelmed. Their application system is weird, normally these events open it up 4-6 months in advance, and let you know at least 3 months in advance, sometimes longer! This one is different, applications are opened 6 weeks before, and you find out if you got in one month before. It's really tight, and kind of strange.

Anyhow.... I'd heard good things about it, so I applied. And yesterday when the decisions were going to be posted, I hit 'refresh' on my computer at LEAST every 30 minutes, all day.

And I found out last night, I didn't make the cut. Rejection is ROUGH. Granted, most of the time I do get to participate in the events I hope to, and I guess this is only the 5th 'no' I've heard in 2 years, which isn't bad considering there are more than 40 events I DID get to do. But it still stings, ya know?

I've made SO much progress lately with my health/fitness/weight loss plan, and last night hit me hard at how my emotions get tied in with food. I seriously wanted to EAT. Bad Stuff. The Key Lime ice cream in the freezer was calling my name, and the Salt and Pepper Kettle chips in the pantry were shouting 'do it! do it!' While I knew that indulging would make me feel better temporarily, I decided I was MUCH more interested in my long-term goal, and wanted to feel good about my weigh-in this morning.

I just went to bed a bit early instead, and slept off the funk.

8:15am is now my favorite time of the day.

Kids are at school, house is quiet, tea kettle on the stove, and I get to weigh in. Almost EVERY day I see losses, some smaller, some larger. That, my friends, is what is keeping me going with this. I'm proud of myself, I haven't been this disciplined in 2 years! And then, I had yummy-tasting 'cheats' (chocolate protein shake and fruit bars!) to make it easier, plus loads of vitamins and supplements that had me amped full of energy all day! This time, it's allll me.

Discipline, Self-Control, Hard Work, Motivation, all of it.

Back to my cup of tea...and a bit of time online, then I think I'll start some muscle training with the WiiFit. Can't hurt.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wow, what a month!

Wellll, it has been an intense month, for sure.  I took up exercising (surprise surprise!) so I took a break from the new baby blog.  A LOT has happened (so much busyness that it has been hard to get back to write about it!), so I'll give you the quick snippets from it all.

2 good friends who attended my Changes of Heart show at Avoca
1) I had 6 art events in 5 weeks.
-9/17: Solo show at Avoca with 23 themed pieces; I've sold 7 of them, but, more importantly, got some amazing encouragement and feedback from others who connected with the work.
-9/24: The Dallas Flea.  My first time at this quarterly event, and I am a big fan.  It was warm in there, but I met some great vendors and sold lots of art.  Hopefully I'll participate with it in the future.
-9/29-30- Indie Emporium, Tulsa.  This 3-day trip was cool, I loved seeing the differences in the scenery, and the city was great.  There is a great appreciation for handmade as well.  The show was unique and fresh, and I met lots of great people.
-10/8 - Arts Goggle: This is normally one of my best events, but the crazy rain that came down at 7pm scared everyone away (when it usually just started to fire up at that point!), which was disappointing.  The crew at Avoca was great though.
-10/15- Cowtown Indie Bazaar - My 3rd time with this show, and it was disappointing.  The vendor selection was top notch, the event well organized, but there just wasn't the traffic I needed.  Etsy Fort Worth did a great job on everything though.
-10/15- Artists Against Aids Charity Auction.  I donated one piece to this cause, and was delighted when it sold that night!  The event wasn't very well attended, unfortunately, so only 1 in 8 or so of the pieces sold in the initial silent auction.  The couple who purchased it are local FW collectors, and we really hit it off talking about upcycled materials, Oregon, and living in this very conservative area.
green blocks set up at Arts Goggle

2) I've been kicking butt (my own) this month with my health/lifestyle change.  Exercising, making smart eating/cooking/eating out changes, and paying attention to my cravings is really paying off.  I didn't have a reliable scale, to take initial weight or measurements, but I estimate I've lost close to 15 lbs since the end of August.
I treated myself to 9 new pairs of pants/shorts today.  Well, not 'new' per se, but new to me, they've all been collecting dust in my closet for 6-10 months.  Woot!  I'm now back into the 'goal' jeans that I got into 2 years ago, and haven't worn for almost a year.
Right now I'm one week in to my month-long metabolism 'cleanse', of being dedicated to avoiding all sugar, chemicals, bad fats, oils, and white refined stuff.  It is going great and I am feeling great!  I'm posting 'eye candy' pics of some of my meals/recipes on my personal FB page, but intend to transfer some of them over here soon in a few blog posts.

new kicks for running!
I took up running again (for the first time in 11 years) and am now enjoying it.  My goal was minimum 3 days, 20 minutes (or 1 mile) per week.  I've gotten my mile from 16 minutes down to less than 12. Booyah!  The cooler weather is definitely making it easier, now I see why people prefer to run indoors on a treadmill in the air conditioning!  lol!

3) My kids are smartypants.  We had their p/t conferences last week, and both of them scored off the charts (could be one or more grades higher).  Me is the proud.  It took my son a good 3 weeks to settle in to Kindergarten, but his teacher says he is doing great.

4) I've officially weaned myself off of (the amazing, but expensive) vitamin/energy drink I have had for 2 years.  It's a great product, but I'm much more a fan of being able to tackle my day without it, and more-than-delighted to save $15 per month by switching to green tea.

5) The weather here in Texas is working it's way into a lovely fall; we are definitely enjoying the cool evenings and easygoing days.  Time to get the kids winter PJs and sweaters out of the top of the closet.

I promise I won't let so many days go by again without checking in; I guess I was maybe initially disappointed that I had so few followers here (since I have close to 2,000 online connections if you total up my social networks), but I think it's not really about the masses, but more about the ones who actually care, right?  Let me know if you agree!