Friday, December 31, 2010

Recap of 2010

Well, I'd say 2010 was a successful year. Sure, it had some downsides but you take the good with the bad- right? Here is what happened, both good in bad, in 2010.

  • Hit my 2 year anniversary with Court
  • Graduated college with the degree I've been wanting since I was 12
  • Graduated Magna Cum Laude and as the Psychology department's Outstanding Fall 2010 Graduate
  • Got my wish of getting a dog- my loveable, goofy, smart, sweet, athletic 94 pound yellow lab
  • Got back on the weight loss bandwagon after gaining back the 24 pounds I lost in 2009
  • Made all A's my last semester of college
  • Got my own apartment, even if it was just for a few months. The experience was awesome!
  • I got better at my huge hobby, cooking!
  • Gained back the 24 pounds I lost. I gained 25 pounds to be exact :(
  • Lost my best friend because I learned she really wasn't a friend to begin with
  • Realized that I need more female friends in my life
  • Still having a hard time finding said female friends I need
  • Spent too much money on people for Christmas and pretty much depleted my bank account
  • Spent too much time wishing I was engaged instead of being thankful for the amazing relationship I'm in- engaged or not
What I Want to Accomplish in 2011

  • Lose my remaining 25 pounds to get to my goal weight (lower than the weight I got to in 2009)
  • Maybe even go lower than that goal if my body allows
  • Workout at least 3 times a week, if not more
  • Get into grad school
  • Do well in grad school in that first semester (hopefully make straight A's since I am capable)
  • Celebrate my 3 year anniversary with Court
  • Save most of the money I earn from working
  • Pray more
  • Be a nicer person (I'm not mean now, but I have some shortcomings that are sometimes not-so-nice)
  • Run a 5K
What were your highs and lows of the year? What would you like to accomplish in 2011?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Potato Butternut Squash Soup (YUMMMMM)

Tonight my mom made the most amazing soup you will ever put in your mouth. Seriously. This recipe was adapted from some sort of homemade cookbook. The soup was perfect on a night like this (cold and rainy). Absolutely 100% comfort food.

The recipe called for carrots originally, but my mom used butternut squash instead because of its buttery, rich texture (and we happened to have some at home so that's what was used). The recipe also calls for an onion, but my parents are both allergic to onions so we had to omit that. Too bad, because an onion would have really put this soup over the top. Lastly, we substituted ham instead of bacon because ham has less fat. Bacon would make this soooooo much better than it already is, though.

This recipe equals 8 Points+ values per serving and serves 10 (but to be honest, I think it serves more). You will have leftovers for a longggg time, unless you eat it all at once. It's that good.

It doesn't look fancy or gourmet by any means, but it is delicious.

  • 6 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 1 pound of diced ham
  • 1 cup of butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 2 quarts water
  • 6 T butter
  • 6 T flour
  • 1.5 C milk (we used 1% in this recipe)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • In a large pot cook potatoes and butternut squash in the water until tender (about 20 minutes).
  • Drain and reserve the liquid
  • Set veggies aside
  • In the same pot, combine the butter and flour
  • Add salt and pepper and gradually add milk
  • Stir constantly until thickened
  • Gently stir in cooked veggies
  • Add one cup or more of reserved liquid until soup is at the level of thickness you want
 I hope you enjoy this as much as I did! I just realized that 3 out of 5 recipes on here are soup recipes. Y'all probably think I'm some sort of soup freak, but I'm not! haha

Monday, December 27, 2010

Ode to roasted butternut squash

Ok, so the first time I had butternut squash it was featured in the soup in the post below. Tonight, I had it in a way that will change my life forever. Seriously.


Forgive me, I know I sound quite moronic right now. But seriously. Roasted butternut squash, where have you been all my life? I'm going to the store tomorrow to buy some more so I can roast some as an afternoon snack.

If you've never had roasted butternut squash, all you have to do is toss up a diced butternut squash in some EVOO, salt, and pepper and roast in the oven on 425 for 20-30 minutes, depending on how soft you want it. So simple, so easy, and SO FREAKING DELICIOUS.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup

I've heard a bunch of rave reviews of the recipes from Gina's Skinny Recipes but have never tried a recipe until this afternoon. My mom and I were craving butternut squash in some form or another and thought soup would be a good way to serve it. I remembered this website had two different butternut squash soup recipes, and this one looked really exotic and yummy! I didn't bother to take a picture of it (sorry), so the recipe and the photo will be courtesy of the source of the recipe. This soup was soup-er (I love puns!) easy to make and tasted really decadent and exotic. Delicious! You should try it immediately :)

One special note: instead of using 2 cups of butternut squash, I used 4 cups to make the soup thicker and to get in more veggies for the day! It doesn't affect the Points+ values, which by the way 1 serving is 3 Points+ values (the recipe says there are 4 servings total in the recipe).

Adapted from Gina's Skinny Recipes

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 medium onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 16 oz (about 2 cups) chopped peeled butternut squash
  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • salt and fresh pepper to taste
  • chopped fresh cilantro (optional) 
Add oil to a medium soup pot, on medium heat. When oil is hot add onion, garlic and sauté. Add roasted cumin, garam masala, and curry powder and mix well cooking another minute. Add broth, light coconut milk, butternut squash and cook covered until squash is soft, 12-15 minutes. Remove cover and using an immersion blender, puree soup until smooth. Season with salt and fresh pepper and serve with fresh cilantro.

Photo courtesy of Gina's Skinny Recipes

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Sorry I haven't posted in a while. I was in the final stretch of school and I just graduated COLLEGE yesterday! I graduated Magna Cum Laude as well as the Psychology department's Outstanding Fall 2010 graduate. Woot woot!

Since then, I've lost another 1.8 pounds, which puts me at 6.2 pounds lost in 5 weeks! However, this week I have not been motivated to eat well at ALL. Christmas treats are putting a damper on my intentions to eat, but I will overcome them tomorrow!

Well, this whole week I have been a nervous wreck. I've been up, and I've been down. I would be lying if I said I didn't cry a few times this week. Thankfully I have a wonderful boyfriend who was there for me through each breakdown and was there to pick me back up. My wonderful family and friends were there to celebrate my big day with me yesterday and that is all I can ask for! Here are a few pictures from the day.

My boyfriend of almost 3 years. I met him at that wonderful school I just graduated from.

My wonderful daddy! 

My awesome mom!

Getting ready to turn my tassle...

Just graduated!! Woohoo!

Now comes the part you really don't need to read. This part is for me to later look back on and reflect on the
reflection, so to say.

I always knew in my heart that Tarleton State University was the college I was meant to attend for my undergraduate career. I have killer intuition, and it always steers me in the right direction. My intuition steered me here. As I was about to graduate high school, I couldn't wait to get out and "be an adult" independent of my parents and free of rules. Little did I know, right? As my time to actually move there was approaching, I found myself becoming really, really, REALLY scared. I cried my second day there as I was barely making it through band camp (yes, I did marching band my first two years there). After I pulled myself together and started meeting people, the anxiety quickly subsided and I met my boyfriend. He played tuba and I played bass drum in the drumline. The first thing he ever said to me was when he was standing behind me in a line to get band t-shirts when I was wearing a shirt I got when I went to Hawaii the previous summer. He said "did you go to Hawaii?" and I remember thinking what a dork he was for asking such a stupid question. Apparently he thought I might have been from Hawaii because I was so tan at the time LOL! Little did I know he would become someone I love with everything I have and dream of marrying someday (when we're ready, of course!).

Enter classes starting. I remember how high school was SOOOO easy and I didn't have to actually put forth any effort to succeed. When my midterm grades came out I had an F, 2 D's, 2 C's, and an A (in marching band). Yeah, pretty bad. That was my rude awakening and I got my grades up, no worries (they weren't great, but I only got 2 C's and the rest were B's and the A in marching band). It was then that my parents said they weren't paying for C's so don't worry- no more C's after that! I remember looking at that set of midterm grades and thinking I needed to find a job that didn't require a degree quick because I thought I wasn't smart enough to make it through college. Funny how that all turned out, right?

My boyfriend and I were friends during that first semester (he was the one who took me home after my first drunken experience, haha) and quickly became closer over the Christmas break. I got his phone number on Facebook and sent him a random text saying hi and it was all history from there. He told me he liked me in January 2008 and I said I liked him too, but he was always too shy to make a move. Finally, he worked up the courage to hold my hand and we became official on February 10, 2008. Being with him actually made me a better student, friend, daughter, overall a better person.

As the years progressed, I learned how to get in my "groove" and make mostly A's in my classes. Psychology (my major) has always been something I've been passionate about, and I believe that really made a difference in my grades. I found my calling and it showed. Now I'm applying to grad school for Fall 2011 admission to hopefully get into the School Psychology program :)

Yesterday is still a blur to me. I've been trying to piece together the moments leading up to graduation as well as the moments during the ceremony. After the ceremony is no problem recalling because my heart was able to get to a reasonable rate again, haha. The reason I chose the pictures to put up on this blog is as simple as this: these are the people that helped me get through it all. My dad was always there to remind me to never give up and to give 110% into everything I did. My mom was always there to listen to me vent about the bad days I had and to offer support and compassion. My boyfriend showed me strategies to be better student. He also was there to hug me and kiss me when I had a bad day and when I needed someone to help me get through something. Lastly, myself. Why, you ask? Because I can have the help of other people, but in the end you have to WANT something and work hard to achieve it. Nobody can do your accomplishments but you. I had the catalysts to push me in the right direction, but I chose to go in the right direction.

End long rambling :)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Today is Thursday- that means...

Weigh-in day! I lost the 1.6 pounds I gained over Thanksgiving! I wanted it to be more for the fact that I would have done more than simply even out, but I'll take any loss I can get! Granted I hadn't "gone" yet at my WI time so maybe next week's loss will be even bigger!

This makes a total of 4.4 pounds lost in 4 weeks. That's an average of 1.1 pounds a week so far. Not too shabby. Sometimes I wish I could lose 10 pounds a week like they do on The Biggest Loser, but this is reality. I don't have Bob and Jillian kicking my ass in the gym and I don't have all the perfect foods to eat on a beautiful ranch. I'm too poor to afford a trainer and I have the daily stresses and temptations that come with life. I figure as long as I deal with it productively, a loss is good no matter how big or small.

On a side note, today is my LAST day of class as an undergraduate student. Wow. What am I feeling? Excited, scared shitless, anxious (good and bad), bittersweet, happy, weird, confused. Why confused, you ask? I have been going to school since I was 3 (pre-school) and now I'm 21. The last 18 years of my life have been nothing but school, really. I plan to start grad school in August 2011 so I'm going to have 9 months off of school. What will I do with my time? I have a good job lined up to start after graduation, but it's only a 20ish hour a week job (but pays insanely well- seriously $19/hr). I guess what I can do is spend a lot of time in the gym since I won't have school AND work to balance. At least for a while I can really, really focus on my weight loss and get together an exercise routine (in addition to my almost daily walks with my dog).

One more side note. I'm either in a funky sort of "bitchy" mood or some people I've come into contact with this morning ate a big bowl of stupid for breakfast. LOL! I suppose we all have days like that sometime, right?

Oh, and I already have only 7 points left for the day LOL! I ate a huge 22 point breakfast to celebrate it being my last day of class as an undergrad. It was delicious and worth it. I probably won't be hungry again until dinner, and I can definitely just eat 7 points for dinner. Not to mention I need to fill up on more fruits and veggies this week!

Have a great rest of the week!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Taco Soup!

So, the weather has been very cold lately (ok fine, maybe it's just been about 40ish degrees on an average Texas day here- gimme a break, we Texans get cold easily!) and it seemed like perfect weather to make one of my favorite soups in the whole world- taco soup!! Everybody has their own favorite recipe to make, and here is my revised recipe to make it more points-friendly and overall more healthy :)

Sorry there isn't a picture of this awesome, tasty soup. While making the soup, clumsy me cut my left index finger with a knife and it was bleeding nonstop (hooray for my boyfriend coming to the rescue to finish the soup!). Seriously, it took about an hour of clotting that cut before it was able to hold a band-aid. Sorry for the TMI!

Now that I've thoroughly grossed you out, here's the recipe :)

Stephanie's Healthy Taco Soup

  • 1 pound ground beef (I used 93-7 this time, but feel free to use it as lean or fatty as you want)
  • 1 (10oz.) can of Rotel
  • 1 (15.5oz.) can of black beans
  • 1 small can of chopped green chiles
  • 1 yellow onion (but feel free to use any onion you want)
  • 1 packet of Hidden Valley Dry Ranch Mix
  • About 1 T cumin (I don't measure spices much, I just season to taste)
  • About 1 T cayenne pepper (same applies from above seasoning)
  • 1 (15.25oz.) can whole kernel corn (I used the no salt added kind since the Ranch mix has some salt)
  • 1 cup water
  • Brown beef in a nonstick skillet.
  • Slice the onion in however big or small you want the pieces (but don't slice your finger like I did!)
  • Combine onion with the beef and let both brown until cooked through.
  • Combine meat, onion, spices, water, and all cans into a large pot (big enough to make soup, anyway) and mix well
  • Bring to a boil for about 5 minutes.
  • Reduce heat and let soup simmer for at least 30 minutes (it gets better as you let it simmer longer).
  • Serve with desired toppings of choice. My personal favorites are a dollop of low-fat sour cream, a little cheese (any kind you want), and some crushed up tortilla chips (my favorite is the Baked Doritos).

This makes about 8 servings and comes to 5 Weight Watchers Points+ a serving (it will be more points depending on what you top it with if you desire to do so). I also enjoyed this with a piece of cornbread. Perfect combination!

If you have never tried any version of taco soup, this is a great place to start. I hope you love this soup as much as my boyfriend and I do!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Weekend "treats"

So last night I went for sushi with my boyfriend and another couple who we are both good friends with (hooray for double dates!) and I had planned out my points to have 2 rolls of sushi and still be within my DP's. However, temptation got the better of me and I had a piece of cheesecake. Granted, I didn't have the whole piece (the boyfriend ate a few bites as well in addition to his dessert).

Today, however, has been kind of a fail with nutrition. For breakfast, I had leftover spaghetti (with tomato sauce) and 1 and a half pieces of bread. Why spaghetti for breakfast, you ask? Because I was too lazy to cook something and spaghetti just sounded good. As if that amount of carbs wasn't enough to start off my day, I then had a patty melt for lunch at a local burger joint with my dad (he came in town to visit me- yes, my family rocks for visiting me!). One good thing that came from that was I was only able to eat one teeny-tiny onion ring out of the order of onion rings I ordered on the side of my already greasy, cheese patty melt. I still have 2 points left for the day and I'm so full I'll probably be too stuffed to eat anything else all day.

I promise my rambling about my poor food choices today has a purpose. My point is that right now, all I want to do is lay down and take a nap because of the carb overload from today's food choices. I feel full and lethargic when lately I have usually felt energetic and just satisfied (not full). I learned a lesson today that I had long forgotten- eat the right foods, and I feel SOOOOOO much better than when I eat food void of real nutritional value.

On the bright side, I have tracked everything I've eaten today and have not gone over my daily points (DP's) at least. I tracked it, and my next meal will without a doubt be full of nutritional value. So far, the only GHG's I've gotten in have been all my water (I drink water like it's nobody's business), 1 serving of veggies (I had about 1/2 cup of grilled onions on that patty melt of mine at lunch), one serving of dairy (from the cheese on the patty melt), a protein (from the beef in the patty melt), and my multivitamin. I'm short 4 fruits/veggies (need at least 5 servings a day) and my healthy oils (2 tsp) for the day, and a serving of WHOLE GRAIN. I've definitely had my bread for the day, but it was white bread and not whole grain :( At least I've gotten in SOME GHG's (good health guidelines), but it would have been nice to get in more. However, right now I'm more focused on staying within my DP's at this point. Hopefully as long as I minimally use my WP's (weekly points), I'll lose that gain I had this week and plus some.

The weekends are the only time I allow myself to have treats (for the most part) and this was my last treat of the weekend. For the rest of the week, it will be nothing but nutritionally dense foods that will help me lose weight!

I hope everybody has a wonderful weekend full of healthy eating and all that jazz :)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Not having the best day at all...

So far, this day has had mostly bad points with minimal good points. Let's start with the good, shall we?
  •  Today is my "Friday"- I don't have any Friday classes, and I don't work on Fridays either
  • There is a basketball game for both the women's and men's basketball teams tonight! I love watching basketball!
  • My grandparents came out to visit me at school and we got to go to one of my favorite restaurants and they took me to the store to get a few things I needed (and gave me an extra $20- gotta love grandparents!). I love my grandparents a lot and am very close with them, so it's always nice to get a visit from them while I'm away at school.
  • I was good at the restaurant. We went to my favorite Italian restaurant and I only ate one piece of bread, ate the salad with a tomato-based dressing (so it's low in points), and only ate half a plate of spaghetti & meatballs- hooray for portion control!
Now, for the bad :(
  • I weighed in this morning and the scale showed a 1.6 pound gain. Unless I lose 5.2 pounds this week, my goal of losing 10 pounds by graduation (averaging a rate of 2 pounds a week loss) is basically shot to hell
  • When I went to WalMart with my grandparents after lunch, I saw my former best friend and her mom there. I'm not going to get into the big story of how we're not friends anymore but to make a long story super short, we got into a conflict over the summer where we were BOTH in the wrong (even though I apologized TWICE for my share of the wronging) and she basically threw me out of her life like I was garbage. I try not to let people hurt me, especially since I can't control what other people do, but I'm a deeply sensitive person and get my feelings hurt very easily. Considering this girl was someone I thought was my best friend and to find out she really wasn't if she was willing to just throw me out of her life like that because of ONE fight just really hurts. It happened in May, but I'm still hurt by what happened. I've been trying to tell myself I'm not hurt by it, but to be honest, I'm still hurt. Maybe not as hurt as I was in May, but still hurt nonetheless. Last I checked, friendships sometimes have conflicts, just like any other relationship. Needless to say, seeing her brought back all my feelings of hurt and betrayal and it was all I could do to not cry in the middle of the store.
Looking back now, my day has really had more good points than bad. It just seems like the two bad things about today outweigh (literally, in one respect) the good. It's pretty easy for us to ignore the good and dwell on the bad.

I will not let these two setbacks ruin my day. I still have other good friends in my life, and genuinely good people who care about me, and me for them. As far as my gain, weight gains are part of a weight-loss journey and it would be slightly unrealistic to expect myself to lose weight EVERY single week. It would be different if I was on The Biggest Loser, but I'm not (I sure wish I had Bob and/or Jillian to kick my ass in the gym!).

To reflect on my gain, it probably came from a few things:
  1. I ate a lot of rich food on Thanksgiving. Even though I tracked it all, the points values were probably higher than I was able to find.
  2. I ate a small piece of chocolate pecan pie yesterday, but I tracked it and was still within my DP's and WP's and didn't even have to dip into my AP's. However, it's very rich and sugar/carb loaded, so that probably had a lot to do with it.
  3. Water weight, possibly? I'm drinking water and tea like it's nobody's business!
  4. Weight Watchers released their new points system this week and maybe my body was just a little shocked by the change, since I changed my eating habits some this week (some for the worse, some for the better).
  5. I didn't meet all my GHG's every day. My biggest challenge was meeting my quota of 5 servings of fruits & veggies a day. 
  6. I didn't get all my healthy oils in, either.
This is my plan of attack to kick this gain in the butt and MAYBE even lose that 5.2 pounds to keep my goal of losing 10 pounds by December 18th at an attainable goal (I started November 11th, and graduate December 18th- that makes 5 weeks at ~2 pounds a week loss).
  1. Drink at least 100oz. of water a day- this is easy for me because I usually drink around 90oz. a day (I looooove water! Seriously, it's my favorite drink in the world).
  2. Watch how many carbs I'm consuming and focus more on protein and fiber.
  3. Get in all my fruit/veggie servings. That was one of my pitfalls this week.
  4. Get in all my healthy oil servings.
  5. Do at least 30 minutes of some form of activity each day this week.
Some good things that have happened since starting Weight Watchers, DESPITE my gain this week:
  • I am much more energized now- before, I was eating very unhealthy foods on a daily basis (think pizza, enchiladas, desserts, etc.) but now I'm much more mindful of what's going in my mouth.
  • I'm not gassy all the time (forgive me for the TMI)- you know, since eating bad foods is NOT good for bodily functions.
  • My face even looks a little thinner! I know my total weight loss to date is only 2.8 pounds, but my face is the first place my weight loss starts to show up.
  • I don't feel bloated and gross all the time.
  • My self-confidence is starting to come back again, even though I just started. Before, I felt totally gross and unattractive and it was negatively affecting my relationship with my boyfriend. He still saw the beautiful, thin girl he's always thought I was (even before I lost weight last summer)/I became last year (I lost 24 pounds last summer and gained 25 back) but I saw a gross, unattractive woman in the mirror.
In retrospect, more good things have came out of this weight-loss journey than one minor setback such as a small gain this week.

If you read this entire post, you rock and will be my hero forever (hehe)! This was really written for me to sort of "think out loud" and reason out everything that was bothering me. Sometimes it helps to just talk about what's on your mind, right?

Have a great weekend, everyone!