Thursday, January 16, 2014

Slow cooker to Dutch oven conversion

Here is the conversion for recipes for a slow cooker to cooking in a Dutch oven:

Slow cooker low setting:
1/4 the time at 325 F

Slow cooker high setting:
1/2 the time at 325 F

Polenta in a rice cooker

I love eating polenta but I don't like making it. You have to stir it every 2-3 minutes for up to half an hour. I have better things to do with my time.

So I discovered how to cook polenta in a rice cooker. Here it is:

Servings: 4
  • 1 cup coarse polenta
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt (you may want to adjust this to suit you)
  • 2 tablespoons butter or other oil such as olive oil
  1. Place the ingredients into your rice cooker.
  2. Cook on the white rice setting until done (15 - 20 minutes).
  3. Add cheese (2 tbsp Parmesan) or other ingredients just before serving.

This usually takes 15 - 20 minutes, which is so much faster than stirring for that time!

Monday, January 6, 2014

It's working!

Changing my calorie burning goals was a GREAT idea. For example, today I ran 1.5 miles, sprinted up a hill (the hill) 6 times, and walked home 1.5 miles. I'm on track to burn 2160 calories for the day.

Normally, this would upset me because with that exercise I still won't reach my goal of 2,300 calories burned. But now that I've changed my goal to 2,000 calories, I'm absolutely ecstatic. With this progress, I'm guaranteed to lose at least a pound a week if I keep my food intake under control. It's great to know that I'm actually losing weight with all the effort I'm putting in lately.

The same feeling of "Awesome! I've burned a ton of calories." came yesterday after a morning of snowboarding. In the 1.5 hours I actually spent on the mountain doing things, I burned about 600 calories more than I would've had I been sitting on the couch. For that much exercise, 600 calories isn't much. But considering I only need to burn 2,000 burned daily, it totally busted that goal and I was incredibly happy with myself.

Moral of the story (and my motto in life): Lower your expectations and you'll never be disappointed.

Just kidding. The better moral is to have realistic expectations so that the motivation to achieve them is not lacking.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

My kryptonite

This holiday season has taught me that beer is not the only thing that I simply can't have in moderate quantities. You can add chocolate, blue cheese, deli meat, and any sort of baked good to that list.

I've been pretty good about controlling my drinking for the past two weeks in that I haven't had much beer or wine but have instead saved it for "special occasions". There have only been three of those, such as when family friends came over for dinner, our family Christmas Eve dinner, and another dinner party right before New Year's. I imbibed A LOT during those times, but didn't have even a sip of alcohol on the remaining days.

However, I ate a lot of chocolate, blue cheese, deli meat, and any sort of baked good. For example, I ate a whole circle round thing of blue cheese between yesterday and today. I just couldn't control myself. It was soooooooo good.

As a result, I'm pretty sure I gained a bunch of weight during these past two weeks, and most of it is not due to alcohol. I weighed myself last night (big mistake) and was up nearly 10 pounds. TEN POUNDS!!! Most of that is alcohol water weight and also the food I'd consumed that day, but only a few of those came off between last night and this morning. I can feel my gut being bigger and I'm up a belt hole, so I'm pretty sure some of that weight gain is here to stay.

The good news is that I know the recipe for losing weight and I'm also really good at keeping my kryptonite foods away on a day-to-day basis. It's these vacation weeks that do me in! At home, I can have a piece of chocolate one day, some cake another day, and a couple of slices of prosciutto later in the week. But at my parents' house or elsewhere on vacation, I consume them all in one sitting. It's pretty bad, like all sense of self-control is gone and I revert back to my fat self desires.

The even better news is that I'm headed home this evening and can start having willpower once again. I've even developed some sort of training plan that involves lots of running because it's too cold to bike and I can feel my muscles atrophying. Soon enough, I'll be back on track to get skinny by the summer.