Thursday, March 28, 2013

Thankful Thursday and a Happy Birthday!

Happy Thursday!

Has the week been dragging for anyone else?  I thought it was Thursday a few days ago.

Today is the hubby's birthday, so happy birthday hubby!!  I hope you have a beautiful day and I can't wait to celebrate it with you!  The little guy and I made his favorite peanut butter with cream cheese icing cake last night and this morning the little guy was asking if he could have a piece for breakfast.  Yup, he sure is his mommy's son.



In addition to the hubby's birthday, I'm thankful because I have a four-day weekend coming up.  It'll be nice to take a few days off!


Source


Hope you have a Happy Easter and a wonderful weekend!

Question of the Day:
What are you thankful for today?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Fitting in Fitness

Happy Wednesday!

I'm at a point in my weight loss journey where I have 5 pounds left to lose.  I've grappled with these last few pounds - will it make me feel happier if I lost them?  Does it really make a difference?  Honestly, my answer depends on how I'm feeling at that particular moment.  Most days those 5 pounds don't matter.  They don't define me as a person and at best, the last few pounds would only make my clothes fit a little better.

When I reflect on what I had done differently when I first began my weight loss journey eight years ago, I exercised.  I belonged to a gym and went a couple times a week with my boss and best friend.  When I got married my hubby became my gym partner and we would wake up super early to get our workouts in before  work.



Source
Ever since becoming a mom, my workouts have been non-existent.  I'm too tired to wake up in the morning and too exhausted by the time I come home from work to get my tush off of the couch.  It's pure laziness and I know it.

The other day one of my co-workers handed me a 10 minute workout paper.  The idea was to repeat the moves 2-3 times a day for a 20-30 minute workout.  It had the basic lunges, squats, high knees, high kicks and crunches.  While the hubby was changing the little guy for bed I tried it out.  I felt so much better after doing it and boy oh boy am I sore today.  I had forgotten just how out of the workout routine I am!

I'm hoping that I can stick to this type of a routine and get my tush in gear! I've been sedentary for long enough!

Question of the Day:
I know I'm not the only one with a busy schedule, so tell me - how do you fit in fitness?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Pillow Project

Happy Monday!

I love the fact that it's Spring and we're in the middle of a snowstorm.  Thanks, Mother Nature.

This weekend was pretty good.  We didn't do too much because the little guy has another cold and all he really wanted to do was lounge around and watch movies.  The weather wasn't so great and I was more than happy to snuggle with him.

In between snuggling sessions, I took the opportunity to work on a house project.  The hubby and I are in the middle of re-doing our living room.  We repainted the walls and have plans to add some pictures, a new slipcover (which you can see we're still in the process of finishing in the pictures below) and some throw pillows.

We're trying to accomplish this all while staying within a reasonable budget.  That's why I've been looking at the book by Sherry and John Petersik, Young House Love for some inspiration. - and boy did I find some! (Here's the link to their blog - it's pretty awesome!)  One of their thrifty ideas is to make pillows from napkins.  I went to Target and purchased two sets of napkins in colors that worked well with the new paint.  I ironed them both, sewed them together and stuffed them with stuffing from an old pillow.

Since the hubby and I couldn't decide on whether we liked the green color or blue color better, I sewed the pillow with one panel of each so we could display whatever color we're in the mood for.



Side one

Side two
For me to make one pillow (and for someone who has zero crafting ability) it took me about 45 minutes - not bad at all!!

Question of the Day:
What was the highlight of your weekend?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday!

I consider myself a lot of things: mom, wife, daughter, friend, employee, cook, grocery shopper, boo boo fixer....you get the point.  But one of the things I'm not is organized.  In fact, I'm one of the most disorganized people I know.


Source
Yesterday I got an e-mail from Shutterfly offering a free 20 page 8x8 photo book (retail value $29.99+shipping).  I've been wanting to get more organized with my photos, and since the wave a digital cameras, I've become horrible at printing them.  When I saw the e-mail, I jumped on the opportunity.  For the grand total of $8.47 (the cost of shipping) I have an entire year's worth of photos.  Score!!

Today, I'm thankful for that opportunity.  Want to snag one for yourself?  Use the code MYBOOK to score one of your own!

FYI - I'm not being compensated for this post - I just think it's a pretty sweet deal!

Question of the Day:
What are you thankful for today?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Crockpot Lasagna Stoup


Happy Wednesday and Happy Spring!

Yesterday I could feel the beginnings of a cold coming on.  I felt run down, exhausted and stuffy.  The hubby is getting over a sinus infection and I'm hoping it doesn't turn into what he has - yuck!

Despite feeling crummy, I knew I was coming home to some lasagna soup and that made me pretty happy.  (Original recipe can be found here.)  It's more of a hearty stew rather than a soup, so I've been calling it "stoup" a la Rachael Ray.

I modified it a little bit though, so here's what I used:

1 lb lean turkey
2 cups beef broth
3 cloves of garlic, minced
Italian seasoning
1 small onion, diced (optional)
1 28oz can of crushed tomatoes
1 6oz can of tomato paste
2 cups uncooked shell pasta
Optional topping:  shredded cheese

Mix the crushed tomatoes and tomato paste together in the crockpot.  Add the turkey (uncooked), garlic, beef broth, Italian seasoning and onion and cook it on high for 4 1/2 hours.  Add in two cups of uncooked shell pasta and let it cook for an additional 30 minutes.

What you're left with is this:



This was comfort on a plate, and after snapping this picture, I added an ounce of shredded cheese.  The next time I make this, I'll be adding in some veggies - maybe some peppers?

The little guy, hubby and I gobbled it up and we all wanted seconds even though it filled us up.  I'd say it was a win!

Question of the Day:
Which do you prefer - winter or spring?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Monday, March 18, 2013

Homemade BBQ Sauce with a Side of the Weekend

Happy Monday!

This weekend was a whirlwind even though we didn't do too much.  After taking a 3 hour nap yesterday afternoon, the little guy decided between 12:20 and 3:30 this morning that he couldn't sleep.  At 2:30 the hubby went into his room and sat on the rocking chair for an hour until the little guy finally fell asleep.  We haven't had a night like that since he was a baby.  I certainly don't miss those days!

On Saturday the hubby had to get his photo for his driver's license so the little guy and I headed out to the Dollar Store.  I was so happy to learn that there is a Dollar Store not too far from my house - but it only took me 5 years to figure it out!  The little guy used the potty a lot on Saturday so we went to pick out a special treat. He found a blue flower pinwheel that he loved as soon as we walked into the store.  It's funny how he picks out things that I would never peg him to choose. 

Yesterday we had a lazy day and didn't do too much after Church.  In keeping with the lazy theme, I made an easy meal of sloppy joes and brown rice.




I used extra lean ground turkey and made my own bbq sauce with one cup of ketchup and one cup of diet coke.  This is a throwback recipe from my Weight Watcher days.  All you have to do is mix the ketchup and diet coke in a pot and simmer it until it thickens.  It makes a sweet sauce, and the family enjoyed gobbling it up.  I've said it before and I'll say it a million times over - the simplest things to prepare are usually the biggest hits in our house.  Go figure!

Question of the Day:
What was the highlight of your weekend?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday!

When my best friend called me yesterday to let me know she had the baby, she told me she wasn't up for visitor's yet.  She'd been awake for 48 hours and she needed her rest.  I was kinda bummed because I really wanted to meet Caleb, but, having been there myself, I completely understood.  I told her I'd come to see her whenever she was ready.

Around 3:30 yesterday afternoon, my friend called to tell me she felt much better after sleeping and asked if I would like to come to the hospital to meet Caleb.  I couldn't wait!  

Today, I'm thankful that I was able to meet my new "nephew" - I've been friends with this girl since I was 13 so my son calls her Aunt Meg and I'll be Aunt RiRi.  I can't believe how much we've been through together and now we're both moms.  It's crazy!





What a little peanut!  He has a full head of blonde hair and has such a cute little face.  I had forgotten just how tiny newborns are!

Question of the Day:
What are you thankful for?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Low-Fat Mac and Cheese

 Happy Wednesday!

My best friend finally had her baby last night at 8:24 p.m.  It seemed like it took forever!!  I talked to her this morning and, rightfully so, she sounds exhausted.  I can't wait to meet her little guy though!

Last week I tried a new mac and cheese recipe from Fitness Magazine.  It's a Rocco DiSpirito recipe that uses an onion-garlic puree as a substitute for a typical milk, butter and flour rue.  The seller for me was the portion size.  In other low-fat mac and cheese recipes, the serving size is so tiny, but this one?  The serving size was just right.

This recipe was ridiculously easy and didn't take too much time to prepare.  I got the little guy involved in making this recipe and instead of using a half a cup of Rocco's Secret Weapon, I accidentally used an entire cup.  It made the recipe super oniony and garlicky tasting but I still enjoyed it.  I'll be putting this into my rotation more often.  Mac and Cheese that's low fat and tasty?  Yes, please!




Mac and Cheese Lite

Makes: 4 servings
Ingredients
Nonstick cooking spray
Salt
4 ounces whole wheat macaroni
1/2 cup onion-garlic puree (see "Rocco's Secret Weapon," below)
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 cup shredded 50 percent reduced-fat cheddar
1/3 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Mist an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with cooking spray; set it aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add macaroni and cook according to package directions, drain.
  3. Meanwhile, bring onion-garlic puree, mustard, and cayenne to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring often. Whisk in cheddar until melted. Remove from heat and whisk in yogurt.
  4. In a medium bowl, toss the macaroni with the cheese sauce. Season with salt to taste. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle panko over the top. Top with Parmesan.
  5. Bake until Parmesan is melted and macaroni is hot throughout, about 10 minutes.
Nutrition facts per serving (about 2/3 cup): 237 calories, 17g protein, 31g carbohydrate, 7g fat (4g saturated), 3g fiber

Rocco's Secret Weapon

Bechamel sauce (a mixture of milk, butter, and flour) plays a starring role in traditional mac and cheese recipes. DiSpirito uses this aromatic blend of onion and garlic to build flavor and texture without fat (makes 1 cup).
Step 1
Combine 1 large Vidalia onion, 9 garlic cloves (roughly chopped), and 1/2 cup water in a microwave-safe bowl. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
Step 2
Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and microwave on high 10 minutes.
Step 3
Pour the mixture into a blender; blend until smooth. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. (Store in a covered container in the fridge for up to 72 hours.)

Question of the Day:
Are you a mac and cheese fan?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie


Monday, March 11, 2013

Happy Monday!

Happy Monday!

How was your weekend?  Mine was pretty good.  It was such a beautiful weekend and the hubby, little guy and I were able to get outside multiple times this weekend to enjoy the fresh air.  I can't wait for Spring!

Last night we were in the mood for something different so after routing around in my freezer for a little bit, I found some frozen spinach and cheese ravioli.

I've been so used to making homemade pizza on the weekends that I had forgotten how quick and easy ravioli is to make.  I topped these guys with some homemade gravy (sauce) and called it a meal.




The little guy devoured his entire bowl, which makes me think that he liked the change-up too.

In other news - I just got a phone call that my best friend is in the hospital getting ready to have her baby.  I'm sitting on pins and needles over here!! I can't wait until Caleb is born!

Question of the Day:
What was the highlight of your weekend?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday!

We were supposed to get 2-4 inches of snow last night.  The forecasters were hyping up the storm and the anxiety kept building for me as the day continued.  

I don't drive in snow, or I guess I should say I don't drive well in the snow.  Thankfully we've had a very mild winter, and when it has snowed, it's been just enough to be annoying but not bad enough that I couldn't drive in it.

Today when I looked out of my window there was no snow to be found.  Today, I'm thankful the snow stayed away.

Source


Question of the Day:
What are you thankful for today?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Happier When Heavier?

When it comes to healthy eating, some days are better than others.  I tend to do pretty well during the week, when my eats are structured but I struggle a lot during the weekend.  My meals are unplanned and I snack more.  

The other night, after the hubby got home from working his second job, he was in the kitchen munching on graham crackers and peanut butter and it got to the point where I literally had to walk away from him.  If I didn't, I knew I'd be reaching over for some snacks too even though I wasn't hungry.  In some ways, I envy him because he eats balanced meals.  He indulges when he wants but the majority of the time, he eats healthfully.  He has an active job, so he's constantly on the move, while I'm sedentary for the majority of my day.

After the hubby was done eating, he came over and asked me a question I'm still thinking about 4 days later.  He said "were you happier when you were heavier?  When you ate whatever you wanted whenever you wanted?"  It took me off guard because my immediate reaction was "no, of course not" but is that the truth?

Back then, when I was heavier, I didn't think too much about the nutritional value of food.  I ate General Tso's chicken every Saturday and would finish that up with a peanut butter wrap.  I ate chocolate like it was going out of style and I would always have potato chips with my lunch.

When I broke up with my boyfriend at the time, I lived off of french fries and BBQ Frito Twists much longer than I care to remember.  Yes, I ate whatever I wanted and I loved that I didn't have to think about calories or fat or anything else but the real question was....was I happy?


And the real answer?  Is no.  I wasn't happy having to shop in plus size clothing stores.  I wasn't happy when my already tight sized 16 pants would no longer button.  I wasn't happy that I tried to dress in ways that would make me appear thinner.  I wasn't happy because I felt I was missing out on a "typical high school/college experience" because of my weight.  No one wanted to date me and everyone would always tell me that I had a "pretty face" - what does that really mean anyway?

Once I started eating right and the weight began to come off, some other things came off as well - my insecurities, my need to hide in the background, my fear of what other people thought of me (okay I still struggle with that one sometimes).  I began to feel better physically and was happy when my then-boyfriend (before he became my husband) could go jogging together.  I came out on the other end of my weight loss a different person - the person I always hoped and dreamed I would be.


So while there are times when I struggle with overeating and being frustrated that I can't eat whatever I want without any consequences, I'd still choose this lifestyle over my old one hands down.

Question of the Day:
Tell me something you're happy about!

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Monday, March 4, 2013

Stuff My Two Year Old Says

 Happy Monday!

How was your weekend?  Mine was busy but good!  Yesterday I ran some errands before I met up with my brothers for a birthday lunch.  We've started a tradition of taking each other out to lunch for our birthdays.  Our one rule is that it's just the three of us - no girlfriend or spouses permitted.  It's a great opportunity for us to catch up and I really love it!

So the little guy.  Some of the things that come out of his mouth truly crack me up.  Since these conversations float around in my head, I thought I'd share some of his anecdotes with you.

Me:     John, what does a green traffic light mean? (I had asked him this a few times at this point)
John:   Mommy, you're going to have to figure this one out.

John:  Mommy, can I have a surprise?
Me:    Sure. (I hand him a piece of fruit)
John:  Mommy, this is not a surprise.  This is fruit.  I want a chocolate surprise.

John:  Did you know that cat and hat rhyme?  Like the story!

(John waking up in the morning):  What the flip flop is that noise?

Me:  (trying to get out of John's room after saying goodnight)
John:  Mommy?  I have one more question.
Me:   What?
John:  You are a girl and daddy's a boy.
Me:    That's right, but that's not really a question.  Are you trying to stall for time?
John:  Yes because I don't want to go to bed.  Can I get up now?


Just recalling these conversations made me smile.  My silly little boy.  He's just the best.





Question of the Day:
What was the highlight of your weekend?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie