Sunday, July 27, 2014

Chopped Salad with Hearts of Palm

So here's my issue with salad.....they're a lot of work to eat!  Back in the old days when I actually took lunch breaks I used to eat off the salad bar at work. Every. Single. Day. 

By the time I built my salad, waited in line to buy it, then sat down at the table I had about 20 minute left of my 30 minute break. Then I had to sit and stab at and cut everything up.  I absolutely HATE giant leaves of lettuce and big chunks of everything.  I much prefer everything to be bite size. Not only so I can get a little bit of everything in a fork full, but also so I can shovel it in my face faster with less mess.  I'm not a dainty eater and I need all the help I can get.

I would sit there for what seemed like forever hacking and sawing at everything with a plastic fork and knife leaving me with just a few minutes to eat and a cranky attitude

Since The Boy definitely doesn't need another reason for me to be cranky, at home I always make my salads chopped salads. It's the only way to go in my cookbook! (<----see what I did there?)


Here's a recent one I made that I really loved


And I really should just stop taking ingredients pictures...because I forgot something about 90% of the time.  In this case there's no roasted sunflower seeds pictured.  Use your imagination. They're small, grey, and crunchy...in case you were wondering


This is not really a recipe as much as it is an ingredients list.  Use however much ingredients you need depending on if you're making a salad for one or a crowd. You can swap out the bacon for turkey....or have both! You get the idea. Make it your own.  As long as it's all chopped up bite size you're good to go

Chopped Salad with Hearts of Palm

Bacon, cooked and crumbled
Crunchy lettuce like romaine or iceberg, chopped
Diced avocado
Chopped hearts of palm
Chopped hard boiled egg
Shredded cheddar cheese
Diced cucumber
Diced sweet bell pepper
Cherry tomatoes halved or quartered
Red onion, shaved or finely diced
Roasted sunflower seeds

Mix all ingredients together and dress with dressing of choice.  I used my Cilnatro Green Goddess Dressing which added a good brightness




Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Wardrobe Wednesday- My Struggle with Summer Style

I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who feel the complete oppostite of me...but Summer is my absolute least favorite season to style.

A big part of it my very well be me living in Arizona... the heat is just sooooo extreme! Today's high for example is 115.....it's flippin hot! When I'm hot and sweaty it's nearly impossible for me to feel cute.  I can't even go run a simply errand without my back getting soaked from sitting against the car seat or getting a sever case of swamp ass.  Scratch that....I actually get swamp EVERYTHING

It's terrible.  I don't feel cute, make up is a joke because it just melts off my fac, and my hair is either in a braid or a bun.  "Styling" just isn't gonna happen because comfort is my main priority in this kind of heat

In my dream world I would just spend the entire summer naked.  Great for my husband....a nightmare for everyone else.   So if I can't be naked the next best thing is limited clothing.....which equals flowy maxi dresses and shorts and tank tops

Not that those things can't be cute....because of course they totalllllly can be.  But it gets old to me very fast and isn't very fun or exciting to style.  I lose interest and just end up leaving the house in the same two to three outfits over and over.  I prefer the layers of Fall and Winter clothes.  I like how adding a scarf can completely make an outfit, or layering sweaters.....you just can't do that when it's 115 outside.

So needless to say....Summer sucks for me in the style department.  I haven't even been taking any pictures of my outfits at all because I can't even handle the 10 minutes it takes outside to snap the photos.  All I have for you is a picture I took in my hotel in San Diego before heading out for a day of fun

Hat: Fashion Q
Shirt: Ross
Shorts: Ross
Sandals: Charlotte Russe

See what I mean?  Hat...braid....shorts....flip flops.....nothing special at all.  

What's your favorite season to style?  What's your least favorite and why? I wanna hear your struggle yo!

Happy {Wardrobe} Wednesday!



Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Cilantro Green Goddess Dressing

It's Summer....it's hot.....and turning on my oven just isn't happening.  My AC is already running 24/7 and I'm pretty sure my house would never recover if I turned on the oven

That leaves meals to the stove top  or cold dishes....and I'll gladly take a cold dish in this sweltering Arizona heat.  I've had a huge craving for salads lately so I thought it was time to stop being lazy and depending on bottled dressings and make my own

I combined pretty much everything I love...cilantro, mayo, lemon, garlic....and some other yum yums!




It's super simple....just combine all the ingredients together in a food processor or blender and you're done!  I forgot white vinegar in my ingredients picture.....whoops!  If you're thinking that it sounds like too much acid using both lemon AND vinegar....it's not I promise! Even though they are both acidic they hit your palate in different ways that I love together. If you are leery about it, start with the juice of one lemon along with the vinegar and then add more lemon juice from there.  I LOVE lemon so I did the juice of 2 lemons.  Don't be afraid to play around and adjust things to your taste.

 Oh and about the anchovies.....they really are delicious!  I totally understand if you don't want to go biting into one straight out of the can....but they really do make the dressing!  Just like they do in caesar dressing....it adds a depth and saltiness that you would totally miss out on if you left them out.  Don't be scurred!


It's delicious of course as a salad dressing or just as a dip.  And I'm drooling over the thought of eating it over a nice flank steak....yum!  You could do so  much with this...it's not just for greens




 Cilantro Green Goddess Dressing

1 cup mayo
1 cup sour cream
3 anchovy fillets
1 bunch cilantro . All the leaves and 1/2 the stems
Juice of 1-2 lemons (I do 2)
2 cloves garlic
5 green onion
1 Tb. white vinegar
Salt & Pepper to taste


Blend all the ingredients together in a blender or food processor.  Store in airtight container in the fridge
 



Monday, July 21, 2014

MoMo Monday- Daddy's Girl

I don't know about you, but there's nothing in this world cuter to me than a little girl and her father.  I love being out in public and seeing a big macho man holding the hand of his littler girl and her dolly in the other.

A daddy's girl relationship just melts my little heart into a big pile of mush.  Maybe because I never had that relationship myelf....who knows....but it always puts a smile on my face when I see it

She may be "Only a cat" to other people....but if you've followed my blog at all you know that MoMo truely is our child.  And I would definitely say that Mo is a daddy' girl

It's actually kind of funny because when The Boy and I first started dating....he was actually a smidge jealous of her.  We spent most of our early dating days at his house, so when he finally started to come over to my house he saw how much time, attention, and energy I put into Mo.  He even made the comment once that when he came over all I did was pay attention to Mo instead of him.  

His tone changed rather quickly though because he soon fell in love with her himself and got it.  He now knew the love that is the Mo and why I was so obsessed with her.  Now he's just as obsessed with her as I am and they are two peas in a pod and I love it

Here's a picture of them from the earlier days


So cute!


Recently MoMo's health issues have been front and center (I will be writing all about it in a future blog post) which has resulted in a number of trips to the vet.  I think it throws people for a loop when a big burly man at 6'2 240lbs walks in.....and he's carrying an 8lb kitty cat haha!!

I absolutely LOVE these pictures that I snapped of the two of them in the exam room





He loves his baby and she sure loves her daddy.  I love my little family

Happy {MoMo} Monday!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

My Weightloss Journey Pt 1: How I Became a Fatty In the First Place


I was never fat as a kid.  Not even baby fat. 

(I apologize in advance for the poor picture quality.  I had scanner issues so I had to go ghetto and take a picture of a picture)

Kindergarten
3rd grade


I ran around outside all day until it was time to take come in and take a bath. I grew up eating relatively healthy.  Sure we still ate corn dogs and chicken nuggets (Schwans brand...the best kind!) but for the most part all of our meals were very balanced.  Our dinners consisted of a meat, a vegetable, salad, and milk or water.  Our school lunches never had juice boxes or fruit snacks.  We had a sandwich, water, and carrots with ranch.  A big treat for us was to have an iced oatmeal cookie or chips.  That  single cookie was enough to make my whole day!

My mom just didn't really buy a whole lot of processed junk.  And actually looking back I don't think it really had a whole lot to do with health on my moms end....it was out of money and simplicity.  We  could only afford the basic staples and that's just how we ate.  If you didn't like what was for dinner it didn't matter.  And simply going without dinner was not an option.  If you didn't eat it right then and there at the dinner table you got to eat it cold for breakfast in the morning.  I made the mistake once of thinking my mom was bluffing.....she was not!  And I couldn't have picked a worse meal to test her.  She had made breakfast burritos for dinner.  Cold scrambled eggs in a soggy tortilla was torture to eat as a 5 year old.....but I most definitely learned my lesson!  I am grateful that my mother was strict about food and didn't pump us full of junk. 

At a young age I became very interested in cooking.  Some of my earliest memories are of me sitting on the counter helping my mom bake homemade bread.  By the 3rd grade my mom was letting me cook dinner a few days a week.  Within just a few years she was letting me write the shopping lists based off the ads and cooking all the meals.  The joke was that she just pushed the cart and wrote the check.   My love for cooking was apparent to everyone and the seed for a career in food was planted.

4th grade

6th grade

Fast forward to the 8th grade.  While most girls my age were getting clothes and make up for Christmas, I was getting cast iron skillets, peppermills, and a deep fryer.  I spent all my time reading recipe books, watching Food Network, and experimenting with new dishes.  This is probably where things started to go down hill.

I had a SERIOUS love affair with potatoes.  When I was little I even wrote an entire menu and plans for a restaurant I had in my head called "The Potato Palace." (real original name huh? lol)  With my handy dandy new deep fryer I was making homemade potato chips and french fries daily.  No joke

And while trying to teach myself new cooking techniques I just had to make cheese sauce to go on top of those fries. Sure I was teaching myself great things.....how to make a roux....how to make a bechamel.....but I was always making myself fat....REALLY fat! Sure I sort of noticed.....but I was so into what I was doing I don't think I really paid that much attention.

I remember getting my final report card.  I had gained exactly 20lbs from the beginning of the 8th  grade until the end.  I went from 120 to 140 in only 9 months.  That's insane!!  I remember being upset by it....but obviously not enough to really check myself.  It also didn't help that that year I decided to go all "different' and chop all my long hair off.  Short hair around an already round and getting rounder by the day face did not help at all! 

Beginning of 8th Grade: 120 lbs


The last time I had a chin for years to come

End of 8th grade 140 lbs.


Double chin is forming

Over the summer before high school things got even worse!  Remember how I said my mom never used to buy junk when we were little?  Well that kind of changed as I got older.  I think it was for a combination of reasons.  When I was little she didn't work so she had more time to cook and plan.  Now she was working and we depended a little more on convenience foods.  I was kid #4 and with  just 2 of us were left in the house I think we all just became more lazy.  Our freezer started filling with banquet meals and frozen burritos and the nights that I didn't cook dinner everyone just fended for themselves on junk.  Health(ier) meals around the table just didn't happen anymore.

She also started buying Kool Aid fruit punch.  I had NEVER had it as a child and I fell madly and deeply in love with it. I was like a sheltered child let out into the world....only this new world was consisted of sugar and crap. I went crazy!  I was making it by the gallon and drinking it all by myself.  I now refer to it as "Cruel Aid" because it was a major contributing factor to my weight gain.  The pounds kept piling on.

I started high school as a new kid who didn't know a single soul.  As if that wasn't bad enough....I had to start a new school as a fat girl.  I was so incredibly insecure and sad.  My elementary school never had the type of PE classes where you had to dress out.  This was a major anxiety for me my Freshman year.  I would always change in a stall and wore the baggiest clothes possible. That class was torture for me everyday.  I couldn't help but admire all the other girls and beat myself up every single day for how I had let myself get this way.

It also didn't help that I had terrible eating habits as far as time goes that effed my metabolism even more. I rarely ate breakfast because of how early I had to wake up and I didn't want to be a burden on my parents and ask for lunch money so I also would  go all day without eating anything until I got home from school. I remember the short walk from my bus stop to my house being brutal because I would feel on the verge of passing out. Being absolutely starving I would gorge myself on fried chicken and spaghetti banquet meals (my 2 favorites)  or anything other junk I could get my hands on as soon as possible.  

First semester Freshman year

Christmas Freshman year

The first day of second semester I was mistakenly put into a beginners dance class.  For a split second I was sort of excited about it.  I had always wanted to dance as a kid and I thought maybe this was finally a way for me to get into it just a little bit.  The excitement was short lived when once again I looked around the room at all the girls.  I was the biggest one there and only making myself look even bigger by wearing a bulky sweatshirt.  The decision was made final when the teacher herself said that this was a class where you had to feel comfortable putting on a leotard.  Nope!! I marched my fat ass over to the counselors office on my lunch hour and begged to be switched to a different class that hour.  I remember even tearing up as I talked. The counselor was a woman and I'm pretty sure she understood why I was so upset.  Thankfully I was switched to another class.

At the end of that semester I went with my friends to the dance recital.  Again I teared up watching because I had so badly wanted to be a part of it but couldn't let myself because of my weight.  That night I went home and cried some more.....all the while stuffing my face with food.  It's a vicious cycle.

End of Freshman year




I spent that summer just as fat as usual...swimming at my friends house in shorts and a tankini while everyone else got to where cute bikinis.  I felt like the token fat girl of our group.

The first semester of my Sophmore year brought my sister Heather's wedding.  I was so excited to be a bridesmaid.  She paid for me to go tanning and I had grown out my hair a little and gone darker but I was bigger than ever!  

I remember when we went to pick up my sister and nieces from the airport when they flew in for the wedding.  I had always been close with my niece Katie but she hadn't seen me in quite some time since they had moved away for the army. We communicated mostly over the phone.  We were sitting together in the backseat when she said to me in her cute little kid voice, "I remember when you were skinny" Just like that.  So matter of fact.  Leave it to a kid to tell it like it is.  I was speechless at first but then finally responded. "Yea....me too."

The wedding day arrived and I actually don't remember feeling that bad about myself though oddly enough.  I think it was just exciting to get my hair and make up done and wear a nice dress.....all things I had never really experienced before.

It wasn't until the pictures came back from the photographer that reality fully set in.  The pictures made me cry.  I was HUGE.  I had a mental picture in my head.... I actually don't think it was a delusional thought of what I thought I looked like....but more of what I so desperately WISHED I had looked like in that dress.  The wish versus the reality was so painful.



About another month passed...again with no changes to any of my habits.  I was standing in the hallway waiting for my Athletic Training class to open, when one of my classmates walked up to me.  It was the oddest encounter of my life.  I had never talked to this girl.  Sure we had the same class.....but we had never spoken a single word to one another.  Despite this lack of previous interaction, she walked up to me and started twirling my hair around her finger.  WTF?? And then came the kicker.  She asked me...."are you pregnant?"

End first semester Sophmore year

Highest weight and always wearing a baggy sweatshirt

That was it.  I'd had it.  I was humiliated and angry.  Angry at her for even daring to ask me and angry at myself for getting to this disgusting point.  

It was time for a change.

(stay tuned for Part 2 in the future)


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Loaded Jalepeno Poppers

Chances are you've had a bacon wrapped jalepeno popper before. Over the years they seem to becoming more and more popular.  I love them because they are super delicious....but also low carb!

They are one of my go to dishes when I'm going to a BBQ or potluck because everybody loves them but they are still in line with my way of eating.  It's very rare to find a "diet" food that's also a crowd pleaser....so when you find it you gotta hold onto it!

The basic recipe for these bacon wrapped jalepeno poppers is just cream cheese stuffed inside half a jalepno and then wrapped in bacon.  While this is definitely delicious and I would never turn it down....I think it can be improved upon.

When I was making them one day I decided to clean out my fridge a little in the process.  I threw in minced cilantro, chopped green onion, and garlic powder in with my softened cream cheese....but basically you could throw in whatever you want.  That's what makes them "loaded"

Some other ingredients I've used in the past is:

Cheddar cheese (or any cheese for that matter)
Diced olives
Fine diced ham
Chorizo
Italian sausage
Green chilies (for a double chile kick)
Roasted bell peppers

....the list could go on forever!

Just mix anything you want with one package of softened cream cheese and stuff it inside a seeded jalepeno half.  I find medium sized peppers work best



Another thing I do different than most recipes I've seen is that I use half a slice of bacon per half popper where as other recipes have you cut your bacon in thirds.  1/3 of a slice just isn't enough bacon for me.  I like to make sure the whole thing is covered.  I only do a 1/3 piece if my peppers happen to be really small.....but that's entirely up to you.  Are you a halfy or a thirdy?

Wrap the bacon around your stuffed pepper half and secure with a toothpick.  Place on a wire rack that is placed over top a baking sheet to catch all the bacon grease.  This way your popper won't be sitting in the grease and it will be able to render and get crisp as well as cook more evenly with the heat going completely around it



Bake at 375 for about 30-35 minutes depending on how crisp you want your bacon.  After 30 minutes of torture you'll get a nice big plate of deliciousness like this




They may not be the prettiest things in the world but who the heck cares when they taste this good



Now go do yourself a favor and go make these suckers.  You'll be killing two birds with one stone....a delicious snack AND cleaning out your fridge in the process.  How's that for productivity??
 






Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Wardrobe Wednesday- Basics with a Pop

So I think I've finally pin pointed my "style"....if you want to call it that. I've never felt the need to define my style before....but I think I'm just noticing what it is I do so now I can sort of put a label on it

I definitely tend to lean towards basics and neutrals.  The kinds of things that can very easily be mixed and matched and kept for years on end without going out of style. Nothing too trendy.

Because of this I don't have many pieces that are crazy prints.  While I totally admire girls that can pull off busy prints and bright colors on a daily basis....I also accept that I am not one of those girls

I prefer to wear basics/neutrals with maybe one thing that sort of pops.  I'm still working on using jewelry as that "pop"....and actually I'm still sucking at it.  Still not my thing.  For my it's easier to use other accessories as your "pop"  Like shoes, a cardigan, or a scarf. Accessories are also an easier way to incorporate things that are  more trendy without spending as much money or taking as much as a risk as it would be with a larger piece

Here's a perfect example



Boyfriend T: Target

Jeans: Charlotte Russee
Leopard cardigan: Thrifted
Black Ked Style Tennies:Walmart
Leopard Tennies: Walmart

Very basic top and jeans...but with two different spins on the pop of interest.  The left is for those of you that don't live in an oven like me.  A cardigan just isn't practical here in AZ because it NEVER cools down.  Not even at night. 

The outfit on the right is much more realistic for me....but not nearly as cute in my opinion.  Since I can't wear the cardigan without suffering heat stroke and my brain melting...I swapped out leopard tennies instead of the plain black

So yea....my style seems to be basics with one interesting item. Except I may have just blown that entire theory with this one single quote




Yup.....I have to agree with this one.  In that case my theory is out....it is now just an outfit made up solely of neutrals.  So much for that lol


How would you define your style?  Let me know!

Happy {Wardrobe} Wednesday!