Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Sweet Beef Scramble

We had to run out on an errand directly following work yesterday. We went to finally pick up hubby's new glasses since he lost his in the river while kayaking the other week. He's so happy to be able to see clearly in comfortable glasses again. He went two weeks in his safety glasses from work and they squeeze his head, so I've heard a time or two, lol. But he looks very handsome in his new glasses and sunglasses so we're both glad that they are finally here!

Anyhow, we had to rush out after work to make it to the eye doctor's office before they closed and we needed something quick and easy. It just so happened that we had something quick and easy on the meal plan so it worked out perfectly! Sweet Beef Scramble, from Whole Family Strong, to the rescue!

I forgot to take the beef out of the freezer until about half way through the day, so I had to thaw that out, but that was the hardest part of this recipe. Seriously, it's that easy! 

I had some leftover butternut squash in the fridge so, instead of chopping up some sweet potatoes, I decided to go ahead and just use the squash instead. It was a decision I did not regret! I know that the sweet potatoes would have been good, but I really loved the squash in it too. I only did one onion instead of two also because it was a rather large onion and it seemed like a lot for just 1 pound of beef, but I love onion and probably would have chopped up another one if I hadn't been lazy, lol. Then just add in the salt and pepper. That's the end of the recipe. I decided to throw in some broccoli to ours too though. I like having something green in stir-fry type dishes and it really added some bulk to it, since this recipe doesn't yield a large amount like some of the other recipes we find online. 

It took just a short while to heat everything up and then it was ready to go. We put it in to-go containers and ate it on the way. I know you're not supposed to do that, but we were short on time and decided it'd be better than waiting a few extra hours after the doctor appointment. When we want to eat, we want to eat NOW! lol.

I definitely recommend this recipe if you're looking for something quick and easy and delicious. I especially love the sweet bit with the sweet potato/butternut squash. It really goes well with the beef flavor and just having minimal spices really allows you to enjoy the natural flavors of the food. This one is going on my "favorites" list. I'll just have to make sure to remember to double it next time because it goes quick!

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 sweet potatoes, cubed (I used 1/2 of leftover butternut squash)
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 2 tbsp crushed rosemary (didn't have any)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • broccoli (my addition)

1. Brown beef in skillet and season with rosemary, salt and pepper.
2. Spoon crumbled beef into serving dish.
3. In same skillet toss in sweet potatoes and onions to brown in beef fat.
4. When onions are soft and sweet potatoes are crispy, season with salt and pepper.
5. Remove from heat and add to serving dish.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Naked Burgers and A New Way to Prepare Sweet Potatoes!

For dinner last night I tried the Naked Turkey Burgers from Skinny Taste with their homemade Bruschetta. I also took the Cajun Seasoning from Eat Live Grow Paleo and sprinkled on the turkey burgers during the cooking process. With those, we had Easy Hasselback Sweet Potatoes from Oh Snap! Let's Eat! and then I steamed some fresh veggies to go along with it all.

I'll start with the burgers. 
I was kind of afraid of this recipe because I haven't had much luck in the past with burgers. We don't have the option to grill here and I haven't had much experience with burgers; every time I tried to make burgers, they would end up falling apart and there'd be a ton of liquid in the bottom of the pan. But I decided to give these turkey burgers a try. I was skeptical to see that there were no eggs involved, and I was thinking of adding them (just in case) but decided to go ahead with the original recipe and see how it turned out. So I threw it all together, which only took a couple of minutes, and then formed the patties. 

We ended up with about 10 patties since I used 2# of meat instead of the 1.25 in the recipe. I really didn't increase the quantity of the other ingredients much. I still used just one zucchini, but had a heaping 1/4 cup of coconut flour and added an extra tbsp. of onion. To my happy surprise, the burgers stuck together perfectly. They were so easy to flip over and didn't take long at all to cook all of them. I did decide to add a sprinkling of Cajun Seasoning from Eat Live Grow Paleo on one side of the burgers during the cooking process. It ended up being a wonderful impromptu decision because it had just the right flavor, with just enough heat, and I think really gave the burgers that extra oomph! 

The bruschetta for the burgers was super easy to make. 
It took just a couple of minutes to chop and throw everything together. I have to say that I am not a huge fan of tomatoes, but I gave it a try and I don't think the burgers would be as good if they didn't come with the bruschetta. The two together really are a perfect pairing. The coolness from the tomatoes helps with the heat of the seasoning and the basil in there is very nice. 

I decided to give the Hasselbeck Sweet Potatoes a try. 
I saw them on Pinterest once and thought that they looked super cool! Cutting them was not my favorite task. I did try the chopstick method and that helped for the middle, but if any of the potato is not on the cutting board (it's elevated) then you have to just make sure the knife doesn't go all the way through. The potatoes ended up being delicious. How can you go wrong with sweet potatoes? However, my husband doesn't really like eating the skin, so he was constantly peeling it off. I do eat the skin and was doing so, but it just ended up being kind of difficult to eat. I think next time it'd just be easier to go ahead and cut all the way through and make chips instead. Just my preference though. 

So there's my review and our lovely Dinner #22 of our Whole30 program. Only 8 more to go!!

The recipes that I used to create this meal is listed below. Let me know what you think of them or any changes you made. I'll be saving this recipe and always look forward to learning new tips and tricks to spice up old recipes!!

Bruschetta from Skinny Taste
Bruschetta Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
  • 3 medium vine ripe tomatoes
  • 2 small cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 3 oz part skim mozzarella, diced (did not include this)

Bruschetta Directions:
Combine the red onion, olive oil, balsamic, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Set aside a few minutes while you chop the tomatoes, then place in the bowl. Add the garlic, basil and additional salt and pepper, to taste and mix well and set aside. Toss in the cheese when ready to serve.

Naked Turkey Burgers from Skinny Taste

Burger Ingredients:
  • 1.25 lbs 93% lean ground turkey (I used 2# of turkey)
  • 1 small zucchini, grated (1 cup, or 5 oz)
  • 1/4 cup seasoned whole wheat breadcrumbs (I used coconut flour)
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 1 tbsp red onion, grated
  • salt and fresh pepper
  • oil spray

Burger Directions:
1. Squeeze the excess moisture from the zucchini in a paper towel. 
2. In a large bowl, combine the ground turkey, shredded zucchini, breadcrumbs, garlic, onion, salt 
    and pepper. 
3. Form into 5 equal sized patties about 5 oz each, forming them as flat as possible.
4. Heat a large skillet on medium-high heat. When hot, lightly spray with oil. 
5. Add the burgers to the pan and reduce the heat to medium-low. 
6. Cook until browned, about 4 minutes, then flip and cook another 4 minutes, careful not to burn.

Cajun Seasoning from Eat Live Grow Paleo
Seasoning Ingredients:
-  2 1/2 tablespoons of salt
-  1 tablespoon of dried oregano
-  1 tablespoon of paprika
-  1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper
-  1 tablespoon of ground black pepper

Seasoning Directions:
Mix all the ingredients together and store in a small jar with the rest of your spice mixes until needed.

Easy Hasselback Sweet Potatoes from Oh Snap! Let's Eat!
Potato Ingredients:
Hasselback Sweet Potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Scallions, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • Butter (optional)

Potato Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
2. Carefully, slice the potato (but not ALL the 
    way through!) in to thin slices. A good trick 
    I’ve heard of is to use chopsticks or 
    something on the two sides of the potato so 
    that it stops you from 
    accidentally cutting it all the way through.
3. Rub the potatoes with olive oil. Make sure to get in between the slices so that the sweet potato 
    doesn’t dry out in the oven.
4. Line a baking pan or baking sheet with aluminum foil, and then place the potatoes on the baking 
    sheet or baking pan.  
5. Stick it in the oven until for about half an hour.
6. Remove the sweet potatoes from the oven. We are going to fan out the potato slices and make it 
    pretty! Use a butter knife/spreader or something else dull and thin separate the slices from one 
7. Stick it back in the oven for another half an hour.
8. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and scallions as desired. If you want, I sometimes put small chunks of 
    butter between some of the slices to make it even tastier!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Almost Done!

We are on Day 22 today of our Whole30 challenge!!

The end is in sight! I would say that we've definitely started to feel better and aren't experiencing as many of the side effects  that were common with the first three weeks. We aren't completely home free yet, but the benefits that we've already been experiencing are definitely worth it and make the waiting much more tolerable.

We're still getting things straightened out with our digestive system, but that's much improved from the first week or so. We've still got some irritability going on too, but that could just be from daily stresses that we're still learning to better cope with. Overall, I'm still incredibly impressed with the results. I've never really thought of myself as someone who wake up ready to take on the world, and I still enjoy sleeping in when I can, but when I do get up I am ready to go within minutes. And that's pretty nice too! Along with the other benefits, we are still happy we signed up for this program.

This last weekend was the biggest challenge for us. We went camping. But we stuck to our Whole30 food guidelines and managed to make it through without any slip ups. We did miss our workouts on those days, but I think that is alright since we managed to keep our nutrition in check... and we were freezing the whole time, so that burns calories too, right? Right! ; )

Camping was fun, but we only had about a half hour of sunshine and then it got chilly, then it rained, then it was just cold, then it rained again. Finally, it got cold and stayed cold. We still had fun though, and we got to sleep in a tent on the ground, so that makes it all worth it! It's amazing how happy you can be to leave the comfort of your home and fridge and bed and pay money to sleep on a cold, hard ground with a hundred other people within throwing distance. Even so, we were happy to finally come home!

I was worried, though, that we'd not have enough time to meal plan and get groceries for this week, since we came back on Sunday and I usually get groceries and prep some food on Sundays. But since we came back early, due to the cold, I managed to get a meal plan out and bought groceries and now we're all set and ready to go for the week!

This week's cooking started out a little rough. I've already sliced my thumb open and I burned my other hand getting a breakfast casserole out of a 375* oven. Hopefully my clumsiness is done though. I'm not sure how much more my poor hands can handle, lol.

I'll get this week's meal plan posted tomorrow and also fill you in on what we're doing lately for workouts ... and maybe share some of the cool things I've been learning from the new podcasts I've been listening to. I also created my own breakfast casserole! I'll share that recipe soon, but need to work on it a little more.

Hope you all had a great weekend! And have a super week! : )

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Guaca, Guaca, Guacamole!

I Love Dips! 

I don't think I've met a dip that I didn't like ... unless it has a lot of cilantro. I've never been able to learn to like cilantro. Oh well. Life goes on!

Guacamole Dip
So while we're on vacation, yay!, we are planning on having fresh veggies with a guacamole dip. I am trying a new recipe for this one from Alton Brown of The Food Network. I may have accidentally added a bit too much lime juice to my version, but it still turned out great. I added a little bit of apple cider vinegar to make it a bit sweeter too. So there's that option too. This is a great recipe though because it has the deliciousness of traditional guacamole, I made ours nice and chunky, and it just looks pretty!

Here you go:


  • 3 Haas avocados, halved, seeded and peeled 
  • 1 lime, juiced 
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne 
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced 
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced 
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced 
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro 
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • splash of apple cider vinegar (optional)


1. In a large bowl place the scooped avocado pulp and lime juice, toss to coat. 
2. Drain, and reserve the lime juice, after all of the avocados have been coated.
3. Using a potato masher add the salt, cumin, and cayenne and mash. 
4. Then, fold in the onions, jalapeno, tomatoes, cilantro, and garlic. 
5. Add 1 tablespoon of the reserved lime juice. 
6. Add splash of apple cider vinegar (optional) and mix thoroughly. 
Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour and then serve.
To read the original article or to check out more Food Network or Alton Brown recipes, click HERE!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

We Are On Vacation!

Ok, so maybe the weekend doesn't really count as a vacation, but it's the only thing we're going to get this year ... so we are calling it a vacation! : )

The photo above was meant to be funny, but somehow I feel as though I won't be laughing when I'm crawling out of the tent at 7:30 tomorrow morning, lol. We'll see.

I spent all night prepping food and getting it all ready so we can stay on our Whole30 plan as scheduled. We have no reason to give in to temptation because I have a ton of options for us... everything from fresh veggies and guacamole dip to leftover full dinners that we'll stick in ice and reheat over the fire or camp stove. It'll work out and I'm excited to get to be on vacation without the horrible food hangover that we get when we come back... that feeling that you need a vacation from your vacation. You know the one.

So I hope you all have a great weekend! I'm gonna try not to get burnt out on the boat and enjoy my salmon and veggies! : )

Friday, July 26, 2013

To Sit or To Stand? That is the question.

I know I've mentioned this before, but sitting is very bad for you. 
According to the Mayo Clinic there are conditions ranging from metabolic syndrome and obesity to high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and even cancer. This includes people who are active outside of the workplace too. You apparently don't get brownie points for regular exercise if you're still sitting 8 hours a day.

They did a study where two different groups were given time in front of a TV. The first group was limited to less than 2 hours of sitting/viewing time while the second group was given a minimum or four hours viewing/sitting time. Here's what they found in the group with the extended viewing/sitting time:
  • A nearly 50 percent increased risk of death from any cause
  • About a 125 percent increased risk of events associated with cardiovascular disease, such as chest pain (angina) or heart attack
For the last three years I have had a desk job... and I still do. I've made attempts to sit on a stability ball or take shifts standing, but they've always gone back to me sitting down and forgetting to stand. Oops.

I've finally made myself a standing desk. 
I'm not going to show a picture because it's pretty much the most redneck version of any kind of standing desk I've ever seen. I currently work from our dining room table, so I took two square foot rests and placed them on top of the table and I have a wooden board on top of one to hold my computer while the other foot rest holds my mouse and other office supplies. Yeah, pretty ridiculous looking. But it works. It is the perfect height for me. I get to stay by the window.

I am only on day 3 of standing while I work, but I've removed my office chair so I'm not tempted to sit and the foot rests are kind of a pain to move if I want to just sit down at the table. So I think it will work. I am going to work with my husband on designing my own REAL standing desk because any search I've done online has only shown super expensive options. And I'm not ok with that.

So what are the benefits of standing while you work?
There are several benefits ranging from increased energy, burning more calories (weight loss), and more circulation. This all helps your body to burn off excess sugar too, which is great for your body. You might also notice less back pain and your core muscles will become stronger.

To avoid problems when standing, avoid:
  • Standing for many hours on hard floors
  • Wearing high-heels. High-heels with pointed toes are especially problematic
  • Ill-fitting shoes
  • Narrow-fitting shoes
  • Shoes that lack support and/or cushioning between your feet and the floor
  • Shoes that cause you to "claw" at them to keep them on your feet
 To get the most benefits from standing:
  • Alternate periods of standing with short periods of sitting
  • Change positions frequently
  • Stand on a rubber mat or cover hard-wood floor
  • Wear comfortable shoes
  • Wear support panty-hose or socks
Stretches to do while standing/working:
So there is my new plan in addition to doing the Whole30 program. Will update you on that soon. We're going camping this weekend, so that will be a challenge, but we went grocery shopping last night and we will be prepared! Hope you all have a great Friday!

Check out my Facebook page to see a couple of cool Infographics and like my page if you like what you see! : )

NY Times
Mayo Clinic
Wiki How

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Trying New Things!

When I came across this recipe on Whole Family Strong's website, I knew we had to try it. 

Mexican food has always been a weakness for me, even bad Mexican food (Taco Bell). I used to go to Taco Bell once or even twice a day (partly why I got so unhealthy) when I was at my heaviest weight. Sometimes I'd switch it up with Wendy's or Burger King or pizza or Chinese, but Mexican food was always my favorite! It's very hard to eat anything Mexican when you're on the Whole30 diet though. So this was a treat! We got to enjoy enchiladas! Or at least cabbage rolls with enchilada sauce, but that's good enough for us! 

I think I probably should have cooked the cabbage a little longer, or used a different kind. I'm not all that familiar with cabbages. I just recently started adding them into my vocabulary. I thought I hated cabbage as a child, so it's taken me a while to be brave enough to experiment with it as an adult. But, aside from it being a bit crunchy, the enchiladas were delicious! And I even made some Spanish cauliflower "rice" to go along with it. Perfect!

If you'd like to give it a try, here's how you do it!

 Ingredients for Enchiladas: 

  • 10 outer leaves of cabbage
  • 1 pound of meat
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • Enchilada sauce (see recipe below)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. Bring a pot of water to a boil, add in cabbage leaves and turn off heat.
  3. Brown meat with garlic and set aside.
  4. Put a spoonful of meat in each cabbage leaf. Roll the leaves and place in a baking dish.
  5. Cover rolls with enchilada sauce and put dish in the oven for 20 minutes


Ingredients for Enchilada Sauce:

  • 1/2 - 1 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup veggie broth
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp comino
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil


  1. Combine all of these ingredients in a saucepan and heat through.

Ingredients for Spanish Cauliflower "Rice":

Recipe adapted from

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 14 oz. tomatoes, diced
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne powder
  • 1 tsp. salt


1. Put cauliflower through food processor to chop thoroughly
2. Heat oil on medium-high heat in wok or large pan
3. Add cauliflower and onion (about 5 minutes), stirring occasionally
4. Add tomatoes and spices
5. Cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes or until desired consistency

So next time I'm going to try a different kind of cabbage, cook it til it is a bit more tender, and that's about it. I really can't complain at all about the seasonings or anything. It was delicious! And the best part, this recipe really filled us up! I guess I can take cabbage off of my "do not like" list now too. This one's going in the recipe box!

Monday, July 22, 2013

We're Halfway There! Meal Plans! And Camping!

We made it through Day 16 of our Whole30 challenge! We are half way done! And this week is supposed to be the time to start feeling that Tiger Blood!! We'll see what happens and I'll report back to let you know! 

I've got my meal plan figured out for this week and even went and bought all of the groceries and made a few prep items, but ... I forgot something. We're going camping this weekend with my parents. That means I have to figure out Whole30 in a cooler for 2 days. I found this great link on Whole30's webpage where they list several ideas for food choices when you have to eat on the go, in a hotel, or even camping and backpacking.
From an old camping trip.

My goal was to find foods that would be easy enough to make that I wouldn't be tempted to just give up and eat something convenient out of my parents' tent. They are going to have all of the traditional camping foods: hot dogs, marshmallows, biscuits and gravy, etc... so I need to be prepared. But, I don't want them to be so simple that they are just items thrown together and we get bored, nor do I want to have us going hungry. So I checked out this site and came up with a game plan! 



Here's the Meal Plan for Week 3 of the Whole30 challenge and my meal plan for our first camping trip eating Whole30 style!

Breakfasts: Lagniappe Casserole (WFS)
Snacks: Salmon Devilled Eggs (NW&W) with Homemade Mayo

Tuesday: Enchiladas (WFS) w/ Cauliflower Rice (NNP) seasoned with my own blend
Wednesday: Chicken Tenders (ELGP) w/ Parsnip-Sweet Potato Casserole (JSB) and veggies
                 Asparagus (EM)

      Breakfast: Lagniappe Casserole
      Lunch: Leftovers from the week
      Dinner:  Canned Salmon and a potato/veggie foil package to roast over the fire

      Breakfast: Eggs with spinach, leftover beef from a roast, handful cashews and 1/2 apple
      Lunch: Tuna with guacamole, boiled egg, and raw veggies (celery, cucumber, carrots, bell pepper
      Dinner: Frozen leftover soup that we can heat up on the camp stove

I'll pack some cashews, unsweetened applesauce, olives, and kale chips for snacks if we feel the urge while sitting with my parents by the fire. We'll have to bring a lot of water too because they typically bring juice packets and beer ... which we can't have ... along with their water. But we want to make sure we don't run out. So, I feel like we've got a good plan of attack ... I'll let you know how it goes!! 

Typically, I start to feel a bit run down and ready to quit after week 2, but I am still feeling as strong as ever. I think that the whole idea behind ditching the scale has really been helping. I am taking notice of things that I probably wouldn't have if I had only been focusing on a number. I feel like I am on one steady ride of energy throughout the day instead of the roller coaster with a crash at 3 PM. I don't get the cravings at 3 PM like I used to either. My skin is still nice and clear and soft. I have no more headaches. I have an overall feeling of happiness, even though I feel my life is still plenty undecided and can be stressful at times. And I'm noticing that my shoulders seem to be slimming down, my stomach seems to be flattening a bit, and I am feeling more muscle tone. It's great!

I know we can make it through week 3!! 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Week 2 Meal Plan!

BBQ Pork on Plantain "bun"
If you missed my previous post on how I make my meal plans, feel free to click HERE and check it out. 

Meal planning makes cooking so much easier, especially if you are still learning. We're in that position right now; we kind of have an idea of what we can eat, but still fine tuning. So for now it's been easier to just follow other peoples' recipes. Eventually I would like to get to where I can start creating my own recipes again. And I'd really like to take some decent pictures to post with the recipes too. Maybe in time. Until then, here's the Meal Plan for Week 2 on the Whole30 program based on recipes I've compiled from a few different blogs and sources.

Breakfast: Lagniappe Casserole (WFS)
Always a favorite in our household! This typically will get us through until Thursday and we just have leftovers for Friday morning, then I'll cook on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
Filler: Easy Chicken Salad (WFS)
I wasn't sure I would like this as I am not typically fond of the stuff you buy at the deli. The homemade version is MUCH better and it has become one of my favorites. I love the touch of pepper. Just the right amount!

Monday: Gluten-Free Crab Cakes (JSB) with Dill Sauce (WFS) , asparagus and sweet potato
I was a bit timid to try this one because of my issues with bones in fish and seafood, but the crab did not come with any so I gave it a try and was surprised at how delicious it was. The dill sauce was perfect with it. 

Tuesday: Sweet Potato-Coconut Soup (JSB) with chicken
As I had guess, my husband heard what we were having and asked if there was any meat in it. He doesn't consider it a full meal unless there is some kind of animal protein involved, lol. The original recipe does not include chicken, but the chicken really made it perfect for us. And the sweet potato-coconut flavor is out of this world!

Wednesday: Pulled Pork with homemade BBQ sauce (TFF) on a plantain "bun" (TR), sweet potato, 
                      and veggies
We ended up running short on time for this recipe, which actually kind of worked because the pork was already done in the crock pot. The BBQ sauce only cooked for about 30 minutes but was still great! We'd never tried plantains before either, but they soon became another family favorite! So good!

Thursday: Sausage and Cabbage (WFS) with Sweet Mashed Potatoes (POAB) and spinach salad
I've never been a huge fan of cabbage, but this recipe works for me. I still can't say that cabbage will be my first choice, but hubby loved it so I guess if you enjoy cabbage you should take his opinion over mine in this case. The sweet mashed potatoes were great also, but I can't say no to anything sweet potato! : ) 

Friday: Spi-Garlicy Chicken (WFS) with Cauliflower Rice (NNP) and mixed veggies
Saturday: Pork chops with sweet potato-veggie medley (EGR: recipe coming soon)
Sunday: Moroccan Zucchini Boats (WIG) with veggies and spinach salad

We haven't made it through all of the recipes yet. We've still got a couple of days to go but, so far, none of them have let us down! They are delicious and filling!  I hope you get a chance to try them out!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Work It Out!

FitnessBlender.comI said that I would let you all know what I've been up to as far as exercise...

I decided to follow Whole Family Strong's example and do a 2 days on/1 day off rotation. I've almost always done 5-6 days straight and then one day off. I've almost always gotten burnt out or really did not look forward to my workouts. I think that the new rotation, with 2 days exercise followed by 1 day of rest and repeat, is so much easier for many reasons. I no longer feel like I have to brace myself for a week's worth of workouts before I get a day off. I have more flexibility during the week to get things done and don't have to wait until the weekend for a day off. I am no longer forcing myself to do hour-long workouts each day for those 6 days. Sometimes I do an hour workout, but sometimes I do a 15 minute workout. It depends on how I'm feeling that day and what I have time for. I am working on just being active and not focusing on max calorie burn to make up for whatever I ate that day. And I can tell that I am much less stressed with this process.

So for the actual programs/workouts that I'm doing... 

I've been rotating between different things. I have got a collection of all different kinds of workouts from many different companies: Zumba, Zuzka Light, Insanity, P90x, Hip Hop Abs... and then I also do workouts online from Zuzka Light, Daily HIIT, and Fitness Blender. I do have to say that Fitness Blender is probably my favorite right now though. They've got a super easy web site where you can actually search for a workout based on what kind of exercise you want to do (cardio, strength, toning, etc.) or where you want to focus (back, legs, biceps, etc.) or how long you want to work out (15 minutes, 30 minutes, etc.) or which level of difficulty you'd prefer (1 - 5) and then finally there is the option for calorie burn where you choose a calorie burn range. So it really is perfect for people with busy lives to go in,find what they want, then do it! You can also save your favorite workouts so you can just hop back on another time and find it easily. I love it! 

The first week on the Whole30 program I did two Zuzka workouts, 2 Fitness Blender workouts, and 1 Jillian Michaels yoga workout. So far this week I've done 2 Fitness Blender workouts and 1 Zuzka workout. I really love the variety and being able to choose what I want to do each day. It makes it seem much less rigid and seems more palatable when I think about doing this as a lifestyle choice.
Jillian Michaels: Yoga MeltdownEventually I'd like to try the Fitness Blender 8-Week Challenge again ... just to see what I can do with it, but right now I'm working on forming habits instead of trying to make myself do things a certain way. So, I think it's important not to push for too much all at the beginning and gradually work my way up to certain things. I can't comment much on the progress I've made so far since we're only 12 days into the program, we're not allowed to weigh ourselves, and I've been wearing yoga pants and dresses every day so far! But I feel so much better, I have more flexibility, and I know I'm doing good things for my body. And that's good enough for me for now!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

My 5-Year Anniversary!

Summer of 2008
Summer of 2008
Five years ago I went on a family vacation. It was a hiking trip in July of 2008. I really saw how out of shape I was at that point and just how unhealthy I'd gotten. The biggest I'd ever weighed in that summer was 278 and my pant size had gone to a size 22. I can't remember exactly what my resting heart rate was, but I know it was somewhere in the 90s usually. 

I would get winded on one flight of stairs and always had on dark clothes, usually a black hoodie. I didn't feel like I could wear anything without sleeves and everything had to be baggy to try to cover up my weight problem. I know it didn't work, but it made me feel better at the time. 

Summer of 2011
Summer of 2011
I started Weight Watchers shortly after my mom joined and I saw her losing weight. I lost 50 pounds by Christmas. Then I started walking and got into workout DVDs, and eventually I started running. I did my first and only half marathon in April of 2011.

I've lost over 100 pounds since then, but have gained some of it back now. I'm still on my journey, but I am enjoying it and I can't wait to see where it takes me next.

You can see a big difference in the pictures where we went back to the same place just three years later. And to the left is a picture of hubby and I on our wedding day, last October. 

Happy anniversary to me!! I can't wait to see what kind of changes I make in the next five years! To read my full story, Click HERE!

Check Out These Buns!

On my Facebook page yesterday I posted a picture of our dinner last night: BBQ Pork (the Functional Foodie) on a plantain "bun" (Tummyrumblr).  I had planned to cook some broccoli and a butternut squash with our dinner, but we ended up meeting my parents and brother last minute so I got out a sweet potato and some leftover veggies from the fridge to throw on a plate. The pork had already been in the crock pot and was done. So I whipped up the homemade BBQ sauce and plantains and we had a quick, but delicious, meal! 

It was a different sort of cooking process. You have to fry the plantains and then flatten them. I was in
a bit of a rush, so maybe they would have squished easier if I had let them cook longer initially, but I ended up sticking them in between two cutting boards and then put them on the floor and stood on top and kinda rocked back and forth. Yep, I stood on my food! Ok, not directly and I promise they didn't touch my feet or the floor. It worked very nicely! Then I fried them up again and they were ready.

I had never had a plantain before, and neither had my husband, so it was a new experience for both of us. We instantly decided that we love plantains! They are delicious, prepared that way at least. And eating the BBQ pork in between was even better! It's not something we'll have often, due to the high sugar content and starches, but we will definitely be saving these recipes!

The homemade BBQ sauce was a new experiment for me too. It ended up being more tomato tasting than I'd expected, but it was still delicious and was great on top of the crock pot pork. I can't wait to have some more for lunch today!

If you'd like your own chance to stomp on your food, here you go! 

Pulled Pork:



  • 4 pound pork shoulder or Boston butt
  • 28 oz. of liquid (i used chicken stock)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1.5 medium onions, chopped or sliced


  1. Put the chopped onions and bay leaves in the bottom of the crock pot. 
  2. Place the pork shoulder on top of the bed of onions and then pour in liquid. 
  3. Set it on low for 8-10 hours. 
  4. After the time is up, pull the bone out (if you have one) and shred the pork in a large bowl. 
  5. Top with barbeque sauce and serve.

** I saved some of the liquid from the crock pot and used that in making my BBQ sauce.

BBQ Sauce:


  • half an onion, minced4-5 cloves of garlic, minced or grated
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of chipotle chili powder
  • dash of cayenne pepper (more or less depending on your taste)
  • 1 tablespoon of cumin
  • pepper
  • salt
  • 2- 6 oz. cans of tomato paste
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of organic yellow mustard
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of dijon mustard
  • 14 oz. of beef stock (or the liquid from the crock pot, if you're making the pork too)
  • 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar


1. Saute the onion in the fat of your choice (lard, butter, coconut oil, etc.) until it's soft and 
2. Add the next 6 ingredients listed and cook for an additional minute or two. 
3. Now add the tomato paste, both kinds of mustard, beef stock and vinegar. 
4. Reduce the heat, cover and let simmer for 45 minutes.

Plantain "Buns":


Plantains - Chorizo Burger, Estilo Jibarito
  • 2 large green plantains
  • palm or coconut oil for frying
  • sea salt

For best results, cut both ends off of each plantain and then score the skin once all the way down the length of the plantain with a paring knife. Dig your fingers into the cut and carefully pull the peel away from the plantain.

  1. Cut the plantains in half into approximately two equal pieces, and then cut each half lengthwise so that you get 4 pieces total from each plantain.
  2. Heat the oil over medium to medium-high heat in a large saute pan so that it’s ¼ inch deep. Test the oil to be sure it’s hot enough by placing a corner of one of your plantain pieces in the oil.  If it sizzles, it’s ready.  
  3. Fry the plantains in the oil for approximately 2 – 3 minutes per side or until very lightly browned. The plantains need to become soft enough to smash, so check them to be sure they yield slightly to the touch before removing. 
  4. Once slightly softened, transfer to wax or parchment paper to cool. Turn off the heat under the oil for now (you will use it again later). 
  5. Allow the plantains to cool slightly, about 5 minutes.
  6. Once the plantains are cool enough to handle, place them, two pieces at a time, on wax or parchment paper on a flat surface (counter or cutting board). Leave a few inches of space between the two pieces of plantain and cover with another sheet of wax or parchment paper. Using a large, heavy pan (cast iron is good) or another cutting board, smash the plantains until they are about ⅛” thick.  
  7. To re-fry the plantains, heat your oil once again and cook the smashed plantain pieces, 3 or 4 at a time, for just a few more minutes, until golden brown and crisped. Transfer to a platter and sprinkle with salt while still hot. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

I am sure you'll love this recipe if you give it a try. If you do try it, let me know what you think. Or feel free to send me any suggestions for recipes that I can try!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Time to Celebrate!

Why are we celebrating?

My bro and I.
Today is not only our 10th day on the Whole30 program (1/3 of the way done!), but it's also my little brother's birthday! He's 25 today! 

My family throws birthday parties for everyone, no matter if they are 3 or 93. It's just an excuse to get together and celebrate usually, but why not celebrate your birth and your life? You deserve it! The only problem is that these parties are usually a weakness for me and I end up eating things I know I should not be eating. So I am already starting to figure out what kind of foods I'm going to bring to his party for hubby and I to snack on while everyone else enjoys the cake and whatever else is prepared. 

My bro, his girlfriend, me, and hubby.
This will really be the first big test for us too. Up to this point we've managed to use our meal plan and haven't had to deal with dining out or dining with other people much. When hubby went kayaking they stopped at a Fricker's, but he didn't get anything and we had dinner together when he got home. I know that if we go to a party and don't have anything to eat, saying no will be harder. So it's just kind of a good idea to have something available that is a better choice. 

Normally my family doesn't have too many things to say about me bringing my own food or not eating certain things. I started doing that back in 2008 when I joined Weight Watchers. Occasionally I get a comment about how their pizza tastes and looks so much better than whatever is in my bowl or they'll say one bite won't hurt. But now I've got my husband on my side to help me, and vice versa, so we can stick to our Whole30 plan. I think the guilt I would feel of letting myself down and not completing the Whole30 without cheats would greatly outweigh the pleasure of a bite of cake. At this point I don't even know that I could enjoy it because I would think of how hard I've worked these first couple of weeks to stay on track. 

If your friends or family are a little less than supportive or maybe they're even going out of their way to try to sabotage your change of lifestyle, Whole30 has a great article on how to handle it, called "With Friends Like These...".

So, I'm not sure what we'll be taking with us, but I know it will be delicious and healthy and guilt-free!

Speaking of guilt-free and delicious and healthy ... 

I need to share my new favorite recipe. Not just any favorite recipe. THE most delicious recipe ever... if you like shrimp... which I do! : ) 

This is a recipe from Eat Live Grow Paleo, called Slow Cooker Jambalaya. I had a craving for some shrimp and found this recipe, so we decided to give it a try. I could not believe how tasty it was! I'll have to double the batch next time because it definitely did not last long enough! It has the perfect amount of hear and the cauliflower instead of the rice really wasn't an issue for us; we love cauliflower! It wasn't very hard to make either. Peeling the shrimp was probably the most time consuming. I know you won't be disappointed with this one.



-  1 lb. of spicy smoked sausage, sliced
-  1 lb. of chicken meat.  Can be breast, leg or 
    thigh, but cut it off the bone to make it easier 
    to eat.
-  1 large cauliflower, cut into small pieces

-  28 ounce can of diced tomatoes
-  1 chopped onion
-  1 chopped pepper (green or red)
-  1 cup of chicken stock
-  2 teaspoons of dried oregano
-  2 teaspoons of dried parsley
-  2 teaspoons of Cajun Seasoning (recipe below)
-  1 teaspoon of cayenne
-  1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme

-  1 lb. shrimp


  • Put the cauliflower, chicken and sausage into your slow cooker.  
  • In a large bowl mix together all the rest of the ingredients (except the shrimp). 
  • Pour this over your chicken and sausage, cover, and cook for 7 to 8 hours on low or 3 to 4 hours on high.
  • 30 minutes before the end of the cooking time, stir in the shrimp.

Cajun Seasoning: 


-  2 1/2 tablespoons of salt
-  1 tablespoon of dried oregano
-  1 tablespoon of paprika
-  1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper
-  1 tablespoon of ground black pepper


  • Mix all the ingredients together and store in a small jar with the rest of your spice mixes until needed.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Meal Plans!

I said I'd post my meal plan, so here's Week 1. 

Meatloaf "Cake"
I haven't experimented too much with my own concoctions yet. I've just been taking a recipe here, one there, until I get enough to fill up a week. 

I've done a little bit with meal plans in the past, but never quite had enough recipes to last so we'd end up substituting with something not-so-great or we'd just go out to eat. Another problem I've had in the past was choosing a ton of crock pot recipes. These are fabulous ... when you're prepared for them. But when it's 4 PM and you're starting to figure out what you'll need to get the meal prepared, there just isn't enough time at that point. Some of the meals I was able to convert to stove-top recipes, but others were just not going to happen. So that would kind of throw everything out of balance and I'd fall back into old habits of last minute planning and eating bad foods. 

So this time I am prepared!

I am searching for simple recipes that do not include a bunch of ingredients that I would never have on hand. I am looking for quick recipes for days when we don't have much time. I also have a few crock pot recipes, but they aren't the bulk anymore and I try to write down on the previous day that I need to get that ready in the morning. One thing I do love about crock pot meals, though, is that you can prepare them the night before and just pull them out and plug them in the next day. So easy! 

My process:

First, it really helps that I am organized, probably more so than I need to be, but I like it, lol. I keep tabs at the top of my Mozilla window. As you can see, I have one for my blog, one for random weight loss resources, and a quick link to the Fitness Blender page (it's my favorite). Then I have a tab for Meal Planning. I have sub-categories in this tab. The first one is a tab dedicated to recipes. And, as you can see, I have them organized into different categories based on what they are. I may be slightly OCD, but it helps so much! I promise! 

Under the recipes folder, there is a folder for sources of recipes. These would be places like Nom Nom Paleo, Paleo On A Budget, Whole Family Strong, etc. That way I can just go to these places quickly and search for something if I need another recipe. 

There is a folder dedicated to the Whole30 process as well. Just quick links to pages in case I need some motivation or a reminder on what the rules are, etc. 

Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Sawsage N Peppas mixed together
And the bottom two folders are links to holiday foods, for when Thanksgiving rolls around, and then some local farms and farmer's markets in our area so I don't forget. Like I said, maybe a bit OCD. 

So, I add these recipes as I find them ... or I just go out and actively search for recipes. Then I start organizing them into the next folders "W:1" and "W:2" for each week. I label them according to which day we will be having them and what we are making with them. To be organized, you know. And then I just have to do a quick look to see what the day's meal is and what I will need. I usually write out the recipe on an index card and use that while I'm cooking. Then if I really love the recipe, I save the index card and put it in a photo album. I'd like to take pictures and print them some day of each of the recipes and include them in the album with the recipe, but I haven't gotten there yet. 

"Spaghetti" and Mamma's Meatballs & Marinara

Whole30 Week 1 Meal Plan

Lunches: leftovers

Monday: Salmon Cakes (WFS) with baked sweet potato and
               mixed veggies
Tuesday: Beef Stir Fry (POAB)
Wednesday: Sawsage-n-Peppas (WFS) with Roasted Sweet
                    Potatoes (POAB) and veggies
Thursday: Spaghetti (squash) with Mamma's Meatballs and
                 Marinara Sauce (SLE)
Friday: Meatloaf "Cake" (WFS) with veggies and spaghetti
Saturday: Spicy Shred (WFS) with veggies

So there you have it! 

Our first week on the Whole30 program. The breakfast casserole only lasted us about 4 or 5 days, but I was able to get up and cook on the weekend so it wasn't an issue. There was also plenty of leftover food for lunches and to add to a meal if we wanted. I don't think the Turkey Chili was really my favorite, but I'm not a huge fan of tomatoes and there are a lot in that recipe, so that's just my preference. I did really enjoy all the other recipes except for the salmon (I don't really care for it). But I absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the Jambalaya recipe. It's my favorite and I'll probably be doing a blog post on that one soon just to give it the spotlight. But the link is there if you'd like to try it.

I hope I gave you some good meal planning ideas or maybe just some good recipe ideas. There really isn't a wrong way to meal plan as long as it works for you and your family. So have fun with it, try new things. And keep it healthy! Or, as I like to say, Get Real! : )