Archive for October, 2010

28
Oct
10

Domesticated Diva

I LOVE Thursdays.  I know, I know.  It’s not Saturday, or Friday for that matter.  Heck, it’s not even a good, relaxing Sunday.  I happen to love Thursdays because they are my day off.  Every week, I can count on Thursday to provide me at least 14 hours dedicated to doing things for myself, Steve or both!

I met with Jillian Michaels via Exercise TV On Demand for a 30-Day-Shred workout (and my arms are already sore which just gives me more motivation to work on them in the gym).  I had a date with Harris Teeter and Trader Joe’s.  If Patti Stanger were to ask me who I would choose between the two for my “big date” it would be no contest.  Joe had me at hello.

So I got something done for myself, something for both Steve & I… it was time to do something for the husband.  I whipped up a batch of his favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies.  His taste buds approved when he scarfed one down after work tonight.  The baking bug must have seriously bit me today.  I didn’t stop at one batch of cookies.  I moved on to Oatmeal Raisin.  Sorry, Joe.  Heidi’s got another love –

I jokingly told my mom recently that I was going to cook  my way through this cookbook (a la Julie Powell of Julie & Julia fame).  I could never reach so high as to cook the recipes of Julia Child, but this Better Homes & Gardens thing?  It’s totally do-able.. when I find the income to support it.

I have managed to bake quite a few goodies thanks to this book and my sweet mother-in-law who gifted it to me last year.  Today’s adventure? Oatmeal Raisin Cookies!  I altered their recipe only slightly to accommodate my serious cinnamon addiction, my desire to use some natural sweetener and the need to feel less guilty when I bite into one.  You can find the original version here.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

3/4 C butter, softened

1 C brown sugar (I left mine unpacked)

1/4 C agave nectar

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 Tbsp ground cinnamon

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 C all-purpose flour

3/4 C whole wheat flour

2 C rolled oats

In large mixing bowl, beat butter about 30 seconds until fluffy.  Add in sugar, agave, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon and beat on medium speed until combined.  You will likely have to scrape the sides of the bowl a couple of times.

Add eggs and vanilla and beat until combined.

Add flours (about 1/2 C at a time) and mix until combined.  Add in oats until your batter looks chunky (and maybe slightly healthy).

Fold in raisins and start dishing!  I used a small cookie scoop and put the dough about 1″ apart.  Take my word, more space is needed.  Even if you want to get more cookies done  at a time, don’t be tempted!  A couple of my cookies baked into uber-cookies.  Not that that’s a terrible thing..

Bake at 375 degrees for 9-10 minutes until a light golden brown.  They will be quite soft coming out of the oven, but they crisped up nicely when the cooled.  Enjoy .. pronto!

In fact, feel free to enjoy dessert before dinner.  Even though my dinner was quite tasty, these are even better and should get top billing when it comes to matters of the tummy!

But speaking of dinner..

Friggin awesome and colorful, no? 

Trader Joe’s Hodge Podge frozen veggies + chicken breast + Shirataki Noodles + a few sprays of liquid aminos

It was veggie-pasta heaven, but it didn’t quite hold a candle to those cookies.  Even though my love, Trader Joe, provided those awesome veggies, a piece of my heart will still belong to that cookbook.  Here’s to more deliciousness, courtesy of those beautiful red and white checkers!

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17
Oct
10

harvest bakes

I think I’ve mentioned how much I love Fall weather but I love it the most because, frankly, there are apples everywhere you look!  And, for the most part, they are so cheap!  I picked up a beautiful 3 lb. bag of Gala’s at our local organic food store and immediately began brainstorming ways to use them. 

I also recently fell in love with Simply Recipes.  Elise’s blog is wonderful and I can’t wait to try out more great recipes that I have found there.  She has a great one for Bisquick Apple Coffee Cake and I knew I wanted to give it a whirl (shown here with my own spin).  Thanks, Elise, for such a great recipe!

Bisquick Apple Coffee Cake

Cake:

  • 2 C Heart Smart Bisquick
  • 2/3 C Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze (or any almond milk)
  • 2 Tbsp Splenda
  • 1 egg
  • 2 small Gala Apples, peeled, cored & sliced

Topping:

  • 1/3 C Heart Smart Bisquick
  • 1/4 C packed brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Splenda
  • 1 Tbsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 4 Tbsp Earth Balance

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together cake ingredients.

Lightly spray a 9″ baking pan (I used a small 7″x11″ glass pan) with cooking spray and pour batter in.

In a small bowl, combine all topping ingredients except butter.

Sprinkle on top of batter and place slices of butter over top.

Bake for 40-45 minutes until top is dark golden brown.  I forgot, sadly, to photograph the finished product – it disappeared very quickly, but it looked a bit like Elise’s version:

This serves 12.  Per serving:  150 calories, 5.7 g fat (1.3 g saturated), 257 mg sodium, 24.7 g carbohydrates, 2.3 g protein as calculated by SparkRecipes.

I concocted a caramel sauce to serve drizzled over the top.  I didn’t have any cream on hand, so I had to wing it.  It turned out a bit too liquid-y so I’ll have to increase the cornstarch next time or simmer it a bit longer.

Heidi’s Dairy-Free Caramel Sauce

  • 3/4 C Unsweetened Almond Breeze
  • 3/4 C Sugar-Free Maple Syrup
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsps Earth Balance
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

In small saucepan, whisk together almond milk and syrup and bring to boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 3 minutes, whisking occasionally.  In small bowl, combine water and cornstarch.  Add cornstarch mixture to saucepan and simmer another 3 minutes, whisking constantly.  Remove from heat and add Earth Balance and vanilla.  Serve drizzled over cake.

Even with the no-so-thick sauce, this was incredibly delicious!  It’s a perfect brunch or dessert cake and it was the perfect way to start my apple-baking days. 

What do you love most about Fall?  Got any other good apple recipes for me?

14
Oct
10

DOMS IOMS

I had a KILLER leg workout yesterday morning and I was expecting some serious DOMS.  Yes, I was expecting DELAYED onset muscle soreness when I woke up today.  Imagine my surprise when 12 hours post-workout, I could barely squat down to feed the cats.

 “Feed me or feel my wrath!”  I can’t deny my boys their food, so squat I must!

Here’s what I had going on yesterday morning:

Circuit 1 repeated 3 times    
Leg Extension 75# 12 reps
80# 10 reps
90# 10 reps
Lunges with Plates (the weighted, not-for-eating kind) 25# plate 2×12/leg
35# plate 1x 12/leg
Single-Leg Calf Raise with Plates 25# plate 2×12/leg
35# plate 1×12/leg
     
Circuit 2 repeated 3 times    
Leg Press 90# 15 reps
115# 15 reps
140# 12 reps
Kneeling Leg Curl 25# 3×10/leg
Standing Calf Raise 160# 15 reps
180# 15 reps
200# 12 reps
     
Circuit 3 repeated 3 times    
Smith Machine Barbell Squat 50# 3×10 reps
Stiff-Leg Deadlift 70# 3×10 reps
Incline Calf Press 180# 15 reps
225# 15 reps
270# 12 reps

I sandwiched this strength routine with 15 minutes of elliptical (following the Body for Life exertion pattern) and 10 minutes of V-stride.  It was glorious!

The soreness, however?  Not so glorious.  12 hours post-work.  Tonight, I can barely move!  I know a bubble bath is in order for me – a long, very warm bubble bath.  Thank you BFL for allowing me to feel my workouts.  Seriously, I love the pain, because it is something I have not experienced in a while which basically means I had stopped pushing myself.

The post-workout eats today, I gotta say, made me more excited than a cooked meal.  I stopped by the Harris Teeter salad bar for a delicious mix.

Colorful and delicious-looking, no?  There’s no way I can down 5 eggs.  I’m an egg white only type of girl.  Something about powdery egg yolks.. ick!!  My belly was happy, but probably not quite as happy as these guys!  Food-induced nap?  I think so!

 

What type of workout has given you the most painful DOMS?  I love new routines, ya’ll!

How do you feel about hard-boiled egg yolks?  I’ll take them mixed with some relish, yogurt and paprika a la deviled eggs, but other than that.. fuhgeddaboutit!

11
Oct
10

Change it up!

I sure wish those Braves would have changed it up sooner.  Then perhaps they wouldn’t be preparing to make this Bobby Cox’s last game.. (Currently bottom of the 8th; down by 1 run)

I’m glad I changed it up in the breakfast department.

2% Plain Greek Yogurt + Strawberries + Chocolate Cheerios

I would usually grab the Nonfat yogurt before the 2%, but this was so much richer and yummier – with very little difference in fat content.

I am proud to be able to acknowledge that I need to change it up in the work department.  I may have to make a sacrifice, but I know that it will be in support of my husband and the future family that we want to have together. 

I found some amazing ways to change it up in my grocery cart this week!  For a while, I have been a devoted fan of Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze.  Who knew Joe was holding out on me?

 

SO much better than Almond Breeze (but dear AB, you are still delicious).  TJ’s unsweetened vanilla almond milk was creamier and had a slightly stronger vanilla flavor.  That wasn’t my only new change-up from TJ’s.

Enter the jerky..

Oh my, my, my..  Jack Link’s lost the battle.  Hands down!  This stuff isn’t overly smoky, has a perfect level of saltiness and travels well – which explains the work desk picture. 

So we’ve got food changes, possible work changes.  All that’s left is to change it up at the gym.  I got a fun present in the mail to help me do that, courtesy of Paperback Swap.  (PS, I LOVE this site almost as much as the book that it afforded me)

I know that Janetha and Mama Pea have both had awesome success in BFL.  I am pretty sure that I am not meant to lose more weight, but I am still slightly dissatisfied with the tone in my body.  I zoomed through the book in about 2 hours and have implemented the program into my cardio and one round of weight training (concentrating on chest).  The goal for this week is to take “before” pictures and begin recording my BFL progress.

I can’t wait to see how my body reacts to how I have changed it up!

Have you changed it up recently?  I’d love to hear about it!

09
Oct
10

Retail Therapy

I’m not talking shopping sprees.  I’m far too broke to take part in any such thing!  I’m talking working for a living in the fabulous world of retail.

I began working at the age of 15 in retail, specifically at one of the most well-known and beloved gift stores of all time:

(source)

I spent 8 years at a privately owned (nope, not one of those corporate stores) Hallmark and I adored almost every second of it.  My coworkers turned into life-long friends and I am forever grateful to the owner, my boss, for what he taught me about work ethic, responsibility and respect.  It was, by far, the best job experience I could have fallen into.

And while it was great to be surrounded by wonderful coworkers,  it was even more satisfying to help meet a need.  So my return to a retail environment this past July was a perfect fit.  I have, once again, found a store where I enjoy the company of my coworkers and the owners/managers truly care about their employees as opposed to the bottom line.  In this day and economic age, it seems that may be a trait that is hard to find. 

On top of that, our customers often have very crucial needs.  Many are diabetic and, from lack of proper care and treatment, have serious problems (I won’t go into detail, but it’s not pretty).  Some suffer from plantar fascitis and are doing their best to suffer through their daily lives.  When your feet hurt as soon as you put them on the ground in the  morning, it’s a HUGE problem.  My dad suffered through this – it was also not very pretty!

The look on some of our customer’s faces when they try out a new orthotic insert or pair of shoes brings me sheer joy! 

So where’s the downside?

Well, I spent 4 years obtaining a degree in Biology while working in malaria research, another year studying medical research in Alzheimer’s Disease and cancer and another 2 years working toward a M.S. in Secondary Education with a Science focus.  My student teaching experience was an epic fail and I never found a laboratory research job (blame the lack of government funding). 

I’ve spent so much time working toward a career in science and whenever I focus on this, I am disappointed in where I currently am in life.  At 28-years-old, I am in a job that will not allow me benefits or a retirement.  I would not worry so much about this as my husband is in a stable job.  And now, we are house-hunting with the intention of qualifying for a mortgage with a monthly payment less than our current rent price.  Why waste money on a rental when we can afford a mortgage payment, right?

Nothing would make me happier than to provide as much as my husband does – to do more than clean the house, purchase the groceries and cook the meals.  Since acquiring my new job, I have not spent as much time searching for a stable career, but I’d like to return to it.  Unfortunately, that would mean saying goodbye to a job I love, coworkers I adore and a very flexible schedule.

Have you ever been in this predicament?  Have you given up something you want to do for something you must do?

I am not sure I will ever find the perfect career, with the perfect benefits in the perfect environment, but I will continue to seek it out.  Hopefully it is somewhere out there waiting for my application.

07
Oct
10

A dose of pep

I love a good pick-me-up.  Especially after yesterday’s events had me feeling just a tad bit grumpy.  Despite having issues with a friend of my parents yesterday, I still wanted to join them for breakfast at my favorite joint, The Broken Egg.  I was quite happy when my usual arrived (strawberry pancakes sans butter and hard-boiled eggs for easy yolk removal) and the same woman who made some unsettling comments said that she “finally understood.”  I’m not quite sure what her understanding was and I wasn’t about to ask, but it certainly helped her return to my good graces.  But in all honesty, doesn’t this

  look far more appealing than this?

(source)

I’d say that’s a no brainer!

Janetha hit the nail on the head today for me and I completely agreed.  I don’t choose what food I eat because I feel that I have to.  I eat it because I crave it; because I WANT to.  I get out of bed craving custard oats.  During lulls in my day, I crave Flat Out wraps with Laughing Cow, spinach and grilled chicken.  I don’t often look at corndogs and cry out with the gusto of Fat Bastard, “Get in my belly!”  5 years ago, that may have been the case.  I could have slathered that thing with mustard or ooey gooey cheese sauce and been a happy girl, but my taste buds made a big change when I did.  

I’m grateful for that.  I’m equally as grateful to awesome bloggers like Janetha, Susan, Lori, Lily, Jenna, Tina, Sarah, Kath, and Heather for constantly giving those taste buds new entertainment, because even custard oats becomes old news after a while, no matter what type of fruit or toppings you add.  I am also grateful that I am surrounded by a community of bloggers that find it okay to indulge once in a while; to skip a workout or two; to either get upset or not give a rat’s patootie how other people live their lives.  We all have weaknesses.  There are days that I can’t turn down a chocolate chip cookie.  A butter-filled, sugar-packed, chip-loaded “full-throttle” (what my Daddy calls them) chocolate chip cookie. 

Some days one of those cookies is all I need to be happy, but those days don’t swing by often.  Like I said yesterday, I feel better eating those oats, egg whites and fresh fruit!

 I feel better spending an evening with a new book;

 a good cup of hot cocoa;

a warm, cuddly soul;

and some good baseball (especially when the Yankees and Braves win).

I’m feeling 4 times better than yesterday!

07
Oct
10

A fest for gluttony

It comes around each year, and each year I used to get very excited.  Since I began my weight loss journey and total diet change, the Great American Food Fest held in Chesapeake has not been quite as thrilling.  I still enjoy spending time with my parents and socializing with friends.  I still enjoy the people-watching fodder – and there is a TON of it.

The food that is served by area restaurants, however, leaves a bit to be desired for anyone that is not eating clean or watching how their food is prepared.

There are plenty of fried items – corndogs, chicken wings, fried fish, hushpuppies, shrimp and funnel cakes.

There are endless varieties of soups – clam chowder, shrimp and crab bisque, creamy roasted red pepper and multiple styles of chili.

There is cotton candy, pizza, meatballs, shrimp & grits, pulled pork barbecue, chips and salsa, riblets, soda and more beer and liquor than should be allowed in such limited square footage.

I can’t say I was fully unprepared for such an occurence.  I solved the problem by filling up on a great breakfast.

 

Peachy custard oats + Oikos Greek Yogurt with Total Fiber cereal + Nestle Fat Free Hot Cocoa

At the Food Fest, I then find the cleanest food possible and eat like a fiend.

Grilled Tuna skewers

I think I may have eaten my weight in these.  OK, not really.. I only had 4. 

I struggled tonight – really struggled but not with the food, surprisingly.  Some of my parents friends (that I had never met before) tagged along.  At nearly every tent stop, the wife asked “Do you eat anything? That’s worries me” By the third round of a similar statement, I wanted to scream.  Thankfully, my mom was standing by to insist that, yes, I ate quite well, but my dietary choices were different.   I have never gotten truly angry when asked about my food choices, but to be asked this over and over again and for someone who does not know me to say that my choices worried them was quite upsetting.  Needless to say, I soon left.

I wonder, though, when our society began to think that eating unprocessed, natural food instead of sugar-laden, man-made crap was “worrisome.”  I don’t always eat the best food, but I think the choices I make (for the most part) are the choices that we should all make to treat our God-given bodies with care and respect.  I know this isn’t the case for everyone, but eating fried, processed or rich foods makes me feel physically awful.  I feel amazingly strong, empowered and healthy when I eat clean food. 

Instead of screaming, rolling my eyes or just walking away, I quietly agreed with my mom.  “Yep.. what she said.”  Then I snapped a pic of a mini, gluten-free chocolate cupcake (enjoyed by my gracious mother and courtesy of the Carolina Cupcakery)

and basked in the warm sun and thanked God for giving me a body that is healthy enough to get through life.

Have you ever faced a similar statement or question?  How did you react?

 




Hi Ya’ll!

Hiya! I'm Heidi, a 28-year-old "retired" student living in Virginia. I am a newlywed and currently on the hunt for a full-time job that will use either my Biology or Secondary Education degree. In the meantime, I work in retail and at an event venue part-time. When I'm not working, I love to kill hours at the gym, scrapbook, and act as a domesticated diva to keep my hubby happy!