Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Third Day and Another Recipe (Pizza!)

If you read my last post, you will be amazed to find out I am no longer depressed. I've been re-inspired. Thank you ladies for your encouraging words. Talk about emotions going haywire! Reminds we why I started this blog in the first place. A spot to vent my feelings, thoughts, prayers, etc. Women need that!

Anyhow, this is my third day on the road to becoming a slimmer "me". I went to a fitness clinic this past Friday, which motivated me to take a look at my caloric intake again. Eating better is my key to losing. Like I've said before. I love to work out, but don't like to curb food. I also reserved some books at the library that advise how to lose while breastfeeding, but at the same time enhance milk supply.

My goal is to lose 2.5 lbs per week/5 lbs every 2 weeks...for a total of 20 lbs by August 28th. That date is significantly my 6th anniversary!! That I'm nursing is a disadvantage. I can't just skip meals. I have to be intentional about what I eat/don't eat.

So far, I've lost 2 lbs! I've been logging my calories, which can be fun if you look at like a game. I try to plan out my meals and snacks ahead of I'm not grasping in starvation at anything that looks good, then hanging my head while logging it in. I was eating about 3 desserts at day: handful of jelly bellies, a donut, some ice cream at night. Bad, bad girl. Also, my eating wasn't all that healthy, either. Overall, I eat my fiber, veggies, etc. But I've been having HUGE portions (when you're nursing you feel like you're starving), extra butter here, extra cheese there. You get the picture. My diet needs some tweaking.

So yes, I'm counting even my pats of butter, sprinkling of cheese, and spreading of mayo. I allow myself one dessert at night, which is usually ice cream. How I love that stuff. Right now I'm hooked on Breyers chocolate. Yum.

My husband's decided to lose a little weight, too. In fact, he went with me to the gym last night, while the girls when to child care. Kind of like a date! Except he was playing basketball and I was upstairs running my little sore buns and feet off. It hurt good, though.

Btw, I made this BBQ Chicken and Onion Pizza last night. It's to die for. Plus, it's only 320 cals a slice. Here's the recipe:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Slice large red onion (regular onion will do) and 2 plum tomatoes. Dice 4 strips turkey bacon.

2. Heat a 12-in skillet over medium heat til hot. Lightly spray with cooking spray. Add onion, bacon and 2 cloves pressed garlic. Cook and stir 10-12 min until onion is tender and lightly browned. Stir in 1/2 cup smoky bbq sauce; remove from heat. Stir in 2 cups diced cooked chicken; set aside.

3. Lightly sprinkle pizza pan with flour. Unroll two packages (10 oz each) of refrigerated pizza dough and arrange side by side on pizza pan, shaping into a circle. Roll dough to edge of pizza pan, pressing seams to seal.

4. Spread chicken mixture over dough to within 1/2 inch of edge. Arrange tomatoes evenly over top of pizza.; sprinkle with 1 cup (4 oz) shredded cheddar & Monterey Jack cheese blend. Bake 18-22 min or until crust is golden brown. Remove from oven; let stand 10 min. Sprinkle with 1 TB snipped fresh parsley. Cut into wedge. Makes 8 servings.

Note: I make my own pizza crust, prebake, then add on the chicken mixture and bake until desired doneness.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I'm a little discouraged.

My post-baby weight is not falling off quite as fast as I'd like it. And it's depressing me. I feel so fat, frumpy and unlovely :(

I've been working out, but I've also become addicted to sweet yummies. I know that's part of the problem and I know it takes time to lose the weight. But I'm still depressed about it.

Went to go try on dresses at Ann Taylor, picked a couple out, but then came home and a family member mentioned that once I got rid of my tummy fat (they said it nicely, but still), they would look better. I all at once put the dresses down, pretended I needed to deal with Katie, rushed down the hallway, and shed tears. Ever gotten into that rut of self-pity?

Well, I'm there.

The Sun Peeked Out (Finally)

Yesterday was gorgeous!

We started off the day with my chiropractic appointment. Always a nice start. My chiropractor was wanting me to come in 3x a week, and I told him I just couldn't do that. Not with 2 girls in tow. Especially when one of those times includes an hour-long massage! My girls are good, but not that good! My neck is feeling so much better since I've gone though. The main reason why I started is because it was giving me trouble, increased further by nursing Katie and lugging her carrier around.

I like having my appts early. We can zoom over to the gym afterward. I did a good 5 miles. Felt wonderful. To be completely honest, it always starts off that my upper body feels like flopping jelly, but as my body melds into the workout, the weird feeling dissipates. It's a good thing I have gumption because working out after having a baby is not for wimps.

I had mentioned to Brilla before working out that we "might" go to the beach. You know what that means to kids. By the time I'd picked her up from child care, all her little friends and woman in charge "heard" we were going - "Have fun at the beach!" the woman said as we exited. I chuckled to myself. That's what I get. Of course, it wasn't quite the chore to go; the weather was so sunny and warm. A much needed respite from the rain! We headed home to make up a quick picnic lunch, complete with strawberries.

Ah. I wasn't prepared for the utter bliss of laying out in the sun. While Brilla played in the sand and water, Katie and I chilled on our blanket. I sipped water and browsed my latest magazine.

Before we arrived, I scouted out the best spot. You must understand, this is a VERY small beach. Last time, I made the mistake of being beside a woman who let her dog sniff out all our food and belongings, repeatedly, blaming it on being "rambunctious". To boot, there were these kids who had a ton of beach toys but decided they wanted to play with Brilla's one bucket and shovel, kept taking it away from her. The parents were nowhere to be seen, until the dad finally showed from afar.

This time was a (little) better. After we parked ourselves, another family came and wouldn't you know, the mom smoked. If it wasn't such a hassle, I would have moved. I just hoped she's put it out soon, which she did. Then they pulled out their metal detector and started scanning the entire beach for "treasure". When the machine beeped, they promptly pulled out their shovel and began digging. This happened time and time again. Odd, but I guess each one enjoys the beach in their own way. I just laid back and continued to soak up the sun and my magazine :)

Everyone was in a good mood the whole time and we even made it back home in time for naps.

Later in the evening, I made Meatballs in Meat Sauce for the first time. It was like Little Italy in our kitchen. Yum.

I had spent waaay too much time on my feet, so I finally sat on the couch with my hubby and we watched reruns of our favorite show, The Good Wife.

Made for a great Tuesday~


Trust me, this is delicioso!! Even my husband liked it!! Takes about an hour to cook, but worth every minute.

Meatballs in Meat Sauce with Rigatoni

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 lbs ground beef, pork and veal mix (I just used ground pork/beef)
4 garlic cloves, grated or finely peeled
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1 onion, grated or finely chopped
1 bay leaf
Salt and black pepper
2 cups chicken stock
1 (14 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1 (28 oz) can whole plum tomatoes (San Marzano)
1/2 cup walnut pieces
1/2 fresh flat-leaf parsley (Italian), a couple of handfuls, coarsely chopped
2 slices or torn white bread or 1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/3 cup whole milk
1 egg
A couple pinches of ground allspice
1 cup grated Romano cheese
1 lb rigatoni
2 TB butter, cut into small pieces

Heat the oil in a saucepot or deep skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add about 1/2 pound of the meat and break it up into very small pieces. Lightly brown the meat for a couple of minutes, then add half of the garlic and the carrot, onions, and bay leaf to the pan. Season the meat and veggies with salt and pepper and cook until the veggies are tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the stock and crushed tomatoes. Drain the whole plum tomatoes, then crush them with a wooden spoon and add to the sauce. Reduce the heat to low.

While the vegetables cook down, bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat. Toast the walnuts in a dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant and light golden brown, about 4 minutes. Let them cool for a minute or two, then crush them or chop fine in a food processor.

Place the remaining pound of meat in a bowl and add the rest of the garlic and parsley, bread, milk, egg, salt, pepper, allspice, a handful of the Romano, and the walnuts. Roll the meat into 16 balls, 1 1/2 to 2 inches around, then drop them in to the sauce to simmer. Once the last ball has been added to the sauce, cook the meatballs 10 to 12 minutes longer to make sure they are all cooked through.

About 8 minutes before the meatballs are done, salt the pasta water and add the rigatoni; cook al dente. Drain the pasta, then return it to the hot pot along with the butter., the remaining Romano cheese, and a few ladles of the pasta sauce. Stir to melt the butter and coat the rigatoni a with cheese and sauce. Transfer to a large serving platter and top with the remaining sauce and the meatballs, or serve the meatballs and sauce right from the pot.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Good Intentions

Before I get started, please pray for my friend, Sarah. She just recently found out she lost her baby (miscarriage). She has had one boy, a miscarriage, another boy, then this miscarriage. I'm sure her heart is aching right now. So if you get a chance, please bring her before the Father.

I have such good intentions when it comes to various projects in my life. Like scrap booking. Did you know last year I finally finished the pages for my high school graduation? Yes, lame. And I still have not attempted sewing. I have a whole box full of sewing pages and tools. Instead, I have been nursing, changing diapers, laying kiddies down for bed, cooking dinner, and cleaning my house. Wash, rinse, repeat.

There are so many things that other moms are doing out there I truly admire. But every mom at some point faces the reality she can't do it all. She must decide what is important to her and her family and stick with that. Even if it's just ironing all the shirts for your husband (or something like that, my husband never needs his clothing ironed unless we're going to wedding and even that's pushing it for him).

My big thing lately has been getting my daily time with the Lord. No, I don't have a whole hour chunk. But I do have about a half-hour before my daughters wake up. Or 15 minutes before bed time. I naturally want to get started right away on my to-do list, but have to remember that my whole day needs to be dedicated to the Lord because He will give me wisdom as to what to accomplish, give or take a few things on my list :)

So I am officially starting Beth Moore's Believing God. I've heard from countless friends that her books are amazing. Of all my goals, this is the most vital. I love my Jesus so much and want to get to know Him and serve Him better.

My other goal has been to get back to cooking meals at home. It's been 2 months since I've had baby, and we've eaten out a ton. Not good for the body nor the wallet. To make it fun, I've been adventuring straight through my Rachael Ray cook book. I'm determined to get through it, even if it kills my husband. Just kidding. He doesn't like all the combinations of seasonings that she has in her recipes, a little too rich or a tad off for his taste. I absolutely love all of them. But then, I'm a bit bias, being the cook.

My third goal I'm working at is losing weight. I have made it to the gym 3x a week for the past 3 weeks. I not only want to shed the extra pounds from pregnancy, but I also want to tone my tummy, since 3 pregnancies will do quite the number on ya. AND I want to get in shape for soccer again! But we'll see if I even have time for that. Games are in the evening and usually in the evening, I just want to snuggle with my hubby on the couch while we watch TV and play with the girls. However, my biggest struggle is not with working out. It's food. I love cooking food and eating it. I'd rather run 3 miles than curb my eating. Herein lies my challenge.

As for the all those books (earlier post) I am wanting to get through, you can guarantee I always make time for reading. Whether it's on the treadmill, during toilet time (I know, TMI), or a bit in between the girls' naps, reading has always been a part of my life. My idea for a perfect day would be sitting in a lounge chair with a cup of hot coffee or chai latte, holding a good read, while my husband massages my feet. Oh. Yeah.

But until then, I am plugging away at the day-to-day that God has for me! I honestly love my life and wouldn't have it any other way! I have nothing to complain about. Some days dip and others peak, but the one thing that never fails is that God stays the same. I can depend on God for every need I have. I don't have to carry my burdens (though I often choose to), but can lay them all at His feet. His mercies are new every single morning. "Great is Thy faithfulness"!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

New Recipe

Skillet Tamale Pie

Plain name for such an amazing recipe! Here is an actual link if you'd like to see pictures.Tried this tonight and just had to share. And yes, it's from Rachael Ray (love her!):

1 TB EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) once around the pan
1 quart (4 cups) chicken stock
2 cups whole milk or half-and-half
2 bacon slices, chopped
3/4 lb ground beef
3/4 lb ground pork
1 med onion, chopped
1 small red or green pepper, seeded and chopped
1 jalapeƱo pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
3 to 4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 TB chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
Pinch of ground cinnamon
Salt and black pepper
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
2 cups quick-cooking polenta
A handful of fresh cilantro or parsley, finely chopped
1 cup shredded Cheddar or Monterey Jack
Note: Instead of using the chicken stock, milk and polenta as given in recipe, I bought pre-made polenta in a tube, heated in a pan, while adding some chicken stock/milk to taste and to liquefy.

Preheat the broiler to high and place the oven rack 1 run beneath the highest level of your oven.

In a large skillet, heat the EVOO over medium-high heat to high heat. Combine the chicken stock and milk or half-in-half in a pot to bring to a boil over medium heat.

Add the bacon to the hot EVOO and cook for 2 minutes or until crisp, then add the ground meats, raise the heat to high, and cook until they are browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the onions, bell pepper, jalapeno, and garlic and season with the chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes to soften the vegetables, then stir in the tomato sauce and heat through, 1 minute more.

While the meat cooks, whisk the polenta into the simmering stock and milk. Stir for 5 minutes, or until the polenta is thick and masses together in the pot. Fold in the cilantro or parsley. Use a rubber spatula to spread the polenta over the meat mixture and top with the cheese. Place the skillet under the hot broiler to brown the cheese and set the polenta, about 1 minute. Serve directly from the skillet.

The taste of this is rich and your family may not want the plain tamale pie as usual!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Really should be in bed right now. But with both girls asleep, and my husband just having snoozed off next to me on the couch, I can't resist a
few words on here :)

My swim workout went well; I survived at least. I kept having to put away those little voices that said 'you don't have a swim cap', 'you'll look fat in your suit', and 'just walk on the elliptical'. So I just did it. Felt good to do something that every ounce of me naturally did not want to do. Next time I'm hoping to do a few more laps and focus a lot more on kicking from my hips, since that's the area I want to shed. Boy, was I ever exhausted after that swim. My eyes were droopy all afternoon! What a weenie I am.

I have no book report. And I've added a fourth. Ha. "Should Vaccines Be Mandatory?" It's a book that gives equal voice to both sides of the issue. I've been researching vaccines lately. One thing is disturbing. Did you know that the Hep-A, Chicken Pox and Rubella vaccines are from aborted fetal tissue and have no ethical alternatives? Also, Hep-B and HPV are mainly contracted sexually, so infants and school-age children are at little risk? I'm not 100% against vaccines, but I do believe some are unnecessary. Some, like measles and mumps, DO have alternatives. Some I believe, like Pertussis, are vital. I'm all about doing your research and knowing what's going into your children. If you have a researched opinion you'd like to post, please share.

We went to Mama Stortini's tonight. I didn't have dinner prepared because I thought we had softball tonight and would grab something on the way. But it was cancelled. Bummer, we were looking forward to it. I ordered the veggie pizza and it was okay. Next time I will order with the regular red sauce, not the white garlic. For dessert we got chocolate buttercream samples from Sees. Our favorite.

Upon getting home, the girls had much needed baths. Little Katie loved bath time; especially getting her hair washed. And she basked in all the attention during her lotion rub :)

Just received my goodies from Mom4Life! A new nursing bra, nursing tank, and BumGenius diapers; my nursing strap is yet to come. You really should try the Bravado Nursing Bra and Tank. They are a little $$, but you will never need to buy another one. They offer such great support. And when you're nursing, especially right after having your baby, you feel very floppy and jellyish (at least I do!). The tank is longer, too, than most nursing tanks out there and covers that post-baby flab. Wow, I could be a sales lady for them. LOL.

Today I didn't get much done. Just kept the tiny one on schedule with her naps and feeding. She has a little eye goo which signals an infection, so want to give her plenty of sleep and food. I did pay some bills, fold clothes, and hang with my bro. But mostly just relaxed. Sometimes we need days like that. Especially since tomorrow (Saturday) will be filled to the brim!

Good night then, I need the sleep!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

8 Weeks and Other Stuff

Katie is 8 weeks as of Memorial Day, not quite 2 months. She is "talking" - cooing, ahhing, smiling. She's sleeping from 10:30-7 and giving Mommy more rest. She's also gripping long lego pieces, rolling from tummy to back (she loves tummy time), and finally getting this nursing thing down. I also finally started her on cloth diapers. She was just too little in the beginning for a huge bulky diaper. I am finding the prefolds by Econobum to be great. I'm able to simply wipe out the cover for the next diaper. As for the messy blowouts, those I just throw into a baggy to be washed later. At the end of the day, I wash a hot load of icky diapers. We've saved a lot of money already with these things. I've ordered a few bumGenius diapers to see how those compare. They will be easier for my husband to change!

We can't believe it's June around here already; the rain is not making it seem possible. However, this rain has been a great excuse to stick around home, keep my girls' schedules regular, do house work and plan for Summer/Fall piano. My 3 1/2 year old still takes naps, which has been nice. She's a big helper and second mama with her little sister. Never have I seen any animosity toward her new little sibling. I know that may change as they get older, but the initial transition has gone very well.

I am working out again. It feels good to be walking, running, and doing the elliptical. The first time was rough, but I am surprised how easily I've gotten back in the groove of things. At Fred Meyer, I bought myself a "between bodies" outfit to exercise in. This week, I experiment with swimming. I know it's a great workout, but don't know if I'll survive. My reward is a hot tub soak afterward.

On Memorial Day weekend, my brother came home for summer break. He has one more year, then he's got his Masters in Business, already has his Bachelors in Engineering. Isn't that amazing?! I'm so proud of him. We are so happy to see him again, especially Brilla. She constantly talks about her uncles, but it was all that more exciting to have Uncle Brian here in the flesh. Uncle Sean is traveling this summer with an ensemble team. He plays piano for the performances, then sings with the group when they have a track. My brother is an amazing pianist. He was my best student. He loves music, specifically piano, and has natural performance talent. I never had to motivate him to practice. In fact, sometimes we had to beg him to stop. We will see him later in the summer for a couple weeks.

Memorial Day was relaxing for us. My husband was going to go in for work, but he hurt his back doing dishes for me (I know, poor baby). Seriously, though, he's a tall guy, and the bending over in that position for a long period (there were a lot of dishes) caused his back to be incredibly sore. Anyway, he had really bad muscle spasms, so he just hung out, making business calls, doing paperwork, and helping me around the house. B and I headed out during Katie's nap for some girl time. Later that evening, Mike and I went out for our first date since 2 months before Katie came. It was heaven. We went to dinner at McCormick & Schmick's, bought dessert, then came home to eat it while we watched a movie. So nice not to have to put our oldest down for bed! Had the best night's sleep ever. We need to do this again soon.

I have a new interest...sewing. I'm excited to learn. Way back, my grandmother, over the period of a year, ordered page after a page, a sewing series so that I could learn. Now it sits in a box in my garage. I feel bad for having never used it. But I have absolutely no desire to sort through that whole series to learn. I have currently borrowed some books from the library. All I need is a sewing machine. I'll probably borrow my mother's, then buy one for myself if I have enough interest and need it at my fingertips. I see all these cute baby items, curtains, etc. that I want to buy but are too expensive.

My goal lately has been to get at least one book completed. I'm reading about 3 things at once. I love to read, but I have to choose! Right now my reads are Bringing up Girls, Walt Disney World with Kids 2010, and Bundle of Trouble, not to mention a few magazines. Hopefully, the next time you read my post, I can give a report on one book!