Category Archives: Food

Chicken Rice Bake

Today, I’m spending some time with my MIL’s family.   Grandma and Grandpa on that side are celebrating their 63rd wedding anniversary!  Big congratulations to them!

So while we are off enjoying the nice weather and delicious food, I’m sharing an easy meal for you, too!  Craig was thrilled when he saw I was making rice instead of quinoa, but I have no doubt that you could easily sub that in.  It’s just that when you live with a man with a very simplistic palate, you can’t get too crazy.  Of course, I’m using the term “crazy” very loosely here.

The Le Creuset baking dish I used has some sentimental value.  As we celebrate a big milestone for Craig’s grandparents, I’m remembering my own Grandma Jeanne.  My Aunt Julie gave me this dish as a wedding gift with the sweetest note.  My grandma passed away when I was in middle school.  I definitely have some memories, but I also rely on my parents and Aunt Julie to fill some of the rest in.  Grandma J loved cooking/baking with Le Creuset dishes – a fact I learned of with my wedding gift.  Grandma was an outstanding chef.  You could always count on her for a kick ass cheese cake and daily waffle breakfasts when we were staying with her.

chicken bake 2

– 2 chicken breasts, cooked
– 4 c cooked brown rice
– 1 c frozen corn
– 15 oz can black beans, rinsed & drained
– 1 c sour cream
– 4 oz can green chilis
– 1/2 c salsa
– 1 c cheddar cheese
– 2 Tbs fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine all ingredients, except cilantro.  Season with salt & pepper.  Transfer to an oven safe dish and bake for 20-25 min.  Garnish fresh, chopped cilantro.

chicken bake 1

This is also great reheated, Craig and I, both, enjoyed this for lunch a couple days later the week I made this.

To give credit, where credit is due, this recipe is original to HowSweetEats.  I opted to add more corn and to use sour cream instead of the Greek yogurt she suggests.  Remember, I live with a man that doesn’t like “weird” things, Greek yogurt wasn’t going to fly.

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Oven Fried Chicken

I’m really starting to enjoy cooking and baking.  Well, I’ve always loved to bake (hello, sweet tooth!), but the cooking part is a newer development.  I got pretty lazy when Craig had class this summer, hence the hiatus of any eatable food here on my blog, but since he’s been done, I’m back at it!  Disclaimer: as we gear up for our move next weekend, I won’t be cooking at home.  I think I have a couple recipes up my sleeve to share, but just in case my act doesn’t stay together, What The Efff may be recipe-free next week.

For Christmas last year, Kim gave me a Williams-Sonoma cook book for couples cooking.  Yes, that was eight months ago and yes, this is the first recipe I’ve made out of it.  It was intimidating!  They were, like, real meals, guys.

This recipe was rated 2 out of 3 spoons, which means it was intermediate.  BOOYA.  Yep, I made an intermediate-level recipe.  And rocked it.  It might sound ridiculous, but the fact I used a real head of garlic and chicken legs (not breasts!) totally made me feel legit.  Small victories, I guess.

oven fried chicken

– 2 heads garlic
– 8 whole chicken legs (drumsticks and thighs), with our without skin*
– salt and pepper to taste
– 1 Tbs chopped fresh parsley
– 1 Tbs chopped fresh oregano
– 1 1/2 c fine toasted bread crumbs**
– 1 c flour
– 3 eggs
– 1/2 c butter

*I used 6 chicken legs.  I didn’t have the guts to try and manevuer whole chicken legs.  Not yet, anyway.
**I used store-bought Italian bread crumbs.  They worked well.  And it was easier, because I wasn’t crisping bread crumbs.  Who really has time for that!?

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Separate the garlic heads into cloves, peel the cloves and then cut cloves lengthwise into 32 small slivers about 1/8″ thick.  Place the chicken pieces on a large platter and season each piece liberally with salt and pepper.  Pierce each chicken piece to make 4 small incisions, each just large enough to hold a garlic sliver.  Reserve any leftover garlic.

photo 1

Stir together the parsley, oregano, and bread crumbs in a shallow bowl, large enough to dip the chicken pieces one at a time.  Put the flour in a separate shallow bowl.  In a third bowl, beat the eggs with 2 Tbs water until well blended.

Melt the butter in a large glass baking dish by placing it in the preheated oven.  Meanwhile, dredge each piece of chicken in flour, shaking off any excess, coat it in the egg mixture, and then dredge it in the herbed bread crumbs.

chicken

When the butter has melted, remove the dish from the oven and nestle the coated chicken pieces, skin side down, in the warm butter, arranging the pices to fit tightly.  Tuck any leftover garlic between the chicken pieces.

Bake for 45 minutes, then carefully turn over each piece.  Continue baking until the chicken is well browned and crisped on the edges, about 35 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before serving with any caramelized garlic slivers sprinkled on top.

photo 3

First of all, I love garlic.  I love the smell of it baking.  Waiting for this to finish was torturous.  It was so worth the wait, though.  Probably one of my most favorite meals in months.  Secondly, there is no second.  I love garlic.  ThatIsAll.

If you’re watching what you eat, you probably shouldn’t eat fried chicken, but you could just remove the skin, too.  It’s much more moist with the skin.  I ate my leftovers cold the next day and it was ah-mazing.

Swedish Meatballs

In one of my first months of doing Foodie Penpals, I met Chris, from A Kitchen Hoor.  I love this woman.  She is hilarious, thoughtful, and creative.  Her recipes always look mouth-watering delicious.  It only took me 2 months too long to get my act together and finally try one of them for myself.

There are a few minor variations, simply because I can’t read and didn’t buy everything I needed at the grocery store.  The variation turned out wonderfully, so I can only imagine what it tastes like with all the “real” ingredients.  You can find the original recipe on her blog, here.

photo 2– 1 lb ground beef
– 2 Tbs bread crumbs
– 2 eggs
– 1 tsp fennel seeds
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 1/4 tsp black pepper
– 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
– 2 c mushrooms, chopped
– 2 c beef broth
– 2 Tbs cornstarch
– 1/4 c sour cream

Heat large skillet coated with cooking spray, add mushrooms and saute until brown and juices have released.  Remove and keep warm.

Combine beef, bread crumbs, eggs, fennel seeds, salt, pepper, and nutmeg in a medium mixing bowl.  Combine.

Heat large skillet coated with cooking spray.  Form 1 1/2 – 2 inch meatballs and brown on all sides.

photo 1

Combine broth and cornstarch and add to meatballs once browned along with mushrooms.  Bring to boil.  Simmer 5 to 10 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through.

Once meatballs are cooked through and sauce has thickened, remove from heat and stir in sour cream.

Serve with noodles (I used fettuccine, Chris recommends egg noodles.  I think egg noodles would trump my fettuccine).

What did I learn?  If it says to brown on all sides, DO IT.  Don’t cheat.  A few of my balls fell apart because I got impatient.  I also learned that putting mushrooms in dark sauce disguises them and that results in Craig eating a few and not realizing it (he claims to HATE mushrooms).

Craig (and I!) loved this recipe.  It’s the first winner I’ve had in quite some time. Thanks Chris for helping me out of my cooking rut.  Craig thanks you, too.  He was being subjected to some very “interesting” recipes…

Tator Salad

On Friday, I thought this weekend was going to be jam-packed; but it ended up being incredibly lazy.  And I loved it.

Friday, I finally got to spend some much needed time with Kim.  Man, I missed her.  Heck, I still do.  Four hours isn’t enough time to make up for three months of absence!  We were joined by some other friends and her parents were awesome enough to grill up some dinner.  We enjoyed hot dogs, chicken, burgers, potato salad (WITH celery, and yes, I still enjoyed it…I’m excellent at picking around celery!), grilled corn, and amazing chocolate cake.  Pair that with a hilarious go at Cards Against Humanity (with Kim’s mom!) and you have one amazing evening.

Kim Collage

Saturday, I was supposed to head to IL for a bachelorette party, but I just couldn’t bring myself to get in the car for two hours.  That’s probably really awful of me.  I’m admitting it.  But, I haven’t kept in great touch with any of the girls and the thought of socializing with a group of women I’m now on the “outside” of, just didn’t sound appealing.  Instead, Craig and I had a sushi date, we rented a movie, and sat our happy asses on the couch.  It was glorious.

sushi

—   —   —   —   —   —   —   —   —   —   —

Among the things I love about summer, is the bountiful amounts of potato salad.  You can’t go to a BBQ or party of any kind and not find some version of it.  There’s one problem though.  I hate celery.  Hate it.  And more often than not, you’re going to find celery in potato salad.  Eck.

Here is my very own potato salad recipe – sans celery.

JessisPotatoSalad

– 5 large potatoes
– 4 hard boiled eggs
– 1 medium vidalia onion, chopped
– 1/2 c sweet pickle relish
– 1/2 tsp garlic salt
– 1/2 tsp celery salt
– 1 Tbs yellow mustard
– 3/4 c mayo
– salt and pepper to taste

Boil peeled potatoes and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain, cool, chop.
Peel eggs, chop, and put into a large bowl with potatoes.
Add onion, relish, garlic salt, celery salt, mustard, pepper and mayonnaise. Mix together well and refrigerate until chilled.

Funfetti Dip

In addition to Buffalo Chicken Dip recipe, there are a few other things that I’m thankful to have left Tennessee with.  Despite it being a rough year for me, I did manage to leave with some pretty special people in my corner.  Most notably, Bobbie Jo and Allison.  You met Bobbie Jo in July, when she came to visit.  I miss that little southern peach!

jo lunch

I also left with another yummy treat – Funfetti Dip!  How on earth have I managed to go 26 years without trying this stuff!?  It is delicious and healthy (it has Greek yogurt…OBVIOUSLY healthy. ha).  Okay, it isn’t healthy, but it’s still yummy.  I promise you aren’t going to want to share.

funfettidip

– 1 box funfetti cake mix
– 2 c cool whip
– 2 c yogurt

sprinkles
vanilla wafers, graham crackers, animal crackers

Mix everything up reeeal good.  Cover and chill for at least 2 hours.  Add some colored sprinkles on top ‘cos it’s purdy.  Refrain from eating it out of the bowl with a spoon when in the company of others; it’s poor manners.

Mini Corn Dogs

Before we get to the corn dogs, I have to tell you how excited I am over a dining room table.  Yes, a table.  Our new home has a nice dining room and we currently own 2 very college-like, 4 seater tables that I refused to have sitting in that lovely dining room.  I repeatedly told Craig that if we only bought one flipping thing for the new house, it had to be a dining room table.

We had found one we both liked at Costco of all places when we were there shopping on Saturday.  But, to cover all of our bases, we went shopping last night at Steinhafels.  It’s a huge location here, but their dining room section left a lot to be desired.  I didn’t see a single table I liked.  Zero.  Even the ones that were uber expensive.  We had also looked around online and found that our winner was back at Costco.  Yep, last night we went to Costco and bought ourselves a 6 seater dining room table.  And it’s purdy.  The seats are legit leather and I love the table legs.  Unique!  Shout out to Tom who left his homemade pizza to bring his SUV to help get this sucker home. 🙂

table

In the spirit of the Wisconsin State Fair, it’s pretty perfect that I have a corn dog recipe to share with you, right?  I have to admit, that with all of the other delicious fried foods to try, I didn’t enjoy a corn dog this year.  But, I sure saw some massive ones making their way around the fair.  Those suckers had to be over a foot and a half long!  It was pretty serious!

This recipe is so easy and pretty delicious.  It would be a great recipe to whip together if you have some kiddos OR if you’re married to a man like Craig, whom loves food like corn dogs.  And Doritos.  And Mt. Dew.  You get the picture.

corndog1 c flour
1 c cornmeal
1 Tbs baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 c milk
1/3 c unsweetened applesauce
1/4 c sugar
hot dogs

1. Preheat oven to 400 F
2. In large bowl, mix together flour, cornmeal, salt, and baking powder
3. In separate bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, applesauce, and sugar
4. Gently stir wet ingredients into the dry, careful not to overmix!
5. LIBERALLY spray your mini muffin tin with cooking spray
6. Fill mini muffin tin 3/4 full.  Don’t fill all the way to the top
7. Insert mini hot dog or hot dog piece into each muffin
8. Bake 12-15 minutes
9. Remove immediately from pan to prevent over-cooking

I can literally make these in 20 minutes, they’re so fast!  I don’t use mini hot dogs, but rather I use bun length hot dogs, cut into quarters.  With the size of my mini muffin pan, I need 6 hot dogs.

drool
Myles seemed pretty excited to try them.  What a little drool monster!

Chicken Fajita Pasta

I knew the moment I got out of my car this morning it was going to be “one of those days.”  My sunglasses fogged up.  At 7:15 this morning it was already 78 and humid.  GROSS.  My hair hates it.  I hate it.  Weather was one of the top reasons I disliked Tennessee so much.  Wah Wahhh….

I also had “the” moment last night.  You know the one when you look in the mirror and realize, holy crap, I’ve really let myself go.  I’d love to blame the icky sticky weather or the fact I live with a man that can eat whatever he pleases with no ill-effects, but I can only blame myself.  I gave myself a kick in the hiney and was able to turn to my friend, Kim, for some support.  She, too, has recently voiced some frustration, so we’ve decided to team up!  We created a Google document today to track our food (no calories, I hate calorie tracking!), water, exercise, snacks, etc etc.  I’m weirdly excited about it.  She can keep me accountable better than my husband can – anytime Craig says anything I get offended (sorry babe!) and I immediately think he is calling me fat.  Ha, yep, I’m that girl.

Now onto the good stuff!

Holy moly.  It’s been a bit since I’ve posted a recipe, eh? I’ve got a super duper good one for ya today. This is easily my most favorite recipe. Craig tolerates it, but it has a few too many veggies in it for his liking (you’ll laugh when you realize there are just a couple bell peppers – picky eater)! I can’t remember where I originally found this recipe (sorry!), but I think I’ve added enough of my own flair so that it’s okay. I won’t claim it as my original creation, but rather my own variation.

f baked

– ~12 ounces pasta (I used Barilla tomato penne)
– olive oil
– 2 chicken breasts, cubed
– 1 tsp cumin
– 1/2 tsp paprika
– dash of cayenne pepper
– salt and pepper to taste
– 2 Tbs butter
– 3 bell peppers, seeded and sliced (I use orange and yellow, because they’re my favorite!)
– 1 medium sweet onion, sliced
– 3 cloves garlic, minced
– 4 oz canned green chiles, diced
– 1/2 c sour cream
– 8 oz shredded cheddar cheese*
– 8 oz shredded pepper jack cheese*

*You should shred your own cheese! The pre-shredded stuff has ingredients to keep it from clumping. If you shred your own, it will end up smoother. It only takes a few extra minutes and it’s totally worth it!

Pre heat your oven to 400 degrees F. Spray your baking dish, set aside. Prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet. As it is heating, sprinkle your raw chicken with cumin, paprika, and cayenne. Add the chicken to the skillet and cook through and no longer pink. Season it with salt and pepper. Set chicken aside in separate bowl.

In the same skillet, met your butter. Add the sliced peppers and onion. Saute until tender. Mix in the garlic and green chilies and saute for a few minutes longer.

Transfer the vegetable mixture into the same bowl with chicken. Add the sour cream, shredded cheeses, and cooked pasta to bowl. Mix everything until well combined.

Transfer to baking dish.
Bake for 15 minutes until slightly browned and bubbling.

f collage

So, it takes a little bit of multitasking, but it’s worth it.  Trust.

Though I now realize that this recipe may not be the best to keep a girl on track to make changes for a healthier life style – meh, you have to treat yourself once and awhile, right?

Colorado Vacation, Part 3

Writing about the final portion of my trip just reinforces that my vacation is over. I mean, just in case the perpetual exhaustion or catch up at work wasn’t enough.

So, Sunday, Craig and I left the Springs and he dropped me off at Allie’s house. I’ve known Allie since first grade – that’s a really long time! We lost and regained touch over the years, but she and her family have been there whenever I’ve needed a family. When my parent’s moved to Texas when I was in college, her parents stepped in and provided a support system for me. They’re pretty great.

One of the best things about spending time with Allie is that it’s effortless. We are both perfectly comfortable with silence. I love that we can sit and drink wine and watch a movie and feel no obligation to talk. Sometimes it’s just nice to have someone sitting next to you, enjoying time together in silence. We made no special plans. In fact, I spent most of my two days with her walking dogs with her. Allie owns Yappy Walks, the dog-walking company I highlighted a few months ago.

My favorite Yappy Dog

My favorite Yappy Dog

Between Monday and Tuesday, we banked 14 miles walking! I feel a little bit better about falling behind on my running. Walking that distance in the altitude is no easy feat. I forget how much that silly altitude can impact my endurance! The weather was perfect – I really enjoyed consistent sunshine and warm temperatures.

While there, I had the chance to walk Sloan’s Lake. When I lived in Denver for a hot minute, I ran around this lake on almost a daily basis since I lived just a block away. While those Colorado folk may call it a lake, to me, it’s a small pond. I couldn’t believe it when I saw people skiing on it – it’s so little! But, it sure is beautiful.

c sloans
c sloans 2

During our first day walking, Allie and I grabbed lunch at the Cherry Cricket in Cherry Creek. If you’re ever in Denver and you’re looking for a great burger, check it out. You essentially build your own burger (white cheddar, fried egg, and jalapenos for this girl!) and you can get frings as a side (yep, that would be onion rings and fries!). It was one of my two requests while in Denver. You aren’t surprised it was food, right?

c cherry cricket

For dinner that night we had yogurt. No shame. Denver was the first place I experienced those mix-and-match yogurt places. Allie may be the only person I know that I feel shameless eating ice cream for dinner with.

c yogurt

My last request for Denver was a sushi date at Japon. Is anyone really surprised that BOTH of my requests ended up being food-related? Sigh. Anyway, Japon has the best sushi roll I have ever had. EVER. It’s called the California Dynamite Roll. I’ve had them elsewhere, but none of them touch this bad boy.

Don't worry, this wasn't all for me!

Don’t worry, this wasn’t all for me!

So, the last few days of my vacation were incredibly relaxing, which was nice considering the first half of my trip was go-go-go. I got a lot of walking in, a few glasses of wine, great food, and quality time with one of my best friends.

Back home, sweet home

Back home, sweet home

Foodie Penpals – Virginia

Foodie Penpal

This month, I was paired with Chris in the DC area to send her a taste of Wisconsin. Be sure to check out her blog, A Kitchen Hoor, to see what she had the pleasure of trying. I really enjoyed getting to know Chris. We exchanged numerous emails – many of which made me literally laugh out loud. She is absolutely hilarious! Her personality seems to shine through her blog. I love that (it seems) she doesn’t take herself too seriously – the world needs more people like that! Thanks, Chris, for the opportunity to get to know you. Here’s to hoping we will stay in touch!

I was paired with Molly to receive something from Virginia! I’ve never been to Virginia, so I honestly had no idea what to expect! This time around, I asked for state-specific treats and holy moly, did Molly deliver! It was her first month doing Foodie Penpals and I hope she does it again – her treats need to be shared! Thanks so much, Molly!

foodie 1

Molly sent SnaPea Crisps, Colonial Kettle Corn, a Pretzel Chocolate Bar, and Feridies Peanuts.

Up first: Kettle Corn.

foodie popcorn

I immediately opened this bag. I love me some kettle corn!! Molly bought this at a local farmers market. Yum! Besides the delicious flavor, I also am in love with the fact there are no old maids. That means I can shovel it into my face so much faster without having to worry about crunching down on one of those hard suckers!

Pretzel Chocolate Bar

foodie Collage

Holy cats. This was super good. I love chocolate pretzels, so there was no doubt I was going to love this chocolate bar. What made this so unique is that there was a love letter in it – how neat is the wrapper!? It’s kind of like Dove chocolate, on steroids. Forget the 4 word message, I got a whole love letter! It got a little melted in the mail, so it wasn’t the prettiest thing to eat, BUT as you can tell via the picture, that didn’t deter me from gobbling it down!

Feridies Peanuts

I love peanut butter. So, of course I love peanuts. Well, I actually hate the peanuts that you can get at restaurants in the shells…and then throw the shell on the floor. First of all, I think the floor looks nasty, there is nothing novel about it to me. Secondly, seriously people!? Do you know how many dirty hands have been on those things. I guarantee you’ve eaten one that has been in a child’s mouth, sucked on. Even though you may not eat the outside, I’ve seen people lick the outside for the salt before cracking them open to eat the nuts. Not to mention your manhandling the outside germs before eating your nuts anyway. (Eating your nuts?). Bleh. Gross. Not for me. I digress. THESE peanuts were perfectly clean and completely delicious. Virginia is known for peanuts, so I was pumped to find these in the box.

Saving the best for last: SnaPea Crisps.

foodie peas

I’ve seen these things around, but never had the courage to try them. They just look…weird. However, they are amazing. I have found my new favorite treat. I can’t even describe them. I even got Craig to try one and I think his explanation is best – you know those popcorn puffs you can buy in the store? Well, that is how I would describe the texture. And the flavor is similar to that, too, I suppose. I don’t know, I think the best way to understand is just to buy your own bag and try them. Even though these aren’t VA, I’m so happy Molly included these – I probably would’ve never tried them otherwise. How sad to think I could’ve been missing out.

Molly also included a nice note explaining what everything was. To me, it certainly seemed she put a lot of thought into her box and that meant a lot! Thanks again!

Are you interested in participating in Foodie Penpals? Here is some additional information:

And now it’s time for some details about Foodie Penpals:

– On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
– You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
– The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
– You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
– Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.
– Foodie Penpals is open to US, Canadian & European residents. Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. Same with Europeans. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa.

If you’re from the US or Canada and are in participating for July, CLICK HERE, to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.

You must submit your information by July 4th as pairings will be emailed on July 5th!

*If you’re from Europe, please CLICK HERE, to signup.

Racing Bananas talks Healthy Living

Well, I’m pretty pumped about today.  I’ve yammered on and on about my dear friend Kim, over at Racing Bananas, and now, you get to meet her for yourself!  I’ve come to really admire Kim and the strength that she exhibits on a daily basis when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle.  It’s probably good we’re miles apart, I’m sure that I would be a bad influence!  That cone of ice cream?  I gots to have it.  But, she can say no.  And she can pull herself off of the couch to get a work out in, just as I am deciding that I’m far to comfortable to move.  Except to get that ice cream cone.

kim graduation

The two purdiest girls graduating that day!

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Hi everyone! My name is Kim and I blog over at Racing Bananas. As you may know, I met Jessi in grad school and we quickly hit it off! Since then, she has been one of my closest friends and biggest motivators. Today, Jessi’s letting me hijack her blog today to talk with you all about motivation and how I’ve stayed motivated while beginning to live a healthy lifestyle.

My healthy living journey began during the Summer 2011 – I had reached my highest weight and was battling depression and self-image issues. With my dad and brother, I decided to change my eating habits and began exercising. I started doing the Atkins Diet, but soon realized that it was not sustainable for me. So paired with going to the gym and eating more healthy and in moderation, I have lost about 40 pounds in just under two years. It’s something that I am extremely proud of and strive to maintain. This can be pretty difficult, because I love sweets. And carbs. And lots of other not so healthy things! But again, everything in moderation, right?

Well, trying to live a healthy lifestyle has been a journey, and I have definitely had my share of successes and setbacks. Some days are definitely better than others and I constantly need to remind myself WHY I’ve made the decision to make these life changes. For me, it’s not just about losing weight – it’s about feeling good about myself and my body. I’ve found there are two main things that keep me motivated; setting personal goals and being inspired by others.

Goals
I have become a big believe in goal-setting. Setting weekly goals helps me to realize what I want to achieve and then make me accountable to those goals. It’s taken awhile, but I’ve found that sharing my weekly goals on my blog has really helped keep my goals in check. When I’m checking in on a weekly basis, I find I evaluate where I am more often and am able to make adjustments as needed. Here’s an idea of what my goals have been in June:

goals

Inspiration
I’ve also found that hearing and reading about other’s success stories is incredibly inspiring and keeps me motivated to stay on track. Especially since joining the blogging community, I’ve been overwhelmed not only by the accomplishments of others, but also by how supportive everyone is. It’s fantastic! For example, I just signed up to run my first half marathon after contemplating it for about a year – ahh! But knowing that there are awesome people like Jessi who has run THREE halfs and is going to run her fourth with me, gets me so excited and makes me truly believe I too can accomplish such amazing feats!

Let’s Talk About Food
Finally, one of the ways I’m able to continue living a healthy lifestyle is by making sure that the food I’m eating is tasty. Because honestly, it’s sometimes hard to choose the healthy option if it doesn’t sound as tasty as chocolate or ice cream or popcorn. Just saying. So what kinds of things do I like to eat?

Avocados are probably one of my favorite foods. One thing I eat on an almost daily basis is what I call “avocado smash.”

avocado goatcheesebagel
Bagel, avocado mash, goat cheese, and two runny eggsavocadogoatcheesesammie
Rye bread, tomato, goat cheese, and avocado mash

Avocado Mash:
1/2 avocado (mashed, with fork)
Salt
Pepper
Garlic Powder
Paprika
Cumin

So, unlike Jessi, I’m not the biggest recipe follower. I usually mash my avocado and then add the spices – just a little shake of each to get a ridiculously yummy flavor. I add this basically to anything I can – avocado acts as a great condiment and is really nutritious. YUM!

I’m also a huge oatmeal fan. For breakfast, I typically eat a bowl of oatmeal with strawberries, bananas, and honey. It keeps me full until lunch! I’m pretty low-key and use Quaker Instant Oats (1/2 cup oats, 1 cup water, microwave 90 seconds) and add in the fruit. Easy peasy and delicious!

oatmeal

Well, I guess I’ve taken over Jessi’s blog long enough! I would love to hear your thoughts on how like to stay motivated and some of the healthy food ideas you have!