Tuesday, March 31, 2015

results...

the only thing better than your own body looking and feeling better from your hard work is when people start to notice as well and pay you complements.  and lately a lot of my co-workers have told me i am looking skinnier.  in total i have dropped 8 pounds, which has come off gradually over the last several months, and am feeling a lot more toned, stronger and healthier.  i started to notice the transformation long before the numbers on the scale changed, but the results are keeping me motivated to stay on task.  i have posted this before, but it has been a while and i think it is a great reminder to stay focused on your fitness and health goals.


i am still learning how to manage food, because i hate it when i work out and eat well all week only to erase all my hard work come the weekend with alcohol and eating out.  so here are a few guidelines i use so that i can do it all and not feel deprived.

~sweat everyday.  whether it be a gym workout, run, walk, workout at home, etc.

~weeknights are for low carb meals, consisting of a protein and plenty of veggies

~eat consistently: breakfast = protein bar, lunch = salad or lean cuisine, high protein snacks or fresh fruit or veggie options, dinner = protein and veggies

~plan out your week!   i know that i have to be prepared for wine night with my girls and of course any other social activities during the week.  this week is a good example; tonight we have jarad's birthday dinner with friends at buffalo wild wings and another dinner out with friends on thursday.  i know that i will have to increase my work outs and plan ahead what i will order, so i don't go overboard.  also avoid the bread basket and chips and salsa, those can be lots of empty calories.

~weekends are a bit more relaxed with food choices, but we usually have a lot of social obligations which means food and alcohol.  so my goal is to try what i want, but not to over indulge on anything.  and if we are planning on eating out, i like to just do one meal out a day.

~if you go out and the portions are huge, eat half and take the rest home for another meal.  don't come to the restaurant overly hungry and don't leave uncomfortable stuffed.

~have snacks in your purse or at your desk to avoid making bad decisions when you are getting low blood sugar.

~sometimes when my boss leaves the office i will do a little workout, even if it is just a few pushups, planks or some sit ups.  and walks are good too to get refocused during the work day, wilfred appreciates it too.


little changes can have a big impact and i can only try my best each day to not be tempted and make good choices and get my exercise in.  it's not easy but i love the way i feel!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

cravings...

ever wonder if your food cravings can tell you about your overall health?  here is an interesting chart to help you figure out what your cravings really mean and what you may be deficient in?


Monday, March 23, 2015

playa del carmen!!!

just booked our mexico vacation for late april, and i am so excited to be returning to the beautiful place we honeymooned, but this time with some family and friends joining us. 

let the countdown begin!!!




Sunday, March 22, 2015

DIY headboard...

lately i have been on the hunt to find the perfect headboard for our king sized bed.  i bought the perfect fabric and for the past 4 months i have been looking for the right piece to upholster it with.  with no luck, i have determined i will probably have to make it myself.  so the other night while at home depot, jarad and i checked out their foam boards.  we ended up buying a piece of 4 x 8 foam baord and i got creative...

what you will need:

1 piece of 4 x 8 foam board from hardware store ($10)
2.5 yards of upholstery fabric ($55)
thumb tacks
duct tape

how to:

with a serrated knife cut the foam board to the correct width of your bed.  then i laid my fabric over the board (i did not even use padding) and fold the edges over securing with thumb tacks, do this on both sides.  then i secured any lose edges with duct tape.  we have our box spring and mattress on the floor with no bed frame, so i put the completed foam board against the wall and pushed the mattress flush up against it.  this is only a temporary solution until i find my dream head board, but it looks great, was inexpensive and adds a lot of personality to the room! 


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

chocolate mint bars...

last night we went to a st. patricks day party, and i said i would bring dessert.  i wanted to bring something easy and festive.  i decided to make brownies with a mint butter cream frosting, and call them "leprechaun bars." 

ingredients:

box of your favorite brownie mix (most mixes will need vegetable oil and eggs)
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
3 cups powdered sugar
2 t mint extract
green food coloring (5-6 drops or until desired color)
1-2 T milk or cream

optional ingredients:

5-6 girl scout thin mint cookies
1/3 cup fudge

how to:

follow the instructions on the back of your brownie mix and bake as instructed.  in a bowl cream together butter and sugar until smooth.  you can add milk or cream to adjust consistency (staring with 1 tablespoon of milk or cream)  then add mint extract and food coloring.  when brownies are completely cooled, spread the frosting on them.  it is optional, but you can also add fudge and chopped girl scout cookies on top.  







***it is best to keep these refrigerated so the butter cream frosting doesn't melt.  you can also easily freeze any leftovers (if you have any) and defrost for another time***

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

anniversary gift...


post wisdom teeth surgery, i asked to keep my teeth.  and when i got home, i went on etsy to see if i could find someone who could make cufflinks out of them.  i wanted to use them to make jarad a fun and quirky anniversary gift.  so i mailed them off and a week later, i got this cute handmade gift.  

he liked them a lot and is excited to use them the next time he wears a suit.  it is a silly and gross gift to most, but it i knew jarad would get a kick out of it, and that it was the appropriate gift for "us."

Monday, March 16, 2015

2 year anniversary

time flies when you are having fun and i can hardly believe today marks 2 years since we said "i do."  we have been through a lot in 2 short years, but any obstacle that has come in our way has only brought us closer and i am so lucky to have such a brilliant, handsome and caring man to call my husband.


marriage has been the greatest gift and i cannot wait for our adventure to continue...

you are my heart
you are my home
you are my happiness
and you are my sunshine
i love you forever...

Saturday, March 14, 2015

peanut butter pie...

today is pi day (3.14), and this is my first time making a pie to be entered in a contest in celebration of pi day!  after a lot of thought, i decided to go with a peanut butter pie.  my sister makes this for her husband's birthday every year and it is so decadent!  and peanut butter and chocolate are a match made in heaven, so it made my decision very easy.  when i emailed her for her recipe, she said it is actually a paula deen recipe, so here it is, and i guarantee you will love it!

ingredients:

1.5 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar
8 oz cream cheese (room temp)
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 store bought chocolate graham cracker crust

how to:

with a hand mixer whip the cream with the sugar until it is the consistency of whipped cream.  mix all ingredients together until smooth and then fold in whipped cream until well blended.  pour mixture into your crust and chill in fridge for at least 4 hours prior to serving.

and to make this pie over the top, i decided to add a heavy drizzle of chocolate fudge and top it all off with some chopped reeses peanut butter cups.  of course this step is optional, but well worth the extra calories!

Friday, March 13, 2015

somewhere over the rainbow...

the other night while stopping at trader joes on my way to wine night, i caught this awesome rainbow over manhattan beach.  it was so pretty, it makes you stop and stare for a minute...


Thursday, March 12, 2015

results...

i am easing back into my regular work out routine post surgery and it felt good to go for a run the other night and back to weights at the gym.  i kept up my cardio during my 2 week recovery, but with the beautiful weather we are having, i gotta get bikini ready!


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

changing your food relationship...

it has been 2 weeks post wisdom teeth surgery and i am almost fully recovered.  losing my 4 wisdom teeth did help me become a little wiser with my food choices and my relationship with food.  normally i eat in a hurry, barely chewing my food and i also consider myself (as most people) to be a "social eater" and also use food to celebrate.  this all changes when you can hardly open your mouth and every bite you take is painful.  when you take the pleasure out of eating, you instantly change your relationship with food.  this is what i have learned to be more aware of in the last two weeks of healing...

1- how to chew your food and taste what you are eating.  i had to make mindful decisions when making meal choices and because i slowed down to eat, chewed my food and took my time, i feel like i ate less and was more satisfied.  also, the brain is about 20 minutes behind the stomach.  so wait it out.

2- rely on true hunger signals.  often times we feel hungry when in fact we are dehydrated, and even worse when we are bored.  so drink your water and don't do "mindless eating."

3- eat what your body craves, and i don't mean pizza or fudge brownie.  i consider myself to be a carb queen, but after two days of eating rice, noodles and soup, i wanted fresh foods like veggies, fruits and protein. 

4- eat three meals a day.  even if you are not hungry, you need to eat three meals a day, so you don't get the sugar crash and become "hangry." this also leads to overeating at the next meal.

5- make your calories count.  eating a snack that is high in protein will keep you feeling full longer.  my favs during recovery have been cottage cheese and yogurt (since they are easy to eat). 

this has been the kick start i needed to change the way i eat and the way i think about food.  i hope it sticks, but i also found that my cravings have faded too.  there is no magic pill or special diet, we all have to change our relationship with food, so that we eat what we need and the foods that are good for us.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

10 year anniversary...

today marks the anniversary of my longest relationship...the one with my job.  i have been at spot welders for 10 years!!!  as with any relationship it has had its highs and lows, but i am very thankful for my work family.  i have come a long way in 10 years and it's funny to think about all the personal life changes that have happened in that time period!


Monday, March 9, 2015

summer succotash salad...

we had a family dinner last night and i wanted to bring a corn salad, unfortunately it is not quite the right season.  so i came up with this succotash salad that was a big hit!

ingredients:

1 bag of frozen white corn (thawed)
1 bag of frozen shelled edumame (thawed)
1 can of black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 small purple onion (finely diced)
12-15 cherry sized heirloom tomatoes (quartered)
2 avocados (cubed)

dressing:

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

***i recently went olive oil/balsamic vinegar tasting and was excited to use my new products.  so the dressing on this salad was a green chili infused olive oil with honey & ginger white balsamic vinegar.  it had a good heat to it that was cut by the sweetness of the vinegar, i loved this pairing!***

how to:

mix all ingredients in a bowl, with the exception of the avocado, which should go on right before serving.  dress the salad right before serving and enjoy!


this salad was very fresh and you can also try it with; carrots, radish, celery or bell peppers for some extra crunch.  and of course you can use fresh corn when in season or some fresh basil, cilantro or parsley. 

Friday, March 6, 2015

green tea pound cake...

several years ago trader joes carried a delicious green tea cake mix, that unfortunately has been discontinued.  and recently i had a green tea and ginger muffin that inspired me to purchase some matcha powder.  i made a green tea pound cake and it is very close to the trader joes one and is perfect for a light dessert or with coffee or tea.

ingredients:

2 large eggs
1 cup flour
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 T. matcha powder
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. almond extract

how to:

with a hand mixer cream together room temp butter and sugar.  slowly add in one egg at a time along with almond extract.  then add flour, baking powder and matcha powder until thoroughly combined.  bake at 340 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.


this pound cake comes out moist and dense and it perfect on its own, but would also be delicious served with some fresh whipped cream and berries.


i made the whipped cream a little extra special:

ingredients:

1.5 cup heavy whipping cream
1 T sugar
1 t vanilla extra
1/2 t orange extract
zest of 1 orange

whip until stiff peaks.

i also turned the dry mixture for this pound cake into a gift by putting it in mason jars with cute labels with baking instructions.   i handed it out for a favor at a brunch, but also good for the holidays!


Thursday, March 5, 2015

dark chocolate...

my favorite chocolate is a good milk chocolate, but in my attempts to eat healthy i am learning to embrace dark chocolate.  since it is not my favorite i can eat a piece and feel like it curbed my chocolate craving and i have found some interesting chocolate bars that satisfy your sweet tooth without feeling too guilty. 


the top left is "bark thins", they come in a lot of different flavors, but the blueberry quinoa is my favorite.  i like this one because it satisfies the sweet, salty and crunchy in one bite.  my second favorite flavor is the chocolate peppermint bark, which tastes like a girl scout cookie and the holidays mixed together.  bark thins are also non-GMO, made with fair trade chocolate and most flavors are gluten free. 

the top right is the dark chocolate powerberries from trader joes.  these are pomegranate, acai, blueberry and cranberry juice that is turned into a jelly form and covered in dark chocolate.  they are rich in antioxidants and vitamin C.  i also enjoy them frozen. 

in the middle is a more fun option also from trader joes.  it is "fireworks."  this is a dark chocolate bar that is infused with chipotle, cayenne and pasilla chiles and sea salt.  and the big finish is the pop rocks candy in it that fizzles on your tongue. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

matcha green tea banana shake...

i love matcha powder, and i will be experimenting on baking with it soon.  but in the meantime, i made a smoothie with it and the banana ice cream from last week.  it was tasty!

ingredients:

3/4 cup banana ice cream (or frozen bananas - see previous blog post on banana ice cream)
1 scoop vanilla ice cream
2 t. matcha green tea powder
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
splash of half and half

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

fancy strawberries...

we had friends over last weekend for dinner and i did my favorite no cook dessert.  i don't have a good name for it, so lets call it "fancy strawberries."  this is one of jarad's favorites and i have also brought it to wine night the last two times, and it is always a big hit!

ingredients:

strawberries (rinsed)
sour cream (can substitute greek yogurt)
light brown sugar

how to:

arrange beautifully on a platter, and let everyone dip strawberries into sour cream and then into brown sugar.  the combination will taste like a strawberry cheesecake!  so good!