Friday, November 29, 2013

Fajita Seasoning

Have you ever been trying to come up with what to make for dinner and you have some meat, and decide to make tacos? But you don't have any taco or fajita seasoning? Well, I have had that problem, and I also think that regular taco seasoning has some wheat in it, which Maddy can't have. So I found this amazing mix of spices for a fajita seasoning mix, and I have made it a couple of times, and it is excellent! I have used it for chicken and beef, and I think the beef I have used is called "carne asada" or something like that. It is at Aldi's and is already cut into slices, and the fajita seasoning is amazing on it! This mix also has corn starch in it, so it adds a thickness to the meat, and comes out absolutely delicious!! It makes about 4 servings (equivalent to 4 store-bought packages), so you can use some, and store it away for the next time you need it!

Fajita Seasoning
via Pinterest via Jonesin' For Taste

4 Tbsp. cornstarch
3 Tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. salt
4 tsp. paprika
4 tsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. chicken bouillon, or 3 crushed chicken bouillon cubes
2 tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. cumin

Just put all of the ingredients into an airtight container and shake until mixed. About 2 1/2-3 tablespoons of this mixture is equivalent to 1 store-bought package, and the blogger said she uses about 3 heaping tablespoons per one pound of meat. I did the same, and it turned out wonderful!! And this is also gluten-free, so you don't have to worry about anything being in there that your gluten-intolerant friends and family can't have!! If you click on the above link for her blog, you can also get the recipe for taco seasoning as well. Enjoy!!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Thanksgiving food (and Gluten-Free Options)!

If you have read my blog before, or know me, you know that I love to cook, and I absolutely love this time of year where baking and cooking abound, and Thanksgiving week is especially fun and delicious. I thought I would share what I'm making this year, and perhaps some links to things I have made in the past if you wanted to check those out. I did make the turkey about 3 times in the past, and have fond memories of it, but now that we live near my in-laws, my MIL cooks the turkey in her huge roaster so I don't have to do that part. I do kind of miss it, but I also love making lots of sides, so it's fun!! This year I am making:

I usually make the stuffing, and I usually try different recipes. This year I am excited to try a new recipe that is in the slow cooker, and thought that would be one I wouldn't have to fuss with closer to eating time. So here is the link for that from, my go-to for recipes!!
Corn Souffle
I have blogged about this recipe before. It is a super old recipe that is out of our old church cookbook from when I was little, and my grandma has made it for years and years, and is a fond childhood memory. It is so good, that I make 2 so that we have enough for everyone, plus leftovers for dinner! It is that good!!

Cranberry Sauce
I have also blogged about this cranberry sauce. I don't think there are too many who love cranberry sauce, besides my husband and I, at our Thanksgiving, but we love it, and this recipe is oh, so good. I usually only choose recipes from that have lots of reviews and really high ratings, and when I found this recipe the other day, it didn't have the most reviews or the highest ratings, but we love it, and I make it every year. So that's good enough for me. The spices in it are amazing.
Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
This is a recipe I got from my dearest friend in Chicago, Emily, and I have made it several times. I actually don't like cinnamon rolls, but these pumpkin cinnamon rolls, with yeast and pudding mixtures, among other ingredients, are to-die-for!! I am excited to make them, and eat them!! I am making them for the morning, while we are cooking thanksgiving food!! Here is the link. And here also is the link to the recipe on my blog.

I have made this applesauce recipe for years because I just love the combination of cinnamon and cloves in it! My family loves it, and it is nice because it is one thing that can be made well before Thanksgiving. You could even make it a month before, and freeze it!! Also, it's on my blog.
Broccoli Cheese Casserole
While I have never made this casserole before, and this usually wouldn't appear on our Thanksgiving buffet table, I thought it sounded good and I know Maddy loves this kind of thing. I'm using GF creamy mushroom soup (see below) for this so she can have it.

Pecan Pie
Oh, the blessed pecan pie. I never even remember having one until I was an adult. And then realized I didn't know what I was missing. I have really only ever made Pioneer Woman's pecan pie, because it is easy and always turns out great!! I make her Perfect Pie Crusts ahead of time, freeze them, and then use them for my pies. They always turn out great, too!! Here is the link for the pie and the crusts.
Crustless Cranberry Pie
I am hoping that this pie will become a new, easy favorite. It looks delicious on and I'm not making it because it is crustless (it isn't GF), I'm making it because I love cranberries, it is easy, it had very high ratings on AR, and it looks like cake!!
Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie
I am not even sure which recipe to be exact I will be using for my standard pumpkin pie. Probably something from AR that has high ratings, lol. The key is just to make a regular 'ole pumpkin pie that Maddy can enjoy, since she loves them!! And with the GF pie crust mix that I am getting from Braum's!!

Gluten-Free Thanksgiving
Since this will be Maddy's first Thanksgiving with her gluten intolerance, I have to be creative and still make it special for her and have her favorite Thanksgiving food! She doesn't like stuffing so I don't have to worry about that. She can already have the turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, and applesauce. I am also making a broccoli-cheese casserole with gluten-free creamy mushroom soup that I found at a local grocery store! I will be bringing one of her GF rolls that I get from Walmart. For dessert, I am making her favorite, Pumpkin Pie, with some GF pie crusts that I found the mix for at Braum's, which is carrying a whole line of GF products now. I will also probably pick up some GF cinnamon rolls or donuts for her for that morning, since I am making Pumpkin cinnamon rolls for everyone else. And for the gravy, I am going to bring some corn flour to add to the gravy so she can have some thick, GF gravy. So she should be good with all of that food!

Well, I hope you all have a very Merry Thanksgiving, and are looking forward to all of the family-togetherness, food, and gratitude that goes along with it!!

 "in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:18



Friday, November 8, 2013

Workout Regimen

Well, I thought I would share some of the workout routines that I do, just if anyone was curious as to what I do for my 6 day/week workouts. When I first started working out after I signed up for my weight loss accountability group, I was using the workout dvds that I already had, i.e., Tae Bo, P90X, Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred, and maybe some others. Naptime became my personal time that I loved! I was always a napper, and always felt like I needed a nap daily. But once I realized that naptime was really the best time for me to workout, I came to really enjoy my time to myself and doing something that was fun! I also would throw in the occasional Zumba workout at the Y or just going to the Y to run on the treadmill or do the elliptical. I also love running and would get out there more often to run 3-4 miles on the trail behind our house.
After about 2 months of our weight loss group (originally, it was suppose to be a 60 day program, but we all were enjoying it and benefitting from it so much, we decided to keep it going!), I was so excited to order a Challenge Pack through, which is the company that our Coach in our group works for. They have products such as Insanity, P90X, Combat, and TurboFire. My birthday was coming up, and for my birthday I wanted to get a Challenge Pack that included Shakeology (an amazing, super healthy chocolate shake with superfoods and vitamins) and a workout series called Combat. It is a Les Mills program who is also the creator of Body Pump if anyone is familiar with that. It was an amazing 60 Day program that really shaped and toned my body. It was pretty hardcore, but the results were worth it. I still love it; it is really fun and the variety kept me wanting to keep doing it, since it comes with 7 different workouts.
 A little bit after that was done, I ordered another Challenge Pack that is called TurboFire and that one hasn't been my favorite, just because it is more "dancy" and fast paced, and I'm used to more hardcore boxing and "manlier" type stuff. I know that sounds weird, because I'm not a tomboy in any way, shape, or form, but I just got used to the other types of workouts with P90X, Tae Bo, and Combat, so that's what I was used to. But it is still a very high intensity workout and leaves you dripping and having burned a lot of calories. And a lot of people really like it.
I have been longing to get out on the trail and run, but it is hard to squeeze that in with the hours that Tad works and now with it getting dark so early and being so busy!!!
As of now, I mix up my daily workouts with the dvds that I have. I will mix them up depending on what kind of workout I want for that day, focusing on cardio, arms, abs, super hard cardio, HIIT, or the days where I just don't have much time but want to get a good workout in. This week I was very sore from a hard workout, so I tried to do some cardio without much strength in it, to rest my muscles. I recently tried a new workout class at the Y called RIPPED which is awesome, and I have been trying to get back to that class. Lots of intervals, strength, endurance, high intensity cardio...right up my alley!! And my friend who teaches it does an awesome job!! So for anyone in Enid, go take RIPPED with Autumn!!
I have taken before and "after" pictures. I wouldn't consider right now my after, just my "mid-point" where I can see huge change in pictures, but I'm definitely not where I want to be. But I have been amazed with the results of the definition in my arms, legs, and even in my stomach (the flab in my stomach, ha ha). I can even see a difference in my face from last year! And I love putting away my "fat clothes" and digging through old clothes that I never thought I would wear again. Love that. So overall, I am quite happy to see the results that working so hard for months has created. But I am disappointed in myself that I haven't had the same kind of discipline with eating as I did at first, which is a huge reason that I lost the weight. Also, I have a friend (Lori, see below for a link) who dropped 60 pounds in 6 months without working out, so I truly believe that eating healthy is like 95% the key to losing weight. But I also love to workout, know it's super good for my body, and love the toning I have gotten from doing it. And maybe I would have lost more weight but the muscle I have gained has prevented me from losing the weight, but I am happy with the muscle! So I will leave you with some links for some different things I have mentioned here if you are interested in anything that has helped me on my weight loss journey! And feel free to comment below if you have used anything that has worked for you regarding weight loss/exercise/getting healthy!!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Recent Weight Loss

Tad and I after finishing a 4th of July 5k

I have struggled with my weight for years, but especially since having Madelynn 7 years ago. For years, I lived in a state of disappointment with myself for keeping that weight on, and I was quick to complain about how I felt about how I looked, but slow to do anything about it. How much time and energy I wasted just complaining about it when I could have just done something about it! But it is and always has been a battle of the mind. It is always harder to choose those healthy options and to sacrifice than to just reach for the bag of chips and go to town. But I needed something to change.
The huge (God-send) thing I needed to start my change was an online support group through Facebook. I reached out to a friend who had a Facebook page about being healthy and fit. She is a Beachbody consultant and I didn't have the money to get one of their programs but she decided to start a free accountability group as long as we committed to logging our food through My Fitness Pal, working out (15 minute minimum) 5 times a week, and we held each other accountable through our Facebook page and commented on at least one post for that day. Well, let me just tell you that that accountability was just what I needed! I was hesitant and scared that I had just committed to those things, but the results were so worth it. Since April, I have been working out 6 days a week, logging my food (not as regularly, but that is the goal), part of my accountability group, and to date have lost about 15 pounds. I still have about 15 pounds to go, and the process is slow because my eating hasn't always been the best, but it is progress. And it feels so good to accomplish that.
The feel after a workout. Carving out that time to do something good for your body. The amazing toning I am starting to see all over my body that is paying off visibly! Having to find new, smaller clothes that I haven't fit into for years, and putting away the big clothes. Something I didn't think would happen. The support of our group; and this group of ladies has become like family. They are believers in a big God and we encourage each other and it has become about way more than even our weight loss. We have become a group that can share anything that is going on in our lives and we can have instant prayer warriors at our fingertips! It is truly of God!

This past summer, I also had a chance to read "Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God, Not Food" by Lysa Terkeurst. I had never heard of her before, but apparently she has written other great books and has a radio ministry. Her book was really good! I had never read a book about food before, especially one having to do with God. It really made me think, and I had the privilege of finishing it on our family vacation and passing it on to my aunt! I love passing on books that I have read and love to other people! Here are some quotes from the book:

"It is good for God's people to be put in a place of slight desperation. Only then can we be empty enough and open enough to discover the holiness we were made for."

"When we are stuffed...we don't recognize the deeper spiritual battle going on."

"Satan wants to keep us distracted by chasing one temporary filling after another. God wants us to step back and let the emptying process have its way until we start desiring a holier approach to life."

"The gap between our frail discipline and God's available strength is bridged with nothing but a simple choice on our part to pursue this holiness."

"Moment by moment we have the choice to live in our own strength and risk failure or to reach across the gap and grab hold of God's unwavering strength."

"When we're defeated and stuck in issues of the flesh, it's really hard to fully and passionately follow hard after God."

"I can make the choice to identify my shortcomings and, instead of using them against myself, hand them over to Jesus and let Him chisel my rough places. The grace-filled way Jesus chisels is so vastly different than the way I beat on myself. My beatings are full of exaggerated lies that defeat. His chiseling is full of truth that sets me free."

Sorry there were so many! They are just all so good, and I didn't want to leave any out!!

I am not saying that it isn't a battle. Or it isn't hard. I have to choose daily which path I will take - one of discipline or one of mindlessly eating without tracking calories or caring how much I eat. And if I was more disciplined, it would have been more than 15 pounds by now. But without my accountability group, I think I would have given up several times by now. But they keep me going. They remind me to keep going, that we can be disciplined. That it is worth the fight. That we can see results, and make better choices, and focus on Wellness instead of Dieting. It is a lifestyle choice that needs to continue, not a few months of agony to lose the weight and then go back to how I used to eat. And I love to eat! And bake! And pig out! And I still eat bad or binge or have bad moments, but I hope to have more good moments than bad, and to know when to stop.
So it is a constant battle. But having people behind you is a huge encouragement, and I am still in the fight!! Maybe in the future I will share a blog post about what kinds of workouts I do and how I got great results! Here's to a healthier holiday season!!