Saturday, December 1, 2012

Family Christmas

This year the Family Christmas is being held at our house. Lots of prep will go into this... and most of it has been completed. Jason and I purchased a tree and some decorations. We don't want to spend too much so we'll still use borrowed ornaments and not worry too much about our lack of Christmas Spirit in the house. The tree should arrive Tuesday and we'll get that set up.

My sister created a Pinterest Board for us to collaborate on food we'll be having. Since the wedding, everyone cannot stop talking about what an amazing job Joe Boccardi's did and how great the Cannenoli was. So we ordered Cannenoli as one of the main dishes. I plan to make other things, like Stuffed Meatballs and my all time favorite Tortellini Soup.

My sister is hopefully making a Tiramisu Cheesecake and I'm making Mini-Cannoli Cups.

I made a practice run of the mini-cannoli cups today. They are delicious!!!


Mini Cannoli Cups
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Start to Finish: 40 minutes
Servings: about 16 mini cups

Ingredients:
For Cups
Flour for dusting surface (Or use Parchment paper)
1 Pillsbury® refrigerated pie crust
Sugar & Cinnamon


For Filling
1 (15oz) container of whole milk ricotta cheese (strained/drain off liquid)
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus extra for dusting finished cups
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips


Directions:
In a large bowl with an electric mixer combine all ingredients for the filling except the chocolate chips and mix well until creamy. Place the filling in a 1-gallon plastic storage bag and chill while you make the cups. Filling may seem thin but will firm up slightly when it’s refrigerated.

Heat oven to 425°F. Unroll the piecrust onto a lightly floured surface and sprinkle the top of each crust with the natural sugar and the cinnamon. Lightly roll over it with a rolling pin so that sugar and cinnamon are pressed into the dough. (This will help thin out the dough a little and result in 16 cut circles.)

With a 2 1/2-3 inch round biscuit cutter or cookie cutter*, cut out circles and lightly press them inside an ungreased mini muffin or mini cupcake pan to create a pastry cup.


Bake for about 10 minutes or until cups are golden. Remove from oven and allow cups to cool. Once cups are cool they can be removed from tin and filled.

Remove filling from refrigerator, cut one of the bottom corners off the bag and pipe a little less than a tablespoon of filling into the cooled cannoli cups.

Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips, dust with powdered sugar and serve.

Important Notes:
*If you don't have a biscuit cutter or round cookie cutter and can't find one *anywhere* in Walmart, a canned good is usually about 3-inches in diameter.

You can strain or drain the liquid off the ricotta. Highly recommend this.




Saturday, November 24, 2012

Turkey Meatloaf

Finally! I can do it! Reading the instructions helps a ton. Meatloaf is always hard. And it's especially hard to make Turkey Meatloaf taste good. But seriously, this meatloaf is great. I'm going to make it again this week or next.

Here's the deal - Ground Turkey is best found at Sam's Club in a 2-40 ounce pack by Jennie-O. Good stuff, great package. I use it for meatballs and chili.

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp Butter
Small White Onion, Diced
3 Garlic Cloves or 1 Tbsp Minced Garlic
20 ounces ground turkey
Packet Italian Seasoning Dressing (Dry Salad Dressing Mix)
8-ounces tomato sauce
1 egg
1 cup panko bread crumbs
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Salt & Pepper

Directions:
Preheat Oven to 350.
Melt butter in sauce pan, saute diced onion & garlic until onion is clear. Remove from heat & let cool
In large bowl mix together the ground turkey, Italian Seasoning, egg, tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt & paper. Mix in bread crumbs & onion/garlic mixture.
Divide into 4 small loaves ~ 13 ounces each.
Bake on parchment paper lined cookie sheet for 50 minutes.

Note: You can make one large loaf, but the 4 smaller loaves will cook equally and more thoroughly then one large loaf.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Insanity - Week 1 (and Germs!)

WOWSER!! It's been an interesting couple of week of work outs. We started with the Insanity Fit Test on Monday and worked out Tuesday and Thursday. We missed Wednesday's workout because of our last Financial Peace University class. Dave Ramsey has made such a difference in our married life! Entry on that later.... We also missed Friday due to laziness and Saturday due to sickness. I'm not happy with that, but am trying my hardest to make the best of it.

We hope to do Cardio Recovery today. But it's a slim to no chance that'll happen. I totally blame Jason. He works outside our super duper clean home. He brought home germs (and he had this cough thing first.) It's like I live in a bubble now. Honestly he probably got it from voting. I would guess that is the most likely place to catch and spread germs. I didn't see any GermX. That would have been a good idea. I wonder how much that would cost? I can't find an actual number of polling places in the United States. It says it's hard to know for sure. And I've thought about how many cities, how many polling places per large city.. and ugh. Math. Math is hard when you're sick. So next election, I'm going to donate to the city money and/or hand sanitizer so at least MY community is covered.

I have gone through the P90X, TurboFire, and Insanity nutrition guides. My eating is back on track, or about 90% back on track. Meal planning is more thoughtful. I made a Spaghetti Squash Casserole this past week... it's ok. Full of veggies and fiber. Hopefully I'll get the recipe posted the next few days. I have the Crock Pot Sante Fe Chicken for tonight, and hope to make some Turkey Meatloafs this week. I also found that prepping breakfast was a good thing and easy. So I plan to bake Mini-Quiches tomorrow.

It is time for a nap.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Breakfast Quinoa

Who knew you could eat quinoa for breakfast? This BeachBody recipe (modified) is really great! Healthy and low calorie and low fat. 

Ingredients
1/2 cup milk. Can substitute almond, soy, or rice milk
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup organic quinoa, rinsed
3/4 cups fresh berries
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp honey

Directions
Serving Size: Makes 3 Servings
1. Combine milk, water, cinnamon, and (rinsed) quinoa in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat.

2. Reduce heat to medium low; cover and simmer 15 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Turn off heat; let stand covered 5 minutes. Stir in vanilla.
3. Put 1/4 cup berries in 3 serving dishes. Place 1/3 of quinoa over berries. 
4. Drizzle preferred sweetener over each serving.


It actually was really good. I keep forgetting to rinse my quinoa when I cook it. I wrote on the front of the box with a Sharpe "RINSE" to remind me the next time. The texture is different, but it does remind me of eating oatmeal for breakfast. 

I used Trader Joe's Organic Quinoa (cost effective if you're shopping around) and have frozen blueberries. I heated my first dish 30-seconds to defrost the blueberries. 

The next morning I heated the dish a 90 seconds to heat it up. Tasted just like the day before. 



Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Comfort Food - Chicken & Rice

One of my mom's favorite dishes when I was growing up was a very simple Baked Chicken & Rice casserole. It's really easy. Anyone can make this. Even my friends who can't cook!

Ingredients:

1 cup milk
1 cup water
1 can Cream of Whatever Soup (I prefer mushroom)
2 Cups of rice
Parmesan Cheese (about 1/4 cup)
4 chicken breasts, split open & pounded slightly thin
Salt & Pepper

In a large bowl or measuring glass, mix together the Milk, Water, Soup, and Rice.

Pour the mixture into a 9x13 glass casserole dish. Make sure you spray the dish with non-stick spray or else the rice will stick. Even then, the rice will stick. Be prepared, the rice will stick.

Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on top of the soupy mixture. (You can omit this or substitute another grated cheese and/or bread crumbs.)

Layer the chicken breasts on top of the mixture. They might sink into the soupy mixture - that's ok, it gives it more flavor!

Sprinkle with Salt & Pepper, and other spices if you choose. I like adding a little garlic and oregano.
Bake at 350-degrees F for 40 minutes. Check the chicken... it should be done.. if you flattened the breasts. Otherwise keep cooking. Or throw the chicken in the microwave.

Best served with steamed broccoli.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Insanity Fit Test

I don't expect to blog everyday about Insanity. But today was Day 1 - the Fit Test.
It's only 30 minutes and wow was my heart pounding when I got done! I also felt way out of shape!

Switch Kicks - 25
Power Jacks - 23
Power Knees - 55
Power Jumps - 18
Globe Jumps - 4
Suicide Jumps (Burpies) - 8
Push-Up Jacks - 13
Low Plank Oblique - 35

If you want to read a description of these hellicious exercises, you can do so at this guy's blog. Which is appropriate titled Lying on the Bathroom Floor: My First Encounter with Beachbody's Insanity.

So I did my fit test. And I almost threw up. Twice. Ok. 3 times, I headed off to PT with Dave. I didn't think I had enough pain tonight.

I might wind up doing Insanity in the morning so I can do it on an empty stomach. Otherwise I'll have to make sure my afternoon snacks is nothing heavy or gross like Hot Cocoa. (It seemed like a good idea at the time.)

Tuesday is Day 2 - Plyometrics Cardio Circuit (42 Minutes). Tomorrow is also food co-op. I'll be picking up our order of fruits and veggies. This will help a lot with eating better.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken


 Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken from SkinnyTaste
Servings: 8 servings Calories: 190 • Fat: 1.5 g • Fiber: 5.6 g • Carbs: 23.1 g • Protein: 21 g

Ingredients:
24 oz (1 1/2) lbs chicken breast, diced
14.4 oz can diced tomatoes (recommend fire roasted, not drained)
4-oz can diced mild green chilies, drained 
15 oz can black beans, rinsed & drained
8 oz can corn, rinsed & drained
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
14.4 oz can fat free chicken broth
3 scallions, chopped
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1tsp salt
Or other spices to taste
 
Directions:
Combine chicken broth, beans, corn, tomatoes, cilantro, scallions, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, cayenne pepper and salt in your crock pot. Lay chicken on top and season with salt & pepper. Cook on low for 10 hours or on high for 6 hours. Half hour before serving,  adjust salt and seasoning.

Serve with rice, and/or in a tortilla with sour cream, guacamole, cheese. Think "Chipolte Burrito Bowl" Nutrional info above stolen from SkinnyTaste and doesn't incude the extras. The crock pot conconoction tastes great by itself.

The rice above was a recipe from skinny taste, but I added too much cilantro. Chipotle's Cilantro Lime Rice

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Insanity

I've signed on for the ultimate challenge. Jason and I are going to do Insanity. Jason owns P90X2 but it wasn't something I wanted to do. I own TurboFire but haven't managed to finish it. So we're going with the shorter, just as hard, 60-day workout. It should be delivered this weekend and we'll start Monday. The 60-days will take us until January 5th (that's my birthday!)

The most important part of the workout is the diet. So after the next 2 days (in Springfield) and weekend (at the Lake), it's back to clean eating and protein shakes. Thanksgiving is my cheat day. And one dinner of sushi, I have a groupon.

I found a great new blog. She's a BeachBody coach and in the middle of LesMills Pump. Which when I finish Insanity will be a birthday present. It's just as costly as 10 personal training sessions from my gym, and it's a 3-month program you do 3 days a week, which means I could then incorporate TurboFire or other cardio in the other days.  But that's over 2 months away. I don't want to get ahead of myself.

This guy also compares all the BeachBody workouts and gives some extra advice on purchasing and level of fitness required. He's got some good things to say.

Ok.. I have to finish packing and chugging water. 2 workouts in a row have left me aching. I need to stretch and get to bed. Early up to get to Springfield.

(Note - TurboFire has a lot of jumping and it was hard on my knees at the time, over a year ago.)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Failure and ReStarts

Sometimes I feel like a failure. I don't know if it's being a girl or being a girl in a man's world or being an engineer, or because I am dumb. Somehow I survived Rolla. Like just barely. And I failed at my first job (since I lost it..) so wow. Not looking good. And this last job? While I was my boss' right hand woman, he still said some things that put a lot of doubt in my mind as I left. And it's hard to shake.

I haven't had a great October. So much change, a lot of doubt. I am very happy that it's almost over. It has been quite a year too. I'm excited that most of it is over. November is going to be great!

I've already made changes to my diet and fitness this week. Back on track! I'm also tracking my calories burned with my body bugg. It turns out I am a very lazy bum. Even more so since I work at home now. I barely break 2,000 calories and 3,000 steps. Yesterday, with a 45 minute workout, I still only burned 2,200 calories during the day with 4,900 steps. (2,400 steps during my workout.) Luckily because of the stomach bug I had yesterday, I probably only consumed 1,000 calories. I didn't track dinner and need to do that now -- ok, 1,154 calories. Not really how I want to lose weight though.

There are a lot of apps for smart phones and weight and food tracking. The one I like the most is Spark's. They have a LOT of variety of food in there. I downloaded a new one yesterday called "Noom" that is just awful. The worst part about is the food... they don't have any choices. I like the other features of the app, the reminder to log your food, the mini articles they make you read. But I feel the most important part of weight loss is food tracking. And if you can't track the actual calories of the apple juice you drank or soup you had, it's not going to help you in the long run.

I keep saying that I'm going to get back on the Jay Robb diet. It's a clean diet that has no processed anything. Pretty much you eliminate all bad carbs and processed food from your diet. It's tough, but it works. It includes eliminating caffeine. Which is hard, but once you eliminate the bad crap you eat, you actually don't need the power of caffeine to stay awake. But the bad crap taste so good.

I found that I ate more healthy when I purchased the food co-op bulk fruits and veggies, so I'm going to make sure I'm back on track with those bi-weekly purchases. I did delay a few weeks during travel, but no excuses now.

I'm going to try and up my PT sessions with Dave to 3 times a week. I went last night, and am going tonight. Back-to-back sessions might help me the most too. I'll be in charge of my own exercise these next few days.  I need to break out the DVDs and hop on the treadmill! What do I have to lose? Just weight. =)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Traveling

Last week and all this week I am Springfield for the new job. I've been eating my way through the Panera menu. I've been doing some working out. 

The 20-Minute Hotel Room Workout takes me about 35 minutes. I'm sorry dude, but a "warm-up" of 25 jumping jacks, 15 body weight squats, 10 push ups, 10 lunges (each leg), 10 hip raises, and 25 jumping jacks IS a workout. But ok, I'll keep going after that. 

I am excited to get back to my new home office and get back to cooking and a lot more exercise. I plan to sign up for some classes and whip up some amazing recipes. 

Recipes I've dug up
Chicken Pot Pie Soup

Chicken Rollatini with Spinach alla Parmigiana
25-Minute Chicken Stroganoff 
Perfect Pizza Crust (for making homemade pizzas!!)
Mini Apple Pie


I'm also looking forward to being home. Currently I have like a gaggle (Volleyball Team) of teenagers in the room next door and parents who don't care that it's 9:00pm and have no consideration for the business traveler who might want to actually have a relaxing night and get some sleep. A hotel should consider room placement when they mix a Volleyball Team with Business. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Some nights, I wish that this all would end

About a month ago an old friend called me and suggested I put in my resume for a job opening with Environmental Works, Inc. They were looking for a new employee to handle their St. Louis projects. It was a whirlwind romance and I after submitting my resume on September 4th, I had a phone interview, person-person interview, and a verbal offer on Friday September 21. With my official offer in hand near the end of day Monday September 24, I put in my resignation on Tuesday September 25. My last day was October 5th.

I've spent a few weeks working on this post. Kept retyping it, making it clear, concise, and not bash anyone.

And once again.. I deleted a whole paragraph.... I wish it would stop. The drama needs to stop.

I started my new job today. It's already amazing. I'm excited to work here. But still scared shitless because change is "bad" and this change is soooo different. I left a great job, a solid job, to do something different and work for someone I don't know. I think the problem is that I have so many emotions I'm still dealing with and didn't have any down time to move on.

So I'm in Springfield for two weeks. My hotel is right next to a Panera. Total win! I'll be here a couple weeks going through orientation and learning my projects. It means I'm eating out a lot, not cooking, and not coming up with new recipes. But when I return home, more great cooking and pictures and recipes.

I do have one pictures & recipe to post - Chicken Sante Fe & Rice Bowl. Very yummy and easy to make in the crock pot (with the rice on the stove in 5-minutes.)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Personal Wellness Day

I've been like 1000000% burnt out lately. Just going going going and thought I was going to completely crash recently. I was getting to that moment where everything was making me cry. It's not a good demeanor for a professional woman. Just trying to handle it all. I'm not super woman, though I strive to be.

So I took today off. I cleaned my (Andy's)  desk/study and got some PE studying done. I want to pass this. I NEED TO PASS THIS. But I also need to find the time to study, like every day after work, at lunch, at work, the weekends, while I'm sleeping. I might try taking another day off next week (maybe Monday) so I can have a long weekend of studying. Just need to get this shit learned.

I already feel better, morale wise, knowing these are taken care of at home!

I'm getting back on track with eating right! Healthy breakfast protein shakes, fruit for snacks, lunch was leftover stuffed peppers, and dinner tonight was Spaghetti Squash and Tortellini with Marinara and First Roasted Tomatoes. Dessert? Gum. :-p

Tomorrow night we have FPU, so we'll have to chow down on some leftovers quickly, and then get to that. Thursday evening I have PT, and Friday I plan to study study study. Or curl up on the couch and watch movies all night long. :)

Friday is also payday so we'll figure out some meals for next week.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Pumpkin Pancakes

I had an amazing weekend with my BFF. She came in from Maryville so we could all go to the City Museum. For those non-St. Louis people, it's hard to describe exactly what this is. But it's a great date place (or not...) and just a wonder of amazement on crawling through things, around things, enjoying a 10-story slide, and a roof-top ferris wheel!! Wear jeans/pants and tennis shoes. And leave your fancy phone in the car. :)

Anyway, all things aside.. I love making breakfast on the weekend!! And this weekend was pumpkin pancakes. Easy peasy. Especially with Bisquick. :)

Pumpkin Pancakes
  • 3 cups of Bisquick
  • 3 eggs
  • 1.5 cups Milk
  • 1 cup of pumpkin (about half a 15-oz can, not pumpkin pie filling, pure pumpkin)
  • Cinnamon & All-Spice to flavor, or Pumpkin Pie Spice to taste
Blend well and make pancakes like normal. They are a little browner because of the pumpkin cooking. It makes around 15 pancakes. They are super yummy, and go amazingly well with Pumpkin Butter.

Pumpkin Butter
  • 3 1/2 cups pumpkin puree, or 1 (29 ounce) can (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup apple cider or juice
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2-3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1-2 tsp Cinnamon & All-Spice to flavor OR pumpkin pie spice (to taste)
Combine pureed pumpkin, vanilla, apple juice, spices, cinnamon sticks and sugar in a large saucepan; stir well. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 30 - 40 minutes or until thickened. Stir frequently. Adjust spices to your taste.

This will keep for about 3 days in the fridge. It's not recommend for canning, but you can freeze it (obviously not in the jar.)

You can use it on pancakes or to make iced pumpkin lattes (coming soon!) or pumpkin smoothies. Or enjoy it on toast, or make more pancakes! :)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

My feelings are yummy!!

I really need to turn my diet around. I'm sabotaging my own diet by not doing the right thing when I am stressed out. I am on top of my September Six-Pack and completed my 20 sit-ups, 20 second plank, and read it wrong 20 push-ups. Then, since I'm traveling, I headed to Wendys for dinner. No good decisions are ever made at Wendys.

It's been a rough couple of weeks of emotional eating. I'm super stressed about various things, I'm not working out the way I should be, and I'm not eating the right foods throughout the day.

I have to put my wedding dress on in 2 weeks... for the Trash the Dress session. I'm stressing about that too.

And the PE exam.

And work.

And working out.

And all those things above, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. My mind won't relax.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Use What You Have

I think it's too easy to let food go bad and or not remember to use certain leftovers for whatever. The Food Co-op gives me so much food that I have to work harder to use it all. It's not like making a grocery list and buying what you need (especially portion wise.) I'm given random things like Mangos or Cauliflower or Fresh Green Beans.

Its also easy to wind up with a lot of extra veggies from salads or pizza making. I recommend making a "Garbage Omelet".

I mixed 4 eggs with a little milk, added all the goodies, and then 3 more eggs on top of that. My goal was a frittata like item, but it wasn't working. I had to flip it in half to get it fully cooked. The garbage omelet made four servings, and used up a lot of leftover random things.

Also on the menu this week was roasted red potatoes & roasted cauliflower. I did this tonight with the steaks Jason grilled. I looked up on the food network recommendations for making these.

Roasted Red Potatoes:
Dice Potatoes
Tossed with Olive Oil, placed on Foil Lined Baking Sheet
Sprinkle with Garlic & Italian Seasoning
Bake 35 minutes at 500 degrees.

Roasted Cauliflower:
Break up cauliflower, cut in half. Large pieces are better.
Toss with Olive Oil & juice from 1-2 freshly squeezed lemons.
Sprinkle with Garlic.
Bake 15 minutes at 500 degrees.
Sprinkle with Feta Cheese once plated.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Crock Pot Veggie Burritos - V2.0

A very simple recipe that anyone can make!
 
My recipe. Makes an estimated 25-30 Servings (1/2 Cup Scoops)
2 Cups Brown Instant Rice
3 Cups Chicken Broth
2 Cups Salsa
3 Tblsp of Taco Seasoning
3 Peppers sliced thin
1/2 Red Onion Sliced Thin
2 Cans (15oz)  Black Beans
2 Cans (15 oz) Diced Tomatoes (Choose your own flavor.)
1 Can Diced Chilis (4oz)
I also added 4-5 Jalapenos and a couple Tblsp juice.

Place in order listed (stir together Rice/Broth/Salsa/Seasoning) in crockpot and cook approximately 6 hours.

I added 3 Tblsp of Taco Seasoning, but you can add a mixture of of Paprika, Cumin, and Red Pepper Flakes.

I used Spark to estimate the nutritional content of it. It is only based on the ingredients in the in the crockpot. Adding shells, cheese, guac, and sour cream adds the extra calories!


I use Mission 96% Fat Free Tortilla, Wholly Guacamole, Daisy Reduced Fat Sour Cream, and some Colby Jack cheese.

Monday, August 27, 2012

September Six Pack (2012)

I always get ahold of the monthly workout calendars about halfway into the month. Not this time. I made my own. I also get to choose my own rest day (which happens to correspond with my PE review class.) I also changed it to what I think should work better. I'm not crazy about the 100 sit-ups, but I only reduced the plank. Mostly because holding a plank past a minute isn't good for you. Doing 3 really solid 20-second planks is a lot better then doing 1 half-assed 60-second plank.

If you choose to do this, please remember that limiting yourself at the beginning is important since you'll do this every day. Also, for me, I already work out 5 days a week, so I'm just going to add this on.

If you want me to email this to you, feel free to drop me a PM with your email address. I'm hoping to encourage a lot of my friends to do it and log about it.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Baked Potato Soup

Last week I made Baked Potato Soup.               It's very simple.
  • 5 lbs russet potatoes, diced, NOT peeled
  • 5 tablespoons garlic
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 64 ounces chicken broth or stock
  • 16 ounces cream cheese
  • bacon, sour cream, chives or shredded cheese for garnish
Put the potatoes, garlic, onion, and chicken broth in a crockpot All. Day. Long. (8 hours)

You can put the mixture in the food processor, but I used my Cuisinart immersion blender to mix it. If you don't own an immersion Blender, well, there's no reason not too. I use it for EVERYTHING.

After getting the onion & potatoes pureed, mix in the 2 bricks of cream cheese. This recipe was originally reported as "amazing" on Pinterest because it didn't have a heavy cream or milk product in it. Um... ok. Cream Cheese = Milk Product in a Heavy Cream form. Ok.

The soup is amazingly bad for you. If you weren't able to tell by the one whole pound of cream cheese. 

The soup without fancy toppings is not that flavorable (I added pepper to the crock pot also). I would recommend the chives and bacon bits. This recipe would make a good Pot-Luck side dish. You could add less broth and make it more chunky. It was super easy (aside from making Jason scrub 5 pounds of potatoes, and dicing the potatoes... and using the immersion), and is a hearty meal for the winter. Next time I make this, I'll make half the amount, and keep it a little thicker. It'll make a good side dish with chicken or steak.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Juicing

Groupon had a great deal on a juicer a few weeks ago. A juicer has been on my list of "wants" for awhile. That type of juicer is available at Macy's, for the same price that Groupon had it. (Back during the Groupon deal it was at $109 at Macy's.) The reviews I found online were good so I went ahead and purchased it.

With the food coop, I get a lot of extra veggies, this week included a couple pounds of sweet potatoes. I love sweet potatoes, Jason does not. I figured juicing them would help me use them. I created an "orange" juice using 2 sweet potatoes, a handful of baby carrots, and 2 small apples.  It was delicious. I'm trying to figure out how many calories are in the juice now.

I found this helpful website, but it's hard to find good juicing recipes. I don't want to throw in a whole bunch of things and make really crappy juice. It is hard to find other juice recipes. It's not like making an apple pie where millions of people have made pies and a standard recipe is out there.

Well - I started this blog before making dinner.. and should have finished it... because I cut myself something nasty and now can't type. Yeah for knife safety!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Food Coop

My friend Erin joined her local food coop and has gotten many of her friends involved, or so I like to think. They should!! Because the food coop is amazing!! You order a basket of produce every 2 weeks, and you can order a ton of extras! I'm trying to get my mom to do it. If you are in the St. Louis area & Illinois metro area, you should try it out.

 This week I got all this. And a bag of potatoes. I'm making baked potato soup (it's a crock pot recipe), and needed them.
For $21.50 I got all this:
Watermelon
Apples
Bananas
Red Grapes
Peaches
Plums Red
Oranges
Cherry Tomatoes
Romaine Lettuce
3 # Sweet Potatoes
Green Peppers
Zucchini
Broccoli
And a 5-pound bag of Russet Potatoes cost me $1.70. 0.34-cents a pound!
I quickly steamed the broccoli and added it to my cheesy shells. It was super yummy. I'm still waiting on Jason to finish grilling the brats & burgers. It was a busy day for us. The puppy got neutered (we foster puppies for Stray Rescue), I was in the field, I had to pick up my co-op order, and I have (online) PE Review class.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Homemade Wings


Who doesn't love wings? I never really cared for them, and they slowly grew on me. I still don't care for deep fried wings, and I don't like buffalo sauce (um, yea, so I'm really different!), but I do like chicken. And the husband LOVES wings, so alas I found a recipe I can make! Thank gawd for the Food Network!



Ingredients:
12 whole chicken wings
3 ounces unsalted butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:
Place a 6-quart saucepan with a steamer basket and 1-inch of water in the bottom, over high heat, cover and bring to a boil.

Remove the tips of the wings and discard or save for making stock. Using kitchen shears, or a knife, separate the wings at the joint. Place the wings into the steamer basket, cover, reduce the heat to medium and steam for 10 minutes. Remove the wings from the basket and carefully pat dry. Lay the wings out on a cooling rack set in a half sheet pan lined with paper towels and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.



Replace the paper towels with parchment paper. Roast on the middle rack of the oven for 20 minutes. Turn the wings over and cook another 20 minutes or until meat is cooked through and the skin is golden brown. 

While the chicken is roasting, melt the butter in a small bowl along with the garlic. Pour this along with hot sauce and salt into a bowl large enough to hold all of the chicken and stir to combine.

Remove the wings from the oven and transfer to the bowl and toss with the sauce. Serve warm.

Cliff Notes Version:
Get some wings. Cheat. Get the little drummies that are all ready to go! Don't waste time or energy cutting and snipping.
Steam wings for 10-minutes. This helps gets some fat off the wings.
Elevate wings and let drain & chill for 1-hour. Somehow, someway, this is an important step.
Bake wings 20-minutes. Flip 'em over, bake 20 more minutes.
Coat in butter & sauce.
Eat wings!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Chicken Fried Rice

Oh Yum! I found this recipe here. I made it tonight and it's amazing!

The Chicken Fried Rice starts with Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken.

Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken
Serves 2-3
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
3/4 cup sugar (I used brown).
3/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
3/4 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons water
Whisk together sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, pepper, and water. Pour sauce over chicken in slow cooker. Slow cook on low for four hours.

This is amazing by itself, over white rice, as a meal. Super yummy! :)

If that's not enough, you can make the below and add the chicken. That's what we did tonight!

Better-Than-Takeout Chicken Fried Rice
Serves 5-6
4 cups prepared rice (I will use less next time, maybe 2 cups.)
1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked (See above)
1 cup peas & carrots, frozen
1 small white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 eggs (I wish I would have used 3-4)
3 tablespoons sesame oil
1/4 cup soy sauce (I used the soy sauce juice from the crock pot)
Prepare rice according to package instructions to yield 4 cups cooked rice.

Heat sesame oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add onion, garlic, peas, and carrots.

Stir fry until tender. Crack eggs into pan and scramble, mixing throughout vegetables.

Add rice, chicken, and soy sauce to pan. Mix well.

Serve! Eat! So yummy!!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed Peppers (Makes 12 Peppers)

12 Green Peppers
40-ounces ground turkey
Worcestershire Sauce
Garlic (lots of garlic!!)
1 Chopped White Onion
1 Cup Colorful Peppers
1.5 cups of cooked rice (white, red, brown, whatever you prefer or have on hand)
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes (pick your own flavor)
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1 15-ounce can black beans (rinsed & drained)
1 8-ounce can corn (if you prefer, rinsed & drained)
Sharp Cheddar Cheese


Boil the peppers for approximately 10 minutes or until soft.  Drain well.
 
Brown the turkey with 1/8 cup Worcestershire sauce and a couple cloves of garlic.
Add chopped peppers and onion and cook. Add more Worcestershire sauce for flavor. Pepper too.

Add can of diced tomatoes (do not drain), black beans, corn, tomato sauce, cooked rice and stir. Heat together for like 10 minutes.
Stuff peppers. (I used a foil lined loaf pan to keep the peppers upright.)
Sprinkle with cheddar cheese.
Bake for 15 minutes at 375.
Enjoy!!

Brand New Cooking

I'm a pretty awesome cook. Totally awesome. If I do say so myself, and Jason agrees!!

I finally got new pots and pans! I'm totally excited for them too. I've already used 5 of them and look forward to using all of them. I made Stuffed Peppers and Steamed Broccoli.

I'm working hard to get back into eating right. It's hard. All the junk food calls to me!

I've found some new healthy recipes on pinterest.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Married & Loving It!!

I'm married!! For almost 3 weeks now.

So much has happened in the month since I posted. The vacation/wedding/honeymoon was amazing! The home reception went super well. And now, being married? It's kinda the same. Although now that it's all said and done, I feel tons more relaxed. Which is good.

So now. Moving forward as a married woman. Or just moving forward. Now that all of the bad for you leftovers are out of the house, I've started eating better and already noticed my weight starting to fall.

Work is just as busy as ever and I need to stay focused and get it done.

I also signed up for the PE exam and a study course. It wasn't cheap (both the exam and the course) but I'm going to pass. I actually need to get away from the computer and work on some practice problems. My online course requires homework to be turned in and I need to knock those out asap, especially since Richmond friends are coming this weekend!

So things haven't slowed down. Even this week being our first relaxing "no schedule" weekend we still had a lot of things to do. We straightened up, worked on some more thank you notes (just over half way done with them), purchased a few odds and ends off the registry, and studying.

We're also scheduled to pick up another foster puppy on Monday night! And I need to get my own dog to the vet. She's been super hoarse and it could be kennel cough. It could be nothing.

My goal this week is to simply survive. I get back to the gym on Monday & Wednesday nights, my PE class is Tuesday evenings, and this weekend will be busy with the Richmond people!

Friday, June 22, 2012

10 Days!!!

There is ONLY 10 (TEN!!) Days until my wedding!!

My dress fits, looks amazing, and I cannot wait to marry my wonderful fiance!!

We arrived in Georgia today and will get to Sarasota tomorrow. The car is loaded down, my parents drove too and their car is loaded! Luckily on the way home I might be able to lose a few items since I have 3 boxes full of wedding stuff. And tomorrow I'm stopping in Tampa at my highschool BFF's house to pick up things that I had mailed directly to her! She's awesome like that.

I'm really excited for this two week vacation too. I'm very excited to see my Florida family, and I get to spend some time with the highschool BFF, college BFF, and my sister, brother-in-law & his wife, and some other friends coming in! I'm really excited that my roommate from Richmond is coming down from Boston.

Ok, to be! Gotta get some sleep.

I need to rename this blog once I am married! Help!
Baby Making? :) Just kidding mom!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Taking too long of break

It’s been an emotional roller coaster this past month. I had my Bridal Shower and Bachelorette party on Cinco de Mayo. It was awesome! My mom made the food and we had a nacho bar. It was spectacular! I received a lot of things off the registries and sent Thank You notes within a week!
Jason and I went to Indiana for his cousin’s wedding. It was wonderful. They were married in the apple orchard, and had the reception under a tent. It was so lovely and I loved traveling with Jason. We even went a little out of our way to stop for lunch in Indianapolis where Jason wanted – McAllister’s. We have one around the corner from our St. Louis home, but haven’t eaten there.
I received a compliment on the TY note time last weekend. An Aunt commented that her son and daughter-in-law haven’t sent them from their October 2011 wedding. Yes, I know. Nor did they ever acknowledge the Christmas present from Jason. But who’s counting?
Don’t worry everyone, Jason & I will not procrastinate our TY notes. If we can knock out 5-10 each night, we’ll have them out in no time. Which reminds me that I owe 2 TY notes for gifts we recently received.
We’ve had a lot going on each weekend so far in May. Two weekends ago we had family pictures for my parents. My brother acted civil to me, but we didn’t actually talk. It upsets me that he wants to hold onto a grudge from something I didn’t actually do.  It’s my parent’s fault they didn’t visit him in college, not mine. They also visited me because I came home a lot less…. a lot less. And I invited them to visit me. Oh, and I graduated college 9 years ago. So who really cares? I still don’t know what his problem is. He got uninvited to the wedding because of his attitude. I think mom and dad are hoping he’ll fix it, but he probably won’t come since he has an “easy” way out. And it’ll be his loss. But he gets to tell Grandma.
Ok, this blog is about shedding for the wedding…not the family drama of my brother and TY notes.
I missed a week of PT after Margaret died, but I made it up the following week with 3 sessions and am back to my normal 2 a week. I’m struggling to get back on track with eating right. Some of it is my lack of willpower and most of it is what Jason wants to eat. I need to say “NO” to him and his food desires more.  Trainer Dave is surprised at how I ate very well up until about a month ago…most brides don’t buckle down on their diet until the month before. Oops. I’m trying to get back on track. No eating out during the week, always eat what is at home. Lots of salads again, veggies.
I was having some “lady bit” issues, and my doctor took me off the birth control. Not my ideal situation,  I like the hormone control. I had a rough few days without my pills. I’m doing ok now, a week later. We’ll see how the next few months turn out. Unfortunately, no birth control pills means no baby prevention. Must be careful or a little Guilford will be running around here in no time!
I have just under a month until the wedding. I have a lot of little things to do.
·         Make the play list for the wedding reception.
·         Finish ordering the items for the Welcome Beach Bags.
·         Finalize the catering – both Florida & home
·         Make final deposit for wedding vendor
·         Finalize wedding format with Sarasota Minister
I am very excited for the two week vacation in Florida and very excited to get married!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Not Weight Related, but related to everything.

Two weekends ago I was in Pittsburgh for a conference and on Saturday morning Jason's mother was taken to the ER. She passed away as I was on my way to the airport to catch an emergency flight home to St. Louis. It was super scary and I felt very helpless. She had kidney failure and the high potassium level stopped her heart.

My fiancé is a twin, and their dad died when they were 2 years old. Their mom raised them & she was only 56. Mom's aren't supposed to die. Especially this young. It hit harder to home because my mom lost her mom at 28 & 50-something. I was always fearful that my mom would die young. And my mom knows all to well the emotions that Jason is feeling.

The hardest part was how happy she was, especially about the upcoming wedding. She had just gotten her dress.

It just sucks. To be so close to a happy day, and now we’re all filled with such sadness. My bridal shower is this Saturday and my mom is trying to figure out a way to honor her. While we were going through Margaret’s things, Jason found a photo album of pictures of him from Birth to Senior in High School. It’s actually my Bridal Shower present from his mom. Jason's sister-in-law received one at her bridal shower. I'm glad she was able to complete it.
I didn't post this for condolences, mostly just to talk about it. And remind everyone how short our lives could wind up being. I haven't been online almost at all this past week because well, it doesn't matter. The things that truly matter are not a keyboard or computer screen, but the person sitting next to you.

About 99% of my wedding planning is complete so I'm fortunate that I don't have to worry about things.

I'm going to concentrate on the real life things. The diet is kinda ok. I haven't gained weight from the emotional eating I've been doing, and I need to get back to the gym and on the treadmill. In another couple days I'll be back on track. I'm slowly easing back into now.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Life changes

It's been 2 weeks. I know, I know!

Things were going great. Losing weight, tracking food, keeping track! I headed to Pittsburgh last weekend (Friday April 20th) and my goal was to just enjoy myself with the new friends I would make. They had scheduled a Trolly Tour of Pittsburgh and a Cardinal's Baseball game. The training was for the Air & Waste Management Association, a volunteer organization that I am part of here in St. Louis.

Things didn't turn out the way planned. To keep this short, to the point, because it's a weight loss blog... Jason's mom passed away Saturday afternoon. It was very sudden. She'd been kinda ill during the week and either she had kidney failure or she was so dehydrated it led to kidney failure. The kidney failure raised her potassium level which wound up stopping her heart. She wasn't able to recover from that.

It's been a rough couple days -- and well, diet wise, just awful. Running around today and yesterday - no clue even how to get back on track. Today I had McDonald's breakfast, a Hershey bar, Jimmy Johns unwhich, half a butter braid, and large pickle. And I'm sure I'll eat something else yet.

I plan to work tomorrow and Thursday, and will most likely take off Friday and Monday. I had to cancel my personal training this week, and as exhausted as I am right now, it was the right decision. I am going to try and eat well tomorrow. I'm not sure what is even in my fridge to eat.

Friday, April 13, 2012

.....and....the WW wagon slowed down and picked me up

I needed a kick in the ass.

It happened.

I'll be honest, there was not on particular item that made me want to change. Just some little things ramping up at once. Wednesday was some sort of sugary dessert that I ate too much of and had a nasty upset stomach. Eating dirty makes me feel like crap. In general, I feel like crap. I know everything I am supposed to do. I have every single tool at my disposal.

So yesterday I signed up for online WeightWatchers. And I'm going to stick to it. I know the program works, as long as I follow it!.

So here we go!

P.S. 80 days until the wedding!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Motivate Me!

I don't even remember what I've done in the past 10 days. Just super busy with wedding stuff. With less than 100 days left, I'm in the prime "GET IT PLANNED" steps.

We mailed out wedding invitations, we've already started to get back RSVPs!! It makes it super real. We even got a gift! That was really excited. I'm sorry, gifts are exciting. :) But in truth, I'm just really excited to get married to this man! We have similar likes and goals and both want to start a family.

I haven't done a good job on the diet or exercise this week. The puppy cuts into some of the time. But she doesn't cut into all my time, so I need to try harder. A lot harder. I wanted to start Insanity over a month ago and never did. I have lots of DVDs, I even borrow Wii Dance and it's amazing!! I just need to DO IT.

So while I wasted away tonight (I did run laps around the couch with the puppy), tomorrow will not be a waste. I am headed to the gym to lift, my goal is to lift 3 times a week. And I'm going to knock out cardio tomorrow and at on Monday. Tuesday I see Dave. And on Tuesday I will set new goals. If I don't post Tuesday, yell at me!! MOTIVATE ME!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What's going on?

I haven't posted in a while, totally been busy with life.

Weight is holding steady, that's the important part. I'm still hitting the gym to meet with Dave and trying to get in some treadmill workouts. I need to step up my game though. I need to increase my cardio and try HARDER. Sometimes I feel guilty because I'm not trying hard enough. I have plenty of time and I know I need to do it.

My food choices haven't been the most amazing lately. I'm not eating all junk, but almost anything processed upsets my stomach. So I'm doing another fruit flush to finish flushing my stomach out, and then back to Jay Robb's absolutely nothing processed diet.

Last Saturday Jason and I had our engagement pictures. We'll see the results on Sunday!

I can't think of much else. I'm in the field tomorrow and want to grab a shower, so off I go!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Tognarelli Knees

So I'm not sure what it is.... but my mom, her sister, brother, and father all have had knee replacement surgery. There's still a few more brothers who haven't had their knee replaced, but I'm sure it's coming.
So as I began training with Dave, my concern was to strengthen my knees so I won't need new knees. But lately, the stress of my job (wearing steel toes), the walking on either gravel or standing around on asphalt, has aggravated my knees. My knees aren't as strong as they need to be to provide stability in boots on gravel. (The unbalance effect.)

So yesterday at PT, like usual, my knees started to bother me. Dave recommended I ice them. So here I am icing my knees. And I as recommended to my mother, I purchased bags of frozen peas too. Trainer Dave recommends I ice them everyday as preventative measures. The frozen peas do work much better.

So in other news, I gained 1-pound back from my weight loss. I can only be mad at myself! I didn't eat or measure or log my food like I should.

So my goals this week.
1) LOG everything. No Easter Candy! No Girl Scout Cookies! Dave has banned me from treats until my bridal shower, and then my wedding.
2) 40 minutes of daily activity. And icing my knees.

This excludes Tuesday. I'm going to UM-Rolla to give an evening presentation. I have PT on Monday and Thursday. Back to two nights a week!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A decade lost!

I finished the Jay Robb 3 Day Fruit Flush. I lost a total of 3.2 pounds in 3 days. I totally missed one aspect of the diet and didn't have a protein shake with dinner days 2 & 3! I learned a lot about my body and what it likes. It doesn't like to be hungry. I can't sleep if I'm hungry!

I'm actually really happy with the results and will probably do it again in a few weeks. The things I would change is to eat half a baked potato, not mix fruit (did that before I knew I couldn't), and make sure to get all the shakes in! Jason and I didn't wake until 11am in Sunday so we didn't drink all 4 shakes due to time. I would note that doing this on time change weekend wasn't a great idea, and having to bake potatoes the day we turned the heat off only warmed up our house that much more. As yummy as the fresh baked potato was, next time I'm just going to make all 3 (or 2) the same day. Only heat up the house once.

In all-star news, I have lost 11 pounds in the past 6.5 weeks! This is outstanding! I lost a Decade of weight! And I'm finally back under 200 pounds. Without JayRobb's new diet, I would still be stuck at 210. I have new motivation to keep losing weight AND keep it off! I love the "caveman" way. Most importantly, I need to remember that junk food upsets my stomach. Way too much. Must avoid all greasy foods.

Since I'm back in the groove of eating right, I need to make sure I get in lots of cardio!

The menu changed for the week. Jason had a meeting tonight and I had PT at 7pm. I had a protein shake.
Tomorrow night we're going to grill burgers. It'll be a nice treat - the meat. I haven't had meat in 4 days. :)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Meal Planning

I would say that weight loss is about 25% exercise, 25% mental/emotional, and 50% food.

As I get back in the groove of my caveman like diet, I am starting to gather up meal ideas that aren't just "grill fish, steam broccoli". I mean, I'm really good at those.. and they are super healthy, I need to branch out more.

I have been following a couple different websites/blogs.
What's Cooking Chicago This is a great blog with lots of amazing recipes and most importantly, freezer recipes. Freezer recipes are the staple for any busy mom, or for some my friends, future moms! Most of her recipes are basic, nothing complicated. I've added this one of my meal planning coming up: Chicken Enchiladas

I also like to check in with Skinny Taste and her recipe files. She has lot of healthy recipes too.

So my top goal is to get back into meal planning.
S-M-T evil 3 Day Fruit Flush. (I mean wonderful/awesome!)
Wednesday - both Jason and I are in the field and I have PT at 7pm. So we're having breakfast for dinner. Eggs, toast (for jason), stuff like that.
Thursday - we're grilling! Fish and Steaks, and um.. steamed broccoli. :)
Friday - Unsure yet, I am going shopping with my friend Jessica. We'll probably hit Panera or something.
Saturday - Corned Beef & Cabbage, Crock Pot
Sunday - all of the above as leftovers. Or we might make a special "date night". Instead of going out to eat, we make a nice meal and sit at the table to eat it.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Restart!

A lot of people who are trying to lose weight have their ups and downs and restarts.

The first two weeks in the field I did awesome! I tried my hardest to stick to the diet and did a really good job. Then this week showed up. Since I was sick (a total of 4 crappy days), my diet went out the window. Which is probably the #1 reason I was actually sick. I'm still not sure if it was the diet or if is was an illness.

But yesterday was my restart! I've started the day with eggs and toast, an ab and arm workout courtesy of Dave, chicken noodle soup, a fat-flush shake (Jay Robb), and a lot of water. I ate more chicken soup for dinner, and had Chips & Salsa at the trivia night. I ate a few "bad" things, but very minimal, and taking chips & salsa was a great idea. You can munch on it and not get too full.

Today Jason and I started Jay Robb's 3-day Fat Flush. It's not easy. Jason keeps joking about a cheeseburger on Wednesday. Today was hard. It's protein shakes. Water-ed down protein shakes. Not a lot of flavor, but whatever, it's only 1 Day of these drinks. For dinner we had a nice salad and baked potato. The potato was amazing. Tomorrow and Tuesday we eat fruit during the day, and another salad and baked potato for dinner.

I already feel TONS better. Just eating an avocado was great! It's amazing how much you can miss eating healthy. I'm excited about being back on the right track for healthy meals. My body took a beating last week and it needs to be treated good this week.

In amazing news -- the last weeks of travel and torture has paid off! I have accumulated enough points for 4-6 free nights in San Francisco at the Radison Fisherman's Wharf! It was a small goal I had in mind these past few weeks. I want to go next January for my birthday. I don't know how long Jason and I will stay, but we'll figure that out later this year (like August.) I should add that my landlord/friend moved to San Fran this year. So I get to see him too!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

End of Travel

I cannot wait for this trip to be over. After Monday's horrific stomachache, I had another one Tuesday. By stomachache, I mean bathroom trips... It was awful. I don't know if maybe I had a stomach bug and it wasn't actually the deer sticks, or if it was something I ate. (Hotel breakfast?).

I got some gatorade last night after another tame dinner, and got a decent nights sleep. Today was awful. Not in terms of bathroom trips, but my energy level was shot. I had half a bagel with peanut butter for breakfast, and another gatorade. I managed to down some almonds, but I had to sit down at 11am and close my eyes for awhile and rest. I was just entirely wiped out. The only good thing that could possibly come out of the past few days? I sure hope I lost 5 pounds.

I do feel better this evening. We had McDonalds for lunch (there goes the possible weight loss!), and I feel much better. I've done my 6packMarch and extra planks.

I am still very worn down. It'll probably take a few extra days to get back to normal energy levels. Tomorrow is our LAST job site!!! Then on the way home. I'll have a couples weeks in the office (pending IDOT work), and Eric and I have go to one new AGRO site and collect groundwater samples. It'll just be a day trip, and we'll wait for a nice day. :)