Posted in Food, Self, Travel

Cruise Controlled Eating

A front seat on the weight loss struggle bus for me, is traveling.  I love to blame weight gain on any recent travels because – I mean really, who doesn’t?  “Well, I was on vacation!”  I LOVE to travel and I LOVE to eat and both together are pure magic, unless it’s in the weight loss department.

Before I leave, I like to bargain with myself, ’ok, if you gain only 5-7 lbs., that’s easy enough to lose because some of it is definitely water weight, but if you gain any more than 10, you’re in trouble’.  So I do “try” and I usually do ok – at least until the first rest stop, fast food joint or restaurant stop.  But let me throw out some things that may help you.

Because I’m a control freak, I ALWAYS pack a cooler and a cooler tote, even if we’re only going an hour away.  It also helps with cleaning out the fridge if we’re going to be gone any real length of time.

The cooler always has bottled water, our Coffeemate that we drink in our coffee every morning, his diet caffeine free Coke, a jar of my Opa Blue Cheese Dressing, cuz that stuff is scarcer than hen’s teeth and a bottle of wine (or 2), cuz ya just never know, you may stop in a dry county.

The cooler tote, (that I found at Costco and now wish that I had purchased more than one of), I fill with a ziplocked bag of ice for use and also to keep things nice and cool.  And a few of my go-to travel snacks depending on what we have on hand:

veggies, (sliced carrots, cucumber, mini peppers, cherry tomatoes, broccoli florets, you name it, if it’s in my fridge, it goes in the bag),

mixed nuts and dark chocolate chips,

smoked almonds,

a dark chocolate bar,

beef or turkey jerky,

mandarin oranges,

cheese sticks,

popcorn or pretzels,

salami or pepperoni,

salsa and chips for the kids (or goldfish & cheez-its, which is what they prefer).

And sometimes , I’ll pack yogurt or boiled eggs, but we eat those first so there’s no chance of them going bad.

I always keep plastic utensils in the car along with a sharp knife, a corkscrew, a set of 6 cups, napkins, paper towels, wipes – both hand and Clorox, Kleenex and salt & pepper!  THIS is just how I roll!  All this keeps me from walking into a gas station convenience store and loading the car down with bagged junk food, wizard fingers or day old doughnuts.

When we stop at restaurants I like to have a plan (again, I try).  I LOVE the Yelp app and I also like and use TripAdvisor.  Looking up restaurants before we stop if we’ve never been ensures that they’ll have more than iceberg lettuce and fried entrees.  I also like to see if they cook their meat to order, if not and I want steak or hamburger, I know to keep looking!

Eating healthy at restaurants is tough, but I’ve managed it for almost five years (with a little backsliding here and there).  Here are some things that have helped me.

Look up the menu online or before you leave home and plan what you’ll eat when you arrive.

Eat a la carte and piece together a healthy meal.

Always drink water before and during your meal.

When they bring or offer bread, refuse it.

Refuse sides that “come with” your order, like fries and potato chips.

Ask for your salad dressing, butter, mayo or sauces on the side or skip altogether.

No croutons or cheese on a salad.

No bun or cheese on your burger.

Nothing ever deep fried or sautéed in butter.

Skip items with cream or white sauces.

Order simple ingredient foods – baked potato, green beans, fruit bowl, etc.

Traveling is an adventure and it’s about trying new things, eating new foods, seeing new places and I encourage that in my children.  But when it comes to food and restaurants  and staying on a weight losing course, try to be mindful and refocus on your end goals as you’re making decisions.

Try that conch fritter, but ask for a small order or bag it to go and have only one from the bag.  Have that dessert, but share it with everyone.  Have that pretty fruity drink, but order only one.  Both moderation and activity are key to weight loss, so if you’ve been swimming all day, maybe hiking or biking, have the cheese on your salad or the second drink, but just remember that sometimes less is more!

Cheers!

Advertisements
Posted in Around Town, Blog, Finance, Self

Well, That Didn’t Go As Planned

Lies, just all lies.  I can’t do anything on a regular basis apparently, as here it is 4 months later!!  Everything that I enjoy online is hit or miss, wordpress, Instagram, even streaks on Snapchat with my own children, just one failure at follow through after another.  It’s actually kinda …sad?  …comical?  I suppose I’m lucky to make my bed, catch up on laundry, shower and eat on somewhat of a regular schedule.  I should be happy my life doesn’t revolve around social media, but man, I spend an awful lot of time on the computer and my phone for me not to be able to keep up with SOME TYPE of social networking?!?  Maybe I just don’t feel like there’s enough to share, or it’s too personal to share.  Who knows.  I’d like to keep up, but it’s not looking like it’s in the cards.  Just sayin’.

There has been a lot going on and we are in the process of planning our wedding.  We’re down to weeks now.

We’re going the cheap route.  I’m doing our flowers and our cake, we have an officiant and a photographer and a free venue.  I am completely convinced (unless you look at this from a religious aspect, which I don’t) that weddings are simply commercialism at it’s best.  But this time, I’m not playing along.

I called Garfield Park in Indy to ask how much they would charge us to have our wedding (of 6 people) in the sunken garden.  They told me it would be the same for a wedding of 100+.  I was floored.  I don’t understand how a PUBLIC PARK gets away with charging people that kind of money.  Needless to say, I won’t ever go back there.  I think it’s shameful and the girl that I spoke to really pissed me off when she basically called me a liar over the phone, because “well you could show up with any number of people after saying there will only be six people!”.  Yes, because you know me and I’m a known liar.  Well I don’t know you but I certainly can bet I know more about you than you do about me!  I think anyone that would show up and pay that kind of money to have their wedding there in a PUBLIC PARK in a dangerous neighborhood is an … well, let’s just say I think it’s a rip off if they’re charging you the same amount of money as a car payment.  A donation to the park itself would be sufficient.  But ya’ll go ‘head.  You won’t get any more of my money either way.

I walked into a florist in town the other day, I’d like to buy a bucket of flowers…loose flowers. That’ll be $3.95 per stem, “A-haha!  Bye!”.  So I’d like 4 dozen roses…that’s almost $200!  That’s insanity.  Here I come Kroger…$20 per dozen roses that’s $80, I wrap the stems in ribbon, push in pearl topped pins and viola.  Flowers that a florist would sell.  Yeah, ya’ll are nuttier than fruitcakes.

I’m really trying to go against the grain here and figure out ways to spend my money on what I want and not what someone else convinces me that I want.  I’m sure I won’t ever be a minimalist but allowing a company to just go balls to the wall to break me isn’t something I’m taking too lightly these days.  Enough complaining.  Save your money.  Refuse to surrender.

xoxo

Posted in Food

OMG – February!

Wowza! It’s been like forever since I’ve been here!! I’ve thought about it and even tried to formulate a post or two, but alas I’m just now sitting down to write a short post to let you all know I haven’t given up on this completely! As in true form, the end of November, December & January were all a whirlwind, cooking, baking, card writing, visits to the post office, family dinners, break ups, college visits, decorating, un-decorating, new resolutions, finding balance. I think I’m finally finding a bit of balance again now that most of the excitement’s over! It was definitely a busy time but so enjoyable all the same!

To start 2018 and this February off on a happy note, allow me to share a discovery with you. This past summer when I was in my hayday, feeling so good and ready to cruise and all, I was drinking pina colada’s like a FIEND (and wine)! Well, since I’m back on track with my weight loss goals and I really am trying harder than ever to find a balance reaching my goals and still “living”, I came up with a substitute for my pina colada that I so dearly missed.

Here is what I discovered:
IMG_0559

 

1 or 2 shots of Malibu rum (1 shot, it’s 57 cal., 5.5 carbs, the only draw back is it does have about 6.5 g. sugar) mixed with 1/2 bottle (8 1/2 oz.) Coconut Pineapple Sparkling Ice.  So yummy and smooth going down!  I know it’ll become a favorite!!

I’ll be posting on a regular again hopefully so stay tuned! ❤️

Posted in Blog, Family, Holidays & Birthday, Self

“Don’t Go Overboard”…

…from your mouth to God’s ears.  Apparently November makes people crazy with the stressors of the holidays, and apparently I am no exception to this rule.  I tried to brush off Thanksgiving this year, simply because I just don’t feel much like hosting, cooking, cleaning or eating anything except perhaps some Chinese take out.  After declaring my boycott of our typical traditional Thanksgiving, I was “strongly encouraged” to cook dinner and invite the normals.

Sooo here I sit here trying to pull together a menu of foods that I don’t like – all so I won’t be inclined to eat “all the carbs” since that’s what I’ve been doing for the past couple weeks – non stop.  I’ve had the blah’s and I’m sure it’s the fault of the weather and the impending holidays.  Thing is, I’m not a holiday hater at all, in fact I love Thanksgiving and Christmas, like a lot!  But…I am a do it all kinda person (read control freak) and I’m tired.  I’d rather focus my energies somewhere else.  A trip perhaps, a family vacation – a relaxing Alaskan cruise, a red eye flight to Bermuda, a leisurely drive to South Dakota – all scream YES?  I really don’t want to put a lot of effort into the holidays because really…who cares?  It’s all been taken for granted for years and who am I to believe I haven’t created monsters out of the people that do enjoy these seasonal traditions?  Packing on the over-indulgence repeatedly only to have it repeated a couple times a year – with again, more indifference to the day – seems kinda mind-numbingly ridiculous to keep putting myself through this considering I’m not sure what my “pay off” is.

I surely don’t care about gifts, I don’t care about working constantly to make sure the house is perfect and all the lights on the tree are placed correctly, I don’t care what people think about me, my home, my traditions or lack thereof.  I care about spending time with my family, having fun and making memories.  I just wonder if finally I’m completely brainwashed on one the two schools of thought; 1.) That Christmas is pretty much a thing of the past since religion is a dying belief and not to mention WAY over commercialized for it to be anything good or  2.) Christmas is THE holiday, the ONLY holiday!  Go crazy!  Start in July – the over planning, over indulging, over feeding, over spending!!  Jesus is the reason for the season!!  I lean towards 2, but it’s simply not effective for me any longer, at least not the way I’ve done it in the past.  It simply does not garner what I am in search of.

The girls are in their teens now, so the magic of Christmas is not what it used to be.  The joy and excitement of Christmas morning is lost on “more sleep” and snapchat streaks.  As of this very moment, I’m leaning toward one tree instead of three, a small dinner for the four of us and simple minimalistic gifts.  As my best friend’s words ring in my ear concerning my now revised Thanksgiving plans, “…don’t go overboard…”.  I’m going to try to heed her advice and simply chose to do what matters.

Wish me luck, as I am really no different than the other millions of sheep, I too become caught up.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this year I can focus on the things that ultimately do matter and truly enjoy the holidays.

xoxo

 

Posted in Around Town, Food

Living on the Edge

I’m not a follower – at all.  Never cared to be and still don’t.  I don’t follow trends, I don’t form the same “popular” opinions many do, I have my own way of interpreting things and I’m ok with that.  Never been one to run with the popular, trendy or even the up and coming.  I’m more into the tried and true group.  I like to take my time forming my opinions, preferably once all the kinks have been worked out and the initial popularity was waned.  Let’s take Aldi for example.  The first time I ever went to Aldi’s was about 8 years ago when I moved to Indiana and let’s just say I wasn’t impressed.  In 8 years, I’ve only been to Aldi’s a handful of times and truthfully I’m still not yet “that” impressed, but I’m working on it.

I went grocery shopping at Aldi’s a couple weeks ago and I made a long searched for discovery!

IMG_7460.jpg

Frozen, wild caught ahi tuna steaks!  I have hunted and searched and looked for frozen tuna or salmon that I can eat raw for a few years now and low and behold, I finally found it – on the bottom shelf of a freezer in our local Aldi’s!  Who woulda thunk?

I drive out of my way to buy a container or two of the Spicy & Mild Tuna Poke from Fresh Thyme, our local organic market.  It’s expensive so I don’t shop there too often but I love their poke for a quick, delicious, good for me lunch.  But since I found the ahi at Aldi’s and grabbed 3 bags of it, I can now make my own!

Here was my first experience making my own Ahi Tuna Poke (pronounced poh-kay not poke).

IMG_8063.JPG

Ahi Tuna Poke

2 T. soy sauce
1 t. rice vinegar
1 t. sesame oil
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
12 oz. ahi tuna, cut into cubes
1-2 spring onions, sliced thin
1-2 T. sweet yellow onion, diced small
2 T. Mae Ploy Sweet “Chilli” Sauce

 

Cut tuna into chunks and slice and dice onions.  Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and allow to sit in refrigerator for 30 to 60 minutes for flavors to meld (although I couldn’t wait that long!).  The original recipe calls for 1 t. of sesame seeds but I omitted them from my recipe as they do add calories.

I thought this was “almost” as good as Fresh Thyme’s poke.  I think if I had let it sit for a while and the flavors blend, it would have been just as good, but I’ll be making it again soon so I’ll try to remember to report back any changes and discoveries!  If you enjoy tuna poke as much as I do.  I think this recipe is very good!  Give it a shot!

xoxo

SaveSave

Posted in Food

Fooducate Yourself

Yesterday my daughter job shadowed a cardiothorasic surgeon at our local hospital.  Since I had to drop her off at o’dark thirty, I thought I’d take the opportunity of the early morning and hit the Walmart across town before the crowds hit.  It’s WAY better than our Walmart and ours is much newer?!  Go figure.

I love to grocery shop.  Especially since I started down the road of exploration to eating a healthier and more colorful diet.  Although I’m a list maker, I tend to not adhere to exactly what’s on my list.  I’m a shopper – I like to check out the new stuff, price compare, read labels, mozey up and down each aisle so I don’t miss anything, and ultimately buy things I’ve never heard of or ever tried before.  Usually the better half grocery shops with me so I don’t do that as much as I’d like, but yeterday I spent 3 hours spending a chunk of the kids college fund!

One of the apps that I’ve found that is a huge benefit to me as someone trying to eat healthier and cleaner is Fooducate.  I absolutely love it!  It has all the nutritional info, what’s good and bad about the product, a bar code reader, message boards, you can enter your foods that you’ve eaten, you can follow foods and even sign up for their newsletter which is truly informative.  It’s where I go to find the better-for-you alternatives to the foods that I love but also know that aren’t good for me.  In many cases, it’s been a godsend!

Using Fooducate, I discovered all of the cake mixes and pre-boxed items that we eat are full of GMO’s, slowly I’ve been trying to eradicate those from my diet.  Easier said than done when sometimes you just want something quick and you’re used to using these boxed products.  I use Jiffy corn bread mix, Bisquick, Duncan Hines and Betty Crocker cake mixes, etc. and every one of them that I scanned have questionable ingredients and GMO’s.  That’s really NOT a good thing when trying to eat better.  And not that we eat this stuff that often, but still, when we do want a cake or a biscuit or a pancake, why should it be laden with additives and chemicals??

Of course we love waffles around here – and pancakes.  I use Kodiak Cakes, Flapjack and Waffle Mix.  It’s non-GMO which is perfect, but just in case we run out I found this recipe and thought I’d whip some up to give it a shot.

Bisquick Substitute found online

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (you can use other flours as well)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon shortening, vegetable oil, or melted butter 

Sift together flour, baking powder & salt.  Cut shortening/oil/butter by using a grater, a pastry blender or two knives, into dry ingredients until it’s well combined and the mixture rolls into small balls.  Store in fridge for 4 months in an airtight container.  One cup of substitute equals one cup of Bisquick.

Bisquick Substitute found on Fooducate

1 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. all purpose flour
3 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
2 T. oil of your choice

Mix ingredients and store in fridge for 4 months in airtight container!

Here are some of my findings from yesterday, I LOVE those Beech Nut bars!

Have a great Wednesday everyone!

xoxo

Posted in Family, Food, Holidays & Birthday

Flu Shot Season

Ahhhh, here we are – mid October; a break from school when it seems it just started, winter clothes shopping and a visit to the med clinic for the dreaded annual flu shot.  I know, I know, it sounds like a blast.  My kids bitch at me because I have a tendency to schedule such “unfun” things on what should be “fun” days.  My oldest daughter constantly reminds me that in the past I scheduled a couple of her dental visits on her birthday.  With all her crabbing, you would have thought I’d FORGOTTEN it was her birthday altogether, but no, it was just a day that was convenient and that I could remember!

Yesterday, I told everyone to get up and get movin’, we were heading out…for flu shots.  They were anything but thrilled, but thankfully we got it done.  It’s not the most fun I’ve ever had, but hey, I hear it’s better than the flu!

We had had the better half’s family over for a birthday get together on Saturday.  Since we have so many October birthday’s, I considered making birthday cakes for everyone, but instead I decided to go with cupcakes and an apple crisp.  I didn’t really ask how everyone felt about the cupcakes, but personally, I loved them!  These “not too sweet” pumpkin cupcakes with Kahlua cream cheese frosting hit the spot!

IMG_7653.JPG
Look deep into my eyes…lol

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Kahlua Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes 12 (although I made 19 with this recipe)

Cupcake:
1 c. pumpkin puree
1 1/2 c. all purpose flour
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. ground nutmeg
1 large egg
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar
1/3 c. milk
3 T. vegetable oil
2 T. applesauce
1/2 c. walnuts (optional)

Frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 c. butter, room temperature
2 T. Kahlua
2 c. confectioners sugar

Preheat oven to 400*. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. In another large bowl, whisk the egg, brown and white sugar together until smooth. Stir in milk, oil, applesauce, pumpkin and walnuts, just until combined. Don’t over mix. Fill a cupcake pan with batter 2/3’s full.

Bake in oven for 16-20 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing to wire rack to cool.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, butter and Kahlua together using an electric mixer. Gradually add in confectioners sugar until smooth and creamy. Frost cupcakes, serve and enjoy!

Making 12:
342 per cupcake (eek)

Making 19:
Cal: 216
Fat: 8g.
Carb: 35g.
Pro: 2g

These were more adult than kid and really fit this time of year.  It goes without saying that I love Kahlua, but if you don’t the taste can be a little strong.  I’d half it or omit it all together if you’re not a fan.  If you give them a try, let me know what you think!

xoxo