Thursday, September 26, 2013

You are ENOUGH.

I've had four friends share this video over the day, so I think I should probably pass it along too... must be that good (spoiler: It is!  The whole series seems awesome...). :)

I was talking to a friend today about this very topic and wrote her this note via facebook just this afternoon (before watching the video):

"It really is unfortunate how some men treat women.  [I need to add now, or how some women treat women...] I feel sorry for them and the value that they hold in the size, weight, look, and appearance of a woman.  They miss out on a lot of other important facets that create an entire human being and a DAUGHTER OF GOD.  I know they're "wired differently," but it's sad... It's a little pathetic, and it's unfortunate for them.  We are SO much more than our bodies.

You are an amazing person, with a good heart and vast intelligence.  Not to mention, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. Remember that you are worth more than the value he is placing on you, and that his opinion is invalid.  The only opinions that matter are yours and your Heavenly Father's.  I recognize that is hard to remember when you're hurting, but just know you should feel sorry for HIM for letting you go over shallowness and his own insecurity.  What a messed-up mind-set.... He's going to wind up very unhappy.

You're amazing - keep at it.  You don't need to lose weight for anyone but YOU - remember that right now.  Do what will make YOU sincerely happy, and don't do it for anyone else.  Because YOU are enough."

... And for once, I know with 100% certainty that I'm right....

YOU are enough.  You ARE enough.  You are ENOUGH.

On a non-religious note, whether you believe in a higher power or not, this applies... You are loved and worth everything in the world you desire.  On a more religious note, I am so thankful that I know I have a Father in Heaven who lives and loves me.  I am thankful that I know of my divine heritage and capabilities - and that I am divinity in motion (not to quote MJ, but really... RIP, brotha).  We are all worth so much more than we realize.... and if someone says differently, they're a fool. Straight up, a fool.

"Wherever you are, whatever the circumstances may be, you are not forgotten. No matter how dark your days may seem, no matter how insignificant you may feel, no matter how overshadowed you think you may be, your Heavenly Father has not forgotten you. In fact, He loves you with an infinite love. Just think of it! You are known and remembered by the most majestic, powerful and glorious Being in the universe. You are loved by the King of infinite space and everlasting time. He who created and knows the stars knows you and your name.”  
- Dieter F. Uchtdorf 

In the words of Lion King (although not my original intention): Remember who YOU are.... and in doing so, help those around you remember who THEY are.

Song of the Day:  This is one of my all-time faves, and ties right into what we're talking about here.... It was arranged by  friend of mine, Stephanie Maybe, and written by one of her friends, Nicole Sheahan.  The song is called, "I Am His Daughter."  Enjoy!

Friday, September 20, 2013

8 Months to Sexy: Recipe CARBS Edition

As promised, I am providing a few more delectable recipes for you to try on your pursuit to being more fit and fab.  I often am just dying for some kind of sweet treat, so I have an amazing way for you to feel good about eating a few brownies.  Often, I crave pizza or pasta too... well, I have a fix for you regarding that craving.  Whether it's for weight loss or just being/feeling healthier in your diet, these are some recipes that are SURE to help curb your carb craving! (Check out those alliteration skills!  I am SUCH an English teacher...)

Black Bean Brownies 
(Seriously, might be weird on the first bite... and then perfection!)

First, preheat over to 350 degrees (F).  Next, blend the following ingredients in blender or food processor until smooth:

 - 1 can low sodium black beans (thoroughly rinsed & drained)
 - 1/3 c. Melted coconut oil
 - 1/4 c. Unsweetened cocoa powder
 - 1/8 t. Salt
 - 2 t. Vanilla
 - 1/2 c. Honey or agave

 Next, in a separate bowl, lightly whisk 3 eggs. Fold eggs into chocolate mixture and fold 1/2 to 1 c. finely chopped dark chocolate (I used dark chocolate chips and just sprinkle a handful or two on top) into mixture.  You can also add nuts if your heart desires to do so.  Pour into 8x8 pan and back for about 25-30 minutes.  Let them cool for about 10-15 minutes and then cut and serve... I think they're better cooled though.  I know - an anomaly for brownies, I know, but it's true.  Haha!  You can even enjoy two of these and you still won't feel guilty... or, I didn't feel guilty. :)

Cauliflower Pizza Crust
(A sanctuary... For real.  Don't judge - I love carbs.)

This one looks not as good as my first second one... The second one was perfection.  

1 head (Small Head) Cauliflower
¼ cups Parmesan Cheese
¼ cups Mozzarella Cheese
¼ teaspoons Kosher Salt
½ teaspoons Dried Basil
½ teaspoons Dried Oregano
½ teaspoons Garlic Powder
1 Tablespoon Almond Meal (optional) - I didn't use it last time, but I think I would this time...
1 whole Egg

Preheat oven to 450 degrees (F). Wash and thoroughly dry a small head of cauliflower.  Cut off the florets—you don’t need much stem, but you can use stem if you'd like to. Pulse in your food processor for about 30 seconds, until you get powdery snow like cauliflower. You should end up with 2 to 3 cups of this ridiculously fine cauliflower. Place the cauliflower in a microwave safe bowl and cover. Cook for 6-7 minutes. Dump cooked cauliflower onto a clean tea towel and allow to cool for a bit before attempting the next step. I didn't do this the last time and I kept burning my hands - haha!

Once cauliflower is cool enough to handle, wrap it up in the dish towel and wring it like mad!  Get your anger issues out on this for a moment... :) You want to squeeze out as much water as possible. This will ensure you get a chewy pizza like crust instead of a crumbly mess. Dumped squeezed cauliflower into a bowl and add parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, salt, dried basil (crush up the leaves even more between your fingers before adding), dried oregano (crush up the leaves even more between your fingers before adding - I always add extra cause I love it), garlic powder (not garlic salt), and a dash of red pepper if you want.

Now add the egg and mix away. I forgot this step last time and the pizza had NO hold - it's the sealant, so make sure to use that egg!  Hands tend to work best to mix this up. Once mixed together, use your hands to form dough into a crust on an oiled parchment paper on top of a pan. Pat it down thoroughly, because you want it nice and tightly formed together. Don’t make it too thick or thin either. Bake for 8-11 minutes, until it starts to turn golden brown and then remove from oven.

Add desired amount of sauce, cheese, and toppings you want - I like lots of onions, ham, tons of bell peppers, more spices (bring on the oregano and basil!), and cheese. Make it how you want it!  Now, slide parchment with topped pizza back in the hot oven and cook for another 5 to 7 minutes until the cheese is melted, bubbly, and slightly golden. Test your patience and allow it to cool for a minute or two. Probably closer to two. Then using a pizza cutter and a spatula, serve up your delicious grain-free cauliflower crust pizza! If you want two pizzas (they're a bit bigger than personal size), double the recipe.  I am obsessed with this because I can have pizza and not be breaking the carb bank!  I thought this was insane when I first read about it a few years back, but it's actually pretty good and I feel good about eating it more often than actual pizza.  Thanks to The Tasty Kitchen Blog for this recipe!

I also found this paleo, dairy and gluten-free recipe, but I have yet to try it out:

Interesting note on carbs - I feel like I am starting to not process them in my body as well now that I eat them less.... bizarre, right?  Your body adapts and changes as you make changes... who'da thunk it? :)

Song of the Day:  A really great new jam by one of my fave bands, Parachute.  Here is "Hurricane."  I LOVE this song!!! I love this band and every song they have ever made... For real. My favorite line of this song..."Funny how it all comes back when you're trying to forget it..."  LOVE!  Enjoy!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

8 Months to Sexy: Recipe Edition!

So, as I've been on my "path to sexy" (or sexier) I have needed some good recipes to keep me sane.  Here's the deal, I'm all about quality of life... and I want to eat good food!  I am not going to eat things that taste horrible - I'm sorry.  I'm not going to do it... I find joy in eating good food, which IS okay, but it should be good tasting and good for you.  I'm all about health because I'm all about quality of life and I've come to find that IS genuinely a greater quality of life.

So, let's get to why you're really reading this... the recipes!  I've got a few up my sleeves that I've gotten from others and adapted to what works for me.  Do the same!  Adapt them if you don't have something at your house or if you don't love the taste completely because of one ingredient. Now, adapting by adding chocolate syrup to everything is probably not the best choice.... probably not.  So, still make smart choices!

Here are some of my new faves: (Some sounded CRAY at first! Yes, CRAY.)

Oatmeal Cottage Cheese Pancakes!
(You can have pancakes?!  Yep - and they're GOOD!)

6 egg whites (or do 4 egg whites and two full eggs if you'd like!) 
1 cup rolled oats, dry (steel-cut are best)
1 cup cottage cheese 
1-2 tsp. raw sugar or honey 
2 teaspoons cinnamon (a natural metabolism booster!)
1 teaspoon vanilla 

Instructions: Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Heat a griddle or large non-stick skillet over medium-low heat. Spray with non-stick cooking spray. For each pancake, pour 1/4 cup of batter onto griddle. I actually just pour it from the blender and eye how big I want my pancakes.  Flip when they start to bubble and cook until golden brown. Repeat with remaining batter, spraying the griddle as needed. (Thanks, Court!)

I top these with bananas I fry with a little olive oil or coconut oil and fresh strawberries than a little honey... Yep, I do add a little sugar because I HATE the sugar-free stuff.  I tried it, hated it, and I decided to take a different route.  You don't need much syrup (use pure maple) or honey when you use the bananas though - they make it super sweet and these pancakes are already super moist! 

Parmesan Broccoli 
(Seriously - INCREDIBLE!)

1 big head of broccoli
Olive Oil
Salt n' Pepper
2-3 Tbsp of Garlic (depends on how strong you like the garlic taste)
Lemon juice
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

First, take time to wash the broccoli and dry it off.  Seriously - do that first.  Then, pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees (F).  Put the broccoli on a cookie sheet and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. I just eyeball it - never measure it really.  I put olive oil in my hands and rub it on all the broccoli so it's coated, but not dripping off.  Then, I put a little salt over it all and a good amount of pepper.  Now add the garlic!  I use pre-chopped garlic bought at the store.  However, the recipe I found says around 4 cloves if that's your route.  I sprinkle it on and then rub it around with my hands - I'm not afraid to get my hands dirty!  But do wash them in between steps... Haha!  Next, cook the broccoli for about 20-25 minutes, letting it brown (not black) on the edges.  Let the broccoli cool for a few minutes and then toss with lemon juice - don't pour on a ton!  Just put some in your hands and toss it with the juice.  LAST, add 1/4 cup parmesan cheese and toss!  It's like veggie candy... AWESOME!

These are two I have discovered... more to come shortly. :) Enjoy and PLEASE share any you come across in the comments or via my email.  I am dying for new recipes to experiment with and eat!  Next time, I'll post on black bean brownies and cauliflower pizza crust - both BOMB! :)

Song of the Day: I love this jam!  Here is Ellie Goulding with "Burn."  SOOOOOO good!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Part II: 8 Months to Sexy!

So, I have been on this slow and steady get-fit-plan entitled "8 Months to Sexy" (yes, I made up that clever name - hold the awe...) for about six weeks now, and I feel fabulous!  I still second guess myself here and there and wonder if I'm making any real progress, but FINALLY this week I started to see the progress come together in little ways and feel more confident about my choices.  I took pictures every other week, and this week I noticed my back rolls are starting to melt and some areas are growing more defined... I have realized that it's going to take a long time and I need to be realistic and understanding with myself and my body. Here are the main things I have come to know about this journey:

1.  It takes dedication and desire.  Where there is a WILL, there is a way.  Where the will lacks, so does the way.... I don't think I really understood that concept until now.  I have to WANT it and go after it for myself - NOT for anyone else.  Again, that's why it's working this time.  I really want this for myself.

2. It takes a lot of hard-work.  I workout at LEAST five times a week, but almost always six times.  I do weights, constantly upping the weight limit and reps.  I do cardio, which near about kills me if I fail to use my inhaler beforehand.  #stupidchoices... I have to really push myself or I don't see results as clearly or quickly (and quickly still means slowly... but quicker.).  The days I have failed to push myself hard are the days I actually want to cheat more.  Which brings me to #3.

3.  It takes self-control.  I have learned that "cheating" does nothing but hurt me... No one else really cares.  No one.  I have to be the one to care and stay true to the diet and workout plan I have established for myself.  I really have been shocked at my ability to have such self-control!  Have I cheated?  Here and there, yes.  Have I cheated a lot?  No.  My "trainer" told me this analogy the first day working out with him, and it has stuck with me --> "Each day you dig a half-foot deep hole.  Your goal is to dig 100 feet down.  If you eat crap you fill the hole back up and are back to where you started the next day... Or you can already have dug the first part and keep adding to that hole.  It's up to YOU."  He probably said it more eloquently, but you get the gist.  I really have striven to maintain a diet that is healthier, low-carb, and makes my body feel better.  I can tell you already that my taste buds HAVE changed and I have learned to appreciate things that aren't as sweet.  Eating out is fun, but of the handful of times I have, I've always felt a little blech the next day.  As I use self-control, I feel healthier and thus, happier with my body. Plus, it's a goal skill to retain for ALL things in your life - moderation and self-control in all things!

 4.  It IS fun!  I feel good about myself, and though I have always been confident (Surprise!  Shocker.), I feel more confident about my body and self-presentation.  I carry myself differently already and I'm excited to see that continue to change.  I enjoy working out!  Seriously - find what is fun for YOU and learn to ENJOY working out... Otherwise, it will NOT stick.  I find that doing cardio circuits is best for me and that I have to have loud music or be in cardio room (movies!).  I find that for weights, this is more my sanctuary... I actually have learned to enjoy cardio, but I really like weight training and the feeling of pure exhaustion after... It's oddly relaxing.  Weird?  I know.  It's also fun to see the progress you have made and hear people make comments about your new body and attitude.  It's fun to have people ask about recipes and progress, and to try on old clothes and see how differently they fit you.  It's fun to set a goal, reach it (or get a step closer), and set a new goal for yourself... It's fun accomplishing something.

5.  It takes patience.  Be patient with yourself and with those around you that tempt you with deliciousness.  Haha!  They're all getting use to your lifestyle change as well.  Plus, you have to realize that everything TAKES TIME.  Things truly don't happen overnight.  Also, don't compare yourself to others.  I have a friend who just loses faster... I am making the right choices, but her body is just losing quicker... That's okay.  It's not all about weight loss - it's about how you look and feel.  I may not be losing as much, but my goal is also to build muscle and define.  Muscle weighs more than fat, so some weeks I don't really lose much or any.  Her goal is different, and so her workouts and results are different.  Just make good choices in diet and exercise and your body WILL catch-up and react.  Give it time, and practice patience.

6. I am healthier and happier.  I was happy before, and I will be happy in six-months from now whether I am more fit or not (though, I will be).  I believe that weight and such does NOT make your happy or unhappy - or doesn't need to make you unhappy.  I loved my life six-weeks ago, a year ago, and before that time!  I am simply saying that being healthier means I have extended mobility, more energy, and a clearer mind... and those things make me HAPPIER.  Not happy in general, but happier.  I'm not gonna lie, seeing my rolls diminishing and more muscle definition in my arms and legs makes me a bit happier too... It's not about being sexy in a sex way - despite the connotations behind the title of my journey - it's about being sexier because I'm healthier and even more confident.  Sexiness is confidence.

My next few entries will be all about recipes that are helping me to get to where I need to be.  Take them for what you will, but I say, why not try em' out and see if you enjoy them. Even if they sound bizarre - I thought so too with a few of them.  Even if you're not on a health journey or trying to lose weight, why not treat your body to some healthier choices and gain more energy?  Just give things a shot and see what works for YOU in making yourself healthier and happier. :)

Song of the Day:  There are SO many great ones right now in my life... Hm.  Let's go with Drake's song "Hold On, We're Going Home."  I adore this song and it's chillness when I'm driving with my windows down in the evening or sitting by my window on a rainy day.  Enjoy!