Confessions of an Unintentional Domestic Goddess

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What’s That I Hear? No Complaints? What Did I Do Wrong?

I’m very happy to share with you my friends, last night’s dinner didn’t garner any complaints. It almost makes me feel like I was doing something wrong! Well, that’s not completely true. The steamed broccoli got some whining. Even though we eat it on a regular basis (maybe once a week) and they claim to like it (with the requisite ranch dressing). Ah well, I suppose I can’t win them all, right? As long as my husband was happy, that’s all that matters. If my children had their choice, you know exactly what it would be every night: pizza/hamburgers/macaroni and cheese/hot dogs or some other kind of garbage. It’s not to say we never have those things, but certainly not on a daily basis!

My mom gave me this recipe a few years ago, and I only made it once. I have no idea why I haven’t made it since then, we always have red wine in the house, it’s perfect, I get to drink it AND put it in the food! I think the next time I make it, I”ll cut the water down by about 1/4C, as it turned out a little on the soupy side, but still delicious. If you like it soupy, by all means use the 2 C. One other thing I will tell you, since I’m spilling my guts here, I didn’t use sirloin this time, I used an arm roast. Yes! I know! They were on sale last week at my local grocery and I bought a few. It was a gorgeous roast, as roasts go. I cut it up into small, bite-size cubes and it turned out really well. So don’t be afraid to try a different cut of meat, it just may need a little more cook time if the cut is one that’s not normally terribly tender.

Delish! Beef Burgundy

Delish! Beef Burgundy

BEEF BURGUNDY

2 C water
1 can golden mushroom soup
1/4 to 1/2 lb sliced mushrooms
1-1/2 C burgundy or other dry red wine (I used red zinfandel)
2 lbs boneless top sirloin cut into 1″ pieces
1 pkg uncooked long grain & wild rice mix

1. Preheat oven to 375F.
2. Mmix water, wine, soup & seasoning mix from rice.
3. Put steak/meat and mushrooms into a 5 qt covered casserole dish.
4. Pour soup/wine/water over meat.
5. Bake 30 minutes covered. (you can cook longer if meat is a tougher cut)
6. Add in rice, cover and bake another 60 to 70 minutes, or until rice is tender.
7. Serve with a side & fresh salad.

Yum!

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Lifestyle Changes Day 4

So, how’s it going? Is it easier or harder than you thought? Have you mastered the portion/plate geometry yet?

Just to recap our lifestyle changes so far:

1. Portions: divide your plate into 1/4’s. One half is for veggies, 1/4 is for your starch/fruit, and 1/4 is for your protein (which should be the size of the palm of your hand or a deck of cards.)

2. Don’t rush: Lay your fork down between bites and wait at least 20 minutes if you think you still want seconds. And if you do go for seconds, go for the veggies. The protein and fiber work together to keep you feeling fuller longer. When you are eating, don’t do anything else, i.e. watch tv, read, etc.

3. Higher math aka counting calories: you have to know what’s going in so you can know what’s going out. Remember, 3500 calories = 1lb. To lose one pound you have to burn 3500 calories more than you take in. There are simple & easy ways to shave 100 calories (or more) off of your daily intake.

4. Swaps: swap out higher calorie options for lower calorie items, that will still be flavorful and delicious, mustard for mayo, etc.

5. Exercise. Like Nike says, just do it. that’s how you burn more calories. It doesn’t require a gym membership or expensive equipment, just a pair of sneakers.

I bought a nifty little gadget a couple of days ago, called a pedometer. A what-o-meter? A ped-o-meter. Ped meaning walk. This little baby keeps track of how many steps I take as long as I’m wearing it. It will convert to calories burned or distance, or I can set it as a timer to see how many steps I take in a specific time period. It’s really handy and helps me know how much I’m moving, or not moving. It only cost me $10 and is another terrific tool to keep me accountable, besides the food journal. I know, another thing to keep track of My goal is 10,000 steps a day. Yesterday I only hit about half, which tells me I”m not moving enough. If you have a sedentary job, start off slowly. Wear it for a day and see what an average day for you is and work on increasing it incrementally. Set goals daily to increase the number of steps you take by 100. You can totally do it.

I just had a thought and I wanted to share it with you. We’ve been talking about all of these great things to do, changes in your lifestyle and habits to help get healthy and drop some of those extra pounds that we don’t want to keep. One thing I want you to keep in mind is your reason for doing it. If you do anything for the wrong reasons, it won’t turn out the way you want it to. In this case, if you are trying to lose weight because someone is urging you to do it, and not necessarily because it’s something you want to do, it won’t work. Example, have you ever had a friend/family member who smoked? I have. My dad smoked my whole life and I hated it. I hated the mess they made. I hated the smell, all of it. I don’t know how many times I asked him, he wouldn’t do it. It wasn’t something he wanted to do. You can want something for someone else all the live long day. but if it’s not what they really want, I can tell you now, it ain’t happening.  Do it for yourself, and what you want for yourself and your life, not because someone else is telling  you to. Unless of course it’s a doctor letting you know you’re on the verge of something catastrophic (which I totally hope is not the case). Then you really do need to. Do you get my point? Alright then, off my soap box.

I think I mentioned something before about drunken pedometers. Since I’ve shared with you about the pedometers, now to the alcohol. And I’m not talking rubbing, I mean the lovely adult beverage that I’ve been known to enjoy on occasion. Preferably red in a nice tall glass with a stem. yes, I love my vino and yes one glass a day can be a good thing. Unless it’s not. Wha? Play along with me, ok, I’m getting there.

Say you love to have a glass of wine with dinner regularly. Or a beer, or the occasional cocktail. That’s fine and all, except that it alters how your body uses calories. Pay attention people, this is your daily physiology lesson. Alcohol contains calories. Disappointing I know. We all knew that beer has calories, right? I mean why have ‘light’ beer if it didn’t? You can do a few things. The first is to limit your alcoholic beverage intake to only on the weekends and only have one drink. Your 5oz glass of red wine has between 120 and 150 calories. Who knew, right? A regular beer has in the neighborhood of 150 calories, and a light beer 90 to 110 calories. You have to tally that into your daily total intake to maintain calorie loss.

But wait! There’s more! More? Yes, more! Here’s the physiology part, the calories from alcohol cannot be stored as fat. Your body burns the calories from the alcohol preferentially. Meaning any calories still needed for your body’s processes will come from the alcohol, and any food you eat that is over the number needed, will be stored as fat. I had a boss a long time ago, his name was Sparky. I’m totally straight with you. Well, his name was really Jim, but he went by Sparky (don’t ask, don’t tell). When I started working there he was very thin and athletic. But over the course of time, Sparky became less, well, sparky. He was wining and dining and shmoozing the clients which frequently involved excessive amounts of alcohol (Stoli shots anyone?) which I saw with mine own eyes on multiple occasions. Good old Sparkster started dropping off in the exercise department and leaning more toward the life of the shmoozer and began to put on some excess poundage. Over the course of several years, he has become obese and developed diabetes. That happens when you don’t exercise, eat large meals and consume more alcohol than you should on a regular basis.  When your body’s daily caloric needs are met with a type of calories that cannot be stored bodily, everything else you eat beyond your needs, will become adipose tissue (fat).

For so many reasons, it’s not a good plan. If you want to have one, have that…ONE. If you can’t live without it on a daily basis, you need to do one of two things, seek counseling, or add it into your calorie count. My plan, I am going to limit it to one and only on Friday or Saturday. Or even none at all, that’s not a bad thing.

This is a day late, so I’ll share with you my day.

Breakfast: 1 C Kashi Go Lean Crunch w/1 C almond milk, 2 C coffee w/half n half & pure via

Lunch: Pei Wei teriyaki chicken w/brown rice (only half, other half is lunch today) and water

Snack: two clementine oranges and a fiber one 90 calorie bar

dinner: chicken/black bean/avocado wrap, 5 oz glass of red wine, and here’s the reason I saved up – brownie w/vanilla ice cream ( I didn’t eat all of it, I ate 3/4 of what she gave me and passed the rest to hubby.)

I didn’t check my pedometer, but my exercise consisted of grocery shopping, some housekeeping and general busy work.

Tell me, how was your day? Have you been journaling your food and exercise? Practicing your plate geometry? Keep me posted, k?

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I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…..

Well my friends, it’s happened. After two weeks of  cabin fever, I have come to the conclusion that eating things like chicken and dumplings, beef stew, pizza, and upside down German chocolate cake really aren’t the best way to continue fitting into my favorite jeans. Nope, it’s really not. it’s a great way to work up a shopping trip. But I don’t know a single person who wants to go shopping for that reason, including me! I used to be able to eat pretty much what I wanted, in moderation, and have no problems. I was at a stable weight for a long time. I’m not skinny, but I felt good about myself, and how I looked. Then it happened: I turned 40 and everything slowed down and started catching up with me. Boo.

Do you know how easy it is to grab a handful of pretzels and dunk them in the tub of frosting? Well, it’s apparently way too easy. So, once again, here I am. On a mission to shed my extra winter insulation before I am expected to put on shorts or *GASP* a swimsuit. Here’s what I”m doing, and I hope by putting this out there to my friends, it will help keep me accountable: I am keeping a log of everything I eat. I think if I’m actually keeping track it will be easier for me to feel bad about those pretzels with frosting! I am increasing my exercise, it’s much easier to go for a walk when the sidewalks are not covered in a sheet of ice or buried under 2 ft of snow, and the temperatures are warmer. Today was 71! I’ll take that every day of the year!  I am trying to be more conscious of what’s going in, how much is going in, and what I”m doing to need the calories.

Oh, and I”m cutting out my daily glass of vino. I know it’s not a ton of calories, but it affects the way your body burns calories or stores them. Your body cannot store the calories from alcohol (don’t ask me why, I can’t remember), but what happens is your body burns the calories from the alcohol first, and then stores whatever comes later that is not needed. And that is your physio lesson for the day. I hope you remember what we discussed, there will be a test at the end of this segment.

I will buy a new cookbook I saw that breaks down the calorie content of each recipe and that helps make keeping track easier.

Ok gang. Here we go. Wish me luck, you know it’s not easy and dammit, it was so much more fun putting that extra padding on my butt than it will be getting rid of it! I’ve got one day of about 1500 calories under my belt, but tomorrow will be a challenge, it will involve cooking dinner for the whole fam, not just my kiddos. I will think positively and visualize myself in my jeans.

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Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Oh man. This was so delicious and so easy, I had to share. It was perfect for this cold weather we’ve been having.  And I didn’t have to mess with it all day long, what could be better?

YUMMMMMM

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

1 lb stew meat

1 medium onion chopped

4 medium sized red potatoes, peeled and cubed

4 to 5 carrots peeled and sliced

1 bag (12oz) frozen mixed vegetables (corn, carrots, peas, green beans)

1 can tomato sauce (8 oz)

2 bay leaves

1/4 C dry red wine

5 tbsp beef broth

2 C water

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning

1. brown stew meat and onion in a skillet. Drain.

2. Parboil fresh potatoes and carrots until partially cooked. Drain.

3. microwave frozen vegetables according to pkg directions.

4. In 4 qt slow cooker, place all ingredients and stir to blend. Cook on high for 7 hrs, then turn to low until meat is tender and all veggies are cooked. Remove bay leaves. Serve with crusty bread or biscuits.

Wanna bite? Come on over!

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