Thursday, January 31, 2013

Chicken and Cheese Lasagna

So another thing conquered...homemade noodles! I made spinach noodles one time with my sister but she is the one who made them. So this time I used a recipe in my fantastic cookbook that I get a lot of recipes from (Country Cookbook Bridal Edition...thanks mom!)

Then I used my creative juices and came up with this lasagna recipe all my own! Those are always some of my best :)

Homemade Noodles
2 Cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs
1 tbsp water

Put flour and salt in a bowl and make a well (scoop out middle). I suggest doing 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups flour because I thought it was too dry (maybe I'm wrong but I added another tbsp water)...adding flour while kneading is better than being too dry. 

Add eggs and water in the middle. Stir together.

Knead the dough for about 10 minutes.

Roll out..this took some elbow grease for me...again, I thought it was a little too dry? But it was fine :)

Then I just cut sheets that would cover the whole bottom of the pan for the lasagna. 


Tomato sauce (sauce recipe HERE if you need one)
2 cups mozzarella cheese
1 small container of cottage cheese (or half of a large one)
cooked chicken breast chopped finely
large handful of spinach chopped to about 1/2 cup
parmesan cheese

Combine cottage cheese, 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese (leave 1/2 cup for topping each layer), parmesan cheese, and chopped spinach (I used fresh) in a bowl. You will use this to layer the lasagna.

Layer the bottom of your pan with sauce then add a layer of homemade noodle (or store bought...I did not have to cook the homemade noodle first in water)

Add another layer of sauce on the noodle, half of the chopped chicken, a layer of cottage cheese mix, and then sprinkle some of your mozzarella cheese on top.
--the cool thing about this is that I used leftover chicken from the night before when I made a rotisserie chicken, which was very another use for my leftovers!

Repeat with 2 more layers but use all the chicken in the bottom layers and leave the top layer for your cheese mix and the rest of your mozzarella cheese.

Then cook at 375 degrees for 45 minutes or so.

There you have a really homemade lasagna. ENJOY this marvelous lasagna! Abby even downed it and had 2 large helpings and Kyle really liked it :)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Apple Cinnamon Muffins

So I like apples. I found this apple muffin recipe on Pinterest. Really, who doesn't love Pinterest??! I was skeptical at first...which was a while ago. Now, over 1,000 pins later, I still like it. Anyways, this recipe was a success. Delicious muffins....

My assistant helped me, of course....except sometimes my assistant is messy :)

She did well with spooning the flour mix in....until she got bored. Ha. It's ok, she is still hired next time.

I decided to make the apple chunks bigger and that was NOT a hit for my husband and Abby. I like them...I guess you live and learn. 

The recipe was majorly modified due to lack of a couple ingredients and I don't like nuts in stuff. So here's how I did it. Here's the pin if you'd like to look at the original recipe. Next time I will add oats though cause I like them!

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil (I used olive oil)

3/4 cup applesauce
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice (didn't have)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup rolled oats

1 medium apple, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  
Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners. 
In a large bowl, mix together the sugars, eggs, oil, vanilla and applesauce. In a separate bowl, mix together the flours, baking powder, soda, salt and spices.  
Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in the bowl.  
Stir in the oats, and apples.  
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

I've got so many more recipes coming...I just love cooking and baking. Can't wait to share more soon!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Hannah and Abgail

I haven't posted much about my girls in a while. I just love them though. Hannah is an AMAZING baby. She is pretty happy...I would say 95% of the time she is happy. When she isn't happy it's an easy fix of eating food or laying her in bed. The other part of the time she is sleeping. She continues to sleep through the night. I am definitely blessed. She has only been up during the night 2 times and that has happened about 3 or 4 nights...ever. Even the first night after birth she slept 8 hours. But normally she sleeps and has a bed time between 7:15-8:00 PM. She might wake to eat at 5 or 6 AM and then sleep till 8-9 sometimes 9:30 AM. Crazy. 

She has great big smiles for her mommy, daddy, and sister. She loves watching people and has started chewing on her fingers. She could sit in my lap all day long and be content...until she's tired. Then she likes to just be laid in her crib with a paci and blankie to fall asleep on her own. 

The more she grows the more she looks like Abby.....actually I've always seen Abby in her and I think they look just alike at every stage. Take a look at these pics....

My Hannah Banana :) 

Abby at the same age.....just add more hair to Hannah and you have a match!

Abby loves pictures taken of her :) 

Abigail talks talks talks. She can say anything. She has started asking questions like "do I have a birth mark?" because she saw mine on my leg. She says a couple words incorrectly such as "fuffin" which is muffin. Also "bapoon" which is vacuum. She loves doing chores for pennies. 

We introduced TV to her recently and now she enjoys a few Veggie Tales. We had our first movie night ever last week and watched Ice Age. It was so fun. We had pizza and ate in the basement while watching the movie. 

Abby is also potty trained. She has been in underwear since the beginning of December or end of November...I can't remember. She does fantastic and has been going on the potty all by herself without telling us or needing help. We have conquered public restrooms also and she is no longer afraid! We went out to eat the other night and she went 2 times while at the restaurant. I am so proud of her. Everyday she does something new and it amazes us. I am so thankful for my 2 bundles of joy!!!!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Postpartum - Week 14

The last 2 weeks have gone well. I found out that I have tendonitis in both my It's just from everything I do. I am on the go at home with cooking, weight lifting, and taking care of a 2 year old and 3 month old! That's ok, ice and rest will help.

My eating habits are doing good. I have been consistently having a smoothie each morning with 1/2 cup of vegetables and at least 2 cups different fruit. I also put flaxseed and greek yogurt in them. I have 5-6 meals/snacks a day to keep my metabolism going and blood sugar stable which is important for losing weight and maintaining loss.

If you want to be fit then do what fit people do! Fit people DO NOT skip meals to reduce their calorie intake and lose weight. It actually compounds the problem because it slows down your metabolism. Guess what? Sumo wrestlers skip breakfast. Crazy right? They only eat 2 meals a day and they exercise. Their routine is intentional though. The research shows that skipping meals and gorging yourself followed by sleeping after meals will help you gain weight and fat. Your body can only handle so little calories for a certain amount of time. You will either literally starve yourself and become anorexic (which still damages your metabolism) or you eat just enough for your body to run on and stop losing weight because your body will hold all your calories to survive.

Here's my typical day currently..
Breakfast- smoothie with scrambled eggs (1-2) and sometimes a piece of bacon
Snack - fruit and string cheese or protein shake after weight workout
Lunch- salad or wrap with homemade tortilla with chicken and veggies
Snack- hummus and carrots and a few tortilla chips or another smoothie
Dinner- Whatever I make which varies
sometimes I am hungry after dinner and have another string cheese or fruit shortly before bed or I can't fall asleep out of hunger.

Remember to listen to your body! If your body is telling you it's hungry then don't try to suppress it. Figure out if you are eating enough calories, eating often enough, or eating enough protein and fiber to give you that full feeling.

Alright, alright here's my stats for this week!

Current Weight: 130 (3.4 pounds since the last update)

Arm: 10 (no loss)

Chest: 35 (1/4 inch loss)

Waist: 32 1/4 (1/4 inch loss)

Hips: 35 1/4 (1/4 inch loss)

Leg: 19 3/4 (no loss)

Skinny Jeans update pics....getting better! (sorry the photos are so grainy, I didn't realize they were till I put them on)

There you go! I am still 2 pounds away from my goal which is February 15th. Lastly remember that this is a slow and steady journey. God wants to be apart of it so let Him in. Surrender whatever issues you have such as dependence on food, worrying too much about your looks, being obsessed with every calorie you consume, and obsessing about a certain weight. Give it to God and follow the right principles of losing weight; you cannot go wrong!

1 Corinthians 9:24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.

2 Thessalonians 3:5 May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Strong Core and Flat Tummy Exercises


I feel that after having 2 kids I have some experience with abdominal training when it's the worst situation for your body (if you've had kids you know what I'm saying!). Before my first pregnancy I worked my abs hard to get them flat and "cut." Then after having a baby you look at your stomach and just wonder if you've lost hope forever. Well, there is! I really, really promise! Let me make an outline of what I personally have discovered about regaining abdominal strength and reducing the belly "pooch".

#1 Check the Abs
Checking for Diastasis Recti is extremely important. This is the absolute FOUNDATION of getting a flat tummy. You check by laying on your back with your legs bent, feet on the floor. Then you put your finger just above your belly button. Lift your head up off the floor towards the ceiling and blow out. If your finger sink into your tummy like a hole then you have a split. Over 90% of women have some sort of split after it's likely you have it. See how many fingers you can fit into the "hole" and that's how you measure the distance of your rectus abdominis (part of your abs) is apart.

#2 Bring the Abs back together with...

Tupler Technique: Sit with your back against a wall and suck in your tummy. Keep breathing but have it sucked in as far as you can go. Count to 30 (30 seconds) and release. Do again. Repeat 10 times a day. You can also suck in and let go for about a second at a time. Do 50-100 of these 5 times. These actions help bring the rectus abdominis back together and reduce the split which looks like a mummy tummy.

The Tuck: Lay on your back and bring your feet on the floor like you're going to check your diastasis. Instead bring your back flat to the floor and suck in your tummy. Hold for a few seconds and then release. Repeat 10 times. This also helps bring the muscles back together.

Cat: Stand up or get on all fours and bend over with your back parallel with the ground. Put your hands on your legs and round your back up like a cat stretching then bring it down flat again parallel with the ground. Make sure to suck in your abs when you lift your back up. Do 5-10

Check your diastasis periodically to see progress.

#3 Once your split is back together then start getting into more intense exercises. Here are a few of my favorites without doing sit ups and splitting again.

Standing side crunch

Tuck in tummy and suck in your belly button. Lean forward slightly and crunch (I need to get a better expression on my face).

Forward Standing Crunch

This works your rectus abdominis (what you worked to bring together). Tuck your tummy in and use the resistance of the band and crunch forward working your abdominals.

Ab Balance

Now put the band on top of your feet and loop them through. Pull the band into your chest and lean back finding your balance. This is excellent for your entire core. Push your feet out and straighten your your body then come back up with your legs bent. If too difficult then put your feet on the ground the whole time. Repeat 10-15 times. 

Can't remember the name...ha

Put your feet on the floor, keep legs bent, and lean back to work the abs. Then pull the bands side to side. Repeat 20 times. Keep the back straight with good posture and your tummy sucked in.

Army Crawl

Get in plank position and bring your leg towards your elbow but keep off the ground. Switch legs. This is an intense exercise on your entire core. You can bend towards your knee as well. Be sure to not sag your tummy or lift your butt up too high because it'll make it easier but can strain your back too. Repeat 10 times to start with.


End it with getting on the ball and doing a pike. Your abs will be feeling it top to bottom (we all want to work that lower pooch). Do 5-10. 

Repeat the circuit as many times as you'd like. Most of these exercises work the whole core and back which is what you want with ab training.

If you are a mom with a tummy that discourages you remember that it takes time. During pregnancy women usually increase their body fat by 5-10%. That's a lot so don't be surprised when you have a belly pooch. Especially after delivery with breastfeeding, your body feeds off that extra body fat for food for your baby. Until you are completely done breastfeeding you will probably keep a little more fat on your body and that's ok. Plus, you normally only lose 1/2-2% of body fat a month (2% is very high for one month). So you see that it takes time to get back!

The belly will get better with clean eating, bringing the diastasis back together, weight training, and ab exercises such as these. Stay on the look out for more ab exercises that aren't your traditional sit-ups because I have a bunch up my sleeve that I really enjoy :) Keep up the hard work! 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013



    As I was finishing my workout today, inspiration was at the forefront of my thoughts. I had just finished a Turbo Jam workout, one which I had not done for months, and I continued doing extra exercises at the end. The DVD kept going and was beginning to interview Chalene Johnson, the creator of Turbo Jam and many other fitness programs. Ever since my first year of college, when I was introduced to Chalene’s workouts, I have continually been encouraged because of her. Most of my love for fitness could be attributed to Chalene. 

    In high school I played tennis all 4 years. Private lessons, group sessions, matches, hours of conditioning was a regular part of my life. The thrill of victory in a match was exciting. I worked very hard throughout my tennis “career.” Even though I exercised for hours and hours, week after week, year after year, I didn’t have the body I thought I should have. How could I play tennis for 8 hours, go through 2 outfit changes, different shoes (all due to sweat), and several bottles of water and gatorade without having a chiseled 6-pack? I was by no means overweight in any way but could have been healthier. Maybe it was the food. Sandwiches, chips, pretzels, crackers, pasta, cake, cookies, brownies, etc. I still had lots of fruit (mainly fruit and less veggies) but obviously the bad outweighed the good. Yet I wore a size 6 pant though (I know what some of you are thinking but for my height I don’t need to wear that big of a size). 

    January 2007, I was introduced to Turbo Jam. Kickboxing moves, jumping, fun music, core strengthening, and Chalene Johnson is what makes up Turbo. It changed MY life. By the time I got married (July 2007) I had dropped about 5-8 pounds. I wasn’t exercising more, it was less. Since tennis was over, exercise couldn’t stop. I was not able to sleep at night if I didn’t do a workout (still the same today). But now I found something that was fun and it was in my living room. No more jogging outside or on a treadmill where I counted every minute and every mile to finish. I loved singing to the music and watching Chalene do the moves so I could follow along. Not only was I having fun but I was strengthening my abs! Thus, my inspiration started with Chalene. 

    After I was married, I began working for a Chiropractor. The doctor was very proactive with nutrition and I learned many beneficial things. I began implementing them slowly into my diet. Within less than 2 years my body fat percentage went from 26% to 20%. Wow. I dropped a few pounds but mostly changed the shape of my body with weight training and Turbo. Chalene was still motivating me. Now I was wearing size 0-2 pant and I had the abs I always wanted. Victory! Baby steps. That’s what it takes. 

    Fast forward to post pregnancy. Will I get my six-pack back? Can I wear those size 0-2 pants? Will there be a day when I can feel the same again? I answer all these questions with a yes. Does it take time? Yes. Consistency? Yup. Hard work and determination? You bet! Going back to my workout today, when the DVD went to Chalene talking about why she created Turbo, her answer motivated me EVEN MORE. She said that she was tired of going to her closet and trying on several different pairs of pants because she didn’t like the way she looked in them. Sure, she could attribute multiple pregnancies, age, and life to it but she didn’t want to anymore. She wanted her 6-pack back and to feel good again. She didn’t want those excuses haunting her for the rest of her life. I just want to say that it is possible. Pregnancy and motherhood take a LOT out of your body and quite frankly, destroys it. But that doesn’t have to be the end. Stick with it. You will succeed. I am a woman just like any other and I have to work hard to get the body I want. I did before I had a baby and I do after I’ve had a baby. So don’t let these things get you down. Be inspired to keep going.

Monday, January 21, 2013

All In Moderation

    What’s one of the most common sayings heard when asked the question, “What does eating healthy look like?” Most people say that eating healthy is eating all things in moderation. Do you think this is true? We say this but how many people are eating things in moderation and are overweight, have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 Diabetes, are fatigued all the time, and have some type of ailment? What does moderation even look like? This may mean once, twice, 3 times a week eating a certain food that is not considered healthy. Maybe it means once a day. This term is broad at best and leaves plenty of wiggle room for people to do as they wish and coat their habits with this statement. The statistics don’t lie. 
    I (Stephanie) have trained many people over the last few years and my observation is that most of my clients ate all foods in moderation. The problem is that our staple foods ate in moderation are cereals, dairy products, refined sugars, fatty meats, and salted processed foods. These foods make us fat and cause disease and ill health. Another problem is all the diets out there. We’ve got low carb-high fat, HCG (for another post), Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, high carb-low fat, etc. It seems almost everyone is going on one of these diets and losing weight, the important weight our body needs, and then gaining new unhealthy weight back. What’s the solution? What do we need to eat and how can this change your life? 

    Let’s take a look at an average woman’s diet and put this in perspective. Maybe you can relate. Our sample is a 25 year old woman who eats 2200 calories a day on average. For breakfast she eats a danish pastry and 2 cups of cornflakes with 8 ounces of milk, topped with a teaspoon of sugar, and drinks a cup of coffee with cream and sugar. Because of the large amounts of refined carbohydrates consumed at breakfast, her blood sugar level soon plummets and she gets shaky and hungry, leading her to eat a glazed doughnut a co-worker brought in at breakfast, with another cup of coffee. At lunch she heads to McDonald’s near her office and orders a Quarter Pounder, a small fry, and small diet drink. For dinner she eats 2 slices of cheese pizza and a small iceberg lettuce salad with half a tomato, covered with Thousand Island dressing. She washes it down with a soda. 

    What’s wrong with this picture? Well, pretty much everything. This is only one small example of the typical, modern, processed food-based diet. Her protein intake was 62 grams, which is not very much. On average you should have close to 1 gram per pound of weight you weigh. So if she weighed 150, her protein intake would need to be over 120 grams closer to 150. Her saturated fat content was 29 grams (max should be no more than 20) and her healthy unsaturated fats (poly, mono) were extremely low. Her vitamin B6, B12, and folate were all deficient as well. These prevent a toxic buildup of a substance that damages the arteries and predisposes you to heart disease. Inadequate amounts can also cause colon cancer and the birth defect of spina bifida. Because the average American diet is loaded with refined cereal grains and sugars, it increases the blood sugar and insulin levels in many people. If insulin remains high a collection of health problems occur- type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, and harmful changes in blood chemistry. Now, if you only compared the nutrition facts, some nutritionists would still say this lady’s diet was still in the boundaries of healthy. Her carbohydrates were 55% of her daily calories and her fat was 34%. But the types of foods she ate was a nutritional nightmare. 

    What’s the solution? I suggest we throw out the diet books and most of the government’s food pyramid. They encourage lots of grains and dairy. Most diet food companies use processed food because they can meet “nutritional requirements” for losing weight and replace fat with more refined carbohydrates. This tricks us into thinking we are eating a healthier food. For example, many health related weight loss shakes contain an ingredient called Crystalline Fructose (CF). This ingredient, when researched, is actually very similar to high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). There are only minor differences. CF has less calories but still has the same effects as HFCS. People are drinking these shakes thinking they are doing good for their body when they aren’t. It’s usually the first ingredient on the food label. Even Organically known companies are using this (can give specific names upon request). Our world is a mess and no one knows what to eat partly because of deceptive food companies. We need to get back to the basics of what God designed for us. We need to start eating more of His food again. This means limiting grains, and dairy (dairy will be discussed another day). But this also means eating a higher content of healthful meats and lots of fruits and vegetables. Studies and research are proving over and over that going back to a diet high in lean meats and whole foods is the very best for us. 

    So should we eat all things in moderation. My answer is, no. Sugary, salty, processed food is down right addicting. That’s why I stay away from potato chips and soda. I have no need for it and they are both very addicting. They cause chemical reactions that make me WANT MORE foods like it. My body is no longer satisfied with healthy fruits and vegetables and wants cookies and bread. Do I still eat grains and dairy? Yes. Eating pizza will probably never leave my diet and I enjoy a good homemade biscuit at times. But how much and how often I eat those things is what I need to caution myself with. My goal is to continue removing more foods like those. I notice a huge difference in the way I feel when I eat them vs. when I don’t. There are some people who cannot eat certain meats and there are exceptions. But a majority of the population does not fall into that category. Most are unhealthy because of eating a diet low in lean protein, fruits and vegetables and high in grains and dairy.

    Transforming your body into a healthy lifestyle is the goal and that means adjusting. Hopefully you are encouraged by this information and have a better handle on what may be causing you issues or how to change some food habits. There will be much more to come on these topics with explanation in greater detail. For now, look at what you’re eating and start making adjustments. We all have room to grow.

Material supported by "The Paleo Diet Revised Edition" by Loren Cordain, Ph.D

The Vicious Cycle


   Obesity has reached epidemic proportions in the USA and is considered a leading cause of heart disease. We are not talking about people that are a little over weight. This is an internal issue of body fat versus muscle. Someone can weigh a little heavier but have a lower body fat percentage. The flip side is that some people can weigh less but have a higher body fat percentage. Most of America’s problem is that their body fat percentage is too high. Clinical obesity is defined as above 25% body fat for males and above 30% for females. 

    Obesity is associated with numerous medical problems. The excess fat places additional demands on the heart and lungs. People who are obese have increased incidence of hypertension (high blood pressure) and diabetes, high levels of cholesterol, and poor ratios between high-density and low-density lipoproteins. Another side effect of obesity is the stress it places on weight-bearing joints of the body. If an obese person could lose weight, there would be less stress on the lower back, hips, knees, and ankles. However, if it hurts to exercise then the person won’t exercise; thus they get pulled into a vicious cycle of inactivity and further weight gain. Fear of hurting one’s knee, back, shoulder, etc can grip one’s mind when they feel a twinge. The bottom line is that exercise is hard and it’s usually harder for people who suffer repercussions of obesity. How do we break this cycle? 

    Part of living a healthy lifestyle is taking small steps. Dieting is taking all those steps at once. It’s only focusing on the weight number you want to be, cutting everything unhealthy out of your diet at once, and expecting time to exercise an hour a day 6 days a week. Try something new instead. By cutting back on only 50 calories a day and increasing your activity level, a person would lose at least a pound a month. “Well,” one might say, “but I’ve got 30 pounds to lose.” However, if all one does is what is stated above, in a year they will have lost at least 12 pounds. That sounds better than staying the same weight or gaining another 5 pounds in a year, yes? Most people who lose a lot of weight in a short period of time gain it back, but if you lose 1 to 2 pounds per month there is a good chance it will be gone forever! Successful weight loss programs require lifestyle changes of eating less/better quality food and moving more. Remember that excess fat is just unused energy. Start using that energy in the following recommendations. 

  1. -Start out by doing something active several times a day, 5 minutes each time. Include but don’t limit yourself to push-ups, fast walking/jogging, squats, lunges, etc. Burning an extra 30 calories 3 times a day adds up to 90. Cut back a little on your food and you may save yourself over a couple hundred calories each day. WOW!
  2. -Focus on fruits and vegetables. If you make it your goal to start off eating 2 fruits and 2 servings of vegetables a day then you are bound to feel better and eat less “bad” food. This will help with calorie control.
  3. -Surf the web for one article a week to read about health/fitness. Motivation is important. Stop looking at skinny models only to feel worse about yourself and start finding benefits of making healthy exercise and eating choices. When you eat that broccoli you’ll remember all the good things you’re doing for your body. (Good site would be
  4. -Start removing little things from your diet that you won’t miss. Like snacking on those m&m’s at work when you go past the front desk. Or not ordering soda at a restaurant. At the end of the day or your meal will you really sit there and regret drinking water instead? I don’t think so!

These are just a few tips. With New Year’s resolutions coming, remember to keep your head level and start making healthy choices now. Don’t binge now and plan to diet after Christmas and New Year’s. It will only make the cycle worse. Live in the present. Don’t regret your past choices and say “next month I will change.” Start making the right choices NOW.

Some information taken from Exercise Therapy (Third Edition) ISSA