Ashley, the softball player


I start softball on Monday and I'm pretty excited. I picked up a new glove (it's even partially PINK - how perfect) and Joey and I have been playing catch and practicing.
I haven't played a sport since the ninth grade, and even then it wasn't a very pleasant experience. I was never very athletic and I hated running. Along my WW journey I got rid of my limiting belief that I couldn't run and I've just gone from there!
I played one game with Joey's team already this year. They needed one girl in order to play and I had come that day to be a spectator. I managed 4 singles out of 5 at bats and even had an RBI. I also managed to "catch" a ball. Well, I stopped it. Using my chest. But the batter only got a single and it could have been a grand slam.
I'm really looking forward to being part of the team and I'll keep everyone posted on the team's progress.

lululemon Manifesto

I brought my lunch in a lululemon bag today and I sat gazing at the quotes on the bag. They truly inspire me and I believe their manifesto is a great one.
  • Drink FRESH water and as much water as you can. Water flushes unwanted toxins from your body and keeps your brain sharp.

  • A daily hit of athletic-induced endorphins gives you the power to make better decisions, helps you be at peace with yourself, and offsets stress.

  • Do one thing a day that scares you.

  • Listen, listen, listen, and then ask strategic questions.

  • Write down your short and long-term GOALS four times a year. Two personal, two business and two health goals for the next 1, 5 and 10 years. Goal setting triggers your subconscious computer.

  • Life is full of setbacks. Success is determined by how you handle setbacks.

  • Your outlook on life is a direct reflection of how much you like yourself.

  • That which matters the most should never give way to that which matters the least.

  • Stress is related to 99% of all illness.

  • Jealousy works the opposite way you want it to.

  • The world is changing at such a rapid rate that waiting to implement changes will leave you 2 steps behind. DO IT NOW, DO IT NOW, DO IT NOW!

  • Friends are more important than money.

  • Breathe deeply and appreciate the moment. Living in the moment could be the meaning of life.

  • Take various vitamins. You never know what small mineral can eliminate the bottleneck to everlasting health.

  • Don’t trust that an old age pension will be sufficient.

  • Visualize your eventual demise. It can have an amazing effect on how you live for the moment.

  • The conscious brain can only hold one thought at a time. Choose a positive thought.

  • Live near the ocean and inhale the pure salt air that flows over the water, Vancouver will do nicely.

  • Observe a plant before and after watering and relate these benefits to your body and brain.

  • Practice yoga so you can remain active in physical sports as you age.

  • Dance, sing, floss and travel.

  • Children are the orgasm of life. Just like you did not know what an orgasm was before you had one, nature does not let you know how great children are until you have them.

  • Successful people replace the words “wish”, “should” and “try” with “I will”.

  • Creativity is maximized when you’re living in the moment.

  • Nature wants us to be mediocre because we have a greater chance to survive and reproduce. Mediocre is as close to the bottom as it is to the top, and will give you a lousy life.

  • lululemon athletica creates components for people to live longer, healthier and more fun lives. If we can produce products to keep people active and stress-free, we believe the world will become a much better place.

  • Do not use cleaning chemicals on your kitchen counters. Someone will inevitably make a sandwich on your counter.

  • SWEAT once a day to regenerate your skin.

  • Communication is COMPLICATED. We are all raised in a different family with slightly different definitions of every word. An agreement is an agreement only if each party knows the conditions for satisfaction and a time is set for satisfaction to occur.

  • What we do to the earth we do to ourselves.

  • The pursuit of happiness is the source of all unhappiness.

Brown Rice Salad with Black Beans and Corn


This rice dish is so easy to make and tastes awesome!! A great side for tacos or fajitas or summer BBQ foods! And it's Core.

Servings: 4
Courtesy of the Weight Watchers website

Ingredients

1 cup instant brown rice
15 oz canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
1/4 cup scallion(s), chopped
2 Tbsp cilantro, fresh, chopped
2 oz jalapeño pepper(s), pickled, minced, or less to taste
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp lime zest, finely grated
1/4 tsp table salt, finely grated
1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground, or to taste
1 medium lime(s), quartered

Instructions
Cook rice according to package directions.
While rice is still warm, stir in beans, corn, scallions, cilantro, jalapeño, lime juice and zest; season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with lime wedges. Yields about 1 heaping cup per serving.

My inline skating dreams

I haven't rollerbladed since I was 11, but it's something that Joey and I have been talking about as of late. Yesterday we checked out some skates at a sporting store and I think I'm going to go for it! I figure it's a good purchase and an excuse for me to be more active. Joey and I can take our rollerblades places (like the beach, the island etc.) and have fun being the cute rollerblading couple. I could also use them to get places in my neighbourhood (like my WW meetings on Saturday mornings)

The helpful sales person in the store was singing the praises of the K2 Celenas. Today I've been reading up on them and they sound like a great rollerblade. At a price point of $169.99, it's a bit of an investment, but I figure it's worth it. They're also a hell of a lot cuter than the black with neon orange blades I had back in the 6th grade. I'm also going to need to get some protection because I'm really afraid of falling and hurting myself, so I'd rather be on the safe side.

If you're reading this and you have any tips or suggestions for me, please feel free to comment! I'm looking for all the help I can get. A friend told me today that it's just like riding a bicycle, you never really forget! That being said, I haven't rode a bike in over ten years either...

I'll be sure to post about my experiences once I'm on the road!

Grocery List


Whenever I mention grocery shopping it causes Joey to groan. He's not a big fan. To make it as painless as possible I try to be well prepared with a good list. I try to break my list down by how I shop in the store so I don't miss items or get to the cash and realize I've forgotten things.

Produce
Fruit - bananas, apples, oranges, berries, pineapple - basically whatever looks good
Veggies - broccoli, green beans, brussel sprouts, baby spinach, carrots, cucumbers, green onions, small red potatoes, eggplant, mushrooms, red peppers - again whatever looks good and is in season
I try to buy organic when possible, but am realistic in my budget. I also try to shop at our local fruit and veggie markets because they have amazing deals. Pineapples for $1! Strawberries for $1.49! I also try to buy as local as possible whenever I can.

Meat
Skinless, usually boneless chicken breasts
Lean ground pork
Deli meat - usually fat free ham or turkey, lately roast beef
Burgers for the BBQ

Dairy
1% milk
Cheese (usually old cheddar)
Yogurt - I like fat-free Activia or Source
Low fat sour cream
Eggs
Light Becel
Low fat cream cheese

Pantry
WW Bread
Small whole-wheat wraps
Olive oil
Sunflower oil
Whole wheat pasta - linguine, macaroni
Pasta sauce
Salsa
Canned diced tomatoes
Canned corn
Sidekicks
Brown rice
Cereal - cold and hot
Tea
Honey or agave nectar
Fat free/sugar free pudding
94% free popcorn
Granola bars - Kashi or Nature Valley

Freezer
Lean Cuisines or SmartOnes
Frozen fruit

These are the things I like to have on hand. Before I grocery shop I sit down and figure out which recipes I'm going to make during the week and what additional items I will need to make those meals. I'll add to this list from time to time. I think the key to grocery shopping is planning ahead. What are you going to make, and what do you need to make everything. Happy shopping!

Angel Hair Pasta with Eggplant Tomato Sauce


I'm loving the WW recipes as of late. They're very easy to make and tasty!

Made this for our (vegetarian) friend Lori last night and everyone loved it!

Angel Hair Pasta with Eggplant Tomato Sauce

Servings: 6
Preparation Time: 16 min
Cooking Time: 12 min

Ingredients
1 medium eggplant, raw, baby-variety, sliced into 1/3- to 1/2-inch-thick rounds
1 medium sweet red pepper(s), cut into 8 strips
1 sprays olive oil cooking spray
3/4 tsp table salt, divided
1 medium garlic clove(s), minced
2 large tomato(es), coarsely chopped
1/4 small tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/8 tsp black pepper
2 Tbsp basil, fresh, minced
2 Tbsp chives, fresh, minced
1/2 cup fat-free chicken broth
8 oz uncooked angel hair pasta, cooked according to package directions, drained
4 oz reduced-fat feta cheese, crumbled
Instructions
Preheat grill to medium.*
Place eggplant slices and pepper strips in a grill basket (or place vegetables on a sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil with holes poked in it to allow smoke through). Off heat, coat vegetables with cooking spray; season with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Place on grill and cook until lightly browned and tender, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Cut vegetables into bite-size pieces; set aside.
Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray; heat over low-medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add tomatoes and cook until slightly pulpy, about 1 minute more. Stir in vegetables, remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt, red pepper flakes, black pepper, basil, chives and broth; increase heat to medium-high. Cook until broth is slightly reduced and mixture has a sauce consistency, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add pasta and toss to coat. Stir in cheese just before serving. Yields about 1 1/2 cups per serving.
Notes
* You can roast the vegetables if you prefer. Preheat oven to 425ºF. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Place vegetables on prepared baking sheet and coat with cooking spray; season with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Roast, until lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature.

Let your garden dictate the vegetables for this recipe: sliced zucchini, yellow squash or red onion can be substituted for the eggplant.

Amazing Citrus Basil Salad

This salad is wonderful! I made it last night with some yummy organic baby spinach and carrots and fresh basil from my windowsill. My fiance really enjoyed it too! This recipe comes from the Weight Watchers website.

Ingredients
2 orange(s)
1 small grapefruit
5 cup mixed baby greens, or a 10 oz bag of mesclun
1/3 cup onion(s), red thinly sliced
2 medium carrot(s), julienned
1/4 cup walnut halves, toasted
1/2 tsp olive oil
1 Tbsp vinegar, raspberry
1/4 cup basil, leaves, shredded
1 medium garlic clove(s), minced
1/4 tsp table salt
1/8 tsp black pepper

Instructions:
Using a serrated knife, remove peel from orange and grapefruit and section fruit over a bowl to collect juices. Reserve 1/3 cup citrus juice.
In a large bowl, combine fruit with greens, onions, carrots and walnuts.
In a separate bowl, whisk olive oil, vinegar, basil, garlic, and salt and pepper with reserved citrus juice until well-blended. Pour over salad. Toss well before serving.

Makes 4 servings

Actunities


In my meeting two weeks ago, I talked about "actunities". Actunities are opportunities for activity. The Weight Watchers program talks about 'Moving More', but doesn't specify what that actually means. There is no by-law that states moving more means joining a gym or taking a class, it can really just be about finding other ways to incorporate more activity into your life.


As with everything I talk to my class about, I try to practise what I preach! I've been trying to take walks at lunch, even if I don't need to go out and get anything. I've also been taking the stairs (three flights) in the morning at work instead of taking the elevator. I am proud to report I've done it every day for two weeks except for this past Monday, and that was only because I had forgotten my pass card and had no way to get in or out of the stairwell!


I challenge you to find your actunities and ramp up the amount of activity in your life!

Success Stories that inspire me

I love reading the Success Stories on the Weight Watchers website. This one was brought to my attention yesterday. This woman lost an incredible 211 lbs on the program and is now maintaining her weight and is employed with Weight Watchers. She looks incredible, and what an inspiring story!

I also love this one because I know her! Lindsay provides me with inspiration, motivation and support all the time. She's lost nearly 100 lbs on program and I was lucky enough to meet her when we trained together to be Leaders. She's an awesome Leader, looks fabulous and is a wonderful person to have in your corner!!!

Quotes Part I

"We would accomplish many more things if we did not think of them as impossible"

"When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on" ~Franklin D. Roosevelt

"Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal" ~Henry Ford

"Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars" ~Les Brown

Product Review: Boca Burgers


Apparently my blog today is brought to you by the letter "B"...

I picked up some Boca Burgers while I was in the US a few weeks ago and I have to tell you that they are amazing! I started making them on the BBQ last week and they bring me so much joy. I'm not vegetarian, but I find regular burgers too heavy and way too many calories and fat grams for the most part. Boca Burgers only have 70 calories and 1 gram of fat, with some fibre thrown in there for good measure. While they are a little on the small side, they certainly fill me up. Add a salad or some veggies on the side and little baked potato and you have a perfect meal!

I give Boca Burgers 5 stars because they make my BBQ's WW friendly and I walk away from dinner feeling satisfied and happy to have only spent a few Points on my burger.

Intro to Bellydancing


Tonight I participated in my first belly dancing class at Hannan's and it was amazing!! Our teacher Robyn was amazing and stunning and really broke everything down for everyone in the class. She encouraged questions and had a lovely demeanor that made the class breeze by!

Our class is small (only 7 of us) which allowed us all to have individualized attention paid to us and gave us lots of room to shimmy and shake! We worked on a bunch of individual movements and Robyn showed us how/why the movement happened and then we worked on it and added to it to super fun music.

It was a moderate workout and I think the temperature of the room really helped - it felt like I was doing hot yoga! Apparently the air conditioning was on, but the only time I felt it was when I was lying on the floor during the final cool down/stretch.

I'm really looking forward to the coming weeks of this class and I'm pretty sure I'll sign up for more once this initial class is done.