Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Faux BBQ

Before I left for work I took a boneless pork tenderloin out to defrost (sorry Annie - I know you are anti-swine) and made myself a little BBQ.

Here it is in the oven.

I kept it simple with the pork - just spread a little Sweet Baby Ray's Honey BBQ Sauce on it.

On the side I made two different dishes.

First - Oven Baked Squash w/Parmesan

1 small zucchini, sliced
1 small yellow squash, sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
1.5 tbsp parmigiano reggiano, grated
Salt & Pepper to taste

(I had both zucchini and squash left over. They were a little bigger than I wanted but all I could get)

Layer the squash in a baking dish. Drizzle w/olive oil, salt & pepper to taste. Add grated cheese on top.

Sliced Oven Baked Potatoes

1 potato - skin on
1 tbsp chopped onion
1 tsp chopped scallions
drizzle of olive oil
dash of cayenne
S & P to taste

Slice the potatoes length wise - almost as if you were making fries. I actually made 2 potatoes, one batch for tomorrow night's dinner.

At this point I threw the potato in the microwave for about 2 and a half minutes - just to cook it a bit.

Chop a large slice of onion - you should end up with about a tablespoon or so

I also sliced up the top of a scallion for color and a bit of extra flavor.

Layer the potatoes and onion on a large piece of foil. Drizzle with olive oil. S&P to taste. Add a dash of cayenne for some heat. Fold up in a little package, making sure ends are sealed.

Bake for both these dishes 30 min (with the pork) at 375 degrees. The potatoes can go longer if you like them crispier.

Dinner is served.

I know it seems like a hassle to cook - especially if you are only cooking for one. It took me a long time to get to a place where I wasn't making myself sick of leftovers and wasting food, but one of the things I've learned in the last few months is this:

No one is going to take care of you if you don't take care of yourself first.

If you'd go to the trouble to cook dinner for someone else in your life - then you deserve the same.

Fashion Victim

So yesterday I mentioned I'm not sure I'm a runner.

But I am sure I need running shoes.

No seriously. I do.

I think the last pair I bought was a pair at DSW while I was away for work outside of Chicago.

About 2 years ago.

I think they cost about $30 and were on that clearance rack in the back.

You know the one I'm talking about.

The ones I wear now are Saucony and are gray cross trainers (I think). I also have an ancient pair of Nikes.

Both fit me pretty well but they're old and I don't think that's a good thing now that I'm in the gym about 5x a week.

One of the wonderful benefits of working for a large company are things like these Well-Being Rewards they offered to us last year. You log in things you do that are healthy and get a certain number of points (like the exercise you do in a month (you can bank up to 5 hours), getting a physical, doing an online Health Assessment) and you can turn those points into gift cards.

So I got a $50 one to use towards new running shoes.

Does any one have any recommendations? I basically need a shoe that can take me from brisk walking to jogging.

And ones that don't look like those awful all white K-Swiss ones I once bought that my sister refused to let me out in public wearing.

Seriously. I need her to come with me for a consultation.

Please note I think I'd like a pair with pink accents.

Or maybe red.

I swear. It's amazing for someone with a bit of a shoe addiction I am hopeless when it comes to athletic footwear.

But don't worry. I have a completely different pair for Zumba already.


I'm very weird about certain foods.

I have issues with textures sometimes. For example: Jell-O? No. Pudding? Yes.

I am also brand loyal - sometimes maybe to a fault.

Heinz Ketchup is one of the things I rarely compromise on.

These are two others:

And with these two - basically if I don't know for sure it's Bumblebee Tuna and Hellmann's mayo then I won't eat it. And it's gotten worse - not better - as I've gotten older.

Now I'll only eat the type in the gold can.

I may eat green vegetables and condiments but it is true what they say.

Sometimes you can't escape becoming your mother.

This is also the extent of my ingredients when I eat canned tuna. No pickles or celery, no tomatoes or eggs or anything else. Just drain the can add mayo and stir.

That's the only way I eat it. Simple and plain.

Even my mother has celery in hers.

Come to think of it - this may stem back to that time my friend Roxanne's mom made me a sandwich with chunk light tuna and Miracle Whip.

Honestly, I'm still scarred.

Hmmm. It's becoming clearer that I might have many tuna related issues.

Bumblebee Prime Filet 1/2 a can, w/2 teaspoons of Hellmann's over baby romaine.

Yeah. I know. It's not too flavorful - I will fully admit - but it's why I also packed these snacks today:

I ate the almonds and cashews when I had my fruit earlier and the BBQ Pop Chips went with my tuna salad. I can't find these in my grocery store so I bought the Trader Joe's version. Duane Reade carries them - but I always forget when I'm shopping for food to stop by there too.

The BBQ is the best flavor I've found. Nice and spicy.

The pretzels are to stash away for a later date.

After lunch I gave myself a little treat...


I think those Dove people are trying to tell me something.

Tasty Tuesday

I'm getting ready to head out to the gym (40 min of incline walking for me this morning I think).

I'd really like to hear a weather report that does not include "chance of thunderstorms."

Please go rain in Texas. I hear from a reliable source they need it.

Today's breakfast is one of my new favorites - on days that I don't have peanut butter.

Thomas' Light Multi-Grain English Muffin + sharp cheddar and Cedars Garlic Lovers Hummus.

With some lovely fruit on the side.

Those greener than green bananas I bought the other day never went fully yellow and are complete mush. So strange. I'd make banana bread but they sort of scare me. I'm afraid they're just rotten and not overripe.

Seriously Chris Cimino. Stop telling me to make friends with my umbrella.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Quinoa Redux

Dinner tonight was an encore of the Shrimp/Quinoa combo I made a few nights ago.

Just in case you forgot what it looked like:

It was perfect for when I got back from the gym. I ran today - 2-ish miles for 32 minutes (with a little bit of walking in between).

When did I become this person who decides on her walk home "I think I'll run tonight" ?

When I first started exercising I used to think the longer the workout the better. That might be true when doing moderate exercise. I remember being so excited when I found out that there was one treadmill at my gym that allowed you to use it for 80 minutes instead of 60.

But the truth is I don't want to work out for 80 minutes. Zumba class is an hour and it flies by but that treadmill can be tedious at best - even with the distraction of a TV, iPod and/or magazine.

I've tried the elliptical but I'm not a fan.

I don't know if I'm truly a runner. Right now I think it's just me being antsy and wanting a faster workout. I only end up at about 2 miles when I'm done.

I walk a lot. I average 3+ miles a day just going to and from work. (Take that MTA and your .25 fare hike).

So all in all I think I'm burning plenty of calories. I'm anxious to see what adding the running in with do to my next weigh in - which will be July 7th - the day before I go on vacation to Miami for almost a week.

I'm so close to my next decade down I can taste it.

Food for thought

I'm not gonna lie. I have a penchant for Chick Lit. So much so I have 200 odd pages of my own story accumulating dust on my hard drive. It's a mess. Someday maybe I'll take it out the archives and polish it up but for now I'm content to read other people's contributions.

Sometime in 2001 I picked up this one. Jemima J by Jane Green.

I think it was about the same time that I read She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb and Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner. All the stories are similar - but Jemima J is the lightest of the three by far.

And oh God how it's dated now!! Jemima takes an 'internet class' because it's so new and hangs out in chat rooms talking to people for the majority of the time. It's so amazing to see how much life has changed in less than a decade.

I'm trying to remember the place I was in when I bought it and read it the first time. In 2001 I was traveling a ton for work. As a matter of fact I was 'stranded' in Hawaii on 9/11.

I know - I recount this story and everyone tells me to cry them a river but being from NY I could not possibly have felt further away from home.

I was heavy but by no means my heaviest. I look at pictures from that year now and I looked OK. I still looked like myself. Part of my issue with gaining weight was how unfamiliar I looked - even to my own eyes. The one thing I am happiest about now, 50 lbs lighter, is that I feel (and look) like myself again.

It's been a long time.

So anyway, I started this for the second time on the train today. In the book, Jemima begins losing weight not exactly for herself alone. And she doesn't lose it in the most healthy fashion either. I can't remember exactly how it ends - but I feel like there's a lesson there and that she'll learn it eventually.

It's nice that I finally feel like I have too.

In the next day or two I'll post a bit more about how I got here. I really don't know what was different this time around - or what finally clicked and allowed the weight to come off. Maybe it was that I didn't go into it thinking "by my birthday I'll lose this much" or "I'll lose weight before so-and-so's wedding".

I'm curious about it but not really questioning it too much.

Whatever the reason the fact that it happened at all is good enough for me.


When I was younger and in school I used to brown bag it most days. I was rarely a 'buy her lunch' kid.

I think it's mostly because I have always been very particular about the brands of foods I eat.

And I might be (slightly) dramatic.

(Some may argue with the 'slightly').

My family will tell you this about me. I can taste non-Boar's Head Bologna in an instant.

I once threw a fit because my brother tossed out a tuna sandwich when our lunches got mixed up one day.

It was back in 1984 and I'm still not over it.


Anyway last night my father made me a sandwich as he packed his own lunch. (I'd tell you what my father does for work now that he's retired but I don't want you to lose your appetite).

It's simple but I think it tastes better because I didn't have to make it.

Ham and Swiss on a multi-grain sandwich thin w/a little deli mustard

And a snack I packed myself:

Carrots and red bell pepper with Cedars Garlic Lovers hummus.

By the way, the tuna sandwich in question was on homemade bread. I saved his peanut butter and jelly to give to him when his lunch period came around but he threw mine out. Even the apple.

You can see why it still haunts me to this day can't you?

Remind me to tell you about the time my dad ate my hot dog.

That was in 1975. :)

(Not so) Manic Monday

For the first 12 or so years of my professional life I commuted about 45 min each way to NYC.

People complain about commuting all the time but I really liked taking the train in the morning. I read a ton (almost 3 books a week) and it was (for the most part)quiet. I got a lot of thinking done.

I thought a lot about things like losing weight and getting my life in order. Sometimes I was successful at one but not the other. This time I'm feeling like I've got both under control - which I have to say is the single best stress reliever there is.


Now I take the train some Mondays - if I've been out at my parents for the weekend. (This will occur more often in the summer as they have a pool and most times - my nieces visiting).

Today's ride was smooth and peaceful. I'm re-reading a book that I found in "my" room (a guest bedroom that my mom pretty much decorated and set aside for me) which I'll talk about more later.

It's really a different experience to read chick lit about someone losing a ton of weight and changing their life after you've kind of done it yourself.

Anyway, today's train ride was a great way start to a (blessedly) short week.

This morning I made myself a half a peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat. I know. You're on the edges of your seats. :)

My snack and lunch are equally exciting, but I'm going to save them for later.

I don't want to overwhelm you.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Party (and after...)

The weather actually turned out to be beautiful today. After the shower we had some dinner outside.

But I'm getting ahead of myself a little.

Here were the choices for our lunch at the shower, which was quite small and just lovely.

I chose the Penne Primavera. But first I had this...

Some bruschetta - which was nothing to write home about. I have a recipe for a much better version that I'll share soon.

A meatball, which wasn't worth more than a bite and a sesame chicken bite which was much better.

And a mimosa...to get you through the Bridal Bingo.

A nice salad with a yummy house dressing.

And a roll on the side.

The penne - which could have used a little more spice and a little less oil to be honest but I didn't want the chicken and salmon is one of the only types of fish I'm not really fond of.

I'm not a big dessert person, unless ice cream or chocolate is involved. So here's the cake before I took a taste.

And here it is after.

When my mom, sister, sister-in-law and I got back to my parents a few hours later we had ourselves a mini-barbecue including mini burgers..

I had mine with some ketchup and a little spinach underneath.

And a dessert that was also small but worth it. A Chocolate/Chocolate Dove Ice Cream Miniature.

Here's a problem I have. The Dove Miniatures are 60 calories each and 4 grams of fat - but the serving size is 5!!

Doesn't that kind of defeat the purpose?

This is why I'm not a huge fan of 100 Calorie Packs either. I feel like you could fall into the trap of overindulging in them.

No real exercise today. I ran 2 miles yesterday so Friday and today will serve as my days off this week. I'll go to the gym tomorrow after work.

I'm staying here tonight, heading back to the city like a commuter on the train tomorrow so my breakfast and lunch will be scavenged out of my parents' fridge.

We'll see what I can find. :)

Two great tastes

There's a lot going on here this morning.

Some people are eating this:

But I had this:

A glass of skim chocolate milk (TJ's Midnight Moo)...

...and a half a bagel with peanut butter

It's not at all a Reese's - but it'll do. :)

It's the most annoying thing. The sun refuses to stay out here and it's very breezy today. :(

The shower starts at 1 PM so I guess I should start thinking about getting ready.

One day when I have my own little catering/event planning operation (instead of doing events for a company like I do now) I think I want to specialize in baby and bridal showers to start. There is absolutely a way to make them more laid back and social than they typically are I think. We've hosted a few here at my parents and did a brunch for one (with a Bellini bar - YUM) and another with a pink and red theme with homemade iced sugar cookies as the favors. I really do think simple is best when it comes to those kinds of things.

We'll see what today's shower brings. Be back in a bit!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

To Be Continued...

Tonight, after watching a very active 2 year old for hours and singing Broadway tunes to a 4 year old to get her to sleep (My nieces are here. I introduced the older one to Tomorrow from Annie tonight) I finally had some dinner.

This is what my family lovingly refers to as "Chicken with the Sauce." The original version was made with fried chicken breasts. We've lightened it up a lot over they years.

(A quick note: My dad is a retired firefighter with French culinary training. We eat well around here is what I'm saying.)

It's basically chicken in a sort of marinara sauce. One day soon I promise to post the recipe because it's the perfect pasta dish if you want something on the lighter side. Tonight we used Barilla Plus pasta but it's also great over rice.

It's great on it's own but almost better (well healthy eating wise definitely better) when you add veggies to it. Most often I add frozen peas but went with broccoli tonight.

We used the Green Giant Valley Fresh Steamers. Eh. I don't think I'd buy it. For one thing it was cut broccoli (I weeded out the best bits - I'm really more of a floret girl) and tasted a bit waterlogged. Plus fresh broccoli at my local market in the city is only $1.99 a bunch.

It's tough. I used to travel a lot more for work than I do currently. I used to buy frozen vegetables most often because everything went bad. Now that I've changed how I eat I find myself working to eat vegetables when I buy them fresh. I rarely have to throw something out which is great. But if you are going to buy frozen, Trader Joe's really does have the best selection around I think.

If only that stupid 14th Street store was like 5000x less annoying to shop in.

I once contemplated quitting my job and working in a Trader Joe's instead. True story.

Anyway...sorry. I'm rambling. Without further ado, here's dinner...

I had a glass of Pinot Grigio as well. This is Cavit - otherwise known as the house wine here at my parents. :)

And a piece of this for dessert.

This definitely did not disappoint.

Tomorrow I have my cousin's bridal shower. It's being held at a restaurant, so I'm not sure what my choices will be but hopefully there'll be something besides Chicken Francese.

We shall see.

Hope you are enjoying your Saturday! Have a great night!

Long Island Lunch

I was planning to spend the day in the city but my sister came in to give me a ride out to Long Island. Now I'm at my parents for the rest of the weekend.

So, I had lunch with her today.

Here's what was on the menu.

For her:

Spinach, blueberry, strawberry, banana smoothie (mixed w/Trader Joe'e European Style yogurt)



I need to try one of these without the blueberries. I know they're good for me - but it's what makes me not a huge fan. The spinach is not even the problem. I'm going to try one with strawberry, pineapple and orange juice I think.

Plus a side of pita chips, honey wheat pretzels, string cheese, red peppers and hummus:

And for me, a half a whole wheat bagel with Cedar's Garlic Lovers Hummus (I can do an entire post on this stuff I love it that much) with cheddar and a Granny Smith apple on the side:

It really is amazing to think what I used to eat compared to now. That would have been a whole bagel for sure, with something other than hummus and surely the apple would have been a handful of chips.

Who am I kidding? Much more than a handful.

I won't pretend the taste is the same, but it I will say it makes me feel so much better eating this than that.

I think that's the whole point.

Sunny Saturday

I cannot believe it! The sun is shining this morning!! This has not happened in forever so forgive me if I sound overly impressed by this fact. :)

Outside my window is all bright yellow sun and green leaves and so I decided to make myself something to match.

There is an awesome frittata that they serve at Good in the West Village. This is a similar (but not really!) version.

What I love about their Country Fritatta is the creamy ricotta cheese and the fresh green of the arugula.

I don't have arugula here but one of my favorite combinations is eggs and asparagus.

So I did that instead. Here we go.

Asparagus Frittata


1/2 slice of bacon, fried
1 whole egg + 1 egg white
1 tablespoon skim milk
4 asparagus spears
1 tablespoon parmigiano reggiano
1 tablespoon chopped onion
1 tablespoon ricotta cheese
1/8 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
Salt and Pepper to taste

I fried about a half a slice of bacon. I wanted the taste - but nothing too fattening. I used the minimal leftover bacon grease to cook the eggs, adding a quick spritz of vegetable oil cooking spray.

I whisked 1 whole egg + 1 egg white with a splash of skim milk, salt and pepper.

....and added it and left it over medium heat while I threw in the rest.

I tossed in some chopped asparagus.

And then grated some parmigiano reggiano. Pricey - but worth every penny.

This guy's about to meet the freezer. I'll keep it in there till I make pasta sauce. I love to throw the rinds in to season sauce.

But I digress.

Whoops. Here's where I decided I'd like a little chopped vidalia onion so I threw that in too. It would have been better to add it before the eggs actually but it worked out alright.

Then I put it in the oven for 12 min at about 325.

Then I took it out, folded it over (which makes it kind of not a frittata but whatever) and added a tablespoon of ricotta mixed with fresh parsley and seasoned with black pepper.

And then I ate it.

And it was as good as Good.

Well...almost. At Good I don't have to clean up after myself. ;)