How to Lose 7+ Pounds in Two Weeks… Mall-Walking!

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Weight Release Update #1 – I have the same New Years’ Resolution as most people… to take off a bit of weight. 2012 was a rough year for me, and having just recovered from surgery last Fall, I was keen to get moving again.

Like Nike says... "JUST DO IT" - strap on your runners and go!

Like Nike says… “JUST DO IT” – strap on your runners and go!

So I hit the ground ‘walking’ on January 2nd, and so far I’ve logged  45 kms of walk-time in a nice warm environment – at the mall, NOT the gym. I’ve been meaning for weeks to post about this Resolution, and to introduce some of my “weight-release” strategies to my readers – so here goes…

I was quite successful three years ago in losing 50+ pounds, but due to some pesky, ongoing health issues, it’s time for me to re-commit to staying in shape.

To better describe my philosophy of weight release vs. weight loss, you have to think of what you want to do when you lose something – like your car keys, or your wallet.

You keys and wallet are important things to find if you've lost them, but extra pounds... they can stay lost in my books.

Your keys and wallet are important things to find if you’ve lost them, but extra pounds… they can stay lost in my books.

You really want to find them again, and put them in your pocket, don’t you? So why do we call it Weight Loss? Do you REALLY want to find those pounds again??? I think not. So this year I’m practicing a mind shift on my self-talk, and selecting to release my extra weight, with the hopes that I will never, ever find it again!

As I’m not much of a gym-joining type of person, I decided to think ‘outside the box’ in regards to my daily fitness routine. I was invited by a very active girlfriend to mall-walk before Christmas. I SO enjoyed the experience that I thought I’d make mall-walking my new, four times a week habit. So here’s my story on how I lost 7+ pounds in the first two weeks of 2013.

On January 2nd at 7am, I walked through the doors of Winnipeg’s Polo Park Mall, not knowing what to expect. But I knew “if it was going to be, it was up to me”.

I’ve never been shy of meeting strangers, or of doing stuff by myself, so it was with a positive attitude, a friendly smile on my face, and my trusty pedometer that I set off on a new fitness adventure. I checked my coat, slipped in my iPhone ear buds, and took off for a couple laps around the mall.

Did you know that the upstairs “track” at Polo Park Mall
measures 0.5 miles from Moxies to The Bay?

Most local Winnipeggers may not know that Polo Park Mall opens at 7am for mall-walking. You can actually go in and see what happens in the mall in the mornings before the stores open for business – I find it all so fascinating.

Plus you can’t beat the scenery! Window-shopping AND exercising together in one package – sweet! If you’re like me, then striding along on a treadmill, even with a TV to watch, is only interesting for so long. But every day at the mall the windows change, the people change, but the temperature stays constant. AND as a bonus you can learn all about the sales that are happening!

As I’ve already stated, so far in 2013, I’ve walked 45 kms – that’s more than a marathon(42.2kms). Thinking back, I probably didn’t log 45 kms of exercise in all of 2012!

I walk between 45 and 75 minutes per day, about 2 to 4 miles. My current record is 7,795 steps in 75 minutes, which is about 4.18 miles, but my goal is 10,000 steps on each visit. Will you take this challenge with me?

The length of my walk and my motivation depends on my mood, my playlist, and my upcoming morning schedule. But after weighing in last Wednesday, for the 1st time since New Years Day, I was shocked to see that I’d already released 7.4lbs by adopting these five new habits along with my mall-walking. And that was totally motivating to go the extra mile – literally!

So if you like walking, and want to shed a few pounds before the weather here in Winnipeg warms up, please consider joining the Polo Park Mall Walkers Club on Facebook, and come out a few mornings a week to join in the camaraderie. This group is open to everyone, of all ages – the mall-walkers at Polo Park are a very friendly bunch.

We meet upstairs, above centre court, at Club Monaco at 7am Monday to Thursday mornings. If that time doesn’t work for your schedule, then pop into the mall before opening any morning, including Saturdays. They are open to the public for mall-walking 6 days a week at 7am, it’s also easy on your pocketbook if you conclude your walk before 10am when the stores open. And if Polo Park isn’t convenient, then call your local mall and see if they have a mall-walking program, and if not, suggest it to them. Hope to see you at the mall!

Coming Monday: Weight Release Update #2 – Adopt Five New Habits This Month

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Please enjoy my Weight Release Updates, in addition to my healthier LunchFor1 posts.
I hope that my suggestions can help you to shed a few pounds in 2013.

Please keep me posted on your own progress via Twitter, on my Facebook Page,
or by subscribing and following me on my blog. Followers of my blog
will be eligible for special contests which I will reveal soon.

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And feel free to  share your own success stories about your
New Years Resolution and exercise tips in the Comments area below.

Super Easy and Quite Healthy Crock Pot Lasagna

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The last time I was trying to lose weight, the one dinner that I missed the most was Lasagna. I was lucky to find, and adapt, this incredibly, tasty AND healthy version that is quick to put together. You can simply leave the lasagna to cook in your crock pot while you do other things around the house. It makes a great dinner, and as with all Lasagna recipes… it makes an even better lunch!

Quick and easy slow cooker lasagna that can be good to go in just a few minutes

Quick and easy slow cooker lasagna that can be good to go in just a few minutes

Crock Pot Lasagna
(6 servings)

1 Onion, chopped

1 Garlic Clove, minced

1 pound Lean Ground Beef

1 tsp Sea Salt

1 1/2 tsp.  Italian Seasoning, dried

1/4 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

28 oz Crushed Tomatoes , canned

15 oz  Tomato Sauce, canned

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1 cup Part-Skim Ricotta Cheese

1 package Frozen Spinach, chopped

1 1/2 cups Part-Skim Mozzarella, shredded

6 Lasagna Noodles, no-cook variety

1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, shredded

OPTIONAL: 1 cup Zucchini, shredded & 1 cup Fresh Mushrooms, diced

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1. Brown ground beef, onions and garlic with seasonings on stove in pot large enough to accommodate all the sauce ingredients.
To save time on this step I just use 3-4 cups of my usual spaghetti sauce from the freezer.

2. Once the meat is cooked, add the crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce (and optional vegetables). Simmer for 5 minutes.

3. Mix the thoroughly drained spinach with ricotta and 1 cup of the shredded mozzarella in a bowl.

4. Snap your lasagna noodles in half (depending on the size of your crock pot) using the edge of your counter, as shown.

5. Place 1/3 of the meat mixture in the bottom of your crock pot. Then layer 1/2 of the cheese mixture on top. Lay 4 lasagna noodles on the cheese mixture, and repeat all layers one more time.

6. Place the crock pot cover on top, and turn your crock pot on low for 4 to 6 hours.

7. Just prior to serving, turn off your crock pot. Mix 1/2 cup parmesan with 1/2 cup mozzarella, and add to your Lasagna as topping, and let melt for 10 minutes.

What is the secret ingredient in favourite Lasagna recipe?
Please feel free to share your tips in the Comments section below.

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Hello, and thanks for following me.

I hope my new look doesn’t confuse you. When I re-branded on November 30th, I thought I’d try on a new ‘skin’, which WordPress calls a Theme. BUT… I’ve never been too happy with the new look.

So to those who have been with me from the beginning… you’ll recognize my ‘new’ look as my old look. And to all my new followers… I hope this Theme speaks to you as much as it speaks to my heart.

Isn’t this MUCH better?!? Enjoy!

– Anna

"Although there may be nothing new under the sun, what is old is new to us and so rich and astonishing that we never tire of it. If we do tire of it, if we lose our curiosity, we have lost something of infinite value, because to a high degree it is curiosity that gives meaning and savour to life."-Robertson Davies

“Although there may be nothing new under the sun, what is old is new to us and so rich and astonishing that we never tire of it. If we do tire of it, if we lose our curiosity, we have lost something of infinite value, because to a high degree it is curiosity that gives meaning and savour to life.”
-Robertson Davies

Time to Change… Back

Mexi-Chicken Crescent Rolls

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So I took the plunged and picked up some Pillsbury Crescent Rolls during my weekly grocery excursion. And today I decided was the day to finally make an attempt at one of Pinterest’s most Pinned recipes using the crescent rolls.

These Mexi-Chicken Crescent Rolls were SO delicious, and got two thumbs up from my husband!

These Mexi-Chicken Crescent Rolls were SO delicious, and got two thumbs up from my husband!

As I love all things Mexican, it seemed a
natural choice to create a Mexi-Chicken stuffing.

These were so easy and quick to make for a simple Saturday lunch. I hope you enjoy them as much as we did.

These were so easy and quick to make for a simple Saturday lunch. I hope you enjoy them as much as we did.

Mexi-Chicken Crescent Rolls

(makes 8 rolls)

1 tube Grands Pillsbury Crescent Rolls

1 Chicken Breast, uncooked

½ cup Spicy Clamato Juice (or Tomato Juice)

2 tbsp. Spicy Salsa

¾ cup Light Mayo

1/3 cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese, fine-grated

1/8 cup Jalapeno Peppers, minced
Taco Seasoning

Salt & Pepper

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  1. Slice your chicken breast into strips.
  2. Cook the chicken slices in non-stick frying pan (no oil) for 3 minutes each side. Sprinkle ½ tsp. of each – taco seasoning, salt and pepper over the slices.
  3. When flipping the chicken, add the salsa and juice to the pan. Cook for 2 more minutes.
  4. Remove chicken from pan, and dice it into very small bite-sized pieces, and let cool.
  5. Preheat oven to 375*F.
  6. Mix together mayo, cheese, jalapenos, and cooled chicken pieces in a bowl, add a bit of the cooked salsa/tomato liquid for flavour, about 1 tbsp will do the trick.
  7. Open and unwrap your crescent rolls. Cut each triangle length-wise to form two, long triangles.
  8. Place one teaspoon of your chicken mixture on the wider end of each triangle. I like to use my “Martha” gelato scoop for this step.
  9. Roll up each triangle from wide to narrow end, and place on a cookie sheet with Silpat or sprayed with Pam cooking spray. I sprinkled my crescent rolls with poppy seeds for decoration.
  10. Bake for 14 minutes. Remove and let cool for 5 minutes. And enjoy!

This made for a very impressive lunch for hubby and I yesterday. I’ll definitely be making these again. Finally I understand what all the fuss was about on Pinterest in regards to these stuffed crescent rolls.

What do you use Pillsbury Crescent Rolls for?
Please feel free to share your Comments below.

Easy Beef Tacos

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One of the meals that we look forward to on a regular basis are Tacos. Here’s how I easily make them up for just the two of us as an easy weekend lunch. If you make this for dinner, this style of ‘burrito taco’ also makes a great carry-forward for tomorrow’s lunch if you don’t add any fresh vegetables. This whole meal usually takes less than 15 minutes to make.

These tacos are quick to eat and not as messy as usual due to a couple simple tricks

These tacos are quick to make, and not as messy as usual due to a couple simple tricks

Easy Beef Tacos
(makes 10 tacos)

1lb Lean Ground Beef

Taco Seasoning

Sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated

Taco Sauce

Guacamole

Soft Taco Shells

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1. Brown ground beef until almost cooked. Add taco seasoning to meat but do not add any additional water. Stir until meat is fully cooked. Drain in colander.
I like to use my potato masher to break the meat up.

The better you drain the meat, the less drippy mess your taco will make down your favourite shirt!

2. Lay soft taco shells side-by-side on your cookie sheet.

3. Grate cheese over taco shells. Place the cookie sheet into a pre-heated oven (350*F) for 3-5 minutes until cheese is melted and shells are softened.
Watch your oven closely so that you do not burn your taco shells.

4. Cut off the corner of your taco sauce and guacamole, and drizzle the sauces up the centre of each taco shell.

5. Add the cooked, seasoned beef to the top of each taco. Grate a bit more cheese over top the meat, and allow it time to melt.

6. You could then top with sliced iceberg lettuce and diced fresh tomatoes, but we rarely have those on-hand in the Winter.

I usually smear re-fried beans on the bottom of each taco shell before adding the first layer of cheese and baking… but I forgot to defrost the 1/2 can in time for making these.

You can double or triple the meat and freeze in ready-to-go packages for next time if you want to speed this process up.

How do you like your tacos?
What is your go-to topping for your favourite tacos?

Super Easy Salsa

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One of the potluck items I was constantly being asked to bring to work by my co-workers years ago was my Epicure Selections’ Poco Picante Salsa. This SUPER easy Salsa recipe is great for a quick snack, or to add spiciness to any dish you have on the stove for dinner.

This salsa is SO easy and SO delicious that you won't ever buy pre-made salsa again

This salsa is SO easy and SO delicious that you won’t buy pre-made salsa again

Super Easy Salsa

1 – 796mL can Diced Tomatoes

Juice of 1/2 Fresh Lime

2 tbsp Epicure Selections Poco Picante Salsa Mix

Nacho Chips

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1. Drain the can of tomatoes, but catch the tomato juice
as it’s great to cook rice in tomorrow.

2. Place tomatoes, salsa mix and the lime juice into
your food processor and pulse 5 times.

3. Re-drain the salsa one more time, and serve.

It’s really that easy.

Other uses for this salsa…

– Add to cooked rice or quinoa to create a spicy side dish

– Use with your favourite Mexican recipes like my Beef Tacos

– Use as a pasta sauce for a spicy, Italian-Mexican fusion dish

– Marinade and cook chicken breasts in this Salsa

– Use at breakfast with your favourite egg dish

What do you love Salsa on top of?
Are you a fan of the hot stuff? Or do you prefer a more mild Salsa?

Shredded Broccoli Salad

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I don’t remember what inspired me to make this salad a few years ago, but it’s one of my favourite ways to eat broccoli. Not only can you buy broccoli slaw pre-made like I did, but you can also use your broccoli stalks and shred them yourself to create this salad. We love this as a side to just about any meal!

A quick and easy new salad to try that is super healthy

A quick and easy new salad to try that is super healthy

Broccoli Salad
(makes 2 servings)

1 cup Broccoli Slaw

1/2 cup Shredded Carrot

1/8 cup Almond Slivers

1/8 cup Dried Berries

1/8 cup Oil & Vinegar Dressing
(like Kraft Calorie-Wise Balsamic Vinaigrette)

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Mix all ingredients together and toss in the vinaigrette. Serve chilled.

Keeps great for 2nd day servings!

Do you use Broccoli Slaw?
What is your favourite recipe?