Monday, July 21, 2008

Random Thoughts and Skyline Chili

I have so many random thoughts buzzing around in my head that I want to blog about! You might see more posts than usual over the next couple of days as I catch up with blogging after being away for a week!

First off, I have dropped 4 of the 7 pounds I gained on vacation. So that's good. Yesterday I ate 1230 calories and the day before, 1500. Yesterday I biked 30 minutes and took a 2-block walk after dinner. The day before, I biked 18 minutes and lifted weights in an abbreviated session (one set of each exercise). Today I will bike 30 minutes and lift 2 sets which takes about 20 minutes.

I have set some new goals for myself. I am really cracking down right now. I have no more birthdays or holidays coming up in the next couple of months, so it's a good time to get strict. I really want the weight loss more than I want any indulgence. Anyway, before vacation I was already up 2 pounds to 217 (from my low of 215). After vacation, 224. Now, 220. So my first goal is to get back to 215 by August 1. I am sure this is doable because most of those regained pounds are just hanging there from vacation, ready to drop off with a little work. My second goal is more ambitious. I was thinking about how I began this journey almost a year ago. Last August, I lost 13 pounds. I did it mostly by eating lots of Farmer's Market gems. When I wanted a snack, I had a huge bowl of watermelon or cantaloupe. I ate tons of greens. I enjoyed lots of fresh fruit and veggies alongside salmon, tilapia, chicken, turkey burgers. I am ready to do that again. So my goal is 13 pounds in August, which would take me to 202 pounds! I would be so thrilled. This is what I am working towards, but if I lose 5, or 8, I will still be happy and call it success!

Now about that Skyline Chili. If any of you live in or have been to Cincinnati, you know what I am talking about. Yummy chili, unlike the "normal" chilis you are used to. It is not a regular chili... it has its own unique flavor. It is basically a meat/tomato sauce and you serve it over spaghetti and top it with kidney beans, chopped raw onions, and grated cheddar cheese. I LOVE IT. (Yes I am a food lover, I admit it). So I developed my own recipe that I can have while losing weight. I made it 2 days ago and have been eating it and the pounds are coming off. It's pretty healthy. It freezes well, so I froze half for later. You can also just eat it in a bowl with some low fat cornbread or use it on your fat free hot dogs when you want a chili dog (on rare occasion, right??)

Lyn's Skyline-style Chili

Take 2lbs of lean ground beef and brown it in a nonstick pan. Break it up really well so the pieces are small, and drain off any grease as it is cooking. When it is done, rinse the meat with hot water several times, pouring it off each time. This takes out a LOT of the extra fat.

Put the beef into a crock pot sprayed with cooking spray.

In the blender, put:
1 c. fresh salsa with juice (this is the uncooked kind... you can use fresh pico de Gallo instead. Just chopped tomatoes/onions/pepper/cilantro. Use whatever "heat" you like. I use mild).
1 red bell pepper cut in chunks
1 orange bell pepper cut in chunks
1 medium yellow onion cut in chunks
1/2 medium sweet onion (like Vidalia or Walla Walla) cut in chunks
6 cloves of fresh garlic
2 small (single serving, tiny) cans of V8 (I use one spicy, one regular)

Puree this stuff in the blender until it is pretty much liquefied (like an onion and pepper smoothie! Yum!) Pour it over the beef in the crock pot.

1 small can (8oz) of tomato sauce
1 small can (6oz) of tomato paste
a hefty squirt of ketchup (maybe 3T .... Heinz ROCKS!)
1/4 c. chili powder
2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp. brown sugar
2 tsp. cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. beef bouillon granules
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 T. cocoa powder (unsweetened, like Hershey's)

Stir it, cover, and cook on low all day (5-7 hours).
During the last 2 hours I add one can of pinto beans, rinsed, and one can of kidney beans, rinsed. You could probably add them at the beginning but I didn't want them to get mushy. But maybe they'd be okay.

Serve this sauce over whole grain spaghetti or cooked spaghetti squash. I like Barilla Plus spaghetti for nutrition. If you want to cut calories further, do what I do when I eat this for lunch: cook some summer squash, such as cubed zucchini. Instead of a cup of cooked pasta, have a half cup of pasta and a bunch of cooked zucchini on a plate and put the sauce over that.

Traditionally the spaghetti/chili is topped with your choice of chopped raw onions and/or grated cheddar. I like sweet onions on top, and if I use cheddar I use a sprinkling of Kraft 2% cheddar.

Very yummy stuff. I love this stuff and my kids do too. There is no other way to get nutritious bell peppers into their mouths!! It does not taste like "diet food" whatsoever. Who says losing weight has to feel like deprivation?? Enjoy :)


Nick said...

Hey Lyn, first off, congrats on the weight loss! I can definitely see a difference between every 10 lbs, it's truly an incredible transformation. Your chili sounds outstanding, I never thought to cook with V8, but I've also never tasted V8 juice either.

I have one tidbit of advice: when using ketchup, try the Heinz organic ketchup, it's got the same flavor but it doesn't use high fructose corn syrup. It's not that big of a deal in small quantities, but for general use I recommend the organic, because I use a ton of it! You could also try a fruit sweetened ketchup at the health food store, I found an awesome kind but forgot the name.

Katschi said...

Whew! Goodbye, fat!
I have to knuckle down, too. I keep farting around with treats that are treating me with slow weight loss.
I put up a pic of the poacher today for you.
This chili sounds yummy. I'd put it over spaghetti squash for extra low calories.
Your trip to the ocean sounded wonderful BTW.

Sheri said...

Lyn, thank you. I used to make spaghetti sauce with V8 juice. I and many fresh veg such as you describe. I hadn't thought about it in a while. I also never thought about adding cinnamon, but that is a good idea since its good for blood sugar levels. I'm going to have to try your recipe. After I find I salsa recipe I like. Still am drawn to Tostitos.

new*me said...

I made homemade sauce this weekend with about 10 lbs of fresh tomatoes from my parents' garden .....yummy! That weight is flying off!

come visit me at my have been awarded :)

Ceres said...

Oh my god, I just got back from the gym, I'm starving, and this looks soooo yummy :-) I don't have a crock-pot though, is there any way I can use some other pan/way of cooking instead, and have sort of the same result?
Congrats on getting those 4 pounds off so fast, and looking forward to your blogging about new lows!

Lyn said...

Ceres, yes! You can do this recipe on the stovetop. If you have a soup pot or a big pot with a lid, use that. Just keep it low enough to barely simmer, and stir it every so often. You can probably eat it after 2 hours. Let me know how this works for you... if it is not thick enough you can leave off the lid for a bit. Just be sure not to have the heat too high that it burns the bottom.

Anonymous said...

The chili sounds wonderful. You can boil ground beef and drain it. It cooks more quickly than browning it in a pan without splattering grease on the stove, and even more of the fat gets removed.

Congrats on losing 4 of the 7.


MorenaTejana said...

You could also use ground turkey (or Boca) for a leaner meal.

Is there a healthier substitute for the brown sugar?

Heather said...

congrats on losing! I knew that weight wouldnt stick around for long.

Lyn said...


If you don't want to use brown sugar, you can use a sweetener of your choice. But remember, it's only a tiny amount in a huge vat of chili, so you probably will only get about 1 or 2 calories worth of sugar in your serving!

I am not a fan of artificial sweeteners myself, but if someone has diabetes they could probably use splenda.

Ceres said...

Oh, thanks! I will definitely try it very soon and will let you know!

nmburleson said...

Good for you on setting some goals for yourself. I think that goals are very important. The chili sounds great!

You are doing awesome!

Chubby Chick said...

Yay! The pounds are coming off!

Good luck with your August Goal! I know you can do it!

And thanks for the recipe. It looks fantastic! :)

Lynne said...

Hi Lyn!
Ambitious goals, but I know how committed you are - Go for 13!!
Thanks for your kind thoughts and support. Things still suck for me, but such is life - we have no choice sometimes except to keep going as best as we can!

You are a great inspiration and a good distraction!

Big Girl said...

Now THAT sounds soooo super yummy. Thanks for the recipe.

And congrats on losing the weight.

PurplePoizon said...

Hi Lyn~
Tried your Skyline Chili tonight and it was fantastic! I put it over lettuce for a 'taco salad' craving I had and LOVED it! Thanks so much!