Archives for April 2012

The Brazil Butt Lift Workout: Two Weeks Down, 2 More To Go!

It’s been a total of two weeks since I made a promise to myself to lose weight. And to keep me honest, I also told you that at the end of a month of eating healthy and doing the Brazil Butt Lift workouts that I would also post my before and after pictures. I have no idea what I was thinking, but I still will keep that promise!

I started out with the Supermodel Slim Down Diet, and last week, I posted my measurements since I started Brazil Butt Lift. This week, I am excited to do it again!

But first, I mentioned last week that the Brazil Butt Lift workouts are not made for uncoordinated people. I am trying to get my feet to follow along with the moves and so I pretty much pay no attention to what my arms are doing. So I’ve also started doing the old school “8 Minute Arms” everyday too. I found it on You Tube and it does the job.

I am still loving the workouts – there are several different ones on 3 DVDs and they are all fun, challenging and keep me interested…I’m not doing the same thing over and over and over. And they are kicking my ass…I’m in Week #3 and I am still sore – it’s a good thing because I know that I’m actually working out and when you see my measurements you will see that it’s making a difference.

And now for an update on my measurements and weight…I couldn’t be happier!

Inches, people! I’m losing inches! I won’t tell you that it’s not frustrating to be eating good and kind-of-sort-of-for-the-most-part-but-not-really staying away from junk food and alcohol and not seeing my weight go down more. Jason keeps reminding me that “muscle weighs more than fat” and that the program is working because I’m losing inches.

Not only that, but my body literally feels different to me. My legs aren’t as jiggly as they were just a few weeks ago. My tummy is definitely firming up and I can actually see some definition. So screw the weight – as long as the inches keep falling off I’ll be good.

As for the cheats, yeah, I’ve been cheating. I’d say I’m making healthier food choices and staying away from junk food. But I’m not totally depriving myself of anything. It won’t work for me. So I’m just being smarter about what I’m putting in my body. And let’s face it, when you are working out and seeing results, the last thing you want to do is mess it all up by pigging out!

Everything in moderation.

So maybe I get french fries occasionally, but they are a small size instead of large. Maybe I eat an ice cream sandwich, but I split it with Ethan. Maybe I ate an In-N-Out Burger Double Double this weekend, but I got it protein style (wrapped in lettuce instead of a bun), with only mustard, grilled onions and one slice of cheese.

Everything in moderation.

So that’s it until next week. Until then, wish me luck!

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe To Celebrate National Oatmeal Cookie Day!

Cookies. Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.

Who doesn’t love a good cookie?

Who doesn’t love a good oatmeal cookie, preferably with raisins or chocolate chips?

Did you know there’s a real holiday celebrating oatmeal cookies? Yep, there is one, and it’s today! Happy National Oatmeal Cookie Day!

Last month, I introduced you to a recipe I finally accomplished making (Etouffee) and also introduced you to the new Quaker Oatmeal Cookies. So I thought it would be a good time to introduce you to my favorite Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies recipe.

But before I do that, why not share some fun facts about the Oatmeal Cookie with you?

Did You Know…

    • That the Oatmeal Cookie was originally invented in the late 1800s during Rome’s attempts to conquer England?
    • Oatmeal cookies are the second most popular cookie. I’ll give you one guess about the first.
    • Oatmeal cookies have heart health benefits [from oats]. More than 37 studies have shown that eating oatmeal daily as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may help reduce the risk of heart disease.
    • Seventy-five percent of U.S. households have oatmeal in their cupboard. We do…what about you?
    • Americans consume roughly 2 billion cookies a year although some reports will say about 300 cookies per person a year.
    • After more than 100 years after the first Quaker Oatmeal Cookie recipe appears on packaging, Quaker finally makes two new and delicious kinds of oatmeal cookies.

Celebrate National Oatmeal Cookie Day, right by making the Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookie recipe that you find on the Quaker Oats box. Those are the cookies that Jason covets.

But my favorite oatmeal cookie recipe has chocolate chips in it too! Here’s the recipe for my favorite cookie, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup sugar
1-1/4 cups Quaker Oatmeal
6 ounces chocolate chips (I use dark chocolate, but you can use any that you’d like)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (2 ounce) Hershey Bars (grated)
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup chopped nuts (Your choice, optional. I don’t add nuts because Jason and the kids don’t like them, but if I did, I’d choose walnuts)
Directions: oatmeal_chocolate_chip_cookies_recipe

Preheat oven to 375.

Measure oatmeal and blend in a blender to a fine powder.

Cream the butter and both sugars. Add egg and vanilla.

Mix together the  flour, oatmeal, salt, baking powder and soda. Add the sugar mixture. Next, add the chocolate chips, grated Hershey Bar and nuts.

Refrigerate the dough for about 10-15 minutes to get it nice and cold. Then roll the dough into 1 inch balls and place 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes until golden brown.

This recipe makes two dozen of the best cookies you will ever eat! Enjoy!

And if you love Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies or any oatmeal cookies, check out the Quaker cookie recipes on their site. I can’t wait to try them all out! And don’t forget to like Quaker Oats on Facebook and followe Quaker Oats on Twitter, too!

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Quaker. The opinions and text are all mine. And yes, I really love Quaker cookies!

Mommy Moment – Katie Style

Welcome to another Mommy Moment! If you’re not sure what it is, head over and read all about how Mommy Moments at the Monster came to be. Today, I am excited to welcome Katie from Clomid & Cabernet!

Katie is a mom of two, a little boy and a little girl, and you can read all about her parenting adventures at Practical Parenting. She’s also a wife, a friend, and she teaches parenting classes. She’s busy! Clomid & Cabernet is her newly launched site that helps women deal with infertility struggles. It’s a pretty amazing site, and one I wished had been around when I was dealing with infertility.

So go grab a cup of coffee and a donut, ahem, I mean a low-fat muffin, or depending on the time of the day maybe some wine and chocolate, and sit back and enjoy the story!

———-

From the minute they came into this world, I’ve been on a mission to enjoy as many small moments as possible.

The cooing, the smiles, the laughter, the hugs, the big wet kisses…the list goes on.

Some days I document like crazy, silently reprimanding myself when I fail to capture the perfect hug, the perfect jump, or the perfect moment of quiet play.

Most days I leave the electronics behind, immersing myself in the play and art so that I don’t miss a beat. These days I take screen shots in my mind, because I don’t want my only memories to include me behind the camera.

I want to actually be in the memories, not on the outside looking in.

Always, I watch them sleep.

Maybe it was the infertility. Maybe it’s just in my DNA. Whatever it is, I struggle to let go.

By day I watch them grow in leaps in bounds. I cheer for every milestone, and encourage each new adventure, even if I cry a little bit on the inside.

I feel the baby days slipping away right before my very eyes. I am powerless to make it stop.

I listen carefully as my five year old creates complex and fascinating stories just because she can.

I watch in awe as my three year old learns to write his name, put on his own clothes, and create his own buildings. Help is no longer required.

I know, in my heart, that I am still needed. I am, without a doubt, the first person they want to see in the morning and the last person they want to see as they finally rest their eyes.

I will always be needed.

But I see the shift happening. I see the baby-ness starting to fade and the big kid-ish-ness taking over. I see complicated art projects, beautiful handwriting, and athletic skills beginning to emerge. I see individuals emerging and strong opinions being voiced.

It both fills and breaks my heart at the exact same time.

And so, I watch them sleep.

There, wrapped and snuggled and sighing in their sleep, they seem smaller somehow. Despite their length, they remain little, cozy, and hang on to just a little bit of that baby-ness.

There, I can breathe them in, stroke their beautiful hair, and shed just a few tears as I work my way out of the baby days and into the world of big kids.

Just as soon as I’m ready…

———-

I should have mentioned you would need tissues! Beautiful, isn’t it? And I agree that in their sleep they do seem smaller, and it is then that I greedily kiss them and hug them without them trying to push away.

There’s no manual out there for what we do, so sharing stories like this helps us all learn from each other.

Now head over to Clomid & Cabernet and say hello to Katie. If you are a Twitter addict, you can find her there, and on Facebook, and Pinterest, too! And if you are a new follower, make sure to tell her that I sent you!

Texas Caviar: The Ultimate Side Dish -OR- Appetizer!

Last weekend, my sister kicked off the Spring/Summer season with the first official barbeque/pool party of the year. She grilled carne asada (or marinated steak if you have no idea what that is) and everybody else brought all the side dishes and appetizers. I decided to bring Texas Caviar aka Cowboy Caviar aka Black Bean Salad aka Texas Salsa. Whatever you wanna call it, it is GOOD!

Now Texas Caviar is meant to be eaten as an appetizer – you scoop it onto tortilla chips and it’s perfect. What ended up happening was that people were eating it like a side dish…like a cold bean salad! I got lots of compliments on it, and so I thought I’d share it with you.

You've heard it called by many names: Texas Caviar, Cowboy Caviar, Black Bean Salad,  Texas Salsa. Whatever you want to call it, this appetizer is great! It's also versatile - serve it as a salad or side dish too!

Texas Caviar Recipe

Texas Caviar: The Ultimate Side Dish -OR- Appetizer!

Best Ever Texas Caviar Recipe

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Recipe Image

Ingredients

  • 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans white corn (shoe peg corn, white corn or sweet corn), rinsed and drained
  • 1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chiles (medium heat), undrained
  • 1 jalapeno chile pepper, seeded and finely chopped (optional, and I kept a few of the seeds in for some zip)
  • 1 red bell pepper - cored, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper - cored, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. sugar (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions

  1. Mix the black beans, pinto beans, white corn, green chiles, jalapeno pepper, red and green bell peppers, red onion, and cilantro together in a large bowl. The longer the salad sits, the better the flavors marry together. Serve it nice & cold!
  2. Now you could serve it just like that, but the dressing really gives it some more pizzazz. To make the dressing, stir the vinegar, oil, sugar, and garlic powder together in a small bowl. Pour dressing over bean mixture, and toss to mix evenly.
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http://mommyofamonster.com/texas-caviar-the-ultimate-side-dish-or-appetizer/

 

Doesn’t this Texas Caviar sound good? And I love that I made it as an appetizer but people were eating it like a side dish!

Looking for more appetizer and side dish recipes? I have lots of appetizer recipes and side dish recipes here on my blog. You can also check out my Appetizer and Side Dishes boards on Pinterest.

What is your favorite summer recipe?

Simple Ways To Go Green (Other Than Recycling)

Happy Earth Day! I don’t write about a whole lot of green living here on my blog, though I do intend to start doing it more. Most of the “go green” writing I have done on other sites. But since it’s Earth Day, I thought I’d share some of my super easy ways to green with you. It doesn’t cost a lot of money and it doesn’t take a lot of time to do it. Here are some of my favorites!

Here are some simple ways to help your family go green AND save money - and no, I'm not talking about just recycling! Ideas for getting the kids involved, too.

Simple Ways to GO GREEN!

 

How To Get The Kids To Go Green: Here I will give you some ways to get your kids involved in green living. My kids are only 4 and 2, and they are involved in all 5 of these suggestions.

Here are some simple ways to help your family go green AND save money - and no, I'm not talking about just recycling! Ideas for getting the kids involved, too.

Gardening with Kids: The kids love to putter around in the garden with me. Here I’ll share how I get them interested in growing easy-to-grow veggies and herbs. This also helps me teach them why it’s important for us to go green where we can, as well as responsibility and accountability.

How To Plant A Vegetable and Herb Garden: You don’t need a lot of room to grow your own veggies and herbs. Here’s how to get started – with tips for organic gardening as well. And yep, I include ways the kids can help too.

Here are some simple ways to help your family go green AND save money - and no, I'm not talking about just recycling! Ideas for getting the kids involved, too.

Go Green! Can you see my compost bin hiding on the right?

How To Compost: I tell you the different ways that you can compost at home, how to get started, and what can and cannot go into your bin or tumbler. I had a Garden Gourmet compost bin, however as an Earth Day gift to myself, I’m upgrading to a much more user friendly Envirocycle Mini Tumbler that I and the kids are going to get set up and started today!

But maybe you aren’t ready to make a big investment in composting until you see if it’s for you or not; eartheasy shares how to make your own compost pile.

And while many people think composters are big and ugly and stinky, that’s a myth. If you make sure to only compost the right items, you’ll never even know it’s there!

10 Easy Ways To Go Green That You Can Do Today: These ideas won’t cost you much money, in fact some of them won’t cost you a penny!

Here are some simple ways to help your family go green AND save money - and no, I'm not talking about just recycling! Ideas for getting the kids involved, too. How To Make Your Own Natural All Purpose Cleaner: Quit wasting money on toxic and harsh products. Why not go green simply by making your own all purpose cleaner that works just as well and cost more than half as much?BlogHer.com even had a “recipe” for making your own cheap and natural drain cleaner.

And if you buy a huge bottle of vinegar, check out Ask Anna’s post about 40 different ways you can clean with vinegar.

5 Ways To Go Green (Other Than Recycling): When people think “green” they think “recycling”, but there are so many ways to recycle that here are 5 suggestions that you may not even think of as recycling!

Regrow Your Own Celery, Garlic, and Onions: Yep, you can regrow certain veggies! Check it out – it’s an easy way to go green and will save you money, too!

Here are some simple ways to help your family go green AND save money - and no, I'm not talking about just recycling! Ideas for getting the kids involved, too.

Make Your Own Play Dough: This one might seem silly, but buying play dough at the store gets expensive! This version is easy to make, and the kids have fun helping.

So there you have it! Lots of ways to go green that you can start doing today. It’s easier than you think, and believe it or not, saves me a lot of money.

Looking for more ways to go green? Check out my board Make Your Own Cleaning, Beauty, and Household Products on Pinterest, as well as my Gardening board. You’ll find lots of easy and cost effective ways to go green there.