Monday, January 15, 2018

Keto & Cuddles

Happy Monday!

Things have been going well with the keto diet and although the scale isn't rapidly moving, I am feeling great and definitely notice my postpartum belly shrinking.

Here's what some of my days looked like last week:

Omelettes, cream cheese pancakes, stuffed chicken, pork with a coconut curry sauce, and lots of mashed cauliflower - I love this meal plan!

If you need some motivation, recipes or meal plans, I am using this website and just love it.

I was dying for something sweet the other day so I blended up some avocados that were about to go bad, coconut milk, Splenda, cocoa powder, and cinnamon, and put the mixture in the freezer.  Voila!  Keto friendly chocolate ice cream.  It was also unbelievably delicious at room temp; the creamiest, most decadent chocolate pudding.  Needless to say it did the trick for my craving.

Brielle is growing and changing daily and I'm loving every minute of maternity leave.  I just wish I could somehow stop her from getting bigger so quickly, or at least slow things down.  She'll be an eye-rolling teenager in no time!

Speaking of eye-rolling teenagers, mine is doing quite well.  She's an amazing kid, who surprises me every day.  Her and I had a heart to heart the other day and the advice she offered me was well beyond her years.  Just a reminder for me that I may be her mom, but I can learn a lot from her.

If you ever want to check out my talented first born, you can find her you tube channel here.  She is passionate about spoken word and controversial issues; she's an amazing writer and performer and I am in awe of her daily.

And finally an update on my resolutions, which are going well (for the most part):

1. Read a minimum of 20 mins per day - so far so good

2. Read a minimum of 1 book per month -
January - The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

3. Drink 80oz of water per day - I really need to get better at this, so far I have met this goal 5 out of 14 days.  Not good!

4. Get in a minimum of 10,000 steps daily - on track with this one

5. Post on this blog weekly - so far so good

6. Lose the baby weight and get into the best shape of my life - working on it and feeling pretty good!

8 weeks postpartum (and unintentionally matching!)

 7. Have 1 no spend week per month - epic fail for last week; I'm committing to this week, Jan 14th - 20th; stay tuned

8. Write for 30 mins per week - so far so good

9. Get rid of 52 things - also from the same website - what a great idea to get rid of things that have been accumulated over the years and just collect dust
     1-6.  Books given to my daughter's friend, they were duplicates that I didn't need to hang on to
     7. Threw out some cleaning products and knick knacks that were under the kitchen sink

And two that I have added:

10. Organize/clean 52 areas (that I wouldn't normally clean during my daily/weekly routines) 
     1. Organized my book shelves by giving away duplicate books, grouping the self-help novels               together, grouping authors together that I have huge collections of, and alphabetizing the                     remaining  books
     2. Cleaned the area underneath the kitchen sink - it was a disaster.  Now everything is organized
     and accounted for

11. Email or call my Grandma weekly - My Grandma lives in Florida and I don't call or email her nearly enough.  She is incredible; at 89 years old she lives on her own, cooks, and has more of a social life than I do.  I love her dearly and she deserves  much more of my attention.  I also want to make sure she gets to watch Brielle grow, even from a distance.

That's it for today, enjoy your week!

Monday, January 8, 2018

Loving The Low Carb Living

So I'm one week and one day in to the low carb living, following this plan and I'm loving it.  My post partum belly is slowly going down, although not quite fast enough for my liking, and I'm feeling full and satisfied.

Here are what my meals look like:

Some notable recipes include this amazing spinach, sausage and feta frittata as well as this chili spaghetti squash casserole.  This cuban pot roast was also amazing.

I love that all of the recipes are easy, budget friendly, and family friendly - my family ate the same dinners as me and they thoroughly enjoyed everything.

This week's meal plan might be a little more challenging only because there is just one dinner meal that the family will enjoy.  I'll have to wing it for the rest of the week, but I should be fine since I still have leftovers from last week that I can eat, and I'll just cook for the family.

I'm down 2lbs so far, but I did cheat on my teenage daughter's birthday....ok ok not just on the actual day of her birthday but the entire birthday weekend.  I had a beer, a slice of cheesecake, some cheesecake truffles, alfredo pasta, and I shared a piece of icecream cake with her.  When I cheat, I really cheat.

Anyways I'll be much better this week since there are no upcoming events and I am extremely uncomfortable in this new mom body.  I have also been working out daily with the blogilates workouts as well as a minimum of 20 minutes on the treadmill.

I went to the doctor today for my 6 week post partum check up and there was a woman there with a baby the same age as Brielle.  She didn't have a gut like me....hmmm.  Time to get my ass in gear.

I've added a few more resolutions to my list - and I'll keep track of my progress here:

1. Read a minimum of 20 mins per day - I missed 2 days last week
2. Read a minimum of 1 book per month - we will see at the end of the month
3. Drink 80oz of water per day - I missed 5 days last week, I need to get better at this
4. Get in a minimum of 10,000 steps daily - on track with this one
5. Post on this blog weekly - so far so good - working on it
6. Lose the baby weight and get into the best shape of my life - working on it
7. Have 1 no spend week per month - this is a great one for saving money, I got the idea from this website - she has a lot of great ideas for budgeting, saving, etc - aiming for this week, from Jan 8th - 14th
8. Write for 30 mins per week - I am working on a writing project that I'm not ready to reveal.  It's been in the works for years though, so it's time to make some serious progress with it
9. Get rid of 52 things - also from the same website - what a great idea to get rid of things that have been accumulated over the years and just collect dust
1-6.  Books given to my daughter's friend, they were duplicates that I didn't need to hang on to

I think I'm off to a pretty good start with both the resolutions and the meal plan.  Have a great week everyone!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Update - New Baby, New Year, New Meal Plan, New Me!

Ok so the No Sugar November lasted until about the 2nd week when the hubby and I went out for dinner and I caved.

Then along came our newest addition, Brielle, on Nov 19th, and needless to say things have been very busy since then!!

I've made a few resolutions for 2018, and I also have a "new me" project that I am working on that I will kick off on my birthday at the end of Feb.

The resolutions I have made so far are:

1. Read a minimum of 20 mins per day
2. Read a minimum of 1 book per month
3. Drink 80oz of water per day
4. Get in a minimum of 10,000 steps daily
5. Post on this blog weekly
6. Lose the baby weight and get into the best shape of my life (I have lost 18lbs so far, 15lbs to go)

That's all for now.  I am using a goal tracker app to keep me accountable and will add to this list once I start my "new me" project.

For the weight loss I have started following the low carb (keto) meal plans on this website.  I have had great success with this in the past and I find the plans very easy to follow - the meal prep and grocery lists are done for you, and the meals are both budget and family friendly.  For exercise I am doing the youtube videos on as well as a minimum of 20 minutes daily on the treadmill.

So there you have it, a quick glimpse into my life.  It's busy, but great.  It's filled with poopy diapers and sleepless nights along with many firsts, smiles, and so much love. 

I'll post weekly (hopefully) and keep you updated on what I'm eating, what I'm doing, and how I'm feeling.  This blog will be about accountability for me this year, so whether anyone reads it or not doesn't really matter to me.

So much has happened to me and my family in the last year (much more than I choose to write about).  Self-improvement and self-love are long overdue.  2018 will be about living my best life. I encourage you to take the same approach.  You can never go wrong when you are focusing on being the best you possible.


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

No Sugar November - 30 Day No Sugar Added Challenge!

Hi guys!

I've decided to challenge myself to a no sugar meal plan for the next 30 days.

Why?? you may ask.  I'll tell you.

 I'm 37 weeks pregnant now, and have been highly indulgent throughout the last nine and a half months.  For those of you who know me, this is definitely not my eating style.  I want to prepare my body for returning to a healthy lifestyle asap.

I was watching In Defense of Food on Netflix yesterday and it gave me the perfect idea - why not challenge myself to eating foods with no added sugars or artificial sweeteners for the next 30 days?  It's a short amount of time to commit to, and I figured it would help remind me how much added sugar is in all of the packaged and processed foods that we turn to on a daily basis to make our lives easier.  In reality, those "convenience" foods are making our lives a lot more difficult by contributing to a wide array of health issues that are unnecessary - sounds pretty inconvenient to me.

Ok so where do I start?  I didn't exactly leave myself a whole lot of time for planning since I only made this decision yesterday, on Halloween, a night filled with sugar!  I quickly did some research online and found a great website to help with some meal and snack ideas.  I was feeling pretty pumped, and ready to go.

I woke up this morning bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, and all things considered, I'd say today was a success!

Here is what I ate:

Breakfast - overnight oats
I took 6 mason jars (for the hubby as well) and filled each of them with 1/4c steel cut oats, 1/3c plain greek yogurt, 1/3c almond milk, 1T chia seeds, 1/4 chopped apple, raisins, and a pinch of cinnamon.  I mixed them up and put them in the fridge.  The hubby can add agave to sweeten his, but these are perfect as is for my breakfasts for the rest of the week.

Lunch - homemade turkey soup
I have a large amount of portioned soup in the freezer - I don't have a recipe for you but it's a veggie packed soup with some turkey added.  Delicious.

Dinner - Mazithra
This is a meal I grew up on, and my Dad made up the name because of the cheese used. It's a super easy pasta that uses noodles (I used Catelli protein spaghetti), canned diced tomatoes, margarine, and a healthy dose of salted Ricotta (or Mazithra) - so easy and so good

For snacks I had an Eat Nak'd bar, some raw almonds & cashews, and a nutrient dense smoothie (consisting of kale, zucchini, dates, almond milk, almond butter, kefir, grapes, a banana, half an avocado and a pinch of cinnamon)

For "dessert" after dinner I had a tangerine because I wanted something sweet.

So here I am now at the end of day one, still feeling good. I'll post every few days with updates, what I ate, and how I'm feeling.  I'm looking forward to this, and knowing it's temporary really helps me stay motivated. 

I enjoy challenging myself for short periods of time, just to test my will, and to push my body.  I can't do anything extreme while pregnant so this seemed like a great, clean option.

Feel free to join me, watch the documentary, or at the very least start reading your labels - you'll be shocked to see how much added sugar you are actually consuming! 

I'll leave you with a few shocking sugar facts:

  • 4g of sugar = 1 teaspoon
  • 1 serving of low fat yogurt has 47 grams of sugar - that's 12 teaspoons people!!
  • most large flavored coffees available at your local coffee shop contain about 25 teaspoons of sugar!!
I 'll give you more facts in my next post...that's enough for you to digest for now (pun intended!)

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Magic Bars

Guys, if you're looking for a sweet fix, something easy and no fuss, you're going to love this.  No measuring, no mixing, and no dishes to clean up afterward.  This is by far the easiest, most forgiving dessert "recipe" out there; trust me.

All you need are graham cracker crumbs, sweetened condensed milk, butter & shredded coconut - the rest of the add-ins are up to you!

Preheat your oven to 350.  Pour some melted butter into your baking pan (mine was 13x9 so I used about half a cup - adjust the quantity based on the size of pan you are using).  Pour in your graham cracker crumbs, enough to soak up the butter.  Sprinkle the crust with chocolate chips, and whatever else you want - I did mini m&m's, mini reese's pieces, and mini peanut butter chips.  You can add nuts, raisins, dried cranberries, candies, whatever you want.  Pour a can of sweetened condensed milk over top, then evenly cover with shredded coconut.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Let them cool about half an hour before you cut them.

That's it!  I made these yesterday, and there are only a couple left.  They are so addictive, and so bad for you, but my gawd are they ever good!!!!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Spinach & Artichoke Quinoa Bake - and Updates!

Well hello!  Long time no see!
It's been a while since I've posted, and a lot has happened.  I'll fill you in quickly.

To start, I'm just over six months pregnant.  So that happened.  We are super excited about this new bundle of joy, and are looking forward to what the future holds.

Oh, and I'm a vegetarian.  For the time being.  I went and watched What The Health on Netflix and boy did that do a number on me.  It changed my family's eating habits as well - they're still eating meat, but milk?  Not so much.  Watch the documentary, you'll understand.

Anyways I'm hoping the vegetarian thing doesn't stick permanently.  I'd like to get to a place where I am informed about what I am putting into my body, and that includes meat - where the animal was raised, how it was raised, and where it met it's demise.  I'm not there yet, in fact I'm quite enjoying the many vegetarian options, but all in due time.

I made this recipe the other day, and it was delicious.

I changed a couple of things - I used 120g of Edam and 120g of smoked Gouda as my cheese.  And instead of cream cheese I used Sheese Herb & Garlic which is a non-dairy cream cheese-like spread. Other than that I pretty much followed the recipe to a T and it was great!!

Stay tuned for more vegan and vegetarian recipes...and hopefully some carnivorous ones in the near future.

In the meantime, I'll leave you with a pair of shoes that our teenage daughter picked out for the baby today.  So cute...

Monday, February 13, 2017

A Middle-Eastern Feast - Ground Beef with Hummus, Tabbouleh Salad, and Pita

I love Middle Eastern food - the spices warm you up from inside out and this meal is a super quick one to pull together.

I know that most people use couscous for their Tabbouleh, but my new favorite grain is barley, so that;s what I used.  In particular, I prefer Snappy Grains as they have created the only quick-cooking barley on the market.

For the Tabbouleh recipe, check out their website here.  They have a ton of ways you can use this barley, and it's so good for you!!  Just a side note - I always add feta to mine, although in their recipe they say it's optional (but when is cheese ever optional??)

For the ground beef and hummus, I used a recipe I saw on You Gotta Eat Here (best show ever!!) - you can find it here - thanks Dr. Laffa!!

Toast up some pitas, and your meal is ready to go!