Recipe for a Meltdown

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Several months ago while dining at one of our favorite restaurants, Matt and I shared a dish that I still dream about. It was cheesy and buttery but not too heavy. It was flavorful and tender. It was ricotta gniocchi. We left assuming that it was a specialty item that we'd likely never get again until I stumbled upon a recipe for it at allrecipies.com.

The recipe was highly reviewed and had several comments stating how wonderful and easy it was to make. I knew this was going to be on our menu. Since the recipe called for the dough to be refrigerated before cooking I decided to make the gnocchi the night before we were going to eat it. I also took pictures of every step along the way because I knew this was going to be something I'd want to share with you.

I got all my ingredients lined up.


Mixed them into a soft beautiful dough.


Kneaded and formed the dough into rolls.


and cut the dough into small dumplings.


I laid the little puffs onto a floured baking sheet and placed in the refrigerator over night.


I dreamed about dinner the whole next day. I couldn't wait to get home to my cheesy dumplings that were sure to melt in my mouth. I came home and pulled the cookie sheet out only to see that my gnocchi had turned an unappetizing grey color. I decided to ignore the color and move on to boiling the pasta, thinking that it might breath some color back into them. It didn't. They were still brown and now they looked sticky. Refusing to give up on the dinner of my dreams I began to saute them in butter with some zucchini. The color was really getting to me. They looked like sausage, but they weren't. They were supposed to be a light fluffy pastry, not the atrocious sticky lumps I was seeing before me.


Suddenly I was hit with a wall of emotion. I was inadequate. I couldn't cook. I couldn't even cook something hundreds of other people had success with. How was it possible I was a wife? How was I ever going to be a good mother. I turned to Matt with tears in my eyes and asked, "Why did you marry someone who can't cook?" And immediately the tears began rolling down my cheeks. They couldn't be stopped. I was sobbing over a failed recipe. Matt lovingly snatched a gnocchi from the pan and ate it. He told me it was just fine. I retorted that it looked like sausage and I was not going to be eating it. He hugged me until I stopped my sobbing and I apologized for my meltdown.

I'm so lucky to have a man who can deal with my meltdowns like Matt does. So far this pregnancy I've only had three major cries, another one of which I'll be blogging about in the near future.

Dinner was wonderful.


I spent the rest of the evening cuddling on the couch watching Glee.


*Note: You can find the original recipe for the ricotta gnocchi here. I made a few adjustments to the recipe by using part skim ricotta and by using half whole wheat flour. I'm not sure if these changes are what messed up the recipe, but I do intend to make another attempt, but without refrigerating overnight.


It's a...

Monday, February 14, 2011

GIRL!



Isn't she lovely?

I am now almost 23 weeks pregnant and I've gained a total of 11 lbs.


I'm Famous!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I’ve always loved magazines. The glossy pages, the full-color pictures, the perfume samples that make the whole thing smell good. Oh, I love magazines. Magazines have also been very helpful to me when it comes to my journey to get healthier. Its motivating to see success stories in magazines and helpful tips to get the most out of your food and your workouts. I subscribe to many fitness magazines including SELF, Shape, Weight Watchers, and Women’s Health. I may have a problem, but you can get them for so cheap! (Think $0.50 an issue.) I love that they give me extra motivation when I see them on my counter and they also give me wonderful recipes to try out.

So, it is no surprise that I was beyond thrilled when I was interviewed for a magazine. A real-life, glossy-paged magazine. If you pick up “My Weight Loss 2011” (a Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Magazine) on shelves through March, you’ll find my face and interview on page 17. I was interviewed back in July before the craziness of pregnancy set in but I wanted to wait for it to come out to tell you.


The one thing I would change about how I was portrayed is the title “Secrets of Success.” I always get irritated when people use terms like that or “so-and-so reveals her weight loss secret.” There isn’t a secret. Eat good, whole, healthy foods and work that body of yours. You’ll get healthier and if you have weight to lose, you’ll lose it.


Pick up a copy of the magazine. It has very few advertisements compared to other fitness magazines and a ton of helpful recipes along with some pretty darn awesome success stories.



What you Need to Lose Weight

Thursday, February 3, 2011

I know this post is long, but hear me out.

One of the biggest things that has helped me get back on track is the fact that Matt is currently participating in a "Transform Your Body" competition at a local gym. As part of his participation he has a free gym membership and a personal trainer for 12 weeks. He's been on track for almost 4 weeks and has lost 25 lbs. (Yes, irritating, I know) However, this has become a huge lifesaver for me because I know I can't really keep sweets and snacks around the house and I can't justify cooking him a fattening meal. Its easier when I put him first. I may want pizza, but my husband needs a meal that will fill him up and won't be too high in calories. (More on this later)

As part of his participation he needed to attend a seminar at the gym. His personal trainer, who is also trained as a sports nutritionist, was putting on a seminar on nutrition and told him she wanted his wife to attend. At first I was hesitant because, I'll admit it, the people at the gym intimidate me. Most of them are very healthy and I just know they're judging me. Ok, ok, they probably aren't, but I'm still working on the self-confidence thing. I finally agreed to go because I thought they might give me some information on how to better feed my family and provide some fun recipes or insight that I hadn't previously considered.

The meeting was nothing like I had imagined. It started out with a manager introducing the 5 levels of fitness which are:
1. Nutrition
2. Supplements (along with a shameless plug to purchase their specific brand because it was the best)
3. Cardiovascular training.
4. Resistance training.
5. Professional Aid

I was annoyed that I was already trying to be sold something, not only their supplements, but also the idea that I needed professional help to be fit.

Then Matt's trainer stepped in and began with a quick true or false nutrition quiz designed to make class members feel stupid. One question was "Muscle weigh more than fat." The trainer proceeded to tell us that the statement was false because a pound of muscle weights the same as a pound of fat. Well, duh. A pound of anything weighs as much as a pound of anything else. We're talking about density and yes, muscle is more dense than fat.

Another question was "You can lose weight by doing cardio only." The trainer then again told us the statement is false. That is so not true. I lost weight for months by doing only cardio because I was scared of the weights. Is cardio only the best way to lose weight? No. Does it work? Yes. If all you can fit in is a walk around your neighborhood, you're still making an effort to be healthier and that will pay off. For each person that answered one of the trainers questions correctly she would give them a protein bar. (I made sure I got my hands on one of these so that I could check out the label and see what she thought I should be eating. Apparently this trainer's idea of a healthy food involves corn syrup, vegetable glycerine, sorbitol. maltitol, palm oil, and margarine)

The rest of the seminar consisted of complicated formulas to figure out your target heart rate and how many calories you should be consuming. I glanced around the room and saw a lot of confused faces. The trainer also mentioned what portions of our diet should come from carbs, protein, and fats but failed to mention complex carbohydrates, lean proteins, or the right kind of fats we should be eating.

The presentation then ended with an overview of an expensive website ($13.00 a month plus a $30 set up fee) where users can track calories in and calories out with the help of a calorie counter and a devise similar to a "body bug." There was a lot of interest and a lot of questions being asked about the website. I had to use some serious self control to not just stand up and say, "There are free websites out there that do the exact same thing!" However, I was a guest and my mama taught me to have manners.

It makes me sick how companies prey on the overweight, waiting to sell them the miracle pill, or exercise machine, or magic workout that will instantly make them thin and happy. They don't empower people to make the healthy changes themselves. Rather they tell people that they NEED all these products and services in order to be healthy.

So let me tell you what I wanted to tell my fellow classmates.

You don't need any supplements to help you lose weight. (I would however recommend a multivitamin but whatever one you buy is completely up to you.) If you eat food, real food, something that comes from the earth and not a lab, you'll be getting relatively good nutrition. You don't need expensive, chalking-tasting, highly processed protein bars.

You don't need a gym membership to lose weight. A gym membership can be a wonderful thing to have and I myself have one. But I believe that people can lose weight with a simple resistance band and some willpower. You can walk or run your streets (weather permitting). You can do jumping jacks until your heart wants to pound out of your chest. Don't let not having a membership stop you from taking steps to be healthy.

You don't need a personal trainer. These can also be wonderful help to you on your journey, but I've never had one and I don't know that I ever will. It simply does not fit in my budget. I believe that with some research you can figure out what exercises are right for you and you can see proper form for weight training in countless DVDs. Can a trainer help? yes. Do you need one to be "fit"? No.

I guess the thing that bothered me the most about the whole meeting was that I walked away feeling completely unmotivated. I wanted to be empowered. I wanted to be given tools that I could take with me to improve my life. I felt like all I was given was a list of things I needed before I'd ever be successful. I understand that gyms are businesses, they need to make money however, I believe a gym could be successful simply by empowering their members.

You already know how to be healthy. You know what foods, fundamentally are best for you. You know that sitting in front of the TV for hours is unhealthy and that going for a walk, swimming, or playing a basketball game is healthy. Don't fool yourself into thinking that you don't know how to be healthier. You know how, you just need to put your own common sense to use.

Note: This post is not a gym hating, personal trainer bashing post. I simply want you to know that there are other ways. The only thing or person you should depend on to make you healthier is yourself. Also note that I'm not a doctor or a nutritionist and I've had no formal weight loss training. I'm just a girl who has found a way to become healthier and I want to share it with you.




Home Sweet Home

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

I have been feeling the love since my last blog post! I am so grateful to have such an amazing support system to come back to and I'm glad to hear that you all won't mind a few (a lot) of baby posts coming up in the future.

Those of you that have been following me for quite some time know that the elliptical is my go-to workout. It was the only exercise I did when I started my healthy journey because it was something I didn't have to think about, and I could burn a lot of calories in not a lot of time. I was best friends with my elliptical for several hours a week and it really helped me to achieve my goals. I have to say that during my recent exercise hiatus I did miss it a little. I missed the feeling of my heart pounding in my chest and the sweat starting to form on my head. Thats not to say that I missed it enough that I actually sought it out.

When I decided to resume my exercise routine I spoke with my doctor about it first. It used to be that when you were pregnant you were not supposed to raise your heart rate over 140 BPM. I asked my doctor if this measurement was still in effect and she suggested that I just maintain a easy enough pace that I'd be able to carry on a conversation while still working out. The problem with that is that I don't talk when I work out -unless you count me randomly screaming out Jeopardy answers.

I decided to just do what I'd been doing and see how I felt afterwards. After a sweaty 30 minutes on the elliptical my heart rate was around 170 and I was tired. Really tired. I didn't realize just how tired I was until I stepped off the machine and was immediately dizzy. There was no hiding this from DH as I quickly sat down to regain composure.

A few days late he told me he was concerned about me using the elliptical because he thought I pushed myself too hard. I could see his point. I didn't want to risk hurting the baby but that was how I was used to working out. His solution to keeping me in line was to banish me to the bike when we went to the gym. I really hate the bike. I feel like I'm not even working anything, even if I put it on a difficult level and I hate watching my belly move in the mirror as my feet peddel up and down. I agreed to give it a try but after 45 minutes and nearly no sweat I'd had it. I wanted my elliptical back.

Upon discussing my frustration with DH we agreed that I could use the elliptical again however, if the machine ever displayed my heart rate over 150 BPM I'd get off and ride the bike.

Home Sweet Home

Its good to be back to a familiar exercise and a familiar sweat. I'm not able to go nearly as quickly as I used to but I feel good about the exercise I'm getting for me and for my baby. I've also been spending my lunch breaks going on walks with a coworker and I have two prenatal workout DVDs I'll review later. While it was really easy to stop working out, I feel really wonderful about myself for getting back into the swing of things.

What is your go-to exercise?