Thursday, April 30, 2015

Not a Fan of All or Nothing

If you've been a reader of this blog for some time, then you know that I am not a fan of diets.

Diets and deprivation go hand in hand. If you are "dieting", you are depriving yourself of something. Sure, it might be a good idea to limit some "bad" foods, but not deprive yourself of them "for good". In my journey of losing weight, I made it a point to make no food "off limits". I haven't been successful in losing 40 pounds and keeping it off for a couple years* by depriving myself of a certain type of food. I just eat more of the good stuff, and let myself indulge every once in a while. There's a balance I have maintained to lose the weight and keep it off.

The way that I lost the weight was pretty simple:

1. I have been eating healthy foods, most of the time.

2. I have been exercising, a few times a week.

3. I have been drinking enough water, almost daily.

4. I was getting enough sleep, most of the time (and I'm missing those days now that I have a 3 month old).


My sleepy girl, Piper.


Now when I say that it was simple, please don't misunderstand. It wasn't easy. The logic of it, however, isn't hard to follow. Eat well, exercise, drink water, get enough sleep; those are great ingredients for success.

If you notice above, I didn't say "always" after any of the 4 different things that helped me lose 40 pounds. This brings me to another point I need to share with you.

Dieting encourages the all or nothing mentality. I'm not a fan of that. I give my best, most of the time, and I give myself a break when I need it.

These past few months, I have been giving myself some additional grace because of all the recent changes in my life. I need to really be okay with that, too. Sometimes I struggle. You didn't hear too much from me this past week, and that was partially due to the struggle. I want to jump right back to where I was before I was pregnant with Piper, but the thing is, it is going to take time and it's not going to be all at once. In May, though, I am going to give it my best shot.

I have joined my best friend's challenge group for May. She is a nutritionist and she has invited a group of people to join her in living healthier this month. She is sharing goals for us to join in on, if we wish, and I also have some personal goals of my own.

This month, I am going to try to get back to the routine of eating healthy foods, most of the time, and exercising a few times a week. I am already doing well with drinking enough water and sleep is just going to be as much as I can get my hands on these days.

As I join in on challenge goals from Mindy's May Challenge, I will let you know about them and will share my progress with you all.

May is going to be a great month. Let's live it as healthy as we can!

*aside from that time when I was pregnant.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Oreo Truffles Make People Happy

Somebody close to me is having a hard time. So, I recently decided to cheer them up with some Oreo Tuffles. This is not a healthy recipe by any means, but it is a great treat! After all, what would life be without a little treat every once in a while?




This treat is really simple to make.

Oreo Truffles

Ingredients:

1 package - Oreos (three sleeves)
1 lb. chocolate
8 oz. cream cheese

Directions:

1. Crush Oreos until fine. Use a processor, if you have one.




2. Cut cream cheese into chunks; add to Oreo crumbs. Mash with your hands {your best kitchen tools} until combined well. Cool mixture in fridge for about 30 minutes.





3. Melt chocolate with a double boiler. Roll mixture into balls and drop into melted chocolate. Coat well with chocolate and set aside on a cookie sheet covered in wax paper. Freeze until chocolate is set and you are ready to enjoy!




My husband made this recipe for me many years ago and it's our go-to cheer somebody up treat.




Readers, what do you like to make people when they are feeling down?

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Turkey, Pepperjack and Spinach Stuffed Chicken

Did you know that you can ask the deli for only two slices of cheese if that's all that you really need? It's true and because I decided to try this new recipe, my days of ordering from the deli will forever be changed. No more ordering a 1/4 lb. of cheese or lunch meat when I only need a set number of slices!




I found this recipe for Cajun Chicken Stuffed with Spinach and Pepperjack Cheese and made a couple slight changes of my own.

Pepperjack and Spinach Stuffed Cajun Chicken
Serves 2

Ingredients:
2 - Chicken Breasts, butterflied
2 - handfuls of fresh Spinach, wilted over low heat
2 - slices of Pepperjack Cheese
2 - slices of Turkey
Sprinkles of Cajun Seasoning
Sprinkles of Garlic Salt





Directions:

1. Sprinkle butterflied chicken breasts inside and out with garlic salt and cajun seasoning.

2. Add wilted spinach, cheese and turkey to center of chicken breasts. Fold chicken breasts and secure with toothpicks.

3.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 35 minutes or until chicken is done.





My husband and I have really been digging stuffed chicken as of late. We have been making Chicken Cordon Bleu and this recipe quite a bit! Stuffing chicken is a simple way to switch things up when you need a change to your same old chicken plate.




Readers, please tell me that I'm not the only one who thought you had to order lunch meat and cheese from the deli in pound or a fraction of a pound form?

Saturday, April 25, 2015

A Lot of Random

I have been MIA for a couple days. There has been so much going on!

Before I get into what I've been up to, you have to check out this picture of Piper.


That picture makes me laugh, every time!

As for what's new:

I have been a little out of commission. I've been having some intense back pain since about Wednesday. My chiropractor is helping me through it and I am feeling some relief!

I went and got pedicures with my best friend this morning. Pedicures and girl talk is probably the best start to any day!


Hanging out with these two has been pretty great, as well.


I have been enjoying my days with my 3 month old and I owe you a post about all of the new things she likes and dislikes. I'm hoping to get one typed up for you soon!

I had to go out and buy a new body ball because my old one just wasn't doing so well. I'll be using this ball to help strengthen my core so I will have less back pain in the future!




I have been making some really yummy food.

I have been eating a little too much of that yummy food; like the enormous calzones my husband and I made last night.







I am writing down everything I am eating today so that I stay on track. No enormous calzones for me today!

Readers, what are some random things happening in your life right now?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

My Body Is | SnapFit Giveaway

Happy Wednesday, readers! How is your week going so far? Mine is going great! I met all of my goals yesterday and I am ready to make today count, too!

Goals for today:
Drink 120 ounces of water
Eat less than 1800 calories
Workout for 30 minutes

I have some exciting news to share with you all! My friends at SnapFit are hosting a giveaway for their fans. I wanted to share this giveaway with you because I really love the message it is sending! The following was posted on their Facebook page as instructions to enter their giveaway:

For the next two weeks, SnapFit will be hosting a giveaway to find out what you think of your body. Five lucky participants will be chosen by a random draw to receive a SnapFit swag bag complete with: $100 gift card, SnapFit and their Fit Happens t-shirt, water bottle and gym bag. Take this opportunity to acknowledge how amazing your body is and all of the wonderful things that it is capable of when you treat it right. To enter, just follow these three easy steps:

1. Like SnapFit's Facebook Page
2. Post a picture holding a piece of paper that fills in the blank to the phrase "My Body Is ______"
3. Tag @snapfitinc and hashtag #snapfit and #mybodyis

Winners will be chosen by SnapFit on May 5th at 2 pm PST.




Good luck to all that enter! I believe that everyone is a winner when they honor their body!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Recipe for Weight Gain

These past couple of days, I have been overeating and not drinking enough water. That's a recipe for weight gain. As you may know, I have ditched my monthly goals for April. Right now, I feel like I need to take things one day at a time. I have a goal of losing weight and so I need to make today count!

Goals for today:
Drink 120 ounces of water
Eat under 1800 calories
Exercise for 30 minutes

So far, today is going great!

Piper has been a little fussy these past couple of days but she is so much happier today. She has been doing so many new things; I am chalking the fussiness up to her mastering some new talents.

I downloaded The Wonder Weeks app on my phone today and I was happy to see that she is following it very closely!





I am looking forward to using The Wonder Weeks app for the rest of this first year with Piper. It gives me an idea of when she will be going through a leap in her development, and how I can help her get through it! The app was only $1.99 but it is already proving to be priceless to me.




The weather this past weekend was amazing! We were on the move and my cute little chick really enjoyed our adventures.

While my husband and I enjoy doing things as a family of three {we had SO much fun this weekend} we are also very much looking forward to a date night in our future.




Just a couple weeks away. We're planning on dinner and maybe a movie.

Readers, where is your favorite place to go on date night? What are you goals for today?

Monday, April 20, 2015

Chicken Cordon Bleu and Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Do you ever find yourself making one or two meals routinely? Maybe it's spaghetti in your house? Maybe it's meatloaf? Lately, the meal I can't stop making is Chicken Cordon Bleu with Roasted Brussels Sprouts!




I can't get enough of this healthy yet delicious combination!




Chicken Cordon Bleu

Ingredients:

2 - chicken breasts
2 - slices ham, thick cut
2 - slices swiss cheese
salt and pepper

Directions:

Butterfly your chicken breasts, stuff with ham and cheese, sprinkle with salt and pepper, bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until cooked through.




Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients:

25 brussels sprouts
2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Directions:

Cut brown ends off of brussels sprouts and remove any brown leaves. Toss in olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes, until roasted well.




This meal shows up on our plates at least once a week. It's such a healthy meal and so tasty! I really could eat it every night.

Readers, what meal have you been making routinely, as of late?

Sunday, April 19, 2015

12 Weeks Postpartum Update

Time flies when you're changing diapers and feeding a cute baby all day, every day.




I am 12 weeks postpartum and I have a lot of emotions about it. How has it been 12 weeks already? This was a milestone I have been thinking about ever since we first brought Piper home with us.

Over these past 12 weeks, Piper has grown into this beautiful, silly, sweet infant.

I guess it's about time I start calling her an infant. That's right; I have finally come to the realization that Piper is no longer a newborn.




My mother-in-law keeps telling me how fast the first year goes, and she is completely right. I am seeing it already! I am so glad that I decided to leave my career to stay at home with Piper. There is nothing more important to me than being here for all of her firsts. I can work the rest of my life, but this time with her, only happens once.




I am so thankful for God answering my prayers and for my husband to have a career that supports our dreams. My heart goes out to all those who wish they could be with their babies but have to return to work. I admire their strength. I think about those moms (and dads) often. Especially when Piper may be fussy and we're having a rough day. I stop and think during those brief moments when I want to pull my hair out that still, there is no place I'd rather be.




Thankfully, I feel as if I'm 99% healed from my c-section now. I still baby myself in some ways. I feel as if I haven't fully tested the muscles that were cut because I am still afraid of hurting myself. I feel pinches and tugs from time to time, but honestly, I am just nit picking here. I have been back to my normal daily activities for quite some time now. You can read more on that in my Eight Week Postpartum Update.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Change of Plans and Reward System

My life, all in one photo captured candidly.




How was your week? My week was pretty great in some ways and not the best in others.

I have come to realize that I have lost all motivation in my current April Challenge. I didn't end up posting my weigh-in, exercise or meal plans for the week. I just wasn't feeling it. I had similar goals for my March Challenge as my April Challenge and I think I am just burnt out from the same ol' thing. I need something new! This reminds me of an excerpt from a previous post of mine, from 2013.

"Don't be afraid to change up your plans. Your plans aren't set in stone! I've come to find that changing your plans to make them more realistic can actually help your weight loss efforts in the long run. Sometimes when we set certain expectations that we just cannot meet. Maybe something has come up, or your goal just doesn't motivate you like it use to. Once your goals start to become more intimidating than motivating, it may be time to re-evaluate. Make goals that motivate you! If they aren't motivating to you, don't be afraid to change it up."

In reading that over again, I have decided to nix the April Challenge. Instead, I have decided to go with a more motivating challenge for myself.

Goal: reach 225 lbs
Reward: new hair cut

Now that, to me, is motivating! I have always rewarded myself for every 5 pounds lost. I just haven't had a reward in mind until recently. {You can see a compilation of all of my rewards from over the years by following this link, here.} Now that I have a new goal and reward in mind, I think I will be more motivated to stick with healthy choices throughout my days. Sometimes, you just need that extra motivating factor to keep you on track!

Readers, do you use a reward system for yourself? What is a motivating reward for you?

Friday, April 17, 2015

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oat Balls

Oh my, I made something great.




My after-dinner sweet tooth has been tricked into loving these relatively healthy peanut butter chocolate chip oat balls. They are so good! They taste like Reese Cups with a twist; the twist being that they are packed with tons of protein, fiber and heart-healthy ingredients!

This recipe is courtesy of One Sweet Mess. The only change I made was that I added about 1/2 cup extra oats (because I love old fashioned oats).




Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oat Balls

Ingredients:

2 cups old fashioned oats (original recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup ground flax seed
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla extract



Directions:

In a medium bowl, mix all ingredients together with a wooden spoon (or if you're like me, you can use your hands).

Take tablespoon size portions and roll into balls. Or if you want to be a little more creative, roll out the entire mixture and cut out as you would cookies.




Cool in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. (Or eat immediately if you just can't wait and don't mind the texture.)




Recipe courtesy of One Sweet Mess.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Throwback Thursday: No. 6 {with LinkUp}

It's Throwback Thursday time! Don't know what I'm talking about? Check out these posts, first:

Throwback Thursday: No. 1
Throwback Thursday: No. 2
Throwback Thursday: No. 3
Throwback Thursday: No. 4
Throwback Thursday: No. 5

Some posts that I'm having fun looking back on today:

This post makes me happy that I'm finally able to run again: Dreaming of Running Again

This post made me want to cut my bangs again: Rebuilding My Habits


TBT: 2014


This post reminds me: Starting Over Stinks

This post brought back a sweet memory: A Shopping Trip to Remember


TBT: 2013


This post reminded me of a super easy and delicious recipe: Confession and Grilled Pesto Chicken

This post had a couple good batch-cooking ideas: Batch Cooking Sunday

Now it's YOUR TURN!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Baby Wearing and Solly Baby Review

I honestly get so many questions about baby wearing and so, I am happy to dedicate a whole post to my experience with baby wearing, thus far.




I am really into researching a product before I purchase one. Perhaps that's why you're here? Well, I can save you a lot of time with just three words. Buy this wrap!

It can be kind of hard to understand the importance of baby wearing prior to actually having a baby. I remember questioning if I should even register for a baby carrier and not putting too much thought into it while I was pregnant with Piper. However, after just a couple weeks of being in the thick of newbornhood, I desperately craved a hands free solution to keeping my baby close.




I must say, baby wearing is the absolute best thing ever. I remember the first time that I carried Piper with my Solly Baby Wrap. It felt so right. She was asleep in less than two minutes and I just walked around the house, happy to have my baby against my chest and happy to be hands free all at the same time.




I remember my initial thoughts about the Solly Baby Wrap were:

1. It fits! It's no secret that I'm a big girl (i.e. goal of losing weight blog) especially around the middle. I weigh around 230 lbs. and this wrap fits wonderfully. 

2. How great the fabric feels. It's so soft!

3. How great it feels to have my baby attached to me. The feeling is similar to when I was pregnant with her, a feeling I was surprised I missed so much.

4. How secure it feels. The fabric has just the right amount of give!




Now that the weather is getting nicer, I have had the opportunity to use the Solly Baby Wrap on some long walks. I have walked up to an hour with Piper in this wrap and it held up great. It has just enough give to make it a comfortable walk for the both of us while giving me the assurance that Piper is secure.




Baby wearing was absolutely necessary for the day after Piper's 2 month shots. She wanted to be held constantly. I was all for it, of course, I just needed my hands from time to time. That's where the wrap came in. Thank you, Solly Baby!




While I already had the Solly Baby Wrap in "Burnt Sienna", Solly Baby was gracious enough to send me a wrap from their new Spring line to review for you today. I chose to review the Solly Baby Wrap in "Butter". The color is so beautiful! It brightens up any outfit. I want to call it yellow but that just doesn't do the color justice. Butter was a great choice of a name. The feel and the color are both smooth like butter. Good enough to eat, perhaps? No, no. Don't eat it.




One of the things that can be intimidating about baby wearing is getting the wrap on correctly. I actually have not had any problems with this. I believe that is due in part to the instructional videos available on Solly Baby's website. I'm a visual learner and I got the wrap tied correctly right away! It's seriously simple and takes only a few seconds which means that pure baby wearing happiness is only a few seconds away.




Readers, have you ever tried baby wearing before? What wraps have you tried?

Disclaimer: Solly Baby sent me a wrap in exchange for an honest review of their product. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Apple Crisp

Hey all! I tried another great recipe as part of my April Challenge! This is recipe numero quatro of cinco. Not quite sure why I went all Spanish on you, but it just felt right.





What do you do when you have a sleeping baby and extra apples on hand? Well, you make Apple Crisp, of course!



I found this recipe on Pinterest and so I decided to give it a try. Boy, I'm glad I did!






In my opinion, Apple Crisp is best served with a side of vanilla ice cream. However, we did not have any plain vanilla ice cream on hand. Guess what? I didn't even miss the ice cream; this Apple Crisp is just that good!




Apple Crisp
Recipe from Tastes Better from Scratch.

Ingredients for crumb topping:
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
dash of salt
1/3 cup unsalted butter, diced into small chunks

Ingredients for Apple filling:
3-4 large apples, peeled and sliced thin
3 tbsp butter, melted
2 tbsp flour
1 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
dash of salt




Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. In a medium size bowl combine the crumb topping ingredients with a fork or pastry blender until it resembles small crumbs. Refrigerate while you prepare the apple filling.

For the Apple Filling:

1. In a small bowl, combine melted butter and flour until well blended. Add lemon juice, milk, and vanilla. Stir well. Stir in brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Pour butter mixture over apples and toss to coat. Pour apple mixture into a baking dish and spread into an even layer. Sprinkle crumb topping evenly over the apples .Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and top is set. Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.




Readers, how do you like to eat your apple crisp? Do you enjoy a side of ice cream with it?