Friday, August 30, 2013

Love my Mister

*Disclaimer: This post is not about my husband. I DO love him, though!

A while back, I saw the neatest little kitchen gadget in a magazine. An olive oil mister? How neat! I'm a sucker for kitchen gadgets, and although this peaked my interested, I wasn't interested enough to pay $19.99.
As luck would have it, I found this nifty little guy one day as I was browsing at Ross. I was shocked that they actually had it, but also shocked that it was only $7! Of course I got it. And I've been using it religiously. Gone forever are the days of spending $2+ on these aresol cans filled with a little bit of oil and God knows what else. I will never look back. Simply fill the can half full with YOUR choice of oil, pump a few times, and spray. Easy Peasy. Do yourself a favor and run [don't walk!] to Ross to get one. You can thank me later :)

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Spicy Sweet Potato Home Fries

I've been a bit obsessed with sweet potatoes lately, but with all of these benefits, can you blame me?
This is the perfect side to any lunch, especially a lunch that you would usually eat chips or fries.

Spicy Sweet Potato Home Fries
Make this wrap! 1 tortilla [120 cals], 1 wedge laughing cow cheese [35 cals], 4 slices deli style lunch meat 
[56 cal], shredded lettuce [10 cal], sweet potato home fries [54 cal]
total for the whole lunch: 275 calories!

1 small sweet potato, peeled & cubed [54 cals]
1/2 teaspoon Lawry's low sodium seasoned salt
Red pepper flakes, to taste

Spray olive oil in a skillet on medium heat. Meanwhile, put potato cubes in a bowl and toss with seasoning. Add seasoned potatoes to the skillet and cook for 10-15 minutes [depending on how 'done' you want them, I like mine to have a slight crunch to them]. And Voila! There you have your spicy sweet potato home fries. Eat these plain [no ketchup!] or, if you must have something to dip them in, try 1 tbsp fage nonfat greek yogurt [14 cals] with a squirt of horse radish sauce. So good

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Stop Making that Face

I was introduced to the deliciousness that is fermented fish sauce by way of kimchi.
Stop making that face. Yes, I said fermented fish sauce, and it's amazing.
A lot of times I'll use it in the place of salt, because it adds so much more flavor than JUST salt.
Why do I feel like I'm being judged right now?

If you eat asian food [specifically Korean or Thai] you already EAT it and you don't even know it. So go ahead, run to the store and pick up a bottle of fish sauce. The brand doesn't really matter, just make sure the bottle says first grade [the best kind]. 

Mark Sisson is the author of a wonderful blog, and in one post he speaks solely on the benefits of fermented foods. Read it here.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Green Eggs &...Jam?

Y'all, sometimes breakfast can be boring for me. I get stuck in a rut and I get tired of eating the same stuff every day! So this weekend I was looking for something a little different [I usually eat things on the sweet side for breakfast] and came up with this simple recipe with ingredients that I had on hand.

1 cup fresh spinach 13 cal
1 whole egg 70 cal
3 tbsp egg beaters [or 1 egg white] 25 cal
1 tbsp fermented fish sauce 20 cal [note:if you don't like or don't want to use the fish sauce, just season with salt as you would normally]
Pepper, to taste

Spray olive oil in a pan on medium high heat. Add spinach and allow to wilt. Meanwhile, beat egg & egg white together with the fish sauce & pepper. Once spinach has wilted, add the egg mixture & stir occasionally to 'scramble'.

Serve with a piece of whole wheat toast [60 cal], 1 tsp low cal butter [17 cal], & 1 tbsp sugar free jam [10 cal]!

A delicious, easy breakfast for just 215 calories!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Simple Tips & My Current Workout

Sometimes people ask me what my 'secret' is to my weight loss. I WISH I had some sort of secret that I could patent and become a huge money maker, but truth is, nothing that I've been doing is a secret. There is no 'get rich quick scheme' or a magic pill to get the weight to fall off. So, I'll share with you some tips and tricks that have gotten me this far.

1. Keep up with your progress from the beginning.
Use myfitnesspal, caloriecounter, or just a piece of paper. Take your measurements, your weight, & anything  else that you care to document. 

2. Pick one day a week to be your 'official' weigh in.
I weigh myself every morning, after I use the bathroom but before I eat or drink anything else. My 'official' weigh in day [the day I record my weight & measurements] is Monday. Trust me, you want to keep up with your measurements because even the weeks you don't lose a pound, you could still lose inches. And every little bit is motivation for upcoming workouts! Don't forget to take progress pictures, it's amazing to see.

3. Stay hydrated.
If you think you're drinking enough water, drink more. You should drink at least half of your body weight in ounces of water per day, OR, you could drink even more and match your weight. This is what I try to do, daily. So, 4 liters it is! 

4. Cut down on carbs/sugar.
Notice that I said cut down, not cut out. Baby steps. Obviously, if you want to completely cut these things out of your diet, then go for it. Just from my experience, I always crave something more if I tell myself I can't have it. Remember, Everything is okay in moderation.

5. Exercise!
Find something that works for you! Don't feel obligated to do insanity or zumba just because everyone else is doing it. Try various workouts and then stick with the ones that make you feel the best! 

6. Don't skip breakfast.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for a kick starts your metabolism. If you're beginning your weight loss journey, you need to get your metabolism in check. There are several things that you can do, start by eating breakfast every day.

7. Stop making excuses.
It's so, so easy to say, "I can't because..." 
8. Treat yo'self!
When you've worked your butt off to meet a goal and it finally happens, go 'head and get you a mocha cookie crumble. You deserve it.

As for my current workout, I've started doing the Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred. I think this is my third try with it [I've never made it the full 30 days before!] but I'm hoping that this time around is different! 
Let me start out by saying that I am not a fan of JM. Even though I think she's annoying, I've known several people who have gotten great results from her workouts, so commence with the volume on zero.

Have any tips to add to the list? I'd love to hear them!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

My Journey

A couple of months ago, I wrote about finding out that I have [had?] high cholesterol. Since then, I've been on this mission to get healthy. Even before then, I had been losing weight, but had hit a plateau.
This is my journey.
A few weeks ago, I posted my one and only progress picture on Instagram. I was nervous, and a little embarrassed, but I did it. And I'm so glad I did! I got so much motivation from my friends, it was slightly overwhelming.
Left: 6/18/2012 The day I decided to stop hating the way I looked & felt. I had to take a picture because I knew at some point I'd need a reminder of where I came from & where I'm never going to be again. Right: 8/13/2013 14 months of hard work, changing my eating habits, a few relapses. I'm still a work in progress, but I'm happy with how far I've come & excited for where I'm going.

The best part, though? When one of my dear friends messaged me to tell me that I have inspired her. During my journey I have hit a lot of 'relapses'. From trying to go completely soda free, to drinking a 32 ounce every day for a week. From trying to go sugar free, to stopping by McDonalds every day to get chocolate chip cookies. One step forward, 500 calories back. I've had my high points and my low points, but I wouldn't have gotten where I am without having other people to help me [whether they know they're helping or not]. Over the past 14 months, I have scoured the internet. I spent numerous hours on pinterest finding health and fitness blogs, new/healthy recipes. I did a lot of research on calorie counting. I've tried various workouts, I've even bought a few things to help me along the way. My blog, for now at least, will be turned over to my health and fitness journey. I will be posting healthy recipes, no matter how simple or complex. I will be posting pictures, reviewing products, & sharing tips and tricks that keep me going. For all of the motivation I've been given, I want to give back. If I can help inspire or motivate even one person, I will be happy.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Easy Toddler Chores

I know what you're thinking. "Really?" Yes, really. My 2 year old does "chores", and let me tell you why.
Growing up, the only time I had to do "chores" was on the weekend. I'd have to make my bed and dust in the living room. Occasionally I'd have to vacuum. It wasn't until I was 20 years old and moving into an apartment that I learned how to wash my own clothes. Yes, I was very spoiled. At the time of course, I thought I was living the life! Most of my friends had daily chores, or spent all of Saturday morning cleaning, but not me. It wasn't until I had my own family that I realized that it was actually detrimental that I didn't do chores as a child. It's so much harder to get into a routine when you're not USED to doing it.
So I decided I was going to start Adelei out young. She might not do much now, but at least she'll grow up with a routine and hopefully she'll be better at this whole thing than I am.

The best part about chores with Adelei is she's still young enough to think it's fun [usually].
Here are some things that she does around the house:

-Makes her bed 
Right now it's more like she throws her blanket, animals, and pillow on there, but we'll work on neatness later.

-Helps me put clothes in the dryer
This? May be the most fun thing for her. It's kind of like throwing a ball through a hoop. How can that not be fun? Especially when I cheer her on.

-Picks up her toys
Our living room isn't very big, so when she has all of her toys scattered throughout, it can be a little annoying. Several times in the day I have her pick up the toys she's not using and put them away. Then, before bedtime I help her put them all away. I noticed that productivity increases when she has help.

-Cleans up her messes
If she spills some milk, she cleans it up. If she tears the paper off of a crayon, she cleans it up. You get the idea. 

What chores do your children do?

Monday, August 5, 2013

Flavorfy Your Life with Dasani Drops

I like to attribute a big portion of my weight loss to the fact that I starting drinking more water. I cut down the sugary drinks like tea and soda [from one or two a day to maybe one a week]. I started drinking 2-3 liters of water each day, which not only flushed out my system & got me back on track, but it also makes me eat less! Did you know that your hunger pains could really just be your body telling you that you're not hydrated enough? True story. But if I'm being honest, I still crave those sugary drinks from time to time. 

When I was contacted by Influenster saying that I qualified for the Dasani Drops challenge, I was so excited! I could hardly wait for the box to arrive. And when it did? I was pleasantly surprised.
Not only did it come with two full size bottles of drops [in grape and strawberry kiwi], but also with a bottle of Dasani water and coupons to give to my friends!

What I like about the drops is that it gives a good flavor without all the sugar or weird after taste that you get from drops like MiO and Crystal Light. It calms my craving for a soda and I don't feel guilty about it after I finish. My daughter even likes it and asks for it in her sippy cup daily.

The only downside I've noticed so far is that it is a little pricey. Compared to some of the other brands it's $1+ more at my local grocery store. I whole heartedly believe that [for us] it's worth it.

Have you tried Dasani Drops or any other water flavor enhancers? What did you like or dislike about them?

Disclaimer: I received these products complimentary for testing purposes from Influenster.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Finding Happy

Earlier in the summer, I found myself in a weird, dark, ugly place. 
It took me a while to realize it.
I had everything I could have ever wanted; a new house, a reliable car, a healthy in the bank, clothes on my back, food on the table.  
But there I was, a crying mess pretty much every day. 
I blamed it on my birth control. 
I blamed it on my husband. 
I blamed it on my lack of 'me' time.
I blamed it on my lack of sleep.
Sometimes I blamed it on my friends. 
Of course I blamed it on the heat, and even the fact that I was 1000 miles away from my family. 

Luckily, when I was at my absolute lowest point, I was in Alabama at my Nanny's house. I was going on and on about everything and nothing. How nothing was making me happy. What was wrong with me? I'm only 25, why do I feel like I'm going through a mid life crisis. And then she said something that made me stop in my tracks. 'How can you be happy with anything when you're not happy with yourself?'

That's pretty much all it took. She's 100% supportive of everything I do, but sometimes all it takes is a little tough love to steer me in the right direction. She's not afraid to say something that needs to be said, and I'm glad she did. Over the next couple of weeks, I did a lot of thinking. I did a lot of praying and soul searching.
Nanny came back with me to Oklahoma, so I had plenty of 'me' time to figure out why I wasn't happy, what makes me happy, and how to feel like myself again.

Is life perfect right now? No, but it's pretty darn close.
I'm learning every day that it's not up to anyone else to make me happy, it's up to me to find happiness. So I drink coffee every morning and sometimes at night. I 'play pretend' with my daughter and color outside of the lines. I sing loud and out of key.

But now, for at least today, I'm happy.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Adelei's Favorite Apps

Adelei LOVES all things technology. Of course that's not really surprising, most kids do. But don't leave your phone [or iPod, or Nook, etc] just lying around. She knows how to turn them on and how to unlock the simple lock screen. Baby genius or the product of a tech savvy generation? I'll let you decide. Anyway, here are a few of her favorite apps! 

I was introduced to this app by a friend who's kids used it and loved it! Being a free download, I wasn't really sure what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised. Not only does it have a ton of popular age appropriate videos, it also has an art studio, and a library [where you can record yourself reading for your child to hear!]. The best part, though? It's all in kid mode! Which means that once you get in the app, they can't get out! NO more random phone calls or asjdlkfjaks text messages! 

I can't tell you how many times having this app has saved my sanity on a grocery trip. They have some really great shows on there that are not only fun, but full of learning! Some of Adelei's favorites include Sesame Street, Super Why!, and LeapFrog Phonics Farm.

Every night at bed time, we turn on the nursery rhyme station on Pandora. We sing a little, dance a little, and before you know it, baby girl is fast asleep.

Adelei loves to 'play' ABC Mouse on the computer, but let's be honest, NO one wants to sit at the computer all of the time. Luckily, she can play a condensed version on the iPod. This definitely comes in handy on road trips!

These apps have fun little songs to learn the alphabet, numbers, shapes, & more! It's a nice change of pace from flash cards and workbooks.

What are some of your children's favorite apps?