Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Rainy Day Chicken Soup

Here's recipe for one of my all-time favorite chicken soup.  I call it rainy day chicken soup because I really like to make this soup on a cold or rainy day.  If you try this soup please leave me a comment and let me know how you like it.

Ingredients:
4 chicken thighs
3 carrots, sliced into bite size
3 celery, sliced
1 onion, medium diced
1 chayote squash, cut into bite size
1 bunch fresh green beans, trimmed
2 bouillon cubes
cilantro
salt, to taste, I used about 1 tablespoon or less
minced garlic, 1 rounded tablespoon
dried oregano leaves
cumin powder ground

Preparation:
Place 4 chicken thighs in large 5 quart pot.  Cover with water.  Bring to boil, add dash of salt, then cook about 30 minutes.  While water is coming to boil, cut the veggies.  After the chicken has cooked 25-30 minutes, I add the chopped veggies-only carrot, celery and onion (I used about 3/4 of the onion here) at this time because they're hard and need more cooking time.  I also add my seasonings at this time.  I used 2 cubes of chicken bouillon,1 rounded tablespoon of minced garlic,  about 1 tablespoon of cumin and 2 tablespoons of dried oregano leaves.  Let them cook about 15 minutes.  Then, I add the green beans, chayote squash,plus  half a bunch of cilantro, and let them cook another 10-15 minutes or so.  So, total cooking time is 55 minutes to an hour because I want to make sure the chicken cooks and is not pink inside!   I served with diced onion and cilantro on top for extra flavor and added zing.  Then it was very delicious with a side of cooked, mixed grain rice!

Battle of the Bulge Support Group

Today's breakfast:

2 eggs over medium
green salsa
half cup cooked mushrooms
half tomato sliced
half an avocado
half an orange
cup of coffee espresso with hazlenut creamer
water and multi vitamins supplements

It's one of my favorite meals!!

Monday, June 29, 2015

I Blew It (again)! Now What?

Do you ever feel like, I want to eat the right foods, I want to eat healthy, but, gosh-darn-it, it's SO HARD, or I JUST LOVE TO EAT, or OOPS I BLEW IT AGAIN?!!  Well, if so, you are not alone.  We are designed to eat anything in sight.  It's the natural order of things.  I see food.  I want it.  I eat it.  Plain and simple.  The trick is, once you've already succumbed to that CHOCOLATE TEMPTATION,  or taken more than enough MOUTHFULS OF PASTA, what do you do? 

1.  Just start with your next meal.  I mean, why beat  yourself up over the PAST?  Just recommit to eating healthy your next meal!!  Really, what else can you do?

2.  Sure, go ahead and exercise!!  Even a moderate walk 30 minutes a day is beneficial.  So, yeah, get up, go for a walk, take a ZUMBA class, or whatever other form of exercise floats your boat!!  I LOVE  the happy-high feeling I get from all the endorphins and serotonin floating around in my brain after exercise!!  I also love MAKING FRIENDS with the other participants in any group exercise class (usually offered at many gyms).

3.  There's actually A LOT you can do to prevent over-eating, or mis-eating (again) in the future.  Another thing you could do is TO MAKE A PLAN.  What this looks like for you, or for me, might be different based on a variety of factors.  But, nevertheless, make some kind of MENU plan ahead of time might be a helpful strategy for some people.  For example, let's say chicken, rice and beans is on the menu for your family.  You could eat the chicken and beans and omit (or go easy on) the rice!!  And, add a fruit and salad to this meal, and you will feel full and satisfied for hours!!  Not to mention all the nutritional benefit you will gain from this meal: fiber, protein, phytonutrients.

4.  Let's say you are a working person.  Take healthy snacks with you to work so that you never again (or less often, at least) have a "food emergency" again!!  You know, when you eat ANYTHING in sight, simply because it's there, even when you know you shouldn't or that it's not good for you?!  On the last week of work, one of my co-workers brought in an entire dozen of donuts to share with us!  I contributed to the delinquency too by bringing in a huge bag of potato chips (gasp)!!  And, we each had at least 2, if not 3, donuts a piece!  We stuffed ourselves, and felt the all more miserable for it afterwards!!  I promised myself that my next meal would be a salad!!  Which I did.  But, PLAN! PLAN! PLAN! 

5.  What are some healthy alternatives for snacking at the office?  I'm going to try to have fresh veggies cut up and bring.  We have refrigerator we can use; or I also have small purse size cooler bag to put in.  Canned tuna; salmon or chicken.  Healthy nuts, trail mix.  Having healthy snacks ON HAND and EASILY ACCESSIBLE for eating will make life a whole lot easier, for our waistlines and our optimal health.

So, next time you "blow it", and you don't eat as well as you had hoped, or wanted, know that you are not alone!!  Better yet, don't drink your guilt and sorrow away with alcohol or your favorite sugar-laden iced coffee drink (one of my biggest challenges especially during the hot summer).  We can simply start eating right again starting with our next meal.  And, we can plan ahead for both our main meals and our little snacks throughout the day.  It might  not seem easy (at first), but with each tiny baby step in the healthy direction, we can get to where we want and need to be!!

Love you!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

A Personal Inventory

     Today I was craving pasta!  So, where can I get delicious pasta?  None other than the Corner Bakery of course!!  So, today I headed over to my local corner, which in this case, happens to be in Huntington Beach, and ordered the pasta combo.  I ordered the CAFE sized pasta combo, which is a smaller portion of pasta that comes with a side salad.  I ordered the Caesar salad, and also asked for chicken meat so I could get a protein in there as well!!  After enjoying my delicious meal, I relaxed with a good book in hand, "The Daniel Plan", and began reading chapters one and two.  Upon finishing chapter 2, the author challenges, requests, and/or encourages the reader to take a personal inventory of where they're at TODAY.  Where am I at today with what Pastor Rick Warren calls the 5 Essentials from his book, The Daniel Plan?  Here is what I came up with for myself.


1.  Faith Essential
  • Generally, I see my life as in God's hands, especially through prayer...
  • I haven't attended church on a regular basis for nearly 3 years...
  • I feel a little bit hurt by God because  He didn't give me a full-time, 40 hour a week job for nearly the past 5 years...
  • Need to trust God through this time of testing/trial
2.  Food Essential
  • I've maintained a weight of 166-168 lbs. for at least past 2-3 months...
  • Have had previous success in weight loss...dropped from 200 lbs. to 140 lbs. in 2011
  • Want to drop 20-30 lbs. more!
  • Currently, my downfalls are coffee, cream, sugar, sweets, breads/white flour, and fried foods...
3.  Fitness Essential
  • I've been teaching Zumba 3 times or more a week
  • I should keep utilizing a food and fitness journal
  • I need to add 3 days into my routine of resistance training
  • And, chart or record my progress
4.  Focus Essential
  • I desire to help others lose weight and live a healthy lifestyle
  • Will read the book "The Daniel Plan" by Rick Warren
  • Will listen to the "Nutrition Made Clear" University level course on CD by Professor Roberta H. Anding
  • I'm getting my "Healthy Plate" license through Zumba
  • Getting reading to jumpstart my career goals:  ESL, credential, certificate and MA in TESOL etc.  (refocusing on life purpose)
  • Also, restart and keep blog going (monicas food  diary, this one!  LOL)
5.  Friends Essential
  • Possibly, Liz, at my new school worksite, will become my new/next fitness buddy!
  • There's many people to help out there...
  • Do not have a healthy buddy...
  • Have Jane for a buddy, but have not connected with her in a while
June 4, 2015, begins my "Day 1" of The Daniel Plan" (40 days to a  healthier life).  Heck, I'll be happy with 21!!

How To Get Motivated To Lose Weight

     Yesterday I went to the library to print something from the computer and to use the copy machine.  Afterwards, I decided to browse the non-fiction section, looking for materials to check out on nutrition.  I found two items of interest to me.  One was a book, called "The Daniel Plan" by Pastor Rick Warren.  The other was a CD University level course entitled "Nutrition Made Clear" by Professor Roberta H. Anding. 
     Wow! All I can say is "wow".  Listening to the Professor on nutrition was eye-opening.  I can hardly wait to devour the course!  And, I began reading The Daniel Plan, and I'm feeling greatly encouraged and motivated to STAY THE COURSE of living and eating healthy!!
     Chapter 2 of  The Daniel Plan, Pastor Warren discusses/teaches about what he considers the "5 Essentials".  The 5 Essentials he considers to be necessary in achieving a healthy life are as follows:  faith, food, fitness, focus, and friends.  He elaborates more in chapter 2 about what he means by each one of these.  Then, at the end of the chapter, he challenges the reader to take a personal inventory of where he/she is today in each of those 5 categories.
     Stumbling upon these two resources yesterday, and by listening to the 1st few chapters of the CD, and reading the 1st few chapters of the book (The Daniel Plan), have greatly encouraged and motivated me, ONCE AGAIN, to recommit and refocus and REMAIN on this path of health and fitness.  My friend, if you are reading this today, then I hope the same for you, too.  Hip, hip hooray!!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Give Yourself a Break and Start Fresh Today

     Today started out just like any other normal school day.  Wake up, hit the snooze, get up, get ready, head out the door with breakfast in hand.  Drive to work, check in for the day, greet my co-workers, and arrive to 1st period.  However, little did I know that TODAY's LESSON  would prove to be RELEVANT to my own personal life.  Let me try to explain why.
     The teacher is teaching the class about the heart, and the circulatory system.  Students had to take notes on the topic, and label the heart, including the direction of the blood flow, according to whether or not it contained oxygen or not.  This is in one of the science classes.  Finally, at the end of the notes, the teacher was discussing cardiovascular disease, and athlerosclerosis, and ways to PREVENT it.  Good diet was on top of the list.  Losing weight/having an acceptable weight was also on the list.  Of course, I immediately began to reflect upon my own personal journey in this area, as I once had been almost 200 pounds, in 2011, before I set out to lose weight. It reminded me of where I am today, and of where I'd like to be in the future.  I immediately set out to REFOCUS upon my goal of getting down to my previous number (almost 140).  Hence, I am RECOMMITING to HEALTHY eating once again.
     There are 3 things that I must do in order to be successful with this goal (losing weight, roughly 15-20 pounds).  First, I need to MENU PLAN.  That's right.  I need to spend some time carefully thinking about which foods I will ingest into my body, in which portions, and at what time of the day.  What food/foods will I be eliminating or replacing in my overall eating plan?  For me, I'm planning on eliminating coffee because I cannot drink coffee alone without sugar and creamer companions!  That's just not possible for me.  And, I will replace the morning coffee with something I equally love, and that is my hot green tea! 
     So, on to creating my menu.  I'll come back to edit this blog at a future time.  Stay tuned for more! 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Welcome Back!!

My fitness and health journey began in January 2011, where I lost almost 60 pounds in 8 months, thanks to a dear friend who coached me along the way.  And, I nearly kept it off for 2 years!  That's the good news!!  The "bad" news is that, today, in 2015, 3 years after my initial success, I find myself once again longing to take off a few pounds!!  Well, if you look at me, you won't think I look "fat" or "obese" anymore; I do look slim.  But, I do know I could stand to lose the belly fat, if not for health reasons, also for aesthetic reasons!  And, I'd love to fit into my skinny jeans again, and other cute clothes, so, here we go again!


I just bought a food journal.  And, am reading up on the "do's and don'ts" of dieting/healthy living.  I use the term dieting to refer to intentional eating, and lifestyle, but most people think of dieting as a temporary restriction of foods.  I'm talking about reviewing the lifestyle choices that will lead me, and my body, to where I want it/us to go!! 


I've given in numerous times to the liquid sugars, especially the kind found in specialty coffee drinks, whose trademark name shall remain nameless!!  But, it's up to me, once again, to decide if I am going to do this or not.  Am I going to monitor my eating choices, each day, at every meal?  Am I going to choose to LOVE MYSELF, through my food choices, looking at the long-term desired effects, and not just the short-term temporary sugar high "fix"? 


I hate when people try to cheer you on, when they don't know what the heck they're talking about.  Or, they try to encourage you, but only speak platitudes like, "you can do it" or something dumb like that.  I'm talking about the heart.  The heart and our food choices are related.  So, today I am deciding, once again, that I am going to make healthy eating choices, learn all that I can about food and nutrition, and seek to apply those principles to my life.  And, I don't want to hear any negative voices from the peanut gallery; they can just eat my poop!!


Ok, so, I started today with an egg for breakfast, with a side of veggies, including some spinach, and an orange, plus a flat thin (they sell these breads in the store and have only 100 calories each, such a bargain to help me get where I want to be).  I did drink the coffee with cream and sugar, so I need to quit that cold turkey while I work on my goals.  And, that my friends, is where I'm at today.  I'll check in again, when I can get onto the computer.