Saturday but Not Saturday: Sunday Sharing.

Been awhile since I have done Saturday sharing because Saturdays are STATurdays and that means I am hyper focused on that and not sharing. But I have had one building for awhile. Of course, it has to do with health and nutrition because right now is there anything else?

Magic Formula Sharing….

When I was thinking about losing weight or at the beginning of this journey or even the last few years I wanted some magical formula. I surfed the net for the magical answer to my weight loss woes. I pinned every single thing I could find. I falsely believed someone else’s story could be my own.

That is the problem with weight loss. You have to claim it as your own. You have to find what works for you and truly nothing will ever work unless you figure out your formula and the even more sucky part of that formula is that as you go it changes. You have to find tools and support to make click to figure out your answer.

But the formula is pretty much the same for everyone. It is calories in versus calories out. That is incredibly simple though and the process is more complicated than that. Calories are inherently different. An avocado has 310 calories much of it is the good kind of fat that fuels your body and brain. A doughnut similarly can have 310 calories, but that calorie composition is much different and processed differently by the body and the brain. For a better explaination of this process read this article “Debunking the calorie myth“. However the article does remind us:

If we take in more energy (calories) than we expend, we gain weight. If we expend more energy than we take in, we lose weight. This is an unbreakable law of physics and isn’t even debatable.

Food Sharing…

I have figured it out. It IS about what you eat less than how much you eat. And while we are talking about eating there is literally no better source for eating, inspiration, recipes and ideas of methods of eating (Clean/Paleo/Raw/Organic) than on my beloved Pinterest. Seriously, I have been in such overabundance of salad that I pretty much hate it right now that I have been desperately making sure to get my greens in that if it weren’t for pinterest and my salad alternatives I would be starving.

spinachI should also say I have not really had a salad in three weeks and have had no problem finding alternatives and have lost and maintained just fine. So many people think diets are all about salads. It really isn’t. It is about veggies and the right veggies. My favorite things right now are cooked spinach recipes.

And honestly you take almost any recipe you love and “clean” it up. Many think you can’t, but you can. For example, I went to Friday’s the other day and had chicken hibachi skewers. By all accounts my plate seemed healthy. It was steamed broccoli, jasmine rice and chicken with a miso glaze with grilled pita triangles. Sounds decent right?

The calorie count was 1230. That is ridiculous and honestly it makes me mad that restaurants get away with this crap. But I understand why they do it. Its fats were good. Its sugars were good. Its sodium….3500mg and its carbs 185g. Both of are those are basically in their addictive forms if you ask me and guaranteed a return customer.

But let me tell you I did what I always do. I go to a restaurant and love and dream about summer11the food after I leave. I look up its nutritional information and realize why I can’t get it out of my head. But my smarter head prevails and I remake the recipe and clean it up. Which I did last night. I didn’t get a picture other than my veggies in their raw form before they were grilled.

But I made chicken skewers covered in a reduced low sodium soy with sesame oil and sriracha sauce. I basted a ton of veggies and my chicken in it. I made a side of jasmine rice where I could control sodium and I grilled full of all the good stuff like whole wheat, flax seeds and chia ground pita triangles. I guarantee my recipe was handled in my body better and with much less junk in it.

But I say none of this to shame anyone for eating dinner out. I will go to Friday’s again and I may very well eat the skewers again. But the mistakes I made before would be to not recognize the sodium and carb intake cannot happen daily. I spent the next two days following the dinner with ridiculous cravings for carbs and salt. That ladies and gentleman is figuring out my formula. I can’t do that regularly because it sabotages my hard work and effort.

MMF_logo_RUN_stacked_2cRunning Sharing…

I have been using the Clear Sky 5k App. I like it but found I have outpaced it pretty quickly. I am glad I did, but I typically have to skip a day or so. I have noticed it has it kinda of set up a three times a week run and right now I am running about 5 out of 7 days. I am guessing that is the reason for the outpace. However, I have also noticed I run super hard one day and then kinda wimpy the next two. So this app sometimes help with that.

The second I have used is Red Rock Apps running for weight loss. Weight loss in running is helped by switching things up. This app does that switching for you. I like to have someone tell me what to do on running to build up my stamina and endurance. This gives you intervals of sprinting and steady runs. The biggest issue I see with it is it often struggles to find my GPS, so I have to run it simultaneously with map my run app.

Working Out Sharing…

Kpuff has kinda of created us a workout plan that involves many different trainers and TK_ChalaneJab164x200training programs. I have really loved some of them and hated others. We always try and rate them and see how we do. We have also increased our weight lifting to help build muscle.

My favorite program and trainer by far is Chalene Johnson. She will never replace my beloved Shaun T from T25. But her positivism and motivation to do better and be a better human being just jives so much with my outlook on life. Her HIIT workouts are my favorite and a part of her TurboFire Series. I also like Chalene Extreme. Now her Piyo series…Me not likey so much. I am a cardio addict so piyo I sweat but the moves seemed unnatural to me and not as much cardio as I like.

Then there is the 21 Day Fix videos….I am not a huge fan. I won’t lie. They are a good workout, but I absolutely hate how sore I am for almost a week after the workout. With Shaun and Chalene I am sore, but it manageable. Most of the time if it is too bad I just need a soak in the tub. Rarely do I wince and moan and groan from the pain for a week. No secret, I love the program and will love, love, love her new cookbook in July. But the videos…meh. :/

Alrighty, I think I have shared enough for today. Have a great week you all!

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Want to see what else I am sharing? Go here.

Saturday Fix Sharing…And I Suppose Less of Me.

Hello All,

This week’s sharing I clearly have one thing on my mind and that is my 1st round of the 21 Day Fix. I am excited for it and have been immersed in the prep. I am not going to lie the prep of any clean eating diet is overwhelming and hard to do. However, I know that it is imperative for me that I do it.

21fix2If you want to combine all of my prep time together of grocery shopping, cutting, measuring and cleaning the fridge to make it work then I am at about 6 hours. That seems like a lot, but the grocery run will get better. I bought all new and fresher spices, I had to buy containers for the week, I had to prepare the dressings and free seasonings. I won’t have to likely do any of that minus maybe the dressings again. As well, I predict I will get better at the prep once I get an idea of what we like.

My guy is doing this with me as well, as is Kpuff and two internet friends. We basically printed out a grocery list and we both went through it and highlighted foods we liked or could tolerate. I made my own, but pinterest has some pre-made. Then I looked up recipes for 21 Day fix meals on pinterest. From there I combined the the two and made a grocery list and then I went shopping. It took me awhile because there is some label reading. 21 Day is a low sodium/no sodium diet.

Then I woke up this morning and as a family we measured out veggies, fruits, dressings, salads, recipe fixins and snacks. I basically have 15 of every thing that we both will eat and21fix3 about 7 of the things that only one of us like. It is all ready to go and all we have to do is grab it out of the fridge.

The 21 Day Fix doesn’t allow for iceberg and in the interest of being up front I couldn’t live without it, so I purchased a mixed greens salad mix which is predominantly iceberg and I dumped it in a huge bowl and then I added a large bag of spinach to it, a head of radicchio, a colorful lettuce my grocery store had and romaine lettuce. I mixed them all together and then chopped them with kitchen shears. I made 15 salads out of it and measured them out. My green lettuce to iceberg ratio is probably 3:1.

Meals Planned for this Week

21fix1Now all of these may not happen this week. I have over planned on purpose because it will keep me accountable and it is all prepped ready to make on the nights when I get home from work. As well, I will bring leftovers to work and add in salads or chicken when needed.

I found a garlic parsley mix that is 21 friendly at the grocery that I intend to bake 6 extra chicken breasts in for this week. Honestly, I am excited to start this. I will update with my meals and how it is going.

Kpuff and I are headed out to dinner at Takioka tonight to celebrate week 7 of T25 and to celebrate our beginning of 21 Day Fix tomorrow. We are proud of our hard work together.

With that…Happy Saturday! Remember love always wins! You just have to let it!

Eat-a-skinny-person

Photo (7)

 

“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”
John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America

Not much needs said today in the stillness of the snow. Life dredges on, the sounds of my girls doing their Saturday things. The hope for renewal that is soon coming.

This my backyard. It has been going since 6AM. Waiting for a breather or a break, but I suppose that is Mother Nature telling me settle and be still.

Saturday Sharing….It just gets better.

bf1

“Love is not an equation, it is not a contract, and it is not a happy ending. Love is the slate under the chalk, the ground that buildings rise, and the oxygen in the air. It is the place you come back to, no matter where your headed”
Jodi Picoult

Valentine’s Day Sharing…

My guy and I never really go all out for any holiday. Maybe we did before the baby girls, but since then it is usually pretty practical what happens around our house to recognize each other. But the ironic part of that is it just gets better. Each and every year gets better. Usually, it is a simple card set on the pillow. I get up early so the girls let him sleep. He covers bedtime routine, so I can climb into bed early and veg out on the DVR or netflix. He is my opposite and I am hims (love this typo so I am leaving it), the ying to my yang. And it works.

My first thought upon opening my eyes is gratefulness for my guy and for the love we share. It is a quite strength that has intermittently been built upon year by year by happiness and heartbreak. I decided not to nudge his loud snoring as I woke at 5:45. A normal day that would be a nudge with a muffle, sorry honey from his tired sleepy voice. But today I snuck away and scribbled my love on a card, placed it on my pillow so it would be the first thing he saw when he did wake.

It works. It all works. On February 22nd 1996 I met my guy on a whim. Just a few days shy of the Valentine’s Day I declared I didn’t need any men in my life and that I would be independent and worry about meeting a guy (let alone the one) later. Almost exactly a week later he came into my life unexpectedly.

What I love most is the life we share. Our girls. Our laughter. Our time together. We are far past the stages of honeymoon and needing to spend every possible moment together. But we are well into appreciating every time the opportunity arrives for us to be together. And there is always that comforting coming home feeling even if it is a long hug as we head out for a busy day at work, a quick good night before I crash in the evening.

Life hasn’t exactly been kind to us the last year some shared, some not, but there is one that thing remains. I am always and forever jumping off the cliff holding his hand and he mine. That analogy came to me on the day after our wedding as we boarded our airplane. I had never traveled with another person like this. I had always felt so vulnerable on a plane. But I realized the person I loved was on the plane with me and nothing else mattered. That was a comfort. When we got off the airplane in Florida I was starving and really wanting greasy bacon and in five minutes after a procurement of a rental car we were at a dive of restaurant we begged to serve us breakfast and I realized I never had to handle this life alone again. I feel that way over and over and again daily and for it I am grateful.

On this day I wish you that kind of love. That kind of devotion and comfort. As for me and my love, love always wins. It shows us time and time again.

kyleandi

Saturday Sharing – – – PODCASTS!

serialPodcast Sharing…

I am not gonna lie, I have grown addicted to podcasts. Not just podcasts, but the popular ones. My favorite is of course Serial. But I also love The Memory Place. Serial is amazing though and if you aren’t listening you should. Especially if you like mysteries.

Podcasts are kinda fun for me and provide a little nostalgia. They force you to use your imagination and remind me of a time when people had to listen to the radio and waited anxiously for the next show. Thankfully, I got on the podcast bandwagon a little late and I am not out of episodes yet. And when I digging around I don’t think I will for awhile.

Beachbody Sharing…

I have loved Beachbody stuff for a long time. I have purchased multiple programs from them and worked on several. Kpuff andt25day18

I decided to do T25 this year. I suppose you could say as a new year’s resolution but it wasn’t that for me. It was a chance to change things. Thankfully, I did because I have since given up pepsi and gotten myself down to 1 or none cup of coffee. I don’t need caffeine. I am hoping the weight comes off from those things. But we shall see. I have lost 12 lbs but I don’t count it all because I had the horribly stomach bug two weeks ago and well that isn’t fair or real weight loss. So I am guessing logically I have lost 2-3 lbs in a healthy manner. My goal not all that different than it has ever been. I refuse to deprive myself of food I love. I don’t believe in weight loss that way. I believe moderation and work makes it work it and usually my theory is I am willing to work harder so I can eat the stuff I love. Besides that I cook almost every single day and it us for the most part healthy. My biggest weakness has and always will be my need for empty calorie drinks. But that is changing slowly. (Photo Credit: Me sweaty…After working out)

So anyway I love T25, I have loved Insanity (but it is insane), but I am not at all in a shape where I can deal with Insanity. My guy loves Insanity and has done it several times. He also loves T25. But I am very interested and my interest is peaked by PiYo which is a work out that seems designed for women and the 21 Day Fix which is a portion controlled diet (not diet but diet) with a daily 30 min work out. What I love about T25 and 21 Day fix are their short work outs. That is important to me for a few reasons. I don’t have a lot of time first and second I am tired by the time I get home. I have recognized 7:30 – 8 is kinda my work out time limit. I run out of steam by then. I also think I am gonna buy Insanity Max for my guy. He loves Shaun T and insanity so much and is pretty healthy and works out regularly. I think I would die if I tried it. Any way just sharing…I love beachbody and have always gotten really positive results using their products. I will let you know know what I decide between.

I think that is all I got today. I have been cooking my usual. I have been doing my usual. Loving life…..

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Want to see what else I am sharing? Go here.

Saturday Sharing…If You Are Not, You Should!

walmartIf you are a coffee drinker and ever want a treat…You should be drinking Chocolate Glazed Donut Coffee…YUM!

If you are wondering if you sleep good you should try this app!

If you shop at Walmart and you do not using the Savings Catcher feature of their app you SHOULD! Like right now, run and do it. You get paid to shop. It is crazy! All that craziness of ad matching done for you. You do nothing and get rewards back. I have already made 30 dollars since Jan 1.

I love love this calendar app that my guy and I use. We have it connected to each other and # 1 who also has an ios device. It keeps us organized and it sends reminders so we always know who is charge of kiddos or being outta the house. It tells us conflicts.

If you haven’t read The Great Gatsby you should. It has this really cool way of sneaking up on you. It is kinda a slow and boring read. But when combined with all of it separate parts there is an amazing story there. The movie in addition is a great. The current 2013 one with Leo. I am amazed how much I believe the book enhanced the movie and vice versa. If you haven’t read it you should.

I make it a rule to never what the “the big game”. Yes I am married to the world’s biggest football fan so I don’t get so lucky as to not have it on. But I never watch. Not even for the commercials. But finally something has pulled me in. That would be the rumor that Missy Elliot is singing with Katy Perry during halftime. That is the one and only Missy Elliot who has mad skills rapping and mad respect in the rap industry. And mad props and respect from me. (Thanks for the linky loo Nichole).

Don’t know her? Here a little trip….Classic…Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)!

Ahh! I love Missy! So if you haven’t seen it, watch it. And better yet tune into the game and watch half time of Missy and Ms. Katy.

We will be have chicken/beef tacos tomorrow for dinner. We also will add in some nachos and homemade salsa. Haven’t had Ree’s restaurant salsa? Why not? You should.

Finally, that is all I got!

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Want to see what else I am sharing? Go here.

Saturday Sharing…Less of Me (I Guess)

Given with how I felt about my health last semester I have made it my mission to force myself to take care of myself. That is both my mental and physical health. That doesn’t mean I am on a diet or doing a cleanse. That also doesn’t mean I am working out like a crazy lady. That means I cannot deny that by making sure that I spent half an hour or an hour on myself daily ensure that the rest of my life can happen. When I do not do that two things happen. I eat/drink like crap and therefore, I feel like crap. A real true life manifestation of you are what you eat.

badgeI can tell you for a fact that last fall I survived on pepsi alone. There were days I would occasionally eat nothing, but would have another pepsi to keep the sugar elevated for the plummet I could feel coming. Some of this is TN and the stress it brings into our household. But most of this is once again being an MA student, a full time teacher/college instructor and having three sections of Speech and three sections of freshman composition as well as a section of student publications and SAT Prep, a full time mother to three awesome ladies and trying to be everything else that I am. That doesn’t mean that stay at home Sally isn’t working just as hard because I always hated that comparison when I was an at home mother. That just means our seasons are different.

But it has been so super easy for me to get sucked into the stress and busyness that is my life that I forget about me. So I have been trying to ensure I don’t and that is what my sharing is about today.

Taking Care of Me Sharing…

I am writing more. You don’t always see it here. In fact, in my writing I search for things that are bloggable but most of them have been private and I don’t want to blog them. I also have been doing Wreck this Journal. I think I shared that a few Saturday Sharings ago. I love it cause it forces me to live recklessly. 🙂 I share on instagram if you wanna see. I haven’t updated my pics in awhile but they are happening.

The biggest thing I have been doing is challenging myself via my fit bit. I do this with my steps and sleep. I am not messing with my food. I am maintaining that I am quite pleased with my eating habits. Yes I see things I could change. But I am not ridiculous. I don’t splurge and pig out. The one true weakness I have always had and will continue to have is with my caffeine intake (therefore sugar intake). I do have it to manageable portions that I can live with.

I have had a fit bit before and unfortunately had it two days and lost it. Since then they have redesigned and it will never fall off that I can find. I have missed it since then but couldn’t justify spending the money again. Well I got a gift card for Christmas and well that isn’t my money right? So guess what momma got? A fit bit. I love that I am in competition with no one and that the only competition I have is against myself.

I guess I am sharing the awesome that is fitness trackers. Ever want to see what you are doing in a day do it. I have seenFitbit_Zip_04_1 and checked out many of the different versions and I think they are all awesome and even more awesome if you use their other features like sleep and food. You get to see what you are doing with your life.

And for me there was just something about seeing that my most active moments were two minutes I took to climb steps. I realized that was ridiculous! My biggest issue is that when I went all fitness crazy I burned myself out. Like burned myself so that I hated it up until four years later. And I still dread that burnout and don’t want to go there. Once you stop loving it and it isn’t fun anymore it is time to stop. I was there.

But now I am loving it. I love challenging myself. I like feeling like the under dog. And in doing so I am taking more time for me. Which subsequently falls under less of me by my definition. Also Kpuff and I have challenged ourselves with BeachBody and Shaun T’s T25 workout which is 25 minutes of working out a day five times a week. We have adjusted it to six times a week and have been doing great so far! You think 25 minutes is easy, but you are wrong. It is Shaun T. so it isn’t even close to easy! I bought it for my guy over a year ago, but I have been eye balling it for awhile.

2nd part of my sharing here though is all about friends. To make my mental and physical health a priority I have to work hard to talk with and do things with my friends. It is too easy to get stuck in a bubble and not. So even though I force myself to do it, I know the importance of good friends. And by working out and spending time with friends it like super me time. I am grateful for the laughs that sometimes hurts my abs as much as Shaun.

So yea I guess this SS was all about me. But couldn’t it be about you? Join me. Join me in loving yourself, because all of that is a part of love winning. You have to love yourself first before you can love others.

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Want to see what else I am sharing? Go here.

Truths. Saturday Sharing.

Again I find myself on a Saturday wondering what in the world I need to post about that I could possibly share. Right now my sharing is my work, mothering, wifing (not wifi ing, but wifeing), dinners or the meds or med levels my guy is on. And while all that would make a wonderful post I will spare you the details.

Cooking Sharing…

First goal of 2015 was to cook more for my family and I am quite proud to say I achieved. Now we had two snow days and two delays, so time was on my side so to speak. We will see how next week goes with my classes on Monday nights. I made carnitas  (minus the crisp) this week which my family loves and # 2 went NUTS over. I actually shredded it and placed it in the pan with the juice from the crockpot and reduced the juice. I served it with soft shell tortillas, lettuce, tomato and ranch for those that wanted it. Our biggest complaint about carnitas is that sometimes they seem flavorless unless you get the outside pieces. My method fixed that and it was so tender and juicy. It served us two meals and as my lunch. It would have been extra amazing with avocado on it.

I also made salisbury steak. I toned down the onion flavor a touch. We also had lasagna. A recipe I have of my own that I will Mustashes1never EVER EVER cook without ricotta now. My kiddos are in love with the creamy silky texture of ricotta and it makes them go ga ga for my cooking so why would I? I would love to try crockpot lasagna or lasagna soup. All of my meals are served with similar things; a salad (my girls love salad), broccoli, peas, potatoes (mashed/baked) and sometimes corn.

And because of the delays and days off I also made breakfast quite a bit too. One day I surprised the girls with my homemade doughnuts. But I also just made my usual for breakfast. At the end of the week I made them all give me a round of applause for meals every single night. How sad it is that? How sad that we have come to that point?

Less of Me Sharing…

Who am I really kidding, I am not even sure I understand what less of me is anymore. It stands for taking care of myself and putting myself first. It is so hard to do when you are married to someone with a chronic illness and you have three kids. But I have tried. Part of that is my blog here. Writing. Or taking a bath at night. Or watching a show on my ipad. I am trying so hard to be sure some little part of my day is something that I am choosing to want to do because I want to do it. I want that to translate into taking care of myself better via exercise and what I eat drink. I have calorie tracked for a week now and food wise I am good. I always have been with that. But what I drink is atrocious. It is the same old song and dance I have been singing from the beginning. I need the caffeine (or I think I do). Some of this ties to headaches, general malaise or just how I feel.

And if I am honest. I am afraid. Working out is a big commitment to me. I signed up for the gym last year. Three days later my guy was in the hospital and a month later he was in surgery. I don’t know why that is holding me back, but it is. Thankfully, I have an amazing friend on the end of my text at midnight where I beg for some help with the change. That is the awesome part about true friendships.

So yea my truths. I need to cook more. I need to spend more time on me and I need to find fitness that works for me. Sometimes my truths are scary, or even easy to ignore but they are my truths. For now.

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Want to see what else I am sharing? Go here.

 

 

Saturday Sharing turned Sunday Sharing: The pampering you edition.

I knew Saturday sharing was never gonna happen yesterday because we had family in and I had a special day planned with Kpuff to celebrate Christmas. Therefore, I am here today to share my latest and greatest hyperlinks from the interwebs. The first and foremost Kpuff and I decided to shop yesterday and really only buy for us or necessities and we both did pretty good. Obviously, the Christmas season is all about shopping for others, but we decided to pamper ourselves a bit yesterday so we started off at Lush!

LUSH Sharing…

If you ever want to spoil yourself absolutely rotten go here. Many, many years ago I heard about these bath bombs that threw out fireworks in the tub as you were bathing. Kpuff had just had her # 3 and I wanted to spoil her. I purchased a few for her birthday. We both kind of got addicted then and haven’t really turned back since.

pamper4Whenever we are by a store we go there and get pampered and smell all the pretties. Sometimes we even sit down and let them give us the royal treatment. If you have the time when you go by have them do the hand treatment. They make your hands sopamper2 soft and wonderful and it is completely free. The wonderful parts of the product are that they are natural and ethical, so they are good for sensitive skin types. In the years, I have become happily addicted to Miranda. It has a super fresh scent that is not overwhelming.

But yesterday I ventured out some. I haven’t ever really bought any of their bath bombs for myself. I bought them for others and received them as gifts. I loved them. But yesterday I got a honey bomb. I struggle quite a bit with dry skin and this sounded so soothing and it smelled amazing. I used it last night and I loved it! I also decided to try a new product line they have out involving essential oils. They are getting in on the essential oils craze and created a line of massage bars that melt on the touch of your hand to deliver oil to your skin directly. I fell in love with the rose scented one. I also used it after my tub and used it more similarly to one of their lotion bars. I, too, loved it and probably slept better than I have slept in weeks. I am usually a struggler at sleep and I had no problem at all and I didn’t wake. It was amazing.

Essential Oils Sharing…

I am hearing a ton of good things about essential oils. I am just trying to really make sure it is not a phase and that this is NOT just a hot and trendy thing happening right now. I am hearing tons of good things about essential oils for trigeminal neuralgia. I have been looking into that a lot. There are some other things  I believe they could help my family with some. However, it is kind of expensive leap to make. But I honestly have been researching them for about 6 months and I think I am very close to giving them a try. I even have talked with my guy about it quite a bit who is a total skeptic, but he seems willing to try. I am thinking about doing Young Living. Have you ever heard of it? Let me know your thoughts if you have or know someone who has used them. I am eager to hear stories from people I know.

pamper3Wreck this Journal Sharing…

I have had a wreck this journal for about 2 years and I have struggled even writing in it because it was so neat and pretty and the requests it asks of  you are well, wrecking this journal. 😦 I do write in books. I love to mark them up and put my thoughts in them, but I don’t put food in them or lick them or spill them in water. But there was a specific part at the beginning of this journal that clicked for me. It said, “You can now live more wrecklessly.” And I was like yes! I need to do that. I try so hard to control my chaos. The chaos of my husband’s illness, raising kids, being a graduate student, being a college instructor and a high school teacher and the list goes on. Living wrecklessly seems super scary to me. I vowed to try and it do it daily and see what happens. I am not gonna lie and say there are some pages I have had to skip because I am not there yet. I hope I will get there eventually, but not yet. But I am on day # 4 and it is kind of fun. I also did a wreck this journal with my students (I opted out) and they loved it, so why in the world can’t I? Want one? Go here—> Keri Smith’s Wreck this Journal

I don’t know much, but I do know that 2014 taught me I gotta take care of me better. Some of that is as simple as taking five minutes in the bathtub or taking a Saturday to hang out with one of your best friends and spoiling them rotten because they need to know what you mean to them.

pamper5

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Want to see what else I am sharing? Go here.

Saturday Sharing – The Food Edition

Oh yes I have lots of food stuffs to share. Unfortunately, in none of my food stuffs did I have the foresight to take pictures. But I must say I rocked the kitchen this week in a mad, mad way!  As the school year progresses we all start to feel like we can catch our breath and it becomes a little less Pizza Hut feeding the Eichenauer’s and a little bit more of the Eichenauer’s becoming self-sufficient and cooking for themselves. Our biggest issues is lack of time. We have piano lessons, dance and sometimes softball. Add in meetings for work, classes for me and just sometimes needing to stay after work and some days I try and convince my family that string cheese and pepperoni’s are a meal. In fact, my # 2 has named those nights tapas nights. We literally take all the things we have that we can right now, cut them into small pieces and add in a yogurt/pudding or applesauce and it is Tapas Night at the Eichenauers.

My biggest battle in the kitchen (beside time) is I get really tired of cooking the same recipes over and over. I get really tired of being the one that always decides what is for dinner. I have found the more I rely on what the girls actually want the less bored I get. As well, my # 2 is becoming my sous chef. The girl loves to cook and really I haven’t found much she is afraid of. So together we usually tackle our family meals.

Baked Chicken Parmesan Breasts

 

This week we made an Eichenauer favorite. A recipe that stemmed from one my mother in law makes. But in the kitchen I am queen of change meaning I make recipes my own by changing something in them. Sometimes it can be out of necessity and sometimes it is just because I am creative in the kitchen. But this change happened out of necessity. My girls love grammy’s Parmesan chicken breasts. I love them too! I remember her making them when I was dating my guy. They are a mix of buttery parm, bread crumbs and baked. They are so good. Well we didn’t think it could be topped. Till one night that was the request from my girls. I agreed to make it and I went to go get my breadcrumbs and was out of luck. I had none. I don’t really used pre-made breadcrumbs. I usually will make my own or use panko. I had none though. So in a panic I was not sure what to do and my # 2 suggested using Zesta saltine crackers and I thought okay. I added some Italian seasoning and the rest was the same. Immediately, we had a hit! We loved the crispness. It makes it almost like fried chicken without all the fat. I have a recipe but it is loose.

  1. Melt two tablespoons of butter and add 1/4 cup of  water (sometimes we will add milk if we are feeling fatty)
  2. In a bowl mix 1/2 cup of smooshed saltine crackers and 3/4 cup of parmesan
  3. I add in a tsp of italian seasoning and I smoosh it in my hands to wake it up (I use dried herbs here)
  4. Slather chicken in the liquids and then the dries
  5. Bake at 350 for 45 mins or until juices are clear.
  6. EAT and enjoy!

foodBaked Ziti ala Pioneer Woman

This week we also made probably one of the best Italian dishes I have had in awhile. We saw her show last Saturday and I made the recipe from my head from what I could remember. I solely made this because my # 3 kept begging for it. If you know my # 3 you know that her begging for food should be listened too. The girl never eats. So if something has her going, you feed it to her because it won’t last and sometimes I worry she will wither away. And no I am not a short ordered cook. Remember the tapas? The girl lives off of string cheese or mickey shaped cheese and turkey pepperonis. Oh and cookies.

Anyway, I have found out this year if a recipe calls for ricotta. Do not put cottage cheese in it. Do not substitute with anything else. I am serious. You are committing a sin if you do. If you want lower fat the ricotta peeps made that for you so get that. But I repeat do not substitute with anything else. It makes your Italian recipes that call for it simply divine and creamy. You will thank me I promise.

So first things first. Brown your hamburger. For me I mince about 3 tbsps of an onion and two garlic cloves to brown with my hamburger. I usually just use 1/2 lb of hamburger or 1lb if we are feeling meaty. My girls like the meat to sauce ratio to lean toward the sauce versus the meat. Once it is browned, drain. Throw back into the pan and make sure it is bigger and add in your sauce of choice. You could make your own sauce here and I would if it were the weekend or if I had some in freezer. But I didn’t. I choose Ragu original because the others are either blucky tasting or have too many herbs. Let it simmer and while it is hanging out get out a bowl and dump in a small container of ricotta and you could certainly use more if you wanted but I am not a gigantic cheese fan so smaller is better for us. Also toss in a egg and add some Italian seasoning. About a tsp. I smoosh in my hands again to wake up. I also add in about 1/2 cup of fresh grated Parmesan cheese. Then mix all together. While all of that is happening cook your pasta. We used ziti.

Now you are going to get out a 9×13 pan or two 8×8’s. Layer it similar to lasagna. First layer down is meaty sauce and make take a little more than regular layers to cover your pan. then pasta. Then cheese mixture and once I am on the cheese mixture layer sometimes I will add in grated mozzarella. It is up to you and your preference. Continue till you end with a meaty sauce layer. Then add in grated moz and parm and bake. It shouldn’t take long here maybe 20 minutes on 350. Serve with a salad and bread and you are all good. Enjoy!

Chili Time

Here in the midwest we like our chili. I have lived in both Indiana and Ohio and I have found that eating chili is so different for each state. However, I am a Hoosier born and breed. Therefore, my chili preference mirrors my heritage. Now my guy, he is a traitor and enjoys the Buckeye variety. He rarely gets it because sweet chili is so hard for me to put my head around. I usually will make it once or twice a year, but not much more.

Mine is way more simple.

  1. Brown 1lb of hamburger with half a minced onion (I have kids all my onions are minced)
  2. Boil pasta shape of choice while cooking (you can add it into your chili if you are like a thicker chili. It does suck all of the moisture out so I usually do it on the side)
  3. Drain meat add back to soup pan. Add in a half a box of chicken stock or the full thing depending on how runny you want it
  4. Add in a large can of tomato sauce. Here you can substitute for a large can of crushed or whole tomatoes. My family doesn’t like tomato chunks so I just go with sauce.
  5. Add in a can of brooks chili beans 
  6. Add in chili powder to preference (sometimes I will use a brooks chili packet…depends on my mood)
  7. Let cook and serve over pasta to preference.

It may be boring, but it is good and my family loves it. We serve it over zesta crackers or fritos. Add some cheese and yum!

Thanks for reading and hope you enjoy these recipes!