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Overhauling my Intake

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Ok, ok. I admit it. I have been bad. I have been looking at my caloric allowance and not making the best decisions.

Example: Oh, I have 300 extra calories. Chocolate? Yes please - and 300 calories to be exact.

How about this one: I am at the bottom of my range, that means I have wiggle room. Ok, I will wiggle my jiggly self to that fridge and help myself to some cheese, ooooh and maybe some ice cream too.

HELLOOOOOOO! emoticonJust because you are staying in range, does NOT mean that you are putting HEALTHY FOODS into your system! emoticon emoticon

I remember someone once telling me early on (I can't even tell you who it would have been!) but said that if you are low on protein, eat some Peanut M&Ms. THAT is exactly the kind of BS I have been pulling on myself and it is not doing anything for me!

Then, I got to the point where I knew I was playing the game SO well that I decided "Who cares if I track" Shame on you, Holly! emoticon

So I have been upping my workouts, building muscle and NOT FOLLOWING UP WITH GOOD NUTRITION!!! emoticon emoticon

Eff that. I am back to tracking. I am back to counting every bite. I started yesterday and will go for eternity, if that's what it takes.

My heart and soul wants to convert my family into a clean eating no over-processed foods kind of family, but that is a complete 180 from what they are eating now and I don't know how to get them on board. Tips?!?! PLEASE?!?!?

I have been doing better this week. I have been getting most of my consumption from freggies. That has been awesome. I have reduced my carbs - because I know I eat too many icky carbs and I want the majority of my carb life coming from my freggies! I want to eat natural stuff.

When I get home, I am going to plaster my new fridge with images of what I want to eat. I am also going to print off pictures of the fruits and veggies that are in my fridge, so when fatty starts trolling later at night, she can see pictures of those yummy-ness stuff and seek it out.

Another thing, I have re-addicted myself to Diet Mountain Dew. It may not seem bad because of the caloric intake, but read this article about the links between diet soda and weight gain to see why I want to quit: www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/29/di
et-soda-weight-gain_n_886409.html


I don't know why I am doing this to myself! I LOVE water. I can chug it all day long. I just need to buy some lemons to squeeze in my cup to feel like I am on some island, soaking up the sun. NO.MORE.SODA.

So here are my nutritional goals:
-No more soda, we got a divorce.
-Eat at home 90% of the time
-Seek out new recipes (and crockpot ones!) to stay successful - help me out!
-Track EVERYTHING!!!!
-Stay active, and if activity decreases, change nutritional goals.

I really need some tough love, here. I was doing SO well January thru March and when my partner fell off the wagon, I started to fake it. It has been slowly getting worse and now I need to light a fire under my largeness and get going! I know I am building more muscle but every step needs to be in place to be a success. I want to be FIT.

I have my food and fitness trackers public, so I am asking you to keep me accountable, if you can. Knowing that someone is going to be checking in on me will help me keep on chugging. I use to have some awesome people helping me out, but this is my time to shine and I have to do them with our without them. It may look like I am going at this alone, but I must overcome!




*DISCLOSURE* I am not totally pigging out. I am not totally off track, I am just using my alottments to my full satisfaction and not making the best choices. I know this and I have owned up to this. This blog is not about being negative. Please keep Spark positive as I am doing here!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PURPLE_ROSE_3 8/19/2011 8:07AM

    I'm extremely guilty of this as well! Thanks for sharing!

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LADYJAY25 8/18/2011 10:55AM

    Great Blog, UI'll be checking in on you... So make sure you can answer my questions when asked!! Also, have you ever kept a emotion journal? For instance when your eat a meal or snack write down how you are feeling in that moment! Then after a week or so review the journal to see what emotions are causing the grazing or poor choice. I'll also look up some crock pot ideas for you! Good luck and happy exercising!

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VALKYRIA- 8/18/2011 10:52AM

    P.S. I did the same thing when I had calories left over.... Like, "I have 300 cals left... SWEET, let's see how much food I can fit into that 300," even if I wasn't hungry!!!!!

To fix this (and it wasn't a 100% fix but it definitely helped), I manually lowered my spark nutrition goal by 300 calories ion the low and high range, just so I can feel like I am eating the high range, rofl

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VALKYRIA- 8/18/2011 10:44AM

    I would like to think that eating clean, whole, and healthy food is what I have done best so far this competition… I will try my best to give you tips.. but it might just be more helpful to hear what I do, and then pick out the parts that you think will work for you (but I DO hope something helps).

The best thing I have done for my diet, and I KNOW I harp on this often, is signing up for a CSA. You can find one in your area at localharvest.org. "Why?," you might be asking, would you pay for fruits and veggies when you don't know exactly what will be in the bag each week and whether or not you will like it? Well… for one, it forces you to try new things. Second, it forces you to come up with / search recipes around the ingredients you have on hand, and--although that may seem annoying or daunting--it is what has led to me to creating/finding some of my favorite recipes and I always get an incredible sense of accomplishment when I use up all or most of the weekly market bag's goodies. The best thing about mine is that they email me a list of recipes each week which uses at least 2-3 ingredients from the bag (how handy!).

If you cannot find a CSA, farmer's markets are the next best thing. If you really want to be healthy, there is nothing better than local produce. When stuff sits on trucks on its way to the supermarket, it loses 40-70% of its vitamins and, perhaps more importantly, FLAVOR. Supporting local farmers sends a message to our big agribusiness corporations that we will not buy tomatoes picked GREEN and turned red with ethylene gas after making an 800 mile trip over 1 week to your local supermarket. No wonder supermarket tomatoes taste like GARBAGE. You essentially have the power to vote with your dollar to support your community farms and to keep good food around your city instead of supporting a system of inefficient, CO2 emission producing, nutrient-deficient food shipping, which is trying (and succeeding) to put your local farmers out of business. This is the best motivation for me, so I hope it resonates with you too. *gets off soap box*… that being said, I still buy bananas and pineapples and stuff, and occasionally I will eat Wendy's or at a restaurant lol… just not nearly as often as before.

The other absolute optimum plan is GARDENING!!! you can grow your own veggies, although it might be difficult this late in the year. I can't do this because I live in an apartment near campus and people would steal / smash my tomatoes… grr, lol.

Wherever you choose to get your food, you need to plan for the days you will be too busy to cook. The best way I have found is to make large (2-3 size the amount your family can eat) batches of the stuff that will freeze well, and then freeze it in small or family-meal-size containers. After one month of doing this, I have a well-stocked freezer that could, in a pinch, feed us for over 2 weeks (really hope I never get THAT busy). Also really proud of myself for making my own, delicious, AMAZING chicken soup for when one of us falls ill…. it was so good, we are both eagerly awaiting the first sore throat of the season (rofl).

Batch cooking is great because you can do it when you have all the time and ingredients in the world, and de-thaw and eat it when you don't!!! (some dishes with summer veggies cannot be obtained locally in the winter, but you still have the option of de-thawing it form your freezer). However, one caveat I will caution you about is LABELING. Last fall I made a bunch of yummy dishes and didn't label them… then, after being busy for a few months, I opened my freezer and didn't know what the f-ck anything was. UGH. We had mystery meals for a long time. Get a roll of masking tape and a pen and keep it handy… then you will always know what stuff is and how old it is.

Oh, if you have an ipad or an iphone, get the app GroceryIQ.. it is AMAZING. I store like 6-7 different lists for the various stores I like to visit, and it syncs from your computer to phone instantly. Beats pen and paper lists when strolling through the market.

I also keep a .txt file on my computer to remind me what is in the freezer when I am meal planning at the computer (or thinking of a snack). I try to plan3-4 meals for the week on tuesday (after receiving the market bag), and then shop according to them. I don't plan for all 7 days, because I find that I end up not sticking to it or coming up with better / different recipe ideas after day 4.. so I hit the farmer's market Saturday morning and get the ingredients for the weekend meals. It may sound like I am HYPER ORGANIZED, but I have never been this way until recently… I have always been haphazard and thoughtless about my diet, and that really got me nowhere. I used to be addicted to fast food (before I learned how to cook as a teenager). Since getting this market bag and visiting local farmer's markets every week, I feel proud and in control of what I am eating.. here is a little secret: it tastes better too. It tastes AMAZING!!!!!!! and if you are ever at a loss for recipes, search sparkrecipes for an ingredient, and voila. I also use google reader to subscribe to 3 healthy(ish) recipe blogs that keep me motivated and give me new ideas almost every day.

I'd be more than happy to share my HUGE HUGE HUGE accumulated mass of sparkrecipes (organized by meat, meal, course and cuisine… and crackpot) with you if want ;D they are set to private but I could easily go change that now by clicking a button lol.. I probably have over 100.. and have tried at least 66% of them.

DAMN sorry this comment is so long.. I really wanted to help lol
I will check your counters every day if it helps.

P.S. if you want extra motivation to stay off of Mt. Dew, look up "brominated vegetable oil" (an ingredient in it that, in large amounts, causes really scary stuff)....I also highly recommend Michael Pollan's "The Omnivore's Dilemma" and if you have Netflix there are a ton of good food documentaries that keep me motivated when I find myself not caring enough... Food Inc is a great one.
.

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HABROWN 8/17/2011 8:43PM

    I am sorry that you have been on the struggling with tracking and mixing it up in a not so healthy way. You aren't alone...if this type of journey were easy we'd all be hella thin right now...nope looks like we gotta struggle through some tough spots.

I look at every obstacle, slip up, and fumble that I overcome as an accomplishment. They will make us stronger and when we are looking back at this journey, the before pics, the blogs where we struggled, it is going to make being at our goals that much more rewarding. emoticon

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SHINYPINKPOLISH 8/17/2011 7:46PM

    I've been exactly the same with calories this week and then I'm bummed when I workout so much and got a lame weigh in! Only I can fix it and I'm on it!...about eating clean with the family as always the best advice is baby steps. Small changes at a time helps them transition without getting overwhelmed.

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MRS_BRENDA_P 8/17/2011 6:59PM

    I've been doing the same thing. When I have say 500 calories left, I use that as an excuse to get some junk food in. Not ok. But the good thing is that you're recognizing it and making steps to fix it. :-) Hope you have a great rest of the week!

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SHRINKINGLULU 8/17/2011 5:55PM

    I think just owning up to it will help a lot, now you know you'll have to report back to us on how you're doing!!!

And thanks for linking that article about the diet soda, I've been letting my consumption creep back up on me too and really needed that reminder!

My best advice from personal experience would be to get moving. The more I move the less I tend to grab the junk, and the better my mood, sleep, motivation, etc!

You can do it!!!

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POOKIN83 8/17/2011 5:52PM

    So when fatty starts trolling later at night, she can see pictures of those yummy-ness stuff and seek it out." This made me giggle :).

I'm doing the SAME THING! I'm not totally blowing my calories but I get close or go about 50 over. I've become addicted to popsicles! And I can't just eat one popsicle, I have to eat three. . . or four. AND I'm also addicted to pretzel m&m's. I need a big slap on the hand every time I reach for one of these goodies, bring on the food aversion therapy! I've been reading lately how bad diet anything is and how drinking the stuff keeps a sugar craving going. So I'm putting the kibosh (sp?) on artificial sweetener in my tea, coffee, pop, etc.

It's really great your realizing the situation before it ends up spiraling out of control. I always try and tell myself that I have to eat the freggies first or they will go bad and I'll be wasting money. As far as your family, just start introducing more and more whole foods and freggies. I noticed when I started eating better, the processed food just does not taste that great.

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SHARPIEREVISED 8/17/2011 5:40PM

    I'm guilty of the "o look, 300 calories left.. let's have 300 cals worth of chocolate!" thing too. emoticon

You mentioned about ideas to get your family on board with clean eating - a while ago I googled tips about getting kids to eat healthier. I was fighting change, and I figured that if it's stuff that kids could do, then I'm pretty sure I could get my inner child to do it too. emoticon LOL!

Somethings that I've started doing is buying white whole wheat bread (because while i like wheat bread, sometimes it's just gotta be white!), cooking veggies soft and pureeing them to add them to soups and sauces, and making more veggie and fruit breads instead of cakes and cookies. I found a killer zucchini bread on SP that works well as an apple bread too! I've also been buying vanilla yogurt or plain oatmeal and adding my own fruit (instead of buying flavored yogurt and oatmeal with more sugar), and having "the good and the bad" at my meals, for instance we'll have french fries AND peas with our sandwiches instead of just fries. Yes, it would be better to cut the fries out completely, but at least I'm eating less of them than I normally would since I have the peas to fill me up too!

I don't keep up with McEDs much, because I never eat there, but I've heard they're kind of doing this with their happy meals... they're going to start offering a half order of fries and a bag of apple slices in their happy meals instead of simply offering a whole order of fries.

I don't know, most of this is "duh" stuff probably, and not really completely-clean eating, but thought I'd share anyway, because I know what you mean about trying to convince your family to eat clean. emoticon I don't have any kids to convince, but hubby is just as stubborned as any kid I've ever seen, AND he's got his own car and money to buy what he wants regardless of what I suggest or offer - lol!

BTW, if you want help giving up the diet MT Dew, feel free to send it to my house. I know I shouldn't drink it, but I can't seem to stop yet emoticon, so I might as well employ my addiction to help you get rid of yours! emoticon

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RAINPETAL21 8/17/2011 5:01PM

    I was looking back at your food tracker and wondering if you have been tracking everything. There seems to be a lot of open space.

I completely understand you with the need for more crockpot recipes. I haven't used any of these recipes yet, but here is a website to check out.

http://crockpot365.blog
spot.com/

Though you will probably need to input the ingredients into sparkrecipes.com to figure out the calories.

I'll try to keep an eye on your trackers and see how you are doing. Sadly, I'm too embarassed to show mine.

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70 Steps to see past the trees - with PICTURES!

Monday, August 15, 2011

I live in a beautiful place. I am lucky to be near a city with all of the ammenities, but also very fortunate to live out in the country - where everyone is on the same level and there are trees EVERYWHERE.

I am a big nature nut, and when it started to cool down, I wanted to get out in nature. Autumn is by far my favorite time of year. The trees changing colors, it's so beautiful! This weekend, I was on a mission: Nicole and Heather were going to experience something in our own backyard that I experienced with my dad when I was a teen - Lapham Peak Park.

I live in Waukesha County - the county just west of Milwaukee. We are fortunate to have a state forest in the county, and the tallest point of the county is within this forest. When you get to that peak, there is a tower -- 70 steps tall -- it is a hike, but once you arrive, it is breath-taking!

OK back to the story of my weekend. Saturday was a cleaning day. It had to be done, there was no choice in the matter. Unfortuntely this left me a little disappointed since we didn't make it to the tower. Sunday, we woke up and had a low-key morning then ran errands. I could kind of tell that Nicole was not up to the tower's challenge as we putzed around the stores aimlessly... but I was not going to let that stop us from our adventure!

Finally it was 6:30pm. We left Half Price Books (with some new circuit training DVDs and healthy cookbooks for kids) and I headed to the park. It was a perfect day... low 70s with a slight breeze.

Here is a picture of Heather on the path up to the tower:

She thinks she is fierce, can you tell?

So we walked up to the tower, and as we approached, it looked as if it could swallow us whole! Heather wondered how many steps there would be to climb, and she announced that she wanted to climb the tower FOUR TIMES! Oh man, I don't think so little mama, not today!

Here is a shot of the tower as you stand below it just before you start to step:


So off we went - climbing up the steps. 1 - 2 - 3- 4- 14 steps on the first set. I wasn't sure how many sets of stairs there were, but I was a little winded. I wasn't going to stop! Heather and I scaled the next set 15 - 16 - 17 ... at this point, I didn't know how many steps there would be total, but I was hoping it would be less than 50.

About two-thirds of the way up, there is more of a platform to walk on. Here is Nicole and Heather getting ready for the last leg of the adventure:


Can you tell that it wasn't Nicole's idea to climb these stairs? As you can see, the stairs aren't the smallest things, it's almost like doing a squat for each step you take! We kept going. 65 - 66 - 67 - 68 - 69 - 70!

Once we arrived on the top, my fat girl instincts set it. I did a quick pan of the area to see who is staring at me trying to catch my breath before I noticed that I wasn't panting like a dog sitting in 100 degree weather who drank the last of his water three hours ago! I was just fine! Yeah, hiking up 70 steep stairs is not a normal activity - but I wasn't about to pass out.

Then, my mother insticts snapped into the place of the fat girl as I was extra cautious of Heather's actions. 70 steps is a lot farther down then I want her to ever fall! (Heck 1 stair is much farther than I want her to ever fall!!!) We stopped for a moment and Nicole snapped this picture of me and my wack-a-doo of a daughter: Please ignore the face. It was sunny and apparently I needed to squint with my WHOLE face in both of these pictures!


You see, four year olds don't have a sense of what their body's shouldnt' allow them to do. Limitations is just a concept to them - it isn't realistic. I wish I had that frame of mind, because I DID IT TOO! I could have been running laps around the top of the tower but the concept of falling and stepping on the 6-8 other people that were enjoying the view was not my idea of fun.

Finally, I wrangled Heather up for a quiet moment to look at the tree tops. An older gentlemen helped us find some familiar landmarks from the tower: Holy Hill, 21 miles away and the Downtown Milwaukee skyline - 25 miles away! You can't quite see it without zooming in a ton, but Milwaukee is at the horizon of this picture, past the post and past the larger tan blob:


This picture is zoomed in a bunch more - can you see the faint skyline past the red and white tower? That's Milwaukee!


As we were heading down, I admitted that the fear of falling makes going DOWN the tower much more difficult than going UP. Heather had a magnificent idea though; she suggests that the DNR installs a large slide so that we can just slide our way down - then we could go up and down FOUR TIMES! hehe. I love her!

As we reached the platform that was 2/3 the way up, Nicole spotted a hot air balloon. This was the point where I realized how beautiful real life is, and how unfortunate my camera skills are. If you look closely, you will see a black dot in the sky. THAT is the hot air balloon. This, too, must have been 25+ miles away because I have seen hot air balloons up close and this had nothing on their true size:


Overall, we had an amazing end to the weekend. Oh, how I wish it was longer! Next time, I plan to take the girls on some more hiking trails throughout the forest. It will be BEAUTIFUL! We had to stop there for the day, though, because Heather was starving and it was almost her bedtime! Luckily, we don't live far away and can visit whenever we want!

Today my thighs are feeling the workout, it's as if I did 70 squats instead of walking up 70 stairs. It feels great and helps me remember the time I spent with my family.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LADYJAY25 8/18/2011 12:45PM

    So wonderful and beautiful!

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PROUDMOM2BOYS 8/17/2011 12:04PM

    That's wonderful, Holly! Thanks for sharing! These are the times that Heather will remember. I'm so proud of how far you've come, and cannot want to see your success story continue to unfold! ~Jodi


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NINNYBUM 8/16/2011 11:42AM

    This is great! Congrats on time well spent with the family!

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SARAHSSUNSHINE 8/16/2011 11:30AM

    This is so awesome and BEYOND beautiful! :) I'm so glad you got to go out and experience that with your daughter. It just goes to show you're becoming more and more active every day and it's a strong, positive lifestyle change. :)

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LAURATHEHOPEFUL 8/16/2011 11:07AM

    Wow! That sounds like such a great idea for family time! Congratulations on kicking those steps' butts! The best part is, next time you find yourself going up that many stairs, you're going to be able to do even more than you just did! :D Keep up the good work, Holly!

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SHARPIEREVISED 8/16/2011 8:48AM

    a slide. omg. See, people need to listen to kids more, because that is the BEST IDEA EVER!! emoticon

Those pictures are GORGEOUS - thank you so much for sharing them with us. emoticon And congrats on taking the 70 steep steps in stride - I'd be panting and I know it! LOL!

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NPA4LOSS 8/15/2011 7:25PM

    emoticon these are memories that will stay with Heather forever. emoticon

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MRS_BRENDA_P 8/15/2011 6:56PM

    What a beautiful view! emoticon

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NICKELDAWN 8/15/2011 5:27PM

    Way to go, sounds like so much fun!! Its so beautiful there! Ohh and..
Heather is so freaking adorable it should be illegal!!! lol

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A_HAPPIER_K 8/15/2011 5:15PM

    emoticon Congrats on walking up those steps without being winded! I can't wait till I get to that point! That is so awesome the even though Nichole wasn't feeling the trip, she made it out there with you and Heather ^_^

Thank you for sharing the pictures! Such beautiful scenery!

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BEST Chicken Parm - Your whole family will agree! (Plus it's easy!) With tons of pictures!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Chicken Parm is one of my favorite Italian dishes... but the calories and grease are NOT my friends. In fact, they are quite the enemies around these parts! Here is a recipe that I have found and LOVE to make HEALTHY Chicken Parm. This is the first chicken recipe that my daughter asked for MORE of! She loves it and requests it often.

This recipe is for four servings, so multiply/divide ingredients accordingly - depending upon how many mouths you are feeding.

*Extra special hint* I always make an extra serving for the next day's lunch!

Ingredients:
4 - 4oz raw boneless skinless chicken breasts (Or just get your chicken breasts out - I will show you how to get them there later)
1 cup Fiber One Cereal (ORIGINAL!)
1 1/2 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Italian seasoning (or your favorite salt-free version)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder (all seasonings you can add more to taste, but I did not).
1/2 cup low sodium tomato sauce with italian seasoning (I mixed my own). You can just use your favorite spaghetti sauce, but that will change the calories and sodium!
1/4 egg substitute
4 oz reduced fat mozzarella cheese

Most of those ingredients you should have in the house - it's so easy!

First, let's make sure you have the right size chicken. Portion size is important! First, trim all the nasty fat off of the chicken breast:


See that nasty white stuff- it all has to go! Next, get out your food scale and see how much the breast weighs, then trim it down until it gets to 4.0 oz.:


Next, place all of the breasts into a ziploc bag and seal it. Take a meat mallet or heavy can and pound the chicken until it is about a half-inch thick. This allows the meat to cook evenly and quickly!

I totally recommend that you do the prep work with the chicken earlier if you have the time. It will make the cooking part so much faster!

Now it's time to make the breadding. First, Let's discuss the FiberOne cereal for those who haven't experienced it yet. This was my first time using this cereal, and I must admit that I was a bit taken back when I opened. I thought for a moment that we were at the zoo, about to feed the goats! Yep; it looks like goat food. But that's ok. We are going to grind it out of it's goat-food-shaped misery so we can enjoy it! The FiberOne cereal is essential - don't use just bread crumbs because the fiberous nature of the cereal makes the breading texture like a fried texture with none of those fried calories!


OK so put the FiberOne ceareal into your favorite blender or food processor until it gets to be like a bread crumb texture. Here are some beauty shots of my blender doing the work:




I have the MyBlend blender from Oster. It's awesome for making smoothies and other drinks (like my coffee drink!) The green part where the FiberOne cereal is is a 20oz container that you can take the blades off and put on a drinking spout! It's super amazing for a blender - and it works well too!

Ok, back to the recipe. Mix the italian seasoning, 1/4 teaspoon of both the onion and garlic powders into the cereal. This is the breading. Then, in a seperate bowl, pour the egg substitute. Now, bread this like you've never breaded before (egg than breading). WORK IT!


Now the pan needs to get ready for the main event. Put a big pan on the stove, spray it down with cooking spray (I use the olive oil type). Now warm the pan up on Medium-High heat. Once the pan is warmed up, place the chicken on there and let it cook for 4 minutes.


Next, it's a hard step... oh no I don't think you can handle it. Are you ready? Flip the chicken over for another 4 minutes. hehe. SO HARD! While the timer is ticking, add the other 1/4 teaspoon of onion and garlic powders to the tomato sauce and mix well. Once the timer goes off, spoon the sauce over the top of the chicken:


Then, sprinkle the cheese on top!

Cover the pan for 2-3 minutes, just so the cheese can relax and make melty goodness on top of your chicken.

Then? You're Done! Chicken Parm for 4! I served mine with some no yolks and extra tomato sauce I made.


I know you are wondering the calories in this yumm-o chicken: only 249! A normal piece of chicken parm at a resturant is going to cost you more than double that - 600 calories, and that isn't including the mountain of pasta it is sittin on, or any of the sides that come with it - like breadsticks or fried cheese? It's mindblowing! This recipe is from Hungry Girl, so you know it will be good!

So try out this recipe on your friends and family. Non-dieters will love it too! Check out the recipe on SP here - so you can add it to your tracker!
recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detai
l.asp?recipe=1102454


Do you like these recipe blogs? If you do, I will work on more! What is for dinner tonight for you?

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CHERI_F 8/25/2011 11:59AM

    I made a different recipe for chicken parmesan last night. Got it here and it's called something like Parmesan Chicken with Tomato-Basil Salad. It was pretty easy and very good.

Love your pics!

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HABROWN 8/15/2011 7:07PM

    I love chicken parm and it definitely looks yummy. Thanks you for sharing.

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A_HAPPIER_K 8/15/2011 3:25PM

    YAY! I'm so saving this one. Italian foods are a big hit with DH and chicken Parm is one of our faves :D

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MUSCLEADDICT32 8/14/2011 8:43PM

    That looks soooo good!! emoticon

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DAWNWATERWOMAN 8/14/2011 8:41PM

    Looks delicious. Glad that it tasted as good as it looks. emoticon

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LOOKSLIKELILY 8/14/2011 8:23AM

    Mmmm, that looks so good. I would love to try this but I was wondering, what exactly is Fibre One cereal? I live in the UK and we can't buy that here but I wondered if I could find a substitute I could use instead?

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AIMEESINGS 8/13/2011 11:44PM

    mmm that looks good! Sometimes I throw this kind of thing in my broiler to melt the cheese and give it a nice browning (not burning!) on top. Its quick and super awesome! mmmm now I want some of this!

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SHARPIEREVISED 8/13/2011 3:11PM

    It's amazing the difference that some good recipes can make when you're trying to live healthy! emoticon

If I ate meat, I would SOOO try this! emoticon

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DEMONICANGEL13 8/13/2011 1:30PM

    Definitely going to have to try this. My family's idea of chicken parm is chicken with sauce and cheese melted over it. Healthy, maybe; bland, definitely. I have a coupon for some FiberONE cereal and a Hungry Girl book full of similar recipes so I know it won't go to waste. I love recipes so anything new that you care to share I'm all for. :)

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SEEMAINE 8/13/2011 1:04PM

    Yum! I've got to add this to my recipe book for a quick, work-night meal! I love your recipe blog! Keep 'em coming, please! emoticon

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NPA4LOSS 8/13/2011 12:26PM

    I'm sharing this one and preparing it later in the week! Yum! emoticon

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MRS_BRENDA_P 8/13/2011 12:14PM

    I am definitely going to try this. I love chicken parmesan!! It looks delicious!

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GRAMPIAN 8/13/2011 11:50AM

  Sounds good, bit with less tomato sauce, I think.

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JUVE1986 8/13/2011 11:38AM

    I have to try this one too! I love checking parm. I usually make it with panko but the extra fiber would be great.

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Best "Fried Cheese" - Non-Dieters will think so too! (Recipe with PICTURES!)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Hey All,

I have a few recipes that I have done that I would like to share with all of you. None of these are 100% my idea, but I wanted to share a couple tricks and tips. I am always looking for new recipes so PLEASE leave a comment with your favorites for me! I tend to pick things that are more like this one; a "makeover" recipe that my girlfriend will eat with me, even though she has no interest in changing her eating habits.

THIS is Chef Meg's "Fried" Cheese Sticks. OMFFG. If you like cheese and/or fried things, you will LOVE this! Kids and adults alike will love it. I usually pair this with another italian dish when I am having company over. I have a lasanga AND chicken parm recipe that I am going to share with you all soon that are a HIT in my house - with EVERYONE!

Ingredients are super easy, and something you should have in your home anyway! I doubled (or more) the recipe since we were having a lot of guests over, that eat a LOT. I will tell you everything to serve two people.

4 light string cheese sticks
1 teaspoon flour
1/2 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs. YES you need these, not just regular ones - they make the final product crispier!)
1/4 cup egg substitute (or two egg whites)
1 tablespoon of your favorite No-Salk Italian Herb Seasoning Blend. (SP recommends Chef Meg's but I used Mrs. Dash)

Note, these ingredients are altered from the original recipe to reduce waste - no one wants to throw away food and cooking items that they pay for!

Ok, so you have all of your ingredients? Now make sure that you take the wrappers off of the string cheese, and place them on a plate:


Then, cut them in half! This makes the serving sizes- each person gets 4 cheese sticks once this is all done with!!


TRICK OF THE TRADE: Chef Meg's recipe doesn't say this, but trust me! Put all of your sticks into a freezer bag and pop them in the freezer for 10 minutes. (They can be longer, but at least 10 minutes to freeze them)


Now you are ready to continue with the recipe. Roll each stick in flour, then mix the panko and italian seasonings and set it aside for a moment. Then get your egg substitute ready. This is a basic breading process- dunk the cheese in the egg sub. and then roll into the bread crumb mixture. Place them on a baking sheet. Repeat this until they are all breaded.

Next, spritz each stick with some cooking spray (I highly recommend the Olive Oil one!)

Bake them in the oven for 3-5 minutes at 350 degrees - just so the cheese has time to warm up and the breading crisps up - but not so the sticks are a gooey mess.

TADA!

Pretty amazing food for only 151.8 calories for FOUR PIECES! Be sure to make this next time you are serving an italian dinner for friends and family. I promise it will be a hit!

Original recipe: recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detai
l.asp?recipe=756709

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PRINCESS_PIA 8/14/2011 8:44PM

    I absolutely am a Cheese fanatic...so i love mozza sticks...I am soooo gonna try this...and I have panko in the pantry...yay!!! thanks.

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SUPERBABE25 8/14/2011 8:04AM

    Thank You! Looks Good! I will try this!

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CHRIAMARIA1983 8/13/2011 3:27PM

    I'm glad you shared this! We have been trying to bake some items and mimic the fried foods we like. We tried cornflakes but it just wasn't the crunch we were looking for. I will pick up panko the next time at the store!

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SEEMAINE 8/13/2011 1:07PM

    Mmmm! You're making me hungry for these! Got to run to the store! LOL! emoticon

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JUVE1986 8/13/2011 11:36AM

    This looks fantastic! I love how you included pictures. That always makes a difference to me, I'm more likely to make the recipe if there are pictures. I'm going to try these, I love mozzerella sticks!

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MAMABEARLEHMAN 8/12/2011 11:38AM

    yum!

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MOMNAMEMANTOOTH 8/12/2011 10:35AM

    so happy you put this up!!! I kinda have a weakness for fried cheese

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DAWNWATERWOMAN 8/11/2011 11:04PM

    emoticon

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NELLZIE04 8/11/2011 8:45PM

    Looks really good!

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HABROWN 8/11/2011 7:54PM

    I am gonna try this. Thank you for sharing it with us. I can't wait.

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LAURATHEHOPEFUL 8/11/2011 9:43AM

    Oh, om-nomsie. That sounds delicious.

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NPA4LOSS 8/10/2011 8:01PM

    emoticon I'll give it a try. emoticon

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VALKYRIA- 8/10/2011 5:00PM

    I've made the same sort of thing with jalapenos stuffed with fat free cream cheese... but this would be a really nice treat too. I will try it, probably using garlic powder and paprika in the flour as well

Comment edited on: 8/10/2011 5:02:22 PM

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DUBIOUSPLUM 8/10/2011 4:42PM

    I could eat nothing but fried cheese sticks the rest of my life and be okay with that. I'll have to try this out next time the craving hits.

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KOOKYKEL 8/10/2011 2:46PM

    very yummy looking! If only I ever venture into cooking!

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SHARPIEREVISED 8/10/2011 1:16PM

    -cries quietly with happiness, because i love cheese sticks so much-

haha! emoticon

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SHRINKINGLULU 8/10/2011 1:10PM

    Yum! I saw that one on 'the daily spark' stuff a couple times and have been curious about it, I like your idea of freezing the cheese so it doesn't just turn into a melty mess!

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BECOMING_HOLLY 8/10/2011 11:08AM

    Pan Fried Chicken Parm is up next!!!

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RACH_LVSLIFE 8/10/2011 11:05AM

    Thanks for sharing! I will be making these. The freezer tip is great.

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CHRIS3215 8/10/2011 10:59AM

    emoticon

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LILMANN 8/10/2011 10:56AM

    Yummo! I should try that, mozzarella sticks are my husband's favorite.

I'm a personal fan of these recipes from spark:

Cheesy grilled banana peppers: http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/reci
pe-detail.asp?recipe=756731


Slow Cooker BBQ Pork (awesome on sandwiches!): http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/reci
pe-detail.asp?recipe=16146

Honey Balsamic Chicken Breast: http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/reci
pe-detail.asp?recipe=382622


Also, I find a lot of healthy, delicious recipes in Clean Eating Magazine. Like the orange chipotle chicken: http://www.cleaneatingmag.com/Recip
es/Recipe/Orange-Chipotle-Chick
en-with-Cilantro-Rice.aspx

Because they focus on whole foods, they take a little longer, but since I don't fully follow the clean eating movements, sometimes I cut corners with things like Uncle Ben's rice pouches to speed things up a bit.

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NANAMOM652009 8/10/2011 10:55AM

    That sounds fantastic. I am definitely going to try them. Thanks!!

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JACOBY46 8/10/2011 10:44AM

  Sounds like a great recipe. Thanks for sharing

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A Glance into my Friday - with PICTURES!

Sunday, August 07, 2011

I have been SO busy this week, that I feel bad for not being around. I am so use to checking in with everyone each day, but it has been so busy that I haven't had the opportunity to really say "hi" over the last few days - and today will be one of those days too!

I wanted to let you in on a day in my life, so here is a picture and story version of my Friday (8-5-11).

For my close Spark friends, you all know that I will sometimes go to the main branch of my job and work hard. I am often excited for these days because it takes me away from my desk and I sweat all day. But what do I do there?

The picture above kind of shows what I do. I dress down in jeans and a company T-shirt and go into our stock room to organize, move boxes, fold clothes, etc. for 7 hours (minus my one-hour meeting with my managers about our company's social media 'stuff' that I work on back at my office.

For whatever reason, I am the only person that is willing to work on the stockroom and company logoed apparel - and it's ok with me! I get time away from my routine and I am ACTIVE for 6 hours of my work day! I always leave with sweat running down my back and in desperate need for a shower. It's AWESOME!

After work, I normally pick up Heather and Nicole from the daycare, but Heather stayed home with my sister Heidi (yes, my sister has an "H" name too - actually my daughter is named after my older sister who passed away when I was a child) so I only had to pick up Nicole.

As we arrived home, we were very excited. Heidi was taking care of Heather at home on Friday because there was a special delivery at my house: my new treadmill! Someone had to be there to let the delivery guy in, so I paid my sister in books. emoticon

Nicole and I were eager to start to set up our treadmill, so we asked Heidi if she would like to learn a new recipe! She agreed and we got to work while I continually instructed Heidi through a recipe that I knew well: Hungry Girl's Pan Fried Chicken Parm.... I have every intention of my next blog being how to make that recipe for all of you!!

Heidi starting to make the meal

Our friends have advised us that assembling the treadmill would take us hours and lots of tools but our install took only about an hour! Here was the first step: lift the running deck.


Heather decided that while Nicole did the next step, she would show you how fabulous she was looking that day:


Nicole and I are really awesome at teamwork. Here is the two of us working on the treadmill... about halfway through the assembly:


After we finished assembly, I wanted to try it out. Nicole took this picture and it is a bit blurry, but:

I have used the treadmill three times since that moment- already! emoticon

Just before dinner, we were all having a little bit of fun and cleaning up. It's so much fun to have a big box in the living room! Nicole and Heather were paddling their "boat" to try to keep away from the scary dragon (me).

I was running around and roaring - things I don't even think twice about it now, but something that I would have never wanted to do before SparkPeople... its amazing to see the many ways this site improves lives!

Here is our meal. The chicken (sauce, cheese and all) was 258 calories/serving! woo hoo!


Saturday, we went to the library and I wrote a paper on Scientology for a class... then worked out a TON. I used dumbbells to work my arms while I walked and MAN my arms are sore today!!

Today we are going to State Fair with my dad. It is a place of fatty, deep fried foods so I am kind of nervous. In Wisconsin, fried foods is the normal... I mean they are advertising one of the new fair foods as deep fried BUTTER. Come on!!!!

How was your weekend? What did you do to MAKE your weekend healthy?

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHARPIEREVISED 8/8/2011 1:34PM

    Now THAT sounds like a great day. emoticon Yay! I'm glad you got your treadmill! And that sounds so cute, them "paddling" their boat-box and you running around and roaring.. got me giggling just thinking about it. emoticon

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HABROWN 8/8/2011 5:44AM

    Congratulations on your new treadmill. I am sure it will push you even faster towards your goals. Your dinner looks great...I love Italian meals.

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BELLARENEE 8/8/2011 1:03AM

    ekk this makes me so excited to use my treadmill again,. its been in storage for a year due to livin with the inlaws..

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NPA4LOSS 8/7/2011 8:26PM

    emoticon emoticon What a wonderful family day for you all. emoticon

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RACH_LVSLIFE 8/7/2011 2:32PM

    I am so looking forward to that recipe. The chicken parm looks incredible and the calorie count is tempting~

Don't you just love having a treadmill in the house? I'm glad you are already making good use of it.

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PRINCESS_PIA 8/7/2011 1:31PM

    That is awesome that you now have a treadmill. I am hoping to be able to get off my behind and get on mine soon. Keep up the great work!!! You are an awesome attentive caring leader.

Thanks

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SARAHSSUNSHINE 8/7/2011 12:55PM

    That's awesome that you've already used the treadmill so much! :) And that chicken parm looks soooooooooo yummy.

And one more thing: FRIED BUTTER? Just the thought of that makes my stomach turn. Yuuuuuuck.

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VALKYRIA- 8/7/2011 12:50PM

    Nice to see you got your treadmill up and running. Glad you had a great weekend. emoticon

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PENNPLAX 8/7/2011 12:00PM

    Way to go on getting the treadmill put together and glad it is working for you. I too am fortunate that I can wear jeans and t-shirts to work, but unfortunately I am glued to a desk and do not get out on the production floor too often. Have fun at the Fair and think before you eat. Good luck!! emoticon

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SANDERSON83 8/7/2011 11:57AM

    You looked like you were having so much fuN! Awesome! Your kids will appreciate your enthusiasm and that outfit little mama was wearing was TOO CUTE!!

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THOMS1 8/7/2011 11:00AM

    Stay away from that fair food it is dangerous. When we go to the Dane County Fair I try to settle for popcorn which compared to Elephant Ears and that fried bread is almost healthy. I hope you had fun and were able to make healthy choices. emoticon By the way I loved your blog.

Comment edited on: 8/7/2011 11:00:55 AM

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KIBAISREADY 8/7/2011 9:40AM

    Look at you, how lucky to have a treadmill in your home. Walk it out girl. The meal looks great. Look at little one too cute! My Weekend was great. I went to my niece sweet sixteen party and spent time with my family. Yep the whole weekend healthy choices.

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