Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Week 398 Menu

Hey there!  This week is flying by and at the same time crawling by slowly (if that's possible).   I can't believe it's still Tuesday!  Feels like it should be Thursday at least and I can't wait to go to bed tonight!

Last week we made it to the park for the first time in months!  This week has been rainy with a bit of sun.  Hopefully we get some warm weather!  I finally gave up today and kept working in my yard while it started raining.  It always feels great to get some yard work done!

Last week was definitely a learning one for me, at least when it comes to food.  A few days I was super on the ball and planned all my food for the day after I packed my kids and hubby's lunches.  I got breakfast ready, snacks, lunch prepped and planned what I was going to have for dinner.  It was so great to have it all ready and super healthy.  Then other days I didn't have a plan really, and was too busy with a million other things to try hard, so it was a "give me all the oreos" kind of day.  Ugh.

One way to have a great week this week is to get my menu finalized and posted now, so I can be prepared.

So, here goes.

Monday:  our favorite taco soup (I made it at 3 pm and stuck it in the crockpot on warm so it can hang out until we're ready to eat) **Weird fact, I only use my crockpot in the garage, so my house doesn't smell like the food I cooked for days and days!

Tuesday:  Italian chicken sausage, noodles & alfredo, broccoli, sliced apples (I grated a sweet potato and sauteed it for a few minutes and topped it with a bit of alfredo sauce and a little parmesan cheese instead of having noodles)

Wednesday:  grill teriyaki burgers, baked fries, veggies

Thursday:  meatball sandwiches

Friday:  grilled chicken fajitas, homemade salsa (a staple at our house)

Saturday: easy night for the boys, date night with my daughter, going to the General Women's broadcast

Sunday:  I'll let my family choose, maybe grill some steaks 

All righty...I'm excited for a fresh start tomorrow (since every day is a fresh start)!  Here's to eating better, exercising harder, waking up earlier and spending the morning at the temple (my favorite thing I get to do most Wednesdays)!

If you've menu planned, feel free to share what you're making this week.  I love it when you do!

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Sunday, March 19, 2017

Who's Who in the First Presidency & Quorum of the 12 Apostles

I am the primary president in our ward, which means I get to work along with a presidency with all the kids in our congregation and their teachers and activity leaders.  I've been doing it for two years now and I love it.  The kids are amazing and teach ME so many things.  

Every three months I get to teach a 20 minute lesson during "sharing time" with the kids split into two groups.  I get to teach about the same theme for the whole month teaching the kids different things.  (It's so fun!)  This month we are learning about prophets and how they help us choose the right.  We have our semi-annual General Conference coming up and I thought it would be fun to help the kids get to know some of our church leaders.  After googling and searching pinterest, I didn't find what I was looking for, so I created a printable on my own.  

The older kids, ages 8 to 11, loved trying to match the church leaders and their names.  I think we'll do this tomorrow in my home for our Family Home Evening lesson.  

Click here (or on the image) to print the PDF.  

Feel free to share and print as many as you'd like!

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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Counting Macros Update: Baby Steps

This quote seems about right.  I think about food.  A lot.  And it's been taking up a lot of my time lately as I try this "macro" thing.

The last two weeks I've been trying to count the macros in my food in hopes that I can stay in my "macro budget" each day.  It's definitely been a learning curve, but full of lots of good things.  I thought I'd share some of what I've learned and found helpful.  For those of you macro counters, feel free to share all you know with me!  You can read more about why I'm counting macros here.  

I'm definitely taking baby steps with counting macros.  Usually I make it to about 4:00 doing great, weighing every thing, making good choices and logging everything on myfitnesspal.  Then I my kids come home from school, I teach a piano lesson or two, then try to hurridly make/eat dinner before someone has to tbe out the door for their 5 pm practice.  The last thing I want to do is try to figure out macros.  I just want to eat or maybe sooth my stress with some crunchy tortiilla chips or a chocolately brownie (this is truth, sad but true).  
For the past two weeks I haven't tracked my dinner or after dinner food because I kind of gave up because I felt like I blew it.  But yesterday I decided to to toughen up and track everything, even my handfuls of chips and pre-dinner brownie(s).

I was actually really happy with what I discovered.  My very yummy and filling dinner had lots of great macros.  I had taco meat (lean ground turkey) with some brown rice, homemade salsa, tomatoes and a drizzle of Bolthouse Ranch dressing on a bed of lettuce.  

I studied my numbers and found that I should have cut out the unnecessary pre-dinner snacking and would have had room in my macro "budget" for a guilt-free brownie or a bowl of ice cream.  Looking at the numbers made me realize that my body had had enough food for the day and it didn't need anything else.  It curbed my pre-bedtime snacking cravings.  So, weird how that worked, but so great!  

So, here's what I've been doing:  

The Scale

I bought this Food Scale from Amazon.  It was pretty inexpensive and works great.  I use the "tare" button on the scale to zero the weight out so I can weigh each ingredient one by one as I add it.  I jot the measurements down in GRAMS and log it into My Fitness Pal on my phone or computer when I'm done.   It doesn't take as long as you think it would once you've done it a few times.


Pretty much every day I have a protein shake for breakfast.  I use 1/2 frozen banana, 2 scoops Orgain Chocolate Protein (from Costco) (46 g) , 8-10 oz almond milk, and a handful of spinach (33 g).  

I'm usually hungry still after the protein shake if I've exercised, so I have either a piece of lower carb bread with almond butter and honey,  a bowl of Multi-grain cheerios with almond milk or some oatmeal.  


Lunch is more fun, some of my favorites are:

Low-carb, high fiber tortilla with turkey breast (from Costco -- the good stuff in the meat section), a little spread of either hummus or bolthouse dressing, tomato, spinach, avocado, etc.)

Egg scramble (since I'm horrible at making omelets):  pinch of crumbled bacon from Costco sauteed with mushrooms, peppers, onions, spinach  and egg whites.  I buy the liquid egg whites from Costco since they're cholesterol free.  

Leftover taco stuff in salad form.  We have Mexican food at least twice a week at my house.  


I love hummus with veggies, but I have to limit myself to 2 Tbsp since I love it so much.  

I like to blend up non-fat cottage cheese and mix in a little ranch dressing (dry) mix.  I split it into /2 oz plastic cups and eat it with carrots.

Apple with almond butter and a tiny bit of honey.  (Fruit has a lot of carbs, so I try to eat a little and save my carbs for other things that I can eat more of.)

Protein bars -- I bought some from Costco, the kirkland brand.  I only eat one if I feel like I'm starving and I don't have time to eat a meal.  Or sometimes I just eat half.

Siggis yogurt.  It's pricey for a yogurt, but some of them have no carbs and no cholesterol!  I like the french vanilla kind and I crumble up a little granola on top.  I found by mistake that not all the yogurt are the same.  I just bought some and they have 10 g cholesterol and 11 g carbs.  So, look closely!  I've found it at Target, Winco and Albertson's, not Walmart.


Dinner is my next hurdle to figure out.  I planned my menu this week so I can have plenty of time to think about what I'm making and what the macros might look like.  You can add recipes through My Fitness Pal and it will figure out the macros.  A great tip that I found is that if you weigh the finished product (the whole recipe) and enter those grams as the number of servings, then you can just weigh your portion and have a more accurate count.  

A Few Other Tidbits

It's been helpful for me to follow some Instagram accounts of other macro-counters.  I bookmark pictures of their food that I might like to eat or other macro counting tips.  Some that I follow are @laurenbhealth, @hellorachelclare, @ourbestbites_fitclub,  @thatmacromomlife, @biceps.after.babies and my friend @keepingrealmom is just starting out macro counting and I'm excited to follow her journey.

My sister has been counting macros for four months, so I've picked her brain for ideas and asked her lots of questions.  

Note that I'm trying to find low-cholesterol options so I can hopefully lower my cholesterol, but I know a lot of people eat a lot of eggs, but I stick to egg whites.  Pretty much everything that other people are eating I eat too.  

I love this...

I am trying to figure out how to eat enough that I don't feel hungry or deprived and enjoy eating yummy food.  I love healthy food.  I'm just trying not to be lazy and take the time to plan and prepare.

Baby steps.  One macro counting day at a time.  Hopefully I'll get to where I want to be soon and my heart (and cholesterol levels) will appreciate it!

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Monday, March 13, 2017

Week 397 Menu: All the Good Intentions

Happy Monday!  I have good intentions for this week!  Feeling motivated to get started on some big goals!  It's nice and springy outside and I love it!  

Last week I started counting macros (like I posted about here).  I will admit that I didn't do it every day or all day every day, but I think I'll get there one step at a time.  I do great when I track my food for breakfast and lunch and then the dinner time craziness of teaching piano lessons back to back with homework, piano practicing and sports practices and the last thing I want to do is figure out the macros in my food.  So, this week I'm planning ahead!  

I'm not very festive when it comes to St. Patrick's Day.  I bought some rolos and will probably draw a little rainbow and stick the Rolos at end (like I did last year and the year before).  Do you have any fun traditions?  My family isn't interested in eating an Irish meal.  :)

Menu time:  

Monday:  tacos (ground turkey with homemade taco seasoning, brown rice, black beans, quick salsa, avocado, lettuce, tomato)

Tuesday: Pi Day - chicken pot pie with a big salad, pie crust cookies

Wednesday:  spicy honey chicken tortilla salad

Thursday:  Blue and Gold Banquet

Friday:  St. Patrick's day - beef stew 

Saturday:  grill hamburgers
Sunday:  grill pork chops, salad, veggie

What are you making this week?  Feel free to share.  I love it when you do!

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Week 396 Menu: What we ACTUALLY ate

Hi there!  I really started planning my menu for this week, but then didn't follow through with it.  Guess I got distracted.  That happens a lot!  :)
Friday I finally tackled my gas grill.  I called Char-Broil and told them I thought I needed a new regulator.  They sent me one right away and it was still under warranty.  Super great customer service!  I didn't want to wait for my husband to replace it, so I figured out how to replace it myself.  So happy it actually worked.  Now the gas comes roaring out of the burners, while before it would barely even heat up.

I made our favorite BBQ Chicken Tinfoil dinners  right after I fixed the grill.  I put some sweet potato tots in a few of them.  I liked it and so did my four year old (no one else got to eat them since they don't like sweet potatoes).  They didn't get very crispy, but I liked the sweetness that it added.  

So, here's what we actually ate this week...

Monday:  Swedish meatballls, mashed potatoes, IKEA gravy and lingonberry preserves

Tuesday:  leftovers for most of the family and dinner at the church for me

Wednesday:  dinner fail!!!  Costco chicken patties made into chicken sandwiches.  So gross!  They all got thrown away and we ate chips and carrots instead.  I bought some patties from Costco after seeing some rave reviews for them on instagram, from some people that I thought had good taste.  Ew, the word "patties" should have been the clue.   Not good.

Thursday:  chicken and wild rice soup

Saturday:  easy night

Sunday:  grilled Asian chicken, instant pot brown rice pilaf, veggies and fruit

Well, that's what we ACTUALLY ate this last week.  

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