Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Thanksgiving - Lightened!

I'm sure that you are busy getting ready for the ultimate eating day of the year - Thanksgiving! 

For me, the best way to control my eating during the holidays is to make healthier alternatives of my favorite foods. That way I don’t feel a bit of deprivation.  This post contains the best of my favorite tried and true Thanksgiving side dishes! 

Now on to the recipes…ENJOY!

Cranberry Orange Relish

Picture Credit:  Martha Stewart Living
Makes approximately 4 cups of sauce. 
½ cup Honey
3 Tbsps of Stevia
2 cups Orange Juice – I use Trop50 Light Orange Juice
2 Tbsp peeled and grated fresh ginger root
2 Tbsp fresh orange zest
1 cinnamon stick
3 cups fresh cranberries – basically 1 bag
1 tsp sea salt
In a medium saucepan over low heat, combine the honey, stevia and orange juice. Simmer until everything is completely dissolved. Add the ginger, orange zest and cinnamon stick. Stir. Next, add the cranberries and simmer stirring occasionally for 45-60 minutes. The mixture should become thick. Remove from heat and stir in the salt.
This can be made several days in advance and kept in the refrigerator.

There is nothing I love more than a tasty cranberry sauce. It is SO easy to make… and tastes 1000 times better than the canned stuff. This is awesome as a condiment for sandwiches, and even a dessert topping!

Sarah's Stuffing

This is an adaptation of a recipe I found about 5 years ago on www.allrecipes.com. I’ve changed some of the ingredients to my tastes, and lightened it a bit, eliminating unneeded butter, and using reduced-fat sausage.

12 oz Jimmy Dean reduced-fat sausage
2 cups chopped onion
2 apples – peeled, cored, and chopped
2 cups chopped celery
1 Tbsp poultry seasoning
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 cup dried cranberries
14 oz Pre package stuffing mix – like Pepperidge Farm
2 cups fat-free chicken broth
1 Tbsp fresh sage leaves
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet over medium heat cook the sausage until brown. Transfer the sausage to a large bowl. Now, use the same skillet over medium heat and add the onions, apples, celery, and poultry seasoning. Cook, stirring frequently for about 10 minutes. Stir in rosemary, cranberries, and sage.

Mix the onion mixture with the sausage mixture and Stuffing Mix in the large bowl. Add the chicken broth and salt and pepper to taste.

I’ll be honest; I usually don’t stuff the turkey… I actually make this the day before, and then put it in my crock pot on low to reheat on Thanksgiving Day. Easy Peasy… and delicious!

Green Beans with Yellow Pepper Butter
Picture from Better Homes and Gardens
This is a classic recipe that makes an excellent substitution to the traditional Green Bean Casserole that is found on many Thanksgiving dinner tables. This recipe was taken from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, and adapted by me to lighten it up. I think it tastes just as great as the original.

1 Tbsp butter
1 medium yellow sweet pepper, coarsely shredded
4 Tbsps margarine or butter, softened
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
4 cups green beans, trimmed
1 large yellow sweet pepper, cut into thin strips

In a small saucepan melt the 1 tablespoon butter. Add the shredded sweet pepper. Cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until crisp-tender. Set aside. 

In a blender or food processor bowl combine the 4 Tablespoons softened butter and the pine nuts. Cover; blend or process until almost smooth. Add cooked sweet pepper, lemon juice, salt, and black pepper. Cover; blend or process until almost smooth. Set aside. 

In a covered saucepan cook beans in a small amount of boiling water for 12 minutes. Add the sweet pepper strips the last 3 minutes of cooking. Drain the beans and sweet pepper strips. 

To serve, transfer beans and sweet pepper strips to a serving bowl. Add the blended margarine mixture; toss to coat.


Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Baby You're Worth It

You know the song - it's playing in your head right now isn't it?  #sorrynotsorry
But seriously... worth... self-worth.  It's a bigger issue/topic than you probably think.

Right now I want you to go to the mirror and look at yourself.  Can you look at yourself and honestly say "I LOVE YOU!"?

Even though over the last 5+ years I've gotten fatter and fatter (yes shock the "F" word!), I've learned to love myself and treat myself with the respect that I deserve.  Do I always look in the mirror and say "I LOVE YOU!" ?  Nope!  But I try to, and I've learned along the way that I'm worthy of taking care of myself even if I'm overweight.

I've taught myself how to actually apply makeup the right way (Thanks  YouTube)!
I purchased myself some lovely jewelry.
I finally decided to do something about my hairy face (Thanks PCOS) and get it waxed
I learned how to do my brows.
I learned how to dress myself at the weight that I'm at - and look damn good doing it!
I learned to walk with confidence regardless of my size.
I learned to speak up for myself, and be comfortable striking up a conversation with someone new.

Were these things always easy?  Nope.  I mean forcing myself into social situations and striking up new conversations with someone was basically torture.  But you know what? I'm worth it.  I'm fun, I have value to add to someone's life, and I deserve to be heard just like the skinny girl.
I deserve to have kick ass makeup and clothes.
I deserve to have a flattering haircut and be pampered
I deserve a killer pair of boots or heels.
I deserve a full body massage without shame.
I deserve to wear something a little or a lot sexy.
I deserve to walk into a store and not have to shrink to the back to the hidden plus size section!

I'm worth it.
You are worth it!
You deserve it too!  Never forget that.

Because you can't work on the outside until you've worked on the inside.

Now... your mission should you choose to accept it is to write yourself a love letter.  Yep, I said write yourself a love letter.  Then put it away someplace and open it up in around 6-12 months and read it to yourself.

Comment below that you've written yourself a love letter and next week on Wednesday I'll choose 1 person to win a fun beauty product from my stash of things I love!

Now head on over to my Facebook page tonight to get some fashion tips from yours truly!


Friday, October 28, 2016

Friday Cuteness

Nothing more than a little something cute for a Friday.  My girlie got new glasses this week!  I'm biased but isn't she adorable?!?

She is my WORLD!
Everything I do, I do for her - even losing weight.
It took me 5 years to realize that she needs a healthy mama!  I want to be around to love her, care for her, and see her grow up.  There was a reason she made it, and I know and believe in my heart that God has some HUGE plans for her!  I certainly don't want to miss that.

Lean By 2017!  I'm doing it!  I'm giving it my all!
I'm doing it for me... of course, but I'm doing it for her!
Watch me... or join me!  Let's do this!


Monday, October 24, 2016

Gone Missing

Missing since August 8th...

19 pounds
18 inches
size 24 pants/jeans
size 3xl shirts

But that's not all... Also missing...
an addiction to sugar
a seatbelt extender
constant exhaustion
plantar fasciitis
body aches
an addiction to caffeine
irregular cycles
fast Food
too much alcohol

And don't forget our friends...

Have you found any of these things that have gone missing from my life?
If so, please don't bother returning them!


Thursday, October 20, 2016

Throwback Thursday - Forget Past Mistakes

I forgot what it used to be like to sit and stare at a blank page and want to write so many things, but it's impossible to get them out of your head and onto the page!  It's overwhelming and yet it feels OH SO GOOD to have this outlet again!  Thank you for those that are reading along again and have already reached out to me.  It has been so fun to reconnect with you!

So where do I possibly even start with where my life has been the last 5 years... there's way too much for you to catch up on.  So I've decided a blog theme day is in order - Throwback Thursday - to recap certain parts of the last 5 years of my life.  I hesitate where to start but maybe I'll start with surgeries.

Not mine, Lily's.

Over a span of less than 3 years my daughter had 7 surgeries... yep 7 - you read that right.  Let's see if I can remember:

  1. Ears
  2. Ears/Adenoids
  3. Hygroma Removal - Back of Head
  4. Ears
  5. Ears/Sinuses
  6. Hygroma Removal - Part 2
  7. Ears/Tonsils

Just writing that all seems a little unbelievable.  Sure, I know that there are kids that have WAY more surgeries and most of hers were certainly "routine", but when your baby is going under anesthesia and a knife it takes an emotional toll on you.

First, you pretend it doesn't bother you.  You say things like - oh it's no big deal!  You act brave, you act like it's just "normal".

Then you tell yourself that this will probably be the last one, so just hang in there.  Make it through this and you are golden!

Finally you realize it isn't the last one and the time comes where your preschooler has to stay overnight in the hospital and is in excruciating pain, you sit there helpless and bust out in tears because there is nothing you can do, and this - this awful dark place has become more the norm than the exception!  So you eat 5 brownies with thick, fudge frosting, and half a pizza and wash it down with 7up mixed secretly with Vodka and it dulls your pain - momentarily.  And you gain 8-10 or so pounds.

8-10 - 7 times .... that 60+ pounds of weight you've gained in addition to the 60 or so pounds of "baby weight" you never lost in the first place.  And the world grows a little darker...your clothes grow a little tighter...  your skin is awful because you don't take care of yourself.  You buy one of the biggest sizes of jeans you've ever worn in your life.  You're disgusted with yourself.  Some days you hate yourself.  Your eyes are puffy because you cry more than you don't...

And one day you look in the mirror - like really look in the mirror and take stock of everything and you see this...

Summer 2016
Where this person once stood...

Goal weight - Summer 2010

Every.single.day I am reminded of my failures when I look at myself in the mirror.  Because gaining weight back after a HUGE loss has to be one of the worst things I've ever experienced emotionally.  It's shameful!  I'm still wrapping my head around it.  It's screws with your mind.

This morning - I came across this quote in my timehop on Facebook from before Lily was born

Forget... forget and forgive myself.  The past is the past.  I have no ability to change it or control it.  But I CAN move forward.  We can all move forward.  I'm going to do this!!!  And so can you!


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