Diet to Go Week Three!

Hello everybody! Let’s start off with some good news – Elisabeth G. won the KalorieBox Giveaway! Congrats, Elisabeth – watch for an e-mail!

I wish I could start this week’s post with another awesome weigh in like last week (Remember, 3.7 pounds?!), but unfortunately, it’s one of those times of the month *cringe, I know, this is awkward* and evidently my body is acting like a camel (ie so much water floating around my body I could hydrate an army). So we’re just going to skip the weigh in this week to give myself a couple days to um… dry out. (I weighed in and I’m up a couple pounds from last week – but I’m staying optimistic and know that I’ve done the work I need to do, and as KJPugs says, you always get the week you deserve eventually!) But on the positive side, I am still absolutely loving this week’s Diet to Go meals! This week was a mess of meetings, appointments and deadlines – so I was happy to see that the meals are truly “to go”, especially when I scarfed a smoked chicken sandwich in between stop lights as I drove to an offsite meeting. You can see photographic proof of that, here.

Diet to Go Omelet Pomodoro

Diet to Go Omelet Pomodoro

I had a lot of favorites, food wise, this week. Let’s talk about breakfast. Several years ago before I started this whole get healthier thing, I never ate breakfast. But now, it’s like “Whee! I get to eat!” when I wake up. Diet to Go has mastered the use of cheese and tomatoes when it applies to eggs. Today, I had this amazing omelet pomodoro (220 cals) – a basil spiced omelet with cheese oozing out of the middle and sicilian flavored asparagus tips. This breakfast was amazing – I even forced my husband to taste it as he was walking out the door to go to work.

Yummy Grilled Cheese French Toast from Diet to Go. Note the Fitbloggin post-its!

Yummy Grilled Cheese French Toast from Diet to Go. Note the Fitbloggin post-its!

Here’s one of my fav lunches from the week – a french toast style grilled turkey cheese sandwich with apricot pudding and a mushroom artichoke salad (560 cals). The apricot pudding was more like ice cream, and the bite I had of my mushroom artichoke salad was refreshing and tasty.. but then I couldn’t eat the rest because my cat licked the bowl and stole a mushroom out of it. Since I’m not a fan of sharing my meals with cat-breath (do you KNOW where they lick?!), I disposed of the artichoke mushroom salad but happily nommed on the rest.

Black Bean Soup and Pretzel from Diet to Go

Black Bean Soup and Pretzel from Diet to Go

This lunch is easily another one of my favorites- see that little pretzel there? I would like to raid the pretzel factory that makes me, because I’m pretty sure I could just lay in my bed and eat soft pretzels all day and be perfectly content. Add an iced cold raspberry lambic and I’m in heaven. Booze, carbs and bed… what could be better?! Anyways, I’m off topic. This lunch was super yummy because it’s something I wouldn’t normally pick for myself but I really enjoyed it. The black bean soup had a nice spicy touch, with lots of smokiness (probably from cumin), some juicy strips of bell peppers, and a lightly salty broth. I dipped the pretzel in it and enjoyed a peach pudding for my dessert. This meals comes in at 700 calories but includes a string cheese which is not shown here since I saved that for a snack. The thing is, when you look at some of the calorie counts for the meals, your instinct might be “My god! That’s a lot of calories!” but when you factor in the portion sizes and the fact that you’re pretty much full all day long, it all equals out. I’ve actually ended up coming under calories a lot in myFitnessPal, simply because I’m too full to eat the “extra” like the string cheese or yogurt that comes with the meals.

Diet to Go Turkey Dinner

Diet to Go Turkey Dinner

This meal does not photograph beautifully, but it was delish! Has anyone ever tried the SmartOnes Turkey and Gravy Dinner? It used to be a favorite of mine, but now that I’ve had this one I can see that was a weak favorite, for sure. These mashed potatoes were REAL – no instant junk here – and the turkey was lightly seasoned with a simple brown gravy. This was truly a comfort food meal.

If you’re interested in trying Diet to Go for yourself, check out their website here. You can use coupon code FEB15PERCENT to save 15% off any meal plan, and you can also enter next week for your chance to win a week worth of free meals!  /

Does anybody have any questions about Diet to Go? Have at it! 🙂

Semi-Wordless Wednesday

Hi everyone! I missed my nightly blogging, so today’s post is a quick one with a few pix of what’s been going on. I’ll be back tomorrow with a more meaty update for ya! If you want to see these fascinating photos of cats and food LIVE, follow me on instagram @lyssacurran !

This week has been crazy - Diet to Go is truly a DIET TO GO as I ate my smoked chicken sandwich enroute to an offsite meeting! Don't worry, I was parked when I took this pic!

This week has been crazy – Diet to Go is truly a DIET TO GO as I ate my smoked chicken sandwich enroute to an offsite meeting! Don’t worry, I was parked when I took this pic!

Oliver is getting bigger every day! Here he is sitting in my "Recycle" basket.

Oliver is getting bigger every day! Here he is sitting in my “Recycle” basket.

I'm not usually a veggies for breakfast type of person, but this egg and mushroom omelet with brussels sprouts was off the hook. NOM NOM. Yay for Diet to Go!

I’m not usually a veggies for breakfast type of person, but this egg and mushroom omelet with brussels sprouts was off the hook. NOM NOM. Yay for Diet to Go!

PROGRESS! Oliver and Lucia decided warmth was more important than pride, and decided to snuggle up together in bed.

PROGRESS! Oliver and Lucia decided warmth was more important than pride, and decided to snuggle up together in bed.





Mastering the Art of Thai Cooking

One of the reasons I wanted to go to Thailand was that I’ve always been enchanted by the food. Thai food is a delicate blend of tangy coconut milk, sweet palm sugar, sharp kaffir lime leaves, gently cooked fresh vegetables, and the hot ‘pow’ of chili pepper. The right chicken satay or spicy green curry will change your life. Needless to say, I found it perfectly appropriate to plan a vacation based on what I’d like to eat most; so, our trip to Thailand was born. (Psssst – that means another trip to the deep South is next. You didn’t think I’d lose all this weight and then not gain it back, right?! Kidding… kidding!)

Pad See Ew - Wide noodles with egg, chicken, carrots, chinese Kale, broccoli and chili.

Pad See Ew – Wide noodles with egg, chicken, carrots, chinese Kale, broccoli and chili.

I knew that I absolutely had to take a cooking class while in Thailand, and even contemplated a thai cooking retreat, where I’d spend three or four days studying under a master chef. (Yes, my fantasy of being on Iron Chef might have something to do with this.) We decided a one day course was much more reasonable, and ended up with Ann at Asia Scenic Cooking School in Chiang Mai, Thailand. We opted to do the Organic Farm tour for several reasons – I love knowing where my food comes from, I’m a big nerd for gardening, and I was totally down to gorge myself on tasty thai while relaxing around a beautiful farm.

Vegetables in a Thai market

Vegetables in a Thai market

We started out with a trip to a local market, where Ann showed us common Thai ingredients and how to choose the right amount, type and texture. I loved seeing the rows and rows of vegetables stacked high and the giant bins of rice, from kinds marked “broken” that the Thai feed their pets, to expensive and exotic black grain rice. One of my favorite details was seeing a wild dog sneak up on the meat vendor and try to grab a piece of tripe off the table. The vendor responded (with experience, I’m sure) by flinging a handful of ice cubes at the dog’s back. It wasn’t cruel, but more of one of those, “Oh, just another day at the market” type things that gave me a laugh.

A running jewess and a double chin walk into a bar...

A running jewess and a double chin walk into a bar…

While we listened to Ann talk about Galangal, the Thai pink ginger, I felt a tap on my shoulder. Assuming it was my husband, I swiveled around into a familiar face. “I love your blog!” she said. My mouth dropped open. What? Blog? Thailand? Huh? A stream of discombobulated thoughts ran through my head and then I put it together – it was Michelle from the Running Jewess, whom I had met at Fitbloggin’ several months earlier! The world is truly a small, small place. When Matt and I backpacked Europe straight out of high school, we ran into two of our friends at Stonehenge, and then again at the Louvre. The fact that I ran into Michelle at a tiny, local market in some random part of Thailand blows my mind. We met up later for dinner and drinks and had a grand time discussing the great idiosyncracies of Thai culture.

Thai Long Gourd

Thai Long Gourd

After the market, we headed to the farm where we learned about which plants grow well in Thailand and how to harvest them. One of my favorites was the thai long gourd, which is almost like a type of cucumber. Can you imagine growing these suckers? I think I’d make the neighborhood kids play baseball with them!

After the farm tour, it was time to cook! We suited up on our stylin’ pink aprons and got to work. I chose to make spring rolls, tom ka gha (coconut soup), green curry, pad see ew, and banana in coconut milk. Coconut soup has always been my unicorn of thai cooking – something mystical and mysterious. But, I think I can safely say I’ve mastered it, and the secret is something some Americans might not like – fish sauce. That’s right – stinky, salty fish sauce – essentially anchovy juice. YUM! But hey – it tastes delicious.

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It was fun deep frying the spring rolls because anytime you mix Americans and explosives, things get wild. As the pans bubbled with oil, you could hear the hoots around the table as we all watched our spring rolls bloom from bloated burritos to crispy, golden rolls of goodness. They were actually really simple to make, once you get the hang of folding them. (Think envelope, not burrito!)

We rocked the spring roll frying.

We rocked the spring roll frying.

The item that I had the most difficulty making was green curry. Green curry is the spiciest of all thai curries, because it uses fresh and not dried chilies. We made our own curry paste by pounding chili, coriander, pepper, turmeric and galangal in a mortar and pestle. You have to really pound the pestle up and down to get everything smooth – it’s quite a bit of energy. Our funny teacher Ann asked the class why a thai wife who can make curry paste well is a good wife. Can you figure out why? (Not surprisingly, I was the first person to blurt out the answer. Aren’t you proud, Mom?) Not only was the chili paste a pain to make, but getting the ratio of coconut milk to fish sauce was tough, as there’s no “exact” measurement for either. It all relies on taste, and as someone who prefers my fish red and gummy, I was scared to go all trout-y on my curry. I proceeded with caution and was rewarded with a “delicious!” by the teacher, who then winked and said I was a “good Thai wife.” (PS – The Thai say, “more spicy, more sexy.” So if you want to learn to be a good Thai wife too, just eat some curry.)

Pounding chilies. Image borrowed from

We sampled our meals as we went, and by the time we deep fried our spring rolls, my belly was protesting. We saved the last three courses for the grand feast and eventually sat down with curry, coconut soup and dessert. I wasn’t crazy about the dessert I made, stewed bananas in coconut milk, but Matt rocked my world with homemade mango sticky rice. It was delicccccious. This was one of my favorite days in Thailand, because it combined tons of things I love – food, cooking, gardening, nature, shopping, my husband and lots of chatting. We met people from Britain, Switzerland, Italy and Australia, and by the time we got to the “good wife” jokes, everyone was feeling relaxed and in vacay bliss.

A happy and full Asia Scenic cooking class

A happy and full Asia Scenic cooking class

Now! It wouldn’t be fair to share this experience without sharing it with some of you. I came armed from Thailand with an Asia Scenic cook book, so I’m going to share one of the recipes with you. Please vote for which recipe you’d like to learn, and I’ll re-create it on the blog next week, even with substitution ingredients if you can’t find certain things in your local market. Have an amazing weekend – and let’s get cookin’!

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Discovering the ingredients of our food – By April

One of the most valuable things I learned while working at the women’s gym years ago was about nutrition and the way our bodies process our food.  I never really thought much about what went into the food I was eating.  Cheese could come in powder form within a dulled silver bag and I would eagerly dump that package of happiness into my already melted combination of milk and butter.  I would slowly stir my sauce and watch the electric orange color of the cheese slowly fade into a golden and buttery sunset over the ebony darkness of the pan.  Oh Kraft, you’ll always hold a special place in my heart.  Literally, because I bet a few of my overweight pounds are thanks to my adoration of Macaroni and Cheese.

My nutritionist taught me the art of reading labels and how our bodies respond best to products with the LEAST ingredients.  As in applesauce that is made of apples or peanut butter that is made from peanuts.


The same company that makes that particular peanut butter also makes a “natural” version that lacks the funky hydrogenated oils but still has added sugar and palm oils.  If you spend some extra time checking out the other brands, you’ll probably find a peanut butter than only consists of peanuts.  It might cost more but it could end up helping your health which to me, is very worth the extra $1.

Once I learned to cut out the products in my life that had ingredients like hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup, my health dramatically increased.  I suffer from heartburn and on the days I manage to go without anything that has either of these food additives, I don’t get heartburn.    Plus, once I lost weight the heartburn was one of the quickest things to go as well.

I also discovered that products made with aspartame and other sugar substitutes seemed to have a direct correlation to these weird headaches I would get.  They were very particular and unlike any other headache I had before.  I noticed this problem when I was drinking a light lemonade every day for four days in a row.  While I do get headaches often, this just seemed wrong. I finally figured out it was because of the lemonade I was drinking and the artificial sweetener that was replacing the sugar.  There has been times when I had eaten baked goods or even broccoli salad unknowingly that this particular sugar substitute was included and would end up with a raging headache soon afterwards.

Learning about the ingredients in my food opened up a whole new world of obsession for me.  I would say knowing what I am eating is one of my top priorities in life not only because it greatly affects my health but because the direction the American food system is heading just plain FREAKS ME OUT…

::For the sake of not writing 1,000 words right now I am biting my tongue on everything I could say on genetically modified food::

With the help of amazing books like The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan and the education I have gotten from my nutritionist and sustainable agriculture classes, I have a very deep passion for learning about our food.  My passion is so strong that I plan on volunteering next summer to do some WWOOFing (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) around Europe so I can further learn about our food. For those of you who don’t know, I am working towards a degree in environmental studies and sustainable agriculture so I look forward to being able to take my passion even further.

I tend to go off on this topic as you can plainly see so I would like to start writing some separate blogs about a few of the things I mentioned like high fructose corn syrup and the genetically modified foods.  My environmental studies courses expose me to a lot of worthy information that people just aren’t being told and I would love the opportunity to share that with all of you.

Have you ever had any health experiences when it comes to the foods you put into your body?  Does anyone else get heartburn from high fructose corn syrup products?  How about headaches from artificial sweeteners?

I’d love to know!

Peace and Monkeys,




Weekend Wrap Up!

Toffee at rocket fizz

Hey everybody! I had so much fun this weekend, despite the 102 degree heat in my hometown…  Friday night, Matt and I had dinner at our favorite local Indian food place, Clay Oven. I ordered Matar Paneer in honor of my paneer-flop from the night before. It was deeeeelicious! After dinner, we went next door to Rocket Fizz, a soda and candy shop! We sampled a couple different types of toffee and I tried a low-cal rootbeer, sweetened with honey. It was only 30 calories and so refreshing to try a soda made with natural ingredients as opposed to buckets of aspartame, nutrisweet, sucralose, etc.

Pre-lobster snoozing on the sand

On Saturday, I went to water aerobics with my buddy Virginia and did some aqua-cardio for an hour. The fun in the sun didn’t stop, because Matt and I headed out to Zuma beach in Malibu where he boogie-boarded in the waves while I read and accidentally fell asleep on the sand. Note to self, and helpful hint for everyone else: If there is even a SLIGHT possibility that you will fall asleep on the beach, RE-APPLY SUNSCREEN. I am stupidly suffering from my mistake and cringing every time the crease of skin behind my knee cap moves, which is often. My legs seriously look like I’m wearing red tights, and the best part is how white my bum is in comparison. My lower half looks like a peppermint. No, it’s not sexy. Who says wisdom comes with age?

After the beach we went and saw Beasts of the Southern Wild, which is a very interesting film. Slightly depressing, but really interesting to see and learn about the people of Louisiana who live in the impoverished “bathtub” and choose to live free from modern civilization. It was a phenomenal acting job by the 5-year-old who played “Hushpuppy”, but it’s not a movie I’d pick again for a feel-good Saturday night flick.

Shelley and I rock the golden togas

Today, we went to a Golden Christmas in July party! My sweet friend Merrie hosted with her friends Brian and Erin at their gorgeous house in Thousand Oaks. The party was catered with amazing turkey, ham, roast potatoes and cheeses, and I kept well hydrated on the free flowing lemonade and iced tea. Because my friend Shelley is a creative genius, she came up with these gold togas and hair flowers for the party. Aren’t we cute? She’ll be selling homemade toffee soon… it’s out of this world, you can bet I’m going to link it as soon as her site is up!

Sweet, sweet watery relief.


One of the highlights of the party, besides the wonderful people and amazing food, was the crystal clear pool. I waded in and it felt like a chorus of angels singing sweet cooling relief to my sun-chapped calves. Don’t I look ecstatic? At this point Shelley and I had changed out of our stylish gold togas, because while as glittery and beautiful as they were, we quickly learned that Lamé does not breathe. It was a fabulous party, and after several hours I had to peel myself away from the cheese tray and head back to the ‘burbs to work on my thesis.

This weekend was jam packed with fun times, and while I had some food challenges (cheese tray, popcorn, birthday cake), I didn’t majorly overdo it and managed to squeeze in some exercise. I’ll be posting a weight-in post soon, but if you’ve been following the My Fitness Pal counter on the side of the blog, I’m down about 7 pounds when the scale is accurate kind to me. The past week has been a little wacky and I’ve been yo-yoing a  bit, but I think that’s more due to some salty choices and weird heat than actual weight gain, because my jeans are feeling loose. (I LOVE that feeling. Such a good feeling.)

Anyways, thanks for reading and I hope you have a wonderful week! I start my new job tomorrow, so send me some happy first day vibes, please! 🙂 What did you do this weekend that was fun?




What I Ate Wednesday!

Hey everybody! Today I’m participating in a link up called #WIAW – What I Ate Wednesday!

I started the day with some Special K Red Berries with milk and a sliced banana. I’m not a huge cereal person, but this was on sale at the store and I’ve been getting sick of my Greek yogurt/English muffin combination. This was tasty and light enough not to weigh me down.


I have a couple days off before I start my new job, so I cleaned ALL DAY. Whew. If you ever want to work your booty off, bust out the shop vac and start sucking up the corners of your house. I never knew that much cat hair/spider webs/dust was possible. (Yeah, yeah, I know – who has a day off and cleans? This girl.) When I was sweaty and gross from cleaning, I had some lunch… a turkey sandwich on whole wheat with a side salad with fat free ranch.


Then I did some errands and some more chores before having a mid-afternoon snack of rainier cherries and a Hansen’s soda. Rainier cherries may be prettier than Bing, but I don’t think they’re any tastier. I’ll stick with my blood-red cherries, thank you very much.

Cherries and Soda

Dinner was a little bit of a treat – something way heavier than I usually eat. Matt and I picked up some sourdough bread from Boudin on our way home from Lake Tahoe, and we paired it with Italian beef with sweet peppers. I grew up eating this Chicago classic – a pot roast cooked all day in a crock pot with onions, green peppers, garlic and Italian seasonings. Spoon it over some toasted bread with melted cheese and you’re in Heaven. This sandwich came in at about 475 calories… high, but worth every bite.

Knife N' Fork Italian Beef Sandwich

Then, Matt and I watched the first episode of this season’s Breaking Bad… (OMG! Anyone else watch?! CRAZZZZZY!) and then I needed some dessert. I settled on this mini Cadbury Caramello ice cream bar at 160 calories.

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I ended the day with 97 calories leftover, and I’m pleasantly full. Today was a good example of how eating for weight loss doesn’t always have to be a drag – I got to eat plenty of food that was delicious and yummy and stayed within my calorie count. I’ll now be weighing in Fridays at my awesome RD’s suggestion (my weekend bloat can screw up my whole “healthy eating” mindset if I weigh in on a Monday). I’ve also gotten some good workouts in this week, so I’m excited to see what next week’s weigh in looks like!

So, now it’s your turn – what did you eat on Wednesday? If you want to blog it, visit Peas and Crayons and don’t forget to link up!