Skinny girls look good in clothes...

...but fit girls look good naked.  

I read that quote somewhere on the internet this week and it totally hit me.  I'm talking like bag-full-of-bricks-to-my-brain hit me.  I realized that this phrase perfectly encapsulates my currently-forgotten fitness goals...I had just never put it together that way.  I really don't care how I look in clothes.  I like having nice clothes and know how to dress myself well, so wanting to be smaller to fit into smaller sizes really hasn't mattered to me.  I'm happy with the way I look...when I'm dressed.  And that's part of the reason I never stuck to my fitness goals before - wearing smaller clothes has never been what I wanted, but what I always thought I wanted.  It's usually what all overweight women want.  But to look good naked...that's equivalent to the holy grail, the four-leaf clover, the star on my Tootsie pop wrapper, the twenty dollars I had forgotten was in my winter coat pocket.  That's the thing I dream about at night because during the day I've been convinced it would never happen.  I felt it was never possible for me.  I honestly don't ever remember looking in the mirror with no clothes on and loving what I saw.  Being in a happy, supportive relationship for 5 years has erased the shame I used to feel about my body, but I've never liked it.  I felt that was never possible for me - I was a tubby toddler, a chunky child, and so on and so forth up to this day where I sit here at 213 pounds with a bag of pretzels open in front of me (it's like amateur hour over here...I know better!).  But I know, logically, in all parts of my mind, that it is possible for me to be happy with my body when it's naked.  It's possible for me to be happy, period, with no clothes on.  I mean, how much would this improve my life, if I were glad to take my clothes off?  How much better would I eat so I could maintain that happiness, how many more hours would I exercise so I could flaunt my birthday suit...how much more awesome would sexytime be if I weren't preoccupied with trying to keep my jiggly bits from flopping away in defiance?  This is something that definitely has to happen, and with a little effort and planning I can make it happen.  I've already got the gym membership, the rest is just work.  I know what to do.  And after all, you may not get what you wish for, but you will get what you work for.

So those are my thoughts for the day.  Hopefully next time I post I'll be a little smaller, a little lighter, and little more willing to wear a little less clothing.  On to what I've been up to this week!

Last weekend, my younger siblings came to visit me for four days.  Their visit was amazing, fun, and refreshing.  I have missed them so much.  I was sad to see them leave...but very happy to have my apartment back.

Ahmagawd they're so cute!

I love this little dude so much.

We even got to spend a day with my grandparents, who drove up from Kentucky!

I've also made some pretty delicious things this week.  For dinner a couple nights ago I made spiced yumminess:  veggies stir fried with (mostly) Indian spices, salmon simmered in curry sauce, and brown rice.

Green pepper, red pepper, and a jalapeno.  This is only about half of what I ended up cooking.

Carrots and a small red onion.

The spices I used: turmeric, cinnamon, cumin, ground coriander, 
cayenne pepper, black pepper, garam masala powder.  I just kind of threw a little bit of everything into the pan, and tasted and adjusted as I was cooking to get a flavor I liked.

Salmon filet.  I usually buy frozen salmon filets from the store because they're relatively cheap and easy to store until I'm ready to use them.

I am totally in love with the Seeds of Change line of products.  They're all amazing, and I loved this Madras sauce especially.  It wasn't blisteringly spicy, but had just enough kick to jazz up my dinner.

My spiced veggies in the pan.

I sauteed my salmon in some olive oil with black pepper and a little salt before simmering in the Madras sauce until the veggies were done cooking.

My plate.  I also made two servings of brown rice, and ended up taking half of the salmon off this plate to save with the other leftovers for lunch at work the next day.  This was AMAZING.  Didn't take that long, but I did manage to make almost every pan in my kitchen dirty.  Go me.

This morning I wanted some greek yogurt, but I don't like eating it straight without honey and I'm out, so I decided to make pancakes!  I used this Greek Yogurt Pancake recipe from Everyday Belle blog.  It came out great, and I added a few things to make it what I wanted.

1/2 C of flour.  When using all-purpose, I prefer unbleached.

1 tsp of baking soda.  I also use baking soda and apple cider vinegar to 
wash my hair these days...but that's another post.

6 oz. greek yogurt.  I used plain, 0% because that's what I had but you can use whatever you've got.  Also, this Omicca kitchen scale is the best thing that ever happened to me.  15 bucks on Amazon, it's easy to store because it's small but it can weigh out a lot.  It does g, kg, oz, and lb, plus it has a tare function.  I got it for Christmas a couple years ago.  Awesome.

1 egg white!

I mixed the flour and baking soda in my orange bowl, and mixed the egg white with the 
yogurt in my glass bowl, and then mixed the two together.

The batter is very thick!  

I added some vanilla and cinnamon.

I like making silver dollar pancakes, because then I get to eat more of them, and more is always better...right?  I found I had to spread these around to flatten them out so the middles would cook without the outsides burning.  I ended up adding blueberries to the batter after this. My heat was halfway between medium and medium-high...so medium-medium-high?  I used cooking spray.

Finished product!  I ended up with six little pancakes.  There are only four in this picture because I was still cooking one when I took this...and I ate one.  Couldn't resist!

I had two more during breakfast with a bit of butter and a splash of syrup.  I usually eat my pancakes with honey, but I was out.  I'm sure the rest of these tasties will be gone by the end of the day...or more likely the end of the hour.

Pancake pro tips:  Don't overmix the batter.  Little lumps are fine.  Turn them as soon as the edges begin to firm up and you see a few bubbles appear.  When you flip them, think of turning the bottom of the spatula away as opposed to turning the top over - this way you use less force and don't end up splattering the uncooked batter all over the pan and ruining your pancake!  The second side needs about half the time of the first side to cook all the way.  I like my pancakes a little underdone in the middle...leave it on longer if you like them toastier!  

Pancakes are one of my most favorite things in the world.  I have fond memories of making pancakes with my dad when I was a little girl after my parents were divorced.  I used to hover over the griddle, spatula at the ready to attack as soon as the bubbles popped up.  I ruined many a pancake for him...but he always ate them anyway.  I think about him every time I mix up some pancake batter.

Well, that's all I've got for now.  I'll be back soon...until then, go make some tasties!


Recent Tasties

Hallo!  I've been making some pretty tasty food lately, and I thought I would share a couple of healthy things I've made this week.

As you all know, I absolutely LOVE going to the grocery store.  I love seeing all this food ready to be taken home and eaten, and I love even more when I have a good amount of money and can get whatever I want.  This usually results in me going home with lots of junk - sugary cereals, cookies, huge blocks of cheese that I eat straight out of the package, etc.  I'm well aware of that habit, and so the last time I went grocery shopping I went with a list (recipes on one side of the page, ingredients on the other) and told myself I was only buying healthy food.  I came home with eggs, greek yogurt, kale, organic romaine lettuce, gold potatoes, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, pineapple, mango, avocado, lemons, limes, bell peppers (green, red, and yellow), jalapenos, two huge jars of salsa, black beans...the list goes on.  I did get cheese, but only Mexican crumbling cheese that I'm not inclined to eat on its own, and sliced sandwich cheddar from the deli that I had sliced ultra thin so even if I eat two or three slices of it I'm not actually eating too much.  I've been doing my best to only eat at home (although I do admit to eating a lot of Taco Bell...it's cheap!) and as a result of this healthy eating I've definitely noticed a downward trend in my weight the last two weeks.  I've been putting on freshly-laundered jeans to find they fit the same way they used to after I had worn them for a week and stretched them out.  I haven't been getting any exercise...that I do need to work on.  But I guess my point here is that eating right is really the key thing for me.  I have felt so great these past couple of weeks - I have more energy, it's easy to get out of bed in the morning, my sugar cravings have been pretty much nonexistent even as TOM comes for me, and I haven't had much depression at all.  That's a pretty big deal for me, and at least a little proof that you can change your life by changing what you eat.

So, on to my two tasties!

I've realized that having leftovers in the fridge that I can easily turn into other things helps me a lot when I'm staring at the fridge with no idea what to make, ready to bolt to Taco Bell.  I love Mexican food and would happily eat it for every meal (and pretty much have been).  Last week I whipped up a solid ton of sofrito chicken to use in various Mexican-style meals.  Sofrito is a cooking base used often in Latin food, made of tomatoes, garlic, peppers, oil, scallions, and sazon (pronounced sah-ZONE, a Mexican spice mix found in the Latin aisle of your grocery store).  I absolutely adore Skinny Taste, a WW-friendly website with a solid ton of healthy recipes, many of them Latin-inspired.  I go to this site whenever I need something new or want a healthier version of an old favorite.  Gina, the lady who runs it, has a seriously amazing sofrito recipe that can be found here.  Note - I did not follow the Sofrito Chicken Stew recipe, just the directions for the sofrito that she lists first.  I put my sofrito in the blender and pureed it so I could simmer my chicken in it (I'm kind of an anti-chunk gal).  I made the amount of sofrito she makes in that stew recipe, and cooked just shy of two pounds of cubed chicken in a skillet and then simmered it in the sofrito, adding fresh cilantro from my cilantro plant at the end.  I shredded it up and used it in burrito bowls, quesadillas, and taquitos.  It was SO good, and so easy.  By the way, you can make a huge amount of sofrito and then freeze it to use later - a great way to use up leftover cilantro before it goes bad!

Here are some pictures of taquitos that I baked in the oven with my sofrito chicken:

In the taquitos I put my chicken, some sliced peppers and onions (I probably should have sauteed them first, I bet my taquitos wouldn't have exploded), black beans, and mexican crumbling cheese.  I sprayed the tops with cooking spray and baked at 400 degrees until the tops were crispy.  The bottoms were still a little soft, but they were still so good (perhaps the only downside of corn tortillas, they don't get crispy like flour ones do, but I prefer them anyway).  I ate them with some spicy habanero salsa I got from the store.  Divine.

My second tasty for this post is spinach smoothies!  I've been making these for breakfast.  I usually make enough to fill one old spaghetti sauce jar that I've repurposed into a water bottle (I knitted a cozy for it and keep it in my purse - awesome, and super cheap.  I'm not gonna spend 20 bucks on a plastic bottle if I can help it).  Three or four times a week I'll make a smoothie and hard boil two eggs and that's my breakfast.  It's quick, tasty, keeps me full for hours, and I get a couple servings of spinach that I wouldn't eat otherwise.  I can't think of a better breakfast.  My smoothie bases are always two huge handfuls of spinach, about half a cup of fat-free greek yogurt (mmm, probiotics), five or six ice cubes plus a splash of water if I need it, and then whatever fruit I have on hand.  If the spinach taste comes through too much I add a little honey.  Today, I made my smoothie with the above ingredients, plus about a cup of pineapple and a mango (mango not pictured).

That's my smoothie in the jar.  It was green today because the yellow pineapple and orange mango get overpowered by the green spinach, but I kind of love the color.  It's fun.  If you use berries (either fresh or frozen) the smoothie comes out purple - a great way to trick picky kids or hesitant boyfriends ;).  I don't really measure these ingredients out - I just kind of throw it in my blender and go, adding more of this or that if I feel like it.  I love using greek yogurt in these smoothies.  Sometimes the taste of the yogurt is too much for me to eat it straight, but it gives a nice tang to the smoothies that reminds of me of the smoothies I used to make at the ice cream parlor I worked at in high school.   Back then we made our smoothies with frozen yogurt and they were always tart, sweet, and delicious.  Honey helps mask the taste of the yogurt too.  I personally wouldn't use regular yogurt because it lacks the protein the greek yogurt has, but to each their own!  I love how you can change these up, using whatever fruit you have in the fridge.  They're a great way to use fruit that's starting to get too soft or spinach that's on its last leg of life.  I know if you use frozen bananas the smoothie gets a more milkshake-like consistency.  Just experiment and see what you like best - have fun with it!

I love my smoothies!

Om nom nom.

Got spinach?

Also, crappy webcam pictures for the win. I hope you guys try out these tasties!  Have a wonderful day!