Thank you so much for visiting my blog. This is a story about 1 girl and her journey to make herself and her family healthy spiritually, mentally and physically. Throughout my journey I have successes and "learning opportunities". I share them all here - the good, the bad and the ugly. As I grow and learn, I will share it here.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Taco Corn Fritters

These were another big hit!  I had to slap Jon's hand - he was taking them off the plate before I could take a picture! 

I actually tried two different recipes this time.  I also made taco seasoning mix.   WOW!!!!!!  It is amazing!!!!!!

Taco Corn Fritters
Make 12-18 fritters depending on size
Serving size: 1 fritter
Weight Watchers: 12 fritters - 6 pp+, 18 fritters - 4 pp+

Ingredients
  • 1 pound cooked hamburger meat seasoned with taco seasoning mix (I highly recommend this making your own) 
  • 2 cups cornmeal (organic)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup melted butter or olive oil (I used olive oil)
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I used reduced fat)
  • 2 cups frozen or canned corn
  • oil for frying - I used Pam
Instructions
  1. Brown hamburger meat and add taco seasoning mix to taste.
  2. Mix together remaining ingredients, stirring in the seasoned meat.
  3. Spray skillet with Pam or put oil in skillet
  4. Scoop 1-2 Tablespoons of corn mixure into the hot oil and press down to form a “pattie”.
  5. Cook (fry) for 5-7 minutes on each side until cooked through.
Adapted from:  heavenlyhomemakers.com

Berry Sauce

Tried fresh strawberries yesterday.  I added it to plain yogurt and it was a hit with Daniel.  I just played with it yesterday.  Next time, I will measure out so I have the correct portions.  Daniel did not like the fact that it was a little warm (I made the yogurt right off the stove).  So I will try making the strawberry yogurt and letting it cool in the refridgerator.

Berry Sauce
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup frozen berries
  • 1 ½ – 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (depending on how sweet you like it)
  • ¼ cup water
Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Bring to a light simmer.
  2. Cook until the berries have softened, about 5 – 10 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and puree with hand immersion blender or countertop blender.
  4. Use immediately or store in the fridge for later.



Monday, March 26, 2012

Ranch Dressing Mix

Ranch Dressing Mix

Use this in place of 1 package of Ranch Dressing Mix
Ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
Instructions:
  1. Mix together the first six ingredients down to the pepper. Store in an airtight container.
  2. Store in an airtight container in spice cabinet

From: http://www.5dollardinners.com/

Ranch Dip

Ranch Dip
Serving size:  whole recipe
Weight watchers:  with fat free sour cream - 2 pp+


Ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • Sour cream, for serving


Instructions:
  1. Mix together the first six ingredients down to the pepper. Store in an airtight container.
  2. When you are ready to make the dip stir 1 tablespoon of the spice mixture together with ½ cup sour cream. Serve with fresh sliced veggies or whole-wheat pretzels.
  3. Save the remaining dry spice mixture in spice cabinet or pantry for another day.
From:  http://www.5dollardinners.com/




Sunday, March 25, 2012

Homemade Turkey Sausage

This is a wonderful recipe. It is very easy to make.  We ate some of the patties today and froze the rest. I also made a batch that I browned the whole recipe and will use it tomorrow for pancake sausage muffins.
Homemade Turkey Sausage
18 patties
Weight Watchers:  1 pp+

Ingredients:
1 lb ground turkey
3 Tablespoon minced onion
¼ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon marjoram
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
¼ teaspoon oregano
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon thyme
½ teaspoon sage
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 egg


Instructions:
Mix all ingredients.
Chill for about an hour. (If you forget to chill this ahead of time…it cooks up okay anyway!)
Form into patties.

Also great in recipes such as pancake sausage muffins.



Friday, March 23, 2012

Trials, Joy, Perseverance

This is portions from my bible study time this morning.  What a blessing to wake up this morning and read this.  I picked up this book that I had not looked at in a while and started reading right where I left off.   I love how God takes you from a time of "learning opportunities" (correction) to a time a reminders that this is a marathon.  These small or big bumps on the road will not deter me from the race I am running, if I make a course correction. 

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.   James 1:2-4

“Between every trial and the blessing that comes from that trial, there is a pathway we must walk – that pathway is perseverance.  Perseverance means having an urgency, firmness, resolve and consistency.  And, while the joy of the blessing may seem a long way off, signposts or mile makers of joy line the way.  These will help us preserver if we will consider them. 

…… ‘I might not be able to see the blessing right now, but this trial may be a protection – shielding me from something I may not see.’

……  The second signpost we can consider to help us preserver is provision.  Maybe God is providing us with many things I never expected to come from a trial.

......The final signpost we can consider along a pathway of perseverance is process.  I have finally realized that making lasting changes is a process. There are no quick fixes.  There will be good days and bad days…….. And it’s the truth that God loves me the way I am, but He loves me too much to leave me stuck in defeat.”  Lysa Terkerust,  Made to Crave Devotional.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Old Habits and Satan

I didn’t want to write this blog post – pride issue.  I have had some people talking to me lately about my blog and it did two things – one was to confirm that I am doing what God wants me to and the other is  pride creeping in.  I also had noticed a few bad habits in my healthy journey that had started creeping back into my life.   I noticed it, corrected the problem, but did not want to make it known publicly – I was proud of what I was doing and did not want to let others know I had slipped up in an area – that is a pride issue.  This morning I woke up with one word in my head – Everything.  I kept hearing that over and over and over.  I finally prayed – God – what do you mean?  “Share everything” was the answer I got.  I have prayed for forgiveness for my prideful spirit and was reminded that we are to walk humbly with our God – my journey – the good, bad and ugly are there to bring Him glory. 


Over the last few weeks I have noticed a few bad habits creeping back into my life.  The biggest for me is tracking and counting what I eat.  I know that is something I must do in order to be accountable for what I am eating and to keep healthy portion sizes in check.  I am not sure how long this has been going on.  Old habits have a way of very slowly creeping back into my life.  For this habit – it started with one evening not tracking what I ate for supper.  Then a few days later, I didn’t track a day, then all of a sudden – I had not tracked for 1 ½ weeks.  Same thing happened with my exercise – I was doing so well, then I did not do it one day and that turned into two.  I would still walk, but I was gradually going down that slippery slope.  Even worse – my bible study habits.  I was not doing it everyday.  What is worse to me is that I was telling myself that I needed to do my bible study/ quiet time, but was not doing it.  I think I caught these things early, but if they kept on, they allow satan to slip into my heart/ mind. 

Last night this was brought home by my son, Jon.  I was so tired after work.  I even had trouble just keeping my eyes open.  I fixed and ate dinner, and then sat down.  I decided that I would not go to church tonight.  I told Jon I was not going, he bent down, put my shoes on my feet and said, "Don't let satan tempt you not go!"  With that I said a quick prayer of repentance, asked for strength and headed out the door to church!  What a blessing it was to praise our Lord and Savior with some wonderful high school students and then listened as 3 seniors shared about their stories!  I was so blessed and rejuvenated by my time there. 


Satan does this in our lives.  I have seen it in my own life so many times.  At first it seems like no big deal for you to do something you really should not do or not do something you are supposed to do.  Our justification is that one day will not hurt.  The problem is – it does hurt.  It slowly changes our hearts and minds to stop, stall or continue something God wants in our lives.  I was reminded of this in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy”.   

That devil is a sneaky fellow.  He can destroy all the good in our lives.  He wants to ruin everything he can get his hands on.  My heart and mind of off limits - there is only room for Jesus there.  But I serve a God that is so much stronger!  That verse is not finished,  the whole verse reads, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy, I have come that they may have a life, and have it to the full.”  God forgave me for everything and gave me the strength to get up and go to church.  He also helped me with courage to write this blog.
Thank you God for helping me when I slip, forgiving me when I have a prideful heart, giving me a word to know what do, and reminding me daily of the blessings I have in this life.  Thank you also for strength to go on when I am tired and giving me courage to be transparent. 


Now on to walking, tracking and reading His word daily! 


Blessings to all!
Kim

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Baked Three Cheese Chicken Pasta

Another wonderful dish!  Very cheesey and creamy and full and flavor!  I only had penne pasta - next time I will use rotini. 

Baked Three Cheese Chicken Pasta
Servings:  8
Weight Watchers:  7 pp+I
ngredients:
2 cups cooked chicken, cut into bite sized pieces
2 1/2 cups Brown Rice Pasta (original called for whole wheat pasta)
3 cups whole milk
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (add more if you like)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
4 ounces softened cream cheese
1-2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Instructions:

In a large cooking pot, combine cooked chicken, uncooked pasta, milk, garlic powder, and sea salt. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until pasta is tender and the starch from the pasta has thickened the milk, creating a creamy sauce. Remove cooking pot from the heat. Stir in parmesan cheese and cream cheese until it is mixed throughout.


Pour pasta mixture into a casserole dish. (A 9×13 inch pan works well, or any variety similar in size.) Sprinkle shredded cheese on top and bake in a 350° oven for about 15 minutes or until cheese is melted.


If you make this ahead of time, you may need to adjust the baking time so that the casserole will be heated through and through. Also, you can freeze this dish! Simply thaw and bake in a 350° oven for 30-40 minutes.






Monday, March 19, 2012

Pancake-Sausage Muffins

One of Daniel's favorite breakfast foods is pancake-Sausage on a stick.  I ran across this recipe last night and thought it might be a good solution.  He had thought that he would just not get anymore.  Boy was he surprised when he woke up this morning.  For this recipe I used store bought turkey sausage.  It had more in it than I wanted, but it was ok.  On the same site I found this recipe - she also had one for turkey sausage and it looks soooo easy.  I will be making some this week to go with another recipe.  If is is good I will post it on my blog and link it to this page also. 

Pancake-Sausage Muffins
serving size:  18 muffins
Weight Watchers:  3 pp+ 

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups milk or buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 pound cooked turkey sausage (or nine sausage links, cut in half)
  • Real grade B maple syrup
Instructions:
  1. Mix dry ingredients together.
  2. Add milk or buttermilk, eggs and melted butter.
  3. Pour batter into 18 buttered muffin tins. (I don’t recommend paper muffin liners for this as it will stick.)
  4. Evenly add sausage to each tin. (sasusage did not sink into batter - next time I will push it down a little.
  5. Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes or until the muffins are lightly browned.
  6. Serve with a lovely drizzle of maple syrup!
From:  http://www.heavenlyhomemakers.com/





    Orange Chicken with Cilantro Rice

    I saw this recipe and thought it looked wonderful.  The recipe called for chicken, I tried it with pork chops.  When I asked for feedback, I got - that's awesome, oh that is good, wonderful, and I loved it - do you have more.  I think it is another hit. 

    Orange Chicken with Cilantro Rice


    Ingredients:


    •1 tsp chile powder
    •1/2 tsp ground cumin
    •1/2 tsp sea salt, divided
    •1 tsp olive oil
    •4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 lb), rinsed and patted dry, pounded 1/2-inch thick - I used pork loin chops
    •Juice 1 medium navel orange (1/3 cup orange juice)
    •2 tbsp pure maple syrup
    •1 tsp orange zest
    •2 cups cooked brown rice
    •1/4 packed cup chopped cilantro leaves (I did not have - so I omitted)


    Instruction:


    1.In a small bowl, combine chile powder, cumin and 1/4 tsp salt. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet to medium-high. Tilt skillet to coat bottom lightly. Season both sides of chicken with chile-cumin mixture and cook for 3 minutes per side or until no longer pink in center. Remove from skillet and set aside.


    2.Add orange juice and maple syrup to juice in skillet and bits left in skillet and cook for 1 minute to thicken slightly (until it measures 1/4 cup liquid), stirring constantly. Remove from heat, stir in orange zest. Add chicken back to skillet, return to heat and cook for 1 minute on medium-high, turning constantly.


    3.In a medium bowl, combine rice, cilantro and remaining 1/4 tsp salt. Serve chicken over rice and spoon any excess glaze over top chicken pieces.
     
    Recipe From:  http://www.cleaneatingmag.com/

    Sunday, March 18, 2012

    FAQ - Word Of Warning

    I wanted to give you a warning if you have never cooked clean/ real/ unprocessed before. 

    Foods spoil a lot faster.  So if you make muffins, refrigerate or better yet freeze the leftovers.  If you do not - they will spoil. 

     Same goes with the other foods - refrigerate or freeze leftovers quickly after eating.   



    Taco Seasoning

    Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix



    Ingredients:
    1/2 cup chili powder
    1/4 cup onion powder
    1/8 cup ground cumin
    1 Tablespoon garlic powder
    1 Tablespoon paprika
    1 Tablespoon sea salt


    Instructions:


    Put all ingredients into a jar and shake!


    How to use:
    Three Tablespoons of Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix is equal to one 4-ounce package of taco seasoning mix. I would recommend adding 3 Tablespoons of mix to one pound of browned ground meat for tacos.


    I would also recommend shaking again before each use to make sure the spices are well distributed throughout the mix.
    The jar. Shake the jar. You can shake all you want, but if you don’t shake the jar, your spices won’t be distributed evenly.

    From:  http://heavenlyhomemakers.com

    Remembering Grandma Graham

    
    
    Grandma Graham and Me

    Grandma Graham's church directory picture





















    I needed juice from one orange today for a recipe.  I went searching for my juicer - I know I have one but was not sure where it was.  See I know I have one because it used to belong to my Grandma Graham.  I finally found it.  Daniel came and was asking some questions, so I taught him how to juice an orange and then began to tell him the story of where it came from. 


    
    Grandma Graham's juicer

    Grandma Graham is also known as Grandma Ruby.  When I was a teenager, she married Bill and her last name was no longer Graham - but in my heart, she will always be Grandma Graham



    Grandma Graham always loved to cook, garden, sew, and quilt.  It did not matter what time of year we would visit - there was always banana bread - and there is no recipe that could ever beat the ones she would make.  One of my favorite things she would cook was fried okra and she would serve it with sliced tomatoes.  My mouth is watering right now thinking about it.  For a long time she had a small garden where should would grow her veggies.  She froze the ones not eaten, so we could still have okra in the winter. 
    
    Parasol Girl Quilt

    Quilt I received as a wedding gift. 
    Grandma Graham did the topper.
    Mom had someone finish the backing. 





















     I have two of her quilts in my bedroom right now.  My favorite is the Parasol girl one.  She made that quilt out of my dresses and clothes I wore as a little girl.  I am sure some of them were scraps, because she made quite a few of my clothes. 

    
    Grandma Graham at
     Kristi's (Melanie's) Graduation

    Grandma Graham was a wonderful Christian lady.  She used her talents to bless and serve others.  She went to be with her savior, Jesus Christ, in December of 1991.  It was an honor to share a little portion of her life with Daniel this morning. 

    Every Thanksgiving and Christmas, I bring a special bowl that was hers. I fill it with muffins or bread for our special celebration.  It is kind of like remembering her during that time.  Next year, I will remember to share more of Grandma Grahams story. 





    Teriyaki Sauce


    This sauce is very liquidy - the taste was good.  We like our sauce a little sweeter, so I added a little more honey.  I found the organic low-sodium soy sauce at Target.  I made it today as Teriyaki Chicken with brown rice, mixed veggies in rice, broccoli and fresh pineapple.  Very yummy!  Next time I may make it as a vegetable stir fry. 

    Teriyaki Sauce
    Weight Watchers:  5 pp+ for whole recipe

    Ingredients:

    • ¼ cup soy sauce (organic low-sodium soy sauce )
    • ¾ cup water
    • 1 tbsp peeled & freshly grated ginger
    • 2 tbsp honey
    • 1 garlic clove, minced

    Instructions:
    1. To make the sauce combine the ingredients in a small pot over high heat.
    2. Bring to a boil and then keep on a low simmer.
    Recipe from:  http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2010/05/05/recipe-farmers%E2%80%99-market-stir-fry/

    Orange Muffins

    This recipe caused a lot of memories to come back today (see post about remembering Grandma Graham - will post later today).  Daniel said these were one of his favorites - right after my blueberry ones.  That is a pretty big statement.  This recipe only makes 12 - so next time I will double it.   I substituted applesauce for the butter in this recipe. 

    Orange Muffins
    Servings:  makes 12 muffins
    Weight Watchers:  3 pp+

    Ingredients: 
    • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
    • 1 t. baking powder
    • 1/2 t. salt
    • 1/3 cup honey
    • 1 egg
    • 1/4 cup applesauce
    • The juice of one freshly squeezed orange
    • 1/2 t. grated orange rind
    • 1/2 cup milk

    Instructions:
    1. Mix dry ingredients together.
    2. Make a “well” in the center. Add honey, egg, melted butter, orange juice, orange rind and milk.
    3. Stir until just combined.
    4. Bake in muffin paper lined muffin tins for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. - I didn't use liners - just sprayed with Pam. 






    Saturday, March 17, 2012

    Zucchini Muffins (Bread)

    This was another hit.  However, for taste testing, I made them close their eyes.  I was afraid that the green from the zucchini might change their minds about the taste.  It worked!  and since today is St. Patrick's Day, I just told them it was my adding in green.  However, next time I will probably take the peel off before grating them.  I did make one change in the recipe.  The original recipe called for 1/4 c. oil - I substituted 1/4 cup applesause. 
    
    St. Patrick's Day Muffins
    (Zucchini Muffins)
    
    Zucchini Muffins (bread)
    servings:  24 muffins
    weight watchers:  3pp+ per muffin

    Ingredients:
    •3 cups whole-wheat flour (I used white whole-wheat flour)

    •1 tablespoon cinnamon
    •1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
    •¼ teaspoon baking powder
    •1 teaspoon salt
    •3 eggs
    •¾ cup applesauce
    •¾ cup honey

    •1 teaspoon vanilla
    •3 cups grated zucchini
    •1 cup chopped nuts (optional) I did not use them

    Instructions:1.Preheat oven to 300 degrees F for small loaf pans or 325 degrees F for large loaf pan or muffins.

    2.Blend the dry ingredients.
    3.Make a well (or hole) in the center and pour in the eggs, oil, honey and vanilla. Stir just until mixed – do not overmix.
    4.Fold in the grated zucchini and chopped nuts if using. Pour batter into greased loaf pan(s) or muffin holders and bake until a toothpick comes clean in the top/center of the loaf or muffin.


    •If using smaller pans bake for 30 – 40 minutes. I was able to fill four of my small loaf pans.
    •For one larger loaf pan bake for 50 – 60 minutes.
    •For muffins bake for 15 – 20 minutes.

    Recipe from: http://www.100daysofrealfood.com



    25 Pounds Gone

    Today I reached a new mile marker in my journey.    I have now lost 25 pounds.  At Weight Watchers you receive a 25 lb charm on this day to add to your 10% key chain.  I came home and was met by Daniel who was so excited about the accomplishment.  I told him I wanted to take a picture of the charm to post on my blog.  He came up with the idea to put it on my food scale (yes - that is MY food scale).  I loved that idea because I use that thing all the time.   


    I also wanted to mark this day by taking a picture of my new Weight Watchers leader, Cassie.  She had quickly become such an inspiration and source of encouragement all with a little attitude.  I serve such an amazing God who put this wonderful lady in my path.  She is very real!  She speaks it as it is and I love that she has the courage to speak what we all think.  She then is able to take those thoughts and direct us to a new way of thinking. 

    Friday, March 16, 2012

    Real/ Clean food eating doesn't always mean healthy

    I cook for 4 very uniquely different people in my family.  Each of them have their own needs in regards to nutrition.   I must cook to meet the following criteria/ conditions:  low fat, weight loss , pre-diabetic, hypoglycemic,  elevated A1C levels - could be genetic or medicine induced, watching weight - one medicine can cause significant weight gain, ADHD and Autism.  I am determined to help meet each of their needs while only cooking one meal.  This process began with reducing/ eliminating processed foods from our diet.

    What I am learning in searching for recipes is that eating clean/ real foods does not mean eating heart healthy and many websites do not have portion sizes or nutritional information.  One thing I always do is to put the recipe in my Weight Watchers recipe builder.  I cannot possibly know how many calories/ points something has until I calculate it.  Most of the time I have calculated before I even buy ingredients.  Sometimes, if I know it will be OK -points wise - I will go ahead and make it, so that I can determine number of portions or portion sizes.  Calculating points of all recipes is so helpful in portion control and as a result - my weight loss.  My personal opinion is that one the reasons we have such an obesity problem in the United States - we do not know true portion sizes.   I think the second would be fat and chemicals and who knows what else is in our processed foods. 

    I also found that some of the recipes for clean/real food eating were foods are high in calories and use butter a lot.  While I agree that butter is much better than margarine, it can raise the fat content/ calories of whatever you are cooking.  In most of the recipes on my blog, I am either reducing the quantity of butter/ oil used or using an alternative such as applesauce, fat free yogurt or fat free sour cream.  The secret - don't be afraid to try.  I mostly use applesauce.  I found the following information helpful in substituting with applesauce.

    Substituting applesaucefor butter or oil:
    So start easy. For a recipe that uses one cup of oil, use ½ cup of oil with ½ cup applesauce. If the finished product makes you happy, slightly increase the ratio of applesauce (2/3 applesauce: 1/3 oil; ¾ applesauce: ¼ oil) the next time to see how it affects the cake or muffin recipe. You may be able to do without oil completely, or you might find that as little as 1 or 2 tbsp. of oil added to the applesauce is ideal.

    I guess what I am really saying, use common sense and balance in looking at all recipes.  If it calls for a cup of butter - it is probably not very healthy - but you can probably substitute something to make it healthier.  If it is full of chemicals and very processed - it is probably not very healthy.  If nutritional information is not available, calculate it so you will know how it will fit in your healthy eating plan. 

    Balance is the key - even homemade healthy options can be unhealthy when eaten in excess. 

    Applesauce Bread/ Muffins

    I love when people suggest websites.  My friend Daphne told me about heavenly homemakers - thanks Daphne -  I even added it to my website favorites.  I checked it out and found this recipe for Applesauce Bread.  I tweaked it just a little by removing butter and increasing the applesauce by 1/4 cup.  I have only made these as muffins.  These are FABULOUS!!!!!!! 



    Applesauce Bread/ Muffins
    
    Applesauce Muffins - 3 pp+
    
    Serving size:  1/12 loaf or 1 muffin
    Weight Watchers:  3 pp+

    Ingredients:
    • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
    • 3/4 cup rapadura or 1/2 cup honey
    • 1/2 t. baking powder
    • 1/2 t. baking soda
    • 1/4 t. sea salt
    • 1 t. cinnamon
    • 1/2 t. nutmeg
    • 1 cup applesauce
    • 2 eggs
     Instructions:
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    2. Mix dry ingredients.
    3. Make a well in the center and add applesauce, and eggs. Stir well.
    4. Pour into a  bread pan (sprayed with Pam) or stone or into 12 muffin tins (sprayed with Pam.
    5. Bake for 45-55 minutes for a loaf,  15 minutes for muffins or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the loaf/ muffin comes out clean.

    Thursday, March 15, 2012

    That Was Easy

    Today we went to River Legacy Park to take a walk with the dogs.  As a family we love to go hiking, so this is the next best thing.  I have not been back to this park since last Spring Break.  Last year, I will still in a great deal of pain due to my TOS and was still obese and very out of shape. 
     We started, just like last year.  Then we came to this sign near a bridge.  A year ago, I pushed myself harder than I should have to make it to this point.  I was exhausted, out of breath, in pain and had only gone about 3/4 mile.  To top it off, we have to walk the same distance we came to get back to the car.  I was so frustrated.

    Now spring forward 1 year, we came to this sign again and I was thinking "That was easy".  I was so excited/ proud of myself and the progress that I had made.  No one but me knew the significance of this spot.  When I told them all, we were all high fiving.  
    
    River Legacy Park, Spring Break 2012

    Then guess what we did - we kept going forward.  We walked about another 1/2 mile and stopped for a picnic lunch.  Then we kept going.  We went all the way to mile marker 4 (we started a little after mile marker 1).  I had to have a picture showing my progress.  I was so excited to have made it that far. 

    
    River Legacy Park, Spring Break 2012

    At this point, Jon (my biggest cheerleader) said that he wanted me to show how strong I was.  He took this picture.  At that point we started back.  Honestly it was pretty easy getting to mile marker 4 - it was much harder coming back.  But I did it.  At times, I had to have them all slow down, or stop to take a break.  But we made it back to the van.  We walked 5 + miles today! 

    Today's walk was a lot like my journey to health.  At the beginning it is easy.   I am so excited about the progress I am making.  There were times along the way, I had to stop and rest because I was tired.  Even more times, I needed to slow down, so that I would stay the course. My cheerleaders would encourage me to go on.  When it seemed like I was about to drop, I prayed for more strength.  Then I just keep walking toward your ultimate goal.  With the support and encouragement of my family and my God - the prize is just ahead.






    WOW! Chicken

    I saw this recipe posted on Pinterst.  It had another name, but I do not like texting language that uses God's name in vain, so I changed it.  When I went to the website (from pinterest) and it was not the recipe that was listed in the description.  So I took the description, wrote it up in recipe form, and gave it a better name.  Jon actually named it.  When he took the first bite, he said, "That's really good (delayed pause)  WOW!  THAT IS GREAT!"  Thus, its name - WOW!  Chicken.

    WOW!  Chicken
    Serves 4
    Weight Watchers:  5 pp+

    Ingredients:
    • 4 - 5 oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    • 1/2 cup fat free sour cream
    • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
    • 2 tbsp bread crumbs
    Instructions:
    1. Pre-heat oven to 350.
    2. Mix together sour cream and parmesan cheese.
    3. Place chicken breasts in a shallow baking dish.
    4. Spread sour cream/ parmesan mix over the top of chicken breasts.
    5. Sprinkle bread crumbs over breasts.
    6. Bake for 20-30 minutes.
    Adapted From:  The Enchanted Cook

    How did you do it?


    Many have asked me how I am losing the weight.  I typically respond,” Weight Watchers plus some other stuff.”   I have had an extremely hard time putting into words exactly what I was doing.  I think better typing than talking most of the time.  I can erase what I type if it does not make sense or I think I need to clarify my thoughts more.  I guess it is time for me to put into words exactly what I am doing. 

     Here is the short answer:  I follow Weight Watchers with a very high focus on healthy unprocessed foods.

     My first response was and will always be Weight Watchers.  I follow their plan, count points, track what I eat, follow the good health guidelines, exercise, and attend weekly meetings.  Everything else I do, must fit with what I have learned from them.  I have tried to do it on my own and for me it just does not work.  I need accountability, cheering and support.   They have taught me the “how to” lose weight, get healthy and keep it off.

     I had the “how to” down for many years.  However, I did not have the “want to”.  For me, want to,  is that deep down in your gut desire to get healthy.  I would be all pumped up on Saturday following the meeting, but many times that feeling left by Sunday.  Then I read Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire With God, Not Food by Lysa Terkeurst.  She helped me see that my weight loss problem, was really a spiritual problem.  When God helped me see that, at that very moment, everything changed.  Lysa said in her book that her goal was to be healthy and weight loss was a side benefit. 

     My goals up  to that point included, losing weight, losing 5 pounds, tracking, exercising ___ times a week,  get in my good health guidelines and changing clothing sizes.  Now those are still good goals and many are part of my plan, some are even mini goals.  But my big goal had to change.  Now my goal is to be healthy spiritually, mentally, and physically.

    One part of getting healthy is my increasing awareness of processed foods and the chemicals that are in them.  I have been watching certain additives for a while, like high fructose corn syrup and BPA in plastics for many years. It was the starting point.   I had seen other additives listed on the ingredients label, but have either not known what I was doing, understand what they were,  or had no time to figure it out.  I had been searching for healthy recipes on Pinterest for a couple of months, when I came across a website that intrigued me.  The website is, www.100daysofrealfood.com.  This site has a great deal of education, recipes and guidelines.  It seemed like a great place to start.   Before I go any further, I follow many of her rules, as they are very good guidelines.  I make a few modifications:
    • I use real cane sugar for some things – but in moderation
    • everything must fit into my weight watchers points allowed
    • It must work within my budget. This mainly applies to organic foods, eggs, and meats – this is something that may come, but is not there now.
    I am also doing this gradually, when I have more time (breaks from school), I spend more time playing around with stuff.  This week has been major, many new foods have been tried, some old ones tweaked, and many things from pantry have been donated to church and we are no longer using artificial sweeteners (except gum – but t is limited to how often). 

    You can see The Rules listed from www.100daysofrealfood.com here by clicking the link.  What is listed below are how we have modified to our family. 

     Health Guidelines:
    1. Daily track, count points for and stay within the WW points targets (daily and weekly).
    2. Follow weight watchers good health guidelines including healthy oil, dairy, exercise, and water consumption. 
    Eat:
         1.    Whole foods that are more a product of nature than a product of industry

          2.    Lots of fruits and vegetables
    3.    Dairy products like milk, unsweetened yogurt, eggs, and cheese (we used low-fat whenever possible – more heart healthy, also milk needs to be hormone/antibiotic free)
    4.    100% whole-wheat and whole-grains (read ingredient labels carefully with your breads)

    5.    Seafood (wild caught)

    6.    Locally raised meats such as pork, beef, and chicken – budget defines how much this can happen

    7.    Beverages limited to water milk, all natural juices,  coffee & tea

    8.    Snacks like seeds, nuts and popcorn (plus fruits and vegetables)

    9.    All natural sweeteners including honey, 100% maple syrup, fruit juice concentrates, pure cane sugar are acceptable in moderation
    Try to Avoid:
    1. No refined grains such as white flour or white rice (items containing wheat must say WHOLE wheat…not just “wheat”)
    2. No refined sweeteners such as sugar, any form of corn syrup, or the artificial stuff like Splenda
    3. Nothing out of a box, can, bag, bottle or package that has more than 5 ingredients listed on the label – Scott – will still eat low fat frozen dinners
    4. No deep fried foods
    5. No “fast foods” – occasionally for the boys and for us Subway occasionally
    I give God the credit every day for directing my journey.    He directed me to WW, where I met someone who told me about Made to crave, where I found that my weight problem was more of a spiritual problem.   He also had a person on Pinterest post a website that I looked at and in turn found out more about the kinds of healthy choices I needed to make.  God also led me to be public about my walk to health.  And due to being public, I am able to share this magical and challenging journey and I give Him all the glory for helping me and others along this path.

    Wednesday, March 14, 2012

    Shepherd's Pi (Pie)

    In honor of Pi day (3-14) I made a shepherd's pi (pie).  In my house you must celebrate Pi day.  This year, instead of a high fat, chemical ridden store bought pie, I made a pie for dinner and then put the pi symbol on the top.  Everyone loves it and thinks it is so cool!

    Shepherd's Pi (Pie)
    Serves 6

    INGREDIENTS:


    •1 lb Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
    •1 clove garlic, whole, plus 1 tsp garlic, minced, divided
    •2/3 cup buttermilk
    •1 tbsp chives, chopped
    •Sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
    •4 tsp olive oil, divided
    •1 lb lean ground turkey breast (I used extra lean ground beef)
    •1 yellow onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
    •3 medium carrots, halved lengthwise and cut into half moons (about 1 cup)
    •1 celery stalk, diced (about 1/3 cup)
    •1 tsp fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
    •1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
    •1 tbsp tomato paste
    •1/2 cup frozen peas (I used frozen mixed  veggies)

    INSTRUCTIONS:


    1.Preheat oven to 375°F.


    2.Bring potatoes and whole garlic clove to a boil in a pot of water set over high heat. Cook until potatoes are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes, then drain well. Mash potatoes and garlic with a potato masher, ricer or food mill until smooth. Add buttermilk and chives and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.


    3.Meanwhile, heat 1 tsp oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add turkey and cook, stirring often and breaking meat into small pieces with a wooden spoon. Cook until no pink remains, about 8 minutes. Drain and discard fat; set turkey aside.


    4.Heat 2 tsp oil in skillet over same heat. Add onion, carrots, celery and rosemary and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft, about 8 minutes. Add reserved turkey, broth and tomato paste and continue to cook until most of liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Stir in peas, transfer mixture to a shallow baking dish and cover with mashed potatoes in an even layer. Run a fork over top of potatoes in a crosshatch pattern or swirl with a spatula or the back of a spoon. Brush top with remaining 1 tsp oil and bake in oven until filling is bubbling and top is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

    Recipe from:  http://www.cleaneatingmag.com/
    Weight Watchers:  4 pp+ for 1/6 of recipe
    Nutrients per 1½-cup serving: Calories: 160 Total Fat: 4 g, Sat. Fat: 0.5 g, Carbs: 10 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugars: 4 g, Protein: 20 g, Sodium: 150 mg, Cholesterol: 40 mg