Sunday, October 10, 2010
I know, what kind of blogger doesn't post pictures - I have been feeling kinda under the weather for the past week or so and quite honestly I don't want to go through the process of downloading them...so take it from me, the beef stew looked totally normal, and it was delicious!!
Here's what you'll need....
-A Crock Pot
-About 1-1/2 pounds of beef stew meat (go to the meat section at the grocery store, the butcher will show you)
-A small bag of baby carrots (I think it was a one pound bag)
-About 4 medium sized potatoes
-Two 8-ounce cans, or I used one 15 ounce can of tomato sauce (Not marinara sauce).
-Some pepper, seasoning salt...maybe a bay leaf.
Alright - here's what I did...
I cut up the stew meat using my deadly sharp kitchen shears into smaller pieces so it was child friendly. Then I used my Vidalia Chopper (but you could obviously just use a knife) to cut the carrots and potatoes and onion into the desired size pieces and throw them into the Crock Pot with the meat. Put your seasoning on now (pepper, seasoning salt, a bay leaf) and mix it all up. Then pour your tomato sauce on top, mix it around a little and then let it cook!!
I put in on High for about 5 hours and then left in on low until my husband got home at around 8:30pm....I started it around 1pm I think....The recipe said to cook on Low for 8-10 hours, but I've learned that with the Crock Pot you can put it on High for a while at the beginning to make up for lost time and then turn it down and let it go to low later.
This was REALLY good, the meat was super easy for the kids to eat and the veggies were plenty soft. Obviously, if this was for a more mature audience you could cook it less and not have the veggies get totally mushy, but that's a personal preference!
Please let me know if you have any questions, or if you try it!!
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
However, recently I'v really come to like getting out and exercising. It started out as just walking with the kids in the double jogger, which conveniently is a workout all in itself on flat land when you have about 90 pounds between the stroller weight and 2 large kids!!
Being that I've started enjoying getting my heart rate up and being outside, I've started looking for more ways to exercise but not necessarily make the kids stay buckled in a stroller for an hour. I got an elliptical machine for the garage (Thank you Craig's List!!) and I would try and exercise while the kids were sleeping, but even that was tough because if any of them were awake I felt bad being in the garage even though the door was open and they were playing.
Well, about 6 weeks ago I finally got serious about losing some weight and started watching what I ate and really exercising...and since then I have lost over 10 pounds!! Now, for those of you reading this thinking "big deal, 10 pounds" let me share that I am no 120 pound stick of a woman. Let's just say that I was made to stand the test of time and leave it at that. All my life I've been heavy...when I graduated High School I weighed almost 250 pounds...and I'm barely 5' 4". In my early 20s I got really sick and lost 100 pounds within about 8-9 months. We cured the problem and I was healthy again, and it was amazing to be thin. I had never been able to walk into a store in the mall and buy clothes...and now I could wear anything I wanted!!
Fast forward a few more years...since I had never bothered to watch my weight, when I lost it the inevitable happened....it started creeping back. By the time I got married about 3 years later I had gained 30 pounds...then by our first wedding anniversary I gave birth...then about 2-1/2 years later I did it again. Now here I sit...not as heavy as I was in High School, but about 60 pounds heavier than I was when I got married. Kinda sad, but it's been a wake up call. And now that I've figured out that I can in fact lose weight if I try and not have to eat crappy diet food or exercise 2 hours a day, I feel great!! I feel like I have finally realized how to lose weight, and once I lose all that weight (my goal is to get back to my wedding weight) I am confident that I can keep it off.
The beauty of what I've done is that I'm not dieting...I didn't change what I eat - just how much and how often. And that alone had me losing at least a pound a week by just trying to do other stuff instead of snacking. I have also recently discovered a wonderful exercise program called Zumba. A friend of mine just opened up her own studio and Zumba is one of the classes she is teaching. Normally I would stay away from something like that, but since I knew her and the price wasn't outrageous like most gyms or studios, I decided to go for it...and I love it!!
I can go and not feel like everyone is judging me because I'm the biggest booty in the room, and it helps that for some reason I've always been good at picking up choreography, so I can keep up and dance along without feeling like I'm making a spectacle of myself. I love that it's an all female group, so I can shake it and dance around and get into it without worrying about what I look like. The best part though is that there is on-site childcare by other women we all know from church...for free...so I can bring my kids with me and they can have fun too by playing with other kids while I exercise. It's a win for everyone!! I don't have to feel guilty anymore about making them play on their own, or be strapped into a stroller. They can run free and play, and I can check in on them and see them the entire time.
I have to say that starting to lose weight has really changed my attitude, and even just those first 10 pounds have made me feel like I can do anything!! My clothes are starting to get baggy....heck, I've even started wearing a size smaller in my jeans!! It will take me probably 9 months to a year to lose the 60 pounds I'm aiming for - but this time I'm losing it the healthy way...which means that it will stay off. And the most important thing is that I've discovered a healthier way of life that didn't have to include tofu and light cream cheese.
I know, this post was more for my benefit that anyone else's, but I just want you to know that anything is possible...if all of me can find a way to lose weight with kids and a full time job, you can too. Just don't be afraid to try something you normally wouldn't think of...you'd be surprised what options are available when you don't judge things right off the bat.
If you're local, check out the website for the studio I go to - 4Everybody Fitness
The owner, Sabrina, is awesome!! She makes you feel like you belong there, and really makes exercising enjoyable!
Friday, September 17, 2010
Monday, September 13, 2010
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Monday, August 2, 2010
Saturday, July 3, 2010
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
This week I have made a commitment to go for a walk everyday with the kids in the Jogger, and so far I've done great!! Almost 2 miles Monday and today (yesterday was our day off!). Now, this might sound easy, but keep in mind that the Jogger alone weighs at least 20 pounds - then add about 35 pounds of Karyl and about 30 pounds of Freddie - and you get around 85 pounds to push while walking. We don't exactly live on flat land...there are hills here...lots of them....
In my younger days I would have complained, and maybe even not bothered walking....but in my old age I have come to appreciate these obstacles for what they truly are - built in cardio boosts!!! Sometimes it helps to look at things like the glass really is half full. I actually like the variety in terrain, and Karyl loves to get out and walk with me at times, usually on hills, which takes 35 pounds out of the stroller (it's not cheating if she asks to get out on her own!!)
So...you're probably asking "where is the 'lesson learned' in all this babble..."
Here it is....
I have learned that there truly is a difference between running/walking/cross training shoes. I always thought it was just a gimmick to charge more for "specialty" shoes - but then I read an article about shoes and what the specific ones are for and it finally explained why certain parts of my legs always hurt when I get done walking. I have been wearing "running" shoes when I exercise and I have cross-training/walking shoes for everyday wear. I wore my regular shoes today, and it was AMAZING what a difference it made!!
Apparently running shoes are designed for maximum comfort on the front of your feet, because, DUH, when you run, you tend to use the front of your feet....whereas when you walk, you lead from the heel. So, walking shoes are a little harder in the back to help with the heel leading, whereas running shoes are softer in the back....
I will never wear my "running" shoes for walking again!!!
I am going to make some cookies now...slightly counterproductive?? Absolutely....totally worth it??? Yes!!
I am making some Shortbread Peanut Butter Cookies from my new favorite blog...I will post pics and the link later on tonight!!!
Thursday, June 17, 2010
They were super yummy warm out of the oven, but they were also surprisingly delicious the next day when they were just room temperature. Between you and me, I REALLY wanted to heat one up this morning and put some butter on it but I resisted - when you see the recipe you'll understand why, they already have enough butter in them as it is!!
Monday, May 24, 2010
And for all 3 of you who actually look at this blog I sincerely apologize!! Things have been a little crazy around our house and I was seriously lacking in the blogging department. I was sick and then things just crazy around the house with kids and work and life in general.
Now, 1/3 of you might be thinking "but this blog was established to prove that there was in fact 'Life After Diapers'..." and you are right, but that is exactly why I've been slightly lacking lately. My family is my first priority, over work, over my personal life - they come first. For these past 2 months my family just took more of my time than it usually would, and that was mostly due to my lack of energy for the 5 weeks I was sick with a sore throat and other nastiness.
So, here I am, back and with an even greater resolve to bring you more recipes and ideas to help you out!! I have had lots of time to think and one of the things I have been doing is making goals for myself, as a mom, a wife and just a woman in general. I have decided to incorporate a new, SMALL goal every week or two to try and contribute to the general awesomeness I strive to embody - so here are a few of the goals I set over the past 2 months, and how I implemented them...
#1 - The first goal I set was a small one, and it was to keep the dining room table clear - this is an Achilles heel for me because the dining room table is SOOOO convenient for dropping stuff when you just don't have time to put it anywhere else. Our dining room table is also my sewing table, craft table for the kids and I, and just generally a wonderfully flat raised surface used for a multitude of things. So, one weekend my husband went through and "power cleaned" the table and kitchen (he was fed up with the clutter, and I don't blame him one bit!!) - once the table was empty and I had overcome my embarassment with letting it get that bad I decided that it was time to start over new....from that day forward nothing was to go on that table unless it was for a specific project I was doing at the time AND it could be cleaned up quickly and had a place to go when it was dinner time.
That was 2 months ago, and to this date I have kept that kitchen table free of useless clutter!!!
#2 - DISHES!!! I use capital letters because I used to think that dishes was a foul word, one that should be spelled with asterisks and other symbols depicting it's naughtiness (D&%*@#)!! I had a horrible habit of just letting the dishes pile up in the sink with the intention of washing the plastic and other non-dishwasher safe items...and also letting the clean dishes just sit in the dishwasher because, well, I hated emptying it. So, just let your imagination run and this could be a real problem.
Now before you start thinking "eww...isn't that a sanitation problem??" the answer is no...I am VERY picky about rinsing and wiping things off before leaving them in the sink, so the stuff in the sink didn't have day old food clinging to it, it just needed to be "washed" with soap.
So....about 2 weeks later I made the goal that with a few exceptions, I was going to make sure that sink was empty every night. So, I started doing dishes "by hand" every night....and after a few nights of grumbling through it I remembered I had an iPod that had barely been used, and a growing library of songs from a new TV show I was dying to listen to (thank you Glee!!). So, I clipped on the iPod, stuck an earphone in my right ear (for some reason I hear better out of my left ear....so I want to leave that one open to hear children) and started washing dishes....and singing along...
After one night of this I realized a few things - one, dishes aren't that bad, in fact, I wash almost everything by hand now unless there are a lot of dishes or I'm in a hurry, then I put the dishwasher safe stuff like plates and cups and silverware in the dishwasher. Two - I forgot how much I LOVED singing. My whole life throughout school was music, especially Choir in high school. Before I had little ears in the car you would find me driving with the music up so loud the license plate frame was shaking and I would be singing along just as obnoxiously loud; singing and listening to music really allows me a release for stress, and amazingly enough makes me feel better about the world.
#3 - my last goal 2 weeks ago - to try and fold the laundry the same day I took it out of the dryer. I tend to leave 2-3 hampers of clothes sitting and waiting to be folded because I just had a hard time making time to sit and fold it all and put it away. So far I'm definitely doing better than I was a month ago. In fact, right now there are 2 hampers sitting in our room from Sunday, but this is the first time in a while that has happened. It's a work in progress, but I figure any improvement is better than no improvement =)
And my goal starting today....
I have been MUCH better about making "home-made" meals more often and choosing meals based on the sales....and an unofficial goal I made was to try and made at LEAST 2 homemade meals every week.
To go along with that, I am making a goal to try at least one dessert recipe every week (to last through the week hopefully) since the homemade desserts are better for us than the store bought ones, and much cheaper!! AND I will post the dessert and recipe weekly for you to see!! So, below are the dessert recipes I tried this week...
This was the second recipe I decided to make on Sunday because I had a lot of fresh strawberries on hand and some extra heavy whipping cream hanging around....
Thursday, March 18, 2010
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 cups sugar
1 cup sour cream
½ cup milk
1 bottle (1 ounce) McCormick Red Food Color (or color of choice!!)
2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
Preheat oven to 350°. Mix flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Set aside.
A note from me - I actually put buttercream frosting on these puppies because I didn't want to worry about refrigerating them (not that they would have lasted long enough to have any LEFT to refrigerate, but you see my point!!).
This batter makes A LOT...I made 2 dozen cupcakes AND an 8x8 single layer cake (in a Pyrex pan).
Please leave a comment if you try the recipe and let us know what you thought. Make sure you watch them in the oven, I could see where if these get overcooked they wouldn't be nearly as good as they could be!! They are VERY moist and I can guarantee you'll want to keep plenty for yourself!!
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
OK, so for our son's first birthday I decided to save the $40 I would have normally spent on a character cake from Albertson's and make one myself. This was my first attempt at any kind of cake decorating - and let's face it - it was for a 1-year-old's birthday party. This means it was a very cheesy themed Cars cake with not much detail...but it was cute for the kid and it was fun to try!!
Experience breeds excellence and I learned A LOT from just this one decorating experience!!!
- Despite how easy it is to make, DO NOT use marshmallow fondant for decorating a cake.....it sticks to EVERYTHING!!!!
- To get deep, rich colors you are going to use half the little container of colored gel dye....keep adding it, it will eventually turn the color you want - but don't be stingy on the amount!!
- It pays to have the right tools for the job - a rolling mat, a fondant roller, etc.
- You can never have enough powdered sugar when working with fondant, good thing it's cheap at Wal-Mart.
- A KitchenAid mixer has yet again proved to be a PRICELESS tool in my kitchen. I made the fondant in it, the frosting....the possibilities are endless!!
- Homemade buttercream frosting is 10 times better than any canned frosting!! And honestly, it is cheaper than the canned stuff in the long run!!!
- It's ok to use a box mix for the cake part - it saves you stress and allows you to focus on everything else!!
This was a lot of fun, and I can't wait to try again with all the new knowledge I've gained!! I already took a small cake I made and rolled out and covered it with some fondant. It was a bright yellow little piece of heaven!! It tasted yummy and looked super cute...I am working my way up to covering an entire cake with fondant!!!
This is a recipe for CHOCOLATE cinnamon rolls!!! How yummy does that sound?? Obvioulsy this was not meant to be eating as part of a healthy breakfast, I think it's more of a dessert.
So, sometime in the near future I will be trying these, and I will post pics!!
Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls