Monday, December 10, 2012

15 Weeks


My first pregnancy update...I'm 15 weeks into my pregnancy! Sometimes, it seems like time is flying, but other times, it seems like it's crawling. But I know we will get there. Slowly but surely, we will make it to 40 weeks. I'm feeling pretty good these days. Sometimes, I still have moments that I don't feel great, but I'm usually able to get through them without a big deal. I will be so glad when I feel great 100% of the time! Oh wait, will that ever happen?!

I actually got a couple of workouts in last week. I did two different pre-natal workouts. One was a toning workout and the other wast a pilates video. It felt so great to be moving again. I wanted to get out for a run on Sunday, too. But ended up making 4 batches of fudge instead! Ha! I did exercise my resistence muscle by not eating all of the fudge though! That's still an accomplishment, right?

So I thought it might be fun to do an update on a few different things for the rest of the pregnancy. I've seen a few different ones of these and thought I would put one together, too. Here's what I came up with:


How far along: 15 weeks

Percentage Complete: 37.5%

Baby is as Big as: An avocado or a large apple

Maternity Clothes: Yes, for about a week now…so much more comfortable!

Sleep: Not sleeping very well. I’m so thirsty in the evenings and nighttime, so I’m drinking a ton of water and that makes me get up a few times during the night.

Best Moment This/Last Month: Had our 12 week ultrasound and got some pictures of the little bean.

Movement: Yes, for a couple of weeks now, just here and there though. No kicks yet.

Food Cravings: None really…But clementines are making a daily appearance in my diet.

Gender: Unknown until sometime in January

Wedding ring on/off: On

What I am looking forward to: My Dr’s appt next week.

Days until my next appointment: 11

So long for today...


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Homemade Taco Seasoning


Happy Tuesday everyone!! I'm so happy to be getting some energy back, but still not back to my old self. I haven't been posting recipes lately because I honestly haven't been cooking anything that is blogworthy. We have been having very simple meals that don't require a lot of prep or time to cook. Hamburger Helper has become a weekly staple in our house. Over the weekend, we did have grilled ribeyes to celebrate TC's birthday and we had grilled hamburgers last night, but nothing exciting that you all don't already know how to make. We've been having ALOT of red meat lately since I have been having an aversion to most chicken, although that is starting to subside, too. But tonight will be another red meat night as we had tacos for dinner.

I made the taco seasoning for on it though and I wanted to share it with you. I've told you before that I hate to make a lot of processed foods, (Let's not discuss the last few months, ok?) And this is one place where I can make my own seasoning. Not only is it non-processed, but it's also so much cheaper to make your own. What I usually do is make a big batch of it and keep it in an airtight container. Then when I need some, I just measure out 3 T. and sprinkle it over my meat. Pretty simple, right? Here's the recipe:


HOMEMADE TACO SEASONING
Source: Gimme Some Oven
Servings: 4
Points+: 0

1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes - I didn't use
1 tsp. flour - optional

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Makes 3 tablespoons of seasoning mix, which is equal in strength to a 1/4 ounce package of commercial seasoning mix.


EXERCISE:
What's that?! Ha! No seriously, my exercise has been completely non-existent the last couple of months, but I really hope to change that very soon. Since it's been so long, I know I need to ease back into it. I have some Walk Away the Pounds videos that I plan to do as well as a couple of pre-natal videos that I will be doing. As soon as I have something to report, you will be the first to know!

So long for today...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Something's Up

Hello again my friends. So obviously, something has been going on with me lately. And apparently, it happened pretty suddenly. Well, the truth is that I am pregnant!!

Yes, we are expecting our second child June 2, 2013. The last couple of months have been pretty rough on me. I have been prety nauseous and extremely tired with no energy to workout. Since I've been so nauseous, the last thing I wanted to do was find new recipes to make and include on the blog. My energy is slowly coming back and I am starting to get interest in cooking again, so I hope to be up and blogging very soon. I am currently 13 1/2 weeks along. I'm just about out of the first trimester, but June 2nd still seems so far away. I hope that you all will bear with me as I know I will be inundating you all with pregnancy info.

I hope that you will be patient with me while I adjust to blogging while pregnant.

Thank you all so much for your continued support!! I appreciate it more than you know!

So long for today...

Monday, November 12, 2012

Chicken Noodle Soup - from Scratch!!


Well, hello my friends! Have you missed me? I have a few things that I have been working on lately that I will share with you within the next few weeks. I've been pretty busy with Halloween and we also took a trip to PA to see some family and friends. We are back now and I promise to post more often. Maybe not every day, but definitely a few times a week. I've missed you all so much and can't wait to share everything with you.

Over this past weekend, I made some chicken noodle soup. This is the real deal. I start with a whole chicken and cook it all the live long day. I love the result of doing this. The chicken is so incredibly tender. I started making this recipe many years ago and it's turned into something that I absolutely love. I've made it into my own. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do and feel free to add your own spin to it. Here's the recipe:

CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP
A Southen Living Yankee Original
Servings: 8 - 10
Points+: 8


1 whole chicken
3 - 4 bay leaves
1 T. parsley
salt & pepper
2 spines celery, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 c. frozen corn

Rinse chicken well, removing extra parts and checking for any leftover feathers or pins. Place in large pan and cover with water. Add bay leaves and parsley and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Bring to boil over hight heat, then reduce heat to low. Allow to cook for 6 - 8 hours, until chicken is fall off of bones.

Remove chicken from broth and set aside to cool a bit. Skim any fat off top of broth, then add veggies to broth. Turn heat up to medium-high and bring to a boil again. Meanwhile, remove chicken from bones, making sure to discard all fat/skin. Add chicken back into veggie broth and allow to combine. I also do a taste test at this point and usually add more salt in, but just do it to your taste.

At this point, I usually cook noodles separately and then serve them with the soup. This is just because it makes so much soup and I usually end up with leftovers. When they sit for a while, they soak up the broth and become mushy. But if you think you will eat it all, go ahead and cook the noodles in the broth. Enjoy.


EXERCISE:
Yes, I've still been doing this, too! I'm still keeping up with my 10,000 steps-a-day challenge. And I'm doing pretty well with it. I've also been adding in some pilates and strength training to my routine. I've cut back on a lot of the videos that I've been doing and coming up with some of my own stuff. That way, I can get caught up on my shows and still get in a good workout. It's a win-win!

So long for today...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

WIAW #12

Happy Hump Day everyone! I hope you're all having a great week! Just a couple more days and we've made it to another weekend! We're planning to go camping again this weekend. It's been 2 months since we were camping!! Since we have a couple of other things that we have to do this weekend, we're staying local. But the weather is supposed to be beautiful, so we're really looking forward to it.

So here's how my WIAW looked this week:

Breakfast was toast 2Points+) with peanut butter 3 Points+), an apple (0 Points+) and some honey 1 Point+) drizzled over top:

and I had the rest of the apple, too (1 Point+):

For my morning snack, I had some cottage cheese (2 Points+) with mandarin orange slices (1 Point+):

Lunch was an Oven Roasted Chicken Salad (3 Points+) with a little bit of mozzarella cheese (1 Point+) and FF Italian Dressing (1 Point+):

My afternoon snack was some light string cheese (1 Point+) and two clementines (1 Point+):

I also had some freeze dried mango (2 Points+):

Dinner was 4 Cheese Pasta with a creamy tomato sauce (10 Points+):

EXERCISE:
TC got back into town tonight from being on the road for work for a couple of nights. It was nice to have him back and we all went for a walk together. The weather was absolutely perfect. It was sunny and had just enough chill in the air to keep me from being too hot on the walk. Perfect!!

Hope you have a great rest of your week!

So long for today...





Saturday, October 20, 2012

Baked Buffalo Chicken Wings


Hey friends! Sorry I've been MIA for a little while. We've had a lot of things going on lately that make it kind of hard to put up blog posts every day. I'm going to try to post as often as possible, but until things slow down a little bit, I hope you will cut me some slack in not posting every day.

Today was another football Saturday in our house. TC spends most of the day watching football on Saturdays. He spends time on Sundays watching football, too. But he still makes sure to get some things done around the house before he sits down to watch his games. He also makes sure to use the DVR to miss the plays that he needs to see. This morning, he suggested that we make jalapeno poppers and wings for dinner tonight. That sounded good to me, so that's what we had. My parents came over for dinner and brought homemade blue cheese dressing with celery and mini Boston Cream Pies for dessert. Everything was very good! Here's the recipe for the wings:

BAKED BUFFALO CHICKEN WINGS
adapted from Frank's Red Hot
Servings: 24 - 30 (1 wing per serving)
Points+: 2 - 3


2 1/2 lbs. chicken wings, split and tips discarded
1/2 c. FRANK'S® REDHOT® Cayenne Pepper Sauce (or more to taste)
1/3 c. butter or margarine, melted


Place wings on rack in foil-lined baking pan.

Bake 45 minutes at 425°F until fully cooked and very crispy, turning halfway.

Combine Frank's RedHot Sauce and butter in large bowl. Toss wings in sauce to coat.


EXERCISE:
It was a beautiful day, so I made sure to get in my 3 miles today. After eating too much at dinner, TC wanted to go for a walk, but we just ran out of time. I hope to get a little bit of strength work in tonight before bed, but that will depend on how wiped out I am when that time rolls around. Wish me luck!

So long for today...

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

WIAW #11

Well, I didn't do so well with my WIAW this week. Not so much with the eating, but the taking pictures part. I had the best of intentions, but somehow, I still ended up missing a couple of pictures throughout the day. I tried to make up for it, but I'm not sure I was very successful. Let me show you so you can be the judge.

Breakfast was 1 egg (2 Points+) with 1 egg white (0 Points+) on Double Fiber Bread (1 Point+):

I had some frozen cherries for a snack (1 Point+):

as well as some lower sugar oatmeal (3 Points+) made with 1/2 c. of 1% milk (1 Point+):

Lunch was an oven roasted chicken salad with some mozzarella cheese and FF Italian (5 Points+) and some unpictured potato chips (4 Points+):

For an afternoon snack, I had some 2% cottage cheese with S&P (2 Points+):

and then I had two Bit-O-Honies (1 Point+):

Dinner was a bowl of Vanilla Almond Special K (3 Points+) with 1% milk (1 Point+) and an unpictured salad with homemade salad dressing (3 Points+):

So looking at everything, it looks like I did a good job taking pictures, except for the chips and the salad, but I confess that the Bit-O-Honies were other ones that I took a picture of after I ate mine and if you look closely at the cereal, there really isn't any milk on it because I poured another bowl to take a picture of (in a clean bowl) then put it back in the box. But at least you get the idea of what I ate, right?

EXERCISE:
I did very well with exercise today. I got over 13,000 steps in today. This includes a 3 mile walk that I went on this evening. In addition, I also got in a 30 minute Pilates video. Not too shabby! Plus, I'm going to get to bed early, too. Bonus!

I will try to do better with my WIAWs from now on :-)

So long for today...

Monday, October 15, 2012

Toffee Apple Dip


Well, today wasn't too bad for a Monday. It went by relatively quickly and painlessly as far as Mondays go. I'm looking forward to tomorrow because I get to go on a field trip with Addison to the local corn maze. They have all kinds of activities for little ones. She had so much fun last year and is really looking forward to going again this year. I think the thing she is most looking forward to is riding the school bus there though. Ha! Give it a few years and then tell me how much she likes riding the school bus!

Since tomorrow is Boss's Day, we decided that it's an occasion for everyone to bring food into work. We're always looking for a reason. But tomorrow is actually legitimate! My supervisor made this delicious apple dip for another occasion a few weeks back, so when this came up. I knew exactly what I was going to bring. This dip is so easy, but it's absolutely delicious. Like, I can't stop eating it delicious. If you make it, don't say I didn't warn you! Here's the recipe:

TOFFEE APPLE DIP
adapted from Southern Living
Servings: 8
Points+: 10


8 oz. light cream cheese, softened
1 8-oz. pkg. toffee bits
3/4 c. firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla extract

Stir together all ingredients until well blended. Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 5 days.


EXERCISE:
I am loving this walking challenge that we are having at work. I'm going to do a post on it very soon so you all know what I'm talking about. I also love that when we do our 3 mile walk in the evenings, I get in 6,000 steps right there. So easy! After we got in our walk tonight, I did a little bit of strength work. No video or anything, just about 10 minutes to keep the muscles toned. Every little bit counts though, right?

So long for today...

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Panama Sal


Here we go again. Gearing up for another Monday. This is another long week for me, so I'm crossing my fingers that it doesn't drag by too slow. We were pretty busy over the weekend spending time with family and friends. It's too bad that the Steelers lost on Thursday, but it doesn't come as a surprise with all the injured players they have this season. It's not looking very promising for the playoffs, but miracles do happen, right?

We went to dinner at my sister's house tonight. My task was to bring a dessert. This isn't always easy since my brother-in-law isn't a fan of chocolate. But I went back to a dessert that I've made in the past and got pretty good reviews on. It's called Panama Sal. I have absolutely no idea where the name came from. I got the recipe from a co-worker, but I'm not sure where she got it from. This is such an easy dessert, and it's delicious. You get a great return on your investment, ha! Here's the recipe (note my sister's new tablecloth in one of the pictures...she wanted me to mention it):

PANAMA SAL
Source: Kathy Ahrens
Servings: 28
Points+: 5


1/2 c. butter, softened
1 pkg. yellow cake mix (or lemon)
3 eggs
1 8 oz. pkg. light cream cheese, softened
1 box 10x powdered sugar (16 oz)

Blend margarine, cake mix and one egg. Put into greased 13 x 9-inch pan. Blend cheese, 2 eggs and powdered sugar (all except ¼ cup of sugar). Pour over first layer and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Sprinkle remaining sugar over warm cake and cut into one-inch squares while still warm.


EXERCISE:
I got lots of activity in today. I went for a 3 mile walk this afternoon. It was a little warm, but the weather was beautiful! Then, while the Panama Sal baked, I decided to take another 1 mile walk, that turned into 1.75 miles. I'm trying to get some extra steps in for the MoveKeeper Challenge at work. After dinner, my sister and I went on another 1 mile walk that was actually one mile. So total, I got about 5.75 miles in today for a total of 7 APs. Not too bad for a Sunday!

So long for today...

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Slow Cooker Cream Cheese Chicken Chili


I love Fall in South Carolina. Even more now that Fall is here! Things are always a little slower in the South, right! I think it's just because they're more laid back about things. The weather has been absolutely gorgeous the last few days and this weekend is supposed to be more of the same. Yes! I'll take all I can get! This evening, we went to my parents house for dinner and to watch the Steelers game. It was on NFL Network, which we don't get, so we used it as an excuse to spend the evening with them. Addison loves Mimi's homemade cinnamon rolls, too. So she was definitely a happy camper.

Since it's been a little bit cooler lately, I've been in the mood for some soup. Especially in the Crockpot. I finally got to make the Cream Cheese Chicken Chili that I saw on Plain Chicken a while back. It really can't get any easier than this recipe. And the result was some creamy delicous soup that we all loved! Here's the recipe:


CREAM CHEESE CHICKEN CHILI
adapted from Plain Chicken
Servings: 4
Points+: 9

1 can black beans
1 can corn, undrained
1 can Rotel, undrained
1 package ranch dressing mix
1 t. cumin
1 T. chili powder
1 t. onion powder
1 8 oz package light cream cheese
2 chicken breasts

Drain and rinse black beans. Place chicken at bottom of pot, then pour out whole can of corn (undrained), rotel, and black beans. Top with seasonings and ranch mix. Stir together. Place cream cheese on top. Cover with lid and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Stir cream cheese into chili. Use 2 forks to shred chicken. Stir together and serve.


EXERCISE:
Well, in addition to my 10,000+ steps that I got in today, I did one of my strength workout DVDs. I think I have been really slack in getting my strength work in lately. I guess it's just because I've really enjoyed the family walks that we have been going on. Plus, we've been so busy lately, usually by the time I have Addison down, I'm ready to go down, too! But I'm hoping to get more strength in. Let's see if it happens!

So long for today...

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

WIAW #10

Halfway there my friends! We are halfway through the work week! Whoop, whoop! This week hasn't been especially stressful. As a matter of fact, since I had Monday off, it's gone pretty quick, but I'm still looking forward to having the weekend off. We don't have any plans for the weekend, and that suits me just fine!

I hope you will forgive my lack of pictures and also lack of knowing point values for some of the things I ate today. You'll understand when you look through my day, so let's go ahead and get it over with, shall we?

Breakfast was one egg (2 Points+) and one egg white (0 Points+):

I also had a Blueberry Bliss Luna Bar (5 Points+):

and an apple (1 Point+):

For lunch, I had a Gyro Platter (7 Points+) with French Fries (4 Points+) and a side salad (0 Points+) with FF italian dressing (1 Point+). Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of my lunch and ended up only getting a shot halfway through the salad:

For a snack, I had some popcorn (6 Points+) again, but forgot to take a picture.

Then I had some Greek Yogurt (2 Points+):

Dinner was Crockpot Cube Steak (6 Points+) with mashed potatoes (3 Points+) and lima beans (2 Points+):

That's everything that I ate today. I am guessing on the values for lunch since it didn't have any nutritional values with it.

EXERCISE:
My activity was a hodge podge of things tonight. I did about a one mile walk, then did a little bit of strength training while Addison was playing on the playground at Somerset. After we got home, I finished up my strength workout with some weights. Total APs earned were 3.

So there it is. Another WIAW in the books!

So long for today...

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Creamy Chicken & Broccoli Mac & Cheese


I know, I know, I know. I've been pretty slack on the blog lately. I promise that I have a good reason though! You see, yesterday was my birthday. I celebrated over the weekend and again yesterday. I even took the day off of work to make a long weekend out of it. It was such a great day. I went shopping with Addison and my mom, then came back and had a family dinner of burgers on the grill and had cake and ice cream with TC's and my families. It was so much fun!

I have been hungry for mac and cheese lately, but sometimes, I really hate to make it out of the blue box. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love the stuff, but it's just not that good for you. So tonight, when I was trying to figure out what to make for dinner, mac and cheese kept popping into my head. I also had chicken thawed for dinner. So I figured why not combine the two and maybe throw in some broccoli for good measure. The result was nothing short of absolute deliciousness - yes, that's a word! Here's the recipe:

CREAMY CHICKEN & BROCCOLI MAC & CHEESE
Southern Living Yankee Original
Servings: 6
Points+: 10


2 T. butter
2 T. flour
1 c. skim milk
salt and pepper
4 c. cooked macaroni
4 oz. light Velveeta, cubed
4 4-oz chicken breasts, cubed
2 c. broccoli

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare macaroni according to package directions.

In a microwave safe bowl, heat butter in microwave until melted. Add flour and stir until smooth. Add milk and salt & pepper. And stir to combine as much as possible. Return to microwave and heat until butter/flour has melted and mixture has has started to thicken up. This should take about 3 - 4 minutes. Keep an eye on it and stir from time to time to keep from boiling over in microwave.

Add Velveeta cubes and return to microwave. Heat until Velveeta has melted and cheese sauce is smooth and creamy.

Heat large skillet over medium high heat. Spray with cooking spray and add chicken. I sprinkled mine with a little bit of Seasoning salt, but you can season yours however you want to. Cook until no longer pink in the middle, about 8 - 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook broccoli according to package directions.

Spray 2 1/2 qt. baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Add cooked macaroni, chicken & broccoli to baking dish, then pour cheese sauce over top and stir to distribute the cheese sauce.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 - 30 minutes, or until top turns golden brown.


EXERCISE:
I'm LOVING this Fall weather. The temps dropped drastically yesterday. I think Fall might finally be here! We added a couple of layers tonight and headed out for our 3 mile walk. It's been a few days since we've gone as a family, so it was nice to get it in again. It's supposed to get a little warmer over the next couple of days, but it should still be nice walking weather!

So long for today...

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Baked Pumpkin Spice Doughnuts


Hope you're all having a great weekend. Sorry for the lack of posts the last couple of days. I know I still owe you one for what I made my mom for her birthday. Don't worry. It's coming. I just have to get it up.

Since Fall has been getting closer (kind of) I have been in the mood for some Fall flavors. It hasn't helped that a lot of the bloggers that I follow have been making all kinds of recipes using apples and pumpkin. I have also been hungry for some baked doughnuts. So when the weekend rolled around again, I knew that I had to make something with pumpkin, preferably doughnuts. I did some searching and found the perfect recipe on Nicole's website, but I came up with a different glaze for my doughnuts that went perfectly with them! Here's the recipe:

BAKED PUMPKIN SPICE DOUGHNUTS
adapted from Prevention RD
Servings: 16
Points+: 4


2 c. all-purpose flour
2/3 c. sugar
2 T. unsalted butter (I used Melt)
2 t. baking powder
1 t. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 t. cinnamon
1 t. salt
2/3 cup canned pumpkin
2 T. fat-free milk
2 eggs
2 t. vanilla
1 c. powdered sugar
1/4 c. skim milk
1/4 t. ground cinnamon
sprinkles (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a donut pan with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large mixing bowl add the flour, sugar, and butter and mix until the butter is incorporated. Add in the baking powder, spices, and salt and mix well.

In a medium bowl, combine the pumpkin, milk, eggs, and vanilla and whisk to incorporate. Mix wet ingredients into the dry until a thick dough forms.

Place the batter in a ziplock bag and snip off the end. Pipe the batter into the donut pan filling the pan 3/4 of the way full.

Bake for 8-12 minutes or until the donut springs back when touched. Remove from oven and let cool 3 minutes then transfer to a wire rack.

To make the glaze, combine the milk, powdered sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Stir until smooth.

Dip the donuts into the cinnamon glaze and top with sprinkles. Let the donuts sit for 15 minutes until the glaze hardens. Store in an air tight container for up to 2 days.


EXERCISE:
The last couple of days, we've still been getting in our walks and I've also done a little bit of strength work. This morning, I got in my 3 miles on my own while TC did some yard work and Addison visited with the neighbors. They are calling for cooler temperatures next week and I can't wait! Sounds like good running weather to me!

So long for today...

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

WIAW #9

Here we are again! Halfway through another week. I hope your week is going by as fast as mine is! It's a good thing for me, too since I have to work this Friday. But then I have a three day weekend. Yay for those!

Let's get down to business shall we?

Breakfast was one egg (1 Point+) and one egg white (0 Points+):

with a sliced banana (1 Point+) with honey (1 Point+) and some cinnamon:

Then I had half of a Lemon Zest Luna Bar (2 Points+):

and some Greek Yogurt (2 Points+) with some flax seeds (1 Point+):

Lunch was some shrimp salad (3 Points+) on a Mini Pita (2 Points+):

with some Special K Cracker Chips (1 Point+):

and some strawberries (1 Point+):

For a snack, I shared some popcorn with a co-worker (6 Points+):

and had some light string cheese (1 Point+)

with an apple (1 Point+):

Dinner was Betty Crocker Complete Meals Cheesy Chicken & Rice (6 Points+) with some broccoli (0 Points+):

Dessert was a cup of milk with a little bit of strawberry syrup (3 Points+):

EXERCISE:
We stuck with our walking tonight and took another 3 mile walk as a family. I don't know where TC has found his motivation to get active, but I'm definitely not complaining! I hope it continues! I also did a little bit of strength work after we got back from the walk.

All in all, I think it was a pretty good WIAW both for food and exercise!

So long for today...