Friday, November 21, 2014

The holidays don't have to be the season of stretchy pants

Of course this had to be a food-centric post with Thanksgiving just a week away. Here's my thoughts about weight loss around Thanksgiving and the holidays in general: You don't gain weight by overeating on one or two days usually. If you indulge on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's with maybe a few treats sprinkled in between, you're probably not going to gain weight. The problem is that most people seem to view the period between Thanksgiving and New Year's as a food free-for-all. Anything goes! The concept of moderation seems to fly out the window. I know that it can be so hard to keep to your normal routine this time of year with temptations all around, and so very easy to say I'll be good tomorrow, or next week, or after New Year's. It's a slippery slope.

So with that in mind, I decided it would be good to share a few healthy, quick, and easy to make recipes for all those days that are not any of the above holidays. I got a lot of these recipes from my nutritionist. I know some blogs like to post healthy Thanksgiving recipes and that is great for some people. However, for me, I think it would just make me resentful if I replaced my old, admittedly unhealthy, family recipes with new, healthy ones on Thanksgiving. For example, I LOVE mashed cauliflower, but it is just not the same as my Nana's mashed potatoes with Duke's mayonnaise (I know, I know, sounds gross but it is delicious!). I let myself eat whatever the heck I want on Thanksgiving with the understanding that I will not be partaking of any leftovers afterwards. I get right back on track Friday. And actually, I usually don't really overindulge that much because I know how crappy that fatty food that I'm not used to makes me feel. Anyway, here's some of my current favorite recipes that I hope will help you keep on track on the rest of the month! Coincidentally, I happen to have pictures of most of these recipes.

 Chicken Parmesan Meatloaf Muffins

I'm actually makings these tonight! I made a slight alteration because I think it ends up tasting even better if you use half ground chicken and half  turkey sausage mixed together instead of just ground chicken. These are really fast and they freeze great!

Stuffed Peppers

I also made a slight alteration to these to cut down on the calories and make it low carb. I used shredded cauliflower instead of the rice. You just grate some cauliflower and saute it a few minutes and then just treat it the same as the cooked rice. I know it sounds weird, but the cauliflower really does taste like rice with way less calories and carbs. These are very filling. I've also made this same recipe with acorn squash instead of the peppers.

Crab Salad Melts

These are amazing! Plus they seem kind of fancy while being very easy to make. I usually have these with mashed cauliflower (can you tell I'm a bit obsessed with cauliflower?) or boiled squash. To make the mashed cauliflower, just steam the florets of cauliflower until soft and then place in a food processor with a couple wedges of swiss Laughing Cow cheese, a half cup plain Greek yogurt, and some salt and pepper. Or if you don't have a food processor, you could really just whisk all the ingredients together since the cauliflower is so soft.

Restaurant Style Buffalo Chicken Breast

I could seriously eat this every single day. It tastes so indulgent with the bleu cheese, but the great thing is that it's low calorie! Plus, it is extremely fast to make.

Flank Steak Pinwheels

This one is a bit more time-consuming to make, but they are worth it. They're pictured with the mashed cauliflower I mentioned before.

Peanut Butter Protein Cookies

I just made these for the first time the other day. I was a bit dubious of how the protein powder would make them taste, but they were really good! And of course, quick, which probably by this time you can tell is important to me. 

I hope you all will try out a few of these recipes. You don't have to be the bitter one in the corner of the room munching carrots sticks in order to lose weight this holiday season. Healthy food can be awesome tasting too! Please let me know what you think of these recipes, and if you like them, I'll post more soon. Also, I would love it if you would share any good recipes you have!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Being Humpty Dumpty isn't all it's cracked up to be

Terrible pun in the title, I know. I thought about adding in a joking/yolking pun too, but I was afraid then that people might actually start throwing eggs at me. So I actually came up with this post the other day when I was in a very weird/emo mood. I felt like I had to evaluate the contents when I was in a normal mood before posting in order to make sure it a) actually made sense and b)wasn't too crazy. I have come to the conclusion that I actually made some good points, so here goes.

I got to thinking about how all of us have broken parts or healed breaks in one place or another. Some of us just have more visible cracks than others. I was broken in a very visible way. Anyone could tell how very unhappy I was if they took even the most cursory glance at my life. I stayed in pieces for a long time, mainly because I didn't feel like I was worth the effort of putting back together. When I finally did decide I was worth the effort, I initially tried to mold myself and my life into exactly how it was before, when everything looked perfect on the outside. I thought only that result would mean I had been successful. Then I was kind of like, "Hang on, stupid...that didn't work out so great for you before." So I have put myself and my life back together differently now, pieced together a new and different me. Maybe it doesn't look so perfect on the outside. That's okay, I'm far from perfect on the inside too. I'm not all about being perfect anymore though.

I spent a long time being ashamed of some of the choices I have made in my past that led to me being so broken. I just couldn't forgive myself for not being perfect. And really, if I am not willing to give myself a second chance, how can I expect others to? But lately I have come to realize that all of my choices, good and bad, led me to where I am today, and I like that place very much. It would be easy to say that you wish you could take back all those bad choices, and then life would be perfect. But the truth is that you can't control cause and effect. You don't know if some bad choices are what ultimately led to some good choices and outcomes. So my past is just that; my past. For the most part, I have moved past being ashamed of part of it. My feeling is that you can either be bitter about the way things have gone in the past, or you can strive to to make the future better.

The nurse/scientific part tells me that breaks and scars in the human body can only be 80% as strong as they were before (why I remember that random fact from school, I couldn't tell you). But what I am here to say is that emotional breaks and scars are just proof that you were stronger than whatever tried to hurt you. That they are a sign of healing. That they enable you to be stronger than you could have ever been otherwise, if you allow yourself to be. My broken places are in some ways my very strongest parts. I am perfectly imperfect, just like everyone else is in one way or another. As the great orator Emilio Estevez once said (haha, such a random person, but I really like this quote), "We are all wonderful, beautiful wrecks. That's what connects us--that we're all broken, all beautifully imperfect."

So yeah, at this point you may be wondering if this post is a result of too many bottles of wine or something. I assure you, it is not. Like I said, I was in a weird mood and this is the result of it. I hope you get something out of it. I'll share one more quote, because a) it's my blog and I do what I want b) if you've read this blog before, you already know that I'm obsessed with collecting quotes and c) I really like this quote too, mainly because Ernest Hemingway is my dawg.