Bridesmaid Dresses

On Saturday I headed over to meet my best friend Micah and the rest of her bridesmaids for our dress fitting. Before I launch into my whole measurements boo-hoo, let me first point out that this outing was the first time I’d seen my dear friend Courtney since we were freshman in college and my other close friend (and former roomie) Chelsey since I graduated college. Let’s just say I was beyond happy to see these two. Among the bridesmaids were Micah’s close friends from Pharmacy School, Jordan and Ashleigh, two very sweet girls and Micah’s sister, Carie. (Another ladybug I hadn’t seen in a very long time.) Courtney, a mom of two, graced us with the presence of her beautiful little girl, Kinley, who I proceeded to bounce until she vomited. See, that’s the thing with me; I think babies are adorable, but I almost always end up making them puke, poop or cry. Nevertheless, the entire outing was a success. I found the dress I wanted, as did the other ladies, and Micah seemed happy with our choices.

Fast forward to the measurement portion of the day. Now, I had ball-parked what I thought my measurements might be, but I really wasn’t prepared for what I discovered. My hips are at least two inches wider than I thought. Again, I’m sure I can shave off a little for clothing, but I was pretty surprised. Talk about more motivation** to get training for the half marathon.

Oh, and did I mention that I’m starting to get really paranoid that the half marathon is going to be the same day as the wedding?! It’s pathetic that this just occurred to me. Still, I’m going to try to have a back up, just in case I have to miss it. (It would be completely illogical to do them both in the same day, right?)

So, for your viewing pleasure, here is the dress I chose for the wedding…and the very thin model who wears it much better than I do.

Bridesmaid Dress

 

This is the actual color, but the one I tried on was a very pretty pink. Thank GOD this color looks decent on fair skin. Now if I could just get my hair growing a little faster…

After the fitting, we headed to Yesterday’s for some much deserved pizza. (It was my cheat day!) Micah, being the dessert freak that she is, was bold enough to order a piece of their very delicious carrot cake. Little did we know that the waiter was plotting against us and planned to kill us with this giant slice.

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Literally the size of her face.

My Healthy Tip of the Day brought to you by LiveStrong.com: Relax and have a cup of coffee! Coffee — and the caffeine in it — has been shown in multiple studies to increase both endurance and short-term performance. A 2008 study concluded that the benefit of caffeine before exercise occurs during endurance events, stop-and-go events and long-term high-intensity activity. It also can help athletes perform better during strength training — even when sleep-deprived — if taken one hour before exercise at the rate of 4 mg for every kg of body weight.

Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/557242-how-drinking-coffee-could-improve-your-health/#ixzz2FL2eTJ3E

 

**While I haven’t set a goal yet, I’d like to have at least two inches off my hips by the wedding date.

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.

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

Yamburgers!

Have you ever heard of a Yamburger? No? Well you’re seriously missing out.

Today for lunch a vegan coworker brought in yamburgers, a recipe I had picked up from Foodbuzz and sent her way, for us to share. They were 100% vegan and gluten-free (except for the buns), but would impress the pants off any meat eater who dared to try one. The sweetness from the sweet potatoes and corn mixed with the spicy kick from the red pepper flakes put this dish high on my list of faves. The sauce, which was a chipotle/cilantro cream, made me realize just how little I missed mayonnaise. Taste aside, this recipe is packed full of good-for-you ingredients.

  • Black beans – great for nervous system health, cardiovascular health, blood sugar regulation, and fighting off cancers
  • Sweet potatoes – high in iron, vitamin D, C, and B6, great source of magnesium, and also a cancer fighting veggie
  • Quinoa – helps with cleaning the digestive tract, great source of calcium, terrific for boosting blood flow to the brain, and chocked full of protein
  • Cumin – full of antioxidants, good source of iron and great for metabolism
  • Garlic – helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure, can prevent blood clots, can help improve the immune system, and can prevent

Top this recipe with any vegetable, but I’d recommend sticking with a creamy avocado. Mmm.

IMG_6795 crop

Yamburgers with Chipotle Cilantro Cream 
(Vegan and gluten-free – makes 8-10 patties)

2 large sweet potatoes (about 2 lbs.), cut into 1/2 inch cubes
15 oz. black beans, drained
1 cup sweet corn
1/2 onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup quinoa, cooked
1/2 cup rolled oats (or almonds)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 TBSP cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. coriander
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4-1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes, or cayenne (more or less to taste)
1/4 tsp. cracked black pepper

Oil for pan frying.

Method:

  1. Cube your potatoes (leaving the skin on) and either oven roast (400f.), steam, or microwave in a large heat-safe bowl with a couple TBSP water until tender – I find the microwave to be a real time saver, and takes about 6-8 minutes. Stop to give them a stir every minute or two, until mashably soft.
  2. Meanwhile, cook your quinoa. A 1/2 cup of dry will make enough for the burgers, but feel free to make extra. Add the quinoa to a small pot over medium heat, and let it toast for a minute or two. Add double the amount of water, bring to a simmer, and cover. Let cook 12-13 minutes, turn off the heat, and let it sit without removing the lid for another 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, meanwhile… Add your oats (or almonds) to the bowl of your food processor and pulse until it looks like very coarse flour. About 30-40 pulses.
  4. In a large bowl, combine about 2/3rds of the beans, and 2/3rds of the sweet potato. Mash with a potato masher until slightly chunky and not quite smooth. Add in the rest of the beans, sweet potato and all of the seasonings. Give it another mash or two, keeping some of the texture.
  5. Add all the other ingredients, and stir to combine.
  6. Heat a skillet over medium-high, and add a drizzle of oil. Form about 1/2 cup of the mixture into a tight ball, then press it between your hands into a patty. Place patties in the hot skillet and cook 4-5 minutes per side. Remove to a plate in the oven to keep warm, and repeat with the rest of the mixture. Add oil and adjust the heat on the pan as needed.

For the chipotle/cilantro cream:
2 cups raw cashews, soaked in water (can be replaced with 1.5 cups vegan sour cream or mayonnaise)
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
2 limes, juiced
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, packed
Pinch of salt

If you’re using vegan sour cream or mayo, simply combine all ingredients in your food processor.
If not, drain the cashews and dump them to the food processor. Add the juice of both limes, and blend until smooth. Slowly add 3/4 – 1 cup water, until the cashews are about the consistency of a thick sour cream.
Add the peppers and garlic, blend until smooth, and then add the cilantro. Pulse a few times to combine, and season with a pinch of salt to taste.

Grace’s Healthy Tip of the Day: Eat more Weight Watcher’s Giant Latte bars.

Hummus and Fish

This morning when I got in to work, I sat down, spent about 10 minutes archiving some email and took a giant chug of my coffee. Bet you can’t guess what I got in that first sip.

Cat Hair From Grace

The funny thing is that even though I work 30 minutes away from her during the day, I know she sensed that I had to spend 30 seconds doing that annoying grabbing at the tongue maneuver in a sad attempt to peel her hair out of my mouth…and she laughed the entire time. Touché Grace.

Let’s move on to something a bit more pleasant: last night’s dinner. As promised, I completed my weekly goal of cooking at least twice this week. Last night’s dish was completely easy and completely delicious. I made roasted sweet potatoes, sautéed zucchini and hummus crusted tilapia. I actually got the idea for the fish dish from the local restaurant The Richwood Grille. Although a diehard hummus fan, I worried this would be a weird combination. Luckily, I was wrong. It was completely fantastic. (Sorry no pictures.)

The dish doesn’t warrant a recipe, as I simply took two frozen tilapia filets, thawed them, topped them with a generous helping of traditional hummus, and dusted with cracked pepper and bread crumbs. I followed the baking directions on the fish container and had a delicious meal within 30 minutes.

In the spirit of home cooked meals, I’ll leave you with a very bad-for-you recipe that one of my coworkers decided to share. Cook this up when you need some good old fashioned comfort food.

Panera Bread’s Signature Macaroni & Cheese
Adapted by Head Chef Dan Kish
Ingredients
1 (16-ounce) package of rigati pasta (or other small pasta shells)
¼ cup butter
½ cup all-purpose flour
2½ cups 2% reduced fat milk (or cream)
6 slices white American cheese, chopped
1 cup (8 ounces) shredded extra-sharp white Vermont cheddar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon hot sauce
Directions
1.Prepare pasta according to package directions.
2.Melt butter over low heat. Whisk in flour and cook 1 minute, whisking constantly.
3.Gradually whisk in milk (or cream); cook over medium heat, whisking until mixture thickens and bubbles. Remove from heat.
4.Add cheeses, mustard, salt, and hot sauce, stirring until cheese melts and sauce is smooth.
5.Stir in pasta and cook over medium heat for 1 minute (or until thoroughly heated).
Serves 4 to 6

Bizarre Ways People Find CHC

When I named my blog, I fully expected people to see its title and go “Huh?” Actually, that was my intent. So I wasn’t surprised when I found a list of bizarre search terms that led people to view my blog. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Vegetable cats
  •  Semi colon attack
  • Tech baby
  • Maria Sharapova jumpin butt hot
  • Cut out the crap
  • Putting on shoes (Maybe they thought I could help?)
  • Do beans really make you toot 
  • American Heart Association jokes

Creepiest snack display of all time.

Anyway, these made me laugh out loud. (Or was I laughing at my classic American Heart Association jokes?)

Some of the other key words I noticed on the list were Ansel Adams, tanning, Yoga, cats, Greek yogurt, and coffee. Take out the tanning and you just summed me up.

Q: Have you ever looked at the Search Terms that brought people to your blog?

Oh well. However you found me, I’m sure glad you did!

My Healthy Tip of the Day: Eat a grapefruit! “Grapefruit helps you lose weight by helping you feel fuller faster and longer. This is largely due to grapefruit being a great source for dietary fiber.”