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Insignificant Kindnesses (Revisited)

February 20, 2013 Family, Food No Comments

Remember that whole Insignificant Kindness thing? I had forgotten, too… But today I was the recipient of a kindness and it smacked me over the head. A very small gesture, but it was so thoughtful.

Every evening after dinner, I pack my lunch for the following day. It’s usually leftovers from dinner, which was the case last night — Thai Chicken Enchiladas. DELICIOUS. Seriously. Make these.

I fixed dinner, ate dinner, packed my lunch, and cleaned everything up before retiring to the couch with my glass of wine and dark chocolate peanut butter cup. Life was good. The alarm went off at 5:28 this morning and I dutifully rose and got myself to the gym for a 6 AM boot camp class. I got to work by 7:45 and got an IM from Greg at 8:45, asking if I had gotten his text message. I had not; my phone was still buried in my gym bag.

I checked my messages and my sweet husband had texted me at 7:07 AM to let me know that I had forgotten my lunch and he had dropped it off on the picnic table outside my office on his way to work. At this point, I was still working on breakfast and had no idea that I had forgotten my lunch. But I can’t tell you how pleased I was that he had taken this detour to deliver my lunch to me! I was especially pleased when lunchtime rolled around and I heated up these delicious enchiladas instead of going to the corner deli for a cold turkey sandwich.

This was a timely reminder to look for the good. Celebrate the good. Reciprocate the good.

Go forth and be kind to one another, my friends!

Wine on Wednesday: Memento

January 16, 2013 Food No Comments

I have a new daily drinker. Memento.

 

For over a year, when I was drinking at home, I drank nothing but Cocobon. And while it is delicious and something I still drink, my new go-to is this fun blend.

My requirements for a good daily drinker:

* <$10/bottle
* does not need food to be palatable (low tannins, generally)
* available at Trader Joe’s — I do 99% of my shopping there

Memento sells at Trader Joe’s for $6.99, which is the same price that Cocobon sells for. In fact, they are right next to each other on the shelf at my local TJ’s.

It is a blend made up of 86% syrah and 14% grenache, so no harsh tannins. Yum! Plus, the fun check-the-box label is inviting you to share it with friends.

Do you drink daily like I do? What are you drinking?

(Source)

Latent Fatigue

October 29, 2012 Family, Fitness, Food, Friends, Fun No Comments

It’s two months post-Ironman. Welcome to the new normal.

Upon arriving home, I was incredibly busy. I was anxious to see friends to relive the event with them while they ooohed and aaahed over my medal and race day anecdotes. I had turned down so many social functions during training that I felt compelled to say yes to everything now that it was over. I also took on a couple of standing babysitting jobs, adding to my busy weeknights.

Medal + Anecdotes + Babies = Happy Molly

During September, I was pretty good about workouts. I was working out ~5 days a week and enjoying it. I was doing things because I wanted to, not because I had to. Bike rides went from 9-hour SufferFests to 1-hour cruises. The weather was still nice and the mornings were still light. I began commuting to/from work on my bike and my coworkers started a TRX regime during lunch, so I was keeping up on my strength workouts as well. But by the end of September, it all caught up with me.

The mornings kept getting darker, and I became more and more disenchanted. I’d set my alarm to work out in the morning and turn it off without getting up 4 mornings out of 5. I spent two gorgeous weekends lazily on the couch because I couldn’t be bothered to do the things I told myself I’d do; I was too tired. Those who know me know that I never even sit down on the weekends, let alone nap on the couch.

I ate copious amounts of carbs. I read 3 books in one month, including Fifty Shades of Grey. (<– I’m not proud of it.) I cut my hair. I flew to Iowa to be a part of my little brother’s wedding, which was an endurance event all on its own.

I am suffering from what I’m calling “latent fatigue.” I’ve basically been running (not literally) on adrenaline and necessity and obligation for the last two months and it’s finally catching up. I want to sleep more, eat more, and move less. I even want to drink less, if you can imagine that. This situation is not doing wonders for my body image, which adds to the general Debbie Downer feeling. Thankfully, I am not a person prone to depression, but I can see where someone who is would really be in trouble.

What I am choosing to do is honor my body and give it what it needs. I’m not beating myself up for choosing to sleep instead of workout. I’m allowing myself small portions of the treats I crave. I say no to a second glass bottle of wine. I am thanking my body for the unwavering service it provided during the last 10 months of Ironman training and recovery.

This, too, shall pass.

 

Flat Belly Diet: Day 4

November 23, 2011 Food No Comments

Last day of the Flat Belly Diet Jumpstart!

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

I am so glad today was the last day of this Jumpstart program! I didn’t sleep most of the night. I was cold all night and otherwise was unsettled. I woke up tired and bagged on my swim workout, opting to do a strength-only workout. This, of course, burns way fewer calories than a cardio workout and I was able to do it all the way through.

I did lose another 1/2 pound and jeans that I wore on Saturday fit more loosely today than then. Win!

Breakfast
1 cup unsweetened corn flakes
1 cup skim milk
1/4 cup roasted (unsalted) sunflower seeds
4 oz unsweetened applesauce
Sassy Water

I spread breakfast out over the morning, starting at 9 AM with the corn flakes and finishing with the sunflower seeds just after 10 AM. This tided me over until my 1 PM lunch with no problem. I wasn’t even tempted to eat the kids’ frozen pizza.

Lunch
3 oz tuna mixed with 5 grape tomatoes
1/2 whole wheat pita
1 light string cheese
Sassy Water

This was satisfying, though not very interesting or tasty. I was hungry by the time I ate it, but I wasn’t necessarily hungry for anything more. I think this is because I had done such a light workout today (in contrast to the much more rigorous workouts I had done earlier in the week).

Snack
2 glasses red wine

I caved. And it was WORTH IT.

Dinner
1/2 whole wheat pita
1/4 cup Italian cheese blend
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
Sassy Water

The above dinner is recommended on the ongoing Flat Belly Diet plan, so I haven’t totally strayed from what’s “legal.” I thought I’d have the other half of the pita with more melted cheese, but the half seemed to do the trick. It was different enough from what I’ve been eating all week that it was satisfying.

Day 4 Observations
Interestingly, I wasn’t hungry at snack time or at dinner time. I wanted to eat because I didn’t want to go too long between meals, and pleasantly surprised when the half pita was enough to satisfy me. I plan to have some dark chocolate later, but know I’ll still be within the 1200 calorie range for the day.

The less rigorous workout definitely made a difference today. Or my body is finally getting used to being on fewer calories. One concern I have is that my metabolism will slow down if my body fears it won’t be getting enough food going forward, so I’m glad the restrictive diet is over.

My plan is to eat a normal Thanksgiving meal tomorrow. For me, that isn’t splurging on turkey + 15 side dishes laden with butter and carbs. And then eating all that again 4 hours later. And the next day. And the next. Thanksgiving is one meal. I’ll have a sensible lunch, enjoy my dinner (and some wine), and get on with my life on Friday. I intend to follow the rules of the Flat Belly Diet plan (with increased calorie consumption to account for my activity level) for awhile and see what happens.

Thanks for following along with this somewhat silly side project! Back to [somewhat] regularly scheduled programming next week. We’re vacation-bound!

Flat Belly Diet: Day 3

November 23, 2011 Food No Comments

Tuesday marked Day 3 of 4 on the Flat Belly Diet Jumpstart. I’m growing weary…

Why am I doing it in the first place?

Day 1

Day 2

I woke up freezing on Tuesday morning and we speculated that it was because I didn’t have enough energy to burn. While 1200 calories a day may not be enough to sustain me ongoing, I’m pretty sure there’s still enough fat on these bones that my body can keep warm… The scale indicated a 1.2 pound decline since yesterday, which is admittedly motivating (considering my goal of feeling confident in a bathing suit).

Another up-side is that I am usually a little foggy-headed after an evening with Caryn. (<<– understatement) It is usually no problem for us to drink a couple of bottles of wine and open a third. I woke up early this morning with a clear head. Bonus!

Breakfast
1 serving Cream of Wheat
1 cup skim milk
2 T unsweetened raisins
1/4 cup roasted (unsalted) sunflower seeds
1 glass Sassy Water

This breakfast was filling again today, but maybe not as much as it was on Sunday. I think the reason it feels more filling than the corn flakes is because it takes me way longer to eat it. I don’t really like Cream of Wheat (and I can’t doctor it up with a bunch of sugar or even a little salt), so I take a lot of very small bites. I’m going to try the small bite/slower eating thing in general and see what happens.

Lunch
4 oz. canned tuna (packed in water)
1 cup sauteed summer squash + tomatoes
1 light string cheese
1 glass Sassy Water

I was definitely hungry for lunch when it was time, which was also influenced by the run I did after breakfast. Lunch was filling and I did not need to supplement with an extra cheese. I mixed the tuna and veggies together while they were cooking, which was pretty tasty. I garnished with the juice from half a lemon for a little more flavor.

Snack
Smoothie: 1 cup skim milk + 4 oz pineapple chunks (in juice) + handful ice
2 T roasted (unsalted) sunflower seeds

I froze the pineapple in advance because it makes for a creamier smoothie. This was the way to go. I ate the snack around 4 PM, and I was definitely needing food by this time. I started to get a mild headache around 3 PM and was feeling sluggish all afternoon.

Dinner
3 oz grilled chicken
1 cup left over green beans + mushrooms
1/2 cup brown rice
Sassy Water

Dinner was satisfying and enough food, as it was on Days 1 and 2. I had dinner at a friend’s house and wanted a glass of wine with her — and almost gave in!! — but stuck with the Sassy Water and got through it. Again, I think it was just a habit of having wine with Carolina that made it a strong craving.

Day 3 Observations
As I mentioned, I’m growing weary. I need closer to 2000 calories a day to sustain my activity level, so dropping to 1200 is very difficult. Obviously, it’s doing what it’s supposed to do — I look and feel less bloated and have lost a few pounds — but this calorie level is not sustainable for me. I am usually high energy all day and can easily get through a 4.5 mile run. I had to cut the run down to 3.2 miles because I felt so sluggish.

I’m going to get through this knowing that Wednesday is the last day. And I’ll probably have a glass (or two) of wine on Wednesday night.

Day 4

Flat Belly Diet: Day 2

November 22, 2011 Food 1 Comment

Monday was Day 2 of the Flat Belly Diet Jumpstart.

You can read about why I’m doing this here and how Day 1 went here.

I didn’t wake up any more or less hungry than normal on Monday. I don’t weigh myself on a regular basis, but decided I would for this project and found that I had dropped a little over a pound from the day before. I’m sure that there are a lot of factors playing into that, but at least the number didn’t go UP!

Breakfast
1 cup unsweetened corn flakes
1 cup skim milk
1/4 cup roasted (unsalted) sunflower seeds
4 oz unsweetened applesauce
Sassy Water

I ate breakfast at 9 AM and it wasn’t nearly as filling as the Cream of Wheat had been. I was out of the house for a couple of hours between breakfast and lunch, otherwise I think I would have been looking around for food mid-morning. I’m not sure if this was because of habit or because this breakfast wasn’t satisfying.

Lunch
4 oz deli turkey
1 pint fresh grape tomatoes
1 light string cheese
Sassy Water

I had about 1/2 cup of the grape tomatoes and supplemented with 1/4 cup of last night’s grilled squash as my vegetable. I don’t love grape tomatoes. I ate lunch at 1 PM and was really hungry by the time I sat down to it — I had done a light strength workout and hard bike ride after breakfast. Anticipating this, I brought a second string cheese and had it about 30 minutes after my lunch when I knew I was still actually hungry. This tided me over until my snack.

Snack
Smoothie: 1 cup skim milk + 1 cup frozen unsweetened blueberries + 1 T cold-pressed flaxseed oil (stirred in after blended)

I was ready for this snack by the time I ate it just after 4 PM. This seemed to be more filling than yesterday’s smoothie, even without the sunflower seeds to chew. I was leery of the oil, but it didn’t ruin the flavor.

Dinner
4 oz grilled tilapia, drizzled with 1 tsp olive oil
1 cup steamed green beans + mushrooms
1/2 cup cooked brown rice
Sassy Water

I had a heaping one cup of vegetables, feeling hungry leading up to dinner. I don’t think I had enough calories to replace what I burned on the bike ride. The meal was satisfying and tasty, though a bit blah. Again, I probably would have added a sauce if I were cooking it on my own. I added fresh lemon juice and that helped.

Day 2 Observations
I really wanted wine today. I had a friend over for dinner and it seemed strange that we weren’t chatting over cheese & crackers and a bottle of wine at 5 PM. It’s another “habit” that would have added at least 500 extra calories to my day and I’m glad I didn’t give in. I did have one of the TJ’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter cups after dinner. Since dark chocolate and PB are both “approved” items on the diet, I cheated splurged.

With the rigorous workout today, I think it was pretty clear that did not have enough calories. My Garmin indicated that I burned 1145 calories on my bike ride. I started to get a headache and was very irritable and was glad I had thought ahead to bring an additional “approved” lunch item. I am concerned about the cumulative effect of four days on this regimen, given that I am very active. While 1200 calories might be sustainable for a less active lifestyle, I am struggling.

Day 3

Day 4

 

Flat Belly Diet: Day 1

November 21, 2011 Food 2 Comments

I’m doing the Flat Belly Diet, starting with The Four-Day Anti-Bloat Jumpstart. Sunday was my first day.

“The goal of the jumpstart is to help you reduce or eliminate bloating and the sluggishness that accompanies it.”

I woke up hungry on Sunday morning and immediately went to the grocery store to get a few items I didn’t already have on-hand. The jumpstart gives you two days’ menus (that you repeat once) and you are to follow exactly for the best results. Lucky for me, I like everything on the menus. There are three meals and one snack each day, each around 300 calories. No booze, caffeine, sweets, carbonated beverages, fatty foods, fried foods, spicy foods, chewing gum.

Let the games begin!

Breakfast
1 serving Cream of Wheat
1 cup skim milk
2 T unsweetened raisins
1/4 cup roasted (unsalted) sunflower seeds
1 glass Sassy Water

Breakfast was surprisingly filling. It took me a long time to eat it all, and found that I wasn’t hungry for more than four hours after eating it. Off to a good start!

Lunch
4 oz. canned tuna (packed in water)
1 cup steamed carrots
1 light string cheese
1 glass Sassy Water

Lunch wasn’t that filling, but I wasn’t that hungry so it worked out. I added a few approved spices to the tuna to make it a little more interesting. I was concerned that I’d be hungry before dinner (even eating lunch at 2 PM), but knew I had a snack to rely on later in the afternoon.

Snack
Smoothie: 1 cup skim milk + 4 oz pineapple chunks (in juice) + handful ice
2 T roasted (unsalted) sunflower seeds

This seemed filling as I had it and I liked the sunflower seeds on the side to give me something to chew. I had this snack around 4 PM and was hungry again by 6:30.

Dinner
3 oz grilled chicken
1 cup grilled summer squash
1/2 cup brown rice

Dinner was satisfying in the amounts allowed, but I know I would have eaten more of everything if I hadn’t measured it out on my plate. I missed having a sauce of some sort for the chicken, but I had done a reasonably good job of marinating it, so it wasn’t flavorless by any means. I wasn’t hungry for the rest of the evening.

Day 1 Observations
I’m being forced to break old habits. Breaking the habit of eating an entire chicken breast just because it’s on my plate, or drinking a glass of wine just because it’s 5 PM, or having a piece of chocolate just because I’m finished with dinner. The first day made me really aware of how mindlessly I eat throughout the day.

I didn’t feel starved and I had to really check in with myself about that. Just because I was eating smaller portions than normal didn’t mean I was being deprived. Being on any restrictive diet like this (the jumpstart portion) kind of feels like being punished and that is hard for the first couple of days.

Between breakfast and lunch, I did a light strength workout (probably 30 minutes) followed by a 45 minute swim in the pool. I don’t think 1200 calories will be enough to sustain much more of a workout than that and I may have to supplement with an additional snack.

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

 

 

Drastic Measures

November 21, 2011 Food 2 Comments

I’m doing the Flat Belly Diet.

Have you guys heard of this? Don’t worry, the “Sassy Water” I’m drinking is more than lemon juice, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper. (I’ve tried that diet and while it is effective, it is not sustainable. Obviously.)

I don’t consider myself a crash dieter or one to follow every fad that comes along. I’m more of a believer in “everything in moderation” and keep myself in check based on how my clothes feel. Even now, my clothes feel fine and I know it isn’t the end of the world if I put on a few holiday/off-season/winter pounds. But we’ve got this beach vacation coming up, you see, and that is calling for drastic measures.

To my credit, I have stopped eating the kids’ Goldfish crackers and have embraced throwing their uneaten food away. However, left to my own devices, “everything in moderation” still meant that I was having at least one glass of wine most nights. When my in-laws were staying with us for 8 DAYS, it was many more than just one. I was also continuing to have at least one dark chocolate peanut butter cup every night. I never measure my portions and can pretty much justify everything I put in my mouth with the activity I did that day.

It’s no wonder the scale wasn’t moving and those daily swimsuit pictures weren’t looking any better! I know I’m not obese, and I looked at that as free reign to basically cheat at every turn. So, I decided it has to be all or nothing. For me to succeed at this and feel good about prancing around in a bathing suit, I need to have someone tell me what I can eat (in specific amounts) and what I cannot eat.

Flat Belly Diet to the rescue!

Factors that helped me decide this was the right plan for me:

  • Calorie intake is 1600 per day (1200/day on the 4-day Jumpstart). This is sustainable long-term. No one is starving. I understand you can even customize the calorie level using their website, based on your activity level and goals.
  • The approved foods are things I eat anyway. It’s lean protein, vegetables, whole grain carbs, and “good fats” like avocados, olive oil, nuts, and DARK CHOCOLATE!
  • The plan is easy. The 4-day Jumpstart is very rigid — which is what I need pre-vacation — and very fluid after that. I will just need to be diligent about portion control or I’m right back where I started.

My goal is not about getting to a number on the scale or fitting into a certain jean size. Rather, I want to feel confident in a bathing suit on our vacation and otherwise push the reset button on my eating habits. I want to get my portions in control and be more mindful about what I eat and how it affects the way I look and feel.

Here’s how I fared on the Four-Day Jumpstart Anti-Bloat Diet:

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Wine on Wednesday

November 9, 2011 Food, Fun 7 Comments

It’s Wednesday. Let’s talk about wine, shall we? In fact, let’s try to talk about it (and drink it, of course) every Wednesday. If you have something you’d like to talk about (or like me to talk about), leave a comment! As an introduction, I’ll tell you how I came to be a wino and we can move on to more cerebral topics in the weeks to come. Let’s begin.

(Kristen, I told you I was going to do this!)

This may come as a surprise to some, but it took me awhile to find my drinking legs. I didn’t drink in high school; I was too committed to all of my activities to risk being kicked off. Even in college, my sister got me drunk for the first time just a few months shy of my 21st birthday and it didn’t go well. I tried boozing it up after that, but I just wasn’t good at it (read: drunk dials followed by puking hangovers). I didn’t like the taste of beer and couldn’t hold my liquor (literally) with the hard stuff. It had to be sweet and fizzy for me to drink it and that was bad news.

Riunite Lambrusco was my gateway.

This magical “red wine” was served cold and has a little bit of fizz to it. At least that’s the way I remember it from the Olive Garden. Ah, Olive Garden. The college date night restaurant where I wanted to have an alcoholic beverage AND impress my boyfriend for being worldly. Riunite is Italian, no?

When I could be myself, I chose white zinfandel with my friend Paul on Wednesday nights. We’d order pizza and watch 90210. The original cast was my age (Class of ’93, yo!). I could soooooo relate to their troubles. Also, Luke Perry was easy on the eyes. White zin is still my mother’s go-to in the wine department, which I find endearing.

Then the boyfriend’s mom starting pouring me a glass of Carlo Rossi straight from the jug they kept in the garage “at the perfect temperature.”

I could definitely stomach red wine by this point and was glad to drink it if that’s what was being poured, but it wasn’t my true love. I still wanted something sweet — specifically Mike’s Hard Lemonade in the summer, or maybe even a margarita if it was being served. Fast forward through a break-up, a new relationship (complete with restraining order), and the stress of buying a house on my own… Oh yeah – and another break-up. The [sugary] drinks had become my best friend.

By this time, it’s 2003. Friends had introduced me and Greg through email and he and I were planning my visit to San Francisco to meet in person. While I don’t think anyone would have called me fat, I wanted to put my best foot/legs/abs/arms forward for our first meeting. I glommed onto The South Beach Diet and declared sugar as the mortal enemy. For the first two weeks, you’re on a very strict NO SUGAR (no fruit, no carbs of any sort, no booze) diet and then you add things back in during Phase 2 until you reach your goal weight. I lost 13 pounds in Phase 1. When I got to Phase 2, the only booze you could add back in was red wine.

I was born-again. I learned to love red wine (and vegetables) as part of The South Beach Diet.

Not only is it low in sugar, I look classy drinking it.

Are you a wino like me? What’s your story?

Secret Ingredients

November 7, 2011 Food No Comments

What I learned making dinner tonight:

Even the most bitter things will turn sweet and gooey if you supply a warm environment and check in to see how things are going every once in awhile. The secret ingredients are love and patience.

Here’s to caramelized onions and roasted garlic.