I hate being one of those people…

…you know, the kind that talks and talks (or writes and writes) about losing weight, but never seems to make any notable progress.  Or bloggers who disappear for weeks or months at a time due to “falling off the wagon” and not wanting to admit it to the blogging world.  Yet here we are.

I’ve only done one post in the last six or seven weeks, and it wasn’t even about losing weight.  That’s because I haven’t lost any more weight, in fact re-gaining several pounds, and I hate to admit to the world that I’ve faltered yet again.  But I refuse to say that I’ve failed, because I haven’t given up on myself and I do still see some positive results from my previous efforts.

First of all, I am currently at 268 pounds, so I am still 11 pounds less than my all-time high, and one pound less than when I started this blog.  So that’s something, anyway.

Secondly, although I did not get nearly enough exercise in the last six weeks, I did continue to get some exercise, and even completed a 5K race on May 17th.

Also, I did not return to my old bad habit of candy binges.   I had very little candy during this hiatus from blogging.  Candy has always been a HUGE problem for me, so I am really proud that I did not return to that old nasty habit of buying a pile of candy bars and sneak-eating them.

The worst bad habits that I’ve been allowing to creep back in recently, were eating way too much fast food, and snacking on unhealthy junk such as pastries or chips.  Also, I often eat just too darn much food, stuffing myself instead of stopping when I’m satisfied.  Over the last few days, I have been making a concerted effort to get back on track.  I’ve eaten most meals at home and I’ve avoided pastries and chips, opting more often for fruit.  There is a lot of room for improvement, but it is a start.  Or more accurately, a re-start.  A mulligan, if you will.

So, now that I’m back, what’s up for June?  Well, I need to re-establish some of the positive habits I was working on, before I do anything else.  So these are my June goals:

  • Walk daily.  My minimum will be ten minutes per day, although I will usually do a mile (takes me about 20 minutes) or more.
  • Eat most meals at home.  I will usually stick to the pattern of a sandwich and veggies for lunch, and meat and veggies for supper.
  • Choose healthy snacks.  Keep fresh fruit and raw vegetables on hand at all times.  Take my own healthy snacks along when I travel.
  • Watch my portion sizes.  Don’t eat until I am stuffed.  Wait for a bit before getting seconds to see if I am actually hungry.

That’s it for this month.  Just getting back to a whole lot of common sense.  Back to the basics.  Back on track and taking one tiny step at a time.

Liebster Award! YAY!

liebster-award

I am excited to report that I have been nominated for the Liebster Award!  TWICE!  Thank you so much to Lori from Out of Hiding and Cara from Unbearable Weight for including me in this fun way of calling attention to small bloggers with less than 200 subscribers or followers.

The rules were slightly different for each nomination, so I am combining them to make sure I’ve covered all of the bases.  Here are the basic rules:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and include a link back to their blog.
  2. List 11 random facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the 11 questions given to you by your nominator.
  4. Choose 11 bloggers with 200 or less followers to nominate and include links to their blogs.
  5. Create 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate.
  6. Go to each bloggers page and let them know you have nominated them.

11 Random Facts About Elaine

  1. I have five pets:  three beagles and two cats, all adopted from rescue shelters.
  2. My husband and I eloped to Las Vegas 21 years ago.
  3. I’m crazy about tile floors, but I don’t have any in my house.
  4. I have ADD.
  5. I had two ponies when I was a kid, Princess and King.
  6. I love those new McWraps at McDonalds.
  7. I love to play board games, but my husband hates them, so I rarely get to play.
  8. I’m a prepper.  But no, I do not think the world is about to end.
  9. I used to do TV ads for the local Humane Society shelter.
  10. I hate shopping of all kinds.  It is tedious and time-consuming.
  11. I hate winter, and this past one was the Longest Winter EVER.  Here is proof:
May 14th and there is still a HUGE pile of snow in the Sam's Club parking lot.  It's at least 10-12 feet high, which is impressive considering it was in the 90's on the 13th and in the 80's when I took the picture.

May 14th and there is still a HUGE pile of snow in the Sam’s Club parking lot. It’s at least 10-12 feet high, which is impressive considering it was in the 90’s on the 13th and in the 80’s when I took the picture.

Nuts, right?

Now I will answer the questions posed by Lori from Out of Hiding.

11 Questions from Lori

  1. What do you most like about yourself?  I’m reasonably intelligent.
  2. What do you most dislike about yourself?  I have difficulty sticking with a task through to completion, including losing weight.
  3. Have you ever been in love?  Yes, with my husband of 21 years.
  4. Do you want to have children; why?  We don’t have any children, and at 47 I’m getting a little too old.
  5. Why did you start your blog?  I enjoy writing, want to lose weight and feel a compelling need to occasionally get things off my chest.  I find that writing is therapeutic.  It helps me to organize my thoughts and I usually feel more motivated after writing.
  6. If you could live in any other country, what would it be; why?  Maybe Belize or Costa Rica, or even the Dominican Republic.  I yearn for the tropical weather and I could work on improving my weak Spanish speaking skills.
  7. Who is your favourite person; why?  My husband is my favorite person because he is my best friend, business partner and confidante.  He makes me laugh and actually laughs at the silly things that I say.
  8. If being honest with someone would automatically hurt, would you still do it?  I pride myself on honesty and integrity, but also on being conscientious of others.  Honesty is my default, but never “unnecessary honesty” such as expressing disapproval or giving someone advice “for their own good.”  For example, if a friend pointed out that I have gained weight and I need to change my diet and get more exercise, I would consider that unnecessary honesty.  Although the words they say would be honest, it would only serve to make me feel hurt, embarrassed and angry.  If I am directly asked something, I am always honest, but employ maximum diplomacy and compassion.
  9. What is one thing guaranteed to make you smile from within?  Cute animal pictures…

    AAaaawwwwwww!

    AAaaawwwwwww!

  10. If you could choose to be someone else, would you?  No.  I actually really like being me.  There’s just too much of me right now.
  11. Are you comfortable with silence?  Yes, I love it.  Although my husband might disagree, since I tend to be an incessant talker at times.  When I am alone, I just relish peace and quiet.  I think it is because I grew up in the country where there was all the peace and quiet that one could ever want.

I officially nominate the following 11 Bloggers for the Liebster Award!

Ali’s Kitchen

321Pounds

Rants and Raves of a Dieting Waitress

Weighting for 50

Damn girl, that’s a lot of fattitude

Gonna Start Tomorrow

Lose It Big

Learning to Love

Fat Fairy’s Weight Loss Adventure

365 Days to Victory!  All of Me Half the Weight!

Sweatfairyblog

11 Questions for the Nominees:

  1. What is your favorite vegetable and how do you like it cooked/prepared?
  2. What have you done today that you are proud of?
  3. Do you prefer to exercise alone or with a partner or group?  Why?
  4. What kind of house, condo, etc. would be your ideal home?
  5. What is your favorite concert that you have attended?
  6. What kind of profession do you work in? (…or most recently worked in?)
  7. Do you have any pets?  If so, what are they?
  8. What are you grateful for?
  9. What is the weirdest food you have ever eaten?  Would you eat it again?
  10. Would you prefer hiking or biking?  Why?
  11. What has been your most difficult habit to give up or change?

Thanks for reading and/or participating!

~Elaine

 

Family and a blizzard come to town.

I haven’t weighed myself this week yet.  I usually do that on Mondays, but things have been a little out of whack for me the last few days, and it just dawned on me that I haven’t done it.

Last week went quite well until the weekend, then all my healthy new habits and good intentions went out the window when my family came to town on Saturday.  That was immediately followed by a blizzard on Sunday with a foot of snow, which kept my house guests here until Monday afternoon.  I love my family dearly, but I’m just going to say it…

MY FAMILY IS A BAD INFLUENCE ON ME.

Okay, it is really my own issue with controlling my own behavior, health-wise, when I’m around them.  I’ve really got no-one to blame but myself,  but I’m finding that old habits are hard to break.  Whenever my family gets together, we eat most meals out at restaurants, often at buffets.  When she stays at my house, my Mom usually either brings food or volunteers to help pick up a few grocery items for breakfast and/or snacks, and it usually includes plenty of pastries, cookies, or other goodies.  Additionally, visits with my family throw my regular schedule off, and I often forget about exercising.

In the future, when I visit relatives or they visit me, I’m going to have to do some serious strategizing in advance.  If I can work in some healthier food choices and some physical activity, it will be better for all of us, since we are all overweight.  Well, my husband and brother-in-law are slim, but everyone else has more than a little extra padding.

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This picture of my family is from April of 2010. We have all put on weight since this was taken. That’s me in the purple shirt.

Well, I’m struggling to get back on the horse this week.  Oh my gosh, do I ever yearn for summer so I can walk outside regularly in pleasant weather.  I hate winter.  HATE IT.  Seriously…hate…it.  It is a mess outside right now.  We usually have very little if any snow on the ground at this time of year.  The picture above is from April of 2010 and it shows pretty typical spring weather.  Now here is this year…

Our back yard, April 16, 2013.

Our back yard, April 16, 2013.

Front yard view from the front steps, April 16, 2013.

View from the front steps, April 16, 2013.

Our front yard, April 16, 2013.

Our front yard, April 16, 2013.

It has been mostly in the 20’s and 30’s, which would be considered fantastic in January, but it’s dreadful for April.  This weekend it is supposed to creep into the low 40’s, but that is after another snow storm expected tomorrow.  We won’t see no-jacket-required weather for weeks yet.  The local sidewalks and walking trails are all full of snow, slush, mud and ankle-deep water, so for now, I’ll keep walking indoors.

I honestly dread getting on the scale after the last few days, but I’m going to do it tomorrow, regardless.   Or at least by the next day.  Or someday soon.  Very, very soon.

Why I Exercise EVERY Day

I was anxious to step on the scale this morning, to see if I had finally made any progress.  My eyes almost popped out of my head when I saw 261, a four pound loss for the week!  I weighed myself three times, just to make sure.  That’s 18 pounds down from my top weight!  YES!  Finally!  Some notable progress!

I definitely made better food choices this past week.  Not perfect, but good overall.  My April strategy of having a standard lunch plan is working out well so far.  The only area that I feel like I really fell short is in my exercise.  I only exercised five times in the last seven days, for 20 to 30 minutes of walking each time.  While I’m proud of myself for getting as much exercise as I did, I can’t help but be disappointed that I didn’t do something every day, because that is what I have promised myself and committed myself to doing.

Why every day, you ask?  There are a couple reasons, but first let me say that I’m not talking about a hardcore, exhausting, sweat-drenched workout each day.  I’m still in the very earliest stages of improving my fitness, so that just wouldn’t be realistic for me, no matter what they say on The Biggest Loser.  If I tried to do that, I wouldn’t have lasted a week and I’d have quit.  I’ve simply committed myself to a minimum of five minutes of intentional physical activity every single day, and here’s why:

  1. To establish the HABIT of exercise in my life.  I have been sedentary for so long, it is difficult just to remember to do something, and not habitually sit on my butt all day long.  Making exercise a regular part of my day is something that I’ll probably struggle with for a while yet.
  2. To change my SELF-PERCEPTION and start seeing myself as an active person.  I haven’t really considered myself an active person since probably high school.  Even during the brief stints of regular exercise in my past, I’ve thought of myself as a lazy, sedentary person who was “trying” to get some exercise.  I guess I viewed it as bucking nature, fighting against my natural state of sloth.  Well that’s not going to work for me anymore.  I don’t want to be that passive person any longer, and becoming an active woman who lives life to the fullest begins with me changing my habitual daily actions so that they match the image in my head of the person I want to be, until it is the person that I am.

This may not work for everyone, but it is working for me at this point in my life.  Maybe when I have made considerably more progress and I am certain of the fact that “yes…I really am an active woman who lives her life to the fullest,” then I won’t feel like taking a day off is somehow cheating, or at least putting me in danger of backsliding with my self-image, my habits, and eventually my weight.

Now I don’t beat myself up for missing a day, but let’s just say it puts up a red flag for me.  I pat myself on the back for what I have accomplished, but I look at missed days as something like weeds in my garden.  I must recognize them and do something about it ASAP.  I can’t just ignore them or they will take over the garden.  This is still early in a very long journey for me, and it is just too easy to backslide.

I am basically trying to change who I am, and I don’t mean who or what I am at this moment, I mean who I am.  Let me further explain.

Unlike English, Spanish has two different verbs that mean “to be” (is/am/are).  They are “ser” and “estar” and they each have different connotations.  I couldn’t adequately explain them here if I tried, but ultra-simplified, “ser” would be used to describe someone’s permanent or intrinsic traits, and “estar” would be used to talk about their current state.  You can use either verb to describe someone as happy, for example, but using “estar” would mean that they are feeling or appear to be happy right now, and using “ser” would mean that they are a happy, upbeat kind of person.  No matter which verb you used, the English translation would be exactly the same, but the connotation, the real meaning would be lost.

So my point is, I am trying to change the intrinsic, real me.  Sure, I can exercise today and say “Look at me, I’m an active person!” but this would be the “estar” version: “Estoy una persona activa.”  Momentary, temporary, not who I really am.  I want to be the “ser” version of “Soy una persona activa.”  It’s what I am intrinsically, it’s who I am every day of my life.  I’m not there yet.  I could say it, but I’m not ready to believe it.  I have to prove it to myself first…I have to walk the talk, so to speak.  And this is why I need to be active each and every day.

April: Challenging Myself

March was kind of “blah” for me.  I continued pretty well with my newly acquired February habits of avoiding candy and exercising daily, but the March habits that I was shooting for just didn’t stick.  I was very inconsistent on getting to bed by 1:00 a.m. each night, I didn’t do very well at all with eating fruit each day for a snack, and meal planning was hit and miss.

My results weren’t very good either.  I regained two pounds over the Easter holiday, which means that I was back up to 265 as of April 2nd.  I’m about where I was in late February, so I don’t feel like March was very productive at all.

I learned several things from my March mayhem:

  1. I love fruit and really do want to do a better job of incorporating it into my diet, so I will continue to work on making it a habit to eat fruit as a daily snack.  However, it would be very helpful to actually buy fruit at the grocery store and have it in the house and available to eat when I want a snack!
  2. It is a lot harder to stick to a “bedtime” for myself than I thought it would be.  When I get enough sleep, I’m much more productive, energetic, and clear-thinking, so I need to make better sleep habits a priority.  I make better food choices and squeeze in more physical activity when I’m not sleepy and yawning all day.
  3. Planning ahead for meals and snacks is not really my forte.  I would do pretty well planning meals for a couple days, then I would get busy (or sometimes just lazy) and forget to plan ahead, which often meant impulsive choices that often weren’t very healthy.

I’ve decided to try a new tactic for planning my meals in the future.  What has worked better for me after some experimenting, is to keep a few standard ingredients on hand at all times, and have a “habitual lunch” consisting of one of three or four options.   Then I can choose whatever I’m in the mood for within those parameters, and still count on it being a healthy lunch.  This is how I’ve been operating for breakfast since last spring or summer, and it has worked very well for me, so I’m going to expand this method to lunch for now, and eventually to supper as well. I’ve been doing it that way for about a week or so, and it seems to work pretty well.  I’ve written in more detail about this in my last post.

April

Well, it is a new month now, and spring will eventually come to Minnesota this year.  More snow is predicted off and on over the next few days, unfortunately.  I am just dying to get some beautiful weather and get outside to walk.  I have new tennis shoes that I’ve had for almost two weeks and I haven’t even worn them yet because it has been so sloppy and messy outside.  On Monday I signed up for a 5K that takes place on May 17th, and I am really anxious to get outside and start training.

My goal for this month (and every month) is to lose five pounds, so I’m shooting for 260 pounds by the end of the month.  My birthday is also next month, and I would LOVE to see something in the 250’s by then.  To reach these goals, I have chosen to acquire the following habits this month:

  • eliminate deep fried food from my diet
  • stick to my “standard lunch” plan of having a sandwich with a side of veggies each day

I will also continue my other previous habits.  My February habits are fairly well installed, so to speak, but I still find myself wavering at times, and my March habits are not even close to being actual habits yet, so here are the previous “habit-goals” that I am still working on every day:

  • quit eating massive amounts of candy (none at all is preferred)
  • get at least five minutes of  intentional physical activity every day (usually more)
  • be in bed by 1:00 a.m. every night
  • have fruit for at least one snack each day

Regardless of what the scale says each week, I will continue to strive for and learn to live a healthy lifestyle, one baby step at a time, because I am DEDICATED FOR LIFE.  This is my mantra.

~Elaine

Still Going In The Right Direction…Generally Speaking.

I am pleased that I lost another pound this week, so I’m currently at 263.  Maybe it would be more accurate to say that I am relieved that I lost another pound, because my eating still wasn’t where I would like it to be.  I ate out several times, and I had a couple of days where I was just famished all afternoon at work and I snacked too much as a result.  I’m not sure if it was just mental boredom or if it is related to the iron pills that I started taking this past week, but I kind of think it was just all in my head.

Overall my eating habits are better than they used to be, but I have a long ways to go and lots of room for improvement.  I still haven’t been very good at choosing fruit for a snack each day, so that is something I will keep working on.  I have a good breakfast habit established, however.  My breakfast each day consists of one of the two following choices:

IMG_0050

1)  a banana and a Fiber One bar, or

IMG_0051

2)  my “Breakfast Crunch” consisting of one sliced up banana, 1/3 cup of crunchy vanilla almond granola, and one serving of yogurt.  I use light yogurt, usually Dannon in either peach or strawberry, but one could certainly use Greek yogurt instead.

This breakfast habit has worked really well for me.  I used to be very inconsistent with breakfast, some days having cereal, sometimes nothing, and sometimes (way too often) stopping for a fast food breakfast on the way to work.  Eventually I want to start having scrambled eggs with veggies on some days for breakfast, and make that another one of my standing breakfast choices, but I have only done that a couple times so far.

What I want to do, long term, is have a healthy lunch habit the same way it works for me for breakfast.  I want to make having either soup or a sandwich (including wraps, pitas, etc.) with a small salad or veggie on the side as my standard lunch.  Here is an example, from my “Is Chicken Boring?” post:

lunch

This is a delicious shredded chicken ranch wrap with lettuce and onion and some baby carrots on the side.  Yummy!

This lunch plan might sound limiting, but I have at least 15 kinds of soup in my pantry, and I can think of at least a dozen favorite sandwiches:

  • ham sandwich
  • turkey sandwich
  • chicken salad sandwich
  • shredded chicken wrap (as pictured above)
  • chicken fajitas
  • grilled cheese sandwich
  • egg salad sandwich
  • crab salad pita
  • barbecued pork sandwich
  • barbecued chicken sandwich
  • BLT
  • fried egg and cheese on toast
  • hamburger
  • hot dog
  • sloppy joe

These are just a few ideas, and obviously some are much healthier than others.  I will probably vary between three or four of the healthier choices most of the time, but it’s nice to have lots of options.

I have been eating some of these things for lunch on some days, but there are too may days that I find myself without the proper ingredients on hand or just poor planning, and I end up eating out or making a less than desirable choice, like a frozen pizza.  Being always prepared with a consistent daily lunch plan will be one of my goals during the month of April.  Meanwhile, I’m still trying to decide what to have for lunch today, as I’m lacking the proper groceries once again.  [sigh]

Back On Track This Week

I am back down by one pound this week, to 264.  It isn’t where I would like to be…I had hoped to make more progress by now this month.  I haven’t been very good at keeping my March commitments, either.  I have been so-so with meal planning, I’ve been very sporadic about choosing fruit as a snack, and I have been very inconsistent about getting to bed by 1:00 a.m. each night.

There are two weeks left in this month, so I am redoubling my efforts for these final two weeks in order to reach my March goal of losing 5 pounds.  I am determined to see 259 by April 1st.  I have been staying strong with regular exercise and avoiding candy, but I need to work harder on getting proper sleep, choosing fruit for a snack, and especially with meal planning.  I think the problem is that I haven’t been writing down my planned meals and snacks, so I’ve found it too easy to vary from the plan, or just plain forget about planning at all some days.

There’s just one thing I want to add.  No matter how much I screw up, or how difficult it gets some days or weeks (or months), I am DEDICATED FOR LIFE to learning and living a healthy lifestyle, one baby step at a time.

~Elaine

Weekly Weigh In and My Medical Check-up

I was very disappointed to start this week off with a gain — the first since I began this journey five weeks earlier.  I picked up three pounds since the week before, and I’ve been contemplating the reasons.  They are:

  1. too much snacking
  2. meals that were too large
  3. ate out several times
  4. tummy troubles

These factors and not-so-smart choices on my part combined to give me a gain this past week.  I am determined not to be discouraged, however, and I am reminding myself of all that I did right last week.  For example, I continued my exercise commitment and averaged 30 minutes of walking per day.  I actually have not missed a day since I started on February 5th!  This is by far the longest that I have ever stuck to an exercise plan, and I’m darn proud!

This week I am making a strong effort to do better with my eating.  My stomach is still bothering me off and on (nothing serious…my doctor assures me that I’m just getting to “that age” where my hormones will sometimes mess with my system a little bit), but on the bright side, it has reduced my appetite.  The last thing I want to do when I have a stomach ache is to eat a large meal.  I have cut down on the snacks so far as well, even skipping the free cookies at the bank that I indulged in too frequently last week.

Busy Schedule

Wednesday afternoon I had my annual check-up, and it went well.  I was pleased to see that there have already been some positive changes since my last check-up about 18 months ago.  My triglycerides are the lowest they have ever been, due to cutting out the candy that I used to scarf down with abandon.  I think the regular exercise is starting to have a positive effect on my blood pressure, which showed improvement as well.  The only hiccup was that my iron was a little low, so I will have to take iron pills for the next month or two until the numbers are back up were they need to be.

Overall, the exam went very well and my doctor was very pleased that I’ve been making some positive changes.  He is the kind of doctor who will not hold back from suggesting positive lifestyle changes like regular exercise and proper diet, but he is very kind and has a great sense of humor, which always makes it a pleasure to deal with him.  He makes you feel like he cares and wants to help, not that he is criticizing or demeaning in any way.

The problem

My doctor has been diplomatically recommending changes for years now, and each year I’ve been clearly on a downhill slide since the year before, so it was nice to be able reverse that record this year.  Since I’ll be going back for iron re-checks in the coming months, he also wants me to get my blood pressure and weight re-checked, and I’m looking forward to showing progress and proving that I am serious about getting healthy and permanently changing my lifestyle.

~Elaine

Is Chicken Boring? Heck, NO!

I love chicken, and I eat it often!  Before I go any further, let me just say that this post is inspired by Lisa’s recent post at her blog 110 Pounds and Counting.  Check it out when you get a chance.  Just be sure to come back here for tasty chicken ideas!

Since I’ve gotten serious about shedding poundage over the last few weeks, I’ve been eating a LOT of chicken, and I haven’t been bored at all.  Chicken thighs have always been my favorite…I’ve always preferred dark meat.  But ironically, when I cook chicken at home, I almost always cook the boneless skinless chicken breasts, mostly for the convenience.  I buy big bags of the frozen breasts pieces whenever they are on sale, and I cook up about 8 to 12 pieces or so at a time so we will have plenty of leftovers.  It is just me and my husband, so that will last us several days, and that’s when it gets interesting!  But first things first…

Cooking Chicken In Bulk

When I cook chicken in bulk, I do it one of two ways.  Sometimes I just bake them, straight from frozen.  I bake them at about 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 45 minutes.  I line a 9 by 13 pan with tin foil, spray it with cooking spray, then spread out the chicken pieces in a single layer.  Next I season them.  I don’t really have a recipe for that…I just try different things and see what we like.  I haven’t really settled on a favorite flavor combo yet, so I would just recommend experimenting to see what you like.  Next I add a cup or two of liquid to the bottom of the pan, usually just water or chicken broth, then cover and bake.  The liquid seems to keep the chicken more moist.  Last time I tried using apple cider vinegar after seeing it recommended in a YouTube video, but we weren’t very impressed.  It was just a little too “vinegary” tasting, so I won’t use that again.  After 45 minutes, I take out the chicken and cut into a couple of the largest pieces to make sure they are cooked all the way through, and it’s usually just right.

The second method I use for cooking chicken in bulk, which is also my favorite method, is using a slow cooker.  I just put 10-12 pieces is the slow cooker, add some seasonings and liquid, and cook it for about 8-10 hours.  Last time I made this, I used one can of chicken broth and then about the same amount of water, and that turned out great.  If you prefer, you could use just chicken broth or just water.  I put in enough liquid so they aren’t quite covered, maybe three-fourths of the way to the top of the chicken pieces.  As far as seasoning, again just try different combos to see what you like.  I typically use some pepper, maybe some garlic salt or garlic powder, sometimes some paprika, and occasionally I cut up an onion and throw in there.  I am still experimenting, and learning as I go.

And Now For The Exciting Part!

When I first make a batch of chicken, we typically just have the chicken breasts “as is” for the first meal, along with a side of mixed veggies of some sort, or perhaps a rice and vegetable side dish.  With the leftover chicken pieces, sometimes I leave them whole, sometimes I cut them up, and sometimes I shred them.  From there I’ve made many different dishes for other meals and below are just a few of the things I’ve done in the last month.

 

lunch 3-6-13

Chicken and vegetable stir fry!  I had this for lunch on Wednesday, and it was so delicious!  I just sauteed some vegetables, added some cut-up leftover chicken, then stirred in some stir-fry sauce, which was made up of soy sauce, water, a little brown sugar, pepper, minced garlic, and cornstarch.  I think it only took maybe 10 to 15 minutes to make.

 

lunch

Shredded chicken ranch wrap!  This was made with the Flat Out low-carb herb flavored wrap.  I just piled on some shredded chicken, onion slices, ranch dressing, and lettuce.  Yummy!  You could add whatever veggies you like and have on hand to the wrap, or use whatever dressing you prefer.  Quick and delicious!

 

chicken casserole

Chicken, pasta & vegetable casserole!  We just had this for supper Wednesday night and I had leftovers for lunch on Thursday.  Tim finished the rest of it off before I even got home.  I wish I had a better picture of this one…it was taken when I pulled it out of the fridge in the morning to dish up some leftovers to take to work.  It is made up of 3 cut-up leftover chicken breasts, 8 ounces cooked and drained pasta (any type will work…this was rigatoni), half a bag of frozen mixed vegetables, 1 can cream of chicken soup, and 1 cup milk, some pepper, then some french-fried onions on top.  I just mixed the soup, milk and pepper together in a bowl, then added the cooked pasta, veggies and chicken and stirred it up.  I coated a baking dish with cooking spray and poured in the mixture, then covered it and baked it at 375 for a total of 55 minutes.  After 30 minutes, I stirred it, then at 50 minutes I uncovered it and added the french-fried onions for the last 5 minutes.  You could also use corn flakes for the topping, or you could skip the topping altogether.  It was an incredibly cheap and easy dish to make, and tasted awesome!  I think we figured that the whole dish cost only about $3.25 to make, since I got all of the ingredients on sale.  What can I say…I’m a cheapskate!

 

Schwan's veggie bowtie combo

Chicken, pasta & veggie toss!  This is super simple, and I used it for at least three meals in the last couple of weeks.  I didn’t take a picture of the actual meal, but the Schwan’s mini bow tie pasta and vegetable blend pictured above is what I use.  I just pour out about one or one and a half cups of this mixture into a microwave dish, then add one cut up leftover chicken breast and microwave it until it is hot!  I add a small amount of butter or olive oil, some garlic salt and some pepper, then I eat it up!  Mmm, Mmm, good!

Well that is all I have for pictures, but we do other things with the leftover chicken as well.  It is always delicious to add some of the leftover chicken to a garden salad.  A couple weeks ago I had a hot barbecue chicken sandwich with some of the leftover shredded chicken.  I love to make chicken fajitas with the leftover chicken as well…I just stir-fry up some peppers and onions (frozen or fresh, depending on the time of year), then add the chicken pieces and some fajita seasoning, and wrap it up in a tortilla.  Delicious!

I’m sure there are many other ways to use leftover chicken, but these are some of my favorites.  Cooking the chicken in bulk in advance makes meals so quick and easy during the week.  It has worked so well for me that I’ve taken to cooking in bulk more and more often.  I hope anyone who reads this finds some useful ideas, and please let me know your favorite ways to enjoy chicken, as leftovers or otherwise!  Does anyone cook anything else in bulk or in advance?  I’m always looking for more ideas, so spill ’em if you’ve got ’em!

Lost two more pounds!

Yep, that’s right!  I lost two more pounds this week, and I’m now at 262 pounds.  I can hardly believe that I’ve lost a total of 17 pounds since my all-time high of 279!  (7 since I started this blog on Feb. 4th)  I feel like I need to keep checking the math to make sure it is right!

This past week was a good one, with consistent exercise every day:  5 days I walked 30 minutes, one day I walked 20 minutes, and one day I did line dancing for 14 minutes.  I have not had any candy at all in the past week.

I’ve been hit and miss on being in bed by 1:00 a.m.  Two nights I made my goal, but one night was 1:30 and one night was 1:45, and it is 12:58 right now so I’ll probably be about 1:15 tonight.  But these are still an improvement from the 2-3:00 a.m. that has been the norm over the last couple years.

As far as the other March goals:  1) I’ve actually done quite well so far with planning meals in advance.  This had definitely improved the choices I’m making for my meals as well.  2) I’ve had fruit for a snack each day until today, when I was just so busy with work this afternoon that I forgot to have a snack, and then supper was filling enough that I’m just not hungry for anything, so I guess that’s okay.

Well,  I’d better get to bed now.  Good night!

~Elaine

(1:06 a.m.)