Confessions of a self-proclaimed Kitchen Disaster: Making Bagels!

So you already know that I run for cupcakes. And cake. Pie, too. Heck, if it’s a baked good that begins with flour, butter and sugar, I’m not turning it down.

Unfortunately, I am also a long-time Weight Watchers attendee. Almost 100% due to the above-mentioned addiction to baked goods. It’s been a big struggle for the last several years because they really penalize you for eating carbs. It’s less than ideal if you are an endurance runner, and I’ve usually just rolled my eyes and eaten the bread anyway. But I’ve also put back on a touch more than ten of the 70 pounds I lost. And with me running shorter distances, I have to figure out how to make it all work.

Grasping at straws, I went back to skinnytaste.com to see what weird concoction she was whipping together for dinner. Then I saw it. Easy Bagels. What the heck, let’s see what the recipe looked like. Well, it was promising – only five ingredients. I usually lose interest after three or four ingredients, which is how my kitchen disasters begin. There are only a few steps, too, which is even better, because I quit reading after a bit.

Have I told you all that I am married to a chef?

Seriously, I don’t cook and don’t have to cook. I’ve always said that if I’m in charge of dinner, it’s coming from a waitress or a window.

OK, back to the recipe. I love the sesame bagels from Einstein’s, but they are 8 points, or 290 calories. This promises 3 points, or 150 calories, and a higher protein bang! Bigger bonus: they are fast and my daughter can help in the kitchen…

img_1043Easy Bagels!

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 egg white, beaten
  1. img_1044In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt and whisk it about for a moment. Add the yogurt and mix until combined. (I wish I had used my KitchenAid Mixer with a dough hook).
  2. Dust the work surface (and your hands!) with flour and knead the dough until it looks like dough and isn’t sticky.
  3. img_1045Divide the dough into four balls. Roll into thick ropes (about 3/4″ thick) and then join them into the shape of a bagel. Place them onto a Silpat (or you could use parchment paper, but be sure to spray it or these babies will stick!) with plenty of room to expand a bit.
  4. Top with the egg wash and sprinkle your favorite bagel topping. I used sesame seeds.
  5. Bake at 375ºF on the top rack for 25 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes.
img_1049

Oh my goodness – I baked!

Ok, seriously, these things were easy enough that even I couldn’t screw them up and my daughter and I made them all while husband put away groceries! Yep, it really was a img_1050“less than 10 minutes of work” kind of recipe. And when they came out of the oven, they smelled and looked delicious!

 

Final verdict? I had one toasted with a little bit of butter and I am in heaven. It’s a little tangy because of the yogurt, but I was really stunned at how stinking good these things are! Hallelujah – carbs are on the plan again!

*Recipe is from skinnytaste.com
All images and text for this post are mine
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What Inspired You to Begin?

I get a little emotional the second Sunday in December. That’s the date of the Dallas Marathon, my hometown race.

I have lived in the neighborhood that the course runs through since I moved to Dallas. Oh, how it would piss me off to see my streets blocked on a random Sunday morning, making brunch plans impossible. To say I wasn’t a runner was an understatement.

In 2011, I topped out at 75+ pounds overweight. I was miserable. I was sedentary. I was on blood pressure medication and cholesterol medication. I was headed down the same damn path that so many take. It was my primary care doctor that just made an off-hand comment about how “this is as good as it gets” and “it’s all downhill from here.” I hated him at that moment. But a few weeks later, sitting on my hotel bed watching tv after a long day at work in another city, room service carnage all around me, something snapped. I literally, out loud, said “GET UP!”

I walked over to my laptop and joined Weight Watchers. I found a meeting at a location nearby and walked out of the hotel room. I stopped by the concierge desk and instructed them to remove the television from my room before I returned. They looked at me like I had three heads, but they said they would get it done. I sheepishly slinked into that first meeting to figure out if they could help me take control of my life. I was overwhelmed, but there was this insane drive to just make the change. I stopped by the Sports Authority that I saw on the way and bought a pair of workout pants and a pair of clearance shoes that I now know were nowhere near the right size. But the beauty of buying a pair on clearance was that no one had to help me, which meant I could remain as invisible as a fat middle-aged woman could be in a store she never thought she would be in. When I got back, I put those Nikes on told myself that if I was going to watch tv, it would be while walking on a treadmill.

But I digress… this is about the MARATHON!

So, fast forward a few months and it’s an insane, cold, stormy December morning in 2011. The family slept in, as usual, and we went out for a lazy Sunday meal. We went north, to Panera at North Park Mall, rather than our usual spots south of us because of the street shut downs. As I unapologetically ate that macaroni and cheese (side note: that stuff is amazing! All 950 calories of it!), the door opened. In walked a guy all bundled up and a woman who had just run the race. She was drenched, shivering, wrapped in a heat blanket and wore a medal.

She seriously looked like hell. Most would feel sorry for her, because seriously, it was COLD and WET that day! But all I saw on her face was exhausted confidence. She finished! She had an air that said she could conquer anything.

I turned back around and looked Sean right in the eyes and said, “I’m going to do that race!” His eyes widened and the concerned look came over his face.

“You know what race she just ran, right? I mean, do you even know how LONG the marathon is??”

“I don’t know, but I know I want to do that race. I want to know what that feeling is like. She looks like she can do anything!”

I hadn’t run a single step, but at that moment, I became a runner. I spent the next year tackling 5Ks and 10Ks and registered for the Half Marathon. I eventually ran the Dallas Marathon a couple of years later. Now, it’s a permanent spot on my calendar, either running or volunteering. I love this race and I love the people in it.

But the weekend always brings back that sense of nostalgia. I have no idea who that girl was. I don’t know if she ran the full, the half or even the relay. Maybe she was a “one and done-er.” But every year, I am reminded that the power of one person can profoundly change your entire life’s trajectory. So, my annual “thank you” goes out to her. Thank you for bringing me a confidence that I never had before. Thank you for helping me turn my entire family into a family of runners. Thank you for the amazing people that have been brought into my life. Thank you for showing me how awesome running and friendship could be. Thank you.

My Weekly Focus – More Water!

Some of my favorite fruitI know that a handful of my in-person friends are making a renewed commitment to shedding some pounds, so I wanted to start a weekly check-in with some tidbits to take away. Weight Watchers helped me so much, but the biggest helper of all was the in-person meetings. The lessons I learned from many on the path stay with me to this day. I know that for various reasons, some people don’t do in-person meetings, so I am attempting to bring those tidbits virtually! The added benefit is it will help me reinforce some healthy behaviors for myself.

This week my focus is increasing my water intake. On Sundays, we have a tradition in which my family and my sister’s family all meet at my parents house for dinner. Yep, we still have a big traditional Sunday dinner. It’s pretty casual and can be pretty raucous at times. The conversation turned to all the things you could use a can of Coke for, like reducing the corrosion on a car battery and cleaning a penny. I immediately turned to my sister (she was drinking her soda from the can) and exclaimed, “Why are you still drinking that? You are willingly putting a chemical in you that takes corrosion off of a car battery terminal!!” It was a good laugh, because that’s the kind of overbearing big-sister I am (ha ha ha!), but there was a bit of concern as well.

Truth be told, I drank Cokes back in the day. A LOT. My modus operandi was to drink the fully-leaded one because I believed that the diet soda was terrible for you. That went on for most of my life. When I first started Weight Watchers, I calculated the points for one Coke and nearly stroked out. I only got 26 points and I decided I wanted to use those for food. I went cold turkey. No sodas at all. No diet, no regular, no zero, no nothing. It was hard the first week, but one of my “rewards” that first week was a big Starbuck’s cup that I could fill with water or iced tea. I won’t lie – the second week is worse than the first, but if you can just get it out of your system, it’s worth it. More than three years later, I can still be seen with that cup in my hands almost every waking moment. The cup is 20 oz, so I am in the habit of refilling at least four times a day for 100 oz.

image“But water tastes awful…” I get it. I thought so too. There’s only so much water you can drink before you want to tear your hair out. It’s both tasteless and has a funny taste all at the same time. What to do? Infuse it! There are so many options that you can find on the internet like at http://www.fruitinfusedwaters.com/, but I have my simple favorites:

  • Orange slices – they lend a tasty sweetness to the water when you are having a sweets craving
  • Lime wedge – I ask for limes instead of lemons at restaurants because they have them in the bar and they are something different
  • Lemon wedge – they are ok, but they tend to make the water bitter if you add to many
  • Mint leaves – I love to grab a handful and muddle some of the to really give it a strong infused flavor; the best way to do it is to put them in a small amount of hot water to steep for a bit, then add cold water and ice
  • Cucumber slices – this is the most refreshing way to drink water and is so very tasty on a hot summer day
  • Strawberries – these impart just a hint of flavor and is a great way to get that lightly

So, my challenge to you is to get a cup that you want to carry around everywhere and give this a try. It’s your choice if you want to give up sodas or wean off of them slowly, although I am a big fan of getting it over with quickly. Have I told you that I have an insane amount of energy, even in the mornings, now that I don’t drink sodas???