How to Eat Healthy 100% of the Time

Growing up, my dad always would say the quote, “Everything in moderation.” As a child, I pretty much surmised that this loosely translated to, “I don’t know what else to say, so I am going to say this quote.”

It wasn’t until I was much older that this quote started to really make an impression. During college, I was pretty active. I tracked all of my calories and serving sizes. I monitored each calorie in and out as much as possible. It was in the summer of 2007 that I started to realize I might have a problem. I was working as a summer camp counselor teaching sports to young children. Each week I was assigned a different camp in a different area of the state.

During one particular week, I was assigned to teach a soccer camp to four-year-olds in the morning and a tennis camp to third, fourth and fifth graders in the afternoon. I had exactly 30 minutes to make a 30 minute commute during my “lunch break.” I planned my meals carefully, so after I got home and took a shower, I logged in my calories burned during work and my calories consumed during the day. I figured this would help me plan what my dinner should be. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that according to the online software I was using, I still needed to consume 1500 calories.

1500.

I usually only allowed myself 1200 for the whole day.

I had no idea what to do. How would I even consume enough healthy foods to make 1500 calories. How much salad is that?!?

I quickly realized that I was not living in a healthy way. Food had become an enemy and that was not okay. I promptly announced to my family that it was taco night (my favorite food) and that I was baking them all a cake to eat with me. I’m sure you can only imagine my dad’s remark! Thankfully, I have come a long way since that time.

I still live by the idea that I need to eat healthy 100% of the time. Just now I realize that healthy can take many forms. And yes, that includes a sweet treat or high calorie meal now and then. Sometimes I just want some General Tsao’s Chicken and an orange soda! And brownies!

Which leads me to today…

I ate so healthy all day long! (Healthy by the standard definition of all of my fruits and veggies and proper amounts of protein and carbs). Even though the temperatures were over 100 today and very humid, I still put Cupcake in the jogging stroller and completed my 1.5 mile route.  But then, a strong chocolate craving hit. This was coupled with a discovery of an unopened box of hot cocoa that was set to expire in just a few days. So, my momming brain went to work and I created a recipe for a brownie in a mug that helped me to use up some of the mix. (I will post the recipe tomorrow! I loved it so much I ate the whole thing without thinking once about snagging a picture for you all! Sorry. I’m not sorry).

That brownie filled me with so much joy. It tasted amazing; it was warm and gooey and magical. Seriously. And I do not feel one ounce of regret because it was healthy for me! It was good for my mental health.

Now, I’m not going to start eating a brownie a day just for my mental health. That wouldn’t even be good. It would take away the allure. The brownie would just be regular. Not special. But, sometimes people get so caught up with eating “healthy” that they lose the fun in food. There is a time and a place for brownies made from beans and a time and a place for the real thing. I’ve heard people suggest eating healthy 80% of the time and not worrying about the rest. I prefer to think of it as focusing on different aspects of my health, but to each their own.

I guess my dad had it right. Everything in moderation…

What are your favorite comfort foods to feed your mental and emotional well-being? Share them in the comments below!

April Reflections 

Ugh. People. It’s been bad. Real bad. With all that we have to do to prep for our move, I’ve barely had time to think. Much less focus on blogging or these resolutions. This wil be brutal, but here it goes…

As part of my 2015 resolutions, I post my status each month to keep myself accountable for the goals I set for myself!

1. Design 2015 budget goals with husband to reflect past spending and current saving goals.

We found our dream place! It is in our budget, although near the top. We will definitely have some new budget changes  as we start to figure out what our new life will cost! 

Our May goal is to try and make our move as cost effective as possible! 

2. Go to the gym (or workout at home) a minimum of four days a week.

Check! 

3. Reduce my PR of a 9 min mile pace to an 8 minute mile.

My April goal was to get an 8:05 minute mile.

I ran a 7:57 mid-month! This goal is done!!!!!! In high school I could barely run a 10 minute mile so this is  huge for me! 

4. Try one new recipe a week and blog about it.

With our oven broken still, this goal is not shaping up how I want. Until we move, this resolution is effectively on hold. 

5. I want to continue nursing Cupcake through 2015, unless she chooses to wean earlier.

Check! 

6. Visit my grandma every week before our move. Call her every week after we move.

Complete failure. So disappointed in myself. 

7. Text/call/email a different friend every day to keep communication open.

Check!

8. I will cut my monthly consumption of soda.

In April, my goal was to drink no more than 3 servings of soda a week.

One week I went over, but it’s still an overall better scenario than it was before! I notice that when I’m stressed I turn to soda the way some turn to wine. 

My goal for May is no more than 3 soda servings a week again. Hopefully I can achieve this goal despite the stress of moving! 

9. Subscribe to FlyLady Emails. Complete tasks to maintain clean and decluttered home.

With packing being a primary goal, FlyLady will need to wait until we are officially settled. 

10. Reduce time spent watching TV

My goal for April was focused on reducing my overall TV watching a day. It was a really odd month because we were frequently traveling to find a. Ew place and attended a few weddings. This naturally gave me significantly less time to watch tv. Most weeks I only watched whatever I had on the DVR. 

The only exception to this was we watched quite a bit of TV relate to the riots in Baltimore. As this was a major news story in our soon to be new home- I feel like it was acceptable! 

My May goal will be to only watch something I have on the DVR (unless another major news situation pops up). This will reduce TV time by eliminating the time I spend watching commercials. 

11. Post progress each month on the above goals. 
Check! 

Pancake Cake 

A few weeks ago I wrote about the dreaded “V” word and how it had been making the rounds at our household. Vegan recipes have been a life-saver as we’ve dealt with Cupcake and me needing to avoid all dairy. There have been numerous occasions where we have made a vegan recipe and added meat to satisfy our omnivore family. My darling Cupcake is nearly one year old. We have been given the ok to trial her on some forms of dairy and yogurt has gone well. Since I am still nursing Cupcake, I am selfishly excited about the prospect of me being able to have dairy again. I am excited and hopeful that she will have outgrown her issues!  In the meantime, we have this cake that we affectionately call “Pancake Cake.”

A typical evening in the Momming Household looks like this:

I make dinner. Family eats. Dad bathes Cupcake and gets her ready for bed while I tidy up and prep Dad’s lunch for tomorrow. I meet them upstairs for a story or two. Daddy heads back downstairs to do the dishes while I nurse Cupcake to sleep. I join my hubby for an hour or two to hang out/watch tv/talk before bed. This routine works great for us.

Tonight, my hubby and I texted back and forth while I nursed that we’d like to bake a treat tonight once she went down for the night. By we, I mean I bake and he keeps me company. I was excited. Usually she nurses for 20 minutes, so I told him to preheat the oven so it’d be ready for me once she was done.

Cupcake must be headed into a growth spurt because she finally nodded off after 45 long minutes of nursing. She slightly roused as I went to put her in her crib. Usually she just wants an extra snuggle, but not tonight! “Me-me! Me-me!” she wailed. Now me-me is her term for nursing and all I could think was, what?!?! You are still hungry after a full dinner and a huge nursing sesh? Silly baby. You must be in the middle of a dream or something. So I tried snuggling her, but her me-me’s became louder and she was lifting up my shirt. I guess she was serious!

With only about an hour and a half until typical bedtime for Mommy and Daddy, I knew I had to encourage our baking along. I texted my hubby to take out a large bowl. I asked him to put in 1.5 cups of flour and 1 c of sugar just to, ya know, get it started. Cupcake was still nursing as if I never feed her, so I texted him the next ingredients. And the next. And the next. Before I knew it, he had made the whole darn thing!

Then, I got this:

He’s crazy. 

 Finally, after an HOUR AND A HALF- Cupcake stopped nursing. I stumbled downstairs (nursing an 11 month old for that long is no joke) and guzzled some water. Thankfully, I had a delightful cake to recover with! 

Oh, but wait, the oven decided to break (cue screams from horror movie). My hubby was so bummed after all of his hard work on his first ever cake. I couldn’t let that happen, so I poured the batter into two mugs, popped them in the microwave and voila! Cake in a cup! We topped it with a dollop of vanilla frosting. Amazing! 



Ingredients

  • 1.5 c flour
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt 
  • 1/3 c unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 t vanilla extract 
  • 1 t apple cider vinegar
  • 1 c water

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. 
  3. Make three wells. Put the applesauce in one, vanilla in another and vinegar in the last. 
  4. Pour the water over the entire mixture
  5. Stir until mixed well
  6. Pour batter into greased 8×8 pan and bake 30-40 minutes 

Alternative Directions  

For cake in a mug, follow directions 2-5 as listed above. Pour batter into mug, leaving room for expansion (I filled about 2/3 of the mug). Bake for 1-2 minutes. Best served warm! Frosting melts on it, but it’s delicious. You can also top with hot fudge, chocolate chips, or maple syrup! 

Let me know what you think of this cake! Did you go the traditional route or did you make it in a mug? Leave a comment below! 

A Day in the Life 

4 am: Cupcake wakes up and wants to nurse. Maybe hitting a growth spurt, because she feeds for 45 minutes! 

5:45am: Cupcake wakes up again. Hubby goes in to comfort her 

6:45: Cupcake up for the day! Make breakfast. Clean her up and change her. Play with her baby doll that she insists on carrying everywhere.

8:00: Get Cupcake and myself ready for the gym. Pack bags for both of us. 

8:30: Drop Cupcake off at “school” (gym daycare). Run and lift. Enjoy magical, peaceful, childless shower. Spoil myself and do my makeup AND blow dry my hair. 

10:30: Bring Cupcake home. She’s screaming cause she’s tired. Nurse her for 45 minutes. Put her in her crib to nap. 

11:16: My bottom hits the couch, and she’s wailing. I’m not going back up to feed her. She’s crying on and off. I hope and pray she’ll fall back asleep. 

11:35: Whiney cries turn consistent. I go to rescue her. She pooped. I change her and will her to go back to sleep with Jedi-mind tricks. 

11:45: My Jedi-mind tricks are not working. The force is strong with that one. She’s just giggling at me and trying to pet my face. She’s pointing around the room, “a this? A that?” This is an annoyed mommy. That is your crib, where you should still be napping. She gets so happy when she hears a bird. Nap time over. 

12 pm: Feed Cupcake lunch. She eats two bites of an apple and licks hummus off a piece of bread. I realize we don’t have anything in the house and eat a lunch of carrots and hummus. Good thing I ate my weight in cake last night, so my body has plenty to keep it going. 

12:20: Scan the flyer and my coupons to plan grocery store trip. Cupcake yells as loud as she can for about 10 minutes. I’m glad no one’s around for me to have to explain that literally nothing is wrong- she’s just yelling because she can! Fun! 

12:40: I pack Cupcake and I into the car and head to the grocery store. 

2:10: Attempt to bring in groceries. Cupcake wants to be held the whole time. At least she helps unpack the bags when it’s time! 



2:45: Snack time! Cupcake eats peanut butter, puffs, hummus and a piece of clementine 

3:00: I try to clean the house. Cupcake actually allows me to do this because she noticed a zipper on her hoodie. Note to self: always dress Cupcake with zippers. 

3:30: She got the hoodie off, so I’m done cleaning. We cuddle and read books instead. 



4:15: Best part of the day! Daddy gets home!! We enjoy the warmest weather we’ve seen since November and go on a walk. 

5:15: Cupcake is napping in the stroller, so my hubby sits outside while I go in and make dinner. We have homemade burgers with kale chips and pickles. Amazingly delicious for such a simple meal. Cupcake refuses to eat anything except pickles. 

6:00: Cupcake signs “All Done” and signals us that it is bedtime. Poor baby is so so so tired that she cries while I change her into pjs. She nurses, I sing, we cuddle, she goes to bed. 

7:00: Hubby and I plan her first birthday party. We get snacky and he offers to go out and get us a treat. I have eaten well all day, and hold strong. He makes us a berry protein shake that is amazingly delicious. 

8:00: We quickly tidy the house and get ready for bed. 

9:00: We like each other too much and we’re still up talking. Cupcake makes a peep. We realize we need to sleep before she wakes up for a nighttime feeding. We go to sleep. 



When to Have a Second Baby

I have literally Google’d this several times over the last few months, hoping that one website would tell me what to do. Cupcake will turn 1 in March, and I’m starting to feel ready to add another sweetie to our world. Since Cupcake is such an awesome baby, I definitely want to make sure we’re doing the right thing for all three of us! Unfortunately, everywhere I clicked said essentially the same thing, the right timing is whatever is right for you and your partner.

That’s not helpful! Can’t someone just tell me what to do?!?

From the oldest of my siblings to the youngest is a 17 year span. My younger sister and I are only 19 months apart. Having lived these two extremes, I know how close siblings are depends more on their character than on anything else. Thankfully all of us are close despite our age gap. However, when I was younger, it was easier to relate to my younger sister because she was going through what I was at the same time. Based on that and the experiences in my DH’s family, we always wanted our children to be relatively close in age.

It hit me the other day that if I want our kids to be 2-3 years apart, we are quickly closing in on the time to start ttc! The idea of bringing another baby into our family is exciting and nerve-wracking all at once! We have talked about it and feel like we’re definitely getting ready to continue growing our family. But, there are still a million questions we have!

How will this next cutie be like and unlike Cupcake? How will his or her personality fit in with our family? What unique traits with this little one have? Having recently emerged from the horrors of having a stomach bug with a baby, am I ready for morning sickness again?

Despite all the difficulties of adding another child, we know that we are getting close to ready. There is no one specific reason why, we just both acknowledged we felt it. Perhaps it’s that Cupcake is now older and gaining more independence. Maybe it’s because she’s sleeping better. I’m not sure I can pinpoint one reason; it just feels right.

So I know that I’ve arrived at the same conclusion of everyone else- the timing is right when the timing is right. So simple and so hard all at the same time!

Calling all parents of 2+ children. How far apart are your kiddos spaced? I would love to hear about your experiences!

The “V” word

In our house, we freely throw around the “v” word without any problems. Although Cupcake is talking (and definitely listening to everything we say), we feel like her use of the “v” word is totally acceptable.

So two weekends ago, we had my in-laws over to celebrate a birthday. When they walked in the house, they immediately remarked how great it smelled. I presented my cake it by my husband’s affectionate name for it- Pancake Cake. As we dug in, they oohed and ahhed over it. When it was time to wrap it up, they happily took home ALL the leftovers.

Little did they know I had really made “v” cake. That’s right, people, I served my family members a vegan cake. What “v” word did you think I was talking about?

When I told them it was vegan, they were definitely surprised. It seems like in our social-consciousness, vegan is a dirty word. It represents a lesser alternative. It’s gross. It’s out there. It definitely isn’t so delicious that you take home all of your leftover came. No, with a vegan cake, you politely smile and make up some reason why it’s really ok, you do not need the leftovers. You’re on a diet. It would go to waste at your house. Oh no, no, the baker should get to keep the leftovers. Right?

I hate to admit, I used to be afraid of vegan foods. When I was originally told I had to avoid all dairy for Cupcake’s intolerance, I was not pleased. An avid baker, I had no clue what I was going to do! I didn’t want to make gross food! So, I gave it all up. No faux cheese for me! No butter! No yogurt! No milk chocolate! It was rough.

But one day, I was at a restaurant that literally only had ONE option they could promise was dairy-free. It was called “Vegan Ravioli.” This presented many problems. 1. It had the dreaded “v” word. 2. Ravioli without cheese? 3. Ravioli without cheese? (I’m half-Italian, clearly ravioli sans cheese should count twice). I begrudgingly ordered it and awaited the disaster.

As they put the plate in front of me, I crinkled my nose and poked at it with my fork. I cautiously dug in. My husband watched as I carefully chewed my bite. And people, it got weird. It was the best ravioli I had ever ever ever tasted. Not the best vegan ravioli-the best any kind of ravioli. Shh, please don’t tell Grandma Rose! And so, my eyes were opened.

Over the past few months, I’ve experimented with many vegan recipes. I find when I present them to others, they have my former reaction. “And it’s vegan?” they say. I see the judgment happen before a single taste. So now, I let the food speak first. I just wish someone would have captured my sweet father-in-law’s face when I told him about Pancake Cake!

My sweet Cupcake is sick this week, and I hear her waking in her crib, so I will post the Pancake Cake recipe soon! In the meantime, any delicious recipes you have that are vegan? Please comment below!

January Resolution Update

As part of my 2015 resolutions, I post my status each month to keep myself accountable for the goals I set for myself!

1. Design 2015 budget goals with husband to reflect past spending and current saving goals.

Eh, not so great. Our budget is up to date on the computer, and we are overall doing well. Our “allowance” idea would have worked better this month if we had planned better. My husband spent January finishing up residency interviews and therefore was on the road quite often. We had not decided ahead of time how these road trips would factor into our allowance. Therefore, we spent a bit more on dining out than I would have preferred.

Moving into February, we will be reattacking this goal. I have prepped our envelopes with our allowance and we’re going to give it our all! We do have a weekend away at the end of this next rotation, so we decided our allowance would not factor into the eating out those days. Instead, we will plan ahead to bring what we can and budget appropriately.

2. Go to the gym (or workout at home) a minimum of four days a week.

Ugh. Well, not so good on this one! Two of the weeks, I achieved my goal. Which means that the other two weeks, I did not. One week I only went three times. I made several excuses and did not push myself. This last week of January was made difficult due to Blizzard Juno. I find it much harder to motivate myself to do workouts at home.

Sadly this means my success was only 50%. I will certainly be looking for improvement in February! My husband’s work schedule is changing, so I will be utilizing the babysitting services at my gym. I am hoping this will allow me more flexibility to reach my goals since before I was limited to the time before my husband left for work.

3. Reduce my PR of a 9 min mile pace to an 8 minute mile.

Every week, I would push myself to run as fast as I could on the treadmill. Yesterday I decided to really haul it and see what this body could do. I ran a mile in 8:28! I wouldn’t believe it if I hadn’t seen it myself. I had no idea my body could do this. My February goal is to get below an 8:25. The goal seems small, but currently I’ve only run an 8:28 once in my whole existence. I want to work on that becoming a more comfortable run, rather than getting stares from the neighboring treadmill occupants as I gasp along.

4. Try one new recipe a week and blog about it.

Pork “Fried” Rice

Orange Chicken

Clean and Easy Crockpot Pork Tenderloin

Breaded Pork Chops

5. I want to continue nursing Cupcake through 2015, unless she chooses to wean earlier.

Check! I experienced a major dip in supply following some weight loss combined with Cupcake getting sick and not taking all of her feeds. Thankfully, through a lot of work, my supply is back up and I have a very content little girl!

6. Visit my grandma every week before our move. Call her every week after we move.

Check! I went to visit my Gramma three times this month. In addition, there were two weeks where we had to stick with a call. The first week Cupcake was sick. The next week, my grandmother and her roommate both were too sick for Cupcake to visit. It’s getting harder and harder to keep my wiggly worm occupied at the nursing home, but thankfully she’s such a good girl!

7. Text/call/email a different friend every day to keep communication open.

So, this was one of the best resolutions I made! It really forced me to reach out to so many people in my little world. It made me realize that sometimes I rely on others to do that part of the friendship too much. It was great connecting with so many and I look forward to seeing how this resolution will help keep my relationships strong once we move!

8. I will cut my monthly consumption of soda.

My goal for January was to reduce my consumption of soda to four 8-oz cups a week.

This goal was really achievable! In fact, I am super impressed with myself because just a few years ago I lived off of soda. I easily would drink 2-3 cans (which translates to at least four 8-oz servings) a day!!!

My highest week I had 3 servings. I had a total of only 8 servings over the whole month.

My February SMART goal will be to maintain my current goal of no more than four servings a week. I want to turn my focus to the situations in which I drink soda and try and address the behaviors associated with that. I have noticed that I tend to want a soda for my afternoon pick-me-up. I do not want to drink coffee in the afternoon since that level of caffeine is likely to affect my sleep. My second goal will be that if I find myself wanting a soda, I will first make sure I drink 2 cups of water to ensure that I am not just thirsty. If I still want my soda after that, I can have it. I’m hoping the extra water will keep me hydrated, perk me up, and make me too full to drink the whole soda!

9. Subscribe to FlyLady Emails. Complete tasks to maintain clean and decluttered home.

I subscribed again to the emails and started on New Years Day. I created an organizational binder, which I love! I have found when Cupcake has an off-day, I cannot always get to the daily task. To combat this, I doubled up on days when I had more time. Over the course of the week, all chores would get done! I love how much cleaner my house is getting.

It also makes me happy because now Cupcake is becoming more aware of what Mama does during the day. I have to take her whole mattress out of her crib to change her sheets. This month, I noticed that Cupcake was intently watching me each time I changed them. I would show her two different options for her new sheet set and let her “pick” one (wherever her hand landed first haha). It makes me feel good that my habits will rub off on her and hopefully encourage her in the right direction!

10. Reduce time spent watching TV

This month I focused on the time I spent watching the news. This was a very hard habit to break, but there are a few ways I was successful.

-I stopped watching nightly news and only watched in the morning. Sometimes the stories on the nightly news were upsetting or bothersome and likely was affecting my sleep. Plus, most of the PM stories were covered during the AM newscast. I also realized that with the virtual world in my cell phone, I didn’t miss out on as much as I somehow thought I would.
-I never spend an hour on the treadmill. I counted whatever news I watched at the gym as my time for the day.
-In the mornings where I didn’t go to the gym, I turned the TV to a music station as soon as my time was up. We have a portable music player that I may eventually switch to so that the physical TV is off, but this was a good transition.

I encountered some difficulties as my husband was used to watching the news with me. However, he was supportive as always. He was also raised on a steady diet of TV, so this is a big change for us. I also found that I didn’t feel quite as “in the know” as I like. I digest news better in the TV format as compared to reading it online or in the paper. Moving into February, I hope this part will get better.

My SMART goal for February is to go through all the shows I have set for the DVR and figure out if they really add any true value or enjoyment to our lives and delete all that don’t. Big Bang Theory stays! If I truly love it, fine. However, if it isn’t truly meaningful in my world, it is a waste of time! I will not add any new shows to our lineup.

11. Post progress each month on the above goals.
Check!

Cupcake’s First New Years!

This was such a bittersweet New Years for me. 2014 was the most wonderful year. We welcomed our darling daughter on March 22nd and life has been forever better.

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We opted to stay in this year and celebrate with our little girl. We drove forty-five minutes to an amazing deli near where my husband grew up and got the most amazing grinders.

They are absolutely stuffed to the brim! One-quarter of my “8-inch” grinder measured at 4.5 inches! Definitely got our monies worth.

Then, we watched Rio together. Cupcake didn’t actually watch, but she danced along to the music. I love watching my little girl learn to find her own rhythm. It’s so funny because even in utero, nothing got her moving and kicking like music. It warms my heart because this mama loves to dance!

Little Cupcake called it a night at 7, so my husband and I curled up on the couch and spent the rest of the night sans TV. We just talked about what a beautiful year we had and all that is ahead!

Someone is a liiiiittle sleepy this morning 😉

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This will be a big year for us. My husband will graduate from medical school and finally be a doctor! He will start residency and we will move. Cupcake will turn one. My baby, who only has taken a few fledgling steps, will blossom into a toddler. My little girl, who says mama, dada, cat, this and yay will expand her communication so I can start to see how that mind works. I will continue on this journey as a stay at home mom for the rest of this year, and then see what beautiful opportunities await me in our new location. I am excited.

I have loved all that 2014 has had to offer and I cannot wait to see what 2015 has in store for our family! Happy New Year!