Monday, July 29, 2013

Grilled Corn with Chili BBQ Marinade

The grill:
I admit I have felt pretty intimidated by it in the past. There's smoke, fire, weird tools... 
And don't forget about the HUGE responsibility and understanding that you if you take on the role of grillmaster at a gathering you will NOT muck up everyone's lunch. Or subsequent good time for that matter! 
The grill has so much to offer and I have found it hard for me to muster up the courage to play with it.

Since I am a fierce competitor, my relationship with the grill unsurprisingly began as a challenge.
A friend of mine had a cookout recently (obviously, because in the south it's not a party without food). Usually the men take over the grill, but this friend of mine was a sorceress of the flames. As an only child, I shamefully admit I started to redden with jealousy over the compliments to the chef.  I can cook like her. What am I so afraid of?  It got me wondering why I don't take advantage of my grill. I mean, I cooked in a restaurant kitchen over a commercial grill 5 days a week for 7 years and loved it! 

It was time I tested my limits with the thrill of the grill!!!

Since I live in a condo, I have to share a grill with my neighbors, but it's a nice one and it's connected to a gas line. First things first, I invested in one of those weird tools I cautiously eye in the store:

Once I got comfortable with it, I started small. 
Grilled squash and zucchini, kabobs, burgers, and the like. 

Then some chicken with some local spices:

I was getting pretty used to this! In fact, I think my addictive personality might have me overdoing it a little bit. Can too much charred food be bad for you?? **shrugs shoulders.** It IS summer after all.

One of the many perks of working in television news is the freebies. Concert tickets, sporting events, home and garden show passes, corn... That's right: we did a story on the local corn industry and we all got to take some home. What was I going to do with it? Grill it of course! The result? Hands down, the best corn ever. 

Grilled Corn with Chili BBQ Marinade

The What:

•3 whole corn husks
•1/2 cup olive oil
•1/4 cup BBQ sauce
•2 tablespoons chili sauce
•1/2 teaspoon each of: cumin, coriander, garlic powder, salt, pepper, cayenne

The How:

• Peel husks back and discard the silk. Leave the stalk and the majority of the husk. 

 •Soak in cold water for about 30 minutes.
Whisk together the marinade ingredients.
Grill in husk for a few minutes on each side (this will help retain moisture).
•Peel husks back and coat with marinade with a brush.

•A lot of the husk may catch fire, but don't freak. It will burn to ash very quickly.
•Grill for about 5 minutes on each side. Slather that marinade on there liberally, use it all! Turn corn over several times. 
•Cook corn to your liking. I personally like it still a little firm, so definitely cook it longer if you want to!

If there's leftover marinade, feel free to bathe in it!
 (kidding, don't bathe in it. There's spicy stuff in there).

Friday, July 26, 2013

Tricky Labels

Grilled chicken, steamed brown rice and carrots, raw tomatoes w/balsamic, s&p. 400 calorie lunch as pictured.  I fell victim to the serving size vs. portion size trick again! As I prepared my plate I looked at the serving size for the brown rice: 155 calories per 3/4 cup. So how much did I dole out? 3/4 cup. I added everything up while I ate and was not happy about a 400 calorie lunch. So what did I do? I left about 1/4 cup of rice on the plate and threw it away. This saved about 50 calories. This is why it's so important to learn YOUR portion sizes, instead of eating a serving size decided for you. Every little bit counts. I am just as full with half a cup of rice as I would have been with 3/4. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Weigh Down

Here's the timeline: March 2011: Around 310 pounds. By November 2011 I weighed at least 330. Could have been more, not sure. Didn't care at that point. 

January 2012--I started to care. 

Here we are a year and a half later... 47 pounds lighter. I know I could be so many pounds lighter than 47, but the fact of the matter is that I HAVE LOST 47 POUNDS.

 I am aware that this is incredible, no matter how damn long it took me. 

I WILL continue to lose and NO ONE will make me feel like this is anything less than SPECTACULAR! 

Let's go guys, LET'S GET IT!!!

Here's what 47 pounds lighter looks like in the face.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Southwestern Chicken Quinoa Salad

The What:
1 bell pepper, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
3 oz chopped baked chicken (seasoned with salt and pepper, garlic powder, olive oil)
1/4 cup Quinoa
0 calorie hot sauce
1/2 cup Corn/Black Bean/ tomato mixture. I like this kind: 

The How:

-Cook Quinoa according to package directions.
- Sauté pepper and onion until desired texture (I like my veggies a little crispy)
-Combine quinoa, cooled chicken, veggies, top with hot sauce.

Serves: 1 
370 calories 

Sugar Sucks

Robert Lustig, author of the book "Fat Chance," says that Americans consume DOUBLE the amount of fructose now than 30 years ago, and is up sixfold from a century ago! Sugar sucks, y'all. It goes to fat in a violent, disgusting way, and it seems inescapable in our environment. I love this advice from Lustig: "Eat only food that someone's grandmother would recognize as food." Check out this article in the Nashville City Paper on "Why We're Fat:" 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Ziggy Says No to Exercise

It's official: Ziggy loves his new food...

but hates exercising:

I know I'm a day late, but I got a lil busy yesterday. 

He went about 20 more feet this week than last week, but hated every step of it!

It's so weird, though because he gets sooo excited at the notion of going for a long walk,

 but halfway through realizes what he's doing! Lol. 

At one point he just started jumping up on my legs for me to pick him up and the folks watching thought it was so cute. I don't know how to get him in better shape, but maybe practice will make perfect? Or maybe you really CAN'T teach an old dog new tricks? 

Oh, ZiggyTron3000, what am I going to do with you?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

362 Calorie Veggie Pie

It's not a pizza! It's a veggie pie! 

Serves: 2
362 Calories per veggie pie

The What:
•2 Wheat Pitas (I use Arnold 8 grain pocket thins at 100 calories each)
4 tbsp light mayo
•6 tbsp tomato paste
•1 tsp olive oil
•2 tbsp olive oil
•2 freshly grated garlic cloves
•1 cup of sliced red onion
•1 sliced cucumber
•1 sliced bell pepper
•Salt and Pepper to taste

The How:
Pre-Heat oven to 350.
Bake pitas for about 5 minutes, or until slight crispy. Cut in half, so you have 4 full round slices.
•Mix tomato paste, 1 tsp olive oil, and  mayo in food processor.
•Saute garlic and veggies with 0 calorie cooking spray until slightly soft. Salt and Pepper to taste.
•Cut top half of both pitas into strips.
•Place veggies on bottom halves of pitas, then spread tomato/mayo mixture on top.
•Weave pita strips on top. 
•Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. 


Monday, July 8, 2013

Back to the Grind

After a 5-day vacation hiatus, it is time to get back on my healthy regimen! Every 4th of July my closest friends and I pack up and head to the blue ridges of Georgia and raft the Ocoee.

 It's my favorite vacation of the year! 

It's so pretty out there and I absolutely love the thrill of potentially drowning as we paddle or die through the Olympic section of the river. No, seriously. I love it! I hate it when I get flipped out of the boat, but then I get over it. We typically are very active this trip and I usually end up losing a little weight. Our past times usually include: tennis, hiking, running, tubing, and of course: rafting. 

Well, this year, Mother Nature decided to rain on our parade. It literally rained EVERY SINGLE DAY.  For FIVE days straight :(. We made the most of it, but there ended up being a lot of eating, drinking, sleeping, sitting, eating, drinking...  We watched movies, played board games, lit fireworks (in the rain), and sat in the hot tub until our entire bodies were wrinkled. 

Most of the folks on this trip are really healthy and active so it's usually easy for me to follow in their footsteps and say no to all the temptation of snacking. I don't know if it was the rain, or what... But this year every last crumb of the cabin's "carb corner" as we call it got devoured! We plowed through like 20 bags of chips, ate a ton of burgers, and we were extremely American by drinking a lot of these:

At one point, we counted how many grams of carbs everybody had consumed in the first two days and it was something like 300!! But hey, it was vacation, right?

We got there Wednesday evening and I was determined to be good the whole trip. I had just worked SO hard to lose 10 pounds! We stopped at a gas station along the way there and we grabbed snacks for the ride: gummies, chocolate, other bad stuff, and soda. What happened to my motivation? Then you'll never guess what we ate for dinner weds night... Pizza! Real, carbalicious, cheesy, greasy... Pizza. But you know what? It did not even taste that good to me. I was honestly wishing I had one of my pita pizza recipes! So we drank that night, like we do... Got up the next morning and ate sausage, cheesy scrambled eggs, bacon, bagels and cream cheese. Oh Lord Jesus. You would not believe the war that was happening in my belly. Every piece of crap I had consumed in the last 24 hours was hitting me with a vengeance. I had to exercise immediately. A few of us went for a little walk/jog in the rain and it felt so good. There were some righteous hills out there near the cabin, so it was a great workout.  This was definitely an "aha!" moment for me. Never before have I ever had a weak stomach. I have been able to eat whatever I want, whenever I want, no tummy troubles here. Well, it's been so long since I've let myself eat like that, I just couldn't handle it! So as I was trekking up one of those hills, I decided to be good the rest of the trip. 

Yeah. That lasted about 2 seconds. It was the 4th of July! We started drinking, playing with fireworks, the grill master, Steve-O, was rocking out some yummy burgers and hot dogs... I couldn't refuse!

After the second day, my stomach was still a little rumbly, but it was getting used to all the crap. This is why my stomach had never gone on strike before... It was used to it! Isn't it crazy to think that we can actually make ourselves used to food that our body initially rejects? That really cannot be healthy. 

On Friday we tried to go tubing but the water was so high they wouldn't let us. So guess what we did? We drank. In a park. In the rain. It was a blast! 

Went back to the cabin... Ate again. 

Then finally, Saturday came around. The whole reason for the trip! Rafting! It was POURING down rain. Harder than it had rained the entire trip. The rafting company said rain or shine.. so off we went! Down the river while getting blasted with hard rain drops. You know the kind that actually hurts? And it was freezing!! Remember the 1996 Olympics in ATL? Well, portions of the Ocoee were used in those Olympics. That part of the river is rough on a sunny day. In the pouring rain it was pretty crazy. Once we got to the bottom of it, we had to pick up 2 folks who had been flipped and lost their raft. It was kind of scary seeing all the raft guides get worked up. When the guides are freaking out, you know it had to be bad! We were pulled over for a while making sure that all the other rafts were ok. Once all rafters were accounted for, we were able to take off again. One of the rapids had literally been washed out the water was so high! They cut the trip off at the halfway mark. This is the part where we walk the rafts down by the dam then hop on again. The water was rushing down the dam so hard it was flowing down the ramp we walk on! Looking at the water we usually raft at the bottom, we understood why they cut it off! It was intense!

After rafting we always eat dinner at "El Rio," the Mexican restaurant in downtown McCaysville, a few miles from the rafting company. I told myself to get fajitas without the tortillas, but I ended up eating a chimichanga and 19 pounds of chips. 

Went back to the cabin... Watched another movie, drank some more. By Sunday morning I was craving exercise and healthy food! So what did we do on the way home? Ate sonic for breakfast! Agh!!

I had an absolute amazing time with my friends, but I am shocked at how much I missed my new lifestyle. I have never experienced this before. I have never felt sick from bad food. And I have definitely never CRAVED exercise to make myself feel better. I am terrified to get on the scale, but I need to face the consequences from this weekend. Standby...

Just hopped on the scale: no weight gained! Not sure how that's possible, but now I can carry on with my week without feeling guilty anymore!!

I'm starting the week off with a 175 calorie open face breakfast sandwich: 3 tablespoons egg whites, onions, bell peppers, one slice of ham, and a wheat English muffin. 

I didn't go to crossfit this morning because I slept in, but I WILL be running on my break at work tonight. 

This week I will not eat anything after dinner, I will log all my food, exercise every day, no fried food, and I will not drink any alcohol. 

An official weigh in will be this Friday with my trainer. I'm nervous! 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Zig Zaggy

Today is Tuesday! Which means... you get more ZiggyTron3000 in your life! 
He LOVES the Purina Light and Healthy Dog Chow. I mean LOVES it. He went back for seconds this morning! He's been eating Incredibites his whole life so I was a little scared about moving to bigger bites. He has a tendency to gorge himself, which puts him in a lot of pain. Luckily that hasn't happened. So far so good! He was a little gassy the first few days, but that's gone away now.

My Dad came to town this weekend and he actually said that he can tell a noticeable difference in Ziggy! No lie. He said that he seems happier and that he seems to have more energy. Since I've been taking him on walks, he definitely does seem to want to play more. Makes me feel like a better mom to my little furbaby!!

As I was putting my exercise clothes and tennis shoes on he was going crazy about getting to go for a long walk.  He was zig zagging back and forth at the beginning trying to get me to walk faster he was so excited! I think he really overexerted himself in the first 10 minutes, though, because he was OVER IT at only 2,523 feet!  We didn't even make it to the spot where he stopped last time. He literally started jumping up on my leg like a 2 year old wanting me to pick him up. Last Tuesday he made it to 3,979 feet. The minute I gave in and turned us around he was tugging on the leash so hard I started running. So, we ran the whole way back! Ha! Jokes on him! :) He didn't seem as exhausted when we got back inside this week, though.

I've got a couple more weeks of tracking his progress- hopefully next week he will be in a little better shape!


250 Calorie BBQ Chicken Pizza

Shocker!! I made pizza.  I know my recipes have been very repetitive lately, I promise to start adding variety! I wasn't even going to post this today, but it's only 250 calories and it was just so good! 


The What:
3 ounces cooked boneless, skinless breast. 
2 tbsp BBQ sauce (I used Kraft sweet and spicy chipotle)
Pita bread (find one that's 100 per pocket)
Veggies of choice ( I used organic spring mix, diced tomatoes, onions, purple onions, and green bell peppers)

The How:
Per-Heat oven to 350. 
Spread one tablespoon BBQ on pita pocket. 

Add veggies. 

Then toss chicken pieces in one tablespoon of BBQ. Throw on top of veggies and bake until crust is hard. About 20 minutes.