Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Snow Day & Baked Cinnamon and Sugar Apple Chips

So today is a snow day {YAY} ... or, more like a "freezing cold day" ... too cold [again] for kids to be at the bus stops, or outside at all.

Yea, you read that right. The TEMP is -9 and it feels like -28
Good. Lord. At least it's sunny!

So anyways, it's a snow day and I have these amazing things in the oven! Keep on readin'

You know how Pinterest is an amazing place?

Well ... I found this recipe from Fifteen Spatulas for Baked Cinnamon & Sugar Apple Chips on Pinterest!

This chick knows what she is doing!
Check out HER blog with for the recipe ... but enjoy my pics from the last time I made them. Yummmmmm!

I made mine with Fuji apples like she suggested.

Some of my chips were big and some were small - I'd use the apple slicer / peeler / corer next time so they're all the same, they just wont have that pretty star in the middle. If you go to her blog, her pictures are prettier than mine - but I swear they are delicious!!

Bake at 225 for one hour, flip and then for ANOTHER hour!

Ok so I actually did this twice already. Once with the mandolin like she suggests - then another time with our apple corer / spiral slicer thing, because I thought it would be easier. I'm here to tell you: if you know how to use a mandolin, use it. Mine is weird, which means I don't know how to work it properly and so I decided today I would just slice them super thin by hand... the pic above in the oven ... the apples were too thick and didn't work. So use that as a guide. Don't make them look like this!!

Her recipe calls for 1/8 tsp cinnamon and 1 tsp sugar. I used this Spenda Sugar Blend (which tastes great by the way and is zero WW points). This made about one apples worth.
This is the conversion chart on the back for baking ...  I actually used 1 tsp for 1 tsp ...
but it's zero points so who cares ;)
Click here for info on the sugar blend .. use less, less calories and sugar and the same amount of flavor!

These things taste delicious, are zero WW points, warmed up the house with the oven on AND made the whole house smell amazing while they baked! Win-Win-Win!

For more Healthy / Weight Watcher Recipes CLICK HERE :) 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Monday Again..

Good Morning Blog Readers!

Each Monday I'll be posting on my progress. I doubt you care (ha ha), but it's a way for me to stay accountable AND look back on my progress!

So, second weigh in of my weight loss competition (Jan 12 through March 21):
Started at: 147.0 lbs
Weighed in today at: 144.3 lbs

I didn't Even take a picture of the scale I was so mad. Only lost 0.1 lb this week.

This week pounds lost: 0.1

Total weight loss percentage:  1.87%

Total weight loss since 190lb beginning: 45.7 lbs

My work out schedule this week was:
Monday AM - Spin
Monday PM -  Zumba
Tuesday - 30 min run on the treadmill
Thursday - Spin AM
Sunday - Zumba AM

This week I was off work for MLK Jr's birthday on Monday so I even got an EXTRA work out in.

I've been really good about keeping track of my points in my food journal. I also have been inputting them all into My Fitness Pal as well and I'm on track with my calories.
I've been drinking more water, just like I had hoped to this week.

To figure out how much water you should be drinking

Take your weight (144lbs) and divide it in half : 72oz and that is how many ounces you should drink in a day. (Approximately 9 cups of water) 

I try to drink 3 of these:

It's funny because last week I said: "At this point in my journey, I've already figured out what does and doesn't work for my body 

... and it's time to just DO."

And then I have a super frustrating week like this.

Just keep going. Don't give up ..... And scream into a pillow if you have to.

Goals: Drink more water, eat more proteins and less carbs (always an ongoing struggle for me), lift my free weights at least once this week, make myself go to Wednesdays core class at the gym (I want to puke with anxiety just thinking that I wrote that down) and see 142 on the scale NEXT Monday. God willing.

How did you do this week? Is there anything you want me to talk about here?

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Measure That Body! You'll Thank Me Later.

Happy Saturday!

I want to encourage all of you, NOW .. while you're reading this, to take measurements of your body. The first time I took measurements of myself was in May of 2013 and I WISH I would have done it sooner. I had already lost 30 lbs. I can only imagine what the difference in my numbers from the very beginning, because I don't have anything to compare it to.

First - You don't have to tell anyone your measurements, if you are self conscious! Keep it written down tucked away.

Second - You'll say you "don't know how" ... listen, even if you use this guide and think you're doing it wrong: at least you'll be doing it wrong consistently and see "difference" numbers correctly!
[ does that make sense? ]

Third - Do it for yourself! You'll be so glad you did when you are down the line, meeting your goals and you have this notebook tucked away for yourself with all your previous measurements. You'll be so proud once you get there ... and you'll say: "Thanks, Tara!!! " haha 

My 2013 I was busting my butt at the gym ... 5-6 days a week (almost all cardio) all summer and not eating right so I was doing a really "good job" maintaining the scale. All the while I was lying to myself and saying that I was still so "stuck". While I am more obsessed with the scale than I care to admit {not proud} I feel like I wasted most of my 2013. I was "getting no where" and only ended up getting serious September - December 2013 again and losing my last 15 lbs.

BUT: I looked back at my measurements, my first ones from May 2013 and I've lost some inches! It's up to you how often you measure. Maybe you do it once a week with weigh ins, maybe you do it once a month, maybe you do it after every 10 lbs you lose.

You'll see that it is goes slowly, but after some time you see huge differences

I don't have anything fancy - just one of these

And so ... 

From May 21, 2013 to my January 20, 2014 measurements I have a difference of:

-1.5" in my left upper arm
-1.0" inches in my right upper arm
-3.5" inches in my chese
-4" inches in my waist
-3.5" inches in my hips
-1.75" inches in my left thigh (yea, I get lazy at the end and only do one thigh ..sue me)

Remember, that's only 15-17 lbs lost ... but a huge difference in my waist, hips and chest!! 

Something to think about, no? 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Beef Vegetable Soup (WW Friendly)

Note: This is a GREAT soup for freezing ... {because it does make a TON}

8 c. water                                                        8 cups                         0 points
4 c. beef broth                                                4 cups                         0 points
1 pkt. beef vegetable soup mix                      1 cup
                         24 points
½ c. elbow noodles                                        ½ cup
                          5 points
1/3 c. ABC noodles                                       1/3 cup
                         5 points
2 c. extra veggies                                            2 cups
                         0 points
14 oz. tomatoes                                              2 cups
                         3.5 points
16 oz. lean ground beef                                  2 cups
                         16 points

                                                                    20 cups total               53.5 points total

53.5 points / 20 cups =
2.7 Weight Watcher points per cup

Brown the lean ground beef.
Start with the water that the soup mix says (8 c.)
Add 4 c. beef broth to the water
Bring water and broth to a boil
Puree the tomatoes if you don't like big chunks
Add the noodles, veggies, tomatoes and ground beef
Simmer for 10 minutes

Enjoy soup!

For more Healthy Recipes / Weight Watcher Recipes CLICK HERE :)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

3 More To Go ...

Well ... Jeff has been gone at MCT for 2 weeks and 1 day now. I'm missing him like crazy. I have my phone on me at all times, just hoping to have it ring. Three weeks left until he will ACTUALLY call me ... hopefully less!

Ahh .. now that's much better! :)

I remember when we only had 3 weeks left of boot camp and how excited I was. I was getting ready to go on a trip (to his graduation), to see him finally after thirteen weeks. This time, I only get to look forward to a phone call. Most likely he will not be coming home after this part. He will be away for most of 2014. It has been "easier" for me to get into a rhythm of day to day stuff with him gone this time. I say "easier" it still SUCKS, but it's not SO foreign this time.

After boot camp (13 weeks of no talking to him) this should be a breeze. My day-to-day is easier ... but I haven't received a letter from him or heard his voice in two weeks and that's kind of tough. At least when he was at boot camp he wrote me one letter per week. I'm staying busy with daycare, preschool, mentoring and trying to get to the gym 4 days a week all while trying to keep my sanity :) I think God is keeping me busy for a reason. It's Him helping me through.

At least he's safe, at least he's safe, at least he's safe. 

Lets end on a positive note, shall we?

Only 3 more to go .... 

Korean Steak Kabobs (WW Friendly)

First out of the Weight Watchers "New Complete Cook Book"
adjusted and made better by Cathie Sobie!

8-10 oz. flank steak (we use filet instead)
2 tbsp. honey
1/4 c. soy sauce (reduced sodium)
1/2 c. apple cider vinegar
2 garlic cloves minced
1 tbsp. Spenda / Sugar mixture
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. chili powder
6 green onion
Any veggies you want to skewer such as mushrooms, onions, tomato, squash etc.

Some of the ingredients

Soak 12 wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes.
Cut steak or other beef into thin strips.
Mix together apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, honey, sugar, ginger, garlic, chili powder.
Chop green onion.
Put meat and green onion in a Ziploc bag, pour sauce over and marinate for 2 hours or overnight if convenient. 

Once meat is marinated:
Skewer meat, saving marinade for later.
Also skewer other veggies.
Spray broiler rack with Pam.
Place meat on rack, broil meat 5 inches from the heat for about 4 minutes per side (or until it is cooked to your likeness)
Meanwhile, put marinade in a small sauce pan and simmer, stirring until sauce thickens, around 8 minutes.

As you can see in the pictures, we also cooked a Rice A Roni fried rice box according to directions. However, we used Pam instead of butter to brown the rice.

We also used mushrooms and onions on the skewers as well.
Carrots we just cooked on the stovetop. (Smart Balance butter on the carrots)
My plate (I don't like onions and mushrooms)
Weight Watcher Points Total:
12.5 points total - divided by how many servings (4) = 3 pts per serving
5 - 1 c.Rice A Roni Rice
0 - veggies on the side
1 tbl. Smart Balance Butter for all of the carrots together

For more Healthy / Weight Watcher Recipes ... CLICK HERE :) 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Monday Morning Weigh In

Good Morning Blog Readers!

Each Monday I'll be posting on my progress. I doubt you care (ha ha), but it's a way for me to stay accountable AND look back on my progress!

So, first weigh in of my weight loss competition (Jan 12 through March 21):
Started at: 147.0 lbs
Weighed in today at: 144.4 lbs


Pounds lost: 2.6
Weight loss percentage:  1.76%

Total weight loss since 190lb beginning: 45.6 lbs

My work out schedule this week was:
Sunday - Zumba AM
Monday - Zumba PM
Tuesday - A quick 20 min run on the treadmill (225 calories burned what whattt!)
Thursday - Spin AM

4 work outs is great for me and my schedule .. even if one of them was only 20 mins. Just remember:

Found on Pinterest
  • I counted my Weight Watchers points this week and went over one day. I'm okay with that though. It was only over by a few points and I wasn't stupid about eating complete junk all day. 

  • I've also been consistently drinking 6-8 cups of water which is 48-64oz. of water per day. 

  • To figure out how much water you should be drinking:
    Take your weight (144lbs) and divide it in half : 72oz and that is how many ounces you should drink in a day.
  • I need to drink more water. My goal this week needs to be about 9 cups of water per day.

  •  I was careful this weekend with what I ate and I'm proud to say that I don't think that the weekend messed me up.

At this point in my journey, I've already figured out what does and doesn't work for my body 
... and it's time to just DO. In the words of Nike:

Goals: Drink more water, run on the treadmill longer this Tuesday and see 142 on the scale next Monday.

How did you do this week? Is there anything you want me to talk about here?

Friday, January 17, 2014

Healthy Tips for Breakfast (WW Friendly)

Weight Watchers.

I don't know why, but I thought only old people did Weight Watchers
I'm here to tell you, that's not true and it rocks. I swear by their system.

Just to make sure you get the concept of Weight Watchers: Each food has a point value and each person (depending on their age, sex, height and weight) gets an amount of points they can eat per day. 

So come's some of my favorite breakfast foods and their point values! This whole post is kind of all over the place, but you'll get the point as you go :) 

First and foremost - make sure you drink WATER ... before and during your breakfast! 

1 c. Cheerios (3 pts) + 1 c. 1% Milk = 6 points
1 c. Trix (3 pts) + 1 c. 1% Milk = 6 points

This wasn't keeping me full until lunch and then I had used my points "for nothing" because it was all carbs maybe?

I really like Egg Beaters - I never thought there would be a day when I would say that. Egg Beaters are egg whites and they are way less points then a real egg (they don't have the yoke). If you can't stand the thought or taste you might mix like 2 eggs with 1 serving of egg beaters .. and then work your way up so you are using less points. I love making, a scramble with it. Things I include in my scramble thing - orange/yellow/red bell peppers, green onion, turkey or ham (just lunch meat), cheese, turkey bacon .. all in different combos so I don’t get bored of it. 3 Tbl. is 1 pt. Kroger's Egg Beaters are called "Break-Free" which is equally as tasty and better on the pocket book.

I also like our Healthy Quiche Recipe which can be found HERE  {pictured below}

Turkey bacon is 1 pt per slice usually - which is better than regular bacon (points wise ... regular bacon tastes better but give it a chance before your write it off)

WW makes their own bagels & cream cheese too which is nice.. they aren't as good as a normal bagel, but I crave the carbs an they are 2 points for a whole bagel and each section of the cream cheese is measured on the package into points so it makes it really easy. :) A not great bagel is better than no bagel in my book ;) Thomas's makes a THIN bagel .. which is no fun at first but I like to make sandwiches on them - We get them in plain and "everything" flavors and they're only 3 points for the whole thin bagel.

I like eating little points at breakfast so I start lunch with all my points left. 

Also - don't forget about fruit! Fruit is a healthy choice with your breakfast ... and if you are doing WW, fruit is zero pts! 

Right now ... What I do is eat a small white piece of toast (1.5 pts) with spray butter .. or peanut butter and counting the points with an apple (my favorite: honey-crisp) and sometimes I add in a Mini Babybel Light Cheese (1 pt)

Hopefully this has helped you think of some healthy / Weight Watcher breakfasts!
What are your favorite healthy breakfast items?

Happy Breakfast~ing! 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Chicken Marsala With Mushrooms Over Noodles (WW Friendly)

Adapted and perfected by Cathie Sobie!

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast (cut into slices)
Lawry's Tuscan Style Chicken Marsala packet
1 1/2 c. sliced mushrooms
1 1/4 c. water
Pam cooking spray
3 c. uncooked noodles (we used egg noodles)

Spray frying pan with Pam cooking spray.
Stir fry chicken about 6 minutes until no longer pink in the middle.
Remove chicken from pan.
Stir fry mushrooms in chicken pan.
Mix water and packet together on the side.
Put chicken, mushroom and packet mix together in pan.
Cook 1 or 2 minutes to warm and sauce thickens.
Cook noodles as package indicates.
Serve chicken and mushrooms over noodles.

Makes 4 cups of chicken, mushrooms and sauce together.

If you don't like mushrooms you can use any other kind of veggie - for example: onions, red peppers etc.

Weight Watcher Points Total:
5 - 1 c. noodles
6 - 1 c. chicken/mushroom/sauce
0 - broccoli on the side

For more Healthy / Weight Watcher Recipes CLICK HERE :) 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Sobie Healthy Quiche (WW Friendly)

Adapted and perfected by Cathie Sobie!

1 refrigerated pie crust
2 teaspoons butter  (We use Smart Balance Light with Flax seed Oil)
1 c. Egg Beaters
1 c. fat free half and half
½ tsp. salt
4 oz. roasted turkey breast (lunch meat)
¼ c. mixed shredded cheese
red peppers
green onions
Bake crust only at 400° for 10 minutes or until it starts to feel dry (covered with tinfoil)
Take the tinfoil off and bake for another 10 minutes or until it turns brown
Mix 1 cup Egg Beaters,  1 cup fat free half and half and ½ tsp salt together and set aside.
Reduce heat to 350° in the oven
Place all filling items inside the warm crust (chopped red peppers, chopped green onions, turkey sliced up, cheese)
Pour in Egg mixture into the crust over the filling.
Bake at 350° for 35-40minutes or until the filling is set and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Weight Watcher Points Total:
8 – crust
2 – 4oz. turkey
4 – egg beaters
0 – fat free half and half
1– butter (actually less, but I rounded up)
3 – cheese
Totals 18 … divided into 4 pieces of (large) quiche = 4.5 per serving
Total 18 … divided into 8 pieces of (smaller) quiche = 2.25 per serving

Crust partially cooked, fill with goodies

Pour in egg mixture over goodies and bake


For More Healthy / Weight Watcher Recipes CLICK HERE

Thursday, January 9, 2014

"You Should Write A Blog"

Sooo many people have been telling me this lately .. it's kind of funny! I don't know that I have enough content for a blog! But hey ... I'll try!!

So ... here I am with my blog!

So today I thought I would write about "starting" .. "getting started" .. "starting over" ... whatever the case may be.

I think the first part you need to do is "get ready" .. no I don't mean grocery shop and make sure your work out gear has been through the laundry {although .. do those!}. I mean get your HEAD ready. You have to decide that losing weight and/or working on your health is for yourself and that you are ready to make a change. You have to make that commitment of change to yourself. When I had my "start" in January 2012 I was 190lbs and unhappy with the way I felt in my own skin. I remember in August 2010 .. more than a year before I made my changes, we were leaving to go on a family vacation and I truly had no summer clothes to pack that would fit me. I cried and cried and my mom came home (because she rocks ... Hey Mom!! ) with XXL summer clothes for me ...

Here are a few pictures from that trip August 2010:


Then Jeff and I went on our first trip to Disney World in November 2010 .. had an amazing time .. and when I came back, my pictures looked like this:

"What the heck" is all I could think. I was wearing men's Tigers shirts (GO TIGERS) and the only pair of (elastic waist) shorts I owned ...Cute? I think not.Seriously, look at how sad my body language is in the middle picture (and I was at the Happiest Place On Earth!! Hello!!) and how uncomfortable I look in the last picture.

Let me tell you, that both of those instances weren't even getting me to my breaking point yet. One day I was trying on some of my clothes and my XXL stuff wasn't comfortable anymore .. and I thought to myself "Tara .. it's one thing to wear XL clothes and have them fit .. but when XXL clothes don't fit and you feel this way about yourself, you have a problem." It took me still more than a year before my head was "ready" to do something about my situation. Don't take offense to my writing this .. I'm simply telling MY story. Explaining how I FELT when I was there.

Soon there after that moment we talked to my cousin Katie about Weight Watchers. She had been doing it successfully and we wanted her help! She came over and explained how it worked and things she did. I was crazy lucky because when I had my "ah-ha moment" Jeff and my parents all had one too. Now I know that all the people in your life magically deciding they want to get on the bandwagon would be nice, but I'm sure it doesn't happen often.

 I just found this journaling card from my Project Life ... dated January 23, 2012

I did whatever amount of time I could, as fast (which was slow .. think quick walk) as I could on the treadmill and counted WW points. That is how I got from 190lbs to 160lbs. I cheated. I had ups and downs. But the main thing was, counting those points and busting my butt on the treadmill was working ... working enough to make me keep on keepin' on. So I did!

By the end of March of 2012 I had lost 21.4 lbs ...

Another point I want to make is to make sure that you don't bite off more than you can chew ..  start your changes slowly. Add more water into your day, cut out the pop, add in vegetables as sides with each meal, eat smaller portions, walk a bit if you're starting with no exercise. Ease your way into it or your "change" won't stick. It will be too much too fast of a change and you'll want to quit. There is NO shame in starting off slow. If you go from eating Mickey-D's for three meals a day and dessert after dinner to a "chicken only .. no dessert" kind of change ... you'll make yourself nuts and get in a car accident when you drive by Mickey-D's! See where I'm going with this?

You don't have to start off full blown sprinting running (shoot, I still don't really run) I would walk on the treadmill on the highest speed I could and then slow it down .. up, down up down ... WALKING is better than SITTING ON THE COUCH. Don't discredit yourself and think YOUR CHANGE isn't "THE BEST CHANGE" ... You'll get there.

In my classes at the gym they always say "this is your work out .. work at your ability" and that is completely true for starting your fitness journey too. Everyone who is trying to make a change is on a different path. Make sure you are challenging yourself and taking care of yourself with your plan to do better .. do what you can ... because as long as you change ONE thing per day, you're doing alright!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

147 .. The First Step To My Next Journey

Well! Here it is! 
I weighed in today after a month of Jeff being home, a little "vacation" in itself ... Eating crap food way more than I would like to admit and not doing consistent weigh ins. Not drinking enough water and not tracking what I ate. Jeff left yesterday .. Return date unsure (29 days at Marine Combat Training, and then straight to his MOS school) so we should know when we can think about planning our wedding next month (fingers crossed). With him being gone I tend to need something to focus on and my goals are really good for that. 

So ... From December 11- January 7 I gained about 2.5lbs 

Today's weight: 147

You know what though? It's okay. I lost 15 lbs from September 16-December 11th (while Jeff was at bootcamp) and I was getting burnt out. I took about a month off, gained 2 lbs (seriously I should be thankful it was only two! I really enjoyed myself haha)

But now 147 starts me on my next journey! 

Next stop: 130lbs by April 18th (our spring break .. I'm not going anywhere I just have chosen this as a goal date)

The plan is to count Weight Watcher points, write down everything that I eat {which I hate .. But makes a huge difference in my results}, drink a ton of water and to exercise at least 3 times per week (more if I can make it work) I am also going to be doing some arm exercises with free weights at home too. 

This plan is not new. It's simply what has worked for me. Hard work and doing what I know I need to do. It's not a magic plan or a secret, it's just doing what I need to do.

So that's the plan. That's where I'm at. Another part of my plan is to post updates on Mondays here. 

I always wish I had a real "start" picture and measurements (inspired by Mama Laughlin) and so this time I did:

Left arm: 10.5"
Right Arm: 11"
Chest: 36"
Waist: 30.5"
Hips: 38.5"
Left thigh: 22.5"
Right thigh: 22"