Staying Healthy: Eating & Exercise (2/14 – 2/20)

Mega Omega trail mix, our new afternoon snack

Besides eating more mindfully, Brett and I are making an effort to snack more mindfully as well. So, when we shopped at Costco this past week one of our goals was to find some new and better snacks than what we had been having. Costco has an amazing array of organic/natural and affordable snacks, but we had gotten hung up on their salted peanuts and had been having some of those almost every day for the past several months. The trouble with salted peanuts though is that a small amount is never enough and both of us found ourselves eating more and more of them as time went on. Lately I had to admit that I was walking not just to get more fit but in order to earn enough calories to eat more peanuts! The salt was getting to be a bit much as well. Anyway, after checking prices, calories, and so forth we chose the Mega Omega trail mix, which contains walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, and dried mango. It’s a keeper – only 140 calories for 1/4 cup, and much more satisfying than peanuts and without all that salt. We also chose a bag of organic baked apple chips – wow! Much better than salty potato chips, and I say that as someone who loves potato chips. We’ve found with the new snacks that less is more – we’re getting everything we want from a snack, but in a smaller amount. The apple chips have been a great accompaniment to our sandwiches this week, and much healthier than potato chips. We’ll be stocking up on more when we shop this week!

Here’s what we had for dinners this past week”

These Valentine’s pancakes were more difficult to make than I imagined – the batter did not want to stay in a heart shape when it hit the pan! That’s lilikoi curd on the pancake in stead of butter.

Sunday: Heart-shaped pancakes; breakfast sausage; fresh papaya; ice cream & gingersnaps

Perfect risotto is so quick and easy with an InstantPot.

Monday: Chicken-rosemary risotto; cucumber; ice cream & gingersnaps

They didn’t have quiche at Costco this time so we picked up these wraps instead. They’re great because they contain cabbage instead of lettuce. 

Tuesday: Costco’s Asian chicken wraps; baked apple chips; ice cream & gingersnaps

Brett and I finally got our turkey dinner (YaYu doesn’t like turkey). The plate looks overflowing, but that’s just three ounces of turkey, a half cup of stuffing, three TBSP of gravy, one TBSP of cranberry relish, and a whole lot of green beans.

Wednesday: Roast turkey; stuffing; turkey gravy; Monkeypod Jam cranberry relish; sautéed green beans; ice cream & gingersnaps

Yes, I did have a couple of bites before I remembered to take a photo!

Thursday: Turkey club sandwiches; baked apple chips; ice cream & gingersnaps

I was going to make something fancy with pesto, but decided to go with a classic instead.

Friday: Pepperoni mini pizzas; cucumber; ice cream & gingersnaps one last time

My favorite way to eat leftover turkey.

Saturday: Hot turkey sandwiches; roasted zucchini & tomatoes; gingerbread with lemon curd

Next week’s menu, in no particular order:

  • Spaghetti with meat sauce
  • Egg roll in a bowl
  • Barbecued pulled pork sandwiches
  • Thai curry vegetable & chicken stir fry
  • Tom Colleccio’s one-pot pasta with bacon
  • Zucchini frittata; broiled tomatoes
  • Mini pizzas (not sure what kind)

I did not lose any weight this past month, but that’s okay. I’ve been steadily losing since last June, and I’m guessing I’ve hit a plateau. I’m going to keep doing what I’ve been doing and assume that things will pick up again in a while. 

I decided to go ahead and order my new walking shoes this past weekend versus waiting until next month. My old shoes have had it, and my feet are miserable right now. The amount of walking we’re doing has been very hard on my feet and nails, and the shoes in their current condition are not helping. I ordered my new shoes from Zappos – they have good prices, good availability, fast shipping, and their customer service is superb. The ones I originally wanted were not available in my size, so I’m trying out a different style. Zappos has a great return policy though if they’re not a good fit or I have other issues with them. I’m greatly looking forward to having a spring in my step once again! 

The rain stopped a couple of minutes after we arrived at the park on Saturday, and the sky started to clear so we were able to get in a good walk (4.2 miles). However, it poured the whole way home afterwards, and there was more rain off and on after we got home.

The weather hasn’t been all that great for walking this past week, but other than taking a day off on Monday and staying home on Friday because of a storm Brett and I walked every day. We actually walked in the rain (light mist) on Thursday and arrived just as the rain was stopping on Saturday. We’ve had to avoid the trails through the woods though because of issues with mud. We’re going to try walking in our own neighborhood now and again – three laps of the street and cul de sac at the end gives us a mile and a half. Usually though the weather up at the park is better than it is in our neighborhood, but with all the road construction going on it can be a pain to get out and up to park so we’re glad to have another option.

Staying Healthy: Food & Exercise (2/7 – 2/13)

A new habit I’ve acquired over the past year is measuring/weighing everything I eat. It’s been shocking to discover how much I was eating before, and it’s no wonder I struggled with my weight for so long! For example, rather than spoon a heap of rice on my plate or in my bowl, I measure out 1/4 cup – it’s more than enough. A serving of stir fry, like the pork and peppers below, is 1/2 cup . . . and that’s more than enough too. I have a great digital kitchen scale, purchased years ago from Weight Watchers, and it gets pulled out several times a week these days because two to three ounces of meat is more than enough now. My set of Weight Watchers stainless steel measuring ladles (1/4 cup, 1/2 cup, and 1 cup) also get used frequently – those have turned out to be one of the best purchases I’ve ever made. Measuring my servings is a habit I don’t think is going to go away any time soon either – it doesn’t take long, and it makes a BIG difference.

We went Hawaiian for YaYu’s last meal at home – delicious!

Sunday: Loco moco; cucumber; German chocolate cake for dessert

Warm colors on a cold evening.

Monday: Roasted red pepper and tomato soup; toasted cheese sandwich; fresh pineapple; German chocolate cake

This salad has everything: protein, minimal carbs, and lots of fresh vegetables.

Tuesday: Panzanella with beans; German chocolate cake

Cuban bowls with yellow rice, roasted sweet potato, spicy chicken, Cuban black beans, sautéed banana, and salsa.

Wednesday: Cuban bowls; German chocolate cake

A full plate with three ounces of steak, half-cup of stuffing, and green beans.

Thursday: Grilled flank steak; sourdough stuffing; sautéed green beans; German chocolate cake

I typically make this stir fry with red, yellow, and green peppers, but only had green on hand this time.

Friday: Pork & pepper stir fry; steamed rice; peach ice cream & gingersnaps

We had cucumbers instead of coleslaw because I discovered we had more than I thought and they needed be eaten!

Saturday: Leftover steak sandwiches with sautéed onions and cheese; cucumber spears; peach ice cream & gingersnaps

The menu plan for next week, in no particular order:

  • Roast turkey w/cranberry relish; stuffing; vegetable
  • Turkey club sandwiches
  • Hot turkey sandwiches
  • Breakfast for dinner
  • Pepperoni mini pizzas
  • Chicken risotto
  • Broccoli quiche

The views along the beach never disappoint.

While last week’s weather started out chillier than usual, it made for some nice walking, even if I did have to do some of it on my own. By the end of the week temperatures were thankfully back up with lots of sunshine, but the humidity remained low. Last Sunday afternoon YaYu and I took a three-mile walk up on the eastside beach path. We had planned to walk longer but some very big storm clouds began rolling in from the west and we eventually made the call to head back to the car. Still, the temperature and breeze were perfect for walking, the views were gorgeous, and it was the perfect place to walk together one last time. I took Monday off because it rained most of the day, but I was back at the park for 3.5 miles walks on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Brett was out of quarantine on Friday, and we were back to 4.6 mile walks then and Saturday, and yesterday we hiked four miles on the Waiokapua Bay trail for Valentine’s Day. The trail is located on the Barking Sands base, and the loop goes from Major’s Bay beach to base housing and back (we did two loops). It was quite hot out on the trail, but we still got a breeze most of the way, and the views along the way were lovely. It’s beginning to look like Monday is going to be our day off going forward.

After nearly two years and many, many miles my trail shoes need to be replaced, but I am trying to hold out until next month. My first choice for a new shoe is the Hoka One-One walking shoe to see how they work out, and if goes well with them I will get the GoreTex version for our walking tour in Japan in 2022.

These are my first choice for new walking shoes

Staying Healthy: Food & Exercise (1/31 – 2/6)

There was lots of prep work and cooking this past week as I made several of YaYu’s favorite dishes before her departure. I am frankly looking forward to cutting back on my time in the kitchen, or at the least not having to make as much food as I have been. Leftovers always got eaten, but we have had to stay on it. 

I have been finding myself craving sweets more than usual this past week and am not sure what’s up with that. It’s been an effort to not go looking for something to snack on and I hope this is only a temporary thing. For so long that one small dessert at night has been enough, but I wanted more this week for some reason (but didn’t give in, thank goodness).

The onions are my favorite part of this adobo dish.

Sunday: InstantPot chicken adobo with bok choy; steamed rice; butter mochi with white chocolate-raspberry ice cream

The recipe made lots of extra sauce this time for some reason – yeah!

Monday: Chili pork burritos; Mexican slaw; butter mochi with white chocolate-raspberry ice cream

(I forgot to take a picture – photo credit: craftlog.com)

Tuesday: Japanese chicken curry with vegetables; German chocolate cake

This quesadilla was very satisfying and a great way to use up leftover chili pork sauce. I added fresh cilantro and chopped green onions inside as well.

Wednesday: Chili pork quesadillas; German chocolate cake

I used Rao’s marinara sauce – it really is the best.

Thursday: Spaghetti w/marinara and grilled Italian sausages; roasted zucchini; German chocolate cake

I substituted mung bean noodles since we’d just had spaghetti the day before.

Friday: Snake Alley noodles; cucumbers; German chocolate cake

Fresh pineapple, honeydew melon, caracara orange, and blueberries in the fruit bowl; peppers, onion, and sausage on the pizza. I had been busy chopping fruit and over-browned the sausage 😦 but it was still good.

Saturday: Sausage & vegetable mini pizzas; fruit salad; German chocolate cake

This coming week’s menu, in no particular order:

  • Loco moco (we had this last night, for YaYu’s final meal here)
  • Panzanella salad with chickpeas and feta cheese
  • Cuban bowls
  • Pork & pepper stir fry
  • Grilled flank steak; stuffing
  • Steak sandwiches with sautéed onions
  • Roasted red pepper and tomato soup with toasted cheese sandwiches

Vegetable sides will be what’s on hand (which is not much right now) and what I can find this week at the farmers’ market. We’ll run out of German chocolate cake mid-week but I’m planning to fix a pan of gingerbread next which we’ll have with Monkeypod Jam lemon curd. 

Heading up the hill to the clubhouse at Kukuiolono, the highest point in the park. The walk up to the clubhouse and back down is 1.6 miles.

With Brett still in quarantine until Thursday, and YaYu leaving today, I’ll be walking on my own for the next few days, and I’m frankly not looking forward to it – I like having company. Hopefully the weather will hold – we got lucky last week and there was no rain in the afternoons so YaYu and I walked every day (we took last Monday off though, and I’m taking today off as well). We didn’t walk as far as Brett and I typically do (3.5 miles versus 4.6) but we still got in a good workout. I’ll be continuing with the 3.5 mile route until Brett joins me again on Friday and then we’ll kick it up again. As much as we have struggled with the cooler weather at home it has made walking easier and more comfortable up at the park.

Master of all he surveys from the commanding heights.

I was finally ready yesterday to kick up my upper body strength training routine as well. This past week I started counting the YouTube instructor’s reps and discovered he was very inconsistent. He would do six reps with one arm, for example, and then 10 with the other arms. Or, 12 reps with one exercise, and 18 with another, and so forth. I have the routine memorized and started doing on my own yesterday with a more consistent 20 reps for each exercise. Progress!

Staying Healthy: Food & Exercise (1/24 – 1/30)

Back before we left on our Big Adventure, before YaYu headed off to school, I told Brett that once she had left the nest I no longer wanted to cook, or at least not cook very much. It wasn’t that I didn’t like cooking or enjoy it, but I was tired and wanted a break. I told him we would be having more sandwich meals, or prepared casseroles, things that wouldn’t require me to spend a lot of time in the kitchen while still allowing us to have healthy meals.

And how has that plan turned out? Well, as you can see from the meals we’ve had below, not very well, at least not while YaYu is home. The girl likes to eat, and, as it has turned out, wants a home-cooked meal at night. I had hoped she would help out more in the kitchen, and she does occasionally, occasionally being the operative word though. For the most part she wants Mom’s home cooking. I’ve indulged her this visit, especially as she doesn’t intend to come for the summer (nothing for her to do here) and we won’t see her again until next winter. It’s meant a higher food bill, and more work for me, but she’ll be heading back to school in another week, and then it will be back to simpler meals, and less time in the kitchen for me.

Breakfast for dinner

Sunday: Breakfast for dinner (scrambled eggs, breakfast sausages, tangerines, and toasted artisan roll); tapioca pudding with gingersnaps for dessert

Guadalajara quesadillas

Monday: Guadalajara quesadillas; tapioca pudding with gingersnaps

Ham, egg, and cucumber provide the salad’s three colors.

Tuesday: Chinese 3-Color salad; tapioca pudding with gingersnaps

We had grilled opah (sunfish) in our tacos.

Wednesday: Grilled fish tacos with cabbage and mango-peach salsa; tapioca pudding with gingersnaps

This is one meal YaYu always cooks for us; she makes it differently every time but it’s always delicious.
Butter mochi and ice cream: a perfect combination

Thursday: Ham fried rice; butter mochi & white chocolate-raspberry ice cream

YaYu’s favorite casserole, but it hasn’t been available at Costco for ages, so she was thrilled to have one before she goes back to school.

Friday: Costco pasta and Italian sausage casserole; sautéed green beans; butter mochi & white chocolate-raspberry ice cream

Classic pepperoni always satisfies.

Saturday: Pepperoni & vegetable mini pizza; butter mochi with white chocolate-raspberry ice cream

Menu plan for next week will include many of YaYu’s favorites:

  • Chili pork burritos
  • Spicy chicken quesadillas
  • Spaghetti with marinara and grilled Italian sausages
  • Chicken adobo with bok choy
  • Noodles with pork sauce
  • Japanese curry with chicken and vegetables
  • Sausage mini pizzas

We eat meat almost every day, but with a few exceptions meat is never the “star” of the meal, and I try to treat it more like a condiment. If a recipe calls for a pound of meat, for example, I will only use a half pound. We eat a lot of vegetables and fruit or incorporate them into our meals, and although we’re eating less carbs overall, our desserts, small but indulgent, provide a daily treat that helps keep Brett and I from turning to other high-carb sweets or snacks. They also give us something to look forward to toward the end of the day. 

Last Wednesday I was cleaning out my photo file and discovered a picture I had taken of myself exactly two months earlier (November 27). As I was coincidentally wearing the same outfit, I took another picture to see if I could see any difference as I weighed seven pounds less than I did in the November photo (on the left). I don’t see any change, but Brett and YaYu both say they definitely do so I’ll go with the majority. Hopefully in another two months or so I will finally be able to see a difference. I definitely look different from how I did when we arrived here last year though – even I can see that (and my baggy, loose pants confirm it). At the end of the day though, my focus is not on how I look – I am never going to be model thin with shapely legs. These days I am walking for endurance, to increase my bone strength, and for the other health benefits, and to get my weight back to where my body feels comfortable. I am average height (65″) but have a small frame, and it’s difficult and painful to carry around too much weight. I have no one but myself to blame for that happening though, but I am able to change things.

All the above being said, this past week was not a great one for walking . . . the weather was very sketchy for most of the week. We took a regular day off on Sunday, and then got rained out on Monday. We walked in fierce winds on Tuesday and Wednesday – there were times we thought we might get blown off the path! Thursday the weather was better, but we had never seen the park so crowded so we didn’t walk as long as usual. Friday would have been perfect except for the strong winds (“it was trying to be hot but the wind wouldn’t let it”), but the sun was out on the Saturday, and the wind had died down to a breeze – it was lovely. We walked through rain showers on a few days, but those thankfully didn’t last long and we barely got wet. Never a dull moment! I will have the totals mileage up for January next week, but I know we walked over 100 miles last month.