Friday, August 30, 2013

Tips for the week ahead!

Labor Day weekend so be prepared to have temptation knocking down your door!
Is it okay to splurge?  That's your decision to make.  
There are no "bad" foods and "I can't have that"...
There are only choices to be made by YOU!
It's always a choice.
Decide what YOU want!
Stay prepared as you attend parties, gatherings and fun with family and friends.  
Focus on your goals.
One, unhealthy meal doesn't mean you've blown your healthy lifestyle.    

Just make sure that the rest of your calorie intake consists of healthy choices.   
What's so hard about that?  Right?  RIGHT.  Enjoy your weekend :)


School Snack ideas:
I've had a tough time this week deciding on a healthy snack choice for my son at school.  Last year each parent brought snacks for the week so we only worried about it once a month.  I would prepare trail mix, slice of cheese and apple or grapes, something fun each week!  THIS year is a little different.  It can't be refrigerated, has to be nut-free, and must fit in the side pouch of his backpack!  Argh!  
If you're dealing with the snack rut as well, try this-a handful of each of the following:
Air-popped popcorn 
Trader Joes O's
Chex cinnamon 
raisins or other dried fruit
*Lots of flavor combos without adding nuts.

ROASTED AND PREPPED:
Eggplant and sweet potatoes this week!
I've shared several times but here ya go again:
Slice eggplant, place on top of oven rack at 425 for 25-30 minutes or until browned!  You can do this with all veggies and sometimes I add chopped garlic and onion for flavor.  
*Tip: Ms. Dash works well on roasted veggies too.  A great, salt-free option for flavor.  

I love them a little burnt :) as you can see



As for the sweet potatoes I usually bake them whole, but decided I'd make a different batch of sweet potato fries this time by slicing and adding cinnamon/nutmeg!  Just a sprinkle of each.  Tasted like dessert!  

*Tip: a great, kid-friendly side dish to any lean protein meal for your family.  Once the sweet potatoes are sliced, I allow the kids to help me sprinkle with cinnamon and spread onto the baking sheet.  When they help out, they are usually excited to try THEIR OWN creation!  It works, I'm telling ya!  I served these with my turkey meatloaf and fresh string beans.  



I use these and other roasted veggies throughout the week.  The other day was grilled chicken, mixed power greens and roasted eggplant.  You really don't have to add dressing.  Sometimes I squeeze a little lemon but this one didn't even need it!

*Tip: This was all prepped in our fridge.  Remember staying prepared is SO important.  The grilled chicken, diced and ready to eat.  Eggplant in a large container, ready to grab and go and the greens right out of the package-triple washed, and then again washed by ME :)


THERE ARE NO WORDS...
Shopping for just a few things at Wal-Mart, had 3 items so went to the "10 items or less" line and found THIS:
Can you see THIS?  This is directly IN the line as you check out.  I literally placed my grapes, eggs and Almond Milk RIGHT next to it....
That would be chocolate and peanut dipped ice cream cones, Klondike ice cream cookie sandwiches and Snickers ice cream bars...AT THE CHECKOUT!  
So I thought it was bad enough that we had to pass the Doritos and Hershey bars on our way through the line but THIS?  
Wow.  We've outdone ourselves America.  

YES temptation is all around us but only IF we allow ourselves to believe that THIS is temptation. 
Is it?
Do we really want it or do we just think that somehow it will satisfy a feeling?  
Are we tired and think that opening that little package and devouring it will make that stress magically go away?
  
I don't think so.  
I lived that way for so long.  
Comforting and confusing FEELINGS with FOOD.  
It was a vicious cycle that repeated itself more times than I'd like to count.    
If anything it pushes you further down.  In a hole that only grows deeper with time.  
Don't let THIS be your temptation, instead allow it to be your MOTIVATION!  
You are worth so much more than that indulgence that you think will fulfill something.  It won't.  
TRUST ME.  

Anybody else seen this disturbance at your local grocery store?  Eeek!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Fight for it

You didn't gain the weight or choose unhealthy behaviors overnight, did you?
It will take time and it will take work but you must FIGHT for it!
You are worth fighting for, aren't you?  Absolutely.

Anybody can change for a week.  It's after that first week that we must FIGHT for what we want.
If we want permanent change, it must be a journey with NO finish line.  We grow stronger each day. Appreciate that journey and take it day by day.  Some days will be harder than others, sometimes you'll want to quit but don't.  You've wanted this for too long...  

What to do when the newness fades away?  
We start off strong, excited and ready for change.  The week goes by and we feel great.  Then something changes.  We feel anxious, tired, ready to quit...but why?  Why give up when we've made progress?  Is it because you're busy?  Stressed?  
Whatever the reason, push through it and FIGHT!  
We are made of so much more than we think we're capable of achieving.  

*Set a weekly goal to get you out of your rut.  Write it down.  Focus on reaching it.
Some examples-
Eat more fruits and vegetables.
Walk on your lunch break.
Park further from the door at work/school and take the stairs.
Exercise an extra day this week.
Limit sugar intake.  
Eat out less.
Replace a starch snack with a protein/veggie combo.



Ok what's a post without a recipe?  Here ya go...
Move It Mommas Chicken Stir-Fry
You'll Need:
2lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts-diced
1 package frozen broccoli stir fry
1/3 onion-chopped
2-3 cloves garlic-chopped

Combine onion, garlic and stir-fry in skillet.  Simmer for about 10 minutes.  Add chicken and saute until chicken is cooked through.  

This is a great lunch on the go.  Just add long grain brown rice, lettuce and enjoy!
I served this to my boys along with brown rice cheesy pasta-my own recipe :) and fruit.  


My Progress:  10lb weight loss in 12 days!  
Crazy how determination and fight actually work, isn't it?  
I am losing inches/weight in my arms, shoulders and tummy-my trouble areas!  
What a great feeling!   
Are you working hard to reach your health and fitness goals?

Today's Workout:  5K in this crazy, Texas heat.  It's H-O-T out there.  I'm ready for cooler weather, but for now 3.2 will have to do.  
How will you burn calories and sweat today?



After school snack idea for the kiddos:
Apple and PB sandwiches
Slice the apple and remove core.  
Layer with Natural PB, granola-I used Kashi cereal and a sprinkle of cinnamon.  
You can also add dried fruit to the combo...possibilities and endless.
Let the kids help you out with this one.  Chances are, they want to help create healthy meals too :)
Top with another apple slice and ENJOY!  

Saturday, August 24, 2013

THE KITCHEN.


Where families gather...
Is yours a happy place where you can feel good about yourself?  

What about your family?

If you open the fridge or pantry door and temptation is staring back at you...
chances are its an area of your home that you either conquer each day or leave feeling defeated. 

When you go exploring in your kitchen, as we often do when hungry...


What's to choose?
 
Is the "food for the kids" the first thing you see? 

First off, the kids food and snack choices should be healthy too. Are they? Or are boxes of Little Debbie's and Froot Loops blocking your view? If so, WHY? 

What about the fridge and freezer? Ya looking at ice cream and microwaveable French fries? Eeek! 

We are responsible for what we bring into our home. 

Is it okay to splurge on some frozen yogurt with the family? Absolutely. 
But what's helping set you up for failure is that half gallon of Blue Bell that meets you each time you open the freezer door. 


If you create a healthy and positive atmosphere in your kitchen, you've won half the battle. I hear all the time, "well that food is for my husband...he can't live without _____ or "my kids have to have these foods for snacks and lunches." Really? In order to survive, the household must have 2 cases of Coca-cola and Doritos? 
Ohhhhh  :( 
NOT falling for it! 
Especially when my pantry and fridge as a child was like a carnival for me...the binge eater. I did not want or know how to say no. If it was there, I'd eat it. It didn't even have to be my favorite foods, I saw it and I wanted it. The unhealthier, the better. 


What if you're telling yourself, I can resist those foods in my pantry if I need to or that you've got crazy good willpower.  Okay great!  But if they are unhealthy, tempting foods then why have them AT ALL?


The solution?
Give the household choices...by giving only healthy choices. 
They are still choosing, aren't they? YES. 
*But it's not the power to choose H2O over a Dr Pepper or carrot sticks over Funyuns. It's ALL healthy options...for all of you. 

Bam! You've turned your kitchen into a safe place for all. The family can gather without being faced with temptation, judgement, or fear. 
If you have emotional attachments or issues with food as I did then you'll know what I mean. And if you aren't relating, chances are one family member knows and feels this way or has felt this way at some point. 


I honestly believe it's a family effort in the kitchen. You must all be on board for it to stick. Who wants to sit down at the dinner table, a happy place where families gather to talk about the day, and feel threatened or deprived? Not me. And none if your family members do either. Make it a happy place :) choose to stock your kitchen with healthy foods for the entire family. Your husband loves soft drinks? GREAT! He'll survive. As a mom, I sure don't want to prepare 3 different meals each night so whatever I'm having, the family is having! And just like that, your family WILL adjust. Will they complain that your pantry no longer looks like a convenient store? YES, probably quite a bit. But the good news? Deep down...wayyyy down deep, they wanted the healthy options too. They'll feel better and have more energy at work, school, after school sports and activities! Trust me! 

Okay let's EAT... 


Move It Mommas Crispy Chicken Strips
You'll Need:
1lb boneless skinless chicken breast tenderloins
2 tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 cup Italian whole wheat breadcrumbs
2 cloves finely chopped garlic
*you can add a little Panko here as well, for added crispiness 
Dip the chicken tenders into olive oil and then barely coat with the breadcrumb and garlic mixture.  Place on sprayed Pyrex(I sprayed with Trader Joe's Coconut Oil Spray) and Bake at 425 for 25-30 minutes or until crispy!  

This is a kid favorite in my house. I serve with my cauliflower mashed potatoes and green beans.  

And although it calls for a few ingredients not on my four week challenge, I ate the combo pictured below using my crispy chicken the other day and it was perfect. 
 **Still losing weight!  Happy to report down 9lbs since August 16th!  Crazy!!!  Goes to show there's always room for improvement in our diets!**
Pictured: Wasa with flaxseed, 1 cup power greens with lemon juice and chicken


Move It Mommas Sauteed Chicken
You'll Need:
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced into cubes
1/2 onion chopped
1-2 bell peppers, chopped.
Saute bell pepper and onion in a skillet ( I sprayed with TJ's Coconut Oil), once onions become transparent, add chicken.  Saute on medium heat until chicken is cooked through.  
Allow to cool and you have a quick, go-to protein for the week!

100% FAMILY-APPROVED:
My husband and I used the sauteed chicken on top of 1/2 cup brown rice and veggie (roasted eggplant pictured below) and I turned this into fajitas for my boys using whole wheat tortillas and Chobani plain Greek yogurt for their "dip"

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

One day at a time....

We always set out with the best intentions, don't we? We are focused, determined, have things all planned out for the week ahead and then BAM! something happens and we lose focus...we slip up just a little and we allow that one mistake to "ruin" the plans we had made for our journey. The good news: mistakes are okay. We go through times in our life that allow the PATH to change. Maybe an obstacle gets in the way BUT its us choosing to OVERCOME that obstacle that makes us STRONG! We all have the strength, the motivation and determination but we must make sure not to lose sight of it as life changes! 

I had lost sight of the journey prior to January. Although I still put exercise and healthy eating as a huge emphasis in my life and the lives of my family, I had lost focus. I had forgotten why I started this journey. I wanted to change MY life AND the lives of others but I allowed "stuff" to get in the way. I kept saying "tomorrow will be better...I will workout harder, eat better..." 
BUT sadly, tomorrow kept getting pushed back on my schedule. Funny how that happens so often, isn't it? 
Now keep in mind, I never LET GO of my journey...of my hopes, dreams and determination. It was and will always be there. However, I did let it slip. Instead of giving 110% to my health, it turned into more like 70%. And that's okay. I will not dwell but will LEARN from my mistakes this time. 

Who wants to take two steps forward and then Two steps back over and over again?? NOT ME! 

So please join me as we put our health and the health of our families FIRST! Give of yourself and push hard. AMAZING things will happen. Trust in the process, IT WORKS! 

Day 5 of the 4-week challenge and hubby & I are 5 lbs down, each! Woohoo! Determination goes a long way, doesn't it!? 
A few snapshots of meals these past few days. We are carb cycling so some days will vary:
Tuna with pepper, 1/2c brown rice and spinach with squeezed lemon!
Oats with berries-I like adding frozen berries to my foods! And two egg whites with onion. 
An evening treat! On the high carb days we do a 1/2 wrap filled with almond butter and sprinkled cinnamon! YUMMINESS!!! I popped it in the microwave for 20seconds...HEAVENLY!
Just a shot of the alternative breakfast of plain Greek with frozen berries! 
Some prepping for the day! One meal is ground turkey with brown rice and spinach! Other is 1/2 small sweet potato, zucchini with onion and baked chicken
**STAYING PREPARED IS KEY!**


And a progress pic! I feel leaner in my arms and shoulders which is a huge problem area for me so I'm proud! Can't wait to see more changes in my physique as time passes...
Honestly I'm 8lbs lighter than I've EVER been IN MY LIFE! Woohoo! It's the little victories!!!!! 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

4 week challenge and CHICKEN!

I have started a four week challenge with a good friend of mine along with my husband and so far it's off to a great start!  Other than being a little hungry the first few days, I'm happy to report that I feel better and feel leaner, only in a matter of DAYS!  

After years of a poor diet, I like to change things up to keep healthy foods interesting!  If you at a place in your life where you feel frustrated, then CHANGE.  Don't let okay be enough...fight for more!  Want more out of life.  Set goals that you will attain.  Find people that will encourage you to reach and exceed those goals.  Life is far too short to live with regret!  
I lived with regret for far too long and it's a life that leaves you feeling empty.  A cycle that will continue to take over your life.  Unhealthy habits will keep you from seeing all that life has to offer.  Don't settle for that, FIGHT FOR MORE!

Meal 1 (on a low carb day) is 5oz. plain Chobani Greek with berries
*I like my berries frozen, adds a little different texture and keeps the yogurt really cold.

Meal 3 sample is 4oz chicken breast, 1/3 c long grain brown rice and veggies.  Yum!  Not much different that what we've been sticking to since January but the carbs slowly go away by the evening and it's pretty much eating every few hours and it's working and giving us the results we're looking for.  
*This is by NO means a maintenance plan, just something to kick start our goals for right now!

and ya know I can't go without sharing a recipe favorite each week so here ya go:
Greek Chicken from He and She Eat Clean is DELICIOUS!
Ingredients:
3 lbs boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts
1/2 cup of Greek Seasoning (make your own)
2 Tbsp of Coconut Oil

Optional Ingredient: Juice of 1 Lemon

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Cube chicken & place in olive oil coated large pyrex dish (we use an olive oil mister)
3. Melt coconut oil in microwave (approx 30 sec) & drizzle over cubed chicken
4. Sprinkle Greek seasoning over cubed chicken & squeeze lemon on top
5. Bake for approx 30-40 min until chicken is fully cooked (we recommend using a meat thermometer)

Thanks to He and She Eat Clean for this delicious recipe :) ENJOY!



Last night we were given the opportunity to take the boys to the Houston Texans game, thanks to our fabulous Aunt Liz & family!  We had a BLAST!  Definitely an experience we'll never forget!  Go Texans!

Friday, August 16, 2013

GOODIES...and more!

Today's Workout:  30 minute intervals on the elliptical followed by strength training.  Whatever your workout of choice, put your heart and soul into it.  You get out what you put into it.  

Today's EATS:  I am focusing on really getting leaner these coming weeks, so I started the day with 1/2 c cooked oats and four egg whites sprinkled with black pepper.  
I have a HUGE goal of running my second half marathon on Oct 27th and want to beat my previous time by at least 20 minutes.  It's a big goal, but I'm up for the challenge and I know that my eats will have A LOT to do with my success, so here it goes!  
It's a four week challenge, so anything is possible and the sky is the limit.  

Life is SO much more fun when you set goals.  The journey is the best part.  It gives you a challenge, something to fight for each day and makes you feel ALIVE.  What are you waiting for?  CHANGE is always possible.  You MUST go after what you want in life...for yourself and your families.  
Are you up for the challenge?  Are you ready to stop giving up?  STOP saying tomorrow and start TODAY...

who's with me?  


when we arrived back in town from a wonderful week at the lake, I found boxes of goodies on my porch!  Woohoo!!!  Nothing like some healthy freebies to get the day going just right!

First off, it was my DeltaLabs Ambassador treats!  Look at the t-shirts, vitamins, gym bag and shhh there's a giveaway in that bag for one of YOU!!!  Details coming soon...


Then it was some new products from Special K!
Their new line of on-the-go oatmeal and some protein bars for a quick breakfast on the go!  Great for those chaotic mornings where there's no time to cook!
And lastly, the new Lean1 vanilla protein powder!  Yum, can't wait to try!

And if you don't follow me on Instagram, you probably missed one of my delicious camping foods!  Ha, it was leftover steak, sliced and used as a topping on my bed of lettuce and a 1/2 cup of long grain brown rice!  yum!  With a side of apple, of course!  Not your typical camping food but it sure hit the spot :)

Before we left for our trip, dinner the evening before was low carb burritos!  A quick dinner idea for the entire family.  I prepare brown rice with water, as usual.  I add 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp margarine, stir and SERVE!  Simple and tastes delicious....while being a great alternative to the traditional Spanish rice.  Enjoy :)  
That's a dollop of plain Greek yogurt, 1/3 avocado-sliced, 1/2 c brown rice and two Mission SMALL fajita size tortillas filled with black beans!  My entire family loves burrito night and think about how many calories you're saving preparing it and enjoying it this way...


Okay and to give ya a giggle or TWO...
that's me riding the saddle in Luckenbach, Texas!  It was SO cool to make this legendary stop on our way to Fredericksburg and have a beer...and ride the saddle, of course!  Why not?  Such a cool place that you only hear about in Country songs :)

Saturday, August 10, 2013

enjoying GOOD foods

When you are leading a healthy lifestyle and/or trying to lose weight it doesn't have to mean that you can't enjoy GOOD foods...
  
It IS possible!  

The old me always wanted foods that were full of flavor WITH the added fat.  I guess I thought healthy versions would feel like I was missing out?!  But those fatty foods left me feeling empty, tired, worthless...I thought they were comforting but that was completely false.  It's sad to see so many people associating fattening/fried/high calorie foods with pleasure and feeling good when truthfully if they'd TRY healthier options that were prepared correctly, they'll be shocked at how much better they'd feel post-meal!  Wouldn't you agree?
So to get healthy, I stopped that unhealthy relationship with food and traded it out for a relationship with myself!  When I feel down instead of cramming fattening foods into my mouth, I go workout or I play outside with my boys! 
Today to stay focused we add flavor WITHOUT the fat by using onion, celery, garlic and spices.  You'd be surprised how much flavor you can add to a dish by simply adding chopped garlic!  Amazing!  
And once you see how great you'll feel when you eat healthy and balanced, those fatty full of calories-foods won't haunt you so much.  You'll choose healthier options because you know how they make you FEEL, how they help you with your workouts, your energy and MORE!

BE CREATIVE in your kitchen.  Don't settle for healthy foods tasting blah! Who wants to eat blah! for the rest of their life?  Not me.



I have several websites that help us keep things creative in the kitchen.  Yes, I like to create my own healthy recipes but every now and then you'd like someone else to do the work for ya, Ha!  

My go to websites for healthy recipes:
As long as you remember that BALANCE is the key to weight loss and a healthy lifestyle, you should find plenty of recipes that keep your tummy quite satisfied!  


**And here's just a few recipes to share that I'll be trying out in the future, ENJOY!




Founded by mother-daughter duo Terry and Tracy PauldingPaulding & Co. specializes in creating innovative event ideas for families and corporate entities through public cooking classes and exercises.


 Rubbed Kale with Butternut Squash

Yield: 12-15 servings
1 butternut squash, about 3 lbs. (also great with Red Kuri squash if you can find it, or kabocha squash, neither of which have to be peeled)
2 Tbs.  extra-virgin olive oil
salt & freshly ground pepper
1 bunch very fresh kale
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oi
Sauce:
1/8 cup coarsely chopped fresh ciilantro
1/8 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2  teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
salt to taste
2-3 Tbs. fresh squeezed lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350°F. Top and tail the squash, halve it crosswise, put each piece flat-side down on the cutting board, and peel with a sharp chef’s knife. Remove the seeds with a spoon, and cut the squash into 1-inch cubes.  Place in a large bowl, toss with the 2 tablespoons olive oil and season lightly with salt & freshly ground pepper. Spread on a parchment-paper covered sheet pan. Roast 20-25 minutes, until the squash is tender and starting to brown.

While the squash roasts, strip the kale from it’s ribs (easy to do by just running your fingers along the rib on both sides, bottom to top), wash it well, and cut into fine ribbons. Mix with the olive oil in a large bowl, and rub and massage the kale until it softens, about 2 minutes.

Make the sauce by combining the ingredients in the food processor. Pulse to puree to a sauce consistency. Combine with the softened kale.

Toss the hot squash with the sauce and kale, and serve. One of the beauties of this dish is that it is still delicious served warm or cold and still wonderful the next day.








Kalua Pork Tenderloin Tacos

Sauce Mixture

tablespoon smoked paprika
tablespoon packed brown sugar
1/4 
cup water
tablespoons Dijon mustard
tablespoons ketchup
tablespoons gluten-free reduced-sodium soy sauce

Pork and Tortillas

pork tenderloins (about 2 lb total), fat and silver skin removed
tablespoon olive oil
1/4 
teaspoon salt
teaspoon black pepper
1/2 
cup cider vinegar
24 
corn tortillas

Salsa

tablespoon packed brown sugar
1/2 
teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 
cup lime juice
tablespoon olive oil
apples, unpeeled, finely diced (3 1/2 cups)
cups finely diced fresh pineapple
cup diced sweet onion
bunch fresh cilantro leaves (1 cup)

Directions

  • Step1Heat oven to 350°F.
  • Step2In small bowl, beat Sauce Mixture ingredients with whisk; set aside.
  • Step3Place pork tenderloins on plate, and rub with 1 tablespoon oil, the salt and pepper. Heat ovenproof 12-inch skillet (not nonstick) over medium-high heat until very hot. Add both pieces of pork, and brown 2 minutes, then turn and brown on second side for another 2 minutes. Brown on third side 2 minutes longer, then pour sauce mixture over pork; immediately transfer to oven. Bake 5 minutes; pour vinegar over pork. Bake 25 to 30 minutes longer or until pork is cooked through and can easily be pulled apart with fork.
  • Step4Wrap corn tortillas in foil, and add to oven with pork last 15 minutes of bake time just to heat through.
  • Step5Meanwhile, in large bowl, beat brown sugar, pepper flakes, lime juice and 1 tablespoon oil with whisk. Add apples, pineapple and onion; toss to coat. Set aside.
  • Step6Remove skillet of pork from oven; using tongs, roll pork in sauce in bottom of skillet, then cover loosely with foil, and rest 5 minutes. Shred with fork, and toss with sauce in skillet.
  • Step7Place slightly less than 1/4 cup pork in each taco, and top with 1/3 cup of the salsa and a few cilantro leaves

    Summer Citrus Fruit Salad
    cup Yoplait® 99% Fat Free creamy vanilla yogurt (from 2-lb container)
    tablespoon gluten-free mayonnaise or salad dressing
    1/4 
    teaspoon grated orange peel
    tablespoons orange juice
    pint (2 cups) strawberries, sliced
    kiwifruit, peeled, cut up
    small bunch seedless green grapes, cut in half
    can (11 oz) mandarin orange segments, drained

    Directions

    • Step1In large glass or plastic bowl, mix yogurt, mayonnaise, orange peel and orange juice.
    • Step2Gently stir remaining ingredients into yogurt mixture. Cover; refrigerate at least 1 hour but no longer than 4 hours.
      Don't forget to enter my Reebok Spartan Race GIVEAWAY!  Details HERE and Good Luck :)

      Disclosure:  These recipes were shared with me in hopes of sharing with my readers, no compensation was received.  All opinions are 100% mine.  

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