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working towards a better me... 1 pound at a time.

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Monday, July 18, 2011

It's been a while..

Yes, I know. I don't have too many followers, so maybe I'm less motivated to update. I am still going strong on my WLJ (and when I say going strong, I mean working hard.. not necessarily losing weight).

It's been frustrating the past few weeks. I've really been watching my intake - AND working my tail off at the gym. I go pretty much every day, sometimes twice a day. I've been okay at maintaining my 'stay away from carbs' rule that began during my foray into the 17 day diet. I think I'd like to try the full-blown plan again.. but I have to get Kris on board. He gets that *ugh* sound in his voice when I mention that I'm going to have a strict week.

I must say, though - he's been very supportive of me: being my buddy at the gym whenever he can, not tempting me with trigger foods, and being my shoulder to cry on. Especially when I had a complete breakdown that began at the gym last week and continued in the car on the way home.

Sometimes there's nothing he can say or do though.. because when I weighed in last week, I had GAINED a pound.. putting me farther from the 15 lb mark I was working so hard to hit. I was so frustrated, I couldn't bring myself to participate during the meeting and ended up leaving halfway through because I felt like crying, again.

It was probably just my emotions (ugh.. being a girl sucks) getting the best of me.. but that doesn't mean I'm any less frustrated. I'm gonna keep plugging along though.. because I have gotten some great compliments from people saying I look really good.. even though it's not reflecting on the scale.

I know the rest of the summer is going to fly by.. between vacations, and baking, and getting ready for the fall semester. I'll try and keep updating.. even though I don't have any fun recipes to share. I've been sticking to my tried-and-true foods that I know by heart and don't take a lot of time. Who knew being on break from school could keep me so busy?! If you're really eager to know what's going on with me, you can follow my tumblr, which I update more often with my rants: http://jennyfurjones.tumblr.com/ (fyi - you can plug it into your google reading list and my posts will pop up).

Now I hope to make it through my first night shift in weeks.. and have the energy to go to the gym when I get off. Wish me luck!

Friday, June 17, 2011

homemade superfood

Anyone else out there a fan of Odwalla Superfood? 
source
Because I am... I seriously can't get enough. But it's CRAZY expensive!!! Ahem - $7-10 a bottle? No thanks.. So I set out to create my own.. and after a couple of tries, I got it just right. Kris even agrees that it tastes just like it! The thing that sets superfood apart from your run-of-the-mill smoothie is Spirulina powder. I wasn't sure what it was until I bought it... but after reading the bottle I was convinced. It has a TON of great nutrition - a full day's worth of what you would get out of all your fruit and veggie servings, in 2 teaspoons. Crazy, right? Don't get me wrong, I still eat my veggies... but a little (or a lot) extra couldn't hurt! I bought mine at Andronico's, but I've seen it at Whole Foods, GNC and of course Amazon!

Homemade 'Superfood' - 1 serving, 3P+*
 2 cups frozen fruit of choice (I tend to use strawberries and mango - but I've also added passion fruit, blueberries and/or bananas)**
1/8 cup frozen OJ concentrate
3/8 cup water
(you can use as much OJ as you want, fresh even.. but when I have a carton of juice in my fridge, I'll drink it - and who wants to drink all their calories?? This way, I'm forced to measure it out to get the correct 1:3 concentrate to water ratio)
2 tsp Spirulina powder
When strawberries are really cheap in the summertime, I buy a palate at the farmers' market. I clean and slice them, then put them in ziploc bags to freeze and use the rest of the year. I'm at the tail end of last years' berries =).
*I count the concentrate as well as the additional cup of fruit. This is just what I do because it's more than one serving at a time... but I know there is much debate over how to count smoothie points, so to each her own! 
**If you want your superfood to be authentic, the actual ingredients are: strawberries, banana, peaches, mango, apple juice, & spirulina.

You have 2 options: you can make it as a smoothie, or you can make it more like a juice. I do the latter because I can prepare it ahead of time and whip it together in a second with my immersion blender. MUCH easier clean up than a blender.

Place fruit, concentrate and water in a cup. Cover, and leave in the fridge for a couple of hours, up to overnight. Right before blending, add 2 teaspoons powder. Blend until completely combined... in other words, until your entire drink is that lovely green color.
ENJOY!!!
I have made more than enough at times, and left it in the fridge for a day or so... it's still yummy, but takes on a grainy texture from the Spirulina. So, if you want to blend it ahead of time - go for it, but know that the texture will change. ^_^

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Busy Summer!

I figured once I was done with finals I would be more free to exercise, focus on my weight loss and blog.. but that SO has not been the case.

I have been loosely following the 17-day diet because my mom got me the book... which, by the way, made me feel really horrible about myself. Ugh. Really though, once I read it, I was pleasantly surprised at how healthy it seemed and although it's very restrictive, I figured I'd give it a shot.

Basically it's a low-carb diet with some very specific features. For example, as soon as you wake up a cup of hot water with lemon. And you have green tea with every meal. The only carbs I'm allowed to have are fruit, which you're not supposed to have after 2pm.

I say I've been 'loosely' following it is because I haven't been doing these specific things. I had a couple big FAIL days where I went out and veered off track.

FAIL day 1: wine tasting with the bestie... not too bad except for the fact I had a TON of wine. Here's a picture of our picnic lunch - I brought hummus, carrots & celery, turkey and string cheese.
See our boxed wine? Only the best 'cuz we're so classy.
FAIL day 2: graduation party with the fam... I had tri-tip (not allowed), and an ice-cream sundae (I made it myself with 1 scoop of ice cream topped with strawberries and bananas, but not allowed nonetheless).

FAIL day 3: concert with friends... hamburger (without the bun and no condiments or cheese, but still), french fries (weakness), beer.. and it went downhill from there (2 long islands, kettle corn and a couple bites of a soft pretzel).

Needless to say - I do like how I've been pretty good at avoiding carbs, which are my big weakness AND trigger food... and I'm eating even MORE fruits and veggies even since I've started back on the P+ program. I'm stuck in a weight loss rut though (no gain or loss), and I think I need to concentrate on my eating habits more.

In other news, I entered my corset cookies into Sweetopia's "Sweet of the Week" contest and they're finally up! These are a set I made.. I sent her the picture of my red and black ones.
 
If you like them, go vote for me HERE!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Homemade Latte tutorial...

So in an attempt to save money, I did some trial-and-error to figure out how to make a homemade latte... I burned a lot of milk and dumped a lot of coffee before I finally got a quick enough system that I will actually do - and tastes good!!! Here's what you'll need: a mason jar with lid, coffee beans (dark roasts are best - I'm using Starbucks French Roast), a coffee grinder (you can buy coffee already ground, but it has a fresher taste this way, and you can grind it more fine - which works better in making 'espresso'), coffee filters, milk and a coffee pot.
 
Start by grinding the beans as finely as possible, using 2 scoops (4 Tbsp) for each 'cup'. I use 4 scoops of fine ground coffee for 2 'cups' of water. (I put cups in quotes because I always forget how many ounces are in each cup of coffee according to the marks on the pot). Place the scoops into 2 filters doubled up. Using a second filter allows the water to move more slowly through the filter, making a stronger brew.
 
Pack down the coffee using a flat-bottomed glass. I'm not sure why... anyone out there who works at a coffee shop - maybe you know?? (Notice the double filter? ^_^)
 
Now pour a cup of milk into the mason jar (easy to measure because it already has 8oz markings on it!)
 
Place the top on the jar, and shake the milk for about 15 seconds, or until you get a decent amount of foam started.
 
Now remove the lid (very important! I will not be held responsible for ruining anyone's microwaves or burning houses down!) and place the jar in the microwave. Heat on high for 60-90 seconds. Be sure to watch it after 60 seconds to make sure the foam doesn't spill over. Microwaving it does a few things: heats the milk (obviously), firms up the foam, and having the foam on the top prevents the milk from scalding. Anyone who has tried to heat milk knows about the film that milk gets when you overheat it. Yuck.
 
Pour the coffee into your cup first, then follow with the heated milk. The milk will pour without the foam, and this works out well.
 
I like to add my sweeteners before the foam, because it mixes better instead of settling on top. In mine, I use 1 teaspoon of turbinado sugar and 2 teaspoons of creamer (total of 1P+)
 
Once mixing in your sweetener (if desired), spoon the foam over the top.
 
And enjoy!!! Yum!
 
I must apologize for my morning face.. But I was really happy to have my morning coffee!!! All for 3P+, and getting one dairy serving in. Yay!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Easy peasy potatoes

I had some ham my mom gave me... and didn't want to spend a lot of time on dinner, so this is what I came up with... giant potato skins with a tomato and cucumber salad (TJ's tuscan italian dressing & feta on top)...
Giant Loaded Potato Skins (6P+ each)

2 potatoes (1/2 lb each)
2 tsp EVOO
1/4 cup fat free half & half
1/3 cup fat free sour cream (I added ranch dressing mix to mine)
1 cup shredded Jarlsberg cheese
1 cup diced lean ham
1/4 cup chives, plus more for garnish
1 tsp pepper
4 Tbsp light shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350. Scrub potatoes and pat dry. Rub each potato with a tsp of EVOO. Place potatoes directly on rack and bake for 1 hour, or until done. Remove potatoes from oven and set it to broil. Once you can handle the potatoes, Cut each one in half and scoop out the insides (leaving about a 1/4 inch edge). Mix the potato innards with the remaining ingredients, except cheddar cheese. Spoon mixture back into skins, evenly distributing it between the 4. Top each skin with a Tbsp of cheddar cheese. Return potatoes to oven and broil for 4 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Garnish with remaining chives. SO YUM!

And for your viewing pleasure.. a funny picture of Juno resting:
obviously the proper way to use her bed...

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Dinner Solo.

Kris went to a concert tonight so I was on my own for dinner... it finally gave me an excuse to try Gardein's chick'n strips. I saw the brand advertised on Ellen a few weeks ago when she had an episode on going vegan.. so naturally I was ecstatic when I found them at Fresh & Easy. The best part? They're 2P+ per serving while packing a whopping 18grams of protein!!!

*Addendum: I just had this for lunch today and doubled the chick'n since I was starving.. and it came out to only 3P+ for twice as much! A little FYI.*

I sauteed them in a bit of EVOO...
Then gathered together a flatout light wrap, lettuce, WW's caeser dressing (recipe below), and parmesan cheese.
I drizzled the wrap with 1 Tbsp of dressing, sprinkled on 1 tsp of freshly-grated parmesan, and topped it with the sauteed chicken and a handful of lettuce.
Not the prettiest wrap in the world (what can I say? I was STARVING), but it was yum! Total: 6P+

Caesar dressing (adapted from WW site) 1P+ per Tbsp:
2 eggs 
2 Tbsp anchovy paste

5 Tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, grated
6 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese



1/3 cup EVOO
salt & pepper to taste (I didn't add any salt b/c the anchovy paste is pretty salty)






To pasteurize the eggs, bring a small pot of water up the boiling, add the eggs, remove it from the heat, and let them sit for 3 minutes. Carefully remove eggs from pot and run them under hot water for a minute to cool them off. Place the paste, juice, mustard, garlic & cheese into a food processor and blend until combined. Add in eggs and process until incorporated. With food pro running, slowly drizzle in the EVOO (very slowly), until you've added it all.
Enjoy!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Finals = Stress = No loss

I've been freaking out about school the past 2 weeks.. and it will probably continue for the next 2. I've been pretty much on plan.. except for the fact that I'm probably not eating a lot of veggies and not getting enough exercise.. and guess what? This combined with my extreme stress equals no weight loss. I am pretty frustrated.. but I also know how the human body works. Unfortunately when we're stressed our body releases cortisol, which slows down your metabolism and causes your body to hold onto the fat, carbs and protein you have taken in to use for energy later...

Sleep is also a problem... when your circadian rhythm (the natural sleep-wake cycle) is off, your body has an unregulated release of melatonin and cortisol as well... so since you're not following the natural cycle your body expects, the way the calories are stored and used is affected (especially if you're snacking when your body thinks you should be sleeping - GUILTY!). Ideally, we would all sleep 6-8 hours a night, while it's dark.. and be awake during the day, while it's light. That isn't the case for most people, especially me when I'm studying (Hello, 3am bedtime and 6am alarm.. ugh). 

It's difficult to tell my patients (and friends.. and family) the importance of taking care of themselves when I don't practice what I preach... but the idea is that I know what I should be doing and I WILL once my final is over. For now.. I'm gonna try and up my veggie intake and take at least a short walk every day so I'm making a couple positive changes.