The Tree is Up!

Well, I finally got my tree up! It’s now officially Christmas in my house! Now, I’m excited, but nobody was as excited as Grace.

Even Karen started to show some Christmas spirit.


Of course, just as we started getting Karen in a holly-jolly mood, Grace had to go and drop a bomb. A photo bomb, that is. (Sorry, that sounded better in my head.)She was just so excited to be in the tree!

Anyway, darling cats aside, I am sad to report that I didn’t lose any more weight this past week. Now, I totally blame it on my lack of exercise, so I hit the gym this evening for a quick 25 minutes of cardio. Tomorrow I hope to do my 30-Day Challenge routine and plan to grab some more healthy staples at the store. My go-to foods are:

  • zucchini/squash
  • sweet potatoes
  • apples or bananas
  • peanut or any other nut butter
  •  Larabars or Luna bars
  • frozen spinach
  • VitaTops
  • Greek yogurt
  • popcorn kernels for air popping

As long as I have any of these items on hand, I’m good to go. Do you have any go-to snacks to help get you through the holidays?

Oh and before I forget, here is a yummy cookie recipe I found on Cooking Light. I’m thinking of trying these out this year.

Toasted Coconut Chocolate Chunk Cookies

  • 1 cup flaked sweetened coconut
  • 4.5 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 cup) $
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 ounces dark chocolate (70% cacao), chopped
  • Cooking spray

Preparation

  1. 1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. 2. Arrange coconut in a single layer in a small baking pan. Bake at 350° for 7 minutes or until lightly toasted, stirring once. Set aside to cool.
  3. 3. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk until blended. Place sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Beat in vanilla and egg. Add flour mixture, beating at low speed just until combined. Stir in toasted coconut and chocolate.
  4. 4. Drop by level tablespoons 2 inches apart onto baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until bottoms of cookies just begin to brown. Remove from pan, and cool completely on wire racks.

Jackie Mills, MS, RD, Cooking Light
APRIL 2010

Don’t those sound amazing?! If you have any suggestions or favorite cookie recipes you’d like to share, please send them my way.

My Healthy Tip of the Day brought to you by the USDA’s Choose my PlateCanned vegetables are a great addition to any meal, so keep on hand canned tomatoes, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, mushrooms,and beets. Select those labeled as “reduced sodium,” “low sodium,” or “no salt added.”

 

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WIAW: Chocolate Peppermint Stick Luna Bar

Around this time of year, I’m on the hunt for a few key food items: Starbucks Christmas Blend coffee, green and red Christmas themed M&Ms, Christmas tree shaped Reese Cups and this.

Yum! This may be the best flavor yet. It’s pretty seasonal, of course, but definitely worth the arsenic.

Now, on to WIAW.

 

I wanted some whole wheat pasta, but I didn’t have any marinara. Luckily, I always keep canned tomatoes in my pantry, so I topped my pasta with that and 1 cup of steamed spinach. So filling and much better than marinara sauce. For a snack, I had a VitaTop with a cup of coffee and a big ol’ banana. This is a flippin’ power snack, my friends. Finally, for breakfast, I had one of my happy omelets, completed with a whole wheat English muffin. Yum!

Well, that’s all the food ogling I can stand for one day.

My Healthy Tip of the Day brought to you by lifehack.org: When you’ve got time – at your desk, driving the car, cooking food – do some deep breathing. Inhale and count up to 5 seconds, hold it for a few seconds, and release slowly. Exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide is one of the best things we can do for our blood and cells.

Thanksgiving Week

I hope everyone had a very nice holiday week. I was quite busy with hair appointments, cookie parties and lots of social gatherings. For the cookie party last Sunday, I was supposed to bring the recipe and ingredients for Carrot Cake Cookies, but I procrastinated and forgot to pick up a few of the key ingredients. (Yes, I forgot the carrots.) I’m sure they would have been great, but between the peanut butter cookies and the amazing Double Chocolate and Mint Cookies, we were more than equipped for a successful cookie party.

photo (67)
Above, you’ll find Double Chocolate and Mint, peanut butter, oatmeal raisin and chocolate chip cookies. Good lord were they all delicious. After that launched week two of my loyalty to my Lose It app. Being only 391 calories over my allotted amount, I somehow managed to lose one pound. Now, in the grand scheme of things, one pound doesn’t seem like much, but considering  I hadn’t intended to go down the path of “weight loss”, I am considering this a small victory. Well either a small victory or a very dangerous path. We’ll see.

So since I missed WIAW, here’s a little recap.

WIAW Thanksgiving
Starting top right is my wonderful breakfast of Kashi Go Lean cereal with an Apple Crumb Vitalicious VitaTop. That terribly weak looking liquid was the result of accidentally reusing a K-Cup. Yuck. Anyway, for dinner I had a delicious MorningStar Black Bean Burger with an English muffin, some tortilla chips and yummy black bean salsa. As a snack, I had a packet of ranch dip mix with plain Greek yogurt and a mix of veggies. Finally, I had a York Peppermint Patty. I think Peppermint Patties are quickly becoming my favorite candy. So all in all, besides pigging out on Thanksgiving, I had a pretty healthy week.

My Healthy Tip of the Day brought to you by WholeLiving.com: People whose diets are rich in potassium may be less prone to high blood pressure. Besides reducing sodium and taking other heart-healthy steps, eat potassium-packed picks such as bananas, cantaloupe, and oranges.

I Swear I’m Not Trying to Ruin Your Day

REAL SMOOTH.  That wasn't an automatic door. You grab a cart and remember:

Those wipes are there for a reason!

My Healthy Tip of the Day: It’s cold and flu season, so remember to:

  1. Use soap and warm water.
  2. Wash for at least 20 seconds (or long enough to sing a short, familiar song like “Happy Birthday”).
  3. Cover your palms, the back of your hands, and in between your fingers with suds.
  4. Make a good sudsy lather, and get underneath fingernails and in between fingers.
  5. Rub and scrub! It’s the suds and the friction that kill germs.
  6. Dry with a disposable paper towel.

WIAW: Back to a Meal Plan

This week I’ve been back to my portion controlling and exercise regimen. So far, so good. I’m using my Lose It app on my phone and also following a relatively easy meal plan that I’ve modified to fit my tastes. Anyway, here is a taste of what I’ve had this week.

WIAW November 14

Starting from the top left: shirataki tofu noodle dish with kale and fall veggies from Morgantown’s very own Richwood Grill, Progresso Macaroni and Bean Pasta E Fagioli with Flat Out Flatbread and a slice of Swiss cheese and finally some flatbread crackers with Sargento light string cheese. Oh and I couldn’t resist a nice, cold iced coffee while I was at the mall a few days ago.

photo (54)

I’m not sure why, but I love iced drinks in the winter. Go figure.

WebMD: A Hypochondriac’s Best Frenemy

Before I go any further, let me preface this by saying that although I am a mild hypochondriac, I can be somewhat rational…after my initial panic attack wears off. Anyway, today I noticed some tingling in my ring and pinky finger on my right hand. Like any dutiful hypo (Urban Dictionary slang), I immediately Googled my symptoms. (Medical diagnosis what?!) Thanks to terrific search engine placement, WebMD was the first to pop up. I went through the usual questions. “Have you been bitten by an animal?” “Could you have eaten bad fish?” and found myself with this disturbing conclusion. Oh, wait. “Possible Condition”.

I realize this is probably a completely rash diagnosis generated by what I believe to be a group of terrifying men, dressed in dark cloaks, meant to terrify a person into seeking medical attention, but COME ON. Tingling? Eh, must be MS. Sure, I made the choice to seek out the opinion of the WebMD staffers, but this, out of all the diagnosises I’ve received, has to be the most ridiculous.

So when is the right time to use WebMD? Well, use WebMD for general symptoms, such as a stuffy nose or use it to get to the next step — visiting a doctor. Some people like to have as much information about their symptoms as possible before talking to a doctor, so WebMD would be a perfect resource for this. When you shouldn’t use the site is if you have serious symptoms. According to an article on IND.com:

“If you use WebMD as your only source, and you don’t have a reliable physician that you can talk to and address your concerns, I think that’s where the problem is,” Dr. Indira Gautam, a family medicine specialist at Regional Medical Center of AcadianaGautam says. “That’s where we build a lot of anxiety for no reason.” Other doctor-recommended websites include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and sites ending with .gov and .edu. But be aware that some sites might not be legitimate.

“I think dot-gov sites are pretty good and valid sites, as well as .edu sites, because they are usually university-associated,” Gautam reports. “But anybody can post anything they want on the Internet, and that’s what’s scary.”

For more information about WebMD, visit the about section of their site.

For more information on how I ended up a neurotic hypo, please contact my mother.

My Healthy Tip of the Day: If you do decide to use WebMD to help better determine what might be causing your symptoms, remember not to panic if you see some pretty serious diseases come up on your Possible Conditions list.

When the Cat Hair’s Away…

Ive been out of town dealing with some stuff for the past week, so when  I got back, I thought it might be nice to post something a little different. Well, that and the fact that I’ve eaten utter crap for the past few weeks. Anyway, I found this cute little questionnaire/survey thing on PBFingers blog. Although I couldn’t answer all the questions, here was my best shot.

Steamed or roasted veggies?

Roasted veggies always have such a better flavor.

Exercise classes or videos?

I’ve done exercise classes in the past and while I certainly found them to be a great motivation tool, I didn’t benefit from the social aspects. Video all the way for me.

Summer or Winter Olympics?

Eh, I’m indifferent. I guess the winter sports seem more challenging, but I love the gymnastics in the summer!

Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s?

Whole Foods has a cafeteria!

Running: treadmill or outdoors?

I despise the treadmill. It’s only good for running on incline. Outdoors all the way.

Favorite fitness brand?

Brooks for shoes and Nike for clothing (on sale, of course).

Yoga or Pilates?

Both! Yoga is great for centering, but Pilates always kicks my butt.

Workout Attire: cute or comfy?

Comfy, definitely. I actually had a laugh recently about how skanky I look when I work out. The bigger the tee-shirt, the better!

Sweet or salty?

Sweet!

Lunges or squats?

Squats don’t usually make me want to die as much as lunges do.

Protein powder or food with protein?

Food with protein.

Strength Training: Upper or lower body?

My arms are beyond weak, so I always try to target my upper body.

Frozen yogurt or ice cream?

Frozen yogurt!!

Jillian Michaels or Bob Harper?

I did a Jillian Michaels yoga video once and I thought I would die. I guess that’s the idea…

Cravings: Protein or carbs?

Unfortunately, thanks to my build, I am biologically programmed to crave carbs. If I craved protein, my thighs would look a whole lot different.

Cardio or strength workouts?

I used to be a cardio gal, but lately I’ve been enjoying my weights and strength exercises.

Washboard abs or flat abs?

Ew, flat abs, definitely.

Running or working out in the heat or cold?

I always