Monday, March 09, 2009

I'm the solution.

The other day I was talking to my new fabulous friend and I was talking about how I had been struggling. Struggling with lack of energy, zero motivation and not being able to figure out why. Then I was telling her about a profile that I had read that morning on Sparkpeople and how it had really spoke to me.

A lot of people ask me how I acheived my weight loss. They think there is some kind of all powerful secret that I can share with them that will make all of the puzzle pieces fall into place and melt the fat from their bones. Thing is, there is no secret. You just have to watch what you eat, exercise, drink water and most importantly, believe you can do it.

Or at least be able to fake that belief until you really believe it. Faking it is a-ok in my book...that's how I had to do it for the first 50lbs!

The most important thing I have realized through this process is that wanting to be thin isn't good enough. Wanting to wear cute clothing isn't good enough. Wanting to be accepted by others isn't good enough. Essentially, wanting the end result isn't good enough. You have to want the whole package. The good, bad and ugly. The triumphs AND the failures. The losses AND the gains. You have to be ready to take the steps to get healthy and make a commitment to yourself to follow through. Until you are ready to make that decision, all of the diets, websites and urging from others won't help you.

But when you're ready, anything is possible.


I realized, that was me. As much as I hadn't really thought so, it was. I have countless books on diets and fitness and I'm always looking for more. Do those pills in the aisle on the backside of the protein bar/vitamin aisle at Wal-Mart really work? I'm always looking for that right plan for me, for that website built just for me. I'm looking for that magical's me......I'm the solution..........holy crap.....I think I just had, as Oprah calls A-HA moment...and the tears flowed.....

I was always looking for someone to blame. To blame for my lack of motivation, for my poor eating, for not exercising. Usually at the end of that blame, was my husband. Sure, he should shoulder some of it, but I have to take 100% of that blame. Every decision was my own. But what I hadn't completely realized, was that I was also the solution - to it all.

I really am grateful for having such wonderful friends, new and old, whose support on this journey has been, is and will be surmountable to my success - K, R & T.

My family has always been there for me, loved me for me and cheered me on in this life long journey and I love every ounce of their beings!

I am determined to persevere. I'm ready.

This is, Terra Fit.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

A Love Affair

I am in love with avocados! So much so, in fact, that the paint colour in our rec room is 'Guacamole'! Well we didn't do that on purpose. I'm also in love with green and the shade we wanted just so happened to be that - a match made in heaven!

Yes avocados are high in fat, but it's good fat - monounsaturated. They have also been shown to decrease both LDL (bad cholesterol) and triglyceride levels by 22% and raise HDL levels (good cholesterol) by 11%. Avocados have 60% more potassium than bananas, are rich in B vitamins, as well as vitamin E and K and they have the highest fibre content of any fruit. I could go on forever about the health benefits of this gem, but I have to finish painting my bedroom...not guacamole, though it is green.

If you're not that familiar with avocados, when you're buying them, Haas avocados are most readily available in grocery stores. A ripe avocado is relatively firm, but will yield to gentle pressure when you give it a slight squeeze. Color cannot always be trusted to determine whether or not an avocado is ripe. The squeeze test is the way to go. If you plan to use the avocados right away, then buy the ripe ones. But if you want to buy them a few days before you plan to use them, get them when they are hard and do not yield to squeezing. Then just leave them out on the counter and wait for them to get ripe.

So how do you you cut the avocado? There's not really any wrong way to do it, but there a couple of quicker, easier ways to do it: Grip the avocado gently on one side with one hand. With a large, sharp knife in the other hand, cut the avocado lengthwise around the seed. Open the two halves to expose the pit.

Now, there are a few ways you can proceed to remove the pit from the avocado half that has the pit. One way is to make another cut, lengthwise on the avocado half that has the pit, cutting around the pit, exposing it so that it is easier to remove. You can also use a spoon to scoop out the pit.

Another way to do it is a bit trickier and if you're a bit nervous, fold up a kitchen towel and use that to hold the avocado half with the pit. Gently tap the pit with a knife with enough force so that the knife edge wedges into the pit, but not so hard that you cut all the way through it. Tap it very gently a few times, with increasing pressure each time, until a cut is made in the pit sufficiently to twist the pit out. Getting the pressure just right takes a little practice. With the edge of the knife, twist the pit out of the avocado and discard. Then just tap the handle of the knife on the edge of the sink once or twice and the pit will come off the knife.

Then you can either scoop out the flesh with a spoon or you can cut the chunks into the flesh while still in the peel, then scoop out with a spoon.

I love to put avocado on sandwhiches, in salad, burgers and my most favorite of all...Guacamole!! This is one of my signature dishes. Now I usually just throw all the ingredients together and go by taste, but I've put it into a recipe to share with you. Enjoy!

Tara's Guacamole

5 avocados, cut into small chunks
1/2 medium red onion, diced
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 cup cilantro, chopped
1-2 tsp lime juice
salt & pepper to taste

Chop the avocado and put into a bowl. Sprinkle with 1 tsp of the lime juice to prevent it from going brown. Chop the onion, tomato and cilantro and add to the bowl. Combine until mixed, but still chunky. Add salt and pepper to taste and remainder of the lime juice, if needed. Chill. Serve.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Coconut Lemon Squares

I love lemon! Well except for lemon-flavoured hard candy - not a huge fan. But yes, I'm really beginning to develop a love for lemon! Lemon tarts, lemon squares, lemon muffins, lemon loaf! Lemon! Lemon! Lemon! I love how lemons just exude freshness! You smell lemon and you instantly think fresh, clean! But I also love the tartness. When you take a bite of something with lemon in it and you get that tart taste in your mouth and then it just makes you pucker...MMM!

At Christmas, I made Lemon-Cranberry Scones which were simply delish, so those will make an appearance at Terracotta Cafe at some point. Since then I've been wanting to do another lemon recipe and I've had lemon squares in the back of my mind. It doesn't help that I had an absolutely delicious lemon tart at Don Diego's on my birthday, so I've had lemon on my mind since.

So the other night, I whipped these up and they were super easy. The combination of the lemon and coconut was just magnificent!

Lemon Coconut Squares (16 squares)

1 cup flour
1/4 cup icing sugar
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup dessicated coconut
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 lemon, juice and rind

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix flour, icing sugar and butter together thoroughly. Press crumb mixture evenly into an 8-inch square pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Then sprinkle with coconut.

Beat remaining ingredients together. Pour over the top. Bake for another 20 minutes. Cool and mark into squares with wet knife. Chill. When cold, cut completely and remove from pan. Serve.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Dave's Jalapenos

My husband Dave, isn't afraid to get in the kitchen. Just last night while I was watching The Biggest Loser, he was upstairs making dinner - Spicy Seafood Penne (his own recipe) - he has built himself quite the repertoire!

One day while watching Guy's Big Bite on The Food Network, he saw a recipe that he just had to try. We love our Southwestern/Mexican cuisine, so this was definitely a must try. Dave didn't have the exact ingredients which lean more towards of an italian flair, so he just kind of followed the "template", but created his own version. He's now made them twice and each time tries something a bit different. They've been a complete hit each time!

Here's the recipe from Guy's Big Bite:

Italian Stuffed Jalapenos (4-6 Servings)

15 jalapenos, preferably red, cut in 1/2, seeded and deveined
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/4 cup minced red onion
1/4 cup minced red bell pepper
3 tablespoons minced garlic
2 pounds mild Italian sausage, casings removed
2 cups mascarpone or cream cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Minced chives

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Place jalapenos on a sheet tray and roast for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Heat the oil in a medium saute pan. Add onions, peppers, garlic and sausage and cook for about 2 minutes. Remove and place in a large bowl. Cool to room temperature, then add mascarpone, and Parmesan. Mix ingredients thoroughly and season with salt and pepper.

Place approximately 1 tablespoon of mixture into each jalapeno half, and top with 1/2 teaspoon of mozzarella cheese.

Place the sheet tray of stuffed peppers in oven and bake for 5 minutes or until mozzarella cheese melts.

Garnish with minced chives and Parmesan. Serve.

Dave's version with a southwestern twist: He replaced the sausage with lean ground beef, and used a taco seasoning. He omitted the mascarpone cheese and parmesan cheese. He added black olives and topped with cheddar and mozzarella - DELICIOUS!