March 24th, 2014

Is this thing on?

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Posted in Short & Sweet |
January 27th, 2014

It’s not that I’m unsympathetic. I do see where you’re coming from. I’ve been there myself. I was there for many many years. I relished being there. I relished being fat. I lived it. I earned it. I was content in it.

Until I wasn’t.

I stopped believing the lies I constantly told myself. I couldn’t look in the mirror anymore and see the chubby woman who “held her weight” pretty good. I only saw the fat chick. I couldn’t walk into the plus size stores anymore, believing that an 18W just had more leg room than the rare department store size 18. I couldn’t sit on the couch anymore when all my four year old little girl wanted to do was go outside and have mommy come play with her. I couldn’t believe that I was big boned. I couldn’t believe that I was ok with how my life was turning out.

I was done.

Done accepting the excuses and done believing the lies. So I decided to do something about it. I decided to take control of every bite of food that went into my mouth and to be accountable for the physical activities I participated in.

2004 to 2013

It didn’t happen overnight. Far from it. It’s taken years of dedication, commitment, consistency, blood, sweat, and a whole lot of tears. The path wasn’t straight but ultimately it’s brought me to where I am today: HEALTHY.

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May 3rd, 2013

Pulled BBQ Chicken
(Recipe is for pork, I’m subbing with chicken breast because they’re on sale this week.)
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Meatloaf w/ Mashed “potatoes”
(Shussshhhh….don’t tell the kids it’s not real ‘taters!)
PALEOMEATLOAF

Spaghetti w/ Seasoned Beef & Spaghetti Squash
(Kids get real noodles, I’ll stick with the squash.)
PALEOREDSAUCE

PALEOSPAGSQUASH

Taco Bowl (Salad or wrap) w/ Avocado/Ranch Dressing
(This HAS to happen this week.)
PALEOTACOBOWL
Chicken Soup
(I already have 1/2 a chicken shredded in the freezer & 4 cups homeade stock. Will modify recipe to fit what I have on hand.)
PALEOCHIXSOUP
Balsamic Marinated Steaks w/ Baked Sweet Potatoes
(Basic marinade, should be just as yummy on beef.)PALEOBALSMARI

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Posted in Face Stuffing, Paleo |
May 1st, 2013

My kids don’t remember when their mom was fat. They don’t remember the mom who sat on the couch all evening watching re-runs and eating hot dogs cooked in the toaster oven. They don’t remember the mom – red-faced and out of breath from a simple preschool game of “duck duck goose” during a classroom visit. They don’t remember the mom who, at 226 pounds and sized 22, got sick and tired of being fat. Not thick. Not plump. Not a little overweight. Obese.

I thank God every day that they no longer have that mom. Now they have a mom who spends her TV watching time preparing healthy meals. They have a mom who run’s and jumps and cycles and lifts heavy things then sets them back down again, repeatedly. They have a mom who is active with them and who turned in those size 22 fat pants for skinny jeans & running shoes. I’ve had my ups and downs along the way, but I’ve finally gotten to the point where I can say I am healthy. I’m a healthy mom. I’m a healthy me.

The latest part of this journey was making the switch to the Paleo lifestyle of eating. The first thirty days of this process, The Whole30, has been life changing. “It Starts With Food” written by Dallas & Melissa Hartwig lays out in plain English the “why’s” of Paleo eating, not just the “how.” I already knew the how but until I fully understood the why, I was never interested in giving it a try. Why should I give up sugar? Why are grains affecting my digestive health? Why does chewing sugarless gum make me hungrier than if I’d never chewed the first piece? ISWF answered all these questions and more.

I started my own Whole30 on April 1st and found great humor that it was April Fools Day. Many of my friends thought I was a fool for doing this. I was already a pretty good eater according to a lot of those on the standard American diet. Problem is, it’s the standard American diet that’s so foolish. Added sugars and sugar substitutes fill our bellies instead of real, whole, nutritious foods. I found, after making the switch to Paleo & The Whole30 that I was relying heavily on processed and enriched frankenfoods.

By Day 15, I had lost 4.4 pounds, was down one dress size and soon to be in the next size smaller. You’re not *supposed* to weigh yourself during the 30 days but I just couldn’t help myself. After being a daily weigher for so many years, breaking free from the scale has been one of the harder parts of the Whole30. For the record, the scale is currently leaning against the wall in my closet behind some clothing.

It’s now Day 31. The Whole30 is over. My official results? On March 31st I weighed 151.8 pounds. Today I weigh 142.9 for a total loss of 8.9 pounds. I could kick myself for not taking measurements to compare inches lost, but I have gone from a size 12 to a size 8 since the beginning of March. I will add that I started getting serious about cleaning up my diet further then so just for reporting sake, my weight on March 1st was 165. Have you done the math already in your head? That’s 22.1 pounds lost in the last 61 days, an average of 2.5 per week.

Now what? Where do I go from here? I keep going forward with Paleo. I continue to prepare real food for myself and my family. My children were not as gung-ho about ditching sugar and grains but they’re slowly coming around to the fact that there are healthier options available to them (especially when Mom refuses to buy the junk food and bring it into the house). They both want to make smarter choices with their food but in large part because of what I’ve previously allowed them to eat and from the choices available to them when they are not at home, it’s a harder transition for them. But I won’t give up. We’ll continue to cook up real, whole foods and learn along the way a ton of new foods and repeat favorites (hello, almond/cashew butter!).

Do I still want sugar? Not as bad. Will I eat the occasional cupcake or drink a latte every now and then? Sure. It’ll probably make me feel like crap, but I’m also taking full responsibility for ALL the food choices I make.

At the end of the day I love the way I’m eating. And I love that I’m not that fat mom anymore.

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Posted in Paleo |
April 22nd, 2013

I made my own nut butter last night for the first time ever and all I can say is I am NEVER buying it from the store ever ever ever again!!! It was so easy and the results were amazing! Tastes just like the Justin’s Maple Almond butter. I look forward to polishing off this jar soon & experimenting with adding unsweetened cocoa powder next time!

Cashew/Almond Butter

1 cup salted, roasted (no oils) cashews (Planter’s Natural Harvest)
1 cup raw almonds
2-3 teaspoons coconut oil
1-2 medjool dates, pitted & chopped
1/4 tsp salt

1. Process nuts in bowl of food processor until a fine grain (I used my Cuisnart MINI chopper, a bit taxing on the motor, but it held up!)
2. Add salt and process. Add date(s) and coconut oil (one tsp at a time).
3. Scrape down sides of bowl and continue processing until desired consistency is reached. Add additional coconut oil as desired.
4. Place finished nut butter in glass jar with tight fitting lid & store in refrigerator. Will keep 1-2 weeks.

yield: 11 oz
serving size: 1 oz
calories: 130 per serv.
fat gm: 11 per serv.

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Posted in Face Stuffing |
February 26th, 2013

Invitations are stacked on my dining room table daring me to address their outer envelopes. The dress has been ordered I’m obsessively stalking the UPS man. The first meeting with my wedding coordinator has been scheduled to go over logistics. A photographer has been secured.

Yep. It’s really happening. We’re really getting mmm… mmmar… MARRIED.

In less than 4 1/2 months, June 15th, I’ll be walking down the aisle. A real aisle this time. In a church. With a pastor. In the middle of our very first date, The Fella asked me if I ever saw myself getting married again (knowing a bit about my past experiences already). I remember holding up my finger and saying, “one more time, the last time.”

And I finally found my Solomon.

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Posted in Dating Games |
January 18th, 2013

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You didn’t think I was joking did you?

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January 18th, 2013

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Maybe just maybe…if I can figure out this new blogging app I just installed on my phone, I may post here more frequently than once every four months. Consider this a test post.

Oh…and the picture? Yeah I’m on crutches, recovering from a hip stress fracture.

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Posted in Aaaah Crap, Short & Sweet |
December 26th, 2012

Last week we had several holiday parties at church that I volunteered to bake cupcakes for. Whenever I temporarily go insane make four dozen at a time, I try and make two different flavor combinations just to have a little variety. The adults at the parties seemed to favor the chocolate cupcakes with salted caramel buttercream. The kids, however, made a nose-dive into these babies…

Peppermint Cupcakes with Peppermint White Chocolate Buttercream

As usual, find your favorite (or use a box mix, who cares!) white cake recipe that will make 2 dozen cupcakes. Bake, bake, bakety bake… I almost always use buttermilk in place of regular milk in my recipes and that was true in this case. I also added 1 teaspoon of peppermint extract to the cake batter. While the cupcakes were cooking and cooling, I took a handful of unwrapped peppermint candies (you could use candy canes as well), placed them in a heavy duty zip top plastic bag, grabbed my hammer and then terrified the cats while I slammed away at the mints, pulverizing them – but leaving some bigger chunks in there too. I placed them in a shallow square container and set them in the fridge (do this so they don’t get sticky from humidity or warm kitchen temps) to wait till I was ready for them after frosting the cuppies.

After the cupcakes are baked, but before you begin working on the frosting – take an 11-12 oz bag of white chocolate chips and melt them in a medium sized bowl in the microwave or in a double boiler – according to the melting instructions on the bag of chips. Set aside to cool completely – but not reharden.

My base frosting recipe is this:

2 cups of Crisco (or 4 sticks of butter for you purists)
2 lbs of powdered sugar (I rarely sift it, but knock yourself out if you insist)
2 teaspoons clear vanilla extract (if you use regular, your frosting will be off white)
1 teaspoon peppermint extract (added to this recipe only)
(up to) 4 oz. milk

Sometimes I use butter flavor Crisco but when I want my white frostings to remain stark white and not off white, I stick with the solid white Crisco. I start by placing the Crisco in in the bowl of my heavy duty Kitchen Aid mixer and cream on low using the whisk attachment, about 2-3 minutes. Add vanilla & peppermint extracts and mix until combined. Pour melted/cooled white chocolate into bowl & mix on low 1-2 minutes until fully incorporated. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, about 2-3 cups at a time (1/4 of the 2 lb bag if you use the Publix brand). After adding in half of the sugar, you may need to begin to drizzle in some of your milk. Add in the remaining sugar and mix until well incorporated, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl at least twice. Add remaining milk if you need a thinner consistency or add additional powdered sugar if the frosting is too thin. Scrape down the sides of the mixer again and then mix on high speed 3-5 minutes to whip fluffy.

For cupcakes I used frosting bags but if you have gallon sized freezer zip bags you can use those as well. Place about 1/3 of the frosting in your bag of choice (with or without decorating tip inserted into the corner), snip off the corner of your bag and pipe frosting onto completely cooled cupcakes. Top frosted cupcakes with crushed peppermints (you can also gently roll tops in the crused mints for a “snowball” effect).

Serve immediately or refrigerate up to two days before serving at room temperature.

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Posted in Now We're Cooking |
December 19th, 2012

It has been gently suggested many times over the last few months that I post my weekly cupcake creations on my blog. The best response to that has been, “yeah…I’ll put that on my to-do list, it’s now #4,643 on the list.” So the fact that I’m now taking (hopefully only) 10 minutes or so to write this out is surprising even to me. No promises that it’ll happen every week once Cupcake Wednesday is officially back from GCF/vacation, but for today…it’s happening.

Chocolate cupcake with salted caramel buttercream topped with crushed toffee…

I’m not a food blogger or claim to be, so as usual, it’s less of a recipe and more of a story. For me, cupcakes are all about the frosting. Yes, I want a delicious tasting cupcake and that’s always part of the end goal but lets face it, you’re here for the frosting. So having said that, find or use your favorite chocolate cake recipe for the cupcake portion of this combo. I will suggest this – substitute cold coffee for at least a portion of the liquid in your cake recipe. I actually use the LorAnn flavoring oils and had some coffee extract on hand so that’s what I used. Using buttermilk is also a pretty standard trick of mine.

(this is already taking more than 10 minutes…)

For my “buttercream” frostings – I’m going to give away a big secret that’s never been a real secret to begin with if you had asked me… I rarely use butter in my frostings. I use straight up lard. Crisco white and butter flavor Crisco produce outstanding frostings (yeah, I’m still going to call it buttercream, deal with it) and for cupcakes that need to be left out for several hours, it’s a safer choice than butter that could spoil if left out for too long.

For the salted caramel buttercream, I used an entire 17 oz. jar of salted caramel I had picked up earlier this fall at Williams-Sonoma while visiting my sister in Birmingham (hi Cindy!). I’d held onto it for a special occasion and when I’d received a gift of this ginormous block of butter toffee (thanks Coleen!) I knew immediately what I was going to do with both of these delictable items.

My base frosting recipe is this:

2 cups of Crisco (or 4 sticks of butter for you purists)
2 lbs of powdered sugar (I rarely sift it, but knock yourself out if you insist)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract or flavoring of your choice
(up to) 4 oz. water or milk

Whenever I add another solid to the base mixture (peanut butter, biscoff, SALTED CARAMEL, etc.) then I will usually cut in half the amount of Crisco I use. I start by placing the Crisco and caramel in the bowl of my heavy duty Kitchen Aid mixer and cream them together on low using the whisk attachment, about 3-5 minutes. Add vanilla extract and mix until combined. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, about 2-3 cups at a time (1/4 of the 2 lb bag if you use the Publix brand). After adding in half of the sugar, you may need to begin to drizzle in some of your water or milk. Add in the remaining sugar and mix until well incorporated, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl at least twice. Add remaining water or milk if you need a thinner consistence or add additional powdered sugar if the frosting is too thin. Scrape down the sides of the mixer again and then mix on high speed 3-5 minutes to whip fluffy.

For cupcakes I used frosting bags but if you have gallon sized freezer zip bags you can use those as well. Place about 1/3 of the frosting in your bag of choice (with or without decorating tip inserted into the corner), snip off the corner of your bag and pipe frosting onto completely cooled cupcakes. Top frosted cupcakes with crushed toffee bits.

Serve immediately or refrigerate up to two days before serving at room temperature.

I also made a batch of Peppermint White Chocolate cupcakes and if I get another spare 10 minutes (more like 30 now!) sometime in the next six months, I’ll write up a post about those as well.

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Posted in Now We're Cooking |