Fast Metabolism Diet Thoughts, Days 1-14

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As a way to hold myself accountable and let others know how the Fast Metabolism Diet is on a daily basis, I thought I'd keep a log of some thoughts for each day. This will be shared with you every two weeks until I hit my goal weight.

turkey avocado lettuce wraps for P3 - amazing! 

Day 1, January 9 -
Breakfast: It appears the "pinch" of salt I added to my steel cut oats yesterday was much larger than a pinch. May need to swap out tomorrow's breakfast for spelt pretzels because it's way too salty to eat and I can't add any more stevia.
Lunch: the P2 Caeasar dressing that is all over Pinterest is MUCH too sour and acidic for my tastes. I was gagging down the last of my salad because it was burning my tongue. Going to add more stevia tonight and see what happens.
Water: I believe I have peed 10 times today, one for every cup of water I drank.
Fail: I forgot peaches for my breakfast so I ate the berries from my later snack, skipped a fruit with lunch and then ate my apple that was supposed to go with lunch for my second snack, because it's better to follow the eating times.
Win: Free coffee and pizza were brought into the office. I found a Snickers in my desk. None of which was consumed.
Day 2, January 10 -
Pretzels were the perfect substitution for the too salty oats. Overall, not a great day. I got blindsided with a 3 hour conference call where I couldn't eat, refill my water or pee which messed up my whole eating schedule. It's just a really, really bad day overall and I'm super upset and stressed. I forgot enough fruit for snacks yet again. I'm hoping to master the mug cake and that it will provide comfort.
Day 3, January 11 - 
Well, if anything I'm being consistent with forgetting something. I forgot the veggies to go with my breakfast and had to take from both of my snacks, which meant I had less than a one-cup serving for both. I ate 4 cups at dinner to make up for it. Phase 2 is usually the hardest and it wasn't bad at all. Not sure if it's because I was super busy or what. I really wanted something sweet last night and ended up ordering powdered egg whites on Amazon to make a lemon smoothie. It won't arrive in time, but I'll be ready for next week!
Day 4, January 12 -
I'm happy it's the last day of Phase 2. Adding bell peppers to a salad really helps make it sweeter and makes me feel like I'm eating more than green veggies. I didn't realize I had compliant pickles in the fridge until last night and I am super excited to eat them as a snack. I can't stop thinking about gum or mints. I need to find something compliant.

vegetable and fruit prep for Phase 1 and 2
Day 5, January 13 - 
Friday, one of the hardest days for me because I work 9+ hours then immediately go grocery shopping for the week. I changed up nearly my entire meal plan for today.
Breakfast: cherry blueberry spinach smoothie, 1/2 an English muffin toasted and topped with a fried egg and slice of turkey bacon.
Snacks; carrots with guacamole and cashews with spicy green beans
Lunch; turkey avocado lettuce wraps with tomato, radish and carrots inside, spelt pretzels and raspberries.
Smoothies in 30 degree weather suck, but so does eating 2 cups of cooked veggies for breakfast. I wish I could find a compliant bread that doesn't taste like cardboard. Maybe I'll just buy all English muffins and use those instead. Prepping dinner (cashew chicken in the crock pot) nearly made me late for work. I should have done it the night before.
Day 6, January 14-
Weekends are hard. I feel the need to graze but I can't. I'm also annoyed today that we still have Christmas chocolate around that my husband is eating.
Day 7, January 15 - 
So I thought the scratchy feeling in my throat was because of the spinach I put in the smoothies (it always happens), yet instead I'm sick. Hacking cough, slight fever, just want to sleep, sick. Today is a fail. I've managed broth, pretzels and frozen cherries.
Day 8, January 16 - 
I can't find cough drops anywhere without sugar. I know this is going to hamper my weight loss but I can't handle this cough. Gargling with salt water does nothing. I followed the eating plan but everything tastes terrible and I'd rather sleep.

food prep for Phase 1 and 2
Day 9, January 17 - 
I still feel terrible. I'm still taking unapproved cough drops and medication because I can't function otherwise. At least the food is relatively bland and easy to eat.
Day 10, January 18 - 
Phase 2 while sick is miserable. I've had soup and gagged my way through a salad because the dressing is to acidic for my messed up taste buds. I'm less congested but the hacking cough is still there.
Day 11, January 19 - 
Phase 2 really is the worst. Meat. Vegetables. Meat. Vegetables. I'd steal a piece of fruit from a baby at this point. Almost over...
Day 12, January 20 - 
Phase 3 is really glorious after Phase 2. Despite it being cold I'm really enjoying smoothies as a way to get all the veggies down. I think pureed soups and smoothies are going to be the way to go.
Day 13, January 21 - 
I really have a problem with grazing on the weekends. I'm eating every 2 hours, but its small meals and not necessarily following the diet. I know this isn't good, but I'm still sick and just don't feel like eating much.
Day 14, January 22 - 
Well the first two weeks are complete and I'm about to start the third week. The scale is optimistically down nearly 10 pounds which I'm curious to see if it will stay that way. I haven't seen the scale under a certain number in 2 years and would really, really love to get there.



#BundtBakers: Sugar Cookie Bundt Cake

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The January theme for #BundtBakers is birthday bundts. Our host is Sue of Palatable Pastime.

#BundtBakers is a group of bundt-loving bakers who get togetehr once a month to bake bundts with a common ingredient or theme. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme or ingredient. You can see all our of lovely Bundts by following our Pinterest board. Updated links for all of our past events and more information about #BundtBakers, can be found on our home page.



As a child, I was never a huge fan of cake, even birthday cake. I liked cookies, pie and ice cream cake, and even the occasional cupcake, but cake was never really my thing. I decided to play to that in this theme by creating a cake that has a sugar cookie flavor.



When I think of sugar cookies, I think of a moist, crumbly cookie flavored with butter, a hint of a vanilla and almond. I opted for that as a my cake base and then when I realized I was out of powdered sugar, I had to improvise on another recipe that uses flour, milk, butter and granulated sugar instead. And no birthday bundt can be complete without some sprinkles! 



Sugar Cookie Bundt Cake
Source: Cookaholic Wife creation
Servings:8-12
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Ingredients:
    • For the Cake:
    • 2 cups all purpose flour
    • 2 tsp baking powder
    • ¼ tsp salt
    • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 1 cup sugar
    • ¾ cup milk
    • 2 eggs, at room temperature
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • ½ tsp almond extract
    • For the Frosting:
    • 2 ½ tbsp flour
    • ½ cup milk
    • ½ tsp vanilla extract
    • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • ¾ cup granulated sugar
    • sprinkles

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer beat together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add in milk, then eggs, one at a time until combined. Add in vanilla and almond extract. Slowly add in flour mixture until just combined.
4. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or lightly golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 
5. Allow cake to cool for 30 minutes before inverting onto a plate.
6. Meanwhile prepare the frosting by combining the flour and milk in a saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly. When the mixture begins to thicken, 3-4 minutes, stir in the vanilla and almond extract and then remove from the heat and allow to cool. Mixture should be as thick as cake batter.
7. In the bowl of a stand mixer beat together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Once fully cooled, add in the milk/flour mixture and beat on high speed until fully combined and the frosting is light and fluffy.
8. Use a spatula to spread frosting over the top of the cooled bundt cake. Top with sprinkles if desired. 






I took this cake into work and my coworkers couldn't get over the flavor and icing choice. I'd say it was the perfect pick! 
BundtBakers

And don’t forget to take a peek at what other talented bakers have baked this month:


Banana Bundt Cake with Vanilla Caramel Glaze from All That’s Left Are the Crumbs
Bundt Cake de Bollo, Canela y Nutella from La Mejor Manera de Hacer
Confetti Birthday Bundt Cake from Palatable Pastime
Confetti Lime and Cheese Bundt Cake from Bizcocheando
Cookies and Cream Sprinkle Bundt Cake from Sew You Think You Can Cook
Doughnut Funfetti Bundt Cake from Kids and Chic
Eggnog Bundt with Hot Buttered Rum Sauce from A Day in the Life on the Farm
Lemon and Prosecco Bundt from Food Lust People Love
Piñata Birthday Bundt Cake from Patty’s Cake
Piñata Bundt Cake from I Love Bundt Cakes
Sugar Cookie Bundt Cake from Cookaholic Wife
Tropical Birthday Bundt Cake from Basic N Delicious

#ImprovCooking: Lemon Rosemary Lentil Soup

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The Improv Cooking Challenge is still going strong! We have an entire year of combinations dedicated to share with you!

The theme for January is lemon and rosemary. I was a little bit worried as to whether I could find a recipe that meets the strict requirements of the new eating plan that I'm on. Both lemon and rosemary are allowed at all times, but I wasn't sure what other ingredients I could pair them with until I found this soup recipe.



It was perfect, actually. Last month or so I bought a bag of red lentils on impulse even though I've never ate a lentil and I had no idea what to do with them. However, they worked out perfectly in this recipe.





Lemon Rosemary Lentil Soup
Source: Melanie Makes
Servings: 6
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Ingredients:
    • 1 large white onion, diced
    • 1 yellow pepper, diced
    • 4 garlic cloves, minced
    • 6 carrots, peeled and diced
    • 3 cups red lentils
    • 4 cups chicken broth
    • 2 ¾ cup water
    • 1 ½ tsp kosher salt
    • 1 tsp pepper
    • ⅛ tsp cayenne
    • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
    • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped

Directions:
1. Add the onion, yellow pepper, garlic, carrots, lentils, chicken broth, water, salt, pepper and cayenne to a slow cooker. Stir to combine.
2. Cook on low for 6 hours, then stir in lemon zest and juice.
3. Divide into bowls and top with fresh rosemary.





Adding the lemon and rosemary at the end really brighten up this soup and bring out the flavors. Lentils are interesting and I think I'll try cooking with them again. If you are following the Fast Metabolism Diet, this recipe is appropriate for Phase 1 and Phase 3.





#StirringsMixologyContest - Lemon Bourbon Ginger Fizz

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On Tuesday I shared a Coconut Rum Watermelon Slush recipe with you that reminded me so much of summer! While not required for the contest, I decided to create a second "Simply Better Cocktail" as part of the Stir it Up Holiday Blogger Mixology Challenge hosted by the awesome people over at Stirrings.

For participating in the event and creating a "Simply Better Cocktail" I was provided with two cocktail mixers and two cocktail garnishes in flavors of my choice. I chose the Lemon Drop Martini and Watermelon Martini as my mixers and Lemon Drop Martini and Margarita Rimmers.



For years I absolutely hated ginger. The smell of powdered ginger, the color of picked ginger with sushi, the taste of it mixed into a stir fry...ugh. And then one day something completely changed. I LOVE ginger. As in, my first carbonated beverage choice is always ginger ale, I eat ginger candies and I immediately steal the pile of pickled ginger when Tom and I go out for sushi. It's pungent and sometimes harsh but an amazing palate cleanser and simply does wonders to calm an upset stomach.

I have also recently come to love bourbon, especially honey bourbon. I suppose it's because I drank a lot of different mixer liquors in my early twenties that I spent so long after shying away from them and preferring simpler choices like wine or beer, but as they say, your tastebuds are always changing.



While I'm still content to grab a beer or a glass of wine, a glass of straight honey bourbon on the rocks is another favorite choice. When I signed up to participate in this contest I knew bourbon was going to make its way into a drink somehow. Lemon is a great flavor that mixes perfectly with so many others, that it seemed a real no-brainer to add the lemon drop mixer with bourbon and ginger beer to create a drink.

Disclaimer: In exchange for receiving the mixers and rimmers I agreed to create a cocktail and submit it into the contest which comes with three cash prizes. Recipe creation, post content and opinions and solely my own and are not influenced by promotional items. 


Lemon Bourbon Ginger Fizz
Source: Cookaholic Wife creation
Servings: 1
Printer Friendly

Ingredients:
    • 2 oz honey bourbon
    • 1 oz Stirrings Lemon Drop Martini Mixer
    • 2 oz ginger beer
    • Stirrings Lemon Drop Martini Rimmer
    • ice
Directions:
1. Combine honey bourbon, lemon drop martini mixer and ice in a shaker. Shake until combined.
2. Moisten the rim of a glass and dip into the lemon drop martini rimmer .
3. Strain the mixture into the glass and then pour in the ginger beer.




For as carbonated as the ginger beer is, I was surprised at the lack of fizz I was able to create for the pictures, but don't let that deter you from making this drink. It's the perfect balance of sweet and tart with a hint of ginger spice to round it all out. 

My other drink was definitely meant for summer time and warm weather, but this combination works year-round. Feel free to use a plain bourbon instead of honey to reduce the sweetness of this drink. 




If you're local and looking for where you can find Stirrings products, check out Food Lion, Total Wines & More and Hunt Valley Wine & Liquors!



To see all of the awesome products that Stirrings provides, check out their website at www.stirrings.com and their social media sites:

Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Pinterest




FMD Chicken and Vegetable Soup

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I quickly found that Phase 2 is the hardest phase on the Fast Metabolism Diet. I don't really mind not being able to have grains or fruits other than lemon and lime, but taking away carrots, zucchini and tomatoes really makes this phase a challenge for me.



This soup kind of reminds me of a 'kitchen sink' variety because you're throwing in a lot of ingredients ' except the kitchen sink '. If you have a lot of vegetables in your fridge that are nearing the end of their life, this would be a great choice.



Not knowing how many vegetables I would consume on this eating plan, I quickly bought too much the first week or two and having a soup like this to use for the leftovers really helps with the increase in spending you'll experience on this plan. One of the other things I love about it is how easily adaptable it is. You can add other phase appropriate grains and veggies depending on when you make this. And if you aren't following the plan, it's still a tasty soup that comes together pretty quickly and provides you with a lot of flavor! 



Chicken and Vegetable Soup
Source: Cookaholic Wife creation
Servings: 10-12 servings
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Ingredients:
    • 3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    • 2 tbsp lemon pepper seasoning, divided
    • 3 bell peppers, large diced
    • 2 yellow onions, large diced
    • 4 stalks celery, diced
    • 1 pound asparagus, chopped
    • 3 cups kale
    • 4 cups low sodium chicken stock
    • 2 cups vegetable stock
    • 2 cups water
    • 1 tbsp kosher salt
    • 1 tsp garlic powder
    • 1 tsp onion powder
    • 1 tsp dried rosemary
    • 1 tsp dried oregano
    • Optional for P1 and P3: diced carrots, cooked
    • Optional for P1 and P3: cooked barley

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Season both sides of the chicken breasts with 1 tablespoon of the lemon pepper seasoning.
3. Place chicken in an oven-safe non-stick skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Cook for 5 minutes or until the chicken is browned on one side. Flip chicken over and cook 3-4 minutes more, then transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
4. Meanwhile, combine bell peppers, onion, celery and asparagus in a large skillet and sauce for 5-7 minutes or until just softened.
5. Transfer the vegetables to a large stock pot and add kale.
6. Pour in chicken broth, vegetable broth and water. Add remaining lemon pepper seasoning, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, rosemary and oregano. Stir until combined.
7. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat then reduce to a simmer.
8. Once the chicken is cooked, remove from the oven and shred it. Add it to the stock pot and simmer for 20-30 minutes more or until all vegetables are fork tender. 


For Phase 1:
Add cooked carrots and barley for dinner or cooked carrots, barley + side of fruit for lunch.
For Phase 3:
Add cooked carrots for lunch, add cooked carrots and barley for dinner. Protein will need to be increased or a fat added.
*If making for only Phase 3, chicken breasts and vegetables should be sauteed in olive oil.
For all phases: mushrooms, cabbage and green beans can be included in this soup and enjoyed for all 3 phases.
* An additional lemon-pepper seasoned and baked chicken breast can be served with this soup to meet higher servings of protein.



One of the hardest things about this eating plan is that I can't follow my usual routine, which was to make one meal for my breakfast and lunch for the entire week. With a few additions, this soup allows me to do just that. 

#StirringsMixologyContest - Coconut Rum Watermelon Slush

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It just snowed over the weekend, a little more than a dusting, but now that it has happened, I'm done with winter and ready for spring and summer to come along. Unfortunately, I still have at least 3 months before the weather here really begins to even resemble spring, but I am lucky enough to be participating in an event called the Stir it Up Holiday Blogger Mixology Challenge hosted by the awesome people over at Stirrings.



For participating in the event and creating a "Simply Better Cocktail" I was provided with two cocktail mixers and two cocktail garnishes in flavors of my choice. I chose the Lemon Drop Martini and Watermelon Martini as my mixers and Lemon Drop Martini and Margarita Rimmers.



Missing the warmth of summer, I created this cocktail using the Watermelon Martini mixer and Margarita Rimmer.

Disclaimer: In exchange for receiving the mixers and rimmers I agreed to create a cocktail and submit it into the contest which comes with three cash prizes. Recipe creation, post content and opinions and solely my own and are not influenced by promotional items. 



Coconut Rum Watermelon Slush
Source: Cookaholic Wife creation
Servings: 2
Printer Friendly

Ingredients:
    • 2 cup frozen watermelon
    • ½ cup coconut rum
    • ¼ cup Stirrings Watermelon Martini cocktail mixer
    • Stirrings Margarita Rimmer

Directions:
1. Combine the frozen watermelon, coconut rum and Watermelon Martini cocktail mixer together in a high powdered blender. Blend until smooth.
2. Moisten the rim of two large glasses and dip into the margarita rimmer .
3. Divide the watermelon rum mixture between both glasses and enjoy immediately.




Oh my! If you are missing summer as much as I am, one sip of this drink will transport you to a white sand beach with a gentle summer breeze and the hot sun beating down on your skin. Coconut rum is a mild flavored rum that pairs so nicely with the sweetness of the watermelon. I chose to use the margarita rimmer to add a salty appeal to the drink (if you haven't tried salt on watermelon, you really should!) but if you just wanted a sweet drink, you could easily skip it. 




We tend to make a lot of slushy alcoholic drinks when sitting by the pool at my mom's and I guarantee that this recipe will be coming along with me this summer! If you're local and looking for where you can find Stirrings products, check out Food Lion, Total Wines & More and Hunt Valley Wine & Liquors!



To see all of the awesome products that Stirrings provides, check out their website at www.stirrings.com and their social media sites:
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Pinterest





Preparing for the Fast Metabolism Diet

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Today is my first day of the next round of the Fast Metabolism Diet. I stopped the diet before the holidays knowing that it really wasn't going to work out when I had tons of cookies to bake and other holiday goodies.

One of the most important things about this diet is to plan ahead. Without planning ahead, it's nearly impossible to stick to it. The recipes take time to make, the store might be out of an ingredient and you might need to change up a meal, or you might get stuck late at work with no snacks and come home completely starving.

After planning out what I was going to eat for the first 28 days, I went through the pantry and pulled all of the things I can't have on the plan to the front. I ate what I liked until yesterday and tossed out the rest if it was something Tom wouldn't eat. I also went through the deep freezer and the freezer and took an inventory of what I have on hand.

I completely forgot I still had some plan appropriate recipes frozen which will do wonders for those inevitable nights where I forget to pull out something for dinner. I have some garden meatballs, chicken and barley soup, pot roast and chicken vegetable soup.



When not on this eating plan, I would still spend my Sunday mornings making my breakfast and lunch for the week and prepping any dishes that couldn't easily be completed after coming home from work at night. Not much has changed, although there is more that I have to do since I can't eat the same thing each day.

Yesterday, I prepared the following:

For Phase 1
* cooked steel cut oats
* diced and portioned pineapple and melon
* cooked lemon mustard chicken breasts
* baked, seasoned and mashed sweet potatoes
* seasoned and roasted asparagus 
* prepared and cooked Shepherd's Pie to reheat for dinner
For Phase 2
* removed stems from the kale
* cooked egg whites
* cooked turkey bacon 
* chopped veggies for lunch salad
* made ceasar dressing

And then because I still feed my coworkers baked goodies that I can't have, I made eggnog cupcakes. 

As a reminder, here is what I am eating this week. With pretty much no notice, Tom was told that he has to go to Texas for work Tuesday morning through Thursday evening. In a way, this is good because he isn't a fan of the balsamic steak I was making one night and now I won't need to marinate a steak separately for him. I'll also end up with leftovers from the pork roast which can be added to the freezer stash.



Week 1: January 9 - 15, 2017 
Monday and Tuesday - Phase 1
Breakfast: peaches and cinnamon oatmeal 
Lunch: lemon mustard chicken with chive sweet potatoes, asparagus, apple 
Dinners: shepherds pie / Italian chicken with wild rice and green beans 
Snacks: pineapple, melon
Wednesday and Thursday - Phase 2
Breakfast: kale turkey bacon salad with egg whites 
Lunch: lemon mustard chicken over salad 
Dinners: pepperocini pork roast with green beans / balsamic steak with bell peppers and onions 
Snacks: tuna on celery, deli turkey and bell peppers 
Friday, Saturday and Sunday - Phase 3
Breakfast: turkey bacon and egg breakfast sandwich, arugula, berries
Lunch: avocado turkey club / cashew chicken with berries
Dinners: cashew chicken / pork fried rice / turkey bacon wrapped scallops, wild rice, green beans
Snacks: celery and almond butter, carrots and guacamole


January Eating Plan: Fast Metabolism Diet

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Last year I tried out a new eating plan that worked out pretty well for me in regards to losing weight and eating healthier. The downside was creating a meal plan and prepping the food on busy weekends. The eating plan didn't allow for my standard 5 days of the same breakfast and lunch, which left me spending hours in the kitchen.

I'm committed to trying the plan again and continuing it for longer than the standard 28 days that they ask of you. I'm starting this again on Monday January 9th and I will continue the plan through Sunday March 6th, a total of 56 days.

Why January 9th? Well, because I spent most of 2016 exhausting myself on the weekends trying to prepare foods, keep up with the apartment, run errands, etc. and I wanted a weekend to simply do nothing. I ran around like a crazy person on New Year's Eve to get everything done and then I spent the first day of 2017 being pretty lazy. I did some blogging, some reading, some tv watching and not much else. It was glorious! That, combined with needing another week to rid all of the junk food in the house meant I was going to start a week late.

I am hoping to see significant results in the first 30-45 days which will require me to purchase new clothing to wear on my cruise in March. My fingers are crossed. If you have any spare fingers, for me I'd appreciate it.

The purpose of the plan is to have days where you rotate between high carbs, no carbs and balanced carbs and fat. You eat certain foods on those days and along with exercise, you lose weight and hopefully reset your metabolism enough, that when you complete the 28 days, you can then start incorporating items back into your diet without gaining weight. To get the full details, you'll need to purchase the book, the Fast Metabolism Diet. I also highly suggest purchasing the cookbook to have more options to choose from.

As I learned with a Whole30, planning out an entire month's worth of meals really held me accountable and allowed me to complete the entire 30 days. In this case it's 28, but I believe the same concept will hold true.

Week 1: January 9 - 15, 2017 
Monday and Tuesday - 
Breakfast: peaches and cinnamon oatmeal 
Lunch: lemon mustard chicken with chive sweet potatoes, asparagus, apple 
Dinners: shepherds pie / Italian chicken with wild rice and green beans 
Snacks: pineapple, melon
Wednesday and Thursday - 
Breakfast: kale turkey bacon salad with egg whites 
Lunch: lemon mustard chicken over salad 
Dinners: pepperocini pork roast with green beans / balsamic steak with bell peppers and onions 
Snacks: tuna on celery, deli turkey and bell peppers 
Friday, Saturday and Sunday - 
Breakfast: turkey bacon and egg breakfast sandwich, arugula, berries
Lunch: avocado turkey club / cashew chicken with berries
Dinners: cashew chicken / pork fried rice / turkey bacon wrapped scallops, wild rice, green beans
Snacks: celery and almond butter, carrots and guacamole 

Week 2: January 16 - 22, 2017
Monday and Tuesday - 
Breakfast: berry french toast
Lunch: turkey burger with mushroom gravy, arugula salad, berries 
Dinners: spaghetti & meatballs / chicken & wild rice soup 
Snacks: apple
Wednesday and Thursday -
Breakfast: scrambled egg whites with bell peppers and ground beef
Lunch: turkey burger with bell pepper salad
Dinners: turkey meatloaf with green beans / steak with mushrooms and onions 
Snacks: garden meatballs over arugula salad, tuna on celery
Friday, Saturday and Sunday - 
Breakfast: cherry berry nutty smoothie / turkey bacon egg sandwich 
Lunch: chicken & wild rice soup, berries / beef & veggie soup, cherries 
Dinners: beef and veggie soup / spicy two-bean turkey chili with avocado / crispy chicken with caramelized onions over spaghetti squash and salad 
Snacks: guacamole and veggies, cashews and hard boiled eggs

Week 3: January 23 - 29, 2017
Monday and Tuesday - 
Breakfast: brown rice cereal, rice milk, berries 
Lunch: balsamic beef with arugula and tomato salad, apples
Dinners: pork sloppy joes with salad / smoky turkey cutlets with sweet potato fries and lemon-dill asparagus 
Snacks: melon, pineapple
Wednesday and Thursday - 
Breakfast: turkey patties, egg whites, asparagus
Lunch: balsamic beef skewers with bell peppers and onions
Dinners: ginger beef and mushrooms / chicken with turkey bacon, green beans and mushrooms 
Snacks: chocolate spinach smoothie, garden meatballs over arugula salad 
Friday, Saturday and Sunday - 
Breakfast: blueberry cherry green smoothie / turkey bacon egg sandwich
Lunch: spicy two-bean turkey chili / beef & veggie soup / bagel pizza
Dinners: avocado turkey club / Italian turkey burger soup / scallops in caper butter sauce over black rice with carrots and green beans 
Snacks: carrots and cashews, guacamole and bell pepper sticks

Week 4: January 30 - February 5, 2017 
Monday and Tuesday - 
Breakfast: apple cinnamon oatmeal
Lunch: orange chicken meatballs, quinoa, green beans 
Dinners: Greek chicken stuffed pita / slow cooker sausage cassoulet
Snacks: apples, melon 
Wednesday and Thursday - 
Breakfast: kale and turkey bacon salad with hardboiled egg whites
Lunch: spicy cilantro lime chicken, bell peppers
Dinners: pork and sauerkraut with salad / beef fajitas
Snacks: tuna on celery, veggie salad with deli meat 
Friday, Saturday and Sunday - 
Breakfast: chocolate cherry oatmeal / chocolate cherry spinach smoothie 
Lunch: Italian turkey burger soup / sausage, spinach and white bean soup / avocado quesadilla 
Dinners: sausage, spinach and white bean soup / avocado turkey club / rosemary pork loin with sweet potatoes and asparagus 
Snacks: guacamole and veggies, cashews and hard boiled eggs

Additionally, I've made grocery lists for each week and notations of how many portions a meal makes so I know how many to freeze and eat in the following weeks. Fridays are the hardest for me because fruits and deli meats won't last in the fridge all week, meaning I'll need to make a grocery store stop mid-week to cover those unless I can eat all frozen fruits and skip the deli meats. It's also a difficult day because I work different hours and grocery shop after work, meaning I don't get home until later. I'm hoping I can use crock pot meals on Fridays to have for dinner and then repeat that for lunch over the weekend one day to save myself from cooking all weekend. 

I'm also looking forward to making lemon-lime ice pops and gummies, which are one of the few treats that you can have on Wednesday and Thursdays. 

Most Popular Recipes of 2016!

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As I've done for the last couple of years, it's time to share the most popular recipes of the previous year with you!

Last year I shared the most popular recipe of each month and then a few of my own favorites that didn't make it into the list. I'm going to follow that same format for this year.

If you're curious about the top recipes from previous years, check them out here:




~January~

This was one of my favorite recipes as well, so I'm glad you enjoyed it as much as I did! Making the BBQ sauce was a little time consuming but once you pour it over the pork in the slow cooker...oh boy was it worth every second! 

~February~

Some pie crust, apples, spices and a cookie cutter are all you really need to make this adorable hand pies. 

~March~

This cake is so adorable your guests won't want to eat any! 

~April~

If a salad can convince me to like broccoli, imagine what it can do for your kids! 

~May~

I love substituting spaghetti squash for pasta and I'm glad I helped you conquer roasting it. 

~June~

My aunt makes this cake all of the time and I finally decided to try it out for myself. I should have never waited so long. 

~July~

If smores and cookies had a baby, this would be it. And it's incredible! 

~August~

One of my favorite drinks, ever. 

~September~

I know people say peaches and cream is a classic combination, but I'm rather partial to peaches and bourbon! 

~October~

I mean, I can't blame you. When you want the ultimate chocolate dessert, you want these brownies. 

~November~

The classic combination of chocolate and peanut butter sure takes this cinnamon rolls from breakfast to dessert. 

~December~

Pecan pie is great, but this takes pecans to a whole new level! 

And here my top 5 recipes that didn't make your list! 





Happy 2017!

/

Hi there!

I feel as though I have a lot of explaining to do and I'm not really sure where to start.

This blog is not and will never be political and I really don't want to go there, but it is related to my lack of posts and since I want to offer an explanation, it needs to be included.

As a straight, white, married woman I had taken a lot of things in life for granted. And I did not realize that until 11:37 pm on the evening of November 8th when I found myself hysterically sobbing on my couch, because for the first time in my 31 years of life, I was genuinely scared about what was going to happen to our country.

Every day since has been the same. It's like a twilight zone, a foggy world where I wake up each morning and then the impacts of that night and everything since then crash down on me. I'm still angry. I feel lost. And genuinely confused that our country was so willing to choose hatred.

In November I planned on participating in NaNoWriMo, a writing challenge that takes place in November and participants are to write 50,000 words. I believe I've mentioned it here before, but I write fanfiction. I have an ongoing novel, it's nearly 200,000 words that I simply ran out of time to keep writing. I was planning to finish it.

I had blog posts scheduled for all of November and a calendar planned out for when I needed to make recipes for blogging events and to share with you before the holidays. Following that schedule, I could have easily been able to write the 50,000+ words I wanted. But then November 8th happened and I just stopped doing everything.

It's why there were so few recipes shared with you in December. I simply made what I had to make and ignored the rest. I don't know the last time I made something and photographed it. I no longer even have a back log of recipes to share with you. Basically, I simply gave up on everything that I found enjoyment in because the fear has overtaken the joy.

However, I realize I can't go on like this. I'm bored of myself, I don't feel like starting any new tv series that will keep me sitting on the couch for hours on end, and I miss making recipes, photographing them, blogging and writing.

So as cliche and cheesy as it sounds; New Year, New Beginning.

Since I'm going to blog and write, it's going to take me a while to find a balance of time again where I can really do both to the best of my ability. As for blogging, I'm going to start off by finding recipes for the blogging events I am participating in and get a schedule going for those. And then I hope in the next couple of weeks I'll started to photograph recipes again so I can get them shared with you.

As for writing, I've decided that I am going to schedule 4 hours of writing every weekend to start off. Hopefully I'll easily reach that amount and want to keep going or find extra time on weekdays after work to continue writing. I would love to have the story complete by the time I go on a cruise in March.

2016 was a hard year for a lot of people. Whether it be related to the election or simply because we lost a plethora of famous people we had grown to love, but I have hope that 2017 can be a good year if we stand up for what we believe in and do what makes us happy.

Happy New Year! Welcome 2017! 
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