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Buffalo Chicken Wraps

I decided to try making a buffalo chicken dish for dinner that would have the same flavor that I was craving, but not so much of a caloric nightmare. I ended up making a super easy crockpot chicken that was so good!

I cooked two pounds of chicken breasts in the crockpot (cover with water, cook on high for 3-4 hours until the chicken is tender). I threw the chicken (discarding the water that it was cooked in) into my mixing bowl for my mixer, and mixed it on low for about 30 seconds until the chicken was shredded. Then I added 1/2 cup water, 3 Tbsp. ranch dressing mix, and 1/2 cup Frank's Red Hot sauce.

I wrapped some in tortillas for E, but I made lettuce wraps for myself, and they were phenomenal. Definitely crushed that craving for wings!


Probably good with blue cheese, too, but I prefer ranch with my buffalo chicken. I had leftovers for lunch today.


Weigh-in Wednesday Week 1



I tend to focus on my flaws, which makes me feel bad about myself no matter what. I want to lose the weight because I know I looked better and felt better at a lower weight; but at the same time, I look far better now then I did at 212. I'd like to feel and think that I am pretty.  Dropping the extra weight would really help that. 

Let's get to Weigh-in Wednesday. This morning the scale read 187.6 which is the highest it has read in over 2 years. I am so ashamed... I am ashamed that I allowed myself to gain back all lot of the weight I had lost and worked so hard to lose. But, I will pick myself up and work towards losing it again and this time keep it off. On a side note this scale that my sister is way too small. I believe it to be accurate and it's a huge space saver but way, way too small. 



Since I like to set goals and challenges for myself, I'd like to challenge myself to give the calorie counting 100% effort for six weeks. After that, I can reevaluate and see how I like it and how it's working. But for now, I'll focus on the next six weeks. I'd really love to drop 10 pounds before Christmas, which is about 7 weeks away. And I'd be over the moon to be back at my goal weight of 155 in 2016. The weight doesn't come off as quickly as it used to, but all I can do is my best effort and see what happens!

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Stuffed Zucchini Boats

You asked; so here it is.. My version of Stuffed Zucchini Boats. 

Because we live in northern Michigan and venison is so popular I have made up several recipes using it. My family loves venison. I am sure you could switch it with any meat your family enjoys. 



Ingredients:

4 medium zucchini
1 pound sausage (I use venison/pork sausage), browned
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion
1 clove garlic, very finely chopped
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1 can corn (I use southern style), drained
1 cup finely shredded mozzarella cheese
Salt and pepper

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 375°F and coat a shallow baking pan with nonstick spray.
Trim the ends from the zucchini and halve them lengthwise. Using a melon baller, hollow out each half leaving a wall of 1/4-inch or less on the sides and bottom. Reserve the pulp.

Season the zucchini halves with salt and pepper, arrange them on the prepared baking sheet and bake until softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Roughly chop the reserved zucchini pulp and set aside.

Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft and translucent, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking for 1 minute longer, then add the chopped zucchini.

Season the mixture with salt and pepper and continue cooking until the zucchini is tender and the entire mixture is lightly caramelized, 3 to 4 minutes longer. Stir in the tomatoes and corn and cook for 1 minute longer.

Divide the zucchini-onion mixture between the hollowed "boats," and top each with about 1/4 cup of shredded cheese.

Bake for an additional 8 to 10 minutes, or until the "boats" are tender when pierced with a knife and the cheese is melted and golden.

Makes 4 servings (2 halves each)


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Negative Calorie Foods

Lets talk this morning about negative calorie foods. Have you ever heard the theory that certain foods have a negative caloric effect, meaning they burn more calories during the digestive process than they contribute?  For any of you that read fitness or health blogs this term is something you are very familiar with. For those of you who are just starting out you are probably as confused as I was when I first heard the term. I have always been a huge believer in the calorie counting method of losing weight and when I am successfully losing weight each little calorie is golden. As you can imagine then for a calorie counter such as myself the thought of negative calories is very intriguing. I did some research and this is what I found. According to health.com "Negative calorie foods, which burn more fat and calories than they contribute, are a myth." Well, shoot that just took the wind out of my sails. But wait; lets not get discouraged yet and lets read on. The author goes on to say that these foods may not be negative but they are pretty darn close to it. Okay; I like that.. So what foods are they referring to? Can I make anything worth eating out of them? The answer is yes.. Yes you can. Here is the list I found along with a couple must try recipes. 

Fruits 

apple 
cranberries 
grapefruit 
lemon 
mango 
orange 
pineapple 
raspberries 
strawberries 
tangerine 

Vegetables 

asparagus 
beet 
broccoli 
cabbage (green) 
carrot 
cauliflower 
celery 
Chile peppers (hot) 
cucumber 
dandelion 
endive 
garden cress 
garlic 
green beans 
lettuce 
onion 
papaya 
radishes 
spinach 
turnip
zucchini

First recipe that I love, love, love is the Weight Watchers Zero Point Soup aka Cabbage Soup. Here is a link to recipe along with nutritional information. 

Another one of my favorites is Zero Calorie Red Roasted Carrots. Not a meal but a great side.

Now lastly, we all deserve some dessert from time to time.. Here is my go to Zero Calorie Crust-less Apple Pie


Although foods such as celery, lettuce and cucumbers may have negligible calories, make no mistake, they still count towards a day's worth of calories. Lets face it every calorie is golden when you are trying to lose weight so why not spend them wisely. Enjoy!

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Easy Chicken Stir Fry

As with most of my recipes I like to keep things simple and try to use ingredients a "normal" person can find in there local store on any day of the year.




First let's talk sauce. I wanted a sauce that was not over sweet nor spicy. This one seems to have a happy medium.

INGREDIENTS:



For the Sauce


2-3 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 cup brown sugar, packed

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger (or a bit of fresh minced ginger)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup soy sauce or 1/2 cup tamari soy sauce

1/4 cup cider vinegar or 1/4 cup white vinegar

1/2 cup water

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

Additional


1 bag stir fry ready veggies

1 bag chicken breast


DIRECTIONS:

Combine all ingredients in a large glass jar with a lid. Screw lid on. Shake well.
Can store leftover sauce in fridge up to 2 weeks. Shake well before using.

Next cook up your veggies and meat. I like to use a full bag of frozen stir fry ready veggies.  


I also like to use full package of Tyson Frilled & Ready Fajita chicken.  


To use sauce: stir fry your vegetables and meat as desired, add appropriate amount of sauce, bring to a boil, boil for 1 minute or until slightly thickened.

Serve & enjoy!!! 


*I found that it made up 5 servings. Each serving was about 214 calories according to my calorie journal. 

Putting Myself Out There

“Hi, my name is Melody, and I’m divorced.”  That’s pretty much how it feels to share this part of my life with people.  I might as well wear a big red ‘D’ on my shirt.  What happened?  Really bad question to ask a divorced or divorcing person, by the way. The D-word had never even crossed my mind, and literally one day I woke up and realized that I did not know who he was, I did not know who I was, and I had no idea how we had gotten to that place.  Once the divorce was finalized I felt like a newborn.  I had to learn how to walk, talk, feel, exist on my own again.

I will never speak ill of my ex here on the site because what happened between us is private but I will say that the end of our marriage was a long time coming. It was not anything as clear-cut as someone cheating or someone having a sudden change of heart.  We had some problems, sure, we fought occasionally like a normal couple. But what ultimately broke us apart were a series of small things that festered for YEARS.  It is amazing how long denial will carry you, how long you can tell yourself, “We love each other, it will work itself out.”  Very few things in marriage work themselves out.  You ladies know – marriage is work.  If you are not actively working on your issues, they can start to rot. In marriage, the little things matter and some little things don’t matter at all.  A hug at the right moment, a text message to have a great day, listening to me when I’m upset, doing the dishes without my asking – those things all make my heart swell in a way that makes me proud to be married to my husband.  Balled-up socks, tracking dirt in the house, letting the trash overflow before it goes out – those things are unimportant.  Nitpicking my husband needlessly distances us from each other.  My failed marriage taught me a lot about what I really need from another person and what I need to let GO. “Everything happens for a reason” is bullshit.  This is a tricky one because I am in a really good place in life right now, so in a way my divorce got me to where I am today.  But to say that all this had to happen to me – that I HAD to lose half of my friends and most of my belongings, that I HAD to leave my home behind, that I HAD to have my self-concept shattered to pieces before I could be the person in the place I am now… I don’t buy it.  My divorce did not happen because of anything cosmic or supernatural, it just happened because it happened, and it sucked, and I learned from it, and it’s better now. So when it was officially over I did not need to go through a mourning process because I think I had already been through that a while ago. I did, however, struggle with feeling like being a single mom is not what I pictured for my life. I mean, I’m sure everyone that gets married thinks you’ll be with that person for life and if you decide to have kids you’ll raise them together. Letting go of the picture I had in my head for how I wanted my life to be was one of the hardest things I have gone through this year. And I still struggle with this sometimes.
Even before our divorce was final I was thrust into a state of transition. I sold him our family home and then I had to watch my kids go "home" to a home that was not mine with them. I am renting a home that makes me very unhappy because it does not feel like mine. I have nights that I stare at the colorless walls feeling very much like them colorless. You can’t commit to someone else until you are fully committed to yourself.  This is not so much about loving yourself (though that’s good) or feeling good about yourself (that’s good too), it’s about knowing and being true to yourself.  The fallout from my divorce left me broken as a person.  It’s cheesy, but I always think of it like I was a piece of pottery that got knocked onto the floor.  The process of healing from my breakup has been slow and it takes time to glue those pieces back together.  The most reassuring thing about it is that when it is done, I will look basically the same as I had before but I will be a much stronger version of who I was.  My core values and beliefs are incredibly important to me, and there are certain qualities in a significant other that I am simply not willing to put up with.  At the same time, I’m not perfect.  

I have gain 30 pounds this year. Yes, 30. I haven’t figured out how to fit exercise in as a single mom and gained a lot of the weight while going through the divorce. Even though the divorce is done and I'm moving on, my weight gain is really getting me down. Big time.

I also recently decided to gently put myself out there dating again and it’s bringing out insecurities I did not even know I had. Like, if someone finds out my full name and Googles me, they will right away read all my pieces here on my blog, and I have written about some very personal topics; like my struggle with overeating. Do you think I am just going to scare people away right off the bat? And what about my weight? I feel like no one will be attracted to me physically because of my weight gain this year.
I’ve been through so much in 2014 & 2015 but I do feel like I’m finding my true self again. And despite all of the trials of the year, it feels really good to be more authentically myself.

Getting Back into Shape after the Big "D"

5 Tips for Getting Back in Shape after a Divorce

Divorce is the end of a relationship, but it is also a beginning of a new phase in your life.  
  • Set Specific goal. I am not talking about those evil number goals like I want to drop a million pounds. Rather; let's set a goal that does not have a date or a number stamped on it. You know that you want to get in shape – can you extend that further into a specific goal?  Like, “I want to train for a race” or “I want to do a hiking adventure".  Goals give you something to look forward to
  • Increase your friendship circle.  Sometimes after a split friendships fracture too, or your friends focus on the break-up when maybe you want to talk about something else.  If one of your goals was to do an endurance event for a good cause, you might want to consider Team In Training. You fund-raise for cancer research and they train you for the event of your choice.  You train as a team so you get to meet dozens of new people.  Friends help you stick to your goals and take your mind off your problems.
  • Talk to your doctor.  The weight gain may be tied to thyroid issues, which is common among women of a certain age with unexplained weight gain.  It’s a simple test and good to rule out.  Also, it’s always a good idea to let your doctor know when you’re trying a new exercise program so she/he can give you a little guidance.  (For example, if you have high blood pressure there are certain exercises you will want to avoid.)
  • Food is for fuel.When I’m going through rough times, I tend to think of food as a friend.  Chips, oh those yummy salty chip can always cheer me up.  But food is not a friend, or something to eat when you’re bored; the sole purpose of food is to fuel your body.  If you had a shiny new sports car (I like a blue mustang, personally) would you shovel dirt into it?  Heck no!  You’d put in the premium gasoline so it runs well.  Now is the time to fuel yourself with proper nutrients, six times per day.  It should be a mix of proteins, complex carbohydrates and vegetables, with a little bit of healthy fat. 
  • Cardio and strength train.  If you are trying to lose weight then cardio is key.  One of my favorite quotes is, “Sweat is Fat Crying.”  Your cardio should be at a level 5-7 effort, meaning you should still be able to hold a conversation but you’re also sweating. Lifting 15 lb. dumbbells will make you look toned, feminine and strong.  Not sure what exercises to do?  This is also a great opportunity to talk to some new people at the gym and ask for help.  (It doesn’t have to be a potential date; some of my best friends are women I met at the gym.) I love circuits. Check out my blog for routines I have done in the past. 
Change can be hard, but it can be exciting too. Embrace new beginnings one dumbbell at a time.

 

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