Monday, July 22, 2013

Mmmm... doughnuts...

      I can't believe (again) how fast the time passes! I have been busy doing a lot of things since the 4th of July and there are no signs of stopping. There are the occasional moments when I find myself alone in a quiet house. That's the time between my husband going to work and the kids getting up for the day; I get one whole hour. I have been debating whether I should use that time for exercise or not, but I realize that I have MANY other things that I love to do, but have had no time to do it in. Writing is one example. So many hobbies and so little time to do it in. I have a lot of sewing patterns for the kids that are still waiting to be opened and laid out on the new fabric that has yet to have a pre-washing. At least the temptation to throw everything out the window and make cards has waned considerably since half of my stuff is getting babysat by a good friend right now. I know that someday i'll get a craft room again, but not in the near future.
      Aside from exercising, sewing, and crafting, my passion for cooking has rekindled over the past few months. I looked back at the past few years and realized that my cooking episodes had gotten really boring. I know that I would look in the fridge and stare ate a pile of good cooking fodder and think to myself, "What in the world am I supposed to do with any of this stuff?!" I am telling you right now that it's a good thing that we live too far away for any pizza delivery service (I tried bribing every pizza place when I was pregnant). Since I started my body/eating transformation this April, I have been eating almost every sort of vegetable I see in the produce section. And if you have not seen 'Good Eats' on Food Network, YOU SHOULD! I had seen all the episodes already, but my mind was not ready for such amazing preparation and cooking instruction. Since April, I have seen them all over again... twice. I'm not sure exactly how my husband feels about me cooking so much all the time, but he has yet to refuse anything new. 
      Of all the new cooking skills that I am improving, baking is still intimidating. However, my severe need (or want) of sweet desserts got the best of me last night and I made donuts. I first saw this recipe on The Chew when it aired a few months ago on Hulu. I thought the doughnut itself looked delicious, but the preparation of it seemed a little too hard for me. But last night, the thought of a freshly made warm, fluffy doughnut with a slight crunch on the outside and a thick, smooth, sweet pastry cream on the inside totally got the best of me. My mouth is watering!!! I pulled up my big girl pants and gave it a try. It was surprisingly easy! It reminded me of an episode of Good Eats where the host Alton Brown made a creme puff dough recipe (totally want to try making that now!). After the half hour it took to prepare and bake the doughnuts, my husband and I were in doughnut heaven! I found that I was getting too tired to make a pastry cream, so I made some instant vanilla pudding instead. 
      I realize how fattening donuts and pudding sound, however I worked the recipe down to the least calories possible. I substituted a no-calorie baking sweetener for the sugar, used only 1 tablespoon of oil needed, I did not glaze the doughnuts, and I used a sugar-free/fat-free vanilla pudding mix with homemade almond milk that has 30 calories per cup of milk. It also helps that the doughnuts are not fried, they're baked. I should warn you that in the end it does not matter how few calories are in this dessert when you end up eating all of the doughnuts and all of the pudding in one sitting. Self-control is something I have yet to master. I did have an accomplice though; my husband loved them too. : )  
     Should you feel the need to see how easy and delicious these doughnuts are, here's the link to the recipe after the picture. Let me know how they turn out for you!!

P.S. You don't need a mini doughnut pan to make these. I used a mini muffin pan instead. And next time (tonight), I'm going to free hand them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. : )

Thursday, July 4, 2013

My new self

It's the 4th of July already! Had some fun plans scheduled for the day but we all ended up with a cold. So now, we get to hang out at home together. That's okay though. We were going to all be together anyway. My husband has been training for a long bike ride that is coming up next week, so he left this morning at 4:30 am to get in a 60 mile ride! I can't believe his dedication! I know how much i'm looking forward to my first big ride, but I have plenty of time to train since it's in May of next year.

I seriously never thought I would enjoy exercising. The thought of sweating and getting up and moving around just made me feel more tired and lazy. If I wanted to lose weight I would simply stop eating so much and watch the poundage slowly go down. But it's harder now. I'm almost thirty year old, and eating what I want isn't working out as well as it used to. I can't remember exactly what it was that initially motivated me to start moving, but I do remember thinking that I was tired of feeling big. I was tired of putting on every pair of pants trying to find the one that fit and that would zip up without causing the "muffin-top". I just felt fat. It was mid April, and I decided to do something about it. I searched for an app for weight loss and the first one I saw I downloaded. Turns out that it worked for me! I really can't believe i'm back down to my high school weight. My husband looked at me and realized that this is what I looked like when he first met me in college. Now i'm kicking myself because I donated all of my "skinny" clothes thinking that I would never again be thin. Well, nuts. Oh well. I guess I get to go shopping.
When I started my journey back in April, I decided to start jogging. It couldn't possibly be too hard, and I was really motivated to start moving. For the first two weeks, I was jogging 2 miles per day. I got some new jogging shoes and was really going for it. But I had to stop due to some serious pain building up in my knees.  I asked my husband if he could put my mountain bike together again and put it on the trainer so that I could at least ride my bike on the back porch until my knees felt better. And he did! I guess he was so excited that I wanted to get back on my bike that he put it back together that night! He had been using my bike for parts for the past 4-5 years since I never rode it anyway. Ever since, I have been riding up to 3 hours per day and 30 minutes on the really busy days. But not a day goes by without some form of exercise. The coolest thing is that I get to log breastfeeding as an exercise too! The best kind of exercise is the kind you can do without getting up and moving. LOL!
I had told my husband that I was really getting excited about riding my bike and that I wanted to start training for the 'Reach the Beach' ride that is in May of next year. I only had one bike, and it's definitely not a road bike. It's really heavy compared to any good road bike, and it's just not built for that length of ride. My husband had a surprise for me though. For Father's day, he wanted us all to go to the bike shop in Portland so he could get a deal on their Father's day sales. I didn't know that he had slipped the bike rack in the back of the 4runner that morning. He had to work that day, so the kids and I picked him up and we all went down to the store together. As we were looking at all their bikes, my husband said that I should try out a road bike to see what would suit me. For those who don't know me, I am really short. About five feet tall on good days, and just under that on bad days. : )  Anyway, it took a while to find a bike with a small enough frame for me. The moment I got on that bike, I knew it was for me! It felt so good pedaling that bike! It was so smooth, I felt as though I was gliding on air! After test-riding it, I told my husband that this would be the kind of bike that I would go for when it came time for me to get a road bike. That's all it took. He then told me that he had snuck the bike rack into the car and that he was hoping that I would find a road bike to start my training on. I'm such a lucky girl! Since then, I've been training on my new road bike that fits me like a glove. I am really enjoying every minute of it, and most of all, i'm healthier now too.  It really does feel better to be moving and making the most of my days. I'm back to the weight i'm comfortable at, and I'm feeling so much better about myself! I really couldn't have done this with out the support of my amazing husband and especially God. Every time I felt like stopping, I would pray for the support to take one more step... just one more.