My evening at Poggio

The view from my hotel room. I could get used to this....

Hello, Double Chinners! I’m writing to you on my last night in Northern California before heading back to my hot, sunny city to begin working from home. I’ve had a great time up here training for my new job, but one thing I’m ready to get back to is being in my own kitchen preparing my own meals. We get lunch every day at work from local restaurants, but sometimes you just want home cooked meals. Tonight’s meal, however, broke that stride, and I’m now wishing the chef of Poggio could come live in my kitchen.

My brother, his lovely girlfriend Allison and I decided to send off my trip in style with a memorable last meal at Poggio in Sausalito, the restaurant right below the Casa Madrona where I’m spending my last night. Initially I was skeptical because the menu had very courageous sounding italian dishes like “pumpkin walnut ravioli,” but we decided to be adventurous and give it a go. First, they came out with salted rosemary rolls fresh from the oven with pressed sweet cream butter. They were insaaaaaaane. We ordered bocconocini, a hand pulled mozzerella with heirloom tomatoes and castalvetrano olives. It was incredible and we found out that there is an organic garden behind the restaurant where almost all of the vegetables are grown. The bocconocini was served with freshly cracked black pepper and a grassy, tart olive oil.

For my main course I ordered gnudi, spinach ricotta pillows with beef ragu and parmigiano. The gnudi were like savory marshmallows – super soft with a slight spinach taste, the perfect backdrop for the salty but so tender beef ragu.They were basically cheese dumplings with meat – the perfect dinner for this Midwestern, corn-fed girl.

For dessert, I had a vanilla creme brulee with fresh cherries. I believe when I took the first bite, swirled it around on my tongue and allowed myself to really soak it all in, I said “the angels sang.”

We all enjoyed our meal with a bottle of Verdiccio Del Castelli Di Jesi, a slightly sweet wine with an aromatic of peach. It had a lovely perfume and as we took turns drinking and telling stories, it was the perfect drink to lull us through a rich and decadent meal. Tonight was definitely a meal that will set me back on my weight loss goals, but on some strange level, I’m always ok with that if it was enjoyable and worth it. It was wonderful to eat amazing, authentic Italian food with my brother and Allison and to have an awesome last night in the city.

What are your thoughts on decadent, splurge meals when you’re trying to lose weight? I have a lot to celebrate right now with my awesome new job, but I also know part of being serious about losing weight is learning to celebrate in other ways. Thoughts?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Breakfast

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.

Lunch

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.

Image used from Goodhousekeeping.com

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!

Weekly Weigh In #6

*Sigh* Let’s get right to it. This week I

gained .8 of a pound

Sometimes, I feel like I’m living my life in Groundhog’s day, because for the past six weeks of Weight Watchers, I have consistently been losing one week, and then gaining the next. It’s a scene all too familiar and one I’m getting sick of repeating. Remember last week’s monumental weight loss? 2.8 pounds? Yeah, not so much today.

I really anticipated a small loss, at least. Nothing huge, but a little reward for the night I turned down a bowl of ice cream, or when I spent an hour and a half of my Sunday morning speed walking around the park. I was bitter today after my weigh in. I wondered aloud why I was doomed to a life of fatness. (Yes, I have a flair for the dramatic) It’s hard not to be frustrated when the third time I’ve tried Weight Watchers, I’m having similar results, a perpetual YoYo, constantly not constant. Is it me? Is it the program? Is it the sugary Peeps I ate (and tracked)? Is it bloating? Is it too little exercise?

I really want to say, “F you, Weight Watchers,” and go stuff my face with garlic bread, but I’m not going to. I’m paying for this damn plan, so I’m gonna make it work even if that means I can’t use my extra points or I have to cut out my liquid crack, my beloved Diet Pepsi. (C’mon – one can a day? How bad can it be?!)

So what do I need to do? Eat less. Move more. Use less extra points. Cut out the crap. Crap is crap even if I count it. Peeps aren’t good for the junk in my trunk, and neither are FiberOne Brownies. Crap is crap. But I give a crap. So next week, I’m losing weight, even if I have to strip naked on the scale to make it. I’m sick of having to write the same post every other week. It makes me not want to write to you. But I do, because I need to. It needs to change. It will change. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can. Send me some weight loss vibes, will ya?

My 13-point dinner tonight. Salad with beets and light ranch, turkey breast sandwich with sprouts, avocado and cheese on whole wheat with light cranberry juice.

 

What I Ate Today

Hey bloggies! I’m back on track, trackin’ away on the Weight Watchers plan. I decided it’d be fun to take pics of everything I ate in one day – you know, kind of like those “What’s in your purse?” features in trashy magazines, except this is “what’s in my belly.” Let it be known – remembering to photograph everything you eat is difficult. I may or may not have consumed two green olives and a small chunk of bread that didn’t get glamour shots… shhh.

Breakfast

I started the day with a 0% Chobani Peach Greek Yogurt (3 points), mint green tea (o points) and a banana (0 points). I’m not a huge breakfast person, so this is enough to get me through the morning. The Greek yogurt has a whopping 12 points of protein! I tend to skimp on meat so I figure this is a good way to get my protein.

Lunch

For lunch, I had my ultimate favorite – a cobb salad with no cheese and light ranch dressing from a Jewish deli. DO YOU SEE ALL THAT BACON?! Today I tried something I’ve always read about but never actually done – dipping your fork in the dressing then spearing your salad. Um – it totally works, and is awesome, and at the end of the salad I had TONS of dressing left. SCORE! This salad clocked in at about 13 points.

3:30 Snack

At 3:30, I started getting the rumbly tummy of hunger (ok fine, and maybe a bit of “I’m sick of copy editing these blogs, so what else can I do? EAT!”) and decided to have a snack. I forgot to take a picture of the pear before I ate it, so enjoy the art work. (There’s a reason I’m a writer and not an artist.) The pear is 0 points, and the string cheese was 2 points.

7 pm snack

Matt and I went to Trader Joe’s after work to stock up, and as we left the store, I was famished and ripped open a bag of unsweetened dried mango. Four nice, thick chewy pieces is 3 points, and tastes kind of like mango astronaut food. Yum.

7 PM Salad with Dinner

While we waited for our mini pizzas to bake, we each had a green salad with cucumber, tomato and romaine lettuce. I used the Trader Joe’s Spicy Peanut dressing (2 points per 2 tbsp).

Pizza for dinner!

We each had half of the Trader Joe’s Mini Portobello and Garlic Pizza (6 points) and half of the Margherita pizza (7 points). These are super tasty and great in a pinch when you’re too lazy to cook.

Snack: 10 PM

Then I went to the gym and did an hour of yoga… and came back and ate an organic brown rice krispy treat (3 points).

So what did I learn from this little exercise?

1) Weight Watchers is cool, because this is obviously a lot of food.

2) Little snacks are important for me, because I turn into a crazy, bitchy cookie monster if I’m hungry.

3) Taking pictures makes me feel somewhat more responsible for the choices I make – for example, I knew if I ordered a big fat reuben at the deli… I’d have to be honest and take a picture. I still enjoyed my delicious cobb, but I made choices to lighten it up, like dipping the fork in dressing and nixing any cheese.

If we looked at your visual diary of what you ate today, what would we see?

 

 

Five Food Favorites Friday

It’s Friday! Let’s celebrate with a fluffy post – like my five favorite foodie things.

Five Favorite Meals:

  • Matt’s Pseudo-Beef Bourignon (braised beef simmered in red wine and onions all day. It’s amazeballs)
  • A delicious salad packed with fresh veggies and grilled chicken
  • Spicy Fried Chicken with mashed potatoes
  • A homemade, juicy cheeseburger
  • Cajun Pork Chops, Apples and Onions
  • ok, I cheated – one more – my mom’s chicken noodle soup

    mmmmm popcorn

Five Favorite Snacks:

  • Popcorn
  • Pretzel stick with cheese or chocolate
  • Crudites with ranch dressing
  • Sour watermelon gummies, occasionally
  • Mango with lemon and chili

Five Favorite Vegetables:

  • Avocado (Dresses up salads and sandwiches in the most wonderful way)
  • Cauliflower (excellent for crunching raw)
  • Green Beans (mmm, especially the ones that snap when you bite into them!)
  • Cucumbers (sliced with a little salt – divine!)
  • Broccoli (always so good on its own)

    Last summer's harvest

Five Favorite Fruits:

  • Tomatoes (homegrown, always. Don’t give me any of that pink garbage)
  • Pears (Juicy and ripe)
  • Plums (the deep, deep purple kind that stain your lips when you bite into them)
  • Strawberries (best with a little whipped cream)
  • Pineapple (I’ve eaten a whole one before. Don’t judge)

Five Favorite Beverages

  • Good, Old Fashioned Brewed Iced Tea
  • Fresh Lemonade
  • Thai Iced Tea (splurge)
  • Sprite Zero
  • Melon Boba (only on a big splurge)

Five Favorite Restaurants

  • Los Toros Mexican (incredible bean dip and margaritas)
  • Temptation in St. Maarten (we had our fancy honeymoon meal here. SO good)
  • Sonny’s BBQ (BBQ chain in the South/Florida – yum)
  • Luchessi’s Deli (amazing sandwiches on fresh baguette)
  • Kuhn Dang Thai (they have an awesome garlic green bean dish)

    Sunburnt and buzzed at Temptation in St. Maarten

Five food-related things that sound good right now:

  • Another glass of wine (heh)
  • A frosty pina colada
  • …. That’s it. I’m *gasp* FULL!

Foodie Friday

Hello my lovely bloggies! It’s Thursday night and I’m gonna be honest – I’m pooped! It’s been a very full week and my brain is feeling like a marshmallow in the microwave, so we’re going to look at pretty food pictures of things I ate this week. READY?! Come on, it’s gonna be fun!

Cobb Salad sans Bleu Cheese

On Monday I had lunch with my co-worker, Charlotte, and ordered my favorite Cobb salad from Weiler’s Deli in Northridge. I never get bleu cheese, and order with light ranch dressing on the side. As you can see they were generous with the big slab of ripe avocado! Buried under the beautiful mound of color is a huge patch of thick, crunchy pieces of bacon over a bed of iceberg, spinach and romaine. Definitely not the “lightest salad” I could choose, but it’s loaded with protein and has no carbs, so this keeps me full alllll day.

Turkey Taco Salad

The salad I made for dinner on Tuesday night was way less of a fatty fat bomb than the cobb salad I ordered on Monday. I made this salad with ground turkey, fresh romaine, tomatoes, salsa, shredded cheese, black beans, and sauteed green pepper and onion. So healthy, so yummy, so fresh – and it used up a good variety of the aging vegetables in my veggie basket. We ate this for dinner with baked tortilla chips on the side.

Pesto Gnocchi with sun dried tomatoes and crimini mushrooms

Tonight for dinner, I made fresh pesto with basil from the garden, six garlic cloves (I know – No vampires coming near our house!), 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, and 1/4 cup olive oil. I sauteed some sliced crimini mushrooms with sundried tomatoes (not oil-packed, just dehydrated – that counts for something, right?), and then tossed the mixture with fresh gnocchi. It was very rich and savory – tangy garlic with sweet, punchy basil and fragrant olive oil coating the dense, chewy gnocchi. This meal was definitely not a diet-concious choice – but we don’t eat like this every night!

And last but not least – this isn’t a food shot but relates to this blog – This image is from E3 (The Entertainment Electronics Expo) that I went to for work this week. Hilda asked me which character I wanted to be and I said with no hesitation, “I want to be skinny for once in my life!” lolz. So here I am as a skinny person (thing/creature/monster?), though I could do without the whiskers 😉