Late next week marks the 2-month anniversary of being out of The Day Job. I mentioned it previously here. I am still among the ranks of the unemployed. I spend a lot of time indoors, on the computer. With the weather being what it's been...hot...it's not necessarily bad, but I'm finding myself going a little stir crazy, sometimes a little down.
I've also noticed that I've put on a few pounds. You'd think with all this free time, I'd keep a regular gym schedule. You'd think. I've gone here and there. Three days one week, once another week, a couple of weeks not at all. Then I noticed something. [Men, cover your ears if you don't want to hear 'women's talk.'] I noticed where the weight was going. Right to my stomach. That's right...belly fat. What you hear about on television commercials. Ugh. The jeans are getting a little snug. I went to lunch with my ex-manager last week and was lamenting about the weight gain and where it was settling in. She smiled and said, 'You're at that age...' It wasn't meant to be mean. She's been there, seen that, and accepted it. I'm not ready to accept it. Five years ago I stepped on the scale and was shocked at the number I saw. [No, I'm not telling!] I was incredibly uncomfortable in my body and seeing the number cemented the change I was going to make. It's been a journey. More successful than not. I've lost 4 pant sizes. Five on a good day. I know I'm getting older, the metabolism changes, it takes more effort to lose weight and keep it off. And, it's no secret...I love food.
The blog is indicative of how much I love food. I have weaknesses. You may know them. Their names are Cheese, Potato Chips, and Bacon. I hate the word 'diet'. I haven't thought of myself as being on one for at least 20 years. I believe in changing how you look at food, finding a balance, not denying yourself and if you go overboard one day, you rein yourself in the next. I've been thinking about the hows, whats, whens, and whys of my eating habits over the past few days. I'm wondering if I'm eating too much fruit and not enough vegetables (to balance out the sugar), not enough protein, too many carbs (I'm Italian, life must include bread and pasta!), or just too much late at night. And let's not forget the vino. I have a rule when I'm working, no drinking if I work the next day. Well...that rule has been thrown out the window. Not that I'm a tipsy baker or anything, but I've had more wine than usual (for me) over the past couple of months.
Where is this all headed? I guess what I'm trying to say is...a tiny little light bulb when off above my head. No screaming 150 watt bulb, but a mellow 25 watt. A gentle reminder. To take care of myself. To get back on track. To be more conscious of what I put in my mouth. Do I regret making whole milk ricotta the other day? No...especially when I paired it with figs and honey! Will I limit myself to a realistic serving of potato chips? Yes...those kettle chips are evil! And I'm going to stop making excuses to skip the gym. I can happily say that after I go this Saturday, I will have made it to the gym five days this week. It's been a long time since I've done that. I also have to push myself to do more...kick it up a notch...or six. Take advantage of this time I have. I still have a goal weight in mind. And I'll be damned if I don't reach it.
Don't worry...the baking won't stop. I have way too much fun with that. I have way too much fun in the kitchen, period. I'm still working on Semplice Gourmet, so experiment after experiment will be happening. I just have to balance myself. Again.
I've been thinking about coleslaw for a couple of weeks. I bought a head of red cabbage last week and finally got around to bringing it to fruition today. There is sweet, sour, vegetables, protein, and a few carbs here. Keyword? That's right...balance! And it was so good.
Red Cabbage Slaw
(Makes a lot)
1 small head red cabbage, shredded
1 cup shredded carrots
1/4 cup red onion, minced
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 large red bell pepper, minced
Honey Dijon Vinaigrette
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon apricot jam
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon whole grain Dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon pepper
In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, carrots, red onion, garbanzo beans, and bell pepper. Stir to mix well. In another bowl or a jar with a lid, add the honey, jam, vinegar, garlic, mustard, olive oil, pepper, and salt. It's easy in a jar. Secure the top and shake, shake, shake. If you're making it in a bowl, whisk well until all the ingredients come together. Feel free to adjust to your taste, whether more honey, mustard, or pepper. Add to the bowl of vegetables and mix, mix, mix. Let it sit for a few minutes before you eat or serve it so the flavors can mingle.
Wheat tortilla, shredded grilled chicken, and slaw. A sprinkle of sesame seeds. Call it dinner.