Search This Blog

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Losing Weight Project: Day 6

OK, optimal level of metabolism should kick in after Day 5 so looking forward to results of the next few days.  Based on bloggers' recommendations, I adjusted the cooking process for scrambled eggs this morning.  What an improvement!  Instead of microwaving, as direcred, I sprayed the skillet with non-stick fat-free cooking spray, mix egg powder and water thoroughly, lightly sprinkled with Italian Seasoning and garlic salt, and cooked until soft and fluffy.  Sprinkled with fat-free shredded Cheddar cheese.  Yummy!  It's easier to eat slowly when I can savor each bite.

My meal plan for today:
  • Medifast scrambled eggs, lightly sprinkled with Italian Seasoning, garlic salt, and fat-free shredded Cheddar.
  • Medifast chocolate mint crunch bar with black coffee
  • Roasted chicken, marinated in Italian dressing, with cucumber, green pepper, romaine lettuce salad, with olive oil
  • Medifast vanilla pudding
  • Medifast chicken noodle soup
  • Medifast Swiss Mocha shake
We may have family over later today so S. will probably get pizza so I won't have to cook.  Suprisingly, I am not even tempted, even though I love pizza.  Losing weight is more important! :)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Losing Weight Project: Day 5/Beef and Broccoli Stir-Fry Lettuce Wraps

I refuse to weigh myself just yet but it looks like my jeans are fitting better, hooray! :)

My meal plan for today:
  • scrambled eggs with oregano for breakfast
  • oatmeal raisin crunch bar and black coffee for mid-morning
  • chicken and wild rice soup for lunch
  • vanilla pudding for afternoon
  • beef and broccoli stir-fry lettuce wraps
  • Swiss Mocha shake for evening
I found quite a few of lean and green recipes so it's exciting to be able to share meals with S. w/out compromising my diet.  I keep thinking -- it's really too good to be true!  However, several of my friends did lose weight so it's not just an advertising gimmick.

Beef and Broccoli Stir-Fry Lettuce Wraps
  • 12 oz lean beef for stir-fry
  • 16 oz frozen broccoli  (1 pkg)
  • 1 pkg Kikkoman Broccoli-Beef seasoning mix
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
Stir-fry beef until done.  Add broccoli and seasoning, mix and heat on medium until hot.  Serve with lettuce leaves.  I also made some rice for S.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Losing Weight Project: Day 4/Alfredo Sauce and Oregano-Parmesan Breadsticks

I am tired this morning -- worked late last night and woke up early to finish evil grades, due by 5:00 pm.  If I did not love teaching so much, grading would have made me give it up a long time ago.

My meal plan for today:
  • Peach oatmeal for breakfast
  • Cinnamon crunch bar and black coffee for mid-morning snack
  • Grilled tilapia with herbs/spices and salad (romaine lettuce, cucumber, green peppers, black olives)  for lunch -- using leftovers! :)
  • Dutch Chocolate shake for mid-afternoon snack
  • Chicken soup for dinner
  • Hot cocoa for evening snack
I will make Spinach and Cheese Tortellini (sorry, S. -- from a box, not much time today) with Alfredo Sauce (still have a little heavy cream left so it's a treat for you, S., to compensate for store-bought tortellini)!!! :)  Also, I made breadsticks last night and S. loved them; still have plenty.  A small salad and dinner is ready!  It won't take much time at all!

Alfredo Sauce

Melt 1/2 stick salter butter and saute 1 tbsp minced garlic for about two minutes on high heat.  Turn heat down to medium and slowly add 1/2 cup heavy cream and 1/2 half & half, stirring constantly until almost boiling.  Slowly add 1/2 cup shredded parmesan and 1/2 cup shredded romano (I usually use 1 cup of Italian Mix).  Turn heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until desired consistency.  Stir often.  I usually add some finely chopped parsley when serving.

Breadsticks with Oregano-Parmesan Butter

Add the following to your breadmaker bucket:  1 cup warm water, 1 1/2 tbsp oil, 1 egg, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tsp salt, 3 cups bread flour, 1 tsp oregano, 3 tsp active dry yeast.  Set on Dough cycle.  When dough is ready, place in a bowl dusted with flour.  If the dough is too sticky, may need to add a bit more flour.  Divide dough into 16 balls and roll into breadsticks.  Place on a large baking sheet dusted with flour (I like to dust with coarse corn meal, for some crunch).  Let rise for 1 hour.  Bake for approximately 15 minutes (or until golden brown) at 400 F.  Brush with Oregano-Parmesan Butter (olive oil spread or regular butter, garlic salt, oregano, and parmesan).  You can place buttered breadsticks under Broil for a few minutes if you like bubbling cheese.  Also, you can just serve breadsticks with butter instead of brushing them.  Either way, they are delicious.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Losing Weight Project: Day 3

Feeling great so far!  I am actually enjoying this diet so hope I really do lose weight.  Walked Beauty this morning so on track with exercising.  We will go for another walk tonight.  Even though I am not that crazy about dogs, she is a reason we started walking every evening.  It's not only a good exercise but also quality time together, just walking and not worrying about anything else.

My meal plan for today:
  • Scrambled eggs with salt, black pepper, and rosemary for breakfast
  • Peanut butter crunch bar and black coffee for mid-morning snack
  • Chicken and Wild Rice Soup for lunch
  • Vanilla pudding for afternoon snack
  • Grilled tilapia with herbs/spices and salad (romaine lettuce, cucumber, green peppers, salt, olive oil)
  • Hot cocoa for evening snack
Food Lion had grilled fish on sale several weeks ago and so I bought several packages.  There are two grilled fillets per package so perfect for dinner together.

S. has been eyeing my soup suspiciously for the last two nights, not believing that it actually did taste good, so tonight he will be happy to actually eat the same thing, lol.  Well, almost the same thing.  I can only eat fish and salad but he will want something more substantial so I will make smashed potatoes for him.  He will be happy. :)
  • 1-2 potatoes, scrubbed and steamed until done
  • salt
  • heavy cream (I usually use milk but trying to use leftover heavy cream before it spoils)
  • butter
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Parsley

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Losing Weight Project: Day 2/Favorite Grilled Chicken

S. and I took Beauty for a long brisk walk last night so I guess the poor thing was still tired this morning.  I picked up the leash to take her for a morning walk and she ran into her crate, hiding in a far corner.  Lazy girl!  :)  We will go for a walk tonight, though, when S. gets home.  I need to exercise!

My meal plan for today:
  • Peach Oatmeal for breakfast (not sweet but not too bad, either)
  • Swiss Mocha Shake for mid-morning snake
  • I still have some chicken left so will make another salad with fresh veggies (tomato, cucumber, and romaine lettuce) and olive oil for lunch.  I love this salad so does not feel like a diet at all.  Usually, I add some freshly shredded Parmesan but need to stick to the plan for now.
  • Vanilla Pudding for mid-afternoon snack
  • Chicken Noodle Soup for dinner.  Wild Rice Chicken Soup was delicious last night -- I was surprised, actually.
  • Cinnamon Roll Crunch for evening snack.
I will make our Favorite Grilled Chicken for S.  This is how they make chicken at faculty/staff picnics at our school and it's absolutely delicious.

  • Chicken (I use skinless chicken breasts but mixed parts or chicken breasts with skin would turn out more moist, of course)
  • Liquid smoke if grilling indoors and like the flavor
  • Marinade/dressing of choice
If chicken breasts are large, I usually cut in half (only cooking one chicken breast tonight).  The trick to super-moist chicken is to grill on low to medium for 45 minutes, transfer to the aluminum pan, cover with favorite dressing/marinade, seal with foil, and grill for another 45 minutes.  Don't skip covering with dressing/marinade step -- will probably result in dry meat.  I will also grill a couple of potatoes with meat, same procedure.  A small salad will complete a meal for S.  I am sure he won't be complaining. :)
We have this grill and it's awesome.  Food cooks evenly and it's easy to clean/store.

Now back to work!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Losing Weight Project: Day 1/Chicken-Shrimp Pad Thai

We already have a three-year old cat, Boots, but decided to adopt a puppy as well.  Our friends were fostering an adorable girl, Beauty.  So now we have Boots and Beauty. :)

While we were picking up the puppy, we started talking about exercising and eating right.  I mentioned that I am trying to lose weight and our friend offered me a huge bag of Medifast Meals.  She lost about 20 lbs recently and feels great so I am going to give it a try.

It's the 5 & 1 plan:
  • Eat 5 Medifast Meals and 1 Lean & Green Meal (5-7 oz of lean protein and three servings of non-starchy vegetables with some healthy fat, such as salad dressing, olive oil, and condiments/seasonings, such as herbs, spices) per day.
  • Eat every two to three hours to boost metabolism.
  • Eat slowly -- spend at least 15 minutes for each meal.
  • Drink lots of fluids -- at least 8 cups of water.
  • Exercise
I like it because it limits carbohydrates instead of eliminating them.  I don't think it's healthy to eliminate a food group.  Also, it's always a good idea to eat slowly, drink lots of water, and exercise.  Sounds like a well-balanced plan so we'll see... :)  One of the tips is to keep a journal so I will try to blog every day.

Here is my meal plan for today:
  • Scrambled eggs for breakfast, with salt/black pepper (surprisingly tasty)
  • Chocolate mint crunch bar for mid-morning snack (delicious)
  • Chicken breast, romaine lettuce, tomato, and cucumber salad, with olive oil, for lunch
  • Dutch Chocolate shake for afternoon snack
  • Chicken & Wild Rice soup for dinner
  • Hot cocoa for evening snack
I already drank a couple of glasses of water (I always do so not a big deal) and walked Beauty for 20 minutes, so I am on target so far!

I will make Chicken and Shrimp Pad Thai for S. -- he loves it.


1 cup grilled chicken
1 small package of shrimp
1 box of Taste of Thai Pad Thai (I know I am cheating but it tastes almost like the real thing -- and I have been to Thailand so know how it's supposed to taste)
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
1 tbsp peanuts or cashews, finely chopped

Friday, July 23, 2010

Chicken and Shrimp Fajitas

More spruced up leftovers to save time!  I found half a package of chicken fajitas in our freezer and several packages of marinated shrimp so here goes...

1/2 package chicken fajitas (or beef)
1 small package marinated shrimp (I am using Gorton's, bought on sale a couple of months ago)
1 sweet pepper, sliced
1 onion, sliced
1 small package mushrooms, sliced (I don't have any tonight)
Olive oil for sauteeing
Favorite spices to taste

I have a set of individual cast iron fajita skillets w/wooden stands and mittens -- found on Amazon several years ago, during buy one get one free sale.  One of the best purchases!  Mix all ingredients, including oil and spices, in a bowl and keep refrigerated until ready to eat.  Saute on medium-high heat for a few minutes until ready. 

Tonight, I will serve fajitas with sour cream, shredded cheese, tomatoes, and fresh parsley.  We don't have any tortillas so will use warmed pita bread.  Another quick meal!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Roasted Potatoes, Steak, and Mushrooms

I am trying to cut down time spent on cooking so using leftovers from our freezer.  This afternoon, I found some leftover steak and mushrooms in Alfredo sauce.  I peeled and sliced several potatoes, seasoned with salt and cumin, and poured leftover steak and mushrooms gravy.  Then I sliced and sauteed a small onion, adding a little bit of flour to thicken the gravy (it was a little watery after defrosting).  Added onions and mix all ingredients in the casserole dish.  Covered the dish with foil and it's now baking at 400 F.  Probably will take an hour or so.  I will sprinkle it with finely chopped parsley before serving tonight.  Also, I will serve our favorite salad -- chopped tomatoes, sliced onions, and chick peas, with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Total time cooking tonight?  Approximately 15 minutes, not bad.  S. usually does dishes so I am done for tonight. :)

Treading Waters of Dissertation Ocean

I earned the status of Doctoral Candidate last year and it felt awesome after several years of working full time and taking classes.  Since my undergrad and Master's degrees are both from a fairly small university with not much emphasis on research (Master's thesis was a joke, really), it has not been easy to adjust but I did well in all classes.  Well, stats courses were quite a challenge...  I made two As in hands-on stats courses and two well-earned Bs in theory stats courses where I worked very hard but blind memorization teaching approach simply does not work for me.  It was frustrating to see these two instructors turn to the whiteboard and scribble for two hours, then glance back and ask if there were any questions.  Well, what do you think???  So I memorized and hoped for the best.  I loved hands-on courses and still remember (and frequently use) the skills and knowledge learned there.  Many thanks to those two instructors!

After earning my candidacy, the next logical step would have been to at least get through prospectus defense but, unfortunately, there was too much going on and I was burned out.  So here I am, more than a year later, still treading waters of dissertation ocean...  Oh, I never stopped looking for information and writing bits and pieces, hence "treading" and not "drowning." 

I kept telling myself that I simply need to make time but it's not happening so I am looking for ways to reduce responsibilities.  I am teaching full time and TAing two courses and can't stop doing either because of financial strain -- had to take out student loans and trying to pay them off as soon as possible.  However, (1) I was able to negotiate reduced committee work, (2) I am teaching only two preps next semester, for the first time ever, and (3) I made a committment not to accept any conference presentations because they distract me from dissertation work and traveling consumes too much time.  The goal is to defend prospectus early next semester, run the study halfway through the semester, and write over Christmas break.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Adventures in Boston

I can't believe I am flying back tomorrow...  We arrived yesterday and walked until we could barely stand but it was so much fun.  I had been to Boston several times before so loved sharing my memories with S. and making OUR memories...  We ended the day at P. F. Chang's, sharing several of our favorite dishes.  What a perfect day!

This morning, I lazed in bed and taught a class online.  Our room is on the 20th floor and has panoramic windows so the view is gorgeous!  Actually, it felt like camping outside last night -- in the luxury of goosedown duvet, soft sheets, and air-conditioned environment, of course. ;)

This afternoon, S. (who presented at the conference this morning) and I bought sandwiches and enjoyed lunch outside.  Ooooh, I missed Boston lobster roll... savored every bite!

Now just a few hours left -- I have to be at work tomorrow and have a very early morning flight.  So early that even T trains are not running yet so ended up paying seven times what T fare costs to get the shuttle.  Of course, it could be worse -- taxi fare is actually $38, compared to $2 for T fare.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Sunflower Appetizer/Salad

Here is an alternative to traditional chips and salsa.

  • 1 can whole kernel corn, drained (fresh corn tastes better, of course)
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 2 large vine-ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 1 can chopped black olives
  • salad dressing to taste (my usual choice is salt/pepper and olive oil)
  • parsley and potato chips for decoration
  • Mix all ingredients except 1/2 can of corn, parsley, and chips.
  • Arrange on a platter.
  • Decorate with remaining corn, parsley, and potato chips.  You can also make a lady bug from a small tomato and black olive.
  • Warning:  Potato chips won't last long so add at the last minute!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Yummy French Brioche

Missing my favorite person who is attending an out-of-state conference and making melt-in-your-mouth brioche, a special treat for him!


1/3 cup warm water
3 eggs and 2 egg yolks (you can use 4 eggs but dough won't be as rich)
3/4 cup butter, softened
3 1/3 cups bread flour
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tsp dry yeast

  • Place all ingredients in bread machine in order suggested by your manufacturer (usually, liquids are added first and yeast last).
  • Set on Dough cycle.
  • Separate finished dough into 12 pieces/rolls.  You can add chocolate chips (used white chocolate and dried figs today), dried fruit, nuts, etc.
  • Traditionally, brioche is made in a brioche mold.  Also, tradition calls for reserving a small ball of brioche and putting it on top as a topknot.  If you don't have brioche molds, just use muffin pans.  You can also make braids or roll each piece into a rectangle, spread with Nutella, and roll up to create pain au chocolat.
  • Let rise for about an hour or until doubled.  I usually cover molds/pans with large bowls to prevent drying.
  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Brush rolls with egg white/water mixture (1 egg white plus 2 tbsp water).
  • Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Serve immediately if possible or cool slightly and then place in a plastic bag to keep moist (bread bags are the best).  Reheat for a few seconds if you want warm rolls later. 
  • We love brioche rolls with freshly brewed Earl Grey tea.

avandia class action