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Showing posts from September, 2010

My New Besties

They say that exercise is often easier when you do it with friends.  Well, since I began this regimen I've had the constant company of two new riding partners: disappointment and pain.

The first one shows up bright and early every morning when I get on the scale.  In spite of my seemingly endless hours on the treadmill over the past three weeks, the numbers are agonizingly slow to change.  And while I am well aware that the daily weighings are only meant as reinforcement of my goal, I can't help but feel a bit downtrodden when I come face to face with the snail's pace of my progress (which, on some days, is measured in negative numbers).

My other new buddy is with me day and night, distracting me from work and tormenting me in my sleep. Every joint in my body feels like it's filled with broken glass.  My muscles throb and spasm.  My body doesn't like exercise, it wants to remain still and sofa-bound, and the ongoing assault is being met with angry and persistent p…

Dinner : Shrimp and Summer Vegetable Stew

In a large non-stick pan over medium heat, sautee some minced garlic in a bit of olive oil, add juice of one lemon and cook for about a minute.  Add a package of frozen corn kernels, a diced red pepper and three small zucchini, diced.  Season with salt and pepper, and stir in a couple handfuls of minced basil.  Cover and cook until vegetables begin to soften.  Mix in about a pound of fresh jumbo shrimp (shelled and cleaned).  Cover and simmer until shrimp is cooked through.

Serve with some crusty bread to soak up the juices.

Dinner : Turkey Scallopini with Caprese Salad

For the salad, combine halved (or quartered, depending on the size) cherry tomatoes, diced fresh mozzarella and minced fresh basil in a large bowl with a dressing of olive oil, salt and pepper.  Allow to sit for 10 or 15 minutes before serving, so that the flavours can combine.

For the scallopini, season thin-sliced turkey cutlets with salt and pepper, dust with flour and cook in a couple of teaspoons of olive oil, in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.  They will take about 2 minutes on each side.  Remove the turkey from the pan and add a small handful of capers, a few tablespoons of red wine vinegar, a handful of chopped fresh parsley and a couple tablespoons of butter.  When the butter is fully melted, pour the sauce over the turkey to serve.

I forgot to add the parsley to the sauce before I took the picture.

After the Storm

I headed to Prospect Park today for the first time since last weekend, partly to break up the gym monotony, and partly to survey the damage wrought by the tornado (yikes!) that touched down in my neighbourhood two days ago.  The cleanup efforts were in full swing, and the roadway was entirely clear, but off the roads,  there was still evidence of heavy damage, jagged tree stumps and torn branches among the grass and shrubbery.

Towards the end of my walk came the most heartbreaking scene of all, this massive tree, torn up at the roots.  I was one of the many who stopped in their tracks at the sight of this fallen giant, in awe of the destruction and havoc that seemingly came out of nowhere.  I've never considered myself to be the tree-hugging type, but I truly felt for this one.  Once the majestic king of the hill, and now a hulking mass of debris.  Talk about a dose of perspective!

and by the way
Today's magic number : 60.6 lbs

Magic Number

So I weighed myself this morning (I've decided I'm going to do it every day, if I can) and I'm not happy.  Mind you, it would be completely irrational of me to expect any weight-loss at all, since I was sidelined for most of last week with a nasty cold. But I was kind of hoping against hope, and feeling that just wanting it bad enough would be enough to make it so.  Okay, that is completely irrational, but I never claimed to be the embodiment of logic.

I was also debating whether or not I should include my weight in my 'shape up' posts. I honestly don't think I can, because the number scares me, shames me, and angers me all at once. Even as I type this, I have to bite my lip to keep from screaming. So instead, I will just state how far I have yet to go. After all, it's more important that I focus on where I want to be, rather than where I am. Because where I am is not a good place at all.

So what's the magic number today? 63.4lbs

Dinner : Chicken and Vegetable Soup

By popular demand (okay so two people asked for the recipe), here's how last night's soup came together.

In a large pot over medium heat, sautee a large onion (chopped) in a tablespoon of oil, add a couple handfuls of chopped carrots and chopped green pepper.  Sprinkle in some chopped fresh thyme.  Add two whole chicken legs - leg and thigh portion with skin removed, salt and pepper. Pour in 4 cups of chicken broth and any additional water needed to cover the chicken. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, until chicken is tender (about 1/2 hour).

Remove the chicken from the pot and shred the meat with a fork. Return the meat to the pot and discard the bones. Add a package of frozen corn kernels, a package of frozen sliced okra, one chopped zucchini and one chopped yellow squash. Simmer until the veggies are tender.

Dinner : Whole Wheat Pasta with White Beans, Zucchini and Yellow Squash

Add whole wheat pasta to boiling salted water and cook according to package instructions.  While pasta is cooking, sautee a few minced cloves of garlic in some olive oil, add a sliced zucchini and a sliced yellow squash and the zest of a lemon.  When the vegetables begin to soften, add 1/2 small can of white beans (rinsed and drained).  Puree the other 1/2 can of rinsed beans with the juice of the lemon, a few leaves of basil, olive oil and water to a creamy consistency.

Add the puree to the vegetables, season with salt and pepper and cook until heated through.

Toss with cooked pasta and top with grated parmesan cheese.

Dinner : Skirt Steak with Chimichurri Sauce, Twice-Cooked Potatoes and Bocconcini

Chimichurri sauce : combine the following in a food processor -
4 large garlic cloves
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
3/4 teaspoon salt

I suggest you play with the proportions until you achieve a taste you like. The mixture should be spicy and salty with a bit of tang.

Marinate flank steak in a few tablespoons of the sauce for about 30 minutes.  While the steak is marinating, halve some small waxy potatoes and place in a pan with cold water to cover.  Add a liberal amount of salt, bring to a boil and simmer until potatoes are just tender.  Remove from water and immediately toss with a tiny bit of olive oil then place in a medium-hot grill pan for about 3 minutes (so that grill marks appear and cut surfaces become slightly crispy).  Keep warm until ready to serve.

Cook flank steaks in a medium hot grill pan for about 3 to 4 minutes on each side, depending on…

Dinner : Pork Chops and Roasted Peach Salad

Thin-sliced pork chops marinated in a pureed mixture of peach, red onion, garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil for about an hour.  The marinade was then scraped off and discarded, and the pork chops seared over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes on each side.

Sliced peaches and red onion tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper and sauteed over medium-high heat until carmelized to your liking.  While still hot, toss with crumbled blue cheese and place atop a bed of arugula.  Sprinkle with chopped pecans.  I didn't use any additional dressing, but if you choose to, I recommend keeping it as simple as possible, since the dish already has a few strong flavours.

I used a non-stick pan, and no additional oil for cooking.

Cruel and Unusual

I was awash in a sea of sweat, my face was beet-red and swollen, and my breath came in ragged, high pitched, wheezing spurts. My body burned from head to toe and my feet and legs were in spasm with painful cramps. You ask what kind of horrific torture would leave me in such a state - I can answer with a single word:


The Best Laid Plans

Today I decided to get back on the horse. Well, actually I decided a long time ago, but I've only just been able to work up the will-power to get back into an exercise routine.  And being no stranger to falling off said horse (usually very early on in the race) I took the necessary precautions to be sure I would have no excuses: lots of hydration during the day, filling but nutritious meals and snacks, gear all laid out in a neat little pile so that I wouldn't spend a half-hour turning my closet upside down looking for something to wear.

But you know how the saying goes, the best laid plans of mice and men blah, blah, blah.

Halfway through my well-planned day, an annoying stomach bug decided to stop by for a visit.  I didn't have a plan for this, and the lesser me would have abandoned all hope of a workout, in favour of an evening spent on a comfy sofa.  But somewhere along the way, the lesser me had lost her voice, and the me that is fighting for her health, her sanity a…

The Kiddies Bring the Bling!

Today I dragged my sweetie out of bed at the crack of noon so that we could catch the last few hours of the Brooklyn Children's Carnival.  My struggle was greatly rewarded, since the kids seem to have stepped up their game quite a bit.  We were treated to band after band of wonderfully costumed children, some of them decked out in enough bling and feathers to easily rival their adult counterparts.

Sadly, I neglected to charge my camera battery, so I was only able to get a few shots before the device gave up the ghost. I hope you enjoy them!

The Lurker

I was going to start by announcing that I am back.  But the truth is, I never really went away.  I've been hanging about, haunting my own blog, mulling over posts-in-progress that hang in limbo, waiting to be born, or to be put out of their misery.

I think I'd rather be saddled with a case of writer's block, instead of being in this position of having so much to say that I don't know where to start, and once I get going, not knowing how to finish.

I suppose sharing these thoughts is a first step.  Let's see if other steps will follow.