Friday, October 5, 2012

Trying something a little different...

This is a post I wrote up for my weight loss blog - thought I would share it here too since it's what's going on right now!

Yes, I haven't posted in here in almost 2 months NO I haven't given up. But I haven't lost any more either.  But I've decided to try something different.  Let me explain.

Back in September I visited with 2 girlfriends who were going to try this WHOLE30 way of eating (for more information check out the book "It starts with food" by Dallas & Melissa Hartwig). It's a lot like Paleo (if you've heard of that) and it's basically 30 days where you are gluten free, dairy free, legume free, and sugar free. I know I know - if you're anything like me you are asking WHAT DO YOU EAT THEN?? Let me tell you ;)  You have Meat, lots of it, EGGS, you have fresh veggies (no white potatoes  peas, beans, corn) and fruit - lots of them too! You can also have nuts (except peanuts because they really aren't nuts anyway) and a limited amount of dried fruit.  They do suggest that you eat as good of meat as you can afford - as in grass fed meats, wild caught seafood etc.. And they really would like to see you eat all organic fruits and veggies.  But I have to be honest with you, our budget just doesn't allow for that right now. So I am doing this W30 on Aldi fruit veggies and meat.  Yes, I understand that I probably won't get all the benefits from the W30 as I would if I were eating better foods....but I'm doing what I can do.

I really thought it was going to be a lot harder to give up everything than it has been. I'm currently on day 5 and have only had cravings on day 2 when I was out in town and drove by an ice cream shop ;)  I SO wanted something SWEET and SUGARY....but I was good.  Part of this W30 is re-training your body to crave better things, to eat the "fat" in your body instead of "carbohydrates", and to "slay the sugar dragon."  This way of eating can also help hormone problems, infertility, inflammation in the body (Sinus pain, muscle pain etc...), helps to lower cholesterol, helps with allergies, and MANY MANY other "problems" that are going on in your body. It should also help with my relationship with food. (YAY!)

At the end of the W30 you have 10 days where you re-introduce items back to your diet - like Gluten, Dairy etc... and you can see how your body reacts to it.  If you have problems, you may not want to introduce that item back into your diet - it might not be worth the stomach aches, pain etc... Right now my 30 days will end on October 30th.  At this point depending on how I"m doing I may start another W30 right away, especially if I am seeing the same results as a bunch of my friends have been seeing.  So I don't really have a plan for the "end" of my W30 yet. By that time I might just really NEED something that isn't approved, and then again, maybe I won't!

So I'm only at the beginning of my journey and so far I'm enjoying it. On day one I had a very small headache, but nothing major. On day 3 I felt sick ALL DAY LONG. But I wonder if that has anything to do with my period, being on W30 AND using Clomid all at the same time ;)  I kind of think it did. But since then I've felt good - I'm not usually hungry at all, and I have to remind myself to eat!

So here we go! 25 days left!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Dump Soup

Have you ever looked into your pantry or refridgerator and thought, good grief what can I make with all these random ingredients?? Well that was TOTALLY me this week! I have been trying to use up some items in my pantry so I decided to just dump a BUNCH of stuff in a pot and call it soup....I was really thinking that this would taste horrible - HONESTLY!  But it turned out to be amazing! It's a little spicy so if you're making it for the kiddos, you may want to leave out a green chili or two ;)  

So for my benefit (and anyone else who may want to read this!) I'm typing it out - sadly I didn't even take a picture :(

Dump Soup - by Christy Msal :) (original no?)

*Do not drain any of your canned items!

2 cans diced Tomatoes with chilies
1 large can diced tomatoes
2 packets of onion soup mix
1 14 oz can beef broth
1 bag mixed frozen veggies
1/2 bag frozen green beans
1 small can diced green chilies
1/4 cup rice
1/2 tsp of garlic powder (I know right? I didn't have any fresh on hand! so unlike me!)

Put it all in a pan and let it get HOT took me about an hour or so - when it's hot strain out about 1/2 of the veggies with a slotted spoon and use the immersion blender to blend them until smooth. I'm sure a regular blender would work too - I just wanted to use my immersion blender ;) Caution - if you use a regular blender hold down the lid with a towel or something to protect your hand from the steam, and to hold the lid on - if you don't hold down the lid your blender WILL explode hot veggies ALL OVER YOUR KITCHEN...yes, I speak from experience! Then add 1-2 tsp of cornstarch to blended veggies - blend again so you don't have any clumps. The cornstarch will help thicken the soup. Return blended veggies to soup, mix well.  Continue to cook soup on low for another 2-4 hours until it starts to get thick (more like a chili)

Serve with shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream (although Brian liked it without anything extra!)

So there you go - that's what we had for dinner the last few nights :) Something I REALLY had no hope in WHATSOEVER, turned out amazing :)  FOR THE WIN!!!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Hey Good Looking, What You Got Cooking?

I've been doing a little bit of cooking lately and well...I'm SO behind in posting any of the pictures! So here are a FEW of the recipes I've made the last few weeks - all of them have been fantastic :)

Overnight Blueberry French Toast:
I made this at Christmas time for my Mother-in-love and Brother-in-law and it was a HUGE hit :) I made it again recently and made a few changes and was still fantastic! The first time I made it I thought it could be a little sweeter - so this time I added 1/8 cup of sugar to the egg mixture - it helped.  Next time I think I will add some cinnamon and nutmeg :)  I also did not layer it in the pan like I did the first time - I mixed it all together - much better.  I also made this 24 hours before I was going to cook it up - worked wonderful! (I also used the bread from the recipe below...not sure if I liked it, but Brian did!)

The Blueberry syrup - don't skip this step - it's fantastic!! 
The deliciousness in a bowl!! 

Easy Homemade French Bread
This is a fantastic recipe and I WILL be making it again! I let the bread rise 4 times and it was SUPER fluffy.  I also changed the water in the stove once or twice to keep it steamy :)  I made one batch at a time in my kitchenaid mixer using the dough hook - seriously, the easiest bread I've ever made :)

Don't skip the egg wash step - the loafs are kinda ugly without it!

Last night we hosted our small group at our house and I always try and make a "sweet" something and a "savory" something - you know, to please the crowd :)  Here are the two recipes I made:

Texas Trash
The name "Texas Trash" was all over Pinterest - but the actual recipe just calls it "Warm Bean Dip" - Texas Trash is more fun :)  This was such a hit, that I didn't get a picture of the final product -oops!  But it was super simple to make. The only change I would do is mix the top layer of cheese in with the bean part - just keep enough cheese to sprinkle on top. Serve with Tortilla chips. The group really seemed to like this one!

Yes, this recipe was brought to you by Target ;) lol

Cherry Cheesecake Dip
This was fantastic!! Seriously the easiest dessert/dip I've EVER made.  The recipe says NOT to use a mixer to mix the white layer together - I used my kitchenaid mixer with the beater attachment and it came out REALLY fluffy and nice - I mixed the cream cheese and the fluff together on a higher speed, and then added the cool whip at the lowest level until it was JUST mixed together - don't over mix!  I would love to try this with other fruits - Blueberries, Strawberries, Raspberries (for Brian) etc... the sky is the limit ;)  Make sure to have extra graham crackers on hand!

Better Than "You Know What" Cake 2 
I made this cake for our 4th anniversary. It's from the Point of Grace's "Cooking with Grace" cookbook. It was really good - the only thing "I" would change is to melt the chocolate chips - I wasn't crazy about that "crunch" in the middle of an ooey gooey cake mixture! lol But Brian really liked it that it's up to you!

18.5 oz German chocolate Cake mix - (I used a double fudge chocolate cake mix)
       **You also want the ingredients on the back of the cake mix**
1 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup caramel sundae topping (or the whole jar if you forget to read the me lol)
12 oz frozen whipped topping, thawed (or 16 to finish up the carton lol)
3 Heath Bars, crushed (or just buy the already crushed up bag of heath bars by the chocolate chips)

1. Heat oven to 350
2. Grease and flour 9x13 pan (I didn't flour it - I used the Pam spray with flour in it)
3. Prepare cake mix and directed on package, pour into prepared pan
4. after 10 minutes of baking, remove cake from oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips
5. return to oven and continue to bake until cake is done
6. while cake is still hot use the end of a wooden spoon to poke several holes in the top of the cake.
7. pour sweetened condensed milk over the cake.
8. Let cool completely
9. Top with caramel sauce, then whipped topping
10. sprinkle with candy pieces

Keep cake refrigerated. It gets better the next day! Enjoy!!  Serves 12-15

I made this 2 days before we were going to eat it - and it was fantastic!!

Well there you have it - just a few recipes that I've made recently - what have you been cooking?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Sweet Gifts

This past weekend (yes, I'm a little late) I got a really sweet package from my friend Faye. After a week that wasn't so great it was a bright spot that helped me get out of my funk! lol!

Faye, if you read this - thank you so so so much :) I really do love everything you sent!!!

Who wouldn't want to open a package that looks like this:
 What it looked like BEFORE I got into it :)
 The sweet card!
 Animal Sprinkles!! aren't they cute!
{elephants & dolphins}
Same container - other side: 
{gorillas & lions}
 Cupcake liners - gorgeous, right?
  She also included this cupcake cookbook - I'm thinking we might be having cupcakes soon ;) LOL 

Here are just a few of the recipes that jumped out at me: 

Chocolate Coca-Cola Cupcakes with Cherries
 Margarita Cupcakes:
 This is a Maple Bacon Cupcake - Brian would love this - I'm sure!
 Spicy Chocolate Cupcakes
 LOVE this one - super cute!!
The whole package: 
Not pictured above - fun nail stickers, toe separators, nail shiner and a Kari Jobe CD.

The Kari Jobe CD is FANTASTIC - the songs have all been a huge blessing to me :)

I love fun little springy packages!!
Thanks again Faye!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Family Tree

Last night I had the privalage of seeing a bunch of different Christian artists in concert. They were all fantastic. I loved hearing some new singers/bands for the first time - new music is always great!!  But the one song that really jumped out at me was "Family Tree" by Matthew West.  He told the story of the girl that this song was written about. I could relate alot to her.

While not my entire family tree is messed up - there are a few branches that are. People have done things that are un-forgivable; things that I am ashamed to even admit has happened in my family. Things that have turned people away from being MY friend - yet I had nothing to do with them.  

I am SO thankful that I serve a God who is MUCH MUCH bigger than all these "things" or "actions" He CAN and WILL forgive everything - even when I find it hard to do so.  God CAN and WILL breathe new life into your (my) family tree - the actions of others DOES NOT have to be your (my) legacy!! Praise God!!  

I hope this song blesses you like it did me! 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Cooking by the Month

Today I'm finishing up another month of meals - don't know why but this one just WORE ME OUT! (ok ok, so maybe I should have started earlier in the day...hmm...)

Here are the recipes I did this time:

Sloppy Joes - you know the recipe

Hot Dogs/Brauts & Buns

Hamburgers - again, just your favorite burgers, I made them into patties and then froze them with wax paper between each burger.

Pork Chops - I do a mix of (and nope I don't have measurements sorry!) Soy Sauce, Worst. Sauce, 2-3 garlic cloves crushed, 1 onion sliced, Olive Oil, Liquid Smoke, Salt & Pepper.

Hawaiian Chicken: (Use all the ingredients in the picture - put it in your crockpot for 6-8 hours, serve over brown rice - SUPER yummy!!) 

Baked ziti - - I did this one last time as well, the noodles turned out SUPER mushy - I tried not cooking them at all this time - we'll see how it works! 

Honey Spice glazed pork chops - -SUPER easy to throw together (I don't even brown the pork chops before freezing them) and I usually have everything in my cupboard! yay! 

Mini – Cheeseburger Meatloafs - - I will make this as a large meatloaf - it's just easier!! Remember to throw this in a ziplock and smoosh it FLAT for extra freezer space! 

Creamy Chicken Taquitos  - - these are FANTASTIC and very easy to double! 

Tex Mex Beef Enchiladas - - If I make these again I will use flour tortillas - the corn ones just don't work well in a ziplock bag, so I ended up using one of my casserole dishes - which I didn't want to do this time. 

Chicken Stir-Fry - I don't have a recipe for this, just throw everything in my wok and stir-fry it ;) 

Chicken Tetrazzini

I made the Chicken Enchiladas, The Upside Down Fettuccine Pie (I don't care for baked pasta - so I just throw this all together and then freeze, thaw heat & serve - so tasty!), Tator Tot Casserole, Lasagna & The Stroganoff Meatballs again from this lady: - I made all of these meals last time around and they were all GREAT!! 

I am in NO WAY an expert at this but here are a few tips that I've found along the way: 

Day 1 - Spend the Money!

This can be OVERWHELMING!!  You will want to look at every recipe and  write down how much you need of every item.  So you might end up buying 20 chicken breasts, 3 containers of sour cream etc...  You might want someone to go with you! Thankfully I have a great husband who helps me out! Take a cooler with you for your frozen/cold/meat products if you are shopping at more than one store! It also helps to have a grocery store with a full-service meat counter, so you can get the exact amount of an item instead of an approximation.

Don't forget your ziplock bags!!  (or aluminum pans if you're into that thing, I'm not!) 

Watch for SALES!! When chicken goes on sale for around $1.70 this is a STOCK UP PRICE!! I watch for Onions to go on sale for 59 cents a pound. Potatoes for $3 for 15 pounds, buns 88 cents each etc... and then go and look for coupons at and other sources. Even a coupon that saves you $1 off of 5 cans of soup is better than nothing!  I would really try and have a MONTH'S worth of grocery budget when you head to the store - this can get a little pricey, but I've found we can actually save some $$ by doing this monthly instead of heading to the store weekly. 

 I take 2 lists to the store - 1 with all the items I need, and another list with the actual recipes and what each of them have in it (like Lasagna - 1 box noodles, 2 lbs ground beef etc....) That way if I'm getting close to my budget I can cut a recipe and not feel bad when I get home with only half of the ingredients. I can explain this further if needed. 

I put all of the ingredients away - sorry husband, I know you like to help, but I need to know where EVERYTHING is when it comes to cooking day! I group all the same items together so I'm not searching for something. It makes it faster when I need to grab something. 
Don't forget sides and breakfast items!! 

Don't buy things like Chicken Broth - you can make your own when you boil your chicken. I also don't buy black beans in a can - I buy a bag of beans and make my own, it's cheaper! 

Day 2 - Prep Day 
You will want to start with a fairly clean kitchen - all except the floors - if you're anything like me, your floors will be FILTHY by the time you're done - so either skip doing the floors that week, or wait until after your cooking day ;)  You will also want fairly empty freezers - duh! ;) 

1.  Look at your recipes, anything EASY get out of the way right now. Like Sloppy Joes you can cook up your meat and add the sauce and THEN freeze - or like I did I just froze the meat, and will cook it up when we have it for dinner that day.  The Pork Chops were SUPER easy - put everything in the ziplock bag and freeze - quick! ETC.... 

2. Look at your recipes - find out how many of them need cooked ground beef/chicken/italian sausage etc... I will cook up all of my meat at ONE TIME and then put it in a bowl/zip lock and use it as needed.  I boil all my chicken and then shred it in my kitchen aid mixer using the white paddle - super fast - just watch that it doesn't become "mush" lol  Don't throw that chicken broth out - you can use it in other recipes that call for it!! You can also save the fat from any sausage for other recipes (like biscuits and gravy etc...) 

3. Shred any cheese that you need to shred

4. Have a garbage bowl so you're not going back and forth to the trash can every 5 minutes! 

5. I try and freeze everything in ziplock bags because I don't have a TON of freezer space. Even recipes like Enchiladas. I roll all of the enchiladas, put them in a ziplock bag, and put the sauce in a quart size bag and put it in with the enchiladas.  I also do this for the baked ziti. I even put the 2 bags of frozen stir-fry veggies in a large ziplock and put the chicken breasts in another bag and froze it all together - does that make sense? 



I usually take one recipe and just go at it - and keep going like that.  It makes it alot faster when you have all your meat cooked ahead of time. 

Freeze everything you can as FLAT as you can - squish that meatloaf as flat as you can - you will be able to get much more in your freezer that way! 

Don't forget to let items COOL before freezing them! They will all stick together if you don't! 

Items I can't imagine doing without: 

My Classic Batter Bowl - Love this, it works for mixing items, or cooling items in the bag! Great for holding soups while they cool!  
 My 12 inch skillet - it will hold and cook up to 5 pounds of meat at a time if not more! love it!

My Food Chopper - I do all my onions with this (among other things) I LOVE this thing! 

My Mix N' Chop - this breaks up the meat SO fast!! 

 Stainless Steel Bowl Set - I use these and then wash them, and re-use them during the entire process! (pictured above)

Microplane Grater - LOVE this tool (pictured above) makes cheese all fluffy!

Executive Pan Sets - I can't tell you how nice it is to have a GOOD pan set - I can't believe we were married 3 1/2 years before we got GOOD pans!! I use and re-use these during the entire process!!

Scrapers - I can't tell you how many times you're going to use these things!

Garlic Press - again, another staple for doing these meals! 

What my kitchen looks like at the end - and this is actually semi cleaned up! lol!

You will want to make sure you have LUNCH or DINNER for yourself while making these meals - don't be dumb like me and not having anything in the house to eat during the cooking process!! lol  

You will want to have an empty dishwasher so you can put your dirty stuff in there as you go - also take dish washing breaks for those items you will use with each recipe. 

When you're all done - make a list of what's in the freezer and put in on your fridge - it will help you know what's in there - I cross it off as I take stuff out.  Also if I found I forgot something at the store, I put it on there too so I know that meal isn't complete. 

You might want to wear a good pair of shoes so that your feet don't hurt from being on them all day. I wore a pair of flip flops with a thicker sole - my feet are tired, but they don't hurt TOO bad. 

ok so there it is....I think..... if you have questions, let me know - but like I said I am NOT an expert and haven't been doing this very long!!