Friday, June 29, 2012

Weekend Shopping Trip

So this weekend we are going shopping.  

Here's what's on the list so far:

  • For the outside of the house
    • 3 Doors (with storm doors) - We are replacing the outside doors leading into the house
    • Bulkhead
  • For the Bathrooms
    • Shower/Tub with a mixing valve
    • Tile & Grout 
    • 2 vanities (one at 21" for the half bath and one at 57" for the full bath)
    • 1 counter-top/sink (we are reusing the one that was in the half bath since it's so nice)
    • 2 faucets
    • 2 toilets (chair height!!)
    • Lights for the half bath
  • For all rooms
    • PAINT!  I already chose my colors....Now we need ceiling paint, trim paint and we need to get to work!
It's going to be a fun weekend!!!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Holy Guacamole!!

Furthering my obsession with Mexican Food:

My friends visited Friday night, and instead of going to Tortilla Flats, I'm making Mexican at Home.  I'm making burritos again (don't judge me!) with a little twist - I decided to mix the refried beans into the meat mixture instead of layering it.  I can't wait to eat them!!

To go with the burritos, I decided to make a couple of sides.  I bought some sour cream, I made a fresh batch of salsa and some GUACAMOLE!!!

This is probably one of the easiest versions of guacamole you can possibly make.  I first saw guacamole made on Barefoot Contessa, and I made it her way the first time....Since then, I've changed it and made it my own (basically I've made it the lazy [yet delicious] way....)!!  So here goes!!

  • 3 ripe avocados
  • 1/4 cup small diced onion (red is best, but vadilia will do the trick)
  • finely chopped jalapeno pepper (however many you want - I used only 1/2 of one pepper)
  • 1/4 cup chopped tomatoes (I had bought grape tomatoes today, so I just chopped some of those up)
  • Kosher Salt
  • Ground Black Pepper
  • Lemon or Lime Juice
The Method
Halve the avocados, remove the pits, and dice the avocado while it's still in the shell.  Then scoop the diced avocado right into the bowl.  Immediately pour the lemon or lime juice over the avocados to prevent them from browning (I believe the technical term is oxidizing).  Add in the chopped onion, jalapeno pepper, tomatoes and a little bit of salt and pepper.  Mix everything together (you can either mash up the avocado, or just mix it lightly - do it however you want to get the consistency you want).

Taste the guacamole and add more salt and pepper if needed.


Guacamole - left a little on the chunkier side, ready for some chips and burritos!!!


Monday, June 18, 2012


Every time I've made "burritos," I ended up making the meat, and served the burritos "Help-y Self-y" style....That meaning that everything is out in buffet style and you just fix it the way you want it.  I think my mom coined that term.  Either way, this time I decided to try something different!  I(Note:  Whenever I've told Scott, "I tried something new," he has always cringed.  This time, not so much!)

The Recipe
1 red pepper, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1/2 vidalia onion, diced
1 pkg (20-oz) lean ground turkey
1/2 packet taco seasoning (the kind you can buy in the spice aisle, not the kind you get in the taco packs)
1 15-oz can refried beans
Shredded cheddar cheese
10 burrito tortillas

The Method to my Maddness
Saute the peppers and onion in a little bit of oil until softened (add in some jalapeno peppers if you like the spice!).  Add in the ground turkey, breaking it up and cooking it well.

Add in the taco seasoning and about 1/2 cup of water, and cook until a sauce is created.

Once the meat is cooked and ready, start layering your burritos:  On each tortilla, put about 1-2 Tbsp of refried beans, some of the meat (enough to make a full burrito, but not some much that you can't roll it) and some shredded cheddar cheese.  Roll the burritos (folding in the sides first) and place them seam-side down in a baking dish.  Bake at 325-350 for 15-20 minutes.

I made half of my burritos with cheese and the other half without.  Whichever I put cheese IN, I put cheese ON in the pan, just for purposes of knowing which was which.  Also, I bought "medium" sized tortillas, so I had trouble folding in the sides...

My dad makes this recipe but instead of putting the refried beans directly onto the tortilla, he mixes it into the beef.

Only half of the burritos were left when I took this picture....But there they are!
With 1 Tablespoon of Sour Cream, each burrito has the following in terms of nutrition facts:  Calories: 291, Carbs: 32, Fat: 10, Protein: 18, Fiber: 6, Sodium: 656.  For you Points Plus people: 7 Points Plus

Friday, June 15, 2012

Bagels and Exercise

Exercise-wise, I've been having a really good week.  I have been exercising on and off for a while now, but made some decisions that somewhat force me to exercise daily.

I love bagels.  I mean, love them.  There's something about stopping on my way into work in the morning and getting myself a toasted bagel with cream cheese ON it that really just makes my day (You have to specify on, otherwise, Dunkin Donuts will just drop a container of cream cheese into a bag and call it a day).  As soon as I get in the car in the morning, my mind is already eating a bagel.  Well, for those of you who don't know, a sesame seed bagel is 350 calories and the cream cheese to go with it is 130 calories.  That's 480 calories on breakfast ALONE!  Never mind if you get a coffee to go with it!

Well, I made the decision on Sunday that I will allow myself to have a bagel ONLY if I exercise.  It's a reasonable trade-off, right?  It's been going well so far.  I have gone so far as to wear the gym clothes I would never normally wear just so that I can get to the gym.  All so that I can eat a bagel in the morning.

My workouts for this week have been boring so far.  I've been mainly concentrating on jogging and biking, so I'm either on the treadmill, the elliptical, or the bike.

Here we go:

Elliptical Trainer        33 minutes  428 calories
Biking (12-14 mph)  12 minutes  165 calories
593 Total Calories Burned

Jogging 5 mph           15 minutes  206 calories
Walking 3.5 mph       20 minutes  130 calories
Biking (14-16 mph)   10 minutes  171 calories
(I did run walk intervals)
507 Total Calories Burned

Jogging 5 mph           15 minutes  206 calories
Walking 3.5 mph       20 minutes  130 calories
Biking (12-14 mph)   10 minutes  137 calories
(I did run walk intervals)
473 Total Calories Burned

Elliptical Training       33 minutes  430 calories
Biking (14-16 mph)  12 minutes  204 calories
634 Total Calories Burned

One of the other decisions I made (just today I made the decision), is to not eat ALL of the exercise calories like I originally have been doing.  I decided that I would put the total amount of calories Burned in the NOTES section of MFP and put a slightly reduced number in the actual area where it counts as calories earned.  This way I can account for some of the error in calculating any of the exercises.

What do you think?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Counting Calories

I've been trying to count calories for a little while now.  So far, I've had mixed results, but at the end of the day, I've lost about 2 lbs over the last 6 weeks.  Not really the results I have been looking for.

I have struggled with my weight since I was a teenager.  I've always been envious of my friends who can pound down an ice cream sundae while I sit there knowing that if I ate the sundae, I'd gain 2 lbs by the next morning (but I ate it anyway).  A big part of my problem, however, has always been portion control.  I'd like to say that this stems from childhood (you know, you go to Nonni's house for dinner, and when she asks if you want more, you say, "oh just a little" and she gives you more than the first portion....and you eat the whole thing).  My other problem is willpower.  I have none.  I remember being about 13 years old, and my mom taking us out for lunch - it was a treat day, and we went to Friendly's and got to have Cone Head Sundaes after lunch.  Then, later that night, my aunt took us to the movies and I bought candy.  I remember my mom saying that I needed to make choices - I couldn't eat multiple treats per day.  Since then, I've been obsessed with trying to make good choices, but haven't had the willpower to do it all the time.

I've been on and off every diet known to man, but the most success has been with eating normal portions of good healthy food.  Weight Watchers and counting calories has been my two main eating regimens, since both of them allow you to eat whatever you want.  At the end of the day, they are helping you learn that if you really want to eat that ice cream sundae, you need to make choices throughout the day to fit it in.  It also teaches you that normal portions are necessary, especially if you do insist on eating the sundae.  We forget that everything is super-sized, we we need to make better choices.  Weight Watchers has gone through a number of revisions over the last few years.  At the end of the day, it's basically the same thing as counting calories.  I stopped Weight Watchers for a few reasons:  1) I was sick of paying $13 per month to cheat and not stick to plan.  2) I wasn't following it correctly.  The points system works, as long as you are calculating points properly.  There were foods that I would make and I would estimate what I think the points were worth....And if I felt guilty that it was too many points, I would lower the number (but not the portion) to make it look better.

Since I went off Weight Watchers, I decided there had to be something in it's place.  My friend told me about my fitness pal so I decided to go with that.  It's free, and it allows you to determine how many calories you eat per day (based on how much weight you want to lose per day).  As I said earlier, I've been using my fitness pal for about 6 weeks now, and I've only lost about 2 lbs.  So what am I doing wrong?  Well, I think I've been trying too hard to limit what I eat.  When I first started, I decided to eat only 1200 calories per day.  But when I exercised, I often didn't eat the calories that I burned, and I honestly think that I was eating too few calories.  My body knew that, so I changed my calorie intake per day from 1200 to about 1450, but I still didn't eat what I earned through exercise.  So starting yesterday, I changed the process a bit.  I'm eating a NET 1200 calories.  That means that I'm eating whatever I earn.  So if I earn 400 calories exercising, I'm going to eat 1600 calories total.  I am putting a limit on total calories, though.  There are days (usually on the weekend) where I burn 1000 calories cleaning and washing walls, but I don't plan on every eating more than 2000 calories.  So far, so good.  I haven't been hungry at all, which is good...When I do think I feel hungry, I drink some water or some caffeine free diet coke, and wait a few minutes.  Most of the time, I'm just thirsty.

Now, I just need to go food shopping to stock up on some healthy fruits and veggies... :)  My refrigerator is BARE!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Free Lunch

I am not shy to admit that if someone offers me a free lunch, I'm going to take it.  I'm working on a project right now and I've been blessed with free lunch every day.  Sounds good, right?  Well, sort of...

For the past week and a half, I've had some form of chicken every day for lunch.  While the chicken is prepared [somewhat] differently every day, it's pretty much the same thing.  Chicken with some kind of sauce, with rice and vegetable.  And dinner rolls.  And some kind of dessert (which I've been avoiding like the plague).

The thing is, on Sunday, but my mom and my mother in law brought us dinner at the house.  They both made a different kind of chicken.  So let's do the math:

Sunday Lunch:  Chicken (My Mom's)
Sunday Dinner:  Chicken (My mother in law's)
Monday Lunch:  Chicken (FREE LUNCH!)
Monday Dinner:  Chicken (Leftovers - My Mom's)
Tuesday Lunch:  Chicken (FREE LUNCH)

I am starting to grow feathers and a beak!  I'm turning into a chicken!!

A typical free lunch at work...Chicken rice, veggies, and a dinner roll....

Monday, June 11, 2012

The big reveal!

So my cousin Carolyn made me a new Blog Header....What do you think???

Shop till you Drop!

When I was little, my Auntie Regina had names for my sister, my cousin, and me.  My sister was "yellow sheet" in honor of the sheet she always used to tote around and sleep with.  My cousin was "screech owl" because she was always screeching, and I was "Harry the Turtle," because I was always lagging behind and super slow.  In response to the names my aunt gave us, we gave her a name - "Shop till you Drop."  haha.  We used to go out with Auntie Regina on a Saturday afternoon and come back hours later, laden with shopping bags.  She was always the best at spotting good deals.

Over the years, we dropped the names (I had to ask my sister what my name was because it's been that long since we talked about them).  However, I'd like to think that in different ways, we've all taken on some of the qualities that my aunt has, and we've all, in our own ways, done our own shopping - Shop till you drop!

My sister's wedding is coming up this weekend.  She gave the bridesmaids the opportunity to go out and get our own dresses, which is nice because we can find a nice dress that we know we'll wear again.  While it should have been an easy task, I found it really difficult to find a dress that I liked.  I dragged my cousin Carolyn with me on Thursday, and we spent a good 2-3 hours at the Warwick Mall looking for dresses.  At one time, I had almost wished that Stephanie had picked a dress for us - it would take the pressure off myself to find a dress!  But in the end, I was able to find a dress that I liked.  After looking through what I felt was every single knee-length black dress at Macys, we looked at JC Penney, New York and Company, and even Lane Bryant (which was a flop because everything there is too big for me).  On our way back through Macy's I found a few more dresses, and actually tried on 3 that I liked (I don't know how I missed them the first time around!).

So I got my black dress.....I just needed to find shoes....Which I got at DSW (my favorite store, plus I had a $10 coupon!!)

I believe I took on the qualities of "Shop till you Drop" on Thursday/Friday finding my dress and shoes - and trying to get the best deal possible....

I think I did pretty good....

My dress for the wedding - It has a beautiful lace overlay on the top with ruffles all down the body

A close up of the top (so pretty!)

The best shoes EVER!  The ruffle on the heel matches the ruffle on the dress, and while you can't totally tell by the picture, the heels are a good 4 inches - I'm ALMOST as tall as Scott :o)

So I've shopped, and I dropped....And I'm ready for a wedding!  :o)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Sighs of Relief!!

The past month and a half has been a major whirlwind.  Between buying the house, and then stripping all the wallpaper (which I'm sure everyone is sick of hearing about), and starting the upkeep on the yard (we have been cutting the lawn, but we also had to contact Griggs and Browne to come treat a tree that is overrun with carpenter ants), it's been just crazy.

My beautifully manicured front lawn.  I'm proud to say I mowed it!

The other side of the front lawn.  It's so green!

Some of the rose bushes around the house.  We need to spend some time and weed the gardens, but they're going to look beautiful!!!
On top of everything with the house, we've been trying to rent out the condo.  We did a thorough clean a couple of weeks ago, and we've been really good about keeping the entire place nice and neat.  We showed the condo to quite a few people over the past few weeks, but I'm happy to say that it's rented out!!!  I'm so excited.  It's such a HUGE relief to know that come August 1, we have people renting out the unit, which means we'll have additional income.

So that's that.  We've continued to wash the walls and we've gotten through 3 rooms already.  I'm pleasantly surprised at how quickly it is going.  Next, is paint.  I've been trying to pick out paint colors, and I've decided that going to other people's houses and finding the stuff I like in their house is much easier.  We were at Scott's cousin's house yesterday, and we both really liked the dark granite counters with the lighter wood cabinets.  And we liked quite a few of her light fixtures.  So our next step is to go back to her house and take pictures.

Also, we've made a couple of appointments to have people come out and install replacement windows.  

So we're getting there!!!