Tuna casserole with a twist

by Christine on September 9th, 2010

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Diet, Food, Nutrition

Yesterday for dinner I wanted to eat something warm. I scrounged in my cupboard until I found a can of Cream of Mushroom soup. Looking on the back it had a recipe for a tuna fish casserole. I thought, sure, I’ll give it a try! I wanted to to (1) double the tuna and (2) use couscous instead of noodles (I can’t do noodles with the gastric band).

The dish turned out delicious, kind of pudding-like. You couldn’t even tell the couscous was in there, which was pretty awesome. To be honest, I preferred the dish with the couscous instead of egg noodles, plus couscous is so much healthier for you!  The whole dish turned out to be 555 calories for the whole pan, of 185 calories for a one-third portion. A great calorie value!

Calories Protein Carb
Tuna (1 sm. can) 72 15.9 0
Tuna (1 sm. can) 72 15.9 0
diced onion 13 0.3 3.2
diced tomato 6 0.3 1.4
1/2 can cream of mushroom soup 130 2.5 10.2
1/2 cup cous cous 132 4.5 27.3
just a sprinkle of bread crumbs 85 2.9 15.6
1/2 cup skim milk 45 4.4 6.1
TOTAL for the whole pan 555 46.7 63.8
Calories for 1/3 portion 185 15.6 21.3

It doesn’t look super pretty, but it was really tasty. I have lots of leftovers now, too. (You can see how much I ate…less than one third of the pan.)  I don’t cook very often, but when I do I like to experiment and venture off the given recipe. More often than not, I enjoy what I end up creating.

Last night I was scanning in some old photos and came across these great “before” pictures. They are from 199, somewhere just above 200 pounds.  I feel sad seeing these; I was living in London at the time, and I know I could have had a much better experience if I had been thinner. I made ZERO local friends while I was overseas. I have no doubt that my weight kept people from giving me the time of day, and I was so terribly shy that it probably didn’t help matters any. Instead I spent my time puttering around Europe on my own a lot, which gave me a tremendous sense of independence.

I don’t think I look 21 years old. I look like I’m 45. (I’m the 2nd person on the left, in case you couldn’t tell.)

Me, recently, in a similar suit. I know, it’s a silly picture. I was playing “James Bond.”

Traci from Traci’s Treasures gave me a blog award yesterday! Thank you Traci! I very much appreciate it and am honored that you thought of me!

And thank you all for your comments on yesterday’s post, “Starving.” It was interesting to see how many of you either had tried a similar fast to lose weight or those of who couldn’t even conceive of doing such a thing! It was all very interesting…thank you.

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Taco Night & Silly Pics

by Christine on August 12th, 2010

filed under Christine's Life Updates

Yesterday I was having a hankering for some tacos, so I decided to whip something up. First, I went into my garden to get a fresh tomato.

Then I chopped up some mushrooms and onion and threw them in a frying pan, with a little Pam.  I opened a can of black beans and threw in three small spoonfuls.

When they were done, I threw in a package of sauce, with 3/4 cups of water and let the sauce cook down a bit to thicken up. While that was going on, I chopped up a tomato and a small thing of lettuce. I threw two shells in the toaster oven.

I served it up!

Always always eat on small dishes! It keeps your portion sizes in check.  (I had plenty of leftover sauce for a salad later in the week!)

2 taco shells = 100 calories
1 tomato = 16 calories
Lettuce: 2 calories
Mushrooms = 8 calories
Onions = 3 calories
Black beans = 15 calories, perhaps
Sauce = 20 calories
Total meal: 164 calories

Today is my in-person interview! I hope I do well, that I love the people, and that the job will be a perfect fit. Oh yeah, it would be nice if it pays a shitton of money too. In my best James Bond pose….

Yes, I’m looking at YOU!

I know, I’m silly!! Like, DUH!

(the kitten calendar in the background is very threatening, yes?)

The scale this morning is staying pretty much the same. Salty taco sauce yesterday is one of several contributing factors. I am doing my very best to stay on target with my eating, but I know I’m going over my calories a little bit the last few day. Yesterday I had 720 calories, which is under my calories just a smidgen (I needed to compensate for the ice cream the day before) but I didn’t work out like I should have. Instead I stayed home to sort through my design and writing portfolio. That’s not a task that I could put off, so I don’t feel bad about my priority in this instance. But do I feel bad about not going to the gym? You bet I do. There’s only so many hours in a day…

For the next three days I will be tout seule! My hubby is going out of town for a card tournament.  For years he mentored a group of high school kids that play the Star Wars Collectible Card Game (CCG).  The kids are all grown up now…graduated from college, have jobs, are getting married and having children! And what a remarkable group of kids they are too — one is a professional violin and viola player (he was concertmaster at Julliard!); one is literally a rocket scientist; one is a math professor at a university; one is a professional poker player in Las Vegas; etc. It’s awesome to see where they all ended up, and they almost all attribute their success to my husband teaching them how to play this incredibly complex card game.  Well, the national championship is this weekend in Philly, and my hubby and “the kids” are going down to kick some world-wide ass!  Go hubby go!

Isn’t he adorable? That’s one of my favorite pictures of him. Someone said that he looks a little like Fozzie Bear. Yeah,  can see the resemblance!

So what shall I do while the hubby is gone? Hopefully a lot of relaxing!  Friday I may go to hear the symphony play. (That viola player card player got me comp tickets to the show on Friday, although he won’t be there because he’s playing in the tournament!)  Saturday I might go to the race track and do some gambling and walking around.  Both days I fully intend on going to the gym!

I also have another random act of kindness planned….

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Rocked it out! (plus…gazpacho + excess skin)

by Christine on August 11th, 2010

filed under Christine's Life Updates, General Information

Yup, major score. It went great. I was prepared. I had good answers. I think I said the things that she wanted to hear. The job as she described it was different than I imaged; it apparently involves a lot more business development and client management than editing. That’s all good with me. Plus, it involves some really fun travel. She said she just got back from a trade show in Alaska.  Could this be my dream job? Needless to say, I’m totally excited about it, and I definitely look forward to learning more at my in-person interview on Thursday.

I felt so good about the phone interview that I was blasted with some serious energy afterwards!  I dove into the kitchen and tried my hand at making homemade gazpacho. It turned out really yummy, but the recipe needs to be tweaked; it was way more olive oily than I would have liked.  But the soup was close, really close.  I was a little clueless about how to guesstimate the calories. Aside from the olive oil, it’s all fresh veggies, so it must be very low in calories. I blended 3/4 of the veggies in the blender, then put the veggies through a seive and eliminated the pulp, leaving a really light, watery broth. (Delicious, too!)  What are the calories, in say one tomato or one cucumber, if you eliminate all the pulp? The sugar and juice is still there. I can’t figure out if it would still keep a substantial amount of its calories or if it would be substantially reduced in calories; I can make an argument either way. Hmmm. It looks a little something like this, but not quite as chunky and more watery… (EDIT TO ADD: My Ph.D. scientist replied to my question above about the calories in juice-not-pulp. He says that you’d lose half of the calories, if not more, by juicing the fruit/vegetables, even considering the residual sugars. So if a tomato has 30 calories, assume that by juicing in you’re only consuming 15 calories.  Limitations of this analysis: my friend a stem cell researcher and not a dietitian, but he did ask around the hospital for me to ask about this question.)

I’ll post the recipe when I work out the ingredients properly!

Then I went on a cleaning frenzy. I scrubbed my laundry room from top to bottom, until the floor was gleaming and the washer/dryer (oh my, they are so old!!) were sparkling. It felt fantastic to make that room so shiny and new!

Then our honeymooning friends called to say that they were back in town, and did we want to get some ice cream? Hells yes I wanted some ice cream! I went, and I indulged. I had way, WAY more than I should have (I ordered a small and ate it ALL — normally I’d eat a third and stick the leftovers in the freezer), but it was hot out and the ice cream was delicious.  What a treat! Now, I need someone to remind me of this ice cream if, in a week from now, I start bitching about the scale not moving.  No shit sherlock. It might have something to do with your eating choices.  I don’t think it’ll be a major problem, especially if I can make it to the gym tonight, but I also need to take responsibility for my actions and own up to them, you know? In this case it was worth it, but I also don’t indulge like that very often.

Now onto my last point for the day: skin excess.  This is what has been bothering me for the last few weeks. My husband is bothered a lot by my droopy boobs (he brings it up several times a week and tells me he wants me to get plastic surgery on them), but it seems that I’ve been far more pre-occupied by this leg-skin. This isn’t fat people, this is excess skin. I’m THRILLED to have lost almost 90 pounds, and I wouldn’t take it back for anything in the world. But this is one of the consequences that I either need to live with or deal with.  If anyone is out there that has had surgery to tighten up skin…is this “serious” enough that insurance might pay for it, or no? (Sorry everyone…I would have taken a pic of my droopy boobs but I didn’t want to horrify you guys more than I already have.)

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Tuesday Morning Mashup

by Christine on August 3rd, 2010

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Diet, Food, Nutrition

Good morning Revolutionists!

It’s another busy week chez moi.  It never slows down, but I hope it does soon because I’m starting to get really zapped on energy.  Tonight I’m meeting a girlfriend for a drink/appetizer and gabbing.  We are meeting at Ruby Tuesdays, which is great because they have their menu online and I can pre-plan what I want to order.  I’m always a sucker for guacamole, but the chips are a poor choice.  The Asian Dumplings would be low in calories, since they are steamed.  The avocado quesadilla sounds good, too, but only if I can share it with my friend. Hmm, the options!

random act of kindnessTomorrow my hubby and I are planning a random act of kindness for one of our neighbors and friends! The other day when we were hanging out, they said, “Ha ha, honey, do you remember what we used to eat all the time before we had kids?” They giggled like little kids themselves and reminisced about eating chicken patties with hot sauce and jalapeño peppers.  Well, we’ve latched onto this idea! We’re going to cook them their pre-kids meal, and set it up all romantic-like, with candles and sexy music! Then we’re going to order pizza for their kids, and we are going to babysit the kids for a while, while they get a little time to have a nice dinner together. I wonder when the last time they had dinner together, just the two of them? It had to have been a long time ago; they have three kids (10-15 year old, I think) so their scheduled keep them busy! I hope they like our surprise for them!  I need to go shopping for the ingredients tonight after work.

I need to do a little research about food/supplements/vitamins this morning. You see, I have this problem currently with bruises. I have no less than 12 bruises on my legs, and I have no idea where they came from. I have one bruise, on the back of my right calf, which is easily the size of a softball. It’s huge!  I’ve gotten four comments from people about the bruises, so I know they are noticeable. I have no idea why I’m bruising so easily, and I have no idea why I have so many of them. I suspect that because I am not eating a lot, perhaps I’m experiencing an iron deficiency? Does anyone else have any idea why I might be bruising?

I did a good job making healthy food choices yesterday. My day started off like normal: almonds for breakfast, a small can of Red Bull, some cucumber slices with ranch dressing for a snack. Lunch was just a tiny bit of leftover Chinese (nearly no rice; I got the chicken almond ding), and in the afternoon I had two crackers with a little peanut butter. When I got home, I got the urge to cook! I’ve been wanting to try a recipe by Shelly from The World According to Eggface.  Here is her recipe, although I made a few modifications:

Shelly’s Cheesy Onion Bites

1 Yellow Maui Onion, diced
3 Green Onions, diced
5 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup Italian Blend Cheese, shredded (Parmesan, Mozzarella, Romano blend)
1/4 teaspoon Dried Thyme
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
a few twists of Black Pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Saute onions till golden, set aside to cool. Mix all ingredients together. Spoon into a lightly greased (Pam non-stick spray works great for this) mini muffin tin.

Bake for 30 minutes at 350. Let them cool a few moments they pull away and pop right out. Makes 24.

My version made 18 servings. I added more veggies to the mix (1/2 a yellow onion, ½ a green bell pepper, and about 7 mushrooms, all diced up) and I replaced the Italian blend cheese with some leftover cheddar cheese I had in my fridge. I calculated the calories this morning, and each little “mini-muffin” had 47 calories. What a great bargain! With the veggies and egg, it’s a great, healthy dish as well! I put the leftovers in the freezer and will pop them in the toaster oven in the mornings to reheat.

For dinner, I got creative again. I decided to use some of the onion and pepper that I had out and make shrimp skewers. I just bought these awesome jumbo shrimp at the market on Sunday.  I added just a little bit of pesto sauce on the top, then we grilled them (my hubby had a grilled chicken breast). I made four skewers, but I only ate two. Very yummy and light and very healthy!

Today I need to send an emailing apologizing to Jack for my very terrible behavior at the party on Saturday.  Although it was all in fun, and we were horsing around anyway, there was absolutely no excuse for my rotten behavior, and he certainly didn’t deserve to be on the receiving end of it. It’s been bothering me so much I hardly slept a wink last night, I kept dwelling on it and feeling quite awful about my behavior. I hope he knows that I feel sincerely, genuinely bad.  I hope I can make it up to him, maybe by taking them out to dinner sometime.

And speaking of bad feelings….I have written a very hard, deep blog post, that I think I will post tomorrow. I’ve been going back and forth about whether I really want to post it or not. It’s extremely personal, extremely hurtful to me, but if I’m being honest about my weight, and underlying issues, then it’s something that needs to come out. The problem is that the story I want to share is not flattering some a certain person, and I don’t want to hurt that person by posting the story. On the other hand, I want to be honest, with myself, and stop hiding from the things that have hurt me. I need to stop internalizing my inner pain. Now, I that person doesn’t read this blog, so it’s probably no big deal, but I’m still not sure if it’s right to post or not. Hmmm.  What do you think is appropriate?

Oh yeah, I ordered a new camera! It should be here on Thursday, so you only need to suffer through my bad Iphone photos for two or three days! The camera was nearly $250 cheaper than when we bought it in December!

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145 pounds (80 pounds lost) Tabbouleh Recipe

by Christine on June 10th, 2010

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Diet, Food, Nutrition, General Information

June 2010...Ugh that hair!Hello my Revolutionists! I hope you are all doing well this semi-sunny Thursday morning. Today is going to be a fun day for me — I have a hair appointment and plan on making some big changes! I’m long overdue for a hair cut. I’m not a fussy woman; I don’t wear makeup 95% of the time, and I’m lucky if I blow-dry my hair and style it. I only get a hair cut twice a year. Boy, I need a trim though — my hair is very dry and is looking pretty gross.

My hair dresser, Andrea, is a wizard and artist! I’ve never had a bad haircut with her (not that I’m particularly picky) so I trust whatever she wants to do to me! I’m thinking of going light brown with blonde highlights! I’ve gone darker before, and I’ve gone red, but I’ve never gone lighter. I figure, why not give it a try? I’ll post pictures after the appointment! (I want to grow my hair out, so I’m not styling it drastically, just coloring it drastically!)

The last few days have been a bit of a struggle for me food-wise.  The other evening we made steak, baked potato, and sauteed asparagus & mushrooms for dinner, and I puked every last bit of the meal up. It kept getting stuck in my band. I’ve also be very bingey, and I’ve had (too much) chocolate every day.  Yesterday we went out with friends and had a great time! We went bowling followed by dinner at a new restaurant. I had a Mediterranean platter — Pita wedges with pesto tomato on it. There was tabbouleh, tomato and olive salsa, hummus, and taziki sauce. It was amazing! I have lots of leftovers for lunch today.

However, the scale is up, I feel fat and bloated, my rings are fitting tight on my fingers, and I just feel BLAH.  I’ve been very tired as well. I know I should drink more water and exercise more. (I did get two days of exercise in, but my busy schedule this week prevents me from doing any more than that.)  I guess I’m just having a fat week. I’m considering taking a tip from Big Clyde (BLOG HERE) and taking a walk to my local pharmacy for a colon cleanse. I don’t think I’ve gone potty in a few days…which is extra odd considering much of the food I have been eating has been high in fiber…bulgur, chickpeas, WW pita wedges, baked potatoes, etc.

I’ve never made Tabbouleh, but I want to try this recipe out:

TabboulehLebanese Tabbouleh

yield: Makes 4 to 6 side-dish servings
active time: 40 minutes
total time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup fine bulgur
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup boiling-hot water
  • 2 cups finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (from 3 bunches)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh mint
  • 2 medium tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1/2 seedless cucumber*, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Preparation:

Stir together bulgur and 1 tablespoon oil in a heatproof bowl. Pour boiling water over, then cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let stand 15 minutes. Drain in a sieve, pressing on bulgur to remove any excess liquid.

Transfer bulgur to a bowl and toss with remaining ingredients, including 2 tablespoons oil, until combined well.

* These long, narrow cucumbers are often marketed as “European” and are usually sold in plastic wrap to protect their thin, delicate, unwaxed skin.

Recipe from:
http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Lebanese-Tabbouleh-106589
In what aisle does one typically find “bulgur” in a basic grocery store? (I do not have a Wholefoods or Trader Joes within 200 miles of my house, and our grocery stores pretty much suck.)  Do you refrigerate unused bulgur, or will uncooked bulgar happily sit in a container in the pantry?
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