Friday, January 30, 2015

Loaded Nacho Chili- also known as THE BEST CHILI EVER and I hate chili

I seriously wanted to hate this meal, but couldn't.  I don't like chili...I don't like lots of onions...I don't really like sausage...I don't like bell peppers.... but I could eat a gallon of this stuff.

By now, if you've read anything I've posted before, you know that we are working towards a cleaner lifestyle.  I'm following the advice of a fellow blogger and going for an 80/20 lifestyle... 80% will be clean/fresh/healthy and 20% will be life-happened-and-I-don't-wanna-cook.  For instance, tonight I grocery shopped and picked up subs from the deli and we had our biweekly sodas.  Life happened and I didn't wanna cook.  We've tried to limit that to twice a week and have done pretty well with that. :)

Onto the good stuff.  In my travels on the internet, I came across (as previously praised) a fantastic food blog.  Today's full recipe can be found here.

I give her 100% of the credit and am making NO NOTES here because I didn't change one flippin' thing and it was fan-friggin-tastic!!! 

No joke.

I ate a bowl and was stuffed and still wished I could eat the rest of the pot.  I did take pics all along the way to show it at various stages to help out anyone who's thinking this going right? the way I do when I'm trying something new.

Now once you try this recipe, first thank her for being awesome and then come thank me for introducing her into your now complete life! <3  

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Disney Playlist for a Classroom or Quiet Time

Ever just need it to be a little less chaos and a little more music box?

I love playing music- at home, in the car, in the classroom... anywhere.  My kids all like it, too.  The other day I was Google-ing, searching for some new music, when I came across this playlist on YouTube.  IT IS AMAZING.

It's about an hour long and it's super gentle.  I don't like it when Beethoven decides to blast and then decrescendo into nothing, so this was perfect for our room!  It keeps a relatively consistent volume and yet changes what instruments are the focal sound throughout.  I'm listening to it now for the third time today. <3

Enjoy!  Just don't fall asleep...

Monday, January 26, 2015

Dear moms who know it all...

I saw on FB this weekend a very sweet person lose her cool for a half a second.  Apparently, there's a growing problem that has now reached even the best of humanity.


Now, we've probably all done it without meaning to, but I'm talking about the deliberate "you're a stupid parent if you don't raise your kids like I do" crap that seems to be destroying our friendships.

Ladies- WAKE UP!  We have enough tearing us apart!  Motherhood should form bonds between us!

I choose to feed my kid natural foods.  If you don't, guess what?  You're still a good mom.  Now if you feed your kid only Oreos, Fruit Loops, and Snickers, I might think otherwise.  But if you give your kid a Happy Meal every once in awhile...? Nah- you're just normal!  Human!  Subject to being too exhausted to cook and have the meal refused for the thousandth time!

I choose to use Pampers Swaddlers because they're super soft and Jesus did NOT equip me to clean cloth diapers.  If you use cloth diapers, guess what? I actually respect you more!  Heaven forbid I respect another woman for making a choice that's different from my own choices!

Elf on the shelf... I find this one stupid.  IT'S MY OPINION.  I think the elf is creepy and it's not one of the traditions I wish to start.  I make enough messes in my house without an elf to contribute.  But- I loooove seeing the cute ideas my friends post!  I can enjoy it while thinking I'd never do that in a million years. Hee hee!

I think we all feel so much love for our own child, and thus the choices we are making for that child, that we end up pouring all of that emotion out onto another unwitting soul who deigns to make a choice to vaccinate or not, breastfeed or not, go organic or not...  those are our CHOICES.  Sometimes, we aren't even given the choice! I know lots of women who'd LOVE to have been able to breastfeed but they couldn't!  Some women have religious beliefs that cause them to make choices I'd never make.  They're moms.  It's THEIR kid!  As long as you are raising your child to be safe, healthy, responsible, and educated, I don't think anyone has the right to judge you based on the nuances of your daily choices.

Let's all make an effort TODAY to start supporting one another rather than tearing each other apart!

As long as we aren't THESE parents... if this is you, then I take it all back.  Go to a parenting class. ;)  lol

Yeah.  These are not up for the parent of the year award.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

I'm losing weight!

I wanted this to be a post all by itself...

I've lost 11 pounds since the start of January!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   Big yay!

Bacon Chicken Quesadilla - A Healthier Taste!

My new favorite blog is  If you haven't checked this site out, you have my permission to open a new tab and get lost in her world for a little while... just be sure to come back to see me.  hee hee!

We cooked the first of about five of her recipes that we have on tap for this week.  Tonight's was her chicken quesadilla (original recipe here).

She called for:
  • 3 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
  • 1/2 cup shredded grilled chicken
  • 1/2 cup sweet corn kernels (cut fresh from the cob is best but canned works)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
  • 8 ounces Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 8 8-inch flour tortillas
We used:
  • 4 slices turkey bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 2 chicken breasts, shredded (I diced the uncooked chicken and sauteed it in a little bit of butter, 2 T coconut oil, 1.5 t cilantro from a tube, and about 2T chili powder)
  • 1/2 can sweet corn kernels (we used Libby's Naturals ... a healthier canned option)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped yellow onion (I DETEST red onion 95% of the time.)
  • 10 ounces Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar Cheese (we used a mix of yellow and white of this kind)
  • 7 8-inch wheat tortillas  (We made 3.5... there was only enough for half of the last one.)

She didn't specify what she cooked them in, so we used what little bacon grease was in the pan and added about 1t of butter for each quesadilla for cooking the outsides/tortillas.  Here's what our mixture looked like and how ours turned out. :)

I served them with guacamole and sour cream.  (Check out this previous post for my guac recipe.)

Let me just say- baby J was a huge help.  I even have evidence.  See?  He helped hold the strainer, just in case I needed it.

He even tasted the onions when he helped chop them up. He didn't care for it too much.  Somehow, he kept needing to sample all the ingredients.  He totally doesn't get that from me.

All three of us loved it!  We've already started thinking of what we'd change for next time, though, because we're weird like that, lol!

*We'd use regular bacon.  The turkey bacon was ok, but not yummy enough to make it worth the calories.  Go bacon, or go home.  We also will probably mess around with the spicing of the meat.  We feel like there might need to be a bit more cheese, but we're debating whether or not that'll take away from the health food aspect of the dish.  

If you try the dish, her way, my way, or your own, please let me know how it goes!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Identity Writing

I just did the most fun activity with my kids!  It was totally thanks to a spur of the moment Pinterest sighting.  It's a fingerprint writing activity!  Here's where it was originally posted.

For my class, I named it Identity Writing because we talked about how a fingerprint is used to identify someone just like traits of a person can be used to identify someone.  We're sharing pieces of our identities in more than one way with these!

With my kids, I went around and colored everyone's thumbs with a washable marker (I was out of inkpads somehow).  Then, everyone stamped their thumbprint into the top left corner of the paper. They used their prints to as a map of how to write their text.  Now- they're third graders so they aren't perfect.  (Mine isn't either... I'll claim it's because I'm still in third grade, too.)  We added colors to special words and used lightly shaded pictures to add illustrations to our pieces.

All in all though- it was a pretty fun activity!  Here's mine and I'll add pics when they're finished with theirs.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Fastest Weight Loss Plan?

If you were wondering, the stomach bug is officially the fastest way to lose weight and hate food.


It hit my son last Saturday and me from Sunday through... like... Tuesday.  I've still not eaten a "full" meal and it's been a week!

I'm very happy to say, though, that it did help me way decrease portions easily, simply because my stomach couldn't take it last week and then I didn't really want as much after a week of eating smaller.  (I've always been a big fan of portion control as a weight loss plan... I just haven't put it into practice often enough.)

So- sorry there hasn't been anything new to share in the world of our cooking.  I do have a turkey burger recipe that we tried, but it was a flop, so I'll share that flop post another day. :)

Thankfully I am almost down a full pant size already in just under a month! (Our scale is broken, so I have no idea how many lbs I've lost, but I'm going for size lost, not just poundage!)  Now if only there were a less yucky stomach bug...

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Healthier McQueeney Special (say whaaat?)

My great-uncle and his family own Lake Breeze Ski Lodge on Lake McQueeney.  This is where my grandma grew up and where my dad worked for some of his summers (even though they lived in Florida by then).  It's a beautiful area and I'd highly recommend you visit if you're ever in San Antonio! (It's not far from there and makes a great day trip!)

Back to the food.  So they have a recipe there called McQueeney Special and I grew up eating that and looooooove it!  The problem is, the original recipe calls for sour cream, Fritos, beef, and tons of cheese.  Well, at least that's the way we made it.  Not sure if that's the original way or not.

Hubby and I love this recipe because it's delish and it's not too bad on the prep time. However long it takes to brown your meat, it takes that long plus five minutes.

Since we love it so much, we decided to try to make it a bit healthier.  Here's the new (and mostly improved) recipe!

1 bag of black bean chips (these get crushed and go on bottom... any healthy chip will do)
1-2 lbs lean ground turkey (depending on how many you need to serve)
1 Roma tomato (diced for topping)
2 cups shredded or torn lettuce (for topping... hubby never eats that part)
3 avocados (for guacamole on top or chopped as toppings... up to you)
salt, pepper, garlic salt
1/2 T garlic (we use that minced garlic that comes in a big plastic jar)
1 T finely chopped onion (for the guacamole or as a topping... up to you)
1 can tomato sauce (organic if you're going whole hog on the health thing... lol)
2-3 cups shredded extra sharp cheddar and jack cheeses (again - organic depending on how healthy you're being)
1 t lemon or lime juice
4-5 T chili powder (I use a ton, but it's up to you how much you add to the meat)
**We don't do low fat cheese because of info we read and because ... well... we like cheese.

Over medium heat, brown your turkey and add garlic once it's just starting to really cook.  Add your seasonings to the meat while it cooks.  I usually have mine pretty darkened with chili powder because I love the stuff.

While that cooks, go ahead and chop up all your other veggie and cheese toppings.  Take the skins off of the avocados.  If you're making guac, go ahead and squish them up with a fork until they're the consistency you want.  I never use a mixer because I like chunks in mine. Add salt and pepper to taste.  Add a little of the juice from your garlic container.  Add your onion.  Go ahead and stir that all up. Using the rest of your onion. use a knife to scrape the interior flesh to get some onion 'juice' dripping into the mix.  If you only have the 1T, then just skip that part. I don't like too much onion, but I like the fresh flavor.  Once you mix all that together, then add a little bit of your tomato (like maybe 1/3 of it).  Stir gently to mix those in.  Add your lemon or lime juice last.  Stir gently.  (This keeps it from browning as easily.  Also- if you leave a pit in there, that'll keep it longer, too!)

By now your meat should be cooked, so add your tomato sauce.  Add any other seasoning you like (I usually do more chili powder.  I'm weird though, so use your own discretion).  

Crunch your chips into the bottom of your bowl.  You need enough so that you covered the bowl entirely but not so much that it looks like your'e eating cereal. (Don't get crazy.) I always add a smidge of cheese next so that the meat will melt it to the chips.  Meat goes next, then cheese, and then whatever toppings you prefer.  Guacamole goes on last so that it holds all your toppings onto the dish.

Voila!  A super filling dish that doesn't have to cost you on the scales!  This is my version of comfort food, so I hope it becomes a family favorite in your home, too!!  Let me know, y'all!!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Turkey Feta Lettuce Wraps- Healthy Lunch is Served!

So let me start off by saying OMG THESE ARE THE FRIGGIN BOMB!  That's right... they're so good they call for a throwback to 1999... they're the bomb-diggity!

Here's what you need:
*1 box Romain lettuce leaves (we shop at Publix and they had them in a box, so you might have to look for a bag elsewhere)
*2 packages Feta cheese (try for Organic if you're being super healthy)
*1 package all natural deli slices of Turkey (no nitrates or preservatives... there are at least 2 brands available at Publix that are all natural, free range, grain fed, etc)
*3 Avocados  (if you're going to fix them asap, get ones that are slightly able to be smushed when you squeeze; if you're waiting a few days, get ones that are almost completely firm and set on your counter to continue to ripen... the fridge stalls ripening)
*1 box Grape Tomatoes (slice these into disks... or dice if you prefer)
*OPTIONAL: 1 package Turkey Bacon (all natural, free range, etc.)

These took about 5 minutes to prepare start to finish.  Servings depend on how many you want and the ingredients listed will get you through at least 7 (that's how many we've made so far without running out.)

Use your lettuce leaf like a hot dog bun.  That's how you'll hold it to eat, too. Then add your slices of avocado.  Think of these as your super healthy mayo.  They're a great fatty taste without the bad cholesterol.  In fact- they'll contribute to your healthy cholesterol levels! Then, add one slice of turkey, cut in half (lay the halves side by side as if you're building a sub).  Next comes the slices of tomatoes and then you'll sprinkle on the feta (and turkey bacon if you choose).

So that's lettuce, avocado, turkey, tomato, feta, and possibly turkey bacon, then the other side of the lettuce leaf.

Now it's time to crunch into that delicious bite!  We were seriously amazed at how filling and yummy these were!  Hubby even said he could probably have four and call it a complete dinner.  They were so flavorful and way healthier than the sub or hot dog that it feels like you're eating!

I'd LOVE to hear how anyone else does wraps like this or if you try these and add a yummy taste to the mix! 

**This was the picture I took on day 2 of having them when I was in a hurry getting ready for work and didn't take the time to slice the tomatoes before running out the door.  I will take the time from now on because I preferred the tomato taste to cover the "sandwich" more.**

Great.  Now I am reeeeeally going to have to go make one for a snack because the picture is reminding me of how yummy these were!!

***EDIT: Bleu cheese is NOT as good as feta.  Like- kinda ruined it for me.  But thankfully I saved my feta one for last so I didn't have to end on a bad note.***

Friday, January 9, 2015

Healthy Quinoa Sweet Potato Soup

Through my Jamberry business, I am a part of a group of other Jammers (mostly consultants) who are wanting to get healthy.  We're keeping one another accountable and it's going really well so far!

Our leader and my Jam-mama suggested this recipe and I was like... meh.  I mean- sweet potato soup that has beans?  Can't be good.

But I tried it anyway.

I was wrong.  It was delish!  My hubby and I agree that there's a small something missing, but we can't put our finger on exactly what it is.  However- still yummy and way healthy!  Even baby J can have some!

I think we're going to try turkey next time and maybe see if we can add something for that last piece of flavor.
Basically it's just:                                                                  See? SIMPLE!

****This image is from her blog! Just sharing it since it's a great overview! :)****

It was VERY VERY easy!  Gotta love some crock pot easiness!

*Note- I just used chili powder instead of the seasoning mix that she was talking about.

*Other note- I forgot to spray the slow cooker and it turned out fine anyway!

Here's what ours looked like as we put away the leftovers.  (This giant bowl is how much was left after I had a bowl and after my husband had TWO and licked them both clean!  It makes a TON!!)

My pictures aren't as pretty as hers, but such is the life of a working mom! <3 Hope y'all enjoy!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

So far, so good!

Yay! This week has been mostly healthy!  WOOT WOOT!

Last night, we tried another new recipe, meeting another goal of trying new recipes each week.  This time it was quinoa chicken parm.

This is the recipe we used and we followed it to a t.

Let me tell you- those people know their stuff.  It was yumm-o.

Next time, I'll probably try to make a marinara of my own so that the spices are more to my liking.

Note- the quinoa does NOT make a crunchy crust like you're used to with chicken parm.  We couldn't really dredge it through the quinoa, so it was more like a bed and blanket around the chicken.  It was still quite delish, though, and I don't think we'll do anything different next time as far as that's concerned.

I only ate half a chicken breast... yay lunch for today! :)  We served it with broccoli, too, instead of putting it over noodles or anything that would take away from the nutritional value.

Here's the half of mine that was leftover.  (I think there needed to be less sauce, but that was hubby measuring in a hurry.)  Even he didn't finish his because it was so filling! ;)
Happy cooking and be sure to let me know how you like it!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Workin' It!

Hi y'all!

Here's some of what I've been cooking lately!

We made a chicken caesar salad the other night. YUM-O.  John split the chicken breasts down the center to make thinner pieces and then quick-cooked them in olive oil, using minimal salt and pepper.  He cut them into bite sized pieces and added them to a bag mix (Caesar Lite in the bag section at the store) and voila!  Ten minute dinner!  We each had a piece of organic French Bread, but neither of us finished the bread.  I was way wishing I'd had more salad though!
Notice- it's not soaked in dressing!  Big deal for us! :)  Win!

Tonight, I decided to not make an excuse tomorrow morning.  Yep- I made tomorrow morning's decision tonight.  I know myself and I know I'd say I was rushed and couldn't eat breakfast and then I'd get to work and be hungry and go buy a soda.  DUMB.

So- instead, I decided to go ahead and have an omelette for dinner tonight (made one for baby J too) and then one for tomorrow morning.  That way- I could grab and go and eat well at work!
*6 eggs total
*grape tomatoes
*chopped/diced mushrooms 
*small handful of Mexican mix cheese (a slice of organic cheese for baby J)
*bacon pieces (we had some already and I sprinkled like 2 pinches worth into each of my omelettes)
*3 T butter total (don't overdo it!)

I sauteed the mushrooms and tomatoes in a smidge of olive oil and butter ( like about 4 droplets of oil and less than 1T of butter). The tomatoes provide liquid, too.  I pulled the veggies out and left the juice in for when I poured in the eggs. 
 I only added the rest of that tablespoon of butter before pouring in the egg.  I turned the heat down to 4 and then added in the eggs for omelette 1. See?  Way little on the cheese and bacon... just enough to have the taste in there without adding in too many calories.  Beautiful, right?!

Until I tried to flip it.  Fell... apart...completely... Ugh. 

 Still tasted delish, though!  Seriously.  YUMMMM.

This was try #2 - which I saved for tomorrow morning.  Not too shabby, in my opinion!  It may have ended up looking more like a burrito when I was done completely because when I tried a second flip it wrapped a little.  Still.  Not bad.
**Again, be sure that the butter is just there to prevent sticking, not to create egg soup! :)

I'm pretty happy with myself.  We bought stuff for several new and healthy recipes for the week and we're making skinny Mexican pizzas again! (See previous post for recipe.)

Yay!  New year, new us!