Weekly Eats June 30th – July 6th

I hope everyone had a great week and that you are all prepping your menus for the coming week! This weekend had its ups and downs but it is definitely ending on a high note. I will say I got lots of outside time with my girl playing on the patio. Best $5.00 investment you can make if you have little ones are these large buckets from the garden department at Walmart. I have also seen them at Target. They make excellent splash pools for little ones and take up a lot less space when storing. My nephew is four and still fits in one just fine!

bucket

She was very proud that she was able to blow her own bubbles this weekend.

She was very proud that she was able to blow her own bubbles this weekend.

My hubby spent most of the weekend doing his annual pressure washing of the driveways. He decided to have a little fun!

My hubby spent most of the weekend doing his annual pressure washing of the driveways. He decided to have a little fun!

On Friday afternoon my sister and I gathered up the kids and took them to a u-pick blackberry and blueberry farm. It was so much fun getting to pick the berries yourself and all of the berries taste so fresh and sweet.

Blackberries

For breakfast on saturday I quickly roasted some of the fruit and a small banana in the oven with some cinnamon at 350 degrees for 20 minutes and topped my flax protein pancakes and it was so good! Who needs syrup when you have warm sweet fruit to smother it in.

Protein Pancake with fruit

Made Nutty about Health’s Flax protein pancakes with fresh roasted blackberries, blueberries and a banana.

I am also now in love with Blue Diamond’s toasted coconut almonds. I picked up a can for my husband and I and they are so good! I tend to just have a half serving which is about 14 almonds and it equals 2 weight watchers points. They also have strawberry and blueberry flavored almonds and my husband absolutely loves the wasabi & soy flavor.

photo 4

Oh I am excited because it is 4th of July week! Summer is my favorite time of year just because it feels like there is so much to do and summer holidays are just fun. You get to hang out with family and friends and BBQ! This year we are actually hosting our first 4th of July party and I am so excited, a little nervous but still excited. I always worry I am not going to be prepared and everyone will be bored but I am planning to have lots of healthy delicious food and just chill out and relax. For this weeks menu I decided to pull out my Weight Watchers 50th anniversary cookbook. I bought it a couple of months ago but I have yet to try any of the recipes.

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As I was looking through the pages it was a lot of fun to read anecdotes from the last 50 years and see what recipes have been the most popular! For dinner tonight I made WW’s version of orange chicken and it was very good, fresh, and simple; which is awesome! It gave me just enough leftovers to make one lunch for this week. Next time I make it I am going to double the recipe to ensure more leftovers.

W.W.'s Orange chicken with sauteed julienned zucchini and squash and some fresh cherries.

W.W.’s Orange chicken with sauteed julienne zucchini and squash and some fresh cherries.

For the rest of the  lunches I only prepared Skinny Taste’s spring chicken stir fry with sugar snap peas and carrots since it is a short work week.

photo 3

For breakfast I prepared my egg muffins as usual but this time I halved the turkey sausage and added onion and bell peppers to it. I am trying to up my veggie intake anywhere I can and I have been meaning to try it for a while. They came out of the oven looking delicious and I can’t wait to have it tomorrow for breakfast with some salsa and a little spicy guacamole.

Egg White, Turkey Sausage and Feta muffins with onion and bell peppers.

Egg White, Turkey Sausage and Feta muffins with onion and bell peppers.

For the rest of week I am making the following:

  • WW Salisbury Steak with Mushrooms served with faux-potaoes made from cauliflower.
  • W.W.’s Beer Can Chicken with Baked Sweet Potato Fries
  • Shrimp Tacos – I am just going to saute these with some spices and diced tomatoes, onion and peppers. I will probably serve this with black beans and fruit.
  • W.W.’s Fish Tacos – Because I have lots of corn tortillas and I just love fish tacos!

Again all of these recipes are from W.W.’s 50th anniversary cookbook! I have not yet finalized the menu for our BBQ but I am thinking shrimp kabobs, hamburgers and maybe some steaks.I am hoping my brother-in-law will have time to make his W.W. friendly jalapeno poppers because they are delicious! As sides I am pretty sure I will make a fruit salad, baked beans, and a tortilla cheese casserole. As I was perusing the book I came across the recipe for that casserole and it just sounds so good and easy to make as a side dish for a group of people. I am also looking forward to seeing what dishes our friends and family bring as well!  I hope you area all able to stay on track food and fitness wise but remember to have fun. We cannot let the scale control us, we must learn to be mindful of what we eat but not so restrictive that we make ourselves miserable. Have a great everyone and stay safe when playing with fireworks!

Questions of the day: What are your plans for the 4th of July? Do you have any go to healthy party foods?

 

Weekly Eats – June 23rd – June 22nd

I hope everyone has a had a wonderful weekend!! Ours was nice and busy starting Saturday morning with an awesome weigh in at my weight watchers meeting. I lost 5.2 pounds this week!! I have also achieved a lot of really awesome non-scale victories that I am going to write about this week in another post.

151.8 weigh in

For lunch Saturday I had my cheat meal at a new BBQ place that opened up here a few weeks ago. They actually have locations a few hours away in Orlando so I already knew how good it was and had decided on the longhorn sandwich. I will say I was not able to enjoy it as much as I would have liked as we have a toddler that is reaching the “terrible twos”. It was just a little stressful so we ended up just packing up and heading out. Oh well I will try again in a few weeks.

Sunday was an awesome day because I was able to grocery shop early with my girl as well as pop a pork roast in the crock pot for dinner and make my egg muffins all before 9:30 am. Love mornings like that! My husband also spent all day working outside sprucing up our backyard by pressure washing the back of our house and putting together our new patio furniture. I mentioned last week that we had concrete poured and expanded our patio so we can actually use it. It has only taken us 5 years but we are so excited to really start using it as an extension of our house.  Tonight my sister and her family brought over pulled pork they smoked, WW friendly jalapeno poppers and fruit salad to enjoy on the patio! I threw together some sauteed zucchini and red bell peppers to go with it and the leftover baked Alexia onion rings and it was so good. I am so excited to spend time with my family and enjoy each others company. We are excited to throw our first BBQ for 4th of July!

I look terrible but it was relaxing to chill at our new patio table.

I look terrible but it was relaxing to chill at our new patio table.

Chicken Burgers with pineapple, baked Alexia onion wrings and green beans

Sundays lunch of bun-less Chicken Burgers with pineapple, baked Alexia onion wrings and green beans.

My baby girl and cousins enjoying the kids table. They are so cute!

My baby girl and cousins enjoying the kids table. They are so cute!

Smoked pulled pork, zucchini and bell peppers, mixed fruit and WW friendly jalepeno poppers. They were so delicious and two were just 2 points plus! I am going to have to post his recipe for these this week.

Smoked pulled pork, zucchini and bell peppers, mixed fruit and WW friendly jalapeno poppers. They were so delicious and two were just 2 points plus! I am going to have to post his recipe for these this week.

So this week I have to admit I was not feeling super inspired to plan my menu and I kind of threw it together quickly but I think it will still be yum! I still prepped all my fruit, egg muffins, veggies and salads for the week. I also have fresh veggies in the fridge that can quickly be sauteed for side dishes.

  • Stir Fried Chicken with Sugar Snap Peas and Carrots – This recipe is from Skinny Taste and it is so easy and delicious.
  • Garlic Shrimp in Coconut Milk, Tomatoes and Cilantro – This recipe is also from Skinny Taste and I am excited to make it as I have been craving seafood lately.
  • Lemon Ginger Tilapia – I have leftovers of this marinade and frozen tilapia so I am going to make this for a quick and easy dish. This recipe is from Laa Loosh which I have mentioned before is a fantastic Weight Watcher friendly site.
  • Apple Cheddar Sweet Potato – So Heather from Kiss my Broccoli commented on my BBQ Sweet potato I threw together last week commented and mentioned she had made a sweet potato topped with sharp cheddar, apple jelly and walnuts! Oh man I instantly wanted to make this so I am planning to put this together with some chicken on the side. I am so excited for this as I am addicted to sweet potatoes!
  • Leftovers – I still have leftovers from this weekend of pineapple chicken burgers and pulled pork so these will make up a couple our lunches for the week.

I hope everyone has a great healthy week with great food! I am going to try and eat outside on my new patio as much as possible! I can’t wait to share my menu next week as we will be planning the menu for our 4th of July BBQ!

Fun Eats

So I love love to try recipes with twists on classic recipes so I scour blog looking for interesting healthy eats. Well last week I posted this picture of a flax crust pizza that I found on Nutty About Health’s blog.

Flax crust pizza made WW friendly with turkey pepperoni and FF mozzarella

Flax crust pizza made WW friendly with turkey pepperoni and FF mozzarella

I had been wanting to try making this for a few weeks and I finally got around to doing it and I am so glad I did. This satisfied a pizza craving in a major way and is definitely going to be a staple. My toddler loved it too and kept running up and stealing bits of the crust from me. Another recipe that is now becoming a staple for me are her Flaxseed Protein Pancakes. These are super easy to make and hold together really well! I love adding warmed fruit or spreading chocolate PB2 on them.

I also recently found a blog called Friday Love Song that also has some great recipes or links that I have already tried out. Most of the time most of my more unique eats are breakfast as they tend to be able to be made a little quicker. That and I just love breakfast foods!  This morning as I was laying in bed reading my blog reader I noticed her post for a Blueberry Microwave Muffin and I knew I had to try it. Luckily I had all the ingredients on hand and it was super quick to make.

Blueberry microwave muffin served with PB2 greek yogurt and chia seeds.

Blueberry microwave muffin served with PB2 greek yogurt and chia seeds.

I really like that she included greek yogurt in her recipe as I think it helped the muffin remain moist and now dry out in the microwave, plus warm blueberries are just delicious! I seriously cannot wait to try her recipe for Carrot Cake Pancakes but I think I am going to need to wait until a weekend as they look like they will take a little more time prep/cook. I did however try one of the recipes for Green Smoothie Pancakes she linked to from a blog called Kiss my Broccoli. I was able to whip these up on a weekday morning and again so worth it! I added a little greek yogurt and fruit on top and I was humming my praises as I ate it. I cannot wait to make these again. Full of healthy fats and you get a veggie serving!

Green Smoothie Pancakes from Kiss my Broccoli Blog. These were so good!

Green Smoothie Pancakes from Kiss my Broccoli Blog. These were so good!

Another good recipe I tried recently was from a blog called Carrots N Cakes and it was a “French Toast Breakfast Scramble”. It was really easy to make just make sure you serve it with something else as I was hungry a little while later.

French Toast Egg Scramble

French Toast Breakfast Scramble

And lastly just because it was good I figured I would show you my sweet potato stuffed with leftover chicken and a tablespoon of BBQ sauce. I also added cinnamon to the sweet potato and it was oh so good!

Chicken Stuff BBQ Sweet Potato

Chicken Stuff BBQ Sweet Potato

Questions for you: What are your favorite unique eats? Tried any new ones lately? Also do you have any healthy food blogger recommendations that I should check out?

Plastic Surgery After Weight Loss…

First I would like to apologize for the lack of postings in the last few weeks. I had a new class start up at work that requires a lot of prep work and combined with the other classes I am teaching as well as taking care of my family and exercise I am all out of energy to blog at night. I am sad that I have even posted my weekly food prep and menu for the week. I knew this week was going to be just as busy so I kept my menu super simple but so far it has been delicious!

Menu:

  • Weight Watchers Turkey, Zucchini Quinoa Meatloaves (Weight Watchers Power Foods Book)
  • Weight Watchers Crock Pot Chicken Tika Masala – So delicious!
  • Spicy Pineapple Chicken Burgers - This recipe is from Laa Loosh one of my favorite blogs and I cannot wait to chow down on these.
  • Slow Cooker Pulled Pork - This recipe is from Skinny Taste another fantastic go to blog for healthy meals with weight watchers points already calculated for you.
  • Chicken Fajitas – This is just a super simple mix of grilled chicken breast sliced into 2-inch pieces thrown in a large skillet with onion, bell peppers and garlic. Cook for about 10 minutes and then add a can of diced tomatoes, a can of black beans (drained and rinsed). I used low sodium black beans. Simmer with a table spoon of red wine vinegar, salt and pepper to taste and a teaspoon or so of cumin. Add any cayenne or chili pepper you want. I can’t go to heavy right now because my daughter eats all of the same meals as us. So delicious and simple.
  • Baked Parmesan Green Bean Fries - I am dying to make these this week. I am obsessed with green beans and could eat them everyday. I’m thinking these will probably get paired with the pulled pork for dinner.
  • Tropical Fruit Salad - Saturday we are celebrating my best friends birthday so I am bringing this tropical fruit salad from skinny taste.
  • Leftovers – one night this week will be leftovers to use up the remaining items in the fridge.
Lunch prep with turkey, zucchini quinoa meatloaf, frozen green peas and strawberries

Lunch prep with turkey, zucchini quinoa meatloaf, frozen green peas and strawberries

Chicken fajitas with steamed green beans and an apricot

Chicken fajitas with steamed green beans and an apricot

Green Smotthie Pancakes from Kiss my Broccoli Blog. These were so good!

Green Smoothie Pancakes from Kiss my Broccoli Blog. These were so good!

So now to the real topic of this post…plastic surgery. Today I had my first plastic surgery consultation regarding an abdomonioplasty which is otherwise known as a tummy tuck. After losing over 130 pounds your body just doesn’t bounce back, I don’t care what age you are. I have been heavy my entire life so my skin has been through a lot even though I am only 30. A lot of people ask why I want to have surgery and I have had to do a lot of thinking and soul searching. When I first started losing weight I was very realistic in my expectations that I was not going to have a model thin body when I finally met goal. Honestly I did not know how my body was going to react and change at all since I had never really lost very much way before. Overall I have to say I am very pleased with how I look. My arms and back have some loose skin but I know I can keep exercising and toning and these areas will continue to improve. Also my chest has shrunken down, luckily I was not large chested to begin with and my skin elasticity is still pretty good there. However my stomach is a whole other story!

My husband and I shortly after our engagement around 285 - 290 pounds

My husband and I shortly after our engagement around 285 – 290 pounds

This was taken two years after we were married in 2007. We eloped so we took anniversary photos a couple of years later. :-)

This was taken two years after we were married in 2007. We eloped so we took anniversary photos a couple of years later.

Lets just say I have quite a bit of loose hanging skin (Eew sounds gross when you write that out) ;-) I have it above my belly button where my pants used to fit and below that which if I am correct is kind of like an apron. No matter how much exercise I do this skin is not going to go away. It sure has improved and gotten smaller and spanx and compression workout pants are a girls best friend. Working out would be incredibly uncomfortable if I did not have the compression pants to hold it all in. People are often surprised and don’t believe me when I say I have that much skin until I show them because you can hold it in with these items. So why not just keep wearing them?

Well honestly I will admit I am vain as most people are. I have worked so so hard to transform my physically and mentally. It is hard to have all this skin and know that it is not going to go away on its own. Also because it makes me feel deformed in a way because you bend over the skin just hangs from my body. I would love to have it gone and experience what it feels like to not have this large mound of skin on the front of my body. I want to put on a bathing suit and not be so self conscious of what bathing suit bottoms I have to find to help cover up this area. And yes I will admit I would like to put on a bikini for the first time. See I told you I was vain.

Taken this past weekend in my first pair of size 8 shorts.

Taken this past weekend in my first pair of size 8 shorts.

Also taken this weekend before we headed off to the beach to celebrate Father's day.

Also taken this weekend before we headed off to the beach to celebrate Father’s day.

I will say I am not taking this process lightly. I have been researching all the various procedures and doctors that I can in my area. I am making multiple consultations with board certified surgeons so I can try to find one that is the right fit for me. I have another consultation next week and I am planning to set up a couple more before I make an official decision. I am nervously excited to pursue this and can’t wait to share my progress with you all as I go along. If I decided to proceed with the surgery it will probably be scheduled for the end of the year when I am able to take a longer period of time off work. This allows plenty of time to get my ducks in a row and continue to exercise and tone up my body. Luckily for me, this particular surgeon stated that my stomach muscles seem to be in really good shape and have not separated which means he does not have to stitch them together. So really this is the removal of the excess skin which hopefully will help me recover to recover a little quicker.

Questions for you: Has anyone out there that has lost a significant amount of weight had any plastic surgery to fix problem areas?

Weekly Eats Menu and Meal Prep – June 9th – 15th

Another weekend that has gone by way to fast! We kicked off the weekend with getting a quote for concrete work to expand our  current back patio (if you can call it that). I love to eat outside and it is actually one of my favorite things about going out to eat. It is so much fun to me to sit on a patio with friends, family and good food. We have not really been able to utilize our back yard because the patio is not big enough to put a table and chairs on it. We have such good weather most of the year in Florida so it will be great to invite everyone over for healthy eats in my own home rather than being tempted at restaurants. We have decided to take the plunge and have the work done so here is to a new patio and sidewalk in a couple of weeks. If we are lucky maybe we can christen it with a 4th of July BBQ! :-)

Saturday my sister and I took the kids to the splash park at our zoo which is always a lot of fun. The kids have a blast and it helps to keep everyone cool.

Splash Park Fun!

Splash Park Fun!

Later in the day I made it to the grocery store and picked up my goodies for the week. I am definitely leaning on a produce heavy menu this week as I am still trying to kick cravings and I am hoping that if I cut back a little on carbs it will help to control the sugar cravings I have been having lately. I did great all week last week until Friday night which is so frustrating, I just have to learn how to get my stress under control and not let food be my release. I know this is something that I continue to struggle with and I am going to learn how to control it. All I can do is move forward and I am looking forward to this week and everything I have planned. Luckily my bad choices were contained to Friday though it was enough to do some damage and I am still trying to undo damage from the last couple of weeks. However I feel good because I made good choices the rest of the weekend and I know I am going to take this weight off.

Before I get to the this weeks menu I have to tell you about the indoor trampoline gym we went to today called Rebounderz. It was so much fun jumping from trampoline to trampoline. It was surprisingly toddler friendly and a great way to get some exercise in even though we were just playing around. If you have one in your area I highly recommend checking it out. It would be definitely be a great place to go on a rainy day if you need to let some kids burn off some energy or a great date night with your significant other. ;-)

Little girl in a big trampoline. :-)

Little girl on a big trampoline. :-)

Rebounderz Me

For food prep I did the following to prepare for this week:

  • Egg White, Turkey Sausage and RF Feta Muffins Cups -This week I am back to my egg white muffin cups! They are so good with some hot sauce on top and I am looking forward to having them for breakfast.
  • Cauliflower Hummus – I am stepping out of my comfort zone here. I made cauliflower hummus from the cookbook Practical Paleo. I have never made hummus before, let along cauliflower hummus but it was surprisingly easy to make and very tasty! I can’t wait to snack on it this week with my veggies.
  • Fruits and Veggies – I have carrots, grapes, celery, sweet peppers and strawberries in individual snack size baggies so they are pre-portioned. I also keep blackberries, blueberries and bananas on hand to serve with breakfasts.
  • Sweet Kale & Broccoli Salads– I picked up my favorite brand of salad mix called Sweet Kale and a bag of broccoli slaw. Each bag makes four servings and I pack them in portable containers from Ziploc which I adore!I don’t add the dried cranberries, seeds or dressing that it comes with instead I use a RF Yogurt honey mustard dressing that I dip into when I eat.

I will say I made some personal progress this week because I actually asked my husband for help with food prep this week. I tend to take on way to much and never ask for help even though he is offering it. He offered to help like he always does and I initially turned it down but then stopped myself and asked him to come back and help. Oh my goodness it made things go so much faster. He took on prepping all the fruits, veggies and nuts while I was able to actually cook the BBQ mushrooms and make the hummus and egg muffins. It saved me so much time and I am so grateful! I really need to ask for help more often and make this a team effort since we all eat the food. Besides it can turn into a fun date night in the kitchen. :-)

Look at all those fruits and veggies. Thank you babe!

Look at all those fruits and veggies. Thank you babe!

mmmm Egg Muffins and BBQ Portabello Mushrooms

mmmm Egg Muffins and BBQ Portabello Mushrooms

Lunch and Dinner Plans:

  1. Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps – This recipe is also from Practical Paleo and is made buffalo with spices rather than traditional buffalo sauce.
  2. Grilled Flank Steak with Peppers and Onions – Again a recipe from Practical Paleo. I had such good luck making flank steak on my grill pan last week that I decided I needed to make it again. This time it will be yummy to add the onions and peppers to it. I am planning to serve it with mashed faux-tatoes made from cauliflower. I did a version of it last week and I just mashed the cauliflower with a fork and it was good. However after pureeing the cauliflower in my Vitamix for the hummus and tasting it I realized it is so good pureed! It really does taste like mashed potatoes when you get it nice and smooth so I am really looking forward to this dinner.
  3. BBQ Portabello Mushrooms with light coleslaw – I made this recipe last week as well from Brooke Not on Diet and it was so good that I made it again last night while I was meal prepping. I am planning to have this as part of my lunches this week rather than dinner.
  4. Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps - This is a recipe from LaaLoosh that I have made before and it is so so good especially as leftovers. I reheated it the next day and threw it on top of a salad and it was amazing. The flavors had deepened overnight and no dressing was needed. I am really looking forward to this one!
  5. Spaghetti Squash Sesame Noodles with Edamame – Spaghetti squash is another veggie that is pretty new to me but so far I am finding it really good. I roasted one this morning and I am planning to turn half of it into this recipe as my husband loves Asian style dishes. I am really hoping he likes this one.
  6. Spaghettie Squash with Thai Peanut Sauce – I am personally in love with anything with peanut sauce but I hardly ever eat it because it can be a calorie and fat bomb. However this looks like a great recipe to try and keep things lighter so I am planning to use the rest of the spaghetti squash for this.
  7. Breakfast for Dinner – I decided to keep one night flexible this week and just plan breakfast for dinner. Who doesn’t’ love breakfast food for dinner and it is so simple and quick to make so it will be my fall back if we have a particularly crazy week.

What are your food plans for the week? Here is to a great week and good eats! I am finally going to be able to get back to my weight watchers meeting this coming saturday so I am looking forward to seeing all of my friends and get my dose of support and motivation. I know it personally helps me to weigh each week and has been a big part of the problem with some of my choices lately because I haven’t had that accountability in almost a month. I will probably still be up a couple of pounds from the last time I weighed in but I just need to accept it and not let it bring me down and move forward. Good luck everyone!

Good Eats I am Loving

Warning a very picture heavy post featuring lots of good food!  ;-)

So this week has been pretty awesome with eating right and staying on track. I have done really well with following through with the menu I planned this week and my fridge is almost empty. Sometimes I just make things and they bomb or they turn out okay but nothing to write home about. Well we have hit some real winners this week starting with the Parmesan Chicken burger that I recreated from one I had at a local restaurant. Another one that my husband actually raved about which is so exciting was the Skirt Steak with Romanesco Sauce from Laloosh. I added a slice of goat cheese to his and it just took it to another level of goodness. I love this website and have had such great luck with all of the recipes I have made from it! A few weeks ago Brooke not on a Diet posted an image of BBQ Portabello sandwiches with coleslaw and I was so excited when she posted the recipe a few days later. Well I finally got around to making it this week and it was delicious! This is one of those recipes that just feels perfect for summer and so satisfying! I am going to put this on regular rotation and bring it to all our summer BBQ’s.

Easy breakfast of egg white on a Joseph's flax whole wheat pita flat and a dreaming cow yogurt.

Easy breakfast of egg white on a Joseph’s flax whole wheat pita flat and a dreaming cow yogurt.

Chicken Parmesan Burger with Parmesan Mashed Cauliflower

Chicken Parmesan Burger with Parmesan Mashed Cauliflower

BBQ Portabello Sanwiches with Coleslaw

BBQ Portabello Sandwiches with Light Coleslaw

Jamaican Style Turkey Meatballs with Mango Salsa and Sweet Potatoes

Jamaican Style Turkey Meatballs with Mango Salsa and Sweet Potatoes

Skirt Steak with Romanesco Sauce, Green Beans and Parmesan Mashed Cauliflower

Skirt Steak with Romanesco Sauce, Green Beans and Parmesan Mashed Cauliflower

Grilled Chicken Marinated in Lemon Ginger Sesame Dressing and Grilled Asparagus

Grilled Chicken Marinated in Lemon Ginger Sesame Dressing and Grilled Asparagus

Roasted Kabocha Squash and Grapes.

Roasted Kabocha Squash and Grapes.

One of my favorite things to do now is visit our natural food stores and find fun new foods and products to try. Oh man I have found some awesome goodies lately and I just thought I would share them with you all because I am constantly inspired by other bloggers when they post about their favorite things. :-)

A trainer at my gym was eating this one day and I asked her what it was. I recognized Vega as I like their protein powders which are all plant based. This bar is 70% dark chocolate with Maca which is supposed to invigorate and energize you.

Vega Maca Chocolate Bar

Vega Maca Chocolate Bar

I love love Quest Protein Bars so when I found out they had peanut butter cups that contained 20 grams of protein I went on the hunt to find them locally. It took a while but I finally found them. I must say it does taste very different a traditional peanut butter cup but it can certainly satisfy a craving in a pinch. The cookie dough protein bars are still my absolute favorite!

Quest Protein Peanut Butter Cups

Quest Protein Peanut Butter Cups

You guys these bars are amazing heated for about 10 seconds. Oh my goodness it is a fabulous snack and a great recovery bar after working out.

Quest Protein Bars

Quest Protein Bars

This pita bread pretty much rocks my world. One of my fellow weight watchers friends shared it with us and I could kiss him for it because they taste great and are only 1 WWP+. Plus each piece has 5 grams of protein. I use them all the time for sandwiches, mini pizzas and breakfast wraps.

Joseph's Pita Bread

Joseph’s Pita Bread

Oh my god you guys if you have a peanut butter craving then you must get these! They are only 3 WWp+ per serving and they are such an awesome treat. I must admit I made a small bowl in one of my toddlers cups and added some milk and it was soooooo gooood!

PB Crackers

PB Crackers

Unfortunately we do not have a Trader Joes locally but when I go out of town and find one then we must stop. This time I grabbed these sesame honey almonds for my husband and he loved them so much! I tried a couple and the honey hits you a few seconds after you eat it and tastes really good. Definitely not to sweet.

Trader Joe's Sesame Almonds

Trader Joe’s Sesame Almonds

I have seen these Coco-Roons for a while but never picked them up before but I am glad I finally did. They are definitely a treat but really tasty and 2 points per coco-roon but I find one to be satisfying when I just want to taste something subtly sweet.

Lemon Coco-Roons

Lemon Pie Coco-Roons

Last but not least I found this Just Great Stuff Chocolate bar with greens. Each bar has 9 1/2 servings of spinach, dates and carrots! I was not sure what this was going to taste like but I was very pleasantly surprised! I am definitely going to get some more of these soon!

Just Great Stuff - Chocolate Bar with Greens

Just Great Stuff – Chocolate Bar with Greens

Whew I know that was a very picture heavy post but I hope you try some of these out. Do you have any food treats that you love? I would love to hear about them!

Introducing my Twin Sister – Her Story

For those of you that do not know me personally do not know that I am actually an identical twin. Next to my husband and daughter she is the closest person to me and we talk multiple times a day. This woman is so wonderful and is one of the most creative people I know. It is amazing how we can be so much a like and yet so different. She is a stay at home mom for her two kids and she nanny’s my own daughter for me while I am at work or at the gym.

Glow Run Picture

She is also extremely talented and is constantly sewing and creating the most amazing projects for all of us! We love to call her the memory maker as she is always looking to create wonderful memories for us in every event and activity she plans. Just like myself she has also struggled with her weight her entire life and is constantly working to try and lose it. I wanted to introduce her to you and let her share her story in her own words on what it is like to be a twin who is also trying to lose weight.

In her words:

Hi, my name is Becky and I am Tessa’s identical twin sister. We were born four minutes apart and two months early.  We were so tiny but surprisingly healthy.   For our whole life we have remained close, sharing our lives just like so many other twins grow up doing.  We are very different yet very much alike and until recently we have almost always been the same size. From the moment we were born up until a year ago we have only varied in size by just a couple of pounds.

 

Months ago Tess began her journey to lose weight and succeed she has! One would think I would be right along with her and we would once again mirror each other in size. However, here I sit at her starting weight of 280 pounds. Why? I don’t really know. This is a question I ask myself all the time. Even though we are twins people do have to remember that we are two very different people, who lead two very different lives. I am a stay at home mom and I am a nanny to my niece during the week.

Becky and her beautiful kids.

Becky and her Beautiful Kids

For me this particular job has many food challenges for me that I have to work through. I currently battle an addiction to soda and late night ice cream runs. I also never eat meals when I should. It’s probably one of the reasons I crave what I do in the evenings. I have begun to make some changes for myself personally but it is going to take a while. Over time I think Tess is planning on having me share some of my challenges and successes with you as I try to lose weight. Maybe one day in the next few years Tess and I will look like identical twins again. But for now I will listen to people say “boy y’all must be kin”!

 

My current weight is 279.4

Goal weight: 180

I would love to check back in with Becky every few weeks and ask her to share her progress with all of you! I am also trying to get her to finish setting up her blog so she can share her amazing photos, recipes, sewing and crafting projects. Seriously you guys she comes up with the coolest stuff!

 

Weekly Eats Menu and Meal Prep & a Weekend Recap

I can’t believe I am sitting here and the weekend is gone. It flew by but the best ones always seem to! I had a fantastic Saturday which started early with me running my first 7K race!

Beautiful morning for a run!

Beautiful morning for a run!

I have been looking forward to this race for a few months now because I was finally going to be running further than a 5k and I had set a goal to average a 10 minute mile throughout. Well I am very excited to say that I actually surpassed my goal and averaged 9:28 m/m! I can’t believe I beat my goal by a full 30 seconds and was able to maintain it for a full 4 miles. I actually set out to run this race by myself but ended up running into my friend Patti who is a fellow weight watchers member and hard core runner! This women is amazing and has been such a great friend and support system for me. She made us head right to the front of the line and we hit the ground running when the gun went off. The first mile flew by and I was shocked when she told me to hustle because we were about to pass the 1-mile mark at an 8:45 pace! I wanted to cry from happiness because I couldn’t believe I had done that. I have never been able to pace and push myself at that pace and was so grateful that I had someone to run with. The rest of the race went fantastic and I was so excited to cross that finish line. Patti messaged me later to let me know that our race results were in and I actually finished 9th out of 35 women in my age group and 56th overall in the women’s category which had over 300 entrants. I literally did the happy dance in my seat and again wanted to cry from happiness. Completing this run and exceeding all my expectations has really helped me get my head back into the game. It has been a rough couple of weeks balancing work, time with my family, exercising and just life in general. I made a lot of poor food choices but have been making an effort to get back on track. I am now more motivated than ever and just feel positive overall which makes things so much easier.

Post race rest. It was very humid and sweat was dripping into my eyes.

Post race rest. It was very humid and sweat was dripping into my eyes.

Patti and I post race. This women is wonderful and such an inspiration to me!

Patti and I post race. This woman is wonderful and such an inspiration to me!

photo 3

Found my picture on our local news site.

Afterwards I headed to the beach to spend the day at the beach with my family and friends! But before I took off my heart rate monitor I had to document that I burned a little over a 1000 calories before 9:00 in the morning. I was definitely ready for a beach day!

watch

photo 4

Of course I need to include a picture of my girl chilling in her beach chair. This was an excellent Costco purchase as she loved it we didn’t have to keep her from stealing our chairs. :-)

Beach Chair

This week is going to be especially busy for me with a new class starting up that I am still prepping for. That means this weeks menu is super simple so I didn’t have to do as much prep and I am relying on my grill to cook up a big batch of meat and veggies. Also, we went out to lunch Sunday to one of our favorite BBQ spots and I ordered a large BBQ plate with pulled white meat chicken and smoked turkey. The portions are so big that my daughter and I both split it for lunch and I have still have enough leftover to make two lunches. Excellent way to save some time and have yummy leftovers. :-) I also baked some sweet potatoes, steamed green beans and made mashed cauliflower for the first time. Cauliflower is one of those vegetables that I did not grow up loving but I am making an honest effort to eat it more often. I used this recipe for dinner on Sunday from undressed skeleton and it turned out fantastic.  I will definitely make this recipe again, plus it makes a big batch so we have leftovers for lunch and dinner this week. For the main dish I replicated a Parmesan chicken burger that I had a few weeks ago at a local burger joint. It was so good and I knew I could make it at home and know exactly what was in it which means I can control the points values.

Chicken Parmesan Burger on a wheat bun with mashed cauliflower.

Chicken Parmesan Burger on a wheat bun with mashed cauliflower.

First time making a caprese salad but it seemed like a perfect pre-dinner salad tonight.

First time making a caprese salad but it seemed like a perfect pre-dinner salad tonight.

It turned out so good and I can’t wait for leftover this week. If you would like to make it yourself you can check out my version of the recipe below. Even though I am keeping things simple this week I am really making an honest effort to eat as clean as possible. I finally feel like I am getting my motivation back and my head back in the right place after a rough couple of weeks. I know I feel so much better when I eat clean and cut out as much processed food as possible. I can physically feel it in my body when I have made poor food choices and I love feeling good so it is in my best interest to make smart choices. I have actually discovered some new to me products that I have been loving and I will post about them later this week.

For food prep I did the following to prepare for this week:

  • Flax Pancakes – So I am kind of addicted to flax pancakes so I am taking a break from my egg muffins this week. If you want the super easy recipe you can check it out on Nutty About Health. These are so easy to make and are grain free. I even added cocoa powder to one batch and it was fabulous and still healthy!(Now if I could just get my girl and husband to eat them) ;-)
  • Fruits and Veggies – I have carrots, grapes, celery, sweet peppers and strawberries in individual snack size baggies so they are pre-portioned. I also keep blackberries, blueberries and bananas on hand to serve with breakfasts.
  • Sweet Kale Salad – I picked up my favorite brand of salad mix called Sweet Kale and each bag makes four servings and I pack them in portable containers from Ziploc which I adore!I don’t add the dried cranberries, seeds or dressing that it comes with instead I use a RF Yogurt honey mustard dressing that I dip into when I eat.
  • All natural Yogurts – Last week I picked up some new yogurts that I plan to have with my breakfasts in the morning rather than my traditional PB2 Greek yogurt mix. They are included in my new finds that I will post about later this week.

Lunch and Dinner Plans:

  • Skirt Steak with Romanesco Sauce – This recipe is from Laloosh and I have not made it before but I have had the best luck recipes from this site. Plus each recipe includes the weight watchers points which makes it so much easier to menu plan.
  • BBQ Portabello Sandwiches with Chipotle Coleslaw – I have been dying to make this recipe every since Brooke Not on A Diet posted it a few weeks ago.
  • Curried Shrimp and Channa Masala packs – This is a dish thrown together by me. I am just sauteing shrimp with spices including curry powder and serving it with Channa Masala packages which is chickpeas simmered in onions, tomatoes and spices. These are 90 second packets that I picked up at costco that I have been meaning to use. They actually had them on sample that day and they were so good! Also the ingredients list is short and all natural ingredients so it should still meet my goals of eating clean.
  • BBQ and Chicken Burger Leftovers – These will be mixed in for lunches or dinner over the next couple of days.

Channa Masala Channa Masala Nutrients

So what are you guys making this week? I hope you keep it easy and healthy and have a great week!!

Crock Pot Chicken Tika Masala

This is one of those recipes that is so so good and gets better each day served as leftovers. I have shared this recipe with so many of my friends and they all rave about it too. I originally found this recipe on the weight watchers website and made it per the original instructions and it turned out great. The second time I made it I didn’t have any Greek yogurt and I thought it tasted just as good so I never really add it anymore. Also you can make this with chicken breasts or tenderloins and it tastes great too, just make sure to watch your cooking time as white meat can dry out quickly. Quick Note: I would like to point out that this is certainly not a true Indian tika masala dish it just gives some of the wonderful rich flavors from the original dish.

I forgot to take a photo of the finished dish before I packed it away for lunches but here it is assembled and ready to cook in the crock pot. (Bad blogger :-) )

Prep of WW Crock Pot Chicken Tika Masala

Prep of WW Crock Pot Chicken Tika Masala

Chicken Tika Masala in containers

Chicken Tika Masala in containers

I hope you all enjoy!

Weekly Eats Menu and Meal Prep – May 27th – June 1st

This memorial weekend has been wonderful and jam packed! Friday morning we left for a weekend road trip to Charleston, SC. to visit some friends and their littles. Charleston is about 4 hours from us and this is the first time we were traveling with a 21 month old longer than an hour in the car. We were a little worried about how she would do sitting that long because she wasn’t exactly known for loving the car as a baby. Hence the reason why we haven’t really traveled much since she was born. Well we were pleasantly surprised because our girl was a rock star and did awesome driving there and back. She also slept great in the hotel at night and even took naps. So glad that we finally went for it because it was so much fun finally getting out of town and making time to see friends. It was great visiting Charleston but I have to go back in the future to actually tour the city’s architecture and local attractions as everything we did was pretty kid focused since we both have young ones to entertain.

My family at the South Carolina Aquarium

My loves and I at the South Carolina Aquarium

We actually ended up coming home a day early which I always seem to do when we go on vacation. I start getting antsy and thinking about everything I have to do when I get home. To make me feel better we ended up heading out a little before lunch yesterday after playing at the park and saying goodbye to our friends. I must say it was great to come home and arrive at an earlier hour because I was able to quickly plan my weekly menu and knock out the grocery store so I could do my food prep today. I definitely felt a little rushed fitting all my chores and prep because I still wanted to spend time with my family enjoying celebrating the memorial day holiday. I am so glad I got it all done and I now I can go into this week feeling refreshed and prepared to eat clean and focus on my tasks and my first 7k race on Saturday. I am so excited to finally race more than a 5k and I am really hoping I can maintain a 10:00 minute overall pace per mile. I am going to try to run at least twice this week along with my regular training and the Jillian Michaels DVD challenge I am following for the next 6-weeks.

My girl traveling like a rock star.

My girl traveling like a rock star.

For food prep I did the following to prepare for this week:

  • Egg White, Turkey Sausage and RF Feta Muffins Cups - I have previously posted my personal recipe in the muffins galore post but if you want variations just do a search for egg white muffins, there are tons!
  • Fruits and Veggies – I have carrots, grapes, celery, sweet peppers and strawberries in individual snack size baggies so they are pre-portioned. I also keep blackberries, blueberries and bananas on hand to serve with breakfasts.
  • Sweet Kale Salad – I picked up my favorite brand of salad mix called Sweet Kale and each bag makes four servings and I pack them in portable containers from Ziploc which I adore!I don’t add the dried cranberries, seeds or dressing that it comes with instead I use a RF Yogurt honey mustard dressing that I dip into when I eat.
  • PB2 Chobani Yogurt Mix – I was missing my PB2 and plain chobani yogurt mix last week so I prepped four of them to have with breakfast or a snack during the week. I will post the recipe below for my version. Please note this is not my original idea I found it originally posted on Stuft Mama’s blog.
Prep for fruit, veggies and salads.

Prep for fruit, veggies and salads.

Ingredients for my PB2 Greek Yogurt

Ingredients for PB2 Greek Yogurt

Lunch and Dinner Plans:

This week I am repeating some of the recipes that I never got to last week but threw in some other old favorites that make excellent leftovers. I defrosted a bunch of chicken I had in my freezer so my menu is a little chicken heavy this week which is never a bad thing. :-)

  • Chicken with Peanut Sauce & Sweet Potatoes – This is from page 54 of the June 2013 Clean Eating magazine. I am personally obsessed with peanut sauces and sweet potatoes so put them together and I am on cloud nine. I calculated out the weight watchers points and it is 8 points plus! This is a complete dinner because it also includes green beans in the recipe. (I actually made this for tonight’s dinner and it was wonderful, can’t wait for the leftovers this week!)
  • Spicy Shrimp & Bell Pepper Toss – This is from page 50 of the June 2013 Clean Eating magazine and is only 4 points plus on weight watchers. I am planning to add some avocado for a healthy fat and a couple of corn tortillas to bulk it up for dinner.
  • Lemon Dill Chciken with grilled asparagus & Onion Topping – This recipe is from page 72 of the June 2013 Clean Eating Magazine. I am looking forward to this as it is always fun to pull out the grill.
  • W.W. Slow Cooker Chicken Tika Masala – This is a crockpot recipe that we as family love! It is so good and makes excellent leftovers. I actually made it in the crockpot today for tomorrow’s dinner since I work Tuesday nights and I already have the leftovers packed for lunches. This is one of those recipes that kids and adults love and you can serve it with white or brown rice for a filling side ! I do adapt the recipe a bit so I will post my modified version this week.
  • Garlic Parmesan Avocado Cauliflower Mash – I am excited to try this new recipe from undressed Skeleton as a side dish this week.
Chicken with Peanut Sauce & Sweet Potatoes (sauce sank to the bottom so I gave it a good mix before serving)

Chicken with Peanut Sauce & Sweet Potatoes (sauce sank to the bottom so I gave it a good mix before serving)

Prep of WW Crock Pot Chicken Tika Masala

Prep of WW Crock Pot Chicken Tika Masala

One of the lunches for my girl this week. She is teething hardcore so I kept things a little more bland and soft for her.

One of the lunches for my girl this week. She is teething hardcore so I kept things a little more bland and soft for her.

Lunch and dinner containers

Lunch and dinner containers

Such a pretty sight to see after all of that work!

Such a pretty sight to see after all of that work!

Also there are a few things that I want to make if I have time this week to experiment:

  • Homemade Chicken Lunch Meat – I would love to not rely on prepackaged lunch meat each week so if I have time I am planning to make my own from chicken breasts. If not I will I add it to next weeks menu and make it during my food prep time.
  • Kabocha Squash – A lot of the health/fitness/food blogs I follow rave about Kabocha Squash so I finally located some here in town and am planning to roast some as a side dish. Fingers crossed that it tastes as good as everyone says.
  • Flax Crust Pizza – I am trying to incorporate more flax into my diet and this seems like a fun way to do it one day this week. I am planning to add more veggies to it and use reduced fat mozzarella and maybe turkey pepperoni to make it more WW friendly.
  • Hot Coconut Flaxseed Cereal – I have some light coconut milk that I need to use up this week so this seems like an interesting way to do it.

I hope you all have a great week and enjoy your prepped eats!