Friday, September 27, 2013

Up-Cycled Chicken Philly's

Night before last, I made (my favorite) Hawaiian Chicken in the Crockpot.  IT happened to be an abnormal sized amount of leftovers.  Now, not that I am not a fan of leftovers, but I really prefer to take leftovers and 'upcycle' them into a completely different meal.

I was really feeling like sauteed onions, peppers & mushrooms, so I *of course* thought- PHILLY!


Take 1 large onion and 2 Bell Peppers- Slice Thinly
Put a few TBSP of Olive Oil in a deep frying pan and saute.

Pull the leftover meat apart into large pieces.
Slice about 1 cup of mushrooms into large pieces.

Once the onion/pepper mixture is translucent, add the mushrooms and chicken.
Season with salt & pepper or whatever you'd like.

Top your bun with sliced cheese and 'toast' under the broiler to melt.

Add meat and veggie mixture and condiments of your choice.
- We put some mighty HOT horseradish on ours and it was super yummy!

I LOVE a good Philly Sandwich :)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Sierra Update- 7 months later

I don't know how many of you have seen/read the meal plan I created for Sierra back in February this year. 7 days later, she sent me an update of her progress.  She *really* ran with this..... In fact after the first couple of weeks, I barely heard from her!

Don't you think it's time for a 7 month update?

Many of you can probably understand that this is the best 'before' picture that could be found.  Sierra explained to me that she kind of made it a point not to allow full length pictures to be taken of her.

I have confirmed Sierra's starting weight was 295 pounds and a size 26.

Here is the e-mail Sierra sent to me at the end of August.

"It started for me in January of 2013, we took my then almost 2 year old sledding. It was supposed to something new and fun and exciting for her.  But it wasn’t for me, my daughter, was so eager and excited to go sledding down the hill, over and over and over again, but after one trip down the hill and one trip up pulling the sled and carrying a 25 pound child, I was sweating so badly that you could literally see the steam coming off of my jeans. I made it up and down the hill one more time before I told my daughter that mommy needed to sit for a little while, and my husband took over the sledding duties. I sat and watched her in all her excitement and joy as she experienced something new. It was then that I realized that I wanted to be the one to take her to experience those new things, I didn’t want to sit on the sidelines anymore, I wanted to be involved, not watching.
The next morning I got on the scale which was something that I hadn’t done since I delivered my daughter in the hospital almost 2 years ago….I looked at the numbers, got off the scale, put in new batteries and got back on  and the number was the same… 295, I just stared at it thinking “oh my God” I never looked at the scale when I went to the doctor’s office, I never paid attention to the size of pants or shirt I was in, and I think that was my biggest problem, I didn’t pay attention. I went to my dresser and pulled out my favorite pair of jeans and looked at the tag, they were a 26, I looked at the shirt I was wearing and it was a 2X and then I looked in the mirror and then at my daughter sleeping in my bed. And THAT’S when I started to cry. I felt a lot of different things, I was mad at myself, I was mad at everyone for not telling me a was so unhealthy (although come to think of it, how do you really say that to someone you love?) and I was sad because I felt like I was going to be trapped this way for the rest of my life. It took a few weeks for me to finally accept that I was as big as that number on the scale and do something about it.
I was on a Facebook Group one night and someone had made a post about healthy eating and helping someone lose a few pounds. So I sent that complete stranger an email and explained to her that I don’t know what I am doing, and if she had the time or the want I would love some guidance in the right direction. That’s what started it for me, I wasn’t scared that she was going to judge me, because I didn’t know her and probably never would, and if she said something I didn’t like I would just stop talking to her and go back to my old ways,(she later became a wonderful friend) She let me read her blog, and she came up with a meal and exercise plan for me. The first day was hard; I was discouraged by 6:30 in the morning after I tried to exercise unsuccessfully for the first time. Not only did I not know what a Plank was, but I couldn’t even do one once I tried. But I stuck with it, I went to the store and I did something I had never ever done. I read the labels on the food. I learned how many calories and how much sodium was in my mac and cheese, I discovered that cauliflower with buffalo sauce on it is actually quite good. And I spent 45 minutes in the produce aisle and only 10 in the boxed foods. I also discovered that our grocery store had a bulk food section, seriously who knew? I kept track of what I ate and I held myself accountable. It wasn’t easy; I knew that while my husband would support and encourage me in anything I was doing, he wasn’t going to eat a salad with me. After a week I noticed I felt better, and I had a little more energy. After two weeks I noticed my jeans were a little looser, after 3 I noticed I slept better and was more rested during the day, and after 4 weeks I noticed that the scale had gone down 23 pounds. It was encouraging to see those numbers drop, I knew and I was told that it wouldn’t always be that way and the weight loss wouldn’t be that large every month but I knew that I had to keep with it.
The healthy eating habits became easier as time went on and so did the exercising.  I found that I still wanted to eat my mac and cheese or my ice cream and I would let myself from time to time but I would only have a few bites. As my weight dropped I found that I could eat less and still feel full. I also found that I enjoyed doing things I never wanted to do before, like camping or taking my daughter swimming.
I made a lot of little goals for myself aside from my one big goal, which was to lose 120 pounds. I talked with my doctor about what I was doing and together we decided that I healthy weight for my body shape would be anywhere between 150 and 175. He explained to me that while 175lbs and the  BMI chart would still say I’m overweight, those charts aren’t exactly the most current things. But I also realized that it wasn’t the number on the scale that I was chasing to achieve, I was trying to achieve a better way of life. I thought about all the things I wanted to take my daughter to do: Disneyland, which would mean getting on a plane, softball or soccer games and practice, swimming  and riding the Ferris wheel. These were all things that I wanted to do, but I was letting my weight stop me. I wouldn’t get on a plane because I was scared I wouldn’t fit into the seat and I didn’t want to have that conversation with the stewardess.  I don’t think that I even owned a swimsuit and I most certainly wasn’t going to see if I could break the Ferris wheel.
It wasn’t just about being there for my daughter, I thought a lot about my husband too, I wanted to buy sexy lingerie for him, I wanted to slip on a pretty dress and go out to a nice dinner I wanted to FEEL pretty.  I knew he loved me and I knew he always would regardless of my weight but I wanted to feel free and not so held back by my weight anymore.
Those thoughts might sound out of this world ridiculous to some people but those were the things hindering my life from all the possibilities I knew it had. It wasn’t ever going to be about the size of my jeans or the number on the scale, I wanted it to be about how I felt about life, myself, and the way I was living. Now, 95 pounds down and 25 to go until I make my goal I can honestly say that I feel better, I am happier and the thought of  having the privilege of feeling that way every day, is what keeps me going towards my goal of 175 and a happier way of life." 

May I present to you.......................

Sierra, now:

Diet, exercise and a bit of motivation will take you far.

^^I love that Peyton is in both pictures :)


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Poached Salmon with Capers

This is one of the easiest and by FAR my favorite way to prepare Salmon.

  • Thaw Salmon Filets (if frozen)
  • Pour enough lemon juice to cover bottom of deep casserole dish.
  • Place Salmon on top of juice
  • Sprinkle Celery Salt, Parsley & ample amount of Dill Weed on Salmon.
  • Spread a few tablespoons of Minced Garlic on top of Filets.
  • Spread a few TBSP's of minced Capers on top of that.
  • Spread a few TBSP's Mayo on top.

Cover with Tin Foil- Bake at 375 for about 30 mins.
Sprinkle a few more TBSP's Minced Capers and fresh chopped Parsley on top to garnish.  

Delish ;)

Whats your favorite way to prepare fish?  And this is NOT a rhetorical question!  I LOVE fish, but need some different 'tried & true' recipes. Help please!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

12 Meals in 1.5 Hours- MORE Freezer Cooking

Lets start off by talking about Freezer Cooking in general!

#1. Smart 
  • Saves your perishables from going bad!  
  • Waste= flushing $$ down the toilet :(
  • Meals from scratch mean knowing what you are eating!
  • Whole meals prepared save the day when you have a *'Dinner Brain Fart'  
  • Have a friend that needs some help?  Bring them a freezer meal!

#2. Necessary
  • I don't have time to think about dinner when I get home at 6:45 PM.
  • I don't like my kids (or husband for that matter) snacking while I am making dinner.
  • Shopping is easier when you have a freezer meal plan, and so is putting the groceries away!
  • Portion control is simple when you only have 1 gallon of room for the meal.


*Dinner Brain Fart- When you wander in and out of your pantry to freezer to fridge 20+ times and still have no idea what to make the starving people whining under your feet & in your face.

The first thing I did is scour my fridge & freezers for things I have forgotten about. 

I found the following items:                             
1 Tray of Chicken Thighs -> Hawaiian Chicken
1 Chub of Breakfast Ground Turkey -> Sausage & White Bean Stew
2 Hot Pork Sausages -> Sausage & White Bean Stew
1 pound of Carne Asada -> Pot Roast Burgers
2 trays of Ground Turkey -> 4 Bags of Taco Meat
1 small baggie of Bacon Bits -> Sausage & White Bean Stew
Frozen Veggie Mix ->  Beef Stew x2
Celery -> Sausage & White Bean Stew, Beef Stew x2
Onions -> Sausage & White Bean Stew, Beef Stew x2, Broccoli Beef
Broccoli -> Broccoli Beef

I rummaged through all my seasoning packets and retrieved:
Au Jus -> Pot Roast Burgers
Recipe Secrets Onion Dip Mix -> Pot Roast Burgers
Beef Stew Seasoning ->  Beef Stew x2
Broccoli Beef Seasoning -> Broccoli Beef

Went to the store to get:
1 tray of Tri-Tip Beef -> Broccoli Beef,  Beef Stew x2
1 tray of Drumsticks -> Chicken Drumsticks with Rub
Red Potatoes -> Beef Stew x2, Rosemary Roasted Chicken & Potatoes

OK so NOW, I have a plan.  I'm making:

Broccoli Beef
Combine Beef, Seasoning Packet, 1 sliced Onion and Soy Sauce in Bag -> FREEZE
Crock on 'keep warm' until meat is still tender, but done.  Steam Broccoli then toss into Beef and onions. Serve over Rice.

Chicken Drumsticks with Rub <- Just drumsticks rubbed with seasoning and put back in bag-> FREEZE.  To Prepare: Thaw in fridge, then BBQ or Roast.

Sausage & White Bean Stew
Cook 1 chub of Turkey Breakfast Sausage & 2 (cut up) Hot Pork Sausage Links.
Let Meat Cool and throw the following into Freezer Bag:
Cooked Sausages (with juices)
1/2 cup Bacon Bits
1/2 Med Onion (diced)
2 Ears of Corn (cobbed)
1 Cup Celery (diced)
1 Can Diced Tomatoes (with liquid)
2 Cans White Beans 
1 tbsp Garlic
2 cubes Beef Bouillon
Salt & Pepper

Seal & FREEZE!
When ready to cook- Throw in Crockpot on 'Low' or 'Keep Warm' heat. for 4-5 hours.

We're having the Broccoli Beef tonight..... I'll update withe pictures and further instructions as we eat these!

What are some of your favorite 'Dump & Go' recipes that could be turned into easy freezer meals?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

'No Bake' Chocolate PB Krispy Balls

If you are a fan of Chocolate & Peanut Butter,  keep reading.

These are really easy, but I have to say- don't triple the batch like we did..... um.... up till 1AM making cookies or hand dipped candy isn't awesome.

(For 1 batch)You'll need:

1 1/4 Cups Peanut Butter
1 Cup (2 sticks) Butter
3 1/2 Cups Rice Krispies
1 lb (2 cups) powdered Sugar
3 cups (give or take) Chocolate Melty Chips

In large bowl, mix rice krispies and powdered sugar well.

In pot over low heat, slowly melt peanut butter and butter.

Pour melted mixture over cereal and sugar mixture and mix well.

Cover a cookie sheet with wax paper and form small balls with the mixture.

In a double boiler, melt chocolate.

Dip balls individually into chocolate and place on lined cookie sheet.

Place in refrigerator or freezer to cool and harden.

Store in cool area.

My advice is:

Pour a huge glass of Milk.

September Meal Planning

9/1 Sun- Balloon Launch AM/Elijah’s B-Day Party @ ChuckECheese/ Family Date Night- Out to Mongos
9/2 Mon- MEMORIAL DAY – Fish, Tots & Veggies +PB Chocolate Krispy Truffles 
9/3 Tues- Team Conference Call-  Tacos
9/4 Wed-  Bean Burritos
9/5 Thurs- Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup & Cheesy French Bread
9/6 Fri- Pizza Delivery
9/7 Sat- BSU vs UT Martin(Day) / Steady Rush at the Rocks 7PM- Potluck
9/8 Sun- Seattle @ Carolina 1PM ET - BBQ- Rubbed Drumsticks, CotC & Baked Beans + FREEZER COOKING
9/9 Mon- Mustgo
9/10 Tues- Crocked Broccoli Beef, Rice & Spring Rolls
9/11 Wed- Mustgo
9/12 Thurs-  Chicken Cordon Bleu Rollups & Salad
9/13 Fri- Burgers + Banana Bread
9/14 Sat-  Poached Salmon with Capers & Scalloped Potatoes
9/15 Sun- Seattle vs 49ers 8:30PM ET- Watch at BWW
9/16 Mon- Tacos
9/17 Tues- Steak & Baked Potato Bar
9/18 Wed- Lasagna & Garlic Bread
9/19 Thurs- Pot Roast Burgers & Salad 
9/20 Fri- Date Night- BSU @ Fresno- Mike's House
9/21 Sat- Family Date Night-  Sizzler
9/22 Sun- Seattle vs Jacksonville 4:25P ET - 
9/23 Mon- Team Meeting @ Mane Street- Mustgo
9/24 Tues- Mustgo
9/25 Wed- Hawaiian Chicken, Rice & Salad 
9/26 Thurs- Chicken Phillys
9/27 Fri-  Out to Eat- Red Robin
9/28 Sat- BSU vs South MISS- Steak & Salads
9/29 Sun- Seattle @ Texans 1PM ET-  Shake & Bake Chicken, Baked Pots & Salad
9/30 Mon- Tacos

8 MORE months of *MY* meal/life planning below :)