Thursday, January 27, 2011

Jammies and Chili

After another night of  more snowfall I woke up this morning to some beautiful sunshine and icicles! Under all that snow there is a swimming pool somewhere!


Its starting to feel like groundhog day around here with all these snow days. So the girls and I are taking full advantage of it with a pajama day! Nothing but  jammies and some tv for a relaxing day!


I am still following along in Cycle 2 with the 21 Day Diet, Sunday will be my last day! Here is an example of what I eat during a typical day, again I am not following it strictly, just as a guide.

Breakfast yesterday was a smoothie which included kefir, frozen berries, agave nectar and flaxseed oil and along with that I had half a grapefruit. I really need to start adding some greens to my drinks!


Mid-morning snack I usually have some Chobani Yogurt and an orange









Lunch is usually some sort of salad and green tea. Here is a super salad that I added some chicken breast too and one of my FAVS “bacon” which is black forest ham that I browned in a dry skillet on the stove until it was crisp like bacon. So delicious!!!

Chicken Cobb Salad

If I’m hungry for an afternoon snack I will grab some hummus and veggies or maybe some pop chips to get me over that afternoon hump!


Dinner last night was Turkey Chili  that I served over some whole wheat pasta, a salad and green tea.

Quick Turkey Chili

  • 1 lb. ground turkey breast
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 jar Classico De Napoli Tomato & Basil sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 14 oz whole tomatoes, un-drained and chopped
  • 1 tbl. chili powder
  • beans of your choice

Brown the turkey and break up into chunks with onion. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. If you like a thicker chili, add less water or cook it down longer than 30 minutes. Serve over your choice of pasta.

Makes 6-8 servings






It was pretty tasty, you can basically add anything to this chili. I just used what I had on hand last night, beans would be a great addition but hubby is anti-bean. lol


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sweet Saturday

Do you ever have a sweet craving but don’t want to make a whole batch of cookies or brownies? That’s how I feel today, need some chocolate but certainly don’t need to be tempted by a whole batch of goodness!

I remember seeing this recipe in my Health magazine for Dark Chocolate and Oat Clusters which has only four ingredients and  makes 4 servings. Bingo!!

Dark Chocolate and Oat Clusters

  • 2 tbl. peanut butter
  • 2 tbl. low fat milk
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

Heat the peanut butter, milk and chocolate chips over low heat until the chocolate is melted.  Add the oats and drop 8 round tablespoon full portions onto wax paper. Place in the fridge for 10 minutes to set.

Makes 4 servings






Easy enough, right?! Nothing like a little indulgence on a Saturday afternoon. This is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth, I love the chewiness they have and what’s not to like about chocolate and peanut butter!

Next time I think I will try adding a little  nutella or some dried cherries!

Hope your weekend is going well! Smile

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cycle 2 and Taco Salad

Happy Thursday!

Well, I am on to Cycle 2: Activate for the 17 Day Diet which is designed to re-set your metabolism so you stay in a fat-burning zone. It’s quite easy, basically you are alternating each day between Cycle 1 and Cycle 2, always changing it up and keeping your body guessing.

Before I go on, I just wanted to answer a couple questions that some have had.

  1. Can you drink coffee/alcohol on this diet?  You are allowed 1-2 cups of coffee a day. As for alcohol, it is restricted up until Cycle 3 which then you are allowed 1 drink a day.
  2. Have you been hungry at all? No! I am eating so much more food now than I was before and I’m even finding it difficult to finish everything on my plate. One of the biggest obstacles that I have overcome is snacking at night while watching tv, not even hungry anymore!

So for Cycle 2 shell fish, lean cut meats (sirloin steak, pork tenderloin, lamb etc.), natural starches,  starchy vegetables and legumes are added back into mix! Yahoooo for carbs! Again, there is a whole list in this chapter for each group, you pick the ones you like! You are allowed 2 servings of natural starches per cycle 2 day, such as oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, couscous etc. Some of the starchy vegetables listed are sweet potatoes, yams, butternut squash, spaghetti squash etc. For the next 17 days, these are some new options that I can have, every other day alternating with Cycle 1. Not bad, right?! Although I am not following it strictly but using it as a guide I am still enjoying it and am feeling lighter and more energetic every day!

Here is a Sample Day on Cycle 2

  • Wake up drink - 1 cup of hot water with 1/2 squeezed lemon
  • Breakfast – 1/2 cup oatmeal or grits, cooked, 4 scrambled egg whites, 1 peach and 1 cup of green tea
  • Lunch – grilled chicken or shrimp on lettuce with lots of veggies, 1 medium baked sweet potato and 1 cup green tea
  • Dinner – Grilled pork chops, steamed or boiled cabbage, large toss salad, 1 cup green tea
  • Snacks – 1 medium orange and yogurt

Since I don’t eat pork and very rarely eat red meat my choices are   chicken or turkey. Well lately Kailey, my oldest daughter and I have  been on a ground turkey breast kick. She loves taco’s and could eat them every night but after looking at the sodium content (even on the low sodium option) on the back of the seasoning packet my mouth dropped! After searching the web I found a GREAT taco seasoning recipe with only 9mg of sodium compared to 560mg that’s in the packet!

I decided to try it out on my version of the 17 Day Diet’s Taco Salad!

Turkey Taco Salad

  • 1 lb. ground turkey breast
  • taco seasoning (see link above)
  • lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, peppers, etc
  • monterey jack and cheddar cheese, shredded

First of all make sure you are using ground turkey BREAST, just regular ground turkey contains the skins so it’s as fattening as 80% ground beef. Brown the turkey in a pan until cooked through and sprinkle several teaspoons (or more to your liking) on the cooked turkey. Serve on a bed of lettuce with your favorite salad toppings along with the shredded cheese. Where’s the dressing? I feel it really doesn’t need any since there is so much flavor form the turkey but feel free to add your favorite!



Not in the mood or don’t have time for a salad? Make a wrap out of it!


Next week I will be posting another option that uses this same ground turkey recipe that will be a hit for your Super Bowl party!

Hope your day is going well!! Smile

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

More White Stuff

Not only has more snow been falling outside all day, it is now changing over to sleet. Oh joy, just want I was wishing for! As long as it doesn’t turn into another ice storm…

Ice Storm 2008 008

At least someone in this house is enjoying yet another day off from school.


Not only do they like to play in it, they like to eat it!

Should I feel insulted?


And “P” in it…the dogs that is!


Some go a little overboard…



No hot chocolate for you!!! Sorry, hubby is a HUGE Seinfeld fan, I couldn’t resist! I have never made a pot of soup without him quoting the soup nazi from Seinfeld! No Soup For You!!! lol

As much as I would enjoy a bowl of soup on a day like today, I can’t help but wish I was back here by the pool eating a refreshing bowl of yogurt n’ fruit with some homemade granola. Mmmm!


Then reality strikes!


Would it be too much to ask if we could fast forward about 3 months! Winking smile

*Here’s a little tip for drying out wet mittens and boots overnight, stuff them with newspaper and they’ll be dry by morning!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Back on Track

I haven’t done a whole lot of cooking or baking the past few weeks, hence the lack of recipes on my blog lately. After the holidays, like everyone else I feel like I am on a sugar and carb overload and in dire need for a complete cleanse of everything.

So I thought this would be a great time to get back on my healthy lifestyle and to help me get started I borrowed this from a friend…


The 17 Day Diet by Dr. Mike Moreno. I have seen him on all the morning shows talking about his new diet that consists of  four 17 Day cycles; Accelerate, Activate, Achieve and Arrive. He states that if you follow this diet strictly and exercise you can lose as much as 12-15 lbs during the first cycle.  On this diet you eat lean proteins, vegetables, low sugar fruits, natural carbs, probiotics and good fats. This sounded pretty sensible to me so I decided to go ahead and give Cycle 1Accelerate a try. My main goal is not to lose a lot of weight but to get back on a healthy balanced diet, so I am not strictly following this, just using it as a guide.  On this cycle you can eat unlimited amounts of protein and cleansing vegetables, some fruits, healthy fats and probiotics but are restricted from carbs.  Did I mention how much I love carbs?! I’m going to be honest, by day 3 I wanted to cry! But once I got over that hump I felt great! It’s actually very easy to follow,  there is  a complete menu and recipes for 17 days of each cycle so all the guess work has been taken out for you. Each food category has a list and you choose your favorites.

Hear is a sample menu:

Wake up drink - 1 cup of hot water with 1/2 squeezed lemon (At first I thought no way can I wake up and drink that…..turns out I love it and it gets things moving if you know want I mean!!

Breakfast – 2 hard boiled or poached eggs, 1/2 grapefruit or other fruit from the list and 1 cup of green tea

Lunch – Super salad with unlimited veggies with 1 tbl olive oil mix with balsamic vinegar and 1 cup of green tea

Dinner – Plenty of grilled chicken with unlimited amounts of veggies, steamed or raw, 1 cup of green tea

Snacks – yogurt and 1 fruit from the list (I usually have these between breakfast and lunch)

drink plenty of water throughout the day

Why green tea with every meal? It contains natural chemicals that increase fat burn.

My biggest challenge besides no carbs has been getting in the veggies, this diet has definitely helped me try things that I have never tried before! Lunch has also been difficult because I am used to just having greek yogurt with some fruit and now I am eating so much more whether it’s a salad, homemade soup or a grilled chicken wrap.

How have I done so far? After finishing up Cycle 1, I feel great, I have so much more energy and much to my surprise I have lost over 7 lbs. Yikes!! This cycle is great if you have a special occasion coming up that you want to look and feel great for or just to get you butt back on track like me!

On to Cycle 2 – Activate which incorporates natural carbs back into the diet! Yay, I can’t wait!!

This week I made my version of the Chicken -Vegetable Soup, one of the recipes from the book. Although it may not look very appetizing in the picture it was AWESOME!!!

Homemade Chicken Vegetable Soup

Makes 4 large bowls

  • 1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast – cooked
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 cup of frozen okra
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cup cauliflower
  • 1 pkg.  spinach
  • 15 oz. can  crushed tomatoes
  • 2 14 oz. cans  low sodium chicken broth
  • pesto*
  • salt and pepper

In a large pot cook onions, celery and carrots in a tsp of oil until tender. Add crushed tomatoes and chicken broth, bring to a boil. Add the cauliflower and okra and let simmer for about 20 minutes. Next add the cooked chicken and spinach, cook until its wilted down then just before serving stir in pesto. 

*If you remember my post here about freezing pesto in ice cube trays, I thought this would be a perfect soup to add one of those cubes and boy was I right! Delish!!!




On to Cycle 2, wish me luck!!

Did I mention I’m taking my hubby along for the ride??? Winking smile

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snow Day!!

Oh to be a kid again! The only bummer was school got cancelled yesterday, a whole day before the storm even started. I remember as a child going to bed at night waiting anxiously for the morning to arrive to have my mom come in and tell me school had been cancelled. Seems as if the fun of it has been taken away,  none the less the girls were thrilled for our first official big nor’easter!


Long gone are the days with the big wooden sleds which weighed more than us that we’d have to lug up and down the hills. I found this snow seat for only a few dollars for a 2pk. that works great!


Getting plummeted by dad!


What’s the best thing about playing in the snow?? Coming inside to some of mom’s homemade hot chocolate!




I think some snow got to their brain! lol


Mom’s Hot Chocolate

  • milk
  • milk chocolate
  • cinnamon
  • marshmallows

Simmer some milk on the stove and bring almost to a boil, add chocolate and cinnamon and stir until chocolate is melted. Pour into mug and add marshmallows and a left over candy cane if desired.


Happy Snow Day!!

Monday, January 10, 2011

My Birthday Weekend

Don’t you love it when you birthday falls on a weekend rather than a weekday? It just gives you the excuse to celebrate a little longer or in my case get pampered for as long as I can stretch it out!
I woke up to Jordyn singing Happy Birthday to me from her bed, she may be tiny and sweet but she has a set of pipes on her that could wake the dead! lol
The girls had the day planned out with some spa treatments…
Jordyn did my fingers nails
while Kailey gave me a pedi.
What is the perfect gift to go along with my nails???
A visit to The Coach Outlet of course! Hubby was suppose to be taking a pic of my new purse…oops! The girls and I could have stayed in there for hours!
What’s the best way to end your birthday weekend???
The cutest chocolate cupcakes made by the girls with dad!
Chocolate makes turning a year older that much easier!! Winking smile
Happy Monday, hope your week is off to a great start!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Playing Catch Up

We had an unexpected visitor at our house…
it wasn’t the guy with the long white beard and a  cherry nose. It was more like the Grinch but only worse….much worse! He didn’t steal our Christmas but he did ruin a good portion of our vacation week. And for all of you parents or teachers out there you know that once one person has it, it spreads like wild fire. Just when you think it’s over you are suddenly awaken at night to the quick pitter patter of feet to the bathroom only to find out they didn’t quite make it that far! On the bright side, I have discovered that hubby is a fantastic housekeeper and I now have a pristine house to start the New Year!
Here’s a quick catch up of our Christmas!
Christmas Eve is always celebrated at our house with my side of the family. Although I took the night off from taking pics of the food, it is a tradition to have calzones from our local bakery, lots of easy finger foods and dips along with lots of sweet treats!
Pillow Pets!!!
Tracking Santa on Dad’s phone before heading to bed!! He’s was very generous this year!
It wouldn’t be Christmas morning without these..
Christmas Day is spent with the in-laws playing games and doing crafts.
Christmas Bingo, anyone?! Playing for nickels, go big or go home! lol
How ‘bout some cookie decorating?

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!