Saturday, August 7, 2010

Shrimp Curry - Calling All Curry Experts

My teenagers looooove curry, both green and yellow curry that they've had from some local restaurants. So, I went online and looked up curry recipes. It was overwhelming. There are so many!! As I weeded through them, just looking for the basics, I realized that I wouldn't be able to find a lot of the ingredients. Living in a small town means there aren't a lot of specialty food stores, and the selections at Wal-Mart, Smith's, or Albertson's in a town this small are going to be skimpy. I knew I had curry powder on my pantry shelf, but the rest would have to be bought at the store. I took what seemed to be common ingredients, wrote them down, and went to Wal-Mart. No exotic ingredients were available. All I had was the curry powder at home. So, here's what I came up with:


1 tablespoon Smart Balance Light spread
2 cups finely diced onion (one online recipe made this the base of a curry paste)
2 sweet green bell peppers, chopped
3 teaspoons of minced garlic, I use the bottled kind for convenience


1 14oz. can petite diced tomatoes, use the juice also
zest of three limes
juice of those three limes
1/2 tsp. ground ginger (I forgot to buy fresh, which would be preferrable)
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 teaspoon table salt
1-1/2 tablespoons honey

Simmer for a few minutes to let the flavors combine. Then add:

1 16 oz. tub of Naturally Yours Fat-Free sour cream
14 oz. bag of medium cooked shrimp from Wal-Mart (first remove the tails after thawing in water)

Serve on top of rice. I've started eating brown rice, which has more fiber and I like the texture, but that's just me. White rice is just fine. This recipe, as is, makes 6-1/4 1-cup servings, 181 calories each serving.

Conclusion: It was okay, not bad, but Dani and Gil seemed to think something was missing. Following the example from one online recipe, I'd substituted the fat-free sour cream for the 14 oz can of coconut milk, thinking I would be saving on calories and fat grams. And I added the honey because it seemed to be lacking something. Frankly, I think it was the fat from the coconut milk that was missing. Using the coconut milk would only have added 76 calories per 1 cup serving, and maybe that would have been the icing on the cake, so to speak, and it might have been worth the extra calories and fat grams. Oh, and Dani thought there should have been less green peppers.

Any suggestions from those who have cooked curry before?

Summer Slow Down

This is what happens when no one post...including me. There is nothing new to make a comment on. Hard to get your 5 points when that happens.

Hope you are all having a great weekend. I had my free day today with and enjoyed breakfast with the Queen...and then had a very delicious ice cream cone for dessert.

Stay tuned for our second surprise challenge! It's loved and hated by all. Hope you all have been working on that little thing you've been letting slip...I have!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Jazzercise and Apple Pie

This is late to the game, but I wanted to let you all know that I jazzercised twice with my 70+ year old mom while I was vacationing in Vermont. Jazzercise was new to me and lots of fun. It got me sweating and my heart pumping. Lots of energetic dance aerobic movements, some weights, some kick boxing moves and we even did push-ups. It wasn't super hard either. So, in sum, it was the perfect vacation exercise. {And since Ben and Jerry were with us in Vermont too, with the factory in the vicinity, Jazzercise was a needed morning pick me up!}

I'm gearing up to go gung-ho HWHL again soon. The next two weeks we are hosting a foreign exchange student and it's going to be crazy, vraiment la folie, around here. I need to cook healthy, but also bring out the American standards...which are what exactly, do you think?

Girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice

Why does something that tastes so good have to be so bad for you? I LOVE sugar, but I have been eating a lot less of it the past 5 months. Below is one man's opinion on how bad sugar is for you and in case you're wondering.....I'm still going to indulge in it.

78 Reasons to Avoid Sugar

Straight from the writings of Dr. Victor Frank, founder/creator of Total Body Modification, here are 78 reasons to avoid sugar.

1. Sugar can suppress the immune system.
2. Sugar can upset the body's mineral balance.
3. Sugar can cause hyperactivity, anxiety, concentration difficulties, and crankiness in children.
4. Sugar can drowsiness and decreased activity in children.
5. Sugar can adversely affect children's school grades.
6. Sugar can produce a significant rise in triglycerides.
7. Sugar contributes to a weakened defense against bacterial infection.
8. Sugar can cause kidney damage.
9. Sugar can reduce helpful high density cholesterol.
10. Sugar can promote an elevation of harmful cholesterol.
11. Sugar may lead to chromium deficiency.
12. Sugar may cause copper deficiency.
13. Sugar interferes with absorption of calcium and magnesium.
14. Sugar may lead to cancer of the breast, ovaries, prostate, and rectum.
15. Sugar can cause colon cancer with an increased risk in women.
16. Sugar can be a risk factor in gall bladder cancer.
17. Sugar can increase fasting levels of blood glucose.
18. Sugar can weaken eyesight.
19. Sugar raises the level of a neurotransmitter called serotonin, which can narrow blood vessels.
20. Sugar can cause hypoglycemia.
21. Sugar can produce acidic stomach.
22. Sugar can raise adrenaline levels in children.
23. Sugar can increase the risk of coronary heart disease.
24. Sugar can speed the aging process, causing wrinkles and gray hair.
25. Sugar can lead to alcoholism.
26. Sugar can produce tooth decay.
27. Sugar can contribute to weight gain and obesity.
28. High intake of sugar increases the risk of Crohn's disease and Ulcerative Colitis.
29. Sugar can case a raw, inflamed intestinal tract in person with gastric or duodenal ulcers.
30. Sugar can cause arthritis.
31. Sugar can cause asthma.
32. Sugar can cause candidiasis (yeast infection).
33. Sugar can lead to the formation of gallstones.
34. Sugar can lead to the formation of kidney stones.
35. Sugar can cause ischemic heart disease.
36. Sugar can cause appendicitis.
37. Sugar can exacerbate the symptoms of multiple sclerosis.
38. Sugar can indirectly cause hemorrhoids.
39. Sugar can cause varicose veins.
40. Sugar can elevate glucose and insulin responses in oral contraception users.
41. Sugar can lead to periodontal disease.
42. Sugar can contribute to osteoporosis.
43. Sugar contributes to saliva acidity.
44. Sugar can cause a decrease in insulin sensitivity.
45. Sugar leads to a decreased glucose tolerance.
46. Sugar can decrease growth hormone.
47. Sugar can increase total cholesterol.
48. Sugar can increase systolic blood pressure.
49. Sugar can change the structure of protein causing interference with protein absorption.
50. Sugar causes food allergies.
51. Sugar can contribute to diabetes.
52. Sugar can cause toxemia during pregnancy.
53. Sugar can contribute to eczema in children.
54. Sugar can cause cardiovascular disease.
55. Sugar can impair the structure of DNA.
56. Sugar can cause cataracts.
57. Sugar can cause emphysema.
58. Sugar can cause atherosclerosis.
59. Sugar can cause free radical formation in the bloodstream.
60. Sugar lowers the enzymes' abilities to function.
61. Sugar can cause the loss of tissue elasticity and function.
62. Sugar can cause liver cells to divide, increasing the size of the liver.
63. Sugar can increase the amount of fat in the liver.
64. Sugar can increase kidney size and produce pathological changes in the kidney.
65. Sugar can overstress the pancreas, causing damage.
66. Sugar can increase the body's fluid retention.
67. Sugar can cause constipation.
68. Sugar can cause myopia (nearsightedness).
69. Sugar can compromise the lining of the capillaries.
70. Sugar can cause hypertension.
71. Sugar can cause headaches, including migraines.
72. Sugar can cause an increase in delta, alpha, and theta brain waves, which can alter the mind's ability to think clearly.
73. Sugar can cause depression.
74. Sugar can increase insulin responses in those consuming high-sugar diets compared to low-sugar diets.
75. Sugar increases bacterial fermentation in the colon.
76. Sugar can cause hormonal imbalance.
77. Sugar can increase blood platelet adhesiveness, which increases risk of blood clots.
78. Sugar can increase the risk of Alzheimer's Disease.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

A Thousand Miles Somewhere

A couple of weeks ago before my vacation post vacation sleep in fest I was getting up early a few times a week to ride my bike before my husband went to work. This particular morning I wanted to get up real early because I was driven to get a long ride in but more demanding was the thought that I was finally going to put 1000 miles on my bike. I only had 18 miles to hit that mark....
I actually stopped to take this picture with my phone. When I finished it said 1008. Cool Beans!

I know this will sound funny to most of you but there actually is a bonding relationship between a rider and the bike. I've done a couple of races on this bike and even put crazy amounts of time while I trained and completed a 100 mile ride on this bike. I've had silly crashes on this bike. I've had rides with friends where we talk the whole time. I've even been on a couple of rides with my really fast husband. We have a friendship, an understanding.

Sometimes you can do all this exercise and wonder what's the point. I personally like to sign up for races so I have a goal and purpose to why I'm exercising all the time. It helps give me that exercise "high" and drive to keep doing more.

Seeing 1000 miles on my bike gave me a great sense of accomplishment. It took me two years since I don't ride in the winter and summer can be hit or miss.

I'm hoping to put another 1000 on in 18months instead of 2 years this time.

The Monthly Cycle and 24 Ways to Lose Weight Without Dieting

The Monthly Cycle - It's a delicate topic, but after having a few crazy cycles after having Sammy, and then finally having a normal one, I was curious about how it affects weight loss. I found a great article on Web MD, called "Is PMS Sabatoging Your Diet?" Go read the whole thing, but a few key points are:

1. "As levels of estrogen go up and down, so do levels of the stress hormone cortisol... And when cortisol levels are high enough, the body turns on its fight-or-flight response, a woman becomes more metabolically charged, and her appetite is stimulated. This, in turn, causes a woman to seek out carbs and fat."
2. "Most women with PMS experience a drop in serotonin levels, which triggers cravings for carbs because the body uses carbs to make serotonin."
3. "Other research has linked PMS to a state of low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, in the second half of the menstrual cycle... 'Women in these studies experienced a significant drop in blood sugar after eating, accompanied by edginess and irritability... Then within an hour or two, they are hungry again and craving more food.'"
4. 12 Ways to Fight PMS Cravings: Eat complex carbs, avoid processed sugar, try foods high in essential fatty acids, drink plenty of water, shun salt, avoid fat (slows absorption of carbs), limit coffee and cola, cut meals in half (meaning spread out your calories), avoid stress, abstain from alcohol, get plenty of sleep, and have a routine.
5. Tackle food cravings with exercise.

24 Ways to Lose Weight Without Dieting - also from Web MD

It's presented in a slideshow format, with small paragraphs on each section, but here's a summarized list:
1. Time your meals (take longer to eat your food)
2. Sleep more, weigh less
3. Serve more, eat more veggies
4. When soup's on, weight comes off
5. Go for whole grains
6. Eyeball your skinny clothes
7. Skip the bacon
8. Build a better slice of pizza (Papa Murphy's thin-crust spinach artichoke is awesome!)
9. Sip smart: cut back on sugar
10. Sip smart: use a tall thin glass
11. Sip smart: limit alcohol
12. Sip smart: go for green tea
13. Slip into a yoga state of mind
14. Eat at home
15. Catch the "eating pause" (the difference between full, but not stuffed, a difference I think is critical to discover in fighting hunger)
16. Chew strong mint gum
17. Shrink your dishes (I'm also a big believer in this)
18. Get food portions right (ditto)
19. Try the 80-20 rule (similar to "eating pause")
20. Eat out your way (tips for healthier eating out, managing portion sizes)
21. Reach for the red sauce (marinara instead of alfredo on pasta)
22. Go meatless more often
23. Burn 100 calories more
24. Celebrate your food successes
25. More reading on losing weight (links to more articles)

Enjoy! And use one of these tips - I'm going to "eyeball my skinny clothes."

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Two Pounds Here or There.

I flew home yesterday after spending 13 days out West, pretty much having a blast. There are so many things I love about Colorado and Utah; of course, the # 1 thing that I love are my family members that live in those two states and #2 is all my friends that I love in those two states. Another thing that I love about my Western visits is that I always lose 2 pounds while I'm out there and this trip was no exception. When I got on the scale this morning, I had lost 2 pounds. When I'm out in Utah and Colorado, I almost always have great hair days but on the minus side, I have bad skin, eyes and nose days.

Now back to those 2 lost pounds, it's all a trick — because tomorrow I will get on the scale and those 2 pounds will be back. You see, it's all about dryness and moisture. When I got on the plane yesterday in Colorado I left clear blue skies, fluffy white clouds and dry air and when I stepped off the plane in Virginia, I felt like I had walked into a sauna. To understand the hazy dog days of summer, you need only visit Virginia in August. It's hard to believe that in Virginia I carry two extra pounds of moisture in my skin and hair but the reality is, I DO......But at least for two days when I return from a Western trip I can almost believe I lost 2 pounds. I love Virginia because my nose is happy, my skin is happy, my eyes are happy, but on the minus side my hair is big and frizzy and I have a huge air conditioning bill.

No place is perfect; believe me I know this from experience. But there is always something to love about where ever you are. None of us are perfect either but there are many more plusses to each of us than there are minuses.

Now, about that candy bar at the top of the post. I actually contemplated having it for dinner tonight. I'm having a bit of a hard time getting my groove back (I could have hit the gym last night and today but it didn't happen). But I'm sure tomorrow when I step on the scale and see that I've gained those 2 pounds back, that will be just the incentive I need to get back to the torture chamber, I mean gym.

I'm Having a What??

"I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger. "- Anon

I don't really have a hard time deciphering that line, I usually just choose to eat when I'm bored. So I try to keep myself busy, or say to myself "Dude, Jenn, you're not hungry, you're bored, go do the dishes, or laundry, or read a book to Elle, go do something!" (those tasks never seem to end) I'm not an emotional eater (in fact, when I'm stressed, I don't eat), nor am I really an over-eater, I just eat because I'm bored, or it looks REALLY good! But I'm really proud of myself this pregnancy. I'm 22 weeks (even though the baby weighs 1 lb. 4 oz., which is how big it should be at the 25th week, not 22nd) and I've gained 10 pounds total!! Seriously, I'm really proud of myself, even if I look like I'm in my 7th month (I'm short, so I always look further along). I think a lot of it has to do with my thyroid. The doctor has really been keeping track of my levels and adjusting my medicine when it needs to be. It's amazing how one little thing wrong with your body can wreak havoc on, well, everything! Honestly, though, it doesn't even matter if I end up gaining 50 pounds, I know I'm eating well (even if I do have a Jam Thumbprint cookie once in a while). And that feels good! I'm so glad I'm on this journey with all of you!

I'm having a boy! I really thought I was having a girl, but nope, it's a boy. all. I'm shocked and excited. I had a girl name all picked out and am a TOTAL loss for boys' names. Any suggestions would be helpful. I love the name Eric, but that's my brother-in-law's name (Mindelicious's brother) and I don't think my husband is too keen on that. The only other names I think I really like are Ryan (and my husband's name is Brian, so that's out) and Edan, which means "little fiery one" (and my husband is a red-head, so I'm keeping my finger-crossed for a red-head). I think that's cute, my little fiery one. Anyway, seriously, I need some names that aren't weird, but aren't in the top ten either.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tropical or Strawberry Fat-Free Frozen Yogurt

After the last month of reading labels and reevaluating how food tastes to me, I decided that fat-free, sugar-free ice cream is gross, but regular or "lite" ice cream is more sweet than it needs to be. Yogurt has a wonderfully creamy texture, so I decided to give that a try. I ordered a "refurbished" counter-top ice cream maker from for about $35, and went to town testing recipes. Here's what I've come up with.

Tropical or Strawberry Fat-Free Frozen Yogurt

1 large 32 oz. tub of fat-free vanilla yogurt
2 Cups frozen fruit (I use the Tropical variety or Strawberry Wal-Mart Great Value brand)

1/2 cup serving Tropical - 92 calories (regular ice cream can be around 140 to 180 calories)
1/2 cup serving Strawberry - 87 calories
1/2 cup serving Blackberry - 96 calories (just threw that in to see if you were paying attention, I think I'll try this variety tomorrow)

Yep, just two ingredients, and the kids especially like the strawberry. Connor's comment was, "This is the best ice cream I ever had!" I'm sure that was an exaggeration. I doubt this beats the overall satisfaction your taste buds get from decadently fat regular ice cream, but still, it's a great substitute. Sue made a comment on my health blog once, that she was impressed that I stayed in my calorie range and still had homemade ice cream. Well, this is my secret, and here is how it's done, step by step.

Measure out two cups of frozen fruit, then soften in the microwave for about 1 to 1-1/2 minutes.

Puree it in the blender.

You wind up with about 7/8 cup of fresh fruit puree. Hmmm, any of you out there a fan of peaches? That would be great, too!

A 32oz. tub of fat-free yogurt. Stir in the fruit puree, and pour it into the core.

The ice cream machine. Here's the basic concept - the frozen core sits on the motor base. The frozen core is about a 1/2" to 3/4" thick cylinder with some kind of gel/liquid substance sealed inside the walls. You are supposed to keep it in your freezer all the time, so that it's ready to go whenever you make frozen treats. The frozen walls win out over the much warmer temperature of the liquid you put in the center, and that's how you wind up with ice cream.

The plastic paddle just rests inside the core.

Fully assembled, with the lid on.

It starts out as a liquid.

It gets a little thicker, starts looking like a milkshake.

Then it gets really frozen, and starts clumping up.

Now it has the consistency of soft-serve ice cream. Now it's time to take it out of the core and either eat it, or put it in a separate container in the freezer. Note - in a completely frozen state, it's not quite like regular ice cream, which is still somewhat creamy when it's frozen. Because there is no fat in this recipe, it's nearly like frozen water, but if you put it in the microwave for about 45 seconds, it softens up enough that you can scoop it.

Eat it up, yummmmmm!!!!

Next, I'll work on some different berry flavors, maybe redo the peppermint I tried a little over a week ago, and work on chocolate.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Get Moving Ladies!

She is this rounds winner! Way to keep it going during the hardest part of the year! I can tell by your awesome attitude that you're feeling the positive effects of your hard work! I'll have to go back and look but I really think that you've probably set the two week challenge record!

Now, for the rest of us it's time to take it up a notch. Pick one thing that you've slacked off on and work on it this next challenge.
This is challenge #1, yes that means there is another one coming but this one is worth 15 points!

I've spent the evening reading all the post and comments that I missed! I was in the Adirondacks with no tech communication to the world. It was refreshing. It looks like you've done some new and amazing things and that the HWHL gathering in Utah was a huge success! I hope you locals keep it up!

A big thank you to Alicia for taking over while I was out of touch!

Hope you all have a great week! It's great to be back.

Truly Happy . . .

{Jill, Cammy, Jenn, Julie, Victoria, Samantha, Alicia @ Blue Lemon in Alpine, Utah}

Look at the smiles on these faces.  They are happy!  Happy to know eachother and wrap a hug around a friend that until this moment was just words on a computer screen, thoughts in a mind.  Happy to share a delicious, healthy meal  and hearty laughter together.  Happy to put names to faces to posts to stories.  Happy to be a part of a blogging community that is not just about weight loss, but also about constant healthy living and life changes that result in feeling better about one's self.

I feel so grateful to have met each of these beautiful women!

Now I'm back from a two week vacation, that unfortunately was full of far too many unhealthy choices, and ready to recommit.  Thanks for a great night ladies!  And thanks Alicia for setting it up.