Archive for the ‘Back on Track’ Category

I’ve got the sads. This was a direct quotation from a friend and I’s gchat today:

I’m just eating fat free cottage cheese out of the container
and working late
feeling sad
there was a fuzzy in my cottage cheese and I felt too sad to pick it out
this is what my life is now
I’m sure this has happened to the majority of us. Sometimes when you’re sad, eating a stray piece of lint seems much better than the alternative of picking the lint out. Sometimes when you’re sad you need to find ways to make yourself not so sad, like searching for lamb cupcakes to be your friends on the internets. Other times, you just want to live in your sads, like your favorite pair of comfy pants. I’ve decided to fully embrace the pitifulness, stepping into the abyss, purchasing what might be the single saddest thing I’ve ever seen, at Aldi of all places, a locale that usually makes me wildly happy with very cheap prices:
Happy Harvest Vegetables
This is what my life has come to – individual cups of green beans, shelf-stable, single serving. SIGH.
Pause with me for a moment, internets, while we really feel the sads.
Aldi Single Serve Vegetables
Ok, are we done? I’m done, because actually, as you can see, these things are awesome for your diet! They’re next to no calories, and they’re totally friendly for desktop dining, particularly if you lack refrigeration at your workplace (sorry). The green beans are 10 calories per serving, the corn is 30. 0 points. Each has 140 milligrams of sodium. Is that a lot? I don’t know.
This is what a serving looks like fancy-style, on a dinner plate with other dinner items:
Single Serving Veggie Cups
They’re kind of pretty perfect, if you ask me. They tasted like (drumroll) green beans, and maybe just a hint classier than those in a can. I’m going to throw the whole lot of them in my train bag for this week at work. And…if there’s a fuzzy or two in there, I may just have the strength to pick it out. Maybe.
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When you are an important executive, like myself, you may one day find yourself with two vital pieces of office machinery in your private work suite. These items are: a microwave and a mini-fridge. The mini-fridge is especially indispensable for filing away your most important files (a 6 pack of Bud Light), and the microwave is critical to your overall desktop dining experience, lending its magical heating powers to your favorite new work lunch: the Refried Bean Surprise. Allow me to tell you how this delightful dish came to pass.

I’ve recently re-joined Weight Watchers – that Jessica Simpson got me all pumped about the Simple Start two week program:

Ok, this body has made zero amazing little human beings, however, it’s eaten a lot of amazing donuts & pizza and drank its fair share of booze, which is sort of like the same thing. 

Enter the Weight Watchers Simple Start program. It’s easy – eat until you’re satisfied from a prescribed list of Power Foods, lose weight. Take 7 Points Pluses a day for fun stuff not included in the list, like doughnuts and booze.

Weight Watchers Simple Start List of Power Foods

Weight Watchers Simple Start List of Power Foods

It really is that simple – and it works. I lost 3.2 pounds in my first week; I’ll keep you posted on the results of the second week.

But what I’m really getting at here is that my favorite “Power Food” from the list is fat free refried beans, specifically the Old El Paso spicy ones. These mushed up beauties are an essential source of protein and deliciousness in my new simple diet. Combine them with almost any meat, a sprinkle of fat free cheese (it’s as disappointing as you might imagine), a liberal dousing of hot sauce, some fat free Greek yogurt to top it off, and you’ve got yourself a truly respectable office meal. It’s like a tostada without all the best parts, but with cheese that almost melts – kind of. Just look at this thing of beauty – yes, I know it’s hard to believe, but I’m losing weight eating that.

Dining at my Desk Refried Bean Surprise

Refried Bean Surprise

At this point, I’m sure you’re dying to know what the surprise is. Well, the surprise is that fat free Greek yogurt does not taste exactly like sour cream, as promised by my best friend, Renee. The first day I tried it as a substitute was in a bowl of chili, resulting in a big blob of yogurt in my chili. Cool. That being said, the fat free Greek yogurt does work a little better in Mexican-themed dishes, especially if you put enough hot sauce on it.

If you’d like to try your hand at making Refried Bean Surprise in your own office, I’m sure you can figure it out for yourselves, but just in case, here’s the recipe:

Refried Bean Surprise – Weight Watchers Simple Start Approved

Ingredients (all Weight Watchers Power Foods):

  • Fat Free Refried Beans (you’ll need a can opener if you’re making this at your desk)
  • Meat (beef, chicken, pork) I used some sort of beef I found at Aldi they claimed was perfect for making a Mexican-sounding dish that I cannot remember. I found it to be a cross between ground beef and steak. I dumped some fajita seasoning in it and threw it in the crockpot.
  • Fat Free Cheese (ugh)
  • Hot Sauce (don’t skimp)
  • Fat Free Greek Yogurt (or fat free sour cream)

Fat Free Refried Bean Surprise


  • Put some refried beans on a plate. Spread them around in a pleasing fashion.
  • Put some meat on top of the beans.
  • Sprinkle a liberal dose of fat free cheese on top.
  • Heat in the microwave just long enough for the entire office to smell like Refried Bean Surprise, about 2 minutes.
  • Debate whether to put the hot sauce or the yogurt on first. I’m sure it doesn’t matter. Again, you can figure this out.
  • Optional toppings: I could see lettuce, tomato, onion and cilantro working nicely with this.



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I’m not quite certain how this blog turned 4 years old (Um, what?!? This blog is 4 years old?!) without me talking to you about my absolute, unwavering, unconditional love for Trader Joe’s. Trader Joe's LogoHave you been to a Trader Joe’s? If not, let me paint a picture for you: Imagine yourself in a magical land of grocery items, many of which are specialty items, unavailable at your local grocery haunts. Now imagine all the employees are super happy to see you and are actually helpful in a friendly way. Sounds good, right? Absolutely, now imagine yourself walking through a magical aisle of wine – wines of an astounding variety, wines with super cheap prices ($2.99), wines that magically end up in your cart and typically add up to at least a case. Apply this scenario to almost every aisle in Trader Joe’s, and you could understand how it’s one of my most favorite places to shop for my most favorite of all things: food.

We’ve arrived at late September, and around this time of year everything’s coming up pumpkin/pumpkin-spiced. Not to be outdone in the fall pumpkin explosion, Trader Joe’s had a big sign near the entrance stating they’ve stocked over 50 pumpkin/pumpkin-spiced items throughout the store. Yes, you could tell walking down the magical aisles – lots of pumpkin stuff. Lots of pumpkin stuff I’d love to eat. Lots of pumpkin stuff I also probably can’t be trusted around.

Then I stumbled on these little gems, which somehow also magically ended up in my cart:

Trader Joe's Mini Ginger Pumpkin Ice Cream Mouthfuls - Dining at My Desk











MINI GINGER PUMPKIN ICE CREAM MOUTHFULS!! Rejoice! Since I’m TPALD and BATPALD, pre-portion controlled snacks are always a winner, and I’m actually really good at following the recommended serving sizes when food comes packaged as such. In case you’re wondering, here are the nutritional stats:

Trader Joe's Mini Ginger Pumpkin Ice Cream Mouthfuls Nutrition & Calories


















Not bad at ALL for little ice cream sammies! Here’s how they really look:

Trader Joe's Mini Ginger Pumpkin Ice Cream Mouthfuls2 - Dining at My Desk














These particular mini mouthfuls look like they may have melted a little on the way home, but they tasted FANTASTIC! They’re a gingersnap with delicious pumpkin ice cream inside. It was love at first bite for me, and I’m particularly excited to be dog sitting, meaning I don’t have to share these with anyone this week. I did think as I chewed along, that the ginger overpowered the pumpkin ice cream just a bit, but they were still delicious nonetheless.

Would I buy them again? You bet! I’m not sure how long they’ll last at Trader Joe’s, so you might want to head over and scoop some up. I imagine they’d pair nicely with any fine Charles Shaw variety. #TwoBuckChuck


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I cannot be trusted around certain things. These things include, but are not limited to: guacamole, hummus, French onion dip, sour cream, cream cheese, ranch dressing, etc, etc… Put me, a bag of pretzels and a container of hummus in a room together and you’ve got yourself a recipe for…an empty container of hummus. Did you know the average serving size of most dips is 2 tablespoons? Let’s be serious – 2 tablespoons is a light warm up round for me. I can zip through 2 tablespoons of dip with just 2 pretzels. What I’m trying to tell you is, hi, I’m Katie, and I can’t figure out portion control.

Sometimes I get fancy, and I’ll try to measure out my dips, or really get serious about eyeballing 2 tablespoons. Typically exercises in futility, the dip clings to the measuring spoon, or my eyeballs allow for extremely generous tablespoons. Nothing works, I’m stuck.

…then I stumbled upon these cute little Lock Up containers I found at The Container Store. They come in various sizes, but the smallest one is totally perfect for measuring out 2 tablespoons of the things you can’t be trusted around. I’d read somewhere about the OXO Good Grips Mini Measuring Cup for Sticky Stuff, which helps you measure out stuff that usually sticks to the spoon, so I ordered one from Amazon (<3 Prime).

Between the Lock Ups (only one complaint – they lock together, which is handy and quite convenient, unless you put them in the dishwasher, in which case they lose their ability to stack. They are top rack safe, but their shape does change…beware) and the mini measuring cup, I can perfectly and quickly portion out dips to throw into the fridge. Portion control becomes as easy as throwing some carrot sticks in a snack bag and grabbing one of the mini dip containers to take to work or eat on the couch watching TV.

Portion Control Perfected

Guacamole & Hummus – Perfectly Portioned


I’m really proud of myself on this one – portion control just got hacked!

Watch how easy portion control can be (it’s 10 seconds, you can handle it):


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I’ve made a pact – after a long summer of not saying no to much, and eating a veritable TON of Old Fashioneds from Glazed & Infused,  I’ve decided I have to lose 10 pounds. This jiggle is perhaps a hair too jolly. Thus, TPALD: Ten Pounds After Labor Day. And…I really should blog about it regularly. Blogging about TPALD –> BATPALD. This past week I’ve made some great progress on the workout front – doing things I’d NEVER normally do,  like Yoga Sculpt, TRX and Zumba classes at the gym. I’m going to chat about my progress, and soon, we’re going to be discussing the very exciting Dining at My Desk Diet & Exercise Breakthrough Continuum. In the meantime, I’ll be here, trying weird exercises and recalling a time when the toilet didn’t seem so low and far away. Seriously – these squats are killing me.

Glazed & Infused Old Fashioned

Sayonara, Old Fashioned!


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Like me, I imagine you, dear reader, as someone who is not independently wealthy and must therefore work, and while at work, spends a fair share of your day on Facebook, clicking away on articles such as “30 Hashtags Every Thirtysomething Really Needs” and watching YouTube parody videos of Taylor Swift’s “22”.

It’s all fun and games up until this point. Certainly you can relate to a 2 beer hangover, or definitely eating an entire block of cheese in bed while drinking red wine. This is all part of the growing up and growing older process, and it sort of sucks and is awesome all at once. But one day you realize that your body hurts, and it didn’t magically heal itself overnight. In fact, it’s your heel that hurts. So you begin navigating the deep dark waters of Web MD, or possibly the slightly less panic-inducing Dr. Oz for Plantar Fasciitis, make a podiatrist appointment and confirm that you, indeed, have Plantar Fasciitis. If you’re like me, the symptoms include – hobbling around like an old lady after getting off the couch, out of bed, off a chair, etc…, pain in your heel and arch, and especially worsening pain if you try to do anything to better yourself, like go for a jog.

Well, shit, this sucks.

Time to resort to drastic measures and reexamine your footwear choices. Glitter Converse with absolutely no support whatsover at least 3 years old that you wear on the daily – check. Not getting rid of those anytime soon. Ok, well, what about the shoes you wear to run in? Surely those things could use some improvement. And yes, they could. I bought a pair of Asics about 8 months ago online, and they just weren’t right from the beginning. I LOVE Asics and have run in them for years, but this pair was just off. Why were the shoelaces so short, to the point where it was difficult to work the double knot? Why did my very small feet look like they were possibly too big for these shoes? I’ve worn a 7.5 in Asics for forever, but these ones just looked and felt tiny.

In my really real life, I’m dog sitting this week, and am fortunate not to have to dance around in my undies at 6 a.m. because my dog owners have a treadmill…and it’s as awesome as you’d imagine. Netflix every morning while logging about 7500 steps – golden; that is, until your left foot hurts so much you resemble a 90 year old woman every morning when you get out of bed. Something had to be done – I couldn’t NOT work out on the treadmill everyday, but I couldn’t handle this stupid foot pain either. So I made the call.

Running Away Multisport

I’d wanted to do it for awhile – go to one of the fancy running stores where someone watches you run on the treadmill, determining if you’re doing anything weird that might require truly special shoes, or if you’re just that slow. I packed up from work and went to Running Away Multisport in Deerfield, certain I would find another pair of Asics – ones that were better and even cooler!

Turns out that’s not what happened. I told the associate that I was interested in getting on the treadmill so she could watch me trying to look cool and run like a real person. She said great and put me in a pair of “test shoes”, the ones they make everyone wear when they get on the treadmill. They weren’t Asics – they were Brooks. And they were the BEST PAIR OF SHOES I’D EVER WORN. I kept telling her that I only wear the Asics brand, but my feet were cheating on my beloved Asics from the moment I put them on. I tried the upgrade pair of Asics just to be certain, and sure enough, I went back to the Brooks.

The other day when I was experiencing pretty bad foot pain, my boyfriend told me to just strap pillows onto my feet, and I swear to God that’s what these things feel like. The interior is all soft and smooth, the cushioning is truly cloud-like, the laces are long, and the color is….well, it’s sort of hideous for $162. But after running on them this morning, and wearing them currently because they’re just so comfortable, I can forgive this shocking baby blue palette.

Brooks Running Shoes

If you’re interested in experiencing them for yourself, they’re the Brooks Women’s Glycerin 11 Running Shoes, and if you’re curious as to what they feel like before you buy, I definitely suggest going to a store that specializing in shoes for runners. It turns out I have a pretty even (slow) stride, and don’t need any sort of special shoe, so paying $150 for the fancy ones ($162 with tax) felt very extravagant. But here’s how I look at it – I have real foot pain, and now that I’m old, it’s not going away on its own. I’ve apparently got to take care of this temple body, and if $162 will keep me OUT of the podiatrist’s office, I guess I’m going to have to get used to sucking it up and forking it over.

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