Working Girl

The day has come: tonight is my first night on the job from 11:30 tonight until 7 AM tomorrow. And what a time, since my brother arrives in town tomorrow afternoon!! It’s going to be a spitfire week, and one of my top priorities this week is attempting to maintain some diet and exercise despite restaurant meals and balancing work with school with Tyler’s stay. And my biggest question is: if I’m awake for 20-something hours, am I allowed more calories? It would seem so…but I don’t want to use it as an excuse to break my perseverance. Jonmark and I didn’t get to the rock gym today, but we did go for a nice long walk – very enjoyable. The houses on neighboring streets are so beautiful, an array of blues, oranges, teals, picture windows, Dutch overhangs, and castle-like peaks. The sidewalks are uneven, and the sky is always always grey, but on the arm of my future hubby in the perfectly brisk winter air, it was perfect.

Speaking of winter…I  made some delicious tortellini soup yesterday! I’ve been in the soup mood; I plan to make potato-leek and New England clam chowder this week as well. Tortellini was by far my favorite food as a child. In fact, it was practically the only food I would  eat when I was little. Something about cheese or meat wrapped in pasta…obviously tempting. This soup was pretty healthy: we cooked it with very little sodium, fresh veggies, and bi-colored all-natural TORTELLINIS yummmmmmmmm. SO simple and can mostly be made with things from the pantry, which makes it perfect for any cold winter evening where you are too chilly to remain outside of the blankets for too long.

Whitney’s Tortellini Soup
1.5 tsp. canola oil
2 tbsp. minced garlic (or to taste)
3 tbsp. diced onion
4 cups water
1 chicken bouillon cube
1 15 oz. can plum tomatoes, diced, with juice
about 10 oz. tortellini of your choice, uncooked (I use cheese but you can use meat)
half a large carrot, diced
1 stalk celery, sliced small
about 1/3 summer squash, cut thickly and chopped
pepper and Italian seasoning to taste
salt to taste, if desired

-Heat garlic and onions in the bottom of a saucepan with the canola oil until soft and sweet (properly caramelized).
-Add 2 cups water, bouillon cube, and diced tomatoes with juice to pan and bring to boil.
-Add seasoning, celery, carrots, squash, and remaining water to pot and bring back to boil, then simmer until vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.
-Add tortellinis and turn up the heat a bit to boil the pasta, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and serve with a little parmesan cheese and bread!
-Spoon-feed self like helpless baby hungry for more. But blow first – that soup is damn hot!

This was an absolutely great, great soup for a winter night, particularly if you love tortellinis as much as I do. It would be far easier to use canned tomato soup and just “doctor it up,” as my 80-year-old Italian neighbor Jim says, but you must be careful of that sodium!! It gets bad.

So far today, I’ve only eaten about 900 calories and burned 160 on our 2 mile walk today! Needless to say, I’ll be getting my massive food processor out tonight and making a mean smoothie with Greek yogurt, fruits, and maybe even some peanut butter for extra naughtiness (and protein).  I’m off to pack a small lunch for tomorrow, gather my homework together, throw a whole chicken in the oven for low-sodium low-fat sandwiches this week, and then head off to my first night at work! No Red Bulls here, folks.

Today’s nutrition report

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5 thoughts on “Working Girl

  1. I don’t know how I could love you any more than I already do, but if we made clam chowder this week I would try to find a way to love you more because that is my favorite thing in the whole damn world.

    Your chowder loving brother,
    Tyler

  2. Resaerch indicates that simply being awake burns very few calories. Don’t be fooled ,however, by the natural increase in apetite we experience when we’re tired. I don’t remember the mechanisms involved, but it is false hunger, and not based on actualneed. That regular exercise you’ve maintined will increase your metabolism and carry you a bit when you miss an exercise day or two. and when you make a lifestyle of eating natural,nutritional foods, without over indulgence,you won’t have to count all those calories. Are you counting because you are being ” food-naughty” at times? I am proud of you. You’ve made healthy living interesting and fun, and it’s awesome that j.m. participates.So glad the food processor is working out for you! good-luck with your new job,honey. have fun and be safe ,you guys. love you and miss you. HI Ty! miss you , but boy is your bed comfortable! P.S. i had my first cardio- rehab workout yesterday, at the hospital.my heart looked great on the monitor, my blood pressure did all the right things, and i kicked ass! i lost another pound, though there can’t be too many more that don’t belong there. I was real tired for the remainder of the day, and noticed that simple activities easily made me out of breath. i believe this is normal and my doctor said i would have to be patient with myself. It will take time, but i believe my efforts are paying off quickly. the support and encouragement from my family have allowed me to beat the inevitable blues associated with these events,which in turn has kept my hopes and spirits high. i am going after this with RIGOR!!! Thanks to my family for believing in me so strongly. It has given me strength when i had doubt.

    • Thanks for the info Dad! It makes sense that being awake doesn’t “burn calories”; where do they get that 2,000/2,500 calories a day thing anyway? I’m also wondering what the difference between “appetite” is and the grumbling in my belly: is that torturous feeling hunger or appetite? I have been starving, my belly hollowed and empty both nights this week at work, but I hold off and sleep through it by going to bed. I want to do some research on this.

      I’ve been counting calories not because I’ve been really “food-naughty” but because I have a tendency to overeat, which some other studies have shown is very common of women in long-term relationships with men (who obviously tend to eat more than women). So I just try to “teach” myself decent serving sizes and help me see about how much I might lose in a week’s time from exercise and dieting.

      Rigor!! You sound great dad 😀

  3. Strange as it may sound, I’ve never tried tortellini soup before, so I thought this was a fun idea when I first saw it here. Finally tried it, turned out very nice!

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