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This Mom Tackles Week 3 of Meal Planning

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This Mom Tackles Week 3 of Meal Planning

To continue my series in Healthy January Meal Planning for my lunches for the work week, I had to pick something in my pantry since I wasn’t able to plan much before grocery shopping because of the snow storm that hit in my area. So I went with canned tuna and canned chicken and set to making healthy options for make ahead lunches.

The first set of two lunches is Basil Chicken Salad. I found this recipe through a Pinterest 20160124_183748link from Damn Delicious found here. Canned chicken mixed with equal parts basil pesto and Greek yogurt make for a yummy, healthy alternative to chicken salad. I also added a few capers on top to add a little kick and really give in to the Italian flavor. I am going to pile mine on wheat bread, roma tomato slices, and spinach leaves. Simple yet delicious!

20160124_192552My next set of two meals are with the canned tuna, Skinny Tuna Cakes with a Chipotle May0 from Skinny Mom found here. After mixing tuna, chopped onion, old bay seasoning, panko bread crumbs, and two egg whites refrigerate for one hour. Make four patties and skillet cook with cooking spray til both sides are brown. I put two patties on top of a spinach and carrot salad with a little homemade balsamic vinaigrette. On top of each patty I added a dollop of Chipotle Mayo which is light mayonnaise, chili powder, and lime juice. Might be some of the best canned tuna I will have ever had!

I hope you have the opportunity to try one of these recipes and if you do I would love to know what you think. I would also love to hear if you have any other meal plan suggestions. January is almost done but I am going to keep making make ahead meals. It’s been saving me money and I love the new flavors I have been challenging myself with. I will probably keep posting them here but I am also getting ready to start a new series so stay tuned!

 

This Mom and Her Thoughts on Snow in the South

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milkandbread

Why is it whenever someone in the South hears snow is coming they have to rush to the store to buy milk and bread? I was born and raised in the South and I still don’t get it. I mean what can you make, milk sandwiches? If someone can explain this to me I would be very grateful!

This Mom Takes on Meal Planning Week 2

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It’s week 2  of my Healthy January Work Week Lunch Prep and I am super excited! Week 1’s meals were fabulous and I am really looking forward to  what Week 2 has in store!

This week I have been craving Chinese food, it’s one of my favorites but it’s not so healthy. So my goal was to make ahead some Chinese inspired healthiness…thus Chinese Chicken Lettuce Wraps. Inside this delectable mix is grilled chicken, carrots, water chesnuts, bean sprouts, and onion with a little low sodium soy and a small dab of oyster sauce because a little goes a long way. Put that along with some lettuce leafs and we have wraps! I know it is not the healthiest but I have learned when you have cravings to give in but in the freshest way possible. Otherwise in my case, I give in, go all out, and regret my choices later.

20160117_200054Next I worked on a Baked Tilapia with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Rainbow Carrots. This is just something I threw together based on what I had in my house and again by listening to my cravings. First in a pan I placed chopped sweet potatoes and rainbow carrots drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. I roasted these at 400 degrees for 33 minutes. I left them on the pan but scooted them all to one side. On the other side I placed the tilapia filets down with one tab of low fat butter on each and seasoned with seasoned salt, pepper, fresh basil, paprika, and lemon juice. I put the pan back in the oven for an additional 12-13 minutes, until the fish got flaky. Yum, yum!

20160111_194649I did another week long breakfast as an added bonus…Egg Omlets in a Muffin Pan. Again I used what I had on hand, but I used this recipe from Lauren Conrad as a base for cooking time/temp. For mine I used cooked, crumbled sausage, roma tomatoes, spinach, garlic, onion, sprinkled fresh basil on top, and of course, eggs. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes. Once cooled, I placed two omelets in baggies and I will reheat for 1-1.5 minutes and then instant, delicious breakfast!

I hope you will try at least one of these make ahead meals and that you enjoy the week ahead! Let me know what you think, if you try them, or if you have any suggestions for next week’s meal prep. Bon appetit!

 

This Mom and the CharmedbyEwe CAL

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While I wait to get the yarn to finish my order I decided to join a quick Crochet A Long with CharmedbyEwe. We will be making a Moire Shoulder Bag, which is quite adorable! My colors are a teal blue and a brown-gray color from my stash. I am going to attempt to get it done in time since the prizes are pretty awesome! If you would like to check it out for yourself the link to her site is here. I will post pics as I go and I hope you will join in by watching or crocheting too!

Moire-Shoulder-Bag-Crochet-Along

This Mom Reviews Ulta Baked Eyeshadows

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This Mom Reviews Ulta Baked Eyeshadows

20160112_193523I was sifting through the posts I have done so far and I realized I had not reviewed or discussed any beauty tips/products. What better place to start then with my favorite eye shadow! Ulta’s Baked Eye Shadows give great pigmentation and color combinations. You can use them dry or wet, which is my personal preference. By controlling the amounts you can actually create shades, adding depth and new color shades.

So w20160112_181002-2hat I have done is use Ulta Baked Eye Shadow in the color Spellbound to show you the difference between using the eye shadow wet and dry. The sample on the left is the eyeshadow with water and a wet brush whereas the sample on the right is the same eye shadow applied with a dry brush. As you can see they are both beautiful pigmentation but two totally different looks. One bold and vibrant and the other soft and demure.

Below are samples of all the colors I currently own with a wet brush. As I said above, using the baked shadow wet is my favorite! Left to right the colors are Taken, Natural Beauty, Covet, and Sweet Dreams.

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I hope you enjoyed this mom’s first beauty product review. If you have tried Ulta’s Baked Eye Shadows and would like to discuss, feel free! If you would like to tell me your favorite, it may be the next product I review so share away!

This Mom’s Healthy Meal Prep Week 1

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This Mom’s Healthy Meal Prep Week 1

So earlier this week I mentioned how much I love January for all the healthy talk and topics. So in honor of a healthy January I am going to be doing a healthy lunch prep for the work week segment. Each Sunday I will feature recipes and pictures of the week’s lunches.

For this week I have prepped two recipes for four lunches since I have plans to eat Indian with some coworkers on Friday. I am also featuring a made ahead breakfast that will be enough for every day of the week.

The first made ahead lunch is One Pan Baked Chicken with Carrots 20160110_183931and Broccoli. I found this recipe originally on Facebook and loved the simplicity, put it all in a pan and bake! Since it needed to bake I made it first. Using a foil lined pan, spray with cooking spray, and spread out chopped carrots, chopped broccoli, and chicken breasts. Sprinkle vegetables and chicken with spices, the spices I used were garlic salt, lemon pepper, Italian seasoning, and paprika. Then drizzle olive oil over them all. Bake at 400 for 35 to 40 minutes. I haven’t tried the chicken yet but I snagged a couple of the vegs and they are delicious!

The second week day lunch was a Green Power Salad with a Creamy Avocado Dressing. I found it on Pinterest and the recipe is here. A power salad i20160110_191228s just what I need for lunch and this one definitely packs the power greens! Spinach, avocado, cucumber, edamame, and broccoli with cashews and a flavorful, healthy dressing to pull it all together. I didn’t have my little containers because my husband wants to use them this week for his snacks, so I used plastic baggies and I plan on clipping a corner at lunch to use it as a dispenser. I am definitely looking forward to this lunch this week!

For breakfast I have found another Chia recipe, Coconut Lime Raspberry Chia Pudding, since I loved last weeks so much. This recipe,seen here, uses raspberries, lime juice, coconut milk, shaved coconut, almond milk, 20160110_194140and chia seeds. It says you can add a sweetener but I splurged for the sweetened almond milk and that did it for me.Since I had one container left from my husband’s raid I decided to use it for tomorrow’s breakfast, put the rest into a large bowl, and then refill it each night for the following day. However, due to an unfortunate event, as I was putting the larger container in the fridge it popped out of my hand, bounced off the second shelf of my fridge, and landed on the floor in a large pink puddle. Definitely not one of my more graceful moments! I could not salvage it from the sadness, but at least I have the one for tomorrow.

I hope you will try at least one of these yummy make ahead meals for your work week and if you have any suggestions for make ahead meals, let me know. I will be adding a whole new set next Sunday. Enjoy!

This Mom Has an Order…Time to Crochet!

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This Mom Has an Order…Time to Crochet!

Got an order in just before Christmas and now that the holidays are settled down it’s time to get to it! I won’t give you any details yet but I can tell you it will be two hats for  a young man, about 6 months. Any guesses for what it could be? With this particular project I will be using an H hook and size 4 Regular yarn. The first hat will be the beige and soft pink and the second hat will use the chocolate brown and a second color (I will need to purchase) a lighter brown. I will post a picture as soon as I get them finished!

This Mom is Checking Out Chia Seeds

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This Mom is Checking Out Chia Seeds

I, regretfully, am not much of a breakfast person. I stayed home by myself quite a bit as a child/young adult and I usually cooked my breakfast, lunch, and sometimes dinner. I didn’t know how to cook much, but I could make a mean egg sandwich. So needless to say, over the years I got tired of eggs. I am constantly in search of something I will like for breakfast, it’s the most important meal of the day after all. In one of my Pinterest searches I found this, Mango Chia Breakfast Cereal recipe here from Dietitian Debbie.

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Photo Credits: Dietitian Debbie

I made it with a full can of coconut milk, a whole mango and double the Chia seed and milk so it made 5 small breakfast meals. I have them in cute to go cups so that I can eat them quickly at work. While I was making them, I proudly (and in a somewhat cocky way) told my husband that I was going to be eating healthy breakfasts this week because my meal had chia seeds in it. And of course, because he loves to tease me, he asked why chia seeds were so healthy. I stuttered and stammered, but I did not have an answer. I just knew that they were from hearing various comments and gossip from friends. I didn’t know why! After some mild gloating from my husband I new it was time to do some research!

I have learned several things from my little investigation:

  1. Chia seeds have antioxidents to protect themselves from souring. Some studies say more than blueberries. Which is awesome for us too!
  2. They have a high fiber content. This should increase chances for weight loss and reduce appetite. In fact the carbs in these little jewels are almost all fiber!
  3. Don’t underestimate their size, they hold considerable amounts of nutrients including calcium and magnesium.
  4. Because of all these amazing facts, chia seeds should increase energy levels which is great for working out and staying in shape.

Basically, these little seeds are jam packed with goodness! So without really knowing why, I am having some ‘good for you’ breakfasts this week! I hope this was helpful to you and I would love to know if you are already eating them. What are your favorite ways to use chia seeds?

This Mom’s AdvoCare Journey

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This Mom’s AdvoCare Journey

A little over a year ago I was up to 230 lbs and miserable. My husband would tell me that I was beautiful, but I didn’t feel it. I just stopped taking care of myself. I was tired all the time and by the time I got home from work, my kids got whatever was left, usually scraps. I knew I needed to do something to change, but I just diIMG_20150304_104426dn’t know where to start and I didn’t know if I could do it. I had tried diets before several from well known companies, but I can’t stand counting calories. I love food! I love flavor, I love to cook, and I love to eat 🙂 So diets were very hard for me. I was always hungry and they never worked because I would always cave in. In all I lost 20 lbs in 8 months.

One day I noticed a drastic change in a friend of mine. He had lost a significant amount of weight, his size  was noticeably different. He had tons of energy too. I saw life in him, something I vaguely remembered seeing in myself. Fun, bright, and happy….I wanted that! I asked him what was so different in him and he started to tell me about AdvoCare. At first I was like, well this is going to be a lot of money. It’s funny how fast excuses come. I used20151210_081652-2 to always say I didn’t want to start a diet on a weekend, that I would start on Monday. And then Monday would get there and I just had a bad day so ice cream was a necessity, of course. I thought a long time about what my friend told me. His story resonated with me and I liked the plans and the fact that I didn’t have to start with the full package. I could
customize it to my budget.

February 2015 I started a 10 day cleanse with Spark (the best drink on the planet) and Catalyst with a distributorship. It is basically like a wholesale membership club. I automatically got a discount on every order for a year. No obligation to sell, buy, or even continue my membership after that year. Following a plan that fit my budget, the help and advice of my new AdvoCare family, and an amazing meal plan that allowed me to EAT (and I mean eat alot, sometimes I just didn’t want anything) I lost 25 lbs in 3 months. And it wasn’t just the weight, it was the inches! I went from a size 22 to a 16. And the energy….I felt like a whole new person. I actually played with my kids when I came home from work, I went for walks and they rode their bikes, even housework was easier.

I have had to take a break from most of the products I love due to financial reasons, but I have been able to maintain my weight loss because of the great nutritional tips I learned with AdvoCare. Now, I know it’s not for everyone, but it worked for me and I am an AdvoCare Champion for life!

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This Mom’s Hall of Wonder

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This Mom’s Hall of Wonder

In order to share a little more about myself I should definitely mention Hall of Wonder Crafts and AdvoCare. They are two of my passions and kind of my side jobs, even though they really aren’t work. Today’s entry is about Hall of Wonder Crafts and I will talk about AdvoCare tomorrow. About a year and a half ago I was a sporadic, amateur knitter. My husband decided he wanted a hat and sent me a picture/pattern for the one he wanted. Of course it was crochet and he didn’t know there was a difference. Instead of trying to find the knit ver20150910_181420sion of the pattern I decided to indulge him by learning crochet. After some research I found The Crochet Crowd Their spunky personalities and great, in depth tutorials had me crocheting in no time. I was ‘hooked’! After finishing my husband’s hat (he loved it by the way, still wears it to this day) I started making random pieces because I thought they were cute and I just wanted to keep going. One particular piece I gave to a friend’s little girl had my friends all raving. It was a shell stitch hat with an attached button for changeable flowers.

One of my friends suggested I start selling them and that she had purchased a space at a local craft show a month from then. Hall of Wonder Crafts was born! I created a few pieces for her to sell at her booth and I created my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/hallofwondercrafts so that if people liked what they saw they could check out more of what I could do. Sadly I did not sell a single piece at that craft show, but I was not daunted. Besides I crocheted because I loved it not because I wanted to make money. It was such a great stress reliever. SuddenlyPhotoGrid_1422377123413 though, with the cold weather coming in and because one of my friends had a newborn and wanted some pieces that created a buzz, I started getting in orders. Mainly from friends and family, but most were custom orders which quickly expanded my product portfolio. Now my orders have eased a little, but my love for crocheting is very much alive. I participate regularly in Facebook and Ravelry Crochet-Alongs and forum discussions. I will continue to share my Hall of Wonder escapades with my latest projects and inspiration. I would love to hear what inspires you to do your hobby?

You can also check out my future ideas on Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/halls4ajrc/hall-of-wonder-ideas/ Follow me if you would like to continue seeing what could be next!