A Lesson on Balance & Comfort – Brought to you by my crockpot.

For a while now I’ve been using my crockpot as storage. The most action it’s gotten in the past few months have been the bottom of miscellaneous stacked bowls. This also goes for my gym membership. For awhile, my $39.99 membership mine as well had been cash I dropped on the ground. I wasn’t going. I couldn’t get myself up to go before work, and couldn’t get myself to go after. I had been a morning person before, so I knew, eventually, I’d be back at it. But it took time. I am four months into my first big girl job and I have finally nailed down my schedule and daily routines. As I continue to get used to my new schedule, I’m slowly learning how to balance my time in order to keep a balanced diet and a balanced social life. I wasn’t really sure what clicked. It could have been seeing the dust on my crock pot, realizing that I don’t cook anymore. It could have been that I work for a denim company, and that denim was getting a little tighter as the holidays drew closer. It also could have been my swollen face from taking in way too much sodium, which made me realize I didn’t have to participate in every happy hour special, no matter how good $5 beers and half off nachos tasted. I realized I was missing this little thing called moderation, self discipline and general comfort in my clothing. In the past few years, I’ve gradually graduated from the phase of wanting to be a size 4, to focusing on comfort and overall health and happiness.

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So – I’ve laced up my shoes, given in to my alarm clocks, and made a few moderate changes that have gone a long way. My energy has already improved a long with my attitude. Results take time, but I feel them coming (I know, just in time for me to have four helpings of eggplant parmesan on Christmas). Sundays, for me, are crucial. As are my weekends. I have started to make the best out of my Sundays. I make sure to make a trip to the gym, whether it’s a good or bad workout, it’s a workout, and I always feel great after it. I make sure to not binge on fried food and carbs, and allow myself to eat something I love, in moderation, like the sushi roll and gluten free cookie I had yesterday. I grocery shop, make sure I’m outside even if it’s just a walk to the gym or store, and cook up some food for the week. The only thing I let myself binge on is Netflix. It is Sunday, after all.

I have been using my crock pot a lot recently. Meal prepping for the week has me in the kitchen like a spazz and using the crockpot has really calmed down the process. I throw a few different ingredients into my crockpot – leave it for a few hours – and there I have it. Dinner or lunch for every day of the week.

Chicken Chili Soup

Don’t worry – it tastes better than it looks. Confession – this wasn’t supposed to be a soup. I decided to wing it and threw the below ingredients into my crock pot. Though I was hoping for a chili, it turned out a bit soupy. (Is soupy a word?) It could have easily thickened over night / throughout the course of the day but for now – I’ll call it a soup. Update: It was perfect. Absolutely perfect. 

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1 lb. Chicken Breast
1 cup Chicken Broth (low sodium)
1 can Refried Black Beans
1/2 bag mixed veggies (carrots, peas, corn)

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Makes about 4 servings.

1 serving:
326 calories
6 g Fat
28 g Carbohydrates
38 g Protein
(6 g Fiber , 5 g Sugar)

Chicken & Vegetable Soup (with or without Rice)

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3/4 lb Chicken Breast
2 Cup Chicken Broth (low sodium)
1 bag mixed vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, corn)

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Makes 3-4 servings.

1 Serving:
254 Calories
3 g Fat
10 g Carb
35 g Protein

Optional: Make your soup into 4 servings and add rice. I cooked quinoa and brown rice and mixed it together – switching it up every now and then is important! (Recommended serving size – 1/2 cup cooked rice)

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Sundays in Chelsea

Holy moly – has it been awhile or what?! I apologize for my absence, I know the world was quite effected by my lack of posts. I wanted to do a fun, picture based, post to get myself back into this thing! So as I have blogged & ranted about before, Sundays were always a bit of a rut. Well, now that I’m not a bobcat anymore (tear), I decided that my Sundays need to be productive & positive (or filled with mimosas & waffles)! Not to mention, I am currently living in New York City. There’s never not something to do. So sometimes Sundays are filled with brunch, grocery shopping or scoping out street markets. This sunday was filled with beautiful sunshine, some cardio and some cookies!

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Take a look at my adventure through my lovely neighborhood of Chelsea, as I run a long the chelsea piers, lay out a long the Hudson River, and take a bite out of somethings scrumptious!

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IMG_1172So – This was my Sunday! Grabbed some groceries on my way home and found some new almond butter to try! I am going to try to post more. I am cooking, but I am unfortunately not cooking anything recipe worthy – so those will be lacking! I am going to try to post about my adventures in NYC. Where I go, what I eat & what I see! Stay tuned 🙂

Yours Truly,

Stef

Cookie Dough Quest Bar Cereal

If you haven’t realized, I’ve recently become an unofficial spokesperson for Quest Bars. I talk about them almost daily, I recommend them to those with a sweet tooth, and I just generally praise their existence. Almost as much as peanut butter, but that’s pushing it.

Okay, so Quest Bars are no chocolate lava cake, but they are the closest thing you will get to that while still keeping your diet clean. They don’t taste like any ordinary-100 ingredient list-high calorie-no protein-just carbs-diet bar. Each flavor tastes amazing, you almost feel like you’re cheating on your diet! But don’t worry, you’re not. Each Quest Bar has 160-190 calories, 4 net carbs, a ridiculous amount of fiber (rock on), and a weird amount of protein. Weird, as in freakin’ awesome, that is. Where does the protein come from? I’ll list the ingredients for the Cookie Dough Quest Bar, and then you’ll see.

-Protein Blend (Whey Protein Isolate, Milk Protein Isolate)
-Isomalto-Oligosaccharides (100% Natural Prebiotic Fiber)
-Almonds
-Water
– Unsweetened Chocolate
-Cocoa Butter
-Erythritol

It may look like I skimped on the ingredient list, but I’ll give you some proof.

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The first time I heard about Quest Bars I could have sworn they were going to taste like plastic. I got a Cinnamon Roll Quest Bar and ate it. It was delicious, but I was still not THAT impressed. Why was everyone raving about them? I then realized that my quest bar was practically frozen, so it was a little harder than it should have been. I put it in the microwave, and it’s all a blur from there.

Quest Bar Nutrition’s instagram posts 15 second recipe videos, which can also be found on youtube. I want to start trying almost all of them! Which takes me to my first experiment. Quest Bar Cereal. Who doesn’t love cereal? The other day I saw someone eating Reeses Cereal and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since. My inner fat girl was crying to come out. Anywho, this happened:

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-1 Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Quest Bar
-1 Rice Cake
-1 Small Banana
-1/2 Cup Unsweetened Almond Milk

The instructions are also very simple. Set your oven to 350 degrees. Cut your Quest Bar into tiny pieces. I’d say bite size but, I take big bites. I cut my quest bar into pieces the size of peanut M&M’s (yum). Lay your quest bar pieces on a cookie sheet, or a piece of tin foil (I didn’t feel like doing dishes). Once your oven is preheated, put your quest bar in your oven and set your timer for 4 MINUTES. No more, no less. Once that 4 minutes is up, take out your quest bar and “stir”. Put your quest bar back in the over for another 4 MINUTES. No more, no less. Once my four minutes were up I put my quest bar pieces directly in the freezer for another four minutes. I chopped up my rice cake into cereal-like pieces, cut up my banana, and took my Quest Bar Cereal out of the freezer and added it to the bowl! Add your milk and enjoy 🙂 

Yours Truly,

Stef

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For a video of how to do this, click here!

Quick Meals & Sweet Snacks

Before you read; This post isn’t all about chicken. But naturally, I rant about it for a solid half hour.

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Chicken is a pretty touchy subject for those who eat it all the time. When I first started becoming more aware of my eating habits, my focus was mostly on counting calories. Chicken seemed to be something that fit my macros appropriately. I could also eat a larger portion of chicken for a lower amount of calories than, say, ground beef. I always favored chicken… chicken breast, chicken thighs. I’d have chicken for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Chicken for days. And I mean…DAYS. So here I am, making my grocery list, and realizing that I have to buy some chicken. Buzzkill of the century. It’s more the thought of chicken that’s been pissing me off. In reality, when I sit down and eat it, it’s not that bad. I go through stages with my diet. Sometimes my go-to is chicken and sometimes it isn’t. I realized it’s because I never really experimented enough with chicken. Pictured above is chicken I seasoned with Lemon Juice, Mrs. Dash Chicken Seasoning & Mrs. Dash Spicy Seasoning. The lemon juice adds some moisture to it, and the mix of seasonings keep it exciting.

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Pictured above is a dish that looks a lot more fancy that it is. It is, simply, 5 cups of Kale, 2 cups of Mushrooms, under 1 pound of chicken, seasoned with Lemon Juice & Mrs. Dash Chicken Seasoning.

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I cooked this dish on 400 degrees for I don’t know how long. Estimate 25-30 minutes. Depending on the intensity of your oven. Anywho, I cut the chicken up into slices, added more lemon juice, and put it back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes to ensure that the chicken was fully cooked. (I realize I need to start writing things down when I cook them so I don’t forget how to cook them. On my way to be the number one cooking blog in America..)

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I served my dish over a mixture of brown & wild rice and quinoa. It was very tasty and the chicken kept it’s moisture! Nobody likes dry chicken.

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This chicken dish was prepared in my cute little crockpot. I stared at my chicken for a solid ten minutes because I couldn’t figure out how to cook it and the last thing I wanted to do was cook these babies whole. Shredded chicken was my best bet. I put a pound and a half of chicken in my crock pot with 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth. I added Lemon Juice (obvi), Basil leaves, and Mrs. Dash Italian Blend seasoning. You haven’t lived until you’ve used Mrs. Dash Italian Blend seasoning… it’s a game changer. I let it cook on low for about 8 hours. I then changed it to warm and let it sit, which is something I’m never gonna do again because it wasn’t nearly as juicy as it should have been. So, next time, I’ll probably cook it on high for about 5 hours max and take it out. In the middle of the day, I slowly started shredding the chicken. Once it was cooked through, I shredded it completely and let it sit. The flavor was perfect but the chicken was slightly overcooked. I think I’m gonna try again today. I would have taken pictures of the finishing project but it was gone in 60 seconds or less. I’ll document when I’m more successful.

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Oh, tilapia. I have the same opinion about tilapia as I do with chicken. I cooked 7 ounces of Tilapia in Mrs. Dash Italian Blend seasoning and lemon juice. I put my tilapia over sliced celery, and a delicious slaw I’ve been buying from Kroger! I added lemon juice, hot sauce and horseradish mustard to the top and mixed it like a salad. It was delicious! I’ve been doing this with my tuna, too. The slaw adds a perfect crunch!

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I cooked about 3 pounds of Ground Turkey meat with Lemon Juice, Basil Leaves and a blend of italian seasonings that my mother gave me while I was home last weekend. The seasoning is delicious and has no sodium! Pictured above is just 6 oz of Ground Turkey with asparagus and carrots. I added hot sauce to my ground turkey. Perfectly portioned meal. Meat & veggies, you can’t go wrong!

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Pictured above is the same ground turkey meat I cooked, over rice and veggies, and a little bit of Mia’s Basil Marinara sauce! This meal gave me my italian fix, without the splurge! This was about 6 oz Ground Turkey, 3/4 cup rice, and two cups veggies! When I eat rice I typically eat 1/2 cup (measured cooked) brown rice.

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Onto some more “sweeter” options. Everybody likes a sweet every now and then. We’re only human. Sweet potatoes aren’t exactly a “sweet”, but they taste like candy when cooked to perfection! I turn my oven on 400 degrees and let my sweet potato sit for about an hour. I take it out when it starts oozing. (Oozing? Ew.) I haven’t made sweet potatoes in awhile, but I’m back on that bandwagon.

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Rice cakes have been my go-to snack lately. It may be one of those obsessions that I will soon get tired of, but right now I’m on a roll. I have been limiting my nut butter to, barely, twice a week. Rice cakes are also a great snack choice when eating nut butter because you are less likely to overeat. I just spread one tablespoon of nut butter on one rice cake, add some jelly, and I get my peanut butter and jelly fix! I haven’t been eating nut butter because it is so easy to overeat. You’d be lying if you said you’ve never sat there with a spoon and your jar of peanut or almond butter. Once I stop eating nut butter for a week or two, I stop craving it. Allowing myself to have it every now and then keeps me disciplined. I know I can eat it, but the less I have it, the more likely I am to have it in moderation. Portion control.

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I might do a whole blog post about Quest Bars, so I’m going to keep this light. This is a Cinnamon Roll Quest Bar, baked in the oven on 350 for 6 minutes, with 1 tbsp Nut Butter & 1 tbsp Jelly on top. I’d talk about it, but all you have to do is look, and you get the picture.

IMG_5296Last but not least… Cucumbers? As many of you know, there is a huge community of “fitness freaks” on the social media site, instagram. #FitFam #EatClean #InstaFit I recently saw someone post a bowl of cucumbers with…cinnamon? I thought it was weird, but then I heard from a friend how delicious it really was. So I cut up my cucumbers, added cinnamon and liquid stevia, and holy crap it was good!

As you can see, all of these meals are very healthy, easy, and diet friendly! Eating healthy doesn’t have to be a chore. It can be fun! You just have to get in the right mindset and you’re halfway there. Enjoy!

Yours Truly,

Stef

Update! Top of the Months Transformation

Hello All! I have a few updates! As many of you know I’ve been trying to post more and make some exciting changes to my blog. I’ve added Fashion Meets Fitness, and I have one more exciting topic I plan on talking about! As many of you can read, I sit on this blog and mainly talk about myself. My advice, whats worked for me, what I did that day, what I do and don’t like. Well, honestly, sometimes…who cares about every little thing I have to say? SO. Here I’d like to introduce to you… Top of the Month’s Transformation! At the top of every month I will post about someone who has inspired ME, while inspiring and bettering themselves. It’s not all about weightloss, it could be someone who has just put in a ton of work to gain some muscle, get fit, and get happy! I will give people a chance to share THEIR story, their methods, and what motivates them. I don’t know about you but I love hearing about other peoples journeys. This will give everyone a broader idea of how losing weight/getting fit really works, and how different methods work for different people. We can all learn together! Stay tuned for my first Top of the Month Transformation! I figured I’d start with my mother, twin, inspiration, motivator… And biggest competitor (hehe). So so proud of my mom for reaching her potential and finding health and happiness. She was beautiful before, but look at that hot mamma!

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We did it together! Stay tuned for a short interview with Lisa Muller and some more photographs of her journey. You are sure to be WOWed!

Yours Truly,

Stef

Calling Someone Fat Doesn’t Make You Skinny

So I’m sitting here watching MTV’s I Used to Be Fat. What a serious show. It’s emotional and inspiring. I see skinny betches tweeting about this show all the time…that’s when you know it’s raw. It’s grabbing emotion out of everyone, because we all have it. These overweight teenagers on this show are just like everyone else. They find themselves trapped inside a body that doesn’t reflect the person that they truly are. That’s why making fun of the “fat guy” is so common today. Their peers look at the fat, not the personality or emotion of the human being. And this starts at a young age. Not to mention, being fat is so common today. Calling someone fat doesn’t make you any skinnier. Yes, I’m quoting mean girls again, but what do you expect? It’s one of the truer statements in the world. What do you think happens when you call someone “fat” or “chubby” or better yet, the new “bulky”? It hits their emotions, and not in a good way. The problem with the obesity rate is that these people are not in control. And for starters, they aren’t in control of their emotions. Reason number one being, their peers control their emotions. They have let other people, including Ben & Jerry, control the outcome of their lives.
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If you call someone a fat ass all their life, eventually they will keep it in their brain that that’s all they are. I’ve been there once, as you know after reading my about me, I was fat. I thought it was out of my control, and there were times when I held anyone else besides myself accountable. I let any views of my peers control my emotions. Every day was uneasy. Sitting in a chair made me red in the face, and don’t even get me started about trying to walk in between the desks at school. I chose to sit on the outskirts of the classroom so my hips didn’t hit the desk, to prevent any asshole from snickering in their seat. I was larger than others. I couldn’t share a chair with my girlfriends, cross my legs all proper, or wrestle around with friends without feeling like the jolly green giant. Dominos and donuts at cheerleading practice did nothing for me, but I convinced myself that because everyone else was eating like that, I could. Any use of the word fat made me self-conscious, whether I was being talked about or not. Physically, I was fat. Mentally? I was fatter.
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Advertisements and media today are all marketing to a certain target market. The health food, exercise machines, and awesomely fast acting chemically enhanced fat blasting pills, are marketed towards those who are fat. They use certain words to make them stand out against all the other brands, and to make those who are fat, feel comfortable. Those people in charge of marketing are very tricky. They know how vulnerable the overweight people are. They know that America, personally, will do anything besides work really hard to be successful, and achieve their goals. We don’t need a gym, just a bunch of chemicals. You’ll be skinny for a few months then die of a heart attack from the combination of diet pills you’ve been using. So, not only do these advertisements physically set you up for failure, there is also marketing that will mentally set you up for failure. I’d post a million pictures of 90 pound models in every magazine, but we’ve seen those pictures a million times. We know how thin they are, we know how unhealthy they are, yet every girl in America still, at some point, wanted to look like them. “You will never look like the girl in the magazine, the girl in the magazine doesn’t look like the girl in the magazine.” Now, it’s not just fashion and magazines that show these crazy images of what the ideal women should look like. It’s turned into men’s products too. For example, the axe commercial that came on while I was watching “I Used to be Fat” on MTV.
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Women are getting hotter? Women are getting skinnier. Women are starving themselves because you want them to look like that hot girl on the right. Sure, those who are naturally thin like that, stay like that. But girls today go to EXTREMES to look as best as they can, and they are unfortunately never satisfied with themselves. Now, we have men looking at these pictures, wanting the perfectly skinny girl from the axe commercial. They know it’s impossible to ever meet her, so they go find the women who look as close as possible to her. This leaves all of us average sized women who work really damn hard with rerun episodes of Friends and extra large pizza’s after a night out at the bar. It also leaves you with this:
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It leaves girlfriends self conscious while their boyfriend is gawking at the hot girl in the ad. Am I supposed to look like that? No. Go eat a lara bar, and take a breather. I’m being dramatic, but really. Women, stop being so hard on yourselves. And men, don’t fall for the ads, not every girl is going to be as perfect as the models.
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The obesity rate in young children is another extreme topic. How are they supposed to know what’s healthy and what isn’t? And how do they know if they are fat or not? Oh don’t worry, they’ll know, because their classmates will tell them. If not then, one day. There are those that embrace their fat. That chubby funny guy in school? He’s popular. Kicks some ass on the football field (mostly because he has a lot of mass). Never gets picked on. If anything, he picks on himself. Which is a HUGE cover up for his insecurities. Side Note: I’m not trying to be rude, I’ve been there, I’m talking from experience, and I don’t hope to offend anyone. You have to admit, every high school has that guy. And I think it’s awesome that they can be happy with who they are, I just wish they knew how much happier they could be. Not to mention, healthier.
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I’ve been on both sides. Beating obesity, and juggling to maintain a healthy & happy weight while still having a life. It doesn’t matter how thin I get, how fit I get, or how healthy I am today, I will always have that inner fat girl inside of me. And I’m not talking about the amazing food pictures on pinterest and instagram that I gawk at on the regular. Everyone does that. I’m talking emotions. I still have a little bit of that fat girl inside me. I get self conscious, I’m a little socially awkward, and I find it hard to be myself in certain situations. There was even a time when I still sat down on a couch and wondered if I was taking up too much space. But I’ve moved past that feeling. I’m ten times more confident than I was when I was obese. Or am I?
The life that I live is completely different than it was in high school. I entered college as a normal girl. I wasn’t obese, I looked relatively average. I was confident with my new body, and felt comfortable in my clothes. Though, it was weird entering college not realizing that no one looks at me as the former fat girl. Now I’m just a girl, who’s a little too friendly, and a little attractive.
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I said a little. The friendliness I carry from my inner fat girl. I was fat so I couldn’t be a bitch. Not that I wanted to be. I was just always friendly. I think everyone deserves to be treated how I’d like to be treated, so I treat them well. But now that I wasn’t looked at as the obese girl, it led opportunity for me to be looked at as normal, happy go lucky, sometimes shy sometimes confident, bitch. As if I should be saying, “Finally! I’m a real girl! I’m a bitch!” Girls call each other bitches all the time. It’s probably because girls are all bitches in some form or another, but I sure as hell am no Regina George.
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So I get to school and meet a bunch of new people. I hear bitches calling bitches bitches left and right. And I’m sitting there like, “Damn, I guess I’m a bitch too”. If you’re quiet, you’re a bitch. If you’re loud, you’re a bitch. If you’re stylish, you’re a bitch. If you’re boring, skinny, enthusiastic, smart, dumb, you’re probably a bitch. Calling someone a bitch, makes you a bitch. Just sayin, betch.
So since I wasn’t down with being your average bitch, I continuously focused on my health and fitness. Working hard every day to get stronger in the gym, and fitter in the kitchen. I, like every other 20 year old, enjoy going out as well. I’ve found a balance between getting fergalicious (I constantly say the word fergalicious instead of the phrase working out…up in the gym just workin on my fitness. Am I right?) and getting a little shwastey at my local college bars. I’ve figured out who’s meant to be in my life, and who is just not worth it. Some people stick by your side for drinks, some people stick by your side for life. I like the ones who stick by my side for life, while also getting a few drinks along the way.
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