Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Greek Tzatziki dip

So, I made up this dip for our small group this week to go with veggies--since I'm a Ranch-o-holic and my butt is not. It's healthy, it's easy to make, and it's super tasty!!

Greek Tzatziki Dip

1 cup Greek, nonfat yogurt
1/2 cucumber, seeded and finely diced
1 tsp dill
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 lemon
1 tsp EVOO

Mix together ingredients, and taste to make sure the balance makes your taste buds happy. This will make a chunky and delicious (almost Ranch-like) tzatziki dip! Serve with toasted pita chips and veggies for dipping. 

**If you want a smoother consistency for the dip like I did, you can whirl it through the food processor to make it nice and creamy (but slightly more liquidy, thanks to the cucumber).**


I also HAVE to share a favorite verse from last night, that is sure to help bring me peace in this week before my tonsillectomy! (Eek!) And maybe it's exactly what you needed to hear today too...

"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment."
1 John 4:18

Monday, April 18, 2011

Cinch! Final Review

So it really was a Cinch! I completed Day 1-5 and only found myself stumbling on Day 5. It was Friday. And I was at the beach. So you'll just have to forgive me.
All in all, I lost a total of 6 lbs!! (Cheating included). The plan boasts up to 8lbs, so I count myself pretty lucky and figure that those 2 glasses of wine I had on Friday night cancelled out my last 2 pounds. Thanks to Cinch!, this was me, bathing suit-ready, at the beach on Saturday:

You didn’t know I could jump that high, did you!
All in all, I thought the Cinch! Diet was a success. ( A girl can do anything for 5 days! ) And it totally re-shaped my outlook on a few things.
1)      Caffeine. I now know I only need 1 cup a day. I had a migraine during the plan and I took Excedrin Migraine one afternoon (which contains caffeine), and I noticed I got the shaky feeling I used to get before Cinch, and i started to nibble on almonds to try and get the shakiness to go away. So, therefore, my afternoon Cup-o-Joe was essentially doing the same thing to me. Goodbye unnecessary calories and caffeine.
2)      I need to eat more fruit and veggies!! The Cinch! Plan goes on for 30 days and she recommends a cup of fruit or veggies with every meal, including snack. I usually eat about 2 servings of fruit& veggies a day, not 4. I do love fruit and veggies though, so I will be hanging around the produce aisle more frequently now.
3)      I don’t need to graze anymore. This weekend it was great to have all of the food around me and not feel like I needed to munch away with everyone else. I had my 4 meals and was satisfied, not needing to munch—and I even had an in-law-cousin comment that I didn’t eat very much at dinner. (This is a great thing to hear, bc I used to chow down!!) I feel like my portions are now accurate and able to satiate me.
Thank you Cinch! for my flat belly and a new outlook on my eating habits. I will continue to use the recipes in the rest of the plan, which look super tasty and I cannot wait to try them and share!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Cinch! Day 5

Yep, you heard me, DAY 5, and I still haven’t quit! I think blogging helped to hold myself accountable to my 5 day plan. And the great news, I’m down another 1.0 lb today!!  
**I do have to admit to you that the severe amount of healthy food in my system made my math fuzzy yesterday, and while I thought I was down 4.8 lbs, I did a recalc and realized I was down 4.2 lbs. So, this extra 1.0lb loss brings my REAL total to 5.2 lbs, which I am still ecstatic with!!**
 I will have my day 5 weight tomorrow morning...eee!
Now, on to my confessions for the 5 day, 5 food fast:
Confessions of a Cinch!-a-holic
I thought I hated spinach. Now I just mostly dislike it.
I thought I loved raspberries!! Nope, not when you eat 4 cups a day, 4 times a day.
I still love eggs, in any form.
I thought I hated plain almonds, but they have grown on me.
I thought I could never stick to a strict healthy eating plan. Well, I sure did prove myself wrong.
I feel great, and I LOOK 5 lbs lighter!
I cannot wait to eat pasta, and cheese, but instead of craving creamy, fatty cheesy pasta, I am craving healthier forms like whole wheat pasta and  lowfat feta.
I’m considering buying a scale like this, the next time I go on a diet:
Am I more a pig or a duck?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Cinch! Day 4

So far, so good. I’m definitely ready for this portion to be over. No lies here. I looked up the recipes in the rest of the book to incorporate later to keep my new flat tummy (eeee!) the way it is. And boy, did that make me start craving things!! I haven’t had any cravings yet this week, and suddenly last night Jack decided to re-heat Mexican from this weekend, and Mexican is like, my most absolute, fav, and I swear he ate that thing as super slow as humanly possible. (Mostly because it was piping hot, but I was seriously yelling "eat it faster!!" haha.)
Alas, I only have 1.5 days left to go! WooHoo, que the cheerleaders! AND I woke up this morning and was down another 1.8 lbs, down a total of 4.8 lbs in 3 days!! So, it’s super motivational to keep going.
The little temptation that is waiting in my desk for me for Monday:

By Good Karmal. (Only 60 calories!)
Today’s Cinch Fast Forward Recipe is The Parfait:
6 oz. Nonfat Yogurt
1 cup Raspberries
2 tablespoons Almonds

Layer Yogurt, sprinkled with pumpkin pie spice, raspberries, covered in tangerine juice, then repeat. They reccomend putting mint in it as well, but I'm not a mint-in-food-lover. (Just a mint-in-food-picturetaker.)

“Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires;  but those who live according to the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.”  Romans 8:5

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Cinch! Day 3

Day 3
Well, I’m beginning to think, it really is a “Cinch!” It’s my first day back at work, thanks to tonsillitis, and I had my meals prepared and ready to bring with me to work. It took all of the guesswork out of what I will be having! AND 2 more fabulous things that I have noticed (as this plan encourages you to pay attention to your body and note what it was telling you) :
1:  I get hungry on the plan, but it’s not the shaky, weak, unable to do anything kind of hungry, which I usually experience on a daily basis at work. It makes me wonder what sort of junk all these sweeteners and artificial sweeteners are pumping my body with on a daily basis!
2: I drink way too little water! I have had the 8 cups a day, and I feel refreshed (ignoring the fact that I have to go to the bathroom, oh, about 100 times a day!) But I also noticed that if I’m hungry, a' la book, I should drink a cup of water. Hey, that’s a novel concept. And, it surprisingly works. It staves off the hunger a little bit longer.
Oh-and the best news! I lost another pound yesterday! Weighed myself first thing this am and I am now down a total of 3 lbs. That’ll keep a girl going, even when the thought of another plain raspberry makes my eyes want to cross!  (Ok so I “cheated” and snuck some strawberries in the mix today, bc I just couldn’t take the tartness anymore, but my husband says that’s not really a cheat, and that’s why I love him.)
Today’s Cinch Fast Forward Recipe is The Egg Scramble + Raspberries:
1 egg
1 cup of spinach
EVOO spray
Any seasoning you want (no salt), my favs: Red pepper flakes, parsley, basil, garlic
Then, just scramble away! Serve with 1 cup of raspberries (or if you're a semi-cheater like me, 1/2 cup raspberries, 1/2 cup strawberries) + tangerine juice and cinnamon

I won't say it was my favorite, but I didn't hate it either--it's definitely a nice, balanced breakfast that is very filling!

*Note picture was taken before I made my 1/2 strawberry switch*

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Cinch Day 2

I'll have to say Day 2 is easier than Day 1. I feel prepared for the meals ahead of me, and I'm getting more creative in making them different so that it doesn't feel like I'm eating the same 4 meals every day! Day 2 means I am also closer to Day 5, which means I'm abooout half way there (if you do fuzzy math!)

For a little encouragement, I stepped on the scale this am to see how I was progressing (and not expecting much). I have amazingly lost exactly 2.0 lbs! So this has helped me to forge on in my goal. It makes the raspberries sweeter, and the spinach more tolerable.

I'm excited about my clothes fitting a "Cinch" better!

Today's Cinch Fast Forward Recipe is the Berry Smoothie:
1 cup raspberries
6 oz nonfat Plain Yogurt
2 TBS Almond Butter
A few ice cubes
3 TBS water

Its creamy, thick, and delightful. I plan on carrying this forward after my Fast Forward is over! So excited to tell you how much weight I will have lost tomorrow!

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.  1 Corinthians 10:31

Monday, April 11, 2011

Cinch Day 1

So far, so good!

I have been slightly hungry today, but the 4 meals are very filling, so it seems like a typical day. I have had my 8 glasses of water, and other than having to pee a lot, feel a little lighter and healthier. The only bad-side about starting Day 1 today is I have my 6th round of Tonsillitis this year, and my throat is very raw. So tart raspberries and balsamic vinegar didn't make the best Chicken Noodle Soup substitute today.

I did learn, however, that it could be a good time to start because Spinach contains 400% of your daily value of Vitamin A requirement, which is required for normal functioning of the immune system. (Spinach, Vitamin A, where have you been all my life??) And one cup of raspberries contains 50% of your daily Vitamin C needs.  Vitamin C, as everyone knows, is a wonderful thing to help with your immune system as well.

Each day, I will post one of the 4 meals in the plan and my SASS (spice) contributions. Today's post will be the Salad (which I ate at dinner):

Let me start off by saying I HATE, hate, HATE stems in my salad. Thus the crazy neurotic 15 minutes I took to de-stem all of my spinach:

Salad ingredients: 
2 cups of fresh spinach (de-stemmed if you're kooky like me)
1 cup of raspberries
2 tablespoons of Almond
1 large hard-boiled egg
Approved seasonings--I chose: Parsley, balsamic, EVOO, basil, red pepper flakes, and garlic

Verdict: I could see how if you were a salad lover, this would be very tasty. I, unfortunately am, not. It was just WAY too tart and I don't know if it was my sicky throat that made me not enjoy it or what.

I think tomorrow, the spinach will be wilted and served with seasonings next to the hard boiled egg, and raspberries. It's just too painful to eat it! But, for all you salad lovers out there, give it a try, the flavors were good and worked well together, so worth a shot by everyone!

WISH ME LUCK! 4 more days to go!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Is it really a "Cinch!" ?

So, I'm embarking on a 5 day lose a few pounds! I had my BMI checked the other day as well as cholesterol, and while my cholesterol was stellar (woo hoo thank you mom & dad for the great genes), my BMI was borderline overweight!! Eek!

So, my clothes haven't been a wee bit tight lately, and I'm beginning to get a couple curves on top of my curves, so hearing that my BMI was borderline high was all the motivation I needed to try something new.

So I'm about to go to the beach, and pre-beach I will be embarking on a 5 day 5-food fast forward of the Cinch! Diet by Cynthia Sass who is a Registered Dietican.

Don't worry, I vow NOT to starve myself or do some crazy liquid fast, so here is my alternative (quoting the book:)

"At the end of every meal, I want you to feel full (but not overly full), satisfied, energized, nourished, and ready to move on with your day without continuing to think about eating. I want you to feel like you have the energy to do cartwheels down the street and feel a sense of pride and confidence about your relationship with food, and I want you to have the body you always wanted!

Here's the cast of characters (and the 5-foods for the fast): 

Almonds (or almond butter)
Plain lowfat yogurt
Eggs (not shown bc I put them in the fridge and forgot!)

I can add spices and flavor such as oil, vinegar, citrus juice or zest, Hot peppers, Tea, herbs and spices to any of the meals I make.

I can eat 4 meals a day, as long as I eat breakfast 1 hour after I wake up, and all of the meals within 3-5 hours of each other.

So, Here goes. Let's hope I don't turn into an a) raspberry, b) leaf of spinach, etc. from eating the same thing for 5 days!!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The beauty of a Sock Monkey

So, I have to do a re-post of the Proverbs 31 Ministries Devotional I got in my email today written by Traci Miles. It was beautiful and perfect, and exactly what myself and my God-ordained Girlfriends need to hear today! 

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here!"  2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)

Hidden Potential by Traci Miles
"I started a bedtime story [to my son] by explaining how this dull, gray piece of fabric would sit quietly on the shelf each day, desperately longing for someone to notice him. From his place on the dusty shelf, he had a bird's eye view of all the beautiful fabrics that held so much more potential. He admired the fabrics of vibrant orange and pink polka dots that would one day be transformed into frilly toddler dresses; the fabrics with elegant stripes that would make fine draperies for beautiful homes; the fabrics with tassels and shimmering coins dangling from their edges; and the myriad of fun fabrics, adorned with colorful cartoon characters.

But he was just a boring old piece of gray fabric.

Nothing special. Nothing elegant. Nothing valuable. Old. Outdated. Worthless.

Certainly nothing worthy of being transformed into anything new and wonderful.

One spring day, a frail elderly woman wandered into the store. The gray piece of fabric could tell she was a seamstress by the wrinkled tape measure around her neck and the rusty thimble on her finger.  As she meandered around the store, continually brushing wisps of white hair from her face, she seemed to be searching for something special. Suddenly, her eyes fell upon the little piece of gray fabric tucked shyly away in the corner. He dared to think that maybe, just maybe, she would see potential in him.

As the woman drew closer, his heart began to race. She gently picked him up and headed towards the cash register, adding buttons, fabric scraps, and thread to her hands along the way. When the seamstress returned home, she diligently set about her task. Gradually she transformed the piece of old gray fabric into an adorable new sock monkey, to be loved and cherished by her grandchildren. He made a difference in the hearts of children for many generations. The little piece of gray fabric, who thought he had no purpose, was transformed into something new in the hands of the seamstress. Although he felt worthless at one time, she looked beyond what he was; beyond his old life as a scrap of fabric. She saw him as something new, and helped him discover his value and hidden potential.

After telling my son this story, God gently reminded me how I once felt much like that old piece of gray fabric sitting on the shelf. Ashamed, overlooked, unimportant, and paling in comparison to others. I didn't see how anything about me or my past — any of the old stuff — could be valuable. I felt like a scrap of leftover material.

I believe God helped my imagination soar that night while sitting on the edge of my child's bed. He helped me remember that I have been transformed by Him, and although I spent most of life not seeing my hidden potential, He always had a plan and a purpose for me.

Just like that little piece of gray fabric, which was transformed from something old into something new, we are new creations in Christ.

Remember, Christ sees your value and hidden potential. And He wants to help you see it, too."

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Put the LIME on the CORN you nut...

And mix them all together... Ok no, don’t mix lime and corn together, but do get excited about this delicious grilled corn recipe! This was a recipe that was made every time we went out on the lake with my in-laws, with a home-made charcoal grill that consisted of charcoals and a grill grate.
But for those of you with a REAL grill at your house, you can make it at home, just the same.
Cast of Ingredients (PW style):

Step 1) Get your fluffy white kitty with razor sharp teeth to husk the corn for you:

Step 2)  After your corn is de-husked (a la kitty) and rinsed, grill corn for about 7-8 minutes until it has pretty grill marks on it. While corn is grilling, mix together 1 part salt, 1 part pepper to 1 part cayenne. (If you like things HOT, you can up the cayenne!)
Step 3) Cut lime in half and dip into cayenne/S&P mixture

Step 4) Rub the lime over the corn while squeezing the lime slightly to release some of its juices.

**Disclaimer: The more cayenne you put, the more Angelina Jolie your lips will look (and feel!)**

Monday, April 4, 2011

Wine Tasting For Kenya

So 4 of my lovely friends will be going to Africa this June where they will be building a library in an orphanage in Kenya at the Heritage of Faith & Hope Center. Isn't that awesome?

You can follow along with two of their stories here:

                                                                      MELANIE @


(Mary and Katie are also going--but alas, no blog!)

So, I wanted to help. And what do I do best? Host parties and entertain! This weekend we hosted a Wine tasting for Kenya to raise money for Mary and Melanie to get to Kenya.

We had 4 types of wine hidden in little red bags with ribbon, and all you had to do was a) guess the type of each wine, and b) guess which was the most expensive. The entry with the most right answers won this:

The tasting and the party were a hit!! I couldn't be happier with the turnout! We had 30 some people (our house has never been so packed), and we raised a generous amount of money for Mary & Melanie! Thank you to all who came out, it would not have been a success without you!!

For those who participated in the tasting, here are the answers:
Wine #1: Malbec
(we took Cabernet also)
Wine#2: Merlot
Wine#3: Chardonnay
Wine #4: Pinot Grigio

Most Expensive Wine: #2

Congratulations to Anne and Anthony who happily took home the gift basket of goodies!

Who knew wine & Kenya went together so well? I wonder if they make a good, oakey  Chardonnay.....