Updates by Email!!!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Back on the bandwagon...

The past week or so I have been horrible with sticking to my diet. Cakes, cookies, meat, and dairy were all very persuasive. But now I am vowing to take control back!

Began the morning off with a kiwi/banana/carrot/oatmeal smoothie* and it tasted delish! B tried to drink it all but I fought hard for it. :)

This past weekend my girls and I had the pleasure of attending the wedding of two wonderful people. It was, by the far, the best wedding I had ever been to. Very laid back and everyone enjoyed themselves immensely. M and B got to dress up in "fancy" clothes. M took it to the extreme with her outfit but still looked absolutely adorable.
We had so much fun at the wedding catching up with old friends and listening to some great music.
Thanks to the wonderful couple for putting on such a great party!
Now it is back to reality of hectic days at home with the kiddos and dog. And back to cooking wonderful whole foods again!

*Here is the recipe for the smoothie I made this morning:
2 kiwi fruit
10 baby carrots
2 tblsp old fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup vanilla soymilk

Chop the kiwi and banana into cubes. Put in blender. Add oats and soymilk. Blend until smooth. Add carrots and blend until completely smooth. Either serve as is or pour over ice for a colder drink. Enjoy!*

Monday, June 11, 2012


Today is just one of those days I should have pulled the covers over my head and stayed in bed. Issues began to pile up even before my first cup of coffee. This is the type of day where a big red easy button would be pushed constantly. I only hope that it gets better as the day goes on. My patience is hanging by a thread and the day is only half over. Tenth cup of coffee and some frozen Reese's cups are on the menu for now!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Good Food...

Over the past few days I have been making some yummy food. The other night I made a wonderful vegetable casserole that has become a favorite dinner in my house. 

Spinach, tomatoes, onion, minced garlic, and black pepper simmering on the stove.

Eggplant and zucchini baked and ready for the spinach mixture.

Finished product (with a bit of shredded cheese on top.)

As you can see M liked it pretty well.

Plates were cleaned all around the table!

This recipe is so easy and I love all the flavors the vegetables have to offer. This meal is a win in my house and that makes me so happy. For the hubs and kiddos I added extra cheese and made garlic bread. I did look longingly at the bread but was able to hold off! 

The meal I made last night was based off of a craving. Since even before starting this diet I have been craving Chinese food. Since the budget is tight AND I shouldn't be eating Chinese anyway, I decided to try my hand at making homemade egg rolls. The process was so easy but the product was irresistible. Unfortunately I ate 5 egg rolls (yes, 5!!!) and was paying for it later. They were good but they sat heavy on my stomach!

The cabbage mixture (chopped cabbage, shredded carrots, diced green onions, black pepper, garlic powder, and ground ginger.)

Making the egg rolls!
Ready to go into the frying pan.
Frying the egg rolls in walnut oil.

The finished product! Served with duck sauce. They were amazing! Totally satisfied my craving.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Getting easier by the day!

Sorry no post yesterday but I was crazy busy with kiddos and family stuff.

My mom came over yesterday to decorate cupcakes with M and B. I was able to control myself somewhat and only ate 1/2 a cupcake. Ooh it was so good!

My mom and I shared the leftover quinoa/cranberry/almond mixture for lunch while the others ate "regular" food. Grandmom hung out with the kiddos for a little while and even let me try a new "do" in her hair. (My mom is such a good sport!)
My very first attempt at a fishtail braid!!!

After a quick nap time we went to the in-laws farm for dinner. The menu was steak, chicken, mac n cheese, salad, and baked potato. Even though everything smelled wonderful I managed to control myself yet again and stick only to salad and a baked potato. And I ate them 'as-is' which means no salad dressing and no butter, salt, cheese, or sour cream on the potato. The flavor was amazing though, even without all the extras. I have found that I no longer crave the added things and I am enjoying the true flavor foods have to offer. I did bring along some homemade granola though and snacked on that throughout the evening.

The granola was a simple recipe and came out wonderfully. Here is the recipe:
Quick & Easy Granola

4 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup sunflower seed kernels
1/4 cup flax seed
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/8 cup oil
1/2 cup honey
1/4 molasses
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 chopped walnuts
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup dried blueberries

Combine oats, sunflower seed kernels,flax seeds, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Mix until well blended. Add oil, honey, and molasses until entire mixture is well coated. Put into 2 shallow baking dishes and bake in 350 degree oven for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add nuts and bake for 3 more minutes. Let cool. Once mixture has cooled completely, mix in berries. Store in air tight container.
*Add white and/or chocolate chips for a sweet treat*
*Serve with chilled soy or almond milk for a great breakfast meal*

I have been really good today. I ate a bowl of granola with vanilla soy milk for breakfast and an apple/strawberries/kiwi smoothie for lunch. I am playing it safe because tonight I know I am going to gorge myself on unhealthy foods. It is date night for me and the hubs and we are going out to eat at one of my favorite restaurants - CHEDDER'S!!!!! Maybe if there is time we will walk around Half-Price Books or Bed, Bath, & Beyond (I so want one of those magnetic screen doors for the back door.) So syked! Now to enjoy the rest of this day outside with M and the dog while B naps.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Disappointing Dinner

I knew going in that this diet was not going to be easy for me however I never thought that it would make me feel sad. Let’s just say tonight’s dinner menu was an absolute fail for my hubby and kiddos. I grilled up some portabella mushroom caps as ‘burgers’ and put them on buns with cheese and turkey bacon for everyone else but me. As a side dish I made quinoa with seared sliced almonds, dried cranberries, cinnamon, and basil. The only things they did eat were the turkey bacon and cheese. Where did I go wrong? I mean, the portabella ‘burgers’ were juicy and cooked with Worcestershire sauce, just like regular burgers. And the quinoa was amazing and full of flavor. When I saw the hubs sitting there gnawing on a carrot stick I knew something was up. He said he loves mushrooms (which is why I choose this meal) but he would prefer they remain a side dish and not the main course. M just said that the bottom of the ‘burger’ looked yucky and the sand (quinoa) was too weird. I think I am starting to hit the edge of their food comfort zones though. I heard someone once say that many people stick to only about 10 fruits and veggies that are familiar to them and don’t tend to venture beyond. Lately I have been bringing in unusual fruits and veggies for everyone to try. Well, they aren’t really unusual to me but they are to everyone else. I am one to explore new territories with my food and enjoy trying new combinations. If I ‘play it safe’ all the time, I may get bored with this diet change and revert back to my bad habits. I would love some advice as to how to make things more appealing to the entire family and not just myself, all while sticking within the parameters of a whole food, plant based diet.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Day 2 and Feeling Fine!

Today is day 2 of the no wheat, whole foods, plant based diet. I have done great so far. For breakfast I made a smoothie consisting of 1 kiwi, 4 large strawberries, 2 cups raw spinach, and a 1/4 cup of oatmeal. I added a splash of unsweetened coconut milk for a creamier consistency. Poured over ice it was delectable! This was a great breakfast-on-the-go as I had to load the kids up in the car for my youngest one's twelve month checkup. After the doctor appointment and then some fun at the library we made our way back home for lunch. Since I still have a lot of cheese I decided to make the girls a grilled cheese panini on whole wheat 12-grain bread for them to share, some tomato slices, and carrot sticks. For myself however I made a whole corn tortilla "panini" with sliced tomatoes, mushrooms, spinach, and homemade hummus (only 3 ingrediants: chickpeas, minced garlic, and fresh lemon juice) to hold it all together. It was AMAZING!!! With some carrot sticks on the side I think I made myself a pretty healthy and filling lunch. 

Now I am enjoying some time outside on the back porch with my littles and the dog. The weather is amazing; warm, with a slight breeze to make it perfect. B is exploring the backyard on her two little feet and is being amazed by everything. Her favorite thing right now is the little house under the slide on the playset. 
 She is so cute finding new things to look at:
And having conversations with old friends:

M is exploring as well and bringing me all her little treasures:
She was so proud of the rock with all the sea shells and the ladybug wing. She found several dandelions and got all excited because she said that meant the "fluffy ones" would be coming soon! My little girl keeps me on my toes especially with her curiosity. She is always running all over the place like a little tornado, never really knowing which way she wants to go or what she wants to do next.
No matter how frantic she keeps me, she will always be my lovely little girl.

After several hours out in this beautiful weather I am still contemplating what to make for dinner. I have some ground beef in the fridge that needs to be used. I know it is a meat product but at least it is 95% lean. I'm thinking of making some egg rolls using the ground beef, spinach, onion, sweet peppers, avacado, and whatever else I find in my cupboards. If they are good I'll post about them later. But for now I am watching B push a swing and M is following the dog around pretending to be a puppy herself! Until next time...

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Diet change, here we come...

So I have been trying to find a diet or nutrition plan that would work for me AND that I could feed to my family. I am responsible for feeding 3 other people besides myself so starving myself or eating only diet shakes and diet foods IS NOT an option. A few months ago a mom at my daughter's preschool told me about a book she was reading and implementing into her life. It is called Wheat Belly and is a very awesome concept concerning the link between wheat products and weight/health issues. I began using some of the ideas in the book by applying them to my own diet and saw almost instant results. My weight decreased by 17 lbs in about 3 weeks, I started having more energy, and was able to focus better. I haven't been to the doctor yet to get my cholesterol levels or blood pressure checked but my sugars improved. No matter how great this diet was and how wonderful it was making me feel, I still had to separate it from what the rest of my family ate. My goal in this journey is to be able to make a diet change that benefits ALL members of my family and to hopefully show others that it is relatively easy.

I grew up eating foods that were not exceptionally healthy but they were all we could afford. Hotdogs, baked beans, Hamburger Helper, etc...typical '90s foods; not to mention the local favorites of South Jersey: hoagies, pizza, and real Philly cheese steaks. I still crave and love all of these foods but after watching the documentary Forks Over Knives I find it difficult to justify eating these foods now that I know somewhat of their effects on my body. The premise behind this documentary is to show the benefits of eating a diet consisting only of whole foods and plant based products. This plan is doable for me and my family. It is a way to incorporate healthy living into life lessons that (hopefully) my children will carry with them forever.

Even though I am wanting to better my health and lower my weight the real reasons I am choosing a better nutrition plan are my girls:

My four year old, M, is a big fruit and veggie eater anyway so this diet plan won't be too big of a shock to her. However, she is also like her Daddy, she loves bread, meat, and cheese. With this diet all animal based foods are a no-go; that includes any and all meat, eggs, yogurt, milk, cheese, and any other dairy products, and oils. I am confident that she will take to this change quite well but may throw a bit of a fit when I tell her that ice cream and candy are not part of the nutrition plan.

My one year old, B, is a sweet girl and a VERY big eater. She rarely touches veggies and fruit (except for bananas). Her favorite foods include hamburger, chicken, tilapia, and yogurt. Cheerios and Kix are also a main staple of her diet. I am hoping the transition away from all these things won't be too difficult (but I know in my head that it will be).

My main opponent in taking on this diet change may be my husband. We talked a bit about it already and he vowed to give up eggs and cheese to help lower his cholesterol but everything else stays. He is definitely a 'meat and potatoes' type of guy so I know this change will be hard for him as well. I am planning on changing the foods gradually. I still have several pounds of ground beef and chicken in the freezer that need to be used as well as some yogurt and cookie/cracker type product. I am not one to waste food so my plan is to just eat these until they are gone and not buy any more.

Planning weekly menus seems to be the key in sticking to this diet. I am currently working on a few menus and researching recipes. I am saving the recipes according to their type (i.e., breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack) on Word documents so I can reference them anytime and make my menus using these lists. My first meal (breakfast this morning) was a pretty easy one; although while I was cooking it my oldest was whining that she didn't want to eat it because it was yucky. I made oatmeal (with water, not milk) on the stovetop and added a bit of honey, some chopped hazelnuts, unsalted sunflower seed kernels, flax seed, dried cranberries, and a splash of coconut milk for flavor. I gave a small amount to M and told her to give it a try. Of course she refused but I just sat there eating mine and feeding B hers. I guess M saw how much we were enjoying it and next thing I knew her bowl was empty and she was asking for more! I think we can do this!!!