Asian Slaw

This was a dish that I started eating when I was pregnant and I ate it all the time. I have no idea where I got the inspiration for it but I would eat it every day for lunch at work for a week or more and not get tired of it! I thought it was delicious and loved the different flavors going on in it. After I wasn’t pregnant I wondered if it would still taste good to me because there are definitely some things that haven’t. But nope, I still think it is delicious! I love it because it is healthy and fast. You could easily add chicken to it if you wanted to make it a little more filling. Or it could be a side dish along with the rest of your meal. Me, I eat it like this and it fills me up. It’s a big bowl of vegetables and fruit and you get protein from the edamame that will help fill you up.

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So these are the ingredients I use. A bag of coleslaw which is super handy to have on hand and super cheap. I pay a $1 for it at Winco. An avocado and a mango, some edamame and asian sesame dressing. I love the microwavable bags of edamame from Costco, pop in microwave for 2-3 minutes and you have a great addition to a salad or a great snack. And I am not normally a fan of “lite” dressings but Ken’s Steak House Lite dressings are my fave. They go on sale often at Smith’s and have so many great ones. Their Asian Sesame is perfect for this salad.

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This salad is so simple there really isn’t a recipe to it. Put a bunch of coleslaw in your bowl, dice up some avocado and mango and toss in some edamame and drizzle on some dressing and stir it all up. Don’t forget the topping though, it is good without it but it makes it so much better! I think it must be the crunch. For the topping take a package of Ramen noodles and break them up into little pieces. Place the uncooked noodles and some sliced almonds on a cookie sheet and place them under the broiler to toast. When the tops start to brown stir them around and let brown again. Make sure to watch closely so it doesn’t burn! They don’t taste good at all if they do…

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This meal right here is proof that eating healthy can taste really really good! Give it a try right now while avocados and mangoes are in season so you can find them everywhere and they are great prices!

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Eat Your Veggies

I am a big time snacker, big time. I don’t know why but I have never been a person that can make dinner and not snack the entire time I am making it. I hate that I do that but for some reason I just can’t stop. There have definitely been times that dinner is ready and I am not really hungry anymore because I have snacked so much. Yet I still will eat dinner so yeah, can we say over eating going on over here. I don’t know why I do this but a big part of it might be that I usually wait until I am starving before I start to make dinner.

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This is not a trait that I want to pass on to my daughter so I have tried to come up with a solution to this problem. My mom once told me that while she was growing up my grandma would put a bowl of peas and carrot sticks on the table while she was making dinner. Then the kids could snack all they wanted and they were eating their veggies and not ruining their dinner. I thought this was genius and figured if it worked for them why wouldn’t it work for me?!?

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So 99% of the time now while I am making dinner I first pull some veggies out of the fridge. Carrots are my absolute favorite. Baby carrots are good but a big carrot that is peeled and eaten whole, that is my fave. If I have some carrots or mini peppers or celery in the fridge I just make sure I have some of them prepped and sitting out on the counter and then I snack on them instead of whatever it is I am making. It’s a win win situation. I get to snack and make sure I get my servings of veggies in for the day and don’t ruin my dinner. Because I don’t know about you but I have no problem eating enough fruit during the day but I struggle with veggies. Not because I don’t love them, they just take a little more effort. This is something I will definitely continue doing. Rob and I eat more veggies and it will be something Olivia will grow up having as part of her life so hopefully she will love veggies too!

The Last Straw

For me it took hitting rock bottom before I could make a change. Luckily not all people have to get to that point before they can but for me that is what it took. I was depressed and hated the way I looked. I felt ugly and fat and felt uncomfortable in every single thing that I owned. I just wanted to sit alone and eat all the bad stuff. I was miserable. Tired of trying different magical pills that claimed they would allow me to eat all the bad stuff yet still somehow miraculously end up looking like one of those photo-shopped models in their ads. Tired of trying weird, random exercise videos that made you breathe weird and hold your breath and then hold poses to supposedly make the weight disappear. (Although that one did surprisingly help when I actually did it.) To sum it all up, the last straw was that I was totally and completely unhappy and finally said ENOUGH! I was so done with hating me and decided it was now or never.

So I started, I made the decision to start and I did. Was I perfect? Heck no! I had so many days where I was too tired to go to the gym. So many days where all I wanted was a huge bowl of ice cream and I gave in and ate it. Days where I just felt like I was doing all of this for nothing and nothing was going to ever change. But I still kept going.

Slowly those days of skipping working out got less and less. I learned how to find more foods that were healthy that I liked and learned new ways to cook them. I still had cravings for that big bowl of ice cream but I would only partially give in to that craving and just have a little bowl of ice cream. I started feeling better about me before I noticed any physical changes and I am certain that was because I was simply taking care of me. Good food and exercise work wonders for your brain. I liked this new way I was feeling and decided it was worth it, even though it was hard, because I was starting to feel happiness. And I don’t know about you but I liked feeling happy a lot more than I liked being sad and depressed.

So on days when I didn’t want to do anything I would remember that happy feeling and remind myself that I was willing to do whatever it took to keep feeling that way. I finally did it for me. I didn’t do it to try to make anyone like me more or make my family or friends happy, I did it for me. That’s when it sticks. That is when things will finally start to change. When you realize that you have to do it for you. It is one aspect of your life that you need to be completely selfish in. Do it for you.

Honestly, it’s still hard. I still have days where I just want to eat all junk food and not do anything active. Just yesterday Olivia woke up earlier than normal and I usually try to get up and work out before she is up. I knew that if I jumped out of bed and changed that Rob would watch her so I could get a quick workout in. He is pretty great like that. But I was tired and instead I lay there until she made it clear she wanted to be up and I went and got her and sat her on the bed between Rob and I with some toys and laid back down and shut my eyes. I just couldn’t do it, I was too tired. But you know what it was ok, I started to beat myself up over it and then said stop! I was just taking care of me. My body knew it needed more rest and I was trying to help it out with that and some days that is ok. So today I woke up before the babe and got up and got a good workout in. I knew that I needed it today to give me energy and to help me be ok with me. I still do it all for me but now I have extra motivation. That tiny little human that calls me mama, I want to show her what happy and healthy looks like and teach her to take care of her body.

So figure out what makes you happy and do it for you. Whether it is exercise or cooking or sewing or building things, whatever it is, start that journey to a healthier you and do it. It won’t be perfect at first and that is ok. But just do it. You won’t regret it, I promise, I never have not even for a second.

Lots O Chips Cookies

I haven’t made cookies in awhile and that is just sad. I love cookies but even more so I love cookie dough. I LOVE cookie dough. And don’t tell me I will get sick because of raw eggs because it aint gonna make me stop, I love me some cookie dough and have been eating it since the beginning of time and have yet to get sick from it! There have been times, many times, in my life that I made a batch of dough, put the bowl in the fridge and never once baked a cookie from it. I just ate the whole bowl of dough! Usually not in one sitting…usually…

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Cookie dough is trouble for me though because I can easily eat spoonful after spoonful and not think twice about it but once the cookies are made I eat one or two and then make myself stop. Um hello, do you not realize you just ate probably half a dozen worth of cookies in that there dough?!?

But this recipe, don’t stop reading because you think I can’t eat cookies! I am trying to be healthier and this will ruin everything! Well let’s be real here, it won’t. You just have to have some self control and this is how I have my self I control. I scoop all of the dough out with my cookie scoop, bake some of them and freeze the rest of them. And then after I bake some of the cookies I leave a couple out and put the rest in the freezer. So when I need a cookie NOW I have baked frozen ones that I can pull out and microwave for 20 seconds and voila, hot fresh cookie. Or when I am not quite so desperate I can pull frozen balls of dough out and have a homemade dessert fast. Or if I really need a good treat I just pull one of those dough balls out and eat it!

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That is what works for me. I can make cookies but don’t have an entire batch sitting out on the counter taunting me. Do what works for you though. Give them to neighbors or family members so they aren’t around. Make mini cookies so even if you eat two or three you are only eating the equivalent of one cookie. I promise you can still have treats and become healthier!

And the name of this recipe makes me laugh, Rob came up with it because there are lots of different kinds of chips in the recipe. So I went with it because I thought, well there are! We saw different recipes that inspired some of the ingredients, you always need chocolate and then while digging through my baking basket in the freezer I saw Reese’s PB chips and knew those had to go in. The dough was good and the cookies were even better. (Sometimes that happens!) You have little bits of crunch from the pretzels and potato chips and just the perfect amount of saltiness to complement the sweet. And chocolate and peanut butter and good with just about anything! I left a few with my cute Grandma and today when I saw her she said, “I ate one of those cookies you gave me and they were so good. What is in them?” After I told her she just laughed and said, “really?”. So they have been endorsed by my grandma so you know they are good! If you try these out let me know what you thought of them!

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Lots O Chips Cookies

1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
6 T sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter chips
1 cup potato chips (I used Ruffles)
1 cup pretzels (I used Pretzel chips)
1-2 T milk, if dough is a little dry

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a stand mixer or with an electric mixer combine butter and sugars until creamy. Add egg and vanilla and mix until combined.

Put flour, baking soda, salt, chocolate chips, PB chips, potato chips and pretzels in the mixer and mix until just combined. Don’t over mix. If dough seems a little dry add 1-2 tablespoons of milk to help it come together. I added about a tablespoon.

Scoop out dough onto cookie sheets, flatten down just a little bit if they are big balls of dough. Put in the oven and bake 8-10 minutes or until the edges are set and the middle doesn’t look raw. Remove from oven and let them sit for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring to cooling racks.

These are great hot out of the oven or at room temp. And here is a little tip for you when it comes to cookie baking. Don’t over mix the dough and don’t over bake. With the dough, after you add the dry ingredients, just mix until everything is combined. If your dough seems a little warm or the cookies bake flat then chill the dough balls for 20-30 minutes to firm the butter back up. They will bake much better this way. I often do this with any cookies I make just to make sure they aren’t flat.

The second thing is to make sure you don’t over bake them…unless you like well cooked crunchy crispy cookies. Bake cookies till the edges are set, feel them with your finger, and till the tops look set and not raw. You want to pull them out before they look completely cooked and leave them sitting on the cookie sheet for at least 5 minutes. They finish cooking on the sheet, so if you cook them completely in the oven then you will have over baked cookies once they have cooled enough to take off the pans.

I Eat Trash

Rob and I were watching an episode of Modern Family on Hulu last night. There was a company meeting happening and birthday cake being passed out for someone’s birthday and she said, “It’s not really my birthday, I just wanted cake…I eat trash because I am trash”. I laughed and said that is totally me. Rob gave me the “don’t talk about my wife that way” look and I quickly changed the subject.

But since this blog is all about me working through all the craziness in my head, all the craziness that I for some reason feel like sharing with the world…but maybe someone else will feel a little less crazy about themselves after reading about my crazy…so here is some of my crazy…

So this is me being honest, some days I really do feel like I am trash because that is all I ate. I know I should never feel that way because I have a beautiful daughter that I miraculously grew inside my body. I have an incredible husband who ever day I look at and think how did I get so lucky? Of all the girls he chose me. I have an incredible family and great friends. I have a body that is healthy and most of the time can do some pretty great things. And most importantly I am a child of God. I am created in his image and I know He isn’t trash so why do I let myself feel that way?

I know it’s the world, the world out there that is telling me exactly how much I need to weigh, what size my clothes should be, what my hair and make up should look like, how I need to dress. Telling me how immaculate my house should be, all of the gourmet meals I should be cooking and all of the Pinterest projects I should have completed. It makes me feel guilty because sometimes my baby won’t eat anything other than crackers all day and I let her because I figure well she is eating something and I don’t have the energy to concoct incredible tasting made from scratch, sugar-free and sodium-free homemade baby food for her. I know I shouldn’t listen to any of that but I do, sometimes a lot, and I make myself feel better by eating all of the treats and greasy cheesy goodness I can find and then I sit and feel like I really am trash. That I can’t do anything right, I can’t prevent myself from not eating horrible, that I should just give up, stop trying because really at this point what is the point?!?

Some nights Rob gets home from work when I have had one of my trash days and I complain to him about how many treats I ate that day and how awful I am. He has to remind me that it is ok, it’s ok to slip up every now and then. Nobody is perfect and I don’t have to be either. He reminds me that tomorrow is a new day and he knows me. He knows I will get up and work out harder because of it. He knows I will plan out my day better and eat a lot more healthy things and a lot less trash. He reminds me I am human and it’s ok. I am grateful he is always there to remind me, although sometimes it would be nicer if he was there earlier in the day to remind me and stop me from eating all the treats!

So let’s all cut ourselves some slack and not beat ourselves up over every little thing. Remember you are human just like me. We mess up, we fall of the horse but that is ok, that isn’t what matters. What matters is that you get up the next day and you try harder, you be a little bit better than you were the day before. That is what has gotten me to this point in my journey. It took a lot of effort to get to here and so you had better believe there were lots and lots of days where I messed up big time. But I got up the next day and did better, made up for the bad day. Now if I could just figure out a way to remind myself of that before I beat myself up and feel like trash then life would be that much better. But I am working on that. I have come a long ways from where I was. The majority of my days used to be “I am trash” days but I can happily say that they are definitely fewer and farther between than they used to be.

Size Does Matter

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Here is what I think are two of my best tools! I claim them as my tools now but the credit has to be given completely to my amazing mom. About 5 years ago because of some things that happened in our family some drastic changes had to be made with the way we eat. My mom started implementing two different things and I think those two things made all of the difference. It’s a practice she and my dad still do and Rob and I do it too.

The first is that size really does matter when you are choosing which plate to eat dinner on. The plates in the picture are some of the plates that we have. From left to right they are 10 1/2 inches; 9 inches and 8 inches. 99% of the time we eat on the two smaller plates. We save the large plates for dinners when we have things like corn on the cob that are tricky to fit with the rest of the food on your plate! If you use a smaller plate when you are dishing up your food you can’t load it up with as much so you don’t run the risk of over eating. If you are still hungry and want seconds of something you are ok to get seconds sometimes because you didn’t eat as much in round one! The thing we all noticed when we started eating on smaller plates was that most of the time you are content after eating one serving. We ate more food before because it was there but we are satisfied with the smaller portions. I promise you won’t starve but you will start to notice you are happier with less.

The second tool is we don’t dish up all of the food and put it on the table when we sit down for dinner. We all dish up our plates in the kitchen and then we go and sit down to eat. Because the food isn’t sitting in front of you on the table you are less likely to get seconds…or thirds. You won’t mindlessly keep eating while everyone is sitting and chatting. And added bonus, you don’t have all those additional serving bowls to wash afterwards. Also, as weird as it sounds, many people are less likely to get up and go get seconds when they have to leave the table to do so. So take advantage of your laziness and leave the food in the kitchen, it will also help you to not over eat!

And I lied, I thought of one more tool that has helped a lot in the not over eating department. So yay for you, added bonus! This one is for free. 🙂 After I make dinner and before we sit down to eat I often put the majority of our meal in the fridge. I pull out all the single serving sized Tupperware we have and box it all up and stick it in the fridge. I leave enough out for dinner but then there isn’t all the extra food sitting on the stove to be eaten. It is so nice for me to not have the extra food sitting out because if something tasted good I have a really hard time not sneaking more bites of it as we are cleaning up. And I love when I am packing Rob’s lunch/dinner and I can just pull a container out of the fridge that is all ready to go! Save’s me a lot of time when I have a baby that needs something.

These tips have really made a difference in the lives of all of my family. I love things like this that are easy to do, they don’t take any planning and yet they all make a big difference. It is so easy for us to over eat, if  that is something you struggle with try one or two or all three of these tools and I know they will make a big difference for you!

Compliments

My hubby asked me what was the best advice/tip/motivation that I had to keep it up. To keep on my journey and not quit even when I felt like I was going nowhere, I wasn’t seeing the changes I wanted. I have thought long and hard about it and there were lots of things that helped me keep it up. There is one big one though I wanted to share that really helped to motivate me and that was compliments.

And no I am not fishing for compliments by talking about this!

I don’t know about the rest of you but I have a really hard time accepting compliments. From my experience in giving compliments to others I think a lot of you probably are the same way. I know for me I have a hard time when someone compliments me because it means they have noticed something about me, something I did or said, and that means I haven’t been blending into the background as well as I would like! I am a shy person and don’t like to be the center of attention, I hate talking in front of groups…all of that just makes me want to die! I will do just about anything to avoid it. I especially felt this way 95 pounds ago. I hated the way I looked. Even on days where I thought maybe I actually looked nice I would later see a picture and just want to cry, was that really what I looked like?!? I was really good at sticking to the sidelines, blending in and making sure no one noticed me. Hahaha that makes me laugh to think about it because I am almost 6 feet tall and was pretty big, I kind of stood out!

So as I started making changes in my life and those changes started to be noticeable it was exciting. But then I would plateau for awhile, I would feel that I was working so hard and my clothes weren’t feeling any more loose, I didn’t feel like I was looking any different. But then I would get a compliment. The two people that stick out in my mind are my Uncle Ed and Aunt Kristie. Every time I saw them they would say “wow! you look so good”. Ed would always say “hey skinny” even when I wasn’t. And I would always brush it aside and babble on about how I didn’t look good, changes weren’t happening like I wanted. But then one day I had a talk with myself. I do this A LOT. Like daily. I tried to figure out why it was so hard to take a compliment. Why did I always so quickly have to negate something nice that someone said to me? I decided I was going to try to change that, change my thinking and my reaction. Even if I didn’t agree with what the person said I was simply going to say thank you.

I started noticing it made a difference for me. Now don’t start thinking that people were just pouring out compliments to me, that wasn’t the case, but they always seemed to come just at the right time. On a day when I hadn’t worked out as hard as I “thought” I should, or I had splurged a lot, or was just having a crummy day. Those compliments are what motivated me. The comments of you look good, what have you been doing, your pants are so baggy, all of those made me keep trying. I couldn’t always see the progress but others could and it helped me push on.

Since others compliments have helped me so much I decided I was going to pay it forward and compliment people. I know many people worry that when someone has lost weight and they tell them “hey, you look good” that the person will feel like “oh well I look good now so that means I looked horrible before”. BUT THEY WON’T!! Ok, maybe some random weirdo will think that but it’s worth taking the chance. I never once was offended when someone told me I was looking good. To me they were saying I can see your efforts are paying off, keep up the good work! So people, give compliments. Please. You never know the effect it will have on someone whether it’s complimenting them or their awesome new shoes or a new hair do or something they made. Stop thinking the compliments in your head and start saying them out loud! You never know when you might just turn someone’s entire day around or give them the motivation to keep trying.

And if someone is brave enough to give you a compliment take a lesson from me and just say thanks. It will make you both feel awesome.