Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Recipe

Here's a special edition Recipe Wednesday (well, technically Thursday!) for Thanksgiving. I made this today and brought it over to the family dinner. It went over well, and people seemed to like that the dish wasn't as sweet as the "traditional" sweet potatoes with the marshmallows on top.

1 40oz can sweet potatoes, drained (rinsed and drained, if desired)
1 8oz can crushed pineapple in juice, drained
1T butter, melted
1T packed brown sugar
2T walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Place sweet potatoes in a baking dish
3. Spoon pineapple over sweet potatoes
4. Mix melted butter and brown sugar and drizzle over the sweet potatoes/pineapple
5. Sprinkle walnuts over the top
6. Bake for 30-35 minutes

If it is not sweet enough for you, you could use 2T butter and 2T brown sugar, and/or don't rinse the syrup off of the sweet potatoes.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Final Pictures for Turbulence Training Transformation Contest

OK, here they are! I'm pretty happy with my results from my third 12 week Turbulence Training Transformation Contest. I worked really hard, and that's what matters to me. I did the best that I could. I lost a total of 10.6 lbs. I lost 2.5 inches from my waist, and 2.25 inches from my abdomen. I'm getting my bodyfat measured at the gym tomorrow, so I'll let you know how that goes!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

You Like Me, You Really Like Me!

I feel so honored! I've been bestowed with the Superior Scribbler Award from Kelly at Aim High! Please head on over and check out her cool site.

Here are the rules:
Post the award on your blog
Link to me for giving it to you
Link the originating post here
Pass it on to five deserving people
Post these rules for your recipients

So here are my honorees (It was hard to narrow it down to only 5!):

Losing the Jiggle
Team Testosterone

Everyone get out there and share the love!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Recipe Wednesday

Today's recipe is adapted from Suzanne Somers' Eat Great, Lose Weight. It's a recipe for taco seasoning, but I also like to use it on chicken when I want a southwestern flavor.

1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp salt (or less, if desired)
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper

This amount is good for a pound of ground beef, but you can easily double or triple it and keep it in an old spice container so you have some on hand to sprinkle on chicken breasts. When I put it on chicken, I like to first splash the chicken with a little lime juice. Then I sprinkle on the seasoning and cook the chicken on my George Foreman grill.

To make taco meat:
1. Heat 1T canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add about 1/4 to 1/2 of an onion, chopped, and let it cook for about 3 or 4 minutes. Then add a couple of cloves of garlic, minced.

2. Turn the heat up and add a pound of ground beef. Brown the meat and drain the excess fat. Rinse the meat and drain the water to remove more fat (if desired).

3. Place pan back over medium heat and add the taco seasoning blend. Add a 6 oz can of tomato paste and about a cup of water. Mix it all up, bring it to a boil, then lower the heat and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.

Use the meat in tacos or taco salad.

Or, you could mix the raw ground beef, 1 egg, taco seasoning, chopped onion and garlic and shape into 4 burgers. Cook the burgers and then top with cheese and salsa for taco burgers.

I really prefer making tacos with this seasoning blend instead of the stuff that comes in a packet! And you can add more cayenne if you like it a little more spicy. I've never used it on fish, but probably would be good there too. Have fun experimenting!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Weekend Challenge and Week 11 Update

This week's TT Members' challenge was the Tar Heels Ultimate Medicine Ball Workout as featured in Men's Health. There are ten different exercises using a medicine ball that you complete in a circuit (20 reps each) and once completing the circuit (200 total reps) you can go again for 400 total reps. It has a lot of non-TT type exercises (like crunches) so it was something quite different than what I have been doing. I did it twice through with a time of 20:48. Two days later, I'm still a little sore. Not too bad, though. Using four different TT for Abs programs in the past year (including my current workout: TT Home Abdominal Workouts) has given me a nice, strong core. Craig said he was actually going to film a TT version of the the workout, so I'll post that when it becomes available. (UPDATE: Craig has posted the video on You Tube - I've added it to the end of this post below.) Here's the workout (CLICK HERE for pictures of the exercises):

2x through circuit:
Big Circles - 10/10 = 20
WoodChoppers - 20
Standing Russian Twist - 20 (left + right for 1 rep)
Squat to press - 20
Med ball Sit ups - 20
Rocky Solo’s - 10/10 = 20
Toe Touch - 20
45 Degrees torso Twist - 20 (left + right for 1 rep)
Suitcase Crunch - 20 (left + right for 1 rep)
Diagonal Crunch - 20 (left + right for 1 rep)

Be careful if you try this workout. Many of these exercises can hurt your back if performed incorrectly.

In other news, the pink beast is gone! We finished painting the kitchen last night. We left the one wall yellow (it looked better after it dried), and painted over the rest of the pink with the same beige as the living room. It's much brighter, and much less pink! :)

And finally, for those of you who are counting, there are only 6 more days until I take my final pictures. I'm getting a little nervous. The competition is looking really fierce on the forums. I hope to finish strong!

UPDATE: OK, here is Craig's version of the medicine ball workout:

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Recipe Wednesday - Thin Crust Pizza

Today's recipe is one that I love. It's so good! In Gourmet Nutrition, there is a recipe for Texas Thin Crust Pizza, which is a very good recipe. But over time I have tweaked it and this is my version. It's still best for a special dinner, as it has a lot of calories, but it is very filling and tasty when you want pizza!

Thin Crust Pizza

1 large or 2 small whole wheat/low carb tortillas
1 link of sweet italian or spicy turkey sausage
1/4 cup salsa
1t minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
1/2 small can chunk pineapple in juice, drained (about 1/2 cup)
4-6 cherry tomatoes, or 1/2 of a small tomato
1/2 cup reduced fat shredded cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Chop the cherry tomatoes in quarters (or chop the small tomato).
3. Place the tortillas on a baking sheet that has been lightly coated with cooking spray. Place in the oven.
4. Remove the sausage from it's casing and place in a hot skillet. Cook until no pink remains.
5. While the sausage is cooking, flip over the tortillas. If they are getting too brown, remove them from the oven.
6. When the sausage is done cooking, add the garlic, salsa, pineapple, tomatoes. Cook together for a few minutes.
7. Take the tortillas out of the oven (if you haven't already). Place the meat mixture on the 1 large or 2 small tortillas and top with cheese. If I am using 1 large tortilla, I just use 1/4 cup. If I am using 2 small tortillas, I use closer to a 1/2 cup.
8. Place pizzas back in the oven until the cheese melts, about 5 minutes or so.
9. I use a pizza cutter to cut the pizzas into quarters. Enjoy!

Yes, I eat both when I use 2 small tortillas! And I usually eat the other half of the can of pineapple on the side. I've also made this with sun dried tomato pesto instead of salsa.

Using 2 small tortillas, 4 cherry tomatoes, and 1/2 cup cheese, this has approximately:
515 calories
44g protein
26g fat
45g carbs
16g fiber

Using 1 large tortilla, and 1/4 cup cheese, this has approximately:
418 calories
33g protein
19g fat
42g carbs
14g fiber
You could further reduce the calories by making it with 2 small tortillas, and then eating only one of the pizzas. Just make a salad to go with it and you'd have a nice healthy meal. And then the pizza would only have about 257 calories, 22g protein, 23 carbs, and 8g fiber.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Fun With DIY

When we moved into our house, the kitchen was purple. We immediately painted over it with what we thought was a copper color. It was more of a basketball orange. So after about a year, I went to the store looking for a cranberryish color, and came home with something called Spiceberry, or what I like to call "the Great Hot Pink Mistake". It's HOT PINK. I painted it all by myself as a surprise for my husband last Memorial Day. I believe he was quite surprised. So what started as a simple repaint the kitchen idea today ended up a mess. All started well (it always does). I moved the table out of the way, carefully removed all the trim, and discovered that the paint was peeling right off the wall. All 3 layers. Yikes. I couldn't paint over that! So here's 9:45am:

So I thought, well, it's peeling off pretty good, we'll just peel the whole wall. Here's 11:30am, lunch break:
Hubby started helping on the other end there. By 2:45pm, things were looking up:

Next came the first coat of paint. Finished about 4:00pm:

Now the final coat. Hurray!

So a 3 hour paint job turned into a 10 hour experience. It's hard to tell in the picture, but it's kind of a goldy yellow. I'm not sure I like it yet. I think it looks better in the picture than it does in my kitchen. LOL I only got 3 cuts on my hands from scraping off the paint. It hurts under my nails from prying the paint off with my fingers. And my arms are going to be pretty sore tomorrow, I think. I hope it doesn't interfere too much with my workout! I have to do T-Push ups tomorrow. And there is still one more wall to go, but I think we are going to wait until Sunday to finish. Unless we decide we don't like the color. Then it's back to the store!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Weekend Challenge

This Weekend's Turbulence Training members forum challenge was a little different. It was a workout for Change and Hope, inspired by the recent election. Here are the 10 things on the list:

1) Do as many pushups as you can, to failure. Record the number and remark at how far you've come. If you know you can already do 75 or more pushups in a single set, do pull-ups or chin-ups instead.
2) Run for 1 mile. Before you do, set a goal. For every 10 seconds above your goal you need to do 1 pullup or bodyweight row.
3) Learn one new exercise you haven't tried before.
4) Find one new healthy recipe, make it, and eat it as one of your meals. Bonus points if you learned about the recipe from a fellow TT member.
5) Recommit yourself to your goals listed in the Fat Loss Manual
6) Smile...a lot (although I'm sure that isnt a change from most days for TT members!)
7) Do something nice (really nice) for a loved one
8) For those who live in countries that participate in Halloween...Throw out all of your leftover Halloween candy. It's called junk food for a reason!
9) Keep that momentum going and do a total kitchen makeover. Raid the pantry and toss the processed carbohydrates from a bag or a box (or take the unopened to a food shelter). Don't let that stuff mysteriously get in there in the future!
10) Do an activity you don't normally do (but don't overdo it!)

So here's what I've done so far:

1. Did 45 push ups during my workout on Saturday. A new personal best!
2. Ran a mile in 10:55. Another personal best!
3. Tried the Inchworm exercise. Had never done it before.
4. Will be trying a new recipe for twice baked sweet potatoes later this week. Got the recipe from the TT recipe forum.
5. Recommitted to my private, personal goals. :)
6. Smiled a lot! I had to return a pair of pants and exchange them for a smaller size, and Hubby had to tighten his belt a notch.
7. I cleaned the bathroom. Even behind the toilet. Usually Hubby's job because I hate doing it. I have a 4 year old son. Need I say more?
8. I haven't eaten any Halloween candy this year, but I did go through what was left of the kids' candy and removed all of the candy they either won't eat, or are too young for (gum, suckers, etc). I will be bringing it to work to give away.
9. Went through the kitchen. Not too much to get rid of, but I cleaned out the fridge and freezer of some old stuff that should have been thrown away long ago. :)
10. Reserved the racquetball court at the gym. Hubby and I have never played. Should be funny to see! LOL

It's all about change this week! What are you waiting for?

Friday, November 7, 2008

Feast On This And Week 10 Update

I posted a couple months ago about The Flash Diet and how people who took pictures of what they were eating were more likely to stick to their diet. (See old post HERE.) Taking that a step further, there is a new website called It's a neat idea. You take pictures on your cell phone of what you are eating, and then you email it in and it gets posted. I don't own a cell phone (gasp!) so I just email them in from my PC. You can follow what I'm feasting on HERE!

Now, I don't know how long I will do this. It will depend on how time consuming it becomes. But it's kind of fun! And with only 2 weeks for me left in the Turbulence Training Transformation Contest, I could use all the motivation to stay on track that I can get! Turbulence Training Home Abdominal Workouts is kicking my rear end. I definitely feel it in my abs (and my rear end, LOL). I'm happy with my progress so far, and plan to stay strong until the end. That means NO Halloween candy! It's been hard having that in the house, but so far I have not had one piece. I've been pretty strict with my diet, eating with Precision Nutrition ideas in mind - eating starchy carbs around the time I work out (morning). And I've even given up caffeine. That was hard, but so far it's been going well. I'll be posting final pictures in 2 short weeks!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Recipe Wednesday - Cream of Cauliflower Soup

Today's recipe is adapted from a recipe in 500 Low Carb Recipes by Dana Carpender. It's a delicious cream of cauliflower soup and I like to add chicken breast for a little more protein. You could easily make this vegetarian by leaving out the chicken breast and using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. I don't eat low carb so much anymore, but I still love this book!

Cream of Cauliflower Soup

3T butter
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 ribs of celery, chopped
1 quart chicken broth
10 oz (about 2.75 cups) frozen cauliflower
1/2 teaspoon guar or xanthan (optional)
1/2c heavy cream
2 chicken breasts (about 5-6oz each)
salt and pepper

1. Place the chicken breasts in a hot pan that has been lightly sprayed with cooking oil spray, or place on an indoor grill. I just use my George Foreman grill. Cook until they are no longer pink, about 6 minutes per side, or 5 minutes total in the George Foreman grill. Remove from heat and set aside.

2. Melt butter in a large saucepan/dutch oven. Add the onion and celery, and cook until soft, about 5 minutes or so. Add the chicken broth and cauliflower, and simmer until the cauliflower is tender, about 10 minutes.

3. While the cauliflower is simmering, cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces, or shred with 2 forks, if desired. (Don't add it to the soup just yet.)

4. When the cauliflower is done, you can place the vegetables, broth, and guar or xanthan into a blender and puree to the desired consistency. Or I prefer to use my stick immersion blender. I sprinkle the xanthan on top, and then quickly blend right in the saucepan. I think it keeps more chunks of cauliflower this way (and I don't have to get my blender dirty).

5. If you put it in the blender, now pour it back into the pan. Add the cream, and salt and pepper to taste. Add the chicken to the pan and let everything simmer for a couple minutes.

6. I like to top it with a tablespoon or two of shredded cheese. You could also sprinkle it with a few chives or green onions if you had those on hand. Or crumbled bacon. Yummm....but not as healthy!

This will make 4 servings. I like to make a batch and then will freeze the extra servings in Ziploc bowls. Then I just have to pull out a bowl and heat it up for a quick, healthy and yummy lunch or dinner.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Weekend Challenge and The Great Pumpkin

This week's TT Members forum Weekend Challenge had 2 versions. The Michael Myers Intermediate Version and the Jason Voorhees Advanced Version. I chose to try the Jason Voorhees version. Here are the rules:

--> Go through the circuit two times for 502 total reps
--> Rest as little as possible
--> Time how long it takes you

Jason Voorhees (Advanced)
31 Bodyweight Squats
13 Spiderman Pushups (per side)
31 Lunges (total, not per side, start with your weak side to get extra rep)
13 Pullups
31 Side-to-Side Hops (total)
13 Inverted Rows
31 Close-Grip Pushups
13 Chinups
31 Jumps
13 Burpees
31 Diagonal Lunges (total, not per side, start with your weak side)

I wasn't feeling my best this morning; seemed like I was moving in slow motion. My spiderman push ups weren't very pretty and most of my pull ups and chin ups were done 1 at a time. But I was still fairly happy with my time of 20:37. Anyone else giving this one a try?

In other news, I had the pumpkin cheesecake mentioned in a previous post. I had to adjust the recipe a little, as just using pumpkin instead of peanut butter wasn't quite sweet enough for me. So here's a new recipe:

1/4c cottage cheese
1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
2T canned pumpkin
2T milk
1 packet Splenda
1t SF pancake syrup
sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice

Bake using the same directions as below (small ramekin in waterbath, at 350 (F), for about 35 minutes). I topped mine with a quick sprinkle of cinnamon, a shot of the new Cool Whip in a can, and 1T of walnuts. Delicious! With the ingredients I used, without the walnuts and Cool Whip, it has:
177.7 calories (242.7 calories with toppings)
30g protein (31g with toppings)
1.6g fat (7.6g with toppings)
12.12g carbs (15.12g with toppings)