Thursday, February 23, 2012

Move Over Letterman... My Top 10

I've developed a Top 10 List of the things I can't live without right now.  I'm playing with the idea of making this a monthly or even weekly thing (this post took a REALLY long time to create so unless I become more efficient, it will be a monthly thing).  There were so many more items that could've made this list, but here is my list for the week month. 

10.  Fiber One 90 Calorie Brownies.  OH. YUM. It's a brownie, that tastes like a brownie, and it's only 90 calories.  Love them.

9.  PB2. This is a powdered peanut butter that comes in regular and chocolate peanut butter flavors.  Author's note: It is NOT a substitute for the real thing (which I love so much).  However, it has significantly less fat than regular nut butters as most of the oil is removed from the peanuts, leaving peanut flour.  You can reconstitute it with water or add it to oatmeal, smoothies, or greek yogurt to name a few. I order PB2 online and it can be found at AmazonNetrition, or Bell Plantation.  You can also find lots of great uses for PB2 here.
Last night, I combined two tablespoons of Chocolate PB2 and one tablespoon of water in a bowl.  Then I took a Fiber One Brownie (see #10), heated it up in the microwave for 20 seconds, and placed it on top of my bowl of Chocolate PB2.  There was bowl licking - it was THAT good.

8. Garlic.  I used to be intimidated by the fresh garlic that you could find in the produce section.  I had NO idea what to do with it.  While I was at Jake's sister house, she gave me a quick little garlic "lesson" and I haven't turned back.  I add it to everything and it adds such a great flavor.  I even bought a garlic press/slicer last week.  I love garlic... garlic, garlic, garlic.

7. Produce.  Okay, this is kind of a catch-all category, but I have this new love for produce.  I buy GADS of it each week and eat it all.  Before I started slimming down, I'd buy produce, eat a small amount of it, and then it would get all nasty in my fridge.  Now, on a weekly basis I buy (and eat): spinach or romaine, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, radishes, mushrooms, garlic (see #8), onions, peppers, apples, oranges, bananas, avocados, insert whatever else looks good here. These are actual pictures from my fridge.  Yes, it's messy, but this is not a blog about cleaning and organizing - I'll leave that to someone else!

6. Chia Seeds.  Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia! Yep, kind of like that.  There is a blog called Runs For Cookies that I really enjoy reading.  Katie, the author of the blog, has turned me on to chia seeds (and oatmeal - see #3).  I add a tablespoon to my cold oats in my nut butter bowl (also see #3) and the chia seeds soak up the almond milk in about 15 minutes.  This way you get the consistency of hot oatmeal but have cold oats instead (it's delicious, I swear).  You can find all these recipes and uses for chia seeds here.

5. Coffee.  I have a Keurig coffee maker that I adore.  It makes the perfect travel mug of coffee for me to bring to work in the morning.  This morning, I had Golden French Toast coffee.  It tasted JUST like French Toast (a little bit of maple syrup, a hint of cinnamon).  I savored every sip of it! Coffee will probably always make my Top 10 list.  It's just that good.  My mom recently bought me this mug and it's oh so true!

4. Fage 0% Greek Yogurt.  On a recent shopping trip to Sam's Club, I bought a large tub of Fage 0% Greek Yogurt.  I had heard this was very versatile, but wasn't 100% sure what I was going to do with it.  Well, what can't you do with it?!?!?  My gigantic tub is almost half gone already! So far I have used it to make a peanut butter fruit dip (1/2 cup yogurt, 1 tbsp peanut butter, 1 tsp brown sugar - mix together and dip an apple into it), chocolate peanut butter banana dessert (1/2 cup yogurt, 2 Tbsp Chocolate PB2, 1 tsp honey, slice a banana into it), ranch dressing (2 tbsp ranch dressing and 2 tbsp yogurt gives you 4 tbsp of dressing for half the calories), and "sour cream" on a potato (straight up on a potato).  It's non-fat, loaded with protein, and is truly my new love.
3. Oatmeal. Thanks to Katie over at Runs For Cookies I want to eat oatmeal every day.  Breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Which is good because I just bought a nine (yep, NINE) pound box from Sam's Club.  Similar to the greek yogurt, it is so versatile - it is a blank slate to which you can add all sorts of wonderful things.  My favorite is the nut butter bowl.  Take a bowl, spread 1 Tbsp of peanut butter (or any nut butter) around the bottom and up the sides.  Put the bowl in the freezer for 15 minutes.  Take it out and add your oats (cold or hot) to the nut butter bowl.  With each bite, scrape the bottom of the bowl and you get a taste of nut butter.  Sometimes I add 1 Tbsp of chocolate chips - it's like dessert for breakfast (or lunch or dinner).  Currently, all of the ways I eat oatmeal I learned from Katie, so you can click here for tons of ways to eat this great food.

2. Digital Food Scale. Portions are so important when trying to slim down.  I used to measure everything using measuring cups and spoons.  I never felt like it was very accurate and it was just a pain in the @$%.  Plus, it created extra dishes (something I loathe since I don't have a dishwasher).  Then I discovered that just about all nutrition labels have a weight on them in either grams or ounces.  Enter my beloved food scale.  Now, I can tell you that 1 Tbsp of Barney Butter (another favorite for another day) weighs 16 grams or 1/2 cup of Fage 0% Greek Yogurt weighs 114 grams.  So, when I want to add one Tbsp of Barney Butter to my oatmeal, I set my bowl of oatmeal on top of my scale, turn it on, and scoop it in until it measures out to 16 grams.  Exact measurement, no dirty measuring spoon.  Seems tedious, but it really is SO much easier.  Maybe one day I won't have to weigh my food, but for now, this truly is the best way.

1. My water bottle.  I used to have a hard time drinking enough water.  Instead, I would drink several cups of coffee in the morning and at least 76 ounces of Diet Mountain Dew in the afternoon and evening (2 bottles and 3 cans - yikes!).  Now, I have 1-2 cups of coffee in the morning and 1 can of Diet Dew in the afternoon.  That's it.  For the rest of the day, it's all water and I owe that to my wonderful water bottle.  For whatever reason, I actually use this water bottle (unlike all the others sitting in my cupboard).  I got it from Target and it never leaves my side.  I want to get another one, but I'm afraid I might not love it as much.  Thank you for keeping me hydrated!


  1. Love the list, very informative. I have to admit I, too, was intimidated by fresh garlic, until we just bought some and went with it. We quickly purchased ourselves a garlic press as well, and put it in a lot of things.

    1. Thanks B! Glad you liked the list! Oh, thanks for stopping by my blog :) Obviously I'm just starting out and trying to figure out how to do this - your blog is so great and finally motivated me to give it a try myself.

      It's definitely taken some courage to put my weight and struggles into the open, but it also encourages me to keep going.

      Thanks again!

  2. I hadn't heard about some of these specialty items on your list - very intriguing! Chia Seed? PB2?! The second one sounds super good! Also, I had never heard of the PB & Oatmeal thing, that's an awesome idea!

    1. Let me know if you try them! I'm currently on a Peanut Butter Cheerios kick right now (if you're a peanut butter for breakfast kind of gal like I am!)