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

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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.

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.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Breakfast for dinner...

I tackled my fridge today in an effort to clean it.. and wrangled up all the products that needed to be used STAT. What did this mean in terms of dinner fare? Breakfast!!!

Sweet Potato Hash (adapted from Cooking Light)
4 servings, 4 P+ each

4 small sweet potatoes, chopped into 1/4-1/2 inch cubes (about 4 cups)
2 tsp olive oil
4 Morningstar farms (or other veggie) sausage links
3/4 cup chopped onion (I used green)
1 1/2 Tbsp sugar-free maple syrup
salt & pepper to taste

Place chopped potatoes into a microwave safe dish with some water and microwave for 8 minutes (or until tender) stirring halfway through. Drain. Microwave sausage links for 1 1/2 minutes. Chop into 'crumbles'. In large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add chopped onion, and some salt & pepper, and saute until tender (about 3 minutes), then add chopped sausage and mix well. Add cooked potatoes to sausage/onion mixture and mix - evenly distribute potatoes around pan and leave for 4 minutes to brown. Flip potatoes and brown for about 3 minutes on other side (or until they're as crispy as you want them without burning!). Add additional salt & pepper as desired.

Zucchini & Asparagus scramble
2 LARGE servings, 3 P+ each

1/2 bunch asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup chopped green onion
1 small zucchini, very thinly sliced
1 cup egg substitute (like egg beaters)
2 wedges Laughing cow light creamy swiss, cut into small chunks
salt & pepper to taste

Place asparagus pieces in microwave-safe dish with some water and microwave for 3-4 minutes, or until tender. Drain. Spray a non-stick skillet on medium-high heat with cooking spray and add onion & zucchini. Cook until zucchini is tender, about 3-4 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, and pour in egg substitute. Scramble until eggs are fully cooked, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle with chunks of cheese and stir until melted. Fold in cooked asparagus pieces, and add salt & pepper to taste. Enjoy!
We were absolutely famished.. so I didn't take a picture before.. but here's the leftovers packed up and ready for me to heat for breakfast! As you can see.. we didn't finish the scramble - the veggies really bulked it up.. so the servings we had were probably closer to 2 P+. It would be great rounded out with a toasted mini bagel and some fruit for a power-packed breakfast!