Friday, March 23, 2012

9.2 in 4

I'm not going to lie. At first, I was skeptical. Just another ad for a weight loss program making promises. And if it did work, I'd either be starving myself, eating a bunch of packaged foods, or spending hundreds of dollars a month. I knew that to be a fact. Until...

I saw Charles Barkley on Inside the NBA. I'm a huge basketball fan. Even bigger Suns fan. And the Chuckster is my favorite basketball player of all time. They didn't call him the Round Mound of Rebound for no reason. He's a big dude. Well, was... After seeing him and hearing him contribute his weight loss success to WeightWatchers, I had to at least look into it.

I was happy to learn that it wasn't going to cost hundreds of dollars a month and I didn't have to eat a bunch of packaged foods. So the next question... would I be starving all the time? Trying it was the only way to find out. So I did.

You've got to understand that I've literally tried everything, short of diet pills (which weren't options). So even if WeightWatchers didn't work for me - no harm, no foul. At least I could say that I tried it.

Well - It's been about 4 weeks. Just had my weigh in. And...

I've lost 9.2 pounds! In just 4 weeks!!

And - happy to report that I'm NOT starving. I'm still learning what power foods are best for me to help curb hunger, but I have not been left feeling weak or famished all of the time.

I'm a very happy camper. It's amazing what a little weight loss can do for your confidence!

Goals for this week: incorporate more exercise.

Started WeightWatchers 2/19/2012
This Week’s Weigh In:
1.2 lbs lost
Total Weight Lost: 9.2 lbs
Weight Left to Goal: 36.8 lbs

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Embracing My Irish

I’m Irish. I’m a bunch of things really, but I’m the most Irish. If you must know I’m…About 1/2 Irish
And 1/2 of: Spanish, Yugoslavian, Czechoslovakian, and French

I remember growing up and having some delicious Irish Classics: Corned Beef & Hash, Corned Beef & Cabbage, Shepherd’s Pie, Irish Stew, you get the picture… These dishes are not always the best options for someone trying to lose weight and tracking points on WeightWatchers. So, imagine my excitement when WeightWatchers posted Pastrami and Hash as their featured recipe for today!!!

Since this is me we’re talking about, of course I didn’t follow their recipe to a “T” (I cannot for the life of me ever, ever stick to a recipe 100% - I just can’t) But, I did plug it into the Recipe Calculator to come up with the points per serving.

Pastrami & Hash
6 servings
5 points per serving*

4 medium uncooked yukon gold potatoes
1 large uncooked onion
1 medium sweet red pepper
1/2 cup uncooked scallion
1 tsp table salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp thyme, fresh
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 pound beef pastrami

Preheat oven to 450°F. Coat a 9- X 13-inch oven-proof dish or pan with cooking spray.
Set a medium pan of water to boil over high heat. Parboil potatoes just until fork tender, about 5 to 6 minutes.

Combine potatoes, onions, red pepper, pastrami, scallions, salt, black pepper and thyme in prepared dish; toss with oil. Bake to desired degree of doneness, rotating dish once or twice during cooking, about 30 to 45 minutes. Yields about 1 cup per serving.

* Points based on the WeightWatchers Recipe Builder tool.

Started WeightWatchers 2/19/2012
This Week’s Weigh In:
Down 2 lbs
Total Weight Lost: 8 lbs
Weight Left to Goal: 38 lbs

Friday, March 16, 2012

True Vineyard

I recently stumbled upon an organization called True Vineyard.

In their own words

True Vineyard Ministries envisions entire communities freed from poverty.

We pursue this by reaching out to the most vulnerable people in Rwanda and creating environments where they are empowered to live out their full potential at work, home and in their spiritual lives.

As you learn more about us, you will read an incredible story about how God used one woman to step out in faith to help a group of impoverished widows in Rwanda. What has resulted is phenomenal. Lives are changed forever, our team continues to grow and we have developed amazing partners who continually spur us on toward our vision.

Read more about us and we think you'll catch on to the transforming work that's happening in Rwanda. We hope you'll join us too!

You can read about their Mission, Vision, and values here:

About Rwanda (from the website:

Post-colonial Rwanda was shaped by the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. Standing as one of the swiftest episodes of mass murder the world has seen, nearly one million Rwandans were killed in a 100-day period. The aftermath of the genocide resulted in not only the massive loss of life, but also the complete decimation of national infrastructure. In 1994, no schools, hospitals, factories, or government departments were functioning. Rwanda's new government was faced with the tremendous task of stabilizing the country and rebuilding it.

In spite of this massive restructuring task, Rwanda has made vibrant development economically and socially, although the need for recovery at all levels of society and in the hearts of the Rwandan people is vast.

Today, seventeen years after the genocide, the socioeconomic impact of the horrific 100 days still lingers. Hutu militia raped Tutsi women in a deliberate plan to use HIV/AIDS as a weapon that would go on killing long after they had murdered their other victims. An estimated 11% of all females living in Rwanda at the time of the genocide were victims of the concerted rape campaign. As a direct result of the death and violence in 1994 there are more than 600,000 widows living in Rwanda.

Rwanda is a small country, roughly the size of Maryland with about 10 million inhabitants. There are 4.2 million children in Rwanda, 700,000 are orphans and 27,000 of those are living with HIV/AIDS. Currently, women head 34% of all Rwandan households, and more than 67% of the women who were raped in 1994 during the genocide are now infected with HIV/AIDS.

Now is a critical time to move forward economically and socially in Rwanda to care for those still suffering from the devastating effects of the genocide and to ensure this violence never happens again.

One of the ways True Vineyard helps is by hiring women in different villages through organized cooperatives. These women hand make accessories which are sold and the 100% of the profits go directly back to the village. It’s pretty amazing.

It’s not every day that you run across such an amazing organization – so I just had to share! I bought this purse and matching coin purse handmade and hand stamped (the stamps are even handmade). Amazing!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

WeightWatchers and Baked Ziti

For those that have followed this blog back when it was “No One Said It Was Easy” and “Life As I See It” know that I’ve struggled with weight loss.

I dropped 50 lbs like it was nobody’s business as I trained for half marathons, then plateaued. For over a year. I tried many, many things and nothing really clicked…until now.

I did the count-calories thing. I did the 5 small meals thing. Did the gluten free thing. Did the low carb thing. Seriously – I’ve done almost all of it. Didn’t matter if I trained for half marathons, did boot camps, or sat on the couch – nothing was working. So, about 3 weeks ago, I thought “what the hell – I’m going weightwatchers (WW). Would could it hurt?”

Lost 6 pounds in 2 weeks and I have a weigh in on Friday. So far – it’s working.

What I’ve learned so far is that you can have what you want IN MODERATION. I can honestly say that I have not starved myself. I have not deprived myself. I have not been left feeling like I was going without. I drink beer, even have had ice cream, have had pasta – and I’ve stilled lost weight.

You see – with WW it’s supposed to be a plan that you stick with your entire life. If you love pasta – how in the hell are you supposed to live your entire life without eating it? You do the low card thing until you lose the weight, then incorporate the pasta, and gain it back. WW is all about enjoying the things you like in moderation.

Anyway – don’t want to sound like I know it all, because I don’t. I just started WW and that’s what I’ve picked up on so far. The cool thing is, I’m eating so many awesome things. Things I thought I had to stay away from if I wanted to lose weight.

Stay tuned…I love to cook and am excited to turn the classics into low point options for weight loss! If you’re on WW too – give me a shout and share your recipes/experiences!

Baked Ziti (Rotini) – I couldn’t find Ziti, so I bought Rotini (the shape really doesn’t matter as long as it’s the same amount of pasta)

Servings – 8
Points per serving – 7*

2 tsp olive oil
2 clove(s) (medium) garlic clove(s), minced
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp table salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
28 oz canned crushed tomatoes
1 cup(s) (shredded) part-skim mozzarella cheese
12 oz (dry) Smart Taste - Smart Taste Rotini
1 pound(s) cooked 95% lean ground beef


Preheat oven to 350°F. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and set aside. Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat; add garlic and sautĂ© 2 minutes. Add beef and cook until browned, breaking up meat with a spoon as it cooks, about 3 to 5 minutes; drain off any fat and set pan back over medium heat. Add oregano, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper; stir to coat beef. Cook until herbs become fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Spoon a small amount of beef-tomato mixture into bottom of a 4-quart casserole dish (just enough to cover surface); top with half of cooked ziti. Next, layer with half of remaining beef-tomato sauce and half of mozzarella cheese. Layer with remaining ziti and then top with remaining beef-tomato sauce; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake until cheese is golden and bubbly, about 30 minutes. Slice into 8 pieces and serve. Yields 1 piece per serving.

* Points based on the WeightWatchers Recipe Builder tool.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Button Headband

I decided to get a little crafty today. I have a bunch of old headbands that I haven't worn in forever so I thought...let's recreate one! Plus I've been OBSESSING over yellow lately (hence the new blog header!)

Thinking about making a few and selling on Etsy...