Sunday, October 6, 2013

Paleo Challenge!

WOW....what a fun and crazy adventure this has been!  I feel bad that I have not written every day, but with life so crazy, I will catch up by posting some pictures of dinners, telling you about the benefits, and hoping you are all doing well!

This has been a test of motivation, of self awareness and of sheer discipline.  There were many times when I wanted to grab "just one candy" from a basket on someones desk, or eat "just one hamburger".  It has helped me be strong and feel SO GOOD!

My work-out schedule has consisted of MON and WED zumba, TUES and FRI 30 minutes of weights.  I have been walking 10,000 steps per day as well, as our company has a challenge for this.

My breakfast consists of : 2 eggs with spinach, red pepper, onion and any other vegie on hand, or a shake with spinach, berries, almond milk and almonds.  Pineapple and mango or oranges are thrown in there on occasion.

My lunch is either leftovers from the night before, or a salad with spinach or romaine, cherry tomatoes from the garden, grilled chicken or tuna, a touch of feta cheese, pine nuts at times and balsamic vinegar and olive oil, or a squeeze of lemon and olive oil.

Here are some examples of dinners:

Roasted Cauliflower and onions with a slice of crispy bacon. Grilled Salmon with caramelized onions and a touch of that one slice of bacon on a bed of spinach with a lemon to squeeze...yum!
Beautiful Jacey turned 21 on September 14!  We had a fun BBQ, played games and had a great time.  There were some things I couldn't eat, but I didn't have to, because there were plenty of things I COULD eat and didn't feel left out at all!  I had my amazing garlic burger plain without the bun, some watermelon, fresh tomatoes out of the garden with lettuce and grilled onion, and it was great!

Here are some pictures from Jacey's party.  I sure love this beautiful lady...with a heart that is tender, a fun sense of humor, a quiet strength and a spunky nature, with a style all her own.  I am SO lucky to be able to call her my daughter!

I will post a few more dinners on this, then add a few each day:)

This is a simple "Make your own Chicken Taco night".  I had Corn tortillas for the family with fresh salsa, chopped garden tomatoes and cherry tomatoes, chipotle grilled chicken, lettuce, avocado, lime, cheese, lettuce and fresh mango.  My salad had the fresh lime, chicken, salsa, lettuce, both kinds of tomato, mango, avocado, and some nasturtium flowers and leaves out of the garden...they taste like watercress and give a nice bite to the salad...YUMMO

This is a simple Nicoise Salad with romaine, fresh garden green beans-steamed, chunky tomatoes, grilled chicken, cherry tomatoes, onion slices, hard boiled egg and olives...with fresh lime for a squeeze.

Another easy dinner salad.  With the abundance of fresh produce out of the garden, we tend to each fresh, simple meals for dinner... This is a Southwestern salad with chipotle grilled chicken ( I grill a lot and use throughout the week to throw into lunches, salads, tacos etc...sun easy prep, which I mostly do on Sunday evenings.  I also bag and chop fruits and vegies to stir fry, steam, grill and for snacks...
this also has Spinach, chunky tomatoes, pico de gallo with roasted jalapeños and onion.  Lime for squeeze of flavor. is the BEST PART OF ALL!  The last three weeks I have had more energy, felt better, and I have lost 12 pounds!  WOOT WOOT.  I have a silly thing that really works for me.  I have a nice diary that is flowery and cute and I write positive and uplifting things in this diary.  I record dreams, goals and things that are positive.  In this journal, I record every time someone says something about noticing my weight loss.  It was fun, because I had not seen Jordan, my sweet daughter in a few weeks.  She came in yesterday and said "Mom, you look so good!"  If you know Jordan, you know she doesn't mince it, and only says nice things when she means them.  IT FELT GOOD!  Lynsie also saw me at Erin's reception and said I looked small.  Their opinions mean a lot to me!

It is happening!  I am not perfect, but I am trying.  If I slip, I get back up and keep trying.  There were a few discouraging days when I was sick with a fever and cough and could not exercise and it felt lousy.

It is SO exciting to see that this is a long term lifestyle.  I will probably add a bit of whole grain food to my diet after this Paleo challenge, but I will never fall back into a sedentary unhealthy life style!

I want to thank Danee for being such a great example.  Laura ( my cute Canadian niece that came to visit with her amazing mother and my incredible nephew Jeremy) and I were talking about that last night about what a great example she is to us!  I will tell you all about our fun night with Laura, Jeremy and Jackie in another post!  SO MUCH to catch up on!

REMEMBER: Eat Right, Sleep Right, and EXERCISE!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Day Four and GOING STRONG!


I grudgingly woke to drink my 8 ounces of water, because I only had four hours of sleep, and I was not ready to wake up.  I need to work on my sleeping skills.

mini exercise..20 deep calf raises on the stairs with your heels hanging over the stair, all the way up to your tippy toes, then all the way down as far as you can stretch.  I then laid on my back and did 20 but raise and squeezes...

Breakfast...1/2 banana, blueberries, strawberries and blackberries, large handful of spinach, and orange and almonds...shared with my man.  See a pattern here?

I got to work and there was a beautiful apple on my desk right in front of my keyboard.  There was a note from my sweet friend Dee, who works in the office down the hall, and is also one of the exercise girls you saw a picture of yesterday.  She picked if from her tree and left it as a reward for my working so hard on my healthy new life style.  SWEET!

16 more ounces of water by lunch.  I had a meeting all morning, but sipped the water in there.

Lunch was a quick chomp down of leftover salad and salmon with a drizzle of olive oil an a squeeze of lime...YUM.

Another meeting, another 16 ounces of water.  See how that water sneaks into those meetings with you?

The afternoon was SWAMPED with work.  Luckily I like to plan ahead and chop up vegies, bag grapes and have little baggies in the fridge for the kids when they get home, and I take a ton to work with me to have on hand.

Today I grabbed a bag of peppers, I also sliced up the beautiful apple Dee brought...YUM!

Dinner consisted of roasted chicken stacks ( my family had the roasted chicken on rolls, I simply stacked the chicken, fresh tomato and onion on my lettuce leaves) and grapes.  Don't forget the nice glass of H20.



JUMP UP~ drink your 8 ounces of water, because I know I just did!

Mini exercise consisted of 20 girlie push ups.  My arms are starting to feel strong...yay!

Breakfast was another smoothie.  That is the norm for Jeff and I.  It is quick, easy and packed with nutrients.  Today we had an apple, 1/2 banana, a couple of chunks of pineapple and a few strawberries and blackberries with almond milk and almonds, and the large handful of spinach...YUMMO!

I filled my water cup at work and sipped 32 ounces...16 before lunch and 16 after.

Lunch was a bit of pork and some frozen grapes.  I love the treat of the icy grapes!

Afternoon snack was a fresh tomato out of the garden.

Right after work I headed down to the wellness center at my work and had 60 minutes of KICK BUTT ZUMBA!  I LOVE IT!  The teacher really concentrates on your core, and YOU FEEL IT.  She adds a ton of squats and butt moves too.  I come out of there DRENCHED, but happy!

Dinner consisted of some grilled salmon with lemon squeeze and cajun seasoning and a fresh salad with romaine, garden tomatoes and my lemon cucumbers.  If you live near, PLEASE COME GET SOME!  They are taking over the garden!

Ended the day with 8 more ounces of water an a nice stretch session before bed....whew!

Day Two!


I am behind on posting this wonderful adventure.  I woke up and drank eight ounces of water RiGHT AWAY, then brushed my teeth, showered and made a quick smoothie out of almond milk, a peach, 1/2 banana, berries and 2 cups of spinach with a squeeze of lemon and 6 almonds.  This was for Jeff and I, and it was fresh, delicious and quick.

I drank 16 ounces of water and worked away the morning until noon.

I then ran down to our wellness center and took a 30 minute weight lifting class.  It was HARD, but I felt STRONG, and I could lift more than I ever have.  We have a great program at my work, I feel LUCKY.  There are two ladies who come at the same time as me that are fun, positive, and great inspirations...Dee and Emily.  I told them about my 30 day challenge and they are nothing but supportive and fun to be around.
There are also my trainers.  They both push us to the limit, and they actually push me farther than I ever thought I could go!  Dan is the one who says "YES YOU CAN" when I tell him I cant do burpees, or push ups, or hold a plank.  I truly feel lucky to have this program right downstairs!
(sorry the picture of them is so dark!)

I headed back to my desk with a red face, pumping blood and a new strength in my step.  This is going to be such a great lifestyle change...I KNOW I CAN DO IT!  

I downed 8 more ounces of water and had some turkey sausage and some grapes.

I did a brisk walk around the big square of the hallways at my work 3 times for a quick afternoon break and had a cup of fresh swiss chard with a squeeze of lemon I picked on the way out the front door.  ( My kids thought it would be funny to plant chard in my front flower bed, but it actually turned out beautiful, and I LOVE IT!

After work Jeff and I took Riley out for his 19th birthday dinner to Outback!  They shared a huge cheese fry with bacon and cheese all over them and I munched on the cherry tomatoes out of Jeff's salad and sipped on my water.  I then had an amazing salad with grilled shrimp...yum!

We had already had Riley's birthday "cake" (brownies and choc chip cookie mix) Aug 29th, his real birthday...I shouldn't be talking about that, but I did bring it up because there was leftover gooey goodness and I didn't even have any!  WOOT WOOT for small successes.

Riley's thrill at being sung to:)

I ended the day with some yoga and it was NICE!
Before bed I had another 8 ounces of water...I also got my water ready by the side of my bed for morning!


Tuesday, September 10, 2013


This is it, this is really it!  I have planned and shopped, meditated and studied, and I have butterflies in my stomach knowing this is the start of a LIFESTYLE CHANGE.  I may not eat the Paleo diet more than the 30 days, but I do know that I will eat healthy, exercise, and take care of myself.  I feel the power within and it is SO exciting!

I put the glass by my bed full of ice the night before so I could drink 10 oz. of water before I even got out of bed.  It was still pretty cold, but wow, I think I may need to use the restroom first, THEN drink the first water of the day:)  I am old...but I've still got it!  (just not the bladder part).

I did 15 calf raises with my toes pointed out, then pointed in then straight.  I got a batch of fresh peaches cut and frozen for yummy snacks and shakes later when the days turn cold.  I got laundry done then had 8 more ounces of water.

I then made my delicious breakfast.  I prepared for the week by cooking up some turkey italian sausage.  It is in a container in the fridge ready to add to simple meals.

I sautéed 1/2 of a red pepper and some white onion with fresh basil from the garden and a new little zucchini and spinach from the garden as well in a bit of olive oil...
I then put 2 eggs and some of the cooked sausage in for an amazingly delicious breakfast...YUM!
I then drank 8 more ounces of water and headed out to work.

I filled my cup at work with water and sipped until lunch another 16 ounces.  The bathroom is clear down the hall, so I walk briskly every time I head down there!

Lunch:  I packed tuna with fresh garden cherry tomatoes, 1/2 of an avocado, some chopped red bell pepper and a lemon to squeeze all over it.  easy and very good.  I like to mix the avocado in with the tuna and use the red pepper chunks to dip into it like chips:)

After work I drank 8 more ounces of water, then sautéed up some white onion, a little more red pepper because I love the color and the nutrients, squeezed a touch of lemon and put some fresh lemon thyme in for a kick of flavor.  This was a quick sauté and this is supposed to be a cleansing dish.  I'm all for that.  I grilled up some chicken breast with cajun seasoning, grilled lemon to squeeze on and served with parsley and fresh garden tomatoes.  YUMMY!

We then headed out to watch Jocelyn play ball against her cousin Jayde's team. 

 It was SO MUCH fun and I actually feel great.  I have a bit of a headache, but I am sure I am detoxing.

The killer was coming home to do this work-out
If I would have known how hard it was, I would have done it in the morning, but guess what?  I tried my hardest, was almost in tears and MADE IT THROUGH with a few modifications.

I downed 16 more ounces of water and headed to bed after rinsing off with a big smile because I am proud of myself.

What a great first day of the rest of my life...Go FIGHT WIN!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Last Week of My Twelve Week Challenge

Ok, this is the last week of the twelve week challenge I participated in at work.  As you can see, there are not many posts, and can I tell you something?  I was not motivated, and I fear that I was not successful.  I had to really sit down and take a look at why.  This is hard for me, because I don't like to admit defeat, and I am competitive person.  Here are the reasons:

1.  I did not commit to myself fully.  I knew that I wanted to lose weight, but the commitment was just not there.

2.  I did not plan ahead.  I didn't plan what I was going to do for exercise, what I was going to cut out, or not cut out with eating.

3. I let stress dictate my snacking.  I used food for comfort.

4.  I used excuses, the most common being, I will do better tomorrow, or next week.

What is the difference this time?

1.  My doctor basically gave me a time frame to lose weight.  I have health issues that are blaring "WARNING".  This hit me hard.  This is not a time to say "I can wait for tomorrow".

2.  I have a daughter I promised that I would eat clean as long as she was clean from an addiction of her own.  She is so important to me (as are my other children and husband), but food really is MY ADDICTION, and I really cant pretend it is not.

3.  I AM DOING THIS FOR MYSELF!  I am worth it!

4.  I have a cute niece that posted a 30 day Paleo challenge, and it hit me hard...I am TAKING THE CHALLENGE!  See her blog here: Challenge

5. I am ready to run, to play to live to laugh, to feel sexy and to wear cute jeans!

Want to come play with us?

I will be posting recipes, my exercise and my ups and downs...OH, and pictures weekly...AAAHHHHH.

Take the challenge!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


We started a Summer Challenge at my work to help us through bikini season...HA HA!  I am very excited to share this journey with a few of my friends here.  The main reason is that I need to get back on track and be ACCOUNTABLE!

We are taking turns bringing a little gift to the winner of the week. This week my friend Cheyann kicked BOOTIE with 2.32%.  I am proud of her, she has been doing a great job...this is a challenge to her for this week...I'M Gonna take you down to CHINA TOWN sista:)

I will be posting a week one through week 12 side pic...aaahhhh! stay tuned!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Fennel...the food of gods

I came home tonight thinking I had a nice 9x13 of spaghetti to reheat from the other night that I made with Turkey sausage and fresh vegies.  The nice thing about the kids being home for summer is that they eat the left-overs and I know they are getting good food.  The flip side is that you are thinking dinner is prepared ahead of time and when you get home it is GONE!

Luckily, I plan enough ahead, that I just started cooking what I was planning for tomorrow night, and I am glad, because it was delicious!

The first thing I did was grab some chicken tenders out of the freezer.  I buy chicken when it is on sale, and I make sure I repackage into sizes that I can grab out of the freezer, thaw in the micro, and cook.  I usually buy a big bag at Costco so they are flash frozen and you can grab them individually, OR I put enough in the freezer package I prepare for @ meals, and cook enough chicken the first night to cover the second.

I took the chicken tonight, put a smokey, earthy seasoning I put together with paprika, garlic salt, onion powder, chili powder, cumin and a hint of cacao, and threw it on the grill when my roasted vegies were about 15 minutes out on their cooking time.

Here is the star of the show tonight...


6 yukon gold potatoes, chunked
1 bulb fennel (keep the stalks and fronds for other meals)
one leek ( first one out of my garden for the year!)
one clove fresh garlic
2 T olive oil
1t. fresh oregano (chopped fine)
1t. fresh thyme(chopped fine)
cracked black pepper
1 t. butter
1/8 cup parmesan cheese
sea salt

Take the fennel bulb and cut in 1/2, or into thirds.  When Fennel grows, the layers get sand or dirt in between, so rinse well.  Chop into chunks the same size as the potatoes.  (do you smell the licorice smell?)

Rinse the leek well, as the dirt and sand gets in there too when growing.  Toss with the potatoes and fennel and olive oil to coat well.  smash the garlic and add, as well as the fresh herbs

I used my orange thyme tonight.  It smells like heaven...

Here is my oregano, it is growing like crazy.  These herbs are just mixed into my front flower bed...

Spread the vegies on a cookie sheet to roast.  The secret to roasting vegies in the oven instead of steaming, is to make sure each one is touching the bottom of the pan.  sprinkle with black pepper and put in the oven on 375 for 45 minutes, or until the vegetables are starting to carmelize, your house smells like heaven and the potatoes are fork tender.


Pull them out and drizzle the one t. butter, melted on top, then sprinkle with parmesan cheese and sea salt to taste.


Riley (18 year old son) said about the fennel "That is a funny looking vegetable; I'll bet the carrots and lettuce make fun of it!"  I commented that it tasted like roasted candy and my husband said "Like roasted starbursts?"  These guys give me a hard time, but guess what?  There were NO LEFTOVERS...HA!

I pulled 1/2 the grilled chicken off and served for dinner, the other half was chopped and put in a gallon baggie for tomorrow nights dinner.

This was served with a simple fruit salad that was watermelon chunks, tossed with red grapes and blueberries.  (Sorry the picture got poor phone pictures!)
Sigh...I love summer!

Monday, June 10, 2013


“Do one thing every day that scares you.” 
― Eleanor Roosevelt

Strawberry Balsamic Parfait with Mint and Black Pepper

DON'T Freak out!  This does not sound like it works, but this is an amazing, light, delicious and a bit different dessert that is SO great for a summer evening.

I always say that the two things you need in your kitchen is a good balsamic vinegar and olive oil.  I have a black cherry balsamic vinegar right now that I am in LOVE WITH.

You can use a regular balsamic too, but the touch of sweet in this black cherry is DIVINE!

This is a fun way to use your fresh strawberries which are in season right now, so they are a good deal!


2 cups of fresh strawberries, washed and sliced
1t. balsamic vinegar ( I used black cherry)
1t. coconut sugar or brown sugar
1 cup of greek strawberry yogurt
1 cup of honey greek yogurt ( you can substitute this for 1/2 and 1/2 whipped with a dash of sugar)
1/2 cup granola ( oh, I need to put my amazing recipe for home made granola up, huh?)

Mix the strawberries with the sugar and the vinegar, and add a dash of cracked black pepper.
In some nice see through glasses ( we used martini glasses last night), layer the honey yogurt ( or cream), strawberries, strawberry yogurt, then a light layer of granola, repeat.

I like to chop the mint into strips at times and layer along with the other ingredients.  Last night we just put the mint on top and I tore mine into little pieces and mixed into this light, amazing dessert.


My Birthday Dinner

This posts kind-of follows the last post about my children being able to/liking to cook.  I mentioned that they prepare amazing dinners for my birthday.  I need to share this years dinner with you!

They prepared some AMAZING lemon pepper grilled chicken, and chipotle/sweet mesquite chicken, a roasted yellow and red beet salad with arugula, pecans, goat cheese (amazing!)  There was fresh pineapple and blackberries, fresh watermelon, snap peas and carrots with hummus.  different artisan breads with balsamic vinegar and olive oil for dipping, and a fresh strawberry cheesecake that was a mile high.

Fun food, laughter, vitamins mixed in and amazing little chefs...happy, content, lucky mom.

I had forgotten to mention that I had a freshly squeezed beet/apple juice and a beautiful bouquet of flowers on my desk when I got to work from my darling Jord and Jon.

Jenica and Christina and Christopher got me an amazing white orchid and some cute turquoise earrings.  (have I told you I am in to turquoise lately?

Riley knows I am a sucker for a good sandal and got me some darling ones...not too many 18 year old boys can choose sandals that their mom loves.

Jacey cleaned my kitchen ( I love a sparkly sink) and got me an amazing knife have to know how fast our poor knives get dull.

Jocelyn was her amazing self and helped with all.

Jeff got me some amazing BLUE GLASS ( my latest antique obsession) and some antique coco cola crates...LOVE

Did I tell you I am a lucky lady?


Sunday, June 9, 2013


Here are a few of the ideas I have on how to get your kids to love amazing, fresh, healthy, vitamin-rich FRESH fruits and vegetables.

I never really thought about this until I got remarried and my new ( amazing ) husband started eating dinner with us while we were dating.  I had 5 children and he had none.  My kids were ranging in age from 15 to 6 years old.  We came home from the grocery store and we had a bag of mini snickers and a carton of fresh mushrooms, (among other things).  My kids ran up to see what was coming home from the store, and they were all chirping in "Can we open the mushrooms?" They proceeded to open them, rub them clean, then salt them an eat them.  Jeff was dumb-founded.  He could not believe they went for those in excitement, especially when there were SNICKERS RIGHT THERE!

He continued to be amazed when we had meals that featured many fresh fruits and vegies and the kids ATE THEM.  He would say "ewww" once in a while, but tried the dished and realized that they were not to bad.  I actually  have him "trained" now to like almost all of them, and if he doesn't he is quiet about it and still dishes up and eats:)  DONT ever tell him I told you this, he will deny it.

Here are a few tips:

1.  YOU are the best example.  Show the kids that your favorite foods include these healthy delicious treats.  It really isn't more expensive if you eat in season.  Buy your fresh, succulent watermelon in august, straight off the vine.  Share your love for fresh peas, asparagus and tender radishes out of the garden in spring.  The apples and oranges and fresh pineapple are wonderful in december.

2.  I have always had a garden.  The kids have grown up planting the little seeds, watching them grow, and picking the vegies and eating them out of the garden when they are small.  I think to this day, most of our snap peas have ever made it into the house.  My kids eat them off the vine.  Warm little cherry tomatoes as well.  Even yesterday, my 18 year old son went out to the garden, picked himself some radishes and brought them in, chopped them up and ate them like candy.  The kids have a sense of pride when they spot the first zucchini  or bring in the carrots that have grown long andare so sweet.  (Jordan still wont eat the carrots with multiple "legs").  If you live in an apartment, you can grow pots of bush tomatoes, chard, and herbs...dont let it stop you.  My older kids who have moved out STILL raid the garden...they will get a bag and fill it with spinach, chard, cucumbers, kale, snap peas, carrots, tomatoes, kohlrabi, fresh green beans, etc...I love to share and I am so happy they still love good food.

3.  When you are grocery shopping, make the produce section special.  Instead of telling the kids they can have some candy for being good, let them know that they can take turns picking out a fun new (or old favorite) fruit or vegetable for the family to try.  My kids have chosen cumquats, brussel sprouts, dragon-fruit, star-fruit, golden beets, white asparagus and tiny red bananas to name a few.  They think that these are the treats, and they really are.

4.  DONT overcook vegies until soggy and bland.  Simple sautéing,  grilling and accenting the flavor of the vegetable or fruit is important.  Fresh pineapple does not need to be drowned in heavy whipping cream to be sweet and amazing.  A quick steam on asparagus and a squeeze of lemon is amazing.

5.  Let your kids cook with you.  I LOVE to know that every one of my kids is an AMAZING COOK.  Let them experiment with different herbs or spices than you have used.  TEACH them how to make a soup, how to grill, what the basic ingredients are for many dishes.  I have lots of sous chefs, and sometimes I AM the sous chef.  I love it, they love it (most of the time), and you are spending quality time with those kids that is something you can always cherish, and they can take the skills on with them.  (Plus, I get an incredible birthday dinner every year that THEY COOK!)  You just cant beat that!