Who says you have to grill on Memorial Day?

Not me!

I didn’t have any plans at all on Memorial Day. I needed a day to just be at home with my dog. If it wasn’t so gosh darned hot we might have gone for a walk or something. But K-dog’s black fur doesn’t hold up so well in the heat, and neither do I, come to think of it.

We spent most of the day lounging. But in the morning, while it was still relatively cool, I did put together a few things in the crock pot. I used my new Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook‘s recipe for Moroccan Chicken Thighs.

I don’t usually do foodie blog posts, but this was SO GOOD I had to share. I made 3 modifications to the recipe. I didn’t have a red onion so I used a yellow, I didn’t have canned whole tomatoes so I used canned crushed whole tomatoes. (The recipe said to take canned whole tomatoes and dice them which seemed to defeat the purpose of throwing things in a crockpot anyway.) I used bone-in chicken thighs that I de-skinned instead of boneless skinless thighs and just cooked for a bit longer. Bones = flavor, people. Plus, when they were cooked the bone just slid out of each thigh anyway.The rest of the recipe was golden raisins, cumin, chickpeas, and tomato paste.

It was torture as the house started to smell more and more like delicious food. About 10 minutes before it was due to be done, I whipped up some 5-minute couscous. And got my mason jars ready. “Mason jars?” you ask. Yes, the whole point of this recipe was to make myself some meals to take in for lunches and I thought I’d try a technique I’d seen on this blog.

It went a little something like this.

Open lid and gaze at deliciousness:

Then layer coucous, sauce, and a chicken thigh into a mason jar:

(I am never going to make a living as a food photographer, sorry.)

I had the chicken out of the pot for dinner and a jar for lunch today. I already know I’ll be making this again, maybe a double batch! I’m not sure how the calories breakdown in this recipe, but without the skin on the chicken thighs, there isn’t anything in this recipe to make it bad for you!

Strugglin’

You probably haven’t noticed, but it’s been quite some time since I’ve blogged. Truth is, I’ve been avoiding you.

I hurt. My back hurts, and it just keeps hurting (with tantalizing days when it doesn’t and I try to do too much). It hasn’t been that long, in the grand scheme of injuries, but I’m going to tell you how I feel right now. My heart hurts.

I feel like it’s unfair, so unfair. I can’t run, I can’t line dance, I can’t Zumba. For the first time in my life I was getting proud of my strength and fitness level and now I’ve got nothing.

What sucks about that is, at this point, while I can’t exercise, I’m finding it very, very hard to care about eating right and the other aspects I could have control over. Just now, when my calorie intake becomes even more important because I really have no means of exercising, I feel so depressed about not being able to exercise that I start to get all “what’s the friggin’ point? Pass me the cheese fries.” This isn’t good, I know this isn’t good. I can’t seem to stop it. I feel helpless, and out of control and that makes me want to eat. I’ve always been an emotional eater, as well as someone who eats when she is bored and HELLO? I’m emotional and bored.

Today I signed up for a 5K on May 5th, since the one I was supposed to have run on April 21 has been cancelled, and I probably couldn’t manage it by then anyway with this blasted injury. But with the help of my chiropractor, I’m going to assume that May 5th is a good possibility. Truthfully, I’m going to do that race if I have to crawl it. And the chiro said tomorrow morning I can try 3 on 3 off intervals if I think I can handle it, but not even to try if it was still really tweaking.

Sigh. Sorry, I’m not faking it very well just now.

Flippin’ Food Frustration

You know how I was talking about cliches the other day? I thought of another one I hate: “Eat to Live, Don’t Live to Eat.” Now we all know that’s true insofar as it goes. We all know that we need to eat properly in order to fuel our bodies for what our day/week/life is going to bring. But that cliche brings to mind someone sitting in a small dark room in a folding chair at a card table eating kibble–alone.

I’m sorry, but going out to eat with, or creating a good meal for, my friends, sitting around the table laughing, joking, and telling stories is a huge pleasure for me. I like to eat well. I like to eat good food with my friends, or alone for that matter. I don’t want to reduce the act of dinner to something I could replace with a nutritionally balanced meal replacement bar.

I don’t think the above is incompatible with losing weight or a healthy lifestyle, do you? I think it takes maybe a little more thought, a little more planning, and maybe a bit of sacrifice when you make menu choices.

Yet, I’ve been having trouble in this regard lately. I’ve been getting frustrated and feeling like nothing that I want to eat is what I should eat. I’ve been craving wings, I’ve been craving fried anything, cheese fries. You name it, if it’s hard to fit in with a 1690 calorie a day diet (which is what myfitness pal tells me is the magic number that, when combined with exercise, will allow me to lose a pound a week) that’s what I’ve been wanting. I’ll fill my fridge and pantry full of healthy choices and then look at them and go BLERGH.  Oh, I know what you are thinking and it starts with an “m” and ends in “oderation.” But everything that I’m craving lately is a trigger food for me that only leads me down a path of more bad choices, more cravings, and well, “finishing the bag.”

Re: Finishing the bag, portion sizes are a big (heh, see what I did there?) thing for me. I like BIG portions. (I mean you had to figure that, you don’t get to be 230 pounds by eating your 3oz of fish) I like the look of big portions on my plate, and I like taking seconds. Yet, I don’t think that is completely incompatable with weight loss either. Emily over at Daily Garnish talks frequently about loving big portions and look at her adorable tiny cuteness!

I need to (re)tweak my mindset a bit.  So I’m going to list the following food goals:

  1. I know I like the feeling of taking seconds, so I’ll start with a smaller 1st helping.
  2. I know I like big portions so I’ll try to have something each meal that I can have a lot of, but still maintain my calorie goals. (See roasted Brussels sprouts, or a crunchy salad)
  3. I need to try some of the gazillion recipes I’ve starred on Google Reader for healthy, yet sweet and delicious (or salty and savory), treats. (See these, or this)
  4. I need to change up my healthy snack drawer at work. I’ve been restocking with the same pistachios, reduced fat peanut butter, and dried fruit strips for too long now and my tastebuds are bored. (And that box of Girl Scout Lemonades [150 cal for 2] is probably stale by now.)

I think trying to make even a few of the above changes will pull me out of this food frustration I’m in. I was making too much progress to get stuck in a plateau now.

What do you do when you get bored with your go-to foods? How often do you think it’s OK to give in to something you’ve been craving.