Saturday, March 26, 2011

Salad make-over

In the immortal words of Homer Simpson and my sister-in-law Tara, you don't make friends with salad. But in the battle of the bulge, its often a good option. 

Salad's are healthy, right? I mean the main component is usually veggies and veggies are good for you, yeah? Yeah, veggies are good for you, but the other stuff that clogs up salads (creamy salad dressing, cheese, croutons, meat, pasta, ect...) might add to the taste but it also ups the calorie count, fats, choesterol, sodium, carbs....oh the humanity!

Most fast food salads are worse for you than eating a greasy hamburger, I'm serious. So what is a poor little fat girl supposed to do? You can't eat the good stuff and all of a sudden, salads aren't what they claim to be. I call it false advertising.

I'm proud to report that I am down 11 pounds since I started a few weeks ago, thanks to exercising and making food changes. Nothing drastic (I had caramel popcorn last night) but subtle changes have made a big difference. I also got a brand, spankin' new pair of tennis shoes that I can't wait to break in at the gym. 

While I've been stalking Pinterest, I've been finding some really good recipes. I found one BBQ chicken salad with BBQ lime cilantro dressing. The picture looked great so I decided to give it the Ballou make-over and make some improvements. And I'm proud to say that once again, I was victorious and amazing and incredible and....well, you get the point right? Right.

The base for this salad is slow-cooked shredded BBQ chicken. The only BBQ sauce I use is my dad's famous BBQ Sauce recipe (if I see you using another sauce I might have to smack you). I salt and peppered two honkin' big chicken breasts (DDD's atleast) and then seared them quickly in a smokin' hot pan before adding them to the crockpot with about 1 1/2 cups of BBQ sauce. I cooked it on high for about three hours and then shredded it.

I cut up a head of Romain lettuce in thin strips and added frozen corn (I would have added black beans but didn't have any. Next time though, they are yummy and add tons of fiber) about four ounces (1/2 cup) of the BBQ chicken and a handful of those crunchy tortilla strips. I know, could it get any better? Big yes on that. 

The dressing for this salad reminded me of the stuff you can get at Cafe Rio or Costa Vida. The original recipe called for one cup of mayonnaise. Holy fat and calories Batman! I substituted 3/4 cup of Greek yogurt and 1/4 cup mayonnaise and it was lovely. It also called for 1/2 cup BBQ sauce, which I added. But the next time I will leave it out.

This salad was a HUGE hit at our dinner table, even Bridget chowed down on it (minus the lettuce, it makes her barf. Long, gross story, trust me.)  From the original recipe, I cut out the onion and the cheese because I'm not a huge fan. James, who puts yellow cheese on EVERYTHING didn't miss it either.

Salad's are sneaky little buggers. Don't let them lull you into a false sense of security people. If you're going to eat a salad, make sure its a good one and not one that will do more harm than good in the battle against the chub. Happy eating my peeps! As usual, if you try making it, please leave us a comment so I'll know how you liked it.

Skinny BBQ Chicken Salad
Adapted from: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Shredded BBQ chicken
2-3 chicken breats
1 1/2 cups Bob's BBQ sauce
1 Tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper

Season the front and back of the chicken with salt and pepper. Preheat a pan and add the olive oil. Sear the chicken briefly on each side in a very hot pan (You want a lovely golden crust outside but not cooked all the way through). Preheat your crockpot on high and add the BBQ sauce. Once the chicken is seared, add it to the crockpot, coating the chicken in the sauce. Stir it occasionally and when its done, shred the chicken in the sauce. 

Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing
3/4 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Add the all the ingredients (except for the milk and the buttermilk) and blend until smooth (I didn't chop the garlic or the cilantro before hand. Instead I used a blender and put it on high). Mix the buttermilk and milk together. Slowly add the milk mixture to the blender until you get the desired consistency. Adjust the seasoning accordingly (I added more salt than this called for but start with 1/2 tsp.) Allow the dressing to "rest" in the fridge for at least 2-3 hours.

1 heart of Romaine, chopped thinly
3/4 cup of frozen corn
3/4 cup black beans, rinsed
1/2 cup tortilla strips
1 avacado, sliced 
1 tomato, chopped

Combine the salad ingredients (except for the tortilla strips) and combine. Top each salad with 1/2 cup of the cold, shredded chicken, the tortilla strips and the dressing. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A new week and a little visual inspiration

Don't you just love this poster? Couldn't have said it better. 

Tonya was visiting us from New Mexico the last week and it has been divine! We had so much fun swimming, shopping, scheming, and other things that don't start with the letter "S". Having her and Paige here made me miss her even more when she left today. My fingers are crossed Alex will find a job a little closer to home so we will be able to see them more.

The only downside to her visit (other than cleaning up my house and gathering up all the crap she left behind) is I have a tendency to eat very badly when we're together, especially in "vacation" type settings. I say "vacation" because even though I'm still home, we are going different places and eating out more because, shopping and eating is fun.

At the beginning of the week, we both vowed to see if we can lose 10 pounds. I think it will be a miracle if I didn't gain 10! She's spending the week in Roosevelt and for me at least, it's time to get back to my goal. July 14th is the magic number for when I need to drop at least 30 more pounds. Can I do it? Damn right I can.

Tomorrow I'm going to get up early and head to the gym. I've got a huge deadline tomorrow and I'll be spending most of the day on my butt working. Exercising is about priority and the only way to get into the habit of doing it is to get on a schedule, right? Right. I am so smart, S-M-R-T!

 Always good advice, always.
Heading to the gym tomorrow to lift weights and walk on the treadmill for 15 minutes. Although 15 minutes might not seem like much but for me just starting out, its gonna be huge! Wish me luck folks, I hope I survive. Getting back on the wagon sucks, I think I'm just not going to fall off it from now on. Much easier that way!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Beating the devil at his own game

I feel victorious. I stared temptation in the eye and kicked it in the juice box. Last night, as I spent my entire evening lounging on the love seat and watching seven hours of "Glee" (I'd never seen it, can you imagine?) I wrestled with an idea that a week ago, I would have jumped on.

Let me preface this by telling you something about me. One method of food control I've found is not buying food I know isn't good for me. If its not in my house, I'm less inclined to get off my fat butt and drive to the store to pick some up. A personal weakness for me is cereal and heavy cream. Oh, yeah. A little (or a lot, depending on the day) with the cereal and milk. Sweet, cold, creamy, crunchy....I have to stop right now.

As I'm watching "Glee" and trying to decide who to have a new TV crush on, I sat there and wondered what was wrong with me. I was watching this show and silently obsessing about food and not paying attention to cute men, dancing and singing. Holy Hell, what is wrong with me?!

The same old nasty thought popped into my head - have a little treat, its Sunday. You can start again tomorrow. Its the same nasty little demon that's been chillin' on my shoulder for the last 35 years.

There's a new sheriff in town, nasty little food demon and this town ain't big enough for the both of us.

I went to bed at 2 a.m., satisfied not only because I have new TV crushes but also because I didn't fall back into old habits. I enjoyed myself on Sunday, ate lovely buttermilk waffles with buttermilk dressing (I won't share the recipes because they are so fattening but if you really want them, message me) and had a delicious dinner of roasted potatoes and chicken. It doesn't mean I'm going to throw away all my progress for one bowl of cereal. My day wasn't as low calorie or low fat as its been this past week, but I had a good day, enjoyed myself and for once didn't let food dictate how I felt about myself and fill a "void" that wasn't really there.

Eating a little less rigidly on Sunday was liberating. It gave me something to look forward to in the week and a reminder that cheating only cheats me, no one else. I feel good. I'll be weighing in today or tomorrow. Hopefully we're still on the downward slide!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

S A T U R D A Y, night!

I don't know why I have that song from the Bay City Rollers in my mind, but there you go (see below). It's the weekend, we made it people! Time to get crap done, relax and prepare for the next week. My life is crazy and because I work from home, most days are like Saturday's for me. Especially since James has been home. When I was working though, it was always a hard day for me food wise.

No time clock to punch, no schedule, the fridge with in reach? See a pattern here? This is my first weekend since I got back on the wagon last week. Add to that my lovely sister Tonya (who has been noticeably absent on here lately) is coming to visit. I'm so excited I could almost pee myself. I won't, but I could.

How do you manage food on days off? It's a great question, right? Keeping busy is always a good idea. I've been thinking lately of being more precise with my meal planning. How do you keep control of your diet during the weekend?

Crank up the speakers and enjoy this classic clip from the Mike Meyers classic, "So I Married an Axe Murdered". Heed...pants...NOW!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Guidlines for kid-size portions

As an adult, figuring out portion size is tricky, but for those of us with kids at home, what about their portion sizes? I'd never really thought about it much until I came across a great article about what children need at different ages. In our quest to make healthy lifestyle changes, it seems like a natural step to instill those same ideals into our kids, right? Right. Brenda is so smart.

They have a great form you can print off and then check off the foods your kids eat through out the day. A friend of mine used to do this for herself and she was very successful at losing weight. James and I are going to try it for the Midge. 

Here is the {link} to the article. Tell me what you think!

Photo courtesy of

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Thursday laugh for all you dieters!

The truth about counting calories

Studies have shown that eating a balanced diet with in the recommended guidelines and exercising will help you lose weight. It's true, we all know it. Sometimes I struggle with food choices that are not only low in calories but also low in carbs, cholesterol, fat and sodium in addition to being high in fiber and protein. The Holy Grail, right?

Sometimes it can feel that way. Right now, I'm eating a bowl of grapefruit and a banana. Low in calories, the right kind of carbs and some fiber. Do I wish it was a pancake? You betcha. Food is my struggle, my Mt. Everest, my Goliath.

I've always been blessed with low cholesterol (thank you Ballou genes) but two years ago when James lost his job, we started eating a lot of fast food. The next time I went to the doctor, my cholesterol had risen so much she checked it again. I couldn't believe it! Had eating fast food really done that to me? Not only was my cholesterol up, but I had gained weight. Yuck.

We've all seen or read articles telling us how gross fast food is and how holy un-natural it is the way they make it so that it endures for eternity. Yuck, why are we putting that kind of stuff into our bodies? James and I decided I while ago we were going to try to eliminate fast food entirely, especially for Bridget. No more chicken nuggies from McDonald's. They aren't good for us, why would I feed them to my beloved little princess? I do make one fast food exception and that's Chick-Fil-A because I logged many hours in their kitchen and I know they use actual chicken and fry their products in peanut oil. We don't eat her often, but if the Midge wants nuggies, that's where she gets them from.

I read a wonderful article today from one of my favorite weight loss blogs, A Black Girl's Guide to Weight Loss (It's also on our favorite blogs list!) Erika Kendall writes funny and informative articles about all aspects of weight loss. Some is more specific to African American women, but I've read so much on there that has really made me think. The article I read today is about KFC's Double Down sandwich. Two fried pieces of chicken, bacon and that fake yellow cheese. She talks about how its only 540 calories but then goes on to talk about how much fat, cholesterol and sodium it has. Yikes!

This is a great example of how easy we can be mislead to think something is "good" for us simply because its low in calories. Read this article and tell me what you think. I'd love to hear your stories about battling the food label beast.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Goals are good I think. I have one and I am confident I will succeed. My adorable family is going to Denver this summer and we are spending a whole day at the best water park on this earth, Water World. Never been? O.M.G., its so fab! We used to go all the time when we lived in Denver.

While I'm looking forward to going and spending the day, I also got a little nervous. I'm chubby and swim suits are icky, right? I decided I had to try to drop a little weight or Water World was going to suck.

I'm happy to report that I am down nine pounds already in two weeks. Hurray! I'm feeling pretty good, despite not being able to exercise much (stupid messed up back and hurting foot). My diet has gotten heaps better though and I really think that's made all the difference. I went to Sunflower Market today and spent $30 on fruit and veggies. It felt good.

I've been talking to PA almost daily (I love that girl!) and she's provided a ton of support for me. She's lost 86 pounds so far! Holy hotness Batman! I'm so darn proud of her I could cry. She's so great. We've been talking a lot about why losing weight is so hard. She's adjusted her diet and been exercising like a mad woman. And its been paying off.

We were talking last night about why we eat the way we do. For me, it's a mental thing. Being programed for the last 35 years to cook a certain way and eat a certain way. It's been hellish trying to change that. Like tonight, James had school and Bridget and I usually eat breakfast on Wednesday nights. No big right? Tonight I made lemon poppy seed pancakes with strawberries and whipped cream. While I did good on two small pancakes, I still had a ton of sugar on the strawberries and too much cream.

In some ways I think I'm doing really good. In others, sucking it up. I guess making a life change can't be done in a single day, but sometimes it gets so depressing.

Any who, I'm down nearly 10 pounds and I'm loving it. Tomorrow I'm going to the gym and hopefully my back and foot will not protest. Keep kicking ass people, we're slowly conquering the fat!