New Year, New Fitness and Nutrition Plans!

Hey friends!

It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged and I have something exciting to share that will hopefully help those of you with similar interests/concerns. My close friends know that I have struggled for about 8 years with what I guess you would call an eating disorder. I have never actually thought of myself in that light but facts are facts. I think where it all began was with an ex b/f who told me I was gaining weight and needed to hit the gym. He eventually broke up with me, leaving me angry with him and myself. So there I found myself talking to my sister-n-law about the Zone diet. This diet is great if you stick with it and follow it as it tells you to!

It all started out great and healthy until I started counting the calories that I was putting in my body. If I had an upcoming event that I was looking forward to, I would calorie restrict so much that I could lose the weight within weeks. That’s just what I did when I became single again. I lost 20 lbs, going from 170-150 within a couple months and felt better than ever at the time. I’m 5’10” so you can put it into perspective. Over the years I have kept my weight at 150 give or take a few pounds. I’ve just recently realized that over the last 10 years that I was working at the bar, I was replacing meals with alcohol and that’s how I was keeping the weight off. Now, I wouldn’t consider myself an alcoholic by any means, but this is just how it works in the business. Everyone’s drinking and partying til the wee hours of the morning. That factor, along with the massive dehydration your body sustains when drinking alcohol, allowed me being able to maintain at that weight. I also watched what I ate… fruits, veggies, lean meats…. when I did eat. It got to the point where I would have to restrict calories more and more because restricting wouldn’t produce the same results as it had before. Here’s where I found myself eating 700 cals or less per day… all the way down to 500. The part that made me the most angry? that I was MAINTAINING my weight at that caloric intake and my metabolism is slower than ever!! My friend/trainer has made multiple attempts to help me by making meal and exercise plans to fix this problem. I’ve always told him “YES! I’m starting Monday, or next week, or next month” when this or that is over. Always making excuses. He is frustrated with my empty promises and so am I. The short of it was that I was afraid to initially gain weight following a healthy plan while I was still bartending and having to be half-clothed and around coworkers half my age.

Since I have become a new nurse, stress of a new job and getting acclimated had set in and nutrition had taken a backseat for a few months. Not to mention, the holidays getting in the way. Oh, and I must mention the lovely nurses that I work with who always bring awesome treats to work. 🙂 I have done my best to resist and have succeeded for the most part. Now that things are getting a little easier, I’d like to reverse the damage I’ve done.

As of yesterday, I was eating ~500 cals/day (healthy food) and sometimes eating whatever I wanted every couple weeks or so. My goal is to become the healthiest I’ve ever been in my life, prove to my friend/trainer that I’m not a failure, and to encourage others with this same problem……Starting TODAY. In doing this, I will be posting often so that you can follow my journey while I blog about my thoughts, feelings, meals and exercises for that week. It’s going to be a tough mental battle for me, but now is the time for ZERO excuses!

Any words of encouragement appreciated!! xoxo

-Sam

Homemade Mixed Veggie Chicken Soup!

One of my fav healthy meals so far! This recipe will make enough for 12 servings.

Ingredients:

12 chicken or vegetable bouillon cubes

12 cups water

3 Zucchinis

1 bunch Kale

2 red bell peppers

3 jalapenos

1 bunch green onions

1/2 yellow onion

2 tbsp minced garlic

1 green bell pepper

About 8 sliced mushrooms

Italian seasoning to taste

Cumin to taste

 

Directions:

Boil 12 cubes of bouillon in 12 cups water on the stove. Reduce to medium low heat. Cut stems out of kale, wash thoroughly, and break into 1 inch pieces.

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Chop all other veggies and place in pot! Cook on medium low heat for about an hour until veggies are softened but not flimsy. Serve warm.

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While this is cooking, bake 3 chicken breasts cover with foil in oven on 350 degrees for 45 mins. Internal temp of chicken should be 160 degrees for safety.

When chicken is done, shred with a fork and place into veggie soup. Enjoy!

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Sugar Cookies!

I only make these cookies twice a year TOPS because they are a huge pain in the a$$. They taste amazing… just like the sugar cookies from the bakery in Publix. 🙂 Anyways, I found these lovely little cookie cutters in my stocking this year and decided I was in the mood to brave them today. Here’s some things you will need…

Ingredients:

For the sugar cookies:

2/3 cup shortening

2/3 cup butter

1 1/2 cups white sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp. vanilla extract

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

For the icing:

4 lbs. Confectioner’s sugar

1 1/3- 1 1/2 cup warm water

2/4 tbsp. OIL-FREE extract or flavoring

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, cream together the butter, shortening and sugar.

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Stir in the eggs and vanilla.

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Combine the flour, baking powder and salt, stir into the creamed mixture until dough comes together.

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Split the dough into two balls and form into a disk shape. Cover each disk with saran wrap and place in refrigerator for 30 mins.

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This makes the dough less sticky when you’re trying to roll it out.

Prepare your surface by sprinkling flour and also flouring your rolling pin. My apologies, I couldn’t get a good picture because the sun was beaming in! 🙂

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place one disk on your surface and roll it out evenly on all sides until you have about 1/2in thickness.

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Now for the fun part! Cookie cutter your heart out ❤

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Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 9-10 mins. I don’t wait for them to turn brown on the edges. You may think they aren’t done but they are!

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And they come out looking like this!

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They don’t rise much so you can place them pretty close together.

I have barely ANY counter space for as much as I like to bake/cook so I had to move my cookie decorating to the living room table. 🙂

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If you have time in between switching out cookie pans in the oven, try making the frosting. I needed 3 different colors but I started out by just making 1 large bowl of white frosting.

It’s simple… combine the 4 lbs. (2 bags) of confectioners’ sugar, and 1 1/3- 1 1/2 cup warm water and blend on medium/high speed. The mixture will be liquid-like at first but after about 7-10 mins of blending, it will stiffen up and stiff peaks will form.

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Then I split the mixture into 3 different bowls and added food coloring until I was satisfied with the color. Here’s where I thought things were really gonna go downhill for me. I figured you could make the color black with red and blue. Oh no, I got brown. Then I researched online and it said to use red, blue and yellow. Then I got baby poop green.

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Keep in mind that the more drops of food coloring you add, the more you are thinning out your frosting, which you don’t want to do. I then realized I had gel coloring, so I just started adding blue and green until I got a really dark shade of green.. which could pass as black. Needless to say….. by black food coloring and save yourself!!!!!!!

I used Wilton’s piping bags and attachments for this next part. The icing as you have it prepared now, is the consistency you want it for all piping (outlining). On a square of saran wrap, pour a portion of your colored icing in the center and carefully roll it up so that you have it in the shape of a large hotdog… twisting the ends so none can leak out. This is easier than cleaning your piping bags after every color, trust me. Place the icing into the piping bag, pulling one twisted end through the tip. Add on your piping tip and get started! For better instructions on how to do this please use the internet. I suggest http://www.sweetsugarbelle.com for pointers. She’s amazing at what she does and her website taught me how to perfect my cookie skills. 🙂

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After you have done all the piping, your are going to use the leftover icing to make “flood icing”. To thin it out, you are going to use DROPS of water at a time to get the consistency of “shampoo”. I say DROPS because if you put too much water, there’s no turning back.

Next, pour icing into bottles and “flood”. The same website also has a good tutorial on how to do this.

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I did the same for all the rest of the cookies. The dried piping will keep your “sections”  and colors from running into one another.

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Just me being silly 🙂

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And the last finishing touches on the glasses…..!!

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Christmas Break- Sanibel Island, FL

I went on a couple morning runs to the beach in Sanibel while the sun was still rising. What a great time for pics! It’s only about a mile away so I changed up my running route and headed there to sit in the sand and take in the view…

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Coolest picture EVER…..

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This is an alligator on our 12 mile bike ride… Hard to see but I was only 5 ft from him!

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Semifreddo- Cold Trifle (An Italian dessert!)

This dessert is a little complicated and time consuming but well worth the work if you’re looking for a TRUE Italian dish. It literally melts in your mouth…

Ingredients:

For the bottom:

4 cups almond flour (this is pretty expensive)

4 egg whites

2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

For the filling:

3 eggs at room temperatur

1 1/2 sticks butter

1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

5 ounces bittersweet chocolate in a bar

1-2 tbsp brandy (or dark rum)

1 1/2 cups strong, cold espresso

3 tbsp slivered almonds

Approximate preparation time: 1 1/2 hours; 500 cals per serving

1.) Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Combine almond flour with 1 3/4 cups of confectioners’ sugar. Fold 2 egg whites beaten to a stiff peak into the mixture.

2.)Divide the mixture into 4 portions. Between two sheets of plastic wrap, roll out each portion to the size of the bottom of a spring form pan (8-9 inches in diameter). Bake the crusts one at a time on the middle rack of the oven for 10-15 mins. Allow the crusts to cool entirely before using them.

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3.) For the filling, separate the eggs and beat the egg whites to a stiff peak. Cream the butter with the egg yolks and about 1/3 cup of confectioners’ sugar. With a spoon, gradually fold in the egg white mixture.

4.) Mix the brandy with 2 cups of cold espresso. With one-third of the cold coffee-brandy mixture, moisten 1 cold almond crust.

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5.) Spread one-third of the cream filling evenly onto this moistened crust. With a four-sided grater, finely grate one-third of the chocolate bar over this layer of cream. Cover this layer with another almond crust, and moisten the crust with one-third of the cold coffee-brandy mixture. Repeat the layers of cream, chocolate, almond crust, brandy, and coffee, until you have no more ingredients.

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6.) Finish the top layer with brandy/coffee mixture, cream, and chocolate shavings.

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7.) Place the cake in a storage container and seal. Refrigerate for 4-5 hours (or freeze for less time) and allow to set. Garnish with slivered almonds. Serve chilled.

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Day #2 post holiday eating!

I tried to get out there and run today since the weather is cool and I’m far from being able to run the 13.1 miles I’m scheduled to do in just a short month. I’m also embarrassed that this is as far as I could run, but it’s better than nothing, eh? Hard to believe just two months ago I ran a half marathon and now I’m back to the basics. After this half, I’m going to focus on weight training and eating very clean with the help of a trainer, rather than signing up for marathons.

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After running, (and while I was making banana bread), I had to eat something in order to stop myself from licking the banana bread bowl. So this is my usual healthy go-to.

Ingredients:

1 tbsp rice protein powder

2 tsp whole psyllium husk

1 cup 30 cal almond milk

1 cup mixed frozen fruit

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Blend it all up and you’ve got yourself a nice 175 cal protein smoothie 🙂

Skinny Chocolate Chip Banana Bread!

It’s after the holidays and now that I’m no longer around family and making all kinds of treats and dinners, I can finally focus on my first goal of losing 19 lbs. It’s gotten out of control and now I’m especially determined to get back into shape with another half marathon on the horizon! I did however have these too ripe bananas laying around and whoops! I’d hate to let them go to waste. So banana bread it is. For my coworkers of course 😉

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

3 ripe bananas

1 tbsp smart balance butter

6oz. Greek Yogurt

1 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

2 egg whites

3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chip morsels

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup Splenda

-Preheat oven to 330 degrees.

– In a small bowl, mash bananas and set aside.

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– in a large bowl, blend butter, eggs, vanilla, Greek yogurt, brown sugar, and Splenda. Then add in mashed bananas.

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– next, mix flour, baking soda and powder into wet mixture.

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– Fold in 3/4 cups chocolate chips and pour into greased bread pan.

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-Place into oven and bake for 30-35 mins until fork comes out clean.

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A healthy alternative to the usual sugar filled banana bread!