Monthly Archives: June 2012

Chicken, Purple Potatoes, and Lots! Of Veggies

Tonight’s might be the most colorful dinner we’ve ever made. First, I made an herb paste with basil, thyme and sage from the garden and some garlic, salt and pepper, and put it under the skin of chicken legs which my husband cooked on the grill. I took the skin off after it was cooked, but made sure to keep the herb paste.

He also grilled some purple potatoes from our farm share (we get our share from Live Earth Farms, it is wonderful). I sautéed some mushrooms (king, shitake, and cremini), then some summer squash (green from the garden and yellow from the farm share), and then some broccoli. I also cut up some raw carrots and put out cherry tomatoes. I think if anyone asked me advice about trying to lose weight, I would say “learn to love your veggies.” With all these different delicious veggies as part of my dinner, I don’t feel deprived at all having a smaller serving of protein and starch. And just look at how beautiful it all looks on the plate!

After splurging last night (see previous post), I had a really great day today, right back with my normal habits. Ate good healthy food, did my Zumba. And when I stepped on the scale today, it hadn’t moved at all. This is not normally good news, but after last night I would say it is great.


On Splurging

Last night, some friends took both of our kids for a sleepover with their kids. If you are a parent, you know what a rare treat it is to have kids out of the house for the night. My husband and I took the opportunity to go into the city (San Francisco, that is) for drinks and dinner. There is a ban on foie gras starting in California on July 1, and my husband wanted to bid it farewell. We stopped first for drinks at A16, and I had a glass of wine and hubby and I shared a salumi platter, because our dinner reservations were still over an hour away, and he loves cured meat.

After our drinks, we walked around a bit more, then went to dinner at Isa. They do shared small plates, so we had the foie gras (of course), then scallops (perfectly cooked and yummy), mushroom risotto (I love risotto and mushrooms), duck (sooooo good), and green beans–which they of course called haricots verts. It was a wonderful meal.

Did all of this fit into my usual calorie counting? It absolutely didn’t…I didn’t even bother trying to count it. Was it totally worth the extra calories, and maybe taking an extra day or so to reach my goal weight? Oh yeah, it definitely was. It was a lovely, special dinner out with my honey. How could that not be worth it? It seems like as long as you view losing weight as a long term goal, then an occasional (key word) splurge shouldn’t throw you off track. Enjoy it, then move on.

Zumba With a Friend

My friend came over today so we could try out Zumba on the Xbox with 2 players. I was skeptical, because it seems like I use the entire floor space in our living room when I do Zumba, so I thought for sure we’d be running into each other. I also wasn’t sure how’d I’d feel jumping around like that with someone else in the room. However, the space was fine, and I actually had a lot of fun exercising with a friend! We even met later in the day for a healthy lunch out together.

Dinner was some pre-made ravioli I picked up at the farmer’s market, which was a little frustrating because I couldn’t find any nutritional information about it. I had to pick another brand that seemed similar to enter the calories into my tracking app. I also sautéed a ton of summer squash, and cut up a bunch of raw veggies to have with it.

We almost got invited to a party at The Melting Pot tonight–turned out there wasn’t any space left–and the first thing that came to mind was how many calories would be in fondue. Is it a good or a bad thing that that was the first thing I thought about? I was going to go anyway, but I was totally freaking out about trying to eat healthy at a fondue place. And then I was kind of relieved when it turned out we couldn’t go. I don’t want my change in lifestyle to mean I miss out on fun, but how do I weigh the fun versus the damage it might do to what I’m trying to accomplish?

Taco Night

Tonight’s dinner wouldn’t have made a pretty picture, but it put lovely smiles on my kids faces. We had Taco Night, which I think my kids really love because they get to play with their food. I’m sure it’s the same in many households, we put all the fixings on the table, including black beans for my son, who will avoid meat whenever possible (texture thing, not because he loves animals), and the kids get to pile on whatever they want.

I’ve been trying lately to make Taco Night tasty for me, too. Tonight I finally succeeded. I used turkey meat for the filling, from Cook’s Illustrated–I get a lot of my recipes from that site, well worth the subscription price. I used plain greek yogurt instead of sour cream, made sure to cut up a lot of lettuce, tomatoes, and even some cucumbers. I also bought some salsa verde, which I love and is low calorie. I’m sure regular salsa would be good too. I made one taco with a tortilla, a little bit of cheese (real cheese, because I hate the fake stuff), a little guacamole, some yogurt, and veggies. Instead of having a second taco, I made a taco salad with a little bit of meat, no cheese or guacamole, just lots of veggies, lots of yogurt, and lots of salsa verde. I think I actually liked that better than the regular taco.

Happy news when I stepped on the scale this morning…it didn’t move at all the last few days. Normally, that would not be cause for celebration. However, after indulging in the movie popcorn on Monday, and not getting any kind of real exercise yesterday, I figured no movement was much better than movement in the wrong direction.

During my Zumba workout this morning, I really concentrated on putting a lot of energy into all the moves. Using the heart rate monitor and Digifit, I could really see the difference in both my calorie burn and my heart rate. That’s a good reason to keep wearing the heart rate monitor…the Zumba Fitness game will tell me I did great, 5 stars, even when I don’t work my hardest. But my heart rate can’t lie. Digifit is a pretty cool app too, in that it really shows what all the Zumba hype says is true…it does a lot of interval training, going between an aerobic and an anaerobic workout several times throughout the workout. Between the 65 minute Zumba Xbox routine and the 1/2 hour Zumba Toning workout, I burned about 800 calories. And I had fun doing it, which I still find pretty amazing.

The Best Laid Plans…

My husband’s new job starts next Monday, and the kids don’t have any camp this week, so we are spending a lovely week at home as a family. Today we decided to go into the city (San Francisco, that is) for the day. I had this wonderful idea that we would take a family walk around Crissy Field before going into the Exploratorium. I figured that way, even though I didn’t have time for Zumba today, I could still get some exercise in. Now, if you have kids, this will sound very familiar. We get to Crissy Field, this beautiful stretch of beach with views of the Golden Gate Bridge, and we start walking. The kids are in good moods for about 5 minutes. Then they start in with the whining…the sun is too bright, the wind is too strong, their legs are tired, etc., etc. We are stopping every few minutes to deal with the latest complaint. At one point, my daughter sits down on a bench and refuses to walk any further. I finally have to use the threat, “We won’t go to the Exploratorium at all if you can’t behave for this walk!” We got as far as I could convince the kids to go, and turned around to walk back…then, of course, the kids are laughing, having a great time, and running (seriously!). We all had fun at the Exploratorium at least, playing with the various hands-on exhibits. We even ran into my son’s science teacher who was there attending a workshop.

The Exploratorium’s cafe had a salad bar, so I got to eat a healthy lunch to make up for today’s lack of exercise. It’s times like this I really like using MyFitnessPal to track my calories. It is all just a balancing act, less exercise means less calories out, so it should also mean less calories in for that day.

Dinner tonight was grilled teriyaki skirt steak (pre-marinated by the grocery store), some more of my homemade grilled flatbread, grilled summer squash from my garden, carrots (also from my garden) and cherry tomatoes. The tomatoes were from the farmer’s market because all of my tomatoes are still sadly green.


I sliced the squash about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick, then sprayed it with olive oil spray from Trader Joe’s, and sprinkled it with some salt and lots of pepper. My husband grilled it for about 5-7 minutes a side.

 Here’s something that bothers me…the olive oil spray says it has zero calories in a 1/3 second spray…so how many calories in a spray long enough to coat the squash? It is oil, it obviously doesn’t have zero calories if you keep spraying the stuff. I wonder how many people get those sprays and think that is exactly what it means, that no matter how much you spray you still are eating zero calories?

Zumba Toning and Digifit

Today was a really good workout day…and not such a good eating day. It started out well, I had lost another pound when I stepped on the scale today. I had my usual toast with cheese and tomato for breakfast. Then I did a 65 minute Zumba routine on the Xbox. Today I used our Wahoo Fitness Heart Monitor with the Digifit app. I really like the display options on the app, it shows how long you spend in each zone. It still shows that I am burning less than half the calories than the Zumba game says, but that is okay. After finishing the routine on Xbox, I popped in the Zumba Ripped DVD. I decided to only do the toning portion, which is the first half. The second half is called Zumba Sentao, and uses a chair, and I found it very frustrating…my living room works fine for the Xbox game, but with the Zumba Sentao, I kept having to move the chair around to have room to do the moves, and so I’d miss moves and mess up the rhythm of the dance.

The Zumba Toning portion uses the Zumba Toning Sticks, which are weights that also make maraca sounds. Kinda silly, but also kinda fun. The DVD set came with 1 pound sticks, but I hardly felt anything when I used them. I ordered the 2.5 pound sticks from Amazon. I feel like I’m getting a pretty good workout when I use them.

I had a good healthy lunch too, but after that the eating went downhill a bit. We went out to see Brave (great movie!) and I got some popcorn for the kids, and I had some too. It is only after getting home and looking at calories that I realized that movie theater popcorn might be really awful. Even without butter, it was probably not a good choice. And, we went out to Mexican for dinner, where it is always hard to eat healthy…I think I made decent choices, I had shrimp fajitas, and limited the sour cream and guacamole, and only had a couple of tortillas. Only time will tell, and nothing I can do about it now, so I’ll face the scale the next time I step on it, and see what it says.

Pork Tenderloin, Brown Rice, Napa Cabbage Slaw

Tonight’s dinner was Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Asian Rub and Napa Cabbage Slaw, both from Cook’s Illustrated, and brown rice. The cabbage slaw was terrific, and very simple. It just had napa cabbage, an orange bell pepper, soy sauce, rice vinegar, ginger, and canola oil. I think my husband will write about grilling the pork at his blog.