I Loaf You

As the day turned unseasonably and irritatingly rainy and cold last Sunday, (my calendar still says August but in Seattle, it is apparently October) it was clearly meat loaf weather. There are many comfort foods in the world, but none so quintessential for me as meat loaf, with sides of mashed potatoes and green beans. This meal embodies Sunday night dinner around the family dining table, talking about the week to come, and squirting ketchup, much to my Mother's chagrin. All the while anticipating The Muppet Show to come on after our baths. There is also something very satisfying about getting your hands in the bowl and mixing everything together. You have to be gentle, but thorough, much like we want our lovers to be, yes?

My Safeway recently had a buy one get one free sale on ground turkey. It was time to lighten up my Mom's classic recipe. This recipe is decidedly lower in fat and tastes really good! I used both pounds of turkey, so I could freeze some.

Sara's Mom's Lightened up Turkey Loaf

2 pounds ground turkey
16 oz frozen spinach, thawed
2 cups finely diced onions
4 cloves minced garlic
1 and 1/4 cups diced green peppers (or any other color you like)
3 eggs

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce (sodium, I know, but soooo good)
2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp seasoned salt
2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 - 1 cup bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a non-stick muffin tin with cooking spray or your favorite non-stick agent.
  1. In a large bowl, crumble the turkey.
  2. Squeeze dry your spinach. I like to wring mine in a clean dish towel - there's a lot of water in there that you don't want in your loaf! Break up the spinach with your hands (it will clump) and sprinkle over the turkey.
  3. Dump in the onions, garlic and green peppers
  4. Lightly beat the eggs, adding Worcestershire sauce, peppers, salt and thyme, pour egg mixture over all.
  5. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs over the whole mixture, and get in there and get dirty! Mix everything together with your hands, gently so as to not toughen the meat.
  6. Add more breadcrumbs if you don't think it will bind well. I can't think of a great way to describe this, but you just have to grab a handful, squeeze it, and see if it holds its shape.
  7. Now, if you've over breadcrumbed, add more Worcestershire, or you can add a little vegetable oil.
  8. Grab your greased muffin tin, and start grabbing balls-o-meat. Press them into the pan, mounding them tall a little bit, until you've filled the tin.
  9. Whatever you have left, shape into a little loaf, and place in a suitably sized baking dish.
  10. I prefer a browned loaf, but of course you can add the traditional tomato sauce or ketchup to cook on top.

Bake for 35 minutes, and check to see if it is browned, and the internal temp is 170 degrees. Your meaty muffins will most likely be done, but your full loaf may need some more time.

Allow your mini loaves to cool in the pan completely. Then fish them out, wrap in foil, and freeze them, for a meat loaf muffin any time. I've been weighing mine, and they come out to about 4 ounces apiece. A perfect portion, I think.

Steam some green beans, toss them with a little olive oil and roasted almonds, and mash up some taters, get your ketchup bottle ready, then dig in with someone you love, or just wait for The Muppet Show.


Note to self

When experimenting with reduced carbohydrate intake, do not use hand lotion that smells like sweet, buttery, yummy, forbidden lemon cookies. Oh la la! Not helping.


HYC Check In

This week's weigh-in brought to you by regret. Today the scale saw 226 even. No change from last week. I am grateful for no gain, but realize that I could have had a loss if I had avoided the salt-water taffy (thanks, SWF - it was so good!), ice cream and black licorice that was in my house. Sometimes I have candy-craving weeks, and that was this week. I was also feeling dejected and frustrated about the state of my weight. I wasn't consciously seeking out sugar as a way to console myself, but I was using want versus should to direct my food choices.

A group of ladies in my office are lately all fired up about Peter Walsh's It's All Too Much book on clearing the clutter from your home and life. He makes a point with one client's home that they had a play room for the kids that was full of kid's artwork, toys and clothes leaving no room for the kids to actually play in. The Mom was dismayed on how to part with any of it. He pointed out to her that she was placing more importance on storing old things rather than giving her kids a place to play. And I realize that over the past week, I was putting more importance on sugar than nutrition. It has been a long time since I have had a week where I ate sweets with abandon. So this week I am placing the emphasis on protein - UP, exercise - UP, journaling - UP. It's a shame that my journey is taking the trajectory of a roller coaster, but better to realize it rather than throw in the towel.

Here's to a great week of great choices - I'll meet you back here with a positive result in 7 days.


CTFLC - Day One

Cracking the Fat-Loss Code

Alright gentle readers, here's a synopsis of how to the CTFLC plan works.

1. Your body burns carbohydrates in food for energy first
2. Your body burns glycogen (built up in your muscles from carbohydrates) for energy second
3. Your body burns fat only as a last resort

The author then adds that your body only wants to survive, so it cares not about what size your jeans are. Thus, when you give it less calories, it adjusts the amount of energy it uses to keep things functioning. The 8 week plan is designed to shake up our metabolism and change our body's direction for energy - making it choose fat, and not carbs. There is also an emphasis on exercise to develop muscle, because as we all know, more muscle means you get to eat more! I mean, we burn more calories, and hopefully, more fat.

There are several cycles of eating, all regulating the amount of carbohydrates you take in. The first week of the plan is called Carb-Deplete. One must consume less than 20 grams of carbs per day. I read through a sample menu plan and noticed the absence of fruit, and limited vegetables. Of course, no added sugar or alcohol. This week is the only week that is super strict. The menu has no fruit, and only lettuce, cucumber and broccoli for veggies. Also, making a protein shake with Crystal Light. This turned me off. Being fiber free is not good for me.

It is clear that a good point is being made in that we need to take in more protein to build muscle, and that if you reduce your carbs, your body is going to have to find alternatives. But I'm trying to keep my fiber intake up - moving things along makes a difference on the scale. And fiber = carbohydrates. For this week, I'm compromising.

My usual breakfast for the past few months included:

1/2 cup yogurt
1/2 - 1 cup fruit
2/3 cup of Smart Bran cereal
Soy sausage
Coffee with half and half
This equaled 12 grams of protein and 35 grams of carbohydrates. And, I would be hungry 2.5-3 hours later. I do think that the cereal was a bit to blame, and the sugar in the yogurt.

So this week, here's what I’m eating.
1 crust less spinach quiche
Soy sausage
Coffee with half and half
Which started my day at 20 grams of protein and 12 grams of carbs. And, I went a full 3.5 hours before I got hungry.

I made the Barefoot Contessa Lentil recipe for lunch - because my friend the lentil offers protein and fiber! I added chicken breast too. And then I passed on the mashed potatoes at dinner.

Most important to me is the satisfaction level for whatever I am eating. If it tastes good, and I'm not walking around feeling hungry, I'm a happy girl. So, I won't be following the fat loss code dieting plan. However, today I finished my day with 111 grams of protein and 99 grams of carbs. I never felt starving - just that comfortable it is time to eat now hunger.

My dietitian suggested eating protein before a workout, and that I should get 95 grams or higher per day. I think I will focus on keeping my protein levels up, and giving myself a challenge in the exercise realm. But this was good perspective, all the same. I think it would work for someone who needs a kick start, and is willing to follow menu plans, and stick to them. The author does allow for some wiggle room after the first week, offering a list of acceptable substitution foods.

But for now, I gotta do it my way.



I have a confession. I have succumbed to a weight-loss self-help book. I know, I know. I am so anti-DIET. Low-carb, no-carb, low-fat, no white food, cabbage soup, or pre-packaged meals - anything that is guarantees success, but isn't sustainable in the real world, is bad news bears to me. I can't eat one way for 6 months and then go back to eating another way, because I am a slow learner, and will throw my restricted calories out the window to make room for the pizza. So far, I have been determined to do it my way. Eating what I want (and sometimes saying no, even when I want to say yes), exercising, and finding support online. BUT. Two years later, and I'm stuck. I'm strong, I'm fiber-licious, full of vitamins, but also stuck.

Crack the Fat-Loss Code is designed to break plateaus in 8 weeks. (Cracking the code? This just screams late night infomercial!) And look at that, I have 8 weeks on my hands! There are menu plans somewhere near the end. Until I get to that point in the book, I've been reading about how my body needs protein and fat and carbs to live and function, blah, blah, blah. I am the worst person to read a self-help book. I learn in an aural style much better - however I am determined to understand this program. I'm cracking the code! I'm going to lose fat, I just know it! There are testimonials every 10 pages (okay, I've only read like 20 pages - but still, that's 2 testimonials already!) So it must really work, right? I hope I have not just jumped the track into diet crazytown. I don't mean any disrespect, CTFLC, I'm just a big old cynical girl, who needs your help. I admit I do feel comfortable since there are menu plans that I can cook for myself. I did have the good sense to check it out from the library - so I can just turn right around and drop it back off if it turns out to be a bunch of hooey.

Also at the library? Cookbooks! One can check them out, commit a few good ones to memory, (never photocopy, of course) and then return it. Brilliant! I work 2 blocks from the biggest and most beautiful library in Seattle, and I never go there. Shameful! That's all about to change.

So - here goes nothing! A weekend of cooking big (or healthfully portioned, I mean) healthy meals, exercising and cracking the code.


HYC Check In

Grumbling and grousing I type this entry. Today the scale greeted me with 226 exactly. That is almost a pound, but no cigar - a .8 loss. Pbbtht! Last Friday, I was down to 224.6 - I guess I should have posted it then to celebrate it. Someday it will come back to me!

I'm tired of thinking, okay, seriously - you've got to do something about this. My eating is great - I am eating my beans and greens and fruits and doing it up right. However, my exercise is not challenging enough. That's got to be it. I am being rewarded with a full body sweat each time I visit the gym, but it must not be enough. This evening I incorporated some of my new "On Demand" exercise moves into my routine at the YMCA, and it felt good. I regret to inform myself that I will most likely need to add an extra day to my 4-day a week routine. But I will gladly go to get this extra weight moving off.

I hope everyone else had a stellar week!


Calf Pump

Finally! Summer has arrived in Seattle. It took so dang long to get here - and today is a glorious nearly 90 degrees. Too hot? Well perhaps, but we can't complain around here or we get buckets of rain like we did last weekend. My work out buddy and I did our Urban Work Out on Tuesday. Hefted up the hills, in which we had to instill the no talking rule because it was hard! A 40 minute circuit, including window shopping, it was lovely. Yesterday was warm, and my friend was working late, so I came home and walked the dog. The Ding's idea of a 47 minute walk involves 8 minutes of walking and 39 of sniffing, so I get a not so challenging work out. So I came home and checked out the fitness video options that are available with our cable package.

The Girls Next Door offer work outs - who knew? Although I am certain that these are viewed not for their instructional nature, but for private time with the remote, if you know what I mean.

I settled on the "Ultimate Fat Burning Workout" for here I was sure to see a legitimate exercise video. The video was done in a classic 80's-style aerobics video. One instructor, 4 girls behind her in color-coordinated outfits. Trying to do anything in time to a video is not easy for me and it brings back memories of playing Pole Position. Careening around the race track, crashing, starting up again and feeling confused. My experience was much the same. This video is improved in that the instructor gal at least announces the next move before showing it to you. Although I still found myself fumbling and saying "Calf-pump - what?" from time to time. So we're sweating and pumping and burning our fat. And here's the But. At one point when the instructor is reaching her hand weight over her head to reach to the other side, the camera zooms in on her side - positioning right between her sports bra and boy-short bottoms. For a long time. You can't even see the whole hand weight 80% of the time. Come on! How am I supposed to follow along if all I'm looking at are her perfect abs? So ridiculous. But, I finished, and then got up at 5:45 this morning and did it all over again, because I rock. And despite the glorification of her abs, I picked up some good moves to take back to the Y when it opens again on Monday. Wahoo!

In the feeling good department - the new receptionist told me today that I have awesome calves. I was like "Do you need to borrow money or something?" And she said that it was true, I walked by her desk in my skirt today and she noticed them. I didn't even think my calves rocked. I don't even really notice them. Surprising compliments are the best.


HYC Check In

This week starts with techno tragedy – the internets are not working at my house! My cell phone died, and the home phone was out for a day. I then became That Guy who had to go to the Sprint store, post haste. It is frustrating to feel sort of impotent when technology is failing me, how did that happen when I was the girl who resisted cell phones? Having no internet is not improving the plague of boring here in the Trisaratops Lounge, but our technicians are working as best as they can. Today's post is of the Secretive Blogging at Work variety. Sneaky!

My weight loss efforts were not unrewarded this week. Finally, a loss. 1.2 this week – which I have to admit I was secretly hoping that one week of dedicated effort would magically yield an 8 pound loss, but weird, that didn’t happen. I gave in to TOM temptation a bit, but exercised solidly. I went to the company baseball game, and ate a lot of peanuts and fruit, one sausage, no bun and skipped the booze. Free booze at that! How's that for dedication. This week’s challenge will be to exercise despite that my favorite YMCA location is closed for the its yearly maintenance week. Tonight my friend and I are going to try an Urban work out. Downtown Seattle is full of steep hills and stairs and should prove to be a kick in the tush that I need. We can do a little window shopping here, too. I don’t think anything there comes in size 16, but it shore is purty in there.

Keep on keeping on, everyone! This isn’t going to be easy, but it is worth it. I think I need to get this tattooed on my forehead.


HYC Check In

It is a sad thing when one finds one's own blog boring. Only posting once a week? Boring! Only wallowing in their failure to ramp up? Boring! So on to the boring news. My husband and I went away for the weekend to a beach cabin with some friends and had a rollicking good time. But we returned on Monday, and since Tuesday was my first day of work and I stumbled bleary-eyed into the bathroom, I didn't weigh myself, thinking it was Monday. Not that I'd like to see that number anyway, methinks.

My exercise was on target last week - and boy howdy, Pilates was very challenging since I hadn't been there for 2 weeks, which made me think that I need to do it more than once a week.

Goals for next week:
  • Prepare breakfasts and lunches this weekend
  • Journal
  • Portions, portions, portions
  • Create a new exercise routine that involves using my own body weight because believe you me, there's plenty to challenge myself with
  • Write more than one blog entry a week
  • Visit the challengers

Does anyone know if plyometrics are as painful as they look? They look both scary and effective to me. Maybe I'll introduce them to myself! Off to check in with everyone else!