Friday, November 19, 2010

What's for Dinner? (Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup)

Um, hi! Do you remember me? Yeah so, it's been a little while since I posted on here. Mostly life and sickness getting in the way, but no guilt. Life is all about setting and keeping priorities and sometimes that means taking a break from things that you love (like blogging!)

I've been wanting to post this recipe for probably a month now. I've actually made it a second time ... it's that good (and easy). I never thought of my self as a "from scratch" kind of girl, but this is one of those recipes you want to try. With Thanksgiving around the corner, there's no reason you can't turn this into a turkey recipe! P.S. I learned how to make this from my sister and there are not exact measurements ... don't let this scare you!

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
1 Rotisserie Chicken
Bay Leaves
Chicken Bouillon

I bought a large Rotisserie Chicken earlier in the week, which we enjoyed for dinner. When we were done, I removed all the chicken and put in one ziploc bag and put the carcass (including bones that were on our plates) in a separate bag.

Around lunch time on the day I made the soup, I put the chicken carcass in my 8 qt. pot. along with roughly 2 carrots, 2 celery ribs, and one onion each cut in big chunks. (Note these veggies will not be in your final soup, so they don't need to look pretty.) Add some 1 tsp pepper, 2-3 cloves garlic, 1 tsp thyme and 2 bay leaves. Fill mostly with water and bring to a boil. Once it is boiling, reduce heat and cover. Simmer for several hours, stirring occasionally. The aroma will fill your house and you'll feel like a domestic diva!

At about 4pm, I started cutting the veggies for the soup (these are the ones you'll want to look pretty). Chop approximately 4 carrots (or most of a small bag of baby carrots), several ribs of celery (I used one stalk total) and one onion (I diced it fine, since my kids wouldn't eat it otherwise). If you need more chicken, cook one or two chicken breasts at this time (I have a micro-cooker that I use to cook my chicken in the microwave, it's fast and easy.)

Around 4:30, I strained the cooking broth ... make sure to have a pan or bowl to catch the liquid! If not, all that simmering was for naught!!! ;) If there is a lot of fat in your broth, you can skim it from the top at this point. Discard the vegetables. Combine the broth with the newly chopped veggies in the rinsed out 8 qt pot. At this point is where you want to taste the broth and determine how much bouillon you want to add. Also add salt, pepper, garlic (I love garlic!), parsley and basil. Start with 1/2 tsp and add more to your taste. The first time I made the soup, I had to add quite a bit of bouillon, the second time not nearly as much. I think the second time I didn't have as much liquid and it cooked longer. 

Now that you've got the taste balanced, you'll want to let the veggies cook, so bring it to a boil and then let it simmer for 45 minutes or so. During the last 15 minutes, I cooked the noodles. (Fresh noodles are the best!)

You can choose to combine the noodles into the soup or serve them separately. If the soup will be sitting around, you may want to keep it separate because the noodles really suck up the broth. Serve with a yummy chunk of bread (we had sourdough!)


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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Stop Acting Like a Kid!

Or maybe you SHOULD act like a kid! The more time I spend with my kids, the more I think I need to be more like them.

For example, this week I ordered a Iron Gym Pull Up Bar from in preparation for starting P90x next week (eek!) Here's what it looks like:

It goes over your door frame so you can do pull ups with out screwing into your walls. Pretty sweet deal. The kids (5 and 10) think this is the best thing ever. Braden (5) says, I'm gonna go on the ride! Aubrey can do pull ups on it already and can't walk by it with out trying it out. Today her abs and arms were sore from all the playing!

This got me thinking. Since when did exercise become such a chore? Maybe I need to start shadowing the kids and see what kind of results that brings!

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Monday, November 1, 2010

What's for Dinner? (Grilled Salmon)

For years, I've heard about all the health benefits of salmon & how it should be a regular part of your diet. But I just never liked it. Until now. I made this grilled salmon for Taylor's birthday dinner (yes, I'm one week behind!) and it was deeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelicious. Like for real. Like I am not joking. Like, I'm going to stop saying like now.

P.S. When buying salmon make sure to get WILD, not farm raised. We bought ours frozen with the skin still on one side.

It looks a little beat up because it was majorly sticking to my grill, but it was delish!

1 1/2 pounds salmon fillets
lemon pepper to taste
garlic powder to taste
salt to taste
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup vegetable oil

1.Season salmon fillets with lemon pepper, garlic powder, and salt.

2.In a small bowl, stir together soy sauce, brown sugar, water, and vegetable oil until sugar is dissolved. Place fish in a large resealable plastic bag with the soy sauce mixture, seal, and turn to coat. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

3.Preheat grill for medium heat.

4.Lightly oil grill grate. Place salmon on the preheated grill, and discard marinade. Cook salmon for 6 to 8 minutes per side, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.

Servings Per Recipe: 6
Calories: 318
Total Fat: 20.1g
Cholesterol: 56mg
Sodium: 1092mg
Total Carbs: 13.2g
Dietary Fiber: 0.1g
Protein: 20.5g

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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Fun and more!

What a fun week. Two birthdays and Halloween! Doesn't get much better than that. In our family we have a tradition of having a spooky Halloween Dinner (think low lights, Halloween music & decor and food that doesn't look like it's edible!) We found some great recipes this year.

On the menu: Rotten Teeth, Worms, Juicy Eyeballs, Salty Bones & Blood, Mummies and Witch's Brew with Decapitated Hands!

Here's and up close of some of the recipes. Click the link to find the recipes:

They were all pretty easy to make, except for the worms. Removing the worms from the straws was tough, but luckily Taylor helped me with that. Trick or Treating was fun ... not too cold and only a few light sprinkles. Here's our fam:

Check out an up-close shot of my eye lashes (fake eye lashes=best thing eva!)

These are some of the fun things we like to do, what are your favorite Halloween traditions?

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Pumpkin Spiced Crepes with Pumpkin Butter

Thirty-six years ago yesterday, my sweet husband was born! In our family, one of my favorite birthday traditions is to make breakfast in bed for the honoree. Normally, the breakfast of choice is strawberry belgian waffles. But you see, Taylor's birthday is on the eve of my birthday (yup, today's my, ummmm, 29th birthday!) Since Taylor likes to try new things, I usually try to mix up things a little for his breakfast.

This year? I came across this great recipe from Gina's Skinny Recipes. This website has some awesome recipes that you can feel good eating. I have a feeling I will be trying out more of their recipes! How can you go wrong with Pumpkin? I'm not kidding when I tell you that this tasted like pumpkin pie for breakfast! It was AMAZing. I get so giddy when I find yummy food, that's easy to make AND is good for you ... SCORE!

Now, because it was so early (we have 9am church) and we were trying to get done in time to get to church, I didn't have a chance to take pictures ... please give credit to Gina for these beautiful pictures. P.S. Don't be afraid of making crepes. I've always thought they were hard to make, but if you can make pancakes, you can make these!

1 1/2 cups fat free milk

2 large egg whites
1 whole egg
1 tsp oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup white whole wheat flour (all purpose works fine)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
butter flavored spray
1 1/2 cups pumpkin butter (2 tbsp in each crepe), warmed (see recipe below)
fat free whipped topping (optional)
powdered sugar (optional)

Blend flour, milk, cinnamon, pumpkin spice, eggs and oil until smooth in the blender. Heat a large nonstick pan on medium-low flame. When hot, spray with buttered flavored spray to coat bottom of pan. Pour 1/4 cup crepe mixture into pan, swirling pan slightly to make crepe thin and smooth. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until bottom of crepe is light golden brown. Flip; cook 30 seconds to 1 minute or until light golden brown. Repeat with remaining buttered flavored spray and crepe mixture.

To serve, spoon 2 tbsp pumpkin butter into center of each crepe, fold the edge of crepe over filling and roll, placing the crepe on a plate seam side down. Sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar and a little more pumpkin spice or cinnamon. Serve warm.

Makes 3 cups. Batter can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.
Servings: 12 • Serving Size: 1 crepe with filling • Weight Watcher Points: 2 pts
Calories: 107.1 • Fat: 1.1 g • Protein: 3.8 g • Carb: 23.5 g • Fiber: 1.7 g

1/2 cups pumpkin puree, or 1 (29 ounce) can (not pumpkin pie filling)
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup apple cider or juice
1 cup packed brown sugar
2-3 cinnamon sticks
1-2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (to taste)

Combine pureed pumpkin, vanilla, apple juice, spices, cinnamon sticks and sugar in a large saucepan; stir well. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 30 - 40 minutes or until thickened. Stir frequently. Adjust spices to your taste.

Servings: 14 • Serving Size: 1/4 cup • Points: 1.5 pts

Calories: 88.2 • Fat: 0.3 g • Protein: 1.0 g • Carb: 27.3 g • Fiber: 2.5 g

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Conquering Candy Temptations

Trick or treat, smell my feet! Give me something good to eat. If you don't, I don't care, I'll pull down your underware!

Who doesn't love a good Halloween treat (or 10?) But are those extra candy bars worth it?

In addition to celebrating Halloween on the 31st, my birthday is the week before. If I'm not careful my birthday celebration can turn into a 3 month (because there is Thanksgiving and Christmas of course) splurge. Enjoying Halloween doesn't neccesarily mean I need to throw all of my goals out the window, just means I have to plan for it. Here are some of the goals/rules I have set for myself:
  • Don't keep it in the house! Just because you can get candy for such good deals right now, doesn't mean I need to buy it. If it's in the house, I'll be tempted.
  • Plan ahead for parties and fill up my plate once. If I eat a healthy meal before the party, I won't be filling up on junk. Then once at the party, I won't just eat mindlessly from the bowl, I'll fill up my plate once and then be done. 
  • Don't shop hungry. This is a good general rule of thumb, but especially this time of year. From the Halloween aisle to the bakery, temptations abound. If my stomach is growling, I am much more likely to bring home unhealthy treats.
  • Allow for some fun. I love to go Trick-or-Treating with the kids. We have a big (spooky) meal complete with (spooky) music beforehand. Since I won't be snacking on candy bars all month long, I'l be able to guiltlessly enjoy a few of my favorite treats on Halloween night.
  • Make a plan. This goes along with the above goal. The idea is, plan for the fun and the plan to get back on track. For me? I'm going to do a cleanse during the first week of November to help get rid of all the yuck.  
  • Know what you're eating. Burrying your head in the sand doesn't work. Know what you're eating (calories, fat, sugar). For instance, yesterday I went out to lunch with my mom and sister. I checked the online menu ahead of time and made my choice. Then I wasn't tempted by all the yummy treats (it was a bakery) once I was at the store. I was able to enjoy a nice meal with good friends and meet my goals at the same time.
  • Start new each day. Have a bad day? Doesn't mean it has to turn into weeks or months of being "off the wagon." Each day is a new day full of new possibilities!

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Some Freebies for You!

I love free things, who doesn't? The first is a free 30 minute workout from Tony Horton (he leads P90x): click here.

Now you guys have heard me talk about Beachbody. They make some of the (in my opinion) best home workouts available. And I have a LOT of different workouts. I've been a BB customer for over 3 years and just decided to join as a coach in the summer. I can't even tell you how this has changed my outlook. It was like this huge shift in thinking. It took the focus off of me and put it onto others. As a result I am meeting my goals while creating this community of people around me that I can lift up and contribute to.

Maybe that sounds cheesy, but it's what's there for me! ;) If you have ever thought of being a BB coach, whether you want to grow your business or you'd like a 25% discount on the products, now is the time to do it. Why? Because it's FREE to join! Hollar! It's reguarly $39.95 to start, but through December 31st they are cutting the sign up fee. Watch this video to find out more and to see some great tranformation stories: 

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Monday, October 18, 2010

What's for Dinner? (Tangy Slow Cooker Pork Roast)

This recipe is a family favorite ... you really can't go wrong. It comes out so juicy and just melts in your mouth.  

Notice how the meat is pulling apart? You really only need a fork to cut the meat. Not kidding!
1 large onion, sliced
2 1/2 pounds boneless pork loin roast
1 cup hot water
1/4 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon ketchup
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 dash hot pepper sauce, or to taste

1. Arrange onion slices evenly over the bottom of the slow cooker, and then place the roast on top of the onion. In a bowl, mix together water, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, ketchup, black pepper, salt, garlic powder, and hot sauce; pour over roast.

2. Cover, and cook on Low for 6 to 8 hours, or on High for 3 to 4 hours.

Serving size: 5 oz.
Calories: 210
Total Fat: 7.7g
Cholesterol: 66mg
Total Carbs: 9.4g
Dietary Fiber: 0.3g
Protein: 24.6g

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Friday, October 15, 2010

Halfway Through rOCkTOBER!

Wow, I can't believe that we are already half done with the rOCkTOBER Fit Club! I wanted to share with you part of this week's email, since it is something that I pull from to get motivation. Hope you can find something to use in your life!

We are half way through rOCkTOBER, how are YOU doing?

This week I was at the pool swimming laps and I was looking at the swim team’s wall which is covered with all kinds of quotes about “winners.”

Here’s a few:
~Winners take time to relish their work, knowing that scaling the mountain is what makes the view from the top so exhilarating.

~You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win.

~Winners are not those who never fail, but those who never quit”

~If you don't see yourself as a winner, then you cannot perform as a winner.

~Losers live in the past. Winners learn from the past and enjoy working in the present toward the future.

~The most distinguishing feature of winners is their intensity of purpose.

Let’s all make a declaration right now to be winners in our lives.

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Overcoming Insomnia

One of my health goals has been to go to bed earlier each night. But there is one big problem I keep running into. INSOMNIA! If you've never had it, lucky you! But if you've been there, you know what I'm talking about. The tossing and turning, the endless chatter in your head, restless legs, etc. Since last night was another late night of insomnia, I was so pleased to find a blog post in the Facebook feed this morning on just this topic!
Barbara Floria wrote an article over on Pure Matters with the following tips:

Avoid stimulants
Downing beverages that contain caffeine—teas, coffee, soft drinks—diet drugs, and some pain relievers can keep you awake. Using nicotine in any form makes deep sleep a distant dream and can cause early morning awakenings because of nicotine withdrawal.
Limit your alcohol intake
Alcohol can make you sleepy but nixes deep sleep and restorative REM sleep.
Be consistent
Going to bed at a set time each night and getting up at the same time each morning can set your body clock.
Get physical
Daily exercise can help you sleep more soundly, as long as it’s not too close to your bedtime. Finish your workout about five or six hours before you hit the hay.
Take it easy
An hour or so before bedtime, read a book, knit, take a warm bath—anything you find relaxing can make it easier to fall asleep.
Keep cool
A dark, cool room is sleep-promoting. If you’re too hot or too cold, you’ll keep tossing and turning.
Avoid overindulgence
Late-night meals, high-fat foods, and huge portions keep your stomach—and you—awake. Light, early dinners are important to restful digestion.
Manage stress
If your worries are keeping you up at night, fight back by learning and practicing relaxation therapies, such as visualization, deep breathing, meditation, or yoga. If depression or anxiety is part of the equation, seek help from a mental health professional.
Be wary of sleeping pills
Just because you can get them over-the-counter doesn’t mean they’re safe or right for you. They can cause dependency and may interact with other medications. And taking them after an alcoholic drink or two can be dangerous. Anything more than occasional use should be a red flag to see your health care provider.
Get help
If the previous self-help tips leave you yawning, see your doctor. You could have a sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea or restless legs syndrome, or you may be taking medications that interfere with sleep. If your primary care physician can’t help, ask for a referral to a sleep specialist.
Most of these are common sense, but given that this has been a problem for me lately, I appreciate the reminder. These are the ones that stood out for me personally: 1. Be consistent (my natural self fights schedules, but I think it is defintiely something I need more) 2. Take it easy (I need to unplug from tv/computer to allow myself to wind down, no more late night blogging!) 3. Avoid overindulgence (I have the worst late night snacking urges) and 4. Manage stress (I need to get everything written down so that I don't have all of the must does floating around my head).

What works for you?

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Don't Be Afraid to Pump Some Iron

It seems that women are so afraid of looking bulky when it comes to lifting weights. In reality, our estrogen makes it so that we don't build muscle in the same way that men do. And muscle burns way more calories than fat. That's right, building muscle will help your metabolism to work faster ... score!

Use a combination of strength training and cardio and you'll have the best results. Find out about a new study supporting what we have known for years:
There are many strength training classes and DVDs that are geared toward women. One of my favs is Chalean Extreme.

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

What's For Dinner? (Pancho Villa Baked Tilapia)

I've read time and again that we should be eating more fish. But fish is too hard to cook, right? Wrong! Here's an easy (yes, easy) recipe for tilapia. One thing I love about the recipe is the easy clean up (yay for tinfoil!) The best thing? It's yummy AND healthy.

1 tablespoon olive oil
4 (4 ounce) fillets tilapia
1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chile peppers
1 lime, juiced
4 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
1 lime, thinly sliced


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Coat one side of 4 (8x10 inch) pieces of aluminum foil with olive oil.
  2. Center each fillet on a foil square. Spoon a generous amount of diced tomatoes with juices over fish. Sprinkle with lime juice and cilantro. Position 2 slices of lime on top of each fillet. Close and seal foil packets, and place on a baking tray.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for approximately 20 minutes, or until fish flakes easily with a fork.
Calories: 163
Total Fat: 5g
Cholesterol: 41mg
Sodium: 354mg
Total Carbs: 6.2g
Dietary Fiber: 1.7g
Protein: 23.7g

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Remembering October Twelfth Two Thousand Five

October twelfth is one of those days that I will never forget. Five years ago today, I was in a car accident along with my daughter (Aubrey) and her friend (Avery) after I had picked them up from Kindergarten.
This is Aubrey (she was 5 at the time) looking in at the damage. Haunts me every time I see it.

When I see this shot I am amazed that we were able to survive and am SO grateful that Aubrey didn't suffer any broken bones (she was sitting in the back on the driver's side). Thanks goodness for booster seats!

Short story is, we were t-boned. Aubrey and I were life-flighted to downtown hospitals, Avery was sent by ambulance to a local hospital. Aubrey had a concussion and spent the night in the hospital. I had multiple broken bones and several surgeries and spent a month in the hospital, 3 months in a wheelchair and another 3-4 months on crutches. You can read the long version here.

I marvel each year as the anniversary comes along at how far things have come since that day. Most days the experience is just a distance memory, but it always seems that around this time of the year I start counting my blessings. I am grateful:
  • To be alive! And I'm grateful that the accident didn't happen 10 weeks earlier (when I was still pregnant with my son). So glad that Aubrey and Avery had relatively mild injuries.
  • To have had a full recovery. Makes me appreciate all the things that I can do with the body (including TWO half marathons!)
  • For my family and friends. It was truly amazing to be lifted up by those who love us as we went through this trial.
  • For the perspective that this time brought our lives. I don't know why it takes bad things happening to really help you to see the big picture, but I am grateful none the less.
  • For miracles. There were so many (small and big) miracles that happened during this time. 
May I always be able to hold these blessings close to me. Here's to the next five years!

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