Soup 101

Foodie Friday: How to Make Soup 101

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Hello People!

I want to share with you a great tip and recipe for helping you with your weight loss goals.  I’ve been making soup forever and love how it can be so easy and filling.  It’s also warm and inviting when you crave comforting foods.  Soup can be fattening, but I’m going to show you my recipe for making it simple and low-calorie; but not low in flavor. This soup should evoke the purest taste of the vegetable you choose. Therefore, I would highly suggest that you choose vegetables in season so that they will be at peak ripeness. I like to have a  1/2 to 1 cup before a meal.

Last year I watched a BBC documentary on helping obese people lose weight.  The show was called “How to Be Slim” and it gave several tips on how to  lose weight while not feeling like you’re starving. Towards the end of the program it featured soup as a great way to ward off hunger and stay full after a meal.  I’ll include the documentary below, but first I’ll share with you the easiest way of making pureed vegetable soup.

VEGETABLE SOUP 101

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  • Unknown-21 Pound of Any Vegetable (squash, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, mushrooms, eggplant, green beans, carrots, parsnips, turnips, rutabagas, colored sweet peppers, snap peas,Unknown-3 fresh/frozen green peas, tomatoes, bok choy, lettuces, dark leafy greens, etc.)
  • Water or Chicken Stock or Vegetable Stock (or bouillons)
  • 1 Medium Onion
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil or Coconut Oil or Butter

How To:

  1. Chop Onion and Vegetable of choice.  Some may need extra prep such as carrots – they need to also be peeled. (You can mix vegetables, but mind that if you do, some cook quicker than others and will need to be added later so that they don’t become mush).
  2. Heat Oil/Butter in stockpot until hot and add chopped onion.  Sweat until translucent. You can add a dash of salt as well if you want.
  3. Add chopped Vegetable of choice and coat with the Oil/Butter.
  4. Add Water/Stock to stockpot just to cover the Vegetables by one inch. You can add more later if it is too thick.
  5. Bring Water and Vegetables to a boil, then turn down heat and simmer for approximately 20 minutes or until Vegetables are really soft and tender; beyond the way you would normally cook and eat them. (Add veg accordingly; if you are cooking carrots, they will take longer to soften than lettuce, so cook the carrots for 10 minutes alone, then add lettuce for the remaining 10 minutes, as an example.)
  6. Thow everything into a blender or use a hand-held immersion blender and whirl until soup is liquified. (You can reserve some of the cooked Vegetables if you want the texture to not be completely smooth)
  7. Put back into stockpot and add extra Water/Broth if you want, add salt/pepper, spices, seasonings, fresh herbs or chopped green onions/cilantro, lemon/lime juice, cream, milk or nothing.
  8. Eat!

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Of course, after you’ve made it you can refrigerate extra portions or freeze them.  Also, try adding some pesto or olive tapenade on top to make it extra special when you are about to eat it. Enjoy.

“How to Be Slim” Documentary

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Workout to Lose

Exercise Monday: Workout to Lose

Hello People!

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This is an extension of a post I did recently on my New Year’s Resolutions.  I had mentioned that I didn’t just write down on my resolutions list to “lose weight,” like I had done last year, but also included in the written goal a specific pattern or plan; in other words, not to be vague about my goal, which will lead to near or nothing being done about the problem.  Making the goal have more tangible tasks will get the job done, at least in my case.  I’m not one to be willy-nilly about things.  That type of planning is my recipe to plan to fail.  I need a plan of action that I can follow to the letter.  This is how I work best.  This may not be for everyone, however.  I thrive on being strict; any wiggle room and I get lazy.

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So, to clarify the goal on my list: I not only have written in bold letters to lose 28 pounds (or what remains thereof from my losing weight efforts last year) but what each week needs to accomplish.  My ultimate goal is to lose 1 to 1 1/2 pounds a week.  This is done two ways: eat 500 calories less per day, and burn up to 500 extra calories a day in exercise.  Due to the fact that I will take two days off to “rest” during the week for exercise, I will make up the 1,000 calorie loss on other days doing active things in daily tasks like gardening, walking to the grocery store, etc. and by also choosing cardio workouts that really burn calories.  Some weeks will go as planned, and I will burn a lot of calories through exercise and activities and eating low-cal, other weeks will have setbacks like getting ill and missing a few workouts, etc.  Remember too, I’m not counting calories too exact due to my “relaxed intention” principles (post to come on that later).  I’m eating in the ballpark of 500 calories less than my BMR.

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It looks like this as an example for one day of the week:

Monday – Eat: 1350 calories / Walk Dog: Burn 100 calories / Strength Train Upper Body 20 to 30 minutes: Burn 150 to 250 Calories / Cardiovascular Exercise: Kickboxing 50 minutes: Burn 300 – 400 Calories (tallying approximate calories with a Heart Rate Monitor)

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I am only doing this for a short time.  I want to lose my weight by May and be done with it.  Then I can focus on the challenges of maintenance, which some say is harder than the losing weight bit. It is also important to mention, that for 2013 I had a goal to be more organized with my time, so I’m using that tool in conjunction with this new goal. I am using a day-planner to plan out what and when I will eat and exercise.  It’s almost like an appointment already made that I must not miss.  I spend Sundays creating this list of things-to-do which also includes a grocery shopping list to only buy what is needed for the week ahead.

For the month of January 2014 I want to lose 4 to 5 pounds.  I’ll let you know at the end of the month if that happens!  Here I go…..

Resolutions 2014

Inspirational Sunday: New Year’s Resolutions for 2014

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Hello People!

Happy New Year as well.  It is indeed a new year, a fresh start for those of us who like turning a new page. Last year I posted my resolutions and I must say that I accomplished about 3/4 of them to great success!*  You can read about it HERE.  The other fourth, I attempted, but for one reason or another, were not completely accomplished; hence my 7 pounds out of a hopeful 28 pounds loss.  Not a total fail, but not completely done with. My list below is a basic outline of what I hope to “do” in 2014.  I left it a bit general for you reader, but rest assured, I have them written down in great detail and posted in plain view for me to see and think about each day.

This year, my plans that weren’t accomplished are more narrowed down to be more specific.  In other words, just saying “I want to lose 28 pounds this year,” I have made the job more of a weekly task to work on gradually with actual numbers and a plan.  More on that later.

I want to discuss, briefly I hope, the fact that even though my best-laid-plans of 2013 weren’t completely conquered, there were so many important things that I realized about myself that are important to point out.  Perhaps you also realized things about yourself through my journey.  Plans are good, but growth is the most important thing to me.  Becoming a better version of myself is always number one on the list.  So here they are itemized in no particular order of discovery or importance:

  1. I am gluten intolerant.  Well, this certainly cuts down on a lot of once available calories for me.  That’s been the plus side.  It is still easy to overeat (I’m baking my gluten-free birthday cake as I write this!), but regardless, this will be something I will have to contend with for the rest of my life.
  2. Lots of extraneous exercise will not help me to lose weight. You may remember my posts about marathoning and walking for hours upon hours only to gain weight.  I called it the “marathon effect.”  Cardio, strength training, and stretching are great in moderation, but are only 15% of the equation in losing weight…DAMN!
  3. Proper macronutrient ratio’s help me feel full.  I’m a person who needs equal parts of complex carbo’s to protein with some fat.  Too little of carb or protein and I am toast.
  4. Sugar is my enemy and creates binging problems.  This one sucks.  I love sugar.  But, it is a completely useless and un-needed “food.”  It triggers my blood sugar to rise and drop, sometimes to dangerous levels and then makes me frantic to eat the first thing I see…and then keep eating.  I turn into one of those spring caterpillars before they go into the cocoon.
  5. Binging can be dealt with.  Not completely done with this one yet.  The devil on my shoulder will always be there.  But I can learn to master those temptations by following the former two discoveries listed above.  Most of all, riding out the wave of greed, and always being prepared if it does strike, is key for me.

And now for the Resolutions:

  • Find a home church to meet new people, find ways to socialize and commune with like believers. (I am protestant Christian, if you didn’t know)
  • Find the best Baked Beans recipe. (I know that may sound weird, but I LOVE them)
  • Financial Responsibility (this is more detailed, but that’s all I’m going to list here)
  • Lose 4 pounds a month (this is also more detailed, but I’ll write more about it later)
  • Visit 5 museums
  • Attend 5 Art Openings
  • Make 5 artworks (more specifically written down, but again…)
  • Cook through the cookbook How to Eat by Nigella Lawson (sort of a Julie & Julia scenario)
  • Improve romantic social life (not going to give you more on this, but I have a plan)
  • Make a “Garden of Envy” (I’ll take photos all through the year for you to prove it!)

I wish you all the best if you also have set goals for yourself.  It is easy to give up and quit.  But then nothing ever changes.  If it isn’t working, what if you re-work the goal?  Good Luck!

* I successfully accomplished goals #3,4,5,6 & 7

Soda Replacement

Heeeeeeyyyyy!

It’s been almost 2 months since my last post and I am back with more arsenal in my bag of tricks to help us all be motivated to lose weight!  I didn’t forget you, in fact, I thought of you almost every day; but I was sort of doing-my-own-thing in regards to eating.  Now that the holidays are over, well, almost (Sunday is my birthday, the 5th), I am can be more focused on losing weight rather than fighting the process while eating out with friends and family one too many times.

During that duration of free-wheel, but conscious, eating, I lost 2 pounds!  Ha ha! I was happy that “relaxing my intentions” (post to come on that topic) made it easier to lose.  My total pound loss for last year was 7 pounds.  Not a total fail, but not a total success when you realize I was hoping for 28 pounds to be lost.  It will be lost this year, not going to go through that again.  But, more on that tomorrow.  Stay tuned.

Today I have “the best” recipe for Iced Tea!  This is a common drink among dieters.  Some would argue that anything with caffeine is bad and should therefore be shunned.  I think it’s ok.  This is specifically a recipe for Iced Green Tea (which I normally don’t like) and that has been proven to have many beneficial elements in it.  It is lightly sweetened with honey, but you don’t have to sweeten it; or you could add some stevia to it if you like stevia. I brew a fresh pot every other day, depending on how many cups I drink.  My friends like it too when they visit.  I got it from the magazine Prevention in their June 2013 edition.

Note: if you like black tea (I do), then halve the bags (only 5) and double the honey as this can get very bitter if brewed too strongly.  Experiment with different mixtures of teas too.  I often have orphans of tea bags laying around that in combination with other teas taste great. Do I need to mention that soda/diet soda is bad?  Don’t think so.  This recipe can help ween you off the chemical laden nonsense.

ICED LEMON-GINGER GREEN TEA

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  • combine 10 green or oolong tea bags, 2″ piece of peeled fresh ginger cut into thin slices, 3 large mint sprigs, and 1 sliced small lemon in a heatproof 2 qt pitcher.
  • bring 4 cups water to a boil in saucepan or tea kettle and pour into pitcher.
  • stir once and let tea bags steep 6 minutes.
  • remove and discard tea bags and mint sprigs.
  • add a touch of honey to tea, if desired (I use a Tablespoon of Manuka)
  • let cool 20 minutes.
  • add enough ice and cold water to make 6 cups (or eyeball like I do!)
  • serve over ice in glasses with fresh mint sprigs and lemon slices

Enjoy and share with your friends!