Friday, January 24, 2014

Simple Start

Happy Firday everyone! We made it to another weekend! Who's excited?!?! This girl is, I can tell you that! So excited to get away for awhile. Definitely helps that my destination is a warmer one. This cold is just too much! I moved to South Carolina to escape it. But it seems like it might have finally caught up to me! Hopefully, the Spring thaw shows up soon and pushes all of this cold out for good! The cold is definitely throwing a monkey wrench into my running plans. I'm strictly a warm weather runner! Ha!

So I've been doing some reasearch lately about Weight Watchers Simple Start Plan. I've seen all of the commercials with Jessica Simpson talking about how that is how she jumped back into weight loss mode after having her son last Summer. I briefly glanced at it a month or two ago, but I didn't think it was something that would be realistic for me. After talking to a friend of mine, downloading the app and doing some more research, I think it might be just what I need. Here is the link if you're trying to find more information, too.

One of my goals is to minimize the processed foods that I eat. Looking at the Simple Start Plan, I think that is the foundation of the plan. I know that when Weight Watchers introduced the Points Plus plan a few years ago, it seemed to me taht they were trying to get members to eat less processed foods. And I have changed out some of my snacks. I've started incorporating more fruits and veggies and low fat cheeses and yogurts into my diet and its very rare that I eat a 100 calorie pack anymore. So that it always a plus. But lately, some of my snacks have become more processed. I eat granola bars and some other bar type snacks that are highly processed. I would like to lose those from my diet. I might even look into making some of my own granola bars for snacks which have whole foods in them.

The moral of this long and rambling post is that I am planning to try the Simple Start two week plan after I get back from vacation. I'm sure my body will be ready for some detox after all the indulgences that I expect to have in the next week. I hope that I will see some great results during the two weeks, not only on the scale, but also in the way I feel overall.

I'd love any tips or experiences that any of you have had with the Simple Start plan or even the Simply Filling plan. What foods did you eat that you found worked and kept you full until your next meal or snack? I'd love to have this be a spring board into the Simply Filling plan. But I guess only time will tell...

So long for today...

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Red Velvet Cookie Cake

Happy Tuesday everyone! Since I had MLK day off yesterday, it's really my Monday, but it definitely helps to know that it's a shorter week for me. I hope you all had a great weekend. Even though mine was longer, I still didn't get everything done that I wanted to. So that means that we're going to have a pretty busy week getting ready to leave on the cruise. My goal is just to get everything done so that I'm not up late Friday night packing everything. That's what I always end up doing and then I'm so rushed and worried that I'm forgetting something. So I'm aiming to not let that happen this time.

I have such a treat for you all today. I'm not sure how you read my blog, but for the blogs that I read, I use Bloglovin'. If you haven't already, I would love it if you would find me and follow my blog on there. I have a couple of different links to get to it, one is even at the end of my posts. Anyway, so the other day, one of the blogs I follow had this Red Velvet Cookie Cake. What part of that doesn't sound delicious?! The pictures made it look so good, too! I knew that I had to try it. So I went out and bought the ingredients I didn't already have and I made it over the weekend. OMG guys! It was so good! And I don't usually use the phrase OMG. So if I am, you know it must be good, right? The literal icing on the cake is buttercream icing. Serisouly, buttercream makes everything better, right?

RED VELVET COOKIE CAKEadapted from Crazy for CrustServings: 16
Points+: 9

For the cookie:
1 box red velvet cake mix
1 stick (1/2 c.) butter, softened
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla extract
1 c. white chocolate chips

For the Frosting:
4 oz. light cream cheese, softened
1/4 c. unsalted butter, softened
2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 t. vanilla extract
1/2 t. milk, optional

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9” cake pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.

Beat butter until smooth. To the butter, add the cake mix, eggs, and vanilla. Beat until a dough forms and there are no more lumps. Add the white chocolate chips and mix until they're combined.

Add cookie dough to pan and press in. Bake for 23-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out with just a little bit of red. Cool completely before removing from pan.

To make the frosting: beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add the powdered sugar a little at a time and mix until everything is combined. Add the vanilla and milk.

Pipe frosting around border of cookie. Add sprinkles if you like. But why wouldn't you? Sprinkles make everything better!

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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Weekly Food & Fitness Plan #21

Hey there! I hope you're all having a fabulous weekend! Mine has been great! I've gotten a lot done so far, but still have a lot more left to do. Yesterday was a pretty chilly day here, so most of my day was spent inside cleaning and packing.

I'm going to be realistic about this week's plan. First of all, we have a ton of leftovers that need to be cleaned out of the fridge. It's also going to be crazy busy finishing packing for myself and the kiddos (TC is on his own!) so I won't have a ton of time to cook. So the nights that we don't have leftovers will probably be some kind of take out. I'm still hoping/planning to work out most nights so we will see how that goes. So having said all that, here is this week's plan:

Southern Living Yankee

Sunday - Dinner with my parents
Monday - Lasagna Stuffed Shells
Tuesday - Leftovers
Wednesday - Leftovers
Thursday- Leftovers/Dinner Out
Friday- Leftovers/Dinner Out
Saturday - Cruising :-)

Fitness -
Sunday - 3 mile run
Monday - 3 mile run
Tuesday - 6 Week 6 Pack
Wednesday - Yoga Meltdown
Thursday - 6 Week 6 Pack
Friday - Rest
Saturday - Maybe a treadmill run

I hope you all have a fantastic week! I will be back soon with a post about the Valentine's Day treat that I made today. Stay tuned for the deliciousness!

So long for today...

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Crockpot Refried Beans

Hey there friends! I hope you're all having a great week. It's nearly over. I'm not sure about where you are, but the weather here has been all over the place. It's cooler today, but the last few days have been pretty warm. It's supposed to stay cool for a while now, but as we all know, that's always subject to change where the weather is concerned. We leave for our cruise in 9 days and I cannot wait! One of the reasons that I love to cruise so much is that when I'm on the ship, I have no contact with the outside world. I'm unreachable! Not that I don't love being in the know, but sometimes it's nice to unplug. Does that make sense?

Anyway, I wanted to share this recipe with you that I made a while back for crockpot refriend beans. I hate to buy canned things all the time. They have so much sodium in them and it's so much cheaper to make my own of a lot of things. These refried beans are a perfect example. I know, I know, they're not true "refried" beans since they never get fried, but I promise, you'll never know the difference. They're really easy to make and since it's a crockpot recipe, what's not to love? Here's the recipe:

adapted from Rachel Cooks
Servings: 24
Points+: 3

2 pounds dried pinto beans (approximately 5 cups), rinsed and sorted
1 medium to large yellow onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 teaspoons of salt (more to taste)
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
9+ cups of water

Add all ingredients to slow cooker and stir to combine. Cook on high for 6-8 hours or until beans are soft and mash easily. Add more water if necessary during cooking. I added two cups about 2/3 of the way through cooking because it was looking dry. It doesn't hurt to have extra water, but you don't want them to dry up.

Reserving the liquid, strain the beans out into a large bowl. Mash with a potato masher. Add the reserved liquid until you reach the consistency you desire. Serve, or cool completely and freeze in portions appropriate for your family.

The next time you have Mexican Monday, Taco Tuesday or even Fajita Friday, you should definitely try these beans. They're a great way to round out your meal that everyone will love.

So long for today...

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Weekly Food & Fitness Plan #20

Happy Sunday everyone! I hope you're all having a great weekend! I was so spoiled by the holidays and having extra days off. I'm not liking only having 2 days off this weekend. I'm not ready to go back to work tomorrow. But I guess that means I need to make the most of my Sunday, right? So let's get right to it...

Southern Living Yankee

Sunday - Kraft Recipe Makers
Monday - Tacos
Tuesday - Pulled Pork Tenderloin
Wednesday - Spaghetti & Meatballs
Thursday - Baked Chicken Fajitas
Friday - Leftovers
Saturday - Honey Balsamic Chicken

Sunday - 3 mile run
Monday - Ripped in 30
Tuesday - Yoga Meltdown
Wednesday - Ripped in 30
Thursday - Rest
Friday - 3 mile run
Saturday - 3 mile run

We are starting to get down to the wire with our cruise. Less than 2 weeks to go! Guess I had better get my Summer clothes out of the attic and face the music about which clothes fit. The more I eat, the more I realize I'm probably not going to reach my goal by the time we leave 😕. Oh well, bigger things to worry about. Make it a good one everyone!

So long for today...

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A Chilly What I Ate Wednesday

Happy Hump Day everyone!! I hope you are all staying warm on this chilly day. Are you back into the swing of things after the holidays? I'm trying, but having a little one that likes to party all might instead of sleeping is making it a little bit hard for me. Anyway, I thought I would do another installment of WIAW. Bonus, I even remembered to take a picture of everything I ate yesterday!

Homemade Breakfast Burrito and a banana

Oat Revolution Steel Cut Oats, an apple & light string cheese


Roasted Chicken Salad (This is my new favorite salad. I hope to do a post and share the combo with you all soon.) and some roasted butternut squash with a lactation cookie for dessert

Crunchy Curls, Dried Oranges

Crockpot Chili w/ pasta & a dinner roll

Fiber One Lemon Bar & pineapple

All in all, not a bad day. I was apparently feeling snacky, but pair cold weather with lack of sleep, and. I think I did pretty well. At least they were all healthy snacks, right?

So long for today...

Friday, January 3, 2014

Parmesan Chicken Crescents

Thanks everyone for the great comments you left about yesterday's post. I feel really great about my plans for the year. I'm glad you all had such nice things to say about them. So how are those resolutions coming? I'm going to be honest with you. I didn't do as well yesterday as I would have liked. Granted, I did a lot better than I have the last couple of weeks. But I have this bag of Italian cookies on my counter that my mom made for me. So, so good. She always made them when we were younger, and still does now. They're not crazy bad for me, but my problem is that I can't eat just one...or two. I need to get them off of the counter, so I won't be tempted to eat them as much. We'll see how that works out.

So here we go! Starting off the year with a delicious recipe for you. I made this a while back and never shared it with you all. I'm so sorry that it's taken me this long to share this quick and easy recipe with you all. It's a pretty easy one that has a scrumptious result. TC and Addison both loved this one. It comes together pretty quickly, too. Then, of course, there are the crescent rolls. Don't they always add something that nothing else can? I'm telling you, if you don't already have all the ingredients for this one, pick them up the next time you go to the grocery store. You won't regret it.

adapted from Plain Chicken
Servings: 4
Points+: 10

16 oz. chicken breasts, cut into strips
garlic & herb seasoning
1 package reduced fat crescent rolls
2 c. light spaghetti sauce (I used Prego Light Smart)
1 t. garlic powder
1 c. FF shredded mozzarella cheese
reduced fat Parmesan cheese (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place chicken strips on baking sheet and sprinkle with garlic & herb seasoning. Bake for 12 - 15 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove from oven.

Separate crescent rolls into 8 triangles. Pour sauce into a bowl or saucepan. Sprinkle 1/8 c. of mozzarella cheese on top of crescent roll. Dunk chicken strip into spaghetti sauce and place on top of cheese. Roll up crescent and place on cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining chicken strips and crescents. Sprinkle each roll with garlic powder. Bake for 15 - 18 minutes. Remove from oven and top each crescent with Parmesan cheese if using. Bake for additional 5-8 minutes. I served our crescents with spaghetti.

I'm teaming up with the wonderful ladies for another edition of That's Fresh Friday. Head on over to the link-up for some more great ideas!

Prototype Mama


So long for today...

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Thoughts for 2014

I know there are so many bloggers out there that are writing posts about their New Year's resolutions or goals for the new year. But I'm not going to do that. I don't like to label my ideas as goals or resolutions for the new year. I do have some things that I would like to start doing during the new year. But at the end of the year, I don't want to check it off of a list as done. With the exception of one item, everything that I add to any type of list is something that I want to continue to do beyond 2014. So, after saying all of that, here are my "thoughts" for 2014 and things that I would like to start.

1. First and foremost, I want to drop these last remaining pregnancy pounds. I really got off track during the holidays, but now that they are over, I really need to get serious. I have gotten out of my exercise routine and I really need to get back to it. So this is the one item that I will be able to check off my list for the year.

2. I want to eliminate the majority of processed foods from my family's diet. This will be a hard one since my husband is a junk food addict and Addison is following in his footsteps. Yes, it is a lot easier to open up a package of something to eat, but at what cost? I know I will not be able to eliminate 100% of the processed foods, but I think 80% non-processed would be pretty good.

3. I want to start running half marathons. I guess this could be another one that could get checked off, but I don't want to run just one half marathon and be done with it. I want to continue with them. I would love to run a marathon some day, but I'm not sure I ever will. It's unrealistic for me to even consider that, especially at this point in my life with two small children, one being under age 1. I don't have the time to train for one, so for now, I am sticking with a half marathon.

4. I have a ton of cookbooks. That's probably not surprising to most of you knowing how much I love to cook. I spend a lot of time reading through these cookbooks, but not nearly enough time actually cooking things out of them. So I would like to start trying more recipes from my cookbooks.

5. Finally, I would like to have a more positive attitude. Too often, I allow negativity to cloud my thoughts. I'm tired of doing that. I want to be a more positive person. My hope is that by doing this, that positivity will rub off on others around me. Can't hurt, right?

I think I will leave it with that. Sure, I want to be better about tracking my food with WW. I want to work harder to reach my 10,000 steps a day goal. I want to exercise more. In general, I can sum it up quickly by saying that I want to live a healthier lifestyle. That isn't vague at all, right? Lol!

I might try to come up with some cooking/baking goals for the year and share them with you later in the month. But we will have to see how that one goes.

I hope you all have a great day and rest of the week! Stay tuned for my progress reports.

So long for today...

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year 2014

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a safe and happy holiday season. Now that the holidays are officially over, it is time to buckle back down and get serious about losing these last few pounds. I will save you the details on that for another post though. For now, I wanted to share some pictures with you from our New Year's Eve. Since we had such an early morning, we ended up staying close and hung out with our next door neighbors. Here are some pictures from the evening's festivities. Thank you to my neighbor for some of these.I promise, TC was there, too. He just managed to avoid the camera all night.

Here is to a safe, happy and healthy New Year!

So long for today...