About Me

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I am a small town girl living the big city life with my superhero hubby and our superhero- in-training son! I love Jesus and junior mints and have a secret addiction to Neil Diamond and Cat Steven's music. I love a good theme party, the smell of pretty stationary, a good book and a glass of ice tea with an orange slice in it. I am fairly certain that given a cape and a nice tiara, I could save the world.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Rainy days don't get us down

It was a pretty dreary morning here in the Dallas area with lots of rain which meant we couldn't play outside.  We spent the morning in our pj's blowing bubbles in the living room, watching Blue's Clues and reading books before we set out for a little excursion to the local library...

I think we were there a grand total of 33 minutes because "W" kept wanting to climb a giant "choo choo" sculpture, pull down a ginormous stuffed Clifford (the thing was bigger than my bathroom) and run through the security gates at the exit but we did have a fun time visiting a library we'd never been to before.  Would love to hear what your favorite rainy day activities are!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Let's dish dinner

Have I mentioned that I have a 2 year old son before? I think I have but in case you don't have one of those around or your memory has failed you on what it's like to cook dinner with a toddler underfoot let me give you some insight on the matter.  Trying to cook dinner with "W" requires extreme survival skills as well as the ability to maneuver over tiny trucks, broken crayons and whatever toy he decides is absolutely necessary to place on the kitchen floor during mealtime preparation.
  •  I sweat--the oven does not have to be on to do this by the way as it's just caused by wrangling the monkey that wants to be held while I stir, assemble, chop, etc.  I never hear "hold you mommy" more than I do between 4:30-5pm each and every day.
  • There's blood because I have never been able to slice and dice while doing other things like oh keeping my son from pulling all the condiments out of the fridge or banging on the wine cabinet glass front with one of the pole components to my vacuum.  Also, remember the toy trucks I mentioned? Yeah, those suckers hurt and my husband and I have had to bust out some bandaids before because we just weren't looking down. 
  • There's also plenty of tears because by the time my hubby walks joyfully through the back door from work with a banner greeting of "how was your day? I missed y'all!" I literally want to just sit in the middle of the kitchen floor and sob while eating an entire carton of chocolate icing...no cake necessary, just give me a spoon and the icing.

All this to say (and I realize it was a lot), dinner has to be easy as well as meet my standards of delicious and healthy.  That's not always the easiest thing but tonight's Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas hit the mark! It was a pantry raid kind of night so I pulled a can of black beans, some corn tortillas I had in the freezer, some pureed sweet potatoes that I had in the freezer, salsa, low fat cheese and a jar of green chile sauce that we picked up when we were on vacation in Ruidoso, New Mexico back in April.  I then proceeded to Google my ingredients (don't roll your eyes, you know you Google) and found a great recipe on the Five Dollar Dinners site that you can find here.  I literally dumped the potatoes and salsa in a bowl and mixed in my rinsed and drained beans and sprinkled in some cinnamon and cumin. 
Assembly took 10 minutes so after throwing them in the oven while holding "W" back with one foot I got ambitious and decided to grill some zuchinni outside so he could play! I think even Bobby Flay might have been impressed with those grill marks.  I just brushed with olive oil and sprinkled some steak seasoning on top---soooo good.

And while I grilled, "W" ran around with great glee.

In the end, I had a wonderful meal that was easy to prepare and walk away from while it cooked so I could spend my time in more important ways like blowing bubbles and chasing that sweet faced boy around the back yard.

It's a new decade!

Of weight that is! 

I lost 3.6 pounds last week and that included a holiday weekend! WAHOOO!  I've lost 11.2 pounds in a month!!! *Does happy weight loss dance quietly so as to not wake anyone up*

Thanks again for all the support, I really could not be doing this without the accountability and love :)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Our 2012 Summer Bucket List

I have some pretty lofty goals for the next year obviously, with an attempt to shed serious weight as well as eat and be healthier.  However, diet and exercise cannot consume all my waking moments and thoughts...other things need to happen to be a healthy person and so this summer for big fun I decided our family would make a bucket list! We had fun thinking of simple and attainable goals for the next few months because we do have a 2 year old and there's really only so much we can accomplish in a summer with such a small guy. 

I found summer images on Google then saved them into a word document, typed up our goals above the images and printed them out! I use this wire hanger in the kitchen for photos so I removed the photos and tied the bucket list items on it so we can see it each day.  One of the things I've really been wanting to do is form a playgroup within our neighborhood so a couple of weeks ago I ran an article in our association's newsletter inviting moms of tots to come over for play.  This morning we had some moms and kids over to our home and had a really nice time playing and talking, exchanging ideas and ways to do things, it was so nice to connect with other mommies close by!

And we got to check off one of our bucket list items...make a new friend or friends!!!

We can't wait to spend time playing with bubbles, host an ice cream social for our neighbors, visit a spray ground or the library and just enjoy our moments together as a family.  I'd love to hear what you and your family are planning on doing this summer big or small or if there's kid friendly activities in the area share those too! Happy summer!

**UPDATE: My 2 week vegetarian stint ended this weekend and I ate a chicken sausage last night...paying for it today y'all I'm not kidding.  Other than fish, I'm going to stay clear of meat since for a while since I've been feeling so much better with increased veggies in my diet.  I know, I know, I said I'd be at Chick-fil-a this week eating a #1 combo but that's just not going to happen.  I've also given up my sweet n lows and fake sugar and have also noticed a difference! Thanks for all the recipes and tips you send me I LOVE THEM! Keep them coming as well as any tricks you have for staying healthy!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Happy Memorial Day

From our home to yours we hope you had a wonderful holiday weekend!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Burgers and brats and brownies, oh my!

It's a holiday weekend which means there is food all around and not necessarily the healthiest of foods! Now I don't think there's anything wrong with enjoying a good hot dog or burger every once in a while but since I am in weight loss mode and haven't gotten to the gym much this week I feel the need to make extra wise choices today and tomorrow.  Thankfully, the bbq we are attending tonight with our small group is a potluck so I get to be in control of what I'll take and plan to not indulge in meat, breads and desserts.  I'm ok with this because we're going to hang out with friends and meet new people, therefore food is an accessory to the fun not all of the fun (some of y'all don't struggle with this but I do so it's a process of reminding myself). 

This past week we tried some really good vegeterian dishes from an awesome website called Peas and Thank You which my friend Brittany recommended (thanks Britt!).  One of them was a Peanut Noodle Salad that rocked our faces off! One of Scott's favorite things is peanut sauce  and this gave us the chance to add some healthy bok choy, beautiful red bell pepper and crunchy edamame! I've never purchased the fire roasted tomatoes that she uses in this recipe and I seriously could have just eaten them straight from the can...so smoky, so juicy, so summer.  For that recipe visit the site at http://peasandthankyou.com/recipage/?recipe_id=6001878

Here's my sweet "W" helping me that night by tasting the peanut butter!

Since I have a toddler who only wants to dine on goldfish crackers, fruit loops and the occasional leaf off the ground it's become a challenge to get him excited about eating vegetables.  I have to 'sneak' a lot of things in his foods.  He LOVES zuchinni chips and we made those this week as well as sweet potato pancakes--yum! If any of you have sneaky healthy foods you give your kids don't hold back, share the recipes and ideas!  I'm a huge fan of the Deceptively Delicious Cookbook by Jessica Seinfeld and we get our beet pink pancakes and  sweet potato pancakes from her if you are interested.

I hope everyone enjoys this holiday weekend and I hope you'll be seeing less of me next week!!


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Road trip!

One of the things on our 2012 Summer Bucket List is to take some area day trips, drive down back roads, stop at crazy little dives to eat and just see where the map (or gps) can take us! This morning we got up, ate breakfast, IGNORED the dishes and making beds, loaded up the car and headed off into the big Texas skyline for a grand adventure to Paris, TX.  When we got to the square we were immediately greeted by Dean Martin music playing on speakers, a gorgeous fountain and beautiful old buildings! Instantly smitten, we couldn't wait to explore...

I know what you're thinking.  We live in Dallas, a big city with LOTS to do and explore on a Saturday so why we would drive 2 hours to a town with seemingly "nothing to do".  Yes, it's true we live in a city with lots to do but we also know from our own personal travels it's the unexpected and unknown that really make for a memorable afternoon.  Laugh all you want at Paris but this town is high on charm and friendly people.  We loved the small town feeling especially at the bakery we ate at called Paris Bakery where my superhero hubby and I split the best chicken salad sandwich we've ever had.  It was quirky and unique, the ingredients they use are local and everyone in there talked to us.  I had almost forgotten what it was like to wait in line and talk with folks and since there was only one guy running the counter there was plenty of time to visit with locals.  That's something we don't get a lot of here in Big D where everyone is in a hurry, no one wants to wait and talking to others in line seems odd or intrusive somehow.  Being in Paris we enjoyed a wonderful and slow afternoon where cell phones were ignored and time was forgotten.

Weston made friends too! Everyone loved him.
After we finished lunch we headed out to the Eiffel Tower! 

We took our time going back home and went a little out of the way to find a winery we had read about last year.   Grayson Hills Winery was hands down worth the detour.   When is the last time a store owner came running out of a store to greet you, say hi and take your picture? I can honestly say that's never happened to me in all my 36 years.  The service and wine here is fabulous and we enjoyed this buried treasure outside of Whitewright.  "W" had fallen asleep at this point in the trip so I stayed near the car while Scott went in for tastings.  When he came back out to the car the other owner came out to shake my hand, say hi and that he was sorry I couldn't come in this time.  WHAT? I love this place! All of my friends need to go and visit them.  Get a sitter and go on a unique date.  The grounds are gorgeous, relaxing and cozy and we really dig their wine...we brought home a bottle of their Barn Red to enjoy this weekend!

We can't wait for our next Saturday day trip! If any of you has suggestions we would love to hear them but for now we'll fall asleep with sweet Paris memories on our mind.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wednesday weigh in...I'm such a loser

of weight that is!

Whohoo! *does happy weight loss dance*  I lost 2.6 pounds this week and I've lost 7.6 so far! Thanks to all of you who really do keep me going :)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Dishing up dessert

It's that time of the day when my mind wanders towards sweet lovelies called dessert.  Fine, I think about dessert all day but tonight I really really wanted tiramisu.  Holy heavens, it's the greatest dessert of all time and I hate to encourage anyone out there who hasn't ever tried it to go out and do so because it's calorie and fat packed!  Since I have drastically changed my diet I didn't think it wise to plunge into a 500 calorie/30 fat gram dessert because I'd be crying to you all in the morning about it.  Fortunately, I have an old easy standby for when such cravings come knocking at my sweet tooth door. 

First, you need to go to Central Market because they have an awesome playground that your husband and child(ren) can play on while you go and purchase a pack of these...

Second, race home, bathe your kid(s), read Chicka Chicka Boom to them 3 times, put them in bed and start assembling your dessert while watching Hoarders.  All you need is leftover coffee from this morning, some fat free whip cream, a dash of vanilla and sprinkling of cinnamon and you will have an awesome low fat and low calorie dessert!

I hope you try it and enjoy every spoonful of cinnamony coffee goodness just as much as I did!


4 lady fingers
leftover coffee about 1/4 a cup
4 T of fat free whip cream
capful of vanilla
sprinkling of cinnamon


Soak the lady finger cookies in the coffee as long as you like.  I personally like a little crisp to mine and do not like them soggy so I literally dunk them in the coffee, turning once and then I remove them and put them in a little glass.  Next, take the whip cream and stir in vanilla.  Top lady fingers with whip cream and sprinkle with cinnamon! So easy!

Oh the joy of being a woman

WARNING! To all the guys that read my blog I'm giving you fair warning that today I'm talking about mood swings, chocolate cravings and being really uncomfortable once a month so  "anyone who wants to be a can't-hack-it pantywaist who wears their mama's bra, raise your hand" and stop reading (that's a direct Sandlot quote by the way)!

Growing up, my dad did all the grocery shopping in our family and my sister and I would tag along frequently to "help" which for me meant flirting or googley eyeing cute bag boys.  It never seemed to bother him when we had to purchase femine products but I on the other hand was always mortified! In fact, in the 7th grade some girlfriends and I came up with a code name for our periods so we could discuss this horrible new thing called womanhood without the boys knowing what we were talking about.  Our boys were smart because it took them all of 10 minutes of a lunch conversation to figure out who "George" was.   I am embarrassed to tell you that to this day I still refer to my cycle as "George" and will refer to it as such for the remainder of this conversation.

The only reason I'm even talking about this subject is because I am here to verify that all scientific data regarding crazy hormonal actions are indeed true during the week of "George".   I lash out in insane ways, get crazy hungry for things like double hamburgers and chocolate cake and am so physically exhausted by the afternoons that all I want to do is lay on the sofa with the air conditioning set to 57 degrees and eat a double hamburger and chocolate cake.  Last night my poor, unsuspecting husband was subject to my Dr. Jekyllness when he entered the kitchen to see what I was preparing for dessert and I immediately grabbed my coveted jar of PB2 and held it close to my chest and with great fervor, raised voice and crazy eyes said something like, "It's mine!!!! You have cookies and junk food and this is all I have!!!".  Do you know what would have happened if he had asked me if "George" was visiting?  Oh the thought!  Thankfully,  I have a very patient husband who was willing to overlook my insanity at that time.

Despite the fact that I felt like a lead balloon this morning, I lugged my 28 pound son into the gym and with very little passion proceeded to do my workout.  The good news is I feel lighter and my mood is much cheerier...for now.  If anyone tries to touch my PB2 that may change....

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Dressed to grill

Summer is here and for us that means a lot of grilling and spending time on the deck in our backyard.  We love to be outside for many reasons but at dinnertime it's great because it allows my husband and I to actually have a conversation while my son runs around chasing hula hoops and splashing in his pool.  It's also so much easier to clean up the boy and his dinner mess with the garden hose (yes, we do this).  He's a toddler so even the simple act of eating watermelon means there will be a mess.

Since I've committed to going meatless for at least another week (can I admit I'm dying for a Chick-fil-A combo #1 at this point?) we did not grill our usual chicken or steak.  Rather, we dined on veggie skewers with couscous and a white bean salad and it was AWESOME!  We loved every single bite and neither of us missed the meat.  I took zuchinni, squash, onions, red & green bell peppers and cherry tomatoes marinated them and we grilled them til those beautiful little char marks appeared.  I'm starting to notice how bright and colorful veggies are, they look stunning on the plate.   The juice from the tomatoes and the sweetness from the squash just had us drooling the entire meal for more.

Below is a simple marinade I mixed up to coat the veggies we chose.   Would also love to hear from my friends what veggies you enjoy grilling and any spices or marinades that you use so feel free to pass them along!

  •  1/3 cup olive or vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlicp owder
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Diving in...

I avoided purchasing a swim suit last season despite some really good efforts on the part of my mommy friends.  Oh they were very convincing telling me that "no one cares" and that "W would really love this pool we go to!".  I made excuse after excuse and did go and try on suits at one point only to leave the store in tears on the phone to my hubby telling him if we could only pay for a weight reduction surgery my life would be better.

This year I decided it would be different despite the fact I'm 15 pounds heavier than I was last summer!  Just like my realization that I need to get past my insecurities regarding being in pictures with my family I also realized I don't need to let my insecurities get in the way of having fun.  What this really boils down to is my believing that my worth is in Christ and not of an ideal body image here on earth.  So this morning, with our swimsuits on, I packed up my sweet cheeked boy and we went to a friend's home to go swimming.  I'm not in any pictures honestly because it was all I could do to get some of "W" and keep the camera dry.  I had a great time though and didn't think about anything other than the friend I was with and watching our kids have fun in the sun.

A friend of mine over at  Working Out Love wrote a fantastic article about swimsuits just yesterday and if you have time I'd love for you to read it too.  In the meantime, I'm going to take a little nap and enjoy a Skinny Cow popsicle afterwards.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Cheaters never prosper and neither do pouters

What a morning! I was horrible to my husband, short with my son and taking on facial expressions that were sure to leave some serious permanent frown lines.  I weighed in, felt defeated, looked around the house at all the things that are being neglected because I'm choosing to either work out or spend time with my family and so I proceeded to have a massive mommy meltdown. 

Thankfully, my superhero hubby is a champ who hugged me, spoke truth to me and told me that laundry doesn't matter, trucks on the living room floor don't matter, fruit loops stuck to the floorboard of our car do not matter.  What matters is our family's health and how we love one another.  He's right you know.  And what's worse is I'm studying that every single morning in 1 Corinthians 13: 1-3 which states " If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing". 

Double Ouch. I can have the cleanest home, most organized pantry, all the laundry done and meals planned; I can serve my community and church, take a new mom a meal but if I'm not speaking kindly to my husband, if I'm short tempered, angry towards my son or even unkind to myself then none of it matters.  My life is messy and I don't mean my house, I mean my heart.  But I'm taking it one day at a time and with some coffee, Jesus and fierce determination I know I will be where I want to be inside and out.

I'm done pouting. I did my workout and was encouraged that in 2 weeks I have doubled my distance on the treadmill and have started running instead of just walking. Wow! I also wanted to share what I have eaten for lunch now twice this week it's so good and easy for this momma to throw together!

Tomato Cucumber Sandwich

Ingredients: Tomato slices, thinly sliced English cucumber, hummus, shredded carrots and whole grain bread.

Toast the bread, spread hummus on each piece of bread and top with tomato & cucumber slices and carrots. Sprinkle salt and pepper on tomato slices and red pepper flakes on cucumber slices.  Enjoy!

Ugh, really?

I'd be lying to you if I said I'm happy this morning.  I know, I know, 5 pounds in two weeks is something to be proud of but losing only .2 pounds this past week just has me flat out discouraged. I think I was hoping for Biggest Loser type weight loss this morning where I step on the scale and 12 pounds has disappeared but as my hubby says "you'd have to exercise like 6  hours a day to get those results".  I know I should be happy that it's a loss and not a gain but I'm not.  I have a big pout on my face and tears in my eyes because if I am fighting this hard and making major dietary changes and all I get as a result is .2 pounds it's going to be a very long hard year for me.
Not giving up, just a little sad in my heart this morning.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Toddle Waddle Tuesday

We went on a hike this morning at a nature preserve about 25 minutes away.  Did you know a toddler's definition of hiking is different than our own?  W's idea of a good hike is climbing up or down any set of stairs (located inside the museum) or hills by himself, sitting in a dried up water drain while digging for rolly pollies and demanding to be carried the rest of the way around the trails.  It's true.  That's why the only pictures of him you will see are either chasing butterflies or eating a snack because it's impossible to carry my backpack with snacks and water bottles with 27 pounds of toddler and snap a photo.  I guarantee you it wouldn't be a happy photo anyway. But here are some sweet ones of my boy today having fun in nature.

The boy and his fruit loops, one of his favorite snacks.

Chasing butterflies.

After putting him down for his nap (following a debacle of a swimming episode in our backyard) I was worn out so I snoozed for 15 minutes and then I needed a boost before doing a cardio workout. One of my friends sent me this little recipe and it was so good y'all. Just what I needed before I got my sweat on while looking ridiculous dancing around my living room.  Although, doing a workout in my living room allowed me to see all the hidden snacks the boy is hoarding like a squirrel for winter. *sigh*

Hope you try this and enjoy!

Protein Bites
2 T. protein powder
2 T. almond butter (or any nut butter but I used my PB2 for this to cut down on the fat)
2 T. shredded unsweetened coconut
1 T. maple syrup (or honey)
pinch of salt and cinnamon
Pulse ingredients in food processor until well incorporated. the mixture will start to clump together. roll into 4 balls OR you can add a little bit more water and turn it into a yummy dip like I did! It was fabulous with fresh strawberries.

Shaking up breakfast

I've never been one to skip a meal and breakfast really is the most important one of the day.  We love our "milkshakes" around here and this morning we're all enjoying what is called a Green Monster Shake.  However, when we added our frozen berries to it the color turned purple so we're renaming it to the Purple Monster Shake!
"W" enjoying his Purple Monster Milkshake

Ingredients: 1.5 cups milk (we use almond)
2 handfuls baby spinach (imagine how thrilled I am that I've tricked my son into ingesting something green!)
1 T chia or flax seeds (optional but we use flax)
1 T protein powder or nut butter (can use both but we just used almond butter)
frozen banana
frozen berries
dash of cinnamon

Blend milk and spinach then add the other ingredients and finish blending.  Mmmmm monster good!
I would love to hear what you and your family eat for breakfast that's healthy so as always feel free to email me or post a great recipe!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Monday Meal Plans

Wowsers! My superhero hubby and I were pleasantly surprised by the chickpea tacos we had tonight! I mean, we do live in Texas so a lot of the food we eat is influenced by our south of the border neighbors and we were curious how they'd stack up...but they were really good! I appreciate my friend Brittany over at Brittany Cardona photography http://blog.brittanycardonaphotography.com/ for helping me get started with some great tips and recipes. 

We topped with tomatoes, fresh salsa and reduced fat cheese and a side of roasted green bell peppers.  Yum! Here's the recipe for anyone who wants to give it a whirl:

2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp lime juice
2 Tbsp water
One 14 oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
8 taco shells
taco trimmings:  shredded cabbage, tomato, avocado and even greek non fat plain yogurt for sour cream!

Directions:  In a large bowl combine all ingredients and add chickpeas to marinate.  Let marinate for at least 30 minutes.  Place chickpeas on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake 20 to 30 minutes at 375 degrees, stirring once during cooking.  Prepare taco shells according to package directions and fill with chickpeas and toppings!

Veggie Ole!

Confessions of a Foodie

Confession #1:  I ate 2 brownies yesterday.  Thankfully, they were No Pudge fat free brownies so I've got little to no guilt going on today. 

Confession #2:  I hate exercise.  This is the point of my weight loss journey where I start to whine about how difficult it is to get a toddler to the gym (although, he did fantastic today-no crying!) and how much I hate sweating.  It's just gross, I don't like my clothes sticking to me and my legs were jello today when I was done.  My greatest struggle won't be with the food so much as it will be staying motivated to go and work out.  It's completely depressing sometimes to see that for 25 minutes of workout I've only burned 150 calories and I need to burn like a gazillion.

Confession #3:  I am currently slow cooking bbq pork to take to a new mommy.  It smells so stinking good y'all and I start my 2 week vegeterian diet today. I really want to taste that meat when it's done but I will be dining on chick pea tacos tonight instead which I will post a picture and recipe later for!

Confession #4:  I'm scared.  Even though I'm counting points and watching my food, exercising and getting good sleep I always fear stepping on the scale and so I'm scared for my weekly weigh in.  Plus, going "public" to my friends about my goals to lose weight means I've put myself out there and I fear letting people down.

Thanks for listening to what's on my heart this morning.  As always, I love getting your emails, texts, calls and posts.  They are encouraging words that keep me going and inspire me to not get bogged down!!!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Saturday!

I hosted a spa party at my home last night and I had a great time with my girlfriends!  It's nice to just relax and pamper yourself especially when you've spent the day doing things like laundry, dishes, taking a 2 year old to McDonald's to play and cleaning up spilled popcorn, goldfish and milk around the house.  While I stayed clear of the chocolates, wine and queso I did indulge in one of my favorite sweet treats...fruit salsa! I am forever addicted to this stuff and it's so easy to make, pretty to look at and delicious & healthy to munch on.  I thought I'd share the recipe since we are headed into a hot summer and this salsa is cool and refreshing.

Fruit Salsa
Ingredients: 1 can of mandarin oranges, drained
1 large granny smith apple, cored and sliced into wedges
6-8 strawberries, hulled

I have a lovely little tupperware food processor/chopper that I use so I just throw everything in and chop it til all the pieces are small.  Serve with cinnamon pita chips that can be found at the grocery store.

Hope you try it and enjoy.  I did enjoy the cinnamon sugar chips but I try to maximize by picking out broken ones and scooping a huge amount of fruit on the 'corners' so I'm not just eating a massive amount of sugary chips.

Happy Mother's Day to all my friends out there.  I know some great moms and to quote someone I heard recently in regards to moms, "you're kind of a big deal".  So whether you spend some time at the spa, dinner out, a workout or a drive around town just listening to your music spend some time taking care of yourself and just relax, you've earned it.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Moooove over meat, big changes are coming!

I'm Texan y'all, born and raised.  I grew up watching John Wayne in The Alamo with my dad and have visited the little mission in person more times than I can count.  I love our flag, Sam Houston's giant head statue outside of Huntsville, yellow roses and bluebonnets.  Anyone that's been over to my home can't miss the fact that I love this great state...

My sister and I at the state line

Now this isn't true of all Texans but for me growing up here means that I also love beef.  Granted, we don't eat steak every night (I wish!) but I grew up in a meat eating family.  In fact, I like to call it the Luby's Cafeteria mentality which means we eat meat, 2 sides, a roll and a big glass of sweet tea.  I have struggled with vegetables my entire existence.  I don't dislike them all but they are definately an afterthought when it comes to dinner.  I spend great amounts of time planning my main dishes or casseroles and then will typically throw a bag of steamed green beans on the plate just to round it out.  All of this is about to change because beginning next week for 2 weeks I am going vegeterian! I know, I'm kind of shocked myself.   I promise this isn't a political statement but strictly an effort to amp up our vegetable intake, try new recipes and learn to appreciate and start thinking about vegetables more than I do my main dish.  I have talked to a friend that studied nutrition and gotten some great feedback and recipes from her which I will share over the next weeks. 
This is probably going to be more challenging than it sounds so I would love to hear from you too if you have any veggie recipes or if there's a vegetable you think I may have never tried and would love.  In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy my mother's day weekend which will include some meat eating before I begin my new challenge! 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

With no plan, there's no attack! No attack, no victory!

There's an incredibly awesome 80's movie called "One Crazy Summer" with John Cusack and Demi Moore.  It's hysterical and my hubby and I watch and quote it often.  One of the best quotes from that movie is from a former marine dad who is always trying to get his more sensitive and directionless son to quit dreaming so he says, "With no plan there's no attack! No attack, no victory!"

While funny in the context of the movie's scene, that quote actually holds great truth for any of us.  But it's especially true for those of us who struggle with our weight in a culture where dining out is a favorite pastime.  Since I stay at home with my son now and we are a one income family we don't dine out as often as we used to and eat outs with a toddler typically revolve around the super fast food variety in which we beg him to eat anything other than a french fry.  Needless to say, it's difficult to make good choices sometimes and that's where a plan comes in handy.  Tonight I am going out with some girlfriends for an end of the year celebration dinner for our MOPS leadership team.  I am very excited to wear something other than my Green Eggs and Ham tshirt and not have to clean or scrape ketchup from the walls after dinner.  The fact remains though that I am trying to lose a lot of weight this year and eating out means I need to be on my guard.  So last night I went online to the restaurant we'll be dining at, checked out the entire menu and PLANNED what I will order tonight.  I told my hubby what I plan to eat (2 different healthier options depending on my mood) so he could help hold me accountable and not sway from it once I get to the restaurant and that's my ATTACK.  The VICTORY is knowing that I will have an awesome time hanging with my fellow mommy friends while not compromising my own personal goals.  There's also the other option of splitting a meal with a friend or spouse at the restaurant and I also like to do this (saves money too!).  This probably sounds extremely silly and possibly rigid to some people but I have found in the past when I was maintaining my weight that having a plan ahead of time is the best way to stay on course.  As always, it's really about the celebration and fun times with friends and not the food that we remember most about an evening.  I know tonight will be no different and tomorrow I won't wake up with a guilty feeling of "I shouldn't have eaten that" but rather "I had a blast last night".

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Wednesday weigh in

Moment of truth, drum roll please.

Awesome! I lost 4.8 pounds this week!! I know it won't be like that every week but a girl can dream, right? No, really, I dreamed last night I actually lost all 70 pounds in a day so I am literally dreaming it. Thanks for the encouragement and recipes. On to a new week and a major diet change next week but I'll reveal that later.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Excuses, excuses

I'm finding a million different excuses why I shouldn't go to workout at the gym this morning.  The first and biggest reason is my son hates it there.  Granted, I've only taken him one time to the kid's zone but in that 45 minutes I was away from him I was told he cried nonstop the entire time.  I feel like today would be no different.  If the weight of that mommy guilt isn't enough the following picture of our overflowing laundry basket is just a small glimpse of some chores that need to get done today.  Other excuses include but are not limited to:  I'm kind of tired, it's cloudy, what if the gym is too crowded, I need to clean out and reorganize the pantry and I'd have to put pants on my son.
Some days are better and more motivating than others and today is just an excuse kind of day.  Now if you'll excuse me, I've run out of excuses.  It's time to go get my sweat on. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Monday Meal Plans

There are many things in this world I am not good at.  A few things that come to mind are things that involve grace or coordination also anything involving yard work, gardening, marathons or pumping gas.  The good news is I excel at many other things but God especially gifted me with the ability to plan and implement.  Since I love to cook I am able to put my organizational skills to good use every week when I plan my family's meals and superhero hubby's lunches.  Tonight I'm keeping it simple with some fish tacos but I wanted to share a few of the recipes that will be making guest appearances at our table this week!

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Stir-Fry  
(this is from my freezer swap group compliments of my friend Krystal at the T-Shirt Mama http://www.thetshirtmama.com/ and I cannot wait to try it!)

Ingredients: 1 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 cup apricot preserves
3/4 tbsp. cider vinegar
6 tbsp. grated ginger
1/2 tbsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 medium carrots cut into thin strips
1 cup snow peas
1/2 cup frozen broccoli

Directions:  Cut chicken into 1/4 inch wide strips. Cook chicken in olive oil until no longer pink and transfer to a plate.  Add veggies to oil, tossing about 2 minutes.  Return chicken to skillet and add stir fry sauce.  Cook 2-3 minutes more until veggies are done.  Serve over rice.

White Bean-Green Pepper Salad with Mandarin Oranges and Chives
(this recipe is from my favorite cookbook, Robin Miller Quick Fix Meals and I am looking forward to trying it too!)

Ingredients:  Two 15 ounce cans white beans, rinsed and drained
1 large green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 tbsp. chopped fresh chives
One 11 ounce can mandarin oranges in light syrup
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions:   Combine beans, bell pepper and chives in a large bowl.  Strain the oranges, reserving liquid from the can and add oranges to bean mixture.  Transfer the reserved liquid to a small bowl.  Whisk in the oil, vinegar and mustard, pour over the bean mixture and stir to combine.  Season with salt & pepper.

Two -Cabbage Asian Slaw with Sesame Seeds
(another good one from Robin Miller Quick Fix Meals and I plan to serve it tonight alongside my fish tacos!)

Ingredients:  1 tbsp. sesame seeds
1 1/2 cups shredded red cabbage
1 1/2 cups shredded green cabbage
1 cup shredded carrots
2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup light mayo
2 tbsp. rice wine, mirin or white wine vinegar
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
Time saver tip:  Buy shredded cabbage from the produce section of the grocery store or substitute one 10 ounce bag of broccoli slaw mix for the cabbage.

Directions:  Place the sesame seeds in a small, dry skillet, set over medium heat and toast until seeds are golden, 3 minutes, shaking the pan frequently to prevent burning.  Remove from heat and set aside.  In a large bowl, combine both cabbages, the carrots, and cilantro.  Set aside.  In a small bowl, whisk together the mayo, rice wine, sesame oil and red pepper.  Add to the cabbage mixture and toss to combine (if you want more may add it here for creamier slaw).  Fold in the toasted sesame seeds and season to taste with salt and black pepper. 

I hope you try one or all of these and as always if you have a healthy recipe you'd like to share with me I WOULD LOVE IT so send it my way!!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Picture perfect

It dawned on me a few weeks ago and especially this past week in setting up the pictures for my blog I have almost no pictures with my son!  Convicted that I have let my pride and insecurities stand in my way of documenting our great times together I decided that I need to start being in the pictures not always the one taking them.  Not to sound morbid but the thought did occur to me what if I passed away while he is young, he would search and search for pictures of him with his momma and wouldn't find many.  I am definately praying and working through those insecurities to just be myself as we capture great memories as a family.
We had a great Saturday full of laughter and fun in the glorious Texas sunshine.  Here is a picture of me and my sweet W. at the Heard Natural Science Museum!  Happy weekend everyone!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Do or do not. There is no try.

It's National Star Wars Day today did you know that? It's also apparently National No Pants Day which my son celebrates every day of the year with great passion and I'm hoping I don't run into anyone else today that's celebrating that. 
I had the honor of attending Project Mom last weekend where I got to spend the night in a lovely hotel, go to the bathroom by myself, talk to grown women about real issues (not toilet training & picky eating) but issues related to women and mothers in general.  It was an awesome weekend and I left feeling refreshed and on fire to come back home and really implement some of the wonderful things I heard and learned at the conference.  Of all the great speakers I heard and met it was the final keynote speaker that gave me an "ah ha!" moment.  Kat Lee, at  Inspired to Action http://inspiredtoaction.com/ began by quoting the late, great Yoda who said, "Do or do not.  There is no try".  She went on to illustrate this with a chair saying we either pick up the chair or we don't pick it up but we can't "try" to pick up a chair  She wasn't even talking about weight loss but it was at that moment I got it.  For over a year I have whined to my friends and family, neighbors and grocery cashiers that "I've been trying to lose this weight and I just can't".  That's simply not true.  If I eat well and exercise I will lose weight and get healthy but I can't try to do that, I must actually do it.  This has been an incredible week for me, I've gotten an amazing outpouring from friends who identify with my struggles (I seriously thought I was all alone I'm not kidding), people who are cheering me on and want me to succeed and I feel like I am ready to really face down the reasons why I struggle with food so much.  I don't want to be like Luke Skywalker who whined  his way through the better part of 2 movies.  I want to just get in there and fight for myself and my health, I want to be a doer.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Little Black Rain Clouds & Sonic Onion Rings

I smiled as I fought through the tears this morning saying good bye to my friend and assuring her that "We'll be OK, W is just in a mood".   Our lovely play date was quickly terminated after a massive meltdown by my son for not getting his own way (he wanted to wash his hands and leave the water running).   Timeouts just never seem to work as well in other people's homes so we left.  Tears were streaming down my face as I drove off,  I got angry inside.  It's difficult being a mom, we crave adult interaction and play dates don't even provide great conversation but we take what we can get.  Discussing life's joys and struggles intermittently between cries for "help" with a toy or reminding our little ones to "share" is really hard so when things didn't go as planned this morning I got upset in my heart.  For an emotional eater like me it's just disaster when the little black rain clouds of life set in.  When I say emotional eater I don't mean only when I'm sad.  I'm a happy girl most of the time so I eat when I celebrate birthdays, job promotions, someone else's kid tinkles on the potty and yes, I have been known to celebrate my own weight loss by eating a bowl of ice cream!  I eat when I'm stressed or anxious, frustrated or sad.  You pick an emotion and I can pair a food to go right along with it.  So the fact that the Sonic sits on the corner of this red light I'm stopped at is not a good thing. I think,  I really need some onion rings, this morning has been terrible and the way my child is acting who knows if I'll get to eat lunch! W woke up giving me the stink eye because he got cheesy eggs instead of the pancakes he cried for so passionately and I can already tell what the rest of the day will look like so I need those onion rings.  As I sat at the green light (yes, it had turned green by this point) I just exhaled and KEPT ON DRIVING! It's such a small victory y'all but I could hear all of my support system out there cheering me on and more importantly I could hear my heavenly Father whisper "lean on me".  I know I won't always make the best choices and it wasn't easy to keep on driving but for today, for now, I am celebrating a little baby step of victory while W wails in background for pancakes (not kidding, he's actually doing this).  

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Brown Paper Packages and Confessions of a Former Working Woman

After my workout this morning I came home and did some organizing and then went to pick up W from mother's day out.  I thought I would grab a quick bite at the local Subway but the line was out the door.  Disheartened and starving I noticed a Great Outdoors sandwich shop near my son's school..with a drive through!  I adored the fact that my  lovely turkey sandwich on wheat was wrapped in brown paper and did you know they have the Weight Watcher points on the healthy items of their menu? LOVED that! I'm a fan and will be going back.  Moving on to my BIG confession:
My superhero hubby and I at my work Holiday Gala in 2008

Some of my sweet former co-workers!

Me and my former co-worker Cheryl who is an inspiration! The woman is a cancer survivor!
I used to work in uptown as an admin at an architectural firm. I wore cute clothes that didn't have spit up or smeared cheeto stains on them, I got to dine at really cool places like Dragonfly at Hotel Za Za, tour amazing local hotels and drive around town listening to my own music and not a Veggie Tales CD.    I LOVED it because of the fantastic group of people I got to work with mainly, my fellow admins.  These ladies cheered me on during my 1st weight loss round when I turned 30 and watched me drop 70 pounds in the course of a year. They were there when I had a miscarriage very early on in a 1st pregnancy, they threw me a baby shower when I was pregnant with W, gave great wisdom and insight on so many life lessons and were what I considered true friends.  After leaving that job to stay at home and raise my son we would occasionally go to lunch together as a group but over time I have flaked out in staying in touch with them.  Here's the confession: I am embarrassed to go and see my old co-workers.  I actually wrote them today to tell them why I have not been faithful in my visits and that I am embarrassed of all the weight I put back on.  My own insecurities have inhibited me from continuing those relationships and even though I knew the relationships would change once I decided to stay home,  I have flat out avoided going to see them for the past year.   So today through many tears,  I released that burden and told those girls I want to get together!  It sounds so extremely silly doesn't it? I have always considered myself a good friend but I have let my own insecurity about weight get in the way of really amazing friends.  My take away from facing this lesson head on is that it doesn't matter what others say about me or if I don't lose a pound.  Christ has given me freedom in Him so whether I am 200 pounds or 138 I am still Stephanie and I don't need to let my insecurities inhibit my relationships and how I live life.  Easier said than done but that's why I'm taking it one day at a time.