We organized the kitchen…

Once my sister moved back to college my mother took it (and the extra hours she had been devoted to watching TV shows with my sister) as a sign to clean and reorganized the kitchen.

Mom: You know how we took everything out of the cabinets and reorganized the kitchen?

Me: Yeah.

Mom: That was two years ago right?

Me: I guess.

Mom: Your sister is leaving today.

Me: Yes. Am I to take this as we’re going to reorganize the kitchen today?

Mom: You bet your bippie.

Not an exact transcription, but pretty accurate. What follows are some before and after photos of what we’ve organized thus far. It’s been a slow process, but anything you see has been cleared out, cleaned(washed/vacuumed) and had everything put back in a particular order.

The tea shelves...

The tea shelves…

Doesn't it look pretty now?

Doesn’t it look pretty now?

Gross!

Gross!

 

It's messy!

It’s messy!

How pretty it is done!

How pretty it is done!

 

The cracker drawers.

The cracker drawers.

Basically, we’ve done the most heavily traffic-ed areas in our kitchen. The last time we did this we even went through the containers and opted to pitch 90% of our plastic containers and went to Target and bought two sets of glass pyrex ones. It was pretty impressive actually.

For anyone who has a kitchen, making sure that the area is clean and stays clean is a never ending challenge, so taking the time to actually do this total clean is a big thing and ultimately takes a lot of effort.

Our kitchen isn’t done yet, but I think we’ll finish it this weekend.

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A mini tracking goal

I know logically, that tracking works. I do. And since I’m in week three of not loosing (or gaining!) anything, it’s time to start doing something different.

myparenthetical.com 7-Weight-Scale

myparenthetical.com 7-Weight-Scale

Because I’ve been exercising, I’ve made healthier choices (minus the cinnamon pie…) So something has to give.

I need to find the thing that I’m not doing that I should be doing and do it. And I’m pretty sure thats tracking.

But tracking is hard!! It’s all about accountability and I’ve never been very good at that… Excepting this blog, because for some reason I’ve actually being writing here quite frequently and felt pretty good about it.

Still! Tracking is hard and generally un-fun because you watch as that Bacon Egg and Cheese sandwich you had for breakfast takes out 13 of your 36 daily points and then you have to re-evaluate what you’re doing for dinner because that sandwich you had at lunch destroyed another 15 points. So you’ve only got 8 points left over and half way through the afternoon you’re a tad peckish but there are no fruits around to satisfy so you have a 3 point bag of chips and then you’re screwed because the family decided to have pizza for dinner. One slice is all you get before you have to dip into those 49 weekly points that you were going to save for Friday night out with the girls.

Essentially I know what I can do to that scenario not happen on a daily basis. I know that I can make better choices and keep fruit on hand so I don’t have chips or crackers mid-day. And it’s not like I’ve been making the bad choices, I’ve eaten pretty heathily this last week, not that I can prove it because I didn’t track, but I did.

Why is it then, that if I track my weight goes down? Is it that hyper awareness of what you’re eating? I don’t really know. And honestly, I’d kind of like to.

But until some one explains it, I guess I’ll stick with it just works so just do it for now.

Recipe: Creamy Salsa Chicken

OK, so for this recipe you need a slow cooker, so I’m sorry if you don’t have one. You should go get one. Because they’re fabulous.

Basically, this is one of the simplest, best things we’ve made in my house recently. My sister put it together for us and I wanted to share it.

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Leftovers for lunch! I’m sorry it’s a bad picture…

Creamy Salsa Chicken

(serves 8, Weight Watchers Points – 4)

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pound of boneless chicken breasts

1 jar of salsa, medium heat

1 8oz stick of cream cheese (for this we used Philly 1/3 less fat)

Steps:

  1. Put the chicken into the slow cooker.
  2. Cover it with the jar of salsa.
  3. Add in the cream cheese in chunks over the chicken.
  4. Turn the cooker on high and cover for 4 hours. When you check on it stir it so that as the cream cheese melts it melts into the salsa.
  5. The chicken is done when it can be easily shredded and mixed into the salsa, cream cheese toping.
  6. This should take around 6 hours.

When this is all done you can do pretty much anything with it. You can put it on top of a bed of lettuce like I did in my photo or you can make chicken tacos or use it as a base to a casserole.

If making a salad for it we added chopped bell peppers, cucumbers, iceberg lettuce, avocado and shredded cheese, but you can have what ever you like in yours.

The chicken is best if its warm, but it keeps well in the fridge and can be eaten cold if you’re in a rush.

Enjoy!!

Mornings Are Evil

My mother and I just had a lovely chat in which we discussed the evils of getting up in the morning. The whole process is exhausting and generally un-fun.

One of the biggest problems for us is the creation of breakfast. I’ve never been a breakfast person, though the idea of it has always intrigued me. I mean, who doesn’t love pancakes, bacon and eggs?

Weird people, thats who.

But for my family, and I suspect many families, the mornings are complicated and irritating and generally packed full of stuff that is not fun and anxiety producing.

We have to exercise, feed the dogs, let them in, let them out, bring the bird down stairs, wash our hair, dry our hair, put make up on get, everything squared away for the day AND put together a breakfast that will sustain you till lunch time. By the time  you’re done with all of that you’re exhausted.

I’m a bit luckier than most, I work from home, but I do have a daily obligation at 10 a.m. so I have to be out of the house by a certain time so that I can get to it on time. So I’m on a time crunch myself (its a long one yes but its still there). And given my overwhelming desire to loose weight, getting breakfast in to my system has become a priority. Which kinda sucks as I generally actually hate breakfast. Unless its bacon, pancakes and eggs. But thats a diner thing and I’m simply not going to make that for myself.

So I’ve started drinking smoothies. Not always the most satifying thing in the world, but they do end up sustaining me through the normal snacking hours of mid morning.

(I’ve posted my recipe for my morning smoothies yesterday, which you can easily find here.)

They’re slightly time consuming, so I have to actually get up to make them, but they end up being worth it in the long run.

But still. MORNINGS ARE EVIL.

In Which My Sister Was Right

In case you didn’t know it snowed in New England last night. I’m not entirely sure that the roads have been plowed but my parents driveway definitely hasn’t been.

It snowed. Thats my car.

It snowed. Thats my car.

To prepare for this, my editor asked me to wake up to do the school closings (which she’d already written up and wound up approving close to midnight). So I got up at 5:45 and she says to me “Oh, it’s all done. No worries. Go back to sleep.”

I cannot just simply go back to sleep. I’m not built that way. I wake up, I’m up. Rarely do I take a nap.

So in my sleepy stupor I said, ‘Well, since I seem to be snowed in, I might as well go exercise.’

Which, let me tell you, is something I’ve never said to myself, EVER before in my life.

That said, it was relatively painless. I got in 48 minutes on the elliptical (5 activity points for Weight Watchers thank you) and watched an episode and a bit of ‘The Closer’.

Afterward, I realized my sister said a truth the other day. She said to me that she exercises in the morning when she’s not awake because you don’t seem to know any better, your mind doesn’t seem to register that exercise is evil until afterward when you’re stumbling off the machine with jello-like legs and gasping of thirst.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it previously, but I dislike it when my sister is right about this type of stuff.

Anyway, she was right and I was generally wrong, because I scoffed and said piffle and walked away.

It’s entirely possible I’ll be taking my sorry ass to the elliptical first thing in the morning at least three to four times a week for the foreseeable future. But I mean, lets not get a head of ourselves. Exercise is still evil.

It’s just not as bad when you’re not thinking strait. Thank you Sister for that wisdom.

I’m going to go cry in a corner.

Momma’s In It Now!

I have found that loosing weight while in my family’s house is best when my mother is also involved. She and I are the main cooks in the house and having her be on board with the Weight Watchers plan is always so much more helpful.

She helps keep me honest when I’m measuring (which I’ve been doing today) and she’s generally more energetic about starting. I’m the long haul person, but I need a starter to get to that point.

Momma is my starter. She always has been and I love that about her.

She and I are going to start the ‘Simple Start’ program that Weight Watchers has going, either today or early next week. I think it’s something we both need to do for our family. Basically, the only person who doesn’t really need to diet is my sister, but thats because she’s just better at eating and exercising than the rest of us. Though, to be fair Momma doesn’t really need to either. (There are five in my family – I’m the oldest child of three.)

Basically dieting is just easier when my mother is on program with me. And while her joining might not just be for me, I’m so happy that she’s doing this with me.

Also, I’m SO HAPPY the holiday’s are over. No more cookies showing up at my house and no more super heavy meals every week. This is actually wonderful. Is it awful to say that? I’m just tired of having to think about the meals.

Which contradicts what I said earlier about not worrying about eating ‘good food’. And I’m not, because I ate those meals with gusto and enthusiasm. But I’m happy to not worry about the meals and how its going to affect the end result.

The final big meal of the season was yesterday’s brunch. I didn’t really eat anything except that brunch. And I tracked it all by giving it my full 37 points of the day to it. Which meant the pizza we had for dinner was taken out of the weekly bonus points. I limited myself to two slices (small ones) and I had salad. Which is kind of a thing for me. I LOVE pizza.

But we’re getting off topic.

The other reason I’m glad the holiday meals are over with is because it means my mom isn’t worrying about them either. I think we both know how much my family loves ‘good’ food and wine and to have those big meals out of the way means we can go back to plan and pay attention to what kinds of food we’re eating and how much of it we eat.

Anyway, thats my thing for the day. Momma and I are on plan together and it’s a great thing for both of us.

Not going to argue with good food

I was going to start this post with the ‘Lets not talk about what I ate for dinner’ but apparently I did  something right because I lost another pound between the fast and  my weigh in day.

We can still continue with the ‘lets not talk about what I ate for Christmas Dinner’, but it’s moderately useless, because it was SOOO GOOD!

I’ve decided not to punish myself for eating good food. It’s destructive and isn’t good for me. So, I’m simply going to look back at my epic meals (both Sunday and Christmas) and say thank you to the chefs and creators of the three amazing meals I’ve had this past week.

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Scalloped Potatoes in cast iron skillet.

There is honestly no good way of avoiding eating the food and no good way to describe how fantastic they were. And for me to be able to take a step back, appreciate the good food and NOT feel guilty about having eaten it, is huge.

It used to be that I would eat a wonderful dinner (with calories) and then feel guilty because it wasn’t on plan (because it so wasn’t) and that I barely paid any attention to portion sizes (because I so didn’t). But I can’t do that anymore.

It’s destructive, like I said before.

Because lets be honest. We generally don’t think about our diets at the holidays and then when the gifts are opened, the meals eaten and cookies gone, we all feel guilty about having indulged. And that guilt drives us to eat more bad food and continue spiraling out of control until months later we realize that we’ve eaten our guilty feelings and are way worse off from when we originally started the diet.

At least thats how I feel.

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Traditional popovers and butternut squash.

So I’m starting the revolutionary idea that I can indulge in super fatty, high calorie and generally ‘bad for you’ foods, just so long as I don’t consume the regret for those meals in my future dealings with food.

Denial of food isn’t healthy, you’re not going to get anywhere with dieting if you’re just denying yourself. But have one cookie? Sure,  just don’t eat the plate.

This is my new philosophy that I hope will cary over into the New Year with this plan.

Of course, I’m saying this now after three ridiculously heavy meals that I’m not doing anything to work off. And adding exercise into my routine is also going to start happening soon. Motivation for that part is slow goings tho.

But, ultimately, I’m hoping this new philosophy on not feeling that overwhelming guilt the next day after a particularly large or high calorie meal, won’t take over my life.

I’m writing this really trying to not feel that guilt. Because I shouldn’t have it. There is no shame in eating a high fat meal as long as it isn’t every day.

At least that’s what I keep telling myself.