Monthly Archives: September 2011

Cruise Countdown

Today marks one month before I travel to Ft. Lauderdale to board my first ever cruise ship! I am quite excited for many reasons! First being that I have never been on a cruise. Second, I get some alone time to connect with my hubby, third I am traveling to Nassau, Bahamas and lastly, it is FREE…yep, how lucky am I!! Lance won the trip through work. Gotta love being married to a hard worker!!
As thrilled as I am to be going I sadly have to admit that I do have some reservations. #1 is mommy guilt. Sigh. As much as I try not to have it, it really affects me more often than not and this is just another occasion for it. I feel guilty for leaving my kids for a few days but what make it worse is that it is over the Halloween weekend. I will miss my kids dress up day at school and the ever popular school carnival BUT according to our itinerary we should be back in enough time to take them trick or treating. Fingers crossed for NO delays coming home because I will feel really badly if I miss trick or treat night. And for the record, I hate mommy guilt. I think it is completely unnecessary, as moms give SO MUCH to our kids but it is incredibly hard to let go of.
Reservation #2- My body. Ugh, I hate to even get on this subject but I am trying to be honest here. It isn’t that I dislike my body because truthfully, most the time I am pretty okay with it. Yes, I am always hanging on to five unwanted pounds but I do have some decent muscle tone, I am getting stronger and there are no complaints from my hubby, *wink, wink*! The majority of time I am happy as long as I am eating clean and working out. Treating my body well makes me feel good about myself…… usually. Put me on a ship with thousands of younger, non-child bearing women(did I mention this is a Bud Light Party Cruise) and I lose a little bit of confidence with my body. I mean come on, who wants to be surrounded by sexy, sculpted, breast augmented women wishing you looked just a little bit better. Not me!! This is why for the next month I will be on a mission to feel good in my own skin while basking in the beauty of the Caribbean…..and thousands of beautiful people…ha!
How am I going to achieve this mission I have set out? No crazy crash diets(as I have done in the past) and no crazy exercise routines. What I am going to do is really focus on keeping my eating clean, sticking to the basics like lean meats, egg whites, oats, and LOTS of fresh veggies. I enjoy all these foods but what I like even more is how I feel and look when I consistently stick to this diet!
As for my workouts, I will be keeping them just as consistent as my eating and I will be hitting them hard. I won’t be working out for hours a day but I will give myself one good solid hour 4-6 times per week to build strong muscle and sweat my booty off to a smaller and more firm size!I was doing the   Jamie Eason Live Fit Trainer but it is a 12 week program and right now I don’t feel like I can really commit to it. It is an awesome program though and I do plan on getting back to it once this vacation is over! Until then, this is what is on the agenda for my workouts:

Workout #1: Full body workout with a focus on legs

Workout #2 Full body workout with focus on chest, shoulders and back
*30 minutes steady state cardio
 Workout #3 Full body workout with a focus on  biceps and triceps

*30 minutes of steady state cardio

I will also have at two or three more days of cardio during the week that will consist of running outside as that is something that I enjoy so much during the Fall!
See, no crazy routines, just a solid workout plan that ANYONE can do, regardless of whether you just want to get healthy or want to step it up to look and feel great for a special occasion! While a crash diet is very tempting, I know that the results are very short lived and would just leave me feeling down and not good about myself.  
I am very realistic and I know I will not reach fitness model status in just one month but that is A-OK and not my goal. I want to board that ship and feel good about ME and how I have cared for my body. The countdown is on….here we go!!!
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FALLing in Love

The same time every year, I start falling in love all over again. With who you ask? Not a who…but a what! I love the Fall season!  As much as I love Summer, after 3-4 months of dealing with Texas heat(100+ degrees) I long for the cool crisp mornings of Fall. There is just something magical in the air, a feeling in the atmosphere as Autumn begins to approach. I am not even sure I can describe this feeling that I speak of but it is unmistakable and it makes me a very happy person. Let me share with you many of the reasons that I fall in love with Fall each year……
  
  • Pumpkins– Pumpkin lattes, pumpkin scones, pumpkin oatmeal, pumpkin candles and decorated pumpkins! There is nothing that says Fall like this round little(or big) squash.  This also includes one of my favorite pumpkin traditions, the Pumpkin Patch.  I started this tradition once I had children and I look forward to it every year. Oh, and how can I forget this little pumpkin!!
Liam at 1.5 years old
  • Holidays-Two words: Halloween and Thanksgiving. Okay, that was three words but you get my point! How much fun is it to decorate for the Holidays! Better yet, how much fun is it to eat during the Holidays! I think I get just as excited for my kids to dress up and trick or treat as they do.  And as much as I hate it(yea right!!) someone has to make sure that their trick or treat candy is free from poison and needles. Can you say taste testing!! Perfect way for portion control, too;)! As for Thanksgiving, all I have to say is stuffing, sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce…YUM!!! Of course, we should say our blessings every day but in this crazy world it is easy to get side tracked so taking that day to really be THANKFUL is amazing as well!
  •  Running– I realize this doesn’t necessarily relate to Fall for most people but for me, it is a Fall must! This is the perfect time of year to get outside and exercise. I used to run regardless of the season. 100 degree temps or 40 degree temps, I would suck it up and do it. It didn’t mean that I liked it though. Now, I tend to get my exercise indoors during the extreme temps but during the Fall I just cannot make myself hop on a treadmill or take a class indoors. The crispness of the air, the cool breeze on my face, the spring in my step….oh yes, Fall = running weather to me!!
  •   Clothing– I might have to argue that Fall has the cutest clothes! Light weight sweaters, a perfect fitting pair of jeans and tall boots. For those lounging days, a comfy pair of sweats or yoga pants and a soft pullover……. What’s not to love!

  • Comfort Food– Chicken & Dumplings, Chili, Pot Roast, Beef Stew, Potato Soup, Chicken Noodle Soup…I could go on and on! My favorite way to cook in the Fall is with a Crock Pot. It is easy and convenient, especially for working moms. I love the delicious aroma of the food awaiting me after a day of running errands. This year I look forward to experimenting and finding healthy ways to make my favorite Fall recipes and I will be sure to share many of them here. After all, I still want to look good in my bathing suit once the 100 degree days hit!
Tell me, what is your favorite season and why?

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Quick And Clean Dinner? Coming Right Up!

It’s one of those nights for me…..I am pressed for time, want to feed my family something nutritious  but the requirement is that is has to be healthy, quick and tasty. After all, why waste my time cooking the food if my kids won’t eat it! This is when I turn to recipes like this one:

Homemade Ezekiel Bread Chicken Nuggets
I came up with the idea for these clean nuggets one night when I was sick of eating chicken breast the same old way. We eat LOTS of chicken in our house(rather than red meat) and while most the time I can gag get it down with no problem I wanted something to tease my taste buds with that was a little different. Nuggets were the perfect idea…kids can dip them in ketchup and the hubs and I can slather them in buffalo sauce…YUM!! Only problem, I didn’t have any whole wheat bread crumbs. My mind went to work and Ta-Da, a great solution popped into my frazzled little head! I tossed a couple pieces of Ezekiel Sprouted Grain Bread into the toaster to make my own. After they were toasted I whipped them around in my food chopper and voila, the perfect clean bread crumbs.
Ingredients
  • Two to three chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • Two pieces of Ezekiel Bread, toasted
  • One or two egg whites
  • Salt, pepper, seasoning of your choice
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
  2. After toasting breadcrumbs, put them in a chopper or food processor and grind into a crumb consistency. Season with salt, pepper and any other seasoning to your liking.  
  3. Coat chicken pieces in egg white so crumbs will stick to chicken, then toss in bread crumbs and make sure they are well coated. You may have to press the bread crumbs into the chicken to get them to stick.
  4. Place on a cookie sheet covered with foil or a non-stick pan and cook for 15-20 minutes or until done.
*Serve alongside your favorite dipping sauce and some delicious sides. My favorites are homemade sweet potato fries and a green salad. So, there you go, a delicious and healthy dinner you can be proud to serve, in under 30 minutes!!
What is your favorite healthy and quick “go to “meal for those hectic nights?

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Food=Favorites

Food….how I love thee!! Yes, I am a foodie. I LOVE food, all kinds of food. I adore pizza, chocolate chip cookies, french fries, cheese enchiladas….and the list goes on. Problem is, if I ate every food that I adore on a regular basis, I would not fit into my jeans, I would have constant heart burn and I would not have the energy for my workouts which I adore just as much as my food! So, I am learning to channel my clean eating foodie, instead!
Over the past year I have been on a journey to becoming a “clean eater” What is clean eating you ask? Well, the simple answer is that you basically try to eat food as close to its’ natural form as possible. This means no packaged or processed foods. How do you know if a food is clean? A good rule of thumb is that if it has more than a few ingredients or if you are unable to pronounce the ingredients you should probably not eat it. If you want to learn more about clean eating, this website(www.eatcleandiet.com) has a vast amount of information just waiting to be read!  Now remember, I have previously stated that I am far from perfect and yes, that includes my diet. I am still on my journey of clean eating and while I am getting close to the destination, I am only about 75% of the way there.
I have however, discovered some foods that have made the process a little easier and I want to share them with you. These are the foods that I have on hand at all times and usually consume on a daily basis. 
  •   Silk Unsweetened Almond Milk–  Why is this so special. Let me count the ways! It only has 35 calories for a full cup of yummy, creamy goodness. I use this in place of water in my oatmeal and protein shakes. Let me tell you, it can turn an ordinary protein shake into a thick glass of delicious dessert. 
  •  Dannon/Oikis Plain Greek Yogurt– If you haven’t tried Greek yogurt, please do. It is high in protein and has a smooth and rich texture. I used to eat regular non-fat yogurt but there is NO WAY it even comes close to being as good as Greek yogurt. Trust me on this one!  To avoid added sugars I skip the flavored or fruit on the bottom containers and stick to plain. I like to top mine with fresh berries and a couple tablespoons of organic granola. If you just cannot handle it without some sweetness, try adding a drizzle of honey or a packet of Truvia.  By the way, a 5.3 oz container has only 80 calories but a whopping 15 grams of protein. Yes, please!!
  •  Organic Baby Spinach I know, I know….you are wondering who adds Spinach to their list of favorite foods but it is so versatile and it loaded with good for you nutrients. My favorite ways to eat spinach: sautéed and mixed into egg whites for breakfast, added to marinara for an extra veggie punch, as a topping on a sandwich or as your bed of lettuce for a salad. My absolute favorite: made into a green monster protein shake.  Grab a handful of spinach, stick it into a blender with your almond milk, protein powder and frozen banana or berries and mix. Voila! I promise, you cannot taste it….my kids LOVE it added into their shakes! That says something.
  • Quaker Oats– Good old fashioned oats!! I love eating oats for breakfast, especially during the Fall/Winter months but I don’t discriminate, I will eat them any time of year! My current favorite way to eat them: cooked with almond milk, ½ scoop vanilla protein powder, ¼ sliced banana and a TBSP of almond butter. Oh yeah, hearty goodness that will keep your tummy full for hours!
  •  Bananas/Apples/Berries– Okay, I know that is technically three different foods but since they are all fruits, I am going to lump them into one. Nature’s candy, full of sweetness but without all the guilt.
  • Sweet potatoes– If I had to pick only one starch that I had to eat for the rest of my life, this would be it. Yes, I love bread and pastas but you sure cannot turn those into fries, especially not wonderfully seasoned sweet potato fries!! Not to mention the nutritional value of sweet potatoes. One little sweet potato gives you a healthy dose of Vitamin A, E , B6, iron, potassium and fiber, What’s not to love!!
 What are some of your favorite clean eating foods?

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Wordless Wednesday

You are what you eat…….so make it healthy and tasty!

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