Seeing Red?

A recent study suggested that eating from a red plate may help you reduce how much you consume. Interesting! (Do you think they were talking about me when they referenced “popcorn fans”?)

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Thanksgiving Game Plan

If I have a strategy before a big event, I fare much better.  This Thanksgiving, my game plan will include three components:  1. burn some calories early in the day, 2. fill up on lighter fare in the middle of the day and 3. enjoy sensible portions of delicious Thanksgiving dinner and dessert in the evening.

First thing in the morning, I’m planning to run a Turkey Trot with my boys.  (It will be our first race together!)  Finding time for exercise will give me a little wiggle room later on.  There’s talk of a neighborhood football game, so I might have the opportunity to burn a little more if the weather cooperates.

My mid-day strategy is simple.  Have a filling, but light meal.  If I’m hungry going into Thanksgiving dinner, I won’t make good choices.  So skipping or skimping at lunch would certainly backfire.  My go-to light meal at present: 4 egg whites (1P+ for Weight Watchers followers) topped with Trader Joe’s Salsa Verde (0P+), a toasted English muffin (3P+) with a spot of butter (1P+) and low-sugar jam  (1P+), plus fresh fruits and veggies (0P+) on the side.  With the protein in the egg whites and the bulk of the fruits and vegetables, this meal is filling and satisfying.  If I’m anything less than full by mid-afternoon, a snack of fruit, a light cheese stick and a cup of coffee with a teaspoon of creamer and a teaspoon of sugar (0P+)  will be my choice.

We’re gearing for a late afternoon Thanksgiving dinner.   I will definitely sample everything.  (Hopefully “just a dot, not a lot.”)  On the menu will be:

  • Oven roasted turkey
  • Mashed potatoes (made by my husband – his first attempt!)
  • Roasted Brussels sprouts drizzled with balsamic vinegar
  • Bacon-wrapped green bean bundles
  • Homemade cranberry relish (made by my daughter, with a little help from me)
  • Lightened-up oyster dressing
  • Fresh pineapple
  • Corn bread (made by my younger son) with honey butter (made by my older boy)
  • Pumpkin pie and apple strudel à la mode for dessert

Thanksgiving Table 2013

The Thanksgiving table is already set.  I like to prepare the table in advance, as it lends to the excitement and anticipation.  In hopes of having a relaxing and enjoyable meal, we made placemats from kraft paper and put out crayons for coloring.  Inside the place cards are quirky questions to spur dinner table conversation.

By crafting and following this game plan, I hope to emerge post-Thanksgiving being no worse for the wear.  Fingers crossed that you will, too.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Back to Business

After three straight weeks of house guests, it’s time to get back to business.  We were lucky enough to have back-to-back visits from both grandmothers.  Since we live quite far from family, we relish any visit from loved ones.  Back-to-back visits equal a double-bonus to us!

While the grandmothers were here, we had many memorable moments.  Some of them included little food indulgences.  In total, there were probably more indulgences packed into these three weeks than I would normally have in double that time.

But guess what?  That’s ok.  Part of “healthy living” includes “living.”  It’s alright to cut yourself some slack.

While I did splurge, I tried to keep the damage in check.  When we went out for burgers, fries and ice cream (three times), I ordered a kid’s meal with kid-sized ice cream.  Just a dot.  When we had Mexican, I split the portion with my mom and ordered kid’s chips.  (Mexican food without at least a few chips is almost a sin.)  And when someone (ah-hem, not naming names) raided the caramels that I bought for my grandmother, I didn’t partake.  [That last line really doesn’t belong in this blog post, but I had to throw it in for good measure!  Anyway, back to the topic at hand.]

Recap:  Special times.  I splurged.  It’s ok.  Special time over.  Back to business.

Cut yourself some slack, too.  It’ll help you in the long run.  Promise.

Award-Winning Curried Acorn Squash Soup

Along with a friend, I made this soup recently for a local fundraiser.  It was a hit and we were asked to share the recipe, so here it is!  Our soup won the “Most Creative” award.

Curried Acorn Squash Soup

Ingredients
(Makes approximately 8 1-cup servings)

2 medium acorn squash, stem removed, halved and seeded
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
2 cup light coconut milk
2 tbsp curry powder, lightly toasted in a pan
2 garlic cloves, peeled
4 cups low sodium vegetable stock
1 tbsp pure maple syrup (optional)
a few crushed red pepper flakes (like, 5)
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 °F .

Baste the inside of the squash with the olive oil, and sprinkle with the rosemary and chili flakes.  Place the acorn squash face down and pierce the skin with a knife.  Roast the squash in the oven for about 50 minutes or until tender.

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Remove from the oven and allow to cool.  Once cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh from the skin and place it in a blender or food processor.  Add the vegetable stock, toasted curry powder and garlic cloves, and  and puree until smooth.

Transfer the soup to a pot on the stove.  Add in the coconut milk, maple syrup and season well with salt and pepper. Bring up to a low simmer and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

(By my calculation, a 1 cup serving is 3P+ for Weight Watchers followers.)

Here is the award that we won, which was made by local elementary school students:

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This recipe was inspired by a one on Domestic Divas Blog.

Inspiring & Uplifting

Those are the two words I would choose to describe my day yesterday.  Yesterday was the 5K run / walk to celebrate the end of the fall season for our local chapter of Girls on the Run.  As luck would have it, I was the Race Director for the event.

For those who aren’t familiar with the organization, it’s a nation-wide not-for-profit with local councils that are started by interested communities.  Girls on the Run has a goal to inspire third through eighth grade girls to be “joyful, healthy and confident.”  There is a curriculum that works towards that end, and is delivered through physically active games and running.  The season culminates with a celebratory, non-competitive 5K that is open to the community (men, women, boys and girls of all ages and abilities).  After months of planning with an amazing committee of talented women, yesterday was the big day!

In total, there were nearly 500 runners and even more spectators cheering on the participants.  For many of (including my younger son), it was their first 5K.  To help alleviate some fear of many first time runners, there was a pack of WonderGirls and WonderBoys who signed up for the race and pledged to finish last… yes, last… so no other race participant would finish last.

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As the crowd of runners took off from the starting line and wound their way out onto the course, it was remarkable to see the wide array of ages and abilities of those who have been motivated to become (or stay) physically active.  It was a reminder to me that no matter where you are at… young, old, fast, slow, able or disabled… there is always room to move forward.

(For the record, if I had to pick a third word, it would be “exhausting.”)