Sunday, April 22, 2012

Taco Cupcakes!

So, thanks to Pinterest I found this cool looking recipe for taco "cupcakes".

I decided to try it, but realized I didn't have all the ingredients.  I ended up using ground turkey, black beans, taco seasoning for the filling.  I chopped up four light string cheese sticks and used that as the cheese.  They were absolutely delicious and filling.  Unfortunately, we didn't have any sour cream, salsa or guac, otherwise, they would have made the cupcakes perfect!

Check out Emily's site, she has a bunch of other ideas for "cupcakes"!  I think the buffalo chicken cupcake is next on the menu for us!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Little Suzy Homemaker

I actually made my own dishwasher detergent this afternoon!  *insert shocked face*

I read a ton of reviews on the stuff, how well it works, etc, and finally decided to take the plunge.  I already had the majority of the ingredients, so it didn't really cost much.  I ended up doing a double batch and put it in a plastic food storage container we had with a scoop.  I'll update tomorrow after I try it out for the first time.  If it's good, I'll post the "recipe" here!

I also made a new food recipe this evening.  Yay Pinterest!  I did Teriyaki Chicken in the crockpot.  I'm NOT a fan of pineapples, but I went ahead and followed the recipe by putting a whole can of sliced pineapple in the recipe.  When it came time to eat, I didn't eat the pineapple, but the rest of the meal was really good!  I got a 5 star review from the husband, so I guess I'll put it in our usual rotation.  The best part was that it was cheap and very easy.  It was in my list of freezer meals.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Giveaway Time!

So, to celebrate the new blog design and upcoming switch over to my own domain name, I'm doing a GIVEAWAY of one of my favorite products!

Have you tried Skinny Cow's Dreamy Clusters yet?  They are amazing.  Low in calories and fat, yet the perfect taste of chocolate and caramel.  You can check them out here:

Thanks to Skinny Cow, I've been able to enjoy my chocolate cravings without losing too many points on my Weight Watchers program.  If you would like to try a FREE box of Skinny Cow Dreamy Clusters, please comment on this blog post with your favorite Skinny Cow treat.  When you "share" this post on FB, you get another entry (post in the comments that you "shared").  Good luck!

One day at a time...

I'm now officially working on my second round of bronchitis in the past three weeks.  I am grumpy.  I am tired.  I am sick of being sick.  I have worked my ass off lately in the food/health/fitness area and I feel like it's a waste when I'm this sick.  I only get out of bed to pee, drink a little and eat whatever is easiest.  I know I should be grateful that it's not something worse.  I should be grateful for health insurance and antibiotics.

I really just want to live without feeling like I've been hit by a truck.

It doesn't help that the weather is absolutely gorgeous.  I want to be out there planting veggies and flowers and enjoying the spring air before it's stifling hot.  I want to go for walks with the kids.  I know this sickness will pass.  It's just killing me in the meantime.

So, while I lay in bed and boo-hoo about all that I can't do, tell me about what you're doing to enjoy the lovely weather.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

And another...

This is the original post I meant to do this evening!  Phew.  Talk about an emotional rollercoaster!

I made an amazing dinner tonight!  I wasn't sure if it was going to work out or not, but it's going to be a new go-to meal.  I read on the WW message boards about doing a mock rotisserie chicken at home.  You make foil balls and put them in the bottom of a crock pot, then put the whole chicken on top with seasonings.  I didn't have a whole chicken, but I did have split chicken breasts.  I removed the skin and put them in the crock pot, covered them with a whole bunch of seasonings and turned it on low.  I made some mashed potatoes and veggies to go with it this evening and it was delicious!  It wasn't soggy, it was nice and dry (not icky dry) and salty.  :)  Best of all, it was a very low point meal.  I still have 17 points left to eat this evening!

Here's a screen shot of my food for today.  I haven't updated my water, fruits/veggies, etc intake yet today.  For those of you who are on the fence about WW or wonder how to track everything online, this gives you a good idea.  I don't go to meetings, so I do everything online.  I also have the WW app on my phone, which lets me update my totals or look up foods on the go.  It even has a listing of restaurants so I can check the points value on a dish before ordering!  

Just Keep Swimming....

So now that I've lost the "water weight", how am I managing?

Ha.  I've been a bit grumpy this week when the scale has remained exactly the same.  Today I finally gave up and decided I needed to leave the scale behind and quit focusing on it.  I started incorporating more exercise this week, which I'm insanely proud of.  I have issues with my lungs and it makes it difficult to do much that involves cardio sometimes.  Speaking of...I've been having a lot of flashbacks related to my hospital stay in August of last year and I feel like some therapy is due soon.  Stop reading if you're not keen on reading about scary hospital stays, but I feel the need to get it all out on "paper" again.

August 10, 2011:  After work that night, I had some vague shoulder pain.  I figured it was muscle pain from being hunched over a computer all day.  I thought maybe it could be related to acid reflux as well.  I wasn't too concerned about it, but it was odd.

August 11, 2011:  I woke up to get ready for work and got into the shower.  I had gotten over a cold recently and had been coughing some here and there still.  While I was in the shower, I had a coughing fit and noticed that I had coughed up some blood.  That startled me a bit, because I knew that it could be a sign of something serious, but figured it was a burst blood vessel or something small because of all of the coughing.  I finished getting ready for work and took my girls to daycare.  On the the way to work, I noticed a bit of lower left chest pain when I would breathe and called my primary care doctor.  I was told to keep an eye on it and if it wasn't better the next day, to make an appointment to come in and see her.  I got to work, took a few Excedrin and worked for 9 hours.

I left work at the end of the day and went to pick up the girls (ages 3 and 1) at daycare.  The ladies up front noticed that I looked a little off and I confessed that I wasn't feeling so great that day.  As I got the girls buckled into their seats, the pain became intensified, to the point where I started having trouble breathing.  I got into the driver's seat and sat there for almost 30 minutes before I could make a decision about where to go or what to do.  The pain was INSANE.  I had never experienced pain like that before, and I had been through natural childbirth!  I could hardly take a breath in--it felt like 500 knives twisting, turning, burning my lung.  It was isolated to only one place in my chest, the lower left area as before.  My doctor's office was already closed for the day, so I couldn't go there.  I called my husband, who was working, and told him to meet me at the hospital.  I kept thinking it was something silly like bronchitis or something...that for some reason I was just in a lot of pain.  I started driving towards the hospital and the pain got worse (was that even possible?!).  On the way, I realized that whatever was causing the pain was going to continue to worsen and that maybe I wouldn't make it to the hospital.  I knew I couldn't pull over on the side of the road to call 911--who would take care of my kids while they take me to the hospital?  The only thing I could think of was the nearby fire station--they would take care of me and keep the kids safe until Troy got to them.  That's all I could think about--fire stations are "safe havens" for kids.

As I drove as fast as I could to the fire station, I chanted "it's ok, you're fine.  It's going to be ok, you're fine.  Almost there.  Almost there" in my head the whole way.  The kids were going nuts in the back, because they were hungry and the oldest knew we weren't going the right way to go home.  We finally got to the fire station and I couldn't quite figure out where to park.  I finally veered the van over to one side of the station and there was a fireman sitting outside.  I threw the van in park and rolled down my window and just collapsed.  It had taken everything I had to drive there.  He ran over and the rest is kind of a blur.  When my husband arrived, there were EMTs and firemen everywhere.  They were in the back of the van talking with the girls, trying to keep them calm and happy (Parker was super excited about the fire trucks, I do remember that!).  They got my breathing stabilized and took me to the hospital in an ambulance.  I do remember trying to crack a joke or two about having never ridden in an ambulance before and another lame joke about if they needed to cut my shirt open.  Can you blame me for trying?  :)

When we got to the hospital, things moved pretty quickly from there.  The doctor immediately ordered a full body CT to check for clots, which I thought was crazy.  I fondly remember the radiologist telling me that the contrast material going through my body would make me feel like I had to pee.  He was wrong.  It made me feel like I HAD peed myself, all over the table.  By the time Troy got back to the ER after dropping the girls off with his mom, the doctor came in with the results of the CT.

"It's positive", he tells me.  I looked at him and asked him if it was positive good or positive bad.  He gave me a look like "lady, you crazy" and informed me that it was positive for not one, but multiple PE's.  Pulmonary embolisms are blood clots that get lodged in your lungs.  If they don't kill you, they can break off and cause a stroke, or severe chest pain, like I experienced.  So, not only did I have one of these, but my lungs were filled with them.  The biggest one, in my left lower lobe had caused the intense pain.  I was told that I was lucky I didn't die.  I was admitted to the hospital that night and stayed inpatient for almost 2 weeks.  There were a lot of issues with getting my blood clotting numbers therapeutic and various other problems, hence the long stay.  I don't think I really quite "got" it, how close I had been to not making it through and how lucky I was, at least until I left the hospital.  At the time, they weren't sure what had caused the clots--if it was a clotting disorder, or just a fluke.

Almost 8 months later, I now know that I have a clotting disorder.  There is one confirmed, but my hematologist suspects that there are others.  The confirmed one is called Factor V Leiden.  It's a gene mutation that is passed down by your parents.  I have the one-strand version, so only one of my parents is a carrier.  We still have more tests pending, but my doctor tells me that a multitude of my tests show that I also have a Protein C & S deficiency, as well as some Lupus Anticoagulant involvement.  *Don't expect me to explain ANY of that to you, because I'm still working on that myself*  :)

I am on Coumadin, a blood thinner, for life.  I have residual scarring in my lungs from the damage done by the clots.  I am lucky to be alive and well.  I am lucky to have an amazing husband who was by my side during all of it, unconditionally.  I have the most wonderful friends who kept my spirits up with good food, snacks, gossip magazines and Skype sessions.  I have so much to live for, and losing weight and getting healthy is the next step in my recovery.  If you've read this far, I thank you.  :)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Week Two: Done!

I've decided to go for gusto and open up about my weight in the hopes that it'll help keep me accountable.  I can't believe I'm doing this and it makes me horribly nervous, but I figure it's necessary for healing emotionally.

I started this weigh-in challenge at 235.2 pounds.  Today I weighed in at 226.5  After two weeks, I think this is a pretty damn fabulous start!  Part of my new lifestyle modification is to recognize when I'm indulging myself in little white lies.  I bring this up because in the past I have told myself that I really did the WW program for 3 months.  In reality, I really only tracked my foods for a week and a half, with some sparse tracking here and there.  The 3 months comes from signing up for the 3 month period.  I've told myself so many times that I just can't lose weight on my own--WW doesn't even work!  Really though, if I follow the plan honestly, I do just fine.  Taking the easy way out is almost ALWAYS easier than doing the hard work necessary to stick it out.  True story.

So, stay tuned for more revelations.  I hate confessing these things, but I'm finding that once they're out there, I feel like a weight it off my shoulders.  Is it possible to become a compulsive truth airer?  :)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Ups and Downs

Today was the first day that I've really felt grumpy, crappy and just uninterested in doing anything worthwhile since starting the challenge.  Part of the problem was me stepping on the scale this morning and not seeing a drop.  I've gotten accustomed to seeing that weight fall off every morning, but I have to realize that's not always going to happen.  If I plan on stepping on the scale every day, then I need to be ready for disappointment.  I hate to say it, but it seems like that set in motion a crappy mood for the day.  I didn't eat breakfast when I should have, then I was hungry.  I didn't drink as much water in the morning like I usually do, and then I was tired.  Instead of getting up and around, I sat on the couch and got sleepy.  Makes for a grumpy mood!

I did resist the urge to order a pizza though.  :)  I am very proud of that.  Instead, I spent the money for a pizza on a layaway order for our new porch patio set.  I found one I liked on Kmart's website and the price was perfect.  Looking forward to many mornings/evenings sitting on the porch.  :)

In other news, I finally had hubby take a series of before photos of me.  I might post them...if I ever download the pictures on the computer.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Eep! It's working!

I finally felt good enough to get out in the yard and do some work yesterday, which was awesome!  Raking out the flower beds and planting some new flowers was very cathartic and helped me burn off some energy.  I'm sure being out in the sun helped my mood a lot too!

Back to the subject...I couldn't stop myself.  I had to get a new battery for my scale so I decided to try it out this morning.  At least, that's my excuse for weighing mid-week.  I don't care if I shouldn't do it--I needed that affirmation that what I'm doing is working!  I'm down another pound and a half since Sunday.

Yup, that was my for-real face this morning.  Followed by a giant shit-eating grin.  :)  I don't know why I'm sticking with this plan so well this time around or why I'm rocking it, but it's working.  And I suppose I should quit seeking the answer to that, and go with the flow.  Seeing that stupid pound fly out the window is giving me the motivation to do more, do better.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Week One: Success!

Drumroll please!

My first week of the Weigh-In Challenge and my restart of Weight Watchers earned me a 6 pound loss!  Hip hip hooray!!

*claps hands, bows to applause*

Moving on, I celebrated Sunday evening by eating a LOT of crab legs.  I figured there were worst things I could binge on, and they were *mostly* sans melted butter.  :)  I'm very proud of myself for sticking to the plan throughout the week with minor issues.  I'm still battling bronchitis, so this week has been mostly focused on food and portions.  Hoping to add in some activity this week once the coughing settles down.

I was looking at our cruise itinerary this afternoon, wishing it were tomorrow, yet wishing it were further away.  I wish I had been able to get on board (pun intended) with eating better months ago so that I could be healthier/skinnier for the cruise, but there's no use in wishing for something that can't be.  I'll just have to work extra hard over the next two months!  Who's with me?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Guilt-free Dessert!

Years ago I stumbled upon a recipe that is one part genius, another part yummy and one more part guilt-free!  If you're like me, you need a sweet snack to end the day.  I love ice cream sandwiches, so when I found this recipe I was excited, but skeptical.  I mean, really, how good can a fake ice cream sandwich be?


Graham Cracker "Ice Cream" Sandwiches

8 small reduced fat graham crackers (I use cinnamon ones)
 * break the large graham cracker in half to get two small pieces
1/4 cup (or less) fat free Cool Whip

Lay out your halves and spread Cool Whip on 4 of them.  Use the other 4 halves to make sandwiches.  Place in freezer for at least one hour.  Voila!  Ice cream sandwiches.  They are approximately 1 point a piece.  And while you're at it, stick your finger in the Cool Whip tub and take a taste.  It's fat free!  :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A New Beginning

Sunday started the Weigh-In Challenge on my local mommy board, and I finally signed up to join.  It's based on the Biggest Loser contest system for the most part.  We all pay in to join and the winner get the payout.  Good incentive, right?  I'm not really too concerned about the money aspect, I'm more excited to have other people going through the exact same thing and a sounding board for my highs and lows.

One product that I've lusted after for years finally became mine yesterday!  I ordered a BodyMedia FIT band this weekend and I got it in the mail yesterday.  Charge it up last night and decided to slap it on when I got up in the middle of the night.  It tracks and measures my sleep patterns, calorie intake, calories burned, steps walked, etc.

I read a LOT of reviews before I took the plunge.  I didn't want to purchase something that wasn't accurate or up to date.  The reviews, for the most part were positive.  It guides you by telling you (based on how much weight you'd like to lose) how many calories you need to burn each day, and if you're hitting that goal.  You can also enter the foods you eat so the tracker can analyze that too.  I'll try to update on how it's working out for me.  You do have to pay a subscription fee to use the activity manager (6.95/month), but I found plenty of 12 month subscriptions on eBay for $30.00 or less, which is what I did.  If you're interested in getting one of these products, let me know.  I ended up getting mine for $40 off and free 2 day shipping!

I've been really sick for the past few days, which has stalled my workout plan at the YMCA.  Yesterday I was finally starting to feel better, but woke up at 2am with horrid sinus pain/cluster headache.  Mix that with a toddler who woke up at 6 and I'm not feeling 100% today.  Oh well.  I'm eating well and drinking a TON of water, so hopefully that'll help me out in the long run.

What are your goals this week?

Monday, February 27, 2012

Grilled Chicken Mac and Cheese!

This isn't exactly a healthy or a Weight Watchers friendly recipe, but you could certainly change some of the ingredients around to make it healthier.

Grilled Chicken Macaroni and Cheese

1 box macaroni (or any type of short noodle)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound skinless boneless chicken breasts (I used tenders), cut into small bite sized pieces
salt, pepper, seasoning salt, etc (whatever you like to season your chicken with!)
3 cloves garlic, diced
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
3 tablespoons flour
pinch of ground mustard
3 cups milk
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese
panko bread crumbs

Boil macaroni noodles in a large pot, until al dente.  In a large frying pan, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Cook chicken in olive oil with salt, pepper, seasoning salt and any other spices you'd like until no longer pink.  Remove from pan.  In same pan, melt butter and saute garlic.  Add flour and ground mustard, stir until combined.  Stir in milk and continue to stir until bubbly and thick.  Add cheese and stir until melted.  Mix noodles and cheese mixture in a large baking pan, add chicken.  Sprinkle generous amount of panko bread crumbs over top and bake in oven at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes, or until golden.

Sunday, January 29, 2012


Due to a lack of frozen meat and laziness, I decided to make BBQ Chicken Roll Ups for dinner this evening (thanks, Vittoria!) and had a few wonton wrappers left over.  Boo Boo wanted a banana for dessert, which left me a half a banana.  I decided to try the wontons with sliced banana and peanut butter.  I cooked them for a little less time than the chicken rolls because they were skinnier.  I have to say--new favorite dessert!  They're amazing!  And only a few points!

Try them, you won't be disappointed.  :)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Crafty McCrafterson

I have a wonderful sewing machine that my mother-in-law gave me for Christmas a few years ago.  I've used it once.  <insert sad face>  I have bought some "practice" fabric, but every time I read over tutorials for basic bags on the web, my head starts to hurt and my eyes glaze over.  I want to practice with some simple stuff now and then when I'm ready:

I'm going to buy some of the new Yo Gabba Gabba fabric and make some stuff for the girls!  I would love to make some bags with it, or a small quilt.  I'm trying not to get too ahead of myself yet, as I can't even sew a straight line yet.  You can check out the other Gabba fabrics here:

I do love the vast quantity of sewing and craft blogs out there, and Pinterest makes it impossible to not want to make something.  So, what blogs/resources do you use for crafting/sewing?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Quiet Time

I've been quiet lately because I'm so darn tired.  I know some of it is my own fault, because I stay up late, then get up early.  Some of it is because of the medication I take to keep the clots from coming back.  My dose in the past few weeks has been upped, and then upped again this week.  Maybe that's why I'm even more fatigued today than usual.  I suppose the dreary, nasty nap-time weather isn't helping either.  :)

I did work in a long swim at the Y on Thursday night, which was nice.  It also helped pinpoint exactly how out of shape I am.  I did a lot of long swimming--just freestyle back and forth for several laps.  Got the kickboard out and worked on tightening my core and kicking.  Then I spent a while just swimming underwater, trying to force myself to stay under longer each time to work on my lung capacity.  I know that'll help in the long run with my workouts.

When you're out of shape and getting back into working out, what kinds of activities do you do to ease yourself back in?  Or do you just full-throttle it?  In the past I've gone full-throttle and then stopped abruptly when I've become burned out.  This time, for health reasons, I'm taking it slow.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

A Million Excuses

Don't you always have a million and one excuses to not exercise, or to eat crap?

I do.

So, during a trip to Goodwill last weekend (there's a point to what I said a minute ago) I found this book titled "Secrets of a Former Fat Girl" by Lisa Delaney.  I figured for some pocket change, it might be a good read.  I'm not usually into self-help books, but this one had a catchy title.  It's actually a pretty good book, a little older (2007) and makes me laugh.  Her "trick" to sticking with an exercise/dieting plan is a bit different--start exercising regularly before making dietary changes.

The part I read last night was interesting to me because she talked about excuses and how to make yourself exercise.  She started talking to herself.  Crazy, right?  Right up my alley!  She would tell herself "It's not an option" or INO for short.  If she didn't feel like getting up to go to the gym, INO.  If it was too cold to go for a walk, INO.  I have a ton of excuses on a daily basis for not getting up and getting moving, which are all pretty lame.  Before I know it, the day has passed and I've sat on my butt all day.  It's going to take baby steps, but I'm going to try to implement "INO"...

...starting tomorrow.

You can read more about "Secrets of a Former Fat Girl" here:

Friday, January 13, 2012

Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili

If that isn't a mouthful, I don't know what is!

This is dinner for us tonight (pulled from

Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili
 Gina's Weight Watcher Recipes
Servings: 10  Size: 1 1/4 cups  Old Points: 3 pts  Points+: 5 pts
Calories: 203.7 • Fat: 1.4 g • Carb: 33.3 g • Fiber: 10.0 g  • Protein: 16.9 g

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 16-oz can black beans
  • 1 16-oz can kidney beans
  • 1 8-oz can tomato sauce
  • 10 oz package frozen corn kernels
  • 2 14.5-oz cans diced tomatoes w/chilies
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 24 oz (3-4) boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • chili peppers, chopped (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
    Combine beans, onion, chili peppers, corn, tomato sauce, cumin, chili powder and taco seasoning in a slow cooker. Place chicken on top and cover. Cook on low for 10 hours or on high for 6 hours. Half hour before serving, remove chicken and shred. Return chicken to slow cooker and stir in. Top with fresh cilantro. Also try it with low fat cheese and sour cream (extra points).

    The link to the recipe on Skinny Taste is here:

    She has some amazing recipes, so take a look around!  For our recipe tonight, we only did one pound of chicken, and modified accordingly.

    Monday, January 9, 2012

    Creamy Mexican Dip

    *courtesy Weight Watchers

    Creamy Mexican Dip
    1 PointsPlus *TM value  |  8 servings

    Perfect for a party. Serve with fresh vegetables as well as chips for a
    total crowd pleaser.

    1 cup plain Fat-Free greek yogurt

    ½ cup salsa, hot chipotle variety suggested  
    ¾ cup avocado, diced
    ⅓ cup cilantro, fresh, chopped  
    s¼ cup red onion, chopped  
    ½ tsp ground cumin  
    ½ tsp table salt, or more to taste

    ¼ cup avocado, diced  
    1 Tbsp cilantro, fresh, chopped  
    1 Tbsp red onion, chopped

    In a medium bowl, stir together yogurt and salsa until blended; stir in remaining
    ingredients except garnishes. Cover and refrigerate up to 1 day.

    When ready to serve, transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with garnishes.

    Yields about ¼ cup per serving.    

    NOTES: This dip combines all those favorite Mexican flavors like salsa, avocado and cilantro using
    fat-free Greek yogurt instead of sour cream.

    It also makes a wonderful topping for tacos or other Mexican foods — and then you don't have
    to set out separate bowls of salsa, sour cream, avocado, cilantro and onion