Friday, July 30, 2010

Jumpin' Jambalaya

My End of July Harvest

Weight: 149.2 lbs (damn straight!) 

Summer has been going great thus far and despite my 6 weddings this summer (think yummy buffet dinners and free wine, wine, wine), I am still losing weight! Hello 140's, I promise to never leave you again (unless it's for my oh so evasive friend 130's...)

The garden is magnificent and I haven't been blogging much because decides the hot hot heat up in Northern Alberta, my lettuce section of the garden is growing faster than you can say "salad with sun-dried tomatoes, onion and a hard-boiled egg... once again".

I have taken my BBQing to the next level this summer. The in-laws would be proud (they cook everything on the BBQ - even in the dead of winter). My latest concoction? Jumping Jambalaya in a foil pouch. No clean-up? That's my kind of dinner!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Simply French Onion Soup

This is one of my favorite dishes. It is super filling, very easy on my calorie count and oh so delicious! I have been waiting for a gloomy day to whip some up and thankfully it was thunder showering all day yesterday! PERFECT!

It is so super simple that I almost don't want to post it but here it is Nicola! 

Friday, June 18, 2010

Spinach, spinach everywhere!

Planting the Garden - May '10

First of all, yay! Today I was at 153.0 lbs!  Things are finally working! Turns out portion control (through calorie counting) and exercise does really work!

Secondly, my garden is out of control! I didn't realize I had so much spinach and kale! My newest love - the kale smoothie - is taking care of some of that baby kale but as for the spinach? It is time to ramp up on the salad front! Apparently you have to thin spinach to 6 inches apart or else it bolts to seed (surprise, surprise, mine is going to seed - in JUNE!) So I have decided that less plants are more and trimmed 'em back and have lots of salad to eat this weekend! 

This is by far, my favorite ever yummiest spinach salad recipe. The dressing is so amazing and the fruit used in the salad is in season so they are extra juicy and nutritious. If you don't dig the fruit in your salad, just try it. You won't be disappointed! 

Monday, June 14, 2010

I am alive!

Hello, hello!

I am so sorry for being MIA for so long... I could make up something but basically it was just laziness and being so damn busy! I tried on the bridesmaid dress and... IT FIT!! I kind of wish it didn't so I would have to keep working my butt off. However, I have been snapping pictures of my cuisine so I do have a lot of catching up to do!

My friend (Britta), my sister (Meagan) and I have a little competition going on right now until June 30 for weight loss. Because we are all different weights, we are doing a % body weight lost calculation. I have lost... 4.8 lbs in 4 1/2 weeks (not so good!) but I am not gaining and I am really on track. It's so sad really if I think about it that I started this blog to lose weight at the end of January and I was at... 160 lbs? And so far (5 months later) I've lost what... 8 lbs?! Sad, pathetic, bad! I really want to get down to 145 by June 30 and 140 by September 19 (my 3 week trip to Egypt!) and then be not so much of a professional dieter but a professional maintainer!

Thanks to the much needed support of my hunny, Bevan, I am super into my calorie counting and portion control. I bought a food scale the other day and no wonder I have not been losing weight... my portion control is out of hand! I am wearing my Bodybugg everyday - all day - and really watching what goes in to my body and how many calorie's I burn. A pound of fat equals 3500 calories so I have been striving for a 1000 calorie daily deficit (which equals -7000 calorie a week, which equals -2lbs/week) but sometimes end up at about 800. I lost a quick 3 lbs in the last 78 hours by just watching my calories closely, I understand that this isn't really fat lost but it's exciting to see and an indication that I am doing something right!

Some people think it's extreme and time consuming to watch your calories or weight your food
(when I excitedly told my mother that I lost some weight and was really watching my caloric intake she actually asked me if I was happy! As if being healthy and happy about my body would make me miserable?). I just consider it mindful and healthy to understand what is entering your body. I obviously don't know what is going on if I can only lose 6 pounds in 5 months so it's time for a wake up and I am getting it!

Current weight: 152.8

In other news, I have planted my first garden!! I planted spinach, kale, Swiss chard, lettuce (a variety), kohlrabi, rutabaga
, broccoli, cauliflower, winter squash, cucumber, peppers (hot and sweet!), herbs, onions (mmm), beets, tomatoes (LOTS including yellow Lemon Boys - yum!) and carrots (purple ones!) It is all very exciting and I ate my first garden fresh salad that I GREW the other day! All of these delicious, organically grown (by yours truly!) veggies should make for some fun, creative dishes in the months to come - stay tuned!

My current work out regime? Along with the new calorie watch has come a new workout routine. I don't have much to lose so I am going to do it very right for a couple months and then work on the maintaining. I created 3 different workouts (which include wii active, abs exercises, punching bag drills, free boxing and kettle bells) which will be rotated 6 days a week (each workout twice a week). Bevan and our roommate Matt have also made 3 different workouts that they will be doing too. I am excited for all the support from my household!

A new activity that Bevan and I have discovered is
geocaching! It is basically an adult, high tech game of hide and seek with a GPS. I love it! It gets us moving and outdoors. It's free and fun!! My days have also been busy with weeding, planting and landscaping. So I have been keeping busy and active!

Summer is starting and there are only 15 more days of teaching for me! I cannot wait! And I promise, more deliciously clean recipes to come!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Homemade Granola

Weight: 153.2 lbs

I have been lazy as of late! It is mostly because of all the girl's night out drinking I have been doing the last couple of weekends. But I have put an end to that. I am finally back down to my last week's weight. This is the problem I have run into the last 4 weeks actaully. Everything is fine, I lose weight and then one bad night ends up with 3 - 4 days of rehab to get back down. I had a night out (ending a donair...) and today I am back to my weight on Saturday morning. This is no good and I am going NO WHERE with this up and down-ness. I am beyond frusterated but determined so not do it anymore. Even if I go out... I can control myself... right?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Indian Butter Chicken

Weight: 154 lbs. (steady as she goes...)

Okay, so I've been slacking in the blog world and perhaps slacking in the kitchen... you know when you have a week off and you have all these plans and then you just.... don't do any of it? Yeah.. that's me! But now that spring break is over and the days are getting longer. I feel ready to take on the world!

Things are pretty good in the body department. I am feeling great and looking pretty good too. I haven't noticed a whole lot going down on the scale but I definitely can see improvement! I had the most intense cardio boxing sesh yesterday and then hit up the Wii for some EA Active. I am one hurting unit today.

I realize I haven't done any chicken recipes and that is because... we don't really eat it! It's pretty hard to move over to white meat when you buy bison by the animal from your in-laws. It's also pretty expensive because it is one of the things that I cannot buy non-organic. 

Friday, March 5, 2010

Skinny Mushroom Caps

Weight: Don't wanna know

So, the thing about the Iwaskow/Olson house is that my birthday is March 2nd and Bevan's (the boyfriend) birthday is March 4th. Which also means that March 3rd is family dinner time for both of us and the actaul birthday's are just for us to celebrate together with friends. In the end it works out to be a whole week of crazy "It's a celebrate so it doesn't matter" eat extravaganza! I think my weight is somewhere around 154.. I have been checking on and off but I just don't want to be discouraged, so I don't wanna know just yet.... (wow I make a lot of excuses eh?!)

I am officially on Spring break (early this year but yay for the Arctic Winter Games coming to GP!) So I am going to bust my rear during the break. It's just been a very... off.. time. I haven't been working out, been very active or really even cooking lately. I just looked and the last time I calorie counted a full day was February 28th! Yikes. That was the wake-up call I needed. I am back in, full swing!

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Perfect Loaf of Banana Bread

Weight: 153.6 (down .6 lbs or 6.4 lbs from the beginning!)

I don't know about you but I love banana bread, I mean I LOVE banana bread. For the last couple of years I have been desperately searching for a healthy recipe that does not sacrifice taste. Ladies and gentlemen, I think I have found the perfect loaf of banana bread!

This blueberry banana bread will blow you away. It is so moist, delicious, filling and get this... not one drop of butter or oil in it! It's whole wheat, it's flax-y, it's low-calorie, it's low-fat, it's high fiber, it's healthy, it's amazing!

Since I have discovered this recipe about a month ago, I have been poping 2 piece in the toaster every morning for breakfast and having it with 1/2 a cup of yogurt and I can honestly say it keeps me full until lunch... a good 4 hours!

Bust out those old, bruised bananas and eat your heart out people!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Honey-Soy Salmon

Weight: 154.2 (down .2 lbs!) Little victories right...

I have been super busy lately with family, mostly helping my mom out with her ever growing business - Diapers Naturally. We were just at a great tradeshow in Edmonton on the weekend. And while it is difficult for any normal person to resist Chicago Deep Dish pizza while in Edmonton, I walked and walked and walked around that enormous show! So I am guess that is the reason for no weight gain, even though I endulged in the most amazing pizza EVER! I ate really well the rest of the trip though, even went to the grocery store while in Edmonton to grab some healthy necessities - bananas, yogurt, peppers, water. 

Despite my exhaustion and lack of interest, I hit up the gym on Tuesday with Lindsey and did our 45 minute walk/jog and then an hour of water aerobics.  I am just posting this then promptly working out with EA Active and then going on a walk to the library with Bevan!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Scallops with Capers and Spinach

Weight: 155.6 lbs (going back down - thank goodness! Damn cookies)

Oh lordy, this one it gooooood! A little tip about capers: More is not more with these little bundles of flavour! It's not like garlic, believe me, LESS IS MORE when it comes to these guys! 1 tbsp should do just fine. When making the perfect bite on your fork, combine a little spinach, a scallop and only 1 caper. Their flavour is powerful!

Remember to leave me comments! I love to hear if you have tried a recipe, will try it, want to see something different or if you are enjoy the read.

Guten Appetit meine freunden! 

Sauteed Scallops with Lemon and Thyme

I rarely bust out the butter for cooking but sometimes it is just necessary. Scallops, my friends, are one of those occasions. While this recipe - and all the scallop recipes of mine - do have butter in them, it is a minimal amount. Everything is moderation right?

This recipe only makes 2 servings (because seafood is not the best re-heated the next day and it's just Bevan and I tonight). But, the recipe is easily doubled or tripled if you are feeding a larger crowd.

Oh, and remember to leave me comments! I love to hear if you have tried a recipe, will try it, want to see something different on the blog. Let me know what you're thinking!!

Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Baked Scallops

Weight: 156! Eeeek!

Damn it, damn it, damn it! I hate the weekends! And a long weekend?! My calorie counting always falls by the way side when Friday rolls around... what to do, what to do?! I think it may just be the cookies that Bevan (the significant other) baked on Saturday... and I proceeded to snack on all weekend long.

We went for a 1 1/2 hour walk yesterday... I didn't wake up until 10 so my eating time was cut short. I even stopped eating after 7pm last night... and STILL?! Well I guess I'll see what tomorrow has to bring.

My weekend was pretty sedentary actually because of my back. I am not sure what happened but based on the bruise on my lower spine I am thinking... I ran into something backwards at high speeds? I have no idea... I am trying to break free from the pain and just work through it. I have been doing that since last Wednesday to no avail.

So I am making scallops to cure my pain! Ever since my wonderful vacation out East to visit my in-laws in Nova Scotia... I have fallen in love.

A deep, delicious, heavenly love with... scallops (and seafood in general)!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Four-Cheese Baked Pasta

Weight: 154.6 lbs

Who doesn't love a nice dish of creamy, cheesy, delicious baked pasta? How about creamy, low-fat, high fiber, cheesy goodness? Yes my friends, it is possible! Guilt-free, healthy comfort food - here we come!

Four-Cheese Baked Pasta
Kinda, sorta from this recipe

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Yay for Active Days!

Working out to EA Active sporting my Bodybugg

Weight: 154.6 lbs (down 1.2lbs!)

I am super excited about the weight loss today! Yesterday morning was slightly depressing at 155 again.. I still hadn't lost the weekend binge weight from 2 weekends ago but now I am down past that.

I called Calista's Bridal yesterday to get the measurements of the dress I am trying to fit into (good idea eh?) and I am pretty excited! I need to lose:

1/2 inch from my chest
3 inches from my waist
0 inches from my hips (I am actually 2 inches smaller than the dress around my hips!)

The wedding is July 3rd. That means in 4 months (June 10th) I have to be where I will be on July 3rd! Can I do 25 lbs in 4 months?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Perfect Lunch

I worked out at a gym yesterday (I haven't been to one in awhile, I love stay home in my humble abode to work on my fitness) but I enjoyed it! My girlfriend and I worked HARD and we are both happy to be feeling it today! I also went to a movie on the weekend and refrained from allowing anything harsh to enter my body! Yay for will power!

Today's recipe: Roasted Onion and Garlic Bisque with Whole Wheat Garlic Knots (can we all say 'yum' together?!)

Don't only enjoy this meal to ward off vampires - garlic is full of calcium, potassium and vitamin C. Parsley is an herb that is chalked full of vitamin A, C and K, as well as folic acid. Onions support cardiovascular health, especially because

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Master Dough!

I know right... enough bread already! Let me explain, I was typing up a post on this amazing soup and garlic knot bun type things I made yesterday and remembered that I haven't written anything about the Master Recipe dough from the cookbook Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I also realized that I made the garlic knots with that master dough. So for you to make the next recipe you have to make the master dough. Thus, this post!

My favorite new recipe book (discovered at our lovely public library!) is Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I am so excited about this way of cooking! I have posted other recipes from this cookbook (Guacamole Bread & Simple Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread) and now I am posting the Master Recipe (that will keep for 14 days!)

The idea is that you make the dough (no kneading necessary) and store it in your refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Whenever you need to make a loaf of bread, you grab some dough, let it rest and pop it in the oven. Seems too easy to be so good,

Friday, February 5, 2010

Low-Fat Almond Biscotti

Weight: 156.2

No more falling off the bandwagon during the weekend (time to test the will power starting today... FRIDAY!) I was down to 155 and 1 weekend of not calorie counting ended up like this... it's now 1 week later and my weight hasn't gone back to pre-weekend blunder weight. Not going to lie, I am feeling pretty discouraged.

I was very active this week and watched my calories. I was busy with wii fit, boxing, swimming, water aerobics, chasing kids around the indoor playground and I even made and effort to walk instead of drive many times this week... what the heck?!

Anyways... I tried out a recipe for low-fat almond biscotti in my Clean Eating cookbook and it is heavenly! So I had to share. Biscotti goes wonderfully with

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Sassy Flavoured Water

It's no surprise that most people do not meet their daily fluid requirements. The human body is comprised of up to 60% water! We need fluids to maintain the body’s fluid balance and for proper digestion, joint lubrication, to flush the kidneys, and more.

Ingesting lots of sugar with pops and juice (even if they are 100% natural) and chemicals with sugar-free pop is not ideal. Water is what our bodies crave and want but lets face it, water gets a little bland sometimes! Enter: Naturally flavoured water! All you need is a pitcher, water, fruit, vegetables, herbs and a couple hours to marry the flavours.

Not only does it spice up water, is it not just so dang cute sitting out on the table? Lets say thank you to our bodies for the work they do for us and drink up!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Another Day

Weight: 156.8 lbs (up 1.2 lbs!)

Huh... up in lbs eh? I know what the problem is at least! Does everyone have a problem behaving themselves on the weekend? I know that I do for sure! Calorie counting goes out the window, I guesstimate my caloric intake, working out doesn't happen... it's all together, not so good! Next weekend will be different now that I see what 2 little days can do.

I read somewhere that people who weigh themselves daily were more successful at losing weight than people who stepped on the scale less frequently and I have to say, I believe it. You think about your choice more because of the number you seen that morning and remember that you will be doing it again the next morning.

I am keeping up on my EA Active. That program really makes you work! I went downstairs to my heavy bag yesterday and had no ambition to work out so I went upstairs and tried EA Active. I ended up working out for a tough 30 minutes. I was really sweating by the end and burned 142 calories in the process!

Okay! Now for the good stuff....

Saturday, January 30, 2010

More Fresh Bread

I am definitely not a no-carb kind of person. I believe in a complete and balanced diet - carbs INCLUDED! As long as you count it in your daily calories, there is nothing wrong with a little carbs in your life.
If you like crispy Artisan bread, you are going to L-O-V-E this recipe! I tried it because I had an excess of avocados in the house but what came out the oven what a very pleasant surprise! Yum!
What is so perfect about this recipe is that you prepare the dough and store it for up to 5 days! Just rip some off and bake it!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Fresh and Simple Bread

If you haven't read or heard of Michael Pollan's book In Defense of Food, I suggest you run to your local library or book store and grab a copy. It changed my life by completely re-vamping the way I eat. One of Pollan's eating suggestions that really changed me was:
Don't eat anything your great grandmother wouldn't recognize as food. Imagine your great grandmother at your side as you shop. You are at the dairy case and she picks up Go-Gurt Yogurt tube - and has no idea what this could possibly be. Is it food or toothpaste? If she wouldn't think it was edible, don't put it in your cart! Let's consider bread now... your grandmother would tell you that bread is made using a remarkably small number of ingredients: flour, water, yeast, and a pinch of salt will do. But industrial breads have become much more complicated. Here's is a complete list of ingredients in Sara Lee's Soft & Smooth Whole Grain White Bread.

Pizza, pizza!

Mmmm I love pizza night at the Olson/Iwaskow household!

I found this recipe about 3 years ago and have never gone back. It is from the lovely cookbook Eat, Shrink & Be Merry. This is by far, the best whole-wheat dough you will ever encounter and it really is so easy!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Calorie Counting

The Bodybugg

Weight: 155.6 lbs. (same as Monday... not up!! But not down...)

Wondering what else I am doing besides cooking all this yummy stuff and eating it? I am a calorie counter! I believe in calories in - calories out. I try to have a 1000 calorie deficit at the end of everyday, which means I have BURNED 1000 calories more than I have eaten.
This is the website I calorie count with.

This whole process used to be a little bit of a guessing game... how do you know how many calories you have burned? Well, I invested in a little gadget called a
Bodybugg. You wear it around your arm and there is a digital display you can wear (either as a watch or a clip that goes on your clothes, bag, etc.) that tells you minute by minute how many calories, steps and minutes of activity you are logging. The power of the bodybugg is that you can look down and see that you are only at 1900 calories and it's 8 o'clock at night (as I did last night) and you might choose to work out, go for a walk, something to get that calorie burn higher! I chose to play some EA Active last night on my wii. The Bodybugg is 97% accurate at calculating your calorie output. No more guessing for this girl!

A little plug for AE Active... if anyone out there has a wii and it contemplating using it for working out, consider AE Active! I purchased AE when I was trained for the Death Race (probably the most fit I've ever been) and the first time I tried it, it worked me over! It is definitely a great workout! In addition to EA Active, I have a heavy bag in my basement. A 20 minute sesh of boxing + some EA Sports Active on my wii logs about -500 calories. Not too bad for just an hour of work!

Since I read Michael Pollan's book
In Defense of Food I have been crazy about eating local, eating organic and eating clean. He mentioned that food companies are so embedded in our lives that we don't even realize it.

Example: Yesterday I was teaching in a grade 9 classroom. Do you remember the hand clapping game where you stood in a circle and sang:

Stella, ella, olla, clap, clap, clap
Singing es stigga, stigga,
Stigga, stigga, clap, clap.
Es stigga, stigga,
flow, flow, flow, flow, flow, flow
1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Well these grade 9's were singing that only it went something like this:

Stella, ella, olla, snap, crackle, pop
Singing es stigga, stigga
Stigga, stigga, snap, snap.
Es stigga, stigga,
Bologna, Bologna, Cheese and Macaroni
1, 2, 3, 4, 5

I don't know why this bugged me so much! Maybe because such unhealthy foods are being embedded into something as innocent as a children's school yard game? Not only the names of food but the advertising slogan "Snap, Crackle, Pop". Maybe it was just because it was not how I used to sing it.

I am going to my sister's house for dinner tonight which is slightly scary... I can't control what is in the food. But I have compensated by eating lightly all day long.
I don't work tomorrow so I am baking bread! Mmmm... stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Here we go...

As I was driving to work today, listening to CBC radio (I know... I'm old...) I heard a couple U of A student talking about blogging while losing weight. What better way to make you more accountable then telling the whole interweb about every victorious pound gone (or every annoying pound up...)

If you think you can only eat chicken breast and broccoli while losing weight... THINK AGAIN! I love, LOVE to cook (and eat...) I strive to make clean (meaning not from a box) & healthy meals daily. Why not tell you all about the yummy things I cook up while loosing the pounds that I gained over Christmas.

Oh, that part I said about gaining weight over Christmas... not entirely true. I did gain weight over Christmas but I kinda stopped working out and generally caring about my weight in August. You see, when you train for the Death Race (24km mountain run!) harder than you have trained for anything and some bitch from Edmonton was placed on your team and took pictures of the race instead of RUNNING the race and you don't make the time cut off so you do not even get to run the flipping race... in your defeated stupor you might be inclined to quit working out completely... yea, that was in August.