Wednesday, November 26, 2014

{Weigh in Wednesday} Week 100

It’s Weigh In Wednesday … which means it’s time for another installment in my roller coaster ride of losing weight without following fad diets.  After 20 years of yo-yo dieting, I decided to focus on getting healthy the right way.  There are a lot of ups and downs, and it’s a painfully slow journey; but this isn’t only about the scale, it’s about real life.

WIW100_

Thoughts: 100 weeks.  I’m now into the triple digits for tracking my weight loss and health statistics.  I should be feeling great.  I’ve lost 25 pounds since I first started; and almost 5% body fat and 12.25 inches just this year.

But I’m just not feeling it.  When it comes time for working out, I feel a greater pull to get work done.  And when I’m often faced with the choice to eat something unhealthy…I am having a harder time saying no.  Perhaps it’s the darker days, or the stress of the holidays.  It could be that my team at work is getting smaller right when the workload is increasing.  It could also just be that I’ve been at this for 100 weeks, and I’m just plain tired of it.

How I am Winning this Week
: I did have one good run this week, and even though it was slower, I spent more time at a jogging pace overall.  That felt good.

Areas of improvement
: I’ve got to get this attitude straightened out.  Exercise needs to be priority during the holiday season.  When I do actually exercise regularly, I feel less stressed. Even if I’m not always making the right food choices, I need to focus on getting enough (or even extra) exercise.

Workout Log
:

Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
Sunday
Monday
Tuesday
Workouts LBD Days Long Jog

How I feel: Blah.  Are we there yet?

I’ll be taking a break from Weigh in Wednesday next week.
Do you ever give yourselves breaks from trying to stay healthy?

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

{Recipes} Beer-Based Syrup

What would you say if I told you there was a way to serve a delicious breakfast to your holiday guests with hardly any effort on your part?  A breakfast as simple as popping store-bought waffles or pancakes in the toaster and topping it with a creative and flavorful syrup; with a surprising main ingredient.  It may sound strange…but trust me on this one.  I’m talking about beer-based syrup.
Beer-Syrup-6
Honestly, I stumbled upon the idea for a beer syrup idea a few weeks back when I was making cookies for a co-worker’s baby shower.  I wanted to find a creative way to incorporate beer in a workplace celebration (more on that coming in the next few weeks) and ended up creating a smooth and delicious syrup that I knew would be the perfect compliment to holiday entertaining at breakfast time.
Beer-Syrup-4This is so simple it almost feels silly calling it a recipe.  It even has one of my favorite qualities in a recipe – you can (and even should) make it in advance.
Beer-Syrup-1

You can make this syrup with just about any beer.  I’ve tried it now with two different versions of Left Hand Brewing Company Milk Stout (Regular and Nitro) and with Heavy Seas Winter Storm.  The extra seasonings and citrus of the Winter Ale made a very flavorful syrup, but I preferred the smooth flavor of the milk stout paired with cinnamon waffles.
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Yum.
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Beer-Based Syrup

Ingredients:
2 12-oz beers (approximately 3 cups)
1 C sugar
1 T vanilla extract

1.  Combine beer and sugar in a medium stockpot.  Make sure you leave plenty of room in your pot for the beer to bubble as it releases its carbonation.  (I may or may not have a couple of burnt beer/sugar spots on my stovetop right now)2.  Bring beer to a boil over medium to medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until thickened.  (3 cups of milk stout took the better part of an hour.  It may take more or less time depending on your beer)

3.  Add vanilla extract.  Adjust extract and sugar to taste.  Enjoy warm or refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Beer-Syrup-7
See?  Even the kids like it.

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

{Recipes} Herb-Infused Butter

The holidays are officially here.  Sometimes it seems like most of the bloggers out there have already moved on to Christmas posts, but I’m still stuck here in the Fall, scrambling to get ready for Thanksgiving. 

Even my office has already had its annual Thanksgiving party (yes, we do both Thanksgiving and Christmas).  And when I found out that I would be in charge of the butter and rolls this year, I was super excited.  Because, I mean…butter…obviously.

Butter.  It’s so bad for you, but so tasty.  And no substitute can ever properly take it’s place.  But if you know me, you know I can’t just leave well enough alone with plain old rolls and butter.  I had to make it better!  This is when it’s so fantastic to have your own herb garden at hand. We actually have a giant sage bush that was just asking to get used this year.  And so it did. 

Herb-Infused-Butter-1Mmmm…this sage infused butter was a big hit at the office. 

The best part is that the uses are nearly endless!  Spread it on a whole chicken with a lemon in the cavity and you can’t lose.  Add a dollop to finish off a soup or right as your finishing a steak; and your meal is taken to a completely different level. 

Herb-Infused-Butter-2
This is just one of those oh-so-simple, but oh-so-flavorful things that is great to

You can use nearly any soft herb in your butter, too.  Basil is a great summer choice, while thyme and sage work well for fall dishes.  Cooking seafood?  Make a dill-infused butter to top off some salmon.  Don’t feel like cooking for dinner?  Add some herb-butter to noodles with leftover vegetables and you’ve got some delicious comfort food in just minutes.  The possibilities are truly endless. 

Herb-Infused-Butter3

Herb Infused Butter
Ingredients:
1 stick salted butter, softened
1.5 – 2 T finely chopped herbs of your choice
lemon juice

Using a fork or a whisk, combine butter and herbs.  Add a couple of squeezes of lemon juice.  Let sit for at least 2 hours.  Refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze.


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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

{Weigh in Wednesday} Week 99

It’s Weigh In Wednesday … which means it’s time for another installment in my roller coaster ride of losing weight without following fad diets.  After 20 years of yo-yo dieting, I decided to focus on getting healthy the right way.  There are a lot of ups and downs, and it’s a painfully slow journey; but this isn’t only about the scale, it’s about real life.

WIW99_
Thoughts: And again the yo-yo goes back up.  It’s so frustrating.  Though it’s not surprising.  The last week has been terrible from a healthy eating perspective.  My office celebrated Thanksgiving last week, and I didn’t get to work out as much as I wanted.  I’ve also been spending a lot of time over the weekends lately preparing recipes for the holidays.  And no, they’re not healthy at all….

How I am Winning this Week
: Running faster, longer and harder.  Monday’s run was at my fastest paces yet…and I’m pretty sure I could do better.  I’m just not sure if my focus should be to continue pushing these short bursts of speed or to focus on maintaining a jogging pace for a longer time.

Areas of improvement
: There’s been a lot of baking and testing of sweet treats over the last few weeks.  I have no doubt that since Halloween and during all of these baking weekends, I’ve had way too much junk food.  And believe it or not, I’ve been holding myself back.  I hate the idea that the only way to get through the holidays is to avoid some of the things I love the most.
 
Workout Log
:
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
Sunday
Monday
Tuesday
Workouts

LBD Days 17, 18 & 19
40 min jog


Speed intervals

How I feel: Disappointed that I didn’t stay on track this last week.  Think I can get a do-over on Thanksgiving day?

Do you think it’s better to maintain a slower pace or to have short bursts of speed?
How do you combat holiday weight gain?



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