Monday, November 7, 2016

A dose of perspective...

So since I decided to stop weighing myself, I've been 1000% less COMPLETELYOBSESSED with the numbers on the scale and more focused on how I feel and trying to make good choices.  The only 'problem' is that during my once-a-month weigh-ins, I've been fairly consistent on the scale...which is GREAT, but I also would like to loose a bit more before I get to that maintenance phase.  And with that said, I decided to start trying to be EXTRA consistent with my work-outs and more diligent about food choices/loosing weight.  And since my brain had some 'free time,' given it wasn't obsessed with that scale...what would any moderately rational person do instead?  OF COURSE focus on how RESENTFUL I felt about needing to loose THE SAME weight for the 4th time (the 1st time around, the 2nd time after I gained some back + 2 pregnancies).  

About 3 weeks ago, I had went back to my 'home base' of workouts and started back with my good ole "Walk away the pounds" videos and trying to do them at least daily.  The only problem was that even when I was waking up and getting the 3-mile version done first thing in the morning, I didn't feel proud of myself.  I just felt MAD that I STILL had to do these things, even ALLLLLL these years later.  Now, don't get me wrong, I have written AT LENGTH on this blog about how I've never really been inconsistent with working out because I've always done what I'd like...which is all true.  HELL, I never really even forget how lucky I am that I CAN move my legs enough to workout, ya know.  And I'll be the FIRST to admit you never really can stop working, BUT...this resentment coupled with TRYING to get EXTRA consistent to loose THESAMEPOUNDS left me pretty pissed off.

And then, much like any other time in my life, the perfect answer came to me at just the right moment.  I was in the midst of having a pity party and getting angry about working up the motivation to do the 7 zillionth walk in 10+ years, and in the back of my mind came the words I needed to hear clear as a bell...
But what's the alternate?

Talk about a wake up call.   Because what's the alternate of blowing off workouts because you're mad and you just don't want to do them anymore?  What's the alternate for eating junk food that you know makes you feel like trash, but you're just hoping THIS ONE time you sit on the couch and overindulge on chips and eat yourself into oblivion will not make you FEEL like trash for days?  And what if you just did both of these for days, weeks, months on end....where is that going to lead?

You know where I'm going with this.

It was just the bit of perspective I needed to clear my mind and get myself moving HAPPILY again.  And not just moving, but feeling 100% mentally lighter after shedding all of that weight of resentment.  My current 'routine' is to tackle one of these 2 mile walks at least 4 days of the week, while I try to sweat it out a little extra with the 3 miles atleast twice a week.  And 98% of the time, I play one on my phone/computer while watching TV.  (Fun fact: a 3 mile walk is the same length of time as a Real Housewives of NJ episode, sans commercials...heyyyyyyy!;)  And, as I've learned about 8 zillion times before, as soon as I get a consistent burst of cardio going, my brain clears SOOOOOOOOO much better to make wiser, calmer food choice.  Making it MUCH easier to decipher true cravings from the times I really don't mind calling a green monster or cauliflower with hummus my breakfast or lunch.  And/or being able to REALLY enjoy those indulging times and helping you just move onto your next meal without an ounce of guilt or second thought. (because, ummmm...I already have melted brown butter cooling on the stove for Katie & I to make these cupcakes later today;)

Just thought I'd share if you needed that bout of perspective this morning.  It definitely helped me pull it all together and hope it will for you as well.  Enjoy your day!


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Friday, October 28, 2016

A peek in the lunchbox...

Hey, everyone!  I'm so sorry I don't get to post on here as much as I'd like...but I had a fun reason to pop on here today.  

Speaking of POP, Skinnypop was interested in my take on gluten-free lunch ideas.  And since I heart me some Skinnypop (especially the, swooon, white cheddar!), I thought I'd share what I pack for my Pre-K daughter for lunch.  And while my house is not gluten-free, after photoing a near- week's worth of lunches, I realized they were pretty much all naturally gluten-free.  So I thought I'd pop (there I go again;) on here today to give you the lay of the land for a week's worth of lunchboxes.  As always, I like to keep it quick and simple.  Momma's got NO TIME for fancy at this moment in life;)

MONDAY:  Chickpeas + grapes + a cheese stick...
...plus, um, an ice pack because it's 2016 and HOWDIDWESURVIVE our school days without ice packs back in the day?? ;)


TUESDAY:  Cucumbers + Laughing Cow cheese + yogurt


WEDNESDAY:  Cucumber & carrots + hummus + yogurt 


THURSDAY:  Yogurt + Pear + cheese stick 

I'm trying to jog my brain to think of anything different that she's eaten so far this school year and the only items that I can think of was when she was having a pepperoni & cheese moment.  Beyond that, she pretty much sticks to these few things every week.  What can I say?  My girl's a creature of habit (the apple don't fall far, folks;)  And of course Skinnypop would round out these lunch perfectly for a great snack or for a nice treat waiting afterschool.

Hope you guys liked this little peek and have a great weekend!



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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Cozy, comforting AND healthy...

Hey all!  Hope you're having a great week.  I'm not sure if it's the change in the weather OR that I'm feeling slightly UNDER the weather lately, but I have been craving COZY foods (aside from today, when it's HOPEFULLY going to be the last day of 90-degree weather till 2017!) and vegetables.  Vegetables like CRAZY!  I was full on craving roasted brussel sprouts the other day and I would NOT say that unless it was VERY true because...umm...super random, no??

Well, I'm bringin back this great recipe to share with you for the Collingswood blog project today because it fits all the bills: cozy, comforting and packed with healthy veggies.  BOOYA!  I present...

FARMER'S MARKET MAC & CHEESE!

Weeeeeeeee!  Fun right?  Plus, what a happy way to use up a bunch of veggies I had on hand, right?? 

Oh yeah...and some bacon!  (because WHY NOT??)  The first thing I did was add bacon (You only need 2 strips for this recipe.  I crisped up some extra to use today in another recipe) and some cherry tomatoes to a baking sheet to toss in the oven at 350 while I got to working.  In the 30 minutes while I cooked on the stove top, these guys were doin their thing in the oven. 

While the baking was well under way, I took another bunch from the LOAVES & FISHES pile of peppers that just NEVER seems to diminish!  Every time I think I'm going to polish them up, they just seem to MULTIPLY in that bag! 

Anyway, I lopped off the tops, pulled out the seeds, chopped em into chunks and took the easy route and just pulsed em in the food processor until chopped.  
I just could NOT bear the thought of standing around dicing all of these (AIN'T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT!), so THANK YOU FOOD PROCESSOR

I tossed em into a pan coated with olive oil cooking spray and let them saute for a couple minutes... 

Next, I de-eared 3 ears of fresh corn and added that to the pan and let everything cook for a couple more minutes... 

Next, I got my pasta cooking up, removed the pepper & corn to a plate and got to working on the cheese sauce right in the same pot... 
  1. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in the pan on medium heat.  Add 2 tablespoons of flour and whisk that together for 2 minutes until toasted.
  2. Add 1 cup chicken broth & 1 cup 1% milk and whisk until combined with the flour.  Allow to simmer for 5 minutes or until slightly thickened.
  3. Add 2 cups cheese and swirl until melted.

Next, add your cooked pasta and the corn & peppers and stir to combine.

By now, the bacon was crisped and the tomatoes were warm and SLIGHTLY caramelized... 

 Top your Mac with some bacon & tomatoes and chow down!

This dish was ULTRA creamy & dreamy studded with lots of fresh taste from the corn & peppers.  And don't even get me started on how much I LOVEDDDD the bites of tomato mixed in.  It just gave it that extra UMPH.

Oh yeah...and the bacon.  I mean, come on?  Do I even need to tell you that was a divine addition?

Hope you guys try this one out soon and let me know what you think!  Have a great day.

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Wednesday, September 7, 2016

A tale of two peppers...

Hey guys!  I know it's been a minute since I've shared a recipe with you for the Collingswood Farmer's Market Bloggers, so today I'm bringing you a DOUBLE whammy. 

But first?  A photo of Katie, who lingered by this mural next to the market for a good half hour while we noshed on Tortilla Press Quesadillas.  She just couldn't get over all of the animals hidden in the tree branches, and I couldn't get over watching her love it:)  #Momlife.

And of course, we have our produce picture...
...and this STILL doesn't tell the tale of how many beautiful and fresh veggies are just BURSTING at the seams at every turn at the market.  TIS THE SEASON for ALL the beauties.

And one big theme this week:  Peppers.  Peppers ALL DAY.  "You get a pepper!  And YOU get a pepper!"

OK, I'll settle down.

BUT not before sharing 2 recipes with you today.  The first is for one of my favorite ways to 'healthy up' one of those awesome decadent treats:  Pepper nachos!
Swoooooonnnnn...nachos minus the cards and + lots of vitamins & minerals?  Done and DONE.

You can use any peppers you want for this recipe, but my favorite is to use those ADORABLE baby peppers to make bite-size 'nachos'...
Slice the peppers in half, remove the seeds and bake the peppers for about 10-20 minutes on 350 just to soften them up a bit.

While the peppers are cooking up a bit, it's time to get your fillings together.  For this recipe, I poached some chicken breasts until cooked, give em a shred and sprinkle with taco seasoning.  (you could also use ground meat/turkey, black beans, whatever sounds good to you)

Next, pile the chicken (or your favorite filling) into the peppers...

Top with cheese (I used monterey jack & cotija) and green onions and bake until the cheese is melty and delicious...

Top with lettuce, tomatoes, guacamole or any of your favorite nacho topping and you've got a quick, delicious and HEALTHY way to serve nachos ANY day of the week!

Baby Pepper Nachos

Ingredients:
  • 1 bushel of mini peppers, seeded and sliced
  • Poached chicken (or your favorite nacho filling)
  • Cheese
  • Green Onions

  1. Place pepper halves on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake for about 10-20 minutes at 350 degrees until warmed through.
  2. Fill with chicken (or your favorite filling) and top with cheese and green onions.
  3. Bake until cheese is melty.  Top with lettuce, tomatoes, etc.
  4. Devour!


And from the itty-bitty peppers to these beauties...

...I put them to work to make a great meal for these grilling days:  Grilled Pepper Pizza...

I quickly lopped off the tops of the peppers and deseeded them before slicing em in quarters and giving em a quick whirl in my food processor, creating a flavorful 'sauce' in mere minutes.  I also added a couple garlic cloves because, well, WHY NOT?  But feel free to omit if that's not your jam.

While I worked on the pepper, I had the crust workin on that grill.  The way we make grilled pizza is to stretch out the dough and toss on one side directly onto the grill.  When the crust is done, it will easily release from the grates.  Flip the cooked side up.... 

...and start to pile on the goods.  For this pepper pizza, we added the pepper & garlic 'sauce'... 

...we also added some sliced onions (to really extenuate how AWESOME we were going to smell later;) and lots of mozzarella...
...toss back on the grill until the underside is cooked and the cheese is melted.

I mean...
Can you really argue with GRILL kissed pizza laced with fresh flavors?  It's one of the perfect ways to wind down this summer season.


Grilled Pepper Pizza

Ingredients:
  • Long peppers, deseeded and quartered
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • Pizza dough
  • Onion
  • Mozzarella Cheese
  1. Preheat grill and roll out the dough.  Once the grill is hot, place dough directly on grates.  It will easily release once the dough is cooked on one side.
  2. While the dough is cooking, toss the peppers & garlic into the food processor and whirl until it is a sauce consistency.
  3. Take dough off the grill and flip so the cooked side is on top.  Top with pepper sauce, sliced onions and mozzarella cheese.
  4. Place back on the grill and cook until the underside is cooked and the cheese is melty.
  5. ENJOY!

Hope you liked these recipes.  I'll have more to share with you next week since, this time of year, I am BURSTING with fresh, healthy veggie recipes.  Have a great one!



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