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Back on track

15 Aug

Not sure if any of you ladies (or men) do this, but I always proclaim the week of my birthday “Birthday Week”. This year birthday week didn’t start until Thursday, the actual date of my birthday. Birthday week means I pretty much get my way and get to do whatever I want. This year was fairly tame. I did however eat some crappy food. Over the course of four days I had two brownies, four peanut butter cookies, an Oreo Brownie Earthquake, a brownie sundae, two Cheese and Chile tamales from Trader Joes, and a whole bag of  BBQ Pop Chips. 😦 Not good. It’s even embarrassing writing it all out.

But today I’m back on track! I made a mixed berry/banana smoothie.

Mixed Berry/Banana Smoothie

1 cup mixed frozen berries

1 cup soy milk

Couple splashes of coconut water

1 scoop vanilla protein powder

Handful of spinach

1/2 tbsp flax meal

1/2 tbsp chia seeds

I ate half this morning with a piece of toast with PB. I was famished because I wasn’t allowed to eat until an hour after I woke up! We had a life insurance physical this morning and had to fast. When she was taking my blood, I honestly almost threw up (and I wasn’t even looking!).

Lunch…Well I was planning on just eating some soup with mixed greens, chicken and raspberry vinaigrette. Then I remembered a delicious chicken salad sandwich I had for lunch last week. I decided to imitate it but make a healthy version. I took some grilled chicken (I would say four ounces) and chopped it into small pieces. I put a small spoonful of Fage into a bowl with equal amounts of Saffola Mayonnaise and stirred it together. Then I added about a tablespoon or two of Sahale Snacks Valdosta Pecans. I didn’t have any celery since I was at work but I plan on adding it tomorrow. I mixed it all together and tossed it onto some mixed greens. To up my veggie content, I had a bowl of roasted red pepper and tomato soup. YUM! I loved using the Sahale mix in the salad because it added SO much flavor.

Can't wait to eat this again tomorrow!

I snacked on some Trader Joe’s Omega Trail Mix and some Fage with blueberries. I had a gigantic migraine starting from about 1pm on. I thought I was just hungry but after eating the yogurt and berries, it didn’t help. The last thing I wanted to do was make dinner when I got home. But since we are going on vacation next week I didn’t want to spend any money, and I didn’t want to end up eating something that wasn’t good for me. I stuck with my original plan to make Thai Lime Chicken and some Trader Joe’s Frozen Grilled Asparagus. I wasn’t so impressed with this recipe. There was just something missing…I’m thinking it needed a coating of egg white first and maybe some bread crumbs mixed in with the peanuts. I’ll have to try that next time because I wouldn’t make this as is again. I also decreased the amount of garlic powder because that was way too much. I didn’t need to taste it to know that! I decreased it to the same amount as the ginger. Dessert was a nectarine.

I still have a migraine but I do feel better after I ate healthy all day. The gallon of water I drank today helped as well. Plus, I wanted to be prepared for another Jari Love video tomorrow morning. Time for some body pump! I am off to put a cold washcloth on my eyes and lay down. Enjoy your night!

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Chicken Noodle Soup for My Cold

7 Aug

When I get a cold, I always go straight for the chicken noodle soup. The hub gets mad when I buy organic chicken noodle soup. He certainly prefers I buy the $.99 can of Campbell’s. Of course I understand where he’s coming from as far as price goes, but it pains me to eat non-organic chicken. The last thing you want to do when you are sick is make soup. Since I’m not on my deathbed I decided to make some chicken noodle soup from scratch in the crock pot to appease both of us.

I searched high and low for recipes on the internet but I couldn’t find anything that met my specifications. I decided to take different elements from several recipes and add my own flair. This is what I came up with. I haven’t followed any recipe close enough for me to quote a source.

Crock Pot Chicken Noodle Soup

1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

4 minced garlic cloves

1 tsp minced ginger

3 carrots chopped

3 stalks celery chopped

1 onion chopped

1 lb chicken breast

1 bay leaf

pinch of cayenne (I used 1/4 tsp and it was way too much)

1 package egg noodles (8oz)

5 handfuls baby spinach

1) Heat crock pot on high while you mince garlic and ginger. I found a great tip from watching Food Network. Instead of using my garlic press and getting sticky garlic all over the press or doing it by hand, use a microplane (but don’t grate your fingers!).

2) Put one tsp oil in the crock pot. Stir the garlic and ginger.

3) While the ginger and garlic are in the pot, chop the onion, celery, and carrots. Add to pot.

4) Chop chicken into pieces. Add to pot along with pinch of cayenne.

5) Add eight cups of water to pot along with six chicken bouillon cubes. Put in the bay leaf.

6) Cook on low for six hours, high for three hours, or until the chicken is cooked through. Ten minutes before serving add the egg noodles and spinach.

7) Before serving remove bay leaf and spoon into five bowls (or in my case Tupperware for the week).

I added ginger to the traditional chicken soup flavors because it’s been used for centuries to treat colds and the flu.  The cayenne helps to get the sinuses flowing and unplugged. It has also been used as a cold remedy and is reportedly good for sore throats and coughs. Garlic is thought to have antibiotic properties.  

I used organic for most of the ingredients, especially the spinach and celery since they are part of the dirty dozen. I also prefer to eat organic carrots because the taste is so much better.

So here’s to hoping the soup, the neti pot, and Emergen-C will do the trick.

 

Edie’s Rough Life and Berry Chocolate Smoothie

3 Aug

Did everyone have a good morning? I know one person (or mammal) who did.

Before I entertain you with Edie’s antics of the morning, let me give you a little background. Edie is a three year old labradoodle (because I am allergic to everything—luckily not her!) who is full of mischief. She is also the princess. Edie started out a crate trained dog but during an unfortunate incident at the in-laws (before we were married) with a pop-up fabric kennel (yeah, those don’t work at ALL) she became a bed sleeper. We NEVER wanted to do this with her. We started out with the best intentions, but there is nothing better than cuddling up to a fuzzy warm pup in the middle of the night. There are also few things worse than getting farted on in your face by a dog in the wee hours of the morning, but hey, we must pay a price.

Other examples of Edie’s royal status include her massive bin of toys, the fact she goes everywhere with her parents, when I get up to put something away and come back to my spot with her in it she gets to stay, and she gets taken to the vet if there is even the slightest thing wrong with her (I’m working on the latter). Edie is the first dog I’ve owned (since my mother and I both have allergies we never had a dog), and she is like my baby since we are childless (for now).

However, I did not think I would have to do what I did this morning for a very long time; not until Edie was geriatric. Edie went about doing her business in the field while I cleaned it up (she walks when she poops so it’s a process). When we started to go on our way she kept reaching her head back towards her bottom as if to scratch her back. I went around to see what was bothering her, and low and behold she had poo sticking out of her bum. And it wasn’t like it didn’t fall off of her massive quantity of hair, it was literally stuck. I had to undo the poo bag and…well, I won’t go into any more detail but you know what I did.

When we got home the Hub wanted a clean towel so I went to grab one and threw his towel on the floor so Edie could partake in her favorite activity—rolling on dad’s towel. There is something about the husband’s smell on the towel that makes Edie go nuts. She spreads it all out and rubs her face on it as hard as she can and then rolls around on her back.

I left the little princess with her Kong and I’m sure she’ll just be postin’ up on the couch when her papa gets home.

This morning I made a Berry Chocolate Smoothie, and I’m not sure how I feel about it. The flavor was good but I’m not sure how I feel about chocolate in the A.M. I’m going to give it another day. I chased the smoothie with the Clean Eating Banana Bread and some PB.

Berry Chocolate Smoothie

1 cup soy milk

handful spinach

1/2 tbsp flax meal

1 cup frozen berry blend (I used Very Cherry from Trader Joes)

1 scoop chocolate protein powder

And you know the drill here. I drank this whole thing this morning.

I had quite a few snacks today since I did Jari Love’s weight lifting video. I had the Planters Energy Mix, cottage cheese with blueberries, and yogurt with Erin’s granola and a white nectarine. Can I just say new favorite? Who would’ve thought nectarines, yogurt and PB granola would go so well together? This girl!

Dinner is the same for this evening since there is one turkey burger left and the Hub graciously offered it to me. And we just have to eat the rest of those Alexia’s Chipotle Sweet Potato fries because they could get….freezer burned…or something…if they are in the freezer too long. 🙂

Top that off with a glass of white wine and some Property Brothers on HGTV. Ah…..

New Smoothie Recipe and Other Musings

1 Aug

The past two mornings I haven’t wanted to get out of bed. Now, I know people say that, but I literally did not want to leave the house. I was so sad, anxious, and crabby that I felt the world would be a better place if I just stayed in. Why? That is a very good question, and I do not have the answer. The only answer I have is that I have major depression. Now before I get into the nitty gritty, I’ll tell you why I decided to blog about my illness. I’ve read a couple posts from my favorite bloggers that went over similar topics, especially one from Hungry Runner Girl. She wrote a great post about how she tries to be happy and positive all the time for other people but she can only do so much. Been there, done that.

I have had anxiety and depression since I was a young child. There were times I would tell my mom I wanted to die when I was only five years old. I told her I wanted to go home to Jesus. I can’t even imagine what my poor mother thought. I wasn’t diagnosed with anxiety issues until high school when I began acting out at home. I punched through the dining room window, and I cut myself with a knife. I went to therapy but wasn’t on any medication. In my sophomore year in college I became very depressed. I didn’t go to classes and received the worst grades I’ve ever had. The second semester I laid some pills out on my desk. Instead of taking them, I called for help. I was hospitalized for one night and released into the care of my parents (who are THE best parents in the world). I had to drop out of school that semester and my roommates asked me to move out, people who I thought were my friends, because they didn’t want to feel responsible for me.

Those were not good times. I’ve been on Celexa since then and have my ups and downs. I want to get off my anti-depressants someday but I am also aware that this may not happen. This illness runs in both sides of my family, with several people committing suicide on my dad’s side.

At work this morning I had a breakdown. I had my moment where I cried in the bathroom. People were wondering why I was sad. There was a comment, “She has a brand new house, new husband, and so many things going for her.” Let me settle this, not once have I wanted someone to feel bad for me. I want people to try to understand me. I know that I am very blessed and I am thankful for that everyday. The thing about depression is it’s a disease. I don’t know why I feel sad sometimes, or why I feel worthless, I just do. A majority of the time I can talk myself out of it, but I have my moments. I can’t be happy all the time. There are times where my raw emotions will take over.

This is another reason I need to exercise. When I exercise I feel like there is a strong possibility that I will be able to go off my medication. And I have made long strides since the day I was hospitalized. But this is something that will always be with me.

On a more cheerful note, I was greeted by my loving hub and happy pup when I got home which helped ease the heaviness on my chest. And I have a new smoothie recipe!

Mango Coconut Smoothie

1/2 cup frozen mango chunks

1/2 frozen banana

1 scoop vanilla protein powder

1 cup coconut water

1/2 cup soy milk

1/2 tablespoon flax meal

1 handful spinach

Put all in the blender and let ‘er rip! I drink half and leave the other half in the freezer until the next day.

For breaky, I had the smoothie and a piece of my Clean Eating Banana Bread. Lunch was the shrimp salad, chased with some snacks of Planters Energy Mix and grapes with a side of string cheese. I was going to have leftovers for dinner but I let the hub eat the chicken and I had cereal.

I checked out a weight lifting DVD at the library today which I’m excited to use this week. I will be sure to give a review!

Contest Winner and Meal Planning

31 Jul

And the first blog giveaway goes to……Gregg!!! Congrats! I will get that in the mail to you this week. 🙂

This morning I woke up extremely crabby for no apparent reason. Maybe it was after effects from my hunger last night. I was determined to stay a grump for the whole day but my planned was foiled by several things.

1) A walk/hike with Elisa, Benny and Edie resulted in laughs and got the endorphins going.

2) I discovered the most delicious Larabar flavor yet. It honestly tasted like a cookie. I couldn’t tell the difference.

So freaking good! Nom nom nom.

3) This wonderful tool that helps me get dandelions, those spiky things, and pretty much any type of weed out of the yard. I used it after grocery shopping and I seriously went around the whole yard looking for weeds because it was so fun. Yes, I lead an exciting life.

Got this puppy at a garage sale for about $.50

4) When I got home, the Hub defrosted the whole freezer from the problem we had earlier this week. It looked absolutely gorgeous in there. It was even organized. Saturday he mowed the lawn, cleaned the garage and swept it, and unloaded the dishwasher before I got home from work. LOVE THIS MAN!

After our hike I went grocery shopping. The Hub has me on a less than $100 per week for groceries. Totally doable but I tend to go a little crazy with fancy things. I was under budget today by at least about $20-$25. The meals for this week include–

Breakfast

Berry Chocolate Smoothie

Mango Coconut Smoothie

Banana Bread

Lunch

Shrimp and Pea Salad with Basil

Dinner

Pistachio Chicken

Chicken Parmesan

Turkey Burgers with Chipotle Sweet Potato Fries

Thai Lime Chicken

Since the Hub was so domestic this weekend I made him waffles for breakfast (at 1pm!). Benefit–I get waffles too. 🙂 I used the Bob’s Red Mill mix which I really like. It’s multigrain but not so much that the Hub says, “What is this?”

A big cup of Apple Cinnamon Tea on the side please!

Tonight I made pistachio chicken, a recipe from the Abs Diet Cookbook, which I’ve been meaning to make all week. The Hub was trying to predict the odds of me actually making it this afternoon. It turned out really good but the frozen snap peas I bought (which you steam in a bag) did not look very appetizing. I did eat them and about half tasted good and the other half tasted limp and dead.

Before I made dinner I banged out my lunches for the week. The recipe is one I adapted from a Clean Eating Magazine Recipe.

Shrimp and Pea Salad with Basil

(Makes 5 servings; 1 heaping cup)

  • 1 lb cooked shrimp
  • 4 cups cooked basmati brown rice (recipe called for brown but I improvised)
  • 4 cups cooked peas
  • 1 cup roughly chopped basil
  • 4 tsp lemon zest
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  1. Combine cooked shrimp, peas, and rice in large bowl.
  2. Heat 1/2 tablespoon olive oil in pan on medium heat. Mince garlic and brown in pan, about 2 minutes.
  3. Put garlic in large bowl with shrimp mixture.
  4. Add other 1/2 tablespoon of oil. Slice onion and put into pan on medium high heat. Brown, about 5 minutes. Turn heat to low and caramelize onions, stirring often. Cook for about 40 minutes.
  5. Add onion mixture to bowl and basil.
  6. Add lemon zest to bowl along with lemon juice.
  7. Toss and serve!

It’s so delish! I added the garlic to the recipe and caramelized the onions to impart more flavor. I also doubled up on some of the ingredients to make it last the whole week.

I also tossed a banana bread in the oven to eat with my smoothies this week. I adapted this recipe from the Clean Eating Club.

Clean Eating Banana Bread

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 slightly beaten egg whites
  • 1 c. mashed ripe bananas (3 medium or 2 large)
  • 1/2 c. agave nectar
  • 1/4 c. canola oil
  • A pinch of sea salt (1/16 tsp.)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds

Directions:

  1. Coat an 8x4x2-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. Mash bananas and set aside. In a medium bowl combine whole wheat pastry flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and sea salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl combine egg whites, banana, agave nectar, vanilla extract, chia seeds, and oil. Once mixed well, add flour mixture all at one time to banana mixture. Stir until moistened. The batter should be lumpy. Spoon mixture into pan.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 to 50 minutes. Test doneness by inserting a wooden toothpick near the center of the bread. The toothpick should come out clean.
  4. Cool in pan on a wire rack for approximately 10 minutes. Remove bread from pan and cool completely on the wire rack.

I was so pleased with the result. The whole wheat pastry flour makes the bread very light and not so heavy as some baked goods can be with regular whole wheat flour. The chia seeds add a little crunch (and keep you fuller longer!) with the added benefit of those Omegas 3s. The original plan was to add walnuts but I think the chia seeds were a great substitute.

The Hub and I topped off dinner with a new ice cream. I’ve seen this for months and always wanted to buy it. It was finally on sale and I didn’t eat as much as I normally do today, so I figured a treat was in order. 🙂 Next week I have to tone down my treats, but with the hormones back to even levels, this shouldn’t be a problem! I lost one pound this week which is great considering how many “treats” I had.

Off to bed! We have four miles on the agenda in the a.m.

 

Third Times a Charm!

26 Jul

One last post! I made a fun dinner so I had to share. It’s a super easy quick meal to whip together if you’ve had a long day at work (hello!).

Breakfast Tacos

One egg and two egg whites

1/3 cup rinsed and drained black beans

sprinkle of cumin and garlic powder

salt and  pepper to taste

2 corn tortillas

Avocado Salsa (see this blog for recipe, in the comments)

Scramble eggs and toss in black beans just at the end so they warm; sprinkle with seasoning. Put the egg and bean mixture on two warm corn tortillas and top with as much salsa as you can handle. Mmm….

 

 

Double Your Pleasure

26 Jul

Two blogs in one day?! How is this possible? Well I’m typing away (part of this blog) at my computer on my lunch break instead of reading and taking the usual 10-20 minute nap. Yes, I take a nap on lunch. Because I get up so early I often feel tired after I eat and reading does not help. I find myself nodding off on the couch, so why fight it. However, I do find anything over 15-20 minutes is no good and will just make you groggy. Plus, I don’t drink coffee (only black, green, white, red, and pretty much any color tea), so I can’t use that as a pick-me-up. Trust me; you don’t want to see me on caffeine. The one time I had Red Bull I freaked out because I thought my heart was beating too fast.

This morning Edie and I went for a 3 mile run that was supposed to be 11:40 per mile according to my training schedule but ended up being 10:13 or something close to that. There are three issues that cause this–

  1. My trainer likes to do random sprints (Edie)
  2. My Cardio Trainer app on my phone doesn’t tell me my pace until after I finished the mile (so dumb; the hub is most likely getting me a Garmin for my birthday in sixteen days)
  3. I am a horrible pacer

Hopefully the Garmin will help with at least two of the problems. I need to take care of number one on my own, so you pretty much know that’s never going to happen.

A lot of people seem to take pictures of themselves after they’ve worked out and post them on their blog. I was really hesitant to do this because I get really bad RED face and because I sweat like no other. RED face is when your face turns super red when working out and people stare at you because it looks like maybe you were holding your breath or steam might come out of your ears. I decided to take one anyways, and it didn’t turn out all that bad.

For breaky, I whipped up a creation I’m calling Banana Berry Omega.

½ cup mixed dark berries frozen

½ banana frozen

1 cup soy milk (or however you roll)

One handful spinach

One scoop vanilla protein powder

½ tablespoon Chia seeds (they provide a lot of Omega 3s, fiber, and keep you full for a long time because they expand in your tummy)

½ tablespoon flax meal

Put all in a blender and let ‘er rip!

We really need to do something to work on the color though. At first I thought it was purple, but the more I put it in the light it just looked grey…I don’t think people like to eat grey things. This recipe also requires you to put the finished product in a beer mug because otherwise you will spill it all over the counter because it doesn’t fit in a regular glass, and your dog will try to lick it all up. Not that it happened to me. A little Emergen-C and a hardboiled egg topped off breakfast.

The hub was very good to me yesterday and ran to Trader Joe’s for me because I don’t like the greek yogurt choices at Fred Meyer. This is why you should never send a man to do a woman’s job.

I’m not sure what European style is and the hub said the sticker below said greek yogurt. Plus, he made all that effort so I can’t be mad or sad.

When I opened the freezer last night to get my lunch out for the morning it looked like it snowed in our freezer. Has anyone else had this problem??? Our freezer is at the bottom of the fridge and we haven’t change a single setting on it. It’s been the same way for two months and this has never happened. Any guesses? And yes, that is Edie licking the top of a vodka bottle…at 6:30am.

Speaking of the little devil dog, it’s time to go give her a bath. I apologize if you can hear the whining from here.

Why must you torture me?