Monday, November 15, 2010

Off course, of course

I am off track--again!! My weight went up a little a couple of weeks ago and is slowly going down, but I still know I'm off-track and "out of sorts". I haven't adjusted to working two jobs. Part (probably MOST) of  my issue is stress, anger, frustration, anxiety, all of the above.  Job #2 involves physical labor and I'm on my feet the entire time so when I'm not working I just sit. I am tired--yes I know I should go to bed earlier, but by the time my head hits the pillow I am asleep. Last week I couldn't even make myself do my T-workout.  I never miss that unless I'm at work!   I did walk my 5K Sunday. (See gorgeous sunset shown above!) Tomorrow I have to do my T-workout or walk some at lunch.  I really miss Zumba!

I also don't have the food thing down yet.  I eat on the way to the second job.  I'm getting tired of the PB on Ezekiel bread and an apple or banana so I need to re-group on that also. Then, of course, I eat when I get home.  The past week it has been a heavier meal than usual.  Then I didn't prepare my meals ahead and ate lunch out several days last week. Then we ate out both Saturday and Sunday.  It was the fabulous Gazeebo burger turkey burger (with avocado, mushrooms--no mayo) and (bad-girl) french fries on Saturday and Sunday it was Cantina Laredo with the warm salsa and chips. I ordered the Enchilada Veracruz stuffed with chicken, spinach and monterey jack cheese topped with tomatillo sauce, vinaigrette marinated vegetables, and cotija cheese--yummy.

So the shopping is done and there are healthy choices in the house.  Wednesday is a holiday potluck so I'm working on my plan for the week.  I'm taking the Sweet Pumpkin Polenta to the potluck!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Breakfast with Cheryl Forberg, RD

I had a fantastic opportunity last week.  I attended a breakfast event featuring Cheryl Forberg, RD.  Cheryl is a chef and a Registered Dietitian and is the nutritionist for NBC's The Biggest Loser. The event benefited  Days of Taste.  Days of Taste is a program that teaches 4th and 5th graders where their food comes from so it is a very worthy cause.  This event was a short distance from my home so there was no way I was going to pass it up.

Cheryl was very nice and it was great to be able to ask her questions and get a lot a valuable information.  I also had a chance to thank her for the Hershey Moderation Nation promotion that enabled me to have a free consultation with a registered dietitian.  Stasha helped me so much.  Cheryl is one of a group of RD's who use successfully use social media.  It's great to follow them on Twitter and Facebook.  I learn so much on a daily basis.

Since I'm not a dietitian, I took notes because I knew there was no way I would remember everything. Some points re-emphasized things I knew and some were things I didn't know. I am putting my notes in the weekly newsletter that I write for our weight-loss challenge at the office. I am considering just blogging about one tip per day until I go through my list.

We also had a chance to ask "behind the scenes" questions about The Biggest Loser.  I feel that there is just not enough shown about the nutrition of the contestants.  They don't seem to show the nutrition portion unless a celebrity chef shows up or they're plugging a sponsor.  This is very important.  We can all move more, but unless we have the proper nutrition and know how many calories we need it just doesn't work.  I know this from my own experience!  We have to have the full picture.  (OK, I'm off my soapbox now.)

Now for the food.  Chef Whitey Hershorn at Sysco foods (our location for the event) prepared the food. He prepared egg whites with brown rice and caramelized onions and Cheryl's recipe Sweet Pumpkin Polenta. (Cheryl demonstrated the preparation of the polenta dish.)  The food was awesome! We also had yogurt and berries (which is a great side for the polenta), turkey bacon, english muffins, peanut butter, granola......I probably forgot something, but you get the idea.

Here's the recipe for the polenta.  I made it this weekend. It didn't taste exactly like Chef Whitey's but it was good.  Really, it would have been better but I didn't have the full amount of agave and I was didn't want to wait until I could go to the store for more.  Also note that a can of pumpkin is not quite 2 cups. This dish works for breakfast or a desert.

Sweet Pumpkin Polenta 

from Positively Ageless: A 28-Day Plan for a Younger, Slimmer, Sexier You 
Cheryl Forberg, RD

The smell of sweet spices will fill the air while this creamy dessert is baking. It’s divine straight from the oven but tastes heavenly the next day when it’s cold—if there’s any left the next day.
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree, fresh or canned
  • 1 large omega-3 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2/3 cup agave nectar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup stone-ground cornmeal or polenta
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup low-fat, or fat-free milk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • toasted pecans (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly coat a 2-quart soufflĂ© dish or casserole with olive oil cooking spray. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the pumpkin, egg, agave, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and vanilla extract. Stir well to combine. Set aside.
In a 2-quart saucepan, combine the cornmeal, water, milk, and salt; mix well. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Cook, stirring, 10 minutes or longer until thick and smooth. Remove from the heat. Carefully pour in the reserved pumpkin mixture and stir to combine. Pour into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 50 minutes, stirring well once, halfway through.
The mixture will be thick and bubbly. Serve warm, sprinkled with toasted pecans, if desired.

PUMPKIN FACTOID: Pumpkin’s high concentration of antioxidants and beta-carotene make it a favorite antiaging ingredient for skin-care products.

127 calories, 3 g protein, 26 g carbohydrates, 2 g total fat, 0 g saturated fat, 5 g monounsaturated fat, 30 mg omega-3s, 2 g fiber, 17 g sugar, 254 mg sodium

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Muffins

Here's the recipe for the mini muffins that I made (and ate) last night. I took them to work this morning.
I substituted Splenda Sugar Blend for the sugar. It actually made 48 mini muffins. I can't remember which blog/website posted this recipe.

My next recipe will be Cheryl Forberg's pumpkin polenta!!!

1/2 c. vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 2/3 c. whole wheat flour
1 1/4 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/3 c. water
1 c. canned or homemade pumpkin puree
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350°F
Combine eggs, oil, water and pumpkin puree (use straight pumpkin, not pumpkin pie mix).
Sift dry ingredients together and gradually beat into first mixture.
Pour into greased mini muffin pans (I actually use a cookie scoop to get it in the pan…it's the perfect size for mini muffins).
Bake for 10-12 minutes.
Makes about 36 mini muffins

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Eating Again

I'm eating again. Why?? Tonight it's the pumpkin mini-muffins that I made. (At least they're made with Splenda blend.)  Earlier this week I ate chicken and dumplings. They were good and comforting.I hadn't had them in years. At lunch and the afternoon slump today I ate some sweet truffle looking dessert and a roll that was the consitency of a biscuit. The other food that I ate was very reasonable. I 'm too tired and stressed to do anything else.Tomorrow is another day........

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Trail

I don't consider myself a "nature" person. I don't go camping because I don't have an equipped travel-trailer. No tent for me. No outdoor potty--been there, done that. I must have electricity. I guess I'm a princess. I don't rough it.

That being said, I do enjoy my walks on the trail. When I round that little corner and I see the sun glistening on the lake, I'm in a different world. Even at mile 1.50-1.75 when I can see and hear the traffic, it seems so far away.

My sunflowers are gone. There are a few dead drying stalks left amid the prairie grasses and ragweed. It's a sure sign that fall is here and the trail is changing with the seasons.

I don't own an i-pod. I'll eventually buy one, but I can't imagine walking on this trail with music blasting in my ear, drowning out the natural sounds of the trail. The crickets and other insects that I can't see sing and chirp along the trail until I realize that their chorus has been replaced by the dancing song of the birds. I look up and they are dancing from tree to tree; some with their wings extended, soaring for longer distances. Then there was the rusting in the weeds. Is it a snake? A coyote? A fox? More than likely it's an insect or a squirrel getting ready for winter.

I never feel alone on this trail.  The butterflies were my escort today. One would had me off to another. I tried in vain to capture a picture of my escorts, but they were too nimble for me. When they weren't there, the grasshoppers were stationed along my walk; still, like soldiers waiting for me to pass.
I didn't want to time my walk today.  I spent a lot of time just messing around. I stopped to take these pictures, helped a couple of kids round up their dogs who were really enjoying the trail, and just enjoyed the walk myself. Now I'm back to the hustle and bustle of reality.  Maybe I should look at these pictures when I can't make it to the trail; and just for a few minutes be taken to a more peaceful place.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Friday, October 29, 2010

Heart Walk

Tomorrow is the day!  The Denton Heart Walk is tomorrow. We'll be walking to raise money to fight Heart Disease.  Women and African-Americans often do not get the care and education needed to fight heart disease, stroke, and hypertension. These diseases are prevalent in our communities.  Please donate to the American Heart Association.  Click on the subject line of this post or my gadget on this page or contact the American Heart Association or Go Red for Women .
Thank You!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My HSA Rant

I am now ready to scream.  We just received notification that effective January 1, 2011, OTC (over-the-counter) medications and products will no longer be an eligible HSA (Health Savings Account) expense unless they are prescribed by a physician.  This means I will now have to go to my physician and ask for a prescription for something that she has recommended and that I can buy over-the-counter.  Does that make any sense?  This also means that now I have the added expense of a doctor's visit for this.  Never mind the insanity that will create for the physicians.  I also will not be able to use my HSA Debit card for those purchases. Was this someone's warped idea of  health care reform?  Once again someone is so out of the loop that they really did not care about the ramifications that their decision would have on the masses. All for my little two cents in tax money because my HSA funds are deducted pre-tax.  Looks like I'll need a proctologist after this one. Oh, the glory of being middle class....

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

This Week's Challenge

I just watched Christy's post for our Shrinkvivor Challenges this week. I am just not ready for the exposed movement, but I will make an effort to be more satisfied with my body.( I will post a picture, just not in the undies and no I don't and have never owned a bikini!) Once again the perfectionist demon from my earlier post raises his (yes, his) ugly little head, but I vow to press on! So, no more negative self-talk about my body.  If I receive a compliment, I will graciously say "Thank You".  The last time anyone said anything flattering to me, I didn't say, "Thank You" and I really don't even think that I even acknowledged it.  That was so incredibly rude and I apologize. I can't believe that I was so caught up in my "issues" that I didn't even say thank you.  Aaargh!

Two more things.  First, I lost two pounds this week!  The exchange thing is getting easier.  My challenge now is working out my meals now that I also have a part-time job.

Next, I survived my first day on the part-time job!  I'll like it.  We have classroom training before we go out on the floor. YEA!!

Wow, did I post twice in the same day.  It must have been the earthquake or the Chilean miners being rescued or the Rangers winning.  Take your pick!

New Endeavor

Last night, I was engrossed in my usual Tuesday night television viewing of The Biggest Loser.  Once again, I saw myself. One contestant was not happy even though she lost seven pounds.  Someone, probably Jillian, made the comment, "Nothing is ever good enough for her."  That wasn't me that she was talking about, was it?  Maybe it was.

Today I start a new endeavor.  Today will be the first day of my new part-time job.  I am both excited and apprehensive.  I am a true perfectionist and I always worry that I won't live up to my own warped standard--nothing less than perfect.  Every day it is a struggle to not let my perfectionist tendencies rule.  They often derail me because of the fear of failure and not living up to expectations.  They are my expectations.  I might say that I'm afraid of not living up to everyone's expectations but really it's just my warped standard of nothing less than perfect.  It goes much deeper than the new job. It has permeated every moment of my life. I truly believe that this has often kept me from living the best life possible.

So send up a prayer, wish me luck today.  I am determined to start living a truly full and satisfying life!

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Year Later: The real post

In the year since our trip, I have really done a lot of soul-searching.  I enjoyed the trip but there is a whole world that for various reasons I just haven't explored.  While I was in California, there were several things that I didn't get a chance to do and that frustrated me.  I did have a great time but I still felt very sad about it.  Then, I didn't get a chance to go back for my family reunion and that frustrated me.  There are just so many things that I want to do before I leave this world.  I can't wait for anyone.  I can't depend on anyone. I just need to press on and accomplish something.

Friday, October 8, 2010

A year ago

This time last year we were heading for California.  If you have never taken a road trip like this one, you should consider it. Our country is so beautiful!  We took the southern route (I-20-I-10).  For us Texans, we're halfway there without leaving our state.  El Paso is the halfway point!  The next city after the El Paso/Las Cruces area is Tucson.  There is nothing but little ghost town/truck stops and the beautiful desert and mountains. I realized that I really do like the Southwest!
We only spent a short time in California before heading back via I-15 to I-40.  There really is a sign at the beginning of I-40 that reads, "Wilmington, NC 2,554 mi.".  One of these days I'll get to go back and one of the things on my list is to get a picture of that sign! ( I have a sizable list of things that I didn't get to see and do.) 

My favorite stop was the trip to the Grand Canyon. Add one more item to that list.  I would love to hike down to the bottom and back up.  That place amazes me. Everyone should take a vacation there at least once in their lifetime. Yes, I know it's a big hole in the ground and it's still there every time that I pull up the picture, but I am in awe.  How can you see this wonder and not believe in God?  I just will never understand that one.

Next we headed back to Big D. After passing through the Petrified Forest and the Painted Desert, we stopped and stood on a corner in Winslow, Arizona.  That was a blast. I love the way the towns on Route 66 have embraced the nostalgia of the road.  I-40 and Route 66 are the same for some stretches of road and others they run parallel.  It's easy to exit and ride Route 66 through some of the small towns along the way.
We crossed the Continental Divide and passed through Albuquerque and the Sandia  Mountains. We stopped in Santa Rosa, New Mexico and ate the the Lake City Diner. It was great!  I"ll have to see the Blue Hole the next time.

Next stop Amarillo and The Big Texan. That was fun but I didn't get to try the steak!

Here's something silly.  We have been "eating out" for a week and we stop at Lindsay, TX to get barbecue! Now you know how I started my last weight spiral that I am now paying for!!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Fall Is In the Air

It is a beautiful day here in Texas. Fall has finally arrived! I managed to get my walk in today. I felt so blessed to be able to walk and have a beautiful trail and a beautiful day to enjoy. The water on the lake glistened with the fall sunlight. The cool air was like a crisp fall apple. I even saw a beautiful yellow and black butterfly that danced around me for a few feet. For some reason it reminded me of my mother. It was so graceful and beautiful. I tried to get a picture of it but it was gone!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I Saw a Dietitian

I had my dietitian consult on Monday. I strongly recommend that anyone trying to lose weight or anyone with a medical condition such as heart disease or diabetes consult with a dietitian. I got a free consultation through Hershey's Moderation Nation website. I follow Cheryl Forberg RD on twitter. She is the Registered Dietitian on The Biggest Loser and she tweeted the link for the free consults. FREE. YES, FREE!! How could I miss out on a free consult with a dietitian? There was no way that I was not going to do this. I have been struggling for months now and this was an opportunity for me to get professional nutritional recommendations. I saw Stasha Kucel, RD in Lewisville. She was great and took all of my yo-yo weight history and eating insanity and came up with a plan for me. I'm doing the diabetic exchanges. I get 1400 calories and here are my daily guidelines:
  • 6 starches
  • 3 fruits
  • 3 fat-free dairy
  • 3 veggies (at least)
  • 6 oz very-lean or lean meat
  • 3 fats
  • Continue my 165 minutes or aerobic exercise per week
  • This is 53% carb/26%protein/21%fat
This increased my dairy, veggies, and meat and decreased my fruit. I am weighing and measuring because I need structure or I will over-estimate my portions.(One of my best kitchen tools is my digital food scale.) The biggest change for me is the dairy. I normally only got in one fat-free dairy serving a day, usually fat-free Greek yogurt, so drinking milk is weird to me. In a past life I drank skim milk but I had eliminated that from my diet even though I enjoyed it.

My first obstacle was the fact that it would be Saturday before I could have a major shopping trip. I had just picked up a few items over the weekend. I was drinking my husband's milk before I remembered that he refuses to drink fat-free milk so he has 2%. With milk prices so low, I stopped today and picked up a gallon of fat-free milk. I am also eating more yogurt so I had to get more yogurt too.

I also had planned to use a frozen dinner for my lunch on Tuesday but when I looked them there was no exchange information on the box. I have not been doing this long enough to calculate the exchanges by looking at the package and I knew that a couple of them just wouldn't work, so I was off to Wally-World. That was a trying experience. I knew what I wanted for dinner so there were only certain things that I needed for lunch. I finally found a Healthy Choice dinner that would do. I am realizing that I'll have to plan a frozen dinner as if I were eating out. They always have more starch than I want and never enough veggies. That is really no surprise, but it's really hitting home now.

My next problem was September birthdays. One of my friends who is also a co-worker is celebrating her birthday. Since she is participating in our office weight loss challenge she asked me to make a Healthified Tres-Leches Cake. Since it's a healthified version the exchange info was listed on the recipe. It was easy to plan ahead so that I could have a small piece.

Overall, this will work. I just have to get adjusted to it.

Here is the link for the Moderation Nation website. Isn't it funny that Hershey's is sponsoring this?

Here's the cake

Saturday, September 25, 2010


I ran into a friend on the jogging trail last weekend. She was riding her bike. The trail is 3.5miles long. After I finished my walk, she passed me exiting the trail. That's when I realized that she had passed me twice on that trail and she had probably ridden 10.5 miles that morning. Every time I see her around town, it involves exercise. I see her at the gym or walking or biking on one of our trails. (Yes, our little 'burb is blessed with both a nature trail and a trail around the sports complex.) Before, I thought of her as naturally petite. Now I realize that she puts in the time and effort that it takes to be fit, healthy and look great. Lesson learned!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Weigh-In Wednesday

I have lost 2.2 lbs since Monday! I really got with it. I am journaling religiously, making sure that I get in my workouts and drinking the water. I am really hitting the water. Our new Shrinkvivor challenges continue the water, log the time spent on workouts (works better for me than miles), and no fast food. This will be easy for me. I don't "run through the drive-thru" very often.

I am struggling with the "eat clean" vs convenience foods (Lean Cuisine, Smart Ones, etc.). I can control the portions if I use the frozen meals for some of my breakfasts and lunches. They do have to be supplemented with extra veggies or fruit. I will still opt for whole grains, no HCFS or "corn sugar or whatever they have decided to call it these days. My other problem is artificial sweeteners. I am trying to limit them but I do have a sweet tooth. If I want to share baked goodies with my family I use Splenda Sugar Blend or Splenda Brown Sugar Blend.

I made an appointment with a Registered Dietitian. I am so excited. I am fairly knowledgeable about nutrition but there is always more to learn, especially when you can have a free consultation with a professional. In the past it has been easier to drop the weight, but this time I am really struggling so her input will be invaluable. Here's the link to the website where you can locate a dietitian and print a certificate for a free consultation.

I didn't wait until Thursday to start my challenge. Tonight was 15min of circuits to get warmed up then 30min on the dreadmill. That's it! I'm off to the showers and bed.

Monday, September 20, 2010


Today was weigh-in day for my office challenge. Guess what? I didn't lose any weight. The good news is that I didn't gain any weight. I have not done well this week. I haven't had any terrible binges, but I can just eat too much "healthy food".

My game plan for this week
  • Journal--even after I get home and all weekend
  • Workout--daily. I cannot let life interfere. The treadmill at home helps but I can't walk as many miles as I can on the trail.
  • Continue the water from the Shrinvivor challenge
  • Keep the faith--Do not get discouraged. I have all of the tools if I will just use them.
Let's see how well I can do before the Shrinkvivor weigh-in on Wednesday.

Friday, September 17, 2010

2010 Heart Walk

It's that time again! On October 30, I will be participating in the Denton Heart Walk. This is a cause that is very dear to my heart on both a personal and a professional level. Unfortunately, too many of us have a loved one affected by heart disease or stroke. An estimated 81,100,000 American adults (more than one in three) have one or more types of cardiovascular disease. Among blacks or African Americans, 10.2 percent have heart disease, 31.8 percent have hypertension and 3.6 percent have had a stroke. To help stop this, I will be walking in this year's Start! Heart Walk benefiting the American Heart Association. I have set a personal goal to raise funds that are needed for critical heart disease and stroke research and education.

You can help me raise funds and protect those you love by making a donation online. Click on the link below to visit my personal donation page where you can make a secure online credit card donation. The American Heart Association's online fundraising website has a minimum donation amount of $25.00. If you prefer a smaller amount, you can do so by sending a check directly to me.

Your donation will make a difference in the fight against our nation's No. 1 and No. 3 killers-heart disease and stroke. Thank you for your support.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I Have Become My Mother

There is usually at least on thing every day that makes me say, "I have become my mother." Usually it's cooking late at night or just staying up late, or making a song out of any sentence or even, or asking my hubby if he's going to eat veggies today. This time it was the phrase, "They have just run out." In other words, they have just run out of something to do. Lady Gaga caused me to say it this time.

First there was the meat outfit. OK. I get it. You're an artist. You want to wow us with your insane creativity, even though most of us are repulsed by the thought of your wearing flank steak on your head. If I close my eyes and listen to your voice maybe I can get rid of the meat-dress visual and let that gross moment slide.

The straw that broke the camel's back (there she goes again...) was this outfit she wore to LAX. Yes, LAX, the airport.
Is she totally insane? A bra and panties with fishnets over them and a belt with handcuffs. Finish it off with a tiny jacket half-on and insane shoes and voila! you're ready to go. Can you imagine traveling with your child and having to explain that outfit? I also cannot imagine dressing that scantily and sitting on a seat where thousands of others have sat or sitting in that seat after her. OMG!!!!! That is just gross.

A lot of parents are exposing (seriously) their children to any artist, music, or movie. Are you ready to see your daughter stroll around in that outfit? Think about it. Take the time to screen your children's music, videos, games, movies, and internet. Then screen your own. As adults, what influences are we inadvertently exposing children to? Our children, teenagers included, are sponges and we are responsible for whatever they absorb.

OK. I'm done. Should I break into song now or send that girl a pound cake? She could gain a couple of pounds.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Week 2 Newsletter

This is the newsletter for our second week.....

Fall 2010 Weight Loss Challenge

Issue 3

Good morning everyone!

Today is our second weigh-in. I hope we're seeing less of each other this week!

If anyone is interested in joining 24Hour Fitness remember to join through BCBS. The fee is only $29 per month—no contract! This includes Super Sport clubs. (Lewisville Main Street is a Sport club; Castle Hills at 121 and Main/Josey is a Super Sport club.) You can also go to the 24Hour Fitness website and check-out the class schedule, take a tour of the gym, and get a free 7-day pass to see if you like the gym before signing up.

Also, Weight Watchers is running a special for a free month if you use the monthly pass option.

Cooking Shortcuts

  • To save time, buy frozen chopped onions and/or frozen seasoning mixes (onion,celery, bell pepper). If you are making a large pot of soup, beans or stew just dump the bag into the pot!

  • Keep frozen vegetables and frozen stir-fry on hand for quick meals or for another version of last night's meal.

  • Rotisserie chicken is a great time-saver and it is already seasoned. To use in a dish, remove the meat from the bone while the chicken is warm or re-heat in the microwave then remove the meat from the bone.

  • Make soups in large batches (use that slow-cooker) and freeze individual portions.

  • Casseroles can be assembled and frozen before baking. Just thaw in the fridge for 24hrs before cooking.

  • Peel and freeze overripe bananas and use in smoothies and muffins.

  • Muffins and pancakes can also be frozen for quick breakfasts.

Today's Recipes

Zero POINTS® Value Slow Cooker Soup

Course: soups
POINTS® Value: 0
Servings: 8
Preparation Time: 20 min
Cooking Time: 300 min
Level of Difficulty: Easy
Works with Simply Filling

Here's an Italian-spin on our famous zero POINTS® value soup. We made it in a slow cooker but it can be simmered on the stove top just as well.


10 oz spinach, baby leaves

2 medium carrot(s), chopped

2 medium celery, ribs, chopped

1 large onion(s), chopped

1 medium garlic clove(s), minced

4 cup(s) vegetable broth

28 oz canned diced tomatoes

2 piece(s) bay leaf

1 Tbsp dried basil

1 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, crushed


Place all ingredients in a slow cooker; cover and cook on high power for 5 hours. Remove bay leaves, stir and serve. Yields about 1 cup per serving.

© 2010 Weight Watchers International, Inc. © 2010, Inc. All rights reserved.
POINTS are the registered trademarks of Weight Watchers International, Inc. and are used under license by, Inc.

Banana-Chocolate Chip Muffins


Serves: 12

3 medium very ripe bananas

1 eggs

1/3 cup low-fat buttermilk or 1/3 cup milk

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/2 cup granulated sugar (or 1/4 cup Splenda Sugar Blend)

1/2 cup brown sugar (or 1/4 cup Splenda Brown Sugar Blend)

1/2 cup quick oats

1 1/2 cups flour (or equal amounts white flour and whole wheat pastry flour)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 -3 tablespoons chocolate chips (may use more)

2 tablespoons chopped walnuts (optional—if you like nuts, add more)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  1. Lightly coat 12 muffin tin liners with cooking spray and place in muffin tin.

  2. In large bowl, mash bananas with fork.

  3. Whisk in egg, milk, applesauce, granulated sugar, and brown sugar.

  4. In separate bowl, combine flour, oats, baking soda, and salt.

  5. Add flour mixture to banana mixture and combine well.

  6. Fold in chocolate chips and walnuts.

  7. Spoon equal amounts of batter into 12 muffin cups.

  8. Bake 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

  9. Allow to cool slightly in pan, then remove to wire rack.

Nutrition: Calories 167.1 , Total Fat 1.2g , Dietary Fiber 1.2g ,Sodium 316.0mg, Protein 2.7gm

© 2010 All Rights Reserved.

My First Newsletter

Here's a copy of the initial newsletter that I wrote for our office weight-loss challenge.

Fall 2010 Weight-Loss Challenge Newsletter

Number 1


Hello all!
Welcome to the 2010 Weight-Loss Challenge. Hopefully we'll all accomplish our weight-loss goals for the challenge and one of us will get a nice monetary reward at the end of the challenge.

First, most of our group would like to begin our challenge on Tuesday, September 7 instead of today so that we could enjoy the Happy Hour and Labor Day weekend with no restrictions. If you have already started watching your food intake and ramping up the exercise, keep up the good work!
We also discussed making our weigh-in fees every payday. Five dollars was discussed and hopefully that will be feasible for all of us and give us enough winnings to be motivational. The first person to lose 10% of their starting weight will get a prize and the top two “biggest losers” will share the final winnings. If we need to make any changes please let me know.

Weight Loss Tip of the Week

Don't drink your calories!
Watch out for sugar sweetened sodas and bottled teas. The extra calories can add up. When choosing a drink always check the nutrition label. Some drinks are actually more than one serving! Water is always best! Check out the recipe of the week for a refreshing water idea!

Recipe of the Week

Flat Belly Diet Sassy Water

2 liters water (8.5 cups)
1 tsp freshly grated ginger (buy in the produce dept and peel before grating)
1 medium cucumber peeled and thinly sliced
1 medium lemon thinly sliced
12 small spearmint leaves (wrap in paper towel and store un-washed in baggie in fridge)
Let flavors blend overnight. If the flavors are too strong, don't make it the night before and/or reduce the
ingredients (except water) by half. If there is an ingredient that you don't like, just omit it.
Have a great week!

First Weigh-in Newsletter

Here's a copy of the newsletter for our first weigh-in.

Fall 2010 Weight Loss Challenge Newsletter

Issue 2

Today’s the Day!

Today is weigh-in day. Hopefully everyone had fun over Labor Day weekend. See Christy to weigh-in—Let’s get started!

Housekeeping Items

We will contribute five dollars each payday to the jackpot

Our prizes will be:

Grand Prize Winner (Highest percentage of weight loss) will receive 80% of total jackpot

Runner-up (Second highest percentage of weight loss) will receive 20% of total jackpot

First 10 (First person to lose 10% of their body weight) will receive a special gift

Quick Weight Loss Tips

When it comes to finding quick weight loss diet tips that work, selecting your foods for your diet can be a real balancing act. You have to lose some of what you’ve grown accustomed to and add some items that may be new to you. Here are some quick weight loss tips that experts recommend to promote weight loss.

Quick Weight Loss Tips #1 – Reduce fat.

With regard to fat, the research is clear: Diets too high in fat promote overweight and obesity. You should strive to consume no more than 25 percent of your calories from fat – and that fat should the “non-saturated” type.

Quick Weight Loss Tips # 2 – Don’t be so sweet.

Numerous studies have linked table sugar to increased calorie consumption. While sugar doesn’t do as much dietary damage as fat, you’ll find that when you eat sweets, you simply want to eat more… of everything. Not only that, but sugar also makes your body excrete chromium, and chromium is a mineral that helps your body build calorie-burning lean tissue – so you want to keep your chromium levels up.

Quick Weight Loss Tips #3 – Drink up.

“If people want to keep their nutrients in balance, they need to drink plenty of plain, unflavored water every day,” says Judy Dodd, R.D., past president of the American Dietetic Association. Water not only acts as a solvent for many vitamins and minerals but also is responsible for carrying nutrients into and wastes out of cells, so the body functions properly. As a rule of thumb, you should drink a half-ounce of water for every pound of body weight daily, unless you’re very active, in which case you should increase your water intake to two-thirds of an ounce per pound of body weight daily. So if you weigh 100 pounds, you should drink 50 ounces of water a day as a minimum

Quick Weight Loss Tips #4 – Fill up on fiber.

You can curb your hunger by increasing your intake of dietary fiber, which is filling, so you feel full but eat less. For these diet tips, experts recommend eating more fruits, vegetables and wholegrain cereals.

Quick Weight Loss Tips #5 – Get treatment for food allergies

Some researchers believe that being overweight is the result of people craving foods that they are allergic to. For these people, weight loss is extremely difficult until they figure out what those trigger foods are and eliminate them from their diets.

“There are specific food allergies that trigger uncontrollable craving and bingeing,” says Joseph D. Beasley, M.D., director of Comprehensive Medical Care in Amityville, New York. “It’s a common problem in overeaters.”

If you suspect that food allergies might be part of your problem, ask your doctor to help you identify the offending items. Your doctor may recommend that you see an allergy specialist.

Quick Weight Loss Tips#6 - Get fit

Last, but not least...but MOST IMPORTANT! Exercise, Exercise, Exercise. Start out slow and work your way up. Join a gym or buy weights or other equipment for your home. Bike riding and taking long walks are great. Get fit.

Featured Recipe:

MYM Fudge Brownies

From The Master Your Metabolism Cookbook by Jillian Michaels

Nutritional Info

  • Fat: 2.3g
  • Carbohydrates: 16.6g
  • Calories: 85.0
  • Protein: 1.2g


Olive Oil Spray for pan
2/3 cup mild honey (preferably organic)
1/3 cup natural, unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup white, whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp aluminum free baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 TBSP olive oil
1 large egg, at room temp
3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract


Makes 16 (2") brownies

Preheat oven to 350. Spray 8-inch square pan with olive oil. Set aside.

Place the honey in a large glass-measuring cup, Microwave on high power until the honey is runny and just bubbling, 45 to 60 seconds. Add the cocoa and stir with a fork until well combined. Let cool to room temperature.

In a small bowl, place the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk until well combined.

In a large bowl, combine the applesauce, oil, egg, and vanilla. Whisk together until well blended. Add the honey-cocoa mixture and whisk until smooth. Add the flour mixture to the liquid mixture and stir until no traces of flour remain. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake until the surface looks dry around the edges of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs clinging to it; about 25 min. Do not over bake. Place the plan on a cooling rack and let cool completely before slicing into 16 squares. (Store the brownies in an airtight container at room temp for up to 3 days.)

Number of Servings: 16

Monday, September 13, 2010

Catching Up

I has been too long since I posted. Let's see what's been happening.

First the weight-loss challenge has begun! The trash can in the break room was full of Lean Cuisine and Healthy Choice boxes today! It's the "dash for the cash"!

I am writing a weekly newsletter for the challenge. It contains info about the challenge, health and fitness, tips and recipes. I'll post them here soon.

I did manage to lose a pound the first week. I was so afraid that I would gain or not lose that first week. It's amazing how some people start a new program and lose seven pounds the first week. Not me! Never! Even when I kill myself at the gym. I have done Zumba, Masala Bhangra, 30-Day Shred and my Tworkout with my Twitter pals. Normally I am starving after Zumba, but today I was so exhausted that I wasn't hungry until about 90 minutes after the class.

I went back to Arkansas Labor Day weekend. I had a great visit with my cousin, met some of my cousin's friends, and saw a lot of old friends that I hadn't seen in a long time. I really needed that boost. It really makes you feel good when you go home and everyone is glad to see you and think you look good even when you've put on a few pounds.

I'm still trying out new recipes. This week was Split-Pea Soup. The peas were purchased in the bulk food section of Sprouts and I finally put together the soup. When I decide to make something and I don't have a recipe, I usually "Google" the recipe and take the ingredients that I like from each recipe. The soup is easy. You need dried split-peas (I used the green ones.), chicken broth, water, onions, carrots,celery and some type of meat (I used ham shanks.) I added a packet of Sazon seasoning and threw it all in the Crock-Pot. (I love, love, love my Crock-Pot!). I also threw in a bay leaf and a pinch of fresh thyme. At the end of cooking, puree 3/4 of the soup (or as much as your blender will safely hold) then return it to the pot. It's yummy!

I love muffins. I was one of those people who would eat a large muffin and then scream when I realized how many calories they contained. I have been addicted to Jillian Michaels' Banana Blueberry Muffins from the Master Your Metabolism Cookbook. Now I'm on the Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins that I found on I had a little help eating them so I had to make a second batch!

Banana-Chocolate Chip Muffins

    • 3 medium very ripe bananas (I freeze overripe bananas and thaw them for baking and smoothies.)
    • 1 eggs (I use All-Whites)
    • 1/3 cup low-fat buttermilk or 1/3 cup milk
    • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar or 1/4 cup Splenda Sugar Blend
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar or 1/4 cup Splenda Brown Sugar Blend
    • 1 1/2 cups flour or 3/4 cup white flour and 3/4 cup white whole wheat pastry flour
    • 1/2 cup quick oats
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 2 -3 tablespoons chocolate chips (This amount is not nearly enough!)
    • 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts (More is you like nuts; omit if you don't)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Lightly coat 12 muffin tin liners with cooking spray and place in muffin tin.
  3. In large bowl, mash bananas with fork.
  4. Whisk in egg, milk, granulated sugar, and brown sugar and applesauce.
  5. In separate bowl, combine flour, oats, baking soda, and salt.
  6. Add flour mixture to banana mixture and combine well.
  7. Fold in chocolate chips and walnuts.
  8. Spoon equal amounts of batter into 12 muffin cups. I use fold muffin cups sprayed with cooking spray.
  9. Bake 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  10. Allow to cool slightly in pan, then remove to wire rack.
The original nutrition info was: Calories 167, Fat 1.2, Fiber 1.2mg. I added the applesauce, oats, and extra chocolate chip but I haven't run the recipe through recipe builder for final nutritional info.

It's time to get my rest. That is another challenge!!

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Earlier today Tracy and I were discussing our weight loss goals and we realized we need motivation. Not just fitting in our clothes or being healthy but there is one thing that will motivate people to do anything.......MONEY! Hence, the birth of our new 12-week challenge in our office.

So far, we have seven co-workers on board. We will weigh-in weekly. (Weights will be confidential.) We will also pay a small weigh-in fee each payday. At the end of the challenge, the person with the highest percentage of weight loss wins. We are also considering other prizes for the top winners and maybe something for the first person to lose 10% of their starting weight.

We will have a weekly e-mail newsletter and some type of stickers for each weigh-in.

I guess I'll have to make those Banana Blueberry Muffins (from Jillian Michaels' Master Your Metabolism Cookbook.) for everyone. (I'm addicted to them.)

I can't wait!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

I'm Back!

I'm back OP. That's Weight Watchers lingo for "on program". This is the ONLY way I can be successful in losing this weight and maintaining any weight loss. I can still incorporate other plans ie, more whole grains, organic whenever possible, but I was just lost without the Points. Even journaling with calories did not work for me.

I can't afford the meetings right now. (I opted for a gym membership instead.) Since I'm Lifetime I don't have to re-enroll but I do have to pay when I weigh-in if I am over two pounds over my goal weight. I do have the tools that I need and I have a lot of on-line pals who are going through the same daily food and exercise struggles.

I also need to blog more and journal whenever I need to "get it out". I have so many projects that I would like to do but I get tired and just never get around to it. At least this is the number one project and I'm starting today!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Still Struggling

I am still struggling. I just can't control the food. This is totally insane. I have all of the tools but I just cannot get the job done.
I reviewed some of my old Weight Watchers journals. I lost weight but I ate too much junk and processed foods. Now I am trying to eat healthier but I am eating too much. Yes, you can get fat on "healthy food". If I can just integrate my healthier approach into my points and not be hungry all of the time, I'll be successful.
Of course, I am also frustrated because I have lost so much ground; not just with my weight but with my endurance. I am not as fit as I was a year ago and it really bugs me. I don't even think I am as fit as I was this past spring. Every time I tried to increase my intensity I either got sick or suffered an injury.
Hopefully, writing more will help and I am keeping a food journal again so wish me luck!

Thursday, August 5, 2010


I am trying to decide whether to sign up for one of the services that pays you to place ads on your blog. I'm not sure it would be worth it and easy to get rid of if I don't like it. Hopefully I could have some input into which ads I would get. I would not be happy to have questionable ads on my blog.

Monday, August 2, 2010


I am so far behind with this blog. I've am still fighting the eating demons. I have started a couple of challenges (Awesome August and Down and Dirty with 30 Day Shred) and I think that will help.
I have to get this weight off and get my strength back.

I am still trying new recipes each week so I have a lot of catching up to do.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Starting Over

Yes, it's Monday again and yes, I'm starting over. Every Monday I start over. I didn't lose any weight last week so I start over every Monday.
It's getting old and I know that until I really get to the bottom of my issues, I'll never be successful again. Welcome to my world of emotional eating. At some point during almost every day, I find some excuse to overeat. It doesn't matter what the food is. It can be something as simple as cherries but I will eat too much of something. I realize it when I'm doing it, but I don't stop. This is total insanity. No, I can't afford a shrink so I have to deal with it. It has always been under the surface but within the last year I just can't get the structure back to beat it. Yes, I am writing in my journal, so at least I can see what I am doing. I am stocking the pantry with healthy foods so that the damage will be minimal but I need to lose these twenty-five pounds.
Maybe this will be the week.....

Sunday, June 20, 2010

New Recipe

I've been trying out at least one new recipe every week. This week it's Jillian's Fudge Brownie recipe from her Master Your Metabolism Cookbook.

Before I get started, I have to confess, I don't have a lot of organic ingredients on hand. I am trying to transition to organic but I don't the money to throw everything out and start fresh. I do buy bulk items (whole wheat flour, steel cut oats, quinoa, etc) and a lot of fresh fruit and veggies at Sprouts so that I can just buy what I need for a lot cheaper price.

While I was making the brownies, I stumbled upon another treat. One of the steps in the recipe calls for cocoa powder added to heated honey. Of course I had to taste it. This was the mistake or the discovery. (They are often the same,right?). Why couldn't I add a drizzle of this to a peanut butter and banana sandwich or wrap? (Great with Ezekiel bread or Ezekiel tortillas) Or even use it in lieu of chocolate syrup to make a banana split? Oh yeah!

The mixture in the brownie recipe is 2/3 cup honey heated in the microwave until it's runny and bubbling, 45-60 seconds. Then 1/3 cup cocoa powder is mixed in with a fork. This is very sweet so you might want to vary the amounts to taste.

For a banana split I will also use Plain Greek yogurt instead if ice cream and fresh or frozen strawberries and pineapple topped with chopped walnuts or almonds. Yes, I did try this with Greek yogurt. It takes it to a Whole Nutha Level!

By the way, the brownies were good. They were very sweet. Be careful not to overcook them. I'll definitely make them again, especially since they are only 86 calories each. I didn't take a picture because there is a great blog with reviews of Jillian's recipes from MYM and pictures of them since they are none in the cookbook. The address is

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Summer Part 1

Listening to a friend talk about green beans fresh from her garden took me back. Back to summers long since forgotten.

Summers in my parents garden. There were fresh green beans, tomatoes , potatoes, peas, corn, and of course GREENS! They owned it but they had this sharing spirit. Anyone could come pick vegetables. All you had to do was ask. Then there were apple trees, pear trees, a plum tree, and a grape vine. Homegrown. That's why none of us can duplicate Mother's cooking. It was fresh and homegrown. Even a lot of the meat came from homegrown cattle and hogs. Now I'm trying to get back to local and organic. I guess I'm going back to my roots.

Every summer my parents would go to the peach orchards of Pope and Johnson counties in Arkansas. I can still smell and taste the freshly picked peaches, peeled with a pocket knife and slipped to me through a lowered car window or baked in huge cobbler. Mother had a huge pan with a lid that probably came from a steam table. It would still be warm when she served it. If you were lucky, she had made a freezer of homemade ice cream! Yes, the three of us fought over the dash. (The dash is the thing in the freezer that mixes the ice cream. It's removed at then end and of course it's covered with ice cream!)

Those were summers of cousins visiting, homecoming celebrations with barbecue and fried fish, and family reunions with family we hadn't seen since the last reunion or funeral. Those were summers full of family, friends, laughter, and food.

Oh and I can't forget the Congress (of Christian Education). The yearly church meeting for Christian instruction. It was so good to see all of your friends. We always got in trouble for something, usually minor. If a certain adult saw you with gum, she would pass one of those funeral home fans around the choir and everyone had to deposit their gum on it. Now that is an appetizing site!

There was church camp and band camp. Church camp at Camp Heart of the Hills. There we were in the middle of the Ouachita National Forest aka the middle of nowhere having a blast, singing, praying, swimming, hiking, eating Now-Laters, and providing laughter and a few headaches for my pastor and my mom's friends who were counselors.

Band camp was close to home but still fun. Once again there were more friends from all over the state. Learning was truly fun. Did you know I was never a majorette but I could still twirl a baton? I don't think I ever broke anything....

There were those dusty roads in "The Bend". The Bend is Happy Bend. My house wasn't there but when you dad pastors a church for longer that you have been on this earth it is home. First, The Bend was a place where you were taught to love the Lord. You weren't taught that from lip service either. We had living examples. It was a place were kids were raised to respect their elders. It was a place where everyone was your parent. It was a place where kids were taught hard work. It was a place were you could sleep at the foot of the bed and enjoy laughing about it as an adult. There people had large families and weren't on TV. It was just life. It was a place where you could chase fireflies, ride horses or just walk "the lane" and fight the wasps for the berries growing along the side of the road. Playing, giggling, dreaming girls enjoying their summer without a care in the world. It was a place where you didn't know you were poor because you weren't!

Part 2 coming soon.......

Friday, June 11, 2010

Never again

I am done with Albertsons. It is a joke. Now I understand why there are only a few Albertsons stores left in DFW.

I decided to “run to Albertsons” on my lunch break. Yes, I know that was my first mistake. They had one the Michelina’s Lean Gourmet frozen dinners on sale. The pepperoni pizza rolls are a great substitution for a couple of slices of pizza. There was an in-store coupon in their sale paper that brought the price to 69 cents each. That’s worth the short trip (maybe a mile).

Problem #1. Of course when I arrived they did not all most of the Lean Gourmet varieties. I should have known better. Albertson stores are smaller and just don’t have the same selection. (Isn’t the definition of insanity to keep doing the same thing and expecting a different result?) Of course there was only one of the prized pizza rolls left. Not to be deterred, I grabbed that one and a couple of others that would make a decent lunch.

Problem #2. Why oh why did I decide to not stand in the one open line behind three other people? Oh no, I can check my self out. Don’t do it!!!! In most other stores this works but in Albertsons it just doesn’t cut it. First of all, once they installed the self-check-out stations they would only staff one manned checkout lane.

Problem #3. The coupon. First of all, the coupon has to be scanned multiple times if more than one of the item is purchased. Do you think the computer will appreciate that?

Second the coupon has to be handed to the attendant. Under normal circumstances that works. Today it was a recipe for disaster, which brings us to problem #4.

Problem #4. Since the coupon use was a disaster, the attendant was literally scanning another customer’s groceries and struggling with the whole coupon disaster. I tried to be patient even with the scanner continuously stating that I needed to give my coupon to the attendant. Finally the NCR person that was trying to fix another scanner asked the other loitering employees to help me. Of course, no one could do that. Finally someone re-set it but he could not help me with the coupon issue. That’s when I threatened to just go back to work and leave the groceries there. Yes, right there thawing… Finally someone who could assist me with the coupons arrived but wait…there is yet another problem to deal with.

Problem #5. The coupon only works for “selected varieties”. I accept that except please let someone know which varieties are acceptable! The employee finally said that it worked for two items just pick two and we’ll call it done.

So I left Albertson’s for the last time today. Minus a lunch break and minus $2.72. Yes folks, that’s it. After all of that I only spent $2.72. I have two Michelina Lean Gourmet entrees and a few Pink Lady apples (They were $1.00 per pound). Now I need medication and I didn’t even buy chocolate!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Biggest Loser

The Dallas 5K episode of The Biggest Loser airs tonight at 7pm on NBC. Hopefully everyone will get to see how much fun we had. Maybe I'll be in a camera shot. If I'm not it was still a phenomenal experience. That's all I can say until after the episode airs....No one wants to be the spoiler!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Blogs I Follow

I've added a list of blogs that i follow. I get so much inspiration and education from others. Hope you'll benefit as much as I do.
I forgot to ask....Is spring ever going to arrive????????????

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Biggest Loser

I had the wonderful opportunity today to participate in a 5K with the Biggest Loser contestants! I can't divulge any real info but it was an awesome experience. EVERYONE associated with the show was nice and made it a point to make it a fun experience. I also met some amazing people who were there to participate.
Now I have no excuse, I can walk/run a 5K in weather below 50 degrees. (The temp was in the low 40's.) I also can jog a little more than I do without a lot of discomfort. I just have to find the right intensity.
I am also starting a trial of 24 hr fitness........Zumba here I come. Maybe even the pool. The aqua stuff is a lot easier on my knees. Hopefully I can also do the bike class.
Now when I think about getting off track I can just think about my experience today. It will make me realize it just isn't worth it. I can definitely make this life change forever!!!!!
Oh yeah one more thing...........WHO DAT?! CONGRATS TO THE SAINTS

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Fast

OK. I'm going to do the fast. This year I didn't freak out. Does that mean I'm making progress in my obsession/addiction with food? It will be a great chance to re-group and re-focus. It will take a lot of prayer......