Thursday, December 20, 2012

Comfort food...

We love to eat at our house. Most celebrations center around food. We spend weeks planning our get togethers because of the food prep. My husband also does not like "diet" food or anything healthy for that matter. Me, I prefer not to eat it, but am learning I need to for energy and my health. I've mastered a couple of new recipes lately I'd like to share.

First, the balsamic chicken with veggies.

I saw the marinade on Pinterest, which is really nothing more than a bottle of balsamic dressing. I put chicken breasts in the dressing and marinaded overnight in the refrigerator. It smelled delicious once I was ready to put it in a 9x13 casserole dish. I then cut up potatoes, tomatoes and green beans to add to the mixture. I placed all of the ingredients in the dish and poured more of the marinade over the veggies. I baked for half an hour with foil on top at 350 degrees then took it off for another half an hour at 400 degrees. Delish!!!

To balance my Christmas party for Mary Kay the night before, last night I made a Pizza Casserole. I also have seen a crockpot version of this on Pinterest. I failed to cook up the Italian sausage the night before so I made it in the oven instead. Now, you can totally make this much healthier without the sausage, but it's a personal taste preference. The ingredients I used, otherwise, were all very healthy. I used whole wheat Barilla Cellentani pasta, homemade pasta sauce, two cans of low-sodium tomato sauce, turkey pepperoni and reduced fat Italian shredded cheese. 

I put the uncooked pasta in the 9x13 cassrole dish, layered the Italian sausage over the pasta and put the pasta sauce and tomato sauces on top of that. I added 1.5 cups of water to the mixture to make sure the pasta would cook. I then layered about 25 pepperonis on top in rows then placed the shredded cheese in between that. I didn't go overboard on the pepperoni or cheese to make it a bit more healthy yet tasty. I seasoned the top with Italian seasonings and garlic powder. I baked the dish at 375 degrees for 40 minutes. Boy, did the house smell delicious! And it was delicious! 

Hope you can enjoy either of these and know they aren't going to break your diet yet they both fill you up!

*~* Do you have any healthy recipes to share? Please share them by emailing me at*~*

It's Snowing...

It is a HUGE blessing for us in the Midwest to have gotten some rain and snow in the last 24 hours. For that I am thankful. Yet, it is scary to have to drive in it nonetheless. I have a pretty rockstar husband who now works in St. Joseph like me so he took me to work before he went to his work. Love him to pieces.

I'm saying a few extra prayers for those who have to travel and our farmers and ranchers who are working hard to protect their animals in this kind of weather.

Photo courtesy of The Missouri Beef Council
Next time, I'll just stay at home with a warm fire and two cozy little fur babies at my side!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas Cookie Swap...

 I checked off another thing from my 101 list this past weekend. My sorority sisters, Pat and Kelsey, and I got together for a little Christmas Cookie Bake/Exchange. It was so much fun checking out Pat's new home, spending time baking, talking, eating, and reminiscing. I hope we do this every year!

P.S. My friends, coworkers and family have loved the cookies, girls! Yum!!

Pat's glass sugar cookies on the left and us girls on the right
Kelsey taking off her sugar kiss cookies to the wire rack. 
Kelsey's delicious toffee

Friday, December 14, 2012

Cut It Out...

While thinking about more of my 2013 fitness/wellness goals and reading more into eating right, I have made it a goal to cut out pop, for good. Call it what you want, soda, pop, Coke, whatever, but I feel it's going to eventually kill my teeth and other things in my body.

Pop has been on my "need" list each day since I have been in high school. There are periods where I drink very little during the day (half a can) to a full out Route 44 from Sonic. I know it's wrecking havoc on my body, not to mention the long-term effects of drinking this stuff for more than 10 years now. I don't drink regular pop, and I never have. Yet, the scary stuff that is in diet pop has finally made me scared enough to think of what I am doing to my body. I guess I care enough now to really want to cut it out.

Hold me accountable and ask how I'm doing.

Here's to better health in 2013!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Clean Eating 101...

I love finding success stories of people who have battled weight and then lost it, BIG TIME. Megan is one of those chicks who is a bonafide rock star for her weight loss journey. She continues to get stronger, and I love reading her blog. I am inspired to keep going on this health and wellness journey like her.

Megan from Miss Madison's Charmed Life blog
In her latest blog post, she wrote down her clean-eating list. I am consciously setting this as a goal in 2013 to get rid of the crap and get down to business of losing body fat. Two years ago when I started running, I quit buying all processed, frozen meals for dinners, which was a big step in the right direction. I am now working on lunches (ahem, the infamous Lean Cuisine and canned soups).

I menu-plan for a whole month at a time for dinner, which has made life so much easier and provides a real savings in our budget. I wouldn't be able to put some variety in there without Pinterest, though.

I would love to start incorporating some of Megan's tips from her list in my menu planning and lunches. With that said, I am not a fan of organic/natural foods, for the most part. There is a lot of hype surrounding it, and I know how hard our farmers work to produce our food that do not fall in either category. I am just fine with eating things on this list that are "normal". I am happy to say we LOVE using lean cuts of beef and deer burger for most of our recipes. Those are lean sources of protein so I'm good with those, too. I also would have a very hard time letting go of my milk. I use it in my protein shakes, and it is an excellent balance of good carbs/vitamins/protein after a workout and for breakfast. Other than that, I am working on buying more from the list.

Here is a sample of her list:

  • sunflower oil
  • coconut oil
  • walnut oil
  •  avocado oil
  •  olive oil
  •  grape seed oil 
  •  pumpkin seed oil
Fatty Proteins
  • avocado
  • coconut
  • nuts
  • nut meal/flour 
  • seeds 
  • all natural peanut butter 
  • salmon 
  • bluefish
  • trout
  • mussels
Lean proteins
  • most types of fish
  • egg whites
  • chicken breast
  • extra lean ground turkey
  • top round
  • turkey
  • pork chops
  • game meat
  • bison
  • tofu
  • shellfish
  • scallops 
  • sugar free maple syrup use sparingly
  • coconut sugar
  • applesauce (no sugar added) 
  • birch sugar Ideal(xylitol)
  • Stevia in the Raw or Truvia
  • Unsweetened almond Milk
  • Unsweetened rice milk
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Cottage Cheese 
  • Sauerkraut
  • Kim Chee
  • Tempeh
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Balsamic or Raspberry Vinaigrette
  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • White Vinegar
  • Rice Vinegar
  • Ketchup Heinz Reduced Sugar or Wholefoods Organic
  • Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce
  • Reduced sodium Teriyaki sauce
  • Salsa 
  • Hot sauce 
  • Steak sauce (low sugar)
  • Chili Paste
  • Herb Pastes  ginger, garlic, cilantro, etc
  • Tomato paste
  • Tomato sauce 
  • Mustard Yellow or dijon
  • Broth Low sodium fat free beef, vegetable, and chicken
  • Worcestershire Sauce  no high fructose corn syrup
  • Fat free cooking spray 
  • barley
  • corn tortilla (Food for Life brand is best)
  • Cream of Wheat/Rice or Rye
  • Ezekial bread (made by Food for Life)
  • lentils
  • oats
  • whole wheat pasta
  • potato (white, only occasionally)
  • brown rice
  • rice cakes
  • Sweet Potato
  • Pinto
  • Chickpea
  • Kidney
  • White Beans
  • Black Beans
  • Quinoa
  • Couscous
*coffee, teas, all flours except white, spices, fruits and veggies.

Pretty big list, huh?!

*~*Anyone out there have other ideas for clean eating ingredients?*~*

Thursday, December 6, 2012

2012 Christmas Wish List...

This is a random post, but it's fun, so here it goes...

I've created my 2012 Christmas Wish List items (you might notice a theme here):
A Garmin Forerunner 10 watch. It's not the fanciest Garmin, but it does the job of
showing me I am putting in the miles and improving my times.
Look at this beauty! How many of you already have one?
I'd love a Keurig not because I drink coffee (maybe I'll start?) but for the variety of teas! Yum!
You can never go wrong with a Dick's gift card! So many things I could buy with this like
a new running hat, socks, shorts, shirt, pants, jacket, chews, gels, running belt, all of those things I NEED (er want!).
Oh this would be the ultimate! I want an iPad so bad, but I don't want to pay for it myself!
A plane ticket to Florida for this spring. I really want to run a half in February and visit my friend, Katelyn. 

Santa, I really think I've been good this year, so any of these things would be AWESOME to get. But, I'll be happy with anything.

~*~ What is on your holiday wish list? Are you a practical or fun gift lover?~*~