Monthly Archives

September 2011

Keeping Active

I’ve mentioned before about walking twice a week with a friend from work. Well, Tuesday rolled around and she was sick, so we had to cancel. I meant to do some exercise to make up for it, but hadn’t gotten around to it until yesterday when I walked with another friend. Lesson learned? Make exercise a priority. It will never be more important than time with my family, of course, but I can find time for it if it is truly important enough to me.

So, my friend and I walked three miles yesterday and then this morning my regular walking partner and I did another 1.5 miles. And despite being tired from not enough sleep, I feel great. More than that, I know being active will have a long lasting impact on my overall health. Sure, relaxing on the couch is appealing, but getting in quality family time with a walk or bike ride around the park can be just as enjoyable.

I’ve just got a few meals left to chronicle for Freshology – this week has been insane with an office move and several freelance deadlines looming, so I’m combining two days’ worth of meals into this post. I’ve started getting some duplicates, so I feel a little redundant writing too much about ones I’ve already written about before, but you can at least see what I’ve had.

Breakfasts:

Banana Pecan Muffin With Vanilla Cream (370 calories)

YUM. That is all I need to say about this breakfast!
Blueberry Waffles With Roasted Apples (320 calories)

The waffles were really good – instead of microwaving them I  just popped them in the toaster which gave them a nice crunchiness.

Lunches:

Asian Beef Bowl with Sweet Soy Glaze (320 calories)

This was really good! The flavors were nice and slightly sweet, and the texture of the beef was perfect. I would eat this on a regular basis, for sure. If I had it again I’d probably throw the whole thing in a skillet instead of microwaving it.

Black Eyed Pea & Brown Rice Bowl (350 calories)

This was so-so to me. The broccoli looked a little pale coming out of the package, and I’m not a huge black-eyed pea or edamame lover. Brian, on the other hand, said he thought it sounded like a great dish, so it’s definitely a matter of opinion.

Dinners:

Turkey Meatloaf with Tomato Sauce (390 calories)

I took a photo of the meatloaf close-up so you could get a better idea of its composition. I’m still not a huge fan of the actual meatloaf, but the sauce and the sides (green beans and mashed potatoes) were great.

Miso Glazed Tilapia with Shitake Stir Fry (370 calories)

Miso Glazed Tilapia with Shitake Stir Fry (370 calories)

Yup, another meal for Brian to enjoy. He said he’s been impressed with how good the texture has been for reheating all the seafood meals in the microwave.

I’m going to wait until my last post to share my overall opinions – I can’t believe my time with Freshology is almost over! I’ll admit there’s a part of me that’s ready to have control over my meals and pick what I want to eat, but then I’m also nervous that I’ll screw up! Be sure and check back the next few days for my last posts including a final video update!

Friendly Friday – September 30

Welcome to Friendly Friday! Friendly Friday begins at 8pm Central Thursday nights each week. We hope you’ll come back and join us again next week – and remember, the earlier you link up, the higher up on the list you are!

Remember, YOU can host the link list on your blog, too! Just get the InLinkz code and copy it directly into your post. The code is different every week, so be sure to get the new code when hosting Friendly Friday on your blog. Hosting the list is a great way to get even more traffic to your blog and make Friendly Friday more beneficial for everyone.

Thanks for joining the Friendly Friday celebration hosted by Christi at Frugal Novice, Xenia at Thanks, Mail Carrier and Charla at Healthy Home Blog! We invite you to join us every Friday to make more friends in blogville, get more blog followers and follow other great blogs out there.

To join in the Friendly Friday celebration, include your family-friendly link in our list, follow the hostesses in the first 3 spots and then start blog hopping! Visit other blogs on the list and comment to give them some blog love. Then take a minute to follow them through Google Friend Connect – this is a good way to keep up with other blogs, but also lets us show support to each other! Please DO NOT list your giveaways here, links must be to either your homepage or your Friday posting with your blog title. All others will be deleted.

When people comment on your blog and let you know they’re a part of Friendly Friday, return the favor and follow them back. This way everyone gets traffic and followers out of participating, and it’s a win-win situation. We would love for you to also grab our Friendly Friday button and post it on your blog and/or in a post – the more bloggers that find out about Friendly Friday and participate, the better!

Spotlight on Friendly Friday Followers! We love your participation and want to show it! In addition to gaining followers, each week we’ll select one blog at random and will feature links and a write-up for that blog in the content of next week’s Friendly Friday post. There are so many seriously wonderful blogs out there, and this will be a great way to highlight one of those each week. Say hello to the lucky chosen blog & blogger for this week (and feel free to stop by and give her a little extra love):

Jade from “Hey, It’s Jade” (wonder where she got her blog name?) is a Stay-At-Home-Mom of two boys. She blogs about her family and uses her blog as a diary that she can look back on. She recently started homeschooling and posts weekly about their lessons and activities. You’ll also find random musings, funny anecdotes, special deals or frugal findings along with product or service reviews, and the occasional giveaway as well. You’ll love reading about her sweet family, and getting ideas for activities to do with your kids whether you homeschool or not!

Now that you know about this wonderful blog, it’s time for you to join in! Add your family-friendly link below and we’ll see you back here every Friday! And don’t forget, you can get the InLinkz code to share Friendly Friday on your blog!

All three hostesses appreciate followers through GFC and Twitter, and we’ll follow you back – be sure to leave a comment with your URL and/or Twitter username. Hope everyone has a great weekend!



Brian Lost His Wedding Ring

Yep… he lost it a couple of weeks ago. He was out in our back yard cleaning up a gigantic mess created by our dog, and he slipped his ring in his pocket to keep it from getting dirty. Apparently it slipped out during the process, so it’s likely somewhere in our back yard. For now he’s wearing a plain band I had, but soon we’ll be looking for a replacement ring. I think tungsten wedding bands are a perfect choice. The metal is tough, and can withstand things like yard work without getting damaged. The black tungsten rings are REALLY nice… there’s one I particularly like that has silver striping around it. They just seem like a cool, non-traditional option for men. I spent quite a bit of time looking at MensTungstenOnline.com and have found several rings to show Brian so we can hopefully get him a new ring soon.

Disclosure: http://cmp.ly/3

Buying a Home

We’re thinking about selling our home sometime next year and buying something a little bit bigger. As a result, I’m acutely aware of everything related to real estate. House Hunters episodes on HGTV are even more appealing, because I love looking at the pros and cons to different houses. It’s also crazy to me to see how much the cost of home varies from place to place. What costs $300,000 in a city like Park City, Utah might cost millions in New York. Texas real estate seems especially reasonable by comparison to a lot of other cities!

I’m curious – how do house prices rate in your area?

Disclosure: http://cmp.ly/3

The Final Stretch

This is my last week on Freshology – what a journey! I’ve lost a total of 12 pounds so far, and despite some slip-ups have learned a ton about what – and how much – I should be eating. I’ve also tried foods I never would’ve tried before, and have expanded my taste in vegetables. I’m so thankful for this experience!

I will say that this second month has been harder, and when I thought about why that might be I think it boils down to two factors: first, switching from fresh to frozen foods was a big adjustment. Secondly, we had several special occasions. I love cooking and love good food, so it just goes hand-in-hand with celebrations to me.

Let’s get to food for the day:

Breakfast: Baby Artichoke and Roasted Pepper Egg Stack with Turkey Maple Sausage (360 calories)

I’ve had this breakfast before, so I feel a little redundant telling you my thoughts on it. :) It was a good blend of flavors, but wasn’t my favorite of the egg combinations. The sausage was great – the balance of sweet and savory is really nice. I can say I have learned I’m not a big protein person when it comes to breakfast. I have generally liked the muffins, oatmeal and waffles most of all. I guess that goes back to the starch lover in me!

Lunch: Southwestern Shrimp Wrap with Tomatillo Salsa (360 calories)

Brian ate this one – he said it was really good. The texture of the shrimp was spot on and the flavors were rich and slightly spicy.

Dinner: Moroccan Style Lamb with Curry Couscous (410 calories)

This was a completely different texture from the lamb I had on the gold plan – this reminded me more of a pulled pork texture. Regardless of the difference, it was a tasty protein and I really enjoyed it. I picked at the veggies, and ate most of the couscous. I have really liked getting to experience all sorts of different grains instead of just variations of plain rice.

Dessert: Apple Cranberry Cobbler (120 calories)

Hope you all have a wonderful week! I’ll be back with updates on my last stretch of time with Freshology!

And the Celebration Continues…

We went to Austin this weekend for the boys to do Day Out With Thomas (more on that in an upcoming post!) and got to see Brian’s family while we were there. I had done a good job eating my Freshology meals throughout the week but again decided not to try and bring them with us on the trip – we had all our stuff and the boys’ stuff, and also our semi-giant puppy Sally. It was a lot as it is, so packing a cooler with dry ice to transport the food would’ve been difficult. Freshology offers options with their plans – 5 day or 7 day rotations. I think the 5 day plan would work best for anyone who travels – either that, or you could do like I am and spread the meals out longer to account for the skipped days.

We picked up Chick Fil A on our way out of town and I had an 8-pack of nuggets, which isn’t too bad, and a few french fries. Saturday I had Cheerios and fruit for breakfast. Again – not too bad, right? Lunchtime rolled around and we ate at IKEA, where I had a side of mac n’ cheese and a couple of squares of a chocolate bar for dessert. I know mac n’ cheese isn’t the best choice ever, but the portion was fairly small at least. We left straight from there to go to Day Out With Thomas and got in a little walking while we were there.

Then Brian surprised me with a date. And not just a date, but dinner out at a place I’d wanted to try for years:

We had SO much fun! I have to admit healthy eating went out the window, because I wanted to make the most of the experience (and I don’t know how healthy you can be with fondue, anyway). We ordered the four-course meal, which included a cheese course, a salad, a main course, and dessert.

Because I’m me, I took a few pictures while we were there (I know you’re not surprised in the least). The tables have a cooking element in the center of them:

Here’s Brian trying out our cheese course – we got the Wisconsin Trio, which had Fontina, Butterkäse and Buttermilk Bleu cheeses with white wine, scallions and a hint of sherry. It came with a variety of bread cubes and some veggies. We’re big blue cheese fans, and absolutely loved this.

The salads were great too, and then we moved on to the main course. Our waiter brought out a pot of broth and added orange juice, lime juice, and cilantro to it. We had a platter of meats to cook, including chicken, Angus beef, tuna, shrimp, and steak marinated in teriyaki sauce. We were also brought an assortment of sauces and spreads and a bowl of veggies. It was a lot of food and everything was really good! I love that it kind of forces you into a leisurely pace of eating.

Then came dessert – CHOCOLATE! We got one that had dark chocolate, dulce de leche caramel and sea salt. The waiter flambéed it and then we got to dig in – we were supplied with quite a few options for dipping.

My favorite was the bananas:

I can’t say enough about the service there, either. We walked in and as soon as Brian told them we had reservations they knew we were celebrating my birthday (he had entered the info online). The hostess handed me a birthday card signed by the staff:

Our waiter was great, too – incredibly friendly, informative, and attentive without being overbearing. As we ate our dessert course, someone brought out two flutes of champagne for my birthday. They really went all out to make the experience a good one. We  decided this will be our “special occasion” restaurant of choice now, because we loved it that much! It’s a little pricey, but we felt like it was warranted for sure – not just for the quality of food (which was great) but for the entire experience.

Sunday we ate lunch at Chuy’s, which is a favorite of mine, and I had a few cookies mid-afternoon. We did get in some walking, so that was good at least! I just skipped dinner, which I know is horrible but I didn’t want to consume any more calories than I already had.

So, the weekend was a wash… but I feel like it was worth it. I think life, and healthy living, is about balance. Most of the time I try to stick with the low calorie count so that in those moments of celebration I can enjoy myself. I don’t know if it’s what experts would recommend, but it works. What’s your approach? Do you let yourself have moments of diet abandonment?

Emergen-C Kidz Review

Before J was born, we were determined that we wouldn’t have a picky eater for a child (ahh, naivete). While C would pick veggies over desserts, J avoids them unless forced. As a result, it’s even more important that we stay on top of giving him essential vitamins he needs.

Enter Emergen-C Kidz. We’ve tried several options before, but this one really intrigued me because the boys LOVE juice and think of it as a treat when they get it. I was curious if they’d like the taste, because if so this would be an awesome way to get them vitamins, especially during cold and flu season.

I decided to mix up a glass of each flavor and have J be my taste-tester:

Now, mind you – J is the picky one, so I figured he was the best test subject. If he likes it, parents, this should give you a good inkling that your kids will too! Let’s see what he thought:

I was so excited that he liked it (all opinions are honestly and solely his own, with no prompting from me). After I stopped recording he finished the orange and the fruit punch entirely! C got to take a taste too and the orange was his favorite.

Emergen-C has a great project going on right now, providing us with the opportunity to supply vitamins to kids who need them most. For every box of Emergen-C Kidz sold, they will donate 25 cents to Vitamin Angels, to provide essential nutrients to one child for one year, helping reduce childhood mortality worldwide.

Another way you can help is by taking the Emergen-C Pledge:

I pledge today to commit to creating a fun and healthy lifestyle for me and my family, which includes: eating more nutritious foods, taking vitamins daily, and getting regular exercise – all while having fun and spending more time together! With this pledge, I will also commit to teaching my children the importance of helping others through actions big and small.

For every pledge, they will donate an additional 25 cents to Vitamin Angels, which means your commitment to your family’s health and wellness can help save a life too! Visit their Facebook page to take the pledge now – it only takes a few seconds to make a difference.

I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Emergen-C and received samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Trying to Stay Awake

I think I must have complained about being tired a million times today! J woke up scared in the middle of the night, convinced he’d seen something in the shadows. I let him come get in bed with us, because that = everyone back to sleep sooner. Just a couple of hours later C woke up scared because he couldn’t see J, so he came and joined us too. Four people in a queen bed is a little cramped, especially when the boys like to lay horizontally so as to jab both me and Brian at once.

Before I knew it 6:00 had arrived and it was time for me to head to the park to walk. Add last night to the fact that I’ve gotten about 5-6 hours of sleep each night this week, and you’ve got one tired ME! So, now I’m trying my hardest to stay awake and finish this post, because evenings are the best time for me to get blogging done.

Breakfast: Dark Chocolate Muffin with Cream Cheese (370 calories)

Chocolate + Muffin = YUM! I seriously would love for Freshology to have all of their muffins available to purchase for grab-and-go options. I’ve loved them all!

Lunch: Chicken & Wild Rice Soup with Grilled Focaccia Bread (380 calories)

This soup was really good, and was perfectly fitting since we had a cooler weather day! I liked it a lot but it wasn’t especially filling – that would be my only critique.

Dinner: Israeli Couscous and Vegetable Medley with Feta Cheese (570 calories)

I love feta cheese, so I was hopeful that I’d enjoy this, and I did for the most part. It was a unique flavor combination for me so might take me a little getting used to.

Dessert: Chocolate Zucchini Bundt (140 calories)

More chocolate – you won’t hear me complaining about that! A great cake that’s just the right level of sweetness.

Aaaaaaaaand, I’m out. Hopefully to fall asleep within a few minutes. :)

Friendly Friday – September 23

Welcome to Friendly Friday! Friendly Friday begins at 8pm Central Thursday nights each week. We hope you’ll come back and join us again next week – and remember, the earlier you link up, the higher up on the list you are!

Remember, YOU can host the link list on your blog, too! Just get the InLinkz code and copy it directly into your post. The code is different every week, so be sure to get the new code when hosting Friendly Friday on your blog. Hosting the list is a great way to get even more traffic to your blog and make Friendly Friday more beneficial for everyone.

Thanks for joining the Friendly Friday celebration hosted by Christi at Frugal Novice, Xenia at Thanks, Mail Carrier and Charla at Healthy Home Blog! We invite you to join us every Friday to make more friends in blogville, get more blog followers and follow other great blogs out there.

To join in the Friendly Friday celebration, include your family-friendly link in our list, follow the hostesses in the first 3 spots and then start blog hopping! Visit other blogs on the list and comment to give them some blog love. Then take a minute to follow them through Google Friend Connect – this is a good way to keep up with other blogs, but also lets us show support to each other! Please DO NOT list your giveaways here, links must be to either your homepage or your Friday posting with your blog title. All others will be deleted.

When people comment on your blog and let you know they’re a part of Friendly Friday, return the favor and follow them back. This way everyone gets traffic and followers out of participating, and it’s a win-win situation. We would love for you to also grab our Friendly Friday button and post it on your blog and/or in a post – the more bloggers that find out about Friendly Friday and participate, the better!

Spotlight on Friendly Friday Followers! We love your participation and want to show it! In addition to gaining followers, each week we’ll select one blog at random and will feature links and a write-up for that blog in the content of next week’s Friendly Friday post. There are so many seriously wonderful blogs out there, and this will be a great way to highlight one of those each week. Say hello to the lucky chosen blog & blogger for this week (and feel free to stop by and give her a little extra love):

A mix of Latin and Western influence, Apron Senorita brings together Yoli’s collection of recipes, decor, clothing, pop culture, her Etsy shop, faith and more. Loving her life in texas, this Christian single mother has two wonderful teenage children and is in what she calls “an enchanting love with God.” Sharing her “Apron Senorita” life is about opening her heart in faith and trust and celebrating life and sharing stories about their blessings. Stop by and be ready to be inspired!

Now that you know about this wonderful blog, it’s time for you to join in! Add your family-friendly link below and we’ll see you back here every Friday! And don’t forget, you can get the InLinkz code to share Friendly Friday on your blog!

All three hostesses appreciate followers through GFC and Twitter, and we’ll follow you back – be sure to leave a comment with your URL and/or Twitter username. Hope everyone has a great weekend!



Celebrations

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it, but I’m turning the big 3-0 on Friday! For my birthday, my friend Stephanie treated for me to take a cooking class with her tonight. It was SO much fun! It was a surf and turf night, so we did beef filet & lobster plus potatoes, shallots and asparagus.

We learned how to “hypnotize” lobsters to calm them down so they’re easier to work with:

Here’s me and Stephanie with the lobsters after they were cooked. It’s funny to me that I’m pretending to eat the lobster since I don’t like seafood at. all.

I definitely can’t wait to do another class! We learned a lot and the food ended up tasting great.

Oh yeah, food… so – I ate what we prepared, meaning I didn’t eat my Freshology dinner. I’ve realized that during times of celebration there are lots of opportunities for eating. Between going out with friends, or even getting to do a cooking class like I mentioned, it’s easy to get off track a little, but I’m going to keep trying to stick to the plan as best I can without beating myself for enjoying some treats.

Ok, on to meals:

Breakfast: Broccoli & Cheddar Omelet (280 calories)

The broccoli and cheese along with the eggs made for a mild flavor combination and then the peaches were a stronger flavor with a sweet/sour balance going on. I missed having turkey bacon or something to go along with it, though!

Lunch: Garlic & Basil Chicken Pizza (400 calories)

I’ve liked every pizza I’ve had from Freshology – this one was no exception. The garlic and basil worked really well together and it had a ton of onions and chicken on it too, which I really enjoyed. I did remove the olives, but other than that I’d give this 5 stars!

Spookamole Recipe Entry

SevenLayerSwamp

Avocados are one of my favorite things to add to foods – burgers, fajitas, turkey sandwiches, and more. Hass avocados from Mexico are the kind we most often buy – they’re available all 12 months of the year. When I discovered the Spookamole Recipe Contest, where you can enter Halloween recipes that incorporate avocados, I was excited to come up with something!

I decided to make a twist on seven-layer dip… I made – wait for it – a Seven Layer Swamp! In my version you top everything off with the guacamole.

Ingredients:

  • Guacamole (we made ours with 5 avocados, the juice of two limes, half a can of Rotel w/ cilantro & lime juice, minced red onion, minced garlic, chopped fresh cilantro and salt to taste)
  • Black refried beans with taco seasoning – you can buy a packet of seasoning at the store or make your own. We used this recipe.
  • Chopped onions
  • 16 oz. sour cream
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • Salsa – store-bought or homemade will work just fine!
  • Shredded Mexican-blend cheese
  • Chopped red and green bell peppers
  • Corn tortillas
  • Baguette

Directions:

1. Using a knife, cut ghost shapes out of corn tortillas. I stacked them 5-high and was able to complete them pretty quickly. Also, cut slices of a baguette. Lay out the bread and ghosts on a baking sheet, then stick in the oven at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until they’re golden.

2. In a glass baking dish put down a layer of the refried black beans.

3. Top the beans with chopped onions.

4. Next, mix the sour cream and cream cheese together and spread over the onions.

5. Strain your salsa to remove most of the liquid so that the dip doesn’t get soupy, then spread the layer over the sour cream mixture.

6. Sprinkle shredded cheese evenly over the salsa layer.

7. Next, chop up green and red bell peppers and scatter them over the cheese.

8. Last, but certainly not least, top everything all off with your favorite guacamole. Like I mentioned above, we made our own. It’s a recipe we use often and love!

And there you have it – seven tasty layers!

I added the baguette “tombstones” and ghost chips, along with a green bell pepper alligator with black bean eyes.

Hass avocados from Mexico are packed full of antioxidants and help meet daily requirements for fiber, potassium, Vitamin E, folic acid and other B vitamins. So even with a party dish like this I was still able to pack in a few nutrients. :)

Don’t forget to enter the contest yourself! Go here to submit your recipe.

I wrote this review while participating in a Spookamole blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Avocados from Mexico and received avocado items to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.