Search This Blog

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Chicken Casserole

Had another wonderful day today.  Eggs and bacon for breakfast with clementines.  I swear, James is going to turn into a banana one of these days the way he eats them.  That, or a piece of cheese!  I had egg salad for lunch, the kids had chicken salad.  Everyone had tons of energy today and were literally bouncing off the walls.  James' new game is to run through the house until he finds a spot to "crash" and then run another direction.  I can only imagine what I might be told if he was in daycare.  But he is already following directions for 75+% of his gymnastics class.  So he'll be fine as he gets older and then we get him into more structured activities as well.  I think he's longing for Spring just as much as I am.  I see 50's on the forecast for next week though!

Dinner tonight was Chicken Casserole
A few minor changes, based on personal preference.  We used all cheddar cheese, except for a touch of grated parmesan on top.  And didn't use the arrowroot.  Also only cooked it for 30 minutes because I got a late start.  Turned out wonderfully after letting it sit for 5 minutes after removing for the oven.  James gobbled it up and Carolyn even said she liked it.  Lately she's been saying she doesn't like anything, so that was good to hear.  So this will definitely be something going on our menu rotation.

Looking forward to another homemade soup tomorrow.  Let the chicken bones from Sunday cook all day yesterday and today in the crockpot for a good broth with lots of calcium able to leach out of the bones.  Added the chicken chunks back in along with zucchini, carrots, celery, onion, brocolli, and potatoes.  Love not buying store bought soup anymore and knowing we're not getting overloaded with salt or MSG.

Monday, February 27, 2012

S is for...

Today we did the letter S.  Watching the minds of both kids develop is so awesome.  We made scrambled eggs for breakfast.  Carolyn helped cut up the mushrooms and then both kids helped put the veggies into the pan.  Then they each even helped stir a little.  They love helping in the kitchen and I think it gets them to eat a little more as well.  While we were eating, Carolyn asked how much bacon I had made.  I took the opportunity to work on her elementary math skills... 3 for mom, 3 for Carolyn, 2 for James = 8 pieces.  She thinks it's so cool to work on things like that.  And as a former physics teacher I love taking simple things and turning them into learning moments.  We then read all 4 of her S books from the library and wrote her S list.  Her vocabulary is quite large.
James has is own development milestones he's working on.  I think he may be ready to get rid of diapers soon.  I'm letting him lead, but hoping that the signs he's showing aren't just a passing interest.  May even have Jon pick up some underwear this weekend when they go shopping.

Dinner tonight was a pork stir-fry.  No real recipe and I have to admit it wasn't a huge hit with the kids.  I wonder if it was too many different items.  Marinated pork pieces all day in terriyaki sauce.  Cooked that in coconut oil and then added red and yellow pepper slices, 1/2 onion slices, 3 mushrooms sliced, and leftover peas and green beans from last night's dinner.  Put the lid on to soften all the veggies.  Served it over quinoa for the kids and Jon, had mine plain.  After dinner each kid had an apple to try and fill their tummies.

We took a look at kindergarten readiness lists tonight.  We do that now and then just to reassure ourselves that Carolyn won't need preschool.  We looked at Wheaton's list, since that's one of the towns we're considering moving to.  Carolyn can do everything on there, except write her name with just the first letter capitalized.  I'm confident we can work on that in the next year.  It's awesome to see her develop and us never have to really teach her anything but be able to do everything.  She's really working hard on reading too, I wouldn't be surprised if she's reading before Kindergarten.  Lately she's been really into writing though.  I need to pull out the letter pages I printed in August.

We also tried the bagel recipe again from a couple days ago.  This I used 5 eggs and coconut oil instead of applesauce.  Came out much better from my view and both kids gobbled them up again.  I assume they'll request them for breakfast as well.  Feels good to feed them things I now is doing good things for their body.  It'll be interesting to see their height and weight growth at the doctor over the next few months.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

My Rings Fit!

About mid way through my pregnancy with Carolyn, my rings stopped fitting.  When she was about 6 months old, my wedding ring fit, but my engagement ring never did.  Then I got pregnant with James and the process repeated.  Today I stepped on the scale and saw a number lower than I've seen in a long while.  I am down 5.5lbs since I started weighing in 5 weeks ago.  That's awesome progress for me.  Jon suggested I try on my engagement ring today and it fit.  It was a little hard to get off when we returned home because the room we were in for my grandma's party was so hot.  But by this summer I hope to have lost another 10-15lbs and it should fit wonderfully.  It's going to take a little while to get used to having the diamond sticking up on my finger and the extra sparkliness.

I have an appointment in the morning at Deerpath Primary Care in Libertyville.  They focus more on treating the whole person and some of the doctors advocate Wheat Belly.  We are going to start by trying to find a reason for my dizziness.  And from there we'll get to a physical and just overall good health.  I am hoping that we can discover what's behind this dizziness, because I have been having some really bad episodes lately.

Friday, February 24, 2012


Today was a very productive morning.  Cleaned both kids rooms, did a bunch of laundry and worked for an hour.  All with the kids "helping".  It's so nice to be able to walk through their rooms without tripping over anything!  Tomorrow I will do some more cleaning while they're at the store so our whole house can be clean.  I'm so behind because of my ankle, but with the aircast now I can do much more.  I've been super dizzy all day though, which is frustrating.  I made an appointment with a new doctor for Sunday morning.  What doctor has appointments on Sundays, quite interesting.  They are more into natural remedies though and I'm hoping will be willing to delve a little deeper into perhaps hormonal imbalances or something.  Anything to get to the bottom of this once and for all.

This afternoon I was sick of doing chores, so made bagels with the kids.  We made this recipe.  It turned out different from what's in the pictures, I'm not sure if it's because I used eggs or what.  But next time I will need to change the recipe a little so they don't stick to the pan as much.  Definitely couldn't roll the dough into balls, it was mush.  However, the kids loved them and after each eating a whole one, asked for more.  They'll enjoy them as a snack tomorrow or with breakfast.

I also made the flax wrap from the Wheat Belly book for breakfast.  I cut it in half and cooked on salad plates and I don't think it turned out as it should have.  But, we all really liked it.  End up the consistency of a cracker actually.  Not sure what I did wrong, but it turned out fine.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Busy Week

This was a bit of a crazy week.  Started out with R is for Raisin Bread, which I'll discuss below.  I spent Monday morning at the doctor, finding out it's a 2nd degree sprain so I'm in an air cast but should be good in 3 weeks.  Definitely improvement already, but can only do the theraband exercises 2 of 4 ways at this time.  Hopefully only one more week completely off of soccer, then I should at least be able to play goalie.  Tuesday brought the usual chaos of gymnastics, chasing James with a hurt ankle is not fun.  James got sick Wednesday - pink eye and ear infection.  He's tons better now though. 
I feel like I cheated all week with dinners, all crockpot after Sunday. 

Monday - Chicken Soup
Used bones from previous dinner to make stock, left chicken that feel off.  Added brocolli, zucchini, carrots, onions, potatoes and cooked all day in the crockpot.

Monday - Raisin Bread
I had to leave it for my mother-in-law to take out of the oven, so the middle part was a little underdone.  Will need to split in two as suggested for next time.  It was very yummy though and the kids loved it throughout the week.  Definitely a keeper!

Tuesday - Pork Roast
Jon put this together for me.  Layered potatoes, carrots, onions and garlic on the bottom, roast on top.  Cooked all day.  Wonderful, moist and falling apart meat.  Great dinner and 2 days of lunch as well.

Wednesday - Chili
Not low carb, but meatless for Ash Wednesday.  Lots of beans, some corn, diced tomatoes, salsa, onions and some chili powder.  Jon put this together as well.  Cooked all day (~10hrs).  This was a weird night since Jon took James to urgent care and didn't get home until 6.  But will have for leftovers tomorrow.

I feel like my tummy is getting flatter when I look in the mirror.  So we'll see what the scale says on Saturday.  Now it's time to plan meals for next week, despite practically no real food being on sale at any of the 4 stores we frequent.  Guess we'll pulling out of the freezer some this week!

Sunday, February 19, 2012


I can't remember ever having eaten eggplant before.  But it was on sale, so we picked one up.  I was shocked at how light it was.  So I was slightly surprised when I found the inside to be solid.  We had it for dinner tonight though and it was very good.  Did pretty well this weekend in terms of getting more produce and staying within budget.  Looking forward to a variety of foods this week as well.  Soup for tomorrow is already to go.  I also weighed myself yesterday and found I am down 3lbs from when I started this.  Not spectacular, but considering I ate a fair amount of junk for Valentine's Day, it's good.  And for me, 3lbs in 5 weeks is better than I've had for a while.  Might even make it under 190 this weekend!

Tried 2 new things for dinner tonight...
Eggplant Involtini - A LOT of prepwork, but VERY yummy.  Used all mozarella since it's a cheaper cheese, italian seasoning because we're apparently out of basil (oops), used coconut oil instead of butter, and no parchment paper.  But turned out great and the kids were eating it up.
Zuchinni "Pasta" - Not being sure if the kids would eat the eggplant, I cut up some zuchinni into real thin strips.  Drop them into boiling water, bring back to a boil and boil for 1 minute.  Then take them out and rinse with cold water.  If I had cut these real thin, I think it would have felt more like spaghetti.  But I was cooking a bunch of stuff and didn't have the patience.  Topped with a quick homemade marinara - tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and some spices.  Kids gobbled this up too.
Overall, a good night for dinner and definitely filling.  Leftovers for lunch tomorrow too!

Also tried Kale chips today.  Ended up throwing them away as no one like them.  Oh well, can't win them all I guess.

I'm in the middle of reading "Why We Get Fat" by Gary Taubes.  Combined with "Wheat Belly" by Dr William Davis, so much about food and weight is starting to make sense!  They both tout limiting carbs, increasing fats and protein intake.  And they back up everything they say with history and research.  I'm looking forward to being able to go super low carb for a few weeks this summer to really get my body into fat burning mode.  Just don't want to do it while I'm still nursing, so waiting until after James' 2nd birthday.  Plus then we'll have our garden so it won't be as expensive.  Off to the doctor tomorrow to get my ankle looked at.  I should be able to at least walk normally by now and not be in pain when sitting.  Hopefully we can figure out what's up so I can get back to normal life!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

This isn't really a Valentine's Day related post, but I'm taking the night off of work so I have some time to write.  We've tried some new recipes lately that I want to comment on.  I'm feeling better this week, not quite as tired.  I have been trying to track my food using sparkpeople as well, aiming for a low carb count each day.  I've been quite successful, so we'll how things on the scale look this weekend.  No exercise this week since my ankle is still healing.  Gymnastics class was interesting today as walking fast still hurts.  I'm kind of wondering how long it will take for me to get back to running and playing soccer.  I was hoping just a week off, but at this point I'm thinking more like 2-3.  It's weird because it's not real swollen or turning colors, just painful to the touch in certain areas and so stiff it hurts to move it certain ways.

Chicken Fingers 

We had this last night, with veggies and quinoa for the kids/Jon.  I made some small modifications.  First, we haven't been buying boneless, skinless chicken breasts due to cost.  I cut up 2 split chicken breasts.  I also don't use parts of eggs much, so I used 2 whole eggs instead of egg whites.  These turned out great (well, the first batch).  The kids gobbled them up and there were no leftovers.  One word of caution, be careful if you make 2 batches in the same pan.  I must have turned the heat up to melt some more coconut oil for round 2 and forgot to turn it back down.  I burned the second round, although not horribly and we still ate them.  So just a word of warning.  But this will definitely be something that we make again!

Tonight we did our old stand by, "chicken spaghetti" in the crockpot.  I had planned to make spaghetti squash with it, but Jon bought butternut squash.  So we had veggies and everyone else also had more quinoa.  We still have a lot of that left.  It's funny to me how Carolyn loves the sauce.  In case anyone is wondering, here's the super easy recipe:

Chicken Tomato Sauce

1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
6 to 8 boneless chicken breast halves, skin removed
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
3 tablespoons water
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried leaf oregano, crushed
4 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese

If desired, brown the chicken in hot oil; drain. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Arrange chicken in slow cooker. Combine tomato sauce, tomato paste, water, garlic, oregano and sugar; pour over the chicken. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours. Remove chicken and keep warm. Turn cooker to high heat setting, stir mozzarella cheese into sauce. Cook uncovered, till cheese melts and sauce is heated through. Serve chicken and sauce over hot cooked spaghetti. Serve with Parmesan cheese. Serves 6 to 8.

Sunday, February 12, 2012


Had a bit of a set back this weekend, kind of the perfect storm.  I have only lost 2lbs, which is frustrating.  More frustrating is that I have gained inches in my stomach and butt, although I did lose in my neck and chest.  We got an email about free pizza from Papa Johns too.  So last night we did pizza, which carried over into lunch today.  Other than being a lot more hungry, I don't feel all that different.  But I've been pretty hungry lately anyway.  So I don't know what's going on.  For dinner tonight I was back on the wagon though, and limited my carbs too.  Ham, brocolli, green beans, and quinoa.  I mostly made the quinoa for the kids and Jon, just had a small, 1/2 cup serving myself.  This was the first time I made it, we were shocked and how much it grew when cooked!  The kids gobbled everything up and asked for more ham.  Hopefully their full tummys will lead to good sleep tonight.  James was up at 5 this morning and took a short nap, Carolyn didn't nap at all.
I've been posting a little about how I feel on the WB FB page.  The Dr who wrote the book responded and he said it's sound like something is off and it might be my thyroid.  I got the name of a good doctor in Libertyville that supports the WB philosophy and it looks like they take our insurance.  Since I haven't seen a real doctor in about 5 years, I'm thinking it might be a good chance to start fresh and get some ideas on how to get my body back to where it should be - lose weight, regain energy, regain mental function.  I do wonder a little if it will all start to normalize when I'm done nursing this summer.  But I suppose having a real blood panel run and analyzed by a doctor not worried about prescribing drugs might help.  Can't fit in an appointment until Jon's spring break, but might give a call this week to see if something will work.  Here's to hoping!
Yummy meals planned this week and made a wheat-free cheesecake for Valentine's Day today too!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

So full!

It's weird how I am barely hungry anymore.  Yet I don't feel like I'm eating that much more, quite possibly even eating less than before.  I know my breakfast and dinner today was less than it used to be.  Breakfast was 2 fried eggs, some mushrooms, 2 pieces of sausage, milk, and a couple orange slices.  Used to add toast into that (but left out the mushrooms, LOL).  Was full on that until lunch - tuna salad on romaine lettuce, 4 pieces of cheese and water.  Was hungry for dinner because we had just done our crossfit workout.  But only ate 2 pieces of pizza, and these were small pieces!  I'm so full I won't get to enjoy one of my cupcakes tonight or have any ice cream.  A little disappointing, but it will be a great way to keep me off of the junk food and from overeating.  Tried a new recipe for pizza tonight...

Cheesy Pizza Crust - Wheat free, grain free crust
I didn't have any parchment paper so I used my large pyrex rectangle.  Still flipped it halfway through, then flipped it back before putting on the toppings.  Used jarred sauce, added mushrooms, sausage, and mozarella cheese. 
Both kids gobbled this up!  Carolyn ate 1 full piece, although she pulled the sausage off.  James happily ate her sausage and most of his piece.  So we will keep this as a possibility.  Still some other crust recipes others swear by that I'd like to try before we settle on one.  Would love to find one that I could make ahead and pull out of the freezer.  I don't think this one would hold up well to that.

Weighed myself on Saturday and didn't lose any weight.  But I ate a lot of junk last week - cupcakes and ice cream - so it's not that surprising, especially since I wasn't feel too.  We will see what things look like this Saturday.  Back to crossfit this week too, so got in a great workout yesterday and today.  New recipe again tomorrow for dinner!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Busy busy Week with new recipes

I keep meaning to post but I've been fighting a cold and so I've gone to bed early each night.  Combined with working some extra hours at the beginning of the week, I just seemed to run out of time to post each day.  But I have made several new recipes that I want to share.  So I'll put them all into one post. 

I did discover yesterday that I love my house.  I was able to let the kids play in the sandbox while I was inside cooking dinner.  Sounds scandolous these days.  But we back up to a marsh, one house next door is vacant, and the other is a retired couple.  Both of my kids are extremely responsible.  They only left the sandbox to come to the door to ask for something.  As the weather gets nicer this is going to be a great thing!  We're definitely in the right place at the right time. 

We've also pretty much decided not to enroll Carolyn in preschool.  She can already count to 20, backwards from 10, and write her name.  She won't be 4 for 2.5 months!  She has some great fine motor skills too, zips her own coat, buckles her car seat, strings beads, "sews", and helps in the kitchen.  After watching her and James play over the last month, I've decided I want to give them the extra year together.  They're only little once and have a great gift of lots of time together to build an awesome relationship.  If I send her to school in the morning, they'll only have maybe 1 day a week to play in the morning.  If Jon gets a new job for next year, I'll be able to spend more time with her while James naps and work on preschool type things each day.  Even 20 minutes together is probably equal to the time she'd get in a classroom once you factor in all of the play time.  So we're going to save our money and just enjoy her last year before she starts Kindergarten.

Yesterday was my birthday, and so I enter into the final year of my 20's.  My goal is to be in the best shape of my life when I turn 30.  Of course, I don't get to use a personal chef, personal trainer, or suddenly get to stop working/taking care of the kids.  As the weather gets nicer, I know I'll be spending less time working out in the basement and more time playing with the kids and gardening.  So for the next 6-7 months I'm going to focus more on eating healthy than working out a ton.  When I'm outside with the kids I'm going to try and get more active with them.  Carolyn will likely enjoy more games of tag, races, and going on longer walks.  So everyone should be happy.  Here's to a great year of health and ending my 20's on a high note!

Monday Dinner - Baked Potato Soup
I have made a few modifications to fit our liking.  I chopped 3-4 large potatoes, enough to fill the crockpot about 2/3 of the way.  I don't peel the potatoes, because there are a lot of nutrients in them.  I used a little less broth because we bought cans (on sale) and in the past 2 quarts has been so much liquid that the pot overflows when putting the cream cheese.  So I used 4 14.5oz cans.  When putting in the cream cheese, be sure to break it up or you'll just end up with chunks.  I use a knife to cut it into 1/5's as I put it in.  Then be sure to stir real well. 
Both kids gobbles this and the bacon served with it right up. 

Tuesday Cupcake Trial
Attempted this recipe on Tuesday.  I should have known that it wasn't going to work out when I tasted the batter.  They looked really nice, but are very bitter to me.  It's been suggested by a few people that I try an alternate brand of Stevia or simply a different sugar alternative.  Interestingly, Carolyn says she likes them.  Although she chose the second batch for dessert last night.

Wednesday Dinner - Grain free Meatloaf with mashed potatoes (butter, cream, garlic salt) and fresh brocolli
First time with the recipe above.  I think next time I would cook it a bit shorter, closer to just 60 minutes.  We found it a bit cheesy for our liking as well.  I think next time I might take my mom's meatloaf recipe and find a replacement for breadcrumbs instead.  Stuck in our old ways, I know, but we really like her recipe.  Might try tomato paste mixed with tomato sauce for the outside of it though.

Cupcakes second try
I gave the same cupcakes a second try, this time tasting the batter before cooking and adding sugar to taste.  I ended up adding nearly 2 cups of sugar.  They turned out very yummy, but the centers caved in.  So I made a cream cheese frosting (cream cheese, cream, butter, and powdered sugar) and filled in the middle.
We had these after dinner and everyone gobbled them up, very yummy!  Will have to keep trying to find a grain free recipe for the cupcakes that holds up.  I'm thinking I might leave the sugar since we really only make these for birthdays.  Have to find something that works for Carolyn's birthday if anyone has any suggestions.  I'll need something that I can spread frosting on without it falling apart so I can put down the frosting base and then decorate.

Tonight is leftovers and then the weekend is here.  So no more new recipes for a couple days.