Tuesday, November 30

Lesson Learned... the Hard Way

Holy Cow Lamb... Last night, I almost had a heart attack or some other debilitating episode. Let me explain…

My family and I ate at Outback Steakhouse for my sister’s birthday. I was super excited because they have a gluten-free menu and gluten-free dessert. Yes! I decided I would get a rack of lamb with no sauce (I only ate half), and 2 sides of veggies, no seasoning or butter. Seems sensible and fairly healthy right? For a little bit of naughty, I figured I could share the Chocolate Thunder from Down Under flourless chocolate cake with my mom. I knew it was bad, but I thought, if my meal had no sauce or butter I could spare a few extra cals on dessert. I have no idea why, but when I got home, I had the bright idea of checking the cals for these dishes. Well curiosity killed the cat- or the Fit Food Lover in this case. Brace yourself:

New Zealand Rack of Lamb (I thought Outback was Australian… *confusion*): 1,304 calories

I had it sans sauce and only a half portion. But still, it was probably about 2 meals worth, just the meat…

Luckily, I was smart and had no butter on my veggies.

Now for the kicker.

Chocolate Thunder from Down Under: 1,220 calories

Again, I only ate half of this, but that equals almost as much as I eat in two meals.

While figuring out how many calories each of these things were worth, I stumbled across several websites with titles like, “Highest Calorie Restaurant Foods”. Both of these dishes graced the lists of shame. Speaking of shame, it is overwhelming me right now… Apparently, the rack of lamb (the entire thing) contains 3 times the daily limit of saturated fat. Fantastic.

To sum it all up for you, I probably consumed more in one sitting than I do in a day. I feel like I need to go run 10 miles. Ugh. That is the last time I eat out without checking nutrition facts. Lesson learned.

Healthy eating for the day= epic fail. I will be eating Spinach for the next week.

Monday, November 29

Long, Wonderful, Food-Filled Weekend

Sunday ended the longest family togetherness, cookin’-est 5 days of my life. It was amazing.

Following Thanksgiving was the infamous BLACK FRIDAY! WOO HOO! My mom, aunt, and I took my sister and three of my cousins shopping at midnight. We hit Old Navy and Kohls before 4 AM. (I am fairly certain I burned off about a million calories just holding all of the clothes for that long.) We went home, slept, and went back out with the rest of my cousins (the other five) to Target and TJ Maxx. The day was torturous, but well worth the pain. We rewarded ourselves with Thanksgiving leftovers. Yum.

Saturday, my mom and I spent the entire day cooking, again. My grandfather so graciously informed us on Thanksgiving that his brothers were coming to visit and that we would be entertaining somewhere between 15 and 30 people. Thanks for the information so far in advance. We shopped frantically for more food on Saturday morning and returned, in grubby clothes and no makeup, to people waiting at our door. Apparently my grandfather told them it was ok to come over 2 hours before we’d planned. Geez. So we had to whip up some snacks pronto.
Gluten-free crackers
Spinach Dip
My mom made this traditional holiday drink for our Caribbean relatives.
Coquito: Coconut Milk, Coconut Water, Condensed Milk, and Rum
I thought about putting it under the Yummy Stuff page, but this is NOT a healthy drink. I had a little, but it was very sweet. Not a huge fan. I stuck to red wine.

Gizmo liked it. Pixie investigating.
 We spent the rest of the day preparing food for these hungry Cubans. 
Dinner turned out to be amazing.
Roast with Gravy. I only had a teensy weensy bit.
Peas, purple potatoes, carrots, roasted veggies, mashed potatoes.
Death on a platter. I did not partake in this gluten-fest.
 Food, food, and more food. I curbed my intense desire to stuff my face and had a normal sized plate.

Then had some post-dinner entertainment. Three of my cousins thought it would be a great idea to attack my 6'7, 280 lb. step-dad.The sugar must've gone to their heads.
Back surfing. Blurred faces of pain.
More pain.
A sad attempt at putting my step-dad in a sleeper hold.
After this picture came repeated pile drives from the weasel in the gray shirt. 
Good times.

Sunday was another shopping day. It was my 5th (?), maybe 6th (?) time shopping for a wedding dress. To fuel up, I had a simple breakfast of cottage cheese and sliced apple. Not very picture worthy, but healthy and delicious.

Finally, I found a dress! I am still so happy. I love it and I can’t wait to wear it! (You’ll have to keep reading for the next few months to see it!)

When we got home, I was so hungry, so I had some leftovers.
Roasted Peppers, Brussels Sprouts, and Onions

Purple Potatoes and Carrots
Later in the afternoon, I convinced my entire family to come on a walk with me (I think they wanted to work off some of those Thanksgiving calories!). The weather was beautiful and I just soaked up the family time. <3 Loved it.

For dinner, my wonderful mama made gluten-free turkey pot pie using left over turkey and veggies. Healthy and delicious! The only thing that was a little naughty was the crust.... I seriously don’t remember the last time I ate this. GF Bisquick might be the greatest addition to the GF community thus far.
 I finished the night off with a dessert of Honey Nut Chex. Like I needed dessert…
 General Mills Chex Honey Nut Cereal, 13.8 oz (Pack of 6)

Now it’s back to the real world. We're pooped
I love the tongue sticking out.

Dear Food-Fest: I am glad you’re over, but you will be missed.

Sunday, November 28

Pumpkin Streusal Cheesecake Bars

I made these 3 times over the course of Thanksgiving week. They are amazingly good.
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 8 oz packages cream cheese (low fat), softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 box General Mills yellow cake mix
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp whipping cream
Heat oven to 350°F. In medium bowl, stir together cake mix and pecans. With pastry blender or fork, cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Reserve 1 cup mixture for topping. In bottom of ungreased 13x9-inch pan, press remaining mixture. Bake 10 minutes.

In large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add remaining ingredients; beat until well blended. Pour over warm crust. Sprinkle with reserved topping.

Bake about 35 minutes or until center is set. Cool 30 minutes. Refrigerate about 2 hours or until chilled. For bars, cut into 6 rows by 4 rows. Store covered in refrigerator.

Peas with Onions and Bacon

New Thanksgiving favorite!
  • 1 lb frozen peas
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 lb Canadian bacon, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper
Cook bacon on med in a large frying pan until crisp. Set aside on plate with paper towel to absorb grease. Saute onions with olive oil until translucent. Add peas and heat through. Top with bacon and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Friday, November 26

Day of Thanks

Aaah Thanksgiving. The one day you can stuff your face the entire day and not feel bad about it. You spend upwards of 10 hours cooking for all of your creations to be demolished in less than an hour. It’s a day to spend with family, giving thanks for all of the wonderful joys God has blessed you with.

This wonderful day has rendered me completely pooped… and it’s nowhere near finished. In a few hours, we will be dragging our tired selves out to stores teaming with hundreds of deal-hungry people. This masochistic expedition is otherwise known as BLACK FRIDAY SHOPPING! Hopefully I will live to tell the tale…

As you know, my posts are usually about the day before, but today is different. Today is a day unlike any other. Today, my body has requested several times that I simply lie on the floor and pass out, but I have not given in. Instead, I got in an early morning workout and have cooked since 9:00 AM.

I technically had two Thanksgiving holidays since I cooked a meal for my boss yesterday as well. Since I knew that I would be consuming an exorbitant amount of calorie-laden goodies, I had to work out, no questions asked. I had hoped to complete my running program on yesterday, but it just didn’t happen. I did run 30 minutes, just not consecutive minutes.I figured, I burn the same amount of calories either way, so who cares. It was hard work. Evidence:
Exhibit 1: This should be my profile pic.
Exhibit 2: Exhausted dog.
 I woke up this morning sore from yesterday, but I knew I would have to sacrifice my comfort so that I can enjoy my meal without guilt. My running for today was as follows:

For 25 minutes, alternate walking 5 min, running 5 min. For the next 20 minutes, alternate walking 1 min and running 1 min. This sounds a little haphazard, BUT running like this made me work a lot harder than if I were to just run 20 minutes straight. I had to give myself a pat on the back. J

After my run, my mom and I got right to cooking. It was a blast. I am fairly certain that I could cook every day of my life, all day, and be totally ok with it. I love it. At around 3, half of the clan arrived. The rest rolled in at about 6, and the feast commenced at 7.   
Some preparing, some watching those preparing.

Mother/Daughter Cuteness

The boys... and M.

For some reason, my aunt brought these crazy fake eye lashes.

Saying grace.


More food...

Random arm wrestling.

My dinner. Only one plate!

Adult table. We are segregated.

Dessert bowl. O.M.G.

Thanksgiving is a day for family. Often times, I find myself getting annoyed with them, being stressed out by them, and sometimes having thoughts of maiming or seriously injuring them. But today as I sat down to eat my delicious meal, I had to sit back and evaluate everything that was before me. Today I realized that I have a loving family (however dysfunctional they may be), good food, a beautiful house, a wonderful life, a gorgeous fiancé (although he is 8,000 miles away), and great memories. Today, I am so, so incredibly thankful for everything I have.

Wednesday, November 24

The Beginning of Holiday Fun

Tuesday was a fantastic start to this week of holiday fun. My sister and I planned on celebrating her birthday (which is actually next Monday) by going to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I’m not gonna lie, I LOVE me some Harry Potter. Before we went on our outing, I had to have my usual large breakfast.
Toast with egg over medium and an apple.
Throughout my breakfast, the dogs were jumping around, wrestling, and periodically bounding from couch to couch like a bunch of antelopes on crack.  So I took it upon myself to conduct an energy burning session for our gigantic puppy, Lucy.
Don't let this face fool you...
 I take her for bike rides because walking her is useless. I would have to walk for about 3 hours to get her all of her energy out. Just to give you an idea of her limitless stamina: she usually goes on a 30-45 minute walk/run with me and then goes on another 45 minutes to an hour walk in the evening with my step-dad. She also spends the entire day occasionally ambushing, pouncing on, and otherwise irritating the other dogs (they usually oblige her need for fun). If you are wondering, we have 6 of these rats roaming around our house.

Lucifer inciting a riot with Pixie (brown one) and Kiwi (white, nonchalant one)
After our rather strenuous ride, I did some tush-toning, upper body, and ab exercises while Lucy laid on the floor with her tongue draped on the ground. Because I am always starving after my workout, I snacked on some Rice Chex.

Lil’ Sis and I made our way to the movies. I thought about having popcorn, but exercising my superior self-control skills, I walked straight into the theater. The movie was brilliant. I really loved it, and now am itching to see the next one.

Two and a half hours of sitting made me hungry (I am always hungry), and we decided to eat at Emerald Wednesday (or Ruby Tuesday if you prefer).
Sisters. Cute.
I got to the salad bar and threw all of my portion control ideas out the window.  Unfortunately, my stomach did not comply, so I was not able to finish my meal off with grapes as I had hoped. Grrr…
Large salad. Too many ingredients to list. It was good. Just trust me.

M's sliders and fries (she did have a salad, to be fair).
The rest of my day was quite uneventful, but I did eat, cook, and eat. Perfect. After having more Chex, a protein bar, and string cheese, I made dinner. I am convinced that the running I have been doing is turning me into an eating machine.
Quinoa with tomatoes, cilantro, scallions. Sauteed cabbage and onions. Cucumber with hummus.
Vegetarian and yumalicious.

The plan for Wednesday is to complete my running program! Wish me luck! And pray that this outrageous eating comes to a halt. But we all know that’s not going to happen. Thanksgiving is quickly approaching…

Tuesday, November 23

Pumpkin Pancakes

I am going to warn you. These are very dense. I could only eat one and a half and I was stuffed. They are super delicious and sans oil! 

  • 1 ¾ cups Bob’s Red Mill Pancake Mix
  • 3 tbsp canned pumpkin
  • 4 tbsp xylitol or sugar
  • ¾ cup almond milk- For thinner batter, use more almond milk or water.
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • Optional: Coconut oil

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix well. Heat large frying pan to med high heat. Add ½ inch worth of melted oil to the pan (if your pan is non-stick, this may not be necessary).
I made the rest of these without oil. No stick!
 Put 2-3 tbsp of batter into pan (about 4 inch pancakes). When the batter begins to bubble, flip and cook for about 2 more minutes or until golden brown. 
Sweet enough to eat by themselves! I dipped mine in almond milk!
  Makes about 8 pancakes. Enjoy!