Sunday, March 31, 2013

Where to Eat, Sleep and Play if You're Headed to Houston for the Rangers/Astros Series

Visiting Houston this week or sometime this season to check out the Rangers take on the Astros?  Not quite sure where to stay and what to hit while you’re there?  Fear not!  I have you covered.  Enjoying yourself on a road trip is as much of a sport as is the game itself.  For details on our recent trip to the Bayou City, which included a fan crashing my live shot and hard press box meat, check out my diary of your dream job.

Houston is a tough city.  If you make your base “outside the loop” or outside Loop 610, you will wind up miserable, stuck in traffic and be relinquished to chain dining hotel and restaurant hell.  If you stay "inside the loop", in Midtown, Montrose, in West University or near River Oaks you will discover the wonderful diversions that made my four college years there some of the most fun I've ever had.

This is a bit female-focused but if you're a guy taking your Sig O with you, you'll score big points by trying some of these suggestions.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Fall off the Weight Loss Resolution Bandwagon? Here's a Great Meal Plan from Eating Well Magazine to Help You Get Back on Track

How are those 2013 weight loss resolutions going?  With March more than halfway over, this is a great time to reassess your goals.  If you're struggling to stick with a program of eating real food, squeezing in five to six hours a week of exercise and taking time for yourself, then let's REFOCUS.

Today we're focusing on eating well, courtesy of Eating Well magazine.  Its print edition offers outstanding recipes that are practical, affordable and easy to make.  Recently it posted online a 7-day meal plan based on your caloric intake, ranging from 1200 to 2000 calories.  It's an idiot-proof method to help you achieve your weight loss goal.

First, determine the number of calories you need to consume to lose weight.  I always go with the method of multiplying your desired weight by 10.  Want to weigh 130 pounds?  10 x 130 = 1300.  That is the number of calories you can eat to help you reach that goal.  Exercise moderately for an hour?  Okay, a based on a conservative estimate, you can have between 350-500 additional calories on that day you do the exercise.  This is just one method.  It has worked for me whenever I need to drop a few pounds, including the 50+ I lost more than a decade ago.

Courtesy Eating Well Magazine
Look at what Eating Well offers for a middle of the road, 1600 calorie-plan for Tuesday:
  • Breakfast

    • 1 Whole Grain Oat Bran Bagel
    • 1 Cup Skim Milk
    • 1/2 Cup Blueberries
    • 1 Tablespoon Creamy Peanut Butter, unsalted
  • Morning Snack

    • 1 Apple, small
  • Lunch

    • 1 Cup Tossed Salad Mix
    • 1 Tablespoon Vinegar & Oil Salad Dressing
    • 1/2 Cup Cooked Brown Rice
    • 1/2 Cup Fresh Pineapple
  • Afternoon Snack

    • 6 Ounces Nonfat Vanilla or Lemon Yogurt, Sweetened with Low-Calorie Sweetener
  • Dinner

This is a satiating, diverse meal plan that won't have you hungry.  It offers real food options with recipes to help you stay on track. 

Interested in more ways to rock your 2013 weight loss resolution?  Here are a few more tips that work for me:

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Wendy's Apple Pecan Chicken Salad Is A Decent Fast Food Option

I was stuck in a total pinch over the weekend: doing the single mother thing while the other half was on a golf trip.  Having to anchor our late Sunday show for CBS, I didn't have time to pack a meal for dinner.  Our tv station is in one of the most food-barren parts of east Fort Worth with the likes of Chicken Express, McDonald's and KFC lining the streets.  There are no healthy options nearby which makes packing lunch, dinner or snacks essential.

Starving, I took the plunge and tried Wendy's.  I knew they offered salads so I picked the full-sized Apple Pecan Chicken Salad for dinner.  It wasn't bad.  Granted, my expectation level was incredibly low but the apples were fresh, the lettuce wasn't brown or wilted and the chicken wasn't too overly seasoned with salt.  It actually tasted good.  The salad featured a liberal helping of blue cheese and cranberries.  Wendy's offered a packet of roasted pecans and pomegranate vinaigrette for topping the salad.

I used the pecans and added just a tiny touch of the dressing.  I'm not a fan of fruity, sweet salad dressing.  Overall it was a decent dinner choice that was quite filling.   This is not something to eat daily but certainly an option you can enjoy in a pinch.

Here is the nutritional breakdown for a full-sized salad according to Wendy's:
  • 570 calories
  • 27 grams of fat, from the cheese & pecans; 8 grams saturated fat, 0 grams trans fatty acids
  • 51 grams of carbohydrates
  • 39 grams of sugar - this is high.  Sugar is the second ingredient in the pomegranate dressing - eek!  Also, some sugar comes from the cranberries and apples.
  • 37 grams of protein

Thursday, March 7, 2013

What to Do in Cabo San Lucas

I will never forget stumbling after too many margaritas strolling elegantly into Market restaurant at the One & Only Palmilla in 2009 thinking I had stepped into an episode of Entourage.  It was full of gorgeous, southern California types who looked like they power lunched daily at the Polo Lounge or Grille on the Alley. 

Club 96, Cabo San Lucas

Then there was us: two tipsy Texans who had driven over in a golf cart from where we were staying in the nearby Villas del Mar development.  We were in love.  Not so much with each other (ok, I did marry the guy) but with Los Cabos.  Its pristine beauty, its character and the genuine good nature of everyone we met.

Since then, my husband and I have been bitten by the Cabo bug.  We have returned every year since, taking our then-six month old daughter, Jordan, there in 2012.  It's an easy trip from DFW airport and is usually quite affordable if you time your airline ticket purchase properly.

Palmilla, Cabo, Cabo San Lucas
At the pool in Palmilla
I've helped a number of friends plan Cabo itineraries: a couple on their honeymoon, a Texas Rangers executive in need of a getaway with his wife after a stressful season, as well as friends on Twitter.

What To Do In Cabo San Lucas 

San Jose del Cabo
The square in San Jose del Cabo during Christmas
  • San Jose del Cabo is a charming, small town. There is a bakery called French Riviera & Bakery on one of the side streets, a great tequila shop (it's THE tequila shop) and more.  I like it better than Cabo.  Fewer tourists.
  • Flora Farms - this is my #1 must visit.  Worth the drive down the bumpy, dusty road.  Travel & Leisure magazine recently "discovered" it.  This is why you must go.
  • On our way into Palmilla from the airport, we love to stop at Voila for lunch in San Jose del Cabo.  It has a beautiful outdoor patio and exceptional lobster burritos.  Those lobster burritos are full-on #foodporn.   
  • NickSan for sushi and Manuel's for finer, Mexican cuisines.  Both of these are in the Shoppes of Palmilla. 
  • Try El Farallon restaurant at the Capella Pedregal resort.  It is one of the most stunningly beautiful dining experiences you will ever have.  The fish is stocked daily by local fishermen.  You can visit the "fish bar" to select your fish, chose how it is cooked and served.  The experience is magical.
  • You have to do the One & Only Palmilla, even if it is just for breakfast on the terrace.  The views of the Sea of Cortez are magnificent and you just might get a better view of a Hollywood celebrity dining at your next table.  Every restaurant in the resort is expensive.  Supremely so.  There is also a great, luxe boutique onsite.  Again, pricey but in a lush, gorgeous setting like this what do you expect?  My tip: buy some Blue Agave scented room spray as a souvenir.  It was $45 at last check but lasted two years.  More fabulously, it was a lovely reminder of the scent of the Baja capable of providing a brief respite on a landlocked Dallas day.

We always stay in a house when we visit but here are some great Cabo hotel options.

A Great Green Juice From Whole Foods That Will Appeal To All Palates

For those of you who just can't stomach a truly green, grassy juice, I've got something for you.

Whole Foods has become a big player in the pre-bottled, unpasteurized juice game.  They offer everything from green lemonades to watermelon juices and more.   I stumbled across a new green concoction at the Highland Park store that is amazing called Happy Trails.

It is a blend of kale, melon, cucumber, celery and orange juices that is simply delicious.  The primary flavor is fresh-squeezed orange juice with a hint of celery and cucumber.  The kale cuts the overly sweet taste many fresh squeezed orange juices have.

If you're looking to get some liquid greens in your diet, this one is a winner.  Double bonus?  It only costs a wallet friendly $2.89.

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