Sunday, December 28, 2008

Spaghetti Couscous and abs

Today it was the first step in getting back to the normal routine of things after a two week vacation - hit the grocery store ! Time to once again stock up on all those healthy foods that have come to be staples in the house. More lettuce ! More ground flax ! More chicken breasts ! This week I decided that I wanted to encourage some more veggie eating, so I picked up broccoli and cauliflower with the standard celery and baby carrots. I keep these on hand for sides with lunches and afternoon snacking, or just a slight short cut to other meal prep. The cauliflower and broccoli will make it seem like a new thing again.

A couple of weeks ago we bought this great chicken sausage at Sam's club, that satisfies my husband's sausage craving for less than half the calories. It is flavored with spinach and asiago cheese, and has more flavor than regular Italian sausage. I cook a big batch of these every couple of months, place them on buns and freeze them for his lunch. He brown bags both breakfast and lunch, and this step makes life a little easier. Lately my son has been more into new flavors in meat , and so I have been playing with this sausage in different recipies. One of our favorites so far has been simply using it with jarred spagheti sauce over whole wheat pasta.Makes a satisfying, healthy meal when you serve it with a big tossed salad.

Last night I was feeling a little more hungry than usual and wanting to save all of my points for our Christmas celebration with the in- laws this coming Thursday. Son was begging for spaghetti with this sausage , but I was not wanting to waste my points on pasta. Then it dawned on me-why not try serving the sausage and sauce over whole wheat couscous instead of pasta ? Couscous is one of the core foods with that program. And for the guys doing the old flex points program , couscous is less points and more food. You know what ? It was really good ! Really filling , and you did not miss the pasta . We all agreed that this is the kind of dish we will definately have again.

I also got back on my bike after doing the walking and chopping for the day. It felt really good to strap on my MP3 player and spend 20 minutes pedaling to the music again. I have also decided to add some abdominal work to my mix. This is something I should have done years ago , but exercise was not really something I focused on in life. My lower stomach was never in the greatest shape to begin with. Add a pregnancy, major abdominal surgery and then follow that up with another pregnancy ( 11 lb 14 oz 23 1/2 inch long baby) and a C Section , things get much worse. Do no abdominal work after those things and you wind up with something that is coming into danger of bouncing off your knees and giving you black eyes when you try to run or jump. It just dawned on me that if I worked to improve this area it would make me look better, strengthen my back muscles and build some more muscle to help my metabolisim burn faster all the time. So I am starting slow with bicycle crunches, and will add to those as I go. Right now the muscles are in such bad shape I cannot even feel them to make sure I am working the proper ones !

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