Turning Up the Heat

9 Mar

This blog is still new and who knows where it will go, but the real reason I first started thinking about blogging was for baking. I have always loved to bake. Before healthy eating, running and everything else, there was always baking. It has been a stress reliever, a creative outlet, my way of showing appreciation for others, and always a really good time.

This week I whipped up a special treat for a co-worker’s birthday: White Russian Mini Cupcakes. These were delicious, simple and much appreciated by the staff on a slow Friday afternoon!

IMG_4868

I am definitely planning on turning up the heat and posting a lot more recipes and baking adventures on this blog – stay tuned for more posts, and will be updating the Recipes tab as well!

White Russian Cupcakes (Makes about 30 mini cupcakes)
Cupcake Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups, all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons, baking powder
1/4 teaspoon, salt
3/4 cup, sugar
6 tablespoons, butter
1 large egg and 1 egg white
1 teaspoon, vanilla extract
1/2 cup, milk
1/8 cup, Vodka
1/4 cup, Kahlua – divided

Buttercream Ingredients:
1 stick, butter
3 cups, powdered sugar
Pinch of salt
3-4 tablespoons, Kahlua

Cupcake Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cupcake pan with paper liners.
2. In a medium bowl mix together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, beat together the sugar and butter until combined. Add the egg, mix, and then add the egg white. Next add the vanilla, Vodka and 1/8 cup of Kahlua.
4. Gradually add the dry ingredients and the milk, alternating, ending with the flour mixture.
5. Bake 17-20 minutes. Immediately after removing from the oven, brush the tops with remaining 1/8 cup of Kahlua. Remove from pan and cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

Buttercream Instructions:
Beat butter until creamy. Add salt. Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, mixing until combined. Add Kahlua 1 tablespoon at a time, until you reach desired consistency.

Recipe adapted from Baked Perfection

My Golden Rule

6 Mar

I’m not really one for the all or nothing mentality. Sure, I have been successful by setting some limits but I have always tried not to completely restrict anything. This always backfires. However, there is one exception and I want to share it because it has proved surprisingly helpful. My golden rule: no food in bed.

This actually came about as a New Years resolution for 2011, and is probably the first and only one I have ever kept. I used to wake up on weekend mornings, scurry around to make breakfast, and then jump right back into bed to eat and catch up on TV shows. I was eating mindlessly, and recklessly.

It wasn’t just that I didn’t pay attention to what I ate since I was distracted, but I associated my bed with food. I woke up every morning starving and went to bed each night thinking about food. It led to a lot of bad eating habits.

Breaking this mentality made a huge difference for me; it is the only rule I have willingly kept up with and really benefitted from. And on those nights when I’m stressed or just mindlessly late night munching, I hop into bed and the urge to snack just goes away since the association has been broken!

One More for the Tortoise

5 Mar

“I prefer to start slow, gives me room for improvement.”

-The Art of Fielding, Chad Harbach

You probably also heard the tale of the tortoise and the hare when you were growing up. Slow and steady wins the race, right? It’s funny how those childhood stories stick with you.

Remember the yearly fitness tests in high school gym when you had to run a mile? Worst. Day. Every. Year. Running an entire mile was out of the question, I could barely walk four laps under the time limit. When I joined Weight Watchers I spent the first few months focusing only on healthy eating. Once I felt better about my eating habits and more confident after losing a few pounds, I was ready to incorporate activity.

This is where those old stories we heard as kids came in handy. In the beginning my goal would be to run on the treadmill for a full minute, and than I spent the remaining time walking quickly or on an incline. After about a week or so I would bump it up to 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 1 mile, and so on.

And then last week, this happened:

8mile

I have been running for about four years now, and increasing the distance over time. At first I couldn’t even run for 1 minute. It has certainly been a slow and steady process to get here, but I’ve heard that’s what works. One more for the tortoise!

PS : I really recommend downloading the Nike GPS app – it’s inexpensive and amazing! 

Monday is a Working Day

4 Mar

I played rugby in college (definitely more on that later!) and this is the opening line to one of the ritual songs. It was one of our favorites and always helped motivate the team. All day today it ran like a mantra in my head: “Monday is a Working Day.” 

Winter sucks but Spring is not too far off – no more excuses that it’s too cold to run outside, no more baggy sweaters to hide holiday weight gain. I have resolved to get back on track. Today, Monday, is a great day to get back to work

ImageMondays can be brutal so a little preparation makes a big difference. Breakfast, snacks and lunch to get me through a day at the office! And a run after work was the perfect way to end the day – it helps me unwind, and is the best way to kick start the week.

 For me ups and downs have always been a part of my weight loss. I have to remember to stay positive, which can be hard, but I have come so far and accomplished so much and that doesn’t go away if I gain a few pounds back. Is everybody happy? You bet your ass we are.

Creativity is Key

3 Mar

I was always a stubborn and picky eater; I ate mostly chicken fingers, french fries and pasta. There was the occasional piece of fruit but no vegetables. I was adamantly against anything green and leafy.

After joining Weight Watchers one of my biggest challenges was learning to incorporate more nutritious options into my diet. The trick was to smart small. At first it was a single piece of lettuce in a turkey sandwich, later upgraded to a slice of tomato too; sometimes I added chopped mushrooms into tomato sauce, and spinach used to get mixed right into homemade turkey burgers. For the first few months I really had to work to sneak vegetables into meals. It wasn’t easy, but it turned into a game for me.

Each week I scanned through recipes on the Weight Watchers website for ideas. I was completely caught up in trying new foods, mixing different flavors and learning tricks in the kitchen. I was having fun and this made following plan so much easier. Each week I planned my meals ahead of time so I could get everything I needed at the supermarket, and I started cooking for my roommate and I every night. We taste tested, critiqued and experimented and I learned so much.

When I became a Weight Watchers lifetime member my leader asked me, “What is your secret? How did you do it?” I am definitely not an expert, and I have had a lot of ups and downs, but here is my best answer: I was creative. I had fun. I took the basics of the plan and made the most of it. I made it work for my lifestyle. I was a college student in the second semester of my senior year, and I accepted my own limitations. I strove to enjoy those last few months at school with everyone else, while also trying to achieve something for myself. I pushed as much as I could and had a blast while doing it!

The Best Decision I Ever Made

2 Mar

How do you start a blog; what do you say first? The beginning seems appropriate, if only I knew what that was. Four years ago I was driving back to school after winter break – it was my senior year, graduation wasn’t too far off and I was headed for the ‘real world.’ I was a decent student, active on campus, unsure of my future plans, but most of all I was unhappy.

Making the decision to lose weight wasn’t new for me; I had probably said it so many times before. There was a brief attempt in high school, somewhat successful actually, but it didn’t last.  This time though, the decision was all mine and for the first few months only a few people even knew I was attending Weight Watchers meetings and trying to lose weight.

Joining a structured program like WW was important to help me in the beginning and the weekly meetings kept me accountable. It was also mine. Every Thursday I drove to another town, away from school and friends, and I was paying my own membership dues. Most people in my life had no idea what I was up to. The best decision I ever made wasn’t trying to get healthy, or committing to a program – it was deciding to do all of these things for myself.  I wasn’t losing weight for anyone else, I wasn’t trying to prove something to anyone else, I had a personal mission and only myself to answer to.

%d bloggers like this: