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Weekly Menu for the week of July 20th-26th

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Sunday - AFGHANI FOOOOOD!!! We're checking out a restaurant we haven't been to before. Looks like a cross between Moroccan food and Indian food.

Monday - French Onion Soup w/ Hummus BLTs (we use hummus instead of mayo)

Tuesday - Freitas McGriddles (Pork Roll, Egg & Cheese on a Pancake bun) with fruit salad

Wednesday - Chicken Satay Salad

Thursday - Homemade Cheeseburgers and Baked Potatoes

Friday - Jerk Pork Chops, Mango Salad, Jamaican Rice & Peas

Saturday - Tuna Salad stuffed in tomatoes, macaroni salad

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SIMONEKP 7/23/2014 1:36PM

    sounds good

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POMATOJUICE 7/21/2014 9:04AM

    You know, when you typed "hummus instead of mayo," my initial reaction was "ewwwww" then immediately after, "wait, I bet that's really good...." I love your creativity and variety in your menus! Makes me want to go find a new husband that likes to eat more types of things!! :O mostly kidding!

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LIVEDAILY 7/20/2014 6:45PM

    Yummy! I tried a new restaurant in Montclair (foodie heaven!) called Uncle Momo's. It's Lebanese, and they make their own pita bread, from scratch, right there in the restaurant. You can watch them. Huge pitas, light as air, and they come to your table hot and puffy from the oven! I had chciken kebob on a bed of lentil hummus/pureed lentils - very yum! If you are ever up my way, let me know ahead of time. SO many really good restaurants here!

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TALULAX- 7/20/2014 2:47PM


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Learning to Cook

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

I would say that at least 60% of my success at this weight loss thing is directly related to how frequently I cook. I've been cooking most of my life, due to living with a single dad and getting sick of eating pancakes and mac and cheese all the time. (Plus my dad had this rule where if one person cooked the other did the dishes, and I hate washing dishes!)

Now I know not everyone is as comfortable in the kitchen as I am. I would call myself an intermediate cook. I'm comfortable trying new recipes, and I'm comfortable making up my own dishes. Most of my stuff comes out fairly tasty.

But, if you're not confident in the kitchen, cooking can be daunting. Food network and Cooking Channel used to be a place where you could learn how to cook (Remember that show How to Boil Water?) but now it seems it's a place to plop competition shows and shows where all they do is talk about how good a restaurant's signature dish is. Frankly, I'm sick of this stuff. I don't want to see arrogant chefs bleeding all over their cutting board while trying to make an appetizer out of cinnamon candies, pita bread and fennel.

So I have some recommendations of resources for those of you who are really interested in learning the principles behind cooking.

1. America's Test Kitchen
What a great resource! Christopher Kimball and crew guide you through the principles of cooking and test recipes, equipment and wines. The website offers videos, recipes and taste test lists, and you can download the podcast from iTunes.

2. Everything Alton Brown has ever done
Some people may find his persona irritating, but there is no better resource for learning about the SCIENCE of cooking and baking. He uses props and comedy to make even complicated processes like the Maillard Reaction easy to understand. His books are less recipes books than method books, and even if you've never set foot in a kitchen before, Alton Brown can teach you how to cook. Definitely borrow "I'm Just Here For The Food" from your local library.

3. Nigella Lawson
Okay, so maybe I picked Nigella as my third because I have a girl crush on her. This woman makes food SEXY. If you don't fall in love with food after watching Nigella cook, I don't know what will work for you. The best thing about Nigella is she's not a chef. She's a home cook. She cooks simple, delicious food. Most of her stuff can be made after a long day at work and be ready within an hour. NOTHING COMES FROM A BOX.

And seriously, this woman is gorgeous.

Remember, diet is 80-90% of weight loss. Learn to feed yourself good, nutritious food in reasonable portions.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_MOBII_ 7/17/2014 10:02AM

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE Alton Brown! I would totally stalk that man if I could afford to post bail, lol!

I do like some of the competition shows though because they can be very creative and Chopped often shows ingredients that I have never heard of, lol!

My cooking skills are somewhat recent...compared to my age. We ate meat and carbs growing up, very, very basic things so you didn't starve...lots of mac and cheese, frozen pizza, and hot dogs.
My first husband was meat and potatoes and going out to eat. The second was meat and if I was lucky...potatoes, he hated me experimenting with cooking.
My beau on the other hand....he will eat all of my experiments (think jumbo shrimp that turned out blue, lol!)
He also encourages me to try new foods and combinations while keeping it healthy too.

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ARRREAGLES 7/17/2014 7:52AM

    I was young when I learned to cook. My mother in the kitchen whipping up amazing food from the random scraps of whatever that were in fridge and pantry. My best friend coming over and my mother inventing a new nacho/taco variation on the fly for us to munch on.

I only came to realize later in life how wonderful it was, and how truly daunting some people found cooking. But there is a really wonderfully secret thing to cooking that people fail to realize -- simple, fresh ingredients when combined taste good. Fresh tomatoes with a little salt and pepper or chickpeas blended with garlic and tahini and oil and lemon.

thanks for the inspirational blog. (and the introduction to an all new girl crush :) )

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LIVEDAILY 7/16/2014 11:48PM

    I have to say that America's Test Kitchen is awesome!! I subscribe to Kimball's magazine, Cook's Illustrated, and I have 1 or 2 of their cookbooks. I collect cookbooks the way some women collect shoes....

Another good resource is right here on SP. SP's recipe index is huge, and while it doesn't have everything, it DOES offer recipes with directions. I never would have tried Eggs n' Oats otherwise!!

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GSEATON 7/16/2014 10:11PM

    Agreed, Alton is KING! Good blog!

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MISTY_MOUNTAINS 7/16/2014 9:55PM

    You are just so darned helpful. Thanks!!

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HOPEFULHIPPO 7/16/2014 2:21PM

    THANK you! I was just asking Tom where all the cooking shows went...even on the "cooking" channel there are none...

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ICEDEMETER 7/16/2014 1:37PM

    Great point made, and great recommendations!

I'm another one who can put a good bit of the credit for weight-loss on cooking - and I just started learning to. (Yes, I'm in my late 40's - it's never too late to learn something!)

A few things that I would add:

- set up a good, solid stock of basic spices, oils, and vinegars so that you can make the flavours suit your mood

- make sure that you have the best cookware and knives that you can afford, and have them organized so that everything is easy to get to without having to think about it

- keep your sense of humour and remember that it's just food - not everything is going to turn out the way you figured, but at the very least it can be good for a laugh

- have a few batch recipes in the freezer for those nights when cooking feels more like a chore than play (and put them in the freezer on those days when it feels like play!)

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GRACEOMALLEY 7/16/2014 1:25PM


I'm a very good cook and make up my own versions of stuff all the time, but your blog points out the importanty factor that cooking it ourselves gives us more control over what goes in AND when you know what you're doing, you can spice / flavor up just about anything to suit you.

This was a good reminder to all of us.
emoticon emoticon

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My Really Weird Music Tastes

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

I'm listening to a startling variety of music today! Here are a few examples:

INXS "Don't Change"

Lovedrug "Salt of the Earth"

Coheed and Cambria "Welcome Home" (WARNING: sweary words)

KONGOS "Come with me Now"

Sound of Contact "Pale Blue Dot" (NOTE: This is Phil Collin's son's band)

The Fray "Say When" /

Hope you enjoy some of them!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BATCHICK 7/23/2014 12:04PM

    Eclectic is good when it comes to music, I love all these tunes!

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MISTY_MOUNTAINS 7/16/2014 9:57PM

    The Kongos have been on my iPod for a little while now. Love that song!!

P.S. - I get to see Arctic Monkeys again next month!! Every time I listen to them now, you pass through my head, haha.

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    That Kongos song has been huge here for a little while now. Quite catchy!

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LIVEDAILY 7/15/2014 8:36PM

    I had to laugh! When I was in VA, my SIL and I were comparing our playlists on our phones, and I told her I had the most eclectic taste in music:
M.C. Hammer - U Can't Touch This
Blake Shelton - Boys Round Here
Robin Thicke
Little Big Town
Just to name a few off the top of my head!

LOVE The Kongos!

Comment edited on: 7/15/2014 8:45:16 PM

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ICEDEMETER 7/15/2014 5:20PM


Yay! I'd never heard of the Kongos before, and I'm betting they'll be a regular on the playlist now... Off to listen to some more of their stuff!

Thanks, and hope you and yours are having a great week!

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Food Catchup Blog!

Monday, July 14, 2014

You hopefully know by now that I love to cook from scratch. It makes it soooo easy to control my calories, sodium and fat. I often adapt recipes that sound yummy to lighten them up. So I decided to post a bunch of recipes I've used last week and this week, because I've got some GOOD ones!

Ok last week I made a couple of standout recipes.

Marinated Eggplant (adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi's Marinated Eggplant with tahinit).
I didn't like the tahini sauce. Too bitter for my taste, but the room temperature eggplant was soooo good on its own! Would be great on a cheese platter with warm french bread and roasted red peppers.

Falafel Pie
OH MY this was good. Now I freaking LOVE falafel. My only problem with this recipe is it stuck to the pan a bit, even using aluminum foil.

Stewed Chicken and Chickpeas
Very good, although missing SOMETHING. I think it was salt, because I forgot to add the salt. You'll notice that I used pre-cooked chicken breast and raw bone in chicken. That's just because it's what I had on hand. The original recipe calls for boneless skinless chicken breasts, although I think it's tastier with thighs. Please know that it WILL take longer to cook if you use bone-in meat.

Beef & Lentil Sloppy Joes
This recipe came out of one of those large packages of ground beef that doesn't evenly divide to pounds. I had a bag of meat in the freezer that was just over 6 ounces, so I decided to supplement with red lentils. There's no directions, just cook the lentils as directed on the package, then add to the cooked ground beef. Tonight we're serving this over Thomas' Corn English Muffins with a side of tossed salad and steamed spaghetti squash.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NEELIXNKES 7/19/2014 4:02PM

    I saved the Falafel pie to try. I've used black beans to spread out ground beef for sloppy joes - they worked well for us. Thanks for sharing!

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GRACEOMALLEY 7/15/2014 11:53AM

    Sounds yummy! Thanks for sharing. Maybe a glass or similar casserole dish would be easiers to remove the falafel pie?

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FINCHFEEDER80 7/15/2014 9:00AM

    Thanks for sharing!

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ARRREAGLES 7/15/2014 7:56AM

    I made a crunchy garlic chickpea snack over the weekend that was lovely and spicy and amazing. Also a great potato and spinach curry. I've been trying to do 3 days veg a week, and both of these were happy adds.

We should trade recipes!!!

Looks yummers, though.

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HOPEFULHIPPO 7/15/2014 12:16AM

    oooooh I love tahini....know what helps the bitter? sometimes: lemon juice,. no. I'm not lying. LOL

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LIVEDAILY 7/14/2014 10:37PM

    The Falafel Pie sounds very yummy! There's a restaurant in town that makes a huge shepherds salad and serves it with quartered falafel balls on top. They're like chick pea croutons! And perfect with the salad!!

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JAMIRBLAZE 7/14/2014 6:50PM

    Falafel pie sounds delicious. Maybe a bit of cooking spray? Or the nonstick foil or parchment paper?

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KBSPARKY 7/14/2014 6:41PM

    I've never heard of Falafel Pie, what a cool idea. I will have to try this. Sounds good for summer, too.

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The Blog of Boredom

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

So today I left my phone at home, and work is slow. I have things I can do but I just don't want to DO any of them. I've been feeling like that a lot lately - blah. Not sure if it's the summer heat, or just a desire to be lazy for a while.

Things on the weight front are going fine. I'm eating 2,000 calories a day now, and I'm 3.6 lbs from my goal. I'm still losing a little at a time; this weight loss week I lost 1.4 lbs. If I lose that slowly I will hit goal before Christmas, which is fine by me.

Yesterday I was worried that I would not reach goal. My doc told me I could stop losing, and I don't want him to yell at me, but it's only 3.6 lbs, hardly a health risk. So I did some math. A lot of maintainers have a maintenance range of 3% of their goal weight. My goal weight is 160 lbs, so my range would be 155.2 - 164.8. If those are the numbers I should be aiming for, then I'm within maintenance range already!

It kind of surprises me I'm able to eat so much. I guess it's because I'm way more active than I used to be. Last week I even hit my goal of averaging 10,000 steps a day in a week. It was hard work, and I was VERY sore this weekend, so this week I'm cutting back a bit, which is fine, because it's TOM.

So my 4 day weekend was pretty good. Friday hubby and I went to my Godmother's farm for a BBQ. I most definitely overate because I had to sample all of the desserts. A small NSV is that there was one dessert that was delicious but it was so rich I felt kind of sick afterwards. In future I'm going to take just a taste. I did eat a lot of fruit that day, though. And how often do I eat like that? Maybe 4 times a year? I'm not stressed.

We had a fantastic time and it was so nice spending the day with my hubby, who usually volunteers to work the 4th, because he's Canadian.

Saturday I was supposed to go hiking, but yet again that fell through, but for good reason. My bestie had food poisoning! What's funny is she's a county health inspector, so I'm guessing this place will get a serious inspection soon! Tsk tsk. So instead of staying home and being lazy, I drove myself to Cooper River Park and walked the loop, which is 3.5 miles. I did it in less than an hour, then went home to be lazy for the rest of the day. I have been reading the most recent A Song of Ice and Fire book, Dance with Dragons by George RR Martin, so I laid on the couch and read that and took Bingley for a few short walks (he gets hot easily). By the end of the day I had over 14,000 steps in!

Sunday we did our normal grocery shop and laundry, with the added bonus of a walk at the local park with Bingley. It was supposed to be a "rest day" but I managed to accidentally get in 8,000 steps. That night hubby and I watched the newest episode of BBCs The Musketeers together. It's nice to have a show we can watch together! He usually leaves the room when I watch tv, because he's not into most of the shows I like.

Monday I didn't have anything planned, but my awesome cousin Susan (CHIPUGMOM) had time to kill before flying back home to Chicago so we hung out! We went out for Greek for lunch (I had spanakopita and a salad), went to Kohl's and got some iced coffee before just hanging out in my living room and talking for a while. I don't get to see Susan enough, maybe twice a year, but it's always a great time when I do!

Last night hubs made some bifanas (thin cut pork chops marinated in garlic, paprika, chile paste and white wine) so we had those, Portuguese rolls, mixed veggies and caramelized onions. Yum!

Tonight I'm making Spanish potato tortilla with chicken apple sausage on the side. Hope it turns out well!

Hope you all are doing well and keep it up!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SIMONEKP 7/14/2014 1:37PM

    you are doing fantastic, how awesome it must be to finally get maintenance range!

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LIVEDAILY 7/13/2014 4:02AM

    Your two menu items made me realize you haven't done a menu blog in awhile (hint! hint!).
Nice you got to spend time with hubs on the 4th, and time with your cousin too!
Do you get most of your walkig in by walking Bingley?
I wonder if I can train my cat to walk on a lead.....

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POMATOJUICE 7/11/2014 11:06PM

    I like bored blogs too! :D Hearing about your day-to-day is just as inspiring as purely fitness type posts, because I get to see what daily life is like on the other side! I know you are VERY close to your goal, and you may or may not see it as having a little ways to go yet... But I see it as pretty much there!

Reading about your calorie counts and your activity levels kind of blows my mind sometime! I mean, we're all different, but there are certainly some big differences in our activity levels, I think. And while we are different people with bodies that work differently, I get to see what kinds of activity it takes to maintain healthily!

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FOR_THE_DUDES 7/11/2014 11:31AM

    I heard someone say once, "there are two types of people in life---those who are bored and those who are miserable." I think it's BS, but it makes me feel good when I'm bored.

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_MOBII_ 7/9/2014 9:00PM

    Maintenance range!!! I am so happy for you!!!

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ZAPPATTACK 7/8/2014 11:12PM

    Congrats on being in maintenance range!! Sounds like your active lifestyle has become a part of everyday life :)

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    Everything sounds great on your end. You're so close!! I love that you're technically in maintenance range. Good on you, lady.
The Song of Ice and Fire books are friggin' amazing... I loved them all!!

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CATTUTT 7/8/2014 6:25PM

    Big congratulations on being in your maintenance range! That must be a seriously amazing feeling!

And great job on getting in so many steps and so much exercise. I need to be more like you.

Hope you're having a great evening!

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FINCHFEEDER80 7/8/2014 4:52PM


Make Dance with Dragons last- the next book is nowhere on the radar yet- I'm dying!

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