Wednesday, August 29, 2012

So you say I'm a SuperMom...

The question I get asked most often is "How do you do it all?" I even had a close friend call me SuperMom the other day! Wha????? This is one of those questions that I always have a hard time answering, but I'm going to try and do that today.  

I work 40+ hours a week (on a semi-flexible schedule), have 2 kids, maintain a busy household and exercise 5-6 days a week.  I understand why people ask the question because often times I don't know how I do it.  The quick answer is that it's not easy.  Many weeks I find myself at the end of my rope, exhausted and barely keeping it together.  Other weeks seems to fly by like the breeze; easy and forgiving.

If there's anything I've learned in the last year it's that there are some things I can control and other things I cannot.  I'd like to focus in on these because I really believe being able to discern between these 2 things just makes everything easier as you set out to make your dreams reality.  

First, let's talk about the things I can control:
I can control how much time I put into the housework.
I can control what goes in my mouth and make an effort to plan ahead.
I can control my work schedule (to an extent).
I can control what I want my priorities to be.
I can control my mind, my thoughts and my own energy.
I can control what it's going to take to get me to my goals.

The things I can't control:
I can't control the unexpected.
I can't control  the uncontrollable.  
(sounds simple, right? Well, it is!!)

I think a lot of times (we Moms especially) think that we must live up to this super high standard. A standard that for most of us is unattainable.  A week or so ago I was having a conversation with a friend about housework.  She grew up with a mom that stayed home and the house was always immaculate.  My friend works full-time in a demanding job and also has 2 little ones to wrangle.  She wanted to know how I did it. How could I keep my house together, workout, eat right, maintain my 40+ hours of work at my job and still remain sane?  Truth is, I focus on the things I can control and don't worry about the things I cannot control.  Having young kids, you probably know that it's like a tornado blew through the house on any given day.  Is my house a disaster area? Maybe to some. Is it spotless? Hardly.  Do I freak out about toys strewn all over the place or the fact that I didn't wipe down the kitchen counter? Not anymore. I spent enough time in my single years focusing on the things that I can't control instead of just letting life happen. 

With the control aspect, comes determination along with it.  You've harnessed the things you want to achieve and then you set out and do them. You've got to JUST DO IT!  Once I set aside what was important to me and what wasn't is when my goals started to become realized. I wasn't fantasizing anymore about them, I was doing them.  I spent 2 hours on Sunday in my kitchen prepping food to eat during a busy work-week.  I got up at 5am to workout if I had to, even if the baby woke up in the middle of the night (see, there's that unexpected part sneaking in!). I budgeted for a house cleaner to take the edge off. I worked extra late at home so I didn't have to spend those hours in the office (flex scheduling helps!). I ask my husband for help when I feel like I'm losing it. I take the things I have power over, and I supercharge them.  Once you figure out what is really important to you all the things around you start to change.  Everything starts to make sense and the pieces fall into place.  Your goals become realized instead of just being a distant dream. 

I'm a bit of a perfectionist, no lyin'.  I still have a hard time letting go of the uncontrollable.  I have slept in instead of worked out. I have fallen off the wagon with my food and exercise. I have let my house get to tornado-zone status. But the next day, I wake up and I decide I'm not going to let the uncontrollable control me. I figure out what needs to change and I get up and I do it.  Consistency pays off. Not only as it pertains to weight loss goals and fitness, but also in life. When you repeat these practices, new habits form.  Your mindset shifts. In letting go of the unnecessary and harnessing the necessary, you become a new person.  I'm not always perfect.  But I can plan to be the best me and then follow through with that until the uncontrollable throws me a curve ball.  How you choose to handle the curve ball is what makes all the difference. 

Now, would I say that I'm Supermom or that I have it all figured out? Absolutely not! I'm human, I'm learning and evolving and I make mistakes.  I fail daily. Bad weeks come with the good ones.  All I can do is be my best and forget the rest.  I have goals, dreams and aspirations and I'm not getting there worrying about what my house looks like or if I ate a piece of unplanned pizza. Make the adjustments, pull up the bootstraps and get to it!

What things in life could you "let go of" to achieve your goals?? 





Monday, August 27, 2012

Recipe Blast! (8/26/12)

Tonight I'm going to share the turkey recipes I made for yesterday's prep!

Pumpkin Spice Protein Pancakes can be found here.


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Turkey and Chickpea Burger  (from Clean Eating Magazine)
Serves: 4 Hands on time: 10 minutes Total prep time: 25 minutes

"This isn't your ordinary burger. Instead of ground beef, our patties are made with ground turkey breast and chickpeas, which cuts the fat nearly in half and ups the dietary fiber by about six grams."

Ingredients:

1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup roughly chopped scallions
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
3/4 lb ground turkey breast (12 oz), 99% fat free
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
Olive Oil Cooking Spray

Instructions:

In a food processor, combine chickpeas, scallions, cumin, pepper, salt and Worcestershire sauce. Pulse until smooth.

Transfer chickpea mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add turkey and mix by hand until combined.

Divide turkey-chickpea mixture into 4 equal portions, shaping each into a 3/4 inch patty.  Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat with cooking spray and cook patties for 4 to 6 minutes on each side.

Nutrients per 6oz patty:
Calories; 190, Total Fat; 2.5 g, Carbs; 16g, Fiber; 4g, Sugars; 4g, Protein; 26g, Sodium; 530mg, Cholesterol; 35mg.

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Shepherd's Pie with Buttermilk Chive Mashed Potato Crust 
 Serves: 6 Hands-On Time: 25 Minutes Total Prep Time: 1 hour

"Lean ground turkey and buttermilk-mashed Yukon gold potatoes give this seasonal family favorite all the flavor and creaminess you'd expect from Shepherd's pie- with none of the actual butter or cream.  Translation: a low-cal, low-fat meal sure to soothe any winter-time craving, guilt-free."

Ingredients:  

1 lb Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 clove garlic, whole, plus 1 tsp minced garlic, divided
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 tbsp chopped chives
Sea Salt and ground pepper, to taste
4 tsp olive oil, divided
1 lb lean round turkey breast
1 yellow onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
3 medium carrots, halved lengthwise and cut into half moons (1 cup)
1 celery stalk, diced (about 1/3 cup)
1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup frozen peas

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375*F

Bring potatoes and whole garlic clove to a boil in a pot of water set over high heat.  Cook until potatoes are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes, then drain well.  Mash potatoes and garlic with a potato masher until smooth.  Add buttermilk and chives and season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, heat one teaspoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add turkey and cook, stirring often and breaking meat into small pieces with a wooden spoon.  Cook until no pink remains, about 8 minutes.  Drain and discard fat; set turkey aside.

Heat two teaspoons of oil in the same skillet.  Add onion, carrots, celery and rosemary, and cook, stirring occasionally until vegetables are soft.  Add reserved turkey, broth and tomato paste and continue to cook until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes.  Stir in peas, transfer mixture to a shallow baking dish and cover with mashed potatoes in an even layer.  Run a fork over top of potatoes in a crosshatch pattern or swirl with a spatula.  Brush top with remaining teaspoon of oil and bake in oven until filling is bubbling and top is golden brown (about 30 minutes). Let stand 5 minutes and serve.

Nutrients per serving:
Calories; 160, Total fat; 4g, Carbs; 10g, Fiber; 2g, Sugars; 4g, Protein; 20g, Sodium; 150mg, Cholesterol; 40mg

My notes:  I think this recipe needs russet potatoes vs. yukon golds. In the photo in my cookbook, it appears they used russets (That distinct white mashed potato) I just think they make the better mashed potato and with the buttermilk would have been much creamier than the yellow yukon.  I would also add more tomato paste than just 1 tbsp.  Maybe 2 or even 3! Play around with it and see what you like best!
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Simple Sunflower Seed Granola (from again, Clean Eating Magazine!)

Ingredients:

3/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 1/2 cups oatmeal
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
3 tbsp natural peanut butter
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/3 cup raw honey
1/2 tsp vanilla

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 300°F. Combine ingredients in a bowl and mix until evenly blended.
Press mixture in a baking pan and bake for 40 minutes.

Nutrients per serving: 
Calories: 234, Total Fat: 13 g, Sat. Fat: 3 g, Carbs: 25.5 g, Fiber: 9 g, Protein: 7.5 g,
Sugars: 12.5 g, Sodium: 52 mg, Cholesterol: 0 mg


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I'd love to hear from you if you decide to give these a shot!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Food Prep Sunday! (8/26/12)

My food prep was a lot of fun today! I prepped a few new things and had a chance to taste-test them as well.  Both turned out really good! I'll be sharing all the recipes I made tomorrow so stay tuned.

Instead of my large usual picture of all of the goodies I prepped, I broke it down as I went.  This will be a pic heavy post but sometimes those are more fun anyway :)

First I prepped all of fruits and veggies that we will be nibbling on throughout the week.  That only took me about 20 minutes.  Easy.  
In the middle of the chaos!

I peel 1 cucumber for Charlie and I, and save the unpeeled one for Curtis :)

 All ready to go: Raspberries, blueberries, cucumbers, strawberries, pineapple, celery and grapes.

Then I moved onto Simple Sunflower Seed Granola.  Our entire family loves this snack. It's great in yogurt, with some almond milk or just eaten straight out of the baggie.  Delicious! Now, I have learned my lesson with this stuff.  It needs to be baggied out into 12 portions or you will overeat it.  It's just that good!




12 baggies of Simple Sunflower Seed Granola.  Portion control is especially important here!
Next up, Pumpkin Spice Protein Pancakes.  After lots of practice with these I know longer need the recipe (which is strangely satisfying!)  Charlie helped me out with both the granola and the pancakes.  He's such a great little kitchen helper! 


Pumpkin Spice Pancakes all ready for the freezer!

 Next, I cooked up a batch of quinoa for sides this week. 1 cup of quinoa to 2 cups of liquid yields about 4 cups which is plenty to get us through the week. (Something that amazes me, really.)  I can add it to my salads, wraps, or just eat it like rice as a side with my other meals.  Quinoa is a favorite around here!!

Lastly, my 2 turkey dishes: Turkey Chickpea Burgers and Shepherd's Pie.  Both recipes are from Clean Eating Magazine and both turned out very well. The Shepherd's pie isn't your typical take on this tasty comfort food, but it's close enough for me. And at only 160 calories per serving I was pretty happy.  The turkey chickpea burgers are a lot like a regular chickpea burger that I made a few weeks ago, but the addition of the turkey makes it a little less mushy and more like a real, savory turkey burger.  Both are hits so far! 

Turkcy Chickpea Burgers

Shepherd's Pie before the potato topping
Shepherd's Pie ready for the fridge
I'll be having the Shepherd's Pie with a big salad for lunch this week, along with a turkey sandwich thrown in there.  The burgers will be post-workout/dinner meals, again with a large salad.  I also have a steak ready for grilling tomorrow night.  We typically split a 10 oz steak for 5 oz each.  The quinoa, sweet potatoes, broccoli and salad will be our sides.  For dessert, I'm going to do grilled peaches.  Oh boy, I can't wait to share that recipe!

Phew! It's a short week for us as we head out for our annual anniversary celebration. The above will get us through Friday mid-afternoon.  I plan to prep a few dishes for the kids/sitter while we are gone and also pack a few things that I can munch on while we spend our time away. It's important to me that I stay on track as best as I can while enjoying my vacation with my hubs!


Recipe blast coming tomorrow! Have a great week!!!


Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Celebration

Today is the 24th anniversary of my Mom's death.  I've talked about this in several posts over the years (here, here, here and here) and I felt compelled to talk about it again today. I'm not great at talking about this and often shy away when people bring it up or when I get asked a question about my biological mom.  Each day that I wake up the wound is still fresh.  It feels just like yesterday that I was given the horrific news that I would never see her face again. She was a part of me and she's gone now.  The periods of grief come and go but are fewer as the years go on.  Still, I miss her.  I have done so much living since that fateful day.  It's hard to believe that it's been this long.

Today, instead of talking about the grief, the loss and the emotions, I want to talk about the the things I loved the most about her. I want her to be celebrated because while she may not have an earthly presence, she still lives through me every single day.  She was the person that gave me life! A life I am so grateful and blessed to have.  That deserves a little celebration!

I was only 9 years old when she passed away and my love for her was still very child-like.  She was my Mom and I adored her just like any other 9 year old little girl adores their mother.  She was my world.  As I've grown older, there are things that I appreciate about her now that I didn't understand as a young kid.  Like how she took time to write me daily notes when I was at Camp Henry.  One year, I got mail every single day that I was there along with the coolest care package a kid could ask for. Only as a mother myself can I now understand this, but this is one of those special things I will never forget.

Mom was tall, just like I am.  People wonder if I get my height from my Dad who is over 6', but I'm built just like Mom was.  Tall and leggy.  I look like her, too.  Often times I will run into an old friend of hers who "swears they are seeing Mom."  I understand now as I look at old pictures of her. I only hope I carry myself the way that she did. She was graceful and had such HOT style.  I mean for the 80's she was rockin' the hair, the makeup, the trendy outfits. She was also an outstanding interior designer and spent her last years working at Klingman's doing a job she no doubt loved very much.

She was a very good swimmer and taught my sisters and I to appreciate the water at an early age.  We had a pool at our house in Arizona and I still treasure the photos of my days as a baby in that pool.  It's where I learned my love of swimming and I'm so thankful that was cultivated at such an early age.  My Nana used to joke that she could swim for days, but she always demanded a Snickers bar afterwards.  Nana said she would tell her to eat fruit, but all she wanted was that chocolate. It sounds like I inherited the same love for 2 things she loved! Swimming and Chocolate! :)  

She was witty, fun, graceful, stylish, beautiful and all of these good things that I remember, but she was also a serious disciplinarian.  She didn't take any crap from us kids and always demanded the best from us.  This is another thing I never could have appreciated as a 9-year-old but I appreciate it now.  She was one tough-cookie!! There is no doubt that she would be my biggest fan and biggest critic if she were still around today. 

These are just a few of the things that I am remembering about her today.  The list goes on and on and I love hearing stories from the people that knew her the best.  Memories are such a wonderful thing to have and I hold on to them daily as I walk through my life; first as a young girl, then a teenager, a newlywed and now a mother of my own.  No one will ever replace her on this earth, but I'm comforted by her spiritual presence.

Today, we celebrate your life, Mom. 

You're always with me.  
 Always and Forever. ♥ 

I Love You, Mon-chi-chi.





Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Food Prep Recipe Blast!

The recipes I prepped this past weekend are:
Skillet Rotini
Refrigerator Pickles
Barbecue Bean and Chicken "Joes"

I have shared a few of the recipes here before and have linked them above for your reference.  The rest are below!

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Skillet Rotini

Ingredients:  

1 lb. lean ground beef
8 oz of whole wheat pasta
1 jar of pasta sauce of choice
3 cups of water
1 cup 2% cottage cheese
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
1/4 grated parmesean cheese

Directions:  

Brown the beef in a large skillet. Drain.  Add jar of sauce and water.  Bring to a boil.  Add pasta and stirring occasionally, simmer for 10 minutes or until noodles are done.  Fold in cheeses and let cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and portion into take-along containers.


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Refrigerator Pickles 
These pickles are sour and sweet, and similar to bread and butter pickles. But I use less sugar to make them less sweet.

Makes 3 1/2 cups


Ingredients: 

3-5 small pickling cucumbers

3 cups white vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsps coarse salt
1/2 tsp mustard seed
1/2 tsp celery seed
2 to 4 red chiles (optional)
1/8 tsp ground turmeric
1 1/2 cups fresh dill fronds (about 1 bunch)

Directions:

In a medium saucepan, combine white vinegar, sugar, salt, mustard seed, celery seed, red chiles (optional) and ground turmeric. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Arrange prepared vegetables and dill fronds in one or more jars. Pour hot brine into jar to completely cover vegetables and seal jar. Refrigerate until cool, about 2 hours (or up to one week.)

For additional flavor add peppercorns and a small garlic clove to the jars.


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Barbecue Bean and Chicken Sloppy Joes (from Skinny Ms)

Ingredients:
  • 1 pound lean ground chicken (ground turkey can also be used)
  • 1/2 cup onions, diced
  • 1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
  • Kosher or sea salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans, organic preferred (drain and rinse)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can Great Northern Beans, organic preferred (drain and rinse)
  • 1/4 cup sucanat, coconut palm sugar or honey
  • 1/2 cup ketchup (recipe)
  • Gluten Free or Whole Wheat Buns or rolls
Directions:



Add uncooked ground chicken/turkey to slow cooker, break up with a fork, add remaining ingredients and cook 6 hours on low.
4 - 6 quart slow cooker recommended. 



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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Food Prep Sunday!

It's that time of the week! Time to prepare good healthy food for the week, write down my exercise plan and my to-do list and psych myself up for another busy week!


Prep was pretty easy-going this week. I've made a few of these recipes before which makes it easier to fly around my kitchen!  

Above pictured are blueberries (probably the last week for them here in Michigan), strawberries, cucumbers, raspberries, pineapple, celery, grapes, 6x Skillet Rotini, 6x Power Yogurt, refrigerator pickles, Barbecue Bean and Chicken "Joes" & 6x Asian Chicken Slaw Salads.  Not pictured was the Aunt Tilda's Brown Bread that is getting devoured already! It is so nice to have this all lined up for the week and I get excited thinking about eating it all! 

I just sat down and wrote out my exercise for the week.  Having it on paper like this (and on the fridge!) helps hold me accountable.  I can take a look at my calendar and figure out what days I'm going to do what and when.  At least 2 of these workouts will be done in the morning as I have things going on in the evenings.  

Sitting down and planning your food and exercise is one of the biggest keys to living this healthy lifestyle. This is my roadmap for the week!  
 

Do you plan out your food and exercise routines once a week? Just a small amount of planning can go a long way! 

Have a great week everyone! Recipe blast to come in the morning!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Getting Back My Mojo

You can tell summer is coming to a close in our house.  Things have markedly slowed down with less on our to-do list. As we head into the school year (yes, Charlie will be going to school this year!) I'm finding myself more and more focused than I have been in awhile.  I'm more productive at work, at home, with the kids and with my fitness.  

Summer is a much-needed break from the hustle and bustle of daily life.  A welcomed period of relaxation.  Trips to the pool and the beach, out of town events planned with friends and family, concerts, family reunions, getting outdoors as many times as we possibly can and enjoying all of the fruits of our long, laborious Winter.  With that busy relaxation comes a little bit of lazy, too.  I like being lazy, I do.  But, I like having my Mojo.  Let's be honest here.  I crave structure. I need a plan for my meal prep and exercise. I need a list to bang out when I get into the office. I like being productive with my kids, at home and at work. This summer (and especially July) my 5-6 workouts a week dwindled to 3-4 most weeks.  My meal prep has been haphazardly thrown together and while it's gotten us by, it's not as planned out as I'd like. It was time to get my Mojo back!

August 1st I started an accountability group with my Facebook friends.  I also started participating more in my own Phit-n-Phat group on Facebook. There is something about these accountability groups that brings the Mojo! We've all been talking about it and feeding off of each other's energy.  Curtis mentioned last night that he felt like we were moving in a positive direction and I really credit it to those folks that hold me accountable in my daily life. Throughout my fitness journey I've learned that you can't go about it alone. Not with your fitness and not with your life.  Accountability is key.  Not to mention, it's fun to share with like-minded people! The Mojo is back...and it's flowing. I'm back to my a.m. workout routines, meal prep, clean eating, food tracking, list-making, blogging and overall awesomeness that lost me these 50 pounds in the first place.

It's August 16th. 2 more weeks and school will be starting. Summer is winding down.  Do you need to get your Mojo back or are you riding the Mojo train?  

Monday, August 13, 2012

Food Prep Recipe Blast!

I'm going to try and make it a goal to blast out the recipes from my food prep on the following Monday or Tuesday.  So, here it goes!

The recipes I prepped this week are:
Tri-Colore Orzo Salad
Power Yogurt for One (x 6)
Pumpkin Spice Pancakes
Coconut Balls
Turkey Spinach Feta Burgers 

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Tri-Colore Orzo Salad (a Giada DeLaurentiis favorite!)

Ingredients
  • 1 pound orzo pasta
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1/4 cup
  • 2 cups fresh arugula (about 3 ounces)
  • 3/4 cup crumbled ricotta salata cheese (or feta cheese)
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 12 fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta and put the pasta on a large cookie sheet. Drizzle the pasta with 3 tablespoons olive oil, toss, spread out, and set aside to cool.
Once the orzo is cool, transfer to a large serving bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and toss gently to combine. Serve.

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Power Yogurt For One (x 6)  (From Clean Eating Magazine)

Serves 1.  Hands On Time: 2 Minutes

Easy to make, this protein-packed snack is perfect for when you need something to eat in a hurry.  Mixing up the fruits will alter the flavor and keep the dish interesting each time you make it.

Ingredients:
½ cup plain low-fat yogurt
1 scoop whey protein powder, flavor of choice
1/3 cup sliced strawberries
1 tsp flax oil
½ tsp cinnamon

Instructions:
Place all ingredients in a bowl or take-away container and mix until protein powder is thoroughly blended in. 

Nutrients per serving:
Calories: 240, Total fat: 7.5g, Carbs 19g, Fiber 2 g, Sugar 11g, Protein 27g

*Notes: I used an entire large container of yogurt and prepared this recipe x 6 in a large bowl before separating it into take-away containers.

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Pumpkin Spice Protein Pancakes (from Jamie Eason)

Ingredients:
1.5C Oat Flour
2T Splenda, Truvia, or Ideal
1T Baking Powder
2T Cinnamon
1/4tsp Allspice
1/4tsp Nutmeg (I used 1/5 tsp of Pumpkin Pie Spice instead of Allspice and Nutmeg)
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
4 Egg Whites
1/2C Raw Pumpkin
1.5C Unsweetened Almond Breeze (I only had Unsweet Vanilla)

Instructions:
-Warm pan on Medium heat
-Mix oat flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice together.
-Wisk egg whites and pumpkin together; add in milk.
-Mix wet and dry ingredients together.
-Spray skillet with non-stick spray.
-1/4c of mixture for each pancake; cook for 3-5mins each side.

Serving Size: Makes 10 Pancakes

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Coconut Balls (from Clean Eating Magazine)

These yummy balls are sweet without any added sugar.  The sweetness comes from the dried fruits --- nature’s candy!

Ingredients:
1/2 c raisins
3/4 c walnuts
1/2 c dried pitted dates
1/2 c dried apricots
2 Tbsp orange juice
1 tsp zest of one orange
1 small bag unsweetened shredded coconut

Instructions:
1. In a food processor, pulverize raisins, walnuts, dates, and apricots for one to two minutes or until finely chopped. Add juice and zest. Blend for one to two minutes more or until mixture clumps together.
2. Place about a half cup of coconut on a plate. Dampen hands with water, then form mixture into one inch balls and roll them in coconut. Store balls in refrigerator.

Notes: 142 calories, 8g fat, 2g protein

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Turkey Spinach Feta Burgers (from my trusty friends at Phit-N-Phat!) 
 
Ingredients:
·         1 pound lean ground turkey
·         10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed, extra liquid squeezed out
·         ½ onion chopped and cooked (Cook them up, throw them in a glass bowl in the freezer while I do the rest so they cool off a bit
·         ¼ cup feta cheese
·         1 tbsp steak sauce like A-1

Instructions:
 Put all of the ingredients into a bowl, mix them up good with your hands and form into 4 patties.  Grill away!
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If you have questions about my prep or any of the recipes feel free to leave them in the comments! 



Sunday, August 12, 2012

Food Prep Sunday!

June and July were crazy months with lots of out of town events.  My food prep was shifted all over the place! I never lost sight of it, we just had to rearrange things a bit to be sure it was getting accomplished!!  Now that August is here it's time to blog about this again.

I have a group of ladies that are in an accountability group on Facebook and we've been talking a lot about food prep this week.  I'm a busy working Mom and so food preparation has been key to my weight loss success.  When I don't plan and prep, we eat horribly.  Lots of eating out, grabbing a Lean Cuisine and generally not paying attention to what we put in our mouths.  If there is one thing I've learned it's that you cannot eat horribly, exercise your heart out and still lose weight. The food is such an important factor.  It might be the most important factor! Your body needs to be fueled with healthy foods; fruits, veggies, lean proteins, whole grains and healthy fats.  That is the key to success right there!

So, here we go... I sat down last Thursday night with 3 cookbooks and set out to find a few things to prepare.  I have my go-to favorites, many of which I've already shared here.  30 minutes later and I had a few new recipes to prep for Sunday.  After that I made my list for my Friday shopping trip.  I usually do 2 trips: one to my local health food store and one to Meijer. (Lately, the farmers market and my Doorgranics box are being utilized quite a bit too) I enjoy my Saturday and gear up for a few hours on Sunday to get things done. If we have plans Sunday I may end up doing some of the prep Saturday night and the rest on Sunday. Curtis watches the kids during this time which is something they look forward to.  One-on-one time with Daddy for them and I get to work!  I usually chop fruits and veggies first in case I need any for my recipes. Then I prioritize the recipes to make sure I am using my time efficiently. The crock-pot item gets started first and down the line I go!

Today's prep took a total of 2 hours from start to finish.  As I get more and more familiar with this process and the recipes I like most, I find that I am getting more efficient as well.  My advice is to start slow and work your way up.  Pick 1 recipe to prep and portion and then rinse/chop fruits and veggies. The next week, add a crockpot item and another recipe and keep going until you find what works for you!

Here is everything I finished up today: I know it looks like a lot of work, but 2 hours is all it takes!


Coconut Balls, Honey Almond Sunflower Loaf, Power Yogurt for One, Tri Color Orzo Salad, Turkey Spinach Feta Burgers, blueberries, celery, strawberries, honey ginger chicken breasts, cucumbers and pineapple
(Not pictured above: Pumpkin Spice Protein Pancakes! Oops, they were already in the freezer :)

 I didn't end up using Simply In Season this week, but it is one of my all-time favorite cookbooks for recipes for your farmers market or other seasonal goodies!

 
Power Yogurt for One (or six :)

 
Tri Color Orzo Salad (with a little basil for Curtis and a lot for me!) 

Pumpkin Spice Protein Pancakes

Honey Almond Sunflower Loaf

That's it for this week! I will be posting recipes throughout the week.  Make it a healthy week everyone!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Color Run * Grand Rapids, Michigan

Back in May, I heard The Color Run would be coming to town.  I've seen the reviews and decided that if it ever came to Michigan that I would make an effort to get there.  Little did I know it would happen right here in Grand Rapids! I immediately signed up. Then I went straight to my family, friends and Facebook and put the word out that I was forming a team.  I wanted to get as many people out to run this thing.  It's not timed, it's very low-key and it's all about the FUN! I thought running in a big group would get folks focused on their fitness and also add to the fun component of the run.  The bigger the better, right? Team Rainbow Racers was formed and before I could blink we had 20 people running on the team. 

Dubbed "The Happiest 5K On The Planet" the Color Run lived up to it's name! We had an absolute blast getting colored up every kilometer along the downtown streets.  The party at the end was my favorite part.  The music was blaring, the color was flying and everyone was dancing and having a great time!

I also got to witness a few of my friends and family members run their first 5k. So exciting! This was only #2 for me and it proved once again that I've been bitten HARD by the race/run bug.   These events are so fun. The camaraderie and energy that flows through thousands of people working on their fitness, while having fun is enough to make a fan out of me! I LOVE IT!

Here are the pictures from the big day...Oh what fun we had! Can you tell?






 Two Thumbs up for The Color Run and if you have an opportunity to run it, DO IT! You won't regret it one bit!
 
 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

One Year. One Commitment.

One year ago I made a decision that would impact my life forever. If you've been a reader here for any extended period of time, you know about my weight loss journey. You've probably heard this spiel before. But one year ago on this day, I set out to conquer this journey once and for all.  I was going to win no matter what it took.

It was mid-July and I was on maternity leave.  I hadn't been shopping since Cece was born in early May, but I desperately needed some new clothes.  Nothing fit my postpartum body and I figured a trip to the mall might be good for me anyway.  Off I went, sans kids on a hunt for some new clothes. I pulled a few things off the rack and headed into the dressing room. I remember this moment so vividly, like it was yesterday.  I tried on one pair of pants. Too tight. Then another in a larger size. Still, too tight.  For a moment, I wondered if they had switched up the sizing at my favorite retailer, but then I looked at myself in the mirror. I could hardly recognize myself.  I was still only a few months postpartum and I had done such a great job taking care of myself during this pregnancy, but still, the weight was evident.  I knew in that moment that something needed to change. I knew I needed to change.

I was re-introduced to Beachbody right around this time.  I was already a Power 90 and Turbo Jam fan, but I was invited to join a challenge group on Facebook.  I would buy a program of my choice and commit to 90 days of the program and Shakeology.  I was ready.  I was at my breaking point and I knew this was going to be my solution. The only problem was that I returned to work on August 1st as well.  Could I manage working full-time, 2 kids, all of the household duties and still make this a priority? It was a question only for a moment and in that moment I made the decision to COMMIT.  I bought ChaLEAN Extreme and Shakeology and decided I was going to do this for 30 days and see what would happen.



30 days turned into 90 and I had completed the entire program. 
 I was down 19 pounds, 11 inches, 9% body fat and 2 pants sizes. I was taking my life back!

After my 90 day round of ChaLEAN Extreme, I moved onto a ChaLEAN Extreme/Turbo Fire hybrid and things really took off from there.  

 
Since the beginning of the year, I've now completed 2 rounds of Les Mills Pump and I'm at my lowest weight in years.  My body is transforming in a way I never thought possible thanks to heavy lifting, mostly clean eating and my daily Shakeology.  I have more energy than I have ever had, even despite the fact that I'm chasing 2 kiddos around and also working a full-time job.  One 30 day commitment has blossomed into a year-long total health transformation.  

I still have a long way to go and I am still actively losing, but nothing can stop me now!! If you are feeling down about your weight or think there is no possible way that you could ever get it off, I am here to tell you that YOU CAN! Is it easy? Is there a quick fix? No way.  This takes determination, accountability, hard work, sweat, tears and a lot of patience and consistency.  If you put your mind to it, it CAN BE DONE!

One year. One Commitment.  I am never going to look like this girl ever again. 

I've been given this incredible gift of being able to re-harness my health and live the life I've always wanted.  If you have supported me along the way, THANK YOU! I couldn't have accomplished it without the help and accountability from those around me.  Fitness is fast becoming my passion and I'm having a lot of fun inspiring others by holding accountability and challenge groups on Facebook. The kind of group I was so grateful to have found one year ago.  
 
This is only the beginning! ♥ I'm committed for LIFE!