Thursday, August 4, 2011

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

SO many recipes to catch up on, plus, a sweet, FREE deal...

Hello all of you beautiful people! I had a wonderful, week long vacation with my family and now I'm trying, (I wouldn't say successfully yet,) to get back into the swing of things. I KNOW I have neglected all of my little unfrumpiettes but I will try to make up for it this week. My first attempt: a sweet deal I just came across.

These guys make super cute covers for breast feeding, and other handy accessories to make the task a little bit easier. Well, if you enter the promo code "onefree," you can get a cover for FREE (you will still pay shipping.) Or, when you enter the code, you can get a complete gift set for only $5 (plus shipping.) Shipping is $9.95, a little high, but if you don't have the time to shop around or to make your own, these are great. I'm probably ordering a gift set tonight (usually a $37 value,) to give as a baby gift. $14.95 for a really excellent baby shower gift isn't too shabby. And, they are completely un-frumpy ladies. They're gorgeous. Check it out. You can thank me later ;)

Also, a little note on positive self talk:

It's powerful people.

While on vacation, I didn't eat so well. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and, yes, over indulged. However, instead of coming home and beating myself up, telling myself what a giant turd I am, which would usually be my go to course of action, I said, out loud even: I had so much fun. Now, it's time for business. I love my life. I love my body. I only get one body, and one life, and it's time to take care of it. I can eat healthy. I can exercise. And I will. I am worth it. I am special. I am a princess, the daughter of a Heavenly King. I am the wife of a good man and the mother of two beautiful daughters who need me. I am loved. I will love myself. I will be un-frumpy.

So, you may be smirking to yourself, thinking about how incredible cheesy I am, and that's okay. I'm sure that little tid bit made you feel at least a little good. I want ALL OF YOU (imaginary or real) to try positive self talk. Right now. And perhaps, even type out some encouraging words to yourself and print them off. Tape them to your bathroom mirror. Read them to yourself every time you brush your teeth or wash your hands. It may not be magic, but I guarantee it's better than looking at yourself and thinking, "what a turd I am." Think of any negative thought that plagues you, and contradict it with positivity. I have been known to struggle with pessimism, among MANY things, but I have been telling myself, "you are optimistic," instead. If I tell myself I'm pessimistic all the time, how can I be anything else?

The same goes for frumpy. If I constantly tell myself, "I am so frumpy," or "I am so fat," or "I am so lazy," whatever else, how can I ever be anything else? I AM UN-FRUMPY! And if I am not there yet, I WILL BE! We CAN do this. We CAN do hard things. And, most importantly, we ARE worth it.

Sending you all loves in blog land.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

I swear I haven't forgotten you...

It's been a while, I know. It's been a rough week or so. The kids and husband are sick as dogs and I'm way behind in EVERYTHING! Does anyone else know that feeling ;) ?

I decided with all this CHAOS to postpone my starting the C25K challenge until after I get back from a much needed vacation. Which means, for the next little while, I will still try to exercise everyday but I will alternate between Zumba, Jillian Michaels - 30 Day Shred, Wii Fit, and Just Dance 2

So, tomorrow I will attend my husband's graduation. I think I'm happier for him to be done with college than I was a couple of years ago! I will try HARD to catch up on tons of photo editing for clients, I will, and I mean WILL, conquer the mountain of clean clothes occupying my couch, AND, I will get back on the ball updating you (possible imaginary) readers on my journey.

Oh, and I finally talked to my counselor. I'm not automatically better, but that's okay. It's all about the baby steps.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Sorry I've neglected you! The good news, I haven't neglected the challenge!

So, I may have been sparse on the blog lately, but I haven't abandoned the commitment I made to all of you! (However many that may be.) I have worked out EVERY day, and tomorrow is my LAST DAY of the Jillian Michaels - 30 Day ShredWeight Training DVDs) challenge!!! WOOO HOOOO! I'm so pumped that I persevered, and even more pumped that I proved to myself that I can do it. I'm also excited to move onto other things, like the C25K program. And, oh, Zumba, how I've missed you! Jillian Michaels - 30 Day ShredWeight Training DVDs) is an awesome workout, but it is not fun by any means. Zumba is also a great workout, but I have a lot more fun doing it. I'll still revisit shred though, especially on those days when I just don't have very much time to workout and I want to burn some serious calories in twenty minutes. I always feel good and empowered afterward.

Since this is my second to last day, I must remind you: Your own FREE copy of Jillian's 30 Day Shred is still up for grabs. I want to see comments. I want to see new followers referred by you. Plus, I now have a group on Facebook, so if you decide to follow that, you get a point, and if you add as many people as you want, you can tell me the number of people you added with a comment on the page and I will give you points for them as well. Of course, if you tell me you added 100 people and there are still only 14 in the group, I might be a little be skeptical. I really want to send this brand new, unopened, ready to be used copy of 30 Day Shred out to one of you, so get cracking! I will only take points earned before midnight tomorrow.

Last but not least, I will post some recipes soon, I've been behind, and some other fun things as well. So be watching.

I hope all of your journeys to un-frumpiness are still rolling. And that you're happy in the journey, and proud of yourselves.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Coconut Chicken Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

Ok. The last recipe was not my favorite. This is a winner though. My husband, daughter, and I fell in love with this tasty version of oven "fried" chicken. We've tried many variations, and this is our favorite. Plus, it's pretty darn healthy. And, did I mention, delicious? Skinny taste got this one right. Mmm hmm. This is my new go to version of chicken. Try it. DO it.

Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast, 18 oz, or 3
Shredded Coconut, 6 TBSP
Panko Bread Crumbs, 1/4 cup
Corn Flakes, smashed, 2 TBSP
Eggs, whites only, 1/3 cup, or two
Salt, 1/4 tsp
Salad, Spring/baby mix, 6-9 cups
Carrots, 2-3 medium, sliced
Tomato, 1 medium, sliced
Cucumber, Peeled, 1 medium, sliced
Olive Oil Cooking Spray, 2 sprays

Preheat oven to 375. Combine coconut, bread crumbs, and crushed corn flakes in a shallow baking dish. Separate eggs and put whites into a large bowl. Tenderize/pulverize/flatten chicken breasts. Lightly salt. Slice into strips. Dip in egg whites, letting excess drip off, then into breading mixture. Place on Silpat lined (or lightly sprayed) baking sheet. Spray lightly with olive oil spray. Bake for 15 minutes. While it's baking, prepare salad (and dressing.) Turn chicken to other side, spray, and cook another 15 minutes. Serve with salad and dressing of choice (it's delicious with the honey mustard vinaigrette listed below. Thanks again skinny taste.)

MFP nutritional info, 4 servings, each has: 240 calories 5 grams of fat 33 grams of protein 582 milligrams of sodium

Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

Honey, 1 tbsp
Basalmic Vinegar, 1 tbsp
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 1 tbsp
Beaver - Sweet Hot Mustard, 3 tsp

Just mix them well and serve as a dipping sauce or lightly pour over the top of the chicken or salad. YUM!

MFP info, 4 servings, each has: 55 calories 4 grams of fat 0 grams of protein 34 milligrams of sodium

Cream of Zucchini Soup

I'll be fair. This soup is so cheap, easy, low fat, and low calorie. Now for complete honesty, of everything I've made off of skinny taste, this was the most disappointing. The sodium levels are SO much higher than the flavor. But, if you're looking for something low cal, cheap, and easy, this is all of those things. I served it with Pillsbury Crescent Rounds. They are also cheap and quick. I prepared this according to the skinny taste directions. You can find them on the link above. However, I really prefer pressure cooker to regular stove top. It's less worry and faster. I will probably return to my old pressure cooker ways with the next soup I make.

Zucchini, includes skin, raw, 3 medium
Garlic, 3 cloves, minced
Yellow Onion, 1/2 large
Chicken Broth, 4 cups
Low Fat Sour Cream, 2 TBSP
Pepper, 1 tsp

MFP nutritional info, 4 servings, each has: 56 calories 1 gram of fat 4 grams of protein 591 milligrams of sodium

Easter! Almost done with the challenge...

Last night, after all of the lovely Easter festivities, church, egg painting/hiding/finding, LOTS of food, and time with family, we finally arrived home pretty late, and it dawned on me that I had not yet done my 30 Day Shred workout for the day. I REALLY did not want to workout last night. In fact, I almost shrugged it off. I told my husband, "what if I just do two workouts tomorrow? Would that count?"

Ultimately, it was the whole idea of Easter that pushed me to complete my daily workout. Life. Living. That is what Easter is all about; the amazing miracle and gift that this life is, and that life can, and will, continue. It's about life, and the resurrection as proof of continuing life.

So, I decided that I needed to put more value in the gift that is my life. And be grateful for it. I did work out. It was hard, and more than a little awful, but I felt good after doing it. Easter inspired me this year in so many ways. But the biggest way it inspired me was by filling me with a feeling of how precious and wonderful the gift of life is. I want to take care of my body so that I can live my life on this earth to the fullest, however long that is, and take care of the gift of my body.

I hope all of you in reader land had a wonderful Easter. And if you don't celebrate Easter, I hope the sun was shining wherever you are, and birds were singing, and that the evidence that spring will come and life will be renewed warmed you up and made your heart sing. I know mine was singing yesterday!

By the way, after today I will be halfway through level 3. Only 5 days left until I've complete the 30 days of my 30 day shred challenge. It was hard, but I'm proving to myself that I can do hard things. Especially if it means getting healthy, and un-frumpy. Totally worth it. Watch for some tasty recipes to come!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Epiphany...and level 3!

All I have to say is, HO-LEE-MO-LEE!!! Level 3 is INTENSE! I only thought I got sweaty before. Good news, less plank positions than level two. Bad news, Jillian makes up for it with plyometrics. Ouch. In case you didn't know, that basically means jump training. It gets your heart pumping super fast. I can BARELY manage the modified version of the last minute of abs. It's hard. But, I just finished my second day and I feel like a conqueror.

I never updated you on my weight. I've only lost a little under a pound since last week. I was surprised, and disappointed, but I know I'm gaining muscle, so I won't worry too much. Also, I know I could be making better food choices and drinking much more water. I've stayed under my calories, but the foods I picked to fill those calories weren't always the wisest ones. Hopefully in these last eight days I can really pull off a miracle.

Other big news, I decided that I was losing my passion for my work (photography) because I wasn't really doing what I love. In this area, weddings and family/group portraits are where the money is, so that's most of what I was shooting. But every time I have a shoot I just feel sick and dread it for up to a week before. So, I decided, if I'm making over the rest of my life, why not that? I will focus my photography down and only shoot what I love, one on one portraits, like infants, children, senior portraits, and other one on one assignments. I don't even mind two or three people in a shot. I just hate big groups and lots of posing. I like capturing what's there naturally. That's why I only use artificial lighting when it's absolutely necessary. I like capturing what is there, and what is beautiful naturally. Natural light, natural expressions, natural poses. I figure if I can find passion and enjoyment in my work, it's worth more than any amount of money, and dreading work, can get me.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Depression...totally FRUMPY!

Hey beautiful people out there in (perhaps make believe) reader land. I've been debating and debating over whether or not to post this next little piece, but ultimately came to the conclusion that I should. The whole reason I started The Formerly Frumpy Mama was because I needed some positive change in my life, and I hoped that by sharing those changes I'd be more motivated to keep going. Even if I'm only writing for me, if it pushes me, I need to continue.

Well, onto the dirty stuff. There are so many things to overcome on the path to un-frumpiness, bad eating habits, laziness, messiness, etc. I've discovered though, that everything in life is intertwined. If I'm struggling with depression, it will effect every positive thing I'm trying to do in my life.

Depression has been an unwelcome houseguest in my life, off and on, for many years. Right after high school I was medicated for it, but found that I liked myself even less, and felt more crazy, on the pills, so I stopped taking them. (I was on Zoloft, in case anyone was wondering.) Over a year ago, I went back to counseling for the second or third time in my adult life. My counselor is awesome, and, as it had in past experiences, I noticed it helping me bring positivity back into my life almost immediately. I only need a few weeks worth of sessions and I started feeling like a much better, much happier, version of myself.

Well, the last few weeks have been rough. And in the last few days, it's really intensified. The other day the sun was actually shining and all I could do was stare out the window and hate it for shining when my insides remained bleak and stormy. It makes it hard for me to want to exercise, and eat healthy, and take care of myself, to be an attentive, and loving/patient mother. It's absolutely awful. The worst part is that I can look at my beautiful little girls, who I love so much, and my sweet, patient husband, and in my mind I know that I am SO lucky, and should be SO happy everyday, but I still can't swim out of the murkiness. It's not fair to them, or to me.

So, this morning, even though I REALLY didn't want to, as I sat in my baggy sweats all un-showered and wishing I could just stay in bed, I made a decision. I called and made an appointment with my counselor. Like I said before, this isn't something I'm excited to share. But I do think it's valuable.

With one of my former counselors, I developed an analogy that helped me figure out how I function well. I am like a car. I run on four wheels and tires. If one of those tires is flat, the car isn't moving. I have to keep up all the tires to keep myself rolling. My four tires are my physical health, my emotional/psychological health, my social health, and my spiritual health. If I'm really hurting in one of these areas, I won't be able to function in the others either. So it's time for me to pay a little more attention to where I'm "flat," and get it repaired so I can get rolling again.

If you are struggling with a flat, get some help if you need it, get it fixed, and get rolling again. There should be NO shame in wanting to run at your best. Take care of yourself. THAT is how you best become un-frumpy. Here is me wishing you luck, and hoping you will do the same in return.

P.S. I just got referred to an awesome site, and if you struggle like I do with this, I really suggest you check it out HERE.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Cream of Potato and Bacon Soup

I first saw this as Baked Potato Soup on Skinny Taste and made some changes. I am not a bacon fan, but I love potato soup, and using turkey bacon wasn't quite as bad as the real thing. I also decided to do it in the pressure cooker, leave out the baking part, and cook the bacon into the soup for more flavor. It turned out really well. My husband and daughter loved it. I love using cauliflower in potato recipes. I do it all the time with mashed potatoes to lower calories and up vitamins. Anyway, I hope you enjoy it!

2 Potato, diced
Cauliflower, 1 head, large, chopped
Chicken Broth, 1.5 Cup
1% Milk, 1.5 Cup
Low Fat Sour Cream, 1/2 cup
Sharp, Shredded, Cheddar Cheese, 1/2 cup
Chives - Raw, 6 tbsp
Turkey Bacon With Sea Salt, 4 Slice
Spices - Pepper, 1 tsp
Sea Salt, 1/4 tsp

In a pressure cooker, begin to cook bacon over medium heat. When it starts to brown, add potato and cauliflower. Saute with bacon for a couple of minutes. Add broth, milk, salt, and pepper. Turn up heat and bring to boil. Apply lid. Bring pressure to second red ring. Stabilize. Cook for 15 minutes. Let pressure release using natural release method. Add sour cream. Blend together using immersion stick blender. When smooth, serve with cheese and chives. YUM!

MFP nutritional info, 4 servings, each has: 271 calories 11 grams of fat 15 grams of protein 647 milligrams of sodium

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Update....and photos....eeeeek!

So, remember those flower clips I made for my daughter's third birthday? I thought I'd show you what they look like in action. If you missed it and want to make some, here is a quick link back to that post.

I also wanted to let you all know that tomorrow is my LAST day on level two!!! I can't believe how fast the last twenty days flew by. And I'm TERRIFIED for Thursday and level 3. I'm still doing modified versions and shaky afterward on level 2. But I will do it. And I will finish out my shred challenge, however hard it is. Life is hard. Being a mother is hard. But I'm not backing out of either of those challenges either. And, I will be un-frumpy someday too. Even if it's really, really hard getting there.

I told you all I MIGHT have update pictures. I will weigh in again tomorrow, but tonight I'll post the only pictures I've allowed. I'm blocking myself in both, which I do without thinking. But I'll put them up. Let me know if you think there's a change.

Before (On the first or second day of the challenge)

After (app. halfway through the shred challenge)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Cadbury Mini Eggs Cookies

All I have to say is, plan these into your day ahead of time, and make sure you have people to share with because, just like the candies that inspired them, you won't be able to stop eating these things! I first saw the recipe here and it was love at first sight. But I knew I could significantly lower the amount of calories and sugar per cookie by using splenda instead of traditional sugar and brown sugar. This is no way means they're good for you, but they are tasty, and a little healthier than the original. Enjoy! Thank you girls at Our Best Bites for being absolute geniuses.

Crisco, 1/2 cup
Butter, 1/2 cup
Splenda (for Baking), 1 Cup
Egg Large, 2 Egg
Vanilla extract, 1 1/2 tsp
Baking Powder, 1 tsp
Pure Baking Soda, 1 tsp
Salt, 1/2 tsp
Flour, 2 1/2 cup
Baking Cocoa unsweetened, 6 tbsp
Cadbury Mini Eggs, 1 10oz container (Empty into a Ziploc and crush them into pieces. Reserve some of the bigger/prettier pieces to smash onto the tops.)
Splenda Brown Sugar Blend, 1/2 cup

Preheat oven to 350. Combine butter, crisco, splenda, splenda brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract in a mixer. (LOVE my Bosch for cookies!) Cream together until smooth. In a mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Slowly pour the dry ingredients into the wet mixture with the mixer going on a low speed. Mix until ingredients are all combined and the dough pulls away from the sides of the mixer. Using a cookie scoop or spoon, scoop the dough into app. 2" balls onto a silpat lined (or sprayed) cookie sheet. You should end up with 24 cookies, 12 per cookie sheet. Bake for 9-11 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove from oven, let sit on cookie sheet for 1-2 minutes, then transfer to clean counter top or cooling racks. (The cookies won't really look done, but trust me, they are. They'll be a little crispy outside and soft inside. My husband said it was like a brownie in cookie form with Cadbury mini eggs...YUM!) Makes 24 cookies.

MFP nutritional info: 24 cookies, each has: 197 calories 11 grams of fat 3 grams of protein 163 milligrams of sodium

Tuna Curry and Aloo Palak

I don't know about you guys, but I hate even the smell of tuna. Yuck. But, for some odd reason, I always seem to have cans and cans of the stuff lying around, waiting to be used. I guess it's because it's cheap and seems practical to have, just in case. Anyway, I decided I needed to use up some of that awful stuff, but it's so hard for me to find recipes that use tuna that I actually enjoy. It happens, but only rarely. Tonight, I found a winner. I got the original idea here and made quite a few changes. The spice of the curry, plus the slight sourness of the sour cream, mixed with the sweet of the pepper and carrot I added, combined to make a very tasty curry, despite the tuna! If I like this, trust me, you tuna haters out there should give it a try. I made the second dish, the original idea here, because I am abounding in potatoes right now and I had half a bunch of spinach just sitting in the fridge awaiting use. The original was a bit too complex for my style, so I made an easier version. I like just about any food with spinach and potato in it, so I'll let you be the judges. Enjoy!

Tuna Curry

Tuna, 2 5oz cans
Light Sour Cream, 3/4 cup
Carrot, 1 medium, shreds/peels
Yellow onion, 1/2 large or 1 cup
Red or Orange bell pepper, 1/2 diced
Celery, 1 large stalk, sliced
Garlic powder, 1 tsp
Curry powder, 1 tbsp (I used red curry powder and the spiciness was perfect. If you use a milder curry powder, I suggest adding a tiny bit of cayenne pepper to balance the fishy taste out.)
Olive Oil cooking spray
Cumin, 1 tsp

Spray a large skillet or wok with cooking spray. Saute onions, pepper, celery, and carrots until onions are clear. Add drained tuna and spices. Saute for another couple of minutes. Add sour cream. Cook until heated through. Serve with rice.

MFP nutritional info, 4 large servings, each has: 160 calories 7 grams of fat 16 grams of protein 246 milligrams of sodium

Aloo Palak(Potato and Spinach Curry)

2 Potatoes, cubed
Baby Spinach Leaves, 6 oz (almost half of a costco package)
Orange Bell Pepper, 1/2 whole
Turmeric, ground, 1/2 tsp
Curry powder, 1 tbsp (I used yellow curry powder for this, a milder version)
Ground Mustard, 1/2 tsp
Onion powder, 1 tsp
Water, 1/4 cup
Sea Salt, 1/4 tsp
Sesame Oil, 2 tablespoon

Saute potatoes, and pepper, in sesame oil until they begin to brown. Add spices, water, and spinach. Stir well and cover. Let cook over medium until spinach is wilted and potatoes are soft. Serve.

MFP nutritional info, 4 servings, each has: 138 calories 7 grams of fat 3 grams of protein 142 milligrams of sodium

Holy Moly....I'm halfway through level two!!! (And TERRIFIED for level three!)

I just finished my fifteenth day of shred which means I'm already halfway through level two. In five short days I will be moving up to level three. SCARY! I'm still DYING on level two. I sweat like nobody's business, and today I literally almost threw up. Gross, but true. I'm really hoping between now and five days from now something drastic changes and I suddenly get a lot more capable or else I'm in trouble. I'm having a hard time typing right now because my arms and hands are so shaky from all those darn plank positions. Oh well. At least I know it's kicking my butt in the best possible way. And when I sweat so badly, I just tell myself that it's my body melting away all this excess fat. Mmm hmm. NO more frumpy. Hot mama. Hot mama. HOT MAMA! I know I have tons of lofty goals, but I do believe I will reach them. Every baby step is still a step in the right direction, all I have to do is keep moving. I know I will get there eventually.

I haven't made much progress in learning to sew, and my "Sink Reflections," has gone down the drain, excuse the pun. I will reread chapter one tonight and try diligently to start again tomorrow. No matter how many times I start again, I WILL be successful before I give up completely. I'm loving "Love and Logic." I'm not an expert at implementing it yet, but I have noticed big changes in how well my three year old behaves, how much less stressed I am, and how much better our relationship is since starting. You all hear my constant jabbering about my experience with shred, but I've done what I've set out to do. I have worked out with it every day, and I will continue to finish out this goal. When I'm done, I will start the C25K program. Someday I think I will try out P90X too. But that will have to wait in line. I feel GOOD about my goals. I'm not perfect, but I'm trying to be better, and that's worth something. And, I've had two readers (possibly the only ones out there,) contact me and tell me that they had started their own shred challenges since reading about my journey. Amazing. I'm so proud of you girls and SO GLAD to have you along on this journey. If I only inspire two people in this whole process, I definitely call that successful.

Anyway, keep watching tonight. I planned my whole day's worth of calories around making a lower calorie version of a, wait for it, Cadbury Mini Eggs cookie I saw on Our Best Bites. Be. Still. My. Heart!!! Ok, I LOVE those stupid little eggs. My family could tell you that perhaps I love them a little too much. (Just ask about my post labor and delivery experience, having people come to visit and eating all of my "reward," mini eggs, and me having a full out crying breakdown over it. Oh boy.) Moving on: I will be making my version of these cookies tonight and will let you know if they're as heavenly as I'm anticipating. Also, my low cal, low fat, low sodium dinner for tonight will be Tuna Curry, Aloo Palak (Potatoes and Spinach Indian style,) and white rice. YUM! See you later my lovelies...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Update on the challenge...

This morning I weighed in. The scale didn't move AT ALL since last week. I weigh exactly the same. However, I'm not discouraged. I know I'm gaining muscle, which weighs more than fat. This is evident by how incredibly sore I am, HA! I have lost an inch and a half off of my neck, waist, and hips though. I have yet to do the shred tonight, and it's after nine. YIKES! I won't shrug it off, which means it will be even harder than usual at 10 or 10:30. Oh well. I'm committed. And I will finish this whole thing out, one day at a time. And I WILL see change, especially if I keep my diet in line. Mmm hmm. Every small step is still a step closer to the end result. I will get there, as long as I keep moving. I've just got to set my pace and ride it out. Ok, enough analogies, good night and good journeys!

Also, that free copy of shred is still up in the air...I want to see some more followers! And some more comments!

Delicious dinner tonight...Asian Turkey Meatballs with Fried Rice and Sesame Lime Sauce

I saw these meatballs on skinny taste and knew they'd be delicious. I was so right. True, I did forget to put the egg in. But thanks to my handy dandy food processor, it turned out great without the egg and extra fat. YIPEE! You HAVE to try these. Trust me. YUM.

1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
20 oz 93% fat free ground turkey
Ginger, 1 tsp
Garlic powder, 1 tsp
Sea Salt from Grinder, 1/4 tsp
Dried Cilantro, 1 tbsp (or 1/4 cup fresh. Store was out. Lame.)
Scallions (includes tops and bulb), 3 large
Kikkoman - Less Sodium Soy Sauce, 1 tablespoon
Sesame Oil, 2 tsp

Slice scallions. (I used a Food Processor and it made the whole process awesome. The texture was great without using an egg, and I didn't have to touch/play around with the meat, the only part of the meatball process I hate. I quite enjoy the eating part though.) Combine all ingredients in large mixing bowl or food processor. Once blended, use Cookie Scoop (again, I didn't have to touch the meat mix, and it made nicely shaped, perfect sized meatballs) to form meatballs and place them on a Silpat lined, or sprayed, cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes at 500 degrees. Don't overcook or they'll be dry. Serve with fried rice and sauce.

MFP nutritional info, 4 servings of 3 meatballs, each has: 247 calories 12 grams of fat 29 grams of protein 360 milligrams of sodium

I liked the idea of fried brown rice, but I didn't have any on hand, so I used white. Along with the other usual changes I make for cheapness and quickness. I also omitted the tomatoes because tomatoes in fried rice just seems wrong, and it would only add more sodium. Anyway, it turned out pretty tasty. Enjoy!

Fried Rice

White Rice, 4 cup prepared
2 Large Eggs
Scallions (includes tops and bulb), 4 large, sliced
Kikkoman - Less Sodium Soy Sauce, 2 tablespoon
Garlic powder, 1 tbsp
Olive Oil cooking spray

Prepare rice. (I used my rice cooker and made the meatballs, put them in the oven, and made the sauce while the rice cooked. Brilliant.) In a large skillet/wok, sprayed with cooking spray, scramble eggs with sliced scallions and garlic powder. Chop with spatula until eggs are in very small pieces. Add soy sauce. Add cooked rice and mix well. Serve.

MFP nutritional info, 4 servings, each has: 255 calories 3 grams of fat 8 grams of protein 325 milligrams of sodium

This sauce was super tasty and easy. It complimented the meatballs really well. Thank you skinny taste.

Sesame Lime Sauce

Kikkoman - Less Sodium Soy Sauce, 4 tablespoon
Sesame Oil, 2 tsp
Lime juice, 1 fl oz
Water, 1 fl oz
Scallions (includes tops and bulb), 1 large, sliced

Mix all ingredients. Stir well. Drizzle over meatballs while still hot. Reserve left over sauce and serve on the side if you'd like. YUM!

MFP nutritional info, 6 servings, each has: 23 calories 2 grams of fat 1 gram of protein 384 milligrams of sodium

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Slow Cooker Sante Fe Chicken Rice Bowls

YUM! I love this recipe. I found it on skinny taste, but it was ending up a little too watery for me. I was planning on serving it with rice anyway, so I decided to just include the rice and make rice bowls. It was very flavorful, cheap, and best of all, EASY. Plus, it's healthy. Yay, yay, yay! Try it. For real.

24 oz boneless, skinless, chicken breast, or 3 frozen breast halves
2 cups chicken broth
1 can black beans
1 can Diced tomatoes and green chiles
1 10oz package frozen corn
3 large scallions, sliced
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp dried cilantro (the store was OUT of fresh...lame. Oh well.)
3 cups raw long grain white rice

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker except rice. Cook on high for 6-8 hours. Shred chicken (it should easily fall apart). Add rice to slow cooker and allow rice to cook until it is soft and most of the liquid is soaked up. Serve alone or with low fat sour cream, chives, tortilla chips, etc. Whatever fits your fancy and daily calories. YUM!

MFP nutritional info, 6 LARGE servings, each has: 548 calories 4 grams of fat 35 grams of protein 808 milligrams of sodium

Cauliflower Fritters and Spinach and Rice

Okay, so, I've got to be honest with you, my lovely unfrumpy people. When I discovered this recipe on skinny taste, I was delighted by the fact that these little goodies could satisfy my longing for fried greasy goodness without being overly fattening, like most fried foods. However, I'm all about the quick, simple, tasty, and cheap when it comes to meals. These were definitely tasty and cheap, but not nearly as quick and simple as I would have liked. Some pointers: Pick a good, evenly heating, pan or skillet to make them on. Use a Cookie Scoop to plop them onto the heated, oiled, surface, then smoosh them flat. Make sure the heat is on medium. They will take a little longer, but they will cook more evenly. Lastly, don't expect it to be a fast process. Ok, here are the recipes.

Cauliflower Fritters

2 medium heads of Cauliflower, or 4 cups, steamed and chopped (don't let it get watery. I used my Food Processor to chop it.)
1 cup flour (I didn't have whole wheat flour on hand.)
4 oz (1/4 1lb block) sharp cheddar, shredded/grated
2 tbsp parsley (I used dried)
1/4 cup water (make sure the mix doesn't get too watery. If it looks too wet, use less.)
3 large scallions, sliced
3 egg whites only
1 tbsp garlic powder (I ran out of fresh)
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Steam and chop cauliflower. Mix cauliflower, flour, cheese, parsley, water (if needed), scallions, egg whites, and garlic powder in a large mixing bowl. On a skillet, heat 2 tbsp oil over medium heat. When hot, scoop mix onto skillet and smash into flat cirlces. Cook for 2 minutes, or until it begins to brown on one side. Turn, and cook on the other side until both sides are brown and the consistency isn't squishy. Remove from oil. If oil starts to get low as you cook fritters, add remaining 2 tbsp. I served mine with spinach and rice and sweet chili sauce.

MFP info: 4 servings, each has: 382 calories 24 grams of fat 17 protein 247 milligrams of sodium

I also found this recipe on skinny taste and altered it to be easier for me.

Spinach and Rice

4 cups prepared white rice
2 oz Baby spinach leaves
1 cup chicken broth
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp garlic powder

Prepare rice with butter in rice cooker. In a large pan, heat broth, oil, and garlic powder. Add spinach until it begins to wilt. Add prepared rice to pan and mix well. Heat over low heat until moisture is soaked up. Serve.

MFP nutritional info, 4 servings, each has: 268 calories 7 grams of fat 5 grams of protein 174 milligrams of sodium

Day Thirteen...Level Two is SERIOUS!

So, I'm sorry I haven't written in a while. My 3 year old is sick and it's been pretty hectic. I think one of the most awful feelings I have ever felt was standing helplessly behind her while her tiny body threw up like an adult into the toilet. So sad. Anyway, gross, and sad, and story of a mother's life. On to the un-frumpy stuff.

Level two is KILLER! The hardest thing for me in level one was most definitely the push ups. Well, in level two, a lot of the exercises are done in plank position. OUCH! I'm even sweatier and redder when I get done with level two workouts than I was with level one workouts...awesome. I can absolutely feel it working. All those muscles Jillian talks about working while you're trying to push through one more movement and feel like you might die, you can feel them afterward. For sure.

Today, I will conquer day 3 of level two. Day 13 of my 30 day Jillian Michaels - 30 Day Shred challenge. I promised an update, so, I've lost another inch and a half off of my neck, waist, and hips since starting. I was going to weigh in this morning, since wednesdays are my regular weigh in days, but with all the chaos of my sick daughter I forgot. I will weigh in tomorrow morning, bright and early, and report any loss. If you want your own free copy, start getting friends to follow, and have them leave a comment telling me you referred them.

Another big announcement...the formerly frumpy mama is about to go from little blog to it's very own website. This is no joke. I will let you know when the site is ready. I'm so excited.

Stay tuned...I have the last two nights worth of dinners to post.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Cream of Broccoli

All of you prepared to be amazed! This soup is fabulous! I looked at the recipe and started thinking of what I needed to add, such as spices, a potato, etc. Luckily, I just went with the basic idea and LOVED it! I prepared it in my pressure cooker, but you can follow easy stove top instructions on skinny taste. Try this one. You won't regret it!

2 large crowns of broccoli, chopped (or 5 cups)
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 carrot, sliced
1 large stalk celery, sliced
3 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup 2% milk
2 tbsp low fat sour cream
app. 3 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
1 tbsp garlic powder

Prepare all vegetables. In a pressure cooker, bring onion, carrot, celery and broth to a boil. Add broccoli and garlic powder. Apply lid. Bring pressure to first red ring. Stabilize. Let cook for 15 mins. Release pressure slowly. Add milk and cheese. Mix with hand blender. Add sour cream and pepper. Mix again until smooth. Serve. YUM!

MFP nutritional info, 4 servings, each has: 150 calories 7 grams of fat 10 grams of protein 607 milligrams of sodium

Spaghetti al'Aglio Olio e Peperoncino (con Cipolle)

Okay, so, it may go against everything Italian to mix garlic with onion (true blue Italians claim that onion and garlic cancel each other out in taste,) but my palate is not that sophisticated yet, and I love me some onion. Mmm hmm. SO I took the most basic, staple Italian pasta and added a little onion to it, and it was YUMMY. Not to mention, so cheap. And quick. And easy. And, best of all, surprisingly easy on the waistline. Here's my recipe. It's super basic. If you need something more, feel free to add to it. Enjoy!

1 box Ronzoni Smart Taste Thin Spaghetti
2 tsp red pepper flakes (this was a little spicy for my 3 year old, although I loved it.)
4 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 large yellow onion, diced
Fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
Sea Salt, to taste (go easy for Sodium's sake! I used 2-3 tsp, water and all)
1/2 cup reserved water from boiling pasta

Prepare pasta to al dente. Save 1/2 cup of the pasta water before straining the rest. In a pan, saute garlic, onions, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper in oil (I did this while the pasta boiled. Saute until onions are clear and fully cooked.) When pasta is ready, add the noodles and reserved water to the oil, onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes mix. Stir well to coat. Serve. YUM!

MFP nutritional info 6 servings, each has: 287 calories 11 grams of fat 8 grams of protein 275 milligrams of sodium

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Pink No Knead Bread

For my daughter's third birthday, she wanted a "pink," party. For MONTHS she talked about how she was going to have a pink birthday. SO, I did the best I could with that theme. We had the party during lunch time, so she and other of her friends in attendance who still NEED naps could get them afterward. I knew I would have to provide some sort of lunch, especially for those traveling to come, and I wanted it to fit the pink theme. So I got the lovely pink sandwiches brain child. They would be cheap, easy to eat, portable, and delicious. I made two types, chicken salad sandwiches for the adults and children with more sophisticated palates, and good old peanut butter and jelly for those not so into the chicken salad. Both were cheap, tasty options. The best part, however, was the pink, homemade, artisan-like, bread. And, it is SO easy to make. I visited my friend's site,, and used his wonderful White Artisian No-Knead Bread Recipe, I just added a little, well, quite a bit, of red food coloring to the water before mixing the dough. Then I used a sandwich cutter, like a cookie cutter for sandwiches, to make the sandwiches into star shapes (hearts would be too valentine's day-ish.) They turned out great! Here's the recipe as well as some photos of the process that I thought might make your experience even more simple.

White Artisan No-Knead Bread

4 cups all-purpose flour or bread flour
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
2 teaspoons salt
2 1/4 cups water

(Seriously, that's it. SO cheap and easy to make.)

After you mix all the ingredients in a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let it rise overnight/13-18 hours. When it's done, it will look all bubbly and weird, like this. No worries, that means it's perfect.

Flour a clean counter top/cutting board/table well, and, using a plastic/silicone spatula, dump the dough out onto the floured surface. Flour your hands well before the next steps.

(In case you were wondering, my husband was the lovely hand model in all of these. If he can make this bread, SO CAN YOU!) Once all the dough is on the floured surface, use your hands (or someone else's,) to press the dough into a rectangular shape. The fold the dough over itself, starting with the sides, right side to the center, then left over right, then top to the center, then bottom over top. You end up with a loaf pan sized rectangle of dough. See the pics below. Put it in a greased, large, bread pan and let it rise for another hour or so in the bread pan. It should be up above the edges of the bread pan, quite larger than when you put it in there. Cook at 450 degrees for app. 30 minutes.

(For more detailed instructions, please visit the No Knead site. Thanks!)

Minestrone..Low cal but NOT sodium :S

Mmmmmm...I love minestrone. This version was fabulous because it was a slow cooker version, which always makes me happy. I originally found the recipe on skinny taste, but altered it to better fit my family (i.e. cheaper, using what I had on hand, one bay leaf instead of two, more garlic, etc.) Next time I will definitely try to use lower sodium chicken/vegetable broth and if I can find lower sodium tomatoes, that would also help. It is tasty though. If you get everything ready beforehand, you can just throw it in the slow cooker before you leave for the day, and finish it up in an hour or so when you get back home. Yum.

1/2 large yellow onion, diced
1 cup chopped carrots
1 large stalk celery, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced (I used my Norpro Stainless Steel Vegetable Chopper. They make life so much easier.)
2 cans italian stewed tomatoes
1 can white beans
3 cups chicken broth
1 tbsp basil
1 tbsp parsley
1 bay leaf
2 cups raw baby spinach leaves
1 large zucchinni, with skin, sliced
1/2 box (app. 2 cups) Barilla whole grain pasta - medium shells (or another pasta of your preference.)

Prepare all vegetables, but save the spinach and zucchini until the end (otherwise they'll get super mushy.) Place onion, carrots, celery, garlic, tomatoes, beans, broth, and spices in slow cooker. (The original recipe said to mush up the beans in a food processor first, but I skipped this step. I like whole beans in my minestrone.) Cook on low for 6-8 hours. I think the longer it cooks, the more flavorful. An hour or so before you serve it, remove the bay leaf and discard, then add the zucchini and spinach. Let it cook until the zucchini is soft but not mushy and the spinach is well wilted. Fifteen minutes to a half hour before you serve it, add cooked pasta, prepared al dente (or less time,) to the slow cooker. When everything is heated through, serve.

MFP info: 6 servings, each has: 250 calories 1 gram of fat 12 grams of protein 853 milligrams of sodium

WHOA...missed a couple of days and I'm behind. SO, Day 10 GIVEAWAY, the Pink birthday with Pink No Knead Bread, and TWO more recipes coming your way!

Today is DAY 10 of my 30 day challenge using Jillian Michaels - 30 Day Shred. I can't believe I'm a third of the way there already! YAY! Right when I start to get comfortable (not saying it's easy, I still really struggle with those darn push-ups, and my face still turns lobster red EVERY time,) on level one, I will be moving up to level two, as promised. YIKES! I'm scared and excited. I guess it's good to keep shocking my body. According to Jillian, when you have to push is when change happens. And I want change alright. Change from frumpy mama to HOT mama.

NOW for the GIVEAWAY: you can win a copy for yourself of Jillian Michaels - 30 Day Shred. How? If you're not a follower, become one. Get some friends to follow. Whenever a follower leaves a comment on one of my posts, they can include your name as their referrer. Every time you are mentioned, once per follower per post please, by another follower, you will get a point towards winning. When I'm done with my 30 day challenge, I will announce the winner and contact you for mailing info on where to send your new copy of shred. YAY! Only 20 days left, so get cracking.

Also, in the next few hours, I'm going to post FOUR new recipes. I've fallen behind. Watch for: Minestrone, Pink No Knead Bread from my three year old's Pink Birthday party, Spaghetti al'Aglio Olio e Pepperoncino (con Cipolle,) and Cream of Broccoli Soup. YUM! Be watching...

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Seven...the magic number?

So, I just finished day seven of my Jillian Michaels - 30 Day Shred 30 day challenge. The start up was hard, especially having put it off all day and doing it after dinner (my sweet grandparents came into town and took us to an early dinner at Chili's. I got the "healthy," chicken and green chili soup. It was delicious, and low calorie, but upon returning home I learned that it is LOADED with sodium. Moral: always pre-plan before eating out.) Anyway, once I got a little warmed up, I noticed a BIG difference in my endurance. I was rocking that work out today. I'm still not as good as I can be, but I am feeling a little more confident that I won't die when I move up to level two in three days. It's a good feeling. And it's GREAT to be able to recognize a change in my body. I haven't weighed or measured myself, but I can feel myself getting more fit. I still get all sweaty and lobster faced, but I'm becoming more in shape every day I do the workout. It's SO good to feel in control of something. I feel powerful. I can't imagine how happy I'll feel on day 30. Woo Hoo! I want to hear suggestions from ANYONE out there in internet land on how I should reward myself after I finish day 30. Anyone?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A good day! My little girl turned 3, I'm half way through level one, and I made up a tasty new recipe! Sweet and Spicy Slow Cooker Chicken...

Hello lovelies! In case you were beginning to think I pooped out on my Jillian Michaels - 30 Day Shred commitment, I'm SO still in the game. Today I finished my fifth day, which means I'm half way through my ten days of level one. It still kicks my butt, but I have noticed a change in my ability to endure from day one. I'm hoping that doubles again before I start level two...YIKES! Another pointer, don't be lazy and push your workout back until ten at night. Not a good idea. It's hard enough when your stamina level is high. Anyway, another biggie today, my (mostly) sweet little princess turned 3 today. Wow. It just goes to show how fast life flies past us. We need to cherish it. And we need to cherish our health so we can enjoy our fleeting lives, and our too quickly growing children. Sniffle, sniffle. Now, on to that recipe!

So, I had some random ingredients in my fridge to use up, and I was craving chinese or the like. So I got an idea for a sweet and spicy chicken, somewhat similar to General Tso's chicken, but nothing fried, way lower in sodium, and overall easier on the waistline. What I came up with was actually pretty darn tasty. And, it's a slow cooker meal. Nothing beats that. Check it out!

Sweet and Spicy Slow Cooker Chicken

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used frozen. It's about 1 pound uncooked.)
3 large scallions, diced
1 tbsp lower sodium soy sauce
1 cup water
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded, cored, and diced/sliced
1 large carrot, shredded/peels
1/4 cup Something Special Deli-Foods Ltd. - Red Chili Pepper Spread (I bought it at costco and was excited to use it for something.)
1/2 cup splenda for baking (it was pretty sweet with this much. Tasty, but sweet. If you like it a little less sweet, use less.)
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (if you want it spicier, use more.)

Prepare vegetables. Put carrot through a slicer shredder, or I just used a potato peeler to make as thick of shreds as I could. Combine water and cornstarch, mix well. Add all ingredients to a slow cooker. Cook on high for 6-8 hours. Chicken should easily shred. Serve over white rice. Yum yum yum. If you like it, let me know :)

MFP nutritional info: 4 servings, each has: 241 calories 2 grams of fat 27 grams of protein 239 milligrams of sodium

Finally...sorry I'm a slacker! Southwest Meatballs and fixin's!

I found these recipes on one of my FAVORITE new sites, I changed a few things, most specifically, I made the meat mixture in the processor and used a cookie scoop, which meant I didn't have to dirty my hands. It also made the meatballs completely green in a fabulous way! This would be the perfect meal or snack on St. Patrick's Day. Best of all, my three year old, who usually has an aversion to all foods green, devoured this meal. Enjoy!

Southwest Turkey Meatballs

Honeysuckle White - Extra Lean Ground Turkey Breast, 20 oz. (I'll use the 93% fat free variety next time. Mine were a tad dry.)
Jalapeno, 1 pepper, seeded (unless you want it SPICY)
Garlic - Raw, 2 clove s minced
Fresh Cilantro, 1/4 cup
Scallions (includes tops and bulb), 3 large (I suggest slicing before processing)
Italian Style Bread Crumbs, 1/4 cup
Eggs - Whites only, 2 large
Ground Cumin, 1 tsp
Oregano, 1 tsp
Pepper, black, 1 dash

Combine garlic, jalapeno, cilantro, scallions, and spices in Bosch Universal Plus Food Processor. Blend well. Add egg whites and meat. Blend. Slowly add bread crumbs until meat mix pulls away from the sides of the processor. I then used a Norpro Stainless Steel Cookie Dough Scoop (a small one would work for smaller meatballs) sprayed with olive oil cooking spray to scoop the meat mix into meatballs and placed them directly onto a cookie sheet lined with a Silpat. Bake at 400 for 10 minutes. Do NOT over cook. I let them cook an extra two minutes and they were a little too dry, but still tasty. Serve with cilantro lime rice and creamy cilantro tomatillo sauce, or as Hors d'Ĺ“uvres with dipping sauce. Yum!

MFP nutritional info. I split it into 5 servings of 3 meatballs a piece, each serving has: 161 calories 1 gram of fat 30 grams of protein 151 milligrams of sodium

Creamy Cilantro Tomatillo Sauce

1% Buttermilk, 1/2 cup
Olive Oil Mayo, 4 tbsp
Nonfat Greek Yogurt, 1/4 cup
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded (unless you like it SPICY)
Fresh Cilantro, 1/4 cup
Tomatillo, 1 medium
Garlic clove, 1
Scallions, 1 large
Lime juice from 1/2 lime, or about 1 oz

Combine all ingredients in Bosch Blender for Bosch Universal Plus or Bosch Universal Plus Food Processor until smooth.

I said it made 6 servings, each has (according to MFP): 53 calories 4 grams of fat 2 grams of protein 109 milligrams of sodium

This rice was tasty, but next time I will add 1/2 yellow onion, sauteed, for a little more flavor. I didn't add salt to any of my recipes to keep sodium levels low. If you need some, add it afterward. Or use a salt substitute, like Morton Salt Substitute.

Cilantro Lime Rice

Long Grain White Rice, 4 cups prepared
Fresh Cilantro, 3/4 cups
Lime Juice, 1/4 cup
Olive Oil, 1 tbsp

Prepare rice in Zojirushi Rice Cooker and Warmer with water and oil. As soon as it's ready, add chopped cilantro and lime juice. Mix well. Serve.

MFP: 4 servings, each has: 234 calories 4 grams of fat 4 grams of protein 2 milligrams of sodium

Low Cal, Low fat, Slow Cooker Chili....mmmm

Low Cal, Low fat, Slow Cooker Chili....mmmm
Check out the steam coming from the slow cooker!

Served with my Italian Cheese Biscuits...if you want the recipe ask.

Served with my Italian Cheese Biscuits...if you want the recipe ask.

Vegetable Lo Mein with Chicken

Vegetable Lo Mein with Chicken
NOT a food photographer, ha ha ha. Hopefully I'll get better.

Ingredients for Vegetable Lo Mein

Ingredients for Vegetable Lo Mein
Aren't those veggies pretty?