Friday, January 30, 2009

Chicken Pot Pie

I am constantly on the look out for new recipes to try ... and I like to be able to try something new at least once a week. Last week I tried this recipe from Heather.

Not only was it really easy to make ... it was pretty good too! We will definitely be added this as one of our favorite new recipes!

Chicken Pot Pie

Ingredients:

- 1 cup shredded, cooked chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)
- 1 bag (12-16 oz.) frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
- 1 can (10 3/4 oz.) condensed 98% fat-free cream of chicken soup
- 1 cup Bisquick Heart Smart mix
- 1 egg
- Oregano and thyme

Directions:
1. Heat oven to 400°F. In a 2-quart casserole dish, mix chicken, vegetables, soup and 1/2 cup of the milk. Microwave on high for 4 minutes; stir.

2. In small bowl, stir Bisquick mix, the other 1/2 cup milk and the egg with fork until blended. Pour over chicken and vegetable mixture.

3. Bake uncovered about 30 minutes or until golden brown.


We were able to get 4 servings (which is great, because we are big fans of leftovers). It was a little on the bland side for my taste, but I plan to remedy that next time with some more seasonings.

I highly recommend this recipe ... especially if you are looking for some good ol' fashion comfort food on a chilly winter night (not that it feels like winter here in the Sacramento valley - but you catch my drift anyways).

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I finally made it!

I guess I've been a little M.I.A around here lately ... I've been blogging pretty regularly over at my wedding blog. With the countdown to the big day in full swing, my DIY projects for the wedding are finally coming to life and all the little last minute details need my attention. Other than the wedding projects and details there has not been much going on in The Life of The Jesse - until yesterday!

Monday's have always been our weigh-in days since we started our healthy lifestyle change back in early June 2008 when we started Weight Watchers and portion control. Back in October I was this close to reaching my 2nd big milestone (my first big milestone was when I lost 10% of my starting weight - which happened for the first time back in September) of losing 20 lbs - but I started yo-yo'ing between 148ish and 152ish because life got crazy with the purchase of our first home . During that time I became less strict about what I was eating and my running started to decline. I tried, but sometimes life really did get in the way and I just did the best I could. I'm pretty proud of myself because I've been able to keep this weight off for 33 weeks and yesterday as week 34 started and I stepped on that cold scale yet again I was so happy to see that I had finally reached that 20 lb loss!

I've still got a long road ahead of me to reach my ultimate goal - but I feel good. All the changes that I've made have become habit and not something dreadful. I enjoy running (even though I once thought that I would never really be runner - I finally feel like one). And I'm beginning to enjoy our strength training sessions (we haven't quite reached my goal of three days a week - but we are getting there).

When we started this journey together it was actually back in September 2007 when I first looked up the Couch to 5k Program and thought, hey - I can do that. It seems easy enough. Luckily Jon enjoys running and agreed to help me "train". From there we slowly started making lifestyle changes to the way we ate and the types of food we ate. We started out by making small changes ... switching from sourdough bread to whole wheat, planning out our weekly meals (which also helps to save money and I highly recommend this to everyone!), and trying to eat more veggies and fruit. Starting last June we got really serious about what we were stuffing our faces with and made even more changes and started following the Weight Watchers Points program. From then on its been all about portion control, choosing healthy snacks, and eating the right types of food instead of junk.

A typical days looks like this for me:
Breakfast
Either 1 cup of Raisin Bran Crunch cereal with 1/2 cup vanilla soy milk or 1/2 bagel with 1/2 tbsp butter and 1/2 banana and 1 cup of OJ and 1 cup of unsweetened organic green tea on the way to work
Snack
Yogurt and 1/2 orange
Lunch
1/2 cup of the following: carrots, celery, zucchini, cucumber, grapes, and 1/2 apple (and depending on the season any assortment of fresh fruit)
Snack
Applesauce or Jello or fat free Jello Pudding
Dinner
A sensible meal of an appropriate size (I still measure everything even though we stopped "counting" our points back in October.)

It works for me. It might be the same thing every single day but I'm not the type of person who enjoys a lot of change anyways. It keeps me accountable to myself. I enjoy eating a raw lunch every day at work because it keeps me from over eating and it's easier on my stomach when I exercise in the afternoon before dinner.

The best part? I feel better. Not in the I've-lost-weight-and-my-jeans-fit-good kind of way but in the my-body-feels-healthier way. That makes it all worth it for me. Don't get me wrong - having my wedding dress end up being too big is great and I can say that now that I've had my first fitting and I know that my dress can be fixed but I also get a great feeling every time I put on my size 12 jeans - especially since I was wearing a size 16 not too long ago :)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Houseguests & breakfast

Last weekend we had house guests stay the night after Game Night - and in anticipation I decided I would make this yummy looking breakfast casserole from Stefanie's blog.

It started out simple enough ... I saw the post and thought, that's looks good EXCEPT I don't like bacon AND I don't really eat real eggs ... so I decided to change things up a bit.

Here's the ingredients I used:
Egg beaters (almost a whole carton, only 1/4 cup was used the night before for Linsey's cookies)
1 C milk
some stick butter (I just used a few dabs here and there on the bread before pouring the egg mixture on top)
fresh sourdough bread (cut into cubes - enough to cover the bottom of the dish I baked this in)
1 package of Jenny-O Turkey Sausage patties
green onions
garlic powder
salt & pepper
2 cups of a mixture of shredded colby jack cheese and shredded pepperjack cheese

Directions:
Preheat Oven to 375. Fry turkey sausage, drain, and set aside to cool. Spray casserole pan with non-stick cooking spray. Line dish with cubed bread chunks. Cut butter into cubes and put on bread. Mix egg beaters (1/4 cup equals 1 egg), milk, cheese, and seasoning and pour over bread. Sprinkle with chopped onions and crumpled sausage over the top. Bake at 375 for 35-45 minutes (mine took right around 40 minutes, I think).

The results? Absolutely the best breakfast I have ever made.

Thanks Stefanie!!! I can't wait to make
this again, and again, and again ...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Just what I needed

It was a long, stressful week. I know that I have a lot more of long stressful weeks coming up because we are about to hit the two month mark to our wedding and it's really crunch time and I've got 100 million things to do!

By the end of the week, the only thing I wanted to do was crawl in bed and sleep all weekend except we had a game night planned and on Friday afternoon I had a lot to do to get ready for our guests. Even though I wanted to celebrate the weekend by going to bed at 2pm when I got home from work - fortunately for me, game night was exactly what I needed.

Game Night started back in November of 2007 with a Guitar Hero bracket challenge.

Jon was the winner!

Game Night always includes lots of drinking, lots of laughing, and lots of fun! The location is always different, sometimes the participants change, but the outcome is always the best - a good time with good friends!!!

Jan 2009 Game Night was the first one Jon & I have hosted in our new home! Not only was it Game Night, but we also celebrated my best friends birthday!

*She may kill me for posting this!

Sometimes the games change - but our favorite is Cranium! It's always Girls vs. Boys and the girls almost always dominate (which was the case on Friday). Cranium is so much fun because its interactive and hilarious!


And, at the end of the night ... I still was able to get some zzz's

*I can't believe they took this picture AND that I'm actually posting it!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Cheese-y

I often like to try new recipes, and this week I made Macaroni and Cheese Casserole. It turned out very yummy, and much better that I though it was going to be!


Macaroni and Cheese Casserole
cooking spray
8 oz uncooked elbow macaroni - about 3/4 of a box (I used whole wheat)
10 3/4 oz Campbell's 98% Fat-Free Cream of Celery soup
1 cup fat-free mayo
8 oz low-fat shredded cheddar cheese
4 oz whole-wheat crackers, mashed into crumbs (I used about 1 sleeve of whole-wheat Ritz crackers)

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a 9x9 baking dish with cooking spray.

Cook macaroni in a large pot of boiling water until just tender, around 7 minutes. Drain and transfer back to pot. Add soup, mayo, and cheese; mix well to combine.

Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish and top with cracker crumbs.

Bake, uncovered, until top is golden brown - about 20 to 25 minutes.

Makes 6 - 1 cup servings.

*This is a Weight Watchers recipe - 7 points per serving.

Friday, January 9, 2009

New title

What do you think?

Now I just have to think of a catch-y subtitle ...



And, if I can only figure out how to get a martini on here somehow ...

Thursday, January 8, 2009

So far, so ... okay

I'm doing pretty good with my New Years Resolutions so far. The year started out a little slow on the exercising/running front ... but we JOINED A GYM and so we are slowly getting into a routine. Luckily, the hubs-to-be agreed to not only JOIN with me but to GO with me every night after he gets home from work. It's so nice to have such a wonderful partner in my life ... I can't wait to marry him and be his wife ... in just 72 short days!!! Anyways, back to the update: joining a gym meant that we didn't have to run outside, in the dark and cold, during the winter and that we could run on the treadmill's again. I run so much faster and longer on the treadmill's - and my shins have not hurt once yet this week! My running goal for January is to run 50 miles total all month. So far I'm hovering right around 11 with 3 runs this week already. Getting into the routine has not really been all that hard because we were already running 3 or 4 days a week outside, the only difference is now we are driving the short drive to the gym, running there and then doing some other exercises, then driving home. Easy. Piece of cake. Slowly we are incorporating more and more exercises and machines ... and eventually we will start doing toning exercises at least 3 days a week (another one of my 2009 goals).

Regarding a few of the other goals: I've been doing really good with drinking lots and lots of water everyday. I probably didn't reach my 64 ounce goal the first few days of the month ... but since the work week started, I've been back on track. There's just something about being on vacation that throws a wrench into my routine's and makes a mess out of my so-called organized life. Getting back to routine's was so nice this week. And the side benefit - we are eating healthy (after indulging way too much during the holiday season) so I've felt great all week!

That goal about saving money is going to be a lot harder that we planned on because my work hours got cut (along with all the hourly employees in my office) starting yesterday. I'm currently now working only 7 hours a day, which translates to 10 hours less per pay period and a loss of way too much money! It's gonna be a struggle ... but I think we will overcome it. I'm just hoping things start turning around sooner rather than later ...

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Time for some color

Things were starting too look a little bland around here so I added some color. Someday I'd really like to figure out how to add a custom title ... but until then, I'll enjoy my new splash of color!

I'm also trying to come up with a better "title" ... I've never really been too fond of the title, but I can't seem to think of anything good.

Anyone got any suggestions???

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Miles for December

December - total miles 35.93
Thanks to mapmyrun.com, I can now track our mileage around our new neighborhood!
12/1 - 3.07 @ 40:58
12/2 - 3.07 @ 41:32
12/3 - 3.07 @ 42:23
12/4 - walk @ 32:36
12/5 - 3.07 @ 45:48
12/6 - rest
12/7 - rest
12/8 - 3.07 @ 48:37
12/9 - 3.07 @ 45:25
12/10 - rest
12/11 - rest
12/12 - resst
12/13 - 3.07 @ 43:05
12/14 - rest
12/15 - 3.07 @ 42:43
12/16 - rest
12/17 - rest
12/18 - rest
12/19 - rest
12/20 - rest
12/21 - rest
12/22 - 3.07 @ 42:47
12/23 - rest
12/24 - rest
12/25 - rest
12/26 - rest
12/27 - rest
12/28 - rest
12/29 - 4.15 @ 1:02:19
12/30 - 4.15 @ 55:30
12/31 - rest

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2009 New Year's Resolutions

Happy New Year! I'm probably sitting on the beach, celebrating the New Year with my husband-to-be and my cousin and her boyfriend ... that or we drank too much and never made it to the beach ... either way, I'm celebrating the new year surrounded by people I love and knowing that I'm going to make the most of this new year not only because it's the year I'm getting married, but also because I know it's up to me to make the most out of every single moment of my life!

I'm horrible, absolutely horrible, about keeping New Years Resolutions ... but, here are some I think I can actually attain and stick to (well, some are easier said than done - like the first one - but, sometimes having your goals written down makes it easier to work towards achieving them)!

~Reach my goal weight (this has probably been my #1 New Years Resolution my entire life - but I've made some major lifestyle changes this past year so I think as long as I stay focused and remember that I'm doing this for my health and not for my vanity then I think it may be attainable)

~Run at least 3 days a week, preferably 4 or 5 (3 is likely, 4 is attainable, 5 is probably not going to happen - but hopefully someday it will)

~Limit my candy consumption, and all sugar consumption in general (I like candy, a lot - like, a lot a lot - but as long as I don't have any then I don't really crave it - so I just got to make sure I keep it out of the house)

~Pay off at least one credit card (preferably more than 1, especially if we want to even think working on our new home or about having kids anytime soon)

~Save $1000 in our emergency fund (we had this just a few short weeks ago, and then The Jetta required some major work ... )

~Reduce our eating out habit to 6 or less times a month (not so easy to do, especially living so close to so many great restaurants)

~Participate in at least six 5k's or more (and think about participating in a 1/2 marathon - maybe I might put off that 1st 1/2 marathon until 2010, or 2011, or never)

~Start doing toning exercises at least 3 days a week (seems like an easy one to follow)

~Drink at least 64 ounces of water every. single. day (most days I do this now - except weekends and when I'm on vacation ... )

~Cut (and hopefully donate my hair) (not really a resolution per se but something I want to do)

I'm thinking I'll probably post regular updates about the progress of my resolutions ... just another way to keep myself accountable!