Thursday, July 23, 2009

Ramblings of a crappy week

  • This week has officially sucked and I can't wait for the weekend to finally get here.

  • On Monday, I made this "copy cat" PF Chang's Lemon Pepper Shrimp. I do not recommend this particular recipe for this particular "copy cat" dish. It turned out okay, but absolutely nothing like the original (I was hoping for some sort of "likeness" but it was not there).

  • This Saturday we are running our 2nd 5k of the year ... and I'm a little worried. Our running routine pretty much became non-existent after the wedding and while we are slowing getting back into routine I am no where near as fit or as strong a runner as I was back in March. I'm sure we will do fine ... I'll be happy, of course, with just finishing ... but I wish we would have stayed on course with our training all year instead of getting lazy.

  • Also on Saturday we are heading out of town to visit some friends ... so tonight I made Heather's S'mores Cupcakes. They look really good (I am waiting until after dinner to try one) and I'm assuming they are going to taste amazing (I'll be sure to let you know if they taste as good as they look sitting on my kitchen counter staring at me). Has anyone else made these??? I stumbled upon her post for these a few months ago and saved it and I have been wanting to try it for a while now ... I'm glad I finally did! I think they are going to be my new favorite cupcake! Thanks for posting them Heather!

  • The 30 Day Shred is kicking my butt. I am really out of shape. I have not been able to do it every day but I am taking every opportunity to do it as often as possible. In the past 5 days I have done it 4 times (I skipped it yesterday - like I said, its been a really crappy week - and went swimming instead). I knew when I purchased it that I would not be able to do it but that I would try my darnest to do it as often as possible. So far, other than kicking my butt hard core, I really like it. How many others of you out there are shredding too?

  • A couple of weeks ago my blog celebrated its first anniversary ... I asked readers if there was anything they'd like to know about The Jesse that they had not yet learned. Michelle, over at See Michelle Blog asked "where did you grow up?" Good question, Michelle. I grew up in a small town in Northern California ... Oroville! Population in the Greater Oroville area is somewhere around 45,000 - definitely small in comparison to other cities I have lived in (Berkeley, Sacramento, Elk Grove). Even though I was born and raised a "small town girl" - I am definitely a city girl at heart and I love The River City - and my new "city" Elk Grove! Thanks for the question! If any other readers have any other questions ... feel free to leave a comment!

  • On that note ... I'm going to go stare at my cupcakes a little longer and will the husband to come home early from soccer with my Jedi mind tricks so that I can eat a darn cupcake already!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Four Months!

I have the most amazing husband
and I feel very lucky and blessed to be his wife!

I also have a very amazing cousin, pictured above - conducting our ceremony, who got ordained just for our wedding! Thanks Judy - you are absolutely the best West Coast Cousin!!!

Monday, July 20, 2009

30 Day Shred - Day Two & 10 lbs in 10 weeks - week 2

Day two of the 30 day shred is way harder than day one!

Here's to hoping that it gets easier!?!

Today was W2D1 of my 10 lbs in 10 weeks challenge and a weigh in day - I'm down 1.4 lbs from my starting weight! I had to overcome some snacking hurdles towards the end of the week last week and we ate out a few times too many over the weekend but I was able to work out 4 of 7 days, including Day One of the 30 Day Shred yesterday! Getting back on track is not always easy ... but I'm staying focused and trying my best ... that's all I can do!

Meal Plan Monday (7/20)

Monday - PF Chang's style Lemon Pepper Shrimp (I never made this over the past weekend like I had planned because we were out and about shopping and stopped of at a local brewpub for a couple of pints and yummy brewpub food and we were so not hungry later for anything else)

Tuesday - Caesar Salad (it's so totally a weekly staple for us in the summer time - so quick and yummy)

Wednesday - Shredded Chicken Taco Salad (I'm gonna make this one up as I go but I'm pretty sure its going to be amazing)

Thursday - BBQ Chicken Pizza (I recently discovered this blog and I've found a ton of new recipes I can't wait to try)

Friday - Smarter Fettuccine Alfredo (also from the same blogger - this will be our carb up dinner before a this 5k the next day)

Saturday - Dublin bound to visit Val & Steve after our 5k!!!

Sunday - leftover pasta from Friday

Sunday, July 19, 2009

30 day shred = attempt at day 1

In an effort to increase my activity level and jump start my weight loss I jumped on the bandwagon and purchased the 30 Day Shred last week. This was not my first at-home workout DVD purchase - I own a series of The Firm DVD's that I actually really enjoy doing, just not during the summer time, and I own numerous yoga and pilates DVD's (that I do not enjoy at all) - so I decided to splurge the-less-than-$15 dollars for the 30 Day Shred DVD and add it to my collection of workout DVD's. Today I attempted to complete Day 1 of the 30 Day Shred. You'll notice I said "attempted". Did I make it through the entire 20 minute workout? Yes. Did I stop numerous times because I couldn't breath or I felt like my legs were going to buckle with one more lunge or because my ab's were screaming in pain from the simple crunch? Yes, yes, and yes. I knew it was going to be hard. And I knew I would have to stop and rest numerous times because I'm not in good shape right now and I'm a weakling. But, overall, I really enjoyed it. Like, a lot. And I'm pretty excited to give it a try again tomorrow after my normal gym workout. Do I think I am going to do it every single day for 30 days? No. I'm not even going to kid myself and pretend that I will even try. I know I won't be able to. But, I am going to try to do it as often as possible. Do I think I will get the same results as I would if I did it every single day for 30 days? No, but I'm pretty confident that I'll see some results just the same.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Campbell's Beef Taco Skillet

This is a very simple and quick one pan dinner! The ingredients are inexpensive and it tastes sooo good!!! I found this recipe on a Taste of Home Bonus Book from June/July 2009.

Campbell's Beef Taco Skillet
1 lb ground beef (I use extra lean ground turkey because I don't eat a lot of meat)
1 can Campbell's Tomato Soup (I use reduced sodium)
1/2 cup salsa (I use generic brand jarred salsa)
1/2 cup water
6 flour tortillas (6" size) - cut into 1" pieces
1/2 cup cheese (I don't use this much, instead I just sprinkle a little on top after I've dished it up)

Cook beef (or turkey) in a large skillet until well browned, stirring to break up meat. Pour off fat. Stir in soup, salsa, water, and tortillas. Heat to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook for 5 minutes. Top with cheese. Makes 4 servings (1 heaping cup each).

The first time I made this I added red onion, green bell pepper, and mushrooms - the second time I made it just as directed ... both times it was really good & easy!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Homemade Pesto, attempt #1

When I was 19 years old I discovered that I had developed an allergy to tree nuts. At the time I was working in the bulk food section of Berkeley Bowl (a grocery store in Berkeley). The allergy was discovered after I keep getting hives after pre-packaging bulk walnuts. I went to see my doctor who referred me to an allergist where I had a scratch test done. Unfortunately they did not actually test me for any tree nuts. Another unfortunate result of the test revealed that I was allergic to every single scratch test they gave me ... all 60+ ... resulting in my back becoming one big welt. A big enough welt that they had every person who worked in their office come in to examine me because they had not ever seen anything like it. That's right my friends ... they were not able to determine if I was in fact allergic to tree nuts but they did determine that I was allergic to fresh fruit, dairy products, pollen, dust, olive trees, most grasses, mold, etc, etc, etc. So, ever since then I've just avoided nuts all together. I'm not 100% positive if I'm allergic or not ... but I'd rather be on the safe side since I've had way too many reactions (hives) to some of the tree nuts (walnuts, pine nuts and pecans) even though I use to eat almonds and cashews and peanuts (actually peanuts are in the legume family and not actually a nut but I've gotten hives a few times from them too) growing up. So, there's my nut allergy story. What does this have to do with Homemade Pesto you may be asking your self. Well, pesto traditionally is made with pine nuts --- a tree nut! I like pesto --- I wouldn't say I'm a huge pesto fan --- but sometimes its a nice change from the traditional red pasta sauce I make. So I decided to make homemade pesto this week! I remembered that a fellow blogger, Stefanie, had posted her recipe a while back on her blog --- so I used that recipe, without the pine nuts of course!

Homemade Pesto
2 cups fresh basil leaves
½ cup grated Parmesan-Reggiano cheese - I used just grated Parmesan as my local store did not have any Parmesan-Reggiano at the time I made my purchases for the recipe
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts - excluded from my recipe
3 medium sized garlic cloves - I used 8 (I like garlic and needed the extra to replace the pine nuts)
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine the basil, pine nuts (excluded from my recipe), garlic, and cheese in the food processor and pulse until combined.
Slowly add olive oil in a constant stream with the food processor on.
Add salt and pepper to taste.

My results:
Due to the heavy use of garlic (8 cloves) it was very garlic-y. Like way too much garlic --- and that's hard for me to say because I LOVE garlic. But overall, my first attempt was a success and I do plan to try again.

Monday, July 13, 2009

10 lbs in 10 weeks: the start of a new mini-challenge and goal

It's been almost 4 months since we got married ... and I've gained back almost 7 lbs in that time! In just over 10 weeks my sister in law will be getting married ... so I thought what better than a mini-challenge for myself and a goal! I'm pretty goal orientated and feel more motivated when I have a goal I want to reach. I mean, I have my ultimate weight loss goal ... but that's so far away that it's easy to loose sight and get unmotivated. The past couple of months I've been very unmotivated. It's sad. Today, I changed all that around. No more mindless snacking, no more trips to the vending machine, no more junk food in the house (candy, chips, crackers, etc). And back to the gym we went. We've got a 5k in two weeks ... so not only do we need to be getting back in shape but we need to start conditioning for our 5k (something, in hindsight, that we both realize we should have started a couple of weeks ago - actually, we never should have stopped going to the gym or stopped running to begin with - especially since I'm now back at the starting line and struggling to run again)!

So, today was W1D1 of the 10 lbs in 10 weeks challenge. Seems simple enough and like a very reachable goal. I feel better already just knowing that we getting back on track and exercising again (even if I'm totally exhausted tonight after run/walking 1 mile in 20 minutes and 10 minutes on the elliptical trainer --- I think I might need to head to bed early --- getting back in the routine can be very exhausting at the beginning)!

I'll try to post updates on here about how the challenge is going ... in the meantime, what do you do to stay motivated???

Meal Plan (7/13)

Monday - Turkey Taco Skillet

Tuesday - Chicken Caesar Salad

Wednesday - leftover Turkey Taco Skillet

Thursday - Marsala Pasta Toss

Friday - leftover pasta

Saturday - PF Chang's style Lemon Pepper Shrimp

Sunday - BBQ Chicken

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Project 365: 06.21.09 to 07.10.09

Disclaimer - I'm pretty behind on my postings and in an effort to get caught up, his post is going to be packed full of photos!!!

At the farmer's market the day before this we bought some dried corn on the cob - the man selling it said to put it in a white donut paper bag then put it in the microwave to get fresh, organic POPCORN straight from the corn on the cob!!!

I'm obsessed

Today was our friend B.Rob's 30th birthday and his girlfriend threw him a little surprise party

Our friend Zach was still in town from Florida (he was here for a whole week) so we went out to dinner at Benihana on this night

Spent the afternoon doing some laundry and ironing and packing for our mini-vacation to Tahoe tomorrow

Jon getting his first tattoo!!!

Having lunch at Riva Grill in Tahoe

Our new tattoos - the yin yang symbol - each of us with one half

My wedding bouquet has been handing upside down in our garage since the week after our wedding - on this night I finally cut it down and put it back in the sweetheart table vase that has been sitting on my dresser anxiously awaiting its return

Marigolds in our garden - on of our few plants/flowers that survived the heat while we were away for the weekend

All of Jon's camping gear ready to be loaded in our garage - he goes to a music festival for the 4th of July weekend every year

Pretty much how I spent my evening - like I said, I'm obsessed

I'm allergic to nuts - so my substitution for peanut butter is soy nut butter - don't knock it till you try it - it tastes just like peanut butter

I'm no good at taking photos of fireworks with my point and shoot camera, but I did get this photo after I drew this in the street with my sparkler :)

This frame is what we gave our parents as gifts at our rehearsal dinner - this one is hanging in my mom's house

Finished the series. Still obsessed.

Made "Chipotle" size burritos for dinner - yum!

Just playing around with our rings and the camera :)

Homemade nut free pesto

Homemade zucchini bread

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Check out this giveaway!!!

Michelle over at See Michelle Blog is having a giveaway! It's for some pretty amazing looking Bath & Body Works products!!! You gotta check it out and hurry up and enter to win ... deadline is Sunday July 12th with the winner announced on Monday July 13th!!!

And, in case you didn't see it --- it was my one year Blogiversary yesterday, check out my post!!!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

One Year Blogiversary

Today is my one year blogiversary!

It's been a very exciting year - sharing the ups & downs of weight loss, great recipes, fun photos, and all sorts of random life events and hoopla with the blog world.

Over the course of the year I've blogged about some pretty random things ... but also some pretty great milestones & events. It was fun to look back over my posts and experience the Journey Through Life all over again. My blog has evolved from what it once was to what it is now ... and I'm enjoying it!

On this, my one year blogiversary, I'd like to know what my readers (are there any out there) think of my blog and so I invite you all to leave a comment and ask me anything you want to know! I'll post the answers (with in reason, of course). Be creative ... you never know what you might find out! Have ideas for more intersting posts? Then let me know those too!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Meal Plan Monday (7/6)

Ok, time to get back on track :)

Monday - pasta salad (gonna make it up as I go along)

Tuesday - black bean burritos

Wednesday - chicken caesar salads

Thursday - pesto pasta*

Friday - leftover pasta

Saturday - Honeymoon Risotto

Sunday - BBQ shrimp kabobs

*I am allergic to nuts so I'll be making my pesto "nut free" - I'll post later this week and let you know if it was a success or not (I've never tried it)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Project 365: 06.14.09 to 06.20.09

06.14.09, 365-86
The first Dahlia to bloom

06.15.09, 365-87
Veggies from a co-worker

06.16.09, 365-88
Headed back to the gym today - time to get back on track
*Edited to add - 7/1 - boo, that only lasted two days ... next week is a new week ... lets hope its THE week for getting back on track*

06.17.09, 365-89
My new gardening bucket and organizer

06.18.09, 365-90
A much enjoyed evening of wine and TV

06.19.09, 365-91
VIP Tickets to The Lion King - it was amazing and I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone!!!

06.20.09, 365-92
Valerie & Steve's wedding day in Dublin

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Fourth of July!

I hope everyone has a safe & fun holiday!!!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Project 365: 06.07.09 to 06.13.09

06.07.09, 365-79
After a long Saturday yard sale the day before, we enjoyed a nice relaxing BBQ dinner on this Sunday night!

06.08.09, 365-80
Today I came home early from work with a horrible migraine.

06.09.09, 365-81
Today we picked our first zucchini from our garden! It was soooo goood! We are so looking forward to a whole summer of fresh veggies from the garden.

06.10.09, 365-82
Pretty boring day. Work. TV. Got bored - took a photo of the sprinkler while watering the lawn. Told you - boring.

06.11.09, 3.65-84
Spent the afternoon updating my Project 365 photos on the blog!

06.12.09, 365-84
Crazy kitties ... beer is NOT for you!

06.13.09, 365-85
The home where my friend Val's bridal shower was hosted in Dublin! A-maz-ing! Love that yard & pool!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


I just wrote the check that pays off our first credit card bill! That is such an amazing feeling.

We've been working really hard to pay down our debt for quite some time, using the snowball method, but it was put on hold when we started planning & paying for our wedding. Now that the wedding is over - we have been very successful in getting that debt paid down.

Did I mention that it is such an amazing feeling?!? It makes me very HAPPY - on an otherwise dreadful day ...