Back On Track Once Again/ Breaking Records/A Healthier “Us” Anniversary

After two weeks of meal time chaos, I feel like I am finally back on track. Everyone was home and accounted for so I knew exactly how much I needed to prepare each night for dinner this week. This makes this wife/mom happy.

Things that did not make all that happy this week was the fact that we broke records here in Green Bay with our newest snowstorm. It was the biggest snowstorm in over 100 years coming in at a whopping 24.5 inches in 48 hours….I guess winter is not quite done with us yet.

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Anyhow, back to better topic, this week we tried two new recipes and one new product I have been dying to try out on the family. Here, take a look….

Saturday: grilled chicken brats, grilled zucchini, and perogies

Sunday: Lentil veggie soup and chicken pita sandwiches

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Monday: slow cooker burrito bowls(new recipe that is a keeper for sure)

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Tuesday: dynamite stovetop casserole

***This recipe was very tasty and basic. As my boys both commented during dinner, mom why did you think this would be a keeper, you can do so much better than this on your own? Well, now, didn’t that make me feel good…although, I thought the recipe itself was quite good. Yes, basic but still good. And how often do you make a recipe that actually turns out to look just like the picture in the book?

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Wednesday: chili stuffed sweet potatoes

***I loved this so much that I needed to make it again so soon after the first time so my husband could enjoy it this time also. Last time I made it he was traveling for work and missed out.

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Thursday: out….tonight plans got scrapped for some unexpected events that happened which left no time for dinner preparations

Friday: red lentil pasta with ham, zucchini, spinach,and parmesan cheese sauce

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Have you tried red lentil pasta yet? This was our first time and I must say, it won’t be our last for sure. It tastes no different and the texture is very close to regular pasta that it was very acceptable. All of us said this is a good healthier option in pasta dishes….yeah, another win for mom!!!!

Swapping something unhealthy in your diet that you have eaten and enjoyed for years is often hard and will, without a doubt, be different BUT change is hard and sometimes has to happen. Whether for health reasons, allergies, or you are just getting on the healthier eating train, I believe you mentally have to prepare yourself for the reality of what I eat now is slowly killing me and I HAVE to change to better myself. If this mental transformation don’t happen then you will never find something you can live with in place of another product you have eaten for years and is bad for you in some way. I touch on this subject because coming up here in a few days we will hit the 1 year anniversary of eating completely artificial sweetener free in our home. Yes, at the time it was for major medical issues my husband was having. However, now those issues have all cleared up and he is feeling fabulous. We now all find ourselves reading the label and often times putting a product back on the shelf to find a healthier alternative. I guess maybe one has to be miserable enough to want to make a healthier change before it can happen long term…but for us here, only one of us was suffering with issues and instead of signaling him out we all made the change as a family unit and we all could not be happier.

 

 

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Anyone Else Waiting For Summer?

You know when all the snow finally melts in your yard, you have made the Spring to do list, you have dusted off the patio furniture and are ready to bring it outdoors, and you are so ready to pack away scarves, hats, gloves, and everything that adds bulk in the winter and then you wake up one morning to another full layer of snow covering everything in sight???? This was me a few mornings ago here in Green Bay! IMG_0877

I was bummed. Yes, I know we have gotten snow before…..many times in April, heck even May, but come on already. I am done with winter. So done. It’s really no joke when we here in the midwest say we have to train to get back into shape for the summer season. Winters are long, boring, we eat comfort food just to stay warm, and then before we know it, we are 10 lbs heavier, our joints hurt, and staying up past 8 p.m. is literally a chore even though the sun is still shining brightly. I keep telling my self it’s coming just hang in there.

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Alrighty, I just had to get that rant off my chest. So this weeks meals turned out to be a disaster…but not on my part. It all began Easter Sunday about dinner time when my husband got the call that he was once again was needed in Tennessee and would be leaving on the 7a.m. flight out of Green Bay. UGGGG, we first thought it was an April fools joke, but unfortunately it was not! So even though I had the menu planned and all the groceries bought for the week, I replanned very quickly, and winged it all week.

Here is what this week was in meals:

Saturday: unwrapped egg roll bowls….they were such a big hit last time I had to make them once again

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Sunday: egg and roasted potato bake with ham along with roasted green beans (Easter)IMG_7009

Monday: here is where the week went down hill…at least in the meal area.

Today we ate pasta salads that I had prepared for both my husband and my son’s lunches for the week.

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Tuesday: I opted to try a jar simmer seasoning I picked up on my last trip down to Trader Joe’s called Masala Simmer Sauce. I prepared this with carrots, chicken, and spinach. It was ok, not great, but coming from a jar it was edible. Would I buy it again? Probably not. IMG_0871

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Wednesday: Out for my monthly dinner with my brother

Thursday: bean burger wraps, chips and salsa

Friday: out

Food prep this week was a bit all over the place. I, like I said above, threw together two different pasta salads for lunches for my boys this week. I also roasted potatoes for a casserole and boiled a dozen eggs for myself  for before my morning workouts.

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I also made up 6 muffin egg sandwiches to toss in the freezer and reheat for fast breakfasts. I love doing this….it so easy and so much less expensive than the store bought premade breakfast sandwiches that have so many other ingredients in them that you really do not know what your truly eating.

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Mom….I’ll Make Dinner Tonight!

Apparently, many of you still would like to see this weekly posting about what I prepare for our meals so I will continue writing these. However, I cannot promise they will be as exciting come summer time since I would much rather be outside than in my kitchen cooking. That being said, with the way we now eat, I will still have to be in the kitchen somewhat everyday and would be happy to share what I come up with to eat with all of you.

Anyhow,  it’s been an exciting week for us all here. So much happened on all angles of life that the week flew by. Stressful but all good at the same time. Everyone in my family is finally happier and then I got my bonus for the week when my son announced to me that he wanted to prepare dinner one evening. I was all for it. I had mentioned to him I wanted to try making my own butter chicken and he took this suggestion and ran with it. It turned out really good and surprisingly enough even my husband liked it….since he is not a big fan of this type of food.

Here is what meals were at our house this week:

Saturday: homemade salmon patties…one on toast and one in a spinach wrap, with dill yogurt sauce, and potato leek soup (meatless technically, but it was fish)

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Sunday: grilled chicken brats, basil dill coleslaw, and perogies

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Monday: butter chicken, broccoli, and bulgar with a side of grilled naan

***You may ask why not on rice as its traditionally served. We have been doing our best not to eat rice since this is a high inflammatory food that seems to be a big trigger food for me. So we have been trying other grains and bulgar is one of our favorites.

***Also, I cannot take credit for this meal since our son prepared this for us for dinner tonight. He is quite the cook when he has the time which makes his mom pretty darn proud.

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Tuesday: cheese tortellini with veggie marinara sauce and grilled flat bread (meatless)

Wednesday: chicken and homemade mac and cheese

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Thursday: pepperoni pizza quesadillas
We changed plans quickly due to some family logistics and had to celebrate a birthday dinner a week early so our son could join us. Sushi is what my hubby (the birthday boy) chose for his birthday dinner. IMG_9812

Friday: out

Food prep for the upcoming week looked a bit like this. I finally made my own spicy black bean burgers. We have yet to eat them but if they taste good I will share my recipe with you all in an upcoming post. If they are a failure, then back to the lab (my kitchen) it is to try again.

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I also prepared some roasted veggies, quinoa, and an asian type sauce to drizzle over this for my lunches.

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And the usual pre chopped veggies and hard boiled eggs were also prepared in advance for the upcoming week.

 

A Good Mixture Of Meals

When I meal plan I try hard to mix things up and have a bit of everything during the week. If it were up to me I would probably stick to all mexican meals but it’s not just me after all. So this week I really outdid myself with bit of everything. Plus, to top this off, three were new recipes and all successful at that.

Saturday: Mexican lentil soup….a new recipe and a wonderful one at that. I think I have my husband hooked on lentils…..this I assure you is an accomplishment!!!! (meatless)

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Sunday: Unwrapped egg roll bowls with lime….another new recipe and another BIG winner. Truthfully, I read a few different recipes and then made my own up according to what my family likes. So I better write this one down before I forget what I did since it ended up being delicious. IMG_0723

Monday: chipotle chili with corn bread IMG_0725

Tuesday: Crock pot braised beef over fettuccine with parmesan cheese…another new recipe….it’s rare that I prepare beef…but it was amazing and a pleasant surprise.

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Wednesday: lentil and ground turkey nachos (This only happened thanks to my husband and son since I was feeling really rough by this time in the week. They prepared and cleaned up….I fell asleep on the couch when my kids left for the day. Apparently, what ever I woke up with Sunday morning has gotten worse.)

Thursday: bean burger wraps with fresh fruit(meatless)(I was still feeling rough, so quick and easy was the name of the game for tonights dinner)

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Friday: leftovers since illness was still lingering

Even though I probably did not get the full experience of tasting all my new recipes this week due to illness, I can say they were still all winners. However, if not for my boys and my trusty old crock pot I would have struggled to get dinner on the table most nights this week with the illness that had me down and out by the end of each day. So thankfully, when in need, I can turn to them to help….both to cook and to clean up.

Spring Is Here….But We Are Still So Limited

According to the calendar Spring arrived a few days ago and I clearly am not feeling the excitement yet. Yes, we have been able to get outside for short bursts of time here and there but come on already…I am so over winter!

One weekend we got out and walked in just sweatshirts on a local trail.

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The next weekend my husband wanted to try out his new fishing reel and I wanted to wander the wooded area near the rivers edge while he did this. We both needed winter jackets once again unlike the weekend before we only needed sweatshirts.

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We arrived and he balanced on ice along the shore hoping it did not break

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while I only made it a little ways down the trail before hitting snow and ice.

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And that’s when I noticed this fella fishing in the river with neoprene waiters on. BRRRRR!!!! I don’t care how thick and warm those waiters are….there is no way he was not freezing his %$##@ off. In my eyes this was crazy….in a fishermans eyes this is dedication. All I can say is I sure hope he caught something for all his effort.

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On a brighter note…and much warmer topic…our gym got an overhaul and I could not be more thrilled. I walked in a week after missing out for illness and wow I was excited. Almost 15 years ago now I began my health journey and my first piece of exercise equipment was a stepper at a very small gym. Then I left that gym and never found another with this piece of equipment until now….our gym has two brand new seated step machines. WHOOHOOO!!!!

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Plus, they added 3 of my next favorite machines…rowers!

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So now when I go to my early morning workout session I mix things up a bit. I am all about cardio and do weights simply because I have to. And you all know if you’ve been following for awhile that when we train for our vacations we utilize real concrete steps at a local high school. Concrete steps=torture!

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We have been seen here a lot with boots on doing flights of stairs in the heat and humidity many times. Well…..never again! I can just go to the gym now and step until I cannot step anymore. And I can even wear my hiking boots if I wish to get strange looks from other gym members which I may just do. After all, you cannot climb mountains with out strong legs now can you.

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Sunshine Is The Best Medicine

A little over a week ago I came down with some virus that has caused me to uproot everything normal in my life. I have not worked since last Wednesday, I have not seen the gym in over a week, and I have barely gotten any exercise at all since breathing is something you need to be able to do to exercise. And in the kitchen, well thank goodness for my husband and son or we would have been eating from a can for at least three nights this past week.

This past weekend I started feeling somewhat better finally and really felt the need to get out and suck up some of the wonderful Wisconsin weather we had. Sunshine for me is often the best medicine. Although, I knew it would not be a distance hike by any means I wanted to walk outside and feel the sun on my face. So we did and it felt so wonderful. We arrived at our favorite spring time trail and saw no snow, a few people who also felt the need to venture out, and still ice fishermen capturing what is left of the season.

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Like us, we saw one couple out looking for the eagles that frequent this area. Shortly after we began walking we located them. Usually they would be up in the trees but this time they were out on the ice enjoying a meal the fishermen left behind for them. They were quite a distance away but still fascinating. IMG_0735

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It was wonderful to be out again. Everything is beginning to come alive after a long winter.

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All in all our weekend was not bad. Yes, I am feeling a bit under the weather yet but so much better than a few days ago. Hopefully my energy level comes back quick enough that I can once again return to my early morning gym sessions and keep up with all my little tykes that return this morning.

 

 

Cabin Fever…..This Is Real People!!!

They say a broken heart is a true condition some people suffer from. I also believe that cabin fever should also be on the list of real diagnostic conditions. For me, and I know many others feel this way also, cabin fever is real. And the past two weeks it has been pretty severe. My moods are all over, my energy level I need to dig deep for, and my sleep is some nights great and some nights not so great. And when I listen to the weather…..well, it’s normally best not to listen to the weather.

Even though temps lately have been tolerable, I know living in WI the weather can turn back to full blown winter in a matter of hours so I try not to get to excited too early.  However, that didn’t stop me from taking my whole gang outside to play for the first time in months. Oh, it was glorious!!!! And it also gave me a big case of cabin fever!!!!IMG_0513

Like I said, I have been struggling and I needed to make a snap decision to turn life back around and get some air. All this took was a bit of thought, a quick email to my husband that I needed a break from life, and a few things thrown into an overnight bag…..and I was off on an overnight adventure to find myself again. Saturday morning I quickly threw together a penne pasta casserole for Sunday when I returned home to toss into the oven for dinner. This way I would not need to hurry home for any reason….and walla we were off to find sunshine, fresh air, and hopefully open water and not ice bergs. IMG_0520

Like usual, I chose the destination and I wanted somewhere I had never been before. I also knew I needed to be around water(two places that bring me peace are one around water and  two atop mountains…..WI has a ton of water and no mountains so my options were limited) and I needed everything in walking distance since I hate driving in strange cities. I made some strict rules for my husband to follow since he asked to join me in my 24 hrs. of solitude…..no job talk, I get to choose all the restaurants, I get to walk as far I my body will let me, and I get control of the remote control when we finally do decide to rest. He happily agreed and then was allowed to join me in my adventure.

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My destination ended up being Port Washington,WI. I had never been here and neither had my husband. IMG_0558

Upon arrival, it was sunny, gorgeous, and the ice had all melted and left open water and miles and miles of harbor walk for us to enjoy.

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We walked mostly paved walkways but we also did climb some pretty big boulders to make our way out to some of the lake markers that I don’t know know if we should have but we did anyhow. There were no Do Not Enter signs but clearly no one else was taking this route except us. It felt so good to be alive and breathing fresh air again that I really did not care if we would have found the game warden/or the dock master waiting for us when we returned.

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We explored for miles…..we saw so much beauty and I even got to sit on one of the piers for a bit and just let my mind clear itself.

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We paid tribute to a fellow kayaker by climbing to the top of his memorial gazebo which personally, could not have been placed on a better part of land. It overlooks where he lost his life and this is somewhere that can honor him and his love for paddling forever. Being a kayaker myself, I can truly see why he was paddling the waters of Lake Michigan….so gorgeous.

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After all this walking, more sunshine that I have gotten on my face in over 6 months, and even a bit shopping on the historic street next to our hotel….we were tired. We checked into our hotel located right on the harbor walk and walked to dinner before turning in for the evening. And believe it or not….I could not find a single thing on television to keep my interest so I handed over the remote control to my husband with a kiss goodnight….and that was that.

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I will soon fill you all in on where we all ate and the absolutely fabulous meals we had in this area of the city. We also already have plans to return as a family. Only next time, fishing poles, tackle, cameras, tripods, picnic blankets, and coolers will all be added to the packing list. Maybe even a few kayaks, paddles, and PFD’s.