So Many Yummies

Greetings, friends! I am feeling good despite my +2.6 lbs setback yesterday, and thought that I would devote this post to one of my fave things (obv): food and drink. Lately, I’ve tried some new things and have made some of my golden oldies, and I figure I might as well share them with those who are interested. Maybe I’ll even make this a Thursday tradition–Tasty Thursdays? I suppose that title is alliterative by definition but it doesn’t SOUND like it, so I may have to think of something else. At any rate, I think that I’ll try to make it a regular post each week.

This week, the loose leaf tea that I bought from David’s Tea for Patrick’s birthday arrived. (www.davidstea.com) I discovered David’s through Katie @ Runs for Cookies (www.runsforcookies.com) and oh my WORD it is amazing. If you are a tea fanatic or even if you just like it a little bit, I would highly, highly recommend David’s. Patrick got a “manatea” tea infuser for Christmas, and we didn’t have any loose leaf, so I went to David’s. I got him a couple of packets of English breakfast, our go-to fave, and the package came with all of these goodies:

davids tea

There were two packages of English breakfast tea, a free tea-tin, a small book with listings of their winter selections, and 3 free tea samples. What a nice little gift pack! Patrick busted into it right away and made his tea:

Can you tell that manatees are his #1 all-time favorite animal? :)

Can you tell that manatees are his #1 all-time favorite animal? 🙂

He really liked the tea, and he even went through the book and marked all the teas that he’s interested in trying. He wanted me to go through them as well and put my initial next to the ones I am interested in; then, he said we could try the ones that we both liked first. Isn’t that adorable? I’m so glad he liked his gift. I’m excited to try one of the free samples because it has peppermint and white chocolate flavors–totally up my alley! I’d highly recommend this Canadian-based company to you tea lovers out there.

The other night, I made stromboli for the first time ever. It was a super easy “anyone can do it” recipe, and it was DELICIOUS. All I needed was one can of pizza dough (pillsbury or generic brand canned dough), pizza sauce, cheese, and toppings. I used mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, and green peppers–those are our favorite toppings. I basically just put it all out on the pizza crust like a pizza and then rolled it long-ways into a roll and baked for the time it said to on the pizza dough package. It was SO GOOD, and so easy!

The end result!

The end result!

It made just enough for the two of us–if you have kids, I would definitely make at least 2 of them. I took a piece of it to work for lunch yesterday and it was delicious re-heated!

Last night, I made what is probably my all-time favorite guilt-free baked goods indulgence: pumpkin chocolate chip muffins:

1 can pumpkin (15 oz, NOT pumpkin pie filling)
1 box sugar free chocolate cake mix
1/2 or 1 cup chocolate chips

Mix pumpkin and cake mix together–spoon into muffin pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Voila, you have chocolate muffins!

You can use any kind of chip for these–last night I used a combo of dark chocolate chips and white chocolate chips because that’s what I had laying around. Next time, I REALLY want to use peanut butter chips. I love chocolate and peanut butter! If you don’t like chocolate, you could use a vanilla cake mix or really whatever type of cake mix-I bet spice cake mix would be really good. These muffins are incredibly moist because of the pumpkin and taste like they should be worth more points than they are–I believe that they are only about 2 WW points each!! Yum!!

muffins

Last night I went to the Y and did a full hour of zumba toning. It was awesome–more on that tomorrow. I’ll also be going to the Y tonight to do regular zumba and to get my zumba toning sticks, as I definitely spaced and left them there last night. Hope all of you are well; it’s almost Friday!

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Wednesday Weigh-In

Weigh In Wednesday

Here we are, folks. Another week, another weigh-in:

"--17.0"

“–17.0”

+ 2.6 pounds. Ugh! I am trying to stay positive about this, as I am almost 99% sure that this gain is due to my muscles retaining water. I haven’t done a hardcore strength training DVD in months, and my legs hurt for 3 straight days this week (up through yesterday,) so I’m hoping that that’s what happened. I was honestly shocked when I stepped on the scale because I was expecting a loss–I ate the same amount of weekly points this week and I earned MORE activity points than last week when I lost 3 lbs. I did eat pretty salty foods this week, so I’m sure that’s a factor as well.

I’ve decided that this week will be nothing but cardio, with the exception of zumba toning at the Y tonight. It is so frustrating to have some major fitness victories (strength training DVD, 4 mile walk) in a week and then see the scale go up so drastically. But, as I said earlier, I need to stay positive; muscle burns more fat in the long run and I’m training myself to be stronger. Also on a positive note–I didn’t gain any inches this week, so that makes me fairly confident that it is the muscle. This is one of the hardest parts of weight loss, I think. But hey, that’s why I made this blog–to stay accountable and to take comfort in the fact that I am not the only one going through these things.

I am really looking forward to getting back to the Y tonight–it has been a couple of weeks because of the holidays and Snowpocalypse 2014–apparently “they” are calling our blizzard “Arctic Blast,” which is so totally hilarious that I almost can’t stand it. Hoping for great weigh-ins for all of you who link up today! We are halfway through the week!

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4 Big Miles

As many of you may remember, yesterday I was completely unsure of what I would do to work out last night. My legs were still pretty sore from Saturday, so I decided to do a low-impact walking DVD. I set out with the intention of doing 2 miles (about 30 minutes), but ended up doing the entire DVD–4 WHOLE MILES! I’m not even sure that I’ve ever done this before, so this was a huge accomplishment. This is the DVD that I used:

Leslie Sansone

Leslie Sansone

For those of you who are NOT runners and don’t feel coordinated enough to do something like zumba, I would highly, HIGHLY recommend Leslie’s “Walk at Home” exercise fitness walks. I also highly recommend it to those who are just starting out in their weight loss journey, for a number of reasons:

1. It’s a DVD–you can wear whatever you want, work out in whatever room of the house you want, and if you’re self-conscious, you don’t have to go to the gym! I used these all them time when I started working out and before I found zumba and was too intimidated to go to the gym.

2. It’s SO easy. Her fitness walks consist of 4 major steps in addition to walking in place: sidesteps, kicks, kneelifts, and “tap outs.” These may sound difficult, but I swear they’re not. The best part? Just modify it ALL to your activity level and ability. I guarantee it will get your heart rate up if you’re putting in effort based on your ability.

3. Leslie is very encouraging. She is super peppy and cheerleader-ish, so if that’s not your style, don’t do one of her workouts, lol. When I first started her DVDs and they were killing me, this REALLY got on my nerves. But now I feel GREAT when I’m doing these DVDs, even if I’m sweating, and I definitely appreciate her encouragement.

4. She uses strength training in addition to cardio to build muscle in some DVDs. In this DVD, for example, a firmband came in the package (basically a resistance band) and it’s used to tone arms in the 4th mile. The DVD that KILLED my legs on Saturday is a Sansone dvd and is a combo leg/arm/core strength training and cardio DVD. You’re getting more than just cardio with these extra things!

At any rate, I’d highly recommend her DVDs. They still make me sweat even after losing 54 pounds! I was THRILLED that I could do the entire DVD last night. At one point at the end of the DVD, Leslie says something along the lines of, “You made a good choice today by choosing to exercise. You are taking care of yourself and you should EXPECT weight loss. Expect it! I want you to get excited to change your body!” I have heard her say that a million times in other DVDs, but for some reason, last night it just resonated with me so much. It was super encouraging, and it helped me push through that 4th mile. I felt like I could go on for a 5th or a 6th mile! It was super invigorating, and I’m just really proud of myself for being able to handle it.

I had lost 7 lbs at the weigh-in at work this morning (first weigh-in was Nov. 19), exactly what I was expecting, so I’m very happy with that. We’ll see if I win a fitbit–here’s keeping my fingers crossed!

Hope all y’all are having a great Tuesday. We’re almost halfway through the week! Has anyone else ever tried Leslie’s DVDs? If so, how do you feel about them?

No…More…Beef (and other sundry items)

Ugh, my digestive system is ANGRY at me for eating so much beef this weekend. I did a really good job in 2013 of not eating much beef, as I know that it always wreaks havoc with my stomach and is an all-around better situation when I DON’T eat it, but lately, I’ve been eating WAY too much of it. This weekend I had taco meat Friday night, one burger Saturday night, and taco meat again yesterday. WTF? Aaaaah, it is so not good for me, and my stomach is feeling it today. I need to get back to not eating as much. Sorry, that is probably all TMI!

Last night we had a surprise DnD session @ Bre and Scott’s. It was really fun, and I was glad to see Bre since she was at Army stuff all weekend and I wasn’t able to hang out with her on Friday night. BUT, I didn’t work out because of it. It’s probably better that I gave my muscles a day to rest–they are STILL sore from the strength training I did on Saturday. I’m unsure of what I’m going to do to work out tonight…I think that zumba or high impact stuff might hurt my legs too much, so I am considering a walking DVD. Whyyy oh why are my legs still sore? At any rate, DnD was super fun last night. We’re actually playing Pathfinder, but that’s pretty much DnD 3.5, so we call it DnD. Bre is a REALLY good artist, so she drew all of our characters. I snapped a couple quick pics of my character and Patrick’s character:

Patrick is playing Swiper, a rogue halfling

Patrick is playing Swiper, a rogue halfling

I'm playing Reda, a half-elf bard

I’m playing Reda, a half-elf bard

As a bard, my character has a musical element which is so perfect for me, as I’m a musician myself. I perform at local taverns and my companion Swiper (Patrick) goes around pickpocketing the audience. Together, we make TONS of cash. We also have a sorceress (Bre), ranger (Jake), and monk (Scott) in our party. Our friend Jason is the DM and we are having lots of fun with it! I’ll have to take pics of all of our other characters; Bre is really talented.

Yesterday we did end up going to Books a Million where I got a beautiful Japanese woodblock art calendar for my office:

calendar

I had a little bit of extra $$ on my giftcard after the 50% off sale from the calendar, so I found this bookmark:

<3

Looove me some grumpy cat! At any rate, I better get some work done. Hope you are all having a great Monday–man, was it hard to get up this morning!

Weekend Fun

Well, Patrick and I have been having a very relaxing weekend so I wanted to take a quick opportunity to write an entry. Yesterday I had the window blinds open a bit and Clara was LOVING it. Patrick joined her and I snapped this pic. It’s so silly but I think it’s so cute!

window

On Friday night, we headed over to Scott and Bre’s for game night. It was a really laid back night and we played “Evil Baby Orphanage,” a super fun game that takes a lot of strategy and thinking. Then we just sat around and played geek out for a while. Yesterday, we literally just stayed at home almost all day and sat on the couch. We’ve been watching the BBC “Sherlock” with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman–we loooooove it! It premieres a week from today, so we’re looking forward to that. Last night we got a text from our friend Jason asking us to come out and have a beer with him and some of our other friends at Sonka’s, the local Irish pub. I LOVE Sonka’s…they only serve beer, no liquor, so the clientele is totally my type of people. Don’t get me wrong–I like all types of bars, but I’m just not a huge fan of the super loud, dark bars where young 20-somethings are getting trashed and trying to hook up with each other. So Sonka’s is perfect for us! I had two beers–a Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale (love that stuff) and a Preacher’s Daughter, an Amber Ale out of Indiana. They were both delish. I meant to take a pic but totally forgot!

Today we’re being lazy again. I did manage to do a cardio/strength interval training dvd yesterday and my legs are SORE today. I hadn’t done that DVD in a long while, so it was pretty hard. Here I am with my resistance band around my neck after completing it! I am super sweaty but you can’t really tell in the pic.

after workout

I think after I finish laundry today we may go to Books a Million so I can get a wall calendar for my office. My mom got me a $10 gift card and I think they’re having a 50% off calendar sale, so I want to take advantage of that. Other than that, we won’t do much today either. I do want to try and do 45 minutes of zumba tonight. Here are my workouts for the week so far:

Wednesday 1/8: 45 minutes of zumba
Thursday 1/9: 45 minutes of zumba
Friday 1/10: rest day
Saturday 1/11: 40 minutes strength training/cardio interval DVD w/ resistance band (Leslie Sansone’s “Walk Strong”)

This is what I plan for the rest of the week:

Sunday 1/12: 45 minutes zumba
Monday 1/13: 60 minutes zumba
Tuesday 1/14: 30 minutes zumba

This is a really good schedule for me, and it’ll get me about 26 activity points. I’ve already eaten all of my planned activity points this week and just 2 or 3 of my weeklies, so as long as I don’t eat too many more weeklies, I’ll be ok this week. I do have to weigh-in early on Tuesday morning this week at work–it’s the final weigh-in of our weight loss holiday challenge, “Don’t Gain, Maintain!” If we either lost or maintained between November 19 and Tuesday, we are entered into a drawing to win a Fit Bit!!!! I have lost about 7 pounds since then, so I should definitely be entered in the drawing. I’m not going to count this as “peeking” because it’s something that I have to do for work, and I’ll weigh myself on my scale still on Wednesday morning.

I hope you all have had a wonderful weekend. This will be the first full week of work I’ve had since like December 15…ugh!

Did anyone do anything fun this weekend?

NSV Friday!

OK, before I start this entry, I have something to get off my chest. I’ve realized recently that I use parenthesis waaaaaay too much when I write, so I’m trying to get away from that (or am I? Haha jk.) But really, I am…it’s annoying. Maybe that should have been one of my goals for 2014–use fewer parenthesis!!

Phew! Now that that’s out of the way, I think I’m going to try to make each Friday about a personal NSV for the week. It is so easy to get caught up in the number on the scale and everything else that goes along with that emotionally, so there should be at least ONE day if not all of them dedicated to patting ourselves on the back for all the hard work that we’ve been doing and how far we’ve come. Plus, everyone knows that Friday is basically the best day ever, so why not make it even better? Plus, I can join in another linkup!

button

So what is this NSV, you ask? Well, way back when I started this journey, I decided to buy a piece of clothing that I clearly couldn’t fit into that would motivate me to exercise, eat better, etc. Knowing that going to the Gap and buying an XXS just wasn’t a good plan (and is NEVER in the realm of possibility for me anyway…ack, parenthesis!), I settled for going to one of my fave plus-size websites and buying a top in the smallest size that THEY offered. So, I went to http://www.torrid.com, found a top, and bought it…in a size ZERO. Now, for those of you who have never had to shop in the plus sizes, many plus-size retailers don’t use traditional sizing like S,M,L,XL, etc…they use 0, 1, 2, 3, etc. I am sure that this is probably a psychological ploy meant to make plus-size women feel better; there is just something about the letter “x” in front of an “L” that makes you feel huge no matter where you shop. But I digress.

I bought a super cute flowery tank top in size 0 in probably March or April, when I weighed around 260/250. When I got it in the mail, I opened it immediately and although I absolutely loved it, my heart sank just by looking at how small it was! I thought to myself, “I’ll never get in that blouse. It’s so little and I’m so huge!” All the same, I resolved to put it in my closet and make sure I could stare at it every once and a while when I was feeling like jumping off the wagon and saying “eff this” to weight loss.

In the months between buying the top and now, I would take it out every so often and try it on. When I first got it, it wouldn’t even go over my chest. I tried it on a couple of months later and it fit over my chest, but that was it. Then, it fit over my chest, my tummy, but not my hips. Well folks–today I am WEARING that top. Yep, that’s right. Have a looksee!

With my sweater for work

With my sweater for work

This is the pattern on the top

This is the pattern on the top

The top!

The top!

It is so surreal to know that I couldn’t even fathom wearing this earlier in 2013, and now I AM wearing it! Once again, it is absolutely amazing that we have the power to change our appearance like this with a little bit of determination and hard work.

OK, enough about me. I want to put a plug in really quickly for http://www.torrid.com. As many of my readers probably know, it is DAMN difficult to find cute plus-sized clothing. Torrid is wonderful for this–they have so many trendy options! I will say that I don’t shop there super often just because it’s a bit expensive, but many plus-size clothes dealers are…more material=more money. At any rate, they’ve got super cute options.

This weekend we don’t have any plans, so we’ll probably just relax. I’ve been reading a lot, so I’ll probably do that as well…I’m re-reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy!

Does anyone have any fun plans this weekend? How about NSV’s that they’d like to share? Happy Friday, everyone!