A MUFA-licious New Year

Afternoon everyone!

Yesterday, Scott and I spent most of the afternoon taking down all of the inside Christmas decorations. I didn’t put out as many as I normally do, so it wasn’t as bad as last year taking them down. I will miss how pretty my house looked, but I am glad to have it back to normal.

This morning, Scott left early to attend an Illinois v. Gonzaga basketball game in downtown Chicago. But, I managed to convince him to take a picture of me in my new Lucy shirt before he left…

1.2 Jen Breathe shirt 10.1

Thanks shman.

Blah, I just saw that Illinois lost. I didn’t go to U of I and, frankly, college basketball is NOT my thing. But I still want the Illini to win. Scott usually goes to the big game every year and hangs with all of his old college buddies. You think I would like basketball, even a little, after playing 4 years of b-ball in high school. Thanks, but I’ll pass. 

I didn’t end up going to yoga this morning like I planned (too cold to venture outside at just 6 degrees of bed separation). Instead, I started the morning with a few lunges, squats, and leg extensions. I usually start doing these in March to gear up for bikini season. But, seeing as I’m headed to Florida at the end of February then twice again in April, I figured I should get a head start! I also munched on some super nummy yogurt…

1.2 Trader Joe Greek Yogurt 2

Instead of buying individual 5.3 oz of Trader Joe’s nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt, I bought the big carton. I’m trying to really watch portion sizes this year, and I feel that the individual yogurts are a little too much for me. With the full-size carton, and a handy dandy 6 oz ramekin, I can fill up the ramekin 1/2 way, then add granola and blueberries. Honestly, this is ALL I need to get me started on most mornings.

1.2 Trader Joe Greek Yogurt 1

As for watching portion sizes, I’m not really trying to lose weight – I don’t have much to lose at just 107 pounds. I’m also not really the type to do New Year’s resolutions. But, every year, I try to start the new year off right with some of the basic principles of healthy eating…

  • Watching calorie intake
  • Loading up on fruits and veggies
  • Eating more fiber-rich foods
  • Cutting back on junk food
  • Saying “yes” to MUFA (monounsaturated fats)
  • Reducing diet coke
  • Kicking my Starbucks habit (I wonder if there’s a Starbucks support group I could join?)
  • Opting for all-natural foods, when possible
  • Limiting snacks

For instance, for lunch, I knew I’d be satisfied with a 1/2 reduced-fat salami sandwich, so that’s what I had (reduce portions – check). I made the sandwich on Brownberry double fiber bread (add fiber – check), and plus I threw in a few cherry tomatoes for the huge vitamin C but also because they are fruit (add fruits/veggies – check)

1.2 Salami Sandwich with olives 2

It’s a little strange eating lunch without Scott on a Saturday, considering we are almost always together on the weekends. No matter though, I had olive eyes watching me…

1.2 Salami Sandwich with Olives 1

Not to mention a beautiful a bird sitting in my tree who kept his hawk eye on me and my food…

1.2 Wild Hawk

I named him Nicholas Nickleby – Nick for short. Don’t ask me why, I was just in a Charles Dickens kind of a mood today. 

Tonight, I plan to do some major studying at Barnes and Noble and then tomorrow starts our 30-day restaurant diet – more details to follow 😉

So, what’s your healthy eating goal for the year?

Cooking, Baking, and Merry-Making

Hello All! So, is everyone still recovering from last night? 😉 I took it easy because I’ve been kind of sick the last couple of days. Surprisingly, I was still able to run yesterday morning – which seemed to help a little. Since Scott’s parents were coming over for New Year’s Eve (and spending the night), I split my day between errands and cooking.

After running out for groceries (I love Trader Joe’s!), I started to bake, and cook, and bake again! I think I mentioned last week that I managed to go through the whole Christmas season without making a single Christmas cookie. Well, yesterday, I sure made up for lost baking! Aside from making my usual chocolate chip oatmeal cookies (a la Nieman Marcus), I also made one of my favorite Fine Cooking recipes…Banana Chocolate swirl coffee cake

12.31 Banana Chocolate Swirl cake1

I said it before and I’ll say it again, I don’t know how they can get away with calling this a coffee cake – it’s really more of a dessert!

If you can believe it, this was only 1/2 the chocolate I had planned for our New Year’s celebration. Scott has been repeatedly asking me to make chocolate mousse. I find mousse time-consuming and, unless you really know what you’re doing, it just doesn’t seem to turn out right. But, I obliged and made a simple chocolate mousse...

12.31 Chocolate Mousse

I followed the directions exactly, except for omitting the rum – because we only had spiced rum, not the dark rum that it called for. I thought is was just so-so, but everyone else seemed to like it – of course, after a few drinks, everything tastes better!

Just before my in-laws arrived, I also made a batch of Ina Garten’s cheese puffs

12.31 Cheese Puffs with bacon

Hmm, these are soo good and really easy to make. I added crunchy, uncured bacon to give the puffs a little crunch and even more flavor – fantastic!

Although I don’t eat seafood, everyone seemed to love the shrimp cocktail, courtesy of Scott’s parents…

12.31 Shrimp cocktail

Sorry – I have a very difficult time even thinking about eating these little crustaceans. 

For our main course, I suggested we have a make-your-own salad bar to offset the not-so-healthy eating that we’d be doing for most of the night.

12.31 New Year's Salad Bar

I ended up not eating a salad after all because I think my stomach troubles have been linked to salad – either the dressing or the lettuce – and I didn’t want to chance it. 

I did attempt (and I’m using that term loosely) to drink some wine, but my stomach as still cramping up – ugh! I guess it was meant to be because the white wine ended up being bad after sitting in the fridge for too long…

12.31 Toad Hollow Chardonnay

Although, how cute is that little toad! Reminds me of the Wind in the Willows 🙂

The whole evening was spent chatting, eating, and listening to music (I think a little dancing happened somewhere in between). Just after midnight, we all wanted to call it quits for the night – that’s what happens after college, you just can’t keep up with your old self anymore!

By the way, did anyone catch Dick Clark on TV last night? It seriously hurt just to watch him, I had to look away whenever he came on the screen. He did a relatively good job though, considering everything that he’s been through health-wise. 

Ok, be back later with the scoop on today – which involved more running, eating, and taking down Christmas decorations – sniff, sniff 🙁