Finding some motivation…

You may have noticed that there was no Monday weigh-in this week. You see, my best friend’s wedding was this past weekend, and well, I learned quite a few things.

  1. An open bar is not as fun as it used to be. I assumed I could drink like I drank at my before weight, which was stupid. Even stupider for not drinking water between drinks. Lesson learned: early the next morning, I had two charlie horses. OMG THOSE ARE PAINFUL. I couldn’t even tell my husband what was wrong when I woke him up with my legs probably kicking the something out of his. :( Sorry, hun. I read on Dr. Google that dehydration can cause these…yup, this is why I don’t usually drink. Back to water…
  2. New Orleans BBQ shrimp makes you bloat like crazy, but it’s oh, so good!
  3. I also learned that you will gain ::gulp:: 7 lbs. from said mistakes. I actually lost 4 of those 7 already in two days, so I know it’s not true gain. Thus, why I decided not to write a weigh-in post.

It’s been quite a few months of back and forth with my weight. I was SO close to 75 lbs. lost, and well, yeah…you all know what happened. It’s kind of frustrating, to tell you the truth. While my wallet appreciates me staying in the same size for months, I really miss that loose clothes feeling.

My husband and I are both on a journey to Onederland (he’s closer to it than I am, right now), and we told ourselves whoever reaches that weight first, gets a reward date of their choice.. Me? A cooking class date. Him? A jet-ski date. :-)

I decided to up the motivation a little bit last week. My husband and I have an upcoming vacation this winter, and so, I bought a new swimsuit in the size I’d like to be by then (a size large…12/14). It’s two-three sizes down from my current size, so I’m sure it’s doable. :-) Holding the suit up to my current self is so crazy. Look at how SMALL that suit is!

Motivation

I’ll be honest. I haven’t seen that size since middle school. MIDDLE SCHOOL.

Anyway, I’m hoping this pushes me to get rid of some of the weight again. I can’t wait to have loose clothes again. :-)

What have you done to motivate yourself lately?

 

Monday Weigh-In: Week 78

Heh. Holiday weeks. When will I ever learn?

I find that when I don’t work, I have terrible munchies. At work, I’m on a good schedule. Breakfast 8am….snack 10am…lunch noon….afternoon snack #1…2pm…afternoon snack #2 (pre-workout) 5pm…dinner 8pm. It’s fairly easy to follow, because I keep busy at work, and really am able to listen to my body’s hunger signals. However, at home..I just want to eat. Ugh. After a 4 day weekend, here comes the ugly, honest truth (which I’m sure a good bit of it is bloat from how I ate the past two days, especially).

Week 77: 226.2
Week 78: 230.4

Weight Lost: +4.2 lbs.
Total Weight Lost: 68.1 lbs.

Yeah. What a mess. All I can say is that I’m gonna do better this week. I’m optimistic that a good bit of this is bloat, because there’s NO way I went over my calories 3500 * 4.

One day I’m gonna get better at this whole holiday thing. Time to kick this week’s booty. :-)

A Bunch of Randoms

Hope y’all had a great 4th of July! We ended up having an easy-going day, which was definitely welcome. :-) It was probably the most difficult on Millie, since she got her summer fur-cut yesterday AND had to deal with 3 neighborhoods in our area FULL of fireworks lovers. Poor gal. :(

1. This might not seem funny to some, but to this dog lover, I was laughing super hard. “I have no idea what I’m doing.”

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2. When I see this in the grocery store, it pretty much makes my day. Banana biscoff protein shake, anyone? Banana “ice cream”? Yes please!

3. This is completely awesome. Completely…maybe I should do this to my sisters when they get married? I’m pretty sure my husband wouldn’t claim me anymore. On another note, I want those shoes she’s wearing. What are those? Sparkly Converse shoes?

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4. I was looking through old iPhone pictures yesterday, and came across my Couch to 5K collages. I found one from the 4th of July last year, and decided to see how it compares to one from my last run. I’m hoping y’all aren’t getting tired of the progress picture comparisons…they motivate the heck out of me to see a huge difference in my face like that!

5. This made me ridiculously happy. My career is in the IT & science fields, and as a woman, I’m definitely in the minority. I have no problem working with men (just sayin’), but it’s something I notice a lot at conferences and in training classes.  If I have a daughter one day, I’d love for her to have toys like this! :-) I used to LOVE playing with my brother’s toys as a kid (sorry bro), and was a huge sucker for science kits/books/games. I hope this toy idea sticks around for a while!

Hope everyone has a great weekend! :-)

 

Ch- Ch- Changes

For the past few weeks, I’ve been having some behind the scenes issues with my blog. I’d report problems to my hosting company, and they’d just go into my directory and delete things before asking. It messed up my blog quite a bit, and so, my husband and I spent the weekend making some serious changes to the blog, including an all-new look. I’m still researching a new hosting company, so that will be coming up soon as well.

Here’s the blog you’ve known for the past few years.

Blogbeforeshot

This was my first WordPress.org theme, and my husband put a ton of work into customizing the theme and making things pretty. I don’t know what I’d do without him…he’s so savvy at this stuff.

There’s two huge changes that happened over the weekend.

First is a complete re-design of the blog. Here’s the new look for The Nifty Foodie.

blogscreenshot1

I love the new look! I changed a few things around on here, including an all new navigation bar at the top. You can easily click on a category of recipes you’re interested in, and the corresponding posts will load for you. There’s still the regular category drop down in the footer of the blog, if you prefer that, but I thought this new feature would be nice.

blogscreenshot2

The second change is pretty huge, too. Over the past year, I’ve given a lot of thought about my two blogs. Here I am blogging about weight loss on one blog, and on the other blog, there’s a big picture of cupcakes. One of the most frequently asked questions I get is how I’m losing the weight with a baking hobby. I felt like I needed to connect everything together, so things can make a little more sense to y’all. So, my life blog no longer exists. All of the content has now moved here (I’m still fixing hyperlinks in the old life blog posts to reflect those changes), and from now on, I’ll be sharing everything here. There’s a button for my weight loss journey and my crafting hobby on the navigation bar, too!

I know it’s a lot at once, but I think this is a good move for the blog. I barely blogged about my weight loss journey on here, and now I feel like this blog will be a place where I can just tell my complete story, if that makes any sense. Baking + weight loss + crafts + life. It’s all gonna be here. Don’t worry, though. My recipe posts will still post 2x/week, as normal. Now, there’s the addition of Monday Weigh-In posts and my Friday “Bunch of Randoms” posts.

I hope you guys like the new changes around here! Please let me know what y’all think of the new look. I’d love to hear some feedback. :-)

Turkey Tex-Mex Sloppy Joe Quesadillas & Calphalon GIVEAWAY

sloppyjoequesadillas

Well, HELLO JULY! So many wonderful things going on this month: July 4th, my best friend’s wedding (OMG…hope my bridesmaid dress still fits after the 4th haha!)…well, that’s basically it. However, those are two HUGE events to me. I love the 4th of July. LOVE. The fireworks, the smell of the grills going crazy in our neighborhood and celebrating the holiday with All-American classic dishes. It’s just great. I’m pretty sure I wake up on July 4th craving food from the grill. Wonder if my husband would grill breakfast for me….LOL!

One of my favorite All-American dishes is sloppy joes. My Mom used to make sloppy joes a lot when we were kids, and the klutzy person in me loves the fact that the food is naturally sloppy. Whenever I go out to eat, I end up with a line of food around my plate. I’m not a neat eater at all. I’m sort of a disaster in public…I’m surprised people take me anywhere. Any food that says it’s sloppy means no judgement if I make a mess, right? Right.

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Monday Weigh-In: Week 77

This past week felt really good. I stayed within my calories 6 out of the 7 days, worked out 4 times this week AND upped the weights on some shoulder machines at the gym.

I’m also back to enjoying my occasional splurge meal, and Saturday’s dinner was just that for me. We went bowling with friends Saturday evening, and afterwards, I enjoyed a large (mainly because of the large amount of lettuce) “burrito in a bowl” with chips. It was insanely good. Tex-Mex is my weakness. :-) It’s just amazing to feel in control of things again. My cravings for junk food aren’t that bad anymore, and I’m still motivated like crazy.

Week 76: 229.6
Week 77: 226.2

Weight Lost: 3.4 lbs.
Total Weight Lost: 72.3 lbs.

Some NSVs this week:

  • My 16W jeans are fitting loosely again.
  • I ran 1.5 miles last week, which I know isn’t that much in comparison to where I was. However, I consider 1.5 miles in this summer heat to be a small victory. :-)
  • I noticed when I was doing some yardwork yesterday, that it’s gotten so much easier to reach around the garden. I used to have trouble bending over and reaching for weeds, and I usually had to kneel down in the garden after a while to finish. However, I did it all standing up yesterday. This was a huge deal to me!

Sorry Folks…

ah-huck ah-huck ah-huck…park’s closed for renovations. (Sorry….quoting National Lampoon Vacation here!) Nah, the site isn’t closed, but there’s a few changes happening.

Please accept this cute picture of Millie as an apology.

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Easiest way to put it is that there have been some issues with my hosting site over the past few weeks, so I decided that I’m going to take some time to switch over and since they messed up my theme, I am going to do a temporary re-design as well.

Your favorite recipes and posts will still be around, but the site does look a little different. Thanks for your patience!

 

A Bunch of Randoms

1. It’s been a few years since the last Harry Potter came out, and we finally watched it. Holy cannoli. Um…yeah. Didn’t see any of that coming at all. No spoilers, because I’m sure there are people out there who haven’t seen the end. However, I think I’m gonna finally take the plunge and read the books. After reading the Hunger Games trilogy, I can see where people are coming from when they say “It makes much more sense in the books…”. If you watched the movies, this Buzzfeed post is really gonna put a smile on your face. So much awesome.

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2. I got a fun Influenster box in the mail from Mary Kay. I’m always worried about free make-up, because I’m super fair-skinned and usually the shades just don’t work for me. However, I’ve tried the cream eyeshadow and lipstick yesterday. I was stunned at how neutral the eyeshadow was…in the pan, it’s a purple shade, but on my eyes, it was a purple-ish brown. Very pretty. The lipstick looked like a highlighter pink, but on me, it was a good neutral with a hint of pink. Not too harsh at all! It also included mascara, and mascara is always a challenge for me. As a blonde, I wasn’t blessed with gorgeous Snuffleupagus eyelashes. Instead, I have a few, short blonde eyelashes, and mascara usually just makes them look like spider legs (I’m talking to you, Benefit’s They’re Real mascara…OMG talk about spider legs mascara…glad it was a free sample!). Anyway, this mascara actually made my lashes look great and defined! I’m definitely using these products every day now. :-) I’m glad the colors worked out.

Disclosure: I received those products in the mail for free, from Influenster and Mary Kay. All opinions/reviews are my own, however.

Randoms

3. I’m on Day 9 of the Plank a Day challenge. I had to do a minute today. It blows my mind how much your body adjusts to challenges like this. I won’t lie…I still dread planks, but I’m loving how much stronger I feel!

4. Someone posted that a couple days ago marked 6 months until Christmas. What? Oh man…I know it’s early, but around this time, I start brain-storming ideas for handmade gifts. I will admit that I was completely thrown off when Hobby Lobby already had ornaments out. I completely understand having Christmas fabrics out early, but ready-made decor? C’mon now!

5. Another DietBet bites the dust tomorrow. I ::think:: I’ll make it for this one. I can’t explain how wonderful it is to be “back”. When I got off-track in May, I really felt like I couldn’t control myself. My cravings for junk were out of control, and the constant excuses for work-outs scared me. It’s easier said than done to get rid of those cravings, and to just get out there and work-out, but I’m just glad to be back into a routine and see those numbers going down again. :-)

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! It’ll be Monday before we know it. :-P

 

 

Granola Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies

granolacookies

Ever since I came home from Food Blog Forum, I’ve been having an itch to register for another food blog conference. I don’t think I realized how amazing the food blogger community was until the conference. Everyone was just so friendly and welcoming…it felt like so many of us had been friends for the longest time. Just awesome. I’m seriously on pins and needles about where BlogHer Food will be next year…I think I’m ready to take the plunge. :-)

Another thing I really didn’t account for were the goodies. Oh man….I brought my checked luggage bag as a precaution for souvenir shopping, but seriously needed the whole suitcase for the bag o’ swag, along with the food from a local food exchange. So much stuff LOL. I still haven’t gotten through it all! In my bag was a container of granola, and since I don’t eat granola very often (I may sprinkle some in yogurt for crunch), I searched in hopes that someone has already invented cookies that would use up some of this granola.

Luckily, I came across this recipe, and the results were SO good. The flavor reminded me of an oatmeal raisin cookie, but it definitely had more to it, with the addition of dried cranberries, nuts (from the granola) and chocolate chips. I had to get these out of the house!

Granola Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies
Source: Epicurious

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups granola
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, add the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt and whisk the ingredients together until well-mixed.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add in the egg, and mix until well-combined. Then, mix in the vanilla extract.
  4. Scrape the bowl down with a spatula and add in the dry ingredients. Mix on low until just combined. With a spatula, fold in the dried cranberries and chocolate chips.
  5. Using a medium-sized cookie scoop, scoop each cookie two inches apart on the lined cookie sheets. Bake the cookies one sheet at a time on the middle rack of the oven for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown. Cool the cookies completely on the cookie sheets and enjoy!

Pistachio Cranberry Energy Bars

Larabars

While I enjoy eating cookies, cupcakes and ice cream, I could eat fruit all-day, every day. Thank goodness..or this calorie counting thing wouldn’t be working out so well for me. Me and my sweet tooth! :-)

When I started calorie counting, I went to Whole Foods and went on an energy bar shopping spree. I wanted a bar that would carry me through my work-outs, but not feel too heavy after eating them. Most of the bars tasted really good, but the ones that stood out to me the most were Larabars. I won’t lie to y’all. I thought they would taste terrible, being that they only had a few ingredients in them, but I was surprised in how much I liked them. They’re so basic…usually a base of dates, mixed with other dried fruits and nuts. With my favorite combination in cookies (of course, it always goes back to cookies haha!) being pistachio and cranberry, I tried to throw some energy bars together on my own. I was shocked at how easy these were to make. There’s no baking, and your food processor does all the work (which for me, is just a mini chopper, so I did this in small batches).

Pistachio Cranberry Energy Bars
Source: inspired by Use Real Butter

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. pouch of pitted dates
  • 5 oz. pouch of dried cranberries
  • 6 oz. pouch of shelled pistachios (roasted and salted)
  • honey, if needed (depending on how wet the mixture is)

Directions:

  1. Line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper (making sure some is sticking out above the sides to pull the bars out easily) and set aside.
  2. Place all of the ingredients in a food processor, except for the honey, and puree the mixture. If you have a mini-chopper food processor like me, do this in small batches.
  3. Check the mixture to see if any honey is needed to help bind the ingredients together better. You want the mixture to be easy to roll into a ball without falling apart.
  4. Once you have your bars at the desired consistency, spread the energy bars out evenly onto the 8×8 pan. Then, cut them into bars and individually wrap.