Friday, August 3, 2012

Day Four - Guess I'm Stronger Than I Thought!

Well, folks, we're done with Day Four of our Primal Blueprint experiment! I'm still going strong, and loving it.  I've found so many amazing sounding/looking recipes that I've tried/ am looking forward to trying.  Can't wait to share another with you here, tonight.  And I picked up some tuna steaks at the seafood counter today, so I can't WAIT to come up with an amazing Crusted Tuna Steak recipe in the near future.  Get excited for that one... ;)


Breakfast:  Almond Flour Pancakes topped with a bit of honey, blueberries and cinnamon.  Okay... these were SO GOOD! I did modify the recipe a bit since I don't have any seltzer water in the house, but I can't imagine it being better with the water than what I did :)
Instead of using the seltzer, I whipped some heavy whipping cream until it was thick - not quite "whipped cream" consistency.  I think using this along with the whipped egg whites made the pancakes as fluffy as they could be!  Also, it says to use a sweetener of your choice, and I used regular sugar. I hate the taste of every other sweetener I've ever tasted (other than honey... that might have been really good, too! I'll have to try that next time instead of the sugar).
If you've not purchased almond flour before, as I hadn't before this week, I've learned the hard way to NOT buy it at the grocery store.  I've only seen one single brand at Target and Kroger (only stores I've looked at), and they sell it in one pound bags for $15 (Target) and $10 (Kroger) a pop! RIDIC!  I'm placing an order along with a few friends tomorrow to get a better quality (finer grounds- better for baking) flour for just $5/lb! What?! yes.  That's right. So, if you're in need of almond flour, check out (or there are several others I've heard of) if you have the time to wait for it to come in, before wasting your hard-earned money at the grocery store.

Tip:  Going in with friends to place a bulk order and split shipping really brings the cost down.

Lunch:  Leftover Beef Balls from last night's dinner.  GAH!!! SOOOOOO GOOOOOD!!!! I seriously could eat this every single day and not get sick of it (for a while, at least...). It really is so delish.  This will be a long-time keeper.

Dinner:  Again... forgot to take a picture of my dinner, but I'm new at this whole "blog about your food" thing, so forgive me, won't you? :)

Ok. HERE's the kicker. Are you ready for it??  We went out to dinner tonight with some dear friends of ours, and guess where we went... a PIZZA joint... yes. That's right.  Temptation City is what it SHOULD have been called for someone trying not to eat grains (pizza crust/breadsticks/pasta). So what was a Primal Blueprint girl to do??  Well, I threw the sweet waitress for a loop, and ordered a pasta dish... sans pasta. :) So I basically had Grilled Chicken with a SunDried Tomato/olive/pesto sauce .  It really was quite good.  I definitely had enough to eat, and my dear sweet husband even commended me on how easy I made it look to not partake in the pizza/breadstick eating that was going on at our table! :) *aww shucks*
Don't get me wrong, it was hard to not reach out for one of those tasty looking breadsticks sitting right in front of my water glass, but I just kept thinking to myself that the point is to train my body to use the right (stored) energy and not depend of the quickly-accessed energy sources such as breadsticks.  The longer I can go without, the more apt I am to actually see a noticeable difference in how I feel overall.  With my history of digestive issues, it can only be a good thing for me to try this thing out.

Snacks:  I just realized that I didn't actually have any snacks today! WHAT? That is super unusual for me... maybe there is something to this Primal thing... ;) Though I'm sure this will come and go with different days depending on what my body needs... BUT for today? nada. super weird, but nada (other than the spoons of almond butter before bed)!

Today's Workout:  Ten Minute Trainer Video - Core Cardio.  Somehow it always surprises me how out of breath and sweaty I am after TEN stinking minutes of working out!  Pretty good little workout :)

How I'm feeling:  I have been sleeping better the last few nights/falling asleep faster. I think part of it has something to do with the fact that I've been eating a spoonful or two of peanut butter/almond butter before bed each night, and again when I have to get up with Rivers during the night.  It has kept me from trying to fall asleep with that annoying bite of hunger that is always there (is it just me??) late at night.


Interesting Fact of the Day:  One suppliment that I have noticed is widely recommended to people who have trouble sleeping is Manganese.  What just happens to have lots of this fancy little element (Mn) contains proteins which help your blood sugar level stay even among other things.  If you want more info on Manganese, you can get lots of it here.

P.S.  You may have noticed at the top of the post tonight, that I said I'M still going strong... My beloved husband jumped ship when the offer of pizza arose.  He informed me that he's down for trying it most of the time, but he will not be giving up his pizza.  The man loves him some pizza.  We both do, really. I almost can't believe I didn't break down and have some tonight ;) SO... we'll see how long I can keep this up without him chugging alongside me as much as he was before (this whole thing was totally his idea, BTW)!

Wish me luck!

More like "Primal Blueprint" (Days 2 & 3)

After doing more research these past days, I'm realizing that what we're doing is more Primal Blueprint than Paleo, but they are pretty similar.
Tonight's post will be short (I think), although I'm going to go ahead and post for days 2 AND 3 since I'm here, and our meals are already done for today, as well.

DAY 2:

Breakfast: Aaron had the leftovers of Day 1's Breakfast (the scramble), and I had a bowl of oatmeal.

Lunch:  Aaron's lunch was the leftover Maple/Dijon Chicken from the night before.  Mine was a delicious salad again, but a bit different than the day before.  Today's salad was made with Romaine, tomato, feta, sunflower seeds, almonds, grilled shrimp (with coconut oil), and for the dressing I used olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Dinner:  Cuban Pork Lettuce Wraps

A shot in the crockpot before serving
All served up on some Butter Lettuce with a homemade red cabbage slaw!
Snacks:  Carrot Chips with Roasted Red Pepper Hummus while preparing lunch and Pink Lady Apple with Peanut Butter (hadn't picked up the almond butter yet, so the peanuts had to do) while preparing dinner.

DAY 3: 

Breakfast:  Oatmeal and a bit of our usual breakfast scramble.

Lunch:  I used the leftovers from our cucumber/cream cheese/shrimp finger foods from Day 1 to make myself a tortilla-less lunch wrap.  I used some of the nitrate-free deli turkey I found at Target, took the cream cheese and shrimps from the cucumbers, then chopped up the cucumbers to sprinkle on top.  I wrapped up the whole thing, and then used a fork and knife to actually eat it (you can imagine how messy it would have been to try without the utensils)!  OH.MY.GOODNESS.  This was so surprisingly good!!!  It honestly reminded me of rice-less sushi! YUM!

 Dinner:  Thai Basil Beef Balls, Mashed Butternut Squash, and Watermelon slices (fresh from Aaron's Dad's Garden). Another surprisingly DELICIOUS new recipe - both recipes, actually.  I seriously cannot get over how great these tasted!  The Beef balls recipe was such an interesting mix of ingredients, I honestly didn't know what to expect, but was extremely pleasantly surprised! You really must try this recipe!

I made the first batch of meatballs on the stove in a skillet (to cook faster), but they were WAY better in the oven as the recipe calls for.  Doesn't the picture just make your mouth water??
Snacks:  Baby Carrots and some Tomato & Basil Hummus while prepping lunch today.

 How I felt: I felt great today except for a little bit before dinner.  My stomach didn't feel great, but let's be honest - that is NOT an unusual thing for me (unfortunately)...

Workout of the day: Ten Minute Trainer video - Cardio

Interesting Fact of the Day: I mentioned it in my Day 1 post, but I never knew it... Peanuts aren't nuts at all! WHAT? They're actually Legumes! So crazy!

And on that note, I'm going to eat a scoop of almond butter and hit the sack! :)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Ok. So we have decided after a bit of research and encouragement from friends (for several different reasons) to try out the Paleo diet.  Not diet, as in "way to lose weight". Just diet, as in "what we eat".  Essentially this means that we are no longer eating breads/grains, and we are trying to focus more on eating veggies, fruits and grass-fed, uber-good-for-you meats/fish.  Not really much different than how we are used to eating, except that we (and by "we" I mean "I") love bread... We are one day in, and last night I was already daydreaming about bread... no lie.

I have decided that I need to chronicle this journey (we are trying it out for a month(ish) to decide whether we are completely on board or not).  We are also working out with the Ten Minute Trainer videos by Tony Horton, and we are working on a one month goal for that as well.  So far we are LOVING the workouts.  Easy, but surprisingly hardcore for ten minutes a pop!

My thought process is that if I update about this Paleo Journey we are embarking on, I am more likely to stick with it since I have more accountability.  So, here we go.  I think the easiest (and least boring - at least, to me) way for me to do this will be just to post what we eat each day.  If you know me at all, you know I love to cook/share recipes anyhow, so this isn't too much of a stretch, I feel. :)

I'm going to try and be good about taking pics of each meal as I prepare it, and just update each day's meals and a quick note as to how I've felt about it that day.  Here goes nothin'.

**Note that I am not going completely Paleo bc I have a hard time with producing enough milk for our little guy, so one of the things I am continuing to do is eat oatmeal for breakfast every day.  Also, some find dairy acceptable with the Paleo diet, and some don't. We are still eating dairy, but we will just be limiting it a little more than in the past.

Paleo Day One:  

Breakfast:  Scrambled eggs with Spinach, Chicken Sausage, Nitrate-free Ham, salt/pepper, and cheddar (and for me, I also had a bowl of oatmeal).

Yes, this does look kind of gross... sorry. I forgot to take a pic of it fresh.  This was the leftovers from the fridge.  Doesn't look as appetizing unless it's piping hot! :)
Lunch:  Salad with romaine, spinach, sunflower seeds, almonds, tomato, Nitrate-free ham, and instead of salad dressing, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt/pepper.  Also, I had some carrot slices with roasted red pepper hummus. yum.

Dinner (I can't believe I forgot to take a pic of dinner! We had friends over, so I'm using that as my excuse) :)- Maple/Dijon Chicken Thighs, roasted acorn squash, and cucumber/cream cheese/boiled shrimp finger foods.

Snacks:  Didn't have many snacking opportunities today with my stomach feeling the way it did (details coming up...), and with Rivers just being a babe :)  I think I may have had a few spoons of peanut butter to tide me over at one point.  Yes, I know... Peanut butter isn't really "allowed" on the Paleo diet track since peanuts are actually legumes (not nuts), but we have a half jar left, and I didn't pick up any almond butter when I was grocery shopping on Monday... So, it's going to have to be yet another "cheat" of mine until next grocery day. I'm ok with that...  I am trying to make large enough portions of meals that I won't feel hungry so easily since it's not always so easy to snack.

Loved all of the meals.  Only thing I would change about them, is that I don't think I'll use thighs next time I make the chicken.  It was the first time I'd cooked with thighs, and I didn't like how much fat was in them... yuk.  Next time I'll just stick with chicken breasts or tenders.

How I felt:  I won't lie, I felt not-so-great yesterday (day one).  I was going on just a few hours of sleep because of some random bouts of insomnia lately, and during the afternoon my intestines revolted against me. My thought is that I just ate way more fiber for breakfast and lunch than I was used to eating (there was a ton of spinach in breakfast and lunch...).  Hopefully I'll just get acclimated to the amount of fiber we're introducing again.  After stomach issues like that just drain your energy for the rest of the day, if you're anything like me, so that sort of zapped me.  LUCKILY I had already done my workout for the day, so it didn't keep me from getting that in. woo!

Workout of the Day:  Ten Minute Trainer videos: (2 today) Abs, and Total Body 2

Interesting Fact of the Day:  I learned that olive oil is actually NOT good to use when heating to extreme temps!  WHO KNEW?!  All these years, I've been thinking I was being MORE healthy by cooking with olive oil instead of veggie oil and the likes... In all actuality, olive oil (along with other monosaturated fats like oil from sunflower, sesame, flax, peanut, safflower, etc.) are not recommended to be heated to high temperatures because it can cause breakdown and free radicals. So instead of olive oil, I've been trying to cook with my coconut oil instead. :)

This is a great blog - it's where I learned the bit about the olive oil:

Friday, July 13, 2012

DIY Bench Cushions

MUST get better at writing posts... There are several things that I've meant to make posts from, and just never ended up getting around to it!  Maybe I'll do those one of these days, too... We'll see! ;)

For today, though, I'm really going to do it! Here's a little "how to" on the bench cushions I FINALLY got around to making today.  Most of the reason it took so long for me to make these (even though I got the foam a few MONTHS ago) was that I just hadn't found the right fabric to cover them with!

Enter Target and their curtain panels.  Love them.  Found some on sale, so I went for it - hoping that one panel would give me enough fabric to cover both cushions.  Actually, I hadn't even considered that it wouldn't be enough...until I laid out the fabric and cushions as I started the project.

Ideally, I'd have more fabric to work with, but in all honesty, anyone who comes to our home is only going to see one side of the cushion, so if the underside isn't perfect (or completely covered, even)...who cares?! Not this gal!  But seriously...dont' peek at the underside of my cushions. They may not be covered... Just assume they are :)

OK. on to the project! I'll describe these steps as best I can for those of you who are wanting to do this yourself.  Forgive me if I am terrible at it - I've never done this before either.  I basically looked at a bunch of DIY's online, but didn't find any I really liked, so I made it up as I went on this one.  If it turns out terribly... well, at least it was less that $25 that I wasted, right? ;)

To begin:

Materials -

Foam ($2)- this stuff is RIDICULOUSLY expensive at JoAnn Fabric, the only stinkin' fabric store we have in Denton (other than Hobby Lobby...), so I was PUMPED when I found TWO strips of two inch, dense foam at Denton SCRAP a few months ago.


WHAT?! Yes. that's right.  I said ONE dollar each.  This is easily $75.00 worth of foam if I paid full-price at JoAnn... Booyeah!

Fabric ($20)- As mentioned before, I got one 84" window panel from Target to use as my fabric. It was on sale (The other one in the pic is going to be used for pillows...and maybe some napkins??)

Straight Pins (free) - already had them.  Always best. "Free ninety-nine", as my father-in-law would say.

Thread (free) - again. already had.  Probably should have gotten some thread that actually matched the fabric, but I didn't really plan on making any visible stitches that would be visible from the top side of the pad, so I wasn't too worried about it. Just went with brown since it was close, and everything in our house is brown anyhow, so at least it matches...right?

Sewing Machine (free)- already had. LOVE that I have a working sewing machine.  By far the best Christmas present in a long time.  Thanks, Mom! ;)

Fabric Scissors (free) -Everyone should have a pair on fabric scissors.  Never let anyone use them on anything BUT fabric.  It ruins them.  No one likes a dull pair of fabric scissors.  No one. Trust me.
Again, wonderful Christmas present from the Mom! She was on a ROLL this year... ;)

Electric Bread Knife (free) - already had. Thanks, Dad!  What do you need this for, you ask??  To cut the foam. Only way I know to do is properly... if you don't have one of these, you'll want to google search a good way to do it. It's harder than it would seem!

Iron (free) - I should have ironed the fabric before I started pinning, BUT I forgot, and by the time I realized it, I was too lazy to have to start over... so I waited until after sewing to give it a quick once-over.

And the fun begins:

 1. Trim foam to the size of your bench.  As I did this, I realized that one of the foam pads I had was shorter than the other... bummer!  BUT luckily, the excess I cut off the edge of one of them worked to lengthen it.  Don't know how well this will hold up in the end, but I basically gave my foam a really sketchy looking sew-up job to make them the same length.  For 2 bucks, it works for me!
top one is too short! BOO! :(
cutting extra foam from the sides to add to the end.
quick-stitching my extra foam to the end.
 2. Lay out your fabric, and cut your pieces for the top, bottom, and all four small sides leaving at least an inch for seam allowance and pinning.  the more fabric you leave, the easier the pinning. trust me. I learned that the hard way.  Plus, you can always trim the excess when you're done pinning.

cutting my fabric pieces
 3. Let the pinning commence!  MAKE SURE YOUR FABRIC IS WRONG SIDE OUT!!!  There is NOTHING worse than to be finished pinning (or better yet - SEWING) and to realize you did it with your fabric facing the wrong way... SO bad.

Pin your pieces together in lines as straight as you can get them, and as snugly as you can get them.

 Now, for my bottom side, I didn't cover the whole thing at first because I'm running low on fabric and am too cheap to spend another 20 bucks for just a little bit of fabric...So I'm waiting to cut all of the necessary fabric for the other cushion before finishing the bottom, here...

More Pinning
What's this guy doing here??  Well, as you can see, he was supervising the whole thing.

Pinning Complete! 
Another shot of my "after pinning was done"
4. Sewing.  Now, just CAREFULLY (so that your pins don't come out) remove the cover, and sew following your pins! It's just a bunch of straight lines. easy peasy!

5. When I was done sewing, I ran a warm iron over it to get the "folds from packaging" lines out of it.

6. Turn your cover right side out, and slip in your foam! VOILA!!

It's not as great as I was originally hoping, but really... for under $25, and for NOT having to sit on that hard bench anymore, it was a steal!

Anyhow... hope this was helpful for you! Next, I will be making those cute rust/white curtains into some pillows for the living room! Excited for that bc it's going to be SO EASY! :)

Happy sewing!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Lil' Monsties™

Exciting news!  We are finally going to launch our Etsy store, Lil' Monsties™ this summer! I'm busy working on our collection of products that will include

Personalized Burp Cloths
Cloth Wipes
Wipes Solution - several different customized scents available - made with all natural essential oils
Whipped Baby Butter (All Natural Moisturizing Baby Balm) - Infused with customizable essential oils
Plush Toys
Plush Rattles
Taggie Blankets - with crinkle paper inside for more stimulation
Rice Heat Packs with removable cover (for easy washing)
...and more to come (including some fun children's books featuring Aaron's infamous Monsties™ characters)!!

We are hoping to be accepted as a vendor in the Denton Etsy's Summer Bazaar that will be happening this May, and our Etsy shop will officially open for business around the same time.  There are no products for sale through the site just yet, but feel free to go ahead and add us as one of your "favorites" so you can check back in as soon as we open up for business!  The link to find our store is:

For a little preview of what's to come, here are a few pics of the "prototypes" for some of our products - enjoy!

 Taggie Blanket - made with super soft cuddle flannel on front. Crinkle paper inside for more stimulation as baby plays and learns!
Taggie Blanket backed with Minky chenile-type fabric (super cuddle-worthy!)

Burp Cloths
Cloth Wipes
Wipes Solution (We have jars of pre-mixed solution plus jars of concentrate for Refills!)
Whipped Baby Butter (All Natural Moisturizing Baby Balm) - Infused with customizable essential oil scents. Pictured is our Lavender scented Butter.
Plush Toys (before stuffing is added) - Scotty Dog and Whale
Plush Toys (before stuffing is added)  - Music Collection: Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Microphone & Tambourine
Plush Toys (before stuffing is added) - Tool Collection:  Wrench, Hammer, Screwdriver & Hand Saw
Play Mat/ Tummy Time Quilt!
(obviously this one is for girls, but we will have some for little guys, too!! Our little guy was barely ok with "modeling" this "girly" quilt, but he was a good sport about it, as you can see) :)

Just a FEW of our different fabric options available right now:
Add caption

For the Boys
Lavender-Infused Rice Heating Bag

The Lavender Rice has made my craft room smell AMAZING. :)

Infused Rice Heating Bag with Removable/Machine Washable Cover (super easy Velcro closure)

If we are accepted to be a part of the Denton Etsy Summer Bazaar, we will also be selling some amazing crochet products made by little Rivers' very own Nany (great grandmother extraordinaire).  Here are a few pics of just SOME of the amazing things she can do with a crochet needle!

There's that handsome model baby again! ;) 

Lion Friend!

 Blue Jay Friend!

Thanks for taking a look, and hopefully we'll be able to see you at our table in the Etsy Denton Summer Bazaar this May!   *
fingers crossed!*
If we do, we'll be sharing a table with the amazing Delightfully Denton (Mrs. Taylor Barnes' phenomenal creations.  You should check her out!)