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Curds 'n' Weigh

Curds 'n' Weigh: July 2012

Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday Night Bites

So, this post will be sort of a hit-and-run/drive-by, since I'm headed out of town in the morning and haven't packed a single thing...this seems to always be the case the night before I go out of town!

First, I would like to thank everyone who reached out after my last post.  I really appreciate the support and love.  After taking a moment to reevaluate, I am grateful for every experience because it has shaped the person that I will be.  My strength is made perfect in weakness.

Moving on :-)  I made some yummy turkey burgers tonight.  The burger itself is seasoned with minced ginger, garlic, onion, and carrots with a sprinkle of Bragg's and Worcheshire Sauce.  Because I used lean ground turkey, it was very wet so I used a handful of StoveTop... I hope the clean-eating police don't arrest me!  Grilled on the George Foreman and placed on half a Flat Out FoldIt with Greek yogurt.  I topped the burger with some spinach, feta, grape tomatoes and capers.  I am enjoying getting creative in the kitchen.

I had a fruit attack later that night so I pulled out a coconut I bought at the market a few days ago; I should have also bought a manual on how to open it!  After several minutes of trying using a knife and every other sharp object within reach to pierce the "eye", I finally settled on a corkscrew to get to the milk and a meat mallet to crack open the skin...don't judge me!  It was a lot of work, but it was worth the effort!  I had some mango, pineapple with chopped coconut...very hearty and filling...I felt like I was in the Caribbean!  Added a dash of rum into the coconut milk for a real island experience.  Sidenote...I would love tips for opening coconuts in the comments...please and thank you.

In other charms FINALLY arrived (and I'm about halfway to another one!!!)...unfortunately, the bicycle was hooked on the flimsy handlebar, so I'll need to send it back and get a solid bike.

One more surprise simply because I love my readers so much...another round of Just Dance!  I bought Zumba 2 and Just Dance 3 tonight and had a blast learning the new moves (this recording was my 10th song of the night), but my favorite is always this song on Just Dance 2...

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

My tears dry on their own...

When I started this blog, one of the promises that I made was to be honest even when it's uncomfortable, to speak truth even when it hurts.  Today, I'm cashing in on this promise made to myself.  With tears burning my eyes, I am writing my truth and hope to find the cathartic healing that only raw and vulnerable honesty can provide.

A bit of background:  as has been previously alluded to, my relationship with my family is not the best.  Actually, if I'm speaking honestly...I'd say that in some ways, the relationship is virtually non-existent.  It hasn't always been that way...I can't tell you exactly what changed; perhaps it was me.

Things with my mom have always been tethered on a tight rope...I won't offer opinions about the reasoning behind her actions, but the reality is that her ability to handle the needs of a chronically-depressed, sexually-abused young girl was simply insufficient.  My mom did the best that she could with what she had...trying to raise four children at the age of 20 most certainly provided a unique set of challenges that I will never have to endure, so I can't say what should have been done.  I only know what I needed and what was not received. 

My mom often worked two or three jobs leaving me as the babysitter of three younger siblings by age six; this was also the same year that the molestation began.  I didn't tell my mother about it until I was 16 (which she later told me that she never believed)...I don't at all blame her for what happened, but I know that I never once felt protected as a child.  I now recognize that year as the start of my depression and isolation.  I started cutting at 10 and attempted suicide at least twice before the age of 16.  I am not saying any of this for sympathy or to place blame...only to say that, at no point during the emergency room visits, meetings with crisis counselors (one who even told my mother my secret that I was cutting myself) no point did I receive the help that I needed until I sought it myself.  Growing up, we were beaten often out of anger.  Perhaps we were horrible children who needed bruises and blackened eyes to straighten us out, but this form of tough love only drove me deeper into my isolation and caused my cutting and depression to spiral out of control.  To this day, I'm sure my mother doesn't know of the two times that I was hospitalized for cutting too deeply...she doesn't know of my 72-hour suicide-watch hospitalization while I was still living in her house! mother did only what she knew to do.  At the age of 17, I moved out of my mom's house and into the home of my pastor and his wife.  This was not to hurt my family, but because I was desperately running towards life and needed something to hold onto.  Leaving fractured my relationship with my mother and sisters, as well as the aunt closest to my mom.  Had I not left, I have no doubt that I would be dead now at my own hands.  I needed to find hope!  My mother and I didn't speak for a few years after I left...our relationship bruised by arguments to which I normally shut down in an attempt not to be disrespectful.  It has always been my nature to hold my thoughts and emotions in so that I can spare the feelings of everyone else.  Eventually, my mother and I moved past our problems though nothing was ever worked out.  We simply swept things under the rug and moved forward with the illusion of being friends.

In college, I decided to stop fighting the feelings I'd always had growing up about liking women.  I secretly had identified as bi-curious for years, but was too afraid to act on my feelings because God might instantly strike me down and send me to a fiery pit.  Eventually, I was not able to hide from myself anymore and started to identify as lesbian even before I ever had my first date with a woman.  I told my family and everyone seemed very supportive initially.  I told a great-aunt who, while supportive, broke my confidence and told another aunt.  The second aunt called and cursed me out!  Called me every derogatory name under the sun...I was told that I was supposed to love God, how could I be so vile...that I'm a dyke and will never find God's favor because I am disgusting!  To this day, she continues to speak harsh words about me to other members of our family.  My grandmother was initially supportive and told me that as long as I had reconciled with God that she was happy I found happiness because I had spent my whole life unhappy.  I was elated that, for the most part, the people closest to me supported me, though the weekly check-in calls grew fewer and further between.

My family's support changed when I introduced my partner (who I've now been with for almost five years!) to the family a few years ago on Thanksgiving.  Before the holiday, I specifically asked if I could bring her because I didn't want to make anyone uncomfortable!  My aunt, whose home it was originally planned for, backed out and we had dinner at my grandmother's.  The meeting went grandmother was very loving towards her.  We left and my partner immediately asked about what we should buy granny for Christmas, picked out the gift herself and kept reminding me to send it.  I later found out that my grandmother had quite a bit to say about things after we left.  Anytime that we've gone up since then, it is as if my partner does not exist.  I neglected to mention that the aunt who called and cursed me out is alcoholic.  We used to talk often, but when she birthed her son and began making abusive threats towards him, I refused to support her actions and threatened to call CPS unless she got help.  He was removed from her care at least twice, for at least six months to a year each time.  The last time he was removed, I volunteered to take him in because my family acted oblivious to what was happening in his home and nobody was willing to care for him.  Around that same time, my partner's job transferred and she could choose either Portland or Los Angeles.  Naturally, I chose Portland so that I could be closer to my family in Seattle and be able to bring my cousin up to see his mom and the rest of the family whenever he wanted to.  My offer to take him in was promptly shut down because somehow my love for women was considered perverse and meant that I must be a rapist and would harm this innocent child whom I love so dearly!  I was always closest with my grandmother growing can she think these things about me?  Even typing this angers me because I don't understand how my friends can see me for who I truly am, but my family makes me feel like a monster!!!  Needless to say, my relationship with my grandmother and aunt almost completely disappeared after that.  I understand that not everyone will agree with my lifestyle.  I understand that it is neither my place, nor my intention, to change anyone's fundamental beliefs.  What I don't understand is how people who have known me my entire life, can't see that I'm the exact same person, regardless of who I love.

I moved to Portland thinking that I would have a great relationship with my family, but after a few visits to Seattle when I first got here...I realized that a lot must change before we can ever have the relationship I need.  I am no longer willing to make my needs of less importance to make others feel good.  I am no longer willing to sit around silently while I am disrespected.  I haven't seen my grandmother and aunts in more than a year though they are only 2 1/2 hours away.  There are no calls (except the occassional birthday) and often when I call, there is no return call to my messages.  2 1/2 hours away from my family, I feel more separated and alone than I ever have.

When my grandmother started becoming standoffish and vocalizing her concern about my lifestyle, my mother quickly rose in my defense and became my biggest ally.  Again, I really thought that our relationship had changed and that she was my closest friend.  Fast-forwarding to a few months ago, I realized that when issues are not resolved, they don't go away, but simply hide in the shadows until an opportunity arises to attack.  I'm not really sure what caused this most recent collapse of my relationship with my mother.  I won't get into details, because they are irrelevant to this post, but it brings me to the reason I'm upset today.

This weekend is a close friend's birthday party in Seattle.  While I'm excited to celebrate with her, there is always a profound sadness with the realization that I in the same city as my family (specifically my mother!) but will see no one.  Sadness in knowing that I must always find a hotel room because we are not welcome.  Sadness in knowing that, in order for me to accepted, I'll have to be someone that I'm not (and refuse to be).  Perhaps it is my own stubbornness that traps us in this place.  For several years, I have considered asking a counselor to do a group intervention for my family to help us move past the generations of depression, harsh help us exorcise all of the demons that hide in my family's collective closet.  While I have considered this, I don't know what good it would do.  Until everyone is willing to change our family dynamic, I'm left to deal with my feelings about our dying relationship on my own.

Even as I type this, I'm tempted to delete this draft because if I publish it, the pain is real.  I am thankful that I have wonderful friends who validate me and allow me to be my authentic self; I am thankful that I have friends who see the love that overflows from my heart and are not blinded by bigotry, double-standards and dogma.  Sadly, even my best friend cannot remove the sting of feeling unloved by the very blood that claims to be thicker than water.

Monday, July 23, 2012

I am becoming...

I am becoming...someone unknown to me.  I have never met her, but I know she is confident; I have never seen her, but I know she is brave.  I am obsessed with my outer appearance, while her infatuation is the well-being of her soul. I am deafened by the silence around me, yet in stillness her spirit whispers wisdom.  She tells me that my scars quilt the patchwork of her essence; my stumbling blocks, the stepping stones to her destiny.  She is unintimidated by the things that frighten me...unflinching at what makes me afraid.  She wears my dishonor like a cloak, unashamed and unabashedly pursuing that which fulfills her.  She is not deterred by the distractions that beguile me; steadfast in her purpose, with blinders she progresses.  My doubts ignite her determination; my trepidation, her certainty.  She was conceived in my passion, birthed from my dreams.

(PS...this was my first time at target practice and I got a BULLSEYE!!!)

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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Breakfast McCurds 'n' Weigh

I've kinda been short-changing myself with breakfast recently: eating a Clif bar on the way out the door, cottage cheese and fruit or just an apple some days.  While all of these are okay choices, today I needed something more substantial.

I started out with fresh fruit and veggie juice: spinach, ginger, carrot, orange and pineapple.  A lot of people who are new to juicing are intimidated by leafy greens in fruit juice.  Drinking spinach seems so health freak/Popeye-the-sailorish, but surprisingly spinach really only affects the color--in addition to giving much-needed vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and if you let Popeye tell it...muscles!  This juice is my favorite because it just tastes like a not-so-sweet pineapple/orange juice.  The ginger gives it a nice refreshing quality and the carrots and pineapple blend to give it a cool lava-lamp effect :)  Fresh juice always makes me feel like I can scale mountains.

I made a hearty breakfast sandwich to go along with my superwoman juice: 5-grain flaxseed flatbread (fold-it style), one whole egg and one egg white, few grape tomatoes, some spinach, a pinch of feta cheese and avocado "mayonnaise" all came together to form a party in my tummy!

Toast flatbread on both sides in dry skillet over medium heat until warm and slightly crisp.
Spread mashed avocado on both sides of flatbread, about 1/4 of an avocado total.
Wilt spinach in skillet with one teaspoon Bragg's Liquid Amino's.  Set on one side of flatbread.

Saute tomatoes and feta until feta is bubbly.
Pour egg directly over tomatoes, cook for about one minute then flip.  Be sure to press out excess moisture.

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

I Choose Life

Today was a particularly stressful day at work: though I only have four other co-workers (besides the owner), the women in this office thrive on gossip, hearsay and drama!  I try to live a very peaceful, stress-free life and look at things from a positive perspective most of the time; this office is the polar opposite.

Very long story short...H, the owner's personal-assistant and self-proclaimed office manager, met with some colleagues from our sister company last Friday.  I have never personally met these colleagues, but have worked with them at length and we share a mutual high-esteem for one another.  During their meeting, she spoke negatively about J (the receptionist), T (my supervisor, head of Compliance) and myself.  Among other things, we are supposedly difficult to work with, she used to be "our boss" but since we moved offices (in May) we no longer listen to her, I walk around like I run things...among others.  What she said is not why I'm upset.  In fact, I found it humorous because she was never in a position of management, but tried to use her seniority to give other people her work (even though no part of our job overlaps and the only people that I have ever reported to are T and the owner).  The part that upset me is that just a couple weeks ago, though H has always been grumpy and cantankerous, I flat-ironed H's hair and did her make-up for her staff photo.

Let me give you a bit of background here: months ago, I started working on the company brochure and requested that J, the receptionist, and H provide staff photos since they did not have one on file.  H showed obvious trepidation at having her image immortalized on an 11x14 sheet of stock paper.  H is short, chubby, she resembles the rocker Meatloaf with frizzy hair.  I work in financial services and we deal with very high net worth clients; professionalism is of utmost importance in my field, yet H often looks like she has rolled out of bed and grabbed the nearest pair of capris and Birkenstocks.  She looks like she does not care, but in observing her conversation, I realized that she feels ugly.  When the conversation of the brochure came up and she refused to have a photo included, I offered to do her hair and makeup if it would make her feel better.  She turned down the offer and we didn't speak about it again.  About two weeks, after months of her doing malicious things (going through my office while I'm away, telling lies about me and other displays of personal dissatisfaction) she approached me and said that she'd seen the draft of the brochure and didn't like that she was the only one without a picture so she wanted to get her picture taken after all.  She asked if I would do her hair and makeup and I agreed.  I was excited for the opportunity to have her look in the mirror at herself and say "Wow".  I was excited for the chance to show her that she could be beautiful if she put forth a little effort.  I was excited to see her walk with confidence.  The act was from the goodness of my heart, not with any expectations; however, perhaps a small part of me believed that it would be a peace offering to help promote a more cordial and professional work environment.

Fast-forwarding to last Friday's meeting.  J, the receptionist, overheard H speaking about the three of us and confronted H about it after the colleagues left.  Claws came out, curse words were thrown and something akin to an old Western showdown occurred.  H called J over the weekend to apologize: she said she didn't know why she said such bad things about us, that both T and myself had been so kind to her in the past, she was deeply regretful.  She begged J not to tell the owner and, moreover, not to tell T or me.  J, unmoved, told her that she had to own up to what she did.

I walked into the office Monday, completely oblivious to the tension that fouled the air.  J pulled me aside and filled me in on what happened Friday and over the weekend.  H was quiet all day.  The normally boisterously loud grouch had been silenced.  Needless to say things were very awkward.  She called out Tuesday (the same day that the owner, B and T went out of town, leaving only J and myself in the office).  Yesterday, H said not one word again all day.  Today, H had been quiet all day until I overheard her again talking negatively about J and me.  I am confused at how someone can wear two faces so easily...until now, I had only heard that H had an issue with me by hearsay.  H has always been reasonably pleasant with me and any animosity was not directly targeted at me.  I don't know where this is coming from, neither do I understand how she can have the audacity to do the things she does.

I understand that it's not personal and says nothing about me and everything about her: her feelings about me are only a mirror of what she thinks of herself.  Knowing this doesn't make it hurt any less that I too often extend myself to people who only trudge upon my pearls like swine.  I feel betrayed, though I never had an illusion of loyalty.  I feel disrespected, though I always gave her more respect than she earned.

Normally I would come home and pour a glass of wine, sulk in my feelings until the sweet rest of intoxication took over and sleep pulls me into her bosom.  I would eat as many sweet, salty, fatty, creamy, empty foods as it took to numb my emotions and then I would feel guilty about my binge and eat more.  This time, however, I refuse to allow negativity to derail me.  I am going to Zumba tonight and going to sweat out my worries, breathe out my anger and dance out my frustration.

I choose life!

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Pineapple Shrimp and Scallop Stir-Fry

This is a quick recipe that you can customize any way you like.  Use whatever vegetables you like, whatever protein you prefer, any of your favorite seasonings.  I love stir-fry because it allows you to use whatever is at hand and each time you make it, the taste is completely different.

Pineapple Shrimp and Scallop Stir-Fry
makes 4-6 servings

3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1" slice of ginger root, minced
1/2 medium green bell pepper, diced
1 1/2 cups carrots, julienne cut
1 cup celery, coarsely chopped
1-2 cups baby bok choy, coarsely chopped
1 cup brocolli, cut into florets
1/2 medium red onion, sliced
1/2 block firm tofu, sliced
1 cup pineapple, diced
1/4 head red cabbage, shredded
1 ounce raw almonds
1 medium orange
1 pound medium white shrimp, shelled and de-veined
8 ounces scallops, rinsed thoroughly
1T Fish Sauce
1T Bragg's Liquid Amino's
1T Sriracha, optional

Be sure to chop all vegetables before starting since this dish cooks very quickly and you won't have time to chop while you're cooking. I suggest cutting in the order that you will use the veggies to make things easier (but do whatever works best for you).  Heat large skillet or wok over medium to medium-high heat.  Toast almonds in dry skillet for approximately 3 minutes or until almonds become fragrant.  Set aside.

Remove almonds from heat and "fry" tofu in dry skillet.  Tofu should be sliced into even pieces.  Flip to brown on all sides.  Once browned, set aside.

Make a light sauce by mixing the juice of one medium orange, sriracha, fish sauce and Bragg's; adjust according to your preference.  Set aside.

Saute about 1/4 of your chopped pineapple until juice is released.  Add ginger and garlic, stirring until fragrant.  Add about 1/3 of your orange juice/sauce mix to the pan.  Add bell pepper, stir until fragrant (about one minute).

Add carrots, celery and about 1/3 of your sauce mixture; stir for about 45 seconds.  Add bok choy and red onion, stir until onion becomes fragrant (about one minute). 

Add brocolli, cabbage and remaining pineapples.  Cover for about two minutes or until brocolli and cabbage are brightly colored and pineapples have released juices.

Add almonds, tofu, shrimp, scallops and remaining sauce mixture.  Stir to distribute evenly and cover skillet again until shrimp is thoroughly cooked (about 3-4 minutes or until shrimp is pink). 

Serve alone or over brown rice.

Nutrition Facts: (assuming only 4 servings with no rice)  Total Calories 316; Fat 6g; Saturated Fat 0.8g; Cholesterol 140mg; Sodium 423mg; Total Carbohydrates 27.7g; Fiber 6.2g (25%); Sugars 11g; Protein 38.7g; Vitamin A 53%; Vitamin C 180%; Calcium 21%; Iron 30%.

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Bellies and Waterfalls

It's been a few days since I've posted.  My partner's best friend, Che, came to town from Atlanta, so things were very busy.  On Saturday, I cooked brunch for the two of them (waffles and eggs with fruit salad)...I had cottage cheese and fruit. 

Che wanted to check out Portland's nightlife, so I arranged dinner at my favorite Morrocan restaurant (complete with sitting on the floor on pillows, eating with our hands and belly dancing!)  After dinner, we walked around downtown and ended up at a Drag Show.

On Sunday, Che and I had a morning dance session before heading to the waterfalls.  I absolutely love nature, so am excited everytime we're able to visit the falls. 


After the falls, we got pedicures and I planned to go home and cook, but it was late so we decided to go to Red Lobster instead.  The entire weekend, I did a good job of planning my meals and staying on target, but I got off-track at Red Lobster (I blame it on the biscuits!).  I ordered grilled tilapia with broccoli (no rice, no butter), so I was pretty good about ordering light; however, with the salad and biscuits, I was already satisfied before the entree came.  The food monster took over and I finished my whole entree, though I certainly didn't need it.  I always order a Mega Mama when I go, so out of habit, I ordered the oversized cocktail--because I haven't been eating a lot of sugar, it was way too syrupy and I ended up giving the rest to Che and Monica, but it forced me to evaluate how I got completely off track simply because it was what I normally did at Red Lobster.  I am learning that certain places are too much of a trigger for me to eat right at this point in my journey...that's like sending a crackhead onto Skid Row.

I woke up Monday feeling sick to my stomach from the overload of carbs and fat.  I did a fruit fast for breakfast and lunch yesterday to try to get back on track.  Thankfully, I only gained 2 pounds this weekend, which I lost again as of this morning.

I'm very proud of myself because normally I would be extermely hard on myself for being side-tracked which would only lead to more bad eating.  This time, however, I realized that things was a busy weekend, a lot going on...this is life.  The real question is what we do when life happens.  I refuse to give up on myself!

I went charm-shopping, but wasn't able to find anything that I loved in the store so I had to buy online.  These are the charms I bought:

I bought the baby blocks for a few reasons: of my biggest inspirations for losing weight is so that I can have children.  I also love that it says "I love you" because it is a constant reminder that I must love myself enough to do what's healthy for me.  I bought the bike because cycling has served as a great motivation to exercise.  I love the idea of the charms...working hard to lose another ten!

How do you stay on track on the weekends or when something unexpected happens?  What reward system do you have in place to stay motivated?

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Friday, July 13, 2012

Just Dance!!!

Today is a great Friday!!!  I planned to go to Zumba last night, but by the time I got home and got everything settled with my partner and puppies, I was late for class.  For a moment, the old mentality kicked in...I thought you can just work out're really tired, you need a's okay, you already have a calorie deficit today.  I was almost tempted to listen to the sweet nothings of complacency, but remembered that was the reason my hips are so wide!  I decided I would go for a long walk since I missed class.

I slowly walked upstairs to change into workout clothes, complacency's seduction threatening to overpower my will.  But then, I heard a song in my head.  As I changed, I started dancing until the tiredness subsided...and then I danced harder.  I put Just Dance 2 in my Wii and for 45 minutes, I danced, sweated, lost my breath...but I had fun!  Here's a little snippet:

Sorry it's phone video.

I am learning that my mind is a wickedly deceitful little thing with an aversion to change, but that my body knows what it wants.  My mind wants to make excuses for why I will never make my goal, my mind wants to wallow in sadness and self-defeat, my mind wants to do what's comfortable even if it body wants to be healthy, my body wants to be free, my body wants to get up and boogie!!!

The scale thanked me for my hard work today!  I FINALLY hit my 10-pound mark...and it feels sooooo good!  As I previously mentioned, I bought a charm bracelet as my motivator and will buy a new charm for every ten pounds lost.  Last week, I decided that for my first ten pounds, I deserved TWO charms...will be posting an update to show you my new goodies, as well as some stats (I forgot to take an official "before" picture and measurements...sorry).

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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Super Mean Green Smoothie

It's too hot to cook dinner, so I decided to drink it instead!  It was so thick and creamy...hard to believe that it's actually healthy!  It had a lot of natural sugar, so next time I will use unsweetened milk and only half a banana.

Mean Green Smoothie
1 banana, frozen and sliced
1/4 cup mango, frozen and chunked
1/4 cup strawberry, frozen
1/2 cup Non-Fat Vanilla Greek Yogurt
1 cup Almond/Coconut Milk blend
4 cups spinach
Optional (I added these in mine)
1/2 scoop whey protein
1T ground flaxseed

Nutrition Facts: Total Calories 377; Fat 6.2g; Saturated Fat 1.4g; Cholesterol 20mg; Sodium 232mg; Total Carbohydrates 50.5g; Fiber 8.0g (32%); Sugars 30.2g; Protein 26.0g; Vitamin A 17%; Vitamin C 70%; Calcium 65%; Iron 11%

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Happy Anniversary: $20 Giftcard Giveaway

Today is the one-monthaversary of Curds 'n' Weigh!  I first want to thank everyone who reads my blog; thank you for your time, thank you for your support.

When I started the blog last month, I was worried about being so open and vulnerable--I wasn't quite so afraid to share with strangers, but the thought of being open about my weight problems with my friends was intimidating to say the least.  This process has shown me that I am surrounded by love!  For every insecurity that I share, I have at least one person who reaches out and shares their struggle with the same insecurity...for every fear, I receive support that lets me know that I can keep going!  I appreciate all of the comments, messages, phone calls.

To commemorate my monthaversary, I am doing a giveaway!  In an effort to continue building Curds 'n' Weigh, I would like to ask everyone to take a moment to recommend my page.  Whoever brings the most followers to Curds 'n' Weigh will win a $20 Visa Gift Card. 

1.  YOU must first be a follower of Curds 'n' Weigh (using the link on the right panel of the page)
2.  The person you recommend must become a follower of Curds 'n' Weigh (using the link on the right panel of the page)
3.  The person must comment on this or any post saying that they were recommended by you.

Contest winner will be announced on Monday, July 16.

Thank you again for your support...

PS: Have you liked my Facebook page?
Are you following me on Twitter?

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Japanese Salmon Udon Soup

Total Calories 404; Fat 12.8g; Saturated Fat 2g; Cholesterol 75mg; Sodium 550mg; Total Carbohydrates 32.5g; Fiber 3.5g; Sugar 7.4g; Protein 38g; Vitamin A 141%; Vitamin C 36%; Calcium 20%; Iron 18%

Japanese Salmon Udon Soup
makes 4-5 servings

4 cups no salt added seafood stock
4 cups no salt added vegetable stock
3T miso paste
1 cup carrots, sliced
1 1/2 cup baby bok choy, chopped
1 cup green onion, chopped coarsely
1/2 cup dried shiitake mushrooms
1 pound fresh salmon filet, washed and cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 block firm tofu, drained and cubed
4 ounces udon noodles, prepared according to directions
1/2T fish sauce
2tsp Bragg's Liquid Aminos

Bring seafood and vegetable stocks to boil.  Mix 1/2 cup boiling stock with miso paste in separate container; stir until smooth.  Set miso mixture aside.

Add carrots; cook approximately 7 minutes until almost done.  Stir in bok choy; cook for 2 minutes.  Add miso/stock mixture.  Stir in green onions, mushrooms, Bragg's and fish sauce.  Gently add tofu cubes.  Place salmon on top of soup and use spoon to gently push salmon into soup.  Cook until salmon cooked all the way through.

In individual bowls, place 1 ounce udon noodles; cover with soup.  Garnish with green onions if desired.

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5 Must-Know Tips for New Cyclists

In my 48 hours of experience as a cyclist, I have learned a few poignant lessons that I wish someone told me ahead of time.  Consider this the new cyclists' Bible of sorts (well, maybe not so dramatic...just some things you really really really need to know!)

1.  Texting while driving is bad; texting while biking is INSANE!  I admit that I do some pretty unsafe things while driving: putting on lipstick, texting/talking on the phone, searching through my glove box.  I have the skill of a circus juggler behind the wheel...sadly, this doesn't translate well to biking.  I have been using an application called Endomondo to track my speed and distance, but one problem is that the touch screen causes me to accidentally hit pause while I'm riding.  The simple motion of me attempting to remove my phone from my shoulder strap sent me shakily wobbling and subsequently overcorrecting.  Thankfully I was on a dedicated cyclist/runner's trail so there was no danger, but all I could picture was my face kissing asphault!  I rode past a young guy texting with both hands...he was quite skilled.  I, on the other hand, am not.  YET!

2.  Don't sing while biking (probably shouldn't talk either).  Secretly, I am Beyonce.  She only comes out behind closed doors: in the bathroom mirror to the song in my head, in my office when everyone has gone for the day...and when I'm exercising.  I sing and dance, make the faces and poses...I am Beyonce.  Yesterday evening I learned that Beyonce should not ride a bike!  As I was pedalling full force, rocking to the diva anthem bumping in my headphones, singing and performing the routine for my audience of moi, I rode right through...a swarm of gnats!!!  Motorcycles have lovely windshields and face visors to protect from head-on insect collisions, bicyclists are only given an alien-inspired styrofoam hat.  I always thought cyclists were trying to look cool with their sun shades...maybe it's to protect from bug guts in the cornea.

3.  Hills are not fun...especially going down.  I didn't realize that the trail I was riding had a slight incline.  Yes, my thighs were on fire and my calves begged, but I switched to a higher gear and pushed through the discomfort.  I finished the first mile turned around at the end of the trail...and then I realized I'd been going uphill the whole time.  Going back down, my bike took off on its own.  This would have been a great thrill ride, except that every 1/3 mile or so, the trail intersected with traffic.  Remember when I said I was too impatient to wait for my custom brakes and picked up the bike with only coaster brakes...BAD IDEA!!!  Several times while flying down the hill, I started to apply the coaster brake, only to realize that I should have started sooner.  Afraid to cause a skid and tire blowout, I didn't want to brake too hard but the intersection was so close!  I braced myself, braked urgently...and then had the not-so-bright idea to use my foot to help stop the bike!  Um...that was just plain idiotic.  I left the trail with all tires and limbs intact, but I will be overjoyed when the custom front brakes arrive. 

4.  Know your your booty!  One of the selling points of my bike was the plush embroidered seat and handlebars.  Cute is not always practical...especially when it comes to a bicycle seat.  I figure that I'll be spending much more time on the saddle, so I need to buy something designed more ergonomically-correct.  We all have sit bones...and while mine are well-insulated beneath a thick layer of cellulite, sit bones hurt like hell when you sit on them!  I didn't realize this while I was cycling and having a great time...but when I got home and stretched...sat on the edge of the couch to get a reeeeeallly good stretch...I found my sit bones!  OUCH!!!  I know it will improve with time, but even now as I'm typing this message, I'm very aware of the sharp pain when I sit in certain positions.  I found a seat with a gel cushion and a separation between the sit bones to relieve pressure...hopefully that will work.  In the meantime, I'm finding kind things to do for my butt (massage, standing instead of sitting, impromptu booty shake) to make up for the torture of the saddle.

5.  Lycra is very ugly...but probably useful.  My standard workout wardrobe consists of sweatpants and old t-shirts...I might do a matching set if I'm feeling fancy.  This is not the best thing for biking; rolling in the wind, I felt like a parachute.  My too-big tee in combination with the upright sitting position of a beach cruiser made for some pretty UN-aerodynamic riding.  According to Endomondo, my average speed was 8mph, though I felt like I was pedalling enough for 50mph.  Once I've been riding a while, I will definitely invest in some riding shoes and cleats along with some tight little ugly lycra shorts.  I'm too sexy for my lycra!

One thing that I'm loving about biking is that I can set attainable goals for myself to keep things fun and challenging.  One of my previous problems with working out is that my goals were always about how many pounds I lost and when I didn't hit the goal, I would feel like a failure.  The scale has not been so friendly to me this go round (though I only have 2 1/2 more pounds to go before I hit my first goal), so I figure if I focus on my health, stamina and performance, the weight will follow. 

I completed 2.25 miles in 16:38 yesterday.  My first phase of goals:

1.  Complete the 2.25 mile loop in 15 minutes flat.
2.  Complete 2.5 miles in 15 minutes.
3.  Complete 4.5 miles (the loop twice) in under 30 minutes.
4.  Complete 5 miles in under 30 minutes.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Biker Babe

I rushed to the bike shop after work last night to go pick up my new toy...a Phat Cycles Beach Cruiser!  After searching for several weeks for a bike that would be sturdy enough to withstand my weight, I settled on a burgundy and black cruiser with leopard trim; the ride is incredibly comfortable and relaxing.  I raced home and made a quick dinner so that I could get out and start riding.

Yesterday was one of those nothing-in-the-fridge/thrown-together meals.  Normally after staring in the fridge for a few minutes and finding nothing to cook, I would settle on something quick (cereal, sandwich) or just go out to dinner.  I was in a creative mood...I boiled a chicken breast with some green onions, garlic, ginger, cumin and curry powder.  When it was done, I shredded the chicken and tossed it in a light peanut butter/coconut milk sauce I made.  Mixed in some raisins, sliced baby carrots, green onion, and cinnamon and had it on top of baby greens with mashed sweet potato on the side.  It was quite random, but tasty and light!

Honestly, I could have eaten a slice of bread for only concern was getting outside on my bike. 

When I tested the bike at the shop, the ground was flat so I was fooled into thinking that I was Lance Armstrong!  As I mounted the bike in my garage and slowly pedaled into the driveway, the slight decline sent me flying into the street (thankfully there were no cars nearby).  They say that you never forget how to ride a bike--but they didn't say you'd remember how to steer!  As I wobbily navigated my way onto the sidewalk, I started to second guess my decision to get a bicycle...maybe I should just stick with a stationery bike! 

All doubts were erased by my second lap through the cul-de-sac.  The wind whipped the sweat from my forehead, my music thumped hard with lyrics urging me to keep going, don't start what you won't finish, go get it!!!  After about five minutes, I was filled with a euphoria that I'm sure is similar to a runner's high: I felt like a kid again...carefree, unworried, in a state of utopia.  I absolutely LOVE riding!  All day today, I've been anxiously awaiting the moment that I can get back on the saddle.

I only rode for about 25 minutes yesterday...I was too scared to ride near traffic, so stayed in the cul-de-sac...up the hill, around the cul-de-sac, back down, up and around.  I can tell that this will be a very effective workout, I immediately felt the burn in my calves, thighs and buttocks.  But the excitement far outweighed any discomfort.

I've set a few new goals/rewards for myself:

1.  When I lose 125 pounds, I will buy myself a custom hybrid bicycle for racing.

2.  I will ride in a half-journey next summer.

3.  If I can ride 100 total miles before July 31, I will treat myself to a new pair of riding shoes.

Do you have any fun workouts that make you forget you're exercising?

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Monday, July 9, 2012

Top 5 Reasons I HATE Being Fat

(Photo Copyright 2005 Mike Rozman/Warner Bros. Television)

This was a very busy weekend, filled with several reminders of why I absolutely abhor being tubby; unlike Tyra Banks, I can't simply take off the makeup and fat suit!  I am more motivated than ever to reach my goals--to be rid of this fat girl both physically and mentally--to fearlessly pursue my happiness. 

I'm sure my list of reasons I hate being fat could fill an encyclopedia...or at the least, could wrap around my waist twice!  For the sake of sanity, I'll just stick with the top five.

1.  I HATE shopping at fat girl stores.  I was invited to a party for my boss' husband this weekend, so I went shopping for a new outfit.  I walked into Lane Bryant and it looked like a box of crayons had exploded on the sales floor.  I am thoroughly convinced that the person who designs for plus-size stores is either color blind and/or has a secret mission to make all fat women look like a King-Size bag of Skittles!  On top of mostly everything being horribly ugly, the few cute pieces that I found were ridiculously priced!  Now, I'm not disillusioned...I realize that it takes a lot more fabric to fit over my derriere, but I could have sewn together four skinny dresses from Kohls and spent less than the cost of a shirt at Lane Bryant!  In some cultures and religions, being fat is a sign of prosperity...but just because I have extra love curves does not mean that my wallet weighs as much as I do!  When I'm thin, I'm going to buy $3 dresses even if they're not cute...just because I can!

2.  My butt eats bike seats.  I went bike shopping on Friday evening, which was incredibly fun!  I felt like a kid again riding through the parking lot at full speed...until I sat down and felt excruciating pain on my tail bone.  Bike seats were not made for big butts...I'm sure none of Sir Mix-A-Lot's girls rode them!  Thankfully, the bike I chose has a plush seat so it's a little more comfortable, but I will have to build up some serious booty muscles to help ease the pain (and associated numbness) that comes with riding with too much junk in the trunk!  I was supposed to wait a week to pick it up because I had some custom front brakes added, but I am so anxious to start riding, I called and told them I'd pick it up tonight and bring it back when the brakes come in.  I'll be sure to post a picture of it tonight.  When I'm thin, I'm sure my butt will still hurt on bike seats, but at least it will look cuter doing it.

3.  I'm sick and tired of my thighs rubbing together.  This probably needs to be the first item actually!  I hate buying new pants and within an hour of me walking in them, I have a lovely nest of lint balls between my legs from my thighs rubbing together.  I can't sneak up on can hear me coming like crickets trapped in a paper bag.  I stopped wearing pantyhose a long time ago (and nylon pants) to avoid spontaneous combustion from the friction.  When I'm thin, each leg (and corresponding thigh) will stay on its own side of my body and the two shall only meet when I choose to introduce them!

4.  I don't like baby powder in the summer.  We fat girls sure go through a lot to maintain our sexy (though this post has definitely knocked mine down SEVERAL notches, I'm sure).  Some people look sexy and hard working when they sweat...not fat people.  We look like a slow-roasted pig on the rotisserie...greasy, crackling, burnt!  To calm our overactive sweat glands, chubby girls often use baby powder.  I absolutely hate baby powder, but my options are limited: either flour myself like southern fried chicken or be a hot, sweaty, chafing mess!  I choose the former.  There is a fine art to baby powdering a fat have to make sure to get every square inch that might possibly sweat...especially in between each fat roll, under the belly fat, in the small (or LARGE) of the back, under boobies.  I find nothing attractive about being a large, grown woman smelling like a freshly-changed baby!  When I'm thin, I will have sexy sweat.

5.  Being self-conscious about eating in front of strangers.  This may be owed in part to my poor relationship with food and history of eating disorders, but I find that eating in front of others is one of the most humiliating things ever (second only to dancing in a studio filled with skinny people and mirrors).  Most often, I leave the table still hungry after nibbling only a few bites and claiming that I'm stuffed.  I try to match bite speed so that I don't seem like I'm gobbling my food (though I find that many thin girls actually eat a LOT).  Of course they can't possibly believe that I really eat like a bird...maybe Big Bird!  When I'm thin, everyone will be in awe (instead of disgust) at how much I can eat.

What do YOU hate about being fat???

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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Fourth of July Recap

I had every intention of posting yesterday, but the hours got away from me and I got home very late.  Sorry...but I missed you all terribly!!!

I was really nervous about yesterday...I don't know any veterans personally, I'm not the most patriotic person in my recollection of the holiday has always been a barbeque with a full spread of vittles and fixings combined with lots of alcohol.  My first thought was to just cook dinner at home so that I wasn't tempted by all of the available food that's normally at cookouts, but my partner wanted to visit a coworker.  I didn't want to be a party pooper so I agreed.

I started the morning off on a good foot with some freshly made juice and an omelet for breakfast. 

Orange, mango, carrot, kale, ginger, pineapple and blueberry.  Looked a little weird, but it was very tasty and SUPER nutritious.

 For the omelet I used one egg and two egg whites, kale, green onion, avacado and a mini  babybel light with some almond/coconut milk on the side.  Very hearty and filling.  I figured if I had a good healthy breakfast before going out that it would help me stay away making poor food choices.  I also packed 64 ounces of water and a Clif bar as a snack and brought a platter of fruit for everyone to share.

The dogs came with us...Onyx kept himself busy during the hour-long ride.

Once I got there, I realized how absolutely foolish I was to be so concerned with food.  I pictured a smörgåsbord with ribs and thighs, cakes and pies...they were serving hamburgers and bratwurst with potato salad.  The funny thing about food addiction is that even when I think I'm planning ahead to avoid diet pitfalls, sometimes it's really just a clever disguise for my psyche to obsess about food.  Sometimes I miss out on great opportunities to socialize and spend time with loved ones because I'm preoccupied with pondering about food.  I ate about a quarter of a burger and half a plateful of fruit and abstained from drinking.  Had I just set that as my plan in my matter WHAT is being served, I will stay on target by eating in moderation and making the most healthy choice...I would have saved some needless stress.  Instead, I conjured up visions of never-ending foodage and panicked like a recovering addict locked in a crack house.

We had a wonderful visit...the puppies ran around like crazy frolicking with the other dogs who were there...they played in the creek (which surprised me...didn't know they liked water!) and chased cats (which they have never seen up close)...we went for an easy hike and talked and laughed.  Food was more the after-thought than the focus...perhaps I've had it all wrong about the 4th of July!  Perhaps holidays can exist where bonding and buddies take precedence over binging and belly aches.

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Monday, July 2, 2012

Seafood Linguine with Spinach and Grape Tomatoes

Seafood Linguine with Spinach and Grape Tomatoes
(Serves 2)

6 large tiger prawns
6 large scallops
6 medium mussels
4oz unsalted seafood stock
2oz clam juice
1 cup grape tomatoes, chopped
1 cup spinach, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion
1tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 cup whole grain linguine

In medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add garlic and onion, stirring until fragrant.  Add 3/4 tomatoes and all spinach.  Cover and allow to sweat until spinach wilts.  Add stock and clam juice and bring to light boil.  Add remaining tomatoes and all seafood.  Cover and allow to steam until mussels open and prawns are bright orange/pink (scallops should be done by this time).  If mussels finish first, remove immediately upon opening.  Remove from heat and stir in basil.  Serve over cooked linguine.  Recipe above for two; may increase for additional servings.

Nutrition Facts: Total Calories 319; Total Fat 4.6g; Saturated Fat 0.6g; Cholesterol 28mg; Sodium 235mg; Total Carbohydrates 34.2g; Fiber 5.6g (22%); Sugar 4.5g; Protein 34.9g; Vitamin A 55%; Vitamin C 55%; Calcium 9%; Iron 24%

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Sunday, July 1, 2012

Easy Like Sunday Morning...

Today was a very easy-going day...woke up early to the puppies anxiously running laps around my bed.  Had a quick granola and almond milk breakfast.  Even though it's July, it feels like fall here, so I made some chicken veggie soup for the week.

Rosemary Chicken and Vegetable Soup
Approximately 10-14 servings

3 cups unsalted chicken stock
3 cups water
1T dried rosemary
4 bay leaves
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
1/2 red bell pepper
1T fresh thyme
1T fresh basil
1/2 cup red onion, coarsely chopped
1 cup green onion
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 pounds chicken (breast or thigh), grilled and chopped
1 cup baby carrots, chopped
1 large potato
2 ears corn, roasted and cut off cob
2 medium zucchini, coarsely chopped
2 cups baby kale (or regular kale, chopped)
1 habanero pepper, chopped
1/2T cayenne pepper (optional)
3 cups red cabbage
2T lemon juice
1T sugar
2tsp salt
1 chicken bouillon cube
1/2 to 1T olive oil (enough to coat bottom of pot)

In large stockpot, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic and thyme, stir until fragrant.  Add red onion, bell pepper, celery and salt.  Saute approximately one minute, stirring constantly.  Add chicken stock, water, bay leaves, rosemary, bouillon cube, baby carrots and potato.  Simmer approximately 30 minutes.  Add kale, zucchini, chicken and cabbage.  Simmer additional 15 minutes.  Add roasted corn, lemon juice, sugar.  Simmer additional 2 minutes and remove from heat.  Stir in basil and cover with lid.  Note: I only had thighs on hand, but I would normally use breasts to lower the fat and cholesterol.  Nutrition facts below are using chicken thighs.

Nutrition Facts:  Serving size 14oz (389g); Total Calories 319; Total Fat 11.1g; Saturated Fat 3.1g; Cholesterol 93mg; Sodium 363mg; Total Carbohydrates 21.9g; Fiber 5.1g (20%); Sugars 6.4g; Protein 33.3g; Vitamin A 110%; Vitamin C 87%; Calcium 12%; Iron 24%  ( Nutrition Grade A)

We took the puppies for a walk down by the wetlands.  I'm always reminded of why I love Portland when I walk through nature.

That was...until I came across a gaggle of geese (and their poop all over the trail)...

Overall, it was a lovely Sunday.  About to curl up with some hot tea and enjoy these last few hours until the weekend melts into Manic Monday.

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