Friday, November 30, 2012

It's Friday! Food journals are back

This is going to be the last kind of "normal" post before the 12 Days of Treats kicks in next week.  I really hope you guys like them.  I might do a Sunday check in or something but you know I'll be babbling on Facebook so follow me over there if you don't already.

Not expecting too much on the scale this week because after a big loss I usually see zilcho.  But you know, I wouldn't be mad if the scale Gods wanna throw me a bone for my efforts this week.  ;-)

A couple of ya's have spoken so I'm going to bring back Food Journal Fridays.

Since I didn't decide this until halfway through the week, I don't have good pics so I had to grab some from past journals, recipes and Monday you're just gonna have to use your imagination.

Monday was Orange Roughy over Thai Lime Rice (from World Market, sooo good!) and corn.  Calories 425



Tuesday was Roasted Red Pepper Sloppy Joes.  Sadly no fruit kabobs but russet wedges which were quite yummy.  Calories 445



Wednesday was BBQ Chicken Naan Pizza with a side of brussels sprouts.  This is by far one of our favorite meals!  Calories 680


Thursday was TJ's Pacific Stuffed Flounder over their quinoa duo.  Yum!  Calories 640


Tonight will be a salmon burger with bbq sauce and a side of brussels sprouts.  Calories 358

It's a rest day but I am going to be doing anything but resting.  I'm pre-mixing then freezing some dough for cookies I'll be making later in the month to send out to some friends.  I bet one person reading knows its him and he's wondering if I'll spill the beans on which ones I'm making.  Email me if you have specific requests sir, you know who you are.  :-)

We've got a busy weekend ahead with Christmas merriment to ring in December Saturday through Monday.    I hope you guys have a good one and check back later to see if you won the 12 Days of Treats giveaway.

What's on your agenda to welcome December?  Hanging lights?  Getting your tree?  Watching A Christmas Story for the first of 139 times during the season?

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

**CLOSED!** 12 Days of Treats is coming! {Giveaway!}

I am so excited because the 12 Days of Treats starts Tuesday!  I'm also excited because I have been hanging on to this cute Food Lovers 12 Days of Christmas tea towel from Sur La Table since last year.  Sadly, you can't get it anymore because they have different versions for this year but hello, it says four cooking blogs on there, how could I not get it and share it with you?  I also picked up a cute snowflake spatula (or spatuler if you prefer) to put with it to get you ready for this baking season!


Here's a little better view of the design.  Cute Christmas tree!


You remember last year's treats right?  If not, let me refresh your memory (and please ignore the horrific pics).

Day 1: Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Cookies
Day 2:  Fluffernutter Cookies
Day 3:  Seven Layer Bars
Day 4: Chewy Cocoa Brownies with Candy Cane Joe Joe's
Day 5: Lightened Up Snickerdoodles
Day 6: Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
Day 7:  Biscoff White Chip Cookies / Whoopie Pies
Day 8:  Healthified Muddy Buddy Truffles
Day 9:  Raspberry Tarts
Day 10:  Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Fudge
Day 11:  Christmas Cheer Mint Bark
Day 12:  Choco Rolo Cookies

Now that you've been refreshed, let's get to how you win the giveaway.  If you'd like to be entered to win, please leave a comment with the phrase TREAT ME!

Want to earn a chance at an extra entry?  Follow me on Facebook and leave a separate comment here telling me you're a follower.  Because it starts next week and time got away from me, this is open through Friday, November 30th at 5pm.  That would be tomorrow.  So you'd better enter soon and if you're not interested, tell a friend and give them a shot!

The winner is Kristen Young!  Congrats Kristen!  Contact me with your info.



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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Number crunching



I always get comments about how many calories I burn.  I am a fan of a practice some don't care for and that is using numbers to motivate me to reach my calorie burn goals for the week.  I know that according to a bunch of different websites that what I burn vs what I eat needs to be around 4200 (apparently not over because it always bites me in the butt.)  I know that for me to reach that goal, I need to burn 840 calories on all of the days I workout minimum.  I also know that for my body it likes to have a rest day before weigh in day.  That means I need to fit in my "formal" exercise in Sunday through Thursday which is where the 840 comes in. I know if I look down at my heart rate monitor and I've got 240 calories to go before my 840 then I don't stop until I hit it even if my DVD is over.  It is very rare I will stop for anything less than 840 calories unless I know I have some sure fire 1000 calorie burners planned the rest of the week.  (Or if my body has been put through the wringer and I need the rest.)  For at home circuits, I require myself to burn 900-1000 because I just feel better about it if I do.  I know some people disagree with that way of thinking because they think it causes you to become numbers obsessed but for me, I find it motivating and the only way to keep me on track to meet my goals for the week.  I know that intensity makes a huge difference in the amount of calories burned and I don't trust websites are remotely accurate for an activity as vague as "high intensity aerobics" using averages.  I know HRM's aren't 100% but they're much better than hoping what a tracking site says I burned is close and finding out the hard way it's not.

All of those numbers above mean something to me.  From my starting weight of 494 to my lowest weight I ever reached when dieting in my adult life (220) to the high end of the "healthy" range for me at 170.  Of course my 4200 goal I need to reach to the 840 I need daily to meet that goal to the 1800 being the low end of my calorie range.  For someone who hates math, I sure have a lot of numbers that are significant to me!  I don't mind though because numbers keep me on track and 99% of the time, keep me honest and personally, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Do you use numbers to motivate you in exercise or figure any activity is good activity no matter how much you burn?

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Sheet Music Flower / Scarf Slide Tutorial

People...I have a sickness.  I bought this old sheet music song book for 4th grade from the 1940's and I am now obsessed with covering everything in it or doing pretty presentations with it for gifts.  I've already mod podged it onto a candle too.  I told you, I'm sick.  Yesterday I was itching to make some sheet music rosettes and I was ticked off at how they were coming out.  Then I started thinking of other ways I could make flowers and then I wondered if I could make a scarf slide out of the flowers for the 50 scarves I picked up at Nordstrom Rack in Chicago last year.  This is the answer to that question...




Here's what you'll need:

Sheet music (duh!  But you can also print your own off at various graphics sites)
Mod Podge Matte
Fabric Stiffener (Mod Podge can be used if you don't have any)
Foam Brush
Jute Twine or whatever you want to be the "slide" part
Wax Paper and/or cling wrap
2" and 3" scalloped paper punch
Long Needle
Various small objects to mold the flower around (I used a wine cork, lotion bottle and pepper shaker!)
The embellishment you want for the center.  I used a wired pearlized "berry" but I also used a jingle bell for a magnet or brads work very well and give a flat back to work with.  The possibilities are endless.

Cut the edges off of your sheet music so you can easily use your scalloped punch.  Cover the sheet music with a layer of Mod Podge and let dry.  Flip it over and do the same to the other side.


While you're waiting for the sheet music to dry, if you choose to use a twine or yarn for your slide you'll need your fabric stiffener or Mod Podge.  Find a bottle the girth you want the slide to be, I used a Tacky Glue bottle.  Wrap it in cling wrap or wax paper so the glue doesn't stick to it.  Put a nice, thick swath of glue over the ends and the middle of the wrapped twine.  Put it glue side down on some wax paper to set.  When the ends don't come apart, put the glue/stiffener on the rest of the twine to set it.  It will dry clear.


While you're waiting for that to dry, the sheet music should be ready to go.  Get out your 3" punch and do four punches.  Get your 2" punch and punch out four of those.


I had a lei needle on hand.  What?  You don't have 9" lei needles laying around?  Okay, just get the longest one you can or even a bamboo skewer would work or one of those screwdrivers from an eyeglass kit and put a hole in the middle of all of the sheet music punches.  Make a hole big enough for the wire from your embellishment or brad to go through.  Shape the larger punches by molding them over the end of a bottle slightly smaller than the punch.  I used an 8 oz lotion bottle.  Repeat that with all four larger punches.


When your first one is ready, dab a little Mod Podge close to the needle hole and use the needle as a "place keeper" so the glue doesn't fill up the hole as you press one sculpted punch on top of the next and repeat with each large punch.  Then it's time for the smaller punches.  I shaped mine using a wine cork.  Repeat the process by using the needle as a place keeper to keep the forming flower straight and not let the glue close up the hole.  Add the small punch on top of the layers of large ones then layer the small ones until they're all used up.


You can see your flower is almost ready to go!  Add a little Mod Podge to the center near the hole and slide your embellishment through the middle, press down and let dry.  Could you not just eat that up?


Carefully slide your hardened twine off of your bottle.  (Mine still had a few wet spots but I'm impatient.  For best results wait until it's fully dry)  Wrap the wire tightly around the twine ring where the ends were so that part is covered up.  Center the flower where you want it then add some Mod Podge to the inside over top of the wire to secure it.  If you have some felt on hand, cut a piece of it to cover up the wire/glue glob.  I didn't have any but I'm going to go back and add it just so I don't accidentally snag my scarf.


Wait for it to dry, fluff your flower to your desired look and you're ready to go!  I love this so much I might make one for my friend as an extra gift for Christmas since she wears a boatload of scarves too.


It goes without saying you could use the flower tutorial portion for tons of stuff like a barrette, tie backs for curtains, magnets, use push pins through the middle for really unique cork board embellishments, ornaments for your tree, a necklace, a pretty addition to the top of a mason jar then gift it to someone...ooh, I'm using that one!  See!

BLAM!  Instant Christmas gift for the teacher, boss, co-worker with a magnet to use when the candy is gone.


BLAM!  The perfect accouterment to liven up a plain hair comb, barrette or hair pin.

Sickness.  A sickness, I tell you!!

Here's to catching the bug together!

This project was linked up at Crafty Confessions, Funky Polka Dot Giraffe Rustic Pig Designs, The DIY Dreamer, Vintage Wanna Bee, Cute Everything, Creations by Kara, 52 Mantels, The Shabby Creek Cottage, The Crafty Blog Stalker, Thrifty 101Lil Luna and Tater Tots and Jello.
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IT'S COMING!  The Twelve Days of Treats starts next week!  Don't miss a single yummy day...subscribe via email or RSS feed. (Or you can follow me on Facebook and Twitter )

Monday, November 26, 2012

Halls decked, Christmas movies watched, season underway

Sigh, what a nice long weekend!  It's never boring though.  Always seems every year we have something planned for every day of the long weekend.  Thanksgiving was good.  We got in our workout in the morning, I made the mashed potatoes and stuffing (I used Trader Joe's stuffing this year and it was really good, surprise) and no weirdness or bloodshed with the family which is always a good thing.  ;-)  I mean if Olivier Martinez and Gabriel Aubrey can have a knock down drag out at Halle Berry's on the holiday, what hope does that usually leave the rest of us?  HA!

Friday was a good workout and we decked the halls.


I am SO glad we put up the accessory type stuff on the shelves and walls and such the weekend before.  It was nice to just have the tree to deal with and we might just make that a tradition.  It was just so much less chaotic.  I've had it on every night ever since.  We've knocked out several Christmas movies this weekend. The Santa Clause, Home Alone and of course we had to knock out A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving on Thanksgiving night since we hadn't had a chance to see it before then.  It was a nice relaxing day in the scheme of things.

Saturday we grabbed some good deals at Joann's since I have some cookie tins I'll be sending out and they had 60% off in general and then a 25% and 50% off one item coupon online.  I think I saved just over $20 and we had a friendly cashier which makes things a little nicer.  We went home and prepared our spread for some football and I made a pie that could double as a frisbee but we won't talk about that.  That night we decided to get in our grocery shopping so we wouldn't have to get up early Sunday morning and Trader Joe's is crawling with people including the classic "granola" I often refer to.  She's the hippy dippy trippy mom with long bohemian hair, a scraggly cardigan over her t-shirt, a long multi-colored ankle length skirt with striped socks and Keds.  She also has her 2 children who are running into everything and everyone including us with their mini carts and the dad is totally clueless and looks like a barista at a local indie coffee shop.  These people are the reason we like to shop at 8am on Sundays.  I couldn't get out of there fast enough so I could evade a public scuffle trying to wade through looky lou's with no intent on buying but still clog up the aisles.  We made our way around Target and then the big box grocery and got home very glad it was over with.

Sunday the Mr wasn't feeling well so our trip to the antique mall was almost a bust until I fed him and put a heating pad on his neck.  Thankfully he started feeling better and off we went.  This antique mall rarely has anything new but I thought maybe there would be some good holiday vendors there.  There were 2 that were good but the rest didn't offer anything I had to have.  In the end I walked away with a new to me antique scalloped spoon that will likely show up in my pictures in future recipes.  The funny thing is we saw a friend of ours from a local antique shop there and I likened it to seeing your favorite teacher outside of school.  We went to a few more places including this general store we like to go to this time of year.  They have all kinds of stuff that's from other countries or very seasonal and I just love to look through everything.  I'm seriously considering getting a gumdrop tree.  Does anyone remember those?  My grandma had one when I was a kid and I thought I remembered seeing silver ones a few years ago but I'll have to do a little more research for one that isn't outrageously priced.  Then we worked out, the Mr cut my fruits and veggies for the week and we watched Once Upon a Time (anyone else think this season is kinda weak?) and Celebrity Ghost Stories on DVR.  I know, I'm real high brow, no?

What did you guys do this weekend?

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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Post Thanksgiving Weigh In

Okay I'm seriously trying not to gripe and groan here because I'm down 3 pounds this week.  I know I know, why would I gripe about that?  Because I'm up 1 lb from what I was the past 2 days when I was at the low end of my calorie range, drown myself in water yesterday and that one pound would've gotten me back to my lowest weight to date.  Jack hole scale.

But despite that, I am happy and thankful to be down 3 lbs Thanksgiving week.  I'm not exactly surprised, for some weird reason I always have a decent loss this week.  Weirdness.  I'm especially surprised given I had a cake ball class Sunday with my family and basically had 2 high cal days last weekend.  *hangs head*  While I know it can be tempting to overdo with all of the leftovers in the house just remember this...



Today I am basking in the glow up my beautiful Christmas tree and the snow is falling and I'm a happy girl.  I might venture out before the big game this afternoon and stock up on some tins to mail to people near and far this season but that's it for today.  Tomorrow is a trip to an antique mall and that's about it for tomorrow other than a workout.

How did you do this weekend?  Got any plans today and tomorrow?

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Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday crushes

I'm keepin' it light today because I know a lot of you nuts are out there shopping for Black Friday.

Today is the day I wait for all year!  We're putting up the Christmas tree!  I've got the carpet deep cleaned the decor is switched out and the Mr is off so we can enjoy the Christmas movie of our choice later...likely Home Alone.  Funny how I was NOT a Macaulay fan when those movies were popular but then at some point I watched them years later and fell in love with them.

I think we might have leftovers today since they're relatively low fat/cal the way I make them.  Well, not Grandma's noodles but I might save those after tomorrow's weigh in and then maybe I'll be drowning myself in them in despair.  I'm kidding...I hope.

Let's get to my crushes!

West Elm has unveiled a new "market" category on their website and I'm lovin' it long time.


This hanging spice rack is soooo cute!  I have a 2 butt kitchen with one slim spice cabinet that is NOT enough given all the cooking and baking I do so this might end up on my wall someday soon!


I want this SMEG refrigerator.  Like now.  I have no use nor room for it.  I don't care.  I will get rid of my dining room table and get a bistro set to put beside it so I can stare at it.


After 3 solid minutes of laughing so hard I considered buying Poise pads, I actually read the purpose of "Down There" Repair.  "Down There Repair is formulated to soothe, cool and moisturize irritated or chafed skin."  So it actually might come in handy for preventing thigh fires.


In love with these labeled kitchen mixing bowls!  I don't need another set.  I don't have room for them either.   Doesn't stop me from wanting to cram them into my cupboards and whip up a pie crust in one and pecan pie filling in another.

Let's move on to Ballard Designs, shall we?


These fluted canisters won't fit on my counter so now I must buy a bigger home with a large kitchen to accommodate them so I may pull out my jar of shallots confit to spread on my crackers.  Life just seems better with shallot confit and crackers from fluted canisters.


I love this blue lotus garden seat.  Now here's my problem with it.  While I would use it as a side table somewhere, it infers that you could use it as extra seating yet does not list a weight limit on the specs.  I would be so tempted to sit on it and see how much it could hold but the prospect of having shards of ceramic up me bum isn't top priority.  I think I would select someone who irritates me to test it out first.


These Southern Living Tea Glasses are absolutely swoon worthy.  I mean don't you think tea or any beverage would taste 100x better being consumed from these beauties?

There ya have it; those are my Black Friday cyber crushes.

If you're around today, what did you buy out in the Black Friday madness/what are you crushing on?

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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Wishing you all...

...a very Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you enjoy all of the wonderful blessings life has given you.  I know I certainly count you all among mine!

For those about to go share a wonderful day with family that are all so close knit it resembles an 80's Wrangler commercial of rousing good times by the fire, many laughs and everyone is sane...consider yourself a delightful freak of nature that is to be envied.

For the rest of you facing relatives you may have to bite your inner lip until it bleeds to keep you from telling them what you really think of them, dealing with misbehaving or disrespectful children, a relative sloshed in the corner saying inappropriate things or any other cringeworthy scenario, be thankful because



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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Recipe round up for procrastinators

Can you guys believe tomorrow is Thanksgiving?  I mean for real, didn't the calendar just flip over to November?  Not that I'm complaining because now it just means everyone will have to jump on board with the holiday spirit or be labeled a poopie humbug.  No one wants to be a poopie humbug.

I hope to God y'all have your menu planned.  But if you don't or you're one of those people who was going to swear off the holiday then got a whiff of samples at the grocery store and need some last minute recipes, I've done a round up for the procrastinators.



From breakfast to main dishes to sides and of course desserts, I've got your back, homeslice.  (I'm bringing it back)

Breakfast

Maple Chipotle Biscuits and Chicken Apple Sausage Gravy
Pumpkin Pancakes
Pumpkin Gingerbread Loaf

Main Dishes

Clementine Infused Crock Pot Game Hens
How to Cook the Perfect Holiday Turkey

Sides/Condiments

My Favorite Thanksgiving Stuffing
Brussels Sprouts with Caramelized Onions and Bacon
Sweet Figgy Potatoes
Low Cal Parmesan Peppercorn Dressing

Desserts

Figgy Sweet Potato Pie
You Got Peanut Butter in my Chocolate Pudding
Pumpkin Cookies
Oreo Pumpkins
Candy Corn Stalk Cookies
Cinnamon Almond Fudge

Well, I suppose I should go make my pumpkin pie for tomorrow so I can just focus on the taters and stuffing after our workout tomorrow.  My plate is gonna have some white meat turkey, skinny mashed potatoes, stuffing, Grandma's noodles, 1 roll, 2 crackers with cheeseball and our waters.  Dessert will be the light pumpkin pie I bring.

What's on your Thanksgiving menu?

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Homemade Coasters

There's this one song from an 80's Kenny Rogers Christmas record from my childhood that still makes me cry.  It's called Kentucky Homemade Christmas, go ahead, listen to it and tissue up.  Well I decided since my mom is all crafty and stuff, she might appreciate something homemade this year.  No, she doesn't come here so I don't think I'm ruining the surprise.  This is what she's getting this year and if you're up for it, you can make them too.




They're a little crude because I used the exacto knife more than the scissors (which weren't very sharp) but if your scissors are sharp and nick free, you should be good to go.

Here's what you'll need:



A picture printed onto card stock or paper about the size of a coaster.  (I used punch out bingo cards since mom's a bingo nut)
A sheet of cork
Sharp scissors and/or exacto knife
Mod Podge
Small foam brush


Place the card on the cork sheet and hold firmly (or tape it to the cork) and use the exacto knife to score the cork.


Like so.


Cut the scored cork with scissors or the exacto knife.


Time to get down to business.


Break out the Mod Podge.


Put a goodly amount along the edges.


Put a thin coat on the rest of the cork.


Center the card on the cork and press out from the middle to the edges making sure it stays flat.  Put a book or other object on top if it curls up for about 1-3 minutes.


Once you make sure it's dry, add a layer of Mod Podge over the top of the card, let it dry then put another coat on top.  I did one coat going one way then another coat going the opposite way.  Make sure it's thoroughly dry.


Put a thick coat of Mod Podge along the edges of the cork/card to seal any water out when it's being used.  Wait for it to dry.  (It dries clear)


It's ready to go!


I made 6 of them so she'd have plenty when her scrapbooking friends come over to stamp and make merriment on the weekends.


Bingo!


I wrapped them up in bakers twine and fingers crossed she likes it.  I'll report back after Christmas!  I'm probably going to get some vintage Christmas postcards and make some for myself!


Total Cost for me about $3.

Mod Podge (I had on hand.  It's $8 (or almost half that if you get the 40% off coupon to Hobby Lobby) but I used about $1 worth for the project)
Cork Sheet  (Which I got for $3 with a coupon and used $1 worth)
Punch-out Bingo Cards  (I got mine at an antique store for $3 and I used a little less than 1/3 so about $1)

Can you imagine how cute these would be for a mom/grandma done with pics of her kids/grandkids?  Or a gift for newlyweds with some of their pics you printed from their Facebook page of their wedding and honeymoon?  Or even pics of you and your best friend over the years of your friendship!  It was a fun little project and I hope you can incorporate it into a fun holiday gift for someone you love!

This project was linked up with Something Swanky, Tater Tots and Jello and The Shabby Creek Cottage.

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