March – August 2020 Favs

Pinterest Recipes

Yearly Organizer/ Calendar

Books­čôÜ

Top two are from library. Bottom is mine because I love adventure books!

Ikea (desk n nightstand)

La Colombe canned coffee

1 Month No Takeout

The title sums up the post but I’ll elaborate! Please note I’ll use restaurant, takeout and fast-food all referring to food we didn’t cook at home.

My husband and I had a terrible fast-food/ takeout/ restaurant habit. It was so bad that I would meal prep then we’d get takeout and have lots of food waste as we wouldn’t double back to eat what I cooked. I kept watching my weight balloon because I ordered whatever sounded good at the moment. My new peak was/is 251lbs; I’m only 5’6″… As the horror of this new depressing milestone set in, my husband pitched the no fast food idea to me. I quickly agreed but was worried he’d have to be my strength due to my sugary coffee addiction. Little did I know I was going to do great!

Week 1: The biggest challenge was finding a coffee alternative to my Starbucks addiction. In case you need an idea of what I mean, I’d go to Starbucks and buy 2 drinks (grande and venti) usually with extra espresso or a syrup and a pastry (chocolate croissant). It was expensive and not the best choice for me. The alternative I found was La Colombe available at some Target and Costco locations. I have tried the four flavors available near me but they have more (listed by preference): Mocha, Triple Shot, Vanilla with regular milk and with oat milk. Though the month is over I continue to buy these or brew coffee at home instead of going out.

Purchased at Costco in Northern California

Week 2: I really started missing the convenience of fast food. The ease of going through the drive-thru or waiting until night before eating because I could. Around this time I realized I could meal prep without it being boring. I decided to start planning my meals a day or two before we went grocery shopping. I thought of what I used to order and simply switched the drive-thru for the grocery store. I even went back to finding quick flavorful meals on Pinterest. I can’t decide if I want to write about the things I’ve tried on Pinterest or not but here’s a picture of one meal we loved. My husband ate it with his steak on “fancy” days when he didn’t feel like eating his regular meal.

Oven Baked Lemon Garlic Shrimp

Week 3: We went to the grocery store way too much. This was a strange issue. We were eating at home like we planned but we weren’t sticking to our normal food. We made lots of unnecessary trips to the grocery store for wine, sake, sushi, pastries and frozen pizza. Needless to say I was eating at home but my extras were eating up the money we were saving. Again I had to take a look at what I was eating, when and why. I knew I was an emotional eater but the detailed answers to those questions became clear during this month. Once I started addressing them, I was able to make a more realistic meal plan.

Week 4: I was doing well and even preferred cooking all of my meals. It was a different form of self care. I was choosing to put my health first with every meal I cooked. I had to plan, commit and cook. I would listen to music, think about fun things to do with the kids or just have random internal conversations with myself. I could keep this up no problem. At the end, I knew I’d go back to eating out especially sushi as nothing compares to the actual sushi bar but this time it would be rare versus regular. Plus we like to support local and try new restaurants.

Week 5: The month ended and I had my first take-out in over 32 days! I was excited since I was armed with this new resolve to only eat out occasionally. I opened it up, took a bite and immediately thought “that’s it, right back to old habits” then something cool happened. I felt GROSS. My stomach was bloated and upset, my feet and hands started to swell and I couldn’t finish it. I COULDN’T FINISH IT!!!! That might sound awful to some but for me it was great. It was proof my choices really were having a negative effect on my health. At home, I controlled all of the ingredients and the amounts but when someone else does the cooking you can’t control it. Sure you can order healthy alternatives, eat at certain places, etc but at the end someone else is still in control.

Conclusion: If you want to try something different or challenge yourself, go for it. You might be shocked at what you discover. Did I lose a bunch of weight? No. Did I save a ton more by eating at home? No because experimenting with food can be pricey. I didn’t expect what I did get. We did start eating all meals at the table. I started being more aware of what I was eating as well as the snacks my kids were eating. My oldest tried kale. I’ve started to take better care of myself; no more quarantine slump. Overall I feel better, am more aware of what I’m doing and am more present with my kids. I also have a schedule and am starting to get active. I would definitely consider this experiment a success. I’ve even moving on to a new challenge but that’ll be for a separate post ­čÖé

Dec 2019 – Feb 2020 Fav

I forgot to actually post the individual blogs so I’m combining three months worth! Going forward, I will include recipes I love if I have one for the month. I will try not to repeat anything but if I like it then it’ll more than likely show up again.

Pillowcases from YugTex and Alpha Home

  • Soft
  • Affordable
  • Washing machine friendly
    • no fading as of 4 washes
  • Multiple options
  • Purchased on Amazon

Canvas Wall Art – Green Leaf

  • Might have mentioned before
  • Decent size
  • Good color/ print
  • Purchased on Amazon

Hairstyle

  • Idea from Keke J. on YouTube
    • Keke J. Method
  • Style takes a long time but also lasts a while (2 weeks for me)
  • Great as prep for passion twists as suggested by Keke J.
  • Helped me retain moisture while in protective style
  • No need to add hair as I liked the style without it

Espresso Metro

  • Great place to read
  • Good chicken tamales
  • might have to pay for parking Monday thru Saturday

Dansama Passion Twist Hair 18″ (7pks) T/BUG

  • Suggested by Keke J. on YouTube
    • Video name “SAVE YOUR COINS! Affordable Passion Twists W/ Keke J. Method”
  • Current price is $36.80 but when I bought it was $29.90; point is this is very affordable especially if you’re experimenting like I was
  • Multiple colors
    • I chose T/BUG which was very different for me and I liked it; next time I’ll buy T30 to compare and see which color I like better
  • Very soft, no smell and easy to separate
    • only 1 piece gave me trouble but I was tired so it was probably my fault
  • Purchased on Amazon

Salad Appreciation

I finally found a vegetable that agrees with myself and baby. It is the Ready Pac Bistro Santa Fe Style salad sold at Costco. It contains romaine lettuce, white meat chicken breast, roasted corn, four cheese blend, tortilla chips and salsa ranch dressing. Occasionally I throw away the chips but the salad is delicious. However the delicious salad is not actually what I appreciate. It’s the man who bought the salad that I appreciate.

Well as you’ve read above this salad has worked out very well for me. I have had trouble this pregnancy making sure I get enough calories. I’m overweight/ technically obese so I wasn’t too worried about it. My OB was persistent about reminding me to get enough calories so I tried to start making my calories count in the way of being nutrient packed and this salad seemed like a convenient way to make that happen. Well Monday was Costco day and that salad was at the top of the list! We arrived and immediately set about getting everything on our list including 2 fans that we bought because they were on sale. Finally we get to the salad section. We both looked everywhere and hubby even checked behind things in case someone dropped one. But nothing… All the other salads were there just not the one I wanted. We finished our shopping and went to checkout. The whole time I was trying to figure out how to get my salad while holding back very irrational tears. We got to the front and I flat out asked when the next shipment was expected only to be told they’ll be unpacking it tomorrow. Without missing a beat, hubby says we’ll be back tomorrow.

The entire ride home I was sad and trying not to cry because seriously it’s a salad not an organ or vital medicine. As I tried to talk myself out of crying, hubby assured me he felt my pain and would understand if I cried. Finally, we’re home and he tells me he’ll unload the car so I can go inside. He finishes up and asks if I want ice cream which I found odd since I was too full at dinner to have dessert. I said no but he could check for creamer if he liked. He took off to the store and I didn’t give it much thought as I knew he just wanted to make me feel better. A while passed and I started to get worried. I figured maybe he stopped somewhere and would refrain from harassing him for a few more minutes. Right as I was checking my phone, he shows up with TWO packages of salad bowls which makes a total of 8 bowls!! I couldn’t contain my excitement. I immediately turned off my show and gave him the remote so he could game.

As most people, especially pregnant people, know this is not about the salad. This is another thing that shows me he loves me in a very physical way. He didn’t have to get off work, go to dinner (his food didn’t defrost at all because it was a frozen ball of chicken), go grocery shopping, unload the car then turn around and drive to two different Costco locations just to get the salad I wanted. ALL RIGHT AFTER WORK on a Monday!! His level of appreciation and love is, in my opinion, the kind I wish for everyone especially hormonal pregnant people. He could have let it go, bought the ingredients for the salad or just waited but he didn’t. He actively went out of his way to make me happy and for that I was extremely grateful. I don’t usually post on our anniversary and I don’t need a holiday to tell me when to appreciate him because everyday can be a special day. Every day can be an opportunity to show love, respect and appreciation for the man I love. And this is one of those days.

Photo by Artem Bali on Pexels.com

Gardein: Classic Meatless Meatballs

I’ve bought Gardein products before (with my own money) and plan on going through all the items they have at my local stores. When Social Nature gave me a voucher for a free item, I was thrilled! I could’ve picked anything but I already tried the Mini Crabless Cakes and Seven Grain Crispy Tenders, I figured I’d pick something different.

I chose the Classic Meatless Meatballs! They’re delicious, crispy and filling. I cooked them in my airfryer on 400┬░ for about 18min. I realized after the fact that this was way too long. So avoid my mistake and make sure you don’t overcook it. I’ve included a picture of the nutritional facts and ingredients so I’m not going to go over them. In case you’re trying to avoid it, I would like to point out that this product does have soy and wheat. Below are just a few ways I used them.

Tortilla, cheese & homemade tomato sauce
Spaghetti & Meatless Meatballs
Loaded Fries

Update -Primarily Plant-based

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Made this after grocery shopping!

The first week of my Pescatarian/ Vegetarian lifestyle was easy. It was fresh in my mind and I was filled with blind determination. I knew what I wanted to do and I made sure to stay close to home so I wouldn’t be tempted to revert to my old eating habits. I felt great. My mind and intestines felt clear. I’m not sure if this was in my head or real but I loved the feeling. I wanted to keep it going but I still hadn’t bought groceries so I kind of fell off on the weekend. Not horribly but still not what I planned.

Week two was just plain sad… It was so sad I didn’t even track how many good days I had. As far as how I felt, I didn’t have the same clear, excited feeling. I was slightly stressed, distracted and questioning every decision I’ve ever made as an adult. Some of those things were huge and caused a lot of unnecessary anguish. I won’t say my new lifestyle was the cause because I don’t know. What I took from the first two weeks:

  • Don’t be a junk food pescatarian/ vegetarian
  • Be prepared
  • Don’t beat yourself up if you’re not perfect
    • esp if you’re not a vegetable lover…
  • Have a backup plan when you’re on the go
  • Don’t skip meals unless you are planning to fast
    • this is not medical advice
  • Keep a food journal or at least jot down food you weren’t planning on eating
    • Ex: in my case it would be any meat other than fish

The picture at the top was the first meal I planned after going grocery shopping. It was a big deal because I wasn’t a fan of cucumbers. However I am challenging myself to try vegetables I don’t like. Sure I don’t love them but I’m glad I went for it because now I find them tolerable. The takeaway is give yourself leeway without completely forgetting your original goal(s).

Lifestyle Change – Pescatarian/ Vegetarian

 

abundance agriculture bananas batch
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I’ve been considering being a pescatarian or vegetarian for a while but never fully committed. Now I feel inspired to give it a try. I’m not going to commit to a specific duration because I’m hoping this will be a permanent change. I know myself and the people I’m surrounded by so there will be challenges but in the end everyone will be supportive (or tolerant).

agriculture basket beets bokeh
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I plan to read the Meatless Machine chapter in the book 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferris. He was spot on helping me lose weight (though I’ve fallen off the wagon and burned it…) so I trust this source to get me started with all around health and nutrition for my seafood only journey. I still plan to transition to full vegetarian but I feel pescatarian is a more realistic goal for now. I’m not a huge fan of vegetables. So the first thing I need to do is research recipes in order to make my meals edible. Once I get that down I’ll start trying new things. Any advice or helpful tips would be more than welcome.

Thanks in advance!

Cooking with Pinterest – Spaghetti Squash

These instructions are mind blowing if you’re like me and have been cooking spaghetti squash the hard way. I discovered the pin below by accident. I was trying to look for my tried and true spaghetti squash cooking instructions when I found the one below from http://www.eatwithinyourmeans.com

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I honestly wasn’t expecting much but seeing as how I’m really trying to stick with my diet but love pasta I knew I needed it as pasta like as possible. So I gave it a try.

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  1. Cutting – way easier to cut this direction
  2. Salt – lots of it (I buy Pink Himalayan salt from Costco so i have lots of salt to spare)
  3. Salt working
  4. Suggested time elapsed
  5. Almost 1/2 cup of water came out!!

If you give this a try please, let me know if it worked as well for you.

 

April 2018 Weigh In

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No Your eyes do not deceive you. I am using the same picture again but this time I am using it as a comparison. Full disclaimer the pictures below were actually taken in April however it was 3lbs ago so I feel it’s still a fair representation.

Actual Date: 5/4/2018

Weight: 227.1lbs

Measurements in inches

Chest: 46

R/L Arm: 16

Waist: 45

Hips: 51

R/L Thigh: 29.5

Goal(s):

  • Stick to some type of diet/ healthy meal plan (IP!!!)
  • Read something other than children’s books (Check)
    • The Swiss Family Robinson┬áby Johann David Wyss
  • Exercise 3x/ wk┬á(IP)
    • I did this 3wks in a row then not so much so mostly a win
  • Post monthly updates on/after the 8th for accountability┬á(Fail)

Is this were I wanted to be for my first weight post in a long time? NO but I am no longer beating myself up about what I know I did or didn’t do. I know what I ate, how much I worked out and what I let distract me from my goals. This time is different because I don’t feel like a failure. I feel like a work in progress. I feel stronger and more powerful because I’m not quitting. I feel grateful my body hasn’t failed me though I have put it through way too much stress and strain. The best feeling is seeing the progress even though I didn’t think there was any. My current versus my original shows a slightly smaller body but most noticeable to me is my waist. Again I can’t tell when I look at myself because breasts are in the way but this picture shows I have made physical changes.

To my body:

Thank you for not giving up on me. Please accept my apology for the abuse and know that I will never give up on you again.

With all my heart,

JTM

What I’m Eating – March

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Mustard Deviled Eggs with bacon & paprika

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Green & Black beans w/ sliced almonds

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Turkey Soup w/ kale & Celery w/ hummus

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Bean Soup (red beans, lentils, kale, celery and shrimp). Cook with vegetable broth and no shrimp to make it vegetarian or vegan

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Chicken Wings & Sauteed Kale

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Tuna & Cucumbers (still don’t like cucumbers)

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Tuna w/ Spinach

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Pork Roast w/ Sauteed Kale & Bell Peppers