Sunday, November 24, 2013

Cookies and Cuties

Whoa...that 60 day milestone is coming up fast!  Time to put my head down, work hard, eat clean, and hope it's enough to produce the results I'm looking for.

Day 50: Raise. The. Bar.
Today was a mini-milestone in this challenge. I've been doing this for 50 days! I "celebrated" by attacking yet another new workout: Pump Extreme.  This 55 minute workout was loaded with all the same goodies as Pump Revolution, but there were more sets, and it was much faster paced. Funny enough, the soundtrack for the bicep track was Pink's "Raise Your Glass" and the instructor changed the lyrics to 'Raise The Bar'.  I found it amusing and totally appropriate.
By the time I was done, I was creeping up the basement stairs like an old lady - an old lady in search of dinner because I. Was. Starving.  Mr. R&R was working late tonight, so I was on my own for dinner. Whenever it's just me, I get lazy about cooking.  I wanted food and I wanted it fast, so I threw together this little concoction:
1 Egg, 2 Egg Whites, 1/4 cup Low-Fat cheese, 2 Tbsp Hot Salsa, Whole Grain Tortilla
I rolled the whole thing up and added a few strawberries as a sweet contrast to the spicy salsa... and voila! Dinner in under 10 minutes.
Day 51: Grrrrr.
I really wanted to run today, but by the time I got home from work it was pitch black outside (no surprise there since it gets dark by 4:30pm these days) and it was freezing cold - and not just cold - damp cold.  The kind of cold that seeps through your coat and a wool sweater and chills you to the bone no matter how many layers you're wearing.  I really need to stop being such a wimp and just get out there and run. Instead I hit the trainer for just over 30 minutes and followed it with Hard Core Abs.


Day 52: In Which I Bake
It's been quite a while since I baked anything other than my No Bull$#!# Banana Bread, so after tonight's Pump and Shred workout and wolfing down dinner, I hit the kitchen to make a batch of Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies. I've made these cookies before, but it's been a while, and since I'm planning on bringing them to a holiday get together on Friday night, I felt that a test run was necessary, and I know that my office mates don't mind being my guinea pigs!

I originally stumbled on this recipe about a year and a half ago over on Peanut Butter Runner and it quickly became one of my 'go to' cookie recipes since a) they're ridiculously easy to make and b) a number of people in my life either have issues with gluten intolerance or have chosen to avoid gluten for other reasons.  It's nice to be able to provide a sweet treat that everyone can enjoy.  These little guys could probably even be adapted for vegans or those with egg allergies by using a flax or chia egg and carob chips (although I haven't tried this).  The only modifications I've made to the original recipe is to use mini chocolate chips instead of regular-sized ones as I've found they mix into the dough better and I don't dust the tops with salt since I think that the peanut butter is salty enough on its own. Also, I roll the dough into a tight ball before I put it on the cookie sheet and sort of tuck the edges back in after doing the criss-cross with a fork. They're already kind of crumbly since there's no flour in there to bind everything together, so I've found that tucking the edges back in helps minimize the crumbs!
You Know You Want One!
Day 53: Mane Wrangler To The Rescue
I think I may have mentioned it before, but I am really not good at some of the "girly" things in life. For example: I think I've painted my fingernails exactly once in the last 24 months. Why? Because I suck at painting them, I beat the crap out of my hands (dishes don't wash themselves) on a regular basis, and I have exactly zero patience for sitting still and doing nothing while they dry.  I'm also 110% hopeless when it comes to styling my hair. Seriously. I can't even blow it out and flat iron it.  99% of the time my hair is swept back in a messy ponytail and on the rare occasions when I leave it down, it's kind of a mess!  This means that the upcoming black tie wedding presents some unique challenges since I need to do something kind of fabulous with my hair (since evening gown + messy ponytail doesn't really work) and I have to be able to do it myself...in a reasonable amount of time, with limited tools, and in an extremely humid climate.  Fortunately my Mane Wrangler, K, was willing to work with me to solve this problem. I arrived at her studio at 7:30pm (bearing some of those flourless cookies since K recently went gluten free) and by 9:00pm I was fairly confident that I'm not completely screwed.  Of course it always looks easier when a pro does it, but I'm going to keep practicing and hope for the best. Now I just need to get out and purchase some of the recommended "tools" for this job and hope I don't drive myself nuts.

Day 54: A Lovely Afternoon
I still have a few vacation days to use up before the end of the year, so I took Friday afternoon off with the intention of getting a few errands done, hitting the pool, and stopping by to see Little Sis and Tiny Nephew.  I did exactly one of those things. I ended up spending the entire afternoon with Little Sis and Tiny Nephew!  It's hard to believe how much he's changed (namely being awake and alert more often) in just two short weeks. I found it extra sweet when he fell asleep in my arms and let his mommy and auntie spend time together.  And of course no visit to Little Sis would be complete without snuggles from my favorite "Fur Nephew"!
Mason!
I made it home from my visit with just enough time to cram in Hard Core Abs and Flow before I rushed off to an appointment - still wearing my yoga pants!  That appointment was followed by a nice, quiet night at home with Mr. R&R and the bunnies since the holiday party I was supposed to attend was cancelled when the hostess was diagnosed with pneumonia.

Day 55: Lunges Still Suck
I'm kind of learning to love the Pump Extreme workout - except for the lunge track.  I'm getting better at them and they hurt less than they used to, but they still hurt and I hate them. I also discovered that I'm probably going to need to think about increasing my weights for the squat track soon since my legs aren't screaming loud enough anymore when I do them.

Day 56: Calorie Bomb and Chicken Parmesan
Is it just me, or does the time between 5pm on Friday and 10pm on Sunday seem to move twice as fast as it does during the week? Today was filled with errands, laundry, workouts, food prep for the next few days, and a whole bunch of bunny-cuteness!  I know they're always cute, but Walter was just insanely adorable today.
Silly Rabbit...Coffee Is For People!
While Mr. R&R and I were out running errands this afternoon we stopped by our favorite coffee house for a little mid-afternoon pick me up.  Normally I avoid coffee drinks like the plague because I a) prefer my coffee black and b) I don't like to drink my calories, but their seasonal Spicy Mocha caught my eye and after confirming that there was a light option available, I went for it.  It was delicious, but it turns out that even though I had it made with skim milk and passed on the whipped cream, that medium "light" Spicy Mocha packed a caloric/fat wallop like you wouldn't believe  It contained 430 calories and 16 grams of fat!  Talk about an unexpected calorie bomb.  There's nothing wrong with a treat now and again, but that was a little more of a treat than I had in mind.

Fortunately tonight's dinner, Chicken Parmesan, was one of those meals that seems indulgent, but really isn't bad for you at all.  It's a bit messy to make, but it's definitely worth the mess. 
If you want to make it for yourself, here's how:

The Stuff:
(makes 2 servings/approx. 335 calories per serving)
  • 8oz boneless, skinless chicken breast (split into to 4oz pieces)
  • 1/2 cup marinara/spaghetti sauce
  • 1/2 cup low-fat shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2oz whole wheat linguine
  • Assorted spices (garlic powder, black pepper, oregano, etc.)
  • non-stick cooking spray

 The Process:
Start by turning your oven's broiler setting on low and setting a pot of water on the stove to boil.  Then heat a saute pan over medium high heat.  When the pan is hot, coat it with non-stick cooking spray, toss the chicken in and season liberally.
Let the chicken cook about half way through before flipping it over to sear the other side.  Try not to move it around too much between flips.
Your pan will look a little gross, but trust me...it'll be fine.  Once you've flipped your chicken, your pasta water should be ready, so toss in the pasta and cook according to your taste/package directions.  Mine took about 12 minutes to reach the desired texture.  If your chicken is cooked through before the pasta is done, just turn off the heat and let it rest.

Spray a couple of oven-proof bowls with a little cooking spray and divide the pasta evenly between them.  Top each pasta pile with a piece of chicken.
Pour 1/4 cup of  marinara/spaghetti sauce evenly over each piece of chicken and sprinkle with 1/4 cup of low-fat shredded mozzarella.
Pop the bowls under the broiler and watch them carefully (unless you like charred cheese) until the cheese starts to brown and the sauce starts to bubble.  Yank 'em out of the oven and set the hot bowls on a smaller plate so you don't scorch your hands or your table top and you're ready to eat!

What's your favorite meal to make when you have a little extra time on your hands?

1 comment:

The Mountainista said...

I have lots of favorites but I make none of them Lol