Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Preparation is Most of My Battle

I did my Dietbet weigh in and lost about a pound and a half this past week. Anyway, I need to pick up the pace I'm on if I want my money back (It's only $15, but I'm thrifty). Not shabby, but not quite to goal either. There was also a cherry pie turnover thing in there somewhere that I'm fairly certain I did not need. So after some thought this past weekend I realized that if I'm going to stay on track and keep my food intake in check, I need to be much better prepared. I have an extensive reading list piling up, but one of the things that I got some ideas from was the latest issue of Clean Eating. Really nice magazine with lots of good tips and recipes. I need foodspiration regularly or I get bored and start grabbing whatever is handy instead of what's good for me. 

I won the gardening book at a garden swap this weekend. Yay!
I decided to make basil pesto since I've got tons in the garden and can toss it with chicken and a small dollop of mayo for a delish chicken salad. I used Mark Bittman's recipe from How to Cook Everything and it's fabulous. 
Basil waiting to be transformed!
The finished product - basil, olive oil, salt, parmesan cheese, and toasted pine nuts.
Next I started doing prep for lunches. After a quick trip to the store, I bagged up some delicious (albeit a little sour grapes) 
They make my face twist up funny, but they are way good.

Next I chopped and diced chicken I grilled on my handy-dandy George Foreman as well as a bunch of stuff from the garden -- yellow pear tomatoes, green and orange peppers, Swiss chard, and kale.
I seasoned the chicken with Chicago style seasoning and another with Greek seasoning. Yum!
When I was at  my community garden plot picking the Swiss chard and the kale a lady bug stopped in for a visit.

Oh hai lady bug! I bring the interior part of my salad spinner with me for harvesting. 

I packed up salad for the next day in a big ole mason jar. Everything stays nice and crisp and fresh in mason jars, plus they are more compact for fridge storage. 
I'm on a hot food kick. The yellow rings are banana peppers from the garden that
I pickled with vinegar, spices, and red pepper. Wahoo! 
For a nice protein snack I made ants on a log. Well, the logs anyway. Isn't peanut butter the best?

I also tried some fancy Pinterest tutorial hair. If my hair is dirty enough and there are enough bobby pins lying around, sticky hairspray, and a teasing comb, I can force my hair into submission. If it's clean it's too darned slippery and I have to put tons of crud in it to make anything stay and frankly, I'm hair lazy. I did learn a trick recently that helps give my hair some body for styling when it's clean. I spray and brush through dry shampoo (Suave brand rocks and it smells good. Most importantly, it's uber cheap). That seems to give my hair some stick without being all nasty from hairspray. Anyway, here's the result. I'm wearing basically the same thing today minus the braids. It only took a few minutes and I'm happy with the results. I've been in such a hair rut. It gets hot and I just want to get it off my damned neck and the default is a boring ponytail. I'm glad to have another option that looks a little more grown up.  

What's shakin' in your world?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Encouragement and Challenges

This kitten picture actually has nothing to do with encouragement or challenges, but it's my foster kitten Maggie Moo and sometimes I am just overwhelmed with her cuteness so I thought I'd share. :) She's also up for adoption through Tenth Life Cats if you're in the market for an adorable kitty cat!

My favorite weight loss/fitness blogger, Kim, from Living, Laughing, Losing is hosting a weight loss challenge on DietBet.com. For $15 I joined the challenge to lose 4% of my body weight in 4 weeks. Wish me luck! If I win, me and the other winners get to split the pot, which is now up to $600. I could use some cash. :)

I want to give a shout out to my friends old and new who read this blog. Every little bit of encouragement helps so much. Knowing that you all are reading this really means a lot and does wonders to help me stay on track! Also, I love that some of you comment in person and tell me what you would have written if you did comment on the blog. It's adorable and I love that you are lurking and sending me happy thoughts! A special thanks to my baby cousin who is also a blogger (and is now over 30, WTF) who read the whole thing start to finish in one sitting! Please don't stop being awesome, every damn one of you. ((((hugs))))

In preparation for the challenge this week, I did some cooking so lunch wouldn't be such a hassle and also so I could save a few bucks. The food on campus is quite good, but it's also pricey. This week's lunch menu is all about spinach and the adorable pear tomatoes from my garden. Also blue cheese. And olives. And all things sour and vinegary. I don't have a picture of it, but I made some pickled banana peppers (we grow them every year and finally I figured out what to do with them!) I'm waiting for them to finish marinating so I can add that to my salad, too. Bring the heat, baby!

I've been dreaming about peaches lately, so this past weekend I went to my favorite orchard about an hour from my house and got a gazillion pounds of them. A peck and a half to be exact. I've processed a peck and still have a half peck to deal with. I might dry them. I haven't decided. 

Every once in a while I can't get pictures to cooperate and land right side  up,
but I promise you these peaches are SO FREAKING GOOD, even sideways.
I have already eaten a jar of the canned peaches and I had to stop myself from downing the peachy infused syrup they are soaking in. This particular peach is called a yellow stone and I highly recommend it. Buy ALL THE PEACHES.

I've been feeling really drained by the heat and haven't had much mojo for exercising. It's been so dang hot even breathing seems taxing. Dear universe, please give us a break, 107 is too hot for even this heat-loving girl; we are not lizards. Tomorrow I'm making myself go to the air conditioned gym no matter what. In fact, I might move in if it's cooler than my house (my a/c unit is the little a/c that couldn't, it's barely holding its own). I'll just sleep a pile of yoga mats and sustain myself with protein smoothies until the heat breaks.

Alrighty kids, time for me and the fuzzy pooch to snuggle. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Bananas, Baby!

There are few things I love more than frozen yogurt. This is a damn close second. "Ice cream" made from bananas? That's just crazy! Crazy good.

Slice bananas. Put bananas in a single layer on a baking sheet. Freeze 2 hours.

Put frozen bananas into the food processor and whirl until everything gets
nice and creamy looking. Now is your chance to add the extras.
I put in a tablespoon of cocoa. No extra sugar required.

The end result. SO FLIPPIN' GOOD.
If I were a patient woman, I would have put this back in the freezer for a bit.
Operative word, if.

Otherwise things are fine. Not great, but fine. I've been losing considerable sleep lately stewing in my own thoughts in the middle of the night. I think I've about worked out the kinks though. I'm the type of girl that literally cannot rest until I have something figured out. This issue falls into the emotional department which probably explains why all I've wanted to do for the last week is eat. In spite of the fact that I've been wanting to comfort myself with food, things have been okay overall food-wise. Not great, but okay. However, this evening was a bit of a bomb. I didn't eat a filling enough dinner and got hit hard with a chocolate craving after dinner. So my delicious and healthy meal  was topped off by the scarfing of two chocolate chip granola bars. Whoops. Compound the emotional stress with PMS and it starts getting ugly. I take the pill that keeps the-evil-one-who-shall-not-be-named at bay for 3 months at a time. I think the punishment for being free of the lady days is killer PMS when it does roll around. Ugh. I mean, if all I eat is chocolate and toffee for the next 2 weeks, that's okay, right? Not so much. Tomorrow I'm going to try harder to keep my shit together and on track. I'm not going to fall into the trap of having one bad meal and saying, "eff it". One bad post-dinner meltdown doesn't negate the work of several months. 

Anyhoo, it's time for me to hit the hay. More effort is being invested in thinking positively and it seems to be helping. *insert dancing Fraggles* 


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Crafts + Beach

Whoa. It's been a busy few days. Friday I worked my regular gig, then Friday night I was set up at a craft show until 11 o'clock and then had ANOTHER craft show that was an all day deal Saturday and Sunday. 

Crafty goodness

Fortunately, I realized that I would be completely wiped out and planned to take Monday off. It's a good thing, too because I was so exhausted, I slept until 1 o'clock. 3 days in a row of craft show in the extreme heat is exhausting. So what did I do? I went outside to play on the beach, which is also hot. Perhaps, I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed, but look at those skies! I took the kiddo and her bff to a lake about an hour away from our house. It's in a lovely small town that still has a town square and is rarely crowded.

I floated around in the water for a little bit, but I mostly laid around and read my book. It's a good no-brainer of a read, John Grisham's newest tale, The Litigator. Pretty good so far.
Soaking up the rays!
On the diet and exercise front, things have been a bit choppy between being sick and then working like a mad woman. I haven't gone completely insane, but there is definitely room for improvement. I tried very hard to stay on track today, but got briefly sidelined by a box of toffee in the office kitchen. I only had two pieces and the rest of the day every time I didn't grab another I cheered loudly inside my head, VICTORY! People, it's toffee, c'mon, toffee is GOOD. I've also realized that I need to get back on the cheerleading plan. I've been battling a lot of negative chatter over the past couple weeks, partly due to financial stress (is there ever enough money?), mourning my daughter getting ready to go away to college (sniff sniff), and some personal conflicts with a now former friend (boo), and  the new guy...lasted a whole three weeks and fell apart at the seams. I also gave my dog a bath today. He's not speaking to me either. So things have been...a little unruly. All things considered it's not been too terrible on the food and exercise considering, no weight gain, but I definitely want to be more diligent. More cheering loudly in my head. Perhaps I will imagine dancing, cheering Fraggles. Muppets make everything better.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Birthday Mash Up

Yesterday, we had a birthday dinner, one day early because I have plans with my bestie tonight. My baby girl cooked me a delicious feast and bought me flowers! She also made this lovely banner which points out the glaring fact that I am THIRTY-NINE! Holy crap. Time sure does fly.

Every year on my birthday my brother tries to convince me that I'm actually older than him. Not! 

Side note: I ate a begonia yesterday. Okay, actually I think it's some stuff called purslane, but I really thought it was a begonia at first. I found the mystery item at the bottom of my bowl amongst the spring mix part of my salad. I'm not sure if it was in the mix on purpose or not. It's edible and actually pretty good for you. Didn't taste bad either. Maybe they are trying to get fancy in the cafeteria these days. 

Today, I ate this! It was a birthday bash with a chocolate malt and a reuben sandwich at my favorite diner. My boss and one of my coworkers took me to lunch today. Super awesome!(Also, super bloaty, owwww) 

Once the birthday bash is over, I plan to eat a lot more of these lovely vegetables harvested from my garden. This last week or so I have been living on a steady diet of froyo and popsicles while I've been sick. At least that's been my excuse. Time to snap back into action. I did take a nice little walk at lunch yesterday and it felt good. Since I've been laying down and spending tons of time in bed, I've got all sorts of funny aches and pains and stiffness.  Back to the gym tomorrow, I think I'm ready. All the dizziness and weakness has gone now (I think). 

Tonight was a lovely evening spent with A. We met at a lakeside restaurant and sat outside in the unseasonably lovely night air. It was so nice to be outside, relaxing and not fretting about anything. Bestie time is healing. I feel good for the first time in days and it was an awesome way to wrap up my birthday festivities! 

I hope you all had a lovely day, too! 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

This One Time...A Hen Fell Off A Truck

Late last night my friend Heidi posted on my Facebook wall...

"We are hanging out at our favorite dive bar on Grand, and a chicken falls out of a passing truck. Really. We have contained it. Would you be interested in another chicken? Seems quite tame."

Welcome to the family, Georgette (a.k.a. Lucky). 

Big girlz bad. I hides. 
You haz corn? 

In other news, I'm still sick. Blah. More crap t.v. and popsicles. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Ears, Sinuses, Oh My!

I've spent most of my time for the last four days on the couch snuggled up with the furry guy pictured below and watching crap tv.

I haven't been feeling too hot. I haven't looked too great either. Unless paste is a desirable color.

I surrendered today and went to the doc's office. Double whammy - ear infection and sinus infection. I got some antibiotics and I'm hoping I feel better PDQ. I've been surviving on a steady diet of juicy donut peaches I bought last weekend at the farmer's market, popsicles, and frozen yogurt. Today, I had a little bit more of an appetite. The garden has been doing well thanks to my mom's hard work and tonight we had zucchini with dinner; it was super yummy. I love being able to eat straight from the backyard! 

Time for another nap.