My Newest Obsessions

Liquid Stevia
It’s perfect to sweeten tea, overnight oats, or really anything. It’s simple because you just squeeze it out, so there’s no measuring needed.

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Extracts
I love flavoring healthy stuff to make it taste indulgent. With extracts, I can transform my peanut butter into something unique. Or, I can turn my overnight oats into banana bread. Uh huh, I made my oats taste like yummy banana bread. Keep on reading to get the recipe!

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Thai Sweet Chili Pop-Chips
These things are addictive. If you HAVEN’T tried pop-chips, you should. And if you HAVE tried pop-chips but not this flavor, you should. It’s like Chinese food in a chip. A healthy chip at that. We all know Chinese food is generally not too healthy (depending on what you get) so these chips really hit the spot when I want some Chinese food.

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My Grocery Shopping
I went grocery shopping today and I realized how different I shop now than how I used to grocery shop. I once heard that when you grocery shop, you should be shopping the perimeter of the store. I didn’t intentionally do that, but I just realized today that that’s how I shop. As I was checking out, I noticed I had fresh vegetables, multiple lettuces, frozen vegetables, milk, meat, yogurt, cheese, and cereal. All but a few items came from the perimeter of the store. I was pretty impressed with myself.

China Mist Tea
I went to lunch with a friend today and we went to Old School Bagel Cafe. They had some great flavored teas there. I had an unsweetened orange blossom black tea. I loved it! Later while out shopping, I came across the China Mist brand teas and of course had to buy some.

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Lunch was a total success! Not only was the tea great but Old School Bagel Cafe has some good bagels and a surprisingly delicious salad too. I had the 1/2 bagel sandwich and 1/2 salad combo. I got the el fuego bagel, which has cayenne pepper in it. It was spicy and delicious. On my sandwich I had turkey, guacamole, cheddar cheese, lettuce, and tomato. For my 1/2 salad, I chose the Asian salad. It had shredded lettuce, green onions, mandarin oranges, sliced candied almonds, roasted chicken, and Asian vinaigrette dressing.

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It was soooo good! I also saw on their website that you can make a bagel “skinny” by having them scoop out the inside of it for you. I wish I had known that when I went, but there’s always next time!

Ok, as promised, here is my recipe for Banana Bread Overnight Oats:

1/4 cup steel cut oats
2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 Tbs chia seeds
1 and 1/2 Tbs PB2
1 or 2 squirts of liquid stevia (or more depending on how sweet you like it)
1/2 tsp banana cream extract (or more, depending on how strong you like the banana flavor)
1/3 of a banana cut into slices

Mix everything together in a cup or bowl really well. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Eat in the morning.

I absolutely loved this recipe. I am having a lot of fun experimenting with extracts and my overnight oats. I just bought 6 new extracts today so be watching out for new creations! 🙂

Wait For It, Weight For It…

I know I already posted today, but I feel like posting again! Why? Because I have a new weight! And because I can’t contain my excitement until tomorrow! And because it’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to! See, I’m so excited I’m singing! Did you realize that every sentence in this post so far has either ended in an exclamation mark or a question mark? Did you go back and check?!

Haha, ok but seriously, I have an updated weight.

Starting weight: 372
Today’s weight: 316.2

…for a total weight loss of 55.8 pounds! Sooooo happy!

That is all! 🙂

The Results Are In! Drumroll Please….

So I received a phone call from my doctors office a couple days ago. They had the results back from the tests they ran from my visit last week. They basically retested everything that they originally tested on the first visit back in December.

Here are the results!

Blood glucose
December: 135
Now: 100

They like to see it 100 or under, so I’m definitely proud to see that improvement.

HDL cholesterol
December: 41
Now: 35

The HDL is the good cholesterol. They like the HDL to be greater than 39. It went down just a little but they said that was ok.

LDL cholesterol
December: 152
Now: 129

This is the bad cholesterol. They like it to be under 100. It went down 23 points so I’m slowly getting there!

Cholesterol Total
December: 241
Now: 205

They like the total cholesterol to be between 100-199, so I’m so close to being in the good area on this one.

Triglycerides
December: 242
Now: 203

The triglycerides number should be under 150. It’s down 39 points, and I definitely expect to see this number continue to drop, especially since I’m eating a LOT less fat than I used to.

A1C
December: 6.4
Now: 5.9

The A1C is the average of the blood sugar over 3 months. The goal is to be between 4.5-5.7, but the doctor said under 6.0 is good. I’m sure over more time, it’ll just get better!

And last, my kidney and liver functions are both good! The numbers are all in the good range and they’re not concerned about my liver enzyme levels being elevated anymore, so yay!

And for more good news…

Not sure if you’ll remember, but a little over a month ago, I went out and bought a new outfit to wear to my sister’s baby shower. Here’s the outfit.

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I decided last night to try it on just to make sure it still fits. And guess what? It was too big! The blue shrug top still fit ok, but the floral top was loose. I had to go exchange it today. I called before hand and they didn’t have it in a 26 (I bought it in a 28 originally) but they did have a 24. I thought, hey, I’ll go try the size 24 just to see. The size 24 totally fit! It was maybe a bit snug, but I’ve still got a little over a week before I wear it. I couldn’t believe I was in a size 24 again. It’s been a while since I’ve seen that size, at least a year or two.

While I was exchanging my top, I came across some super cute dresses at the store. They were 30% off and since I was feeling pretty good about myself (I had just found out the size 24 top fit!) I decided to try on a few dresses.

I think the last time I wore a dress was to my sisters wedding in Dallas… It’s been a while! I ended up buying a super cute dress (size 22/24!) with a shrug cover up to go with it. I don’t have a picture of myself in the outfit, but here’s what the dress looks like.

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The shrug to wear over the dress is a coral color. I love to wear that color because I always seem to get compliments when I do. 🙂

I can’t wait to wear my new clothes over the next few weeks! As soon as I do, I’ll be sure to get pics and post them so you can see the progress I’ve made so far.

It Fits Again!

After losing a little over 50 pounds, I’ve discovered something pretty amazing… I can fit into clothes again that had become too small! This feeling is pretty awesome and extremely motivating at the same time.

When I first started losing weight, I tried on a gray lightweight hoodie to see if it would fit. It didn’t. I was bummed. Just a few days ago, I decided to try on the same hoodie and this time….it fit!

I can’t remember a time in my life where I have gone down in clothes size….ever. All my life I’ve grown and gotten bigger or taller. Then once I stopped growing UP, I started growing OUT. What a great feeling it is to be going the other direction for once! I can’t wait to go through all of my old clothes to see what else I can wear now. 🙂

Of course, the reason I can fit into some of my old clothes, is because I’m eating healthy. When I first started this healthy living change, I was “cooking” only in the microwave. Now, I’m cooking using the actual stovetop and oven. Also, I’m loving the idea of making one meal on Saturday night or Sunday and making 4 or 5 portions so that it lasts most of the week.

This past weekend, I made stuffed acorn squash. You can find the recipe I used, here.

It was a fairly simple recipe. I LOVE the idea of stuffing a squash or vegetable so that it turns into a complete meal, and that’s exactly what this was.

So first, I cut the acorn squash in half and removed the seeds. I roasted them cut side down for 30 minutes and then turned them over and cooked them for another 20 minutes.

While the squash were roasting, I prepared the filling. The filling was mild Italian chicken sausage (casings removed), bell pepper, red onion, garlic, ginger, cumin, and cooked quinoa.

After the squash had roasted for 50 minutes, I took them out of the oven and stuffed them with the filling. They baked for another 20 minutes. Then I took them out, topped each half with a slice of Swiss cheese, and baked for another 5 minutes or until the cheese melted.

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I thought these turned out great! I liked the texture of the filling after it cooked for the additional 20 minutes inside the squash. It tasted similar in texture to a Thanksgiving dressing. Thats when I got the idea that I’d like to change up the recipe next time I make it. Since I love the flavors of Thanksgiving, next time I’m going to create a Thanksgiving-like stuffing for the squash. I think I’ll use ground turkey, cooked quinoa, onion, celery, chicken broth, dried cranberries, and sage. How yummy does that sound?!

THE Best Overnight Oats Recipe

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but when I like something new, I become pretty obsessed with it. When I discovered the different things that could be done with zucchini, I wanted zucchini all the time. When I found out how cool it was to stuff squash, I wanted to stuff every variety of squash out there.

Well, my newest obsession is overnight oats. I love them! I want to eat them everyday. And the cool thing about them, is that you can flavor them any way you want. I love experimenting, so I tried out some flavor combinations and I came up with something AMAZING!

I call them….

Almond Joy Overnight Oats! They taste just like you’re eating an almond joy. Seriously. Like, for real.

Here’s the recipe.

Almond Joy Overnight Oats

1/4 cup steel cut oats
1 Tbs chia seeds
1 Tbs cocoa powder
2 Tbs PB2
1/2 to 2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 or 2 squirts of liquid stevia (depending on how sweet you like it)
4-5 drops of coconut extract

Mix everything together really well in a small bowl or cup. Cover and then refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, you just take them out of the refrigerator and let them sit for maybe 5 minutes just to take the chill off. If they’re too thick, you can add a couple splashes of almond milk. And if needed, you can add a couple more drops of coconut extract, depending on how strong you want the coconut flavor. Then you eat them.

The most important part of this recipe is the steel cut oats. You HAVE to use steel cut in this recipe for it to taste like you’re truly eating an almond joy. The steel cut oats are chewier, so when combined with the coconut extract and cocoa, it resembles the texture of the coconut from an almond joy. Yummy!

Another thing that makes the overnight oats so great is the chia seeds. Chia seeds really do make you feel full, so I think they’re a perfect add in for the oats.

This is a great breakfast for me because it keeps me full for at least a few hours and it’s only 300 calories. If you haven’t tried overnight oats, this is a perfect recipe for you to try. It’s easy, healthy, and most importantly, it’s delicious! 🙂

Spaghetti Squash + 3 Things I’m Obsessed With Right Now

I ate spaghetti squash last weekend for the first time ever. I must say, I’m not overly impressed by it. Yeah, obviously it’s really cool that it shreds and looks like skinny noodles, but the taste didn’t blow me away.

I made a recipe with the BFF where we roasted it, filled it with some grilled chicken and marinara sauce, and then topped it with cheese.

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I liked the recipe because it was simple, but maybe it was too simple. The flavors were really one note. Also, I wasn’t sure if I cooked it long enough. Maybe it would have wowed me if I had cooked it a little longer so that the “noodles” would’ve been a tad softer.

I’m a HUGE fan of acorn squash and butternut squash so I’m surprised I didn’t fall in love with the spaghetti squash right away. I’m definitely willing to try it again, I’ll just use a different recipe next time.

Even though I’m not obsessed with spaghetti squash, I’ve got a few things I AM obsessed with right now.

1. Overnight Oats
I’m sure you’ve seen or even tried overnight oats. They’ve been all the rage in the blog world for a while now. I’ve tried them in the past and hated them. Like, spit them out of my mouth they were so disgusting. I’m sure you really wanna go out and make some now after that rave review! But you should! I first tried them using a recipe with Greek yogurt in it. I hate Greek yogurt (for the most part) so I hated the overnight oats. I recently decided to give them another chance and I’m glad I did! I basically used all the same ingredients but omitted the yogurt.

Here’s my recipe:
1/2 cup oats
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 tbs PB2
3/4 tbs cocoa powder
1 tbs chia seeds
1 squirt liquid stevia
A couple drops of extract (I used chocolate hazelnut extract)

Mix everything together in a bowl, cover, and put into refrigerator. You do this the night before (hence the name overnight oats, clever huh?) and when you wake up for breakfast, you take it out of the fridge and eat it. Yummy!

2. Thai Sweet Chili Pop-Chips
I LOVE THESE CHIPS! The flavor is exactly what it says it’s going to taste like. These are cool because they’re not fried and they’re not baked. They’re popped! I love them because they’re low in fat, have no preservatives, no bad fats, non greasy, lower calories than chips, and they’re DELICIOUS! Here’s the link to their website.

3. Yogurt Ranch Dressing

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This yogurt salad dressing I found at Walmart has become a huge favorite of mine. It has 40 calories for 2 tbs and it tastes exactly like ranch. I seriously can’t believe it’s not full fat ranch. I’ve been having a side salad every night with dinner the past week because I love this stuff so much.

I recently went to Whole Foods and bought a few new products to try. I can’t wait to try them and review them soon!

Check In After My Check Up

I had another follow up appointment at the doctors yesterday and I’d say it went even better than expected!

My blood pressure was 126/78. Three months ago, it was 150/98. It’s down 24 points on the top number and 20 points on the bottom number. The almost normal blood pressure reading came as a huge surprise to me! It felt like a huge justification that the changes I’ve made are really working and that I’m doing the right things. This literally made my day!

Although I didn’t hit my 50 pound weight loss goal at the doctors visit (at least not that day) my doctor told me that for every pound lost, your hearts pumps approximately 7,000 miles less than it did before you lost the one pound. That’s good stuff to know! My heart is working a lot less harder now. My doctor told me he’d give me a gold star if he had one. 🙂

As for the results from my blood tests and urine sugar test, I’ll have to wait a few days or so for those.

And finally, I saved the best for last, my weight! Now, at the doctors office, I’m weighing in a little heavier because I’ve got clothes and shoes on. My weight yesterday at the doctors was 326. My weight that morning at home was 323.1. For some reason, I had the urge to weigh myself again this morning, so I did. I weighed 319.9! I finally hit my 50 pound goal, and then some. If you read my last post, then you know how badly I wanted to be out of the 320’s, and I’m finally out! Twenty more pounds to go and I’ll be in twoderville!

As of right now, I’ve lost 52.1 pounds! I can officially claim my 50 pound weight loss reward, those amazing bright colored Skechers. It’s a good thing I already ordered them. 🙂