Friday, October 25, 2013

Fall Friday - Tips, Tricks and Inspiration!

Fall -- don't you love it?  When we have fall weather in Texas, we celebrate; it can turn back to summer at any moment.

The downside of this time of year is that we have dark evenings and they are especially dark for the next two weeks until the time change. I noticed our neighborhood walkers have disappeared with the dark evenings (and not just because I can't see them! - ha!). In the autumn we have to revamp our exercise routine to factor in cooler weather and darker evenings and mornings. Here's a tip, take time this week to figure out how you can continue exercising in consideration of the environment. Maybe it's time to take all the clothes off the clothes rack -- err, exercise bike -- or dust off the yoga DVDs. "Just Dance" is an ever popular form of exercise in our house when it's too cool or dark outside. Maybe you can incorporate a stop by the gym into your commute or ride your bike for work or errands. Making a plan now ensures that we will be able to keep exercising through the holidays. My personal plan is to hit the home gym before I fix dinner each night. The Littles will need a hearty snack after school to tide them over to a later dinner.

Fall is time for soups, stews, and chili's, right?  Trick your family and your metabolism with this yummy no-meat chili. To speed things up, cook the beans in the crock-pot and then dump it all in a saucepan to finish after work. Alternately, cook the beans a day ahead and store them in the fridge until ready.

You Won't Miss the Meat Chili
Serves 6 
5 Weight Watcher's Points Plus per serving 
Freezes Great

1# 9-bean or 7-bean soup mix; discard the seasoning packet. (Cook beans according to package directions.  Do NOT add remaining ingredients until the beans are soft).

When beans are cooked or nearly so, add:

2.5 T chili powder;
1 tsp Oregano
1 tsp Cumin
1.5 t salt; 

1/2 tsp Cayenne (or omit if too spicy)
1/4 tsp. powdered ginger (helps with "repeating")
2- 16oz cans diced tomatoes, un-drained; 
1 can (16 oz) tomato sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced

Heat til bubbly; reduce heat, cover, simmer 30 minutes. 

At the last 10 minutes, mix:
6 oz. of beer (room temp is fine)
2 tablespoons masa (corn flour) or regular flour

Add to the chili.

 For a slightly more caloric version of this chili, try this version with cornbread dumplings. SO yummy.  

I also love Surprise Chili which is a more conventional chili but includes pumpkin!

Finally, this week's inspiration is from our little Bennie. He's a four-year-old gabby gander but surprisingly wise. He has India on his mind this week; apparently he's been watching the news. When Tinker said she wanted to move to India, Bennie said, "Don't do it! They don't have enough water!" The next day as we were both exercising, he asked, "Mom, do people in India have elliptical's? " "I doubt it son; I don't think in general they have problems with overeating. I think they have trouble getting enough to eat." "Well," he said, "that's sad." 

I would use the word "humbling." It's the perfect example of a "first world problem." Poor me, I have to go in my home gym and watch my  big screen tv to exercise off all the pounds I gained by overeating. (Whine).

Oh my goodness. I am going to try to put things in perspective this week and actually stop eating when I've had enough to eat. I am not a big over-eater  but I am aware that several times a week I do eat when I am not hungry. I think a little more hungry in my life could be useful.

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