July 9, 2012

Holiday Weeks

I was at the same weight during my weigh in this week; 155 pounds.  That's good, it's definitely not bad.  As Matt told me, at least I didn't gain.  I know I need to up my activity to help drive my pounds down but with 102 degree heat, it is hard to motivate me.  

Have you had one of these kind of weeks?  A day that you went overboard on eating?  That was 4th of July for me.  It's going to happen and guess what, you just have to move on and not dwell on it.  It did make the rest of the week seriously hard because I didn't have any Weekly Points left to use.  I still went over every day at least 1-2 points, it was really hard to get around.  I just have to look forward and know that next week won't involve a holiday where there are yummy things to eat and so many temptations.  Let's not even think about my vacation in Florida in two weeks.  That week is not going to be tracked!

Today Matt and I decided to paint our bedroom.  I'm really bad at painting and it's hard work.  I dipped out early and Matt finished up the details.  He's happy because I'm really messy.  We chose Voyager by Valspar.  It had a blue tint when it was first applied which I did not like but as it has dried, it's more of a soft grey.  I love it.  What do you think?

I decided to make a little snack since it was about three hours before we planned on eating dinner.    I bought some beautiful okra at the Farmer's Market yesterday and decided to whip up some curried okra with a side of Trader Joe's garlic naan.

Start with fresh okra.  Rinse the pods right before cooking.

Garlic cloves, red chili, cumin seed, and black mustard seed.

Add garlic and chile and some salt to a mortar.

Grind up the spices with the pestle.  It's going to start smelling wonderful!

Add the cumin seeds and mustard seed to a hot oiled pan.  When they start to POP add the garlic/chili mixture.

Let the garlic cook for 1-2 minutes.

Add okra to pan and let brown 4-5 minutes.

Add water (chicken stock would be best) and let simmer 4-5 more minutes.

Serve with naan.  My fav is Trader Joe's garlic naan.

Don't be intimidated by Indian dishes.  Most curries involve basic ingredients: black mustard seeds, cumin seeds, garlic and chilies.  Add your veggies and you've got curry.  I will have to make curried chicken soon and show that recipe.  It's one of my favorite recipes I brought back from living in Fiji.  Have a great week!

July 1, 2012

Finishing out Week Two

Thanks to Sarah for introducing this new app!

Things are going well with WW!  I lost 2.7 more pounds this week.  I am super stoked, this is really working and it doesn't suck like some things I've tried before.  I haven't had any more grumpy days, which is amazing.  I have had the thought of "why am I doing this, I want to eat bad things now??" but it passed.  Thank goodness.

My favorite breakfast right now is smoked salmon on top of Laughing Cow swiss cheese on half a piece of toast.

Yes, I said half.  I've had to halve all of my carb intakes.  I'm quickly learning WW is a low carb "evil" diet.  I LOVE carbs, as do most people.  But, if you do only eat half, it's better than none at all!  Forget you Adkins!  I couldn't even stop eating this before I got a photo.  This breakfast is only four points which is awesome.  I have really cut down on my breakfast intake on WW.  Even though breakfast is the most important meal of the day doesn't mean you have to eat 3 cups of oatmeal.  This more than enough satisfies me.  I usually follow up with some fruit a few hours later and continually drink water and my black coffee.  Another thing I have learned is that white and brown carbs are the same points.  Matt is happy now, I will finally make him white rice instead of brown.

Another favorite name of mine that I want to share are these macaroons.  I get these from Whole Foods and they are so rich and decadent.  They are only four points for 2 macaroons.  Can't get any better than that!

I weigh in again on Tuesday.  I feel like I have lost more weight.  I am excited about how the pounds have fallen off.  If I could just up my activities, it would happen faster but with this 100 degree heat, its not happening anytime soon.

Has anyone else decided to try WW now?  Any snack tips to share or new recipes that are tasty and low fat/low carb?  Share please!  I need all the ideas I can get.

June 24, 2012

Baked Spaghetti and Meatballs

I have been cooking up a storm this week.  I don't have enough posts to showcase all of the recipes.  The dilemma I am running into is having the time to write my posts out.  I have been training a new hire at work for the past two weeks which gives me less time to myself at my desk.  Actually, it's no time to myself at my desk because I give one-on-one training for the full 8 hours.  It's exhausting and like I've said before, when I am at my computer all day sometimes its the last thing I want to look at when I get home.  But writing for me is a stress reliever.  It feels good to get my emotions out on "paper".

This week with WW has been awesome.  I didn't have the funky/grumpy day like last week and it's nothing compared to how I have felt on other plans I've tried.  I still feel very positive and motivated to keep tracking my precious points.

My roommate told me something that has been stuck in my head that her old boss said once.  She said, "Just because you are hungry doesn't mean you have to eat."  I have thought about that sentence a lot in the past week.  I don't have to eat every single time my stomach grumbles. It's what I'm used to doing but I have ignored it this week and guess what?  I'm still alive and okay and happy!  I love to snack and I really love carbs.  This plan really cuts down on carbs but it doesn't have to cut down on snacking.  Just substitute fruits or a small piece of cheese instead.  I bought some Laughing Cow cheese wedges last week and they really satisfy my cheese cravings that I have daily.  It's only 1 point a wedge and it will cover a piece of bread.  Try eating 1/2 a piece of bread and use the entire wedge and it's cheesy goodness.  You still get the carbs but if feels like a ton of cheese.

This week I made a baked spaghetti with meatball dish that I found on a blogger's website (danicasdaily.com) I follow.  Her recipe was adapted from another website, here is the original recipe:


Here is how I made it.  It's only 9 points per serving and each serving was about 4x4 inches.  It was a nice big piece.  I also treated myself to a piece of garlic texas toast this night since I hadn't used all of my daily points.  I would salt accordingly, it doesn't call for any and the final result was very bland.  The basil cream sauce and mozzarella make the recipe more gooey without adding too many additional calories.  Also if you would rather use jarred marinara sauce, that can be easily substituted into the recipe.

On a side note, the mozzarella balls have been a new snack for me.  I can eat 2 1/2 balls for only 2 points.  Can you tell that I love cheese yet?

8 ounces Barilla PLUS spaghetti
1 cup fresh basil leaves
2 garlic cloves
1/3 cup fat free cottage cheese
1 ounce parmesan
6 ounces 90/10 ground beef
1 TB panko bread crumbs
1 TB skim milk
1/4 cup onion, diced
1 box Pomi strained tomatoes
8 fresh mozzarella balls, split in half
1 bay leaf

Gather these ingredients.

Process garlic, basil, and 1/2 the Parmesan in food processor.
Remove 1 TB of mixture and set aside.

Add cottage cheese and process again.  Set aside for later.
Mix beef, garlic/basil mixture, milk and breadcrumbs.
Form into balls using a teaspoon to measure equally.
Add onion to pan with meatballs.
Cook until browned on all sides.
Add tomatoes and bay leaf to pan.
Cook over medium low heat.  Add salt/pepper to taste.
Spread 1/3 of mixture in lightly greased 9X13 pan.
Mix remaining sauce/meatballs with cooked spaghetti.  Use half of mixture, dot with basil cream and mozzarella.  Add rest of spaghetti mixture and dot with basil cream and mozzarella.
Grate rest of Parmesan over top.  Bake @ 400 degrees for 10 minutes with foil, remove and bake additional 10 minutes without foil.

June 19, 2012


I weighed myself today and came in at 157.4.  That is four pounds lost!  I can't believe that I have lost that much.  I am really excited.  I did wear a smaller size pant to work today but it is still really tight.  I was thinking positive this morning.  A little too positive.

I have so much to share since I posted on Friday.  For one, I made it through the weekend and it wasn't as bad as I thought.  As I peered into the future at the beginning of the week I could only think about what I couldn't eat and where I couldn't go.  I changed my perspective on that and decided I can eat things I want, I just need to eat smaller portions.

My food scale has helped tremendously.  I use it to measure hummus, ground beef, shrimp.  It's been a great help.  I would recommend gettings one if you want to try WW.  I got this one for Christmas and I think my mom bought it at TJ Maxx.  You can find them just about anywhere.

Saturday, I even got to eat pizza, I just ate some without meat and I ate less.  This girl can put some pizza away but I ate about half of that.  It wasn't the end of the world, I just drank lots of water and ate very slowly.  Matt can attest, I do not eat slow.  I shove my food in and eat about 2 times faster than him in most instances.

On Sunday is when I used my WWPlus Points.  I was really excited to use them, I had about 14 points in additional to my daily points (26) to use.  Our family had planned a lunch at my grandfather's house of fried chicken, creamed corn, green beans, mashed potatoes, rolls, ice cream cake, and cheesecake.  On top of that, my Papaw suprised me with chicken livers.  His fried chicken livers are on one of my favorite foods he makes.  I know most of you are probably making the yuck face right about now.

Here's the breakdown of lunch that I had:

  • 1 chicken drumstick, with skin (5)
  • 1 chicken drumstick, without skin (2)
  • 2 chicken livers (2)
  • 1 cup mashed potatoes (4)
  • 1 cup cream corn (5)
  • 1/2 cup green beans (1)
  • 1/3 slice of no bake cheesecake with cherry topping (2)
  • 1 sliver ice cream cake (2)
  • 1 Ale8-1 drink (3)
For a whopping total of 26 points.  Shew.  Let me tell ya, it was worth it.  I was full for most of the day/evening.  For dinner, I made myself a veggie/fruit smoothie and didn't use any points for that.  Recipe to come!

I made this on Monday night and I LOVED it.  You can find the recipe via the link below.

I found it in Good Housekeeping and then converted the recipe on the WW website.  It was only 9 points for the serving and it really filled me up.  I would alter the recipe and try brown rice instead of the barley.  I cooked the heck out of the barley and it was still very chewy.  I also did not have a red pepper and substituted banana peppers from my Papaw's garden.  It went perfect and made it slightly spicy.

Has anyone else started a new eating regime?  Interested in joining WW?  I really encourage you to try it out.  Send me any questions you have.

June 15, 2012

Grumpy grumpy grumpy

I was so grumpy last night. I am not enjoyable to be around when I am hungry.  I can be completely mean and horrible towardsanyone in my path.  Please do not blockmy path to the kitchen.  My bad mood made me want to crawl up in bed and watch really dumb TV shows.  Have you watched “Take Me Out” or “The Choice”?  Well I watched them and they are silly but entertaining when you want to feel sorry for yourself.  Did I tell you that I am really hungry?  I keep venting to Matt over and over again how much this new diet is taking a toll on my body.  He continues to assure me that everything comes with a price and the end result will be worth it.  But why was Day Four so annoying?  It was one of those nights when I can’t wait to go to sleep so a new day will come.  Do you ever have those kind of days? 

I was ready to eat dinner at 5PM yesterday.  I usually try to hold off until at least 7PM but I just couldn’t do it.  I had leftovers of the Hamburger Noodle Bake. If it was just so-so yesterday, today it was just something to curve my appetite.  Matt even told me it wasn’t my best dish, so I know it wasn’t good. Haha!  I have to laugh that off and give thanks for his honesty.  That’s the price you pay when you try new “diet” recipes.   I also ran 2 miles on Wednesday with Lindsay and Matt.  That gives me 5 activity points; I haven’t figured out what that means yet.  Do I get 5 extra food points?  Please say YES!!  I could eat 2 buffalo wings with 5 points.  I'm obsessed with buffalo wings all of a sudden.  I haven't figured out why.

Here is my heaping counter of produce and goods I picked up from the grocery this week to tide me over.  I've worked my way through it about halfway.

Today for breakfast, I am having grits with some add-ins. (5 points)

1 cup almond milk
1 serving grits (3TB plus 1 cup water)
1 TB chia seeds
1/2 cup raspberries
pinch of salt

Have a good day and wish me luck, I'm hoping yesterday was a fluke!

June 14, 2012

Is anyone else hungry?

Day Four of my WW plan and I’m holding up pretty well.  I have my moments when I am just starving but I fix a cup of hot tea and it usually helps.   I have the 26 points I can eat a day but the extra points is where I have my issues.  Should I save them up and splurge on the weekend if Matt and I go out to dinner or should I spread them out and eat an extra 6 points a day?  I guess I will figure it out.  I have been going over my limit by 2-3 points a day.  I will check my weight again on Saturday because that will be a week since my official weigh in.

Yesterday my work shift was different and I worked from 10AM-9PM, this caused me to eat at different times and I got really hungry around 6PM.  It was hard but I noshed on fresh fruit to tide me over. 

I have tried several recipes from the WW website and so far I really like them.   Last night’s dinner was so-so, it wasn’t anything I would fix again but it was already fixed and so I ate it.  Here are the recipes I’ve tried so far.  Let me know if you try any!  Is anyone else doing Weight Watchers right now?

Baked Panko Crusted Swai  (7 points a serving)

I would make this again.  The fish was crispy even though it was baked because of the panko crust.  The only thing I would change is the herbs it suggests.  I would either just use Lawry’s seasoned salt or try a more mexican flair with cumin.

Cuban Chicken and Pineapple Salad (5 points a serving)

This was really good.  It wasn’t very filling so I also fixed yellow rice to supplment.  I gotta have my carbs!

Hamburger Noodle Bake (8 points a serving)

This was the so-so recipe I was talking about.  I omitted the crackers on top and didn’t add all of the cheese to reduce the points to 7 per serving.  It didn’t have much flavor to it, I would have liked more seasoning.

June 13, 2012

I joined...

I joined the movement.

I have been pretty unhappy with the way my clothes fit in the last year or so.  I don’t enjoy shopping like I used to and I usually leave the stores empty handed.  I felt healthy when I got home from Fiji and traveling abroad.  Then I went to boot camp and really lost some weight.  I came home fitting into a size 6 pant which I hadn’t done in a very long time.  I’ve had my ups and downs.  I’m more of a yo-yo exercising than a yo-yo dieter.  I get into a mindset and run all the time and then I just stop and don’t run for weeks at a time. 

I haven’t tried a real diet in a long time because I like to focus on changing my eating habits and not following an actual diet.  At the beginning of the year, Matt and I tried the Paleo diet for a week.  It was too expensive and too much meat for me.  I missed fruits and dairy which were not allowed on that plan.  Matt and I ran a half marathon at the end of April.  I wasn’t in shape as much as I had hoped for that but we still finished in a reasonable amount of time.  Running a half marathon is liberating, I recommend it to anyone that doesn’t think it’s possible.  It is possible.  I just signed up for another half marathon in November.  Of course, the race is much easier with Matt by my side.  He is such great motivation.

I joined Weight Watchers on Monday.  I feel like a cliché and I might turn into one but I’m willing to try.  I need structure in my life; I love to plan everything out.  Weight Watchers seemed to fit my organized needs.  I have an Iphone so the WW apps are my new best friend.  My favorite thing is that most fruits and vegetables are zero points. 

I stepped on the scale and it read 161.4 pounds.  I put in my stats (age, height, weight) on the WW website and the screen told me I could have 26 points a day and 49 (extra) points per week.  26 didn’t seem like much when I started figuring out what I ate for breakfast.  I had to wrap my mind around portions and what I could eat now.

Yesterday was my 2nd day and so far, I like it.  I am slightly hungry, especially at night when we are watching tv and I would normally snack.  I supplement with some plain black tea and am quite alright.  Matt is being a great sport and eating the lower portion/lower fat meals with me for dinner.  I hope to keep up to date on my blog, I’ve really slacked on my blog lately and I want to log my journey for the next 3 months on this new adventure.  I hope you will join me.

Here’s a run down of my meals:

·         ½ cup Fresh blueberries
·         ½ cup Greek yogurt
·         1 cup Coffee with ¼ cup 2% milk
·         1 slice sprouted rye bread with caraway seeds
·         1 TB Organic coconut flakes (toasted under the broiler, yum)
·         Black tea
·         2 cups salad greens with 2 ounces each turkey and ham
·         1 cup sprouts, ¼ cup red onions
·         1 TB vinaigrette, 1 ounce swiss cheese
·         2 strawberries
·         1 cup yellow rice
·         Baked panko crusted swai fillet
·         Sautéed kale with garlic and onions
·         1 cup chocolate protein shake


·         ½ fresh organic raspberries
·         1 cup 2% organic milk
·         1 cup peanut butter balls cereal
·         Black coffee
·         2 ounces each turkey and ham
·         1 ounce lemon hummus
·         ½ whole wheat tortilla
·         1 ounce sharp cheddar cheese
·         1 apricot
·         2/3 cup yellow rice
·         Grilled chicken with pineapple, red pepper, cilantro and green onions
·         1 cup cantaloupe
·         ½ cup Trader Joes salsa verde
·         16 baked Tostitos scoops
·         Black tea with fresh ginger
·         8 fat free Ruffles

April 10, 2012

How to Create a Terrarium

Has anyone else been excited about the comeback of the terrarium?  Well I am super stoked and so was my mom.  She bought me a glass container to make a terrarium as my first house warming present.  I couldn't wait to get it finished.  My mom watched a how-to video online to get a list of items we needed to buy.

  • Potting soil
  • Pebbles
  • Charcoal
  • Plants
I decided to go with moisture loving plants instead of succulents and cacti.  I found this super cute moss at Meijer called Irish Creep Moss.  Then I picked up the pebbles and the potting soil at Meijer as well.  Next, we headed to PetsMart to find the charcoal.  The only thing we could find was a bag of carbon but the aquarium expert said it would work as a replacement.  Then we checked out the aquarium plants which some were made to be used in aquariums and terrariums which was perfect, so I picked up a tiny fern and another long pointy plant.  (I wish I had kept the labels for the plant names now.)  That's all we needed so we headed home to use our creativity..

First step: Fill the bottom with pebbles; 1 inch high.

Step Two: Add the carbon; 1/2 inch high.

Step Three: Add potting soil; 2-3 inches high.

Step Four: Arrange the plants inside.

Step Five: Water lightly and add the topper.

Voila!  A beautiful, low maintenance terrarium.  Some people may want to add a trinket to the inside or even a flower, just make sure the flower can stand the humidity.

February 9, 2012

House Update and Honey Chicken

Things have finally progressed on the house.  The appraisal was completed this week and it passed the FHA inspection.  I am still waiting to hear if it appraises for what I am buying it for.  That would be horrible if at the last minute it fell through because of that. FHA requires the house to appraise for the price you are paying for it.  I think it's a great policy in place but I know the seller would freak out if we asked him to come down on the price anymore.  He barely came down on the price to begin with.

The closing date is set for February 28th and Matt and I will do a final walk-through beforehand to make sure the requested repairs are completed.  Another time when we could be very surprised but I'm hoping that's not the case.  I will still have my apartment for three for weeks after that, so we will slowly move in.  Anyone that wants to help us move, raise you hand!!  We're hoping to move the BIG stuff the weekend of March 10th.

Onto a recipe for today, I found this recipe from Pinterest.  I tweaked it a lot, so I'm going to write what I actually cooked.  If I make it again (which Matt really insists I do), I would reduce the soy sauce and/or add more water.  I also doubled the sauce because I like it saucy!!

Honey Chicken in the Crock Pot

  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs (breasts could be subbed in)
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce (I used Bragg's Liquid Aminos)
  • 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 TB extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 TB cornstarch

Season the chicken on both sides with pepper and place in a crock pot.  In a small bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients except the cornstarch.  You don't have to use four cloves of garlic but I LOVE fresh garlic so I always add three times more than a recipe calls for.  I like to thank being in FIJI for that.  I would make curry with the whole bulb of garlic in the recipe.  YUM.  Pour the mixture over the chicken.  Cook on low for 3 hours or on high for 1 1/2 hours.  After the time has passed, the chicken should be tender enough to shred.  Shred into bite -size pieces with two forks.

At this point, my sauce was still very runny and I wanted it to be thick so I added the cornstarch.  It's not imperative for the dish but I think it's better.  I served this with brown rice and steamed carrots and snap peas.  It was a hit!

February 3, 2012

Cooking with Azi: Spicy Tofu Lettuce Wraps

 I joined the Big Brother Big Sister Program in October last year and it has been a pleasure meeting with my Little. Tonight hits my three month mark with Aziona.  She is 12 years old and has been such a sweet and appreciative person.  We have done so many fun outings; we meet once a week for about an hour or so.  Her favorite activity is going to the library and scrap booking. But we have also gone to the movies, out to eat, and to play Laser Tag.   We take pictures each week and then make a page to describe our activity.  At the three month mark, I can bring my Little to my place of residence and she's been asking to see my apartment since the second month.  She loves to cook and wants to be a chef one day, so I decided to have her help me prepare my dish for the Super Bowl party at work.  When she walked into my apartment she said it was her "dream home".

Spicy Tofu Lettuce Wraps

  • 12 ounces extra-firm tofu
  • 1 package coleslaw mix
  • 8 ounce can sliced water chestnuts, drained
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 2 TB cilantro
  • 1/3 cup Asian sweet chili sauce
  • 1 TB lime juice
  • 8 large leaves green leaf lettuce

Drain tofu; press out excess liquid with paper towels. 

I place the tofu between towels and then place something heavy on top
In a food processor, combine about half of each of the following ingredients: tofu, coleslaw mix, water chestnuts, green onions, and cilantro.  Cover and process with several on/off pulses until finely chopped. 

Transfer to a large skillet. Repeat with the remaining tofu, coleslaw mix, water chestnuts, green onions, and cilantro. Stir chili sauce and lime juice into mixture in skillet. Cook and stir over medium heat until heated through.

If present, cut the center veins from lettuce leaves. Divide tofu mixture among lettuce leaves; fold or roll up. Secure with picks. 
Makes 8 servings.

In the end, the lettuce was not holding up well when I tried to put the tofu in and roll it up.  It was disappointing.  I decided to just spread the tofu mixture on whole wheat tortillas with lettuce and then cut them into individual pieces for the party.  If I ever make this recipe again, I would either saute or bake the tofu in cubes and then toss that with the other ingredients.  I wasn't too happy with the texture of the tofu and cabbage, it was not what I was expecting.