Friday, February 6, 2009

RecipeGirl has moved...

Come visit me at the new site!


Monday, February 2, 2009

Whole Wheat- Healthy Banana Bread

Dried figs, dates, prunes... they all pretty much gross me out. You wouldn't catch me snacking on them, and I've rarely used them in recipes. In my quest to cook more healthfully and revise recipes to fit into my new lifestyle, I've reluctantly begun to let these ugly little dried fruits make their debut as a sweetener in some of my baking experiments. My first successful attempt: Whole Wheat- Healthy Banana Bread.

Don't let the 'healthy' reference in the title scare you. It didn't taste like the dry and flavorless bread that you might imagine a healthier banana bread to be. This one is made with whole wheat pastry flour and only 3 Tablespoons of brown sugar. Besides this small amount of sugar, additional sweetness comes from dried dates, dried apricots and bananas. It's important to buy the right apricots... the Turkish sort don't have as much flavor as the California apricots. I always buy the CA kind. And I was happy to find that you don't really taste the dates- they're chopped up and added in for sweetness.

If you cut the loaf into 12 slices, you can package them in zips individually and throw them in the freezer. Each slice is 120 calories (or 3 Weight Watcher's points).

This turned out to be a great, healthy version of banana bread. No white flour, very little sugar, and ZERO added fat made it pretty much guilt-free. Amazingly enough, it was moist. I'm very careful about not overbaking breads because there is nothing worse than dry banana bread. The family gave this one the 'make it again Mom' label, and I will be happy to do so!

This recipe can be found HERE.

My Personal Weight Loss Journal: Feb. 1st- 7th, 2009

I'm into the 4th week now of my healthy lifestyle change. I'm feelin' good and still excited about the new journey. My total weight loss to date is 8 pounds, with the caveat that I know I've lost more in inches than actual weight. That's okay with me, as long as I continue to lose in both areas until I'm entirely comfortable with the end result. There are only two weeks remaining in my gym's Biggest Loser (weight loss) contest. I'm enjoying the competition, so I really do wish it were going on longer than just 5 weeks. It motivates me to work out with others who struggle as much as I do, and I like being held accountable each week for getting on that scale. It frightens me to know that soon I'll be doing it all on my own. I'm doing great so far... but I just want to be able to maintain that excitement and drive.

I've been observing subtle, positive body changes... more muscular legs, arms gaining strength and less flab, icky jiggle in various places is slowly disappearing, flatter stomach, and most notably- my hips are much more streamlined. I'm likin' the changes! The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is put my hand on my stomach- it's like I enjoy that feeling of flatness that I haven't felt it in so long. The clothes are fitting better, and I've even gotten into some things that I haven't been able to wear in a while. I'm still eyeing a couple of pairs of jeans that aren't quite comfortable yet.

My food choices during the day are directly influenced by how I'm feeling. If I've gotten a good workout that morning, I'm more likely to feel great and want to eat great. I'm careful not to eat too little, and I'm trying new, healthier recipes along the way. I'm good at eating lots of veggies, but I need to find a way to incorporate more fruit into my diet.

A fun email arrived the other day. It appears that my blog was selected to be included in a list of the 100 Best Health and Nutrition Blogs for Athletes. You can see the whole list HERE. I'm not quite sure why they felt mine should be included in the list, but it was neat to see just the same. I'm assuming my weekly musings about exercise and diet, as well as recent healthy recipe postings were a draw.

Thanks to all of you readers for your support in this important journey of mine. Your inspirational words and kindness mean a lot. As usual, I'll update this post only this week to add my daily food & exercise details. Check back if you're interested in following along.

My original story about how this journey began is HERE.
Week 1 is HERE.
Week 2 is HERE.
Week 3 is HERE.

DAY 21:

Food/Exercise for Sunday, Feb. 1, 2009
Kashi puff cereal with skim milk
snack: nonfat yogurt with Kashi crunch cereal
lunch: big salad with added ham & cheese
snack: 1 slice of whole grain bread
Confetti Chili (Ellie Krieger Recipe)
dessert: no-sugar-added pudding

Today's Notes:
I avoided any and all Super Bowl parties (for obvious reasons)! We had a quiet day at home and I chose to eat healthy.

Today was a day-off of exercise. It felt good to rest my tired, overworked joints for a day!

DAY 22:

Food/Exercise for Monday, Feb. 2, 2009
walk uphill to gym (30 minutes), cardio & strength class (60 minutes), run home different way- ups and downs (25 minutes)
Kashi puff cereal w/ skim milk
snack: nonfat yogurt w/ a splash of Kashi crunch cereal
lunch: turkey & swiss wrap
dinner: Confetti Chili (Ellie Krieger recipe)
no-sugar-added pudding

Today's Notes:
The wrap that I made for lunch was awesome (made with low-sodium turkey, low fat swiss, lettuce, tomato, light mayo, dijon and these great 100 calorie/ 7g. fiber flax wraps). I found the flaxseed roll-ups at Henry's here in San Diego. It was a nice change from the usual salad I have for lunch and was very filling too. I endured pure torture today as I brought my little one to have a cheeseburger at In N' Out after his basketball practice. I kept telling myself that I didn't want that burger, and I don't really care for their fries anyway so that part didn't matter. I really did want that cheeseburger though. It looked frighteningly good. But I went home and ate a healthy leftover bowl of chili instead. And do you think I felt good about that? Yes... I actually did.

Since Sunday is usually a day off from exercising, I make Monday an intense, long workout day. I didn't wake up with a lot of passion for exercise today, but I forced myself to go to the gym, hated almost every minute of it and was glad when it was all over. For some reason, I just wasn't into it today. That being said, I had an amazing workout and I'm happy I stuck to it. I bought myself some more workout clothes today. It's always much more fun to go to the gym wearing something new and cute.

DAY 23:

Food/Exercise for Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2009
Kashi Puff cereal w/ skim milk
walk to gym (20 minutes) strength/cardio class (60 minutes) jog back to car (15 minutes)
nonfat yogurt with sprinkle of Kashi crunch cereal
lunch: same turkey wrap as Day 22
snack: 1 slice whole grain bread

dinner: salad and small portion of pasta
dessert: no-sugar-added pudding

DAY 24:

Food Exercise for Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2009
breakfast: 1 slice whole grain bread with 1/2 avocado and egg fried in cooking spray
snack: nonfat yogurt with sprinkle of Kashi crunch cereal
lunch: same turkey wrap as Day 22
dinner: leftover Confetti Chili (Ellie Krieger recipe)
no-sugar-added pudding

I was very hungry on Tuesday. I have a feeling it's all that exercise that's making me so hungry. The wrap for lunch is terrific and filling- stuffed with lots of lettuce & tomato too. I still love my fried egg sandwich with avocado too! I'm still not getting my fruit in! And I feel like I'm eating too many carbs. I'll work on that.

Since I dreaded the Monday workout so much, I was happy that I actually looked forward to my Tuesday workout and had lots of energy, with the run at the end being my favorite- as usual. Unfortunately, I was consumed with work on Wednesday and couldn't find any time to exercise. I don't feel good about that at all, and won't let it happen again tomorrow. I look forward to getting in good workouts on Thurs. and Fri.