New Year, New Fitness and Nutrition Plans!

Hey friends!

It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged and I have something exciting to share that will hopefully help those of you with similar interests/concerns. My close friends know that I have struggled for about 8 years with what I guess you would call an eating disorder. I have never actually thought of myself in that light but facts are facts. I think where it all began was with an ex b/f who told me I was gaining weight and needed to hit the gym. He eventually broke up with me, leaving me angry with him and myself. So there I found myself talking to my sister-n-law about the Zone diet. This diet is great if you stick with it and follow it as it tells you to!

It all started out great and healthy until I started counting the calories that I was putting in my body. If I had an upcoming event that I was looking forward to, I would calorie restrict so much that I could lose the weight within weeks. That’s just what I did when I became single again. I lost 20 lbs, going from 170-150 within a couple months and felt better than ever at the time. I’m 5’10” so you can put it into perspective. Over the years I have kept my weight at 150 give or take a few pounds. I’ve just recently realized that over the last 10 years that I was working at the bar, I was replacing meals with alcohol and that’s how I was keeping the weight off. Now, I wouldn’t consider myself an alcoholic by any means, but this is just how it works in the business. Everyone’s drinking and partying til the wee hours of the morning. That factor, along with the massive dehydration your body sustains when drinking alcohol, allowed me being able to maintain at that weight. I also watched what I ate… fruits, veggies, lean meats…. when I did eat. It got to the point where I would have to restrict calories more and more because restricting wouldn’t produce the same results as it had before. Here’s where I found myself eating 700 cals or less per day… all the way down to 500. The part that made me the most angry? that I was MAINTAINING my weight at that caloric intake and my metabolism is slower than ever!! My friend/trainer has made multiple attempts to help me by making meal and exercise plans to fix this problem. I’ve always told him “YES! I’m starting Monday, or next week, or next month” when this or that is over. Always making excuses. He is frustrated with my empty promises and so am I. The short of it was that I was afraid to initially gain weight following a healthy plan while I was still bartending and having to be half-clothed and around coworkers half my age.

Since I have become a new nurse, stress of a new job and getting acclimated had set in and nutrition had taken a backseat for a few months. Not to mention, the holidays getting in the way. Oh, and I must mention the lovely nurses that I work with who always bring awesome treats to work. πŸ™‚ I have done my best to resist and have succeeded for the most part. Now that things are getting a little easier, I’d like to reverse the damage I’ve done.

As of yesterday, I was eating ~500 cals/day (healthy food) and sometimes eating whatever I wanted every couple weeks or so. My goal is to become the healthiest I’ve ever been in my life, prove to my friend/trainer that I’m not a failure, and to encourage others with this same problem……Starting TODAY. In doing this, I will be posting often so that you can follow my journey while I blog about my thoughts, feelings, meals and exercises for that week. It’s going to be a tough mental battle for me, but now is the time for ZERO excuses!

Any words of encouragement appreciated!! xoxo

-Sam

Homemade Mixed Veggie Chicken Soup!

One of my fav healthy meals so far! This recipe will make enough for 12 servings.

Ingredients:

12 chicken or vegetable bouillon cubes

12 cups water

3 Zucchinis

1 bunch Kale

2 red bell peppers

3 jalapenos

1 bunch green onions

1/2 yellow onion

2 tbsp minced garlic

1 green bell pepper

About 8 sliced mushrooms

Italian seasoning to taste

Cumin to taste

 

Directions:

Boil 12 cubes of bouillon in 12 cups water on the stove. Reduce to medium low heat. Cut stems out of kale, wash thoroughly, and break into 1 inch pieces.

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Chop all other veggies and place in pot! Cook on medium low heat for about an hour until veggies are softened but not flimsy. Serve warm.

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While this is cooking, bake 3 chicken breasts cover with foil in oven on 350 degrees for 45 mins. Internal temp of chicken should be 160 degrees for safety.

When chicken is done, shred with a fork and place into veggie soup. Enjoy!

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Sugar Cookies!

I only make these cookies twice a year TOPS because they are a huge pain in the a$$. They taste amazing… just like the sugar cookies from the bakery in Publix. πŸ™‚ Anyways, I found these lovely little cookie cutters in my stocking this year and decided I was in the mood to brave them today. Here’s some things you will need…

Ingredients:

For the sugar cookies:

2/3 cup shortening

2/3 cup butter

1 1/2 cups white sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp. vanilla extract

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

For the icing:

4 lbs. Confectioner’s sugar

1 1/3- 1 1/2 cup warm water

2/4 tbsp. OIL-FREE extract or flavoring

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, cream together the butter, shortening and sugar.

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Stir in the eggs and vanilla.

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Combine the flour, baking powder and salt, stir into the creamed mixture until dough comes together.

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Split the dough into two balls and form into a disk shape. Cover each disk with saran wrap and place in refrigerator for 30 mins.

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This makes the dough less sticky when you’re trying to roll it out.

Prepare your surface by sprinkling flour and also flouring your rolling pin. My apologies, I couldn’t get a good picture because the sun was beaming in! πŸ™‚

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place one disk on your surface and roll it out evenly on all sides until you have about 1/2in thickness.

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Now for the fun part! Cookie cutter your heart out ❀

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Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 9-10 mins. I don’t wait for them to turn brown on the edges. You may think they aren’t done but they are!

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And they come out looking like this!

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They don’t rise much so you can place them pretty close together.

I have barely ANY counter space for as much as I like to bake/cook so I had to move my cookie decorating to the living room table. πŸ™‚

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If you have time in between switching out cookie pans in the oven, try making the frosting. I needed 3 different colors but I started out by just making 1 large bowl of white frosting.

It’s simple… combine the 4 lbs. (2 bags) of confectioners’ sugar, and 1 1/3- 1 1/2 cup warm water and blend on medium/high speed. The mixture will be liquid-like at first but after about 7-10 mins of blending, it will stiffen up and stiff peaks will form.

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Then I split the mixture into 3 different bowls and added food coloring until I was satisfied with the color. Here’s where I thought things were really gonna go downhill for me. I figured you could make the color black with red and blue. Oh no, I got brown. Then I researched online and it said to use red, blue and yellow. Then I got baby poop green.

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Keep in mind that the more drops of food coloring you add, the more you are thinning out your frosting, which you don’t want to do. I then realized I had gel coloring, so I just started adding blue and green until I got a really dark shade of green.. which could pass as black. Needless to say….. by black food coloring and save yourself!!!!!!!

I used Wilton’s piping bags and attachments for this next part. The icing as you have it prepared now, is the consistency you want it for all piping (outlining). On a square of saran wrap, pour a portion of your colored icing in the center and carefully roll it up so that you have it in the shape of a large hotdog… twisting the ends so none can leak out. This is easier than cleaning your piping bags after every color, trust me. Place the icing into the piping bag, pulling one twisted end through the tip. Add on your piping tip and get started! For better instructions on how to do this please use the internet. I suggest http://www.sweetsugarbelle.com for pointers. She’s amazing at what she does and her website taught me how to perfect my cookie skills. πŸ™‚

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After you have done all the piping, your are going to use the leftover icing to make “flood icing”. To thin it out, you are going to use DROPS of water at a time to get the consistency of “shampoo”. I say DROPS because if you put too much water, there’s no turning back.

Next, pour icing into bottles and “flood”. The same website also has a good tutorial on how to do this.

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I did the same for all the rest of the cookies. The dried piping will keep your “sections”Β  and colors from running into one another.

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Just me being silly πŸ™‚

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And the last finishing touches on the glasses…..!!

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Christmas Break- Sanibel Island, FL

I went on a couple morning runs to the beach in Sanibel while the sun was still rising. What a great time for pics! It’s only about a mile away so I changed up my running route and headed there to sit in the sand and take in the view…

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Coolest picture EVER…..

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This is an alligator on our 12 mile bike ride… Hard to see but I was only 5 ft from him!

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Semifreddo- Cold Trifle (An Italian dessert!)

This dessert is a little complicated and time consuming but well worth the work if you’re looking for a TRUE Italian dish. It literally melts in your mouth…

Ingredients:

For the bottom:

4 cups almond flour (this is pretty expensive)

4 egg whites

2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

For the filling:

3 eggs at room temperatur

1 1/2 sticks butter

1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

5 ounces bittersweet chocolate in a bar

1-2 tbsp brandy (or dark rum)

1 1/2 cups strong, cold espresso

3 tbsp slivered almonds

Approximate preparation time:Β 1 1/2 hours; 500 cals per serving

1.) Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Combine almond flour with 1 3/4 cups of confectioners’ sugar. Fold 2 egg whites beaten to a stiff peak into the mixture.

2.)Divide the mixture into 4 portions. Between two sheets of plastic wrap, roll out each portion to the size of the bottom of a spring form pan (8-9 inches in diameter). Bake the crusts one at a time on the middle rack of the oven for 10-15 mins. Allow the crusts to cool entirely before using them.

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3.) For the filling, separate the eggs and beat the egg whites to a stiff peak. Cream the butter with the egg yolks and about 1/3 cup of confectioners’ sugar. With a spoon, gradually fold in the egg white mixture.

4.) Mix the brandy with 2 cups of cold espresso. With one-third of the cold coffee-brandy mixture, moisten 1 cold almond crust.

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5.) Spread one-third of the cream filling evenly onto this moistened crust. With a four-sided grater, finely grate one-third of the chocolate bar over this layer of cream. Cover this layer with another almond crust, and moisten the crust with one-third of the cold coffee-brandy mixture. Repeat the layers of cream, chocolate, almond crust, brandy, and coffee, until you have no more ingredients.

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6.) Finish the top layer with brandy/coffee mixture, cream, and chocolate shavings.

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7.) Place the cake in a storage container and seal. Refrigerate for 4-5 hours (or freeze for less time) and allow to set. Garnish with slivered almonds. Serve chilled.

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Day #2 post holiday eating!

I tried to get out there and run today since the weather is cool and I’m far from being able to run the 13.1 miles I’m scheduled to do in just a short month. I’m also embarrassed that this is as far as I could run, but it’s better than nothing, eh? Hard to believe just two months ago I ran a half marathon and now I’m back to the basics. After this half, I’m going to focus on weight training and eating very clean with the help of a trainer, rather than signing up for marathons.

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After running, (and while I was making banana bread), I had to eat something in order to stop myself from licking the banana bread bowl. So this is my usual healthy go-to.

Ingredients:

1 tbsp rice protein powder

2 tsp whole psyllium husk

1 cup 30 cal almond milk

1 cup mixed frozen fruit

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Blend it all up and you’ve got yourself a nice 175 cal protein smoothie πŸ™‚

Skinny Chocolate Chip Banana Bread!

It’s after the holidays and now that I’m no longer around family and making all kinds of treats and dinners, I can finally focus on my first goal of losing 19 lbs. It’s gotten out of control and now I’m especially determined to get back into shape with another half marathon on the horizon! I did however have these too ripe bananas laying around and whoops! I’d hate to let them go to waste. So banana bread it is. For my coworkers of course πŸ˜‰

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

3 ripe bananas

1 tbsp smart balance butter

6oz. Greek Yogurt

1 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

2 egg whites

3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chip morsels

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup Splenda

-Preheat oven to 330 degrees.

– In a small bowl, mash bananas and set aside.

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– in a large bowl, blend butter, eggs, vanilla, Greek yogurt, brown sugar, and Splenda. Then add in mashed bananas.

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– next, mix flour, baking soda and powder into wet mixture.

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– Fold in 3/4 cups chocolate chips and pour into greased bread pan.

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-Place into oven and bake for 30-35 mins until fork comes out clean.

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A healthy alternative to the usual sugar filled banana bread!

Oreoooooo Balls!

Ok ok…. I know what you’re thinking. These oreo balls look like boobs. Well, I was oblivious to this fact until this morning when I surprised my co-workers with them. The humorous part, I work in labor and delivery so this is TOTALLY appropriate! πŸ™‚ I was only a little embarrassed.

Ingredients:

2 pkgs Oreos

1 8oz. pkg cream cheese

2 pkgs white chocolate almond bark

Chocolate for drizzle topping, crushed candy cane or anything else you’d like to top these off with.

Directions:

Separate the cream of the Oreos from the cookie, placing the cookie in a food processor and the cream in a bowl on the side. Grind up the cookies until very fine and set aside. Add cream cheese to the Oreo cream filling and blend or mix up well.

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-Add the Oreo crumble to the cream mixture and blend well..

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– Set mixture aside and heat white chocolate almond bark according to pkg on VERY LOW HEAT. I accidentally caramelized/burned the first batch and had to go back for seconds. The reason why? I wanted to make the mixture thinner and decided to add heavy whipping cream to the mixture without reading the directions. I’m like a man when it comes to the kitchen… I never read all the directions and I get impatient and like to speed things up. BIG MISTAKE. The chocolate separated ( just as it said on the back) and there I was, heading back to Publix for 2 more packages at $4 each. 😦 Needless to say I took my time the second time.

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– Cover a cookie sheet with foil and roll up cookie crumble mixture into balls.

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– If chocolate is not thin enough for dipping, the directions state that you can add a tbsp. of vegetable shortening until desired thinness. when ready for dipping (this is the hard part), using a fork, dip the balls in the chocolate (which I made pink for no particular reason) and gently slide balls off of the fork onto the pan.

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– I didn’t have any cute toppings for the balls other than chocolate chips and this is where I made the mistake of making them look like boobs! πŸ™‚

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As you can see, these are far from perfect. I have started to embrace the fact that I cannot make truffles look pretty and may give up trying! However, with that said, these little gems were a major hit at work and were gone in the blink of an eye.

Refrigerate until ready to serve and break off excess chocolate when pulling off pan.

Enjoy!

Black Eyed Pea and Kale Soup <3

I made this just yesterday because I’m clean dieting before Thanksgiving! I figure that the healthier I eat before hand, the less I’ll put on on the scale when the holidays come around.

Ingredients:

4 cups chopped Kale

1 pkg. washed mushroom slices

1 green bell pepper

1 cup black eyed peas (cook according to package)

1 lb ground chicken/turkey breast

1 32 oz. container less sodium broth

Cumin to taste

Juice of 1/2 lime

Directions:

Start by cooking black eyed peas according to pkg. The whole process takes a minimum of 2 1/2 hrs so start this in advance! (which I didn’t do). I just add black eyed peas in at the end when they are fully cooked.

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-Cook meat until brown

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– Add in mushrooms and 1 whole chopped green pepper and cook for a few minutes until tender.

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– Next, add the 32 oz. of broth to the mixture along with 4 cups kale. Cover and bring to just before boiling, reduce heat to low, and cook for approx. 10 minutes.

-Turn off heat, add the juice of half a lime, salt and pepper to taste and you’re done!

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* Festive Pearl Wreath *

Another Pinterest craft of mine that I did on the same day as the vases…. this wasn’t AS easy but still beginner level. Mine didn’t turn out quite like the picture on the website but I still like it.

At Hobby Lobby, they had strings of beads at 50% off making them $4 each. So I grabbed two white ones, and one silver one. I had quite a bit of both left over but probably not enough to make a full second wreath.

Supplies:

1 foam wreath

3 long strings of white and silver beads

1 roll of white wire ribbon

Hot glue gun and glue sticks

A door wreath hanger

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-Start by hot-gluing the ribbon around the foam circle.

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Be careful not to burn yourself (like I did) with the hot glue seeping through the sheer ribbon!

Then, start gluing your string of pearl around the ring sort of at an angle..

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When finished, it should look like this…

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Instead of wrapping the silver pearls around the ring on top of the white pearls, I decided to cut the pearls off one by one and strategically place and glue them where I wanted.

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All done!

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Take your ribbon and make a four-loop bow at the top. I wanted to get a red bow instead of white but was trying to save money. If you need help tying the bow, there are great Youtube videos to assist you!

All done!

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Fall Hurricane Vases <3

If you’re always on Pinterest like me but scared what things will turn out like when you try them, follow me! I am constantly trying recipes and crafts posted on Pinterest and you can see what happens when non-professional bakers/cookers/crafters like myself give it a shot.

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I was looking for a cheap way to make a fall craft for my house the other day and have been eyeballing these on Pinterest. I even think I pinned the same website multiple times because I liked them so much! So off I went to Hobby Lobby and they ALWAYS have 50% deals every day. Not to mention a 40% off your most expensive not-on-sale-item if you download the app on your smartphone.

What you’ll need:

2 Hurricane vases – $8/each

set of two white/orange candles- $5

2 bags of green split peas

2 bags of black eyed peas

2 bags of small red beans

Roll of twine- $4

Now, the vases I’ve seen that I really liked included uncooked popcorn kernels but I was recently informed that they attract bugs!! So I thought the black eyed peas added a nice touch. πŸ˜‰

Simply place the candles inside the vases first and then even distribute the peas/beans in layers, one on top of the other. Tie a pretty bow with your twine and Viola! A 10 minute craft!! Also great for gifting. I’d love to receive something this festive and cool. πŸ™‚

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Pecan Pie Bars!

I found this recipe on Pinterest located on http://www.justataste.com. I’ve made these two years in a row now and every single crumb has been devoured. πŸ™‚ Can’t go wrong here! This is the perfect time of year to make these for your Thanksgiving guests.

Ingredients:

For crust:
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
Β½ teaspoon salt

For topping:
1 stick (Β½ cup) unsalted butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 cups chopped pecans

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350ΒΊF and line a 9×13-inch pan with foil, leaving enough for a 2-inch overhang on all sides.

First make the crust by creaming together the butter and brown sugar until fluffy in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.

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Add in the flour and salt and mix until crumbly.

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Press the crust into the foil-lined pan and bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.

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While the crust bakes, prepare the filling by combining the butter, brown sugar, honey and heavy cream in a saucepan and stirring it over medium heat. Simmer the mixture for 1 minute, then stir in the chopped pecans.

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Remove the crust from the oven and immediately pour the pecan filling over the hot crust spreading it to cover the entire surface.

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Return the pan to the oven and bake an additional 20 minutes.

Remove the pan and allow the bars to fully cool in the pan.

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Use the foil overhang to lift out the bars and transfer them to a cutting board. Peel off the foil, slice into bars and serve.

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DELISH!!! πŸ™‚

 

Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon!

So a week ago on Nov. 9th, my sister-n-law and I did the Disney half marathon again! It starts at 10pm which is hard but I actually enjoy it being at night since I’m a night owl AND because I don’t care for the sun blazing down on me and having to squint during long runs. πŸ™‚ I’m a baby I know. Anyways, the rest of the family came along too and my nieces got to enjoy the days at the parks while I rested up at the hotel. This was a picture I took out the window of our hotel room. So beautiful!!

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The day before the race they held the expo at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex.

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It’s probably my favorite part of participating in a race so far because you get your bibs, and tech shirts (which by the way are awesome!), and they have a ton of kiosks for you to purchase GU, socks, hats, neon lights, clothes, shoes… you name it! IMG_5938

They also give you a preview of all of the medals for other races which is nice. If I haven’t mentioned it yet, I refuse to run 13.1 miles without getting an awesome medal. πŸ™‚ I mean, I’m not doing this for nothing!IMG_5945

And this is the countdown to race time clock!

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Race day was great, I had to pee by mile 2 because of all the water and caffeine I had drank. If you’re a runner, you know that there are never flattering pics taken of you during the race, but for blogging sake I’ll share with you this not so awesome pic of me. πŸ™‚

I tried to avoid the cameras but somehow still managed to have about 13 pics taken of me. I had some obnoxious girl almost trip me and make me fall trying to get in front of the camera to pose. I basically had to push her to prevent my fall. Ugh. Learn running etiquette PLEASE before you do a race… it really makes the experience better for us all!

One part of the race towards the end is filled with lights covering the buildings from top to bottom. I HAD to stop and take a picture here because I didn’t last year..

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Soooo I finally finished after 13.1 excruciating miles and thankfully didn’t feel quite as nauseous as last year! What I couldn’t do however, was walk. My knees felt like they were going to blow out and the bottoms of my feet were really sore.

This is me rubbing my legs without any relief…

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The show must go on though because the best part about this race is the AFTER PARTY at Epcot where you get $10 of free food if you are a runner.

My brother bought me a nice alcoholic slushy drink. πŸ™‚

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We finally got back to the hotel about 4 am and then had to shower. I have to say, I almost considered jumping right into bed regardless of how I smelled or how gross I was. I was THAT tired.

Smiling through the pain…. Finished in 2 hrs 41 mins. That is TWO minutes slower than last time. So now that first mile bathroom break and picture taking seemed not so minor as far is PR’s go. I was disappointed. Oh well.

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Representing FSU who by the way is #2 this year and going strong!! Go NOLES!

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I got a JOB!

I’m not sure if I shared with my fellow blog readers, but the reason I have been away from writing and sharing my recipes/runs with you all is because I was going through the interview process at a local hospital. Well, I got the job!

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I started on Sept. 29th and have been going through a 12 week orientation ever since. Needless to say, it has been a long draining process turning my life around and putting in maximum effort into learning something that is so foreign to me. I just hope I can keep up and make the cut at the end of the day! πŸ™‚ I’m back to blogging now and hope you all are ready to hear about FOOD FOOD FOOD because I have a TON of pics saved on my computer to share with you that have been racking up over the past few months!

Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare….. “Your hospital for LIFE!” πŸ™‚

Pot Stickers!

On the weekends I like to treat myself (against my better judgement) by trying new recipes. I’ve had this one before a couple times with my family and we always LOVE them! My brother complains about how time consuming and hard they are to make but they are NOT NEARLY as hard as decorating sugar cookies or making a fondant cake. Men just have no idea what a hard recipe is! lol.

Ingredients:

1 egg

Reduced-sodium soy sauce

1 pkg. Nasoya wonton wraps ( I forgot to count, but each pkg. contains about 40 wrappers so you might need two pkgs. for a family)

1 lb. sausage (I used sausage and lean ground beef but was left with A LOT of leftover meat. I’d say pick one… turkey, beef, sausage)

1 green bell pepper

2 Jalapeno peppers

2 tbsp. olive oil

3/4 cup shredded carrots

1/2 onion

1 tbsp minced garlic

1 container chicken broth

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-Start by dicing up your vegetables in a food processor if you have one. They really save you time and hassle lemme tell ya!

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-In a large mixing bowl, combine meat, veggies, garlic and any seasonings you might want.

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– Next, I cleared off a section of the kitchen table to work and be able to sit down because it takes a good 30 minutes to prepare after this point. Break your egg(s) in a bowl, mix them, and set aside. Get a wet paper towel to place over the wontons when you’re not using them to keep them moist.

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– place wonton wraps on a plate so that they aren’t overlapping and spoon a ball about the size of a bouncy ball in the center. Too much, and you won’t be able to close the wonton.

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-Next, using the tip of your finger, smear the beaten egg on two joining edges of the wonton like this…

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-Fold the dry edge to the wet edge and press together until it is sealed with no holes. Continue with the rest until you’ve filled them all! πŸ™‚

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– On medium-high heat, put 2 tbsp of olive oil in a pan until it is sizzling hot. then place as many pot stickers as you can in the pan without them touching. Cook WITHOUT FLIPPING for about 2 minutes until the bottoms are slightly brown. As you can see here, one of my pot stickers burst, so it just goes to show you all that I am not perfect! lol

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-After 2 minutes, get 1/3 cup chicken broth and as you’re pouring it into the pan, quickly cover to trap the steam in the pan for another 1 1/2 minutes. I didn’t have a cover so I had to use a cookie sheet. πŸ™‚ Hey, whatever works!

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-When you take the cover off, they should look like this! Use a spatula and take them out. I didn’t put them onto a paper towel because I wasn’t sure if they would stick to it or not. So I just ate them, grease and all. Live a little, eh?

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-Pair with a nice red wine and some soy sauce! Enjoy! πŸ™‚

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Meal Prep!

More boring meal prep I know. But let me tell you, it really does prevent me from eating poorly. Especially now with my new job, I just grab and go and that way I don’t have to spend my hard earned money in the cafeteria eating a $5 salad. It adds up! The good thing about healthy eating is that they are usually simple recipes for the most part, including this one! Enjoy.

This is one of my favorites!

Ingredients:

3 cups sliced and washed portabella mushrooms

16 oz. Ground turkey (or turkey breast for 40 less cals per serving)

36 Asparagus spears

Salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and cumin to taste

 

-Wash mushrooms and set aside.

– Wash asparagus and cut the spears in half. ( I failed to do this step and cut them up after they were cooked. Definitely harder.)Β  Add a some water to the bottom of your pan to “steam” the spears. Cover and cook until desired tenderness. Keep a close watch on them, mixing them up often so that the ones on top get a chance on the bottom of the pan. Otherwise, they’ll all be unevenly cooked.

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-Brown the meat in a pan over medium heat. Add seasoning as desired.

 

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– saute mushrooms until tender in another pan.

 

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– get out 4 tupperware containers and in each one put:

3/4 cup mushrooms

4 oz. ground turkey

9 Asparagus Spears

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Nutritional info: (per serving)

Calories: 212

Fats- 8g

Carbs- 10g

Protein- 25g

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lasagna <3

Hey friends! I’m back with another great recipe. This one, not so much on the healthy side but for my last week at my job (after 10 years), I wanted to make a dinner and dessert for my co-workers. If you know me, there’s nothing I love more than Italian food. πŸ™‚ This was my first attempt EVER at making lasagna I believe, and it turned out amazingly!

Ingredients: Makes 2 9×13 in Lasagna dishes

2 9/13 in casserole pans

2 lbs. Lean ground beef

2 lbs. Italian Ground sausage

1 large onion, chopped

6 garlic cloves, minced

1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes

1 29 oz. can tomato sauce

2 12 oz. can tomato paste

1/2 cup water

4 tsp. sugar

4 tsp. dried basil

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

8 Tbsp. fresh parsley

2 boxes lasagna noodles

2 11.5 oz WHIPPED cream cheese

2 tubs Poly-O Ricotta cheese

2 egg (or substitute egg whites)

1 tsp. salt

12 slices provolone cheese

2 packages shredded mozzarella cheese

1 1/2 cups parmesan cheese

– Add a tbsp. of olive oil to the pans before beginning. Mince 3 cloves garlic for each pan and dice up 1 onion and saute 1/2 onion in one pan, and 1/2 in the other pan until onions and garlic are soft, but not too soft. ( or 1 lg. pot- I didnt have this genius idea and almost overflowed with mine).

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– over medium heat, brown 1 lb. lean ground beef and 1 lb. ground sausage to each pan. Be careful not to over cook.

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– In each pan, stir in 1 can tomato paste, 1/2 can diced tomatoes, 1/2 cup water and 1/2 can tomato sauce. ( I bought extra cans just in case I needed a little extra.)

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– Season with sugar, dried basil, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, 2 teaspoons parsley. Simmer. (REMEMBER TO SPLIT INGREDIENTS BETWEEN THE TWO PANS!)

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– Before beginning this next step, I suggest that you have the meat sauce ready to use.

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– Bring a large pot to a boil and cook about 30 noodles (maybe a few more in case you break them) for 10 mins until soft but still firm. You need to be able to handle and manipulate them. Add oil and salt to the water. When finished, drain them and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process.

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– You’re going to need to work fast as the noodles will start sticking together after too long.

– While they’re cooking, prepare your cheesy filling! πŸ™‚ In a large bowl, combine eggs, both cream cheese tubs, 1 tub of ricotta cheese (second one was used for extra for thickening layers), fresh parsley and 1 tsp. salt.

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– Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

– Next, gather your two pans and get ready to layer!

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– First, add a semi-thin layer of meat sauce to the bottom of the pan. This prevents the noodles from sticking.

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– Second, spread 6 noodles over the sauce lengthwise.

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-Spread 1/4 of ricotta cheese mixture over noodles. Not too thin. Remember that if you need more, you have extra ricotta. So don’t be scarce.

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– Next top with 6 slices of provolone cheese so that they are not overlapping.

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– next, spoon a nice layer of meat sauce on top of cheese slices.

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– Sprinkle with parmesan cheese πŸ™‚

– Now, you can just repeat the layers with 6 more noodles, cheese mixture, (skipping the provolone slices unless you want even more cheese. I chose not to because I thought it would be tooooo cheesy!), and a semi-thick layer of meat sauce. You might have leftovers. Feel free to stack as high as you want but I found 3 layers of noodles to be sufficient!

-Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese

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– Here is where I started the final layer. I put 3-6 noodles on top of this layer of meat sauce. You don’t want to just put cheese on top of this noodle layer because the noodles might dry out. So I did noodles, then more cheese mixture if you have it, meat sauce and then sprinkle more parmesan and 1 bag of mozzarella to each pan as the final topping!

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– Cover loosely with foil making sure foil doesn’t touch cheese.

– Bake in oven for 25 mins, then remove the foil and bake for another 25 mins. Cool for 15 minutes.

…. and here’s your final result! I promise no one will be disappointed.

I don’t know if the way I explained it was clear enough, so if you have any questions, please feel free to ask. πŸ™‚ Enjoy!

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Ground Turkey Breast w/ Rice and Veggies!- Meal Prep

I have to bring myself back down to earth after that last cookie post and get back to healthy blogging before my head ends up in the clouds dreaming of cakes and cookies….

This is one of my favorite meals for healthy eating because it has a lot of flavor and tons of different veggies added for bulk and that full-feeling through the addition of extremely low-calorie veggies!

Ingredients:Β  (Makes 4 servings)

-1 lb. Ground Turkey Breast

-1 red bell pepper

-1 green bell pepper

– 1 cup uncooked brown rice (makes 3/4 cup per serving cooked)

– 1 package sliced portabella mushrooms

– 1/2 yellow onion

Cook 1 cup uncooked brown rice in a small pot for 45 mins or until water is absorbed according to package directions.

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Β –Β  In a skillet, brown the ground turkey breast and set aside when done.

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chop up all your veggiesΒ  and sautee in skillet until tender but still have some crispness to them. πŸ™‚

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Combine ground turkey with veggies just to re-warm. Set out your 4 tupperware containers and split rice into 3/4 cup portions and the veggies and turkey breast into 4 portions as well.

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This meal is so filling, healthy AND low-cal!

Nutritional Info: per serving

Cals- 323

Fat- 2.8g

Sodium- 85.9 mg

Carb- 41.1g

Protein- 32.2 g

Chocolate Chip Cookies!!

I know, I know…. an unhealthy cookie post, BUT, what is life without treating yourself every now and then? Especially with cookies?! As they say, if you never treat yourself, you leave yourself wide open and vulnerable to binge cheating. This is a concept I am all TOO familiar with.

This is a great chocolate chip cookie recipe that I have tried 3 times without failure. It’s simple, tasty, and leaves guests/friends begging for more. πŸ˜‰

The Recipe (Via Pinterest & The New York Times)

Ingredients:

2 cups minus 2 tablespoonsΒ cake flour

1 2/3 cups bread flour

1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt

2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter

1 1/4 cups light brown sugar

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract

1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolateΒ disks (at least 60 percent cacao content) ** I just used regular semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks**

Sea salt

1.Β Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.

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2.Β Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.Β 

– (I didn’t do any of this. In fact, I don’t even had a hand mixer anymore because BOTH of mine broke, much less a $500 Kitchen Aide mixer. So work with what you have guys and just make sure you mix it as well as you can if you don’t have the necessary appliances.:) I also did not refrigerate for 24-36 hours….. more like 30 minutes. LOL. I’m impatient people. I want to see results NOW! haha

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– This is the point at which I wrapped it up in saran wrap and placed it in the fridge for 30 mins…..

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3.Β When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.

4.Β Scoop 6 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day. Eat warm, with a big napkin.

– ***NOTE*** : I baked for the minimum 18 minutes and found that this was too long. I usually check mine around the 9-10 minute mark and take them out while they still seem like they need more time to cook. Remember that with cooling, they harden so if they seem a little underdone, they may end up just as chewy as you want them to be.

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FSU vs. BCU !!

It’s official…. my very LAST downtown getdown for an FSU homegame with my girls before I start my new job as an RN. 😦 I have been working here for 10 years with this company and I must say that it is a very bittersweet feeling for me to be leaving a place where I have spent all of my 20’s growing, meeting new people, making connections, and making friends and “family” that I’ll never forget! As hard as it is for me to let this place and these people go, I have to grow up sometime and do things to better myself and my future. So with that said, CHEERS to the past AND the future and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for me…..

I’ll miss you guys!! ❀

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Southwood Run <3

I’ve been trying to find a place to run outside that was somewhat flat considering this city is FULL of hills. I wish I lived in a neighborhood where I felt safe enough to just run out my door without having to drive. Everything can’t be perfect though, right? πŸ™‚ Had a few recommendations for this nice side of town called Southwood. Took me 30 minutes to get there but decided to go at sunrise and I must say that it was well worth sleepily crawling out of bed and the gas that it took to go. The view was beautiful!

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I have the Disney Wine & Dine half marathon in a month and a half and am NO where near ready to run 13.1 miles. 😦 trying to get in the mindset and back into running on the reg. With starting a new career in a week, I must say that running has been the last thing on my mind. I guess I should be channeling my stress into running and using it to my advantage….

This trail is a 1.6 mile loop around this beautiful scenic lake and I managed to eek out 4.45 miles. My goal was 7 miles but I guess not running has been working against me.Β  My plan is to do this run again in the wee hours of the morning tomorrow! Wish me luck!!! πŸ™‚

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Crispy Chicken Jalapeno Roll-ups!

I’m sorry that I’ve been away for so long! Things here have been hectic to say the least. I might have mentioned before how I mostly eat chicken and turkey and am always looking for ways to spice up the two so that my taste buds are introduced to new flavors and I don’t get bored. After all, I don’t eat seafood and there aren’t many meat choices after this that I can turn to if I get burned out. I didn’t have much in the kitchen or I would have added a little more “flare” to the inside of these chicken rolls.Β  I started out by placing the chicken on top of a layer of plastic wrap and then putting another layer on top of the chicken. You can also do this on the counter but I was just trying to contain the mess!

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– A little side note:

I was toying with the idea of putting greek yogurt and kale in the center of the rolls but I didn’t have anything other than jalapenos. (yogurt could have been a disaster but I’m always up for a challenge!)

– I used a meat tenderizer (you can use a hammer if you don’t have one) and beat them until they were somewhat flat and spread out. Be careful not to shatter your casserole dish!

– Next, I put a layer of jalapenos on each piece and rolled them up…

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– to keep them closed you must use toothpicks. I wasn’t sure how toothpicks would hold up in the oven so I soaked them in water for 5 minutes before using. This next part, I couldn’t take pictures of because I was elbow deep in dipping!

– Get out two bowls and fill one with rolled oats ( ground or whole, your choice), and the other with egg whites. Just enough for coating. Take the chicken rolls and carefully dip them in the egg whites and then roll them in the oats until they are fully coated.

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– place them in a greased casserole dish ( if you’re using the first one you used, make sure you remove the plastic wrap before putting it in the oven!)

– Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake uncovered for 30-40 mins turning once to get the other sides crispy.

You’re done! πŸ™‚

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Turkey Avocado Pineapple Burgers!!

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This is one of my best and MOST FAVORITE creations when trying to be healthy but still want a tasty filling meal. I highly suggest you make these ASAP! πŸ™‚ I make my own guacamole because it’s simple, easy and less expensive. If you are making it homemade, getting the avocado a couple of days in advance is a MUST because they need time to ripen. Otherwise its very difficult and tastes like rubber. πŸ™‚ Btw… Avocado is one of those super foods that has many health benefits such as anti-inflammatory properties and can help to lower our risk of heart disease. Consider adding this amazing super food to your daily diets!.

Ingredients:

1-2 Avocados ( depending on how many burgers you’re making, leftovers are great too!)

~1 lb. Ground Turkey BREAST (lower in fat). This will make 4 burgers @Β  4 oz. a patty!

1 pineapple or pineapple slices in the can

Nature’s Own honey wheat 40 cal/slice bread

1 packet ranch dressing POWDER

jalapenos

red bell pepper

Garlic powder

Garlic salt

Pepper

 

To start:

Peel your soft avocado making sure to scrape the skin clean to preserve nutrients. Mash it up in a bowl with garlic powder, garlic salt, and pepper to taste. Use garlic salt sparingly as it will make it salty quickly if you’re not careful!

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– Set aside in the fridge until ready for use. In a separate bowl mix 1 lb. thawed raw turkey breast with 1 packet of ranch dressing powder, half of a chopped red pepper, 1/4 cup jalapenos, and salt and pepper to taste. Form into patties and either cook on the stove or on the grill. If grilling, you might want to add some olive oil to your mix to prevent them from sticking. Foods low in fat commonly do.

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– I toasted my bread to give it a little crisp so it wouldn’t fall apart when eating. πŸ™‚Β Spread 2 tbsp of avocado onto one side, place a slice of pineapple on, and you’re done! Quick and simple, right? You can even put some pepperjack cheese on to give it some extra flavor but will quickly add cals doing so. πŸ˜‰

Pineapple pieces

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Nutrition Info:

308 Calories

6g Fat

35g Carbs

33g Protein

 

 

Something to remember…

A friend just shared this quote with me after I mentioned stressors that I’m experiencing in my life right now. I think it’s fitting and thought I would share. πŸ™‚

2 Timothy 1:7-

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

Crustless Pumpkin Pies <3

I think I’ve mentioned before that I follow this awesome girl’s blog called http://www.undressedskeleton.tumblr.com&#8230; Her story is amazing and inspiring, and her recipes are healthy. I’ve tried a few and they all turn out great! I give her credit for these little beauties that I made today.

Ingredients:Β 
-1 Can (15 ounces) Pumpkin Puree
-1 Tablespoon Ground Cinnamon
-3/4 Cup Unsweetened Applesauce
-1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
-1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
-1 Packet (Scoop) Vega Vanilla Protein Powder or in this case I used 1 scoop Rice protein powder.
-1/4 Cup Ground Flax Seed
-1 Egg White (if you want to make these vegan, replace egg white with 3 tablespoons of Chia seeds)
-10 Tbsps. Non Fat Vanilla Greek Yogurt
-1 Tsp Honey

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– Stir in 3 tbsp (equal to 1 egg) All Whites from the carton

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-Add 3/4 cup Unsweetened applesauce

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-Add 1 tsp. baking soda and 1 tbsp baking powder

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-Next add 1/4 cup ground flax-seed. I also accidentally added 1 tsp. of whole psyllium husk. (It was purely accidental. It won’t hurt anything other than add a little extra fiber which some of us might need! lol )

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– add 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon

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– 1 tbsp (or more if you choose) Rice protein powder. This can be found at any whole foods or Earth Fare.

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– Stir it all together

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– lightly spray your cupcake liners with olive oil spray to prevent from sticking and also make the edges of your pies a little crispier…

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– Fill liners 3/4 full until all of the mix is used.

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– Bake in oven for 20-24 mins. When they are done, remember that even though these look like cupcakes, they will not be dry like bread. They will have the consistency of pie in the middle. Gooey goodness! πŸ™‚ While they are cooking, prepare your cinnamon greek yogurt topping…

-mix 10 tbsp. of 0% Fage Greek yogurt (or a comparable alternative) and 1 tbsp of cinnamon.

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– Mix in 1 tsp. honey

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– I mixed it all together and taste tested it. I personally don’t care for the bitter aftertaste of greek yogurt, especially when it comes to something I’m trying to add a sweet flavor to. So I added 1 tsp. of vanilla extract and 1 tbsp. of Splenda or Stevia and WOW what a difference in taste. Mmmmmmmmm!!

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– Take your pies out of the oven and let sit until cool. I kept the yogurt in the fridge until ready for use.

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– Add a dollop of greek yogurt to the top and drizzle with a small amount of honey and some cinnamon if you wish!

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-Voila! your finished product! I dove right in of course…

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These awesome healthy treats are packed full of protein and are only 52 cals each!!!

ENJOYYYYYYY!!!

Healthy Chicken Salad w/ Greek Yogurt!

While I was cooking up tons of chicken tonight, I decided to go ahead and prepare a quick-lunch recipe for the next few days when I’m not doing smoothies. This is the second time I’ve made this and I absolutely loved it the first time I made it! Allie was also over here studying and I had to make her try a spoonful to make sure it’s not just me that thinks my own cooking tastes good. πŸ˜‰

I first started out with chicken breasts and preheated oven to 350 degrees. Season chicken however you want and then place in casserole dish. There’s no need for water or greasing the bottom of the dish. Cover it with foil and bake for 1 hour. Be sure to check the internal temperature so that they are 165 degrees in each chicken breast. In my case, I just eyeball it and pray for the best. πŸ˜‰

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– When the chicken is done, shred with two forks and place aside. I find that shredding it before letting it cool off is best because it falls apart easier.

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– add 1/2 cup almond slivers

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– I had never added jalapenos but I thought it would be a nice change and add some spice…

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– Next, add 2 cups grapes, sliced in half

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– dice up one apple

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– Then dice up 1/4-1/2 of a red onion

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– Then, the final touch! Add 1 3/4 cup 0% Fage Greek Yogurt, a pinch of salt, and pepper to taste!!

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YUMMMM!!! πŸ™‚

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Ginger Salad <3

I know this isn’t that exciting of a post but since my newest obsession is having a Costco membership, I thought I’d share a pic of my dinner tonight with you. I found this huge awesome bottle of ginger dressing at Costco that tastes JUST like that dressing at the hibachi restaurants and I’ve been waiting to use it.Β  I had some chicken I needed to cook before it went bad so I decided to just throw together a quick salad and use the dressing. I could eat it by itself with a spoon! πŸ™‚

I’m Back!!

Sorry I’ve been away for a while folks! I’ve had a busy/stressful few weeks and needed to take the time off to focus on studying for my State Boards! I think I’m going to have a few extra grey hairs popping up here soon. πŸ™‚ I spent a couple of weeks studying and before I took the test, I had my initial interview with Tallahassee Memorial Hospital for admission in the nurse residency program that they now require new graduates to participate in as employees. I gotta say, I’m a nervous wreck when it comes to interviews and I even tried preparing in advance to ease my nerves. But, how well can you really prepare when random questions are fired at you? You can’t. Anyways, I got a call back a week later and the good news was that they had passed me on to the next round of interviews!!! πŸ™‚ TheyΒ  send your resume and application onto the unit managers in the hospital for them to set up an interview with you. The Labor and Delivery unit contacted me a couple of days ago requesting a time for an interview. So the date is set for this coming up Tuesday! This is the final interview and will determine in what new direction my life goes. So please say some prayers for me! I’m excited yet nervous at the same time. πŸ™‚

On another note, I had signed up to take my state boards (NCLEX) on August 1st at 8 am. In short, the way the exam works is that you can take a minimum of 75 questions and pass/fail or a max of 265 and pass/fail. The computer can cut you off at any point during the exam when it determines whether you have answered enough questions at a pass or failing rate. Needless to say, it’s just my luck that I would be sitting in the exam for 5 1/2 hours and have to take ALL 265 questions. I left there with a less than thrilled feeling and seeing triple after staring at a computer screen for that long. The worst part- they make you wait 48 hours before they “allow” you to pay an $8 fee to view your unofficial scores online. I couldn’t sit around my house waiting for this time, and I was absolutely SURE that I had failed. Keep in mind this test costs a whopping $375 each time you take it! Allie and I decided to get out-of-town to the beach so I could take my mind off of it. A little boat action did just the trick. Sure enough, Saturday morning rolled around and I was waking up every hour since 5 am thinking it was time for me to check. FINALLY, the dreaded moment came and when I logged onto the website there it was……. I PASSED!!!!!! I am officially Samantha McClelland R.N!!!! I did a few laps around the house in excitement after that. πŸ˜‰ A few days ago, I received my official license and number!!

Check it out!!! It’s all still a dream in my mind that I have been able to accomplish something that means so much to me! πŸ™‚

Gym’n it <3

I sooooo didn’t want to go to the gym tonight. Found myself thinking of every excuse- my shoes aren’t right for running, I can’t find workout clothes, I’m tired, I should be studying, my stomach hurts, that’s a far drive this late….. You name it, I thought about it! Then I told myself that these very reasons (not even legitimate ones) are what keeps me out of the gym most of the time. If you just STOP listening to that negative voice in your head, and just get in the car or walk out your front door, before you know it you’ll be at the gym breaking a sweat and happy that you did! My gym closes at 10 and I got there around 8:45 so I just did a 2 mile run on the treadmill. I have about 3 months til race day and I am gradually increasing mileage and pace so this was 1 mile more than I was supposed to do today. Sundays are long run days but I just told myself I couldn’t stop. Anything less than 2 and I feel like its a waste of time. Especially when you have to drive to get there. After that, I did 10 minutes high intensity on the elliptical and some stretching afterwards before I left. I know it’s not much but I still feel like I made a little progress towards my goals. That’s all that counts! πŸ™‚ please feel free to share your thoughts about working out with me so we can motivate each other to keep our goals in sight!

Meal Prepping!

I’ve been slipping in the afternoons…. not too bad but it was time for me to do something about it. So I thawed some ground turkey breast and steamed cauliflower and made meals for the next three days. I know what you’re thinking, how gross right? Well, in order to be healthy, you have to eat clean. This means no additives, preservatives, high sodium and other things that our bodies reject. I noticed that on The Clean Program, I no longer have any GI distress, bloating or cramping. All good nutrients that I’m putting in my body! I’ve had times recently where I wanted to cheat at home and when I go to look for something, there is literally not ONE morsel of food in my cabinets or fridge that I would even consider to cheat with.

Plan out your meals, season them with herbs and spices (not salt) for flavor and portion them out into individual meals so that when you open the fridge or are on the go that it’s right there waiting for you to grab and go!

Leave NO room for slip-ups in your diet. Make it the ONLY choice!!!

National Tequila Day!

Did you all know that it’s National Tequila Day? Now, I’m not a huge fan of tequila but it would be nice if I had some customers at the bar celebrating it! If you get the chance, try out this tequila, its a huge hit with the bar patrons! Remember to drink responsibly… πŸ™‚

Instead, I’m sitting here studying for State boards with my head in the books. πŸ™‚ only a few days away and my future is in the hands of a standardized test! Happy Wednesday everyone!

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Organic Cherry Smoothie <3

As you can tell by now, all of my smoothies are practically the same other than the type of fruit I put in them. That’s because with more variation and different/tastier ingredients, comes more calories. My brother bought me a Costco membership so I went yesterday and was in heaven. Felt like I had just been invited as a member to a country club. πŸ™‚ So many goodies there…. especially the FRUIT! I was shocked at the price difference between there and Publix and the fruit looked so much more fresh! Anyways, I suggest that you try a membership for only $55/year. It was hard for me to resist the fresh pizzas they had made…. mmmmmmm πŸ™‚

Nursing School <3

I have a love/hate relationship with nursing school. It was THE hardest time mentally and physically of my life and I never thought it would end. In spite of this, I pushed through and I learned an immense amount of knowledge from the staff and teachers at Breckinridge school of nursing, otherwise known as ITT-Technical Institute. I was skeptical of the school and went into it not knowing what to expect other than it was going to cost me a VERY pretty penny. I have worked at a local bar as a bartender since April 4, 2004 where I have also on and off added additional jobs to pay my way through nursing school. We are required to do a TON of clinical hours every semester and there are NO exceptions or excuses to get you out of them. My job requires me to be at work at 4:30 pm and work til 4:00 am (cleaning after closing at 2 am). Throughout the whole nursing program, I would go to work and then go home at 4 am, and wake up at 6:30 am to be at class by 8. On clinical days, when we were required to be at the hospital at 6 am, I’d leave work, go home and shower and go straight there.

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Needless to say, I was EXHAUSTED every minute of every day of nursing school. I’m not sure how I kept any friends throughout this trying time. I’d call up my closest friends and family crying because of fatigue, lack of time to complete my assignments, and what I felt was the inability to pass nursing school at the rate I was going. My friend Rob, in particular, stuck by me throughout it all and would constantly give me words of encouragement and little gifts (like new “inky” pens to write notes with) to put a smile on my face when I was feeling run down and discouraged. On test days, I would get texts saying ” You got this!” or “You’re gonna ACE this!” and sure enough, after the test was over and I had felt defeated, I would get an email from my teachers with my grade which was always better than I expected! I am my own worst enemy I suppose. In clinicals, I would always leave the hospital with an amazing feeling of accomplishment that I had done something positive for someone and helped in some minor way even if it meant putting a smile on a patients face if nothing else.

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The months seemed to crawl by as I counted them down one by one until my final semester came and 3 months seemed like a LIFETIME until I graduated. Even though it was my last semester, it was also the hardest. We were required to complete more clinical hours than any previous ones and also complete our “preceptorship” where we were allowed to pick our field of choice and be supervised by an RN who worked on the unit without the supervision of our instructors or the company of my fellow peers. I was so nervous to begin for the simple reason that I didn’t know the nurse I’d be working with or if they would be accepting of working with a student. To my surprise, I was greeted by one of the nicest, most caring nurses I had ever met who taught me above and beyond what she was required to do. For this, I am eternally grateful to her and hopefully look forward to working along-side her on the labor and delivery unit. I aspire to be like her as a nurse having watched her therapeutically interact with her patients by making them feel as comfortable as she could.

During Preceptorship! Yay!!

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Here are a few pics of my first few quarters in the nursing school lab practicing our skills!( So there’s no confusion, these are manikins- except for the one that I’m demonstrating to the class on my teacher πŸ™‚ )

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Finally, the end was here and it was graduation day. A day that I never thought would come. I got all “dolled” up and was ready to brave the stage. A little background info about me….. I don’t like being the center of attention. My friends and family attended and I was so grateful that they shared this moment with me. I could definitely feel the love. I arrived on site for our quick “run-through” and when I grabbed the announcement pamphlet and opened it up, I was SHOCKED when my name was right there on the page under VALEDICTORIAN!

(Me on the far left- I had taken my heels off at this point because I was in so much pain! πŸ™‚ )

ITT graduation, June 2013.

My first thought- I better not have to give a speech! The hard work and sleepless nights had actually paid off and I was rewarded with such an amazing title that would stick with me forever. I wouldn’t have accomplished this without God, my family and friends sticking by me through thick and thin and the strength that I was blessed with to pursue my career in nursing. Throughout the program I met great teachers who were such positive influences in helping me reach my goals and amazing peers who became friends as we overcame this very emotionally and physically draining feat.

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So there I was, finally walking across that stage having accomplished something that meant so much to me and graduating with honors, a place on the Dean’s list, Valedictorian, a member of Alpha Beta Kappa Honor Society, and a 3.88 GPA!!

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I finally received my PIN!!

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Jason’s Deli!

I don’t know if any of you have tried Jason’s Deli or have one in your area, but today I did for the first time! I heard great things about their sandwiches and stuff so we decided to try it out. They have a great salad bar so I went for the healthier option even though I fought with myself over it! πŸ™‚ Yay me for being healthy.

I had a salad with mushrooms, balsamic vinaigrette, a couple of croutons :), a boiled egg, a spoonful of quinoa salad (which was the MOST amazing thing ever!), and a pickle! If you ever have the chance, I completely recommend this spot. πŸ™‚

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Triple Berry Protein Smoothie <3

I must admit that I fell off the wagon this weekend in the healthy eating department….. I splurged on pizza (and popcorn) and movie night with a friend on Saturday and I’m paying for it now as far as reaching my goals on the scale. So now I’m back on my cleanse, drinking smoothies and trying to get back on track. This isn’t to say that you can’t treat yourself to a cheat night every now and then just make sure it’s not an ongoing thing!
Today’s smoothie is a Triple berry protein smoothie!!

Ingredients:

1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 cup Wyman’s Triple berry blend frozen fruit
1 tbsp rice protein powder
2 tsps Whole psyllium husk
2 packets Stevia in the Raw
Dash cinnamon

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Nutrition Info:

175 Cals, 2 g Fat, 25 g Carbs, 14 g Protein

Healthy Baked/Breaded Eggplant Fries w/ Marinara Sauce <3

I’ve been itching to try out some vegetable breaded fries for a few days now and finally decided to give it a shot tonight! I was all set to try zucchini, squash and eggplants and when I finished cutting up the eggplant, I realized how many “fries” it actually made and had to just settle for those. “Settle” is not the word I would use though because these were AMAZING! If you’re looking for something rather quick, easy and especially HEALTHY, then these should be a fun go-to when you need to change-up your diet from the same ol’ flavors….

I’m also excited to tell you that there are only 132 calories in a WHOLE UNPEELED EGGPLANT!! Woohoo!!! Along with the low-calorie bread crumbs and 50 cal/ 1/2 cup marinara sauce, you’ve just created a tasty treat without the heavy guilty feeling!

If you look at the common store-bought bread crumbs, they are filled with chemicals, additives and full of calories! (150 cals in 1/4 cup) I had some bread in my house that I’m trying to get rid of because it is forbidden on my cleanse. I am not one to throw away food unless it is bad. Anyways, I use Nature’s own 40 calorie honey wheat bread. Break up the bread into chunks and place in food processor.

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– pulse bread until it is crumbly. preheat oven to 250 degrees and spread crumbs out evenly on cookie sheet and bake for about 15 mins until golden brown like this…

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-After baking….

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– After the breadcrumbs are golden brown, you can now put them into a bowl and add whatever seasonings you like. I added Parsley, oregano, chili powder, pepper, garlic powder, thyme and onion powder. These are pretty much my staples in the kitchen. πŸ™‚

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-Cut up your eggplant into 1/4 inch circles if you wish or continue to cut them up so they are “fry-shaped”

-Preheat oven to 450 degrees

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-Next, dip the asparagus slices inΒ  1/2 cup egg whites, and 1/2 cup milk or almond milk and then lightly bread them in bread crumbs.

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– Place slices in single layer on baking sheet and bake for 16-18 mins. Be careful not to burn. This is why I said 16 mins because you may want to start checking them then. (I made this mistake) and they were almost TOO brown. But still tasted yummy πŸ™‚

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I used marinara sauce that is 50 cals/ 1/2 cup for dipping πŸ™‚

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ENJOY!!! πŸ™‚ Hope you love these as much as I did!

 

 

 

Simple, Clean Eating!

My friend and I went forΒ  run the other day and since we were both starving afterwards, I decided to cook us some lunch… healthy style. πŸ™‚ Since I HATE seafood (I’ve tried and tried and tried to like it), my proteins only consists of chicken, turkey and protein powder. This is basically what I eat every day for lunch… chicken and some veggie! I don’t add salt, or butter, ONLY spices! I get a little crazy with them because I have a hard time eating things bland….

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I like to buy the thin-sliced chicken breasts because for some reason I can’t seem to stomach the thick part of a full breast AND because they are usually between 3-5 oz. each. πŸ™‚ I then season them with whatever appeals to me which is usually pepper, dill, cumin, garlic powder, and onion powder. The cumin gives it a nice strong flavor since you’re not using any other salts or dressings.

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Sautee some asparagus in a pan. I usually drizzle a small amount olive oil over the asparagus and then add enough water just to coat the bottom of the pan so that the asparagus is steamed. Feel free to add garlic if you want. Cover and cook until desired tenderness.

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Asparagus is one of those awesome vegetables that you can eat a TON of and has very little calories.

Nutrition Info: 1 Serving chicken (3 oz.), 10 asparagus spears

Β 126 cals, 3.3 g fat, 6.2 g carbs, 20.1 g protein

 

 

Vitamins! :)

A friend and I were talking about Biotin and its possible effects on your hair about 6 months ago. She said that she takes these chewable GNC vitamins and that I should try them. I’ve been using them just about every day but not sure I can say whether or not they have thickened, made my hair healthier or grow longer but they don’t taste bad at all! Gotta get your vitamins in one way or another so they might as well be chewable! πŸ™‚ I also take the bone strengthening calcium chews because ladies, as you know, osteoporosis is something we need to take into consideration as we age! πŸ™‚

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Mango/Peach Healthy Protein Smoothie <3

Lately I have been trying out this detox program called “The Clean Program” by Alejandro Junger, M.D. Gwyneth Paltrow swears by it and has also created her own cookbook with “Elimination” recipes as talked about in this book. I suggest you check it out in the bookstore and if you like it you should try it! πŸ™‚ I did almost a full 21 days of the detox (like the book suggests you do), but I also had a few minor speed bumps in there too… πŸ˜‰

I’ve had a hard time losing the last 10-15 lbs and on this plan, I FINALLY broke that barrier. However, I went on vacation recently and needless to say, there were ZERO smoothies involved. So I’m back home now, smoothie ingredients on hand and back at it!

I feel wonderful when I’m on it and surprisingly not starving.

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A little excerpt from the back of the book since it would take me awhile to sum it up- ” Clean is an M.D.’s program designed to be easily incorporated into our busy schedule while providing all the practical tools necessary to support and rejuvenate our bodies. The effect is transformative: nagging health problems will suddenly disappear, extra weight will drop away, and for the first time in our lives, we will experience what it truly means to feel healthy.”

The basics of it are as follows:

1. Remove package and processed foods and drinks that contain additives, preservatives, and other chemicals from your diet.

2. Reduce potential irritants and allergens in the diet.

3. Reduce acidity from certain foods such as red meat, milk products, excessive grains (wheat).

4. Remove food that have an inflammatory effect in the body.

5. Add anti-inflammatory nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids; polyphenols from berries; and many plant-based compounds that boost liver detox.

6. Remove foods that tend to have fungi on them (peanuts), or that feed the yeast in the intestines causing dysbiosis (microbial imbalances w/in the body) such as sugars, alcohol, and dairy products.

8. Remove caffeine, alcohol, cigarettes.

I don’t currently own Gwyneth’s cookbook but I had the chance to browse through half of the recipes in my sis-n-law’s copy and they look great! I must mention that I am not here to badger you with diets that don’t work and I would never recommend doing anything unhealthy. I am simply here to tell you what worked for me and hopefully my experiments will be of benefit to you and your start to a healthier lifestyle. :):)

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So, now that I have explained the plan I’m currently on, let me share a simple recipe with you that I had for breakfast today. Here’s where I’ll begin to include ALL nutritional info if you are tracking your intake and output. These recipes are simple and can be made in advance so you can grab and go! If you plan on doing a smoothie for breakfast AND dinner, I recommend making two at the same time and saving the other one for later unless you are against having the same taste twice in the same day. πŸ™‚ It saves time.

Ingredients:

1.) 1 cup Almond Breeze almond milk unsweetened (30 cals/cup)

2.) 2 heaping tsps Whole Psyllium Husk (this can be found at any health food or Whole Foods store)

3.) 1 heaping tbsp Rice protein power ( I chose Vanilla)

4.) 2 packets Stevia in the Raw

5.) 1 medium peach

6.) 1/2 Mango

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Cut up the fruits and add all ingredients to a food processor (I LOVE my Ninja!) or blender. You can also use ice if you prefer to have a bigger AND colder smoothie. I however, can’t stomach drinking cold things in the morning when I’ve just crawled out from under my covers! πŸ™‚

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Blend it all up…

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And BOOM! Just like that you have an awesome and healthy sweet treat! Please read nutrition information below…

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NutritionInformation:

231 Cals, 3g Fat, 39g Carbs,, 15g Protein

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Egg White Omelets!

I used to be the girl who would never eat breakfast because I was always in a hurry to leave the house or just didn’t have the energy to wake up early enough to cook. That has changed dramatically over the years and now breakfast is my favorite part of the day. I am currently doing a “cleanse” (which I will share with you all in detail at a later time), but when I’m not, my breakfast staples are egg whites and oatmeal. After eating egg whites every single morning, you have to find different ways to spice it up! One way I did it is by making an omelet (especially when you are really hungry in the a.m.!). You can add all of these ingredients and only add a few extra calories. I try to stay away from cheese because it is fattening and LOADED with calories, and salt because, well, it’s just not healthy for you to have in excess! πŸ™‚

Enough blabbing, here’s the recipe!

Ingredients:

1.) 3/4 cup egg whites ( I use All Whites in the carton)

2.) sliced mushrooms

3.) 1 tomatoes or a few cherry tomatoes

4.) 1/3 diced red onion

5.) 1/2 diced green or red pepper

6.) Dill seasoning

7.) Dash pepper

8.) 0% Fage Greek Yogurt

9.) Handful spinach leaves

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Spray pan with Pam or a use a tbsp of olive oil (this will add cals so be careful). Pour egg whites into pan and cook until you are able to turn the omelet over… While it’s cooking, feel free to add pepper, dill (I love), and whatever other seasonings you prefer…

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After flipping the omelet once and it continues to cook, add your ingredients by first spreading Greek yogurt on one half of the omelet. Add the rest of ingredients and cook until the egg whites are no longer liquid…

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YUMMMMM!!!! πŸ™‚

 

Easter Cake!

Since I’m new to blogging, I’m playing catch-up with all of my food pictures and posts. I know it is a little off-season but it’s a quick easy Easter cake and guaranteed to get a lot of looks and likes! I must mention that I ran out of frosting and that’s why it looks so scarce! πŸ™‚ Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1.) 2 boxes of cake mix ( your choice of flavor/color)

2.) 4 eggs

3.) Vegetable oil

4.) 1 package coconut

5.) green dye

6.) 2 packages Peeps!

7.) Easter colored M&M’s

8.) 3 White frosting in the can or whatever color you desire (just remember that this color will show on the outside!)

First off, start with 2 boxes of cake mix of your choice and bake 4 layers according to the directions on the box. After completely cooling the cake on wire rack, place one layer on a dish and cut the rounded top off so that the layer is flat on top. Do this with all layers except the top. Doing this will make your cake more visually appealing and you won’t risk your cake being lopsided! Next, generously frost on top of the bottom layer and then place the second layer on top. Repeat this process until you have 4 layers. Frost the entire cake on the outside and on top so it looks like this…

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Next, place your coconut in a bowl and add a drops of green dye until you get the desired color to mimic “grass”! Carefully make a ring with the coconut on the outside of the top layer being careful not to let the coconut fall and stick to the sides. Then take your M&M’s and generously cover the top.Β  Place the peeps side by side around the base of the cake and your done! Visually pleasing and easy as “cake”! πŸ™‚ Here is my finished version…

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Fashion Finds <3

Every year I peruse the internet looking for the perfect bikini to fit my “soon to be” in shape self and had been looking at the http://www.beachbunnyswimwear.com website at this bikini for months before I would commit to the purchase. As we all know, $170 on a bikini is a little extravagant and I was going to be SURE before I bought it. After about two months, I bought it one late night and haven’t regretted it since! All I have to say is that if you’re going to buy something from this boutique in Cali, I had to upsize 2 sizes to get the right fit… Again, my apologies for the clutter on the table. πŸ™‚

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I found this next little trinket at the Coconut Point shops in Ft. Myers, FL in JCrew! It was $25 and I just couldn’t see spending that much on a key chain but I DO have a small obsession with anchors and ended up buying it on Ebay for a slightly lower price… πŸ™‚

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New Fav color in all things (clothes, jewelry, nail polish) you name it!!Β  Essie- Naughty Nautical

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Sugar Cookies!

My sister-n-law and I will both tell you that this whole process takes a TON of time (about 6 hours) and you have to be WELL-RESTED and up for a challenge. πŸ™‚ The cookies are the easiest part, the icing…. not so much. That is, if you want them to be professional looking.

These are an AWESOMEΒ  gift for any occasion and will get many compliments! I can’t take credit for the sugar cookie recipe or the icing techniques but I can show you my photo progress and how wonderful they turned out!

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/soft-sugar-cookies-iv/detail.aspx (SUGAR COOKIE RECIPE)

http://www.sweetsugarbelle.com/2011/04/royal-icing-101-or-all-roads-lead-to-rome/ (ROYAL ICING RECIPE)

If you’re following the sugar cookie recipe link I attached, it suggests that you roll your dough into balls. Yes, this IS an option but it will come out looking like every other cookie you’ve made. These come out perfectly level! Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and roll out your dough onto a floured surface until it is about 1/2 thick ( not too thin or the cookies might break easily). I apologize for my clutter…

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Get out whatever shape cookie cutter you want to use and get to work!! In this case, I chose hearts. Just remember when you’re choosing a cutter, the more edges and details it has, the harder the piping!

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Place on cookie sheet and bake in oven for 9-10 mins. You don’t want them to be underdone or brown. When they are done, they actually look like they could still use a little more time. Remember that when you take them out they will harden as they cool. πŸ™‚ These are done!

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Let all the cookies cool completely before applying ANY icing. You can prepare your icing in advance if you want (may save you a little time). I use Wilton products for most of my cooking supplies ( icing bags, ties, etc…). Drop some food coloring of your choice into separate bowls if you’re using multiple colors and here you have it!….

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Place into piping bags and using a pointed tip, begin lining the outside of your cookies like so….

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I bet by now you’re pretty excited about the results, right?! I know I was. πŸ™‚ Who needs a bakery when you are your own baker? πŸ™‚ Let the piping harden (doesn’t take too long), and prepare the icing you are going to “flood” with.Β  The ONLY difference between Royal icing (piping) and “flood” icing is the consistency. This step is very tedious and LESS is MORE in this case. Don’t forget that you can always add more water but can’t take it away. πŸ™‚ Use DROPS of water little by little and test it out on a plate before you begin on your cookies. Too watery, and the cookies will never dry. Too thick, and the icing won’t flood and give you that smooth look. With that said, miss SweetSugarBelle herself is much better at explaining the process than I am.

You can find step by step instructions here……

http://www.sweetsugarbelle.com/2011/07/outlining-and-filling-cookies-with-royal-icing/

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This is how your icing should look once you have the right consistency! Before they dry, apply your sprinkles or other decorations if you want to add them. I used mini heart sprinkles. πŸ™‚

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VOILAAAA!!!!! Aren’t they beautiful? Give yourself a pat on the back if you have gotten this far because the hard stuff is over!

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Allow them to dry overnight (covered), and just like that they are ready for gift giving! Don’t forget to try a few for yourself because these cookies are AMAZINGLY soft and chewy. Not to mention you deserve a little reward for all your time and hard work you put in. πŸ™‚

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A Quick Blurb…

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Day 2 training- went for a late morning run earlier today and MAN was it hot!! I guess I thought a little more sleep was a better idea than running at a time when the sun wasn’t blazing hot. WRONG. My friend Allie and I ran two miles and although I can’t really be proud of my pace, it’s a start, and its also better than doing nothing, right? Much room for improvement here but practice makes perfect!

Spaghetti Squash Medley <3

Ingredients:

1.) 1 Spaghetti squash

2.) 1 jar spaghetti sauce

3.) Ground turkey BREAST ( less cals than regular ground turkey)

4.) 1 package of mushrooms

4.) 2 tomatoes

5.) Garlic cloves

6.) Black olives, sliced

7.) 1 Jar Pesto

8.) 1 Yellow onion

9.) 1 Package spinach leaves

Spaghetti Squash is one of my dirty little secrets in the kitchen, or maybe just a way of tricking my mind into thinking I’m actually eating delicious noodles. Either way, this is a much healthier version. I forgot to take a picture of the spaghetti squash before I cooked it, shredded it AND threw it away but if you are not familiar with it, here is what it looks like….

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Spaghetti squash has 42 Cals/cup (awesome!) and many nutrients that your body needs. There are two ways to cook it:

1.) Preheat oven to 375 degrees. You need a pretty sharp knife and the use of some serious muscles to cut these things. If you would prefer to leave it whole, make sure you POKE HOLES in the squash with a fork, knife or some other utensil to prevent the squash from EXPLODING in the oven. If cooking whole, bake in casserole dish for one hour. Remove from oven, and scrape out seeds in the center (Be careful, its HOT!).

2.) Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut the squash in half lengthwise, scrape out the seeds before cooking, then place the squash face down (rind side up) in the casserole dish. There is no need for water or grease in the dish. Bake for 35-40 mins.

While the squash is cooking, prepare the rest of your ingredients as directed below.

Once you remove the squash from the oven, grab a fork and scraping lengthwise (making sure all seeds are removed), shred the squash. This will come out looking like the picture above.

I used tomatoes on the vine, black olives, garlic and Pesto in this recipe ( I’m obsessed!)…

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While your squash is cooking, brown the ground turkey breast….

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In a separate pan, sautee your onions, garlic and mushrooms….

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This step takes the least time so make sure you don’t over cook it! Place spinach leaves and tomatoes in a pan until the leaves and tomatoes become soft…

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In a small sauce pan, using canned (or whatever you like) spaghetti sauce, simmer for 10 mins or so…

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When all your ingredients are done, mix in with the spaghetti squash and there you have it!

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As I continue to post more recipes, I promise to post nutrition information for those of you watching your calorie/nutrition intake!

Homemade Quesadillas!!!!

Family dinner night on my trip to Sanibel! My family and I love to try out new recipes or just make it up as we go when we are visiting with each other. We mainly are eating healthy and we use this “vacation” time as an excuse to indulge and relax from our crazy school/work lives. Food for the soul…

These here are homemade quesadillas and got plenty of compliments from my brother and I even got the approval of a 2-year-old as evidenced by an empty plate and a full belly. πŸ™‚ Simple and easy to make! Recipe is as follows….

Gather your ingredients from your cupboard or local grocery store. You will need:

1 Package of flour tortillas

1 package of shredded cheese

1 package of fresh mushroom slices

1 container of 0% Fage Greek yogurt (substitute for sour cream)

1 jar of Pesto (this is Italian but it was a hit on these quesadillas!)

1 Can of sliced or whole black olives

1 package of skirt steak

2-3 large breasts of chicken ( should make for some leftovers if you want)

1 Large onion

5-10 cloves of garlic (seems like a lot, but I love it!)

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place your raw chicken breasts in an oven safe baking dish. There is no need to grease the bottom of the pan because the chicken will produce A LOT of broth in the bottom of the pan by the time it is done. Bake in oven covered with foil for 1 hour making sure that the center of the thickest part of each chicken breast is no less than 165 degrees (safe for eating). This will indicate readiness of your chicken! πŸ™‚ Pull it out of the oven and using two forks, start to shred the chicken ( should fall apart fairly easily). I did not season the chicken this time but again, use whatever you’d like.

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While your chicken is baking, this is your free time to start prep on the other ingredients. Slice your Olives up if they are not already sliced…..

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Cut up one whole white onion…. ( have a glass of wine as you prep, if you so desire πŸ™‚ )

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Finely dice up garlic and put all of these aside in the fridge until you are ready to use them. I waited to cook the onion and garlic together until I had the chicken and steak cooking. When the chicken is about 30 mins from being done, I sautΓ©ed/caramelized the onions, mushrooms and garlic in a pan until tender. Set aside.

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Cut your skirt steak against the grain into slices and season however you would like. I personally just used a little olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, sea salt and pepper to taste. Cook on medium heat until center is no longer pink.

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Using an ungreased heated pan, heat and brown the tortillas to add a little crispness. Careful not to burn! use low/med heat. Start an assembly line (best done with two people to keep things warm) and smear Greek yogurt on one tortilla and pesto on the other. Sprinkle cheese next. Next, chicken and steak using them separately or together, whatever you prefer. Top with olives, onions, and mushrooms and VOILA!!! The best quesadilla you’ll ever eat, because they were made with LOVE! πŸ™‚

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Glitter Tops :)

If you have read my “About” section, you might have noticed that I mentioned that I LOVE crafts!!! Since I was a little girl, I made doll houses out of scraps of bark from the woods and would rig them so they had a “swinging door”. So ever since I was young, I’ve had the desire to build, design, paint, draw etc. etc. etc. Maybe it was passed down from my mom who was an avid baker. πŸ™‚

Not sure if I mentioned this, but I have supported myself through school by bartending for the past 9 1/2 years. Yes, I know this is a terribly long time and have had many people tell me so. What they don’t understand is that it makes more money than most starting salaries straight out of college. So I have continued to do it throughout the years and have made many connections with people of all walks of life. Anyways, one of the major attractions of my city are the ever anticipated FSU football games and tailgating. We regularly have block parties the day before home games which is our busiest time of year where I work. With that said, these are some “tops” I have designed for others as well as myself to wear (under tank tops) on those days. I started a small side business a couple of years ago for anyone that wanted these because of the constant “where did you buy that?” questions. πŸ™‚

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THIS one is my FAV and has been my “go to”…

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Disney Wine and Dine Race Nov. 9, 2012

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Race day last year!! Picking up race packets and such, I was soooooo nervous and scared that I had come all this way to not come home with a medal. Not only did I not train enough but had STOPPED training 3 weeks before race day having ONLY run 6 miles MAX. No bueno. Needless to say, I was convinced to be strong and at give it a shot. The race wasn’t until 10 pm and we had to be on a bus to the starting line by about 7 pm. We tried to eat the right carbs and protein the day of which consisted of oatmeal and deli turkey. We didn’t know that we’d be waiting so long before the race, so we were pretty hungry when it finally started. Mistake #1.Β  I was also placed in a Corral with all the other people who had also never ran a race in addition to the people who were walking part of the race. When the gunshot signaled the start, I was dodging people left and right to try to get a little space between myself and others. The course went through Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Animal Kingdom with lots of pretty lights and things to see. They “highly discourage” the use of headphones but let me tell you, I was NOT about to give music up while running! The mere thought of having to listen my own breathing and feet hitting the pavement is torturous enough to play mind games on me and break me down mentally. So I gladly tuned out all their bands they had playing at every mile.Β  I’d post the during pics, but they are very unattractive. πŸ™‚

I had lost my running friend at the very beginning of the race so upon arrival at the finish line, I had no idea where my group was to meet up. I also could not walk. NOT. ONE. INCH. I also had NO phone. So not being able to walk and holding back the urge to vomit, I gracefully sat down on the pavement near a fence to avoid myself any further embarrassment. I even skipped out on the after race photo they provide for you because I was feeling THAT bad. 😦 Anyways, I borrowed a strangers phone, called up my brother and I was informed that I had to walk to the Epcot ball to meet them. Now, we all know how BIG and CLOSE the Epcot ball looks, but looks can be deceiving in this case. Putting one foot in front of the other was sheer pain. After finally finding my crew, we walked around Epcot where we were supposed to enjoy food and drinks from “around the world”. Unfortunately, my body was rebelling at the thought of putting alcohol and food into it surprisingly enough. THIS YEAR, I vow to train properly and be able to enjoy the after party til 3 am.

All in all a great race, lots of fun, adventuring, site-seeing, and I enjoyed the fact that it was at night! Stay tuned forΒ  pics from this years race! Hopefully I’ll be able to put on a real smile instead of painful one! πŸ™‚

First Day of Race Training!

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I’ve had nothing but comments about being a “one-legged jogger” since I posted this pic. Folks, it’s called high-knees and yes, I DO have a right leg. πŸ™‚ Yesterday I started race training 3 months out from race day! Starting at 1.5Β  miles and progressively building up to 10 miles.Β  I convinced my friend Allie to join me on the run and this is her taking a picture of me while she declinedΒ  to participate in the final stretch of “high knees”. πŸ™‚ I always have an easier time running when I have someone there to motivate me or vice versa. Anyways, the weather was hot and muggy and we almost decided to nosedive into her family’s pool afterwards. I tracked our run with my Garmin (WHICH I LOVE BTW!) and we managed to complete about 2.15 miles with a little walking in between. All in all, a MUCH better one than the run I attempted last week in Sanibel!!Β  Woke up today with my legs sore ( sounds lame to say after only having run that little mileage). I gotta say, it’s amazing and depressing at the same time how your progress can diminish so quickly when you stop training. Gotta keep a positive outlook though and keep on keepin’ on training!