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April 2010
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June 2010

May 2010

Lassi come home


Ever have mango lassi? It's a creamy, sweet Indian drink that often is far too sweet when served at Indian restaurants (and probably a million calories).

Mango_lassi_ingredientsThe primary ingredients are mango and yogurt, and since the folks at Voskos sent me a variety of their yogurt products to check out, I thought I'd whip up my own version of mango lassi for an afternoon snack.

 Here's what I used:

1/2 cup frozen mango chunks (60 cal.)

1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt (140 cal.)

2 teaspoons agave syrup (40 cal.)

1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla Almond Breeze (20 cal.)

It came out quite nice -- less sweet than the restaurant variety, very filling and loaded with protein (24 grams in the yogurt alone!).

And now for some free yogurt!

Would you like to try some Voskos Greek yogurt? The plain nonfat version was very good but the traditional (read full-fat) with honey was To. Die. For. I split the container with my niece; that half-cup was 140 calories of heaven.

How do you use Greek yogurt?

In recipes, smoothies, straight outta the fridge?

Leave me a comment by June 6 -- the day of the Weight Watchers Walk It Day 5K -- and I'll randomly choose 5 winners who will get a coupon for a free container and a $1 coupon for the purchase of two containers.

(Don't worry -- I don't harvest the e-mails for anything but contacting you to tell you you've won this fabulous prize.)

Smoothie moves (with recipes!)

I've been on a smoothie bender this week. The scale was absolutely stuck and I was in need of a change.

I had tried a sample of Beachbody's Shakeology smoothie mix and was frankly blown away by how good it was. It's a good deal more expensive than other protein powders but it's totally worth it. There are so many nutritional supplements in the blend that it replaces all the other niche supplements I've been buying. And if I have two Shakeologys I don't have to buy my beloved Adora dark chocolate calcium supplements (even though I truly love them).

  • Hey, I'm still giving away three awesome books. Comment!

Another protein powder I've been grooving on is Click Espresso protein powder. It's whey protein mixed with a double shot of espresso and comes in Mocha and Vanilla Latte flavors. I had gotten a sample in my goodie bag at Fitbloggin and have been in love ever since. 

Click is great if you're a fan of Frappuccinos. All you need is two scoops of Click, some water and ice and you've got a Fake-a-ccino for only 120 calories.

Since there are 15 grams of protein in both Click and Shakeology, I don't need to add any more to the mix, so I find that Almond Breeze is a great "milk" to add since it adds just a smidge of calories and more body than water. The original is only 60 calories a cup and the unsweetened vanilla is a teeny 40 calories a cup.

You wouldn't believe the amount of protein powder in my pantry -- it looks like I'm running a smoothie bar out of my kitchen. Wait, I'll show you...


Crazy! I know!

I'm always looking for the perfect protein powder. One that's sweetened naturally but not too much, with high-quality protein, preferably whey (I'm trying to eliminate most soy from my diet as I've been hypothyroid for 20-something years).

So for the past three days I've been doing a Shakeology "Cleanse" -- not the official one because I just found that after I finished. Basically I drank a smoothie for breakfast, lunch and mid-afternoon snack with a balanced dinner.

And in those three days I knocked off almost 4 pounds. And not for one second was I bored because I make the best smoothies ever. Plus I'm a chocolate fiend.

For the most part I do my smoothie making with a Magic Bullet (Mick and Mimi's favorite!). I have tried countless blenders over the years and nothing processes a smoothie better than a Bullet. I've also make them with my Ninja food processor, which is great for when you want to add a whole lot of ice and make something thicker and icier. The Ninja (use the small container) destroys the ice and whips a lot of air into the mixture. I stick with the Magic Bullet because you can make and drink the smooothie in the same container.

So to celebrate my removal of 4 pounds, here are some of the smoothies I concocted. Feel free to use your favorite protein powder. 

Almond Joy Smoothie

Sometimes you feel like a smoothie, sometimes you don't (I always do).

1 serving chocolate protein powder (100-ish calories)

1 cup original Almond Breeze (60)

1 tablespoon almond butter (90)

1/2 teaspoon coconut extract (0)

Ice and water

Blend and enjoy.

Choco-Cinna-Monkey Smoothie

Chocolate, cinnamon and banana is an awesome combo, plus the cinnamon is a great antioxidant and keeps blood sugar stable.

1 serving chocolate protein powder (~100)

1 cup original Almond Breeze (60)

1/2 frozen banana (60ish)

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (0)

Ice and water

Blend and groove on.


Better than that coffee place.

1 scoop Click Mocha espresso protein powder (60)

1 scoop Click Vanilla Latte espresso protein powder (60)

Ice and water

Blend and caffienate.

Terry's Chocolate Orange

I call it that in honor of that goofy Christmas candy and because it's my husband's name)

1 serving chocolate protein powder (~100)

1/2 cup orange juice with extra pulp (55)

Ice and water

Blend and pretend.

Berry Berry Chocolatey Smoothie

1 serving chocolate protein powder (~100)

1/2 cup acai juice (I love the one from One Natural Experience, or O.N.E.) (58)

Ice and water

Blend and antioxidate.

Clearing the clutter everywhere

ClutterSee that pile of stuff in my dining room? That's what I pulled out of a couple of closets this past week.

Nothing like a couple episodes of Hoarders to put the fear of Martha Stewart in me.

I don't have a hoarding problem but something about that show propels me to clear out the clutter and get a nice tax deduction.

It got me thinking about the "body clutter" that Peter Walsh talks about in his book Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat? Both excess stuff and excess weight are related -- take a look at many of the subjects on Hoarders and you'll see.

Why is that?

There's a lot of "maybes" involved in both situations.

  • "Maybe one day I'll use this one recipe in this one cookbook."
  • "Maybe I'll need this mattress pad with the ripped sides."
  • "Maybe one day I'll get into these too-small jeans, even though they're high-waisted and stone-washed and totally out of style. But they still have the tags on them and I got such a great deal on them (IN 1999!) and I'm only 20 pounds away from them fitting (even though I'd look like a giant dork in them)."

Why am I holding onto that mattress pad, and why am I holding onto that extra padding around my thighs? It's not like I'm going to need the extra body fat for a coming famine but my body sure acts like it.

There's no real need for a ceramic space heater in Florida and there's no reason to hold onto the saddlebags for one minute longer.

Just as I need to dump the clutter out of the dining room and into a Goodwill trailer, I need to dump the caloric clutter from my eating. Less stuff in my coffee, less stuff on my salad, less stuff after dinner. Fewer calories overall.

I came to that annoying conclusion when I cut my Weight Watchers Points down below what is recommended (it's only 1 or 2 Points). Then I saw the scale move.

So I whine to myself (and to you): "But it's not fair! I want a Skinny Cow bar after dinner. I want that Larabar at 4 p.m. I want another tablespoon of nuts in my yogurt. I don't wanna have to workout for an hour every day (even though I feel really good and virtuous when I do)!"


Thinking about diets and calories and ounces and portions clutters up my brain. How do normal-weight people just eat to live and not obsess about this stuff?

Whew! There's a lot of clutter to remove. But imagine how freeing it'll be when it's gone. From my house, from my butt and from my brain.

Thanks for witnessing my self-intervention.

Don't worry, be happy, lose weight (and give away gifts)


Hate to reference that overly chirpy Bobby McFerrin song, but the scale finally moved and it's because I stopped stressing about it.

I had been weighing myself every day and fretting about working out hard, and neither got me anywhere.

So I slacked off on the scale hopping (not down to a couple times a week) and went back to working out for pure enjoyment -- things like walking the track on breezy evenings and dancing my butt off to Michael Jackson impersonator laser shows (last night's exercise after the Marlins game -- surprisingly entertaining!).

And the last time I got on the scale it showed a three-pound loss -- yay!

The only real dietary changes I made were to add in a lot more fresh produce and lots of hot and iced tea, from my recent haul at Teavana.

The veggies and tea (minimally sweetened) added in a lot of water and fiber, two calorie-light ways to bulk up a diet.

And it's not just more salads and celery. What I do is build the dinner idea around the vegetable -- everything else is a supporting player. Tonight, for example, the headliner is roasted purple and golden beets. The protein will be a small serving of top sirloin. Now I've got to figure out what to do with the beet greens for tomorrow.

The Weight Watchers Walk-It Day 5K is coming up soon, and I'm all registered and looking forward to it.

And now for the gifts

My pal, Lynn Haraldson Bering at her blog Lynn's Weigh, has been cleaning out her bookshelves and giving away books to lucky readers. I told her I was up to my eyeballs in stuff, so she suggested I do the same.

So OK!

I'll be giving away three books:

  •  The O2 Diet, by Keri Glassman, MS, RD, CDN: Great book that explains high-antioxidant foods, the ORAC scale and how adding these foods can benefit your health.
  • Denises_daily_dozenDenise's Daily Dozen, by Denise Austin: I reviewed this book over at but in a nutshell it's a nicely balanced diet and exercise plan that relies on the number 12 (lose up to 12 pounds, 12 exercises, 12 tips, etc.).
  • Finally Thin!,  by Kim Bensen. Kim lost over 200 pounds on Weight Watchers, appeared on the Today show with Joy Bauer and launched a successful line of light bagels. Her story is extra inspiring for those of us older than 40 who think middle age stifles weight loss success.

What do you have to do? Simple -- just leave a comment answering one of two questions (or both):

  • What exercise makes you happy?
  • How did you get to your "happy weight"?

Also, let me know which book you'd be interested in having, if you have a preference -- they're all good. Try and write something pithy by next week and I'll announce the recipients, which I will have my personal assistant (the kid) choose at random. 

Produce of the Month: Rutabagas


Yeah, you heard me -- rutabagas.

This root vegetable is the butt of many a joke and they are butt ugly, but they were half price at the farmer's market last weekend so I picked up a few.

"How do you cook them?" I asked.

"Beats me!" the farmer replied.

I flipped through a few cookbooks and couldn't find anything that looked appealing, so I turned to and found a rutabaga-carrot puree and made my own version. After peeling and cutting the rutabagas, I had around 2 pounds. I put 'em in a big pot with five carrots, cut into big chunks, then covered everything with salted water and boiled the vegetables for around 45 minutes until everything was pretty soft.

I then drained out the water (I use one of those pasta pots with the draining lids) added a couple tablespoons of butter and a couple tablespoons of honey and a little more salt. Then I pureed everything with a stick blender (only one pot to clean).

Rutabaga_mash Those lowly rutabagas turned golden when cooked, and the carrots added to the orange mash.

I didn't know what to expect when I tasted the finished product, but it was really nice, a bit like mashed sweet potatoes but a little less starchy.

Rutabagas are a pretty good source of vitamin C, folate and fiber. A cup of rutabagas is only 50 calories and 3 grams of fiber, so the rutabaga-carrot mash is a good sub for mashed potatoes.

And the next time someone's trying to unload a bushel of rutabagas, I'll be buying.

Funky Friday returns with a Madcon remake fave


Haven't had a Funky Friday since I got over my New Jack Swing phase awhile back, but I happened upon a favorite song that's actually a couple years old -- Beggin' by Madcon.

Actually, the song is much older -- Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons first did the song in 1968 but these guys, who are a Norwegian duo, had a huge hit around the world with their remake in 2008. 

Here's my mini workout advice: Click play, get up and dance your ass off. (The backup dancers in the video have some pretty cool moves.)

Exercise: Ur doin it wrong

I've been weighing myself every day since the first of April, so I looked at the number for the first of the month and the last of the month and it was exactly the same.

I've also been faithfully journaling my food intake on

I chalk up the goose egg to two things: Not enough exercise and not enough water. This week I'm fixing that. 

I took a field trip to Teavana and had a little shopping spree. If you live near one and love tea, I highly recommend the place. There's a whole wall of teas to choose from -- herbal, white, red, black, blends. Kind of like a candy store without the calories.

Teavana_lemonyoukou My new fave is Lemon Youkou (at left), which looks like the most exquisite potpourri. Lots of dried citrus wedges and colorful bits. I made 16 ounces double strength and diluted it with water to make a quart. Then I threw in a couple packets of Organic Zero (erythritol). I let it chill overnight and brought it with me to the gym, which made drinking water heavenly. The quart went in no time.

I also bought some Strawberry Lemonade Herbal and Blueberry Bliss Rooibos, which they had blended and had as an iced sample. I'm drinking that now. 

So I've got my hydration issue fixed. Now, on to the exercise.

I spend the mornings helping to edit a health news Web site and we have a morning deadline, so it can't be put off 'til whenever (which is great because I miss real journalism).

After that I'd fart around on Facebook, or Twitter, or read too many e-mails -- all while sitting in my workout clothes. Morning would turn into noon, then afternoon, then after school, then dinner, then ... you get the idea. Exercise would rarely happen. 

Today, I put a stop to that nonsense. After my deadline, I got my butt up off the comfy chair, grabbed my quart bottle of Youkou and headed to the gym where I got on the elliptical and rocked it for 30 minutes. This was actually a big deal for me because I haven't used the ellipticals since they took my favorites away. The new ones are more difficult and I would usually only last 10 minutes. But I was determined and gave myself the "10 minutes down, 10 minutes more" pep talk.

Even though I love my at-home workouts, I'm going to head to the gym because I don't slack off there. I don't know if it's the other people who keep me going, or the machines or the old Jillian Michaels podcasts on my iPod (please start doing them again, Jillian!).

Weight Watchers Walk It Day 5K update

We're only one month away from the June 6 Weight Watchers Walk It Day 5K, and I'm not worried at all about completing it. If I can jump on an elliptical for 30 minutes after too long away, I can definitely walk a measly 5K. 

And I've got a cool Weight Watchers Walk-It Challenge T-shirt, provided by Weight Watchers. On the back is my motivating saying -- "Go Me!" I'm keeping it for the day of the 5K.

If you're planning on taking part in a Walk-It Day 5K, you can get a T-shirt HERE.