No Fry Fries

I bought a 10 pound bag of potatoes, this seems to be a pattern with me, if you remember a while back I bought 11 pounds of apples [link] The original recipe says the serving size is 4, and calls for the use of 2 potatoes, so you are looking at ½ a potato as a serving. I ate two servings, nope that’s a lie, there are two servings in the below picture, but I ate them all. ALL 4 servings, sigh, got to hit the gym. Maybe it will work out better next time, at least the wrap was under 200 calories.

No Fry Fries:
by: Self

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Ingredients:
2 large russet potatoes, peeled
olive oil spray
salt

Directions:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. cut potatoes in half horizontally; cut each half in 1/3 inch thick fries and place in a bowl of cold water. remove from cold water after a few minutes and dry thoroughly. Place fries on a cookie sheet, spray with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast until cooked through, turning half way, approx 25 minutes.

Related No Fry Potato Recipes:
No Fry Spicy Potato Skins
Spicy Baked Sweet Potato Fries
No Fry No Guilt Recipe For Potatoes

It has begun

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Well today was the day started the office winter weight loss challenge. The official weigh in was at 10 am this morning. Needless to say this week was kind of a difficult week, I missed two of my workout classes that I try to attend every week, and was about 15 minutes late to my spinning class this morning. Sad I wasn’t on time, but at least I made it in for most of the class. I was tempted to stay in bed, as soon as I finished that thought I literally jumped out of bed (sorry downstairs neighbor!) and started getting ready to leave.
I was using Livestrong to measure what I was eating, then the holidays came around and I abandoned that! Time to start that up again. Ok, not to get into a huge discussion about this but people are all talking about how Lance Armstrong was doping and what not I agree with my friend who put it this way: “I can’t help but feel sorry for people like Lance Armstrong. I’ve made tons of mistakes in my life and none have made it on the world news”. I would hate for my mistakes to be splashed across newsstands, whatever you may believe, I personally would just be cautious and have compassion. I don’t’ know what he went through, or even how he is feeling now.
On to the challenge! My plan of attack will be: 1) Using the My Plate on Livestrong to accurately measure my calories per day (even on the weekends) 2) Workout 4-6 times a week incorporating strength, cardio, and stretching 3) Incorporate more exercise in daily life, in example parking farther from the entrance, walking during my breaks at work. I believe with these 3 changes will have a big impact on my weight loss goals. I have been pretty consistent with working out 4 times a week, minus this past week. I eat pretty healthy, but without monitoring my portions, I find that the portions get larger and larger!
There were two categories as I have mentioned before, I decided to go with trying to lose 4% of my body weight over the next 12 weeks. That is 7 lbs, sounds simple right? Well remember this challenge I did? 6 weeks of being pretty intense and I lost a lot of inches but the weight didn’t change too much. Which is alright, but for this challenge is based on weight loss and not body composition. There is a total of 19 participants in this office, this is a companywide challenge! More may join but I’m not sure if they will.
As eating healthy is a main variable I can control in this challenge, I will be posting some healthy recipes that I will be trying out. I may try to be gluten free in February or try the Paleo Diet. For the most part I know that people who go gluten free do so because of a medical reason. While I do not have a gluten allergy, people I’ve talked with have said in general that they have become healthier since going gluten free, both people with and without medical conditions. I know that there is a difference between gluten free and Paleo, but not completely sure of it, will need to do more research. I’ve hear a lot of people talking about a Paleo diet.

Have you tried the Paleo Diet? If so what are your thoughts about it? Did you notice a difference in weight, and how you felt? Let me know!

Related:
12 week challenge

Christmas, New Years, and the start of 2013

I realized today that it was the middle of the month and I haven’t really mentioned much of what I’ve been doing besides working out. While I love a good workout, it is not the only thing going on in my life. Please excuse if this becomes a bit lengthy.
Christmas: My family lives out of state, and while I’d love to spend the time with them, driving 6 hours can be a little dangerous during the holidays. Especially since most of the trek is through Indiana, which is pretty flat, so any kind of snow just blows and covers up the highways, even if it’s just been plowed. Another thing is the weather changes fast! I have literally just watched as the temperatures have drop mile by mile. There was one time I drove through an ice storm into a blizzard, not my ideal travel weather. So in order to calm everybody’s nerves I visit on Thanksgiving and then when the north begins to thaw. Normally someone will adopt me for the holidays, and I volunteer a lot at church so I’m not alone on Christmas. This year was super special, I hosted at my place. It was so fun, my friend’s mom was in town and we made homemade enchiladas, Mexican rice, and beans. It was some of the best Mexican food I’ve ever had! I will make sure to put the recipes up here.
New Years! What a fun night it was! A friend opens up his place of business and all our friends get together and have a great time. There are several awesome reasons I love this the most, it is either friends or friends of friends so there isn’t the worry that one might have if you were to go out to a club on New Years. The entry fee, have you ever tried to go out on New Years? It is expensive! We did pay, but it was a relatively small amount and half of it went to this company that does random acts of kindness throughout my city. How cool is that?

20130116-103842.jpg With the New Year come resolutions… I’m not normally one of those people who makes them, because why do I have to wait to the New Year to start changing my life? However, my dear friend came up with this in her own life and I really liked it, because I’m not always on time to things. Here it is, whenever you are late, to anything in your life, you have to do 1 push up per 1 minute late. Let me just tell you now it can get SUPER awkward, or hilarious depending on if you are doing the pushups or watching. Once I’ve said I will do something though, I have to follow through on it. I’m either going to be the most punctual person after this year, or have killer arms either way it’s a win!
On to 2013, woo hoo! A new year, I believe that it is true that time flies when you get older. It often times seems like the year is over before I know it! That is why I think it’s so important to try and do everything I can to make a difference with the time that I have. Do I get sidetracked and sometimes need to stop and refocus my priorities, often, but the key for me at least is to not let these bumps in the road stop the journey that I’m on. To realize that every day is a new day with new chances to help others, and that every day brings new mercies and a chance to do better than yesterday. This is what my focus of the year will be, to do a little better than I did the day before. One of the things I’m working on is having a journal/planner/scrapbook. A working project and is attended to on a weekly basis, to put it into words while the memories are fresh in my mind so that I can look back later and be able to have a clearer picture of what my year looked like. Some fun things that I got to be part of this year was an awesome pizza making event with friends

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20130116-104002.jpg got to watch basketball game with a bunch of wonderful friends. I’m finally starting to get into watching basketball, it’s huge in my town.

20130116-104059.jpg that’s a pretty dark picture but I didn’t want to blind everyone with a flash. One thing in January that I’m really excited about is the Girls Club Fitness and Dance Class. What a great idea, we get some of the girls from the neighborhood to come together and hang out, dance, devotional time, and learn about healthy lifestyles. This will be going on all January long. This past Monday was the first class, and it was a huge hit!

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Hope the start of 2013 has treated you well so far.

12 Week Winter Weight Loss Challenge

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After I already committed to this workout challenge which also I signed up for a different area of focus each month. I’m not 100% sure what I signed myself up for, but I believe that each month I will be getting a new workout challenge automatically sent to my e-mail. I think that’s kind of fun!! So after I already decided to do that challenge I got an email from the office stating this:

Whether you feel like you are way over weight or simply want to drop a few extra pounds, this is the challenge for you! Join the Winter Weight Loss Challenge.
This is how it works:
· It’s a 12 week challenge with the first weigh in on 1/18/13.
· We will have two groups:
o Group A – Lose 4% of your body weight in 12 weeks
o Group B – Lose 8% of your body weight in 12 weeks
· Once you choose which group you want to participate in, you cannot jump to the other group.
· It costs $20 to join the challenge to be paid by 1/25/13. If you don’t pay by then, you are dropped out of the challenge.
· Winners in each group split the pot with the winners in their group! As an added incentive, we will DOUBLE THE POT!
· If you don’t lose your percentage…you lose your $20.
· The person that loses the highest percentage of weight receives the “Biggest Loser” trophy at the end of the challenge. They keep it until the next challenge.
· Weigh ins are every Friday at your office’s Focal Point’s desk.
o Weekly weigh ins are not mandatory, but recommended to help keep you on track. The first and last weigh ins are required and must be verified by the Focal Point.
· Employees have the option to weigh in with their shoes on or off during the first weigh in. Whatever is decided will be the way for that individual to weigh in at the final weigh in.
· There are no rules to how you lose the weight.
· The challenge ends on 4/12/13.
We encourage anyone who feels the need for a change to participate. Work as a team to support each other, set milestones and help keep your location’s team on track.

Well you better believe I’m going to sign myself up for that! I figured that I could do both since one is just about how much you lose and not a specific workout plan that they want you to follow. I did look at another challenge that I may start myself on next month. I say challenge, but it is more of just adding in exercises that focus on my abs, a place that I have always struggled with to tone. While I can see more muscle definition in almost all areas of my body, that is except my stomach. I know this is a huge struggle for most women, it has become a little flatter but there is still work that can be done.

I’ve continued on with my normal workouts of M W F spinning and T TH triad classes. These challenges that I embark on are just to spice things up, to give myself some short term goals to work towards, rather than just trying to lose weight.

What do you do to not get in a workout rut? How often do you switch up your workout routines? Or does yours stay the same?

Beginning the 18th I will be starting my second challenge of the year, and January isn’t even over yet! Wish me luck guys! I’ve got a feeling I’m going to need it. I’m still trying to decide if I want to go with trying to lose 4% or 8% of my body weight. The 8% would be closer to my target weight that I want to eventually get down to I’m a little concerned because over my 6 week challenge I only lost 4 lbs but more than 12 inches. The office challenge is specifically about weight loss and not inches, I still have a couple of days to decide, as of right now it’s looking like I’ll be going into the 4% group. I’m looking to slim down but mostly work on my muscle definition rather than weight loss, the weight will come off but I want to be toned first!

Related posts:
First workout challenge
21 day total body makeover
Skinny Jeans Workout

Mac and Cheese Baked Cups

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One of my favorite things about having people over is being able to cook for them. It may seem a little strange, but I love trying out new recipes and if I don’t give them to someone else I’m bound to eat them all myself! There is also something about all the fun appetizer size recipes that are super fun to try out as well. For example this Mac and Cheese cup recipe that I originally found here.

Another thing I love is cheese; I may currently have 6-7 different types of cheese in my fridge at this very moment. This may not be the healthiest recipe I make, but making these in muffin tins does help with portions. Although I did just have a friend of mine tell me he has been thinking about these at night ever since he had them at my place, these are some really good muffin mac and cheese! This recipe is easy to double or triple if you are having a lot of people over.

Mac and Cheese Baked Cups

Ingredients:
2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
1 tbsp butter
1 egg beaten
1 cup milk
1 ½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
½ cup season dry bread crumbs (I used Italian flavor)
2 tsp olive oil
½ tsp salt

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin tin with non stick cooking spray. In a small bowl, stir together breadcrumbs, olive oil and salt, set aside
2. Bring a large pot of slightly salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook for about 8 minutes, the pasta should still be firm. Remove from heat, drain and return to pan; stir in the butter and egg until evenly coated. (I used the butter first so that it would melt faster). Reserve ½ cup cheddar cheese and stir in the remaining cheddar cheese, milk and mozzarella cheese into the pasta. Spoon into the prepared muffin tin. Sprinkle the reserved cheese (I added extra) and then the bread crumb mixture over the top of each of the muffins.
3. Bake for 30 minutes or until the tip is nicely browned. Allow the muffins to cool for several minutes before removing them from the pan. This will allow the cheese to set and they will hold their muffin shape.

First workout challenge of 2013

My cousin is amazing; she just finished her nursing degree and is hilarious. When I first moved to Lexington she was one of the two people I knew in Kentucky. She is on a journey to fitness and I kind of stalk her blog on a regular basis, but we’re family so it cool. While I was looking at her blog I noticed she is in the process of a 4 week workout plan. I think I just found my first challenge of the New Year! Before the holidays I was pretty consistent with my working out and weight loss. That all changed when I went to my parents for Thanksgiving. Not sure about you, but when the normal routine of life changes everything goes out the window. Be that a change in scenery will affect my work out schedule, or a change in my sleeping cycle will affect my eating habits, strange that something that doesn’t seem to be that big of a deal can have such drastic affect on my life. I’m apparently more structured that I thought, and like schedules more then I realized, who knew? So while I have a wonderful workout partner that has helped me get back into the habit of working out I still feel as if I’ve taken two steps backwards for all of my previous progress. I’m in need of a good challenge to kick start my progress again! It’s also great to have a little something extra to do for days, like this morning, that I oversleep and missed my morning workout. Now I have been trying to workout Monday through Friday with one day a week I’m allowed to miss, let’s be honest there are just those mornings where staying in my nice warm bed wins the battle, especially in winter.

Working out is NOT a New Year’s resolution, it is a personal decision towards a healthier lifestyle I started a couple of years ago when I decided to start with the couch to 5K workout. Let me give you a quick synapse of my life after that decision: winter 2009 starting couch to 5K, my running partner invited me to church, have gone weekly since then and my life has changed, did a 5K and then trained and ran a ½ marathon in Louisville 2010, took the summer off, started training for my second ½ fall/winter of 2010, ran another ½ in early 2011 and then nothing until September of 2012 when I starting going to the gym.

During the training for my first ½ I learned how much eating the correct foods mattered and since then my eating habits have turned to being a little healthier then they have been in the past, I now have to stick with the working out. Sometimes I get bored with working out, that’s the great thing about my self-appointed challenges! It not about trying to win against someone else, I’m doing this so that I can win against myself. So that by the time I finish a challenge I can look back and see the improvement that I made from when I started. I think that this so important, rather than try and compare myself to other people, I am comparing myself to myself. However my only New Year’s resolution is this: If I am late to anything I have to do 1 pushup per minute late, I’m bound to have the best tank top arms come spring!

The Challenge:
First I would like to say that I am glad this workout plan comes from Fitness magazine, the reason, is the eating plan and suggested foods that goes along with it will be healthy and safe. Sometimes I wonder about the ‘quick fix diets’ that are sometimes advertised in the magazines that randomly show up in my mailbox. If by chance you know who is signing me up for these subscriptions please tell to STOP, within the last month I’ve gotten three different types of magazines sent to me… Back to the challenge that I am embarking on though: It’s a 4 week program with 20 minute sessions! There are video instructions, diet, and workout journal all here. Boy am I glad that the workout journal starts on a Monday so that means that I am only one day behind, I ate healthy and went to the gym yesterday so I’ll do some weight training today! Woo Hoo!!! We are going to say January 7th 2013 is the official beginning of this Challenge! By February 4th it will be completed. I’ll make sure do write a follow up to let you know how it goes.

Are you currently doing a workout challenge? If so what is it? And how is it currently going? Should I try it out next?

The original post that inspired my first workout challenge of the New Year:
http://amandakash.wordpress.com/2013/01/07/hoorah-for-cross-training/#more-740

It’s Soup Season

Winter is officially here! The weather has turned coder and we recently received our first snowfall. While I originally lived in the Chicagoland area, I moved south to avoid the harsh Chicago winters. While milder, winter in Kentucky can still get colder than what I prefer, thankfully I love blankets, hot coffee and soup, all perfect things to warm me up when the temperatures drop. Getting sick seems to accompany the cold weather, recently when I was sick I discovered the wonderfulness of chicken noodle soup. Now, now I’d eaten chicken noodle soup before, but when I was sick it was the ONLY thing that I could eat. I had a new appreciation for it, I’m not kidding either, I ate chicken noodle soup for two weeks straight. I started with just some canned Campbell’s, and I must have looked really pathetic at work because two different co-workers brought me homemade chicken noodle soup as well! Between the two of them they were my main source of my soup for that two week period. Once I had homemade soup there was no way I could go back to the canned stuff! That and I was looking for something that has less sodium and canned soup sure does have a lot of sodium.

Chicken Noodle Soup
by BHG

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Ingredients:
4 ½ cups chicken broth (I used low sodium)
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup sliced carrot
1 cup sliced celery
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 ½ cups dried egg noodles
2 cups chopped cooked chicken

Directions:
1. In a 3 quart pan combine everything except the dried egg noodles and the chicken. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer covered for 5 minutes. For the onions I put them in a food processor so they were almost non-existent. The original recipe does not tell you what kind of chicken to use, again to try and go the healthier route I cooked my chicken in a saucepan with a little bit of water until the chicken was no longer pink. Once cooked, I cut up the chicken, and lightly seasoned with a pinch of salt and pepper.
2. Stir in noodles. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 8 to 10 minutes or until noodles are tender but still firm and vegetable are just tender. Remove and discard the bay leaf. stir in chicken; heat through.

I’ve made this recipe twice, the second time I doubled it and divided and froze the second half of the soup to have on hand in case I get sick again. Happy soup season! What’s your favorite soup to make?