Archive for February 2011

Veggie Dish #8 – Massaged Kale Salad

Kale is good for you. It’s leafy greens, and how many of us couldn’t use more leafy greens in our life? I know I don’t get enough. However, it also has a bitter bite to it that makes it tough for some people to get.

I drink it in green smoothies pretty regularly, but that’s not my favorite way to get them by any means. About a year ago or so, I came across a recipe from the blog of one of my favorite vegans, Kristen Suzanne. If you don’t know her blog, she’s worth reading, whether you are a vegan or not. I am not a vegan, but I LOVE finding delicious vegan recipes because they are usually, calorie dense or not, immensely healthy. Unfortunately, I’ve made more than one vegan recipe that tastes like crap. Not so with Kristen Suzanne. She makes recipes that even this omnivore finds delicious.

Anyway, I used one of her recipes this week for a kale salad that I have not had in a long time. She calls it a Candy Kale Salad, and for good reason. She’s found a way to take kale with its bitter bite and make it taste sweet.

To start off with, take some kale and wash it.

This next part is the magical step that takes kale from bitter to amazing, healthy food. Take lemon juice, olive oil, and salt. (I used pink Himalayan crystal salt.)

Tear the kale up into nice, salad-sized chunks. (I got rid of the stems. I can take them in my green smoothies or dehydrated kale chips. I can’t in a raw salad.)

Toss some lemon juice and olive oil (about a tablespoon each, give or take) and some salt onto the kale. With your bare hands, massage it into the kale. This doesn’t have to be a neat process. I just squeezed and scrunched and played with the kale until it all looked nicely coated and felt like I had given it a good workout. It took maybe a minute or two.

The hard part is over. Now the fun part. Put some fruity, salady stuff on top of it. There’s no way to go wrong here. For this salad, I used grapes, frozen blueberries, frozen blackberries (picked locally from a friend’s mother’s backyard last summer), some chopped pineapple, and a little coconut. You could also add tomatoes, avocado, sunflower seeds, mandarin oranges… the sky is literally the limit. Anything that you would like to eat in a sweet-ish salad, you can put in here.

Even if you don’t like greens, you should consider trying this salad. Crazy easy, crazy good for you, and crazy tasty. Definitely a winner.

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My Attempt at Blood Donation

I like to give blood. The American Red Cross has gotten about two gallons from me since I started donating regularly. No, I’m not a masochist. I do enjoy the fact that it makes me feel better physically. In the days after I’ve given blood, I have a LOT of energy. It lowers the blood pressure and it kind of forces the body to get rid of the old (literally) and build up some new. And there is the added benefit of getting to save three lives with every donation.

And if you don’t know what I look like, no, that photo above is not of me.

I’ll readily admit that it is extremely easy for me to donate blood. If I was needle-phobic, I doubt I would be as willing. As it is, needles don’t scare me at all. I have veins the size of pencils. I’ve seen other people give blood and I’ve watched the phlebotomist literally search and stab, trying to find a vein. With me, that NEVER happens. My veins are huge and right at the surface.

The only down side? I can’t work out on the day that I give. I don’t workout in the morning, ever, (that’s probably a topic for another post), and you aren’t supposed to work out afterward at all. Therefore, days where I give blood are also forced days away from the gym. Once every eight weeks (or so) isn’t a big deal, so I don’t worry about that negative.

Now that I work on a college campus, I am pretty exposed to multiple blood drives on a regular basis. I’m always happy to give, even if I usually have to give up a workout for it.

So, as soon as my class ended, I went to the building where they were collecting that red gold, rolled up my sleeves, answered the requisite questions about my sex life and travel habits, and then was asked my weight.

No biggie. I’ve never been afraid of a number. My logic is – people can tell I’m fat by looking at me. What does it matter if there is a number to go with it?

The guy who was working on me paused, looked kinda sheepish, and then mumbled something along the lines of, “Uhm… our tables only have a weight limit of 350, and I’m afraid I can’t let you donate today.”

I jokingly asked , “How about if I tell you I weigh 350?”

Because I have donated on those very tables since I weighed over 400 pounds. Never once had an issue, so I seriously thought that perhaps there was a problem with just the number. I’m okay lying about ten pounds. No biggie.

No go. He said he had to go by the first number I gave him.

What number did I give him? The same thing I weighed in with today at my Weight Watchers @Work meeting. 358. I was eight pounds over the table’s limit. Too much to keep me from giving blood and saving three people’s lives.

I can’t even be upset by this one. It’s almost too funny to be upset by. I won’t lie – my ego was a tiny bit bruised as I walked out of the collection area with my “I Save Lives” Sympathy T-Shirt for at least trying to donate. (Which never fits, by the way, because it doesn’t come in 3X.)

When I weighed over 400 pounds, this might have been a deal breaker for me. I would have probably sworn off donating blood forever, and probably gone home and binged about it.

Today, what do I do?

I shrug my shoulders and I don’t worry about it. The Red Cross will be back here again in about a month, and I’ll weigh less than 350 pounds by then. And besides, I’m going to lie. I’m going to tell them I weigh 110, just to see how they react.

Oh, and since I didn’t give blood today, I’m going to get some exercise in. I have a late meeting tonight at work that won’t let out until after 9, so I can’t go to the gym. (Our gym closes at 9.) Instead, I’m going to walk up and down the stairs of my building. I’ll make my workout happen here.

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Guest Post: Healthy Homemade Pizza Crust

I asked my lovely wife, Tina, to do a guest post for me on this amazing pizza crust she makes for us. Just by virtue of it being homemade, I know it’s going to be healthier than a store bought (or delivery) pizza, and we make a few substitutions that make it healthier yet. (And of course – always everything in moderation.) Let me turn it over to Tina!

Hi ya’ll! Tina from Martha Wannabe here, aka Jeremy’s wife. I believe Jeremy has mentioned something about our homemade pizza Fridays; it’s a favorite in our house. I found a website called Perfect Planner Meals; there aren’t a great deal of recipes on there, as this is fairly new I believe, but the recipes I’ve tried have been great! Today I’m going to share with you the recipe of pizza dough, which was made with half white flour half wheat flour; it came out really nice! We’ve also had this dough made with all white flour, also excellent! It takes a little bit of time, but little effort… unless you have to knead by hand.

First, combine warm water, yeast, and sugar; this sits for about 5 minutes until it gets foamy.

Then comes the time consuming part; we add in half the flour, ½ cup oil, salt, and spices. There are no specific spices in the ingredients; just use whatever you want. I use about a tablespoon or so of basil, oregano, generic Italian spice, and garlic powder, whatever floats your boat; it can be trial and error for you! Mix that up until it’s smooth. I switch out the paddle for the dough hook at this point — much easier this way. Add the remaining 2 cups of flour ¼ cup at a time until incorporated; the dough should still be slightly tacky.

Hand knead the dough for a few minutes until smooth. In a medium sized bowl, add one tablespoon of oil and swirl around the bottom and sides. Add the dough and turn until fully coated in oil. Cover with a clean towel and allow to rise for 1 – 1 ½ hours or until double in size. This will make 2 crusts or 1 gigantic thick crust.

Tonight when I looked up the dough recipe, she had put up a new recipe for Pizza Bites. Start by spraying a muffin pans with nonstick spray, and then take the prepared dough, pinch off a small amount and press into the muffin pan, on the bottom and up the sides. Put in a spoonful of sauce and whatever toppings you want; we used spinach, beef, and mushrooms, and then added a little bit of cheese on top. Put in a 350º oven and bake for approximately 12 minutes; I think ours took about 15 minutes. It just depends on your oven! They were delicious and a nice change from the normal pizza. If you made just regular dough with no spices, you could fill this with some fruit and nuts, or chocolate and make a delicious dessert… now I wish I hadn’t put all the spices in mine!

The sauce I use is a recipe from this site as well; it’s delicious. Just don’t let your husband put entirely too much salt in it *ahem* even being too salty for my taste, the sauce was delicious, and it makes a ton. We’ve used it 3 times now and still have a lot left.

Enjoy your week! Happy pizzaing!

The actual recipes are below.

Deep Dish Pizza Crust

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 pkg. active dry yeast
1 tsp. sugar
4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. salt
Spices

Preparation:

In a large mixer bowl, combine the water, yeast, and sugar and stir to combine. Let sit until the mixture is foamy, about 5 minutes.

Add 2 cups of the flour, 1/2 cup oil, and the salt, mixing by hand until it is all incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Continue adding the flour, along with herbs and garlic (I use basil, oregano, thyme, and garlic powder–just small palm-fulls of each.) 1/4 cup at a time, working the dough after each addition, until all the flour is incorporated but the dough is srill slightly sticky.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth but still slightly tacky., 3-5 minutes. Oil a large mixing bowl with the remaining 2 tsp. oil.
Place the dough in the bowl and turn to oil all sides. Cover the bowl with a towel and set in a warm, draft-free place until nearly doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Divide into 2 equal portions and it’s ready to use!

Pizza Bites

Added toppings:
Mini pepperoni bites
Ground Italian sausage, sweet or hot, depends on you taste. I used spicy in my recipe. Brown the Italian sausage before assembling.
Hand shredded mozzarella. About 3 cups.
Assembly:
Spray a mini muffin tin with a non-stick spray. Tear off a small piece of dough, roll in the palm of your hand and stretch to line the muffin tin up to the lip, creating the shape of the muffin. Add about a tsp. of pizza sauce, Italian sausage, a small dollop of cheese and the tiny pepperoni.

Bake in a 350 degree F oven for about 12 minutes until golden brown. Pop out of the tins, place on platter and watch them disappear!

Old World Style Pizza Sauce:
Ingredients:
6 ounces tomato paste
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 can tomato sauce (29 ounces)
1/2 cup finely chopped sweet onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. rosemary
1-3 tsp. dried red pepper flakes–to taste
2 cups water
salt to taste

Directions:
In a large saucepan over medium heat, stir the tomato paste and olive oil together, then stir in the tomato sauce.
Add all of the remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer. Cook, uncovered for 3 hours, stirring frequently. Add water if sauce gets too thick, but it should reduce down to a thick paste that has enough body to cover a pizza.
Makes 3 cups, enough for 2-3 pizzas

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My First Walking 5K

Tina has a wonderful guest post lined up and waiting about her wonderful amazing whole wheat pizza dough. However, I’m going to let it wait one more day, because I did something today that I have never consciously done before.

I walked a 5K. Instead of doing an hour on the elliptical at the gym, I picked a treadmill, punched in 5K loop, and set off at the fastest walk I could muster until I was done.

I have a LONG way to go to running a 5K. I am well aware of this. I have seen plenty of people post sub-30 minutes times on running. I’ve seen people post times in the range of 45 minutes for walking. I knew this was nowhere near possible for me.

Going in, I was hoping to not go too far over an hour.

The 5K seems like such a long distance to me, a complete non-runner at the moment, but I realize it’s only 3.10 miles. I’m not up to running it yet, but I can definitely walk it now.

I’m not crippled. I pushed myself hard, but not so hard that I won’t be able to walk tomorrow. So, how did I do?

56:47.

I’ll do even better on Tuesday.

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35 Weeks to Go And Counting: A Run For Your Lives Update

I have decided to write a post every weekend, detailing our training for the upcoming Run For Your Lives. Tired of hearing about it yet? I’m not. I’m so excited I can barely stand it!

And yet… I realize I have a LONG way to go.

I’ve always been jealous of runners. The very notion of running is antithetical with being a fat kid. I never managed to complete the one mile run that was held in P.E. class every year. I just couldn’t do it. Didn’t want to do it, frankly.

I villainized running. I made it the enemy. Not me. It. Running is stupid.

And I’m finding myself slowly changing.

Even in the last two years that I’ve been a part of the weight loss blogging world, my attitude has begun to change. Before, I held the attitude, “I only run when I am being chased.” (Rather ironic, then, that I WILL be chased during the first 5K I’ve signed up for.) Then, as I got fit, my attitude turned to envy. I can’t run without pain, and I was extremely jealous of those of you who would go out and run a 5K (or 10K… or half… or full marathon) with no more energy than I would devote to an hour long workout in the gym.

I’ve tried Couch to 5K more than once. I’ve never made it past week three.

So what am I doing to prepare for this race? I’m not EXACTLY tackling Couch to 5K again, but I am breaking out the jogging shoes.

Last night, my knee was terribly swollen. It’s just something that’s wrong with me. I don’t even know if I can blame it on my obesity, because my left knee NEVER swells. But it was pretty tight, and it hurt to do too much activity on it. I wasn’t overly sweating it, because I know that pain will go away in two to three days, and it was almost over. But how can I work out on it?

Ah, I know! I’ll do Couch to 5K in the pool! So last night, Tina and I went to the gym, changed into swim gear, and walked and jogged in the pool a la C25K style for thirty minutes. It was a better workout than I was expecting.

The activity helped my knee, and today, I woke up almost pain free. We went to Russell Sims Park here in town, which has a nice one mile track.

Knowing our past attitude toward C25K, Tina and I decided we were going to just walk and run as we felt like it, gradually increasing the run time. In other words, we didn’t do sixty seconds of jogging after ninety seconds of walking. We probably did less jogging than we would have otherwise. As we walked, we would pick out a light post and jog until we had passed two more. We did that four times over the course of a mile, and I stuck to my slow, plodding, painfree pace. Tina is considerably faster than me, which is perfectly fine by me. She has crazy long legs and she’s a LOT lighter than I am, so it stands to reason she would be faster.

I know I have a LONG way to go in training for this run. We want to do an actual 5K before it, just so we know what it’s like to run a 5K that isn’t infested with zombies.

So what does the rest of our week look like? This is my proposed training plan for the rest of the week.

Sunday – An hour on the elliptical at the gym (to build lung and heart endurance) and a 5K walk with Malcolm (our dog) at a local park in town
Monday – An hour of Zumba, followed by an hour of Aqua Zumba
Tuesday – I have a late meeting at work, so in-between regular work hours and my late meeting, I’m going to hit the gym for an hour of cardio on the elliptical.
Wednesday – Finally, a weight session!
Thursday – Another weight session!
Friday – Cardio recovery day from two days of weights

We normally do a lot more weights than that, but this is what’s going to fit with my work schedule. We need to get back into the groove of doing more weights, but I also need to strengthen my heart and lungs. I’m surprised at how weak they got from just taking about two weeks off from my eye infection. It’s so hard to gain that endurance but so EASY to lose.

We’re continuing to do ten minutes of stretching yoga every night before bed, courtesy of Netflix Watch Instantly.

Oh, and to stay in the zombie mood, we’re going to watch the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead.

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12-31-13 - 412.0
1-3-14 - 407.0 (-5.0 pounds total)