Better Choices, Better Results

Exercise Update

I have been exercising.  I have been actively moving.  (Put your hands in the air and raise the roof!)

Here’s a break-down of my week:

Monday: Walking DVD   I bought Leslie Sansone’s new DVD and I really enjoy that it’s faster-paced and includes a strengthening band routine.  I did the 2-mile portion.

Tuesday: I did a stability ball DVD.  This time I worked without the stability ring, so it was a bit harder to keep my balance, and I think that’s the point.  The ball still isn’t inflated enough because the little hand-pump that came with it just doesn’t provide enough pressure.  I’ll be talking a short stroll to our garage to take advantage of our air compressor!  Once that ball is inflated correctly, I believe the workout will be more beneficial.

Wednesday and Thursday:  I was out-of-town, but part of my days were devoted to walking around to see some of the sights.  Because it was cold, I walked pretty fast, too.

Today:  I had to get to work early, but I’ll be sure to pop in the walking DVD or SOMETHING before I go to bed tonight.


I’m going to be playing in my kitchen this weekend.  Hopefully I’ll have something great to share with you!



There are some days that you just want a little something.  A little sweetness.  A little…you know what I mean.  However, I have this problem of wanting to eat ALL of something sweet if it’s around, so I typically don’t keep anything, especially a whole cake, in the house.

3-2-1 Cake for One!

But what if you have company?  Is it fair to completely wipe the shelves clean knowing that someone could just drop by?  I wouldn’t have anything to offer them!  More importantly, I must think about the fact that it just might be considered unladylike in a southern household to not have something around to offer my guests.

I take pride in being a southern lady.

I had a dear friend over this weekend.  We just hung out and laughed and crafted and cooked.  A superb weekend by any standards, except for one little thing.  She was craving something sweet and I didn’t really have anything in the house that I could whip up for her.

This was a challenge!  She talked about cake, and while I probably had all the ingredients I needed to make one, it would have taken 2 – 3 hours to mix, bake, cool and frost a cake.  It was already 8:30pm, and as I have said before, I can’t have a lot of anything sweet in the house.

We started combing the internet for ideas.  At first we started looking at Mug Cakes.  Have you heard of those?  You mix your regular cake ingredients in a mug, and microwave for a few minutes, and out pops a cake-for-one.  Sounded like a plan until I started figuring out the nutrition values on a mug cake.  This was important to know, since we are both losing weight.

For those of you familiar with a well-known points program famous for helping people lose weight, I have to share that the mug cakes were between 22 – 27 points…EACH!  For one serving!

We considered making one anyway and splitting it, but still, that just seemed like so many calories and carbs and fat grams for so little real nutrition.

So we kept combing the internet.  My friend said, “Here’s one for only 3-points!”  That got my attention.  She said that I needed to take a regular cake mix and mix it together with a boxed angel food cake mix, then use 3 tablespoons of the mix, 2 tablespoons of water and nuke it for 1 minute.

I immediately went to the closest store and bought the two cake mixes.  We tried it and LOVED it!  It was just sweet enough, even without frosting.  It was just enough to satisfy that sweet craving, without going overboard.  And it was so easy.

First, buy your two cake mixes.  I bought a chocolate fudge and a regular angel food cake mix.  I dumped both into a large zipper bag and shook to combine.

What you need: the mix, a measuring spoon, a small coffee mug and liquid. I used 1 tablespoon of water and 1 tablespoon of Sugar-free Kahlua-flavored syrup.

Then we added our liquid.

Just dump it all in...

We stirred.

...and stir.

We nuked.

This is what it looks like after cooking in the microwave for 1-minute.

We enjoyed.

Presentation is everything! Take it out of the mug and dress it up with a little fruit, whipped topping and mini chocolate chips!

I ended up giving her half of the mixture to take home and share with her family, and believe me, I still have enough mix to have cake for quite awhile.

This is such a great idea!  I wish I knew who thought of this so I could thank her (or him).

Want a bite?

Look Ma! No Donuts!

Webster’s Dictionary defines donut as:  a small, usually ring-shaped cake fried in fat.   I define them as: Sugary pieces of delight created by the Devil himself!

I do love donuts.  I love that they are crsipy and sweet on the outside and soft and comforting on the inside.  I love that they come in so many varieties.  I love that they are portable, one-hand food.

Smell no evil, touch no evil, eat no evil!

I love them so much that when they are around, I must have them ALL eaten before the end of the day.  A dozen glazed Krispy Kremes would, in my former life, be completely be devoured in just a few hours. 

To sum it up, I cannot have them around.

So, when some were brought in to work yesterday, I found myself looking at them all day.  Every time I went into the break room, I looked at them.  When I fixed my healthy and wholesome lunch, I looked at them.  When I prepared protein shakes for some patients, I looked at them.

But I didn’t touch them.  I didn’t smell them, and I DID NOT EAT THEM! 

This morning, there are 2 left in the box, and I’m so proud of myself for avoiding them all day yesterday, that I won’t even consider grabbing one from the box.

This has been a relatively successful week for me.  Here’s a break-down:

1. I didn’t eat the donuts.
2. I have done some type of physical activity every day this week.
3. I have eaten healthfully at every meal except one.
4. I have been tracking my food.
5. And lest we forget: I didn’t eat the donuts!

My next goal is to get away from carbonation again.  

I’ve also realized that my Leslie Sansone 1-Mile Power Walk isn’t enough to get my blood pumping, so I bought this on the way to work this morning:

Let's pump up the energy and burn those calories!


I Either AM, Or I Am NOT


I was in a conversation with someone once, and even though I don’t remember the topic, I remember telling him that I was trying to accomplish something, and he said, “You are either doing it or not doing it.  There is no in-between.”


At first I wanted to argue, but then I started thinking about what he said.  He was right. 

The title of this post was going to be I’m Trying, I Really Am!  But then I remembered that statement and realized that I couldn’t get away with that.

I’m either actively exercising daily or I’m not.

I’m eating appropriately or I’m not.

I’m taking the steps to get to my goal. 

Or.  I’m.  Not.

What I know is that I am eating healthy most of the time.  I can plan for those times that I don’t, and if I choose to eat something “bad,” then it IS my choice.  Let’s be honest.  Sometimes I choose to eat the brownie.

Regular exercising is more of a struggle.  I wanted to start whining about how I’m trying to be better.  But am I?  It’s far too easy for me to make an excuse.  When I don’t exercise, I’m choosing that option.  It’s all on me.


I have a dear friend who lives far away from me and I had texted her about fitting into a smaller size.  She responded by telling me that my success gave her motivation to exercise!  What a compliment!  And then I remembered that even though I was “trying” to do better, I really wasn’t giving it my all.  So my friend and I decided to exercise in the mornings and text each other when we were through.

Well, you knew I’d have to take photos and share all the gory details with you.

I had the alarm set for 5:15. IN THE MORNING!!!!


I did not want to wake up yet!


Be glad I'm sparing you photos from me actually getting dressed!


Yep! shoes, too!


Grabbed some water...


Slide in the DVD. Sorry some of these are out of focus; I didn't have my glasses on yet!


Grabbed my glasses so I could actually SEE what was going on...


Press Play...

…and then I completed my workout, feeling very proud of myself.  How do you keep doing what it is you need to do?




MYO – Canned Chicken

Imagine that you’ve come home from a tough day at work and you are, as on most days, exhausted.  However, this morning you forgot to lay out something for supper, and everything you have requires thawing or a long cooking process.

Time to just call it a day and go out for dinner, right?

Not if you have some staples in your pantry that are ready to use!  Canned meats are something that I keep on hand and they’ve proven themselves to be very helpful on those crazy days.  When I have something like…canned chicken…I can have a healthy and nutritious meal thrown together in less time than it would take to drive to the nearest nice restaurant.

You can purchase canned chicken in the grocery.  In fact, I used to buy large cans of it from Sam’s or Costco to keep on hand for chicken salad.  However, since I started canning my own, there is just no comparison in the taste and texture.  Mine ROCKS!

If you’ve never canned your own food before, don’t be afraid to try it.  After your initial monetary outlay for the pressure canner and jars, you’ll find that you save a lot of money.

If you can find your chicken on sale, of course, your price-per-ounce goes down.  If you like dark meat and don’t mind dealing with bones and skin, you can get cheaper cuts and save even more money.  I, on the other hand, was almost out of canned chicken, I don’t like dark meat and I don’t like messing with the skin and bones, so I bought skinless, boneless chicken breasts at Sam’s Club.

It starts with getting some chicken!

I may do some canning tutorials later on, but for now, let’s just see what the results are from this canning session.

I had enough chicken for 5 quarts of chicken and broth.  Each jar contains about 30 oz.  That’s 150 ounces of chicken and broth.  I spent $24.64 for the chicken, and had everything else I needed on hand.  That comes out to 16.4 cents for ounce.


Five quarts of delicious, ready-to-eat chicken!


Costco has large 12.5 ounce cans of chicken packaged in 6-can units.  The cost is $13.99, or 18.6 cents per ounce.

Costco's version....


Again, we each have to choose if the extra time spent in preparation is worth it to save roughly 2 cents per ounce.

Well, here’s my 2-cents worth.  (See what I did there?)

  1. I’ve had both, and my chicken tastes better.
  2. The texture is better.
  3. The broth in my chicken is useable; the store-bought chicken is packed in water.
  4. I know what’s in it, although I wish I had more control over the chicken itself.  I’d much rather find a local organic supplier, and maybe I will someday.

How do I use my chicken?  Any way that you would use chicken in any recipe.

  • Chicken Salad
  • BBQ Chicken Sandwiches
  • Chicken Soup
  • White Chicken Chili
  • Chicken Fried Rice
  • Chicken Tacos
  • Buffalo Chicken Dip
  • Chicken Pot Pie

I could go on and on…..

I’ve also canned cubed steak, and hamburger meat.  I’ve canned sausage patties, and hope to do ham in the near future.

What types of ready-to-eat foods would you like to keep on hand?

Today I was craving a big salad.  A big, fruity salad.  With chicken.  I had lettuce from my salad drawer, I had kiwis, fresh pineapple and madarin oranges.  I had all the makings for a great salad.  Everything, except the dressing.

We had ranch dressing, but that didn’t seem right.

We had a light olive oil & vinegar, but that didn’t really strike my fancy, either.  I wanted a sweet dressing, but had nothing on hand.  At least, nothing already made.

I had ingredients, though!  And here we go!

I pulled out some Olive Oil Mayo (lower in calories than traditional mayo), low fat sour cream, honey, poppy seeds and a can of mandarin oranges (canned in their own juice).

Orange Poppy Seed Dressing
– Dervied from this recipe

  • 3 tb. Mayonnaise
  • 3 tb. Low Fat Sour Cream
  • 1/4 cup Mandarin Orange Juice (poured straight from the can)
  • 1 tb. Honey
  • 2 tsp. poppy seeds

Whisk together well.

After I put together the dressing, I pulled out the rest of a rotisserie chicken that I bought at Sam’s Club yesterday.  I cut up about 8 oz. of chicken and poured about 2 Tb. of teriyaki sauce over it.  I stirred that together, then put it in a skillet to warm.

While the chicken was warming, I peeled 2 kiwis and chopped up some pineapple spears (also purchased at Sam’s).  I finished draining off the juice from the mandarin oranges.

Once the chicken was heated through, I pulled out a jar of lettuce and dumped it in a large plate.  I added dressing, 4 ounces of the chicken, half of the fruit and some of the dressing.

Here is the finished product:


My latest creation: a Fruity Salad with poppy seed dressing! (I think the picture would look more appetizing on a darker plate. Lots to learn about food photography!)



Just Checking In…

I said I’d post once a week to fill you in on my physical activity progress…

Friday, January 20th:  22 minute trail workout on the treadmill

Sunday, January 22: Stability Ball Workout

It’s a start.