Sunday, March 30, 2014

Balsamic Chicken Recipe

Originally I was going to call this aggression chicken because you get to beat up the chicken with a hammer or meat mallet. 
But then I was inspired in the last few minutes of cooking this chicken to add some Balsamic Vinegar and the rest is history! 
Chicken Breast
Cherry Tomatoes
Fresh Spinach
1 Wedge of Laughing Cow Cheese
Balsamic Vinegar
Low-Fat Shredded Cheese
I started out by fileting my chicken and then hammering it out to be thinner between to sheets of saran wrap.
I then divided the wedge in half and spread one half on each half of the chicken. I sprinkled a little garlic seasoning on there for some flavor. I then put spinach on one half, and halved cherry tomatoes on the other. 
I put both halves together and fastened them with toothpicks. 
I baked it in the oven at 350 for thirty minutes, at that time I took it out of the oven and added balsamic vinegar to the top of it. There is no exact measurement on this, I just poured until it looked adequately soaked with the balsamic vinegar. 
Then I sprinkled on some of the shredded cheese and let it bake an additional 15 minutes until the cheese was melted and the chicken was cooked through. 
It was seriously so good! 
I'm looking forward to making it again. 
If you are on take shape for life, 
1 Wedge of Laughing Cow Cheese is a healthy fat. 
Beware of the weight of your chicken breast, you don't want to add extra cheese to the top if you are at your allotted ounces.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Cauliflower Shepherds Pie Recipe

I have a confession, on Wednesday night I cheated. 
It was a long day and I was tired. 
I tend to cheat when I'm tired. 

I went and got my regular from Del Taco. With a Diet Coke, and no it's not because I'm on a Diet that I drink Diet Coke. I hate it when people make that assumption about Diet soda drinkers. I like the taste, so I drink it. 

Anyways, I noticed something. My taste buds have completely changed. 
It was DISGUSTING. I hated it. It tasted fake, almost chemically. Even the Diet Coke tasted funny. Yet I still ate the whole thing. Dumb. 

Anyways, I wanted to be real with you guys since that is so important. I don't want people to think I never cheated, never made mistakes and expect that perfection from themselves. It's OK to make mistakes, just let it be a cheat meal instead of a cheat day, that turns into a cheat week then progresses to giving up. I'm so proud of myself for realizing that. Instead of an all or nothing attitude. 

I wanted to share one of my new favorite recipes with you that I've had for my lean and green meals. 

Cauliflower Shepherds Pie #Recipe #CauliflowerMashedPotatoes #ShepherdsPie #TakeShapeForLife #LeanandGreen
2 medium heads of Cauliflower
1 wedge of Laughing Cow Cheese
Extra Lean Ground Turkey (Cooked)-6oz =1 lean meat serving so keep that in mind.
1 can of Italian Diced Tomatoes blended until smooth like a sauce
2% Mozzarella Cheese
Garlic Seasoning (Powder or Salt will work)

What I did was first cut up my cauliflower and rinsed it. Then I put it in water and brought it to a boil until it was fork tender. Then Strain it. 

While it is hot, add in your garlic seasoning and wedge of laughing cow cheese. I used my ninja to blend it up until it was the consistency of mashed potatoes. I'm sure you could use an immersion blender. 

I got a glass casserole dish and put my ground turkey meat on the bottom layer. Here's where it gets interesting. If you're following take shape for life, then 6 oz of lean turkey meat is one serving for your meal. So you will need to do some work in dividing up your serving. 

From there I put on my tomato sauce made from the diced tomatoes. I put on an adequate because it counts as a "green". I topped it with the cauliflower mashed potatoes. And then sprinkled on 2% mozzarella cheese before I put it on broil in the oven (since everything was already hot and just needed to melt the cheese). I let it stay in until the cheese was completely melted and a little brown on top. Just the way I like it. 

It was delicious! I liked to eat a lil sriracha with mine, just for a little kick. But you could have ketchup or just the way it is! Just remember your condiments and counting those! 

Let me know if you have any questions!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Weightloss Wednesday Days 12-18

One of this biggest things I've learned this week is that my weight is keeping me from being the person that I am meant to be, and keeping others from seeing it. 
We went to go see Divergent with my girls from work the other night and I am a huge fan!  Afterwards I took a test to see what faction I would be in, I already had an idea but I wanted to see. It turned out I was right. 
When I shared my results with others, they were shocked! They couldn't believe it. I thought "Man...they really don't know me." I know me, I know my thoughts, my desires and what I want to do in my life, but a lot of the time, I don't do them because my weight is an obstacle, but no longer! No more! I will be true to myself and not let my weight get in the way. I am brave. It's time to show it to others. 
I've been reading a lot about healthy lifestyle's because I am determined to make this stick, I've also watched a lot of you tube videos.
One of the main things I heard that really stuck out to me is: 
 It's true. We all struggle, if weightloss were easy, everybody would do it. But it's not it's hard and it's ok to struggle. It's ok to mess up, what's not ok though is to give up. 
 After struggling over the same three pounds this week, I was so ready to give up last night and get my usual from McDonalds on my way home from work. But then, I said to myself: "I know who I am, and if I'm being true to myself, I will NEVER give up." And I didn't. I went straight home. It paid off. I did have a special occasion cheat when I went out to dinner with my niece but that was it. I have committed to not cheating for a long while and see where I'm at! Here's my weightloss since starting Take Shape for Life 18 days ago, I have lost:
At first I was disappointed and then I realized, that's a little under 8 pounds a week. That's spectacular! From now on, a loss is a loss no matter how great or small!
Thank you for following me on this journey! I will be sharing a new recipe on Friday that is a pretty yummy lean and green meal for those of you who are also with me on a weight loss journey.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Weight Loss Wednesday-Days 1-11

Weight Loss Inspiration #tsfl #takeshapeforlife
It has been eleven days since I've started my journey to Optimal Health with Take Shape For Life. 
Eleven days of eye opening experiences.
Eleven days of newly learned or recently remembered tips.
Eleven days closer to a new me. 

It's funny I actually took notes on my phone as the days passed so that I could share them here on my blog with you. I am all about sharing things that I've learned so that hopefully I can help somebody else who is on this journey with me!

I've learned some really helpful coping strategies along the way. I have found that hands down, I am my weakest when I am at work. The shift I work has us eat two snacks and dinner with the girls I work with. The thing is, these meals are a nightmare when it comes to healthy living sometimes. So I've decided the best thing to do for myself is start bringing my own lean and green dinners to work.

I also bring one extra snack to work so that if I feel like I'm going to fall into old habits of eating when stressed etc, then at least I will eat something that won't kick me entirely off program.

In my purse at work I carry around pictures of me at a time in my life where I was comfortable with my body. This helps me to focus in on where I'm trying to go.

Instagram has been one of my biggest helps. When I am feeling weak or looking for food ideas I search #tsfl, #takeshapeforlife, #leanandgreen. You get the idea.

Also, I have started exercising before work and situations that I know will be tempting. That way I won't want to ruin the hard work I just did by cheating.

On that note I must be honest, I did cheat a few times this week. It helped me realize some things. I get grumpy when I eat junk food. We are talking GRUUUUMMMPPY!
I've noticed that the following day sometimes days it is harder for me to stay on plan because my cravings return. But once I've stayed on track for a couple days the cravings are so much more manageable. I have noticed my taste buds changing!

I really want people to know that it's ok if we have bad days. What matters is that we pick ourselves up and keep on going. This journey is NOT about perfection, it is about progression. Making progress closer to optimal health and the people that we want to become. I'm sure you are wondering how I'm doing weight wise now that I've spilled my thoughts this week.

Here it is:
I have lost a total of 13.6 pounds in 11 days. 

One of my favorite tips is:
While eating a salad, dip the tip of your fork in the dressing then get a forkful of salad for your bite. You still get the flavor you want without eating as much dressing!

My favorite quote:
"You can eat whatever you want, you just need to decide what you want the most."
My amazing health coach said that one to somebody on our group support board. Wise words!

2 Memories I hope I NEVER forget:
1. After making my family dinner (I do it daily now) my little guy looked at me and said, "Mommy, you are a superhero!"
2. One night while exercising after a cheat (I exercise to make up for my cheats), my son heard some noise and came to the living room to see what I was doing. He immediately asked to join in. So he exercised with me. My hubby told him it was time to go to bed and he said "I want to exercise with mommy!" He wants to do what I do. I need to make sure I'm doing and living the way that I'd want him to follow. You can see the picture of us exercising in the collage.

Stay tuned for next weeks Weightloss Wednesday!
What are your favorite tips and tricks for staying on task with weight loss?

Friday, March 14, 2014

How we arms length and a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Pie Recipe

Today is my amazing husbands birthday. In honor of him, I wanted to share the story of how we met. And since he absolutely loves Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, I wanted to share an amazing Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Pie Recipe with you. 
He loves it, and for good reason too! 

How we met:

The picture above is of him and me when he was serving as a sign language missionary in my church congregation in California. 

A lot of my friends have asked me how Travis and I I decided to share the history of "us". I met Travis when I was 16 (the summer of 2000). And I thought he was the cutest guy ever! It was funny because he was assigned to work with the deaf so automatically I assumed that he was deaf!
The first time I saw him, I said out loud to my friend Heather, "He is really cute!" (Thank goodness he didn't hear because I would be mortified)!

I was one of those horrible girls that all sister missionaries hate...(I know how bad it is now!) I had a monster crush on him...and I even told him in a letter...I KNOW it was horrible! But bless his heart, my dear obedient husband didn't want to hurt my feelings so he broke it to me nicely in a letter saying that his heart was locked, and that he was focusing on his mission! Yep he's pretty amazing. So my heart was broken but life goes on...he was transferred out of the ward a few months later and I didn't hear from him since that time.

Then seven years later...a few months after swearing off guys (I had a streak of real jerks!) and one month after deciding to move to Utah to be closer to my brothers family, Travis re-entered my life. He found me on facebook and added me as a friend! So we started talking on facebook, then chatting on MSN to deciding that we should date when I moved out there in October 2008. We became official on October 31. And after an incredibly romantic date of dinner at the Melting Pot and a breathtaking walk around temple square to see the Christmas lights, Travis got down on one knee and proposed. I of course accepted; And now in eight days we will be sealed to each other for time and all eternity in the Salt Lake City Temple.

Heavenly Father truly has a plan for each and every one of us, and that plan involves timing. Trust in the Lord and when it's time for things to happen. They will!

Onto the amazing recipe: 

1 Store bought/pre-made Graham Cracker Pie Crust
1 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter
1 8 ounce Package of Cream Cheese (softened)
1 1/2 cups Powdered Sugar
1 8 ounce Package of Whipped Cream (thawed) 
1 tsp of Vanilla 
Hot fudge or Chocolate Syrup for the bottom layer and topping
Caramel Syrup for topping 
Reese's Peanut Butter Cups cut into fourths 

1. Take your pre-made pie crust and spread your hot fudge or chocolate syrup along the bottom of it. 

2. Mix the peanut butter, whipped cream, powdered sugar, cream cheese and vanilla together. A hand mixer or kitchen aide type machine works best. 



Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Weight Loss Wednesday-The Post Where I Get Candid...

As I'm sure you can tell from the title, Weight Loss Wednesdays are back!

Here's the deal, the nitty gritty, the down low, the truth.
Weight Loss Wednesdays had been a thing of the past. 
I started gaining weight and instead of getting my tush back on the band wagon, I completely threw weight loss to the wind.

And then I gained, and gained, and gained until my fat clothes didn't fit anymore. 
I gained until I had to rock back and forth to get off the couch.
I gained until my older brother looked at me and said "why do you take up so much space? Didn't you have surgery for that?" 
I gained until my knees cracked every step that I walked up and down the stairs at work. 
I gained until I hated the sight of myself in the mirror. 

I didn't realize how much I had gained until I stepped on the scale at my parents house. My scale battery died and I never got around to replacing it. 
I was 45 pounds heavier than my heaviest. If you remember the past posts you can do the math, but I'm not ready to share that number yet. 

I was trying to fall asleep when I tripped over one of my kids toys and I swear it almost killed me! I started thinking about my babies. 
The best sound in the world I hear is when they run up to me when I return home and they squeal "You came back! I'm so glad you came back!"
My response is "Of course I came back, I'll always come back for you!"

That night I realized that if I don't stop on the path that I am on, there will come a day when I will lose my life, and my babies will be waiting for me to come back and I simply won't. I will break that promise to them. It scared me. 

My older brother is on dialysis. It looks miserable. He looks miserable. I was scrolling through facebook the other day and my friends husband is also on dialysis. She has been trained to hook him up to the machine. It dawned on me that if I don't change, that is right where I'm headed. The misery of dialysis, the stress of whether or not I will be put on the kidney list to have my life saved through a transplant. 
I don't want that for my babies. I don't want that for my husband. I don't want that for me. 

So I decided to get my act together. I have started Take Shape For Life and have an amazingly supportive health coach. If you want her info, I will gladly share it. I am about halfway through my first week and it has been hard. 
I'm a junk food junkie. Hangry doesn't even begin to describe it. 
But then...something clicks over. The cravings aren't as bad. They are still there, but bearable, most of the time. The headache goes away and the energy starts to come. 

I'm no where near being perfect on the plan. I have slipped up a few times due to stress or being ill prepared for work. But I'm developing coping strategies. I will share those next week as I apply them more. 

Today we celebrated my dear friends' birthday. I had a cheat meal. It was delicious. And I REFUSED to feel guilty for it. Why? Because I had a plan. I would enjoy my meal and then I'd work out afterwards to earn it. This isn't something I will do everyday, I'd rather work out to lose the weight instead of make up for cheating. But I knew that if I felt guilty I'd end up right at the beginning again. I'd think "Well, I already blew it for the night...somebody pass me the chips!" But I didn't. 

I went home and was greeted by my sweet little man. You know what he said to me? I bet you can guess. He said, "Mommy I'm so glad you can back for me!" He then threw his arms around my neck and gave me a bear hug. I spent some time loving on him and enjoying his company and then I popped in one of my Leslie Sansone Walk Away the Pounds DVDs. Can I just say I love her? When I first dropped a ton of weight after my mission, I would do her DVD's until I lost enough weight where it didn't hurt anymore. And then I started running and I LOVED it. Then I hurt my knee. That's a story for another day.

While doing the workout, as soon as I hit mile 1, I cried. 
I cried because I was so happy that I followed through with my plan. 
I cried because it hurt. Moving that much weight around is physically painful. Don't believe me, strap on 200 pounds of flour and go for a walk. 
I cried because I missed running, I missed the runners high, I still do. 
I cried because I was proud.
I cried because I have treated my body so badly. 
I also cried at miles 2 and 3. 
I cried because I did it, at my weight I walked 3 miles. 

There were several times that I wanted to give up, but there were a few things that kept me going. 
My favorite playlist "kick assphalt" that I put together years ago, kept me going. 
My body allowed me to keep going because I promised that if it would carry me through this work out, I would take better care of it. 
When I really wanted to quit, I would close my eyes and picture myself fit crossing the finish line of my first marathon, my babies running up to me cheering me on saying "You came back!" 
And ultimately I know it was Heavenly Father who kept me going. 

I know that I have a LONG road ahead of me. I know with God anything is possible and I know that just like one of my songs on my playlist it's one step at a time. 
It's gonna happen when it's supposed to happen.
One step at a time. 

I will make mistakes, I will mess up, I will fall. 
But I know that I can get back up. I just did. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Ham and Caramelized Pineapple Skewers

Last spring/summer, my mom and I tried a bunch of different Skewer or Kebab recipes to see if we could find some good ones to share with our family. 

Every Sunday we gather together for family dinner. It's one of my favorite traditions that we started when I moved out to Utah for college back in 2001. We would all get together for dinner and just talk and goof around. One of my favorite things is to get my big brother to laugh! 

Well for memorial day last year we cooked these guys up, and they were TO.DIE.FOR. 
I kid you not. These are hands down the best skewers I have ever tasted. I had to share our recipe with you guys since I love you so much!
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 8 minutes, depending on how caramelized you'd like your ham and pineapple

This recipe serves 4, so adjust according to the group you're feeding or in my family's case...their appetites. 

3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
3/4 pound cooked ham, cubed (approx 1 inch cubes)
1 can (15 oz) pineapple chunks, drained

-Preheat your grill for high heat
-In a medium bowl, mix together brown sugar, vinegar, vegetable oil, & mustard. Alternate between putting the ham and pineapple on the skewers. 
-Lightly oil grill so the skewers don't stick to it. 
-Place skewers on prepared grill and brush liberally with the brown sugar mixture. This is what will give it the extra yummy caramelized amazingness. There is no better word for it. 
 -Cook for 6-8 minutes turning frequently and basting often so it doesn't stick.
-Serve when heated through and glazed to deliciousness.
It seriously is so incredibly good. 
To make this recipe even more amazing, here is a picture of my family last spring. I can't wait until the weather is nice enough to play outside regularly again!