February Foodie Pen-Pal

I love being a FPP! It’s a lot of fun getting something in the mail every month, especially when it’s a box filled with food. For those of you who don’t know what FPP is, it’s a monthly program where you exchange foods with a pen-pal from somewhere else in the USA. Here’s a link to sign up or get more information. FPP

This month my box came from Debbie in South Carolina. Debbie is an awesome pen-pal! She chose to do a themed box which I thought was a great idea. Her theme was southern. Here’s a picture of what I got in my box.

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Inside was cornbread mix, biscuit mix, Pete’s hot sauce, chocolate covered sunflower seeds, moon pies, seasoned pinto beans, dried peaches, red pepper cracklins, quick grits, southern gold BBQ sauce, and old fashioned sugar cured country ham. I got a lot of stuff!

The thing I was most surprised about was the ham. I absolutely LOVE ham! In SC, Debbie said a common breakfast is ham, grits, and eggs. So this Saturday for breakfast, that’s exactly what I’ll be making!

The first thing I tried out of the box was the cracklins. I loved them. I enjoy having a small handful of pork rinds for a snack so these were great!

I was also excited about the BBQ sauce. Our BBQ sauces here in Tulsa are ketchup or tomato based and very sweet. I have always heard about Carolina BBQ sauce being vinegar based, so I was super excited to try it! It’s seriously so delicious! I posted about using it in my chicken apple sausage stir fry last week., which turned out amazing. I’m already brainstorming on how to use it next. I’m thinking with some grilled chicken or even make a dip using it.

When I saw the grits, I immediately thought of shrimp and grits. I found a healthy recipe on the Hungry Girl website. I ended up going to my dads on Sunday and trying it out. Here’s the finished shrimp and grits!

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Of course I like it a little spicy, so I added a few dashes of the Pete’s hot sauce to the dish. This hot sauce was yummy! Salty and spicy. 🙂

I haven’t had the chance to use everything in the box yet, but the things I’ve tried have all been great! I think I’ll enlist the BFF to help me find a way to use the dried peaches in a recipe.

This was a great FPP month! Debbie in South Carolina did a great job picking things out for me! And as I’ve said before, it’s a lot of fun! You should go check out the link above and sign up! 🙂

Workout Wednesday

Wednesday is a good night for me and the BFF to get together for a workout since she comes to Tulsa (she lives 30 minutes or so from me). I hadn’t planned to workout tonight but when she texted me, I thought, “Well I’d love to see her so, yeah, let’s workout!”

We didn’t have a plan of what we wanted to do for our workout. So, since we’re both participating in The Color Run, we figured we should either walk on the treadmill or do the elliptical. She chose the elliptical so that’s what we decided to do. We ended up going for 30 minutes and I burned a little over 200 calories. I was pretty impressed with myself cause there have been times when I couldn’t last 5 minutes on the elliptical. The 30 minutes went by quickly since we had so much to catch up on and it was a great feeling to workout again. It’s been a couple weeks since I’ve exercised. We already have plans to go again Sunday.

Not only did I get a workout in tonight, but the BFF also brought me some treats! Healthy treats! Here’s a picture of the goods.

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The bottom two goodies are roasted chickpeas. The flavor on the right is a taco type flavor and the flavor on the left is agave and cinnamon. These were both delicious and a great snack! I think I’ll pack some in my lunch for tomorrow.

The top right little muffins are a healthy chocolate chip muffin made using mashed bananas and sweet potatoes and no flour. They tasted just like a chocolate chip muffin with a mild banana flavor. Soooooo good!

And last, but certainly not least, are raw brownie bites! They’re obviously the dark brown balls on the plate. 🙂 These were my favorite! I’m not 100% sure what all is in them. When the BFF was telling me about them, she said they were bad so I guess I stopped paying attention to what was in them, haha. I know she used dates, unsweetened cocoa powder, almond extract, vanilla extract, Splenda, and stevia. Either way, they were yummy! It was kinda crunchy inside and tasted like a brownie bite with nuts in it. I ate them both for dessert. 🙂

To complete this great day, my sister caught up on reading my blog and posted 8 great comments on all my previous posts. It was nice to log in and read her thoughts. I didn’t realize just how much I appreciate her encouragement and support until I didn’t have it for a week (she was on vacation). I’m glad she’s back!

Anyways, just a reminder, tomorrow is Foodie Pen-Pal reveal day! I’ll post about what I received in my box this month. You don’t want to miss it! 🙂

TBL: Facing Your Fears

I liked tonight’s episode of TBL because it was “face you fears” week. Each contestant had to face a major fear of theirs. One was claustrophobia, one was fear of sharks, another was fear of singing in public, etc. And of course EVERYBODY there has the fear of going home. If they go home, it means no trainer, no fully stocked kitchen with healthy foods, no support from the other contestants, no gym, and most of all they don’t have the ease of focusing purely on weight loss because they’d be back at home.

Two of the contestants ended up having to face that fear of not being on the ranch this week. They had to go grocery shopping for themselves. They had to find ways to workout without the gym. They had no support except the support from each other. And the great thing about it was that they succeeded! I think that shows just how helpful it can be having a buddy to push you and help encourage you.

Going back to their fears, as they were talking about their biggest fears, it made me think of my own fears. I have a fear of being alone, I have a fear that I’m not good enough, I have a fear of not succeeding in life, and I’m sure there are many more things I’m afraid of. In the show, the purpose of bringing up their fears was to face them. As one contestant said, “Let go and experience.” Don’t let the fear discourage you from doing something that you want to do.

My fear definitely holds me back from things I want or want to do. It’s tough to let go of control and just go for it. This is a great lesson that I’m currently trying to overcome in my life so that’s why I found tonight’s episode so great. It made me want to face my fears, to overcome them, and to conquer them once and for all.

Weigh In Update

It feels like its been forever since I last updated my weight! But after looking back at my previous posts, I realize it’s only been 9 days. I guess it feels like a long time since I’ve been purposely trying not to weigh myself every day. Either way, it’s been 9 days and today feels like the perfect day to update my weight! 🙂

I always like to recap my weight:

Beginning Weight
372 pounds-Dec. 18th

Last Weigh In
331.8 pounds-Feb. 16th

Current Weight
327.3 pounds-Feb. 25th

That’s 4.5 pounds lost in 9 days and a total weight loss of 44.7 pounds. 🙂

Diet, I Cheated On You

So…….I had a cheat meal. Like full blown, deep fried, covered in gravy cheat meal. Literally. And it tasted so dang good. Here’s a picture of what I had. Caution! If you’re dieting and easily tempted, don’t look, just keep scrolling! Ok, you’ve been warned.

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After the cheat meal, I sure was full. I expected to feel disgusting and possibly sick to my stomach, but I didn’t. In the past when I’d eat heavy, fattening foods, my stomach would be upset and I’d feel like blah. This time, I felt ok. I felt satisfied. I guess if you consume more fattening foods only occasionally it’s not so hard on your stomach. Either way, after I ate the cheat meal, I was already back to thinking about healthy eating.

I know on a lot of diets, people are allowed cheat meals, and now I see why. Sometimes, you just get that craving of wanting something. If you deprive yourself, you’re going to end up with cravings ten times worse. My craving that day was the fried something and mashed potatoes. The meal came with 2 sides so instead of having 2 unhealthy sides, I chose the cabbage to get at least a little bit of veggies in. 🙂

So what does one do after they fill their self up with a cheat meal? Well they go clothes shopping of course. My sister’s baby shower is in less than 6 weeks and I really needed an outfit for it. Since I haven’t been buying clothes in the past year, I don’t have many clothing options that fit me. I seriously dread clothes shopping, but it really wasn’t so bad this time. Since I’ve dropped some pounds, the clothes actually fit a little better. Here’s what I ended up picking out.

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I am in love with the periwinkle blue color of the cover up and shoes! And even though I’m obviously still very overweight, for the first time in a LONG time, I actually felt good about how I looked. It’s nice to SEE the progress and I’m excited for it to continue.

To continue with the great weekend, I made some super delicious homemade chicken noodle soup tonight! I’m seriously a soup-makin machine. It was just what I needed since I’ve been feeling a little sick all weekend.

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Mmmm, it definitely warmed my tummy!

The great weekend continues tomorrow with Church, then lunch with my dad (we’re making healthy shrimp and grits!), grocery shopping, relaxing, dinner at my moms (Allan’s making spaghetti and homemade meatballs!), and then I’ll finish the Sunday off with The Oscars. Ah, life is good! 🙂

Tastes Like Chicken

Ever since I saw Guy Fieri use chicken apple sausage in a recipe on The Food Network, I’ve been obsessed with chicken apple sausage. Heres a link to the recipe that had me hooked! http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/chicken-apple-sausage-frittata-recipe/index.html

After I saw him cook a frittata using the apple chicken sausage, I had to go out and find and try this sausage! I was able to find it in many different brands and at different stores, but the brand I love most is this one.

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I love it because it doesn’t have any artificial ingredients and it’s delicious! It’s lightly sweetened with maple syrup and has a nice touch of apple flavor. I’m sure this stuff would taste amazing in a Thanksgiving stuffing. Good idea Lindsay! (Making a mental note.)

Anyways, this week for dinner, I’ve been simply just browning the sausage in a sauté pan with mixed bell peppers and onions and serving it over brown rice. I felt that it needed a sauce, so I de-glazed the pan with a little chicken broth and then added a tablespoon of some Carolina mustard BBQ sauce. (Tune in February 28th for a post about my foodie pen-pal box which included the Carolina BBQ sauce!) I personally LOVE mustard with my sausage so I thought this would be a great addition to making a simple sauce with the sausage. It was indeed yummylicious! The mustard BBQ sauce seriously pulled it all together and gave it that creaminess I was wanting in the sauce.

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I love getting creative and trying to make things flavorful without adding tons of calories and fat. In culinary school, we made things taste better with butter and cheese. We didn’t ever learn to cook healthy. So, it’s a bit of a challenge for me because my mind immediately thinks heavy cream and oil and butter to start a sauce. Luckily I have a fantastic sister who is really great at cooking healthy but still delicious and she’s given me some great tips on how to cut out calories. I’m just NOW using those tips….haha, but better later than never! 🙂

TBL and My Habits

As I was watching The Biggest Loser, I started thinking about how far they’ve come on the show and how far I’ve come in MY weight loss journey. At this point, after exactly 2 months, eating healthy has become a habit. It’s so much easier than it was when I first started. It’s like second nature to me. It’s routine.

I’ve always heard it takes 21 days to make a habit. So for example, if you tell yourself you’re going to wash your hands everyday at 8pm then it takes 21 days of washing your hands at that time to form a habit that will stick. Being two months into this, I’ve realized how many new great habits I’ve started.

I eat cereal every morning for breakfast. Sometimes in the past I’d be too busy to eat breakfast some mornings. So now I’m not only making a habit to eat breakfast, but I’m also eating a healthy breakfast.

Another habit is that I don’t drink any pop that’s not diet. I’ve tried unsuccessfully to quit pop for many years. I couldn’t get past 2 days without it because I would get horrible headaches. Now, I don’t even miss “real pop” as I call it. I’ve replaced the pop drinking with either diet pop or water. That’s pretty much all I drink now at home.

The habit I’m most proud of is cooking dinner at home almost every night. I’ve actually started to enjoy cooking again. If you recall from earlier posts, I hardly ever cooked because I was eating fast food or take out pretty much every meal. Now I look forward to meal planning for the week and deciding what I’ll have for dinners this week, which leads me to my next habit.

I am in the habit of planning now. I plan out my meals, my snacks, my time, my exercise, etc. I like knowing what I’m going to eat for dinner before it’s even dinner time so that I don’t get lazy and stop to get something unhealthy on the way home. I like planning out when I’ll exercise so that I’ll actually do it. I like planning out my time and what I’ll be doing so that I can therefore plan my meals or snacks around that too.

For example, Sunday night was Church at 6pm. After that was Bible study. Eating at 5:30 was too early, but waiting until after Bible study at 11:00 was too late too. So I planned it out and brought my dinner with me. After Church, one person usually goes and grabs some Arby’s or something close by for everyone. I wasn’t even tempted to eat with them because I had my delicious dinner packed with me ready to eat. 🙂

These habits that I’ve created are really important to me and I don’t want to break them. I want to continue to create better habits for myself. I want to continue to move forward, to be better. And just like they try to teach the contestants on TBL, I’m worth it. I want to live. There’s an alive person under all this weight just trying to get out. 🙂