Saturday, September 29, 2012

Guest Post: Selfish Selflessness

As I mentioned in  recent post, I have asked a very special person to submit a guest post for my blog. The very special person is somebody who has inspired me to become the person I am today; my very own mother:
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Hi Everyone,
When Kay first asked me to guest blog on her site I was hesitant.  What exactly would a 42 year old mother of 3 have to contribute to her awesome blog about losing weight?  After all, I am not a good example.  I have always been overweight and I’ve been fine with that.  I’ve gotten into a comfort zone size 18 jean (heck I used to wear a 24 at my largest so to me an 18 is good).  I’m too busy living my crazy life that I just can’t find the time to work out.  Let me give you a little background… Kay was my first child and she is now 24.  Then I had Kay’s sister, Beckah, who is 16 and I recently adopted Kay’s younger brother, Evan, who is 2.  After becoming laid off last year, I became a stay at home mother to Beckah, who does Cyber School and to Evan, who was 1.  I started a small daycare in my home and now I watch 3 little boys (plus Evan makes 4 boys) all under the age of 3.  You would think that would keep me busy enough to lose some weight chasing after them, but that’s just not the case.
When I thought about what I would write about the many trial and errors I have encountered entered my mind.  I have tried diet pills, slim-fast, weight watchers, exercising… you name it I have tried it or bought a book about it in hopes of trying it.  But then it came to me… Have you ever known a defiant child who you tell to one thing and they do the opposite?  A child who you say “Don’t run” and they run faster?  Who you tell “Put that down” and they lift it higher?  Welp, that’s me!  I am a 42 year old child that refuses to listen to anyone and if I'm told to do something I usually ignore it until something MAKES me do it!
Fact: Eat Breakfast because it jump starts your metabolism and it’s the most important meal of the day.
ME:  I hate breakfast so why eat it.  I should save those calories for something I enjoy eating later in the day.
Fact:  Exercise gives you more energy
ME:  I don’t have enough energy to exercise so why risk the little energy I have to see if it will make me feel better.
Then Kay asked me to go to the gym with her a couple times a week to keep her company.  Sure I could do that FOR KAY!  (did anyone get that?... If its FOR KAY I will do it!)  It just hit me like a brick…I am selfish and don’t want to do anything to HELP MYSELF because I don’t have enough hours in the day, but I am selfless and will do anything and give up my precious time to help SOMEONE ELSE!  I even went to the gym with Kay earlier this week after being sick all weekend because I didn’t want Kay to NOT go to the gym because I was sick, so I sacrificed my sickness and weariness just to make sure Kay went to the gym.  Heck, if it was all about ME, I would have stayed curled up in a ball on the couch or went to bed early, but the exercise isn’t about me (atleast in MY HEAD its not and that’s OK cuz if it gets me there FOR KAY, then we both win in the end!)
Can anyone else relate to my line of thinking?  How do I keep working out and eating right for ME and not just for SOMEONE ELSE?
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Friday, September 28, 2012

Sweat in my Eyes

Last night, I really didn't want to go to the gym. I just wasn't feeling it. Having an exercise buddy (my mom) really helped motivate me to go, anyways. As it turns out, I'm really glad that I went! I had a sweat-in-your-eyes kind of workout. I didn't even realize it until... I had sweat... in my eyes.

My mom and I exercise at my old high school for free. The exercise room is above the basketball court; when we use the gym equipment we are faced toward a glass wall where you can look down and see what's going on in the gym, below. The high-schoolers were practicing basketball last night, so it was pretty entertaining. I didn't even realize how hard I was working on the elliptical until I was finished. On a night when I didn't feel like working out to begin with, the distraction was just what I needed!

Along with the topic of exercise, I asked a very special person to write a guest post for my blog the other day. I was informed yesterday that she has happily accepted. Stay tuned as the mystery guest blogger will be revealed, soon! I think guest posts are a lot of fun! The reason why I asked this particular person to submit a guest post for my blog is because while we have a lot in common; her life is so much different than mine (for example, she has kids)! I think that hearing from people with the same goal but a different outlook can be refreshing! If you have something to offer as a guest blogger, or if you would like me to write a guest post for your blog, please send me an email at goaloflosing(at)yahoo(dot)com. I'd love to hear from you!

Tonight, my husband and I get to go on a date to a local restaurant for dinner. We are going to use the gift card that we got from our friends for our 3 year anniversary! I am going to order a steak salad and a cup of soup. It will be a great way to end a long but successful week!


Me, happy that it's Friday!
 Happy Friday, everyone!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Strong Craving

I went to the gym last night as soon as I got home from work. My mom and my sister went with me. We worked out for 30 minutes. After working out, I went home to make dinner. I was suppose to make shrimp with veggies and rice. I didn't make it because I had a strong craving for something else; something good. I wanted a large salad!

I had two plates full of lettuce and ham with ranch dressing drizzled over it. Considering that it was a healthy alternative to my planned meal, I think it's safe to say that I am super happy for sticking with my dinner and workout plans so far this week!

Work Out Schedule:

Sunday - Rest (DONE)
Monday - Gym (DONE)
Tuesday - Wii Fit (Walked instead - DONE)
Wednesday - Gym (DONE)
Thursday - Gym
Friday - Rest
Saturday - Rest

Dinner Plan:

Sunday: Ham and Potato Soup (DONE)
Monday: Calzones (DONE)
Tuesday: Sausage w/ Peppers and Onions (DONE)
Wednesday: Shrimp with Veggies and Rice (Substituted with Salad - DONE)
Thursday: Leftovers
Friday: Date Night
Saturday: Baked Potato Soup

I am waiting for my mom to pick me up to go to the gym right now. We have decided to go as early as possible tonight to get it over with so we don't have too much time to talk ourselves out of it. She has been sick and we are nearing an end of a long work week for me. It's 6 p.m. right now. I got home from work 15 minutes ago and I have let the dogs out and got dressed for the gym. I keep trying to remind myself that I won't always want to go to the gym (like tonight) but it's important to just push through and go anyways! After all, I don't want to interrupt my streak of sticking to my workout plan! After tonight, I will have successfully completed two weeks of going to the gym 3 times a week!

Dinner always seems to be my "trouble meal"; the one meal that I always want to splurge on! As for dinner tonight, I will heat up leftovers (frozen zuppa toscana) when I get back from the gym.

Do you make meal plans for yourself or do you go with the flow? I can't seem to plan out every meal ahead of time (that might get a little boring) but I do like to plan out my dinner plan for the week. It helps with groceries and to stay on track during my "trouble meal".

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Running in the Rain

Last night, I ran in the rain. According to my workout plan for the week, I was scheduled to do Wii Fit. It was a decent temperature out, so I decided to go beyond that and take my dog for a walk, instead. Walking changed to running and before I knew it, I was running in the rain. It started coming down hard. I called my husband and he drove out to pick us up.

I followed my dinner plan for the most part last night, too. I had sausage with asparagus because the pepper that I bought had gone bad.


Work Out Schedule:

Sunday - Rest (DONE)
Monday - Gym (DONE)
Tuesday - Wii Fit (Walked instead - DONE)
Wednesday - Gym
Thursday - Gym
Friday - Rest
Saturday - Rest

Dinner Plan:

Sunday: Ham and Potato Soup (DONE)
Monday: Calzones (DONE)
Tuesday: Sausage w/ Peppers and Onions (DONE)
Wednesday: Shrimp with Veggies and Rice
Thursday: Leftovers
Friday: Date Night
Saturday: Baked Potato Soup

I didn't stick to my plan exactly last night, but I think that I came up with some great healthy alternatives! That's what it's all about; doing the best you can!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

No Guilt Here!

This weekend, I crossed another item off of my 25 by 25 list!

14. Invite my father-in-law over for dinner 5 times
I also realized that I have reached date 7 of 12 with my husband after the special dinner date we had this weekend. We are going on two more dates this coming weekend, too! My friends got us a giftcard to go out to dinner so we are using that on Friday. Saturday, we are going out swing dancing in Cleveland; another item on my list. I am having SO much fun working on my challenge to complete these 25 things by my 25th birthday!

The first couple days of my November Crusie Challenge have been a success, as well!

Work Out Schedule:

Sunday - Rest (DONE)
Monday - Gym (DONE)
Tuesday - Wii Fit
Wednesday - Gym
Thursday - Gym
Friday - Rest
Saturday - Rest

Dinner Plan:

Sunday: Ham and Potato Soup (DONE)
Monday: Calzones (DONE)
Tuesday: Sausage w/ Peppers and Onions
Wednesday: Shrimp with Veggies and Rice
Thursday: Leftovers
Friday: Date Night
Saturday: Baked Potato Soup

Last night I was scheduled to go to the gym. My husband and my mom went to the gym with me. I even went a little above and beyond yesterday (taking full advantage of the excitement of starting a new challenge) by waking up a little early to spend 15 minutes using Wii Fit! I am super proud of my mom for sticking with the gym routine because she was sick all weekend and was still not feeling very well last night. Even though she had many (valid) excuses to not go to the gym, she pushed through and rocked 1 1/2 miles on the treadmill! Go mom!


The calzones that I made last night were more like stromboli. The stromboli, if serving four, is only 390 calories per serving. I, however, had two very well-deserved servings last night. Working out always makes me more hungry. I still managed to stay within calories so no guilt here! This journey is all about balance.

Monday, September 24, 2012

An Evening I Will Never Forget

I started to share this experience in my blog yesterday but decided that it needed a blog for itself. My husband of three years decided to plan something very special for our anniversary. He was not able to spend time with me on the night of our actual anniversary because of a mandatory meeting with work. Instead, he spent all week planning a special dinner for the two of us and kept it a surprise for me. I spent all week trying to guess his surprise but I could have never guessed what he had in store for us.

Our little paradise in the woods.
 
It was the evening of my dreams with the man of my dreams. He was gone most of the day on Saturday, getting everything set up. When it was finally time for dinner, he blind folded me so I couldn't see where he was driving us. It was only a few miles away, but the suspense was intense. He took us through a field in his truck. It was quite the experience being blind folded, bouncing up and down in the truck, not knowing where he was taking me! It had rained most of the day, and I was afraid we would get stuck, wherever we were. When the truck stopped, he guided me out and took my picture.


I was so excited to finally find out what the surprise was. He took the blindfold off and turned me around to see my surprise. I looked down a trail strung with lights, guiding our way to a canopy set up for a dinner for two. It was the most surreal thing I have ever seen. The woods were so lush green. All of the time spent, the details he added. He took my breath away.


He used a driftwood centerpiece from our bridal shower; the "bride" and "groom" wine glasses from our wedding day; calla lillies from a flower arrangement used at our reception; a bottle of our favorite wine; he had soft music playing from a portable iHome; and, remembered my favorite kind of sushi for dinner. He brought our camera and tripod so we would be able to have the memory of this night, forever. He put a lot of thought in to this special dinner. I will never forget this night; how beautiful it was, how he made me feel.





The gorgeous necklace he surprised me with. White, blue and black diamonds.

We spent a couple of hours under the canopy, listening to the calming sound of rain and the soft music play while we dined. I didn't want the night to end; it was perfect. We shared a couple heartfelt toasts, and laughed over some special memories. It was like the world stopped and it was just us. A feeling I will never forget.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

November Cruise Challenge

I'm really excited to start a new challenge, today! Challenges keep things fun and fresh for me. In only 6 short weeks, I will be going on a cruise to the Bahamas. We wil be visiting Nassau, Freeport and Half Moon Cay. We are going on this cruise as a celebration for being married for three years. During our honeymoon, we also visited Nassau and Half Moon Cay. It will be great to go back there, in November. This time, we will be cruising and visiting the islands with another couple of friends!

Photo from our honeymoon cruise in 2009 - 245 lbs. at the time.
My new challenge is called "November Cruise Challenge". I am going to do things a little differently with this challenge. I am going to keep my goal weight open-ended. The goal is to lose as much weight as I can before we leave for our cruise on November 9th.

I love to plan ahead. I feel a great sense of achievement when I make a plan and stick to it! So, for this challenge, I will continue to plan weekly work outs and dinner plans.

Work Out Schedule:

Sunday - Rest
Monday - Gym
Tuesday - Wii Fit
Wednesday - Gym
Thursday - Gym
Friday - Rest
Saturday - Rest

Dinner Plan:

Sunday: Ham and Potato Soup
Monday: Calzones
Tuesday: Sausage w/ Peppers and Onions
Wednesday: Shrimp with Veggies and Rice
Thursday: Leftovers
Friday: Date Night
Saturday: Baked Potato Soup

Today's weigh-in: 237 (3 pounds down from last week!)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

"Surprise!"

I'm close to crossing off another item on my 25 by 25 list! My father-in-law came over for dinner, again. I made it a goal at my last birthday to invite him over for dinner 5 times before I turn 25! It's something that we are having a lot of fun with. I don't want it to seem as if inviting my father-in-law over for dinner is a challenge for me, but in sense it can be! Trying to carve out time in our schedule and plan ahead to make a big meal doesn't always get to happen in our house as much as we wished it would. I'm so glad that I made this an item on my 25 by 25 list because it really helps me to remember how important family time is to us!


"Surprise"


I usually try to make healthy meals any time that I cook; however,when my father-in-law told me that he had never tried Sheppard's Pie, I just had to break out an old recipe from my mom. She didn't actually call it Sheppard's Pie; in our house, this awesome meal was called "Surprise" because you never knew what was going to be in it. The key ingredients always remain the same: ground beef, mashed potatoes, cream of mushroom soup and american cheese. Almost always she would use green beans, too. That, however, is where you can be creative. If you don't like green beans, then throw in mushrooms or peas. Each time that I make this meal, I make it differently. Like mother like daughter, I suppose!



This time, I had chives in the refrigerator, so I added them to the seasoned ground beef. The cooked and seasoned ground beef will be your first layer.


I then mixed one can of cream of mushroom soup with two cans of green beans and one can of mushrooms. This mixture will be your second layer. Feel free to get creative, here!


I ended up having to use box mashed potatoes for this particular dish. You can be creative with the amount and which kind of potatoes you use. I used about 3 cups of mashed potatoes with this dish. The mashed potatoes will be your third layer; then you are ready to bake the dish for 30 minutes at 375 degrees. I usually check on the dish with 5 minutes left, and top the entire dish with american cheese slices. Pop the dish back in the oven for the remaining 5 minutes or until the cheese has melted.


Dinner with my father-in-law was a success; he loved "surprise" and left with the recipe! It's an easy meal that you can put your own spin on. You can make it healthier by using ground chicken, omit the cheese... whatever you want!

Thanks mom for passing this yummy recipe on to me! It's a crowd pleaser, for sure.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Not Meeting My Own Expectations

I am feeling better than I have in a long time. This week has been amazing! My sweet husband made our 3 year anniversary so special by meeting me for lunch and surprising me with roses and a card when I got home from work. He isn't even done, yet. He has something special planned for dinner on Saturday. I am so excited to finally find out that surprise, tomorrow!

On top of all of the love in the air from our anniversary, this week has just been great motivation wise. Ever since I took the time to release some emotional baggage and forgive myself for not meeting my own expectations, I have felt more free. I feel like I am worth it; that I am worth working on.

My mom has been a great motivator this week, as well. She ran for the first time since high school, this week! She agreed to go with me to the gym on Wednesday and Thursday. Knowing that she was counting on me to pick her up for the gym really helped alleviate any excuses I would have thought up to keep myself from going otherwise. My sister went to the gym with me on Monday, too. That makes three gym visits this week! I can honestly say that hasn't happened in at least six months. No wonder I have been stuck around the same weight for a year! I am so glad that I kept track of my weigh-in's throughout this journey, so far. It took me seeing what I knew inside (that I haven't made any weight-loss progress in an entire year) for me to forgive myself so I can move on! After all, just because I haven't made any weight-loss progress, doesn't mean that I didn't grow and make progress in other areas this past year! I know that I have and that's why it wasn't too hard to forgive myself for not meeting my own weight-loss expectations.


In addition to working out this week, I have been doing pretty well nutrition wise, too! Last night, I had salad and stuffed broccoli and cheese chicken for dinner. I was eating alone last night since my husband was at night class, so it was an accomplishment for me to forgo my temptation to eat fast food. Instead, I made myself a nice meal and it was very satisfying.

I am looking forward to beginning a new challenge on Sunday. Since I have announced that my husband and I will be going on a cruise in November, I have a new goal to work towards and with it comes a new personal challenge!

Are you participating in any challenges right now to assist you with your weight-loss goals?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Oven Roasted Tomatoes

It's a good thing my husband loves me. I can be really ditzy at times. I found a recipe for oven roasted tomatoes which is a great idea for this time of year. The recipe pictured the tomatoes in a jar so I went out and bought jars from the store; as for the tomatoes, we already had plenty of them from a friend's garden!


So, I followed the recipe and put the tomatoes in the jar. I asked my husband if we had room in the freezer for these jars and he looked at me oddly. Thankfully, my husband knows what he is doing in the kitchen. After a long laugh, he showed me how to jar tomatoes for the very first time.


After we were finished, we took a jar to both of our mothers. As part of my 25 by 25 list, I wanted to make something for our mothers (randomly) this year. I think they will really enjoy these roasted tomatoes. They made our house smell delicious for hours and they tasted great!


For those who are interested, the recipe for the oven roasted tomatoes is below. For lessons on how to jar tomatoes, you will have to ask my husband.

Oven Roasted Tomatoes

Servings: - 1/2 cup each
Nutrition per Serving: Calories: 53; Fat: 2 g; Protein: 1 g; Carbs: 8.5 g
 
Ingredients:
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 8 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste
  • 4 lbs plum tomatoes*

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 450ยบ F.

Divide the olive oil and pour onto the bottom of two large rimmed baking sheets; add the garlic, thyme, rosemary, and salt and pepper.

Cut the tomatoes in half horizontally and remove the stems. Toss the tomatoes with the oil and seasonings, then lay them down cut side down on the dish.

Roast in the oven until the tomatoes wilt and become softened, about 30-35 minutes, the tomatoes will start to wrinkle. Depending on the size of your tomatoes, cooking time will vary so keep an eye on them. When done, remove from oven and let them cool. The skins will come off easily; remove and discard skins and herbs then coarsely chop the tomatoes. Adjust salt as needed and place in a jar or use right away.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Three Years of Marriage

Okay, I know this is going to be a sappy blog already because just typing the subject "three years of marriage" has made my eyes well up with tears.



Today, I celebrate three years of marriage with my best friend. My husband is truly the biggest blessing in my life. He supports me in everything that I do. He loves me, unconditionally. He seems to see things in me that I cannot. In these three years, he has been with me through sickness and in health. He held me as I cried while being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. He never lets me give up on myself. Already, he has been with me through better or worse, for richer or poorer. We have been through a lot in these first three years of marriage; and I truly look forward to being with him for all of the days of my life.



My husband is also my high school sweetheart. When I was 12 years old, I knew that he was the one that I wanted to marry. He, however, wasn't ready for me quite yet. When I was 15 years old, he asked me to be his girlfriend. We have been together ever since. Distance couldn't even keep us apart. While he went to school 300+ miles away (and we were eating ramen noodles for breakfast, lunch, and dinner), we still found a way to be together; if only for a weekend or two a month. We are 24 years old now. We have been homeowners for 2 1/2 years in our hometown and live there with our three furbabies; Max, Bella and Topher. We both have great jobs, family and friends.


When I was a little girl, I had a plan. By the time that I was 24 years old, I wanted to be married. Now, I am here. I have been married for three years and even though life isn't perfect, when I stop... really stop to take a look around, I cannot imagine how I could be any more blessed. My husband has made so many of my dreams come true. And yet, I have more dreams. I can rest assured, however, in knowing that he will be there with me every step of the way.
To celebrate three years of marriage, we have booked a 5 day cruise to the Bahamas in November. We will be going with another couple, two of our best friends. We are very much looking forward to going back to some of the same islands we visited on our honeymoon; Half Moon Cay, Nassau and a new island to us, Freeport. With the cruise less than two months away, I have a new goal to reach for. We both want to lose as much weight as we can before we set sail. I want to reach 225 lbs by November 4th. I haven't been able to break through the 230's in many years, and I am hoping to do so, soon!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I Need to Forgive Myself

Forgiveness can be hard, especially when trying to forgive yourself. I should know because I desperately need to forgive myself so I can move on.

I have gained weight. I am currently weighing in at 240 lbs. I was very excited when I lost 28 pounds and reached this same weight last August. Being here now, though, feels like failure. I have maintained the same weight for an entire year. There have been loses, bringing me down to 232 lbs.; however, I am having trouble forgiving the gains.

I should be glad to have maintained a 28 pound weight loss for a year, but the little voice inside is saying, "but it should have been more". My response to that voice has been, "it could have been more". This, however, gets me nowhere.

I use to make excuses, hoping that would help me move on. Excuses like, "It's the weekend, we can indulge" or "I had a rough day, I deserve a treat". That, however, gets me nowhere.

I am tired of going nowhere. I am ready to try something new. I am ready to forgive myself for not reaching my own expectations. I am ready to forgive myself for not being perfect and I am prepared to continue to forgive myself for that fact for the rest of my life.

I haven't really spent time working out since I gave up my gym membership this summer, but I decided to change that last night. Since I have forgiven myself, I feel like I have been given a fresh start. I know that every day is a chance to start fresh, but taking care of some emotional baggage really helped me feel refreshed! My old high school has open gym every Monday-Friday. You can sign in from 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. to use their equiptment or walk laps through the school. They have treadmills, elipticals and stationary bikes. The great thing is that the school is only two minutes from my house! Even better, it's free to use. My husband and I use to pay $50/month to attend a gym with the same equiptment, 15 minutes away from home. This just makes so much more sense! We're really lucky to have a free place to work out, and only two minutes from our house. This is something I will be taking advantage of a lot! My sister joined me at the gym last night and we used the treadmill for 15 minutes. It wasn't very long but it felt nice to be doing something active.

Things haven't gone the way I had planned, but now that I have forgiven myself, I am in control of what happens next. I feel a weight off of my shoulders already. I know that I will stumble and I will fall, but I will never give up.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Baked Potato Soup

Just because I have completed my goal of making 25 new recipes this year doesn't mean that I have to stop there! I tried another great recipe that I just have to share with you! It's called Baked Potato Soup and it really tastes just like a loaded baked potato. It's a healthy and filling way to curb that loaded potato craving!


Baked Potato Soup
Servings: 5 cups
Nutrition per Serving: Calories: 207.6; Fat: 7.8 g; Carb: 22.5 g; Fiber: 2.4 g; Protein: 11.9 g
  • 2 russet potatoes, washed and dried
  • 1 small head of cauliflower, stem removed cut into florets
  • 1 1/2 cups fat free chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups 1% reduced-fat milk
  • salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream
  • 10 tbsp reduced-fat shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 6 tbsp chopped chives, divided
  • 3 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (you can use turkey bacon if you prefer)

Pierce potatoes with a fork; microwave on high for 5 minutes turn over and microwave another 3 - 5 minutes, until tender. Or if you prefer to use your oven, bake at 400° for 1 hour or until tender. Cool. Peel potatoes.

Meanwhile, steam cauliflower with water in a large covered pot until tender. Drain and return to pot. On medium heat, add chicken broth, milk, potatoes and bring to a boil. Use an immersion blender to puree until smooth. Add sour cream, half the chives, salt and pepper and cook on low another 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat. Ladle 1 cup soup into each bowl. Top each serving with 2 tbsp cheese, remaining chives, and bacon.

I actually forgot to add the bacon until after my husband had a bowl of it. It's great without the bacon, but definitely good with it as well. We used turkey bacon and it turned out great!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Lasagna Roll-Ups

I was very absent from my blog last week and for that I apologize. Perhaps by sharing this recipe with you, I will earn a little forgiveness. I tried this new recipe as part of my 25 by 25 list. I even worked on another aspect of my 25 by 25 list by inviting my father-in-law over for dinner. We had lasagna roll-ups for dinner and they were amazing!


The roll-ups weren't too hard to make, either. I actually enjoy making lasagna roll-ups more than traditional lasagna. There is no cutting this lasagna which in my case means a lot less mess. No more guessing the portion size, either. They are already portioned perfectly for you!


My father-in-law really enjoyed this meal and despite him thinking otherwise at first, he didn't even miss the meat! By inviting my father-in-law over for dinner, I have now made it half-way to crossing that item off of my list. I made it a goal to invite him over at least 5 times this year because we are really bad at remembering to do that. It has turned out to be a really fun goal to work toward because spending time with family is really important to us and it makes him really happy, too!


New Recipe #25 of 25

Spinach Lasagna Rolls

Servings: 9
Nutrition per Serving: Calories: 224.9; Fat: 5.1 g;  Fiber: 3.4 g; Protein: 13.0 g; Carbs: 31.5

Ingredients:
  • 9 lasagna noodles, cooked
  • 10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and completely drained
  • 15 oz fat free ricotta cheese (I like Polly-o)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • salt and fresh pepper
  • 32 oz tomato sauce 
  • 9 tbsp (about 3 oz) part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 350°. Combine spinach, ricotta, Parmesan, egg, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Ladle about 1 cup sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 12 baking dish.

Place a piece of wax paper on the counter and lay out lasagna noodles. Make sure noodles are dry. Take 1/3 cup of ricotta mixture and spread evenly over noodle. Roll carefully and place seam side down onto the baking dish. Repeat with remaining noodles.

Ladle sauce over the noodles in the baking dish and top each one with 1 tbsp mozzarella cheese. Put foil over baking dish and bake for 40 minutes, or until cheese melts. Makes 9 rolls.

To serve, ladle a little sauce on the plate and top with lasagna roll.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Miss. Congeniality!

I'm very behind on blogging this week! Tuesday night was spent at the fair. My little (16 year old) sister ran for fair queen and the pageant was Tuesday night. She looked absolutely gorgeous and did fantastic when it was her turn to speak!

My sister won Miss. Photogenic and Miss. Congeniality! We are so proud of her! Her week just became even more busy because the girls who have won titles have many duties at the fair. My duty, however, seems to be to follow her around with a big smile because that's all I did the rest of the evening!

My husband had night school last night and again, tonight. I am really surprised to see that I have actually lost a pound during fair week, so far! This week is always a big challenge for me. So many tempting foods and my head always says "it always only once a year" but I am trying to not use that as an excuse to over indulge! Moderation is key this week!

Here are a couple pictures of my sister:

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Thick and Thin Challenge Update - Week 3

The Plan:

My husband and I will be working toward losing about 15 pounds each by September 19th. That is the date of our 3 year wedding anniversary.

The Terms and Conditions:

~ Weigh-in's will be every Sunday morning
~ Dinner plans are to be posted for each week
~ "Mini Goals" are to be posted for each week

Kay's Weekly Weigh-in's:

Start Date: August 19, 2012
Start Weight: 239 lbs.
Current Weight: 237 lbs. (-2.8 lb from last week)
Total Loss: 2
Goal Weight: 224 lbs.
Goal Date: September 19, 2012
Pounds to go: 13

Nick's Weekly Weigh-in's:

Start Date: August 19, 2012
Start Weight: 231 lbs.
Current Weight: 225 lbs. (-6.8 lbs from last week)
Total Loss: 6
Goal Weight: 215 lbs.
Goal Date: September 19, 2012
Pounds to go: 10

Kay's Mini Goal Results from 8/26 - 9/1:

~ No eating out ( 6 / 7)
~ Go 8 miles through exercise ( 1.88 miles / 8 miles)
~ Drink 64 ounces of water/day ( 5 / 7)

Nick's Mini Goal Results from 8/26 - 9/1:

~ No eating out ( 6 / 7)
~ Go 8 miles through exercise ( .66 miles / 8 miles)
~ Drink 64 ounces of water/day ( 5 / 7)

We were both pretty big slackers this week when it came to meeting our miles. We didn't think ahead as my husband started his night classes this week. Also, when I actually make dinner for the evening (because we tried really hard to stick to "no eating out" this week; it turns out there are dishes that need done and just that much less time and energy for activity.

I'm super proud of my husband for his BIG loss this week (6.8 lbs). Neither of us know where that came from. I told him it must be all of the water he is drinking (he never use to drink water) and the week of not eating out. Either way, we're both really exciting for him!

As for the week ahead, we are in big trouble. It's our town's fair and if you can remember from last year, there are SO many temptations. Needless to say, "no eating out" is not even an option for a goal this week. Instead, I am going to plan to eat at the fair that way I don't feel like I have failed if I do so. The fair comes once a year and if I feel deprived I will just set myself up for failure. If I make it through the week without a gain, I will be happy.
 
Also, when making my dinner plan for the week, I have deicded to throw in a few "leftovers" nights in there. This will save us on groceries this week and also get some of our leftovers out of the freezer!
 
 
This Week's Dinner Plan:

Monday: Shrimp over Noodles
Tuesday: Dinner at the Fair
Wednesday: Leftover night
Thursday: Leftover night
Friday: Dinner at the Fair
Saturday: Dinner out for my friend's Birthday
Mini Goals for the Week:

~ Eat dinner at the fair only twice this week
~ Go 5 miles through exercise (walking, biking, etc.)
~ Drink 64 ounces of water/day

Friday, September 7, 2012

Broccoli and Cheese Stuffed Chicken

Last night, I tried this new recipe. Broccoli and Cheese Stuffed Chicken. It was SO good! I am really in to stuffing chicken lately, even if I'm not very good at it. I think it's an impressive meal, but that's probably just because stuffing chicken is new to me!

Broccoli and Cheese Stuffed Chicken
To my surprise, I only have one more new recipe to go before reaching my goal of making 25 new recipes this year! If everything goes as planned, I will be trying my final new recipe as part of my 25 by 25 challenge, tonight!

Speaking of challenges, my husband and I are so behind on our mini challenges for the week! We are suppose to go 8 miles through exercise by Sunday. I don't know if we will reach that goal because it's Friday and we've gone less than 4 miles. As for the water challenge, I know that my husband is drinking more water than he did a month ago and that makes me happy!

I broke my streak of not eating out yesterday because Arby's had a free turkey sandwich give away to anyone that stopped by between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. I went with a couple of co-workers for lunch. I got a cup for water and a classic turkey sandwich. It didn't cost me a thing and it was less than 300 calories; therefore, I don't regret it at all!

My husband made it through his first week of night classes and we're very much looking forward to the weekend!

Do you have any plans for this weekend?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Two Walk Reports

It's hard to believe that I have two walks to report since yesterday's post! Since my husband began his night classes last night (Wednesday and Thursday night classes until May) I had a lot of extra time on my hands. I made myself salmon and green beans for dinner, helped my sister take some pictures for our upcoming town fair, did the dishes, cleaned up the house and then went for a walk with my mom and little brother. I even got some relaxing time in on the couch. Nice thing was, I didn't feel guilty because I had gone on a walk!



The second walk report is from this morning. I woke up an hour early to say bye to my husband (since I don't get to see him until 10 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays). The thought of walking Max popped in my head and before I could talk myself out of it (the bed was really comfy this morning) I just grabbed him and we were off!

For those keeping track, that's walk #7 out of the 10 walks I need to blog about this year as part of my 25 by 25 challenge!

Has school or classes for you or somebody in your family changed your rouines? Has it been a good change or more difficult?

Although I miss my husband a lot when he is gone, I know that I get a lot more done around the house when he isn't here.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Chicken Cordon Bleu My Socks Off!

Why have I never made chicken cordon bleu before? We (and I say "we" because my sweet husband happily helped me in the kitchen last night) made the yummiest, most succulent chicken cordon bleu we've both ever had! There are not words to explain. The chicken was moist and the cheese, the cheese was SO good.

We both like to eat chicken for dinner, but it started getting boring. I started to feel like there was only so much I could do with it; grill it, bake it, throw it in a stir fry. It was getting old. Last night, however, chicken totally scored some super points in our house!


My husband's dinner plate from last night.
This recipe is definitely a keeper!
New Recipe #23 of 25

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Serves 12 pieces
Serving Size: 1 piece
Nutrition per serving: Calories 222.7; Fat 9.3 g; Protein 28.4 g; Carbs 5.2 g 

Ingredients:

  • 32 oz (4) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 3/4 cup seasoned whole wheat breadcrumbs (I like 4C)
  • 12 (1 oz each) slices thin lean deli ham
  • 12 (1 oz each) slices reduced fat Swiss cheese
  • salt
  • spray oil
  • toothpicks

Directions:
    Preheat oven to 350°.

    Slice chicken breast halves into thin cutlets. I usually get 3 thin cutlets out of one breast half. Pound them to make them thinner if you wish. This helps when you wrap the cutlets.

    Cut each slice of cheese into squares and stack on top of each other. Place a slice of ham on top of the chicken, top with cheese and wrap chicken around to completely cover cheese, using toothpicks to secure. (Make sure no holes so cheese doesn't leak out) Season with a little salt.

    Whisk eggs and water to make an egg wash. Dip chicken into egg wash, then breadcrumbs.

    Spray cookie sheet with oil and place chicken on cookie sheet. Lightly spray chicken with oil and bake about 25 minutes, until cooked.

    Tuesday, September 4, 2012

    Adventure Day

    With a long weekend and only a few plans, my husband and I decided to have an "adventure day" on Saturday! We went canoeing and bike riding. It was a lot of fun and I even got to mark off an item on my 25 by 25 list.

    #17. Go canoeing
    
    Checking out some pretty flowers on the water.
    



    Happy to be out on the water!

    We even squeezed in a little date on adventure day! We tried a new restaurant that was on the side of the lake we went canoeing in. Between the view, the weather and the music... it felt like we were on vacation! 

     




    After the date is when we went out on the canoe. We spent about an hour on the water. When we got back on land, we took our bikes out to try a couple new trails in the area. My husband is a sweetheart and got me some gloves to wear on our bike ride because I always complain bring it to his attention that my hands take a beating when we go for long rides on the bike. I was pretty excited about the gloves. They really did their job! Right before we went riding, my husband put water bottle holders on our bikes, too. Something we have both wanted for quite some time now!

    
    Happy about the gloves! The canoe that we used is in the background.
    

    Adventure day was a success. We tried new things, found new bike trails and had an amazing time together!

    Monday, September 3, 2012

    Thick and Thin Challenge Update - Week 2

    The Plan:

    My husband and I will be working toward losing about 15 pounds each by September 19th. That is the date of our 3 year wedding anniversary.

    The Terms and Conditions:

    ~ Weigh-in's will be every Sunday morning
    ~ Dinner plans are to be posted for each week
    ~ "Mini Goals" are to be posted for each week

    Kay's Weekly Weigh-in's:

    Start Date: August 19, 2012
    Start Weight: 239 lbs.
    Current Weight: 239.8 lbs. (+ 1.8 lb from last week)
    Total Loss: 0
    Goal Weight: 224 lbs.
    Goal Date: September 19, 2012
    Pounds to go: 15

    Nick's Weekly Weigh-in's:

    Start Date: August 19, 2012
    Start Weight: 231 lbs.
    Current Weight: 231.8 lbs. (+3.8 lbs from last week)
    Total Loss: 0
    Goal Weight: 215 lbs.
    Goal Date: September 19, 2012
    Pounds to go: 15

    Kay's Mini Goal Results from 8/19 - 8/25:

    ~ No eating out ( 6 / 7)
    ~ Go 5 miles through exercise ( 10.02 miles / 5 miles)
    ~ Drink 64 ounces of water/day ( 5 / 7)

    Nick's Mini Goal Results from 8/19 - 8/25:

    ~ No eating out ( 6 / 7)
    ~ Go 5 miles through exercise ( 9.28 miles / 5 miles)
    ~ Drink 64 ounces of water/day ( 5 / 7)

    Whenever I created the goal "no eating out" I guess I should have been more specific with what I had in mind. In my mind, I was thinking, no eating out for dinner; stick to the meal plan. That didn't stop us from eating out for lunch and going out for snacks. With that being said, I am going to bring that particular challenge back this week and stick to exactly what it says. "No eating out". No restaurants, no fast food and no ice cream shops! It's going to be HARD for us because we have been in the summer routine (ice cream, shakes, etc.) for so long.

    We were both disappointed with what the scale had to say today. We may have had better luck weighing in yesterday, before the picnics that we went to for Labor Day Weekend. We both know that this is only a temporary gain, so we are not going to stress over it. We did pretty great with our mini goals for the week and we are excited to reach farther in the week ahead!
    This Week's Dinner Plan:

    Monday: Zuppa Toscana
    Tuesday: Chicken Cordon Bleu
    Wednesday: Salmon with Broccoli and Rice
    Thursday: Broccoli and Cheese Stuffed Chicken
    Friday: Spinach Lasagna Rolls
    Saturday: Baked Potato Soup

    Mini Goals for the Week:

    ~ No eating out
    ~ Go 8 miles through exercise (walking, biking, etc.)
    ~ Drink 64 ounces of water/day