Monday, January 28, 2013

Hit the road Jack and don't ya come back...for at least an hour

That's right hit the road jack, get off you big fanny and hit the road!

I am really really laze and hate exercising, it is something I have to force myself to do but once I get started I find that I am enjoying myself. I feel good, I feel fit when I exercise. So why is it so hard for me to get started?

One of my newest passions is what my husband and I call Urban Hiking. No special equipment is needed. Just a comfortable pair of shoes and an adventurous spirit.  Urban hiking is nothing more than taking a walk around your neighborhood. Exploring and getting to know the world around you. My favorite hubby and I like to go out at night after traffic has settled down and most people are inside. The air is cool and the night is quiet.

When we go urban hiking we set a goal of a minimum of 30 minutes but we usually do 1-2 hours easy. When we go, it is not a race, it is not a run. It is about getting out off the house, moving, and exploring the town we live in. We try to take a different path each time we go, we like to explore different streets, look at the houses and talk about what we aspects we like and don't like. We get ideas for decorating, landscaping  and talk about our dream house.

The best part about urban hiking is it gives us time to just be with each other and to talk. We talk about work, plans, books, dreams, politics, goals, and so much more. Think about it when was the last time you and a loved one just talked for an hour with out the distractions of TV, computers, phones, kids, whatever?

During the summer months we go out at dusk and make a game of seeing how many people we can make smile by saying hello?  In California people don't say hello to each other, isn't that strange? I guess we are afraid we will get shot or something.  I love to see the strange looks on peoples faces as they try and think who I am and what I want, then they realize I am just being friendly or am a kook. Perhaps a bit of both.

We started plotting out places to walk to, things to go see. Sometimes we take the long way, sometimes we take the short path, it just depends on our mood.

We no longer drive to the grocery store, instead we walk the 1 mile (2 miles the long way) and just buy what we need for the next 2-3 days. We walk to our favorite restaurant (1 mile) or Mexican place (5 miles), the movie theater (4 miles), the hobby shop (3 miles). At an average walking speed where we can have a conversation we both walk about 3 miles per hour. so in about an hour we can run most of our errends, get some exercise, and enjoy each others company!

The gym gives you a good workout but walking can be more challenging. We live on the side of a mountain so no mater which direction we go half of our walk will be uphill. At the gym it is easy to quit but if you walk for 1 mile your going to have to walk the mile back home, unless of course you call a cab.  The gym is stuffy, full of sweaty people who listen to obnoxious music and leave germs on the equipment. Walking lets you get to know where you live, meet people, and has fresh air. The gym costs money, walking is free.  Don't get me wrong, I still have my gym membership and use it. There are things I like about the gym, but sometimes you just have to mix it up.

Cool things we have seen/found on some of out urban hikes : A family of skunks, a herd of wild burros, a police car herding the wild burros out of the city, various wildlife, a meditation labyrinth, a local tavern with a beer garden, former students, cool houses, unusual flowers, strange lawn art, friendly people, hidden paths up the mountain, the mayor, and friendly people.

So my point is, yes there is a point somewhere in all of this rambling. Stop making excuses you lazy but, get off the couch/computer/whatever and take a walk!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Lentils - Miracle Diet Food!

Lentils are my new miracle diet food. They are quick and easy to prepare compared to other legumes and contain many health benefits. They are so versatile, serve them as a side dish, add to soup, add cooked meat for a meal, or serve cold over a salad. 

Did you know? One cup of cooked lentils:

  • contain (percentage of Recommended Daily Allowance) 89% folate, 62% fiber, 36% iron, 35% protein,  and only 220 calories.
  • contain six important minerals plus two B-Vitamines
  • have been shown to  reduce cholesterol levels
  • help maintain blood sugar levels so you don’t crash and you feel full longer.
  • can reduce your risk of Heart disease.
  • prevent constipation
  • help the flow of blood, oxygen, and nutrients throughout the body

Cooking Lentils are as easy as 1,2,3 
    1. Rinse Lentils
    2. Add to a pot of water (1 cup lentils to 2 cups water) Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Cook     
        for 20-30 minutes until plump and tender. 
    3. Enjoy. 

One of my favorite meals as a kid was franks and beans.  While beans are good for you, traditional franks and beans are full of fat and calories.  I love this alternative recipe from Biggest Loser.  I often make a giant batch and freeze for later. These are good with some turkey sausage, as a meal, or make a great side dish. 

BBQ Lentils - Inspired by Biggest Loser.  

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cup chopped red onion (aprox 1 whole red onion)
4 celery stalks chopped
4 carrots chopped 
2 tablespoon minced garlic 
4 teaspoons chili powder 
2 teaspoon mustard powder 
4 cups fat-free vegetable or chicken broth 
6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 
2 tablespoon Dijon Mustard 
4 tablespoons agave nectar  or honey **If you can't find this, you could try pure maple syrup 
3 cups dried (uncooked) brown lentils, rinsed 
2 cans 14oz tomato sauce 
salt and pepper, to taste


Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until softened and translucent (about 3 minutes.  Add celery, carrots, garlic, chili powder, and mustard powder and sauté until fragrant (about 1 minute); do not brown the garlic.

Add the broth, vinegar, mustard, agave nectar, and lentils; stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until the lentils are tender, but intact (about 30 minutes). If necessary, add 1/4 cup water and simmer for 5 minutes longer if lentils are not tender.  Stir in tomato sauce. Season with salt and pepper.

Serves: 8 (1/2 cup) servings:  187 calories 12 gm protein 31 gm carb 2 gm fat 9 gm fiber 161 mg sodium

Add turkey sausage or hot dogs, serve on bread as a sloppy joe, Enjoy! 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Destructive Attitude Fat Girls Enemy

This week has not been going well.  I had some hard days at work, slacked off on my exercise goals, and raided the snack drawer.

I had been doing well since the beginning of January than I hit a plateau, I became discouraged and started returning to my bad habits.  Then I started to feel like a failure and started to think I was  just destined to be a fat girl.  I started to give up. Why bother? I have tried so many times in the past and nothing ever changes. Each time I say it will be different. I will stick to my goals, I will achieve the body I want, I will be healthy and feel better.

Then the self destructive attitude comes in. I slip and eat something not on my list. Damn you Jack In the Box Angus Bacon Cheese burger!!!! Damn you to hell!!  (In my defense I did have it with water and without the bacon, way to be healthy!! she said sarcastically) I started to spiral back into my old bad habits and self destructive behavior.

Today I was really feeling down when I went for a walk with my wonderful husband. He was walking behind me and mentioned how amazing I look and how proud he is of me.  We ended up having a great talk, he was not going to let me give up, we both were going to get back on that horse and get back on track together.

It is so wonderful to have a great support team behind me. I have to realize that I will have bad days, I will have days that I feel like a failure, I will have days that everything feels useless. But I need to stop beating myself up for it and turning to food to try and make me feel better.

Today hubby and I went for a nice long walk, had a nice long talk, and talked about things we are going to do to keep eating healthy and to get healthy.  It is amazing what getting out of the house, into the sun and fresh air can do for you.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Spaghetti Squash - The New Pasta

About two years ago I went on a quest to find ways to add vegetables to my diet, which is not easy since I am basically racist against most green foods. I grew up eating mainly canned green beans and corn, salads made with iceberg lettuce and store bought tomatoes.   Every once in a while we would get slimy fried eggplant or stuffed green peppers.  I remember the first time I had a home grown tomato, I was visiting a friend at her Grandmothers in Minnesota and she served sliced tomatoes as a side salad. I have always liked tomatoes but if you ever have had a home grown tomato you know there is no comparison. I nearly jumped out of my chair exclaiming “what the heck did you do to these tomatoes”? My taste buds were shooting of fireworks of deliciousness.  My friend’s grandmother looked at me in shock as if I had suddenly grown two heads and said “nothing I just put on a little salt and pepper”. I explained to her that I had never experienced such a delicious tomato. She found it shocking that at 17 years of age I had never had a home grown tomato.  I guess I lived a very deprived childhood.

This experience peeked my curiosity and shortly after I tried some broccoli and cauliflower. Neither of which I am a fan. Mainly because of the smell when they are cooking, it just ruins the experience. Next came Brussels sprouts (yuck) and the oddest looking of them all was artichokes, which became my all time favorite. I like them plain with just a bit of salt, this is surprising since I have been known to eat mayonnaise out of the jar.

I noticed over time that my taste buds either mutated or matured and I began to continue my vegetable experiment. Now I am beginning to experiment with such exotic beauties as squash.  Pumpkin is not just for carving and pie, in fact it makes a great soup, butternut squash fries, and spaghetti squash. Who  knew???  So through this blog I will share my wonderful discovery of vegetables for vegetable haters and ways to sneak them into your diet.

Spaghetti Squash – The first time I cooked Spaghetti Squash was for a recipe from Biggest Loser with Avocado Pesto Sauce.
 The recipe said to cut the squash in half then bake it for 45-60 minutes. First of all have you ever tried to cut a raw squash? It is pretty difficult and may require the use of power tools. I also had to preheat my oven and heat up half the house to cook the dang thing.  I followed the directions and loved the results but in my quest to find an easier method I decided to read the sticker on the side of the next squash I bought. It said to poke holes in the side and microwave it. Genius! I stabbed it with my steely knife. And put it in the microwave on high for 8 minutes.

Let it sit in the microwave for a few minutes while you prep whatever sauce you are going to use, clean the dishes, fold some laundry. Whatever. I say let it sit because it will be very hot. Make sure you use oven mitts to take it out.
Then take a very sharp knife and cut it in half length wise so you end up with basically 2 boats.  You can choose to scrape the seeds out at this point but it is a bit harder and those dang squash halves are hot!  Put about 1 tsp of water in the middle of each half and put them back in the microwave for 5-10 minutes. The length of time depends on how big the squash is. You can see a slight color change on the cut part as it cooks, it is hard to describe but you will see areas that look cooked
and areas that still look raw.  Again let them sit a bit after they are cooked after the timer goes off.  Once it is cool or you grow impatient use a big spoon to scoop out the seeds then take a fork and use it to shred the spaghetti. Mmm, Mmm, good.

Serve this as you would any other pasta or just eat it with a little salt, garlic and butter.  You don't even need to dirty a plate, just drop some sauce in the center and use the shell as the bowl. I like that it has a bit of a crunch to it and gives food texture. You will never trick someone into believing it is pasta but you will get them to eat a tasty vegetable. One of my favorite ways to eat it is with a alcohol free Vodka sauce but let’s leave that for a future blog.  In the top picture I actual served it with an Italian meatball stew. I will be posting that recipe later this week, a girl can only type so fast!
For those watching their Weight here is some nutritional information for you.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutrient database, 1 cup of cooked spaghetti squash provides 42 calories, 0.4 gram of fat, 1 g of protein, 10 g of carbohydrate (4 g as sugar) and 2.2 g of fiber.

The above post was originally posted on my blog The Pin Addict 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Exercise Time is Me Time

One of the biggest reasons I don't work out regularly is because I am just too darned lazy  busy. Some days I have so much going on I just want to chill in front of the computer or TV and not have to use my brain for awhile. Then I realized how fat I was getting and decided to start walking and going to the gym. I started to look forward to the time I exercised and realized that Exercise time is Me time.

I put in my earbuds, listen to some music and tune the rest of the world out. My thoughts are my own and have nothing to do with work, family, school, life, whatever. They are about nothing except getting a workout  and feeling good. I don't have to deal with problems, complaints, or any negativity. I can just tune out.

So next time you are making excuses about not working out just remember it is your time, you deserve. Take 30 minutes to an hour and treat yourself to a good workout. You will be more relaxed, healthier, and feel better.

Still don't have time to exercise? Think of it this way:
Do you have time to get sick?
Do you have time for diabetes?
Do you have time to have a heart attack? 
Do you have time to die young, fat, and unhealthy? 

Now get of your fat lazy behind and go workout! 

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Skinney Rules

I have been thinking of writing a blog on some basic rules to follow in order to get healthy and lose weight when I came across this picture below. Once again Bob Harper sums it up perfectly.
These are great rules that are easy and simple to follow.  The only advise I have is that radical change is hard to sustain so start with implementing 1-2 rules every week. Eventually you will find you are following all of them and don't even have to think about it.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Recipe for a cute butt

This was so good I just had to share. The original post was found on Strong-Fit-Beautiful a great blog about fitness and health, you should check it out!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

There will be sweat - Nike Training Club

On Wednesday I decided to try out one of the fitness classes at my local 24 Hour Fitness and I am so glad I did.

The class was Nike Training Club and it was intense. I guarantee if you take this class you will get a great workout and sweat more than you thought you could. 

I had no idea what I was in for. I was sitting on a mat quietly waiting for the class to start when the instructor struts in, a body building way to energetic for this time of night man, yelling "Are you ready NTC?" My first thought was "Oh Shit this man is going to kick my ass!" and yes he did! 

His motto was "Never stop moving" and if you even thought about stopping he was right there to let you know he was watching.  

The class was similar to another 24 hour class called Body Pump, a combination of aerobics and weights but this was much faster, more aerobic and used hand weights instead of barbells. 

Was it tough? Yes
Was it fast? Yes
Was I able to keep my bodacious booty moving for the entire class? Yes! 
OK I have to admit that after the first 5 minutes I had to modify most of the exercises but I did keep moving, I didn't stop, and I made it through the entire hour even though I thought I might collapse at any time.  And damn it if I didn't feel good afterward.  

The class was fast paced and energetic you did an exercise for about 1 minute than changed it up.  The instructor took the time to show the class how to modify each exercise and kept us energized and pumped. 

I left the class feeling as if I had lost one pants size, no literally my pants were falling down, I had to hold them up as I walked out. 

Nike Training Club even has free apps for the iPhone and Android I have not personally used them but thought you might like to know.  I also found Nike Training Club videos on youtube. 

Disclaimer: At the time of this posting I have not received any compensation for this review from 24 Hour Fitness or Nike Training Club. I doubt the even know who I am, I just enjoyed that class and wanted to share the information. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Seasoned Steak Ragout

I wanted to share with you this quick, easy, delicious, and healthy meal that Hubby and I cooked tonight (well I cooked and he ate) It is from Eat Healthy, Lose Weight from Better Homes and Gardens. 

The cookbook is full of quick and easy meals, we primarily used this cookbook to create our healthy meal plan for the month.

This was a quick recipe that was prepped and cooked in under 30 minutes.The recipe was so simple even my hubby can make it.  I was full after one bowl, Hubby thought it was good but tasted like a healthy version of  franks and beans. It made about 4 servings.

Seasoned Steak Ragout 

  • 2 tsp Olive Oil 
  • 12 oz packaged beef stir-fry strips
  • 1 16 oz package frozen (yellow, green, and red) peppers and onion stir-fry vegetables
  • 1 15 oz can cannellini beans (white kidney beans) rinsed and drained
  • 1 1/2 cups roasted garlic and herb pasta sauce (or your favorite flavor)
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach
  1. In a large skillet heat oil over medium heat, add beef strips and cook 3-4 minutes until done. 
  2. Add remaining ingredients except spinach and heat through. 
  3. Add spinach, stir and serve. 
Nutrition Information per 1 1/4 cup serving
Calories 273, Fat 7gm, Cholesterol 52mg, Protein 27gm, Carb 30gm, Fiber 7 gm, Sodium 601mg 

That is the original recipe, here is what I did. 
  • The meat at the store looked very fatty so I cut up a thin 12 oz  steak that was on sale. 
  • I couldn't find the sitr-fry vegetables so I just used frozen peppers, You could easily use fresh it just takes a few minutes to slice and prep the peppers. 
  • I don't know if I used cannellini beans, all I could find was something labeled "white beans" that looked like small kidney beans. 
  • I omitted the water since I wanted something thicker. 
  • I omitted the spinach since I don't like cooked spinach and we already had a nice side salad made. 
I thought this was really good, next time I might add another can of beans to add some extra fiber in the meal. Beans are a great source of protein and complex carbs which helps regulate insulin and energy levels. They also help you feel full longer so you eat less. Some chopped tomatoes might also be good mixed in. 

Definitely a keeper! 

Meal Planning Part 3 - Daily Lunches

One of my biggest weaknesses for eating healthy is remembering to bring a healthy lunch every day. I am always running late and it is so much easier to run out and pick up fast food for lunch than to spend time in the morning trying to remember to pack one.  One of our resolutions was to give up all fast food and to limit eating out in general so I had to come up with a plan.

I decided to use some Ziploc containers that I had in my cupboard. I love these containers because they come in 1 cup, 2 cup, and 4 cup sizes which greatly helps with portion control. I also love that the 2 and 4 cup use the same size lid so I don't have to go hunting for the right lid. They come in several other sizes but these work well for me.

Here is what I made
Five 1 cup containers of plain cottage cheese.
Four 1 cup containers of 0% fat Greek yogurt with a tablespoon of walnuts and dried fruit. (I didn't have enough for 5 cups)
Five Containers of spinach salad with hearts of palm and salsa for dressing.
Five 2 cup containers of BBQ Lentils (Stored in the freezer)
Five 2 cup containers of 15 Bean soup (Stored in the freezer)
I will supplement my lunches with spiced almonds and fruit.

I made enough of the yogurt and cottage cheese so I could use one as a snack or I could mix up my breakfast.  I will also mix up lunches with the lentils, soup, and left overs from dinner so I am not eating the same thing every day.

Another diet tip is that I will eat my salad first before my entree, and drink a 12oz glass of water or tea with each meal.

I love this idea of having pre-made lunches, it is one less thing for me to worry about in the morning and I just might be on time for work more often now!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Meal Planning Ideas #2

I have learned that my hubby and I are very lazy cooks. After work we come home and the last thing we want to think about is what we are going to make for dinner. In the past we would resort to Ramon noodles, cereal, something else fattening and unhealthy, or just go out to dinner. As part of our healthy lifestyle goals we have decided to make more meals at home and eat out a lot less. Knowing how lazy we are I had to come up with some ideas to make preparing dinner easier.
Here are some of our ideas.
  1. Use a meal planner (posted yesterday) to plan out healthy meals we both will enjoy and that are easy to make. 
  2. Double recipes and freeze left overs for lunches or days we are to lazy to cook. 
  3. Plan out more slow cooker freezer meals. 
  4. Stop buying convenience foods. 
So last Saturday we made a plan for the next month that included 3 meals each week and a freezer meal. Each meal will provide enough for leftovers that we can freeze for future dinners or use for lunches so we can mix it up and wont be eating the same thing everyday. This also only requires us to cook 3 times a week. 

After grocery shopping I came up with a great idea to help make even those 3 days of cooking easier. I became my own prep chef! 

First I printed out each recipe, then gathered up all the ingredients and placed them with the recipe in a plastic bin. (I only had 2 bins so the 3rd meal I put in a bowl) This way when we have to cook we just pull out the bin and everything we need is there.  I then placed the bins in the fridge. We have a large fridge so there was plenty of room after I did some organizing and through out some of the mystery dishes that I could no longer recognize.  

If you have time you could even pre-measure some of the ingredients and put them in small containers. I got several small plastic containers at the dollar/$0.99 store that were to be used for salad dressing. If you were real energetic you could even prep all the vegetables in advanced. This was too much work for me, I can only handle cutting 1 onion at a time.  

If you don't have room in your fridge, are concerned about storing raw meat with vegetables, or have ingredients that need to be stored in the freezer, clear off a shelf in your pantry  fridge and freezer, and make a not on the recipe as to where to find the items. This is a great way to get husbands and older kids involved with making dinner. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Meal Planning for Weight Loss

I hate planning things out and being organized, I like to be messy and spontaneous but that behavior has gotten me where I am today. Fat and out of shape. Part of our weight loss plan is to reduce the number of times we eat out, reduce processed/convenience food, and eliminate fast food.   This means that we have to cook more at home and take our lunches to work. Hubby will start teaching night classes at the local college next week so there won't be as many sit down dinners. We decided that if we made 3 meals a week with enough for left overs that would work for us.

To help us with our meal planning I found this great printable meal planner online. I am terribly sorry but I don't remember who I got the original from. If it is your please let me know so I can give you credit.  
Click here to download Weekly Meal Planner

I added an option for a freezer meal, I find that so that I could start stock piling meals for busy weeks or when we don't feel like cooking.

Hubby and I went through one of my cookbooks and planned out meals for the next 4 weeks. We chose meals that were healthy, easy to make, and fit in with our goals. Using the planner we added side dishes and vegetables that compliment the meals. In the "Other" section we make notes about substitutions to make the meal healthier like use spaghetti squash instead of pasta.  I also like the addition of the Grocery list on the side.

Having the plans made up in advance will also help us to take advantage of bulk purchases and possible sales.

After we cook the meals we will rate the recipes and make notes as to what worked and what didn't work, any modifications etc.

In case you were wondering this weeks meal plan is:

  • Wheat Pasta and Sweet Peppers
  • Seasoned Steak Ragout
  • 15 Bean Soup with Turkey sausage
  • Biggest Loser BBQ Lentils

We will be freezing the soup and Lentils for lunches and freezer meals and will be adding a Spinach Salad as a vegetable. As I cook the meals I will update my blog and share the recipes with you.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Healthy Cocoa Protein Truffles

In my search for better nutrition and healthy snacks I cam across this recipe from Sweet Lavender Bake Shoppe and thought I should give it a try. I did make a few modifications since I can never leave well enough alone.

Healthy Cocoa Protein Truffles  

  • 4 tsp cocoa powder plus extra to coat finish truffles (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 tablespoon low fat Greek yogurt (I bet any yogurt would work though
  • 5 tablespoons chocolate or vanilla protein powder (I used vanilla
  • 2 egg yolks (to cut down calories, egg yolks have 80 calories each, I just used 1 whole egg. I also didn't want to left over egg parts in my fridge) 
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted. (do not substitute you need this to help the truffles firm up)
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar (you could also use honey)

  1. Melt the butter in a small bowl then add the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly. 
  2. Cover  the top of the mixture with plastic wrap so it doesn't form a skin and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. I left mine over night. 
  3. Roll into 1 inch balls and roll in cocoa powder. Enjoy! Store remaining truffles in a sealed container in the fridge. 

Counting what I ate while making these I would save it makes about 10, 1 inch truffles.

Nutrition Information: this greatly depends on what brands you use but here is an proximate calculation. 
Serving size 2 truffles, 90 calories, Fat 4 gm, Protein 11 gm. This is also packed with several vitamins  iron, and calcium but those totals also depend on the brands you use so I have not included them. 

Now before you go crazy about the amount of calories and fat remember I used low fat yogurt because it is what I had on hand. You can reduce the fat by using non fat yogurt. You can reduce the calories by using plain (unflavored/unsweetened protein powder). You might even be able to substitute the butter with cream cheese. This is also meant as a treat to provide extra protein and not a meal. While this is good it is also rich so 2 truffles should be plenty. 

Now lets talk about the calories. One of the things I like is that this uses agave nectar (or honey) instead of sugar. Agave is low on the glycemic index (GI) rating, which means it won't cause a spike in your blood sugar levels the way sugar does. High-GI foods like white sugar tend to make us feel hungry sooner since they are digested quickly. So foods made with agave nectar may keep you feeling fuller longer than foods made with the white stuff, which translates to eating less.  Interestingly Agave  has a very low glycemic index, ranging between 10 and 19, while the glycemic index of honey is also low, ranging between 35 and 58. 

Read more:

Notes from Jule:
  • My dough was a bit soft so I think I would add an extra tablespoon of protein powder next time.
  • I thought these tasted better after sitting overnight than after just 30 minutes. 
  • Because there are raw eggs I would not double the batch. If you want to avoid the use of raw eggs I bet you could use more yogurt, water, or apple sauce. Just add about a tablespoon to make up for the egg. This will also help reduce the calories but will also reduce the protein content.  
  • If you want vanilla or another flavor just substitute the cocoa with flavored protein powder or try with flavored yogurt. 
  • Roll in crushed nuts or mix the nuts in the dough to provide more texture. 
  • Add ground flax seeds for added fiber.
  • Use natural peanut or almond butter in place of the yogurt. 
  • Add ground oatmeal to replace some protein powder.  
  • The possibilities of the recipe are endless, in fact just Google protein truffles and you will come up with a ton of variations. 

Please share your variations and ideas 
in the comments section below. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Healthy Roasted Garlic, Tomato, and Pepper Soup

It has been very cold here in California, in fact on some nights it actually is getting below 40 around here. I know all my Wisconsin relatives are laughing and saying that's shorts weather but for us in Cali that is freaking cold. Nothing is better on a cold winter day than a bowl of delicious hot soup so that is what I decided to make.  This recipe is inspired by Sarah at Frugal by Choice, Cheep by Necessity. 

What I love about making soup is how forgiving it is, you don't really need to follow exact measurements and that's exactly what I did. I just put in a little of this and a little of that till the soup tasted good to me.

First buy a boat load of tomatoes, I happened to use roma tomatoes because those tend to be more meaty and less seady and who wants  a seady tomoato?  This soup would be a great way to use up all those tomatoes from your summer garden or perhaps from your neighbors garden.

Roasted Garlic, Tomato, and Pepper Soup 
(all amounts are approximate, please season to your taste)
A boatload of tomatoes (about 5 pounds)
4 heads of garlic
4 red peppers
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes (add 1 tsp at a time and season to your taste.
1 tablespoon dried basil.

  1. Wash, de-stem, and cut the tomatoes, I cut mine into fourths. Throw them into a roasting pan. Mauviel M'Cook Roasting Pan with Rack & Bonus Kitchen Towel (Google Affiliate Ad)
  2. Wash, de-seed, and slice some red bell peppers. I prefer red since they are sweeter than the green ones. I used 4 peppers. Throw them in the pan with the tomatoes so they can get to know each other. 
  3. Take some garlic and throw that in the pan. I used for heads and didn't want to spend the time pealing all the cloves since I am also a lazy cook, so I just cut off the tops and nestled them in with the peppers and tomatoes. 
  4. Drizzle some olive oil, salt, and pepper over the veggies and mix. You just need enough oil to lightly coat everything. I used about a tablespoon. 
  5. Roast at 400 for about an 1-1 and 1/2 hours. Sarah recommended 1 hour but I did mine longer for 90 minutes. 
  6. Let cool. When cool squeeze the garlic cloves out, if you were lazy like me and didn't peel them in advance. They should just pop right out. 
  7. Transfer everything to a blender and blend until smooth.  You can run through a sieve if you want to remove the extra skin and seeds.  I transferred mine to a pot and  just used an immersion blender  Cuisinart SmartStick Hand Blender CSB-77 (Google Affiliate Ad)  so that I didn't have to pull out my blender. I also wanted the fiber that is provided by the seeds and skins and I like a chunkier soup. You can also use a food mill if you have one.  
  8. Heat the soup and enjoy.  

The soup was very good as is but I couldn't leave well enough alone so I had to add to it. The soup was very thick so I added some chicken stock as I was running my immersion blender.  I then started to channel Emril and started yelling Bam! as I added about a tablespoon of red pepper flakes and a tablespoon of dried basil. I found about a coup of cooked yams left over in my fridge and added them so I could use them up.  I let everything simmer for 30 minutes and topped with some Parmesan cheese. This was a tasty sipping soup. Hubby and I enjoyed it for the rest of the day.  The remainder of the soup we placed in containers and froze so we can have some healthy lunches when we head back to work.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Years Resolutions

I personally hate New Years Resolutions, they are just promises you make trying to sound like a good person with the best of intentions that you will probably break before the end of the week.  But this year will be different, yeah right…….

A simple yet important statement!

OK so this post starts off on a negative note and I want it to be a positive one. This year I want to continue to be better than the last so I have made a few resolutions that I am going to share with you.
  1. 1.       Do what I can to make the people around me lives better.
  2. 2.       Be more positive and focus on the good things.
  3. 3.       Work on being healthier and taking care of myself.

This month I am going to share several posts on how I am working towards these goals.  My main focus though is going to by #3 getting healthy.  I have been severely overweight for the past 10 years or so and am tired of literally sitting on my fat but and doing nothing about it. 

I have made several changes like almost giving up soda, reducing the amount of fast food I eat, exercising more, and eating more vegetables but so far these have only been band aids. I decided that this month I am really going to focus on getting healthy, eating better, and exercising more.  My goal is to lose 10 pounds by the end of the month, do a major workout at least every other day (alternating with a minor workout), and cook more healthy meals at home.

As I go on my journey and share my experiences please remember that everyone is different what works for me may not work for you and what works for you may not work for me. I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV. What I will be sharing is my own personal experiences based upon my life style and my research. I encourage you to do your own research and find what works for you.  

My first recommendation is to go to your doctor and get a check- up. Find out what your basic health and possible limitations are.I recently did have a check-up and am actually pretty healthy, I am just out of shape and fat. I am lucky that my blood pressure and cholesterol is naturally low (thanks Mom) sadly my butt and gut is unnaturally big and that is what I plan on working on.  I am going to focus on the small goals, the small accomplishments that in the end will add up to major accomplishments. 

I hope you will join me on my journey and together we will accomplish big things together! 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!

As part of my resolution for the new year I thought I would get back into the world of blogging. I started a blog last summer called The Pin Addict . The blog was going to be about cool things I found and tested on Pinterest but as time went on the blog became more about me and my life. It became about my life and my journey. Life got in the way as life often does and the blog became less import and was pushed off to the side.  With the start of the new year I thought it was time to revisit the blogospher and start new and fresh. The hardest part was starting. What should I call my blog? What would be a good name to describe what I was going to write about?  I tried several names only to find out that they were all taken then it hit me, the blog is my life. It is about things I am doing, trying, and things that have made my life better. The blog is just about me, Just Jule. So here it is my new official blog of the year. Just Jule.

I hope that this blog will become a great place to share ideas, crafts, recipes, and words of wisdom over this next year.

Happy New Year Everyone