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

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Thursday, November 5, 2009

trick-or-.... wow it's been a while.

so here's the deal. for the past couple weeks i've had in my head all these ideas of posts i wanted to share, but never got to the computer to put them all down. lots of yummy recipes and good times. no weight lost.. but i remain the same, which is fine by me..

the first 'fall' thing i made was what i call 'pumpkin patch muffins'.. and they turned out pretty cute! i walked into michael's and saw the brach's fall mix and immediately knew that i had to do something fun with those cute little pumpkins! so here's what i came up with:

pumpkin muffins with cream cheese frosting.. decorated to look like a pumpkin patch!

i thought they turned out pretty cute! hopefully they were tasty.. since i was trying to be good i didn't eat any. =) i had another 'creative moment' just yesterday when i had a bunch of skull cookies that i had cut out but never got a chance to decorate.. so i made them into turkeys! it was just a practice run so they weren't perfect.. but they turned out pretty cute!
then for halloween i decided to try my hand at cake pops for the first time. i have done cake balls before, but never on a stick. well, turns out, these were much easier! other than the drawing the faces on.. the wilton pens SUCK! if you're getting them to write on candy coating, DON'T.. splurge for the ones on amazon... i've heard they're much better. so, since the pen failed, i used miniature chocolate chips for the faces.. and it worked! SEE?!
CUTE! and you can see my 'haunted house' candle-holder in the background. teehee! i love the holidays.

in between baking and all that good stuff, i went to a baby shower for a co-worker of mine.. now, i've made onesies before, but this happens to be the design i tried this time for her boy-to-be.
MONKEYS!!! i love monkeys.. i think they're adorable.
and, of course, since i'm such a baker, i always like to put a baking 'touch' in my gifts.. the first set of onesies i placed the socks in daisy-shaped cupcake cups and included a cupcake recipe that the mom-to-be had been asking for.. this time, i included an 'it's a boy!' cookie mix. it was really just cowboy cookies from bakerella's website.. but i used light blue and green m&m's and got some 'ABC' block fabric for the top! blogger doesn't like me right now so it won't let me put a photo.. but they're on my picasaweb page in the 'other baked goods' section.
i'll be on vacation for a while.. but i plan to stay on track.. even though we'll be eating out A LOT.. wish me luck!! maybe being out will make me MORE consciencious and i'll lose weight!
*here's hoping!*

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

oh yes.. 1.6 pounds baby!

that's right.. 1.6 pound loss at last thursday's weigh in. i actually wasn't that excited at the time, but i'm pretty stoked about it right now.

although.. since then i've been pretty lazy with the cooking. i made pepperoni pizza soup on thursday, then had happy hour for dinner on friday (LOVE THAT! lol), saturday it was soup again (WW 0 point soup though) with my famous grilled cheese, and sunday i splurged on fish and chips since we were in napa and i REALLY wanted to try taylor's refresher. (yeah.. TRY not to drool at that menu).

well, i tracked everything and although i'm NEGATIVE in points for the week, i'm determined to get some APs in and eat well for the rest of the week. i had a bomb salad at work tonight that i threw together.. and i'll probably make soup again today for dinner (what can i say? i'm in a soup-y mood). i'm LOVING this cold weather though!

i didn't make these together, but here's my 2 recipes so far this week:

pepperoni pizza soup (5-6 points per serving.. the recipe builder didn't have the barilla plus pasta, so i don't know for sure):
2 1/2 cups tomato bisque soup (i used tj's)
handful of chopped fresh basil (i like mine really basil-y)
1 Tbsp dried basil
2 cups water
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni (i used barilla plus)
2 green onions, sliced
2 teaspoons dried oregano, plus more for broiling
1/3 cup diced turkey pepperoni
1/2 cup grated low-fat cheese (i like tj's reduced fat 3 cheese blend)
4 teaspoons grated fresh parmesan

put the tomato soup, basil, water, and garlic into a large pot and bring it to a boil over high heat. When it is boiling, add the macaroni, green onions, oregano, and pepperoni and stir well. when the macaroni is cooked, about 6 to 8 minutes, pour the soup into oven safe bowls. sprinkle each bowl with equal amounts of cheeses. sprinkle on some oregano and put under the broiler until the cheese is bubbling and lightly browned, about 3 to 5 minutes.
we've also had the soup in bread bowls, but so much of the bread goes to waste i serve it on the side now (although this week i omitted even that to save calories).

jen's famous grilled cheese (okay.. so it's only famous with kris.. but i think it's pretty darned good!)
2 slices sturdy sourdough bread (i.e. the preliced kind, not fresh from the bakery)
2 tsp brummel & brown spread (it's a really low calorie butter substitute)
2 tsp grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup low-fat shredded cheese blend (once again, i used tj's)
non-stick cooking spray

heat a skillet over medium-high heat. spread butter on one side of each slice of bread. sprinkle 1 tsp of the parmesan cheese on each slice, press gently to stick. spray top of cheese with non-stick spray to help it stick. lay one piece of bread, parmesan side down, in heated skillet sprayed with non-stick spray (it should sizzle). top bread with 1/2 cup shredded cheese and the other piece of bread (parmesan-side facing up). after about 3-4 minutes, carefully turn sandwich over. the parmesan cheese should now be a golden-brown crust. grill for another 3-4 minutes and remove from pan. serve immediately, as the crust gets soggy after sitting. enjoy!

i don't know the nutrition info for this one, as i never eat a whole one. i usually cut of an edge and give the rest to kris. it's not super healthy, but it's as healthified as i could make it!


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

it's bakeriffic!

wedding favor cookies...

but this past week i've been doing lots of baking OTHER than sugar cookies.. and the fruits of my labor have been deeeeeeeeelicious!

check it out:

monkey bread! i know this is super popular, but personally i had never made it before, so i gave it a shot. soooo easy. and delicious! check out the recipe here.
the only thing i did differently was bake it in a bundt pan rather than a tube pan. i made one version with the nuts and raisins, and another without. they were both amazing! YUM!

the best chocolate chip cookies ever!!!

i usually default to my mrs. field's cookie book for her 'blue ribbon chocolate chip cookies' but i got this recipe in the mail and it turned out SO good! plus, i like that the recipe makes 6 cookies rather than 20 or more like a normal recipe does. you can always double it if you'd like!

5 oz all-purpose flour (about 1C plus 2T)
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1/3 C granulated sugar
1/3 packed brown sugar
1/4 C butter, softened
1 t vanilla extract
2 large egg whites
1/4 C semisweet chocolate chips

1. weigh/lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. combine flour, soda and salt in a small bowl, whisk together.
2. place sugars and butter in large bowl; beat with mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. add vanilla and egg whites; beat well. add flour mixture; beat at low speed until well blended. stir in chocolate chips. cover and refrigerate 1 hour or until firm.
3. preheat oven to 350 degrees
4. divide dough into 6 equal portions; place dough portions on baking sheet (either coated with cooking spray or lined with a silpat) 2 inches apart. bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes or until golden brown. cool on a wire rack.

small loss.. good week!

so yeah, at last week's weight in.. i only lost 0.8.. which is better than nothing, but i was still disappointed. the soup i made for dinner the night before had a lot of sodium in it though.. so that could have had something to do with it.

anywho, it's been an okay week, filled with some really good food! i had my brother's surprise bday party.. and fortunately (for me) they served mexican food, which i don't like. so i had a carne asada taco and a little rice. but i drank my weight it vodka so that made up for it... lol. i haven't used my WPA on anything else this week though.. so i'm feeling okay about it.

the soup last week was friggin incredible.. i could eat it every day:
2 boxes of low-sodium ff chicken broth
1 tbsp ground ginger*
1 tbsp crushed garlic*
3/4 cup low-sodium shoyu (soy sauce)
2 packages of soba noodles
1 cup chopped shitaki mushrooms
2 cups chopped bok choy
10 aidell's teriyaki chicken meatballs
or block of chopped firm lite tofu (veg)
3 stems green onion (chopped), for garnish

bring broth, ginger, garlic and shoyu to a boil. add remaining ingredients and cook until mushrooms are done. garnish with green onions and serve!

it made about 4 servings of 4-6 points each, depending on how many meatballs you served yourself. mmm.. drool. i want some now.

yesterday i had a kick-ass steakhouse salad.
i cooked a lean filet mignon on the stovetop until medium rare. let it sit for about 5 minutes, then slice thinly. in a large salad bowl, toss together mixed greens, 1/2 cup reduced fat blue cheese, 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes, 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced and some newman's own light balsamic vinaigrette to taste (they make a spray balsamic as well that's pretty good). top each serving of salad with some slices of steak. yumm. so decadent.. and it came out to approx. 6-8 points depending on how many slice of steak you have. i served hungry girl's onion rings on the side, but neither kris or i were big fans.. i guess i'll be using my fiber one cereal for something else from now on.

then today i made one of my dinner standards.. but it had been so long i forgot how delicious it is!! it's a smoked cheese and canadian bacon frittata with only a few minor adjustments to the recipe.. check it out i just used reduced fat smoked gouda instead of the cheddar, and some thick-cut ham i had on hand instead of the bacon. yumm.. and the best part - the portions are HUGE for 4 points each!

now that my stomach is grumbling.. off to bed!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

ode to produce...

yeah.. so.. i didn't go to the farmer's market last weekend since i decided to stay up until 6am. (not a rare occurence for me since i'm usually still at work at that time). however.. i woke up at 1pm and was mad at myself for missing it.. only to find that - WOOHOO - i get my monthly produce delivery this week!! i'm so excited. i use a company called 'planet organics' that delivers all around the bay area, but if you look, i highly suggest trying to find a produce delivery or food co-op in your area. co-ops tend to be cheaper since they send you whatever they have available that week, and you tell them how many people you want produce for. unfortunately, there aren't any near me. so i go with the delivery service that allows you to customize your 'box' with whatever as long as it's $32 minimum. it's a little pricey, but i only have it delivered once a month, and i make sure to log in and fill my box with stuff i know i'll use.

so i'm looking forward to my delivery on wednesday.. but until then i'll survive on frozen fruits and veggies. not that there's anything WRONG with that.

and while we're on the topic of frozen produce.. if you do find yourself looking at a bunch of browning bananas or squash that's getting soft by the second.. don't think twice about freezing them. right now, in my freezer i have:

summer squash
wax beans

all of these were at one point fresh, and as i saw they were about to turn, i chopped them up, and put them in labelled ziploc freezer bags. i can't tell you how much money i've saved.. i just hate throwing stuff away! some of the fruit i eat frozen or use in smoothies, and the veggies i add straight to the saute pan or microwave them with a little seasoning. just today i made a totally awesome dinner with some frozen produce:

red onion
red bell pepper
cremini mushrooms (these were fresh)

spray veggies with olive oil cooking spray and toss with salt and pepper. preheat grill, throw veggies onto a grill pan, and cook along with whatever meat you're having that day (for me it was lean pork chops marinated in chaka's mmm sauce. i made some brown rice cooked in low sodium, fat-free chicken broth, and had a delicious dinner that my bf called 'a keeper'. hahaha.

so go forth, and eat your veggies!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

week 2 back on track

yes, that's accurate.. i updated my weight graph and i gained back almost 20 pounds in 6 months. disgusting.. i know. part of me really really really wants to change that graph so that it starts with my restart date from a couple weeks ago.. but the other part of me knows that seeing it is a good reality check.

on the plus side.. i saw my roomie from college and her sister today (shaden and sara) and they both said that i look like i've lost weight.. i think i'm one of those lucky people who carries their weight really well.

this has been a roller coaster of a week for me. for the most part i did okay.. i was sick last week around WI, some sort of stomach bug.. and didn't feel right all weekend. i had some crazy breakdown on monday and ate an entire sleeve of oreos. gross.. i know. but other than that it was pretty good. i went to happy hour with my girlfriend lisa on friday and tracked everything we had.. and that took away all my WPA (hence the reason my unfortunate oreo incident was more than just unfortunate). all-in-all.. we shall see the results later on today.

no crazy good recipe finds this week. and back to the farmer's market this weekend. i still have hope that this time i will be successful.. for good!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

successful week!!

i am so super excited to be back on track.. i'll have to update my stats and progress on the blog when i'm at work this weekend. lol.. i love catching up on non-work-related activities at work. good times.

i walked quite a bit this week, but no actual 'working out' activities. maybe as i start jiggling less in my work-out clothes i'll be more comfortable turbo jamming again. it is SO fun! i'm not an avid gym-rat, but when i do workout, i stick to the ones that i enjoy:

jillian michael's 30 day shred
turbo jam cardio party
10-minute trainer

the latter 2.. shh.. i got on ebay. a lot of people complain about beachbody's sales' tricks, so i decided to stay away.

on to what actually helped me get through this week:

1. getting rid of trigger foods! thank you hungry girl!
i made my boyfriend's friends eat our bags of chips and oreos.
2. pre-planning for my baking orders. i had an order of cupcakes and 2 apple tarts for saturday.. normally i would eat all the leftovers, but as soon as i made them i took any leftovers to friends or.. once again.. made my bf's friends eat them.
3. stocked up at the farmer's market. i know i've mentioned how much money i save at the market every weekend before, but this week i made sure to buy lots and lots of veggies.. and forced myself to use them. i made eggplant parmesan (baked, not fried), pasta pomodoro (with chicken breast, zucchini, tomatoes and a ton of fresh basil), stuffed bell peppers (with lean ground beef), boiled corn on the cob (so sweet and delicious it didn't need butter), and lots of snacking on carrots and celery.
4. holey donuts! - i got some on a good deal they were running.. $5 a box, and they are amazing. i haven't been eating them every day (they run 3-7 points each), but they are delicious when you have a craving.
5. vitatops - i get them on amazon (free shipping!) and yes, i've mentioned them before.. but when you're really hungry between meals, it's the best, most delicious 1 point you can spend. my favs are deep chocolate and apple berry.
6. cool-ups - i bought mine at bed bath.. and i didn't use them a ton this week, but they were great over the summer! you can portion out your slow-churned ice cream.. and it's easy to control how much you're eating! yum!

if anyone is interested in the recipes i used this week.. let me know. i'll post them up!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

food finds!! (ww saviors part 2)

I wrote this blog a while back but apparantly never posted it.. but my opinion on all these products still rings true!

food finds:

ak-mak crackers- i find these at trader joe's, but i'm sure you could find them elsewhere. i've seen them on amazon. they are SO delicious with laughing cow garlic & herb wedges. you can have 5 large crackers and a laughing cow wedge for 3 points!

smoked salmon- it's tastes decadent and amazing.. but it's still very good for you. has those fishy-heart-healthy oils and is filling as well. give me some ak-maks, a tbsp of reduced fat cream cheese and a small package of smoked salmon.. i'm in heaven!!!

cafe twists- cinnamon sugar twists from tj's. i have them with my coffee.. i think each twist runs about 1 point each, but they're very fulfilling. i have on more than one instance been able to eat just one!

freeze dried fruit- there's a few brands out there.. but i get brother's all natural packs from costco. if you're craving something crunchy... these will do it for you! the fuji apple ones are amazing, but the pack comes with strawberry/banana and asian pear too! each pack is 1 pt each.

carrots- i know these seem bleh.. normal.. but if you get some really good bunches from the farmer's market.. they're sweet and flavorful all by themselves.. no ranch dressing needed! i am known to have carrot and celery slices packed in a water-filled tupperware in the fridge at all times. the water keeps the veggies fresh and crisp for up to 2 weeks!

greek yogurt (vanilla)- protein-packed yogurt you say?! oh yeah! greek yogurt is the creamiest, most filling delicious treat. not too sweet.. but just sweet enough. throw in a couple spoonfulls of cereal, granola or berries.. and you're good to go. when i'm at home, i'll make myself little greek yogurt parfaits with all of the above. YUM!

high fiber tortilla with turkey and cream cheese- my fav. high fiber tortilla is from tj's (can you see a trend?) and i can't quite remember the brand.. but any with 1 pt each will do... spread on a tbsp of strawberry reduced-fat cream cheese (yes, strawberry) and 2 slices of turkey. add some tomato slices and a sprig of lettuce and roll, deli style. i like to cut it into pinwheels when i'm feeling fancy.. and you've got a filling, delicious snack that will run you about 2.5 points!

i will have an updated list of more recent finds soon. =)

my ww saviors... part 1

i've done some food posts here and there.. but with the plethora of things that have been getting me through the past couple weeks, i decided i would share.

first of all - money. let's face it, losing weight costs money. even if you're doing it on your own, healthy food tends to cost more. unfortunately, that's the way it is.

1. FREEZER!!! the freezer is your best friend. i buy things in bulk (vitatops, low-pt bread, 94/6 ground beef, pork tenderloin, chicken breasts, etc) portion them out and freeze them. herbs freeze well too. lay the leaves out on a tray and freeze until firm, then throw them in a bag. perfect!

also, produce. when things are about to turn, i'll make soup, or a lasagna, then freeze! (for the lasagna, or any other 'baking dish' items, line your dish with saran wrap prior to assembling the food, then freeze. once frozen, remove it from the dish and place in a zip-top bag. it's perfectly sized for your baking dish, and you're not missing your dish while it's locked away in the freezer.. waiting to be baked.

fruit freezes well too. i bought a pallet of strawberries last summer.. sliced and froze them, and i'm still using them for smoothies! bananas and berries freeze really well too!

2. FARMER'S MARKET! i can't tell you what a life saver my weekly farmer's market has been for me. often i'll go with only $10 and see how far i can stretch it. also, if you go towards the end, they slash they're prices and are more prone to agree to any bargaining. a little money goes a long way, and you're supporting your local farmers!

3. SHOP THE ADS!! lately, with the economic downturn and all, the grocery stores are really combating for customers.. they have 'weekend specials' and coupons in their ads. i clip the coupons for items i need and only buy those items at those stores. if the ad doesn't have anything good that week, i vow not to go into that store and make-do with what i've got at home.. (i'm the WORST with impulse-buying).

4. TRADER JOE'S!! speaking of impulse buying.. mine has reduced DRASTICALLY since i started limiting my shopping to TJ's. if you've got one close by - utilize it! i don't think my bill has ever been over $100, and that is for many weeks of groceries. we get pretty much everything here but produce (it really bugs me that so much of their produce comes from mexico and costa rica.. it's california people! we've got great farms here! plus they package it in plastic. wtf?! let's be more eco-friendly! end rant.)

5. ZIPLOC BAGS!!! i'm sure you've heard it before.. but it bears repeating. buy things in big bags, and create your own 100-calorie packs. some things.. i know.. this doesn't work on (hostess anyone? yumm..) but it's great for crackers, chips, cookies, cereal (safeway's eating right cocoa puffs and fruit loops are my favs) and the list goes on and on. i've limited my snacks to these bags, because even if i fill them so much they're bursting at the seams, the portion is reasonable. ever notice how you fill something just because it's big enough?! me too... that's why i use small pyrex dishes for my lunches at work as well...

6. SKIP THE GYM!! no, i do not mean don't work out.. but really, who needs a gym membership when there are so many free (or much more low-cost) options out there?! walking, obviously... on the weekends bf and i will walk the dog to the local coffee shop. it's fun, and we get a treat at the end! if you have any kind of cable box, you probably have on demand content. there are, like, a gazillion work-out shows to try.. and the variety keeps things interesting. try the internet too! i tried out the 30-day shred by finding it streaming online prior to investing any money (the whopping $10). instead of dumbbells, use cans! i started with 16oz, and i'm working up to 32oz in the shred.. who needs the fancy stuff? and, i'm still sore! you can also try a workout video swap.. we've all got 'em, those videos you bought and never use (windsor pilates, anyone? haha). check with friends or co-workers to see what they've got, and switch!

the list of free/cheap workout activities goes on and on!

i almost forgot! take that bed bath and beyond 20% coupon that i KNOW is sitting at your house and invest in some debbie myer's green bags... yes, the infomercials may be dorky, but those things WORK!! my produce lasts for weeks.. literally. i have broccoli in the fridge from like 3 weeks ago!!! no joke!


part 2 coming shortly...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

another slow week...

as far as weight loss in concerned. down 0.2. that's okay though.. i've sworn that this is my FINAL go at WW, so i try not to let the small losses (or gains) get me down like they have in the past.

still tracking pretty well, so i'm proud of myself in that sense. i also joined the "walk across america" challenge on the WW msg boards, which has really encouraged me to get moving in the past couple days. i walked and did the shred on friday, and walked/ran yesterday, so my AP count is looking okay for this week! kris has been working out to p90 at home as well, which is encouraging (even though i don't think he needs to lose ANY weight!).

my goal this week is to be more productive with my down time. although it's been gloomy and it's tough to get motivated, i don't want spring to come full steam and open my drapes to find an ugly apartment!!! i need to do some major spring cleaning.. purging of junk i don't need!! and, there's always the gazillion crafts i'd like to do. i did some freezer paper stenciling on onesies for a girl at work who's expecting.. i'll have to post pictures, they turned out great!!!

there's always something more productive to do than eat.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

work, work, work...

it's just day 2 of what will inevitably prove to be a very long week. i'm basically working sunday to sunday, with thursday off. i'll let you know if i survive.

on the bright side, i have no class next week so i can relax.. (not that my whopping 2 classes are all that difficult). at WI on last friday, i lost 1lb. for some reason, i wasn't that excited. i mean, it's great! i'm happy that i lost.. but i don't know.. i just didn't get that feeling of accomplishment. maybe i was hoping for something more?

i'll just have to keep chugging along... i think it's just that i really want to get my to my 10% and 20lbs.. like... NOW! i need to be more active too.. i haven't really done anything lately.. except a shred here and there. nothing consistent. i need to!

on the bright side, i found some fabulous snacks at trader joe's! oh, how i love that place! they're called cafe twists, and they're 30 calories each. i LOVE them.. 90 calories (2 points) for 3 of them, and they're completely satisfying for a sweet craving. ohh how i wish i had one right now. i don't bring them to work because i'll eat them all just since they're there.. without thinking about it. i also went to the farmer's market and picked up more fruit and veggies. there was a stand there - 'the hummus guy', and he was sampling all his hummus. i'm not a huge fan, being that i don't like beans, but the roasted garlic one was SUPER yummy, so i got a container of it. i had some earlier today, and i brought it with me to work with some carrots and celery.

i have to stay OP this week considering i had like a gazillion cups of guinness on saturday at the st. patty's day parade. twas fun.. although kris and i pooped out kind of early. i guess we're just getting old.

Monday, March 9, 2009

back on track!

i'm so proud of myself.. i have continued to track, even over the weekend when i managed to eat 2 red velvet cupcakes..

on the bright side, i found the perfect red velvet recipe!! (after one that i thought sucked.. my family said it was good- but i think they were just being nice..) that's one reason why i like baking cookies over cakes/cupcakes. i don't like my cookies, so i'm not tempted to eat them! the cake, however.. is another story. it IS fun to branch out to other baked goods..

i finally created a weight tracker for myself which i've found to be a big motivation. i've been bouncing back and forth so much since i started.. but for some reason don't realize it until i see it all mapped out for me. i would really like to feel good in a bikini this summer, but it's gonna take a ton of hard work. for example, i'm completely out of my points allowance for the week... which means i really need to work to get some AP's in.. here's hoping!

however, i have had this crazy headache all weekend where i've felt light-headed and dizzy. kris got all worried and insists that i see the doctor, so i'll go this afternoon. here's to an on point week!

btw, i added a bunch of cookies to my 'cookies 2' folder in picasa. my favorites are both my nephew's birthdays (speed racer, and cupcakes) and the turkey placecards from thanksgiving. so cute.. if i do say so myself! =)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


well i've done okay so far this week.. i've been writing down everything, even the naughty stuff. kris and i went to tgif and we had.. *gasp* the sesame chicken strip appetizer. but it was totally worth it.

since i used so many points on sunday i've discovered new filling yummy snacks:

light string cheese and turkey. sooooooooo good for 2 points!

tuna and avocado. yes, sounds weird.. but the avocado has this buttery texture that cuts the dryness of the tuna. i ate that for lunch at work twice. delicioso!

lightfull smoothies - the best way to spend 1 point, in my opinion (other than vitatops). i love the cafe latte... and it prevents me from eating right before i go to sleep in the morning

and i've tracked EVERYTHING this week. i'm so proud. we'll see what my weight is on friday, considering i haven't weighed myself in like a month. we shall see.

Saturday, February 28, 2009


i have been so super lazy and gross lately. it's a good thing i keep taking pictures, because it's a great way to gauge my weight loss.. or lack thereof. my goal this week is to get up off the couch - no excuses, and write down everything i eat. wish me luck!!

i did finish a few projects this week. i copied the '4-pack' ideas on tipjunkie and made a chocolate one for my girlfriend lisa. i can't wait to send it to her. i also did a cupcake cake and cookies for a friend's daughter's first birthday. the cupcake cake didn't turn out as cute as i would have liked, but the cookies are adorable! also, i spent a lot of time making fondant flowers with my new flower-shaping tools, and decorated the outside of the cake with them. plus, they made the extra batch of store-bought cake mix cupcakes i made look uber-cute.

i should be updating my picasaweb account shortly - we got a new camera! yay!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

delish dinner!

i just made a delicious dinner.. after searching on the web for something to make with stuff i have on hand right now.. had to share!


4 medium boneless skinless chicken breasts
3/4 cup reduced fat buttermilk
1 tsp dried thyme
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup flour
1 tbsp oil (i used canola)
1 chicken bouillon (i used the low-sodium packet from trader joe's)
i also used a bit of emeril's 'essence' as i do in a lot of my chicken recipes

1. In a bowl, mix chicken with 1/2 cup buttermilk. I let it sit and tenderize for a while. In a separate shallow bowl, mix flour, thyme, salt, and I added about a tbsp of essence. Dip chicken in mixture to coat.
2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Place breaded chicken in hot oil and brown on both sides. Reduce heat and cook until done (it took about 10 minutes). Remove chicken from pan and keep warm.
3. In a measuring cup, mix 1 tbsp flour, bouillon, essence and 1 cup hot water. Stir mixture into skillet over medium high heat and cook until it boils and thickens. Stir in 1/4 cup buttermilk. Serve gravy with chicken.

While the chicken cooked I mixed up a batch of biscuits from the bisquick 'heart healthy' mix and non-fat milk. Those took about 8 minutes.

I served it with some microwaved frozen green beans and poured the gravy over everything. So super good.. next time I think I'll omit the oil in the pan - it added unnecessary fat. Other than that, it was fairly healthy, especially considering a lot of the buttermilk you soak the chicken in goes unused.

Adapted from: Good Housekeeping: Chicken with Buttermilk Gravy

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

must... craft....

i was surfing around craftster for v-day ideas and found an ADORABLE tea bag wallet.. i think i'm going to have to make it. i've got some scraps of fabric so i'll be making a tea bag wallet with matching cup cozy.. maybe for myself.. maybe for a gift.. we shall see!

wallet tutorial

cozy tutorial

Sunday, February 8, 2009

favorite DIY websites... etc...

for me, being crafty and creative has to come from somewhere.. i'm not the most innovative person in the world. so, i look to others for inspiration. i love tutorials, and fun ideas i find around the internet, in books, and in magazines (ahem.. martha stewart.. haha). i wanted to put down a list of websites i often go to for inspiration..


Clever Cookie

Elenis NY

Cookies by Design

Rolling Pin Productions

Fancy Flours

Copper Gifts


Tip Junkie





i love DIY.. i look at a lot of home sites as well (HGTV, DIY network, etc) and watch a ton of home shows.. but i'm still getting a hang of decorating in the house =)


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Feeling yucky today...

I don't know WHAT I ate yesterday that made me feel this gross.. but something didn't agree with me. Regardless.. I'm at work.. pushing through.

I'm working on being frugal whilst getting food that's good for me! The best place in the world to do that - farmer's market!! This weekend it wasn't the best.. but I got some good stuff. Some baby spinach and new potatoes that looked really great. A giant bunch of parsley for $1! I think I need to make some soup. I got some carrots but no one had celery... I'll just have to get some tomorrow. I'm excited for the markets to start looking like summer.. but if it stays cold like it has been, I won't be seeing fruit anytime soon!

I have found target to be my best friend.. a lot of their stuff not on sale is a great deal.. like hostess 100 calorie packs for $3 and their archer farms products. Also, their zone bars (my breakfast of choice.. packing 15 grams of protein per bar) are only $4.50 for a 5-pack.

My food picks right now:

Freeze-dried fruit - I usually get it at Trader Joe's, but it can be kinda pricey. Costco carries Brothers All Natural, but you can also buy them online (1 point per pouch)

Yoplait Light dessert flavors - their strawberry shortcake, boston creme pie, apple turnover and pineapple upsidedown cake will kill a sweet craving for me any day (2 points each)

Zone Double Dark Chocolate bars - Sure, they're 4-5 points each, but with my coffee when I start work at night.. they're the best. The 15 grams of fiber in each bar keep me satisfied until I get my lunch break around 3am (4-5 points each)

Fuji apples - I've recently gained a newfound respect for these delicious things. They are so sweet and so juicy.. I love eating them after lunch at work.. and then I find myself not craving anything sweet. (1-2 points each)

Almond Milk - 40 calories for a cup, you can't beat it! I use it in cooking, cereal, coffee.. I'm not a milk person, so I don't drink it straight.. but I hear it's delicious! (1 point per cup)

Newton's fruit crisps - I've only had the apple cinnamon, but they are AMAZING!!! I really can't rave about these enough. I've even gotten my roommate hooked on them. They taste like.. drumroll please... McDonalds apple pies!!! It's 100 calories per package, and you get 2 of them!!! INCREDIBLE!!! (2 points per pack)

That's all folks!! I'll be back with photos of my homemade christmas gifts soon...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

go-to recipes

When I ventured out to make all of my christmas presents for '08, I instantly had an idea of compiling a recipe book for my sister-in-law. She always asks what I make since I cook so often, and I wanted to share with her my go-to recipes. I love to cook healthy, but I want to cook things that are so good they 'fool' my boyfriend, you know? So, for my own reference, as well as something I can direct others to, I wanted to compile all the links in one place (for some reason papers don't stay in my recipe file for too long, haha!)

Barbecue Pork-and-Coleslaw Hoagies (8 points each)
The coleslaw used in this recipe is my go-to, even when I'm not making the Hoagies. It's delicious! I use fat free sour cream instead of light.
Chicken Cordon Bleu (7 points each)
I serve this with mashed potatoes (try mixing half potatoes and half steamed califlower - it works well!), and green beans. In the recipe, I use brummel & brown instead of real butter, which I'm sure brings the nutritionals down a bit.
Chicken-fried Steak (7 points each)
I also serve this with mashed potatoes and green beans, and the gravy that goes with it is THE BEST cream gravy ever!!
Cream Gravy (1 point per 1/3 cup)
Soooo delicious, and I use fat free instead of low-fat milk.
Farfalle with Creamy Wild Mushroom Sauce (7 points per serving)
I half the pasta and use the same amount of sauce, which alters the nutritionals, but it's worth it!
Herbed Chicken and Dumplings (6 points per 2 cups)
I always double this (the recipe is for 2 servings) because it never lasts long between me and my boyfriend.. it's one of our favorite soups. I also use almond milk* instead of low-fat in the dumplings.
Mini Meat Loaves (6 points per loaf)
The best part - it's pre-portioned so there's no temptation! They cook fast, and are delicious. I don't splurge for the sirloin as called for in the recipe. I just use 90/10 ground beef. Another meat dish that goes great with mashed potatoes and green beans =)

*Almond Milk is incredible. We rarely have milk in our house because this is so much better! I use the Blue Diamond brand, unsweetened vanilla. It's only 40 calories per cup! That's less than half of fat free milk. I use it in cereal and in recipes! Plus it's easy to always have on hand because you can keep it in the cupboard like soy milk until you open it!

As you can see, I make a lot of mashed potatoes. When cooking for 2 people, there's always leftovers. Whenever I have left over mashed potatoes, I always re-create KFC's 'famous chicken bowl' at home. I bake up some frozen breaded chicken tenders (2 for me, 3-4 for my bf), and microwave some frozen kernel corn. I also make up a batch of cream gravy (see link above). In a shallow bowl, layer a spoonful of mashed potatoes, topped with corn, then cooked chicken tenders. Pour a bit of gravy over top and sprinkle with a little reduced-fat shredded cheese. SOOOOOOOOOO GOOD! =)

Hope this is helpful!

Monday, January 26, 2009


So, I'm not the greatest cake baker in the world. Cookies I can do, but cakes, not so much. So imagine how ecstatic I was to get The Cupcakes! Book by the 'Cake Mix Doctor' from my aunt for Christmas. It has totally awesome recipes that all start with cake mix. I love cupcakes.. I think they're fun, adorable, and make us all feel like kids again. I've only been able to try a couple of the recipes, but one in particular, the "Cookies and Creme" cupcake, has been a big hit with everyone who has tried it! I've made them 4 separate times now because I keep getting requests!

Of course, when I saw these groundhog cupcakes featured on tipjunkie, you KNOW I automatically thought of doing them with the "Cookies and Creme" cupcake recipe!!! Especially since the recipe already has you garnish the top of buttercream frosting with oreo cookie crumbs =).

For those of you who are interested, here is the recipe:

  • 1 box white cake mix (no pudding)
  • 1 cup sour cream (light works just fine)

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

  • 3 eggs

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • 30 oreo cookies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Crush 18 oreo cookies in a large zip-top bag with a rolling pin.

Line 24 cupcake tins with paper liners. Separate remaining 12 oreos from one another, ensuring there is some creme filling on both sides of the cookie. Place cookie, creme side up, one in each cupcake liner.

Mix cake mix, sour cream, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla in a bowl with a hand mixer on low speed for 30 seconds or until incorporated. Increase speed to medium for 2 minutes (batter will be thick). Fold in 1 1/2 cups of the crushed oreos, reserve remainder for garnish.

Spoon 1/3 cup batter into cupcake tins until about 3/4 of the way full. Bake at 350 for 18-22 minutes or until they spring back when lightly touched and are slightly golden. Cool on a wire rack.

Prepare buttercream frosting

  • 1 stick butter (at room temp)
  • 3 cups sifted confectioner's sugar
  • 3-4 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Cream butter until light and fluffy. Stop mixer to add sugar, 3 tablespoons of the milk, and vanilla. Mix on low until incorporated. Increase speed to medium-high for 1-2 minutes. If too stiff, add up to 1 additional tablespoon of milk. Frosting should be spreadable consistency. Frost cupcakes and garnish with cookie crumbs. Lightly press crumbs in to stick. If making groundhog cupcakes, see instructions through tipjunkie link!

Seriously, these cupcakes are ridiculously good.

update (10/7/09) i make these cupcakes so often i've played around with how to decorate them.. crumbs, mini oreos, oreo halves, piped frosting, spread frosting.. anywho.. these are my favorites:

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Being a baker, I've always found dieting to be daunting. A lot of people say they don't like the things they make, but I do!! And even if I don't, I still convince myself that I have to try things if I'm going to feel comfortable giving them to other people.. haha.

I've been on and off the weight watchers bandwagon many a time.. but I'm really making an effort this time and feel like communication and sharing my struggle with others is the best way to be successful. I mean, I've used the same strategy in baking, arts & crafts, etc.. so why not in getting healthy?!

I wanted to compile some of my favorite tips and treats.. as well as my struggles that I feel are fairly common amongst anyone who has had trouble with their weight (ahem... everyone?! haha). I'll keep updating as things come to me.

Oh, and I recently added some uber cute cookies to my picasa account! they are under 'cookies 2' and still need to be organized. I think I need to start making folders.. birthdays, holidays, showers, etc. with my cookie pictures. =)

check them out!