Sunday, June 12, 2011

For the Record

Keeping myself honest on this health challenge:

I haven't lost a single pound.
I haven't had sugar (except for a little sprinkled on the strawberries and bananas for dessert last night).
I took my kids to McDonald's for lunch after the library on Thursday. I may have had a few french fries (by a few I mean 10).
I exercised every day Thursday-Saturday.
I wouldn't consider myself a more purposeful eater yet. I'm trying.

I have planned menus and tried more adventurous cooking. Here are two I tried this weekend.

Zucchini/Mint Salad
3 1/2 oz. green beans, cut into thirds
2 small zucchini, cut into sticks
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
2 celery stalks, sliced
1 bunch of watercress

1 c of Oikos plain Greek yogurt
2 T. chopped fresh mint
1 garlic clove, salt and crushed pepper

Cook the green beans and zucchini in a pan with lightly salted water 7-8 minutes. Drain, rinse under cold water, and drain again. Let cool.
Mix the bell pepper strips, celery and watercress with the zucchini and green beans in a large bowl.

To make dressing, combine the yogurt, mint and garlic in a small bowl, season with salt and pepper. Mix with salad and serve immediately.

I made this salad because we had fresh zucchini and beans in our garden (yes, that picture above is from our garden.  One of the many reasons I love my husband!). My twists: My family didn't like the "spicy" watercress, so next time I'll use spinach and romaine. I accidentally bought blueberry/honey yogurt instead of plain, so I left out the garlic and mint. If I'd had any, I would have added a few blueberries. That yogurt was good on it.

This next recipe I got from Real Simple this month. Normally I think their recipes aren't simple or for real people, but this one I thought I could do:

Basil Spaghetti With Cheesy Broiled Tomatoes
12 ounces spaghetti
3 large beefsteak tomatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), each cut into 4 thick slices
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the baking sheet
kosher salt and black pepper
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, grated
1/4 cup grated Parmesan (1 ounce), plus more, shaved, for serving
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
3/4 cup torn fresh basil leaves, plus more for serving

Heat broiler. Cook the pasta according to the package directions; drain and return it to the pot.
Meanwhile, arrange the tomato slices in a single layer on a lightly oiled rimmed baking sheet. Season with ¼ teaspoon each salt and black pepper. Dividing evenly, sprinkle the slices with the mozzarella and Parmesan. Broil until the cheese is bubbly and golden, 3 to 5 minutes.
In a small saucepan, warm the oil with the garlic and red pepper over medium heat until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
Add the garlic oil, basil, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper to the pasta and toss to combine. Serve topped with the tomatoes,* additional basil, and shaved Parmesan.

Our twist:
I chose this because we have ripe tomatoes and basil in the garden, and Brad's favorite is fresh mozz with tomatoes and basil. Next time, I would try a different pasta--the spaghetti was . . . eh. I also added fresh quartered cherry tomatoes from the garden here* and I would add even more next time.

My family's only complaint: Served with brussels sprouts. Not anyone's favorite. But what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right?

Leave a comment if you've hopped on this bandwagon.  Let us know how you're doing!

And if you live near me, I'm starting to teach water aerobics again.  It's been a few years, but I can't wait!  Tuesday and Thursday mornings, 6:30 am, in my pool.  Just come on in through the gate.  Bring a noodle and a towel and be prepared to work!  It's harder than it looks.



  1. The food looks delicious!
    I think I'm with the kids on brussel sprouts though.

    I'm a little envious of your warm weather and stuff. I would love to be eating some veggies from the garden.

    I've been more purposeful in my eating. I've just eaten, on purpose.

  2. Good job Jen! The pounds will start coming off soon! Those recipes look I'm hungry again!!

  3. I LOVE that you teach water aerobics. Had no idea! If I can pull my life together for five minutes, I just might try that some morning. I NEED some exercise besides stress. And, I love water aerobics.

    Your garden fare looks DELISH!

  4. I worked in the garden this weekend and didn't drink anything but water, tea (unsweetened) and skim milk. Meals were sensible. I can't say that I've done any real walking, but I'll see in the morning if the scale registers a change.

  5. I was doing great till today. I ate enough meatloaf and baked potato to sink a ship.


  6. despite the lack of lost pounds, it sure looks like big healthy changes to me ... even with those 10 fries ;-) love the 2 meals, thanks for sharing!!

  7. don't get me started. i've been off of sugar and carbs for 8 days now. got the shakes, sweats, chills at day 4. hate kicking habits haha
    but i've lost 7 lbs so i'm doing something right. hard i tell ya having to cook for the family when i'm the only one doing this.....

    i'll lean to you for inspiration

  8. Not to get too deep or anything, but I realized yesterday that I really haven't been incorporating prayer in my efforts. I don't think I can tackle it alone. So I reread Elder Bednar's talk on Prayer ( and am trying to use the pattern he describes to overcome weaknesses. Maybe that will make a difference...

  9. I would SO love to come to your water aerobics. Too bad I don't live at all close.

    Brussels sprouts--ick.

  10. see you tomorrow morning ready to "sweat".

  11. Oh I would definitely be there with a noodle if I lived closer. I am so happy with my no sugar no simple carbs experience. I however do use Splenda whenever I feel the need. I don't know if I could do it otherwise. The weight keeps slipping off, albeit much more slowly now, and that's with absolutely no exercise...something I'm not proud of, and hope to change. I am absolutely flabbergasted as to how effective this has been for me. I hope you see some changes quickly here. You deserve it with the effort you are making!
    I've been reading just not commenting, but in lieu of work finishing I hope that will be changing.

  12. Oh how I wish I lived near you for the water aerobics! Good for you on your purposeful eating. I'm trying the same thing myself - trying the "healthy eat" the RA right outta me. So far, so good. Summer is so wonderful with all of the fresh fruits and vegetables. I hate brussels sprouts. I had them at a dinner party last holiday season where the chef did something wonderful to them and they were actually good. I can't remember how he did it though. I've been too scarred by that vegetable to ever enjoy it completely though.

  13. Those broiled tomatoes look AWESOME! I can't wait for our tomatoes to be ready!!!

  14. My favorite diet is the hcg homopatic drops. LOVE it. I lost 14 pounds in 2 weeks, only gained 5 back so 9 pounds in 2 weeks. I felt great on it too. To me it is like a cleanse.

  15. JEALOUS of that garden! We have tiny plants still! Been too cold this Spring for much growth. And you're teaching again!?! So mad you waited until we moved... Or is that why you waited? Loved that class! Have fun and make 'em sweat extra hard-just for me!

  16. Good job on the healthy lifestyle! I've been trying really hard these past few weeks to get myself to eat healthier. I've cut back a lot on the sugar but fell off the bandwagon this weekend when I had an insatiable desire for anything chocolate.

    As for the water aerobics class, I would so love to join your class especially since I love anything involving a pool. Hope you have lots of fun teaching!

  17. i have never tried brussel sprouts. my mom told us they were awful growing up and that we didn't have to eat them, even though she loved them, so she would make them for lunch when we were at school. the only thing i remember is coming home to a stinky house and feeling glad she didn't make us eat them. but they look really good. i need to try them...