Foodie Pen Pals – February

This is my fourth time participating in the foodie pen pal program.  This time I had to laugh because I got an email from the lady, Stacey, who was going to be mailing my box to me because she lived in the same area of me.  When I got her box, I had to LOL even more because not only did she live in the same area as me, she lives about 5 to 10 minutes away from my house.  I have passed her street numerous times when I have traveled between my church and one of the main roads in town.

I sent to Jes who lives in Florida.  I don’t believe she has a blog so I’m going to post her email to me when she received my box. 

Yummo! 
I just opened your goodie box! I giggled a little whn I saw the cranberries bc I had run out yesterday and love them in cottage cheese for breakfast. You saved me a trip to the store! And dark chocolate with sea salt is a serious weakness of mine! You packed this full of things I love! 
Thank you! 
Now, I am off to make a pot if your delicious smelling coffee 🙂
Thank you again,
Jes

1 (41)Here’s an overview of what I received from Stacey.

1 (45)

I love almond butter instead of peanut butter.  This will be great to put in purse for emergencies.

1 (46)I have to keep these away from the Wee One because he loves gummy snacks.  This is another in case of emergency stash in my purse.

1 (47)Yum! Chocolate!  Enough said.

1 (48)My favorite granola brand and flavor.  I had just gotten a bag of this a few weeks ago so now I have 2 bags of it.  Yum!  Chunks of white chocolate and freeze dried pineapple – doesn’t get any better than that.

1 (49)I don’t know why the pic is out of focus.  I’ve recently started trying Larabars.  I love chocolate and coconut together so this will be a real treat.

1 (53)I had this for breakfast one morning after I received this box.  They were delicious with coffee,

1 (54)I love Kashi brandbut haven’t tried this flavor.  This is another in case of emergency stash.

Thanks again Stacey for a great box.

For more information about the foodie pen pal program, visit the Lean Green Bean.

Sunday prep

This week I have parent teacher conferences so I’ll be working late days. I made sure Hubby has food to feed both boys on Monday and Wednesday. I also need to make sure I have plenty of healthy snacks.

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Ranch flavored veggie chips in individual bags

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Carrot sticks

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Italian Sloppy Joes

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Asian Chicken Burgers

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Ham and cheese scones

20130224-214751.jpgAlmond Protein Pancakes

20130224-214819.jpgCelery Sticks

What’s for dinner? Feb. 18

Breakfast
Breakfast apple crisp
Spinach feta wrap
Lemon blueberry Dutch baby

Lunches
Broccoli soup
Pizza quesadilla
Crispy chicken salad
Skillet gnocchi with spinach
Almond butter sandwich

Dinners
Parmesan chicken tenders, butter noodles
BBQ pork chops, Mac n cheese
Pork fajitas
Skillet gnocchi with spinach
Burrito bowl

Sunday Food Prep

Sunday Prep 2So today I took time out and did some prep for the week.  Tomorrow I’ll be cooking a roast for burrito bowls.  The soup is for lunches and I ate it for dinner on Sunday night.  The Parmesan chicken is for one of our dinners.  I’m going to eat mine with the roasted veggies.  The breakfast apple crisp is my breakfast for 3 mornings.  I’m going to eat it with Greek yogurt.  The bbq pork is first going to be a dinner and then will be pork fajitas.  Yum!

 

Power Up Green Smoothie

During the holiday season, I participated in a group called the Healthy Elves (now Healthy Self).  I tried many new things.  One of the new things I tried was green smoothies.  I didn’t know what I was  missing because they are delicious and healthy.

This is my basic “recipe” or method to make them.  You can change the smoothie up by adding different fruits or changing up the fruits depending on your likes and dislikes.

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Power Up Green Smoothie

Stars of the recipe:

  • 1 c. baby spinach
  • 1/2 c. frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 c. almond milk (I like vanilla unsweetened almond coconut.)
  • 1 kiwi peeled and cut into pieces (I get rid of the middle part.)
  • 1/2 – 1 Tbsp. chia seeds

Directions:

  1. Place spinach, strawberries, almond milk, and chia seeds in a blender cup or blender.  
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. Add the kiwi.
  4. Blend until smooth.
  5. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

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Buffalo Wing Chicken Salad

A week and a half ago, I posted a recipe for Buffalo Wing Hummus.  I used the hummus to make a chicken salad full of veggies and with less fat.

IMG_6541[1]Buffalo Wing Chicken Salad

Stars of the recipe:

  • 1/2 c. cooked chicken, cubed or shredded
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced and diced
  • 1 celery stalk, thinly sliced and diced
  • 1/4 red pepper, thinly sliced and diced
  • 1/2 c. Buffalo Wing hummus

Steps:

  1. Mix all the ingredients together.
  2. Enjoy on bread, flat bread, or on a bed of lettuce!

(2 servings)

Printable Recipe 

Now what?

Now that I’m back to losing weight, I want to make mini goals. This way I’m not overwhelmed.

Goal #1 – healthly BMI

Goal #2 – reach the 130s/ get into single digit pants’ size

Goal #3 – look svelte and awesome at my 20th class reunion on August 3rd – Hopefully in my 120’s by then. (Graduated at 120 pounds)

Breaded Baked Pork Chops

I knew we were going to have pork chops for dinner but I did not know how I was going to fix them.  As I was driving home that night, a light bulb went off in my head.  “Why don’t I make them like the baked chicken nuggets we had a few weeks prior?”

I like the simplicity of the recipe and how it is healthy for you. My husband raved about it so I’ll say it was a success!!!

20130130-195035.jpgBreaded Baked Pork Chops

Skinny Taste

Stars of the recipe:

  • 4 boneless pork chops, cut in half
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp. Extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 Tbsp. whole wheat bread crumbs (I got mine at Whole Foods.  Use regular if you can’t find the whole wheat or make your own.)
  • 2 Tbsp. panko
  • 2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • olive oil spray

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Spray a baking dish with olive oil spray. (9 by 13 rectangular)
  3. Put Extra Virgin Olive Oil in one bowl and breadcrumbs, panko, Parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning in another bowl.
  4. Season the pork chops with salt and pepper.  Dip in the Extra Virgin Olive Oil making sure to get all sides evenly coated.
  5. Dip in the breadcrumb mixture until it’s coated.  Place in the baking dish.
  6. Repeat with the other pieces of pork chops.
  7. Spray the top with olive oil spray.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees.  (Turn once while baking)
  9. Enjoy!  (We had ours with baked sweet potato and steamed broccoli.)

Printable Recipe

It’s Not Just About a Numbers’ Game

To read about my weight loss journey, here are the links. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5.

During my first weight loss journey, I played what I called a numbers’ game. I was obsessed with the amount of calories in what I was eating but not the nutritional value. I would then play the game of it “This doughnut is only 200 calories.” to rationalize why I was eating a doughnut. Then I would make sure I would eat 200 less calories later on the day. Another trick I would do was look at a bag of potato chips and then divide it into smaller portions. “7 chips equals 70 calories so I’ll only eat that many.” I didn’t care about how much fat was in the chips. All I cared about was the amount of calories.

I really didn’t learn anything about how to eat healthier. So it was easier for me to to not maintain my weight in the long run.

Then there was the year I gave up drinking pop. I gave it up cold turkey and did great. After a year, I picked up my first can and gradually began drinking it again. Not a good thing – I was able to maintain my weight and my teeth were in great shape while not drinking pop. Soon I was drinking a pop a day, sometimes 2 pops a day. My favorites changed from time to time. By the time I stopped drinking pop 2 months ago, my favorite pop was Coke.

As I stated 2 months ago, I opened my last pop and drank a sip or two. Then I decided it was not worth it and gave it up once again cold turkey. I gave my Coke bottles to my sister-in-law so I don’t have the temptation.

I’ve started on another weight loss journey. I decided not to just focus on the calories even though I do look at the calories of different foods especially when I’m eating out so I can make the healthiest choices. My changes have come from eating differently and healthier. I’ve eaten new things in the past month and have discovered new flavors – kale and quinoa are two of the things.

I also found Slender Kitchen. She has meal plans that are based on weight watchers. It’s what I’ve been looking for. I’ve got plans for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Do I follow them exactly? No but at least I’ve got a starting point. In the last two weeks I’ve followed those plans, I’ve lost five pounds! I’m feeling quite satisfied with the food so there is no overeating. Some if the recipes are simple and others require some prep time.

I do realize you need to worry about the calories you are eating versus the amount you are burning. For me, I need to focus on learning how to eat healthier.

Next step in my journey is learning how to be more active.

What I’ve eaten – Week of Jan. 30 – Feb. 5

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Steak salad

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Maple mustard chicken, corn, and cauliflower garlic mash

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Sausage, kale, white bean soup

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Coffee

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Blueberry almond whole wheat muffins

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Kale chips

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Flat bread pizza

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Roasted veggie ziti

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Hash brown and egg casserole

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Buffalo wing hummus

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Buffalo wing chicken salad

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Caprese pasta salad

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Baked potato soup with cauliflower.

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Grilled cheese Sammy

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Skinny chocolate peanut butter cookie made with chickpeas

My Journey part 5

So November of 2012, I was transferred from the middle school to the elementary and I joined Elf 4 Health.

The bathroom right next to my room has a full length mirror in it. Almost every time, I went to the restroom. I would look at a side view of myself and just shake my head. I couldn’t believe how I let myself go. I was afraid I would continue to gain weight. Not a very good feeling.

My first elf was Lyndi. She is awesome. We emailed each other on a daily basis, several times in the day. We discussed what we were eating and about our day. She encouraged me. During that time, I did most of the challenges and started to get my feet wet into a lifestyle change not just me playing a numbers game.

Then I was matched up with Gretchen. We still email each other several times a week. She also encouraged me. I felt like I can do this.

My third elf only emailed me a few times. Fortunately Gretchen and I continued to be each other’s elves.

During the last few weeks of the Elf 4 Health, I participated in more of the challenges. I loved they were both for spiritual well-being and also physical health.

Although I had already learned some new eating habits, I learned even more. I tried new foods – chia seeds, PB2, and green smoothies. I started putting more veggies in my dishes. I became aware of how much fiber needed to be in my diet.

I learned how it’s important to move and be active. I’m not where I need or want to be in that aspect of becoming healthy.

Most of I learned to love me! Once that occurred the extra weight began to come off. I’m now 0.5 pounds from having what is considered a healthy BMI.

My journey is not complete. I still have more to learn. But I’m on my way to becoming healthier.

What’s for dinner? Feb. 4

Breakfasts

Hash brown casserole (x3)
Greek yogurt, fruit, cereal parfait (x2)
Italian eggs
French toast

Lunches

Buffalo chicken salad wrap (x2)
Caprese pasta salad
Brown sugar chicken salad
Roasted veggie panini
Baked potato soup
Flatbread pizza

Dinners

Roasted veggie ziti
Beef Ragu over pasta
Brown sugar chicken
Baked potato soup
Chicken chalquillas
Tilapia
Pizza

Kale chips

I’ve heard about these things but hadn’t tried them until yesterday. My boys won’t touch it with a 10 foot pole. My hubby was brave and tried it. It was not his thing. However he did try it so that’s a plus.

I burnt mine but couldn’t stop snacking on them. They were addictive.

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Kale Chips
Finding Joy in my Kitchen

Stars of the recipe:

  • Bunch of kale
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil cooking spray

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Wash kale.
  3. Break into smaller pieces.
  4. Place on cooking sheet. Spray with olive oil and season with salt.
  5. Bake for 5 minutes. Flip and bake for 5 minutes longer. (Mine took a shorter amt. of time so keep an eye on them.)
  6. Enjoy!

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Printable Recipe

Buffalo Wing Hummus

I love hummus. I love dipping carrots or celery in it. I have never tried to make it until now. It is so simple to make if you have a food processor or blender.

This hummus has the flavor of buffalo wings without all the fat and calories. Delicious!

It passed he hubby test.

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Buffalo Wing Hummus

Slender Kitchen

Stars of the recipe:

  • 1 1/2 c. canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed (reserve 1/4 c. of the liquid) –1 – 14 oz. can
  • 2 cloves garlic (2 Tbsp. of already minced garlic)
  • 2 Tbsp. tahini or Greek yogurt (I used the Greek yogurt and it worked great.)
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice (Microwave the lemon for about 10 seconds before juicing it)
  • 3/4 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tbsp. barbecue sauce
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. hot sauce (I used Frank’s Red Hot buffalo wing flavor.)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. white vinegar
  • 3/4 tsp. salt

Steps:

  1. Add everything to food processor or blender.
  2. Blend it until it reaches the texture you want.
  3. Enjoy with pita chips or fresh veggies!

(1/4 c. has 73 calories)

Printable Recipe

My journey part 4

The first part of the journey

The second part of the journey

The third part of the journey

In the fall of 2010, I was transferred to the middle school. Soon after starting there, I gained more weight and increased my pants’ size. It must have been from stress.

Soon I was back to the weight from when I started the journey. My body held onto it like it was a security blanket.

The next school year, I was back at the elementary school and continued to maintain that weight. I had about 3 or 4 pants I could wear comfortably to work.

At one point I tried to lose some of the weight. I played the numbers game once again. After a couple of weeks, I had given up and regained any weight I had lost.

I allowed myself to not take care of my health.

I once again was transferred to work with middle school age children. My class was very disrespectful. Also the stress of the job took the weight and really held onto it. I was gradually moving towards the biggest pants’ size I had ever worn.  (I also wasn’t eating breakfast on a regular basis, drinking Coke, and eating lunch was a balancing act.)

I was not liking how I looked.

In November, they transferred me back to the elementary and I joined Elf 4 Health.

To be continued . . .