I love spring and summer Saturdays. Aside from marking the end of the workweek and the first opportunity to wake up without the aid of the screeching alarm clock, there’s something pleasantly invigorating about my adopted routine.
It all starts with a steaming cup of coffee. I sip the dark brew as I work on my blog post for the week — yes you, dear readers, are my first Saturday priority. Then I change into my workout gear, lace up my running shoes, and head outside for a jog. I inhale the fresh air deep into my lungs, soak up the sunshine lightly filtering through the trees dotted along the sidewalks, and lovingly admire the beautiful old homes and neat yards of the great neighborhood in inner NE Portland that I call home. By the end of my 4 miles, I am invigorated, bursting with energy to take on the rest of my day.
After a refreshing shower, I make my menu for the week. Yes, all these recipes that I work on for you requires me to be thoughtful about what I am experimenting on each week so that I have something ready to go for a new video come the next weekend. Making a menu also drives the grocery list.
So my next stop is the farmer’s market. In the late spring and summer, there is no place that I like better. I love picking out fresh, seasonal produce, finding a beautiful bouquet for the dining room, and talking to the local farmers and vendors. To satisfy my grumbling, post-exercise tummy I also pick up a pair of tofu salad rolls with peanut dipping sauce and find a spot in the adjacent park to people watch while I eat.
Next is grocery shopping. I run to my usual haunts – Trader Joe’s is always my first stop – ticking off the items on my list. After unloading my bounty at home, the afternoon is now mine. What shall I do with it?
Now here I become less predictable. Sometimes it’s working in the yard, sometimes it’s catching a movie, or whatever else might catch my fancy. Yesterday, I had a lovely afternoon at my favorite Portland wine bar, Vie de Boheme
, with good friends. We tasted a flight of red wine that included some special 2001 and 2006 Bordeaux — Encroyable! As fantastic as the wine was, the company was even better. There’s something magical about connecting not just with friends but with complete strangers — friends waiting to be made — in convivial conversation over common interests. Of course, if there’s a cute single guy to flirt with then it’s even better, and yesterday there was.
It’s funny because I think back to my life before — my fat life — and I usually spent my Saturdays running errands and lazing on the couch. I didn’t realize then how much of life I was missing, the world was slowly passing me buy and I just let it. There’s so much to do and see out there, you just have to get up and seize it.
So do it – get up, get out there and do something today. Get some sunshine, talk to a stranger, try something new. I promise you won’t regret it.
Tip of the Week
Surround Yourself with Positivity
In your weight loss journey, don’t underestimate the power of support. Study after study shows that those people with a strong support network are the most likely to succeed with their weight loss goal. Your support network might be your family or closest friends or it could be new friends met through a support group, or even complete strangers in an online community. The point is, when the going gets tough — and it always does — those with a shoulder to lean on are usually the ones that fare the best.
My only caution to this is to make sure that the support network you surround yourself with is a positive one. I personally found that some friends, for reasons that I won’t try to guess, would sabotage my weight loss efforts by doing things like teasing me about all the time I spent at the gym or inviting me over for dinner and serving food that was clearly unhealthy. The best approach to this is to talk to these friends and let them know how that behavior makes you feel. And if the undermining behavior continues, then I would suggest limiting your time with those friends. Friends who don’t support your desire to improve your life, are not friends at all.
Recipes of the Week
Baked Coconut Chicken Tenders
with Honey Wasabi Dipping Sauce
- 6 boneless, skinless chicken tenderloins pounded to 1/4″ thickness and sliced into 4-5 strips each
- 1/4 cup light coconut milk
- 1 egg white, beaten
- 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
- 3 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro
- 1/4 cup honey
- juice of 1 lime
- 1 tsp rice vinegar
- 2 tsp wasabi horseradish
Preheat the oven to 425. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick olive oil cooking spray.
Prepare 2 bowls for dredging. Whisk together the coconut milk and egg white in the first dredging bowl and set aside. Mix together the panko bread crumbs, coconut and cilantro in the second dredging bowl and set aside. Take the chicken tenders and dip first in the liquid mixture then in the bread crumb mixture, shaking off excess, then laying in a single layer on the greased baking sheet. Bake for 4 minutes on each side or until golden and crispy and cooked through.
In a small pan, heat all of the dipping sauce ingredients over medium heat, whisking until the ingredients have combined and the wasabi horseradish has just about dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool. Makes approximately 2 tbsp of dipping sauce per person.
Serving Size: Makes 4 servings
Nutritional Information: Calories 207.5, Total Fat 4.4g, Cholesterol 12.5mg, Sodium 214.0mg, Total Carbs 27.2g, Dietary Fiber 0.9g, Protein 16.2g
Leaner Avocado Wasabi Salad
- 1 cup broccoli, chopped small
- 2 tbsp raw, slivered almonds
- 1 head romaine lettuce, outer leaves removed and remainder roughly chopped
- 1 oz. fresh basil leaves, chopped
- 1 medium carrot, shredded
- 1 small red bell pepper, sliced julienne style
- 1/2 cup garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 small avocado, diced
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp nonfat, plain Greek yogurt
- 1 tsp reduced sodium soy sauce
- 1 tsp wasabi horseradish
Coat a skillet with nonstick olive oil cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Add the broccoli and saute until slightly brown and tender. Remove from heat and let cool in the refrigerator.
Heat a small skillet over medium heat and add the almonds – no need to spray the pan as the almonds will give off their own oils. Cook until the almonds have browned slightly then remove from heat.
Mix together the dressing ingredients, creaming the avocado until the dressing has the consistency of a thick ranch dressing.
In a salad bowl add the lettuce, basil, carrot, pepper and garbanzo beans in that order. Top with the cooled broccoli and almonds. Serve topped with the dressing.
Serving Size: Makes 4 servings
Nutritional Information: Calories 183.9, Total Fat 11.0g, Cholesterol 0.0mg, Sodium 221.0mg, Total Carbs 18.6mg, Dietary Fiber 6.7g, Protein 6.2g