Discovery of the day: Walking doesn't suck... much

Today is the first day I needed supplemental decaf badly enough to walk for it. It took about 7-8 mins. each way. The sun was out and it was probably over 50 deg. so I could almost say it was pleasant. Good thing I went early in the day because now it's completely overcast and raining.

(I did get get a grande instead of a tall, though; I wanted to be sure it was worth the effort.)

My boyfriend's coming home from a business trip later this eve (yay!) so I'll just pick up a Papa Murphy's thin crust delite pizza for my son and I'll have my default BAS. Easy-peasy.

Tomorrow night we're all going to a friend's house for dinner. I hate to make special requests, so I'm going to be sure to eat something ahead of time so I'm not starving and just wing it. They're... healthy eaters (in the 'clean your plate club' sense) so whatever is served, I'll bet it's gonna be ample and tasty!

I'll let you know how it all works out.



Discovery of the day: Walking

Ugh. Walking. I need to do more of it and I just plain don't want to. But now that the weather's improving (daytime highs sometimes in the 50s - yay!) I really need to get back to using some of my lunch hour for something other than obsessive grocery shopping or napping in my car.

Yesterday I made myself the promise that if I felt the need to go get coffee (decaf, of course) at the Starbuck's just down the hill, I would walk instead of drive. It's about a 7 min. walk each way. Perfectly doable.

My only outs are if:
  1. I don't feel like getting coffee.

  2. Some combination of rain, cold, or wind.

  3. I have on the wrong shoes.
#3 rarely happens; I wear jeans to work every day so fancy footwear is not something I utilize often. #2 is becoming less prevalent as we head into spring. And as hard as I try, I can't make #1 happen.

Maybe I'm addicted to the soymilk.



Discovery of the day: Milestones rock!

Hooray -- today I broke the 10 lb mark! Not bad, for not quite 2 month's work. And other than cutting the heck out of my thumb last night, it hasn't been too painful.

(I did learn not to cut lettuce when I'm tired. Or at least to keep better track of my digits in the process.)

As if that wasn't enough good news, my boyfriend reports he's dropped 8 lbs simply by association. That's a really good thing as he just got a less-than-stellar report card from his doctor. Nothing scary bad, but enough to make him take statins for three months to see if he can get his cholesterol down. Yep, I think he'll be eating a little closer to my plan, at least in the short term.



Discovery of the day: Almond milk

Can't remember if I mentioned this before: a co-worked told me how to make almond milk a while back. I gave it a try and it was vile, but I later learned it was because the almonds I used were going rancid. Blech! Ptui! I can still taste it.

Never one to miss the opportunity to beat a dead horse, last week I bought some nice, fresh raw almonds from the bulk foods bin at the fancy-pants grocery store to give it another go.

My co-worked mentioned that she'd heard that it works better if you soak the almonds first, so Sunday morning I put 1 cup of almonds (skins on) in the blender with 4 cups of water and went about my bidness. Well, nothing is easy. My blender is an old second-hand jobbie and apparently the little rubber gasket in the bottom of the container has lost its will to live. Came home Sunday evening to find the almonds sitting high and dry and 4 cups of water all over the counter and dribbling onto the floor so I relocated the almonds to a bowl with more water. Grrr!

When I got home yesterday, I dumped the whole mess back into the blender, added a pinch of salt and a tsp or two of honey and let 'er rip. The capacity of my blender was apparently not quite big enough -- I had to scoop out about a cup of water to keep it from breaching the top.

I pulverized it as best I could, then dumped it into several layers of fine-weave cheesecloth along with the cup of fluid I scooped out. I squeezed the "milk" from the pulp and you know, it's not bad! It's in the fridge hoping I'll use it in the next couple of days before it turns. I wonder if it can be frozen?

Apparently you can use the pulp for baking and the like -- I'm guessing it would be like almond meal or almond flour -- but since I'm not baking now, I threw mine out.

I do wonder whether the fat content will make it too 'pricey' for me, compared to rice milk and soy milk. But it's nice to know I can whip it up in a pinch.



Discovery of the day: I heart sushi

In honor of our first year together, my boyfriend and I drove to the coast for a lovely, albeit chilly, walk in the sun, followed by dinner at a really good Japanese restaurant.

Nary a BAS on the menu, but we did have side salads and an order of edamame (OK, and an order of gyoza -- love them!) before diving into a bunch of sushi.

It was well worth the calories. We even had dessert -- tempura-fried banana with ice cream and caramel sauce!


Yeah, the dessert was a little much, even though we split one. I was burping up bananas, wasabi, and sake all the way home. Oh, I forgot to mention the sake? Well, we were celebrating. And we only got a "small", which yielded two little cups apiece.

I did OK the rest of the weekend and was rewarded (taunted?) with a 1/2 lb drop this morning although I don't really expect it to stick.

Now that I'm at the 8.5 lb point, I have a feeling that it's going to be very slow going from this point forward. Unless I start to exercise. Grrr.



Discovery of the day: Gotta rethink the falafel

I pulled the remaining falafel out of the freezer last night. I'd decided to thaw them out and fry them, since baking provided underwhelming results. I was willing to take the calories from oil to get that brown, crunchy goodness.

Well, I got the calories from the oil....

The first side browned up nicely. When I flipped them puppies over, however, all hell broke loose. The oil started foaming, for lack of a better word, and the falafel started disintegrating into piles of crumbly gunk. I managed to save a few, but they barely held together long enough to cram into the pita. Definitely not the deep-fried nirvana I'd hoped for.

Methinks I need to find another recipe. Or find a good local source for falafel. Now that I think about it, I vote for the latter option.



Discovery of the day: FF veg refried beans are da bomb!

One of my default dinners for my son is Taco Del Mom. That means he gets a cheese quesadilla with beans and cheese and guacamole and lettuce on the side. I get a BAS with beans and guacamole. Only problem is that I've been offering pinto beans when what my son really wants is refried beans.

Thinking that refried beans are really just mashed pintos, I tried to generate some but they just weren't the same as the ones Dad uses. He's right; they're not. I like the canned refritos too, but was trying to avoid the fat, etc. Plus, I'm happy with plain canned pintos. What to do, what to do?

I found the refried bean aisle in the store yesterday (not with the canned beans, as one might think) and was pleased to discover fat-free (or pretty close to) vegetarian refried beans.

Best of all, they taste like the ones my son is used to and I can have them too. Yay!



Discovery of the day: Surviving Tucson

Had a wonderful extended weekend and only brought back an extra pound or so. Phew!

The two BAS restaurants nearby saved my bacon, so to speak. One was an all-you-can eat salad bar/buffet type thing where I could build myself a BAS and my fellow diners could have all sorts of other things. The other place was cool -- you select your ingredients from a checklist and they build it for you. Choose your greens, five additions (beans, veggies, etc.), then protein (meat, baked tofu!), then dressing (available on the side). Wasn't cheap, but an excellent lunch option all the same.

The other thing that saved me was my trip to the grocery store that first day to buy massive quantities of fruit. I ate fruit salad every morning and ended up sharing with my boyfriend and our host, too. My boyfriend even got the chopping started for me many of the mornings while I was in the shower. What a guy!

So fruit for breakfast, BAS for lunch (most of the time), and then I ate pretty much what I wanted for dinner. Each night I was sure I'd order dessert, but I was usually too full.

The cautionary tale is the effect my transgressions had on my... inner workings. The first day we went to a Mexican place for lunch and I couldn't resist the green corn tamales. Well, my colon had no trouble resisting and I paid mightily the next day. Ouch! I think it was the slug of cornmeal that freaked out my system. Also found that I had a lot of discomfort after meals with meat (BBQ - mmmm!) Or maybe it was the french fries. The ones at the BBQ place were slammin'! :)

But all in all, the discomfort was well worth it. By picking my battles, I got through with only minor setbacks. Yay! Sure wish we had either one of those salad places around here.



Discovery of the day: Making peace with tofu stir fry

I had a hankering for tofu stir fry last night (plus I had a 1/2 lb of tofu that had to be used), but cooking brown rice takes almost an hour and I didn't want to be feed my son at 7:30 at night. And the last one I made was... underwhelming. I needed to find something else to do to the tofu, and I needed a different sauce.

I remembered that I had soba noodles, and had used that in a recipe before as the base instead of rice. In that same recipe, the tofu was drained, patted dry, and fried by itself until brown. Then it was set aside while the rest of the stuff was cooked. The tofu was used as a "topping", which kept it from soggy-fying in the skillet.

That'll work! I pulled a couple of partial bags of frozen stir-fry veggies out of the freezer, started draining my 1/2 lb of tofu, got the soba on to boil, and went to work.

The veggies got thawed in the m-wave. The tofu was cut into little cubes, tossed in a blend of soy sauce and mirin (approx 3:2 ratio), patted dry, then fried and set aside on paper towels. Then the veggies got quickly stir-fried in the rest of the soy-mirin sauce, along with garlic and ginger. The soba got... boiled.

In less than 45 mins I had dinner on the table and it was ok; better than last time anyway. I thought the sauce came out good but it wasn't quite up to my son's standards. Next time I'll marinate the tofu in teriyaki sauce and use that to season the veggies. He likes teriyaki -- it's a fast-food staple in these parts. I might bake the tofu ahead of time, if I think of it.

In a couple of hours I head out for my trip. No signs of the cold... yet. I'm kinda nervous about the whole food thing, but I have a few pieces fruit with me to get me through the evening. After that, we'll just have to wing it!



Discovery of the day: BAS is easy-peasy

One pleasant side effect to having BAS on the menu twice a day (most days) is that if I don't feel like cooking, I don't have to spend a lot of time deciding what to eat. I do need to spend a few minutes thinking about my son's dinner but I have that repertoire down pat -- not much energy required there. So on low-energy days (weeks) like this one, keeping myself fed is pretty mindless. And I like that a lot.

Speaking of low-energy, I think I might be coming down with a cold. My boyfriend popped one early this week and he's pretty miserable. Can't say as I'm too thrilled about that since we're leaving tomorrow evening for an extra long weekend in a warm, sunny place.

And therein lies my next challenge: feeding myself at a friend's house for 5 days. As long as there's a grocery store within striking distance, it should be OK. We are planning an excursion over the border for dinner at a favorite spot. I'll definitely be leaping off the wagon that night!

Here's hoping there's no virus in my immediate future. I'll gladly deal with it next Wednesday if I can get out of it this weekend.



Discovery of the day: I eat a lot of salad

I was reading through my earlier posts and realized that I misspoke early on. I eat about a head of romaine per day, not half a head.

That's a lot of lettuce. And a lot of water, because I buy whole heads and wash the crap out of them -- literally and figuratively -- during prep. I fill the salad spinner with water, add some veggie wash stuff, throw in a chopped head of romaine, soak, drain, then refill and swish to rinse. That's two full spinner-bowls full of water per head, so we're talking a couple of gallons per prep session.

I considered trying to save some of the water for my houseplants, but I don't have many houseplants and most of them are succulents. If I can come up with a storage solution, I could save the water in the summer to water my outside flowerbeds. But it's rainy season now.

I do feel kind of guilty, rinsing all that stuff down the drain. But not guilty enough to stop. People do get E. Coli from produce -- better safe than sorry, y'know?

p.s. After reading this article, I probably should start rinsing before chopping.



Discovery of the day: Surviving a weekend away

I did it! I went to the Big City for a romantic weekend with my boyfriend and I didn't gain 8 lbs! I know, it would be (practically) physically impossible to gain 8 lbs in less than 24 hours, but ya never know....

I managed to find a reasonable (BAS) option for lunch Saturday. That afternoon I bought some fruit at the farmer's market to take back to hotel room. We had an amazing dinner Sat. night and although I did not deny myself, I did stop eating when I was full. (That's not always a given for me.)

Ate the fruit for breakfast Sun. morning, and after more wandering around town we went to a very upscale vegetarian place for lunch. Took forever (Sunday brunch, trendy neighborhood, you get the idea) but eventually ended up with a very nice BAS w/avocado, grapefruit, and grilled shiitakes. Boyfriend had a really cool winter vegetable hash w/horseradish. Yes, I did eat food from his plate. We're at that point in our relationship so it's ok. :)

Sunday night I was back at home with my standard BAS. And this morning there was little or no movement on the scale -- yay!

I did end up with some intestinal upset Sunday; not surprising, I guess, since I did eat meat and cheese and bread and dessert along with my (small) mixed green salad. But the food was so good it was worth it.

My goal this week is to not get upset this week if I don't lose any more weight. I'm sure my yo-yo dieting over the past few decades is going to make it really hard to get things moving this time, now that the initial chunk is gone. I just gotta hang tough.



Discovery of the day: Hey, it's Friday. Cut me some slack. :)

I think I'm pretty much recovered from my cornbread hangover. Last night after work I was lazy and didn't clean any lettuce so for dinner we had lentil soup with baby carrots and snow peas dipped in tahini sauce. I felt the meal was a little light on the vegetation but I managed to eat enough to keep me away from the frosted mini wheats later. I was tempted, believe me.

This weekend will be an interesting experiment. My boyfriend and I are going to the city tomorrow to stay in a super-nice hotel (and eat at a nice restaurant) to celebrate his birthday. Managing lunch, dinner, breakfast, and possibly another lunch away from home will be my first big test. He's supportive of my efforts so I think he'll be happy to go wherever I need to go to get the right food.

Only 3 hours until the work week is over and the Big Birthday Adventure begins!



Discovery of the day: Sweetest hangover

Today was my first complete fall off the flexitarian wagon. I did it intentionally, though, so it was more of a leap than a fall.

I was supposed to meet a friend for lunch at a BBQ place. I thought about it ahead of time and decided I'd try to do a salad if I could, but I was definitely gettin' me some pulled pork. And I kept having improper thoughts about cornbread.

Ended up having a BBQ Salad; pulled pork on a plate of lettuce (romaine & iceberg?) with spicy BBQ sauce on the side. But then I went and did it: I ordered the Corn Cake. The salad was OK, but the cornbread was like eating, well, corn cake! It was yummy.

Got back to work feeling a little over-full; nothing scary. But I am feeling decidedly un-well as the afternoon is wearing on. I think I am already having a carb hangover.

Insult to injury, we just celebrated the birthday of a coworker which of course means CAKE. It was a dense little chocolate number from the local fancy-pants grocery. I took just the barest sliver (bad luck not to, you know) and it was plenty.

Blech. I need a nap.



Discovery of the day: Water!

I realized today that I have been really thirsty for the past few weeks. I mean, I drank water before I changed eating habits, but rarely did I feel thirsty, like 'OMG! I must have water now!' thirsty.

But these days I feel thirsty multiple times a day. I wonder what that's all about?



Discovery of the day: Baked tofu has its limits

Oops! Missed a day. It's February which is traditionally my worst month in terms of mood. Not sure why, no good reason for it, but it is. So I may skip a post from time to time until I get my mojo back. C'mon, equinox!!

Anyway, on Sunday I finally got a chance to try making a batch of baked tofu. I wanted to use it to replace chicken in a curry/tomato type recipe (Indian Captain's Chicken?) I've had for years. The baked tofu cubes came out of the oven full of promise; nice & crunchy on the outside, firm texture. So far so good!

Until... I added it to the stew and simmered. Doh! It soaked up the juice and became little cubes of reconstituted sponge. The resulting stew was severely lacking in sauce because of it. And, since I marinated the tofu in soy sauce, it was r-e-a-l-l-y salty.

Next time I'll just buy the extra firm tofu and press it. I'll save the baked tofu to add to a stir fry at the last minute or something.

Post-virus weight report: Back up a lb, which is probably to be expected since I'm eating again, but I'm still below that first threshold. I'm sure hoping I can stay there.

My goal this week is to stop drinking so much decaf. Yeah, I say I'm decaffeinated, but if I'm drinking gallons of decaf a day (which has about 10% of the caffeine of full-leaded coffee) I'm really just kidding myself.

Wouldn't be the first time!



Discovery of the day: It's Friday!

This virus-thingy continues to abate my appetite, which I don't see as a bad thing. The headache, on the other hand, sucks. I made it in to work but am not feeling very... enthusiastic about it.

Tonight I'm meeting my pal for dinner at a place that I know has salads. A couple of days ago I wondered if the salads would be "big enough". Somehow right now that's not a huge concern.

Tomorrow my boyfriend returns from his 2-week business trip. He'll be exhausted and I'm assuming that I'll still feel like crap, so if I don't decide ahead of time what we're going to have for dinner, we could end up eating something less-than-optimal. Soup. I need to think about soup.

I'm hoping that by next week I'll be fired up to cook again. Right now it just doesn't sound like much fun.