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17 May

What a long day – really great, but really long!

I’m proud to say I reached my goals for the day, which means no cheddar biscuits for me! I also resisted taking nibbles off of anyone else, which is quite a feat between 2 restaurants and 11 people. I almost took a taste of E’s pasta tonight, but caught myself, and gave our server my cutlery instead. After all, no cutlery, no nibbles!

We ate lunch at Red Lobster, and it was pretty good. Wood-grilled Rainbow Trout, steamed unseasoned broccoli and a baked tater with pico de gallo. The potato came smothered in salt, so it took me a few minutes to brush it all off. There was at least 2 tablespoons poured on top of it, and for the life of me, I can’t understand who’d want to eat that. With unsweet tea, lunch came out to 456 calories.

We headed straight from lunch to the School of Nursing reception – tons of food and tons of people. Normally, I’d take the opportunity to do a ton of grazing, but I resisted. I had my eye on a giant piece of carrot cake – thankfully, the university provided an awesome tea bar, so I had a Bigelow Vanilla Chai with nondairy creamer instead. The nutmeg, cardamom and other spices totally filled the cap, and at 15 calories was such a better choice! I loved the disposable mugs they had – not environmentally-friendly, but super cute.

The proud graduate! Even though he’s not officially done until mid-August, we’re so proud of him.

The ceremony took forever, or at least felt that way. By the time we were seated at Outback for dinner, it’d been 6 or 7 hours since lunch, and I was starving. My original plan was to bring some carrots for during the commencement, but I completely forgot! After a sip of E’s Yuengling and my mother-in-law’s Pinot Grigio, I settled for the best drink of all, a giant bottle of San Pellegrino with lemon. I nursed this all night, and it hit the spot – having the wine glass was just part of the effect.

I had a teensy slice of bread (probably 1/20th of the loaf), and decided on my starter. I could’ve totally gone for a bite (or 5) of this:
But instead, I chose this!
House salad, no cheese, with Tangy Tomato dressing on the side. I ate everything other than one crouton that mysteriously ended up in E’s mouth, and 4 or 5 fork dips of the dressing. I feel like I always get the same thing whenever I go out to eat: chicken or fish, baked potato, steamed veg. It’s been getting kind of boring, so I decided to mix it up! Grilled chicken and shrimp with grilled veggies, grilled pineapple and a huge sweet potato with cinnamon. Other than half the potato, everything ended up in my belly! Really good and a nice change, the night out ended at 520 calories.

I had a carrot when we got back to our room, which brings the daily total to 1465 calories. I’m actually really excited and proud, because I dodged some major personal landmines. Red Lobster and Outback are both well-known to be calorie-busters, and buffet service and I are the best of friends. Today could’ve been a total nightmare, and it was completely within range! It was a great test, and has given me that much more confidence. I know I can do this!


motown express

16 May

Happy Friday!

Today’s been a great day – my mom came with me to the gym, and it was really fun. I’m so proud of her! She hasn’t exercised in at least a decade, and boy, was she ever a trooper. Not only did she come to Weighted Workout with me, but she did all 45 minutes of it! It wasn’t easy, but she did it, and I don’t know too many people that would’ve. She seemed to enjoy aqua aerobics a little more, and it was easier on her joints, so she’s pledged to do that all of next week. It may be baby steps, but they’re pretty big ones to me.

We rushed around most of today, so not too many food pics. Breakfast was a pumpernickel bagel with a little Smart Balance with Flax for 228 calories, and in between classes, I munched on a string cheese and a handful of almonds for 122 calories. Since my mom has never been to Panera Bread, we had lunch there. The Fuji Apple Salad with chicken sounded amazing, so I ordered that with a side of the french baguette. Boy, was I in for a shock! Without any changes, the salad alone was 520 calories and 30 grams of fat, which is absolutely nuts for a salad! I only used 4 forkdips of dressing, and they forgot the pecans, so that brought it down to 357 calories and 12 grams of fat. Not great, but definitely better! Between the salad, the baguette, and a teensy sample of a cinnamon crunch bagel, lunch came out to 518 calories.

E’s little brother is graduating from WVU’s school of nursing tomorrow, so we made the drive to Morgantown earlier this evening. For some reason, I get super munchy anytime a road trip comes into play, and today was no exception! Even though it only took us about 3 hours, it felt like we were driving for-e-ver. I ate dinner pretty early on, which was probably my first mistake. Since we took home some of last night’s picnic leftovers, I took sliced up some of the jerk grilled chicken and grilled zucchini and squash, and mixed it up with some fresh pineapple salsa and pasta salad (whole wheat penne, a few pine nuts and broccoli). It came out to 370 calories, and even though it was definitely tasty, it wasn’t filling at all!

I found organic carrots on sale the other day for $0.19/lb, so I peeled some up this afternoon. Good thing, too – by the time we’d gotten to our hotel, I’d eaten 4 of them, and they were the best carrots I’ve ever had, hands down.

Once we got to the hotel, I had some orange sections and some of the biggest cherries I’ve ever seen – imagine this x2. My fruit and veggie snackout came out to 208 calories.

Which means the total for today was 1447 calories – perfect! Tomorrow I may not be so lucky – we’re having lunch with the fam at Red Lobster, and my goal is to avoid the Cheddar Bay biscuits at all costs. They’re total Kryptonite, and I can never stop at one. I’ll report back, and let you know what happened.

When is one never enough for you? I can’t be alone in this!

Cozy in a Bowl

19 Oct

Fall is definitely my favourite season. I love that it means hoodies and jeans, apple picking, and the cool, crisp smell of the air (the next best thing to the smell of snow). The leaves start to change, making the forests seem like they’re on fire.

Fall and I are best buds – if I had my way, we’d be together 24/7.

With Fall around, I definitely gravitate towards heartier, homier, stick-to-your-ribs cooking. Stews, casseroles and soups feature prominently around here, giving your insides a great big hug. A couple of weeks ago, I was definitely in a nesting kind of mood, and decided to put together a meal of pure love.

Taking inventory of my pantry, fridge and freezer, I knew I had all the ingredients for Broccoli and 3 Cheese Soup, and decided to put together an Irish Soda Bread to accompany it. The prep work on this meal was quick, and it was really easy to put together. Man oh man, do you get rewarded for your efforts! The bread was dense, with a nice crisp crust, and the soup was cheesy, creamy and just all around delicious. This is definitely going into our Tried and True folder!

Irish Soda Bread
adapted from Joy of Baking by Stephanie Jaworski

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 T granulated white sugar
  • 2 T oats
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk (I made my own by combining 1 1/2 T of white vinegar to 1 1/2 cups of skim milk and letting it sit for 5-10 minutes)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees, and place rack in the centre of oven.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, soda, salt and oats.
  3. Make a well in the centre, and add in most of the buttermilk. Using your hands (or a wooden spoon), mix until you have a soft moist dough. Add in more buttermilk as necessary to acheive said dough.
  4. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface, and knead gently into a 7 inch round that’s about 1 inch thick.
  5. Place the round on a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper, and with a sharp knife, cut an ‘x’ into the dough about 1/4 inch deep.
  6. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the crust is nicely browned and a toothpick comes out clean. You can also test for doneness by tapping on the bottom of the bread and listening for hollowness.
  7. Serve warm.

Broccoli and Three Cheese Soup
adapted from A Year of Crockpotting
Note: Although this makes what seems to be a lot of soup, it was just enough for E and I to each have two bowls, with about 1/2 cup left over for his lunch the next day. Also, you can use whatever cheese you like in this recipe, so feel free to customize to your tastes.

  • 4 cups no-chicken broth
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • 20 oz. frozen broccoli
  • 1/2 large white onion, diced
  • 1/2 t black pepper
  • 1/2 t kosher salt
  • 1 cup Fontina cheese, grated
  • 1 cup Sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 cup shredded Casserole Mix cheese
  1. Dice your onion pretty finely, and add to a 6 qt crockpot.
  2. Top with milk, broth and spices, and stir in frozen broccoli.
  3. Cook on high 4-6 hours, or on low for 7-9. You’ll know it’s ready when the onions are softened. Mine reached this point at about 3 1/2 hours on high.
  4. 30 minutes before serving, stir in your cheeses.
  5. Serve!

I served the soup and bread up with some spiced tomato jam, flavoured with cinnamon and cloves, that we picked up on our honeymoon and some butter.

It was amazing, and one of the best meals I’ve ever made.


It was just that good.

E and I decided that we could eat this every day, and for the next few months, we’ll probably come close.