Just your typical Jersey Housewife.

I have been experimenting a lot more with cooking, recipes, and just general nonsense in the kitchen lately. I have my schedule straightened out again and I am moving forward, which is a positive step and all I can do!

For now, I am getting used to the idea that I DID GET INTO GRAD SCHOOL!

Let’s rewind. Okay, yes, I am excited. SO excited. But also very nervous about starting this whole new adventure. My undergraduate years were very hard for me, but I think with these courses I will be able to manage much more easily taking 1 at a time as opposed to 5, which is extremely comforting. The scary part to me is more of the fact that the pace of the class will move so quickly (7 weeks).

Whatever I have to do to get this degree I will do, because I am determined to prove myself wrong more than anyone else.

I spent so much time telling myself I can’t do this and I can’t do that, but I need to show myself that I CAN do these things regardless of how much I put myself down. The only person who doesn’t have faith in my abilities is ME, while I have the support of everyone around me who does believe in me.

While I have the free time left, I have been finishing watching Dexter (for the 47th time) and also cooking and trying out new recipes as I mentioned.

I will post them in posts to follow!

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Chicken Parmesan Wrappers

The Happy Health Freak

I know it’s been a while since I posted something for all the meat lovers out there – so here it is!

I had leftover wontons that needed to be used up, so I began racking my brain with what I could stuff them with.  I had chicken, I had marinara and I had cheese – the wrappers were born!

These are very easy to make, they only take a bit of time to fold each one, but get the kiddies to help and it will be done in no time.Chicken Parmesan Wrappers ~ www.thehappyhealthfreak.com

Print Recipe

Makes 30 wrappers

30 wonton wraps
12 oz chicken breast, cooked and shredded
2 oz cheese, mozzarella or Parmesan or dairy-free
1 1/2 cup pasta sauce + more for dipping
1-2 Tbsp Italian spices

To make life easier, I cooked the chicken in the slow cooker on low for 4 hours the night before and shredded it the next…

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Seven ways to a more efficient pantry

For Eat's Sake

pantry

This could be your pantry.

1.)Buy whole nuts, not nut flours.

This serves two purposes: whole nuts are more versatile, and whole nuts will spoil less quickly. Buying whole, raw nuts means they can be used in any application, as opposed to purchasing nut flour, which has already been processed several times and more likely to go bad. Grind up your own nut flours as needed, and your body (and taste buds) will thank you!

2.) Have a few recipes in mind when buying less commonly used ingredients.

Some ingredients tend to come in certain sized packages, which may or may not be what the recipe calls for. If that batch of cookies only requires a half cup of pumpkin, maybe look for a soup recipe that can utilize the other half. Having the recipe ready to go will make it more likely that the can of pumpkin, or…

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The (Wo)man in The Mirror

My friend Jamie and I got talking last night about self image. The conversation was inspired by a photo I had taken of myself while I was shopping at a store earlier in the day with a little help from my friend, the hard cider. MIND YOU, I have not been able to shop in this store for ages due to the fact that I haven’t fit into any sizes from there but now an XL is baggy. go me!

Here is some more background.

I was taking pictures of potential shirts I was going to buy and sending them to my boyfriend for a “yay” or “nay” and one of them made me think to myself “Wow, this shirt looks really good, I have come so far in the last two years. I really have lost weight.” Resulting in me purchasing said shirt.

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Then I got to thinking…. is this only the way I see myself, or have I ACTUALLY lost weight? Maybe I was just having a good day, who knows. I have no idea how other people see me and I can’t see myself other than in a reflection so it is hard to know how I look in the eyes of someone else.

It’s sad actually that I actually have gotten to the point where I question myself for actually feeling GOOD about the way I look. I mean, I still think I look good in that picture but I am still concerned that maybe it isn’t a true representation of how I am since I have never seen myself in person. I like to think it is, though.

Has anyone else ever felt this way? I know I am not perfect and I have a long way when it comes to weight loss but I deserve to feel good about myself NOW since I have changed a lot over the years. I am still stuck worrying about how other people see me and that holds me back which isn’t how it should be.

Self Reminder.

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I have been a little hard on myself the last two weeks. I haven’t felt well. I haven’t been working out. I have been trying to eat the best I can, but since I haven’t been working out the scale doesn’t want to be my friend, it’s just generally been a rough few weeks.

With applying to graduate school (and having mixed feeling about it), opening and closing a play, work being insanely crazy, my trainer leaving my gym, and my natural stress level being at a constant 6, I have been a little bit over the top overwhelmed with my life in general. With that being said, I am not quite sure how to deal. I feel a little bit lost and I trying to keep in control as much as I can, but certain things are just out of my hands.

When it comes to losing weight, I feel like I am capable of that. For a while there I was in a really good routine and pattern and I knew what I was doing. But all this stress hit me at once, I got sick,  and it all came unravelled so quickly that I couldn’t catch up to get it back together in time to gain control. So as all that was spiraling downhill so was everything else. Now, I don’t even know where to start. My room is a mess and it makes me sick to look at but I can’t even get started on it without getting a headache.

Overwhelmed is the only way I can describe it. The food control issue is the first thing I am glad I was able to get back together because if that got too bad, there would be no way that I could get myself out of that mess.

I need to remind myself that I don’t need to get so frustrated or overwhelmed. Sometimes, you have weeks that are crazy and sometimes you get stressed, but as long as you don’t completely give up you didn’t FAIL. I may have stopped working out for 2 weeks, but I stuck with the food plan, so I didn’t quit. I made that much progress as shown in the pictures, and that is huge. It’s not a lot, but it’s a big deal to me. This needs to be the last time I stop and start again because a year from now, I will be glad that I didn’t stop.

If I was able to do this much, I can do more. I just need to remind myself that I’m not the person I used to be, and I am not willing to settle for anything less than my best.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pecans & Avocado

The Happy Health Freak

Oh Brussels sprouts, you either love ’em or you hate ’em. Personally, I love these baby cabbages – how can you not love anything in miniature form?!  I’ve come to realize that people who don’t like them have not had them cooked awesomely.  Their mom or whomever boiled the crap out of them, thus resulting in a green pile of mush.  I think I can convert you folks with this recipe.

This makes a fabulous Thanksgiving side dish or just eat a giant bowl of it for dinner like I did and get a wicked dose of fibre, Vitamin C and healthy fats.Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pecans & Avocados ~ www.thehappyhealthfreak.com
Print Recipe

Serves 4

2 cups of Brussels sprouts (about 1 lb), washed and trimmed
1/2 cup pecans
2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 avocado, diced
S&P

Preheat oven to 400F.  Place pecans on a baking sheet and roast for about 5 minutes – be…

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Low carb, High fat

I hate using the word DIET but I mean it in the sense of what I am eating, not in the way that people use it anymore.

But anyway…. I have been spending my time searching the benefits of the low carb high fat diets and why people should eat this way as opposed to other ways. When I saw my nutritionist, he told me to eat 100 calories of carbs in the morning, 100 at lunch, and then a high fat diet after that. After some thought I was interested in eating more of the fats and less of the carbs so I have been interested in the “keto” diet. Instead of completely keto, I am still keeping 100 calories of carbs in the morning for now until I get used to it. My body felt awful the last two days so I need to slowly introduce it and get used to it for a little bit. Whether it’s my breakfast or a snack mid morning, I’ll throw in some sort of carbs and push through the rest of the day. As long as I stick to my general rule of not mixing carbs and fats, and only have the carbs once a day, early in the day,  I will be okay.

I do have to say, I have been missing my crunchy carby snacks and I found a good replacement recipe yesterday. It is literally just full fat shredded cheddar cheese. I also used a cheese grater to add in monterey jack. I put parchment paper onto a cookie sheet and I scooped a tablespoon onto that. I preheat the over to 375 and kept them in for about 15 minutes, which was how long was recommended. I made mine brown and crunchy all around instead of just on the edges to make them more like cheez-its. They’re very good! I had some today after work with salsa and it was the perfect little snack without the carbs or sugar. Incredibly simple, I would highly recommend. It’s about 110 calories for 6 of them but only 2 carbs.

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My food in general has been pretty on point, but I have been feeling pretty crappy trying to get used to it all since there is basically no sugar. It’s apparently called the “keto flu”, and I seem to have the symptoms. (read more here http://elowcarbfoodlist.org/the-keto-flu-symptoms-and-relief/ ). I have had a headache, a stomachache, and just not feeling the best that I can but I think I am adjusting decently. I need to get more sleep and also get back into a workout schedule and I will feel as good as new.

Here as some other meals I have made to try to get my eating habits back on track as much as I possibly can while I haven’t been working out. (that is changing tomorrow!!)

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French green beans, chicken apple sausage, and 1/3 cup of shredded cheddar cheese.

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1 serving pepperoni, 1 oz monterey jack, mini cucumber, Ken’s ranch dressing.

I don’t plan on doing keto entirely, but just a lower carb higher fat diet in general. It will make things easier for me in the long run, in all honesty. I can go out with my friends or family and get a burger without the bun with cheese, I can get wings and bleu cheese, I can still enjoy the things I like without having to make too many sacrifices because I have to eat low fat or something. I think this will be good to do for most of the time.

I will be sure to keep everyone posted on how things go and the progress I make (if it works!)

You sniff it you buy it: A very expensive lesson in essential oils and other recent goings-on.

Keira Lennox

Last Saturday afternoon, C and I wrapped up work on time [glory be] and went to Ruby Tuesdays for a couple chicken BLTs. Which we’re now hopelessly addicted to; we had back-to-backers over the weekend and I may have talked my parents into meeting me for dinner for another one tonight. It’s a problem. A delicious, panko-encrusted, bacon-topped problem.

When we got home, I was running through my regular paranoid Shop Closing Routine Checklist — Did I lock the front door? Close up the back? Did I leave the walk-in cooler open? Is a lamp on, threatening to burn down the building? — and realized that I left a hot glue pan burning on the design counter from a homecoming corsage I made that morning. I paused the episode of Project Runway I was watching on demand (in my bed, mid-sandwich coma) and headed back downtown.

It took all of 60 seconds…

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