Tuesday, January 27, 2015

21 Day Fix - Week 3 Working Out, Week 4 Food plan

I can boast a 10-pound weight loss in the first 19 days of January! I'm feeling pretty good about it. Even though last Saturday I indulged a little too much at dinner, and I know that this Saturday will be similar, I'm not letting those set me back. In fact, I doubled up last Saturday and did 2 workouts -- Upper and Lower Fix. It felt great to be able to knock out an hour! 

I realized today that when I miss a day or two, I take a step back. Today I got winded during the exercise and had to pause it at 15-minutes to catch my break. The old Meghan would have turned off the DVD or let the video continue while she caught her breathe -- missing the next exercise (or four....) But I'd rather pause it and take an extra minute break. 

This week we've had a great menu. Turkey Meatloaf, Chicken Fajitas, even Beef Stew is planned for Thursday night! Next week we're going back to basics -- grilled chicken most nights, some fish, maybe a steak night. This should re-jump our weight loss as I begin the second round of DVDs and we continue on with the meal plan. 

Here's the calendar of workouts so far! Looking good! 3+ hours a week!! Seriously, WHO IS THIS GIRL? 







Crockpot Chicken Fajitas - 21 Day Fix

I found this recipe somewhere -- and it's not a difficult recipe to follow. Unless you're doubling it. And you double it, and you get to the end of the recipe and it says "Divide among 2 bags.". UGH! I doubled an already doubled recipe? Crud. So lots of leftovers.

Crock Pot Chicken Fajitas
Ingredients
1.5 – 2 lbs. Chicken Breasts, boneless and skinless 
1/2 medium – large white onion, sliced vertically 
3-4 Bell Peppers, any color, sliced into strips 
2 cans (10 oz.) Rotel diced tomatoes, undrained (I used “Mild”) 
2 cloves garlic, diced or pressed
2 tsp. chili powder 
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. paprika
*Divide all ingredients into 2 large freezer bags

Directions
Cut things up. Put in crockpot for 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high.

Dish out 1 cup of veggies and 3/4 cup of chicken for 1 green and 1 red.
Add some whole grain torillas (yellow), and lettuce and homemade salsa (green).

Here's what mine looked like. They were SUPER filling. It counted as 1 Red, 2 Green, 2 Yellow, and 1 Blue (Cheese). I can't wait to eat them again!!!


Turkey Meatloaf - 21 Day Fix

I got this recipe from the Team Beachbody website. There is a large collection of recipes, but they are hard to sort through. For being a multi-billion dollar company, they have a crappy website. The meal plans are *not* worth the $2.99/month membership fee. (You don't need a membership to access most things on the website - but you do to get to the meal plan.) The recipes even tell you how they "count" for each program you might be doing. That's one of the good things. 

So I found this recipe for Turkey Meatloaf. Loaded full of veggies, uses ground turkey. Sure, I'll give it a try! And it was delicious. Even though it looks suspicious AND the first one fell apart. But, it was good and I would recommend it.


Turkey Meatloaf 
Yield: 10 servings
21 Day Fix - 1 Red, 1 Green
Ingredients: 
  • 2 lbs. raw 93% lean ground turkey breast 
  • 3 large eggs, slightly beaten 
  • 1 medium onion, chopped 
  • 2 medium celery stalks, chopped 
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped 
  • 1 cup old­fashioned rolled oats 
  • 1 (14.5­oz.) can diced tomatoes (drained)
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper 
  • 1 cup all­ natural marinara sauce, no sugar added 
Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. 
  2. Chop everything really fine. I don't like a lot of chunks in my meatloaf so I wanted to make sure all the veggies were chopped small. 
  3. Combine turkey, eggs, onion, celery, bell pepper, oats, tomatoes, salt, and pepper in a large bowl; mix well with clean hands or a rubber spatula. 
  4. Place turkey mixture in two 9 x 5­inch loaf pans (or a large cast iron skillet). Bake for 45 minutes; spread marinara sauce evenly on top of both loaves. Bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until cooked through.

On the second day of eating meatloaf, I heated it in the toaster oven to give it a little more "crust". And I added an over-medium egg because I needed more protein. I had it with green beans and sweet potatoes. 

Meatloaf Royale


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Crockpot Chicken Taco Soup - 21 Day Fix

I made this last week and it doesn't even feel like a "diet". You can add cheese and greek yogurt to it. Eat it with a salad for a very filling dinner or by itself as a nice lunch. If you're not on a diet, indulge with some tortilla chips! 

Chicken Taco Soup
Ingredients
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 (16 ounce) can chili beans
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans
  • 1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle beer (or broth)
  • 2 (10 ounce) cans diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained
  • 1 (1.25 ounce) package taco seasoning
  • 3 whole skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • shredded Cheddar cheese (optional)
  • greek yogurt or sour cream (optional)
  • crushed tortilla chips (optional)

Directions
  1. Combine all ingredients and cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-6 hours (can we say Super Bowl!).
  2. Once it's done cooking, pull out the chicken and shred. I used the Mix 'n Chop to do it. Add the shredded chicken back to the crockpot and let cook another 15-minutes. 
  3. Serve topped with shredded Cheddar cheese, a dollop of greek yogurt (or sour cream), and crushed tortilla chips, if desired. 

Approx 6-7 1-cup servings. 
Measure 1 Cup and count as  1 Green, 1 Red, 1 Yellow 
Make sure if you add greek yogurt and cheese you count those in addition! 

Stuffed Peppers

I love Stuffed Peppers. Jason LOVES LOVES stuffed peppers. It's what he brought to the relationship, actually. I tried to make them healthier with ground turkey. He didn't care for the change. Because I love him, I went back to beef. 

I had to change up this recipe a bit from the 21-Day Fix SUPER friendly one I found online. We don't have lean beef in our house. We have a quarter of a grass fed, non-hormone raised cow. So while not the leanest meat, it can still be healthier than store bought beef. 

She also premade a lot of things and then measured. I'm all about "throw in a whole can of corn and see how it turns out." Turns out I made 10 peppers, so I'm not completely sure on the containers. I have probably overestimated the containers. However, I kept this recipe as if the mixture divides nicely into 6 containers. It would also depend on the size of peppers you are able to find. 

I cooked six and froze four for later. I prepped these the night before so they just had to be put in the oven. It is not an easy prep process!  

Note - when making stuffed peppers - you *must* boil the peppers to soften them up. Otherwise the peppers don't cook thoroughly and still have a little crunch to them. 

Stuffed Peppers
Ingredients

  • 6 Sweet bell peppers of your color choice
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey or beef, seasoned with 21 Day Fix Southwestern Seasoning 
  • 1/2 Cup Dry/1.5 cups cooked brown rice or quinoa, cooked just shy of done
  • 1 (15 ounce) can of Black Beans, drained/rinsed
  • 1 (15 ounce) can of Corn, drained/rinsed
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey or beef, seasoned with 21 Day Fix Southwestern Seasoning 
  • 1 (15 ounce) can of petite diced tomatoes 
  • 1 (15 ounce) can of tomato sauce 
  • 1 cup of your favorite shredded cheese


Directions


  1. Cut the caps of the peppers and clean out. Pre-cook the peppers by placing in boiling water for 5-10 minutes. 
  2. Cook brown rice, or quinoa according to directions 
  3. Brown ground meat and season with Southwest seasoning (See 21 Day Fix book). Set aside to cool.
  4. Drain and rinse black beans and corn.  
  5. Combine in large bowl meat, tomatoes, corn, rice/quinoa, beans, and sauce.
  6. Stuff peppers with filling.
  7. Bake at 375 Fahrenheit for 40-45 minutes. 
I counted it as 1 Red, 2 Yellow, 2 Green, 1/2 Blue. As mentioned above, that's per 6 peppers. It's probably less since I split the filling into 10 containers. 

21 Day Fix Stuffed Peppers

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Salmon Patties & Tzatziki -- 21 Day Fix Friendly

My mom used to make salmon patties and I always loved them. Usually I ate them on a bun with tarter sauce. Can't do that, but it is an item loaded with lots of protein. Eat it with some homemade Tzatziki sauce and veggies.

Salmon Patties

Salmon Patties
Note - these are best made the night before!
Ingredients
  • 10 ounces canned salmon
  • 3/4 cup whole grain panko bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tbsp diced onion
  • 2 tsp parsley 
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Directions
  1. Mix all ingredients together. (The Mix N Chop does this very well!) 
  2. Form into four patties. 
  3. Place patties into sealed container -- otherwise they will stink up your fridge! 
  4. Let rest at least 20 minutes. I prefer overnight. 
To Cook

  1. Place 1-2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a saute pan. 
  2. Place Salmon Patties in pan and cook on each side approximately 5-6 minutes. The salmon is already cooked so you're just trying to warm them up and cook the egg. 

Note - as you can see from the picture, one of mine fell apart. I wasn't concerned because I wasn't eating these on a bun. It also shows I don't have enough binder. I might add a tablespoon or so of greek yogurt next time, or milk. Usually you add some mayo to salmon patties to help bind them. That's a no-no on the 21DF.

This counts as 1 Red and 1/2 Yellow.

This Tzatziki recipe was shared on facebook and is very delicious. If you grind up the cucumber a little more, it'll make a great dip for veggies! And on the 21 Day Fix it counts as a protein, so you can indulge in it!

Tzatziki:
Ingredients
2 cups Greek yogurt
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 tbsp chopped fresh dill
1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
1/2 English cucumber, seeded and finely chopped
Pinch of salt and pepper (optional)

Directions
  1. Mix all ingredients together.
  2. Ugly Beans, Peas, Parmesan Breaded Tilapia, and Tzatziki
  3. Store in air-tight container. The longer it sits, the better it is!!! 
Fill up the Red container (3/4 cup), and it counts as 1 Red. 

It was noted that you could add more lemon juice and make it into a salad dressing. 

If you look at my picture, you can see cucumber chunks. I wish I would have finally chopped those up - but I got a little lazy, and hungry. 

Recipe for the Ugly Beans can be found here. I'll post my own blog soon too!

Monday, January 19, 2015

21 Day Fix - Week 2 Working Out, Week 3 Following the Food plan

Jason and I have completed two full weeks of eating the correct portions as allocated on the 21 Day Fix Plan. 

While I am not as concerned about weight, in 19 days Jason has lost 10 pounds and I've lost 8.6. On February 4th I'll make the "official" one-month weigh in and also do some measurements. I'm not posting my actual measurements, but I'll post how many inches I've lost. :) 

Meal planning is hard work! I try to concentrate with what we are having for dinner and then work around that. Snacks are my hardest, especially since I am supposed to get in 5 proteins a day! I usually have to make due with an extra protein shake, cottage cheese, or greek yogurt. I was trying to share my meal plan via google docs, but let's just say it's getting late, I'm getting tired, and I'll figure it out later. 

I completed one full week of the 21 Day Fix work outs. They are great. Leg day sucks. Really really sucks. Pilates is kinda weird, but my favorite was the Dirty 30 workout. All the 21 Day Fix workouts are 30 minutes. so it's easy to keep on track with workouts. I squeeze them in after Liam has gone to bed. I'm wearing the HR7 heart rate monitor strap which logs into my iPhone app. I do this mostly so I can get the extra points for Vitality.....but, I'm also able to track my workouts and it's really cool to see how much I've worked out!! I've completed more workouts this MONTH than I think I did all last year. So go me!! 



Roasted Red Pepper & Spinach Stuffed Chicken - 21 Day Fix Friendly

Now that we are into Week 3 of doing the 21 Day Fix, I've been trying to branch out and find some new recipes. I found this recipe on pinterest but it was slightly different. I like my version better -- I was better able to incorporate the cheese without worrying about it melting out. 

I didn't do a great job pounding out the chicken breasts so mine didn't roll as well as it should. 

Roasted Red Pepper & Spinach Stuffed Chicken
Ingredients
  • 4 - 6 ounce chicken breasts
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 Roasted Red Pepper (or a 7-8 ounce jar.)
  • 2/3 cups mozzarella cheese
  • 2 gloves garlic
  • 3 Tablespoons Whole Wheat Panko Bread Crumbs
  • 3 Tablespoons Grated Parmesan Cheese

Directions

  1. Filet the chicken breast and pound it flat
  2. Dice/Chop/Use magic shears* to cut up the spinach, Dice the Roasted Red Pepper, Crush/Dice the garlic
  3. Mix the Spinach, Pepper, Garlic, and Mozzarella cheese together. Add some pepper. 
  4. Place 1/4 of the mixture on each pounded chicken breast. Roll up and secure with toothpicks. Place in a 9x9 glass dish. 
  5. Mix together the Panko bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese and place a heaping tablespoon on top of each rolled chicken breast. 
  6. Back at 375 for 40 minutes or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 160 degree. 
Counts as 1.5 Red/Protein, 1/2 Green (Veggie), and 1/2 Blue (Healthy Fat)


Magic Shears - I *love* these herb scissors I got from Crate & Barrel. They are great to have in the kitchen to avoid the tediousness of chopping up any herbs. Cilantro, Parsley, Chives, Spinach -- I use them for lots of things! 




Sunday, January 11, 2015

Grilled Chicken & Homemade Salsa

Keeping it moving with the 21-Day Fix. I love Salsa. Especially restaurant salsa. I could drink it. Since jarred salsa is not allowed on the plan, I had to dig up a homemade recipe. 

Salsa Chicken with Broccoli, Sweet Potatoes, and Brown Rice
Ingredients

  • 1 can (28 Ounce) Whole Tomatoes With Juice
  • 2 cans (10 Ounce) Rotel (diced Tomatoes And Green Chilies)
  • 1/4 cup Chopped Onion
  • 1 clove Garlic, Minced
  • 1 whole Jalapeno, Quartered And Sliced Thin
  • 1/4 teaspoon Sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 1/2 cup Cilantro (more To Taste!)
  • 1/2 whole Lime Juice (I used 1/4 cup juice)

Preparation Instructions
Note: this is a very large batch. I used my 14-cup food processor.

  • Combine whole tomatoes, Rotel, onion, jalapeno, garlic, sugar, salt, cumin, lime juice, and cilantro in a blender or food processor. Pulse until you get the salsa to the consistency you'd like. 
  • Refrigerate salsa for at least an hour.

I used this to marinate and bake chicken in. The cilantro really helps with the flavor. 

I did some other marinades last week. I particularly love the non-oil one. 


Lemon-Oregano Marinade

Grilling Chicken - Inside! 
2 tablespoons Lemon Juice
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon garlic (or 1 fresh squeezed clove.) 

Multiply it a few times to make what works. It has a great flavor though and it can be strong. 

Asian Marinade
Note - 21-day friendly, but very delicious and adds an amazing sweet flavor to the chicken. 

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinger
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (or a couple cloves) 
  • 2 tablespoons EVOO
  • Squirt of Honey
  • Dash of Worcestershire

Mix well together (I shake in a bag), add the chicken and let it marinade for 2-3 hours. 

Note - I cut my chicken breasts into 4-ounce pieces and then I "filet" them open since the breasts can be so thick and they would cook unevenly. Or dry out before the inside was completely cooked. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

2015 - Cha cha cha changes!

So yea.... another year has passed. 2014 was an interesting year. Sometimes I look back and feel like I was all over the place. I was still trying to figure out the mom thing, then the working mom thing.  I have to say it was a great year. Even being unemployed and not sure when I would go back to work (and have income), I still had faith that it would all work out. And it did! Jason and I had an incredible year. I definitely struggled at times with trying to juggle being a wife, employee, and mother. I'm not sure laundry would have gotten done or the dishwasher emptied if I didn't have an amazing spouse. 

I don't have resolutions. I hate making them. But I want to make changes. 

I'm starting off with changing my diet. Both Jason and I are doing Beach Body's 21-day Fix plan. We don't eat *that* bad, but we have issues with portion sizes. And some processed things. My employer gave everyone in the company the portion control containers and booklet of instructions (so no DVDs). So we decided "Why not?" We started reviewing the program after Christmas - there's a lot of prep work. (Like eating all the pizza rolls and throwing away cookies.) And we officially started the "diet" on Monday (yep, my birthday.) You can use Pinterest to figure out most of the program on your own. But so far, I feel pretty good. Sure, it's only Day 2 and I have 19 more days ahead of me, but I feel great!! 

At the moment, based on my weight, I am allotted 5 Greens, 3 Purples, 5 Reds, 4 Yellows, 1 Blue, 1 Orange, and then 5 teaspoons of healthy oils or nut butters each day. I also am supposed to drink half my weight (in ounces) of water. Let's just say that's over 100 ounces a day. And I need to get in 30 minutes of exercise. 

So lots of planning. I have to preplan how to split up my fruits and veggies throughout the day and when to eat the blue and oranges. I usually eat the orange (salad dressing) with a spinach and grilled chicken salad for lunch. And then have some cheese or avocado with dinner. 

So far these past two days I haven't been eating all my containers. Especially today. I had a nasty headache forming after work (it wasn't dehydration, I think it was lack of caffeine combined with some sinus stuff.) So Jason made me dinner (fish filet and broccoli). I felt better and got my workout in. I'm eating my blue (string cheese) now. 

And I'm out. I'm going to try and blog more... just short and sweet blogs. And I always have a couple recipes I need to post! 


Saturday, November 8, 2014

Lasagna Soup

I thought I had blogged this, but can't find it. 

I made this very delicious soup last February. And I aim to make a soup every Sunday because well, I have time on Sundays, and it gives us leftovers for lunch for a few days. And soup is delicious. 

So here's the recipe for Lasagna Soup. It's a Paul Dean recipe. I left out the extra stick of butter. She makes it in a Dutch Oven. I do it in a stock pot and plan to do it in my new RockCrok once I get one. 

Shameless Plug - Need anything Pampered Chef related? I'm hosing a show on November 22. You can order on and have it delivered to my house or your house. You can go here and type in my name and then place your order. No pressure people. None. :-) 

Anyway, the soup. It's tasty! I'll update with a picture shortly. 

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground chuck
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced, plus 2 cloves smashed
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 (32 oz) box chicken broth
  • 2 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups lasagna noodles, broken
  • 1 (5 oz) package grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 thin French baguette
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil


Directions
In a large Dutch oven, combine ground chuck, onion, bell pepper and 3 cloves minced garlic. Cook over medium-high heat for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until beef is browned and crumbles. Drain well.

Stir in thyme, brown sugar, broth, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Add noodles, and simmer until noodles are tender. Stir in Parmesan cheese.

Preheat broiler. Ladle soup into 8 to 10 ovenproof bowls. Evenly sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Broil soups, 6-inches from heat, 3 to 4 minutes, until cheese is browned and bubbly. Add a garlic crostini slice on top. Serve immediately.

For the garlic crostini:

Preheat oven to 350°.

Cut bread into 1/4-inch round slices. Place on baking sheet and brush each slice with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper; place in oven and bake until golden and crisp, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Rub each side with 2 smashed garlic cloves.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Way overdue!!

It's been 6 long weeks without posting. So hopefully I can start getting in one a week again or so. 

In general, things are great. Super busy, but work is going well, Liam is still thriving at Daycare, he's walking now and it's crazy! The kitchen cabinets are baby-proofed, the trashcan too. I've almost adjusted and stopped trying to yank things open without using the "key". At at work when I go to open the silverware jar, I first try to "push down" the drawer holder. 

Recipe wise, I've made a few things here and there, but mostly been sticking with what's in the freezer. I recently made Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Chili. It was amazing and I'll post that recipe this week. 

We had some family pics taken a few weeks ago. Liam didn't want to smile, we were lucky he looked at the camera at all! 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

It's time for change

I'm starting this blog on Wednesday September 10, but want to wait a week or so to post it.... 

While work is big on healthier choices from food to getting in exercise, it's not really about work (and earning gift cards). It's about me. I need to make a change. And I'm finally ready to do it. Mentally at least. Hopefully my body is ready too. 

Work has helped kick my butt back in gear. Seeing some of my numbers on my recent blood work this year (I've had my blood drawn 3 times) has helped. My total cholesterol is actually OK. I have no idea how that happened. My LDL and HDL could be better. My glucose fasting is on the upper level. It's supposed to be under 99. I'm always borderline, 99, 101, 102. I don't want Type 2 diabetes. I had enough finger poking while I had GD. I just really don't want to do it again. Though I should be following the Diabetes Diet. But that's later. 

Out for a walk
First up, just getting back in the groove. It started with some walks around the neighborhood and on the treadmill. I got the Polar H7 so I could really track my workouts (and um, get points for them.) So I scheduled 10 days of treadmill walking for 30 days. I started on 9/10. 

Thursday 9/11
Treadmill walking went well tonight. The Biggest Loser was on so I watched that. It's always good motivation. If they can push a weighted ball up a steep beach hill, I can manage to hang out on the treadmill and walk for 30 minutes! 

I was intrigued by the shirts they initially wore. They have their weight on their shirt. Can you imagine if we had technology (and a stupid law) to wear such a shirt? We'd be a much healthier and less obese nation. Maybe. Every morning you wake up, put your shirt on, and it displays your current weight. 

For my company, if you have your bloodwork completed and measurements taken, you can earn more points. One of them is having a healthy BMI. I was riding with my coworker and she commented that her BMI is too low and she actually needs to gain weight. (Of course, being a good coworker I offered her some of mine.) While I'm not ignorant to other people's problems, I forget that being underweight is a problem for many reasons too. And gaining weight by eating the right things is just as hard as eating the right things to lose weight. 
~~~~~

So my general plan is to walk on the treadmill 11 days. I have it on my google calendar. I actually created a new calendar just for workouts. Then I want to start pushing it harder - doing Beach Body programs. Jason and I own almost all of them. I'm going to start with the 10 minute trainer for at least two weeks. I didn't want to write down too much. Just make it through a couple weeks at a time. 

So right now, just work outs. I hope by the beginning of October to be putting more thought into my diet. But I don't want to get burnt out. I also don't have the extra time right now to put a lot of time into planning meals and eating healthier. It's hard work. And I still want to join a few extra Oreos. :)

~~~~~

So a week later? How am I doing? I managed to get in quite a few walks, one outside. I've missed a few walks too. I've had a recurrent ear and throat thing. It holds me back. It's 8:20 and I'm  about to fall asleep. Luckily, I have an appointment tomorrow with an Ears, Nose, and Throat doctor. I'm dreaming big and hoping to walk out with drained ears and a non-sore throat. However, I imagine it'll be a few visits. I've already had two rounds of antibiotics and I can't imagine what "chemical" cure they have. It's onto the physical things - ice pick in the ear, tube insertion. I was reading about adult tubes, they are usually only kept in 4-6 weeks, unlike pediatric tubes which can be left in up to year.

Diet wise, we've made some small changes. No more ice cream. When I want something sweet, I get an applesauce. Maybe I add some cheerios. Maybe a handful of Triscuits. They have this new flavor - Cinnamon Sugar. SOOOOO yummy!

So hopefully these next few weeks go well. I feel confident that I am ready for these changes, but I know that my sickness is hindering some of my work outs. I just need to get my ears drained and throat clear.

So wish me luck!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Long Time.... again

I am BUSY. My free time? What free time?! 

I pretty much haven't blogged since I started my new job, 6 weeks ago! 6 weeks! And it's going so well. Wait. 7 weeks! I just completed my 7th week. I am accomplishing quite a bit, I actually just finished my Priority To-Do list on Friday morning. I am very glad that I waited to go back to work when I was ready. Had I gone back too soon, I think I would have been burnt out or not as focused. 

Work aside, a big milestone came and went! I have a 1 year old!!! He can feed himself -- but it's not perfect. He is 20 pounds and 30 inches. He actually hasn't grown much in the past month. But he's still on track and eating well. He LOVES daycare! I think it's the Cheerio's. He also gets to paint. I think they paint almost every day. But hey, I don't have to deal with clean up! 

Jason and I have been very busy. We're a good team. I couldn't do it without him, he couldn't do it without me. A few weeks ago we were working on folding laundry when my parents stopped by to visit. Before they got there Jason asked if he thought my dad would help fold. After I stopped laughing and changed my pants (cause you know, I peed them from laughing so hard...) But anyway... yea... I didn't witness dad helping too much. So they visited and Jason & I finished our laundry folding. On the way home Dad commented to Mom that he could have helped more when we (me and my siblings) were younger. 

I am very lucky to have found Jason and for him to help as much as he does. Today we made 44 breakfast burritos. And prepped stuffed peppers for tomorrow. And got dinner together - we had Time For Dinner's Buffalo Turkey Burgers and grilled up the Mojito Chicken for Liam and later. We also grilled a ton of veggies. 

I have the recipe for burritos and some other things to post. When I get time. Like in 18 years when Liam goes off to college. His September birthday means I get to pay an extra year of daycare before he starts Kindergarten. Oh goodie. 

Work is encouraging a lot of healthy habits. They give us all Fitbits. Jason and I each have a Flex now. Here we are taking Liam for a walk yesterday. We try to get in 10,000 steps a day. It's hard. Even with walking on the treadmill and a walk around the neighborhood, I didn't get my 10k yesterday. We took another walk today, and I'm currently at 9,985. I'll get the rest of my steps in a few moments. 

I hope to start working out again soon. Liam goes to bed around 7ish. I'm still having to put him to bed, but my time is getting shorter and shorter. I'm hoping to work out after he gets to bed. But I also want to watch my favorite TV shows as they start back up. Who knows, I might just have to give up all TV. :( 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The right person for the job

The first week of work..... always so much training! I filled out all the paperwork, read the company handbook, done over 20 training modules, and completed my 8-hr OSHA Hazwoper refresher. I also started working on some projects. 

I get to take advantage of the $5,000 Dependent Care Account. For those who don't know, it's money taken out pre-tax you can use to pay for daycare expenses. HR emailed me to double check that I knew there were only 11 pay periods left in the year and it would be $455 a paycheck that's taken out. Yep, I'm aware! And daycare will cost us $5,760 the rest of the year. It's currently $240/week. Once I get him potty trained it drops to $195/week. Here's hoping sooner than later! 

Back to all the training. One of the most important phrases I stumbled across in the handbook and a few other modules is that As important is using the right tool for the job, the "available" person might not the "right" person for the job. 

This made me think about how work is assigned. Not so much at the company I am currently at, but at other companies or other departments. Just because you have a job that needs done, doesn't mean the one person available is even capable of doing the job. And in the end, that costs the company time and money. 

So new job, big changes. Liam has started daycare. He's been sick. Twice. He's missed three days of 10. The first week was a practice week and on Tuesday night he started throwing up. On me. Then he projectile vomited all over me. It was amazing. So I kept him home Wednesday so he could sleep in his own bed, but he would have been fine to attend daycare. 

This week, my first week of work. On Wednesday when I picked him up he had a cough. Little phlegm in the back of his throat. When he finally went to bed, he would sleep for 20 minutes and then be up. Around midnight he had a fever, and I figured he had an ear infection because he'd be asleep in my arms, but wake up crying out when placed flat in his crib. At some point it was determined Jason was going to have to stay home and he took over the sleeping - Liam slept on Jason the rest of the night. Liam also refused to eat. 

The next morning, still a fever and Jason stayed home. He got Liam to the doctor who confirmed a double ear infection. My mom was able to come over during the day to "nap" with Liam. He still required being held upright to sleep. He was in a better mood when I got home from work. 

Friday Morning
He slept through the night, but still had a fever. I was able to stay home on Friday. My boss is awesome! My job is awesome. I felt bad even asking, but I did. I had some training to finish, so I could easily do that at home. Liam slept most of the day and allowed me to get my Hazwoper done. 

Liam is still a little feverish, but doing so much better. Along with the antibiotic, we're giving him tylenol/motrin. I'm also diffusing oils in his room (RC, Peppermint, Eucalyptus radiata, and Thieves). I'm also rubbing RC and Peppermint on his back and chest, and rubbing Melaleuca and Melrose around his ears. He's also still getting his own Mix rolled on his feet twice a day. 

Dinner this past week was frozen meals, easy things like Grilled Cheese & Tomato soup, and we picked up Thai food once night. Having frozen meals helped with time after work. It's been interesting to juggle the mornings and evenings. I'll get the hang of it. 

Jason sent me flowers for my first week! Gorgeous on my desk. And yes, I have a window! It's huge... I feel like a vampire and have to close the blinds - to much natural sunlight I'm not used to it. 

I've started to take things to work and make my cubicle my own. And the office is so quiet! The phone barely rings, I sit in a large room with four other people and it's so nice and quiet. 

I'm excited for this new opportunity, new company, new experiences! The company is big on health and fitness and I'll actually be given a FitBit to start tracking my steps/workouts/sleep. Yea, track my sleep.... LOL. Hopefully with Liam going to bed around 7 each night I might be able to begin working out after he goes to bed. I need to figure out how I'll also work in time to see Dave. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

June was a busy month!

It's been around 6 weeks since I last posted! So much happened in June! Lots of traveling, a wedding, and a JOB OFFER!!! :) 

I traveled to the Lake of the Ozarks with my mom for a girls (and Liam) trip. Then Jason and I went to Rapid City, SD for a work thing. I was fortunate they let Liam and me go too! We got to kinda see Mt. Rushmore. It was a little foggy. We also stopped by Dinosaur Park. It was Liam's first time flying and he did well! 




For Father's Day weekend we headed to Lake of the Ozarks with my parents. Liam got his first boat ride! We had a great time, except for the car ride. Liam was teething during most of June. He got his two bottom teeth in and his top two are coming in soon.

During this time I also was interviewing and submitting more job applications. I think one day I submitted a dozen, and had two big interviews before leaving for vacation. I was fortunate to have my sister and sister-in-law help babysit during those! One resulted in an offer! 

Then we headed to Florida. We bit the (savings) bullet and purchased a time share week, we really lucked into finding one available. My parents and grandma own weeks 25 & 26, and we managed to get a week 26 unit. Which usually will include Fourth of July and will almost always include our wedding anniversary. Here's Liam on our lanai looking at our beach and gulf front view. Our unit is larger than most and feels a lot more open! It's wonderful! 

We also had a wedding to attend! My grandmother got married to her long time friend, Harry. Harry lost his wife about the same time grandpa died, and months later they were announcing their engagement. My brother and sister-in-law were able to fly in, and we were all together in Florida for a few days. 

Here's a picture of the Reed & Guilford's. 


On the way to wedding, I received wonderful news - a verbal offer for a new job! I accepted the offer (faxed it in on vacation) and start in the next few weeks. It's environmental consulting and a job similar to what I did at GES in Richmond, Virginia. I'm waiting on all the standard items, background check, drug test, verification I graduated high school & college.... all those normal things most companies do. Liam will be going to daycare starting July 14 and I expect to start that week or the following week. It'll be a huge change going back to work. Sometimes I am nervous, sometimes I am anxious. I know I'm ready to go back to work, but juggling the household, baby, and a new company will probably lead to a few stressful days. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Banana Oatmeal Pancakes - Baby Food

I made Bisquick pancakes a few weeks ago and made Liam a few. He liked them, but I wasn't fond of the crap in them. I've been searching for an easier and healthier recipe for Liam. I finally found an easy Banana Oatmeal Pancake recipe. These are dairy free which is what I've been really looking for. They can be gluten free and all those other things free if you need them to be.

I doubled the recipe and froze some. I heat one pancake up for about 30 seconds, cut it into small pieces and serve with apple sauce. Liam loves this for breakfast.

Ingredients
  • 2 large or 3 small bananas, mashed 
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted 
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice 
  • 1 tbsp sugar 
  • 2 large eggs 
  • 1 cup oat flour 
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda 
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt 
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground 
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg, ground 

Directions
  1. Mash bananas and mix the melted butter, lemon juice, and sugar together. 
  2. Add the eggs and mix. 
  3. Mix together the dry ingredients and add to the wet ingredients. 
  4. Let the batter rest for 10 minutes. (This allows the oatmeal to absorb some liquid.) 
  5. Make pancakes on griddle like normal. These take a little bit longer to cook, they are thicker. Keep the skillet/griddle on a lower heat. 
Notes:
I added a teaspoon of vanilla extract to these to enhance the flavor.
To make Oat Flour - I used my Ninja chopper to grind up (non-instant) oatmeal into a flour.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day!

What a wonderful weekend I've had! Nice and relaxing and Liam has cooperated with his sleep schedule. First he slept 9 full hours on Thursday night! After a hellacious Thursday night where he was up every 2 hours, it was well needed for both him and me! 

Liam slept ok Friday night, he was up off and on between 1:30-4:00 AM and Jason and I traded back and forth handling that. 

On Friday night I got flowers! Jason said it was the "Start of my Mother's Day Weekend." I get a whole weekend!?!? 

On Saturday morning I went for my monthly massage. These are my favorite splurge I get! Since being a Stay At Home Mom (or Unemployed Engineer), our budget is very tight. This is probably something I should cut, but we are doing ok so at the moment I'm making the massage/budget work. :) 

When I got home from my massage, I had an Edible Arrangement! These are my favorite! I forgot to take a picture of it without the plastic. I didn't even start eating it until Sunday. I took it all apart, putting the fruit into tupperware. It was taking up a lot of room in the fridge. 

Liam went down for nap, and I took a quick nap and showered. We (Liam and I) went to meet my mom and sister for a 4 o'clock dinner at Joe Boccardi's. I wanted to eat early so Liam wouldn't get too fussy waiting, and I really hate waiting too. Liam was a little fussy, his grandma helped contain him so I could eat. 

When I got home from dinner Jason and I headed to Walmart and Target before Liam's bedtime. He took some extra time to go down - probably because of the lateness and extra stimulation from the stores. 

He got another five hours of sleep and was up real quick for 10 minutes at 3:30 AM and then again around 7. Jason got up with him at 7 and I kept on sleeping. :) I got my presents, a cute Snoopy from Liam and his first coloring! It's pretty adorable. Jason got me a "mom" necklace. Liam went back down from 9-11. 

We've had a nice relaxing day. I ate some fruit, Jason got me a soda, we had lunch, fed Liam, Liam went back down for nap at 2:30, and I made him pancakes. I'm just hanging out, watching episodes of 24 on Amazon Prime. 

Dinner tonight is Steaks, Corn on the Cob, and veggies. For this week's menu, I plan to make potato soup, beef stroganoff, some of the Time for Dinner meals. It's supposed to rain all week so it will be pretty cool and I can use the oven. 

Liam is growing so much! He's 19 pounds and 28 inches long. We're going to have to get a new car seat soon - his car seat goes up to 30-inches or 30-pounds. He's almost crawling on all fours. He's able to army crawl all over. We installed a baby corral in our living room to keep him away from the TV and TV stand. He has a much larger area to play in too. 

Liam coloring his first picture

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Morning Rolls (Sticky Buns)

One of my favorite treats growing up was when mom made these morning rolls. They were sweet, sticky, pull apart rolls that she would make for special occasions. She made them for me recently when she spent the weekend (um... back in October?)

I don't normally try to make my favorite mom dishes because I'm afraid I'll mess it up and it'll never be the same. I did succeed at the Carrot Casserole, but I still won't touch her lasagna! I've been craving these rolls though, and well, figured it's about time I made them myself. 

I have searched online for a similar recipe, but the ones I find don't have the pudding mix as an ingredient. Which I think it what makes these really amazing. I included her recipe below and my adjustment for a smaller batch. As much as I could eat 24 of these, I decided that making a smaller batch would be better for me and Jason's waistline. 

Mom's Morning Rolls
Ingredients
  • 1 package frozen bread rolls (24 count)
  • 3/4 C brown sugar
  • 1/2 C margarine
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 small box Non-Instant Butterscotch Pudding Mix (Dry)
  • 1/2 C chopped pecans (optional, but wouldn't skip it)
  • 1/2 C raisins (optional, and very good addition!)
Directions
  1. Cook sugar, margarine, and cinnamon until bubbly. 
  2. Grease 9x12 pan or bundt pan. 
  3. Sprinkle pecans and/or raisins in bottom of pan. 
  4. Place Frozen Rolls in the pan, on top of pecans
  5. Sprinkle the dry pudding mix over and between the rolls.
  6. Pour hot sugar mixture evenly over the rolls. 
  7. Cover tightly with foil or plastic wrap. 
  8. Let sit overnight. DO NOT REFRIGERATE. (The rolls won't rise.)  
  9. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. 
  10. Invert pan onto plate/platter. 

To make a 9x9 pan for two people.
Use:
  • 9 frozen bread rolls
  • 1/2 C brown sugar
  • 1/4 C margarine
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 small box Non-Instant Butterscotch Pudding Mix (Dry)
  • 1/4 C chopped pecans
  • 1/4 C raisins
Follow the instructions above and bake for the same amount of time. 

NOTES
  • I put the pudding mix in a small container and coated each roll with the pudding mixture, then dumped the box around the rolls. 
  • Once cooked, I inverted these into a non-stick skillet. It made clean up a lot easier because I didn't dump any sticky sauce all over the counter, and the non-stick skillet was easy to clean. 




Thursday, April 10, 2014

Homemade SpaghettiOs

I admit I love the taste of SpaghettiOs. The sweet sugary sauce, those mini noodles... but I know it's full of crap. The sugar, the sodium, the preservatives. When I stumbled across a homemade recipe on Pinterest, I knew I had to try it. I originally made these about a year ago, but never blogged about it. (That I can find.) 

The great thing about these is you can control everything that goes into them. If you need gluten free pasta, or want to use a whole grain. You can use skim milk or low fat cheese, and can make it as spicy as you want! I added meatballs this time. It's also a fairly quick recipe, taking about 20-25 minutes from start to finish. 

This recipe is very forgiving too. You can add extra milk (on accident or on purpose), you could use a different small noodle, add more cheese, less cheese, more butter, no pepper, extra pepper, ect. Whatever you think will work. 

Homemade SpaghettiO’s

Ingredients
  • 8 oz ditalini pasta (or other small pasta)
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions
  1. Cook the pasta, to al dente (about 10 minutes).
  2. Heat the olive oil in a  large saute' pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until just fragrant, about 30 seconds. 
  3. Stir in the tomato sauce, water, tomato paste, salt, pepper, sugar and butter. Heat, while stirring, until the butter is melted. 
  4. Slowly stir in the milk, then turn the heat to low. Simmer at low heat for 10 minutes.
  5. Stir the shredded cheese into the soup until melted. 
  6. Drain the pasta and add it to the soup. OR, you can transfer it to a serving bowl and add the "soup" to the pasta. Stir to combine. 
Notes:
I added meatballs to mine. The Sam's Club meatballs are delicious and I had some leftover and needed to use them up. 
I messed up and added 1 cup of milk instead of 1/4 cup. My finished product is a little runny, but the meatballs helped absorb some of that extra fluid. 
I added 3 pinches of red pepper flakes to make it a little more spicy. It goes a long way so don't add too much!
I had leftover crushed tomatoes in my fridge to use up, so I used that instead of Tomato Sauce. Not really a huge difference.
This freezes well. You can make a double batch and freeze for later.