Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Is regain inevitable?

I certainly don't believe so.

I've written about maintenance before (see: When is it time to stop logging your food? and My Brain on Maintenance) but a post on the CK forums today sparked this particular blog entry.

Personally, I think it's absolutely ridiculous to expect that you can stop logging your food (and start eating intuitively) the moment you cross that coveted threshold from weight loss to weight maintenance.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Kitchen Adventures: Carrot Cake with Cream-Cheese Frosting

Most of the time I bake something and I immediately start analyzing it to see how it could have been better. However my perfectionist qualities are actually an asset in baking! Almost every Baking Illustrated recipe I've made so far, I've had things I wished had been different or tasted better. There are two shining exceptions to this particular analysis of mine and they are the Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies and this carrot cake.

Spicy, carrot goodness topped with a slightly
tangy cream cheese frosting
Recipe is from Baking Illustrated. For the full recipe and annotations, please consider buying a copy! It's a great cookbook.

2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound (6 to 7 medium) carrots, peeled
1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed (3 1/2 ounces) light brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups safflower, canola or vegetable oil

8 ounces cream cheese, softened but still cool
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened but still cool
1 tablespoon sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) confectioners sugar
Step #1: Prepare the pan. Fit a piece of parchment paper
to the bottom and spray the whole pan with cooking

Step #2: Combine dry ingredients. I actually got
whole nutmeg to freshly grate for this recipe. And yet
again, I managed to not grate myself! Woo!
Obviously one of the most important ingredients
in carrot cake is carrots. But who wants to
struggle with a hand grater tool when you can
just do this?
Step #3: Grate carrots!
Step #4: Rinse out the food processor bowl and
put in the eggs, vanilla and sugars.
Step #4: Process until light and frothy.
Step #5: Pour the wet ingredients into a large bowl.
Combine all ingredients and stir until no sprays of
flour remain in the batter.
Step #6: Spread the batter evenly into the pan
prepared in step #1 and bake!
Step #7: Allow the cake to cool completely on a wire rack
before frosting.

Once the cake is cooled, the food processor is used to combine cream cheese, butter, vanilla and some confectioner's sugar. The cake is the frosted and consumed, or in my case, a piece was consumed and the rest was packed up to take into work.

I will definitely earmark this recipe for reuse. This cake was excellent. I have no complaints about it, but then again I love carrots and I thoroughly enjoy cakes with frosting that isn't too sweet and has a slight tanginess to it.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Throwback to 2006

While I was unpacking boxes this past weekend, I came across the CD of photographs I have from my trip to Australia in 2006. It's hard for me to believe, but it's been five years since I was there.  I loved Aussie, I truly enjoyed my time there and because of that I want to share a few of these pictures today.

Melbourne at night

Friday, March 25, 2011

Weekly Weigh-In: 3/25/2011

Weight: 125.6 
Body Fat: 19.9% + 3 = 22.9%
Measurements: 34"-26"-34"-17.5" 

Today is my last day of penicillin, thank goodness. After that I only have four more days of another medicine before everything is finally back to normal.  I'm sincerely hoping that once I'm off the penicillin, I will feel less fatigued while working out.  I had to run my 4 miles yesterday at an extremely slow pace on the treadmill just to manage the full 4 miles.  I was a little disheartened but I kept telling myself that it's okay and I'll get back to where I was.  Eric mentioned the same thing to me later, which was a good positive reinforcement!

Today is the last day of the lease on my old place so I have to head up to Acton and get the last few odds'n'ends  that are on the deck and patch up a couple of holes in the wall with some spackle.  I'm pretty sure my entire plan for this weekend is to unpack and do some crafty things.  I might even wander around outside and get some new pictures for Monday! 

Have a great weekend! :)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Thursday Tips: Want to cut calories? Buy plastic baggies!

We all know understanding portion size is one of the key elements to a successful long-term weight loss and maintenance. So how do you stop yourself from eating too much?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Kitchen Adventures: Cinnamon Swirl Bread

What better way to christen a new apartment, than to bake some delicious smelling cinnamon swirl bread in it?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Labels, identities and resilience

It's recently come to my attention that some of the most successful maintainers apply labels to themselves, e.g. runner, yogi, triathlete. I wrote about identities in the past but didn't quite make the intuitive leap that I made earlier this week.

When a someone embarks upon a quest for health and fitness, they may likely experience trepidation at the prospect of having to exercise.


Friday, March 18, 2011

Weekly Weigh-In: 03/18/2011

Weight: 125.6 
Body Fat: 19.9% + 3 = 22.9%
Measurements: 34"-26"-34"-17.5" 

Ugh. What a miserable last week and a half! I finally decided to go to the doctor on Wednesday and shock of all shocks here, I have strep throat. WTF?!%! AGAIN? Fine. I've been taking my penicillin since Wednesday evening and the swelling in my lymph nodes is markedly decreased so that's promising.  I'm already feeling more energetic and clearheaded too, so perhaps I can squeak in a run tonight. I think I am up to at least 20 minutes worth OUTSIDE in the 60 degree weather! 

EEEEEEEEE! Spring is coming and that means I can get outside after work and it won't be dark and cold! I'm so excited I can barely contain myself. :) 

I'm moving this weekend and I've decided I'll document the process up with some pics for Monday's usual pictorial. Everything will be back to normal next week.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sickness and moving... not for regular blogging make.

I'm sorry readers! I've been trying to get healthy and also get packed. I'm actually thinking I'll just take the whole week off from blogging and return next week freshly rested and not sick anymore.

With that, I hope everyone has a fantastic week.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Weekly Weigh-In: 03/11/2011

Weight: 125.0 
Body Fat: N/A this week
Measurements: 34"-26"-34"-17.5" 

My fever finally broke overnight, yay! I'm not 100% yet but life can slowly return back to normal before my move next weekend. I'm already half-packed, I'm so excited. :)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


I'm not feeling great today and subsequently forming a thoughtful, provocative post like I had intended is not going to happen. My brain is just going "unnnngh" like a zombie for the most part.

Instead, I would like to call attention to my recent blog changes:
  • The Flickr Stream: I don't always put every picture I take on my blog, but I do upload them to my Flickr account.  So if you want to see all the pics, there's a link below the most recent nine uploads.
  • Reactions: Each blog post now has reactions below it! If you'd like me to add a new reaction to list, leave a comment or send me an email.
  • Cloud of Labels: I've gotten rid of the archive tabs and replaced it with the label cloud. If you're looking for a specific type of post, just click on the label and it will display everything with that label.
I'm also considering the following changes:
  • Getting my own domain: What would it be? Well of course!
  • New layout and artwork: I'd really love to have my own artwork to use instead of the ugly background. I'm ultimately going to go with something simple. No one likes clutter.
Hopefully I'll be feeling more myself by Friday!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Kitchen Adventures: Lemon Cookies

I have a penchant for lemon flavored foods. I make hot lemonade with half a lemon's worth of juice and a touch of honey that Eric informs me is absolutely disgusting. Lemon, to me, is like condensed sunshine; it makes me think of warm summer days and not snow.

Lately, I enjoy using the food processor over the mixer to combine my recipes and so the lemon cookies were an obvious next choice of baked good.
Sunshiney goodness

Monday, March 7, 2011

Friday, March 4, 2011

Weekly Weigh-In: 03/04/11

Weight: 126.0 
Body Fat: 19.2% + 3% = 22.2%
Measurements: 34"-26"-34"-17.5" 

I'm up a little bit this week, but I think it's because I'm sore as all hell from my workouts this week.  Muscles have to retain water to heal the microtears and I'm sore pretty much everywhere.  It even hurts to laugh.

In other news, I slept terribly last night. I kept dreaming about one of the software bugs I've been working on at work. I think I woke up every two-three hours, and subsequently I am completely exhausted right now.  I've got to push through and deal though, work to be done!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The 5 Things Every Kitchen Should Have

Cooking Light is running an article series this year called Twelve Healthy Habits. Each month they challenge readers to try to form a healthy habit, and this month's habit is to cook your own meals more often. Cooking at home can be quite trying when you don't have the right tools, so here's a list of five tools I think every kitchen should have:

  1. At least one or two good knives with a sharpener- Cooking will be much, much easier if you aren't using a dull knife not designed for what you are doing.
  2. Set of at least 5 saucepans - This is relatively obvious! How else can you cook without these things?
  3. Small kitchen scale - I would argue that everyone needs one of these but I could understand not having one if you do not do that much baking. Baking requires precision for repeatable results and measuring your flour by the gram or ounce is much better.
  4. General Purpose tools - stirring spoons, whisks, etc. Try to avoid single purpose items as they just promote clutter. I speak from experience here!
  5. Set of mixing bowls - I prefer my three Pyrex mixing bowls, because they can multitask. You can put them in the microwave, or you can use them to form a double boiler with your saucepans.
Having these items will certainly make cooking at home much easier, and possibly more fun. Happy cooking! :)

    Tuesday, March 1, 2011

    Kitchen Adventures: American Sandwich Bread

    These days American Sandwich Bread is something you buy in the bread aisle in the store. Most of the time it has a couple, or several unrecognizable ingredients listed. It usually has high fructose corn syrup, however this is not the time to discuss my views on high fructose corn syrup.  Needless to say, American-style sandwich bread isn't something people often think of investing the time to make from scratch.

    That's silly. The Baking Illustrated recipe uses a mere seven ingredients: flour, salt, milk, water, butter, honey and yeast. The yeast is rapid rise, which will essentially halve your first and second rise time.  It's definitely worth it.
    Mmm, bread!