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Friday, December 6, 2013

Fall Fun

It has been a fun last couple of months and we wanted to share some pics of what we have been doing.

I'm the room mom for Briggs' class and pulled out some creativity for the Halloween and Thanksgiving parties that was pinterest inspired.

Halloween party:

 pumpkin and owl cupcakes





 the spread complete with cheese slices in the shape of pumpkins 
& pigs in a blanket
 

...it's tricky to get a pic of these two little wiggle worms 
Briggs: football player
Parker: the football
(daddy not pictured b/c he was the photographer)


Thanksgiving Party:



edible apple turkey with caramel dip
 

and then my two little handsome guys wearing their turkeys.
 

group shot from Thanksgiving day



Things are going good with our family and we have so many things to be thankful for.  Hope everyone is having a good holiday season.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Week 4 - Whole 30 Challenge and RESULTS

I'M DONE!!!!!!!!!

This was the last week of Whole 30 and got a little interesting over the weekend because we went out of town and there was just a little bit too much good food so I ....CHEATED.  Yep...I did, but oh well. I tried to keep the cheating to a minimum...

Day 22 (Tuesday):

B'fast: sausage and sautéed kale
Lunch: chicken salad (canned chicken) and grapes
Dinner: Chic-fil-a grilled nuggets

Day 23 (Wednesday):
B'fast: fried egg
Lunch: fruit smoothie and cliff bar
Dinner: chipotle steak salad

Day 24 (Thursday):
B'fast: egg, spinach, turkey bacon
Lunch: chicken salad, smoothie, celery and almond butter
Dinner: Roast with sautéed kale and mushrooms

Day 25 (Friday):
B'fast: bacon, zucchini fritter, banana
Lunch: Zaxby's salad
Dinner: Grilled shrimp and salad
Dessert: Cookie...just wait until you see the pics of these things...it was worth every.single.bite.

Day 26-27 (Saturday and Sunday)




Yeeeeeah... the pics are worth a thousand words. and as I said before...I enjoyed every single bite.

I did my best to pick the best of the options.  A lot of the options this weekend were very healthy, just not on the STRICT diet of Whole 30.  Which is another reason I'm so glad it's over b/c it is SO strict!

And honestly I'm all about a challenge but when you're with other people on a weekend getaway...I'm not gonna make the whole weekend about the food I "can't" eat...we just enjoyed each other and I did my best with a few treats.

Monday-Wednesday (Day 28-30):


I continued with things like what you see above....

I was honestly, very DONE with the whole process.  This has been an incredibly time consuming project of taking pics, meal planning, grocery shopping, blog posting...

I'm not complaining and I'm not bitter...it had just been a really long 30 days for me.  I have mentioned before...but both the boys were sick pretty much the entire time.  They would alternate, one would get sick and then the other.  Which means they would alternate on who wasn't sleeping at night.  So I was a little sleep deprived on top of a lot of extra work.

Once I got through week two, it did get much easier to meal plan and cook.  I was able to just rotate through things I knew I could eat.  We hardly ever went out to eat b/c it was just too challenging for me to figure out how to stay on the meal plan.  So we made it work and I was really happy with my results.  Now to figure out where to go from here.  I promise to update with the progress.

Finally..the results are:
I lost 7.5 #. 4.5 inches in my waist and 3inces in my hips.  Then I improved my time from the baseline workout by 3:25.

The biggest success from the whole month..I'm back in my pre-baby clothes.  That was honestly my ultimate goal and I made it.  I still have some fine-tuning to make, but I know I can do it and feel great!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Week 3 - Whole 30 Challenge

This week got a little interesting with two sick kids and to be honest...just a little tired of being so restricted.  I even went back and forth in my head...is this really a good thing for me to be doing?  I guess I just wonder how to transition off of this "diet" and back into the real world.

After some thinking on the subject...I've decided to continue through the challenge as best I can.  The other thing that kills me, I haven't talked to one single person who hasn't cheated.  That makes it even more of a mind game.  Just because other people are cheating, sure does make it hard to stay so committed.  My blog has helped me to stay more accountable, but for the love...don't judge me if I eat a little cheese.

Day 15 (Tuesday):

 

B'fast: bacon, egg omelet
Lunch: egg salad on lettuce wrap with fruit
Dinner: turkey burgers, sauteed squash and zucchini


Day 16 (Wednesday):


B'fast: egg salad
Lunch: hand full of roast beef and cliff bar
*I was out shopping with both kiddos and had to make a game time decision.  I was super hungry and instead of making a bad decision like goldfish and fruit snacks...that was all I could come up with quickly with two fussy kids
Second Lunch: roast beef lettuce wrap and grapes (once we got home)
Dinner: Turkey burger, sauteed kale

Day 17 (Thursday):


B'fast: egg omelet with bacon
Lunch: Tazikis greek salad with fruit
*I was out running errands today and knew I would be by tazikis.  To give myself a little break from cooking and meal prep...I decided to get a salad.  I did eat a little bit of dressing on it for taste.  I've said all along, I've been strict on myself especially on the things I struggle with but salad dressing (and a little bit) makes  a salad more edible, it's not a huge "cheat" for me
Dinner: sausage and veggie bake

Day 18 (Friday):

B'fast: banana and almond butter
Lunch: roast beef lettuce wrap with clementines
Dinner: leftover sausage and veggie bake

Day 19 (Saturday):

 

B'fast: eggs and canadia bacon
Lunch: roast beef, turkey, avocado and tomato lettuce wrap
Dinner: Baked fish and sauteed kale (mashed potatoes for the boys)
*This was a really hard dinner.  Because we are eating so clean, I had nothing boxed to whip up quick.  I wasn't on my "A" game with meal planning and nothing really sounded good.  I almost threw in the towel and just said...order a pizza!  Instead I pulled it together...defrosted some fish real quick in a sink of cold water, got some potatoes boiling (for mashed potatoes) and got some kale cooking.  In about 20 minutes we had us a healthy dinner.

I just want to put this thought out there...it took me 30 min max to get the meal pulled together and it would have taken that long, if not longer to order a pizza and either go get it or have it delivered.  Just sayin...

Day 20 (Sunday):


B'fast: egg with mushrooms and spinach and grapes
Lunch: chipotle salad bowl with steak, guacamole, lettuce and a little bit of cheese
Snack: fruit and nuts
Dinner: chipotle salad bowl with steak, guacamole, lettuce and a little bit of cheese
Yes...we ate at the same place twice today...it was just SO GOOD the first time!

* This was a super long day.  We left the house this morning at 8am and didn't get home until 5.  We had lots of fun things packed in our day...church, grocery store, picnic at the park and a baby dedication....WHERE THERE WAS A SUPER YUMMY CAKE and I passed without wanting to gnaw my arm off.  I would say that is a testament to progress!  Oh and I got to wear my PRE-BABY jeans again...woop woop!

Day 21 (Monday):


B'fast: sausage and egg scramble with onion, mushroom and spinach
Lunch: Turkey rolled up, grapes, olives and banana with almond butter
Dinner: Roast with steamed broccoli

Ok..so this week was super challenging.  We had some really busy days.  I have actually been really intentional about keeping our weeks more simple during this 30 days, in order to give myself a better opportunity for success.  Both of our kids got sick, so we were at the doctor some, sleepless nights and I still made it to the gym every day.

Good news...WE MADE IT, and without too many "cheats".  Which I'm not a huge fan of that word because I didn't eat anything that was horrible.  If I ate something that wasn't "approved", I tried to make sure it was something that would fill me up. 

One more week to go and I'm feeling really strong.  We are going out of town next weekend so I'm not sure how that will go.  I'm going to go ahead and prep everyone...my aunt is an ahhhhh-mazing cook so there is probably going to be something on the menu that doesn't fit in the Whole 30 rules, but oh well...yolo!

 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Week 2 - Whole 30 Challenge

Week 2 has come and gone and I'm still standing!  Here is a recap of my week.


Day 8 (Tuesday)



B'fast:   apple and almond butter
Lunch:  brussel sprout, sweet potato and bacon (click here for recipe)
Dinner: Chicken Salad (I used leftover rotisserie chicken, grapes, onion, cucumbers and a little bit of
mayo. 

Confession... I tried making my own mayo tonight that is "approved" for Whole 30.. BUT...it was a flop so I did squirt a little regular mayo in there..shoot me!


Day 9 (Wednesday)



B'fast:   protein muffins (click here for recipe) and a clementine
Lunch:  protein muffins (again..I know..but I was hungry and I'm ok with eating the same thing a couple times)
Dinner: Shrimp, Zucchini and Tomatoes (click here for recipe)
*this is as yummy as it looks and would have been even better over pasta...I'm just saying

Day 10 (Thursday)

No pic b/c it was nothing interesting...just a recycle of yesterday's meals

B'fast: protein muffins with salsa
Lunch: shrimp/zucchini/tomatoes
Dinner: shrimp/zucchini/tomatoes


Day 11 (Friday)



B'fast:   banana and almond butter
*I am very careful with eating bananas b/c they are so high in sugar.  It was a tough workout day today, so I decided I would burn it off & would probably need the sugar for energy 
Lunch: chicken salad with canned chicken, grapes, avocado, and cucumber (mayo again)
Snack: salad, mushrooms, boiled egg, tomato, cucumber, almonds with avocado dressing
*can't find the recipe for the dressing...I just mashed up an avocado, squeezed half a lime, little bit of garlic and salt
Dinner: grilled chicken, steamed broccoli, sweet potato chips, sautéed mushrooms

I was hungry today.  Not sure why...but I do try and have protein whenever I do eat so it helps me stay full longer.


Day 12 (Saturday)


B'fast:   protein muffins and salsa
Snack:  grapes, trail mix
Lunch:  lettuce wrap, turkey, avocado, tomato
Dinner: steak, sweet potato, salad (at Outback Steakhouse)
*we had family in town this weekend.  We even went to a fall festival where there were all kinds of tempting food and ways to cheat.  I planned ahead, brought my snack and just ate when I got home. 

And because of that..when we went out to eat tonight...guess who was sportin her PRE-BABY jeans...woop woop!  Today is a day I felt like the sacrifice was worth it and helped give me the encouragement to continue!

Day 13 (Sunday)


B'fast:  sausage and sautéed squash, mushroom, onion and spinach
Lunch: steak leftovers (from outback)
Dinner: grilled chicken leftovers from Fri night


Day 14 (Monday)



B'fast:  apple, almond butter, sausage
Lunch: egg salad on a lettuce wrap with fresh tomato (from my garden) and grapes
Dinner: pork tenderloin stuffed with garlic and rosemary with green beans

Notes from this week:

My meals weren't as interesting this week because Justin was out of town, so I just cycled through my food until it was gone.  I tried keeping things more simple since I was here solo with the boys.

It got REAL about Monday.  I was starting to really want something sweet and was just feeling like this whole thing is dumb.  I have made a commitment and I'm going to keep it to the best of my ability.  Halfway done. 

I did see some real progress this week, with getting into my old jeans.  I wouldn't say I'm feeling AMAZING yet (with my energy levels).  But part of that may be because both my boys haven't been sleeping very good.  It's like they talk to each other before bed b/c one night Briggs wakes up, the next night it's Parker...I don't get it?!?!

I am sticking to the diet as closely as I possibly can.  I have swapped out real mayo a couple times and I did eat some dressing on my salad at outback but other than that, I've walked the strait and narrow.  I will say, the things I have "cheated" on haven't been anything I struggle with.  It's just been a little of something to make whatever it is more edible. One thing I definitely won't be doing is eating sweets.  I'm committed to the plan especially in the things I struggle with. 

Until next time...


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Week 1 - Whole 30 Challenge

Week one has come and gone.  I made it and thought I would recap what has happened.

Day one (Tuesday):



B'fast   egg scramble with asparagus (leftover from the night before), mushrooms, onion, garlic and turkey sausage
Snack   fruit smoothie (frozen fruit) with coconut milk
Lunch  Salad with mushrooms, broccoli, carrots, almonds, raisins, boiled egg. Teeny bit of dressing (olive oil and balsamic vinegar) Adding the protein with nuts, and eggs, helps to keep me full longer
Dinner  Spaghetti Squash with sautéed veggies and tomato sauce

Sidenote:  I did make the boys real spaghetti and I just ate the squash.  They of course got to add cheese and I was kind of sad about that.

Tip:  I got a log of turkey sausage and cooked the whole thing this morning.  I added what I wanted in my egg scramble and put the rest in a container to add to things throughout the week.

I also boiled a dozen eggs to have on hand for salads, breakfast, snacks...


Day two (Wednesday):



B'fast   egg scramble with turkey sausage, mushrooms, onion, garlic and fruit
Lunch  salad with carrots, mushrooms, grilled chicken (leftover from the weekend), tomatoes, boiled egg, almonds, raisins, olive oil/balsamic vinegar dressing
Dinner Spaghetti Squash leftovers

Day three (Thursday):  


B'fast   egg scramble with spinach, ground turkey, mushrooms, salsa, watermelon black coffee
Snack   apple and almond butter
Lunch  boiled eggs, clementines, olives, trail mix
Dinner chicken tacos on lettuce wraps with sautéed veggies and salsa

I was scheduled to work this day, so I had to bring a "to-go" lunch.  It would have been easy to make a salad but, I had to eat in the car...which is how I came up with this random mix of stuff for lunch.


Day four: (Friday)




B'fast   boiled eggs and turkey bacon
Lunch  Grilled nuggets from Chic-fil-a (I didn't eat anything else in the meal), when I got home, had a clementine and some olives
Dinner Rotisserie Chicken, Sautéed veggies, sweet potato with a little coconut oil (as butter) and salt

Weekends are when my eating and budget falls apart if it's gonna happen.  So a good plan is super important.

Day five: Saturday


B'fast   boiled egg, turkey bacon, fruit
Lunch  Turkey lettuce wrap, grapes, carrots, olives
Dinner Spaghetti squash, sautéed veggies and tomato sauce (leftovers, again)

Day six (Sunday):



B'fast   egg scramble with asparagus, tomato, and Canadian bacon, fruit and black coffee
Lunch  turkey wrap, fruit
Dinner Rotisserie Chicken and green beans (leftovers)

Day seven (Monday):


B'fast    turkey bacon, fruit, boiled eggs
Snack   fruit smoothie and trail mix
Lunch   Zucchini Fritter
Dinner  salmon, half sweet potato and steamed asparagus

A few notes on this week.  It really wasn't horrible.  I am missing a few things that were staples in my diet like greek yogurt, quinoa, cheese.  But I'll live.  I haven't felt deprived or hungry...yet... which is something I was a little worried about. 

You might have noticed I rotated through some of the same things for breakfast and dinner.  Eggs are going to be a staple throughout this challenge.  They are a great source of protein (which helps fill me up). I tried to rotate through all the veggies I have in the frig so they don't go bad, with the different meals.  For dinner, I would try to make enough for at least two meals.  Sometimes we eat the same thing two nights in a row but if not, we rotate through the leftovers soon after.  I'm not a huge fan of leftover sauteed veggies b/c they are often kind of slimy, so I usually just make enough for that night and cook them fresh with our meals.

I didn't always note the snacks I had throughout the day...but things I rotate through that are easy to grab: olives, nuts, trail mix, boiled eggs, fruit smoothies, and fruit with almond butter.

I'll update again next week with a rundown of the meals...until then...

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Protein Muffins

Many people have asked for recipes.  This one I thought deserved some pics and explanation.

I started with these items/ ingredients:

olive oil mister*
regular size muffin tin
carton of egg whites
Italian turkey sausage (in the links)
spinach
garlic
peppers
mushrooms
onion

* The olive oil mister is a really fun thing.  It works great for kale chips

1. Spray the muffin tin generously with olive oil.  Helps them to pop right out after cooked.


2.  This is the "hardest" (if you want to all it that) part.  Chop up all the veggies.  And cook the sausage.  Seriously doesn't take long..it's just the tedious part.

Tip:  I actually browned the sausage the night before when I was cooking and left it in the frig in a container so it was ready to go.  That way all I had to do was chop veggies.


3.  You can even have a little helper mix it all together.



4.  Fill the muffin tins with veggie and meat mixture.  Then pour in egg whites close to the top.  I took a pic so you could see...I filled them up all the way with my mixture and was keeping my fingers crossed it wouldn't end in a mess.

Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes (mine took closer to 25)


5.  Turned out perfect!


I actually had enough mixture and egg whites to make two whole batches (24 muffins).  I shared some with some friends, kept some out for in the morning and froze some in containers to rotate through in the next couple of weeks.

They are super yummy with salsa.  And I of course left out the cheese (the recipe called for it), but if you're not doing Whole 30...put some in there, I bet it's good.

The Italian sausage makes these!  I had grabbed some at the store and so glad I thought to use it.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Whole 30

Many of you follow me on instagram and have seen all my yummy food pics I've been posting.  There are many questions around what I'm doing exactly. 

Let's start at the very beginning. 

I started doing Crossfit about 3 months ago.  (we just got new t-shirts and I was the model that day)




More on Crossfit later.  But to sum it up, I'm loving it!  The month of October, there is a gym-wide Whole 30 Challenge.  We had to do a baseline workout, measurement, weight and in 30 days redo it all and see who has the most changes.

This is Holli (and myself), my workout buddy.  We go to almost every single class together and push each other every single day (friendly competition I promise).  We had to get a pic in front of the "NO SUGAR" sign b/c that's what we are the most sad about for this next 30 days.


 

So Whole 30...the quick rundown:
  • very similar to Paleo, but more strict
  • Do's: meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables, fruit, seeds, nuts, oils and fat
  • Don'ts: SUGAR, dairy, grain, bread, flour, wheat, legumes, alcohol, white potatoes, corn, there is more to this list, but that's the big stuff
  • Purpose: to cleanse your body from foods that are having a negative impact on it. Sometimes you might not even realize.  Theory is that some aches, pains, digestive problems and inconsistent energy levels can be linked closely to your diet.
Everyone asks if our whole family is doing the challenge.  No, it's just me.  For dinner I do make things that we can all eat.  I might substitute a lettuce wrap for a tortilla, but we all eat the same basic thing.  I've had to get a little creative, but I've done tons of planning so it wouldn't be so hard.

My input on things:

I've actually never done anything like this in my life.  Those of you who know me, know I'm a sucker for a challenge.  Since our newest addition 8 months ago, I still have a little baby fluff leftover that I'm working on going bye bye.   I'm close but not quite where I want to be.  And this isn't technically a weight loss plan (at least to my understanding), it's just a focus on being/eating very clean and healthy and in the process, weight loss results usually happen.

Here is a little rant...I'm convinced food is quite the addiction for most Americans.  You want something, you go to a drive-thru and get it.  We are drawn to quick results, quick meals, quick everything...but in that process, have sacrificed much.  In conversations with people, they say things like.."good luck, I couldn't do that" or "I could never give up....blank"  The further in I get with this, the more aware I'm becoming to our dependence on food and honestly, self-control, or lack of. 

Now I'm the first to say, sometimes you just gotta have that piece of pizza or that piece of chocolate cake.  There is nothing wrong with that...where the problem comes in is, most people I know are overcommitted in one way or the other.  Because of that, there is no time to include eating healthy and exercising.  Fast food is a normal way of life,  which leads to being overweight which leads to taking diet pills...blah blah blah. 

 And honestly...I'm not gonna lie...being healthy...it's work.  You aren't always going to make the right decision about what goes in your mouth, but EAT REAL FOOD PEOPLE!  Don't take a pill to get into smaller pants!  Find a way to balance your diet and lifestyle.  If you continue to follow me through this journey, you will see, I'm not eating boiled eggs and lettuce everyday.  I've worked hard to find yummy alternatives to things I'm cutting out so I can feel satisfied and good at the end of the day.

I'm just gonna be honest...this challenge has been quite the effort.  I've been preparing for a few weeks.  Only because I wanted to make sure I do this to the best of my ability.  With that challenge, comes lots of meal planning, blog reading, and searching out recipes that will work for me and our whole family.  I'm almost through the first week and things are going good so far.  I'll be making a post each week to share my plan and progress.  Hoping this will encourage and challenge someone, or lots of someones, to make some healthy changes for yourself and your family.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Friendly gift

Most of you know I'm a hand-made gift kinda girl.  I always try to make stuff I would want to get myself. 

We recently had some good friends buy their first house and we invited ourselves invited us over for dinner.  I wanted to do something as a house-warming gift, so I put a little spin on our teacher gifts and another home project from this past year.

For our teachers I did some fun pots with flowers, with a sign that says "thank you for helping me grow".



I felt like I could make something with more neutral colors for their new home...
and here is how I did it.

Flipped the pot over and painted all the way to the rim. 
Note:  It's easier to get a good edge if the pot is turned upside down.
 


same thing for the saucer.
 
Note: I have mentioned this before, but for easier cleanup,
 I use coffee filters to hold my paint as I'm crafting.
 

 
And here is the finished product...




So, if you're looking for something useful, easy and budget friendly to give to someone...this is a good one.  I've never had anyone not like this gift and it's definitely fun to make.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Veggie sidedish

I have had many people ask about what we eat at our house.  This is one side dish that has a pretty frequent rotation and is super easy. 

Pick whatever vegetables you have...I mix lots of different kinds, but for this dish...broccoli, squash, zucchini, onion, garlic, and sweet potato.


There is no real art to cutting them up...
the zucchini, I slice in half and then cube it.


the sweet potatoes, cut into slices and then cube


 All cut up...looks like this...I drizzle some olive oil on it...
toss it around with my hands and pop it in the oven
at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes (until fork tender)



When they are finished...this is the finished product (they do shrink up a little).


Best thing about this dish...you don't need any seasoning..not even salt.  I've done this as a side dish when I bring dinner to friends and they have all said these are yummy.

One tip: I'm not a big fan of these leftover.  They get a little mushy...so I try not to make too much extra.  Or another option is...add them to your quinoa for a little change.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Couch cleaning

We tried to be smart and got the microfiber couch a while back, when we were furniture shopping.  The sales guy did a demonstration in the furniture store about how it "won't stain"...poured a coke right on the cushion and we watched the liquid roll off onto the floor.  Well...I guess nine years and two kids later...the microfiber lost it's luster. 

I had to do something to get this thing clean besides the occasional spot scrub, when something spills.  I have googled, pinterest...can't find anything that really works so I decided after this...



it was time to take some drastic measures...take the whole cushion apart.  Who knew they were just zip on covers. 

Briggs is saying..."I didn't do it".  Cutest little, guilty face I've ever seen!



I didn't even spray them with anything...just stuck them in the washing machine on delicate with some of my homemade laundry detergent, hung them up to air dry.  And...there ya have it...


I was seriously impressed with the finished product.  Since I have tried multiple avenues to clean our couch...I guess I figured what would it hurt to try the washing machine.  Glad I went with my gut :)