Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Oops, one more...

...quick post.

Erika at Tummy Treasure is getting ready to post her VRC: Food on a Stick!

I'm embarassed to say that I did not have a chance to try out any recipes - I was looking forward to playing around with this fun theme! Cooking will likely be a rather rare topic here until after we move to PA, which is coming up very soon. But more on that later..........

I can't wait to see what everyone comes up with and hope to join in again soon. Thanks again for hosting, Erika!

Daily Updates

Just another quick post. I will be posting my exercise and eating results on a daily basis (as often as possible). Check the sidebar under Health and Fitness. This will be a work in progress and likely to change a few times before I develop a routine.

Calorie and Exercise Chart

Return of Wednesday Weigh-In

And better sooner than later! It seems that I abandoned the Wednesday Weigh-In before it had really even started! But now that I am no longer working outside the home (huge sigh of relief), I have more time to devote to fitness and, hopefully, blogging too. Sad to say that I have GAINED 5 pounds since the last posting - not at ALL what I wanted. I have now officially entered the zone where I do not feel comfortable with my weight and it is starting to make me feel self-concious and just plain frumpy. Not to mention none of my clothes fit. I refuse to buy new clothes, however - seems like that would make it easier to stay this way. Just five pounds would make some of my clothes fit better............

Seems to me I have several "zones" if you will, when it comes to gaining weight. There is my unattainable ideal weight - the weight I would really like to be but know that my body will no longer allow me to be. This ideal weight is really not even a true zone since I'm not striving for it, but I include it because it is often on my mind. The second zone is my more realistic ideal weight - a weight that I can attain, have attained, but have to work pretty hard to maintain. The third zone is my "I'd like to not go over this weight if at all possible" - a weight where I still feel comfortable and can often maintain but still have to devote a fair amount of time and energy. The fourth zone is my "Uh, oh, things are beginning to get out of control" weight - I still feel okay at this weight, but know that I'd better get it under control. I have now surpassed the fifth zone - the weight at which I no longer feel good about how I look and have definitely, officially even, entered the overweight zone. Each of these zones increases in about 5 pound increments, more or less.

So, now I start the journey again - one that I started a few years back, but that time I was about 6 pounds lighter. Harumph. It's daunting to be facing a 20-pound weight loss, but I also know that even 5 pounds will make me feel better. That definitely makes it seem much more doable, less daunting. Once that five is gone, we can approach the next five and so on. I don't know if I'll be able to get back to my realistic ideal this time, but at least this gives me a goal, something to shoot for.

To achieve my goal, I'll be using FitDayPC to track my calories and trying to get in more exercise. I've been really good about walking almost every day, but I need to do more weights. I'll start off shooting for 2 days a week for weights and keep with walking every day. I'm sure I'll need to up this at some point, but I need to start slow and not overwhelm myself. We'll be moving in the next 2 weeks, so the plan will inevitably get thrown off course for a few days, but I will do my best!

So, here is my new tracker:

Friday, May 26, 2006


Summer of 2004

The kids and I are officially on Summer Break! Today was our last day of school for both students (the boys) and employee (me). The school secretary actually works all the way through June, but since we're moving, I told my principal that I would be leaving as soon as the boys were finished.

Maybe I'll finally have time to blog again. I can't believe my last post was on the 13th!

We are officially set to start moving on June 15th. The moving company comes that day to start packing us and depending on how long that takes, we'll be leaving the 16th or the 17th. It's coming up so fast!

It will be nice to be off work and have more free time, but it's still going to be quite busy.

Tomorrow we are having a BBQ for the boys and their friends so that they can have a sort of going away party. Sunday we are going to the annual rib cook-off held by our good friends, only this year Chuck won't be cooking. We still want to go - not only to taste what the other guys are cooking up, but as a way to see most of our friends before we head out.

After that we have a birthday party for my oldest, baseball games, basketball camp and I hope to squeeze in a garage sale somewhere too.

Nothing to report on the kitchen front. I've not been doing much at all lately but hope to get back to cooking - even if it doesn't involve new and exciting recipes - now that I'll have a bit more time. We're doing only the basics tomorrow - hamburgers, brats, watermelon, corn on the cob, chips and ice cream bars - so I probably won't be back with recipes, but maybe I'll have a WDB posting or a random tidbit here and there.

My next big cooking project is to find and try a great cake recipe for my oldest's 12th birthday. I'm trying to make up for botching his birthday last year by barely doing a thing. I'm thinking chocolate and peanut butter......mmmm...............

Saturday, May 13, 2006

44º and rainy in May isn't all bad...

...if you get to bake. And bake I did.

Up until this week, we've been very spoiled by gorgeous weather. Most of April and the first week of May were in the 60s and 70s, dry, sunny and just beautiful. Then a couple of days ago a low-pressure system stalled over us and it's been cool and rainy ever since. A bit depressing, but a good excuse to bake - something I don't much care to do when it's sunny and warm.

Photo from Pillsbury

I often check out what Anna's up to over at Cookie Madness. The other day I spied a very unusual recipe that she had tried - Peanut Butter Crunch Brownies - from the Pillsbury Bake-Off. This recipe is not normally something I would try. First of all, it sounds a bit odd and second of all it uses a boxed brownie mix (I have yet to meet a boxed brownie that doesn't scream "box") and a sugary cereal (something we don't like to keep around the house). In the end, though, I was fascinated and intrigued and decided to give it at try.

At first glance, I was afraid it might be one of those recipes that sounds simple enough but can turn into a disaster. You know the type - the layers are really hard to spread or you don't have enough of each layer to cover and you end up with a uneven, jumbled mess. I'm happy to report that each of these layers worked very easily and just as they should. Even getting them out of the pan wasn't too bad - though the top cracks, but it does at least stay in place for the most part. I did use aluminum foil to line the pan, but I didn't try lifting them out of the pan - these brownies are quite heavy!

These are good, but maybe bordering on too sweet for me. Very filling and I cut them into much smaller squares than the recipe - more like 40 instead of 24. I keep thinking that they'd be good with maybe just the PB layer or just the caramel layer but maybe not both. I definitely like the PB layer best. I also don't like the chocolate chips in the brownie layer but I should have known better since I usually don't like chips in my brownies. The only thing I did differently was to use Ghiardelli's 60% bittersweet chocolate chips and Ghiardelli brownie mix. Even with the Ghiardelli mix, I'm still not a big fan of brownie mixes and would possibly try this recipe again with a homemade brownie layer.

The main downside to this recipe is that it dirtied up 4 bowls (not bad, but not exactly easy clean-up either) and is a little pricey to make. But the worst part? Waiting 2-3 hours before getting to try one!

Check this out...............................

By the way.....for those of you who missed it, Anna was on Oprah last week!!! How cool is that?? You can check out the video here - it shows most of the segment.

Rain, rain, go away..................

Thursday, May 04, 2006

VRC: Food on a Stick

Erika has posted the theme for May's VRC and it's Food on a Stick! I'm so glad to have guest bloggers host VRC just for these fun and interesting themes that I would never come up with myself. I hope I have time to come up with something fun and creative, but I do have a few good satay recipes to share if all else fails.

Just another short post tonight. Today was a looonnnngggg day. Tuesday and Thursday nights keep me running from when we leave for work (7:15 a.m.) to about the same time at night. Between work, baseball and Tae Kwon Do, it's a bit busy. All in all, though, I prefer to have 2 chaotic nights of activities than to spread it out over the whole week and have something going every night. At least this way I get evenings that we can keep to ourselves.

Time to see if I can get up the motivation to walk the dog. It's good for me and it's good for him and I can treat myself to a little red wine when I'm done. I think I'll go for it!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

VRC: ???

Just a quick post tonight to let everyone know that Erika from Tummy Treasure has graciously offered to host VRC for next month.

She has come up with a great theme that I think could be A LOT of fun, but I'll let her be the one to tell you. So stay tuned and check Tummy Treasure for next month's theme.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

VRC: Salad

Sorry for the delay, but here, finally, is the VRC: Salad round-up.

Participation was light this month, but I did not do a good job getting the word out to places like IMBB, etc. Lately I have lots of good intentions, but not enough time.

In any case, here is what I received and I think all of those who participated.

Zoubida, our French VRC hostess from Kitchen Culture, sent in her Bow Tie Salad, or Salade de Noeuds Papillons. Looks like the perfect salad for the summer months ahead.

Next up is Haalo from Cook (almost) Anything at Least Once with two recipes. One for Kipfler Potato Salad which looks seriously good.

and a salad that I have yet to try, Fattoush.

Next up, Erika from Tummy Treasure with an alluring-sounding Orange-Scented Couscous Salad with Almonds, Cilantro and Cucumbers.

Pat from Up a Creek Without a Patl wins for longest recipe title with her Black Eyed Peas and Spring Green Salad with Caramelized Sweet Onion Vinaigrette. That dressing sounds like a must-try! Beautiful photo too.
Ramya from Cooking Within My Grasp sent in an Indian-inspired salad of Cucumber and Dried Tomatoes.
And lastly, my own entry. We have lots of favorite salads, but this is one that I have not shared yet on my blog. It's one of our favorite quick summertime salads. It's very healthful and pretty too - Warm Salmon Salad à la Provençal.

That's it for this month's round-up. The coming month is going to be even busier than the last, so I'm considering taking a break from VRC for next month but would like to keep it going if possible. Would anyone be willing to host for May (to be posted at the end of May/1st of June)? If so, please email me and we'll work out the details.