Piggys in a blanket!

What a day yesterday was. Hadley was up early for some reason, so we had breakfast and sent Brent off to work. She watched an episode of Umizoomi and I did my usual morning stuff. Took her to school, but instead of going to the gym, Truett had his 15 month check up at the pediatrician.

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This was before they came in. He was all smiles and chatting away, through the whole exam. He is 95th percentile in height, 75th in weight. Then came the shots. Its always so hard to watch the nurse give them shots!! He only cried for a minute, but I’m expecting him to feel pretty low today. My kids always feel bad for a day or two after shots. I’m glad he doesn’t get any more until he’s two. I was planning on going to the gym after, but he was crashing so we went home. He didn’t want lunch and I had to load him in the car two hours later, still sleeping, when it was time to pick up Hadley. I woke him up when we got there.

After we got home we spent some time outside with our neighbors, and then I made Pigs in a Blanket for dinner. My kids have a hard time sitting still and enjoying dinner, so I’m trying to take these two nights a week that it is just us to make a fun meal for them. I don’t like making meals for Brent and I, and making them something else. I think they need to learn that dinner is family time, it’s fun, and I choose what they eat. They can choose whether or not to eat it, but I don’t want to let them dictate meal time. I bought some Lil Smokies and crescent rolls, and got out some shredded cheese. I rolled out the dough, and cut each triangle in half. Put some cheese on it and one sausage, and roll them up. I baked mine on parchment paper, for 13 minutes at 375 degrees. Basically followed the instructions on the crescent roll package. They turned out delicious! Hadley ate 5, Truett had 2, I had 3, and Brent ate the rest when he got home. I think our kids eat more when their food is fun! Next time I’m going to make them with spinach and something else delicious. Try to sneak some vegetables in.

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We chased each other around the house for about an hour, had tickle fights and tried to see who could get the most kisses from Mox. After bath time Brent came home, and once we all settled in for our official ‘nightly snuggle time’, Truett crashed out within about two minutes. Hadley was soon after, so I watched How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days while Brent did homework. I love that movie!!

Today I’ll get back to the gym and I need to make Mox some more dog biscuits. I’m looking forward to seeing my mom tomorrow, my niece and nephew, and my sister and other niece and nephew on Saturday. Love when our family comes up!

What do you feed your kids when you aren’t cooking a big meal?

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Skinny Chicken Alfredo and Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies with White Chocolate Chips

After encouragement from a few friends and an intense workout with my trainer, I have made a new plan. I upped my calories and am going to do less cardio, more interval training. Yesterday I did the stair climber. There was sweat dripping off of my elbows. Crazy!!!

I also made a few things yesterday that re pretty delicious! I saw a coffee flavored protein shake on Pinterest, so I wanted to try it. I love Frappucinos, and pretty much anything related to coffee. Usually around 3 every afternoon I make a big cup of coffee to ward off my afternoon crash. So yesterday morning I threw a banana in the freezer so it would be nice and frozen for my shake. I also brewed a cup of coffee around lunchtime and stuck it in the fridge. When I was ready for it I poured the coffee in my magic bullet cup, with half of the banana, 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder, and topped it off with a half cup of almond milk and some ice. Blended it smooth, and I’ll tell ya, that will definitely curb my Starbucks cravings.

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For dinner I finally got to use the Shirataki noodles! I saw a recipe (on Pinterest) for a Skinny Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo and I really wanted to attempt it. I love Chicken Alfredo, and it is so so unhealthy. So when I saw the ingredients and realized most of them were already in my fridge, I was looking forward to trying it. Hadley came in the kitchen twice while I was cooking to tell me how good it smelled!

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Start by cooking the chicken and steaming or roasting the broccoli (the broccoli is optional), I steamed it. Next time I might try roasting it to get a different flavor. Set these aside. I didn’t change anything about this recipe except for using the Shirataki Noodles. I really liked these. The texture was right for me, they felt just like pasta. They come in water in the package, usually in the refrigerated section where the tofu is. You drain and rinse them after you open them, and then put them in a hot skillet and heat them until the excess liquid is evaporated, takes about 2-3 minutes. Sounds weird, but once you’re doing it you’ll see how easy it is.

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Then you set them aside and make the sauce. Which smells amazing, by the way. Don’t overcook the sauce, or it will get too thick. Put the broccoli and chicken in the sauce, and then your noodles and stir it all together. Since my kids were having regular spaghetti noodles, I didn’t add in the noodles, I just poured the sauce, chicken and broccoli over our noodles. It really had a great flavor. I was surprised that there was Greek yogurt and skim milk in the sauce. If you make this recipe as is, it has almost 600 calories per serving. That is a bit high for me for carbs and calories so late in the day, so by substituting the pasta for these Shirataki noodles, it cut it down to 350 calories for a bowlful. One cup of the sauce mixture, over 4 oz of the noodles. So filling, and great comfort food. I can’t wait to eat the leftovers tonight! Did I mention Brent had two bowls and Hadley cleaned her plate?! Truett ate all the chicken, and that’s about all I can ask for from him at this point. He only likes breakfast.

Ingredients:
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, grilled and cut into chunks (about 2 cups)
2 cups roasted broccoli florets
8 ounces Shiataki noodles, or pasta of choice.
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup fat-free, low sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup plain FAGE Total 0% greek yogurt
1/4 cup skim milk
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 pinch ground nutmeg
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Directions:
In a pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the garlic is golden, 1 to 2 minutes.
Whisk in the flour until smooth, about 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in the chicken broth, Greek yogurt, milk, pepper and nutmeg. Bring to a low boil, stirring constantly. Lower the heat and simmer, stirring gently, until the mixture thickens, about 3 minutes. Stir in 3/4 cup Parmesan.
Add cooked chicken and broccoli to sauce mixture, followed by the cooked pasta. Toss to combine and serve with more Parmesan, if desired. Prep time: 10 minutes, Cook Time: 15 minutes. Serves 4.

After dinner, as I was cleaning the kitchen and washing dishes, while Brent wrestled with the kids (and the dog), I heard him ask Hadley if we baked him any cookies today. She said “No, but mom can if you want.” Ha! He decided he wanted oatmeal raisin cookies or chocolate chip cookies. Well I had everything but the raisins and chocolate chips. I combined what I did have and came up with Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies with White Chocolate Chips. Let me just say, these might be some of the best cookies I’ve ever made. Seriously, I couldn’t stop eating them. I think Brent had 6? I didn’t have that many, but I could have.

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I found the original recipe here, at Smitten Kitchen, but since I was out of raisins, I added in a half a cup of dried cranberries, and a half cup of white chocolate chips. I also didn’t chill the dough or cookie sheets, because it was 8 o’clock at night and I had to do bath time. I wasn’t prepared to make cookies! The other change I made due to lack of planning (on Brent’s part) was that I didn’t have any vanilla extract. I did, however, have almond extract. I think that is what really pushed these over the top. They are crunchy on the edges and chewy in the middle, with a hint of sweet almond, juicy dried cranberries and white chocolate chips. These are my new favorite for sure. And really not hard at all!

Ingredients
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon table salt (I often use a half teaspoon, but I like more salt in my baked goods)
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup walnuts , chopped (optional)

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, egg and Almond extract until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together. Stir this into the butter/sugar mixture. Stir in the oats, cranberries, white chocolate and walnuts, if using them.

At this point you can either chill the dough for a bit in the fridge and then scoop it, or scoop the cookies onto a sheet and then chill the whole tray before baking them. You could also bake them right away, if you’re impatient, but I do find that they end up slighly less thick. Either way, heat oven to 350°F (175°C) before you scoop the cookies, so that it’s fully heated when you’re ready to put them in.

The cookies should be two inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake them for 10 to 12 minutes (your baking time will vary, depending on your oven and how cold the cookies were going in), taking them out when golden at the edges but still a little undercooked-looking on top. Let them sit on the hot baking sheet for five minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool.

This morning after I drop Hadley off at preschool, I am taking Truett to his 15 month check up, and then to the gym. Home for lunch and a nap, just in time to pick Hadley back up and come home to play. For dinner I’m making Lil Smokies wrapped in Crescent rolls. Brent has class so I will be sure to save him some, because he got pretty excited when he saw that on the menu sheet! Have a great day today!

what is your favorite comfort food?

Favorite kind of cookie?

Dinner Attempt #2

Don’t you love when you whatever you have planned for dinner doesn’t happen at all? The chicken wasn’t thawed in time for us to cook it last night, so I was going to make a Caprese Grilled cheese, but Brent was craving burgers. We went to Flatire Burgers and I had their yummy Yellowfin Tuna Salad with Wasabi Ranch. I will be making the Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo tonight though, and these are the noodles I’m using.

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Yesterday at the gym I did 8.5 miles on the elliptical and burned 1000 calories. But I’ll tell ya, I’m getting discouraged in this weight loss. I really haven’t lost more than a few pounds in the last couple of months. I know one of them was the holiday season, and my goal there was not really to lose any during that time, but to not gain any weight and eat in moderation. That I was successful at. But it has been a month and I’m only down two pounds. I know it is a slow process, but I am really sticking to my diet, and I have upped my cardio to challenge myself. I’m getting frustrated. I talked with my doctor about it yesterday, and she said my previous bloodwork showed everything was normal, and that I was doing everything right. She was telling me that sometimes when you lose a significant amount of weight you may get to a point and plateau for longer than you expect, and to switch things up a bit. It was good to hear that if she had passed me on the street she wouldn’t have recognized me, and that I am obviously much healthier than I was before. But still no magical answer! I’ll be trying more kinds of cardio and talking to my trainer about what else I can do, but it is really hard to hear that you are doing everything right, and more than most people, but seeing no results.

Gotta get these rugrats dressed and ready for the gym! It’s raining here, so we will probably be doing a movie and craft day at our house.

What is your backup plan when dinner doesn’t work out?

What do you do on a rainy day with your little ones?

Busy weekend and Shirataki Noodles!

There is no shortage of fun weekends around here, thats for sure. We spend Saturday with some good friends, and Brent grilled salmon steaks with a dijon mustard and brown sugar marinade. Fantastic! We also had spicy grilled shrimp, wild long grain rice and grilled tomatoes.

Sunday we went to church, and as usual, it was great. Craig finished a 4 week series on “Living the Story You Want to Tell”. He saved the best for last, and it was a really motivating lesson.

Then we had lunch with our neighbors, ran errands, and Hadley got to go play at their house for the afternoon. She came home and told us all about how much fun she had and how much she loves them. Adorable!

We were so full from lunch we didn’t even really have dinner, just snacked a little and fed the kids.

Today is a busy one, pajama day and show and tell at school for Hadley, and I’m hitting the gym for cardio. I get to go have a physical today with my doctor… not my favorite! Tonight for dinner we are having Chicken and Broccoli with Alfredo sauce. Doesn’t sound very healthy, but I found a recipe on Pinterest where the sauce is made from greek yogurt. And Brent found a spin on pasta at our local Uptown Market that we are going to try with it. It is called Shirataki Pasta, and it is made from a yam protein. Only has 20 calories per serving. Im looking forward to trying it! Check back tomorrow and I’ll let you know how it went, plus post the recipe!

Oh Friday, You’re My Favorite!

Yesterday was kind of a bust, I just didn’t feel productive at all. I went to the gym and did 30 minutes of cardio before training, which was a lot of upper body workouts. Then I went back and did another 4 miles on the elliptical. Grabbed the kids from the kids club and Truett was looking like he wasn’t feeling so hot. He ate a little lunch, played a little bit and crashed out for a nap right after Hadley did. He slept for three hours and woke up about the same. I think it’s just allergies, maybe a little cold, but he is definitely not himself. And yes, he did have a flu shot.

Somehow I made dinner while he was trying to climb up my legs (Brent had class), and got a little chicken and veggies in him. I think today we’ll stick with soup. They played for a little bit while I made a dessert for Brent and I, some of the skinny cheesecake which I am still tweaking. This one ended up really well. 1 cup of Chobani Plain non-fat Greek yogurt, 2 Tbsp of Jello Sugar-free Fat-free Cheesecake pudding mix, and 2 Tbsp of water, all in the magic bullet until its creamy. Divided the cheesecake into two bowls (1/2 cup each), and put a half cup of sliced strawberries into each bowl. Drizzled it with a tablespoon of chocolate syrup and garnished with a half of a graham cracker. Tell me this doesn’t look amazing.

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How many calories for that giant bowl of deliciousness? 133, if you must know, with toppings. Just the cheesecake alone is only 75 calories per half cup. And 12 grams of protein.

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Hadley is still living on candy canes from Christmas, that’s the only thing she even wants right now. So I saved these til after the kids went to bed. The Graham cracker added a nice crunch, and chocolate and strawberries are pretty much a win however you use them.

I’m not sure what today holds, I guess I depends on how Tru feels. At least Brent will be home to help this weekend, but I’m counting on him feeling better by tomorrow. I can hope can’t I? The grocery store will be in there somewhere, but I have to finish my menu first. I do two weeks of planning at a time. I usually go back once a week for fresh vegetables at Sprouts, but I try to get everything I need to make at least 10 dinners, all breakfasts, and all lunches every two weeks. This has cut back on my grocery bill a ton. It takes me about an hour to plan a menu and make the list, so I guess I better get working!

Have a great weekend!

Do you make a weekly/bi-weekly menu?

Or do you buy groceries as you go?

This age is taking way too long!

My week thus far has been pretty crazy boring…and super busy. Who ever thought being a stay at home mom would give me more free time or less stress was totally wrong. That person would be me! I totally thought I would have more time to do fun stuff, DIY projects and reading…ya right. Remember that book I started? I’m on chapter 2. After 2 weeks. I used to read a book in a day! I have a dresser that I am super excited to refinish. I hope it happens before summer, or else I will have to wait until the fall. Because of the heat here, the paint dries so fast, it’s hard to get a smooth finish. And I am not painting it in the house. With my two crazies running around? Hadley got my grace, the last thing I need is her running into it and getting covered in gray paint. She runs into things at least 4-6 times a day: walls, coffee table, chairs, doors (even open ones), etc. She is super excited to start her ballet class, and I am definitely going to be recording some of it, so when she has kids they will see where they get it from. My mom did it to me!

My morning schedule is usually the same, my kids thrive on routine and have meltdowns when we change things. So we are usually at the gym by 10 six days a week, and on Sundays we are at church. After lunch is nap time, where I do the dishes and fold the laundry, get all the exciting stuff out of the way. They wake up and we play outside or in the play room for as long as we can, until I start dinner, and then Brent comes home to take over playtime until we eat. After dinner there is usually an hour of Daddy-time, then baths, then snuggling, then bedtime. Pretty easy routine, but maybe it was the three day weekend that threw me off this week. I am trying to get back in it! Let me tell you that for two days in a row – get excited – not only have I washed and dried the laundry, I have put it away. Rather than just turning the dryer back on, I have returned the clothes, folded or on hangers to their places. I’m not getting ahead of myself, I don’t expect this to happen daily. But I will totally take any small victory I can get. Just like a shower. Isn’t that a victory in itself? 15 minutes to take a hot shower alone at all? Today Hadley did not want Truett playing with her baby dolls while I was in the shower, so she locked him in my room and continued to play in the playroom alone. Truett was trying to tell me ‘out out’, and I kept thinking he wanted me to get out of the shower, so I finished and dried off as I realized the door was locked. I asked Hadley if she had locked us in, which she said she had, and told me he was touching her baby dolls while they were sleeping and she didn’t want him to. I explained to her that that probably wasn’t the best way to handle it, and we can’t lock our siblings in bedrooms when they are bothering us. Especially when they are only one and just want to play with their sister. So I was folding the laundry and I heard Truett crying, and came around the corner to realize she had done it again. This warranted a time out and a verbal lashing, with threats of spanking and taking away her baby dolls. She explained that she just didn’t want to share with him, so I told her that if she wasn’t going to share, then she couldn’t play with any of his toys either. That didn’t sound like any fun, so after her time out she came out and apologized and was fine the rest of the day. Unfortunately, age three has not been my favorite. I am ready to move past it – QUICKLY! I know these are only momentary lapses in judgement, because the other 90% of the time she is amazing. But im learning the extent that a three year old will go for some alone time.

My hubby has started back to school for the semester, so Wednesdays and Thursdays I’m on my own until bedtime with both little hooligans. Good thing Thursdays are training days, I’ll need that stress relief for sure. We usually eat leftovers or a quick fix meal on nights Brent isn’t home, they usually don’t appreciate my cooking as much as he does. Last night they ate Mac n Cheese and I had chicken fajita leftovers. Easy and fast. Plus I hate wasting food, I will eat leftovers almost every day for lunch if there are any in the fridge. It is also quick and painless to have leftovers, and I know how many calories I’m getting already, I don’t have to figure it out or worry about it.

This morning for breakfast I had egg whites with salsa- so good! I DO NOT like yolks. It’s a texture thing I suppose, but I can’t get over it. When I was younger, my dad always made my eggs over easy. I remember loving it, and then as I got older I wanted them more and more cooked. Brent always jokes now that he has to cook my eggs for 10 minutes before I will eat them. But it’s really just the yolks, unless they are scrambled, I would rather just have the whites. So this morning (and yesterday) I had egg whites sprinkled with Cavender’s Greek Seasoning. I love that stuff! The egg whites keep me full and are super low in calories. Three servings of egg whites with salsa is less than one regular egg. Usually on the way to the gym I will have a granola bar or protein bar for a boost of energy.

Off to the gym I go! Have a great day, It’s almost Friday!!

What has been the hardest age for you with your kids?

Do you eat leftovers?

Horses, Pumpkin Dog Biscuits, and Even Better Skinny Cheesecake!

Today is MLK day, which means Miss Hadley doesn’t have school today. We had a super busy weekend, so an extra day is something I won’t pass up!

This Saturday we went to a super cute birthday party! It was at a big farm with Clydesdales. We are really trying to make sure our kids aren’t scared of horses, so any chance we get to be around them, we take. These things were gigantic and so pretty. They hooked a couple of them up and took us on a wagon ride, and then we went upstairs and had delicious cake in a jar.

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The kids were wiped afterwards, so while they napped I made Mox another batch of dog biscuits. I decided to go with pumpkin this time. Pumpkin has a ton of fiber, and if you’ve ever had a dog with gastrointestinal issues, your vet may have recommended putting a spoonful of pumpkin on their food for a week or so. Dogs also love it, and when we carve pumpkins in October, Mox always tries to eat as much of the insides as possible. I save it and put a little on his food. This recipe is really easy.

1 cup of canned pumpkin
2 cups of whole wheat flour
1/2-1 cup of water to make it into a thick dough.

I just poured a little bit of water at a time until it was thick but pliable enough to roll out. This batch made about 48 biscuits when I used the bone shape only. Bake on 350 for 30-40 minutes. Mox loves them. They keep for a 7-10 days at room temperature, 3 weeks in the fridge, and 6 months in the freezer. It took me 3 tries to get this picture because Mox kept jumping up and eating the treats!

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This is an example of how Mox has to eat at every meal. Truett is obsessed with feeding him, and he tries to pick up handfuls of kibble while Mox is eating and hand feed him. Mox just wants to eat, so he will take it however he can get it!

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Friday night we had Venison Backstrap steaks with Roasted brussel sprouts. I just cut these in half and tossed them in a tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkled on some Cavenders. This whole plate is 325 calories. That steak is only 175 of them, and I could barely finish it. It tastes amazing and has 70% less fat than beef.

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Brent made a Venison Barbacoa for dinner last night, it was really good, but it didn’t shred well (not enough fat in the meat) so we cut it up and put it on a yummy salad.

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Last night after the spicy dinner, I was craving something sweet, so I decided to make the cheesecake dessert that I like. Brent doesn’t like it, so I wanted to change it up and see if I could make something he liked. I used Chobani plain non-fat yogurt with the cheesecake mix, and a splash of unsweetened almond milk. He loved it! A much better texture and flavor.

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1 cup Chobani
2 Tablespoons of Sugar Free, Fat Free Jello Cheesecake mix
1/4 cup Almond milk

Mix all ingredients well in a blender or food processor, or even whisk. This makes 2 servings. 100 calories each and 12 grams of protein!! I sliced up some strawberries and I pretty much had to fight Brent for my half of all of it.

To the gym I go, and then enjoying an extra day with my hubby and family!

Are you off today? How will you be spending it?

What (if any) kind of game meat do you enjoy?

29!

It is officially my first 29th birthday. Do you ever stop and think, man, I really never saw myself here. Sometimes I wonder how I got here or whose kids these are what it is I must have done right to have such an amazing life. When I was younger I could never figure out what career path I wanted to take or what my major should be in college. I realize now that it doesn’t matter, any major would have been fine as long as there was a degree at the end. But I could never pick anything that was of much interest because all I wanted was to get married and have kids. I knew that whatever career I chose would be more of a ‘job’, because I wanted my career to be my family. And God provided a man who felt the same way I did, as well as worked hard so that we could have this life. One time I was with a friend’s mom, she was meeting Hadley for the first time, and I’ve known her since I was about 14. I remember her saying that she couldn’t believe I was a stay-at-home-mom, she could have never pictured me wanting that. But I suppose there was a time when I didn’t want it, and I probably thought it wouldn’t happen anyway. Even before I had Truett, I didn’t think I wanted to stay home, but now, I can’t imagine life any differently. I am so lucky to be married to such a sweet and devoted husband, he is everything I ever thought I wanted in a man, but never thought existed. My kids are the most precious things you have ever seen, and hilarious too. And my family is the absolute best, even though we live far apart, I am closer to them now than I ever was before we moved.

Last night, Brent actually gave me my birthday gift early! I know, pigs were flying, it was crazy! Mostly because I bribed talked Hadley into to telling him we should. You will not be as excited about this as I was, but it is a fleece electric blanket for our king size bed!! I couldn’t believe it, this coming from a man who told me that my heating pad made the mattress hot on his side. But when my heating pad went out last week I was so bummed, and I haven’t been able to find another one as big. I was going to get a twin sized electric blanket to burrito up in, but he kept telling me he would be too hot if I got one. If he was trying to throw me off, it worked. It may have just been that he was tired of me telling him how cold I was all day and night! Whatever the reason, I was so so excited to put it on the bed and turn it on. My feet are actually warm right now.

Nothing too exciting for us yesterday or today really, my trainer kicked my bootie at the gym, I was huffing and puffing by the end of my session. But thats how I like it!! I did 3.6 miles on the elliptical before my session, and 4 miles afterwards. Brent picked up dinner on his way home last night, from a bbq place by our house. I had smoked turkey, green beans, and slaw, with two tablespoons of bbq sauce. My whole meal was about 360 calories. And I was stuffed! It really is pretty easy to make good choices at restaurants if you are paying attention to portion size and what is good for you.

Today Hadley has school and I hit the gym!

Birthdays, Smoothies, Low-Fat Chicken Soup, and Venison Meatballs

First of all, happy birthday to my cousin today! She is 19! It is also my Dad’s birthday, so a bittersweet day for me. We always got to celebrate our birthdays together, as mine is tomorrow. He has been gone 9 years this March, and though it has gotten easier to get through the days, I miss him just as much as I did when he passed away. My kids love to dance around the living room like maniacs, and last night we were having our ‘dance party’ and the song What A Wonderful World came on. I remember being in the car with my dad once, and it played on the radio. He told me it was one of his favorites, so every time I hear it I stop what I am doing and listen to the words and remember riding in my Dad’s big white Ford. I told Hadley and Truett that this was one of their Papa’s favorite songs, and we sang and danced and for a second it felt like he was there. It was just a feeling, warmth of the moment I guess, but it was nice.

Lately I have been in the mood for a breakfast smoothie, I have no idea why. The temperature here is around 20 degrees when I wake up, so I honestly couldn’t tell you what makes me want a smoothie. I usually have two cups of coffee before I do anything else, and then the last few days I’ve been making these yummy smoothies in our Magic Bullet. Wait, that’s probably it. Brent came home with a Magic Bullet last week and we have used it every day for something. Even the little blender cups with the handles, they just scream “make a margarita smoothie in me!”. So that must be it. Anyway, I’ve been using my very favorite Greek yogurt that they just started selling at our Walmart (before, I had to drive across town to Target for it), it is the Greek Gods Vanilla Honey yogurt. Seriously the best flavor out there. I use a half a cup of that, a half cup of Almond milk, and then frozen fruit. I don’t like to put ice in mine, I like the fruit to make it thick. Lately I have been using frozen peaches, and my smoothies taste just like homemade peach ice cream. Let me tell you something about homemade peach ice cream. I am from the south, Texas to be exact, and peach ice cream in Texas is really the only kind you want from your ice cream maker. Growing up we had peach trees all over our farm, so my family would make vanilla ice cream with fresh peaches in it. You will never have better ice cream. The first time I made this smoothie last week, it was like an instant flashback, sitting in our kitchen waiting for the ice cream to be done. Today I used frozen peaches and fresh blueberries – YUM! I will be picking up some more vanilla protein powder at the store today to add to this, for an extra boost.

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You might notice that we use a lot of green chile in our recipes. My hubby is from New Mexico, and he grew up on it. I hadn’t ever had it before my first visit to New Mexico, and it has such good flavor. We usually buy enough fresh chiles in September to last us a whole year, or at least we think they will. Buy them fresh, roast them on your grill, and then store them (3 or 4 per) in freezer bags in the freezer to use throughout the year. When I run out I used the canned ones that you can buy in the store. We try to make a lot of variations of Green Chile Stew, which is probably my favorite thing to eat when it’s cold. But it is pretty high in calories, and there are definitely ways to make it better for you. Brent might have found the perfect combo on Sunday night. Plus it is about 100 calories per bowl full! I could have eaten 5 it was so good, but I saved some to have today for lunch.

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Ingredients
(This makes about 4 servings)
3-4 chicken breasts, cut in chunks
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 1/2 cloves of garlic, minced
1-2 tomatoes, diced
1 cup diced green chile
3 cups of chicken broth
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon oregano

Cook the onions in your Dutch oven for a few minutes in a splash or two of the chicken broth. Then add the garlic and cook for another couple of minutes. Add chicken broth as needed so it doesn’t scorch. When the onions and garlic are soft, add the rest of the broth, the chicken, and salt and pepper to taste.

Bring it to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken and set it aside to cool. Stir in the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil over high heat. Shred the chicken with two forks and add it back to the pot. Stir to combine. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally to keep from sticking to the bottom of the pot.

I also made some homemade salsa and put a spoonful of it on top of mine. Along with a pinch of shredded cheese and a dollop of sour cream. This is a favorite for sure. Amazing flavor.

Last night was nothing special, really just a throw together meal because Hadley wasn’t feeling well and didn’t want me to do anything but snuggle her all day, and who am I to say no if it makes her feel better? We had some ground venison thawed, so I made some quick meatballs and baked them in the oven, made egg noodles for the kids and voila! They had “wiggly noodles with meatballs and sauce” as Hadley said, and it was her first meal in two days. She loved it. Truett ate a couple of meatballs and threw one on the floor, much to the delight of our dog, and he ate most of his noodles. He really like the black olives that Brent put on his plate the most, though. Instead of noodles for me, I sautéed up a couple of zucchini and put some meatballs and sauce on top. Delicious! Brent made a meatball sandwich with provolone. Venison is so good for you, organic and lean, a serving has about 175 calories in it. So with my zucchini and sauce, my plate was about 300 calories, and I was so full.

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This morning I think I’ll have a protein shake on the way to the gym, after I finish my coffee of course, and for lunch, Chicken and Green Chile Soup. For dinner I am making Chicken Fajitas, and my plate will be without tortillas or rice, and some extra veggies.

Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Black Bean Salsa and Oreo Cheesecake Bars (lightened up!)

Getting a little bit of a late start this morning, my wonderful hubby got up with Truett this morning and let me sleep a few extra minutes. So I’m having a cup of my Kahlua coffee out of my new Cuisinart Keurig, and man, it is delicious! Goes pretty well with one of those Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Breakfast Cookies

This weekend was good, so relaxing. We didn’t really do anything that involved planning, so it was actually really nice. Friday night I made one of my favorite meals, and Brent’s too. It is a chicken breast stuffed with cream cheese and green chile, then grilled or baked. Before I was ever trying to lose weight, I would have also wrapped this in bacon. Mmmmm bacon. Friday night was the first time I’ve made it in a very long time, so I did not use bacon. It turned out pretty delicious! I paired it with a black bean salsa that I kind of just threw together with stuff in my pantry.

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Here is the inside. All you need is chicken breasts, 1 ounce of cream cheese per piece of chicken, canned of fresh green chiles (or fresh jalapeños – seeds removed of course), and some Cavenders Greek Seasoning. I know, it doesn’t sound like a Greek meal, but I promise this is the perfect seasoning. Pound out the chicken a little, so it rolls up easier and cooks more evenly. Then put 1 ounce of cream cheese inside, lay in the pepper of your choosing, and roll it up and secure with toothpicks. Sprinkle Cavenders on it and bake at 400 for 25 or so minutes, or grill it. I always check chicken with a meat thermometer.

The black bean salsa was a can of black beans rinsed, a can of corn, a fresh diced tomato, and chopped fresh cilantro. A squirt of lime juice on top tied it all together. A cup of this stuff is only about 150 calories, and the chicken was about 300. So the meal was 450,which I think is pretty good for a big meal, especially stuffed with cream cheese! I was so full afterwards! And that is a good feeling when you are counting calories and trying to lose weight!

Saturday we went to the gym, ran a couple of errands and grabbed a quick salad at this yummy restaurant by our house, then up to a friends house because she had a bag of hand-me-downs for Truett. I’ll take it!! I love hand-me-downs, and she always has good stuff. The was no disappointment this time, a bag full of goodies in the next size he is going in to, plus a big sandbox! Excited to put that out when the weather warms up. We we having dinner with our friends that night, and I was in charge of dessert, so I asked Brent what he wanted, and he said “Oreo Cheesecake”. First of all, he must think I’m crazy. I’m pretty sure he could have picked anything else a little more low calorie. But I decided I would make it, and try to make it a little lighter.

I found a recipe over at Table for Two Blog, and since there is really no way to lighten the crust, I decided to just go with it and use her recipe. But not only did I not have time to make the cheesecake from scratch, I didn’t have three hours to let it chill. So I grabbed a box of Sugar-Free, Fat Free Cheesecake Pudding mix, crushed up some Oreos, and poured it over the baked Oreo crust. Mine did not come out with perfectly clean edges like hers, but they did cut into bars and they definitely tasted AMAZING. Well worth every calorie! If you cut 12 bars, each will only be about 200 calories.

Ingredients:
1 bag of Oreos
4 tablespoons of butter
1 box of Sugar-free, Fat-free Cheesecake Pudding mix
Milk (I used 1%)

Preheat the oven to 325. Cover a 9×9 baking dish with foil so the bars will lift right out.
Take about 2/3 of the Oreos and crush them in a food processor until they are pulverized. Melt the butter and pour it into the processor and blend again until its all moistened. Press the mixture out into the dish and bake for 10 minutes.

Mix the pudding mix according to the package directions. Pour the rest of the Oreos into a ziplock and crumble them into smaller pieces, but not like the crust. Pour them into the pudding mix and stir well. Pour the whole mixture over the crust and put it in the fridge for an hour. I actually put mine in the freezer for an hour and thought it was perfect. It cut into bars and everyone thought they were great! Pretty sure Brent had two or three.

Where is the picture you ask? We were in a pretty big hurry to eat these and I totally forgot! Sorry!

We will be spending the day at home today since my oldest is not feeling well, so I’m going to have to get my workout in later. It’s a new week, make it special!!