Monday, August 29, 2011

Yummy portabella mushrooms + I have hit a plan to push forward..

I've been stuck. I'm JUUUUUUST a little heavier than my goal of 125! I fluctuate between 125.4-126....and its getting annoying! I've been hitting the gym at least four times a week buuuuuuuuuuuuut while I have been eating healthy 70% of the time, it has to be more like 90% for me to see weight loss! I've been having to many cashews, sweet potato baked chips and wine! :(
I have a plan though! It is based on a new book I got, Dr. Ian Smith's other book- The Fat Smash Diet. I did his 'Four Day Diet' and learnt a LOT from it and lost a bunch of weight! He really helped me stay focused with his four day modules, and I liked the lack of thinking it took to eat healthy!

Phase 1 of the plan is a nine-day "detox" period designed to cleanse the impurities from your system and rid you of all your bad habits, so you can begin to prepare your "temple." Calories are significantly reduced and water is used to flush the body. You are told to eat four to five meals, whether you're hungry or not. Skipping meals is not allowed at any phase.

In the first phase of the Fat Smash Diet, food choices should be eaten raw, grilled or steamed. Fats are limited to a maximum of 3 tablespoons, with 1 to 2 teaspoons olive oil per day. Allowed foods include unlimited fruits and vegetables (except white potatoes or avocado), chickpeas, lentils, tofu, and beans. It also permits limited amounts of brown rice; low-fat, skim, or soy milk; oatmeal; low-fat yogurt; egg whites; and herbal tea. This is the total menu for nine days. Eeep...

I am going to start this for 9 days, from tomorrow - so from the 30th to the 7th! Wish me luck :D

Healthy and DELICIOUS stuffed mushrooms


8oz pack of portabella mushrooms
5 tablespoons of sun dried tomato hummus
As many sun dried tomatoes as you want to mix in
2 tablespoons 'tofutti' mix (or sour cream if you are not vegan)
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
Salt and Pepper

Wash the mushrooms and pop their stems out. In a bowl, mix everything else together. If you aren't on a strict diet, mix in breadcrumbs too (about half a cup). Season the mushrooms with salt (I did a spicy salt on mine, mmm) and then stuff them with the mix. Bake in a toaster oven for 20 minutes. Make a side salad- volia- a healthy, YUMMY meal! Ty kept stealing mine off my plate :D

Friday, August 19, 2011

Friday Falafels!

Happy Friday!! So I realize that it is late for Monday for a "Monday's Marvellous Things" post and I also realize there is no way I can tie myself down to a regular posting date with my schedule so I quit...

However, I did have some marvellous things happen recently!!

Ty graduated paramedic school! After over a year of training and numerous weekends consumed with unpaid 16 hour shifts, I'm really happy that it is over!

I'm was also so grateful I had my new T3i camera for the occasion! My old point and shoot camera SUCKS in dark environments and lags! The Te1 was SO fast at shooting I captured single bit of his journey across the stage and the zoom was awesome, as well as its indoor shooting capabilities!

Thats us in the middle, I'm in the blue dress feeling very proud of my man!!

Add caption
  I finished summer school and I just checked my grades

Term GPA:4.00      

SFC AA Degree Cumulative GPA:4.00
Standards of Progress GPA:4.00
Yay!!! I'm enjoying this week between semesters, I've been able to cook more!

This week Ty and I made from scratch:

Eggplant, roasted red pepper and potato 'subji' in a tomato based sauce,  with whole wheat flat breads and tzatziki (yogurt+cucumber dip).

Ty slicing the broiled peppers

Cooking down the eggplant

The final yummy dish!
 And we made falafels- a ton of falafels and have several tupperwares full of them!

They were SO easy to make- basically combining Bulgar wheat+chickpeas+cilantro and spices in a food processor, making little patties and baking them ten minutes on each side until browned! I can post the recipe if you guys want it, just ask :D

We have been using them to stuff in delicious whole wheat pita breads along with spicy hummus, tzatziki, sprouts and tomatoes! They have been great for lunches at work, in fact I have some with me today- I just put the chopped tomatoes in a separate little zip lock bag so it wouldn't make the pita soggy!

We also went out for a friends birthday dinner to one of my favorite vegetarian restaurants: Chopstix, our local pan Asian place.They do amazing things with tofu, tempeh and seitan and have a LOT of veggie options!  I got a really flavorsome dish of seitan (made from wheat gluten, very much like meat in texture) in peanut sauce with mushrooms, sliced carrots and broccoli (I could eat this daily, I swear- thankfully I've worked out three times already this week) and Ty got this dish of sesame fried tofu:

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Easy Vegan Burrito...and a New Camera!

I'm SO excited!! I'm taking a Digital Photography class as part of my fall semester, and my new Canon T3i 600D with 18-135 mm lens and HD video ARRIVED!! :D :D :D

I'm in is so much more amazing than my old point and shoot camera, and I'm just using it on Auto right now.

I haven't learned how to manually control it yet! (but I cant wait) :D I love the fact that the screen can pop out and rotate as well! 

Check out these photos I took at the dog park to test it out:

Ellie making a new friend

Ellie LOVES playing fetch
Tearing around with their new friend
Tux flying
Finally tired and read to go home!

Easy Vegan Burrito

So it is still finals week + work + Ty's Graduation from his paramedic school tomorrow (I'm SO proud of him!!) so I wanted a simple and easy to put together recipe for dinner tonight! This burrito tasted really fresh, and Ty loved his too- and it was vegan!

Prep Time: 5 Minutes

2 Brown Rice burritos
Garden grown tomato filled with the energy of sunshine :D
Half a ripe avocado
Sun-dried tomato hummus
Italian Deli Tofurkey slices (4 per burrito) Or substitute beans for protein!
Himalayan pink salt and pepper to taste


Heat the burritos the grill for a few minutes, until warm and browned. Spoon two tablespoons of hummus onto each burrito, and spread. Smack the rest of the remaining ingredients in the center and roll- whammo- two yummy, health burritos! Enjoy :D

Monday, August 8, 2011

Monday's Marvellous Things

So considering Mondays are a little daunting, I've decide to start a new post- Monday's Marvellous Things :D

Marvellous thing number one - I've found my new favorite treat- Almond Butter and Dark Chocolate Cups! Wow :D Just one of these babies satisfies my sweet tooth and the fact that it is dark chocolate helps me to not devour the whole thing. And they are stuffed with ALMOND Butter- only my one of my favorite things in the world! :D

Red grapes- not soggy, very sweet

Grapes are a great snack while cooking dinner if you are starving!

We have been having a PERFECT avocado season!

Another ten minute dinner on a hot summer days- avacado+hummus on multigrain bread and vegetarian beef tips sauteed with fresh spinach and tomato sauce (and tofutti 'sour cream' on the side)

Taking Ellie and Tux to the Park!


My favorite QUICK dinner- blueberry/raspberry/banana/nut butter/almond milk and vanilla whey protien smoothie! MMM


 conchiglioni      Pasta shaped like conch shells come in various sizes; this is the largest. 

I'd never seen these before! Our friends Shaun and Marianna made them for us for dinner on Saturday night. Marianna stuffed them with spinach and ricotta and brushed them with olive oil before setting them to simmer in sauce. They were AMAZING!! And so pretty too!

Kind of like this- but prettier :)

I tried out Tina's from Carrots & Cake ideas for low calorie cocktails over the weekend. I had the Cotton Candy- it was yummy but I felt like it relied a bit on the grendadine to make it sweet, and its grenadine is almost pure sugar!

Funnily enough, when I checked my email today Self Magazine had emailed me about low calorie cocktail mixers! 

Refine coctail mix
This was my favorite- The Refine mixers- they use STEVIA not aspartame, much more natural and less likely to make you bloat up like aspartame does!

Best Cosmo Mix

Refine, $9 per 32 ounces;
Drink deets Trade a classic cosmo mix, which can contain about 120 calories per serving, for this zero-calorie one made with the herbal sweetener stevia. Refine has a hint of tartness with no bitter aftertaste. On its own, it's calorie-free, but don't forget to factor in the liquor.
Mix: 0 calories per 3 oz
Cocktail: (with 1.5 oz vodka) 97 calories
Devon Jarvis
Unfortunately it seems they are only available near California, or online for a Floridian like me. I wish someone around here would make a stevia mixer, what a great idea!

I had a look at their website and I liked what they had to say

" noticing the abundance of Aspartame-based diet sodas and high calorie mixers that were being consumed by himself and his friends, Patrick was inspired to create a drastic change in the beverage industry. His mission: to create zero-calorie cocktail mixers that maintain all-natural integrity.  Thus, refine™ mixers came to be."

I wonder if I can convince any of my local stores to carry it? Otherwise shipping costs would just be too ridiculous for me to order it for myself!

Todays questions:

What is your favorite pie recipe? I'm searching for a perfect one!!

What is the best breakfast before a big test? Any tips?

Friday, August 5, 2011

How to get motivated to go to the gym!


I'm really close to my goal weight! My secret? Eating lots of unprocessed food (fruit, veggies, beans), quitting coffee and dairy (I've switched to calcium rich almond milk!), and going to the gym. Its really been working for me! In the heat of Florida's summer the only place that I can work out without fainting is the gym!

How often you need to do cardio for weight loss?

Here's the cold, hard truth: You probably need to do five or six workouts a week.

How long your workouts should last for weight loss?

Here's another dose of reality: You should aim for at least 45 minutes of exercise, a mix of cardio and strength training, six days per week. Again, you don't need to do all this sweating at once, but for the pounds to come off, the calories you burn need to add up.

That is a lot of gym time. How can you keep yourself motivated to lace up those sneakers and go? Here are some tips that I have found really useful (I've been going at least 4 times a week for the past two months! Yeah, I can't quite believe it either!! )

 Buy yourself new gym gear as a reward. 

When you start to feel a little 'blah' about going, go get a cute new shirt, or some new sneakers!

A new outfit can make you a little more excited to get dressed for the gym! Its better than pulling on that ratty shirt and ancient shorts. (Though sometimes that is necessary if it is laundry day...but if you have more clothing to wear then  laundry day wont mean you have run out of clean gym clothes!)

Spice up your music

Music REALLY helps me to keep going at the gym. When Im starting to wilt on the elliptical or treadmill a good beat can pep me up again and making me move faster. When the weights get heavy, an inspiring song can make me feel stronger. Don't let the songs on you music player get old, update it at least monthly so you don't get tired of any of your music. When you have heard the same song a gazillion times it can stop inspiring you!

I like to use dubstep/dance music for cardio as it is what I would dance to- so it makes me feel like moving. I use power ballads/songs with lyrics about strength etc for. weights (haha, cheesy- but it works for me!) You can also google 'best music to work out to' and find new songs that you havent heard of.

Time your gym visits with your favorite TV shows

Between work/school/chores/gym I can have very little free time. Sometimes I just want to kick back and watch some T.V! And I do...but then I find half my evening is gone and I still need to get to the gym etc. I tend to time my gym visits with some good TV shows and then I feel like I still got to veg out and watch some trashy T.V! Just make sure you keep a good pace going!

When I've been swamped with exams I've also taken my books I need to read to the gym and sat on the bike machines. Its the least 'bouncy' cardio so I can still read really well, and I'm getting some exercise. I sit at work all day so the last thing I need to do is sit still all evening reading- I like to have my legs spinning around and around instead hehe..

 Track your visits

I have a little monthly calendar on my fridge. Every time I work out I write 'GYM' and give the square a tick! It is satisfying to see all those ticks lined up at the end of the month! And it can help you see how many times you went (I would forget otherwise!)

 Ive also started writing how long I went in little writing - was it 45 minutes, was it an hour plus twenty minutes of strength? Was it just a work out DVD at home and that means I need to push myself harder the next day?

I've also seen people walking around the gym with a notebook, and they write down what they are able to do on each machine. I think the point is to get encouraged by how the numbers go up over time :D

Calculate your target heart rate

This will help you know how hard you should be working on those cardio machines!

 Measure yourself

When you work out, the scale won't always accurately reflect your fitness. Sometimes, the numbers on the scale will be the same but you could have lost an inch off your waist and put muscle on your arms and thats why the scale has the same number but you are actually fitter!

Get any flexible tape measure and measure yourself all over- don't pull the tape too tight or loose. Write down the measurements of your stomach, hips, waist, calf's, thighs, upper and lower arms, bust, butt...keep that piece of paper safe.

 Every month or so pull it out and measure yourself again. If you have been working out all month something should have changed, even if just by half an inch! Its very encouraging :D I've been really excited every time I've seen inches go from my waist and thighs!

 Find a Friend

Gym buddies are the best buddies!! You can motivate eachother to go and its just nice to have some company at the gym! The best way to get a gym buddy is to talk about the gym with your friends, and how much your body is changing! They will usually be inspired and want to come along :D

 Switch it up

The gym can get boring REALLY quickly if you use the same machine all the time. Try different things. Try machines you are intimidated by. Look up different interval work outs for cardio- if you do a google search you will find all sorts of ideas!

 If the weather is nice outside consider working out in the sunshine! I love bike riding on trails and walking my dogs!

Tux climbing Hanging Rock in North Carolina with us, we do all sorts of work outs together!

Or play a sport you enjoy- tennis, badminton, football...

Another great way to learn new moves is to buy work out DVDs. These you can do at home, and they will teach you new mat work and give you tips on correct posture etc. I love Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred!

Set Goals

The best thing to work towards are goals! Set small, acheivable goals like losing five pounds in a month. I like to use events in my life as motivation, for example my man's graduation from Paramedic School is coming up in eight days! I'm so proud of him and excited!

I want my arms to look toned in the dress I'm wearing to the ceremony, so I've put a bunch of weight lifting sessions into my schedule until then. The photos we take on this day are going to be treasured for a life time, so I want to look nice and svelete. I will be able to focus on eating correctly until then knowing how soon it is!

 Find a gym that suits you

This is really important. I've tried a few gyms in the same town, and none of them worked for me. Too far, too expensive, closed to early on weekends, too many lunk heads...until now. I go to Planet Fitness, it opened less than a half mile away from my house and it's only $10 a month! I think the best thing about it is proximity. The fact that I live SO close makes me go more often. I dont have a long drive to dread. If the weather is bad, I still go. I have no excuses! Find the gym with the shortest commute time for you! This may be a gym you could stop in on the way home from work (just pack a snack to tide you over until dinner!)

Watch shows that inspire you

When I'm on the couch feeling like I really dont want to go to the gym, I watch Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition!

You can watch it on hulu for free:

Seeing what the contestants achieve makes me feel like a lazy sack of excuses for not going, and I end up lacing up my runners and getting out the door :D

Remember, you can do anything you put your mind and heart into! I rappelled down a waterfall in Mexico a few months ago despite being terrified!!

ME, feeling alive & like I am hanging off the edge of a cliff....wait...I am!!

Do you have any tips on getting yourself to go to the gym?