Monday, August 31, 2009

Rachel Sandwiches

We had the most amazing Rachel Sandwiches using leftover turkey breast that I roasted over the weekend. This time, I used a store bought organic 1,000 island dressing, but the next time that I make this recipe I want to make my own clean dressing to use on the sandwiches. This recipe is definitely a keeper and will show up in my cookbook along with my recipe for 1,000 island dressing.

Rachel Sandwich

Makes 2 sandwiches

Olive oil mister
8 oz turkey breast, roasted, deboned and shredded (planned leftovers from another meal)
3 tbsp 1,000 island dressing
1/3 cup organic sauerkraut, drained and rinsed (only ingredients should be cabbage, water and sea salt)
4 slices whole grain rye bread or sprouted grain bread
1 oz low-fat swiss cheese, divided into two 1/2 oz slices

Mist a small saucepan with olive oil. Preheat the pan to medium heat and add turkey breast, dressing and sauerkraut stirring frequently until heated through. Turn off heat.

In the meantime, mist one side of each piece of bread with oil. Set aside.

Preheat a nonstick griddle or panini maker to medium heat and mist with oil.

Place 1 slice of bread on a plate, oiled side down. Layer 1 (1/2 oz) slice of swiss cheese and 1/2 of heated turkey mixture on the un-oiled side of the bread and top with another slice of bread, with the oiled side facing up. Repeat to create the second sandwich.

Move sandwiches to the preheated griddle. Let sit for 1-2 minutes, checking to ensure that the bread does not burn. Carefully flip sandwich and let the bread toast for another 1-2 minutes.

Serve with a green salad or baked sweet potato fries for a complete CLEAN meal.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Picnics in the Park

"God doesn't come and go. God lasts.
He's Creator of all you can see or imagine.
He doesn't get tired out, doesn't pause to catch his breath.
And he knows everything, inside and out.
He energizes those who get tired,
gives fresh strength to dropouts.
For even young people tire and drop out,
young folk in their prime stumble and fall.
But those who wait upon God get fresh strength.
They spread their wings and soar like eagles,
They run and don't get tired,
they walk and don't lag behind."
Isaiah 40:28-31
Good Morning, Bloggers!!!

I'm soaring high today - what about you?

On our staycation, Allan and I enjoyed a beautiful afternoon by Lake Calhoun with a yummy picnic, fun football plays and much needed relaxation on the sand. I love sunny days with my bubbs. ☺

Sometimes life just needs to slow down. I feel like I am always trying to fit so much into every week… ever day… every free moment. Why do I rush to get things done? Why do I take so much on by myself? I have no clue! God gives us the strength to make it through day by day and I need to trust him for the means to get by instead of relying on my own strength. I am weak and he is strong – right?

Let God be your strength today!

Today's planned eats:

Meal 1 - egg whites + chicken sausage + 1/3 c dry oatmeal cooked with 1.5 cups water, 2 tbsp ground flax + 2 tbsp wheat germ
Meal 2 - nonfat plain yogurt + pineapple
Meal 3 - leftover grilled salmon + romaine + balsamic vinegar
Meal 4 - leftover turkey breast + green beans
Meal 5 - leftover chili

No workout today, I am giving my knees a rest and will practice yoga tomorrow to stretch and strengthen. On my way home from work I plan on stopping by a local garden center to find a natural way to eliminate my garden's two munching problems: slugs and baby bunnies. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Rough Waters

"Don't be afraid, I've redeemed you.
I've called your name. You're mine.
When you're in over your head, I'll be there with you.
When you're in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you're between a rock and a hard place,
it wont be a dead end -
Because I am God, your personal God,
The Holy of Israel, your Savior."
Isaiah 43: 1-3

When you feel surrounded by rough waters you have a choice to either dwell on the troubles that you are experiencing OR focus on the things are going well in your life that you HAVE control over: clean up your eats, go for a run outside, do a body weight circuit at home, pray and meditate on God's plan for you.

Recently, Pastor Wende described trials and tribulations as God's way of smoothing out our rough patches. We all walk around with burrs and God uses these trying times to smooth them out and shine us up! Relish this time and try to find the purpose of God's plan for you. Today I heard another Pastor refer to humans as butter and he described God using his Son and the Holy Spirit to melt us into his image. Isn't that a fabulous thought?!?

Here are my eats for today:

Meal 1 - the usual... egg whites + chicken sausage + cinn-raisin sprouted toast
Meal 2 - yogurt + gingered/mint fruit + granola (at a brunch meeting)
Meal 3 - chili leftovers
Meal 4 - Vita Mixed: protein powder + 1/2 frozen banana + 2 strawberries + 1/2 serving spinach (in the car on my way to run errands)
Meal 5 - 1 banana (on my way home from running errands)
Meal 6 - Yummy Pasta Pomodoro (a new recipe that I made up the other day, this was its first day in the Test Kitchen)
Meal 7 - 1/2 serving pineapple (if necessary)

I am realizing that on days that seem to "escape" me, I tend to not eat enough veggies and rely too heavily on fruit. I would really like to work on that!

My knees have still been bothering me, but I managed to squeak out a 30 minute interval (incline) workout on the treadmill. By the end I was SWEATING!!! What a great feeling!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Black Beauty and Eats

I have been meaning to post a pic of the new Rav4 since we brought it home a couple weeks ago. Here is our Black Beauty at a scenic overlook near Red Wing, MN.

I would really like to get back in the habit of posting my daily eats here on my blog. I keep a food journal at home, but it's always nice to have the accountability of sharing my eats here with YOU. I am still eating strict Cooler 2 eats.

So, here are yesterday's eats:

Meal 1 - egg whites + chicken sausage + cinn-raisin sprouted grain toast
Meal 2 - yogurt + frozen raspberries, thawed
Meal 3 - leftover roasted turkey breast + romaine + homemade honey dijon dressing
Meal 4 - hard boiled egg whites + cucumbers/corn
Meal 5 - Rachel Sandwiches (pumpernickel bread/leftover roast turkey/sauerkraut/organic 1,000 island dressing/organic low fat swiss cheese) + romaine + honey dijon dressing
Meal 6 - kefir + protein powder + frozen raspberries + spinach
Meal 7 - 2 raw chocolate cookies

And today's eats:

Meal 1 - egg whites + chicken sausage + cinn-raisin sprouted grain toast
Meal 2 - yogurt + mango + multigrain flakes cereal
Meal 3 - leftover chili + romaine/corn + honey dijon dressing

Meal 4 - hard boiled egg whites + mango
Meal 5 - (postworkout) kefir + protein powder + frozen strawberries/spinach
Meal 6 - grilled salmon + green beans
Meal 7 - (optional) brown rice cake or cinn-raisin sprouted grain toast

I am SUPER hungry today! I don't know what has come over me, but I have been needing to eat every 2 - 2.5 hours versus my usual 3 hour intervals. Yikes! I must have really kicked it hard on my interval run yesterday and now my metabolism is zooming!

Since finishing NROL4W, I have been making my own heavy lifting routines and last week I finished the last round of workouts that I planned for myself (I like to switch up my routine every 6-8 weeks) and need to spend some time with my Oxygen Magazines, NROL4W and The Eat-Clean Diet Workout book creating a new workout routine for the next 6 - 8 weeks. This week will consist of running and yoga. As I like to take a week off from heavy lifting in between routines.

Have a wonderfully CLEAN day!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Getting Real About the High Price of Real Food

I have to say that I absolutely LOVED this article! I felt that it embodied the point of sustainable, organic, CLEAN eating. Please take a moment to read Getting Real About the High Price of Real Food by Brian Walsh and let me know your thoughts.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Our staycation was wonderful! I loved the feeling of waking up every day and knowing that Allan and I could do whatever we wanted! I wish that we could spend every day together hanging out, getting some sun, eating good food and enjoying life’s simple pleasures. It’s silly, but sometimes I look forward to the day that we can retire together. ☺

While staycationing I did not do a lot of cooking or baking, so by the end of the week I was really starting to miss being in the kitchen creating. Here is the one meal that I did make last week and it was a good one!

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Update: I started reading Psalms at the beginning of the summer and got through Psalm 50 and started feeling as though God was calling me to read Proverbs. So, I started Proverbs this morning and am really looking forward to becoming wiser through the words of Solomon.

So—join the company of good men and women,
keep your feet on the tried-and-true paths.
It's the men who walk straight who will settle this land,
the women with integrity who will last here.
The corrupt will lose their lives;
the dishonest will be gone for good.
- Proverbs 2: 20-22

Friday, August 14, 2009

Experiments in the Kitchen

Here are some of the yummy things that I have been whipping up in my kitchen lately. All of the following items were quick, simple and wonderfully delicious!

Kristen's Holiday Chia Pudding is a yummy cold treat to enjoy as a midday snack or an end of the day dessert. I usually enjoy my Holiday Chia Pudding cold vs. lukewarm, which is how Kristen enjoys her pudding. Make it for yourself and decided which way it's best enjoyed!

One of my favorite meals that I have been making lately is my very own Coconut Cacao Oats. Shown here topped with homemade almond butter, Artisana Cacao Bliss and shredded coconut. Fabulous!!!

I love homemade raw nut milks! They are much more flavorful and complex when made fresh and raw rather than the packaged, heated and shelf stable varieties that can be found at grocery stores. I have found that I prefer raw cashew-based milks over almond-based and would really like to try pumpkinseed and hazelnut milks some time soon. For now, I have simply been making my own recipes for vanilla-spice cashew milk and chocolate-cinnamon cashew milk (as pictured below).

I hope that you enjoyed a glimpse into my test kitchen! I hope to be making several new dishes next week when I am officially back to work after our Staycation. Enjoy the weekend and keep it clean!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Honest Scrap Blog Award

The lovely and sweet Miss Linda of Linda Gets Fit was sweet enough to present me with the Honest Scrap Blog Award!!!

According to Linda's blog, this is the definition of the Honest Scrap Blog Award...

"This award is bestowed upon a fellow blogger whose blog content or design is, in the giver’s opinion, brilliant. This award is about bloggers who post from their heart, who oftentimes put their heart on display as they write from the depths of their soul."

There are three rules that need to be followed upon accepting this award.
1) Brag about it
2) Select 7 Blogs you find brilliant and link to them
3) List 10 honest things about yourself

How sweet is that?!?

Thank you so much, Linda for the thoughtful award!

I humbly accept the Honest Scrap Blog Award and below are the fulfillment of my acceptance parameters:

One: I always try to write thoughtful blog posts that will really help someone out, it is always rewarding to hear when I have accomplished that. I love seeing that my followers check back often and comment on things that I post. Thanks for being such great readers!!!

Two: I do read a lot of different blogs, but these are my top 7, in alphabetical order...

Allan Peters

Choosing Raw

Dani Spies

Eat-Clean Diet
Three: 10 Honest Things About Myself

1. I really enjoy clean eating and exercising, I feel like there was a part of my personality that was completely dormant before I became healthy. Cooking and baking are some of my favorite ways to relax. When I don't have enough time in the kitchen I can become cranky.

2. I love to shop and always have. Now that I am healthy, I sometimes wander around Whole Foods for ungodly amounts of time. Allan has no clue how it can possibly take anyone as long to grocery shop as it takes me. It's because I am enjoying myself. :)

3. I love lifting heavy weights and running intervals. I have tried steady-state running and lifting light weights and I just don't enjoy it as much. I am really starting to love practicing yoga... even if it is only with DVDs and DVR'd Namaste Yoga. ;)

4. I also have a passion for interior design, fashion, and gardening that goes hand-in-hand with my HGTV addiction.

5. Before I was healthy, I did not want to have kids.... but now that I am happy and healthy I cannot wait until Allan and I have a couple cuties running around the house!

6. I was hit really hard by the untimely death of a very close Uncle last December as he succumb to kidney cancer. Some might say that as a result, I took my clean eating to the next level.

7. I love Hawaii!!! Allan and I Honeymooned in Hawaii 3 years ago and I cannot wait to go back this winter. There is just something about it that is magical. I think that they pump the island air with floral scented endorphins or something...

8. I completely adore my orange furry friend, Mister Piggie. I could talk about him in every blog post because he is always doing something cute and/or funny. He will always be our first baby, even though he is a cat.

9. I am not impulsive. I always think things through before I do anything. This is not a symptom of indecisiveness, it can actually be blamed on the fact that I am extremely decisive and refuse to compromise on what I want in order to make a quick decision. Also, I love a good deal, and have a difficult time paying full price for big ticket items and clothing.

10. There is nothing that I love more than spending time with Allan. He is my best friend and there is no one else on the planet that I would rather be with for the rest of my life.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Q&A - Fat Loss

Recently I was asked the following question by a fellow forum member and thought that the question and my response may be helpful to some of you. If you ever have any questions or want something that I say clarified DO NOT hesitate to just ask! I am here to help you out in any way that I can!!!

Hi! I didn't know how to find your posts so I thought I would send my question here. I love your blog and the before/after pics. I am well over 200 lbs and basically just getting started on losing - we've been doing weights for about 3 weeks now 3x a week. My question is what all did you do to get your boobs to be smaller? I'm quite large due to childbirth and so far I'm losing in my butt and my legs but not my boobs and very little in my arms (another large area).

Thanks for the kind words. I am very happy with where I have come in such a short amount of time. It's really nice to hear that my story inspires other women because that is the reason that I started my blog in the first place!

To answer your question, my breasts slowly but surely reduced in size and there did not seem to be anything specific that really helped to get them to be smaller - it was simply a reduction in body fat percentage by eating clean, lifting weights and interval running.

My arms and breasts were the places that really held on to the fat the longest, whereas my back, butt/hips, and midsection shed fat the fastest. Everyone's body is different and it is almost impossible to "spot reduce" fat on your body. I have read that the place(s) that you gain fat the first are the last to loose the fat and that was definitely the case with my weight loss.

Try to be patient and remember that it takes just as long (or longer) to loose fat as it did to put it on. Try to keep your weight loss slow and steady (1-2 lbs per week) and you will have the most success with keeping it off long term because you will be building good habits to last you a lifetime.

When weight lifting I used the book New Rules of Lifting for Women and really loved it. I know that there are several other women on the forum that have used the same book with great success. You might consider checking it out because it was a great resource not only for weight lifting routines, but also on the science of fat loss. Be aware that not all of their menus are completely clean and you will want to follow clean eating instead of their meal plans, but other than that, the book is very informative.

Good luck on your weight loss journey and let me know if there is anything else that I can do to help you out!

Your sister in iron,