Cinnamon Raisin Overnight Oats

For this last overnight oats recipe I kept it pretty simple. Most families will have all these ingredients in their homes which is always a bonus.

I just want to add that you should really get creative when you try these recipes. Kids may love mini chocolate chips added to their oats. Adults may like more bold spices in their mixtures. You will never know what works until you try it, so just go with it and see what happens.

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Cinnamon Raisin Overnight Oats

1/2 cup old fashioned oats

sprinkle of cinnamon

1 TBSP raisins

1 tsp. ground flax seed

1 TBSP. brown rice syrup or honey

3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

Mix your dry ingredients all together and put them into your jars. Add the almond milk, shake and refrigerate overnight. In the morning heat the mixture for 1-2 minutes and enjoy.

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Getting Your Significant Other On The Healthy Bandwagon

Whether it be your husband, wife, or significant other, if one part of the pair is trying to be healthier, I think it’s only normal to want the other part of you to be healthier also.

The big question is, how to make this happen? Honestly, you can’t unless they are ready willing and able. Sometimes just you being healthy and them seeing the benefits of your progress is enough to persuade them to give it a try. If they see the rewards of you feeling better, having more energy and even losing weight,they may be more apt to giving it a try.

When I first started to change to a healthier lifestyle, my husband was not into any changes what so ever. After a few months, and a not so great doctor appointment, he came home and said we needed to change some things with him. By this time, I had already lost a good amount of weight and had started walking for exercise. We agreed that he would start walking with me twice a week for two miles. We also agreed that we would not cut red meat totally out of his diet, but would have it no more than twice a week. As far as the snacks that my husband loved, they almost all changed. Chips turned into baked chips, ramen noodles were banned from the house, he rarely had the pleasure of cookies being in the house, and eating an entire frozen pizza was never going to happen again. Oh, and his beloved deep fryer went to the city dump.Ultimately, he adjusted fairly good to all these changes.

We added more veggies to our meals and had healthier snacks readily available to grab and go.

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Today he is walking with me almost on a daily basis and if we are not walking we are doing some other activity. I still to this day ask him to join the gym I belong to, but so far he continues to turn me down. That’s alright though because we have accomplished what we were trying to do which is making our family healthier.

Now, there are a few tricks that you can try if your significant other is picky about what they like to eat or do for exercise.  You can easily bake things only using egg whites and not the entire egg. If you need something crunchy, try panko crumbs and baking the items instead of breading and deep frying. In some recipes applesauce can be substituted for the oil that’s called for in the recipe. Substitute ground turkey for ground beef. It is very easy to hide veggies in casseroles like spinach or zucchini in lasagna, finely chopped carrots in chili or a thin layer of hummus in wraps, etc..

When suggesting exercise, don’t suggest it during his/her favorite television show or when it’s 90 degrees outside.  Suggest it at a time when nothing else is really happening, you have a better chance of getting a positive response. Make exercise more fun than actual exercise. Suggest trying a new sport like tennis, bike riding, find a pool with open swim times in your area, go hike and area trail, learn to geocache, try basket ball at a near by park with hoops, try frisbee. There are so many things you could do and all the while be getting exercise.

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Concentrate on starting out slow and don’t force them to do it, because they will never stick to it. I will admit, I was pretty lucky, both my husband and son just sort of followed along when I decided to make my lifestyle change. We have learned so many new sports and activities, and are so much happier because of our new way of life. Not everyone is going to feel this way at first. That’s ok. You do what you need to do for yourself and if they like the change they see in you maybe they will follow along for the adventure.

Healthy Lifestyle vs. Dieting/ Dealing with Hypoglycemia

I can’t believe the number of people that have told me they are going to try a new diet. Doesn’t it always seem that someone is on one diet or another? Honestly, I think there are enough different ones out there that a person could be on a new diet monthly. This is just so overwhelming to me!!!

Maybe I was lucky, when I achieved my weight loss years ago, I truthfully did not find it difficult to eat healthy. I simply just changed the way I ate. Not a hard concept. I knew the junk I was eating and simply stopped eating it.

Yes, of course, I craved things that I gave up, like chips, cheese (I do live in Wisconsin), grilled hotdogs, etc. Then I searched around and found replacements for all these items. The things I could not replace, I had a bite of and left the rest for someone else.

I really never understood dieting. Once you “START” a diet, you eventually have to “END” a diet. I wanted my weight loss to be lifelong, so I never wanted that “END” day to come. My solution was to change my lifestyle, not start a diet.

Many will blame their husband, wife or children. So and so always has to have this or that in the house. Kids like there snack foods, husbands like their chips, wives like their chocolate. So be it. Find healthier alternatives. Learn portion sizes, and stick to them. Let’s face it, chocolate is healthy in small portions, baked chips are better than regular chips and kids eat what mom or dad buy for them. In other words, if they can’t see it, they can’t eat it. If they are are hungry and offered healthier options they will eat them.

One of the hardest things I had to learn was that every time we had an outing planned we brought a cooler full of healthy options. It is not easy to feed a family healthy on the road. Another hurdle was eating out. Portion sizes at restaurants are enormous. When we would eat out, I used to cut everything in half and only eat half my meal. The rest was brought home for another meal.

I often ask myself why people do this to themselves. Go on a diet, go off a diet. Loose weight and feel great, just to turn around and gain it back when the diet is done. Just make a lifestyle change instead. It’s your life to change.

This is how I lost weight. No calorie counting, no special diet, no surgery. I have been struggling lately with hypoglycemia. I found myself researching different strategies, diets and foods that help solve some of the issues that come along with this frustrating condition. Then I thought to myself, what am I doing? I am not going to try any diet. No way, I can do this myself. My biggest hurdle is I need to eat every 3-4 hours, regardless if I am hungry or not (according to all the experts and doctors). This is not something that makes me happy! I have trained myself to eat only when hungry and at no other times.

I eat a balance diet and exercise daily. I have come to love exercise and my active lifestyle and will not let this condition change the way I do things. (Remember, I am a redhead and am very stubborn) I have learned that I do need to feed my body when it tells me it needs to eat, although, I don’t always agree with it. So, I try and feed it healthy options and will change some of my eating habits to adjust to this condition but no new “diet plan” is going to happen.

I have come to realize I need to have a small snack everywhere I am, just in case things get delayed and I can not make it home within that 3-4 hours. I have a snack in my purse and in our vehicles. When we leave home for any larger amount of time I now grab what we all know as “mom’s snack bag.” It hangs on the hook right next to the door leading out of our home. Always accessible and easy to grab. (That’s it, on my husband’s back, my emergency bag of snacks.)

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Yes, I have even reached the point where, if I forget it I have turned around and went back home for it. At this stage, I have surrendered to this condition and have come to realize for now I can only hope my brain and my body will eventually learn to get along again, and be happy together. I hope:)

I just wish more people would look in the mirror and realize that if you want to be healthy, it’s really not about what diet you choose. It’s about what you feed that body of yours and how you choose to live your life. You will succeed if you want it bad enough.

Glass Food Storage Containers

I finally did it. I have been considering purchasing glass storage containers for some time now but just did not know if I could justify the price. After this summer, I decided they are worth it.

I have been starting to freeze leftovers for quick meals. Something to just pull out and eat when life is just too hectic. Meals like lasagna, soups, chili,  stews etc. Although, my drawer of containers has dwindled down to all bottoms and no covers! The covers always crack when you remove them right from the freezer.

Now, I do still use my plastic for storage but no longer in the freezer. I checked out what types of container were on the market and have fallen in love with the Ziploc Versa Glass brand.

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First, they come in quite a few sizes. I like the square 32 oz. size and the tall round 25 oz size. They are perfect for a piece of lasagna, a nice serving of soup, stew or chili. I fill them, let them cool awhile, cover and freeze. When I am ready to heat and eat, the covers come off easily (they are more rubber like than plastic) and you can either microwave them or heat  them in the oven. The glass is tempered making it stronger than just a glass jar and they are oven safe.

I especially love them on nights when my husband and I have plans and dinner is on the fly. I can pull one out in the morning (yes, I do make his lunch every morning!) stick it in his lunch box and by lunch it’s ready to stick in the microwave to heat. (Otherwise, he always takes leftovers form the night before, which means I am obligated to cook every night of the week)

They have made my life so much easier, and they also give me a little freedom from cooking every night. Give them a try and see what you think.

QUESTION: Do you use glass or plastic for food storage?

Alligator Sausage at the Farmer’s Market

A week or so ago, I watched a local news station visit the farmer’s market and interview two people. One was a local restaurant owner that offers Cajun cuisine. At the market he said they offered alligator sausage on a stick and alligator sausage wraps. So you know what I thought of immediately…..DATE NIGHT!!!

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My husband is brave and will try almost anything. So, I just knew when it was my night to pick, this was where we were going. Here is the menu choices he had to pick from

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Gator wrap was the entree of the night. The gentleman at the window said they sell out each batch they cook in usually about 3 minutes. All I could think was, was there actually that many people that would actually try this???? Well, here is what he was served.

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Now there was nothing on this particular menu I would even consider eating, so I went and found a filled pita, called a Lazy Chicken. Which essentially, was just a small chicken and pepper filled pita.

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We took our entrees and found a quiet spot next to the river to enjoy our choices.

My pita was good, and my husband said the alligator was not what he expected, but was also good. Then he made me try a bite, against my best wishes. Oh gosh, I took my bite, chewed twice and then the thought hit me, I WAS EATING ALLIGATOR!!!. It was like one of those television shows you see where they are in a competition and have to eat 10 cockroaches in 30 seconds, well, chew fast and swallow is what I did. I can’t really say what it tasted like to be honest, I just needed to get it down, and fast.

After eating, we headed back to find the other tent that was interviewed in that same news program. A gentleman that sold jams. Precisely, Carrot Cake Jam. It did not take long to locate him. I remembered what he looked like in the interview, so I was on the look out.

When I came across the tent called, Hippie Wayne’s, I knew that we had found it.

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He had so many different jams that no one else has. I wanted to purchase many, but settled for one. I love carrot cake but never seem to make it for whatever reason. So, this was perfect. Easy, already made, and hopefully great on an english muffin. We shall see in the morning.

(I love how he spells “carrot kake”)

It started to rain just as we were headed back to the car. Perfect timing. One more day of work for me and a trip to Door County for fun. I can’t wait. And then the weekend. Water levels are looking better everyday, so hopefully we will get some paddling in this weekend.

Until next time….