Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Confession and Grilled Pesto Chicken

I have a confession to make. I don't exactly know how to pin things to Pinterest. However, if I did know how to pin things to Pinterest, this is something I would definitely pin. Don't get me wrong, I know how to re-pin something, but the initial pin is something I have yet to try.



For those of you who are saying "What is Pinterest?", I thank you for making me feel better about this confession.




I tried another new recipe last night (bringing me to new recipe number 7 of 26 for my list of 6 things to accomplish before I turn 26 and new recipe number 2 of 4 for the June Challenge).




I saw a picture of SkinnyTaste's Grilled Chicken Pesto Skewers and just had to try it! Of course, I didn't follow the recipe for homemade pesto (who has time for that?). Instead, I bought ready-made pesto from the store which worked out well for us!






A bunch of grape tomatoes, one pound of chicken and 1/2 cup of pesto later... we had an awesome dinner!




Let me know what you think about this recipe if you end up giving it a try!

Also, in case you missed it, I posted the GIVEAWAY sponsored by Balance Bar, yesterday. You can enter to win by following this link: http://www.goaloflosing.com/2013/06/balance-bar-giveaway.html

A winner will be announced on July 4, 2013 at 9:00 p.m. EST!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Balance Bar GIVEAWAY (CLOSED)

So, how many of my readers have heard about Balance Bar?


Balance Bar is an Energy Bar with a special formula for optimal energy. It's called the 40-30-30 nutrition principal.


Every Balance Bar is made up of 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein and 30% dietary fat. This nutrition method is scientifically proven to keep blood sugar levels balanced; so you can really feel good about eating this Energy Bar.

I have tried each bar for myself, and I can honestly say that I enjoyed each of the flavors Balance Bar sent me to try. If I had to pick a favorite bar, however, that would be quite simple:


I'm obsessed with the Balance Bar double chocolate brownie!




If I didn't know any better, I would have thought I picked this chocolate-bar-of-goodness straight from a brownie pan! Add to that the fact that it's an Energy Bar made specifically to keep your blood sugar levels balanced and you've got yourself a little piece of perfection!


A close second in my book would be the sweet and salty chocolate almond bar. 



Not only does it have the perfect 40/30/30 ratio I've been talking about, it's also got the perfect salty to sweet ratio, too! I can also say the energy these bars provide was noticeable. I had the sweet and salty chocolate almond Balance Bar for breakfast one day last week and I felt great all morning!


Balance Bar also nails that "sweet to salty" ratio with their peanut butter Balance Bar. There is a layer of peanut butter on the bottom of this bar, tasty enough to please even the snobbiest of peanut butter snobs.



Hands down, the peanut butter Balance Bar is amazing. I also took this bar for breakfast one morning last week. Not only did I notice more energy, but I was full all morning long!


The final flavor I tried from Balance Bar was their blueberry acai bar. If you are a fan of fruity Energy Bars, I think you'll also love this one! 



I, myself, am not a big fan on the fruity flavor energy bars. I took the blueberry acai Balance Bar in to work as a snack. I was more than pleased with how full it left me feeling and the added energy. The taste, however, wasn't quite for me. Although, my husband sent me a text that same day and said this flavor was his favorite one! He couldn't stop talking about how much he "loved the blueberry one"!

I really enjoyed trying each different Balance Bar! I had never experienced getting energy from a nutrition bar before, but Balance Bar's 40/30/30 formula definitely does the trick.

I'm so happy to announce that Balance Bar is kindly sponsoring a GIVEAWAY of these very same Energy Bars for you! Along with those four different Balance Bars, they are also giving away a travel journal and travel cooler, just in time for summer travel! 



To see how Laurel, the QuickieChick, is packing smart for summer with the very same items from this GIVEAWAY, you can follow this link: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151666209359324

For even more summer travel tips, tricks and advice, you can join the Summer Travel Twitter Chat on June 26, 2013 at 2 p.m. EST! More information on the Twitter Chat can be found by following this link: http://www.balance.com/blog/news/join-us-for-a-summer-travel-twitter-chat/

Also, for more on Balance Bar, don't forget to like and follow their Facebook and Twitter pages:




I think this is an awesome GIVEAWAY, not only because of how delicious the Balance Bars taste and make me feel, but because of the travel journal and travel cooler, too! The travel journal that you will receive fits nicely in the front pocket of the travel cooler! I really like this because it makes it easy for me to write down what I've eaten throughout the day, which helps me "stay on track"!

It's super easy to enter this GIVEAWAY, just fill out the form below. A winner will be chosen on July 4th at 9:00 p.m. EST.

(ENTRY FORM REMOVED AS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED)

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Spark Solution - Introduction

Happy Monday, readers!



Starting last week, I had begun to slowly read "The Spark Solution" on my 30 minute lunch breaks at work. I have been taking my time reading, and have been doing a lot of highlighting along the way.


The books starts with a story in the introduction. It's a story of a girl who "never thought losing weight was something she could do". She wanted kids but asked herself "how she could do so if she couldn't even take care of herself". "She was ready to lose the weight for good. No more quick fixes." She "use to think of weight loss as being on or off the diet bandwagon. Now, she pictures the journey of weight-loss as a "trail through the most scenic countryside she can imagine." "To get to a healthy weight, she walked a while, ran sometimes and encountered hills and even a few plateaus. She believes the road will always be there, and you can move at your own pace. Even if you stop to smell the roses, have a picnic, or rest." (Story of my life!)

The Spark Solution believes that "healthy living is about living" and so do I! According to the introduction of the book, The Spark Solution promises to focus on three overlapping areas:

1. The Metabolic Makeover
  • "Many people start trying to lose weight by skipping meals, eating too few calories to sustain daily activities and other actions that actually slow or interfere with their metabolism. To be successful, your body's metabolic processes -- your ability to burn calories -- needs to function optimally, to work with you not against you, as you being your weight-loss plan."

2. The Mind-Set Makeover

  • "Helps you look at healthy eating and exercise as a means to live life to the fullest, gain energy and boost confidence. It also helps you focus on the positive, with tips from members of www.sparkpeople.com and experts!"

3. Motivation and Momentum

  • "On Day 1 of the plan, you press the reset button on your diet history and your battles with food. The past doesn't count anymore. You make one healthy decision which leads to another and another. Gone is the vicious cycle of dieting and guilt. The better you feel, the more motivated you are to keep reaching toward your goals, and the more you keep going, the better and more motivated you feel."
The Spark Solution says to "be ready to change from Day 1, but you don't have to change your whole life all at once. Be committed to a healthy lifestyle versus a short-term diet, but you need only be prepared to take it one step and one goal at a time, at the pace that's right for you."

They also say that their program is "based on yes. Yes to believing in yourself, not using self-loathing as a way to fuel weight loss. Yest to setting goals that you can reach, not challenging yourself to impossible weight-loss feats that end in failure. Yes to eating food that nourishes you and fuels your life, not restricting yourself so you end up overeating later. Yes even to enjoying dessert in right-size portions, not banishing certain foods from your life forever."

The Spark Solution, and I agree that "getting healthy -- and staying healthy -- begins with three steps: change your diet, start working out, and take the small steps that lead you to believe you can do it. Just changing what you eat doesn't work because it's only part of the plan. You also need to change your mind-set about weight-loss and get moving."

I have only finished a couple chapters of the book, and plan to keep you updated on all of the great information it provides me along the way. So far, I am loving the book. While most of it is just a reminder for me of the things I learned in the past few years from being a member with www.sparkpeople.com, it is nice to be reminded and will definitely be using these reminders in my daily life, now!

Have any of my readers read The Spark Solution, yet? If so, what did you think of it?

Sunday, June 23, 2013

June Challenge - Week Four

Oh hey... I'm down 1.2 lbs. from last week!


Please excuse the finger prints on the scale. I could have cleaned it before the picture, but I was just way to excited to do something like that!

I am really happy that I am seeing a loss during this month's challenge. So far I have lost a total of 2.2 lbs. I just can't believe that I am seeing a loss considering all of the weight-loss challenges I had this month. There was a wedding, a bridal shower, a stag and drag, eating out for a business trip for three days, and; not to mention, all of the seemingly mandatory 'ice cream trips' that seem to come with the warmer weather!

I had a lot of occasions that could have put me up on the scale, rather than down. I am proud to have made it this far and hope to be at least the same if not lower at the end of this month/end of the challenge!

As for my final week of the challenge, I have three more new recipes to try and I'm taking full advantage of my meal planning to make sure this gets done!

Meal Plan for the Week:

M - Grilled Chicken Salads
T - Grilled Pesto Chicken and Tomato Kabobs
W - Pasta with Zucchini, Tomatoes and Creamy Lemon-Yogurt Sauce
T - Sweet and Savory Grilled Chicken
F - Summer Salad

Exercise Plan for the Week:

M - 30 min. workout
T - Rest
W - 30 min. workout
T - Rest
F - 30 min. workout

This is the *last week* of the June Challenge. Here's a recap of what I've been working on and my progress so far:

June Goals 
  • No beer, wine or alcohol this month - significantly lowered my intake this month ;)
  • Weekly Dinner Plans - done each week!
  • Weekly Exercise Plans - done each week!
  • Weigh-in with scale picture on Sundays - done each week!
  • Track calories 5/7 days a week - done for the most part
  • Track water intake 5/7 days a week - done for the most part
  • Make 4 new recipes - one out of four done, working on the rest this week!
What are your goals for the week?

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Love-Filled Weekend

I'm having a love-filled weekend!

Me, ready for my friend's bridal shower today!
I just got back from my friend's bridal shower. It was super cute, themed with bright colors and big flowers that just made me think of spring and summer! It was easy to "stay on track" at the shower because they served a large salad with a veggie tray and a fruit tray for lunch. I passed on the cake and left feeling good!

Speaking of summer, yesterday was the first day of summer. It was the perfect day for an outdoor wedding! My husband and I attended my other friend's wedding last night. The wedding was beautiful and the bride and groom were so filled with love! My husband and I couldn't help to think back to our wedding day, almost 4 years ago now. Weddings have a way of reminding you how wonderful love is; and it especially reminds me how lucky I am to call Nick my husband. We've been together for nearly 10 years now and I just keep falling more and more in love with him. He's been by my side for a decade. I love and laugh every single day because he is around. This is another reminder that I have been doing well with one of my New Year's Resolutions for 2013: Enjoy each and every day. That, I am.

Fun question: what is the most amount of weddings you have been to in a year?
This year seems to be busy as far as weddings go. We were invited to 5, but can only attend 4 because of prior engagements.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Melt in Your Mouth Chicken

Proud moment of the day: I cut my very first pineapple!



You may be wondering why it has taken me 25 years to cut a pineapple. I am wondering that, myself! I guess my husband just usually does that juicy job and before that, it was my mom. The only real reason why I was cutting the pineapple this morning is because I really wanted some fruit and my husband had already gone to work.

Side note: I have discovered that I really enjoy having fresh fruit as a snack at work. Last week, I bought a cantaloupe that lasted me all week because I cut it up and split it between 5 containers for the week. This week; pineapple. So good to have something fresh! It's also nice to mix it up by having cantaloupe one week, pineapple the next, etc.

In other news, I came up with an amazing recipe today!


Before I get any further, I must disclose, I can't take full credit for this recipe. My friend from work gave me a recipe that included greek yogurt, garlic powder, parmesan cheese and a couple other things. I was going to make that recipe tonight, but didn't have garlic powder and didn't want to use as many ingredients, either. SO, I came up with my very own spin on it. It's super easy, super cheap and super yummy. It's pretty much super!

I shall call this, Melt in Your Mouth Chicken.

12 oz. Greek Yogurt, plain
1/4 cup Grated Parmesan and Romano
4 - 4 oz. Chicken Breasts
2 tbsp. Hidden Valley Dry Ranch Mix
Sprinkle of Panko Bread Crumbs (optional)

Servings: 4
Nutrition per Serving: 200 calories; 4 g. carbs, 4 g. fat, 37 g. protein


Combine yogurt, parmesan and romano cheese, and dry ranch mix in a bowl. Coat chicken with mixture. Sprinkle chicken with breadcrumbs. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes. Let cool before devouring.


You're going to love it!


As for the rest of the evening, I am going to be relaxing with my dogs and husband. It's a scheduled rest day; and boy do I love those!

Tomorrow, I am getting out of work early to attend a wedding for a friend from high school. I already know that it's going to be a wonderful time! I can't wait to see her, and for a night out with my husband a/k/a the best guy around.

What are your plans for Friday night?

Have you ever used greek yogurt in a recipe before?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Portioned Perfectly

My husband is kind of awesome.


He had dinner all ready on a plate for when I got home from work yesterday. He made steak with corn and asparagus. That's what was on the schedule in my food plan for the week. What a guy!

Last night was a rest night according to my workout scheduled. I took great advantage of that and rested with my dogs and husband on the couch, while watching newer episodes of Arrested Development.

Tonight we had Chicken Salads for dinner with Corn on the Cob on the side. Delish!




Speaking of that chicken salad; I absolutely LOVE the chicken we bought for this week. Each piece of chicken is individually wrapped. They are portioned perfectly and each portion is only 110 calories!


Speaking of food, when I made my meal plan for the week, I didn't realize that my husband and I would be at a wedding on Friday night! I forget what we chose as our meals, so it will be a great surprise as to what we will be having for dinner that night!

As for exercise, tonight was scheduled for 30 minutes. After dinner, my husband and I relaxed on our back porch with our dogs. We did this for about 45 minutes. It was so peaceful, we almost fell asleep.



Somehow, we managed to get ourselves motivated enough to complete the 30 minutes of exercise as planned. It wasn't done all at once because we rode our bikes to my moms house, took my little 3 year old brother for a walk and then rode our bikes back home.






I kind of love my garmin. I was able to track my distance and time while riding the bike, during the walk with my little brother, and then for the bike ride home (hence the three different pictures).

So far this week, I've stuck to my meal plans and exercised as scheduled. If I keep this up, I know I'll have another good weigh in this week!

What do you prefer, bike rides or walks?

Monday, June 17, 2013

June Challenge - Week Three

Yesterday I weighed in and was happy with the result!


Down a couple LB's from last week. Alright!

I'm about half way through my June Challenge and I'm happy to see the scale drop (it like it's hot). It definitely has something to do with tracking my food for 5/7 days last week, drinking all of my water and getting a little exercise in there. Who would have thought that would help? Wink, wink.




Adding some fruits and veggies to my meals has been helping the weight loss lately, too. Just another reason to love summer. Fresh, fresh, FRESH fruits and veggies!

Meal Plan for the Week:

Monday: Spare Ribs, Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans - DONE and YUM!
Tuesday: Steak with Asparagus and Corn on the cob
Wednesday: Chicken Salads with Corn on the cob
Thursday: Chicken with Asparagus and Corn on the cob
Friday: Chicken with Asparagus and Corn on the cob

I had to quickly fit grocery shopping in to our Father's Day plans yesterday, so my meal plan for the week isn't as creative (laugh) as usual. I will change up the way I prepare the chicken, but in essence, that's what I picked up for us to eat this week. The spare ribs, mashed potatoes and greens beans for tonight, though, came from my awesome mother-in-law; and it was all good!

Exercise Plan for the Week:

Monday: 30 min workout - DONE!
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: 30 min workout
Thursday: Rest
Friday: 30 min workout


I chose to do Wii Fit Yoga for my 30 minutes of exercise tonight. Thanks to that game, I pretty much have become a Yoga Master. How do I know? The game tells me so!


Burning 119 calories for 30 minutes of looking silly in my living room (a/k/a doing yoga); you just can't beat it! Especially when you're back hurts and you don't feel like running. Yoga is a good alternative! Between pain in my feet and back these past couple weeks, I have kind of transitioned away from running and stuck with alternative exercise. Don't worry, I know this running break won't last too long. Even though my back was in some serious pain today (for no apparent reason, might I add) I still wanted to run on the treadmill. I think the pain is from inflammation, so I talked myself in to staying low impact until the pain goes away. A girl has to work; and an injury just wouldn't be fun right now. Summer is just beginning!


I'm not sure if you remember or not, but I recently was contacted by a secret person who asked me to review a secret product and also host a GIVEAWAY for the secret product so that one of my secret readers could win a secret prize. WELL, the secret products secretly came in the mail today! I was SO excited when I got home! (Actually, the product doesn't have to be a secret, and I will definitely be revealing it all soon, I just like to keep you guessing!)


I am excited to reveal the products that I will be testing for myself this week and giving away to one of you lucky readers very, very soon!

For now, I'd like to know what your guess is as to what exactly I may be giving away! Let me give you a hint; it's one of my favorite things, it starts with an f and rhymes with mood. Ready, set... guess!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Busy Weekend & Father's Day

Happy Father's Day!

I had a very eventful weekend! I met a couple friends out for dinner on Friday to celebrate my friends birthday. Great food and friends made for a fun night!


After dinner, I treated myself to a new book from Barnes and Noble. I bought "The Spark Solution", a book from the people at www.sparkpeople.com. I am excited to start reading it and will share any useful information I gain with you along the way!


Saturday was a little crazy. I spoiled my goal of not drinking in the month of June. Our friend from high school is getting married this year and Saturday was their stag and drag. We had fun though and it was great to see people that we don't get to see very often!

Today is Father's Day and we have four fathers to celebrate! We are spending the day visiting with each of them.

What are you doing for Father's Day?