Clothes shopping [in my closet] & recipe round-up

Okay, it's been a rough week. Between stressing my ankle too much with running [I honestly thought it would be fine while I was writing up Tuesday's post, but I had to say goodbye to most exericse for two days afterwards; I was able to go for walks but that was all], some bad family news on Thursday, and the upcoming holiday, not to mention the lack of endorphins running through my body [and the grumpiness that resulted] because of my ankle... I lacked motivation. It's true. Last night, when my ankle was finally ready to exercise again [but not running!], I still needed a metaphorical kick in the pants via twitter to get me moving. Finally, Trixie tweeted back at me the list I had shared just two days prior, 100 Reasons You Should Work Out Today, and it got me going. Nothing like having your words thrown back in your face [for a good cause]! I'm still frustrated that I'm not able to go running [ever wake up with the desire to just run until your legs can't run anymore? That was me this morning, and I couldn't act on it!], but I'm not giving up just because of that.

But all motivation is not lost! This afternoon, I was looking for something to wear to Easter dinner tomorrow. I already had a back-up of a nice, spring-like skirt and blouse but it was always too big, and hanging in an unflattering way [damn my lack of curves!], and I had just worn it for Thanksgiving [aside from Christmas Eve, that was the last time my family all got together]. I wanted to show off my weight loss progress, even though it's not huge. So, I went digging through my closet. Most of my clothes are either way too small or big, baggy, and unflattering, but I wanted to see where I was in terms of fitting into some of the smaller clothes.

I tried on a batch of shirts that I'd received for Christmas but had just barely fit into [or barely not fit into… I could put them on, but they were tight!]. To my surprise, they fit! Now, this was mostly a surprise because I weigh pretty much the same as I did at Christmas [I'm 2 pounds lighter now, according to last week's weigh in, 4 pounds according to this morning's unofficial weigh in]. But, this goes with what I always say: weight looks much different coming off than it does going on. In December, I wasn't doing strength training [or any exercise at all, to be honest] and my entire body was incredibly lumpy [ah, the perils of having a completely straight figure! I don't get curves, I just get super awkward lumps of fat]. My body hasn't changed drastically, let's be completely honest here, but I can see muscles starting to show through in some places, and my lumps are starting to even out in others. I still have quite a ways to go before my pudgy stomach goes away and you start seeing the effect of all those crunches, but this is the first clue. With just a difference of two pounds from what I looked like in December, my clothes finally fit, nicely even, and I look much better already.

I haven't seen my extended family since Christmas. I don't know if they'll notice the weight loss, and I guess that's okay because ~10 pounds isn't a huge difference. But my clothes can see it, so that's good enough for me at the moment.

Recipe Round-up

I haven't done a lot of cooking this week, actually. I've been trying to get back into the groove after traveling and a lot of that depended on using up leftovers as well as resorting to quick-fix meals instead of full cooking [we're talking the three S's: smoothies, sandwiches, and spaghetti]. Plus, I finally got a new blender and food processor so I've been making full use of that [see: smoothies]. But there is one thing that I made that was a huge success and I'm excited to share with everyone.

Yeah, that's right, I got a recipe from a site that's called "Cheese Please". Okay, the linked-to recipe isn't vegan but by substituting chicken with tofu and honey with agave nectar, it is easily made so! If you follow the link that she posts as well, you can see a bunch of variations, some of which are vegan.

I loved this recipe because it's low calorie [160 calories as I made it] and low sugar while still managing to be full of flavour. Most orange/sweet and sour recipes rely on a LOT of sugar, which is obviously a letdown while looking for healthy recipes. Instead, this one relies on all the natural ingredients to bring out the flavour. Sure, there's one tablespoon of honey/agave but that's really not a lot [I've seen some recipes call for 1/2 cup of sugar, in addition to sugar-full ingredients like ketchup!]. Also, I used Trop50 for my orange juice, which has a reduced amount of sugar and no artificial sweeteners. If you have a juicer, I'd obviously recommend using your own homemade orange juice instead of the sugar-laden store bought varieties, but I don't have one. [Ahh, it is a dream of mine to one day own a juicer!]

Because I didn't need to pre-cook the chicken[tofu] before adding it to the other ingredients, I was also able to reduce the amount of peanut oil. Rest assured, it still had a strong peanut flavour [and scent!], and of course you can always cook the tofu like you cook the chicken. I just chose not to, to cut down on time.

A few other changes: I used regular bok choy instead of the baby variety because I couldn't find the latter. I don't think it made a difference. I also omitted the carrots because I hate carrots and don't usually have them on hand [and buying a whole bag just for this one recipe isn't worth it]. This might change if they start coming up in my garden over the summer, though. But as it is, the flavour didn't suffer at all [in my humble carrot-hating opinion]. Oh, and one more note: with all the vegetables this provided, I cut the rice serving down to half a cup and that was more than satisfying.

The leftovers were quickly gone, and I'll definitely be adding this to my regular arsenal of recipes!

I did try one other recipe this week. Sparkpeople did a write-up of 15 new ways to use protein powder, and I decided to try the "protein fudge" because it was quick and easy. I just have a quick review: it is NOT worth it, both taste-wise and regarding the price of protein powder alone! [It uses 8 scoops of protein powder. I don't know how expensive whey powder is, but that's about $7 worth of vegan protein powder!] I'm hoping to repurpose it into smoothies but as is, it's horrible. Don't even bother. But as this is the first time sparkpeople's steered me wrong in 5+ years, I'll forgive them.

As I type this, I've got a delicious [I hope!] Easter dessert in the oven, and I'm about to try out a new mashed potatoes recipe [agan, for Easter]. Next week's round-up already looks better!