Boo-ing the neighbors

Last year we were “Boo’d” and had so much fun that we decided to “boo” our neighbors this year.  I got some cute boxes from Michael’s and filled them each with a mini pumpkin that I puffy-painted “Boo” on, some bubbles, tattoos, a granola bar, mini goldfish, a fake spider, fun dip (yum!) a few little candies and a certificate for a frosty at Wendy’s.  We “boo’d” three houses, on three different streets hoping to maximize the Halloween spirit!

Leila loved leaving goodies on the doorsteps:
We all had a lot of fun and will definitely keep up the tradition!

For a crazy cute free printable “Boo-ing” poem and sign, go here!  And while you’re there check out all of her other fabulous posts – one of my favorite blogs ever!

BOO!

Yummy dinners make yummy leftovers

Last night I made a *super* yummy dinner, if I do say so myself. Judging by my family’s reaction, I know they agreed. I made chicken cordon bleu burgers with fingerling potato oven fries. I made a handful of tiny burgers for Leila, and used a star-shaped cookie cutter yo make her buns. Every single time she took a bite she said “Mmmmmmmmmm!” SO delish! If you want the recipe to either, let me know and I’ll send you the link to my tastebook, which has all my recipes.

Anyways, just thought I’d share since I just had a delicious mini-chicken burger for lunch.

WHAT I EAT + CLEAN(ISH) EATING TIPS

It’s the number one question I get asked – WHAT DO YOU EAT?? Well my friends, I’ve been sick and stuck at home all week so I finally had time to write it all out. At this point in my life I am sticking to mostly whole foods, with one cheat day a week. I limit drinking to two days a week (it used to be the weekend, but now that I get together with girlfriends on Monday for The Bachelor it’s always Monday + one weekend day.) When I do drink, I try to stick to one glass. Usually wine, or a margarita on the rocks. I also still indulge in “fancy” coffee several times a week. At the beginning of my fitness journey, one year ago I completely cut going to coffee shops. Then I found that I was constantly substituting “low calorie” candy bars, or cookies, or anything sweet to replace what I really wanted – a fancy coffee. (Usually a nonfat iced caramel macchiato, or nonfat mocha. Not clean eating, I know.) Eventually I decided I would allow myself my coffees, but not the other crap and it works for me. (Side note: I know that nonfat milk is not actually very good for me, but I cannot stand the texture of whole milk. I might try to switch to 2%)

A typical breakfast for me is one or two egg muffins (HERE is a ton of recipes for egg muffins. I typically use the Southwestern egg beaters only because I don’t want all of the cholesterol of eggs, turkey breakfast sausage and salsa. I will write a separate post on my specific recipe soon.) I have my egg muffins about every other day, on the other days I usually a cup of yogurt, sometimes with granola mixed in. I prefer the Chobani or Oikos Greek yogurts.

A typical lunch for me is either a bunch of ground turkey and salsa over cauliflower rice, or leftovers from the night before. On Sundays I will make a batch of Jennie-O extra lean ground turkey, and season it with taco seasonings and eat it over the course of the week at lunchtime, sometimes as a snack. I like to eat it over cauliflower rice, with a bunch of salsa, and usually some black beans and  sprinkling of cheese too. If I don’t have my ground turkey lunch I will have leftovers from the night before. This lunch was a leftover paleo almond crusted chicken filet (sold at the Whole Foods butcher counter) and some veggies. I like to keep a ton of steamed veggies in my fridge for quick and easy lunches.

A typical dinner is something like this. A protein, veggies, a starch (or complex carb) and some legumes. This was Taco Tuesday (minus the taco for me!) The protein was al pastor, the veggies were bell peppers and onions, the starch, corn and the legumes refried black beans. With a sprinkling of cheese on top, because I’m human and cheese is delicious.  This ended up being my lunch the next day too, but over lettuce, and with a bunch of salsa on top. (Salsa is something I always have. It’s healthy and full of flavor!)

Clean(ish) eating tips that have worked for me:

  1. Buy smaller plates. Our everyday dishes are Fiestaware, and the dinner plates we have are MASSIVE. The other plates are inky dinky. I am not a Walmart shopper, but when I saw the Pioneer Woman had a new line there I made a special trip and bought a dozen of her salad plates. They are the perfect size! I can fill up my plate, and if I’m hungry go back for seconds. It’s all such a mental game. When I was eating my smaller portions on my massive Fiestaware dinner plates I always felt like I was missing out.
  2. Snack throughout the day, but snack wisely. At Trader Joe’s they have individually portioned out trail mix, which is awesome. I always keep a bag of those, and an Oh Yeah nutrition bar in my purse at all times for on the go snacking. Those bars are awesome, and taste like a candy bar. My favorite are the Mint Chip and Coconut Almond. I buy mine at Nutrishop Dublin, bu if you’re not local you can buy them HERE with free shipping. Truly the best nutrition bar I’ve ever had! I also sometimes snack on extra sharp cheddar (just a tiny bit, but it’s really satisfying.) I also love carrot sticks or bell pepper sticks with hummus.
  3. Drink a TON of water. If you feel like you can float away, that’s a good thing 😉
  4. Focus on whole foods, not diet foods.
  5. “Front-load your carbs” I remember reading this in a magazine years ago, and it stuck in my head. The idea is that you eat the majority of your carbs at breakfast, because you have the most opportunity to burn them off throughout the day (especially if you work out first thing, like I do.) Have less carbs at lunch time and snack times, and even less at dinnertime. (I don’t know about you, but after dinner I get Coco bathed, kitchen cleaned up, girls to bed, and then I veg out and plant in front of the tv or a book. I’m not burning anymore calories, so I really don’t need to be eating anything that’s going to turn to fat because I’m not using it!)
  6. Un-follow your favorite pinners food boards on Pinterest. I went through and individually un-followed all of the delicious, decadent-looking food boards that I was following on Pinterest. Pinterest is one of my favorite late night pastimes, and looking at all sorts of delicious recipes was not helping me at all. I instead only follow healthy food boards. This might sound silly, but honestly it’s helped me.
  7. Embrace leftovers. I eat leftovers all the time. They make great lunches, and it’s cost-effective too. I tend to buy mostly organic (especially with the meats) and I feel better when a meal makes some leftovers.
  8. Don’t be a short-order cook, but don’t make your family feel deprived. I never cook two meals.

    There have been plenty of times my girls didn’t like dinner, but they have two options: take it or leave it. There have been fights and tears, but my kids aren’t starving by any means, and eating a bit more diversely has opened their horizons and expanded their taste buds. But I try not to make things I know they won’t like, and I try to make sure there are still some of their old favorites available too. For example on taco night I definitely had taco shells and rice made and available for Tony and the girls. Just because I don’t want it (well, I do but…) doesn’t mean they can’t.

  9. Advocare recipes are awesome. I don’t follow the Advocare plan or take any of their supplements, but a lot of their recipes are fantastic and stay right in line with how I try to eat. The Jenny Collier Blog has some great recipes available HERE.
OK -those are my best tips, and breakdown of what I typically eat. I will try to add more over time.

January’s Workout Playlist

I can hardly believe we are in January – new month, new playlist! HERE is what I’m listening to this month. A bunch of upbeat, fun ones including one of my all time favorites, Just A Girl. You can listen to my January 2016 workout playlist for free on Spotify.

You can find my past monthly workout playlists HERE. Enjoy!

LEILA’S ALICE IN WONDERLAND PARTY

I think it was about a week after Leila’s third birthday party that she told me she wanted an Alice in Wonderland birthday party when she turned four.  Imagine my surprise when I asked her a few months ago what kind of birthday she wanted and she was still stuck on Alice!  So, my I started thinking…. I bought some cute graphics on Etsy and made my own invitaton:

I had a lot of fun making the party favors this year.  Each girl got an Alice in Wonderland bottle cap necklace, teacup charm bracelet, fabric-covered button ring and book.

When the big day came I was so excited to decorate! I rented small tables and chairs, and borrowed a bunch of mismatched teacups, teapots and other goodies from a family friend .  My friend Erin sent over some cute decorations (including the awesome “painting the roses red topiaries and bunting) that she used for a Mad Hatter wedding shower.  I made a bunch of “eat me” and “drink me” tags, and glued googly eyes to a bunch of fake flowers and scattered them all around.

 

Outdoor decor was fun too!  Paper sign from Kutekardz on Etsy, attached to a spray-painted yardstick:

 

I glue gunned cards to a Valentine’s wreath, and we had a clock stopped at 11:00 (party time!) by the door.

Lots of smiling flowers!

Food was kept simple.  “Tea sandwiches” (crust-less peanut butter and jelly cut with flower cookie cutters), three different kinds of goldfish, mac ‘n cheese served in individual ramekins with mini forks, and good old pizza.

 

 

 

Each girl had their own tea cup and were served their choice of tea (lemonade, fruit punch or berry punch)

 

When the girls were just about done, there was a knock at the door….

….and it was Alice, herself!

She read the girls the Alice in Wonderland book.

And then helped the girls decorate sugar cookies and color Alice pages!

 

 

 

As if the girls weren’t sugared-up enough from the cookies we had a variety of desserts for them to choose from, including cupcakes, pink meringues, “Eat Me” and teacup cookies.

 

 

This was the first year that we let Leila completely choose the guest list for her party.  She knew that she only wanted girls, but (and this is a direct quote) “Daddy can stay if he dresses up.”  And being the fun daddy he is, he did! Tony found a green jacket and cummerbund from the goodwill and made a top hat out of cardboard and felt! Gianna was a little Queen of Hearts (dress by Lover Dovers Clothing)

 

And Leila, of course was Alice.

This party was a lot of fun to throw!