Hi! It’s been a while. I have been concentrating on keeping up with my hectic work schedule while balancing my home life, fitness plan, meal prep plan, and staying in touch with family and friends. This is all part of my self-care practice.
This year I plan to expand on my self care by allowing myself more time to rest. Over the holiday break, I really rested. The value of that rest really resonated with me, and I have made getting more of it my top priority for this year, and making it a lifelong priority. My 2nd and final goal for this year is to learn how to swim a decent back stroke. That’s it.
This week’s meal prep is as yummy as it is pretty. Crock pot Thai Chicken Curry from The Endless Meal: https://www.theendlessmeal.com/crock-pot-thai-chicken-curry/. I followed the recipe, but used Tofu Shirataki noodles in place of the vermicelli, and also added Trader Joe’s Power Greens, a tablespoon of white miso for added gut health, and tofu for added protein..
I have been lucky enough to keep on swimming every other day. On my off days I am walking. Here are a couple of beautiful views from recent walks around my Santa Monica neighborhood.
Finally caught up on my sleep the last couple of nights. I woke up today feeling good. My first thoughts were of how lucky I am. Sure, work is immensely stressful, and no real money is coming in. Sure our home is in need of a lot of updating and repair. BUT – I have my health and my mobility. I have a job with a lot of earning potential. I own my home, and it is 14 blocks from the Pacific Ocean. AND I have a wonderful, supportive husband who has a heart of gold and who cooks dinner every night, and 2 adorable, loving kitty cats. I have a loving and supportive extended family, and I have THE BEST friends. I could not get through the stresses of the pandemic without all of these people in my life. I am extremely grateful.
Recently, finally, my local pool reopened. We are required to reserve our lanes 3 days in advance, and often the portal gets jammed, and we can’t get in on the days and times we want. Also, the pool is closed Sundays and Mondays, and the hours are much shorter. I know. First world problems. I wasn’t able to swim yesterday, but learned of a Masters Swim Class starting today, so I decided to join. That is the reason for the early meal prep and blog. The bonus is, my swim crew will be there too. Excited for us all to be together for the hour, swimming together like the old (pre-pandemic) days.
Because of my busy day today, I planned and shopped for my meal prep yesterday. I chose to make an easy, no cook garbanzo bean Greek salad. I will pair that with a pesto turkey sandwich this week. If I get tired of the turkey (which I’m sure I will… ) I also have tuna, and smoked salmon in the refrigerator, shrimp burgers, and veggie burgers in the freezer, so I’m prepared to change it up. The important message here is to have delicious low calorie, low fat, low point choices on hand so we don’t get bored or in a rut.
Time to go! Gotta eat my yogurt/ berry bowl, and get ready to meet the girls at the pool. Wishing you all a wonderful week. Take care of yourselves. Take a moment to reflect on all that is good in your lives.
This morning we had our first virtual WW meeting, and just prior to that, one of my technically capable tribe members set up a group phone call so we could all touch base personally. Normally, we all catch up a little before our Saturday 7:30 am meeting, then have breakfast together. It’s been a meaningful ritual for all of us. Today was certainly new and different, but it was just as meaningful for us to all be together, albeit on a phone call. And the meeting was GREAT. Kudos to WW for getting these virtual meetings set up. Connecting with our coach, studio team, and seeing everyone was incredibly settling and inspiring for me.
I tested a new recipe for breakfast this morning, and want to share it with you. It is Cottage Cheese Protein Pancakes from Livestrong.com: https://www.livestrong.com/recipes/cottage-cheese-protein-pancakes-5/. I posted it on Pinterest a few weeks ago, and haven’t been able to stop thinking about it, so I made it today. I followed the recipe as written, except I used fat free cottage cheese 1) because it was one of the few cartons of cottage cheese left on the shelf, and 2) it was on sale. Not sure it would have made much difference in the taste of the final dish if I would have used the 2% cottage cheese. My final product did not turn out pretty, but it did taste good. I garnished it with fresh blueberries, and added about a teaspoon of real maple syrup to the plate. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and highly recommend you give it a try.
While home, with extra time on my hands I have been doing more interwebs exploration. I came across Flav City on Instagram, and really like his point of view. If you are looking for fun, healthy, and new takes on recipes, and to be entertained, check out this guy Bobby Parrish. https://www.flavcity.com/ and also on UTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/flavcity.
Super Simple Meal Prep to Keep Me on Track and Satisfied
Not only am I on a calorie/ WW point budget, but I am on a financial one as well, as I am sure many of you are. Today I finally invested in cheap Rubbermaid containers at the market. I got tired of putting my lunches together every morning. I now have them prepped and set. Fewer dishes and utensils to wash in the morning, and it’s overall going to be a major time saver.
This week’s lunches are based on veggies and lean proteins, i.e. 0 point, albeit convenient foods. I made oven roasted chicken breast, simply seasoned with S&P, cumin, and smoked paprika. Because those are the seasonings that I like. Use the seasonings that you like best. I roasted it on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper that I sprayed with canola oil spray in a 450 degree oven for 18 minutes, then let it rest for about 15 minutes. I want to mention one of my budget saving tips. My market, Ralph’s, has all of the choices of chicken breast in the world. My husband and I discovered that they also have a house brand hand cut chicken breast. These are beautiful, and far less expensive than the branded options at the meat counter at Ralph’s, or even at TJ’s. Check it out. Today I paid $6.02 for 1.22 lbs of chicken breast. By the way, the yield after roasting was just over 1 lb of chicken. If you are planning to eat about a pound of any kind of meat, total for the week, buy a little over that to allow for shrinkage during the cooking process. I paired the chicken breast with Trader Joe’s Riced Cauliflower Stuffing, that I bought during Thanksgiving season, and regular riced cauliflower to build up the volume (I had about 2/3 of a bag left in the freezer). The Riced Cauliflower Stuffing is 60 calories/ 3 points. The regular riced cauliflower is 0 points/ 30 calories per serving. With the chicken and stuffing I am trying a new veggie based soup I discovered at the market today, a Super Greens Creamy Soup. It’s 80 calories/ 2 pints per 1 cup serving.
I was out of town most of last week on a business trip. If you read last week’s blog, you know that I brought my breakfast fixings and snacks with me. It worked out great, and I highly recommend that you take the time to pre plan as I did. Not only was it a calorie/ point saver, but a money saver as well. No restaurant breakfast for me. The snacks I took along were Trader Joe’s Chomps Turkey sticks (60 cal/ 1 point), and WW 2 point nut bars. I also brought chamomile tea bags, and WW 2 point lemon bars for after dinner (saved fat, calories, and $$ on desert too). Note: Starbucks did not charge me for the tall hot waters I asked for every evening.
Yesterday I was exhausted after my long week away. I slept in, missed my WW Workshop, and breakfast with my tribe, but I needed it. When I got up I went directly to the pool and swam laps for an hour. I felt so much better! I was very low on energy when I got home, so just wanted to piddle around. I had a couple of aging bananas hanging around, so decided to make a banana bread. It was so cathartic. I found a great light recipe using plain non fat greek yogurt and applesauce, and just a small amount of sugar: https://www.lecremedelacrumb.com/greek-yogurt-banana-bread-3/. It came out great. I snacked on it yesterday, gave some away to my neighbor, and snacked on a small piece today, witch I toasted. So comforting.
Thanks for joining the conversation today. Note that all of my WW point values are based on the Blue Plan. Check out the points for your plan when using any of the products or recipes mentioned here.
Wanted to show you that I had lovely company while writing the blog today. Pearl has not left my side since I’ve been home.
It’s Thanksgiving week. How did the year fly by so fast? I just want to take a moment to remind myself, and you, dear readers of the real things that matter in life. Not tangible things, not material things, but things that matter in our daily lives – having a positive attitude, kindness, gratitude, being good to yourself, just to name a few. Take a few minutes to ponder what is meaningful to you this season, and give yourself a hug.
Since this is a short work week, I made a delicious, healthy, hearty Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Soup. It will work for desk lunches, and will just be good to have in the house all week. Oh yes, and my house smells amazing. The recipe is called Keto Cabbage Soup. I don’t know anything about Keto or Paleo and all that. As you know, I am a Lifetime WW member, and follow the low fat, low carb, low calorie/ points meal plan that works for me. I picked this recipe because the ingredients are mostly plant based, and fit in with the flavor profile I wanted for myself. Here is the original recipe: https://www.savorytooth.com/cabbage-soup/.
I actually did follow the recipe pretty much to the letter. I cut the quantities of the liquids in half and only used 10 oz of shredded cabbage instead of 16 oz. I did use a hole pound of ground chicken in place of the beef. I wanted it hearty, as I said. I used chicken broth in place of beef broth. I slightly cut down on the amount of seasonings as well. I can always re season the soup and add more, but I wouldn’t be able to take it out.
Thank you for stopping by . I want to wish you all a meaningful and Happy Thanksgiving.
As I mentioned in my last blog, my new job began on July 29. Well, it has been 0 – 60 since then. Which I knew would happen, so no surprises. I am certainly not complaining. I am grateful to be in the position I’m in, and to work with really wonderful people. But boy am I tired!! Today is my first day off in 14 days. I went to a trade show in Las Vegas, which started on Saturday. I came home mid week, and went right to work. Yes, I was dead tired, but made it through to Friday. And surprise! Friday, we ended up setting up our office space unexpectedly, and there I was moving furniture. Saturday I got up, went to my WW meeting, went shopping and home to do chores. I was dragging. If you know anything about me at all, you know that I was planning a swim today. I almost didn’t go. That is how tired and sore I felt. But I dragged myself to the pool. It wasn’t wonderful at first. Of course the water felt fabulous, but I was out of breath, and sore all over. Finally I got my rhythm going, and started to feel better.
The above paragraph was to be the beginning of the blog I meant to publish last Sunday, August 17. And then….
Sunday, August 25:
FAST FORWARD TO THAT NIGHT –
Surprise appendix attack! Sunday I had an emergency appendectomy. It has been one thing after another since the beginning of the year. But I stay strong in my self care practice, my work ethic, and my appreciation for the life that I have, with no regrets. And that, my friends, is my Best Remedy for being happy, healthy, and staying focused.
I have no meal prep planned for this week, as I am still on the mend, and will be working mostly from home. I am continuing to keep healthy things in the house, and of course, no trigger foods! As focused as I am, stress eating is definitely still an issue for me.
It came out delicious. We used boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of breast meat. I omitted the flour in the recipe, and the parsley garnish, but otherwise followed the recipe as written. One note: the recipe lists the cooking time as 4-4 1/2 hours on low. It only took about 3 – 3 1/2 hours in my slow cooker. So keep your eye on it. I highly recommend you give this a try. It’s luscious, yet light.
Thank you for stopping by! Please feel free to comment, critique, or ask me any questions. You can find me on social media at:
Finding a Balance between the Mundane and the Exciting
Each and every morning the first thing I do when I get out of bed are stretching exercises for my lower back. There are definitely mornings I don’t feel like it, but I do them anyway. The benefit outweighs the alternative, which for me is stiffness and ultimately pain. And I’ve made it a habit. I look at eating the same way. Not every meal or snack has to be sexy. Sometimes food is just fuel. Developing any new habit takes work, especially eating habits. Food is so connected to our emotions, our families, our cultures, but sometimes it is necessary to take a step back and examine what we are actually ingesting, and what the effects are on our bodies, our overall health.
Making small changes in our eating habits will improve our health, impact our relationships with our families and friends, and ultimately help us to learn to love and care for ourselves. Start with baby steps. Maybe just set a goal to drink more water today. Another small goal may be to plan and prepare a breakfast or lunch meal that will keep you away from that fast food restaurant you always go to. As we find ourselves successful with these new behaviors, we can slowly develop them into habits and expand on them from there.
I found this article that explains habit development better than I can. You can also check out “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg for a better understanding.
There is no meal prep today, as I am still working from home this week. What I am going to do for you is to provide a list of my favorite go-to snack items to help me stay successful on my maintenance journey. Mine might vary from yours, as it’s important for me and my success that my “trigger foods” are not on this list.
On the Go
These are just a few ideas for you. Take the time to walk the aisles of your grocery stores. Read the labels to help you make the best choices for yourself. If you are a WW member, use your scanner in the app as well.
And WHOOSH! It’s already the middle of summer! I hope you have taken some time to care for yourselves and try some new things. I did! As you know, almost all of my workouts are in the pool, although I do some walking workouts as well. At the beginning of the summer I participated in a free trial at The Perfect Workout https://www.theperfectworkout.com. It’s circuit strength training, but in slow motion. With a trainer. I loved it. I’m so glad I tried it. I plan to make it part of my workout mix soon.
This week’s new food discovery is Bolt House Cole Slaw dressing. For the 4th of July we made baby back ribs. I know, a little bit of a cheat day for me, but it had been so long since I’d had them, and they were so good. Worth it. My husband seasoned them with Trader Joe’s Chile Lime Seasoning Blend, then baked them, lightly covered with tin foil in a slow oven (250 degrees) for about 2 1/2 hours. During the last 1/2 hour he removed the foil and basted them with our favorite bbq sauce, and increased the temperature to 350 degrees. It’s important to allow them to rest a bit before serving. A perfect prep if you like your ribs falling off the bone like we do. Our side dish was coleslaw made with this dressing, celery salt, and celery seeds. Every flavor of Bolt House dressings I have tried have been delicious. They are rich, and do not taste low cal at all https://www.bolthouse.com/. They are located in the refrigerator section in the produce department of the grocery store.
I’ve gotten back into cottage cheese over the last couple of weeks. I was craving a change from non fat Greek yogurt. I bought the low fat cultured cottage cheese, and really enjoyed the creaminess and texture of it. So far I’ve only used it with fruit for breakfast, but am looking forward to using it for savory meals and snacks as well. I want to try it with Everything But The Bagel seasoning, for example. I also want to try it layered with steamed vegetables, as was suggested to me by a good friend. Watch for those preps in later blogs.
At the beginning of today’s blog, I brought up the importance of taking care of ourselves, taking time for ourselves. Make that facial or massage appointment. Read that book. Go to the beach by yourself or with your best friend. Take time to care for yourself and give yourself a big loving hug. You deserve it.
That’s all for today! As always, your comments, questions, and critiques are welcome.