Egg “Muffins” and Counting Calories

Posted by simplysarah on August 4, 2013

With a little over two weeks left before classes start back, I am trying to get myself ready for weekend food prepping. I’ll be spending a huge amount of time away from the house because my college consolidated with another college, which made my local campus a satellite campus and spread the classes I need across two different campuses. This means I’m in for lots of travel time, so I am going to have to make sure everything is ready for the week to prevent myself from stopping to get fast food between classes.

I’ve seen recipes for egg “muffins” (no, not McMuffins) posted to Facebook a few times this past week and a couple of friends of mine mentioned them during a health and wellness talk I went to. I decided to try them out this weekend and they are delicious! I take no credit for this recipe, because I’m sure that I am not the first person to come up with it, but I’ll share what worked for me. It’s sort of a combination of a few different ideas from around the internet and suggestions from friends.

Ingredients:

Olive Oil Spray

Eggs

Baby Spinach

Red,Yellow, or Orange Bell Pepper

Crumbled Feta Cheese

Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Salt, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder to taste

You preheat the oven to 450 degrees and spray your muffin tin with Olive Oil Spray (PAM, store brand, whatever works for you). Depending on the texture you want, chop/dice/mince your veggies. I diced my pepper and cut my spinach up into little strips. Spread out your veggies into each muffin tin evenly, filling it to about 1/3 or 1/2 of the way up. Add a pinch of feta to each muffin.

Next you scramble your eggs and add them to the muffins. I did this individually so that I could have a more accurate idea of calories (each egg is about 80 calories). I just cracked each egg into my glass measuring cup, one at a time, adding my seasonings (a small pinch of each), and then poured the scrambled egg into a muffin. Once each is full, add a pinch of shredded cheddar to the top and put it in the oven for about 20 minutes.

They last in the fridge for about 4 days. So either make enough for 4 days or freeze the extras. In the mornings, I take one out and grab an English Muffin. I put a little bit of butter on the muffin after splitting it in half, and let everything heat up on the griddle. It’s really good and it’s only about 300 calories. You have to be careful with the cheese and butter, or you might wind up with closer to 400. When I say a pinch, I mean a pinch. If you have trouble eyeballing that, measure out a serving (usually 1/4 cup) and separate it into the 12 muffin slots.

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So that’s breakfast around here. I’m sure I’ll be changing it up by switching veggies around, but it’s quick and filling. Snacks have been alternating between greek yogurt with nuts or granola, fresh fruit, or veggies. I made a week’s worth of Balsamic Chicken and brown rice too. There were about 6 servings and they’re separated in my refrigerator so I can just go in and grab one to heat up for lunch. I just need a few more recipes to alternate so I don’t get bored.

 

 Eleven

Posted by simplysarah on June 28, 2013

Chad and I jumped into parenting very early on in our relationship. It wasn’t planned. We were two young, dumb teenagers who let our raging hormones get the best of us. We had both already graduated from high school (thank goodness!) and we had already fallen head over heels for each other when we found out that we were expecting. We got married in February of 2002 and in June we had a baby. I remember sitting in the delivery room like it was yesterday. I was terrified. I had been so ready to for the pregnancy to be finished. At 38 weeks along, I went into labor.

Something like 17 hours of labor, but who’s counting?

When the time finally came, I burst into tears in front of my mother-in-law. I was so scared. She told me everything was going to be okay and then she snuck out and left me there with Chad and my OB/GYN. I don’t remember much about the delivery. I know I asked my doctor to leave me alone so I could take a nap while attempting to roll over on my side. Chad was saying something about seeing the baby’s head and then I sat up and screamed at the doctor for turning him to get him out. Suddenly, there was a lanky little boy being held in the air in front of me. They whisked him off to do all the things that they do in hospitals.

When they finally brought him back, he was cleaner and wrapped up in a blanket with a little striped cap on. Something kicked in and I fell in love with that little boy. I didn’t want the nurses to take him away for the night (he had some issues with his lungs since he pooped before he came outside to see everyone, so I felt a little safer with the nurses watching him.) I woke Chad up at like 4 am to go and get him from the nursery and we cooed over our baby like proud new parents.

Aww, baby Ethan.

Aww, baby Ethan.

When we brought him home, we had plenty of visitors. My mother-in-law helped watch him when Chad and I slept, since Chad had to go back to work. It was sort of scary being alone with him at first. Especially with the hormone drop. I cried when I saw Pampers commercials and when Chad made some weird comment about how I made his egg sandwich. I cried when Ethan cried and I thought I was doing everything wrong. Somehow, he made it past those first few days and turned into a pretty cute kid. Even if he did have a big head.

See. Cute.

See? Cute.

We had a lot of fun together celebrating holidays, playing outside, and welcoming two baby brothers into our home.

Christmas 2004

Christmas 2004

2005 summer

Pool time 2005

Welcome Home!

Welcome Home, Dylan!

Visiting Nana 2006

Visiting Nana 2006

Then we welcomed a baby sister.

Granny's house 2007

Granny’s house 2007

He liked school and we were very excited to watch him learn new things. We also tried several haircuts to hide the 27 cowlicks all over his head.

First day of first grade!

First day of first grade!

His brother joined him in 2009.

Brothers off to school.

Brothers off to school.

Then he started getting taller and taller. He lost all that chubby cheeked baby face and started looking like a little boy.

Woah!

Woah!

First day of fourth grade

First day of fourth grade

Before we knew it, an entire decade had passed.

10th birthday party. Already wearing grown man shirts.

10th birthday party. Already wearing grown man shirts.

Now here we are. Eleven years later, wondering where the time has gone. That sweet, sweet baby has hit adolescence. He starts sixth grade in two months. He is starting to want to do his own thing, separate from his siblings; but he still watches out for them like a big brother should. He’s learning to take on more responsibilities around the house (even if I have to remind him several times) and he is forming his own opinions about more important things.

Daddy's boy.

Daddy’s boy.

Shark Attack 2013

Shark Attack 2013

My babies at the beach.

My babies at the beach.

We’ve made tons of parenting mistakes over the past eleven years. We’ve butted heads with him as he carves out his own path in life, but overall he’s turning into a pretty great kid.

I love you, son. Happy eleventh birthday!

 It’s All About Perspective

Posted by simplysarah on June 26, 2013

I have not been pleased with myself in regards to my weight loss since school got out. Last semester, I had a workout buddy who accompanied me to the college’s gym every day after class (even if she did whine about squats.) I was motivated. I felt like I was making decent progress, even if the numbers were slow to change.

Since I’ve been home, I have felt myself getting bored. I skip workouts on days that I don’t have to actually go anywhere to do them. I eat poorly because I am too lazy to cook anything, despite not having much of anything else to do. This is especially insane considering how busy my life is during the school year. I’ve moped around the house for the past month, feeling sorry for myself and telling myself that I am going to wind up putting all the weight I lost back on by the time the next semester starts.

We’re our own worst critics, right? Judging ourselves so harshly and listening to that negative voice inside of our head that tells us we can’t possibly do whatever it is that we have set our minds to do.

Sometimes it takes someone outside of our head to shake us back into reality.

I got to Zumba early last night and talked a little with my instructor before the other people started coming in. One of the ladies who comes to class sort of inconsistently came up to me and said “You are really trimming down and toning up!” I was surprised because I actually have gained 2-3 lbs, but I thanked her and we continued to talk about my progress. When she asked how much weight I’ve lost since I started doing Zumba I said “Only like 15 lbs.” She laughed and said “You wouldn’t be saying ‘only’ if you had gained that much weight back, or even less than that.”

I just sort of let that soak in for a moment. I didn’t check out of the conversation and give her a blank stare, but I held onto that statement throughout the class. After our cooldown, I went to sit down and wait for my weigh in. Two more ladies stopped on their way out (separately) and told me that I really had great rhythm and that they couldn’t wait until they got the moves down that well. They also told me I was doing great with my weight loss.

These comments reminded me that people are watching and rooting for me, even when I’m not rooting for myself. They pushed me out of my rut and motivated me to put in a Turbo Fire dvd this afternoon. They reminded me to log my calories and make good food choices. I’m going to make mistakes. I’m going to trip, stumble, and even fall occasionally; but as long as I pick myself up (or allow my family, friends, and acquaintances to help me up) and keep moving forward then I will reach my goals one day.

Seriously.

Seriously.

 “Fun” Runs

Posted by simplysarah on June 25, 2013

Earlier this year, I decided I would start running. I finished the c25k plan by Zen Labs, spending a good deal of it outside jogging the hilly streets in my neighborhood. The more time I spent jogging, the better I got at it. It still took me 12 minutes or so to run a mile, but I felt my body getting stronger and I was able to run for longer lengths of time without breaks.

"fun"

I had been reading lots of blogs about 5ks and thought that it might be best for me to attempt a “fun run” before attempting a timed race. I signed up for the Dirty Girl Mud Run in April and then the Glow Run for this past Saturday. While you can actually have a blast at these types of runs, I think they’re way more likely to cause injuries and that they require more intense training unless you intend on spending a good deal of time walking. Perhaps that is just my inexperience talking, but I think I almost broke my ankle about six different times during the Glow “Run”; which was actually a 3.1 mile game of dodge the tread marks and holes made by the tractor we sent through this cow pasture to carve out a course, while breathing in your freshly cut worst allergen.

And oh yeah…it’s dark.

They tossed out some glow bracelets along the track, but since it was a family race most of those got filched by children who were running the race unsupervised. I assume they were unsupervised because I saw them weaving in and out of people with fists full of glow bracelets.

I'm glad I have friends to do this with.

I’m glad I have friends to do this with.

I think I was just disappointed because I know I can run 3 miles. Even if it takes me 45 minutes, I know I can run it. The terrain makes a big difference. Running uphill in the dirt is a lot more taxing than running on a street or an indoor track. Obviously. I just didn’t realize how much more difficult it was until I was actually doing it. Through the race I kept getting mad at myself for walking instead of jogging and thinking about how my weight loss has pretty much stalled since school let out for the summer.

I actually did have a lot of fun with this run.

I actually did have a lot of fun with this run.

I guess I just need to go into these with the mentality that I’m out there doing it, which is more than I was doing last year. Even if it takes me forever and I can’t run the whole thing, I’m getting it done. I intend to sign up for a few normal 5ks and resume jogging a few times a week. I would like to eventually get serious enough to finish a marathon. I know that is a long way off, but I want to run one in my lifetime. I’m also going to focus on tagging along with people who already enjoy races so their enthusiasm can rub off on me.

Also happy to have a support system. (Even if he does indulge my ice cream addiction too frequently.)

Also happy to have a support system. (Even if he does indulge my ice cream addiction too frequently.)

 

 Hobbies

Posted by simplysarah on May 22, 2013

It has been exactly fourteen days since my last final exam for the Spring 2013 semester and I can’t decide on which way that I want to spend my time! The first week and a half was sort of planned for me, because I had to squeeze in some observational hours for my summer education classes, and go to various field days, and an awards ceremony. Then I spent a day or two trying to really clean house before I had kids home 24/7.

Right now I’m trying to find a balance between my hobbies and keeping the kids on some sort of schedule so that they don’t drive me insane over the next three months. I try to include them in some maintenance chores in the mornings, we do 30+ minutes of “silent reading” after we eat lunch, and then if they have behaved we do video games or a movie for a few hours.

I think we all appreciate the structure.

I just can’t figure out which hobby I want to focus on. For a short while, I didn’t want to look at any books because I was so sick of reading stuff I had to read for classes. Now, I have so many things I want to read, but it is still difficult to carve out time to do it because I sort of get absorbed in a book and want to read it all at once. I’ve got so many tv shows I want to check out that friends have recommended. Chad and I started watching Dexter (from the beginning) a few weeks back. We’re up to season 4 and trying to catch up before the final season starts (June 30th!) I’ve got a couple of crafty projects I want to try, and fortunately those can’t distract me until I have the money to buy the supplies for them (read: after a summer full of $500 electric bills) and by then I’ll be completely saturated with back-to-school stuff and preparing for all the busy holidays.

I’m not complaining, actually. I imagine my house would look like an episode of hoarders if I had the money to start all the projects I see on Pinterest.

I think what I’m spending most of my time doing is organizing. Some wouldn’t call this a fun hobby, but there is something so soothing to me about putting everything in its place. I’ve been going room by room in my house, excavating every nook and cranny, tossing, donating, and sorting every item. I asked my husband for Space Bags for Mother’s Day. Weird? No. What mother wouldn’t be thrilled to have winter clothes and school clothes in vacuum-sealed bags and packed neatly into a 55 gallon Rubbermaid tote? For those of you who aren’t mothers, I guess you wouldn’t understand the ripple effects of not having to wash all of those clothes. I envy you.

 Time Flies

Posted by simplysarah on May 15, 2013

I can’t believe the last time I wrote anything was in the middle of March. These last two months have been incredibly busy. It took every extra ounce of energy I had to finish the semester. Lots has happened though, so I guess I’ll start there.

My college consolidated with another college, which was supposed to open up opportunities for the student body. What actually happened was that the campus I attend became a satellite campus, with a minimal offering of courses and majors that require courses at other satellite campuses. I completed the classes I needed for my AS in Psychology this semester (and will be receiving my first, official college degree in the mail in 3-4 weeks); but, I had to switch majors because the BS program is on the campus that is a one way, 70+ mile commute. My new major is Early Childhood Education and I should be completing my Associate’s degree in the Fall. I’m certain that I will be happy with this career choice, but the uncertainty throughout the semester with the merge has been very stressful.

Speaking of stress, I made my first B. I made 3/5 Bs, actually. I was pretty disappointed with myself, because that also kept me about .67 GPA points shy of the Dean’s List for the semester. My cumlative GPA is still a 3.85 and I am slowly coming to terms with the idea that a 4.0 is not really super important.

I’m taking two classes this summer and four in the fall. The summer classes required 10 hours a piece of observation of school-aged children. My professors were pretty awesome about letting me knock out those hours before the school year ends. I sat in on a third grade class and a first grade class for most of them, and spent a few hours with a couple of fourth grade teachers. I’m glad that it worked out the way it did, because it renewed my desire to finish college. When I found out I was going to need to change majors in the middle of the semester, it was hard to find the motivation to keep going.

Being done with the semester has given me the chance to breathe. The house looked like it had barely made it through a natural disaster for a while, and it has felt so soothing to get things back in order around here. The house is completely silent during the day, while the kids are at school, and I can take my time cleaning each room from top to bottom. The only problem with this is that I see ten million projects I want to get done, but I lack the extra funds to do them. It feels good to be home though.

My summer classes are online and they start on the 28th. I’ll be ready for them by then because the house will be spotless and I will be bored out of my mind.

 

 Progress 3/13

Posted by simplysarah on March 3, 2013

It’s been a really, really long time since I put up any pictures of my progress. I have been doing Zumba since the weekend after Thanksgiving and I am starting on week five of Jamie Eason’s Live Fit training program this week. The pictures should speak for themselves. The “before” photos (on the left) are from a while ago, where my weight was somewhere between 260-268 lbs. My current weight fluctuates between 239 – 242 lbs. I’m not sure of my measurements, but I wear a size 18 pants now and 14/16 ish shirts. Women’s clothing sizes are so sporadic that it’s difficult to tell sometimes. Click the pictures if you want a bigger view.

March Progress, Front View

March Progress, Front View

March Progress, Side View

March Progress, Side View

March Progress, Back View

March Progress, Back View

 

 No More Salt!

Posted by simplysarah on February 28, 2013

Chad and I spent the evening at one of our favorite restaurants on Saturday as we celebrated (two weeks late) our eleventh wedding anniversary. I chose to indulge myself a little more with some sushi, and a chicken hibachi meal (both of which I had a go box of leftovers for lunch the following day). I also enjoyed two martinis, one pomegranate and the other Godiva chocolate. When I woke up the next morning I knew I should have avoided the scale, but I didn’t.

It said 248 lbs.

I knew that was way over the correct weight, because it wasn’t even a week prior to that, that I was able to log into MyFitnessPal and log that I was 238 lbs. I spent January busting my behind in the gym, doing Zumba, and R.I.P.P.E.D. I was (and still am) working out six days a week. I’m doing Jamie Eason’s Live Fit weight training program five days a week (I’m on week four), Zumba three nights a week for an hour, and R.I.P.P.E.D. on Saturday mornings for one hour. I know I’m burning tons of calories too, because I monitor them with a BodyMedia Fit armband. I count calories and eat (mostly) healthy foods, and I was making great progress through the month of January. Almost five pounds down(247.2 down to 243). Then I got really sick with tonsillitis and bronchitis. I was out of it for a week, doing nothing but laying in bed, taking medicine, and drinking powerade. I weighed 238 after that week. I expected to put a little bit back on once I started eating normal food again, but I knew it wouldn’t be anything crazy. If anything, the bed rest gave my body a break and a chance to catch up.

Anyway, five days after eating such a highly indulgent meal, I’m finally back down to 239.7 lbs. Like I said, I expected to gain back a little bit, but ten whole lbs was a bit ridiculous. I know it wasn’t fat. It was water retention from the heaps of salt in the food at the restaurant we chose. Probably the alcohol too. I’m pleased with myself for not freaking out like I have before, and using it as an excuse to quit exercising and just binge out on horrible foods. Now I just have to be extra careful on date nights to watch my salt intake. I know it’s supposed to be a treat, especially as infrequently as we’re able to get out by ourselves, but I really want to be as close as I can get to 200 lbs by the end of April when I do the Dirty Girl mud run. Something tells me that it will be much easier to throw a smaller version of myself over a cargo net. Realistically, I realize that I will likely lose around 10-15 lbs, but it makes a difference. That would put me in the 220s, which I haven’t seen in a long, long time.

I’ll be watching my salt like a hawk.

I'll see you soon, my love. But this year I've got goals that don't include you.

I’ll see you soon, my love. But this year I’ve got goals that don’t include you.

 Rest Day

Posted by simplysarah on January 6, 2013

This week I literally hit the ground running with my pre-planned exercise schedule. I bought a paper calendar and mapped out various types of workouts for the month of January. Three days per week are morning runs with the c25k plan, two days are one hour evening Zumba classes, Saturday mornings I have a new class that my Zumba instructor started teaching again called R.I.P.P.E.D. Aside from these, I will use my workout DVDs to fill in the gaps. I’ve got plenty to choose from, including Turbo Fire, Body Revolution, and an assortment of the ones available at Wal-Mart.

Crazy schedule!

Crazy schedule!

I had my regular Zumba class on Tuesday night. Well, aside from the fact that it was decorated like a night club to make it a fun New Year’s Day workout. Thursday, Chad and I went to use my Christmas gift card to Academy Sports + Outdoors. I picked up a new pair of running shoes (Asics GT 1000s). Friday morning, we sent the kids back to school from their winter break and went for a jog. I did Week 1, Day 1 of c25k. My first mile was a little over 15 minutes and the second was around 17. Both are better than my first attempts (~18 minutes) from a few months back, when I gave myself nasty shin splints. The second was a little slower because it included the cool down, and then walking the rest of the way back to my house.

Size 11s, Yes, my feet are huge.

Size 11s, Yes, my feet are huge.

Chad’s ankle started really bothering him, so he won’t be running with me for a couple more months. He sprained it pretty badly in September and it hasn’t quite finished healing. I was okay, though I could already tell my thighs were going to be sore. I soldiered on through the Zumba class that same night, not even realizing how hard I was dancing because it was so much fun. That was, until I woke up the next morning and my legs were so sore! I wasn’t going to give up though, and I went to the new R.I.P.P.E.D. class, which was tougher than expected. I think it was mostly due to the previous soreness though. Despite the aches in my body and not being familiar with the workout (and needing to modify a few times), I still burned over 500 calories.

Then I came home and winced every time I stood up or bent my knees.

I’m sure I looked weird trying to walk up the front steps stiff-legged, but goodness it hurt. After burning about 2,000 extra calories in two days, I was starving. Not that I didn’t eat for two days, it just seemed like I was a vacuum for the rest of the afternoon and I wanted protein, protein, and more protein, with a side of salt. I opted for a Zaxby’s Kickin’ Chicken Sandwich. Not the healthiest choice of post-workout fuel, but I made good choices throughout the rest of my week and this is about moderation, not deprivation. I’ll just need to guzzle water today to combat the sodium.

Everybody needs a rest day to give their muscles time to repair themselves, and Sundays have been scheduled for me out of convenience. The kids are home, so exercise is a little more difficult to squeeze in. I find myself more frustrated after having to interrupt my workout to go referee an argument or answer the question “How much longer do you have to exercise?” a thousand and one times. Plus, it’s a good day to spend tidying up the house and prepping everything for the kids and I to go back to school. I’ll be using Sunday’s to prepare snacks and lunches for the week so that I have good options on hand when I’m busy with college stuff.

And with that, I’m off to work on my bedroom. I want to tackle the closet and give the dogs a good scrub. I also need to work on some laundry.

 Bidding 2012 a Fond Farewell

Posted by simplysarah on January 1, 2013

Every year I see status updates, tweets, memes and other social media comments saying things like “I cannot wait for this year to be over with. It was horrible. Next year is my year.” Typically, it’s the same people posting the same thing the very next year. While I have experienced some truly sad, discouraging, or bad things over the course of 2012, I wouldn’t call the entire year a loss based on those few experiences. There were plenty of wonderful things about this past year as well. Besides, if you really think about it, we wouldn’t be able to appreciate and understand the good without knowing what it’s like to go through the bad. Our attitudes tend to color our perspectives though, and sometimes we get caught up in negative dialogue.

How can we change this?

2013 jar

2013 will be full of memories!

Someone posted this idea to one of my social media sites. I think it was Facebook, but it may have been linked from Pinterest. It is a “Good Things” vase for 2013. The instructions said to get a jar, write 2013 on the side of it, write down good things that happen to you during the year, and then dump it out at the end of the year and remember all the good things. Or something like that. I intend to take it a step further and write down at least one good thing about every single day. It’s all about shifting our perspective, right? Even on days when I think I’m having a rough day, if I force myself to sit down before the day ends and look for at least one good thing that happened,   it can change my attitude about the entire day. I hope I need a bigger vase!