Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Weekly Weigh In: Sick Of It!

Have you ever found yourself so sick and tired of the status quo that something flips in your brain and you know you are ready to push past your comfort zone and make a change? This happened a couple  of nights ago when Hubby and I laid in bed, moaning and groaning, complaining about how gross we felt.

Typically we eat dinner between 4-5 PM (bring on the 'old  people' jokes). That's because we hit the sack between 8-9pm. Hubby gets up at 4am to leave the house at 5am for work. I require a little more beauty sleep than he does (especially while body is still recovering from total hip replacement) so I sleep another hour or two.

But lately, we have found ourselves not getting to eat dinner until a little later on a fairly frequent basis. Chalk it up to aging parents faced with major health issues, out of town relatives, hubby's school schedule (he's working on his Masters Degree at night).

We had gone to bed with a full stomach after eating a late dinner. I really HATE that! With a PASSION!! When you go to bed with a full stomach your body cannot relax and regenerate like it needs to during the night. It is forced to keep working for hours digesting and processing food. If you pay attention, you will probably notice that you don't sleep as deeply or restfully and in the morning you don't feel as rested or energized as you should.

As we laid there bemoaning our situation and how we felt, be both knew there was no one to blame but ourselves. "I'm sick of it!", I said. "I'm sick of it too", Hubby said.

Have you seen the commercial for socks where the dad is dangling his son in the air after dipping his feet into plaster? He's hanging there with plaster dripping from his feet when the mom walk in and asks what they are doing. Dad says that they are making their own socks because they can't find socks that fit right and they are "SICK OF IT!". Kid says, "YEAH, SICK OF IT!".

Back to our bedroom....the "SICK OF IT!" "YEAH, SICK OF IT!" jokes started flying. In the end we both truly felt like we are sick of it. Sick of going to bed with a full stomach, sick of feeling fat and gross, sick of not feeling comfortable in our clothes and not being able to fit into certain clothes. Sick of not being as energetic as we were 20 pounds ago. We looked at each other and said, "We just need to remember how sick of it we really are!!" If we remember this feeling, we will make better choices. (Truth is, I'd be better off not eating dinner at all than eating so late that I go to bed with a full stomach.)

Hubby's always so great at helping me with my goals. When I got up the next morning I found this LARGE sign on the bathroom mirror. (I added "ME TOO!" to the bottom)
I went out to the fridge to get my morning bottle of water and found this...(of course I added "Ya, Sick Of It!!" from the commercial)
Then over the next couple of days our reminders of our commitment to ourselves and each other started showing up everywhere...
                                   On my computer....(ooh, screen needs to be dusted)
                                                                       On the door....
                                                            On the microwave….
                                                             On my whiteboard….
                                                           Even.........on the bananas!!
I am motivated! And I'm not going to forget that I am sick of not feeling my best. Today I will begin a new phase of life! I commit to my health and the changes I need to make!

Have you ever gotten so sick of it that you were truly ready to commit to change?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Healthy Habits: Homemade Stewed Tomatoes

Now, why would you stew tomatoes yourself when you can buy them quite inexpensively at any supermarket? One taste, and you'll see that there is just nothing like homemade. If you've got a big tomato harvest or picked up a basket at the farmers market or your local food co-op, you'll love this recipe.

I'll just apologize right now for not having a picture. I'm still trying to get in the habit of remembering to take pictures of everything I make (seems to be a difficult habit for me to form, but I'm trying). I had these stewed tomatoes cooked and stored away in the fridge before I even realized I had not taken a single picture. Instead, you get pictures of hearts and tomatoes (that I found on google images), because I like hearts and I like tomatoes. I console myself with knowing that if you like stewed tomatoes you already know what they look like.
These stewed tomatoes are made in a pressure cooker. Remember your mom's pressure unstable pot that looked, and sounded, like it could blow at any second?! That was my memory and impression of a pressure cooker until a couple of years ago. I came across a bunch of recipes for a pressure cooker that all sounded really good. I wondered why anyone in this day and age would use one of those horrible pots. I remember watching the little steam valve jiggle around, looking like it was going to jump off the top of the pot, while the steam was spraying into the air, looking and sounding like a small steam engine. As a kid, it was kind of a scary contraption.

So I began to research pressure cookers. I was completely surprised to find out how much they have evolved in the last two decades. The latest generation of pressure cookers operate with a spring loaded valve (often hidden from view), do not release any steam vapor when in use, and often have two or more settings. With the use of current technology, pressure cookers have become lighter, quieter, safer and much easier to use. (There's even an electric pressure cooker available).

So...I bought one. Let me just say...Chicken Cacciatore in 20 minutes, (INCLUDING prep time) that tastes amazing, is AWESOME!! Now I'll have to make Chicken Cacciatore so I can take a picture and post that recipe. It alone made it worth the purchase.

But back to tomatoes. I am a HUGE fan of stewed tomatoes. I love heating up a can and eating it like a bowl of soup. I guess it kind of is soup, isn't it? But homemade anything always tastes so much better and doesn't have preservatives (or anything else my body doesn't need) in it. Especially when it only takes 5 minutes prep time and 5 minutes cook time.
So here's the fabulous Stewed Tomato Recipe...

What you need:
3 Cups Quartered Fresh Tomatoes
3/4 Cup Finely Chopped Celery
1/4 Cup Finely Chopped Onion
1 Tbsp Chopped Fresh Parsley or 1 tsp Dried Parsley Flakes
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Black Pepper

Spray a pressure cooker container with cooking spray. (Butter flavored cooking spray is good here). In prepared container, combine tomatoes, celery, and onion. Add parsley, salt and pepper. Mix well to combine. Place cover on cover and bring to LOW pressure over medium heat. Lower heat to stabilize pressure and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, wait for pressure to be released, remove cover, and stir.
Makes 4 (3/4 cup) servings.
32 calories per serving.

What kitchen tool do you own that has evolved a great deal since the time you first saw your mom use one?

Monday, February 27, 2012

Monday Motivations: The Story of Peng Shuilin

In life we keep complaining about what we don't have. Half the time we seem dissatisfied, though full-bodied and free to choose. Fat people say, "I want to be slim." Skinny people say, "I want to gain some weight." Poor people want to be rich and the rich are never satisfied with what they have.

Peng Shuilin is 78cms high. He was born in Hunan Province, China. In 1995, in Shenzhen, a freight truck sliced his body in half. His lower body and legs were beyond repair. Surgeons sewed up his torso. 

Peng Shuilin, 37, spent nearly two years in hospital in Shenzhen, southern China, undergoing a series of operations to re-route nearly every major organ or system inside his body. Peng kept exercising his arms, building up strength, washing his face and brushing his teeth. he surivived against all odds. Now Peng Shuilin has astounded doctors by learning to walk again after a decade.

Considering Peng's plight, doctors at the China Rehabilitation Research Centre in Beijing devised an ingeniuous way to allow him to walk on his own, creating a sophisticated egg cup-like casing to hold his body, with two bionic legs attached.

It took careful consideration, skilled measurement and technical expertise. Peng has been  walking the corridors of Beijing Rehabilitation Centre with the aid of his specifically adapted lets and a re-sized walking frame. RGO is a reciprocating gait orthosis, attached  to a prosthetic socket bucket. There is a cable attached to both legs so when one goes forward, the other goes backwards.

Rock to the side, add a bit of a twist and the leg without the weight on it advances, while the other one stays still, giving a highly efficient way of ambulation. Oh, so satisfying to 'walk' again after ten years with half a body!

Hospital vice-president Lin Liu said: "We've just given him a checkup; he is fitter than most men his age." Peng Shuilin has opened his own bargain supermarket, called Half Man-Half price Store. The inspirational 37-year old has become a businessman and is used as a role model for other amputees.

At just 2ft 7ins tall, he moves around in a wheelchair giving lectures on recovery from disability. His attitude is amazing; he doesn't complain. "He had good care, but his secret is cheerfulness. Nothing gets him down."

You have a whole body. You have feet. Now you have met a man who has no feet. His life is a feat of endurance, a triumph of the human spirit in overcoming extreme adversity. Next time you want to complain about something trivial, don't. Remember Peng Shuilin instead, and thank God for what you do have and for all those small blessings you never think about.

Your troubles are not there to defeat you, they're there to increase you!

Click here for more Monday Motivations.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Healthy Habits: Roasted Tomato Halves w/Basil & Mozzarella

I grew up on a buffalo ranch. Most of my uncles were farmers. While they grew a variety of crops, I always looked forward to the bushels of fresh, ripe, sweet tomatoes from Uncle Willis. As a kid, I would pick a perfect tomato from the basket and sit down outside and eat it like an apple. So sweet, so good!

I live in Phoenix now. Most of my "city friends" have never tasted tomatoes fresh from the vine, picked when ripe. The tomatoes we purchase in the stores are picked green so they can ripen in transit and not be rotten by the time they have been delivered, stocked, and let to sit for several days or a week, before they are purchased. Even then, they are quite often still green and hard when we purchase them. They are typically quite bland; not a lot of flavor.

The difference in the flavor of a tomato picked green (and set on the counter to ripen) and a tomato that ripens on the vine and is picked when red and juicy and ready to eat is, well, like two different fruits! (Yes, the tomato is a fruit.) Night and day. It's like taking a drink from a nice, cool glass of lemonade and finding it tastes like water. That's the reason you will find at least two tomato plants in our garden at any given time. 

Last week I got a case of tomatoes from Bountiful Baskets Produce Co-op. They were beautiful, large, ripe tomatoes. I get asked what in the world I'm gonna do with a case of tomatoes. (When I picked them up and saw the size of the case I wished I had ordered two).

Today I am sharing Roasted Tomato Halves with Basil & Mozzarella (otherwise known as Warm Caprese Salad). You might also like this recipe for Cold Caprese Salad. Both of these are a play on the traditional Caprese; a new twist on an old favorite is always well received. Check back early next week for Homemade Pasta Sauce with fresh roasted tomatoes as well as Homemade Stewed Tomatoes and Fresh Homemade Tomato Soup.

What you need:                                                    
Tomatoes - large round ones work best
Salt & Pepper
Fresh Basil Leaves
Mozzarella Cheese (slices or shredded

With a paring knife, cut the core out of the top of the tomatoes.
Cut a very thin slice off the bottom, just enough that it sits flat.
Turn each tomato on it's side and cut in half.
Lay the two halves out with the cut side up on baking sheet.
Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.

Put in a 400* (F) oven for approximately 20 minutes. (keep an eye on them, they may need a few minutes more or less depending on their size.
When tomatoes are warm, soft and bubbly, remove from oven.
Place fresh basil leaves on top of tomatoes, tearing them if needed to fit.
Lay a slice of mozzarella cheese on top of basil (or a small stack of shredded cheese).
Put the tomatoes back in the oven and turn it up to broil.
It will only take a couple of minutes for the cheese to get melty (is that a word?), bubbly and brown.
I bake a whole tray at one time and put some in the fridge for lunches.
Here's a picture of some I did with Feta cheese, just for fun. They tasted great, however, Feta does have a distinctly tangy flavor. When serving them to others, I am always safe using mozzarella.

This makes a great salad course when you are serving a multi-course meal. It also makes a great veggie dish along side roasted chicken or a steak.
If you like tomatoes as much as I do, or if you want to like tomatoes but just haven't really known what to do with them, check back for more tomato ideas.

Question: Have you had the opportunity to eat tomatoes fresh from the vine? Do you have a farmers market near you where you might purchase a tomato to taste the difference?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Healthy Habits: Roasted Asparagus

Normally, the only time I use canned Parmesan Cheese is to marinate cut up chunks of hotdog overnight to use as good, stinky fish bait the next morning. Wow, that's really appetizing, huh!? For this recipe I thought canned Parmesan Cheese would stick better than fresh grated. It did, and it tasted great!

I have heard of Roasted Asparagus, but never tried it. Since I got two bunches of fresh asparagus last week in my Bountiful Baskets food coop basket, I figured it's time to try it. 

By the way, if you're not familiar with Bountiful Baskets, go to the website and check it out. You have the opportunity to participate every Saturday, or as frequently as you'd like. When you participate your money is pooled to purchase fresh produce in bulk at wholesale prices. It is purchased from the produce companies that supply the grocery store that you purchase your fruits and veggies from every week. You get a basket of half veggies, half fruit, and the selection is different each week.

Anyway, back to the asparagus...
I am a true asparagus fan! I have never met an asparagus I didn't like. I've even been known to eat it raw when I have the munchies. That being said, this Roasted Asparagus is a contender for the best asparagus I've ever had. And it was super simple and quick. I love recipes that anyone can make and get the same results an experienced chef would get. This is definitely one of those!                              

What you need:      
Olive Oil (in sprayer)      
Sea Salt
Fresh Black Pepper
Parmesan Cheese (in can)

How to do it:                                                                                    
Turn oven on to 350 degrees F.                                           
Cut (and throw away) hard ends of Asparagus.
Lay Asparagus out on baking sheet.
Spray lightly with Olive Oil.
Sprinkle very lightly with Sea Salt (don't need much with the Parm)
Grind fresh Black Pepper over Asparagus.
Sprinkle Parmesan Cheese over Asparagus.
Put in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes.

The amount of cooking time is variable depending on how thick the Asparagus is. Very thin obviously takes less time, while big, fat stalks can take 20-22 minutes.

After cooking the first batch of Asparagus, I removed it from the tray and spread out another batch. I actually cooked three batches of Asparagus one right after the other. I had put foil on the baking sheet; I did not replace or clean the foil between batches. From batch to batch, the Parmesan built up on the foil (because let's face it, even though hubby thinks I'm perfect, even I can't sprinkle Parmesan and have it land only on the asparagus). Each time it went back into the oven, that Parmesan got browner and browner. When I took the last batch out, I rubbed it around in the toasted Parmesan Cheese on the tray. Mmmmm....soooo good!!

That's how easy it is. If you are trying to get more fresh veggies in your diet and don't really know how to go about preparing them, this recipe is definitely one to try. You can serve this for a special occasion and look like a gourmet chef.

For another super easy, fresh veggie recipe try this Warm Caprese or these Roasted Veggies.

What is your favorite veggie? Is there any veggie that you don't dislike, but just haven't found a favorite way to prepare?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Monday Motivations: What If It Was Your Son?!

I had mixed feeling when I read this story recently. I think you will know what I mean. But I wanted to share it because it conveys such an important message. I'll share my thoughts at the end.

A doctor entered the hospital in a hurry after being called in for an urgent surgery. He answered the call ASAP, changed his clothes and went directly to the surgery block. He found the boy’s father pacing up and down the hall, waiting for the doctor.

Upon seeing him, the dad yelled “Why did it take you so long to get here? Don’t you know that my son’s life is in danger? Don’t you have a sense of responsibility?”

The doctor smiled and said, “I am sorry. I wasn’t in the hospital and I came as fast as I could when I received the call. And now, I wish you’d calm down so that I can do my work.”

“Calm down?! What if it was your son in this room right now, would you calm down? If your own son was dying right now what would you do?” said the father angrily.

The doctor smiled again and replied, “I would say what Job said in the Holy Bible, ‘From dust we came and to dust we return, blessed be the name of God.’ Doctors cannot prolong lives. Go and intercede for your son, we will do our best by God’s grace.”

“Giving advice when we’re not concerned is so easy” murmured the father.

The surgery took some hours, after which the doctor came out happy. “Thank God! Your son will live.” And without waiting for the father’s reply he ran out of the hospital. “If you have any questions, ask the nurse!”

“Why is he so arrogant? He couldn’t even wait five minutes so that I could ask about my son’s condition”, commented the father to the nurse minutes after the doctor left.

The nurse answered, tears rolling down her face, “his son died yesterday in an auto accident. He was at the burial when we called him for your son’s surgery. And now that he saved your son’s life, he hurried back to his family to finish his son’s burial.”

Wow...some story, huh?! I know there are many times in my life where my actions or decisions may seem strange to someone who isn't aware of what is going on in my world. I'm not the kind of person that is quick to tell everyone (or sometimes anyone) about trials and tribulations in my life.

Maybe my actions could be interpreted as irresponsible, selfish or uncaring to them. However, if they knew what I (and my family) was dealing with they would have a very different perspective on it. Maybe, like the Doctor in this story, they would think the exact opposite and call me unselfish, giving and very responsible.

You never know what is happening in someone’s life or what difficulties they are dealing with. This story is a great reminder to cut others some slack. Let's not be so quick to judge. When we judge, we do so with the limited information we have. Experience has shown me that very rarely does anyone truly know what someone else is experiencing in life. Even when we do think we know, we rarely (if ever) fully understand how these experiences are affecting them. Sometimes we find out later, sometimes we never do. Either way, we should assume the best and treat others with the kindness and respect that we would want from them.

Have you ever had an experience where your perception of someone was changed by information you received at a later time? Has it made you less judging of others actions?

Click here for more Monday Motivations.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Healthy Habits: Gourmet Overnight Oatmeal

I promised three quick and easy breakfast ideas, so here is #3. (You may want to check out my 3 Minute Omelette and Citrus Technique.

Most people really like oatmeal, when it has good texture and is flavorful. We all know that oatmeal out of a packet is full of sugar and additives. The biggest complaint I hear about oatmeal is that it takes too long to cook "real" oatmeal and people are unsure of how to make it taste good. If you have 15 minutes in the morning, try these fabulous recipes for Banana Nut Oatmeal and Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal.

But if you don't have time to do that on weekday mornings you can still serve your family a hot, healthy, gourmet oatmeal for breakfast. This Crock Pot Oatmeal takes less than 5 minutes to put together and can be customized for as many picky eaters as you have in your family. This is so easy and has so many variations.

You can use steel-cut oats or regular oatmeal....NOT INSTANT OATMEAL!

Side note-difference between steel-cut and regular oats.

Steel-cut oats (also known as Irish Oats) are the whole oat kernel, which is cut into two or three pieces using steel discs. They are a better source of fiber than regular oats, but take longer to cook.
Rolled Oats have the bran mostly removed and are rolled flat to make them easier to cook. 
Quick Cooking and Instant Oats are rolled oats that have been cut into smaller pieces and rolled thinner, thus cook quickly. They are an easy source for preparing many oatmeal dishes. (Sorry, no picture...I don't keep instant oats on hand)

When comparing the different types of oats, steel-cut oats are definitely less processed and have a higher nutrient content. I prefer steel-cut oats in this recipe. But you can also use regular oats.

Here's the basic recipe:
1 Cup Steel-Cut Oats (or Regular Oats, but NOT Instant Oats)
4 Cups Water
1/2 Cup Milk (or half and half or buttermilk)
1/2 tsp Vanilla

Put everything in the crock pot and cook on low for 8-9 hours.
But that's kind of boring. So, pick your favorite flavor and pep it up. Here are some ideas, any of these things can be added to the basic recipe and cooked overnight.

1 Cup Raisins and 1 tsp Cinnamon OR
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar 2 Tbsp Butter and 1 tsp Cinnamon OR
1 Cup Dried Cranberries and 1 Cup Dried Figs OR
1 Cup Chopped Fresh Apple and 1 tsp Cinnamon OR
1 Cup Dried Cranberries and 1 Tbsp Pumpkin Pie Spice OR
1 Cup Dried Apricots OR
2 Bananas, sliced (use a fork to mush and stir in the morning. Serve with Chopped Walnuts)
Well, you get the idea. You can pretty much add anything you want to create a new flavor.

Another way to customize oatmeal is with toppings when you serve it.
Chopped Walnuts or Pecans
Brown Sugar
Chocolate Chips (okay, not so healthy, but good!)
Jam or Jelly (a spoonful of strawberry or raspberry mixed in is delicious)
Peanut Butter (could also be combined with jam)
Bananas, cut into slices
Fresh Blueberries, Raspberries, Blackberries or Strawberries
Fresh Peaches, Nectarines or Apricots, cut up
Raisins, If some of your family likes raisins in their oatmeal and others don't, here's a simple way to customize. While you are putting breakfast together, put the raisins in a cup of hot water and let them sit for about 5 minutes then drain. They will be nice and plump and warm. Those who like raisins can add a few spoonfuls to their bowl of oatmeal.

Does your family eat oatmeal regularly? If not, do you think they would be willing to try some of these options?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Healthy Habits: Citrus Technique

In Arizona, winter months bring an abundance of oranges, tangerines, grapefruits and tangelos. I love to eat these sweet, juicy fruits. But honestly, before I started preparing them this way I didn't eat them very often. I just didn't like how long it takes to peel them and get them ready to eat. Since I've started preparing them this way, I eat them daily during the winter months when they are fresh and local.

Once you get the hang of this, it is such an easy way to pre-cut citrus. I do it once for the whole week. It doesn't take long to turn a whole bag of oranges and grapefruit into a big bowl of cut up citrus wedges and juice. In fact, it takes me less than 60 seconds to peel and cut one fruit. And if you think you don't like grapefruit, try PINK grapefruit, it's sweet. I even cut up "not sweet" grapefruit into my bowl, because it mixes with the sweet oranges and actually ends up tasting sweeter. When the juices mix, it makes an incredibly tasty citrus juice that doesn't taste exactly like orange or grapefruit  juice.

All you need is a bag of citrus fruit; any combination will work. The greater mix of fruit, the better it tastes.

We'll use a grapefruit for our example. Place it in the middle of your cutting board.
Turn it on it's side and cut both ends off. Cut so you are all the way into the fruit. You want a flat surface of fruit, not rind. You will have some fruit in the ends that you cut off. Before throwing the two ends away, squeeze the juice out of them into your bowl. (You will be amazed how much juice is in the ends!)
Now lay the fruit on one of the flat sides. Cut a section of rind off from top to bottom. Turn the fruit slightly and cut the next section off. Keep turning and cutting until you work all the way around the fruit.
Cut the fruit in half and lay the two halves out. Now just slice segments off as thick as you would like. (After cutting several slices I turn it on it's side and slice the center white off)
Once the fruit is sliced into segments just pick up the cutting board and slide the fruit (and any juice that has collected on the board) into your bowl (or square as the case may be). 
Now I have a huge bowl of mixed fruit and lots of juice to eat all week long. In the morning I will use a one cup measuring cup to put a big scoop of fruit and juice into my bowl. With a couple slices of whole grain bread you have a quick, healthy and tasty breakfast. Add a little nut butter to the toast for extra protein if you're feeling extra hungry.

Question: Do you eat fruit for breakfast? Using this technique will you eat more citrus?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Weekly Weigh In: No Excuses, Just Results!

Well, I'm a little late getting this post up today because it was a non-stop busy day since my feet hit the floor this morning. Days like this definitely require quick, healthy breakfasts like a 3 Minute Omelette or Pre-Cut Citrus and whole grain toast.

I did take 3 seconds to step on the scale. This week I lost......0, zip, zilch, nada...not a single pound! I was the same place I was seven days ago.

In the spirit of putting my goal out to the world, I repeat this quote to myself: "If it's important to you, you will find away! If not, you will find an excuse."
For all my Biggest Loser friends, this is the season of NO EXCUSES!
So, I make no excuses, I renew my commitment to myself to move towards my goal this week.
Question: Is there anything in your life that you are making excuses about? If you reevaluate it, is it something you truly want and are willing to commit to, or is it something you'd rather let go of?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Healthy Habits: 3 Minute Omelette

People often ask for tips on how to eat healthier without taking a lot of time. I'm going to share three tips in a row to help you have fast, healthy breakfasts.

The first tip is a 3 Minute Omelette. This recipe is super easy. It literally takes me 1 minute to put it together and 3 minutes to cook. You have a very nutritious, low calorie and super good tasting breakfast in less than 5 minutes!

The best part is that everyone can have a customized breakfast and it doesn't require additional time or work for you to prepare. If one is a vegetarian skip the meat. If one doesn't like mushrooms, use onions and spinach. You can use leftover veggies from dinner or raw veggies...either cooks just fine. Once a week I cut up a bunch of veggies to use on salads during the week. I store them in individual plastic containers in the fridge, so it is easy to grab whatever veggies are wanted for an omelette. Things like broccoli I will cut into smaller pieces than we use on salad (add about 15 seconds to the above time).

2 Eggs
1.5 Tbsp Water
2-4 Tbsp cut up veggies (onions, peppers, broccoli, tomatoes, mushrooms, asparagus, spinach, etc)
1-2 Tbsp cut up Ham, Bacon (cooked), Canadian Bacon (or other meat you like)
You will also need a Glad Microwave Steaming Bag. (It's like a ziploc bag for the microwave)
Crack eggs into bowl and whisk with 1.5 Tbsp water.
Put cut up veggies and meat into bag. (I'm using ham, onions & spinach)
Pour eggs into the bag (over veggies)
Seal the bag. Put it in the microwave for 3 minutes. If you have a high powered microwave you may find that it only takes 2:30 to 2:40.
Remove from microwave.
Open bag and slide onto plate to serve. This is exactly how it came out of the bag. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on it and it's ready to eat.
Delicious! We have even been known to wrap it in a couple of paper towels and take it on the go.

Question: What is your favorite breakfast? Is it quick, or would you like to find a way to make it quicker?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Monday Motivations: You're Making A Cake!

Sometimes we wonder, "What did I do to deserve this?" or "Why did God have to do this to me?" 
Here is a wonderful explanation.

A daughter is telling her mother how everything is going wrong; she's failing algebra, her boyfriend broke up with her and her best friend is moving away.

Meanwhile her mother is baking a cake and asks her daughter if she would like a snack. The daughter says, Absolutely Mom, I love your cake."

"Here, have some cooking oil," her mother offers. "Yuck!" says her daughter. "How about a couple raw eggs?" "Gross, Mom!" "Would you like some flour then? Or maybe baking soda?" "Mom, those are all yucky!"
To this the mother replies, "Yes, all those things seem bad all by themselves. But when they are put together in the right way they make a wonderfully delicious cake! God works in the same way. Many times we wonder why He would let us go through such bad and difficult times. But God knows that when He puts these things all in order, they always work for good! We just have to trust Him and, eventually, they will all make something wonderful!"

God loves you. He sends you flowers every spring and a sunrise every morning.
Whenever you want to talk, He'll listen. He is always there and wants to reside in your heart.

Click here for more Monday Motivations.

All pictures courtesy of Google Images

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Weekly Weigh In: If You Hit Your Thumb

If you hit your thumb with a hammer would you say, "It already hurts, so I'll just keep hitting it because it can't hurt any worse"? Of course you wouldn't.

Have you ever said "It's only lunch time and I've already eaten too many calories for today so it doesn't matter what I eat the rest of the day"? That's like saying I already dropped my phone so I'll just stomp on it til it's crushed.
No one is overweight from having one bad day of eating. It happens when you start thinking that it doesn't matter because you've already blown after day after day.

I splurged on Super Bowl Sunday with Incredible Mac-N-CheeseCrock Pot Lasagna and Butterfinger Pie. I allowed myself the splurge I had been looking forward to, then went right back to counting my calories and eating clean; fresh fruits, veggies, lean protein and whole grains. I also exercised five times during the week, which helped keep my metabolism up.

I didn't chastise myself for eating the extra calories (and oh, so much cheese), it was a planned splurge. This week I lost 2 lbs. I'm okay with that; I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend and moved one step closer to my goal. 

People tell me all the time that they don't really know how to go about changing their diet. The goal is to move towards a cleaner diet. Diet is not a verb; something you do or don't do, something you go on or off. Diet is a noun; the kind of food and amount of food that you habitually take in. Incorporating a clean diet will help you sleep better, lose weight and maybe best of all, have a recognizable difference in energy. Creating one new habit in your diet can have a huge effect on all of those things.

I am going to post a series of tips and ideas to help incorporate a cleaner diet into your day, whether you cook for only yourself or a large family. Tomorrow we'll look at ideas on how to start your day.

Question: Would you be willing to make one habit change in your daily diet in order have increased energy?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A Heart Attack For Valentine's Day!

Want to give someone you love an unforgettable Valentine’s gift? How about a HEART ATTACK?!

Exactly 10 years ago, I was in the middle of chemo treatments and surgeries for breast cancer. A group of teenage girls from church gave me a Heart Attack for Valentine’s Day. They very quietly “attacked” our house, plastering the front door and walls around the door with hearts full of sweet Valentine’s messages. I'm still amazed that I didn't hear the giggling and shhhh's that were going on as I sat in the living room on the other side of the door.

When the doorbell rang. I wasn't expecting anyone, but it was not completely unusual for a friend to drop by to check on how I was doing and drop off a treat. As I opened the door I saw that it was plastered with hearts. I looked to see who was one! Where a visitor would be standing was a plate of heart cookies. I looked up and saw that the walls of the house were covered in hearts as well.

I just stood there and cried. (In my defense, chemo does a number on your emotions.) But honestly, it was just the sweetest gesture of love from these wonderful young women.

 Sample of Hearts
I wish that I had thought enough to take pictures of the house, but I didn't. But I did keep every single heart that attacked our home. There were hearts of all size, from the size of a full sheet of paper to as small as the end of my finger. There were a variety of shapes; some were carefully measured and drawn, others roughly cut by hand. Some had words written on them, others were plain. One was even glued together to resemble the head of a puppy.
I'll never forget that act of love from someone who cared. It's the best HEART ATTACK I could receive!!

This post is in honor of Rachel (@ccchronicles) and Susan (@whymommy) who both lost their battle with breast cancer yesterday, Feb 6th, 2012. You are remembered.

Question: What act of kindness has someone given you that would be great to pay forward?