I’ve missed you


I need a bloody mary. STAT. Then maybe a nap and maybe after that I will be up for the gym. But right now, it is barely 9AM at the temperature is nearly 90 degrees and the humidity is over 50%. Reality check – Southie is one degree cooler and only has 41% humidity, oh and they have a breeze. It’s pretty gross out here. The past two weeks of my solitary confinement I have spent the mornings and evenings getting all of my exercise in and anything which requires me to be outside. The rest of the day I am cooped up either reading, or on my computer working, or studying. Oh yes that’s right I said studying. I bought a study guide for a board exam I plan to take, no date yet. I did pretty well on the portion of the practice exam I took, but reviewing their study guide makes me a little queasy. So for the time being I am hacking away at it, bit by bit. Otherwise my projects have consisted of non-food things: dealing with student loans, cleaning, laundry, unpacking, organizing, etc. I did have a pretty insane weekend, and this led to an atypical Tuesday: up at 5 for lunches and breakfast, took Merlin for a walk around 6, had a cup of coffee, went back to bed and slept until 10:45. I must say that additional sleep was glorious. What did I do Sunday and Monday that made me so exhausted you ask? Well I will tell you… I cooked and baked enough to fill a fridge and freezer: 6 smoothies, 1 loaf of bread, 2 flank steaks, chipotle marinade, 2 chicken breasts, couscous salad, cilantro-lime rice, baked pinto beans, oatmeal raisin cookies… I’m sure that I am missing something but at the moment it escapes me. So while all this work is making my 5AM lunch prep much easier, I was exhausted after it. I will be evaluating my game plan today/tomorrow so that I can enjoy my weekend. Very exciting this weekend is a special visit from one of my dearest friends. We have not seen each other since before the engagement and as such will probably spend the weekend gabbing about dresses, shoes, gifts, the ring, etc. Chances are this will all be done over an enormous cup of coffee and some kind of treat… I know, you’re jealous. I would be too if they weren’t my plans.

Later this afternoon I will share the earth-shattering thing that happened this week which prompted my 16+ hours in the kitchen last weekend.

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Must-Haves for a Blissful Kitchen: Lunch Edition


Next up, all your helpful ingredients for delicious lunches every time. Whether you eat it at home or brown-bag it these items will hold up and keep your lunches healthy and will provide lots of variety.

 

Artichoke Hearts Dijon Mustard Vegetables: baby carrots, grape tomatoes, celery sticks Microwave Popcorn
Broccoli Florets FF/LF Cheese Canned Tomatoes Mixed Nuts
Chopped Onion FF/LF Yogurt Couscous Low fat & low calorie treats
Grilled chicken or steak Lettuce, variety Dried Fruit – variety Rice
Lean Cuisine or Smart One Meals LF Mayonnaise Dry Whole Wheat Pasta Roasted Red Peppers
Veggie Burgers Low-fat deli meats Garlic Salsa
Pickles Olives Vinegar – variety Spaghetti Sauce
Seltzer Pesto Canned Beans Stock/Broth

 


treatment plan: fun … stat


Aside from the blog update I did yesterday and some cleaning, I spent several hours in front of the computer studying for that infamous exam. A task which is equally important and boring… and possibly the reason I found myself anxiously awaiting Chinese food at 12:40am and not sleeping after our bowling adventure.

Dinner was fantastic: roasted vegetables, filet with a garlic cheese sauce and fake-fredo noodles. Bowling was a blast as well, it was desperately needed.

Steakhouse Dinner

This was a combination of 3 recipes, well four actually. Our favorite way to eat broccoli is roasted with nuts and parmesan cheese. Instead of doing just broccoli, we did a mix of broccoli, carrots and cauliflower. I also added some grated garlic in with olive oil, salt, pepper, and chopped nuts. The noodles are tofu shirataki noodles, alfredo style from Hungry Girl. The filet is courtesy of my Just 5 cookbook. I patted 2 9oz filets dry and coated with salt, pepper and a bit of Mrs. Dash. Then I heated the pan with about 2t olive oil and some nonstick cooking spray. Once the pan was adequately heated I browned the beef on each side (a couple of minutes each) and then set it on a plate to rest- covered with tin foil. I returned the pan to the heat and added 1/2c chicken broth and scraped up the brown bits. I then added in 2 wedges of laughing cow and melted them into the liquid. The beef was topped with this sauce and served alongside the vegetables and noodles. It was a very good dinner and took care of my beef craving. The whole dish had a Points Plus value of 8.


guidelines


How is it two whole days can pass by so fast? I am amazed… both at how quickly the time passed and at how productive I was. I completed 90% of my reading for the upcoming week, transferred over notes from 2 lectures, answered several emails, made some soup (potato leek), cookies (chocolate chip) and a delish surf and turf dinner. Recipes/photos to follow.

With the first full week of classes ahead I wanted to be sure and remind myself of the basics. I know when I get stressed these are what go out the window. For me the basics are eating well, sleeping, exercising and staying on top of projects (work/school/personal). It is inevitable that certain items take priority from time to time, but I want to have a sense of balance and not feel like I am shifting from one issue to another. One piece is the ‘Good Health Guidelines’ per Weight Watchers, for my specific needs. These items are pretty standard, agreed upon norms in the nutrition world. The other piece is a personal note- getting myself into a morning and evening routine that is productive. I don’t ever remember a time when I had a morning/evening routine – maybe when I was a kid… but again not that I remember. I feel these are the times of day that set the tone and I want to be at my best.

So here are my ‘guidelines’

Good Health Guidelines (Daily)

  1. Fruits & Veggies: 5 servings
  2. Lean Protein: 1-2 servings
  3. Non/Low- Fat Dairy: 2 servings
  4. Whole grains: whenever possible
  5. Liquids: 6 cups
  6. Healthy Oils: 2 teaspoons (pp:2)
  7. Multivitamin: 1
  8. Be Active: 30 minutes
  9. Watch Sodium & Sugar – don’t worry about a specific amount
Morning Routine
1. Make coffee/tea
2. Shower
3. Breakfast, review planner, BC/Vit
4. Lunch/bags
5. Clean up kitchen
6. Get ready
7. Shut off lights, turn down heat
Evening
1. Check mail
2. Empty lunches
3. Dinner
4. Pack bags/lunches — Planner
5. Speed Clean
6. Blog

I am going to check in each day about my progress with these items and hopefully build a lasting routine of it. I will include a photo of my planner of the next day and then in the evening I will rank my day and show how many of my guidelines I met.

Planner for 1/24

RECIPES

Granola (Bars)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toast  2c old-fashioned rolled oats1 1/2 cup nuts (I used almonds and soy nuts), 1/2c wheat germ and 5T coconut for 15 minutes – stirring every 5 minutes to ensure equal browning. In the meantime, combine1/2c honey2T brown sugar1oz butter, 2t vanilla extract and 1/2 t salt in a medium saucepan and place over medium heat. Cook until the brown sugar has completely dissolved. Once the oat mixture is done, remove it from the oven and reduce the heat to 300 degrees. Immediately add the oat mixture to the liquid mixture, add 6 1/2 oz dried fruit (I used dates and cranberries) and 1/2c chocolate chips, and stir to combine. Turn mixture out into the prepared baking dish and press down, evenly distributing the mixture in the dish and place in the oven to bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Cut into squares and store in an airtight container for up to a week. Serves 16. Points Plus: 6.

** I often have problems with granola bar recipes because they don’t stay as bars. I end up getting half of them to stay in the desired shape, the other half of the batch will become granola clusters. In that case I just use 1/4c as a serving size.

Leek and Potato Soup

Chop 3c leeks (cleaned), 3c baking potatoes (cleaned). Combine chopped vegetables with 3c chicken broth and 3c water and 1 1/2t salt– bring to a boil in a 3-qt sauce pan. Cover partially and simmer 20-30 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Correct Seasoning. Serve as is, or puree. Top each portion with 1T ff sour cream if desired. Serves 6. Points Plus: 2

Surf & Turf Dinner

Roast 4oz shellfish with 2t olive oil1/2t salt, 1/4t pepper for 8 minutes at 375 – Shrimp should be pink and opaque. Broil one 8oz flank steak topped with 2t olive oil, 1/2t salt, 1/4t pepper for 10-12 minutes for medium rare. Serve with 1 large sweet potato (baked) or two small,1 serving packaged salad with oil and vinegar dressing. Serves 2. Points Plus: 8