May FPP Reveal Day

I know I’m slacking a little on my posts as of lately. I have some pretty good excuses though… 1.) I have been working some very looooonnnggg days lately. 2.) I live in Oklahoma, and it seems like every single day we have a tornado outbreak. 3.) I’ve just been busy and tired.

Those are pretty good excuses, right? I think so!

Anyways, it’s May Foodie Pen-Pal reveal day!

This month I was paired with Starr Aaron in Kansas City. I requested local products and she definitely delivered.

Here’s what I got!

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The first thing I tried was the Real Man bean dip. It was not bad. It was different than the usual bean dip I’m used to, so I think that kinda threw me off. I think I might try using the bean dip in a Mexican casserole or a Mexican layered dip!

The next thing I tried were the chocolates. They were really good! And they were sugar free which I loved. I enjoyed the raspberry soufflé one the most. I’m actually eating one as we speak. 🙂

Since Starr was from Kansas City, I was thinking a BBQ sauce might be in store for me and I was right! This one looks great and only has 5 grams of sugar for 2 tablespoons. It’ll be a perfect addition to a nice piece of grilled chicken. Mmmm mmmm!

I haven’t tried the pasta sauce yet, but pasta sauce never goes to waste at my house. I’m always making spaghetti squash with marinara or lasagna or tortilla “pizzas” so I’m sure I’ll use it soon.

The last thing is a salsa mix packet. I adore salsa. I love it on my eggs, or with chips, or on a salad, etc. This packet is great because you just add tomatoes, either fresh or canned. How simple is that?

Well, that’s all for this months edition of FPP! Thanks Starr for a great box!

If you’re interested in participating in the Foodie Pen-Pals program, click here to learn more and/or sign up.

Have a great weekend everybody! I know I will.

The Perfect After Jazzercise Meals

My jazzercise class starts at 9:20 on Saturday mornings. I don’t really eat before class, so by the time class gets out at 10:20, I’m pretty hungry.

A couple Saturdays ago, I went with Sandy to this restaurant called Naples after our morning jazzercise workout. They’re known for their flatbread pizzas. I had been wanting to try it for quite a while now because they’re flatbread pizzas are unique and all sounded super delicious.

They have a perfect lunch special: a side salad and a lunch sized portion of any flatbread for about $10.

Here are some of their unique pizza combinations!

Bang Bang Shrimp Flatbread
Dusted shrimp, goat cheese, mozzarella, caramelized onions, coconut, creamy Thai chili sauce, cilantro, balsamic reduction.

Ginsu Flatbread
Ahi tuna, mozzarella, caramelized onions, cucumber, diced tomatoes, avocado, garlic, ginger, wasabi cream sauce, sesame seeds, balsamic reduction.

Tuffo Flatbread
Duck confit, sautéed figs, Gorgonzola, mozzarella, caramelized onions, caramelized pecans, balsamic reduction.

I could keep listing their unique flatbreads, but there are quite a few more!

I decided to try the Hey Jerk Flatbread pizza.

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It had pulled pork, applewood smoked bacon, mozzarella cheese, pineapple, coconut, caramelized onions, roasted red peppers, poblano peppers, Caribbean jerk sauce, and balsamic reduction. As usual, I started eating before I could even think to take a picture because I was pretty hungry.

Man oh man was I in pizza heaven! Saying I loved the flatbread pizza is an understatement. Yum!

Sandy had the Cozumel flatbread pizza.

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It came with pulled pork, caramelized onions, poblano peppers, avocado, black bean spread, enchilada sauce, and balsamic reduction. We traded a piece of pizza so I got to try hers as well and it was just as delicious as my pizza. I MUST go back soon!

This last Saturday, I was in the mood for breakfast after jazzercise, so I decided to go home and make an omelet.

I almost never make the exact same omelet twice because I literally just throw everything I’ve got leftover in my fridge into my omelets.

I had zucchini, green bell pepper, yellow onion, tomato, green onion, and snow peas in my fridge, so I chopped them all up and tossed them into my omelet. I also had just a little bit of shredded cheese so that went in as well.

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As far as the egg part of the omelet, I used 4 egg whites and one yolk. I could use all egg whites, but I like a little yolk to give it a little more flavor and also that yellow color.

I served up 2 slices of sprouted grain bread with my omelet as well as a few chicken breakfast sausage links.

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If you haven’t already noticed, I’m a HUGE fan of chicken sausage. When I saw these breakfast chicken sausages at Sprouts the other day, I got pretty excited because I’ve never really seen chicken breakfast sausage before.

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I’ve tried both flavors and they’re both fantastic! They’re a perfect quick addition to any breakfast!

Jazzercise + What I’ve Been Eating This Week

The first time I went to a jazzercise class, I was probably around age 13 or 14. I can’t really remember exactly how old I was. But I DO remember that I really enjoyed going. My mom used to take me with her and we’d go a few times a week (maybe?) after school for me and after work for her.

Jazzercise was a lot of fun because although it definitely was exercise, it didn’t feel like it. They played current and good music that we’d jazzercise to and the hour long class would fly by.

I recently decided to try out a jazzercise class again. You see, my schedule during the week makes it hard to get to ANY exercise classes because my work days are so long and so late. So when I got off early one weekday, I hopped on the opportunity to go try out a jazzercise class again for the first time in a looonnggg time.

I asked the BFF, Megan, if she wanted to go (because we both share a love for jazzercise) and she said yes, so we went!

The class was a lot of fun and definitely a good workout. It’s an hour long class with about 10 minutes of warm up, about 30 minutes of cardio, and about 20 minutes of toning and cool down. They played good music such as Rihanna, Michael Bublé, One Direction, Lady Gaga, etc.

By the end of the hour, I was exhausted and very sweaty, so I know I burned a lot of calories.

This past Monday I was off work, so I again jumped on the opportunity to go to another class. The second class was similar to the first, but the instructor was different and we did a lot of different moves, so it was great to see the variety.

After class, I told the ladies at the check-in desk that I’d probably only be able to come once a week. They let the owner know and she emailed me with a special rate that I could have since I wouldn’t be coming often.

With that said, I’ve decided to join jazzercise! I’ll be going every Saturday morning at 9:20. I’ll also get to go on holidays that I’m off work, so if they’re open on Memorial day Monday, I’ll be there!

I’m really excited to have found an exercise that I love and can do somewhat regularly. By having a set time I exercise every week, I think I’ll be more apt to actually exercise and the class will also hold me accountable. 🙂

Along with my exercising, I’ve been eating really great this week! Here’s what I’ve been eating.

For breakfast, I’m still having a bowl of Cheerios with skim milk every morning. I cut out the berries in my cereal because I just prefer it without.

Lunch this week is an avocado chicken salad sandwich on paleo bread. I got the bread from my sister this past weekend. She got it from a bakery in Dallas called Unrefined. The bread is great, tastes great, and only has 2 grams of carbs per slice!

I got the chicken avocado salad recipe here.

Basically, I cut about 3 ounces of rotisserie chicken into small cubes. I added 1 stalk of sliced green onion, 2 tablespoons of minced yellow onion, 1/2 of an avocado (mashed), the juice of half a lime, maybe a tablespoon of chopped cilantro, and a nice pinch of sea salt. I mixed everything together in a bowl while mashing the avocado into chicken. It turned out great! Tastes like guacamole with chicken in it. Yum!

With my sandwich, I had a pre-made Caesar side salad. It’s a great lunch combo and keeps me full until snack time.

Snack is a Siggi’s non-fat yogurt (I like the orange ginger flavor) and a package of pre-sliced apples. Depending on how the day is going, I might also have some almonds or green beans with my snack.

Dinner this week has been super delicious. I made individual turkey meat-loafs and served them with cauliflower purée, roasted acorn squash, and steamed snow peas.

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Putting this dinner together was incredibly simple. I like cooking everything ahead of time and then reheating it throughout the week for dinner.

This dinner comes in at about 420 calories total for one individual turkey loaf topped with reduced sugar ketchup, one cup steamed snow peas with 1 teaspoon of olive oil, 1/4 of an acorn squash, and 2 cups of frozen cauliflower that’s been roasted and puréed with skim milk. That’s a lot of filling food!

I’m still trying my best to cut out my evening snack choice of a bowl of Cheerios. Instead, last night, I had a couple tablespoons of some homemade chocolate chip cookie dough nut butter. Doesn’t that sound freaking delicious?! Well trust me, it is! And it’s healthy too because I don’t add any sugar to it (besides the chocolate chips which I don’t add that many). It’s crazy how you can make nuts taste like cookie dough!

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This brings up something I’ve been thinking about lately. I want to start a business making my own unique flavored nut butters! It’s something I really enjoy doing! When I’m bored, I just go into the kitchen and see what flavor I can come up with. Who knows, maybe this business will come to life soon. Megan and I talked a little bit about it recently, so I’ll just have to keep you updated on the potential business progress! 🙂

How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You

I’ve got a couple of super sweet things to share with you!

The first sweet thing is a brownie mug dessert. I have been craving chocolate lately, so last week, I decided to try out a healthy mug cake recipe. It turned out horrible, and that’s being nice…

I decided to tweak the recipe a little and see if it turned out any better. The answer? Nope. Still horrible.

I decided to scratch that recipe, and try another one out, because surely not all healthy mug cake recipes are terrible, right?

I came across this skinny mug-brownie recipe and I knew I had to try it out.

Here is the recipe I used.

Skinny Mug Brownie

1 Tbs Greek yogurt
2 Tbs honey
1 Tbs cocoa powder
2 Tbs coconut flour
1 egg white
1 Tbs chocolate chips
A little splash of vanilla
A generous pinch of salt
A small squirt of stevia

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Pour into a mug or small glass bowl. Microwave for about 30 seconds. Check to see if it’s done. If not, heat again in increments of 10 seconds. DON’T OVERCOOK! It will become hard and dry if overcooked. It should still look wet in the center, but “done” on the outside.

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This brownie was delicious! It tastes similar in texture to a normal brownie, but not exact of course because it’s made in the microwave and it doesn’t have oil in it. I ate my brownie with a glass of this coconut milk.

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Yum!

I’ll be making this mug brownie again, especially next time I have a chocolate craving.

The second sweet thing I have to share with you is this little guy!

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This is my nephew Ethan Montgomery and I’m so excited that I got to finally meet him! He was born May 15th at 4:09 PM. I got to go down and visit my sister and brother- in-law in Dallas over the weekend, and I had the best time. I got to hold sweet baby Ethan and just enjoy some family time. It was perfect.

I know everyone always says this, but he IS the cutest baby ever. AND, he’s just so sweet and just a really good baby.

Here’s the happy family leaving the hospital.

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I already love that little boy sooo much! I cannot wait to go visit him again soon! 🙂

2 Weeks And Counting

I just realized that I have officially gone 2 weeks without drinking diet pop or drinks that are flavored artificially.

Here’s my experience with giving it up over the past 2 weeks.

On days 1 and 2, I had pretty strong headaches. Also on the first 2 days, I found myself wanting to hit up Sonic happy hour for a diet pop. It was my usual routine to get a drink almost every afternoon. I felt that by having the diet pop to drink, it was easier to get from lunch to dinner without wanting to cheat on my diet.

I also noticed for the first week or so, I was really tired. I found myself falling asleep on the couch while watching tv. I felt very sluggish.

By days 7 and 8, I had stopped thinking about picking up an afternoon soda completely. It was becoming a habit to get an ice water at the drive through or to bring bottled water with me in the car everyday.

On day 14, yesterday, I hadn’t even realized until the end of the day that I’d gone a full 2 weeks without diet pop. I’m not even missing the stuff!

Some changes I’ve noticed are that in the beginning, I was really thirsty. Obviously, I was dehydrated. Although I was thirsty, it was hard to have only water to go to for a drink. Water was boring and didn’t taste very good. Even though I was thirsty, I wanted diet pop to quench my thirst.

Now, when I’m thirsty, I crave water. It’s weird to me because it’s been a looooooonnngggg time since I’ve craved water. I almost forgot the feeling of enjoying water.

As far as replacing diet pop, my MAIN drink now is water. I also have skim milk in my cereal in the morning and at night. Occasionally, I’ll have an iced tea. Who knew I could love the taste of tea without sugar?! I don’t think I even knew what tea tasted like before because I put so much sugar in it!

I’m still debating on whether I’m going to use stevia every now and then to sweeten things. I like a small glass of unsweetened almond milk at night sometimes with just a squirt of stevia extract. I think having one little squirt of stevia a couple times a week isn’t too bad, especially when compared to how much artificial sweetener I used to have.

I’ll do some more research and see what I come up with. I recently read a little about coconut palm sugar. It’s supposed to be low on the glycemic index, but it still has the same amount of calories as sugar. Eh, I think I’ll stick with my water and un-sweet tea for now. It’s working so why fix something that’s not broken. 🙂

Weekends: Can’t Live With Them, Can’t Live Without Them

I don’t know why weekends are so much harder to eat healthy. I guess it’s because I don’t have a set routine on the weekends. I sleep in later. Or I am out and about running errands. Or I’m hanging out with my family. I eat out more on weekends, and this weekend was no exception.

I had BBQ on Friday night. I got the beer can chicken with vinegar based slaw. I decided since those 2 items were pretty healthy, I could have one unhealthy side, and I chose the house made chips with peach ketchup.

Saturday, I took my mom out for lunch for mothers day after we enjoyed facials at the salon. We went to an Asian fusion restaurant where I had Pho. I had been wanting to try Pho for a while now. It’s a delicious broth filled with rice noodles and thinly sliced beef. It comes with a plate of add ins such as bean sprouts, cilantro, basil, lime, and jalapeños. You can also add hoisin and sriracha. Pho is amazingly delicious! The broth is super flavorful and it’s definitely something I can’t wait to have again.

Since I felt like I’d eaten a lot on Friday and Saturday, I made myself a taco salad for dinner Saturday night, filled with lettuce, tomato, onion, a little cheese, salsa, and ground turkey taco meat.

Sunday, my step-dad made lunch for mothers day. We had ribs, green beans, sliced tomatoes, corn on the cob, small baked potatoes, and my Asian coleslaw. I felt like for the most part, this was not too bad of a meal choice.

For dinner on Sunday, I was tired and knew I had a long Monday ahead of me, so I picked up some pre made sushi to have for dinner.

Monday’s eating wasn’t good. I had a spicy turkey with cranberry crepe for lunch with a side salad. I also had a Thai flavored gelato. It was mango, pineapple, and coconut. It was delicious and tasted like I was on the beaches of Mexico.

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For dinner I had a pizza from Top That Pizza.

After all of this eating out over the weekend, I was dreading the scale this morning. Even though I spent about 6 hours cleaning my apartment yesterday (which I’d say was a good workout) I still gained weight. Not that I was expecting to lose weight or anything, it just showed me how easily the weight can go back on. And by easily, I mean EASILY. That was definitely a wake up call, one I desperately needed.

What I’ve Been Eating And Drinking Lately

I haven’t really talked too much about the regular foods I’ve been eating lately, so I thought I’d tell you all about them.

My breakfast most days is Cheerios. Not the honey nut or flavored Cheerios, but the plain ones. Since I started following those new Skinny Rules by Bob Harper, I now incorporate 1/2 a cup of sliced strawberries into my cereal every morning.

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Strawberries just make the Cheerios look so much prettier. 🙂

For lunch, I had been eating sandwich wraps for at least the past 2 months. I finally got sick of wraps. Since Bob talked about how you should be eating whole grain or whole wheat foods (instead of processed enriched flour), I started buying the Ezekiel sprouted grain bread and making regular sandwiches for lunch instead of wraps. I of course made my delicious turkey sandwiches with hummus a couple days this week, along with tuna salad sandwiches. With my sandwiches, I always have a side salad with tomatoes and a little cheese with one of my light dressings.

If I need a change (sometimes I just want a warm lunch!) I grab something from a fast food chain. I usually eat out for lunch once every week or two. One place I love to go to is Taco Bueno. They have a steak salad bowl that has steak, mixed lettuce, grilled peppers and onions, cheese, black beans, pico de gallo, and corn salsa.

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Instead of dressing, I use the salsa and it comes in at just under 400 calories with the salsa. I can even add a cup of tortilla soup to my lunch and still be at 520 calories. Perfect!

I must say, I really miss having a job where I can sit down for lunch and have a normal lunch break. Because of my job, most days I eat lunch in my car, sometimes while driving. Also, I never realized how nice it was to have a job where you can use their microwave to heat up your lunch. I don’t have a microwave in my car, obviously (but that’d be cool if I did though!) so my lunches are cold lunches 90% of the time. Cold food is ok, but I prefer a warm meal. I think that’s why I look forward to dinner. Dinners are always warm. 🙂

Dinners last week and dinners this week are a little different. Last week I tried to incorporate more fish into my diet, but I hadn’t eliminated the carbs for dinner yet. Last week I had pumpkin seed encrusted sea bass with asparagus and mashed parsnips and potatoes a couple days for dinner.

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I love sea bass. It’s probably my favorite fish. It’s flaky and firm and rich and delicious! The pumpkin seed crust was great with the sea bass. And parsnips are probably my favorite vegetable on Earth. Mixed with a potato, they bring a unique flavor to plain old mashed potatoes.

This week, I’m eliminating carbs after my afternoon snack. Since I’ve been making low carb foods already, it’s actually been extremely easy to cut out the carbs from dinner.

This week, I made tacos for dinner. Instead of tortillas, I used lettuce wraps. I made cod fish tacos and also ground turkey tacos. The ground turkey tacos are my favorite. They’re super simple too.

I sauté one diced bell pepper and 1/2 of a large yellow onion that’s also diced, then add one pound of ground turkey and cook until done. I add 2 ounces of tomato sauce, a packet of spicy taco seasoning, and 3/4 cup water and cook until it thickens up. That’s it!

I use four whole iceberg lettuce leafs, 2 leafs per taco. I use 2 leafs per taco so that they’ll be sturdier and hold the fillings without falling apart. One pound of ground turkey makes 8 tacos, or 4 servings (2 tacos per serving).

The first picture is fish tacos and the second is ground turkey tacos. Yum!

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I get those 2 big tacos for dinner for 350 calories!

I fill my tacos with shredded cabbage, Greek yogurt, salsa, and just a little bit of cheese. I add a side of steamed broccoli for a 415 calorie dinner. By cutting out carbs for dinner, I’m reducing my calorie intake by 150-200 calories. I like finding ways to reduce my calorie intake. I was struggling the past couple months to be at 1800 calories or less a day. Now I’m easily staying at 1800 or less.

Last but not least, it’s my afternoon snack. My afternoon snack really varies depending on what I’m craving. One thing I had all week though for snack was apple slices. In The Skinny Rules book, Bob says to eat apple and berries every single day. I got the individual packs of sliced apples, and I actually like them. I thought I hated apples, but I think I just hated eating them whole. I guess I prefer them sliced. Or maybe my taste buds are changing? Eh, who cares. I’m eating apples now and that’s all that matters!

With my apples, I’ll have an ounce or an ounce and a half of roasted unsalted almonds, or a bag of skinny pop popcorn, or a large side of green beans from KFC (it’s the warm food craving), or hummus and veggies. Since I usually have 7 hours between lunch and dinner, I increased my afternoon snack calorie total to about 300 calories. It’s almost like eating 4 smaller meals a day. After dinner, I usually have about 200-300 calories leftover, so most every night, I have a bowl of cereal with skim milk for my evening snack. I’m trying to cut out carbs after 4:30, so I really need to come up with a different snack option for my evening snack. I really love cereal and have gotten into a habit of having a bowl every night, so it’s going to be a hard habit to break.

Speaking of habits, I broke my diet pop drinking habit. I haven’t had pop, or diet pop, or any artificially sweetened drinks in 9 days. Woohoo! Really didn’t think I’d be able to do it, but I did! 🙂

The only things I drink now are mainly water and skim milk. I’ll occasionally have a tea and that’s about it.

Well, that’s basically what I’ve been eating and drinking lately. I want to try out a new recipe this weekend for my dinners next week, so I’m sure you’ll get to hear all about it soon.

It’s Friday and I’ve got a three day weekend (Saturday, Sunday, and Monday) so I’m excited to hurry up and get today over with! Hope you all have a great weekend!

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