Saturday, April 27, 2013

Cheese Breadsticks

In the past, we have loved Pizza Hut cheese breadsticks or Papa John's cheese breadsticks. I know, not necessarily healthy in general but when you have a pizza and Mountain Dew loving husband, making from scratch is a way better option than trying to get him to eat cheesy green beans or something. I mean, seriously. These are quite delicious and the last time we got cheese breadsticks from Pizza Hut (last weekend) they were definitely not as tasty as these.

I actually use my pizza crust to make these so I usually make a pizza and breadsticks. I will just do the portions for breadsticks and you can double to make a large pizza with it (I also have my homemade pizza recipe on here as well).

Cheese Breadsticks
2 1/2 tsp yeast
1/4 cup hot water
3/4 cup room temp water
2 cups bread flour (you can try all purpose if you want. I haven't tested it yet)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp honey
Garlic salt
2-3 tbsp butter
Parmesan cheese
1/2 block mozzarella cheese grated (4 oz)

1. Put your 1/4 cup hot water with your yeast in a bowl. Let sit a couple minutes
2. Add room temp water, honey, olive oil. Let sit 5 minutes.
3. Add your flour and sprinkle garlic salt in as well.
4. Mix together and knead 3-5 minutes (I do this by hand on the counter). Add more flour if needed to keep from bring sticky and make sure it's a smooth ball.
5. Let rise in a greased bowl with a towel over it in the oven. Temp should be around 80 degrees (I turn on the oven a couple minutes then shut off).
6. Let rise 1 1/2 - 2 hours. You can do less time if you prefer but it may not be as fluffy.
7. Take out and punch down.
8. Spray a cookie sheet with olive oil spray or butter it. Roll out dough onto sheet into a rectangle shape.
8. Spread your softened or melted butter on top.
9. Sprinkle garlic salt, Parmesan cheese, and top with mozzarella cheese.
10. Bakes at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes or until it gets a little golden.

Last night I just made the pizza and these together and they both cooked at the same time. It was tasty!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Meatball Sandwiches

I made these awesome meatball sandwiches. I had a cool idea to make my own sub buns out of my Hamburger Buns recipe. So I did! It was so simple. I just combined 2 buns into one and rolled them into a sub shape. I let them rise and baked. Perfect.

Meatball Sandwiches
1 block (8oz) mozzarella cheese
4 sub buns

16 oz tomato sauce
6 oz tomato paste
1/2 tsp oregano
juice from 1/4 lemon
1/2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic salt
2 tbsp parmesan cheese

1 pound grass fed ground beef
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp italian seasoning

1. Put meat in a bowl and add seasonings. Mix into meat.
2. Make into balls. Make whatever size you want. I think about 5 meatballs per sandwich is good. You may have extra.
3. Put sauce ingredients in a pan and put meatballs in the sauce.
4. Cover and simmer low for at least 1 hour so meat cooks all the way (you could simmer all day if you want).
5. Take prepared sub buns and cut in half lengthwise.
6. Place on foil on top of a cookie sheet
7. Put mozzarella cheese on first. Then place meatballs and sauce on top.
8. On the top half of the sub put more cheese and just sauce. Leave open to cook.
9. Cook at 400 degrees for about 10-15 minutes.
10. When cheese is melted, take out and place the top bun on the sandwich. Bake another 5-10 minutes until the buns are a little more brown.
11. Eat it up. Warning, it may be messy but quite tasty and it will smell like a pizza place in your house :)

I have been meal planning and buying food for a couple weeks so what I did was make my burger buns with some being the sub buns. I made burgers the other night and used a couple burger buns but put the rest in the freezer. I also bought ground beef from the store and made my meatballs last week then put in the freezer. So today I just put the sauce together and had been thawing the meatballs; just plopped them in the sauce and let it cook a couple hours. I took out the sub buns that were already made and it was very simple to put together!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Post Workout Snack

A question I get often is what to eat after a workout. It's important to fuel your body before and after workouts because exercise requires so much energy.

The snack I chose today is an apple, Greek yogurt with blueberries, and my homemade cereal.

An apple is a wonderful choice after (also before) because it contains healthy carbs that fuel your body properly to help you from getting too fatigued. During a workout you lose water and it can affect your electrolyte balance. Well eating an apple helps replace lost water and provides potassium, which is one needed ingredient for electrolytes (the other 2 are calcium and sodium). Plus, eating an apple contains fiber and helps with appetite control and weight loss.

Pairing Greek yogurt with my apple was excellent because that provides my calcium and my cereal has healthful oats, nuts, and provides a tiny bit of sodium to balance the electrolytes. You can leave out the cereal if you want but I am eating it to keep my calories up for breastfeeding my little one. The blueberries in the yogurt are great because they provide more hydration, important vitamins, and healthy carbs. You can actually keep blueberries at room temperature so they are a great snack to bring to the gym with you. Eat them before, during, and after a workout if you choose!

Of course, we can't leave out water. Water is an excellent source of hydration and nothing beats it!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Cranberry Nut Cereal

I have my original cereal post, which is fantastic, and this cereal is just a variation of the Chunky Crunchy one.

Cranberry Nut Cereal

3 cups oats ( really any oat, such as quick or old fashioned)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup cranberries (add the last 10 minutes of cooking)

  • Mix together (minus cranberries) and make well in center. Then add:

1/4 cup oil (I used olive but almond or coconut oil would be good)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup milk

  • Pour in well and mix together
  • Put in 9x13 pan and spread out
  • Bake at 300 and take out every 10 minutes to stir. Repeat 4-6 times (40 min-60 min depending on oven and preference of doneness) 
  • Add the cranberries the last 10 minutes of cooking.
  • Let cool and put in an airtight container. 
  • Eat with milk (I prefer almond milk), add fresh fruit, and/or eat with yogurt as well!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Lettuce Wraps

So something I like doing lately is eating chicken wraps. One day I didn't have enough tortillas left so I did a lettuce wrap....and it was still good! So try it, it'll save you calories if anything and is allergy free (flour/gluten in tortillas). And talk about money saving, homemade tortillas are cheap to make but a piece of lettuce costs less than a cent, probably. Ha!

1. Cook the chicken in tbsp olive oil. I did a whole chicken breast, cut. Season with chili powder, pepper, salt.

 2. As chicken was almost fully cooked I added onion and red pepper and cooked till they were soft and chicken was cooked thoroughly.

3. Get a large romaine lettuce leaf ready on plate.

4. I put salsa on it first then cheddar cheese. I usually do hummus and actually like it better cause it's creamy, but salsa sufficed.

5. Then I added chopped tomato and the chicken/veggies mix on top.

6. ROLL it up.

7. I added steamed broccoli as a side to this dish. Very tasty and nice and healthy! Feel free to eat a couple, I did :)

8. Excellent lunch. You have a perfect ratio of food groups here with lots of vegetables, which is ideal since we don't usually get enough in our daily diet. The more the better! The next day I just reheated what I had left of the chicken and made another lettuce wrap for a snack instead of for lunch.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Restaurant Style Pancakes (with optional blueberry glaze)

My husband and I like pancakes. If we go out to eat for breakfast we generally go somewhere with good pancakes. So since we don't really go out for breakfast I have been in search for a restaurant-like pancake I can easily make at home. I FOUND IT. Yay! I have been using it for a little while and it's still a winner. By all means, make them!

The recipe I found is fantastic and I did a variation one day because I ran out of one of the main ingredients, sour cream, but used plain yogurt instead and it didn't taste much different. So that's my spin on the recipe. Also, you can make a blueberry glaze to drizzle over top instead of syrup and it's really good. The recipe makes A LOT of pancakes and glaze so beware. I always cut it in half. But if you have a big family or big eaters then it may be perfect for you! 

Restaurant Style Pancakes (makes 20 pancakes. I usually cut this recipe in half and we have leftover)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup plain, non-fat yogurt (or sour cream to make the original pancakes...which tastes good too)
1/3 cup butter
Blueberry Glaze
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
½ cup water
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

For the Glaze
1. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch.
2. Gradually stir in water.
3. Add blueberries; bring to boil over medium heat.
4. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
5. Remove from heat, cover and keep warm.

1. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl.
2. In another bowl beat the eggs, add milk, yogurt, and melted butter with a whisk.
3. Stir into dry ingredients (whisk) until moistened.
4. Cook on griddle. You can use 1/4 cup to pour each pancake if you like uniform.

If you'd like to make the pancakes blueberry, then add 1 cup of blueberries to the batter. But plain is delicious. So try these for your family and hopefully they'll be jumping for joy like mine does. We no longer care to get pancakes at a restaurant cause these are SO GOOD.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Eating Whole Foods and Saving Money

So one of the #1 things I hear about making changes towards eating healthy is related to money. People often say that eating healthy requires a much bigger budget. But if you have followed my posts over the last couple years then you can see that cooking from scratch with real ingredients (whole foods) is actually cheaper

There are some things that will cost more with being organic, such as a lot of fruits and and vegetables. Grass fed meat and dairy products are more as well. You can save on some things and spend more on others. Figure out what is important to your family and what you eat the most of that is important to go organic (such as grassfed beef and milk for us, but I don't get organic flour. Some fruits that have a thick skin and aren't on the "deadly seven" list). But even if you buy non-organic and eat more whole foods you can save money by purchasing fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables rather than boxes of processed food. 

Another way to save money?? Start a garden! I did 2 years of garden boxes and then took a year off in 2012. I had to re-coup and figure out what I really wanted to do that would make sense for our family and be cost saving. 

How do you start a garden? First, figure out what you want to do. Then figure out how much space it will take up/how much of each you want to plant. Figure out what type of soil you have to determine if you want it in the ground or raised beds/boxes. 

We have sandy soil so I really don't need boxes like I did before. I am doing a lot of stuff for making salsa and tomato sauce since we eat a lot of salsa and Italian dishes. My husband doesn't particularly like the look of gardens so we came to an agreement and are putting fencing around it once it's all done. Which is fine with me :)

Here he is tilling up the ground. 

My husband also built a box for me, today, to put my strawberry plants in. Love it.

We also got dirt to put on top of the sandy soil. Then I got duck mulch (fertilizer) to mix in with the top soil. I also have mulch to put around the edges of the garden and in between my planted areas to have a path without getting all muddy every time and easier to keep weeds out. 

Dirt that I am shoveling into a wheelbarrow and putting in my garden.

Here's my strawberry box.

There are so many benefits to growing your own food. You know where it's coming from and what you're putting in it. It's very fresh if you eat it as it is ready to harvest. It costs a fraction of the price. Once you have a plan, support of your spouse, help from others, it's fun!



What am I growing and planting? 
Raspberries (once you plant a bush, it multiplies so each year you can grow more without spending)
Strawberries (bought a bunch of plants in one container at Lowe's for $5...or $7 regular price)
Blueberries (bought 2 bushes last fall and will produce 10 lbs per bush)

.....each of these will produce every year with good care and don't need replacing. These fruits save a TON of money. We probably saved hundreds of dollars in raspberries alone last year because we picked bowls of them everyday for months!

Soon I will plant....
Romaine lettuce
possibly potatoes

Most of the things I am planting are on the list of things to buy organically (such as the berries and lettuce) because they are heavily doused with chemicals and the skin gets eaten. So this will be a great way to save and lots of fun to go pick and eat :) Are you doing a garden? What are you planting?

Monday, April 8, 2013

Menu Planning for Weight Loss

How do we plan our menu for a healthy lifestyle? How do we keep into account our fat intake, sodium,  and grams of sugar? The answer to this question is actually pretty simple. Let me share!

The best way to plan is by eating whole foods. If you are eating whole foods then you typically do not have to keep track of sugar, sodium, cholesterol, etc. They all kind of run together in the same pack. What are whole foods? Non-processed foods. So generally meats, vegetables, fruits, little-to-no dairy and some whole grains (this can vary if you lean towards vegetarian or paleo lifestyles).

It can be beneficial to keep track of your calories to lose weight but it is going to be easier to help your body naturally eat the right amount if you choose whole foods, drink plenty of water, eat every 2-3 hours, and eat slowly. Let me give some examples of what a day would look like (click on the underlined CAPS letters to get recipe)...

Breakfast: eggs, whole grain piece of toast, apple; or SWEET POTATO HASH, or CHUNKY CRUNCY CEREAL with fruit

Snack: SWEET AND SALTY BAGS: nuts, dark chocolate, dried fruit such as plums

Lunch: salad with grilled chicken, peppers, boiled egg, and an olive oil based dressing

Snack: carrots, cucumber with hummus and optional pita bread

Dinner: grilled bbq chicken, MAC AND CHEESE, with ROASTED VEGETABLES

Drinks: tea, water, STRAWBERRY LEMONADE

The more whole foods you eat the easier it will be to eat within the calories your body needs. You'll get more vitamins and minerals, healthy fats, and more fiber to help you realize when you need to stop eating. Even my own husband comments on how he likes homemade food better than eating out (most meals) and drinking homemade strawberry lemonade is much more filling and satisfying than soda. His body registers the fiber and real sugar in it to help him not drink too much! Making your own food has many health benefits, not just tasting delicious! If you want to track your calories then I recommend because it's free and they have a great app as well. Once you track for a few days or week and would like help on your calories, just message me. For many more recipes, click on "All Things Food" at the top of my blog!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Postpartum 6 Months

Hannah is almost 6 months old and my fitness journey has been going great until this last week. It feels like my family has been through some kind of major attack...attack of sickness! So I haven't exercised since last Friday...a week and 2 days ago. But that's the thing about being on a journey, it's filled with ups and downs and that's ok. There's no beating myself up for something I couldn't control and there's no "crash" anything tomorrow to start the new week. I may go on a run tonight (I haven't been running in probably 3 years I realized). 

My weight has fluctuated slightly the last couple weeks. It's actually been dropping but I have purposely been eating more to gain back to my 128 weight. I know that sounds crazy but I think I'm at my threshold for breastfeeding and if I drop below then my body doesn't want to produce enough milk!  Every time I have hit 127 or even 126 I can tell there's not as much milk and she let's me know! So it's kind of a bummer but her health is more important than my weight. I can survive 5 or 6 more months of not fitting perfectly into my jeans and keep a little extra weight on. Breastfeeding is so important for her and the longer she eats from me then the healthier she will be the rest of her life. 

Remember this is me from Week 1. How far I've come! The picture above and below is me in the same jeans. 

Week 3

Current picture of me below. 

I believe this was around week 6.

Remember to switch up your workout routines. Stretch often. Drink lots of water. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. 

I have been incorporating stretching routines a lot more and I really like it. A more pliable muscle has greater strength potential. The more we intentionally take time to relax and stretch our muscles the better opportunity we give our bodies to improve and keep from injury. So I've been doing about 15 minutes of stretching after my workouts (on top of warm up stretching) plus once a week doing 40 minutes of stretching and yoga/pilates poses to increase flexibility. We go go go in this world and we need to calm ourselves down each day for a few minutes to help our bodies reach their potential. It affects our hormones, nervous system, digestive system, brain function, etc. It really is important!

Current Weight: 128
Body Fat: 21.7%
Exercise: Currently in my cardio program for another 15 weeks with weights once a week and extended stretching once a week

I will still update but probably more month by month. If you have questions regarding fitness that you'd like me to help and answer please feel free and ASK! I will answer your questions and do posts on the topic/subject. If you're reaching your goals then let me know so I can feature you on here!!! I want to blow up this blog and the internet with success stories because it's possible for everyone. You never know how your story can touch someone else's life.