I remember being a kid and, on snow days off from school, would just play outside in the snow for hours and hours and hours. Granted, we were pretty bundled up in out little snowsuits and had somewhat of a limited mobility in them, but forts had to be dug! Snowmen had to be built! And snowballs must be thrown! I didn’t mind the cold, I hardly felt it.
When I lost too much weight last year I also lost my ability to appreciate cold weather. Ultimately, I found snow in particular to be absolutely horrid. I couldn’t see it as beautiful because I knew it would just make it wet and cold and miserable outside. I would just hole myself up in my workroom (the warmest room of the house) and let everyone else go have fun outdoors without me.
I couldn’t stand being cold. I was so tired of being cold. So very tired. I would do ANYTHING to just NOT be cold.
I didn’t think I could do it, but it turns out that my desire to be warm eventually trumped my desire to stay overly thin. That’s HOW MUCH I abhorred the cold.
I enjoy being outside in the cold again! I see the snow as beautiful again and enjoy watching it fall! How I’ve missed genuinely loving the differences in the seasons! I feel so good today!
Couscous and Banana Hot Cereal
Taken from: http://pedalpressure.blogspot.com/
2 1/4 cup whole milk (I like MOO milk especially but Organic Valley is also a great choice)
1 cup whole wheat couscous (buy in bulk if possible, but packaged should work ok)
~8 cardamon pods (break open and grind the seeds, use 1-3 more if pods are older, dried can work too)
2 pinches of cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea salt (use coarse crystals and grind with cardamon for best result)
1/2 cup brown sugar (use less if you do not have a strong sweet tooth, white sugar will work too, just use less)
2 ripe bananas, sliced
Orange rind (scrape as much or little as you like but not more than 2 teaspoons)
1tsp vanilla/banana extract
Fresh fruit for topping
Ground chocolate for topping (Taza Chocolate works great if you can get it)
Combine milk and sugar and heat on medium-high in a wide saucepan, stirring frequently until just boiling. Turn down heat, adding salt, spices, orange rind, and couscous stir and simmer for 30 seconds or so. Remove from heat and let sit until thick. Add extra milk as needed and fluff with sliced bananas. Add fruit or chocolate and serve hot or chilled.
*CHANGES: I used 1 T of honey instead of sugar and only had regular couscous instead of whole wheat. I did use the vanilla and did not have any orange zest unfortunately. I also added a couple dollops of greek yogurt and mixed them in. I added a small handful of chopped walnuts and drizzled just a little more honey on top.
I really really wanted quinoa this morning, but didn’t have any. I decided couscous would be an ok substitute for now and found this super healthy recipe! I was incredibly happy with it, because I wanted to use some fruit, but once again didn’t want anything packed with sugar (for some weird reason). The sun is out and I feel good! I’m glad my stomach at least seems to want SOMETHING today.
Chicken and White Bean Soup
1.5 cups Chicken Stock
1 T Olive Oil
4 oz Chicken, cut into cubes
1/4 small Onion, chopped
1 Carrot, shredded
1 clove Garlic, minced or grated
1/4 cup Celery, cut into small pieces
1/4 small Tomato, chopped
3/4 cup White Beans, divided
Fresh chopped Parsley
Fresh chopped Rosemary
Add 1/2 T or so to a saucepan. Throw in the chicken, but don’t stir it. Allow it to brown for a minute and get nice and crusty at the bottom of the pan. Flip the pieces of chicken over and throw in a bit more oil. Add the chopped onion. Go ahead and start stirring everything together and allow onions to cook and the chicken to cook the rest of the way. Add the garlic and allow to cook for about 30 more seconds. Add the chicken stock. Be sure to stir up all the nice browned pieces at the bottom of the pan. Add shredded carrot, celery and tomato. Allow to cook on medium heat for another 5 minutes or so. Puree about 1/2 cup of the cooked or canned white beans (I used canned) and add it to the pot along with the parsley, rosemary, salt and pepper. Allow it to cook for another 5 minutes. Add the last 1/4 cup of beans and heat through. Serve immediately!
*I’ve not done much cooking with meat that has actual fat in it. I bought boneless skinless chicken thighs on a sale and though I do cut off most of the fat, there’s some I just can’t get to. I was AMAZED at how it sticks and caramelizes at the bottom with a bit of oil! It was SO GOOD! I was worried for a minute that it might burn, but adding a little extra while cooking the onions helped with that! It made for such a beautiful color and caramel flavour! I mean, REALLY impressive! You’ll love this!
Beef Stroganoff and Steamed Broccoli
You can substitute the sour cream and lemon juice for a cup of full-fat plain yogurt (room temperature). Do not allow to boil. (I took this suggestion since I was out of sour cream, I still used the lemon juice.)
- 1 lb ground chuck
- Salt and pepper
- 1 yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 8 ounces sliced cremini mushrooms (can substitute button mushrooms), sliced
- 1/3 cup of dry sherry, dry white wine, or water
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley, loosely packed
- 1 1/4 cups sour cream (room temperature)
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika or more to taste
- 8 ounces egg noodles
1 Put a large pot of salted water (1 teaspoon salt for every quart of water) on to heat, for the pasta.
2 Heat a large sauté pan on medium high heat. Melt 1 teaspoon butter in the pan and swirl it around. Sprinkle the bottom of the pan generously with salt. Working in batches as not to crowd the meat (crowding it will make it hard to brown), break up the ground beef and add it to the pan. Sprinkle the meat with salt. Do not stir the meat, as stirring will prevent browning. Once the meat is well browned on one side (a couple minutes, depending on how hot the pan), use tongs or a fork or a metal spatula to flip to the other side. Once that side is browned as well, use a slotted spoon to remove from the pan and set aside. Continue to brown the meat in batches, adding a teaspoon of butter to the pan with each batch if needed, and salting the pan and the meat, until it is all browned. Remove meat from pan. Drain excess fat from pan.
3 Lower the heat to medium. Add the onions to the pan. If you are working with very lean meat, you may not have any residual fat in the pan. If this is the case, you’ll want to add in a tablespoon of olive oil or butter to the pan. Cook the onions, scraping up the meat drippings, until soft, about 5 minutes. Remove onions from the pan (add to the meat).
4 Depending on the cooking times of your particular brand of pasta, this is likely a good time to add the pasta to the (should be now) boiling, salted water.
5 While the pasta is cooking, add a tablespoon of butter to the pan, increase the heat to medium high. Add the sliced mushrooms. Sauté until nicely browned (about 4 minutes). Add the sherry (or dry white wine or water) to the pan to deglaze the pan, scraping up any browned bits. Let the sherry reduce by at least a half, then lower the heat to low.
6 Remove the pan from the heat. Mix in the sour cream and paprika until smooth. Return the pan to very low heat, and not let the sour cream boil (or it may curdle). You may add a few tablespoons of water to the mixture to thin it out a bit at any time. Stir in the lemon juice, and about 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of salt (taste). Stir in the meat and onions. Stir in the chopped parsley. Add more salt, pepper, and/or paprika to taste.
7 Keep the stroganoff on warm heat until the noodles are done cooking. When the noodles are ready (al dente) drain.
Serve the stroganoff on top of egg noodles. Serves 4.
*WONDERFUL! The sherry in this gave it a kickass sweetness! REALLY good! I felt the need to kind of treat myself tonight, so this was beautiful, creamy and amazing!
I’ve not had a very good day. My husband has been going out every night and though I normally wouldn’t mind as I love to have the house to myself, it was starting to be an indication that something was wrong. So I asked him if everything was ok. Apparently not. But it’s also apparently not my fault. You know, an “It’s not you, it’s me” bullshit explanation. I don’t want to get too far into it, but everything is going to be fine. He obviously has not thought this through whatsoever and will soon discover that he is being a complete and utter idiot. He always does.
I am sad though.
But you know what I DIDN’T do?
I didn’t eat my problems away. I didn’t go on a binge.
I talked myself out of that as soon as he left for the afternoon. I KNOW that it won’t make me happy. I used to THINK that it would. And it won’t. It won’t solve anything and it won’t cure my problems. It will make me sick. I will then feel as physically bad as I will mentally. So instead, I went for a healthy dinner with super lean beef, used greek yogurt instead of sour cream, and a side of steamed broccoli. SO good and good for me!
So instead of feeling even more like shit about myself, I feel great. I’m high in spirits. I know I’m amazing. I’m an amazing person, an amazing wife and an amazing friend. I’m beautiful, smart, talented and fun to be around. And if someone else doesn’t acknowledge that, they’re wrong. They don’t deserve me.
I’m so very proud of myself.
Things are going to be ok.
Exercise: 1/2 hour of yoga (with new ankle-strengthening poses!), 1.5 hours at the gym (I can’t go back tomorrow, my ankle hurts too much)