Monday, May 23, 2011

Give it a Chance

I am always and forever trying to be open-minded about food and improve my eating.  Today that meant trying marinated, grilled tofu.  I have tried tofu before, in a soup in a restaurant.  And honestly the texture reminded me of eating cow's stomach empanadas in Chile.  *shudder*  So when my husband said we were having tofu for dinner tonight -- and I gave him that look that said I wouldn't be eating -- and he gave me that look that said oh yes you will . . . well ---

Needless to say I smothered it in his home-made marinara sauce, sprinkled some cheese on top, melted the cheese in the microwave for a few seconds, and got it all down.  The whole half plate of it.  And though it will never make it to my top ten list, I didn't feel like throwing up after I ate it, either.

So if you have some fool-proof tofu recipes, please share!!!  And if not -- give it a chance.  But have some thick, tasty marinara sauce nearby just in case!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

New Favorites

I have a few new favorite foods I wanted to share.

1) Chicken Fajita Salad.  I take 3 oz of chicken and 1/6 of an onion, 1/3 of a green pepper, 1/3 of a red pepper and dice it all up.  Then I cook it all together with cooking spray until it's pretty tender and stir in one serving of the Fajita seasoning mix with the LOWEST amount of Sodium from my grocery store (McCormick in my grocery store - but I don't know what it would be in yours).  Then take a mixture of salad greens - romaine, iceberg, Spring mix, etc. - and chop it into really fine pieces.  Think shreds of lettuce on your favorite enchilada.  Add the chicken fajita mixture to the salad and mix it all together.  VIOLA!!!  I honestly probably use four cups of salad to that one serving of chicken fajita.  You can also put the chicken fajita mixture in a whole wheat/low carb tortilla with a tsp. of sour cream - hold the cheese - and add a low fat dressing to your greens.  Or you can take the entire salad and put it in a whole wheat/low carb tortilla with a tsp. of sour cream.  Delicious way to get your veggies in when you are NOT in the mood for a salad! *Note: I make up a whole bunch of the fajita mix ahead of time and freeze it.  Then when I want a salad - I get the mix out of my freezer, cook it on the stove, add the seasoning mix, and I'm set for a FAST lunch or late dinner when I don't have time or energy to make anything else.  It's awesome!

2) Banana smoothie.  I place a medium-sized, medium-ripe banana and 1/2 cup of nonfat milk in my blender.  Then add a dash of nutmeg and a dash of cinnamon (careful with the nutmeg - a little goes a LONG way; go to town with the cinnamon, as much as you like).  Blend together.  Add in some ice chunks and blend that together until smooth and VIOLA!  I'm telling you - this is an AMAZING snack!  When I can't get my kids to eat anything else, I add in a small scoop of protein powder and sometimes a little fiber one plain cereal - they drink it RIGHT up!  And I'm not fighting them at the table for an hour to get them to eat their dinner and/or waking up to screaming, hungry two-year-olds in the middle of the night.  Win/win situations are my SAVING grace!

3) Yogurt and cottage cheese.  My mom used to make this fruit/jello salad.  You take some fruit cocktail and mix it into cool whip and then add a package of unprepared jello.  I am sure you have had this in MANY forms.  But the calories and SUGAR in this salad -- um, through the roof, even for a small serving.  So I reformed it: Get 6 oz of low or non-fat plain or vanilla yogurt, add 1/4-1/2 cup of cottage cheese, and mix in a serving of Crystal Light.  You get the same flavor/texture as my mom's old fruit salad jello mix but without all the extra sugar and junk.  And the cottage cheese and yogurt combined give you a good dose of protein while still getting some calcium in your meal.  It's so good my two-year-olds LOVE it!  A perfect pre-bed snack!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Small Things

I haven't decided what theme I am going to give Thursdays yet.  I have a few ideas in mind, but I haven't nailed this one down yet.  HOWEVER, today is Thankful Thursday! Oh the power of thank you.  Such small words.  Such easy words.  Such life-changing, relationship-building, faith-instilling, gratifying words.  When was the last time you said them?  Are there thank-yous left unsaid in your life or heart right now?  So what if it was something that happened a month ago (or two or three or four or a few years)?  Does it come to your mind - to your heart?  Does it bring a smile to your face?  Do you find yourself remembering that your life was changed or improved or influenced when so-and-so said or did such-and-such or allowed you to say or do such-and-such?  Cuz my heart has been remembering lately.  And I find myself in need of saying a lot of over-due, unspoken thank yous.

So I challenge you today to take 15 minutes and just say thank you - to God, to your mother, to your spouse, to your children, to your boss, to your family, to your friends, to whoever is on your mind or comes to your mind when you think of saying thank you.  Just DO IT!  It will be 15 minutes WELL SPENT, and it will be sure to change your life (and probably a few other people's in the process).

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Hydrate Me!

Today is my first Weight Loss Wednesday post.  I've decided to give each day a theme so I can keep my thoughts in order and not get sidetracked or too focused on one aspect of mommy-hood over all the other important aspects that merit equal attention.

I can think of a million and one things I could post here as a tip or goal for the week.  But I think I will start with the fountain of all life: Water!

How much water do you need?  Well, for weight loss it is recommended that you drink 50-75% of your body weight in ounces.  While breastfeeding, it is recommended that you drink about 104 ounces of water every day.  When you exercise, it is recommended that you drink 34-68 ounces of water for every 45-60 minutes that you exercise.

I would suggest you take a few minutes (definitely less than 15 here) and calculate how much you would need a day based on your weight, your activity level, and whether or not you are breastfeeding.  Once you get a general number, divide it out into something usable - like if you need about 128 ounces a day, you know you need to drink a gallon of water a day and can just fill a gallon and keep it on the counter or in the refrigerator and drink through it all day long.  If you figure up how much you need and divide it by 32, you'll know about how many nalgenes of water you need a day and just need to keep track of those.  If you have a favorite cup and measure how many ounces it holds, you can use that to determine how many glasses of water you need in that particular glass in a day and then just need to keep track of how many glasses of water you drink.

A huge part of weight loss involves taking the guess work out of it and figuring out EXACTLY what you need and then getting it.  That's the magic formula.  Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to your body.

* Note: The only potential hazard of drinking a lot of water is water intoxication.  But, if you're smart and drink small amounts of water regularly throughout the day, along with your meals, you should be just fine!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Put Your Heart In It

One of the things I have been thinking about this morning is the choice to be a mother.  There are so many things out there that you COULD be doing, and doing very well at that.  There are personal dreams you never realized, career goals and personal goals you have seen put on the backburner time and time again.  There are welcome distractions you walk away from to walk towards your children and your home and your family.  The lists of sacrifices are endless, if you really think about them.  And I think there is a natural man tendency, if you will, TO think about them. 

But there is a greater tendency inside of us if we tap into it: that of having, living, breathing, creating, and loving your best job: Motherhood.  Think about what it means to have a Mother Heart, as I like to call it.  If you were being paid by someone to do your dream job, what would you be putting into that dream job to feel and be and be perceived as successful at it?  What would set you apart from the other employees that would make your boss leave you there, give you promotions, give you raises, etc.?  Now apply that to motherhood.  If Heavenly Father were your boss (and He is, so that's not really a hypothetical) - but if He were paying you in a two-week salary in the same way that your spouse gets a paycheck for his job, what would He expect from you in order to deem you worthy to have your job?  Take it a step further -- what would you need to do with that job in order to get raises and promotions?  Do you give that same attention and honest effort and focus to your children and your home that you would give to your dream job?

The MOST wonderful role in this world is that of mother and father.  And in the world today, the most stressed and fractured and questioned role is ironically that of mother and father -- particularly mother.  The world throws so many things in our faces to pull on our heartstrings and distract us from what is important, what is essential.  Our hearts are tested every day in our decisions.  Where you spend your time is where your heart is.  And there is where your reward will be also. 

My challenge for all of us today is to take 15 Mommy minutes to contemplate your role as a mother.  What are the things you love the MOST about that role?  What is the vision you have of fulfilling and consecrating yourself as a mother?  Where do you spend your time in creating and becoming that person?  Make today the first day of the rest of your best job's journey: Being a mother, with a Mother Heart, and Loving it!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Chicken Nuggets -- Minus the Chicken

One of my goals this year is to help my family eat healthier meals while still enjoying the food we're eating.  My children, as most others, LOVE -- and I mean L-O-V-E, LOVE -- chicken nuggets.  And if you make them at home and bake them or pop them in the microwave, they aren't THAT bad for you.  But they also have a hard time getting enough protein and vegetables in their diets.  So I came across a fantastic blog that is devoted to raising healthy kids and helping children eat and LOVE -- L-O-V-E, LOVE -- their VEGETABLES!!!  Here is a recipe for Vegetarian Chicken Nuggets.  Try it out and tell me what you think!

P.S. - This recipe is for 8 servings.  The nutrition information, according to Calorie Count's Recipe Analyzer is:

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 87 g

Amount Per Serving
Calories  367        Cal. from Fat 75      
Total Fat: 6.3 g
Saturated Fat: .9 g
Cholesterol: 23 mg
Sodium:  413 mg
Total Carbohydrates: 43.2 g
Dietary Fiber: 10.1 g
Sugars: 6.9 g
Protein: 13 g

Vitamin A 8%          Vitamin C 13%
Calcium 9%       Iron 25%        

Friday, January 7, 2011

Fitness Challenge

I know I have been M.I.A. for a while now.  But I have had a surge of energy and new ideas for how to utilize this blog to help people, myself included, in our daily quest to meet our weight loss New Year's Resolutions and focus simultaneously on raising healthy, active, amazing kids.  So get ready and check back often - cuz I promise I will be here and will have something worth the precious time you take from your family to read it!

For today, let me tell you about a challenge I am taking and hope you will, too.

MapMyRun is a site I joined when I was training for a half-marathon last December.  And I LOVE it!  They just sent me an invitation to join in one of four 30-Day challenges to kick off the New Year and resolutions across the globe.  The four challenges are:
1) A Commit to Fit challenge (15 workouts in 30 days)
2) A Run challenge (30 miles in 30 days)
3) A Bike challenge (100 miles in 30 days)
4) A Walk challenge (26.2 miles - yes, a full marathon - in 30 days)

Whatever your resolutions or goals, you can easily participate in one of these challenges AND BE ENTERED TO WIN SOME GREAT PRIZES along the way.  In fact, I think most of these things, broken down into daily goals, could be accomplished in 15 minute increments throughout the day!  What a great way to start the new year.  Grab a friend or two, form a group, hook up the new Wii (or dust off the one you haven't used for a while) and get MOVING!!!  Include your children, your spouse, your sister, your mom, whoever. Then check off one resolution completed and get motivated for more.  Cuz 2011 is a year for MORE!