Archive for January, 2014

January Foodie Penpal

January 31, 2014

This was my second time participating in the Foodie Penpals program that Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean began and coordinates!

What is a Foodie Penpal?  Well, in a nutshell:  You sign up and get matched with a penpal at the beginning of the month then you make up a box of interesting, or local, favorite, or unusual food which you then mail to your penpal by the 15th of the month.  At the same time your penpal is mailing a box to you.

I got the perfect match this month!!!   My penpal this month was Tara.  She is from Iowa.  Among the many things we have in common is birthdays that are only three days apart, so we are pretty much the exact same age.  The list goes on and on from there!  It is crazy.  It was a lot of fun exchanging the initial emails and seeing the similarities!

Tara sent me this great assortment of yummy items from Iowa:


There was salsa and chips, gourmet marshmallows, flavored coffee, chocolate covered almonds, and beef sticks, along with a beautiful card telling me about some of the products and cool facts (including there are more cows than people in Iowa)

I say was because many items quickly disappeared!  First to go was the almonds.  I am proud to say they didn’t all go in one day, I did make them last three!  I think next was the beef sticks, I love beef sticks and these were nitrate free and yummy !

I really enjoyed this month’s experience.  Not only did I get a cool box of goodies, I met a person from half way across the country that I think, if we were put in a room together, we could easily talk for hours!  She’s on my Facebook friends list now and I have spent this month drooling over the awesome quilt tops she’s made (multiple. in one month!)

If sending and receiving a box of goodies sounds good to you, think about joining the next exchange!  To sign up for February you need to sign up by February 5th.

The Lean Green Bean

cookies again

January 25, 2014

I call them cookies, but really, it’s like breakfast in indulgent baked form.

This is the second one I’m getting ready to eat today:0125cookie

Today’s recipe:

  • 1 banana
  • 4 oz applesauce
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 2 tblsp PBSlim (vitacost’s version of PB2)
  • 2 scoops (45g) Aro Lean Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Diet Shake

350 degrees for 12 minutes.

Yum, yum, yum!!!    Often I put them in the mini muffin pan but today I just glopped it onto the cookie sheet so it made an odd number of 11 cookies.

Nutritional Info (I track what I try to make sure I get enough of (or in the case of sodium what I try not to get too much of…) so no carb or fat info):


My husband suggested a version with pineapple instead of banana…  I may try that when these are gone (Monday?).  I don’t think I’d add the chocolate or peanut butter powders to that batch though.


12 weeks and more pizza

January 18, 2014

12 weeks from today will be my first real 5K!   Timed and everything.   I am going to work towards being able to run the whole thing.  While I did do The Color Run last October, I pretty much walked it, have now idea how long it took, and from everything I’ve read it might not have even really been 5K.  I am excited!

I posted my favorite pizza the other day, using the Flatout flatbreads.  I absolutely love them and could eat a pizza every night if it was just me.  I decided to try a low carb tortilla in place of it though because the tortilla is less calories with more fiber and more protein.  So last night I made pizza with a flatbread for the husband and a tortilla for me.

pizza-beforebefore and after bakingpizza-after

I definitely prefer the taste of the pizza done on the flatbread than on the tortilla but nutritionally the tortilla wins.  The only difference between the two was the base:

flatbread:  345 calories, 17 grams protein, 5 grams fiber

tortilla:  285 calories, 20 grams protein, 14 grams fiber

Either way, it’s pizza so it’s a win to me!

mmm cookies!

January 16, 2014

Not only tasty, but no guilt whatsoever!


Today’s batch was actually made at work for a friend but I brought home a couple.

  • Three bananas
  • 3 & 1/2 cups Quick Oats
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • Almonds

350° for 12 minutes

This made 39 cookies (I used a tablespoon dough for each.)

Normally I use one banana & 1 cup of oats for a smaller batch.

Tonight was the first time I used applesauce and I think it was an improvement that I’ll incorporate.

You can leave out the nuts, add some mini chocolate chips, or add some peanut butter… all depending on your preferences.

Like I said, no guilt!  (well, if you add peanut butter and mini chocolate chips you will want to be cautious because then you are getting into higher calorie levels… but when it’s just bananas, oatmeal, and applesauce? awesome)

food ramblings

January 15, 2014

I will be the first to admit I am not a food photographer! This is my dinner from the other night, pizza, approximately 360 calories of yum. With a few changes in ingredients I am thinking I can get it down to about 300.  I’ve started to skip the pepperoni to see if I miss it and the answer is no.  I added a bit more cheese instead and I’ve really happy with the taste.


For our anniversary last month I got a food processor.  Before you think, oh, how unromantic, that was actually high on my list of things I would have wanted to receive, much more than flowers!   A really good iron would have also been acceptable since I want something with heavy steam for my sewing.  Anyway, the food processor… I am still getting used to it.  I prepped green peppers and fed them through.  As I did I thought, hmmm, that looks odd, very watery.  When I popped the top is when I realized I had the blade shred side up not slice.  Green peppers are not supposed to be shredded…  So if you wonder why the pizza toppings look a little odd, that is why, shredded peppers.

In other food related news, I bought a food scale. Aldi’s had them on sale this week so I picked one up for $10. It works well enough for me at this point though it is a bit slow to react and I question its complete accuracy.  However, it has been eye opening, as everything I read online said it would be!  My normal pouring in of the creamer to my coffee? About 25% more than I thought I was using.  Only about 10 calories so no biggie but now I am more accurate as I put the mug on the scale and pour it in. Shredded cheese for my pizza?  I actually got a bit more than I had been using.

I wanted pizza tonight but my husband has his heart set on chicken and stuffing… so the house should smell like roasted chicken when I get home from work tonight.

And now, time to go walk!

high tech dieting

January 12, 2014

Losing weight in 2014 is so much more fun then 2004 or 1994! Back in 1994 I would devote a notebook to calorie and weight tracking and in 2004 I had spreadsheets.  But, now? I have websites that link to each other, feeding information into a variety of charts and graphs, and in some cases giving me the opportunity to earn discounts, rewards, donations to charity, and even actual cash. Talk about motivating!


The weight I use on my weight journey page here is the same as I log at MyFitnessPal. That weight feeds out to Fitbit, SparkPeople, and others. That weight is Mondays, in the morning, naked. DietBet has its own weight logging and is usually a little different because that weight is when I am dressed for the photos required there (described as airport security attire) and so far hasn’t been a Monday.

My exercise page is the portion of my daily exercise that I do purposefully on the treadmill and record here. But that’s just a portion of all the Fitbit data throughout my day that then feeds into MyFitnessPal for calories and Earndit, Everymove, AchieveMint, Walgreens, and others to earn me discounts, cash, donations to charity, entries to contests, etc.

Truly amazing… In another ten years, when I am maintaining this loss, I wonder what the trackers are going to look like and do…


January 10, 2014

The Dirty Girl Mud Run was having a sale the other day where registration was $20 off.  And so, I have committed.

June 14, 2014… I will be covered in mud. And probably sore.



January 8, 2014

Do the happy dance, it is over 5 degrees (F) and headed up to a high of 27.

I don’t know how people live in those areas that routinely stay under 0!

Yesterday, upon waking, it was -12.4, in the evening it had gotten up to 3 but by that point you could feel the cold coming in through the walls!  If the furnace isn’t actively running the cold chill is in the air constantly and that’s just one day of sub-zero.  Yuck!

Jose, the llama, seems to have been fine.  We pulled some hay into the barn for him to nest into and his water tank has a heater so it doesn’t ice over.

The porch kitties also seemed to have weathered the storm.  We stuffed more old clothes into their house and added more to their chair…  but I think they will be as happy as I when spring arrives!

Well, enough whining from me… Off to get ready for work.


random bits

January 5, 2014

Happy Sunday!


I am really over the winter season and ready for Spring.  Unfortunately, the calendar is not in agreement and it is only the beginning of January.  Tomorrow and Tuesday are supposed to be “take your breath away and freeze exposed skin in minutes” temperature days.  ICK!  Oh, and that is after it rains later and changes to snow tonight… so everything should be coated in a nice layer of ice to add to the fun.

Today I went and gave blood.  A different experience though because I did a double red-cell donation instead of a whole blood donation.  They hook you up to a machine, take out your blood, separate the red blood cells from the plasma and platelets, then put the plasma and platelets back into you with additional saline (and then do it again to get a double batch.)  This allows them to get twice the red blood cells from you.  You can’t donate again for 112 days as compared to the 56 days if you do whole blood.

However, since I am 5’4″ tall, I was told when they switch over to all the new machines, I won’t be able to do the double type.  Seems odd that it would be allowed just because the machine is older but apparently it had something to do with the rate it processes the blood and to have the proper volume women have to be 5’5″ (but I may still qualify if my iron is high enough and depending on my weight).

One of the cool things about it was that you don’t have to sit there and eat cookies or crackers and juice after.  Since they put saline back with the plasma and platelets, it has less of an impact on the way you feel.

Made egg salad today, we’re going to have it for dinner and I’m also going to portion it out for a few days worth of work food.  I’d like to get back to planning and taking my own lunches.  Even though lunch is free at the cafeteria, it isn’t always full of great choices.  There is a salad bar but I am not a fan of lettuce unless I have lots of dressing.  I was getting the vegetable occasionally, the soup, and then peppers and cucumbers with a bit of lettuce.  When you added in the crackers that I must put in soup and the dressing I can’t pass up… even those seemingly healthy choices end up being higher in calories without much protein to keep me satisfied to the end of the work day.  Then I want a snack, and I have candy bars (not just a few, actually within my office at the moment there’s about 72 candy bars and it can be up to 108 or 144 candy bars if I’ve just been to the distributor for an order) in my office that are for sale for the students’ fundraising.  I have a box of Corn Pops (yes, that cereal formerly known as Sugar Pops!) and maple oatmeal.  Much smarter sugary snack!  Plus, the lunches I will take have decent protein levels for better satiety.

I’m gonna kick butt in all of the weight loss competitions I am in currently!!!

A couple of my co-workers are looking at doing the Autism Frostbite 5k in March…  since the 5k I originally planned on doing is in April, not March as I thought, I am considering it.  The pros are: still have a goal to work for in March, good cause, friends to run with, still can do the others in April and so more is better.  The cons:  it starts at 8am and with it’s location I would have to leave my house by 6am, in March, on a Saturday…  So I am leaning towards bailing and just having my first one be the 5k I’d originally planned on doing.   Which starts at 10am on a Saturday in April (much more reasonable since I wouldn’t have to leave my house until closer to 9.)

I plan on doing my first and second 5K of 2014 a week apart…  I don’t know if this is necessarily a good idea but by that point (in April) I should be running 3.1 miles at least once a week and that would be Saturday anyway…

Okay, off to do some dishes, sort out my plastic food containers (not being able to find lids to match bowls is driving me nuts), and shred some onions and cabbage (also to be packaged up for work food)

continuing the cliché – Welcome to 2014

January 1, 2014

I hate to say I am making resolutions… resolutions don’t have a good track record for me, or apparently for most of the rest of the world.

But I definitely have goals in mind for this year.

First, my weight. Well, as you know, I’m leading the biggest loser challenge for my location at work. So, of course, I’d like to win that!  1st place is $300, 3rd place is $100, that is what I got last year. I’m proud that I am starting this year at the weight I ended last year’s challenge because that means I didn’t just gain everything I lost back! However, starting at a lower weight also makes winning harder.

For me, money is an incredible motivator, so I also signed up for two 4 week Dietbets and the 6 month challenge as well. Which puts a goal of 4% on me for January 30th to win the 4 week challenges and month one of the 6 month challenge. At that point I will reassess if I want to join more. I feel real confident about the 6 month challenge, it will end two weeks before my birthday and I am pretty sure I can lose at least 10% by then!

Exercise goals. I am planning to restart the 5k training program. The first 5k I found that I absolutely want to do is in April (originally I thought it was in March.) I may look for another to do in March as well. I also want to add in strength training but I don’t have concrete goals related to that yet. I have been working towards being able to do a pull-up and a chin-up. My goal will be to be able to do a pull-up and a chin-up by my birthday in July. And in general, a little bit of exercise everyday, so continue to work to get at least 10k steps per day (seriously addicted to my Fitbit!)

Sewing. I don’t really have definable goals but I would like to use up the majority of fabric in my stash.

My hair. My goal is to let it grow! I do what is called “search and destroy” where I look through my hair and snip any split ends that are found. That will be sufficient for quite a while.

And that will do for now.

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