My Weight Loss Journey: What I Eat for Breakfast

My Weight Loss Journey: What I Eat for Breakfast

I told you last week that I have lost 75 pounds so far on this weight loss journey that I started last summer.  It’s been a great experience and I have learned so much about myself and my body, but I still have a long way to go.

Truthfully, I think it’s a lifelong journey.  There’s always a new layer of experience waiting to be had.

Can I get an amen?

Lately I have stalled a bit.  I’m still eating what I am supposed to and doing my daily exercising.  But I have traveled a lot and not been home as much and it’s been harder to really know what is going into my food.  Eating out can be a killer on the diet.  And I think travel does weird things to my metabolism.

Anyway, I am still at about 75#, alright maybe 75 1/2# lost.  But that’s OK because I am still doing everything I am supposed to.  I haven’t lost my drive to stick with it.

One of the things I notice makes a huge difference is what I eat for breakfast.  When I eat a good, protein rich breakfast I get a better start, have less cravings the rest of the day and more energy.

what I eat for breakfast

Before this diet I would eat cereal or toast for breakfast.  I always had a slight stomach ache and I never knew why.  Well now I know it was the breakfast I was eating because as soon as I started eating just protein and berries that stopped.  And I used to drag, but now I have energy to last me well into the rest of the day.

I have several quick options for breakfast.

1. Omelet and blueberries (I put a little chopped up turkey bacon and some grated parmesan cheese, maybe spinach or and mushroom, in my omelet)
2. Hard boiled eggs with slices of turkey bacon and strawberries
3. Plain yogurt with blueberries and cinnamon (this took some getting used to but I like it now)
4. Protein shake (if I’m in a hurry I drink a powdered protein shake mix with almond milk and a little PB2)
5. Scrambled eggs with sprouts and chives

I really don’t need a huge variety of options.  I’m a simple girl and I’m happy with a variation of any of these.  My diet doesn’t allow dairy (except a tiny bit of dry cheese) except yogurt or fruit except berries.  That makes my choices limited, but still tasty and satisfying.

I notice if I skip breakfast I am more likely to have out of control cravings and be more fussy.  So even though I generally don’t feel hungry in the mornings I always get some protein in.

Like my momma always said, breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

Be sure to follow me along on Instagram where I share daily updates on my exercise and meals.

Two Great Homemade Mix Recipes!

Two Great Homemade Mix Recipes!

In my Taco Soup recipe (which I made last weekend and will make again this coming weekend because I can’t live without it) I mentioned that we make our own taco seasoning and ranch dressing mix.  So I thought today I’d share with you how we make those.  It’s so easy and you can be confident that you know exactly what is in your mixes!

Homemade Taco Seasoning:

2 tsp instant minced onion
1 tsp salt
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp crushed, dried red pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
pinch of dried oregano
pinch of paprika

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Store in cool, dry place in an airtight container.

This makes one “packet.”  I usually make a huge batch and keep it ready to use.  We make taco meat several times a week, so it goes pretty quickly.

Homemade Ranch Dressing Mix:

1/2 C dry buttermilk
1 TBSP crushed, dried parsley
1 tsp dill weed
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp onion flakes
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground pepper

Combine all ingredients in a blender until mixed well.  Store in a fridge in an airtight container.  One heaping tablespoon makes a “packet” of ranch dressing mix.  Again, I make up a lot at once and use it often.  I often add fresh chives when I am ready to use it.  It’s great for not only the Taco Soup, but mixed with yogurt for a quick salad dressing, rubbed on chicken for baking, added to mashed potatoes….yum!

It’s so easy and with some of us sensitive to gluten and all of us trying to avoid msg we like to make our own as much as possible.

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Lisa’s Energy Bars

Lisa’s Energy Bars

So after last week’s granola recipe, I’m sure you’ve been waiting by your computer for this one.  You won’t be sorry, this is a good recipe.

When the kids were all little I needed a way to feed them something quick and affordable in the car.  I hated the Goldfish crumbs and petrified french fries I’d find on the floor in the back of my super cool mini-van.  So I messed around with recipes and finally came up with this, which everybody loves!

Now I want to say up front, it has sugar in it, so I’m not claiming them as healthy.  But you have control over the amounts and it’s something worth playing around with if you need good snacks for the kids.

Lisa’s Energy Bars

1/2 C packed brown sugar
1/2 C corn syrup
1/2 C peanut butter
3 1/2 C granola
1/2 C peanuts

In a saucepan, bring the brown sugar and corn syrup to a boil, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and add the peanut butter, stirring until blended.  Add granola and peanuts and stir to coat.  Press into a buttered 9″ square pan and allow to cool.  Cut into bars.  Store in an airtight container for up to 7 days.

That’s it…easy easy easy.  And it’s great to take for an addition to a meal you take to a sick friend or recently had a baby.  These are perfect for breakfast, snack or lunch.

Enjoy!

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Simple Homemade Granola

Simple Homemade Granola

I very, very rarely post a recipe on here because, well, let’s just say if you ate my cooking you would not be asking me for recipes.  It’s all about burning food and underseasoning at my house.

But when I make meals for friends I often send along my homemade energy bars and then I get requests for the recipe.  I mean every time.  My friends are all, “What’s that recipe Lisa?!” and “I have GOT to have the energy bar recipe” or “I shared these with my mom and she’s threatening me to get the recipe or she’s taking me out of the will!”

But the problem is, I can’t give you the energy bar recipe without first telling you how we make the granola that is the main ingredient of the energy bars.  I think using homemade granola makes the bars so much better than using store bought granola (although you could!).

So today the granola recipe, then next week I’ll give you the energy bar recipe then I will go back to my regular stuff that is mostly useless information.

Lisa’s Homemade Granola

I try to use the freshest ingredients possible.  I buy my nuts in bulk and freeze them so I can get a better price.

1/2 C honey
1/2 C oil
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla
8 C oats (whatever kind you like)
1/2 C sunflower seeds
1/2 C chopped almonds
1/2 C chopped cashews
1/2 C chopped pecans

You can add dried fruit, or anything else you like in your granola.  Just keep the proportions the same.  So if you add 1/2 C raisins then take out 1/2 cup of nuts.  If we only have cashews, we just make it with lots of cashews…it’s very flexible.  Unlike me.

In a microwave safe bowl mix honey and oil then heat in microwave for 30 seconds.  Then add in cinnamon and vanilla, stir.

In a large bowl mix together the rest of the ingredients.  Then drizzle on the oil/honey mixture and stir until all of the dry ingredients are coated.  Pour into a 9×13 baking dish and bake at 300° for 30 minutes.  HERE IS THE KEY: stir well every 7-10 minutes to keep it from burning around the edges.

And oh your house will smell amazing!  As soon as it’s out of the oven my kids come running for a taste.  You can keep it in an airtight container for about 5 days, but ours never lasts that long. Not only do we use this in our energy bars, but we also eat it just like it is or over yogurt.  You will love this stuff!

Stay tuned next week for the energy bar recipe.

Happy eating!

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Finally I Make Great Turkey Gravy!

Finally I Make Great Turkey Gravy!

I have mentioned before, I’m not the best cook.  I just don’t have the touch.  I have a few really good recipes that we make over and over and over.  No real variety going on here.

The worst thing I make….the absolute worst….is gravy.  I just can’t do it.  It always turns out lumpy and flavorless and most of the time it has a slight burned taste.  I tried lots of tips and tricks but I just couldn’t master it.

I used to get really tense when the clock started ticking down to Thanksgiving.  I can handle most of the meal.  The meat is tender, the mashed potatoes are delicious, but I couldn’t get the gravy right.  I finally decided to try a mix and add a little of my own twist to it.  Guess what!  No lumps, great flavor.  I was sold.  What took me so long?!

When McCormick gave me the chance to tell you about their Turkey Gravy Mix, I knew it was perfect.  I already swear by it!

I like to use the mix as kind of a base instead of just following the directions on the package.  (You’ll be glad to know it has natural spices, no artificial flavors and no MSG!)  My favorite way to use it is following this recipe on the McCormick website and I usually add some sage or thyme.  To give you a hint, you combine the mix with flour and add a little bit of the pan drippings from the turkey when add the water.  It makes the gravy taste homemade and seriously, NO LUMPS!

I mixed some up last night so I could try it again before the big day next week.  My kids were thrilled.  They love Thanksgiving, so this little pre-turkey-day practice meal was a special treat.

Just so you know, last year we had a crowd for Thanksgiving and I got plenty of compliments on my gravy.  I’m definitely planning to use the same recipe again this year.

If you need an easy gravy for this Thanksgiving, try the McCormick Turkey Gravy Mix.  It’s so easy to add a little extra seasoning to make it just the way you like it.

And as if easy gravy wasn’t enough to get excited about….McCormick is going to let me give one of YOU an awesome prize!  One of you will win a Le Crueset Gravy Boat, Le Crueset Condiment Ladle and a $50 Crate and Barrel gift card.  It’s worth $75….Woohoo!

The giveaway ends on Sunday at midnight and you can earn up to 7 entries…..good luck!

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I am part of the Mom It Forward blogger network.  Mom It Forward and McCormick partnered in support of this campaign.  McCormick compensated me for my participation, however all thoughts and opinions are my own

Pinterest Friday Numero Cinco

I’m so delighted with myself this week.  I finally got some pumpkins for my front porch; my life is complete.

Speaking of pumpkins, this picture I found on Pinterest makes me feel all warm and cozy.

Don’t you just want to skip down that pumpkin-lined lane and see what is at the other end?  In a perfect world there’s pie.

Or maybe this is at the end….

This photo came from a book called, “Romantic Prairie Style.”  I was so happy to discover it came from a book.  If this was a real person’s porch I would feel completely inadequate.

One of my favorite pins of the week is this list of homemade Christmas gift ideas.  It’s 101 tutorials for gift ideas including these darling linen napkins.

My recipe for the week….chocolate.

Mississippi Mud Pie.  I still have to say the elementary school chant when I spell that.  M-I-crookedletter-crookedletter-I-crookedletter-crookedletter-I-humpback-humpback-I.

Last is my favorite saying of the week.

Amen.

If you want an invite to Pinterest let me know.  I’d be thrilled to send you one!

 

Pinterest Friday Numero Quatro

Yesterday I went into Pinterest to discover they had made some changes.  It’s just small things like moving buttons and tabs.  I hope they don’t go all Facebook on me and switch everything around.  I get confused easily.

This week on I found a bunch of things my kids would love.  Since I have 9 Christmas stockings to fill I’ve been on a hunt for cheap, easy things I can make myself.  I am going to make some of these for my boys.

Squishy balloons.  They are filled with Playdough.  Genius, right?

While we’re on subject of things for kids, here’s a great idea for a surprise lunch.  I probably won’t put these in their Christmas stockings though.

I’ve also been focused on fall decorating ideas.  I love this simple and inexpensive jar filler with a candle.

I can’t get through a Pinterest Friday without sharing a recipe.  My number one I-might-actually-try-this recipe of the week has to be this brownie.  Just the picture makes me swoon.

And I can never leave you without one of the simple sayings that I love so much.  This one is from an etsy shop called VinylLettering.

If you want a Pinterest invitation let me know.  I’ll be happy to send you one!

Have a great weekend.

Pinterest Friday Numero Tres

Y’all know that in about three weeks I will run out of numbers that I am familiar with in Spanish, right?  If any of you know how to count past cinco, please let me know.  I am beginning to panic.

I also want to tell you that Pinterest, like anything else out there in Internet world, has some yucky stuff on it that you wouldn’t want your kids to see.

Here’s some not-yucky stuff that I found this week.

One of my boards is called “Things I want to make.”  This has the most pins because I can’t resist a good idea.  I don’t feel any pressure to make all of it, but I sure do like thinking about it.

Some of them are fairly simple, like this wonderful sign….

and some, like this outdoor bedroom, just make me want to melt….

Since I’ve been working on decorating for fall, I keep finding some great ideas.  Skeleton keys on pumpkins….why do I love them so?

I can’t forget the recipes, so many recipes.  How about some Mexican Chicken Lime Soup?

Good grief I need some of that!

Lastly, my words for the day:

Let me know if you want an invite to Pinterest.

Have a great weekend!

Pinterest Friday Numero Dos

Twice in a row y’all.  Maybe I will be able to stick with the Pinterest Friday thing.  I hate to build up your expectations only to have them dashed by the randomness of my dedication.  Like my trips to the grocery store…..I am on a mission to get everything on my list and out the door but then I get distracted by frozen pies.  Pies are for holidays and very special occasions.  The very idea that I could have one any time makes me stare at the glass door and wonder….could it possibly be OK for me to have a pie now?  In the middle of September?

I never buy them.  It seems too indulgent.  Yes, I have a weird attachment to the idea that you can only eat pie on Thanksgiving and don’t get me started on my grandmother’s cornbread dressing.  I crave it all year but will not allow myself to make it.

I think I got off topic here.  Pinterest…oh yes.  I can have Pinterest every day with no guilt.  Yummy.

The pin this week that got the most repins is this bedroom:

I love the sweet simplicity of it.  The girls and I are working on plans to redo their bedroom and this is inspiration.

This next wooden crate end table has me drooling.  I think it’s the wood table against the white that really makes my heart go pitter pat.  I like it so much I’ve accidentally pinned it three separate times without realizing it.

Of course I have to include a recipe.  I’m torn between the “Best Guacamole” and the Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake.  While I love chocolate, guacamole is really my weakness, my cryptonite, my summer version of pie.  I want it all of the time but only allow myself to eat it at Mexican restaurants.  Now that I have this recipe I may go crazy with the guacamole.

Then I thought, “Why not show both?!”  I am breaking away from my weird food rules….watch out people!

This next one is in my Pinterest Board called, “Things my kids would LOVE.”  I just want to see the looks on my boys’ faces when I tell them their bath is ready and they go in to find the water glowing in the dark.

Glow sticks?!  Who comes up with this stuff?  I wonder what it would be like in the pool at night.  My head is spinning with ideas!

Lastly this one just makes me smile.  I can’t help it.  I think it every time.

If you need an invite to Pinterest let me know.

Have a great weekend!

Taco Soup

Taco Soup

Some days you just need to throw dinner together. For me, feeding 11 people every night (plus there are often extra people here), can be daunting. So I keep a list of things I can make in a flash that don’t cost a lot and are pretty healthy. If the girls can make it it’s even better!

Tonight it was taco soup. The great thing about taco soup is you can toss whatever you have into it. Got beef? Great. No beef? Try chicken. Easy breezy.

Here’s how I made it…..keep in mind that this fed 15 of us and there were leftovers, so adjust as necessary.

I’m going to give general amounts, but it really is just throw in what you have.

4# ground beef, cooked and drained
1 onion, chopped and sauteed
4 cans diced tomatoes
4 cans ranch style beans
a medium size jar of picante sauce
2 cans of corn
2 cans of hominy
4 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
3 pkgs taco seasoning (we make our own)
3 pkgs ranch dressing mix (we make our own of this also)
2 cans of beer
chicken broth as needed (you all know my passion for “Better than Bullion” so I use that)

OK, do I have to say it? We don’t just have cans of beer around. We are a dry household…no moonshine in these here parts. So we have to draw straws to see which one of us has to go up to the mini-mart and try to buy beer without anyone in this small town noticing. But the soup tastes SO much better with the beer that we do it….just ask for a brown bag.

Mix everything but the beer all together and let it simmer for a while. After about 30 minutes you add the beer, so I will take out several servings at that point for my gluten-free daughter.  Your house will smell a bit like a brewery, but it’s worth it. I recommend not making this if the preacher is coming to dinner.

Serve with shredded cheese, corn chips, sour cream, I like a little avocado, but my boys aren’t into avocado.  I tell you, I don’t understand boys. How can you not like avocado?!

Try it…serve it to company, take it to the next potluck. I promise you’ll love it!