Tuesday, September 24, 2013

An interview with Naomi: Age 8

This last July I interviewed Marco for his birthday and Naomi wanted me to do the same. Glad she reminded me!  
You can read Marco's here, but this is my Naomi's. She just turned 8 this past Sunday.

Naomi Age 8
1. Who is your favorite person in the whole world?
God
2. What is your favorite color?
Turquoise
3. What's your favorite television show?
Austin and Ally
4. What's your favorite outfit?
My One Direction shirt and dark denim shorts
5. What sport do you like best?
Soccer
6. What is your favorite cereal?
Cookie Crisp
7. Who is your best friend?
Citlali
8. What do you want to be when you grow up?
A professional artist
9. What is your favorite book?
"The Day the Babies Crawled Away" by Peggy Rathmann
10. What are you really good at?
Singing and painting
11. Where do you wish you could go on vacation?
Universal Studios
12. What song do you love?
The Best Song Ever by One Direction
13. What's your best memory?
When Mommy surprised me and Taryn and took us to the One Direction movie, "This is Us."
14. What would you buy if you had $1,000.00?
I would buy an iPod and a phone.
15. What vegetable do you hate the most?
Corn
16. If you could have a wish, what would it be?
For daddy to find a job. 
17. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Vanilla
18. Who is your biggest hero?
My Grandpa Rudegeair 
19. What do you like to do best with your friends?
Play and talk about stuff
20. What do you hope to do before your next birthday?
Get straight A's in school.
She was very thoughtful with her answers. So sweet. Almost made me cry with number 16.  She's daddy's girl for sure.

We are having a little sleepover party for her this Friday. It is a first for her and the girls that are coming.  I'm sure you will get to see pictures once it's over and I recover. haha!

Getting my ducks in a row...

Today marks day 30 since my decision to get back on a paleo/primal type way of eating.
I feel so much better today than I did the day I started.
It was my original plan to have a sort of "cheat" day when I hit day 30 -
but that's not going to happen.
There are a couple of reasons for this.
1. I don't really feel like I am dying for anything "bad" right now.
2. I started the Primal Blueprint 21 Day challenge with my husband last week,
so this is day 8 of that challenge and I don't want to mess it up.
3. If I'm going to indulge in anything not on our "diet", I'd rather be able to enjoy
it with my guy.
So I am waiting and if we feel we need it -
we will celebrate our 21 days with something at the end of that, which will be October 6th. =)

Instead of having a cheat day, I decided to celebrate day 30 with a nice primal nature walk.
I actually wish I lived closer to the ocean, 'cause that is how I would really choose to celebrate anything.
Good old Fairmount Park here in Riverside would have to do!
I guess the park got really run down at one time and was getting a pretty bad rap.
Thankfully, the city has done much to improve it and clean it up and it's a popular and beautiful
place for everyone to enjoy now!  These pictures were taken with my phone, but hopefully you can see the beauty that I got to experience this morning as I walked and thought about all the blessings in my life.
 This was my view as I got out of the car and started walking...
 Lots of people are posting photos of their autumn skies - well here's mine. I call it summerfall. ;)
There's a nice rose garden here at this park and I took some time to sit on a bench and meditate in front of this fountain. Beautiful!
 As I continued my walk - I accidentally stepped on this little guy. Whoops! Sorry!
 Did I say 'little guy'?  Here he is in comparison to my thumb nail! Eeks. Moving on!
 Sitting in front of the pond/"lake" is really the best part of this place.  So beautiful... Lots of thoughts, ideas and gratitude running through my head as I take it all in.
 Quack! Quack!!
Here's the other side. Beautiful, right?
On this walk, I made sure that I did a few sprints. Yes, I really did.  I did lots of jumps up onto a short wall. I made sure I was breathing deeply and any time a negative or fearful thought would pop into my head - I said, "NO!"  I said it right out loud.  Luckily, I didn't get any strange looks from anybody, but I wasn't being obnoxious about it either. haha!  I am a worrier.  I over-think things.  I don't want to do that anymore - so I am kicking it to the curb!

I have not been doing so hot on getting to bed as early as I'd like, so that still needs a lot of work!

I have a doctor appointment this Thursday and I am actually looking forward to seeing if there is any difference in weight since I don't weigh myself at home.
Also trying a coconut macaroon recipe for the first time.  I will let you know how it turns out.  =)

How are you doing on your health/fitness goals?  What has been easy for you? What is hardest for you?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Spaghetti Squash and Paleo Meatballs

This meal was Aaaaahhh-mazing!!  I really felt like I was eating a plate of comforting pasta!
It was also my first time roasting a spaghetti squash. So easy.  This is what I did...
Preheat oven to 375*
Cut squash in half
Scrape seeds out of middle and discard seeds and "pulp"
Brush or rub a little olive oil on the cut side of the squash
and season with a little sea salt and garlic powder.
Add about a half inch of water to a roasting pan and
place squash cut side down.
Roast for about 45 minutes or until water is evaporated and
"meat" of squash pulls easily away from the skin.
Run a fork across the meat of the squash and watch as it magically
shreds. =) So exciting. You can scrape all of it from the skin
virtually leaving an empty shell.

And now for the meatballs! 
1 lb. of lean ground beef
1 lb. of ground pork
1/2 cup almond flour
3 large eggs beaten
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
garlic powder
sea salt 
italian seasoning (I used McCormick's Italian Herb GRINDER)
Mix all ingredients and form small meatballs and 
place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
Add them to the oven with the squash on a different rack,
but only for about 20 minutes.

not pretty, but sooo good! 
The Sauce
I chose to use Classico Mushroom and Ripe Olive Italian Sauce because I had it on hand.
From this point on however, I will be buying fresh ingredients to make my own sauce.

Once the meatballs are done, add them to the sauce and simmer for another 20 - 25 minutes.
Top your shredded spaghetti squash with some sauce and meatballs and then grate some fresh parmesan cheese on top and enjoy!  Even my daughter Naomi gave it a thumbs up and she is my picky eater!



Have you ever cooked spaghetti squash? Did you do anything different that you'd recommend? Let me know in the comments!

Quick Kitchen Tip: Slicing grapes or small tomatoes or veggies...

I saw this tip somewhere on the internet and 
can't find it now to give credit, but I tried it and it worked great.
The original poster was cutting small grape or plum tomatoes.
I needed to cut grapes for my chicken salad.
So instead of cutting each grape individually, which is what I used to do,
you place them all on a lid or other item that is flat, but has a lip or raised edge.
This is so they don't roll away.
Then you place another lid right on top and press together.
You can then safely slice your knife through the middle and get
all of the grapes at once!
Cool tip, right? It was perfect for what I needed.
I love tips that cost no extra money, but will help me to
improve my situation or save some time.
Do you have a cool kitchen tip to share? Tell me in my comments!

Monday, September 16, 2013

What needs attention now?


If I asked you this question, what would you say?
Would it be huge, life-altering self-improvement projects or perhaps something on a smaller scale like clean out your junk drawers?
Well, I think it can be anything you want it to be - so let me answer first.

What needs attention now?
1. My health.
I believe that this is one area that I have talked about and talked about, but what have I done about it?  Not a whole lot, to be honest.   It's not that I haven't tried - I have.  But then I quit.  I'd decide I was going to eat differently or start walking and I would be off to an amazing start!! So determined...

Well, anyway.  Here I am again.  This time, it is different.  I feel differently about it.  I don't know if it's my age or just the fact that I want to look good and feel good too.

So I am on day 22 of eating a Paleo/Primal diet.  Hoping to make it my primary way of eating permanently.  I have started doing my exercise DVDs again - Biggest Loser Boot Camp and Biggest Loser Weight Loss Yoga.  I've also gone to the doctor, and just today, have had my blood drawn.  I am starting The 2013 Primal Blueprint 21 Day Challenge today also.  I have been blogging about my health and weight loss on another blog - if you care to follow along and encourage me, let me know and I'll send you the link.

It's not just my weight I'm worried about, but my actual health also.  I know my blood pressure is high and who knows what else I need to work on?  I will get my results back soon, I hope!  It's a start.

2. My heart.
I have never really been completely open here in this little space of mine here in blog world, but it's not because I didn't want to be.  I write.  When I am happy, when I am sad, angry, scared, excited...  I write.  But to put it right here for all the world (or maybe just three of you) to be able to judge every word typed out, every thought or idea I hold dear... Well, that just didn't seem safe or wise.  Most of the time it's not even anything shocking or news shattering.  I usually hold back because I don't want to hurt anyone or offend anyone.  So while most bloggers are making a living at "telling it like it is", I sit and stew and worry over what I should or shouldn't share.  No more.  It's not good for me and it honestly stifles my creativity.
I'm so thankful for Brene Brown. Oh, my goodness. I can't say enough about how my heart is growing and changing and strengthening through reading her books and listening to her talks... but something big is going to happen and it's about time!  I've never had one, and she doesn't know this, but she is my mentor. Yup. She is.

So there's the more "heavy" stuff.  As for the lighter areas, they would currently be:
1. the pantry and "cooking cupboard"
2. the last bit of stuff in the garage to go through
3. Craigslist/Ebay/Etsy items
4. Random housework
Ecclesiastes 9:10a Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might;
What needs your attention right now?? Please share in the comments!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Hello again!

Well, I had quite the blog break for the month of August and most of the summer to be honest.
Truth of the matter is that I have had a lot going on - not just because I had a daughter graduate high school and start college, a new high schooler that is now playing volleyball and water polo, or the fact that I have two little ones that I needed to keep busy and entertained all summer - but because I have had a lot going on myself.  Emotional, spiritual, mental - dig way down deep kind of stuff - has been going on and I like it!
It hasn't necessarily been easy or pretty, but it's been good.  The timing is right and I am glad for it.

I can't wait to come back and share.  I think my blogging style will be changing up too.   I may even have to start a whole new blog altogether. I dunno.   I'm not going to stress over it - that's one thing I am really working on.

In the mean time, I will just share this yummy picture with you.  I am on my 9th day of Paleo/Primal eating.  Hoping I can stick with it long enough for it to just become the norm for me.  I truly believe it's the best way to eat.  I know that it helps me lose weight (I am waaaay over right now), but more importantly it helps me to feel better.
Like many of you, I enjoyed my Labor Day with family and friends.  They hosted a BBQ poolside for our family.  My friend knew that I had already started eating this way and they had plenty of appropriate offerings for me to choose from and it made it so much easier for me to "be good".

Here's what I brought.  It's Creamy Seafood Salad that I adapted from a couple different recipes on Pinterest.
I rarely measure ingredients - I just eyeball and taste as I go - so you may want to adjust it to your tastes.
Creamy Seafood Salad
1 bag of cooked, peeled, jumbo shrimp (chopped)
1 can of good quality white lump crab meat
1 large hard boiled egg (grated)
1 large cucumber peeled and diced (remove seeds)
1 whole green onion (minced)
1/2 cup of cilantro (diced)
2 tsp dried dill
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp celery seed
1/4 tsp sea salt
4 Tbs good quality mayonnaise
3 Tbs sour cream
Paprika (optional) to taste
Directions: Mix all ingredients until creamy and well blended and chill for at least an hour.
I ate this as a side, but it would make a great lunch on its own or as an appetizer on cucumber slices.

*please note that on a very strict Paleo diet dairy is usually not consumed. It is a gray area that is ultimately up to you to research and decide what works or makes sense for you. You can read all about Paleo eating right here.


I'm glad to be back.  Looking forward to the rest! xo

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Taryn's Favorite Stuffed Chicken Breast

Taryn has been asking for this meal for some time now.  It's such a favorite and it's so easy - I don't know why it took me so long to make it again.  I wish I had taken pictures of the complete process so that you could have a proper recipe post, but I didn't think I was going to share it here.  However, I got several requests for the recipe when I posted these pictures on Instagram.
So here you go:
Stuffed Chicken Breast Wrapped in Bacon
5 or 6 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1- package fresh spinach
1- 6 oz or more package of crumbled garlic herb feta cheese (I like Athenos brand)
1- carton of fresh mushrooms cleaned and sliced
1 package bacon of your choice
Garlic Powder
Italian Herb Seasoning
Pepper

Preheat oven to 375*
1. Most chicken breast meat is pretty thick, so I like to slice mine through horizontally to get two pieces out of the one.  Then, if needed, pound it to about 1/2 inch thickness.
2. Put your fresh spinach in a bowl and microwave for about 2 or 3 minutes.  You want to stir/toss it.  It should be wilted. 
3. Lay chicken out flat on a clean surface.  Spoon a bit of spinach, feta cheese and mushroom in the center of the chicken breast. 
4. Roll up the chicken breast, being careful to keep ingredients from falling out.
5. Take a slice of bacon and wrap it around the rolled chicken breast in one direction. Take a second piece and wrap it the opposite direction so that all the ingredients are enclosed and the chicken roll is secure. 
Make sure loose ends of bacon are underneath if at all possible.  Use toothpicks if you need to secure them better.
6. Arrange in shallow baking dish and sprinkle garlic powder, pepper and Italian seasoning to your liking.
7. Bake uncovered for about 35 minutes.  
Then increase heat to 550 or BROIL setting if you have that like I do (I also need to raise the rack so the dish is right under the broiler flames).
Cook for an additional 5 minutes, then carefully with a pair of tongs, turn over each chicken "bundle" to allow the underside of the bacon to crisp for about 5 minutes. 
Let sit for a couple minutes before serving.
***I did not have sour cream on hand, but it could be added to the spinach or cheese mixture as well as other cheeses to add a "saucier" feel to the chicken.***

 I've got the bacon to the color and crispness that my family likes best.
 I served it with a rice-a-roni type side dish because that's what was in the pantry, but this would go great with potatoes, wild rice, or fresh salad.

Enjoy!!