Feelin' Chalky

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Howdy Partner!

Just slurping down the last of my homemade Kombucha.  It was SO good.  I really encourage anyone who is curious to try it out.  It is very easy and makes a ton.  Plus...you have less than $4 in the whole shebang and if you buy it in the store it is $4 for 16 ounces or so!  If you like sweet-tart...or are a big fan of pickles or vinegar...you would dig Kombucha!  Let me know if you'd like a start.  I am making up a new batch this week and will have a start ready in about 3 weeks or so.  If you just want more info, here is a great resource:


My sister found this site a while back and I really dig it.  She has great recipes and tips!

This week I am happy to say I sent 2 more pounds packing!  That brings my total pound-packing-party head-count to 67.2!  Woo-hoo!  I am just 12.8 pounds away from my October goal...can I pull it off?  We'll see!

I made fajitas (much to my hubby's surprise and excitement) this week using Quorn Chik'n Tenders...oh my goodness!  That's all I have to say about that...and that I would place a bet with anybody that you couldn't tell there wasn't chicken in these fajitas - so incredibly easy and so delicious!


I really think Quorn should hire me b/c I can't stop talking about their products!  Quorn peeps...if you're out there...free product would be FAB too!  ;)

Riding into the sunset prepping for my big boy's cowboy party tomorrow!  Here's the menu:

Morgan's Veggie Chili (I will post the recipe - from Little House of Veggies)
Jalapeno-Cheddar corn bread (with Veggie shreds cheese of course)

S'mores cupcakes

Fruit and veggie trays - YUM!  

Can't wait to post pictures!  Until next time...


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Cookies for Breakfast and Booty for Snacks

Here is the weekly update from yours truly:


video

Correction: the grand total is 65.2 pounds - got a little ahead of myself!

Things I am diggin' this week:

1. Erin Baker's Breakfast Cookies - they are perfect for easy breakfast on-the-go.  There are 10 million flavors including, oatmeal raisin, double chocolate chunk, peanut butter, caramel apple, and banana walnut.  I find them at Sunspot around here, but you can also order them in bulk through Amazon!  Score!

 Erin Baker's Breakfast Cookies, Chocolate Chunk Raisin, 3-Ounce Individually Wrapped Cookies (Pack of 12)

2. Peaches.  Yum.  Remember that song by Presidents of the United States of America?  Hmmm...I don't think they were talking about this delicious fruit though...

3. Pirate's Booty.  Hehe...my kids think it's hilarious that they have "pirate's booty" for a snack. It is quite delish I must say and not gonna send you into calorie-overdrive!  You can find it in the healthy food section at just about any grocery store.
Pirate's Booty, Aged White Cheddar, 4-Ounce Bags (Pack of 12)
4. Snow peas and/or sugar snap peas.  Aren't they just wonderful?  Put them in soups, stir-fry, or serve 'em up by their lonesome.  I give them two forks up! 

5. My knife skillz in that video.  I mean...come on!  Can you tell how NOT sharp our knives are?  That's what happens when you have kids...dull knives.

Have a happy, healthy week!


Friday, August 20, 2010

Ch-ch-changes!

There are three main truths I have learned throughout my journey so far.  the first one is this: change is a process.  Good behavior changes don't happen over night - neither do "bad" behavior changes!  You don't become an alcoholic in one day and you don't become a healthy, strong, fit person in one day either.


The second truth is: in the beginning, change seems all-consuming.  In my case, it took a couple of months for my life to start feeling "normal" again.  My new behaviors didn't fit in.  It was odd...foreign.  It was time-consuming.  It had to be in the forefront of my mind to work.  I had to be focused with each meal - plan out every detail - track somewhat obsessively until I had somewhat of a grip on what it was like to eat and be healthy.  It got easier...but I know it will NEVER be easy.


The third truth is: you can't get somewhere all at once...it takes many small steps.  In February if you would have told me I would be walking 5Ks or eating a mostly Vegan diet I would have laughed and then I would have quit.  I would have set myself up to fail.  I have always been very much an all-in or all-out person.  For some reason, my personality doesn't like the middle ground.  This journey has helped me to see that I can't always live my life that way.  Instead, I started out by focusing on eating more fruits and veggies and then reducing the processed "crap" in our house and then I just started reading and educating myself.  I listened to people who already were healthy.  I prayed (A LOT).


I think the changes that have been the hardest to make in my life have been the most important and the biggest life lessons.  I am hoping that my kids will never struggle with weight.  I am hoping that my example and my story will be a reminder to them why we eat such "weird" food.


It's funny because I am once again feeling that "sick in the stomach" feeling that always seems to hit me right before I take another leap of faith, sign on the dotted line, make a life change.  No...I am not done with my journey to healthy living - just adding another twist in the road.  I am gifted in areas like: singing, writing, drawing/painting, creating of any kind.  I am good at multi-tasking, listening, encouraging others.  Here are things that I'm not so good at: maintaining...anything (heck I killed a cactus in college - I was told that they are the most resilient of plants), organizing, cleaning...in fact, my brain wants to shut down completely when I think of those things.  Why?  I'm not sure.  Sometimes I think I'm just lazy.  I am a thinker.  I used to sit for hours (pre-Brent and pre-kiddos) and contemplate life and just "be."  I definitely don't do this anymore.


I get overwhelmed very easily.  I get freaked out by things that seem bigger than I can handle (and here is where I laugh very loudly because God has blessed me with 4 kids that are 3 and under).  My defense mechanism to anything that seems daunting, uncomfortable, confrontational is to RUN and HIDE!!!  I shut down.  I sleep.  I cry.  I avoid at all costs.


I was talking to a good friend the other day who also has kids and struggles with maintaining her home and likened my house to the game of Tetris.  Stick with me here.  I try to pick it up (the pieces that fit)...kids mess it up (the pieces that don't fit)...start to panic (oh crap...where does this one go!?!)...the pieces just start to pile up and then I give up.  Game over.  Kind of funny but oh so true.  Now...I am thankful that God made me the way he did for one main reason.  With 4 children so young, my focus cannot and should not be on making my house perfect.  I am happy that I can look past the clutter and mess and take the time to read a book to my son or dance and sing with my girls.  I love that.  My time with them is going to be short - I know it.  Three years have already flown by.  I don't want to squander that time - time is so precious...and fleeting.


BUT...the thing is...I can always do better.  The other day I had some extra time and I used it to clean off our kitchen table, sweep the floor (does anyone else sweep up more food than their kids actually eat?), and clean the kids' booster seats.  One room, one small task.  I liked the way it looked AND I liked the way it felt - peaceful.  The next day, my girls decided not to nap.  Instead of getting angry and pouting (which is the norm) I calmly escorted them out of their room and told them that I was putting them to work.  I sat with them in their tornado-stricken playroom and we cleaned it, organized it, and vacuumed it.  Again, I liked how it looked and I liked how it felt - peaceful.


The next day, we maintained those 2 rooms.  I set a timer and every few hours they had to pick up what they had gotten out and put it away.  Sydney, my oldest, asked me why we were doing this.  (in fact she asked who was coming over - ha!)  Without thinking, these words came out of my mouth, "Because God has blessed us with a nice house and nice things.  This is our way of honoring him."  Huh?  I'm still shocked that those words came out of my mouth, but I really believe it was the Holy Spirit speaking through me.


It is so true that we have all been SO blessed - beyond measure - and we take for granted many things we have in life.  Since I had that conversation with Sydney I have made it my goal to pick one small thing each day to work on in my house - just like I started by focusing on fruits and veggies at the beginning of my weight loss journey.  The funny thing is that the rooms that started this process are still clean.  It is a little piece of peace in the midst of a chaotic life.  And I really do believe it honors God - even if it never meets Martha Stewart standards!













Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Thai One On

More new recipes coming your way!


I found a couple of gems on the Weight Watchers website that I'd love to pass on.  In fact, there are so many wonderful recipes on the site...you really can find just about anything...even Shrimp Scampi!  Just type in an ingredient that you are wanting to use, for instance, cauliflower.  I did this last night.  And...I found this yummy recipe:


Cauliflower Curry



It was very good...of course I had to add and tweak, but I always do!  ;)  My favorite part of last night was another wonderful recipe from the WW website.  It was beyond words good!  Here is the recipe:



Rich broth with ginger, lime, cayenne, sesame oil, garlic...you get the picture.  Then you add in shrimp and snow peas and mushrooms.  It just warms the soul.  Love it!  Plus, it is SUPER easy to make - extra bonus!  In the recipe it calls for vegetable broth.  I have been using a new product for soups b/c I always end up wasting the broth in the box.  It sits in my fridge and goes bad.  My solution?  Veggie soup base.  You can also use bouillon cubes, but I couldn't find them.  One teaspoon of this stuff dissolved into 8 oz of water makes a cup of broth (duh).  I can mix up just enough for what I need and then pop it back in the fridge until the next time - no waste!  Hooray!  I found mine at Meijer:



Saturday, August 14, 2010

A Tale of Three Recipes

The weeks of summer are flying and the pounds are still coming off - slowly but surely.  This week I lost 0.8 pounds!  That brings my total weight loss to 62.8 pounds - 17.2 pounds away from my October goal!  My goal this week is to move my butt more and sit on it less.  The heat has a way of sneaking up on me and giving me a lame excuse to stay inside and "relax." Time to get back to gettin' serious!


I went crazy this week in the kitchen and tested out some new recipes.  I am so excited to share all three with you guys!  I hope you and your family enjoy them as much as we did!


This first dish is something I have been thinking about attempting for a while now.  I realized the other day that my family knows very little about food from other countries.  We have the occasional spaghetti or lasagna or burritos...but I am talking more exotic than that.  I am intrigued by the spices that are used in Indian cooking.  The smells and flavors are so powerful.  When I cooked this dish the other day it was so inviting and had such warmth and comfort to it!  Needless to say - I LOVED it!  This recipe is a hodge podge from about 4 different recipes I found online.  Here goes:


Chickpea Curry


2T olive oil
2 onions, chopped
2 cloves (or 4...haha) garlic, minced
1 can fire-roasted tomatoes (14.5 oz)
1 tsp. ground ginger (if you have fresh use it...and double the amount)
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. cayenne pepper (I added less so that the kids could eat it)
1 1/2 tsp. curry powder
salt to taste
2 cans (15 oz) garbanzo beans/chickpeas (with liquid)
1/4 c. coconut milk (in the can)
3T fresh cilantro (optional - add 2T to the dish and use the other T for garnish)


Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat.  Cook onions until tender.  Add tomatoes, garlic, and all dry spices.  Cook over medium heat until fragrant and bubbly.  Add garbanzo beans and their liquid (I drained the second can slightly b/c I added the coconut milk) and coconut milk.  Continue to cook until heated through.  Stir in 2T of the cilantro and take off of heat.  Serve over basmati rice and garnish with cilantro.  I think that traditionally it would be served with naan bread, but I didn't have any.  I will have to locate a recipe for it!  I figured up the points to be 5 points per 2 cup serving and then the rice would be extra.


This next dish is one I threw together using inspiration from a recipe I found in my Parenting magazine.  It was a huge hit as well and took no time to put together!


Lemony Pasta with Sugar Snap Peas, Feta, and Sausage


1/2 box Ronzoni Healthy Harvest Penne Pasta
1 bag Steamfresh (Bird's Eye) Sugar Snap Peas
2T olive oil
1T Earth Balance butter (or regular butter)
2 cloves garlic, minced (I used more)
zest of 1 lemon
1T lemon juice
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 package Morningstar Farms Italian Sausage links, crumbled
feta cheese (about 2-3T per person)


Cook pasta according to package instructions.  Put the snow peas in the microwave and cook according to package directions.  See how easy this is??  ;)  Cook MSF Italian Sausage in a large covered skillet for 8-10 minutes or until heated through.  Remove from pan and let cool slightly.  Drain pasta.  Heat the oil and butter over medium heat.  Add the garlic and lemon zest and saute 1 minute.  Stir in lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Add the pasta and peas and toss to combine.  Pretend you are going to slice the "sausage" and oops it crumbles.  Oh well...it's even better crumbled.  Portion out the pasta and peas, top with feta cheese and sausage.  My husband ate 2 huge helpings and sang my praises all night.  Hopefully yours will too!  PS...you can obviously use real sausage here in place of the MSF sausage, but the fake stuff is REALLY good!  Also, the original recipe calls for mint (2T) and red pepper flakes to be added at the end.  If you try it...let me know how it goes!


Finally, I have a soup recipe for you...again this was very yummy and the two key ingredients are chiles in adobo (found in the Mexican foods section in a can) and dill.  Please don't make this recipe without them...trust me!  This recipe is from a blog I love called Little House of Veggies.  She has so many amazing looking recipes that I am dying to try (and she is just plain gorgeous)!  In fact, the one on there right now is a key lime pie knock-off that looks heavenly!  Again, I slightly adapted the recipe for what I had the other night (I can't ever just leave a recipe alone), but followed it pretty closely:


"Cheesy" Chipotle Corn Chowder


2T olive oil
3 carrots, peeled and diced
3 ribs of celery, diced
1 large yellow onion, diced
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
5 ears of corn, cut fresh from the cob, or about 4-5 cups frozen corn
2 32-ounce boxes of vegetable stock (use 1 1/2)
3/4 lb. of small baby yellow potatoes, or a few larger potatoes, cubed
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce ( I think you could get away with 2)
3 vegetable bouillon cubes or 3 tsp. vegetable soup base (in a a jar)
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
salt and pepper to taste
Veggie Shreds Monterey-Jack flavor
fresh dill for garnish
crushed tortilla chips for garnish


Heat a large soup pot over medium heat.  Add the olive oil, carrots, celery, onions, garlic and corn and saute for about 5 minutes, until the veggies become slightly tender.  Add 1 32 oz box of veggie stock plus 1/2 of the other box.  Add diced potatoes, bay leaf, chipotle pepper, and all seasonings.  Bring to a boil, then cover and turn down the heat.  Simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.  Remove the bay leaf from the soup.  Top soup with "cheese," dill, and tortilla chips.  She made a "cheesy" sauce using cashews and it sounded yummy, but I didn't have everything to make it so I cheated and used the Veggie Shreds.  You can check out the original recipe here.


I hope you all have a splendid week!  I am planning a cowboy party for my oldest son...he will be two at the end of the month!  :(















Saturday, August 7, 2010

Ma-Ma-Ma-MY-co-protein!

What exactly is "mycoprotein?"  Well, I'm certainly glad you asked!  It is the hot topic of the day because I am in love...with a fungus...and its name is mycoprotein.  Here is a fab website dedicated to this fungus among-us:


Some of you might have some across it in the grocery aisle...mainly the freezer or health food section.  The brand that is all about it is "Quorn."  They have a line of faux chicken patties/nuggets which are so good I can't even begin to tell you and also these WONDERFUL things called "grounds."  HALLELUIAH!  I have been searching for something to use as a substitute for ground beef in my recipes since I stopped eating meat.  I tried Morningstar Farms' meal starters "crumbles" and they are so-so.  They get pretty mushy and gummy after a bit.  They are soy-based which is fine but I try not to over-do the soy factor.  I love the Quorn grounds because the texture is a dead-ringer for meat.  I can't say it tastes like beef because the only thing that tastes like beef is, well, beef!  BUT...it gave our spaghetti sauce a great meaty texture and made it quite filling.  My next experiment is to use them for tacos...and I think I could make meatballs out of them too!

Basically, mycoprotein is in the same family as truffles and morel mushrooms.  Its cell structure is similar to that of the muscle fibers in meat.  Once harvested, the strands are then mixed with free-range egg (so this product is not completely vegan) and spices and then it is frozen.  The freezing process helps the strands bind tightly together and gives the product a dense, meaty texture.

Here is a "Cobb Salad" I made for lunch using one of the Chik'n patties - it was SO yummy! I cut up 1 Quorn Chik'n Patty and added it to 3 cups of "Very Veggie" salad mix (it has snow peas, carrots, cabbage, and radishes), a handful of grape tomatoes, 1 baby cucumber, 1/2 an avocado, and some yellow onion.  The dressing I used is Newman's Own Light Honey Mustard.



The bottom line...if you don't like soy or are scared of faux meats...please give this a try.  I guarantee that you would not even know the difference between a real chicken patty and the Quorn brand chick'n patty.  In fact, I think the Quorn patties are even better!  You can find them at Kroger's and Sunspot and I am sure Meijer although I have not looked for them there.  Of course, Whole Foods also carries them.  I believe they have faux, spicy chik'n wings as well.

OK.  This week I lost 0.2 pounds!  Yay!  Hey...I will take it...after four pounds last week I was expecting a gain.  :)  That brings my total loss to 62 pounds, which brings me to my new goals...

Goal #1: 80 pounds by October 1st.  

Goal #2: 90 pounds by November 2nd (my son's 1st b-day)

Goal #3: 120 pounds (my own personal goal) by February (a year from when I started)

I have said from the beginning that my main goal was to be under 200 pounds again.  By February I want to be there. Now, I realize that I will still have some weight to lose in order to reach my WW goal and lifetime status, but I will be happy when I see the scale read 199.  Goal #1 has an added incentive.  80 pounds lost will bring me to 240...most roller coasters have a warning in fine print that states people with heart problems and people who are pregnant shouldn't ride. It also says that anyone 250 pounds and over may not be able to fit into the safety harness or restraints and may be asked to exit the ride.  Embarrassing.  It happened to me several years ago.  The "girls" didn't cooperate (and I don't mean Sydney and Makayla).  Anyway...I am planning to go coaster crazy if I hit my October goal and y'all are welcome to join me and my hubby!  King's Island is open every weekend in October, so I will be planning a trip there if I reach my goal.  Wish me luck!  The Beast is calling my name!