Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Day 43: Last night I vlogged about a few things...

I mostly blog about my weight loss efforts here, but sometimes I like to talk about the things going on in my life. I made a vlog last night about a few things I've been busy with. I thought I would share here since it's part of my journey. My natural reaction to stressful things is eat, but when I started to write, I found the substitution I needed so I wouldn't be eating my stress. Writing has been a wonderful outlet for me, and has saved me many calories. :)

Friday, February 18, 2011

49/365: Dinner on a Budget: Easy Chili

I love to cook and I especially love swapping tried and true recipes.  You know, the kind of recipes that always turn out, instantly satisfy and most of all, are easy. My favorite recipes are those that take a little while to cook so you have time to clean the kitchen while it's doing it's thing.  Nothing is more refreshing to the busy mom's soul than to have a clean kitchen after everyone leaves the table.  I'm instantly happy when it takes all of five minutes for everyone to participate in dinner clean up. 

Right now we are tightening up our budget and I'm on the hunt for meals that aren't only quick, easy and healthy, but are also cheap. It's pretty easy to find fast recipes, but if it involves cheese whiz, Velveeta or any other highly processed foods, I don't consider that reasonable to feed my family. Actually, I don't even consider that stuff food. It's a challenge to satisfy all four of my requirements, but even with a budget, I have standards.

This recipe was given to me from my dear friend, Staci. She and I share similar palettes, so I always get wonderful recipes from her. Here is one our favorite meals when it's chilly outside. ;)

Did I mention it's also low calories if you don't add any toppings? (I always enjoy the toppings though, I use a light hand when applying.) Yep, super filling and great for the weight loss efforts.

(I forgot to take a picture the other night--but it basically looks like...chili.)

1 lb. ground beef, lean
1 lg onion, chopped
6-8 garlic cloves
2-3 Tbs. dried basil
2 cans kidney beans, drained
1-15oz can tomato sauce
1-14 1/2 can diced tomatoes (seasoned or zesty are best)
1-6oz can tomato paste
>1oz chili powder (about 1/3 of a 2.5oz sized bottle)
2 Tbs sugar
2-3 jalapeƱo, chopped *optional
salt, pepper, garlic salt, to taste

-Brown beef, onion and garlic together is olive oil.
-Add remaining ingredients and cook on stove top, covered, for 1-2 hours on low.
-Top with:
  grated cheese
  green onions <--favorite part
  sour cream
  Fritos chips

Thursday, February 10, 2011

41/365 - Delicious Brussel Sprouts. Yes! Delicious

I am not a big fan of Brussel Sprouts. Neither is my family. But it's the benefit they offer to our bodies that gives me reason to buy them. 

I thought I was doing pretty good with the new Beef Soup recipe that included Brussel Sprouts I posted a few weeks ago. But I've found something better, Roasted Brussel Sprouts.  I know, that doesn't sound too spectacular, but it is.  

I first put them into the oven on faith.  My mom had told me how wonderful they were when she made them.  I believed her.  When I put them into the oven, I had hoped I didn't just ruin a package of sprouts. (I originally bought them to make the soup)

While the little, green orbs were baking, I admit, the scent was a bit confusing.  When my hubby walked into the kitchen, he took a whiff, and gave a look. I told him, "No opinions until after you try them." At that time, I hoped I didn't have to eat those words.  Secretly, I agreed with him and was only sharing the same thoughts I was telling myself.

When I took them out, I wasn't impressed.  They looked like burnt Brussel Sprouts. MMmmm...... *not*

After they cooled enough so I could taste without scalding myself, I gave one a try.  To my surprise, it was one of the most delicious green things I have ever eaten!! I piled up a plateful and dug in.  Hey, the family wasn't interested so I had my fill. 

Then my oldest walks in and inspects the tray I had cooling on the oven.  He says, "They looked burnt." I smiled. He goes in for a sniff and says, "These don't smell so good." He pokes one with his finger and licks it. He looks to me and asks if I liked them. I told him I thought they were really good. I assumed he'd walk away and be done.  But he didn't.  He grabbed a plate and served himself.  While he was eating he told me, "Mom, if you ever make Brussel Sprouts again, you have to do them like this." WIN.

Just cut off the brown ends, wash, dry, and cut in half-lengthwise.

Toss well in olive oil on a cookie sheet. 

Spread to single layer and sprinkle with salt/pepper.

Bake at 375-400 for about 30 min. or until edges are browned and crispy.

Friday, February 4, 2011

35/365 - Workout Plan for the Year

When I started this year, I claimed that the best workout is the one you can stick with, and it's true! In order to achieve this, I made a goal that was easy to do and to pick a time and level that would be simple.  I decided I would start with 15 minutes at level 10.

After the first few workouts I realized that I shouldn't have started at a level 10. It's what I was doing before my little hiatus, but I fell out of shape quickly and level 10 straight out actually hurt.  Luckily, my body got used to the level after about a week, so I stuck with it.

Now that it's February, I increased the time by 5 minutes so the total time is now 20 minutes.  I will keep adding 5 minutes each month until I end up doing 30 minute workouts. I also plan on adding push-ups, a kettle bell and whatever else I can find to spice things up.

I know I have a pretty good habit formed, but I'm keeping with the simplicity idea so I can easily keep going.