Archive for November, 2010

23
Nov
10

Back to the norm

My tummy has been all out of sorts for the past few days, courtesy of bad food or a stomach bug.  Either way, it finally loosened its grip and let me have my life back, starting with an awesome cardio/upper body morning at the gym. 

  • 30 minute elliptical with intervals 
  Weight Sets Reps
Chest Flye 75# 1 15
  90# 1 8
  90/75/60# drop 1 4; 5; 3
5 stair runs      
Straight-Arm Pulldown 50# 1 12
  60# 1 10
  65# 1 8
5 stair runs      
Tricep Pressdown 60# 1 15
  70# 1 12
  80# 1 12
5 stair runs      
Dumbbell Concentration Curl 12# 1 15/arm
  15# 2 8/arm
30 seconds jacks      
30 seconds high knees      
Single-Arm Overhead Press 15#  2 10/arm
Kettlebell Swings 15# 3 20
  • 10 minute cooldown on the elliptical

900 calories in 75 minutes.. not too shabby! 

I really enjoyed my bowl of apple-cinnamon custard oats after this, but it feels almost inappropriate today as it is supposed to be 73 degrees.  On November 23rd… 73 degrees.  I’m not sure our trees, dressed for Fall, will know what’s going on!

I was on a roll this morning and decided to throw together another batch of White and Dark Chocolate Berry Bark using this recipe.  This time, I threw some Multi-Grain Cheerios on top:

The swirl is a bit better.  Practice makes perfect, I suppose!  My mom has already insisted that we make this for our Christmas plates.  It’s so easy to make huge batches for giving as gifts and it’s extremely affordable!

I’ve got another few hours to kill before work and with this much energy, I think I’ll use it to do some cleaning… or dog-walking.  With the latter, I can enjoy this beautiful day before it drops to the low 50’s on Thursday.  I think Maggie will appreciate if I choose the latter.  She clearly needs to get some motivation and some energy of her own!

 

What things do you try to tackle when you’re full of energy?

On a side note, check out my Steaz bottlecap from this morning’s sparkling raspberry green tea.  Yup, I sure am!  Who wouldn’t be with Thanksgiving 2 days away?!

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22
Nov
10

One Year Later..

I’ve spent a year here at Fighting with Food, tracking my fitness (though not as much lately.. gotta fix that), making some killer recipes and recording the goings-on in my life.

I thought last year was crazy, but this past year has come in at a very close 2nd. 

  • We found a new family member

  • My very best friend said “I do.”
  • I discovered the amazingness that is Greek yogurt

  • Christmas brought yummy treats and time with family

 

  • We upgraded the living quarters
  • Spent some time at the aquarium with my love during the spring

  • I set some goals and actually accomplished them
  • I walked into my first Wegman’s and instantly became giddy at the awesome selection

  • I left one job at a gym for one job doing secret stuff and another job making feet happy
  • I celebrated the season’s best fruits and veggies

  • I celebrated a year of marriage to my best friend

  • I spent time in Hawaii for my in-laws 40th wedding anniversary

  • I ventured far, far into the world of baking and enjoyed every second of it

  • I experienced some dieting struggles, some health struggles and days of stress, but fought through with the support of family and friends and will continue to do so each day

It’s been a crazy, fun, spontaneous and exciting year.  I can’t even believe that 2010 as a whole is drawing to a close.  In just days, we’ll be shoving turkey down and getting ready for more holiday baking and family time.  I can’t wait!  It’s truly my favorite time of year because of the traditions and celebration; the joy and festivities.

I celebrated a little on my own (with my coworkers joining in) by whipping up a new goodie that is sure to make it on the Christmas goodie plates.

White & Dark Chocolate Berry Bark

12 oz. white chocolate chips

6 oz. dark chocolate chips

1/4 C dried cranberries

Line a baking sheet with parchment. 

In a microwave-safe bowl, melt white chocolate chips, heating in 30-second increments on high and stirring at each increment.  Spread melted white chocolate on parchment – about 12″ x 12″.  Repeat process with dark chocolate.  Drizzle on top of white chocolate and spread to cover.  Sprinkle cranberries on top of dark chocolate.  Place in refrigerator (about 30 minutes) or freezer (15 minutes) to harden.  Break into pieces and store in an air-tight container at room temperature (or the fridge). 

Since we are soon saying farewell to 2010, what have you most enjoyed about the past year?

19
Nov
10

Fall Friday Flashback

Eegads, it has been a long time since I did a Friday Flashback.  It’s overdue, no?  The recent Fall days have been absolutely gorgeous – the leaves are slowly changing, but it’s been in the 60’s!  Anytime I can have the sights of Fall without the uber-cold temperature, I’ll take it.

It’s definitely been warmer, but no less enjoyable, than November of 2007.

 

Aren’t the colors stunning?  This was November 17th, 2007 and our colors haven’t changed quite this much yet, but we’re getting close!  I think I begged poor Steve to go to the park with me for days so that I could take some pictures.  He was a good sport for not being an “outdoorsy” guy.

 I even got a kissy face..

and the smile that I love so much.  Colder temps or not, I’m still a fan of Fall.  What’s your favorite thing to do in the Fall?

11
Nov
10

Shoes & Burdens

I spend my days surrounded by shoes.  Lots and lots of shoes.

Manolo and Jimmy Choo fans need not be jealous.  Ugg devotees should have no worries.  Do those look like Manolo, Choo or Ugg boxes to you?

This shoe store caters to a different crowd.  While they might find an Ugg to be the most comfy thing they ever slipped a toe into, they might very well break a hip if they tried to wear a Manolo Blahnik. While not the most fashionable shoes –

they are so important for many, many people.  Like I said before, I take a great deal of pride in my job because of who I am able to help.. with a shoe!

Luckily, this isn’t the extent of the shoes that do keep me company.  We’ve got some gorgeous sandals.  Expensive?  Yes.  I love my employee discount and intend to take full advantage of it next summer.

(Cutest gladiators ever?)

We have some beneficial running and walking shoes.

And those toning shoes that actually work.  Yeah, we’ve got those too.

 

We even have them for professionals.

I love this place for more than just the shoes.  I have a grand total of 4 coworkers along with the 2 owners who are wholly devoted to this store and the guests that come to see us for help.  We function like a family and support one another which is something I have not experienced since my first job at Hallmark back in 1997.  Last week during my uber-meltdown, my bosses offered to do all that they could to help me obtain health insurance.  My coworkers signed a beautiful card for me and got me flowers.  They offered me a shoulder to cry on and a good hug.  I felt more secure about something than I had for a while and things are starting to take a turn.

I recently changed my car tuner to K-Love, a Christian radio station that I was introduced to when I was working at Hallmark.  I had not listened to it much recently, and can thank a passing bumper sticker for reminding me of its’ presence.  While listening today, the morning DJ’s spoke about one of the musical artists whose son suffers from a heart condition.  I clicked over to their website today and read the latest post.  They wrote an insert from a book called Wrestling with an Angel by Greg Lucas.  This excerpt was a huge wakeup call:

“I hear religious minded people say all the time with good intentions. ‘God will never place a burden on you so heavy that you cannot possibly carry it.’
Really?
My experience is that God will place a burden on you so heavy that you cannot possibly carry it alone. He will break your back and your will. He will buckle your legs until you fall flat beneath the crushing weight of your load. All the while He will walk beside you waiting for you to come to the point where you must depend on Him.
‘My power is made perfect in your weakness,’ He says, as we strain under our burden.
Whatever the burden, it might indeed get worse, but know this-God is faithful. And while we change and get old, He does not. When we get weaker, He remains strong. And in our weakness and humility, He offers us true, lasting, transforming, and undeserved grace.”

I am incredibly blessed.  I have a wonderful husband, family and network of friends and coworkers who constantly support me.  There will always be somebody nearby to turn to when things become hard.  I am now reminded that God is always close by and I need only call on Him for help.  I am ashamed to admit that I had forgotten that. 

I will likely still bake away some of the stress, but I feel encouraged knowing that it isn’t my only option – even if they make other people’s bellies happy!  Don’t fret.. there are still plenty of recipes in that cookbook that are waiting to be tried.

So, what do you turn to when you need to de-stress?  What makes you feel better?

08
Nov
10

Got a lil’ italiano in me

I’ve got some Italian blood running through my veins.  You certainly wouldn’t know it by looking at me, but you might deduce it by looking at this guy:

That handsome stud is my Daddy.  I love him very much, despite the fact that he kept the genes for naturally dark skin and hair to himself.  You can detect the Italiano just slightly..

Because of my 25% Italian blood, I can proudly say “Bis-coat-tee” and not feel silly.  “Bis-cot-tea” just doesn’t sound as elegant, right?  My apologies to anyone who prefers the latter pronunciation. 

In any case, the anxiety still has a tight hold, and so I still have a tight hold on my flour canister and spatula. Last night, I felt like channeling my dad’s calm, positive nature by cooking up some Italian treats.  Did you know that biscotti literally means “twice baked”?  Guess when someone asks how my goal of learning Italian this year is going, I’ll produce this fact.  It’s a start, right?

Cranberry Orange Biscotti

 2 3/4 C all-purpose flour

1 1/2 C sugar

3 eggs

1 1/2 tsps baking powder

1 tsp salt

2 eggs + 2 egg yolks

6 Tbsps butter, melted

1 Tbsp orange extract

1/2 C dried, unsweetened cranberries

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  In large mixing bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together.  Make a well in the center.  Add eggs, butter and orange extract.  Stir flour into center until mixture forms a ball. Fold in cranberries (yes, you will get a good arm workout!).

Shape batter into 2 loaves on lightly greased baking sheet or Silpat mat, about 12 inches long by 2 inches wide.

Bake 40-45 minutes until loaves are golden.  Remove from oven and let cool.  Slice each loaf on a diagonal into 3/4″ slices and place back onto baking sheet.  Bake another 15 minutes until cookies are dry and crispy on top.  Flip each cookie over and bake another 10-15 minutes.

Remove from oven and cool.  Store at room temperature.

Coat or cot, they taste good no matter what you call them.  I gotta admit, it’s a fun word to say, but I sometimes get annoyed when I hear someone go over the top when pronouncing an Italian food.  Giada, anyone?  I’m all about calling it “bis-coat-tee” but I’ll keep my Americanized ways when saying Parmagianno-Regianno.  Even I can’t pull that one off – 25% Italian genes and all!

06
Nov
10

Stroganoff gone right?

I almost always get things right in the kitchen.  I’m not trying to gloat, but very rarely do I picture something in my mind and have it turn out so far off..

Unfortunately, last night was just one of those nights.  Luckily, I still had some amazing cookies to brag about because dinner, while tasty, was far from what I had expected.  I sent a text to Steve earlier in the day and asked if he minded stroganoff for dinner.  That question usually induces a giggle since he likes to refer to it as “Strokin-it-off.”  Please forgive his crudeness.

After the cookies were baked and we knocked another DVR show off the list I set to work making what, I hoped, would be a delicious dinner.  It was delicious.  It was filling.  But, according to Steve, it wasn’t stroganoff.  Oh well…

“Tastes-Like” Chicken Stroganoff

1 lb. chicken breasts, cut into 1″ pieces

1 medium onion, chopped

4 oz. mushrooms, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

2 C chicken stock (or other tasty liquid)

2 Tbsps Worcestershire sauce

1 Tbsp soy flour (or other thickener) + water

1 C plain, nonfat greek yogurt

In large skillet, brown chicken (about 4 minutes). 

Remove from pan and keep warm.  Add onions, mushrooms and garlic and saute until onions are translucent (about 5 minutes) and mushrooms are browned.  Add stock or other liquid and Worcestershire and deglaze pan (get all those tasty bits off the bottom). Reduce heat and let simmer 2-3 minutes.  Add flour mixed with water and return chicken to pan.  Let simmer another 5 minutes and stir in yogurt. 

At this point, the sauce should begin to thicken.  Perhaps I was a bit to hungry and didn’t wait long enough, but mine didn’t thicken much.  It was more like Stroganoff Soup.  Not great, but definitely not inedible.  I had mine over Shirataki Noodles and Steve had his with egg noodles – a nice compromise.

I either need to practice more patience or perfect this recipe.  I suppose that it, like all things stressing me out right now, will never be perfect.  But like I said yesterday, it will get better.

05
Nov
10

Just go with it

I’m just going with the stress and anxiety right now.  Inevitably, it will pass.  Things will improve.  It will get better.  I actually discontinued my current insurance coverage since they aren’t covering anything anyway.  I can save the premium money to put towards existing bills and I’m sure it’s not perfect.  But it’s a start.  And eventually it will be a bit closer to perfect.  Until then, I’m going with the flow.  Until then, I will bake and be proud of my kitchen accomplishments. 

Even Better Chocolate Chip Cookies

3/4 C unsalted butter, melted

3/4 C granulated sugar

1/2 C packed brown sugar

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

1 egg

1 egg yolk

2 C all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

12 oz. bag of chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  In large bowl, cream together butter and sugars until fluffy.  Beat in vanilla, egg and yolk. 

Slowly add flour, baking soda and salt and continue mixing until combined.

Fold in the chocolate chips (or whatever sounds delicious – next time, I’m thinking white chocolate chips and dried cranberries for a festive cookie). 

Place by rounded teaspoons on an ungreased cookie sheet (thank goodness for my new cookie scooping gadget cuz this job is much easier now) and bake 13-15 minutes until edges are lightly golden. 

Prepare to be amazed by a mountain of cookies!

Steve actually told me that I had perfected the recipe and that they were akin to Max & Erma’s cookies.  That’s a pretty darn good compliment in my book seeing as those are his absolute favorites.  I think we’ll be relying on this recipe from now on!

That stress?  It’s becoming as melty as the chips in these cookies.  For that, I’m grateful.

On a side note, I am super jealous of all of awesome bloggers that are currently in San Fran for the 2nd Annual Foodbuzz Blogger Festival.  I know all of the eats, treats and new friends found there will rock some blogging socks.  I can’t wait to read everyone’s updates!  Hope that everyone has a great time and maybe I can get there someday!




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!