Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Acorn Squash Soup

My power week didn't work out as planned. Between making almond-filled donuts, Scandinavian almond cake with ice cream and praline sauce, pigging out on Chinese food, having eight (EIGHT!!!) kit kat bars and having an embarrassing weakness for cookie dough...My weight is NOT where I wanted it to be. After a binge, I always get myself into the mindset of 'I've already gone over my calories for the day, these few hundred won't count.' That always winds me up in a vicious cycle which is hard to break. I think I've been binging so much not only because it's 'that time' (UM, can you say I NEED CHOCOLATE!) but because I'm so bored of eating the same food every day. It seems like everything has carbs in it, which I try to avoid, so I find myself eating just about the same menu every day: Egg whites, chicken breast, cheese, and veggies. Sure, I love them all, but I think I've set myself up for disaster, by robbing myself of enjoying DELICIOUS food. When I deprive myself of rich, flavorful foods, I end up pigging out on sweets and carbs.

So, these past few days, I've been trying to experiment with different foods, and create delicious, flavorful, filling meals that won't kill my diet. The best recipe so far: Acorn Squash Soup.

Now, I LOVE cooking with seasonal foods. It just puts me in the 'Autumn' mood. This soup is healthy, flavorful, warm, vegetarian AND filling Oh yeah, and super easy to make. No really, a 6 year old could make this. I've listed the ingredients for one serving, if you want to make 2, just double it.

1/2 acorn squash
1/2 garlic clove
Skim milk

Cut the squash in half, and save the other in a ziplock bag in the fridge. (It will keep for 3+ days). Scoop the seeds and stringy bits out of your half, and throw them away. Fill a large pot about 1/2 full with water. Place a colander over the pot, and place your squash in it, cut side up. In the hollowed part of the squash, sprinkle salt, a pinch of pepper, a hearty amount of paprika rosemary and thyme. Bring the water to a boil, and cover with foil and a lid. Lower the heat to a simmer, and let the squash steam for 40-50 minutes. Once the squash is tender, scoop it into a blender or food processor, process until it is a fine puree. You can serve the soup like this, or you can add skim milk to reach the desired consistency. Serve with a sprig of rosemary and a pinch of paprika on top!

This is such a simple and hearty soup. It's creamy, delicious and of course healthy, with only 90 calories per half a squash! Enjoy!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

September Stroll

I walk leisurley, my dog happily trotting next to me
the gravel crunches beneath each step
grass hoppers and crickets bound effortlessly before us
we aproach a fork in the road
a man with his dog rides a bike
yelling at his pet to go left
not right!
as the beast crosses the bike's path with his leash
Bear pulls eargerly towards his potential new friends
but the pair is quickly distant
and his eager tugs at the rope will not bring him a step closer.
We turn in the direction we came,
Bear looking back at the friend he lost before they even met.
We walk,
my dog less entergetic now.
It's a cool day but the flaring sun gives no remorse to my canine companions coarse coat.
He pants as my forehead
beneath my wisps of hair which have broken free
We finally are home
He strains towards his food bowl, snorting at finding it empty except for a dead wasp.
I fill his water bowl, and he watches, waiting
I step away, he steps closer
timidly lapping the warm water.
I sit and pet him, teasingly blowing on his ear
he brings his paw to his face and covers his ear
while peeking out from under at me.
I run my hands through his thick, heavy coat
still feeling the left behind rays entangled within
He faces towards me, waiting.
Kisses?I coax, and he gently licks the tip of my nose with his moist muzzle.
He carefully lays in the shade, and this is my signal that we are finished for today
and I walk inside

Friday, September 25, 2009


Just some new pictures with my Pentax. This little guy is just too cute! Until he hopped at me and I ran away screaming. . . . But he was a wonderful little model and just sat there looking at me the whole time. He needs a name now...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Power Week

I've definitely fallen off course with my healthy eating. Last weekend, I managed to devour a huge frapp from Starbucks (with mocha AND caramel on top), a turkey sandwich, a large fry from McDonalds, three cookies, chicken nuggets, a large sprite AND a vanilla ice cream cone. In 2 sittings. Whoops.
Then THIS weekend, I discovered that I'm not an angry, sad or crazy drunk. I just like to EAT. I told my boyfriend and his friend that I was going to the bathroom and I'd be right back. 15 minutes later, I returned with a plate piled high with chocolate chip cookies, chocolate double stuff oreos, a glazed donut, and a variety of other sweets. Oh yeah, and saltines to top it all off. Damn.

Well, it's back to healthy eating. I'm launching myself a Power Week. Back to counting calories, fat, carbs and protein, and revving up my workout routine. I've fallen into a rut. You know, not really pushing myself on the treadmill, getting lazy at the gym, and shrugging off extra calories. Well, not only do I feel increasingly lazy, but I've noticed that my body is just not feeling right. I'm tired, and just out of energy.

SO, this week is my Power Week. I'm going to push myself at each work out, and put in the extra time to prepare healthy meals. I'm also going to be focusing on toning, hopefully I'll see some improvement by the end of the week.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Best Damn Fritatta. Period.

I've been very sick for the past couple days. With a sinus infections and mild concussion (I WOULD manage to get kicked in the head by a crowd surfer...FAIL) I've been trying to keep myself from complete boredom. I've spent my past few days cooking, blogging, photographing, stumbling and watching TV. But when I woke up this morning, I had NO energy whatsoever and a mean cough. I told myself that I would not be fussing over any meals today and absolutely no photography or blogging, but instead rest up and sleep. Well, that lasted... until noon.

As my stomach growled, I looked in the fridge for something healthy, low carb and quick. Deli drawer: One single peice of turkey. Okay... Freezer! No chicken. No nothing. Oh, I'll make a peach and spinach salad! No freakin' peaches. How the hell did our fridge go from stocked to skimpy in a matter of 12 hours? Okay, I thought. Think. What's low calorie and low carb that I can throw together? OH! Egg whites! I'll make a fritatta! I opened the veggie drawer, and gathered whatever I could find, chopped em up and heated my skillet. Last thing I needed was eggs.

I looked in our egg basket. Three eggs. THREE. I needed at least 5 if I was going to make an egg white dish. Three whites would not cut it. Guess I'll have to make due, I thought. I started adding ingredients, and my 'fritatta' started looking better and better. I grabbed my camera, and shot a few pictures, just in case by some miracle it came out blog worthy. By the time I threw it in the oven, I was getting pretty excited for how it would turn out. After a few minutes, I pulled the skillet out from the oven. It was colorful, and the aromas were to die for. I grabbed my camera *click click click click.* I placed a plate over the skillet, and flipped the fritatta over. It was perfectly baked, and beautifully golden brown. *Click Click*

My Macgyver skills may have paid off, I thought. You see, there's three ways new recipes can go. One, it looks pretty, but when eaten is an absolute disaster. Two, it looks decent, and tastes mediocre. Or three, it looks perfect and tastes even better. But, I didn't want to count my chickens before they hatched. I prepared myself for disaster. After all, I'm not too familiar with fritattas, and definitely not when I'm lacking most of the main ingredients. I cut a corner off with the side of my fork, blew on it to cool it, and cautiously tasted it.

A white light blinded me, and I was deafened by angels singing
"Hallelujah! Hallelujah!"
I'm pretty sure at one point I saw God giving me a thumbs up. I've died and gone to Heaven I thought. My mouth screamed with joy and instantly formed a huge smile. My mouth watered and I did a victory dance around the kitchen island. If food could give you an orgasm, it would be this. The spices danced in sync with the sausage, the veggies sang in perfect harmony with one another. This is the BEST thing I've ever made, and one of the best I've ever eaten. It tasted what I've decided is the closest thing to perfection.

I quickly wrote down all of the ingredients before I forgot, and served myself another piece of heaven. I braced myself for what I thought was going to be at least a 500 calorie dish, but each ingredient had less and less calories than I expected. 34 plus 70 plus 80.. I added the calories, protein, fat and carbs. I white knuckled my pen as I added for a grand total of.....

250 CALORIES! For the WHOLE thing.

Someone tell me, has god come to Earth and started performing miracles in midwest kitchens? Have pigs become aerodynamic? Has Hell frozen over? How is something so delicious, so easy, so FILLING so low calorie? And HOW in the world did something so delicious come from a few simple ingredients? Now, I suppose I should stop ranting about how yummy my (miraculously) delicious lunch was, and I should share it. Well here it is. Prepare to bask in the glory of it's amazingness. (If I do say so myself ;] )

What you'll need:
olive oil
2 egg whites
1 whole egg
1 turkey sausage patty
1/2 roma tomato, chopped
1/2 cup spinach (a fist full)
1/4 cup chopped bell pepper
1 tablespoon chopped shallots
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/4 cup fat free mozzarella
1 tablespoon skim milk
1 tablespoon fat free chicken broth

Preheat the oven to 400. Lightly grease a skillet with olive oil, and heat to medium-low. Add the shallots and garlic to the pan with pepper, rosemary and salt to taste, and stir around to prevent sticking. When shallots and garlic start to sweat, add the turkey sausage. Break up the sausage patty into several pieces with a wooden spoon. Turn the heat to low.

In a bowl, whisk the egg, egg whites, milk and chicken broth, and season with a generous amount of rosemary, pepper, and salt. Set aside, and stir the bell pepper in with the other ingredients in the pan. Shred the spinach into smaller pieces, and stir into the egg mixture. As soon as the turkey is lightly browned, pour the egg mixture into the pan. Turn the heat to medium. Let the eggs cook until the bottom has set, and the top is still wet but not runny.

Take the skillet off the heat, and evenly sprinkle the cheese on the top of the eggs. Place the skillet in the oven for about 4-5 minutes, until the cheese is well melted. Remove the pan from the oven, season with pepper and salt and let sit for 2-3 minutes to set.

Place a plate over the skillet, and in one careful movement, flip the pan over onto the plate.

You're ready to eat! This can easily be eaten for any meal, but is not overfilling. Enjoy!

Make it your own:
Vary the cheese, use Colby, cheddar, American, or Parmesan.
Mix up the spices. Use fresh oregano, basil, thyme, etc.
Double the recipe, and serve in slices at brunch.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Turkey Tomato Panini

I think sandwiches can be THE most boring lunch ever. It's always the same, 2 pieces of bread, a couple slices of soggy lunch meat, maybe some mustard and mayo. You're finished in what seems like 2 bites, and you're hungry twenty minutes later. Not with this lunch you're not: Turkey and Tomato Panini. Super easy, uber delicious, and ridiculously low cal. Read on my friends.

You're gonna need a Panini press. If you don't have one, you'll need 2 skillets, one cleaned on bottom. When it comes time to cook the panini, simply place the sandwhich over a medium-low skillet, and use the other skillet to press down the sandwhich. When the first side is lightly brown, flip over, and repeat, again using the second skillet to press the sandwich.

Turkey and Tomato Panini

What you'll need:
2 peices of whole wheat bread (I used light wheat, only 40 ((!!!)) calories per slice.)
3-4 hearty slices of deli turkey (I love oven roasted.)
4 1/4 inch slices of tomato
Olive oil

Heat your panini press and lighlty brush it with olive oil. With a mortar and pestal, lightly grind the rosemary and black pepper. You need about a teaspoon of both. Shred the turkey into medium sized pieces and lighlty season with the spices.

Very lightly brush one side of each slice of bread with olive oil, and sprinkle some of the rosemary and pepper combo on top.

Assemble the turkey on the unseasoned side of one slice of bread, and place the slices of tomato in a square pattern.

Place on the panini press, and grill for 3-4 minutes, until golden grill marks have formed.Enjoy! Make this sandwich your own by adding mozzarella or swiss cheese, or switching it up with the spices. 2 pieces of light wheat bread- 80
4 slices tomato-15
turkey- 50
145 Calories total!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Healthy Eating for One

Well, I've decided to launch a sort of 'Mini series' focusing on healthy recipes yielding enough for one. Instead of just throwing something in the microwave when you're eating solo, take a few extra minutes to cook up a healthy, flavorful, satisfying meal. It will most definitely be worth it. So, I'm going to kick off this 'series' with my
Asian style cold chicken salad.

What you'll need:
1/2 cup edamame (the edible portion)
1- 2 oz chicken breast
1/2 small onion
Soy sauce
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
Fresh garlic
Fresh ginger
Black pepper

In a plastic zip bag, combine 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, a teaspoon of freshly grated ginger, a teaspoon of lemon zest, and a small clove of garlic, chopped. Add a good amount of black pepper and just a pinch of salt. Place the chicken breast in the bag, and shake to coat. Place the marinating chicken breast into the fridge, for up to four hours. Prepare the edamame as per the directions on the bag. If you bought the edamame in the shell, take the time now to shell them and measure 1/2 a cup. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Heat a frying pan, and lightly spray with olive oil. Pour the chicken and the marinade into the hot pan, and sear on the first side. When turning the chicken to the opposite side, add the roughly chopped onion and combine with the chicken breast and marinade. Turn down the heat, and add another teaspoon of soy sauce to the pan. Stir, preventing the chicken and onions from sticking. When the chicken has thoroughly cooked, remove it from the pan, along with the onions, and let it sit until cooled. Deglaze the skillet with the orange juice, scraping the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. When the chicken has cooled, slice into 1 inch pieces. Combine the chicken, chilled edamame and onions. Pour the flavor filled orange juice over the top, and toss. Enjoy!

You can easily personalize this recipe by adding orange sections, dried cranberries, sesame seeds, even strawberries. This dish is so simple, so tasty and healthy!

My 10 life Goals

I'm always getting inspired by SOMETHING. Whether it be a book, a quotation, a recipe, a tv program. And today, home sick from work, looking for something to do, I've decided to write out ten things I want to do/goals I want to accomplish. Please feel free to share your ten goals.

1. Open a cafe/art gallery.
2. Go on a photography trip to different countries
3. Write a cook book
4. Live in a loft in a large city
5. Sell at least one photo of mine
6. Go on a missions trip to a 3rd world country
7. Never work a conventional job (NO retail, cubical jobs. I will die if I do, I swear.)
8. Go on a rock climbing/hiking trip in Colorado, California AND North Carolina
9. Spend a summer in Paris
10. Grow my own vegetables, fruits, and herbs.

If only I had the money to actually accomplish any of these.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Up close and personal

I love my Pentax x70's 1cm zoom. By zooming in, I can often photograph things which are invisible to the human eye. These are a few of my best close ups. Some are macro, some are just close ups, either way, enjoy.

A seashell on a mirror I made with shells I've collected on previous vacations.
The darker pink is actually the center of the flower, which looks black. Turns out, it's hot pink when examined closely.

I was photographing the flower, initially, when a pollen-covered bee flew in.
Same flowers
A pig apparently exhausted from his hard day's work at the Iowa State fair.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


I've come to a conclusion.
We lose intelligence as we grow older.
Don't agree? Keep reading.

I remember it like it was yesterday. I was 11, sitting in our big conversion van, on the way home from a trip to North Carolina. I sat at the truck stop, waiting for my mom and god mom to come out. I was flipping through a popular teen magazine, and a certain article caught my attention. It was abut kids who were 'Straight Edge.' You know, no smoking, no drinking, no drugs. I guess I was so intrigued by the piece because I had always been against all of that in the first place: I watched my brother's (and other family members') downfall from drugs and drinking and I promised myself at an early age to never touch any of it, especially cigarettes (which had taken my grandpa before I had ever met him.) I'm sure I read the article three times over, and like I always do, got super inspired, and decided to live my life 'Straight Edge.' By the time we had pulled away from the truck stop, I had drawn black X's on my hands like the kids in the magazine had so they would be denied alcohol upon entering a club. I was also determined to have the X's tattooed on my hands as soon as I could, just like the kid in the magazine.

I managed to stay away from drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes all throughout middle school, but as soon as I hit high school, everything changed. Immediately, I got in the wrong group of kids, and by the third week of school, I was drunk for the first time. Yup, my first time getting drunk was at the homecoming game. I wish I could remember it better. I managed to stay out of trouble until that summer, when I smoked weed for the first time. By sophomore year, I was smoking out of an apple in my bedroom before school, and by May of sophomore year, I was smoking cigarettes. It was one thing after another.. I wouldn't say I did it to fit in, but instead, I saw my friends having the time of their lives, and I was sick as hell of being this sheltered Christian girl..So I let loose.

The three things I vowed to stay away from since a little girl, and I was doing all three regularly. By the summer before junior year, I was drinking beer with my pancake breakfasts, high all day, and smoking up to a pack of Newports a day. That summer, last summer, were my self titled 'glory days.' I lived with my best friend for two weeks, and those two weeks were the best 14 days of my life. Drinking, smoking, listening to Free Ride and Stranglehold over and over, doing whatever the hell we wanted. And the rest of the summer continued the same: Our parents had no idea what we were doing, and frankly, we didn't care if they did. We were idiots, and loving every minute of it.

I won't go into too much detail, but my downfall came the first week of Junior year, when I got expelled. Pills were involved, and I was humiliatingly arrested in the middle of school. All of my charges were dropped, but our glory days came to an abrupt end, and I, as well as my group of friends got a harsh reality check. Harsh.

In the past months, since being home schooled, I've looked back on the choices I've made, and I ask myself 'Who have I become?' The little girl with badly drawn X's on her hands in honor of her brother, had morphed into this: A girl who cared more about getting cigarettes, getting weed, and getting drunk, more than herself, her health, her family.

About a week ago, I sat down on my computer, and found a pamphlet lying on the keyboard. It was hand drawn by me, when I was ten or so. It had a big cigarette with a red line through it on the front. The next page had a horribly drawn red lung and a horribly drawn black lung.'Your lung if you don't smoke. Your lung if you smoke.' The next page featured a stick figure with X's over his eyes with 'Every cigarette you smoke takes a minute from your life' scribbled above. My mom walked in behind me, and saw me flipping through the folded piece of computer paper which she had come across and left for me. 'A minute doesn't seem like a lot until you have kids. Then you'll want to live every minute you can.' She said, and walked out. I flipped through the pamphlet titled 'Smoking Kills' once more, and pushed it away.

So last night, I sat outside the back door of our basement, smoking a cigarette, and thought about my decision to be straight edge so long ago. My promise to my mother and father that I'd never smoke, never drink and I wondered this:

Why hadn't I followed my own advice, and never started any of it in the first place? I was so much smarter then, it seems. I knew the facts back then: Smoking causes cancer. Drinking can turn into a dependency, and nothing good comes from drugs. But as soon as I hit high school, and went wild, the facts didn't matter anymore, all that mattered was having fun, no matter the cost.
If only I had followed my own advice, I wouldn't be this: Seventeen, with a slight beer belly, kicked out of school and regularly drug tested at home, with a cigarette addiction.

I was smarter then, when all that mattered was facts. When peer pressure wasn't issue. When I was oblivious to what really surrounded me. If only I had kept those values, those morals, I had as a sheltered girl, I wouldn't be in this mess.

So I guess I somewhat disagree with my own conclusion: Maybe we don't lose intelligence as we age, maybe we just don't give a shit about the facts anymore. Maybe we just become stupid.

That's all she wrote....

We have this wonderful cabin up in Hayward Wisconsin, which we visit as often as possible. The view over our Callahan lake is stunning, and every time I'm there, I can't help but be inspired by the sights, the sounds (or lack thereof), the smells and the atmosphere as a whole. With those senses in mind, I wrote this...piece. Not really a poem, not really a paragraph.

The Cabin

So far away, from who you’re supposed to be.
Re-creation of one’s self, be who, be what you want.
And one’s mind is free to imagine, explore, or simply be quiet.
Inspiration is inevitable, and one will surely find one’s self.

The water is still, like a mirror to the sky
Catching the picture of an ever flying bird.
The silence is deafening, it echoes in your ear,
The fragrance of nothing fills the nose, and it is
stronger than the strongest of scents.

The wind is soft, and dances across the face
And twists one’s hair playfully,
The fish swim lazily in the shadows of the brush.
In the lake which color’s are that of an artist’s canvas.

A grown man is to turn to childhood here,
Exploring, seeking, finding.
Endless days of swimming and fishing,
Without one care elsewhere.

And this place, far away,
Hidden from society,
Is where I’ve spent many a summer,
Just simply taking in the sights.

Keaton Buster
Aug 26 09

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Some of my photos

At this point, I'm quite discouraged if anyone is reading this at all. Is this more of a journal to myself, or is anyone actually enjoying my writing? I really have nothing to write today, so it's time to share my photos. Comment, critique, criticize, enjoy?

The beauty of tea. This is my favorite shot, hands down.

The Sears Tower. 'Willis' Tower. I refuse to call it by it's new name, ever again.

The walking path at our Wisconsin cabin. I miss this place.

Bear, the dog with the biggest personality, out of any dog I've ever encountered.

Bear's eye. Such a scary eye for such a gentle dog.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

15 Things my mother has taught me

My mother always says, that her job is to prepare me for adulthood. I haven't always taken her advice to heart, more often I put the information she shares in the back of my head with the rest of the "Mom's nagging" pile. But as I get older, and closer to being on my own, I've taught myself to take these little pieces of information and put them to use. Thank you mom, for instilling these qualities and life lessons in me, as much as it has annoyed me over the past years.

Whatever you do, do it right the first time.

If you've made a commitment, you must follow through, no matter how hard it may be.

It's okay to nap during the day if you need it.

Never turn your tires when you're in the middle of the street waiting to turn on yellow. If you get hit from behind, you'll veer into the wrong lane of traffic.

Put meat tenderizer on a bee sting.

If you tell the truth in the first place, the punishment will be less severe than if you'd lied.

One wrong decision can change the rest of your life.

When things are looking bad, things can only get better.

If you've made your soup too salty, put in a slice of potato.

No matter what you've done, your family will always love you and support you.

Your picture's don't have to be in perfect focus for it to be a good photograph.

Learn from your mistakes.

Pray before every single meal.

You can never take back your virginity once it's gone, so save it for the right person. ( I wish I had listened to this one.)

Your mother is not your friend, but a teacher, a confidant, a supporter, and a nurturer.

Thank you mom, for all you do. For everything I've messed up, you've been there to pick up the pieces. And I know that through the hardtimes and goodtimes you will always be there to back me up.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Roasted tomato and yellow pepper soup

This soup is delicious, flavorful, filling, and low calorie!

5 Medium tomatoes
5 Onion slices/rings - chopped
1 clove garlic - finely chopped
1 small yellow pepper -sliced
1 cup No fat beef broth
Olive oil
Bay leaf
Balsamic vinegar

Slice the tomatoes into half inch slices, and spread tomatoes, garlic, onion, and pepper on a baking sheet. Drizzle (or spray if you have it in an aerosol can) olive oil to very lightly coat all of the vegetables on all sides. Sprinkle salt, pepper and rosemary on top. Pop in the oven at 350 for 15 minutes. When the vegetables are out of the oven, use a wooden spoon to mash the tomatoes in a bowl. Chop the yellow peppers and onions into bite sized pieces, and add with the garlic, to the tomatoes.

Add 1 cup of beef broth, and add salt, pepper, thyme and rosemary to taste. Blend in a blender until slightly pureed, still leaving a few bites of veggies. Pour back in the bowl and add one whole bay leaf. Cover with foil and place the soup into the fridge for 1 hour or up to over night. The longer the flavors marry, the richer the soup will taste.

When ready to eat, take the bay leaf out and bring the soup to a low boil for 4-5 minutes. Add 1 tsp of balsamic vinegar, stir and Voila! Serve with english muffins toasted with olive oil, rosemary and salt.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

How I finally lost weight

I used to dance between 3-5 days a week, anywhere between an hour and a half to five hours each day. So, needless to say, I was burning a ton of calories. I didn't have the greatest eating habits- in between dance classes I was either eating a huge sugary muffin from white hen (with hot chocolate and candy as dessert...) or chowing down white rice and a quart of soup from the next door Chinese stop. Two years ago, I decided to stop dancing... But, I kept eating the same way. I thought nothing of weight back then. But the pounds piled on, and I quickly became extremely self conscious of not only my weight, but my changing figure.
Over the two years, I became somewhat lazy and unmotivated to do basically anything physical. I slacked in gym, but cried just about every day because I hated my body so much. Last summer, I started smoking weed, a lot... and when you've got the munchies, just about ANYTHING sounds delicious. Taco Bell, Mcdonalds, Pop tarts, and the odd craving for homemade double-decker quesidillas... Munchies, mixed with a lot of beer.. Not a good combo. I quickly gained a ton more weight, and at my highest hit 138. That's a lot for me, considering I was 120 while in dance.
It was all funny at first, yeah, I was getting a beer belly, and smoking the ganja made me lazy.. but I felt so uncomfortable in my own body. So the vicious cycle began: Binge, purge, binge purge. I'd stuff my face till I felt like I was going to die, and made myself throw it up. Then do it all over again. Two, three up to four times a day. And you know what? I didn't lose a single pound. I tried to not eat at all, lost a few pounds, gained twice the weight back when I binged on cookie dough and cake. It was a horrible cycle I had gotten myself caught up in.
The summer ended and my horrible eating habits stayed. After two years of crash and yo yo dieting, I decided things needed to change. Well... It didn't happen quite like that. I was finally tired of the vicious cycles... I joined the gym in town, and went once and didn't go back for a month. If you can't tell by now: I'm not big on commitment! I guess I kinda started getting into the groove of it, because I was going at least three times a week. But for some reason, I wasn't losing weight. Hah, the reason must have been all the junk food I thought I could eat because I was 'burning' it all off. So one day, I thought to myself, how can I eat all day (I like to eat. A lot. No really, a LOT.) and still lose weight.

The number of calories I need per day to lose weight, divided by 5. Or however much I wanted to eat.
It sounds so simple... Why the HELL hadn't I thought of it before? I had always stuck to the larger breakfast (you know, power breakfast full all day? More like power breakfast, I'm hungry in an hour.) small lunch, and ended up with a big dinner. I would snack through the day, and never, ever felt full. My 'miracle' diet keeps me full all day, and I don't have the temptation to snack.
And you know what? It worked. I'm down to 125. I haven't been under 130 in 3 years. I honestly feel like i've accomplished the largest feat of my life. It's not like it was 100 pounds. Not 50. Not even 20. But those 13 pounds totally changed my confidence. And my body is already showing improvement. I'm so proud of myself, I accomplished something I thought I never would be able to do. I thought I'd have a roll in my stomach forever. And I thought I'm always have to turn off the lights with my boyfriend so I wouldn't have to look at my stomach. It's not like I've drastically changed my body, but the fact that I'm SEEING improvement, is such a confidence booster in it's self.

So who knows, maybe this will work for you? To figure out how many meals to plan, think of all the times you crave food during the day: First thing in the morning? In between breakfast in lunch? Between lunch and dinner? Late night?
I like to eat 5 times a day, so I take 1500 calories, divided by 5 = 300 calorie meals.
I'll also share a few 300 calorie meals you can try out if you like! Oh yeah, and it's also kinda fun to plan ahead meals, you can get creative! I love to make the base of all of my meals vegetables and fruits. They have so much nutrition, and by filling up on those, will leave less room for temptations with other foods! Remember, carbs turn to sugar when they get into your body, so try to limit your carb intake (especially white carbs!)
By the way, I like to do Breakfast, Lunch, Mid afternoon, Dinner, and Late night. For breakfast, lunch and dinner, I like to make typical meals (eggs for breakfast, maybe a sandwich for lunch, chicken at dinner) but the great thing about this, is that all of the meals are the same amount of calories, so I can mix and match what I want to eat, and when! I think breakfast is the most important meal of the day.. You haven't eaten 8+ hours, so this is the time you replenish your nutrients to fuel your day. Below are some of my favorite breakfasts. Not only are they tasty, but healthy and filling.
Example Breakfasts:

1 Whole wheat waffle (85 calories) with
1 tablespoon pure peanut butter (85 c) (no sugar or's really tasty!!) and topped with
1 tablespoon raisins (32 c)
1 orange (100 c)
Total: 302 calories

1 Whole wheat english muffin (100 c)
1 overhard (0r over medium or easy) egg (70 c)
1 tablespoon chopped walnuts (50 c)
1 apple (80 c)
Total: 300 calories

1/2 cup cooked oatmeal (150 c)
1/2 cup strawberries (25 c)
1 turkey sausage patty (140 c)
Total: 315 calories

Here's a list of low cal foods that you can mix and match for midday mini-meals!
Honey Ham- 1.9 oz (1 serving), (65 calories)

Deli Turkey- 2 oz (1 serving), (50 calories)

1 cup blueberries (80 calories)

1 cup halved strawberries (50 calories)

1 whole wheat tortilla (140 calories)

1 cup brown rice (cooked) (215 calories)

1 small apple (70 calories)

1 banana (118 calories)

1 cup sliced avocado (234 calories)

1 cup whole grain pasta (190 calories)

1 whole wheat bagel (220 calories)

1 hardboiled egg (80 calories)

1 cup spinach (7 calories)

1 cup chopped pineapple (74 calories)

1 mozzarella cheese stick (80 calories)

Those are just a FEW low cal choices you can mix and match with. Think of all the different foods you can eat!

Happy and healthy eating!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Delicious Ciabatta Pepper Sandwich

During a weekend trip to our cabin in Hayward, Wisconsin, I had the opportunity to eat a wonderful Ciabatta Pepper Sandwich at a nearby restaurant. It was absolutely delicious, and, too shy to ask for the recipe, decided to make my own, with my own twist! Ciabatta Pepper Sandwich with avocado spread... It actually turned out better than I had planned (or hoped for) so I'm going to share it with you =]

Ciabatta Pepper Sandwich

One Ciabatta Roll (.99 cents at target in the bakery corner!)
Red Pepper
Green Pepper
Plain Yogurt
Balsamic Vinegar

Line a funnel with two layers of cheese cloth, and place in a container large enough to hold up the funnel. Scoop two tablespoons of plain (not vanilla!!) yogurt into the cheese cloth. Fold the edges over the top of the yogurt, and place a heavy can on top, to drain the liquid. Set aside.

Slice 1/4 of the red pepper, green pepper, tomato, and onion to taste. (Should be 1/4 cup or so each). Chop half of one garlic clove and slice two small mushrooms (baby bellas are great).

Heat a skillet with a tablespoon of olive oil, remember: Hot pan/cold oil, food won't stick. Put all of the vegetables into the skillet, and pour in about 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar. Turn down the heat, and cover with the pans lid, leaving slightly ajar.

While the veggies are cooking: Squeeze as much liquid out of the yogurt as possible, and place in a bowl. Cut 1/4 of the avocado, and smash well with the yogurt. Add just enough lemon juice as well as lemon zest to taste. Set aside. You may also add lemon zest to the vegetables now, it adds a wonderful under-taste!

Slice the ciabatta roll. Depending on the size, you can cut it just in half, or in fourths, for two sandwiches. Brush each side with olive oil, and sprinkle dried rosemary on top. Place on the grill for 2-3 minutes, each side, to toast.

The vegetables are done when the balsamic vinegar has reduced and the veggies are tender. Spread on end of the Ciabatta bread with the avocado spread, and spoon your veggies and sauce on to your roll. Enjoy!

Not only is this super filling, and tastes great, but only around 400 calories! Sounds like a fantastic lunch or dinner to me!