Wednesday, February 27, 2013

"Try It" Tuesday and "Work It" Wednesday Combo

OK, so I am working a two day post in one and I hope you love it! 

I love alfalfa sprouts, but don't necessarily love the high cost of them- not to mention that they usually spoil before I can eat them all. So, I decided that I would try to make my own. But how? Well, I did what every red-blooded, American, thirty-something female does when she needs to know how to do something- I Googled "how to grow your own alfalfa sprouts" and guess what I found? This wonderful blog! (You simply MUST visit this blog sometime, Karen is huh-larious!!) I was so excited! I can have fresh, wonderful alfalfa sprouts in 3 days?! Bring. It. On. I immediately ordered me some alfalfa seeds and got started!

Here's what you'll need:
Alfalfa seeds
Mason jar (pint size) and ring (NO SEAL)
Metal screening (per Karen's recommendation, I bought a splatter screen from the dollar store, traced the top of the jar on it and cut out a small disc of screen.)

Pour 2 tablespoons of the seed in the jar, secure the screen under the Mason jar ring and soak them in water overnight.

Day 1:
The next morning, I drained the seeds by pouring the overnight water out through the screen and rinsed them off with fresh water.
(Leave the lid and screen on through the entire process, until the sprouts are ready to eat on Day 3.)

See the tiny baby sprouting action?

After I rinsed them, I propped the jar on a towel to soak up any extra water that is still trapped in the jar.
I made the end of the jar a little higher than the mouth so that the water could drain out.

When I got home that night, I rinsed the seeds again and propped the jar back on the towel. 'Nite nite!

Day 2:
Basically repeat Day 1.
Say good morning to the sprouts, give them a quick rinse and prop the jar back on the towel.
(Are you appreciating the instant gratification of this project? Look how much they've grown!)
Before you go to bed, if you can wait that long- I did it as soon as I got home from work that afternoon!-
give these babies another rinse and tuck them in for the night.

Day 3:
Look, ma! Santa Claus came- and he brought a jar packed FULL of alfalfa sprouts!!
Congratulations! You have now grown a healthy stash of sprouts that you can enjoy for several days!!

You may want to try to rinse the hulls out. They can make the sprouts a little strong or bitter.
If you have a salad spinner, you can follow this tutorial for how to separate them.
I don't have a salad spinner (Gasp!), so I put the sprouts in a large bowl and covered them with water. This will bring the hulls to the top. You can push the sprouts down and scoop most of the hulls out.
Once I removed most of the hulls, I drained the sprouts and laid them out on a paper towel to dry a bit.

Then, I took the sprouts and stored them in a zip-top bag that I sealed half-way. I was worried that there may be too much moisture in the bag, so I stuck half of a dry paper towel in the bag to prevent the sprouts from rotting, then I placed the bag in the crisper in the bottom of the fridge. After a day or two, I removed the paper towel, but still kept the bag sealed halfway.
So far, they have lasted over a week and they are super tasty! Try them on salads, sandwiches or wraps.
I will be posting a wrap recipe that I used with these sprouts soon. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

1200 Calorie Dieting

I get lots of questions about my choice to go on a 1200 calorie diet: "Aren't you hungry all the time?" "How much weight have you lost?" "What do you eat?" "Why this diet and not something else?" The list goes on and on...
Before I address these questions, let me start off by saying that I'm NOT a registered dietitian or nutritionist or anyone else you should be taking health advise from. I would never suggest that you do anything that might harm you in any way, so be sure to run everything by your doctor before making any changes to your diet.

Now with that out if the way, let me tell you a little of why I prefer a 1200 calorie diet. As I've mentioned in previous posts, I've tried several diets over the course of my 20's and now into my early 30's and this really works for me! I was able to fit into my wedding dress thanks to Weight Watchers. I survived a WHOLE WEEK on Adkins! Both these diets (as well as others) taught me to think about how and what I eat, but the ironic thing about a limited calorie diet is that it has taught me to think of food as fuel. When you do it right, you don't eat because you have to "meet a quota", but you eat to fuel your body.

Most people find it difficult to even start a 1200 calorie and I can't really blame them. Here's one of the most recent article I've read. Here's what they say a 1200 calorie diet looks like:
I'd be scared of that, too.

Sure it's difficult to NOT eat the entire bag of Jalapeno Cheetos, but self control is probably the #1 key to a successful...anything. A little bit of that really goes a long way!
So, to answer all the questions about this particular diet:
Q: "Aren't you hungry all the time?" 
A: No. In fact, I probably eat every 3-4 hours.

Q: "How much weight have you lost?"
A: I recently lost 4 pounds and one pant size in 4 weeks.

Q:"What do you eat?"
A: This is a hard one for people to believe, so I have created a week sample from My Fitness Pal food diary. Before you judge me, please know that I am a regular American woman with a full time job and a husband and a dog. It's hard to make pretty much anything from scratch and most times sometimes convenience trumps over pretty much anything. All that means is that I do eat packaged, processed foods, but when I do, I try to make the best choices. Here's proof:

Notice that when you exercise, you are allotted more calories. You don't have to eat the extra calories and you'll lose weight quicker if you don't, but if you're like me, you'll need 'em! It is, however, imperative that you ABSOLUTELY eat all 1200 calories. If you don't, you could be causing your body some harm, so don't do that.

Hopefully, you can see by my food journal that you can eat real food and still be satisfied. This diet works, (ask Mila Kunis) but you really have to stick with it. After the first 2 weeks, your body starts to get used to it. Some people have asked about my energy level and I honestly have to say- I have MORE energy on this diet than when I do when I eat whatever I want when I want. For obvious reasons, of course.

Ready to get started? Download My Fitness Pal and let the fun begin!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

"Try It" Tuesday

I know I have been slacking on my posts lately, but with a little effort, hopefully I'm on the upswing! With that out of the way- I present to you another "Try It" Tuesday!!

Today, I'll be sharing my experience with Special K's ham, egg and pepper jack cheese flatbread breakfast sandwiches. (THAT was a mouthful!) But, so are these!

Y'all, for a 200 calorie breakfast sandwich, these things are pretty certifiable! I haven't tried the other varieties, yet, but I was actually very impressed with this one. I have to suggest, however, that if by some miracle of fate you end up with a little extra time in the morning- loosely wrap these puppies in tin foil (a.k.a. Aluminum Foil- for all you non-Southerners out there:)) and bake them in a toaster oven until it's heated through. I guarantee that will produce a more enjoyable low-cal breakfast experience! But overall: WAY more satisfying than a McDonald's Egg McMuffin and without all the extra calories! SCORE!!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Easiest Breakfast EVAH!

Courtesy of
I don't do mornings. Seriously. And Mondays!! Echhht! But that's all about to change, because I have found the PERFECT solution for getting out of the house as quick as possible (after hitting snooze 3-6 times!) without sacrificing a wholesome, nutritious breakfast- and I don't mean scarfing down a granola bar in the car!  Wanna know my little secret? Alright, here it is, but beware: your life will never be the same.

 Yes, there are only 3 ingredients! Why make things harder than they have to be? That's what I always say! (Well, not always, but when it comes to food, anyway!) So, yeah. Get these 3 items- by the way, you probably should like oatmeal, but even if you don't, you probably will after this! It's delicious and nutritious. It keep you full for a long time and...wait for takes less than 2 minutes to make! Here's how.

THE NIGHT BEFORE- mix 1/2 cup old fashioned oats and 1/2 cup of almond milk (can substitute for soy or regular dairy milk, but I really prefer the taste of the almond milk here.) Throw a heaping tablespoon of raisins on top (or strawberries, blueberries, dates, canned peaches...the possibilities are endless!) stir the concoction, seal with a lid and let it sit in the fridge overnight.

When you're walking out the door in the morning, just grab the bowl and a spoon and your day instantly got better! The oats have performed a magical little transformation by soaking up the milk to create the perfect breakfast. It's really like the best cold cereal you've never had before, unless, of course you've had these oats before. 
OH, and did I mention that it's low in fat and calories? If you make it according to this recipe, the whole bowl will only be 240 calories! So, go ahead- call your sister and tell her about this little miracle. And if you don't have a sister, call that girl you WISH was your sister! Shoot, call Danica Patrick! Congratulate her on taking the pole at Daytona. Then share the good news about these simple overnight oats! She'll thank you for it. No doubt. I think.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Bloggin' Ain't Easy...

Kudos to all you full time bloggers out there! It sure is hard to stay on top of the blogging ball and I hope to do a better job at it. Here's a little sneak at what we've been up to:

We like to refer to this as her Kenny Rogers (circa 1978-1985) look
Kenny Rogers
WARNING: DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME!! (Unless you have the patience of Job and a dog who doesn't mind being groomed on the kitchen floor...) This is my sweet "dawghter" Lucy! (That's Daddy, a.k.a MOTH, behind the clippers and Kenny Rogers below! He had nothing to do with said grooming incident.) She hates all things grooming (including getting clipped, washed, snipped, filed and brushed.) In fact, anytime we need her to cooperate or stop some annoying behavior, we ask her if she wants a bath.
Anyway, what you see in the picture above is about an hour long ordeal of what all involved parties would describe as torture. Lucy is a Maltese and she doesn't have "fur," she has super fine hair. As in, don't try to breathe without a respirator while you're cutting her hair because it is the equivalent of inhaling fiberglass insulation. (Not really, but it does make you itch when it gets all over your clothes and your face.) But, hey- when you've spent the kind of money on these clippers, you simply MUST get your money's worth out of them. See?
PLEASE NOTE: No animals were harmed during this grooming session. Adults? Maybe.

I've also been up to a little cooking!! I'm trying to go through my Pinterest repertoire and weed out the yuck. Here's my latest "Pin-Win":

Chicken Poppy Seed Dip
This recipe is originally from and it is CRAZY SIMPLE! I have made it on two separate occasions and both times was a certified hit! If you're looking for a quick dip to throw together in a hurry, give this one a try. It's pretty amazing! Here's the skinny:

3-4 chicken breasts, cooked1- 8ounce package cream cheese
½ cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons poppy seeds
¼ teaspoon garlic salt

¼ teaspoon sea salt
Mix all ingredients together until well-combined. Place into an airtight container and chill until ready to serve.
Serve with Wheat Thin crackers.

I will say that the longer it sits in the fridge, it gets a little better. If you can let it sit overnight, it will give the ingredients time to meld (not to be confused with mold.) I used chicken breasts that I cooked in the slow cooker, but you can also use a Rotisserie chicken if you are short on time. I would use canned chicken only as a last resort. (I've just never had great luck with canned chicken.) Let me know if you try it that way!
And speaking of "Pin-Wins," here's another gem I found on the web's version of crack:

Shred chicken in your stand mixer!
"Who'd a thunk it," as my mom says. (She's joking, of course. We DID attend public schools in these parts...) But seriously, who would have thought that a stand mixer could save so much time shredding chicken? Not I me! I have to say, it works like a charm and if I had a "Top 10 Pin-Win List," this would heck yeah be on it. Try it next time you need to shred or pull chicken. Just be sure to pull the bones out first if you use bone-in breasts. Obviously, right? Don't ask...