Month: September 2010

Me vs. the Butternut

So two things first.

1.) Figs are amazing!! I saw a few comments with questions that I’ll respond to momentarily, but I had never had a fresh one before a few weeks ago, and you just eat them skin and all. They have a really short shelf life so its best to eat them within a day or two of buying them, but you just wash them thoroughly and then enjoy! You can eat them straight up, or also have them grilled or baked on a pizza with gorgonzola and red onions (YUM!!!) or whatever else you can think to do with them, but they are unreal. The fruit itself is pretty sweet but in a wonderful way and the inside is very fleshy and just amazing. They go superbly with honey and all I can say is that now I want more. 🙂

2.) Can I also just say how wonderful vision insurance is? I just went to the eye doc to get glasses because I wear contacts every day and have the extended wear ones that you can sleep with but I abuse them. I can’t even tell you the last time I took them out and you’re supposed to at least 1 night a week, and I woke up today with one red eye. It’s not pink eye (don’t worry), I just have signs of overuse of contacts. shocker. Anyways, I went to get the glasses and because my vision is so bad (-4.25 correction in both eyes!) I had to get a few upgrades including thinner lenses so the glasses are not so think that other people can actually see my eyes behind the glasses… The lady added up the amount the glasses would cost and it would be $576 without insurance. Instead, it cost me just $90 for the exam and glasses with the anti-glare and thinner lenses, and they are cute too! I’ll show you when I get them back in 7-10 days.

Now, onto the main event… butternut squash!

Butternut squash (and squash in general) is one of my very favorite parts of the fall, but they can be intimidating. I usually buy the precubed butternut squash, but lately I’ve been really trying to watch my budget and the amount you get of the pre-cubed stuff is just not worth it to me, especially when the whole squash will be on sale more and more this season (usually around .99 cents a pound near me). So last night, I took on the challenge.

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When picking out a butternut squash, you want to pick one with a long, thick top part (neck?), and a smaller bulb on the bottom, because the top part is all flesh, and the round part on the bottom is mostly full of seeds and stringyness that you have to remove.

First step, cut the top and bottom of the squash off.

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Second step, peel the squash as best you can with a veggie peeler.

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A trick Wil taught me is to have a container/bowl near you while you’re prepping any veggie to throw waste in so you don’t have to go back and forth to the trash can or compost to throw out the peels are you produce them.

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Next, cut the squash in half, removing the neck from the base. You will need a sharp knife for this and some muscle.

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As you can see, I couldn’t get all the peel off with the butternut squash whole, but I was able to get the rest of the peel off after cutting it like this.

Next, cut the base and the neck in half lengthwise.

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Remove the seeds and stringy pulp from the inside of the base with a spoon (or your hands) and throw it in your waste container.

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You can save the seeds and roast or toast them in a pan just like you can with pumpkin seeds, or put them in a container in the fridge if you’d rather save them for later.

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Now, you’re ready to cut it up! Keep cutting and cutting until you have it in mostly similar sized cubes…

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Pat yourself on the back for all your hard work before moving onto the next step… cooking!

Preheat your oven to 400º, and then toss your butternut with 1 tbsp olive oil. You want to toss the olive oil on the squash first, before adding all the seasonings. This helps everything stick to the butternut squash and might seem obvious to some, but I only learned that a little while ago from Wil when he asked me why I was adding everything at once…

I just kept it simple with some salt and pepper, and then spread it out in a single layer on a baking sheet…

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Into the oven for 20 minutes, mix it around, and then back in for 20 more minutes and you are DONE.

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I loooooved this butternut squash. It felt really rewarding breaking it down myself rather than buying the prepackaged kind, plus this was WAY cheaper. This was super simple but you can get creative with your seasonings if you want to live on the edge.

You can also use the same method to make butternut fries, just cut the squash into the shape of fries rather than cubes.


What’s your favorite way to eat squash? Do you buy it prepared or break it down yourself?

Mr. Potato Head

Somehow there are only 2 weeks left of my CSA! Even though I feel like it hasn’t been the best value for what I pay, I feel weird that it’s almost over. (Maybe that’s largely because I still have a few payments to make and will be making them after the veggies are done…)

Today’s loot looked pretty good…

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  • Chard
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 2 white patty pan squash
  • 6 golden delicious apples
  • potatoes
  • head of cabbage

This potato was my favorite one:

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Isn’t that funny?? It has two eyes, a nose, and two big ears. No accessories needed for this Mr. Potato Head.

I have to figure out what to do with the large amount of potatoes I have from last week and this week combined. Any suggestions besides just roasting them (which I will definitely do)?

Breakfast today was quite similar to yesterday. If it ain’t broke…

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Scottish Oats (1/4 cup) made with water, topped with a sprinkle of sliced almonds, 2 figs, and a drizzle of honey. So good on this very rainy morning.

What’s your favorite fall themed oatmeal topping? Favorite potato recipe?

Please keep the prayers and positive thoughts coming. They are very needed right now for both Tristan and Harper. I really do believe prayers in numbers works…

Random Eats

Putting together lunch today was rough. I almost walked out of the house ready to buy some, but I really am trying to not spend unncessary money and I always spend a fortune when I go out for lunch, so I decided to turn around and make something work. I only had one small tomato and one small bell pepper for fresh veggies, and the other half of the chickpeas that I made were frozen, so I had to look around to find something that would work. I ended up using the freezer and the pantry to come up with a lunch that was turned out really great!

I used 1/2 cup frozen edamame, 1/3 cup frozen organic corn, and the tomato to make a succotash-esque salad. Whenever I use frozen veggies for lunch, I just put them frozen into the container and keep it in the fridge so they defrost during the day, and then just nuke them in the microwave if need be.

I added a little salt and pepper and it was hard to believe these veggies were frozen – they really tasted fresh! Bonus that this literally took under a minute to throw together…

Then I found a package of Quorn Naked Chik’n Cutlet in my freezer. The Quorn products tend to be a lot more expensive than Boca or MorningStar so I bought these because they were on major sale. I nuked the patty with a sprinkle of water for 30 seconds (these are only 1 point by the way) and threw some Athenos Tomato Basil Feta on top and put it back in the microwave for another 30 seconds.

Served on a bagel thin with the bell pepper on the side for a crunchy kick…

And it turned out to be a great lunch! These Chik’n patties taste almost scarily like real chicken from the taste down to the texture. If you like meaty meat substitutes, I’d definitely give these a try.

I really meant to work out after work but I am still so exhausted from the conference (excuses, excuses) plus had to go grocery shopping to get a few things. I ended up going to Whole Foods so I could drop some clothes off to be donated right there too, and ended up doing really well there!

  • Salt (both fine and course)
  • Rice Vinegar
  • White Vinegar
  • Canned Pumpkin (!!!!)
  • Cage-Free Eggs
  • Wasa Light Rye
  • Baby Spinach
  • Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • Fresh Figs
  • Whole Wheat Tortillas
  • Couscous (Bulk Bin)
  • HempPlus Pumpkin Flax Granola (Bulk Bin)
  • Cilantro
  • Scallions
  • Bananas
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • White Onion
  • Garlic Hummus
  • Fresh Ground Roasted Honey Peanut Butter (!)
  • 2 Packages of Frozen Organic Strawberries
  • Artic Zero Chocolate Peanut Butter Frozen Treat

All that for $47! I was really happy because I had to get a bunch of staples (vinegar, eggs, salt, etc) so I was worried I wouldn’t be able to do it economically at Whole Foods, but I really scanned the sales and ended up doing really well. I was happy to find couscous in the bulk bins there because I have a problem buying the bags that are 3.99 and never on sale. I got almost the same amount for under $2! Score! 🙂

The other exciting thing I found was the last thing on the list… Artic Zero frozen treat.

It was on sale and the “150 calories” for the whole pint caught my eye. I flipped the container over and the ingredient list wasn’t bad either!

Purified Water, Whey Protein Concentrate, Organic Cane Sugar, Chicory Root, Dutch Processed Cocoa Powder with Alkali, Guar Gum, Xantham Gum, Natural Flavors, Sea Salt, Monk Fruit Concentrate.

And the nutritional stats were pretty incredible, too:

I haven’t tried it yet, but will definitely let you know how it is. I’m looking forward to it!

Dinner was pretty random but delicious. I made roasted butternut squash and actually did a step by step with pictures that I’ll put up tomorrow showing how to break down the squash, but it just had some olive oil, salt and pepper.

I wanted some protein with the squash, so I decided to make a quesadilla with beans and veggies, but went a little crazy with the fillings. I used black beans, corn, spinach, 75% RF Cabot Cheddar, and scallions. Needless to say, it barely fit in the tortilla…

So it ended up being more of a cross of a taco and a burrito…

And didn’t really go with the butternut squash theme at all, but it was still good even if it was random. 🙂

What is your favorite healthy dessert?

Back to Reality

Hello! Sorry for the unplanned blogging hiatus – – Columbus was INSANE. Working behind the scenes at a conference for 1500 people means there are constantly multiple things that need to be done at every moment from the early morning until late into the evening. Monday I worked from 6am until 11:30pm! Insane.

I brought my laptop with me and planned to try to update a few times while I was there but it just didn’t happen. Along the same lines, I brought my workout clothes and that also did not happen. No time!

Breakfast and lunch were provided every day and unfortunately most of the meals were really heavy and not that good. Breakfast was a buffet style with scrambled eggs with cheese, bacon egg and cheese sandwiches, home fries, pancakes drenched in butter and apples, yogurt with a few berries on top, and then pastries and dessert-looking things. There was no oatmeal, no fruit (minus the 5 berries on each yogurt) and just no healthy options whatsoever. Unfortunately I didn’t really have a choice, so I usually had cheesy eggs with a few homefries, some orange juice, and a pancake on the first day. I also asked for fruit one day and they brought me a cup of berries, but other than that breakfast was heavy and not the best way to start my day.

Lunches were usually boxed with sandwiches, chips, apples, and cookies. I was excited to see veggie sandwiches, but disappointed when I unwrapped it to see it was just mixed greens, broccoli, and more ranch than anything else.

Dinner was mostly on our own, and I did get a chance to go out for a nice meal once with Emily and Jackie. We heard rave reviews about this restaurant called Martini Modern Italian, so decided to check it out for ourselves. They had these unbelievable cocktails on the menu, so we each started out with a different one and passed them around so everyone got a taste.


The drink to the back left was called Pear Elderflower and had Absolut Pear Vodka, St. Germain, Elderflower liquer, and fresh lemon. It was a little sweet for me to have a whole one, but one sip was delicious. Emily got the Pomegranate and Tarragan which had Bombay Sapphire Gin, Pomegranate liquer, Prosecco, pineapple puree, and muddled tarragon. I’m not usually that into gin, but this drink was great. Not as great as mine though (front and center!) – the Italian Grapefruit Gimlet. It had Finlandia Grapefruit Vodka, Aperol, hand squeezed grapefruit and lime. Possibly one of the best cocktails I’ve ever had! It was sooooo good.

Unfortunately I did not get the best pictures because the lighting was dim and I was so hungry (we didn’t get there until 9pm!) but let me tell you, the meal was WONDERFUL. We split 2 appetizers between the two of us, the Brick Oven Pizzetta:

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It was basically a deconstructed flatbread drizzled with olive oil, herbs, and fresh grated parmesan. There was a chunk of melty combozola cheese which was a mild blue, and then a whole head of roasted garlic in the middle to squeeze over the pieces of flatbread. SO good.

We also had a Panzanella Salad, or an Italian Bread Salad.

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This one had tomatoes, mozzarella, cucumber, chunks of italian bread, greens, and was drizzled with evoo and balsamic. I loved the bread in the salad – they tasted like fresh croutons and soaked up the flavors of the salad. This is definitely something that I can easily recreate at home (mental note).

For our main courses, we each got a fish dish but the picture was terrible, so you’ll just have to take my word that it was out of this world. It was called Gamberi Divolo and had 4 fire roasted prawns, fingerling potatoes, and shellfish butter. The prawns were sweet and succulent (and huge) and everything was just cooked to perfection. ‘

Dessert was the Chocolate Mousse Torte, with chocolate ganache, whipped cream, and housemade ice cream, split between the three of us.

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Awful picture, but delicious, moist cake. We also split a bottle of wine at dinner before calling it a night, but that was the one nice meal out we had during our time in Columbus. I definitely recommend trying out this restaurant if you visit or live near Columbus.

Needless to say, it feels really good to get back into the routine after having such a heavy 4 days of eating/drinking. I made a delicious bowl of oats to start my day off right


This was 1/4 cup of scottish oats cooked in 1 cup of water, garnished with some sliced almonds and a drizzle of organic honey. It was the perfect combination of creamy , crunchy , and sweet and ended a little too soon for my liking.

In other news, my nephews are not doing very well right now. Today is day 15 of their lives so please, please keep the positive thoughts and prayers coming. They really need it right now, as does their parents and my family as a whole. It’s very common when you have a baby in the NICU to have good days and bad days and things go from really good to really bad in the blink of an eye, but it literally feels like a real life nightmare. Every time I receive an update or a call from my sister, I hold my breath until I finish hearing the words. Yesterday left me in tears, but hopefully today will bring better news.

Moderation in All Things, Including Vodka

Good morning and happy Friday!! It’s kind of funny being on a conference schedule for work because some days of the week don’t really match up with expectations. Specifically the fact that I leave at 10am tomorrow to head to Columbus, OH for our Annual Conference and don’t come back until Tuesday evening… what weekend? Besides that though, I am looking forward to a change of scenery and the big conference is usually “fun” (I use the term loosely).

So being healthy is all about moderation, right? Right.

I went out for happy hour last night with some of my best girlfriends. We went to this cute place called Maddy’s that is in the DuPont area of DC for some drinks and appetizers.

Me and Amber:

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Plus Jess, Elena, and Rachel:

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I stuck with my go-to cocktail…

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Vodka Soda with Lime. Times two (or three?) 😉

For snacks we shared three things… Sweet Potato Fries

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With Roasted Eggplant and Truffle Creme (!!!!) dipping sauce. Heaven.

Plus the Bubba’s Southern Basket

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With fried pickles, fried mushrooms, and fried green tomatoes! (all vegetables buried under that batter!)

Last, we got a Flatbread (aka pizza)

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Which had roasted eggplant spread, proscuitto, figs, caramelized onions, blue cheese, and pinenuts. We got the proscuitto on just half and I had two small pieces of the proscuitto-less flatbread. This was unreal! I have been wanting fig + gorgonzola on a pizza ever since I had a fresh fig for the first time earlier this week so this totally hit the spot.

Two Questions for today:

1. What is your favorite pizza topping?

2. What is your go-to drink if you’re at happy hour/a bar/home?

PS: I finally got around to updating the Top Recipes page last night! I also did the Food Staples page, but still have to work on the FAQ and the About Me pages… in time. 🙂

CSA Day and Fried Rice

Thursdays are always a good day because I get a huge box of fruits and veggies fresh from the farm. I love the CSA because I get an email Tuesday saying the produce for the week, and I always look forward to the email Monday evening. Once I find out what I’m getting, I can’t wait until I get to pick it up on Thursday, and then the veggies last me through at least Monday, when I start looking forward to the new email from the farm.

Some CSAs do delivery, some do pick up at the farm, and some are bulk pick-ups, which is what I have. The shares get dropped off sometime between 8 and 9, so I usually drive over even though its very close to my house. It takes way longer to walk there and then by the time I’m back at my apartment with two heavy bags of produce, I’m sweating and don’t feel ready to face the work day.

This morning I took some pictures so you could come along for the ride. The door is very discretely marked so I had such a hard time finding it the first time. I guess thats a good thing though so there’s not people going in there to take veggies who haven’t paid for their share.

This is the door inside the original door leading to the room with the boxes.

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First you find your name and sign off on having picked up your share…

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And then you get your pick of boxes..

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A half share is one box, and a full share is two. Since I share a full share, I always get to get 2 boxes.

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I bring reusable grocery bags with me so I can transfer all the veggies into those rather than having to carry the boxes, but you can take the boxes and bring them back the following week if you so desire.

This week’s share was looking pretty good!

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6 Empire Apples

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A bag of potatoes still covered in dirt!

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Cherry Tomatoes and two (slightly) larger tomatoes

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Swiss Chard

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Plus two green bell peppers, a zucchini, a pattypan squash, and 6 small earns of corn.

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Good week!

For lunch today, I wanted to use the leftover shrimp from last night’s dinner. I love to try to figure out ways to rework the leftovers when I can so I’m eating something different rather than the same thing again, so I decided to make fried rice.

I started out by sautéing some veggies that I had on hand with a clove of garlicred onion, frozen carrots, frozen corn, and frozen edamame (but you can use whatever you have!).

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Once those were heated through, I added 1 cup of cooked brown rice, chopped shrimp, and one beaten egg.

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Then two packets of soy sauce, mixed all together, and voila! Lunch was ready.

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If you know how to make fried rice look pretty in a picture, please let me know.

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But I promise, it was delicious. I ate it cold at my desk and practically licked the bowl clean.

I’ve never had an empire apple before… have you? What’s your favorite kind? I loooove honeycrisps in the fall, but fujis the rest of the year.

Step One

You guys rock. Seriously. I don’t think I say it enough.

After yesterday’s post about my decision to end my membership with Weight Watchers, I was a little nervous as to how people would take it because I really think its important to remember where you came from (Jenny from the Block, anyone?) ha. But, like I said, and it seems you all agree, I’ve outgrown it. I still want to post points values so that people who are still following the plan can see that you can eat clean with wholesome, real food, and still stay within your points values.

Also, side note, I have seriously been on and off Weight Watchers since I was probably 12. My mom took me for the first time, I went during high school for a summer, during college several times, and then the final time in March 2009. The points system is SO ingrained in my head that its going to take me a long, LONG time to move past it. (If ever)

I’ve gotten several questions from readers about what my plan is now in terms of whether I still plan to track calories/keep track of my food, and the honest answer is, I don’t know! In an ideal world, I would love to just be able to listen to my hunger cues and eat when I am hungry and stop when I’m satisfied. However, I know me, and I think I will have to keep track to some extent because I still struggle with eating and wanting to eat even when I’m not hungry.

I think the process of learning to trust your body is a long one, especially after years and years of mistreating your body like I have. I allowed my weight to get so far out of hand and for such a disconnect between my mind and body, and I have just begun step one of the process of bringing the two together again. I promise to keep you guys posted as I continue on my journey and I hope you will stay along for the ride. 🙂

So last night after I got home from work, I cooked for almost 4 hours. It was kind of crazy but I had a lot of stuff to use up and wanted to make a nice dinner since most of them have been really quick lately (read sandwiches and leftover soup). I also had a ton of apples from my CSA and wanted to make some apple sauce since I was getting more apples this morning in my CSA, and then wanted to make lunch for today. Next thing I knew it was almost 10pm and I was just sitting down on the couch to relax… I’ll post the apple sauce recipe another day but all it had was apples, cinnamon, and water! Can’t beat that.

Dinner last night was simple but for some reason took me a LONG time to prepare. I made acorn squash for the first time this season!


I cut it in half…


Removed the seeds and put it in a pie pan (only one I had!) with some water so it didn’t burn.


I baked it at 400º for 45 minutes, then added 1 tbsp of maple syrup to each half and put it back in for 15 more minutes.

For the shrimp, I just sauteed them with a little garlic gold until they turned pink.

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Then I sautéed half a bell pepper to add some green to my plate and dinner was done!

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So simple but totally delicious.

Do you like squash? What is your favorite kind? I loooooove it. It’s definitely one of my favorite parts of fall/winter! I love butternut and spaghetti squash pretty evenly, and acorn too because its fun to stuff.

It’s Time to Trust Me

I just cancelled my Weight Watchers membership.


It feels kind of surreal since I’ve been doing the monthly pass since March 2009 and here it is 18 months later, but I had been thinking about it for a while and today just went for it. Here’s why…

Let me start out by saying I think Weight Watchers is amazing for someone starting out who wants to change their life. You learn portion control, how to spread your points (calories) out throughout the day, how much you SHOULD eat (which is usually drastically different from what you had been eating), etc. etc. I really do believe in Weight Watchers and think its a great springboard into a healthy lifestyle and will never forget that it’s where I started.

That said, I think I’ve come a long way since I first started my journey and to a point where I’ve sort of outgrown it. I no longer go to meetings and rarely use e-tools since I come up with most of my own recipes and know the points value of basically every food by heart (I’m a numbers girl) which are the two main benefits of paying for a membership.

When I first started with WW, I was eating mostly 100 calorie packs, fat free anything, prepackaged goods, and basically anything that was low-cal/low-fat/low-point so I could maximize what I was getting for my points. Throughout my journey to lose weight, I started slowly incorporating more whole foods into my diet as my points began to dwindle. Why have a 100 calorie pack of chocolate covered pretzels (6 pretzels in total!) when I could have an apple and a cup of grapes for the same points and be so much more satisfied?

Also, I FEEL healthy and fit. I just ran a half marathon on Sunday and felt good enough to go on an 11 mile bike ride 2 days later! Even though I feel and look healthy, according to Weight Watchers, I am 2.2 pounds overweight. I have been at this same weight since January 2010 (within a few pounds) and while I have made tremendous strides in my fitness, I have made little progress with my weight.

So maybe my body is happy where it is. Maybe the weight will fall off once I stop obsessing about it. I think the point is for me, I need to move away from being obsessed with scheduling my life around Thursday weigh ins (even though I rarely go) and with the number on the scale itself.

A real turning point for me was when, at a meeting, my Weight Watchers Leader asked what people like to put on their veggies. A lot of people said things like olive oil, salt and pepper, a little real butter… but then my leader said she had an even better suggestion. I couldn’t wait to hear what she had to suggest – I love new ideas! But then, she said “Fat-Free Gravy.” Many of the people in the room agreed or excitedly jotted it down to remember to pick it up at their next shopping trip. Um, really? Fat free gravy? Wow.

I think WW has been a security blanket for me since I know that I can always go back to counting points if all else fails. I’ve basically been paying $40 a month for the last 8 months just to have that security blanket and avoid trusting myself to do it, even though, when I look back at my journey, I really SHOULD trust me. I eat well, I work out a lot, and WW is not what’s holding me accountable. It’s just there if I fall off track and sort of as a bandaid in case I need it.

But, I’m ready to pull off the bandaid so to speak, and continue to do what I’ve been doing without the security of WW to fall back on. Plus, with $40 extra in my pocket every month…


I’m glad I had a good lunch to back me up after that… 🙂

Starting with a Sweet Potato, Beet, and Chickpea Salad

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In the mix:

  • 1 baked sweet potato (3 pts)
  • 1 cup roasted beets (0 pts)
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion (0 pts)
  • 1/2 cup chickpeas (1 pt)
  • 1 tsp olive oil (1 pt)
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar (0 pts)
  • salt and peppa

With the last of the leftover Vegetable Barley Soup (1 pt)

Plus some raw green beans for crunch:


All together now:

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SO good. I roasted the beets and sweet potato in the oven last night while I was out for my bike ride (very dangerous. don’t try this at home, kids) and then just chopped them up and combined them right before I was ready to eat. Beets stain EVERYTHING, so its best to keep them separate from everything else until you’re ready. Example one:

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(Don’t mind the fact that I am in desperate need of a manicure).

Example Two:

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But I love ‘em even so.

So what do you think? Am I crazy for quitting WW when I am so close to lifetime? Good decision? Bad decision?

Side note: I still plan to post point values when I can because I think its a good resource for people still following the plan and I love giving simple, healthy, low-point whole food meal ideas.

I Eat A Lot

Happy Hump Day! This week is seriously flying by… and I leave on Saturday morning for Columbus, OH for work! So much to do before then…

Last night I went on a bike ride outside for the first time in AGES. I broke out my 1/2 marathon shirt even though I don’t love the way it fits…

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Don’t mind my hair… 🙂

My goal for the ride was to keep every mile under 5:00 minutes, which can be tough because part of the ride was on streets with cars and stop signs, but I managed to do it! I have a hybrid, not a road bike, so its hard to keep up sometimes, and I was happy with the stats!

  • Distance: 11.02 miles
  • Duration: 49:46
  • Avg. Pace: 4:30 min/mile
  • Avg Speed: 13.3mph
  • Calories: 673

It was my first real workout since the half, and I have to say I am kind of shocked at how not sore I am. Not complaining at all, just sayin’…

Also, today on my way to work, I was kind of surprised at how heavy my breakfast/lunch bag was…

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And then, I looked inside…

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And realized, I eat A LOT. Check out all the food I have with me for today….

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  • Beets
  • Chickpeas
  • Sweet Potato
  • Red Onion
  • Leftover Veggie Barley Soup
  • Grapes
  • Banana
  • Pear
  • Green Beans
  • Dressing
  • Bagel Thin w Slice of Cheese

Wowza. Breakfast was the toasted bagel thin (1 pt) with the cheese (1 pt) melted on top:

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Plus the pear (1 pt):

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Any guesses on what lunch is?

What do YOU have/are you planning to get for lunch today?


You know how at many lunch restaurants they make the combos where you get to pick two between soup, salad, and half a sandwich? I always have such a hard time choosing, so today, I made my own You-Get-All-Three and with half a sandwich, a cup of soup, and a delicious chickpea salad.

Rewinding just a bit, yesterday we had an all staff lunch meeting at work since our big annual conference is coming up this weekend. We went over travel policy and last minute items since this is a huge conference and almost everyone from the office attends. Since the meeting was over lunch, we had it catered by one of my favorite places – The Juice Joint! This is my go-to place anytime I don’t bring a lunch because the food is healthy, delicious, and the ingredients are so fresh! I was thrilled to hear we were getting lunch from there because a lot of times when lunch is ordered for us it involves pizza, wings, and mayo-heavy sandwiches and salads that I wouldn’t normally get if it were up to me.


There was even a whole tray of vegetarian sandwiches!


I took two halves – – a roasted veggie and mozzarella sandwich and the Holland’s Pocket (you know its bad when you know the exact names of everything on the tray when you were the one who ordered it…)


The Holland’s Pocket was a whole wheat pita stuffed with hummus, carrots, sprouts, spinach, and lemon juice, and the Roasted Mozarella and Veggie sandwich is multigrain bread with roasted zucchini, squash, red peppers, sprouts, tomato, basil & fresh mozzarella cheese drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette. I also split a bag of the Sea Salt and Black Pepper Kettle Chips with Kara (sooooooo good) and ate way too many pieces of the candy that was put on the table to get us excited about working 17 hour days in Columbus.. 😉


After lunch was over (and I made sure everyone had eaten – don’t worry), I grabbed an extra Holland’s Pocket and stashed it away for lunch today. Good decision.

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I also had some green beans and peppers from my CSA on the side for an extra veggie boost. For number two of you-get-all-three I had a chickpea salad with my made from dry garbanzos!

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In the mix:

  • 1/2 cup chickpeas
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • green beans
  • red onions
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar

SO good. I seriously cannot get over what a difference these chickpeas are compared to dried. Can’t wait to dive into my black beans and limas – when I’m back from Columbus!

Part three of lunch was some leftover soup that Wil made for me Sunday night. I asked him to make me soup after we got back from Philly because I was not feeling so hot and soup is always the thing I crave when I’m feeling sickly. He took lots of veggies from our CSA – onions, pattypan squash, tomatoes, and green beans, and sauteed them in 1 tsp olive oil until they got some color, and then added them to veggie stock and water (half and half). He added 1 cup of dried barley to give it a little more bulk and some spices, and made this awesome soup. The whole recipe had 7 points (6 from the barley, 1 from the olive oil) and I had a huge serving last night for dinner as well as Sunday night, and then a cup today. There’s still some left and it is SO flavorful.

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Making your own lunch is great so you don’t have to pick just two…

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If you have to choose between soup, salad, and sandwich, and can only pick two – which do you normally go with?

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